Tag Archives: rainstorm

Monday 16th May 2022 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… totally messed-up day today.

Not that that’s any surprise because after my totally messed-up weekend and a 06:00 start this morning, it was pretty much odds-on.

Not that I’m complaining of course, even though it might sound like it. I take my days as they come and take what’s given to me. I really wanted to do that Welsh weekend course and so I have to accept the baggage that comes with it.

No-one was more surprised than me to find me half-way out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00. And I even managed to be up and about before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I came back in here to make a start on today’s work but rather regrettably I fell asleep almost immediately. In fact I was out like a light until almost 08:00. In fact, for all the good that I was doing I may as well have stayed in bed.

When I’d finally come round I grabbed a quick coffee and then attacked the radio programme and that took me all the way up until 12:30 this morning before it was finished. I really wasn’t doing very well

There was time for a shower and a good clean up and then I made my butties with some of that delicious bread that I’d baked yesterday.

It was a good job that I’d set the alarm for my physiotherapy session this afternoon because back in here after lunch I fell asleep. And fell asleep in spades too. It was a real struggle for me to pull myself together when the alarm went off and I was in no mood whatever to go out for my physiotherapy.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As usual, the first place to go when I went outside was to the viewpoint on the corner onfthe Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And for a change there was no-one parked up down by the fish processing plant. Not even L’Omerta. She’s forsaken her usual spot for a change and gone off to see what she can catch out at sea.

And have you noticed the weather? We had a torrential rainstorm for about 15 minutes yesterday afternoon and it looks as if we have had another one while I was asleep just now. The weather is all wet, grey and miserable.

Not that that’s any surprise, because so am I

diggers working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On thing that we see every now and again is something to do with the laying of a drain out of the port de plaisance into the open sea.

By the looks of things they are back there again today. They have a couple of diggers out there this afternoon working away. It’s not actually all that easy though to see what they are doing and the standard lens on the NIKON 1 J5 doesn’t help things any.

What I’ll have to do is to go by with the big NIKON D500 with the 70-300mm LENS tomorrow and see if that gives me a better clue.

From there I headed off down the hill towards town.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I was lucky enough to catch sight of another hive of activity.

We’ve seen a shrink-wrapped speedboat down there for a couple of days, but today there’s a lorry delivering another one to add to the collection of stuff on the quayside to be taken over to Jersey by one of the little freighters.

My attention was also caught by the crane over there at the back of the loading bay by the old gravel bins. That looks quite new to me, unless they’ve overhauled one of the ones that was here before. If it has been overhauled they have done a good job because it’s much cleaner than it was before.

repairing electrical cables rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There have been notices all over town telling us of power cuts this afternoon.

On the corner of the Rue Paul Poirier and the Rue Couraye I caught up with them at one of their work sites. Apparently the work is due to go on into the evening.

The climb up the hill was awful. I wasn’t feeling in the least bit like it and it seems today as if I have gone backwards by about 6 months.

But when I was there she put me through my paces again. She’s certainly working me hard enough, much harder than the others did. Here’s hoping that it’s doing me some good.

After she threw me out I went to Lidl – eventually, because it was a nightmare going up the hill to the top. To think that there used to be times when I would sail up there like a galleon in the Spanish Armada.

At Lidl I spent a bit of money buying a few things and then headed for home.

digger working in rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Myy route home from Lidl is a different way to the way that I came, so I hadn’t seen these roadworks until I left the shop.

They’ve been digging a trench with the digger and were now busy filling it in so I couldn’t see what they had been doing with the trench.

But I was more interested in watching the digger driver. Of course I can drive and operate a mini-digger – I used to own one until recently – but I couldn’t drive mine the way that this guy was driving this one.

It was something rather like a ballet and it was most impressive. I was in half a mind to give him a round of applause when he finished. I was quite jealous.

cycle path rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Further on down the Rue de la Houle I noticed that they’ve been installing something of a cycle lane here.

They are spending a fortune on facilities for cyclists in the town and we have seen several examples thereof just recently, but I have a feeling that much of this is going to be money wasted.

The truth is that Granville is not a cyclists’ town. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s all “up-and-down” and that’s not the best terrain for cyclists. In fact there are parts of the town that are used as endurance trials during the Tour de Normandy cycle race.

That should give you some idea of what the streets are like around here.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we4ve been following the adventures of the new building on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They have made a great deal of progress just recently. The roof is going on and the crane that has been there since July last year has now been taken away. It looks as if they might be finishing it some time soon if they aren’t careful.

From there I carried on down into town where I bumped into one of my neighbours and then staggered up the hill towards home, having to stop on several occasions to catch my breath and, on one occasion, to brink a can of energy drink.

That’s the kind of state in which I find myself today.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The weather had brightened up by now so I went to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There wasn’t a lot happening there right now though. Just one or two people. The bad weather earlier seems to have put the rest of them right off coming out today.

Back here I had a coffee and then collapsed into a chair, feeling absolutely awful. It’s a long time since I’ve felt as bad as this.

But I did manage to listen to what was on the dictaphone from last night. There was something about moving a squadron of lorries across the border in northern France. My friend from the Wirral was there at one point. I can’t remember very much about this particular dream at all. Then I was in Canada. I’d just hired a car and had an accident in it and that was before I’d picked up my temporary Canadian driving licence so they had to hurry up and issue my Canadian driving licence extremely quickly. In the meantime I had to go and wait over by the Sheriff’s office to tell them to come along and deal with it. It was in a terrible state, more untidy than mine. Some big, fat lady came over and asked me what I was doing. I explained so she went and rolled over onto a settee and lay down there and went to sleep leaving me amongst all these cameras and guns etc while they sorted out my driving permit.

Tea should have been a stuffed pepper but the pepper was no good so it ended up being a taco roll.

And now I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best but that’s unlikely the way that I’m feeling right now.

Tuesday 1st March 2022 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS …

… to all of my readers. It was quite appropriate that we had a Welsh lesson today.

But anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that ON 7th FEBRUARY I drew your attention to some kind of work that was taking place at the side of the road just outside here.

And this is what they were doing there. It’s taken them a whole three weeks to come back and finish the work but when they started this morning, it didn’t take them too long to finish.

On my way home I discovered that it’s actually a cycle shelter. Not that there are all that many cycles around here that need sheltering.

However, I’m surprised to note that there’s no electric power point there. Electric bicycles are all the rage these days and there will be more and more on the streets in due course. They will need charging at some point, of course, and a bicycle shelter would be the right place to do it.

A few hundred volts of electricity and a recharge would do me some good right now because this morning I fell asleep again after the alarm had gone off at 07:30 and it was the 08:00 alarm that finally awoke me

After the medication and checking my messages I transcribed the dictaphone notes because despite the lengthy sleep that I had had, I hadn’t gone far during the night. The three things that they should be checking in this thesis is boys v girls, the battle of the sexes, the bayonet of the Ents as they march to sacrifice and the third thing is how their behaviour interacts with each other that might lead to any particular death. That was a response to a person in a dream who was wanting help about three different parts to his thesis

There was something about one of these tasks about a baby that had crawled into the top of a cage to try to eat their food and the dog and everyone stoofd around watching it.

And whatever all of that was supposed to mean, I really have no idea at all. But once again, After the frenzied nights of a few weeks ago, yet another night without any of my favourite characters appearing. I suppose that they are as exhausted as I am after what has been going on during the night.

For an hour or so I prepared for my Welsh lesson and I could have done more had I not … errr … relaxed for a few minutes. But at least the lesson passed quite happily this morning, just for a change.

After lunch I spent the rest of the day bringing the blog up-to-date, at least, as far as the recent past goes. All of the posts FROM 7th FEBRUARY. And what was so disappointing about all of this was that despite the amount of stuff that needed updating, there were only two appearances of my favourite characters.

It seems as if i’m losing my touch.

installing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was also the afternoon walk as usual.

And first thing that I noticed was the pick-up and trailer outside busy with the erection of this shelter. At first I thought that it was a bus shelter, but the local buses don’t come past here and in any case it’s on the wrong side of the road.

But anyway, as I said earlier, I found out later that it was a bicycle shelter, otherwise known as a bike shed, behind which all kinds of things went on when we were at school. So I’m wondering what we might find going on behind here, especially just after school chucking-out time.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So leaving the bike shed on its own in the hands of the workmen, I went across the car park to look down on the beach.

And in contrast to how things have been over the last few days, the beach was deserted. There wasn’t a soul down there at all, despite the fact that there was plenty of beach to be on right now as the tide is still on its way in..

And that no-one is down there this afternoon is no surprise because the rain was teeming down and if I had had any sense I wouldn’t have been out there at all either.

la grande ancre trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also casting my eyes out to sea to see what was happening there.

There was a heavy sea mist, thanks to the rain, so I couldn’t see much but there were two fishing boats emerging from the gloom on their way in towards the harbour.

One of them is immediately recognisable. The one on the right is of course La Grande Ancre, a boat with a very low freeboard that is often used for transporting freight here and there, and also used for fishing purposes.

The other boat is one that, unfortunately, I can’t identify and she’s too far away for me to read her registration number. One thing is sure, and that it’s not the new Suzanga.

flooded footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the local council with a lorry-load of gravel repairing the footpath where it usually floods.

And you will recall that I asked the question as to whether they would carry on and deal with the other parts of the path that need repair. Well, anyway, here’s your answer.

They must have cleared off home when they’d finished yesterday and as you can see,didn’t come back today. The heavy rainstorm that we are having right now has flooded the path in several other places that, I imagine, will stay like this as long as it keeps on raining.

Only doing half a job sounds like the way that i’m working right now.

la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I saw La Grande Ancre out at sea a few minutes ago it looked as if there was something interesting on her deck and it excited my curiosity.

As she drew nearer to the headland I took another photo of her so that I could have a closer look at her cargo when I returned home.

It looks as if she’s loaded up with some of these wire crates that they use for stacking sacks of shellfish, and there are a few shellfish boxes on board too which look as if they are quite full.

By now, the rain was coming down quite heavily and I’m slowly becoming soaked to the skin. I wasn’t going to hang around too long out here. My hot coffee was calling me.

tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 suzanga la grande ancre joly france trawler yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the poor weather, I was in such a rush that I didn’t look down at the cabanon vauban. Instead, I carried on along the path.

There’s a change in occupancy in the chantier naval. One of the two yachts has gone back into the water today, but all of the other craft were still in there.

the outer harbour is crowded with fishing boats right now, even though it will be a while before they open the gates to the inner harbour.

Apart from La Grande Ancre, whose silhouette is easily recognisable, there’s no possibility of identifying anyone else down there. The rain is coming down so heavily that it’s impossible to see clearlu.

Making a quick stop to photograph the bike shed, I came back in here for a coffee and to dry out.

And then to continue updating the journal entries. And what surprised me with this task is that I actually managed to finish it. And it’s been a long time since I’ve completed a task, isn’t it? I even found the time to book my next trip to Leuven.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday, and it really was quite nice. Tomorrow will be a left-over curry, I reckon, mainly with mushrooms as I have plenty of those. I might even fry some chips in my new air fryer later in the week.

Bedtime now. My physiotherapist is back from holiday tomorrow afternoon, and I also have to see the doctor tomorrow morning. So I must remember to take with me the form that I need him to sign.

Tuesday 8th February 2022 – I’M GOING TO …

… Leuven tomorrow and I do have to say that I’ve never felt less like it. It’s not because of any health issue (although that is weighing me down of course but it’s an “energy and enthusiasm” issue again and I just can’t seem to shake it off.

It wasn’t as if I’d had a bad night either. I was in bed at something like a reasonable time and according to the dictaphone I wasn’t disturbed until comparatively late in the proceedings, so I must have had quite a deep sleep.

Having listened to what I’d been up to during the night, I hadn’t gone all that far either on my travels. There was something last night about a girl who was an orphan who came to stay with us but I don’t remember very much at all about this particular trip.

Later on though we had to go out and investigate someone who was driving without a speedo. When we arrived they were performing some really weird manoeuvres but we couldn’t find anything wrong but told them that now that they have brought themselves to the attention of the police they ought to take it very easy for the next while or so. Then this girl and I went home again.

That was all a bit of a damp squib, wasn’t it?

Leaving the bed though at 07:30 was not as easy as it might have been but eventually I was in the kitchen taking my medicine before coming back in here to check my mails and messages and then to prepare for my Welsh lesson. And, unfortunately, crash out for a short while too.

The lesson was, like most of them these days, quite dismal, just like me but with the course slowly coming to an end I renewed for the next level. I’m not sure how that’s going to work because this one seems to be rather above me, but my brain will seize up if I don’t use it (if it hasn’t already) and I have to push myself along.

After lunch, I had a listen to this concert that has a hole in it. And after quite a while of manipulation … “PERSONipulation” – ed … I’ve actually fixed it with a bit of “cut-and-paste” of another section that I’ve managed to fit in over the top.

It took ages to synchronise the beats but now, not only can you not hear any join or any difference in sound tone and level where I’ve pasted in, you can’t even tell that there’s been any alteration in the beat of the music and I’m well-impressed with what I managed to do.

It ended up being 0.264 of a second over-running but that was no problem to deal with.

However, I’ve also found two other slight holes in the tape when I listened more closely and my next challenge will be to replace them – and to see if I can do a job as well as I did this afternoon or whether that was just a lucky strike.

Another thing that I did was to shuffle the introduction around on another concert that I did yesterday. I’d written something that seemed to run in a logical order but when I recorded it and played it back later when I was editing, it didn’t seem to be right.

That was something that had irritated me ever since yesterday and so this afternoon I did a cut-and-paste on that too and rearranged my intro.

Looking back over the last day or two, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve actually enjoyed doing these concerts – enjoyed them very much, especially the first one that I did yesterday where I manufactured it out of a pile of bits of miscellaneous items.

It seems to me that given half a chance and provided that I can lay my hands on the material, I’ll be doing a few more of these.

My supply of concert material, from the days when I drove a sound engineer around, is limited though to another 40 or so concerts, a few of which are not really suitable so if I keep on going, I’ll start to run out sooner or later. And if ever he contacts me and asks for his material back, then I will be in trouble.

However, it is something of a miracle that after all of the vicissitudes that I’ve been through over the last 45-50 years, I actually still have in my possession as much as I do..

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was, as usual, the beach down at the bottom of the steps at the Rue du Nord to see who was down there this afternoon – and even, of course, that there was a beach for anyone to be on.

This afternoon we had quite a bit of a beach and there were even a few people down there. They were scavenging around on the rocks as if they were hunting for shellfish. Not that it’s the correct time of day and the state of the tide to do that but nevertheless they can probably find something to take home with them.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And, as usual, I was also looking around out at sea to find out what was happening there.

Yesterday we noticed a trawler or two out there working in the Baie de Granville over by the Ile de Chausey. Today, there was another one – and a different one too – working out there in the bay. It seems to be quite the thing these days.

There were a few people out there walking on the path this afternoon, which is not surprising seeing that it’s half-term. The weather wasn’t anything notable either – not at all cold for the time of the year although it was grey and overcast. No problem about being outside this afternoon.

seagull rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However that’s the kind of thing that can change at any moment.

There’s a terrific rainstorm out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and it’s slowly heading my way. Give it half an hour or so and I imagine that we’ll be having all of that dropping on our heads over here.

Consequently I have no intention of hanging around out here on the headland waiting for it to arrive. I shall emulate the seagull in the photo and push on … “push off” – ed … down the path on my way towards home and my nice hot coffee bubbling in the percolator even as we speak.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was interesting to see what was going on in the chantier naval this afternoon

Work on the Le Roc A La Mauve III is proceeding quite rapidly, which makes something of a change around here. There are a couple of people working on her and they have been doing quite a lot of sanding-down of her hull.

You can see the pile of paint dust that has fathered around her on the floor.

Still in the chantier naval up on her ramps is Tiberiade. She’s also having quite a going-over as well.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over at the ferry terminal we have the older of the two Joly France ferries, the one that we saw going out to the island on Saturday morning.

They still run out now and again during the winter, not that we are having any winter right now, and so for that reason she’s tied up there in the NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position rather than tied up with her sisters in the inner harbour.

They are still in there where we saw them on Saturday.

What I’m wondering is whether they will be carrying out a refurbishment on the ferry terminal too. It’s not been used for getting on for two years so it’s probably going to need a good sorting out if ferry services to the Channel Islands are going to restart at the end of April.

plaque to 21st battalion chasseurs à pied place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One thing that I have been meaning to do is to go and look at what was going on on Saturday across the road in the car park of the other building.

There were several wreaths on the floor and above them is this plaque commemorating the the 21st Battalion of the Chasseurs à Pied. I can’t say whether or not this plaque was here prior to Saturday but it certainly looks new and this was where they were standing.

Back here I had a shower and shave and a general clean-up, and then I did my Dave Crosby impression. Must be because I had a flu for Christmas and I’m not feeling up to par.

While I was there, I washed my trainers. They have been filthy and totally disreputable for the last several years but they are supremely comfortable.

One of the things that I did this afternoon while I was editing my sound files and so on was to fall asleep again – for 10 minutes or so. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and quite depressing especially as I had a reasonable sleep last night.

Tea tonight was a taco roll. The stuffing that I forgot to use yesterday was quite edible and there was half a tomato that needed eating so I added that in. Tea was delicious.

And bang on cue, I reached the end of the film that I’d been watching over the last few days while I’ve been eating my evening meal. This one was THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY.

This is a film that I’ve seen in several different versions with several different edits, depending upon the region in which the film was marketed, and I have yet to find a copy of the unedited version that combines all of the different versions.

It’s strange, because when I see that film I always think that it’s the best of the three films but when I see FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE I consider that one to be the best. So I dunno.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. I’ve a 06:00 start and have a lot to do to prepare before I leave for Leuven.

At least I can sleep on the train if necessary.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

… about today, the better because it’s been one of those days that’s best forgotten.

In fact, it all went wrong before it even started, if you know what I mean. The alarm went off as usual at 07:30 and the next thing that I remember, it was 08:03. Yes, for the first time in ages, I’d gone back to sleep after the alarm. Definitely getting back into old habits.

So it was rather a rush this morning to have my medication and then have a shower and clean-up before dashing out to the shops.

Well, to Lidl anyway.

09:11 I’d set out, and at 09:58 I was back in the house. Mind you, it was hardly a surprise because there was nothing whatever going on anywhere. It was a wet, grey, dark, depressing morning, the ideal day to match my mood.

Back here I dictated the dictaphone notes from last night. And I was rather puzzled by one sound-file that ran for 57 minutes. “That must have been some voyage” I mused, only to find that it was 00:34 of me talking and the remaining 56:26 of me snoring. I’d drifted off back to sleep with the machine still running.

And apologies to Percy Penguin. She used to complain about me snoring during the night and I always denied it. Well …

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment we’d come back on a ferry from somewhere in Europe. When we readhed the pier where we could disembark there were thousand upon thousand of us. We had to walk the length of this pier to reach the ferry terminal. Formerly there had been a train service between the ferry and the terminal. You could still see the railway station and the lines and an odd steam-train or two were going past crowded with people. We walked, and reached a T-junction where we had to turn left and ended up in the ferry terminal, suitcases, everything, hordes and thousands of people. I don’t know where it went from this but a little later there was an announcement on the radio that thousands of people were still stranded at the ferry terminal after 2 days. It looked as if we’d been there and there was no way for us to move on at the moment. Someone said something that he had arranged for a nurse to come to look after the disabled people so that their carers could have rest. It was all just total and utter chaos.

Also last night I was with one of my friends from Montreal for a while. We arranged to meet at some other time. She was living in Russia at the time so she suggested we meet and what I thought was today. I asked her where we would meet – I assumed that it would be half-way between the two -and she mentioned the name of a hotel somewhere in Kiev. I had a look on a map on the internet and found the hotel. It wasn’t too far from the railway station and in fact I’d driven past there once with her and she’d pointed it out to me. I wanted to know what time we were meeting so I rang her on her mobile number but had a recorded message something like “please don’t wake my dad, please don’t wake my dad”. I wondered what was happening because that was a long way to go, all the way to Kiev on the train from Brussels and not be met or not be picked up by anyone. I wanted some kind of more definite arrangements but she wasn’t answering her ‘phone.

As well as that I was out in Caliburn last night looking for the place where he would be MoT’d. It was a strange drive in some kind of strange village or town and then out into the countryside where I kept on being surrounded by sheep and i’m not really sure about that.

And just for a change I managed to save the text file without deleting it.

What else I’ve been doing today is to finish off that sound file that I had to re-edit. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because there was a lot of “bleeding over” between the channels so I had to be careful how I edited it and some of the stuff that I would have liked to have kept ended up having to go.

But at least it sounds more like something that it ought to do.

Going out for my afternoon walk wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been either.

When I went into the living room to gather up my stuff as I would usually do at the usual time, it was raining like rain that I had never seen and was as black as the ace of spades outside. There was no possibility of going for a walk in any of that.

rainstorm underneath door place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022About half an hour later it eased off so I decided to make a run – well, perhaps a crawl – for it.

And this is what has happened in the building. The rain has come down with so much force and with the wind being so strong, it’s blown all of the water underneath the front door and we’ve had a mini-flood on the ground floor.

Luckily though it’s not made it into any of the apartments down there, but now we know why there’s a kind-of step at the front door of the apartments down there if this is the kind of thing that happens on a regular basis.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Once I’d finally negotiated the entrance to the building I could go outside and see what was going on.

As I expected, the answer was “nothing at all”. There wasn’t a soul down on the beach which is no surprise given the weather that we had just had. Mind you, it was probably drier to actually go and sit in the sea.

With nothing else of any kind of note whatever happening, I pushed off towards the headland. The quicker I start, the quicker I finish.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was out there looking down onto the beach, I was also having a look around out at sea.

Not that I could see very much out there. It was rather like yesterday in that respect. There was another rainstorm circulating out there in the bay that was making life interesting for that small boat that was racing away from it towards the mainland.

Seeing the rainstorm was the cue for me to put my skates on. The wind was blowing it in my direction. I’d been caught in that downpour yesterday and I didn’t fancy another one. The sooner I return home the better

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, as I walked on down the path, all on my tod, the sun suddenly and rather dramatically came out over the Brittany coast.

It looked pretty good in this photo but it became even better a little later when the heavy, dark cloud had moved completely away and was shining over the sea.

But I wasn’t to be lulled into a false sense of security by any of this. There might be sunshine over there but there was none of that here and the rainstorm was coming closer and closer.

The rain falls down upon the just
and on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, I’d mentioned the wind.

In fact, the wind was blowing quite strongly, although not as strongly as it had done when we had had the rainstorm. And you can see what damage the wind has been doing, because it’s shredded the French flag that flies above the monument to the departed seafarers.

And as you might expect, there was no-one else apart from me admiring it. Not even anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, and that’s not a surprise to anyone at all.

waves harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So with nothing happening in the bay, I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was quite a wind and a turbulent sea but with the tide being well-out there were no waves breaking on the sea today. However, over on the wall that protects the port de plaisance we had some waves breaking there.

That’s the first time that I recall seeing the waves there. The wind must be blowing on the correct direction for that to happen. It’s probably quite a rare phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in other news, there was still Gerlean and Joly France in the chantier naval and the ferry terminal, but you are probably fed up of seeing them.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In the inner port, we had most of the trawlers tied up. They haven’t gone out today.

They must be having a weekend off, or else the weather is too turbulent for even them to put out to sea this afternoon.

And so I made it back home where I was finally able to have my hot coffee. And then I sat down to pair of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday but to my shame I fell asleep in the middle of doing it.

Not just for 5 or 10 minutes either but for well over an hour. A really deep sleep as well, the type that I haven’t had for several months. And that depressed me more than just about anything else.

When I awoke, the storm was back. And in spades too. A howling gale with driving rain. I’m glad that I went out when I did otherwise I would never have made it.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and now I’m off to bed. Although I’m not sure how I’ll sleep with the wind blowing tin cans around outside and the fact that I had such a good sleep this afternoon.

But it’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in. Rather like the CATALOGUE PRINCESS, APPRENTICE SEDUCTRESS, I seem to be spending most of my time praying “for endless Sundays” instead of performing ” to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles” of the streets of the old walled city at the back here.

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Friday 7th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

rainstorm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… photos today, people.

And when you see this photo that I took while I was out on my afternoon walk, you’ll understand why. That’s a rainstorm out there in the Baie de Granville obscuring the Ile de Chausey, and it’s a big one too.

And about two minutes after taking this photograph, I got the lot. Dropped on my head from a great height, as it were.

Had I seen it coming before I went outside I might even have waited for it to pass over, but I didn’t notice it until I was on my way down the path, by which time it was too late, so I carried on regardless and even four or five hours later my trousers are still wet.

It’s a good job that I’d worn my rain jacket.

So what have I been up to today then?

The answer is that I’ve been fairly busy (for once). And that includes during the night too. One of my friends – and I can’t remember who it was now – was teaching a class of Primary School children and the question of cars came up. I’d been dismantling a pile of German cars so I had loads of German numberplates and things. One of the numberplates had a collection of badges on it. There were a lot of things that were very interesting so I arranged to go into her class to give a little talk to the children. Of course Strawberry Moose came with me. When I arrived I was pretty loaded up so people had to open doors etc for me. I finally entered and put everything down. I had to introduce myself and say why I was there. One of the flower pots on the desk fell off onto the floor right in front of us all for no apparent reason so that had to be picked up. Then other things like that started to go wrong. This was taking ages but I’d hardly started. I said that I used to go to this school as a child and Mrs Matthews and Miss Blackburn were my teachers. I’d hardly started but everything was going wrong. We were running out of time. I could see that it would have been far better to have done this in the morning rather than in the afternoon after lunch but it was crazy.

Later on, TOTGA had 2 cats. We were talking on the ‘phone when she gave one such a smack. I asked “what’s up? Poor cat!”. She said “poor chat! How would you like it if one of them had just scratched your brand-new cricket shoes to shreds?” – something like that.

This was something to do with globalisation and my Passat estate. I’d been with a group of people and they’d all decided that they wanted to do different things. This was in the Netherlands or Flanders. I didn’t really want to do anything but they had all decided where they were going. They were all going to different places and I’d be on my own so I tagged on to one of them. There was a howling gale blowing outside that had already blown in one of the windows. We had to run down these 4 flights of stairs to the bottom in the teeth of this gale so I set off. When I reached the bottom there was a German soldier with a rifle holding me up. He asked where I was going and I replied “the hospital” so he showed me where it was and I went on my way. At the hospital we talked about globalisation, how the War had made some big American companies into multinationals. They were talking about cars too. I had a pile of plastic folders on my desk with all information about cars that I’d owned. We went through all of those and came to the one of the Passat. I said that this is the last of the really independent estate cars. After this, everything else was all the same.

There was something else too about TOTGA. She was in goal. There were people throwing all kinds of things at the goal. She was diving around like a goalkeeper keeping them all out. There was something to do with my Passat as well in this but I can’t remember what it was.

So aren’t I the lucky one? A couple of nights of Castor and Zero, and then TOTGA comes along. It’ll be Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter tonight, you just wait and see.

Once I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes (and a second time too because I deleted rather than saved them – it’s a good job that I do my daily back-up) first task was to make the bread.

500 grammes of wholemeal flour, 8 grammes of salt, 80 grammes of sunflower seeds, 2 packs of yeast and 320 grammes of water all kneaded together for about half an hour.

While it was busy proofing, I made the rest of the hummus now that I have a whizzer. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be bothered by vampires and werewolves while eating this batch. It’s wicked.

It’s a simple recipe too. For any given quantity of weight, use 50% of chick peas, 25% of tahini (sesame seed paste), some olive oil and chick pea juice to make it up to about 95%, some sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Then whizz it up into a nice puree to the consistency of cement.

Then add your filling to take it up to 100%. One batch had diced olives and the other one diced sun-dried tomatoes. Whizz them in gently, just enough to disperse them throughout the mix but not to atomise them.

Kepp what you need in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for further use. I have some nice 125ml ice cream tubs that I salvaged from a housemate in Leuven and they are perfect.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back at the bread. It had risen quite nicely and so it was put in the oven to do its stuff for 70 minutes

And this is how it turned out. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It tasted beautiful too, especially with the fresh hummus on it. It made a really wonderful lunch and I was very impressed with this. I’m really going to have to start to get back into cooking again.

And if I’m feeling like that, you can tell that I’m feeling much better than I did earlier in the week. I wonder if I can keep this up for a while.

While I’d been waiting for the bread to bake, I’d been doing this little exercise in my journal that I started yesterday. That’s finished now, which is good news.

But what’s surprising is that there were only 79 entries in total that needed to be amended and none at all before 2012. Considering that this played an important part in my life between 1996 and late 2007 and still does to a considerable degree, this is quite astonishing. I was expecting many, many more than this.

After my delicious lunch, I started on this soundfile and by the time that I was ready to knock off for work, I had finished it. Reduced from 27:32 to 11:35.

At least, I thought that I had. But for some unaccountable reason, one of the channels was would up to +36dB and I hadn’t noticed it before I saved it. And so it’s “clipped” horribly and reducing the decibels just turns it into a big mess.

Luckily, it’s the interviewer’s channel so I’m able to take the master recording (I never edit the master recordings, only copies that I make), cut out the questions, re-edit them and paste them back in over the top where the clipping has taken place.

It’s not easy because there is some overlap, but it’s better than I expected. I’ll finish that tomorrow anyway.

When I started using Audacity I knew next to nothing about it. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I never make any mistakes. I just learn a lot of lessons very quickly.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Like taking a raincoat with me when I go out for my afternoon walk.

Actually, I might have gathered that something was up by the fact that the place was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul about. Certainly not down on the beach this afternoon. I had it all to myself.

There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – at least, as far as I could see. And that wasn’t very far with that rainstorm just offshore. Quite a change from the last couple of days when we’ve had some of the best views that I can remember.

skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was something going on on the car park though.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the lorry and mini-digger coming back and to to the area. And now a skip has appeared with a load of soil in it. Something must be happening somewhere and I suppose that I ought to get out and about and look to see what it is.

But not today. Not in this weather anyway. I girded up my loins, wrapped my raincoat tightly aroud me, stuffed the NIKON D500 up underneath my jumper and waded off through the puddles and down the path.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And it wasn’t until I reached the chantier naval that I stopped either.

But that was because despite the weather, there was some change down there today. Trafalgar, the trawler that we saw in there yesterday, has now disappeared. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

There’s just Gerlean in there today, and she’s heavily wrapped up against the weather, just as I wish that I was.

Not wishing to hang about any longer, I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. And to finish (and then re-start) the editing of the sound-file. And I’m glad that I’ve done it. Quite a change from a couple of days ago.

Tea was some of these burgers in breadcrumbs that I like, with veg and baked potato. They are quite delicious and I enjoyed that meal very much.

So all in all, a busy day today. And about time too. Tomorrow, I’m shopping. Not for very much because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday morning so I’m only planning on going to Lidl. And I’ll be glad to have my lie-in on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that.

Saturday 4th December 2021 – DESPITE THE RATHER …

storm sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… slow start to the day, it’s actually gone quite well and I’ve done a fair bit of work, which is always a surprise on a Saturday.

So while you admire a few photos of the waves smashing into the sea wall, I’ll tell you all about it.

Firstly, the alarm might well have gone off at 07:30 but I didn’t. My back was still stuck to the bed rather badly and it took me 20 minutes to extricate myself.

But at least I’ve worked something out.

One of the (many) why I’ve been sleeping so badly is a strange pain in the big toe on my left foot and I had no idea why that might be. It only happens when I’m lying down in bed.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Last night, I tried a little experiment. Before going to bed I took off the elasticated stocking from that leg.

And to my surprise, there was no pain at all in my toe. I was awake a few times for other reasons, but not for that. And that’s rather surprising. Especially as I’ve no idea why it might be that it only happened when I was in bed and not during the day.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mails and messages. Having done that, it took me an age to start work because I just couldn’t summon up the energy. A large mug of strong coffee put that right eventually and I could crack on with work.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021First task was to edit the photos from yesterday, post them on line and then bring up-to-date yesterday’s journal entry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have noted that I only wrote out something briefly last night before going to bed. I’d done a lot of work yesterday, and I was feeling extremely weary.

The rest of the day has been spent working on radio stuff. I’ve chosen all of the music for the Christmas radio programme that I’m preparing and paired off all of the tracks. And I
‘ve written out all of the notes too.

As well as that, I’ve finished off writing the notes for the radio programme that I didn’t finish on Monday when I had to go off with Caliburn and have his windscreen fixed.

And so on Monday instead of writing out the notes I’ll just have two loads of notes already completed to dictate and edit.

Tomorrow I won’t be pairing off any music – I did that today with the Christmas programme – because I’m going out radioing tomorrow. Laurent telephoned me this afternoon to say that an interview has been arranged for tomorrow.

As for where I’d been during the night, When an alarm went off somewhere (which it didn’t, of course) I was carrying a large tray of eggs and I nearly dropped the lot

Later I had to go to an airport, Schiphol, but it was nothing like the Schiphol I ever knew. I arrived in Caliburn and parked him and had to find my way to my gate. I couldn’t see it but I looked around and there was some girl standing on top of Caliburn pointing the way to the gate. I followed the crowd and suddenly realised that I didn’t remember where I’d parked Caliburn so I had to go nack and make a note of where he was parked. There was some woman giving the instructions “you go through this particular gate then you phone for a taxi to take you’. I had no idea what this was all about so I went and waited where I was supposed to wait. There was a view of the countryside in front so I took a few photos. Then I noticed that there were these little electric buggy-type cars flying around. They would pull up and take people. I thought that these must be the taxis so i’d wait for one that someone else was taking to my gate and leap aboard with them. Then I looked at my ticket. The boarding time was 09:10 and it was now 10:10 so it looked as if I’d missed my flight. Thumbing back through my papers I found that there was a flight on 4th April that I’d booked and it was now October so I’d missed this flight by about 6 months as well

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Just as I was about to go out for my afternoon walk the heavens opened and we had a terrific rainstorm the like of which I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

When it quietened down a little I nipped out for my afternoon walk and went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

It was so dark that I couldn’t see very much at all and I can’t tell if there was anyone down there or not. At least I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that I was the only person up here on the path. Everyone else has far more sense than to be out in this weather.

waves breaking on rocks place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just the rain either. There was quite a wind blowing too.

You’ve already seen the waves breaking over the top of the harbour wall – something that looked quite impressive but the wind wasn’t that strong. What we were having was one of those heavy, rolling seas that we have every so often

It’s probably something to do with Storm Arwen and thz amount of built-up kinetic energy in the sea as a result. You can see how much power there is in the waves and how silly it is not to make more of an effort to capture it.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021If anything, the weather was worsening as I was walking around.

The Ile de Chausey was completely lost in this huge raincloud that was coming my way and I didn’t want to have to hang around to wait for it.

There won’t be anything of interest out there at sea in this and even if there were, I wouldn’t be able to see it. And so I carried on along the path down to the car park, and down to the end of the headland instead.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anything at all happening down at the end of the headland

And that’s no surprise with this really impressive rainstorm blowing in off the Brittany coast and the Baie de Mont St Michel. Whoever is underneath all of that will certainly know about it

In fact, thinking about it, today was one of the foulest days that we have had for quite a while. And it was so nice earlier on – to such an extent that I was planning on going out and preparing the two front wheels on Caliburn.

But this weather put a stop to any thought of that.

le loup coloured water rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021One of the many phenomena that we have around here is the colour of the water. We can have whole patches of it that are a different colour than the rest.

There’s a beautiful example this afternoon and it can’t be because of the reflection of light off the clouds because right over where I’m standing the cloud is a nice thick dark grey.

It doesn’t go any darker until much further out in the bay, as you can see with the rainstorm cascading down on the Pointe de Carolles.

But that rainstorm is slowly catching up with me so I’m going to clear off home and have a hot coffee before I’m soaked to the skin.

Back here I carried on working for a while and then went for a shower. I need to be pretty and smell nice for tomorrow,.

By now it was time to make tea. Seeing as I’d bought some peppers yesterday I had a stuffed pepper and it was delicious as usual.

And now I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm set (again!) for a Sunday as I’m being picked up at 10:30 so I need to check my equipment before I go. And there’s some tidying up to do too. If I have people coming round I have to pretend to be respectable, even if I’m not.

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

Thursday 2nd December 2021 – I’M NOT SURE …

… what happened today. It didn’t feel as if I’d done very much but when I look back on it, I don’t have too much cause for vomplaint.

Mind you, it started off as rotten as it could be because the alarm didn’t go off and I awoke bolt-upright at 07:54. Apparently I hadn’t plugged the phone in correctly at night and the battery had gone flat. I can do without days like that.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages the next step was to check the dictaphone for messages. There were a few entries on there that were transcribed. The earlier days have been added to the relevant entries, and then I turned my attention to today’s.

Last night I was on board a small boat heading towards Greenland and this was going to start to become very interesting for the people who were around here with me but I awoke instead.

Later on I was working at the radio. We were going to record a discussion but for some unknown reason I could not get the sound correctly on my recorder. I’d been trying for half an hour and everyone was really fed up of waiting. Just towards the end of the time it began to be more promising so I thought that I’d go for a trip down the corridor while they were waiting for me. They were playing some music while they were waiting. I had my little Acer laptop and the back was off it. And if you want to know the rest of what happened here, you’ll have to wait until you’ve finished your meal.

Later still I was with Nerina last night. I’ve forgotten a lot of this but we ended up being in Germany. We didn’t really have much time but we found ourselves somewhere round by the border where East Germany used to be. We crossed over the border, not that there was a border to cross these days and picked up a road that was signposted “Dresden”. We followed that for a while. Nerina asked “how are we going to find our way back?”. I replied “we’ll drive down here for a bit and then look on the map for villages near the border, turn down to a village near the border and then go back that way”. We drove that way for a while and then came to a whole row of black and yellow posts and a deserted strip of countryside. That looked immediately like the border to us and we followed it for some time. In the meantime, we encountered a convoy of old British cars, Morris 1000s and the like. There was no border where we were but the posts that held the fencing and barbed wire were still there as a kind-of symbolic gesture. Nerina was driving. We went round a bend and came to a ford so I told her to take it easy. She did, and she got through. She reminded me of a time where she’d driven through a ford but had stopped, got out ang got her feet wet as she stepped into the water. I said “you’d done the difficult bit, hadn’t you, but you fell down on the easy part”.

There was something somewhere where I’d had a new starter fitted on the car. I’d ended up in a garage somewhere while I was waiting to load up the car with my stuff but I could walk around underneath the car and could see that a couple of bolts on the starter were loose. I thought that I’d go and find a spanner. I had my tool kit with me but could find an open-ended 15mm spanner but these looked like 16mm bolts to me and I couldn’t find a decent 16mm spanner. I thought “this is typical. Here I am in an ideal situation to put this right. I couldn’t wish for anywhere better. I can walk around and work on the car in perfect comfort but yet here I am and I can’t find the flaming tool that I need”. All this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Incidentally, when I say that I “awoke”, I don’t actually mean that. I’m still asleep when I’m dictating these notes, as you could tell if you were to listen to them, but I snap out of the deep unconscious into something that is not so deep that enables me to control the dictaphone, that kind of thing. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Once I’d finished that I went downstairs to put the first coat of paint onto Caliburn’s wheels. It was pouring down and howling a gale so I had to do it inside the back of the van and the smell was overpowering.

While I was out there I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat about nothing in particular.

Back in the apartment I grabbed a coffee and then I busied myself again. I had a few entries to update from while I was at Leuven the other day. They are now all on line and up-to-date.

After lunch I had to order the bits that I need for Caliburn – a new rear light unit, a door mirror glass and a windscreen wiper. And that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because my on-line payment system kept on kicking me out. It worked fine on the computer but not on the telephone.

Next stop was to go and put the second coat on the wheels. The rain had stopped by now but there was still the wind so I asphyxiated myself in the back of the van again.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

First port of call was down at the end of the car park to have a look at the beach to see what was happening there. Today we have a small part of a beach, but there didn’t seem to be anyone on it this afternoon.

But you can see how nice the weather has become by looking at the contrast between the part of the photo that is in the shade and the other part that isn’t. Unfortunately though you can’t see the effect that the wind is having.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021You can do in this photo though.

While I was down there looking at the beach I was also looking out at sea to see what was happening and I noticed that we had two trawlers heading our way, on their way home after a day’s fishing.

And they are making heavy weather of it too which is no surprise. You can see the whitecaps on the waves even that far out to sea so you can imagine that there is plenty of force in the wind this afternoon.

This afternoon I was the only person out there. I could walk in comparative pece along the path without being disturbed. Some of the kids were out there orienteering but they were well off in the distance.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Around the headland I walked and then down the path to where I could overlook the harbour.

And there’s plenty of activity with the portable boat lift this afternoon. For a start they seem to have painted it. It’s no longer a rusty white but a nice light-primer grey.

They’ve also painted the wheels too. They were a rusty dark black before but now they are a nice white. If I’d have known that they were painting the wheels I would have taken Caliburn’s down there and let them get on with job on my behalf.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal activity seems to have come to a dead stop.

We saw Chausiaise and, behind her, the older of the two Joly France ferries over there a few days ago and by the looks of things they haven’t moved an inch since then.

But then again, there doesn’t seem to be any custom about. I can’t see anyone at all on the sea wall over there. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen the place looking so deserted. You can tell that it’s winter time already and it’s going to be like this until Carnaval.

That is, if there is going to be a Carnaval this year. i’ve just seen today’s infection figures.

trawlers unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having said that activity at the ferry terminal seems to have come to a dead stop, that’s hardly the case at the fish processing plant.

There are quite a few fishing boats over there unloading and as we saw earlier when we set out for our walk, they are still coming in. So despite the lousy weather over the last few days, the work still goes on out at sea.

Having finished my walk I went back home and made a coffee and my work then went on too. I’m off to Leuven in two weeks’ time so I needed to make all my arrangements.

It seems that my cheap 07:13 train has died a death. That’s good news in a sense because I’m not scrambling around so early trying to catch a train to Brussels. The train at 06:33 is plenty early enough.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small burgers in breadcrumbs with baked potatoes and veg. They are delicious of course but now I’m running rather low. I foresee a trip to Noz in the near future, although where I’m going to put them is anyone’s guess because the freezer is full.

Having finished my work, I’m off to bed. I have Caliburn’s new tyres to pick up tomorrow and the Law of Averages states that they’ll decide that the worst tyres are the ones that are on wheels that I haven’t as yet painted.

That’s how things usually work around here of course.

Wednesday 1st December 2021 – ONCE AGAIN I HAVEN’T …

… done anything like as much today as I had wanted to.

There have been a variety of reasons for this – not the least being that I had yet another dreadful night, wide-awake at 05:20 and lying there waiting for the alarm to ring at 07:30. I tell you – I’m thoroughly sick of all of this.

As you might expect, it took a good few minutes for me to summon up the energy to leave my bed this morning and then I was pretty much wasted for the rest of the day.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and bang on time Laurent came round for me. We went off to meet Thierry and then the three of us went off to meet Father Christmas and his blasted elves.

As I thought, the interview turned out to fall rather flat. I could understand the logic (whether I agreed with it or not) of submitting the questions in advance, I totally disagreed with the idea of “suggested replies”.

Children have a really fertile imagination and they need to be encouraged to develop it. And sometimes they can come up with some fascinating responses. But having them blindly reading off a script is a pretty dismal activity and it destroys the spontaneity of it all.

Having them all sitting around a table was another bad idea too because it’s always the more powerful ones who are heard. I would have interviewed them one by one where the kids could have responded without any peer pressure and chosen the pick of the answers.

In other words, this affair was micro-managed to an overwhelming degree and Laurent and I were quite disappointed about how it turned out. What had given us the idea for this was that two years ago wandering around the streets one night we had come across Father Christmas and subjected him to an off-the cuff interview. That was a resounding success.

While I was there I took a few photos of Father Christmas and his elves but I can’t publish them of course.

Back here Laurent came in for a coffee and we had a good chat about a few things, and made a few plans for the future.

After he left I went outside to wipe the rust-proofing liquid off the wheels and dry them, but painting them was out of the question. There was a howling gale again and it was sleeting.

Lunch was late again and afterwards I had the morning’s photos to edit and send off. They’ll choose one to illustrate our programme when it’s ready to broadcast.

trawler thora arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d finished that it was time for me to go off for my physiotherapy session.

The wind was if anything rather worse than it had been earlier and it was rather difficult to walk.

And I wasn’t the only one having difficulty moving around either. There was a trawler out at sea battling with the storm to come into port and behind her, Thora was being thrown about by the elements.

When I took this photo she was actually being blown sideways by the wind and was coming into port rather like a crab.

pointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret the pointing of the wall was proceeding apace.

Mind you, I’m not sure what was happening there earlier. On our way back from Father Christmas there was an ambulance and a police car parked up at the side.

The personnel of the vehicles seemed to be quite interested in what was going on down below but as I wasn’t driving and as we had other things to do, I couldn’t go over and have a look.

If it’s anything interesting or important, it’ll be in the local paper in the morning.

Halfway up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s, I had to stop. Not because I was out of breath but because we suddenly had another torrential downpour. I had to nip into a doorway and put on my rain jacket.

It reminded me of how Superman and all of these other superheroes used to dash into telephone boxes and emerge seconds later with their underpants on outside their trousers. Where do they go to change now with the rise of mobile ‘phones and the demise of telephone boxes?

And then of course, there was my brother. He was often seen with his underpants on outside his trousers, but that was less to do with any superhero status and more to do with the fact that he didn’t have both paddles in the water.

No tilting platform today. There was the usual 5 minutes on the cross trainer and then a load of kinetic exercises that somehow took their toll of me.

She had me once more walking along this narrow beam and throwing a ball about. She was impressed with my reflexes co-ordination but as I have said before, my previous life as a goalkeeper and wicket-keeper had a lot to do with that.

father christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way home I came via the Place General de Gaulle.

On the way up to the physiotherapist’s I’d seen a few council workmen on up on ladders working on the trees and I was interested to see what they had been doing with them.

By the time that I returned, the workmen had gone but I noticed that some of the trees were now festooned with decorations. And if you ask me my opinion, it’s all a load of balls.

christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago Strawberry Moose reckoned that the Christmas decorations in the Rue Paul Poirier WERE ALL BALLS too.

THis year though, there’s been a change, and not before time either. This year we have the street lined with artificial “Christmas Trees”.

Now what was I saying a few days ago about them recycling the same old decorations year after year and wishing that they would make a change?

Clearly, a great many people are very interested in the contents of my pages and pay them a great deal of attention.

La Bavolette Ii thora marité belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A short while ago we saw Thora having a bit of a struggle to make it into port.

Well she finally arrived, as you can see in this photo, moored up at the loading bay in front of Marité, with Belle France and the newer Joly France ferry – the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure, moored alongside her.

The little trawler in the background is an interesting boat. She’s called La Bavolette II – at least, for the moment. And I mean that too because in the past she’s been known by several different names.

She was built in 1982 out of wood and displaces 40 tonnes

philcathane l'ecume II port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021This trawler is much more interesting though.

Not Philcathane, of course – not that she isn’t interesting in herself but she hasn’t had the adventures that the other one in the photo has had.

You can tell by her registration number – beginning with “J” – that she’s a Boat from Jersey and how long is it since we’ve seen a boat from the Channel Islands here in port with all of the shenanigans that are going on right now?

There’s a great deal of talk about illegal fishing right now and this trawler – she’s called L’Ecume II by the way, can tell you an awful lot about that because on two occasions about which I know, her crew has been in the dock and emerged with their pockets far lighter than they were when they went in.

And not only that, 18 months ago she found herself stuck on a sandbank because her helmsman had fallen asleep at the wheel.

In other words, she’s quite a well-known boat, for one reason or another.

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However I wasn’t going to hang around and admire her for too long.

As you can see, out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was quite a storm brewing up and the gale-force wind was blowing it my way.

As a result, I wasn’t going to hang around. I was going to head for home and a hot mug of coffee, and make plans about what I was going to do for the rest of the week. I actually have a day at home without any interruptions at all – but just you watch all that change.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in I went to have a look at the beach

And that was rather a waste of time because there wasn’t any beach to look at today. The tide was right in now and the water was at the foot of the cliffs. All I had for my pains was a good battering by the wind.

Back here I had my coffee and sat down to try to do some work.

Checking my messages there was a mail from my Welsh course telling me what ingredients I need for the Christmas Cake I’ll be baking on-line on Friday evening. Treacle isn’t available here so I ended up asking Liz for advice on a replacement and chatting to her for quite a while.

For some reason, tea was quite an effort tonight. I’m experiencing brain-fade – not quite as bad as the nonsense I was churning up last night – but I couldn’t think of what to have for tea. I’d really run aground.

In the end I settled for a burger and pasta. That was the best that I could do.

Right now, although I haven’t crashed out today, I’m thoroughly exhausted so I’m off to bed where I hope that I’ll sleep until I awaken.

But not much hope of that, I’m afraid. All of this is really depressing me.

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a proposal of marriage today.

And the worst thing about it is that I’m not sure exactly how serious it was.

On the way back from the physiotherapist I met one of my neighbours heading down the hill. We had a chat about the current situation in the town, one thing led to another and she asked me “do you have your French nationality yet?”?
“No I don’t” I replied. “Just my Carte de Séjour. Nationality is a long, complicated process”.
“We’ll have to marry and then it will take much less time” she continued.

And so in the best traditions of the (News of the Screws), I “made my excuses and left”.

But the regular readers of this rubbish needn’t worry. Since I’ve been ill and I’ve had all of these bits cut out of me, I’m no use to anyone. Not even to myself.

It’s all very well discussing people like Percy Penguin, TOTGA, Miss Stoke on Trent, Castor and all of the others but they’ll all be perfectly safe with me these days.

Particularly after the night that I had last night. I was in bed really early – not long after 22:00 when I went to bed, planning on having a really good sleep all the way through to 07:30 but it wasn’t to be.

And so I’ve decided that in the future I’ll mention my good nights rather than my bad ones. It’ll save more time.

So staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then came back in here to check my mails and messages.

Plenty of mails too about my radio project and I stirred the pot by sending out a pile more. That led to the odd ‘phone call or two and so most of my day evaporated before my very eyes.

While I was dealing with the radio stuff, I uploaded the recording from last night on our visit. Two microphones means two mono tracks, with one “major” sound channel and one “minor” sound track. I’ve run them together and created a stereo track which doesn’t really give the effect that I wanted but I’m a novice with this machine and I have a lot to learn as yet.

Some time during the course of the day I had a look at the photos from Saturday night. I’ve edited 27 so far and I’m surprised at how good one or two of them are.

During the night I travelled miles. I started off having to make declarations of imports to the Customs and Excise people at Newcastle upon Tyne. My first ones weren’t very good – not very-well completed but by the time that I came round to the second ones and subsequently I had it all down to a T and was busy , doing it quite well and I was quite pleased with that.

Later, I was in Chester and I can’t remember what I was doing there now. I had this really ancient 1920s motorbike with me. We’d gone to the station to meet someone and it turned out to be an old woman. I was there with a friend of mine who was on an old motorbike too. When we met this old woman we then had to go out of Chester. I lost my way all round the station complex. I couldn’t remember where everything was because Chester had been so modernised. In the end we made our way to Northgate Street more by luck than judgement. This old woman was lagging behind because we were setting quite a pace. In the end she was talking about going for a cup of tea so we found this olde-worlde café place and went in there. I left my motorbike outside but he took his in. There were probably 7 or 8 other old motorbikes from that era in there as well. Now we had acquired 2 children, a girl about 6 and a little boy. I went and sat down where my friend and this woman went to order the coffee or whatever.

Later still I was working in an office and I’d been up to the canteen at about 10:45 to ask for a coffee. The woman said that she would make one and bring it down. By the time that it was 15:15 it hadn’t come so I went back up to find out what was happening. When I went in there I asked and she replied that she wasn’t going to make one for me. There were several other people there, one or two who were also drinking coffee so I asked why she wasn’t going to make one for me when she’d obviously made one for other people. One or two of the people tried to get me to leave but I wasn’t leaving under any circumstances and it all developed into something rather unpleasant. She still refused to make me a coffee even though everyone else who had asked had been given one

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It was such a beautiful afternoon when I set out for the physiotherapist so I headed over to see what was happening in the bay.

And for a change this afternoon, there was quite a lot. The Iles de Chausey looked really nice in this strange sunlight and we could see plenty of fishing boats out there looking as if they were heading for home.

On the horizon though was something big and white. One of the ferries going from St Malo to Portsmouth, I expect. I made a mental note to check it when I returned but I forgot.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was quite a bit of activity looking the other way too.

Down in the bottom of the Baie de Granville between Donville les Bains and Bréhal Plage there were quite a few boats out and about this afternoon – some yachts and a cabin cruiser, as well as a few others that didn’t make it into the photo.

But not that I was going to hang around to count them. I have things to do and other fish to be frying.

One of the things that I mentioned that I would do was to go and see what was happening in the old town with all of the rebuilding that seems to be taking place.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbis will recall that we have noticed a big hole in the medieval city walls near to where they are working in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux so I wanted to check up on that.

And the hole isn’t there any more – or, at least, if part of it still is, it won’t be there much longer.

The stone masons have now reached the hole and they are busy patching it up, with a handy shield up above their head to prevent anything dropped over the wall from hitting them.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And there is actually a big danger of things being dropped down on their heads from up above.

Another worker has been raking out the loose mortar between the stones, so presumably that’s going to be the next bit that will be repointed once they have finished below.

And you can see why the men down below have erected a roof when you see where the guy up above has left his electric drill. That will make quite a dent in someone’s skull if it’s dropped 20 feet.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021When we were here last time, they had dismantled part of the wall in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

Now it looks as if they have begun to reassemble it and with the fresh pointing it looks quite nice. When they refit the large stones on top, it will be a really good job.

But what will be the next job to tackle? There’s the one further along towards the viewpoint at the Plat Gousset that has been fenced off for as long as I’ve been living here at least, then then there’s the bit in the car park by my building.

But the smart money is on the Square Potel and the signs are up there already.

repairing rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that we saw a couple of weeks ago was all the hieroglyphycs that had appeared on the road surface in the Rue St Michel.

They had been working in the Rue Cambernon close by, but now they have finished. They have gone on up the Rue St Michel and by the looks of things they are quite well advanced there.

But this road surface is dreadful. In the medieval city everywhere else is cobbled stone – except here. They can’t complain about people not keeping to the “epoch” in their own private renovations if they aren’t going to do the same with the official ones.

thora loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, down in the harbour, I see that we have a visitor.

Thora, one of the two little Jersey freighter, is in port today and by the looks of things she has quite a huge load on board. You can tell that by how deep she’s sitting in the water.

It looks as if there are some vehicles on the deck too, but I’ll go for a look on the way back. I want to have a chat with the skipper anyway.

erecting christmas decorations avenue leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once more, I made it all the way up to the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping for breath.

There was however one stop, and that was almost near the top as well. You can tell that we are in November and the tourist season is over, because now they are putting up the Christmas decorations.

And this year, I hope that they are going to use their imagination and do something different than they have done over the past couple of years. They have been very samey, except that there seem to be fewer and fewer things to erect.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises for my half-hour session and it does seem to be doing me some good. I can tell that by the fact that I seem to be moving about a little easier than I did when I first started. Not by very much, but it does take time.

working on abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home, I went to see how the major roadwork project is doing down in the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs.

They are making some kind of progress where the old railway line used to be. It’s all graded and they have fitted the drainage system and the electric conduit.

It looks as if it’s All Systems Go there, but I doubt if it will be finished for when I need to go to Leuven in a couple of weeks time. I might have to wait a little longer for that but it will be a much easier way to walk once it’s finished.

workmen installing play equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Remember the hardstanding that we have seen in the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs in the past?

There are a couple of workmen down there doing something with it all today. I shall have to go for a closer look.

But there are still plenty of the concrete reinforcement matting sheets down there – if anything, more than there were last time. It looks as if we are going to be in for a serious amount of concreting which will be a shame. This much concrete must be bad for the environment.

workmen installing play equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So down at the bottom of the steps I could have a closer look at their doings.

In the absence of any indication I asked them what was the purpose of they were doing. “It’s for the sport” replied one of them.

And so it looks as if I might not need the physiotherapist at all once they have finished what they are doing. I can come and do my exercises down here. But they will need much more equipment than just this, that’s for sure, if they want the town to improve its fitness.

square des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There wasn’t much else that I could see happening on the trackbed of the abandoned railwy so I cleared off down the road towards the quagmire that is the Square des Docteurs Lanos.

And quagmire is certainly the word. It’s raining on and off at the moment and over there is just a morass or sea of mud. Nothing much has changed there over the last 10 days or so, except that we now have some concrete drain boxes dropped over there.

And do you notice in the bottom corner the concrete strip that they have placed across the road? It looks as if we are going to be having a sea of concrete all the way up to the end of the abandoned railway line at this rate, hence all of the reinforcement matting.

roadworks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That’s certainly what it’s looking like in the Rue du Boscq.

The concrete strip that we saw them pouring the other day has now expanded widthways to three times its size, for what purpose I really don’t know.

Ohh! For a long line of trees that should have been planted every 30 feet along there to bring some shade and greenery to people walking about in the summer.

On the other side of the road they have left the half-a-dozen trees that were growing there previously, and that looks as if it’s going to be our lot for now.

digger moving road roller rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But the excitement here isn’t quite over yet.

There’s a road-roller that has been stuck on the concrete and can’t drop off the end so they summoned up one of the diggers on the site.

He picked it up without too much effort and dropped it back onto the roadway where the driver drove it away. and then the digger picked up what looked like a generator and then cleared off down to the far end of the roadworks.

children's roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And as if in sympathy, I cleared off down the far end of the roadworks too.

The kiddies’ roundabout that we saw them installing the other day is still here. It’s planned to be here until 7th November but it may be on its way sooner than that.

Apparently it’s larger than it’s supposed to be, according to the plans that were submitted to the local council, and it’s forcing people to step into the roadway. The council is none-too-happy about it and there’s some kind of proceedings going on right now about the issue.

vans and builders material thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On our way out to the physiotherapist, we saw Thora moored at the loading bay and I mentioned that I’d go over for a chat.

However as I arrived, she was just casting off ready to go. And I was right about the vehicles that she was carrying. 2 vans with Dutch number plates heading off towards the Channel Islands along with about 40 large sacks of stone.

Obviously it’s too late to speak to her skipper to I shouted a message to him as he peered through his window. Whether he heard me or not is another thing completely.

thora leaving normandy trader arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The reason for the rapid departure of Thora is that the loading bay is wanted by someone else.

As she disappears off into the sunset, right in behind comes Normandy Trader. I didn’t think that they would be able to fit all of the freight on the quayside into Thora.

It was sheer luck that I’d arrived at this moment because I wanted to speak to Normandy Trader‘s skipper too. But he had a considerable amount of work on the go, quite obviously, so I didn’t want to get in his way. I’ll catch him another time.

normandy trader unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But doesn’t Normandy Trader look nice in her new livery?

Her captain was telling me that he was fed up of everything being blue and so while she was out of the water the other week he’s had a lot of her painted red.

They started to unload her almost immediately so I stood and watched from a good viewpoint. And the unloading didn’t take long because, as you might expect with all of this going on, the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative isn’t sending any shellfish over to Granville right now.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little earlier I mentioned that it was raining on and off as I walked home.

As you can see, out there in the baie de Mont St Michel and on the Brittany coast they were having it much worse than I hwas having it right now. That looks like one impressive rainstorm that is cascading down over there.

The wind wasn’t blowing it in my direction but I didn’t want to hang around. Nevertheless it was round about here that I had my proposal of marriage.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further on I bumped into another neighbour out for a run so we had a little chat and then I carried on along my way.

Before going inside, I went to look at what was happening down on the beach. And the fact is that there wasn’t any beach for anything to be happening on right now. The tide is well in.

A few minutes earlier while I was walking home Rosemary telephoned me. So back here I made myself a coffee and phoned her back for another one of our long chats.

Hence I am, us usual these days, running hours later than planned.

later on, I was out again. I seem to be in great demand today as well because I was invited to a soirée in the building. It’s not like me to be popular, is it? I took myself off upstairs but I only stayed for an hour or so. I just don’t have the time (or the inclination) to be nice and friendly for such a long time.

Back down here I had pasta and a burger for tea, and now I’ve written up my notes I’m going to bed.

While I was out I took over 20 photos. But you won’t get to see them until later because with running late, I haven’t processed them and in any case, I’m whacked.

Somehow (and I don’t know how) I’m managing not to fall asleep during the day as I did in the summer but at the end of the day I’m wasted, particularly when I’ve had a bad night. A good night will do me the world of good, although I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll have one.

Friday 29th October 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the worst night of them all so far last night. And four files on the dictaphone tells you what kind of restless night it was.

There was a pile of dirty washing-up that needed doing. Some had already been done so my brother and I cracked on and finished it all. After we’d had something to eat there was washing up to be done and I didn’t bother to wash up but he insisted that we wash up. I refused. I only wash up once per day and that was before going to bed. This argument rolled on so I went outside. I frightened one of the seamen sitting on the steps of our ship who was looking at another ship close by. I asked him what was going on and he said “nothing in particular” and wandered off. There were 3 or 4 ships in the immediate vicinity, one a ship owned by Disney that didn’t have any superstructure like a barge. The people on it were speaking Russian so I spoke to them in Russian – “hello, how are you? My name is Eric” in Russian and they were overwhelmed that someone was speaking Russian to them and they actually came over on board our ship to talk to me. And it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken any Russian. I learnt some basic Russian from a local woman in Nantwich before I started taking coaches behind the Iron Curtain and I’ve probably forgotten most of it now.

3 of us, a guy a girl and I had to check out a disturbance on a common somewhere. There was no-one around but interviewing the locals it appeared that foreigners gathered there later on in the evening. The guy with me who was in charge told the girl to stay there on her own and make a report which I thought was strange. I expected one of the others of us to stay as well and pretend to be a courting couple. A single girl on her own would be rather prominent out there. Anyway, that was what we agreed to do and the 2 or us went away. We ended up being stuck in this huge queue of pedestrians at a roundabout. It seemed that it was Derby County’s birthday and there was some kind of celebration. We ended up in this charity shop and they had some Derby County ski suits that were really nice. I was tempted to buy one but I didn’t like the idea of carrying something with “Derby County” on it so I didn’t. We had a good look around but couldn’t see anything else. We went out and decided to go for a meal. I reminded him about this woman and said “when we go to pick her up we’d better take her a cup of coffee”. He replied “yes. hang on here while I go and fetch one”. I said “it won’t be much use now. She’ll need it at 8 o’clock when we finish. She’ll be freezing”. He said “yes” and came out with some other stuff that I can’t remember now.

Later on Liz had bought some furniture for her new house, a bed. The people in IKEA were showing up how it went together to demonstrate what it looked like. She quite liked it and said that she’d take it but it turned out that there was a 6-month delay for delivery. I said “stick it in Caliburn and we’ll take it round in Caliburn”. She said that there was no-one there to assemble it, Terry had gone to work. I replied “I’ll assemble it”. She said “you have other things to do, haven’t you?”. I replied “I can spare an hour or two to do this bed”. They couldn’t find the right nails or screws ro go with this package. I pointed out various piles of screws and nails on the floor by the bed and this was starting to become really complicated. it turned out that she had gone in to buy a bed for one of her grandchildren because the two of them were sharing a bed and it was most uncomfortable for them. She wanted to get them separate beds and saw this while she was there.

Finally, I’d made myself some muesli and was looking for a container to put it in now that I’d come back from being away. I had plenty of flower pots but couldn’t find them all. Eventually I found a large one so I took a bucket of water and washed it out and had it looking fairly clean. Then I don’t know why I did this but I tipped the bucket of water into the flower pot. Of course the water went everywhere, all over the table, all over the carpet so I had to pour the water back into the bucket quickly. My brother said that we ought to find a mop. As we were going through into the back room to fetch a mop the police were in there. They’d been looking for someone for ages who had disappeared and were wondering where he’d got to. It turned out that he was in the next room. He’d killed himself. They were puzzled because the electrode that he had used to earth himself when he gave himself an electric shock wasn’t actually attached to anything metal, just to a wooden chair leg so that wouldn’t in theory have killed him so they began to wonder about his wife’s involvement with this.

But seriously, how come my brother has been playing such a large part in my voyages for the last few days or so? What’s been bringing him into the equation?

As a consequence of all of this it was a weary crawl out from under the covers this morning when the alarm went off. Mind you, I don’t suppose that it helped very much

After the medication and checking my mails I made a start on continuing with the blog entries but I didn’t get very far.

Not long after I’d started I had a message – do I have any Greenlandic music?

Of course, I have a couple of rock albums from Greenlandic rock groups who sing in Inuktitut but that wasn’t what was required. Did I have any Greenlandic music that would do as the background for a radio programme?

“Not to hand at this very moment” was the obvious answer but I do have two Greenlandic friends, one of Danish extraction and the other a young Inuit girl who are musicians so most of the morning was spent talking to them.

Nive told me that I could help myself to anything of hers (of which there is quite a lot) that I could find in the public media and Heidinnguaq, the young girl whom I met in Uummannaq sent me a couple of songs that she wrote which she plays guitar and sings.

And so what was left of the morning was spent chasing down the various files, editing them and remixing them suitably for the radio shows.

While I was on a roll, as the saying goes, I contacted the son of the guy (now unfortunately no longer with us) who wrote “Grasshopper” – the song that I mentioned yesterday – to see whether his father ever left his notes about his song construction. We had quite a chat for a while but to no avail – there were no notes left behind.

And so, there’s no time like the present and I contacted my musical friend who lives in Germany and sent him the link to the song. He’s going to score it for me. I’ve worked out the melody on the bass guitar but many of the chords bear absolutely no resemblance to the root notes, so they must all be derivatives and that’s way beyong my capabilities.

To take me up to lunch, the nurse came round and injected me with my third vaccination for Covid. Now I’m completely up-to-date with my injections and I have a very sore right arm.

After lunch I had a ‘phone call from the guy who co-ordinates the radio. What am I doing on the 12th November?

Apparently there’s a big meeting taking place to formally open the “Greenland Week” here but the girl who has chosen to make up a radio programme of the event can’t make it. Seeing as I know Uummannaq and the people there so well, could I replace her?

Well, of course I will actually, but really I can’t find the time to do my own stuff, never mind anyone else’s.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021After all of that I went out for my afternoon walk.

Quite a few people down on the beach this afternoon, although nobody brave enough to tackle the water.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather has now turned and there’s a strong with blowing in its usual direction from the North-West. So the fact that it’s reasonably warm for the time of year counts for nothing really in this.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As usual while I’m out looking down on the beach, I have one eye roving about offshore to see what I can catch.

And what caught my eye was this storm raging away out in the bay. Somewhere out there is the island of Jersey but you can’t hope to see it because of the intense rainstorm that is falling down right now.

It’s not any surprise that you can’t see any boats out there in that direction. having seen that huge storm approaching, they have presumably run for cover and I for one don’t blame them.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little further along the coast I came to where I could see over the Ile de Chausey.

In actual fact, where I couldn’t see over the Ile de Chausey very much because there was a massive rainstorm over there too.

This one was far more ominous because the wind was blowing it in my direction and I began to regret that I had come out without a jacket because I had a feeling that in a couple of minutes time I would be right underneath all of that.

people in zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021as I walked further on along the path, I did eventually come across some maritime activity.

It looks to me as if it’s a couple of zodiacs in which these people are standing, and the marker buoy behind them is not one that would relate to a lobster pot or anything like that.

The conclusion that I drew from this is that they are frogmen – or maybe I should be saying “frogpersons” these days – going for a practice over the side. We’ve seen quite a few of them in the past just offshore.

yacht rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked down across the carpark to the end of the headland the storm arrived and I got the lot, just as I predicted.

And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one who was having a great deal of difficulty with the weather. There was a yacht out here in the bay battling had to overcome the elements and making rather … errr … heavy weather of it.

The rainstorm was absolutely wicked so I had no intention whatever of hanging around in it seeing how things would develop.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By now, the wind had increased considerably in speed and velocity and I was expecting to see the results of it on the sea wall.

I’d seen a large wave crash into the wall and sent spray high into the air so I prepared for another.

However it’s usually every seventh wave that is the most powerful but by the time that I’d seen the second or third I was drenched to the skin and the camera was soaking wet so I took a photo of whatever I could get and cleared off.

It reminded me of the time that Kenneth Williams appeared in Bamber Gascoigne’s farce “Share My Lettuce”. He came on stage and described how he disguised himself as a tree in order to study more closely the birds that might nest in it. And he finished his description with “and then I unfurl an umbrella and hold it up over my head”
The narrator said “but the birds will see through your disguise, won’t they, and stay away?”
“Maybe they will” replied Kenneth Williams “but I’m not getting wet for a load of bleeding birds!”.

crane unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Had the weather been any better I would almost certainly have gone for a closer look at this.

There’s a large lorry with something heavy on the trailer, and a very large mobile crane either lifting it off or putting it back on. It’s a shame that right now it’s raining so heavily that I can’t see anything at all. Not even after enhancing the image.

Back at home I made myself a coffee and then dashed through the photographs. I needed a quick, early tea because there’s football on this evening. I ended up with baked potatoes, baked beans and a vegan burger.

You have to feel sorry for Aberystwyth Town though. Second from bottom in the JD Cymru League but against the team that was second in the table, Y Fflint, nothing seemed to go right.

When they remembered to keep the ball on the ground instead of long, aimless punts upfield, they played some really nice, attractive football that kept them going forward despite all of the pressure that they were under.

They did however ahve to misfortune to find Y Flint’s goalkeeper Jon Rushton in excellent form and he made half a dozen top-drawer saves to keep his team out of danger.

Y Fflint scored twice through one of my favourite players, Jack Kenny, who would be a top-class player if he would just learn to control his temper, booked yet again for yet another off-the-ball incident when there was really no need except his own misplaced pride.

Aberystwyth did score a goal – a marvellous goal worthy of any “goal of the month” competition when Rushton punched a ball out upfield and Louis Bradford lobbed it back into goal right over everyone else’s head. have a look at about ABOUT 1:41:25 ONWARDS OF THIS VIDEO

Not long after the football finished and I was writing up my notes, I fell asleep at my desk. I hauled myself off to bed instead, reckoning that I’ll finish my notes tomorrow.

Goodnight.

Wednesday 20th October 2021 – I WAS LUCKY …

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021 … this afternoon, finally managing to take the photo that I’d been trying to take for the last I don’t know how long.

As I was walking back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home after my physiotherapy appointment, the gates to the inner harbour opened quite dramatically.

That was the cue for all of the fishing boats that were lined up outside in the outer harbour to surge forward and fight their way in to be first to tie up at the fish processing plant.

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As you can see, there are dozens of them that go out from here almost every day.

And what goes out has to come back, of course, unless it’s called Bugaled Breizh, but that’s another, much sadder story for another time and place.

We can recognise a couple of the trawlers in this photo. On the extreme right looking as if she’s trying to leave is Cap Pilar and at the back of the queue is Coelacanthe, one of the biggest fishing boats in the port.

And one of these days I’m going to have to go through my notes and make an illustrated database of the boats in here so that I can identify them more easily.

marite chausiaise thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And it wasn’t just Cap Pilar that looked as if she was leaving port.

Chausiaise had been tied up in the loading bay underneath the crane and as I watched, the crew cast off the ropes and reversed away from the quayside.

She’s not going to be heading out for a while because there was quite a queue of traffic waiting to come in, as we have already seen. And it’s not really a good time of day to be going anywhere because by the time that she reaches the Ile de Chausey it’ll be almost dark and the tide will be turning.

Talking of turning … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was doing a lot of that in bed last night. It wasn’t particularly early when I went to bed but nevertheless by 03:20 I was wide awake and from then until 07:30 there was only a few minutes sleep here and there.

When the alarm finally did go off, it was all that I could do to raise myself from the dead.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I knuckled down to attend to the work on the list that I had created yesterday. And to my surprise (and to yours as well, no doubt) I breezed my way through it, and a few other things that I had forgotten to add onto the list as well.

That was what I call a productive day, and it’s high time that I had one of those.

There was the usual pause for breakfast and for lunch, and after lunch I had a shower before carrying on with the work.

Listening to the dictaphone some time later, there was plenty of stuff to transcribe. I must have had an exciting night. I was working for the radio and trying to find people to interview for this radio programme. I was in an old Plaxton Elite coach parked up somewhere in the Wirral. All these people were getting on and off it as we were near one of these burger van things. People asked me what I was doing so I explained that I was looking for people who had experience of Brexit good and bad and wanted to talk about it. They asked in which direction I was going so I said “north”, so quite a few stayed on. I was going north and came to a road junction. Someone said that if you go left here there’s a centre down there where there will be plenty of people and I’ll be bound to find someone there. I went to the left and came across a low bridge. There was nowhere for me to turn round, the road was so narrow and so built up on either side that I couldn’t get a swing round to turn the coach round at all under any circumstances.

Later on I’d forgotten to fill the water container for the house at Virlet. It was late at night and dark and I had to set out and do it. Nerina wasn’t very happy. When I went out I remembered that I hadn’t fought my way into the room where the water tap is. She was annoyed about that. In the end I fought my way round to the top of the barn and went in. The fridge in there was working really hard and making a lot of noise. I went downstairs and out, and found that I could in fact get into the water room. I’d left the light on in there from the last time I’d been there. I went in and there was a bat that was flying around, diving into my hair and everything. There were thousands of little flies. I fetched the water container out of there and managed to struggle my way outside. The bat came out with me and flew off. So did all these insects.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When it was time to leave the apartment for my physiotherapy I went down to look at the beach.

Peering over the wall I could see that there was quite a bit of beach this afternoon – after all, it is my more usual time of going out compared to yesterday.

This time though there wasn’t anyone on it at all and that’s no surprise because it was blowing a howling gale and it was trying its best to rain. Not the right kind of day to be out at all unless one had to.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the hill on my way into town I could see that there was a boat moored up in the loading bay underneath the crane.

As I drew closer (but it wasn’t a good likeness of closer because I’m useless at drawing) I could see that it was Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, who was in there. She must have come in on the morning tide

Another thing that took me by surprise was that I made it all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping for breath. That’s something that I haven’t done for months and I was so impressed with that.

Today she had me doing movements and exercises and they seemed to be better for me than the tilting platform. I was certainly aching more than I did before and, getting ahead of myself here, I was up the 25 steps to my apartment much easier than I have been of late.

old sfr shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But on the way home, I could see the first casualty of the mobile phone wars that are going on throughout the world right now.

That shop over there used to be, until the weekend, the SFR shop and I’m not surprised that that has bitten the dust. Regular readers of this rubbish going back 7 or 8 years or so ago will remember the dispute that I had with them.

By now it was raining fairly heavily so I didn’t want to hang around too long. I came back a different way home yet again but there was nothing of any interest to see or to photograph.

bouchots de chausey avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Well, that’s not actually true.

Quite by accident as I was crossing over the Avenue de la Liberation, I saw a tractor heading my way and I recognised it immediately so I prepared the NIKON D500.

Sure enough, it’s the tracor and trailer that unload the Bouchots de Chausey and we saw them yesterday hard at it. Had I been able to run, I would have followed it to find out where it is going, but I’m long past that kind of thing these days.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier I showed you a couple of photos of the fishing boats coming back into harbour.

After they had all passed by, one of the Joly France ferries reversed out of her berth at the ferry terminal and followed the fishing boats into the inner harbour.

What I liked about this photo was that I also captured two blue and white fishing boats racing neck and neck towards the harbour. I had to wait a couple of minutes to have all three boats in exactly the right position but it was worth it.

trawler cap pilar meaving port de Granville harbour in a storm Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another photo that you saw earlier was the one with Cap Pilar waiting for the traffic to subside as if she intended to go out to sea.

Sure enough, once there was a gap in the traffic, off she went and was immediately engulfed in the storm that was now raging out at sea. She disappeared into several waves that swept over her bows and my hat goes off to everyone who puts to sea in this kind of weather.

Back here I had a much needed coffee and that warmed me up somewhat. And there wasn’t time to do very much because it was quite late when I returned.

There were some mushrooms that were on the verge of looking quite dubious so I made a potato and mushroom curry with them and wasn’t that delicious.

And just as I put down my fork, Rosemary rang me – perfect time again – and we had another one of our endless, rambling conversations, hence I’m running quite late.

But now, later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed and after my dreadful night last night I hope that this one is better. I’m interviewing tomorrow so I need to be on form.

Monday 18th October 2021 – I ALMOST SET …

… a new record for my radio programme today. Bang on 10:50 and I was just about to save the final copy of the broadcast that I’d prepared when all the power went off in the building.

It took about 15 minutes for the power to come back on and then I had to add back in the very final segment of the programme. After all of that it was 11:15 when I finally finished, and that was something of a disappointment.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

It was yet another night where I was tossing and turning about for much of it, and that defeats the whole point of going to bed early.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed after something of a struggle and crawled into the kitchen for my medication.

Back in here I checked my mails and messages and then set down to attack the radio programme. And I made good progress, even though I had a break for a coffee and later for breakfast.

When I had finally finished I leapt into Caliburn and shot off to Lidl. There’s no food in the house – at least, not fruit and salad for lunch – so I needed to stock up.

And as I was in Caliburn I stocked up with a few other bits and pieces too, including a fresh cauliflower. I fancy some real cauliflower cheese for tea one of these nights, and I can freeze the leftover cauliflower.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night’s voyages too. I’d been helping my father put some hydraulic oil into someone’s crane. They had a tanker lorry with hydraulic fluid in the tank and the lorry had to be manoeuvred into position and the jib passed over to the filling hole on the crane. I had to help him do that and make sure that the oil didn’t overflow because they couldn’t get the tanker into position where the driver could do both things. Then it was time for me to go but I was covered in oil so I had a wash. I asked this girl how I was. She replied “your face is awful” so I washed that. Then she said that I needed to wash my hair so I washed it under the tap. All this time I was thinking that the bus timetables have changed. Someone gave me a bus timetable but the times weren’t for the bus stop in the immediate vicinity so I wasn’t sure how I would manage to catch the bus. I don’t know what happened next but later on I was walking through a forest trying to get to the station to catch the train. I noticed that there were 4 trains in the first half of the hour and none in the second. I had a feeling that I was going to miss everything. Going back to the bus by the way, at that time of night there was only 1 every hour and I didn’t have a clue what would happen if I missed the last one. We were walking through the forest. Someone met a woman and said “what’s happening about our pay rise?”. She said “I’m going through to make the dairies based on what’s been discussed so far”. The guy said “that means we are all going to receive 10%, does it?”. She burst out laughing and didn’t say anything.

After lunch I went for a shower (and had the first heat of the winter while I was doing it), set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then headed off for town in the rain.

children's roundabout place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down in the town I noticed that there was something going on.

In the Place Général De Gaulle there was a lorry there being unloaded and it looks as if they are erecting another children’s roundabout. Maybe they are plannign already for the Toussaint school holiday at the end of the month.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was a lot easier than it has been of late. I only had to stop once for breath and I reckon that I might have pushed on further than I did before I ground to a halt.

Today I had a new physiotherapist and she put me through a severe examination. She’s worked out that there is a lot less force in my right knee than in my left knee and judging by the fact that the muscles in each leg were aching in different places after performing the same exercise, there’s a muscle or tendon issue as well.

At least that gives her an idea of how she is to deal with the issue.

mushrooms place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By the time that I left the physiotherapist, it was raining quite heavily. Luckily I had my raincoat with me.

There’s a tree that has been cut down in the Place Semard and when I had a close look at the stump, it had grown some magnificent fungi.

And you know how to tell the difference between an edible fungus and an inedible one?

The answer is quite simple. Before you go to bed, take one and eat it. If you wake up next morning, then it’s perfectly safe.

lorry and digger abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the hill in the rain, I came to where they are working on what used to be the railway line.

There’s a digger here digging a trench and tipping the excavated soil into the bed of the lorry. A little further down we can see some pipes so it looks as if they will be laying some drainage in the ditch.

You can’t see from here but a little further down they have cemented the right-hand side of the track and on part of it they have put some kerbstones in. It won’t be long before they will have finished this part of the track.

concrete hardstanding parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the steps I went into the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs.

At the bottom, we have in the past seen a weird collection of road signs but if you peer through the raindrops you’ll see that what we have here today is the base of a concrete hardstanding.

It beats me, whet they are going to be erecting here. The park is some kind of local showplace and I wouldn’t have thought that they would have permitted the erection of just any old building. It must be something important.

place docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021From here I carried on down the road towards the square opposite the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos.

This is in quite a mess at the moment and looks even worse than it did last time that we were here. They don’t seem to have made very much progress with this part of the work.

If anything the piles of sand and gravel have grown considerably and there’s now a pile of pipework. I suppose that they will be putting a spurt on in due course when they have finished whatever it is that they are doing elsewhere with this task.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Talking of which, looking behind me, there’s a lot been going on in the Rue du Boscq.

On the north side of the road – the right-hand side – they have installed the kerbstones now. You can see the drop in the kerb just behind the little yellow compacter and that would seem to indicate how high they are going to be building up the road surface.

All of the stakes on the other side seem to indicate where they will be installing the kerb on that side of the road. You can see the piles of kerbstones stacked up on pallets at the side.

concrete shuttering rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the other end they’ve already installed some of the kerbing, and there was some interesting carpentry going on.

At first glance it wasn’t easy to see what they were doing but a closer inspection revealed that it’s some kind of shuttering. That usually implies that a pile of concrete is going to be poured there. And I hope not because that will be ppretty awful.

By now the rain was coming down quite heavily so I headed off back home. I didn’t want to stay out too long in this weather.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And it wasn’t just me heading for home either.

As I peered through the mist I could see that all of the trawlers were on their way home after a day out at sea. They were coming home rather early too because the tide wasn’t all that far in and I imagine that it would be a while before the gates into the inner harbour would open.

But that’s not something that I was going to wait around to see because by now I was soaking wet and I had other fish to fry.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When I reached the top of the hill I didn’t go straight home.

By now it was the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk so I wandered off to see what was happening on the beach.

About the same amount of beach as there was yesterday but considerably fewer people as you might expect in weather like this.

And if you want to see what the weather was really doing, have a look on the extreme right-hand edge of the photo. You can see all of the water cascading out of the drain and down onto the beach to roll down into the sea.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021One final thing to do was to look out to sea and to see what was happening there.

Of course, in this weather, you can’t see all that much. There was a yacht out there battling against the weather trying to find its way towards harbour.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee, took the washing out of the machine and then listened to the radio programme that I am sending off to be broadcast.

And it’s a good job that I did listen to it because the final segment had been missed off. I’ve no idea why. And so that was the task for this afternoon – to repair this programme and send it off.

Tea was a stuffed pepper and now I’m going off to bed. I have my Welsh lesson in the morning and need to be on form. I’m hoping that I’d have a good night’s sleep.

Sunday 3rd October 2021 – I TRIED SOMETHING …

… different today, and by the looks of things, it might have actually worked too.

vegan pizza fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, my fruit bread has been something of a hit-and-miss but today for some reason that I have yet to understand, I ended up with a dough that was one of the best that I’ve ever made.

Consequently, in an attempt to try something rather different, I cut the dough into 8, rolled them into some rather flat discs, and put them on some baking paper on the oven tray.

When they had risen sufficiently I baked them in the oven. And although I haven’t tried them yet, they look and feel really good.

However, I did try the pizza that I baked after the buns, and that really was excellent.

So was my sleep last night. 10:35 when I awoke, and about 11:05 when I finally left the bed. I can do with a few more days like that.

Some stuff on the dictaphone too. I dreamt last night that Lidl had gone bankrupt so I walked from my apartment all the way out there without any problems at all, I should say, and had a look round. They were even giving free coffee to people who were looking around. There was plenty of stuff on sale. I don’t believe that I bought anything. I was following this man and his daughter down the stairs thinking to myself that seeing as I’m going off to somewhere else on Wednesday I’ll go in the van and have a look around the big Lidl that is there to see what bargains they have. There were some headlines in the paper that I was looking at – “1 foot 3 inch baby born again”. There were all these people hanging around the door and we couldn’t leave so I said “do you mind letting the ones born first out of the building so that the others about to be born can come along quicker?”.

With Sunday being a day of rest, I haven’t done a great deal. After a coffee I paired off the music for the next radio programme and that took me nicely up to lunchtime.

After lunch I relaxed for a while with a coffee and then made the dough for my fruit bread. While I was at it I did a little tidying up in the cupboard under the sink. Just a little – I didn’t go mad.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021First port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on.

It wasn’t raining and we actually had some blue sky, and although it was very windy this afternoon, the weather was still good enough to tempt a few people out onto the beach.

But not into the water by the looks of things. It wasn’t that nice. And with the waves coming in like that, then it’s to be expected. No-one wants to be dashed to pieces on the rocks down there by a rather large wave or two.

storm brewing over jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It might have been a reasonable day over here in Granville, but that’s not to say that it was the same everywhere.

Look at that storm over there. Jersey is somewhere underneath that and by the looks of things it taking something of a severe pounding. I’m glad that I’m not out there in that.

Actually, the raincloud stretched all the way from the north-east corner of the Ile de Chausey and then right across to Jersey and beyond into the English Channel. And every now and again as I walked around my circuit, we had a spattering of rain as an extra-strong gust of wind brought some over.

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a workmen’s compound had been set up in the car park outside here, and I’d promised to go and look at it.

Actually, it’s not all that much of a compound at all. Just some equipment that has been parked here, secured against theft by some red and white plastic tape.

Having a look round, I could see a notice that suggested that it belonged to a company that specialised in “difficult access”. And so I wonder if they are going to be setting up camp with a view to starting repairs on the part of the wall that is crumbling away just here.

If they are, then it’s not before time.

There were a few people around on the path as I made my way around the headland, but there wasn’t any activity out to sea. I reckon that most people had seen the storm and gone back home for a cuppa.

There was the sparrowhawk out there hovering around again but as soon as I pointed my camera at him, he cleared off, as you would expect.

sun reflecting on surface baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And you can tell that the sun is now going much lower in the sky.

For the first time since the summer we were having the reflections of the sun in that water. This isn’t the best that we have ever had of course, but it’s the first of the winter so it deserves to be recorded.

It’s a shame that there was no-one else but me enjoying it. There was no-one else about, not even on the bench down by the cabanon vauban. And there wasn’t even a boat out there either to profit from the afternoon.

yachts le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Mind you, there was a couple of yachts out there around the other side of the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

You only need to look at the sea out there to see exactly what the wind was doing this afternoon. The whitecaps over there look quite wicked when you are battling the elements with a tiny yacht.

It’s actually not very often that we see the wind coming round from that angle. Le Loup is positively swamped in waves.

When I posted a photo a short while ago of the bay, the headland was acting as a really good wind-shadow to the bay with the usual nor’westers but this wind is now blowing from the west today.

waves breaking on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021With all of this wind surging around in the bay I was expecting to see something rather dramatic on the harbour wall.

However, it was only my hopes that were being dashed. Instead of a bang, it was much more of a whimper. The waves breaking on the wall were quite insignificant, and I had to wait for a couple of minutes even to have something like that.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval there was nothing of any interest there. No new boats at all, only the dredger sitting there waiting for things to happen.

Had I been feeling better, I’d have gone down for a look. I planned to go there yesterday on my way back from the shops but the rainstorm put paid to that idea.

crane on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Anyway, further around the path, it looks as if I’ve acquired another pet subject to go with pathetic parking, the Birdmen of Alcatraz and the beach at the Rue du Nord.

Not a boat moored at the ferry terminal right now, everyone gone off for the afternoon, and they’ve left the crane arm fully extended, with all of the weight of the arm pressing down on the hydraulic seal.

But that’s their affair, not mine. I came back home for a coffee and for a relax, and left them to it.

After the coffee I kneaded and rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer earlier, and put it onto the pizza tray ready to assemble.

Then I had the delightful job of peeling, dicing and blanching a kilo of carrots. On Saturday I was jost going to buy a couple and then a couple more in midweek, but why buy loose carrots at €2:19 per kilo when a one-kilo pack of carrots costs €0:79?

The buns went into the oven while I was assembling the pizza and that went in afterwards. Really delicious.

With an early start tomorrow I’m off to bed now. I’m radioing tomorrow of course and then I have an appointment with the physiotherapist. We’ve had a change of day for my appointments.