Tag Archives: rue lecampion

Sunday 7th August 2022 – IT WAS JUST AS WELL …

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… that I decided not to go out today on this trip to see the high tides.

While you admire a few photos of Marité coming into port this afternoon after a trip around the bay, I was still awake at 03:00 this morning not even in the least bit tired. Nowhere near going to bed at all, despite all of the efforts that I expended in coming home yesterday.

That is what comes of crashing out like I did late yesterday afternoon. It was about 03:30 when I finally crawled into bed last night – or rather, this morning – and I still wasn’t all that tired.

Mind you, I must have gone to sleep quite quickly because there was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night and it started quite early.

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was something rather indecent written on a wall about something that I’d been up to in the days of my youth with a young lady. Someone had appended some notes to it that attracted a lot of attention. When I went to see it, none of these allegations were actually true (which they aren’t of course – they related to a friend of mine in real life) but that didn’t alter the fact that these allegations are there so I just simply left them there and ignored them but they seemed to be gathering rather a lot of momentum and people were asking me what I was going to do about it. It was very difficult for me to give an answer because I didn’t know how I was going to silence these rumours even though there was no truth whatever in them because you can’t really counteract an anonymous posting in this respect. I’d actually gone there to do something else involving a bucket of water and I had my hands full with this bucket of water at the time as well which meant that I was even less able to do anything about it.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I was dismantling equipment. I had a little workshop set up that was slowly getting itself organised. My brother had one the same but there had been a load of trouble at his workshop and needed some people to go in to refit it. The floors needed re-doing, everything like that. I went in and there was a group of us there. We did what we could but there were a few things that didn’t work. One was some kind of machine where the carburettor needed dismantling so I was working out how to dismantle this carburettor. I wasn’t easy – it wasn’t like a normal one. It was more like one of these Victorian tube ignition things. I was dismantling it and I had a pile of screws and nuts in my hand. There was a little girl helping me so I asked her to fetch a drawer out of one of these little tiny drawer unit things that you use for keeping nuts and screws. She did but it had stuff in it so I tipped them into something else and put these screws and everything into this drawer and told her to find a little piece of paper and write “carb” on it so we know that it’s where the carburettor goes. Someone said “you like working in this workshop, don’t you?”. I replied “I like working in mine much better”. Then someone came by and tried to hold everyone up, wielding a hammer around. He wanted money. I leapt of the top of this workbench at him but I missed. He had some kind of foam spray that he sprayed on me. He added water and it expanded but the aerosol can was still stuck to my jacket so I was able to beat him to death with this can attached to my jacket just by flailing my jacket around and that was that.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a violent dream like this.

man diving from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire the folk on the diving platform, I was back at home, talking to my Scottish friend. She rang me back later and said that due to a change of plan she’d actually finish work Friday evening. I said that if she could grab a bus, to come down for the weekend. “I can find you a bed” but I added quite quickly something like “don’t worry, your principles won’t be compromised” because of course she’s extremely religious. There was something about a really idle young boy who wouldn’t do anything. We’d installed an air vent with a metal grille in a wall somewhere. The grille was just vertical slats. They were before a judge somewhere trying to talk about him over things that he’d done or not done. I asked the judge if he could paint these metal slats in this ventilation grille for me. They all couldn’t see why not but it was up to him whether he wanted to do the job

people jumping from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Then another dispute arose about the arrival of camp beds. We wanted 4 camp beds for something but it took us a while to convince some distant member of the family that that was what we needed. In the end they agreed to bring them so I went to change into winter clothes including a pair of winter tights so that I could work outside in the winter when they turned up. They had only brought these beds and not a few other bits and pieces that had been asked, and no car batteries. With no car batteries we couldn’t finish the cupboard that we were building inside the corner of one of the rooms. We found out that it was someone else who was supposed to be bringing the batteries but they had gone out so I had to lift these 4 bunk beds with all the noise and everything in the cold. The only one who would help me was some woman, 50, who had driven this car round who looked as if she was dressed like a scout patrol leader or something

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while you admire a couple of photos of the crowds on the beach, I’d also had a chat with some kind of accommodation director at an army barracks about some double flats. His basic response was that if I don’t like the way that things are run I can jump into the fire alongside the flats which I thought wasn’t very polite.

Going back to this military dream again there was some issue about a couple of yachts that were in a basin but then in the middle of dictating this I fell into a deep sleep and I was then treated to 18 minutes of snoring and I’m sorry, Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting your word when you told me that I snored in my sleep.

Despite not having gone to bed until 03:30 I was awake by 09:30.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That’s not the same thing as saying that I was out of bed though.

You’ll have to wait until 10:40 or thereabouts before I finally saw the light of day and then I went off for my medication.

That was followed by working on the music for the radio programme on which I’ll be working on Monday. It’s another good batch of music and the joins have turned out really well.

There’s even a good speech that I managed to track down for my guest and that should bring a smile to the face of everyone who understands it.

After lunch I went and had a wade through all of the … GULP! … 42 photos that I took when I was on my travels. I’ll have to transcribe all of the dictaphone notes at some point and then update the blog entries, along with the entries for when I was in Central Europe that I still haven’t updated yet.

Yes, I’ve let things slide rather a lot just recently and I need to pull myself together.

cap pilar baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway, I trotted out for my afternoon walk around the medieval walls, but I was detained by having seen Marité coming into port on the tide.

Other things were coming into port as well from out in the bay, including the trawler Cap Pilar.

But what caught my eye about her was her rather strange “bow down” position as she came around the headland, almost as if her for’rard hold was flooded. There can’t be that much fish in her to make her trim like that.

So having seem Marité come safely into port, I wandered off for my walk around the walls.

tent on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You’ve already seen several photos of the crowded beaches and the sea this afternoon.

No surprise there because it really was a nice if somewhat windy day today. But I’m not sure why you would need to bring a tent down to the beach today.

For all of the people around there wondering what was going on after the owners had erected it, they must have thought that the excitement was … errr … intense.

Far too intense for me of course, in my state of health. I wandered off down the Rue du Nord on top of the medieval city walls.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last God-knows how long, the wall around here has been sheathed in scaffolding.

But today, I noticed that it had all gone. So much for the workman telling me a few months ago that they will be here for a year.

What with the way that my health is right now, I wasn’t up to going down to the foot of the steps to see the finished results so instead I pointed the camera over the top and had a play with the exposure time.

And I do have to say that I am really quite impressed with the job that they have done. It really does look well and I hope that they can do the rest of the wall to make it look like this.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that here a little further along in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they completely dismantled … “disPERSONtled” – ed … it all the way down almost to ground level.

They rebuilt it right up afterwards and you really can’t tell that it was completely taken apart.

There was a flying scaffolding here too weighed down with 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks. The scaffolding turned up overnight last Summer and it did really well to survive all of the storms that we had in the meantime.

There’s an arch a little further on where I can pass outside the walls and walk along the path underneath the walls. In the days of my youth I used to run down there but these days it’s more of an undignified totter.

street musicians place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path goes past the viewpoints overlooking the diving platform and the beach at the Plat Gousset where I took a few photos, and then I pushed off further along the path.

There’s quite a lot of entertainment going on in the town today and I’d been hearing music. And what caught my eye as I peered down the Rue Paul Poirier was a group of musicians marching up and down the Rue Lecampion into the Place Charles de Gaulle and back again.

Some of the streets are blocked off too for pedestrians only so it looks as if it’s the braderie today, when the shops have a sale to dispose of all of their surplus stock to make more room for the new fashions.

They’ll be setting their stalls out, both literally and figuratively, outside their shops in the street and on the pavements.

seagull chick rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it I wandered off down through the Square Maurice Marland.

All of the roofs in the Rue Des Juifs have been covered with seagull nests and many proud mothers have been rearing their chicks through the early summer. Many of them are now pretty autonomous and are hanging around on their own, just like this one.

But as for the Square itself, it’s looking like a very sad and sorry shadow of itself with the burnt grass and dust-bowl conditions. But you can tell which are the native plants and which are the cultivated ones because it’s the former who seem to be doing better in these drought conditions.

fete des soudeurs port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This weekend it has been the Fête des Soudeurs, a festival where all of the local blacksmiths set up their smithies around the town perform in public, with a few musical performances here and there as accompaniment.

It’s all quietening down now but there is still some music and according to one of my neighbours they are auctioning off some of the artefacts.

These days I seems to be having quite a few interactions with my neighbours. This afternoon I was walking around on top of the cliffs looking down into the sea when I fell in with the young guy from the top floor and we had quite a chat.

Back here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night and then rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer a few hours earlier and put on one side to thaw.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The pizza dough was put into the pizza tray to proof and then when it was ready I assembled the pizza and put it on the oven to bake.

It was another delicious one but I reckon that I need a new sharp knife to cut the base because the one that I’m using is struggling to fight its way through the base. Maybe I ought to slice it in future and then eat it with my fingers.

So having now finished my notes, I’m ready for bed. It’s a 06:00 start in the morning to make a start on the radio programme that I’ll be preparing and the way that things are right now, it’s not going to be easy.

So here’s hoping for a better night than those that I’ve been having just recently.

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

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.

Wednesday 19th May 2021 – YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING …

… about why it’s taken me so long to put my notes of today’s travel on line.

The truth is that last night with 164% of my daily total of effort recorded on my fitbit, I crashed out completely at about 21:15 and crashed out properly too – in bed under the bedclothes and out like a light. I vaguely remember waking up again at about 23:20 but that was my lot until 05:20 the following morning.

And that’s another mystery, isn’t it? Whenever I do go to to bed really early I can’t seem to make the most of it and end up waking early, except on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago.

But returning to our moutons, as they say around here, Wednesday is the day that I travel to Leuven. I was up and about at 06:00 as usual as the first alarm went off.

First task was to make myself a coffee, and then make a thermos flask of coffee for the journey. Those water bottles that we received for our expeditions on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR really are the business.

Making my sandwiches and so on for breakfast and lunch was next, the sourdough and the ginger beer needed feeding too so I attended to that. It will be interesting to see if there’s another eruption of the sourdough while I’m away. To be on the safe side, I’ve put the jar in a bowl to stop it going everywhere.

Having done a few more bits and pieces I headed off down the road towards the railway station, realising after about 200 yards that I’ve forgotten to pack any clean clothes. Too late now to do anything about it now.

people on terrace rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the town I noticed a few changes hat have taken place since I was last here. Cafés can now open their terraces to the general public.

Many of the city centre cafés don’t have terraces of course but the local council has given them authorisation to set up ad-hoc terraces on the street in front of their premises. And even though it’s a cold, damp 08:15 or thereabouts on a midweek morning, there are a few clients who couldn’t wait to sample the delights of which they have been deprived for so long.

Draymen too delivering beer barrels and crates too. That’s a welcome sign too.

But I still think that it’s far too early to be opening up like this with casualties the way that they are. I can’t help having the feeling that it’s as if the Government has given up the fight against containing the virus and relying on the vaccination programme. This is all going to end in tears.

beach cabins on lorry cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there are other more positive signs of summer too, as I noticed further along at the junction in the Cours Jonville.

As I waited to cross the street one of the Council lorries pulled up in front of my. It was pulling a trailer and was loaded up with the beach cabins off the Plat Gousset.

At the end of the season the cabins are taken off the promenade to keep them safe in a compound in the Council’s maintenance depot. They don’t leave them on the promenade through the winter

Regular readers of this rubbish who will recall having seen the winter storms smashing their way onto the promenade at high tide will not be surprised by this. Coming back at the start of the season and finding a pile of matchwood waiting for you isn’t the way to run a seaside resort.

gec alsthom regiolis 84555 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the railway station my train was already in and waiting for me so I could go and find my seat and sit down. And that was just as well because with not feeling very well, the walk up there had thoroughly exhausted me.

It was only a 6-car unit too – just one of the GEC Alsthom Regiolis sets that we usually have – so it was pretty crowded this morning. I had a companion sitting next to me, but that didn’t stop me sleeping for the first part of the journey.

The rest of the journey was spent updating the laptop. This morning before setting out I copied onto a memory stick the files that had been updated on the big computer since my last trip to Leuven. I have one of these tiny 64GB memory sticks attached to my keyring which I use as I travel about to copy files from one computer to another.

The Gare de Montparnasse was still quite empty – full life hasn’t yet returned to Paris (and quite right too) – and it was easy to find a seat on the Metro train to the Gare du Nord. I always walk down to the end of the platform at railway stations because I’ve noticed that the crowds seem to congregate at the middle so the ends of the trains are usually much more empty.

At the Gare du Nord there were very few people around yet again so I took full advantage by buying another carnet of 10 tickets. I seem to be going through them quite quickly these days.

TGV Reseau Duplex 216 gare du nord paris France Eric HallAs I arrived upstairs at the terminus where I catch my train, a train from Lille pulled in and I reckoned that this will be mine going back out again.

We won’t be allowed on it for quite a while because they have to clean it thoroughly these days before we can get back on, so I spent the time looking around. I can tell you a little about my train while we are waiting.

It’s one of the old TGV “Reseau Duplex” double-deckers that they use on high-volume routes. The first time that I had travelled on one was a few years ago when I went from Lyon to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on my way to Montreal, and doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago, the way things have been this last year or so?

sncf locomotive 522228 class bb 22200 gare du nord paris France Eric HallWhile I was looking around I came across this beautiful machine.

Anyone who has travelled on an express train in France before the days of high-speed high-capacity multiple-units will have been on a train pulled by one of these. It’s locomotive 522228, one of the class of BB22200 locomotives that flooded the SNCF network back in the old days and are the epitome of French long-distance travel.

The Nez Cassées or “Broken Noses” began to be introduced in 1975 and a total of 205 were introduced. Some of them have even been timed at travelling in excess of 200 kph. But in 2012 they began to be withdrawn for breaking and that marks the end of this era of traditional travel. And that’s a tragedy

TGV Reseau Duplex 215 gare du nord paris France Eric HallEventually the details of our train were posted up on the board so we could all swarm down to platform towards our seats.

As you might expect, mine is down at the far end of the train, which I suppose isn’t too bad because it means that I don’t have so far to walk at Lille Flandres. It’s a train of two-units coupled together and, surprisingly, we have two units of consecutive numbers.

This wasn’t quite as full as the rain on which I’d come from Granville so I had no neighbour. I could eat my lunch in comparative comfort and read my E-book.

It’s a book written in 1918 and talks about the early history of flight, AIRCRAFT AND SUBMARINES: THE STORY OF THE INVENTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND PRESENT-DAY USES OF WAR’S NEWEST WEAPONS by Willis J Abbot and makes several claims about powered flight taking place before the Wright Brothers but by people other than the usual suspects Gustave Whitehead and Richard Pearse.

It’s a fascinating read about submarines because there is little research that has been done into the German U-boat campaign of 1914-18 compared to what was done in the Second World War and the massive tomes of CLAY BLAIR

Interestingly, there’s an obscure reference in Abbot’s book to the fate of the Hunley – the world’s first killer submarine. He says that divers a couple of years after the end of the American Civil War found it still embedded in wreck of the Housatonic, although no mention of that was made when Itzé and I WENT TO VISIT THE HUNLEY after it had been recovered.

Our train pulled into Lille Flandres railway station bang on time and so I set off in the damp atmosphere down the road towards Lille Europe Railway Station.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4518 SNCF TGV POS 4403 gare du lille europe France Eric HallOur train was already in the station but there was 20 minutes before our train was due to depart so I had plenty of time to take a photo of it.

Once again it’s a train consisting of two train sets. Mine is 4518, one of the TGV Reseau 38000 tri-volt trains, the same type as the Thalys PBA trains that work between Paris, Brussels and occasionally Amsterdam. It’s coupled up to 4403, one of the POS units tat formerly worked the eastern TGV network.

its neighbour 4402 is the train that holds the world speed record for conventional train travel, having reached 574.8 kilometres per hour on 3rd April 2007.

push me pull you sncb locomotive gare du midi brussels belgium  Eric HallThe train that took me on to Leuven from Brussels Gare du Midi was one of the SNCB “push me pull you” units with the locomotive pushing it from the far end.

And I was lucky to catch it too because there was another barrage at the station with the police checking the travel papers of people getting off the train. I was paperless, as you might expect, so I had to bluff pretty hard to be allowed officially to enter the country.

But I know what to do for the next time that I arrive in the country, and I can see that I shall be having to change my travel habits.

But anyway, they let me in and I could head off for my train.

sncb series 55 locomotive 5503 haren brussels belgium Eric HallFor a change, our train took the older route that passes by the huge railway rolling stock depot at Haren, and alongside the area where they park the redundant locomotives prior to scrapping.

Amongst the locomotives in there today is 5503, one of the Class 55 diesels of the SNCB. This was a generic design used by many railway companies in Europe, and this particular model was built by BN, a Belgian company now part of Bombardier, and powered by General Motors EMD engines.

It’s a testament to the efficiency and reliability of the GM engines that 60 years after their introduction there are still plenty of them still in existence. The British version of these, powered by the unreliable and inefficient and, for all intents and purposes, irreparable North British engines that were cheap licensed copies of a MAN diesel engine, never even made 20 years.

To give you some idea, because of the narrow British loading gauge, the engines had to be mounted upside-down so that to even do a simple job like draining the oil and changing the filter, you had to take the engine out.

sncb automotrice am75 haren brussels belgium Eric HallAlso ready to go to the breaker’s yard were a few of the AM75 multiple units.

When I was working for that American company 15 years ago I would have been pleased if one of these had arrived at Jette railway station to take me off to work instead of one of the ancient units that usually took me, but these days they are long obsolete.

Introduced in 1975, there were 44 of these train sets introduced. There are one or two of them still circulating around on the network round by Antwerp and Charleroi and are the oldest multiple units left in action on the SNCB railway network, but I suspect that they won’t be around for much longer.

But I’m interested to see what the next generation of multiple units will be like.

sncb class 18 locomotive 1886 gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallAt Leuven I could see which locomotive had been pushing us towards Eupen.

It’s 1886, one of the Class 18 electric locomotives. There are 120 of these locomotives, built by Siemens between 2008 and 2011 and replaced a variety of different locomotives from previous generations built in the 1950s and early 1960s.

From the railway station I staggered off to my accommodation. And it really was a stagger too because I didn’t enjoy the walk at all. And I didn’t have an upgrade today. The place is busy so I’m in a single unit, although bigger and with a double bed, something that you don’t have in a basic single unit.

My trip to the shops was later than usual, and for 2 reasons too. Firstly we had a torrential rainstorm and I wasn’t going out in that. And secondly, I needed all of this time to gather my strength.

roadworks naamsestraat naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric HallBecause I wasn’t feeling very energetic, I took the shorter route along the ring-road to the supermarket, and ended up at the junction of the Naamsestraat and the Naamsevest.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen the roadworks at this junction for the last couple of times that we’ve been here, and there still appears to be no change. They aren’t making much progress here, which seems typical these days with building work, and I wonder how they are progressing with the other work we’ve been watching.

Anyway, at the Carrefour I did my shopping. They had burgers on special offer and also some reduced vegan sausages so I bought them for the next few teas But I forgot the vegan mayonnaise for my sandwiches which was a shame.

roadworks naamsestraat naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric HallOn the way back I passed by the roadworks again, which we can see now from a different angle, and then headed on for home

The walk back with the shopping exhausted me and the climb up the stairs to the 2nd floor finished me off. I made myself some food, a burger with pasta and veg, and that was that. I’d had enough for today and so I was going to go bed straight away. I can finish my notes tomorrow.

it’ll also give me a chance to listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night because there was a file on the dictaphone to indicate that something had happened during the night.

Nerina was actually involved in this although I didn’t have the chance to see her. I had to go to see someone who had built some kind of magnificent motorbike and was busy building – I dunno, circus or fairground attractions out of old cars and so on so I thought that I go and talk to him about perhaps getting a bike or doing some work or something. He lived on Stoneley Road – no, not Stoneley Road – near where the Hunters Lodge is. So I went down past Nerina’s but she wasn’t there, and I got to this house. I knocked on the door but no-one came. It was a bungalow and the front door was at the side of it. I put my head into the garage but there was nothing in there but I was tempted to go for a really good look around, which I did. When I came out I bumped into a couple who were most surprised to see me. I was most surprised to see them – it didn’t half look suspicious. I explained what I was doing. The guy started to be really aggressive in a light-hearted, funny way saying things like “when they said this kind of thing to Clement Freud on 20 Questions he became most upset, things like that. This went on for a couple of minutes. I ended up being cornered by this man and woman. She was telling me all about the stuff that he was building but e guy was being all aggresssive. Suddenly they ushered me into the house. There in the living room was a load of people all wearing black, motorbike types in black t-shirts, black leather waistcoats and so on and they had all kinds of things in there like cars that were turning into circus attractions, that kind of thing, all together. Someone I knew who was a friend of mine, either my former friend from Stoke on Trent or Rhys (yes, you have a mention, Rhys), said something about having to go and tax his motorbike. I made some kind of comment about my motorbike needing taxing as well, even though it wasn’t MoT’d. That’s where it ended.

The hospital tomorrow, and they are going to be checking my heart. At least I have one, which shows that I’m not a Tory. And I’m thankful for that.

Thursday 29th April 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… yet more movement in the chantier navale this morning, and I was lucky to be there to see it.

As I walked down to the end of the road this morning on my way out to the shops (I did actually make it there) I saw Anakena slowly making her way across the inner harbour – the tide being well in at this moment.

She’s been in the chantier navale for quite a considerable time, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so it’s very nice to see her finally back in the water heading off towards her habitual berth in the inner harbour.

Not very quickly, I have to say. She’s taking her time manoeuvring across the harbour, not in any great rush. I suppose that after all of this time she needs to get her sea legs back again.

anakena victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I’d reached the bottom of the steps of the Rampe du Monte a Regret she was pulling into where she normally moors up.

But what caught my eye at this particular moment was the fact the Victor Hugo was also back in town today. Her stay in Cherbourg wasn’t all that long at all – just long enough for them to do whatever it was that they were doing that required the harbour gates to be left open the other day when the tide went out.

Anyway, after my horrible day yesterday, when I went to bed I found that I couldn’t go to sleep straight away. I spent quite a lot of time tossing and turning before I finally dropped off to sleep.

On awakening this morning, I knew that it was going to be another one of those days when I was going to be feeling really bad. And I wasn’t wrong either.

It was a real effort to haul myself out of bed and for much of the morning I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. But based upon the assumption that whatever I do has to be better than doing nothing at all, I filed away a pile of papers and wrote a letter that needed dealing with.

After a shower I gathered my thoughts and then went off to the shops where I encountered Anakena on her little perambulation around the port.

drawbridge pont levis Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere have been a few construction machines wandering around here this last day or two, and it seems that they are back working here in the Rue Cambernon.

That was closed to circulation a while ago while they had it dug up and it looks as if they are doing yet more work on it. One of these days I’ll have to go for a wander around there to see what they are up to.

Stopping off at the Post Office to post my letter, I carried on to the LIDL, totally exhausted by the walk.

And today I spent a lot of money in there, what with supplied being run down due to me not having done any shopping around Granville for a while. They had frozen falafel on special offer so I bought a box of that for future use. I bought some coffee too, which means that I’ll probably find my missing coffee tomorrow when I’m looking for something else.

The walk home was agony. Being loaded up as I was didn’t help much, and not being well made things even worse. But when I returned home I made myself some hot chocolate and with a slice of my sourdough fruit bread I came back in here.

And that was that, unfortunately, for the morning. Whatever time that was left before lunch was spent sleeping on my chair.

After a very late lunch again, I came back here again and fell asleep in plain mid-edit of the August 2019 photos in Wyoming. I’m currently parked on the verge of Highway 319 just north of Glendo, Wyoming, admiring a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe coal train passing by.

Somewhat later than usual, I staggered out into the sunlight for my afternoon walk.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park and looked over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Just a few people out this afternoon. It wasn’t all that warm out there this afternoon and there was plenty of wind about so I suppose that all of that was keeping people indoors. In fact, there weren’t too many people about at all walking around.

With nothing going on out at sea , I pushed off along the footpath on top of the cliffs. The view out to sea was hazy and misty today and there wasn’t much of a view out there. We could see the ile de Chausey but not really very much out to sea beyond there.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the fishing boats working out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel between the coast here and the Brittany coast over on the other side.

As I walked across the path at the end of the lawn and over the car park, I could see that there were a couple of boats out there working today. There’s a trawler in mid-channel and another fishing boat out on the far side of the bay, although I can’t see what that one is.

There were a couple of others deeper in the bay towards the Mont St Michel but they were too far away to see. So there is evidently enough seafood out there in the bay to keep them in business for a while

people fishing on the rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, the fishing boats are probably having more luck than these people are having right now.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the amount of people fishing with rod and line into the sea. The rocks on the end of the Pointe du Roc seems to be a popular place (or plaice) for them and there is another pile of them out there today.

It goes without saying that I didn’t see anyone catch anything while I was watching … “no surprise there” – ed … so I left them to it and cleared off down the path on top of the cliffs to carry on with my walk.

diggers working in outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my vantage point on top of the cliffs I can see out past the harbour entrance to see what they are up to out there this afternoon.

Being earlier than I was yesterday, the tide is quite far out and so in the distance we can see the two white diggers that are installing this famous drainage pipe out across the bay. They are making quite good progress with that although I think that once we have a few winter storms and raging high tides, it’ll be interesting to see how well it survived.

The yellow digger is there too right by the harbour wall, digging away at this sandbank and they are making good progress with that too. Not only is it going to be interesting to see how much they dig away, it’ll also be interesting to see what else they will be digging up that’s been embedded in the silt for all this time.

aztec lady fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier today we saw Anakena sailing away out of the chantier navale to her berth after all of this time in there.

Nothing else has arrived there over the course of the day so we are now down to just two boats the little fishing boat that came a day or two ago and Aztec Lady that has been there for a while now.

Back in the apartment I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had a good chat, and then I came up here for a mug of very strong coffee and to carry on with a few more photos.

That took me up to guitar practice and afterwards I had tea. A slice of pie with veg and gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. I’ve now run out of custard powder so I might have a go at making my own with cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence.

And right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another horrible day today and I can’t afford to have too many of these right now. I really need to organise myself and start to feel better and do a few of the things that have been building up.

So here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow.

Thursday 4th February 2021 – HAVING WAXED SO LYRICALLY …

… at great length about the epicurean delicacies for my meals yesterday, today’s evening meal was a much more plebeian beans and chips with a burger on the side.

For some unknown reason, I had a fancy for baked beans for tea – maybe my subconscious is telling me that I should have a bubble-bath tomorrow – and in the absence of anything else to go with it, I settled on chips, in order to dispose of some really old potatoes, and a burger out of the stock in the fridge.

Making chips here is not too easy because I don’t have – and I don’t want – a deep-fat fryer but my niece Rachel who is a Tupperware senior manager let me have an incredible heavy-duty thing that fries in a microwave. It’s something that I haven’t used much because actually it’s too big to rotate in my microwave oven, but I worked out that if I take out the turntable and put a ramekin dish in there upside-down to cover over the pivot (I’m nothing if not inventive), I can put the Tupperware thing in on top of the ramekin dish and it just about fits in.

It doesn’t rotate but you can’t have everything and while the results are not spectacular, it does what it’s supposed to do.

Talking of things doing what they are supposed to do, I didn’t exactly beat the third alarm clock to my feet today. Mind you, it was a close-run thing, as the Duke of Wellington said after the Battle of Waterloo, because by the time that the alarm stopped ringing, I was actually on my feet.

Only just, it has to be said, and it took the room a good few minutes to stop spinning round so that I could join in, but there I was.

After the medication I did a few bits and pieces and then had a shower ready to hit the streets.

Granville carnaval unesco Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll over town there have been all kinds of things springing up about Carnaval, the event that occurs here OVER THE MARDI GRAS WEEKEND.

No Carnaval this year, for obvious reasons, but there are still a few displays all over the town featuring what might have been on the carnival floats had they been permitted to parade, and we saw THE COW AND PENGUINS when we returned from Leuven the other day.

What is on this sign is a timeline that records the successful application for Carnaval to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After all of the preparatory work, a formal application was made in January 2014 and approval was given in November 2016.

It’s one of the claims to fame of the town and one of the reasons why I chose this place to come and spend my final years after I was released from hospital in 2017. There’s almost always something interesting and exciting going on here

trawlers ready to leave port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on down the road I noticed that all of the trawlers were lined up at the harbour gates.

It’s the moment for the harbour gates to open (and indeed, they did open as I was watching) and all of the fishing boats in the harbour streamed out line astern into the open sea. Fishing seems to be back on the agenda for the moment, although for how long I don’t know with the Silly Brits threatening to revoke the agreement if they don’t get what they want, like the bunch of spoilt little brats they are.

But I mustn’t let myself become bogged down in politics, must I? I promised that I wouldn’t do that.

normandy trader unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have a visitor in the harbour this morning too. Normandy Trader sneaked in on the evening tide and here she is, loading up in order to leave the harbour on the tide.

And I know now why she goes over to St Malo at times on her voyages over here. It’s to do with the shellfish that she brings from the Jersey Seafood Co-operative. They have to be unloaded at a port where there is a Health Inspector to give them a health check, and there isn’t one here at the moment.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s talk of having a full Customs Post here in Granville for the port and the airport, but as yet, it doesn’t seem to be in place.

At the Post Office I sent off my application for the Securité Sociale and we’ll see how that evolves. I have been more hopeful about other things, but if you don’t apply, you don’t get, do you?

LIDL wasn’t anything to write home about. There wasn’t anything at all of any interest on special offer today so I just bought a few things there and headed back home again.

digging trench in rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey had been busy while I’d been away.

A trench has been dug right across the road at the corner of the Rue Lecampion and the Rue Paul Poirier and as I watched, and the traffic waited, a digger picked up a huge sheet of metal to use as a bridge for the traffic to cross.

Down at the far end of the Rue Paul Poirier I fell in with the friendly neighbourhood itinerant and we had a nice long chat for about 15 minutes about nothing much at all, and then I hurried on home in case my frozen peas were to thaw out

Clutching a slice of my delicious sourdough fruit bread and a mug of hot chocolate I came in here and sat down, and made a start on transcribing the remaining dictaphone notes. And there was so much to transcribe that it took me right up until afternoon walkies.

Yesterday’s notes ARE NOW ONLINE, all of them. And by that I DO mean “all”, because there were miles and miles of them. I must have had a really bad night.

Then I could turn my attention to today’s notes. A few prisoners had escaped from a prison and they were being pursued across this building site. 1 had been caught but the other 2 had got away, not without a great deal of difficulty. 1 of them, who reminded me of Kenneth Williams, was almost crushed by a railway locomotive as he ran across the shunting track. The locomotive pinned him up against another one and damaged his hip but he still struggled on. 2 of them ran down the east end of London and ended up in an old derelict market hall type of place that was now a café. The healthy 1 was well ahead and ran into this place. The other 1 running behind him was immediately stuck in some kind of ante-room where there were loads of kids hanging around sitting there drinking coffee. It turned out to be some kind of teenagers’ quiet coffee bar where they could go and watch TV and sit, run by the Church. They showed soap operas there on the TV and this was where the 2 men were going to lay low for a day or 2 where they could get coffee and sleep for a while until they worked out their next move.

Later on I was on a walking tour of Eastern Europe with someone and an old Morris MO went past. I went to grab hold of my camera but I suddenly realised that I didn’t have it with me. I thought “where had I left that?”. I had to wrack my brains all the way back to the start of the day at the hotel and I couldn’t remember having it with me at all during any part of the day. Had I left it at the hotel? Had I put it down when we stopped for a breather and not picked it up? Or had I lost it the day before? I didn’t really know so I had to retrace all of my steps. Obviously the other guy wasn’t all that interested in coming back with me. He preferred to sit and wait which I suppose was the correct kind of thing so off I set. I walked through this small town where a boy was kicking a ball up into the air and then getting underneath to head it as it came down. I carried on walking back to the hotel that was miles away, trying to look on the way back to see if my camera was anywhere

And I bet that you are just as intrigued as I am to know why I seem to be having all of these camera issues during my nocturnal voyages just lately. Who is trying to tell me what?

There was a break of course for lunch – more of my delicious leek and potato soup with home-made bread (there were still some epicurean delights during the day) and then when I’d finished my dictaphone notes I went out for my walk.

erecting scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been following the progress of the roofing job that’s being undertaken at the College Malraux across the car park from here.

The scaffolding has been slowly advancing ahead of the work, as they take it from a finished part behind them and erect it in front at a place that has yet to receive attention. Today, they have dismantled some more from the side and are now erecting it at the end of the building here.

As we suspected right at the very beginning, this is going to be a very long job and they will be here for a while yet.

The paths had dried out considerably and there wasn’t much water left to block my path. But there wasn’t anything much to see anywhere. All the fishing boats were way out of sight and Normandy Trader had long-since left port.

cale de radoub port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut earlier on in the day I’d seen a photo of the Cale de Radoub – the old dry dock here in the harbour.

Completed in 1888 it was used as a dry dock to repair the old wooden fishing boats that went out to the Grand Banks to bring in the cod and the photo that I saw was actually of a boat being repaired in there, but it’s been out of use since 1978 and has fallen into decay.

It was declared a Historic Monument on 28th March 2008 and every now and again there’s talk of recommissioning it, but the cost of restoring it to full working order has frightened off the town council.

Back here I had a phone call to make. I had a letter from the hospital arranging my next series of appointments … for Wednesdays, despite what the doctor told me. So I had to ring them back and change them all over again to a Thursday.

When I had returned I’d made myself a coffee but by the time I came to drink it, it was cold. Not simply due to the fact that I’d been on the telephone, but also due to the fact that I’d crashed out yet again.

For the rest of the afternoon, such as it was, I made progress on my little report about Oradour sur Glane.

There was guitar practice of course which for some reason I didn’t enjoy, and then tea which I have already mentioned.

Bedtime now, and a full day at home with (hopefully) no interruptions and I can press on.

Ever the optimist, aren’t I?

Monday 28th December 2020 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but pretty near enough. I’m curled up around a radiator in my little home from home in Leuven where I’ll be staying until Sunday.

And much as I like Leuven, it’s a pretty dismal state of affairs because firstly Alison is stranded in the UK by the new Covid rules and my appointment has now been pushed back until Thursday as I discovered today. So I could really have spent an extra two days at home, travelled on Wednesday and come home on Saturday thus saving a third day out.

But you live and learn.

What else you learn the longer that you live is that you can do it when you really try and so not only did I beat the third alarm, I was up and out of bed and running around while the 1st alarm was still ringing. And so plenty of time to tidy up, have a shower, take out the rubbish, back up the computer, send off a pile of radio files, make some sandwiches for lunch and cut a large slice of fruit bread to take with me for breakfast – pretty good and nourishing stuff, this fruit bread.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too, And what surprised me was that I was able to leave the bed so early with all of this going on. I’m surprised that I’d even made it back home.

I was having to make tea for Marianne last night and the guy she was having to sit with who was ill so I made them a kind of roast dinner as best as I could which didn’t look too bad. But I realised that on his plate I’d forgotten the gravy so I mixed up a white sauce and put it on his plate and went to add the gravy powder to mix in, but first I added chocolate powder. I thought “that will never do” so I scraped it off the plate and put another lot on. The next thing that I tried to put on was coffee powder and hat didn’t work either. It took about 3 or 4 goes for me to actually get his sauce right
Before that, I’d been out for a walk and there were a couple of people loitering around so we had a bit of an ad-hoc game of football and it was quite pleasurable. I came back into the house. Later on that evening when I was writing up my notes I couldn’t settle and I couldn’t make myself comfortable, moving from 1 chair to the next and 1 machine to the next, then trying to find some paper to write it out in longhand. In the end I settled on a shorthand notes reporter’s diary but found out that it was full. All the time my brother was asking me questions about this and that and I was trying to answer him as well, and I was trying to write out this report and I wanted to embellish it, to make it look a lot more than it is but I could never do it. I was getting so confused by the fact that I just couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t make a start and couldn’t get anywhere with this
Art one time a girl dresses as a ballerina appeared on the scene and you could see according to the effort that she was putting into it and the way that she was walking and holding herself that it was a great big effort. I hoped that she would hold out physically and with the virus because it would be very sad if she were to succumb to it with all of this effort.
Later on I had to go and pick up Alvin from Hampton Close. I had my motorbike, my old CX and I decided that i’d go and pick him up. That went OK for a while until I got to Chester and I thought that I’d better programe the route to Hampton Close on my GPS because it’s years since I’ve been there. I spent ages fiddling around trying to make the GPS work. I had to drop off something at someone’s place and coming back I couldn’t make the GPS work. It took ages with all of this messing about to get it to go. The bracket broke off it and when I made it work I couldn’t programme it. It was all a nightmare, this journey was for some reason. Suddenly it worked and it was 18 minutes to there but I only had 15 minutes left but I thought that that’s not too much of a problem. He’s not going to be that concerned. Then I noticed on the back of the butty box the L plates had all faded off and you couldn’t read that it was an L plate. I was worrying about that for a while but suddenly realised that I didn’t need L plates on it because I had a full licence. Yes, I had to post off Ann’s present, that’s why I’d stopped and had to take it to the post office. Then Alvin came. he was there. I told him the story of my adventures which he thought was hilarious. We mounted the bike ready to move off to wherever we were going to next.

I’d gone out for a walk and I was the other side of Sandbach close to the motorway. I’d taken the wrong route which I’d taken before which was a dead end and I had to retrace all my steps. This time though I thought that I’d push on and climb up this embankment at the side of the motorway into a field and walk along the field at the edge There’s bound to be a bridge that goes over at some point I walked on and by now the motorway had transformed into a canal so I was walking along the towpath of an abandoned canal. It gradually came into a little village. I was really enjoying this walk and thought that this is going to end bu around Middlewich way. It’s a long way home but it will be really nice and i’ll stop for an ice cream. I walked through this little village. There was a shop there with its shutters half down. I thought an ice cream would be nice but i’ll push on to the next village. At this point there was some guy messing around in the road. He couldn’t make up his mind whether to go left or right so I swerved round him, making some kind of remark but banged my hip on a parked car. he didn’t say anything aboutt hat but he was going on and on about what he was doing. So I dropped in that I was working on the radio and things that I was doing that I’d inflated. Then he had to go and sort out a puncture in his car so I took him as a passenger in mine which was strange because I’d been walking up to this point. There were 3 of us in the end in this car. He was still going on about his radio and I was still going on about mine. He was saying “that’s a fine hobby to have”. I said “it’s a bit more than a hobby”. We reached Middlewich in the end and he told me where he wanted me to drop him off. he asked how much he owed me for the ride. I replied “nothing. I hope that someone would do the same for me some day if I ever need it”.

But the walk around Sandbach and Middlewich reminded me of a walk that I’d been on during a nocturnal ramble when I’d set out to walk from Chester to Nantwich via, of all places, Wrexham. Or as the skunk said when the wind changed – “it all comes back to me now”.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving organised myself as much as I could, I headed out for the railway station.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we haven’t as yet seen the town’s Christmas light in all their glory but this morning they were illuminated. My route took me up the Rue Lecampion and we can see here exactly what they have done as far as this street goes.

In fact, it’s all rather underwhelming, isn’t it? I can recall the decorations from last year being so much better than these. It looks as if the town has been on an economy drive this year.

christmas lights place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA few days ago in the daylight we had a trip around the back of the kiddies’ roundabout in the Place Generale de Gaulle to see what they had been doing there.

This morning, the Christmas lights were illuminated here too and we can see how they are getting on now. On the left illuminated by a pink light is supposed to be a wooden polar bear, and I suppose that a blind man would be pleased to see it. And strangely enough, a couple of Christmas trees further along weren’t lit up at all. That’s a strange decision.

The newspaper offices at the end of the street are all rather garish and somewhat tasteless but I don’t suppose that there is any particular reason for them to bother themselves too much.

christmas lights cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFinally, I walked along the Cours Jonville.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw the electricians stringing up the light in the trees down here with a cherry picker. With the lights being on, we can see their handiwork today. It’s all nice, bright and airy, but it doesn’t exactly inspire the imagination, does it? The could have done much more than this with the facilities that they have.

But I wasn’t going to hang about and argue. By now the rain had started again so I pushed off towards the railway station. And the farther I went, the more and the harder the rain fell.

gec Alstom Regiolis 84574 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I reached the railway station I resembled something like a haggard, drowned rat. But at least my train was already in the platform so once I’d stamped my ticket I was able to clamber aboard and find my seat.

Today I was right by the rest room and right in front of the luggage rack so it was something of a convenient seat. No-one sitting next to me either so I could eat my fruit bread and fruit in comparative quiet and luxury.

To while away the journey I uploaded all of the backup files that I’d done this morning and then started to go through to identify duplicate files and remove the earlier versions

snow near vire Normandy France Eric HallIf you think that the rain that we were having was pretty rough, we weren’t having it as rough as some people were.

By the time that our train reached the region in between Vire and Argentan the heavy rain had turned to snow and thrre was a lovely white colour in the fields all around the train as we sped on to Paris. It didn’t hold my attention for very long though because I dozed off to sleep. And when I awoke again near Versailles we had long-since left it behind.

We reached Paris more or less on time and compared to how it has been just recently, it was quite busy. And we had to wait a while for a Metro which was something of a surprise.

And somewhere along the route a couple of cleaners climbed into the train with a cleaning machine the size of a small zamboni. That disrupted everyone on board.

TGV Reseau Duplex 213 gare du Nord Paris France Eric HallWe arrived at the Gare du Nord in Paris with plenty of time to spare and I was luck enough to find a seat straight away where I could sit in comparative comfort until our train was called. These big French mainline stations are draughty, windswept affairs with very little public seating.

Today’s train is one of the usual TGV Reseau Duplex double-decker trains, old but comfortable and rattle along at a rapid rate of knots towards Lille. it was crowded too, although once again I was lucky enough to have a double seat all to myself so that I could eat my sandwiches in comfort.

And that bread that I made the other day is delicious. And furthermore, there’s half a loaf awaiting me in the freezer for when I return, along with the leftover frozen leeks, broccoli and endives.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 Gare du Midi Brussels Belgium Eric HallWe were a few minutes late arriving in Lille Flandres Railway Station so we had something of a scramble across town to the Lille Europe railway station for the TGV coming from the Midi that was going to take us on to Brussels.

By the time we arrived, the train was already in the station so making sure this time that it was in fact the correct train, I dashed on board to grab my seat. This time I wasn’t quite as lucky. I had a neighbour which meant that unfortunately I wasn’t able to spread myself out very much.

One thing that I forgot to do with this one was to check the times so I couldn’t tell how the journey went. But it passed off without any incident.

multiple unit automotrice AM80 303 Gare du Midi Brussels Belgium Eric HallArriving in Brussels I was in time for the 15:37 to Leuven and Liège. That was late pulling into the station and with a technician scrambling around in the drivers cab, it was very much later pulling out.

It’s one of the old, dirty graffiti-ridden AM80 multiple units and it’s high time that these relics of a bygone age were put out to grass somewhere but it brought us into Leuven and now that the rain had stopped I had a nice walk down to my hotel in the Dekenstraat.

For a change they’ve put me in a different room than usual, but it’s still an upgrade so I’m not complaining. And there was a little Christmas present for me too which was a lovely little touch.

Later on I went to the Carrefour and stocked up with shopping, but I forgot a few things like the vegan mayonnaise so I’ll have to go again. And I failed to notice that the tinned apricots didn’t have a ring-pull so I had to hack my way in as best as I could.

Having fallen asleep already while typing out my notes, I’m off to bed. No alarm – I’m having a lie in tomorrow. And then I have several days of Welsh homework to catch up with. There will be the dictaphone notes too, and another trip to the shops for the stuff that I forgot so it isn’t actually going to be very much of a day of rest

Thursday 24th December 2020 – WOW!

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven though I say it myself, I’m quite impressed with this photo that I took this afternoon.

It’s not necessarily the quality of it because I still have a great deal of issues with that, but it’s the dramatic and stark effect of the colours here. Just as I lined up a shot of Cancale silhouetted on its clifftop across the Bay, the light gave me everything I wanted just at the correct moment and it’s come out exactly as I would have wished, with no post-processing at all.

It’s one of those very rare photographs where everything that you are trying to do suddenly does it itself with you having to try.

Another thing that I did without really having to try was to haul myself out of bed before the third alarm. And I bet that that took you as much by surprise as it took me too. Mind you, I was only sitting on the edge of the bed is a dazed and weary state, not exactly running around like a headless chicken.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was in the USA last night and Trump was giving a concert. He had someone playing banjo or mandolin or something and he was playing bass and singing, doing some kind of rap about how good he was, and everyone in the crowd was greeting him with stony silence. He was becoming all worked up on the stage and everyone was treating him with stony silence. When everyone left I had a look at the bass guitar. It was just a cheap $29 thing so I said to someone of the road crew “at least you might have got him a real guitar to play with”. They replied “he does have a real one but he was afraid he’d be all emotional”. Trump heard this conversation and came over, and started to have a bit of a go at me about it. I said “I’ll tell you what my life means to me. Come with me”. He couldn’t get the hang of what was going on but “come with me, come outside”. So we went outside and there was Caliburn. I opened the door to the back of Caliburn and there on the floor was a mattress and a sleeping bag and a few bits and pieces. I was living rough. And there at the side of the sleeping bag was the Gibson EB3. “That’s what my bass means to me” I said. “It’s all that I have here”.

The next thing was about the wife of my friend on the Wirral. She was telling me that she had been taken into a bedroom by an Indian guy to which I said “lucky her” and they spent 4 hours together so I said “even more lucky her” discussing some kind of new sales venture for some kind of product that she might have been interested in. There was much more to it than this but in the time it took me to grab hold of the dictaphone I forgot it.

The next hour or so was spent dealing with the arrears of work. I’ve been stuck in Chateau Gaillard for the last 2 weeks and I can’t seem to drag myself out of there. I seem to be bogged in there quite deeply at the moment.

That took me up to shower time and weigh time, and I’ve gained 1kilo in weight in this last week. But examining my body closely (and isn’t that a gruesome task?) I noticed that my feet and ankles are swollen. So it looks as if the water retention is back again and that will explain this weight issue.

crowds at seafood shop rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set to the shops for the groceries to see me through the Christmas period.

It’s the tradition in France for people to have oysters as a Christmas treat (which probably explains why so many babies are born here at the end of September) and there in the Rue Lecampion where there’s the fishmonger’s, with the butcher just down the road, it just looks like Poland as I remember it in the 1970s, or the UK after 6 months of Brexit.

But I was joking about the oysters and babies just now. Don’t you believe everything that you hear about oysters. I had 12 of them on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.

christmas decorations place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s unlikely that I’m going to get down into town to see the Christmas lights this year. I’m not well and I know it, and I’m not going to tax my system too much.

But it didn’t prevent me from having a good mooch around for a look at the decorations in the Place Charles de Gaulle. And I was right about one thing, in that they aren’t very inspiring this year. It seems to be merely the same stuff that has been here for the last ever so many years, just arranged differently.

But anyway I pushed on to the Railway Station for my tickets for next week. The clerk in the office was on her own so I asked her about the trains next week. At the moment, they are still running as advertised. Whether it stays like that, we shall see.

bad parking bmw bus station railway station Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that pathetic parking takes up a lot of room on these pages.

Not so much recently – not (I hasten to add) because the situation has improved but because there is just so much of it that it’s become boring and even i’m fed up of it. But I couldn’t let a thing like this go by.

Right outside the railway station is the bus station. all of the long-distance buses (of which there are plenty) as well as the two service buses for the town come here and there are 4 bays. But this driver has decided that he’s allowed to park in one of them and the bus that goes in there can park elsewhere.

Of course, it’s a BMW and like Audi drivers, they consider that the rules of the road and of common courtesy don’t apply to them.

On the way up the hill I stuck my head in the newsagent’s. I’d heard that US Granville had made some club facemasks and the newsagent was selling them. These are tough times and we have to do what we can to help things along right now, and so I bought one to wear when I’m in Belgium.

At La Vie Claire they had Seitan slices so I bought two ridiculously expensive packs and then went round to LIDL for the shopping. I bought most of what I needed but shock! horror! no Brussels sprouts. How do you have Christmas without Brussels sprouts?

Luckily I still have some frozen ones for the meals on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but it’s going to be touch and go after that.

christmas market kddies roundabout place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back into town again I went past the Place Generale De Gaulle again.

There’s quite a lot going on in there now that wasn’t happening earlier. They seem to be setting up some kind of Christmas market in the Square, although that doesn’t look much like Christmas goodies to me.

But at least the kiddies’ roundabout was working and entertaining some clients. And that’s good news because Christmas is all about children anyway and they ought to be making the most of it while they are still young enough.

seafood stall rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a fresh seafood stall on the harbour every Friday morning selling the stuff that his boat has landed that morning. But with Friday being Christmas Day it looks as if he’s having his stall a day earlier to cash in on the Christmas trade.

And quite right too. Even though I don’t eat animal products, it’s up to others what they do and there is nothing at all quite like fresh food of any description.

So having caught my breath, for I was carrying some quite heavy shopping, I carried on back home where I had a slice of my fruit bread and a mug of hot chocolate.

And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out good and proper on my chair. It was late-ish when I returned from the shops but even so, it was 13:30 when I awoke, feeling like total death yet again. This is what I meant earlier when I said that I wasn’t too good right now. It’s just not possible at the moment for me to live a normal life like this and it’s dismaying me very much.

So at lunch, I’d run out of bread so I set about making some more. Not the sourdough this time but a real loaf. I want to see how my technique is doing and to see if the fault about my sourdough not rising is because of me or the sourdough.

And so I bashed out a quick 500-gramme dough mix with yeast and several handfuls of sunflower seeds and left it on one side to see what it would do.

storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was walkies time so I set out into the wild blue yonder.

And wild was hardly the word either. The wind has shifted around and we now have a nor’easter instead of a sou’wester as we had yesterday. So if you thought that the Bay of Granville was turbulent yesterday, you ought to have seen it this afternoon. There hasn’t been anything quite like this for a considerable period of time and I bet that the boys in Thora and Normandy Trader are glad that they are tucked up safe and sound in the harbour in St Helier.

It was enough to make me want to join them but the journey across to Jersey would be extremely uncomfortable right now.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were hordes of people out there this afternoon, everyone having a pre-Christmas walk I reckon and making the most of the lack of rain (for the moment at least).

And if you are able to peer underneath the clouds, it was the kind of afternoon where the visibility was so impressive and you could see a very long great distance down the coast. Cap Frehel and its lighthouse were just about visible with the naked eye over to the right on this photo.

We’ve had some good shots of Cap Frehel in the past, better than this one of course, but it’s not every day that it’s visible with the naked eye

rainstorm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little earlier I taked about the lack of rain – “at the moment” – and I said that for a reason.

While I was scanning along the Brittany coast with the camera, I noticed a strange phenomenon out there in certain places so I photographed it for a closer look to see what it might be. And back here in the comfort and warmth of my apartment I determined that it was actually a rainstorm out there.

Of course, as I said earlier, the wind is blowing in the wrong direction for us to be bothered about it right now, but the wind is a highly volatile and uncertain beast and can change direction at any given moment.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving taken my photographs I walked off across the lawn and the car park (almost being squidged by a motorist reversing out of a parking place) down to the end of the headland.

Once more, there are no boats out there in the bay but we do have this beautiful sunset, an excellent example of which you have already seen. And here’s another really good view of Cancale across the Baie de Mont St Michel, lit up as if it was on a stage and they had switched on the spotlights.

Far too many people about for me to break into a run this afternoon so I walked off down the path instead.

st pair sur mer baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw just now how churned up the sea was around the north side of the headland with this raging nor’easter.

Nothing could have been a greater contrast than the sea down on the southern side of the headland by the port. Whereas yesterday we had a raging storm with waves crashing over the sea wall, today the sea seems to be almost becalmed.

Actually, it isn’t but that was how it was looking this afternoon especially after yesterday.

But that was enough for me anyway, I had a peek in at the chantier navale to see that there was no change whatever there, and then carried on home for a hot coffee and a mince pie. And delicious, if a bit sweet and sickly.

And the bread had risen like a lift. I’d never had it go up quite like this before. It was so impressive. I gave it a good squeezing to let the gases out and then shaped it and put it in its bread mould, covering it with a damp tea-towel.

And now I have a little Christmas present for you all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my friend Liz and I produced a series of programmes for several local radio stations in the Auvergne under the “Radio Anglais” banner back in those days.

While I was looking around for something I came across one of the Christmas Specials that we did, so I’ve uploaded it to the internet FOR YOU ALL TO LISTEN TO OVER CHRISTMAS with much love and best wishes from me.

Don’t take too long in listening to it because I need the space on my server so I’ll be taking it down again after a week or so. So you’ll probably be better off downloading it onto your own machine. Or, if you make your next Amazon purchase via the links on the right and I receive a small commission on the deal, I can buy more space.

While I was at guitar practice I had the oven warming up and I slipped the loaf of bread in there at a suitable moment along with a potato and, later on, a slice of frozen home-made pie.

rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the guitar, it was time for evening walkies. And with the wind now blowing in the opposite direction from yesterday, it was the outward journey that caused me more problems than just a few.

In fact, I had to abort the trip along the Rue du Nord and seek shelter within the narrow streets of the old town by dodging down an alley way. We’ve seen plenty of photos of the Rue St Jean in our time but we haven’t seen one from this viewpoint. The Place Cambernon is just down there at the bottom and the Porte St Jean which we have photographed on several occasions is right down there at the end out of the picture.

And if you look up at the top you can see the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou all illuminated.

rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going that way. I’m going in this direction down towards the Place de l’Isthme.

We took a photo of the street from the Place de L’Isthme a few weeks ago and so I reckoned that I should take one back up to the place where I was at the time, just for the record. And then I set off for a run along there all the way to the end of the street.

As I emerged into the open square at the end I was hit by a huge blast of wind that brought me to a dead stop, and I’m not surprised because it was wild.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was enough to make me not want to hang around any longer out of doors – especially now that it had started to rain as well, And so I went down ste steps to the Place Maurice Marland and ran on home.

But up on the walls the night was looking so beautiful despite the rain, so I took a photo of the harbour, the Baie de Mont St Michel and all of the lights out there twinkling away on the Brittany coast. It was all looking quite magical tonight and I’ve no idea why.

But that’s enough of my waxing lyrical for the moment. It’s time I was at home tucking into the tea.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile my veg was cooking (endives, broccoli, leeks and carrots) I had a look at the bread to see how it was doing.

It had risen quite a lot while it was sitting for its second proofing, but in the oven it’s not done too much more. But as I took it out of its mould, part of it had stuck so I sampled it. And it was perfect, it really was. The best that I’ve made to date. There’s nothing wrong with my technique at all.

With the veg water I made a delicious gravy, and the whole lot was finished off with apple crumble with some soya dessert stuff. That was what I called a good tea.

So now it’s Christmas Day and I’ve written up my notes. I’m off to bed. A Merry Christmas to you all and I hope that Santa brings you lots of nice things, including, more important than presents, lots of love and good health. We’re living in hard times right now but at least we are living, and the joys of the internet mean that we can stay even closer all the same.

There’s our radio show to listen to and tomorrow night at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time, 15:00 Montreal and Toronto time etc, there’s my Christmas broadcast on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS. It’s a special live rock concert that I’ve spent some time preparing and I hope that you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed preparing it.

Best wishes from me.

Sunday 13th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But we’ll see about that tomorrow too.

Thursday 10th December 2020 – ISN’T IT NICE …

christmas lights marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when you see that someone has actually read something that you’ve posted and actually gone out and acted on it?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago when we were discussing the miserable array of Christmas lights around the port, and I aid something to the effect that I thought that at least they might have made an effort with Marité and having lights strung up in the rigging?

It seems that whoever they are in charge of her have read what I have had to say on the subject and strung up some lights in the rigging as I suggested. But you can’t exactly say that they have pushed the boat out, can you? I’ve seen far better lights than these in my time, as I’m sure you have.

All in all, it’s a rather disappointing effort and they could – and should – have done so much better with this. But at least they’ve read my notes and done something.

But what a bad day I had today.

And that’s a shame because it started off so well as I beat the third alarm to my feet – something that it always good news.

With the medication today I tried the mint cordial-flavoured Kefir that I had made but it wasn’t anything special and was also pretty inert which was a shame. I’d expected something much more lively.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was working on my own with doing a videographic thing and this kid and her mother had done some kind of magic performance and her father asked me if I could add it on to a video which I agreed that I would do. But it wasn’t going to turn out as easy as I thought because some of it needed cutting out because it was too long but there was music on there and it would disrupt all the sequencing so I had to think of a way in which I could do that. The father was very precise about the bits he wanted including in this film and I started to be worried about whether I had the technology to actually be able to do it despite what i’d been telling people. First I’d have to look for a video editing program but I don’t have one of those.

I was with Castor last night in a pub in south-west London (hello Castor!) but I can’t remember very much about it except that she went to the bathroom and was gone for ages and ages and I was wondering if she’d run out on me again. Eventually she came back. We’d been talking about doing a furniture removal, something like that for her. She said that people she knew had some stuff. They lived in a place called Abbey Sides. They said that it was only like a 5 minute walk away. I had a look on the A to Z and she was right – it wasn’t all that far away from where we were. I suggested that we drank up and went to have a look. For some reason this was taking an awful lot longer than it ought to have done. But I don’t remember any of the rest of this and I can’t really remember the beginning either.

After that, I had a shower and shock! horror! I cut my hair! Now I look a little more human. And I wish that I’d weighed myself after I’d cut it, something that might have made me feel better.

After the shower I made a start on some of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe. It’s one of the three big ones today – the one where I spend a whole day in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and this is going to take ages to deal with – there are about 50 photos in this.

Before setting off to the shops I had to pay a bill – or, at least, write out a cheque to pay a bill. The rates on my house in France are due again. And I bet that you wish you only paid … gulp … €26:00 per annum for your rates.

unloading goods at quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was cold this morning as I went down into town, so I was glad that I had taken my gloves.

They make it easy to operate my camera and so when I saw a lorry and a fork lift truck unloading goods at the quayside it was a pretty straightforward operation to take a photo. At least the camera was charged today.

But this unloading can only mean one thing of course. And that is that either Normandy Trader or Thora is heading this way from the Channel Islands, or even now that there’s quite a pre-Christmas and pre-Brexit rush on, that Chausiais is going to be doing another little run.

setting up christmas entertainment place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo down the Rampe du Monte Regret I went and up the Rue Lecampion into town.

Just here in the Place Charles de Gaulle they seem to be setting up some kind of stall for street entertainment, presumably for the Christmas period. I suppose that Christmas still has to go on, even if I have never felt as less Christmassy as I am feeling right now.

All the decorations in the town are there too, and I’ll come by one evening in the dark when (hopefully) they will be illuminated, and take a photo of them to add to the records.

But instead, I posted my letter in the post office and pushed on.

steps from rue couraye down to rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubish will recall that several weeks ago I stumbled by accident upon a little alley in the Rue Couraye that had steps going down to the level below.

It was an alley that I hadn’t noticed before, and it’s been my goal to track down the other end and see to where it leads. So when I reached the end of the Rue du Bosq I had a look around and sure enough, I could see it leading down into the Rue du Marias just on the corner.

And from here it looks as if it goes through someone’s terrace. I’m not convinced that that’s a popular idea with some people.

At LIDL I didn’t buy very much, and nothing at all out of the ordinary except a ginger spice cake. I’m going to find some marzipan at the weekend and marzipan it and then ice it. It won’t be the same as a Liz Messenger cake, but it will be the best that I can do.

pedestrian passsage rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home, this delightful little notice here caught my eye.

There are building works going on all over the place and in the Rue St Paul there are at least three houses undergoing renovation. This is one of them and they have fenced off the front and indicated to pedestrians that they must somehow squeeze through the gap between the fence and the wall, unless they would like you to go through the window.

Either way, you need to be either very thin or very athletic so that rules me out. I walked around in the street.

By now the weather had broken and it was raining quite heavily. I was becoming soaked to the skin going home.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and some cake, and then promptly passed out fast asleep. And it was awful – one of these really deep sleeps that makes me feel so awful. I was stark out for an hour and then it took me an hour to come round, so awful was I feeling.

After lunch I crashed out again but I did manage to do some kind of work here and there on my day in Karlovy vary

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut by now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

The rain had stopped falling by now but the wind was blowing somewhat and the sea was rather rough. This little fishing boat was making rather heavy weather of the journey back from the fishing grounds this afternoon back to the harbour.

And I now know why it is that these fishing boats have a roof over the deck like this. It’s to prevent the seagulls, who usually follow the boats in to harbour, from diving down and helping themselves to some of the catch.

rainbow english channel hauteville sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking around, I noticed the view down the Cotentin Peninsula, and there was some astonishing stuff going on there as you can see.

The first thing of note was the rainbow underneath the clouds. We’ve had plenty of rainbows around here and this one is unfortunately far from the best, but it will do to be going on with.

The second thing is the sunlight. You might have to click on the image to see it but there’s a shaft of sunlight shining right down on the town of Hauteville sur Mer, illuminating it like a spotlight would on a stage.

We’ve seen quite a few of that phenomenon just recently too.

normandy trader english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou will remember earlier that we saw them unloading a pile of merchandise on the quayside and I speculated that one of the Jersey Freighters may well be on her way in.

Well, not only has one of them come in, she’s going out too on the same tide. That’s Normandy Trader heading back out to sea with a full load on board, having undergone probably one of the quickest turnrounds yet.

If she’s turning round as quickly as this in port, it’s hardly surprising that we haven’t seen her all that often even though I know that she’s been on her way in. And the same with Thora too. I bet that we have also missed her loads of times.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo after watching her fighting her way through the waves on her way home, I walked on around the corner and across the lawn and the car park to see what was going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There’s nothing actually happening right now out there, but we are being treated to another one of these late-afternoon winter suns of which we have seen plenty just recently. If you thought that it looked impressive over at Hacqueville sur Mer just now, how about this for a spectacle?

This is probably just about the best one so far. It’s come out really well and if you look carefully, underneath the cloud you can see the Brittany coast.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot wishing to hang about too long, I trotted off down the path, across the road (where there was no dog to annoy me) and then down the path overlooking the clifftop, doing my best to avoid falling into one of the very large puddles.

And look at this! There’s been a change of occupant in the chantier navale, so it seems. Ceres II has departed now and our yacht is in there all on its own.

It’s going to be pretty lonely there if it doesn’t find any shipmates to come and keep it company. Not that I’m wishing ill on anyone, but we need a busy shipyard here so that we can have a thriving port.

ceres 2 going back into the water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut where has Ceres II gone to? She can’t have been gone long because the van that has been attending to her is still there.

The answer is that I reckon she’s there. The portable boat-lift still has its engine running so it’s been working quite recently. And that array of aerials and ancillary equipment that you can just about see looks as if it’s off Ceres II.

So I just about missed her going back into he water, which was a shame. But never mind. I decided to push on for home and a hot coffee, and do some work. There’s plenty of it, right enough.

Unfortunately my bad day carried on and instead of working I ended up crashed out yet again. This is absolutely no good at all and I wish that there was something that I could do about it. But it’s the story of my life right now and it isn’t going to improve.

After my guitar practice, which went according to plan, I had tea. I finished off the last of the fresh broccoli along with other steamed veg with some veggie balls and vegan cheese sauce, followed bu apple pie.

And while we are on the subject of tea, they had a big pack of mushrooms (well, it is the season, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall from the other day) on special offer in LIDL today so I must remember to do a pan of lentils in the morning ready to make a lentil, mushroom and potato curry tomorrow.

And if I leave the eyes in the potatoes, then it’ll see me through the week.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy runs tonight were rather half-hearted and although I completed them all (keeping to dry land) I can’t say that I was inspired.

But it was a really beautiful night to be out, another one of those occasions where I could see for miles. St Helier and Jersey could be seen with the naked eye 58 kilometres away and in the phot you can even see the red lights on the radio tower at the back of town.

That’s a hand-held photo by the way. It’s far too windy to take the tripod out at the moment but I’ll be out there with it one of these days when the wind calms down.

christmas lights rue des corsaires Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening elsewhere either. It was all rather disappointing.

The lights down in the Rue des Corsaires were visible so I took a quick photo and then cleared off for my run across the Square Maurice Marland, where battling against a gale-force headwind thoroughly exhausted me. But I had a look at the lights on Marité and then ran on to home and warmth

And before I went to bed I did a little radio work. I had the music going on in the background, the music from which I’ll be choosing the tracks for the next programme, and two absolutely ideal tracks came up. So I’ve been dealing with them. I may as well make a head start.

But now I’m off to bed. Plenty to do tomorrow still land I really don’t feel like doing it, but I have to crack on, I suppose. It won’t do itself.

Tuesday 24th November 2020 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

… my notes last night I went and kneaded my sourdough mixture. 6 hours it had stood and it certainly hadn’t doubled in size, but there it was.

After kneading it for a good 10 minutes I could feel the change in texture so something was definitely working but I carried on nevertheless and after about 15 minutes of so I wrapped it in a well-floured tea towel and put it in a pyrex bowl to leave it overnight.

And after all that excitement I ended up going to bed at about 00:30 which is bad news as far as I’m concerned, but good news is that I actually managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. I’m not quite sure what’s happening here at all.

Stuff on the dictaphone too. Despite just 5.5 hours sleep I’d managed to find the time to go off on my travels. However, I know that many of you are of delicate sensibility and the rest of you are probably having a meal right now, so I’ll spare you all the gory details. Some of this stuff is colourful, to say the least.

So off to check on the sourdough as soon as I’d had my medication.

It hadn’t doubled in size through the night either but anyway, it’s had all of the resting that it’s going to have. I switched on the oven, put the lid over the pyrex bowl, turned it upside-down so that the dough fell into the lid (having well-floured the lid beforehand), removed the tea-towel, put the bowl back on (with the unit still upside-down) and put it in the oven full-on.

After half an hour I took off the bowl so that the bread remained in the lid (and it had risen somewhat too), scored the top of the bread to let out the steam and put it back into the oven for another half hour.

sourdough loaf Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t properly baked by then so I gave it another 15 minutes and when I took it out, it looked and smelt delicious.

One thing that I’ve learnt is that the bread is too small. It’s possibly the pyrex bowl that I’m using because the bread is not tall enough to be of much use. But the exciting part about all of this is that the bread was thoroughly delicious, light as a feather and completely aerated, and I wish that my normal bread would turn out this good.

It looks as if I’ll have to use 500 grammes of flour for the next week and see where that takes me. But it’s a lot more optimistic than it was last night and I’ll be trying this again.

While the bread was baking, I copied out my notes for the Welsh and then revised for my course this morning.

The course passed quite quickly today but I’m still very dissatisfied with myself here. Stuff is going in one ear and right out of the other. I must have a teflon brain because nothing seems to stick to it.

Once the course had finished I had to track down a book. We’re going to start reading a novel and although the tutor offered to send it to me page by page in a *.pdf I really could do with a version of my own. And eventually I managed to find one at quite a democratic price, and also a copy of our course book. Maybe it’s someone who did the course last year who doesn’t want to carry on or who wants to release some cash.

That meant a rather late lunch. I couldn’t wait to attack my bread and as I have said, it really was excellent and I’ll be doing that again, I reckon. But in a different mould to make a better shape.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith that out of the way it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk, bumping into one of my neighbours on the way out.

It was cold outside this afternoon, and I do mean cold. It won’t be long before I have to start to put my woolly hat on my woolly head when I go out. But the air was really clear and we could see for miles today. The view of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel on the right of the image has never been clearer.

It’s very difficult to believe that it’s about 70 kms away when you see it in a photo like this.

seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last couple of days we’ve spent some time round at the Seafarer’s Memorial.

There have been a few changes there since I came back from Belgium, and there have been a few more today by the looks of things. The flowers that we saw there last time have all been swept away and there are a few wreaths now that have appeared this morning.

At first I thought that it might be something to do with the anniversary of one of the tragedies that are commemorated thereupon, but they are dated December and January – I did check as I said that I would.

So I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s clearly significant

sun reflecting off sea baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen a photo of the Brittany coast right down as far as Cap Fréhel and how clear things were looking today in that direction.

We’ve also seen just recently a couple of photos of the reflection of the sun shining onto the sea over on the Brittany coast round by Cancale. So today, we had the lot. It’s not as impressive as the view that we had a week or so but the colour of the sky is especially interesting. It brings out really well the silhouette of the skyline if Cancale way in the distance.

And so I moved on. Next stop was the chantier navale

ceres 2 chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we saw yesterday was the mobile boat lift in the Chantier Navale in position round by Ceres 2 as if it was about to pick her up and drop her into the water.

But clearly not. The lift has now gone back to her usual position and Ceres 2 is still where she was on the blocks. So I don’t know what was happening there either now.

Nothing else worth talking about this afternoon. I’m sure that you aren’t interested in seeing any more photos of the pathetic parking at the school. Rather later than usual, I came on back for a coffee.

Liz was on line when I returned, and so was my friend who had the Covid, so we ended up having a good lengthy chat for a while. Liz gave me a few pointers about cooking and told me how to cook my butternut squash in order to make a decent soup (that’s Thursday’s task) and my other friend and I had a good chat about Chester, where I lived for a couple of years in the early 70s after I ran away from home.

This evening I was carried away on the bass guitar and ended up having a big bass session for my hour’s worth of playing around. Not like me, but I was enjoying myself so much with the numbers that I was playing.

Tea was a burger on a bap followed by my custard tart. And I’m impressed with how that turned out for an ad-hoc thrown-together dessert. I’ll have to do that again some time, only properly.

All of this was followed by a mega-washing-up session. There was plenty to do and now that the draining board is full, I’ll have to finish off tomorrow morning.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd later than usual (very much later in fact) I was able to go for a run. And even though it was way past curfew time and I was the only one out there, the police car that drove past me totally ignored me.

And so in stages as usual I ran down the Rue du Nord and then along the footpath underneath the walls. The sky was still quite clear and Donville les Bains was looking very bright in the distance, so taking my time, I took a photo of it.

It needed about 3 or 4 shots to take the photo that I wanted, but all the same it’s ended up coming out quite well. And once I’d taken it I carried on with my run.

place des corsaires Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch either.

To take a photo of something interesting I had to walk round to take a photo of the Place des Corsaires and take a photo of what there is down there, with the Rue Lecampion in the background. I’m getting to the stage where I’m running out of interesting things to photograph.

Mind you, the problem is the lack of light, because I would have loved to have had a photograph of the look on the face of the woman talking on her mobile phone in the Square Maurice Marland when I ran past. I took her completely by surprise and she must have least three feet into the air.

After my walk around the rest of the walls I ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to have a good day’s work. But as well as that I have to book my next journey to Leuven. I’m going on Monday but nothing is arranged as yet. I can see me walking to Leuven and sleeping under a bridge if I’m not careful.

Thursday 12th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… beat the third alarm this morning either – no surprise there, is there?

Probably something to do with my very long day yesterday and the fact that after I’d finished my notes I was editing some photos from the High Arctic and chatting to a young lady friend of mine – she of the corona virus – until the small hours, giving her my moral support – although whether anything that I can do which involves young ladies can be classed as “moral” is a matter for conjecture.

07:30 it was when I raised my ugly head, and when I listened to what was on the dictaphone I wished that I hadn’t gone to sleep. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally I don’t publish some stuff that I do during my voyages because, believe me, I can have some pretty gruesome dreams at times, but last night was gruesome for a very different reason.

I was working for a Government department last night and was in Montreal – I’d been seconded to work in the office in Montreal. I was staying at a friend’s, someone who had actually found the position for me. I’d gone over there and she had a beautiful flat, a really nice one about 5 stops away on the Metro from where the tax office was. There were lots of people staying there too including my various nieces. It was a pretty crowded apartment with all these people staying in it. So I arrived there and stayed the night and next morning I had to get ready. I was getting ready but there was all kinds of strange stuff going on outside – a huge stampede of cattle in the streets leaping into the river and swimming across to get to the other side on the island, the side where we were. So we walked out to see what was going on. It was due to a food shortage and they were all going off to another Province to be slaughtered. I went back in and had to get dressed. I put some clothes on and then thought “where are the rest of my clothes?” My friend said that she’s tidied away my suitcase and it was stuck right away in a corner under a huge pile of stuff and I couldn’t get at it. I didn’t have a tie but a guy who was there said “your brother has left a few ties here. You’ll have to fill in a form to pay him and you can have this green tie”. So I bought this green tie and there was a long white scarf with it as well that was dragging on the floor. I rolled it up and put it somewhere. “Do you want that?” I replied “it’ll probably come in use for the winter”. I noticed that everyone else was dressed and said “ohh look we’re all in green this morning”. Zero was there and she burst out laughing and said “yes”. Off I set and turned up at the building which was a crummy kind of building in a run-down area. There were crowds of people willing around outside. A guy came over and there were about 4 of us. He gave us a bit of an introduction chat and said that we have to report through door 13B. At 10:00 prompt the doors opened to this office and it was like a huge stampede as thousands of people swarmed in, obviously trying to get a good ticket so they could be in there first. We were swept in in the rush but couldn’t find this doorway. We had a look and there were loads of doors but none was the door that we wanted. In the end one guy I was with, a very tall, very thin guy found like a slit in the wall. He said “go through here and see”. He slipped through this slit and said something like “this is it”. “How the hell am I supposed to get through there?” I asked. He might get through there but I certainly couldn’t. I didn’t think that anyone of any particular size would either. Where our other two people had gone I really didn’t know. I was now pondering about how I was going to get through this slit. If I started I would be wedged in with so many people around me that I wouldn’t be able to extricate myself. That was when I awoke in a sweat.

A little later there had been another instance of me trying to catch a bus. I was scrambling around at a roundabout with cobbles and it had been raining. All these people on motorbikes kept on colliding with each other and falling off. But this was before this particular bit. The only bus coming in was this red bus that wasn’t a local bus at all. I got on and said “take me to a metro station”. he replied “there isn’t one where we are going. I suppose we could drop you off somewhere where you could get another connection”

So later on we were back again in my friend’s apartment a while later. I’d stepped back into this dream where I’d stepped out. This time things were better-arranged and when I got up this morning I could find my clothes and get dressed. I realised that I had the wrong clothes on so I went to look for my clothes. I found dozens of dirty clothes and thought that I was going to have to do some washing now. I’d only been there a day. I got dressed and there was some good music going on. I said to my friend “you have some really good music here and good books”. She said “I’ll tell my son about that”. Presumably he had chosen them all. I started to put the food out but suddenly realised that I was putting out things like vegetables and gravy. That must have been stuff for the evening meal, not breakfast. In the end we all went out and got on the bus. There were 3 of us, me, Nerina and another guy. She sat next to this other guy and started to talk to him in this really friendly involved conversation about going to football matches and discussing her ex-boyfriends, whatever. All the time I was thinking “she ought to be sitting next to me discussing this kind of thing and I was getting extremely jealous. We pulled up at a roundabout and we all got off the bus. Nerina asked “you know which bus you’re getting on, don’t you?”. “No” I replied. She explained to me about the roundabout and said “as long as you get on a bus there and it goes any distance you’ll be fine”

But in connection with the bit about the motorbikes falling over I was telling my brother about my journey and told him a cock and bull story about how I took a taxi because I’d missed all the buses but the taxi could only take me so far and he threw me out at a roundabout where I could get a bus.

Things were certainly happening last night, and I’m reminded of the doctor in THE CANNONBALL RUN who said “I’d really like to probe his case”.

Having written out the dictaphone notes, I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’ve now gone back over my higher target weight which is a shame. But one of the side effects that I have is “weight gain” and it seems pretty pointless me battling to keep the weight off if they give me all of this that puts it straight back on.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had my shower, I set out for the shops, having forgotten to switch on the washing machine.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader in port the other day, and then she disappeared again. But she’s back now doing another freight lift to and from the Channel Islands. Apparently she is really busy right now and there is “some talk” – although how serious it is, I don’t know – of buying a bigger ship.

There’s also the delivery of a new pleasure boat – the shrink-wrapped thing on the trailer behind the red and yellow lorry. It looks as if things are hotting up in the harbour.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsidering that there’s a lockdown on, there are more people about than I would have imagined.

But certain shopkeepers are taking full advantage of the pause well enough. There’s a café there in the Rue Paul Poirier and it looks as if, while it’s closed under the lockdown procedures, that they are ripping out the old front and fitting a new one.

That’s good news if you ask me. It’s nice to see the town slowly being redeveloped as time and funds permit. All we need now are a few more commercial freighters in the port and we’ll be well away. It’s all very well talking about increasing the pleasure boat traffic but what’s the good of the town being packed to the gunwhales 2 months of the year and dead as a dodo for the remaining 10?

One of the reasons why I came here was because of how lively it is throughout the year.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that I needed, for the simple reason that I couldn’t carry it. I had to buy an extra carrier bag while I was there for what I had already selected.

Pride of place though went to a set of stainless steel mesh sieves. The one that I use for straining my kefir etc is really too big and cumbersome to wield about.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home, I took a little detour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that quite recently I’ve talked rather a lot about the Eglise St Paul. One of the things that I have mentioned is the sad state of the building and how bits are dropping off it rather too rapidly for comfort.

It seems to me that I did mention that there was a ban on walking around or parking near to it, so here’s a photo of the perimeter of the church all roped off and a warning sign “falling rocks” just to illustrate the point that I was making.

It’s a real shame that the building is crumbling away like this.

war memorial eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe real reason why I’d come up here is because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’d seen the War Memorial here from across the valley a while ago and I’d mentioned that one of these days we’d come to see it.

And sure enough, here we are. There’s no time like the present. And rather disappointingly, there is no mention of any casualties on the Memorial, just a note “To Our Glorious Dead”. I was hoping to see a list of names of local soldiers who had lost their lives.

But interestingly, it mentions “our matelots”. And that set me thinking because I don’t recall any naval engagement during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the war to which this monument relates. I can see that I shall have to go off and do some more research.

So after struggling up the hill laden with shopping, I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of my fruit bread I went to talk to my friend who was now back on line. And we had a lengthy chat that took me up to lunchtime and more of my delicious bread.

This afternoon, I remembered to switch on the washing machine and even with the racket that that was making, waltzing around in the bathroom I managed to fall asleep for half an hour or so. I realise now why I usually set it to go when I’m out at the shops.

Next task was to peel a kilo of carrots – I’d bought two kilos at the shops today because I was right out. So peeled and diced, I blanched them ready for freezing. And while the water was coming to the boil, I fed the sourdough. There’s now 400 grammes of that happily fermenting away (and I do mean fermenting too – it’s bubbling really well) and as I need just 200 grammes of starter for a 500 gramme sourdough loaf, I reckon that my next loaf will be a sourdough one, and see what damage I can do with that.

Somehow I also managed to find the time for amending the two missing journal entries, THURSDAY’S and FRIDAY’S to incorporate the missing bits. I was going to look for the details of that aeroplane that crashed near Leuven in 1944 and I will do that one day, for sure, but there was something else that I needed to do.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have another friend stricken with Covid too, and I wanted to ask her how she was. And a quick 10-minute ‘phone call turned into a phone call of 1.5 hours.

People reading this will be thinking that maybe I begrudge the time that I spend talking on the ‘phone and on the computer because I’m always on about it, but it’s very far from the truth It interferes with my plans of course, but that’s what plans are for and I think very highly of my friends. I don’t have many friends but those I do have are the best friends in the world that anyone could have and I’ll speak to them any time of the day no matter where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Except of course, to certain people to whom I’ve confided my innermost secrets only to find that they have become a subject of discussion in a certain Land Rover news group. No friendship can withstand that, but I digress.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ranch, what with one thing and another (and once you get started you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are) it was after 17:00 when I finally set out for my afternoon walk and by now the light has gone. So much for trying to keep a constant time in order to compare lighting situations.

As I stepped out of the apartment building I noticed a movement out to sea so I went to investigate.

And it looks as if we are having yet another trawler heading for home today too. Whatever else is happening, there’s still fishing to be done and they are out there hard at it.

But anyway, I pushed on with my walk around the headland to see what else was going on.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that was “nothing at all”. I had to walk all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour before I noticed the next object of interest.

Normandy Trader has left port. That was a very brief visit – the turnround times are getting shorter and shorter. But in her place is Thora, the other little Channel Island freighter. She’s come in to do a quick sea lift from and to the Channel Islands.

These two seem to be hard at it without a moment’s rest and so it won’t surprise me if they do end up with a larger boat each before much longer.

Unless, that is, everyone is stocking up prior to Brexit (not that it will have too much of an effect on the Channel Islands) and it will all go very quiet afterwards.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was watching Thora the trawler that I had seen out at sea was coming round the headland towards port.

And at that moment, another one was heading out to sea. So in anticipation of a mid-channel collision, I stayed and watched them for a while. However, there were no shipwrecks and nobody drowndin’, in fact nothing to laugh at at all. So I headed for home as the sun started to sink down towards the horizon.

My hour on the guitar was something of a disappointment because I went to play the Steve Harley song “Riding the Waves”. I’d worked out the chords to the chorus but I couldn’t find my piece of paper with the notes on. And when I finally did find the paper, it sounded all wrong again.

The reason why I like the song, apart from the fact that it reminds me of someone who I’ll talk about at some time in the future, there’s a rapid series of chord changes involving the “F” chord and I need to improve that.

And before anyone says that there’s no “F” chord in it, I play it in a different key to suit my voice. My singing isn’t that good.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. While I was tidying up the food to put everything away, I came across one that was left over from the other week and it still appeared to be in good shape. So followed down by the last of the pineapple rings, it was delicious. Tomorrow I’ll have to take some frozen apple pie out of the freezer.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I went out for my evening walk and runs around the walls.

There was no-one around tonight so I broke into a run almost as soon as I left the building and ran all the way through the Porte St Jean to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord. But I went back to take a photo of the gate nevertheless because it looked so nice, all illuminated now that they fixed the lights the other week.

Nothing at all going on out at sea – or, if there was, I couldn’t see it – so I ran on down the Rue du Nord to the steep incline that always beats me.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving recovered my breath, I ran down the footpath underneath the walls, being lured ever onwards by the lights of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

With no-one about yet again, I stopped to take a photograph of the night scenery out that way, and then having recovered my breath, ran on down the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There was no-one about down there or on the Plat Gousset either, and no-one in the Square Marechal Foch either for that matter, so I could run all the way across there to the other side. Tonight I was really enjoying myself. It was a beautiful night – not too windy, fairly cold and rather crisp.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the walls by the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, I looked down to the Rue LeCampion and unless my eyes deceive me, they’ve put up the Christmas lights in the street.

That’s flaming early, I reckon. They must be planning something special right now. I don’t recall the lights being up this early before. Maybe it’s to take advantage of the fewer people wandering around in the streets during lockdown. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s something to do with that.

Back here, I carried on writing up my notes. There were plenty to go at tonight. I’m hoping for an early start tomorrow because I’ve plenty to do. Carrots to dice and blanch of course, and then I ned to start to organise myself about my trip around Europe earlier this year.

It’s not going to get done by me simply thinking about it.

Monday 28th September 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a good day today.

It started quite well too – long out of bed before the third alarm went off.

There was nothing on the dictaphone either. But although you might think that this meant a decent night’s sleep, in fact I was tossing and turning for much of the night and didn’t really have a good deal of sleep.

Nevertheless, fighting-fit (that is – fighting for breath and fit to drop), I attacked the radio programme for this week. And by the time I knocked off for tea, I’d finished it as far as the last track and it won’t take me very long (they are famous last words, aren’t they?) tomorrow afternoon.

Not tomorrow though, because of course I have my Welsh lesson at lunchtime and I need to revise.

What else I did today was to strip out the toilet and the bathroom and clean them to within an inch of their life – the first time since I don’t know when. And it went so much better once I’d emptied the vacuum cleaner of all of the rubbish in there.

light aeroplane pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break to go for my walk in the afternoon.

We had an aeroplane fly overhead too, but it was too far out for me to read its serial number. However, looking at the flights that came into Granville this afternoon and a closer examination of the image, it could well be F-GBAI.

She’s a Robin DR-400-140B Major, serial 1289. That’s a model that went into production in 1972 and is still being made. She has a 160hp Lycoming O-320-D2A engine.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNot too many people out there walking about today either. The wind had dropped to just “strong” but it was overcast and cloudy, and pretty cold too.

Out at sea though, there were a few things going on. There were several fishing boats out there that were heading into port now that the harbour gates are open.

The sea has calmed down considerably which makes it a lot safer for them to go out. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were in the harbour on Saturday evening the place was packed with boats that couldn’t get out to sea because of the weather.

man in dinghy port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHowever, with the easing of the weather, everyone seems to be heading out to sea right now.

In the tidal harbour, once the water comes in, the crew of the boats in there have to make their way out by all kinds of precarious means, whatever is available. Just like this guy standing up in his little dinghy paddling out to his yacht.

It’s quite incredible really that this is the same way that a couple of thousand years ago, people would be going out in boats like this, coracles made of branches and the like. Nothing changes very much, except the materials that they use.

st malo fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was another fishing boat heading out to sea, and this one is quite interesting.

If you look closely at the registration number of the boat, it begins with SM. Here in Granville, they all begin with CH – indicating that they are registered in Cherbourg.

This one here that begins with SM – I saw that registration prefix on boats that we encountered down the Brittany coast and that implies in my mind that the registration office for that part of the world across the bay from here is in St Malo.

Back here, I finished off the radio programme as much as I could, without the final track, and then went for tea. A slice of pie out of the freezer with potatoes, veg and gravy. Totally delicious.

The last of the rice pudding disappeared too, and tomorrow I can start on the strawberry flan.

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on, I went out for my evening walk.

The wind had dropped considerably by now but even so there weren’t too many people out there. There was no-one taking a walk along the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

My run along the footpath under the walls was quite pleasant. I have been feeling a little stiff for the last few days but it all seems to have eased a little this evening

On the way down, I bumped into a neighbour – the captain of the Spirit of Conrad. He’d been to La Rafale with his mates, so we exchanged pleasantries.

houses in rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing going on down in the Place Marechal Foch, I ran on round and across the Square Maurice Marland. No wind to hold me up tonight.

Nothing much going on in town either but the street lights illuminating the big houses in the Rue Lecampion looked quite impressive this evening. I stood and admired the view for a few minutes and then I headed off.

Having seen Minette, the old black cat, the other day, I was hoping that I’d see her again but no luck. That must have been a one-off.

rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked into the Place Cambernon I looked down the street, the Rue Cambernon, to see what was happening there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a “police incident” there the other day.

Nothing at all going on tonight, but the creperie restaurant down there was open and illuminated. It looked really nice tonight.

Back here I wrote up my notes and as there was not much to say about today I finished pretty early. I’m going to have an early night tonight ready for my Welsh course tomorrow. I need to be on form.

Thursday 10th September 2020 – IT’S ALWAYS INTERESTING …

traffic lights porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hall… the things that I see when I’m out and about on my travels around the town.

And it’s not as if I have to go all that far from home to find it either. I hadn’t gone 20 yards otside my front door this morning before I was confronted by a set of traffic lights.

“Road works going on in the old Medieval walled city” I mused to myself. I shall have to go for a look round later on to see what is happening.

roadworks rue notre dame pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, while I was on my travels later this evening, I did come across what was causing the issues.

The road has been dug up on the corner of the Place Cambernon and the Rue Notre Dame. And judging by the names written on the “no parking” signs, it seems to be the Water company whose turn it is right now to dig up the streets.

It’s Thursday night as well, and the Pizza van is there tonight. And with the tables of the bar La Rafale being out in the square and its reserve place prohibited by the road works, it’s had to perch itself precariously on the corner.

Talking of perching oneself precariously on the corner, when the third alarm went off this morning I was perched precariously on the corner of the bed with my feet on the floor.

Not exactly awake but it still counts as being up and out of bed.

What was surprising about this was I’d had such a bad night. At one stage I thought that I would never ever drop off to sleep. There isn’t really much point in going to bed early if you can’t sleep.

When I finally got off to sleep last night I met another strange girl. She was from Venn which wasn’t too far from Eching (which it isn’t, but let’s not go allowing facts to get in the way of a good nocturnal ramble). There was this weird girls’ school and they were teaching these children all this dance, everything like that and poetry recital, that kind of thing. They had a kind of dancing competition. I wanted to see them about something but it was “oh no we can’t interrupt these proceedings now. It’s far too important. You’ll have to come back later”. Off they all went and I went back. All of these girls were in school uniform, grey with grey hats, that kind of thing, a very posh private school, that type of place. They all had taken some strange kind of wooden furniture, shelf kind of thing with two sides like blackboards that you could write on them. They had all taken these with them but there was one left in the garden. I mentioned it to the headmistress. She said “you’ll have to take that. It looks like one of the girls has forgotten it”. “What do you mean ‘I have to take it’?”. She said “you have to take it”. I asked “what do I do with it?”. She replied “you have to learn the ritual and at the appointed time tonight you’ll have to perform the ritual”. I thought to myself “what the hell am I going to be involved in now?”. She insisted that it was terribly important that I did this, so I ended up taking it home with me and stuck it in a corner when I returned home. I had to be very careful about who came to my house. We were listing stuff to sell and I can’t remember who was helping me now, maybe my brother I dunno. We’d listed some stuff to sell and we’d sold it and now we were listing some free stuff. He was listing some stuff that I thought was much more important to sell – we could get a good price for this – but no, he insisted on it being free. There was one thing that he insisted that people make an appointment to come round to pick it up. I said “that’s crazy, tying me to the house and I don’t want to be tied to the house. I want to get rid of these things as and when!”. We had a dispute about that and in the end we agreed that people would just have to ring up and say when they were coming to pick it up, a kind of compromise. After we’d done that, I said “hang on – I have something else to show you”. There was a girl in my house at this time – it might have been Pollux but I’m not too sure about this. I went and brought down this furniture thing and assembled it. I asked this girl ” how’s your Latin?”. She said “I come from Venn, it’s Venn that I speak, that’s near Eching in Germany, like Germany and Austria”. I replied “you’ll get on really well with Hans”. “Yes” she said, “that’s right. From Eching”. I showed them this and explained about this ritual that I had to do. One thing that I had forgotten was that during this competition I had 16 dances to learn. There had been a musician playing all of the dances and for a minute I’d been round with him doing something, trying to work out what the music was for these dances. It was another hot and sweaty night when I awoke and it took me hours to go back off to sleep as well.
Somewhat later I was with a girl and my father was around somewhere. I’d had to go out in a car and there had been some kind of confusion over which one I was to drive. It was suggested that i would take my father’s Zephyr 6 – the MkIV, not the MkIII which was his famous one 3816 TD. I went to try to organise something about all of this and I ended up with a pocket of keys. I had to start swapping them over. Then I noticed – I had to get up from my table at this bar place – and on the way back I noticed this key on the floor. It was the one that I needed to start the car. I showed it to the girl I was with and said “phew! That’s lucky!”. She asked what it was so I told her that it was the key to the car. My father then went to move all of his cars away. he took his mkIII Zephyr and drive it home and came back with the MkIV. There was still a bit of confusion about how we were going to go somewhere. I had a pocket full of rubbish and wondered how I was going to fit this key in. Then I couldn’t find the key and it was hidden in all this rubbish in my pocket. There was the question again about what car I was going in and we agreed that it was my father’s. I asked “what’s going to be in it?”. They replied “just his coat and one or two other little things”. I wanted to ask my father a couple of questions about his cars. I remember the two Ford E83W vans that we had – KLG 93 and XVT 772 – and I’m sure that there was one before them that had become stuck in my head, a 1937 van, and I wanted to know what we had had before that, and what he would consider to be his typical car if someone had to connect him with one particular car, which one would it be? I thought that it was important that he would tell me because of course he wouldn’t last for ever and if I didn’t start asking these questions soon I would never know.

But I’m not too sure why it is that Pollux has suddenly started making a series of appearances in my nocturnal rambles. Where has Castor got to?

There was some stuff on the dicaphone from yesterday too, so I transcribed that and ADDED IT TO THE ENTRY FOR YESTERDAY.

As well as having a shower this morning, I also cut my hair. It’s been a while since I’ve cut it and it was becoming a little straggly.

mobile crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then I went out to the shops.

We’ve seen the traffic lights around the corner but that was far from being the only excitement. There’s a huge mobile crane down there in the Rue Lecampion lifting a load of something or other over the roofs of the houses into the rear behind the Rue des Corsaires.

That was well worth a photo of course, and when I’m down there I shall make further enquiries to see what they are up to.

crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, when I was down there I could see that there’s quite a major operation going on.

It’s difficult to say what they are doing but there was this kind of glazed roof – at least, it would be glazed had there been any glass in it but I imagine there soon will be – that they are presumably going to lift up and over and onto whatever it is that they are doing.

My first stop today was the railway station.

My Old Fogey’s railcard expired a few weeks ago and with me planning to go to Belgium for my hospital appointment at Castle Anthrax, I need it updated.

That was dealt with without any particular problem and then I went off to LIDL. There was nothing much there that attracted my attention although with fruit being so cheap right now (especially grapes, of course) I ended up with a huge pile of fruit.

archaeological dig square potel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I went past the Square Potel.

There’s an archaeological dig going on around there right now and we’ve seen the digger in the grounds of the museum. Today though, they were digging a trench in the square and there was an archaeologist examining some artefacts.

Having watched them for a short while I came on home, where I … errr … crashed out on the chair until lunchtime. That’s enough to make me feel really miserable.

After lunch I spent a pleasant hour or so working on the photos from Brittany at the end of June when we went off on the Spirit of Conrad.

joly france english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the sailing – or, at least, nautical – theme continued while I was out on my afternoon walk.

There were crowds of people out there enjoying the pleasant weather and looking out to sea as something rather large was moving about heading towards us. These days I can recognise the silhouette at quite some distance without needing to crop and enlarge it.

And it is as I expected. Joly France is on her way back with the afternoon ferry from the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be quite busy right now despite the end of the holiday season.

fishing from speedboat pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were plenty of other boats out there too, as you could see in the previous photo.

There are several boats too much closer to home. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we seem to be in the middle of the rod-and-line fishing season. We have another small boat out there today with their rods out trying for a bite.

Here’s hoping that they will have more luck than anyone else who I have seen out there. Three and a half years have I been here and not a single bite have I seen

sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway i pushed on along the path and round the headland to the path on the south side.

One of the things that I regret not doing while I’ve been living here is to make the most of the opportunities that the local sailing school can offer. I would have thought that with the season being over their activities would have ceased but there seems to be another class out there today.

Not having gone down there to make enquiries is an opportunity that I have let slip and I hope that I’ll have another opportunity to put that right.

speedboat cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen we saw the photo of Joly France just now, we saw another boat coming along behind it.

And as I carried on with my walk along the path this rather large pleasure boat came around the headland towards the port de plaisance and I reckon that this is the “other” boat from the previous photo.

Having a good look at this, it’s clear that there is plenty of money around here, what with one thing and another. Not around me though. It seems to have passed me by a long time ago.

Back here I did some Welsh revision and then had my hour on the guitars.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, followed by apple pie. And then I went out for my evening walk.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight, although maybe I should say that the sun has long-since set. It was very reminiscent of some of the very late nights that I have seen in the High Arctic and makes me all nostalgic.

Before much longer, I’m going to have to make another return out there, even if it’s just to sit on the shore of the North West Passage and admire the sky.

My route carried on with a run down along the footpath, a walk around the corner to gather my breath and then another run across the Square Maurice Marland.

minette black cat rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for a couple of years I had a regular encounter with an old black cat called Minette

Ever since the turn of the year I only recall meeting her once and the feeling seemed to be that she had gone off across the rainbow bridge. However, much to my delight, she was there again tonight sitting on her windowsill waiting for her stroke.

That cheered me up no end.

Nothing much else going on, apart from the roadworks that we have seen, so instead I came home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have a full day at home in which I can catch up with some arrears. I also need to book my voyage to Leuven for my visit to Castle Anthrax and so that will be a priority too.

But sleep is the first thing to do. And who will come with me on a travel tonight?

Sunday 5th July 2020 – WITH IT BEING …

… a Sunday and therefore a Day of rest, anyone who thinks that I might have leapt out of bed at 07:30 when I awoke is quite clearly mistaken

09:30 is much more realistic as far as I’m concerned and I’m quite happy with that.

After the meds I had a look at the dictaphone sure enough, I’d been on a few voyages during the night.

There was something going on last night about Space and I’m not sure how or why or where it was but there were three of us – me, a girl and a Welsh guy. Something happened – we’d been in contact with some extra-terrestres (I’m dreaming in French again) and we were all trying to decide what to do. I came up with a few ideas – I couldn’t really remember what they were. This Welsh guy came up with an idea “why don’t I go to deep Space to visit them and talk to them?”. He was a salesman by profession and of vourse being Welsh he knew how to talk so that seemed to be the way forward. We could see if we looked through an inspection hatch that there was a little hole on the side of this planet. That was where he had to aim his spacecraft for. We had to wait until the Americans had a space rocket ready to blast a capsule off into high outer space orbit so that he could contact the extra-terrestres and start selling them things. I thought that this was a really weird thing to be doing.
We were on our boat last night and we came to a place where some of us wanted to get off to go to look at some things. But Strawberry Moose he stayed on board and everyone wondered where he was. I said that he wanted to stay on board and do some things on board. We all got down into our zodiacs but the two girls whom I hoped would come with us stayed on board as well which was disappointing. We finally came ashore in a jungle area where a woman had arranged to meet two people who would be in a bar around the corner. So we went to this bar while everyone else dispersed. There was no sign of these two people at all and we waited for about 10 minutes. In the end we decided to go. Just then this German boy off one of the crossings turned up in the bar and started to talk to us. That was the last thing that we wanted, to end up with him. Before we went in we had to organise our clothes. I had some clothes that wouldn’t go in the washing machine to be washed in the cycle that they had. I was going to do them by hand but the guy in charge of the laundry had this procedure. He had some washing conditioner arranged in a series – a bowl with conditioner, a bowl with clean water, a beaker full of conditioner and another bowl of plain water. He took hold of one of my socks and was pasting this conditioner over it. Normally when I wash my socks I put one over my hand , rub soap into it, put the other sock over the other hand, rub soap into that and rub the two together like I’m washing my hands. He was doing it in a strange way so I thought I’d do it in that way too, watching him and seeing what procedure he was going to use.
There was a group of us in a room in a house later on. The room was really untidy and there was a load of papers and magazines and maps and things. They were all mine and all needed to be tidied up. A couple of girls were helping me, going through the piles and getting them in the right order, unfolding them and laying them flat, merging them together. There were piles of cables, computer and audio cables etc all over the place and they were all arranged in some weird crazy cat’s cradle. While the girls were organising these magazines and I’d done a bit of that I was starting to untangle these cables. One of the girls with black hair and glasses came over and said “I’ve already done that”. I showed here that there was a lot that was still tangled up. She said “just leave it for the moment because we can do that when it’s more convenient”. She started to take down the washing that was hanging up everywhere. We were on a big barge and we had to leave the main waterway to go down some kind of side waterway. It was a very tight turn, almost as if you had to double back on yourself which is no fun when you have a big barge like we had. The girl at the helm up front had to steer this barge round and I knew that she didn’t like doing it here so I said “this is your favourite bend, isn’t it, Judy?”. She didn’t hear me at first so I said it again. She made some kind of grimace. When we got to this waterway it was dry and there were sheep in it. We had to pivot this boat round to get it lined up then get out and drag it up out of the water onto this pathway that was going downhill. The first time we did it the boat ground out. It was in the wrong area and was going to hit the wall so we had to push it back to line it up to start again. I had a feeling that this was not going to be easy having to do this. But somewhere in the middle of all of this was Alan Dean – now when was the last time I ever heard of him? I was at the top of the steps walking down with some swing doors at the bottom. He was down there. It was a case of playing a bass guitar and I was stuck. I wanted to improve and I didn’t know where to go, how to learn, how to change my procedures. I thought that I would look at a few videos on Youtube but that was somewhere stuck in the middle that was.

It was therefore something of a major surprise that I found myself awake so early after that. And even more of a surprise that I kept going all day without a rest.

But let’s not go getting ahead of ourselves here.

It took me long enough to type out all of that, and then there was my Welsh homework. With having missed Tuesday’s lesson I had to do the coursework myself before I could make a start.

So what with one thing and another it was lunchtime by the time it was all done.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I spent a few days a couple of months ago copying all of the files from various hard drives onto the new external drive that I had bought.

The aim was to compare them and delete any duplicate files but for some unknown reason the file duplicate detecting program was having issues.

This afternoon I uninstalled it and reinstalled it but it still wouldn’t work. However eventually I found the reason. Two of the drives are “C” drives out of old computers with the deep BIOS settings on them – the settings that drive the drives. Of course you can’t delete those so when the program detected two identical files in the BIOS settings in two drives it was obliged to pause for thought.

Excluding those files from the compare did the trick, and so the afternoon has been spent mostly dealing with this little project.

bird of prey pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was of course the afternoon walk to deal with, and with it being a Sunday it was the day when I go into town for my weekly ice cream.

But I didn’t go very far before I was interrupted. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m quite a keen bird watcher and when I was married I had many a lecture on birdwatching from poor Nerina.

Anyway, this bird here was hovering around over the edge of the cliff where the little rabbit colony seems to be. I imagine that it was looking for any errant rabbit babies.

bird of prey pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s a bird of prey of some description but whatever it is, I’m none-the-wiser.

My friend Erika thinks that it’s either a white-tailed hawk or a hobby and she certainly has more idea than I do. My bird-identifying is rather like that of a woman identifying a car.

“What kind of car was it, madam?”
“A red one”.

And that’s me with birds too unfortunately

peche a pied port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs it’s my long Sunday walk I went down the steps at the end of the path and round the headland on the lower level.

Plenty of people milling around there today. The holidays are well under way now. And there were loads of people out there on the rocks this afternoon too. It’s a low tide today and so those who practise the peche à pied are out there in force.

Here’s hoping that they share their catch out with their friends too. After all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

fishing boats chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe path carries on around the foot of the cliff and then past the Chantier navale.

A big surprise in there today. It seems that they’ve been busy while I was away, for every berth has some kind of vessel in there undergoing repair. No fewer than six fishing boats, I make it, up on blocks today.

Having been quiet for a while, it’s good to see them so busy. It’ll just be someone’s luck to have a breakdown while there’s no berth available to accommodate them

covid warning notice fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe tide was right out just now as we have seen so I was able to take the short cut across the top of the harbour gates to the other side.

On the way past the Fish processing plant I observed this notice pasted to the door. Briefly, and crudely (and if you want anything crude, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man!) translated by Yours Truly, there have been several “incidents” at the Fish processing plant that breach the Corona virus precautions.

This notice informs everyone of these breaches and states that if there are any more, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry will take whatever action they consider necessary.

They don’t mess about here. None of your “driving to Barnard Castle” or “going to Greece via Bulgaria” in these situations.

spirit of conrad victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOur home from last week is still in port.

Spirit of Conrad is quietly moored where we left her on Friday evening, with the big wheel in the background.

The two Channel island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville are there in port too. We are told that the ferry service is to start very soon – the 11th July is one date that is freely bandied about.

But the regulations for travelling are extremely severe and I don’t imagine that there will be many takers at the moment.

man fallen out of zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving observed the shipping in the harbour I walked on round to the end of the wall to see what was going on.

Here was something interesting. There was a zodiac parked up in the water over there and it looked as if there was no-one in it. Enlarging the photo when I returned home, I could see that there was someone in the water right by it.

It was one of those situations where I couldn’t see what he was doing or why he would have been in the water. It’s a shame that I didn’t notice him until it was too late to do any good.

propellor of antwerpen port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis propellor here from a ship is propped up against the wall of the harbour offices and I must have walked past here 100 times without really noticing it.

It belonged to a small ship of 265 or so tonnes, the Antwerpen. She was a German coaster built in 1917 by the Germans but abandoned in Oostende at the Armistice.

Taken over by the Belgian Navy, she was repossessed by the Germans in 1940 when Belgium fell, and was one of the boats that plied between Granville and the Channel islands taking supplies out there.

In December 1940 in thick fog she was rammed by another vessel in her convoy and sank in shallow water. Demolished finally in 1963, her propellor was found by divers in 1986 and presented to the port office.

bad parking port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing that features quite often in these pages, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is pathetic parking.

And does parking ever get more pathetic than this? All of these cars are parked without any regard whatsoever for the road markings. It’s totally unbelievable, isn’t it?

Continuing on my walk, I went round onto the quayside to see what was happening, but there was nothing whatever going on there this afternoon.

big wheel place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallThat was probably because the gates were closed and the tide was right out. Not much point in anyone being here right now.

Turning on my heel, i went out to have a look at the big wheel. It’s going round and there are people on it too, although it would be wrong to say that it was actually busy. No clues at all.

And so I pushed on into the rue LeCampion to my little ice cream stall and had the weekly ice cream. I need to keep up with my habits while the summer is here.

steps rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallFor a change I walked back along the rue LeCampion, up the steps at the Rampe du Monte Regret and under the drawbridge into the old town.

The aim of going this way was to see how they were getting on with the replacement of the gas pipe in the rue Lecarpentier.

By the looks of things, they seem to have finished the work. And it looks quite a tidy job too. You’ll hardly notice that all of that has been dug up and subsequently replaced.

yacht english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallUp through the Place Cambernon and through the alley down to the rue du Nord and along the walls to the viewpoint.

There was a yacht out there in the English Channel struggling along in the wind. It’s not a boat that I recognise either and I can’t read a name on her anywhere.

Back here I carried on with my work and at 18:00 knocked off for a play on the guitars for an hour or so.

Later on I had tea. Another home-made pizza that was really delicious. But no pudding tonight as I wasn’t that hungry.
In

My run this evening was a dismal failure – and for a couple of reasons too.

  1. When I came back in this afternoon I put the camera battery on charge. And when i went out this evening, I forgot to put the battery back in it – so no photos
  2. There’s a gale blowing out here – 75 kph winds. Several of my runs ended abruptly as I turned a corner and ran into a headwind that blew me backwards. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so depressed. Something of a failure, that was

So I’m packed now and I’ll be off on my travels tomorrow. Back to Castle Anthrax. I wonder what plans they have in store for me there.