Tag Archives: strawberry moose

Saturday 17th September 2022 – I FORGOT …

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… that it was Saturday and shopping day today and almost forgot to go out.

When the alarm went off this morning I wasn’t in any rush at all and was lounging around for a whole 10 minutes or so before I had a sudden attack of realisation and leapt to my feet in something of a panic

So while you admire a whole collection of all kinds of aerial craft, because today it looked as if almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon, I shall regale you with my adventures.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And when I say “almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon”, there were even one or two things that couldn’t but were making a valiant attempt.

Like this Nazgul, for an instance. If it were me, I’d have “shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight. “
but Legolas was obviously having much better luck than Wordsworth and me.

This Nazgul came staggering around the headland clearly in some kind of difficulty and he ended up loitering around here for a good five minutes just half an inch above the ground waiting for a gust of wind to pick him up and send him on his way.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBC baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not all of the aerial craft was unidentified though.

Flying by this afternoon was Air France flight AF428 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to, of all places, Bogotà in Colombia, by coincidence where my journalist friend Jill from Philadelphia is on an assignment right now, and had I known, I would have been on it.

The plane that’s taking the flight is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration F-HRBC, and it was at 34,000 feet on course 261° at 460 knots.

We’ve flown on Dreamliners before, once FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE TO MONTREAL IN AUGUST 2014 and once FROM MONTREAL TO CASABLANCA IN OCTOBER 2019.

aeroplane 50SA baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and more banal kinds of flying machine.

So there I was, scrambling to my feet and dashing off to take my medication while I made plans.

After the medication I leapt (well, crawled, actually but sometimes you have to write for effect) into the shower for a good scrub and to make myself pretty, but I’ll need much more than the 4 minutes that the British Government recommends that you spend in the shower in order to do that.

And then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the LeClerc supermarket.

aeroplane 55OJ baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today’s shop was actually quite expensive, but they had a lot of stuff on special offer today.

The hair shampoo that I use, a special type with oils and not soap, was on offer in three-packs. It’ll probably take me the rest of my life to use it all but I couldn’t turn it down.

Fabric softener was at a give-away price too, and then they had some 100% végétale margarine of the best quality in the “end of range” row. It’s much better than the rubbish that I usually buy and the reduced prices was even cheaper than what I would pay for my usual stuff.

Nothing there that I could pass up.

These days I’ve become quite domesticated, haven’t I?

unknown aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home, I called at the Health Centre. The nurse had told me that my vaccination certificate for my fourth vaccination is now ready.

The certificate might be ready but the receptionist wasn’t. Her desk was all closed up. It looks as if the reception is only open 5 days per week. And so instead I came home.

Having put the frozen peas and the cold items away, I came in here and started work.

One thing that I want to do on Saturdays now that I have a little free time with only going to LeClerc and not to Noz is to pair up the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing on Monday. That means that I really can have Sundays off.

If I’m not careful, I’ll end up like Robinson Crusoe. he worked a 5-day week because all his outstanding work was finished by Friday.

unidentified aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The joins in the pairs were amongst the best that I’ve ever made, and I’m very pleased with these.

While I’d been rummaging around in the fridge the other day I found some vegan cheese that I had forgotten. And so for breakfast I had cheese-on-toast and coffee. And that old vegan cheese, stuff that I’d bought ages ago from Lidl, actually melts like real cheese.

That’s the kind of thing that’s useful to know so I made a note.

So having had a nice breakfast, I made a start on what was on the dictaphone from last night. Tons of stuff too. It must have been quite a mobile night.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Last night I was at the airport taxi-driving. I was sitting in the car in the rain watching the line of passengers grow longer and then shorter. Then it was my turn to leave, and I picked up some people going to the hotel in the south near Waterloo. 6 people entered the taxi so I had to insist that 1 of them left as I was only licensed for 5. In the end 2 of them left. They had a chunter but I was only licensed for 5 so there was nothing that I could do about it. We set off

After that I had my boat and I was up round the top of north-west Scotland somewhere. An emergency had occurred and I had to go back to London. It was fairly stormy but I went none-the-less. Although the journey shook me up a lot I made it back without any serious injury or illness.

Later on, Nerina came home from school one day very upset because someone had been taking the mickey out of her. She wanted me to go along and sort them out. Of course it’s not really something that you can sort out as I told her. I said that it was pretty pointless but she insisted so we drove back to Nantwich. I said “when we park up you’ll have to do this, this and this”. She replied “I’m not coming with you”. “Of course you are. This is about you”. In the end we didn’t actually have to go very far because as we pulled up he was there. I had a few words with him about it. He was effectively “what are you going to do about it,”. Of course there wasn’t really anything that you can do about something like that. In the end nothing ever became of it. It didn’t really prove a point but it was one of those things that you just have to do, one of the affairs through which you have to go.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and then this was early in the morning. Everyone was getting up. I was talking to someone at the front door of the residence where I was staying, brushing my teeth. He pointed to my upper lip telling me that there was some toothpaste on it. I replied “don’t worry. I’ll wash my face when I’ve finished”. He replied “yes but I’m telling you that I thought for some reason that it was an extremely silly thing to do”. There was an advert on the TV as well about a young black boy taking 2 children, 1 on the handlebars of his bike and the other in a trailer behind. he was struggling up a hill in the snow. It was something to do with some kind of energy product because it cut to the end where he was cycling up this hill and overtaking everyone like nobody’s business, nothing like the struggle he was having before”. One of my friends from Germany was there. She was there as I was rinsing my face off so we had a little chat. I had my suitcase and was thinking that I’d have time to go to the airport to check in and hand in my suitcase and then come back. Then I’d be ready for going in the evening. I was thinking about it and I wasn’t going for another couple of days yet so why would I be wanting to take my suitcase now? This was starting to become really confusing.

yellow autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the lunchtime fruit the next task was to deal with the carrots. I’m running a little low on them so seeing as they had 1.5kg bags this morning at the same price at which 1kg bags usually sell, I treated myself

They are all now scrubbed, diced, blanched and in the freezer. And I had to be quite imaginative about how I fitted them in because it really is now full to the brim and there’s no room for anything else in there.

Now that I’m much more organised here, I realise that I should have pushed the boat out and bought a bigger freezer. However I would have filled up the space just as quickly and I still would have ended up in this position with no room in there for anything else.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the carrots now done, there’s still no time to breathe a sigh of relief and collapse into a heap.

There’s the afternoon walk – or stagger – around the headland. But not before I’ve gone over to the wall at the end of the car park to check up on the activities down on the beach.

Plenty of people down there this afternoon. No surprise though because although it was quite windy, even if a Nazgul rider didn’t think so, it was a lovely late summer day and it really was a pleasure to be out in it.

There were even one or two people brave enough to be in the water this afternoon.

st helier jersey UK Eric Hall photo September 2022The views out to Jersey were magnificent this afternoon.

They were so good that you could see some of the buildings on the island with the naked eye, and now that I’ve been over there I can tell you what some of them are, and when I’ve finished reviewing the photos I’ll probably be able to tell you what the rest are.

Going from left to right, what I think that we have is first of all Elizabeth Castle and to the right is Fort Regent. Over to the right, the white buildings are the blocks of flats at Le Marais in St Clément.

Of course, that’s guesswork based on what I saw when I was over there, but of course I didn’t actually see everything.

commodore goodwill english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2022And how about a flying ship?

It’s not actually a fata morgana – it is a real ship roughly in the position where it’s supposed to be, but the effects of the haze caused by temperature inversion at the water level gives the impression that she’s flying,.

It’s a phenomenon that’s been observed by mariners for centuries and has been the subject of all kinds of books and the like.

And no prizes for guessing who she might be either. It’s actually Commodore Goodwill out there in the English Channel surrounded by yachts and she left St Helier at 10:36 for a slow sail over to St Malo.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way past the crowds and the wounded Nazguls I crossed the lawn and came to the crowded car park.

Out in the bay there were a couple of kayakers having a good paddle around offshore this afternoon. Having a lot of fun, I suppose.

When I was at school I used to go canoeing but that was a very long time ago and on a canal. I wouldn’t fancy my chances in an open sea in this kind of wind.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE has been kayaking in the open sea while we were in the Arctic, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.
“Would you like a couple of oars?” I asked him before he set out.
“Yes” he replied. “After I’ve come back and put away the kayaking gear”

cabanon vauban man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My route continued across the car park to the end of the headland, and then I picked my way very gingerly down the loose gravel path on my one good leg.

There was plenty going on out at sea and plenty up above in the air too, as you have already seen. Consequently seeing someone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban was no surprise at all.

What was surprising was that he was taking no interest whatever in the exciting events that were unfolding all around him. By the looks of things he was reading a good book, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with continuing my way down towards the port either.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So I scrambled off on my way towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening there.

Nothing much going on at the ferry terminal today. It seems that despite the fine weather, the summer season is grinding to a close. Moored over there are Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. No step in her stern so that means that she’s the older one of the two.

The only one out at the island today is the other one, the newer of the two. So there aren’t any tours around the bay this afternoon.

As for Victor Hugo, she’s still moored in the inner harbour. Her season is definitely finished and I imagine that it won’t be long before she and her sister are off to Cherbourg for a maintenance visit.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The portable boat lift here in the chantier naval is only rated at 100 tons and I don’t imagine that that’s anywhere near as what is required to lift Victor Hugo out of the water.

It would be nice if we had a bigger left to pull heavier boats out of the water but then there’s no real room here for anything large.

Everyone whom we saw yesterday is still here by the way. However I took a better photo of L’Omerta. When I was looking at the radar yesterday I noticed that there isn’t an image for her on the radar database. As I keep the installation here I reckon that it’s upto me to bring it up to date.

That’s a little project for me – to go through and photograph every boat that lives here. I probably have most of them anyway.

Back here I had a coffee and then settled down to watch the football – Y Drenewydd v Penybont in the Welsh Premier League.

This was a game that had everything. Penybont were the better side and they raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half. Watching Y Drenewydd mounting a comeback and trying to pull themselves back into the game made the second half probably one of the most exciting that we have seen.

They pulled a goal back and kept on piling forward, only to be hit by a sucker-punch breakaway that made the score 3-1. Nevertheless they kept on going and scored a second, but couldn’t find a way through for the third despite everything that they tried.

3-2 was about the right result and the game was a great advert for the League except for a couple of “little incidents” in stoppage time that saw a rash of bookings and a sending-off as Penybont tried to slow down the game and run out the clock.

Tea was one of my breaded quorn fillets with veg, and then I came back in here to write up my notes, rather later than usual.

All my work for this weekend is now done so I can have tomorrow off. I even have pizza dough in the freezer (I think).

So I’ll try a walk around the walls tomorrow and see how I feel. I’m still not feeling myself, which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit, but apart from that my right knee is finished, I reckon. I don’t think that I’ll recover from this.

And even if I were to recover, I’m not sure that i’d have the confidence in it that I had.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

Thursday 25th August 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out and about this afternoon, just for a change. And the days when my whole existence can be uplifted into headline news because I’ve actually been into the town centre shows you what’s going on in my life right now.

With a cheque to pay in, some magnesium tablets to buy and a load of ships in port, it seemed like a good plan.

Yesterday’s highlight, which I didn’t mention for fear of overwhelming you all with excitement, was going to the bins to take out the rubbish. It needed something really riveting to surpass that, didn’t it?

Only a few minutes late going to bed, and for a change I had a reasonable night. Mind you, once again it was a struggle to my feet this morning.

After the meds I attacked the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A bill came through for £170 and I wanted to pay it so I took my credit card and rang up the people concerned ready to pay it over the phone. After being shunted around half a dozen departments I was told that there was another procedure to follow. They explained the procedure to me which I didn’t quite understand but I had a go and the payment failed. I rang them back to explain to them. They explained another procedure which again failed. I was there for about three days trying to speak to all kinds of different people. Eventually they said that they had taken the payment with the credit card over the phone. I asked for confirmation so they put me through to the accounts department to make sure. When I spoke to her and told her about this she replied “you have to pay it”. I retorted “I’ve just paid it”. She asked “have you?” in an air of totally disbelieving tone. I replied “yes” so she said that I’d have to speak to someone in Accounts. I said “I just have done. It was they who just passed me through to you”. I had a feeling that with this money we were just going to be going round and round in a circle and end up nowhere at all. This was taking place while I was in the hospital. I had people in the ward with me so it was really extremely uncomfortable as well.

Afterwards I was in bed but awoke to hear some laughing. The ‘phone went and I couldn’t hear one side of the conversation but the other one was something like “yes, we’re all up and preparing to leave but Eric is still in bed”. I stood up quickly, grabbed my clothes, all my money fell out of my jeans, put on my clothes, kept on having my feet stuck in the legs of my trousers, generally trying to organise myself quickly because they’ll be taking down this tent in a minute. It seemed to me that the quicker I tried to do things, the longer it was actually taking me. I thought that I’d never have enough time to do this and collect my things together before they wanted to pull down this tent.

There was an interruption though in mid-transcribe, and an embarrassing interruption at that.

Yesterday with not feeling so bright and being rather tired, I hadn’t tidied anything up and the place was looking like a total tip. And, of course, I’d completely forgotten about the nurse. She turned up to find me in total chaos and not as clean as I would otherwise have liked the place to have been.

She struggled to find a clean and clear place to put the paper while she wrote out her notes and while she’s a cheerful sort, she clearly wasn’t happy.

All in all, it was rather an shameful situation.

It’s not going to improve very much either because the next time that she’ll be coming to inject me is in 10 days time on a Sunday morning and you all know what I’m like early on a Sunday morning.

After she left I carried on transcribing the notes and almost as soon as I’d finished, Rosemary called me. I’m convinced that when she was here she must have concealed a camera somewhere because she seems to know the precise moment to phone me.

When Rosemary and I finished our chat I started on what was left of the dictaphone notes from my trip around Central Europe and in a mad fit of enthusiasm and energy (don’t ask me where that came from)I completed them all. So that’s another good job completed.

In fact, it took me longer than I was expecting the pause for my lunchtime fruit notwithstanding.

fish processing plant festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Because of the position of the tide, I wanted to go out for my walk earlier than usual this afternoon.

As usual when I’m heading into town my point of reference for checking the camera is the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There wasn’t anyone down there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon. Gerlean who sometimes ties up there was in the inner harbour and I couldn’t see L’Omerta, the other boat that loiters around there usually.

Plenty of boxes on the quayside though so they must be expecting a load of traffic.

sailing boats rowing boat festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact you can see Gerlean down there right now tied up to a pontoon.

What you can’t see though is Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly where she ought to be right now without even looking at the radar. She should be back at her berth. She left home at 09:30 for Jersey and left there at 18:30 to return home.

It reminds me of Frankie Howerd when during one of his TV programmes he turned to the audience and asked “how do I know? Well, I have read the script”

While I was over there I picked up a timetable from the ferry terminal so I now know her agenda. It’s all bad news as far as I can see because the season of sailings is so intermittent that there’s no possibility of my going over there for a convenient three-or four-day break as I was hoping.

Going down all of the steps to the Rue du Port was mush more difficult than I imagined. I’m definitely losing my mobility. I then crossed the road and went over along the side of the Fish Processing Plant towards the harbour gates.

la granvillaise marie fernand grain de sail le loup rouge festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The boat that we haven’t seen before on the extreme right is called Le Loup Rouge. She was built in 1962 and has a very interesting history as she was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose as a racing yacht.

She actually won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s championship that year. Now though, she lives a more sedate life in Cherbourg just going to regattas and exhibitions.

Of course, over there we have on the extreme left La Granvillaise and next to her is Marie Fernand. We are, for the moment anyway, much more interested in the other boat, Grain de Sail

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travailport de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Her claim to fame is that she’s a commercial sailing boat that is powered (almost) exclusively by wind. There’s a small diesel engine on board but that’s just for manoeuvring, so we are told.

But while a uniquely wind-powered boat is nothing unusual, what is unusual about her is that she has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes and twice a year goes over on a triangular voyage from Europe to New York with local French produce for the American market, and then down to the Caribbean and finally back to Europe.

Not that two voyages per year of 50 tonnes is going to contribute much to the environment, but it’s all to prove a point. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I lived in the Auvergne I did much more than that and for a much longer period to prove a point.

le roc a la mauve 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My was timed to perfection as the harbour gates were closed so I could walk over the top to the other side.

As I did so, the first of the shell-fishing boats came in to unload at the fish processing plant. This one is Le Roc à la Mauve whom we saw for a lengthy period in the chantier naval.

Towing her little lighter behind her, she chugged into port with a respectable load of shellfish on board. The guy back there at the HIAB was repositioning the boxes, presumably for ease of unloading.

That’s not the kind of thing that you would do out in the open sea. There have been maritime disasters too numerous to mention where the load in a boat has suddenly shifted or been shifted and caused the boat to capsize with all hands. There was one like that in North Wales not so long ago.

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Once I was on the other side of the harbour I went down to Grain de Sail.

There was a member of the crew on board so I button-holed him. His ship is only a four-berth and as it needs four hands to sail it, it doesn’t take passengers on its transatlantic jaunts.
“What about if you only have three crew members and are in need of a fourth?”
“Do you have a “Marine Marchand” – a Merchant Navy certificate?”
“Regrettably not”
“Then I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be considered.”

And so that was that. At least I tried

Instead I admired the arrays of solar panels and the two wind turbines. They also have some hydro-generators too but I bet that they slow down the boat.

Next stop was the ferry terminal where I picked up a brochure for Victor Hugo. And my enquiries told me that Ukrainian refugees going for a day out to Jersey need a UK visa all the same.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With things to do in the town I headed that way along the side of the quay.

One thing that I like about France is that they are much more child-friendly than the UK and so I was expecting to see much more for the kids than you would see at a festival across the channel.

And I wasn’t wrong either. You can’t have a Festival of sailing ships without having a pirate ship, complete with pirates and buccaneers to chase the kids and press-gang them into service on board.

Even STRAWBERRY MOOSE has experienced life as an active buccaneer, as regular readers of this rubbish WILL RECALL

In fact, looking for that photo made me all nostalgic. That was an excellent road trip, one of the very best, when I started off in the far north of Labrador and three weeks later I was at Rhys’s in South Carolina.

Housman summed it up completely with his
” That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

The buccaneers have now rounded up a crowd of apprentice pirates and one of them is giving them all a lecture on what is expected of them when they serve aboard the Good Ship Glug Glug.

Actually she should have been called The Jolly Roger but the pirate captain’s wife fell off the quayside as she swung the bottle of champers

Anyway, everyone was having a whale of a time (seeing as we are discussing nautical terms) and I left them to it, crossing the ad-hoc bridge over the artificial beach.

film screen festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I thought that I saw a puss .. errr … a TV screen down on the harbour so I went for a closer look seeing as I was here.

It was in fact a screen showing a series of cartoons for children explaining in simple terms all about life at sea. It’s nice to see the kids having a fair whack at the festival.

From there I wandered into town to pay my quarterly pension cheque into my bank account. Now where can I go with €142:60? Spend! Spend! Spend! Hey?

At the chemist’s I bought the magnesium tablets. Extra-strong. According to my friend the pharmacist these will give me a donner un coup de fouet – liven me up.

She might actually have a point there. Thinking about it, I started going downhill when I finished the last lot, went without for a week or 10 days and then had that big box of German ones.

marité festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That was it. I could go home now.

The walk back up the hill wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I still had to stop a couple of times for breath, at one point where I could overlook the port and see what was happening.

Marité was there of course, one of the centres of attention. But you can see just how busy the Festival is. And it will be like that until Sunday now, I reckon. It’s a good way to finish the summer season I suppose, even if the roads and the car parks will be crowded.

So having gathered my wits, I pushed on further up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I wanted to see what was happening on the beach, although I don’t know why because I checked the camera on the way out.

The weather was much nicer today although maybe a little cooler. But the absence of people on the beach can probably be explained by the crowds of people down in the town and at the Festival.

Back here I had a surprise. There’s an undercurrent of dissent about the way the building is managed and two or three people are trying to stir up a revolution. They had pushed a letter into my letterbox

As I’m a tenant and not an owner, it doesn’t really concern me so I wrote a quick note on the back of the letter and put it in the letter box of the building’s President.

During this argument I’m taking no sides but I’m keeping in with the President. She’s the one who has my best chance of coming up the quickest with news of an apartment here to sell that I could buy.

The idea behind renting this place was because it would give me chance to look around and see what else was available. But there is no place on earth better than here so I’m staying here and renting rather than buying somewhere less good.

One day an apartment will come up here.

The walk was such that an iced chocolate drink went down well and then I began to update one or two of the blog entries with the dictaphone notes and images.

After a chat on the ‘phone with the President about my note

Tea tonight (at the usual, correct time) was pie with potatoes, veg and gravy. It’s one of my favourite meals and this one was just as nice as ever. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my meals are simple but they aren’t half tasty.

It’s been a surprising day today – I’ve walked quite a way, not crashed out, done a lot of work. I wonder if I can keep this up. It’s not like me to have a day like this so I’m glad that I made the most of it.

Ready for the (af)fray tomorrow, I hope.

Tuesday 2nd August 2022 – I REALLY THOUGHT …

… that I was going to have a good day today, but it all went pear-shaped round about 18:00 when after valiantly fighting off sleep for most of the day up to that point I finally succumbed.

And it might only have been for about 45 minutes too but it was still 45 minutes more than I wanted.

Mind you, last night I did end up going to bed rather later than intended, having been stuck at the computer longer than I wanted because a “Paul Temple” episode came up on the playlist just as I was going to bed.

However, at least the night was better than the previous one and I didn’t go as far on my travels.

But more about that in due course.

Much of the day has been spent going through the kitchen sorting out the herbs and spices, seeing what I have in stock and working out what I need to buy. And that took me longer than you might think as well because I had stuff everywhere.

It’s all sorted out and counted now, and arranged so that I know where it is.

When I’d done that, the next thing to organise was the medication. That’s something else that I have spread about all over the apartment and I don’t really know what I have. In fact there is probably more of medication that I no longer use than medication that I currently take

Something else that I needed to do was to back up the computer. I haven’t backed up the big computer onto the portable computer since I was on my travels back in June and so I’ve had to copy everything over onto the memory stick that I take with me so that I can do it on the train.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on my key ring I have a tiny 64GB memory stick that’s about half the size of a postage stamp. That lives on the key ring and I use it for transferring files between the desktop machine and the travelling laptop

Strange as it may seem, all of the foregoing took me until quite late in the afternoon. I do have to admit that I wasn’t in much of a hurry but all the same there was still plenty to do.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland today.

And first stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be on too because the tide was quite far out this afternoon. And the nice weather had enticed quite a few people out there to take advantage of it as well.

Some of them had even gone into the water too which was a surprise. It wasn’t that nice

boat zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, while I was there, I had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening out there too.

There was a stationary cabin cruiser down there just offshore with a couple of men on board who looked as if they might be fishing. And so I’m sure that they weren’t all that happy when that zodiac roared over so that the crew thereof could exchange a few pleasantries with them.

And that really was that in Granville Bay. There weren’t any fishing boats or any other pleasure craft or any other water craft of any nature out there. I had no idea where they had all gone. This was the kind of weather where I’d expected to see quite a few people out and about.

Right out in the English Channel beyond the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of sails away on the horizon.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With the 70-300mm LENS I took a photo of one of the sets of sails to see if I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I might be able to identify it.

And so having done the necessary, I couldn’t identify the ship but I could certainly identify the arrangement of her sails, and that told me that she was either La Granvillaise or her sister La Cancalaise who sails out of Cancale.

Sure enough, when I checked the fleet radar, I could see that La Cancalaise was out and about on her travels in that general area this afternoon so that seems to answer that question

F-GCUM - Robin DR400/180  baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That wasn’t all of it either.

While I was walking down the path in company of all of the crowds of people, I was overflown by a light aeroplane out there in the bay.

She’s another one of our regulars – F-GCUM – a Robin DR400-180 that belongs to the aero club and which flies around the bay quite often.

This afternoon she took off from the airfield at 16:05 and flew down the bay where she did a lap around Mont St Michel and then flew straight back up the coast, when she landed back home at 16:33

There were crowds of people down at the car park, so much so that they were queueing to find a place to park.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Nevertheless there wasn’t anyone down at the bench at the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that means that they missed quite a free show.

One of the sailing schools from Granville had gone out this afternoon and they had ended up right across the bay on the Brittany side.

And it’s not every day that you see the sailing schools go so far on their travels. We’ve only seen them over there once or twice in all of the time that we’ve been here.

You can see how far the tide is out in the bay this afternoon too. The water on the Brittany side of the bay is quite shallow.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022and right now, as I was looking down the bay, I was overflown yet again.

Unfortunately the aeroplane didn’t manoeuvre itself into a position where I would read its registration number, and there wasn’t anyone out and about on the radar there at that particular moment so I couldn’t identify it like that.

So instead I set off to walk down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

There was no change at the chantier naval today. There were the same five boats there that were there yesterday.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There’s a little change going on at the Fish Processing Plant though.

L’Omerta is still there playing “Musical Ships” today, but she’s there on her own. Gerlean isn’t there though though. She’s cleared off and right now she was moored at one of the pontoons in the inner harbour.

It beats me why L’Omerta can’t do the same.

But they are assembling quite a collection of fishing equipment on the quayside up above her. Is that all going into L’Omerta at some point, or is someone else coming in to take it away?

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, in the inner harbour, Victor Hugo is back again.

She’s spent the last 12 days in Cherbourg apparently, without going anywhere at all. And so as far as this plan to reopen the ferry service between Granville and St Helier goes, the plot sickens.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were with a group of people last night discussing these films on TV last night about how some of this surrealist comedy was done so well that you’d think that it was real even though you knew that it wasn’t. Then there was the kind of tragedy that you’d have that was done really well but you knew immediately also that it wasn’t real so you had a hard time equating to the other film because you always had in the back of your mind that this isn’t real at all, quite a difference from the comedy type of film. We were having an extremely in-depth conversation in our sleep. Of course I had my foot firmly in the comedy camp. A couple of people arguing against me mentioned films but I had never seen them so I didn’t really know.

Later on I’d been out around the town with a friend of mine from Manchester of all people. We’d been wandering round a couple of bars and places. It was quite busy because it was I dunno Roses Day or something, a day of a Battle of the Roses. In the end I had the idea to go down to the computer halls at the University even though it was late, take STRAWBERRY MOOSE with us, climb into the laboratories and send a few messages to Yorkist supporters about their failure at one of the battles that was being celebrated today. i’d done it before on previous occasions and thought that this might be another moment to do it. My friend was rather reluctant but anyway we went out. We found that the streets were totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul around. We couldn’t understand why. We expected to see crowds of people around there. I’d been trying to get some kind of picture on my laptop before going out but that hadn’t worked at all. That was one of the reasons why I suggested going out for it I had my laptop working we could have done it with that. Everywhere was totally quiet, the driveways were closed and locked. They had these metal fences up to keep people out but there wasn’t a soul about at all. It was just so eerie considering what was going on in the bar and what kind of important historical day it was.

They were still carrying out experiments on people’s knee joints with this machine. They kneel down onto the floor and are clamped into this machine and it puts vibrations through it. I was clamped into one after much complaining by authorities but it was designed for me anyway. A few other people were clamped in. One guy had osteo-arthritis but they turned him down. I was the one who had to tell him that he couldn’t be included in the study and had to send him back to wherever it was that he came from. The question of my knee is even infiltrating into my dreams these days.

Tea tonight was the rest of the curry from yesterday and it’s even more delicious when it’s been marinading for 24 hours in its own juices.

Now here’s a surprise. After I finished the washing-up I steam-cleaned the microwave. It hasn’t been cleaned for a while and needed a good going-over.

But that is one of the things that needs to be replaced in due course. It was a small, cheap microwave with a plastic cover over the metal interior and the plastic is now lifting off and the metal is rusting. It’s not very hygienic but there’s no point in replacing it until I have my new kitchen units up here.

So an early-ish start tomorrow because I’m off on the train to Leuven. Not that I’m looking forward to it but we’ll see how it goes. It’ll do me good to get out and about, even if it’s only going just that far.

Sunday 10th July 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… wonderful day today in the beautiful weather and so while you admire the photos of the crowds of people making the most of it, I’ll tell you about my day.

It started reasonably enough with being awake at 09:30 but even so it was round about 10:30 when I finally fell out of bed. That was a really nice lie-in and I can do with a few more of those.

First thing that I did of course was to go and take my medicine. I’ve had years of practice at doing that of course, and we aren’t just talking about medication either.

And then I turned my attention to the dictaphone. And by the looks of things it needed all my attention too.

crowds plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I started off with my mother, my other brothers and sisters and my father. We were in somewhere. There was a very earnest discussion going on between my mother and my father. I went to try to find out what it was. Basically they had sent my other brothers and sisters home, my father went off somewhere and my mother went off somewhere else. I went with my mother. We were looking down side streets, everywhere like that. I asked her what we were looking for and she replied “a garden”. That was something that I didn’t understand. This carried on. We were in this wasteland watching the wind blow the soil. In the end my mother said that what we were looking for was a giant armadillo roaming around somewhere. This was what we were looking out for, to make sure that we’ll all be safe from it, making sure of where it was and that the rest of my brothers and sisters weren’t there. We walked around for a bit and ended up going back to where we started. I had STRAWBERRY MOOSE with me. I went across the road but there was a car coming that had caught me in my blind spot so I had to run to get across the road back to my mother. I them threw Strawberry Moose back across the road to the other side but a car coming the other way hit him and swerved. It almost collided with a tree or something. I went back to pick up Strawberry Moose but by now he had somehow become a little girl. I picked her up to ask if she was OK and to ask her if she’d been hit by the car. She replied “no, the car had missed her”. I picked her up and carried her back over the road again to where my mother was.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022To my surprise, later on I’m back with that dream about the giant armadillo. This time I ended up with a family of Russians. I mentioned to one of them who could vaguely understand English about what was going on. She shrugged her shoulders as if to say “so what?”. They had their clothes all ready for washing so I put mine out hoping that they’d be washed instead of having to go through another couple of days. They were being washed and I was talking to the old woman, leader of this Russian family, about this giant armadillo. She didn’t seem to take it seriously and I was rather annoyed when she didn’t. That was surprising too because I didn’t really take it seriously. I didn’t really believe what my mother might have been up to.

Perhaps I ought to mention that even as kids we knew that our mother lived in a parallel universe to everyone else and was often quite detached from reality. At times it was quite embarrassing.

kayaks buoy plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022This time I was in a café with Liz (although which “Liz” I really don’t know because I know or knew quite a few of them), someone else and Malou. At first I was on my own while the other two had gone off to clear the table and bring back some coffee. When they returned, they brought Malou. They asked which coffee was mine. I replied “a black coffee” and they mentioned 3 or 4 different types. I answered “as long as it’s black and no sugar, that’s fine and there’s no liqueur or cognac in it etc”. They sat down and Malou sat down next to me. That’s all that I remember.

And not only Liz but I wish that I knew who this other person was. I’m assuming that it’s a girl.

zodiac kayak buoy plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I was with my friend from the Wirral last night. We had some numbers to work out on the bass guitar but I really can’t remember very much about this. There’s a whole load that’s missing that’s really interesting. It all ended up with me having to go home. We were supposed to go home quite earlyish but there was a woman there who decided that she was going to have a little rest. It was about 00:00. It was 01:30 when she awoke and then began to complain that no-one had awoken her. We replied “you told us that you wanted a little rest so how is it now our fault that everything is running late?” We had this tremendous argument about her and not awakening, everything but we stood our ground. Then we had to rig up some kind of emergency system to the fuel tank so that I could go home. I had no spare tyre and my friend didn’t have a car either so I asked “what is going to happen if I have a problem on the way home?”. He replied “you’ll just have to sort it out”. I replied “that’s the last thing that I wanted to hear”. He made up some story but I knew really that I wasn’t going to have any help. In the end the 2 of us set off for my house. We arrived really late and I was only going to have a couple of hours sleep before going to work. To my surprise I found that my family was up which meant that there was no need for quiet or discretion or anything. I could fix this car and it didn’t matter if I made some noise. I was puzzled as to why they were up, whether there was something going on or whether they were waiting for me, I really didn’t know. Anyway I said that I’d sort out something. I had a few bags together with stuff that I might need. My friend’s parting words were “what’s happening now about this arrangement?”. I thought to myself that it’s not going to be done at this time of night now, is it?


diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So while we admire the fact that the diving platform has now returned to the Plat Gousset, I’m still soldiering on.

I’d been sent to prison and been put in my cell. There was another guy in there and he seemed to be OK etc. I went for a wander around and found myself in a cell with an old guy who was something of a philosopher. We had quite a lengthy chat about all kinds of different things. There was coffee brought around on a tray so I had a coffee and we carried on chatting for a while. I asked if he knew where I could find a blanket. After a couple of minutes he produced one. It wasn’t exactly the type of blanket that I wanted but you can’t pick and choose in a prison so I had that. When it was time for “lights out” I wandered back to my cell and my cellmate was on the ‘phone talking to someone or other. Our cell was quite untidy and my bed was really untidy. I thought “how am I going to sleep in here tonight?”. But looking at everything isn’t going to get it done. I noticed that there was another cup of coffee that this guy had obtained for me and put by my bed so I sat down and drank that for a moment.

And then I was with a couple of other people. We were outside someone’s house in Stoke on Trent when a girl pulled up in one of these Renault tiny little electric car things to say that she couldn’t find first gear. She was a small girl, tiny, petite. We had a look in it and frankly she had that much stuff all around the floorwell that she couldn’t depress the clutch very far. We took it apart to make sure that the linkage on the gearchange was OK, put it back together again to make sure that it worked and put it all back. It seemed to be working fine so she asked about it. I told her so she asked “how much do I owe you?”. I replied “give me a nice smile and we’ll call it quits”. She gave us a smile so we chatted for a bit. She talked about her University so I said that my friend from the Wirral who was here has 2 degrees, one from UMIST and I couldn’t remember where the other one was from. I had a degree from that college in Birkenhead but I couldn’t remember its name and neither could anyone else which was a good start. She asked about the third guy but I replied “you don’t want to know about his degree” because he’d served time in prison. We all ended up on a service bus to go back to where the cars were parked. There was a couple on there going through their shopping and someone found that he’d been to buy a card but had ended up with an empty bag. We all burst out laughing but decided that we’d have to go back on this bus to the card shop to pick up his card. I smiled and said to this girl “welcome to Stoke on Trent. It’s always chaos in Stoke on Trent”. She told me that she was on her way to pick up another car. It was going to take her 3 years to pay for it and we had a chat about that. In the end I gave her my card and said “if you’re staying around here, look me up”. She asked if that was me so I replied “yes”. She gave me a card back but it wasn’t the one that I’d given her so I put it in my wallet to look at later. There were more and more cars coming round this bend actually inside this bus. I thought that if we don’t move back to the town centre to pick up this card we’ll end up with a full bus of people and we’d have to explain everything to them and hope that they’d be OK with the situation.

But Stoke on Trent and no Zero? Isn’t that depressing?

Finally, there was a huge group of us out for a meal. A few of us had been out for a meal before including Jackie (although it wasn’t her). There was another girl called Jackie as well. We’d had a nice vegan meal at this restaurant. I’d had chips and some kind of vegan patty. We were all in this restaurant together, an even bigger group of us and I had to go outside to do something. I went to the bathroom and I had to check on a few things. I was quite hot. On my way back who should I bump into but the petite girl with the electric Renault. I found that she was coming to eat with us which I thought was great. I chatted to her and asked her how her car was. She said that it was absolutely great, it just needed a hoover out. She went into the restaurant, I washed my hands and came in. They had to invent a way of sitting us all together. I had to go and order my meal as everyone else had ordered theirs. I asked Jackie what it was that i’d had last night but she couldn’t remember. There was someone else there saying that the menu had changed – a range of items had dropped off. I had a look and saw that the menu was exactly the same as the one that we’d had yesterday so it must have dropped off a while back. I took off my jumper because I was hot so I was just in a polo shirt and trousers trying to order my meal. I couldn’t remember what I’d had yesterday and neither could they. Of course I was hoping that the seat next to this petite

But here’s a thing – not just once but twice did I step out of a dream and then step back in at a later date. Three times, really, because my friend from the Wirral has appeared in two different ones too that aren’t connected by any other pairing. I don’t think that that has ever happened in the past. Once here and there during a night but two or three? That’s never happened before.

And not only was I back in Zero’s stamping ground and she not making an appearance, we haven’t had TOTGA or Castor too, or even Nerina. But we’ve had my family appearing, up to our ears in fact. All of that is getting on my nerves.

After brunch I sat down and paired off the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing tomorrow. Strangely enough, that went quite well and some of the joints went together much better than I’ve ever done before.

While all of this was going on, I was having a chat with Liz on the internet. It’s been a while since we’ve spoken and it’s nice to hear from her

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on – rather later than usual in fact, I went out for my afternoon walk.

For a change I went off around the old town rather than around the headland. It’s been a while since I’ve been around here. And as we can see, while I’ve been away, the repairs to the medieval city walls have been progressing quite rapidly.

They have reassembled the wall that they partly demolished in the Rue du Nord and have made quite a nice job of the pointing. It’s looking much better now than it ever did before.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was there I wanted to go down the stairs to have a look at what was happening to the outside of the wall.

But that was pretty pointless right now. They have erected a scaffolding now right up to the steps and that’s covered with netting that you can see in the photo so I wouldn’t be able to see anything from down at the bottom.

But from here, what I can see is that they’ve worked all the way down to here too. Although I don’t know what they will be doing with the left-over stones that are on the scaffolding.

When that guy told me a few weeks ago that they’ll be here for another year, I don’t think that he must have meant on this particular part of the wall, considering how much they have advanced in the last few weeks while we were away.

open air theatre plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I walked down the path underneath the walls and round to the Plat Gousset.

On my way round I was aware of someone shouting from down below and I wondered what was going on. It turns out that there was a “spectacle” going on at the open-air theatre this afternoon. Some guy was performing a monologue to a fairly large crowd.

Although I could hear him talking, I couldn’t understand what he was saying so I didn’t hang around long. Instead I looked at the diving platform now installed on the concrete pillar and then pushed off on my walk.

around the world in 80 seconds plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The open-air theatre at the Plat Gousset wasn’t the only entertainment taking place down there today.

Down at the Place Marechal Foch this afternoon there was some kind of entertainment going on, called “Around The World in 80 Seconds”. And I don’t think that they can be going far in that caravan or whatever it is – not in 80 seconds anyway.

However they did have a queue of people waiting to try the experience so I suppose that it must be something worth seeing.

So having seen all that I wanted to see, I headed off around the corner.

seagull chicks rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022One of the things upon which I’ve been keeping an eye have been the three seagull chicks in a nest on a roof in the Rue des Juifs.

We saw them a couple of months ago when they were fresh out of the eggs and they looked so cute and tiny. It’s really hard to believe that these are the same chicks that we saw back then They have certainly grown into monsters.

Although their parents aren’t in shot, there were several adult seagulls loitering on the roof here. It made me think that a very proud mummy seagull had brought all of her friends round to see her babies.

There are times when I don’t ‘arf write some rubbish.

childrens amusements Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while we’re on the subject of rubbish … “well, one of us is” – ed … regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve spoken about the Square Maurice Marland quite often in the past.

For several years it was under renovation but it reopened with quite a fanfare of publicity. As time went on, it became the subject of an anonymous blog by someone who was using what they considered to be the poor state of repair of the Square as a means to attack the mayor at the time.

A new mayor was subsequently elected and I wonder what the author of the blog makes of the Square now. It’s riddled with weeds, dying grass and half of the kiddies’ rides are missing. I noticed today that the roundabout has been taken away.

people on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that yesterday we saw crowds of people on the quayside at the inner harbour.

They are still there today – well, maybe not the same people, but the crowds in general. I’m not sure though what was going on down there because I couldn’t hear any music coming from down there today but whatever it was, it must have been good. They’ve laid out the red carpet for someone, anyway.

There’s an ambulance down there too. I’m not quite sure what they are expecting

However there is still no Marité at the quayside. She’s still out and about in the Atlantic somewhere.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We do have one of our regular sailing ships out there this afternoon.

We saw La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Granville yesterday with sails furled, but here she is today with her sails unfurled and billowing proudly in the wind, always towing her lighter behind her. Although I’d like to see all of her passengers cram themselves into it in the case of an emergency.

In the background is the Brittany coast, looking quite clear today in the sunlight. It really was a nice day out this afternoon.

De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Now here’s a surprise – something that I haven’t seen before.

This twin-engined aeroplane flew out into the bay, did a lap around and then flew off down the coast towards Mont St Michel. I couldn’t see a registration number so I can’t say with any kind of assurance what she might be but she bears quite a resemblance to a “Twin Otter” – a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter.

And what she would be doing around here I really don’t know. I believe that the French Air Force has 5 of them. My contact with them is when I’ve seen them flying around Arctic Canada with Air Inuit when I’ve been out there.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and carried on chatting to Liz and then went off to make my pizza.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Earlier on I’d taken the last of the frozen dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting.

Having kneaded it again, I rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof and later on, assembled my pizza when the dough was ready.

When it was baked I devoured it and it wasn’t as nice as usual, for some reason. I think that the freezer hasn’t been freezing the dough correctly so when I make the next batch I’ll freeze it in the big freezer instead of the ice box in the fridge.

But now having finished my notes I’m off to bed. I have an early (like 06:00) start tomorrow to prepare my radio programme and I want to finish it as quickly as possible.

Then I can relax. But with the distance that I’ve been travelling during the night just now, I don’t know whether a good sleep is on the cards.

Monday 20th June 2022 – HERE WE ALL ARE …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow, and not exactly sitting in a Première Classe Hotel in Tours. STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I are actually sitting in Rosemary’s spare bedroom here in the Auvergne.

Last night was another turbulent night with tons of stuff on the dictaphone. There was something going on about Canada and the World Cup. They had qualified for another final and a World Cup final for another sport the previous day. When they qualified for the World Cup people accused them of a little indifference because they didn’t celebrate as much. There was a dispute about one of their goals that should have been given offside. There was also a scandal that they had a camera installed in the changing rooms for one of the matches. People were questioning what was going on about that as well.

There was something happening to do with a guy to pick up an arctic lorry and trailer that had broken down somewhere. He had one of these dock shunter things for pulling it. I thought that that would make a really interesting article for a newspaper, to go with him and write about his recoveries. I went with my father and the first part went OK but waiting for him to come back the second time, we were waiting there hours, not for him but for another person who was coming with us rather. We were waiting hours and in the end we decided that we’d go without this other guy wo I had to go and rescue my cat Tuppence to bring with me. Trying to catch her was another thing, but in the end I managed it but she wouldn’t let me put the antiseptic on her paws. In the meantime she’d been catching fish out of the pond and eating it. We were talking to the neighbours about how good it was to actually have a cat that feeds itself without any help from us.

There was a rich comedian telling us the story of the time that he was at a hotel somewhere doing an entertainment and there were these three girls. He’d managed to get together with the older one but had been told in no uncertain terms what would happen if he started to get together with the two younger ones. He made an attempt on the middle one, put his arm around her etc but she was very uncooperative and wasn’t interested at all. He was telling us how difficult it was to try to be friendly and put your arm around a girl who was not at all interested in any of that. In the end I didn’t want to hear any more about his stories so I went off to have a shower. The shower in my room was pretty miserable and wasn’t up to much so I prepared my stuff ready to go into my friend’s room. On the way there I told them that I was going in for a shower and if they wanted the bathroom for anything they had better hurry up. They said that they thought that they had heard me use the shower so I explained how awful it was. I’d had it running but it hadn’t done anything very much so they asked me to wait for a minute while they organised themselves in their room.

Anyway I was awake early and up and about as soon as the alarm went off.

After a good shower I packed everything and was actually back on the road again by 08:55.

Caliburn required me to stop down the road at LeClerc to fuel up and I found myself right by the hotel that I had tried to find last night – just a cockstride away from where I’d slept.

The drive – as far as Chateauroux anyway – was quite comfortable except that I was flashed by a speed camera that I hadn’t noticed.

But once I hit Chateauroux the sun came out and it burnt me out of the cab. That was hot.

At LeClerc at Montlucon I went in for some groceries and I bumped into two people whom I knew, who high-tailed it out of there the moment they saw me coming. Old habits die hard in Montlucon.

On the way out I found a sheltered shady layby and stopped there to make a butty And then pushed on to see my partner in crime.

It’s been two years since we last saw each other and despite our lengthy telephone conversations we had a lot of catching up to do. I also met her Ukrainian refugee family who seem like really nice people.

They have a young girl, barely a teenager, who is very fond of animals and was showing me photos that she had taken of local animals here. So in exchange I showed her my photos of polar bears, walruses and whales from the Arctic.

She’s ever so cute and it is totally beyond my understanding why anyone would want to be so evil to kids like this.

She has a cat too and insisted on giving it to me to let me cuddle it, even if it wasn’t that keen.

Tomorrow she’s going to have the shock of her life. I’m going to introduce her to STRAWBERRY MOOSE.

But not right now. I’m off to bed. I’ve had a long, tough day, I need my sleep and it’s already late.

Sunday 19th June 2022 – HERE WE ALL ARE …

strawberry moose place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting in a Premiere Classe hotel in Tours in Western France.

And when I say “we” I really do mean “we” for I am not alone. As you might expect, STRAWBERRY MOOSE has come with me too. I can’t leave him behind.

And just in case you are wondering, I’ve already made a considerable list of things that I’ve forgotten. Most people make a lost and pack accordingly. I pack and then make a list of what I’ve forgotten.

Despite a late night last night I was awake at 08:30 and drifted in and out of sleep for another couple of hours

After the meds and checking the medication I started to back up the big computer onto the little portable memory stick that travels with me. And that wasn’t the work of five minutes.

Then I had to finish off emptying out Caliburn and packing up everything to go in him. The final task was to do all of the washing up and cleaning and then disinfect everywhere.

There were plenty of notes on the dictaphone too. I was writing stuff for a radio programme, the notes for the music. One was for a particular group from the 60s. I remembered seeing them and I got on really well with them. They were busted for drugs like most groups were at the time. I always remembered the last time I saw the girl singer was that some of her group had gone already. She was singing with just one or two of them in the street on this makeshift stage. At the end she got off and came over to see me smiling and we bumped fists. She wandered off down the street and that was the last I ever saw of her. I remember thinking about how nostalgic this was and things might have been different to everyone’s lives if instead of bumping fists I’d grabbed hold of her and held her like I wanted to do but I didn’t really know whether I should have done at the time.

Later I was with Nerina and she was having problems as well with her new relationship. They were no longer sharing a room together. Where they worked in this motel they had a room made up for both of them but they were actually sleeping in separate rooms. I asked how long this had been going on and she replied “a couple of years”. Anyway they had been caught doing this and it had led to all kinds of different complications and for all kinds of different reasons that they were no longer actually living together.

Finally there was a group of us on board a boat. We’d had a meal and we were doing the washing up on the back of the boat outside. There was a little guy on board something similar to Hercule Poirot. He came over and said that he had a request for us. We asked what it was and he asked could we go and do the washing up in the kitchen, in the sink. I couldn’t understand why so I asked him why but he couldn’t really come out with a really good answer. Someone else cottoned on to the fact that he didn’t think that the washing up was being done correctly. It needed to be done in running water and the plates properly scrubbed and everything like that. He didn’t think that what we were doing was very hygienic. I was basically on the point of telling him that if he wanted the washing up done down in the boat in the kitchen he can take the bowl away and do it himself rather than disturbing us who were doing it while he was doing nothing but discretion got the better of me. I tried to find out exactly what his precise objection was but for some unknown reason he wasn’t really all that keen in spelling it out. It was annoying me that we were working and he wasn’t and he didn’t like the way that we were working but he didn’t actually volunteer to come along and do the work himself if he wanted it done in a different way.

There was much more to it than this but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

By 16:00 I was on the road again. First stop was at LeClerc to fuel up (and that cost me an arm and a leg) and then we had a leisurely drive through the French countryside.

We hit Tours, 250 kms away, at 20:00 and saw a cheap B&B hotel so I left the ring road, found myself stuck on the motorway and couldn’t find my way back, came off and couldn’t get back on to retrace my steps.

premiere classe hotel joué les tours France Eric Hall photo June 2022However, all was not lost. After I’d been driving for a while around the suburbs of Tours trying to find that hotel, a Première Classe Hotel loomed up out of the gloom.

A room was a mere €45:00 which I’ll take any time, and they arranged for a vegan pizza for me at a nearby hotel that even gave me 15% off.

As you might expect, I’m totally wasted after the drive. I’m clearly not up to this. The day that I drove non-stop pulling a trailer for 32.5 hours are long-gone.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve earned a good night’s sleep.

Tuesday 17th May 2022 – YOU ARE PROBABLY …

… just as fed up as I am about hearing about how bad my days are becoming these days. If nothing changes over the next couple of days I’m going to cut out all of these new medications because I can’t keep on going like this.

Just for a change I actually managed to beat the second alarm to my feet. Only just, but I beat it nevertheless.

After the medication I came back in here and that was everything that I remember until 10:27. I was out like a light for almost 2.5 hours and that’s the kind of thing that fills me with dismay. In fact I was lucky that I awoke when I did because I had my Welsh lesson at 11:00 and I needed to prepare everything.

There wasn’t much time but I was actually ready and the lesson didn’t go too badly either. There weren’t all that many of us there either. It seems that numbers are dropping off these days. I wonder how long it will be before they merge our class with another one.

After lunch I had a few things to do and a phone call to make. Rosemary had called me in the middle of my lesson and I needed to call her back

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Later on it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what was happening down there.

The tide is well out this afternoon and the weather was totally glorious and so I was expecting to see crowds of people down there today. And I wasn’t wrong either.

Surprisingly there wasn’t anyone out there swimming around. If any day was going to be suitable for going in it up to your neck, it would have been today. It was actually 25°C when I went out.

beaches and buoys ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Sometimes when the tide is right out and the sun is shining, the beaches on the Ile de Chausey are quite clearly visible.

And today was one of those days. The beaches were looking marvellous. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago when went off on our week away on the Spirit of Conrad we spent a night on board in that lagoon over there and a morning lounging about on the beach.

You can tell how high the tide comes in too by looking at the pillars on which the marker lights are installed. When the tide is in those lights are barely above the water.

diggers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There weren’t all that many people on the path this afternoon so I had it pretty much to myself.

But when I arrived at the car park at the end I could see the diggers and the other heavy machinery out there working.

Even though I can’t really see what they are doing, they have come quite a long way with this pipeline that they are laying. It looks without any doubt that that they are taking it down to below the level of the lowest tide.

Mind you, having seen some of the storms that we have in the bay I wonder how long the pipeline will last before the storm rips it out again.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And whatever it is that they are doing out there, they have something of a crowd watching them doing it.

There were a few more people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban admiring the machinery and the work that they were doing.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea though. There wasn’t a single boat that I could see this afternoon. Some are tied up in port and the rest of them are right out in the bay fishing.

And so with nothing to detain me here I pushed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As well as the plant and machinery out there in the bay there were other things that the people on the bench could admire, even if there were no water craft of any description out there.

With the tide being so low right now, the public ares of the beach are uncovered and so the crowds are out there this afternoon with their buckets, spades, gratters and other equipment seeing what they can harvest from the rocks.

You need something good and strong to prize to shellfish from the rocks because usually they cling like … errr … limpets. It’s what I suppose you would call “flexing your mussels”.

It’s not really a thing that interests me but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we broadcast a live radio programme from down there a couple of years ago.

cn726519 l'oasis j158 l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As I walked past the chantier naval I noticed that there had been yet again anothe rchange of occupancy today.

L’Ecume II is still there of course but I can’t see if Valeque is still there because in the way blocking my view is a completely new trawler whom we haven’t seen before.

She’s called L’Oasis and her registration number tells my why she’s new in town. It begins with “CN” and that seems to suggest that she’s registered in Caen.

All of the trawlers that sail out of Granville have registration numbers beginning with “CH” tat tells us that their port of registration is Cherbourg.

crane lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that I wanted to do was to have a closer look at the crane that I mentioned yesterday.

There’s a better view from here, but it still doesn’t tell me very much. It’s a “Mantsinen”, the same as the other one, but the name has been painted out. And even though the paintwork looks new, the tracks look old and used.

There are also a couple of guys working on it this afternoon too. All of this seems to suggest that it’s the same one that was here before but is in the process of being overhauled at the moment.

All will become clear over the course of the next few days, I reckon.

trans-shipment rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One of the things that I’ve mentioned before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … is the difficulty of moving things around when you live in a medieval walled city.

Many of the delivery vehicles are too tall to pass underneath the gate and into the city so they have to park up while they work out a way of trans-shipping the articles to their destination.

Back here I had a milk shake and then did some work. There was some stuff on the dictaphone so I transcribed all that. It was something like a scene from CONVOY. A whole group of truckers was on the run again. What they were actually doing was that they had something to do with buffaloes, a ranch or something where they were rearing buffaloes from eggs. It was a whole really complicated scenario there about these eggs, how they were recuperated, how they were hatched artificially into more buffaloes etc. This was a real technological marvel and the IRS was involved in it. It was such a complicated system of rearing these eggs that the whole world’s attention was focused on what was going on here insofar as it affected these truckers who were in dispute with their Government. It was easy to see how they were being prejudiced against when they even saw churches that were totally ruined still doing things to support the Government by opposing the lorry drivers’ movement. We saw one new church where all the members had been arrested even though they were no danger to anyone about anything. It was only the power of these truck drivers that was keeping them out and their interest that this project with these buffalo eggs had created.

And then I was in one of my old offices and I bumped into my old boss Norma. She said “I have,’t seen your time sheets for ages, Eric. Do you have them?”. I replied “yes, they are on my desk”. She said “could you let me have them by Friiday?” We had a long chat about this and that. Then I went out into the main office to find my desk. I had STRAWBERRY MOOSE with me. Someone asked where I was on Saturday. “We didn’t see you in here”. I asked “why didn’t anyone tell me that there was overtime on Saturday?”. “Well, you should have known” was the reply. When I reached my desk there was no chair there so I had to hunt round the office for a spare chair. In the end someone made some kind of underhand comment about where there was a chair so I went and found one and put it back. It was covered in dist so I had to tip it out and clean it. While I was sitting there one of the other girls came over and asked “what’s the matter Eric? Are we friends or something?”. I replied “nothing’s changed as far as I know”. They seemed to think that I was offended by something or upset by something which I wasn’t really. It was just my normal usual grouchy self but they seemed to have it in their heads that for some unknown reason I was upset or offended. I couldn’t seem to persuade them otherwise.

That took me right up to tea time. There was some stuffing left over from yesterday so I had another delicious taco roll with rice and vegetables.

So now I’m off to bed. Hopefully I’ll have a good night and a decent start tomorrow as I’m sick to the back teeth of all of this.

Wednesday 20th April 2022 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today unfortunately.

After having had a few weeks of feeling so much better, today was something of a relapse.

It was one of those things that I knew as soon as I awoke this morning. It was a real struggle to leave the bed (but I still managed to beat the second alarm) and I was feeling like death. For a couple of hours I couldn’t manage to do anything at all and it was a desperate struggle to keep awake for much of it.

Mind you, I had another extremely violent dream and I reckon that it was this that took a lot out of me. We were in some city somewhere in Eastern Europe. There had been a load of events leading up to something but I’ve forgotten them all. We went into this restaurant, it might have been in Eastern Germany, to order something. There were all these people milling around, all kinds of people of all kinds of sexual persuasion just as there used to be in West Berlin in the early 80s. No-one seemed to be paying very much attention so our drink hadn’t come so I went to walk out. Someone gave me a bunch of flowers so I just threw them onto the floor and walked out. Someone tried to restrain me so I gave them a “Glasgow Kiss”. It just descended into a complete and utter orgy of violence after that. It just became worse and worse afterwards and really you don’t want to know about it. It was all absolutely appalling and violent and so real as well.

And then there was a group of us somewhere in Ireland last night. There were several abandoned villages and the talk was that one of them should be reoccupied so they sent a guy out there. They asked which house he would be living in and he replied “the warm house”. They arranged for him to have supplied etc and his letters delivered. A short while later a few more people went out to live there, prospectors, miners, etc. I was one of them although I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I had my electricity bill, 3 for one property, 3 for another and 1 for a third as well as a few other bits and pieces. I was trying to contact the Electricity Board to have some kind of overview of my account so that I could write out one cheque to clear everything. This was much more difficult than it seemed and I could see that after the time that I had spent on the ‘phone and on the 2-way radio trying to talk to people, I was just going to have to write out one cheque for each individual bill and pay it like that. If I run out of cheques that would be rather too bad.

So having had my medication, checked my mails and messages and transcribed the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the day dealing with the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. We eventually struggled onto the shore on Devon island across the bay from Dundas Harbour, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and me, and His Nibs was serenaded by a lady Inuit drum-dancer whom we encountered.

Right now, we’re back in our zodiac heading back to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

Something else that I did was to do some tidying up (shock! Horror!) here in the bedroom and also to deal with some more photos that I found hidden in the depths of the computer that look as if they have been here since the Dawn of Time.

There were the usual pauses for breakfast, for lunch, for a good session on the guitar and also my afternoon walk.

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

And just here at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord there wasn’t very much happening at all. There was hardly anyone down there this afternoon.

Quite a few people further down by the Plat Gousset though. That seems to be where all of the action is taking place. Maybe I ought to go for a wander in that direction one of these days.

But not to buy an ice-cream. There’s a photo (not one of mine) currently doing the rounds about a “certain event” that took place there earlier today.

marker buoys baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were however considerably more people up her eon the path so I was glad that I remembered to wear my mask.

Anyway, I walked all the way round and across to the car park to see what was happening out at sea and once again there were strange objects bobbing up and down in the water.

Nothing particularly exciting though. No dolphin or anything, just a buoy marking where a fisherman has dropped a lobster pot into the water.

And the 25-litre plastic container seems to be back. It wasn’t there yesterday. It’s probably also being used as a pot marker in that case. But these lobster pots are quite interesting. How on earth do you train a lobster to go on one?

cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Although there wasn’t a great deal going on out at sea this afternoon, there had been some people watching it.

However, they must have heard about me because as I turned up and prepared the camera, they stood up and began to leave. This is what happens when you are famous.

So with nothing else happening over here, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on down at the harbour. Not all that much, I imagined. I was having one of those days today that one has when things aren’t going too well.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was no change in occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon. Still just Anakena and la Roc A la Mauve III.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chausiaise today and that was about it. By the looks of things the two Joly France boats are out at the Ile de Chausey and Belle France is still moored in the inner harbour.

But still no sign of the Channel Island ferries. If they really are planning to restart the service by the end of April as the intimated earlier in the year, they need to be getting a move on. There’s not long to go.

In any case, I can’t see me being off to Jersey before I go off on my next trip.

And that was something else that I did this morning and forgot to mention – to book my next trip on the road.

ch 798530 briscard port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The other day we saw a few fishing boats moored up on the silt by the fish processing plant.

Yesterday they had gone and L’Omerta was in their place. But today she’s gone and one of the three that was here the other day – Briscard – is now back again. It looks as if it’s becoming a popular spot.

Abd back here in my apartment I made a coffee and came back in her – and prmptly fell asleep. I told you that I was having a bad day and it didn’t improve as time went on.

Tea tomight was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday. And so tomorrow I’ll be having a curry with the left-over food in the fridge

Anyway, right now I’m off to bed. I’m hoping for a better night tonight without the violence, and a better day to follow. I was really hoping that I’d seen the last of these bad days that I’ve been having, but apparently not.

Saturday 16th April 2022 – IT WAS SUCH …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… a nice afternoon that the crowds were out in droves when I went out for my post-prandial perambulation.

The tide was well out so there was plenty of beach for everyone to be on, and that was just as well because there were plenty of people on it.

It’s been a good while since we’ve seen so many people down there. It looks as if the holiday season has really taken off this weekend and I bet that they are regretting not having the Jersey ferries up and running to cater for all of the trade. This would have been just the weather to go for a ride out to St Helier.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Iwasn’t just on the beach that we had the crowds either.

The paths around the headland were heaving with people as you can see in this photo and the car park was overflowing with vehicles parked on the grass.

Brain of Britain forgot to take his face mask with him too. I bet that I’ll regret that before too long, the way things are. We’re still in 6 figures of daily infections and a couple of hundred deaths each day, and it’s no surprise when you see crowds like this taking no precautions whatsoever.

f-gcum Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And it was quite busy in the air today too.

Apart from the commercial flights that were passing by too far out in the bay for me to see them properly we had a couple of light aircraft going by too.

None of the little ones that we see quite often though. This one here is F-GCUM, a Robin DR400/180 that belongs to the Aero Club here.

She took off at 16:21, went down the coast, came back, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey and landed again at 17:03. It’s probably just a flight for someone to keep up his hours

While we’re on the subject of hours … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent hours in bed last night.

All about seven of them because I was, as usual, late going to bed. Just as I was on the point of going, something interesting (and I can’t remember what now) came up on the playlist so I stayed up to listen.

It might have been ONE OF THE SONGS that my Inuit friend HEIDINNGUAQ sent me for a radio show a while back. Any mention these days of Greenland and the High Arctic is enough to stop me in my tracks. I’ve walked those streets in Uummannaq and STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I are in a hurry to go back.

Anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, I finally managed to drop off to sleep and that was where I stayed until the alarm went off at 07:30. And I was still there when it went off again at 07:45.

Mind you, I did managed to beat the third and final call at 08:00 and that is some doing, seeing the way that things have been around here just recently.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went for a shower to tidy myself up. And since Wednesday I’ve lost another 600 grammes of weight. For some reason or other I must have been having water retention issues and doubling the dose seems to have had some effect.

But that of course reminds me of when I was in Liège a few years ago with my German friend from Munich. We were in a restaurant, surrounded by pretty young girls, talking about … our medication.

That’s when I realised that I was getting old. We would have been talking about something quite different five years ago.

Considering that I didn’t need all that much today, I spent quite a lot of money. And all of it was on food.

Noz came up trumps yet again – more of those little breaded quorn burgers that I like. Two packets of those are now in the freezer.

As for LeClerc, I can’t think what I bought that contributed to the fortune that I spent in there today. And I nearly spent more than that as well because someone disappeared with my trolley and when I caught up with it, a couple of packets of sausages had been added.

car leclerc yquelon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But this in the car park intrigued me. I’ve never seen a car like this before.

Its small size suggests to me that it’s a Japanese town-car model but the steering wheel is on the left and it has a built-in rear fog light so it’s not a “grey import”. But it’s bizarre all the same.

These days though I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to new cars. I don’t have a clue as to what’s on the market and what isn’t

Back here I put the frozen food and the cool stuff away and then made myself a coffee. Eagerly clutching a slice of my fruit bread in my sweaty little mitt as well, I came in here to listen to the dictaphone.

We’d been on holiday to a hotel or some place like that. We’d been picked up by a coach in Manchester and driven to this place. When we arrived we had to all sign a paper for our drinking chits etc. We had been out for the day for a drive. I don’t know what happened but I missed the bus and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go back because I didn’t even know the name of the town, never mind the name of the hotel. Of course I was on foot in the North-East of England. I thought that the only solution was to walk back and follow the route that we’d taken and hope that I would get it right. Following a route in reverse is not as easy as following it going forward. I set off and I’d been walking for about 10 minutes when I bumped into 2 other people, 2 girls who had also missed the bus. I thought that at least I’m on the right road here. We ended up crossing this enormous suspension bridge with a central stay, the highest central stay I’d ever seen. I remembered coming over this. We’d turned left onto it so I thought that we’d have to turn right. We prepared to cross over it but one of these girls fancied a cup of coffee. I had no money with me so she had to buy it. By now we were on this bridge so we had to cling on to the side rail while she went to fetch this coffee. Then she had to find a place to put it which was on something soft like the mattress of a bed. We were clinging on to the side of this bridge with our arms, she’d put this coffee down and we had to unhitch one of our arms to drink this coffee. This was becoming confusing. I asked her the name of the hotel but she didn’t know it or know the town either. The 3rd one hadn’t anything to say at all so there we were with this coffee hanging onto this bridge by our arms trying to drink this coffee with the mugs on a soft surface on probably the highest bridge in the UK

It ended up being quite a late lunch, what with one thing and another (and once you make a start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that led to an even later walk around the headland. Wherever did the time go to today?

As I mentioned earlier, there were hordes of people out there on the beach this afternoon. Not just out at the water’s edge either but settling down in the shelter of the cliffs ready for the long stay until the tide comes in.

Gone are the days unfortunately when there would be the beach-side café and the “pot of tea for six” that people my age will remember. And I have a special reason for remembering it too because apparently the people who cared for my mother as a small child had a beach-side café at Epple Bay on the Isle of Thanet between the wars

But, of course, not that I would remember it. I’m not that old, even if I feel like it and look like it as well.

Cirrus SR22 n549cd baie de Mont St Michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And back in the air again we had another visitor. And I DO mean visitor.

This is apparently N-549CD, a Cirrus SR22, and its claim to fame is that apart from THE AIRBUS A400M that we saw a couple of months ago, this has to be about the noisiest plane that I’ve ever heard.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan and she kept below civilian radar so I can’t tell you where she went, but she arrived at the airfield here on the 13th of April after a 3-hour flight from Schwabish Hall in Germany.

She’s owned by the Plane Fun Inc Trustee Corporation from Snellville, Georgia, USA

le loup yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There might have been plenty of things going on on land and in the air this afternoon but there was almost nothing at all going on out at sea.

In the immediate vicinity of the port, loitering around by Le Loup waiting for the tide to come in were a couple of boats, a yacht and a cabin cruiser.

And that was about your lot. There wasn’t anything at all out at sea as far as I could see, and that was a real surprise given the weather and the crowds.

And so with nothing at all to watch, there wasn’t anyone down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either so I cleared off rather rapidly down the path on the other side of the headland towards the harbour.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there has been yet another change of occupant at the chantier naval today too.

We still have the little Roc A La Mauve III down there and the much bigger Anakena, but where’s Le Styx? She put in an appearance yesterday afternoon but it must only have been a flying visit because this afternoon, she’s gone!

And never called me “mother”!

But if you want to know where Chausiaise went to, she’s over there at the ferry terminal not doing very much at all.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is something else that won’t, regrettably, be doing very much at all later in the summer. In fact, it won’t be doing anything at all.

Never mind all of the fishing boats tied up in the inner harbour, we’re much more interested in what isn’t there, and won’t be there in the summer.

Regular readers of this rubbish are used to seeing during the months of July and August the big wheel that comes along and sets itself up down there behind the warehouse. But it won’t be back again.

Apparently the inhabitants of one of the blocks of flats there petitioned the Maire to ban it because, apparently, it makes too much noise and they have to spend all summer with their windows closed. And surprisingly, the Maire has acquiesced.

Firstly, I don’t know why people do this kind of thing. Much as I hate tourists, this is a seaside resort and the crowds come here and expect to be entertained. And if you want to live by the seaside, you expect the inconvenience of the tourist attractions – unless of course you are a NIMBY.

Secondly, there are acres of empty space all the way down the far side of the harbour round by where the Channel Island ferries tie up. Why not stick the wheel there? It’ll be far enough away not to disturb the NIMBY residents with what little amount of noise that it really does make.

With all of this, I can’t help thinking that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I had another task to perform.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I had a strange delivery in the Post. This glossy booklet about “A Changing Canada” in the 21st Century suddenly turned up. It’s not anything that I’ve ordered or requested so I’ve no idea what it is about.

So what I have done is to photograph the front cover, post it on my Social Network, and see if any of my Canadian contacts can throw any light on the aforementioned.

And having done that (with no replies to date) I went and had a really good session on the guitar.

Now that I have some more of those breaded quorn fillets I had a couple of them with potato and veg. They really are nice and if I’m going to fill up the freezer with something, it may as well be them.

But the freezer is now filled up and there’s no more room for anything else. I had to buy a few loose carrots as there wasn’t any space to do any freezing. Just when I think that I have the freezer under control, I fill it up again.

And I daren’t sort through it because it’s so well packed that I would never be able to re-pack it again. At least, if World War III breaks out, I won’t starve for a while.

Sunday 27th March 2022 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 7L porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

It must be quite a good while so I was quite pleased that one of them went coughing by this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk.

It’s a Citroen “Traction Avant” of course and I should know because there’s one of them IN MY BARN IN THE AUVERGNE where it’s been for over 20 years and where, unfortunately it will have to stay.

The car is one of the later models as you can tell by the straight horizontal bumper rather than the curly “whisker” bumper. And if you were to see the rear of the vehicle, you’ll see that it has a propor boot rather than a sloping back with the shape of the spare wheel pressed into it like one of the ones THAT WE SAW at Oradour-sur-Glaine in the Summer 2020.

It’s always interesting to watch these more-modern films of wartime France when these cars were everywhere and spot the later models that have slipped into the action that took place long before they were ever manufactured.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But that’s enough of that. While you admire a couple of photos of just some of the dozens of boats that were out at sea this afternoon, I’ll start at the very beginning.

A very good place to start.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had an alarm this morning, which was just as well, especially as the clocks went forward this morning and there was an hour less for sleep today.

In fact, I set three alarms at five-minute intervals and I actually managed to beat the second alarm, which is quite good going these days.

After the medication I made a quick breakfast and then settled down for my Welsh lesson today.

yacht rowing boat cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It started off quite badly because it took me a while to warm up.

But once I was going, it all went pretty well and by the end of the lesson this afternoon I was talking much more confidently than I ever have done to date. I reckon that this free revision weekend was worth every penny of the price.

We had the usual breaks for coffee and for lunch, and during the lunch break I made a pile of dough for the next batch of pizzas. And as the bases overflow the pizza tray somewhat, I made a batch with 600 grammes instead of 500 grammes and then divided it into four instead of three.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In some respects it was a shame to be indoors today because I reckon that it was the nicest day of the year so far.

And that’s borne out by the crowds of people who were down there on the beach. And even though there wasn’t much beach down there, they all managed to squeeze on there somehow.

No-one in the water as far as I could see, but there were a couple of people down there looking as if they were stripping off ready for a plunge.

You’ve seen a few photos of the boats that were out there too. The sea mist hadn’t gone completely but even so it was nice enough to tempt a pile of Sunday sailors out into the water for a good sail around.

la granvillaise le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And it wasn’t just the private boats that were out there. There was some commercial activity too out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw la Granvillaise in the chantier naval a couple of weeks ago having an overhaul. Now she’s out there this afternoon with a quite a crowd of tourists having a sail around in the bay.

It’s easy to identify her from this range as she sails past Le Loup. You can see her registration number – G90 – on her sails.

The lifeboat that’s being towed behind doesn’t fill me with much confidence though. I’m sure that they wouldn’t be able to fit all of the passengers on board the lifeboat if they have any issues.

Maybe they have a few rafts on board just in case.

rowing team baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The car park was packed to capacity with cars and motorbikes just about everywhere.

They had brought crowds of people down to the end of the headland where there were a few things going on to keep them entertained, like these oarsmen going past on their way back to port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I once had a go at that but I wasn’t much good and I fell into the water. “He must be out of his scull” said a passer-by.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE once wrote me a note to say that he would be going rowing if only he could find a couple of oars. I really must take him up about his spelling.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And believe it or not, I was right about the crowds of people around here this afternoon.

Some of them even managed a grandstand seat, such as these two sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban looking out to sea.

Plenty of others too walking around on the lower path. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been for a walk down there but I’m not as healthy as I was when I first came here, which is rather depressing. Over the last 12 months my health has deteriorated dramatically.

But that’s enough of that for now. It’s time to be pushing off around the other side of the headland.

kids on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was walking along the path towards the port, I noticed a kid climbing up the steps that have been cut into the sea wall there.

What went through my mind was that he must have been jumping in from off the top so I hung around for a while to see if anyone else would follow suit.

But in fact they were all drying themselves off and then slowly, one by one, they drifted away. The tide must now be too far out for them to jump in safely, although I’ve never known a bunch of young boys worry too much about things like that in the past.

Nothing else of any interest anywhere else in the port this afternoon so I came back home, stopping to photograph the old Citroen on the way.

Back here, over the next couple of hours I did more work that I would normally do on a Sunday when there aren’t any Welsh revision classes.

Firstly, I divided up the pizza dough into four, rolled three in oil and put them in the freezer and rolled out the fourth one and put it on the pizza tray.

Back in the bedroom I dealt with the dictaphone notes from last night. This first one was a dream something like Peter Frampton who had had a big hit and had ended up saving 3 or 4 of his songs. He had someone write a song for him. It was an unusual type of person whom you wouldn’t associate with rock songs. When he went to meet this person there was so much pressure on him that he was running, and jumped from about 30 feet away and slid on his stomach through the street to this guy. He ended up breaking his spine and had to go into rehabilitation. That enabled the guy to write a song for him and a few others. he went on from there to be a success. It was someone like Peter Frampton, a one-hit wonder who burst out into the mainstream after someone wrote a successful song for him

My father had died last night. We (whoever “we” were) ended up going to the funeral which would be a surprise. Back at the house afterwards there were one or two of his things in which I was interested. I asked who was administering the estate. Someone gave me the name of whoever it was, as it happens the same person who had administered my aunt’s estate and with whom I’d had all that trouble 6 months ago. I eventually managed to find my way out of the house to go to see him. The first thing that happened was that he was really upset that I still had my hat on. Then he told me to make a list of the things that I’d taken but of course I hadn’t taken anything. Then he told me to go along and help hand out the coffee and tea etc. Basically he didn’t seem to be all that interested at all in talking to me or letting me tell him what it was that I was hoping to be able to take away.

And then I was with a girl last night. She was working in a pub. The postman came and brought her something and she immediately burst into tears and asked if she could go to work somewhere else instead of the public rooms. Eventually I managed to track her down and she showed me a telegram. Her aunt who was her only living relative had died. I don’t know what happened after that but I had to have my appendix out and she had to have some kind of operation. In Nantwich how this worked was that they had mobile surgical labs. These were parked up near the church in Churchyardside outside the market. They drove the two of us there because she needed something too. We were going to have our operations in 2 surgical labs one parked behind the other. They drove us there in ambulances and we had to get to the corner of the road and then turn left instead of right into the Crofts and do a U-turn and come up behind. I’d go first and be put in the surgical lab and my ambulance would move away. Then the other surgical lab would pull up behind then the ambulance with the girl would pull up behind and they’d put her in her surgical lab. I was in mine. They were talking away and I was trying to go to sleep but I didn’t drop off. I could hear things going on. After a while someone put a pad of cotton wool over my face and dropped some ether on it. When I came round I was in the surgical lab and they asked me how I was and what I could feel. I said that I could feel some heat like something burning on the right side of my lower abdomen like where they would take out the appendix but they didn’t elaborate on what iy actually was and I didn’t want to know either.

And I’m impressed that I can give coherent directions even when I’m fast asleep.

Finally I was around Chester. I was just wandering around and had to go to wash my hands, and found that the toilets there had become unisex so I could only wash my hands and not the rest of me. I was out there in Foregate wandering around when I saw a boy from school but I kept out of his way and let him walk by. Later on there were some schoolboys who had hijacked a lorry-load of whisky. They were busy stacking it in 3 or 4 cars that they had. They were having all kinds of arguments about people who had disappeared with the odd bottle here and there. Just as they were loaded up a police car arrived so they shot off, right into a column of policemen setting out on their beats and scattered them. A couple of police cars gave chase but they adopted a manoeuvre of dodging down a side street when no-one was looking and coming back up the next one. Of course the police who didn’t see them go down the side street when down the next one so they passed each other at 180°. Then another car came and turned round. It was obviously looking for them but they happened to notice that there were a couple of crates of whisky in this. They thought that this was another couple of crates that they’d lost, that someone had stolen. Having given the police cars the slip they set off. They ended up being stuck in a mountain pass somewhere because the police had a couple of observation parked on the other side of the pass to watch all the cars that came past. They wondered how they were going to do this. They had the idea that they would send one car out with a couple of girls in it and a radio. They would be able to see whether any other police cars followed that particular car. That way they’d know whether they were suspected of actually being hidden up in this mountain.

Having done all that I paired up the music for the next radio programme that I would normally have done this morning.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the pizza to deal with too.

That had risen nicely while I’d been working so I assembled it and when it was made and the oven was hot I put it in to bake.

For some reason, it wasn’t as good as the last few have been and I don’t know why. Mind you, it was certainly better than the first few that I made before I grasped the technique.

Now that i’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed, even though it’s quite early. I didn’t have my usual long lie-in today and there’s an early start in the morning – even earlier than usual due to the change in the hour.

It’ll probably take me a good few weeks to adjust to the change but if I don’t start now I never will, will I?

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 20th March 2022 – WHILE I’VE BEEN …

people on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… basking in glorious sunshine out on my rock this afternoon, other people have been suffering.

Alison sent me a lovely video to show me that the region of Leuven in Belgium was hit by a snowstorm this morning. It didn’t last long apparently, but a snowstorm it was nevertheless.

And back here, while I turned off the heating and even had the windows in the living room opened this afternoon, everything is closed and the heating is back on again. It looks as if the brief glimpse of an early summer that we have been having has now ended.

But I bet that we won’t be seeing snow though.

Last night I saw quite a lot of my bed. 00:30 when I finally retired for the night, and it was 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

But I didn’t have much sleep though. There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone and to my dismay I could only decipher less than half of it. Much less in fact. apparently the settings on this new machine are different from the old one that I had.

That’ll teach me to check the manual … “PERSONual” – ed … next time .

After the medication I came back in here to do my best to find out where I’d been during the night. I was with a former friend of mine last night out somewhere in the countryside and there were these two Harley Davidson motorbikes being chased down the road by a bulldozer. When they went past, when they came to a tight corner one of them fell off on the bend

There was also a big meeting taking place of a group of people. It might have been the students’ union, I dunno. It was taking place in a big sports centre somewhere outside a town. It might have been in the Netherlands or Flemish Belgium. At the town where Iw as, I was on a bus that was going to where the Sports Centre was. There was a couple of people on there and we were all speaking to the driver. She was telling us that she was shortly leaving her job and going off touring around New Zealand. I was talking about Canada and the pick-up that I had out there. In the end I was the only one left on the bus and we came to the Sports Centre but she told me that she couldn’t drop me off there because it was on a bad bend so she took me on to the terminus and I had to walk back. I had Strawberry Moose with me. I walked into the hall and saw all kinds of people whom I knew but they didn’t want to talk to me and all moved away. I saw the group from Northern Europe who were all sitting there. One of my sisters was there too and I thought “what is she doing?”. I had to use the bathroom but it was filthy and disgusting and there wasn’t much toilet paper there but I had to go all the same. Someone else came in and shouted “I have a tape for you”. I replied “you’ll have to hang on to it for a minute”. He replied “no, it’s here”. I replied “I can’t come out and do anything right now”. he said that he would have to leave it. I asked him where he was leaving it and he replied “underneath your Bible” and that took me by surprise because I didn’t have a Bible.

With the tons of stuff that I have yet to decipher, nevertheless a connection of Zero put in an appearance. If he was there, it probably means that she wasn’t far behind and so I’m picturing a night of unbridled passion with Zero, TOTGA, Castor and several other young ladies from the dim and distant past putting in all kinds of appearances during the night and I will never ever find out anything about it.

Just my luck.

There was enough time before brunch to sort out the music for one of the radio programmes that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. The joins didn’t work out as well as they have been doing just recently but that’s due to the fact that the tracks are all completely different from each other and there’s no natural flow.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I went out for a very early afternoon walk, for reasons which will become apparent in due course.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach.

And see the crowds of people who were milling around down there. As you saw in the photo of the path along the clifftop, people were out in droves today taking advantage of the really nice weather.

No-one out at sea, as far as I could see. The haze that we had yesterday had lifted somewhat – only somewhat. The Ile de Chausey was quite clearly visible but there wasn’t much to see beyond that kind of range.

diagonal window in house rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having strolled down the path to the lighthouse and having looked back down the path to see the crowds, this house in the Rue du Roc caught my eye.

We have seen this house before and I’ve probably photographed it too but it’s still quite interesting. Most builders and designers seem to lack any imagination but whoever designed this house had plenty to spare

If people are going to put windows in gable ends, they usually make them perpendicular in either the vertical or the horizontal plane, but to see a window in the diagonal to match the pitch of the roof and the pitch of the roof of the neighbouring house is certainly different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Being out for my afternoon walk so early, the tide was well out, as you saw earlier.

And that means that the practitioners of the pèche à pied are finding that the water level is now below the parts of the beach and rocks that are leased commercially. Consequently it’s a free-for-all for everyone down there this afternoon.

And there were the crowds too out there on the rocks looking for the oysters, lobsters, eels and other delicacies. And I hope that they share them with their friends and neighbours because as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the pècheurs à pied, we also had interested spectators too.

Down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a couple of people sitting down and watching the fishermen and women at their work. But they had obviously heard all about me because as soon as I pointed the camera down there, they stood up to leave.

And so I left them to it too and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

pecheur de lys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And the short answer was “nothing”. There had been no change whatever of any importance or significance in the outer harbour since yesterday.

Everything was exactly as it had been, including the old wooden Pecheur de Lys, who hasn’t moved for a considerable period of time.

We saw her in the water for a short while a couple of years ago after a brief overhaul on the blocks in the chantier naval, but that was about it. She was only afloat for a couple of days and then she was hauled back in and that was that.

With nothing else changed in the inner harbour I hurried on back home because there was something important going on that I didn’t want to miss – hence my early afternoon walk.

On Friday evening we saw the first Welsh Cup semi-final between Y Bala and Penybont. This afternoon it was the second semi-final between TNS and Colwyn Bay.

TNS are runaway leaders of the Welsh Premier League, having already won the Championship, and Colwyn Bay are in fourth place in the second tier so the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

However TNS were made to work hard for their victory and the goal that they scored to win the tie was the type that you only ever score when lady luck is shining on you. A corner swerved in, hit the post, bounced out about a foot, hit a TNS attacker in the face and rebounded into the net. And he knew nothing at all about it.

It might have been a different story too if the referee had awarded Colwyn Bay a penalty when Connor Roberts in the TNS goal wrestled an attacking Colwyn Bay attacker to the ground after the ball had been played.

During the football match I found to my surprise that I was drifting off to sleep and when the game finished, rather depressingly I dropped off to sleep more-or-less straight away. And for a good half-hour too

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having taken out a lump of dough out of the freezer immediately after lunch, it was now defrosted so I kneaded it and rolled it out.

After it had proofed I assembled the pizza. I remembered the olives this evening too. and then it went into the oven to bake.

It turned out to be one of the best pizzas that I have ever made as well. This last few that I have made seem to have worked out quite well and I wish that my technique for the rest of my baking activities would develop like this.

Anyway now that tea and the washing up is over and I’ve had a spell on the guitar too today, I’m going to bed. It’s an early start tomorrow as I have a radio show to prepare and I hope that now that I’ve set up the new dictaphone in accordance with the instructions, I’ll be able to listen to where I go during the night.

Fancy going on all of those voyages last night and hardly understanding anything at all of what I was up to.

Wednesday 9th February 2022 – HERE I ALL AM …

.. not actually sitting in a rainbow, but sitting in my little room here in Leuven, after one of the most uneventful journeys that I’ve ever had.

man with giant teddy gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo February 2022One of the only two things of note about this journey took place in the Gare du Nord in Paris.

There, I came across a guy with an enormous teddy-bear strapped to his back, with the bear carrying a backpack.

Of course, it goes without saying that I went over to him and told him how much I admired his choice of travelling companion. And then of course that led to a discussion that involved STRAWBERRY MOOSE.

And that of course served to remind me that it’s been 18 months since His Nibs and I last went on an adventure, when we did our tour of Central Europe, and two and a half years since we last set foot on North American soil.

And like me, he’s getting itchy feet. We need to be on our way somewhere, moving about.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4520 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022The second incident of note took place on board my train at Lille Europe.

There was a couple sitting in my seat and at first they refused to move, insisting that the numbers on the seat in front related to their seats. It was only when I asked them if that meant that the people in seats 75 and 76 had to sit on the luggage rack that they reluctantly agreed to move.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t have bothered and would have sat somewhere else but there was something about this couple’s attitude that rubbed me up the wrong way and these days my good humour evaporates much more quickly than ever it used to, especially when I’m confronted by intransigent people.

Apart from that, it’s been a very fair day today. When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was (for a change) out of bed quite quickly, made my sandwiches, had a coffee and, to my own surprise never mind yours, steam-cleaned the kitchen, including washing the floor with disinfectant.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022At 08:00 or thereabouts I left the apartment with my gear and headed off for the station.

First … errr … port of call was the viewpoint overlooking the fish processing plant where I checked the NIKON 1 J5 to make sure that it was working.

The fish-processing plant was this morning’s first subject. It might be early in the morning but there are plenty of people down there working as we can see. All of the lights are on in there and there’s a refrigerated lorry down there waiting to take away the catch.

And L’Omerta is still down there where we saw her yesterday, sitting on the silt.

dawn st pair Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Although it was still dark, the sun was starting to rise.

The sky in the distance over at the back of St Pair sur Mer is becoming lighter with a beautiful pink tinge.

What they say around here is “Red Sky at Night, Shepherd’s Delight. Red Sky in the Morning, Avranches is On Fire”.

And as I was on the point of taking the photos, most of the streetlights in St Pair sur Mer went out and what would have been a glorious photo suddenly turned into something rather more banal.

On that note I headed off down into town and then out the other side and up the hill to the railway station.

modernisation gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It only took me 25 minutes to reach the station this morning, with only one stop on the way, which is progress of a sort.

And at the station, I had a surprise. There has in the past been some kind of vague talk about some improvements at the station and today, they had fitted out the entrance hall with a pile of scaffolding.

It looks as if it’s “all systems go” and it will be interesting to see what they’ve been up to when I come back next month.

You can see the yellow boxes there. They are for passengers to use to stamp their tickets before they board the train. All paper tickets have to have a timestamp on them to make them valid.

84571 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Despite my being there early, the train was already on the point of pulling in, and that was a welcome sight. I didn’t have to sit outside in the cold.

Today I had a seat all to myself right next to the toilet so I didn’t even have to walk very far.

There was all of my work to back up from the large computer and while I was doing that I listened to my Hawkwind “concert” again. I stomped all my way to Paris, except for the 10 or 15 minutes when I was … errr … resting.

We were bang on time in Paris and the trip on the metro to the Gare du Nord was straightforward, especially my little walk along the street and I can’t understand why I didn’t check this before.

There was a bit of a laugh though. The metro was crowded but I managed to find a seat. A woman grabbed the seat next to me and beckoned to her daughter, who was about 11, to come and sit on her lap instead of standing up hanging onto a strap.

“I think that that’s a bit too baby” I said, which brought a smile from daughter and a sigh from mother, and despite repeated entreaties, daughter steadfastly refused to sit on her mother’s lap all the way to the Gare du Nord.

tgv inoui 225 tgv reseau duplex gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo February 2022Having exchanged pleasantries with the guy with the teddy-bear, I went to find my train to Lille Flandres.

As usual, it was one of the TGV Reseau Duplex double-deckers, looking as if they are in need of a little paintwork these days. Nevertheless they are quite comfortable, even if there is only one power point per seat.

This afternoon I was lucky because I didn’t have a neighbour so we didn’t have to fight over the power point and I could carry on listening to Hawkwind and reading my story about a Michigan cavalry unit in the American Civil War all the way to Lille.

And for a change, I was on the lower deck. No fighting with the stairs

TGV POS 4404 gare de lille flandres railway station France Eric Hall photo February 2022At Lille I found that we had brought another trainset with us – one of the POS units from eastern France so once more it was something of a hybrid train.

In fact, it actually brought us because it was certainly coupled up at the front of our trainset and there weren’t any passengers at all on it, so I imagine they’ve taken advantage of our trainset to carry out a positioning voyage.

We were 8 minutes late arriving at Lille so we had to push on rather rapidly to Lille Europe for our train from Montpelier to Brussels. Some young woman was looking rather lost so I brought her with me and we had a nice chat. However when we reached the station she disappeared off somewhere else and that was that.

There were a couple of minutes to spare so I used them wisely in eating my butties, and then I had my little … errr … discussion on my train.

The journey to Brussels doesn’t take long so I didn’t mess about with the computer. I listened to an album that I’d stored on my phone.

Colosseum Live, one of the greatest live albums ever, and something bizarre usually happens to me whenever i hear it.

In the Canadian High Arctic in 2018 I had a strange encounter with an interesting young lady whom I met on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR while I was listening to it, and in The Canadian High Arctic in 2019 on the same ship sitting in the same seat on the same deck listening to the same album, I had an even more strange encounter with another even more interesting young lady, about which I’ll write one of these days.

However, to my dismay, nothing whatsoever happened this time to ignite my curiosity.

class 27 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022A train to Leuven was already in the station when I arrived – a push-me-pull-you – so I scrambled aboard, and we set off, at a snail’s pace, down the line.

When I arrived at Leuven I went to see what was pushing us and to my surprise it was one of the old Class 27 locomotives. 60 of them were built in the early 80s and they were the first of the modern generation of electric locomotives.

“Powerful” is not the word to describe these locomotives. One of this class pulled a train of 70 carriages, the longest passenger train ever assembled in the world, so I’ve no idea what was the matter with mine going so slowly.

At the back of the station is the little Match supermarket so I went there to buy the bread and drink for the next couple of days and then headed for my room

cherry pickers martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022In the Martelarenplein they had a couple of cherry-pickers but they were parked up and it wasn’t easy to see what they had been doing.

Back here I didn’t have an upgrade but instead I’m in my usual room up two flights of stairs that kill me having to climb them.

After a coffee I … errr … relaxed for half an hour and then walked down to Delhaize for my shopping. I bought everything that I need and even “won” a trolley token from one that had jammed in an abandoned trolley. A trolley attendant saw me wrestling with it and gave me one from his pocket.

At some point I finally managed to catch up with the dictaphone notes. I was up in the Scottish Borders last night with a couple of young girls whom I met there once upon a time, at the festival indoor. The two girls were dancing. They were carrying bottles of drink around and I’m not sure why because they weren’t drinking them. We’d filmed them dancing, as well as quite a few others. We were watching it, and I can’t remember now, but she was most offended when she saw them dancing with the alcohol and had quite a lot to say about it. There was something about food too, making queues for the food and serving the queue, how if you had your food in one room you couldn’t go into another but eat in that room etc, something to do with the fact that some parts were licensed as a takeaway and some weren’t. It was all quite complicated. We were talking about my flat-bottomed boat festival. The film went on to talk about it and said about how these two girls would be invited to attend as well but of course the older one by this time had been killed so it was totally irrelevant.

It’s surprising, this little voyage, particularly about the death of one of these girls. In real life I’d actually met them a couple of times and then after one of our meetings, the older one was actually killed. She was driving to work early one morning when a German tourist who had driven up from Dover through the night without stopping pulled off the M74 onto the wrong side of the road and hit her head-on.

In her ancient and frail Open Corsa, she didn’t stand a chance.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many previous guises will recall that the after-effects of this accident were quite considerable and are still rumbling on today

Later on we were back at the Scottish Borders again later and there was another girl there in between the age of these two girls, probably about 15 or so. She was dancing as well but I can’t remember where this started or why it was significant.

My friend Marianne was in hospital so I’d been staying in her apartment. I’d been there for five months from September until February. There was some talk that she might come out very soon so I’d had to have a good go round and tidy everything up and make sure that everything was where it was supposed to be, all of her clothes and everything, find her bank cards, find her money and all that. It was extremely complicated. At one point I found her cassette player so I put some music on and was listening to that while I was working. When I’d finished in the bedroom I couldn’t make up my mind whether to leave it on or switch it off. In the end I switched it off but this was something extremely emotional, all of this.

I was with Lise last night (and who is Lise?), on my way home in a car. There was some kind of news report about an Italian who had done something and taken an Israeli person hostage. I was driving home and I came to the road junction which I thought that I needed but for some reason I couldn’t see clearly out of the car. I ended up driving past so I had to find a place to turn round. I came to a place in a village where I could turn round but parked in a field were a couple of steam traction engines, all overgrown and covered in weeds, creepers etc so I went to take a photo of them. No matter how I tried I couldn’t find a decent viewpoint. In the end, after a while, I gave it up as a bad job, went back into the car, turned round. Then I noticed several ruined buildings from the Middle Ages so I stopped to take a photo. All these kids swarmed around me and kept on standing in front of the lens so I didn’t have a clear shot. Then the camera wasn’t recognising the lens. This was proving to be extremely awkward. In the end I was having to push these kids out of the way but the more I pushed, the more they formed back and kids started appearing from everywhere. I never did take that photo.

And that wasn’t all either. But as you are eating your tea right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Now that I’ve had my tea, I’m off to bed. It’s early but I’m exhausted and I have my hospital appointment tomorrow so I need to be fighting fit. 123% of my daily activity deserves a good rest.


Saturday 22nd January 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… else today that I don’t normally do and haven’t done for years, and that it to take a couple of painkillers.

Usually pain doesn’t bother me all that much but the pain in my jaw today has been agony and if I were a football coach I’d seriously be contemplating taking out all my teeth and fitting seats instead.

Things weren’t so bad this morning if I remember correctly – and I can’t remember very much because it was something of a mad scramble to leave the bed. I’d switched off the alarm at 07:30 and thought “I’ll just give it 5 minutes” and the next thing I remember was that it was 07:59 and I hadn’t make it out of bed when the 08:00 alarm went off.

So after the medication it was a slow start to the day but eventually I managed to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were piles of them too. I was making myself something with chips last night and I wanted more chips so I went to find another potato. But the only potatoes that I could find were far too big for what I wanted. While I was doing that I was at the back of the shop. We were having problems with all sorts of people who were coming in and out of the shop and trying to come through to the back which of course was off limits. Then one of the younger girls shouted and said “an educated while man has just gone out of the back door” so I dashed out to see. The back door had been left wide open and there was a car on the back with a broken wheel which I think I must have heard pull up because I heard a strange noise a few minutes earlier. Then I was on my way home. It was North America. There were kids playing around. One kid jumped up to grab hold of a balcony or something on a first floor and worked him or herself along to where there was a wall where they could lower themselves down and walk away. Another kid did the same thing and became tangled up with the first kid and they couldn’t move. Someone shouted for help so someone came out of a nearby house. The 1st kid took it upon himself to leap off so he swung off with his hands. He fell on the pavement really awkwardly near where I was so I started to go over to see him

We’d been skiing, a party of us, but the weather wasn’t really good enough. There wasn’t really all that much snow. I’d started out by being in Montreal and was telling a few people about my trip somewhere. I mentioned that the snow was about a metre deep which took them by surprise. They thought that the snow was more like here, basically an iced-over covering. Then we were preparing to go skiing. There were several girls in our party but one in particular I was quite fond of. As it happened when she came to rent her ski equipment I was already in the queue so I fetched her equipment for her. We chatted a little but she didn’t seem to be very enthusiastic but she didn’t seem keen to wander away either. Skiing was extremely difficult because you were OK on the flats and on the edges but it was the transition from the flats to the edges that caught out a lot of people. It wasn’t really enjoyable. When it went dark we came back and I collected up the equipment. I didn’t want to be away too long because there was some kind of dance or disco that night and I had my eyes set on persuading this girl to come with me. I was busy trying to fire myself up to some kind of positive mood because when you feel positive things seem to go much easier. When I went to hand in this ski equipment there were loads of people in suits, businessmen, hogging all the way round the bar and you couldn’t get to the bar at all to hand over your things, never mind order a drink or anything with all of these businessmen types in the way and they didn’t want to move. Even when the Chancellor of the Exchequer turned up no-one would make room for him. All the time I felt that it I don’t organise myself very soon I’ll miss my opportunity such as it is with this girl, aren’t I? And we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

I’d had to go to the hospital in Granville so off I went. It wasn’t situated where it is but beyond LeClerc on the road to Villedieu. I’d been there doing a few things, talking to a few people whom I’d met on holiday with Adventure Canada. By the time I’d finished, I’d written a letter so I said goodbye to a few of these people but one of these people just totally ignored me which I thought was strange. I looked in at the reception desk but the people I’d been talking to had said about the hospital that was somewhere else in the town is closed after 11:00 so we’d been making jokes about “what happens at 11:30 if you cut your finger off?” etc. I went to the reception but there was no-one there so I took their sellotape and sealed up my letter. The receptionist came and I asked her about the hospital. Where do you go?. She told me of a hospital somewhere to the north 25 kilometres away which was a different on to the one that someone else thought was the nearest. So I left and went down to the car park. I had three vehicles on the car park, Caliburn, my red Cortina estate and another one that I’d bought. When I arrived, the other vehicle had gone, the red Cortina estate had been set on fire and had been put out and the back doors of Caliburn were open and everything that was in the back except for one or two little bits and pieces had been taken. I thought “I know what’s going to happen next. They are going to turn up having taken away one vehicle and take away the red Cortina estate” so I started it up ready to move it. I had a look at it and with the paintwork really blistered, even though i starts and runs the police are going to be quite interested in the state of the vehicle. I’m going to have to spend a weekend just preparing it and giving it a quick spray-over just so I can continue to use it without being unduly bothered by the police. And then what was I going to do with Caliburn because if they came back and I’d removed the red Cortina and that had gone, they’d take Caliburn away

So there I was on my way back, having stepped back more-or-less into the previous dream where I’d stepped out, driving past a house and a woman I know from here was tending her garden. I waved to her. A little further on she had some kind of cockerel that I didn’t recognise so I stopped to ask her the breed of the bird. She pointed to a heap of rubbish on the other side of the road. She said “there’s a letter for you over there in that heap of rubbish about an appointment. I went over to have a look and it was all the stuff out of the back of Caliburn, the false floor, the mattress and several other things. A little further on there was Caliburn. He’d been hit in the side so there was a huge dent down the side, a window was broken so they had obviously hit it with another car to move it. Everything had gone out of the back except a few bits and pieces. Strawberry Moose was there so I rescued him. There was no real point in doing anything with Caliburn because just hitting him with that car had damaged him irreparably. There was absolutely nothing to be done. It wasn’t even worth taking away the stuff that was still in the back of it.

And all of that news about Caliburn and my red Cortina estate was enough to put anyone off.

By the time that I finished all of that it was lunchtime so I went to make my sandwiches. And they ended in the bin too because by now with my aching jaw I couldn’t eat them. It was soup with pasta, and aren’t I glad that I bought that job lot of vegan soup from Noz when I did?

This afternoon I finished off the dictaphone entries and started to edit and re-upload some of the previous journal entries that were incomplete. I’ll finish the others in due course

Tea was an overcooked pasta with overcooked veg in a vegan cheese sauce. And it was still difficult to eat. I’m hoping that whatever it is that is causing this pain will go away pretty soon so that I can have some nice things to eat. If I carry on like this much longer it will be soup and ice cream and nothing else.

But not tomorrow. It will be toast and porridge, with pizza for tea, unless something dramatic happens.

Friday 7th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

rainstorm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… photos today, people.

And when you see this photo that I took while I was out on my afternoon walk, you’ll understand why. That’s a rainstorm out there in the Baie de Granville obscuring the Ile de Chausey, and it’s a big one too.

And about two minutes after taking this photograph, I got the lot. Dropped on my head from a great height, as it were.

Had I seen it coming before I went outside I might even have waited for it to pass over, but I didn’t notice it until I was on my way down the path, by which time it was too late, so I carried on regardless and even four or five hours later my trousers are still wet.

It’s a good job that I’d worn my rain jacket.

So what have I been up to today then?

The answer is that I’ve been fairly busy (for once). And that includes during the night too. One of my friends – and I can’t remember who it was now – was teaching a class of Primary School children and the question of cars came up. I’d been dismantling a pile of German cars so I had loads of German numberplates and things. One of the numberplates had a collection of badges on it. There were a lot of things that were very interesting so I arranged to go into her class to give a little talk to the children. Of course Strawberry Moose came with me. When I arrived I was pretty loaded up so people had to open doors etc for me. I finally entered and put everything down. I had to introduce myself and say why I was there. One of the flower pots on the desk fell off onto the floor right in front of us all for no apparent reason so that had to be picked up. Then other things like that started to go wrong. This was taking ages but I’d hardly started. I said that I used to go to this school as a child and Mrs Matthews and Miss Blackburn were my teachers. I’d hardly started but everything was going wrong. We were running out of time. I could see that it would have been far better to have done this in the morning rather than in the afternoon after lunch but it was crazy.

Later on, TOTGA had 2 cats. We were talking on the ‘phone when she gave one such a smack. I asked “what’s up? Poor cat!”. She said “poor chat! How would you like it if one of them had just scratched your brand-new cricket shoes to shreds?” – something like that.

This was something to do with globalisation and my Passat estate. I’d been with a group of people and they’d all decided that they wanted to do different things. This was in the Netherlands or Flanders. I didn’t really want to do anything but they had all decided where they were going. They were all going to different places and I’d be on my own so I tagged on to one of them. There was a howling gale blowing outside that had already blown in one of the windows. We had to run down these 4 flights of stairs to the bottom in the teeth of this gale so I set off. When I reached the bottom there was a German soldier with a rifle holding me up. He asked where I was going and I replied “the hospital” so he showed me where it was and I went on my way. At the hospital we talked about globalisation, how the War had made some big American companies into multinationals. They were talking about cars too. I had a pile of plastic folders on my desk with all information about cars that I’d owned. We went through all of those and came to the one of the Passat. I said that this is the last of the really independent estate cars. After this, everything else was all the same.

There was something else too about TOTGA. She was in goal. There were people throwing all kinds of things at the goal. She was diving around like a goalkeeper keeping them all out. There was something to do with my Passat as well in this but I can’t remember what it was.

So aren’t I the lucky one? A couple of nights of Castor and Zero, and then TOTGA comes along. It’ll be Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter tonight, you just wait and see.

Once I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes (and a second time too because I deleted rather than saved them – it’s a good job that I do my daily back-up) first task was to make the bread.

500 grammes of wholemeal flour, 8 grammes of salt, 80 grammes of sunflower seeds, 2 packs of yeast and 320 grammes of water all kneaded together for about half an hour.

While it was busy proofing, I made the rest of the hummus now that I have a whizzer. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be bothered by vampires and werewolves while eating this batch. It’s wicked.

It’s a simple recipe too. For any given quantity of weight, use 50% of chick peas, 25% of tahini (sesame seed paste), some olive oil and chick pea juice to make it up to about 95%, some sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Then whizz it up into a nice puree to the consistency of cement.

Then add your filling to take it up to 100%. One batch had diced olives and the other one diced sun-dried tomatoes. Whizz them in gently, just enough to disperse them throughout the mix but not to atomise them.

Kepp what you need in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for further use. I have some nice 125ml ice cream tubs that I salvaged from a housemate in Leuven and they are perfect.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back at the bread. It had risen quite nicely and so it was put in the oven to do its stuff for 70 minutes

And this is how it turned out. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It tasted beautiful too, especially with the fresh hummus on it. It made a really wonderful lunch and I was very impressed with this. I’m really going to have to start to get back into cooking again.

And if I’m feeling like that, you can tell that I’m feeling much better than I did earlier in the week. I wonder if I can keep this up for a while.

While I’d been waiting for the bread to bake, I’d been doing this little exercise in my journal that I started yesterday. That’s finished now, which is good news.

But what’s surprising is that there were only 79 entries in total that needed to be amended and none at all before 2012. Considering that this played an important part in my life between 1996 and late 2007 and still does to a considerable degree, this is quite astonishing. I was expecting many, many more than this.

After my delicious lunch, I started on this soundfile and by the time that I was ready to knock off for work, I had finished it. Reduced from 27:32 to 11:35.

At least, I thought that I had. But for some unaccountable reason, one of the channels was would up to +36dB and I hadn’t noticed it before I saved it. And so it’s “clipped” horribly and reducing the decibels just turns it into a big mess.

Luckily, it’s the interviewer’s channel so I’m able to take the master recording (I never edit the master recordings, only copies that I make), cut out the questions, re-edit them and paste them back in over the top where the clipping has taken place.

It’s not easy because there is some overlap, but it’s better than I expected. I’ll finish that tomorrow anyway.

When I started using Audacity I knew next to nothing about it. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I never make any mistakes. I just learn a lot of lessons very quickly.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Like taking a raincoat with me when I go out for my afternoon walk.

Actually, I might have gathered that something was up by the fact that the place was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul about. Certainly not down on the beach this afternoon. I had it all to myself.

There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – at least, as far as I could see. And that wasn’t very far with that rainstorm just offshore. Quite a change from the last couple of days when we’ve had some of the best views that I can remember.

skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was something going on on the car park though.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the lorry and mini-digger coming back and to to the area. And now a skip has appeared with a load of soil in it. Something must be happening somewhere and I suppose that I ought to get out and about and look to see what it is.

But not today. Not in this weather anyway. I girded up my loins, wrapped my raincoat tightly aroud me, stuffed the NIKON D500 up underneath my jumper and waded off through the puddles and down the path.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And it wasn’t until I reached the chantier naval that I stopped either.

But that was because despite the weather, there was some change down there today. Trafalgar, the trawler that we saw in there yesterday, has now disappeared. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

There’s just Gerlean in there today, and she’s heavily wrapped up against the weather, just as I wish that I was.

Not wishing to hang about any longer, I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. And to finish (and then re-start) the editing of the sound-file. And I’m glad that I’ve done it. Quite a change from a couple of days ago.

Tea was some of these burgers in breadcrumbs that I like, with veg and baked potato. They are quite delicious and I enjoyed that meal very much.

So all in all, a busy day today. And about time too. Tomorrow, I’m shopping. Not for very much because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday morning so I’m only planning on going to Lidl. And I’ll be glad to have my lie-in on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that.