Tag Archives: rue du midi

Monday 25th April 2022 – THAT WAS A NIGHT …

… that I would much rather forget. I’ve been having a few of these here and there as well just recently.

Although I was in bed last night at 22:30 ready for my 06:00 start, and feeling tired at that as well , by the time that 04:20 came round and I was still awake, I was thoroughly and completely fed up.

Even more surprisingly, when the alarm did go off at 06:00 I was up quite smartly too even if I didn’t feel much like it. And apart from a little wobble here and there just after lunch, I kept on going all day without really crashing out.

And the chances of that happening – well, not happening – are pretty remote as well the way that things have been just recently.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down and attacked the radio programme that needed preparing.

It was all up and running too at 10:45 and that was a surprise considering all of the interruptions that I had today. There was an early morning coffee, followed by breakfast followed by the nurse coming round early yet again to inject me with the Aranesp ready for my trip away at the weekend.

And having had a visit from the nurse, I had to ring up the doctor for an appointment. I need more Aranesp, having used the last lot, and I have to talk to him about my knee. Now that I’ve had the MRI scan and something has been discovered, I need to find out what is going to happen next.

As well as that, I need a blood test. They upped my medication when I was at the hospital just now, and I need to have the results ready for when I return next Thursday.

There were four radio programmes that I needed to verify today. I’m sending off two today because I won’t be here next Monday, and then there was the one that I prepared last week and never had time to verify, and then there was the one that I’d prepared today. And s much of the rest of the day was spent listening to them to make sure that they passed muster.

While that was going on I was working on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Right now I’m on board a zodiac in Flexure Bay off the coast of King William Island on my way to investigate a rather large pod of Beluga Whales.

There were several breaks in this task too. Firstly, I went for a shower. Secondly I had lunch and thirdly I went off for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First port – if you pardon the expression – of call was the wall overlooking the harbour on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

Our little game of Musical Ships is continuing this afternoon as well. Although the tide is in, L’Omerta is in with it, tied up at the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant. It must be her turn today.

There are two other boats in the photo too. The one in front looks as if it might be some kind of official boat judging by the colour, but I can’t make out the identity of the one behind her Whoever she is, she’s one of the inshore shell-fishing boats.

philcathane joly france yachts port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tide is actually quite well in right now and so one or two fishing boats are heading back to harbour.

This one coming in is Philcathane. Parked up at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries and the small upper deck superstructure makes me think that she’s the newer one of the two.

And there’s someone standing by the crane too, although there doesn’t look like any freight that needs loading aboard.

There are a couple of yachts out there in the bay behind her having a good sail around too, enjoying the nice weather.

repairing roofs rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route into town goes down the Rue des Juifs past the three houses that were devastated by the fire the other week.

There’s been a cherry-picker there for a couple of days with a few workmen in the nacelle. They are putting some kind of wooden framework up there to which they will be covering with a tarpaulin or two.

It’s quite important to keep at least the ones either side of the destroyed house covered in order to stop the elements doing even more damage than the fire has already done, but I think that te one in the centre, on which they were working as I went past, is beyond redemption.

The smell from the fire-damaged structure would be enough to put off anyone who might want to repair it, never mind anyone else.

swimming pool cranes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There’s more activity going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

There are two cranes that work the freight in the harbour and it looks as if they are having a conference this afternoon. And there are a couple of people in attendance too.

On the quayside is another pile of freight, including yet another swimming pool. That can only mean that one of the Jersey freighters will be coming into port quite soon to which it all away.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in town this afternoon so I had a pretty uninterrupted trip up the hill towards the physiotherapist.

She gave me an electro-massage on my knee and then had me doing a few exercises.

While I was there I cancelled my appointment for Wednesday as I’m at the doctor’s, and cancelled them for next week too as I’m on my travels again.

redecorated facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After she threw me out I headed back into town on my way home for my afternoon coffee.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of weeks we’d seen some scaffolding up against a building in the Rue Georges Clemenceau. Today, I noticed that the scaffolding has gone and we can see what they have been doing.

It’s the building down there that has the nice fresh blue edging. They have done a pretty good job of painting it and it looks quite nice now. I wonder when they are going to paint a few more to match.

fishing boat leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards home I walked past the port where I noticed one of the fishing boats heading off out to sea.

Unfortunately she’s not one that I recognise and with only having the NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens, I’m not likely to be able to enlarge it sufficiently to see its registration number.

Her colours are distinctive enough and I’ll certainly remember her if I ever see her again.

Around here while I was looking at the port I fell in with one of my neighbours on her way home and so we walked up the hill together putting the world to rights.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When we arrived at the building I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

Firstly, there wasn’t all that much beach to be on. Even so with the nice sunny weather I was expecting to see a few people down there making the most of it.

However, there weren’t all that many people there this afternoon. all I could see were a couple of people loitering around down there.

No-one in the water as far as I could see though. The weather wasn’t all that warm, I suppose.

fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was plenty of activity going on out at sea.

Even with the standard lens on the camera I could see quite a few boats out there in the bay, although I couldn’t see if they were fishing boats or pleasure craft.

But they were clearly busy so I left them to it and came back here where I bumped into yet another neighbour. It’s my day for being sociable today.

Back here I had a coffee and finished listening to the last of the radio programmes, and then I could see what was going on with the dictaphone.

At some point during the night I must have gone to sleep because there was some stuff on there that I had recorded. Three of us had booked rooms at a hotel (and there’s more to this story than meets the eye too). I’d specified a room next to the other two. I turned up at about 08:30. Of course it was far too early to take my room but I thought that there would be a consigne where I could leave the baggage but they were so busy at reception with people checking out and having breakfast that I had to wait around. Eventually someone came to take over from the night desk staff. We began to chat. He discussed my special requirements – I’d listed dozens of special requirements, some of which were quite silly but he went through them with me. We entered the lift but I’d forgotten half the stuff. There was some stuff that I didn’t know that I had to bring but eventually I collected everything together end we entered the lift. We went up to the 2nd floor but they were vacuuming there so we had to go up the the second-and-a-half floor and come down the stairs at the back in order to arrive at the consigne where I could leave my baggage.

And then I was living in Winsford again. There was a woman there with 3 small children, girls. They were round at my place. I was looking after them, taking turns to take them to the bathroom etc. They met Tuppence, my black cat. They were asking questions about her, how old she was. I said that she must be at least 20 now. They thought that that was wonderful. One of them had a cat that usually hid in a drawer. When she went to open the drawer of course it wasn’t there. Outside, between my house and the next-door neighbour’s I’d erected a suspension bridge. It looked absolutely magnificent. Everyone thought that it was great. I had to have the neighbour sign a liability waiver so that if anything happened to the bridge with him on it he wouldn’t sue me for it. We had an inspection of the bridge and in the end he signed the paper.

Tea was a stuffed pepper – there was one lying around – and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m surprised that I’ve kept on going so long. It just goes to show that I can do it when I want, even when I’ve taken one of those night-time pills.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Sunday 13th March 2022 – GONE!

la bavolette 2 philcathane chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And never called me “Mother”!

A short while ago I mentioned that I expected Marité to put to sea quite soon to find a port with some heavy lifting tackle that could lift her out of the water so that she could be examined for her passenger-carrying licence.

And so here she isn’t. In actual fact, according to my marine radar, she’s in Cherbourg. And that’s a new departure for her. usually she goes around to somewhere around the southern coast of Brittany

Instead, you’ll have to make do with views of La Bavolette II, Philcathane, Chausiaise and Joly France.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that has gone, and which is no laughing matter, is one of the houses in the Rue du Midi.

Yesterday evening it caught fire and it has been totally destroyed. There has also been considerable damage to the adjoining houses too and the situation just there isn’t at all healthy.

The smell of burning is appalling and my hat goes off to the fire crews who were still in attendance this afternoon clearing away the debris. All of the roads in the area are blocked off right now.

There is talk that one of the inhabitants of one of the houses is missing and I don’t know how the situation has developed since I last heard anything.

Last night, I was in bed round about midnight and finally staggered out of bed at 10:45. Not that it was a good night’s sleep either because I was off on a considerable amount of travels during the night.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you look at a couple more photos of the disaster, I’ll tell you where I went.

I started off picking a team at football for a primary school football match. It turned out to be extremely one-sided with one team winning 6-1. I took some good photos of a couple of the goals and wrote a little piece about it for the local newspaper. The team that had won had a couple of boys in it wo were only 10 as well instead of the usual 11 years old of a primary school football team but even so they were still far too good for the other team that was playing

And then there was a meeting going on at my place discussing photos. It had to take place on the quiet although I don’t know why. I didn’t want anyone to know exactly what was happening about it so everyone was being extremely discreet. In the middle 2 men walked in. They went round to the head of the bed and leant on it. They asked “where’s your car?”. I replied “you’re leaning on it” because it was parked right at the back of the head of the bed. They had a quick look round and there it was. They wanted to know where I’d been, who I’d seen and who I’d met. Of course I could only give them examples of one or two days because I’d been away. I was trying to think who it was that I was supposed to have met and why. I tried to make them give me at least a clue but they wouldn’t at all. I was completely flummoxed. I didn’t want them to know about these photos that we were discussing and I just couldn’t think of what could possibly be of any interest to them with the 3 or 4 people who might have been round at my house over the last week when I’ve been here and not in Leuven.

There were some people wandering around the building, a couple probably in their 50s. They were having a look round and suddenly they stuck their head through my window in my apartment. I walked up to them and said “you don’t look through the window of someone else’s apartment” so they blushed and stammered. They started to ask me a few questions about the apartment. They seemed to be nice people so I invited them in and while I was working at whatever it was that I was doing , just then Tuppence came into the living room and to my surprise she allowed herself to be picked up and stroked. Then Sweep (Tuppence was my cat from years ago and Sweep was one of the kittens that Nerina and I had) came in and the woman did the same to her, picked her up and started to stroke her so I said “it looks as if you are stopping here”. They asked about the empty flat and had another look around mine. I gave them certain information but didn’t mention the price because that’s a personal thing

fire engine rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I started off interviewing Brian Jones for the radio. He turned out to be someone whom I liked very much. I admired his sense of humour, his wit and his outlook on life after leaving the Stones. Eventually I became his driver and we became a very good team together. Gradually he evolved into Stuart Jones … “do you mean Mick Jones?” – ed … of The Clash – I can’t remember who exactly. he was talking about all of the solo concerts that he was doing etc. he was someone who was very simple and straightforward and would play gigs with just a couple of people at small venues – he didn’t need to make a name for himself. He played at a Clash reunion and burst into tears at the end after playing a couple of solo songs of the Clash. Then there was a story about a song that he had heard. Someone sent him a song to hear. After he went home I went round to a museum where I knew someone who was working who knew about this song. Instead I ended up in an aero engine place and I asked about a certain type of aero engine. When I mentioned a German name they said that I couldn’t see it because it was under development, which surprised me so I went back again and asked for this German guy. They couldn’t find him so I went into the engine secretary. They told me that I was out somewhere in the vicinity but I couldn’t get to see him. I tried to find out where so that I could follow him round but I couldn’t manage to do it.

And then I was in a remake of that British comedy film that had McDonald Hobley in it and there was an Indian or an Arab. It was the one with the magic carpet in it and was out in the British Empire in India or Africa with Spike Milligan and Jim Dale and a few other people. It was a surreal film with the idea of people going back to their regiment to spy on the situation and development in the Middle East somewhere. It was all extremely surreal and someone who was excluded from the meeting tried to sneak in but was set on by people with scimitars and all that kind of thing. In the middle of the meeting they all had to stop for tea and because they were British they had to stop for breakfast because it was now breakfast on British hours, all that kind of total surreal comedy type of stuff that took place.

That film started off with the Americans refusing to deal with the British because the British were using substandard Russian scrap steel in their steel fabrication in the Middle East, simply allowing Russian lorries loaded with scrap onto the plant to go straight into the smelter and tip instead of tipping outside the smelter and sorting the stuff so the Americans had no reliance on the metal that the British were producing because of the substandard quality of the scrap. That film was called something like “A Miracle Called Yes” or “A Miracle Called Vest” dated 1964

So in this film there were several of us. There was me, a major, a couple of woman and a young girl had made it so far somewhere in the Straits of Gibraltar where we were holed up in a cave. The young girl seemed to have fallen for the major and this was bound to create problems because the major was drinking and was most unreliable. I had to radio a report so we had to wait there until just before dawn when we’d be picked up and taken away. They sent a boat to pick up the major to take him to the camp where he would be court-martialled. This led to quite a scene between this young girl and the major. I had to order her to stay put while I took him down to get on this boat. I was told that I had to stand by at 04:00 when there would be a radio call to summon us to a meeting by radio. In the meantime we’d have to stay there and make the best of whatever we could until we were sent for. One of the older women who was there was well-aware of the situation and realised what kind of complication all this is going to do and will jeopardise our whole mission just because this major couldn’t keep his hands off the bottle and the women.

And then we were back in the war again last night, defending Nantwich. For some unknown reason the attack was coming from the North. We’d dug in and we had a pile of old anti-tank weapons and were busy shooting up tanks as they came towards us. At one stage ammunition was running low but we managed to find a couple of captured ones and a box of 50 rockets so we were able to equip ourselves and hold out again for another while, brewing up tanks as they came towards us. We thought that there was no reason why we couldn’t hold out for ever here because the infantry was very reluctant to come and engage us while we were busy knocking out all of their tanks

Finally, my mother was looking after the twins again. We had a look and she was receiving almost £160 per week for looking after the 2 of them. It wasn’t easy because there were 2 enforcement notices on them, one on each one. One had killed a man and I don’t know what the enforcement order was for the other. It was extremely difficult and time-consuming to look after them both. Somewhere in this my brother was working in a shop that was having a lot of trouble because someone was off sick. I’d gone in there, wearing 2 pairs of socks so I took off 1 pair. I’d been helping them out and I asked if they needed me to come in tomorrow but they replied that they would be OK. They did ask if I could help them out by paying my brother’s wages for them until they were straight. That would be a good help so I decided that I would go round the next day. I came out of the Co-op which was where the old Ritz Cinema used to be and worked my way down Market Street, out and around the front into Victoria Street where his shop was but I couldn’t remember which door it was that one went into to enter the shop. Later on, I was working on a trailer. He came over to me and said ‘have you ever wondered what the girls do when they are watching us and we aren’t noticing?”. “No” I replied so he started to tell me some kind of story about our youngest sister but he didn’t get very far into it.

After the medication I came back in here and paired up the music for the next radio programme on which I’ll be working. And I do have to say that some of the joins are excellent. And so they should be, given all the practice that I’ve had.

After lunch, I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and as you can imagine, that took most of the afternoon. Mind you, I did have a pause for half an hour or so while I mixed up some dough for the bread for next week. And it seemed to mix quite nicely too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk to stretch my legs.

The different perspective of the photo of the beach this afternoon will tell you that instead of going around the headland, I went for a walk around the medieval city walls

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now but there was still enough beach for someone to take his dogs for a good play around down there.

And there were other people down there too but they were out of shot.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And as usual, I was having a good look around out at sea this afternoon too.

No big ships out there right now but instead we had a couple of yachts and a cabin cruiser having some kind of danse macabre out there in the Baie de Granville.

Although it was cloudy and overcast, the view was quite good and although you can’t see it in this shot, the island of Jersey was quite clearly visible, although not clear enough to distinguish the individual buildings.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022“Cloudy and overcast” I said just now.

And there were several storms brewing out at sea. The Ile de Chausey is quite clear this afternoon, but just to the west of it is quite a menacing black storm building up and heading this way. And in actual fact, while I was out a few minutes later, it arrived.

The little cabin cruiser out there in the bay probably received it first before I did, and I bet that the crew knew all about it as well.

And so I cleared off down the path towards the walls.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As we wander off along the walls we come to the place where for the last few months they have been carrying out repairs.

What with my state of health being as it is, I didn’t feel up like going down to the lower level of the steps. Instead I stopped at the top of the steps to take a photo of what they had done so far.

We can see a little better today than we did the last time that we were here and we can see that they have a considerable way to go before they are going to be finished at this end of the wall. And the two huge cracks are going to take some repairing if they are going to hold up.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When we were here a few months ago we noticed that they had actually demolished the wall right down to street level.

They have now built it up to the height that it was before and by the looks of things the job that they have done isn’t too bad although at the moment the pointing is somewhat hit-and-miss.

By the pile of stones here they still have some work to do, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it will look here when they have finally finished it off.

And the five tonnes of water in the containers on the scaffolding have done the job of holding the scaffolding down in all of the storms that we have had.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Here on the outside of the walls, we can see the join where the rebuilt wall meets the repointed wall lower down.

It might not be aesthetically pleasing how they have done it, but it’s a vast improvement on how it was before they started and it might even hold up.

And so I headed off through the arch and down the path underneath the walls to continue on my walk, dodging the piles of cyclists who were disturbing the peace and upsetting all of the pedestrians and who think that the path belongs to them.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down at the end of the path here is a viewpoint that overlooks the beach and the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

Surprisingly there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. Although it was quite cloudy and threatening rain, it was quite warm again for the time of year and no reason at all why people shouldn’t be going for a stroll.

However, as we saw in an earlier photo, they were all in the Rue des Juifs looking up at the burnt-out house on the walls.

On the way back home I passed the guy who takes his cat for a walk and we had a chat, and then I went to inspect the damage for myself.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I said that I would take a photo of the bike shed when I see a bicycle in it.

They also know that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages, and here we have two for the price of one – a bicycle parked in the bike shed and a car that has decided that it would like to park there too regardless of the fact that the space is presumably reserved for bicycles.

A little earlier, I mentioned about cyclists thinking that they own the place. Well, car owners can have their moments too, can’t they?

Back here, I gave the bread another kneading and put it in its mould. And then rolled out the lump of dough that i’d taken out of the freezer earlier and had now defrosted.

That went into the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022later on, I put the bread dough into the oven and then assembled my pizza ready to bake it when the bread was finished.

And here are the finished results. The bread is baked to perfection by the looks of things and the pizza was one of the best that I have ever made, even though I forgot to put the olives on, as I discovered later.

After I’d eaten the pizza I tidied up and came back in here to finish my notes. Now that they are finished, I’m going to bed shortly. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to make.

The nurse should be coming to inject me too and I have my physiotherapy session in the afternoon too. It doesn’t take long for the cycle of activity to start up again.

Sunday 17th January 2021 – HERE ARE …

home made bread vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today’s culinary offerings, all fresh out of the oven.

Yes, I’ve been a very busy boy today, even though I didn’t feel very much like it.

What we have is a loaf of bread of course, a vegan pizza ditto, and as an extra special treat a rather overdone (unfortunately) jam roly-poly for pudding next week.

Firstly, as for the pizza, I forgot the tomato sauce so I had to make my own. Three tomatoes were whizzed around in the whizzer and strained to remove the worst of the liquid. The mush was then put back into the whizzer with some concentrate from a tube, some oregano, basil and tarragon and all whizzed up into a purée.

The jam roly-poly is rather different. A mug and a half of flour, half a sachet of yeast some salt, a little sugar and a dab of oil, and make a dough like you would for a pizza.

Leave it to proof for a while and then knead it and roll it out with the rolling pin into a large square. Spread with jam, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and roll it up. And then leave it for an hour or so.

Finally, dust with cinnamon, brush with milk, sprinkle with brown sugar and then cook. I had to cut mine in half to fit in my oven, but here we are – pudding for next week.

That’s not the best of it though.

It’s Sunday with no alarm but even so I was up and about by 09:00 and by 11:15 I’d steam-cleaned the apartment, taken a load of rubbish outside and had the place looking nice and respectable – something that I never thought I would be able to manage.

Liz and Terry promptly turned up, bang on cue, and now I have a major problem because the frozen hot-cross buns that they brought have caused my freezer to have a major overflow and now the rather inefficient icebox in the fridge has had to be pressed into service

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a coffee we went for a walk around the walls in the gale-force winds.

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t like coming around the walls in the afternoon – you see the sun shining off the roof of the Casino and yet the Plat Gousset is in deep shadow from the cliffs. Trying to balance this lighting is what one might describe as “extremely challenging”.

Still, once we were out of the wind we had a pleasant walk in the sun across the Square Maurice Marland, watching the picnickers enjoying their food. And I don’t blame them at all.

pipe markings rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times just recently the weird hieroglyphics painted on the street, presumably something to do with all of the pipework that they will be doing.

The alleyway that cuts through the Rue St Michel where they are currently working terminates in the Rue du Midi and here’s a good example of what I mean. It’s all quite graphic, isn’t it?

So having noted that, we pushed on home because it was lunchtime. Liz had made some leek and potato soup the other day and had plenty left over so she had brought it round. We had soup and bread (she brought some bread too) followed by fruit and mint tea.

After they left, I started on my cooking and while it was all a-doing I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Even though I didn’t have a great deal of sleep I had been on my travels and gone for miles during the night. A whole group of us was together and we were listening to a programme on the radio – a live broadcast of a court case in New York due to start at 07:45 so we had everything all ready and settled down and turned on the radio and it was Kenneth Horne on “Round the Horne”. We were all extremely disappointed because we had been looking forward to this. It was on a Friday and we didn’t have the paper any more with all of the times on it from the previous weekend so we carried on doing some kind of ordinary stuff and the chat came round to something about times and I suddenly realised that if I was saying 07:45 in New York it wouldn’t be 07:45 UK time but USA time and that would explain the difference. We ended up waiting for a bus in the West Midlands somewhere, watching all these buses go past, including a weird single-decker towing a refreshment trailer with people inside having coffee. This went past about 3 or 4 times. Our bus turned up and we clambered aboard and went upstairs. One of the people with us was Liz Ayers or someone resembling her. There were a load of kids all messing around at the front so she went up to them and gave them a lecture, like any teacher would have done to a pile of children. Of course everyone was astonished by this including some of the kids who were sitting somewhere else but she bawled them out. In the end they all settled down quietly and we carried on. Back in the house there was a large number of us getting ready for tea. I was a bit late – everyone had started. Something came on the radio and I remembered that 1 of the girls had wanted to hear something so when I went down to get my tea I said to the girl “such and such a programme is on the radio now”. She asked “why are you telling me?”. I replied “I thought you asked them to tell you”. “No, that’s Helen” she replied, pointing to a girl whom I didn’t know sitting at the table. I told her and then I had to sit down and had to find my meal because there were dozens of meals on this table and none of them particularly corresponded with any seating position. I tried to work out which meal was mine but it was extremely difficult.

Later on I was on holiday with Castor. We’d been driving around Europe in the car. We’d been out for 3 or 4 days and been to a couple of places and seen a few things. Suddenly, she asked me “Eric, do you know how to have fun? Do you know how to party?”. I had to admit – I said ‘no I don’t” which is perfectly true (and it is too – I have no idea how to do these in real life). We had along discussion about the holiday and so on. “Maybe it’s my fault” I said. I pointed to an ruined old church, an Eastern European type church. “See that?” I asked. “We’re in Brasov in Romania at the moment. Perhaps it’s me – maybe I don’t explain things properly. If you want to go to see something like that somewhere we’ve passed through you have to say ‘let’s go and have a look at that’ – you don’t just have to sit there and come with me. You can make suggestions, all this. You can say anything, like ‘how far are we from Bucharest’ and ‘why don’t we go here?’ “. “Yes” she replied ” but no-one knows all the old stories about these places like you do”. Our chat carried on and I tried to make some sense of what was happening.

Later still, I was in Crewe and I had to catch the bus back to Shavington. I had my suitcase and I’d taken so long over this meal, and that was an event too. The café was small, crowded and the seats were jammed up against each other and difficult to find a place to sit. In the end I found a place and a woman sat with me. We had a quick meal and something, and when she got up to go she began to berate the staff about the untidy place and all this, the lack of room. I thought that this was most unfair considering the conditions under which they were working. Then I thought “God, I’d better get a move on or I’ll miss my bus”. I had to go up to the counter and pay. It was £2:50 for a plate of beans on toast and a couple of drinks which I thought was really good value. I only had my card so they gave me the machine. I had to be careful because this was the kind of place where you hide your PIN while you were tapping it in. When I left I thought “I have 5 minutes to go and fetch my suitcase and go and catch my bus. Should I stay at the hotel an extra night, or catch the next bus or should I go on this bus and come back in a car to fetch my luggage?”. I thought that the taxis would be busy because it’s Saturday so coming back might be difficult. In the end I went on the bus and got to Shavington and walked down the street. Of course, all the cars were out. I thought then that I’d better go back on the bus and get my luggage. Then I saw a couple of young girls moving around the house so I thought that I’d go in. So I went in and everyone was pleased to see me. Someone said “I’m sorry about your luggage stuck in New York. We heard the story”. I didn’t understand that at all. One of my sister’s children started to talk that everyone had been up Big Ben. I spoke to her about it and we had a chat. There was my youngest sister there also so we had a bit of a chat as well.

There was much more to it than this too – a whole voyage as well but as you are having your tea right now probably I’ll spare you the gory details.

So now that tea is finished, I’m off to bed. Despite the short sleep and the full, busy day I’ve managed to keep going. But I don’t want to push my luck. There’s still plenty to do.