Tag Archives: st helier

Tuesday 16th August 2022 – SUMMER IS BACK!

After the couple of days that we had of grey overcast weather conditions, Summer came back with a bang today.

Not quite the record-breaking temperatures that we had, but blue skies all the same.

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while we’re on the subject of the hot weather … “well, one of us is” – ed … I thought that you might like to see how things are doing around here.

This is the footpath on top of the cliffs at the back of the Sports Ground. It’s the route that I take down to the end of the headland and you can see how it is (or isn’t) holding up.

The path itself is a layer about an inch thick of dust. On the edges of the path the grass has dried out completely and has died off in places. The rest of it, what’s left, is a burnt shrivelled mass and it’ll take a while to regenerate.

Those little showers of rain that we have had just recently haven’t done anything towards improving the situation.

What else took a while to regenerate this morning was me, unfortunately.

It wasn’t until 09:00 that the alarm went off for me to awaken but there was a good reason for that. Late last night a Paul Temple adventure came up on the old-time radio feed just as I was thinking of going to bed. A programme that is timed at 3:25:00

These old radio programmes are really excellent and so I was planning on listening for an hour or so before going to bed. But instead I ended up listening to the whole programme and it was long after 01:00 when I fell into the stinking pit.

Not that I’m bothered about that because life is for enjoying too as well as working and let’s face it – I’m not getting much pleasure in anything else right now

So after I’d finally staggered into the kitchen for my medication I came back in here to find out where I’d been during the night.

And it’s no surprise that I wasn’t feeling like much today when you look at where I went during the night. Having stayed awake until all hours listening to a Paul Temple episode, when I was asleep I had a Paul Temple episode going on in my head. It went on for hours and hours and hours. It involved some saucepans and saucepan lids but everything was just so confusing that I can’t remember any of it. It rambled on and on and on about these guys who I think might have been sportsmen on small boats or something. That’s all that I can really say about this that went on for hours.

And then we were still in Istanbul (had we been there before? I dunno). We’d been talking to some people about meeting up with someone and performing an interview. They to whom we were talking was a taxi driver had something to do and he produced a girl. She exited his cab and walked away. The person with me said that that would have been a good interview. He explained that she was rather too far in in this organisation and would likely cause a lot of problems. She spent most of her time being institutionalised and the rest of the time going round with this gang. So we agreed and he said that he’d see who else he could find for us. He drove away. The person with me said “God, I have to go” and dashed through the door in this stone terraced house and disappeared. I went through this door. There was a set of really steep steps that went down to the river. I went down there as best as I could. I had no idea where he went. There were 2 or 3 cafés at the bottom. He didn’t appear to be in either so I wondered whether he’d gone to the toilet so I’d wait around. There was a girl painter there with a boy whom she was painting. He was carrying this brown and black cat. She was drawing the cat so I went over to talk to her and to stroke the cat. It wasn’t all that friendly but it didn’t fight or anything. We chatted about the cat for quite some time.

Later on we were on a train heading north towards Doncaster somewhere like that. We were on board and it was an express. There were a few seats taken, not all that many. We walked along the train trying to find our places to sit. I can’t remember any more than that

At some point or other a girl with me announced that she was pregnant but it was sort-of announced by accident. It wasn’t a planned announcement, it came out in the conversation. I asked her what she was going to do but she didn’t give a reply so we went back home and went in. The house was totally filthy and really awful. Everyone was just sitting around in a complete state of untidiness. Someone said “you’ll never guess what the baby (for there was another baby in there) had been playing with. He went on to say that it was a half-dead mouse. “I just threw it i ntothe middle of the room” he said which made everyone shudder. I had to start to look for this thing. I thought that if any girlfriend of mine was going to be pregnant this place is going to have to be cleaned up because she shouldn’t bring up a child in this no matter how someone else was bringing up another one. It clearly wasn’t any good at all and we needed to do something about it.

And finally I was walking along the shore on the edge of a beach. There was some people and a dog down there playing about in somewhere where there had been a great big fire. I could hear them discussing it. They seemed to think that it was some form of spontaneous combustion of whatever was underneath the sand. They were busy digging away at it and walking in for a closer look. I carried on walking past and ended up in the mountains in the snow looking at the maps about the ski resort and the various tracks to descend into the valley again. I was looking for either a blue or a red run. Eventually I found what I thought might be a good place to go down but there was a lot of fog around. It came swirling around cutting off the view of the valley and then the view of the sign with the routes on it. I thought to myself that this is going to be extremely difficult for me to go

That skiing excursion actually reminded me of a skiing adventure in which I took part in Cervinia in Italy in the days of my youth. I was with my Italo-Russian friend and we were up in the mountains of Italy near the Matterhorn. We were with a few other people but we were actually in front and when we returned to the village we found that we were on our own.

There had been hanging clouds in the mountains and they had missed the left-turning in the mist and carried straight on downhill into a different valley and ended up in Switzerland. In the days of border controls with no passports or anything, and the 38-mile taxi ride to return to the hotel was the least of their problems.

But something else that was interesting was the dream about the untidy house. We all know only too much about that these days and so for the rest of the day (because there wasn’t much of the rest of it after typing out all of that) I’ve been tidying up in here.

A huge pile of rubbish, papers and the like, bit the dust today. It’s all in the bin and a lot more would have followed it except that each time that I went out I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat. Not that I’m one for chatting to the neighbours but I do have to try to be sociable occasionally.

And I now know why the barrier to the car park isn’t working. I wondered where the car of one of my neighbours had gone

As well as taking out the papers I’ve actually put some stuff away too, I have cunning plans for more stuff and later on tonight I’m going to go outside with my old non-working printer and … errr … forget where I left it. This is going to be quite a long job.

In fact I was so carried away that I forgot to go for breakfast. That’s not like me, is it? Although I am eating less these days than I have done in the past.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It was a surprise that I actually managed to make it out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I went across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. With the weather being a lot warmer and sunnier than it has been this last couple of days I was expecting to see the crowds.

And as usual, I’m not disappointed. This was just a few of them, with many people having taken to the water to cool off. There were crowds of people elsewhere disporting themselves on beach towels catching the sun all the way down the coast.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it, I had a look out to sea to see what was happening there.

When I’d been walking down to the end of the car park I’d seen something white out at sea. It’s actually a yacht with a white sail with green stripe that’s cavorting around out there and it has a friend way over there towards the northern Normandy shore.

Over to the right of the yacht in the foreground is a marker buoy, presumably indicating another lobster pot, and then we have one of the many bouchot farms of the area in the background with its stakes rearing up like a medieval cheval de frise

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As you can tell from the previous photo, the view was so much better today with the air being much cleaner.

That meant that I had high hopes for a photo of Jersey and St Helier so I went and found a piece of high ground where there might be a really good view.

And once again I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not the clearest view that we have had of St Helier but it’s still pretty good all the same.

One of these days I’ll really have to get myself out there somehow so that I can identify all of the buildings that I can see from here. The way that things are right now, I’ll have to hitch a ride on a freighter.

kayak cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Or else flag down a friendly cabin cruiser.

As I walked through the sandy wastes towards the end of the headland I noticed this cabin cruiser pull up. At first I thought that it might be a group of fishermen but as I watched they lowered something down at the stern.

A couple of minutes later someone climbed in and kayaked away. And it’s a good job that it’s summer because you don’t need to keep warm. After all, we all know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

And on that not, I wandered off further down the path.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The car park was crowded again with cars so I was expecting to see a lot of people here too.

Plenty of folk down on the lower path and there was a couple of people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not that they had very much to see because there were no boats out there this afternoon and no-one fishing on the rocks.

However, the buoy that we saw yesterday marking what I assume to be a lobster pot was still there so they can keep their eye on that.

ch638749 pescadore ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what’s happening in the port.

And there are yet more changes in the chantier naval as another trawler has come in to join the fray today. The black and blue trawler in the middle of all of that is Pescadore.

She always confuses me because when I first came here she was actually blue and white but had a repaint a while back.

Meanwhile over at the ferry terminal out of shot is Chausiaise, the little freighter. She’s not going anywhere at the moment.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here I went to check to see if anyone was playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon but I was side-tracked.

Over there in the inner harbour is a yacht. At first I thought that it might be Charles Marie because it seems to be the same style, but the colours are different. This one here is dark brown rather than dark blue.

So I shall have to go for a closer look to see if I can pick up a name.

But there’s another lorry in the port this afternoon, presumably dropping off some more freight for the Channel Islands. Things are certainly hotting up here as far as freight goes. We’re starting to be over-run and that’s good news.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Heading off towards the inner harbour (forgetting all about the Fish Processing Plant) I noticed that Victor Hugo is back in port.

The last that I heard of her she was running a shuttle around the outlying islands of the Channel Islands but now she’s back in the inner harbour and moored up at the quayside. It looks as if her mad dashes out and about over the last couple of days have come to a halt.

However I hope that it’s only a temporary pause. I mentioned earlier that I want to get out to the Channel Islands at some point in the near future and I had some high hopes that the ferry might become a regular thing. It’s no part of my plan for her to be laid up for long.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So back at the inner harbour and the yacht that’s in here.

It was not easy to read her name but a check of the fleet radar later revealed that she’s called Marie Fernand. She was built in 1894 as one of the harbour pilots for Le Havre and the northern Frenc coast, duties that she carried out until motorisation of the pilot service after World War I.

She was sold to someone in the UK in 1922 and for a long time disappeared from view.

Someone told me a delightful anecdote about her though. They planned to build a reconstruction of her in time for her centenary so they cast around for the plans. However someone had the rather brilliant idea “why don’t we just copy the original?”.

That was the first that the organisers knew that she still existed so they convinced the British owners to sell her back to the port and since then she’s been restored and was present at her own centenary.

There’s the Festival of Working Sailboats taking place soon so I imagine that she’s come here to be part of it.

Back here I had my iced coconut drink and did a little more tidying up. It’s going to take me an age to do what I want to do.

Tea was the second half of that rather wicked curry. and it was wicked as well. I’ll have to put the toilet paper in the fridge later.

But I didn’t go out to put the printer out. Even as I write we’re having a thunderstorm and a rainstorm. The printer doesn’t really work but I want to give someone a sporting chance and soaking it in water won’t help.

No radio tonight – I’m listening to music so I doubt if I’ll have a late night. I must remember to reset the alarm and then tomorrow carry on with my cleaning plan, otherwise known as “throwing out surplus items”.

A good night’s sleep would be nice too. We can live in hope.

Sunday 24th July 2022 – HOW LONG IS IT …

old cars lancia fulvia sport 1600 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

This afternoon when I went out for my walk there was this rather nice Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600cc parked outside by the new bicycle rack.

If I’ve identified this correctly this is one of the “Zagato” models designed by Ercole Spada and built in the early 1970s.

Beautiful cars but if I were spending the kind of money that I’d need to spend to buy one of these, I would have gone for the “Spider” with the roll-down soft top.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But anyway, be that as it may, while you admire a few photos of the local kids throwing themselves off the diving platform at the Plat Gousset, I’ll tell you about my miserable day.

And it’s hardly surprising that it went so bady considering how badly it started. It all went wrong last night when after having crashed out for hours last night, I couldn’t sleep.

At one point I thought that there wasn’t much point in going to bed because it was so late. But round about 03:30 I finally bit the bullet and fell into bed.

And surprisingly I didn’t stay awake all that long once I was in bed.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022No alarm in the morning of course, with it being a Sunday.

And I was awake a few times here and there during the morning with it was about 11:15 when I finally took the plunge and left the bed.

After the medication I came back in here to have a play about with the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and combining the tracks into pairs.

The choice of the music for this week isn’t as exciting as it has been over the last few months and combining them in pairs wasn’t easy as they didn’t gel together at all.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But anyway, I did what I could and it doesn’t sound too bad.

That was the cue to go for lunch. Porridge, toast and strong coffee to try to make me feel better. But unfortunately it didn’t work out because after lunch while I was in the bedroom I drifted off to sleep again. How disappointing is that?

When I awoke I had a play about on the guitar for a while, playing through a few of the songs on my playlist. I have to keep uo on the music otherwise I’ll just slide back into oblivion as I did last winter when I was in a very bad place and stopped practising.

Mind you, I don’t think that I’m in a much better place at all these days seeing how the last couple of days have panned out.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022At some point or other during the day I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I’d been in digs with some woman in some small town in Scotland. I’d been telling this woman that I was planning on settling in the area so she was trying to give me loads of stuff. I said that that was far too early yet because I don’t know what I had and where I was going etc. I was trying to find the bus timetable. In the end I did and there was one bus in the day and one bus in the evening to Inverness. I was interested in the evening bus to Inverness on Sunday evening so a local bus driver took me to find out about it. We spoke to some kind of strange Mennonite or Amish family who told me the correct answer. As I was leaving some other woman and her child told me the answer as well. The bus was at 22:55 which meant that it didn’t arrive in Inverness until the small hours of the morning which meant that I was going to have to keep my room here in this town. I couldn’t give it up and take a room in Inverness because everything would be closed when I arrived. I was sitting down there working out the differences, if I stayed for a week for example where I was it would cost me more than £1:00 in difference compared to staying as an ordinary bugler boy with the Salvation Army or something. I was performing all these calculations in my head as well to have it all organised here but it wasn’t organised the way that I wanted.

As it happens, I’ve actually been in a similar place to this in the Highlands of Scotland in the past during one of my nocturnal rambles.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And as usual I went out for my afternoon walk.

Today I chose to go around the medieval city walls so the view that I had of the people on the beach is quite different from how it usually is.

Not much beach right now but that didn’t seem to matter because most people who were down there this afternoon had made it into the water.

That’s no surprise because today was another candidate for one of the hottest days of the year.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And there were tons of stuff happening out zt sea today.

The first thing that I noticed as I walked around the corner was that Marité had finally made it out into the bay to take the locals for a ride – in more senses than one.

She was originally a fishing boat that went out to the Grand Banks of Labrador with a load of dories that were used for fishing for cod. She is apparently the last of the wooden-built Newfoundlanders that set sail from the ports of Western France.

la granvillaise ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of of other boats out there too.

It took me a minute to work out who this one might be because I’ve never before seen her with all of her sail unfurled and set. But she is in fact La Granvillaise.

Once she turned to run with the wind I could see the familiar “G90” on her sails.

The Ile de Chausey in the background is looking magnificent too today.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It wasn’t just the Ile de Chausey that was looking nice today.

The view out to Jersey this afternoon was magnificent and you could see everything on the island with the naked eye even though it’s 58kms away from where I was standing. I’ve not enhanced this photo at all.

There are even a couple of speedboats right out there in the bay just off the Channel Islands and the camera has picked them up really well today.

We could do with a few more days like this.

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Retuning to our moutons as they say around here, the new Belle France is having another run-out this afternoon.

She’s taking a boat-load of tourists for a quick lap around the bay while the tide is in the correct position.

As for why all of these boats are out and about this afternoon, this morning has been what they call the Grand Pardon, the religious procession when they bless all of the boats and the seafarers.

Last year we were there taking a few photos but today I was in bed while all of this was going on.

le renard english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There are still more interesting boats out there in the English Channel behind the Ile de Chausey. I haven’t finished yet.

This one isn’t one of our local boats and it’s too far away for me to be able to identify it correctly.

However, a glance at the radar when I returned home showed me that somewhere over there at the time that I took the photo was a 33-metre sailing boat called Le Renard that resembled that boat.

She left St Malo at 13:52 and returned to port at 17:59 so the timing would seem to be correct anyway

repointing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Before I left the area I had a look at the repointing of the medieval city walls to see what was happening down there.

Not that I can see everything everything from here, but by the looks of things they seem to be on the point of finishing. So where will they be going next?

Having shown a few tourists where the steps down to the beach were situated, I walked off across the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and through the arch to walk along the path underneath the city walls.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Having taken a pile of photos of the kids leaping off the diving platform, I carried on to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon. Imagine being sandwiched somewhere in that lot while confronting the issues presented by some of the highest tides in Europe.

It’s not really the place to be if you aren’t of a sociable turn of mind so it wouldn’t be doing me any good at all. I’m not even tempted by an ice-cream these days, due to a “certain photograph” that was published by someone looking down on a delivery vehicle.

seagull with chick square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Instead I wandered off around into the Square Maurice Marland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we have been keeping an eye out on three young seagull chicks. They weren’t there this afternoon but what we did have was a mother seagull teaching her chick to fly.

If her chick had already made it this far, then it’s doing pretty well and won’t need a great deal more teaching. But it was crying for its mother in that weird little chirping noise that baby seagulls make although its mother wasn’t taking much notice and was busy chirping away to herself.

f-gtjc cessna 172s place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022She was probably trying to warn us that there were something else going past us in the air.

This aeroplane is F-GTJC and that tells me that she’s a Cessna 172S. My photo was taken at 16:36 (adjusted) but she wasn’t picked up on radar until 16:51. She was obviously keeping a low profile.

She was near Avranches when she was first observed, and from there she flew westwards along the coast for a while until turning round and flying back diagonally across the bay towards Granville when she disappeared off the radar again at 17:17, presumably going in to land.

trawler belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while all of this was going on, there was a hooting from the ferry terminal.

All of the boats there hoot away when they start to reverse out of their berth, just in case they might collide with something coming into port. But today I was lucky to see Belle France, who had presumably been into the ferry terminal to drop off the passengers who had been around the bay with her just now, reverse out.

She then pulled forward to pull into the inner harbour but was obliged to give way to a trawler that was on its way out to the fishing grounds this afternoon.

ch589986 la bavolette 2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of trawlers out at sea this afternoon, fishing in and out of the paths of the pleasure boats.

One of them was La Bavolette II. She was in the bay not too far offshore having a good fish around.

Back here I had a cold drink with ice and then went through to catalogue today’s photos. and to try to find the name of that sailing boat that we had seen out off the coast in the English Channel near St Malo.

And then I had to think about tea tonight. As usual, Sunday night is pizza night and I’d taken a lump of dough out of the freezer earlier this afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022When I came back from my afternoon walk I gave it a good kneading and then rolled it out and put it on my pizza tray to proof.

When it was ready and had risen quite nicely I assembled the pizza and had it ready to bake.

After it had cooked I sat down to eat it for tea and it really was delicious. After the one last week that didn’t turn out too well, this one was back where it ought to be.

Slightly overcooked but there’s not a lot that I can do about that right now until I can have some help to bring up those kitchen units. Those people who were going to help me never turned up, so no surprise there.

Off to bed early now. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare, and I would like it to be finished before it’s too hot to work.

Monday 11th July 2022 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

fisherman in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… another extremely mobile night.

So while you admire a few nautical photographs featuring some of the dozens of watercraft that were out there today, I’ll tell you all about it.

I started off out with my mother last night. We were delivering beer to various pubs all round a town somewhere. She was driving this artic. at one point we came to a pub on a corner and we took stuff in. I was back sitting inside the passenger seat which was on the right on this lorry. Then she started throwing bottles of wine to me to stack inside the cab. I caught most of them but there were 3 that I dropped. 2 of them I was able to pick up because they had dropped inside the cab but the 3rd one fell on the street. Just then an artic appeared coming from our right and tried to turn into the junction where we were parked. Of course it was practicaly impossible. They widened this road junction by demolishing the pub and a few other places that were on the corner so that he could turn in but when we looked around he had driven away. He hadn’t actually come back now that they had made these major adjustments to this road junction. I was outside picking up this bottle then I had to climb aboard the lorry. The only way to do this was round by the left-hand side of the lorry. I could walk so far but then I had to drop down into a stream and walk along it somehow reach up and open the door hoping that it wasn’t locked and haul myself up and in. I dropped myself into the stream, the water was wetting my feet as I walked. I reached right up and this door was open, unlocked which was a real piece of luck so I started to haul myself up. But I didn’t have the strength to haul myself right up and go in. I was dangling from this door, not able to haul myself up that final few inches so that I could get into the cab.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were in Germany, walking our way all across Europe, in Germany and still had 1000 or so km to go and only a couple of days. We were pressing on quite rapidly and I was certainly at the point of exhaustion but carried on. We came to a supermarket in a small village. The sign said “you are halfway” which meant halfway across Germany but we saw it and of course laughed thinking that if we’re only halfway on our journey now what’s the other half going to be like. We carried on and one of my party said that we need to stop and take a break. There were some bollards in the road a couple of kilometres further on so we can stop and rest on those and take a break before carrying on

In that dream there was something about us sitting at a table and the waiter brought over a carton with all different kinds of milk. He went around the table asking what people wanted to drink. I said that I wanted plantaardige melk which of course is Flemish. It took him a minute to understand what I was saying – for some reason he thought that I’d said “Scottish milk” at first and was going on about how milk was milk. When he suddenly realised what I’d said he said that that kind of stuff was disgusting. I said that it makes no difference. He asked me what kind of milk I want and that’s what I want.

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I had my big Opel Senator and I was down the lanes between Shavington and Weston. It wouldn’t start for some unknown reason so I rolled it but it slipped out of my hands and rolled off down the road and disappeared into the hedge. I ran after it but when I reached where I thought that it had rolled into the hedge it wasn’t there. I had a look all the way along the hedge in the area for probably an hour but I couldn’t see it at all. It was quite dark and everything. I wasn’t making very much headway at all so in the end I ran back home to round up my mother and brothers and sisters to come and help me look.They wouldn’t come and my mother said that she had better things to do. I wondered what could be better than giving me a hand for half an hour in an emergency but she didn’t say anything. In the end I went to fetch my motorbike and go to look for my car. The motorbike hadn’t run for ages so I had to start it with fresh petrol from a ladle. As I was going away from the house my mother was upstairs. She opened the door and made some kind of disparaging comment to me so I tuned to her and let loose a volley of rather offensive abuse. She asked “what do you mean by calling me that?”. I replied “don’t worry. If Mrs Chesters (our neighbour in Shavington) hadn’t been at her window I would have called you something else as well. I started my motorbike and rode it up towards Weston but then I realised that I hadn’t a clue how much petrol was in it. I thought that if I run out of petrol now on the motorbike I’d be in a real pickle. I reached Dodd’s Bank and took the new road around the corner where I met someone from the Welsh football supporters who had just moved into Shavington. We said hello and one or two things. A little further on I met someone else. We mentioned this guy who I’d just seen but I couldn’t stop to talk. I had to go off down the lanes and start to look for my car again before someone found it and had it towed away. Then I’d have no idea what would become of it.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Finally I’d gone to Blackpool in Caliburn. I was driving down the road into town when there were these red flashing lights so I stopped. Caliburn rolled a little so I put on the handbrake. Suddenly I noticed that I was on tramlines and a tram was coming so I had to reverse a little. The tram passed so close to Caliburn that it shook the vehicle. Someone said “that’s close” and someone else replied “when you’ve had your vehicle a long time you know its exact length”. I drove into Blackpool and found a place to park, went and brought some sticks of rock for my family and friends then went off for a wander around. I’m not sure what happened next after that but I ended up in a house in London. The ground floor of it was a flat where someone who lived had gone to live in the Auvergne or somewhere similar, emigrated. The flat was dark and not in very good condition. There was a lot of furniture about. I was with this person’s daughter. We were talking about the flat and a neighbour was there talking about the rock that I’d bought in Blackpool. After the neighbour had left I was looking around thinking “how on earth did they fit all of the furniture that they have taken to the Auvergne in here? It looks cluttered in the Auvergne. Here with all of the stuff that’s left there wouldn’t have been room for any of it”. The girl replied “yes I was wondering that”. When we looked at the condition of some of the furniture and condition of the flat I couldn’t understand why they wanted all of their stuff in the Auvergne to be treated like Royalty. It certainly wasn’t the case here in Blackpool. Her father lived somewhere in the neighbourhood before he was married but her mother had lived in the flat in the basement of this building. She asked me if I would like to go to see it. I said “yes, but is it vacant?”. She replied “no, there are people living in there “. I asked “do they mind?”. She replied “I told them that there was someone coming to look at the bed that they have for sale so you can go in and have a look around”.

cap lihou baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So as Cap Lihou goes sailing past the end of the headland, I’m wondering why it is that the last few nights have been so animated.

Some nights have been positively peaceful with nothing going on at all whereas others have been non-stop from start to finish. I’m intrigued to see whether it’s something to do with the full moon, the state of the tide or the conjunction of the planets

And I shall refrain from making any remark at all about Uranus.

But seriously, just why oh why do members of my family keep sticking their oars in?

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’ve no real objection to Nerina wandering around with me in the depths of night. After all, regardless of anything else I did actually invite her to share my life for better or for worse. But even so, she’s not been around for a while.

As for my family, I fled across the sea in order to leave them far behind me yet they keep on creeping into my night-time activities. Whatever happened to Castor, TOTGA and Zero? And the Vanilla Queen? And Percy Penguin? It’s rather sad when I can’t actually choose my own companions but have to make do with people whom I kicked out of my life 30 years ago?

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite quickly and after the medication and so on I sat down to work on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today. It took me about 4 hours to complete it which, although not particularly fast, was still faster than a few of them have been of late.

While I was listening to it afterwards, I had several tasks to perform.

Firstly I had to send to the owners of this building a copy of my home insurance. And that’s not as easy as it might have been because the way that my French bank’s website and client page is configured, you have to be something of a detective and a mind-reader to track it down.

The next problem was much more complicated.

Someone whom I know had imported into Europe from Canada a vehicle that is not sold over here. And now they need some parts for it. Do I know anyone?

As it happens, my niece’s husband is in the motor trade so after contacting the “client” and obtaining all of the details about the car and its VIN I’ve been liaising with “Canada” about sourcing the parts, arranging shipping, dealing with issues like payment and so on.

Luckily one daughter of my niece works for one of Canada’s largest transport companies so this might actually happen, but it’s not easy and it’s not straightforward.

Once I’d finished with all of that (for now) I had a go at my mailbox. You have no idea how many mails there are in there that arrived while I was away. And I reckon that about 80% of them are junk. I’d had a quick scan through over the weekend and replied to the ones that seemed to be urgent so if you are still awaiting a reply from me, let me know.

As a result of the foregoing I ended up rather later than usual going for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach

And as you might expect, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon, and the water was heaving with people.

That’s no surprise because I think that it’s just about the warmest day of the year today. I’ve had all of the windows open in my apartment and doors propped open in order to have a nice through draught of cool air

The holiday season is really in full swing right now and it’ll be like this until the beginning of September. I hope that they fix the barrier on our private car park.

The next couple of photos are pretty miserable but what is important about them is not so evident at first.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The sky was really clear today and you could see for miles, right out as far as St Helier on Jersey, which you could see with the naked eye.

But there was a weird effect of haze going on out there that was obscuring part of the island several feet above sea level. I could see the island itself quite clearly, except for the part that had disappeared in the mist.

What was interesting about that is that the tower that we can see from here is quite clear just to the left of centre in the photo but it’s part of the island that is right behind it that is lost in the haze. And that’s weird. I would have expected to have not seen the tower either

It’s a phenomenon about which I know very little.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Something else that was quite clear with the naked eye was the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel.

According to my calculations, that’s about 70 kms away from here so it’s not every day that we can see it, even with the 70-300mm LENS. Only 14 times in the last 12 months in fact, one of which was exactly a year ago today.

It’s a really good idea to have an indexable and searchable on-line journal.

So fighting the crowds that were milling around here, I wandered off across the car park down to the end of the headland. But today we have no fishermen on the rocks and no-one on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

l'omerta gerlean yann frederic la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Nothing new at the chantier naval today but it looks as if we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again. L’Omerta and Gerlean were actually moored there together at the fish processing plant.

There were several other boats moored there too. One of the lighters that chugs around the port and also a couple of trawlers – Yann Frederic and over there on the right, La Bavolette II.

There were other trawlers that were on their way into port as well. We saw a couple of them earlier and there were a few more out in the bay heading our way, but I wasn’t going to wait around.

windsurfers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Meantime, my attention was diverted elsewhere.

A little earlier we had seen some yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay but there is also a windsurfing school too, by the looks of things. They seem to have plenty of clients this afternoon, with several zodiacs standing by for when someone falls in

They seem to have erected some kind of barrage of small boats out there too, presumably to stop people going beyond a certain area, but the surfers will know al about it if the wind takes them headlong into the boats.

And from there I headed off home.

hang gliders baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were crowds of people back at the wall overlooking the beach again so I wondered what was happening.

As I watched, a couple of hang-gliders took off from the field next to the cemetery so I waited for them to come my way. But in fact, they just stayed around there and didn’t go far at all.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a good session on the guitar. And that reminded me that I’d still left the bass in Caliburn so I went down there to rescue it and bring it back up here with the Roland bass cube.

Tomorrow I’m going to make a start on this music song-book. You never know when it might come in useful.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and it was actually quite delicious. One of my better attempts, I reckon.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh conversation class on Zoom. I have to keep in practice. And I need to hunt down a summer school as I did last year. I had plenty of success with that

So I hope that I’ll have a good sleep tonight – and I also hope that one of my preferred companions will come with me for a good roam around tonight instead of the ones who have accompanied me just recently.

Tuesday 31st May 2022 – I’VE HAD A …

… really miserable day today and I’ve absolutely no idea why. I thought that having stopped taking that medication 10 days or so ago would have seen an end to days like I had today, but aparently not..

During the night I had a visitor. Zero came to see me but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your evening meal right now.

But I reckon that it was her visit that set me off because I couldn’t go back to sleep after her visit and that was hardly surprising. It’s been a good while since I’ve had such a disturbing experience.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I fell out of bed and went off to have my medication. and then I came back in here and … errr … fell asleep.

And fell asleep in spades too. I couldn’t even make it to my feet for breakfast this morning. I was out like a light for well over two hours and it’s a good job that I didn’t have a Welsh lesson today.

Instead I had a listen to the dictaphone because there was something else on there. There was a hotel in Sandbach and we had to go there to find some oil. It was very late at night so we had to be quiet. A wedding had taken place and they were still celebrating. They had the bride and groom’s room all done out and a Vietnam minefield sign written on the door etc. There were drunk people everywhere. We were on the 3rd floor of this hotel and this was the way out to Bayley Close which is actually in Nantwich but let’s not go letting facts get in the way of a good nocturnal ramble. We were wandering around this hotel trying to find what we were looking for. It was just like one great big maze although it was a small provincial hotel. We were quite lost in it trying to find whatever it was that we wanted. We couldn’t make a noise because of the time and no-one seemed to be in any kind of fit state to ask. We were just going round in circles.

It hadn’t escaped my notice that the details of Zero’s visit weren’t on the dictaphone. It’s hardly surprising that I couldn’t bring myself to dictate them, even when I’m in the arms of Morpheus. That’s not something that happens very often.

And so for the rest of the morning I’ve been writing notes about “my favourite place” for my Welsh exam. And that includes topics that can be covered in “my last holiday”, “celebration”, “family and friends”. It’s all interlinked and the deeper into things I go, the clearer it will all become.

It ended up being a late lunch and then I came back in here and fell asleep again for an hour or so. And it’s really getting on my wick now.

new kerb place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Just for a change, I managed to do something on time this afternoon.

Yes, I staggered off outside for my afternoon walk bang on time to see what was happening around the headland. But first I went to look at what they had been doing with this kerbstone that they had been laying just outside the door here.

By the looks of things, they have just been straightening out the road layout and the junction of the driveway that leads into the car park. And I can’t think why because while it was a bit untidy here, it wasn’t actually anything that was in desperate need of attention.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having resolved that issue I wandered off across the car park to have a look at what was happening down on the beach.

It was quite a nice clear day so I was expecting to see a few people down there this afternoon but surprisingly there can’t have been more than three or four people down there this afternoon that I could see.

The tide was quite a way out so they had plenty of beach to be on as well. But there wasn’t anyone brave enough this afternoon to be in the water.

And no Birdmen of Alcatraz out there this afternoon on their Nazguls.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that I do have to say is that the air was one of the clearest that I have ever seen.

We’ve seen a few photos of that white building in St Helier in the past but what was surprising about today was that I could actually see it with the naked eye even though it is 58 kilometres away.

Although the ferry service is said to have started up again and I’ve seen photos of Granville arriving in St Helier, her older sister Victor Hugo is still tied up here in port where she has been for the last couple of weeks so I’m beginning to wonder what the situation might be with regard to the services to Jersey from here.

It’s one of the things that has quite a high priority on my bucket list and yet I haven’t seen a single advert about the operation as yet.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while I was up here on the wall I had a good look around out at sea as well.

There was something way out in the bay over by the Ile de Chausey so I took a photograph of it with the aim of having a closer look when I returned home.

And having enlarged and enhanced it back here, I could see that it was a trawler busily working away. Unfortunately, at this distance I’m not able to identify it

But you can see how clear the skies are today, just by looking at the colours in this photograph. It’s not often that the come out so clearly and so vividly as they have done today.

plage de la touesse brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There weren’t very many people wandering around on the path so I headed off down towards the end of the headland.

You saw the Cap Fréhel the other day so you don’t really want to see it again so soon. Instead, you can see one of the beaches that are over on the Brittany coast near St Malo.

There are four or five of them over there and it’s difficult to say which one this is. But I think that it may well be the Plage De La Touesse. It’s the only one whose orientation matches the orientation of the beach over there and isn’t hidden behind a headland of rocks

f-gifn Piper PA-28-161 Cadet baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little earlier I mentioned that there were no Birdmen of Alcatraz out there this afternoon.

What we did have though is a light aeroplane flying by overhead. This one is F-GIFN, a Piper PA-28-161 Cadet. She’s actually appeared in our pages before, back in February when she flew into the bay from an unknown direction , flew around and then disappeared.

Today, she did exactly the same. She didn’t come in to land at the airfield here, she didn’t appear on radar and she hasn’t filed a flight plan and so I can’t tell you any more at all about her.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There weren’t very many peole on the car park this afternoon so I wandered off down tot he end of the headland.

There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon, but we did actually have a fisherman down there on the rocks with his rod and line.

Not that he actually caught anything while I was watching but I didn’t really expect him to.

So after a wait of a couple of minutes I wandered off along the path down the other side of the headland to see what was happening down in the port

l'ecume 2 cabin cruiser chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And we have a new occupant in the chantier naval this afternoon.

L’Ecume II is still there today. It looks as if work on her has slowed down just now. But my eye was caught by the boat that is in there with her.

That’s a serious piece of kit, whatever it is. It really looks the business and it’s the type of machine that any one of us is likely to be able to afford, although I’m sure that we all would love to.

It seems to be quite new as well so it’s a surprise to see it in here in the chantier naval. I’ll have to go down there and find out who owns it and see if I can’t blag myself a trip out on it.

joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But at the moment this is more like what I’m able to afford right now.

Over there at the ferry terminal is the new Belle France and one of the Joly France boats, presuably going to go out to the island on the evening tide to bring back to holidaymakers who are out there.

Back here I made myself a coffee and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep again and ended up once more with a mug of cold coffee. This is really awful and I can’t be doing with this. Obviously this medication isn’t the secret.

And after my cold coffee I spent an hour or so writing notes about “sports”, another subject for my Welsh exam.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg, and now I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough for today. It really was awful, especially having a nightmare about Zero. I really can’t keep going on like this. Let’s see what this sports doctor person has to say for himself tomorrow morning.

Friday 20th May 2022 – IT WAS ONLY YESTERDAY …

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… when I said that we hadn’t seen L’Omerta tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and settling down in the silt for a couple of days.

And so of course it goes without saying that this afternoon when I was a-wandering around the headland on my afternoon walk, I should come across her tied up in her usual place, sitting down in the silt waiting for something to happen.

Bang on cue, you might say.

But anyway, let’s leave the subject of my afternoon walk for the moment and start as we mean to go on by turning the clock back to the start of the day when the alarm went off at 07:30 this morning.

And in news that will come as a surprise to everyone, because it certainly came as a surprise to me, I actually fell out of bed when the alarm went off. And how long is it since that has happened?

Mind you, I hope that you aren’t expecting too much because it wasn’t as if it inspired me to do any work. It wasn’t until about 09:30 that I had recovered enough to make a start. But not to worry because that’s better than a 10:30 or a 10:45 start.

The morning was quite a leisurely one. I didn’t actually exert myself too much but even so it ended up being something of a late lunch as I really couldn’t find the energy to pick myself up from my chair and walk into the kitchen. That was expecting far too much.

After lunch I carried on with my rather leisurely day until it was time for me to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And as usual, the first place for me to visit would be the wall at the end of the car park where I could peer down onto the beach to see what was happening down there.

Although it wasn’t quite as warm as it has been just recently, I was still surprised at how few people there were down there this afternoon.

But those who were down there were taking full advantage of it. There were a couple of people down there sunbathing on a couple of towels spread out on the beach, and a couple more people out there having a swim around in the water

It’s been a good few days since we’ve seen anyone swimming around in the water as well.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It was a really nice day as I mentioned earlier, and today I could see for miles out to sea.

It’s been a long time since there has been anything like a clear view of St Helier in Jersey so seeing as we had one of those days today I thought that I would celebrate it by taking a photo of it.

Of course, I don’t really know what it is that I’m seeing out there on Jersey, but now I have no excuse because the ferries to the Channel Islands are up and running at long last. One of these days when I have more time and I’m feeling better, I’ll take myself off out there for a closer look.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But never mind the view out to Jersey for the moment, the view out to the Ile de Chausey was just as spectacular too.

It’s a long time since we’ve seen the island looking as clear as this. We can see all of the colours out there on the island quite clearly today.

What we can’t see though are any water craft. I was amazed at how few boats there were out at sea this afternoon. I don’t think that I counted more than half a dozen all told and this was the kind of weather that had they been there, I certainly would have seen them.

caterpillar pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022I carried on around the path along the headland and across the car park at the far end.

And I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon. I had all kinds of company, like this little fellow who crossed my path as I walked across the car park.

He was certainly brave, taking his like in his hands – or, rather, feet – like this and wandering across the car park where there was all kinds of traffic going by. But he did actually make it to the other side quite safely.

Natural history, and Lepidoptera in particular, is not my strongpoint so I can’t tell you anything about him unfortunately.

f-gbai Robin DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was also something going on up above this afternoon too.

As I walked down to the end of the headland I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way back to the airfield. It’s one of our regulars, F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club.

She took off at 15:32, flew down the bay to Mont St Michel and back again where she came in to land at 16:08. And as my photo is timed at 16:02 (adjusted) that sounds about right to me.

The time is “adjusted” because I don’t alter the time on my digital equipment to reflect summer time.

person reading a book pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But all of this excitement has proved to be far too much for some people.

Here’s someone perched on the rocks right at the end of the headland with her head buried deeply in a book. That’s certainly the right attitude and the correct way to deal with whatever issues life throws at you.

In fact, I had half a mind to go down there and join her.

However, I have other fish to fry so I wandered off down the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening over there this afternoon.

kayaker baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel I actually managed to find a water craft close enough for me to take a decent photograph.

There’s a kayaker out there looking as if he’s doing a couple of laps of Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour.

But what’s intriguing me is how he’s taken his kayak out there because the tide is quite far out and he would have had to drag it quite a distance.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s not advisable to light a fire in a canoe. After all, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

j158 l'ecume 11 St-Gilles Croix-de Vie chantier naval belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There’s been another change in the chantier naval over the last day or so.

That trawler from Caen, L’Oasis has now gone back into the water and Valeque isn’t there either. The only trawler there for the moment is the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II.

And the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still there too. They haven’t sent a lorry to pick her up and take her away just yet.

Over at the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France boats and the very new Belle France that run out to the Ile de Chausey.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and came back in here where I crashed out for a good hour or so. All in all, there wasn’t really much point in getting up so early this morning.

However I did eventually manage to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was in Philadelphia last night, walking across a supermarket car park. I thought that someone beckoned me over but they hadn’t. When I reached there everyone was sitting around on these tables and chairs. There was a seat empty so I asked if it was OK if I could sit there. Someone said yes. Some woman with a baby was by it. They asked if I wouldn’t be comfortable somewhere else. I replied “no, I’m quite happy there”. Everyone was watching a baseball game taking place on this supermarket car park. As I watched, a big service bus pulled away from the car park of the supermarket so I started to follow the bus. I had to run pretty quickly but by the time I reached the end of the car park it had disappeared and I couldn’t work out which way it had gone. I imagined that it had turned right so I went right that way but I couldn’t see it so I went back to the car park entrance and tried to think more logically, looking for signs on the road but I still didn’t see anything although someone with a few kids started to cross the road nearby where I was. There was something about American health insurance, why Americans had a lot more money to spend because they aren’t spending it on health insurance like Europeans

I was with a friend of mine from the Open University and it’s been so long since I’ve seen her that I can’t remember her name. We were in Germany talking about World War II battles. We were describing one where some defenders were trapped in the ruins and how they were bombed by air by zeppelins until they surrendered. She was telling me that a friend of hers was coming for Christmas. It was someone with whom she could have a great deal of fun – a German living in Canada and he knew quite a lot about the old border in Germany particularly with regard to the city with which he was concerned. There was something else but I can’t remember what it was but when she started to talk about it my ears really pricked up so I asked if there was any chance that I could wangle an invite to go to see her over the Christmas period so that I could talk to this guy and find out more about all of this. She started to ask me a few questions about this and that, presumably to find out my interest. Just then as we came into this city a German Post Office cyclist came round a corner but slipped on some ice. The bike slid across the road and hit the kerb. I had my friend stop and got out of the car to go to see. This woman was all covered in blood so I asked my friend to call an ambulance. I checked with this woman if she needed an ambulance in my pidgin German as it was to be the case although she was quite distraught and shocked, not easy to communicate with. So I shouted again to my friend to call an ambulance but she seemed to be rather reluctant to do so and I couldn’t understand why because this was a clear case of someone who certainly needed one after what she had just gone through in the accident on her pushbike.

And later I was back in Germany in a conversation class or something or other. I can’t remember very much about this at all except that one student had a very lightweight tight-fitting crash helmet. I asked about this and the another students said that he’d been like this for the whole 6 years of the course and no-one had been able to talk him out of it. Anyone who would try now would be wasting their time as far as that went. But I can’t remember any more of this at all.

Tea was sausage beans and chips which were delicious, and now I’m off to bed. I’m dropping one of the medicaments tonight and seeing if that makes any difference in how I’m feeling. It’ll probably take a week or so to work but we shall see. I can’t go on like this.

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Friday 5th November 2021 – I’VE BEEN …

… really busy today and accomplished quite a lot, what with one thing and another. And, of course, once you start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are.

Nothing important though, regrettably, but nevertheless it’s all helped.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Perhaps the most important thing that I did today was to bake some fruit buns.

The last one of the previous batch disappeared on Wednesday and being so busy yesterday, I didn’t have the opportunity to make any more. it was toast for breakfast yesterday.

But as soon as I’d taken my medication this morning I made a start on the next batch.

It took an age to mix the dough because I think that my banana wasn’t as big as usual so the mix needed more liquid, but as you can see, it has turned out some lovely fruit buns and I’m really happy with these, even if the dough has separated in the oven.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After a rather late breakfast I headed off into town to pick up my injections.

But straight out of the front door and looking down the bay, I was surprised to see just how clear everything was today. I could actually see the houses at St Helier, 58 kilometres away, with the naked eye and it isn’t every day that that happens.

Now that Normandy Warrior (more of which anon is up and running, I might yet have an opportunity to go out that way on board a ship to see what there is to sea on the coastline of Jersey.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner port I could see that Marité was still out and about on her travels

In her place there was one of the trawlers moored up there. Behind her in the loading bay is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey.

Ther eis still plenty of freight on the quayside after the two Jersey freighters were in port on Wednesday. This might mean that we’ll be having yet another visit some time soon to take it all away. Business seems to be picking up in the port at the moment.

sale of shellfish galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course it’s Friday morning, and that’s the day that it’s possible to buy fresh fish on the quayside.

The concession here is run by the owners of the trawler Galapagos and they are here every Friday morning, except of course when the trawler is in the chantier naval, as she was over the summer.

My first port of call was at the Medical Centre. I’d had my third Covid injection last Friday and I had to pick up my certificate. It was all ready for me so I didn’t have to hang around.

The pharmacy on the other hand was packed out with people and I had to wait a while before I could pick up my injections.

On the way back I almost – very almost – made it right to the way to the top without stopping. I was about 50 yards short and I’ve no idea why I stopped because I could have made it quite comfortably to the top. It was just an instinctive reflex action.

portable boat lift under repair port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But the mystery of why the portable boat lift is parked up in the middle of the yard is now resolved anyway.

As we can see in this photo, it’s had its wheels removed so it’s no longer a portable boat lift. It must be under repair for one reason or another and it’s rather difficult to work on it where it usually lives, with all of the dangers of falling into the sea.

Back here, I had the account for repairing the NIKON 1 J5. I paid that and then seeing as I had my bank account open, I paid another bill or two that were hanging around in the queue.

This afternoon I finished off the journal entry from Wednesday with its 20-odd photos and that’s now on line. And then I went and did one of the ones from when I went to Leuven last.

And that’s not all either. I made a start on transcribing a few dictaphone notes from a while back and they’ll be updating a few journal entries in due course.

Meanwhile, from last night, A well-known gangster like Edward G Robinson came round to the house and what went on resulted in him wanting to be fed. I was in charge of the cooking so I made a main course which was OK but for dessert everything that I was proposing that I knew I had in the freezer or the fridge had gone as if someone had come in and raided the larder one night. This led to an extremely tense situation with him getting more and more angry until in the end I found a tin of pineapple rings. I was able to open them. Even though he was looking at me with a look that could kill, I managed to conjure up something with pineapple rings and ice cream but it was extremely uncomfortable, all of this, with him being menacing like that.

I was recording and editing some radio programmes at some time last night too but I can’t remember now why or when.

Afterwards, there was a football match going to take place between two teams. One team decided that they would put a little bit of dynamite in the changing room of the other team to destroy their equipment before the game. They were setting this dynamite up on the clothes locker but the other guy had the cable wrapped round his leg so when it came to go, he couldn’t leave. This led to a frantic scramble as they tried to untangle this cable. The two of them finally managed to leave the building. Instead of it being a small explosion it was a massive devastation that probably flattened stuff within a quarter-mile radius. Cars were destroyed and everything. People who survived gradually streamed away. Of course all the police were there, everything like that. At some point I was preparing to watch the game, someone asked me if I wanted a game to kick around but I said “no” because of my health. They tried to persuade me. It was hard to understand how anything living had been within that radius. Out of the shelter of a wall came this boy and girl. They’d obviously been having a smooch or something. being in this little recess had saved them. Out of the next recess stepped these two boys, clothes pock-marked and burnt but they were still alive. They walked away, filtered through this police cordonn checked and seen that they were victims and walked on. You could see all the street lights in a blue haze because of the smog and everything. A little earlier I’d been talking to a girl. She’d gone off somewhere down the road so I thought that this would be a good excuse for me to go and talk to her and see how she was doing so that’s what I decided to do

A little later my brother and I were going to watch the Alex. We were considerably early so I’d brought my computer with me to do some work. He was wondering if we had to pay or if we’d get complimentary tickets but I was better than that. I had a key to get into the ground. We fought our way through the crowds up to the front. There was a guy from school there so I said hello to him out of mischief more than anything else, used the key and let ourselves in. We were searched by a woman who was … err … very thorough then I had to find a place to sit where I could work amidst all the crowds. By this time I’d lost my brother. He’d wandered off somewhere so I had to follow him around. There were so many crowds of people that we ended up being blocked and couldn’t move. Worse, it was behind the commentary box so you couldn’t actually see the pitch from there. I was standing there hoping that this was all going to clear in the next few minutes so that we could find somewhere decent to sit and have a good view.

Finally I was with a girl last night and we ended up in a bar. For some reason she was very unhappy and had her head sunk down on her lap. I put my head down on top of hers and whispered a few nice things to her and gave her a little kiss. After a while she asked “shall we go?”. I was wondering about “go where and why?”. Of course, with my curiosity getting the better of me I sad “yes, let’s go” and we prepared to leave.

helicopter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that I did in the middle of all of that was to go out to look at the beach.

Not that I made it very far across the car park before I was called into action. Someone had his chopper out this afternoon and just as I walked out of the door it went flying past.

It’s the red and yellow one, the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that is based at Donville les Bains. I’ll probably find out tomorrow what it’s been up to when I read the newspaper, unless it’s a training exercise. They aren’t usually reported.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once the helicopter disappeared behind the college I went over to look at the beach.

There was quite a bit of beach this afternoon. The tide is well out yet and there were a few people down there taking advantage of the lovely afternoon because it really was nice as you can tell.

Considering that it’s the beginning of November the weather is unseasonably mild. It must be building up to a really hard winter I reckon. It’s been a while since we’ve been in the grip of an Arctic winter.

yacht jersey channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So with the nice clear weather, the view out to the Channel Islands was just as good as it was earlier in the day.

What caught my eye was something white right out there off the coast of Jersey so I photographed it on the offchance that it was something interesting.

Back in the apartment when I enlarged and enhanced it I could see that it was a yacht. I was impressed that I could pick it out at this distance.

It was Ingrid’s birthday yesterday but I was rather busy so I rang her up to talk to her once I returned. She told me all of her news, some of which wasn’t very cheerful, and I told her of mine, ditto. We’re a right pair, between the two of us.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, a vegan burger and a tin of refried beans. I haven’t had refried beans since I was IN SANTA FE IN 2002 but I found a couple of tins in Noz a while back and they need eating.

If I were to tell you that in the football tonight Connah’s Quay Nomads put 4 past Bala without reply, you would think that there had been a right spannering going on. And when I tell you that Beriala finished the match with just 9 players, you’re probably not surprised that it was a 4-0 defeat.

But the damage was done long before Chris Venables and Keiran Smith saw red, thanks to probably some of the most clinical finishing that I have seen, and three of the best goals that you are likely to see this season.

Bala unfortunately offered very little up front except for a shot from Chris Sang that he really ought to have scored. In fact it was something of a damp squib performance compared to Connah’s Quay’s fireworks.

A Connah’s Quay victory, certainly, but 4-0 is nevertheless a considerable exaggeration.

Anyway right now I’m off to bed now after my very busy day. No shopping tomorrow as there is no Caliburn but I’ll go down for a walk to the market and pick up a lettuce and some mushrooms.

See you in the morning.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 12th September 2021 – I KNOW THAT YOU …

… have been sitting on the edge of your seats, gripping tightly with eager anticipation waiting for me to tell you what was going on under the marquees that we saw yesterday.

And so this afternoon on my walk around the headland I went for a closer look, only to find that like Longfellow’s “humbler poets”, they have folded “their tents, like the Arabs, and as silently steal away”.

Gone! And never called me “mother”!

hang glider touches down pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Someone who was not as fortunate as to “steal silently away” was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz

As I was walking on the path around the headland this afternoon, I was there to actually watch him come to grief as his Nazgul ran out of wind near the lighthouse and he silently descended to earth.

He wasn’t able to relaunch himself either in the time that it took me to walk up there. It seemed that his guy wires had become tangled and he was busy trying to untangle them. Whether he did so or not I don’t know

hang glider overhead pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021His colleagues, however, were having no such difficulty.

All through the afternoon they were whizzing by overhead without the slightest hint of a problem, just like the one overhead right now. It was just the other one who was having issues with the wind and his Nazgul.

The problems that I was having this morning though were of another kind. Like not being able to have a decent sleep for one reason or other. Most of the night was spent tossing and turning in bed.

With having problems sleeping, I was up and about by 09:30 which is quite early for a Sunday. I even had a slice of fruit loaf for breakfast after my medication.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too. I don’t remember much about this first bit except that there was a mother and a young daughter who had gone off somewhere to the seaside. Something happened and the mother was on her own. Someone said something to her like “if you think that that is bad you should see the antics that your daughter is getting up to”. I don’t remember any more about this, but what was interesting was just before I went to bed a few of us were chatting on the internet about exactly this subject – a mother and daughter who we all knew (well, we knew the mother anyway) who had gone to Llandudno for the weekend.

Later on there was some kind of walk doing on from Paris where everyone was walking different points of the compass. I was walking out to the west so I set out and was loading loads of diesel into one of the Mk111 Cortinas. It was really thirsty and really drinking it. I don’t know what was the matter and neither did anyone else. I thought “this isn’t going to be any good” so I set off and walked all the way outside Paris into the countryside. The first night was going to be spent at my house. I’d just moved house into a new modern house and none of my furniture would fit. It was all thrown in everywhere, paper all over the floor and it was really untidy. I thought that I was going to have to sort all of this out again. I set out on the second day and ended up losing everyone. I was on my own walking and night was falling. I walked down a hill where these roadmen were fitting all these cobbles. They were talking about what a good job they were doing compared to the one done underneath where they were working. Eventually I found my friends, all asleep and getting ready to awaken for the next day’s walk. As for the house I’d only just arrived. I was tired, everything like that and I really didn’t fancy going back out straight away to carry on this walk without having had a sleep.

The next plan was to do a little (only a little) tidying up as I was expecting company. And once the place was looking a little more respectable I spent the rest of the time, would you believe, editing the photos from Greenland in August 2019.

Yes, I’ve started on the outstanding arrears again, after all this time.

After lunch my invitee came round and we had a very interesting chat about my project for the radio. He seems to be quite enthusiastic about the idea and so when we have our next quarterly meeting (sometime round about the end of September) we’ll discuss it with the others and see what they can come up with.

red autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After he left, it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

And I hadn’t even left the building when I was interrupted by the noise of something going by overhead.

It’s our old friend the red autogyro that has been for an afternoon out over the bay to have a good look around, taking a passenger with him.

One of these days I’ll have to blag myself a ride on it, or on the yellow autogyro that we see quite regularly too. I bet that the view from 500 feet is pretty spectacular. It looked pretty good from 25,000 feet when I flew overhead on a scheduled flight a few years ago.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So, without any further ado, I wandered off to have a look at the beach to see who was about.

The tide was well out this afternoon so there was quite a lot of beach to be on. Crowds and crowds of them.

Quite a few in the water as well, and why not? Beautiful blue skies and beautiful blue waster – it was a gorgeous day today with not a great deal of wind about (as our friend the Birdman of Alcatraz whom we met earlier will testify.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So that was the situation lower down on the beach at the water’s edge. What about the situation higher up?

Round by the steps that lead down from the Rue du Nord there were quite literally dozens of people, nestled in their own little nook and cranny in the cliffs out of the wind. A perfect sun-trap.

It actually made me quite envious and I felt like going down there to join them. But the trouble is that I doubt that I could climb back up the steps afterwards when it was time to come home.

repairing medieval stone wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From here, there was a pretty good view of the work that they were doing on the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They have made some progress at what they have already done so far, but I was more interested in what they were doing with the scaffolding.

It’s not a true “flying scaffolding” because you can see that in places is actually anchored to the ground but it’s still going to be a work of art.

The green railings that you see are those that go around the gate in the walle and on the left of the image you can see the path that leads down from the gate and underneath the walls.

la cancalaise english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I’d been looking around at the beach, I’d also been looking out to sea as well.

There was almost nothing out at sea this afternoon, not even any fishermen, except for this familiar shape out there all alone in the English Channel.

With masts and sails like that, it can only be either La Granvillaise or La Cancalaise and my money is on the latter seeing as she’s right out there in between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe de Grouin and heading towards land.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view out to sea today was absolutely excellent and you could see for miles.

Even the houses on Jersey were visible with the naked eye, and with the NIKON D500 and 70-300mm LENS they really came out very well.

But despite how clear they might be, I can still only recognise a couple of them from here. But not to worry, I have a cunning plan to deal with that issue which will be put into operation in early course (I hope) if things go according to plan.

n81fm Mooney M20R Ovation - M20P pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking along the path towards the lighthouse and the grounded Nazgul, a, aeroplane went by out in the bay.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before as far as I can tell. She’s a Mooney M20R Ovation – M20P carrying the registration N-81FM which, if my memory serves me correctly, is a British registration number. So what she’s doing here I don’t know.

She arrived at Granville this morning at 11:49 having been picked up by radar at Etampes at 10:22. When she took off from Granville she stayed pretty low because it wasn’t until 16:46 that she appeared on the radar, somewhere near Flers. And she disappeared off the radar near Etampes at 17:33.

And how I wish that these planes would file flight plans.

Apart from the Birdman of Alcatraz there was nothing else happening along the path so I cleared off across the lawn and the car park.

helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I did so, something else went buzzing by overhead.

Someone has had his chopper out this afternoon and it went flying by overhead. With it being silhouetted against the sun it was very difficult to see what colour it was but I think that I could see red and yellow paintwork on the fuselage.

That seems to indicate that it might be the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that is based out near Donville les Bains.

There wasn’t anything happening out there in the bay this afternoon either. So rather disappointingly I fought my way through the crowds (yes, there were crowds) and went down the path on the other side.

tidal creek port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here’s something that i’ve never seen before, and i’ve no idea why.

This is exactly what a “tidal creek” would look like on some mudflats somewhere in a tidal estuary and while there are one or two little water courses around the harbour area, there isn’t one just here

So I’m totally bewildered as to how come this has suddenly appeared this afternoon, and what has caused it. It’s almost as if an earthquake has occurred.

No change in occupancy at the chantier naval today, so I came on home for my banana smoothie.

This morning I’d taken one of the frozen pizza doughs out of the freezer and it had been defrosting.

Once it had warmed up I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When it had risen sufficiently I assembled my pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And here’s the finished product. It really does look nice and it tasted even better. And it would have been even better still had I remembered to put the diced peppers on it as well.

So that’s the end of my weekend. rather a productive one too. I’ve no idea why but it seems that the for the last few days I’ve been feeling more like my old self.

Of course, one swallow doesn’t make a summer as we all know, so I don’t want to start crowing too soon, but with another injection due tomorrow, I might actually be feeling more like going to leuven on Wednesday than I have done just recently.

But I’ll let you know more about that tomorrow because I’m off to bed. I have a radio show to prepare in the morning too.

Thursday 12th August 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

joly france leaving ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the place out here being a hive of activity at the morning tide while I’m still plucking up the courage to drink a mug of coffee

This morning started off with a couple of blasts on the siren from one of the Joly France ferries , the older one of the two as she reverses out of the ferry terminal with a load of passengers on board.

They all do that when they reverse out, because they never know what is coming around the corner behind them, and I imagine that the sounding of the siren is the result of bitter experience.

belle france arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s just as well that she did because she had company right behind.

The very newest Chausey ferry, Belle France looks as if she’s been an early bird this morning.

She’s on her way back into harbour having presumably already dropped one load of passengers off at the island, and coming back for more, bringing with her, I imagine, holidaymakers who want to return to Paris on the midday train.

And so it looks as if it’s going to be a busy day for them out there today with them starting early like this.

chausiaise arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJamais deux sans trois – never two without a third, as I said yesterday.

And in behind all of them, somewhat later and at a much more leisurely rate, comes Chausiaise, the little freighter that they use for running the supplies and the luggage out there

All we need now is the other Joly France boat, wherever she may be, and the Loch Ness monster and we’ll have a full house today.

trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that that was all of the excitement this morning you are very much mistaken.

One of the big issues about living in a medieval walled city is that deliveries are somewhat complicated. The heights and widths of the gates weren’t made for modern lorries.

Anyone who has anything delivered here in a lorry like this will need to have some kind of trans-shipment facility for their purchases if they expect their goods to arrive at their front door.

normandy trader loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ran … errr … harbour we have another visitor in here this morning.

The Normandy Trader seems to have come into port with the evening tide yesterday and by the time that I got round to see her she was busy being loaded up with a pile of building material that must also have arrived quite early.

According to her skipper, she’d already been over to St Malo on her way out from St Helier so they are keeping her busy.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was at it, I went to have a look on the north side of the headland when I came back from the shops.

And here, sailing around the bay was Marité

We had seen her at her mooring earlier when we saw Normandy Trader but by the time that I came back both of them had cleared off into the sunset.

Normandy Trader had long-since disappeared into the distance but Marité kept me entertained for quite a while.

condor voyager english channel Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we had another surprising sight right out to sea just leaving the harbour at St Helier and the camera did really well to pick this up.

A quick check of the fleet radar told me that just about 20 minutes before I took this photo, Condor Voyager, the big superfast ferry whom we had seen the other day, had set out from St Helier on her way back to Poole in Dorset, where she arrived at 14:43.

She was the only ship out there who fitted the description and the size of what I was seeing so I reckon that it’s she.

Yes, I’ll go out again when the tide is right.

But anyway, I’m getting well ahead of myself.

And after last night’s adventures, all that I can say is that there’s no point whatever in killing myself to go to bed at a reasonably early time if I spend most of the night tossing and turning and not being able to sleep properly It was a rather dismal night in fact.

Nevertheless, I did manage to go off on several travels and it’s these that are probably wearing me out the most. Last night I was living at the top end of Crewe in Victoria Street and I had a little ginger kitten. One day I let it out and it shot off at a right pace. I was calling it and running after it praying that it wasn’t going to be knocked over by a car or something as it had never been out at all in the past. Eventually I caught it playing around by the railings that led up the steps to one of the shops on Hightown. I picked it up and thought “I’m on the way to the hospital but i’m going to have to carry the cat because I can’t just put it down and let it run around like this. It will drive me mad and be ever so stressful

Later on I’d arranged to meet one of my Canadian friends to go to the cinema but somehow I’d forgotten. I’d ended up going to bed. But the phone rang to ask me where I was “God! I’ve forgotten!” She replied “we’re just going in now”. She’s met someone and they were going to be on the balcony in the cinema. I dressed quickly and dashed into town, went up into the cinema and had a look round. Eventually I found them and went to sit next to them. There she was, then this guy then me then another woman. This was a B-feature and the lead film was a film abour economic analysis and everything. Of course I was fascinated by this and sat and listened to it. This woman started to talk about something that she had planned for her thesis to do with making glucoses on plants and transposing them to trees. I said “you should speak to my friend’s friend because he’s into genetics”. That sparked off a lively incident. This film then started to talk about someone who had developed some babysitting rings in South London with a couple of friends, about how they had started this but were doing it while studying and hadn’t let on. Their friends were starting to shun them because of the implications about what would happen to their studies if they found out that they were working.

Some time later a couple of us were hemmed in on a car park by a car and a lorry on a car park in Granville. We had to go to pick someone up from the seafront a little later and the gale was howling. It was really strong. I was trying to eat something but it was all falling apart. In the end I turned to whoever it was I was with and said something like “shall we go?”. I swept all of the ruins of whatever it was I was eating into a bag and I saw the cheese sandwich and said “God! Sorry!” to whoever it was we were meeting. We set off to go to see the storm.

A little while earlier at some point I’d been on a bike and I’d come to some roadworks and I’d had to wait while we were ushered through. The ushers were dealing with some kind of incident involving a lorry so we were there for hours. The we were let through and I had to cycle behind the girl on the bike who was leading everyone through. I’d switched my lights off and I couldn’t get them to work again. In the end I cycled off and by now I’d transformed myself into a car. I was heading back home to my place in Virlet. Although I’d come a different way I suddenly found myself back on the road that I knew so I was able to put my foot down and go that way. In the night with the lights and everything we could see all of these ancient buildings with all old dates carved into these buildings, hundreds of dates, all reflected in the shadows of the car’s headlights. It was the first time that I had ever seen them so clearly.

It’s no wonder that I’m totally exhausted with all of this going on, is it?

Having organised that I went and had a shower and went one better than Graham Nash – I actually DID cut my hair, although my not feeling up to par is not because I had the flu for Christmas – it’s something else completely.

Then I hit the streets – not that I feel much like it but on Tuesday I have to go for the train and so I may as well see how I feel.

You’ve already seen some photos and I’ll show you a few more quite soon once I’ve disentangled myself from the chat with the itinerant who hangs around the town.

unloading goods at empty shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a clothes shop for kids in the Rue Couraye but it moved to different premises not so long ago.

Just recently the windows have been covered over to stop people peeking inside, and today they’ve had a delivery of stock.

Hachette is wholesale book distributor and it’s their name on the packaging, so are we going to be seeing a bookshop open in the town?

Watch this space.

On the way up the hill my knee gave out again and that reminded me that as I was going past the new physiotherapists’ clinic I should pop in there and make an appointment. I have a doctor’s prescription for a course of physiotherapy.

At LIDL I didn’t buy very much at all today – it was the exercise that I went for more than the shopping, so I was soon heading back.

crane rue victor hugo rue saint paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we watched them demolish the old café on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They erected a crane shortly afterwards and I said that they would get a move on now because hiring a crane is expensive. So since then they haven’t done a tap of work.

Of course it’s August and everyone is on holiday right now, but in that case why bring the crane in and not wait for September when everyone is back at work? It seems rather strange to me, but there again many things around here do.

public notice square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt LIDL I’d bought some energy drink to fuel the climb up the hill to home, so I stopped to drink it right by the Square Potel.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, late last year they demolished the staircase and closed it all off to the public, and today I noticed that a notice had been erected at the site.

Basically, work is going to start here next autumn, so they say, and so it’s not worth anyone’s while making the place look presentable at the moment, only to have to rip it all out in early course.

So at least we know when things might be starting. When they might be finishing is something else completely.

Outside the building was a neighbour so we had a chat, then I came in to put away my frozen peas and then … errr … hit the chair for a while. And no surprise there.

As a result there was a rather late lunch and I wasn’t in the mood for doing all that much afterwards for a while. Eventually I did some more Greenland photos to keep things ticking over.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was time for my afternoon walk, somewhat later than usual, I wandered as is my custom these days down to the end of the car park to have a look at the beach.

And we’re right at the turn of the tide by the looks of things judging by the beach, and there are quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it.

Plenty of sunbathers and and even quite a few people taking to the water. It was certainly one of the nicer afternoons that we’ve had for a while.

A few yachts out there in the distance too and beyond them are the bouchot beds that we saw yesterday. They aren’t as clear today as they were.

yachts ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on the subject of things being clearer, the air is certainly much clearer than it was yesterday.

The difference between the view of the Ile de Chausey today and the view YESTERDAY WHEN WE SAW MARITÉ is quite considerable.

Unfortunately she’s not out there now, she’s gone somewhere else out of my view. However there are quite a few other yachts over there in the distance, one of them being Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the coast last year.

lighthouse cap fréhel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re on the subject of going down the Brittany coast … “well, one of us is” – ed … the view down the Brittany coast was quite good today.

Right out there on its headland we can vaguely see today the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres from where I’m standing. Not the best view that we have had – we’ve had days when we’ve seen it with the naked eye – but pretty good all the same.

And I haven’t forgotten that I have a few close-ups on the lighthouse to show you one of these days when I find enough creative spirit to write something up about my journey down there.

st helier jersey channel islands Eric HallIf the view out down the Brittany coast is good, there’s a fair chance that the view out to sea might be good too (although quite often it isn’t).

Out there today, we have a really good view of the island of Jersey and the port of St Helier, even down to being able to see plenty of the buildings around the town. It’s very rare indeed that we cans ee them as clearly as this.

The big white building with the round dome on top is as far as I can tell, the Fort Regent Leisure Centre but I can’t really identify the others. One of these days I’ll have to go for a sail out there, but I bet that it will be raining and foggy and I won’t be able to see a thing.

seagulls baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial duo.

The white one on top was, presumably, mummy seagull and she seemed to be taking one of her babies, the browny-grey one underneath, for its maiden flight around the clifftops.

And judging by the noise that baby was making, she was not one very happy seagull at all. The younger ones have this very distinctive squeaky call that sounds like an unhappy toddler.

And by the way, if ever you come to Granville, bring a hat. The seagulls have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

yellow microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I’m on the subject of being overflown, it’s getting to be more and more like Play School here.

Today we aren’t going to be deciding which window to be looking out of, we’re going to be deciging which one of the microlight aircraft will be oveflying us.

Last time, it was the red one, so today then obviously it has to be the turn of the yellow one to come and pay me a visit, rattling its way past overhead.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the yellow autogyro so maybe that’s his turn tomorrow.

Surprisingly, that was the only aircraft today that went anywhere like close enough to be able to take a worthwhile photo. There were a couple of others but they were either too far out or too high.

fishermen speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dispensed with all of the activity out on the north side of the headland I went to see what was going on round the corner because i’d seen some things moving out there.

Across the car park went I, down to the end of the headland and just as I did so, a speedboat went right past in front of me.

We’ve had everything else today so why not a boat full of fishermen? Not doing very much fishing because they are travelling at some speed, from where I don’t know because all of the slipways are out of the water right now.

They are going to be having quite a long wait until the tide comes in far enough for them to go ashore.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said just now that things were moving out there, I was only speaking figuratively because here’s someone who clearly isn’t.

This is the best way to spend a quite sunny afternoon – anchored off the coast (you can see his anchor chain extended off the port bow) taking in the rays and waiting patiently for the tide to come in.

It doesn’t even look as if he is doing any fishing, and that is surely heresy around here right now.

There’s a few other things to see around the corner so i’ll wander off that way.

trawler in portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPlenty of excitement yet again in the chantier naval this afternoon.

The portable boat lift has been pressed into operation today and it has a small trawler-type fishing boat in its evil clutches. And there’s a guy standing behind it with a pressure washer presumably removing the barnacles from her hull

And I suppose that you’re wondering why she’s still in the boat lift despite the tide being well out right now, and not dropped down onto a set of chocks as they usually do as soon as they take them out of the water.

Well, read on.

7 trawlers in chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s your answer. There simply isn’t anywhere to put her.

It’s been a really busy morning down at the chantier naval by the looks of things and we have no fewer that seven boats in there. There’s Charlevy of course across the other side, and Trafalgar nearest the street, and then four in a line with the seventh in the portable boat lift.

This is probably a record number of boats for me in there and I don’t see how they could hope to fit any more in their place.

And the excitement will begin when they need to use the portable boat lift to drop a boat back in the water, with nowhere to drop the one that’s in the lift while they do it.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw Chausiaise coming back into the harbour after her run out this morning, but she’s now back where she was moored yesterday.

Maybe that’s her work finished for the day, unless she has to go over and bring back some luggage tonight.

And in the background there’s another class taking place in the pool over there by the beach at the Grève de Hérel. It looks as if it might be kayaks this afternoon.

But I came back for a cold drink and to stir some papers around. Despite having felt a little better, I’ve still not been able to concentrate at all.

For tea I made a huge pile of aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit, with no pudding as I wasn’t all that hungry. I had no breakfast either so my appetite seems to have gone.

But now I’m off to bed, rather late, and hoping for a better, more productive day tomorrow. High time that I extricated my digit.

Tuesday 29th June 2021 – MY CHOCOLATE PUDDING …

… is absolutely delicious.

This morning after the medication I mixed a pile of bread dough and left it to fester in its own time

home baked bread chocolate cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd after my breakfast of fruit cake, toast and hot chocolate (made with real chocolate of course) I gave the bread a second kneading, shaped it and put it in the mould that I use.

While it was festering I made the chocolate cake mix and put it in a deep baking tray lined with baking paper. When the bread mix had risen enough I put both the bread and the chocolate cake mix in the oven.

When everything was cooked I took the cake, cut it in half, layered the halves with jam and joined the two halves together in a sandwich and left it to cool.

The bread was delicious of course but my cake was just so exquisite with some of the chocolate sauce that I make. I’ll make some more of this, that’s for sure.

While all of this was going on, I was working on my photos from August 2019. For a change I made good progress and I’m now in my hotel in Toronto waiting to leave for my plane to take me to Greenland.

One of the photos that I edited was of THE CHURCH IN WINNIPEG where my grandmother was married in 1918 and another one was of THE STAGE IN THE METROPOLITAN THEATRE where she shared the top of the bill in 1922 with Lon Chaney and Jackie Coogan.

Some of the time was also spent revising my Welsh – even though we’re on holiday until September I don’t want to forget what I’ve learnt so I’m going to spend maybe half an hour a day revising. In fact I might have spent more time working on my Welsh had I not crashed out rather comprehensively.

Lunch was as a consequence rather late, although my fresh bread was delicious, and then I carried on with the photos until it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. And no girl hanging around the doorway today either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call as usual was to go and look to see what was going on down on the beach so I took myself off across the car park to stick my head over the top of the wall

The tide was on its way out by the looks of things and so there was a reasonable amount of beach to be on. And there were a few people down there as well, and that’s not much of a surprise because the good weather has come back.

Not quite well enough for a session of sunbathing although when we were out of the wind it was quite warm and pleasant. Pleasant enough to loiter around on the rocks and wait until tonight when the tide will come back in.

people swimming in medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of other activity going on elsewhere on the beach.

While I was taking the photo of the people on the beach in the previous photograph I was casting my eyes around to look for anything else and they alighted on some people having fun over on the beach at the Plat Gousset.

The tidal swimming pool isn’t visible from here but the medieval fish trap is. And as well as being full of fish, it’s also full of people swimming around and being buzzed by a seagull while they were at it. They seem to get everywhere, these birds. And so do the swimmers too. They seem to be enjoying themselves in the fish trap. I hope that the fish don’t mind.

ships approaching st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday was one of those days where we could see for miles, which is rather a change from the last few days.

The island of Jersey was quite clearly visible today even if it is 58 kilometres away from me. But I wasn’t as interested in the island as I was in what was going on in the sea just off-shore from the island.

There were several boats sailing around just offshore and it’s very rare that you can actually see them from here. And if you look to the right of centre there’s a boat that has the same profile as the Commodore ro-ro ferries that ply between St Malo, Portsmouth and the various Channel islands although I’ve not been able to identify which one.

buildings at st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was so clear that I could actually see the individual buildings in St Helier.

The big round white building that we can see is, I reckon, the View Bar and Supplement store at Fort Regent on the edge of the harbour. The smaller white building to the left is, I think, a building at the harbourside occupied by a firm of accountants.

As for the big tall structure at the left-hand edge of the photo, I’ve not been able to identify that. And I shan’t be able to for quite a while yet because with no way to get out to the Channel Islands right now as long as the Covid epidemic rages, I can’t get any closer.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there’s no difficulty at all identifying this view.

With the air being so clear today, I was expecting to have a good view out across the bay to the Brittany coast. And so after having admired the Channel Islands, I set off down the path and across the car park to the far end of the headland to see what was going on.

The town of Cancale was exceptionally clear this afternoon. That’s 18 kilometres away as the crow flies but to actually drive there it’s about 60 kilometres, as I know only too well having been caught out by that when I first came here.

No fishing boats out there today which was a surprise, and so I headed off down the path.

trawlers philcathane yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were crowds of people this afternoon at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour so I had to jostle for a view. But at least the path was a lot drier this afternoon than it was yesterday.

There’s been a change of occupancy in the chantier navale today. The trawler Philcathane and the yacht Rebelle are still in there but they’ve been joined by another trawler. She’s carrying the same colour scheme as L’Alize 3 although without being to read any name, I’m not able to say.

So I had to wait for the people to move away before I could take a photo. And then I could move off along the path. There wasn’t anything else going on in the outer harbour to hold my attention.

marite big wheel products on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was however plenty of activity in the inner harbour today.

Maité was in there today and she was surrounded by a pile of people who might be schoolchildren wearing something yellow that might be lifejackets.

And it looks as if we are going to be having a visit from one of the Channel Island freighters, either Thora or Normandy Trader, because there’s a pile of freight on the quayside down there, including a boat still in its shrink-wrapping for transport to its destination.

The Big Wheel wasn’t going round though while I was watching. Maybe there aren’t any customers waiting for a ride around.

But I headed off back home for my afternoon coffee. And while I was waiting for the kettle to boil I cut the vegan meat pie into slices and put them in the freezer along with the remaining apple pie that might be eaten one of these days..

And later on I crashed out yet again.

Guitar practice was quite good and then I went for tea – rice with an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit followed by my cake and chocolate sauce. And then a huge pile of washing-up.

Now I’m off to bed because I’m exhausted. I don’t know why I’m so tired today. Here’s hoping I’ll have a better day tomorrow.

Thursday 6th May 2021 – OUR HEROES …

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… returned from the port of St Helier this afternoon as I was out on my afternoon walk around the headland.

It all seems to happen here during the small hours of the morning because at about 03:00 this morning as soon as the harbour gates opened, almost the entire fishing fleet left the port en masse like a ferret up a trouser leg and set sail to St Helier in Jersey where, arriving at first light, they blockaded the port, hemming in the ferry to St Malo and the oil boat that brings the fuel over to the island.

It seems that the Royal Navy’s two gunboats, HMS Tamar and HMS Severn, were totally powerless to stop them. Do much for this “Britannia Rules The Waves” nonsense. There were also 3 French military vessels, including Geranium with whom I had a run-in last summer, out there too to make sure that there was fair play.

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn case you are wondering what this is all about, let me first mention that it’s nothing whatever to do with Brexit, due to the rather prosaic reason that the Channel Islands were never in the EU.

There’s a separate treaty, the Treaty of the Bay of Granville, that has been in force since 1843 that controls fishing rights out here and the Channel Islanders, doubtless inspired by the British Government, have seized the opportunity of Brexit to unilaterally revoke the Treaty.

In negotiations earlier this year, which I briefly mentioned a while back, they gave the right for French fishing boats already fishing in the bay to continue to do so. Suddenly, on Friday afternoon, they asked the boats to provide proof of their entitlement by Monday morning. And then they promptly closed their office for the weekend.

Some of the boats are owned by fleets where there is office staff and the like who can easily access the information. But the smaller boats and one-man bands don’t have the staff and their records are held at the Fish Processing Plant down the hill – whose offices were closed from Friday late afternoon until Monday morning so the information couldn’t be obtained before the deadline.

Of course, a deadline to provide all of this information with zero working days’ notice is unrealistic, if not impossible. Most neutral commentators see it as nothing more than a deliberate provocation whereas cynics like me would draw attention to the flagging election campaign of the Tory Party and the massaging of the Prime Minister’s ego.

But be that as it may, we aren’t here to discuss politics I was awake at 06:00 and up and about a couple of minutes later. After the medication I finally caught up with the dictaphone notes so I can tell you where I went during the night. I was near Hunter Avenue in Gresty and there was a big American car parked up there. I’d had a lot of problems crossing the road from where the Mucky Bridge was on the Cheshire Cheese corner. I just couldn’t get to grips with waiting for traffic to come, I don’t know why. In the end all of the traffic stopped and let me pass. They did it twice as well. As I got to Hunter Avenue there was this big American car there. This guy was speaking to someone on the telephone trying to find out about a position as a taxi driver with his own vehicle. He obviously had a quote from someone so he said “yes” and they sent hi something that he printed out on his ‘phone – an insurance certificate. I asked him about it. He said that it cost him $15:00 a year for Private Hire endorsement on his licence which I thought was astonishing. With that, he can get going. He said that he could do a couple of jobs I asked ” every few days?” and he replied “no, at weekend”. Anyway so we had a bit of a chat about that. There was one of his competitors nearby who was doing the same thing so this was obviously paying its way, I thought to myself. Maybe I ought to get a car and do some taxi driving again these days. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now and I wish I knew what the rest of this dream was. Unfortunately several bad attacks of cramp totally disrupted my sleeping arrangements and I’m fed up of that as well.

After a shower I headed off to the shops in the pouring rain. It really was a wicked morning and had it not been for the fact that the shops will not be open on Saturday, I wouldn’t have gone out.

repointing wall rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last 6 months or so we’ve been following the very slow progress of the students who have been practising on the pointing of the stone walls at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

Of course, they aren’t likely to be there today in this kind of weather so I could have a good look at what they have been doing And what I can say is that a blind man would be pleased to see it.

Of course, when I pointed the stone walls on my house back in the Auvergne I had a lot to learn, and a lot to learn quickly too, but I was extremely satisfied with the results that I obtained and I reckon that I did a very good job of it.

scaffolding rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going down the steps, I noticed that they had moved the scaffolding further down the slope to carry on down the other side of the wall.

And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I don’t fancy the idea of climbing up and working on that scaffolding the way that it is. I wonder if they were in the process of re-erecting it and hadn’t finished it when the rain drove them all away.

LIDL was packed today. There were crowds in there. I couldn’t buy everything that I needed as they didn’t have it in stock, but I did what I could, especially as there are no shops on Saturday. In fact I had to go round a second time as I had forgotten the mushrooms.

It had been difficult for me to go up the hill to LIDL for some reason – I really wasn’t in any kind of form today, and coming back, loaded as I was with everything that I had bought, made it even worse and I had to stop several times to rest on the way back.

Having put the frozen food (they had more of the falafel) into the freezer I made myself a hot chocolate and my sourdough and then came in here. I was so tired that I wasn’t able to do any work but at least I managed not to fall asleep.

After lunch I made a start on the photos from August 2019 and then went out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went to the wall at the end of the car park to look over and down onto the beach to see who is about.

Not that there was any beach for people to be out on, and the miserable weather combined to ensure that no-one would be down there this afternoon. It may well have been that it had stopped raining right now but it was freezing cold out there this afternoon and I’ve gone back to being cold again – really cold, just like I was a few days ago.

There wasn’t anyone else around on the footpath up here on top of the cliffs either. And that was just as well because there wasn’t all that much room to move around there because everywhere was quite flooded because of the rain that we had had this morning.

commodore clipper baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp on the butte at the back of the lighthouse I could look out towards the sea to see if I could see the ferry that had by now set out to St Malo from St Helier.

Of course, at this range, it’s not possible to say with any certainty but if you look at the island in the centre of this photograph here, you’ll see something large on the horizon next to it. If I had to say that something out there was a small Ro-Ro ferry (because there was one out there somewhere), I’d probably be happy with identifying that as a likely target..

There were still plenty of fishing boats heading my way but I didn’t wait around for them. Otherwise I would have ended up feeling like Brian Hanrahan (and I’ve no idea where i would find him this afternoon) and “I’m not allowed to tell you how many there were, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back”.

black mamba baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking over to the butte, I’d seen a familiar black sail in the sunset out on the other side of the headland.

As a result I wandered off along the path and across the carpark and from the top by the old bunker there was an excellent view out to sea in the bay. Of course it’s our old friend Black Mamba who has been moored up in the harbour for the last couple of weeks now having gone off for a run around in the bay. It’s not really the best kind of day for a sail.

While I was out there, Rosemary rang me up so I promised to call her back when I returned to the apartment. That was the cue to set off home before it started to rain again.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA couple of days ago I mentioned that I’d given up commenting on cases of bad parking, and so it goes without saying that I would stumble on something extraordinary almost immediately, like this in the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Here’s a van and trailer belonging to a garden maintenance company working on someone’s garden this afternoon. It’s parked on the wrong side of the road on a main bus route at school chucking-out time when there are service buses going in one direction and school buses going in the other direction. And there’s a huge parking space free just 10 yards further on where it can park on the correct side of the road without obstructing the traffic.

There are a couple of kids waiting for the bus at the bus stop but they can’t see the bus coming and the bus can’t see them because the van is in the way.

This is a recipe for a disaster if ever I saw one.

Back at the apartment, armed with a coffee I rang Rosemary back and we had a very long chat yet again. Consequently I’ve done almost nothing yet again today.

There was the guitar practice of course, and then tea. Stuffed peppers with rice and veg followed by apple turnover and home-made custard.

And having done that, I’m off to bed. I’m not going to hang around tonight. I’m tired, cold and fed up so a nice long warm-up in bed will do me good. After last night I’ll have one of these sleeping tablets so there might not be a dictaphone entry tomorrow.

Monday 12th April 2021 – I WAS NOT …

… alone this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out this afternoon I was overflown yet again.

Whenever we’ve had clear days in the past it’s been aircraft, whether main-line stuff flying at impressive altitudes over my head or else it’s been light aircraft, autogyros and Birdmen of Alcatraz (who, incidentally, we haven’t seen for quite a while) going past at head height.

But none of that today. It was the local bird of prey, whatever species he (or she) might be, buzzing around over my head looking for food, and then swooping down to the ground to capture something, all of which takes place a darn sight quicker than I can follow it with my camera.

fishing boats brittany coast baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was different this afternoon was the situation in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long I’ve been down there on the path to the end of the headland to look out across to the Brittany coast to see what was happening and, as Bob Dylan once famously sang on THE BASEMENT TAPES there was “too much of nothing”.

But today was rather different. We had the fleet of local inshore fishing boats out there in the bay doing what they are good at. There was probably about half a dozen of them all told presumably setting their traps and the like.

They rotate from one fishing area to another and it looks as if today is the turn of the inshore waters to receive their attention.

My attention this morning was focused hauling myself out of bed this morning. And seeing that I didn’t go to bed this morning until 01:30 that was rather a complicated matter. I’ve had worse mornings than this, but I can’t remember when.

First task after the medication was to deal with the radio programme on which I was going to work this morning. Having already chosen the music and paired it all off it was a simple matter of writing the text, recording it, editing it, cutting it into segments and using the segments to join together all of the pairs of songs.

Then I had to choose a closing song and write the text for it, edit that and then join it all together.

It ended up being 23 seconds over but in the speech that I write, there are all kinds of little bits that can be edited out and so weeding out 23 seconds of recorded superfluous speech is not as complicated as it might sound.

It was all done and dusted and up and running by 11:30.

That left me with plenty of time to book my transport and accommodation for my trip to Leuven next week. And while I can understand that there is only one train out of Granville per day when there’s a pandemic and movement is severely restricted, just WHY does it have to be at 05:55?

At least I’ll get into Leuven with plenty of spare time to recover from the voyage, but on the other hand it means that if there’s an issue with just one of the trains that I need to catch, I shall be well and truly up a gum tree.

After lunch (and my bread from yesterday is really delicious) I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and I’m now caught up with my plan of a minimum of 30 a day. I’m now patrolling the “south skirmish line” of last Stand Hill at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

But while some might think that it’s a “south skirmish line” it look to be very much like the route of a panic -stricken flight to me. You don’t dig yourself in at the bottom of a steep ravine when the place to dig yourself in would be at the top of the slope where your adversary would have to struggle up towards you slowly and you’ve have plenty of time to fire at them to push them back.

The fact that there are so very few memorials to the Native Americans on this side of the battlefield when the whole area is littered with memorials to American soldiers tells its own story. My opinion is that the natives were firing into the backs of the fleeing soldiers rather than face-to-face in a firefight.

All of this took me up to the time for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do today was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon so there was plenty of beach to go at. And there were quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it. Not as many people as we have seen on occasion – no schools playing rounders or anything like that – but I would have thought that with all of the holidaymakers around right now, they would have been there.

After all, it was a pleasant, sunny day if you could find some shelter out of the wind, because once more we seem to be having a bucket-full of wind and I’m rather fed up of that right now.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as we all know, it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

There’s always going to be someone who would take advantage of it and we have one of those out here this afternoon – the yacht that’s out there somewhere between the Channel Islands and the French mainland.

At the distance that it was from here – probably about half-way across, I couldn’t make out whether it was coming or going and I know exactly how it feels after everything that I seem to be going through right now. And the whitecaps on top of some of the waves will indicate that it’s not having the best of it out there in this weather. The wind must be even stronger offshore.

unidentified ship st helier jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking out at the yacht that I saw just now, I noticed something just offshore outside the harbour at St Helier so I took a photo of it to enlarge when I came back so that I cn see what it might be.

Having done that, I have to say that unfortunately, I’m still none-the-wiser. It’s big and white and my first thought was that it might be a cruise ship anchored outside the harbour. But there’s no trace of any large ship of this size anywhere in the vicinity so I’ve no idea what it might be.

But I’m impressed with the weather this afternoon because I can see St Helier so clearly this afternoon. We can even see the medieval tower that guards the entrance to St Helier harbour, never mind all of the other buildings there.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about now that the famous bird of prey flew past overhead.

It took up station, hovering around over the edge of the cliffs round about 50 yards from where I was standing. And then suddenly, as I looked it swopped off down to near the foot of the cliffs. Presumably it had seen something edible but it was so quick that I couldn’t see what it was.

At least it’s having more luck that the local fishermen.

So from there I set off along the path on top of the cliffs. The people were there on top of the bunker again clearing off the dirt and dust but I carried on past them. There weren’t too many people this afternoon to get in my way.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel once more

With the weather out to the Channel Islands being so good this afternoon, I was wondering how the view would be out along the Brittany coast. So I climbed up on top of one of the other bunkers where there’s a good view.

Once again, the lighthouse was clearly visible even with the naked eye and we could even see the headland behind the lighthouse today. It’s not every day that we can see that much of the coastline. I’ll really have to crack on and finish the notes of my trip around Central Europe so that I can get on and show you the photos of the Brittany coast that I took on board the Spirit of Conrad

Off along the path I went and then across the car park to the end of the headland.

fishing boat with nets out pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that just off the headland at the Pointe du Roc we’ve occasionally seen something that might be interpreted as a marker buoy for a lobster pot are something similar.

Seeing this boat here make me even more certain that it is a lobsterpot and its marker or something like that. If you look closely at this little boat you’ll see that it has its lines out on the starboard side so it’s possibly engaged in either lowering down or raising up a lobster pot.

However, as you can see, there are so many boats out here working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel, all over the place this afternoon.

From there I pushed off along the path towards the port.

panhard 24 2+2 rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrossing over the pedestrian crossing in the Rue du Cap Lihou I was almost squidged by a passing motorist.

But if I’m going to be run down by a passing motor vehicle, I wouldn’t mind so much it being one of these. This is a Panhard 24 2+2, one of the very last of the vehicles built by the Panhard Motor company before they closed their doors in 1967.

The Panhard 24 was the car that was designed to replace the famous Panhard 17 and was built between 1963 and 1967. It contained many features that were considered to be “luxury items” at the time such as 3-way adjustable seats, adjustable steering wheel and the like

They must be beautiful to drive but unfortunately I have never ever had the chance to find out.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was some kind of excitement going on over at the ferry terminal.

Both of the Joly France boats, the ones that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey, are over there this afternoon. The tide is well out so they are in a NAABSA – Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground – situation over there.

This would seem to indicate that at the next high tide, probably later on towards the evening, they’ll be going back out to rescue the perishing wo are stranded out there right now.

We also have another fishing boat tied up over there too. It’s bewildering me why so many of them are no longer going into the inner harbour to tie up in there.

material on quayside port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the path there’s a good view down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora tie up.

And have you ever seen such a large pile of freight lined up on the quayside waiting to be taken away? It’s enormous. They must be expecting one of the freighters to come in pretty soon because they wouldn’t otherwise leave all this much stuff lying around.

It’s no surprise that they are talking about buying a larger ship to deal with all of the freight. It’s quite an unexpected Brexit dividend that rather than having freight sent to and from the UK for onward trans-shipment to and from Europe, it’s sent directly to the European mainland

men inspecting harbour bed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the end of today’s excitement. either. We had some men rooting around in the outer harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had diggers out there working in the harbour dealing with the issues of installing more mooring chains. They are a long way from finishing, so I imagine that these men are either inspecting the work that has been done or else surveying it for further work.

But I wasn’t all that interested in what they were doing. With nothing else going on, I headed on for home and my mug of hot coffee. And I certainly needed it today because I’m still feeling quite cold.

Armed with my coffee I listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was living with Nerina and we had the house at Gainsborough Road and all of the kids were living there as well. I kept on coming back from away and the place was an absolute mess so I started to tidy up the kitchen. I started to collect together all of the things for the microwave. There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t use regularly so I thought that I’d take them to France so I put it on one side ad carried on emptying these boxes to see what there was in there and stacking it up. When I reached the final box it was full of water as it had been left out in the rain. There was one of my electric drills in there. I drained it off but the sound of the running water awoke Nerina as it was 02:00. It also disturbed someone walking down the side of the house so Nerina asked what was going on. I told her. She asked if I was going to take all this lot to the Cheshire Cat. I asked her what she meant and she said “to put it all in a line”. I replied “I’m not selling anything, I want to keep it all. I can keep some of it in my garage but I’ll have to find a place for the rest”. This was another dream where I had these imaginary lock-ups that I had but I couldn’t remember where they were.

Having done that, I did some Welsh revision but unfortunately I crashed out in the middle of it.

The hour on the guitar passed quickly and then I went for tea – veggie balls with steamed vegetables with vegan cheese sauce followed by more of my really delicious jam roly-poly.

Now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and then I REALLY MUST deal with my Central Europe trip and finish it off. I’m fed up of it lying around like this. There’s plenty of other stuff that I need to be doing, even installing the kitchen that I bought before Christmas.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Thursday 8th April 2021 – TODAY, I’VE HAD …

trawler yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… another one of those nautical days that we have every so often.

There has been so much traffic on the waters today that I’ve really been spoilt for choice when it came to taking photos because I could have taken 100 and still not done justice to everything that was going on out there at sea this afternoon.

When I went out there this afternoon for my little walk around the headland I was overwhelmed by the amount of nautical traffic that was bobbing up and down on the high seas, from the smallest plank-boarders to some of the larger trawlers and freighters that hang around the port.

marite unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just out at sea that we were having all of this excitement.

It was pretty busy in the harbour this morning too. One of or favourite boats, the little Jersey Freighter Normandy Trader has come into port on the overnight tide. She’s now tied up underneath the crane at the loading bay while the personnel of the Chamber of Commerce make ready to unload her.

You can see all of the material on the quayside already. I reckon that this is the load that she has to take back with her to St Helier. And you can see how busy she is with all of that load. No wonder her owners are talking about buying a larger boat

vna pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just at sea and in the port that we are extremely busy. Thee was quite a lot going on in the air today too.

The bright sunny weather has certainly brought out the aeroplanes this afternoon, like this one that overflew me as I walked my weary way around the headland. I’ve no idea what it is because I couldn’t see the registration properly. I can see the last three letters – VNA – of its registration.

Although I checked, there was nothing of that registration that had taken off from or landed at Granville Airport this afternoon. It’s probably frustrating me deliberately by not filing a flight plan so people like me can’t identify it.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the picture of the busy port this afternoon with the crowds of boats queueing up and the portable boat lift now tackling Lys Noir, I’ll tell you about my busy morning.

It was rather a late night, although not as late as it has been once or twice, so I was able to leap out of bed with alacrity when the alarm went off.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days seeing as I missed out on doing it yesterday. And if you now look at yesterday’s entry, you’ll see that that is now up-to-date with the entries for yesterday now incorporated. Now that those were out of the way I could turn my attention to last night’s travel.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome people came round to my house, including an old friend of mine so I invited a girl to come along as well. I made all of the arrangements but just at the last moment when I was getting ready to receive my visitors I had a ‘phone call to say that this girl was having to go into work so she wouldn’t be able to come. I had a little morning’s entertainment with these people and just strode out and the followed me. They went their separate ways. I just happened to be walking past their house when a car pulled up and these 3 girls got out. 1 of them said “so-and-so will run you home” referring to her youngest sister. “She knows the trick about the car”. They parked up but then they saw me walking past and asked “Eric, are you coming in?”. I walked up the path towards the door to join them.

having dome that I turned my attention to the photos from August 2019 on my North American Adventure and managed a few of those before it was time for me to go off for my shower.

And having done that, I wandered off out on my way to the shops for my mid-week shopping trip.

pointing rampe de monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me past the top of the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are using the poor state of the medieval wall as a training ground for young apprentices.

And sure enough, there were about half a dozen there, a few of whom were females, something that is always nice to see. All of them with their trowels and mortar boards doing a nice rightward lead along all of the cracks. It brought back many happy memories of when I was POINTING THE WALLS AT MY HOUSE all those years ago.

having watched them for a while I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … down the steps and on into the town.

roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it looks as if they are getting ready for the summer season, such as it might be this year, in the town.

The other day when we were around the town we saw the candyfloss and sweet stand that had arrived in the town and was now parked up hear the harbour. Today I noticed that the kiddies’ roundabout has arrived and has now been set up in the Place Charles de Gaulle ready to entertain them for the next few months.

My next port of call was LIDL for the midweek session of my weekly shopping. I didn’t want all that much from there so I ended up with quite a light load. So not to waste the trip I stocked up with some soya milk and some tomato sauce because I can always use that sort of thing and I never seem to have enough.

roadworks road closed rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I had to go along the Rue Paul Poirier, and that wasn’t as easy as it might have been.

There were roadworks in the street today and it was closed to all traffic. Not for pedestrians though so I could make my way along there and while I was it it, I could see what they were trying to do.

They had half of the road dug up near the junction with the Rue Etoupefour but as for why, I didn’t have any idea. They were digging a small trench and one of the guys was relaying the cobbles where there is the 5-minute waiting spot, cutting a few of them with his stone cutter to make them fit into their spaces. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a few days after they have cleared off in order to see what they have been doing.

roadworks rue etoupefour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the other end of the street, having pushed my way through the roadworks, I crossed over the road and started to go up the Rue des Juifs where I glanced down at the junction of the Place des Corsaires and the Rue Etoupefour.

There was a man down there with some of the cobbles pulled up, chipping away at them. I’m sure that it can’t be a coincidence with people working like this at both ends of the street . They must be doing some kind of work in common so I suppose we’ll find our about that in due course too.

Anyway I carried on up the Rue des Juifs with my light load hardly impeding me at all. I wasn’t going to say that I ran up the street but it was a good climb up there with hardly a pause for breath.

unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an occasion to call for a pause halfway up the hill because there was something of interest going on at the docks.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that each of the Jersey freighters, Thora and Normandy Trader has started to carry a couple of small sealed containers, presumably with private freight, and this morning they were unloading one of them from the deck of Normandy Trader and putting it on the quayside ready to be taken away.

That was all of the excitement for the morning. I wandered off home for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread and to continue with my photo editing.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to do too many because I crashed out on my chair. And crashed out completely too. I must have been out for about an hour and a half altogether. As a result I had a very late lunch.

After lunch, seeing as it was a nice sunny day with very little wind I went and attacked Caliburn’s door.

Trying to take off the door card was a contortionist’s delight and it took me an absolute age to free it off just so far that I could put my hand inside the door skin. And as for where the spring clip that holds on the window winder went, I have absolutely no idea.

Being able to put my hand inside the door skin was one thing. To actually open the door was something else and my hands ended up black and blue with cuts and bruises but with a great amount of force and inconvenience I finally managed spring the catch and open the door.

With the door open I could re-attach the bits that had fallen off and do the necessary adjustments and now the door will open from the outside as well as the inside. But I’m not putting the door card back on until I’m sure that it works.

seagull place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there working, I was not alone.

Yesterday we saw the seagull on the windowsill of one of the apartments on the other side of the building. And this time the bird is waiting at the correct window – the one where there is the plastic bird model on the inside. And you only have to look at the state of the window to see how often it is that the bird calls there.

But anyway, I went off inside to put away my tools and then came back outside to go for my afternoon walk in the sunshine.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing to do was to go to the wall at the end of the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach today.

The tide is quite well in this afternoon so thee wasn’t all that much beach to be on today but even so, there was still enough room for a few people to wander about. These two people were having a pile of fun leaping about from rock to rock down there and they will probably keep on doing it until the tide comes in and cuts off their only means of retreat.

There was no retreat for me today. I was continuing my walk along the path on top of the cliffs. And despite the really nice weather there was hardly anyone else about so I had the place pretty much to myself

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that there was quite a lot going on in the air and I mentioned the light aeroplane that flew by overhead.

We also had another regular visitor going past me overhead this afternoon someone whom we haven’t seen for quite some time. It’s the old yellow autogyro that we’ve seen in the past on several occasions. We saw a different one, a reddy-orange one, fly past us the other day and it made me wonder when we would be seeing this one again.

She was flying quite high over my head too, much higher than normal and he had a passenger too so they presumably are on one of these sightseeing trips that she does every now and again

The French have a saying jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, and that applied to the aircraft that I saw today.

EC-MVE Airbus A320-232 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact they may well have said “thirty-third” because there were so many in the sky this afternoon. Today’s choice of aircraft is an Airbus A320-232 that’s operated by Vueling Airlines, a Spanish low-cost airline and is operating their flight VY7826 /VLG7826 which is the 15:00 from Barcelona heading to Gatwick Airport.

Her registration number is EC-MVE and airframe number 8130 which means that she was built about three or so years ago and supplied new to the airline which means that she was supplied new to the airline in February 2018.

She wet past me over head at about 25,000 feet and 388 knots and had already started her descent down to the Gatwick flight path as I was watching her

chausiais yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have spent a great deal of time discussing Chausiais, the little freighter or barge that runs the freight between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland.

She’s usually been tied up at the ferry port or in the inner harbour but today I’ve actually been lucky enough to catch her on her travels, coming back from the ile de Chausey.

She’s down there now manoeuvring her way between a couple of yachts as she returns to the port after her little run out. I suppose that with all of the tourists and second-home owners being here fleeing the lockdown in Paris, she has plenty of work to do, ferrying the supplies out there to the island.

fishing boats waiting for port de Granville harbour to open Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the headland I followed the rail of yachts Chausiais and all of the fishing boats towards the harbour.

The harbour gates into the inner harbour aren’t open as yet but the time can’t be that far off because the queue of trawlers around them waiting to go in was quite oppressive. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many loitering around the harbour gates. Chausiais had quite a struggle to fight her way into her berth.

Earlier on we saw the portable boat lift wrapping her slings around lys noir but I didn’t hang around long enough to see what they were going to be doing with her. Instead, I carried on along the path.

spirit of conrad charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around on the path above the harbour I’d noticed a sail being erected in the inner harbour. And earlier while I’d been fixing Caliburn’s door, I’d seen my neighbour Pierre who owns Spirit of Conrad in his working clothes leap into his car and drive off.

Putting 2 and 2 together, I assumed that it must be Spirit of Conrad that was having her sail hoisted, and it seems that I was quite right. It looks as if she’s being prepared for the sea again so I wonder where she might be going this time. We had fun on her when we were down the Brittany coast last summer.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and then finished off the day’s photos from August 2019. I’m now on the Bozeman Trail at the site of the worst humiliation of the US Army at the hands of the native Americans prior to the battle of Little Big Horn where Colonel Fetterman and his entire troop of 79 soldiers and four civilian scouts were cut down by Red Cloud and his Sioux warriors.

Before guitar practice there was time for a little bit of the Central Europe trip and then I absorbed myself in music. And I didn’t really enjoy it al that much tonight. My heart wasn’t in it for some reason and I couldn’t really get going.

Tea was taco rolls and rice and veg, followed by some of my jam roly-poly and coconut dessert.

Tomorrow is going to be a Welsh revision day, I reckon, ready for the restart of my courses. I’m becoming far too rusty. I could do with an early night but I’m not going to get it today, that’s for sure. It’s late so I’m going straight to be. And I’m hoping to have pleasant dreams despite my new evening medicine which somehow has the effect of tranquilising me.

Wednesday 7th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nautical afternoon out there again this afternoon.

There was so much traffic out there at sea this afternoon that you wouldn’t believe it. Out there at sea is one of the local trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister Tiberiade heading out to the fishing grounds near to the Channel Islands now that the fishing agreement has been extended, being followed by an optimistic seagull or two.

There was a smaller boat out there too, heading back to port from I don’t know where because there isn’t any land out there in that direction for her to come from.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there in the Baie de Mont St Michel they had the sailing school as well. A pile of little tiny yachts and their tutor accompanying them in his little boat.

One of the students appears to be trying to get away from the others, so good luck to him.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my ambition to be out there with them one of these days. Having been to the school last Thursday I am now in possession of the literature to enable me to apply. All I need now is 10 minutes of my time to fill in the forms. But where I’m going to find that time at the moment I really do not know.

At least I made a start in the right direction this morning. Once more I managed to leap out of bed as the first alarm was ringing.

And after I’d had my medication I forgot to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Instead, I started straight away to attack the photos from August 2019. And by the time that I was bored enough to knock off and do something else, not only had I done the arrears, I’d done today’s supply and a few of tomorrow’s too. I have to get ahead because I’m not going to be here on Saturday.

kiwi and pear kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I’ve been up to today is to make another supply of kefir because I’m running low on stocks.

In the fruit and veg cupboard were several rather ripe kiwis (one of which was rather too ripe to use) so I whizzed up three of them with a ripe pear or two and strained them through the sieve into the big jug. The brewing kefir followed it in and I made a new batch in the big jar for next time.

The stuff in the jug was all mixed up and then poured through the filter stack and bottled in the flip-top bottles where they will fester away for a few days and ferment until I’m ready to use them, hoping that they won’t explode under pressure.

There was also time for a bash at the arrears from Central Europe last summer and I made some headway. Not as much as I would have hoped but I had an interruption, as you will find out as you read on.

Other interruptions of course were the morning break for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit cake, my lunch, and then my walk out around the headland this afternoon.

seagull window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside the building I was greeted by one of the regulars who hangs around the neighbourhood.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have often seen the seagull out here. He perches on the windowsill of one of the apartments at the other end of the building and I’m not sure why.

But there was quite a change today. Normally he’s on the windowsill chatting to the model bird on the shelf inside but today, for some reason that I don’t know, he was standing on a different windowsill chirping away to no-one in particular. No model birds for him to talk to there.

seagull street light place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t alone there either.

Sitting on a lamp-post just next to the building is one of the first-year juvenile seagulls. It’s clearly not very happy about the larger one on the window sill in front of it because it’s sitting there bleating away.

Eventually it became fed up of sitting on its perch because it took off and did a few laps of the car park before settling down on the wall at the end of the car park. It’s presumably waiting for daddy (or mummy) to move off the window sill so that it can follow on to the next port of call

men fishing from zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that last summer we saw a yellow zodiac flitting around in the water here and there.

We haven’t seen much of her since then, up until today. But here she is, moored in the English Channel just off the Pointe du Roc with a couple of guys in it casting out a line or two into the water. It looks as if the fishing season is now underway.

It seems that sea bass is the thing that they spend so much time trying to catch around here, but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have yet to see anyone actually catch anything while they have been fishing. And I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the end of the car park, I could look over the wall now that the baby seagull has gone and see what is going on down on the beach this afternoon.

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon with the tide being a good way in but nevertheless some people had managed to find a secluded little spot down there for a little relaxation. The little kid running towards the sea seems to be enjoying himself but the others are more content with keeping quiet and keeping warm.

Winter coats and woolly bonnets abound down there and it’s no surprise because it really was cold this afternoon and there was a bitter wind. I was certainly wrapped up in my winter coat and wished that I had remembered to put on my woolly bonnet.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I said earlier, there was an enormous amount of activity going on out at sea this afternoon.

Right out in the English Channel halfway across to Jersey I managed to pick out a yacht that was sailing on its way to St Helier. It certainly had the right kind of wind to push it along in that direction this afternoon.

And as regular readers will recall, the last time that we saw Jersey we could only just about make out the island and that was our lot. Today, the sky is a little clearer and we can actually see the individual buildings at St Helier. That’s always a good sign.

So with just one or two people walking around on the headland this afternoon, I walked off along the path to the end of the headland to see what was going on.

With the really good view across the English Channel to Jersey this afternoon I went and stood on the roof of the bunker near the end of the headland to see how things were down the Brittany coast.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the first time for quite a while, we’re able to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel down the coast 70 kilometres away. And we can see it quite clearly too, just to the right of centre in this photograph.

When I’ve finished the story of my trip around Central Europe I’ll be starting on the notes of my trip in the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast, and you’ll be able to see exactly how the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel looks from close up, because we sailed right up to it while we were out there and I was able to take some good photos of it.

Climbing down from the roof of the building I made my wy round across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown there on the rocks there were a couple of fishermen having a go at fishing from off the rocks at the foot of the headland.

A little earlier we saw a couple of fishermen fishing from the yellow zodiac and I mused that the fishing season might be under way now. These two guys here would certainly lend credence to that sort of thing.

But once again, despite all of the time that I spent watching them, they didn’t catch anything either. In the end I lost interest and headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on that side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I travelled particularly far because I came to another halt half-way along the path.

sailing school trawler pleasure cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the sailing school that we had seen earlier had regrouped and they were all performing their own version of a nautical danse macabre over there in the bay.

There was another trawler leaving the port too and heading for the fishing grounds. They seem to be leaving in dribs and drabs just now rather in the mass charge en flotte as has been the usual procedure up until very recently.

There was a nice little cabin cruiser following the trawler out of the port and I wondered where he might be going this afternoon.

While I was there I had a look down into the chantier navale to se what was happening there. There was no difference down there from yesterday – the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was still in there, with some paint now missing from her hull.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile there was some excitement going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

Thora, the little Jersey freighter, is in there this afternoon and as I watched , she was being loaded up with material destined for Jersey. Sneaked in on the tide, I reckoned.

With the heavy cloud this afternoon it was impossible to see what was going on above me in the air so I headed on home airless, as you might say. And first task was to collect up all of the rubbish that was lying around and taking it to the big waste disposal bins outside. They were rather overflowing.

Rosemary had rung me up while I was out so I phoned her back. And as a result I missed finishing off my Central Europe trip, missed my guitar practice and missed my evening meal too. In the end I banged a couple of potatoes and some beans into the microwave while I was doing something else.

But now I’ve finished and I’m off to bed. I’ve crashed out twice already while I’ve been typing this and I reckon that the third time will be a good one. Tomorrow is shopping and I need a few things as well. And I have to book my travel to Leuven too for the end of the month.

And to have a go at fixing Caliburn’s door if the wind will drop. I’m going for my second vaccination on Saturday morning and entering and leaving the van is pretty much essential.

Earlier the next morning I finally managed to sort out the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in France yesterday and I was in Granville. I still had Les Guis. It was a Friday evening and I had Caliburn completely emptied out so I popped into Caliburn and headed off back to Les Guis with the aim of throwing another load of stuff in the back of the van and setting off back to Normandy. I arrived there and made a start on a couple of things. As well as that I was organising the furniture in there – the stuff that I was keeping and the stuff that I was throwing away, that kind of thing. I started to write out a note and I was doing it on a piece of wood that was an old bed base. There was a ridge where two pieces were joined and a strengthening batten and I was having to write around that. I remembered that TOTGA lived just down the road from me in France near Virlet so I arranged that I ought to go along and see her. She had this great big trailer that I had borrowed and I might need it again for removing. But in any case I wanted to go to see her. I worked out where she lived and of course it was a Saturday morning by the time I’d arrive so I wondered if maybe she’d gone shopping or something like that or should I invite her to come shopping with me or something.

This dream continued later on. I was going into a café and there were 3 girls whom Î knew in there. They shouted out “what’s this about you going for a drink with someone’s secretary?”. The girl whom we knew, it was her secretary. I remember saying something in a bit of a jokey jest type of thing and I hadn’t reckoned on her taking it seriously but apparently she had. She had written out directions of where she was going to meet. I remember her being a sweet little kid, Anoushka, and she’d written out this letter for me and where to meet so I thought that I’d better do this because it sounds interesting. The 3 girls asked me what I was actually doing down here. I said that I’d driven through the night to get to Brussels and I was sleeping in that little lodge place down near St Jacobsplein in Leuven. June Wayland said “but they’ve closed that route that you use, haven’t they?” and I was trying to think of which route she meant because I’d been coming a different way just recently. One of the things that I do remember was that a game of cricket was taking place, England v Pakistan or India or someone and the match was taking place in the conconrse of the airport – the arrivals lounge or the departure lounge. I thought that that was a strange place to have a cricket match. But they were playing there, and I was watching for a few minutes and wandered away but I could hear the commentary. It came down to the final couple of overs and at a certain point England can’t possibly lose the match now. I had to go to the bathroom from my room in this lodge and there was an Indian guy actually standing in the doorway listening to this. I couldn’t make him move. I thought that he might have seen me but he didn’t so I waited until the math finished. Then he saw me and stepped out of the way so I could leave my room. Then I suddenly realised that I ‘d forgotten my towel so I went back for it. Then I’d forgotten something else and had to go back for that. I ended up at the bathroom but there was someone already there.