Tag Archives: police interaction

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Saturday 12th February 2022 – HAVING BEEN DEPRIVED …

… of really good company for quite some considerable time, Alison and I had hatched a cunning plan last time I was here. Subsequently we had been in touch with Jackie in Köln and suggested that we meet up for a day and exchange our news. After all, it’s been two years since we last met.

And so, seeing as Aachen is halfway in between the two of us, we set off this morning by car.

Not that I was feeling too much like it because it had been another rotten night.

As I mentioned yesterday I was in bed early and although the party that started at about 00:30 wasn’t anything at all like last night but what did happen was that I had another series of regular voyages that overwhelmed the dictaphone.

We started off in World War I last night. There was something about this arty (do I mean “artillery”?) regiment that I’d encountered that had turned up at Ieper somewhere where there had been some crucial fighting in November 1914 where the Germans had been pushing either side of the British and a British salient had been created. This was one of the crucial moments of the war and of course the area was totally devastated. I was talking to a soldier from this unit. He was saying that they had only been in this particular area for a weekend or so. It wasn’t actually in the thick of the fighting but it was pretty close to it. We were talking about the area and the history because with it being in the cockpit of Europe it was a pretty vital place. Battles had been fought here for years and all kinds of stuff had been uncovered in the past but the war had come and obliterated everything. He said to me that it was all very interesting to me of course. We talked about some of the bodies that had been found here and one in particular that had belonged to a regiment that had had 100% casualties during a charge. A couple of other regiments that had gone to relieve them had also had 100% casualties. One body that had been found subsequently must have been something of a hero to have gone like that. This conversation went on for quite some time.

Later on we were going somewhere last night walking by a canal looking at an old ruined cottage there and some kind of crane with a platform dangling from the grab. This cottage had been burnt to the ground practically. It turned out that it belonged to someone and they had discovered several structural defects in it. They had been trying to repair it but the thng had caught fire and gone up. The crane and platform were there for when they needed to make a bridge to take machinery over there and demolish it. This was in the parish magazine that some woman not my mother had had and as she had a mailbox I couldn’t understand why she had had it every time. There were several other magazines, including one about cars and a foreign boy who lived there sad that he had put it for me. There were a couple of conjunctions so he said that he had written some notes for me. I chucked that away but this parish magazine was very interesting and so was another article about some kind of meeting that everyone had had, some exhibition or something. It seemed to me that for the environmental group that we were running we could have made a really good magazine out of all of this. We could have had some names and e-mails from the people who attended this meeting, made a really good newsletter and hoped to push on and do something like that every month or so.. This was my one big opportunity and it had gone

Meanwhile, up in my room I was sharing a room with Zero. She wasn’t there but the room was in a real mess. She had shoes all over the place so the first thing that I wanted to do was to tidy up her shoes so I said to whoever it was I was with – a woman – that I would have to find one of these plastic boxes to put all her shoes in. She produced one immediately but I came up with some excuse why we couldn’t use that because I wasn’t really ready to do it just then. Yes, imagine this? Me sharing a room with Zero and she isn’t in it!

There was something else about this woman too. Her mother was going into an old people’s home and was looking at one in Union Street. pointed out that the one in Shavington by the Vine pub was being expanded and having new rooms so maybe she could get her in there. I thought that Shavington would be a much nicer place because it was a smaller village, you can’t go far, you can’t get lost, everything that you need is there, shops and everything and with it being quiet there was less risk of being knocked down than an old people’s home in a rundown area on the edge of Crewe Town Centre. Whoever it was put my comments down to some kind of loyalty about Shavington than any kind of practical consideration which was a shame because I really did think that it was so much better.

I was also at Liverpool football ground last night. They were discussing the remodelling of the stadium and all the crowd had to fit into a room that was the size of a normal living room. They were discussing ways to make it more safe and fit more people in. I thought that if they were only going to be havng 50 people at the most then they are wasting their time, aren’ they? This discussion went on for hours about whether they should put this extra level in. I was saying that they could knock a hole through where the kitchen is and have a bar, stuff like that. It was really getting out of hand. And then the subject drifted round to players. There were some people from Crewe there. It seems that they were interested in taking on trial a player from Crewe and they were trying to work out which one it was. In the end they had to aska girl who worked at Crewe – they had to ask her her name and check her writing. In the end they came up with a name. They thought that it woukd be “somebody Thomas” and that immediately meant about three or four different players. In the end end they had an idea whom it might be and asked me to go and fetch him. I said “OK but tell me who it isn’t” so they said it was “something Thomas”, a double-barrelled surname to go and not fetch him. Then the conversation continued about players from Egypt and the Ukraine. Someone took the paper from me and gave me another paper and it was for a guy called Olivier Ochoi and that was now the player that I had to fetch to bring up here. I asked them “are you sure this time?” and the general consensus seemed to be “yes”.

On the subject of football it was also the Welsh Premier League Final between Newtown and Aberystwyth and was taking place somewhere I can’t remember. I was up early at 06:30 and drove all the way out to where it was. The were busy setting out the hall there for spectators to come along and watch the game. It was a big hall shaped like a figure 8 bit wuth 2 squares and a joining piece. In one of these was a TV and someone was busy arranging a TV in front of it so that he and his friends could watch it. I explained that last time there was a play-off final, in the other room they had a big 225″ TV and arranged all the chairs in semi-circles around to watch so I didn’t think that what he was doing was going to work. Having checked out the place I had then to go back home for all my stuff and the radio stuff because I was going to do some radio interviewing for the game. I went outside, it was still dark and the whole car was starting to freeze up. I had some trouble trying to remember what key it was because it wasn’t the usual car. I eventually managed to open the door and I got in. Some young boy opened the window at the back – it was a rear-engined car – and asked me if I needed any help for this, any help for that. I replied “no” so he asked what I was going to do about this, what was I going to do about that and kept asking so persistently. In the end I got out of the car, picked up his bike and threw it over the fence into a field. He had a run off after it but then he came back and tried to get nto the car and tried to steal something out of the car. I had to get out and go to deal with that

Anyway I stepped back into this dream about this football match. I was in this car and we had all arranged to meet at a service station on the A55. That was where everyone met up but no-one still knew where it was going on. I was sitting down there trying to pass the time waiting for a decision to be made. I ended up talking to someone. We had a really good chat and I was sorting through a few boxes of stuff that they had. When I looked at my watch it was 14:20. I looked around and everyone else had gone. I scrambled over to try to find someone now. I went to the reception desk to ask if they knew where everyone had gone. They said that is was something like “Fingland” but of course that meant absolutely nothing to me. There was only 40 minutes to kick-off and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go. I thought “how on earth am I going to find out now where I’m supposed to be heading now that everyone else has gone and cleared off.

Anyway when the alarm went off I was out of bed fairly quickly and by the time that Alison arrived I was actually ready.

It was freezing outside as we set off, and we had a really good chat all the way to Aachen.

Jackie arrived at the station just as we did. We parked the car and then headed off into the centre.

barbarella cafe aachen germany Eric Hall photo February 2022Our day turned into trip to various coffee houses, restaurants and shops.

Alison knew a good café around the corner from where we had parked the car and so we headed that way. The coffee was really nice there and the cakes that the girls tried were delicious too. There may have been vegan cakes I suppose, but I didn’t ask. Having had toast for breakfast I wasn’t hungry.

It was in an area of the city that I don’t really know so when we left, I was surprised to find that we were only just around the corner from the Rathaus, and isn’t the German name for a Town Hall really appropriate?.

The main shopping centre is on the other side of the city so we headed off that way.

roman remains aachen germany Eric Hall photo February 2022The site is known to have been inhabited for almost 5000 years but perhaps its best-know period was that under the Romans from the beginning of the First Century until its evacuation, which appears to have taken place round about 383AD. No Roman coin has been discovered here later than that date.

There are plenty of Roman remains here in the city, especially those here in the Elisengarten.
We made quite a tour of the shops and the two girls found a load of interesting stuff to take home with them.

And as well as that, I wasn’t left out of the shopping either. I found some of that really nice vegan cheese that I used to buy in Montlucon, and the two girls bought me a pile of that lovely vegan chocolate for my birthday.

spa elisenbrunnen pavilion cathedral st folian church aachen germany Eric Hall photo February 2022From the shopping precinct we can see across the road to the Elisenbrunnen Pavilion.

The Roman name of the town was Aquae Grannae – the waters of Grannus – and the most popular source from where the water can be obtained is from over there. However there’s a big notice by the outlet that says “not for drinking”. I should really have brought something in which I could have taken some water away.

Although it’s often said that the pavilion was built in the 1820s, it was in fact destroyed by bombing during World War II and this replica was built in the early 1950s.

Lunch was nice too, at one of these franchised bio restaurants down at the side of the spa. My salad was delicious. And then we went back to the shops.

As darkness fell we went for another coffee and then dropped Jackie off at the railway station for her train back home. At the station we fell foul of a German police patrol. “That’s why I moved from Germany” said Alison, and I could see her point. It was all extremely unnecessary and I admired her for her calm.

When she dropped me off at home I wandered round to the fritkot but they were overflowing with customers and weren’t taking any more orders before they closed. It was lucky that I had some pasta left.

There’s an 05:00 start in the morning ready for my trip home so right now I’m off to bed. Not that I’m expecting a better night that I’ve had just recently but we have to make an effort and if necessary I can sleep on the train.

Saturday 13th November 2021 – I STOOD AND WATCHED …

… this morning as some woman killed herself right in front of my eyes.

She was sitting on a ledge just below the top of the cliff and as I walked towards her, when I was about 20 or so metres away she pushed herself off with both hands and fell into the void.

At first I couldn’t believe what I saw. It took a minute to sink in and then I went to see if maybe there was a path that I hadn’t previously noticed.

There wasn’t anything that I could see and so I waited for a few minutes to see if maybe she would emerge from the bottom and walk across the sand. But when she didn’t I telephoned for help

Eurocopter EC 145 F-ZBQA helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The Fire Brigade turned up first, followed by an ambulance and then the police.

And finally the air-sea rescue helicopter turned up.

While the people From the Fire Brigade were interviewing me, the helicopter flew up and down along the base of the cliff a short way.

When he reached a spot roughly more or less underneath where I was standing, he hovered for a minute or two and then pulled away.

Eurocopter EC 145 F-ZBQA helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021he came in to land on the lawn, embarked a couple of ambulance personnel and took off again.

They landed at the bottom underneath the cliff and the ambulance personnel unfolded a portable stretcher.

That, unfortunately, was that. The police by now had taken my details and at this point they told me that I could go. I wasn’t needed any longer and I’d hear from them in due course.

As you can imagine, my day has been somewhat shaken up by all of this and I’ve not done the half of what I was hoping to do.

It started off fine too. I was awake a little before the alarm went off although it wasn’t quite that easy for me to leave my bed.

After the medication I had a little relax reviewing the photos from yesterday and then I set off for the shops in town for whatever I might need to keep me going until I leave for Leuven.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It was actually quite grey and overcast this morning and I was wondering whether I ought to have brought my rain jacket with me.

Away in the distance there were little hints of blue sky despite the heavy cloud everywhere else. The Ile de Chausey was looking quite nice silhouetted against this strange-coloured sky.

There wasn’t any point in going over to look down onto the beach because at this time of the morning there won’t be anyone down there taking in the rays. It’s a little on the wintry side right now.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further on, I did happen to look down onto the beach.

There were a couple of fishermen standing down there on the rocks having a go with their rods and lines and looking as if they meant business.

As you might expect, I didn’t hang around to watch them. I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs towards the lighthouse. And halfway along the path I had my Appointment with Destiny.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was waiting for the rescue services to put in an appearance, the sun came out quite dramatically through a gap in the clouds and illuminated the whole scene.

In a matter of a bink of an eye the Ile de Chausey was transformed from a grey and green silhouette into a mass of white and light grey houses.

When the rescue services had finished with me I carried on along the path towards the end of the headland and then down the path at the bottom towards the town centre.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The wind wasn’t anything like as strong as it has been in the past and the sea wasn’t as rough as it might have been.

It wasn’t therefore a day for expecting anything spectacular down on the harbour wall but every seventh wave is usually a good one and one of them produced something a little more exciting.

No change in the situation at the chantier naval today of course so I carried on along the Rue du Port listening to the sound of the helicopter on the other side of the headland busily winching up its cargo.

gates to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The harbour gates were closed, as I noticed while I was walking down the street. That meant that the path on the top of the gates would be accessible and I could cross over there to the other side.

It’s been a while since I’ve been this way so I could have a good look at the gates and see what they have to tell me.

You can see from the lines of green mould where the water reaches at high tide. The various lines here and there on the gates and on the surrounding wall will give you a clue as to how variable the level of the water can be.

At the moment the water is at a depth of 1.5 metres but there are some lines well above the highest indicator on the gauge, which is 9.0 metres.

notice about portable boat lift port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And if you want to know about the situation with the portable boat lift in the chantier naval then look no further.

According to the notice on the door of the port office, the boat lift will be out of service for an overhaul for a period from 27th October to 13th December. That depends on the weather, the availability of spare parts and other factors.

At Carrefour in the town I bought a few things, forgot a few others and headed back for home with my shopping.

Halfway up the hill I stopped, not because I needed a breather but because I’d treated myself to a cold drink and wanted to drink it before it warmed up or I reached home.

Back here I made some toast and coffee for a rather late breakfast (hardly surprising with all of this going on) and then had a go at updating yesterday’s journal entry. My heart wasn’t in it though and it took me all of the rest of the day to do what would normally take an hour or so.

And it wasn’t until just now as I’m typing this out that I realised that I haven’t transcribed the dictaphone notes for today. But here they are, added in some time later.

last night I was going to take three tyres to put them in one of my lock-ups. My brother came with me and some other guy. We put them on a wheelbarrow and pushed them. While we were at the place where we picked up these wheels which was something to do with me, there were a couple of machines. One was a car engine and we weren’t sure whet the other was underneath a bench. As usual there was that much rubbish but we couldn’t get them out to look at them so I arranged a working party of several friends and we were going to try to tidy it up, get everything out and see what I had. We pushed these wheels on this wheelbarrow to my garage but it was all overgrown with brambles and everything. There was a Hillman Minx, one of the last models from the late 70s parked outside with a broken windscreen. We undid the door and went in. Everyone was astonished to see the cars and rubbish in there. There was a white Bentley. A tree had fallen over in there and had only just missed this Bentley but all the smaller branches and creepers off this tree were all over it. You could hardly see it. We had a good look rouns as best as we could. Because we were in Virlet at that time I asked them if they would like to see my house to which they said yes. We set off over a footpath where we could see a row of terraced houses on the skyline. My house was actually behind this row of terraced houses but we didn’t get there before I awoke.

And that was one of the worst hot, sweaty nights to date.

There was of course an interruption for lunch, and later still I had a ‘phone call. “Could you come down to the Police Station and make a statement about this morning’s events?”

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021By now, the sky was producing some really dramatic colours, much more interesting than even this morning’s.

The harbour gates were now open too and so all of the yachts in Christendom were out there in the bay.

And just look at the magnificent array of colours out there, on the boats, the sails and the sky. It’ll be a long time before we see anything quite as dramatic as this kind of scenery.

And you can see where the phrase “a leaden sky” comes from when you see this one.

boats being delivered to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the hill I could see that a lorry pulling a trailer had now pulled onto the quayside.

There were a couple of shrink-wrapped boats on board so it looks as if some time very soon there is goign to be one of the Jersey freighters coming into port to take them away.

At the police station I had to wait for about 10 minutes until I was seen and then we began the long process of taking down my statement. Of course this will be a judicial matter and so it has to be precise.

Then of course, I had to check it and sign it because it will be required as evidence.

There’s quite a bit that I can’t mention because it’s all sub judice but I was told that any hearing will simply be a formality.

Leaving the police station I went back to Carrefour to buy what I had forgotten in the excitement this morning, and then began the long climb back up the hill to home.

light on pointe de carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Near the top of the hill I came to a dead stop. Not because of wanting to catch my breath but because I’d noticed something strange.

By now the sky was really going dark but there was a strange light somewhere on the Pointe de Carolles, just below the Cabanon Vauban.

At first I thought that it was the final rays of the sun reflecting off a glass bottle or something like that but in fact when I enlarged the image the light isn’t actually on the Pointe de Carolles but just above it in the sky.

It won’t be a star or a planet so it’s probably the searchlight off a helicopter that’s hovering around above there for some reason or other. There’s a vague outline of some kind of machine

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Finally, before I went in, I went to have a look at the beach.

There wasn’t very much beach, with the tide being well out, and there wasn’t anyone down there that I could see. And that’s no surprise because it was a lot darker than it looks in this image.

Back here I made a coffee and spent a while thanking people who had sent me messages of condolence about the morning’s events. Rosemary rang up too to say a few kind words and a couple of people had some very nice chats with me on an internet chat service.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’ have many friends, but those I do have are the very best in the world.

Quality, not quantity.

Tea was potatoes and veg and a couple of those small breaded soya burgers that I like. And now that i’ve finished my journal entry, I’m going to vegetate before going to bed.

I’ve no idea how I’m going to sleep tonight after all of this but I’ll worry about that in due course.

Monday 9th August 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

trawler charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… yet more excitement in the chantier naval today.

When I walked past there this afternoon I discovered that the yacht Rebelle has once more gone back into the water today. But for how long, who knows? We might be seeing it back again quite soon if past history is anything to go by.

Also missing today is the trawler Monaco du Nord II. Her repaint and renovation job seems to be finished.

All that remains today is the trawler Charlevy and the two others whose names I have yet to discover.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, over at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats – the older one without the step in the stern and with the windows in landscape format.

It may well be that she’ll be going out to the Ile de Chausey when the tide comes back in, even if the tide doesn’t come back in until later this evening, unless she’s there in preparation for an early start tomorrow.

Despite the weather not being exactly summer-like, there are still holidaymakers who need to be ferried out to the island and back. And it’s really sad that the weather isn’t what they would have been wanting after all of the events of the last 18 months.

And the sleep that I had last night wasn’t quite what I was wanting. Despite my early night and feeling as tired as I was, I couldn’t get off to sleep for ages and when I finally did, it was one of those sleeps that was rather intermittent.

And one thing that I noticed that I had to leave my bed in the middle of the night, something that I’ve now done for a few times just recently after going without for a couple of years.

There’s a pile of stuff on the dictaphone too. It was 21st birthday party of one of my niece’s daughters and a late 16th birthday party for another. They had waited until Covid was over and were having this celebration. There were some kids next door who were having a party and the parties somehow intermingled. At some point there was a fire and the fire brigade were called. The police came and arrested me and took me off. Some woman policewoman started to question me about the party – what was I doing allowing this and that to happen? I replied “hang on – what’s this got to do with me? I’ve only just turned up from Europe. I have no idea of what was happening at this do. I wasn’t in charge of it or anything like that. Why isn’t my sister here? Why isn’t her husband here? If anyone was in charge of it, they were more than anyone else because they live there and they were their kids”. After this went on for a couple of minutes I said “I’ll tell you exactly whose party it was. It was my niece’s daughter’s party. She’s 21, she’s an adult. Why isn’t she here?”. The policewoman looked at me, thought for a minute and said “get out of here”.

I was having camera issues and things weren’t going very well. Suddenly a box turned up and I opened it. It was 3 cameras, one of which I’d ordered but the other 2 were 2 that I’d looked at and decided that I didn’t want. It seemed that Amazon had sent me the 3. Liz then asked “is that the one that I got you?”. It turned out that Liz had bought me one as well and someone else had bought me one. I thought “that’s really nice of my friends, isn’t it?”. They were all going out and I was having to stay behind. They were getting ready to go but there were all kinds of things – it was like being in an office. Instead of closing at 17:00 it was open until all times of hours. There were people coming and going, all that kind of thing. A friend of mine (and I’ve no idea who she was) with 2 daughters, she’d gone of to take her kids to ballet class but she didn’t have time to come back. She came back with the older daughter who was about 8. We’d had a chat and a hug. We were just about to go off and get the other car when the other girl appeared from her ballet class and asked “where are the others going?”. I replied “they are going away home and leaving you behind”. “No they aren’t” she retorted “No” I said “they are going to get the car and bring it round here so you can go”.

There was more than this too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

What had occupied my time this morning was the radio programme that needed to be prepared. Yesterday I’d paired the music so I had to do the rest this morning.

And much to my surprise it was all done and dusted by 11:20, which is a new record, and I could even have finished earlier than that had I not forgotten to deduct the 35 seconds of speech from the time left over at the end of the programme.

As a result the final track was 35 seconds too long and I had to spend some time editing out a pile of speech to make the final track fit.

There was the usual break for breakfast, and my fruit loaf, the one that I made yesterday, is delicious.

When the radio programme was finished and while I was listening to it to make sure that it’s OK, I wrote up the notes from yesterday and posted them on line

After lunch I sat down to work on the journal entry from 31st JULY from when I went out socialising, and the excitement that I had on the way home. Unfortunately I … err … closed my eyes for a while, even though I had a full mug of hot coffee by my side.

Cold coffee doesn’t really taste the same.

Coming round from my reverie took longer than usual and it led to rather a late afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown to the wall at the end of the car park to look at what was happening down on the beach.

And today, not only were there people sunbathing, there were a few actually in the water enjoying themselves, although I can’t see how anyone could possibly be enjoying themselves in any kind of water at a temperature less than 37°C.

Mind you, today there was hardly a breath of wind and it was fairly warm. I’d even gone out without a jacket or pullover, for the first time since I can’t remember when.

man fishing place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that we haven’t seen for quite a while has been any fishermen.

Today, there was one of them standing on the rocks down at the end of the beach at the Place d’Armes. Of course, as you might expect, he never actually caught anything while I was watching, but then that’s par for the course.

And for a change, there wasn’t anyone in a boat fishing just offshore. Usually you don’t have the one without the other but we haven’t seen any seaborne fishermen with rod and line for quite a while.

fishing boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, there is plenty of evidence of seaborne commercial fisherman.

My roving eye out at sea had picked up some kind of activity going on round by where we spent the night in the Spirit of Conrad last year. It looks as if it’s one of the inshore shell-fishing boats.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are some shellfish beds out there and I suppose that the boat is engaged in harvesting the fruits of the sea.

There are some bouchot beds out there too and I suppose that the quality of the harvest from there would be beautiful seeing as there’s almost no human interaction over there.

condor voyager boat english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was something else going on even further out behind the Ile de Chausey in the English Channel, something that looked rather like a large boat.

Although I couldn’t see it clearly, I took a photo of it with the aim of blowing it up (the image, not the object) and enhancing it to see if I can find a clue as to her identity.

Having done that and enhanced the image sufficiently, I noticed that her silhouette resembles one of the Condor high-speed ferries that works the round trip between Poole, the Channel Islands and St Malo.

This photo was taken at 16:33 (remember, the camera is set to standard, not Summer time) and I noticed from the radar that at 16:53 the high-speed ferry Condor Voyager pulled into the harbour at St Malo

yacht fishing boat rainstorm brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the fast few days we’ve seen storm and rain clouds gathering across the bay along the Brittany coast.

Today, there’s yet another rainstorm descending onto the sea just offshore over there. There ware a couple of boats, one a yacht and the other one that looks as if it might be a small fishing boat, that look as if they are about to be engulfed.

There are several small beaches over there that are quite popular with holidaymakers and they must be having something of a torrid time with the weather over the last few days.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the path on top of the cliffs to the viewpoint overlooking the port where I could look down onto the chantier naval and the ferry terminal.

Earlier on in this journal I posted a photo of Joly France settled down in the silt over by the ferry terminal, and here in front of here is Chausiaise, the freight barge who has moved from her mooring in the inner harbour where we saw her yesterday.

That would seem to indicate that she too is either about to go or has just been out on a run with freight over to the Ile de Chausey. The service is still continuing despite the depressing summer so far.

boat building material port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday, we saw a shrink-wrapped boat on the quayside waiting for transport out to the Channel Islands.

The boat has now been joined by a pile of building material so we can assume that there will be a freighter coming into the harbour imminently.

And if we look to the side, we’ll see that Marité has gone off for a sail today. We’ve not seen her out there at sea but I can tell you that she left port this morning at 08:06 and apparently she came back on the evening tide.

police interviewing motorcyclist car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat isn’t everything either.

There’s an issue, just as there is everywhere, of kids on motorbikes running around with little respect to the rule of law (and just in case anyone wonders, I was a young tearaway on a motorbike too in my youth) but here in the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury, a couple of the local police force are giving one of the motorcyclists the third degree.

They are checking his papers, under the scrutiny of that woman over there who seems to be expressing a keen interest in whatever is going on.

apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack at the apartment I finished off the outstanding journal entry and then went off to prepare a dessert for this week.

The choice fell on an apple crumble, and this is one of the best that I have ever made. You can see that I’ve already taken a helping out of it. That went down really well after my vegan pie and vegetables for tea.

But now that everything is done, i’m off to bed. Another early night and I hope that I have a better one that I did last night. I’ve been feeling a little better today and I hope that it keeps up. Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson and I need to be on form.

Sunday 1st August 2021 – THERE ARE LOTS …

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … of photos today for you to admire.

After all, today is one of the most important days, apart from Carnaval, in the whole of Granville’s annual calendar.

Every last Sunday of the month of July (and yes, I do realise that it’s the 1st of August and I wonder why the organisers haven’t) it’s Granville’s annual Pardon.

“And what is a Pardon?” you may well ask, as I’m sure that you are doing even as I speak.

musicians and singer 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while a singer and some kind of orchestra entertain you with religious songs, let me explain.

The presence of an altar and someone in religious dress should give you a big clue. It’s a religious ceremony that is predominantly Breton in origin – in fact when I was in Brittany in 1978 I stumbled across several.

The significance of the date is that it was Sunday 31st July 1944 that Granville was finally liberated from Occupation and so they decided to have some kind of event to celebrate. This year is the 72nd Pardon.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut the religious singing from the woman and her orchestra was far too much for some people.

With a hoot on her siren to warn anyone who might be coming into the harbour, the older Joly France boat, the one with the rectangular windows in landscape format, reversed from her berth at the ferry terminal.

She had quite a full load of people on board who had also quite clearly had enough of the religious singing too, and they all set out for a cruise off to the Ile de Chausey. And by the looks of things there is plenty of luggage because Chausiaise has moved from her berth while I was watching what was going on.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was sitting on my wall overlooking the harbour, a couple of neighbours fell in with me.

One of them is dog-sitting his sister’s corgi while she is away and he was taking it for a walk. The other one was my friend from the third floor and we sat together and watched events unfold down below.

She has an Apple phone and she’d been trying to download the Government’s AntiCovid application onto it, without much success. And so I had a try and I didn’t have too much luck either with it. I couldn’t even find the App in the Apple Store.

In the end I gave it up as a bad job and concentrated on the activities down below.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat’s involved is that there’s a procession from somewhere in the town – from where I do not know – and people are either in it or follow on behind as befits their case.

All of the various trades and professions, like guilds I suppose, have their own flags and banners and they march in their respective order through the town until they reach the car park of the Fish Processing Plant where the ceremony takes place, along with representatives of the various churches and religious orders.

And I’m not sure if that’s a good place to hold the ceremony though. I don’t think that the odour would contribute much to the ambience of the festival, although a really good priest would just have to bring 5 loaves here if the congregation were to develop an appetite.

microlight aircraft ulm 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGiven the amount of times that I’ve been overflown by an aircraft of some description just recently, it goes without saying that I’m overflown again today while I’m sitting on the cliff edge.

it’s our old friend the red microlight powered hang-glider thing or whatever it is, come to have a close look at the events from up above in the air.

But the religious singing can’t have done him much good either because instead of circling around above to have a good view of the events, he took one look at the events and cleared off into the distance.

lifeboatmen 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier, I mentioned that the various trades and professions had the right to take part in the parade.

Those guys down there in the orange jackets are the lifeboatmen, the sauveteurs de mer, and their emblem seems to be an old rowing boat of some description.

It’s quite appropriate for the lifeboatmen to be here in the procession because their lifeboat is called Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, and she, Our Lady of Cap Lihou, is the patron saint to whom the Pardon is dedicated.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt doesn’t take long for the place to fill up and then the religious ceremony and the blessing of the flags and banners begins.

That’s the cue for me to make myself scarce because I don’t think that organised ceremonies and this “holier than thou” public profession of one’s faith is what Christianity is all about. This bit about graven images and all of that.

Religion is a personal issue between you and whoever your maker is, and no business of anyone else.

And in any case, on a more temporal basis, I’ve not had my medication yet and I need to deal with this before too long.

That’s because I didn’t awaken until about 09:30 this morning and the events kicked off at 10:00 so I couldn’t aford to hang around.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce the harbour gates open, there’s a procession of boats all around the headland and back again before the gates close.

Most of the local boats, such as our old friend La Granvillaise, recognisable by the “G90” on her bow, and this other boat whom we all know and whose name escapes me for the moment but which i’ll remember as soon as I press “send”, take part in the procession.

So while you admire all of the boats as they take part in the procession I can get back to doing what I was doing a couple of minutes ago and talking about my day so far, because it’s been a busy day today.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving gone to bed quite early last night, seeing as I was quite tired, I awoke a few times during the early morning, like at 07:20 as I remember.

But there’s no chance of my leaving my stinking pit at that time of morning. 09:30 is pretty early for a Sunday but with the Pardon to consider, I had to leave the comfort and warmth of my bed and take some decisive action.

Grabbing a nice ripe peach, I put on my clothes and finding the camera, headed outside for a cosy spec on the wall on the clifftop overlooking the ceremony – “a seat in the circle”, you might well say.

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the photo of our lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and our new ferry Belle France, I was back in my apartment taking all of my medication.

And then, back in the bedroom where my office is, I downloaded all of the video files from the dashcam relating to my trip out. And I can see a couple of serious issues about this dashcam because about 90 minutes of driving used up 15GB.

This means that my 32GB memory cards are going to be fairly redundant at this rate and it’ll be 64GB memory cards in future, and a lot of them too if I go off on a long trip, which is unlikely these days, the way things are.

72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNext up was to look at the dictaphone to see what was on there.

There are in fact plenty of files on there and so I uploaded them to the computer with the aim of transcribing them.

Something was going on with some company or other so we all decided that we were going to picket so we all went out into the fields somewhere in this village then we all ended up going home. I can’t remember who I was with now but I asked what was on TV and they replied “nothing”. I asked “what about the cricket?”. They couldn’t find the cricket. Next day we went out and came back for the cricket again and England were like 125 behind and one of the batsmen, Jack Hampshire, had just been dismissed for making a noise. Apparently it’s a new regulation that if a batsman makes a noise he can be sent off. In the meantime we were back with this shelf-filling exercise – all shelves in supermarkets abroad are not filled but not in the UK and I don’t remember anything else but I was having one of the worst feverish sweats that I’d had for ages.

It was early afternoon, we were running the taxi business and I had a young guy driving. We were getting pretty busy and Mari rang up for a taxi to take her to the launderette. We added this onto the guy’s list. He went off to take her. Then we came back here and I had to go out to do a couple more jobs and Mari rang up for a taxi back. Nerina said that we were busy and she’d have to wait but I took the opportunity and said “oh no I’ll go and take Mari” so I went out in EBF, picked her up and brought her home. Then I got talking to the other taxi driver. He was saying that when he turned 14 he had four periods one after another so I laughed and said “you’re turning into a woman. He said “a bit” because he really was making medical history, this. We drove back and Nerina had made some soup and bread. I don’t know what was in it but it was very tasty and we all ate it. But there was another part of this dream that I don’t remember very much about me living in Gainsborough Road and having all of my old Cortinas there. There was some talk that the council was going to issue me with an enforcement notice telling me to dispose of all the Cortinas – another part of this recurring dream where I had Cortinas tied up in a garage and all kinds of different places all over Crewe.

I was walking through Shavington, down Chestnut Avenue. There were loads of people dressed in costumes, ballerinas and so on coming up the hill. I tripped over a pile of ballet shoes and got them all out of order and I had to throw one in the pile and hope that that one wasn’t important. Just then a steam locomotive roared past, a big 9F going like the clappers backwards up the hill followed by a couple of smaller ones. took a photo of one or two of them. There were loads of old buses, everything so I asked “is there a carnival going on here?”. The replied “yes – on Saturday”. I thought that if I come up from Audlem I can park my car out by the Elephant and Castle, walk into the village and watch the procession with the steam trains and buses because I’d seen a few old buses as well. It’s going to be really good. So I walked around to a place where they were doing food. There was some kind of activity taking place in which I took part. There was something like a half-marathon going on too. After the activity I wanted to take a shower but they were strange showers. Instead of being above you and pouring the water down they were below you and pouring the water up. I went to take a shower but got talking to this old woman. There were a few people there teasing each other about everything. This woman seemed to be quite active. she said “I’ll take you to the dance with me on Thursday night for the old people. I thought “old people!”. Then I suddenly realised that this carnival would be taking place and I don’t want to miss that so I had to make my excuses. Then I went to have a shower again but they were busy dismantling it so I had to shout at them to stop them dismantling it so that I could finish my shower in peace with everything ready.

marité yachts  trawler cabin cruiser 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMarité was out there, being her usual anti-social self, and I was being my usual anti-social self inside.

The notes from yesterday needed updating to add in the photos but there were also a couple of events that had been recorded on the dashcam that needed checking.

One of them, to my extreme dismay, that had happened at Lidl yesterday didn’t work out at all but two others weren’t too bad. I had to produce a couple of stills from the recorded video and you’ll get to see them when I get round to adding in the photos of yesterday, whenever that might be.

speedcraft 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn one of the earlier photos, I’d seen some kind of speedcraft rapidly going past the procession – in rather bad taste, I thought.

But there he goes now, flat out, full speed ahead on his way over to the Ile de Chausey and I’ve no idea why he would want to go that fast over there on a Sunday during what is supposed to be a religious parade.

In the meantime, I was busy editing the photos from yesterday and taking dashcam stills, and then I had things to do. By now the harbour gates would be well open and I wanted to see the procession of boats.

yacht rebelle trawler charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey had long-since gone out of the harbour by the time I reached the viewpoint, and so I turned my attention to the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there, as is the trawler Charlevy over there at the back. The two unidentified trawlers (still unidentified, by the way) are still there too but we’ve had a new arrival that is parked in between them.

She’s one of the inshore shell-fishers, as you can tell by the roof over the storage area that stops the seagulls pinching the catch as the boats return to harbour with their full loads.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s good for the town to have a busy and effective chantier naval.

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter looking at the chantier naval I walked off down the path and around the headland, in the reverse direction to normal, just for a change.

To my surprise, there weren’t all that many people out here watching the events – probably no more than a couple of hundred. The actual Pardon wasn’t particularly well-attended either. On the wall looking down onto the affair there can’t have been more than about a dozen of us.

It’s not at all like the Carnaval and I remember seeing the Pardon and the procession when I first came here, when you couldn’t move for people milling around.

72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the north side of the headland I found a convenient spec, without any difficulty at all, to watch the boats go past me.

That was the spec from where I had taken all of the previous photos of the the boats going past me.

As the last few disappeared off around the headland, I took another photograph of them and then walked back across the car park to the south side of the headland.

That was where all of the action was going to be for the next while

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right on cue, Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and Belle France came into view, neck-and-neck in the lead apart from the speedboat that was cheating on the outside.

As for the rest of the procession, I had to leave them to it and head back towards home because I have plenty to do. And so I retraced my steps along the path on the north side of the headland.

“This will do for my daily walk” I said to myself and joined everyone else who was busy deserting the scene, probably for Sunday lunch although there were a few picnickers here and there.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMarité was still out there though.

She had no intention of joining in the procession by the looks of things, which was a shame. She had other business that needed attention, presumably taking a load of passengers out for a tour around the bay.

There was other business that needed my attention too – like lunch, for example. I’d had nothing to eat at all so far today except that peach and my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut.

After my lunch I made a start on the bread and I kneaded it using the lessons that I had learnt from Liz on Thursday. It took an age but eventually the dough behaved just as she told me that it would and ended up being probably the best dough that I’ve ever made.

So I dumped it back in the bowl to let it proof for a while.

Back in the office I sat down to deal with the photos but to my dismay I crashed out for about an hour. And that put me behind just about everything that I was hoping to do.

But the bread had gone up like a lift so I gently shaped it and dropped it into the bread mould to carry on with its proofing. Then I kneaded the pizza dough that I’d taken from the frezer earlier, rolled it out and put it on its tray so that that could proof as well.

When the time was right, I turned on the oven and when it was hot enough I stuck the bread in to bake.

home made bread vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime I began to assemble the pizza.

And for once just recently, I had all of the ingredients to hand so it was quite straightforward this week.

When the bread was ready I took it out and put in the pizza and left that to cook. And here are the finished product. And doesn’t that loaf look really good?

No pudding of course because there’s plenty of pineapple upside-down cake to be going at for the next week or so. And as I don’t have much coconut soya stuff to go on it and I couldn’t find any yesterday, I have plenty of milk to make custard.

But not tonight though. I have no room for any pudding right now after that pizza

sunset baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall Later on, I went out again.

It was rather late in the evening and I was lucky enough to see the sun at one of its lowest points just about to disappear below the horizon behind the Ile de Chausey.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the sunset over the sea. In the old days before Covid I was out every night at about 21:00 and I’dseen the sun set on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall

These days though I just don’t have the time and I wish that I did. i have far too much going on to be able to relax as I used to.

police vehicle blocking port st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner and down the street and there’s a road block at the Porte St Jean stopping the traffic entering the medieval walled city.

There’s something going on in the old town tonight and while it’s not a subject that interests me all that much, we have to note it for the record.

Policemen know everything, even if they are merely “Police Municipal” rather than the National Police or the Gendarmes. And so I made “certain enquiries” and the bobby pointed me in the right direction. and so off I jolly well set.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this is why I’ve come out this evening – and I’m bang on time which is quite amazing. THey are just going across the drawbridge into the old walled town.

There’s a religious ceremony taking place in the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and everyone has come up from the Fish Processing Plant in a procession as they did around the town this morning.

And those two guys in front had better get a move on because their handbags are on fire.

Unless they are these incense things that they wave about distributing perfume. And seeing as they have just come up from the fish processing plant, that’s not a bad idea.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBehind those two guys swinging their censers or whatever they are called, come the madding crowds. Everyone who was there this morning is coming this way this evening carrying some kind of lanterns, candles in a special holder that doesn’t look all that fireproof to me..

They are all carrying their banners and emblems, presumably taking them to the church to be blessed again after this morning’s service. And I’ve no idea why they would want to do that twice on the same day.

Some people might think that involving the children in carrying the emblems and whatever might be a good idea but that little kid at the back is having a bit of a rough time carrying that ship.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBehind the couple carrying the ship comes almost everyone else.

There’s another one of these white ships coming on behind. This one is carried by two kids and I bet that they know all about the climb up the Rue des Juifs carrying that. It’s not as easy as you might think carrying something like that.

Behind the kids come all of the banners belinging to the different organisations and corporations of the town. And I wish that I knew exactly what they represented because I can’t decipher anything from what I can see on them.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo pirzes for guessing who these people are

In their orange jackets and pushing the rowing boat that we saw earlier this morning, they can only be the lfeboatmen, the sauveteurs de mer. And here’s something that I don’t understand, which is “why haven’t they painted their bot arange and green, the same colour as their lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

And I bet that they know all about dragging that up the hill as well. It’s not as if it’s light. Mind you, if they had any sense, there would be some kind of motor under that blue canopy.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBrining up the rear are the religious dignitaries from the region.

The one with the pointed hat is a bishop, I reckon, but I don’t know who the other one is. But if he’s a bishop and needs a good crook, I’m within beckoning distance. There’s no better crook than me.

So they are off to the church, shepherding the stragglers along with the bishop’s crook, I suppose and so I clear off too back home. I still have plenty of work to do.

Things are taking a lot longer than I anticipated which is a shame, and I need my beauty sleep as I have a lot to do tomorrow.

Saturday 24th April 2021 – THERE ARE MANY …

… things in this life that I don’t understand. And the older that I become, the more I realise that the less and less I actually do understand.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I was going through a phase of not being able to haul myself out of bed at any price regardless of however many alarms that I set and how loud and for how long I set them.

On Thursday I switched off the alarms so that I could have a lie-in and then on Thursday night before going to bed, I switched them back on.

The chattering birds outside my window, helped by the rattling fridge downstairs, awoke me at about 05:20. And not being able to go back to sleep, I lay awake waiting for the 06:00 alarm.

When I checked the time again, it was actually 06:10 and the alarms hadn’t gone off. It seems that last night I’d set them for 08:00 in error. And had I not been awake and instead slept right through to when the alarms would have actually gone off, I’d have missed my train home.

So what would have been the odds on that in similar circumstances a couple of weeks ago?

And this is what I just don’t understand – that I can actually do it when I have to so why can’t I do it when I don’t have to?

But anyway, there I was, up and about on time so I tidied everything up, made my sandwiches, packed up and headed off for the railway station.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric HallHere’s something that is extremely interesting.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that not long after I came to live in Leuven in 2016 they closed off the Martelarenplein outside the railway station in order to completely refurbish it. And since then, it’s been all fenced off and the fences covered with tarpaulins so it’s impossible to see through it.

This morning though, some of the tarpaulin covering has been taken away and it’s now actually possible to see what they have been doing for all of this time.

And to be quite honest, it really doesn’t look all that different than it did before, although I do have to say that judging by how the place appears right now, there is still a great deal of work to be done. Another project around the town that has gone on far longer than it ought to have done.

So on the station, I didn’t have to wait too long for my train to come in.

automotrice am96 multiple unit 543 gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallThe train that I’m catching this morning is the 08:19 to the Belgian coast, calling at the Airport, and then the city centre before it clears off coastwards.

Just for a change, it’s not one of the depressing and dirty AM80 units but a much more modern AM96, the type with the rubber bellows and the swivelling drivers’ cabs. Bang on time it was when it pulled in and it pulled out on time too.

When we arrived in Brussels I still had 90 minutes to wait before my train came in so I went and sat in the main concourse for a while.

Once I’d worked out where my train would be arriving (there’s only a choice of 2 platforms for the Thalys and the train to Amsterdam pulled into one of them) I went up there to wait.

A few minutes later I was joined by a young lady. “This platform is quite big and lonely and there aren’t many people about” she said. “Would you mind if I waited near you? I’d feel safer”? She clearly didn’t know me very well.

Thalys PBKA 4331 gare de brussels midi railway station belgium  Eric HallSoon enough, a train pulled into the station at my platform.

It’s one of the PBKA (Paris – Brussels – Cologne – Amsterdam) units, number 4331, a nice clean and shiny one just out of the carriage wash. But it only had 8 carriages, numbered 1-8 which didn’t really suit me because I had a seat in carriage number 18.

My lady-friend had a seat in carriage 8 so she cleared off to board the train and take her seat. I had a few enquiries to make, such as to go and find an arrivals board to find out what trains were due to arrive in the very near future. That should tell me everything that I need to know.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4536 coupling up to Thalys PBKA 4331 gare de brussels midi railway station belgium Eric HallAnd I was quite right too. 5 minutes before my train was due to depart, a TGV was coming into the station from Amsterdam. And sure enough it pulled up at this platform and I had the pleasure of watching them couple up two trainsets together.

This one is one of the PBA (Paris – Brussels – Amsterdam) Reseau 38000 tri-volt trainsets, number 4536, and once it was all coupled up I could take my seat in carriage 18. It was really busy too which is no surprise seeing as it’s the only train to Paris this morning and I’m not sure whether there will be one in the afternoon either.

We set out bang on time and arrived bang on time in Paris too, and there the passengers had to run the gauntlet of a police barrage, checking papers.

Although I don’t have a valid Covid test result, I’ve been out of the country for less than 72 hours and have a Carte de Séjour to prove my address and residence status, so I didn’t have a problem. A really good plan, that, to apply for my Carte de Séjour when I did.

And I’ll tell you something else as well, and that is that the gendarmette who questioned me at the station can detain me for further questioning any time she likes. Actually, I should be being paid by the police force, judging by the number of times that I’ve had to help them with their enquiries.

The metro was quite rapid and when I arrived at Montparnasse I even managed to find a seat, which was just as well because I had a wait of about 90 minutes for my train. I could eat my butties in comfort.

82694 Bombardier B82500 84559 GEC Alstom Regiolis gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a 6-carriage train (the one on the right, not the Bombardier B82500 on the left) to Granville and it was packed.

Even worse, there were no reserved seats. But I was one of the lucky ones in that I didn’t have a neighbour so I could fall asleep and drop my laptop on the floor in comfort.

We were held up somewhere in the countryside by electrical current issues but we made up the missing minutes as we hurtled down the line towards the coast.

And when we arrived, actually a couple of minutes early, we’d somehow managed to throw out most of the passengers and there weren’t all that many of us left.

When I’d left Leuven this morning it was pretty cold but here in Granville we were having a heatwave and I had to strip off to walk home, down the steps and through the park.

citroen ami electric car parc de val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the past we’ve seen some pretty awful and horrible-looking cars but this is one that really takes the biscuit.

It’s a Citroen Ami all-electric car and I do have to say that it’s one of the most hideous that I’ve ever seen.

The climb up the Rue des Juifs was rather painful in the heat and seeing as I’m not feeling myself right now, I had to stop for a breather half-way up the hill and that’s not like me at all. And I can’t blame the shopping that I was carrying because I’ve come up the hill with much more than this.

Having put the cold stuff away I came in here to watch this evening’s football.

And this was the match of the season – TNS, top of the table, against Connah’s Quay Nomads in second place. The Nomads do have some quality but they aren’t consistent enough to do it every week, whereas TNS are like a well-oiled machine and tick over quite smoothly.

Ordinarily we might be expecting a tight game but Nomads have been known to crumble at the most inappropriate times so I don’t think that too many neutral supporters would have had their money on the Nomads.

But while you always find the odd player here and there who has a bad game, it’s very rare to find half a dozen who are having a poor performance all at the same time. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the TNS centre-half pairing of Blaine Hudson and Ryan Astles were having a nightmare match.

Despite having 60% of the ball TNS never really did much with it and Connah’s Quay simply swept them aside. Michael Wilde, a player released by TNS a few seasons ago, scored a hat-trick and Jamie Insall scored a fourth while Astles and Hudson stood around watching them.

In the end TNS had 5 strikers on the field and while they did manage to score one early in the game, they never ever looked likely to trouble the Nomads back line and when they were awarded a penalty towards the end of the game, Oliver Byrne in the Nomads goal saved it quite comfortably.

It’s been about 20 years since I’ve been watching the Welsh Premier League and I have never ever seen TNS play so badly as they did today, although a lot of the credit should go to the Nomads back 4 and Callum Morris just in front of them who stopped almost everything that TNS tried to do.

One thing that I forgot to do until later was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d started out with a former friend of mine and we were in Nantwich, Crewe Road end, going to visit some people. There were two girls there talking away and the guy was some kind of electronics guy and his house was a total tip worse than mine and there was stuff everywhere – all bits and pieces for making radios and so on. These 2 girls were young teenage girls busy talking away and at a certain moment I said to one of them “what language are you speaking? Is it Welsh”? They replied “no, it’s Slovensko”. So I asked “Slovene”? and they replied “no” so I asked “Slovak”? and they said “no” so we agreed that they were talking Czech. I was intrigued to know what they were doing while they were looking at all these bits and pieces. At the end of the road I looked out and there was an old guy on a walkframe, delivering the newspapers. It looked as if he had a paper round. I thought “it’s one way of keeping busy when you are old”. I went off into my shed, rooting around for something. There were all these old people standing around, not saying or doing anything, just standing there and it was making me feel uncomfortable. I of these 2 girls came in and she asked me for something. I couldn’t remember what it was she asked me but she saw it while I was searching through stuff so I let her have one. The other one came in and asked “where’s mine”? So I had to find one for her as well. I told her to make sure that she used it otherwise I’d be wanting it back.

Later on I was in Winsford with my father and a few other people, and Denise was there (as if that was ever likely to happen). One of my sisters was talking to Denise about operations, telling her about how she should have had a breast cancer operation a long time ago. Paul Ross rang up but my father was on the other phone so he couldn’t speak to him. Paul Ross came round and said that yesterday evening Dave Clark had died. We worked out that since Christmas we’d had 4 deaths in the immediate close circle and it was enough to make you wonder who was going to be next. Everyone looked at me but I said “as far as I’m concerned, it’s the creaky gate that hangs the longest, isn’t it”?

Anyway, now I’m off to make some sourdough mix and then I’m going to bed. No alarm in the morning and quite right too as I deserve a lie-in after my efforts today.

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 – WE’VE BEEN HAVING …

fisherman english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… something of a nautical day again today instead of the aviation day that we had at the weekend.

This guy out there in the English Channel in his little cabin cruiser with a couple of fishing roads hanging out over the back is just typical of what was going on out there this afternoon.

It’s quite possible that it has something to do with the arrival of the Parisians fleeing confinement at their main address and heading out to their second homes of whatever accommodation they have been able to hire at short notice, but the sea was absolutely heaving with people this afternoon in all kinds of water craft.

man plankboarding english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when I say “all kinds of water craft” I really do mean that because this is yet another example of what was going on down below me in the English Channel.

Someone has decided to go out for a paddle on his paddle board and if he has paddled like that all the way around the Pointe du Roc from the port de plaisance, then he’s been doing really well because that’s not going to be an easy paddle, even when the weather is calm and the sea is smooth.

Actually the weather was quite calm this afternoon and it was rather warm, although not that warm that taking off your shirt was ever going to be any kind of option as far as I was concerned.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand is more like the kind of maritime activity that we are accustomed to see around here these days.

The tide is well in and the harbour gates are open so every now and again a trawler will set sail and head out to the open sea for another bout of fishing activity.

Regardless of the effects of Brexit to date, fishing is still continuing out there in the English Channel and the Bay of Granville although with relations between the UK and the EU deteriorating rapidly as the UK breaches Law after Law and Agreement after Agreement, how long this situation will continue is anyone’s guess.

This morning, I was up once more just after the first alarm went off and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been but to my surprise there was nothing at all on there. I must have slept soundly all the way through until the alarm.

With nothing to transcribe on the dictaphone I attacked the photos from July 2019. Right now I’m just pulling into the Travel Inn Motel in Lamoure, North Dakota, and there’s only about 90 to do now before the end of the month.

That’s only part of the problem though. For the month of August having made an initial run-through of the photos, there are 2091 of those that survived the first run-through so bearing in mind that many of them will produce two or even more images, we are looking at probably 2500 photos that will be done. And about 20 videos too.

There was the Welsh lesson this morning too. Having completed my day’s supply of photos I did some preparation for my course and then armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson.

In contrast to last week it went rather better although it’s sad that I have forgotten more than I seem to be remembering right now.

For the rest of the day I haven’t stopped for a meal as I started a project that is taking more time than ever I anticipated that it would and I can see the computer being left on all the time while I’m away in Leuven. I have a couple of computer drives that failed a while ago and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall I’ve been trying to get them to fire up.

A few weeks ago I managed to make one of them work and so this afternoon I started to access the sectors manually. It’s probably 20 years since I’ve done anything like this and while computers have speeded up dramatically in that time, using pseudo-DOS hasn’t and hard drives are measured in Terabytes these days not Megabytes.

Having started at about 14:30 this afternoon and it’s now 21:50 and it’s done 2.5%. I thought that it would be a slow, laborious process but not quite as slow as this. And that’s not to say that I’ll be able to salvage anything. If any individual item of the data has spread over a defective sector then that will not be recoverable for a start.

While the computer was doing what it could do on its own I nipped out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there wasn’t all that much beach to be on right now because of the tide, it was proving to be quite popular this afternoon. The weather was really beautiful this afternoon with bright sunshine, bright blue sky and very few clouds in the sky.

There were plenty of people wandering around there on the paths too. Not much respect for social distancing and not as much respect for mask-wearing either. But I’m sure that you are fed up of me going on about all of this. It will become as obsessive as the pathetic parking that features on here when I’m having one of my moments.

Instead, I pushed off along the path down to the end by the lighthouse and across the lawn at the bottom.

police interaction rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I reached the end of the lawn by the car park I bounced into an enormous pile of excitement down there by the roundabout.

From this viewpoint I wasn’t able to understand exactly what was going on but there were a couple of police motorcyclists down there and they seem to have pulled over a motorcyclist and his female pillion passenger.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, while I’m not usually averse to going down and asking what is going on, there are moments when it is clearly inappropriate and this is one of them. I’m sure that they didn’t want me going down there intruding at a moment like this so I left them to it.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I concentrated on what else was going on all around me.

The most important thing that is happening right now is the reroofing that’s going on down at the College Malraux. As you can see, they seem to be making some reasonable progress since the last time that I had a good moan about it and they now have ripped off yet another bay on the roof.

They have almost finished putting the laths on there now too so it looks as if the fitting of the slates won’t be too far behind. It’ll be interesting to see where they will have reached when I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon, assuming that they let me out of Castle Anthrax.

zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier on I mentioned that there was all kinds of activity going on out at sea this afternoon and all types of water craft out there at sea this afternoon.

From my vantage point at the end of the headland I could see this zodiac roaring away into the bay down below. There didn’t seem to be any fishing rods on display but that isn’t to say that they are or aren’t fishermen. But the lifejacket that the passenger was wearing looked to be rather more substantial than you might expect for someone who would have to wield a fishing rod around.

Anyway they soon cleared off round the corner and out of sight towards the port so whatever it is that they were doing, they seems to have finished it and the tide has still a good while to go before the harbour is inaccessible.

While I was admiring the zodiac out in the bay I was overflown by a light aircraft. We’re having some aerial activity to day too.

f-bukk Wassmer WA54 Atlantic pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis aeroplane is F-BUKK, which tells me that it’s a Wassmer WA54 Atlantic, a design of aeroplane that dates from as far back as 1966. They have a special place in aviation history as they are the first aeroplanes built of composite materials.

They are actually probably the only type of true passenger aeroplanes that we have seen flying out of Granville airport as they have seats for three passengers as well as the pilot.

This one is a WA54 rather that a WA 50-something else because it has the larger 180hp Lycoming “O-360-A1LD” engine rather than the 150 hp Lycoming “O-320-E2A” engine. 55 of this model were built.

She had taken off from Granville and gone for a good flight down the Brittany coast almost as far as lannion where she turned round and came back to Granville again.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there was a surprise waiting for me.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the mobile boat lift hovering away over Hermes 1 and I speculated that it had come to load up the trawler and drop it back into the water at the following high tide.

Anyway, I don’t know what must have happened but Hermes 1 is still there and the mobile boat lift is back in its parking place. All that I can think of is that they needed to reposition her chocks so that she would sit in a different position so that they could work on another part of her hull.

unloading lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were things going on in the inner harbour this afternoon too. A large lorry seemed to be unloading its charge down by the loading bay.

Presumably this means that we are going to be having a visit from one or other or maybe even both of the two Jersey freighters in the course of the next couple of days.

From there I headed back to home and my hot mug of coffee and to see how my manual analysis of the disk was doing. And, as I said, it was very, very slowly. This is going to be a very long job.

While it was doing bits and pieces that I could leave it alone to do, I did a little more of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe and I’m now IN A HOTEL IN FÛRTH in Central Germany.

After the guitar practice I carried on with the disk analysis and then I wrote out my notes for the day. And now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m off to Castle Anthrax and there’s a lot to do before I go.

Saturday 19th December 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

… you were wondering (which I’m sure you aren’t) I missed the 3rd alarm this morning too.

Nothing like as dramatically as yesterday, it has to be said. Only by about 20 minutes as it happened but still, a miss is as good as a mile as they say. And after something of a rather late night, I’m not really all that surprised.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. And it’s no surprise that I was late getting up with everything going on that went on during the night.

I’m not quite sure what I was doing during part of the night but I had a cat. I was cooking a bone and the bone had obviously been there for a very long time because it had all dried out and the meat was dry and the skin made a kind of sub-cutaneous fat crackling that all broke away from the bone. It was like eating a packet of crisps. I was Eating this and the recipe had been sent to me by my friend in Galashiels so I asked her if her meat had turned out like this, whether it was simply a cheap cut, something like that, but I never really got an answer. That was when I awoke.

Later on there was a bunch of us in a school yard. We’d been on a trip by coach or a cruise or something like that and it was the final day. We had a big debriefing session and a little snack but that was before the evening meal which was the last on that we’d be taking together. I wanted to say goodbye to these girls with whom I’d been friendly. They might have been Castor and Pollux or they might not, I dunno. I knew which table they usually sat at so as soon as the meeting was open I made a beeline for that table and I was the first basically there. I sat down and other people came to join me. But at the evening meal there was only about a quarter of the people there, just 4 tables and the rest of the people, including the two people whom I was hoping to see, hadn’t come down. I imagined that the snack that they’d had in the afternoon was enough for them. That was extremely disappointing to me as you could imagine. Anyway I started to pass the cups and plates around – they were actually underneath the table on a shelf thing that pulled out so I was passing them around. I started out by pouring out tea and I asked if anyone else wanted one. Someone did, and I got into such a confusion about his mug that in the end he took the mug off me and held it while I poured it. The conversation descended into telling bawdy jokes and everyone was having a really good laugh. The annoying thing was that I couldn’t think of a joke to tell and that’s not like me. I couldn’t think of a single 1 and everyone else was telling these jokes and we were laughing, having a really good time about this but I felt terrible because I couldn’t think of a single joke and feeling even worse because these 2 girls hadn’t shown up. This put a real damper on my trip in the end.

Having had a shower, I put the washing machine en route (I’m having clean sheets tonight) and then headed out to the shops. Caliburn started straight away with his nice, new battery so there was no problem there.

NOZ came up with a couple of CDs and not really much of anything else important. On the other hand I spent a lot of money in LeClerc on all kinds of exciting things, mostly food-related. I didn’t buy much in the way of fresh vegetables for Christmas – I’m leaving that until Thursday when I’ll also be hoping, if I’m lucky, to find some Seitan slices.

firemen breaking into a house rue paul legibon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on the way back from the shops we had some excitement.

In the Rue Paul Legibon in the Quartier St Nicolas we had a police van and a fire engine in attendance at a house. And as I watched (firstly from stuck in a queue behind the fire engine and then in the church car park across the road) two firemen shinned up a ladder onto the terrace and proceeded to break into the house.

So whatever was going on there must have been quite important, if not serious, and doubtless we’ll be hearing more about this in due course.

Back here I put the frozen food (there wasn’t all that much) into the freezer, hung up the washing and then made myself a hot chocolate. And with a slice of my delicious fruit bread I attacked some arrears.

That took me up to lunchtime, and then after lunch I started to put some of the purchases away. Not all of them of course, I’m not feeling that much better. And when I felt up to it, I had a few things to do here that needed doing.

wassmer 54 f-bukk light aircraft Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to walkies-time so I set off out of the apartment.

And almost straight away, as soon as I had set foot out of the door I was buzzed by a light aircraft that had obviously been hovering around, waiting for me to come outside.

It’s none other than our old friend F-BUKK, the rather elderly Lycoming-engined Wassmer W54 that seems to have moved into the vicinity these days. And strangely enough, she’s not on the list of arrivals and departures for Granville Airport today although she was briefly picked up on their radar at 15:57 (roughly when I saw her) and disappeared as quickly as she appeared.

And I can’t find her anywhere else.

high winds pointe du roc baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut it’s a surprise really that there was anything very much going on outside today.

The howling, bitter wind that has plagued us these last few days, or weeks, or months, is still here. It’s churning up the sea quite considerably as you can tell from this photograph. All across the bay this afternoon we cansee the whitecaps that have been whipped up by the wicked wind.

It might be difficult to work out where it’s coming from, but I can tell you with extreme confidence exactly where it’s going. And I’m glad at times like this that I’m not a Scotsman.

For that reason I’m not going to hang about and I wandered off across the lawn and car park to the end of the headland.

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening around there today either so I wandered off down the path on the other side of the cliffs.

And here in the chantier navale at long last, we have a new arrival. We seem to have acquired one of the little trawlers that has come in here to have some work done on her. I’ve seen her about the port here and there in the past and she does have a local (Cherbourg) registration so she’s one of ours.

Is this the start of another rush of work, or are we just going to be having work in dribs and drabs until people start preparing for next summer. After all being alone on a small boat is probably about the safest place you can be in a pandemic, and we’re certain to be having a few more waves of this virus.

dry land map of United Kingdom port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks or so ago we saw a phenomenon in the harbour that seemed to represent the outline of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

As I wandered along the clifftop, lonely as a cloud etc etc, I noticed that we had the same phenomenon again today. And just as before, we had a sock of fleagulls reposing upon it. It’s not quite as accurately drawn as the time before but you can still make out the eastern and northern parts of the country, with the County of Kent just disappearing underneath the harbour wall.

That’s something else about which I would like to find out more. There’s a story that there’s a previous harbour wall somewhere prior to the building of the present one and this may be where the foundations are, the shallow depth of silt on top causing the water to dry out quicker.

Back here I grabbed a coffee and organised one or two things quickly because there was more football on the internet today. A bottom-of-the-table match between Y Fflint and Aberystwyth. I was impressed with Flint when I first saw them but they slid down the table at an alarming rate after that really heavy defeat and have recently changed their manager to no-nonsense Neil Gibson who a few years ago kicked Prestatyn Town three divisions up the pyramid in a very short space of time.

On the other hand, Aberystwyth are a good side with some good players but for some reason have simply failed to fire up and are in desperate danger of being sucked down into a relegation scrap. A win for both sides was vital today.

And the match went pretty much as expected. Aberystwyth throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Flint who had to sit back and hope to absorb it, and hit Aberystwyth on the break.

And I do have to say that Flint’s defence was magnificent today. They fought like lions with what at times was desperate defending and were unlucky with a break after 35 minutes when a header was pushed over the bar by Connor Roberts in the Aber goal.

But Roberts could do nothing in the 40th minute when one of the most beautiful, inch-perfect long balls out of defence that you have ever seen fell to Mark Cadwallader who shrugged off a desperate challenge TO TOE-POKE THE BALL PAST ROBERTS.

In the second half Aberystwyth had even more of the game and were pounding the Flint goal at will but were undone late in the game by not one but two breakaways for probably the most surprising victory that I’ve seen for a while and a result that just goes to underline Aberystwyth’s season to date.

They were unlucky to lose at all, and certainly not by a score of 3-0. Now both clubs are stuck right in a pack of four at the bottom with Y Drenewydd and Cefn Druids and this can all go in any direction.

But it’s easy to see why our two teams tonight are deep in the mire. Too many wayward passes, not marking close enough and, in Aber’s case especially, not having the killer instinct when they need it.

rue du nord place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow it was time for me to go out for my evening walk and runs. And the first two legs of my evening adventures brought me to the gate where I would disappear down to the footpath underneath the walls

Looking back behind me from this particular spot the view back down the Rue du Nord to the Place d’Armes over to the right was really impressive this evening. And the beam of the lighthouse down at the Pointe du Roc was making a nice hazy fog of light, as you can see over on the right behind the College Malraux.

Having taken the photo I disappeared down the path and along underneath the walls.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith no rain for at least 24 hours, which is strange just recently, that path under the walls wasn’t all that wet so my runs down there were reasonably comfortable tonight.

But where I stopped, halfway around to catch my breath, the view over the Plat Gousset was looking quite nice and special so I decided to have a little fun. I’d take three or four photos of the same view on different settings and see how they worked out.

The photo up above was one of them, and the one below is another of them. All of the rest were filed under “CS”.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular one has had a little post-work done on it but the first one is just as it came out of the camera and all in all, they aren’t too bad really.

The discarded ones were over-exposed. You’ve no idea (well, some of you have, of course) how difficult it is to set the camera for the right amount of light for artificial light when the surroundings are in pitch-black.

From there I did the next leg of my run down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. And, as usual thse days, there was nothing whatever going on down there, interesting or not so I turned and headed for home.

crescent moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd tonight the crescent moon was back.

A little higher in the sky tonight so I could see it before I crossed the Square Maurice Marland, and I spent a couple of minutes trying to take a good photo of it.

From there I ran on down to the walls, walked along the walls and then ran on home for tea. I can’t get used to this “early” lark.

Tea tonight was pasta and nice fresh (and I do mean fresh because broccoli was the special offer today and I had bought sprouts on Thursday) steamed vegetables with vegan pesto (I’d bought some of that too) and an old falafel burger followed by rice pudding.

Rosemary had called me while I was out so I phoned her back and we were chatting for a couple of hours, which is why I’m still writing my notes long after 02:00. But now I’ve finished, I’m off to bed.

But I’ll leave you tonight with a special treat. For those of you who worry about me, I put it all down to the kind of company that I keep. This is ONE OF MY FRIENDS FROM OTTAWA in Canada. I hope that you enjoy it.

Monday 23rd November 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 29th October 2020 – PHEW!

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter everything that I’ve had to do, I’m thoroughly exhausted. And it isn’t going to be better any time soon.

So while you admire more photos of yet more waves crashing onto the Plat Gousset this afternoon, to the evident delight of the little kids down there, I’ll tell you all about it.

And it all started off so well too. Much to my own surprise, and to yours too, no doubt, I beat the third alarm to my feet yet again. How many days on the run is that now?

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst task this morning was to listen to the dictaphone. And once again, there was nothing on it. I must have had a really restful night again.

So that gave me some time to have another look at ANOTHER ONE OF THE ARREARS from my trip around Central Europe in the summer.

There was actually time for me to start a second, but I left that half-finished knowing full well that there would be time to finish it off later today … “ha ha ha” – ed … I went off to have a shower instead.

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was on my way down the street that I discovered that the battery had gone flat once again in the NIKON 1 J5. It looks as if the battery on it is heading for the hills which is a shame.

So while you look at yet more photos of waves, I went to the local Nick.

Here the copper on duty was very polite and friendly, but he didn’t know what was going on either so he wasn’t much help. Despite the ban effective from Friday night on foreign travel, there’s a right to travel to seek medical attention and I didn’t know if the medical attention outweighed the ban.

And neither did he.

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was going past the Post Office I dropped a letter in there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had a “parcel” delivered the other day.

While the sender told me that there was no charge, I couldn’t leave it like this. He may not want any money for what he sent me (more of which anon) but I can still buy him and his mates a drink. Every job of work deserves its rewards.

From there I headed up to the railway station, today going by the Boulevard Louis Dior so we could see the other end of the alleyway that we saw the other day. This was when I discovered that the camera battery was flat.

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey were queueing out of the door at the railway station. The quarantine has changed everyone’s plans of course and they are all trying desperately to change their tickets.

The transaction that I needed, when I finally reached the head of the queue after half an hour, seemed to take all day and there ended up being an enormous queue waiting by the time that I finished.

It’s always this way with me – even the most simple transaction goes all wrong when I’m pushed for time, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I apologised profusely to everyone waiting behind me. It was the least that I could do.

LIDL was heaving today. Everyone was stocking up with essentials prior to the lockdown. I didn’t want much so I think that I spent more time queueing than I did looking at the shelves.

Back here, I had work to do. A whole pile of packing, a couple of phone calls to make, a few internet purchases to arrange and a pile of paperwork to be printed out. All of that took me up to a rather late lunch.

After lunch I started to load up the data files to the little Acer travelling laptop. I’m going to work with it for a week and see how it goes, in the hope that it will behave itself. It’s been running for over 48 hours non-stop and seems to be quite stable at the moment. I hope that it keeps on going, and there’s only one way to find out.

In the middle of all of this I crashed out – right out good and proper too, for about 45 minutes. A really deep, intense sleep. When I awoke I felt like death

kids going down to beach Rue du Nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving recovered my composure somewhat, but only vaguely, I set off for my afternoon walk under yet more leaden skies.

Surprise, surprise, there weren’t too many people about in this weather. Even the roofers on the College Malraux roof had become fed up and gone home. Probably no more than a handful of people, including two little kids running down the steps from the Rue du Nord onto the beach.

Such beach as there was, because the tide was well in by now and they weren’t going to be going far.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut despite the wicked weather, the work must still go on.

From my viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I cast my eyes out to sea and there in the distance I could make out a couple of objects heading in. When I returned home I cropped the photo and enlarged it, and I could see that it was a trawler-type of fishing vessel – a smaller one – heading back into port.

In the absence of any other information, I’m assuming that she has a good catch, as might the one coming on behind that I didn’t photograph. But the usual cortège of seagulls was absent.

You saw the photos of the waves just now, so having watched the entertainment I walked on through the Square Maurice Marland where there was a little 4-year-old having a whale of a time on the roundabout as her dad spun her around.

trawler being pushed by lifeboat notre dame de cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a week or two ago we witnessed the spectacle of a trawler being “helped” across the harbour by one of its friends to a berth where it could be tied up.

Today, I was interested … ” to say the least” – ed … to see that our friendly neighbourhood lifeboat, Notre Dame de cap Lihou was over there attending to her. I was wondering what might be going on that might require her services.

But as I watched, they tied the two boats together and drifted away from the pontoon

trawler being pushed by lifeboat notre dame de cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen she was out into the open, I could read her name on the side of her superstructure.

She’s none other than Cap Lihou – the trawler that’s been parked up on blocks in the chantier navale for the last I don’t know how long and who only went back into the water a short time ago.

It looks to me as if she might have a severe mechanical problem, and hence is unable to move under her own steam … “or diesel” – ed … and that’s what she needs help.

And that reminds me. Where does a ship go to when it’s feeling unwell?
Of course – it goes to the doc(k)s

trawler being pushed by lifeboat notre dame de cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was watching her I speculated where she might be going. Of course “out to sea to be scuttled in deep water” was after all hardly likely.

Of course, there’s no real prize for guessing correctly. There can’t be many places that a sick ship (and try saying that with someone else’s teeth in) can go to round here. She’s off to the chantier navalewhere presumably she’ll be winched up onto some blocks.

When I go out for my evening constitutional – if I do get out with all of this work going on – I’ll check on where she is and on what’s happening to her.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was watching Cap Lihou limping along out of the inner harbour, there was plenty of other activity going on too.

When I first looked, the two Joly France boats were tied up at the ferry terminal. But as the pantomime in the inner harbour unfolded, I was joined by the newer of the two Ile de Chausey ferries – the one with the smaller upper deck superstructure and deeper windows.

Also in the photo behind her are two of our regulars, Aztec Lady and La Grande Ancre. They don’t seem to have very much going on with all of this virus lockdown going on.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not everything either. Despite all of the quarantine and lockdown, people still have to eat and we’ve seen a trawler out there earlier coming home with its catch.

And as I watched Cap Lihou and her manoeuvres … “PERSONoeuvres” – ed … into the inner harbour behind Joly France came another trawler. And, surprisingly, the seagulls floating on the water were taking not the slightest bit of notice.

Mind you, I must admit that I did admire the nonchalant attitude of some of the members of the crew as she swung round to tie up at the fish processing plant. They don’t look as if they are in any hurry.

Back in the apartment I carried on hastily trying to assemble things, and then broke off for my guitar practice. And I found to my dismay that I’d forgotten the bass line to “Moonage Daydream” that I’d worked so hard on in the past.

Tea was taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing followed by the last of the delicious apple pie. And then I went out for my evening runs. This was when I discovered that the battery in the NIKON D500 was flat too.

It’s really not my day, is it?

And Cap Lihou wasn’t in the chantier navale either. And it was too dark to see where she was. I just did all of my runs and came home. 135% on the fitbit. I’ll go with that.

So what will tomorrow bring me? Who knows? It’s certainly going to be interesting to find out. I don’t think that anything is going to be easy for a while and I’ve taken considerable precautions. Whether they are effective or not is anyone’s guess. But you’ll find out tomorrow assuming that the little Acer has managed to keep up.

And I never did finish amending that blog posting.

Wednesday 7th October 2020 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

… Castle Anthrax I had my check-up. Blood count is down to a mere 8.2, just 0.2 above the critical limit. They didn’t keep me in, but they didn’t give me a blood transfusion either. They are trying a new treatment on me again, something called Octagam.

One thing that I did was to check on the side effects and symptoms. And to my surprise, I have many of the symptoms that are flagged, a couple of which have even seen me hospitalised. But I assume that they know what they are doing.

Having said that, I’m not convinced that I do. I couldn’t sleep last night and it was long after 02:30 when I finally went to bed. Quite obviously there was no chance of my leaving the bed at the sound of the alarm. I was surprised that I managed to be out of bed by 07:20.

First job was to have a shower and a clothes wash. I need to make myself pretty. And then to make some sandwiches. I’d no idea how long this session was going to last.

And then I hit the streets.

Demolition Sint Peters Hospital Brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen you have been away for a while from a place that you know, it’s very interesting to see the changes that have taken place since your last visit.

ON OUR TRAVELS AROUND LEUVEN in the past we’ve seen the start of a whole system of changes to the city, starting with the demolition on the Sint Pieter’s Hospital Building where I stayed for a week or two when I first came here in 2016. They are making a considerable advance in dealing with the matter but it looks as if it’s going to take an age.

It’s a shame that A FORMER NEIGHBOUR and customer of my taxis is no longer with us. He would have had that building down in a twinkle of an eye and at much less cost too.

Water Spray Sint Pieters Hospital Brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile I was watching some of the demolition, my interest was caught by this machine and I was wondering what it might be.

It took me a while but I think that I know now what it might be. It looks like some kind of water atomiser powered mainly by compressed air, I suppose, that’s blasting a pile of water over the heap of rubble that has been knocked down from the building. I imagine that its purpose is to keep the dust down.

You would never have had precautions like that 20 years or so ago. It seems that Health and Safety Regulations have even arrived over here.

Sint Jacobsplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy route continued along the Brusselsestraat to the corner of the place where I lived for 6 months, and then round the corner into the Sint Jacobsplein.

When we’d been away for a couple of months last year, we came back here to find a great big hole in the middle of the Square. It was all fenced off so we never had the opportunity to look into it, and even though it’s been at least a year since they made a start on it, they still haven’t finished.

This is turning into a really long job and I’m wondering if I’ll still be here to see the finished product. At least, I hope that they will make a better job of it than they did of that deplorable patch of asphalt in Granville.

Replacing Sewer Biezenstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hallat the side of the Sint Jacobsplein is the Biezenstraat, and when we were last here IN JULY they were busy making a start on digging it up

Since then, they seem to have made a great deal of progress. And now that I can see the big concrete pipes down there, I can tell now that it’s all to do with replacing the sewer pipes in the street. That makes me wonder if they’ve installed something like a subterranean holding tank or something underneath the Sint Jacobsplein.

And as for the Frittourist, the fritkot on the edge of the Square to the left, the roadworks can’t be doing them much good in the way of passing trade. It’s a good fritkot too, one of the best in the City.

Replacing Sewer Sint Hubertusstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen I turn around to look behind me the other way to face the direction of the Hospital, I’m admiring the Sint Hubertusstraat.

When we came here last time, in early July, there was a huge hole in the middle of the crossroads and we had to walk miles around in order to proceed without falling down a great big hole in the road.

But now, it seems that they’ve filled in that part of the street now and while the surface isn’t finished, and not by a long way either, we can still walk past it on our way up the hill towards the hospital.

Apartment Building Block of Flats Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallJust after the corner there’s a big block of flats on the left that we always walk past.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago all of the residents were turfed out and once they had gone, the building was completely gutted right back to the framework. They have gradually been rebuilding it and it looks as if they are on the point of packing away their tools.

You can see all of the “For Sale” signs on the windows of the apartments. Most of them that I could see are “sold” and that presumably means that the new inhabitants will be moving into their homes very soon. It’s taken them long enough.

Replacing Sewer Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy struggle up the hill continued, through all of the roadworks that were there last time. The trench has been filled in and they are reworking the pavements and the cycle track right now.

The actual heavy work is now taking place on the way up between the by-pass overbridge and the roundabout at the foot of the car park. And just as I arrived, they obliged me by picking up a large concrete pipe and dropping it into the hole that they have dug.

For a change, I was early and was quickly logged in. And I found the reason why there had been such a delay in my treatment. In the waiting room there are no longer 40 seats but just 10. and in the communal treatment rooms where 20 people can sit and have their treatment, there are just two seats. There are about a dozen or so confidential treatment rooms where you go for your tests on admission, and now patients are left in these rooms throughout the whole of their treatment.

So Instead of about 50 patients at a session, there are now just maybe a dozen. Hardly a surprise given what’s going on right now.

A nice nurse took care of me and I had a nice young trainee doctor. There have to be some benefits of having this illness. Even nicer, Kaatje came to see me and we has a nice chat. She’s nominally a Social Worker but in reality she’s a psychiatrist, although they don’t let on. Every terminally-ill patient has a psychiatrist allocated to them, and Kaatje can come and administer to my needs any time she likes.

While I had her attention, I mentioned the issues – or lack of them – about not having had my compulsory 4-week treatment since January this year. Not that it will do any good but it’s something that one has to do.

While I was sitting there having my perfusion, I attacked the dictaphone. Last night I was a girl, would you believe? And I was living at home. I’d been downstairs for a meal and tried to talk to people and be interesting but no-one was listening or interested in the least with what I had to say. They were always cutting my speech, that kind of thing. In the end I threw something of a tantrum and stormed upstairs to my room. There was a record player in there and a record on and playing but the needle wasn’t advancing. It was just going round and round he edge again. Sooner or later there was a knock and the door opened. It was my father coming in. I thought that he might have come in to talk to me about things. But no. He just handed me a pair of my gloves that I’d left downstairs and said “you’ve forgotten these” and turned round and went out. I was so disappointed.
Later on there was one of these American sleuths – a Philip Marlowe type. He was renowned for helping his clients in all kinds of ways, many of which were illicit, to escape detection. This came at a price of course. One day he was being interviewed by a gangland boss who he didn’t particularly like. The gangland boss said something like “I understand that you can help people out of certain kinds of difficulties. Well I need a little help – that kind of thing. This private detective taunted him a little bit then said “yes, I’ll do that, $5,000”. To which the mafia type guy, the crook erupted into a rage. He grabbed this guy by the lapels and started to shake him like a dog. Just then, two warders came in to try and sort it all out.

Round about 14:00 my treatment was over and I could leave, having picked up next month’s supply of medication.

Statue Roundabout Gasthuisberg UZ Leuven Belgium Eric HallHere’s something that I’ve not noticed before, although that isn’t to say that it wasn’t there.

In the middle of the roundabout at the bottom of this car park is this large concrete pillar. And I’ve no idea why it’s there and what it’s supposed to represent. My opinion of modern art IS VERY WELL KNOWN so I won’t waste your time in repeating it. But seriously, I can’t see any attraction whatever in a concrete cast-off like this.

It reminds me very much of one of Albert Speer’s flak towers in Berlin, or something designed by someone from the Donald Gibson School of Wanton Vandalism, as I once mentioned IN MY UNIVERSITY THESIS

Demolition Sint Rafael Building Site Kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of wanton vandalism … “well, one of us is” – ed … after my hospital wisit I wandered on down the hill to see what was going on on the Kapucijnenstraat.

When we had walked past there the last time that we were here, they had started on the demolition of the annexes to the Sint Rafael. It’ always very interesting to see how they are doing and it seems to me that right now the whole lot have been swept away. They are even starting to build something on the site, but I bet it won’t be anything like as attractive.

At least the magnificent Flemish-style main building is there, but I may well go for a wander around tomorrow with the camera to record it for posterity because the cynic inside me HAS VERY LITTLE FAITH in modern developers. A suspicious fire could break out at any moment.

Interesting Old Bulding Kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallThere is however a good side to all of this demolition, even if it might not seem like it.

There are loads of old houses from the glory days of the city that have been obscured by new development. There’s a little Close off the Brusselsestraat that I haven’t yet explored but with the demolition of a newer building in the Kapucijnenstraat a couple of the houses down at the bottom end of the Close have been revealed.

When I’m out and about next, I’ll have to go to have a closer look, to see whether it is an original or whether it’s a simple modern reproduction.

Repairing City Walls Handbooghof Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that last time I was here I made a note about the lamentable state of the city walls in certain places.

It’s quite clear that the good Burghers of the City are keen and regular readers of the rubbish that I write because they now seem to be fenced off and there is scaffolding up in certain places. So maybe they really are going on to do something about it all.

It was round about here that I found a set of keys lying in the road. As it happens, a couple of Municipal Police were walking in the immediate vicinity so I referred the matter to them. I went on to Delhaize for a bit more shopping to take home.

Olleke Bolleke Tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAfter Delhaize I went to Origin’O for some grated vegan cheese for my next supply of pizza and then headed for home.

In the Tiensestraat I came across my favourite sweet shop. Or at least, it was when I was allowed to eat animal products, because as far as I know, all of their products contain pork gelatine. It’s the kind of place where you put your sweets into a bag and weigh the bag to work out the price.

The first time I encountered one of these shops was when I was in Bruges getting on for 40 years ago. It’s quite a large chain of shops with branches in most of the towns. in fact, some might say that sweets in Belgium are nothing but a load of Bollekes.

Back here, I had a few things to do and that took some time to organise.

Bloemenautomat Brabanconnestrat Leuven Belgium Eric HallLater on, it was time to go out. Alison and I had arranged to meet in the town centre.

And now I have seen everything I reckon. In the past we’ve seen pizzamats, potatomats and, a few weeks ago, a soupomat. Plenty of other mats too. But today is the first time ever that I’ve seen a Bloemenomat – an automatic flower-vending machine – here at the florist’s on the corner of the Brabanconnestraat.

It makes me wonder whether or not it shouts “violet, get your luvverly violets” at passers-by. That remains to be seen.

Photograph Team Rector De Somerplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallHaving inspected the Bloemenautomat, I headed off down the Tiensestraat into the town centre.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of my favourite photography subjects is to take photographs of other people taking photographs. Whilst that’s not the case in this photograph, I surprised a group of photographers marching actoss the Rector de Somerplein and it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Alison was waiting for me at our usual meeting place. It was nice to meet up again because it’s been a couple of months since we’ve last seen each other.

There seems to be a new place opened, the Wasbar in the Tiensestraat, and it was advertising vegan food. We decided to go there to see what it was like. It was certainly different and overpriced, but if you don’t go, you won’t know.

St Pieterskerk Leuven Belgium Eric HallAfter we’d eaten out meal we headed off back down into town.

At the bottom of the Tiensestraat is the magnificent St Peter’s Church – the Sint Pieterskerk. It’s least the third church on this site – the first known church being first recorded in 986. Made of wood, it was destryed by fire in 1176 and replaced by a church in the Romanesque period.

This one was in turn replaced by the present one, began round about 1425 and, surprisingly, still to be finished. Probably a British construction company was involved somewhere in the proceedings.

St Pieterskerk Leuven Belgium Eric HallHere at the western end, the twin towers of the Romanesque church were to remain but in 1458 they were destroyed by fire.

There was a design proposed to replace them with some really impressive towers but firstly the foundations were not solid enough, then they ran out of money, and then there were a couple of collapses of whatever of the towers had been built. Had the plans been properly completed, it would have been the tallest building in the world at the time.

During the Sack of Leuven in 1914 the church was set alight and the roof was destroyed. And then in 1944 it suffered a direct him on its northern side from a bomb

lights Mathieu de Layensplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile we’d been walking around on our way to our meal we’d noticed some lights down at the end of one of the streets. On the way back we decided to go and have a look to see what as going on.

Here in the Mathieu de Layensplein where they have the brocantes at weekends, one of the bars here has decided to bring a little gaiety into the area by stringing up some very nice lights.

The whole Square looks quite nice and interesting like this and it would have been nice to see more people try this kind of thing in their neighbourhood. With everything that’s going on right now, we could do with some brightening up.

Tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallOn the way back home, someone stopped me in the Tiensestraat and asked for directions.

While I was talking, I was having a look round and having the subject of lights going round in my head, I noticed just how nice the lower end of the Tiensestraat looked with all of the lights on the buildings. It’s another subject that seems to be crying out for a photograph.

Having done all of that, I headed home and missed my short-cut, so I had to go the long way round.

And now I’ve written up my notes (and that was a labour of love) I’m off to bed. No alarm tomorrow because the medication usually takes a lot out of me and I don’t know what this new stuff will be like.

And, of course, I have a 05:30 start on Friday so I need to be at my best.

Tuesday 8th September 2020 – THIS EVENING …

… I have seen something that has caused me a great deal of disquiet.

There was an ambulance and police car in the rue Cambernon here and about half a dozen people, ambulancemen and police, were struggling with a hysterical adolescent girl to put her into the ambulance.

There was no clue as to what had caused the incident, but her hysteria was way beyond the norm and quite suggestive of some kind of stupefiant-ignited issue although of course from the distance at which I was observing the affair and the fact that it was in the dark, there was nothing other than the audible indication to promote this idea.

But whatever it was, my hat goes off to the police and ambulancemen. It was a very stressful event, quite a battle to put her inside and strap her in, and they showed far more patience and discipline than I ever would have done.

It goes without saying that it’s not the kind of incident that one photographs, but it’s still bad news when the affairs of the banlieux of Paris come to, quite literally, our own doorstep.

As for me, much to my and everyone else’s surprise, I was out of bed before the third alarm went off. At least – I was sitting on the edge of the bed trying to summon up the courage to take some kind of drastic action, like moving.

Once I’d gathered my wits, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

I was on a galleon last night, one of these Spanish galleon things with crowds of people on it, a big tourist attraction. I was there with a certaib lady of my acquaintance. Something happened, me being careless I think, and she ended up with a sea-full of face – or, more likely, a face full of sea. I said that I was sorry but she started to whine on and on and on in this silly voice that she had, mimicking what I was saying so on that point I’d had enough so I just turned round and walked away. She changed her tune afterwards, apologised and asked me to come back but I’d really had enough so I just walked off. There was someone climbing up a ladder into the rigging of this ship. He was carrying a tray with about 10 different drinks on it. I thought that that was adventurous. I wouldn’t even do that with two. I was wandering around this ship, trying to find my way around and try my best to totally ignore her while she was still having one of these tantrum display things. There were some people sitting down – I was wondering whether to go to sit with them but I thought “no. I really want to be somewhere quite a way from this end of the ship somewhere on my own”.
Somewhat later we were having a look at some photos last night about all of the abandoned properties around Crewe and Nantwich, places like the old Co-op brewery and so on, a lot of them with photos of abandoned cars on them. There were several in Nantwich, three of them being churches close together in Hospital Street and their congregations transferred to the main parish church there. These churches, one of which was called St Werburgh’s, were all very eerie but very magnificent, Victorian Gothic-type but in terrible states of disrepair and decay. Even though I don’t remember them as a kid (because they weren’t there) we were having a good prowl around these places last night in this dream. It was really quite interesting. On one occasion we ended up being at a church service. They came along and asked for a collection. The girl I was with said she didn’t have anything and I just had a few copper coins that I gave them. later, we were on a railway station watching the trains come in. We moved away but a train had pulled in so I prepared my camera to take a photo. As it pulled out another one, a magnificent really big powerful locomotive pulled out of this station hauling an express train so I went to take a photo of them with the NIKON 1 J5 as it pulled out of the station but it wouldn’t work at first. I had to press the shutter a couple of times for it to work. While I was doing this there was some woman standing nearby. She was excited because she could see the main railway station from here. I thought that she meant the one at Manchester which was quite some way away and you can’t see with the naked eye, but bathed in fog anyway. But she said “no, it’s Denton station! Look over there! So I looked over there but I couldn’t see it at all with my naked eye.

Having dealt with all of that, I finally got round to having a look at Sunday’s effort. And after a good deal of listening, of thought and of transcription I managed to sort something out and you can READ IT HERE.

Surprisingly, even though I had the strongest impression that Pollux was one of the people with me, there was no mention whatever of her name at all, so I’ve no idea where this impression comes from. Mind you, there are several minutes missing here and there, either because

  1. I didn’t dictate it (there seems to be a hole in the middle of the story somehow).
  2. I didn’t transcribe it because I couldn’t decipher it (there was some of that too)
  3. I didn’t type it out because there was a significant part of the voyage that would put you off your tea. And there seems to have been quite a bit of that just recently. I’ve been having some really disturbed – and disturbing – nights just recently.

As I was finishing everything, which had taken me long enough, someone with whom I wanted a chat appeared on the internet. We ended up having a lengthy chat and that was, basically, the morning finished.

After lunch I set about the radio programme. All of the tracks have been paired and combined and the text is written. Not dictated though because I ran out of time.

There had been a few interruptions during the afternoon.

speedboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst of all, there was the afternoon walk in the beautiful pleasant if not slightly windy afternoon.

There wasn’t all that much activity out there at sea this afternoon. Whatever that big ship was yesterday, that’s cleared off and there was only a speeedboat roaring past out at sea.

They are clearly going far too fast for fishing and I can’t think of any other good reason why they would be out there this afternoon. It’s not as if there’s anywhere to go in that direction.

tractors beach breville sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallIn theory I suppose that they might be heading towards shore because there is something exciting going on over there on the beach by the looks of things.

We saw the other day that the bouchot harvesters were out there on the mussels beds at Donville-les-Bains. Over there on the beach bear Breville-sur-Mer they seem to be gathering again.

They are quite possibly waiting for the tide to go out so that they can access the mussels beds over there too. I doubt that the cabin cruiser there has any involvement in the activity.

fishing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThey are probably local fishermen, because there have been quite a few of those out there over the last week or 10 days. There are plenty of mooring buoys and pot markers out there right now.

And plenty of other fishermen too. While I was walking along the path on the north side of the promontory a boat came around the headland. They are clearly intent on fishing as they have rods and fishing nets clearly on display.

It beats me why, because I have yet to see anyone out there ever catch anything.

painting trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route arounf the headland took me past the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

And there was plenty of activity in there once again. The usual seven boats of course – nothing has changed that much. But the fishing boat from which they had been stripping the paint the other day, that’s now in the process of being resprayed.

Give it a week or two and we may well find that boat back in the water. And one or two others because there was a considerable amount of work being carried on on the other boats too.

Back here, another interruption was to deal with the question of Strider’s insurance. That expires in a few days and needs to be paid, even though I won’t probably have the pleasure of going over to Canada to drive him this year.

So this involved several e-mails, a ‘phone call to Canada, a complicated series of transactions with the bank and then a discussion on the internet with Rachel.

That took much longer than I expected and meant that my third interruption, my session on the guitar, was somewhat curtailed.

Tea was my burger on a bap with potatoes and vegetables, followed by a slice of my delicious apple pie and soya dessert.

yacht sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I went out for my evening walk it wasn’t quite dark outside.

In the distance out in the English Channel there was a yacht looking as if it was heading towards port. Of course it was far too far out for me to be able to identify it.

There were also plenty of other lights out to sea on the horizon. It wasn’t possible to say anything whatever about those.

Instead, I carried on and ran all the way along the footpath underneath the medieval walls. And, having recvered my breath again I ran across the Square Maurice Marland

trawler docking in port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDuring my walk across the Place Cambernon I observed the incident that I related earlier and by the time that I moved on, it was now quite dark.

We’ve seen a couple of fishing boats here and there just recently – not as many as we saw three or four months ago. However there was one coming into port and performing a U-turn to tie up alongside the fish processing plant, presumably to unload its catch.

From there I walked down to the road and then ran all the way home to write up my notes.

And having done that, I’m now ready for bed. A nice early night, finish off the radio programme (which might take all day) and then do some tidying up

There is still plenty of work to be done and I’m not really catching up with very much at all. That needs to be changed, and rapidly too.

Monday 6th July 2020 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not actually sitting in a rainbow but sitting in my little room in this hotel complex in Leuven.

It’s that time again and I’ve been on my travels. I’ve finally made it back here for my appointment at Castle Anthrax tomorrow.

Just for a change I actually made it out of bed immediately after the first alarm, despite not going to bed until 00:45, which just goes to show that I can do it if I really try.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphonr but there was nothing there. I’d not been anywhere on my travels during the night which is a shame. I went and had a shower instead.

There was a little tidying up to do and then I headed off out with my bag, calling at Caliburn to pick up a shopping bag and my foldable rain jacket

tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked off from the apartment I noticed that it seemed that the harbour gates had just opened.

All of the trawlers were jostling for position and streaming out of port. This one here is Tiberiade, the sister ship to Coelacanthe pulling away from the quayside and lining up ready to rush out to sea

Having watched them for a few minutes, I pushed on into town, avoiding the cherry-picker on the corner with a crew of men in the nacelle cleaning the windows of the estate agents.

84557 gec alstom regiolis gare de granville railway station manche normandy france eric hallAt the station, face masks are compulsory, although the casual way in which they are being worn is something of a surprise.

The train didn’t take long to arrive so we all piled in. There were quite a few people with suitcases either going off on holiday or going home from holiday.

And as the train pushed on towards Paris it became more and more crowded. I ended up with someone sitting next to me, which makes a total mockery of any kind of social distancing. At the station each alternate seat in the waiting room was blocked off, but it seemed to be a rather pointless exercise if we were all going to be crammed together on a train

We pulled into the Gare Montparnasse bang on time and despite all of the precautions at the station we were once again crammed like sardines into the trains.

tgv duplex 217 paris gare du nord france eric hallAt Paris Gare du Nord our train came in but was delayed in the station because someone had left a bag on board.

The bomb squad had to be called in and I was expecting a very lengthy wait. But it didn’t take too long to deal with the matter, which was a surprise.

Another surprise was that there were only 8 carriages on this train and I had a ticket for carriage 15. However the train was’t very busy and I found an empty seat at the top od the steps where there would be no-one alongside me.

We left 5 minutes late but caught up with the time by the time that we arrived at Lille Flandres.

A brisk walk across the city to Lille Europe and our train to Brussels was already in. I scrambled aboard and walked down the train to find my seat, to find that I ha a neighbour alongside me. I have a feeling that this “social distancing” rule in the railway stations is just a lip-service procedure and nothing more than window-dressing.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive brussels gare du midi belgium eric hallAt Brussels I only had a 10-minute wait before my train arrived – the 15:28 to Welkenraedt.

The front of the train is always the lest crowded so I found a seat down there and managed to go the whole way to Leuven without a neighbour.

Here at my accommodation all of the entry procedures had been changed, including the password on the electric gate. Luckily another resident was coming in at the same time so she opened the door for me.

The office was locked too and after making a phone call to the manager I was given the password to the safe where the keys were kept.

The place isn’t all that busy so I’ve had another upgrade to a duplex apartment.

river dyle redingenstraat leuven belgium eric hallLater on, I walked into town to meet Alison. It’s been quite a while since we have met.

It was a beautiful evening so we went for a very long walk around the town looking at the scenery in the old Beguinage and round by the River Dyle while we exchanged our news.

Alison was very interested in my voyage around the coast of northern Brittany and I was keen to hear about the renovations that were going on at her home.

river dyle leuven belgium eric hallWe ended up walking back into town and went for a meal at the Greenway.

The food there is pretty good and I had a Vegan Mexican burger with sweet potato chips and a can of ginger and lemom Kambucha. And that reminds be – I bought some seeder to make my own kambucha and when I return home I’ll organise myself to make some of my own.

We carried on with our walk afterwards round to Kloosters, the bar where we usually go for coffee, but it was closed so we had to go elsewhere.

city walls leuven belgium eric hallLater on in the evening we went for yet another walk.

There’s a beautiful footpath alongside the River Dyle alongside the old early Medieval City walls. And they seem to be in quite a depressing state too.

There’s not much left of them these days and it looks as if there will be even less of them in due course if drastic action isn’t taken to maintain them. All that section there looks as if it’s about to all fall down and that will be a disaster.

demolishing sint pieters hospital leuven belgium eric hallA little further on ze came across the Sint Pieter hospital. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I stayed there when I first came to Leuven.

The story goes that it was built for the Francophone community of Leuven but instead they all decamped to a new site in Wallonie – Louvain-la Neuve – and despite the millions and millions spent on the building it was never occupied.

They are now on the way to demolishing it and all of the site is going to be redeveloped. Apartments, commercial premises, a park and finally at long last, the culvert over the river there is going to be uncovered.

It’s going to be something well worth waiting for.

water mill river dyle leuven belgium eric hallWhile you admire the photo of the old water mill down at the Beguinage, Alison drove me out to look at the improvements that are being made at her home.

And they are impressive too. The house is looking beautiful and I was well-impressed.

She drove me back here afterwards and I sat down to write up my journal. But it’s been a long day and I’ve done a total of 175% of my daily activity.

That’s the cue foe me to call it a day and have an early night. You can admire the rest of this evening’s photos

Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
“river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

Wednesday 1st July – MUCH TO MY …

… own surprise I once more beat the third alarm to my feet. But that was more in the hope that I wouldn’t awaken my fellow passengers with the racket that it makes rather than any keenness on my part. Some stuff on the dictaphone too and I’ll tell you more anout that as time goes on. I’ve not yet listened to it so I don’t know as yet if I have had any exciting company.

Mind you, my shipmates aren’t so pleased with me. Apparently David Bowie awoke the whole ship this morning and they have politely asked me to switch off my alarm tomorrow.

We had a leisurely start today and Strawberry Moose became the first moose ever to set hoof on the Isle de Brehat. There he found himself a girlfriend – it was love at first sight.

This all involved a zodiac ride and if anyone from Adventure Canade were to see the security precautions that we took, they would blanch. But we made it ashore (and back) safely and had a good tour around the island for three hours or so.

Back on the Spirit of Conrad we had an unexpected hitch. The anchor was jammed and it needed both the crewmen to free it. However we needed to leave at that moment because of the tide so Yours Truly was trusted with the controls all on my own for about an hour or so.

Luckily I wasn’t at the controls a little later because we had “an incident”. There was a ship anchored off the coast right in our path and as we approached it, it signalled to us to “clear off”. We saw no reason to so we carried on regardless and right behind it was a police launch – the Geranium I. And they came to intercept us.

Apparenty this ship is surveying the ocean bottom and there have been some disputes with the local fishermen, so a 500-metre exclusion zone has been declared around it. All very well if you are a local and you know, but if you don’t know, you don’t know.

They were on board for almost an hour verifying all of our papers and everything before they cleared off.

The weather, that hadn’t been too good to start with, deteriorated over the course of the day. We passed Cap Frehel in a heavy cloud and by the time we moored at St Cast le Guildo) it was raining heavily. Mind you there are some good modern showers in the harbour office so I for one took full advantage.

Rosemary called me for a chat too which was nice – but that meant that it was quite late when I came back on board. However with no 06:00 alarm in the morning it doesn’t matter all that much. I’m off to bed and hopefully I’ll be having a good lie-in

******* PHOTOS AND MORE CONTENT WILL BE ADDED IN DUE COURSE *******

Monday 9th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… about those piles of gravel that had been appearing over the last couple of days on the quayside down in the harbour.

This blurred and illisible photo (I still have a lot to learn about the NIKON 1 J5) shows a ship that I have every reason to believe is Neptune moored at the loading bay by the conveyors where they ship the gravel on board.

At long last we’ve had a gravel boat in the harbour and I shall go out tomorrow (and try to be early) just to confirm that it is indeed she. It would be just my luck for her to have a rapid turn-round and for me to miss her.

But here’s something else quite interesting.

police interaction bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that bad parking is a regular topic in these pages, particularly in the boulevard Vaufleury which is on a service bus route, is just 50 metres from the High School and is an access road for the fleet of school buses that come in the opposite direction to the service buses.

Where Madame (it is indeed a Madame) is parked is
1) the wrong way round
2) half on the pavement
3) blocking the buses
4) at school chucking-out time
5) just about 20 FEET from a huge free car park
so finally, at long, long last, the local police are doing something about it and they are making her move her vehicle.

That is pretty much encouraging news.

What else is encouraging news is that I was awake before the first alarm went off, and I was out of bed before the final alarm. Crashing out half-way through last night’s entry and so giving up and going to bed was good news in that case.

After the medication, I had a look at the dictaphone. Apparently I was in this labyrinth of a theatre complex last night all the way through this underground reception hall place with doors going off leading into theatre auditoriums and all kinds of things. There were all kinds of announcements about the place, many of them were out of date, 2011 I noticed. There were all kinds of things happening here. But I was just wandering through listening to the radio. They were talking about “hypocrites of the year” I suppose – some guy who was telling us all about how keen he was for this and how good he was going to be for that but while he was doing that he had increased all your library charges. Someone else was going on about how brilliant a cricketer he might have been, all this kind of thing, but he made one fatal mistake and that was heroin. I was drifting through this auditorium that had a couple of very faded leather chairs and the leather was worn out in certain places. Something to do with catching a London Underground train somewhere. There was a thing too about caring for your vans if you were on a limited income, like a hippy, and a warning that the supply of LDV vans even in scrapyards was drying up now – the van that was chosen for an example was a silver LDV M-reg.
A little later I was outside with someone who was supposed to be Liz’s husband but he was more like the father of a couple of friends of mine. He had Liz’s daughter with him. She’d been on a student exchange and she had a student back with them. He was saying “you’ll have to come round for a game of pinocle or something one of these days. We’ll have an evening of five people”. He indicated roughly a place in eastern Manchester, Hyde or that area Stalybridge where he was living but he didn’t go into any further details about that. I was wondering who this “five” was because I knew that he was on his own, the daughter had her friend and there was me, so who was the 5th? I couldn’t think.

After breakfast I had a look at the digital sound files. I managed to unsort three of them too. One of them however needs much more attention because for some unknown reason there’s a load of “additional music” which seems to be a mixture of selections of various tracks, so I’d like to know what was going on there.

It isn’t the first one like that that I had found either.

By now it was time to go for my shower and to clean myself up somewhat, and then head up into town.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot that I actually got very far before I was interrupted.

Remember yesterday when I photographed all of the pontoon-supporting pillars on the quayside and I mused that they might be assembling them in two rows of four?

Here’s the big floating pontoon travelling across the harbour with one of the pillars within its clutches almost at the place where one would expect to see it if we were going to have a fourth pillar in that row.

scaffolding port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the scaffolding too. We talked about that as well.

My attention was drawn from a distance that the masts of Marité were not where they would usually be. And that was strange because she doesn’t usually roam around the harbour but stays put in her habitual little corner.

But she’s definitely moved, and the reason for that is that they’ve put the scaffolding, complete with OSB wallboards, in her usual berth and there are a couple of guys down there doing something.

So at least I know that the scaffolding is actually a working platform for some kind of task.

la mascotte boulangerie rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I headed down into the town centre and up the rue Couraye towards LIDL.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several weeks ago we watched them fit some kind of protective shuttering around the front of the boulangerie here and start to smash out the old window.

The protective shuttering has now gone and, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the new shop front is in glorious display. That’s quite a nice job that they’ve done there. It looks quite good.

Now for the first time ever in my whole life, I’ve seen every till open at the same time in a LIDL. And that will give you some kind of indication of just how busy it was in there today.

No cucumbers, which is a problem, and nothing else of any real interest as far as I was concerned. All in all, a little disappointing. 3-kilo bags of apples was about the closest that I was to a bargain. And they won’t last long now that I’m making my purées myself.

birnam wood dunsinane moving vegetation rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I headed to La Mie Caline for my dejeunette but i was held up outside the shop as Birnam Wood went past on its way to Dunsinane.

There was actually a tractor and trailer parked around the corner with several large plants stacked thereupon, and presumably this machine was busy distributing them around the town.

It’s certainly a different approach to beautifying the town. I’ve said often enough … “indeed” – ed … that there isn’t enough greenery in this town and we ought to have some more.

new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving picked up my dejeunette I headed back home again.

Only half-way up the rue des Juifs before I was distracted yet again. Not that I would know much about these things but they look pretty much like new pontoon supports and new pontoons over there on the west wall of the harbour.

What with one thing and another, I can see that I’m going to be quite busy tomorrow having a look at all of these things. But at least the harbour gates will be closed again by 09:30 or thereabouts so it doesn’t have to be an “early” early.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd in other news, there’s activity in the chantier navale today too.

It’s been quite busy in there up until very recently, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the boats have been going back into the water one by one until just now we had none whatever left.

But that’s all changed now. There are two boats in there now, one of which is a large yacht that might actually be La Granvillaise. I’ll go for a stroll over there this afternoon to check on that.

Back at my apartment I made myself a coffee and then split up a fourth music file. Pretty straightforward except that there were three extra tracks on it that aren’t on the LP that I have, so I had to track down which version of the master tape I had obtained so that I could identify the tracks.

There was still time before lunch to send off my project for this weekend and to start a new one to add to the stock.

After lunch, I carried on with the radio project but didn’t get too far before I was overwhelmed with a wave of fatigue. I didn’t quite crash out but for about 15-20 minutes I was teetering on the edge and didn’t actually do any work or anything while I was sitting there

trawler fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now it was raining outside when I went for my afternoon walk.

Neptune was due to come into port, that I knew, so when I saw an object the same colour as Neptune far out to sea in the English Channel I took a photo with the intention of enlarging it back in the apartment.

Which I did, and it wasn’t Neptue at all but one of the fishing boats heading back to the port. Neptune must still ne well out of range, which wouldn’t be a surprise because there’s a while yet before the harbour gates will open and she won’t want to sit around outside waiting.

fishing boats trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallShe might not want to, but everyone else is.

The tide is well out and the little creek that leads up to the side of the fish-processing plant is only just starting to fill with water. It’ll be another half an hour or so before she’ll be deep enough to accept the fishing boats but they are all starting to congregate just outside.

There were at least 10 of them out there – maybe more but I had run out of fingers by this point and I wasn’t going to start taking off my shoes and socks. Mind you, had I had my hands in my pockets, I might have been able to count up to 11.

strange house rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was walking round across the lawn by the War memorial, I noticed this.

We haven’t had an earthquake or a landslide or anything. That house is actually built like that. It’s what they call a trompe l’oeil – “something that cheats the eye” and it’s the window thats aligned strangely to follow the contours of the roofs rather than being in the hotizontal/vertical plane.

What’s bewildering me right now though is why I never noticed that before. It’s not like me to miss out on something this.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, enough of this. I continued on my way around the headland to go to see what was going on in the chantier navale.

And I was right here too. It’s my lucky day, isn’t it? The “G90” painted on the side of the yacht tells us that it is indeed La Granvillaise down there on blocks.

Crowds of people milling round her too so there’s clearly something important going on with her. At least, I imagine that the people are there for her. It’s unlikely that a fishing boat would receive that much attention unless she had caught the Loch Ness Monster.

men in small boat baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, you’ll recall that we saw a couple of kayaks out there in the baie de Mont St Michel.

And so when I saw something else quite small out there in that general direction, I reckoned that it might be another one so I took another photograph of it to examine back in the comfort and safety of my apartment.

But it wasn’t a kayak at all but one of the small flat-bottomed boats that they use for transporting the boxes of seafood to the quayside from boats that have for one reason or another not been able to moor at the fish-processing plant.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallAnd earlier this morning we saw the large flaoting pontoon carrying one of the pillars across the harbour.

A short while later the noise of the pile-driver started up and it’s been going on for most of the day. And so I had expected them to have made substantial progress, and I was quite right about that.

It’s been pounded quite well and quite deeply into the bed of the harbour and I imagine that they’ll be connecting up some pontoons to it in early course.

It’s certainly interesting.

And while I was musing on this, I witnessed the “police interaction” that I mentioned earlier.

Back here I did a little more to the radio project but ended up having an hour or so playing with the bass guitar and the 6-string electric/acoustic. It’s been a good while since I had a decent play about and I must work harder on this and make more of an effort.

Tea was a delicious stuffed pepper with rice, followed by some apple pie and coconut soya stuff. And despite the absence of spices, it was really nice. I’ll have to make a few more like that one of these days.

But I’m really going to have to buy a bigger fridge and a bigger freezer.

high winds storm plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I went to see what was going on with the winds.

The tide is well out now but the wind is still causing the waves to smash against the wall down on the Plat Gousset. I bet that they didn’t do much repair work on that wall today.

My two runs weren’t a problem, except that my first run had to be on a different course due to waterlogging. And then I went to have a look at Neptune.

Now i’m back here and ready for bed. I’ll finish (I hope) the radio project tomorrow and then I can deal with another outstanding matter.

However did I find the time to go to work?