Tag Archives: rice pudding

Thursday 10th June 2021 – IT SEEMS THAT …

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

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

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

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

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

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone to whet my appetite.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So now we know.

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

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

After lunch I had a few things to do –

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… really busy day today and accomplished quite a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No wonder I’m exhausted.

Tuesday 9th February 2021 – IT’S SNOWING!

When I lived in the Auvergne all those years ago we would have snow, snow, and then more snow, sometimes from October to May, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Since I’ve lived here in Granville by the seaside in the prevailing winds, I reckon that I could count on the fingers of one hand, and probably just one of those fingers too, the number of times that we’ve had a snowfall here.

snow place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut today, we are having a snowfall, a proper snowfall too and a snowfall in spades as well.

The funny thing is that the weather service forecast snow at 18:00 this evening. And while I hadn’t noticed what the weather was doing at that moment, when I went to fetch my camera at 19:00 after guitar practice, it was snowing quite heavily.

That’s quite a thing, isn’t it? A weather forecast that’s pretty much accurate. It’s quite an impressive snowfall too, the kind of which we used to have in the Auvergne. It’s just like being back home there.

But in those days we were used to it and we coped accordingly. But just you watch the chaos in the streets here tomorrow as the motorists around here try to come to terms with it.

One thing that I struggled to come to terms with is being wide-awake at 05:40 yet again. And had I put my mind to it, I could even have beaten the first alarm. But as it happened, I contented myself with simply beating the third alarm … “‘simply’ he said” – ed.

During the night I’d been on my travels too. There was some kind of science-fiction thing going on last night – a large dome that was full of all kinds of things including some scrap cars and we had crept in there for a look around. We weren’t sure who it was who was running the place and which planet they were from. The next night I crept in again on my own and while I was there a digger came in with its bucket down to scrape the soil, being pushed by a grader. Averny now and again the bucket would dig in and the grader would pull it back and push it on again. I made sure to keep out of sight while I watched them and eventually they stopped near the cars and then began to cur up a dark red Ford Escort. After a while one of the guys said in a loud voice “we can see you, you know”. so I came out of hiding and went for a chat. They told me about the cars – that they cut up whichever was nearest. I asked them about what they did with they stuff and they told me that they “put it in the SAAR”. At first I thought the region of Germany but it turned out that it was some kind of collectors’ magazine. But these people were being quite friendly and sociable and it didn’t seem right to me. I was wondering when they were going to turn nasty, which was what I was expecting.

Sometime also in this I had a black cat rather like Tuppence but her coat was in much better condition. She had been sitting on the floor by the chair and I was trying to entice her on my knee but she wouldn’t jump up. But as soon as I stopped, she jumped up. Someone was telling me that another girl had picked her up and had stroked her, somethig that surprised me because she wasn’t the kind of animal that would let anyone else touch her except me.

Another thing was that I was in work in the EU as some kind of messenger but I had nothing to do so I was just standing there. I stood there for ages and no-one seemed to notice. There were people coming and going, talking about their plans for the weekend, going to play golf and whatever. So there I was for ages standing by this door waiting for someone to give me some work and no-one was taking any attention whatever of what I was doing.

After breakfast I worked on my Welsh ready for my lesson and I do have to say that I simply wasn’t in the mood for it. It was quite a dismal Welsh lesson in fact and I wasn’t on form at all. But luckily I wasn’t called on to do all that much so it didn’t make all that much difference.

After lunch I had a couple of things to do, one of which was to crash out for about 40 minutes. But afterwards I carried on with the notes about Oradour-sur-Glane.

people on atlantic wall fortifications pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy afternoon walk was pretty adventurous in this kind of weather because it was absolutely freezing cold.

There were very few people around, except for the guy standing on the old Atlantic Wall concrete machine gun nest over there on the right and the handful of people up there on the path.

It was absolutely taters out there and it’s a long time since I’ve felt quite that cold. In fact, my woolly hat was of not much use at all in this weather. My ears were freezing. I’m going to have to buy a new one the next time I go anywhere near a sports shop becuase it’s not going to be much fun picking my way through the snow to Belgium if I can’t keep my ears warm.

trawler and tree and atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis photo didn’t really do what I was hoping to do but the effect was nevertheless quite interesting.

Just as I started to cross the lawn a trawler out in the Baie de Mont St Michel put in an appearance. And while I was trying to focus the image on the trawler through the branches, I accidentally clicked the shutter.

There was nothing going on out there in the bay across to the Brittany coast and as you might expect, there wasn’t anything at all in the way of sun trying to pierce its way through the clouds so I didn’t hang around there all that long. I headed off along the path down the south side of the headland.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there was yet more excitement.

The covering that was over the side of the yacht has now been removed after yesterday, and to be honest I couldn’t see anything different to how things were previously. So I’ve no idea what that was all about.

By now I was freeezing so I headed off back to my apartment and a nice hot coffee, which I thoroughly deserved. And then I carried on with the Oradour sur Glane stuff until it was time to go a-playing with the guitars.

The half-hour on the bass worked really well and I worked out a lovely bass line to David Bowie’s “Heroes” which I could actually sing as well at the same time. Things are definitely picking up there. But once again, I wasn’t able to concentrate all that much on the acoustic guitar.

Tea was a burger in a bap with potatoes and veg followed by rice pudding. And much as I have written out my notes this evening, I’ve also been watching the snow settle on the car park here.

This is going to be a good morning tomorrow, I hope.

So bedtime now. And I’m wondering if I might make the hat-trick by having three days on the run before the third alarm. About time I did things properly.

Sunday 7th February 2021 – COLD, GREY, MISERABLE, DEPRESSING AND WINDY.

But that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about the day instead.

With it being Sunday I had a nice little lie-in today.

It was rather a late night last night because I ended up playing the guitar right through into the small hours, for want of anything better to do. So being awake just before 10:00 and not leaving the bed until about 10:30 isn’t of any importance.

Surprisingly, after all the sleep that I had, I didn’t go all that far on my travels during the night. I only remember bits of this but I was with Terry and Liz and we were talking about my Welsh course. I’d somehow led them to believe that I was taking classes physically rather than virtually and taking place in North Wales, Bangor. Terry said that he had to go there so I replied that if it was a Monday I could take him there in the afternoon. He said that it wasn’t. We started to chat about Bangor and he asked where I stayed when I was up there. I replied out by THE MENAI BRIDGE which of course I didn’t stay there at all. I can’t really remember the rest of this.

But anyway it must have been a deep relaxing sleep if that’s all that I did.

As far as work goes, I really didn’t do all that much at all. After all, it is Sunday and I’m entitled to a day of rest here and there.

One thing that I did do however was to make a start on the ginger bug – the base that you use for brewing your own ginger beer. That’s now up and running and we’ll see how that develops over the next week or so, ready to make into ginger beer. Having over the last couple of weeks accumulated a few more flip-top pressurised bottles, I can do that now.

And while I was at it, I fed the sourdough

windsurfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course there was the afternoon walk – no afternoon is complete without that.

Mind you, I would much rather have stayed indoors this afternoon because it was horrible out there. Only the guy windsurfing offshore at Donville les Bains would be taking any pleasure from the howling gale that was going on out there this afternoon.

With no-one about at all, I even tried to run along the footpath under the walls but gave it up after half a dozen steps because the wind brought me to a shuddering halt as I tried to make progress.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn view of the howling gale I had decided to take the low road under the walls rather than the high road around the headland.

And you can tell what the weather was like because there are so few people out and about compared to yesterday, and those who were had dressed themselves sufficiently to enable them to cope with the Arctic conditions. Even my ears were freezing as the wind somehow found its way to whistle through the woolly hat that I was wearing to keep my woolly head warm.

It was one of those days where I had no intention whatever of staying outside for a second longer than I had to. I was keen to come on home for my hot coffee.

sunlight baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had a few occasions over the depths of darkest winter where we’ve been having some spectacular sunsets on the bay out there by the Brittany coast.

Whilst the day has lengthened to such an extent now, we aren’t having the same effects which is a pity. But there were a couple of holes in the thick, heavy clouds this afternoon and we ended up with another TORA TORA TORA moment this afternoon as rays of sun were shining down onto the sea.

There was someone else out there armed with a camera wandering around looking for objects to photograph but I can’t believe that he missed this view.

mural rue lecarpentier rue des degres Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been out on my travels yesterday I’d seen a mural that someone had painted on a gate down in the Rue Carpentier, but there were so many people around it that it was impossible to photograph it.

Today I’d forgotten all about it – until a casual glance down the Rue des Degres brought me face-to-face with it again. There was no-one about here so I could photograph it at my ease, and I’m glad that I waited until today because photographing it like this from the far end of the side street has brought it out quite well.

But I’m curious to know what it’s all about. It’s rather reminiscent of the album cover of COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING but I’d be surprised if anyone recognised that album out here.

yacht aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the walls I walked, to see what was happening. And from up here there’s a good view down onto the chantier navale.

There’s no change in the occupants – the two fishing boats, the yacht that has been there for ever and Aztec Lady which has been there for much longer than I was expecting, but I took a photo of it all because it’s not often that we see it from this perspective.

Seeing as I was dressed for the winter, I took the opportunity to take out the rubbish – the general garbage and the recyclable metal and glass. Such is the highlight of the day, hey?

Having taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer at lunchtime, it was now ready to prepare. I rolled it out and put it in the pan to proof again while I came back in here to edit some more photos from Greenland.

rice pudding home made vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce it had proofed, I switched on the oven and bunged in the rice pudding to cook while I prepared the pizza.

And when the pudding was ready, in went the pizza. Meanwhile, I parcelled up the remaining slices of apple pie, labelled them and put them in the freezer for when the rice pudding runs out.

The pizza was delicious but I can’t comment on the rice pudding because there wasn’t any room left inside me for dessert. So that will have to wait until tomorrow.

So now I’m off to bed for an early night. I need to have a good start tomorrow as I have nothing prepared for the radio so I’ll be doing a programme from scratch.

I’ve not crashed out at all today so despite the late start I’m tired and if I prolong it, it’s going to be another dismally late start tomorrow and I can’t afford that.

Monday 14th December 2020 – HOW ABOUT …

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… this for a photograph this evening?

Juts in case you are wondering what it is, it’s a photograph of St Helier in Jersey, 58 kilometres away from where I’m standing. Across there you can see the street lights, a floodlight or two in the harbour and the red lights on the radio mast at the back of the town.

And if you are wondering how I managed to produce a photograph like this, the simple answer is that I didn’t have the tripod with me, and neither did I have the monopod, but there was a suitable flat stone on top of the walls.

Making sure that the camera was well-positioned and secure, then the timer delay button on the camera did the rest.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the path I found another flat stone on top of the walls and tried again with a shot of Donville les Bains.

And it’s hard to believe that I’ve actually managed to over-expose the shot. That has to be a first, I reckon. But even the white headboards on the swimming lanes in the tidal swimming pool have come out clearly as you can see lower down on the right-hand side of the image.

This is certainly progress as far as the night-time photography goes. Admittedly this is with a 50mm f1.8 lens and it’s going to be a completely different game of cowboys with a huge and heavy zoom lens at f5.6. That’s not going to come out quite like this, is it?

And so back at work today to deal with the radio programme that needed dealing with. And sure enough, by 11:58 it was all done, dusted and completed and ready to go.

What helped was that once more I was up and about before the 3rd alarm. Well, only just but “only just” is just like Kris Kristofferson’s “feeling good” – it’s good enough for me.

And so I had a pretty good bah at everything after my medication, including stopping for my mid-morning hot chocolate and slice of fruit bread. And it’s the best fruit bread that I’ve ever made. Nice and light and airy and packed with goodness. I’ll make some more of this.

roundabout manege place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving finished my radio programme, it was time to nip out to the shops before lunch and, more importantly, before it started to rain.

So into town I went, past the Place Generale de Gaulle to see what they were unloading the other day when I went past. And sure enough, it’s the kiddies’ roundabout, so obviously despite the restrictions and quarantines the kids will still be celebrating Christmas.

By the time that I reached LIDL I was thoroughly exhausted and that can’t ever be right. I haven’t felt as exhausted as this for quite a while. I ended up having to have a large can of energy drink simply to find the strength to go home.

And it wasn’t as if I’d bought much either. Just the bare essentials and that was that.

new house rue de la corderie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that ages ago we saw a house-building project going on in the Impasse de la Corderie at the back of the Eglise St Paul.

It occurred to me that we haven’t been to look at it for quite a while so I reckoned that we may as well go that way home and see how they are doing.

From here, it seems to me that they have almost finished and there is just the tidying up to do. And while they seem to have done quite a nice job of the building, it would have been nice if they had cleaned up the stonework and repointed it to make it match the rest of the building

kiwi kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack here, I had lunch and then I had some work to do – namely, to make some kefir. Some of the kiwis that I had in stock were now nice and ripe and so I whizzed them up in the whizzer and pressed out the juice from the pulp through a filter into the big jug.

Then I filtered out the kefir into the jug as well and set another batch of kefir en route. And then mixed up the jug all together and filtered them all back through the filter system into bottles.

There it will ferment for a few days until I’m ready to use it. A nice kiwi-flavoured kefir drink, one of my favourites. And I might have done more too had I not crashed out for about 15 minutes.

college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was wondering what they would be doing next now that they had almost completed the reroofing of the part of the roof that they had stripped. And here’s the answer. They are ripping off more of the roof.

Therefore it seems to be that they are going to be replacing the whole roof, on this side at least. And good luck to them up there in this weather.

rainstorm ile de chausey englidh channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd quite right too because the weather is pretty deplorable this afternoon.

There’s a rainstorm threatening the coast right now. We can see out there in the English Channel that the Ile de Chausey is already enveloped in the rain and it’s heading my way at a rapid rate of knots.

There was only me and one or two other people out there and that’s not really a surprise either in view of the conditions so I wasn’t going to hang around. I pushed on along the path to see if I could complete the circuit before the storm broke.

chausiais entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that was something of a forlorn hope.

As it happened I’d hardly gone 20 yards when the rain caught me. It was so quick that in the time that it took to line up and take this photograph of Chausiais coming in from a run out somewhere, presumably with the furniture from the weekend, a fine mist of heavy rain had obscured the view and I was soaked to the skin.

But I pushed on some of the way to see what else if anything was going on down there today. But in the chantier navale there was nothing whatever that had changed. Still just the yacht and nothing else.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is an interesting photograph though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the past couple of days we’ve seen the waves whipped up by the high winds rolling off the end of the sea wall. But with the wind coming now round to its habitual westerly direction, we can see that even with the tide some way out, the waves were smashing up onto the sea wall.

But that was enough for me. Feeling rather wet, and drenched by the rain too, I headed off home for my hot coffee, which I remembered to drink this time. And to feed the sourdough. Tomorrow afternoon after my Welsh class I have to start to prepare another sourdough loaf for the coming week.

After having done an absolute mountain of washing-up, I came in here for my guitar practice which was really quite enjoyable. I’ve finally worked out a passing chord from G to C but I’m no idea what it might be. It’s a derivative of C and G but what it is I’ve absolutely no idea at all. The next step is to learn to play it quickly in passing or else find an easier way of playing it.

Having bought some peppers this lunchtime, I was able to have a stuffed pepper for tea which was very nice, and would have been even nicer had I remembered to buy the mushrooms to add to the stuffing. My rather overdone rice pudding needed some coaxing to make it palatable but it wasn’t too bad.

Later on it was time for my evening run. Despite being over 100% of my daily activity I still intended to go out.

The rain had died down and there were crowds of people out there tonight making the most of the last evening stroll before the 20:00 curfew that starts tomorrow.

You’ve seen the photo of St Helier that I took from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord, and then due to the fact that there were too many people about in the street I had to run on down the footpath underneath the walls despite the couple of inches of water that was down there. And my clothes look as if I was running down there too.

st martin de brehal coudeville sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s another place about halfway down there with a nice flat stone so when I stopped for my habitual breather I had another go with a photograph using the delayed timer.

This time, the photo of St Martin de Brehal and Coudeville sur Mer hasn’t come out as well as the others. That’s overexposed too and I would have done so much better with the aperture closed a couple of stops and the ISO decreased.

But anyway, this is it. And at least the one of Donville les Bains came out OK so you can’t evidently win a coconut every time. From here I ran off along the rest of the path to the end.br clear=”both”>

house rue lecarpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving run all the way across the Square Maurice Marland, I noticed that the renovations that have been under way on the house in the Rue Lecarpentier now seem to have been completed.

The scaffolding has gone from outside now and we can see what kind of job that they have done to restore it – or, we will be able to in the daylight, whenever that might be. But at least I could push on down the alleyway at the side and into the Rue Notre Dame that way round.

And there sitting on her windowsill was my old black cat Minette. She was pleased to see me so I gave her a good stroke for 5 minutes or so before pushing off.

trawler unloading fish processsing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe tide was out quite a way, so there was no water in the tidal harbour.

In the inner harbour we just had two fishing boats tied up at the fish processing plant. However all of the lights at the plant were illuminated and there was a refrigerated lorry parked there, so they must be expecting a swarm of boats to come in on the tide and unload.

From there I ran on back to the apartment to write up my notes, of which there were plenty. And now they are written, I’m off to bed. It’s Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be on form with my revision and preparation for the next chapter of the lessons.

And in the afternoon I’m going to have to start doing a couple of live concerts. And there are a few other tasks to do. I’m going to be busy tomorrow.

Sunday 13th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change just recently, I was up and about at something resembling more a respectable time of day on a Sunday – like 10:30 for example, which is a world of a difference away from 12:00 and 12:30, isn’t it?

So having taken my medicine, I went to have a listen to the dictaphone. And phew! Was I busy during the night?

I can’t remember much about the next bit that happened (I can’t even remember any first bit) at night but there was a young girl in it something like my youngest sister. I don’t know what she was doing but later I was out and they were controlling the stuff that was going out of this shop. I had a TV computer screen and took a felt-tip pen and wrote on the screen surround today’s date to make it look as if I’d actually brought this in with me rather than just buying it so that I could take it out of the store without actually paying for it but my big felt-tip pen was all discoloured and the ink didn’t show up very well on the brown surround so I had to take a felt-tip pen off them.

Later, it was my mother’s birthday and I wanted to wish her a happy birthday (don’t ask me why). I was living in Chester at the time so I had to go to Crewe. I had this idea of going with the aid of a stick where I leant all my weight on this stick and pivoted forward like that. I could work up a good rhythm with that and actually go at 7 miles per hour doing that all the way back to Crewe. But then I thought that I would have to turn round and do it all the way back again. There were all kinds of stories about how they were going to use paper boarding but this kind of thing was extremely dangerous after all they had said. There were countless people who had set out with things like this and thought that they could do really well.

Next, we had another one of my “wandering around London” dreams last night. I’d been to see my aunt with a pile of things – I think that I’d been on holiday and I’d called back there just to drop off some stuff. Then I wandered off around and met up with a friend – we were planning on having a night in. But she turned out to me a mixture of herself and my cousin in Canada and we were actually in Canada. I had to go back to her house so I got off this bus with all these people with whom I’d been chatting, and noticed that her street was under more development. They were building another restaurant so I went to talk to her about it and she explained that it was always being modernised and so on. I said that these other people had talked about this restaurant and how good it was going to be and she agreed. Then we got into her car to drive these presents round to Mary’s. But when we arrived it was after the time that their building had been locked up. I said that we ring on the bell and wait 5 minutes and she’ll let us in, then we can get ourselves organised. But she seemed to be reluctant to get out of the car to go to see her and said something about her mother who was in her 90s, the same age as my aunt. In the end I decided that I would go out as well and she would go out and maybe we would just put the presents in the letter box and come back or perhaps maybe just find the time to say a quick hello but we didn’t get to the point of making a quick decision

I was with this same friend yet again subsequently and we had been all around south-west London. She was talking about her relationships and how her husband was moving out at the end of January. I asked her if she knew for sure. Had he given her a date? She said not but reckoned that that was what it was going to be. I asked about her plans and she said that she was going to move to a place called “Sea Breezes” so if he came to look for her he wouldn’t find her. I asked her about this place and she was a bit vague about it. She said that things were going to change – the air, you would feel the sea in it and the ozone. I thought that it would have to be pretty close to the sea but she said “no, it’s in south-west London”. So we set off to go and have a look at it but we ended up being sidetracked miles off our course and we had to come back to retrace our steps. she had been on a bike and in the end she picked up another one and I picked up hers and we both cycled back and came to a place where the hill was really steep. We had to cycle down this hill at an enormous speed. I said “I hope that your brakes work on this bike that I’m riding”. She said “yes so do I”. That unnerved me a little. I had to use my foot to slow down but we reached the bottom and ended up in part of the big urban environment there. I’d lost my friend for a minute and ended up talking to a couple of women. One of them was speaking in a French accent so I started to reply in French. We had a bit of a chat. She noticed the dry ski slope and said “oh, skiers. It’s like Mont Blanc here”. I had a look and I could see someone who resembled my friend going down the slope. I thought “she’s been quick to get there” so I set off. Instead I found her standing in the middle of the road on a traffic island chatting to Jackie. There was a group of about 6 of them. I went over but kept on bumping into this guy and kept on excusing myself. He kept replying “it’s no problem” but I could see that he was starting to become irritated about this but it was a natural reaction that I couldn’t stop. Then I noticed that STRAWBERRY MOOSE wasn’t there so I asked my friend what she had done with him. She pointed “he’s over there” so Jackie went to pick him up. They were all talking to this guy who looked like someone from the OU warning him about the clothes that he was wearing – he shouldn’t go to a certain place wearing those clothes. But his clothes weren’t OU at all – they had some other logo on them that I didn’t recognise so this chat continued

It’s hardly any surprise after all of that that I didn’t have time to do very much today. Transcribing that took a lot of time

But I did find the time to make my fruit bread. Much as I enjoyed my chocolate cake, it was very fatty and probably responsible for the weight that I’m gaining. Not an ounce of fat in the fruit bread, except maybe in the oil from the ground Brazil nuts.

So that was stuck on one side again while I joined up the music tracks for my next radio programme. That’s all done too. And our journey around the World moves on into yet more uncharted territory.

helicopter english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was ready to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland. First thing though was to exchange pleasantries with a neighbour outside who was taking the air.

It was a good job that I was wrapped up in my rain gear as it was raining outside. And as I stepped out of the car park I noticed that our local air-sea rescue helicopter went flying by, right out there in the English Channel. Someone with his chopper out this afternoon

At first I wasn’t sure what it was because it was so far out at sea. It was only when I returned when I could enlarge the photo to see what it was.

Anyway, I set off down the track to the lawn and across and through the car park to the headland to see what was going on.

fishing boats chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that conundrum was “nothing at all”. Not even a boat anywhere out at sea. So I walked down to cross over the road and I ran off down the path on top of the cliffs seeing as there was no-one about.

There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. There were no fishing boats at the fish processing plant but there was one moving around in the harbour looking as if it was going out to the fishing grounds.

There were several others moored in the harbour but they didn’t look as if they are going anywhere right now. I suppose that they are all having the day off.

jean claude rabec furniture removals chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was certainly something quite strange going on in the background.

The company that owns that lorry is one of the country’s leading furniture removers and you can see that from the lorry they are unloading some very large wooden crates. These are the kind of crates that you would expect to see in a long-distance furniture removal such as a removal by sea.

But why unload them at the ferry port? They can only be for Chausiais but surely it’s easier to drop them in with the crane at the loading bay in inner harbour.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at the viewpoint on top of the cliffs, I had a look over at the chantier navale to see if there was anything new happening.

We’re still stuck at just the yacht right now. Nothing else has come in over the last couple of days since Ceres II went back into the water. Instead we can just admire the weather.

We’re having something of a rainstorm as you can see. The Pointe de Carolles over there in the background is shrouded in thick cloud and the rain is quite heavy out in the centre of the bay and it looks as if it’s settled in for the night.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the weather conditions aren’t quite as dismal.

We’re having another one of these “sunshine streaming through the heavy cloud” moments across near the Brittany coast, with the rain coming down to the North (on the right) and the South (on the left). In the centre of the image the corner of the cliffs by Cancale and the sea off the coast are really nicely illuminated by the rays of the sun.

But I wasn’t going to hang around to admire it for too long. I was becoming rather wet what with all of this rain. I turned on my heel and headed for home and my coffee, which I forgot to drink.

Instead I kneaded the bread a second time and shaped it, then dropped it into a greased tin to rise again. And having taken a lump of frozen dough out of the freezer earlier, I added some more flour to what was a wet mix, and then kneaded, rolled and shaped it, and stuck it in a pizza tray.

vegan pizza fruit bread rice pudding Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz was on line so we had a chat and I did some more work, but later on I put on the oven and when it was warm, stuck the bread in the oven, and then added a rice pudding to the oven as well.

While it was cooking, I prepared the pizza. I had no peppers and, unfortunately, I forgot the olives. But when the bread and rice were cooked, the pizza went into the oven.

The pizza was soon cooked and it was absolutely delicious – one of the best that I’ve made. The bread was left to cool and then stuck in a tin and the rice pudding ended up back into the oven to finish off as it wasn’t quite cooked.

I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t try it. That will be for tomorrow.

casino plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went for my perambulations around the medieval city walls – not that I was feeling much like it and which I won’t be able to do when the 20:00 curfew comes into force on Tuesday.

As seems to be the case these days I kept to the dry land up on top of the walls and the view from up there is different from what I usually see, as is the case with the view over the Plat Gousset.

Down on the path I ran all the way round and after having a pause, ran off around and through the Square Maurice Marland towards home.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallback on the walls again, I had to remind myself that there’s a little point where you can see the Christmas lights of the Rue Lecampion and I haven’t photographed those yet.

You can see right down the street into the Place Generale de Gaulle and the blue lights on the Mairie that we saw a couple of days ago from up on top. And in the distance in the top right-hand corner you’ll see the lights at the top of the Rue Couraye.

So back here I wrote up my notes ready to go to bed. I’ve already started writing the notes for the radio programme so I’m hoping that I can finish them and have time to go to the shops before lunch. But that remains to be seen. It’s more important to have a decent sleep and a good start in the morning.

But we’ll see about that tomorrow too.

Friday 25th September 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… you were wondering – there has been a change in the weather.

It’s deteriorated.

You might not thnk so from looking at the photos but in fact these photos are taken at about the same time as yesterday, which means that the tide was half an hour or so lower than yesterday.

The wind was totally wicked, and just for the record, there was a gust of wind recorded during the night at 121 Km/H. It’s a good job that they dismantled the beach changing cabins earlier in the week.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt must have been the gust of wind that blew me out of bed this morning because by the time that the third alarm went off, I was already out of bed

And despite the fact that there was much less time in bed last night, I seem to have travelled quite far during the night.

We started off filming a western in the POWDER RIVER COUNTRY last night. There was a scene in it whereby the hero had to do something – travel a couple of hundred yards and do something on his horse and then get back to the main body of his troop and at the same time a group of native Americans was attacking him. There was this woman out in front. There were quite a few pages of plot line about this with speech and stage directions rather about how this was to be performed. But when we actually got round to performing it, there wasn’t really enough time to do these stage directions about how to handle the approach of these native Americans so in the end he did the basis of what he had to do and fled back to the main body. The natives led by this woman pursued him and was captured. It ended up being quite a different plot than the one that they were trying to film in the first place.

And I’m sure that there was much more than this, but I can’t remember it.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on last night I was at the football. TNS were playing and we must have arrived late because when I arrived, to my surprise they were already one goal down. A couple of minutes later someone passed the ball back to the keeper but it was one of these high balls that was bouncing around and then keeper had to trap it. But as the ball bounced to the ground is swerved with the spin and went into the back of the net (this brings back an unhappy memory of a match in which I played in goal 50 years ago) and TNS were 2-0 down. People couldn’t believe this so they had a look and it wasn’t the usual goalkeeper but some young lad they had in goal. As if TNS would ever concede two goals with Paul Harrison in goal.
Someone else counted the players and TNS only had 10 on the field so we began to wonder what on earth was going on here.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I’d been at school or college or somewhere. We were in a big room taking notes on something. It was something like a free study period. I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and there was a load of girls busy looking at maps. They kept on picking up these maps looking at them. In the end it was time that the lesson was over so they put these maps away. We all had to move off. I moved off behind a girl of mixed race with curly hair. There was some dry toast lying around so I picked up three or four slices to take with me to eat on the way. A few days later there was another free study period taking place outside. Everyone was sitting there around these little tables in this square surrounded by these old ruined houses. I found a vacant seat, sat down and started to look through my papers. I was feeling hungry so I was thinking of going to see if there was any food again. The guy sitting at our table facing me who had chosen his seat first – I mentioned to him that I was going to go. What I had also seen were some pictures of people jogging around in another square nearby. I thought that it was ages since I’d been jogging so I thought that I’d go and do some jogging and then get some food and then come back. This guy said to me “is your chair comfortable?” I replied “yes”. He said “you don’t mind if I sit in it for 10 minutes while you aren’t here. It’s a bit hot where I’m sitting”. I didn’t say much about that. I stood up and took my camera off the table. I noticed that there was a really nice cool breeze so we moved the table a little so that it would be in the centre of all this breeze

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallNow that the arrears have been dealt with, instead I carried on with some other work, of which there is more than enough.

Much of the morning was spent alternating between two tasks. Firstly, the photos from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad and also some rearranging of the kitchen. I alternated between one and the other as I became bored.

A pile of the photos bit the dust and I’m beginning to sense that I’m reaching the end of this batch (still plenty more batches to do though) of photos and all of the storage jars that I bought are now out of the bedroom and stacked on the shelves.

Some of them even have things in, and if that isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.

Even more exciting, a couple of weeks ago the metal retaining clip on an old one broke. And when I was sorting through the jars back in the Auvergne, I had a jar with a broken lid. So the idea was to fit the lid off the one with a broken clip onto the jar with the broken lid.

And if that sounds straightforward, it might be if I had a set or two of mole grips, because trying to keep two very strong spring metal clips in tension at the same time with your bare hands as you wrestle the one over the other is not easy.

At one point one of the clips soared off down the whole length of the apartment and it took me 20 minutes to find it. But it’s all done and assembled now, and I wonder what my next trick will be.

After lunch, I rekindled another old project of mine. Rewriting the web pages from the early days. I’m somewhere round by the Bay of Fundy in Canada at New Year’s Eve 2001/2002 and that’s making me so nostalgic you couldn’t imagine (or maybe you can). And I incorporated something from the course that I did a couple of weeks ago too.

While I was doing that I was continuing with the tidying up and also recording LPs with the USB turntable. Another 4 of those have gone the Way of the West.

But I’ve been giving more thought to the issue about the recording of cassettes. Knowing that my ZOOM H1 will record off the hi-fi via a direct line from the headphone socket, I wonder if it will record from the cassette unit from the old hi-fi stack via the RCA plugs and a suitable adapter.

There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe walk outside this afternoon was horrendous. So much so that I elected not to hang around too long. Particularly after my hat took off in a gust of wind and I had to run after it.

The waves were being whipped into a frenzy by the storm that was raging flat-out right now. Trying to walk up the path towards the lighthouse was incredibly difficult in the teeth of this howling gale.

Round the other side of the headland at least I had the wind behind me. And you saw for yourselves earlier what it was doing to the waves and the sea wall for the tidal harbour.

You can tell how bad it was out there too by the fact that I didn’t hang around to take a photo of the pathetic parking at the College Malraux.

After the guitar practice was tea. But before I mention that, I found myself spending my half-hour bass session working out the bass line to one particular song.

And writing it down too. Not in proper musical notation – that’s a bit too far – but I’m amazed that I can still remember something from that music course that I did earlier this year too.

place d'armes porte st jean eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a curry out of the fridge, followed by rice pudding. And then I took my life into my hands by going outside.

Here’s a photo that you don’t see too often. I notice that they’ve managed to find a shilling at the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou because at long last they’ve illuminated the church spire again.

The Porte St Jean is looking quite nice too in the dark and lit up by the floodlights. I have to say that this is a really nice area to live despite the wind.

buttress medieval city wallsgranville manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else about at all, which was hardly a surprise so I didn’t have much company tonight.

The wind on the footpath underneath the walls was swirling around something wicked and running was extremely difficult. I made it to my mark though, which much effort and on looking back behind me I could see one of the buttresses illuminated by the street lights from the street above.

Despite the headwinds, I managed my two other runs all the way back here – and not without some difficulty. Not simply because of the winds per se but also because of the overturned street furniture, panes of glass (some second-home owner is going to be in for a shock when he returns) and the like littering the place.

Still, what do you expect with winds gusting well over 100 Km/H?

It’s shopping tomorrow so I imagine that not only will we have the gale-force winds but also a driving rainstorm and plagues of locusts too.

We’re definitely heading for winter now.

Thursday 24th September 2020 – NO PRIZES …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… for guessing what the weather is doing today.

Summer has well and truly gone and we are now full in the grip of autumn. I mentioned yesterday about the winds and perhaps I ought to have added – but regular readers of this rubbish will recall – that not only do we have the highest tides in Europe, we have some of the highest winds too.

Just one look at the dark and rolling sea (whatever happened to the emerald-blue sea that we have been having) and the waves doing their best to clear the sea wall a good hour or two before high tide tells you everything that you need to know.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhat else that you need to know – I mean – you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested – is that I beat the third alarm clock out of bed.

After I’d sorted myself out I had a listen to the dictaphone and I was surprised that given the short time that I’d had in bed last night, I’d managed to go so far.

So while you admire a few more photos of the storm that we were having this afternoon, I can tell you all about my various journeys.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was something going on about babies last night. She was feeding them Spam. The two smallest ones had 3.6mm thickness of Spam and the other one had 4mm – it was slightly older. I thought 11.6mm of Spam (so much for my maths when I’m asleep) – that’s less than half an inch between three. They’ll just have their particular size of helping and they are going to be hungry immediately again. Even the woman with me too raised an eyebrow when she heard me talking about the measurements.

Mind you, that could be because she probably didn’t think all that much of my maths either

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on there was a group of us kids larking around last night and and one of them was called Heather or Hilary, something like that. We’d been having an exchange of banter or something then she had to go home for her tea. We all finished talking and so on. Then the subject came up about this girl and I said “I suppose we’ll be seeing her at school tomorrow” to which someone replied “Eric, you’re certainly going to see Heather (or Hilary) tomorrow”. I said “what do you mean?”. He replied “well you’ve arranged a date with her, something like that”. “Have I really? That surprised me”. “Well the way that she was talking when she left she seemed to be of the opinion that that was the case”. So we carried on chatting for a while and the question came round about this girl. I said “I’ll have to find out her school number”. I knew that it was a 4-figure one that ended something like “33” so I asked someone to find it. They found a number that was 5 figures and totally different but in the end someone went and asked this person to have another look and they came up with a number something like 4933. I thought “that must be it so I’ll make a note of that”. As we were chatting a policeman came up. He asked “did you know that there was a cucumber stuck in the lock of your gate?” “What they heck is happening there?”. Someone said that they has seen this Hilary/Heather girl when she went home she took a cucumber with her so she’s probably stuck it in the lock of the gate to make sure that we get it back. The copper said “it doesn’t want to stay there. You want to get it moved”.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was another incident later on with a girl with a similar name, a very quiet, shy girl also called Heather or Hilary – I dunno why I got stuck on that name last night. She and her mother and a few people had been around to see us and I’d been chatting to the girl. She was very quiet, very shy but very nice. I was thinking that I might go round to her house to see if she wants to come out for a walk or something. But then we had visitors round and I couldn’t. It got to being rather late, about 20:30. So I found her phone number – my mother knew it so I rang her up. I knew that it was in West Street somewhere. I mumbled her name to see if it was her and it was. I basically said that I was going to come round and invite her for a walk but as we had people round I couldn’t so does she fancy coming round one evening later in the week? She said “yes” which cheered me up. I suggested the following day but she had something on, and the day after that she had something on and it wasn’t convenient and so on. But she seemed keen enough but it didn’t seem to fit for the dates. In the end her mother took the telephone and said “why don’t you come round to our shop? We have a second-hand shop in West Street”. That rang a bell with me because we’d been talking about shop valuations and how they had had a good valuation on their house and how they were going to borrow some money to deal with it. Although the number was something like 475 West Street it was right up at the Hightown end which of course the numbers were the other way round – the lower numbers are at the Hightown end. She said “why don’t you come round here during the day and have a talk to her?”. That seemed to be a much more logical way of going about it if she was keen and her mother was keen enough that I could take her for a walk or something.

So I’ve no idea what was going on last night. Me in my mid-teens (we didn’t move to Crewe until just before my 16th birthday although that’s not significant) chasing after young girls called Heather or Hilary.

And my mother being helpful too – that’s something of a change of lifestyle. I’m surprised that I wasn’t overcome with shock. Normally, if there were any works going on anywhere, all my family usually used to go around and shove spanners in them as a matter of course.

But I definitely seem to be trying to recapture my lost youth right now. And I wish I knew who this poor girl was.

There was still plenty of time to look at the arrears and SHOCK! HORROR! they are all done and out of the way. It serves me right for taking a steam-driven laptop with me when I went away instead of one that works properly.

workman porte st jean rue granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter a shower and a clean-up I went out to the shops.

More activity taking place by the Porte St Jean. One of the workmen fixing the kerb at the edge of the pavement. Probably someone has dislodged it while manoeuvring in a car.

My shopping in LIDL ended up being one of the most expensive that I’ve had. Apart from all of the fresh fruit, it was a sale of motorcycling gear and they had motorcyclists’ thermal winter underwear on sale.

Despite everything, I still have high hopes of going back to the High Arctic one of these days and the thermal underwear that I bought in Canada didn’t seem to do the job as well as I liked. This stuff should be better – at least I hope so.

Before I went, I had half-an-hour to spare (the new dynamic me seems to be still chugging along right now) so I made two bread mixes – a large one with bread flour and cereal and sunflower seeds and a small one with banana, ground almonds, raisins and a banana.

While I was out at the shops I’d left them proofing and when I came back, I kneaded them and left them for the second proof.

To warm up the oven, I baked a rice pudding while the bread was on its second proof.

Once the pudding was cooked and the bread had risen sufficiently I put them both in the oven.

While the loaves were cooking, I diced some ginger very finely and brought it to the boil with a small amount of water and left it to simmer.

There were three kiwis and two lemons that needed eating so I peeled them, whizzed them to a purée in the whizzer and then added them to the ginger and water and left it all to simmer for an hour.

home made bread banana bread rice pudding kiwi lemon ginger cordial place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the end of that time (which I’d spent washing up) I took the giner, lemon and kiwi mix off the stove, added two tablespoons of honey and some turmeric, and then whizzed it all into a nice cordial and put it into a nice clean bottle.

By now the bread was cooked so I took it out of the oven. But a minor disaster in that the bread had stuck to the bottom of the mould so it came away in two halves.

Greased or not, this porcelain dish thing that I used isn’t up to the job and I’m going to have to think again

After lunch I attacked the photos from my trip on the Spirit of Conrad and I made good progress. We’re now anchored in the roads at the Ile de Chausey.

And while I was at it, I made a startling discovery. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the small ship that we’ve seen a few times. It looks like a French government ship except that while the markings are the same, this has white where you would expect to see grey.

But looking at my photos of the Ile de Chausey I found that it was in port and under a microscope I could read her name. She’s called Les Epiettes and she is actually a French Government ship – owned by the Ponts et Chaussées – The Roads and Bridges Department

air sea rescue helicopter Airbus Eurocopter EC-145 f-zbpf granville manche normandy france eric hallThis afternoon I’d hardly set foot out of the door on my afternoon run before I was buzzed yet again by a low-flying aircraft.

Not the red microlight this time – since I commented last week about it, I haven’t seen it since, which is what you’d expect. Today, it was the turn of the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter to get me. Someone there has decided to get his chopper out this afternoon.

And being able to see the serial number today (it was so close that I could even see the pilot’s pimples) which is F-ZBPF, I can tell you that she’s an Airbus Eurocopter EC-145 built in 2003, build number 9012, and owned by the French Securite Civile – although at one time she was registered in Germany.

brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were just me and three or four other people out there this afternoon. It really was a wicked wind.

Strangely though, the sky was a lot clearer than I expected it to be even if it was very cloudy too. There was a really good view all the way down the Brittany coast and we could clearly see that those objects that I have thought once or twice might be ships going into St Malo are in fact islands.

The white caps on the waves are quite impressive too, so far out in the bay. We really were taking “a hell of a beating”, just like the England football team did in Norway in 1981.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound at the chantier navale we’ve had yet more movement

Our Ten Green Bottles have reduced themselves yet again as another one seems to have fallen into the sea We are now down to just four in there today, down from five yesterday and a far cry from the heady days of a week or two ago when there were as many as eight up on blocks.

You’ve seen the storm and the waves so I won’t trouble you any more with any of that. Instead I came on back to the apartment.

Another 4 LPs have been recorded this afternoon, reducing the pile of those. And then there was the hour on the guitars too.

Tea tonight was something different. I’d been giving some thought to the idea of meals when I’m away at Castle Anthrax in 2 weeks time. For some reason, beans and chips came into my head. it ended up being such an overwhelming feeling that tonight I cut up a couple of potatoes into chip-like objects and put them in my microwave griller with some olive oil.

While I was at it, I cooked some beans and a burger and that was that. The chips were, well, different but as a substitute for the real thing they really did go down a treat.

Rice pudding for afters of course.

Tonight’s walk was something of a disappointment.

Once more I was the only person out there which was no surprise given the howling gale. Running along the footpath under the walls was no real problem but it was impossible on the Square Maurice Marland. A howling gale hitting me full-on in the face stopped me dead (well, almost) in my tracks halfway across.

boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving taken a photo of the boats in the tidal harbour, I could just about manage to run all the way home but opening the door was something else. It’s heavy and the wind was doing its best to fight me off.

And now with the notes written up, I’m off to bed. I’ve been feeling much better this last couple of days and I haven’t even crashed out. but I’m not going to push my luck. I’m going to have an early night.

Tomorrow I have no plans so there will be another pile of photos and some more tidying up, that I didn’t do today.

And the place needs it too. i’ve been letting things slide just recently.

Wednesday 2nd September 2020 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S …

… little fit of zeal and energy, it goes without saying that today was something of a contre-coup. I felt every ache and pain when I awoke, and I couldn’t get out of bed until 08:10.

Plenty of time to go off on a nocturnal ramble or two, and how!

I had a girlfriend last night and we had gone skiing or mountaineering together. There were four of us in total . It was quite clear that the two of us were together but we hadn’t known each other long. She was just explaining how difficult relationships were because she wasn’t the kind of person to just accept any kind of relationship. She explained how difficult it was to make her laugh and all that kind of thing, how she liked to have someone who was attentive towards her. I thought “that sounds like me actually” but for some unknown reason I couldn’t actually get her to laugh or whatever. We escorted each other on this trip and I got her down the mountain safely. We ended up somewhere just coming into the town and we were told that some old guy whom we knew was at the bar but he’d had the wrong beer so he was rather differently drunk than usual and it wasn’t a pretty sight. We thought that we’d better go over there and see what was going on. We ended up over there to see this old guy but by that time he’d gone. The barmaid asked us if we wanted a drink. I really fancied a drink but she said no she didn’t so I thought that I won’t have one. I won’t drink on my own. There was another girl there and for some reason I wanted to be a little show-offy with the girl I was with but she wasn’t the kind who would be particularly emotional, which was one of the things she had said to me. She said “the barmaid is obviously thinking that we are going to be having a drink so maybe we ought to move away” so reluctantly I agreed to move away with this girl.
Somewhat later on, I went on a voyage concerning two of my mother’s aunts. They had been engaged to work as matrons in some exclusive boarding school place. The small boys in the Preparatory school had been taken away from their fathers and so they weren’t bonding with them and the girls were just left there by there parents. The aunts were very unhappy about the entire situation and they wanted to leave to go into some kind of religious establishment that was there but they decided that they couldn’t leave these children at this very vulnerable time. It was all very sad and all very depressing.
There was another thing too about an island off the coast of Australia or New Zealand, although it looked like Northern peri-Arctic to me, right at the far north. It was all very isolated and there was only a boat every so often that went to the island. It was very isolated. Someone whom I knew was a driving test examiner who came over to give everyone a driving test. It was Nerina, and she was very busy doing all of this. I eventually caught up with her and she pointed out that some had passed and some had failed and she was rather disparaging towards the people who had failed. We were talking about death and she said that when she died she wanted a certain photo to be placed in her memory. It was a photo of her with another boy – someone whom she knew in University. Of course that upset me rather a lot because I expected to be the one on the photo with her when she went but apparently not. There was all kinds of talk. I had had a Reliant three-wheeler van which had long-since gone but I still had the papers for it. I was thinking that with this not being taxed I could get into a lot of trouble with this even though the van was no longer extant. There was some talk as well about getting Ryanair to provide a flight service to the airport, how they were going to arrange it. At one time they were talking on the island about a storm that was heading their way. It had already devastated the south of New Zealand and how were they going to cope up here when the storm finally hit? This was a strange thing as well.
Later still there were two red double-deck buses that appeared on the front of a restaurant or car park of a pub where Terry and I were sitting. One of then was an AEC which might have been a Regal V but it wasn’t – did I mean a Regent V? and the other one was more like an RT although i’m sure that I meant Routemaster from London. Terry wondered what on earth they were doing here so I said that I could soon find out by taking a photo and posting it on the Abandoned Buses group and I’ll have a reply in 5 minutes. But as I went to take a photo, in the time that it took for me to get my phone out and my camera on the phone ready, these buses had disappeared again. I said something to a woman who seemed to be with them but she just blubbered some kind of nonsense and walked away. Terry and I walked to the end of the car park to see if we could see where these buses had gone but we couldn’t see a thing.

It took ages to transcribe the dictaphone notes, as you might expect with all of this, and then I attacked the radio programme. That’s now completed and ready to go.

After lunch I sat down and dealt with a load of correspondence that had built up. I also tried to order a SSD hard-drive for my little Acer laptop but the effects of Brexit are biting already, for the company concerned now no longer delivers to the mainland.

So I made another start on the photos from early August but instead I crashed out completely for a couple of hours. On awakening, I felt absolutely awful again, just like I have done for this last while (apart from yesterday of course)

lovers on beach pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was thus rather late when I went out for my afternoon walk and once again I went around the headland.

And I’m glad that I did too, because there was this lovely scene unfolding before my eyes, down on the beach. A young couple strolling casually hand-in-hand down there lost for all the world in their own amorous attachment.

It was all very nice and romantic and made me feel quite envious, as it happens.

fishermen in zodiac kayak english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThat wasn’t all the people out there either. There were hordes of people strolling along on the paths around the clifftop.

The sea was quite busy too. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall from yesterday that there were quite a few people out there having a good fishing session. They were still out there today, like these in the zodiac down here.

There was also someone out there having a paddle around in a kayak. I could see his paddles but I couldn’t see if he had a rod with him.

And of course, you mustn’t light a fire in your boat. As you all already know, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

light aeroplane 83 tx granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd if the crowds on the beach, crowds on the paths and crowds in the sea aren’t enough to be going on with, we had crowds in the air too.

As I was walking around, I counted no fewer than four light aeroplanes flying over me. This one here came the closest and so presented the best photographic shot. I’ve no idea what type of aeroplane it is, and the serial number that I could see didn’t come up with anything.

The other aeroplanes were too far away for me to take a clear photograph which was a shame. All that I needed to see was the autogyro fluttering past overhead and the day would have been complete.

pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was quite a nice day outside today. It was quite sunny and there was very little wind for a change.

The view was quite clear today too. We’d seen the Brittany coast yesterday, so today we had a good look down towards the bottom of the Baie de Mont St Michel. We can’t see the Mont and the abbey but we can see the white buildings down at the foot of the bay that are the hotels on the shore.

What is extremely interesting is whatever might be there just to the right of centre. It seems to be a very small, low cloud having a rainstorm but I’m sure that it isn’t.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued on round to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

There’s been a change in occupancy in there too today. Over the last few days there have been seven boats in there but today we’re down to just six. One of the little chalutiers is missing – presumably having gone back into the water.

It’ll be interesting to see over the next few days whether we’ll be having a new arrival to make up the numbers, or whether it’ll be like 10 green bottles and they’ll be disappearing one by one as everyone slowly goes back to work.

Back here I continued with the photos for a while, and then went back to having an hour on the guitars before tea. And I do like my new acoustic guitar.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and tomato sauce, followed by rice pudding. Quite a delicious tea, I have to say.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallRunning rather late tonight, it was going dark when I went outside for my evening stroll.

The sun had gone right down of course, but there was still a beautiful red glow through the clouds in the sky over by the Ile de Chausey in the English Channel.

Surprisingly, I was the only person out there admiring it. There were no more than half a dozen people out there this evening and they were all walking dogs and the like, taking no notice of the beautiful evening.

diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom the viewpoint in the rue du Nord I walked along along the walls to the footpath.

And once on the footpath and there was no-one about, I broke into a run and ran down the footpath again, regardless of how I was feeling. The tide was well in this evening and we can see the diving platform practically submerged by the water.

We’ve seen plenty of photos of the diving platform totally out of the water when the tide is well out. This gives you some idea of how far the tide comes in and how high it is. One of the highest tides in Europe, so they say.

illuminated trees square Maurice Marland granville manche normandy france eric hallhaving spent a few minutes watching the sea, I walked on round to the Square Maurice Marland.

No-one about at all so I broke into another run and went all the way across the square and up the first ramp at the end. And as I ran along the square, suddenly the lights came on and lit up all of the trees.

It lit up everything just as if it was on the stage in a theatre.

After that I headed off home, running the final 100 metres back to the apartment. I’ve written up all of my notes now and I’m off to bed in a minute.

Tomorrow is shopping day and it’s a long walk to LIDL so I need to be on form, regardless of how I’m feeling, as there’s a few things that I need to buy.

And maybe I’ll have a series of voyages just as exciting as I’ve had for the last couple of nights.

Tuesday 1st September 2020 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better day today, which will surprise many people. In fact, even more surprisingly, it was such a better day that I even managed to fit in three runs this evening.

Short they may have been (although two of them were longer than when I first started running again a year ago) but runs nevertheless.

And you wouldn’t have bet on that yesterday, would you?

What was even more surprising is that I actually managed to beat the third alarm this morning. And it’s been such a long time since that has happened too.

Plenty of voyages during the night too. I started off the night walking the streets of Paris last night and I was interviewing someone about some kind of incident that had happened at a parking meter. It was a guy on a motorbike and sidecar and I took a statement or whatever and asked the guy to produce his driving licence for me. I had no doubt that he was an official kind of person and looked quite presentable and respectable. Nevertheless I asked for his papers and he replied “you aren’t in uniform” and opened up the throttle of his motorbike. I grabbed hold of him by the lapel and ended up overturning the motorbike and sidecar and dragging him off into the street. Then I got on the radio and asked for assistance.
Before that there had been some kind of archaeology dig. A group of us was taking part in it. Normally we were finding comparatively modern things but we suddenly came across a complete skeleton of a girl aged about 11 that had been buried in a bank. We’d excavated it and it was pretty much complete. Zero was there too. She was in a red jumper grey skirt and red tights. She was lying on the bed and we were talking about this skeleton, saying how it might have been her even and so on. All the time we were talking about this skeleton. They asked what i was going to do with it. I said that I would put it back where it came from first, back in this little place and then we’ll have a think about it.
There was another dream about a great big black bull and I was having to fit bolts into it for some reason or other. It was a huge hairy type of bull like a rastaman. I was talking to it about it being a rastaman and explaining what I was doing – the bull saying “ohh yes I like that – that’s very good”. I was tightening up the bolts with a huge spanner, not too tight though. I turned to the final bolt on the left-hand flank and it just upped and wandered off. I had to chase all the way after it. every time I got close to it it moved on again. By this time it had turned into a cat so I was just following this cat around through this crowded room. Eventually it went to settle down right in the very far corner the furthest possible point away from where I was.

That’s not everything either. There was a little bit of truncated, incoherent stuff from some voyage or other that never quite made it onto the dictaphone, and also another round of stuff that you wouldn’t thank me for posting while you are eating a meal or something.

After breakfast I did some paperwork and also SHOCK! HORROR! some tidying up. Mind you, it doesn’t look much like it right now.

However one thing that I did today was to finish as far as I can the radio project on which I’ve been working. The final track has been selected too and all that remains is to write out the closing speech, dictate and edit it and then combine it with what I’ve already done and with the final track.

In fact, I could have finished it today but Rosemary telephoned me for a chat and we were on the telephone for well over an hour.

hang gliders place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThis afternoon I went out for my usual walk in the sun (and wind).

And I hadn’t gone more than 10 yards out of the building before I was dive-bombed by a couple of bird-men of Alcatraz.

It’s another one of these tandem machines with two people in it. Ideal for doing some photography or even some bomb-aiming should the need ever arise.

It’s just as well that there was enough wind to get them off the ground.

cap frehel brittany normandy france eric hallFor a change I went for my afternoon walk around the headland instead of around the walls, for reasons that I will explain in due course.

The view once more was tremendous and we could see for miles. Right in the centre of this photograph is the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, that I could see quite clearly with the naked eye.

There’s a boat out to sea right on the right-hand edge of the photo and also a marker light off the coast clearly visible to the left. This might possibly be round about the Ile Agot or the Ebihens archipelago

speedboat fishing baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t very much out there in the way of marine traffic today.

Not many fishing boats at all out there, although there were several smaller boats out there. A couple of speedboats rather like this one here in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It looks to me as if they might be stopping there to do some fishing or something like that. It’s that time of the year.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallIndeed, it wasn’t just out at sea that there was fishing going on.

Here on the rocks there were several fishermen like these two casting their lines into the sea. I stood and watched them for quite a while but once more, I didn’t actually see anyone catch anything.

In fact in all the years that I’ve been watching fishermen on the rocks here in Granville, I have yet to see anyone catch any fish at all with a rod and line.

working on trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried on around the headland until I came to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

We still have the same seven boats in there that have been in there for the last few days. And because we are still in working hours, a few men are down there working on the various boats.

It’s keeping them very busy down there, whether it’s the employees of the shipbuilder, representatives of the owners or specialist tradesmen and it’s all good news for the town.

light aircraft pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just out at sea and here on the rocks that there were plenty of people

While I was out there there was a lot going on in the air. We’ve seen the bird-men of Alcatraz a little earlier and right now while I was walking along the footpath I was buzzed by a light aeroplane flying overhead.

There seems to be plenty going on in the air right now, and a trip to the airport at Donville-les-Bains will have to be on the cards for me one of these days in the near future.

crowds outside school bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallOne thing about today is that the schools have started back.

You can tell that by the fact that we are back with the pathetic parking again – a car parked with two wheels on the pavement blocking it off for pedestrians when there is a perfectly good free car park just 50 yards away.

And look at the people congregating around the gate too. No sense of social distancing and not very many facemasks either.

It’s no wonder that the virus is currently running rampant around the country with all of this going on. I don’t know how people expect this virus to be over.

Back here I finished off my work and had tea. Another stuffed pepper with vegetables and rice, followed by rice pudding which was delicious

plat gousset Place Maréchal Foch granville manche normandy france eric hallThen it was out for my evening walk tonight.

Feeling energetic I went around the walls and on the flat parts where there was no-one around, I broke into a run or two. It might not have been much but I went way beyond where I left off when I started running down there a year ago.

Round at the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset I had a look down at the Place Marechal Foch. There were quite a few people out for a walk round there, and it was nice to see the streetlights switched on too.

During the winter they had them switched off, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and it made photography something of a challenge. I hope that they keep them on this winter.

moonrise granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I had a second run along the
Square Maurice Marland and right up the ramp at the far end.

We’d seen the moon yesterday shining up above St Pair sur Mer but tonight as I watched, the moon slowly rose up above the cliffs and into view. It was really quite spectacular.

From there I had a wander home, breaking into another run for the last 50 yards or so.

back here I’ve written up my notes and now I’m off to bed, hoping to have another good night and hopefully another better day tomorrow – not that I have too much optimism about it.

But one thing that I know is that in approximately 5 hours time a year ago, my life changed dramatically thanks to one particular incident that happened at roughly that moment.

It was an incident that meant a great deal to me and which I won’t ever forget, regardless of anything else Even a year later, I still can’t get it all out of my mind.

Sunday 30th August 2020 – I’VE HAD A …

home made pizza home backed bread banana bread granville manche normandy france eric hall… bit of a bake-in today.

Apart from the rice pudding that you can’t see, and the vegan pizza that you can, you’ll also notice two loaves of bread.

The larger one is of course a standard loaf of bread with a generous helping of sunflower seeds. As for the smaller one, it was 200 grams of flour with a couple of generous handfuls of sultanas and an over-ripe banana mixed well in

At the moment I’ve no idea what it tastes like, but I shall find that out tomorrow. It goes without saying that I have high hopes for this, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating – quite literally in this respect

marite english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallso while you admire the photos of Marité coming back to harbour, this morning was quite a strange morning. Even though there was no alarm, I awoke at 06:17. No chance of my getting out of bed at that time though. 10:00 is a much more likely time to heave myself out of bed on a Sunday.

And a big “hello” to Castor and Pollux who came to join me on a trip out last night. They had been off somewhere in some kind of themed concert, fancy dress type of thing. I had to go to pick them up afterwards. Pollux had a something, a kind of hood on with what looked like a knife blade sticking up out of the back. I can’t remember what Castor was wearing and imagine that! Me taking little notice of Castor’s apparel. it had been like a themed harem kind of thing. I picked them up and brought them back.
There was much more to it than this and when you’ve finished eating your meal I’ll tell you all of the gruesome details.

marite baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBefore this there had been some kind of thing about trains where we had got to London and we were waiting at a station which was a combined tube and main line station in West London. There were tube trains stopping there and trains going to Birmingham as well. We were cornered by someone, me and this girl. Someone wanted something or other and he was a bit violent so when he started to throw his weight around I kicked him in the groin and he just keeled over onto the floor clutching his groin saying that he was going to get me, all this kind of thing. We just wandered off. His train came in and so he staggered onto it. About a minute later we ended up on a train as well. We were going round to Hanley – the Potteries on the train on one of the old loop lines. The ticket collector came along and asked for our tickets . I had about 100 tickets in my pockets that someone had given me from all various places. I had to search through them and in the end he said “this is a Birmingham train” so I found a ticket that had Birmingham on it. Even though it had been clipped once I gave it to him and he clipped it again and whoever I was with, she gave him the correct ticket. That would cause complications if we were controlled again because we were getting off this train somewhere and getting back on another one and with me having used any old ticket collected was going to be complicated for continuing our journey.
And this strikes me as having a familiar ring about it when once on a nocturnal ramble I was on a train in Crewe Station.

marite baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later on I was living in a house a bit like Hankelow Hall with all of these rooms. I remember that it was August and I had the heating on because it was so cold. i was spending my time working between the computer in one room and the kitchen in another. Suddenly this house became occupied by students as well. I had my things all over the place so i had to start tidying up. There were tins of food absolutely everywhere – a mess and so on but little by little I was getting this place somehow tidied up. I had to say that my tenants were really good-natured about it because I wouldn’t have been this good-natured had it been someone else. I had a pile of money – copper coins and 10c pieces lying all over the place as well. This surprisingly wasn’t being moved by anyone. We were all in cooking a meal and I was getting all my stuff organised slowly to make some space for everyone else, putting my dirty clothes in for washing, that kind of thing, filling a bin with rubbish. The conversation came round to something that I had recorded as a demo for someone, a speech about someone’s broken arm. It turned out to be a very prescient comment according to these kids but when they played it back I couldn’t see how it related to anything but they seemed to think that it did

Pierre came round this morning to see if I’d received the presents from yesterday. I thanked him very much, and he told me that Catherine, the girl who had made them, would be coming off the Chausey boat later that afternoon at about 16:00.

That gave me just enough time to crack on with the bread making.

autogyro granville manche normandy france eric hallDown in the town I found out that the Chausey ferries would be coming in at about 17:00 so I had a little sit-down to relax for a short while.

Once I’d recovered my breath I went for a little walk along the harbour wall. However I didn’t go very far before my reverie was interrupted. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the autogyro that we’ve seen flying over us every now and then. And here it was again.

It’s another one of those objects in which I shall have to go for a fly around one of these days. It probably takes off from the airport at Donville les Bains so I’ll have to wander off over there.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe boat came in earlier than anticipated but I was there to meet it.

However I couldn’t see Catherine anywhere so in the end after a good look around I came home again. I’ll have to send her an e-mail to thank her but that’s not going to be easy to send her the bottle of wine.

Once all of the break was baked I made my pizza. It was another delicious one and so filling, I didn’t have any pudding. That will be for another day I reckon.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter tea I went out for my usual evening walk

The sun had long-since sunk below the horizon but there was a beautiful radiant red sky away out over the Ile de Chausey this evening.

There were a few people out there enjoying the evening view too, taking photographs and the like. It’s been a while since i’ve seen so many people out there and it’s no surprise that Covid infections are running so high at the moment with all of this.

Seeing the casual way in which people are wearing their masks, it’s hardly any surprise.

boat with light cap frehel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was quite an interesting sight.

Even though it was fairly dark this evening there was still a clear view all the way down the Brittany coast. The lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, to the extreme right of the image is quite clearly visible even though it’s over 70kms away

It was also interesting to see the light out to sea too. It’s probably a trawler or some other fishing boat with its nets out having a go at making a catch.

So back here I wrote up my notes and that was that. i’m going to have an early night because there is plenty of work to do starting tomorrow – all of the usual stuff plus catching up on arrears and there’s also a new internet course starting

So here’s hoping for more pleasant dreams with charming companions.

Wednesday 6th May 2020 – THE LEAST …

… said about this morning, the better.

It was quite a late night last night as a pile of good music came onto the playlist just as I was thinking of going to bed, so that was that. I stayed up to listen to it.

And even though I heard the three alarms, ask me if I cared. 08:15 when I finally exerted myself and that’s no good to anyone at all.

To make things worse, there was nothing on the dictaphone either. That’s always a disappointment because I have said on many occasions … “indeed” – ed … as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that I have more excitement on my little nocturnal voyage than I ever do in real life, and meet far more interesting people

In fact, apart from a brief bonjour to two women walking their dogs together while I was out, I haven’t spoken to anyone else today.

After a very late breakfast I had a knotty problem to resolve. For some unknown reason, none of my mice (or mouses, I dunno) want to work on my big computer, except one that isn’t up to much.

As to why that might be, I’ve no idea. They work fine on other machines and the USB ports work fine with other appliances so it beats me.

After a good rummage around the apartment I eventually found an ancient radio mouse and, to my surprise, that seems to work for the moment.

The rest of the morning was therefore spent editing photos from July 2019. There wasn’t much time to do many and right now I’m on a sandbank in South-East Iceland admiring a bunch of harbour seals.

That loaf of bread that I made seems to improve with age because it was totally delicious – even better than yesterday.

But I was thinking about that at lunchtime. There’s too much of it and it’s going to mean that there will be some left by the weekend. So what i’m going to do is to make a smaller amount (maybe 400 grammes of flour instead of 500 grammes, always assuming that I can find some tomorrow) and make two small loaves.

Smaller loaves will also mean that it will bake quicker too and that’s always a good plan.

After lunch I took out the 10x4GB memory sticks from their quarantine and set about reorganising the music. It took two of them and there was still about 3.5GB left on the computer, mostly of incomplete files that need looking at. But they’ll receive “the treatment” in early course once my hi-fi arrives, whenever that might be.

For the rest of the afternoon I carried on updating the web pages and there’s another 16 or so now done. I’ve no idea how many are left to do but I have to go back and do the earlier ones again – the first batch that I did – as I missed something off.

As for my hour on the guitars, I’m not sure what happened but I couldn’t find the enthusiasm. It was a very long, weary but not very productive time.

It’s probably a sign that that the spirit must be quite weak these days and that usually means that I’m due a bout of ill-health any day now.

And that’s not surprising because it’s now three and a half months since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment and I remember how I was feeling when I was in the High Arctic. The last couple of days out there, I was running on pure adrenaline and I well remember the counter-reaction that I had while I was waiting for the aeroplane in Kugluktuk and my two days in that hotel in Calgary.

Tea was falafel and steamed vegetables in a cheese sauce followed by the last of the rice pudding. I might bake a small apple pie for pudding for the rest of the week, and if there is plenty of flour in LIDL I might have a go at making my own pastry to see where that takes me.

road marking painting rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe other day I mentioned that they had been planning last week to repaint the white lines in the car park at the back here.

So off I went on my evening run tonight and sure enough, the painters have been past. They’ve done the car park, right enough, but they’ve also repainted the yellow lines here in the rue du Roc for the area where buses and coaches are allowed to park.

Judging by the signs that have now appeared on the other side of the road, it looks very much as if they are going to be back to paint those lines there sometime in the near future.

beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath, I ran on down to the clifftop to see what was happening out there in the English Channel.

For a change just recently, there weren’t so many clouds in the sky so we had this beautiful sunset out there over the Ile de Chausey.

There were a few people out there enjoying the evening, including a couple with a dog. And they were disturbed by the arrival of these two women with their mutts who wanted to play.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNo social distancing for pooches of course but there are for owners and they were amm rather tangled up for a while.

What I did was to ignore them and concentrate on what was going on out to sea. There were the usual trawlers and other fishing boats out there and this one here was on its way out to join them.

This evening I could see about five in total, working away a little farther out to sea this evening.

full moon granville manche normandy france eric hallI USED TO BE A WEREWOLF!
But I’m all right nooooooooooooooooow!

Yes, it’s full moon again and with there being no clouds to speak of in the sky I had a really good view of it tonight.

Again, it’s a hand-held shot so it’s not as steady as it might be with a tripod.

And that reminds me – I need to set up one of the function buttons on the NIKON D500 to work a “delayed action” shot sequence

chausiais trawler cap pilar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis photo was interesting because it shows that Chausiais has moved over to the harbour wall by the harbour offices.

And in the foreground is another trawler-type of fishing vessel, the Cap Pilar. I’ve no idea why she might be here or what she’s doing, because she’s actually a boat from St Malo.

So pondering over that, and also the fact that there’s still no change of occupant in the chantier navale I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

trawler cap pilar leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHalfway down along my run I noticed that Cap Pilar had “cast off forr’ard, Mr Phillips” and was turning round.

So having reached my marker (the second pedestrian crossing up the hill) I walked back to see what was happening. So off she goes out into the evening sunset.

As an aside, when I returned home, I checked on my AIS detector beacon to see where she might be going. And to my amusement her destination was signalled as où je veux – “where I like”.

It’s all very amusing, that kind of remark, but it’s not very much help if she fails to arrive anywhere. No-one can report her missing if they don’t know where she’s supposed to be.

pontoons road marking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the first lot of new pontoons put out and fastened to the support pillars that they have installed.

Parked up here down in the rue du port is an articulated lorry with a couple of new pontoons on it. So they are pushing along with this plan to finish the port as soon as possible.

And we saw the road-painting earlier. It looks as if they have been down here too because there are white lines painted on the new car park.

And that’s a disappointment, that car park. They could have done so much more than a squalid slab of tarmac with just a little imagination.

pontoon marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut we can see why Chausiais has moved, and why the pontoons are on the back of the lorry just here.

First of all, Marité is now moored where Chausiais had been, so that means that there’s something going on down in her corner. I’ll have to check that tomorrow when I go out shopping.

But you can see that the line of pontoons has extended now, but they are still a couple short. So they’ll be taking those off the back of the lorry tomorrow, I imagine, and installing them.

Nothing doing at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord tonight. I’d missed the sunset and the crowds were dispersing. And so I ran home.

The notes are finished now so I’m off to bed. It’s not as early as I would have liked but I’m hoping for a decent sleep (such as it is) and an early start tomorrow. I must crack on.

Sunday 3rd May 2020 – IT’S A GOOD …

… job that it’s Sunday and a Day of Rest, otherwise this could have been a disaster today.

A Day of Rest and a lie-in is one thing, and all very well too, but 11:15 is probably something of an exaggeration.

Mind you, that’s hardly a surprise when I listened to the dictaphone because during the night I’d put in a whole load of miles.

I’d started off with this virus in full swing and I’d been on a ship. I’d been asked if I could perform with the guitar for some people somewhere in Spain so I agreed to do it. I came off the ship with the guitar right in the middle of this raging illness. People were asking about me and asking about it but I can’t remember now very much more about it than that.
But later I’d been to Manchester for a job interview. I had NMP, the MkV automatic. It was a strange job interview because the woman was speaking to me in French although her French was pretty dreadful. She said that it’s no good applying for this job if you haven’t had this driving test here. I said “oh no I actually haven’t had my driving test here”. She said “what are you wasting my time for when it’s so important that you have a British driving licence?” I said that I had one. “When you said ‘here’ I thought that you meant ‘here in this town or whatever'”. By now we had transformed into Stoke on Trent (I was getting confused) and so this interview went on and I came out and got into the car and set out to drive home. At a certain point the road narrowed from a wide two-lane road into two narrow-laned roads to go through some kind of barrier. There was a big concrete post in the way in between where the road narrowed off and I hadn’t noticed. I thought that it was two lanes so I went to go into the outside lane and push on and put my feet down and I came across this concrete bollard. I went up and over it and had to reverse off. I was sure that this have done quite a bit of damage but I carried on driving. I had to go round in a circle now to get to where I was going so when I got to where this concrete pillar was again I could see the block covered in oil and an oily patch where the car had stuck so I imagined that it had damaged the gearbox and broken a casing and there was oil leaking everywhere. The only thing to do was to try to get home. So I set out for home. I noticed that the speedo wasn’t working and one or two other things. I was having to go quicker than normal, driving past these bridges where there were these schoolboys going back to school and a load of teachers hanging around outside chatting.
Still in connection with this I was back driving with a girl with me this time. We’d stopped at some town or another for a break and a coffee. As we were getting back into the car we noticed a Ford Cortina that was parked behind us. It was a yellow tobacco-leaf coloured convertible and it had written on the back “white wedding”. Of course that immediately caused a bit of laughter and so I went to get the camera to take a photo of it but the car pulled off before I could do so. There was another car there – a Bentley of some description, a mini-Bentley type of thing. There was a man and woman in it and they were asking where to go. Someone said “go that way because the other way is far too touristy”. We got into our car and went to start it. I noticed that from one of the gear lever rubbers or somewhere like that there was a small flow of water coming out of it and going straight into my box of food. I had a look and thought that i’d better take the bonnet up but I didn’t want to take the bonnet up because I didn’t want to see the damage that had been caused when I went over that concrete bollard but I had to do it. I lifted up the bonnet and there was all steam coming everywhere out of the joints so the car was obviously extremely low in water. I thought that the next step before I got home was to fill it up with water.
In the meantime there was something going on with an electric cooker. It required a four-way cable so that had to be rewired. So I’d done that and so I was trying to find out how to plug it into the circuit because of course I had a four-way plug but there was no four-way socket anywhere that I could see. For some unknown reason this led to a discussion about ventilators and children in a particular area of South Wales – the deaths of children had gone up 80% overnight.
Anyway, I was on a train. Somehow on a train heading to the city of London on an Underground train. For some reason that I don’t understand I got off at Wandsworth, I’m not quite sure why. I realised that I didn’t really want to get off at Wandsworth – I wanted to carry on to the City, to Victoria. So I got back on the platform and one of these limited-stop express trains pulled in so I had to run, dragging my case behind me towards it. So I ran but I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Terrible. I was running as fast as I could but I couldn’t seem to move. The train seemed to be further and further away. In the end the guard shouted “come on, come on” and I struggled to get there and just as I got there he closed the door but he opened it so I got on and then there was a woman with whom I’d been travelling with previously – it might have been someone I knew in Brussels, it could have been anyone. I sat down next to her and the train pulled out. After a few minutes I thought that it was getting remarkably rural for the City of London. I’d seen a few signs. We came to a hill and by this time we were driving on a road and came to a hill. I thought “God, this hill is familiar”. “I’ve been here in a dream” I said, “with Nerina. And she was on a bike and I was on a bike and the hill was so steep that Nerina got off and walked down the hill as I carried on cycling down and I cycled off and left her”. This girl said “naughty thing” and so I asked “are we heading out of the City?” She saud “yes, we’re just coming up to (somewhere, I can’t remember the name where there was a Motorway Service Area on the edge of the city)”. I said “God I’ve got on the wrong train, I’d better get off somehow”. There was a bit somewhere in this where we were on this road, a narrow road, and a whole fleet of orangey-red single-decker Duple coming towards us and our bus had to pull off on the wrong side of the road to let them pass. Anyway we all got off. There was another girl with us and we were walking. This girl I was with – she was talking about the things that she’d done and here in her house was a kind of tricycle she’d built out of a horse buggy. She was telling us about how the tyres had been moulded from a bread case, all that kind of thing. I made a remark that the rear end was a bit light as there was a front-end snowplough, don’t ask me why. She said “when Kevin Ayers was here he said something or other”. I thought “God, Kevin Ayers been here? Soft Machine? That’s incredible
Nerina was somewhere about in this too. We were walking down a street on a 1930s housing estate and she came up behind me with a small dog on a lead and we chatted about that.

It’s hardly a surprise that, with the late start and with a stop for breakfast, it was the middle of the afternoon when I finally finished doing my notes. And no wonder that I was in bed for so long too.

There was more than that too but as you are probably eating supper or something, I’ll spare you the gory details. But all that I can say is that why don’t I have exciting things like this happening to me during the day rather than to rely on some kind of vicarious pleasure.

There was time to digitalise an album though – another one that I did manually. This one was very, very straightforward now that i’ve worked out how to do it.

But it was an album that meant a great deal to me and took me back to 1975/76 when I used to hang around in Congleton so out came the acoustic bass and, to my surprise, after a couple of minutes, all of the old bass lines came back to me and I was well away for over 50 minutes doing that.

vegan lentil tofu bean pie place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThe rest of the afternoon and evening was spent in culinary activities.

You can’t see the rice pudding that I made, but here you can see the lentil, tofu and bean pie that I made.

Yesterday I explained how I’d made the filling and I’d left it to marinade overnight. All of the liquid had been absorbed and it was stone cold – necessary when using it with pastry.

There’s enough there for at least 8 helpings, so that’s food one night per week for a couple of months sorted out. I’ll try a slice tomorrow with potato, vegetables and gravy.

gena pizza place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo that’s tomorrow night’s tea. What about tonight’s?

Here’s a vegan pizza, with the home-made base that I made from the pastry last week. There’s not enough pastry – I think that I’ll need four mugs of flour instead of three for three pizza bases, but the freezing worked fine.

It turned out rather biscuity because the base was so thin, but more flour for the next batch should see that right. It’s a learning curve and I will get better at it over time.

home made apple turnover loaf of bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallI won’t know about the final product here until tomorrow either.

With the leftover pastry from the pie I made an apple turnover that I will have for pudding tomorrow, and then I went for the pièce de résistance – the loaf of bread.

I gave it the skewer test and it seemed to be done well enough, although it’s another armour-plated crust. But I’ll slice some of it tomorrow and see how it tastes with my home-made hummus.

And while we’re on teh subject of home-made stuff … “well, one of us is” – ed … the orange and gignger cordial was delicious this morning.

moon place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallEventually I made it outside, long after my usual time for an evening walk.

The moon had risen quite well already and so even though I didn’t have my tripod, I took a photo of it to see how it would come out.

Not as sharp as it might have been with a tripod but it’s not too bad, I suppose. I would have been very happy with a photo like this two years ago but I’ve learnt a lot since then.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy first run was down the rue du Roc and up the other end. half of it is up a steep hill and it kills me to do it but I have to push on … “or push off” – ed.

There’s a pause while I recover my breath and then I run down to the clifftop. And out there tonight were four or five fishing boats.

And not in the usual place either, but much further across towards the Brittany coast and I’ve no idea why they should be so far out over there. They must be working on some new fishing grounds because we’ve seen them in a few different and unusual places just recently.

trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s another one over there too – right across the Baie de Mont St Michel not too far from Cancale.

In all the time that i’ve lived here I don’t recall having seen them over there either.

But never mind, I carried on with my run and provided a little light entertainment to three kids who were stakeboarding on the car park on the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Not exactly what I would call “social distancing” but never mind. That’s their problem, not mine.

lights port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the top of the cliff by the chantier navale I stopped to recover my breath.

Nothing any different going on in there so I left them alone, but over at the ferry terminal (still no new pontoons as yet) the lights were on and reflecting in the wet silt of the tidal basin.

They looked quite beautiful so I took a photo of them. And then carried on with my run.

The fourth run is the longest, and getting longer too. I can now make as far as beyond the second pedestrian crossing which is impressive. and with nothing else happening anywhere else I did my final two and then came home.

Tomorrow I’ll have to clean up the kitchen because it’s a mess and I’m too tired to do anything about it. My battery has gone flat right now.

An early-ish night is called for and I hope that it’s going to be as exciting as last night’s adventures.

Thursday 9th April 2020 – TODAY WAS A …

… better day than some that I’ve had just recently. Mind you, that’s not to say that it was a good day. Just better.

It didn’t have the makings of a good day though. I’ve no idea what happened to the evening at all or where it went, but when I looked at the clock thinking that I ought to be going to bed soon, I noticed that the time was 00:40.

Obviously, leaving the bed at 06:00 or thereabouts was going to be rather difficult. But once again I slept through the alarms and it was 06:50 when I finally arose from the Dead.

After the medication, I looked at the dictaphone as usual. I had a new little girlfriend last night and she was ever so sweet. She was younger than me and I was a teenager. It was basically all about that and trying to make progress with a relationship. She lived a long way away from where I was staying so I had to travel quite a distance. I eventually found her house. I had seen something in the papers about a film in the cinema in a nearby town and I wasn’t sure if she wanted to go there but this way my plan. It was my plan for every week too – once a week take her to the cinema and just see how things developed. It all seemed really nice and lovely and warm and calm and relaxed and sweet and it was a dreadful shame that I had to spoil it all by waking up.

It wasn’t quite on a par with the “Worleston” dream that I had a few years ago and that I won’t forget in a hurry, but it was in that kind of ballpark area.

The digital file-splitting was straightforward this morning, although there were a couple of interruptions. Breakfast was one, and a phone call was another and I can’t remember now with whom it was that I was chatting.

The file-converting took up a good deal of time, and I was able to edit about 40 or so photos from Iceland in July 2019 while all of this was going on. I’m now up to photo 482 – just coming up to dock at Siglufjördur. And that’s day 8 of 31 and there’s a long way to go yet.

One task that I had been meaning to do for a while is to review the freezer and see what’s in there. The answer to that conundrum, having emptied out one of the shelves and given it a really good clean, is “not a lot”. The stocks have been going down nicely and the curry that I made yesterday is the only bulk-type of food in there now. It must therefore be time to make another aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit.

After lunch (more taco rolls of course) I carried on with the radio projects. And by the time that I knocked off at 18:00 I’d finished all of the text, dictated it and saved it to the computer. I could have done much more too except that I had a major crash-out at some point in the proceedings.

And that shouldn’t have been any surprise to anyone after last night’s late night.

And it means that I’ll have to carry on for longer than I intended, which means that this next project of mine will be delayed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my apartment are two desktop computers, 5 laptops, about a dozen different external hard drives, a pile of memory sticks and an even bigger pile of memory cards.

What I’ve done is to buy a big 4TB external drive, and absolutely EVERYTHING from every data storage device in the house will be transferred onto it. I’ll then go through and weed it down so that there’s just one major back-up copy with everything and then retire a whole load of obsolete stuff.

Having different loads of data scattered all about the place is proving to be a distraction that I can well do without so I want to tackle that task as soon as possible.

After the customary hour on the guitars, spent mainly working out Al Stewart’s “Valentina Way” and Joni Mitchell’s “Carey”, I went for tea.

Spoilt for choice, I didn’t know what to make so I ended up with pasta and vegetables with tomato sauce and the left-over stuffing with a couple of handfuls of peanuts thrown in for good measure.

atlantic wall trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d had the rice pudding and done the washing-up, I went for my evening runs.

Moving a lot easier today, I covered a bit more ground than usual which is always nice. I was at the end of the headland in no time and out there in the Baie De Mont St Michel, nicely framed between the bits of Atlantic Wall, was something moving out to sea

That bit of the wall is interesting though. When the war was over, they tried to move one of the bunkers. The put enough dynamite inside to shatter every single window withn a radius of 50 kilometres, yet moved two lumps of concrete about 20 feet.

They gave up after that.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallFurther on round the other side, I was able to take a much better photo of it.

It’s actually one of these trawler-type of fishing boats, and what that’s doing down there I really don’t know because we don’t normally see them fishing so far down the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But what it probably means that with there being such a high tide right now, there’s much more to go at that hasn’t been got at any time in the past.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFurther on round the headland I was able to see over the wall down into the chantier navale to see what was happening there tonight.

There’s been a continual shange of occupant down there just recently and last night, there were four ships in there. But they’ve obviously been doing some sort of work there today, because one of the ships has disappeared and they are now down to three again.

It’s just like a game of “Ten Green Bottles” in the chantier navale.

chausiais joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo carrying on with my run down to the other end of the wall, there was a lovely view across the outer harbour tonight.

And there’s been some excitement in there tonight, and quite a lot of it too.

The first thing that you will notice is that Chausiais and Joly France have changed position. In fact I had noticed that yesterday but I had forgotten to mention it.

What this presumably means is that Joly France has gone out on a mission – presumably to the Ile de Chausey. Let’s hope so anyway.

trawler customs launch port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut even more interesting is what is actually leaving the harbour.

There’s a fishing boat on its way out, but that’s not really much of a surprise, but there’s also a Customs launch going out behind it.

“Going ou” implies of course that it has “come in”, right enough, but why would it want to come in here anyway? There’s no-one in the harbour who doesn’t belong there and no-one apart from the fishing boats has been anywhere just recently.

So that’s an interesting one. And on that note I came back to the apartment. Another 5 runs, and I’m working up a sweat now. That’s a good sign.

It’s extremely late now – and that’s because when I came in, Rosemary rang me up and we had a chat for an absolute age. But it doesn’t matter because toMorrow is Good Friday. And in accordance with usual practice there’s no alarm.

In theory I can sleep as late as I like. But you just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Wednesday 8th April 2020 – I DONT KNOW …

sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… what kind of day it has been today, because up until this evening I haven’t set foot out of the door to the building.

But if it was anything like the night sky suggests that it was, it must have been truly wonderful. There’s a beautiful red tinge to the sky over there on the horizon very much reminiscent of the old phrase “Red Sky At Night, St Malo is on fire”.

And being somewhat considerably later than usual for my evening walk, I was lucky to actually see it

Something else that I was lucky to see was the morning. It was another one of those mornings where I missed the alarm. And I’m not sure why either because although it wasn’t an early night last night, it wasn’t anything like as late as some have been just recently.

After the meds I looked at the dictaphone notes. I was with someone from the radio station and another guy with a very thin face and we were discussing the radio. It was in a cafe somewhere at the bottom end of the Chaussée de Wavre near the Boulevard du Souverain in Brussels but there was no coffee being served because of this scare going on. We were talking about all kind sof things and there was a quartier where there was some events taking place and there was no-one covering it. I said that I would go for a wander around and at least I would make a few contacts there because I was moving to this area in due course. So we had a talk about that, contacts, getting people to sign in and get people to be watchers for us to tell us what’s going on, all this kind of thing. At this moment my tea was ready so I asked everone else what they would like to eat as I’d cooked myself a meal. The two women said “a Boskoop” (an apple). I thought “do I have enough?” so I asked “is that all that you wanted?”. Then I heard a shout from outside and it was a former schoolfriend of mine who was my son, would you believe. I thought that I wouldn’t introduce him as my son to these women because I wasn’t sure that they realised that I was old enough to have a son his age. I had to get out my sieve, a plastic conical one. It had been in dirty water for about a week and was all stained and all horrible. That was when I awoke, wondering about my nice cooked meal and was it appropriate to eat it when these people were just going to have an apple each, always assuming that I actually had one for them.
A little later, we were discussing groups. There were three of us – me, a guitarist and someone else jamming. Only for about 30 seconds and someone had recorded it on video. They were starting to make copies of it and pass them all around which I thought was crazy – just one of these 30-second-type jams that you have every now and again. Some guy was there saying “yes we’re going to do our best to help you and do our best to get you somewhere”. I thought that that was just absolutely crazy. They started to pass these CDs and DVDs around. They were taking all of my white CD sleeves. I thought “hang on a minute this isn’t on” because my CDs are colour-coded – red for this, white for that, black for that, blue for that and they would disturb my system and that wasn’t really on. Then I thought that having a DVD of me actually playing would be interesting. At one moment he was talking about a tricycle, a Honda 750 that had been turned into a tricycle called a Queen Bee or a Queen Mary or something. The rear single-wheel bit was extremely complicated and he’d never seen one properly but he had found one in a scrapyard and was trying to negotiate to buy it to put it on his bike but the scrapyard wanted to sell the whole unit, not just the bits. He asked me if I’d ever seen one close up and I said “no, and to be honest, I’ve never seen one from a distance either”

After breakfast I made a start on the digital file splitting. You can tell that we are getting down to the bottom of the pile right now because these last few are proving to be difficult.

Long-gone are the days when you would pick up an album to find that it would be Tangerine Dream and consist of one track that was 51:20 in length or something like that. Instead I’m coming across albums of 15 tracks of 2:00 each, something like that.

There are plenty of tracks that are not so easy to find either so I’m having to hunt around more than maybe I ought. And in error I rather regrettably downloaded an *.mkv file, with all of the problems that that entails.

As a result of all of this, I was somewhat late finishing everything this morning.

But by my reckoning, there are maybe another 20 albums at most that I can do things with in the immediate future. The live albums and the obscure compilation albums will be done another time and the untraceable ones that I shall digitalise myself, that’s for even later.

The next thing that I intend to do is to start on the cassettes. Dozens of those from my “Winsford” days and I’m surprised that after almost 40 years I still have them.

A few of those are quite obscure too and I will need to digitalise those. I had made a start on that in … errr … 2004 but that was a project that ran aground quite quickly. I’m hoping for more perseverence this time.

home made orange ginger cordial place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter lunch, with taco rolls again of course, I had to make some orange and ginger cordial.

Not as much ginger as I would have liked because, for some unaccountable reason, I only had an old piece of manky stuff. I’m convinced that I had two or three pieces, but I’ve no idea whatever became of them.

And even worse, I’ve run out of Manuka Honey. Not having had the chance to go to a health food shop when I was in Leuven last time I couldn’t pick any up.

What I’ll have to do is to go to the Health Food shops here – if they are open – and see what they might have.

Eventually I could attack the text for the radio shows and once again I’ve come up short. There was a break to listen to our “Grande Marée Virtuelle” of course, and the hour on the guitars, but I wasn’t even in much of a mood for that either.

It makes me wonder if it’s something to do with the full moon, this lethargy.

For tea tonight, I made that potato and lentil curry that I had been promising myself. And this new diet thingy means that instead of there being enough for 5 helpings, there was actually enough for 7.

The other 6, which I didn’t eat tonight of course, are now freezing nicely in the freezer ready for another time.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the rice pudding, I went out for my evening’s exercise, rather later than usual.

And surprise! Surprise! I wasn’t the only one out there tonight. I mentioned the other day that the fishing boats here are still going out and there was one just there heading off into the wild blue yonder.

And there was an article in the newspaper this morning that direct sales to the public from the quayside may commence, but only under certain quite strict conditions.

It’s better than nothing, I suppose.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing about which I am not sure is going on is down in the chantier navale

It looks as if the fishing boats are breeding or something like that becase we had a third yesterday and today we have a fourth one. And it’s not keeping its social distance either, but is rather cuddled up to the one on its right.

So I left it to its own devices and carried on. I’ve managed my five runs this evening but I ended up feeling like something that the cat has dragged in through the cat flap

Back here I had a little chat with Liz. She likes to make sure that i’m still OK, which is very nice of her.

So having finished my journal for tonight, I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.