Tag Archives: sourdough

Tuesday 1st June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really horrible day today, which will come as no surprise to anyone at all.

It’s always the same – the day after I return from Leuven I always have a day like this, which is why I always try to come home on a Saturday – so that I can take advantage of a Sunday and stay in bed. When I have to get up early in the morning it’s bound to back fire.

And so it did today. With my Welsh lesson this morning I had to haul myself out of bed at 06:00 as usual, and I managed that without any problems. After the medication, of which there is more than enough these days, I came in and sorted out a few bits and pieces that needed to be done.

Finally I could sit down and start to revise my Welsh. And I got as far as the first few pages of my notebook and that was that. Flat out on the chair, and until 09:40 as well. I must have been out for a couple of hours.

First thing after coming round was to have a shower. Nice clean clothes and properly refreshed after all of that, I could sit down and study – as much as I could in the time allowed because there wasn’t much time left.

Soon enough – far too soon in my opinions – I knocked off and went to make myself some hot chocolate – real hot chocolate made with real chocolate as usual, and armed with this and a slice of that cake that I bought from LIDL at Christmas, I went for my lesson.

It was a strange lesson. We have our exam next Wednesday – mine is at 16:00 – and so while it was officially a week off for school half-term, we had a special lesson which was in effect to work our way through 2 past question papers and then we each had a mock examination. Mine went rather flat as I forgot two tenses and also didn’t understand one word that our tutor used.

It’s an oral examination done on Zoom with four parts to the paper and we need 50% in each section to pass. And despite my faltering here and there, our tutor told us that we would all have passed quite easily.

For lunch I finished off yesterday’s sandwiches and then went off to the shops. With having been away for so long, whatever fruit was left had gone off and there wasn’t much of anything at all left.

At LIDL I spent a lot of money, mainly on all different kinds of fruit, and then at LeClerc it was another expensive do, mainly due to having to buy some more coffee. Not that I’m running low on supplies but whenever I do, I never have any handy and I never seem to be able to find the type that I like.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then went out for my afternoon walk. Mustn’t forget that.

workmen building compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the builders’ compound across the road that had sprung up like a mushroom while I’d been away.

This afternoon when I went outside they were actually working there. There was a digger working there taking a pile of earth and sand out of the store of earth that they had in a container and tipping it into the load bed of the dumper, presumably to disappear off into the bowels of the medieval city to fill in whatever hole they have dug.

There is quite a lot of rubble and earth and sand in that container there so it must have been quite a hole or trench that they have dug. I might go for a walk out that way tomorrow to see what they have been up to.

people on beach rue du nord swimming buoys plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallit was the habit before I went off to Leuven for me to go over to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach by the Rue du Nord to see what is going on down there.

As you might expect, there were several people down on the beach. Not as many as I was expecting because the temperature was 24°C this afternoon, really warm, and hardly a breath of wind. How the weather has changed since I went off to Leuven.

With weather like this, I would have expected to have seen crowds of people down there this afternoon.

Also in the distance you can see the row of yellow buoys. They mark the edge of the patrolled beach of the Plat Gousset. It looks as if they have reassembled all of the necessary summer season items like the diving platform and all of that, ready for the arrival of the grockles.

fishermen zodiac speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing of which we have seen plenty of in the past is all of the fishermen who hang around either on the rocks or in boats just off the cliffs out at sea.

Today, we have a pile of fishermen out there in boats. I had noticed that there were two guys in that zodiac just there. They were stationary and were casting their lines into the sea from their boat. And as I watched them, the other guys turned up in the speedboat from across the bay near Donville les Bains.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the two guys in the speedboat had made themselves quite unpopular by their sudden arrival. I’m sure that the wake of their boat would have driven away any fish that might be there.

As regular readers of this rubbish might recall, we haven’t ever seen a fisherman catch a fish when they have been on their own, never mind when someone has come along to disrupt their silence.

joly france speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been looking down onto the beach just now, I had noticed out of the corner of my eye some kind of movement in white out near the Ile de Chausey.

Using the zoom lens at its fullest extent I was able to take a photograph of it, and later on when I was back at the apartment I was able to enlarge it and crop it out so I could see better which boat it was.

Of course, it goes without saying that what I had seen was a boat, and it was none other than one of the Joly France boats on its way back to port with a load of tourists having spent the day out there on the island, accompanied by a speedboat.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we were looking at prior to my departure to Leuven was the fact that the local fishing boats were now much more active in the Baie de Mont St Michel than they ever have done in the past.

And sure enough, there were a couple of trawlers out there in the bay today fishing away off over towards the Brittany coast. I’d seen them when I was on the lawn and so I walked across the lawn and the car park down to the end of the headland in order that I could photograph them.

It seems to me that despite the agreement with the Jersey authorities the fishing boats are busy exploring new fishing grounds as some kind of insurance

joly france trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, the white thing that I had seen moving about has come closer to the headland so that I can see better what it is. There was really no need for me to have taken the earlier photograph in fact.

Here she is, coming closer to the headland, just as she is passed by a trawler on its way out to the fishing grounds. Whatever the circumstances, they are still going out to the Baie de Granville for fishing purposes. At least those people in the large boats actually manage to catch things, which is more than can be said for the men with rod and line.

From here, I continued on my way along the footpath. Having been so ill, I was really struggling along the path. It was really hard to believe that 12 months ago I could run around here without any problems.

hera trawler customs launch chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk – or, more likely, my stagger – along the top of the cliffs took me to my viewpoint over the harbour where I could look down on the chantier navale and see what was going on down there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I left here, the ship repair yard was empty. It had been full for quite some time but gradually all of the boats had ended up back in the water. And so it was nice to see it quite busy again when I came back from my little trip.

There’s a trawler, Hera in there, and next to it is a Customs launch. Does this mean that we are finally going to have our own Customs post here at long last?

Next to that is quite a large inshore fishing boat. You can see all of the buoys on board that we see floating around in the water occasionally, which seem to mark the position of lobster pots, and you can see the crane that presumably lifts the pots out of the water

But what piqued my interest most of all was the wooden craft closest to me. That looks like something old and disreputable from the 16th Century and I’ll be keeping a keen eye on her to see what is going to happen.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, Joly France had arrived in port and was heading off to her berth at the ferry terminal.

In the past they enter port really close to the green marker light but today she had come in closer to the other side of the harbour entrance. That’s presumably because they’ve moved the silt bank that was over there, an activity that we watched with great interest a couple of months ago, so the water isn’t quite as shallow as it used to be.

And we can see that she’s the older of the two Joly France boats. We can tell that because of the windows down her side. They are rectangular in “landscape” mode, whereas in the newer boat, they are rectangular in “portrait” mode.

And doesn’t she have a crowd of people on board this afternoon? It must have been busy over there on the island today in this lovely weather.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYet another thing that had caught my attention, and that of the regular readers of this rubbish, who will recall that I have spent a great amount of time talking about the boats that are left tied up to the jetty underneath the fish processing plant and left there to settle in the silt when the tide goes out.

One that I’ve seen quite regularly is L’Omerta. She’s been tied up there a few times and left to go aground, instead of being taken into the inner harbour where she can remain afloat.

And I’ve still not figured out the significance of her name. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – edOmerta is the name given to the oath of silence taken by members of the Mafia.

Back here I made myself a nice cold drink – a strawberry smoothie – and then came in here to carry on with my work but, shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep again and was stark out until 18:45. And I wasn’t in any fit state to do anything for a while. I’d missed my guitar practice and I was annoyed about that.

Tea was a stuffed pepper (I’d bought some of those while I was out) followed by chocolate sponge and coconut dessert stuff. There’s only enough chocolate sponge now for tomorrow so I’ll have to invent a dessert for the rest of the week. I did buy some cooking apples so I might even go for a crumble and make some custard now that I know that it works.

To my surprise the ginger hadn’t died so I fed it with more. I wasn’t so sure about the sourdough. It didn’t look at all healthy but I emptied it out, fed it, cleaned out its bottle and refilled it. We’ll see how it goes over the next couple of days as to whether it’s still alive.

As for me, I don’t feel as if I’m still alive. I’ve made an executive decision – which means that if it is the wrong decision, the person making it is executed – and that there will be no alarm tomorrow. I’m owed a Day of Rest after my exhausting travels and I’ll take it tomorrow.

Hopefully that will set me back on my feet but I doubt it. I think that I’m too far gone for that.

Monday 17th May 2021 – MY SOURDOUGH …

sourdough fermenting place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… seems to be enjoying itself right now.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mix. And sure enough this morning when I went into the kitchen I discovered that it had fermented so well that it had erupted and overflowed the bottle in which I keep it.

That’s what I call a good sourdough mix.

What else was good about the day was that I managed to leave my bed at the first alarm which, seeing that I didn’t go to bed until 00:30. And for a change I had a peaceful night

After the medication I armed myself with a mug of coffee and sat down to deal with a few radio shows. I needed three concerts in order to bring myself up-to-date and in a fit of marvellous concentration I managed to do all three.

The second one was an absolute swine to do and I really had to struggle with that. And then I needed over 4 minutes of speech in order to fill out the hours’ worth of programmes and that was a struggle to keep it interesting for that length of time.

The third one was much more straightforward and luckily it only needed 34 seconds of speech. That’s not really enough but there was no other way of doing it without cropping out some of what I consider to be crucial tracks. After all, it’s my programme and I get to choose the tracks that I like.

This all took me up to a very late lunch but that didn’t matter because I was determined to complete all three before I knocked off. And of course there had been the pause for hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate of course) and sourdough fruit bread for breakfast.

After lunch I came in here to do some work but I do have to say at at some point I crashed out. And it was another one of those crashings-out where I didn’t realise that I had done so until I awoke. I’ve been having a few of those just lately and it’s disconcerting.

As a result I ended up going for a late walk this afternoon. And that wasn’t a bad thing because earlier it had been raining quite heavily, but now it had stopped.

“Gone back to fetch some more” I mused.

people on beach storm waves rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe were also having another session of very high winds as you can tell by looking at the whitecaps in this photo.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to stick my head over to see what was happening on the beach. And being rather late today, the tide was leaving us with rather less beach than it would otherwise have done had I been out at my normal time.

But despite the miserable weather it was otherwise quite sunny and I suppose that if you could find a spot out of the wind in which to settle it would have been a very nice day. But I was too busy hanging onto my hat in the howling gale to notice.

Instead I headed off down the path along the top of the cliffs towards the end of the headland.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith all of the issues just recently, the local fishing boats seem to be spending more time closer to home rather than farther out in the English Channel.

We have a couple of trawlers out there just off the headland and slightly to the north. One is clearly visible and there’s a second behind it obscured by the haze and mist and what looks like an approaching rain cloud. I hope that I’m back at home when it finally hits land.

There were a couple of trawlers out in the Baie de Mont St Michel as I discovered when I went round to the end of the headland but they were even more obscured in the weather than the ones here so I didn’t photograph them. Instead I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland and along to the port.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I noticed that the place hadn’t remained empty for long.

Today there’s one of the smaller fishing boats that’s come up onto the blocks here presumably to have some work undertaken while the fishing season for certain types of shellfish has paused. And if we’re lucky we might even see a few more of them up here being overhauled.

And in the background over at the ferry terminal, Chausiais is moored up, resting on her bottom as the tide is going out quite rapidly. There doesn’t seem to be anything going on out at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon that would require her attention.

And not mine either. I carried on home before the rain came upon me.

spirit of conrad charles marie black mamba anakena aztec lady la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a change of occupancy amongts the larger yachts too.

Aztec Lady whom we last heard of at St Cast le Guildo has returned and she’s moored up alongside Anakena and to the right of Vlack Mamba and Charles-Marie. But the big yacht that has been there for ages next to Spirit of Conrad has now left port.

At least though now by the process of elimination I’m able to identify her. She’s called Capo di Fora, registered in Belgium the same as Spirit of Conrad and Anakena. And if you want to know where she is, she’s swapped station with Aztec Lady and is now in the bay just off St Cast le Guildo.

It’s a small world, isn’t it?

Back here, rather late, I had some fun working out the bass line to another one of the songs on this playlist and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap tonight with baked potatoes, followed by chocolate sponge with that soya coconut dessert stuff. I’m really feeding myself quite well.

So now I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson in the morning and the exam date is approaching. High time that I did some revision and got on with some work as well. I really do have to knuckle down.

Sunday 9th May 2021 – IT REALLY SEEMS …

yachts kayaks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… as if the warm weather has arrived this weekend, and it brought out the people in their hordes.

You can see a fleet of kayaks at the bottom of the photo and the flotillas of yachts out there by the Ile de Chausey. That was just a small part of what was going on this afternoon.

What has happened is that, as you can see, there’s a really heavy, grey overcast sky with 10/10ths cloud and a reasonable amount of wind, but it wasn’t cold at all. In fact, it was rather warm, and that was what made me think that perhaps, at long last, we might be moving into summer after the coldest and windiest winter that I’ve ever had in Normandy.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd although, as I said, there wasn’t as much wind today as there has been in the past, we are still having these heavy rolling seas sending the waves smashing into the sea wall.

But anyway, we’ll leave that for the moment. After my ridiculous lie-in yesterday, today’s lie-in was a much more reasonable and realistic 10:30. and after the medication, first thing that I did was to give the sourdough dough its second kneading and shaped it to put into its mould.

The second task was to make a load of normal dough made with regular yeast, 500 grammes-worth of flour with a pile of sunflower seeds and a vitamin C and magnesium tablet, mixed it all up and left it on one side to rise for a couple of hours.

After I’d had my porridge and toast for brunch, I started to knead the dough that I’d taken out earlier from the freezer, and put that on one side. I came back in here to start to listen to the dictaphone but I didn’t get very far before it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as usual, the first thing to do was to go down to the wall at the end of the car park and look over the top down onto the beach below.

A little earlier I already mentioned the fact that the weather seems to be slowly improving. And that accounts for the fact that despite the high tide and the reduced amount of beach available, there were quite a few people wandering around down there making the most of the first really warm May Day.

And while I was watching, one of my neighbours turned up and parked her car, almost squidging me in the process. We had a little chat and then I pushed off on my travels along the footpath.

kayaks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve already seen a photo of the fleet of kayaks just offshore in the Baie de Granville.

Here they all are, having paddled all the way around from the Navigational and Sailing School round on the other side of the headland, so hats off to them. It can’t have been an easy trip in this sea.

It must have been really cold in there too because the water can’t have warmed up yet, but I hope that they haven’t lit any fires in their canoes. Because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

By now the hordes of people milling around, many without masks despite the Prefectorial Order for masks to be worn until the end of the month, were making life uncomfortable on the path.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that things were quite busy today out in the Baie de Granville on the north side of the headland, then it wasn’t any less hectic on the southern side of the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There were more kayakers out there, out of shot closer to the shore, but there were also plenty of yachts sailing around, accompanied by a cabin cruiser or two and the odd pleasure boat or so. I’d seen them at a distance as I was walking along the footpath so I crossed the car park down to the end of the headland for a closer look.

And talking of a closer look, you can see if you look closely down at the bottom left of the photo the nappe of silt that’s coming out of the harbour. We’ve seen a few good ones of those just recently, but usually going into the harbour as soon as the harbour gate is open.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I had seen while I was walking across the car park was the waves breaking on the sea wall of the outer harbour. So having watched the boats for a while out there in the bay, I walked down the path towards the harbour for a closer look.

There wasn’t a great deal of wind this afternoon but as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … there can be a storm anywhere out there between the American mainland and here and it will roll in to the sea wall down there because there is no land mass or anything else in between to stop them.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen much more powerful waves than this on occasion but this isn’t too bad at all considering how calm it is here for the moment.

kids climbing waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving taken a photo or two from my usual viewpoint I carried on walking down the path but stopped again because my eye had caught something going on down there that I hadn’t seen before.

There were some kids walking along the harbour wall and suddenly they started to climb down the ladder that leads down to the beach below. And I’ve no idea why they would choose to go down there. We’ve seen that ladder used by kids before but usually when they were climbing up them after having jumped into the sea at high tide from the sea wall.

With them not doing very much, with the ladder I carried on. There was no change of occupancy in the chantier navale today – just the little fishing boat in there now.

aeroplane 35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around the top of the cliffs I was overflown yet again by another aeroplane that had probably taken off from the airport at Donville les Bains.

Once more, it’s an aeroplane that doesn’t carry a registration number within the series of numbers to which I have access so I can’t tell you too much about it. It’s not recorded at the airport at Donville les Bains as having filed a flight plan either.

So with nothing else going on I headed for home and my hot coffee, and then I had plenty of work to do because I was having a cook-in this afternoon. I’ve already mentioned the bread but there were other things that I had to do too.

On of the things that I was going to make as an extra for dessert for the coming week is some chocolate brownie cake. The idea is that I’ll have a try at making some chocolate sauce to go with it.

I made a nice vegan brownie mix and spread it out in a large tray and then stuck it in the oven. While it was baking, I kneaded the pizza dough again, rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray to rise again.

Before I’d started on the brownie mix I’d kneaded the bread dough that I had made earlier, shaped it and put it into the mould. And when the brownie mix was cooked (which took a lot longer than I expected) the normal bread and the sourdough loaf went into the oven.

While that lot was cooking I assembled the pizza and when the bread was cooked the pizza went into the oven to cook.

vegan pizza home made bread sourdough fruit bread chocolate brownie place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products, all looking beautiful except the brownie mix. It was difficult to take out of the tray and when I cut it in half, spread the halves with jam and stuck them together in a sandwich, the top layer crumbled into about 6 pieces.

That was a disappointment but it’s happened every time I’ve made one. I wish I knew how to avoid it, but it won’t make a great deal of difference because it’s all going to be eaten anyway. It will taste delicious too, and I ought to know because there were plenty of bits left clinging to the baking dish and I had to sample them before I did the washing up.

The pizza was delicious too, and as for the bread and the sourdough fruit bread, I’ll tell you all about them tomorrow.

Eventually I caught up with the dictaphone note of my voyage during the night. I’ve already forgotten a load of this dream but there was a huge group of us and we were all kinds of ages. One of the girls was aged 8. It ended up with all of us being at some kind of museum and I ended up in a room with this girl, with her looking at all of the desks and seeing where they had come from because it was an office museum with some from Barclays Bank in Middlewich and one or two other places. I noticed that the floors had all been brought from various places too and had names inscribed on it “so-and-so from Crewe”, all of this. I looked around and couldn’t see this girl so I shouted her. She was in the adjacent storeroom washing her hands or something. I went in to see her and the floor was just the same there so I asked her about the floor in the other room – had she seen it? She said “yes” but we went back in the other room.

There were a few girls who were hanging around together and they used to come over to me for a chat and I knew them all quite well. One of them was going up to University. She’d bought herself a car, or her parents had bought her a car. They’d paid $3200 for it and she was really pleased with it. Then some issue came up with her best friend and we never really knew what they were. I’d heard a few rumours about this and that but I’d decided not to say anything because I didn’t want to be accused of stirring the pot any. One day this girl came up to me. We had a lengthy discussion with a couple of other people about bank accounts, how when you have money you have to be very careful how you spend it. Some people go mad when they have credit cards and buy loads of stuff that they don’t really need. She mentioned the name of the older sister of this friend who had this huge credit card debt and doesn’t know how to cope with it. As the conversation developed she started to talk about her best friend who had been up to 1 or 2 little tricks and “do you know what?” she said. “She’s written off my car and she’s had the nerve to offer her own car to my former boyfriend for $800 so she can get some money”. She was going on and on about this so I let her carry on and I had a little laugh because her mother was all prim and proper and “how is mother going to cope now with 2 daughters, 1 of whom is deep in debt and the other who has all these problems about this car?”. One thing led to another and I ended up round at this girl’s house. She was talking to her mother and turned to her mother to say “you’ll never guess who this is” and mentioned my name but it wasn’t my name – whatever name she used and she introduced me. She asked “what are you doing around here with my daughter?”. The daughter put her arm around me and said “actually mum, I don’t want to annoy you or anything but we are actually going out with each other”. Her mother had a little laugh and a smile about it and I don’t think … I dunno

Later still I was at work and I had the car and did the jobs that came up first in the morning then nipped out to see my niece’s daughter who was in Brussels. I spent a lot of time talking to her to such a point that I was worried about being late and they’d notice my absence at work so I went back. This went on for a period of a couple of weeks while she was here and it started to get later and later. One one occasion I was lying on a bed talking to a couple of girls and I actually started to fall asleep. I thought “this isn’t any good at all” so I had to get dressed. For some unknown reason I had my t-shirt off. It took me a while to work out which way round my t-shirt would go and I had to find my socks. I was talking to her about the insurance on Strider, how it has to be paid although I hadn’t driven it for so long and I still had to pay for it. I eventually got into my car and drove off, and had to go and fetch fuel. I stopped at the Jet petrol station. I had a machine in the back of my car that was from another garage where the petrol was so much cheaper. I could swap them over and have the fuel cheap. I was busy taking this out of the boot and programming it and one of my former colleagues turned up. he mumbled something about they needed something back at the office and he had to repeat it 3 or 4 times before I could get the message. It was some long planks that were being used to weigh down a pile of bricks. I said “ohh they want half a dozen of these back at the office”. he replied “God, yes, that would be a good idea” so I didn’t really have much of a clue about what we were talking about.

Somewhere in all of this, this mountain pass that figures quite frequently came up in that I was walking somewhere with someone and we had to go a reasonably long way. I pointed to the mountain and said “it’s the other side of that mountain”. She said “God it looks miles away”. I replied “no it’s not at all”. I explained to her the route that we would take and told her about the mountain pass and it’s fairly difficult but it’s OK if you keep your head and so on. But that’s appearing quite regularly in my voyages, this mountain pass, and I wonder why.

There was much more to all of this too but as you are probably eating your meal I’ll spare you the gory details.

So right now I’m off to bed ready for tomorrow. And a big “hello” to Geoff, someone from one of my other lives who has found his way here just recently. It’s good to catch up with old friends.

Monday 26th April 2021 – AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT …

… I’ve not had a very good day today. It seems to be the case whenever I come back from Leuven after my treatment. It always takes its toll of me.

And despite the early-ish night last night I didn’t have a very good sleep, and in particular for one very good reason that many men my age will understand, and I had hoped that I had passed through that stage a couple of years ago.

There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone too but that will have to wait until later because I forgot about transcribing it today. For a start, I was far too busy radioing this morning after I awoke. I wanted to finish that off while I was still conscious.

And sure enough, having done some of it while I was in Leuven I was able to have it all done and dusted, up and running by 11:30. And while I was listening to it, I extracted some more Louis de Funès soundbites from one of the many soundtracks that I have. My little Funès library is building up quite nicely.

There had been a pause for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruitbread, and I can say without exaggeration that it’s the best sourdough fruitbread that I’ve ever made. It’s still a little too heavy but not as heavy as it has been in the past.

There’s another live concert to send off to the radio station for broadcasting at the coming weekend so after lunch I had a listen to that too to make sure that it was correct. And while that was at it, I edited a few more photos from August 2019. I’ve now arrived in Edgerton, Wyoming, the centre of the Wyoming oil industry.

And such is the enthralling life that I lead, I took some of the rubbish out to the waste bins. Does it get more exciting than this?

As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

bouchots harvesting donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call was the wall at the end of the car park, to put my head over the top and look at what was going on down on the beach.

It wasn’t so much the people in the immediate vicinity that caught my eye, but the work that was going on out in the distance by Donville les Bains where the harvesting of the bouchots is in full swing.

The tides right now are among the lowest (and the highest) of the year and so all of the beds are accessible to the tractors and other machinery that they use down there. I can’t recall seeing so many of the beds all uncovered at once, so now is the time to harvest them.

The advantage of bouchots over the more traditional types of mussels is that with being grown on strings instead of in the sand, they don’t taste gritty.

Chasing my cap across the car park, I set off on the path along the cliffs. The wind was quite wicked this afternoon and while my cap found it easy enough to move about, it was rather more difficult to me.

biodiversity pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s been an interesting sign erected on the lawn by the lighthouse, as I noticed this afternoon.

Basically, it’s telling us that in the interests of biodiversity and a greener planet, they are going to be delaying the mowing of the lawn here to give the grass, flowers and wildlife a chance to establish itself.

And that’s something that I would take far more seriously had I not seen the council workmen cutting the grass and doing some pruning around here a day or two before I went off to Leuven.

That was something that gave me food for thought as I carried on my way around the headland this afternoon.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I progressed very much further because my attention was drawn to something moving out at sea on its way back from the Ile de Chausey.

At first, I was wondering whether it might be Joly France performing a ferry run back from the Ile De Chausey or whether it was Chausiais performing a freight lift from the island. But on second thought I ruled that out because with the tide being so far out right now, they would not be able to get into the harbour when they arrived.

But as it happens, it’s neither of them. It’s actually one of the smaller fishing boats on her way back. Her colour scheme is similar to that of Cherie d’Amour, the yellow fishing boat that was up on blocks in the chantier navale the other day.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough she won’t be going into the harbour, she might be going to join her friends in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

As regular readers of this rubbish might recall, there has been nothing going on in the bay for quite a while but suddenly a couple of weeks ago the fishing boats began to put in a appearance over there. I wasn’t sure that they would still be there right now but there are still a few of them dredging and trawling away out there this afternoon.

Unfortunately, with the sun shining right into the camera lens and all of the haze that’s out there I’m not able to see exactly who it is out there fishing today.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just on the water this afternoon that the fishing is going on.

There are piles of fishermen there with rod and line, each one perched on his own rock like a little garden gnome, casting his line into the water. And, as you might expect, I didn’t see a one of them actually catch anything. I’ve long-since given up all hope of doing that.

For a few minutes I waited, on the off-chance that someone would pull something out, but in the end I lost interest and moved on along the path.

But while we are on the subject of garden gnomes, the Flemish for “garden gnome” is tuinkabouter, which has to be one of the best words in any language.

diggers working on entrance to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something interesting going on out at the harbour entrance.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I commented on the new chains that had been laid in the inner harbour, and I said something along the lines that they don’t seem to have had all that much for their time and money.

And as usual, I’m proved immediately wrong because the work is continuing out there now that we are at the very lowest of tides. They are digging out the silt at the harbour entrance with the aim of presumably deepening the entrance.

Does that mean a return to the port of some of the larger freighters who used to come here in the past? We haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for quite a while and we could do with a few more of those, as well as a couple of other large freighters coming into port.

anakena trawlers chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut something that seems to be doing good business right now is the chantier navale.

A thriving ship repairer is always good news for the port because it encourages more ships and boats to operate out of the harbour if they know that they can be maintained and overhauled in the immediate vicinity.

We still have Anakena here, and Aztec Lady is still up on blocks too, but out of shot. But we have also acquired two more small fishing boats this morning, presumably in for an overhaul and maintenance. I can’t see their names unfortunately so I might have to go for a good walk down there one of these days for a closer look to see who they are.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind who’s in there today. What’s much more interesting is who isn’t in there.

As we can see, the inner harbour is quite empty today, particularly down there at the bottom left-hand corner. It looks as if Marité has gone walkabout this afternoon. Gone! And never called me mother! I wonder where she went because I didn’t notice her out at sea just now.

On that note I came back to the apartment and made myself a mug of hot coffee, and armed with that I made a start at long last on updating the blog notes of my journey down the Brittany coast last summer. Unfortunately, I fell asleep while I was doing it.

That wasn’t a good start, was it?

The hour on the guitars wasn’t as good as it might have been. I think that I must be rusty after my week away. But it’s no good if I lose my technique after just a few days.

Tea was some veggie balls that I’d brought back from Leuven, with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce, followed by some of the apple crumble. And wasn’t that delicious too? I really enjoyed that.

Anyway, what was on the dictaphone?

I was in Canada last night and my niece and her husband were getting ready to go out for a meal or something. She was in a gorgeous pink dress and he was dressed up in his bow tie thing. She was driving so I said “why don’t I drive you there and come back, and then come back and pick you up later on at night”? They didn’t seem to be to keen on the idea so I asked them why. They replied that they didn’t want me to have an accident late at night, that kind of thing. He had some photocopies from work. It turned out that he had photocopied the local newspaper from that area with all the classified ads. I started to look through it. He said that the motorbike’s number begins with 505 that you want. So how did they know that I was looking for a motorbike? But someone came up with a number and I looked at it and there was a place up in the hills that has plenty of motorbikes to look at. Just then a big lorry pulled up outside. My niece’s husband looked and said “it’s the cappuccino lorry. He’s left it a bit late hasn’t he”?

Later on I can’t remember now who I was with but we were around the UK somewhere and we were discussing pronunciation, about how people in Eastern Derbyshire should be pronouncing things with a Yorkshire accent. Someone came out with a few examples. We were listening to the radio and a couple of cars went past us, like a 1935 Rolls Royce and a slightly more modern vehicle. They went past at about 80mph and we were astonished because vehicles that age aren’t meant to go that fast on modern roads. For a start the braking distances are rubbish on old vehicles. As we were talking about that a kind of go-cart pulled up. It had no wheels on it, just driving on the brake hubs. It pulled up and a guy got off it, unclipped the engine and walked into the room, warehouse or garage where we were. I tried to take a photo of it but when I went to photograph it someone stood in front of me took one. The person concerned aske me “are you going to finish taking your photos”? I replied “I haven’t taken one yet because of you”. I was talking to this guy. It was a 50cc friction drive engine, he did tell me the name – was it Jawa? He just unclipped it and carried it in, and told everyone that he was thinking of fitting it to his son’s Montesa motorbike that he had just bought because it had a kind of Montesa fitting. I asked if this was a vehicle that he could drive on the road with no tax, no driving licence or anything. He said that he had an American driving licence so rules were different for him. He explained that most people don’t think very much about Wetherby – the council at Wetherby but he always found them pretty good. I explained to him the problems that I was having about having a driving licence and insurance for Strider.

Now having written up my notes, I’m off for an early night. And if you are still here reading this on your own, I’ll leave you with SOME OF THE WORST CENTRAL DEFENDING that you’ll ever see in top-flight football.

Sunday 25th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement out at sea this afternoon, as I noticed when I went out for my afternoon walk today.

There I was, gazing out to sea while I was leaning on the wall at the end of the car park and I could see something rather rapid heading my way from somewhere out by the Channel Islands. At first I couldn’t make out what it was. It clearly wasn’t a fishing boat travelling at that speed and so I reckoned that it might have been some kind of speedboat.

But as as came closer and closer, I could see that it was in fact a zodiac. And that was something that bewildered me because I couldn’t see where it had come from. It’s hardly likely to have come all the way over from the Channel islands.

zodiac with small inflatable boat in tow Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt performed a few manoeuvres around and about and then it departed in the direction from which it had come, towing behind a small inflatable boat.

That was something rather strange because I couldn’t see where the boat had come from. I didn’t notice it being towed behind the zodiac as it came across the sea. So what was all that about then?

There was another surprise for me this morning. I sat bolt upright at about 08:10 wondering why the alarm hadn’t gone off at 06:00 like it was supposed to, and being rather depressed that I’d missed a couple of hours of the day. It took me all of half an hour to suddenly realised that it’s Sunday and there isn’t an alarm today.

It’s a good job that I hadn’t left my bed. 10:15 is a much more realistic time to leave my bed on a Sunday.

First task today after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone. Tons of stuff on there from yesterday which I’ve now put on line, and then details of last night’s little outings.

We started off doing something about ballet. There was a girl who was a ballerina and I had boughtsome point shoes for her. It was her birthday as well and I’d spent ages working on a card for her and one or two other names on there of people who had wished her a happy birthday but most of the work in there was mine. There was some kind of gangland boss who had something of an interest in her too but only a mere passing but she dashed off to see him with this card. He interrogated her about “who’d done this” and “who’d done that” and “who’d done something else”? From her her of course it was always me. I had the impression that any moment now my number would be up at this rate.

A little later I was doing something in a junk shop. I’d gone into a junk shop and it really was a junk shop with all kinds of stuff piled everywhere. It was impossible to know where to even begin to look for anything. I’d been talking to someone a bit earlier who said that he was going to be looking for a part-time job. There was even a tie swinging over a rail with a hand-written notice on it “looking for work” and his phone number on it. These guys were in here trying to do something and they had to go out. As they went out, the radio suddenly came on with 1 of these really atmospheric stations from miles away playing music. I thought “I’d better leave this. I don’t want to become involved in this” so I went out as well and closed the door behind me. But then I was thinking on “what an absolutely vile apartment this would be. How would I possibly manage to have lived in a place like this when I was a kid, a young adult”? Which was what I had done, I lived in some dreadful places. I look back now and think “I would never ever have done that”. While I was thinking about this I was back in Winsford in my house there and they were building an extension to the housing estate, or there were some plans to, and I was waiting eagerly for the site to be unveiled so that I could go along and reserve a new plot and get myself a better house. I thought “God, how my standards have changed”!

Sometime later I was with Marianne in the USA and we were with a group of people. It was to do with speaking another language and I can’t remember if it was to do with French or Spanish. Most of the people who were there were people who had been on there before – there were only 2 of us who hadn’t. I asked “are we going to be visiting Mexico on this trip”? She replied “the situation in Mexico is extremely difficult. We’ll be only going there if so-and-so (this other new guy) wants to go”. I said “how come I haven’t been asked? I’m a new guy as well. I’ve not been to Mexico and i’d really like to go”. I noticed that where Marianne was standing were these 2 enormous tortoises that were loitering around and they were about to walk over her feet.

Next thing was to check on my sourdough fruit bread. It hadn’t risen very much at all yet again, but I gave it a second
kneading, shaped it and put it in its mould for its second proofing. And for the rst of the morning I didn’t do very much at all.

After my lunchtime porridge and finding that I had run out of pizza dough, I had a major washing-up and cleaning session in the kitchen and made another batch of dough.

later on I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did of course was to go to the end of the car park and look down over the wall onto the beach.

There were a few people down there this afternoon, not as many as there might have been yesterday and that’s no surprise because the weather has changed dramatically today. The heatwave that we had yesterday has gone and the temperature has dropped.

Not only that, the really strong wind has come back again and I was having to hang onto my cap. It’s probably strong enough to have blown everyone back indoors and that will account for the lack of people.

But isn’t it a surprise that the weather has changed for the worse now that I’ve come back home?

zodiac with small inflatable boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then we were back at the zodiac again.

While it was doing its stuff out there in the English Channel I’d taken a few photos of it, and went to enlarge them when I returned home. And this one particularly caught my eye. It looks as if the little inflatable boat has risen up out of the sea, and there’s a frogman in attendance.

It would seem to have all of the hallmarks of some kind of maritime rescue exercise, but I might be able to find out more by looking at the local press tomorrow morning.

So leaving that for another time I walked off along the path at the top of the cliffs while the zodiac and its entourage disappeared back out to sea.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland there was yet more activity going on out at sea, this time in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Someone was having a nice afternoon out in a little yacht, cruising up and down of the Plage d’Hacqueville between Granville and St Pair sur Mer. And you do have to admit that this was the right kind of the weather for it.

There are quite a few people out over there on the beach too. More than there are across here. It’s probably something to do with the fact that the bay over there is probably more in the shelter of the wind than it is over here.

And I have some planning to do about yachting next time I’m out and about, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

people fishing on rocks seated on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver here at the end of the headland there are quite a few signs of life. More than there have been on the footpath on top of the cliffs from where I’ve just come, because I can’t have encountered more than half a dozen people on my walk so far.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that fishing is quite a popular pastime carried on by the local inhabitants. Whether it’s from a fishing boat, on the beach at the very low tide, or from the rocks with rod and line. And it’s that latter that’s being practised today, although, once more, I have yet to see anyone actually catch anything.

And the couple sitting on the bench down at the end of the headland by the watchman’s cabin – I wonder how long they will be sitting there and whether they will have more luck than me in watching someone pull a fish out of the sea.

anakena aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe chantier navale is one of the most important sights that we visit during our post-prandial perambulations around the headland, and I was keen to see what was going on down there.

However, despite my absence over the past three or four days, there have been no changes in the occupants down there. Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, but that’s about it. No-one new has come along to join them while I was away.

But look at the crowds of people and vehicles around Aztec Lady this afternoon. Even though it’s a Sunday and therefore a Day of Rest, they are still hard at it down there like there is no tomorrow.

There are a few people working on Anakena too, although not quite at the same rhythm.

boats moored in outer harbour port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halland there have been a lot of goings-on in the outer tidal harbour over the last few days while I was away.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the past few weeks they have been doing some preparatory work on installing new mooring chains there and just before we came away, we saw them starting to fit them in place.

But now, we have some small boats actually tied up to them, and so that would seem to indicate that the work is finally finished. But they don’t seem to have done too much for the amount of time and money that they have spent.

You can just about make out the little white buoys that bob up to the surface when the tide is in. They mark the position of the chains and give the boatman some kind of indication where to fish around with his boathook when he needs to tie up to them.

Back here I had a coffee and then gave the pizza dough its second kneading.

Then I prepared a large apple crumble. I do have to say that thats my favourite dessert and it should be even better today because I give the crumble mix a really good mixing, and added some fresh ginger to the apple to give it a certain little extra.

When the sourdough and the crumble went into the oven I divided the pizza dough into 3, put two portions in the freezer and the third one I rolled out and put into the pizza tray. And when it had been in there for 45 minutes I assembled it.

vegan pizza sourdough fruit loaf apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the sourdough and the crumble were cooked the pizza went into the oven. And here are all of the finished products – the sourdough fruit bread which has for once risen impressively, the apple crumble and the pizza.

The pizza was delicious which is always good news, and I’ll tell you about the sourdough and the crumble tomorrow night because I wasn’t hungry after my pizza.

In something of a desultory fashion during a few pauses I’ve been editing photos again from August 2019. Not very many, but nevertheless I’m now on my way from Fort Reno down to Fort Fetterman. Normal service is slowly being resumed and I’ll get back up to speed tomorrow, I hope

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed as I reckon that I’ve done enough for today. I’ll start off with radioing of course and I’ll see where I get to after that.

Tuesday 20th April 2021 – IF THIS POSTING …

… finishes rather abruptly, what has happened is that the football has finished and I’ve gone straight to bed.

As I’m typing this out on the portable travelling laptop I’m actually watching the football tonight on the big office machine. Connah’s Quay Nomads v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League – an important match that Connah’s Quay must absolutely win.

And as soon as it’s over I’m off to bed. The alarms are set for … gulp … 04:30 in the morning and I’m not looking forward to that at all.

This morning I was up once more for the first alarm and after the medication I had a few things to do, amongst which was to sort out my papers that are getting into a mess.

Armed with a mug of coffee I attacked the Welsh revision for a couple of hours – a spell of concentration that totally surprised me.

With my hot chocolate and last slice of sourdough fruit loaf I went for my lesson. To my surprise it all went rather well although I’m still struggling to get to grips with the basics. I’m going to have to go back to the beginning and start again, I reckon.

It’s quite strange really. I can remember some surprising things but I’m totally at sea with some of the easy stuff.

After lunch and a little … errr … relax I spent a little time editing the photos from August 2019 and Wyoming, and then went for my afternoon walk, rather later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I strolled off down to the edge of the car park to look down over the wall towards the beach so that I could see what was going on down there.

There weren’t so many people down there today, something that probably bears some relationship to the fact that it’s a weekday today.

Had it been weekend there would have been hordes of people down there because we were having one of the nicest days of the year so far. There wasn’t very much wind to talk about today and with few clouds in the sky it was quite warm outside, compared to how it has been for the last few days.

council worker working on lawn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was some excitement going on along the path towards the lighthouse too this afternoon as I strolled over that way.

It seems that the local council is doing its stuff this afternoon, with someone out there attending to the vegetation (I’m not sure why I almost typed “devastation” there – a Freudian slip perhaps?). He was cutting off the old dead branches from the bushes and throwing them into the back of his pick-up.

As I went past he stepped into the cab and set off to drive, almost squidging me underneath his wheels. Obviously my fame has spread to this neck of the woods. And when I mentioned to a friend that I had almost been squidged by a motor vehicle she expressed her regret.

fisherman in cabin cruiser pointe du roc baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve been having another encounter with the local fishermen again this afternoon.

From the lawn and underneath the wheels of the pickup I followed the crowds, walking along the path and across the car park to the end of the headland to see what there was going out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And right inshore close to the headland was this little cabin cruiser going past my viewpoint. It wasn’t difficult to guess what they were up to. The fishing net standing upright in the stern gave away the game.

But what was interesting me was whereabouts they were actually going to fish. They don’t seem to have too much luck too close to shore, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther out to sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel they seem to be having more luck.

Every now and again the fishing boats from the port put in an appearance in the bay and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week they were out there in force. They all disappeared when that military vessel put in an appearance, but now that’s gone the boats are back there again.

There’s one of them there that I could see, and there may have been more. But there was so much haze on the water this afternoon that I couldn’t see very much and very far. The whole of the Brittany coast was shrouded in the stuff this afternoon.

joly france chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s jackpot over at the ferry port this afternoon.

Over the last few days we’ve been seeing various combinations of Joly France boats and the little freighter Chausiais moored over at the ferry terminal, but today we have the lot. All three of them are over there today moored at the terminal so that must mean that they are quite busy.

What wasn’t very busy though was the chantier navale. There were just the two – Aztec Lady and Anakena remaining from the rush over the last couple of weeks but no-one else had come in to join them over the last 24 hours.

men dragging boat across mud fishing boats grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe haven’t finished with the excitement in the outer harbour yet. There was plenty more to go at.

For a start, there were those two people down there dragging that little boat out there with them across the mud. They are probably trying to reach one of the boats that’s moored up further out on the harbour where the tide has already reached, and so they’ll need the boat for the final 20 metres or so where the water is too deep to wade.

But they really are making heavy weather of the stretch across the mud though. They would probably be better off carrying it to the water’s edge and then going back for whatever there is in there.

And once more, we have a couple of fishing boats tied up and abandoned at the quay near the Fish Processing Plant. They’ve been there for a few days now showing no sign of moving.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the inner harbour we have one of our regular visitors in there today.

It’s the little Jersey freighter Normandy Trader, come into port to take away a load of supplies. We don’t see too much of her these days because one of the Brexit bonuses is that she’s obliged to go into St Malo to unload the shellfish that she carries for the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative.

The shellfish need to have a health certificate before they can be landed and there’s no Health Inspector here in Granville as yet.

There’s no Customs Inspector either for the freight as yet, although there is talk that there might be one in the town pretty soon to deal with the port traffic and the airport landings. Planes from the Channel Islands have to fly elsewhere at the moment where there are customs and immigration facilities.

Back here afterwards I had a shower and shock! Horror! I cut my hair too. I’m actually looking a little more respectable now.

Most of the guitar practice was spent either working out the bass line to “China Grove” or else the chords to Steam’s “Nah Nah Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” and Donnie Elpert’s “Little Piece of Leather” – not usually the kind of song that you would expect, but I have a cunning plan …

For tea I had another helping of curry with rice and veg followed by some apple pie out of the freezer. That took me up to the football.

It was quite a fierce struggle too with the Nomads needing to win. And at half-time with it being a stalemate, Andy Morrison threw caution to the winds, took off a defender and a midfielder and threw on two attackers, changing from a 4-3-2-1 formation to an out-and-out attacking formation.

And later on with the score still 0-0 he took off yet another defender and brought on another attacker.

In the final stages of the game it was all-out attack from the Nomads with big centre-half George Horan playing up front as a striker as well.

And it all paid dividends when with just minutes to go, a shot through a crowded penalty area from a Nomads player took a wicked deflection into the back of the Bala net. And three minutes later as the game was ticking over into injury time George Horan rose highest to a cross into the area to thunder home a powerful header.

So having downloaded onto my memory stick the necessary files that I need to add to the portable laptop, I’m off to bed, fully-clothed, ready for my alarm all at 04:30 and my train at 05:55 if I make it there with this early start.

Sunday 18th April 2021 – SEEING AS IT’S …

… been a good few days since I’ve had a really good whinge about tourists and holidaymakers, I just thought that I’d let you all have a reminder than I’m still alive and kicking.

Someone once asked me why I was so bad-tempered in my old age and I replied that half of the population over the age of 65 were nothing but bad-tempered old men.
“Why can’t you be like the other half?” they asked.
“Because they are bad-tempered old women!” I retorted.

people playing boules petanque place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo returning to our moutons as they say around here, here’s another bunch of boulers out here having a bit of a play just outside my building.

No sign of any social distancing, and not a single facemask anywhere to be seen. And that explains the 29,344 infections today despite us having been in quarantine for as long as I can remember.

Last night I was hoping to be in bed for as long as I can remember too, but it wasn’t to be. It took me an age to go off to sleep and when I did, I awoke three or four times during the night, two or three times with a bad attack of cramp.

And when I awoke at about 08:30 it was impossible for me to go back to sleep. Even so, it wasn’t until about 10:15 when I finally left my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And it was something of a disappointment. I started off back home as a kid in Vine Tree Avenue and there was something exciting and adventurous going on but I can’t remember what it was. As soon as I awoke it all disappeared immediately out of my head and I was totally disappointed by that

Later on there was a rock group with a record out rather like THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK and the musicians where two who I didn’t get, one whose name I missed and someone called Keith Carvell. Those two continued the group avec (!!) a couple of other people into Fleetwood Mac with a couple of other people and recorded a song which was playing in my dreams which I can’t remember now. These 4 people were this Fleetwood Mac-type group and 2 of them left leaving the other 2 behind to carry it on and the 2 who left went on to other things outside the music industry.

There was a third thing too that somehow wasn’t recorded, but when I awoke I had this feeling going around in my head about a young girl whose mother had died and her father was suspected of killing her, and as a result she had been left alone to bring up her younger brother. What’s even more strange is that I can actually see her now exactly as I did when I awoke. She looked about 12, a little on the thin side with a small round face with long straight dark brown hair and small round John Lennon glasses. In fact the absolute image of a girl whom I met once in London one summer who by coincidence had the same family name as my own.

First thing that I did after the medication and the dictaphone was to make so dough for another loaf. There’s not much of last week’s loaf left and that’s going to be my lunch so I want another loaf for the next couple of days and for my sandwiches for the road on Wednesday.

And while I was at it I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution.

The rest of the day has been spent editing the photos from August 2019 in a very leisurely fashion, although most of the time has been spent trying to track down the site of a photo that I took in Upper Wyoming. Of course, when I dictated “a dirt road”, I didn’t realise until today that I had a choice of four dirt roads in the immediate vicinity – and not one of them seems to resemble the photo that I took.

It would ordinarily be easy to identify it by looking at the dashcam images but they are on the memory stick that’s in the pocket of my jacket which, the last time that I saw it, was hanging up on a hook in a hotel room in Calgary in September 2019.

But anyway, I’ve left the site of the battles of the Powder River in 1865 and now I’m following the site of the retreat of General Connor towards Fort Reno. But tomorrow there is going to be a deviation as I shall be coming into the territory of the Johnson County Wars of 1891-92.

There was a break for my usual afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I want across the car park to have a look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There wasn’t a great deal of beach to be on but nevertheless the crowds somehow managed it this afternoon. In just this snip of a photo there are about a dozen people featuring on it. The whole beach was like that.

Up here on the cliff there was a wicked wind whirling about and it was quite cold but out of the wind and in the sun it was really quite nice and warm. But there weren’t all that many places out of the wind and in the sun up here.

And the wind didn’t have the effect of keeping down the crowds. It was extremely busy up here and there were endless streams of people moving along the path, masks or no masks.

seabirds people on coastal path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven down on the coastal path at the foot of the cliffs there were crowds of people.

At the end of the path by the lighthouse I’d wandered off across the lawn and the car park and down to the end of the headland. There was nothing going on out at sea in the bay today. It seems that the frenzy of activity that had taken place in there last week has now ground to a halt. Maybe they have all knocked off the fishing for the weekend.

And that will explain all of the people walking – or in some cases sitting – around the paths this weekend. Had this been during the week, they would all have been out in their trawlers reaping the harvest of the sea.

It’ll also explain the seabirds riding the wavs down there too. With no boats out there fishing today, they have no-one on which to go and prey.

From there I went off along the path on top of the cliffs to the other side of the headland.

fishing boats aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw a couple of the fishing boats tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and left to the mercy of the tides.

They are still there today and so that presumably means that they have been left there for all of the weekend. It beats me why they haven’t gone into the inner harbour to be tied up at one of the new pontoons that were installed at great expense two years ago.

The cynic inside me suggests that the great expense of installing the new pontoons has led to a great increase in the mooring fees.

At the chantier navale there was no change in occupancy so I didn’t take a photo of it today.

black mamba charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked past the inner harbour I had a glance down – and look who’s back in there!

The yacht Black Mamba burst dramatically onto the scene a while ago, made quite a spectacle of herself and then disappeared just as dramatically. Rather like the Russian ballet, where the dancers some Russian on, go Russian around madly and then go Russian off again near the end.

But anyway here she is again, having crept into the harbour quite recently. I wonder if we will be seeing her strutting her stuff around in the bay over the forthcoming weeks.

Behind her is the yacht Charles Marie who we saw up in the chantier navale for quite a while just recently having her bottom scraped and a general overhaul.

crumbling wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s something that caught my eye this afternoon, and it’s something that we’ve seen before, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall.

There’s a pile of stones and moss that have fallen onto the pavement and the edge of the road. And if we look up on the wall of the block of flats here, you’ll notice a shaling of the stonework. To think that at one time I was contemplating buying an apartment in that building. I’m rather glad that I didn’t, with all of that going on.

Back here I kneaded the bread a second time, put it in the mould and then covered it up with a damp tea towel again, leaving it to proof again for another hour or so while I made myself a nice coffee.

After an hour or so I switched on the oven and when it was warm, bunged the bread in. And having kneaded the lump of dough that I’d taken out of the freezer this morning I rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray.

When that had proofed I assembled the pizza and when the bread was cooked, the pizza went into the oven to cook.

home-made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished products. A vegan pizza and a nice loaf of wholemeal bread with sunflower seeds. The pizza was as usual delicious and I’ll tell you all about the bread tomorrow.

Now I’ve Written my notes I’m off to bed. Nice and early too for a change and I’m quite looking forward to it too. I’m radioing tomorrow of course and then I have a load of scanning and printing to do ready for my trip to Leuven on Wednesday.

It’s surprising just how quickly these four weeks come round. It hardly seems like I’m back home before I have to turn round and go back again.

At least it breaks the monotony of it all, although if I didn’t have this illness life wouldn’t be so monotonous, would it?

Sunday 11th April 2021 – I DON’T THINK …

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that I’ve ever seen so many people out and about on the footpath as I did this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the past week the whole place has been like a ghost town as far as the general public wandering around here has gone. Today though, you couldn’t move around on the path without tripping over crowds of them out there enjoying themselves.

It must be that they are like mayflies or something – with the warm weather bringing them out in swarms. Except that the weather wasn’t all that warm. It’s probably all the holiday-makers and second home-owners bored to tears after a week going round and round in circles inside their own little holiday homes.

In my own little holiday home I had a rather late night last night, still being awake at 01:30, and so awakening at 09:05 was far too early to rise for my liking. 11:30 was much more like the right kind of time to leave my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I had been during the night. First off was a story about Britain and the Eastern Mediterranean, the Dardanelles where the outbreak of war had caught them unprepared. In the end 2 battleships had held up the British reputation and had managed to fight their way through, had beaten off encirclement and were ready to fight another day, something similar to the story of Goeben and Breslau. They’d come up with this really dramatic poem that talks about irons as in flat irons, that kind of thing but what I can’t understand is where that relates to the girl, the heroine of the story who I was in full tilt after during the earlier part of this dream that I can’t remember now, and I wish that I did.

Later on I was doing something with a friend during the night. It involved some kind of music. We were talking about the piano. I was saying that it was a bit in tune, near enough. There’s no point in doing anything to it. We carried on with what I was doing. he said “round about 17:30 could you just play something so that my mother could hear it?”. I thought to myself “me play the piano?”. Then I remembered my jazz blues course and how I’d learnt to play 12 bar blues on the piano in the key of C. That should be quite simple and I thought that I could just improvise something in the key of C like I did in my 12-bar blues course. I made a start round about 17:30, well 17:33 in fact. But I just couldn’t get to grips with the piano and the noise coming out was awful because I couldn’t seem to find any timing or rhythm. All I was trying to do was something simple and I had to do it so that his mother could hear me and the piano being played.

Just for a change I missed lunch because I was already running quite late. After I’d finished the dictaphone notes I went to look at the sourdough bread mix. It hadn’t risen all that much at all, which was really disappointing, but I gave it a second kneading, shaped it and put it in its mould.

Next thing was to make up another break mix, using the yeast this time. This was for a more traditional loaf with cereal bread and of course several handfuls of sunflower seeds. Once it was all mixed together, I left it to fester a while. And then I fed the sourdough and also the ginger mother solution.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside this afternoon, down on the beach there were crowds of people too.

Well, maybe not crowds but still more than the odd one or two people who we’ve seen for the last few days or so. But you can tell by the clothes that they are wearing that we aren’t actually in the height of summer right now.

It might have been something of a bright day as far as the sunlight goes, but there was a bitter piercing wind – the kind of wind that blows through your clothes and through your skin and eats its way into your bones and for mid-April, this is not the kind of weather that we ought to be having. We deserve better than this.

tractor bouchot mussel beds people on beach donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther out down the beach at Donville les Bains, there were crowds of people out there too.

Most important of all of the people down there are the guys who look after the bouchots, the mussels that grow on strings. You can see their beds over there on the left the stakes that have been driven into the sand, and the guys with the tractor and trailer are the guys who harvest them.

Regular readers of this rubbish might have heard me mention it before … “just once or twice” – ed … that the growing of mussels on strings was serendipity – they were trying to do something else when they planted the stakes and strings. However mussels attached themselves to the strings and grew there.

Of course, with not being in the sand, they didn’t taste gritty and so became very popular. This then became something that the local fishermen began to exploit.

jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow how about this for a view this afternoon?

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long, if we’ve ever been lucky enough to have caught a glimpse of Jersey across the English Channel, and that’s not been very often at all, it’s been some kind of hazy, misty grey mass of granite with nothing at all of any feature that we could distinguish.

But it’s nothing like that today. With some careful enhancement of part of my image, I could bring out not only the individual houses and buildings, but also some of their colours too, and we haven’t seen any of that for a considerable length of time.

jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the same image I cropped another section and blew that up too, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation.

In this section I’ve been able to bring out some kind of concrete ramp down to sea-level and also what might possibly be identified as some kind of tower block, something that I have never noticed before. The radio mast that we’ve seen on a few occasions is over there to the left of whatever the large building might be.

One of these days I’m going to have to hitch a ride across there on either Thora or Normandy Trader and see for myself what all of these objects are so that I can identify them the next time that I see them.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s exactly what I did when I went down the Britany coast on Spirit of Conrad for those 5 days.

That helped me identify quite a few different objects that we see every now and again down that way, like the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel. That was so clear today that we could see it with the naked eye, even thought it’s about 70 kilometres away as the crow flies. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it this clearly.

But I digress … “and not for the first time either” – ed. From my viewpoint overlooking Jersey, almost 60 kilometres away, I carried on along the path, fighting my way through the crowds of people as I pushed along towards the end of the headland.

people on roof of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked along the path, I noticed the people on top of one of the bunkers – the one of which I had a guided tour two years ago just before I broke my hand and dislocated my knee.

It looks as if they are cleaning all of the dirt, mud and weeds from off the top of it – maybe having a spring-cleaning to make it ready for the celebrations on the 8th of May. That’s a Bank Holiday here, and that means of course that I can have an extra lie-in.

But not for the moment, I pushed on down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out to sea. But there was nothing whatever of any interest for me to see.

Nothing whatever of any interest anywhere else either. No change in the chantier navale nor in the port either. As a result I wandered off back to my apartment as I had things to do.

The bread dough that I had made earlier had hardly risen which was bizarre, but nevertheless I kneaded it again and then shaped it and pit it in the bread mould that I used, and left it to fester for a wile.

In the meantime I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and when it was defrosted I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza tray that I had greased, rolling the edges back in.

While all of that was busy doing what it does, I came in and did some of the photos from August 2019. I’m now on the battlefield of the Little Big Horn, where I’m going to be for quite some time, I reckon. That was a long day and there were plenty of things to see while I was there.

When the bread had proofed for a while (but not risen much) it went into the oven that I’d heated for a few minutes. And in there it went up like a lift.

vegan pizza sourdough fruit loaf home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile it was a-doing, I assembled my pizza for tonight. For some reason, it was rather short on toppings but it actually came out quite nice nevertheless, as you can see in this photo.

No pudding today because there’s plenty of my jam roly poly left. I’ll finish that off this coming week and maybe make a rice pudding for a couple of days towards the weekend. That’ll give me some opportunity to heat up some pie and do some baked potatoes, which will be nice for a change.

Now that I’ve had my tea and written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m radioing tomorrow and I really must find some time to revise my Welsh ready for Tuesday. I also have 2 kilos of carrots to prepare and freeze so I’m going to be quite busy tomorrow.

Saturday 10th April 2021 – WOO-HOO – I’M VACCINATED!

Yes, I’ve now had both my jabs and I have a Certificate to prove it too! At least I shall be in the forefront of the queue whenever normal service is resumed.

That’s not to say that I’m going to be perfectly safe. I’ve had the Pfizer vaccination so I’m now about 95% safe against current strains of the virus but there are no details about how I’ll be covered against any new strains and in any case I could carry the vaccine around and infect others.

So I still have to be careful whatever I do. I can’t throw caution to the wind.

Mind you, I did throw caution to the wind last night because what with one thing or another it was long after 01:00 when I finally went to bed.

Nevertheless I still managed to crawl out of my stinking pit a 06:00 when the first alarm went off. It just confirms my suspicions that the issues that I’ve been having about leaving my bed have nothing to do with any physical complaint.

First thing was to grab the medication and the second thing was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. In fact I was doing something last night and I can’t remember what it was but I ended up in Canada. It was something to do with cars ad I can’t remember at all. I ended up at my niece’s. One of her daughters was there and feeling very happy with herself because she had taken some courses to improve her reading ability. The had studied these courses for 12 months and when I arrived there I found that she had received a Diploma award from the Open University for English speaking and she was absolutely delighted. And of course so was I because she deserves something like that.

There was time to have a whack at some of the photos from North America from August 2019 before going for a shower, and then I made a coffee in my thermal mug, grabbed some crackers and then leapt into Caliburn.

And I did too, because the door opened quite easily this morning which is very good news.

It was pouring with rain this morning so it was a pretty miserable drive up north towards Valognes. There was a lot of things to see on the way but the rain put a complete dampener on everything.

There was something that I stopped to see on my way north, because there was a good view from inside Caliburn.

Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle on the outskirts of the town of Le Plessis-Lastelle.

It’s formerly the site of a castle on a nice high ridge and was destroyed during a revolt against Duke William of Normandy in 1047. It was rebuilt later but fell into disrepair, although a traveller in 1835 remarked that it was still in reasonable condition.

In 1911 the locals transformed what remains of the site into a Calvary but during the fighting in Normandy in 1944 it was very badly damaged. A programme of restoration was finished in 1967 and this is how it appears today.

And that reminds me of the story that I heard about the renovation of the Calvary after the war. There was a call for designs for the Calvary but due to a misunderstanding on the telephone, someone sent in a drawing of George Custer on his horse.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, 15 minutes early I arrived at the hospital.

As you can see, it looks quite … errr … interesting from the front. It’s actually an old Benedictine Abbey and as it came into the possession of the State in 1803 one can easily imagine that it was a prize of the Revolution. It was registered as an ancient monument in 1937.

When the hospital was inaugurated in 1977 it didn’t have a particular name but it was opened by Simone Veil who was Minister of Health – the fist female to hold the post – at the time. When she died in 2018 the hospital was given her name.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the back though, it’s totally different, with all kinds of modernisations having been undertaken.

When I came here before, the Vaccination Centre was under there but seeing it all in darkness and it being a Saturday morning, I was full of foreboding.

A sign on the door said “Vaccination Centre now moved to …. (another address in town)” so I had to leap back into Caliburn, type the address into the Satnave and let the Lady Who Lives In The Satnav plot me a course.

Eventually I arrived at the Sports Centre on the other side of town where I had my injection, was given my certificate and left to fester for 15 minutes before they threw me back out into the rain.

My route back was a different one from my way out so there were new things to see on the way home.

chateau de saint saveur le vicomte Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came down the hill into Saint Saveur le Vicomte I was confronted by this beautiful building here. I had to do a U-turn and go back up the hill to find a good viewpoint where I could stick the camera out of Caliburn’s window.

This is the Chateau de Saint Saveur le Vicomte and it has a very interesting history because in view of its strategic position on a hill at the side of a river that leads into the interior, the Norse raiders built a fort there, according to one local historian.

Whatever was on there was destroyed during the revolt against Duke William. A subsequent castle here was an English stronghold in the Hundred Years War.

It later became a hospital, an orphanage and later a prison. Badly damaged by Allied Bombing in 1944, it’s now the subject of a restoration project financed by the proceeds of the national lottery.

On the way home I called in at Coutances and fuelled up Caliburn and then went to the LeClerc and LIDL here. They are much bigger than the ones in Granville and even though there’s more stuff in there, there isn’t anything extra that suited me. I did by some sweet potatoes though as they were cheap, and I’ll have to think of something to do with them.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then came in here to carry on work but unfortunately I crashed out. And crashed out good and properly too, for about an hour and a half.

And when I awoke I had a sore arm again and I was also freezing, freezing cold. So much so that having turned off the heating about a week ago, I tuned it on again full-blast.

When I eventually recovered, I went outside for a walk where I bumped into Pierre the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. he told me that the other week the boat was simply in the chantier navale simply for an annual service.

But all of his tours this year are cancelled yet again. He’s thinking about doing trips up the Brittany coast whenever the situation relaxes.

Finding that the battery was yet again flat in the NIKON D500 I came back in for the NIKON D3000 and then I went back outsode again for my afternoon walk in the wind and rain.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe whole of the town around here was totally deserted which was no surprise given the weather. There wasn’t a soul on the beach at all.

That’s something of a surprise of course because we’ve seen people down there in all kinds of weather, even swimming in it. But not today. I suppose that it was just too much for them today.

Instead, I trudged off along the path towards the end of the headland in my lonely solitude, and also in the rainstorm too. It must have been raining quite a lot over the last 18 hours because the path was flooded yet again and I had to pick my way gingerly around the puddles as I wended my weary way.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the elevated part at the far end I could see something moving right out there in the English Channel so I took a photograph of it, regretting that I didn’t have the big NIKON D500 with me.

Of course it’s much too far out for me to be able to identify it but enhancing the image considerably I could make out some rough idea of its colours. That seems to indicate that its a Condor Ferries boat.

Its silhouette seems to match that of Commodore Goodwill, the Ro-Ro ferry that does the shuttle between St Malo, St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey.

Ro-Ro stands for “roll on, roll off” and should not be confused with ferries such as Herald of Free Enterprise and Estonia which were Ro-Ro-Ro ferries, which stands for “roll on, roll over, roll off”.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was more movement out to sea too, but this time so much closer to home.

This is one of the little shellfish boats that worked the beds off the Ile de Chausey, I reckon. She’s on her way home to port in Granville, even if the tide isn’t far enough in for the harbour gates to be open.

Off the lawn and down the path to car park I went, encountering a family whose members were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

Across the car park to the end of the headland to see what was going on. And the answer to that was nothing at all. So picking my way through the puddles I walked down the path on the other side of the headland.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on in the harbour this afternoon.

The tide was still far out so the outer harbour was quite dry. But we can see all of the tyre tracks of the various heavy vehicles that have been working in there over the last month when we had the very low tides. Their work doesn’t seem to be finished so I wonder when, or maybe if, we will ever see them back working here again.

The fishing boat that we saw earlier is now in the harbour, here on the left, and it’s looking rather bewildered as the skipper tries to think of what to do next with it. And unfortunately she’s still too far out for me to be able to read her name on the visor over the cabin.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is still no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today.

We have, from left to right, Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. In the background is Aztec Lady, with a pile of small assorted yachts on the other side of the wall.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay around to count them because I had to rush on home for the football this afternoon. TNS were playing away to Bala Town.

What astonished me about this match was that the two best players in the Welsh Premier League, Greg Draper and Henry Jones, managed just 28 minutes on the field between them.

Even more strangely was that the best player on the field, TNS’s Ben Clark, was substituted after 60 minutes of the game, with no sign of an injury. He’d run the Bala defence ragged and had a hand in TNS’s goal, but after he left the field the spark went out of the TNS side and Bala had several good chances to equalise, although they were unable to convert them.

Tea was out of a tin seeing as it’s Saturday and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to make some sourdough dough ready for baking tomorrow. And then I’m off to bed for a nice lie in.

And I deserve it too.

Sunday 4th April 2021 – THIS IS …

crowds place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the kind of thing that is annoying me right now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Hordes of people milling around on the car park outside my apartment building, masks and social distancing optional of course. I really don’t understand it.

What I don’t understand even more is that with France supposed to be closing down in quarantine as of midnight last night, the SNCF ran a pile of extra trains on Friday and Saturday to bring all of the holidaymakers and second home-owners down to the coast. And that surely defeats the whole point of the quarantine and people staying where they live.

Now of course, they are going to be spreading the virus about like wildfire. No wonder the Government can’t bring it under control.

This morning, I was spending much of the time trying to bring my cramp under control. I was hit by a particularly bad attack or two during the night.

And by 07:40 I was wide awake, but no chance of me leaving my bed at that time of the morning. 10:00 is much more like it these days when I’m having a Day of Rest.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’ve been during the night. I was in Eastern Europe somewhere having a bad attack of cramps. In the middle of all of these I got up to go for a walk around. I ended up in a cafe. It was pretty late, about 04:00 in the morning and I was sitting there trying to ease off these cramps. I went into the toilets to take out my thermos flask and pour myself a coffee. There were these guys hanging around there. One of them opened the door and invited me to come in. I said “no thanks. I’m just going to get my coffee”. I put my coffee mug on the side there and went to pour my coffee out of the flask but this guy just went and sat on the table thing and knocked my coffee mug everywhere. I thought “this is a waste of time” and went back into the café part and sat down. The waiter came over and said something basically along the lines of “you can’t drink your own stuff in here” so I said “I’d better have a coffee the. You can fetch me a coffee”. There was then a dispute about where I could sit. The table I had chosen was for residents only and the waiter saying “I’m only serving this part. I’m not serving the rest of the café”. He and the manager then had a dispute about that. In the end I asked “can I sit here or can’t I?”.

At that point I had another bad attack of cramp that awoke me and meant I had to get up and walk around a little.

Later on I had another really bad attack of cramp and ended up walking around the apartment for 10 minutes to get it to ease off but some time during the night I was asleep. I remember vaguely something about 4 old Lambretta scooters, pale yellow with the 2 individual seats, being parked up each in one corner of a yard somewhere. What that was about I really have no idea but that was what was going through my head. One parked in each corner with the rear wheel parked in the apex and the front wheel pointing in towards the centre.

Later still there was a funeral taking place in the family and I ended up discussing all of the arrangements with one of my sisters. We were getting things ready and I had a load of frozen vegetables that I was trying to make something with. We talked about asparagus and I had some jars of asparagus tips (which I actually do) so I went over to her and said “how about we have these with garlic butter to dip in”? She said “it all depends if they are very small and how many other people would be coming”. My brother turned up as well and he joined in the conversation. I had another thought about the food that I wanted to mention to her as well but when it came to tell her I couldn’t think of it. It slipped right out of my head. Of course that was rather embarrassing. The discussion continued and she said “you know that you are going to be a great uncle again. There’s a new girl being born to one of her kids in the family. I said “no” and I turned to my brother and said “you remember that little girl that I used to bounce up and down on my knee a few years ago? She’s having a baby in May – at 14”!

There was more to it than this too but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Part of what was left of today I spent working on the photographs from August 2019. I’m still on my way to Fort Phil Kearny but actually at the moment I’m at a wayside fuel station and café at a place called Spotted Horse in Northern Wyoming where I’m admiring some abandoned vehicles.

Half an hour earlier I’d passed through the small town of Recluse. It is something of a ghost town with a population of 7, and every one of them came out to watch me as I drove through. It was like a scene from THE SHINING.

There was a break for lunch of course. Porridge and a couple of toasted hot cross buns, all of which went down a treat. These hot cross buns are delicious.

After lunch I made a start on the baking for the next week. I made a pile of dough for some pizza bases for the next few weeks and also half a load of dough because for pudding next week I fancy some more of that jam roly-poly that I made a few weeks ago.

While I was at it, I had a drink of my home-made ginger beer which was absolutely delicious, and I also fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution.

Leaving the two lots of dough to fester, I headed off for my afternoon walk around the headland, a few minutes later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown on the beach there were plenty of people wandering around in the afternoon. Some of them were picnicking down there on the rocks too.

It was a really nice afternoon today and it would have been even better had the wind dropped because it was yet another day when we were being beaten about by a mini-gale. And aren’t I fed up of those this last few months.

Regardless of the weather though, there weren’t any people actually in the water. The weather wasn’t anything like as nice as that, although regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen plenty of people in the water just recently despite the wintry conditions.

girl painting people playing boules or petanque place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I set off along the path. But as I passed by, my attention was drawn to this rather large group of people.

Sitting on the wall on the top of the cliff was a girl in a purple anorak. She was either sketching or painting the scene in front of her – I couldn’t quite see exactly what it was.

As for the men, they were playing either boules or petanque, I couldn’t see what. But as you can see, face masks are completely optional, as is social distancing. This is the kind of behaviour that is spreading the disease like wildfire and I wonder how many people are going to have to be infected or die before they finally get the message.

My route continued along the top of the cliffs on my way to the end of the headland. And near the end of the path I was accosted by four guys on bikes who asked me to take their group photograph on the top overlooking the sea.

That’s not a problem for me, as long as it makes people happy.

floating object pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago I mentioned that I had seen something like a plastic 25-litre oil drum bobbing up and down offshore at the Pointe du Roc.

hen I was down at the end of the headland today, there was the object bobbing up and down again. It certainly wasn’t there yesterday or any other day except for the day when I mentioned it. And so I’ve concluded that it’s been brought there specifically and it must obviously be tethered to stop it floating away.

It must therefore probably be a marker for a lobster pot, even if it is of a very ambiguous colour and very close to the foot of the cliffs. And that is a little surprising for me. I’m have expected the marker buoy to be a bright yellow or orange or something so that people could see it easily and steer clear.

speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a speedboat roaring past le Loup out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Surprisingly, despite the beautiful sunny weather and the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday Sunday, there was almost nothing whatever going on out at sea. Apart from this speedboat and another one that was following it across from the Ile de Chausey where this one had apparently come from, there was nothing else whatever out there on the sea anywhere that I could see.

What I was expecting to see were hordes of yachts and other water traffic out there this afternoon. The tide was well up this afternoon as we have already seen, and there wouldn’t be any other reason to prevent all of the pleasure boats putting out to sea.

chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there must be at least one boat out at sea somewhere this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiais and one of the two Joly France ferry boats that run the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey moored up over there at the ferry terminal.

Today though, the Joly France boat has gone and there’s only Chausiais. Joly France must be taking a load of tourists out to spread the disease amongst all of the local inhabitants of the island which will go down really well seeing as there is no medical service over there

And if you look in the harbour, you’ll see the mooring boys bobbing up and down and with the sea being so clear, you can see the mooring chains to which they are attached. It’s a few more of those that they will be adding in the harbour when the diggers come back and they finally get round to carry on with the work.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBD baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as I walk along the footpath on top of the cliffs on the south side of the headland I’m being overflown by a pretty big aeroplane coming from the east.

She’s actually a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registration number F-HRBD registered to Air France. She’s flying over my head at a height of 34,000 on her way to Bogota in Columbia with Flight code AF428 /AFR428 , having taken off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about half an hour previously. She is currently on bearing 261°

Surprisingly, there was nothing else happening anywhere else in the harbour so I turned my attention to heading off home. There was all of my dough busily festering away and awaiting my attention when I return.

Airbus A320-251N G-UZHB english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it all the way back home straight away as I was overflown by yet another large aircraft heading north-eastwards.

Playing about with my image-editing software I managed to make out that she is in Easyjet livery and that means that she must be Flight Code U22036/EZY48ZM, having taken off at 12:15 from Tenerife on her way to Luton Airport.

She’s an Airbus A320-251N, registration G-UZHB and she’s going past me at a height of 38,025 feet.

When she’d gone out of range I went inside to make myself a drink and to attack the dough. I rolled out the dough for the roly-poly, coated it with a thick layer of strawberry jam and rolled it.

With the pizza dough, I split it into 3, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in baking paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. The third part I rolled out and put it into the pizza tray that I had greased, and folded the edges back in.

For the next hour or so I carried on with the photos and then I went back into the kitchen.

With the oven on and heating up, I cut the roly-poly into 2 and put the parts onto a greased baking tray. Then I bunged the baking tray into the oven when it was hot.

Meantime I prepared the pizza and when the roly-poly was cooked I put the pizza in and let that cook away for the next half an hour or so while I did the mountain of washing up that had accumulated. You’ve no idea how much washing up I can accumulate when I’m baking.

vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I attacked it with gusto. And it was really delicious too. But as for the roly-poly, I’ll have to tell you all tomorrow what that was like because the pizza was quite filling and I had no room left for pudding.

Now, I’ve written up my notes and I’m ready for bed. I’ve not had a hard day by any means but I’m still pretty tired. I’ve no plans for an alarm tomorrow seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday so I’m going to have a lie-in, if the cramp lets me.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I have had a couple of decent lie-ins. I Can certainly do with a couple, and I’ll fit the radio work around the rest of the day, breaking the habits of a lifetime for once.

Monday 29th March 2021 – THE FIRST DAY …

… back at work after my trips to Leuven is always difficult. And today was no exception.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a few of the photos of my trip around the headland this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

At least this morning I managed to rise almost immediately after the first alarm went off. First task was to set the oven off and while it was heating up, I had the medication. After the medication I put the sourdough fruit loaf dough into the oven and set the timer for 80 minutes.

Back in the office I made a start on the radio programme. And that kept me busy for most of the morning. Much more busy than it ought to have done because I was expecting this to be a quick one, seeing as I’d already chosen the tracks and paired them.

home made sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt first I was doing well and when I stopped for my breakfast of hot chocolate and nice warm sourdough fruit bread (which was absolutely delicious by the way) I was well ahead of where I usually am.

It all fell apart at the end because I miscalculated the final track. I ended up being a minute over which was a shame because the final track was absolutely perfect for what I wanted and fitted the programme perfectly.

But in the text that I write and record, there is quite a lot that is able to be edited out without spoiling the rhythm or the meaning, but a whole minute-worth is taking things to extremes. It took me quite a while to trim it down into the one-hour slot and I was really struggling but in the end it managed to fit.

The advantage of this is that I have a pile of stuff that I’ve cut out that I can save to use again and as a result, in theory it should take much less time to write out the stuff in the future.

boat english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was finally finished I had a listen to the programme and also the one that will be broadcast this coming weekend. And they both are pretty good, so I sent off this week’s programme.

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from July 2019. That’s another pile out of the way and I’m now down to a mere 8 remaining for the month.

Where I am now is at the site where Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk) was captured by the American Cavalry on 28th December 1890. And the rest of the story is History. I visited the site of the Massacre at Wounded Knee that took place the day after Big Foot was captured and believe me, it’s a very sad place.

peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I made a start on the arrears from my trip around Central Europe in the summer of 2020.

That’s a job that seems to be rather like the cleaning of the Augean stables was supposed to be – a never-ending task, especially as there are no rivers Alpheus and Peneus close by to help me.

By the time that it came to knocking off I was in the town of Becov nad Teplou in the Czech Republic admiring an old Czech Tatra Lorry and I still have a long way to go to Karlovy Vary.

I’m hoping that with a bit of luck I might actually finish it this week if I put my foot down, and then I can press on and start to deal with the week when I was on board the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany Coast. I might have had more luck had I not crashed out for half an hour on my chair.

There was the usual break of course to go out for my afternoon walk.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was absolutely beautiful as you can tell by the photos that you have seen so far.

As well as that the tide was quite far out and this is when the view of the Ile de Chausey is at its most beautiful. You can see the big beach out there that we walked on when we were there with Spirit of Conrad. At very low tide there is a kind of lagoon in between the islands over there and that was where we anchored to sleep for the night.

There are a great deal of sunken rocks around the islands with the pillars and warning lights upon them and today, with the tide being so low, they are all clearly visible today

Crowds of people out there this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the crowds down the path on top of the cliffs.

le loup bay de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me down to the lawn by the lighthouse and the Semaphore post. From there, there was a beautiful view of Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance

The two trees here made such a beautiful frame to the image that it was crying out for a photograph. When you see it like this, it’s hard to believe that when the tide is right in at the highest tide the column un which the light sits is almost submerged by the water. As I’ve said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … we have the highest tides in Europe just here.

And looking at the tree on the right just here, you can understand Bob Dylan’s “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, do you?

object floating in the sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the lawn by the lighthouse I walked across the car park and went down to the end of the headland. And there I saw a strange object bobbing up and down in the water.

It was very difficult to say what it was from this point of view. I took a photo of it so that I could crop it and enlarge it when I returned home, but having done so, I’m still none the wiser. It could be a marker for a lobster pot, although I wouldn’t have expected one to be this close to land, or it might ne a 25-litre oil drum washed overboard from a passing boat, or almost anything.

Having taken my photograph I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

mechanical digger peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was something that took me completely by surprise.

With it being the lowest tide of the year today – the famous Grande Marée – and also a holiday and lockdown period that has brought the crowds of people down from Paris there were crowds of people out there today practising the peche à pied and scratching around amongst the rocks for shellfish.

But the surprising thing was the mechanical digger thing that was out there with them. Once they start using mechanical equipment for the peche à pied that will be the end of a tradition.

Actually, it’s me being facetious. I’m sure that he’s doing something totally unconnected with the peche à pied

mechanical digger laying pipes baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt may well be that he’s doing something that’s connected to this little task out there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a pile of pipes on the quayside and I was wondering what they are for. No need to wonder any more because they are all out there, being laid by a group of men, taking advantage of the very low tide.

It beats me what they are doing with all of those though. I’ve no idea what they would be doing that would require a pipeline to be lad on the beach out there. It’s not likely to be a sewer outfall or anything like that because of Health and Safety or Environmental Issues. I shall have to enquire.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there’s yet another change of occupier there.

That motor boat Freddy Land has now disappeared, presumably gone back in the water. We still have Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Hermes 1 and Lys Noi down there on the blocks. And it was certainly a hive of activity down there this afternoon with a few vans and a load of workmen buzzing around working away

Nothing at all going on over at the ferry port right now. All of the boats have moved, either into the inner harbour or else they are out running over to the Ile de Chausey.

digger laying mooring wires port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something else that’s interesting going on in the harbour this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen these diggers working away in the port a few weeks ago and I wondered what they were up to.

Now I know the answer to this question. There is €6,000,000 made available to a few of the ports around here to improve their facilities. Here in Granville, they have received some of the money to install three more mooring lines to make more anchoring facilities for smaller boats.

It’s just a shame that they hadn’t had the money to do this when they were working on the facilities two or so years ago.

Back here I had a coffee and worked on my arrears from Central Europe up until guitar time, something that was quite enjoyable.

And for tea it was a curry out of the freezer with veg and boiled potatoes. Followed by my delicious apple crumble.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone too to see where I’d been on my travels. I was driving one of G&B’s old Fords last night, taking the kids to college. One was sitting behind me chatting away saying that Brian didn’t like me and that I talked too much, loads of things like that. I said that I used to work for Europe’s largest coach company until it went bankrupt and I’d driven coaches as far east as Russia, places like that. I have loads of experience and I’m happy to share it with Brian but he doesn’t seem to want to learn or listen. The conversation continued. We weren’t going fast and 2 students alighted to walk in front of the coach. We came to a place where a tree was overhanging so I had to move out into the middle of the road so I had to ask these students to come back in. One of them was John Ashby so he came over to chat. He asked if I was still living on my farm. I told him of my health issues and that I was living in this apartment. He asked “do you have an owl?”. I replied “no”. He said “well you ought to have an owl. I’ll have a friend of mine make one”. We started to have a little chat but we didn’t get far as we came to the yard. The first thing that I noticed was that the drive had been moved. I was half-way up the old drive before I realised. I had to do a dramtic turn-round to get into the new drive. There was a kind of bracket-type of thing with 6 rather large upturned bolts welded to it lying on the path there . I said to the sentry who was busy looking at it “don’t worry. I’ll move it”. I got down, picked it up and threw it out of the way and drove the coach into the yard before he got off. By now it had become a motor bike. I noticed that the front tyre was low so John and I had a scavenge around the workshop to try to find a compressor that I knew was there. We found half of it – someone had dismantled it and left it in pieces. Some of the pieces were missing. We also talked about the cutlery and plates. One of the students had already asked me why things were a bit different on board the coach. I said that I hadn’t really noticed. John told me that all the crockery and cutlery had been changed and he asked me why. I said that I didn’t know. “All I know is that I have a key to the yard, a key to the office and a key to the coach. Brian just rings me up and asks me when he needs any work doing”.

But John Ashby – there’s a blast from the past. Someone who was struck off my friends list at school in 1971 when he stole my girlfriend at the time and about whom I haven’t thought for a single minute ever since. What’s he doing making a debut appearance and sticking his nose into my nocturnal ramblings?

Now though I’m off to bed, later than usual. I’m exhausted despite my sleep this afternoon. I can’t wait to get into bed.

Sunday 28th March 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the photos of the crowds of people out and about in thr glorious sunshine this afternoon, I can tell you about my rather quiet day today.

It started off as we mean to go on with me not rising from my stinking pit until 11:05 according to my fitbit, only to find out that it was in fact 12:05 because the clocks had altered this morning.

After breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night, because despite the fact that I’d taken that pill before I went to bed, I’d been out and about during the night and there were some notes about it on the dictaphone that needed to be transcribed.

yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI’d been to buy a motor bike at Webster’s at Crewe. They told me to come back on Friday and they would have a Honda 50 for me. I went back on Friday evening and as I walked into the shop the guy was selling it to someone else. I was really annoyed by that and I made my annoyance known. He said “don’t you worry. We have something ideal for you”. He took me into the back and there was this ancient Suzuki 250 painted red. I thought “this is a scrambler type of configuration, not very comfortable and I didn’t fancy that. There was another 50cc scooter but it was the type that was renowned for being uncomfortable and I didn’t want that either”. He said “we have a Ford Transit like your old one. It needs some work doing to it, the wheel bearings and a few things”. I took it home and noticed that a few of the exhaust parts were in the back of it. I did the rear wheel bearings and went to assemble the exhaust but found that it was bits of a VW exhaust and didn’t fit at all. That’s why half of it was in the back. I was pretty annoyed and ended up taking it back to the garage. I was going to tell them what I thought of them. There was much more to this dream than this but I can’t remember.

speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on a plane took off from somewhere and the radio was stuttering. It didn’t gain height and all of a sudden it crashed right in front of the sentry box where I was on duty. I summoned help and ran over to this ‘plane to see what had happened. I don’t remember any more of this except that I ended up in a load of trouble. For some reason my superior officer was very unhappy with me and bawled me out for something but I can’t remember what it was. I did notice that in the report that I’d submitted, the second sentence started with 2 capital letters instead of the usual 1. But I can’t remember very much of this at all.

First task today, despite it being Sunday and a Day of Rest, was to synchronise the big computer with the one that I took with me to Leuven. I’d done some work on various files while I was away so they needed to be copied back and to over-write the ones on the big computer.

Of course, if I were to have my files stored on a cloud, there wouldn’t be any need to do that. But I don’t want my files stored anywhere where I couldn’t access them regularly or, more importantly, where other people can access them.

Having done that I made a start on the baking activity.

First task was to make one of my sourdough bread things. I’m not very good with the sourdough as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and it doesn’t rise as much as it should. But adding to it a banana, some ground brazil nuts and a pile of dried and desiccated fruit, it makes a kind of soggy moist fruit cake, a slice of which makes a really delicious and nutritious breakfast with my hot chocolate.

Having set that off I turned my attention to the normal bread. A pile of wholemeal flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and water and as well as that, several handfuls of sunflower seeds. The yeast and sugar added to the warm water and left to fester, and once it has begun to ferment I could add it to the flour and salt, and mix it all in.

While I was doing that I was talking to Liz on the internet and feeding the sourdough and the ginger while I was at it.

When it was all sitting there festering I went out side for my afternoon walk.

people playing boules place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were crowds and crowds of people wandering around outside this afternoon, including these people here who are playing petanque.

And this is what annoys me intensely because as you can see, not one of these people is wearing a face mask. Never having seen these people before, it’s my betting that they are tourists and if they have come from a Covid-infested area they could be spreading the virus around amongst everyone around here, despite everything that we are trying to do around here to keep the area virus-free.

It beats me, what these people do not understand about the virus and how it spreads after all of this time that we have been suffering. It’s people like this that are responsible to the raging epidemic that is going on at the moment and they should be brought to account.

people taking footpath under city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people surging around everywhere this afternoon, as you can see over there in this photo.

That is the footpath underneath the walls, along which I used to run in the evenings when we were allowed out at night. But I wouldn’t show myself up by running along there in broad daylight with all of those people around. I have my pride.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, you can see where the medieval walls are fenced off from the public because of their crumbling state. I have seen in the Council’s budget a reference to the repair of part of the walls and I hope that this part is to be included. It’s been fenced off since before I came to Granville.

hole in headland pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s something that’s extremely exciting and which had happened while I was away in Leuven.

As usual, my route took me along the footpath on top of the headland and down to the lawn near the lighthouse and semaphore post, and on the lawn I stumbled across this.

It seems that a mysterious hole has appeared in the lawn. It’s about 20 cms in diameter and goes down to quite a depth. It seems unlikely to be any kind of natural formation so it’s possible that we are going to be seeing some kind of human activity around here in early course.

That’s something for me to keep at the back of my mind for the future.

f-giki robin dr 400 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was observing the hole in the ground, I was overflown by another light aeroplane. It was even quite busy in the air today.

This aeroplane is a Robin DR-400, serial number 1931, registration number F-GIKI and it’s owned by the Granville Aero Club. It’s one of their machines that is used for teaching flying and also teaching navigation, and hasn’t that given me an idea?

As for where it’s going, I can’t say because it hasn’t filed a flight plan and by the time that I returned to my apartment it must have landed because it wasn’t shown on the flight radar.

From there I walked across the car park and down to the headland where I saw the yacht with the wind turbine at the stern whose photo you saw earlier. And then I wandered off along the path on top of the headland overlooking the port.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt goes without saying that I was interested in what was going on down in the chantier navale.

From the viewpoint there I could see down into the yard and I noticed that there was no change in occupancy there. We have Spirit of Conrad, Hermes I, Lys Noir, Freddy Land and Aztec Lady but that’s about it. No-one left and no-one else came while I was away in Leuven.

There’s no-one down there working on them so they can’t be in a dreadful rush to leave here and go back into the water. Not that they could go back into the water right now because as you can see, the tide is right out just now.

And there’s nothing going on at the ferry port either. On the way down to the station I’d noticed that there was an excursion to the Ile de Chausey advertised for today so probably both of the Joly France boats are out there with their passengers.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere seems to be plenty of activity down at the loading bay in the inner harbour. Chausiais is moored up there underneath the loading crane.

The boat behind it is interesting too. It’s shrink-wrapped so it’s possibly a new boat, and it’s looking as if it’s waiting there for a lift to other parts. We’ll have to see who comes along to pick her up.

From the harbour I went on home and partook of what was left of my orange ginger beer – no coffee today because it’s quite warm outside. And it was delicious too. Despite its volatile nature and explosive capability, I’ll make some more – but this time I’ll try some stronger bottles rather than the IKEA ones that couldn’t last the pace.

Back here I carried on with my cooking.

First thing to do was to prepare an apple crumble. Because I have only a small oven I made it in two smaller dishes that I could stack one on top of the other.

While I was doing that I’d switched on the oven and when the crumble was ready I bunged that and the bread in there.

Next was to roll out the pizza pastry that I’d taken out of the freezer first thing. And having greased the pizza tray I put the pizza base in and folded the overhanging edges back into the tray. Then I left to fester for an hour.

Later on I assembled the pizza and when the bread and crumble were cooked I took them out and put the pizza in.

During the various pauses I’ve been working on the photos from July 2019. Another pile has bitten the dust and there are just 38 left for that month. I’m now approaching Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

vegan pizza home made bread vegan apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products. Don’t they look delicious?

The pizza tasted really delicious and it would have been even better had I remembered to turn up the oven again after I’d removed the bread. I’ve no idea what the crumble is like because being full after my pizza, I didn’t have a dessert.

Now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. There’s a radio programme that needs doing tomorrow and that’s the first thing to be done. But there’s also the sourdough to be baked so that it’s ready for my mid-morning break and so I’ll have to put that into the oven as soon as I wake up.

Here’s hoping that I have a good cramp-free sleep.

Sunday 14th March 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I have had today.

This morning I didn’t leave my bed until 11:45 and I even spent a couple of hours asleep this afternoon so it was something of a wasted day.

But on reflection (which I was able to do some time later) I realised that it wasn’t such a wasted day at all.

After I’d finished yesterday’s notes I went and made the sourdough dough for the fruit loaf that I was planning to make today. But by the time that I’d finished I somehow seemed to have lost any tiredness that I might have done.

Not being able to go off to sleep I switched the computer back on. There was someone whom I knew in Florida who was on line so we started to chat and by the time that I was finally ready to go to bed it was … errr … 05:45.

And during the time that I’d been chatting I’d been dealing with the Greenland photos. Another pile of those disappeared and right now we are inspecting a seabird colony at the foot of the Sermitsiaq Glacier that leads from the Maniitsoq Ice Cap into the Evighedsfjorden or Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord as it’s known today.

After the medication this morning I gave the sourdough its second kneading and put it into its mould and then prepared two lots of yeast-powered dough, one for the loaf of bread that I need for this week and the second batch for the next supply of pizzas.

While that was proofing I made myself some porridge and toast for breakfast, or rather, lunch actually, given the time.

Back in here I made another start on tidying up the back-up drive and despite falling asleep half-way through, I’m now up to 1.11TB of free space and had I remained awake I might even have managed to clear out some more but that was something of a forlorn hope.

It wasn’t until about 16:00 that I awoke and it took me until about 16:30 to recover my composure. I kneaded the dough for the loaf a second time, shaped it and put it into the mould to proof a second time. And then I went out for a walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBeing rather later going out than normal, the tide was well out by now – farther out than I was expecting it to be.

Considering that it was a Sunday, I was surprised to see that there were so few people out there making the most of it. While there was a fair bit of wind today, it was much less than yesterday’s wind and it wasn’t really all that unpleasant.

If the weather the other day had been such to have permitted a couple of people to go for a swim in the sea, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, I would have expected them to have at least braved the weather that we were having today in order to have a picnic or two on the beach.

people on paths pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, having taken the photo of the beach I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs all the way down to the lighthouse at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

There were quite a few people out there on the lawn having a walk around in the nice weather, many of them with dogs. As an aside, taking animals for a walk is an acceptable way of being out in the streets after curfew here in France and according to stories that I have heard, the local animal shelters are now running out of dogs for adoption. So at least some things are benefiting from the curfew.

Across the lawn and the car park, I went down to the end of the headland but there was nothing going on out in the bay so I followed the path down on the other side of the cliff.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that after we had seen the two Joly France boats and Chausiais moored at the ferry terminal the other day, yesterday we saw one of the Joly France boats and Chausiais moored in the inner harbour.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mused about the whereabouts of the other Joly France boats that was conspicuous by its absence.

But muse no longer, dear reader, because she’s now come back and is moored up in the loading bay in the inner harbour. Obviously we aren’t expecting the arrival of one of the Jersey Freighters right now.

Back at the apartment I had my coffee and carried on with sorting out the files on the computer. Right now I’m tidying up the directories on the big computer because some time in the near future I’ll be swapping a few hard drives around and I want to have everything sorted out for when I do.

In view of the kind of chaos that I’ve been in for so long in the past that’s taken me so long to sort out just now, I don’t want to repeat it.

Later on I knocked off and checked the dough over.

The two loaves in their moulds were ready – the sourdough had even risen a little, so I switched on the oven and when it was warm, I put them in to bake.

Meantime I kneaded the pizza dough, divided it into three, oiled two and put them into the freezer, and the third one I rolled out and put in the pizza tray.

vegan pizza home made bread sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza base had proofed I prepared the pizza and when the bread was cooked I took that out and put the pizza in.

hen that was cooked I had my tea and it was probably one of the tastiest that I have ever had. Definitely a success, this one. No pudding though because I’m not hungry. But there is plenty of apple pie in the fridge for pudding for the next few days.

Now that I’ve written up my notes I’m going to bed, regardless of how early it is. I need a good sleep because I have a radio programme to write up tomorrow and I want to be on form. I can’t afford too many days like I’ve had today.

But at least it wasn’t as total a disaster as I was thinking that it might have been had I not buckled down and did some photos while I was still awake earlier this morning.

Saturday 13th March 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the photos of today’s storm out at sea I’ll tell all you about my miserable day today.

And miserable it was as well too. It took me ages to go off to sleep, no matter how tired I was when I finally crawled into bed. at one stage I didn’t think that I would drop off at all.

And when I awoke this morning I had a pain in my left shoulder – one of the better-known side-effects of this vaccination. It’s not all that uncomfortable actually, and in any case, by all accounts it’s far better than what you have to go through if you actually catch the virus.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the medication, I had a listen to he dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

I was transferring a load of stuff from one hard drive to another (rather reminiscent of what I was doing yesterday) but some of the files wouldn’t move. That was extremely disappointing. I tried a few little tricks but they still wouldn’t move. As I was passing through the data cable that ran between one and the other there were all these kids who were on holiday. There were 3 groups of kids, blond-haired boys and girls who were all different ages, probably 8 or 9 and I dunno 2 groups slightly older and different ages. I kept on confusing them because of the time difference that it was taking me to do this. I decided that I would be chatty so I spoke to the youngest group and said “hi”. This girl gave me a puzzled look and said something that I didn’t catch so I said “hi again”. She repeated what she had just said. I gave her a smile and a wave and walked on through the data cable to the other drive, sitting there wondering what it was that she said. Had she said that she didn’t speak English and I pretended not to hear it or didn’t notice that that was what she said.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I was at a music festival, a huge thing and there were enormous crowds there. But it was all family stuff. We were wandering around the camp site and there was no social distancing whatever and there were arguments over pitches and who was going to camp where and whatever.

Just as that voyage was starting to get under way, the alarm went off and I awoke. And I was up and out of bed before the second one went off.

Before I went to have my shower I made a start on tidying up the back-up drive. As I expected, it’s slow progress from here on in and it’s going to be a long time before it’s done. Mind you, I did liberate another 40GB of free space sorting out the duplicates.

After my shower I went off to the shops. And I wasn’t out all that long and didn’t spend much money either. And what I did spend, a lot of it went on an industrial-size bottle of clothes-washing liquid from NOZ.

Back here I carried on with the sorting out of the duplicate files but at some point I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 14:00. I’ve no idea how long I was out of it but it made me run a lot later than I intended.

After lunch I worked on the Greenland photos. I only did a few yesterday so I had a lot to do today to catch up. Right now we’re in the Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord in Greenland going to look at the Sermitsiaq Glacier that drains off the Maniitsoq Ice Cap.

This was the last complete day on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. Tomorrow afternoon we alight at Kangerlussuak and take the aeroplane to Toronto where I push onwards deeper into North America.

At 15:45 I was ready to go out for my afternoon walk but we were in the middle of a torrential downpour and hailstorm. I wasn’t going to go out for a walk in any of that.

Round about an hour later the rain eased off a little so I nipped out.

storm at sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was only a brief amelioration in the weather too. As you can see, there’s a raging storm going on out over the Ile de Chausey and I hadn’t gone all that far before it caught me in the open. It was completely wild out there right now and I was soaked to the skin.

There had been one or two other people out there but by the time I reached the lawn and the car park, I was pretty much all on my own out there and that was hardly any surprise at all given the conditions.

Nothing going on out at sea today, either in the English Channel or the Baie de Mont St Michel so I pushed on along the path to see what was happening at the port.

charlevy trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have another change of occupant in the chantier navale today. Well, yesterday, actually, as I noticed it when I arrived back from Valognes last night but of course it was too dark to photograph.

Today, we have one of the bigger trawlers, Charlevy in there undergoing work. I’ve no idea what’s the matter with her and there was no-one around there to ask either. In fact there was no-one working on any of the boats down there today and I’m not surprised about that either. I wouldn’t be out there working in the kind of weather that we were having this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday, the ferry terminal was overflowing with boats – both of the Joly France ferries and Chausiais were moored over there. But they have all left the quayside today as you can see.

joly france chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the Joly France boats, the older one, has disappeared completely but the other one and Chausiais are now moored up in the inner harbour next to the two Channel island ferry boats.

By now, I was a total drowned rat so I hurried on back to the apartment. A hot coffee and a slice of Liz’s cake from yesterday went down really nicely, and I had a quick bash at the notes from Central Europe last year until the football came on.

Haverfordwest County, one of the newly-promoted teams this season were facing perennial champions TNS

TNS are currently in second position in the table having over the last couple of weeks lost their ruthless streak. The owners of the club have, on the other hand, retained their ruthless streak and sacked the management team early in the week in an effort to climb back to the top.

TNS, although they showed plenty of skill, looked to be very lethargic today but Haverfordwest, although clearly not as skilful, were very well marshalled. TNS had the lion’s share of possession and Haverfordwest were content to let them run around and shepherd them into blind alleys.

To everyone’s surprise, Haverfordwest took the lead, from a breakaway upfield after 17 minutes, but when TNS equalised from a corner early in the second half we could see a familiar script being replayed.

Later in the match Haverfordwest tired and we were all expecting a couple more TNS goals, but instead one of the Haverfordwest attackers took them completely by surprise and combined well with one of his colleagues who scored a beautiful goal to restore Haverfordwest’s surprise lead.

And as the match played out to a conclusion, it was Haverfordwest who were still going forward and won probably the most surprising victory of the season so far.

For tea I just had some pasta and vegetables and then came in here to write my notes. Now that they are done I’m going to prepare some sourdough and then I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in tomorrow and I can’t say that I don’t need it. A good sleep will do me good.

Thursday 11th March 2021 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… miserable and depressing day again. And while you admire the force of the waves smashing down on the sea wall in the storm this afternoon I’ll tell you all about it.

It actually started off quite well and once again I was out of bed just after the first alarm went off despite the rather later night than I intended.

After the medication I had a listen to where I’d been during the night. One of my younger sisters – I can’t remember which one – had had an accident and was paralysed from the waist down. She was having to get all new stuff from school so I had to take her to the shop where the school uniforms were. While we were searching for the rooms we came across the right room for the blue and white pinafore skirts and grey tunics, that kind of thing. We started to make a list of things that she needed for next year. Then she got out of her wheelchair and very unsteadily went towards looking at the pens and papers, that kind of thing. I thought that she ought to go back in her chair because she wasn’t fit enough to be walking around. I had one or two words with her about going back to sit in her wheelchair again.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, there was something strange happening in a big office. It was necessary to follow some people and record their movements. I’d been on the lookout for suitable people to do this. I’d been driving around the hospital in a tractor and trailer and came across a young boy and his mother – his mother had been visiting the boy. I thought of going to ask them if they could do this but I had the tractor stuck. It meant a lot of reversing around. I ended up back in the public area in the library and TOTGA was in. She’d already done this a few times for me so I waited until she turned up and I asked her if she would do it again. I asked if she had all of the paperwork. She replied that she had left it all at home. I said “never mind. We’ll have to start again from scratch”.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on Caroline put in an appearance too. This is the first time for quite a while that she’s put in an appearance in a nocturnal ramble.

There was much more to it than all of this too, but firstly I’ve forgotten most of it and what I didn’t forget, it’s not the kind of thing that you would be interested in hearing, especially if you are having your tea right now.

First task after I’d finished my dictaphone notes was to attack the day’s quantity of photographs. Another 20 went the way of the west today and I’m now wandering around Nuuk in Greenland looking at the sculptures.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s only another 360 to review for July and then there are … gulp … 2500 or so for August and then a pile for September and October too. Then 2019 will be up to date.

When all of that is done, then I have to update all of the blog entries for that period, and I still haven’t worked out how I’m going to write about the three missing days in September when I was having … errr … certain issues.

Once I’d organised myself properly I wandered of and had a shower to make myself look pretty. That is of course a job that takes a darn sight longer than it ought to do as you can imagine.

The last thing that I really felt like doing was to go to the shops this morning. I really wasn’t feeling like it. But I hauled myself out and set off in the gale.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a trawler out there in the harbour, just pulling away from the Fish Processing Plant. At first, I thought that it was going to be heading back out to sea but instead it headed off across the harbour and went to tie up over there.

She’ll be in good company over there too. Tied up over there where she has been for quite a while just recently is La Grande Ancre. It’s not like her to be moored up for very long without moving.

There were some guys up there on the top of the quayside and by the looks of things they were unloading that red van. I wonder if they are going to be loading up one of the fishing boats ready to go out on a voyage.

unloading cargo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThursday is usually the day that we see Normandy Trader in the port. At the moment though the harbour gates are closed and she isn’t in there as yet.

But there’s a lot of activity going on down there right now with the unloading of a lorry and a pile of timber. I suppose that this means that she’ll be in here at the earliest possible opportunity.

From there I pushed on to LIDL for the shopping. I didn’t really need all that much but I bought what I thought that I needed. They had some more of these mis-shapen carrots at €1:59 for 2kg (1kg of normal carrots cost €1:29) so I bought a pack. I’m getting rather low on carrots right now.

On the way back I was caught in a rather dramatic shower and was soaked to the skin. But luckily the rain didn’t last for too long and the sun came out quite quickly afterwards.

Back here I had my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, and then I came in here and … errr … fell asleep. I don’t know how long I was out but by the time I’d gathered my wits together after I awoke, it was 14:25. I made it about 2.5 hours that I was out, all told.

After lunch, I came back in here and shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep again and was late going out for my afternoon walk.

storm at sea beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTaking the correct camera with me today, I wandered off outside.

The storm that had been blowing up this morning was now raging outside. You can see from the whitecaps on the waves that we were having our money’s worth this afternoon. With the tide being well in, there wasn’t much beach to be on but even so, there wasn’t anyone at all down there picking their way around the rocks. It wasn’t the kind of weather to be down there.

For a change just recently, the view along the coast and inland was fairly clear today and you could see a good way into the distance although it was hazy yet again out at sea.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the tide being well in, all of the fishing boats were on their way home.

Coming in from the English Channel braving the wild water was one of the smaller shellfish boats. That’s not the kind of boat in which I would like to be out there in all of this.

There were just two or three people walking around the headland today so there was no issue about social distancing. Apart from the boats that we have seen, there wasn’t anything happening out there at sea.

My route took me over the lawn and through the car park to the end of the headland but there was nothing exciting happening there either so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

The storm was totally wild out here, as you have seen from the photos that I posted earlier. The waves were crashing away over the sea wall and the poor people out there were being soaked.

joly france chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry terminal this afternoon there seems to be quite a lot of activity.

Both of the Joly France boats are over there right now, presumably making use of the ferry terminal, and that means that Chausiais has had to move out. She’s been obliged to moor up against the outer wall of the inner harbour.

Down at the chantier navale there was a hive of activity with people wandering around working on the boats that were down there. Still the same four boats though. We haven’t had any change in occupancy for a week now.

trawlers unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I went out to the shops this morning there were five refrigerated lorries parked at the Fish processing Plant.

That means that despite the heavy storm and high winds, they are expecting a good catch coming into port. And sure enough, there were plenty of fishing boats down there this afternoon unloading at the wharf.

As well as the crowds on top hauling the stuff off to the Fish Processing Plant, there are several vehicles on the lower level belonging to private enterprises such as local seafood shops taking away the shellfish from the boats that they charter.

Back here, I had my coffee and the last of my coffee cake, and then I peeled, diced and blanched half of the carrots that I had bought this morning. As well as that, I fed the sourdough and the ginger mother-solution.

The guitar practice went OK and then I had tea – taco rolls with the remainder of the stuffing from the other day. The apple pie was delicious too.

During the day here and there while I’ve been doing other things, I’ve been doing some more of the file duplicates. I’m now up to 1.05TB of free space. From here now, it’ll be a very slow crawl file by file.

But I won’t be doing any more tonight. I’ve had a bad day and I’m exhausted. I’m off to bed early because tomorrow I have a lot to do. I have to go to Valognes near Cherbourg to have my first vaccination and on the way home I have to stop off and repair a computer. Such are the exciting things that I get to do.