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Friday 21st January 2022 – DAY FOUR …

… of my self-enforced confinement is almost over.

And while yesterday was one step forward, today has actually been two steps backward, and that’s really disappointing.

Not going to bed until about 02:35 might explain some of it, but I cheated and switched off the alarm. Consequently it was about 10:00 when I finally surfaced.

It sounds as if it might have been a reasonable amount of sleep (for a change) but when I listened to the dictaphone, it was anything but. I was with TOTGA last night, so it’s not surprising that things were turbulent. We were walking around the town and streets of Crewe, the north side, collecting money for what was supposed to be the TV licence people although I wasn’t convinced that it was. We’d already collected some but then there was the pub to go to – The Royal Scot – and then a pile of houses around there. I suggested going to the Royal Scot first but she suggested that we do the private houses. I didn’t necessarily agree with it but it wasn’t anything for me to particularly worry about. However it turned into one of these arguments that you have, something about nothing. We carried on walking but as we we were walking past the brook in Underwood Lane a woman came out from behind there moaning and grumbling about the TV licence collectors and how the security staff at Tesco have no courage. Another woman on the other side of the road on the green bank there was mowing the grass with a mini-tractor. She told her basically to stop complaining etc. The two of them had an argument which led to the one on the tractor saying “I’m going to have a camp site anyway” to which both TOTGA and I thought was a great idea. The bad-tempered woman didn’t seem to appreciate that there were two other people siding with this woman. It was quite funny thought how this argument between the two of us sprang up out of nothing and I still can’t understand why we ended up arguing about it when it wasn’t really of any importance anyway.

There was another dream that involved TOTGA but I can’t remember much of it, which is quite obviously a shame. Fancy not remembering an encounter with her. We were both on some kind of island but we weren’t supposed to know about each other being here either. Eventually we met up and there was some talk about some other people who weren’t very nice people. We had to go to see them so I shrugged my shoulders and the two of us set off. But there was much more to it than that but I just can’t remember now.

Later on there were quite a few of us on an island. One of the girls, I don’t know who, said that she had seen someone. We all thought that it sounded like Trotsky or Lenin or someone like that. She then described this person and it turned out in fact to be him so we all huddled together while we thought of a plan. In the meantime there were some Christmas decorations but they were out. Feeling around, it seemed that when I had rolled over at some time I’d pulled the wires apart so I was groping around in the dark trying to find these two wires so that I could put them together again.

I’d been at some kind of festivity that had been cancelled. A town had dropped out of it so someone asked me on the radio if I thought that Granville would take its place. I replied that as far as I could see Granville wouldn’t take the place of anyone and wasn’t going to do anything.

Down this path … “which path?” – ed … I walked and I could see a kind of round circle that was lit up and going round and round. I suddenly realised that it must be our headquarters. People came out of the shadows where they had been hiding to welcome us but I awoke just as it was starting to become exciting.

It took me all that was left of the morning to type out that. And I was quite exhausted typing it too. It must have been breath-taking when it was all going on for “real”.

But that wasn’t all that I had to do either. I noticed from yesterday’s entry that two paragraphs had been somehow missed off. And so I had to add them in as well.

As I was late arising, I hadn’t bothered with breakfast so I had a typical Sunday brunch at 13:00 – porridge, toast and strong black coffee, in the hope that the coffee would revive me and there would be less pain in my jaw with the porridge.

The pain was reduced, but not gone completely, and the coffee didn’t work at all. I spent the whole afternoon either writing up the dictaphone notes from previous days or else flat out on the chair fast asleep. And when I awoke I was seriously contemplating crawling into bed and pulling the covers over me because I was absolutely freezing.

That’s one thing that I’ve noticed this week – how cold I’ve been. I’m here right now fully dressed, with a dressing gown on top and the heating going flat out.

Tea was a rather rushed meal out of the freezer because there was football on the internet – TNS v Connah’s Quay. The season has restarted after the Covid break. TNS won at a canter, as you might expect, especially when Connah’s handed them all three goals on a plate. And two goals disallowed too for good measure.

The commentator asked a guest at half time “what do you think Craig Harrison (the Connah’s Quay manager) ought to be doing now?”. The immediate thought that went through my mind was “to persuade Oliver Byrne (the Connah’s Quay keeper) to come off his line”. He’s one of the best shot-stoppers in the league but he won’t come out for crosses. One of the goals and the two disallowed goals could have been prevented if he had come out for crosses instead of staying back on his line.

But now anyway I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow when I can finish the dictaphone notes and then crack on with something else. But I’m really not feeling at all like it right now.

And if you think that I’m spending far too much time moaning instead of doing anything, another purpose of these notes is to record my state of health and how I’m feeling about it. It’s quite important that I keep an eye on myself and that I’m able to look back on it in the future and see how it evolved.

Although right now, I don’t see too much of a future.

Tuesday 14th December 2021 – LOOK AT THIS!

christmas cake with icing place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Here’s my Christmas cake, all finished and almost ready to eat. And doesn’t it look nice?

The icing is a bit hit-and-miss unfortunately as I don’t have a proper palette knife to spread it. And the icing is a little too runny so it’s slowly sliding down to the bottom so every hour or so I have to scrape it back up again.

Maybe overnight it might set in which case it will be fine but let’s hope so.

All that I can say is that considering my first go at icing a large cake like this, I haven’t done too badly although I’m the first to admit that I have a lot to learn about baking a cake.

But in bed last night I wouldn’t have learnt anything because I spent much of the time trying all I could to drop off to sleep.

It must have worked at some point because I was off on my travels at one or two points. I’ve no idea what was happening at first but according to the dictaphone but I was definitely off on my travels with all kinds of animals and horrific things going on there for 10 minutes while I was asleep.

Later on, Matthew was giving a speech on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night. Apparently when it comes to unloading a zodiac it’s always the infirm people who leave first and leave the fit people behind so that they can have a better control of the boat and everything that’s going on. But it seemed that someone concealed their illness, let everyone else leave the boat first until there was just him and the driver. Then this guy couldn’t leave the boat – he wasn’t able to. There was only the driver to help him. While the driver was concentrating on dealing with this guy the zodiac was out of control and they risked losing the zodiac as well as the two people on it while all this was happening. He was not impressed at all and gave the audience what amounted to a real dressing down about this kind of behaviour. He insisted that the infirm people should leave the zodiac first and people should accept their responsibilities and accept their limitations and not put the whole party at risk.

Later on a former friend of mine and I were down in the Auvergne last night. We needed some product of something or other so we had to drive back to Stoke on Trent to fetch it. We took some stuff back with us with the idea that we could do some work on his house while we were there. We hadn’t heard anything from his wife so we did it anyway. He drove back and I was a passenger in this sports car thing. The arrangement was that I’d drive back to the Auvergne and he’d be passenger. It was very tiring of course and we had to set a route, like 3 hours for this bit which would normally take 2, etc. It took ages to get back and we arrived in Stoke on Trent and the first thing that we did was to fall into a bed fully clothed and went to sleep. Shortly afterwards, Zero of all people came in. She saw us both and got into bed with us, being very little-girly. She came and snuggled up to me so I snuggled up to her as well.

Yes, not very often at all that I’m lucky enough to snuggle up to Zero during the night, is it? Add to that the events of the other night when I was back at school and things are looking up.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wish that my daylight hours would be as exciting as what goes on during the night.

There was much more going on during the night too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I won’t put you off your food by talking to you about it.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to revise my Welsh from last week. Only to find that I’d forgotten most of what I’d learnt. This teflon brain that I have is really getting on my nerves.

There weren’t too many of us in the lesson this morning, considering that it’s the last of the year. And to my surprise, it passed well enough. Revising and preparing an hour or so before the lesson seems to be a good idea.

christmas cake with marzipan place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021After lunch, I decided to marzipan the Christmas cake.

With no apricot jam I had to use blackcurrant jam but that seemed to work just fine. I warmed the marzipan in my hands, coated the worktop with flour and then rolled out the marzipan.

It was rolled out rather thin so I built it up with a couple of layers and given half a chance and more marzipan I would have made it thicker. It’s rather thinner than you might expect in a Christmas cake but as I have said earlier, I have a lot to learn.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out and about on my post-prandial perambulations.

First stop was over to the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there. And seeing as there wasn’t all that much beach on which anything could be going on, I wasn’t expecting very much to be going on at all.

And consequently I wasn’t disappointed. There wasn’t anyone at all down there that I could see this afternoon. There didn’t even seem to be anyone walking around on the promenade at the Plat Gousset either.

philcathane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Mind yuo, there was something going on right out in the Baie de Granville.

From my vantage point on the cliffs I could see something moving in the raincloud out at sea so I photographed it with the aim of enhancing it when I’m back at home to see if I could find out who it might be.

The colour scheme gave me some kind of clue though. If I had to guess at this range I would have said that it may well be Philcathane.

Anyway, whoever she might be, she was the only thing out there that I could see moving around out at sea.

cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And it wasn’t just out at sea or on the beach at the Rue du Nord that there was next-to-no activity.

Down at the bench by the Cabanon Vauban there wasn’t a soul either. There were one or two people wandering around on the path down below, but no-one stopping for a rest.

But then there was nothing happening out at sea here, there wasn’t a sunset of any description to admire and the Brittany coast round by Cancale was obscured by clouds. And so I pushed off along the path around to the other side of the headland.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Yesterday I posted a photo of the portable boat lift because it looked as if there had been something going on with it during the day.

So when I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that they have been doing yet more work on it.

Yesterday it was in grey rust-proof primer but today it’s been painted again and now has its top-coat of a nice off-white. And it really does look nice painted like that.

It can’t be long now until it’s finished and we’re back at work down there. It’s been very quiet over the last couple of months around here with no boats under repair down there.

chant de sirenes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The last time that I looked, L’Omerta was tied up at the fish processing plant.

She’s not there today though. Moored in her place was one of the smaller trawlers – Chant de Sirenes – “Song of the Mermaids”.

It looks to me as if she’s either unloading her catch right now or loading up a pile of catch boxes because there are some men working in the stern of the boat and there are some others up on the quayside with a pile of boxes that are identical to those in the stern.

Why they are doing it from above I really don’t know. It’s much easier to load up the boat from the level down below.

philcathane baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I was turning for home I looked round, just in time to see the trawler that we had seen earlier come into harbour.

And there’s no need to do anything to the photo back at the apartment because we can see quite clearly who she is from here.

She is in fact Philcathane, coming back in from a day’s fishing out at sea.

And so I headed for home, surprising a couple of kids aged about 11 or 12 having a crafty cigarette behind a hedge as I walked past.

After a coffee I started to ice my Christmas cake and while it ought to be done better, I’m still reasonably pleased with what I’ve done.

Tea was a curry out of the freezer and now, rather later than intended, I’m off to bed. I’ve a 06:00 start in the morning so I need to make to most of what remains of the night.

Friday 23rd October 2020 – ANOTHER FLAMING …

… shambles of a morning where I couldn’t find the energy to drag myself out of bed when the alarms went off.

That was despite having a relatively early night too. And nothing on the dictaphone either to disturb me. Although I do seem to remember something about hitting someone with a golf club so that he couldn’t take part in a competition in which I was competing, something like Tonya Harding, I suppose.

First task was then to finish off THE BLOG FROM YESTERDAY by adding in all of the photos that I took last night. And when I say “all of them”, I mean “all of them that survived the cull” because most of them ended up in the bin.

It was a very disappointing session last night.

Another thing that I did, which took up the rest of the morning, was a two-week course in “How To Create Great On-Line Content” from the University of Sheffield. I studied the course, took the exam at the end and ended up with a score of 80% and a certificate. Yes, the World’s my oyster now, isn’t it? And all in a couple of hours before lunch too!

This afternoon I attacked the outstanding 46 photos from August and now they are all done. Right on cue too.

woman swimming in sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving compeleted my day’s tasks, I went off for my afternoon walk.

Not as enthusiastically as this lady here, of course. She has come here to take the waters and that’s plainly evident by her actions in leaping into the sea. A braver man than I am, Gungha Din. I know that I’ve been it up to my knees 700 miles from the North Pole but I had a coat on at the time.

You wouldn’t get me doing what she’s doing, not for all the tea in China. I’m sure that I don’t need to repeat the discussion that I had with Castor and Pollux on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

light aeroplane Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallso instead I wandered off on my afternoon walk around the medieval walls of the old city.

Having seen someone in the water, several people on the beach and crowds of people around on the footpath, it only remained for me to see someone in the air and I would hit the jackpot. And sure enough, a light aeroplane from the airport at Donville-les-Bains duly obliged.

You are probably wondering why I didn’t include any of the scaffolders on the roof of the College Malraux or the house in the Rue St Jean as my aerial representatives, but the fact is that they had all cleared off and gone.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I’d been out at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord, I’d seen some movement out to sea near the Ile de Chausey.

My money was on it being one of the Joly France ferries coming back from the Ile de Chausey and as I came around the corner into the Square Maurice Marland, sure enough, she came around the headland and headed for the port entrance.

Unfortunately there were far too many people around so I couldn’t break out into a run. What with one thing and another, I run like a dromedary with dropsy and it’s not for public consumption.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time I reached the far side of the Square, Joly France was making her tight turn into the harbour entrance.

Down there on the left-hand side, there’s a current that swirls away at the silt and it’s worn a channel over there that is deeper than the rest of the harbour entrance. When the tide is quite low like it is at the moment, the boats need all the sea-room that they can get and even so, I’ve bumped along the bottom over there once or twice.

But she successfully negotiated the entrance and then went over to the ferry terminal to tie up and disgorge her passengers.

pallet loader loading onto trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, there were quite a few strange goings on in the harbour this afternoon.

A van and a trailer pulled up at the quayside and then a pallet loader came along and dropped some rectangular metallic object onto the trailer. And as well as that, there’s a huge pile of what looks like wood dumped in one of the gravel bins over there. That’s something else for me to keep an eye on in the future.

But not right now. I headed for home as I had plenty of things to do this afternoon.

So, what were my plans for this afternoon?

First of all, I had to feed the sourdough. And it was a mistake to tip the excess down the sink because it’s clearly working, extremely sour, and has stunk the place out to high heaven. The next step, probably the middle of next week when the current loaf is exhausted, is to try my hand at making a sourdough loaf.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several weeks ago, in the process of digitalising all of my music, I asked the question “could I record straight off the cassette unit of the old Hi-fi into the ZOOM H1 unit that I use for outside broadcasts when I’m out on the streets WITH THE RADIO.

Well, now I know the answer. And the answer is “yes, I can”. I tired it and it works. But not very successfully, unfortunately. There’s no output control on the cassette unit so it’s a tinny sound and it’s also overwhelming the recording level range of the machine. My next trick will be to dig out the old amp (which, as you might expect, is at the bottom of the pile so inaccessible for the moment) and run the cassette unit through the amp with the Zoom plugged into the headphone socket on there.

It’s a long and complicated process but in the end I’ll get there, I’m convinced of that.

The hour on the guitars was rather more interesting tonight. On the bass playlist a couple of Jimi Hendrix tracks came round. When I played in a group back in the mid-70s with Jon Dean and Dave Hudson we performed a few Hendrix numbers so I was reliving old times. But it’s depressing me because 45 years on and I can’t play the bass lines as rapidly as I used to be able to. So instead, I concentrated on singing.

That made me feel better, but I don’t think that anyone else within earshot did.

The half-hour on the 6-string, I just bashed out a few Lindisfarne numbers and then had a go at Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine”. That’s not going to be the work of five minutes either.

Tea tonight was a potato and veg curry out of the freezer followed by more of my delicious home-baked apple pie.

lights of St Malo Brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was another beautiful clear night out there tonight. Not across to the Channel Islands but down the Brittany coast it was marvellous.

But no tripod tonight. The gale-force winds that we were promised for Wednesday and Thursday that we didn’t receive have arrived this evening. Instead, you have to make do with a hand-held photo of the Brittany coast – but with the correct lens tonight.

That photo was taken with me leaning up against one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. A solid support but still plety of wind about. The tripod would never have worked here.

lights of St Malo Brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this is so much better, isn’t it?

No tripod, but a handy flat-topped stone pillar being used as a route marker was pressed into service. And with the timer delay and suitable long exposure I managed to conjure up this photo. And for an ad-hoc photo of the lights of Cancale on the left and St Malo on the right reflecting from the clouds, there have been much worse than this.

Happy with that, I continued along on my run along the clifftop down to my rest area at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was the view that I was hoping for last night that didn’t come out at all.

It’s a far cry from when we had 8 boats in there a few weeks ago, isn’t it? Now we’re just down to the one and that’s not a working boat either. It’s not the Spirit of Conrad, the one on which I went down the Brittany coast either. It has a wind turbine on the stern and that makes me pretty sure that I’ve seen her before.

From here I ran on back home and, to my surprise, without even thinking about it, I ran on a good 20 metres beyond my rest stop too – and uphill. I’m slowly getting myself back to fitness. It’s been a while and there’s still a long way to go too

Having written my notes, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow of course and I don’t need much because next weekend I’m off on my travels. I’m going early to Castle Anthrax because I have a few things to do in Leuven. That means that I have to do two radio programmes next week. Luckily one of them is a live concert and hey! Have I got something special for that?

But that’s not all. Schools are out, the holidays have started, the holidaymakers have arrived, and three cases of Covid reported in the town – one of which is apparently in the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs which, as everyone knows, is the building behind mine.

Monday 27th January 2020 – IT WAS HARD THIS MORNING …

… to get out of bed at 05:30 but I managed it – only just.

And by the time the third alarm went off at 05:45 I was already on my way down the road having rinsed my empty bottles, packed my rucksack and put the key to my room in the key disposal box.

sncb am 80 multiple unit gare du midi brussels belgium eric hallWhen the first of the normal series of alarms went off at 06:00 I was sitting in a train at the station in Leuven.

It’s an elderly AM80 electric multiple-unit. Covered in graffiti and not very clean at all. But the fact is that it’s here, it’s leaving at 06:04 and it’s travelling non-stop into Brussels.

That’s good enough for me.

At the Gare du Midi I went into the Carrefour, bought myself some raisin bread for breakfast and then went to sit down to wait until my train is called.

sncf tgv reseau 38000 gare du midi brussels belgium eric hallWith half an hour to go before departure, I took the initiative and went myself to look for the train on the off-chance that it might be ready.

And sure enough, here it is sitting on the platform ready to go. It’s one of the “Reseau 38000” PBA (Paris Bruxelles Amsterdam) trainsets built for the start of thatservice in 1996.

To my surprise the door was open and I was able to go in and find my seat – a good 25 minutes to go before departure.

A ticket inspector came by and I thought that he was going to heave me out but he simply checked my ticket and that was that.

As for the journey itself, I have no idea at all about it because I slept for most of the route. This early start caught me up good and proper.

We arrived about 10 minutes late but that didn’t inconvenience me at all. The Metro was quite rapid even though it was crowded and I had to stand all the way, and I arrived at Montparnasse a good hour before my train was due to leave.

With the new timetable, it now arrives and departs from a platform in the main station complex rather than the Vaugirard annexe. In some ways that’s a good thing because it saves me a 10-minute walk, but in other ways it’s not so good.

That’s because Montparnasse is a huge, windswept desolate, cold station whereas the Vaugirard annexe had a nice draught-free glass waiting room where it’s reasonably comfortable to sit.

But hunting around, like you do … “like YOU do” – ed … I found an ideal hidey-hole where I could even see an electronic departure board.

With 15 minutes to go, my train still hadn’t been posted so i went to look for it. And I found it sitting at one of the platforms. Meantime, the PA announcer was telling us that “the departure details are currently unavailable” – which was the craziest thing that I’ve ever heard seeing as at the time she was making the announcement I was actually looking at it.

GEC Alstom Regiolis gare de granville railway station manche normandy france eric hallEventually we were called to the train – exactly where I said it was – and we could board it.

For part of the way, as far as L’Aigle, I had a very charming young female companion but after she left, I dozed off and there I stayed, fast asleep again, almost until we reached Granville.

Bang on time into the station we were, although it took me a few minutes to get my things together. And then I headed off into the rain.

circus marquee chapiteau cirque parc de val es fleurs granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago a notice had appeared in the car park of the Parc de Val es Fleurs to the effect that a chapiteau – a marquee – was to be erected there.

Just for a change I came back home that way to see if there was anything exciting happening. And sure enough, we did have our chapiteau in all of its glory, surrounded by a load of caravans.

It’s a circus, apparently, and even as I watched a huge pile of schoolkids filed their way into the chapiteau. They were obviously going to be treated to a matinée performance all to themselves.

joly france spirit of conrad charles marie port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNow here’s a thing!

For the last I don’t know how many weeks we’ve seen Spirit of Conrad up on blocks in the chantier navale. But no longer, by the looks of things.

Here she is, in the inner harbour with Joly France on one side of her and Charles-Marie on the other side. But no Aztec Lady. It must have been her that we saw heading out into the English Channel in the wake of Normandy Trader the other day.

Barry Hay once famously told us “one thing that I gotta tell you man – that it’s good to be back home!” and he’s absolutely right. A year or two ago, for the first time ever in my life I felt the pangs of homesickness after I’d been away from here for a couple of months.

This place really is my home and I was glad to be back here, even if it was absolutely freezing cold with no heating having been on. And to my delight a parcel for which I had been waiting since the end of November has finally arrived, at long last.

Nevertheless I sat down in my nce comfy chair and did nothing until tea time. I’m entitled to a relax after my efforts of today.

For tea, in the absence of any special willpower just now, I grabbed a frozen curry out of the freezer – the left-over leftovers from a few weeks ago. With rice and veg, including sprouts and spinach, it was delicious. And followed down by fruit salad and lemon sorbet.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe rain held off tonight for about 5 minutes after I set out for my evening walk – and then I caught the lot. All of it!

The tide was well-in and there were several trawlers out there heading in to harbour with their catches so I took a pick of one.

The lights of St Malo were looking quite good tonight too but the wind was far too strong for me to take a steady shot with the camera. The tripod wouldn’t have fared any better either – the wind would have had that over in a matter of seconds.

fishing boats chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut round by the chantier navale I could take a photo of the inmates there.

No Spirit of Conrad of course – just a couple of fishing boats and another one right at the back. But the photo is no good because of the wind and rain. I wasn’t going to stay out long.

Getting back into the rhythm, I managed my little run just to keep up with my progress. Whatever else I do, I have to concentrate on getting fit no matter how much it hurts me. I do actually feel much better with having less weight to carry around these days.

So having written up my notes for the day, I’m going off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll be getting back into the routine. There are two and a half radio programmes that need finishing and that’s the priority task for this week.

So I need to be on form.

Tuesday 7th January 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

… last night when I doubted that I would be able to stay awake long enough to finish my notes for the day.

About half-way through I felt myself going off and although I managed something of a recovery, it wasn’t for very long and 5 minutes later I was in bed under the cover and away with the fairies with the notes unfinished.

At least – I think that I was away with the fairies because when I checked the dictaphone this morning it was bearing a rather strong resemblance to my bank account, or to the cupboard of Old Mother Hubbard.

One thing about crashing out early was that I was awake early too – 05:35 in fact. But I still managed to have to fight to beat the third alarm call out of bed.

After the medication, I made a start on today’s project. And that is to do another radio programme for my weekly rock show. I’m actually working now on the first programme after Brexit and while I’m not allowed under the terms of my contract to “engage in polemic”, nevertheless I have a cunning plan.

As Pete Seeger once famously said, “songs are weapons” and I haven’t given up the fight.

fork lift truck shellfish port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break for breakfast of course, and having worked all the way through the morning afterwards, it was 13:20 when I went into town for my dejeunette.

Down at the fish-processing plant I was treated to some excitement. The first fishing boat in was unloading and it look as if they had a big pile of crabs.

It wasn’t appropriate to go for a closer look because they were working quickly, so I had to content myself from here.

victor hugo port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallThe harbour gates were closed so I went that way round over the path on top.

Here’s a photo of Victor Hugo and what’s interesting is not what’s there in the photo but what’s not there. Yes, Granville seems to have gone out for another trip somewhere.

And I shouldn’t be surprised if Victor Hugo will be joining her at some point because her bridge was busy. There were three our four officers having a discussion on board her

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the photo of Thora here, I’ll tell you about my encounter with a guy from the Port Authority.

He’d come out of the Port Authority office and was clearly looking very official, so as he strolled around the harbour I fell in with him.

Having asked the right questions, I can tell you that the gates open 105 minutes before High Tide and close 105 minutes afterwards.

And furthermore, he told me that there has been no gravel boat in port for over two months and he has no idea when the next one will be arriving

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThora was there and all loaded up. Those big builders’ bags had been all loaded on board.

One thing I’ve been meaning to do is to chat to the skipper but once more the ship was deserted and no-one was about. So that was that.

Instead, I went and picked up my dejeunette from La Mie Caline and came back home for lunch.

trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThe afternoon walk was taken in the cold and the wind (although not as windy as it has been).

Once more, there was a light out in the Baie de Mont St Michel over by Cancale on the Brittany coast, and I’ve seen enough of these now to be able to make an educated guess that it’s a trawler-type of fishing boat.

And here you are. I cropped the image and enlarged it when i returned home and sure enough, I was right about that too.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that wasn’t all of the excitement either.

There was another yacht today out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel. Not as extravagant as the one out there yesterday with the bright red sail but still nice enough.

But what wasn’t there though was Thora. She must have cleared off quite rapidly as soon as the harbour gates were open.

Back here, I had another little … errr … relax – something that is annoying me because I was doing so well just now – and then pressed on with my project.

There was another brief pause because our “outside broadcast” from the Bain des Manchots – the Swim of the Giant Penguins – at Donville les Bains was being broadcast. And for those of you who missed it, you can HEAR THE PODCAST at your convenience, provided that you take your phone there with you.

It was 19:20 when I finally finished my radio programme – it had taken me far longer than I expected seeing as I’d made really good progress this morning.

What with being late I had another helping of the curry – lengthening it with some frozen spinach and one of the remaining endives.

Alone again on my evening walk, and my run was agony. I was ready to give up long before I hit the ramp although I pushed on nevertheless.

That good spell of health that I’ve had this last couple of months is coming to an end unfortunately . All the signs are there.

shellfish containers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAlthough Thora is no longer with us, there’s more activity down at that end of the port.

They look like the shellfish cages and so that can only mean one thing, and that is that Normandy Trader must be on her way into port. Those are part of the load that she fetches and carries for this Jersey Co-operative thing.

So I headed home, all alone in the wind and light rain that had now sprung up.

So having done the radio programme that needed doing, tomorrow I’m going to freeze the carrots that I bought, deal with the orange and ginger drink and then start on the programme of the football supporters. I want that finished by the time that I come back from Leuven on Sunday.

That is – if I ever get there, because I’ve just heard that my train from Lille to Brussels is cancelled.

Tuesday 26th November 2019 – YET ANOTHER EVENING …

… walk missed tonight.

Not through any lack of willingness or through any other distraction. In fact, I did my best and made about 100 metres down the road before the savage winds and torrential rainstorm drove me back and inside again.

Not the kind of weather to even send a dog out.

What with one thing and another, it was a very late night yet again. The problem is that when you start on one thing, you’ll be surprised at just how many other things there are.

Mind you, I still beat the third alarm out of bed. Not by very much, I have to say, but I beat it all the same. Despite having only 405 hours sleep, I have a vague recollection that there was some epitaph for someone who had died and it involved a piece of music. However it wasn’t that piece of music that they were listening to at all but another piece of music completely and I’ve no idea at all why this piece of music was chosen as the title of this obituary

Well, that was what was on the dictaphone and if you can make any sense of it, let me know. There’s a “contact me” button down on the bottom right of your screen.

After the medication and breakfast I attacked the dictaphone notes. And after a good session I’m now down to a mere 76. But there are some pretty big entries left in there, including one of FOUR HOURS and so it’s not going to be plain sailing by any means.

Round about 09:o0 I came to a stop as I needed to sort out some info for the tax Office. This involved printing out some stuff and of course it was at this moment that the printer decided to throw a hissy-fit.

It took me an age to sort out everything, including trying out two different blue ink printer cartridges before I could find one that worked. And I even filed a few papers away, and that’s not like me.

By the time that I was organised it was about 11:15 so I hurried off, not realising that I’d forgotten the most important document of them all.

red iveco daily van abandoned port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe harbour gates were closed so I went the pretty way over the top.

But at first I couldn’t see the old red Iveco daily that has been parked on the car park by the fish processing plant for quite a while. It wasn’t there

But it’s not gone far. It’s been moved out to the edge of the car park now overlooking the loading and unloading dock, although I’m not sure why.

It was about 11:45 when I reached the Tax Office and although there was just one person ahead of me, I had to wait an age. It was after the place had closed for lunch and i could tell that the guy who saw me wasn’t impressed by that.

Although I was there in the computer, he couldn’t find any details of my visit there last year which was bizarre. There was nothing on record, not even my tax exemption certificate. I just KNEW that I would regret forgetting to take a copy with me.

Anyway, I left him with all of my papers and he can sort them all out himself. If he needs anything else he can write to me.

haystacks war memorial place place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceThey had to let me out of the back door and I headed off into town. As I expected, the Post Office was closed for lunch, so I needn’t have written those letters.

But I’m glad that I came because I was able to see them doing something completely bizarre in the Place General de Gaulle by the War Memorial. They’ve heaped up a pile of haystacks, for whatever reason I really don’t know.

And anyway, the boulangerie was open so I bought another dejeunette for lunch. This is becoming a habit. And why not? The bread is always fresh, there’s no waste and the walk down to town and back does me good.

Cheese butties for lunch because I’ve finished off one pot of hummus and there was some cheese left over in an opened packet. have to use that up.

After lunch, I still had these carrots to deal with so I sliced them all up, blanched them with some bay leaves and now that they are thoroughly drained and dried they are now in the freezer freezing away to themselves.

I just have to go there every so often to break them up so they don’t congeal in a solid mass.

airbus ec145 helicopter granville manche normandy franceThat was the cue for me to go for another walk this afternoon.

And just as I stepped out of the door a helicopter flashed right past the car park at almost-sea-level. I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or him, but I had the presenc eof mind to snap him as he flew past me.

And it’s come out rather well considering. But I do wonder what is going on with people getting their choppers out all over the place.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t the only activity out there either.

The tide had turned and was on its way in and so the fishing boats were slowly making their way back to harbour. There were two trawlers out there and as far as I could see, they were painted in the same livery so presumably they belong to the same people.

They were on their way in to port to unload.

boat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThere was something else out there too so I took a photo of it to enlarge back in the apartment.

Despite my best efforts, it’s not improved the situation very much. There’s a smallish boat coming over from the Ile de Chausey and it’s going at quite a rapid rate of knots.

So we’ll have to pass on that one for now and try again some other time.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAlthough the tide was quite some way out right now, the storm that we were having and the high winds were pushing the waves along quite dramatically.

Down here they were pummelling their way into the sea wall with quite a considerable amount of force.

It would have been nice to have been out there and to see what was going on at high tide.

spirit of conrad omerta aztec lady chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWe’ve had another change in the composition of the visitors to the chantier navale.

We can see the usual suspects. Spirit of Conrad is there, and so are Omerta and Aztec Lady. But where has the fishing boat gone – the modern one that was over to the right behind the others?

It looks as if it’s gone back into the water again. Presumably they’ve finished what it was that they were doing.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAs I aid just now, the tide is on the turn and so the fishing boats are on their way back to port.

And as you can see, there’s already quite a large queue of boats down there underneath the fish processing plant busily unloading what they have caught today.

The cranes are working hard pulling up some of the containers, but there’s also one boat unloading its catch into the white van parked underneath.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceWe haven’t finished the photos either.

You probably noticed in the photo of the Ile de Chausey just now that there seemed to be a rainstorm out to sea. But by the time that I had worked my way around my circuit it had now advanced into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And as I said at the start, we got the lot down our necks later.

Back here I amended a few web pages, worked on the Christmas presents that I needed to order (and that took some ordering too, I’ll tell you, and a big pile of work to go with it) and then stopped for tea. There was half a pepper and a few mushrooms that needed eating so I added a potato to it and made a curry. The fennel and fenugreek that I had bought gave it all a beautiful kick, and the coconut milk left over from the carrot soup added something to it too.

And even better, there’s some left over for later in the week.

No walk because of the weather, so i was chatting on the internet for a while and then writing my notes. But you’ve no idea how quickly the time passes and I’m late for bed.

Let’s hope that I have a good sleep.