Tag Archives: rosemary

Thursday 20th January 2022 – DAY THREE …

… of my enforced confinement was very much like Day Two; with very little of any kind of note happening at all.

And seeing as I’m not going anywhere, doing anything or seeing anyone is hardly any surprise.

Although I just about beat the alarm to my feet this morning, it was a dreadfully slow start. But there was a reason for that. I’m suffering from a lack of football and my thirst was satiated last night instead of going to bed early.

It’s the Scottish Cup at the weekend and Greenock Morton, a team in which I have an interest since I wrote a newspaper article about the club and its controversial chairman 20 years ago, have drawn Premier League opposition.

In the past, Morton have had four major acts of giant-killing and last night someone strung together a video of the highlights of those four matches and broadcast them on the internet. So I stayed up to watch them – videocam recordings of old 405-line transmissions in the good old days of steam-driven television.

And worth is just to watch ANDY RITCHIE’S MARVELLOUS GOAL that dumped Aberdeen, Alex Ferguson and all, out of the Scottish Cup.

Anyway, having struggled out of bed and having taken my medicine, I came back in here to see how things were with the dictaphone. There was something on there from last night – and about 20 things from the previous few nights. And you can tell how lightly I’m sleeping these days with the volume of stuff that’s on there. This is no deep, profound sleep that I’m having.

But never mind the dictaphone for the moment. I had other things that needed my attention.

As it happens, I’m a member of an organisation that is fighting to defend the SNCF from the onslaught of privatisation that the right wing of the political spectrum is fighting to impose on the rest of the country. And I happened to post a couple of messages relating to a couple of things that related directly to me.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the organiser of the campaign asked me for dates and times. And that meant going through about 18 months’ worth of blog entries. They were relatively unimportant, minor things so I hadn’t tagged them and that explains the time that it took.

Perhaps I ought to mention in passing that my journal is tagged and indexed. I keep it as a diary and as a reminder because my memory is hopeless, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I can sing any number of lyrics of songs from the 1960s and 70s totally word-perfect, but ask me what I was wanting when I walked into the kitchen 5 minutes ago …

It also serves other purposes too, as I have probably mentioned in the past.

Then I could turn my attention to where I’d been during the night. As it happened, Nerina and I had another one of our arguments. This time she had a friend with her and it was pretty permanent so she stormed off, leaving me with the business and the dry-cleaner’s to run. All the people wanted assurance that I’d still be open at 09:00 on a Wednesday. I replied “of course”. Then I realised that it was going to be difficult because there was going to be a bus run that I normally did but I didn’t return until 10:00 so I could see that I had about 2 days to organise a pile of changes to make sure that everyone else was happy and that they could have their dry-cleaning when they wanted but it wasn’t going to be easy.

After lunch (I remembered today) I carried on with the entries from yesterday and was actually planning on doing a lot more but I rather sadly fell asleep. And to my surprise, I was off on my travels there too. I was with my brother and someone else. I can’t remember why now but I had some work to do so I set myself up in a room in some kid of village hall place to do it and they wandered off. However I couldn’t settle and when someone came in – a big ugly-looking man rather like Jack Elam, I lost my concentration completely. I went out for a walk to settle myself down. There, I bumped into my brother and the other person. They were angry that I wasn’t working so I invented a story that I was looking for a torch. The third person said that he had one and went to fetch it and they accompanied me back to where I was working while I tried to invent a story as to why I needed the torch. When we arrived back where I was, my brother bumped into this strange man and let out a gasp of surprise and shock which awoke me.

Later on I went for tea. I’m not feeling very hungry right now but I have to go through the motions. There was some stuffing left over from Monday’s pepper so I had a taco roll with some rice.

Rosemary rang me up while I was eating so I called her back and we had a chat. But not for long because my throat gave out.

But the question of food was rather interesting. Last time that I was ill like this was when I was in Minnesota in July 2019 (in the days when we could travel) and I lost 10kg in weight. If I can lose even half of that during this bout of illness I’ll be happy with that and I’ll have gained something.

So now I’m off to bed – at … errr … 02:05. Just as I was thinking of going to bed earlier, Help Yourself came onto the playlist, followed by Quicksilver Messenger Service with the magnificent John Cipollina, Roxy Blue (a vastly underrated band who could have been another Aerosmith or Bon Jovi and whose lead guitarist is now a dentist), followed by Kate Bush. And that’s enough to keep anyone awake, for all kind sof different reasons.

But now that Kansas has come round, I’ll clear off to bed because we’ll end up next with Lone Star (another vastly underrated band featuring Paul “Tonka” Chapman, later of UFO and Jon Sloman, later of Uriah Heep) and I’ll be here all night.

See you in the morning.

Thursday 6th January 2022 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And he’s brought a friend with him too.

It seems that I was exceedingly premature the other day when I said that they must have finished down at the roadworks by the Rue St Michel, because ever since then, the lorry with its trailer and machines has been back every day.

And in the past I’ve mentioned about the difficulties that large vehicles have of passing underneath the Porte St Jean into the old town. It’s usual therefore for there to be a means of trans-shipment using a smaller vehicle, and today there’s a pick-up by the side of the lorry unloading stuff that it’s brought from within the walls

This morning I needed a pick-up to move me from my bed into the living room because I certainly wasn’t capable of doing it under my own steam.

It had been another “nuit blanche” – a night without any sleep. At least, that’s what it felt like and the fact that there was nothing at all recorded on the dictaphone tends to give that idea some credence. I suppose that the awful afternoon that i’d had yesterday was preying on my mind.

After the medication and so on, I came back in here feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything at all. And that’s how it went for a couple of hours.

But a strong mug of coffee at breakfast time gradually seeped down all the way through my muscles and I began slowly to feel more like it. I even went out and did the “end of the month” back-up onto the memory stick that I take to Leuven with me that I use to update the travelling laptop.

And feeling a little more like it after that, I set myself a little task, to prove that I am worthy.

There’s been a persistent … well, not a fault, but something that I would like to change in my notes and I’d made a start back in November and all subsequent entries have reflected it.

It’s to do with a song by Al Stewart that I heard while I was preparing a radio programme and it reminded me of something going back to 2006-07 that I did that I had forgotten, inspired by the same song. The lyrics were … well … extremely appropriate at the time.

Anyway, being up-to-date with that from November, there were entries going back all the way to the start of this journal to amend and so I made a start. Not every day of course, maybe one every few weeks (although just recently they have been a lot more frequent than that) and I made it as far back as the end of October 2020.

And if I have time tonight I’ll do a few more too because it’s quite therapeutic. Al Stewart has a lot to answer for.

Another strong coffee brought me even more into the land of the living and I attacked the soundfile that I started the other day.

With a pause here and there and a pause for my afternoon walk, I was well-advanced. Over 10 minutes of this interview has already gone the way of the west leaving me with, at the moment, just about 15 minutes, of which there will be more following its friends into oblivion.

There is at the moment 8.5 minutes of how I want it to be, so I’m looking as if I’m going to end up with about 12 minutes in total.

It won’t be done tomorrow morning though because I have bread to make. and now that I have a new whizzer, I need to finish off making this large batch of hummus.

In fact there would have been much more of this sound file edited but Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions.

As for the afternoon walk, well, it was like a March day outside – not cold, not wet, not particularly anything.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022First place to go to is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there.

And there was plenty of beach for all kinds of things to be going on, but there weren’t many people down there going on with it. In fact, for the whole length of the beach, I could only see one person, although there was some movement down by the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see whether we might have any kind of maritime activity, but there wasn’t a sausage out there this afternoon that I could see, and it was quite clear this afternoon again.

light aeroplane 50sa pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There might have been nothing going on out at sea, but there was something going on up in the air this afternoon.

As I walked down the path I was overflown by an aeroplane that had taken off from the local airfield. No need to look for a flight plan because it’s our old friend 50SA and, being an ultra-light aircraft, she doesn’t file one which is a shame.

And it’s my intention to go out to the airfield when I come back from Leuven to make further enquiries about these planes and find out what I can about them. But I bet that there will be no-one there to ask when I arrive.

cap fréhel cap erquy brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Yesterday, I mentioned that the views out to sea were amongst the best that we have ever had.

That’s certainly the case today and the view of Cap Fréhel, 70 kms away, even with the naked eye, was quite impressive. Not only that, if you look carefully at this image you can see the headland beyond it.

If I’m correct, that headland in the background to the right of the lighthouse is Cap Erquy and that’s a further 10 or 12 kilometres further on.

Yes, the views were really impressive, but it was a shame that there was only me out there enjoying them. There wasn’t another soul about this afternoon, and that suits me, with another 261,000 infections. I’m dreading going to Paris next week with all of this.

gerlean trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one down by the bench at the end of the headland so I carried on along the path towards the port.

And there’s been another change of occupant in the chantier naval as well since I was last here. Pescadore and La Bavolette II now seem to have gone back into the water and in their place is the trawler Trafalgar whom we have seen in there before.

On the othe rhand, Gerlean is still in there, having a lot of work carried out on her. But I’ll refrain from saying “it looks as if she’s in here for a long stay” for that’s the cue for her to be back in the water when I come by tomorrow.

joly france chausiase ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Joly France boats, the older one of the two unless I’m much mistaken, is still over there as she has been for the last while, but she’s been joined today by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey occasionally.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see the Channel Island ferries back at the ferry terminal? It’s been almost 2 years since they last went out (apart from that little window in the early summer 2020) and with the infection rates being so appalling, that’s not likely to change any time soon.

On the way home, I passed by the lorry and its trailer and little friend, and came back here for a coffee and to carry on work, until Rosemary called.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger with vegetables. Very nice and it made me feel much better. In fact, I’ve not had too bad a day today despite how it started (and how yesterday finished).

Baking bread tomorrow, making hummus, and whatever else I can find to do.

Monday 3rd January 2022 – I’M FEELING A LITTLE …

… better today, although once more I don’t know why, because nothing any different happened today.

having made an effort, I was in bed at some kind of reasonable time – still not as early as I would have liked but early enough to make sure that I had something like a reasonable sleep.

And I didn’t go too far on my travels either. I’d gone back to school. There was something in the newspaper about something or other and I found myself back in school with all this information, or at least some of it. I’ve no idea why. I arrived at the lift (which there wasn’t in my day) and was trying to work out from the names of the teachers on there which lift was going to fo to where. After I’d been doing this for a couple of minutes, someone came over to me – a teacher – and asked me but I couldn’t explain why I was there because I didn’t have all of the information so I made up some story about a handball match and said that we didn’t have handball when we were at school so I was hoping to interview someone about the game. She mentioned a name and wandered off but I couldn’t see that name on this list. There was someone there, an adult person with a baby mentality. She told me that it was 38 so I made some kind of baby talk reply back to her and went back to get into the lift.

Later on there was some kind of headline in the local paper “Boris Johnson gives £30,000 to kids’ school toilet”. It turns out that the tilet in this school had been damaged in some kind of attack and according to the headline he’d given the money to this school to repair it. However it turned out that it was money from a certain budget that had been set aside for this kind of work anyway so it was nothing to do with him, nothing to do with a gift, nothing to do with anything. Just a normal routine that had been gaslit by this newspaper.

And having spent the last couple of nights in the company of some rather interesting and agreeable young ladies, last night’s companions, such as they were, were rather disappointing.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed fairly rapidly, which was something of a surprise to me given the way that things have been just recently. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme and it was all up and running by 10:30, with breaks for coffee and breakfast included.

And I would have finished it earlier too had I been able to find the ZOOM H8 as soon as I started looking at it. Eventually after much binding in the marsh, I found it on the shelf by the computer still plugged into the microphone and the mains.

Next time, I must remember to put it away properly.

Just as I started to listen to the programme that I’d made, Rosemary rang me and we had a very long chat as usual so by the time I’d finished listening to the programme that I made today and the one that I was sending off for broadcast, I ended up having a very late lunch.

First task after lunch was to blanch and then freeze the sprouts and the leeks that were left over from New Year. Now I have a nice collection of frozen veg and there is still no room in the freezer. Every time I take something out, I end up sticking something else back.

The rubbish bin was now full to the brim so I braved the rainstorm and took it outside to the containers.

The dictaphone notes are all now finished too and tomorrow I’ll make a start on updating some of the journal entries where the “overnight notes” haven’t been, in the hope that I can find myself in the company of a few more interesting and agreeable young ladies.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I went out earlier, it was raining quite heavily but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk it had eased off a little. Just a little.

First port of call was of course the beach so I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park. And while there is more and more beach, there are fewer and fewer people on it.

In fact, there was no-one down there this afternoon that I can see. And that’s hardly a surprise given the weather.

In fact, you can tell from the photo just how miserable the weather is this afternoon. Visibility down to about three or four miles with a haze that is actually the cumulative effect of a rainstorm.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As usual, I was lookign around out at sea as well.

And deep in the bay flitting in and out of the squalls was a trawler having a good fish about – at least, all of its white lights were illuminated and that’s a legal requirement for a fishing boat that has all of its nets out.

There was another one further out as well. I caught the occasional glimpse of it during the periods when the rain abated.

No-one on the beach and there was no-one on the path either this afternoon which, given the weather, was no surprise. I could have a wander around in perfect safety despite the totals of infections and deaths. The number of infections in Normandy has more than doubled since the holidaymakers arrived.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one was down at the bench this afternoon, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in the vicinity.

Out at sea off the coast were three fishing boats. The tide is on the way in of course but it will be half an hour at least before it’s deep enough for the boats to moor up at the fish processing plant so they are loitering around offshore until the moment arrives when they can come in.

They haven’t had much of a holiday, these fishermen.

So on that note, I headed off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port and the chantier naval.

La Bavolette II gerlean chantier naval port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And there has been more activity in the chantier naval since I was here last yesterday afternoon.

Although that fishing boat down there has Le Saint Gaud painted on her superstructure, according to the shipping register she’s now called La Bavolette II, having changed her name quite recently.

She’s there in the chantier naval alongside Gerlean who is still in there since the other day.

But I wasn’t there for long. The rain was making me feel quite depressed so I turned for home. I had things to do.

articulated lorry and trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However I couldn’t go home quite yet.

Over on the other side is a large articulated lorry and trailer. At first I thought that it might belong to Plenty’s dad. His lorries come in here quite regularly although I haven’t seen one for a while.

This one however is from somewhere else and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s from the Netherlands. The telephone number isn’t the correct format for Flanders.

Back here I put the coffee on the go and while it was percolating I went for a shower. And while I was at it I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair.

And finally, I was able to drink my coffee.

In the fridge was half a tin of baked beans from Saturday morning. Consequently I cut myself some chips and used the microwave fryer to cook them. They ended up as a soggy mass which was a shame but they were still nice for a change. Baked beans and a vegan burger rounded it off quite nicely.

When this play on the radio finishes, I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lesson starts up again tomorrow so there is a lot of revision to do and lessons to prepare.

Sunday 19th December 2021 – HERE WE GO!

Just as I was about to sit down and begin to write up my notes Rosemary telephoned me.

We ended up with one of our marathon chats as usual and with an 06:00 start in the morning to a really busy day, I’m not going to stay up and write them out now.

Instead, I’m going off to bed and I’ll write up my notes when I have the time, whenever that might be. Eventually, I did manage to complete them, and here we go …

joly france aztec lady chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Meanwhile, back in the chantier naval, it looks as if things are back to normal.

Not only is the portable boat lift back to where it belongs, we actually have a client in there already.

She is of course the Aztec Lady who is now in port for a service. She’s off on her travels (Covid permitting) at the end of January for a cruise all around the north coast of Norway and Spitzbergen with all kinds of various sideshows, so I imagine that they are making her ready for her voyage.

But isn’t it nice to see the chantier naval back in operation?

Something else that it was nice to see was my bed last night. Even though I was totally exhausted by my journey it was still after 02:00 when I finally managed to struggle into bed, and I still wasn’t tired enough to go to sleep.

Eventually however I managed to drop off but it was a night that I spent mainly tossing and turning and trying to settle down.

By the time 09:00 came round I was already awake but as you might expect, there was no danger whatever of me leaving my bed at a time like that. In fact, it was much more like 11:00 when I finally saw the light of day and that’s much more like it on a Sunday morning, especially after the couple of weeks that I’ve just had.

Having had my medication and checked my mails and messages, the next task was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be doing. And that took me nicely up to lunchtime – well, breakfast anyway.

After the break, my first task was to make the dough for my next batch of pizza. 500 grammes of flour equates to three decent-sized pizza bases so I usually make that amount – one for today and two in the freezer.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While all of that was busy festering I headed out for my afternoon walk.

It was bright and sunny, as you can tell from part of this photo. The beach itself was in deep shadow because the sun is now quite low down in the sky and has gone behind the College Malraux.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that there wasn’t anyone down there this afternoon going for a walk. There were a few people out at the far end of the Plat Gousset, but they were having the sun down there so that probably explains it.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Out at sea, there was quite a bit going on, as I noticed when I had a good look around.

One of the trawlers from out of the port is on its way back to the harbour after a day’s hard fishing out at sea. Unfortunately I can’t read the registration number from here and I can’t recall the colour scheme so I’m not able to say who it is.

Anyway I let it wander off towards the port while I carried on with my walk along the top of the cliffs towards the lighthouse.

man relaxing in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021With life being so stressful these days it’s nice to be able to get away from it all and relax in the peace and quiet.

Here’s someone who is doing his best to make the most of whatever relaxing moments he can find. Out there in the bay in his zodiac he’s hardly likely to be bothered by what is – or isn’t – going on around him.

At first I thought that he might be a fisherman but on a closer look, I couldn’t see any fishing tackle in his boat. He’s just sitting there with his feet up on a pontoon taking it easy. And how I envy him.

aeroplane 35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I was walking arounf admiring the man relaxing in his boat, I was busily being overflown by a light aeroplane.

It’s not one of the larger ones that we can trace in any kind of database that I have found so far. It is in fact 35MA, one of the light aeroplanes that hang around the airfield and which we see every now and again.

They aren’t the kind that file a flight plan or are picked up on radar so unfortunately I can’t tell you anything about it except that one day I’ll wander over to the airfield and have a look for myself.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021We’ve already seen one trawler heading back into port. And now we have another one.

It’s quite busy outside right now with the fishing boats and that’s a surprise because they usually have a day off on a Sunday. But I suppose that with it coming up to Christmas they have a lot of work to do.

Oysters are quite the delicacy here and it’s one of the things that always appears on the plate on Christmas Day.

But leaving that aside for the moment I carried on with my walk around the headland.

woman sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the Pointe du Roc by the cabanon vauban today which is quite a surprise these days.

However, nearby, there was a woman sitting on another bench at the side of the lower path. She seems to be quite comfortable there, checking the messages on her phone and missing all of the glorious scenery and the trawlers going past on the way back to the port.

From there I continued on my way along the path towards the port. I wanted to see what was happening in the chantier naval now that everything was back up and running normally.

boats unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021having taken a photo of the outer harbour, I turned my attention to what was happening at the fish processing plant.

It was bound to be busy, I reckoned, because there were plenty of trawlers were out and about this afternoon. And I wasn’t wrong either because while there wasn’t much in the way of water, it was still deep enough for the smaller inshore shell-fishing boats to tie up.

Of the boats over there I recognise L’Omerta and Gerlean of course as we see them quite frequently and they are quite distinctive but I can’t identify any of the other ones from here.

stenaca belle france joly france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while we saw one of the Joly France boats over at the ferry terminal, the others are moored up today in the inner harbour.

The newer one of the two Joly France boats is instantly recognisable by the step in the stern. On the left is Belle France and on the right is Chausiaise. The trawler that is in front of them is Stenaca by the way.

From there, I headed off back home, ready for my hot coffee. And there were plenty of other things to do as well.

Earlier on, I’d made some dough for my pizzas. It had risen quite nicely so I split it into 3 portions and put two in the freezer. The third one, I kneaded, rolled out and put into the pizza tray to let it do its stuff.

While the pizza dough was proofing, I had a listen to the dictaphone. There were the details of last night’s voyages to transcribe.

There had been some kind of event that my brother had been to. he had taken his girlfriend and they were both fairly young. He’d been doing something first and he’d gone with his parents or her parents or something and had been sitting in the back of a load bed of a P100 pickup. When they arrived at this event afterwards he said that they had never been questioned about their ages going in there because when they arrived he was actually in the load bed giving his girlfriend quite a smoochy kiss so they just waved them in. But there was something in the legislation about statues or plaques or medals about something to do with boys and girls, about there had to be a statue or something about the relationship between a boy and a girl but I can’t remember what that was.

I was driving with my German friend in Germany. Somehow I’d ended up with the 2 kittens, Sooty and Sweep. They were really enjoying themselves at his house. It’s funny how he’s ended up with both Doreen’s kittens. he said that they had a really good home there, they play around, they go outside, they come with us to the bar etc. He said that the ginger one is a bit nasty sometimes though but that’s all that I remember of this long dream that I had with him

And later I was in an old car. I was staying somewhere and my brother was there. I’d been somewhere and on the way back I was driving extremely quickly. I reached a road junction where I had to give way. There were a couple of cars not too far away but I pulled out in front of them anyway and set off quite rapidly down the main road. There were a few really bad bends in this main road and just as I reached one bad bend a car from the 1930s came round the other way, failed to negotiate it and went into the ditch. I put my foot on the brakes and the car stopped dead. I almost hit the windscreen. The guy behind the wheel said that he was OK so I carried on driving, still quite quickly. The road went through the grounds of a chateau with quite a few zigzags in it. I went round all these zigzags ready to come out but somehow one of these cars had gone in front of me. When he stopped at the gates to be let out he said “old cars can go round these chicanes like you did but these modern ones can”t”. The idea was to reach home because my brother had had a motorbike and I’d never seen it. I wanted to know what it was. He was talking about “they’re going to fit anti-freeze in it ready for the winter, everything”. It seemed to me that wherever it had gone for an overhaul or a service or whatever they wer eplenning on keeping it for months when we would have a chance to look at it.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021When the pizza dough had risen enough, I went and assembled my pizza, and then bunged it in the oven to bake.

It was another one that looked absolutely delicious, and tasted just as good as it looked. I seem to have grasped the knack of making them these days, although I would do even better with a better oven. I must sort one out one of these days.

Having eaten my pizza, I wrote up my notes for today. And now I’m ready for bed. There’s an early start in the morning of course with me having a radio programme to prepare for tomorrw and I want to be at my best. Although the possibility of that happening any time soon is rather remote.

Tuesday 30th November 2021 – I HAVEN’T DONE …

… anything like as much today as I had wanted to. It’s been a story of continued interruptions.

Well, actually, it hasn’t. There’s only been one unexpected interruption, and that was Rosemary ringing me for one of our marathon chats in the middle of the afternoon. and so where the rest of the time went, I really don’t know but it certainly went somewhere.

For a change I had a reasonable night’s sleep – or, at least I think I did, but I really can’t remember. TI was doing a disco at a party last night. The party was for some local guy and the more I delved into this the more he was an out-and-out crook involved in many activities but he was licensee of the Three Pigeons in Nantwich but had put a tenant in. He was up to all kinds of no good. People had asked me to make sure that some way or another I was able to talk about him and his businesses and I could bring them to everyone’s attention somehow. I thought that that wouldn’t be a problem. I was looking through some photographs of the area and found that the house across the road had two security cameras pointing this way about what was going on at the party. My aim was to have everyone start dancing, making lots of noise, draw their attention to the security cameras and have them do all kinds of silly acts to be picked up on the camera. That would be a really good way to start and I could carry on from there.

Later on I was driving the taxis. There was Nerina and my father, that girl Karen and her boyfriend and a few other people. We were trying to organise some kind of rota for Nerina and I to go away. We had a few people to come in to drive, not very many. We reckoned that it would work if everyone wanted to make it work. My father said that he needed to go and someone else was going but they would be back later so they went off. We reminded them about Peter in Winsford who could drive. There was a taxi job at 09:00. I thought that I’d get the beige Cortina saloon (UOB) ready. I hoped that it would start, everything. I’d get ready to do this job at 09:00 in case no-one turned up. I looked out of the window and the brown Cortina was still there, so was the other one and all the tools were out. had they driven off and left everything behind like that? I went out and there had been some kind of problem with the car that had affected some girl who had been walking past. They were busy talking to her and her boyfriend to make sure that everything was OK. Then I had to find a bed. I knew that a bed was upstairs somewhere so I went with this guy who was staying behind for a while and searched the bedrooms. In the end we found it underneath my mattress that was on the floor. I thought that this is going to be really uncomfortable to sleep when they take away the bed that’s underneath my mattress. I was amazed at just how dirty the place was. There was a big hole in the floor where a floorboard was missing and you could see all the way down into the living room below. I thought that this place was unbelievably dirty and untidy.
There was something else about my youngest sister playing with her dolls but I awoke almost as soon as this started.

First thing this morning after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I cracked on to finish off the journal entry from yesterday. In case you hadn’t noticed, I fell asleep in the middle of writing it up. I’d had a hard day yesterday too.

When I’d finished I sat down to write up my notes from the Welsh lessons from last week and from the weekend, and then to prepare for this weeks. And unfortunately I ran out of time so I went in only half-prepared.

That proved to be my downfall too. Most of the lesson went quite well but I ended up in a Zoom Room with the tutor where I forgot the word for “fifteen” … “it’s undeg pump” – ed.

After a late lunch I went outside and spent an hour or so cleaning, wire-brushing and rustproofing the two wheels that are in the back of Caliburn. When they are dry, I’ll put the first coat on and then the second one on Thursday afternoon ready for the new tyres on Friday.

Back here Rosemary phoned me just as I was sitting down with my coffee and we had a lengthy chat as usual.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Eventually, when I managed to make it outside I went over to have a look at the beach.

And today, there wasn’t any beach at which I could look. The tide is now almost all the way in so that was that as that as far as the beach went. There wasn’t anyone down there at all which is no surprise.

There wasn’t anyone about out at sea either. And that’s despite the tide being well in. That’s the time that you would expect all of the boats to be heading for home in order to be in before the harbour gates close.

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was out there on the car park I went over to have a look at the workmen’s compound which was blown all the way across the car park in the storm.

By the looks of things they’ve been out collecting the various parts of the compound from around the place and grouped them all together where they used to be. They haven’t reassembled it as yet but I suppose that that’s a job for another time.

There wasn’t anyone else out there except me this afternoon so I could go for a walk in peace and quiet without having to worry about anyone else and whatever infection they might be carrying around with them.

broken concrete posts bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Round on the lawn at the end of the headland there’s a pile of old concrete pillars that they have collected from somewhere.

No matter how strong the storm was, I don’t think that it’s caused this kind of damage. By the looks of things these pillars haven’t been outside in the weather so I wonder if they have managed to fight their way into another one of the old bunkers and pulled them out.

Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland. There was nothing going on out at sea today and there was no-one down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either, so I pushed on along the path.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change in situation at the chantier naval so I had a look over at the ferry terminal.

Over there right at the front of the queue is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, and behind her is one of the Joly France ferries. There’s no step in the stern so she must be the older one of the two boats.

That was about everything that was going on out there this afternoon so I came on home for a coffee and to finally make a start on some work – not that I did very much this afternoon. For some reason I was feeling quite exhausted.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with pasta and veg, and then I reorganised the freezer to make room for the curries that I made yesterday. The freezer is pretty much over-full. I should really have bought a larger freezer, but I would have filled it with other stuff instead so it wouldn’t make any difference.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m radioing tomorrow – going to interview a pile of elves. I have all of the exciting jobs, haven’t I?

Friday 26th November 2021 – PHEW! THAT WAS EXPENSIVE!

And I don’t even have any photographs for my pains either today.

That is for two reasons too.

  1. there’s a howling gale blowing outside right now
  2. I have been busy all afternoon and couldn’t even find time to go for my afternoon walk

Before we start though, I’m not going to mention last night. You can read the dictaphone notes and make up your own mind.

A train had been requisitioned by the Germans last night and was heading off with all kinds of art treasures that had been looted. They had a man on the front with a machine gun to defend against saboteurs, all this kind of thing but in the corridor of the tender facing the engine driver was another German armed with a sub-machine gun. At a certain point the train ground to a halt and there was some panic going on outside. The commandant in charge said “we’ll get the guy with the machine gun on the crew to reinforce you” which of course caused panic because no-one there actually knew that they were being watched like this on the footplate. At the same time there was a strike going on with football players because of recognition with their previous clubs hadn’t been granted so they weren’t considered as being equal or equivalent footballers to the Premier League and weren’t being able to be picked for the Premier League sides but that was on the point of being resolved.

A little later I was with someone (and I wish that I knew who it was) on a bicycle ride on holiday. I had a rucksack on my back and she had one on hers. We’d had some kind of incident that meant that she’d used my jeans as a mop so she’d had to borrow some jeans from someone for me. We were cycling and came to this bridge over a motorway. There were several lanes and a main road and a side road and a footpath etc. Several lanes went on a bridge over the top of the motorway while a couple went through a tunnel underneath. We cycled on and came to the motorway interchange. This was an awful, really complicated road junction. We were on bikes and the vehicles were running really quickly and not giving us much time to get into position because we wanted the lane far over in the centre. Eventually we managed to pick our way through the traffic without any excitement. We noticed on the map that someone who used to work for the radio lived here in a little cul-de-sac so we thought that we’d go to visit him. He had a bungalow in a kind-of close. When we arrived he was on the doorstep saying that he was just going to bed. he told us about an incident he’d had which involved the police which had left him feeling very bitter about whatever it was that the radio was. He went to bed but we were inside the house and used his bathroom, organised a few things. We noticed that there was an orange plastic skull sitting on his bed. We wondered what that was doing. Then my partner started to take stuff out of my rucksack to rearrange it which was uncomfortable seeing as I was wearing it at the time

And then there was a sandpit there (wherever “there” was) and a kid who was very much like me as a small child playing in it. Someone said something about how he could foretell the future in various respects. I mentioned that I’d had mine told for me and it wasn’t very complimentary

This cable had an olive-green and white speckly very thick-outer a cable with a very solid rigid central core that we could make into all kinds of shapes, but none of them were anything to do with what we were trying to do. And whatever that bit is all about is a complete mystery to me.

Some time later we were driving down the M6, a big group of us. A girl whom I used to know in Scotland was there as well, heading down. At a certain moment I recognised somewhere and said “this is the start of the Morecambe Bay holiday area, isn’t it?”. They didn’t know but we’d gone about half a mile and saw a load of surfers in the water. I mentioned that there was a town down here a little further where I’d been a couple of years ago and there had been an enormous flood. We’d spent our time swimming in what was the town square. When we arrived, the town square was flooded again so we had to drive round and find a place to park and then needed to find the solicitor’s that we were visiting the next day. I was sure that I knew where it was because I’d been here before. So we went and sure enough, this was where it was. Then we had to work out where we were going to stay. Everyone else was broke so we were talking about hostels and everything. Eventually they found some kind of bed and breakfast place that was quite cheap and were talking about booking it there but some people didn’t have any money etc

When the alarm went off I couldn’t get out of bed for quite some time but eventually I forced myself out and went for my medication.

Having checked my mails and messages I cracked on (and I really did too) with the work that needed doing. The sound-files have been sent off with the accompanying notes, and so have my questions for these perishing elves.

One thing that I noticed was that my server wasn’t saving the copies of my mails, which was no surprise as my mailbox was at 101%. I spent a very happy rest of the morning going through and weeding a pile of stuff that had built up in there that should have been deleted a long time ago.

What’s filling the place up is all of the piles of stuff that I’ve been receiving about my family so I went and downloaded it all and deleted it from my mail server. Now my mailbox is now at a more-manageable 73%.

One day I’ll download a mail-handling client like Thunderbird and download everything from the mail server.

There were several phone calls to make too. I contacted the insurance company about Caliburn’s windscreen and then I rang around for some new winter tyres for Caliburn.

When I was in the Auvergne 18 months ago I’d brought a couple of spare wheels back from the Auvergne because winter tyres are now obligatory in many départements in the centre where my farm is and it’s high time that I had some.

Hunting around on the internet I couldn’t find any bargains of the make that I wanted but somewhat closer to home, a tyre fitter could supply exactly what I wanted and on the wheels on the van they will work out even cheaper than the tyres alone on the internet.

Some other stuff is needed too for Caliburn. There’s a cracked mirror and a cracked rear light that the controle technique examiner mentioned, and of course if he’s having a new windscreen he’s having new wipers to go with it.

Rosemary rang me too and we had another one of our mega-chats

After lunch I wandered off to LIDL where I spent a fortune and can’t really see what I bought with my money, except that it was too heavy to bring all of it upstairs.

Next stop was at the windscreen place. The Insurance Company told me that the windscreen people would contact me but as I was driving past, I popped in. And as luck would it, they had a windscreen in stock and a vacant spec in their workshop at 09:00 on Monday morning.

From there I drove to the tyre fitter. he didn’t have the tyres in stock but I paid a deposit and he’s ordered them and they’ll be here on Friday morning. While I was there I bought some rust killer and some wheel paint. I may as well make his wheels look pretty

Final stop was LeClerc where I spent a fortune and once again I couldn’t really see what I’d bought for my money – except the four bottles of ginger beer that they had on special offer and the new slippers to replace my worn-out ones.

By the time that I returned it was 18:00 (where does the time all go?) so I made a coffee and ended up chatting to Liz for an hour.

Tea was a burger on a bap (now that I have baps and the correct burgers) with a baked potato and vegetables, and it was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. I need my sleep – if I get any with this astonishing storm raging outside – as I have my Welsh weekend class for the next couple of days.

Can you imagine it? Me, setting an alarm on a Sunday! Wonders will never cease.

Saturday 13th November 2021 – I STOOD AND WATCHED …

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

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

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

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

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

And finally the air-sea rescue helicopter turned up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quality, not quantity.

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

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

Sunday 7th November 2021 – IF YOU THINK …

… that going to bed at 23:40 and staying there until 11:15 means that I’ve had a really good night’s sleep, then a look at the times of the files on the dictaphone will tell you a completely different story.

Until about 04:25 it seemed to be quite a peaceful night, and then it all went wrong from then on. I started off last night somewhere in Asia climbing up into the Himalayas. I came across a tribe or ethnic group high up who were very secretive. I went into their village. They were admitting other people of Asian Burmese or whatever descent from another ethnic tribe. Gradually I managed to slip away and carry on climbing up the mountain. I came into a kind of shop, a bazaar or something or other. They were very interested to see me and kept on telling me to climb higher up. In the end I was climbing up these stairs into some kind of claustrophobic attic with this guy wondering what on earth would happen next because I have a horror of confined spaces and this attic looked quite confined to me. They started to show me all products that they had that they wanted to get a foothold into the French market. They had a house somewhere and a warehouse, and access to a ship. I interviewed them all about their ship to make sure that it fulfilled all the required regulations and so on. From there they showed me all their products and were talking about sheep. He showed me a boat that was no more than a small yacht and asked if he could get 1500 – he said “muttons” – on there. I replied “you probably wouldn’t get more than 100 on that one”. He said that they had 1500 sheep, or “muttons” as he put it, in Canada and could bring them over. I knew someone in a slaughterhouse buying sheep in at £12 or €14 per head and that didn’t include the fleece. We had a lengthy discussion about this. Then they paired me up with this young girl who was going to be my contact with the tribe. We had a pile of things so we went back to my house, this girl and I. There were other people, my brother and so on, in there searching around for something and also the police searching around for something. I beckoned my brother over and told him and his friends that they would have to leave for 10 minutes. One policeman said “you want to be alone with this girl, don’t you?” I replied “I’m not going to be alone am I, because you’re here”. This girl started to become very nervous and wanted to leave as well but I hung on to her and brought her back into the bedroom. I started to unwrap one or two of these parcels that I’d brought back with me from the bazaar in this country high up in the Himalayas.

A little later I’d gone to see Morton play at East Fife, one of the one-sided wonder stadiums. It ended up that I met this girl again who I’d met earlier this evening. We started on about going back to my place again, everything but I can’t remember how this carried on from here. It was pretty similar to the one just now.

Later still, David Lloyd George was there later on with his wife Georgina and I was still there with this Burmese girl. Everyone’s eyebrows were raised about this, the fact that I was with him and also with this pretty young girl

There was also a little later on some documentation that needs certifying from Burma here. I put it with the others.

Later on I was at Rachel’s. Most people were there. We were having a meal and then all sitting around and talking. They were talking about someone who had just come up from Boston for half a day just to bring them a wedding present or present for their honeymoon. I said to Rachel “I’ve always admired you capacity for money-making” and she replied “I got it off you”. We carried on talking. I was still dealing with this thing about this Burmese girl when Hannah came in. She had some pullovers on but they needed washing, she said. I said that I’d do it but it was only the body because she’d rolled up the sleeves so they weren’t dirty. I asked if she had anything else. She replied “no, it’s fine” so I went to wash it. I then sat down on a chair and just out of my eyeshot just around the corner a girl sat down. I knew who she was but I can’t remember now. I was trying desperately hard not to fall asleep and desperately hard to pretend not to notice her because I was hoping that she’d come over and chat to me. There was a woman there talking about what we’d been up to today and a few things that I’d done. I was waiting for it to be dropped into the conversation that I was here but for some unknown reason she didn’t. I was really trying to fight so hard to stop falling asleep.

And how many times now is it that I’ve awoken and gone back to sleep into this dream about being in Burma or with this Burmese girl? I’ve slipped back into dreams where I’ve left off on a couple of occasions but usually only once. But this is five times. So what’s going on here?

We haven’t finished out voyages yet either. I’d gone round to say goodbye to Nerina as I was going back to France. She was living in Wistaston but I missed the turning and ended up somewhere else. I had to find a road map to help me find my way. I didn’t stay long. She expressed surprise that I had French number-plates on Caliburn – thinking that living in France I’d have English number-plates on him. She expressed surprise about the train that I was driving. That had French number-plates on it as well. She asked about it and I told her that it was an HST. As I went to leave, the train set off and left one motor carriage behind. I had to get in the motor carriage and chase after my train. it was going all the way up the hill through this shopping arcade. I eventually caught up with it as it went into the toilets. I remember something about when people see a train going up through a shopping centre there’s obviously something wrong happening somewhere.

There was also something about me being in the swimming baths and a cinema but I can’t remember very much about that except that there were a couple of girls there so i was making sure that I was swimming near them because they looked quite nice and interesting. There was yet more stuff too that slipped my mind as soon as I awoke, as well as some other stuff that you wouldn’t thank me for reading if you are eating your meal.

As it happens, I’ve never been to Burma (in fact I’ve never been further east than a little way beyond Moscow back in the early 80s) but I did once have a strange encounter with a Burmese girl called Warwar Soe about 20 years ago when I had the Opel Omega.

She sent me an e-mail right out of nothing to say “I’ve arrived in Belgium but I have no papers and I’m a clandestine. Can you help me?”

How come she had my information and how she thought that I could help her I really had no idea but naturally my curiosity got the better of me so I arranged to meet her. However her immaculate hair-do and tailored jeans and jacket made me smell a rather oversize rat and so I was intrigued to find out what her game was.

We met a couple of times subsequently because at the very least there might be a possibility of some indoor alligator-wrestling at some point in the proceedings and she was quite an attractive girl, but it gradually petered out and nothing ever came of it.

She did ring me back after about 6 months to say “I actually did have some papers” and that intrigued me even more but I was never able to find out any further information, to my regret.

Anyway, I digress … “as usual” – ed. After I had my medication (and how far is all of that from any indoor alligator-wrestling?) I came and checked my mails and messages and then paired off all of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing (with a bit of luck) tomorrow.

That all took me nicely up to lunch.

After lunch I pressed on with the arrears of the journal from my time at Leuven and there are two further pages, SATURDAY’S and SUNDAY’S.

And Sunday’s was rather an unfortunate one because it touched rather a nerve with me.

Once more I have run out of Pizza dough so I had to make some more as well, and that turned out to be a very good batch. I think that I’ve got the hang of all of this now.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021By the time that I’d finished the dough it was time to go walkies.

And no sooner had I set foot outside the building before the shadow if the cold hand of doom fell upon me.

Actually it was another Nazgul going by overhead. There was some reasonable wind and that seemed to bring them out in force this afternoon. There were plenty of others that I could have photographed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once he’d flown off elsewhere I could go over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

And this afternoon there was plenty of beach for it all to be happening upon because the tide was well out right now.

The sunny weather today had brought out the crowds and they were thronging down there in their masses, some even brave enough to go for a paddle in the water.

Over here we were in the shade but across the bay near St Martin they were having glorious sunshine.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just down there on the beach at the Rue du Nord where the crowds had gathered.

There were plenty of people who had walked further along by the Place d’Armes. You don’t usually see many people this far along because there is no way back up the cliffs except by the steps at the Rue du Nord, but they don’t need to worry about the tide just yet.

And neither did I. I could travel along the path up here and only had the crowds of people to worry about.

hang glider brought down to earth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Other people had more to worry about than I did, though

Something or other, probably a sudden change in direction of a gust of wind, had brought down a Nazgul and its passengers. Either that or Legolas hiding in the bushes had had another lucky shot with his bow and arrow.

This time I was quick enough to seize the advantage in this situation. I went over to them for a chat and now I know where I need to go and to whom I need to speak in order to go for a lap around the headland on board a Nazgul.

hang glider taking off pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I walked away down to the end of the headland our gallant bird-man of Alcatraz and his passenger were busy untangling their Nazgul.

When they were finally ready and the wind was blowing in the correct direction they took to the air, cheered on by a crowds of enthusiastic watchers, and disappeared off into the sky.

My route continued down along the path and across the car park towards the end of the headland.

35ma light aeroplance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021At this point I was overflown by an aeroplane heading off into the sunset.

It’s our old friend 35MA having taken off from the airfield near Donville les Bains. But there’s no point my trying to tell you where it’s going because it hasn’t filed a flight plan, it’s not picked up on radar and its registration number isn’t in the database to which I have access.

There was nothing whatever going on in the bay this afternoon, presumably because the tide is well out so all of the port gates are closed so nothing can leave or arrive.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021From the end of the headland my walk took me down the path along the top of the cliffs towards the port.

Nothing going on in the chantier naval of course because the portable boat lift is out of action. And it does look sad standing there in the middle of the yard without its wheels.

Here’s hoping that they fix whatever is wrong with it quite quickly and the chantier naval is back in action soon.

There wasn’t anything happening at the ferry terminal either. Everything is either out at sea or tied up in the inner harbour.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But L’Omerta is there in her habitual place, settled in the silt at the side of the fish processing plant.

She seems to be living there now, when she isn’t in the chantier naval. And that’s a mystery as to why she isn’t tied up in the inner harbour like everyone else.

Back at the apartment the pizza dough had risen nicely so I split it into three portions, oiled a couple and put them in the freezer. The third I left for a moment because the ‘phone started to ring.

Rosemary was on the line wanting a chat so we had a good discussion and then I had to go and deal with the pizza, roll out the dough and put it in the tray to rise ready for tea.

While the pizza was rising I was transcribing dictaphone notes for the next few days. I have to catch up before I go to Leuven in 10 or so days time so I’m going to be pretty rushed.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Later on I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake. And when it was finished it lookd really delicious.

Furthermore, it tasted just as good as it looked as well. One of my more successful efforts although I do with that the underneath would cook as well as the top. I can’t lower the rack in the oven any more than it is.

So now that’s eaten, the washing up is done and the journal entry is written, I’m off to bed. It’s an early start and a long day tomorrow dealing with the radio programme and going to the physiotherapy.

With all of that going on, I need to be at my best.

Wednesday 27th October 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for many months.

And that is that I walked all the way from here to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station in one go without once stopping for breath. And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done that, hasn’t it?

Mind you, the last couple of hundred yards were a killer but I was determined to keep on going and I made it in the end, staggering into the surgery on my last legs.

But one thing that I didn’t do was to take any photos today. Bane of Britain went out to the physiotherapist’s without checking the battery in the camera so it goes without saying that it was flat, wasn’t it?

“Never mind” I thought to myself. “I’ll take them with the camera on the phone on the may home”. However in the physiotherapist’s was one of my neighbours and when he finished, he waited for me and offered me a lift home.

Usually I don’t take lifts back home because I have to push myself onwards as best as I can and if I stop making an effort, I’ll never ever start again. But he had wasted 15 minutes of his time waiting for me so I couldn’t politely refuse.

Anyway, last night I went to bed at about 23:15 and had a really deep sleep, all the way through to … errr … 02:40. And at 04:50 I was still awake, regrettably. What a dreadful night.

However, at some point I must have gone back to sleep because I awoke, bolt-upright as if a bomb had gone off somewhere, about 10 minutes before the alarm was due to go off.

When the alarm finally did sound, it was a real effort to heave myself out of bed and as you might expect, I felt dreadful. After the medication it took quite a while to recover my senses, which is quite a surprise seeing how few that I have these days.

Once I’d gathered my strength I spent most of the morning playing with my new toy – a 12-channel ZOOM H8 portable mixer-recorder.

It’s much more complicated than my two-channel ZOOM H1 but I’m fed up of having to make do with equipment that isn’t up to what I’m trying to do. The little Zoom is fine for my own radio programmes but not for going out and about to meet people and interview them.

There was an interruption in the middle of all of this for one of my mega-chats with Rosemary who rang me up just as I was about to eat breakfast. And my fruit buns really are delicious.

During the night I was being a detective investigating someone about something. I’d been to his house and met him although of course I didn’t say why I was there. A little later I met a girl and I was around at the house where she lived. I noticed that on the wall was a photo of one of this guy’s flatmates. There was a group of us talking but everyone slowly drifted away until she was on her own. I drew her attention to the photo and told her that if ever she saw me in that house she wasn’t to let on at all that she knew me. Then a group of people came in. One of them was this girl’s boyfriend. They were discussing what they were going to do that night. They asked her and she replied that she was thinking of going out. This guy said “you aren’t going out with Eric, are you?”. She didn’t answer the question. Much as I would have liked to have asked her out, obviously with what appeared to be her boyfriend and a few mates there it wasn’t something that I was going to do at that particular moment although I was keen to know what she was doing in that house with that other guy whose photo she had and what was her connection with it all. I wanted to get her on her own and talk some more about it.

At another point I was working in a Government Office. A file came on my desk for someone who was described as a teacher and railwayman. I had a look and there was a big gap in his employment history so I was searching through some papers in his file and found that he was describing himself as a mandolin player with the Eurythmics. I thought “this sounds really interesting. I shall have to follow this up”.

After lunch I went for a shower and then spent some time sorting out my photos from when I was in Leuven the other day. It’s high time that I organised myself and caught up with the arrears of all of this outstanding stuff.

A little earlier I mentioned the Physiotherapist. I had a few kinetic exercises and then a spell on the rotating platform thing – the first time for ages. And I was glad to have a lift home as I was aching just about everywhere.

Back here I had a coffee and then did some more stuff for my project. This is taking an age and i’m not receiving anything like as much help as I expected or was hoping.

For tea tonight I attacked the European Burger Mountain in my fridge, with some pasta and vegetables. It’s all good stuff.

Strangely enough, after my dreadful night I didn’t crash out today so I must be improving somewhat, I think. But I’m taking no chances. I was just about to go to bed when onto the playlist came Man singing GRASSHOPPER from the album RHINOS WINOS AND LUNATICS.
“Now that night has taken time into its keeping
And thrown it in my face
We just lie here in the darkness counting seconds
And pack them in your case
I have given everything I had to give you
I’d give it all again
But I think the time has come for you to leave me
Tonight has been the last we will have”

“Night has a way of getting colder
Morning has come and I can’t hold her anymore
She will go today”

The lyrics remind me of a night a couple of years ago in the Canadian High Arctic and a certain young lady of my acquaintance. And those lyrics are exactly how it was, an evening that will never ever come again and one of these days I’ll actually write up the journal entry for that couple of days that are missing.

But that’s going to be quite a task as I don’t really even know and still haven’t worked out what actually happened that night.

What a thing to go to bed on, hey? I foretell another bad night.

Wednesday 20th October 2021 – I WAS LUCKY …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 11th October 2021 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… amusing exchange of family correspondence today.

Someone sent me a copy of a family tree and my attention was drawn to a name – Brian – in this family tree.

And so I sent a mail “Your “Brian” – is that the Denis Bryan Ashness-Wells who was born on 1 April 1915, father Francis George Ashness-Wells age 31 and mother, Alice Charlotte Frances Stuart “Elsie” Beavis, 38 who died in 1968, in Hillingdon, London, England, United Kingdom, at the age of 53?”.

The reply that I received was “That’s where you have me at a disadvantage. I find a document, show you the document then you ask me if it matches information you have that I’ve never seen. Not a game I want to play.”.

This reply is from someone who has complained to me in the past (like a couple of days ago) that I haven’t shared any information with him, despite the fact that he hasn’t spoken to me in over 20 years. So when, of course, when I do share some information with him, he goes totally berserk.

You really can’t make up nonsense like this, can you? And to think that I had to put up with behaviour like that for all these years until I became fed up, emigrated and left them all behind.

Some people need to go and lie down in a darkened room and double their dose. The rest of us had grown out of behaviour like this by the time we left Primary School.

But anyway, I digress.

Last night I was in bed rather later than I hoped and the night wasn’t a particularly good one, but I still managed to stagger out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication and having checked my mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme. And despite a pause for a coffee and another one for breakfast, the programme was all done and dusted and ready to go by 11:15.

Of course I had to listen to it and also the one that I’ll be sending off for broadcast this week. And this week, they both went off without any issues – not like last week of course.

While I was listening to them, I was carrying on with this slow project of checking the duplicates of images that I have on the computer, and another few GB have bitten the dust right now.

After lunch I had a shower and a general clean-up and dealt with some stuff for my other radio project while I waited for the nurse to come to give me my injection.

Eventually I found out that he had already been, while I was in the shower and I’d missed him. So he told me that he’ll be round this evening.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021That meant that I could finally go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off towards the wall at the end of the car park.

Being rather later than usual, the tide was much farther in than you would expect, and the little spit of sand down there was quite prominent. I’ve never seen it quite as clearly as this before.

And there was no-one on the beach down there this afternoon. It’s later than normal and not as warm as it was at the weekend, but still pleasant enough for anyone who wanted to go for a walk along the foreshore.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was looking down on the beach, a familiar noise up above attracted my attention.

As I watched, around the corner from behind the College Malraux came out own friend the red powered hang-glider that we have seen quite regularly over the past few days.

He came flying by and headed straight out across the bay in the direction of the airfield, presumably to go in to land.

Having watched it disappear out to sea, I headed off on my walk along the path on top of the cliffs.

men fishing from zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was looking out to sea, I happened to notice that there was something out at sea.

A closer look showed me that it was a zodiac, and in it were a couple of fishermen dangling their rods into the water in the hope of catching something for supper.

At this point I had another phone call to answer so I couldn’t see whether they actually managed to catch anything, but if the past is anything to go by, it was unlikely.

But once the ‘phone call ended, I carried off on my walk towards the lighthouse, fighting my way through the crowds of people who were on the path.

people on bench men fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021At the lighthouse I walked down the path and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

There was plenty of excitement down there this afternoon. Today, we have two couples sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out to sea.

What they were looking at was difficult to say because there was nothing whatever going on out in the bay and across to Cancale this afternoon

There was also a couple of fishermen standing on the rocks down there with their rods and lines. But I didn’t wait here either to see if they actually managed to catch anything. I headed off down the path.

yacht les epiettes chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the path I came to the viewpoint overlooking the port and the chantier naval.

The yacht is still there, but the trawler Pescadore has gone back into the water. She wasn’t in there for very long.

In her place we have the little boat that is painted in French Government colours. She’s called Les Epiettes and we had a very close encounter with her when we were on board the Spirit of Conrad last summer.

She’s been hanging around the bay for quite a while subsequently and has been in and out of the port a few time, although I haven’t actually found out yet what she does.

joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was at the viewpoint overlooking the Chantier naval, I glanced over at the ferry terminal to see what was happening.

This afternoon we had a full house of Ile de Chausey ferries moored up over at the terminal. From left to right, we have the newer one of the Joly France boats with the smaller upper deck superstructure, and in the centre is the brand-new Belle France.

And then on the right is the older one of the two Joly France ferry with the windows in “landscape” format.

And they have finally collapsed the jib on the crane and folded it back up again after all of this time at full extension.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was on my way back home I was overflown yet again.

This time there was another helicopter going by overhead, a red one this time, different from the one that we saw yesterday.

Back home again I made myself a coffee and then sat down to do some work but instead I had a phone call from Rosemary and we had another lengthy chat, putting the world to right.

After our call finished, I went to make a curry with all of the bits and pieces that were lying around but I was interrupted by the nurse, and this injection was painful for a change.

While I was at it, I told him that I’d been notified that I have the right to a booster injection 6 months after my second injection, so that means with effect from any time now.

The information told me that a nurse can do it, so I asked him f he could administer it when he comes in 2 weeks time. He’ll bring one with him, he told me.

The curry was delicious, as was the scoop of ice cream that I had afterwards as I’d run out of soya dessert.

Now that my notes are complete I’ll have a little relax and then go to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow and I need to be on form. And then I have some errands to run in town tomorrow.

Friday 1st October 2021 – I’VE HAD AN EXCITING …

… day today. So much so that I’ve hardly done a thing of what I’m supposed to be doing.

It wasn’t very exciting at first though. The first job that I had to tackle was to get my entry from last night on line.

For some reason, access to my web host timed out last night every time I tried to access it, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went to bed.

The night was better than some that I’ve had just recently although I wasn’t too happy about being wide-awake at 06:40.

Nevertheless I waiting until the alarm went off, had my medication and then came in here to tackle a few tasks.

The web-host was still timing out and even clearing the cache and cookies on the (four!) different browsers that I use didn’t make things any better.

However I do have another browser that I don’t use too often, and for a variety of reasons too, but its big advantage (which at times is a big disadvantage) is that it automatically erases your browser history, cache and cookies and everything else on closedown.

On trying that, it worked perfectly (given its limitations) and I was able to upload the journal entry.

Then I had a rather onerous task to perform. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I was having some kind of issues about an insurance policy that I believed that I had and that other people disagreed.

Searching around in the apartment (and thank heavens that I have most of my papers filed neatly) I found exactly what I was looking for, so I sat down and wrote two letters.

Incendiary letters – the type that blister the paint off the walls of the office where they are opened – are two-a-penny around here, but the two I wrote today will probably beat most of those. And they were written in French too.

They will certainly provoke a reaction, although whether it will be the reaction that I want remains to be seen.

Writing those took much longer that it ought to have done because Rosemary rang me – not once but twice. She’s having difficulty dealing with a French administrative issue but because I can’t go into the site, I was unable to help her.

As a result, it was lunchtime by the time that I’d finished .

After lunch I had a shower (and my weight is now down to the lowest that it’s been for a good seven or eight months) and then headed off towards town.

baie de mont st michel joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I stopped to have a look down into the harbour.

From here, I could see that they are up to their antics with the crane again. Parked up, fully extended like that, at the worst possible angle for it to be. All of the weight on the arm pressing down on the hydraulic seals. They won’t last for long.

Down there underneath the crane moored at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats. The older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “landscape” format.

dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was here, I had a look down towards the chantier naval to see what was happening in there today.

No boats as yet, but there’s a much better view of the dredger that arrived here at the end of last week. And it’s definitely a dredger too, I reckon. We can see the grab quite clearly, and the pipework that discharges the waste water that the grab might pick up.

But when is she going to go into the water? And more importantly, where? They must have some task lined up for her now that she’s here, and I wonder what it’s going to be.

Time will tell.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So from there I wandered off down the hill towards town.

For a change, moored up underneath the crane is Belle France – the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey that arrived here in the summer. She won’t be loading, of course, so I imagine that she’s just parked there waiting for a more permanent mooring.

Into town, I went to the Post Office and posted my letters. Recorded delivery with registered receipt. I’m taking no chances. Mind you, I did include the bill for the postage and my time when I wrote the letters.

Whether the recipients will pay me, I really have no idea and I doubt it very much, but at least it’s a menacing gesture.

The walk up to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as exhausting as it has been. He put me for 20 minutes on this tilting platform thing and we went through several exercises to strengthen my knees.

Finally, he put me on this cross trainer thing and I managed to push my personal best up to 3:05 which is pretty good. Even more surprisingly, when I had a second go after catching my breath, I was so busy talking that I went well over 2 minutes without even noticing.

After he threw me out, I headed for home via the steps down to the Parc Du Val Es Fleurs.

soil parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t a weird collection of signs at the bottom of the steps this afternoon.

Instead of the signs, we now have a huge pile or two of soil now deposited at the end of the car park where they had set up their little compound, with the signs hidden somewhere behind it.

It looks as if the renovations are progressing quite rapidly. That pile of earth wasn’t there last week, and this week, some of it has been removed already and presumably scattered about somewhere over the course of the work

digger on abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And as for this beast here, I wonder if he’s the machine that moved it.

He was sitting on the abandoned railway line a short distance down from where everything was happening looking as if he was waiting for a signal from someone to go and do something else.

There was a driver in it and the engine was ticking over too, so he was clearly up to some kind of work.

But I didn’t wait to see. I continued on my way down past the Primary School to the corner of the Rue du Boscq.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the end of the road on the corner by the Rue du Boscq I asked myself if this is where the big pile of soil is going.

After all, they seem to have just about everything else here – piles of gravel, piles of sand, and that looks like soil down there right by the yellow digger.

At the moment this all looks like quite a mess but then it wasn’t actually very pretty here before the work started. It was a rather sad place. And so I’m looking forward to see how it develops over the next few months.

It has to be an improvement on how it used to be.

new roadway construction rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The reverse angle shot from where I was taking the previous photo already shows signs of dramatic improvement.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the Rue du Boscq in all kinds of different states but right now we can actually see signs of progress. The stones are all down by the looks of things and there’s just a little bit of building up to be done before they add the tarmac.

Last time I photographed this, with the grader and the compacter here, I made some kind of remark about the Trans-Labrador Highway. If this had been Labrador, all of the construction crews would have been long-gone by now and they would be running heavy lorries on it already.

filling road markers with water rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the far end of the roadworks there’s quite a bit of excitement going on right now.

They are obviously expecting a storm here this weekend, because being carried on that digger is a pallet tank of 1,000 litres of water and the guy in the red fluorescent jacket is opening the tap and filling the red and white road markers with water, presumably to weigh them down.

Of course, for an extremely complicated job like that, there had to be a supervisor, doesn’t there?

There was qute an interesting storm in the Avenue de la Libération when I walked past. There was a vehicle dropping off a passenger in the Place Marechal Foch right on the corner, not caring less that there were three or four vehicles waiting to turn into the square behind the.

As the next in the queue was a large lorry, he was too wide to pass in the inside lane and consequently the traffic was backed up right the way through the town centre as this one person leisurely took its time.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk back up the hill towards home was a little easier than it has been of late.

There were only a couple of times where I had to stop for my breath. One of those was at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The gates were now open and this trawler was setting out for the fishing grounds, rather later than the others.

She must be one of the lucky 50% of the local fleet that has been given a permit by the Channel Islands authorities. Whether the remaining 31 temporary permits will be finalised or whether they will join the ranks of the 75 who have been rejected remains to be seen.

marité chausiaise joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there catching my breath, I noticed that there had been a change in position of some of the boats.

On our way out, Belle France was moored over there underneath the crane, but now her place has been taken by Chausiaise.

Belle France is now moored down here next to one of the Joly France boats. This is the newer one of the two as we can tell by the small upper deck superstructure.

Also in the photo is of course Marité. She’s in port rather than being out on an excursion, which is probably logical now that the summer season has come to an end.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked further on up the hill, I noticed that there was something rather strange going on.

The trawler that we had seen earlier setting out to sea was now on her way back to port, like you do if you have forgotten your butties or your overcoat.

But instead of coming back into the harbour, she did a rather dramatic left-hand U-turn and headed off back out to sea, brushing along the harbour wall. And I’ve no idea what that was all about either.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And here’s something else about which I have no idea at all.

A few days ago I posted a photo of a workmen’s compound that had sprung up in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers, something that looked as if it might have some kind of connection to the electricity supply.

Although I have yet to see anyone working around there, we now seem to have acquired a large lorry and a digger, so it looks as if we are about to see some trench-digging beginning some time fairly soon.

That’s something else for us to monitor in the forthcoming weeks.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

Actually, there wasn’t all that much beach for people to be on this afternoon, and that’s probably why there weren’t all that many people on it. In fact I didn’t see a soul.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that I had intended to do this afternoon was to go and have a look at the builders’ compound that has sprung up in the Place d’Armes.

Instead however I fell in with one of the guys from the radio, we had quite a chat and I’m afraid that it totally slipped my mind. There’s always tomorrow.

Back here, I had a couple of things to do – including playing the guitar for the first time since for about ever. These days it’s very hard for me to summon up any enthusiasm.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, some veggie balls and the left-over pasta mix from last night. And I’m convinced that spicy food left to marinade for 24 hours improves its flavour considerably.

And then we had the football. Y Fflint v Y Bala.

Flint at one time were leading the league and with a front line of veteran striker Michael Wilde who is enjoying a resurgence wince his move, and Jack Kenny who I have always admired, it was no real surprise.

However they have gone off the boil just recently and were up against a Bala side that has always been a good, if inconsistent side that is enjoying a bit of a good run right now.

Most of the football was played in the Flint half and it was easy to see why – Bala were certainly the more skilful side.

However Flint caught them on the break with a good cross over to Michael Wilde to head home, and he almost had a second 5 minutes later when a powerful run, shrugging off four defenders, saw his shot strike the inside of the post but rebound to safety.

A couple of substitutions for Bala did the trick though. They wore down the opposition and scored twice later in the game to pull off a deserved victory.

Mind you, it ought not to have been. Bala scored one of their goals from a throw-in which absolutely everyone watching on the internet and in the ground except the linesman and the referee considered that it should have been awarded to Flint.

And where did I go last night? Mustn’t forget that. In fact I must have forgotten it because I remember almost nothing about this except that that there was some kind of special offer for families going for a 4-week speaking course in Welsh that was being offered as a taster. There was some issue about driving licences in these communities but that’s really all that I can remember.

So I’ll go off to bed and hope for a more memorable voyage during the night.

Wednesday 29th September 2021 – WITH REGARD TO …

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… that big pile of freight that we’ve been seeing on the quayside just recently, a nice freshly-painted Thora sailed into port this morning.

As you can see, all of the red equipment that was down there on the quayside has disappeared, presumably onto the deck of Thora. Also on there is the little blue shipping container that was on the quayside for a few days, and what looks like a shrink-wrapped speedboat.

The galvanised sheets are still on the quayside. There’s clearly no room to fit them on board so I imagine that they are waiting for Normandy Trader to finish her paint job at St Malo.

Last night, just for a change, I had a better night’s sleep. Still tossing and turning around of course and drifting in and out of consciousness but at least it felt better. Especially after an absence of far too long, Castor was somewhere about in my nocturnal ramblings.

A photo of Castor suddenly appeared on my social network timeline. She’d obviously been away and this was her parents – you could see their reflection in this glass window taking a photo of her now that she’d come back from somewhere, with some kind of comment underneath it. I typed a message underneath, basically ‘welcome home. It’s really good to travel away, see new people, make new friends, but it’s really nice to come back home”. I posted my comment but the situation moved round from there somehow and we ended up talking about my house in Gainsborough Road. The bottom end of the garden was now a vegetable garden and where I used to compost all of the lawn cuttings, everything, they had gone so I was posting messages about “regular readers of this rubbish will note that there’s something missing from this garden. What is it?”. this kind of thing and I don’t know how we got there from being with Castor.

But it’s really good to see Castor back on my nocturnal voyages again, even if it is only a photograph. What do I have to do to have a real appearance?

Later on, I was in Virlet last night and a group of us had gone up there. Someone had taken some of us in his car and we were working away doing all bits and pieces. I was on the ground floor and there were some people in the attic doing some work. When it was time to go most of them came down but one woman didn’t. The guy who took us told us that she had used the wrong size of bore in one of the pieces of wood. I couldn’t see why she was so upset so I went to look. A couple of other people came as well. They had been working putting nails or screws or hooks into a piece of wood. She was telling me about this piece of wood. It was actually one of the friends of Liz Ayers whom I only ever met twice, of all people. I told her that it wasn’t any matter. The shutters were looking really good. I’d varnished them the last time that I was there but I hadn’t seen them since they were dry. We talked about them for a bit. The guy who had taken some of us there went into the cupboard there and pulled out the file and went to write down his mileage so that he’d be reimbursed. 1 or 2 of the other people asked what about them? Shouldn’t they be reimbursed as well? I replied “everyone put your mileage down. Go on – it doesn’t make any difference to me.

Later still I was in my Escort van and I’d gone for a drive. I ended up somewhere near the seaside on the south coast. By this time I was running out of diesel. I’d been running on ceramic diesel (whatever that might be) and I couldn’t find a ceramic diesel petrol station anywhere. In the end I found one that had fuel in so we filled up with fuel and it came to just over £40:00. I managed to root around and find the cash. I drove into town and ended up with a few people from the radio. We were wandering round this building that looked quite impressive. It was brand-new. I wondered what it was going to be. We walked into a room at the end. There were quite a few people in there obviously testing it out for sound. I walked up to the top and could see immediately that it was a Court. I said my bit “The Jury has heard the evidence and now we await the verdict”. Everyone looked at me of course. Then I noticed that the Judge sitting at his bench couldn’t see the first couple of front rows where the press was sitting and 1 or 2 other people. I pointed this out but everyone said that it didn’t matter. I said “the press can still be in contempt of court as well and the judge has to observe them”. We had a good look round and it came to be time to go. We ended up with a huge pile of stuff that was on trolleys that somehow had to fit into my Escort van so we had to decide on a way to go back to the van. Some people though that it was quickest to go one certain way but it was all loose gravel. I thought that we would never get the trolleys down here. One of them tried but all of his stuff started to fall off so we decided to look for another way. He said something like “how am I going to get back home with all of this?”. I said “don’t worry. It’s all going in the van”.

After the medication I had a few things to do and then Rosemary called me. She’d seen a message that I’d posted last night and sent me a message to ask if she could speak to me today.

Her husband had had a lot of heart issues and after his series of operations he managed to survive another 15 years before succumbing so she urged me not to give up hope, which was quite nice of her.

Of course, my issues are somewhat different but it’s very nice to see some solidarity amongst British people. Since the days of “Every man for himself” that began in the 1980s, solidarity went right out of the window in the UK and that’s the one thing that I miss the most and one of the (many) reasons why I left.

As a result not only did I miss my morning coffee, I missed my breakfast too and I was almost late for lunch. I just can’t believe where the time goes.

After lunch I had a shower and a general clean up. And my weight, that had been slowly increasing over the last week or so, is now back down almost to where it was 2 weeks ago.

Still 5 kg to go before I reach my target weight and 10kg to go before reach my ideal weight but I have a feeling that I’m not going ever to get back to the heady days of Winter 2019. But at least it’s not ballooning out of control as it did three or four years ago.

At least, not for the moment. But if everyone wants me to slow down, not go for walks and all of that kind of thing, it’s a distinct possibility, although everything might be overtaken by events.

yacht zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Outside, although the sun was shining, the wind was blowing quite strongly.

Not quite the gale-force winds of earlier in the week but strong enough to make this yacht struggle as it tried to tack in towards the port de plaisance, with some men in a zodiac as spectators.

From the viewpoint on the corner in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I walked on down the Rue des Juifs where I noticed Thora at the loading bay so I stopped to photograph her and the load that she had on deck.

The walk through the town and up the hill to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as bad as it has been just recently and I’ve no idea why. I only had to stop three times to catch my breath instead of the usual nine of ten.

The physiotherapist was running late so he put me in the room by myself, showed me hoswto work the tilting platform thigs and let me run through a whole series of exercises all on my own while he caught up with some previous patient.

There was no-one around when the exercises finished so I let myself out and headed for home. I was going to stop at the supermarket for a cold drink to help me back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs but Bane of Britain had forgotten to bring his money, hadn’t he?

la grande ancre buddy m men working with fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back up the hill I had to stop several times to catch my breath.

One of the places where I stopped was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour where I was interested to see what was going on. The trawler Buddy M was still there as I expected, but she was now joined by La Grande Ancre.

Yesterday, I’d seen a fork-lift truck wrestling with some old steel cable, coiling it up to be taken away. Today there were some fishermen down there spreading out a very large fishing net with the aim of, I suppose, attaching it to the new steel cable that was also down there yesterday.

man fishing with net place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of fishing nets … “well, one of us is” – ed … here’s something interesting going on down at the water’s edge.

When I reached my building, instead of going inside I went over to see what was going on down on the beach, and this was what caught my eye.

We’ve seen him – or someone very much like him – before messing about in the water with a fishing net. And while the view from up here isn’t the best he doesn’t look as if he’s caught anything either despite the net – apart from several strands of seaweed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And then I carried on with what I had been aiming to do when I came over here.

Down on the beach there were actually a couple of people who looked as if they had actually been in the water for a swim. Well, good luck to them. It didn’t seem that warm this afternoon and in any case there was quite a wind that would be enough to cool anyone’s ardour.

Back in here I had my first coffee of the day, and then opened the letter that I received from the Hospital. Having galvanised them into action by telling them last time that my local doctor was leading from the front, they’ve now arranged a series of tests for me when I go there next time.

Of course, if they find something, then at least I’ll be in the right place for someone to be able to do something about it. But I’ll still take all of my papers from here with me too, and submerge them with paperwork.

Time goes quickly when you are enjoying yourself, and in no time at all it was time for tea. A burger with pasta and veg, followed by a soya dessert. Nothing special, but still very nice.

And tonight I’ve actually finished everything quite early so I’m going to make myself a drink. I think I’ve earned it. I have a day in at home tomorrow but a radio meeting tomorrow night. And i’m going to drive there, I’m afraid. I’d love to walk but I’m just not up to it right now.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

Wednesday 22nd September 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I’ve actually had a good day today. Not that I’ve done very much in the way of work, but I didn’t crash out. And any day when I don’t crash out is a good day today.

Not that going to bed early helped much, because, as you might expect, I was awake again at 05:20. It’s rather pointless, isn’t it?

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It started off with something somewhere about me having a twin VHS recorder and I was trying to copy films from one tape to another, but it was so long since I’d done it that I couldn’t remember and I wasn’t doing very well at this. I’d tried 1 or 2 but it didn’t seem to work so I was having to go away and sit and think about how I used to do it and try to do it again. I can’t remember much more than that.

Later on I was in Brussels and suddenly had a whim to go down to the Auvergne so I climbed into Caliburn and set off. It was rush hour of course so fighting my way around the ring road was something of a nightmare with all kinds of people doing all kinds of crazy things. Eventually I arrived. I don’t remember the journey and I don’t remember arriving but the next thing that I remember was that I was sitting in what I suppose was my living room on some comfy seat on castors that you could move around with your feet. There was a big roaring fire and Rosemary was there who had presumably lit the fire for me. Later on – because I dictated the first part and then afterwards stepped right back into the place where I left off, AGAIN! – there were 2 girls there and I had to show them how to use the bathroom and everything. I looked outside and it was snowing so I went to send a text to say that it was snowing but then I thought to myself that this can’t be real – in a dream as well! – because it was August. It was getting light so Rosemary who had now transformed herself into that woman whom I knew in Stockport wondered if she should make us all a cup of tea. I thought that that was a great idea. As it became light there was a couple of dogs flying around into the area and they met up with each other and started to fight.

This was actually one of the most realistic voyages that I have had and when I awoke I was all for immediately leaping into Caliburn and leaving Brussels for the south.

This morning I had a little relax and took care of a few personal things that needed attention, and then just as I was about to start work, Rosemary rang – by pure coincidence – and we had another one of our marathon chats that went on for ever – well, until lunch time actually.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off and then headed off to the physiotherapist

chausiaise buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we discussed the two cranes on the quayside and how one of them seems to have developed some nomadic tendencies of late.

It’s been off on its travels too since we last saw it. It’s now found a place on the quayside in between Chausiaise, the Ile de Chausey ferry, and Buddy M, the trawler that came over from Ireland the other day for a reason that I have yet to discover.

There’s plenty of traffic on the quayside too and I wonder why that is. Usually there’s no big issue about parking in the public car parks once the tourists have gone home and I’ve no heard of any big event going on in the town today.

trimming vegetation Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way downhill in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne on my way towards the Rue des Juifs, I noticed that at last they have started to trim the vegetation.

Usually, I’m all in favour of letting the vegetation grow as much as it likes without doing too much trimming but regular readers of this rubbish will have noticed from some of the blurrings on some of the photos, that the vegetation has grown so high that it’s been getting in the way of my photos and I’m not tall enough to photograph over it.

So I’m hoping that clearing the vegetation will improve my view and improve the quality of my photos. and they need all of the improvement in quality that they can get.

“And who are the 2E et 202E de Ligne?” I hear you ask. The answer is that the Second and Two Hundred and Second Regiments of the Line were the regiments that were stationed in the barracks here where I now live.

From the town centre I pushed on up the hill towards the physiotherapist, stopping more times than I would like or care to admit, in order to catch my breath.

building due for demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I came up to near the top, I stopped to have a look at what was happening to this building.

It used to be a hairdresser’s with apartments over the top but one day about a year or so ago an announcement went up in the window Fermé à cause de péril imminent – “closed on account of an immediate danger”.

A short while later I managed to wangle a view of the Order from the Préfet. The building was said to be in a dangerous, insalubrious condition with a list of faults in the apartments as long as your arm. In view of that, it was no surprise that they obtained an Order for eviction and closing of the premises.

notice of impending demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The building went up for sale a while back, but today I observed that there was a sign affixed to the window.

It seems that the building has now been sold and the new owners obtained planning permission 2 weeks ago to demolish the existing building and replace it with a building of 8 apartments with commercial premises on the ground floor.

This will be another worksite that we shall follow and see how things develop, or, in this case, how they redevelop.

At the physiotherapist he put me through my paces and I actually went for 2:08 in the cross trainer thing before I had to stop for breath. That’s about 20 seconds more than my previous best.

But the sad thing is that the cross trainer is not the street on which you walk. That’s an entirely different proposition.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy an energy drink to propel me up the hill on the way back. It was quite warm and sweaty and the drink was cold so that was even better.

cherry picker crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I stopped on several occasions to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing a cherry picker down there next to the crane that’s up at that end. It’s still there today, although it’s no clear what has been going on or what it has been doing.

The dark blue container by the crane is one that belongs on Mormandy Trader, by the way. She carries a few of them when she roams about, but on her last trip here (which was early Monday morning, by the way), she must have been fully loaded with other stuff.

windsurfers kayakers chateau de la crête baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up, I had another stop for breath and a sit-down to attack my drink and cool off.

Over in the distance I could see that the sailing school was in action again this afternoon but to my surprise, they aren’t yachts out there but windsurfers.

They must do a little of everything there, because there are a couple of kayakers too whom I could see.

Incidentally, they are in the artificial lagoon there. There’s a wall that traps some of the sea when the tide goes out so that the people on the beach don’t have to walk miles to the water when the tide is out.

setting up marquee rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that on Saturday I talked about the chicane in the Rue du Port.

As I walked back up the hill towards home I noticed that they now seem to be erecting a marquee down there now, and part of the car park at the Fish Processing Plant is cordoned off too.

So it looks as if maybe this weekend there is going to be an event taking place in the town, so I’ll have to prime myself for another walk.

It must be something to do with the Fish Processing Plant, I reckon, because there must be 100 places where they could set up a large marquee without having to interrupt all of the traffic in the Rue du Port.

The walk back up the final 100 metres of the hill wasn’t as bad as I was fearing although it would have been even better had I not been almost squidged by a car full of Bretons coming the wrong way down a one-way street.

peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went back to my apartment I went to see how they were getting on with the peche à pied seeing as by now the tide was miles out

Sure enough, there were quite a few people scavenging around on the rocks down there this afternoon taking advantage of the very low tide and hoping to see what they can find.

One or two people too down at the water’s edge, although I couldn’t tell if they were scavenging for shellfish or paddling in the water. The afternoon was quite nice right now, but it wasn’t that nice. Not for me, anyway.

beach plat gousset Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Of course it goes without saying that I went to have a look down on the beach.

Plenty of beach to be on, but surprisingly apart from the scavengers doing the pêche à pied, there weren’t too many other people there. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are closed so I would have thought that there would have been many more people down there making the most of our Indian Summer.

And I was correct about the disappearance of the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset. They were taken away yesterday morning, apparently. That probably means that the diving platform out at the Plat Gousset has gone too.

Back here in the apartment I hung out the washing and then made the dough for my next batch of fruit bread because I had the last slice this morning. And almost immediately that I finished, a neighbour came to see me and I had to go to talk to him for about 45 minutes.

After I came back there was just enough time to update a couple of earlier journal entries with the missing dream details before it was time to bake the bread.

While it was at it I stuck some potatoes and the last slice of pie in there, and then blanched the leeks that I’d bought on Monday ready for freezing.

Tea was pie with potatoes, veg, (leeks of course included) and gravy. It was very nice too.

And now that my delicious meal is over and my notes are written, it’s time for bed. Later than I was hoping. I have a whole day at home tomorrow so I’m expecting something to pop up at the last minute to disturb me.