Tag Archives: ric baines

Sunday 26th September 2021 – NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… the perfect vegan pizza.

It really was too. I had to make a new batch of pizza dough this afternoon because I’d run out of the last batch. But I used wholemeal flour instead of bleached white flour and although the taste was rather unusual, it rose to perfection.

It’s a shame that I can’t make my bread dough rise quite like this batch of pizza dough did, and I don’t know why it won’t. I shall just have to keep on practising until I can find the key.

But it’s bizarre all the same.

And that’s what I call a lie-in too. Despite not going to bed until about 00:30 I was asleep until about 10:35 this morning. And it was … errr … some time later when I finally arose from the dead.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’ve forgotten very much about the first part of my travels but it was some kind of car journey with kids and we had to make up a bed inside the car for them because it was a long way travelling through the night but I can’t remember very much about this at all.

A short while later I was with a woman and we were wandering around the streets of a strange city somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was an aimless wandering around and I let her take charge but every time she seemed to take a decision to go somewhere it was always the wrong way. But it was still quite an adventure. It was hot and stuffy with quite a lot of traffic about, including one bus where the passengers were arguing with the driver about which way to go. Then we came to a complicated road junction where I misunderstood the lights and was nearly squidged. By this time I was with Nerina. We had been somewhere the night before after she had come in. She was telling me that a she came in my brother had invited her out for a drink. She said that she had this opinion that he’d known that she had been drinking although it was 16 minutes since her last one and she should have been clear so maybe she’d drink her drink in a different way next time to provoke a different reaction in her stomach.

I was wandering around Nantwich later and it was something to do with my German friend who was there – I’d arranged to meet him so I went to phone him up but I phoned Percy Penguin instead. I had a little chat with her and we tentatively arranged to meet. Then I was back in my house getting things ready for going. Another friend had said that someone had left me a message. I had a look and it was yet a third friend looking for the seed potatoes that he’s left. I had absolutely no idea where these were so I started to hunt my through for them and couldn’t fond anything. I came across my boots that I’d been wearing that I’d forgotten all about. I wondered if I should take those because the ones that I was wearing now were extremely comfortable although they were rather old and I still couldn’t find these potatoes. Liz Ayers turned up and said something like it was time to go. I told her that we hadn’t found these potatoes and she said that she wanted to go round to my house on the way back to see whether there was anything there that we needed. This was going to end in a load of confusion.

Later still, there were some more people round at my house. I had to go off somewhere and knew that I was going to miss these people by ages because I wouldn’t be back until late. When I returned there were 2 people walking up the stairs in front of me in the dark without the light on. I was wondering what they were doing. They went to my door and rang the bell. Whoever was in my house opened the door. This woman asked “have you received a message or a bill some time today?” to which whoever it was said “no”. Just then a girl came out of my apartment, a girl who had been in there earlier and was the one whom I was afraid that I was going to miss, carrying a box of stuff to put in her car. These 2 women saw her and asked “are you leaving? I hope that you are going to come back again”. She replied “yes, I’ll be coming back”. I added “yes, she better had be coming back”. We were having this kind of chat on the stairs at about 23:00 and this girl should have gone a long time ago. I was leafing through an old file and came across a sailor’s discharge book from the Navy, showing all the ships that he had been in, where he’d been torpedoed, where his ship had broken in 2 and sank, whatever. I was so fascinated by this book and deeply absorbed in it and wasn’t folling half of what was happening in this conversation which was strange because I was very keen to keep friendly and keep in touch with this other girl.

While I was at it, I transcribed the notes from yesterday and now they are on line as well.

After lunch, I had a little vegetate – after all, it IS Sunday. I was doing some research on something that I had read about a Communist sympathiser known as Hilaire Noulens, whose real name was Jakob Rudnik as I discovered, who was sent by Comintern to Shanghai to foment rebellion against the “International Forces” in 1931 but was arrested and exposed.

In the “International Zone” of Shanghai in the 1920s and early 1930s there were all kinds of strange and bewildering goings-on until 1932 when the Japanese invasion put a stop to most of it.

Following that I organised and paired off the music for the radio show that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and a little later I went off and prepared the dough for my next batch of pizza.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was going on down on the beach.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon. Although we are at the last weekend of September it is unseasonably warm right now with very little wind so people were taking full advantage.

There were even a couple of people in the water right up to their knees. I know that it was a nice day, but it wasn’t that nice. But then the definition of “nice water” for me is “water that is at 37°C”

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further along down at the beach at the Plat Gousset there were even more people.

Of course, the access there is much easier but they are closer to some competing attractions such as the Fête des Coquillages St Jacques down at the port. A plate of shellfish surely has to be a better deal?

But then I suppose there are those people who have come here to take the waters. As you can see, there are even more people up to their knees in it over there. Sooner them than me.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t anything happening this afternoon out at sea so I had a look over to the Ile de Chausey.

The view was quite good today – not as nice as it has been but better than most days – so the colours didn’t come out particularly too well.

There was one of the two Joly France ferries (Belle France is still moored at the Ferry Terminal as I found out later) moored out there and we could see it quite clearly from here.

While I was admiring the view I fell in with another one of my neighbours and we had a lengthy chat. I seem to be quite popular these days and it’s not like me to be so sociable, is it?

While I was chatting, I was overflown by just about everything that could possibly take to the air, as you might expect. But you can’t be so impolite to break off a good chat to take a couple of photos. There will be other times.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my viewpoint up on top of the old bunker at the back of the lighthouse I could just about make out the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with my naked eye.

With the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS the photo came out quite clearly after I’d enhanced it somewhat and we coud see once more the land beyong the cape.

Surprisingly, apart from the Joly France boat that I mentioned earlier and something far to small to identify, I couldn’t see a single other boat out there at sea this afternoon.

yacht small boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The position in the Baie de Mont St Michel is rather different.

As I walked across the lawn and the car park, that was once more packed to the gunwhales, I could see a couple of things out there towards the Brittany coast.

I took a photo of what I saw with a view to having a closer look when I returned home. And I’ve managed to capture a yacht with its sails furled and also a smaller boat of some other type.

But what “other type” it was, I couldn’t say. I couldn’t see clearly enough.

cabanon vauban couple changing a baby pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the looks of things, I wasn’t the only person admiring the view out across the bay this afternoon.

There was a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban and my first thought was that they were having a picnic. “A nice big helping of shellfish from the fête”, I mused.

Back here I had a closer look and I could see that in fact they were actually changing a baby. And I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that because any other baby is probably going to be just as noisy as the on that you already have.

F-GKAO - Piper PA-28-181 Archer 2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round about now I was overflown by another aeroplane and I was in a position to be able to take a photo of it.

It seems that this is one that we haven’t seen before so i’m glad that I was able to photograph her. She’s F-GKAO, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II.

She’s spent much of the day flying around here. When I saw her, she had taken off at 16:24, flown down the coast as far as Avranches, and then along the coast to Cap Fréhel before coming back into land at 17:16.

At 18:07 she took off and, stopping at Dinard and then Dinan, disappeared off the radar near Rennes St Jacques at 19:30.

buvette fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As you can see, the buvette at the fête is still going great guns.

There was no change at the chanter naval today, with just L’Omerta still in there, and there was only Belle France moored at the ferry terminal so I didn’t spend too long having a look around there.

It seemed to me too that there has been an expansion of the facilities there today. Yesterday, everything seemed to stop by the door into the Fish Processing plant, but today there are a few more marquees and stalls further on that seem to have attracted quite a crowd of people.

equipment on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But what had attracted me – or, at least, my attention, was the big pile of equipment in the background.

Full of curiosity I cropped it out and enlarged it to see if I might be able to work out what it all is.

It looks like another load of pipework, as far as I can tell. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they did dig up part of the quayside to lay a network of pipes.

Perhaps they are going to repeat the process once the crowds disappear and the harbour is pretty much empty. Whatever happens, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that the crowds were still flocking to the Festival.

There are probably even more today than there were yesterday. It’s a good turnout and I’m glad that I’m up here.

You are probably wondering how come I never went down to see what was going on down there. The truth is that I don’t feel up to it. Not even the downhill part, never mind the climb back up afterwards.

What i’m going to be doing is to wait for the doctor to see the x-ray photos of my lungs and see where I go from there.

electricians compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thiing to see is something that I haven’t noticed before, not having come this far down the hill on my previous walks.

There’s some kind of compound been created on the waste land at the side of the Boulevard des Terreneuviers. By the looks of things and the name on one of the containers, we’re going to be seeing some electrical work taking place down here pretty shortly.

Not right now though. I came back home for a cold drink and to check on the pizza dough – to find that it had risen by an extraordinary amount.

While I was waiting for the pizza to cook, I peeled and diced about 1.5kg of carrots and blanched them ready for freezing. I hadn’t planned to buying a pile of carrots, but when loose carrots worked out at €1:79 per kilo and yet a 2kg bag was €1:29, what would you do?

That 1.5kg filled the saucepan, so I’ll do the rest tomorrow afternoon.

Bedtime now that I’ve finished my notes. An early start because I have my radio show to do so I won’t be hanging around either. I hope that I’ll have a good night’s sleep, but we shall see.

Sunday 18th July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

boats heading to harbour baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… what kind of weather we’ve had today by looking at this photo.

Piles of boats out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel heading back towards the Port de Plaisance before the gates close with the turn of the tide. It seems that everyone has been out to sea this afternoon.

And that’s really not a surprise at all because the temperature reached the upper 20s this afternoon and there was almost no wind and it’s a long time since I’ve been able to sat that

But I missed a lot of the day today because of course I was going to have a lie-in this morning to recover from my journey to Leuven.

And with the intention of having a lie-in, 07:20 is far too early for me to be thinking of leaving my stinking pit. Even 09:30 was far too early but because couldn’t go back to sleep I was up and about shortly afterwards.

My push for fewer medications seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Instead of there being 7 pills and tablets to take every morning, there are now 9. So that didn’t work.

And what else didn’t work was relieving this fatigue either. I’ve spent most of the day trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, not to fall asleep.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was at the Grammar School last night and there was a meeting taking place of the School Committee – some teachers, some pupils. The door was in a position where from the top of the stairs I could take photos of people coming and going so that was what I was doing. I’d been talking to a few people whom I knew. Then a girl appeared. I know who she is but I just can’t put a name and I wish that I could remember her name, and she was wearing some kind of ridiculous plunging neckline top. From where I was on the top of the stairs I had a really good view. There was a lavatory block in the middle of the hall with the Gents on one side and the Ladies on the other and on one of the ends. For some unknown reason none of these were suitable so this girl asked me where else do the ladies go. So I told her about the loos next to the 5th form common room. She looked bewildered and I thought “well, I’ve not been in this school for so long. The 5th form common room is bound to have changed from where it was in my day” and I had to try to explain to her where it all was. They said “okay” they’ll go off and find it. So off they went in a kind-of completely different way to the way that I had told them to go so I’d no idea what was happening there.

Some time later I was round at a friend’s and he was in a couple with a girl who is in real life the wife of someone else. He was talking about going on holiday and he had a trailer coupled up to his car but he had just a piece of paper as the rear numberplate with a number written on it put over the top of the number of the trailer. I told him that he would be far better off getting a real numberplate and putting it on. He was convinced that he was doing things the right way so I left him to it. I told him that in Europe trailers were registered themselves with their own numbers, all that kind of thing. So the girl and I were there after he had gone and we were doing some things. There was something important that needed doing for which I needed her help but I can’t remember what it was now but she said “we’ll see how it goes” but then as time drew on she said “we’re going to have to do this scene with some vehicles on it” so reluctantly I agreed and anyway so something was getting on and there were a couple of lively cats and a small dog playing around and then she made a decision about having a cup of tea so I got up to make one. I put the tea bags in the pot and I was about to fill the pot and she said “no, don’t make a pot of tea because I won’t be drinking it” so I said “I won’t bring you tea in the morning then in that case” so I went off to I don’t know where.

But there was somewhere along the line that I’d been out in a car and we were going to somewhere near Aberystwyth. I was with Percy Penguin and we drove all the way out there to do something but in the end came across an auction where they were selling old motorbikes. There was one old British one in a terrible state but looked complete but there were no bids on it so the guy said “does anyone want it?”. I was feeling really bad because had we gone in Caliburn I could have brought that back without any trouble at all but instead we’d gone in an ordinary saloon car and there was no room in it for a thing like a motor bike. I was really upset by that, and not just when I was asleep either.

Before lunch I went and mixed three loads of dough – one for the pizza bases for the next three weeks, the second for the jam roly-poly and the third with wholemeal flour for the fruit bread. That was all mixed up and then I could go for my lunch.

This afternoon, in between bouts of sleep I tried to bring up to date Friday’s journal entry, but I have to say that I didn’t get very far with it and nothing has changed with the entry already so far on line.

Another thing was to give all of the dough a second kneading. The roly poly was flattened out square and spread with jam, and then rolled up rather like a swiss roll. I had to cut it in two to make it fit the baking tray.

The pizza dough was kneaded, divided into 3 and two of the lumps were rolled in oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in the freezer. The third was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof.

To the wholemeal dough, I added a ripe banana, some desiccated coconut, dried fruit, sultanas and various assorted nuts ground into powder. That was all mixed up, kneaded, shaped and put in the smaller bread mould.

As well as all of that, I’ve been pairing off the music for the next radio programme bur I won’t be working on that this week because I have a full-time Welsh course stating at 11:00 on Monday

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between that I went off for my afternoon walk, not forgetting that I have to go to the beach to see what was happening there.

Across the car park I went and looked over the wall to see what was happening, and I was amazed by the crowds of people down there. And although there wasn’t very much beach to be on right now, the sea was pretty much full of people this afternoon.

It seems that every man and his dog has gone down to the beach to frolic about in the sea this afternoon. It would surprise me if there was enough room for everyone to find a little spot to sit down

man and woman on inflatable boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just down on the beach that there were crowds of people either.

The sea was quite full as well with all kinds of craft out there this afternoon. There were several interesting boats but my vote for pride of place has to go to this inflatable zodiac thing that was paddling around offshore with a man and a woman on board doing the paddling.

And I particularly liked their version of a lifeboat that they were towing behind them. An inflatable rubber ring in the form of a car tyre that will be a great help if ever it were to be called upon to perform the task for which it was intended.

flags pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are four flagpoles by the Monument to the French Resistance, but one of them was taken away a few weeks ago.

While i was away it seems that they have done whatever it was that needed to be done to the flagpole and it’s resumed its place down by the lighthouse. So the German flag was once more flying quite happily by the American, French and British flags.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon, most of whom weren’t wearing masks despite the rising infection totals here in France. I still wear mine and in any case I did my best to keep my distance as I walked around the path.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking around the path I noticed something moving out at sea. I took a photo of it with the aim of enlarging it whe I returned home.

Actually, I had a really good idea of what it might be and as I enlarged the image I could see that I was right too. It’s one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

She’s pretty much loaded up with passengers, either day trippers or holidaymakers coming back and presumably catching the evening train to Paris.

But back to our story, and I carried on down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t much going on there so I continued on down the path and round the other side.

f-bslf Robin DR-315 Petit Prince pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown by a light aircraft that had apparently just taken off from the airport.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before – F-BSLF, a Robin DR-315 “Petit Prince”. She’s not one of the Aero Club aeroplanes who we see on regular occasions.

In fact she only arrived this morning at the airport. Although she didn’t file a flight plan, she was picked up by radar at 08:51 somewhere near St Seglin heading towards the airport and disappeared off the radar near Mont St Michel, presumably to have a closer view as she came in to land.

And then she took off again at 16:13, when was when I saw her, and she flew south before disappearing off the radar again at Baulin near St Seglin. So it’s reasonable to suppose that she comes from somewhere around there.

l'alize 3 galapagos chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving disposed of the aeroplane I could continue on my way along the path towards the harbour and see what’s going on down there.

And there have been changes at the chantier naval while I’ve been away. We are down to just two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and Galapagos. The other two trawlers that were there, Black Pearl and Charles Marie II have gone back into the water. The latter boat wasn’t in the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. They told me last time I was down there that she would be back in the water “shortly”, but they were clearly talking in Geological terms.

marite big wheel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the wall I could see down into the inner harbour.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity down there this afternoon. But our old friend Marité is still in there. It looks as if that trip that she was planning yesterday when all of those people were going aboard can’t have been going very far – probably just into the bay and back.

The big wheel is there of course, and it was actually working as well. There must have been plenty of people wanting to go for a ride. It’s not the thing for me though – I’m sure that I have a much better view from up here on top of the cliffs than I would on top of the wheel.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the inner harbour a siren from the ferry terminal brought me back to reality.

When I looked round I could see that Joly France was reversing out of the terminal – hence the siren – and heading back out to sea. There must be plenty more people out there on the island waiting to come back to the mainland, more than the other Joly France boat can handle.

But I couldn’t wait for the two boats to come back. I came on back home to carry on work and trying hard not to fall asleep.

Round about 18:00 I put on the oven and bunged in the fruit loaf followed a few minutes later by the jam roly poly. And when they were cooked I bunged in the pizza which I had been preparing.

vegan pizza jam roly poly fruit bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I took that out of the oven. And here it is with the jam roly poly and the fruit bread.

The pizza looks absolutely delicious and it tasted delicious too. As for the jam roly poly and the fruit bread, you’ll have to wait for a day or two before I can tell you what they are like.

Back in here, fighting off the fatigue yet again, I wrote up my notes for the day and posted them on line. And that’s all that I’m doing today. I’m completely exhausted and I have so much to do tomorrow, so I’m off for an early night in bed tonight.

And I can’t wait for that either. A good night’s sleep will do me the world of good – I hope.

Monday 14th June 2021 – I WAS OUT …

… and about this morning walking around the footpath at the top of the cliffs at 06:30 this morning.

Really!

How it cam to pass was that I was having my medication at about 06:15 when I looked out of the window at the bright blue, cloudless sky and saw an aeroplane fly overhead – well, its contrails anyway. I went to have a look at the flight radar to find out which flight it was (I’ve forgotten now but it was a red-eye from North America).

But what I saw in the distance flying past Finisterre, and at 42,000 feet as well in a direct line for my little rock, was TITAN 1. That’s one of the United States Government’s four “Nightwatch” Boeing 747s that’s fitted out as a National Emergency Airborne Command Post and has presumably come over for the NATO meeting in Brussels this week in case Biden needs to push the red button.

And so, armed with the NIKON D500 I went outside to wait for it.

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually I went back inside to find that it had performed a dog-leg and gone off out into the English Channel to skirt round the Cotentin Peninsula. She obviously didn’t want anyone to know that she was about. And that’s a shame. Actually being able to see one, even at that distance, would be quite something.

So instead I came back here and started work on the radio programme. having already chosen and paired the music, it was all done and dusted by 11:45, even with a break for hot chocolate and ginger cake.

Yes, I’ve run out of fruit bread so I had to have some of Liz’s ginger cake. And I’ve timed my visit to Leuven just right because I’m running out of that now. I’ll have to see what else the hospital will cut off this time so that Liz will bake me some more cake.

Meanwhile, on the dictaphone we started with something to do with a stately home. The dogs that were pulling the sledge had panicked and roared off and went through the house. The young boy who was standing on the balcony overlooking where the maid was cleaning was pitched over the balcony by the force of the arriving dog team, went straight through a plate glass firescreen and ended up at the feet of a servant who was polishing it. Something else went over the end as well, then a couple more children. Then the guy came in, all apologetic. They were saying that since several weeks this was the only stately home in the bottom 11 to have won any points so it was looking rather good for it. I tried to take some out and just wetting some neat porridge oats and tried to thin it down again or thicken it up again, one or the other, thicken it up, I think and se what it tastes like I fell asleep.

Later on there had been something to do with the Midlands and I was going to talk to a friend about something. He had recommended a school to me, recommended one not to go to so I’d been to the first one, had a look round and liked it. I’d been to the second one which was last on his list and this was where I dropped my sandwiches. I was about to pick them up but some girl picked them up and started to nibble at the filling in between with her fingers. Then she handed them to me and said ‘thank you”. I thought “this isn’t really the kind of school that I want”. I realised afterwards that this is the one that is bottom of the list so I thought that I’d snip that off straight away. I mentioned it to my friend and he gave me all kinds of pointers of what to look for and what to avoid and made 1 or 2 remarks about the school’s accounting and false accounting being put through, that sort of thing.

At some point or other I was in a dismal, dark railway station in a waiting room waiting for my train to be called. Then they announced it and it was right over the far side of the station. I had this huge suitcase and a couple of other things that I needed to carry. I walked out of the waiting room and it was pitch-black. I had to struggle my way through the dark and I lost hold of my suitcase once and couldn’t find it. In the end I made my way up to the top of a walkway and along. I had to enquire again as to my train and it was just coming in. As I was going down the steps it pulled in so I stuck my suitcase with the other stuff in the luggage van and got on this train and made sure that i was in the Glasgow portion. The train was crowded and I was wedged in with a group of men who were going somewhere and doing something together. They had their suitcases and there was no room for anyone to move or do anything. Then I got to Glasgow and ended up on a bus. people were asking me where I was going but I didn’t really have much of an idea and I was telling them any old kind of story. I turned up at this hotel. I explained that I’d come to manage it, that set everyone off in a panic. They were trying to find me a bedroom, a bath and a table to sit and have breakfast. And I mustn’t forget about the couple snogging in this bus and this elderly Scots woman giving them the most fearful disapproving looks.

After a shower and a good clean up, I had lunch. And then Caliburn and I went off to my Covid test in the sweltering heat. It’s a swish new place this, much better than the old one, but it’s too far out of town for me to walk in this weather which is a pain.

So having been all done and dusted, I went to LIDL and stocked up on a few things and then drove back home.

Later on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon so I went over to the wall at the end of the car park and stuck my head over the top.

The beach is smaller than it was yesterday of course, with the tide, but despite it being a working day there are still plenty of people out there soaking up the sun. And with the heat that we were having, who can blame them,

But in today’s newspaper there was an interesting article about all of the people down on the beach yesterday. Apparently there were several tonnes of rubbish left behind by the tourists and as the tide comes right in up to the cliffs, the rubbish that the Council’s workforce were unable to recover was swept away into the sea.

So if you are wondering why there is so much plastic and other rubbish in the oceans, now you know why. Bone-idle tourists.

twin engined light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking at the people on the beach I was overflown by another aeroplane.

Not TITAN 1 or one of her three siblings but a weird light aeroplane the type of which I haven’t seen before. As I mentioned a few days ago, France seems to be quite keen on its weird types of light aeroplanes and here’s another one to add to the collection.

It’s some kind of twin-engined machine and we don’t see too many of those at all around here. And it’s unfortunately too far away and too high up for me to read its registration number, assuming that it has one, so I’m not able to tell you very much about it

aeroplane f-gbrk Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for this one though, I can tell you more – a little more – about it.

As it flew past over my head I was able to read its registration number. It’s F-GBRK and my database tells me that it’s a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II. The Warrior is a derivative of the Piper Cherokee, which is a lightweight, cheaper alternative to the more famous Piper Comanche.

The model was introduced in 1974 replacing the Cherokee 150, and is fitted with a Lycoming O-320 engine.

And as you might expect, it’s not on the list of departures from the airport at Granville and it hasn’t filed a flight plan either.

people fishing in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having sorted out all of that I pushed on along the path at the top of the cliffs, stopping to admire the men in the boat on my way past.

And they seem to be really crowded in there, without enough room to swing a cat, never mind a fishing rod, by the looks of things. And I think that the guy wielding a net to catch the fish off the end of the line is being rather optimistic.

Apart from one or two other small boats out there, there wasn’t all that much else going on out at sea this afternoon. Anyone with any sense would be under an umbrella with a cocktail or in a deckchair with a newspaper over their head in this kind of heat.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity going on in the chantier navale this afternoon, as I discovered when I made my way around there.

The yacht Rebelle is still down there in the place where Aztec Lady lived for so long, but the little trawler-type of boat that had been there for a week or so has now disappeared back into the water. Instead, there is one of the shellfish boats – one of the larger ones – down there now on ramps and blocks receiving attention.

And both of the boats must be receiving plenty of attention today because I don’t recall ever seeing so many assorted vans parked up there while their occupants are presumably at work on the two boats. All of this points to a frenzy of activity so there must be something going on.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd one of our little NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) shellfish boats is still there settling into the mud and silt at the quayside underneath the Fish Processing plant.

It’s Gerlean who is there today. L’Omerta was the other one that was there for quite a while. She was there on her own at first but then Gerlean came to join her. And now she is there on her own as L’Omerta seems to have cleared off elsewhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the other boats must find it quite inconvenient for these boats to be always moored up here. It means that there is less space for them to tie up and unload and so they have to queue up to find a berth. I’d love to know what the issue is why they can’t tie up in the inner harbour out of the way.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone who is however tied up in the inner harbour is Chausiais, the little freighter that runs the shuttle out to the Ile de Chausey.

And being tied up underneath the big crane tells me a couple of things.

  1. The holiday season is in full swing so there’s a good load of luggage and food supplies etc to be ferried over to the island right now
  2. With her blocking the loading bay, we can’t be expecting a visit of Thora or Normandy Trader in the immediate future

In fact Normandy Trader seems to be spending much more time running over to St Malo these days than she does to here. That’s rather a disappointment and quite a loss for the port. Ohh! To see a gravel boat or two right now!

aeroplane 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back to the apartment I was overflown yet again. A different one this time.

And this one needs no introduction from me because she’s 55-OJ, one of the little light aeroplanes that we see flying past on a regular basis. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m going to have to get out to the airport one of these days for a nosey around and to make further enquiries.

But instead, back at the apartment after my day’s exertions in the heat I crashed right out. And for a good 90 minutes too. I really did feel awful.

My bass practice was a little depressing and the least said about my session on the acoustic guitar the better

Tea was pasta with veg and a burger, followed by apple pie from the freezer with custard. I enjoyed that.

Now it’s bedtime and I’ll try to remember my medication that I forgot yesterday, so that I hope to have a good night’s sleep.

And then I can get on with my Welsh revision as long as TITAN 1 isn’t anywhere in the area.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 18th March 2021 – HERE’S CALIBURN …

caliburn rue des noyers st lo Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… sitting waiting patiently for me in a little car park in the Rue des Noyers at St-Lô this morning.

And he didn’t have to wait very long because I was in and back out again even before the time of my appointment, and it isn’t every day that that kind of thing happens when you are dealing with French administration.

What does seem to be happening every day though (so just watch it not happen tomorrow) is that I’m leaving my stinking pit pretty quickly these days – just after the first alarm. This morning I was actually sitting at the computer working, having already had my medication, when the third alarm went off.

First thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. We started off with Doc Holliday, a third person and Yours Truly riding a freight train escaping from a crime that we’d committed. We were happily going on this train doing OK. There was a low branch across the railway lines. The locomotive somehow managed to avoid it but Doc Holliday who was standing up was hit by this branch and knocked off the train. We all had immediately to leap off the train. 2 guys on a horse had seen this incident and gave chase. They followed the train, found in the end that we weren’t on so they came back and found the 3 of us. They held us at gunpoint while we explained some of our story – not everything. The sheriff of the county agreed and told us that we could go. he told us the story of a couple of other outlaws who had been here. Someone showed us the house where they had lived which was now an old metal barn. All very interesting. Something happened that we were unmasked so we had to flee. As it was me and the other guy, not Doc Holliday, we had to scramble our way through this industrial estate climbing over fences, this kind of thing. One place where we had to climb over the fence had some bird netting on it and of course the more you climbed up it the more you pulled it off. It meant that the 2 of us had to climb this bird netting simultaneously moving our hands and legs at the same time so that the net would stay in place and we could scramble up it otherwise we would just pull it out of where it’s tied.

A little later TOTGA came to see me. She was telling me about a problem that she’d had. The people for whom she’d worked had gone bankrupt and they had found loads of drawings and missing assets and so on that had presumably been misappropriated by one of the previous directors. Now they were making enquiries about her and her wealth – an in-depth enquiry and what should she do about it? I made a couple of suggestions. At that moment Nerina shouted me – she was also around doing something in a different room, something like that or whether she came later. So I went to her and happened to mention this story about TOTGA. Nerina said “why don’t you talk to her and see what we can do?”. Just at that moment TOTGA shouted up something from downstairs so I replied, saying “come up here a minute”. She came up and I said “just sit there on the bed a minute”. She said “I’ll need a chaperone”. I replied “ohh no you won’t” to which Nerina and TOTGA burst out laughing. We explained the problem again to Nerina and she came up with a few suggestions that didn’t seem quite right to me but I don’t know what else to expect. Then I awoke with an attack of cramp.

Later still I was at Virlet busy tidying it up and decorating it. It wasn’t Virlet but one of these 2-up, 2-down terraced houses in Crewe. I was getting ready to do one of the living rooms. A friend of mine turned up with a kind-of interior designer. They had all kinds of ideas for everything on the inside so I left them to it as he was going to pay for this. There was a girl here as well and we were talking to her. She was wondering what to do, whether she was getting in the way so we told her to make the coffee. Luckily there was some running water at the place so she started on that. I went to empty the sink but the sink had been blocked and a whole pile of dirt and filth came into the sink before it all evacuated again. I said “thank God for that” then I had another attack of cramp.

This cramp thing is really getting on my wick now and I must remember to speak to my doctor at Castle Anthrax next week.

First job after the dictaphone notes was to attack the Greenland photos. Another pile of them are done and we are just about to get up steam ready to sail off down Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. And considering that we are on a diesel-powered ship, if we can get up steam and sail off, it will be something quite astonishing.

Later on I had a shower and then Caliburn and I hit the streets. And we were half-way to Liz and Terry’s before I remembered that I was actually going to St-Lô so we had something of a sight-seeing trip.

15 minutes early I was when I arrived in St-Lô and having found a parking space at the foot of the city walls underneath the Prefecture, I then found a set of steps up through a sally port – steps that I hadn’t noticed before.

Consequently I was there 10 minutes early. And with no-one in front of me, I was seen straight away and was standing on the steps outside the building, all done and dusted, when the town clock struck 11:00

And I would have been out even earlier had I not signed the form in the place reserved for the chef de service instead of the interessé so she had to start all over again.

One thing about which I wasn’t very happy was that she took my current carte de sejour. So what I did was to make her photocopy it and put on it the Prefecture’s official stamp. One thing that I have learnt with living in Europe is that people like to see lots of paperwork all covered in official stamps and the more you have, the better it is for the various officials whom you encounter on your travels. And I’ll be travelling a lot just now.

rue des noyers city walls st lo  Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack down the steps to Caliburn and at the sally port I took a photo along the walls.

One thing that you notice about St-Lô is that much of the construction is “modern austerity” because after D-Day in 1944 the Germans dug themselves in here and the city was repeatedly bombed, with the deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of French civilians. Not for nothing was it known as “The Capital of the Ruins”.

Because of the devastation, rebuilding had to be quick without any regard for aesthetics and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the cathedral here is half-built of breeze blocks, such was the state of things.

Caliburn and I drove to the railway station where we awoke a booking clerk who found my name in the database and was able to issue me with my rail tickets for next week as there is no automatic retrieval machine here. It’s important that I have my tickets in my hand before the day of my travel because the train leaves before the booking office in the station opens and if the ticket retrieval machine is out of order then I’ve had it.

Next stop was to the new LIDL on the edge of town and while the range of goods on offer was larger, there wasn’t all that much more in there that would have suited me and my diet.

LeClerc was pretty much the same. Bigger and more choice, but not for me. I did strike lucky in the sense that they had a special offer going on their litre-bottles of traditional lemonade – glass bottles with mechanical tops that I need for my brewing. Two bottles of that stuff worked out at €3:20, which is cheaper than buying two empty bottles from the housewares section.

While I was there I rang up Liz to see if Terry’s hard drive had arrived. No such luck, so I headed on home for a rather late lunch.

Having been rushing around like this all morning, it’s no surprise that I ended up crashing out for a while on the chair in the office. I can’t last the pace.

seagull on window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I picked myself up for my afternoon walk and went outside, where I said “hello” to the seagull that seems to have taken residence on the first floor window of the next block.

The weather this morning had not been too unpleasant but it seems to have deteriorated while I was indoors because the wind has increased, the temperature has dropped and while there’s not as much fog around as there has been just recently, there is still more than you would expect given the strength of the wind.

So gritting my teeth and hanging on to my hat I set off along the path around the headland. There were only a couple of other people out there, and that wasn’t a surprise given the way things are right now.

Looking out across the bay towards the Brittany coast there wasn’t all that much going on over there.

seafarers memorial le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd neither was there all that much more going on across towards St Pair and Jullouville.

Well, maybe there was, but if so, I couldn’t see it. We can see the seafarers’ memorial and then Le Loup, the light that sits on the rock at the entrance to the harbour. But the coast across there is nothing more than a misty haze.

From there I walked on down the path at the head of the cliffs. After all of the activity at the chantier navale just recently, it’s quietened down with just the same boats that were there yesterday. Plenty of people working on them, including my neighbour Pierre labouring away on Spirit of Conrad.

But I’ve given up predicting when they might be going back into the water. I’m not having much luck with that right now.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, they seem to be racing away with the roof on the College Malraux right now.

Apart from having almost finished the part of the roof that they stripped off a couple of weeks ago, they have now stripped off a neighbouring bay and they are busy replacing the laths on that part. I wonder what has caused the acceleration.

Back here in the apartment I had my coffee and then made a start on the arrears of Central Europe. And that seemed to be somewhat productive because I managed to research and write some text for about seven or eight photos in the time that I was working. With a bit of luck, I might finish this before the end of the decade.

Guitar practice was enjoyable – on the bass I was messing around with a solo for “Jumping Jack Flash” again and also Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane”.

Tea was a burger on a bap with veg followed by apple pie again. And then a couple of things came up while I was trying to write up my notes. Firstly, Rachel rang me from Canada with some bad family news. Secondly, I won’t be making orange ginger beer again. I now know what a shrapnel attack looks like and I need another bottle with a mechanical stopper. At least I know that the stoppers on those bottles are stronger than the bottles themselves.

Tomorrow is going to be a day of cleaning up and washing down the walls of the living room and I’ll be doing the next lot of brewing in the bathroom.

Monday 15th March 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better day today.

Due without doubt to crawling wearily into bed at about 22:45 and sleeping right through until the alarm went off.

There was plenty of time for me to go off on a nocturnal voyage or two. I was out somewhere during the night. I went to see a house. I walked in there and walked out in disgust because it was pretty expensive. They wanted €16 per week until 2008. I thought that that was a lot but as someone pointed out, at least it’s a roof over my head even if it’s only temporary. Just then my personal manager guy who looks after me came past and we walked off together and were talking about things. It might have been a friend of mine from way back. We got into school and I’d had a can of drink on the way and this guy had paid for it. I said that I would give him the money back when we got to school so we got there and bumped into a girl who was in my year at class of all people. She’d had a bottle of drink and there had been a strange clip on the bottle that she had to hand back. I’d seen someone walking off with a clip of that sort but it didn’t really click for a minute what it was. After her drink she had a hunt around for this clip but couldn’t find it. She went to ask the girl at the till if she had seen it. They talked about this and she said something about “what have you done with your little friend?”. She looked up and saw me and went all red and blushed. This girl said something so I replied “it’s OK. I’ve had worse than that”. Then she came out with something about the school over the last couple of years has been really good because there’s been no-one foreign in it. No Irish and no foreigners. I replied that foreigners are more exciting and interesting so we had a talk about that.

Later we were on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR trying to go through the North West Passage but there had been an incident and we had lost our mast so we were proceeding with diesel engines. There was a port nearby but we didn’t know which one it was so we’d head there anyway. One of the guys with us broadcast a silly message about how well we were doing and so on. We came into this town along the road on the ship and it didn’t look right at all because it looked far too green, somewhere like the north of Scotland. We pulled in and I thought “this is a big town. It has a Co-op and loads of shops so this isn’t somewhere in the North-West Passage at all. The street signs were in English with Chinese writing as well and all of the accents were northern Scotland. We parked where we thought the port was and there was a ramp going up into like a pub. He wandered off, the guy who was with me and I wandered around for a bit. he went off looking in the shops and he started to complain about the rugby pitch that he had seen. I looked out of the window and we were quite high up. There was a big valley down below us with gas holders in it. I thought “well, this is nothing like a port at all”. I walked up this ramp but it turned out that it was into a pub. I thought “we’ll never be able to get our boat up to here. There were no boats or anything and I thought “where the heck have we arrived now?”.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme for this week and having chosen the music and paired it while I was in Leuven, I’d finished and had it running to listen to by 11:15.

It’s a good jo that I had because while I was listening to it and trying to organise myself Rosemary rang and we had one of our lengthy chats. As a result I was quite late in going for my lunch.

After lunch I had something important to do – to make further enquiries about what I need to do to upgrade the big computer as I would like it to be. I’ll run the one that I repaired for 72 hours non-stop while I’m in Leuven next week and if it runs fine, I can use that while I have the big office machine in pieces.

man wading in water in waterproofs beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was fairly cold and threatening rain when I went out for my afternoon walk so I dressed accordingly when I went out for my afternoon walk.

Not as accordingly as this guy down here on the beach out by the Rue du Nord. I just had on my winter jacket and cap. This guy seems to be in his oilskins and waders, and he probably has his sou’wester in his pocket in case it comes on to rain, which it might well do at some point, judging by the sky.

Mind you, he was the only person down on the beach who was dressed to such an extent. There were three or four other people down on the beach at different locations but they were dressed more … errr … casually. I’ve no idea what they were all doing down there and I didn’t hang around long enough to find out.

f-gsbv Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity in the air today too. While I was walking along the footpath I was overflown by a light aircraft.

Despite the poor quality of the photograph due to the distance that it was out at sea I could see her registration number. She’s F-GSBV, a Robin DR400/180 of unknown date. She’d taken off from Granville Airport at 15:53 and flew a figure-of_eight around the coast and landed back at the airport after just 11 minutes, her second flight of the day.

There wasn’t anyone else out there this afternoon so I had the path all to myself. I pushed along in the wind as far as the lawn near the lighthouse.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here, there’s a good view back to the College Malraux where I could see what was going on with the roofing that they were doing.

They don’t seem to have advanced very far over this last couple of weeks. They’d had that corner of the roof stripped off when I came back from Leuven two and a half weeks ago. They need to be working quicker than that if they want to finish it sometime soon.

Nothing else was happening here, except for the Council grass-cutters, so I walked on across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t anything happening in the bay and the Brittany coast was rather obscured by clouds so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

workmen at ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a week or two ago we saw some workmen unloading a pile of builders’ bags onto the quayside over by the ferry terminal.

Those bags disappeared quite quickly and I never did find out what happened to to them, but today we have some more workmen over there. They seem to be doing something over on the far side of the wall and one of these days when I have a moment, whenever that might be, I’ll have to go over there and have a look for myself.

Down at the chantier navale there was no change in occupancy. The four large yachts and the trawler were still in there up on blocks and thy look as if they will be there for a while yet. And there’s not much room in there for anything else if the need arises.

trawler naabsa port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall noticing is that these days we seem to be having rather a plethora of NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) fishing boats over by the Fish Processing Plant.

It used to be very rare to see one – they’d all be taken inside to the wet harbour and moored there. But just recently we’ve seen a few abandoned over there to the mercy of the tide and I’m not sure why either.

Back here, I had my afternoon coffee and then tackled the photos from Greenland. Another 20 bit the dust in the time available. We’re still at the foot of the Sermitsiaq Glacier that runs off the into the Maniitsoq Ice Cap Evighedsfjorden or Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord but all told, there is just 300 or so to be dealt with for the month of July 2019.

The guitar practice went OK and I finally managed to track down the chord arrangement for Al Stewart’s MODERN TIMES, something that I’ve been trying to find for quite a while, with one of the best guitar solos of all time right at the end.

With having a late lunch I didn’t fancy much for tea – just a baked potato with beans.

Now that my notes are written, it’s off to bed as I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow. Surprisingly, I haven’t crashed out today and that’s a surprise. That sleep must have done me some good.

Another one just like that would do me even better.

Sunday 14th February 2021 – WE’VE SEEN THE …

… last of the snow and ice for a while, I reckon.

The temperature has warmed up, the wind has risen and round about 118:00 this evening we had a torrential downpour. That will wash away the last of the snow and ice that’s been lingering around. Unless the temperature drops substantially and the rain turns into snow.

Talking of lingering … “well, one of us is” – ed … I didn’t linger around very long in bed this morning, just for a change on a Sunday. In fact by 09:30 I was up and wandering around looking for my medication. That’s not something that happens every Sunday.

Listening to the dictaphone, I could hear that I’d been on my travels during the night. I was with a friend and some kind of taxi driver person yesterday. My friend had wanted something doing and I had organised some help for him, this Pakistani person whoever it was was the right kind of person so I got the 2 people to meet. My friend and I had a very long chat about all kinds of things, the past, the future, all of that kind of thing. Then I had to go home. Round about, I dunno, it was dark in the evening. I had no socks on and I had to walk to my locker which was somewhere in Shavington in order to get them without any socks. I said goodbye to him and checked the dates for when we’d be meeting again and waved goodbye to this Pakistani guy and set off to walk. I walked back down Crewe Road towards Sugar Loaf Corner and I could hear in the distance the sounds of one of my sisters or brother being beaten for something or other for some act of misbehaviour. I could hear the kid shouting acts of defiance while this beating was going on. It seemed to far away yet seemed so near. I was the only person out there in the street just in my bare feet walking down the street. There was no-one else around at all.

First task was to book my voyages and hotel accommodation for Leuven. And luckily it seems that all of the trains are back up and running normally again. The price that they wanted from me too made it a very worthwhile occupation this morning.

Plenty of room in my little hotel too so it all worked out very well. It seems to have been a very good idea to change my day to a Thursday. The only downside is that I’m having to travel up on the Wednesday which is my birthday, so happy birthday to me, hey?

While I was there I had a little shuffle around of my money. With not going off on any holidays just now, the money that I had set aside was sitting there not doing very much.

Next task was to book an appointment with my Welsh tutor. We are all having a little one-on-one with her next week just for 15 minutes and I needed to reserve my little spec.

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from Greenland in July 2019. And one or two of them have really come out well too, like THIS ONE and THIS ONE.

After lunch I spent some time working on my Oradour sur Glane stuff. All of the notes are now finished and I’m starting to fit in the photos in the places where they ought to go. And that’s not easy either with 53 photos to go at.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point in the afternoon I went out for my usual afternoon walk.

At the end of the car park I looked over the wall down to the beach. There were several people down there on the beach wandering around this afternoon and, just like yesterday, I didn’t envy them one bit. The temperature has warmed up somewhat, but the wind has warmed up too and it’s blowing a gale right now.

The tide is of course way out, almost at its limit. It would be interesting to see how the sea would be behaving when the tide is right in. And I’m interested to know what those two tracks are down there on the beach.

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park I walked along the path at the back of the College Malraux and along the top of the cliffs.

Although it might not look like it, it wasn’t all that much later than usual. The clouds were quite dark and heavy, a promise of things to come, I reckon, with the strong westerly wind that was blowing. But there was that great big hole in the sky and with that lucky old sun having nothing to do but roll around heaven all day, the bright spot has now moved around a couple of degrees.

It’s now lighting up the Brittany coast, as much as we could see down there this afternoon with the rainstorm that’s falling down over there.

f-gnyz aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor a change, I’d taken with me the NIKON D500. I’d had a little play around with it this morning and managed to make the camera recognise the memory card that’s in it.

With having to use the NIKON 1 J5 which doesn’t have an eyepiece viewfinder, I’ve not been able to take any photos of the aeroplanes and other aircraft that have been flying overhead. And so I celebrated the occasion by taking a photo of an aeroplane that went flying by overhead at the Pointe du Roc.

Unfortunately I couldn’t quite read the serial number and there was nothing on the database having taken off from Granville airport this afternoon, so I’m not able to say exactly what it is. I shall have to do some further research.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the end of the headland there wasn’t anything at all going on. Nothing out at sea and of course with the tide well out there would be no fishing boats coming home.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I had a look down to see what was going on. There is no change in occupancy today – the four boats that we have seen for the last few days are still there not having done very much.

There’s no question as to why Aztec Lady and Lys Noir might be in there. With no business to attend to due to the postponement of all holiday activities, this is a good moment moment to have a full overhaul. But the big yacht has been there for months with no sign of moving.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the path I had a good look down to see what was happening in the port.

There are quite a few fishing boats there in the port this afternoon and of course our two Channel Island Ferries Granville, with Victor Hugo hiding away behind her, are still there too. No sign of them moving as long as the pandemic is still running wild, and as I’ve said before, unless Jersey puts its hands in its pockets, there’s a possibility that they might not run again.

Seeing as I was ready for my afternoon coffee, I headed home, and not running either because of the howling gale that was blowing up.

Having finished my days’ work, Next step was to prepare my food. having taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer earlier this morning. I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray.

While it was busy proofing, I made myself a big apple crumble. That’s going to be my pudding for the next week. Lots of apple, with sultanas, desiccated coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and lemon juice, all topped with a lovely crumble topping.

apple crumble home made pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile that was busy baking, I prepared the pizza and when the crumble was baked I took it out and stuck the pizza in for the usual 30 minutes. And it was absolutely delicious, as usual. It’s becoming something of a production line thing now, these pizzas.

As for the apple crumble, I’ll have to tell you what that’s like tomorrow, because I’m rather full right now.

Having now typed out my notes, I’m going off to bed. I’m working on a radio programme tomorrow so I need to be on form. I’ve already crashed out once and I don’t want to do it again. I may as well go to bed and make a really goos start in the morning.

There’s plenty to do, as usual.

.

Saturday 19th September 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Having spend some time today pondering upon the question of this little matter about recording my old cassette tapes, round about 15:00 this afternoon the light suddenly went on in my head.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a ZOOM H1 that I use for recording outside broadcasts for the radio. So this afternoon I went plugged the audio cable out of the headphone socket in the big hi-fi and into the mike socket of the Zoom.

The settings are a bit all over the place and I’ll have to be doing some kind of further research to improve the sound balance, but it’s already a great improvement on not being able to produce any sound.

But sometimes I really wonder however I managed to get so far in my life as I have done when I spend days trying to solve a problem when there is a simple solution like this at my fingertips.

You might also think that getting out of bed is a simple solution too, but it wasn’t today. It was another 07:30 start.

Mind you, it’s no surprise that I had such a lie-in because I’d been off on quite a considerable and lengthy voyage or three or four during the night.
There was another one of these little flighty girl-types of people and we were all somewhere in Crewe – the Nantwich Road end. We were all flirting around and I had a quiet little word with her because there was someone in our group who was’t particularly appropriate for her to meet.
abandoned Opel estate place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo this larking about went on but then there was some kind of issue about tidying things up and putting them away and so on. There had been an old Vauxhall estate abandoned on wasteland on Mill Street, like the one that’s been dumped outside here for a year or so, and that needed to be tidied away. They asked me if I could arrange that. I asked what was the deal – they replied “you take the vehicle, you can have it”. I said “I’m sure that I can arrange something”. I contacted a friend of mine and he said that he would come down to join me. In the meantime this girl was flirting and she ended up with another young guy. I had a little whisper in her ear about one or two things and she asked “is this the guy you were warning me about?”. I replied no it’s not. It’s actually the one who’ll be here in a minute. Anyway he turned up and he wasn’t in a car but on foot. He asked “where’s this vehicle that you want us to go and have a look at?”. We had to walk down some stairs into the foyer and he got on his radio. He had a police radio and he was radioing back to the police station about some guy who’d been seen prowling around. They eventually managed to track him down to some kind of street somewhere, not hanging around somewhere dangerous – and I awoke all hot and sweaty in a fever again.

The call had gone out to Wales for everyone to rise up on behalf of the Welsh monarch against the English one. This is one of those things where I’ve completely forgotten absolutely everything
Later on we were at University. I was with a couple of girls and someone came along to say that they had left something. They described accurately what one of these girls was wearing and they said that she came and sat here after they left. After much discussion debate and argument she went off to have a look in the clothes that she was wearing that morning to see whether she had it. I was having a chat with one or two of these girls who had come over. The subject was about the University, my friends and so on. The girl who had gone off, she said that she had to tell everyone that she was 21 but she was actually 15, one of these child prodigies who had gone off to University early but she didn’t really want to draw attention to herself. We were having a chat and one of these girls was being a bit forward, talking about a few racy subjects and I wasn’t sure if she was trying to lead me on somewhere so I replied in a non-committal kind of way but I was very interested to see where this discussion was going and that rings a very familiar bell, doesn’t it? Again all hot and sweaty.
I was with Liz and Terry and there was something happening about a racing car. There was no-one to drive it and they asked me if I would. I said yes even though I didn’t know how and we went off to this racing circuit. I don’t know what happened about the race but on the way back we stayed at this really posh hotel. I had to go out for a walk or something and there I met a woman with two girls, Germans. They were discussing different things I suppose about patriotism, whatever. The elder of the two girls, a little thin blonde probably about 10 or so was saying how proud she was of her country, all this thing, how proud she was of her navy, whatever. I overtook them walking back to the hotel. I walked past a house that wasn’t there any more. It had been redeveloped and a new house was built there. I remember one of my school friends having a house on that site and I used to go there regularly but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who it was. All these names came ticking through my head only to be ruled out. I got back to the hotel and these people were coming in. I had to help them over the patio wall into the main room – it was quicker than going all the way round to the door at the main entrance. They summoned the receptionist and there was confusion about the car machines, which one they had to use. These people were booked in. This blonde girl came over to me and said that she had lost my phone number and could I give it to her.

It’s hardly any surprise that I was so late getting out of bed after all of that.

After a shower and a general clean-up I went off to the shops. At NOZ the prize was a beautiful olde-worlde porcelain mixing bowl to replace the smaller metal one that I’ve been using.

It’s becoming quite professional in here now.

cars parking at electric charging bay leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages.

Here’s some more from the car park of LeClerc and this is something that’s going to cause a big problem in the future. The supermarket was heaving today – I’ve never seen it so busy – and parking was at a premium.

The charging bays for the electric vehicles are close to the entrance so two motorists have taken it upon themselves to park in them rather than out in the wilderness.

Purists may argue that one of them (if not both) is an electric vehicle but neither of them is plugged in. And as there are only four charging points at the supermarket, that’s 50% of the potential capacity blocked off for no good reason.

It makes me wonder how long it will be before we start to see the warning notices like we see at disabled bays.

Despite the crowds in the supermarket and the fact that they had run out of my favourite traditional Saturday baguette, I was in and out in half an hour.

Mind you, I’d forgotten my bread flour and one or two other things too, but nothing that I can’t live without. And they had no frozen broccoli either.

Such an exciting life I lead when an absence of frozen broccoli in the supermarket makes headline news.

Back here I attacked a couple more of the arrears and that’s becoming even more manageable now. And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair. The excitement of finding no frozen broccoli in the supermarket is clearly proving too much for me.

After a late lunch I recorded a few more albums from the USB turntable and then had a session with the Zoom.

I was pleased that at last I’ve been able to digitalise probably the rarest record in my whole collection. I’ve seen the value (not that it means very much of course) of some of my records being in the thousands, when they are available, but what would be the price of the only rock LP (of the early 70s of course) being sung in the native Greenlandic Inuit language?

That’ll make my listeners sit up a little. They are still struggling to come to terms with rock music sung in Scots Gaelic. They can’t say that they aren’t having their money’s worth, considering that they are getting it all for free.

low tide out baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric halllater on I went out for the football.

By now, the tide is well out on one of the lowest-tide days of the year and you can see now how far it goes out when it has a mind to. When it’s right in, you can see the tide mark on the harbour wall to the right of centre.

On my way through town I bumped into Maryline from the radio – she who does the film and cinema programmes – and we had a chat for five minutes or so before, in the best traditions of the late lamented News of the World, “I made my excuses and left”.

football stade louis dior sm caen us granville manche normandy france eric hallSM Caen must have been kicking themselves tonight on the way back home from the Stade Louis Dior.

On several occasions they carved their way through the Granville defence like a hot knife through butter but their finishing was even worse than Granville’s, who never ever looked like scoring if they were still playing now.

Nevertheless it was an exciting match as you never knew who was going to be the next to kick the ball into the keeper’s arms when in a one-on-one situation or to completely miss connecting with the ball when presented with a free header on an open goal.

And it all turned up on its head with 4 minutes to go when a Granville player was brought down in the Caen penalty area. For once, Granville managed to find the back of the net.

But after all of the chances that Caen had, they must have been totally devastated to lose a game to Granville like this when they should have been out of sight and down the road a long time before half-time.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back home I noticed the crowds of people loitering around the harbour so I went to see what was going on.

Actually, I had an educated guess seeing as on the way out to the shops this morning I saw Marité heading out of the harbour and across the bay, and that her berth was empty when I went out earlier to the football.

And sure enough, into the harbour, full sail ahead, came Marité, heading for her berth again.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe had quite a crowd of people on board, and I’m not quite sure how she managed that, as regular readers of this rubbish will well recall the issues that I’ve had with the personnel who operate her.

A more unfriendly bunch of “customer service” people I have yet to meet. They actually make Belgian shop assistants sound friendly.

But nevertheless, it makes quite a magnificent impression when the old Newfoundland cod-fisher is out there with all of her sails out in a full gale.

Even manoeuvring into the harbour is quite an impressive sight, as the crowds out there watching it will testify.

yacht baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe wasn’t the only large boat out there heading for home on the evening tide.

This one that I vaguely saw in the gloom (in a heavily-lightened photo) was also heading into harbour. When I first noticed it I thought that it might have been la Granvillaise but even with having thrown plenty of light onto the subject, I stil can’t say.

Back here, it was tea out of a tin and then time for more football. In the Welsh Premier League, or the JD Cymru League as it’s now called, Newtown who have been misfiring during the season so far were away at newly-promoted Haverforwest County.

Haverfordwest have a beautiful, modern little ground thanks to a good deal with a local supermarket who bought their old ground from them, but the team has never had any particular success. They survived relegation from the WPL for several seasons due to lack of suitable promotion candidates or due to licensing issues of other clubs but they fell out of the league a few seasons ago – 2016 if I remember correctly – and have gradually clawed their way back.

They are another team who I haven’t seen so far so i was looking forward to this game.

And the match was particularly interesting. Newtown were the quickest out of the blocks and looked the better side, but Haverforwest, having signed the cream of the second tier, looked nothing like the patchwork team that they were said to be and in fact actually played more like a team than Newtown’s experienced regulars.

The final score, 2-2, was a fair reflection of the match and while Haverfordwest are not going to set the league alight this season, Newtown are going to have to be doing some rather serious looking over their shoulder. Even after three matches, they are adrift at the foot of the table and that’s not a very comfortable position for one of the only two teams who have been in the WPL for its entire existence.

But now it’s late and I’m tired. Far too tired to write up my notes so I’ll have to do that in the morning instead.

Monday 15th June 2020 – I WAS HARD …

… at it all day today for a change) and by the time I knocked off at 18:15 I’d completed a whole radio project.

It was one of my live concerts which regular readers of this rubbish might think are usually easier than the usual ones – and usually they are. But not this one. Not at all.

Someone had very kindly send me a pile of music (which reminds me – if you are in a group and want your music featured on my shows, get in touch!) for a live concert, which was very nice of them and I never decry the effort, but it was all unusable.

It was a case of scouring the internet to see what I could find, re-manipulating and remixing the rest and then editing it and merging it all together. It’s ended up a bit of a dog’s breakfast, but there wasn’t all that much I could about it.

So in the end I wrote the intro, dictated it, uploaded it to the computer, edited it, and then merged it into the other part, and then had to edit everything to make it fit the on-hour time slot.

And if you think that’s a lot of work, it’s not all that I had to do either. And it didn’t help much that I missed the third alarm as well. Only by a few minutes but missed it all the same.

After the meds I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I had been during the night. I was actually working with someone for whom I don’t really care all that much in real life. We had a tyre depot or we had taken one over. It wasn’t particularly very busy but we were just doing odd jobs and things just to tide us over while we established ourselves. We’d taken it over from some other people, one of their depots and we noticed that we were getting into Novermber but we hadn’t had any calls to change tyres for winter or anything like that and I would have expected that to have been happening round about now. So I was wondering whether they were keeping all of the good jobs back from us and doing them themselves. I was talking to another friend on line and he was asking about how things were. I explained that I hadn’t had time to devote anything to any project that I particularly wanted to do because earning a living was the priority and as no-one wanted to employ me I’ve been having to create a business for myself and I was telling him about this tyre depot.

There were a few things that needed doing and then for the rest of the morning I dealt with my Welsh homework. And I found that I had forgotten most of what I had learnt last week so I had to revise it again.

There was the break for lunch of course, and also the brak for my afternoon walk.

speedboat zodiac buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was trying its best to rain when I went out there this afternoon, so i didn’t like to hang around too much.

But regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen piles of weird buoys and maritime markers bobbing up and down in the water around the coast. There’s another one here just now, with a couple of boats – a zodiac and a speedboat loitering around it.

It’s difficult to see what they are doing – whether they are fishing with rod and line or whether they are doing something with the buoy.

fisherman cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNo prizes what this guy is doing here.

With not very much (and even fewer people) around on the lawn I wandered off around the headland to see if there was anything happening there. Again, not an awful lot except this guy fishing from the rocks.

It’s quite a scramble to reach that particular point and I bet that it’s even more difficult scrambling back up the hill, especially with a full catch.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I’m not convinced about his choice of attire either, and I have a feeling that he’ll be regretting it before much longer.

Just look over there at the Brittany coast. That’s a couple of wicked rainstorms and they are heading right this way. I’m not too bothered because I’ll be home in five minutes. It’ll take him at least that to put away his gear and scramble up the rocks.

There are plenty of boats out there too and they’ll know all about it when the rainstorm hits them in mid-ocean or whatever

rainstorm baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france eric hallThat’s not the best of it either.

My walk took me further around the headland to the south side and this was the sight that greeted me there. A huge rain cloud has blown in from the bay and enveloped the Pointe de Carolles in its wet and clammy grasp.

It’s slowly heading up the coast and as I watched it advance, it slowly spread its shround all over Jullouville.

“This isn’t the time to be hanging about” I reckoned, and headed back for my apartment

workers van place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the weekend we saw the “no parking” notices on the part of the car park that is on the public part of the Place d’Armes.

Being intrigued to see what was happening there I went round for a good look. It’s not easy to see what they will be doing but we have a builder’s mobile office parked here now.

Not only that, there’s a generator just parked there waiting for just anyone to come along, pick it up and drive away. Imagine that in the UK!

On my way back I saw Gribouille sitting on his windowsill so I went to give him a stroke, only to find Nicole there struggling with her drawers, with her hand still in a plaster.

Gallant me, I went to give her a hand. I glued them back together for her and slid them back into the unit.

Back outside it was now teeming down. The rain had caught me up so I came inside quickly.

After my hour on the guitars I ended up with a stuffed pepper for tea. And the amount of fresh food that I’ve had to throw away due to not eating is appalling. I hate throwing food away.

pile of rubble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went for my evening walk and run around the headland.

First stop though was to see what was going on where the builders’ office was. And we seem to have acquired a pile of tarmac and sand from somewhere. They must be digging up somewhere, but I’ve no idea where.

Having examined that, I ran off up the road – a little bit (just a little bit) easier than it was been. And having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop.

couple enjoying sunshine pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy itinerant was there again. I reckon that he’s here for the duration.

He wasn’t the only one here either – although he might well have been seeing as how quiet the whole area was. There was just one other couple here – a young couple sitting in the sun quietly watching it sink down into the sea

It’s a really nice way to spend a summer evening.

And talking about nice ways to spend summer evenings, I’ve had an e-mail completely out of the blue from someone who played a large part in my life 45 years ago and who I’ve seen on a few occasions since, but not for about 10 years.

So what’s happening here?

fishing boats english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallNo prizes for guessing what’s happening here.

A couple of fishing boats out there, almost stationary. So I imagine that they have their fishing equipment out and are dredging up the sea bed for the shellfish. I’m determined to get out there one day and see how they do it.

Despite it being overcast, there was another excellent view all the way down the Brittany coast towards Cap Fréhel. Not as good as the last time but still impressive enough.

chateau de la crete atlantic wall baie se mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked across the lawn by the Resistance memorial, the sun suddenly came dramatically out of the clouds and lit up the Chateau de la Crête.

Ordinarily I would wait until I’m down on the other side of the headland where there’s an unrestricted view, but the weather is being rather capricious just now and you can’t rely on there still being the same effect in five minutes time.

But at least you get to see one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. They don’t feature very often in my photos for one reason or another.

picnickers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallNothing else of any importance happened at all. My run all the way in its several stages) down to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord was pretty uneventful.

There on the beach though I could see that a group of picnickers weas just installing itself down among the rocks. I didn’t think that it was warm enough for that, but they clearly do.

But when you ae young you are pretty much immune to that kind of thing. Yes, since I had that e-mail earlier, I’ve gone all nostalgic and broody.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallInstead of musing on the past, I straightened myself up and admired the sunset.

It’s another one of these wonderful mid-evening lights again and I really like the effect that it gives.

But I couldn’t stay for long. I had a chat with a couple of people admiring the apartment that’s for sale, especially when the woman stood on one of the bollards in the street to have a better view and it sank into the ground under her weight.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh class so I need to revise and prepare for it.

That means an early night, in the hope that I can be out of bed early.

Some hope, hey?

Friday 22nd November 2019 – WHAT ODDS …

… would you have given on me walking into a social centre here in Granville on the West Normandy coast and bumping into three young girls who I have met before … in a small town called Uummannaq in the far north of Greenland?

Yes, it’s true that it’s “Greenland week” here in Granville, but even so, it’s a pretty long shot, isn’t it?

heidinnguaq jensen girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe’ve all seen this smile before, haven’t we?

It’s the smile that I have as the background to the desktop on my little old laptop and the girl to whom it belongs is my friend Heidinnguaq, she who spent half an hour or so posing for me last year when I was there.

And here she is in Granville too, with a few of her friends.

After my marathon session the other evening, last night I was in bed at something like a realistic time last night. Plenty of time to go on a travel or two. And who should I meet last night was my friend Ric. I’m not sure exactly how it had come round to this but I’d come to the town where he lived. I’d been round to where there were shelves and books and like cupboards and so on and it was some kind of description about what I was going to be doing and what I was going to be. Anyway, I knocked on his door, and he came out and we had a little chat. I told him that I was going out with someone later that evening. In fact I was going out with a lot of people but I was hoping that one particular person would be there. He stepped off his door and came in and said “what’s all this about?” and said something like a tree – an oak or a sycamore or something like that. It turned out that that was an euphemism that I had been using on this piece of paper stuck on this wall about the person that I was hoping to see that evening. So I said “yes, I’m going on a date”. I didn’t tell him too much – just enough to get his appetite interested. And that was when I awoke. It goes without saying that the person whom I was hoping to meet was Castor.

The alarms went off as usual and I leapt out of bed (and I did too!) ready for an early start. And after breakfast I did another magnum opus from the pile on the dictaphone. Only one (and half another) but it was certainly one of the longest.

And having transcribed it, I can see why it was one of the ones that affected me so much. It was very similar to one that I had back in May where the world was coming to an end and I was the last survivor. There I was, all alone on the beach watching the world come to an end just like in Neville Shute’s novel On The Beach, and as the narrator brings the story to a close, his prose breaks, in perfect time and perfect scan, into a speech that runs into a slightly amended version of the final couple of lines of the lyrics (which he speaks) of “The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.

Well, the night in early September that I transcribed this morning was just like that, and it was such a surprise not just because of the event, but because of the fact that I’d been there a short while earlier in almost identical circumstances. And the narrator’s hypnotic speech added a certain amount of tension to the whole thing too.

But I couldn’t hang around doing that all morning. There were plenty of other things to do, such as to prepare my speech and select about 25 photos from my visit to Uummannaq.

fishing boats entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat took me up to about 13:00 – usually that’s lunchtime but there’s only frozen bread here so I went down to the boulangerie for another dejeunette down in the town to make my sandwiches.

The tide was well in by now and all of the fishing boats were coming into the harbour to bring their catch to the fish-processing plant.

You can see all of the equipment lined up on the quayside.

fishing boat leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd the turn-round in the port was pretty rapid. I’ll tell you that.

It takes me about 5 minutes or so to walk from the top right down the stairs – the escalier des noires-vaches – to the rue du Port. And by the time that had reached the bottom, the yellow and white boat that we saw arriving was just on its way back out to sea.

They don’t hang about in the harbour when there are other fish to fry, that’s for sure.

la grande ancre leaving fishing boat entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIn fact, it was so busy in the inner harbour today that we had something of a traffic jam.

There was La Grande Ancre waiting to leave port, but she was unable to because there was another fishing boat on its way in. La Grande Ancre had to wait a good few minutes for the other boat to make its way through the gates before she could make her way out.

Of course, that’s no reason to complain. A busy fishing port is an important asset to the community.

After lunch I made a decent adapter cable for the new laptop out of a cut-down North American extension lead that was hanging around in Caliburn. I cut it down so that there was about a foot or so on the socket end, and added an old European plug on the bare end.

And it works to perfection too. Nothing wrong with that! And then I uploaded Paint Shop Pro and made a slide show out of the photos that I had chosen.

While I had Pint Shop Pro and the external DVD dive out, I reinstalled it onto the laptop that broke down in North America and which I managed to restart. I’m going to see if I can make it run again, although I’m not sure why I would want to.

drum dancing girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceAt 15:45 the guy from the Education Department came to pick me up and took me to the Sports Hall at the local High School, and that was where I met Heidinnguaq and her friends.

First thing that I did was to scrounge a huge television and couple up my laptop to it, and then set my slideshow in motion.

It would provide a little ambience to the meeting.

girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe had a little talk, that didn’t last too long, and having done their drum dance, throat singing and polar bear dance (the one that Jena did for me last year in Uummannaq), Heidinnguaq was prevailed upon to produce her guitar.

She’s an excellent guitarist and singer, and has written quite a few songs of her own. She played a couple and then did a number by Amy Winehouse.

Mind you, having English as her third language, I hope that she didn’t understand the significance of what she was singing. The lyrics, to a native-English-speaking person, are full of innuendo that a foreigner will probably not understand.

There was a question and answer session afterwards, which I translated, and then in the best tradition of the News of the Screws, I made my excuses and left.

Back here, it was tea-time. I had a rummage around in the freezer and found some lentil, pepper and potato curry from 24th August … errr … 2018. That was just as nice today as it was back then, especially as it was followed down by more rice pudding.

Later, I took out the rubbish and braving the wind and rain, made a hurried circuit of the headland, including a brief run for a few hundred metres. Short of my target unfortunately but there you go.

When I returned, there was football on the internet. Barry Town v Penybont (Bridgend to the uninitiated) in the Welsh Premier League.

For the first 15 minutes you wouldn’t have believed that Penybont were at the bottom of the table and Barry at the top. From the action up until that point you would have said that it was the other way round.

However, as the match progressed, Barry began to exert themselves and they ran out 3-0 winners. The result was right, but the scoreline was rather unfair. Barry’s goals were

  • a well-worked routine from a corner
  • a screamer from 25 yards that could have gone anywhere
  • a defensive error where the full_back slipped on the wet surface and lost control of the ball, with a Barry Town player the quickest to react to the loose ball
    • But credit to Penybont. They kept on going regardless and even in injury time they were still pushing forward playing some constructive football.

      All they need is to get the run of the green.

      It’s quite late now but I’ve been spending all the evening editing photos. All of the photos that I took of the girls I’ll post on a separate page when I get round to it.

      Just one more special event, and that’s tomorrow evening. And then I ca get back round to the usual busy stae without any of these extra jobs cropping up.

      I could do with a rest.

      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france
      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france

      fishing boat entering port de granville harbour  manche normandy france
      fishing boat entering port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Wednesday 9th March 2016 – I’VE BEEN OUT TODAY …

… and I didn’t feel much like it because it was taters outside and sleeting down too. But out I had to go.

Most important was to post my claim for medical expenses. As I said the other day, what my expenses to date (as far as has come in – there’s still plenty to go that hasn’t come in) come to is the equivalent of 3 months’ income. As soon as I can receive the reimbursement, the better I’ll be. It was well-worth the … gulp … $14:70 to post it off.

I had to go to the boulangerie too.When I left, the mobile boulangère hadn’t been by and we had run out of bread. You can’t leave bread to chance if you are going out anyway. And so I went to the wrong boulangerie, bought the wrong bread and when I returned home I found that the boulangère had been here anyway. But still, that’s what freezers are for.

Another place that I needed to visit was the pharmacie. The prescription that I was given for my new medication expires on March 16th so I need to order that now. And then I need another injection to take with me to the hospital when I go for the scanner on the 18th. It goes without saying that a remote pharmacie like the one at St Gervais wouldn’t have the stuff in stock and so I’d have to order it.

And so after visiting the Post Office I clambered back into Caliburn and drove round to where the pharmacie is – only to find that it had moved. Upon enquiring of a local yokel, I discovered that it had moved to just behind the Post Office, right by where I’d parked Caliburn.

But now everything ordered and I’ll pick it up on Friday afternoon on my way back from the hospital.

During the night, I don’t remember too much about my little wanderings. I remember having to take a group of kids somewhere – kids aged round about 4 and 5 – and so the first thing to do was to check them all to make sure that they were clean and properly dressed. And having done that, we could set off.Once we’d arrived at our destination, the kids went off to do what they had to do and I went into the hotel bar for a coffee. And who should be in there but a friend of mine. We ended up having a really good chat, and when I went to the bar, he asked me to fetch him a MacKay’s and something (I can’t remember what it was now). But anyway, a MacKay’s was a blend of whisky and the something was like a tonic water or ginger ale in a small bottle like that and the bill for this came to an astonishing £11 and more. I was totally surprised by this and so when I took his drink to him I asked him if that was correct – not that I minded paying for it but that I thought that it was really excessive. He assured me that the bill was probably about right, and I reckoned that I was glad that I don’t drink alcohol. From here, I had to go back and pick up my charges and make sure that that they were all present and correct and had everything that they had supposed to have.

What I’ve done today, now that my web server is back and running, is to finish the collating of the notes of my voyage to Canada for the month of October 2015, and I’ve made a decent attack on the notes for September 2015. We will then have the notes for August 2015, and then all of the notes for 2014. The notes and photos of much of the route that I did in those two years, together with some of my 2013 journey and some of my 2010 journey, can then be superimposed and make more of a travelogue than a blog. That’s what my aim is anyway.

So now that it’s stopped snowing again and the rainstorm has died down, I’m off for a walk and then an early night. But my walk around St Gervais (in the sleet) today has shown, at least to me, that my movements are freeing up.

I just wish that I could do something about this lump in my lungs. But, as my surgeon said the other day “we’ll see what this scan says and then we’ll see what we can do!”

Mother!!!!!!!

Tuesday 23rd February 2016 – AND WASN’T THAT A WASTE OF TIME?

I finally had my blood count results back today. And the total has dropped from 9.8 to 9.0 – that’s not far short of 10% – in a week. And not only that – some of the things that needed to go up have indeed gone up, but some other things that needed to go up – including the most important things like the haemoglobin – have gone down. According to the infirmière who comes twice a day to inject me with the anti-coagulant, this means that it’s not just a simple case of dilution of the blood but that there’s something much more serious going on somewhere.

This means that it’s time to put Plan B into … errr … operation. Tomorrow, I’m going to see about having a chat with the Médecin Général of my Health Insurance company to see what he thinks about me having a second opinion somewhere with a specialist.

But as you can tell, I am not amused by all of this.

I didn’t manage to make it to Worleston last night by the way. I ended up being sidetracked elsewhere. I started out on the borders of Shropshire, Cheshire and Wales, my old stamping ground from many years ago. I was heading back north towards Crewe, I suppose, and I had the wife of a friend in the car with me. She was complaining about her husband, how he was all untidy and disorganised and how she wished he was like another one of the people that we knew. I cautioned her about that, because in my experience the tidiness and organisation of our other friend was nothing but superficial and just underneath the surface was a kind of chaos worse than ever you could imagine.
So back at my place in France where I brought a coach home – an old Ford R1114 with a Plaxton Supreme body. I drove it down the lane as far as my concrete parking place (which is most unlikely) and managed to turn it round at the bottom and park it facing uphill (which is impossible). I had a few things to do there and then went off for a walk, which took me right out to the southern edge of Stoke on Trent, somewhere round about Blurton or Trentham. Here in the middle of the road was a football match taking place – one team in green and the other in white. It wasn’t a suitable place to play a football match because the road had quite a steep slope, the top of which was defended by the green team. Stanley Matthews was playing on the green team and word had gone out that if his team won, he would be made man of the match, so right at the end of the game the green team had a shot on goal. The white goalkeeper, none other than Lev Yashin, stood there watching the ball, making no effort to save it. When I asked him about it, he replied that Matthews deserved the reward. And so I headed back home, reckoning that it would take me about an hour to walk from here (yes, quite!) and I ended up heading through the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. I was passing by the bus station at Hanley (I go a strange way home, don’t I?) just as a former work colleague was arriving. he told me that my absence was missed because the boss wanted to see me and a pile of other people (who he named). It turned out that the people who he named were those who were top of the list to receive a promotion and so I was wondering whether this meant that I was in a line to receive a promotion too. This was certainly some quite exciting news and I regretted that I hadn’t been there at the time.
The next part of my voyage was even more interesting, because I was actually a nun! (And before anyone ever says anything, my brother really was a nun, although not very many people know this. Every time he was up before the bench, the magistrate used to ask him his occupation and he always replied “nun”). I was going for an interview for a religious post and having a really good chat with the interviewers. They showed me a kind of green plastic key with holes in it at strategic places and asked me if I knew who it was who made the most profit from this. Of course, I had no idea and so they told me that it was eBay. That surprised me, but they replied “when you are using this to do something like buying 30,000 ice creams, by far the greatest percentage of the money is taken by eBay”. I was astounded by the figure of 30,000 and it clearly showed. “Didn’t you realise that as part of your duties you would be taking 30,000 children out for walks?” I replied that I hadn’t given it any thought at all and that if this were part of the duties of the post I wouldn’t hesitate in carrying it out. It was the way that the matter had been presented that had caught me off-balance. But it turned out that the question of the green key related to a form of payment, rather like some kind of credit card. It was inserted into a slot, something similar to an old punch-card data input system, to confirm a payment made on credit.

But going back to the previous night, I was here on my own all morning (it might not sound relevant, but you’ll see how it all develops) as Terry went off to do some work and so, in a mad fit of nostalgia, I played some music that I had on the laptop, and played it pretty loud too. One of the tracks (if that’s the correct word to use) was the “Simple Minds” live concert that I mixed for Radio Anglais
a while ago, and I do have to say that it’s probably the best live concert that I’ve ever mixed. The music is probably the best too, and it features the track “Someone Somewhere in Summertime”. And as I was listening to it, I picked up on the words
“Somewhere there is some place, that one million eyes can’t see”
“And somewhere there is someone, who can see what I can see”
And while I’ve found the place, what I haven’t found in all of my life is someone who can see what I can see. If I had to name the biggest disappointment of all of my life, that would be it, and maybe the vision (because it was more than a simple dream) of the Girl From Worleston the other night is something subconsciously to do with that. As you all know, I’m a great believer in the subconscious, instinct, second sight and all of that.
Anyway, have a listen to Someone, Somewhere in Summertime.

In other news, I’ve not done too much with my dictaphone notes because I’ve been rather sidetracked, dealing with issues arising from the very controversial historian Dr Alwyn Ruddock.

She was (because she died in 2005) a well-known and respected historian who did a great deal of research into the Italian banking families of the 15th and 16th Centuries and during her research, she came across some so-far undiscovered information concerning John Cabot. According to her press release into the Academic World, this information would radically change our perception of the discovery of North America in the 15th Century.

She signed a contract with the Exeter University Press to publish a book, and began to undertake some serious research into her subject. She was sent information from a couple of other historians who had uncovered hitherto-unknown documents and who felt that she was best-placed to use the material, but she dismissed most of that in a rather offhand way.

The upshot of all of this is that she never published her book and when she died, hordes of scholars were eager to peruse her notes to see if they could bring her research to a conclusion and to bring into the public domain her rather startling discoveries. Unfortunately, they were all confounded as in her will, she had left instructions that all of her research notes, photographs etc was to be destroyed unread. And indeed, her executors had shredded 87 sacks of documents and all of the clues to her discoveries were lost.

I’ve never ever met a scholar who has wilfully destroyed his or her research notes. Most scholars have an assistant who will carry on the work if the unforeseen should occur, or else they bequeath their papers to a University so that another researcher could pick them up. And that’s how research should be carried on – as a community project. And if you find that all of your work is ultimately incorrect, then scholars should be sufficiently detached from their subject to contradict themselves, as I have seen several scholars do.

But now all of this work is lost and the poor researcher who discovered some documents in the British Library in 1987 and which were kicked into touch by Dr Ruddock now has to creep back up a dark alley to rescue them and start again, after a delay of almost 30 years.

And we are still no nearer to finding out what it was about Cabot’s voyages to North America that, according to Dr Ruddock, would change our perception of the discovery of North America.

Tuesday 20th October 2015 – IT SEEMS THAT …

… I might be getting back to normal now. I was awake at about 08:30 (although it was about 09:15 when I finally crawled out of bed). And I was greeted by a typical Auvergnat hanging cloud. It’s good to be back home, isn’t it?

But I wasn’t at home during the night. I was in the USA driving a school bus taking a pile of girls to their High School. And after I had dropped them off and I was checking my tachograph there was a shooting in the school and half of my schoolgirls were mown down. It was a very sad sight in the school. So I parked the bus up after my journey and caught the plane back home in the UK where I lived, arriving back in the early afternoon (there’s a lot to be said about this long-distance commuting to work, which is perfectly feasible when you are on another plane – if you pardon the pun). I told everyone what had happened, because of course I had beaten the newspapers back to the UK. Once that was over, Nerina and I took the caravan (one a couple of sizes bigger than we used to have) off somewhere in the driving rain and despite the caravan being absolutely ancient, it was still good nevertheless to hear the rain beating down on the roof and not leaking through to the inside.

So with breakfast out of the way I had another relaxing day not doing very much. I really do need to get myself into gear and get going on the work that I have to do. But I did have a very long e-mail to write to someone who has contacted me about a couple of problems he’s been having.

I’ve also signed up for a course of Higher Education. As long-term readers of this rubbish will know, I have a little hobby of messing about with a 3D animation program but I’m not much good at it. I’m on the mailing list of a couple of on-line universities and one of the courses proposed for the New Year is “Explore Animation” – a basic course of Computer-Aided Animation. With nothing much better to do, I’ve signed up for it and we’ll see what we shall see.

I’ve cooked tea tonight too. I’ve not had a full three meals per day for ages but today I managed it and about time too. Now I’m going to wash up and I’m off to bed to see where I’ll end up tonight.

Friday 7th November 2014 – I’VE BEEN REALLY POPULAR TODAY.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had so many visitors.

It started off with my friends who were staying at the Queue de Milan. They had come by especially to see the house and the set-up of solar panels and wind turbines, as well as all of the other things that I have on the go here. They had the full guided tour and explanation and it was bizarre that, over a lengthy distance in both time and geographical location, our ideas have been following along similar routes.

As they were preparing to leave, Rosemary turned up for a chat. She’d been to make an appointment for the dentist and was told that she could have one that same afternoon, so it was hardly worth her going home.

We had a coffee and spent hours putting the world to rights and then she cleared off I made myself some lunch. By this time it was late in the afternnon and I didn’t feel much like restarting work so I had an early finish. I reckoned that I had earned it after my exertions of Wednesday night and Thursday.

Thursday 6th November 2014 – THE BIG PROBLEM …

… about portable telephones these days is that there are fewer and fewer public telephone boxes.

Consequently when Yours Truly and his sidekick Strawberry Moose are off in Caliburn on a Mission to rescue people in distress, there is nowhere for us to go to put our underpants on outside our trousers. As a result, we drove all the way to Rouen dressed quite normally.

The drive was quite uneventful and I found a place to park up in the secluded car park of a restaurant right on the edge of the city of Rouen and froze to death all night. It really was cold.

I had my phone call at 06:40 and then went to look for the hotel. And I do have to say that I have come to hate the centre of Rouen – really hate it. It’s all one-way streets and pedestrianised areas and I couldn’t reach the hotel. IN the end I had to park up and let my “client” come to me.

It was 08:00 when we finally met up, far too late, and then went off to Pissy-Poville (yes, it really does exist) for this recovery job. There was no way to remove the vehicle involved and so we had to empty it of everything – and I DO mean everything. That wasn’t as easy as it might sound either as it was so misshapen that we couldn’t open the doors. We were there for ages with a series of heavy crowbars and hacksaws, but we managed it in the end.

It then took ages to fill up Caliburn and once that was done, we had a drive back gome. And that wasn’t quite so easy either for we had a really full load up on Caliburn and he wasn’t impressed at all. Still, at 18:00, I was all unloaded and back in Pionsat.

What a day!

And it wasn’t finished either. I have some friends coming here and I’d booked them in at the Queue de Milan Hotel in Pionsat. I went round there to pay for the room now that I was free, only to find that they were there and had paid the bill. Consequently I took them to the Dauphin restaurant in Montaigut, giving them a guided tour of the town while we were at it.

I came back here and crashed out – hardly surprising given what I’d been through today. I’m far too old for this.