Tag Archives: pointing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 10th June 2021 – IT SEEMS THAT …

century 21 electric bicycle place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the phrase “The Office Bike” has a completely different meaning here in France than it does in the UK.

There was an estate agent in the building dealing with an apartment that’s for sale in the building (it’s way overpriced so don’t worry) and sticking visiting cards in everyone’s letter box. And instead of a company car, he has a company electric bicycle on which he can get about the town.

How times are changing. I suppose that it’s better than going on a private jet.

As for me, I’ve had a better day today. And it’s high time that I had one of those, isn’t it?

In bed slightly earlier than usual just recently but it was a disturbed, tossing and turning and cold sweat night. That’s a few of these sweaty nights that I’ve had just recently, and the reason why I comment on them is because they ask me about them at hospital. It’s a possible side-effect of one of my medication, but I can’t remember which one.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone to whet my appetite.

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson had won an adventure and thewere seeing this out of the way when suddenly something even more new and terrible came along from somewhere in the Indian Ocean which had nee, inspired by Moriarty, which was when I awoke in a cold damp sweat again

There was something in this dream as well about me having an old Vauxhall, old car, a big old Ford type of thing – I can’t remember now. I’d been at work and taken very ill again. I’d ended up spending most of the morning fast asleep in a bed. In the afternoon I decided to go home. The illness was far too much for me to cope with now. There was some firewood to put on the fire and I wondered if I was actually going to leave it or whether I ought to take it. I thought that if I take it then I could use it and they won’t miss it here. I picked up and went outside. It was Clifton Avenue and my car was outside covered in snow. It had been pouring down with rain and my car was covered in snow, damp snow. I went down and got in and started the engine. Then some kind of Hillman Minx came up behind me followed by a Vauxhall Cresta. The Hillman Minx did a U-turn at the end and drove back down the hill again totally followed by this Vauxhall Cresta. Then about 3 minutes later this Hillman came back and did the same thing again only this time it went onto the pavement to do its U turn down the far side of my van – car and then back off. It came back a 3rd time with this car pursuing it and there was an awful row, these people shouting. I was wondering what was happening so I was interested in following them so I could see. So I got to turn the corner with some tight manoeuvres to get round and end up behind them without making it public what I was trying to do with the third vehicle, third parking space. I had to go into Jubilee Avenue to turn round and ended up on Wistaston Road (actually Stewart Street) at one time so I had to turn round again to get behind these cars
At a car park where the cattle market used to be and there were cars being stripped down there. They would just come and dump them and Shearings used to pick up there and we’d always find a few cars dumped. One day I went down there and there was another one dumped. Well there were 4 or 5 but this one was encroaching onto our field and I had to move it out of the way. Then I noticed that all of my tools were there. Someone had broken into my car and pinched all my tools and had been using them to work on one of the abandoned vehicles and had scattered my tools and equipment and everything all over the place everywhere and I wasn’t very well but I had to spend all this time picking them up. It really annoyed me, not just the fact that people had stolen them but they couldn’t be bothered to put them back or even in any kind of resemblance of being tidy after all the effort that I’d made to sort them out and tidy them up in the past

There had been a reorganisation of electoral boundaries in Crewe. Where I lived had been moved into another constituency area for the town but this was an area that was heavily dominated by the Conservatives and my area was a marginal seat held by the opposition. I felt that this was a way of trying to win that particular seat for the Conservatives by moving the boundary to move out some of the people who would be voting against them at the election and I was trying to write a letter of complaint to the CSEB about this but I couldn’t find the address and no-one there seemed to be able to find it either but I wanted to complain about this gerrymandering

Did I say anything about a group of us? Four of us were together and we had some kind pf hire car from somewhere. We’d all ended up staying in a room in a hotel. A couple of people had the itch and decided that they wanted to move on so I’d awoken and started to assemble a fishing rod with the idea that I was going to go out and fish for things as a way of doing something different. But gradually one by one 2 other people awoke and the 3 of us decided that we would all move away and leave that person behind. The guy assembled all of his stuff and went off to the bathroom to have a bath while the girl started to prepare a ton of make-up. I thought to myself that the idea of makeup was not what I had in mind. We were going to be footloose and fancy-free and all to do with nature, getting back to basics and going back to our roots. Putting on a ton of makeup and foundation cream and all that kind of thing had nothing to do with what I was intending

After the medication I had to sort out all of the paperwork that I’m taking to the doctor. There’s so much of that now that it’s difficult to know where to turn. After that I had a shower and in the few minutes that remained I edited some of my photos from August 2019 in Wyoming.

When it was time to go out I hit the streets.

scaffolders college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as you might expect, my attention was distracted the moment that I stepped out of my front door here.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the scaffolding that has covered the building here since late summer last year. That’s the company that installed it, and they are here with a large pick-up and a pretty big lorry armed with a crane.

All of this can only mean one thing, and that is that they have come to collect the scaffolding. It’s taken them long enough to complete the job and as you saw in the photo a week or so ago, the job looks as if it’s finished. So with a bit of luck the scaffolding will be gone by the time that you read this. I can check when I go out this afternoon, if I remember.

skip lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallthat wasn’t all that was going on right outside my door either. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the skip lorry here yesterday. Well here he is again.

It’s not clear at all if he’s been bringing an empty skip or going to take away a full one. He was parked up in this position when I came out, and didn’t move for the whole time that I was outside here, so I’ve no idea what he was up to.

And as it happens, I was out there for a while too. One of my neighbours was also outside waiting for someone who was coming to pick her up. We had quite a little chat, and then she climbed into her friend’s car and I cleared off down the road towards the doctor’s for my appointment.

pointing rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the pointing work that’s being undertaken on the wall by the Rampe du Monte à Regret by one of these Job Creation Schemes.

The progress was slow as you might expect from one of these Organisations and its puplis, not that there was much supervision, but now it seems that the work has ground to a halt. Not only have all of the students departed, leaving the wall unfinished, but they have taken away all of the scaffolding too.

Wasn’t that something of a flash in the pan? Unless of course it’s to do with the summer tourist season and they will be back once the tourists have cleared off home again.

At the doctor’s, he and I had a good chat. He had a report from the hospital and he was greatly concerned about the amount of blood that they took from me during my operation. Apparently it’s no surprise that I’m tired and exhausted with all of that.

He reckons that it will be a long hard road before I’m feeling myself again, and I can’t even do that right now. They say that a man has a brain and … errr … something else, and only enough blood to work one at a time. I don’t even have that at the moment.

He gave me some information that I requested and wrote out a prescription for my medication. I know that I usually pick it up in Belgium and I still shall, but I want to be a couple of months ahead in case I go off on a ramble some time and need to build up a stock.

Interestingly, he had a stock of Lyrica in this office and he gave it to me. I forget now how many times I’ve been given this from different people now. I suppose they can’t dispose of it, except to people like me. But I suppose that it’s safe for me to take it because I had all of the side effects before I started to take it. “impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless” – I was all of that even before I was ill, never mind all of the rest.

So after having gone through all of that, the doctor threw me out and I headed off for LIDL.

workmen preparing base of terrace rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere in the Rue Couraye we have some excitement going on this morning.

The mayor has passed some kind of rule or regulation that cafés and the like can occupy one car parking space in the street outside their premises, or as near as they can get, to make some kind of outside terrace, if they don’t already have one, in order to welcome the tourists in the nice weather.

It looks as if we are having another one installed here, although I can’t see who would be occupying it as there doesn’t seem to be a café or restaurant just here. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see who moves in to occupy it once it’s finished.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that much. mainly because I couldn’t carry it. You’ve no idea how difficult it was just to bring me up the hill. The hill at the other end of town in the Rue des Juifs is just as steep and just as long and to go up there with a load of shopping is not my idea of fun.

One thing that I did buy was a litre of drink, which I demolished quite quickly. My raging thirst has come back again, and in spades too.

After leaving LIDL I headed for home via the Rue St Paul.

portacabin rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that several months ago we witnessed them demolish the old café on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

Very shortly afterwards, a planning notice for several apartments went up on the site, and it looks as if it’s been granted because we now have a portacabin office and another temporary building on site. Who knows? They might even be starting work sometime soon if we aren’t careful.

But the answer to the scaffolding question that I posed earlier has now been resolved, jusding by a notice that I saw stuck on the building. The mayor has banned the erection of all scaffoldings and the like for the period until September this year, in order to keep the town pretty for tourists.

So now we know.

home made bread rice pudding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo now that I’m ready to have my lunch, let me show you my culinary delights for today.

Not much in the way of excitement. Just a beautiful, soft loaf of bread and a rice pudding for dessert for the next few days. The rice pudding is quite nice, because I had a little sample when it was cooked. As for the bread, I think that I have that sussed now because it really was nice and tasty. I’ll go with that.

After lunch I had a few things to do –

  1. ring up for a Covid test. But that was a waste of time because they are only open in the morning. I’ll have to try again tomorrow.
  2. try to change an appointment in Leuven next month. This new app thing has a facility to send messages, so I did. Whether it works or not is another question.
  3. Book my accommodation in Belgium. And he’s given me a nice discount, for which I’m always grateful. They do look after me there.
  4. Book my rail trip to Leuven. The bit from here to Brussels was fine but on the SNCB for some reason every time that I tried to pay for my ticket, it was refused, no matter which card I used. However, on the app it worked fine first time and I don’t understand that at all.

As a result, all of that took far longer than it should have done.

The rest of the day apart from desperately fighting off waves of fatigue, I’ve been splitting LPS that I digitalised into their individual tracks. Due to an error in the admin side at the radio where the broadcast of a programme was missed, I’ve ended up with a vacant week and I don’t really know what to do with it.

Several suggestions have come to my mind, but the one that I’ve decided on is that I have piles of stuff that hasn’t yet been allocated into their parent groupings, and some of them are new artists with no previous example of their work anywhere in my broadcasts. And so I’m going to do a programme of completely new, unique and individual stuff.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ve already seen the photo of the bike that I took on my way out of the building, so here’s one of the beach that I took next.

With nothing on the car park right now to distract me I wandered off to look over the wall down onto the beach and blimey! Where has the water gone? The tide is well out to sea today. And to my surprise, despite the nice day, there were probably no more than half a dozen people on the beach that I could see.

But there’s an interesting phenomenon over there on the horizon, something about which I’ve talked … “AT GREAT LENGTH” – ed … elsewhere ON ANOTHER OCCASION.

Yes, the bank of cloud in the background. There’s a clear blue sky and hardly any cloud today but the prevailing winds that are coming from the west from over the sea have picked up an amount of water vapour water vapour. The air has to rise up to clear the cliffs and the hills over there on its way into the interior and this causes the air to cool down and so the water vapour condenses and forms clouds.

That’s one of the ways in which ancient mariners could tell if they were near land, by seeing the cloud formations.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there at sea again today is the yellow inshore fishing boat that we’ve seen on several occasions just recently.

And I’m slowly coming round to the conclusion that maybe it isn’t the same yellow boat that we saw up on blocks in the chantier navale earlier in the year. If you look very carefully, down the side of the hull you’ll see a wide black stripe edged in white. I don’t recall seeing that on the boat that was in there.

There wasn’t anyone else out there close enough for me to photograph – they were all too far away – so I left them to it and I set off along the path to do my lap around the headland with the madding crowds that were thronging around this afternoon

aeroplane 50 nj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other, as I wended my weary way along the clifftop, I was bound to be overflown by an aeroplane this afternoon.

And it’s another one about which I know very little, if nothing at all. I can’t even see its registration number properly. It might be 50-NJ in which case it’s definitely a new one on me. But whatever it is, it’s another one of these strange series of numbers that crop up quite regularly in one manner of another.

No point in looking for a flight plan because it won’t have filed one. And it won’t have flown high enough to have been picked up on radar, so basically we can forget all about this one. I really must make an effort and go out to the airport to make further enquiries..

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was looking very nice today.

What were even nicer was the large black dog and the girl who was looking after him. At one point there was a photo crying out to be taken but just as I was about to take it, they both moved and the moment was gone. I had to take one of Le Loup instead.

And from this photo you can tell how far the tide is out today. The rock on which the light sits is actually exposed, but when the tide is right in, it’s almost up to the lower of the two red bands. I suppose that the red bands are there so as to give any ancient mariner an idea of what the tide is doing.

yacht rebelle trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we’ve had yet another change of occupier today in the chantier navale. It’s all happening in there.

My walk along the clifftop on the other side of the headland took me to the viewpoint overlooking the port where I could see what happening.

And there’s been a tactical substitution of trawlers today. Hera, the trawler that has been there for a while has now gone back into the water and another trawler has come in to join the yacht Rebelle.

I can’t see who she is but I can see that she’s having some electric arc welding being done on the bottom of her hull, and there’s an angle grinder working around the other side so it’s all systems go down there with that boat.

microlight aircraft baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else of note happening down there I headed for home, on the way to which I was overflown yet again.

This time it was a microlight or U.L.M on its way out for a lap around the bay. It’s certainly been a very busy day with so much going on.

Back at the apartment I carried on splitting LPs until it was time for guitar practice, which for some reason tonight was pretty gruesome. I’ve no idea why I’ve lost my touch and my co-ordination. I was glad when I could knock off and go for my tea tonight.

And having bought or made the necessary, I had stuffed peppers and rice for tea followed by rice pudding, which was delicious.

But I’m totally exhausted now and I’m off to bed. And I need it, and I deserve it. It’s been a hard day and I shall be glad of some rest.

Thursday 6th May 2021 – OUR HEROES …

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… returned from the port of St Helier this afternoon as I was out on my afternoon walk around the headland.

It all seems to happen here during the small hours of the morning because at about 03:00 this morning as soon as the harbour gates opened, almost the entire fishing fleet left the port en masse like a ferret up a trouser leg and set sail to St Helier in Jersey where, arriving at first light, they blockaded the port, hemming in the ferry to St Malo and the oil boat that brings the fuel over to the island.

It seems that the Royal Navy’s two gunboats, HMS Tamar and HMS Severn, were totally powerless to stop them. Do much for this “Britannia Rules The Waves” nonsense. There were also 3 French military vessels, including Geranium with whom I had a run-in last summer, out there too to make sure that there was fair play.

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn case you are wondering what this is all about, let me first mention that it’s nothing whatever to do with Brexit, due to the rather prosaic reason that the Channel Islands were never in the EU.

There’s a separate treaty, the Treaty of the Bay of Granville, that has been in force since 1843 that controls fishing rights out here and the Channel Islanders, doubtless inspired by the British Government, have seized the opportunity of Brexit to unilaterally revoke the Treaty.

In negotiations earlier this year, which I briefly mentioned a while back, they gave the right for French fishing boats already fishing in the bay to continue to do so. Suddenly, on Friday afternoon, they asked the boats to provide proof of their entitlement by Monday morning. And then they promptly closed their office for the weekend.

Some of the boats are owned by fleets where there is office staff and the like who can easily access the information. But the smaller boats and one-man bands don’t have the staff and their records are held at the Fish Processing Plant down the hill – whose offices were closed from Friday late afternoon until Monday morning so the information couldn’t be obtained before the deadline.

Of course, a deadline to provide all of this information with zero working days’ notice is unrealistic, if not impossible. Most neutral commentators see it as nothing more than a deliberate provocation whereas cynics like me would draw attention to the flagging election campaign of the Tory Party and the massaging of the Prime Minister’s ego.

But be that as it may, we aren’t here to discuss politics I was awake at 06:00 and up and about a couple of minutes later. After the medication I finally caught up with the dictaphone notes so I can tell you where I went during the night. I was near Hunter Avenue in Gresty and there was a big American car parked up there. I’d had a lot of problems crossing the road from where the Mucky Bridge was on the Cheshire Cheese corner. I just couldn’t get to grips with waiting for traffic to come, I don’t know why. In the end all of the traffic stopped and let me pass. They did it twice as well. As I got to Hunter Avenue there was this big American car there. This guy was speaking to someone on the telephone trying to find out about a position as a taxi driver with his own vehicle. He obviously had a quote from someone so he said “yes” and they sent hi something that he printed out on his ‘phone – an insurance certificate. I asked him about it. He said that it cost him $15:00 a year for Private Hire endorsement on his licence which I thought was astonishing. With that, he can get going. He said that he could do a couple of jobs I asked ” every few days?” and he replied “no, at weekend”. Anyway so we had a bit of a chat about that. There was one of his competitors nearby who was doing the same thing so this was obviously paying its way, I thought to myself. Maybe I ought to get a car and do some taxi driving again these days. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now and I wish I knew what the rest of this dream was. Unfortunately several bad attacks of cramp totally disrupted my sleeping arrangements and I’m fed up of that as well.

After a shower I headed off to the shops in the pouring rain. It really was a wicked morning and had it not been for the fact that the shops will not be open on Saturday, I wouldn’t have gone out.

repointing wall rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last 6 months or so we’ve been following the very slow progress of the students who have been practising on the pointing of the stone walls at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

Of course, they aren’t likely to be there today in this kind of weather so I could have a good look at what they have been doing And what I can say is that a blind man would be pleased to see it.

Of course, when I pointed the stone walls on my house back in the Auvergne I had a lot to learn, and a lot to learn quickly too, but I was extremely satisfied with the results that I obtained and I reckon that I did a very good job of it.

scaffolding rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going down the steps, I noticed that they had moved the scaffolding further down the slope to carry on down the other side of the wall.

And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I don’t fancy the idea of climbing up and working on that scaffolding the way that it is. I wonder if they were in the process of re-erecting it and hadn’t finished it when the rain drove them all away.

LIDL was packed today. There were crowds in there. I couldn’t buy everything that I needed as they didn’t have it in stock, but I did what I could, especially as there are no shops on Saturday. In fact I had to go round a second time as I had forgotten the mushrooms.

It had been difficult for me to go up the hill to LIDL for some reason – I really wasn’t in any kind of form today, and coming back, loaded as I was with everything that I had bought, made it even worse and I had to stop several times to rest on the way back.

Having put the frozen food (they had more of the falafel) into the freezer I made myself a hot chocolate and my sourdough and then came in here. I was so tired that I wasn’t able to do any work but at least I managed not to fall asleep.

After lunch I made a start on the photos from August 2019 and then went out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went to the wall at the end of the car park to look over and down onto the beach to see who is about.

Not that there was any beach for people to be out on, and the miserable weather combined to ensure that no-one would be down there this afternoon. It may well have been that it had stopped raining right now but it was freezing cold out there this afternoon and I’ve gone back to being cold again – really cold, just like I was a few days ago.

There wasn’t anyone else around on the footpath up here on top of the cliffs either. And that was just as well because there wasn’t all that much room to move around there because everywhere was quite flooded because of the rain that we had had this morning.

commodore clipper baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp on the butte at the back of the lighthouse I could look out towards the sea to see if I could see the ferry that had by now set out to St Malo from St Helier.

Of course, at this range, it’s not possible to say with any certainty but if you look at the island in the centre of this photograph here, you’ll see something large on the horizon next to it. If I had to say that something out there was a small Ro-Ro ferry (because there was one out there somewhere), I’d probably be happy with identifying that as a likely target..

There were still plenty of fishing boats heading my way but I didn’t wait around for them. Otherwise I would have ended up feeling like Brian Hanrahan (and I’ve no idea where i would find him this afternoon) and “I’m not allowed to tell you how many there were, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back”.

black mamba baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking over to the butte, I’d seen a familiar black sail in the sunset out on the other side of the headland.

As a result I wandered off along the path and across the carpark and from the top by the old bunker there was an excellent view out to sea in the bay. Of course it’s our old friend Black Mamba who has been moored up in the harbour for the last couple of weeks now having gone off for a run around in the bay. It’s not really the best kind of day for a sail.

While I was out there, Rosemary rang me up so I promised to call her back when I returned to the apartment. That was the cue to set off home before it started to rain again.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA couple of days ago I mentioned that I’d given up commenting on cases of bad parking, and so it goes without saying that I would stumble on something extraordinary almost immediately, like this in the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Here’s a van and trailer belonging to a garden maintenance company working on someone’s garden this afternoon. It’s parked on the wrong side of the road on a main bus route at school chucking-out time when there are service buses going in one direction and school buses going in the other direction. And there’s a huge parking space free just 10 yards further on where it can park on the correct side of the road without obstructing the traffic.

There are a couple of kids waiting for the bus at the bus stop but they can’t see the bus coming and the bus can’t see them because the van is in the way.

This is a recipe for a disaster if ever I saw one.

Back at the apartment, armed with a coffee I rang Rosemary back and we had a very long chat yet again. Consequently I’ve done almost nothing yet again today.

There was the guitar practice of course, and then tea. Stuffed peppers with rice and veg followed by apple turnover and home-made custard.

And having done that, I’m off to bed. I’m not going to hang around tonight. I’m tired, cold and fed up so a nice long warm-up in bed will do me good. After last night I’ll have one of these sleeping tablets so there might not be a dictaphone entry tomorrow.

Thursday 8th April 2021 – TODAY, I’VE HAD …

trawler yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… another one of those nautical days that we have every so often.

There has been so much traffic on the waters today that I’ve really been spoilt for choice when it came to taking photos because I could have taken 100 and still not done justice to everything that was going on out there at sea this afternoon.

When I went out there this afternoon for my little walk around the headland I was overwhelmed by the amount of nautical traffic that was bobbing up and down on the high seas, from the smallest plank-boarders to some of the larger trawlers and freighters that hang around the port.

marite unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just out at sea that we were having all of this excitement.

It was pretty busy in the harbour this morning too. One of or favourite boats, the little Jersey Freighter Normandy Trader has come into port on the overnight tide. She’s now tied up underneath the crane at the loading bay while the personnel of the Chamber of Commerce make ready to unload her.

You can see all of the material on the quayside already. I reckon that this is the load that she has to take back with her to St Helier. And you can see how busy she is with all of that load. No wonder her owners are talking about buying a larger boat

vna pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just at sea and in the port that we are extremely busy. Thee was quite a lot going on in the air today too.

The bright sunny weather has certainly brought out the aeroplanes this afternoon, like this one that overflew me as I walked my weary way around the headland. I’ve no idea what it is because I couldn’t see the registration properly. I can see the last three letters – VNA – of its registration.

Although I checked, there was nothing of that registration that had taken off from or landed at Granville Airport this afternoon. It’s probably frustrating me deliberately by not filing a flight plan so people like me can’t identify it.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the picture of the busy port this afternoon with the crowds of boats queueing up and the portable boat lift now tackling Lys Noir, I’ll tell you about my busy morning.

It was rather a late night, although not as late as it has been once or twice, so I was able to leap out of bed with alacrity when the alarm went off.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days seeing as I missed out on doing it yesterday. And if you now look at yesterday’s entry, you’ll see that that is now up-to-date with the entries for yesterday now incorporated. Now that those were out of the way I could turn my attention to last night’s travel.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome people came round to my house, including an old friend of mine so I invited a girl to come along as well. I made all of the arrangements but just at the last moment when I was getting ready to receive my visitors I had a ‘phone call to say that this girl was having to go into work so she wouldn’t be able to come. I had a little morning’s entertainment with these people and just strode out and the followed me. They went their separate ways. I just happened to be walking past their house when a car pulled up and these 3 girls got out. 1 of them said “so-and-so will run you home” referring to her youngest sister. “She knows the trick about the car”. They parked up but then they saw me walking past and asked “Eric, are you coming in?”. I walked up the path towards the door to join them.

having dome that I turned my attention to the photos from August 2019 on my North American Adventure and managed a few of those before it was time for me to go off for my shower.

And having done that, I wandered off out on my way to the shops for my mid-week shopping trip.

pointing rampe de monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me past the top of the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are using the poor state of the medieval wall as a training ground for young apprentices.

And sure enough, there were about half a dozen there, a few of whom were females, something that is always nice to see. All of them with their trowels and mortar boards doing a nice rightward lead along all of the cracks. It brought back many happy memories of when I was POINTING THE WALLS AT MY HOUSE all those years ago.

having watched them for a while I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … down the steps and on into the town.

roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it looks as if they are getting ready for the summer season, such as it might be this year, in the town.

The other day when we were around the town we saw the candyfloss and sweet stand that had arrived in the town and was now parked up hear the harbour. Today I noticed that the kiddies’ roundabout has arrived and has now been set up in the Place Charles de Gaulle ready to entertain them for the next few months.

My next port of call was LIDL for the midweek session of my weekly shopping. I didn’t want all that much from there so I ended up with quite a light load. So not to waste the trip I stocked up with some soya milk and some tomato sauce because I can always use that sort of thing and I never seem to have enough.

roadworks road closed rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I had to go along the Rue Paul Poirier, and that wasn’t as easy as it might have been.

There were roadworks in the street today and it was closed to all traffic. Not for pedestrians though so I could make my way along there and while I was it it, I could see what they were trying to do.

They had half of the road dug up near the junction with the Rue Etoupefour but as for why, I didn’t have any idea. They were digging a small trench and one of the guys was relaying the cobbles where there is the 5-minute waiting spot, cutting a few of them with his stone cutter to make them fit into their spaces. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a few days after they have cleared off in order to see what they have been doing.

roadworks rue etoupefour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the other end of the street, having pushed my way through the roadworks, I crossed over the road and started to go up the Rue des Juifs where I glanced down at the junction of the Place des Corsaires and the Rue Etoupefour.

There was a man down there with some of the cobbles pulled up, chipping away at them. I’m sure that it can’t be a coincidence with people working like this at both ends of the street . They must be doing some kind of work in common so I suppose we’ll find our about that in due course too.

Anyway I carried on up the Rue des Juifs with my light load hardly impeding me at all. I wasn’t going to say that I ran up the street but it was a good climb up there with hardly a pause for breath.

unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an occasion to call for a pause halfway up the hill because there was something of interest going on at the docks.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that each of the Jersey freighters, Thora and Normandy Trader has started to carry a couple of small sealed containers, presumably with private freight, and this morning they were unloading one of them from the deck of Normandy Trader and putting it on the quayside ready to be taken away.

That was all of the excitement for the morning. I wandered off home for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread and to continue with my photo editing.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to do too many because I crashed out on my chair. And crashed out completely too. I must have been out for about an hour and a half altogether. As a result I had a very late lunch.

After lunch, seeing as it was a nice sunny day with very little wind I went and attacked Caliburn’s door.

Trying to take off the door card was a contortionist’s delight and it took me an absolute age to free it off just so far that I could put my hand inside the door skin. And as for where the spring clip that holds on the window winder went, I have absolutely no idea.

Being able to put my hand inside the door skin was one thing. To actually open the door was something else and my hands ended up black and blue with cuts and bruises but with a great amount of force and inconvenience I finally managed spring the catch and open the door.

With the door open I could re-attach the bits that had fallen off and do the necessary adjustments and now the door will open from the outside as well as the inside. But I’m not putting the door card back on until I’m sure that it works.

seagull place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there working, I was not alone.

Yesterday we saw the seagull on the windowsill of one of the apartments on the other side of the building. And this time the bird is waiting at the correct window – the one where there is the plastic bird model on the inside. And you only have to look at the state of the window to see how often it is that the bird calls there.

But anyway, I went off inside to put away my tools and then came back outside to go for my afternoon walk in the sunshine.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing to do was to go to the wall at the end of the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach today.

The tide is quite well in this afternoon so thee wasn’t all that much beach to be on today but even so, there was still enough room for a few people to wander about. These two people were having a pile of fun leaping about from rock to rock down there and they will probably keep on doing it until the tide comes in and cuts off their only means of retreat.

There was no retreat for me today. I was continuing my walk along the path on top of the cliffs. And despite the really nice weather there was hardly anyone else about so I had the place pretty much to myself

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that there was quite a lot going on in the air and I mentioned the light aeroplane that flew by overhead.

We also had another regular visitor going past me overhead this afternoon someone whom we haven’t seen for quite some time. It’s the old yellow autogyro that we’ve seen in the past on several occasions. We saw a different one, a reddy-orange one, fly past us the other day and it made me wonder when we would be seeing this one again.

She was flying quite high over my head too, much higher than normal and he had a passenger too so they presumably are on one of these sightseeing trips that she does every now and again

The French have a saying jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, and that applied to the aircraft that I saw today.

EC-MVE Airbus A320-232 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact they may well have said “thirty-third” because there were so many in the sky this afternoon. Today’s choice of aircraft is an Airbus A320-232 that’s operated by Vueling Airlines, a Spanish low-cost airline and is operating their flight VY7826 /VLG7826 which is the 15:00 from Barcelona heading to Gatwick Airport.

Her registration number is EC-MVE and airframe number 8130 which means that she was built about three or so years ago and supplied new to the airline which means that she was supplied new to the airline in February 2018.

She wet past me over head at about 25,000 feet and 388 knots and had already started her descent down to the Gatwick flight path as I was watching her

chausiais yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have spent a great deal of time discussing Chausiais, the little freighter or barge that runs the freight between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland.

She’s usually been tied up at the ferry port or in the inner harbour but today I’ve actually been lucky enough to catch her on her travels, coming back from the ile de Chausey.

She’s down there now manoeuvring her way between a couple of yachts as she returns to the port after her little run out. I suppose that with all of the tourists and second-home owners being here fleeing the lockdown in Paris, she has plenty of work to do, ferrying the supplies out there to the island.

fishing boats waiting for port de Granville harbour to open Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the headland I followed the rail of yachts Chausiais and all of the fishing boats towards the harbour.

The harbour gates into the inner harbour aren’t open as yet but the time can’t be that far off because the queue of trawlers around them waiting to go in was quite oppressive. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many loitering around the harbour gates. Chausiais had quite a struggle to fight her way into her berth.

Earlier on we saw the portable boat lift wrapping her slings around lys noir but I didn’t hang around long enough to see what they were going to be doing with her. Instead, I carried on along the path.

spirit of conrad charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around on the path above the harbour I’d noticed a sail being erected in the inner harbour. And earlier while I’d been fixing Caliburn’s door, I’d seen my neighbour Pierre who owns Spirit of Conrad in his working clothes leap into his car and drive off.

Putting 2 and 2 together, I assumed that it must be Spirit of Conrad that was having her sail hoisted, and it seems that I was quite right. It looks as if she’s being prepared for the sea again so I wonder where she might be going this time. We had fun on her when we were down the Brittany coast last summer.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and then finished off the day’s photos from August 2019. I’m now on the Bozeman Trail at the site of the worst humiliation of the US Army at the hands of the native Americans prior to the battle of Little Big Horn where Colonel Fetterman and his entire troop of 79 soldiers and four civilian scouts were cut down by Red Cloud and his Sioux warriors.

Before guitar practice there was time for a little bit of the Central Europe trip and then I absorbed myself in music. And I didn’t really enjoy it al that much tonight. My heart wasn’t in it for some reason and I couldn’t really get going.

Tea was taco rolls and rice and veg, followed by some of my jam roly-poly and coconut dessert.

Tomorrow is going to be a Welsh revision day, I reckon, ready for the restart of my courses. I’m becoming far too rusty. I could do with an early night but I’m not going to get it today, that’s for sure. It’s late so I’m going straight to be. And I’m hoping to have pleasant dreams despite my new evening medicine which somehow has the effect of tranquilising me.

Thursday 1st April 2021 – THERE’S A TIME …

airing fishing nets rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… for fishing, and a time for mending the nets, as we are so often told.

It beats me what these guys have been doing but they have a net stretched out here in a V shape, all rolled up as if they are about to fold it back up. There’s quite a crowd of people around them watching, and also a pile of other nets in the big plastic boxes there.

Of course, with it being a big, busy fishing port, this is the kind of thing that you expect – fishing nets and other fishing accessories all over the place. And it’s a surprise to me that they can keep the place so tidy. Maybe I should ask a few fishermen to come round and help me tidy up this place as it’s rather a mess right now.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that’s important in this port is the presence of charter yachts and also the chantier navale to keep everything in proper order.

Over the past few months we’ve been keeping an eye on what’s been going on in there and this morning on my way back to the shops I could see that there’s a new occupier in the blocks where Spirit of Conrad was laid up for a while.

That boat that’s there today is Anakena, the boat that’s been parked up for a year in the inner harbour.

But talking about this morning, I almost missed the first alarm this morning I don’t know why but I almost ended up going back to bed again. Nevertheless I pulled myself together and scrambled out of bed.

After the medication I came back in here and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was a group of us playing after some kind of meeting. While we were playing we’d heard that a famous folk performer had died. I was waiting at the side of the stage waiting to go on to interrupt their act and announce the news to everyone but one of the musicians came over to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained and he replied “you’ll have to wait until 18:30 to say that. We’re booked until 18:30”. I replied “that’s OK as long as you announce it”. “I’m not announcing anything. You’ll have to wait until 18:30”. Later on as they were going off stage he came over to me and started to be a bit aggressive. I just grabbed him by the hands and waltzed around with him for a bit. It didn’t seem to have the desired effect to calm him down or anything like that. I thought to myself that there’s absolutely no reason why there should be this ungracious behaviour – none at all.

Having done that I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and another pile of those bit the dust. I’m now just coming up to the border between South Dakota and Wyoming on my way to the battlegrounds of the Powder River Country.

A shower was next on the agenda and then I headed out for town.

school of masonry ramparts rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me down the steps by the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are repairing the walls.

This is the first time that I’ve taken a photo from this position. As you can see, they have put up a banner to announce that this is a school of masonry.

There were a couple of students on there working. One of them was wetting the wall and the joints by pouring water over them from a container. I explained that the best way to do it is with a big, thick paintbrush. That always worked for me when I was doing THE POINTING ON MY HOUS back all those years ago.

First stop was the Post Office. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Rosemary accompanied me on the first part of my journey across the Atlantic and left when we reached Kangerlussuak. When I’d seen her last summer I’d given her the photos that I’d edited up to date but there were still a couple of thousand that I’ve done since.

The other day I burnt them onto a DVD and this morning I packed in into an envelope and posted it off to her. She should receive it in a couple of days and I hope that she likes it.

graffiti cinema select boulevard de hauteserve Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been seeing all of the weird graffiti that’s been appearing around the town over the last few months.

On the way from the Post Office to the shops I passed by the Select Cinema which is of course closed for the Duration. And on the windows is pasted more of the graffiti that we’ve been seeing around the town. One could actually say that the graffiti artist has gone to town with his work.

At LIDL I spent more than usual, because I’d run out of fruit. And there were also a few extra things – like some pots of grow-your-own herbs. The had quite a few varieties so I bought some Aneth and some Basil. I would have bought some coriander as well but they had run out.

Here’s hoping that they have some more next week.

On the way home I called at the Salle Herel and the vaccination centre, which was now open for business. I asked about having my second vaccine there instead of having to drive all the way to Valognes. In principle I could but they had no vacancy until 26th April and that would be too late, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It’s important that I respect the manufacturer’s instructions because when the borders start to reopen, some countries, Canada for example, will only accept people who have been vaccinated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Anyone else won’t be admitted.

Back in the apartment I made some hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of sourdough and then came into the office to do some work but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. It was 14:10 when I hauled myself out of my chair to go and have lunch. This is getting rather depressing.

After lunch I made a start on the page that I’m working on from my trip around Central Europe. I wrote the text for a few more photos but at this rate it’s going to be another month or so before I finish it. No chance of doing it by Friday as I wanted.

There was the break for me to go out for my afternoon walk. On time as well for a change.

kids playing games on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call when I went out was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look over to see if there was anything going on on the beach.

There were some people walking about, paddling in the sea but they were of little interest today. I had more interest in the group of kids playing rounders or whatever. That seems to be a strange thing to do – not the playing of the game but the fact that they were doing it on the beach when there are facilities at the Gymnase Jean Galfione where they can play games to their hearts’ content.

From the car park I wandered off down the path along the top of the cliffs. There were quite a few people out there this afternoon which was no surprise because it was really warm today. I’d even opened one of the windows in the apartment.

monument to the resistance le loup pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the path and on the lawn I came across the Monument to the Resistance.

There’s a noticeboard there to remind us of a group of about 20 local soldiers of the Resistance who sailed to the Channel Islands on various trawlers as the Germans swarmed into the area in June 1940. They fought for the Free French in Africa, the Middle East and Italy. Several of them lost their lives.

The path across the lawn too k me across the car park and down to the headland. There was nothing going on there or out at sea. I can’t think of where the fishing boats might be. Instead, I continued along the path down the south side.

trawler aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown the footpath I came to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where we were treated to another unusual sight.

Well, it might have been unusual a few months ago but just recently we have been seeing rather a lot of fishing boats tied up in the outer tidal harbour and left to settle on the silt when the tide goes out. And here’s another one – and it’s one of the bigger fishing boats too.

It’s a catamaran hull so it’ll settle down comfortably without careening to one side. It’s what they call “NAABSA”, or Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground

It’s quite a surprise to see one of these moored up in the dry, and you can understand where the phrase “high and dry” comes from when you see something like this.

men working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese men down here in the harbour caught my eye as well.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the diggers in there digging the holes and laying the concrete slab s for the new mooring chains. The diggers weren’t actually out there on the silt this afternoon so I reckoned that they must have run out of work for the moment.

That would mean that the guys here today are surveying the harbour to work out the siting of the next row of mooring cables. if you look to the right-hand side of the photo you’ll see a marker of some description that they seem to have left in the silt. Presumable that’s where one of the concrete blocks will go for the next row of mooring chains.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier, you will have seen a photo of the chantier Navale with the new arrival, Anakena up on the blocks there.

From my little viewpoint overlooking the harbour I can see down into the chantier navale and we can have a better view of the proceedings.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a little story behind the Anakena. She came into port on her way to Scandinavia a year ago but was caught up when those countries closed up their borders to foreigners. The boat was stranded here with its family owners aboard and for the first few months at least the children were studying remotely via the internet.

Since then I’ve not seen any news of them and I’ve no idea what has become of them since then. But it looks as if they are preparing to move on elsewhere.

digger on lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now I mentioned that the diggers weren’t out there in the harbour this afternoon.

Both of them are over there on the concrete by the fish processing plant. One of them is having a friendly chat with the tractor that pulls the trailer that one of the fishing boats uses, but the second one is behind them on a low loader trainer. Does this mean that their work is over and that they are heading home?

Talking of heading home, I was going that way too. There wasn’t anything else going on out there.

Back here I made myself a coffee, watered the herbs that I’d bought earlier, and then came in here to carry on with the work that I’d been doing.

At 18:00 I knocked off and had a session on the guitar and then went for tea. Tonight it was stuffed peppers (I’d bought some peppers today) with rice, followed by apple crumble and the last of the soya stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be making some custard.

It’s bed time now and seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow there is no alarm. and that suits me fine. I’m ready for a good break for a few days without an alarm. A couple of good lie-ins will do me some good.

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.

Thursday 4th March 2021 – YOU HAVE TO ADMIT …

high class graffiti rue saint sauveur Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … that the standard of graffiti that we have around here is far superior to anything that you’ll find anywhere else.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day on our way to the railway station we saw some banners stuck in the windows of a few of the bars and restaurants, made by someone with some kind of skill in calligraphy. It seems that our phantom calligrapher has been out on his travels elsewhere too.

The town is now littered with more of the same kind of notices talking about all kinds of different subjects. I wonder where he’ll be going next.

As for me, I’ll probably be going back to bed next because once again, I’d been up very early. Just after the first alarm again this morning.

Plenty of time to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d killed some woman and I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why. I didn’t admit to it. This woman was a friend of someone who was something of a tough character and he was trying to find out who did it. I was quite confident that I would be particularly safe. He was talking to me one day and the subject of minivans came up in the conversation. He asked me if I knew what a minivan was. Seeing as we were in North America at the time I said that it was something like an F250 or an F350. He immediately said “it’s you, isn’t it? You’re the one who killed these people. I’m going to make you suffer as much as these other people suffered”, grabbed hold of me and went to put me in this car, to take me to pick up the rifle and the books I’d been reading at the time and 1 or 2 other things.

Later on some woman in a block of flats where I was living had had a row with everyone, I don’t know what about but she got into her car and drove it around the car park. She’d bumped into 1 or 2 cars while she was doing it and ended up rolling down the steep bank and ended up with her car in the pond. I’m not sure what else had happened but my yellow estate car MMB was in the pond as well and a couple of motorbikes and so on. I asked my father “what are we doing tomorrow? Do you think we could rescue my car from out of the pond?”. He said “yes, I suppose we could” so I asked “what time? Morning? Lunchtime? Afternoon?” and he didn’t really give me a definite answer. I was just chatting saying “I really hate working in water” which I do. I was loitering around because I was half-expecting someone to come along to call a breakdown truck and winch this woman’s car out of the pond. I was thinking that if they were going to do that I may as well slip them £50 or something and winch MMB out of the pond as well at the same time so I was loitering around waiting for something to happen.

There was plenty of time to have a shower and set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) before I went off out to the shops.

la granvillaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had gone very far before I had to start to brandish the camera about.

Although the harbour gates were closed, there was a big yacht coming sailing into the port. With her sails not being up I didn’t recognise her at first as she was so far out but as she sailed in deeper to the port I could se the number – G90 – painted upon her bow.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recognise her as being La Granvillaise, another one of the charter yachts that plies for hire from the port. And with the harbour gates being closed, I couldn’t work out why she’d come round here right now from her berth in the yacht harbour, although I did have my suspicions.

marite normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was actually quite a lot of activity in the port this morning.

Marité is still in there tied up in her little corner, and while we don’t have a gravel boat (we haven’t seen one of those in here for a good few months) we have Normandy Trader coming to pay us a little visit. She always seems to be here on a Thursday morning.

Once more she’s fully loaded, and I’ve heard a little whisper here and there that her owners are contemplating buying a bigger ship as they are actually having to turn away freight. It’s one of the very few upsides of Brexit that rather than export their goods to the UK and then into mainland Europe, all of the difficulties that this is presenting means that it’s easier for them to send them direct to here first rather than last.

pointing rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the pointing of the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret ground to a halt a few weeks ago and nothing more was done to it since.

Today, the workmen are back and the work has recommenced. They aren’t working particularly fast of course, but the fact that they are here is something.

My walk up to LIDL was quite energetic and while I wasn’t quite at the “invading Poland” speed I made it all the way up the steep bank without stopping for breath and that’s rather better than it has been of late.

At LIDL I loaded up with tons of stuff and had I been able to carry it, I would have come away with more. But I wasn’t going to turn down 3kg of potatoes at just €1:69 even if I have to live on potato curry for the next couple of weeks.

So loaded up like a packhorse I staggered out into the fresh air (because I’ve never seen LIDL as crowded as it was today) and headed for home.

wall prepared for pointing rue des juifs rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier we’d seen them pointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret – the face that looks down onto the Place Pelley.

But it looks as if they are going to be doing this face too – the one that looks out onto the Rue des Juifs. That’s all been raked out and cleaned out They’ve left a few weeds growing in there, I have to say, but I imagine that they are hoping that the lime in the mortar will do for them.

That’s horrible, nasty caustic stuff as my hands will testify when I was pointing the wall of my house in the Auvergne.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and came in here to work – but fell asleep. It was a short night, an early start and an exhausting visit to the shops so what do you expect?

For most of the afternoon I’ve been clearing out the back-up drive on which I copied all of the data from every single hard drive or memory stick that wasn’t actually connected to the big machine. Little by little I’ve been eating away at it and now there are just 4 items to examine.

Even more interestingly, there is now 715GB free on it and I need for that to be over 1TB so I can start to back-up onto it from the big computer – although a lot of stuff on the big computer will over-write some of the older stuff.

And talking of older stuff, I’ve been finding files dated 1997 and 1998. It won’t be long before I find the stuff from 1992 when I first bought a PC. Stuff from the 80s when I had the Apple II – I think that Nerina might still have that.

sea fog people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the usual break for lunch of course, and also the walk around the headland in the afternoon.

Mind you, I’m not too sure about the walk around the headland because it was another one of those days where had the fog been any thicker, I would have had to grope my way around the path.

It beats me what the matter might be the weather just now. We’re going from gale-force winds to this thick oppressive calm that’s letting the fog bank up against the cliffs here and we can’t se a thing. That might explain why there were so few people out and about on the beaches.

coastal path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe strange thing about this is that around the corner, the fog isn’t anything like as thick.

This is the lower footpath that goes right round the end of the headland and as you can see, that’s comparatively clear. Clear of fog, and clear of people too, which was surprising because up here on top in the car park it was heaving with all kinds of young families going walkabout. No-one braving the lower footpath though.

And nothing to see out to sea either. All of the fishing boats that were going out have gone out and they will be well out to sea by now.

workman painting seafarers' monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a seafarers’ monument here on the path – in honour of two crews of lifeboatmen who lost their lives going out to sea to rescue distressed mariners.

All of the writing on the monument is very hard to read as it’s long-since faded away but today we had a guy from the local council with his fine paintbrush and pot of black enamel paint busily painting back into the monument all of the names and the details of the events in which they lost their lives.

It’s about time that they started doing things like this to make the place look as if people live here. Everything has become just a little run-down just recently.

joly france unloading building material port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if that’s not enough to be going on with, I’m not quite sure what all of that is over there.

Joly France is moored up at the ferry terminal. It doesn’t look as if she’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. There’s nothing doing over on the Ile de Chausey right now and while sometimes the ferries will do little trips with tourists all around the bay, there are no tourists particularly right now.

But I’m more interested in the rather large red builders’ bags that are being unloaded over there. They are dropping off a couple of dozen from that lorry and trailer so it looks as if there’s something really serious going to be happening there sometime soon and I wonder what it will be.

charles marie la granvillaise lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re up here on the cliffs we can look down and see what’s going on in the chantier navale today.

And I was right about my little thought this morning. We’ve yet another change of occupancy down there today. As well as Aztec Lady, Lys Noir and Charles-Marie down there on blocks, La Granvillaise has now come in to join them. That was why she sailed into the outer harbour when the harbour gates were closed – she wasn’t going that way but coming over here for an overhaul.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with no possibility of any yacht charters at the moment the owners may as well take their boats out of the water and have them overhauled ready for whenever the season might start. I shan’t be surprised to see Spirit of Conrad, the boat in which we went down the Brittany coast last summer, in there next for an overhaul.

naabsa trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now we’d seen Joly France in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position over at the ferry terminal but here we have a trawler also in a NAABSA position by the firsh processing plant.

And being a catamaran, she is of course even more safely aground than the others.

Back here I had a coffee and some of my vegan coffee cake and then carried on with my work. I’ve done another 20 photos from Greenland 2019 and some more work on the arrears from Central Europe.

All of that took me up to guitar practice time, which passed quite enjoyably this evening.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by jam pie ad ice cream, all very nice and delicious.

But now I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to mix some sourdough before I go to bed. I have nothing to eat for my mid-morning breakfast so I reckon that it’s time to make a sourdough fruit loaf. I need some real bread too so if I make that in the morning they’ll both be ready to be baked in time.

No point in having the oven on just for one thing when there are two things to be made.

Thursday 11th February 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really busy day today and accomplished quite a lot.

And when was the last time you heard me say something like that?

Once more I managed to beat the 3rd alarm, although not by much. And that was a surprise because even though I was in bed early, I’d had a really bad night.

Several bad attacks of cramp in my right leg, a couple of which obliged me to stand up to relieve the pressure. They were really painful and I was in agony for a good part of the night, something that I didn’t enjoy one little bit.

After breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been. because despite the difficulties that I’d had, I had managed to wander off on my travels, cramp and all.

I had some stuff to leave around and I didn’t want to leave it in my car while I was away for a week so i thought that I’d go to the hotel where I’d been staying or where I would stay on my way back on 12th. I drove my beige MkIV Cortina there, parked it in a temporary parking place on the street and walked round to the hotel, leaving my luggage in the car for a moment. When I arrived there was a Shearings coach tour ready to depart. I could hear them calling my name asking whether I’d be going. Instead I carried on and there were hordes of people because it looked as if there was another coach tour actually starting from there. Everyone was hanging around there at the front of the hotel and I thought that I’d be hours trying to get through this queue into reception. Suddenly 2 coaches pulled up for this coach tour so everyone surged forward into the hotel and I surged in as well. People were complaining that I’d pushed in but I arrived at the reception desk. There I was going to buy some sweets but when I saw the prices I changed my mind. I made up some story about me going on a coach tour and didn’t want my possessions to get damp in the car so she agreed to take my suitcase until 12th when I returned. I went out of the hotel and started to go back the way I’d come. She said “no, there’s a quicker way. Go down this street here, turn left and left again”. The was she said it was so confusing so she said “follow me”. She took me down the first bit and there, there was someone with a collection of old military vehicles behind a hedge, a couple of jeeps and a couple of Jeepnis from the Philippines. Round the bend there was someone else. She said “this is always the person of last resort if you need something urgently”. It was a guy who repaired all kinds of things. he had all kinds of old cars and all bits and pieces parked up in his drive. She kept on taking me down all these footpaths and I was getting so confused. I thought that we would end up miles away from my car and I won’t have a clue where my car is. It was only a 15 minute parking space and what happens if I’ve been towed away because I’ve been so long? But I followed her anyway as she seemed to know where she was going

So fighting off huge attacks of cramp that had brought me out of bed on a couple of occasions I carried on walking down here to find the BASF factory and I’ve no idea why. I was told that it was just near the overbridge but it certainly wasn’t around here. I was going to walk some way to find it and no-one seemed to be interested in telling me where it was. And I’ve no idea what that second part was about either.

But talking about Shearings … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve had to tell Satan to get well and truly behind me this afternoon. Someone’s offered me a 1997 Volvo B10M coach with a Plaxton Paramount body in good running order but needs tidying – for just £1500.

When I worked for Shearings I had years of fun driving those around Europe when I couldn’t lay my hands on a Van-Hool bodied one and they were really nice to drive. I loved Volvo coaches. And so it’s a good job that there’s a lockdown and we aren’t allowed to travel anywhere, especially to the UK, because it saves me from myself.

But what a bargain that is! The thing is that at the moment with companies (including Shearings) going bankrupt, there’s loads of good second-hand stuff on the market that the liquidators are desperate to move so they are slashing prices. This means that everyone is upgrading and modernising their fleets and so there’s all this good old stuff about that is worthless.

Next task was to make some dough for my loaf. Another 500 grammes of wholemeal bread and having bought a pile of sunflower seeds the other day, I forgot to add them in. But I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer while I was at it.

With half an hour free, I attacked the photos from Greenland and made some good progress and then I went for my shower.

By now, the dough had risen sufficiently so I shaped it and put it in its mould and headed out for the shops, with my two pairs of trousers on because it was absolutely taters again outside and the cold wind didn’t help.

At LIDL I didn’t spend very much. There wasn’t anything special that I needed – just a few bits and pieces.

demolition of house rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home from LIDL I had to take a diversion from my usual return route.

There had been a few notices knocking around telling us about a new block of flats that they are going to build in the Rue St Paul and I was wondering where that might be. But this here seems to be the answer because the road was closed off while a bunch of workmen were busy knocking down this old cafe on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo.

For a couple of minutes I watched them in action but it was really far too cold to hang about for long, so I pushed off along the footpath that seems to be the pedestrian diversion at the back of the Community Centre and headed back into town that way.

covidius horriblis place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall
The town centre is all decorated again, which is very nice to see.

As you might expect and as I have probably said before … “here and there” – ed … there’s no Carnaval this year. That’s hardly surprising given all of what’s going on. But it hasn’t stopped the Carnaval Committee doing their best to decorate the town to make up for it, and here’s a statue of Covidius Horriblis that might otherwise in a good year (does anyone remember those) have been mounted on a decorated lorry.

Of course, it’s a sad and sorry state of affairs but I’m convinced that we really need a lockdown much more severe than we have had to date in order to neutralise this virus. It’s no good just some people taking the utmost precautions if they are at risk of catching it from totally reckless people as soon as they go out

Talking of which, be prepared for a surge in cases being reported from here next week. The Government’s mobile testing unit is here on Saturday and everyone is invited. I’m not going though. I’m not mixing with a load of potentially ill people if I can possibly help it.

pointing rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn up the Rue des Juifs I went with my shopping, to inspect the work that’s been going on repairing the wall and repointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte a Regret.

And disappointing as it is to say it, they haven’t really made any progress at all since we last looked. The (lack of) speed at which workmen work these days is quite depressing. They should be doing much better than this.

It’s quite true that pointing (and roofing, because the roofers haven’t been on the roof of the College Malraux for the last couple of days) isn’t a job that you can do very well in a snowstorm, but it does beg the question “why on earth did they start the job in the middle of winter in the first place?”.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … up the Rue des Juifs, I noticed some movement in the inner harbour. One of the trawlers was setting out from her berth at the quayside.

The gates were closed and the lights were on red so I imagined that she was manoeuvring into position ready to leap out of the port like a ferret up a trouser leg as soon as the gates would open. But the tide was well out – no chance of them opening in the very near future.

What she did was to go off and tie up at the quayside behind the fish processing plant where someone was waiting with a van. She must be taking on supplies ready for her next trip out.

trans-shipping product rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the disadvantages of living in a medieval walled city is that the roads are narrow and the gateways aren’t very high at all.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen on several occasions all kinds of large vehicles parked up by the gate in the Rue St Jean while the driver has to offload his charge into a car and trailer or an electric wheelbarrow or something similar in order to pass underneath the gateway.

And here’s someone else having a similar issue with his delivery. But there was nothing around onto which he could offload and he actually carried his parcels through the gate and into the town.

Back here in the apartment the bread had risen to perfection in the time that I had been out, so I switched on the oven and bunged it in.

While it was cooking I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of sourdough fruit-bread and then came in here where I rather unfortunately fell asleep for half an hour.

But later, having recovered my composure, I dismantled two of the laptops here that have failed hard drives. One of the little portable Acers – the one in which I upgraded the memory and the big one with 8GB of memory that gave up 3 days after the guarantee ran out and which prompted me to buy the big desktop machine.

Both the hard drives are easily accessible, which is good news and on browsing the internet I came across a couple of Samsung 1TB Solid-State Drives at just €89:00 each. They are now winging their way in this direction along with a new battery for the little Acer and also a new SATA caddy – you need an external caddy for this job because you have to download the BIOS programs from the machine’s manufacturers into the new disk to make it start to work.

Why I’m interested in doing this is because I’m trying to lighten the load of what I have to carry around with me. The little Acers are quite light and while this one is older than the one that I used from 2014 to 2019 and which handed in its hat in North Dakota, everything in it is accessible so I upgraded the memory in it quite significantly and so it was a quick little machine, even if it was only running Windows 7.

As for the big machine, that actually came with 8GB of memory so it was quite rapid. No point in it sitting around doing nothing when it can (hopefully) be fixed quickly, easily and cheaply.

home baked bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the bread was baked so I took it out of the oven.

It looked pretty good considering everything, and it tasted even better, and I know that because I had a slice for lunch with the remains of the bread from last time.

After lunch and having recovered from a post-prandial nap, I carried on with my Oradour notes and I’ve made my way all through the Court cases and onto the final paragraphs. So with a good couple of days on it, it should at long last be finished and I can crack on.

But it won’t be tomorrow morning though. I am required to do some work on a radio programme for someone.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mustn’t forget the afternoon walk of course.

And we were in luck with the fishing vessels coming back towards port because I managed to take a snap of two of them out in the English Channel heading for home.

And later on as I walked around the headland there were half a dozen others hanging around outside the harbour entrance. The tide is still quite far out and there isn’t enough sea at the Fish Processing Plant for them to come in and unload. It can’t be long though because there wouldn’t be so many out there waiting for Godot when they could be spending the time out there increasing their catch.

snow lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut let’s turn our attention back to where we are at the moment, namely the north side of the headland.

This is pretty much in the shade here and so the sun, such as there is, hasn’t had an opportunity to do very much melting right now and so unless the weather warms up, that snow will be here for a little while.

Not many people out there today either and that’s not much of a surprise. I had on two pairs of trousers so my legs weren’t cold, but that’s about all that wasn’t. I shall be going to the Sports Shop on Saturday morning if I remember for a new woolly hat for my woolly head.

And also a decent pair of warm tactile gloves. My last pair are in the pocket of my blue Adventure Canada jacket, which is hanging up on a peg in a hotel room in Calgary.

lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing doing out on the Baie de Mont St Michel, I continued on around the other side of the headland to see what is going on in the chantier navale

And we seem to have had a tactical substitution here on one of the sets of blocks. The fishing vessel that was here for a while has now disappeared, presumably back into the water and has been replaced by Lys Noir, one of the charter yachts that plies for hire out of the port.

With no business right now (and now idea when business might restart) they would be quite right in using this dead period to overhaul the boat and make it ready just in case something positive might happen soon.

fixing street lights rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was enough for me. I decided to head on home before I froze to death. But not before I had a good look to see what they were doing down in the Rue des Juifs.

Earlier on in the day I’d noticed this cherry-picker out around the town with the guys doing some work. It looks as if they are checking the street lights to see which ones are out and to replace the dud light bulbs if necessary.

But that’s a pretty pointless exercise if you ask me because with no-one out and about at night, why do you need the street lights? And in any case, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I almost went base over apex in the dark on my way to the railway station because the street lights had been extinguished.

When I finished my notes on Oradour sur Glane I had my hour on the guitar and it was quite enjoyable. And I’ve noticed that my bass playing seems to have moved up to another level which has pleased me immensely. At one stage I was playing a lead guitar solo on the bass to Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” and Tom Petty’s “Mary jane’s Last Dance”.

And my singing seems to be improving too – not actually singing in tune because that’s way beyond the realms of possibility but the fact that I can keep on singing while I’m playing more complicated stuff on the bass.

But at the moment, I’m going all of this on the Gibson EB3. I really ought to be playing it on the 5-string fretless that I bought for my birthday last year, but that’s a complicated machine and there are limits to what I can try to do at any one time.

Tea was a Madras Curry out of the freezer followed by rice pudding. And now I’m off to bed. Flat out tired, I am and that isn’t a surprise given everything that has happened today. And I made 100% of my target today according to the fitbit. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, considering the lockdown.

No wonder I’m exhausted.

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.

Saturday 23rd January 2021 – IT WAS A …

bernie sanders beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … really nice afternoon on the beach today.

You had to be well-wrapped up though because there was a biting wind and it was quite cold despite the sun. A decent pair of mittens would be a great help in these conditions so you have to be prepared.

As for me, I wasn’t prepared at all for this morning. I heard the three alarms but that didn’t do me any good at all. It’s a good job that I had decided not to go to the shops today because leaving my bed at … errr … 09:40 is not going to be any good for anything.

In fact I was feeling so dreadful again this morning that after the medication although I did spend some time working out “Tangerine” on the acoustic guitar I didn’t do very much else at all except try to recover myself. I’m really going to have to do so much better than this on Monday morning with an 04:30 start.

It wasn’t until after lunch that I started to feel myself again … “disgusting habit” – ed … and the first task was to organise my voyage on Monday. As well as printing off the rail tickets for Belgium and checking the hotel log-in details, I have to fill out a travel warrant for the Belgian government.

The way things are, I’m not allowed to travel unless I tell them where I’m coming from, how I’m arriving, where I was sitting and where I’ll be staying. And until I receive an SMS from the Government I can’t travel.

But luckily where I live is in a “safe” zone so although there was some wait for the confirmation, it was pretty straightforward.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving received that, I could then go out for my afternoon walk.

As I mentioned earlier there was bright sunlight everywhere but the wind was fierce and it was quite cold. My route took me off along the path around the walls past the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset for I had an errand to run in town.

Not the form for the Sécurité Sociale – I’d missed the Post and in any case I didn’t have a current rental statement. But returning home from the Estate Agent’s on Thursday I found that they had written to me to tell me that I had the payment for the rubbish collection to make.

With being away next week, I couldn’t let it hang about or I’ll probably forget so it seemed to be a good plan for me to take it into town this afternoon for my walk.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith it being such a nice day I decided to go for a little walk along the Plat Gousset and even take a stroll along the beach.

The tide was just on its way out so everywhere was quite wet but nevertheless people were still enjoying themselves. There were quite a few families with kids playing around there too making the most of it.

From there I headed back into town to the Estate Agent’s and slipped the envelope with my cheque in it through their letter box and while I was looking at the window I saw someone pick it up. So that’s another issue resolved without any great effort.

pointing rampe du mont regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back up the hill towards home I went past the end of the Rampe du Mont Regret to see how they were doing with the pointing.

And honestly, if this is the best that they can do with at least four men working for two days, I’m clearly in the wrong job. That’s about 2 days’ work for me, I reckon, from when I was repointing my house. And I was mixing my mortar by hand too, not with a machine.

Back at home I had a coffee and then made a start on the Chateau de Chalus. And I believe that I can see daylight et the end of the tunnel here. And about time too. It’s taken me long enough. Give me another 6 months and it might be done.

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg and vegan cheese sauce. I’m enjoying making this, and it’s working really well. No pudding though – I’m not that hungry tonight. That cheese sauce is quite filling.

Eventually I managed to find the time to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was something about being with a woman but I can’t remember who it was. We were out in the wilds of Arizona somewhere in the desert. We came across a little place and started to chat with the proprietor, rather like I did at that motel AT HANKSVILLE IN UTAH IN 2002. He was telling me about his theory of how people’s birth places and the dates affected their future lives. This was something that I had heard before so I listened. he showed me a magazine or something like a newspaper that he had written. I grabbed a copy to read and asked my friend if she wanted a copy. She said no, she’d share mine. I could see that she wasn’t interested. She asked “what does it say about you?”. “I’m a new computer hard drive” something like that. It turned out that I was looking at the classified ads and this one had been placed on my birthday. The talk came round to horse riding and what were we doing around here. Why were we interested in learning to ride horses? I replied that it was one of our plans one day to cross the USA by horse and see all of the sights. Then we ended up back home, 3 of us me, my partner and another young guy. I’d been playing around with my computer and experimenting with a new operating system. It wasn’t particularly brilliant and was making the hard drive run really noisy. My machine was part-dismantled so it was noisier still as there was no soundproofing. When I went to switch it off it went through its close-down procedure but the racket was intense so I said to someone “I don’t think much of this making all this noise. It’s a bit noisy, isn’t it?”. They replied “yes” so I said goodnight and went off to bed.

Tomorrow is a lie-in – as if I haven’t had enough of those just recently. But there’s plenty to do and of course I shan’t be here from Monday onwards.

But that start at 04:30. I’d better get my beauty sleep.

Monday 30th November 2020 – WHAT I SAW …

fog college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last night when I was out and about on my travels I noticed the fog creepign in to cover the harbour. When I went out for my afternoon walk you can see that not only did arrive, it stayed around too and slowly settled on the town. That fog isn’t going anywhere at all.

As for how long it has been there, I can’t really say. That’s because this morning when I left the warmth and comfort of my own bed, it was still dark. Despite not going to bed until 01:00 or thereabouts, I still managed to beat the 3rd alarm. And that’s quite impressive these days.

After the medication I listened to the dictaphone (I haven’t forgotten that there is still Sunday’s to do)

One of my sisters and I were together. We were the only 2 in the house and I’d made tea. I’d served it all up and set it out and we ate it. But I must have dozed off in the dream because I didn’t remember very much. But I suddenly awoke with a start and remembered that there was pudding to eat. I went to put the pudding out, a fruit pie type of thing. I cut a slice off and put it n a bowl for her and went to get the coconut dessert stuff for her, but found that she wasn’t there. I went into the living room and she was there drinking a cup of tea in the dark. I asked her why she hadn’t awoken me to tell me that there was pudding. She said she just fancied a cup of tea and came in to sit down.

On a couple of occasions in the same dream (which dream do I mean? Have I missed something?) we were on a bus and I think that we must have done the same route twice. We were basically divided into 2 groups, the bus did one and then the other. There were these 4 Asian girls on there and 1 in particular caught my eye. She was gorgeous. Whoever I was with was a woman but only a friend, not a girlfriend. I made a beeline for this Asian girl as much as I could and we ended up sitting side by side on the seats at the back chatting. Then they stopped to take a couple more but everyone else got on and the bus was crammed. They were talking about they’d been out yesterday somewhere and I’d deliberately not gone on this particular group because I didn’t want to make it too obvious that I was after her. This girl was saying that they’d been doing some kin0n of primitive wrestling and was talking about the guys who wrestled with her. I thought “I missed my chance there didn’t I? I should have gone all the same regardless”. We drove out of this town up a hill past some fortifications and an old castle. For some reason I thought that it was Durham which was strange because it was a seaside town. Then we were walking somewhere on this railway viaduct and to get down we had to jump or else it was a really long and involved scramble. The jump was about 30′. The first time, the people who were with us just jumped down and I had to scramble my way around but the 2nd time there were just 3 of us, me, this woman I was with and this Asian girl. The woman I was with just took a running leap, leapt off and landed in a pile of dust and she said to this Asian girl “are you going to jump off?” She replied “yes” and she jumped. The woman I was with said “what about you, Eric?” I said “come on – with my knees?” (when I was an adolescent I’d broken my knees on three occasions – twice on motor bikes and once skiing, or was it the other way around?) and I mentioned her name – it was the wife of a friend from the Wirral so I went to scramble down. But suddenly out of nothing an Asian guy with a little baby sitting on his shoulders, he just ran down this embankment, which I thought was extremely dangerous, I wouldn’t have considered it, but he just ran down with this baby on his shoulders and made it look so easy.
One of the things that we were discussing was names of towns. She asked what was the English name for Abertawe (it’s Swansea by the way). For some unknown reason I didn’t really want to tell her, I don’t know why. Someone else piped up with a few long explanations that were totally wrong but I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t going to say anything to this girl about this.

There was much more to it than this but as you are probably eating your tea right now I’ll spare you some of the gory details.

pointing wall foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst task once I got myself going was to deal with the sourdough that had been festering overnight.

But not before my attention was diverted by a noise outside. I’ve seen a van and a workman here on a few occasions just recently. It looks as if it’s a “nothing much else to do” job of cleaning out and repointing the old medieval walls near the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs. If you peer through the trees you can just about make out his flourescent jacket.

he was here for an hour or so raking out the joints, and then he cleared off. Next time it goes quiet, he’ll be back, I bet, to do another hour’s worth.

So I kneaded the sourdough again for about 15 minutes and shaped it, and then put it in a mould for the second stage of rising. Then I went back to attend to the radio programme that I’d started yesterday, armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my chocolate cake.

Round about 11:00 I knocked off and went to see how the bread was doing.

It hadn’t risen up all that much but it will have to do. I switched on the oven to warm up and while it was doing its stuff, I made an apple pie. Plenty of pastry left over so I made a much smaller one as well and whatever was left I prepared an apple turnover.

When the oven was nice and hot, the loaf went in, and when the apple pie was made, that followed it.

No room for the little pie and the turnover, unfortunately. They went in the fridge for whenever I bake my next cake. I really do need a bigger, better oven and I really am going to have to look into that pretty soon.

While everything was doing, I fed the sourdough and did the washing-up, a whole mountain of it too with everything that I’d been preparing.

home made apple pie sourdough loaf Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, the oven pinged and switched itself off and I went to see how everything had done. The bread was rather depressing. It hadn’t risen all that much, and was rather lopsided, which I suspect points to uneven heating of my oven, even with a circulating fan.

On the other hand, the apple pie looks done to perfection and I’m quite impressed with that.

But as for the bread, it might not look all that much, but in fact it was exactly as it should be as regards texture. And it tasted delicious too when I had some for lunch, still warm out of the oven with my home-made hummus and salad.

It’s a shame that I can’t make it look nicer.

After lunch I finished off the radio programme and then I went for my journey into the unknown, my woolly hat on top of my woolly head. It’s winter.

seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhatever was going on out at sea, I couldn’t see it. It was pointless trying to do anything about that.

One of the things that I did though was to go and look at the seafarers’ monument to see if the wreaths are anything to do with commemorating any of the disasters. But apparently not. The two disasters that are commemorated on there are 23rd December and 10th January.

Having dealt with that, I went for a walk along the path on top of the cliffs to se what was happening in the chantier navale but that was rather a waste of time.

refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the path I could hear a racket coming from the direction of the Fish Processing Plant.

One of the refrigerated lorries that calls in there was just leaving and eventually, it came out of the gloom and onto the main road. I’ve no idea what it might have on board though because I wouldn’t have imagined that there would have been too many fishing boats out in this weather.

Groping my way through the clag I made my way back home for a nice hot mug of coffee. I felt like I deserved it after all of this.

The hour on the guitars passed quite happily. And I found that I’m beginning to ejoy playing the bass again, especially as I can now sing as I’m playing. A couple of weeks ago I spent some time trying to work out the bass solo in the chorus of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. Today I spent almost all of my little bass guitar session trying to sing in time to it.

It’s not at all easy but eventually I found that I could do it, although I’m going to need a lot more practice at it. The first time that I’ve really been able to do this for about 40 years.

Tea tonight was stuffed pepper. The stuff that I’m using instead of bulghour or quinoa is really different with a much better taste. And as for my apple pie, it was delicious

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my evening walk and runs. By now the weather had changed. we had quite a strong wind,, the fog had gone from the immediate vicinity and it was raining.

With the fog having lifted somewhat, the view down the coast was fairly clear as far as I could see. The lights of the promenade at Donville les Bains were quite visible tonight from the viewpoint along the walls where I stopped for a breather.

Only one or two people wandering about so I managed all of my runs. And things might be looking up a little because instead of breathing in fours, on a few occasions I was breathing in sixes and once or twice in eighths A far cry of course from 25 years ago when I started running again and I was breathing in eighths for miles after only about a fortnight. I won’t ever reproduce that but it’s nice to think that just occasionally I can do it.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was much clearer in the port tonight too. Although there were no boats about and nothing moored up in the unloading bay, it made quite a nice photograph.

There was nothing else going on anywhere so that was the only other photo that I took. After my walk around the walls, I ran on home in the rain to write up my notes and then to have an early night.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson so I have to organise myself and so I also need a nearly start. In the afternoon I’m going to have a go at baking another cake and as I have a recipe for biscuits and everything that I need, I might have a go at that too.

But let’s have this early night first.

Saturday 27th June 2020 – MY APPLE PIE …

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hall… passed a very important test today.

And while you admire the photos of a bunch of baby seagulls – the first one being the seagull chick that we’ve been following – I shall tell you all about it.

But we’ll start off by mentioning the fact that this morning I beat the third alarm, just for a change, and was actually half-dressed when it went off. I could do with a few more like that too.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a downside to waking up completely at the sound of the first alarm though.

After the medication I went to listen to the dictaphone but it didn’t help much. Last night I can’t remember at all anything about what I was doing but it was an enormous mega-ramble that I was on, something to do with the seaside and the moment that I awoke when the alarm went off, it wiped everything out of my head completely.

And how disappointing was that? As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have a far more exciting time when I’m on my travels during the night than ever I do when I’m awake.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst thing to do this morning was to tidy up the place a little – and that included steam-cleaning the kitchen.

That’s the one thing about having people coming round to the apartment visiting – it motivates me to get the place looking as if someone actually lives here.

Following that, I could go and have a good shower and a general clean up. And a weigh-in too. And that weight that I put on at the last weigh-in now seems to gone off again.

Either that or my bathroom scales are about as reliable as the blood testing machine at Castle Anthrax.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallFollowing that I made a flying visit to the shops.

First port of call was NOZ where I spent the grand total of €3:19. Two cartons of coconut milk for drinking, another packet of these breaded soya steaks and I can’t remember what the fourth thing was now. But it can’t have been that important.

LeClerc wasn’t that much better either. If I hadn’t bought a net of juice oranges and another batch of falafel (I was looking in the wrong place last week) the expenditure there would have been the same as well.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the visit to the shops I called in at Happy Cash – the second-hand shop on the edge of town.

That wasn’t a very profitable visit because they didn’t have in stock what I wanted so instead I fought my way back home through the traffic.

A final bit of tidying up and then my visitors arrived – bang on time. One of my colleagues from the radio and his wife were in town and they came round for a chat and a cup of tea.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile they were here I gave them a slice of my apple pie and it definitely met with great approval, which pleased me no end, I have to say.

After they left, I sat down to make a start on the photos from July 2019 but shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair.

Crashed out good and proper too for probably about an hour or so. It was 13:40 when I finally pulled myself together – and that was a waste of a morning yet again.

Surprisingly, when I listened to the dictaphone the following morning, there was a recording on it timed at about 12:30 today. I must have gone off on a voyage while I was asleep.

I was on holiday and in a hotel in one of the rooms looking out of the window over the street. There were people in the street and I was listening to Runrig on the radio. At the end of the concert I went to switch it off with the remote control but it wouldn’t actually switch off. I had to physically walk over to the radio and switch it off. That reminded me that something else had happened about this before and I’d been in the same position. It was getting close to meal time and at meal time I was going to go down with my friend. I’m not sure who my friend was – it might have been Rosemary. Then I realised that half of my party were leaving and they would be boarding a plane later on in the evening. I wanted to go to see them off because someone very well-known to regular readers of this rubbish was going back home with this group of the party and I wanted to say goodbye to her. However we weren’t particularly speaking at that particular moment but even so I couldn’t bear the thought of her going away without me saying goodbye to her. So then I realised that not everyone would be going to the airport – only a few people – those who were leaving would be going. I wondered if I could think of an excuse to go down with them but then I didn’t know any of the others well enough to be able to tag along with them to say goodbye. The thing I wanted most in the world was for her to turn round and wave at me and say goodbye even if she didn’t want to speak to me.

And doesn’t that sound familiar to the regular readers of this rubbish? A certain series of events are still playing on my mind after all this time and it doesn’t look as if I’ll ever shake them off.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallIt had been pouring down with rain during part of the morning and it still looked wet and miserable outside so I had lunch indoors today.

Afterwards I had a good look at the hard drives on this computer. Believe it or not, I’m running out of space already and that’s not very good at all. There is going to have to be some serious shuffling around of stuff to make more room, and I’ve made a start on that already.

But interestingly, I came a cross a directory that had been misfiled probably back in 2007 or something like that and there was a whole raft of photos in there – a couple of thousand in fact, that I knew I had somewhere.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a good couple of years ago I spent a whole week trying to hunt down a particular photo and I could never find it.

Well, after this afternoon’s exertions I now know where it is – and where a whole load of others are too, and I delighted a few friends on my social networking account by posting a couple of them on there too.

After all of that, that was the cue to go for a walk. It was pretty windy outside and cloudy too but at least the rain had stopped.

no waiting filming rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallFor a change, I decided to go for a walk around the walls this afternoon.

But I didn’t go far before I came to a halt again. “No Waiting” signs in the car park at the head of the rue du Nord so I went to look at the statutory notice to see what was going to be happening.

It looks like our little corner of the town is going to become famous because they say that they are going to be making a film here in a week or so’s time. That should be interesting.

swimming plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallA few minutes agi I said that the rain had stopped, but that it was still windy and cloudy.

It wasn’t the weather that I would have chosen to have gone into the water, but these people seem to be having a load of fun splashing about in the sea this afternoon.

And they weren’t alone either. I counted probably about a dozen other people havign a good swim around out there this afternoon. made of hardy stuff, these Normans. But then they are all mostly descended from Vikings so anything is possible.

beach tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that may well be true for some, but not for others.

All the money that the commune has (quite rightly, in my opinion) spent in revitalising the tidal swimming pool and here we are, the last weekend in June already, and there’s only one person looking as if he’s anything like in it.

It’s so quiet down there on the beach that the three lifeguards are having a Union meeting and paying no attention whatever to whatever is going on behind the.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallMissing out on the roofing job in the Place Marechal Foch, I walked on round to the Square Maurice Marland to check on my seagull.

The baby that we have been following doesn’t seem to be very lively, but I spent a good 20 minutes watching the antics of these triplets wandering around on the roof flexing their wings. They seem to be getting ready to take to the air pretty soon.

Interesting though it was, things really started to liven up when mummy flew back to the roof. The three youngsters seemed to know instinctively what was going to happen next as they all swarmed around her squawking.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, mummy duly obliged.

She promptly vomited up a huge pile of half-digested seafood and the three little ones tucked in eagerly and greedily to their afternoon snack.

Mummy then took to the air and flew back down to the shore – presumably to go and find dessert to bring back for them. I must admit that I’m no bird-watcher (well, not THAT kind of bird anyway) but I’m fascinated by these seagulls and how their instincts drive them on to know what to do

gas pipe rue lecarpentier granville manche normandy france eric hallWhere this family of seagulls is situated is not very far at all from the steps in the Rue Lecampion where they have been doing all of the work. That was obviously going to be the next place to visit seeing as I was in the vicinity.

And they seem to be making quite good progress right now and I imagine that it will be finished pretty soon. Most of the trench has been backfilled and the cobbles in the lower part have now been tamped firmly home.

Another week or so and they may well be packed up and gone.

cat on digger rue cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallWell, theoretically speaking, that is.

They won’t be able to move the digger for a while because someone else has taken possession. Sitting there on one of the tracks acting as if he owned the digger, which he probably did by now.

He was quite a friendly little cat and I spent a good five minutes giving him a good stroke. Stroking a cat is very good for the stress, so they say. When Nerina and I were together we had four cats so Heaven alone knows what I would have been like without any at all.

repointed wall place du parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that they have spent the last couple of weeks repointing and cleaning up the wall that they repaired in a hurry last year.

We saw a photo of them working on it during the week, but now they seem to have cleared off. Their van is gone too so that must mean that they have now finished.

And it’s quite a reasonable job that they have made of it too. What I’m hoping for now is that they will show the same zeal and vigour around the rest of the walls that seem to be crumbling away faster than they can repair them.

bottle of champagne discarded place du parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallThere has been a lot of talk in the British media about the litter louts in the UK who have been leaving mounds of rubbish all over all kinds of various tourist areas just recently.

In France too, we have our own problems with litter louts leaving their garbage all over the place. But you have to admit that our litter louts are ina completely different league than the UK.

Where else in the world would you find discarded champagne bottles lying around?

My hour on the guitar was spent playing the acoustic guitar. I need to become accustomed to playing that again although i’m not very happy about it. It’s a cheap thing with three steel and three nylon strings and the action is far too high on it

Tea tonight was, as usual, one of my breaded soya steaks with a potato and vegetables, followed by a slice of pie and the last of the delicious banana sorbet.

With it being damp and windy I waited a while before going out for my run, and just as I had made up my mind to go, Rosemary rang me up. We ended up chatting for a good 90 minutes as usual.

While all of this was going on I was engaged in a dispute with someone at the radio. My programme wasn’t broadcast again tonight so we “had words”.

The guy who acts as the main technician for the radio told me that he has a life and that he is only paid to work on Monday morning and all day Tuesday for the radio so we should think ourselves lucky that he’s there.

For my part, I reminded him that we volunteers also have lives and that we aren’t paid at all for our work – in fact, the money and all of our equipment and travelling expenses comes out of our own pockets so he should think himself lucky that we are here. And I mentioned how disappointed I was to read his comments.

In fact he had spent 25 minutes sending me all kinds of screenshots to prove that the programmes were set up correctly, whereas all he needed to do was to click on the link to the broadcast (5 seconds?) and he could hear for himself that it wasn’t going out.

It makes me shudder to think about the attitudes of some people – it really does.

By the time that I went for my evening run it was almost 23:00 – but I went all the same. There was nothing to photograph, for the rather prosaic reason that I couldn’t see very much.

The itinerant was there though, buried deeply in his hedge. Fast asleep, I imagined.

One thing though – and that was that my run tonight was so much easier. I wonder if it’s anything to do with the digestion process that’s using up too much energy shortly after a meal.

But I’m off to bed. And a lie-in tomorrow. There’s a lot to do so I can’ta fford to hang about.

Wednesday 24th June 2020 – I’VE BEEN …

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hall… out and about on my travels this morning.

So while you admire the photos of the baby seagull, which now seems to be very fit and healthy, I can give you the account of my day.

And just for a change, it got off to a very good start, for I was actually up and out of bed before the third alarm – something that doesn’t happen too often these day. Maybe it was the early night that helped there – if you can call 23:45 an early night.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

Last night there was a group of us working on a new history textbook for schools and this involved rewriting quite a bit of stuff that was already in it including a load of songs and so on. So we noticed that these songs to fit into the new way of things and it was quite difficult for everyone to get into the habit of hearing them in the new way and I remember my brother being particularly surprised at some of the changes made to the songs in order to make the songs fit the times more than anything else
There was something else going on during the night and I’ve forgotten a lot of it but I’d been caught doing something and been punished in some way by having to do something, carry out a few tasks and at the end of that time I was given £30:00 in 2x£15:00 vouchers to spend. Whoever I was with – it might have been Nerina – was really upset about that and demanded to talk to me about it. The guy who was watching me, I held up the two vouchers and waved them about to attract his attention and said that I was going into the building. Nerina came with me and I had to find a quiet room to have a discussion. There were about 6 rooms in this building and there wasn’t really one that was suitable – the walls were flimsy and there were people in adjacent rooms. In the end we found a room where the photocopier was and we were about to go into there. And that was when the alarm went off.

And even though it was Nerina who was with me for part of the evening I do have to say that regardless of any of our issues, I would much rather have her company on my nocturnal rambles than many of the others who have been putting in an appearance just recently.

I’m still not eating breakfast so having done a little work, Caliburn and I headed for the hills – Gavray, in fact.

tacot voie metrique gare de gavray manche normandy france eric hallWhen I arrived in the town I took a wrong turning and I’m glad that I did because I found something that I would otherwise have missed – an old disaffected railway station.

There was a “Light Railway Act” in France similar to that in the UK of 1896, and for a period of about 50 years the whole of France became honeycombed with what they called the tacot or “rattletrap” – a narrow-gauge voie metrique railway network.

It’s the kind of system that was highlighted in the Alec Guinness FATHER BROWN series of films in the 1950s of the books by GK Chesterton

tacot voie metrique gare de gavray manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen plenty of examples of this on our travels, especially in the Auvergne where I used to live and also here in Normandy along the coast.

There was also a voie metrique that went across-country from Granville to Conde-sur-Vire, opened in 1910 and closed in 1936 (and we’ve seen lines closed much quicker than that too). That line passed through Gavray and there would almost certainly have been a railway station here.

That has always been one of the things that I’ve been aiming to do – to track it down – and having taken a wrong turning in Gavray when I was looking for something else, I find myself falling right on it, quite by chance.

kayaker english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the photos of the kayaker and othe rpeople in various water craft out there fishing today, I was busy tracking down the garage that I had come to visit.

Eventually I tracked it down and the guy had a good look at Caliburn. He reckons that it’s perfectly possible to do something with Caliburn. There’s no rot except in one wheel arch – the rest of it is simply rubbing down, rust-proofing, zinc priming and about a ton of underseal.

He’s not going to end up as he did out of the factory 13 years ago, and it’s not cheap either. But with my lifespan that’s left there’s no point in buying a new vehicle just for three or four years.

Caliburn and I may as well go out together.

buoys speedboat fishing english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I headed on back to Granville and I’ll wait for the estimate to arrive. But I’ve decided that i’m going to have it done anyway.

When I reached the outskirts of Granville I took the by-pass and joined the traffic queue heading south towards St Pair sur Mer.

Brico Cash was where I was heading, to see what they had on offer today as I haven’t been there for a while.

And the answer is “not an awful lot”. There wasn’t anything that caught my eye particularly although I picked up some French plugs. A couple of the appliances that I brought from The Auvergne when I was there just now still have British plugs on them.

fishermen zodiac english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallTraffic queues back here as well. I was stuck behind a grockle in a motor home admiring the blasted seagulls instead of advancing in an orderly fashion.

Back here there was still plenty of time before lunch so I had another look at the web pages that I’ve been amending.

That one is now completed and I’ve made a start on the next. I’ve now crossed over the border into Great Satan and I’m on my way to Bar Harbor in Maine.

cranes ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBy now it was lunchtime.

It was beautiful and warm and bright and sunny so I made my sandwiches (home-made bread, home-made hummus and salad) and went and sat outside on the wall again.

Even though the tide was well out and there were no ships or boats in the harbour, there was still quite a bit of activity going on down there today, despite it being the lunch hour.

joly france cranes ferry terminal port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallThere was a mobile crane down there and as I watched, it was joined by another one – the big mobile crane that comes here every so often.

The big crane extended its jib and they were both performing some kind of activity out there. I couldn’t see what it was, so I shall have to go out that way on my Sunday walk to see what has changed.

It can’t be anything too complicated because all the way through the manoeuvre … “PERSONoeuvre” – ed … one of the Joly France boats – the newer one – was moored right there and with the tide being out, it wasn’t moving anywhere else.

Back at the apartment I tackled the last week of my Accountancy course. I’ve finished it, not very successfully I have to say because I can’t remember all that much about what I just learnt.

That’s one of the penalties of old age. Two things happen to you then.
The first is that you forget absolutely everything that you are supposed to remember.
And as for the second thing – well, I’ve forgotten what that was.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break for my afternoon walk.

Today, in the gorgeous hot sunlight I went for a walk around the walls of the medieval town. From there I could look down on the beach at the Plat Gousset and watch all of the crowds enjoying themselves.

It’s Wednesday afternoon and the brats aren’t in school so the beach was busier than normal, and that’s not a surprise. Given half a chance, I’d be down there myself.

crowds tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw the local council clearing out the old tidal swimming pool with a lorry and a digger – clearing out years of accumulated silt.

They’ve done a really good job by the look of it. It’s actually retaining some water and it’s attracted quite a crowd of people, splashing around in there.

And the people in the flourescent jackets – I’m convinced that they are the lifeguards, although how they are expected to swim while wearing those is anyone’s guess.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk went on along the walls and around to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There’s been a roofing job going on on one of the roofs of one of the buildings down there for as long as I can remember, and they still don’t seem to have finished it.

Not long to go by the looks of things, but I recall having said that before. They were doing really well at one point but seem to have gone off the boil just recently.

lorry fork lift truck fishing nets port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I passed through the Place Maurice Marland to check on my seagull chick, and then walked on to the viewpoint over the harbour.

There’s some activity down there right now. A lorry has turned up and there’s a fork-lift truck that looks as if it might be thinking about unloading the lorry. Does this mean that either Thora or Normandy Trader are going to be paying us a visit some time soon?

And we have another group of fishermen over there wrestling with a rather large fishing net

pointing medieval stone wall granville manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the works van that appeared on the city walls near where they did all of that repointing.

The pointing on part of it in the Parvis Notre Dame was pretty poor so i speculated that the work might be something to do with that, and it seems that I was perfectly right. There are two men down there cleaning it all up

You can see how much excess cement that one of the guys has scraped off the wall – it’s all lying on the ground behind the car.

Back here I carried on with the course and, shame as it is to say it, crashed out a couple of times too. This is really getting on my nerves.

But I finished the course in the end and there was time to edit a few more photos. Tomorrow I’m going to start the final part of my music course. I want that out of the way too.

After the guitar I made tea. There was some left-over stuffing so I added some kidney beans and tomato sauce and made taco rolls

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later than usual, iw ent out for my evening run. It was far too warm to go out at the usual time.

All the way up the hill and down to the cliff without stopping, saying hello to the itinerant sheltering under the tree. Out to the sea there was plenty of activity and we have already seen some of the boats. We haven’t seen this yacht though, sailing back from the Ile de chausey into port, towing its dinghy behind it.

It’s making me all broody again and I’m going to have to do something about all of this before too long.

fisherman picnickers pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallJust for a change there was no family group picnicking in the old gun emplacement.

There were however plenty of people down on the viewpoint by the old watchman’s cabin and they were having a good time by the looks of things

Quite a few fishermen too, down there on the rocks casting their lines out into the water. It seems to be becoming quite a regular thing these days.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run continued on along the path on top of the clifftop on the south side of the headland

No kids jumping off the sea wall tonight, but instead we seem to have had some activity down at the chantier navale. One of the fishing boats that has been there for quite some considerable time seems to have gone back into the water.

There were a few other people down there taking photos of themselves in the evening sunshine. All in all, it was quite busy.

crowds on port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just there either.

Way across the port on the sea wall that protects the port de plaisance – the yacht harbour – there were crowds of people milling around tonight. They were certainly making the most of it.

As for me, I cleared off and ran all the way round down the Boulevard Vaufleury and the rest of my vastly elongated route round to the viewpoint in the rue du Nord.

people sitting on rock plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe tide is right in right now so the chances of finding any picnickers on the beach was extremely remote.

However that little shelf that we noticed a few days ago – that seems to be the place to be these days as there are a couple more people making use of it.

And I’m still trying to work out the optical illusion surrounding the guy on the left. It looks thoroughly weird to me.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe people down there were enjoying another magnificent evening.

There were quite a few people up here enjoying it too, and quite rightly so for although it wasn’t as good as last night’s, it was still something special.

having watched it for a while I headed on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow, it’s shopping day. There’s not much that I need but it’s stuff that I can’t do without so I shall have to go.

And then i’ll make a start on the last week of my music course. I want to get that out of the way before the weekend. It’ll give me a chance to do some other work that’s been sitting on the back burner for the last month or so.

High time I got a move on.

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 – EVERYBODY SAY “AHHH”

mother seagull with baby granville manche normandy france eric hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been keeping a close eye on the socks of fleagulls that nest on the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs during the Spring.

And so; while keeping an eye on one particular nest today, I noticed something rather different, so I took a photo of it with the aim of blowing it up when I returned to the apartment

And don’t we have one very proud Mummy Seagull here? At least one and maybe two eggs have hatched and there’s a chick or two sheltering under her wings in the nest on the roof.

Well done, mummy, and congratulations. I shall be following their progress over the next few weeks.

hang glider granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the photos of the hang gliders who have been buzzing around the town today like a bunch of Nazgul, let me tell you about my thoroughly miserable day

Just for a change, I was up before the third alarm this morning. But that was as good as it got. Although I had my medication I didn’t feel like any breakfast and in fact I’ve not eaten anything today except some fruit

Yes, I’ve been thinking over the last few days that I was sickening for something and it looks as if I’ve got it.

hang gliders granville manche normandy france eric hallThat’s one of the reasons why I keep my notes – so that I can track my health as it fluctuates up and down. And it’s particularly important right now, seeing as I’ve now been probably 18 weeks without my essential four-weekly treatment.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in March I predicted a decline in health. But that wasn’t really a prediction. Based on previous experience – it was a foregone conclusion.

So with no breakfast I decided that, at least while I was still compos mentis that I would attack my two courses, the Accountancy and the Music course.

hang gliders donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I ended up completely finishing a week of each course too.

As for the Accountancy course, this week’s work was spent on basic numeracy. And I do mean “basic” – in fact I’ve no idea what they must be teaching in school these days if a course like this has to instruct its followers in the kind of basic numeracy that we had to do

The music course was exciting. And now at the end of the week I can play the blues on the piano with 5/10th scale chords and in theory, 7/10th scale chords. The theory being because I can’t stretch my hands far enough.

It really makes me wonder how we managed to play the piano when we were mere kids, having to stretch like that.

No lunch of course, but I did have something to do that involved the fridge. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door pockets are broken on the fridge. The last surviving on was wedged in somehow, but that fell off when I opened the door.

And so, having nothing better to do, I bit the bullet, sorted out the electric drill and screwed all three shelves in. Whether they hold for any length of time I really wouldn’t know, but it has to be better at the moment.

This led to another problem.

The very top shelf is a very tight fit up against the freezer compartment door and with no shelf having been there for 18 months, the ice inside had grown and pushed the compartment door out. And having replaced the shelf, the fridge door wouldn’t now close.

That meant having to defrost the fridge and pull out about half a ton of ice.

But at least the door closes now and there’s room in the freezer compartment to actually put things now. And that’s progress of some kind.

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile all of this was going on, I went for my afternoon walk.

We’ve been having some really glorious weather just recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but not today.

As you can see, the weather has changed and we are now back in all of the fog and mist that I thought that we’d left behind a few weeks ago

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was still quite warm outside though, and so I suppose that out of the wind it would really have been quite nice.

At least, that’s what all of the people down there must be thinking. And good look to them too – sooner them than me. You wouldn’t stand any chance of me getting into the sea down there at any time today.

Mind you, the way things are, you wouldn’t be getting me into the sea at any time these days, even at 40°C in the air.

roofing place marechal fochgranville manche normandy france eric hallFor part of my afternoon walk I’d had the company of a neighbour, but she had cleared off and I carried on on my own.

At the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I had a look down to see how they were doing with the roof of the building there. And the answer was that although progress seems to have been quite rapid, they appear to have had a technical hitch.

Someone was on the roof there hacksawing away at the galvanised sheeting that they have been using to cover the dormer windows. It looks as if they might have misjudged some measurement or other.

yachts sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving stood and watched them for a while, I moved on around onto the Square Maurice Marland to see what was going on there and to check on my seagull.

It also gave me an opportunity to see what was going on out in the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if the sailing school is now in full swing, with all of the little yachts out there having a lap or two around the marker buoys that they put out there.

It’s probably what they call a “slalom for sailors”, I reckon. And wouldn’t it have been a good idea for me to have enrolled onto a course like that? I must make further enquiries.

wooden steps onto ramp down to fishing boats rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis photograph here has made me laugh, and it shouldn’t really, because it’s very sad.

It’s not the workman carrying the metal pole down the ramp that has caught my eye but something else there. They’ve spent I really don’t know how many millions of Euros completely refitting the port out with new ramps and pontoons, and it’s taken about a fortnight for social shaping by the citizens to take place to amend it.

All that money, and someone has felt obliged to build a set of steps out of a few old pallets.

crowds la rafale open place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAll of the restaurants, bars and cafés have been closed in France since the start of the pandemic, but since Tuesday in the “Green Zone” which is where we are living, they can re-open under certain circumstances.

The Place Cambernon Is usually blocked off for July and August to allow the café La Rafale and the restaurant to spread their tables about, but it seems that they have decided to extend the period of closure from now until the end of September.

And La Rafale is taking full advantage of it – and so are the customers too. That’s good news to see the commerce re-igniting.

more work on medieval walls granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations took me on an extended route today because I’d seen some kind of work going on in the distance.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a major amount of work done on the medieval walls all through last year, and I made some kind of derogatory remarks about some of the work that was done.

It’s nice to see that the local council has been following my journal because the work seems to involve cleaning up the mess that passed for pointing on the stairwell here.

They’ve only been at it for a couple of days and already there’s a vast improvement.

On the subject of vast improvements, I wish that there had been a vast improvement with me.

Back home again I started to write out the notes for the radio project on which I was working. I even finished them too in a most amazing blitz of work.

Next stop was to dictate them – and I even managed that too. However, when I went to edit them I found out that someone driving around here in a motor bike had made such a racket that the microphone had picked it up.

Closing all of the windows I went to dictate it again.

However I didn’t get far, because I crashed out for about 15 minutes or so and woke up feeling like death. Eventually I managed to finish dictating it but as I went to upload it to the computer I went off again.

45 minutes this time, and I missed my session on the guitars. And if I had felt bad before, I was feeling even worse now. It’s a really long time – and I do mean long – since I’ve felt as bad as I did just then.

itinerant visitor pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless I was up, so I was staying up. And i wasn’t intending to miss out on my run, despite no food and no health.

There was the usual struggle up the hill – which isn’t getting any better regardless of whatever circumstances. But at least my problems aren’t as bad as some of other people. There’s been an itinerant person wandering around the Pointe du Roc and he seems to have settled down under the hedge for the night.

It beats me why he’s settled there, because there’s plenty of covered spaces where he could settle if he so choose. But I do have to say, that having slept so often in Caliburn, Strider and various hire cars by the side of the sea over the years, there is something hypnotic about sleeping in the open air with the sound of the sea in my head.

storm jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath I ran on down to the top of the cliff to see what was going on.

Nothing much here right now, but away in the distance Jersey and the Channel islands were taking quite a pasting. That’s something of an incredible storm that’s raging out there right now.

There’s quite a high wind blowing here right now, but luckily it’s not coming in this direction but going off out to sea, so it’s not likely to affect us. However, the winds are quite contrary and who knows what’s in store for us overnight.

old cars 1985 morgan pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw a couple of old cars, one of which was a green Morgan, driving around here.

On the car park by the Coastguard Station this evening was this green Morgan. I’m not sure if it’s the same car but anyway, it’s still interesting so with the owner’s permission I photographed it.

He told me that it is an original Morgan, not a reproduction, but it’s one of the modern series and made in 1985. That’s a shame, because I was hoping that it might have been one of the older ones. It’s still nice though.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the wind, there’s still work to be done.

As I wandered around the headland I noticed a couple of fishing boats heading out across the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if they are heading out towards the Brittany coast to see what they can find to catch over there.

It looks as if the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel has been abandoned by the fishing boats right now. But that may well be because of the school of dolphins that is said to be loitering around up there and which have been seen by one or two people – but not by me.

trawlers yacht chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me down along the top of the cliff and past the top of the chantier navale.

We have another occupant in there today, but I’m not sure whether or not it actually counts. There are the two big fishing boats that have been there for ages, but also a small yacht on blocks next to it.

Whatever it is, it was nice to see it so I took a photo and then carried on with my run all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I had stopped for breath, I walked down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

Chausiais was down there, moored up in the loading position underneath the crane. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen her heading out to the Ile de Chausey the other day, so it’s strange that she’s looking as if she’s loading up ready to go out again so soon.

Nothing else seemed to be happening so I turned round and ran off to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord, pushing on by about 50 metres that particular segment of my run.

There was nothing going on there either. The sun was hidden in swathes of clouds and so there were no picnickers out there this evening. So I ran on home.

Having written my notes I’m off to bed, for an early night for once. I’m off for a day out tomorrow so I need to be on form. I’ll try some breakfast tomorrow morning and see if I can keep it down, and I have to go shopping too on my way out as supplies are getting low – not that it particularly matters right now.

Thursday 2nd April 2020 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… a very friendly, very interesting and very lengthy conversation with a very nice young girl. She stopped me for a chat while I was out for my evening runs tonight.

We were there for about 10 minutes or so chatting away about all kinds of things.

And do you know what?

I don’t have the first clue who she is.

Something else that I don’t have the first clue about is why I bothered to waste my time by going for an early night. Just for a change, I beat the third alarm out of bed and after the medication I had a look at the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

I’d started out by doing my best to obey the quarantine but I had to keep on nipping out of my apartment to the room in the attic for something or other. That meant going out into the street and in my the next door and up the stairs. This happened not once, not twice but three or four times and I was sure that someone would cotton on to what was happening. Sure enough, one time I did it, I heard another door bang in the room and heard someone going up the inside stairs, so I stood behind the door and waited. When whoever it was came in, I shouted “BOOH!”and scared them. It was a girl with whom I once worked and she’s someone I haven’t thought about for years. I had a laugh and a joke with her about the situation but I bet that she was being very curious about who was where, for reasons that I suspected were not entirely altruistic. The I was talking to someone else about this and they said “whatever happens, it’s not going to be right for ages and ages yet before the world is back to normal. All kinds of things have been cut off and we can basically forget all about”.
Later on, someone at work was selected for some kind of medical test so he started to prepare himself, saying “yes, I’ll call you when I get there and let you know how things are going on”. My boss recoiled in horror “no, no. Just give us a ring – it will be fine”. he was obviously extremely suspicious about this and I had the feeling that he would have been quite happy if this employee had picked up some kind of infection from one of these medical trials
Moi, je lui proposé que lui, il lui garde et envoyer un audio de son voyage et de contacter avec quelque chose d’intéressant mais il l’a réussi. Le patron lui a accordé raise parce que … Now why am I dictating this in French? I know that I sometimes dream in French (and in Flemish too before now) but this is the first ever time that I’ve dictated my notes in French … so they decided that the risks just weren’t worth the experience of broadcasting like that.
The next voyage was similar to the one just now about the being summoned and going for a walk and sending an audio report and that was rejected too as the story was pretty much the same
Later on we were discussing trains, HS2 and all of this and I’m still convinced that it’s just a white elephant and it’s not going to do anything particular. We had the usual arguments so I wrote a song about travelling from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to Brussels on the TGV. It came to the attention of Alquin and they weren’t sure – should I join Alquin or would they create a band for me and find me a couple of musicians or something like that. In the meantime I’d been collecting some stuff – I’m not quite sure what it was. Quarantine had ended and everyone was out on the streets. There was a big cinema complex and I was walking through it with stuff in my hat. And the thing that I remember was a really really familiar voice said “just leave it up here against the wall, Eric”. I looked round and it was a guitarist who I knew. I can’t think whether it was that Mike Averill or Sherman Downey – someone like that. He said it quite clearly in his voice that I could hear it in my sleep “just leave it here, Eric” and it was the surprise of the realism of the voice and how I heard it that awoke me
I was in a office last night working and the place was in a total tip as you might expect. There was a girl sitting next to me at my desk. She was going through all my papers and there was a load of stuff I didn’t want her to see because it was quite personal. I asked her what she was doing and she replied that she was looking for a file or a letter. I asked which one and she told me that it was in connection with an accident that I had had with a Woolworths van or lorry 18 months ago. She was going some kind of survey on it. She said “I thought that would be in the International file”. I said “no, for if it involved two people of the same nation it would be in the national, not the international one” so I had to go and fetch the file. There were papers everywhere in a big bundle and I thought that i would come back to sort these out. Then I got to thinking that I’m not going to be able to cope with all of this. I’ve probably had enough. I decided more-or-less on the spot that I was going to retire. It was only 2 days to the end of the month so I thought that at the end of the month I would retire and that would be that.

So after all of that, it’s pretty pointless going to bed early, isn’t it?

But as an aside, looking at where I’ve been during the last couple of nights, anyone would think that I had something of a preoccupation with this virus that’s going round. But that’s not the case at all.

It’s true to say that I’m being more careful than I otherwise would be, but I’m not taking this situation as intently or as keenly as some others, that’s for sure. Being engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the illness that I have, this virus thing is just another complication to add to an already-complicated tangle of affairs.

After breakfast I had a go at a couple of albums – tracking down the digital sound files and sorting them out.

And then, after a shower (the first for a few days) I headed out to town.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn my way out of the medieval walled city I stopped to have a look over the wall to see what was going on, as I had heard the crane in operation.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader here in port the other day. And here she is, unloading another pile of what looks like shellfish and taking on board a load of timber as a return load to the Channel islands.

It was another quick turn-round too. When I went out in the evening, she was long-gone. She clearly doesn’t want to hang around with these current health issues going on.

repointing stonework rampe du monte a regret granville manche normandy france eric hallMy route into town took me down the Rampe du Monte A Regret

Over the past few months I’ve been seeing workmen there ripping out the vegetation that’s been growing in the cracks between the stones, but today I noticed that they’ve been repointing the joints.

This will look quite nice when it’s all done, but I wish that they would spend more of their time dealing with the bits of wall that are actually falling down.

We’ve seen plenty of those just recently.

As I was going past the laboratory, I called in to see where they had got to with my blood test results. They’d completed the examinations and had posted the results, but of course the post is somewhat sporadic these days.

They gave me a copy so I could review it at my leisure. My blood count is at 9.3, which is quite a surprise to most people because when I last had treatment – two months ago, it was 8.8.

We’ve seen in the past that the results from the hospital and the results from the laboratory differ considerably, and nothing seems to have changed right now. I know that the blood count can fluctuate, but surely not by this much.

There weren’t too many people in LIDL this morning so we didn’t have to queue outside. They didn’t seem to be short of very much at all (except pizza bases – I wonder why there’s a run on those right now) so I did what I needed, as well as buying a metre rule with spirit level and a few other accessories. A baguette too, seeing as my favourite boulanger is still closed.

Back here there was time to deal witha couple more albums before lunch, and also 20 or so photos from July 2019. Dynjandi and the Arnarfjördu were the places for which I was trying to remember the names yesterday.

After lunch I finished off the notes for the two radio projects on which i’m working, dictated them, and started on the editing.

To my chagrin I could have made much more progress than I did, but

  1. I was in discussion for some of the time with Laurent about our Grande Marée Virtuelle – I have some lines to learn
  2. I … errr … went off with the fairies for a good half-hour. And a proper one too – hardly surprising after my last couple of nights but disappointing all the same.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and then I stopped for tea. A slice of that tofu and lentil pie from February with jacket potates, veg and gravy.

While it was cooking in the oven, I sorted out all of the carrots that I had bought on Saturday, washed scrubbed, diced and then blanched them

By this time my tea was ready. And it was followed by a slice of apple pie with vegan ice cream and chocolate sauce. Thoroughly delicious.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallOut on my walk this evening, I missed the sunset.

The sky was a beautiful red though, so I suppose that it’s better than nothing. And while I was admiring it was when I was accosted by the aforementioned young lady.

Bad news when I had my shower this morning. I seemed to have gained 800 grams since the weekend and that’s no good at all. As a consequence I put in no fewer than four runs tonight. I have to get things under control

Another thing that I need to do is to have a good sleep. It won’t be as long as last night’s, unfortunately, but it will still do me good.

But I wonder where I’ll finish up tonight?