Tag Archives: strider

Thursday 9th September 2021 – HAVE A LOOK …

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… at this photo of Le Loup, the marker light at the entrance to the port here.

And then, have a look at THIS ONE that I took two days ago when I was out on my rounds.

Can you see the difference? It’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? Not for nothing do I say that right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe –
“Here’s €5:00”
“Right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe”.

It’s no surprise that we can have ships the size of the gravel boats coming into the harbour when they did, with that depth of water underneath them.

photo in doctors surgery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And here’s another photo – one that has an interesting story behind it.

My social networking site is pretty much flooded with adverts these day – as if the owners don’t already have enough money. I only have to mention something, no matter how indirectly, and I’m immediately swamped with adverts about it.

Photography is one of the things that features quite a lot on my pages and so I’m swamped with photography adverts. One of them that features more than most is an advert for a piece of post-processing software, and I was convinced that I’d previously seen the photograph somewhere else.

Sure enough, there stuck up on the wall at the doctor’s surgery is exactly the same photo, only with text and graphics added. I was planning on doing a screenshot of the advert so that you could compare the two, but of course, today is the first day for about a Century when it hasn’t appeared.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself once more. Let’s start at the very beginning.

When the alarm went off, I fell out of bed again and staggered into the kitchen. Although the night hadn’t been all that late, it certainly felt like it.

Back in here after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d caught Covid last night, and so had a few people. I was somewhere in Stoke on Trent and somehow it had come amongst us. I wasn’t feeling particularly too bad so I was still working. A former friend of mine who features occasionally in some of my voyages featured in this one too and he was talking about getting a shop somewhere on one of these shopping estates on a council estate somewhere where they did wi-fi and something like that that he could do. He had spoken to a couple of people about doing different things with it but it was never going to be serious. He was wondering about what phones you sold, who you sell them to and what programs you put on them, all that kind of thing. It carried on from there but I awoke in a sweat and half the stuff that I had dreamt had disappeared.

Somewhere along the line I was on a bus trip with a group of young guys. I don’t remember very much about this at all.

Later on it was another one of these “I was leaving work” dreams. I’d had a pile of boxes delivered to me. My brother was there. He said “at least this one here we ought to be dealing with before I left. So we opened it and there were tins of food in to, small fish like anchovies and a few tins of picked onions, olives and whatever. I asked him to open the tins and we’ll set them out to make some kind of buffet. Every time ha opened a tin we has helping himself to some stuff so I smacked him on the hand and took the tins away from him and had a word with him about it. A couple of minutes later some army colonel or someone came past. He started to take a lump of pie crust so I slapped him on the hand and said something about people pinching all of this food before we’ve even set it out so he went to take an olive so I gave him a resounding smack across the hand even though he was a colonel. This smack echoed around just about everywhere it was so hard.

But as I mentioned the other day, I’m having a lot of night sweats just recently. It’s something about which they always ask me at the hospital and I keep a kind-of informal note to remind myself for when they ask.

There was also time to wade into the pile of arrears and now there are only two left. That’s tomorrow morning’s task, I reckon, in between making the bread for lunch as I have now run out.

joly france belle france fishing boat ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When it was time, I headed off out to the doctor’s for my appointment.

Of course, I took the camera with me, which was just as well because over at the ferry terminal this morning we have a “full house” of Ile de Chausey ferries.

From left to right, we have the newer of the two Joly France boats, in the centre is the brand-new Belle France and to the right, we have the older Joly France boat. You can tell the difference between them when they are together like this.

It looks as if they are going to be having a very busy day if they are all over there like that.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And it looks as if we have a full house too!

Here in the inner harbour tied up to the harbour pontoon is the little Ile de Chausey freighter Chausiaise. It seems that whatever plans that they have for today, the plans don’t include her.

My plans though are to go down to the doctor’s for my appointment. Whose silly idea was it foe me to have a doctor’s appointment for 08:30?

At the doctor’s I saw the photo that I mentioned earlier, and we had quite a lengthy chat about things.

He thinks that I have a heart issue, which accords with what the hospital has told me. But while the hospital is content to sit back and let things develop, he’s going to try to fit me in with a heart specialist as soon as he can.

He is also interested in my lungs too, and reckons that I ought to go for a pulmonary X-ray. He’s given me a prescription.

And then there’s a full and complete blood test (which should be interesting as the laboratory here always seems to come up with figures different to those of Leuven). The nurse is coming to do that tomorrow morning early.

The bad news though is that despite everything, he’s told me that this illness has some kind of cumulative effect. So once I start to struggle, the more tired I become and it makes me struggle to keep going so that wears me out even more and it’s a downward-spiralling effect.

This illness was diagnosed in November 2015 although I reckon that I had it for a while before then. People have died of this illness long before 6 or so years of suffering, so I suppose that I’m well ahead of the game. I’m just going to do my best to get further ahead.

It reminds me about the German Emperor, was it one of the Frederick Williams, who was complaining to his doctor about the treatment he was receiving.
“I can’t make you any younger” said the doctor.
“I don’t want you to” replied the Emperor, “as long as you succeed in making me older”.

Down at the chemist’s, I was staggered by the price of the injections. The next four cost e210:00 in total.

And we hit an unexpected snag too. This is a “special request” medication that can’t be prescribed by a GP – only by a specialist. I need my prescription from the hospital, which I didn’t have with me. And as it’s a foreign hospital in a foreign language, it wouldn’t be acceptable.

However, there is always a work-around. I’m a private patient with a private health insurance from my former employers, not from the State, so it doesn’t go through the State system. My prescription from the hospital will do and she’ll let the supplier worry about it.

On the way back home I bumped into a neighbour so we had a chat and then I came home for my coffee. I needed it.

Back here I set to work on the radio programme that I’m planning for the end of the year. Much as it is regrettable, I don’t want to do the interviews myself because it’ll end up as being perceived as “whining Brits” and that’s exactly what I want to avoid.

Someone else who works at the radio is quite amenable and I get on well with him so we had an internet chat throughout the morning about my plans and eventually we arranged to meet on Sunday afternoon.

What was this about “never working on a Sunday?”.

But to be serious, I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday and if I don’t set things in motion before I go, I’m going to be missing out on a whole week and maybe more, and I don’t have the time to waste.

While I was at it, I paid the motor insurance on Strider. I went a whole year last year without even seeing him, never mind driving him, because I couldn’t get to Canada. It’s probably going to be the same this year too but it can’t be helped.

After all that, I crashed out in my chair until lunchtime. It’s just amazing how tired you can become.

After lunch I had another go at some of the arrears and a journal entry from last week that was left unfinished is now on line. Not only that, I’m well on the way to catching up with another one too. I suppose that I’ll be up-to-date just in time to go off to Leuven and create yet more arrears.

Just wait until I have to add back about three weeks’ worth of nocturnal voyages.

chantier naval port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021by now it was time for me to head off to the chemists to pick up my injections, taking the original prescription with me.

It struck me as I was going around the corner that we haven’t had a view of the chantier naval from this viewpoint for quite a while so seeing as I had the big NIKON D500 with me, I put that right.

Still the same seven boats in there from yesterday. There’s no change. Still, you can’t win a coconut every time, can you? Anyway, there’s no room now to fit in anyone extra.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour, I noticed that there’s more activity going on there.

Having seen Thora in port yesterday and take away all of the freight, they are busy now piling up some more. Maybe this means that Normandy Trader will be coming in very soon to take it all away.

Meanwhile, down at the berth usually occupied by Marité, there’s no activity there at all because she’s no longer there. Put to sea as soon as the gates opened earlier, I reckon.

She’s still finding things to do even though the tourists have gone home and people are at work or at school.

Down at the chemist’s they had my products so I picked them up and hurried back here to put them in the fridge. However I bumped into yet another neighbour and I had to spend a couple of minutes being sociable regardless.

trawler baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint to have a little rest and look out at the sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a trawler operating deep in the Baie de Mont St Michel. Today, there’s another one working there, but lower down the bay nearer to the sea.

You can see the town of Cancale in the background. It’s looking quite nice this afternoon in the sun, although nowhere near as splendid as it did that morning a few weeks ago when it was all lit up by the sun.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Seeing as I’m out and it’s the right time of the afternoon, I went to have a look at the beach.

The tide is well out by now but there aren’t all that many people down there. I suppose that most people with any time to spare have gone off for a lap around the bay on board Marité.

So I came back inside, put my injections into the fridge and made myself a banana smoothie. Then I came back in here to carry on with the work that I’d been doing before I went out.

Tea tonight was a chick-pea and potato curry with rice. It was quite nice too, although not very spicy. I could have done with some more to liven it up a little.

Now that I’ve finished, I’m off for an early night. I have the nurse coming for my blood test, I have bread to bake, and then in the afternoon I have the physiotherapist.

But I’m impressed that my doctor is taking such an interest in me.

Saturday 10th July 2021 – 265 DAYS …

players warming up us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we were last in the Stade Louis Dior to watch a football match, so I’m told.

And I nearly missed this one as well because the kick-off was at 16:00 and at 15:00 I was fast asleep, crashed out in my chair slumped over my desk. It was something of a scramble for me to make it to the stadium in time for the kick-off.

Up until that point it had been a reasonably good day as far as I was concerned. Once more I was up as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00 and although it was a struggle to gather my wits (which will be quite a surprise to everyone seeing as I have so few wits left these days) I gradually pulled myself round ready to face the day.

First task after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Noticing that the newspapers had arrived today we read them and we noticed that the group “White Spirit” was appearing somewhere. They had one of these young female singers so the two girls would have liked to have seen them. I ended up buying 4 tickets and I took a friend of mine and the 2 girls so the 4 of us went. The 2 of us decided that we didn’t really want to go so we’d wait outside the hall in the car. He’d had to paint the doors inside-out so the paint was one colour but I’d had the tin and taken a look inside it and it was the right lot so I thought that … indistinct … Anyway they wandered off. This girl was singing and at the end of the first song she came down the corridor and came out to us saying “I hope that you 2 are going to behave because I’m going to be coming out here afterwards to see you”. She stayed to chat to us for a while. She was sucking on a stick of rock and I thought that seeing as she has a stage performance to do she’s being extremely I couldn’t think of the word. But there was much more to it than this of course but I can’t now remember what it was. And never mind the guy – who were the 2 girls we took to the concert and who was the girl who came to see us? Yes, all these girls appearing during the night and I can’t remember who they are. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on I had to go to Manchester with a computer or PA or something so I got on the tram. Someone I knew was on there so I said “hello” to him. We set off and were well on our way when suddenly the tram came to a stop. I walked down towards the front past this guy again to see what was happening. There was some big accident in front of us so I got off the tram and started to wave the traffic through. All the traffic including this tram got through this obstruction. It all drove away and left me standing there so I had to hitch-hike. I had a lift with someone in a Mark I Cortina and it was an automatic with a bench seat in the front, or it might have been column change with a bench seat in the front. We were talking about something with these cars. I said something and he denied it but I knew that I was right but he wasn”t having any of this at all. In the end I took the rubber mat out of the front and emptied it out to make the car a bit tidier. He told me that I could drive on the way back. There was lots more to this dream as well but I can’t remember it now.

Having dealt with all of that, what remained was to bring up to date yesterday’s journal entries. Perhaps I should add at this point that although I said that I was going to have an early night last night, but in fact I became engrossed in the acoustic guitar and ended up playing for a couple of hours.

And I can’t do the slip-change from Chord C to Chord F and back again like I used to. I’m far too rusty.

Having organised the notes from yesterday I spent the rest of the morning organising the new laptop bag and making sure that it has everything that I need in it.

And then I packed the little suitcase that I’m taking with me, and sorted out the clothes that had been airing on the clothes airier on my windowsill since I can’t remember when.

While I was sorting things out I came across an old USB drive and a USB SD micro-card reader stuck in the pocket of an old abandoned bag.

And searching further I came across the missing audio cable for which I’ve been searching since I don’t know when. I must have taken it with me to Canada a few years ago so that I could couple up my old *.mp3 player to Strider’s audio input socket, and then forgotten to unpack it.

Here’s hoping that whatever new vehicle I might buy to replace Strider will have a USB socket. Yes, I was having a good look at a Subaru Forester estate car this afternoon while I was out.

After lunch I came in here to do some work on my photos but I soon crashed out on the chair. And then it was a rather desperate struggle up the hill.

moulin childrens roundabout place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out to the football ground I went past the Place Charles de Gaulle and the Saturday market.

Summer is in full swing here in Granville if you are a kid (except in the Square Maurice Marland of course) and the kiddies’ roundabout is in full swing with plenty of potential customers. I stayed to watch the proceedings for a minute while I caught my breath and then pushed on up the hill.

And it was a long, lonely climb up there and I had to stop four or five times to catch my breath. I’ve aged 20 years over this last couple of months and that has filled me full of dismay. But I eventually arrived at the Stadium Louis Dior.

players us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEn Avant Guingamp play in the French Second Division, but this was described as “A Team from EA Guingamp” which probably means that it contained triallists and players on the fringes of the first team rather than the first team itself.

And in an astonishing match, and in a game that Granville pretty much dominated, they somehow managed to lose the game 3-0. Threw it away completely and comprehensively.

Two goals they gave away by defenders going to sleep and there should have been a third as well except that the Guingamp player stood on the ball instead of kicking it. The third goal was a wonder strike of a curling free kick round the blind side of the defensive wall.

Granville had a bew player playing in the centre of defence – an older guy – and he certainly looked as if he had been around the block a few times. He was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. He wasn’t a centre back from what I could see but more of a defensive midfielder distributing the ball out of defence. If he has signed for the club then things are looking up.

But once again, total defensive lapses and a bunch of forwards who couldn’t score in a brothel

2 players with n°33 us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here was something interesting that I have never seen before on a football pitch at this level.

Two players on the same team with the same number. And about 20 seconds after I had noticed, so did a few other people and the “older” n°33 was quickly withdrawn and replaced by another player. And he’d only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes too.

The younger n°33 took some time to warm up but once he got going he had a good game. He almost scored too, getting in on the end of a delicious cross to the far post but his shot was somehow scrambled off the line.

So after all of this I think that it’s going to be a long, hard season, if we manage to complete it.

no parking in town on Sundays Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way up towards the football ground I’d noticed the town centre covered with these signs.

There had been something in the local newspaper about shops opening all day on Sunday during the summer season but I hadn’t realised that parking will be banned in the town centre too. This makes for interesting opportunities if ever we have a summer here.

Actually it was quite warm now – the sun being out made a change from the damp, dreary start of the day, so I went for an ice cream. But my favourite ice cream parlour was surprisingly closed. I had to walk quite a way before I found another one with non-dairy options.

sale of fresh seafood closed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I found myself on the quayside at the spot where the fresh fish seller sells his catch from his boat every Friday morning.

However he’s announced that he’s not operating until the middle, missing the entire summer season, which seemed rather strange to me. But then I noticed the photos of his boat, and that explained everything. Do you recognise it?

Anyway, clutching my ice cream I wandered off down the quayside to see what else was going on that I might have missed since I’ve last been on the quaysid.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s an old friend of ours riding the waves at her mooring here in the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the past couple of weeks we’d been seeing the trawler Philcathane up on blocks in the chantier naval until she went missing, back into the water, at the end of the week.

By the looks of things she’s all finihsed now with her nice fresh coat of paint and she’ll be ready to go back to the fishing grounds on Monday.

And the interesting question now is “who has gone to replace her in the chantier naval?

tour du roc à la nage no parking at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that for a moment. Let’s turn our attnetion to the immediate present and what’s going to be going on in town.

It looks as if they are planning quite a pile of events to welcome the tourists to the town and this one is certainly a new one on me that I haven’t seen before.

It looks as if there is going to be some kind of swimming race from the port and around the Pointe du Roc to somewhere on the other side of the headland. So good luck to those who are attempting it.

And never mind “no parking”. They will probably need a good ambulance of two or three at the finishing line to take away the unlucky ones. Struggling with the tides and the currents in the sea won’t be as easy as some people might think.

helicopter hovering over port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the edge of the quayside I was overflown by a helicopter. Someone has hed their chopper out this afternoon.

The only camera that I had with me today was the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens (I’ve mentioned before that it passes amost unnoticed into sports grounds and the like where a large DSLP won’t) so I wasn’t able to take much of a photograph of it this afternoon.

Without the telephoto lens I can’t see if it’s the yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter, a drab olive military helicopter or a multi-coloured civilian chopper. But hs didn’t have any of his emergency lights on so whatever he was doing wasn’t anything urgent. I could press on without witnessing anything dramatic.

trawler galapagos chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo, did you all guess the significance of the photo to which I drew your attention earlier?

We’ve all … “well, one of us” – ed … been wondering who the big blue trawler is that’s appeared in the chantier naval the other day and now we know.

She’s called Galapagos and she belongs to the people who sell the fresh fish on the quayside. And now we also know why they aren’t going to be selling fish until the middle of September and we also have an indication of she’ll be back in the water.

There were some people with the yacht Rebelle. They weren’t very talkative but at least I know that she’ll be back in the water “shortly”.

joly france 1 ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was chatting to the people working on Rebelle we were disturbed by yet more activity – this time coming from the water.

Of course it’s the weekend, a Saturday evening in Summer zo the tourists are out in their hordes The Ile de Chausey is one of the places to be and so by the looks of things, there have been plenty of people out there.

This is when the two Joly France boats that work the ferry out there come into their own. This is the newer one of the two, Joly France 1 as you can tell by the windows in portrait mode, and she has quite a load of people on board today coming back from the island.

From the chantier naval I wended my weary way up the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers and made it back home. There was time to upload the photos to the computer and then I knocked off for tea.

There’s plenty of stuffing left over and also a pepper that won’t survive until next week so a stuffed pepper it was, followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And that reminds me – it’s been a while since I made a jam roly-poly. That will have to be the next dessert.

Back here to write up the journal today when I noticed that I’d performed 95% of my daily activity today. So never one to miss an opportunity, I took the NIKON D500, fitted the f1.8 50mm lens and went for a walk around the block.

midnight sun baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd who said “The Land Of The Midnight Sun” then?

This is the sight that greeted me as I stepped out of my apartment this evening. We’re situated at 48°50′ here and that’s far from being in The Land Of The Midnight Sun so imagine what it must be like somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

It did remind me of the nights that I was driving coaches on my Friday night run to Central Scotland and on one occasion one June-end it was so light that when I’d dropped off my passengers I drove to Stirling and parked up on a mountain top near there to watch the midnight sun and that’s 8° further North.

donville les bains rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at my little spec at the end of the car park I went over to look over the wall.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone on the beach this evening – as a matter of fact I couldn’t even see the beach – but I was more interested in what was going on along the coast, insofar as I could see it.

The Rue du Nord is quite well illuminated right now especially round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, and then carrying on to the left we have the lights of the houses on top of the cliffs at the Plat Gousset and then the lights of the waterfront reflecting into the sea down on the promenade at Donville les Bains.

rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack across the car park and along to the road now to see what’s going on here right now.

That is of course the Rue du Roc that leads to the headland where we find the lighthouse, the semaphore and the coastguard station – not that you can actually see any of those right now.

It’s very had to believe that a year ago I could run all the way down there to beyond the end of the street lights and then turn left and keep running all the way down to the top of the cliffs. The way I am these days, even just looking at the images makes me feel totally exhausted.

They were halcyon times, they were.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s the view in the opposite direction, looking towards the Port St Jean and the entrance to the medieval walled city.

And that shadow down there is the guy on whom I almost stepped in the dark because I hadn’t seen him. I must pay greater attention when I’m out and about in the dark. But at least he gives the photo some animation.

After all is said and done, the Porte St Jean all floodlit at night is one of my favourite photo objects and the shadow gives it something different.

Through the arch we can see the Rue St Jean illuminated by the street lights and in the foreground to the left is the car park for the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill 3 or 4% of my daily activity to perform in order to bring me up to my 100% and so I thought that I’d better go for a walk down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour and see what’s going on there.

And it wasn’t easy to find my way down there either tonight as this economy drive means that all of the streetlamps are switched off and I had to grope my way down there in the dark.

What was even worse was that the harbour was in darkness too. There were just a couple of isolated streetlights and that was really our lot. It was difficult to work out where I was or what I was photograpiong but somewhere down there in the shadows are Granville and Victor Hugo.

They are the two boats that in better times provided the ferry service between Normandy and the Channel Islands but the combined effects of Covid, Brexit and the tight-fistedness of the Channel Islands in refusing to pay a subsidy towards the reopening of the service is making the recommencement of the services more and more unlikely.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt least here at this end of the harbour the presence of a couple more street lights makes it slightly easier to see what’s going on.

Over to the right the ferry terminal is brightly illuminated by several lights but to no good purpose because there won’t be any of the ferries coming into port for quite a while yet.

To the left of the image, illuminated by two street lights are the port offices. They are open when the harbour gates are opened and there is movement in and out of the port.

But with thz harbour being in total darkness like this I don’t think that there will be much movement going on right now.

In the foreground, all wrapped up on the darkness of the night, is the fish processing plant and there isn’t much going on round there right now either.

tower of eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne final photo before I toddle off back to the warmth and comfort of my own little apartment.

Just behind where I was standing to take those two photos of the harbour area is the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. part of it is obscured by the medieval city walls but the spire isn’t, and it’s illuminated tonight for a change. I can’t go back home without photographing that now, can I?

So back in my apartment I’ve accomplished 102% of my daily activity and been out for my first night-time walk for about 6 months too and taken some photos.

And I’ll have to go out again and take some more, only this time remembering to adjust the ISO from 800 to 6400 so that I can let in more light without straining the camera unnecessarily.

Brain of Britain has struck again, hasn’t he?

Friday 4th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a lie-in today and didn’t leave my bed until about 07:30.

And it wasn’t necessarily through oversleeping either. When the alarms went off I was regaled by the sound of a torrential rainstorm and all kinds of wicked things going on outside and they certainly weren’t the kind of conditions conducive to constructive thought.

When I finally arose, I had my medication and then set a pile of lentils on the go in the slow cooker.

Back in the bedroom, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was back at school last night. I had a girlfriend but one of my friends from school started dating her. After the first time he told me that he was going to be taking her out again. I told him that I wasn’t going to let that happen if I could. I would be taking her out. He started to turn all violent saying that he had all of the weapons arranged, all the oil and everything like that and he’d be dealing with it. But I stuck my ground and we ended up having this fierce argument.

Later on there was something to do with a dog. We’d come into possession of a dog for some reason. My brother, father and I were coming down Underwood Lane in Crewe and were talking about going to get some dog biscuits. We turned left into West Street but it wasn’t out of Underwood Lane but out of Minshull New Road. There was a pet shop right on the corner there so we stopped. But I couldn’t believe West Street. It was like the Blitz had hit it. Everything had been demolished and there was just the odd house here and there on the south side sticking up and a little Sprite 400 caravan with people living in it parked there with a washing line and a load of washing outside. We went into this shop and the woman asked what we wanted. My brother said that we were looking for dog treats. My father took out some money and it must have been a couple of hundred quid he brought out. I said “dad, what are you trying to do? Buy the shop or something?”. This woman put a pile of dog biscuits into a bag, this kind of thing and then a few packets of sweets, saying “this will do you right for Christmas” and charged I dunno about £20 or something for it. He took it and went outside but then started to give my brother a lecture about buying stuff. “What she’s probably done is given all kinds of stuff that aren’t suitable for the dog, stuff that’s past its sell-by date, all this kind of thing. We should have taken much more care about what we bought”. he started to go through it and found loads of stuff that wasn’t suitable. he decided that he would go back into the shop and renegotiate the deal. I was outside, looking at the road, how it went further on and zigzagged up this spectacular cliff like a wild west mesa or whatever. There were birds flying over there and a couple of dogs flying around. I thought that this was a really idyllic setting here but my brother and my father were in such a deep discussion about these dog biscuits that they failed to notice it.

By now, the weather had cleared up so I rinsed the lentils, put them back in with fresh clean water and flavouring, and then fried some onions, garlic, tofu and beans with more flavouring. When it was all cooked properly, I added it all to the slow cooker and left it in there to fester on “low”.

hailstones place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGrabbing my rain jacket and the rest of my equipment I headed off outside for the shops.

And you can see here what was going on this morning. I thought at first that it was snow but in actual fact it was a mega-hailstorm that had descended upon us from a great height. Most of it had melted now but there were still a few vestiges left.

So leaving it at that, I set off into town. And before I’d gone a quarter of a mile the heavens opened again and I was absolutely, totally and thoroughly drenched. This was not what I was expecting at all. There had been blue skies 15 minutes earlier.

porsche 924 ford capri 280 gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall How long is it since we’ve had an old car on these pages? It must be a while, I reckon, so here are two for the price of one.

The red one is a Porsche 924, a model made from about 1976 to 1988. About 150,000 were made which was no surprise because for a Porsche, they were relatively affordable. However, it was its affordability and popularity that were its downfall because many people who bought one were mocked for being “nouveau riche” arrivists. Although the vehicle handled well, its actual performance was lamentable for a top-end sports car until they began to be fitted with turbos. And the turbos brought with them their own problems.

The blue one is much more like my car of course. A Ford Capri from the early 1980s, this one. It’s described as a “280” by which I imagine that it has the 2.8 litre V6 “Cologne” engine in it (Strider has a 4.0 litre Cologne engine in it). Of course, if I were to own such a car, which I wouldn’t turn down, it would be a black one and the V engine would be binned and replaced with a 2-litre Pinto engine

having done a lap around LIDL, then loaded up like a packhorse I headed for home. As well as the immense shopping list that I took with me, they also had a few Christmas dainties that I could eat and so as they won’t be there for ever, I grabbed a few.

new shop front bar la civette rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve seen them demolishing the facade of a bar, La Civette, in the Rue Paul Poirier, and then building a wooden wall around it while they worked inside.

It looks as if they’ve had the unveiling of the new facade since I last passed this way. It’s a big improvement on what was there before and, thankfully, it doesn’t resemble too much the other new facades going up around the town that all look the same.

And you can tell how the weather is doing right now. Teeming down with rain and it’s really dark. all of the lights oare on in the street, despite it being 11:00.

fresh fish stall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course it’s Friday, not Thursday, so there are different things going on in the street that I wouldn’t normally see when I’m out and about usually.

We’ve talked … “at great length” – ed … about the fishing industry in the town and all of the lorries and vans that go to the fish processing plant to cart away the catch. But some of the produce is sold locally and every Friday morning there’s a stall on the harbour where one of the local fishermen sells his catch.

Straight from the sea.

It’s a far cry of course from the fish market in Oostende that we have seen before but nevertheless it’s an interesting venture. Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and a slice of my chocolate cake, and then had to speak to Rosemary. She’d rung me up to say that she was having computer issues. So I had to talk her through a remote session in order to fix it.

My Diploma in Computing does come in handy some times even though it was 20 years ago since I obtained it.

After lunch I had a look at the pie filling that was simmering away in the slow cooker. Far too liquidy and so to bind it and make it nice and glutinous, a couple of handfuls of porridge oats went in and were stirred around. That should stiffen it up somewhat.

Once that was organised I went and carried on with some of the arrears from Central Europe.

heavy skies english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. And it was just as well that it had stopped raining.

But just look at the sky over there down the Brittany coast. When you consider just how nice it has been at times, this is rather depressing, isn’t it? This is what they call around here un ciel de plomb – a leaden sky. And you can see that it lives up to its description.

All that I can say is that I’m glad that I’m not out there at sea in all of that. The Brittany coast must be taking quite a pasting at the moment.

rainstorm ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver towards the Ile de Chausey it’s somewhat brighter, but there is still a terrific rainstorm cascading down on the population over there.

And the wind is blowing it my way so I don’t want to hang around here. I’m the only person out here walking and I can understand why if all of this weather suddenly arrives. So I clear off around the headland to see what’s on the other side.

And nothing of any significance over there either, except for more of the same. Nothing of note, apart from the usual, in the chantier navale. But by now the rain has arrived and it’s starting to fall quite heavily so I don’t want to hang around.

lorries port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there’s something bizarre going on down in the loading bay in the port.

Those two lorries shouldn’t be there unless they are delivering, and if they are delivering, we are going to be having an interesting nautical arrival down there pretty soon. I wonder what it might be. Still, we’ll find out in de course I suppose.

Musing on that for a moment, I turned and headed on home and a nice hot mug of coffee. And I can’t say that I didn’t deserve it. By now the rain was teeming down once more and I was soaked to the skin again.

Back here, I switched off the slow cooker and emptied the contents out to cool. A nice glutinous sticky filling. Just what I wanted.

So I made my pastry and put it in my mould. And when the filling had cooled down properly, I filled the pie base and made a pie lid out of some of the remaining pastry. With the pastry that was left, I made a quick apple turnover.

Now it was time for my session on the guitars. And I spent much of the time trying (and eventually succeeding) in working out the chords to Richard Thompson’s “Keep Your Distance”.

I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic for certain events that occurred over three nights on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour that one day I might talk about when I’m in the mood. There are a couple of lines in that song that really are quite relevant.

Half way through the proceedings with the guitar I’d switched on the oven and started off the pie and the apple turnover. Now, having finished the guitar, I came in and did a huge mound of washing up.

vegan tofu pie apple turnover Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were some potatoes left so I had put those in the oven too so I sorted out some veg – sprouts, carrots and runner beans, and put them in a small pan and cooked them in some gravy with some herbs.

Eventually the pie was done – at least on top. I wished that I had cooked it lower down in the oven and not on a metal tray as I had done. It’s a mistake that I always make, cooking too high in the oven and having a heat deflector underneath doesn’t help anything either.

But it actually tasted delicious and there are another 7 slices for the freezer for a later date. The apple turnover was impressive too. That worked really well.

It was time for me to go out on my evening walk and runs so I hit the streets, straight into the biting wind that made running almost impossible.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNevertheless I pushed on as well as I could but I eschewed the route down on the footpath under the walls due to the bad weather. And as it was by now raining quite heavily I carried on the route that I took yesterday.

From up on the Place de l’Isthmus I could hear the waves crashing down onto the promenade at the Plat Gousset so I wandered down the steps of the Escalier du Moulin a Vent to have a look at what was happening.

It was certainly wild out there. And it’s hard to believe that we are still a fair way away from high tide. What this is going to be like in an hour’s time will be anyone’s guess, but it certainly would be something to see.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut not for me, unfortunately. By now the rain was coming down in sheets and I was being soaked to the skin.

Braving the weather, I stuck it out just long enough to take a second photograph and then ran all the way across the Square Maurice Marland in the general direction of home.

Just for a change, I took the shortest route possible. I’d had my walk out to the shops and back, my afternoon stroll and now my evening runs so I was quite confident that I’d done enough today.

rue st jean place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallComing back the short way, I ended up in the Rue St Jean. And I reckoned that I haven’t taken a photo down here at this end for quite some considerable time. I’d better put that right.

And you can see the weather in this photograph. teeming down with rain and everywhere soaking wet. Including me.

And the Place Cambernon just down there with the Christmas lights peering around the corner.

having done that, I ran on home to write up my notes. 147% on the fitbit is good enough for me today.

Shopping at LeClerc and Noz tomorrow. And there will probably be other things that I need but which I’ve forgotten that I’ll remember when I return home. That always happens to me.

Tuesday 8th September 2020 – THIS EVENING …

… I have seen something that has caused me a great deal of disquiet.

There was an ambulance and police car in the rue Cambernon here and about half a dozen people, ambulancemen and police, were struggling with a hysterical adolescent girl to put her into the ambulance.

There was no clue as to what had caused the incident, but her hysteria was way beyond the norm and quite suggestive of some kind of stupefiant-ignited issue although of course from the distance at which I was observing the affair and the fact that it was in the dark, there was nothing other than the audible indication to promote this idea.

But whatever it was, my hat goes off to the police and ambulancemen. It was a very stressful event, quite a battle to put her inside and strap her in, and they showed far more patience and discipline than I ever would have done.

It goes without saying that it’s not the kind of incident that one photographs, but it’s still bad news when the affairs of the banlieux of Paris come to, quite literally, our own doorstep.

As for me, much to my and everyone else’s surprise, I was out of bed before the third alarm went off. At least – I was sitting on the edge of the bed trying to summon up the courage to take some kind of drastic action, like moving.

Once I’d gathered my wits, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

I was on a galleon last night, one of these Spanish galleon things with crowds of people on it, a big tourist attraction. I was there with a certaib lady of my acquaintance. Something happened, me being careless I think, and she ended up with a sea-full of face – or, more likely, a face full of sea. I said that I was sorry but she started to whine on and on and on in this silly voice that she had, mimicking what I was saying so on that point I’d had enough so I just turned round and walked away. She changed her tune afterwards, apologised and asked me to come back but I’d really had enough so I just walked off. There was someone climbing up a ladder into the rigging of this ship. He was carrying a tray with about 10 different drinks on it. I thought that that was adventurous. I wouldn’t even do that with two. I was wandering around this ship, trying to find my way around and try my best to totally ignore her while she was still having one of these tantrum display things. There were some people sitting down – I was wondering whether to go to sit with them but I thought “no. I really want to be somewhere quite a way from this end of the ship somewhere on my own”.
Somewhat later we were having a look at some photos last night about all of the abandoned properties around Crewe and Nantwich, places like the old Co-op brewery and so on, a lot of them with photos of abandoned cars on them. There were several in Nantwich, three of them being churches close together in Hospital Street and their congregations transferred to the main parish church there. These churches, one of which was called St Werburgh’s, were all very eerie but very magnificent, Victorian Gothic-type but in terrible states of disrepair and decay. Even though I don’t remember them as a kid (because they weren’t there) we were having a good prowl around these places last night in this dream. It was really quite interesting. On one occasion we ended up being at a church service. They came along and asked for a collection. The girl I was with said she didn’t have anything and I just had a few copper coins that I gave them. later, we were on a railway station watching the trains come in. We moved away but a train had pulled in so I prepared my camera to take a photo. As it pulled out another one, a magnificent really big powerful locomotive pulled out of this station hauling an express train so I went to take a photo of them with the NIKON 1 J5 as it pulled out of the station but it wouldn’t work at first. I had to press the shutter a couple of times for it to work. While I was doing this there was some woman standing nearby. She was excited because she could see the main railway station from here. I thought that she meant the one at Manchester which was quite some way away and you can’t see with the naked eye, but bathed in fog anyway. But she said “no, it’s Denton station! Look over there! So I looked over there but I couldn’t see it at all with my naked eye.

Having dealt with all of that, I finally got round to having a look at Sunday’s effort. And after a good deal of listening, of thought and of transcription I managed to sort something out and you can READ IT HERE.

Surprisingly, even though I had the strongest impression that Pollux was one of the people with me, there was no mention whatever of her name at all, so I’ve no idea where this impression comes from. Mind you, there are several minutes missing here and there, either because

  1. I didn’t dictate it (there seems to be a hole in the middle of the story somehow).
  2. I didn’t transcribe it because I couldn’t decipher it (there was some of that too)
  3. I didn’t type it out because there was a significant part of the voyage that would put you off your tea. And there seems to have been quite a bit of that just recently. I’ve been having some really disturbed – and disturbing – nights just recently.

As I was finishing everything, which had taken me long enough, someone with whom I wanted a chat appeared on the internet. We ended up having a lengthy chat and that was, basically, the morning finished.

After lunch I set about the radio programme. All of the tracks have been paired and combined and the text is written. Not dictated though because I ran out of time.

There had been a few interruptions during the afternoon.

speedboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst of all, there was the afternoon walk in the beautiful pleasant if not slightly windy afternoon.

There wasn’t all that much activity out there at sea this afternoon. Whatever that big ship was yesterday, that’s cleared off and there was only a speeedboat roaring past out at sea.

They are clearly going far too fast for fishing and I can’t think of any other good reason why they would be out there this afternoon. It’s not as if there’s anywhere to go in that direction.

tractors beach breville sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallIn theory I suppose that they might be heading towards shore because there is something exciting going on over there on the beach by the looks of things.

We saw the other day that the bouchot harvesters were out there on the mussels beds at Donville-les-Bains. Over there on the beach bear Breville-sur-Mer they seem to be gathering again.

They are quite possibly waiting for the tide to go out so that they can access the mussels beds over there too. I doubt that the cabin cruiser there has any involvement in the activity.

fishing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThey are probably local fishermen, because there have been quite a few of those out there over the last week or 10 days. There are plenty of mooring buoys and pot markers out there right now.

And plenty of other fishermen too. While I was walking along the path on the north side of the promontory a boat came around the headland. They are clearly intent on fishing as they have rods and fishing nets clearly on display.

It beats me why, because I have yet to see anyone out there ever catch anything.

painting trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route arounf the headland took me past the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

And there was plenty of activity in there once again. The usual seven boats of course – nothing has changed that much. But the fishing boat from which they had been stripping the paint the other day, that’s now in the process of being resprayed.

Give it a week or two and we may well find that boat back in the water. And one or two others because there was a considerable amount of work being carried on on the other boats too.

Back here, another interruption was to deal with the question of Strider’s insurance. That expires in a few days and needs to be paid, even though I won’t probably have the pleasure of going over to Canada to drive him this year.

So this involved several e-mails, a ‘phone call to Canada, a complicated series of transactions with the bank and then a discussion on the internet with Rachel.

That took much longer than I expected and meant that my third interruption, my session on the guitar, was somewhat curtailed.

Tea was my burger on a bap with potatoes and vegetables, followed by a slice of my delicious apple pie and soya dessert.

yacht sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I went out for my evening walk it wasn’t quite dark outside.

In the distance out in the English Channel there was a yacht looking as if it was heading towards port. Of course it was far too far out for me to be able to identify it.

There were also plenty of other lights out to sea on the horizon. It wasn’t possible to say anything whatever about those.

Instead, I carried on and ran all the way along the footpath underneath the medieval walls. And, having recvered my breath again I ran across the Square Maurice Marland

trawler docking in port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDuring my walk across the Place Cambernon I observed the incident that I related earlier and by the time that I moved on, it was now quite dark.

We’ve seen a couple of fishing boats here and there just recently – not as many as we saw three or four months ago. However there was one coming into port and performing a U-turn to tie up alongside the fish processing plant, presumably to unload its catch.

From there I walked down to the road and then ran all the way home to write up my notes.

And having done that, I’m now ready for bed. A nice early night, finish off the radio programme (which might take all day) and then do some tidying up

There is still plenty of work to be done and I’m not really catching up with very much at all. That needs to be changed, and rapidly too.

Monday 13th July 2020 – WE HAVE A NEW …

etoile port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… kid in town today.

Sailing into port earlier today was the sailing ship Etoile. She’s a sail training ship from the National Marine, built in 1932 at Fecamp and normally moored up in the harbour at Brest.

This week however she’s flying the flag at different ports all around the coast and she’ll be here for a couple of days, so it seems.

Interestingly, she fled France in June 1940 and became part of the small Free French Navy based in Portsmouth during the war.

joli france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut enough of events 80 years ago. Let me tell you about my horrible day today while you admire the two Joly France boats performing a nautical danse macabre around the harbour this evening.

And it’s my own fault yet again. last night someone wanted to chat to me so we endedup chatting for an hour or so and that delayed the finish of the notes from yesterday.

However, Bane of Britain forgot to close the chat window so after a while someone else called in to say “hello”. That chat went on for a while and when I glanced at the time it was … errr … 04:20

joli france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallDon’t misunderstand – I really enjoy talking to my friends but the issue with having friends all around the world is that sometimes the idea of different time zones seems to escape everyone’s notice.

So a very weary and haggard me slunk off to bed this morning. I’d switched off the alarms because expecting me to be up at 06:00 was somewhat optimistic.

09:30 was when I awoke, and 09:45 was when I leapt (or, rather, crawled) out of bed. After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone. I’d not been anywhere during the night but there were entries from the previous day so I transcribed them.

joli france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut it’s a waste of time looking for them because I’ve just realised that I’ve forgotten to amend the journal entry for yesterday.

Most of the day has been spent dealing with the next radio project. High time that I fired up the old brain cells.

Having sent off this week’s effort earlier today, so far, I’ve

  • chosen 10 tracks
  • combined them in pairs
  • added the introduction
  • chosen a speech for my guest
  • written the notes
  • dictated same
  • oploaded same onto computer
  • edited about 25% of them

And had I been sufficiently determined I could have done much more than I did. However there were several interruptions.

The first one was for lunch. And the bread that I baked yesterday is absolute perfection, even though I say it myself. And the sunflower seeds give it that certain little je ne sais quoi I was really impressed.

kids in sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThen of course there was the afternoon walk.

It was rather grey and overcast with a little wind, but that didn’t deter the crowds one little bit. The place was packed and there were even kids swimming in the sea, which surprised me quite a lot.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m not too keen on going into the water at the best of times, but today would have been one of those days when even Jenny Agutter and Kate Bush couldn’t drag me in.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the beach at the Plat Gousset there’s much less wind so I was expecting to see the crowds down there this afternoon.

And it seems that I wasn’t disappointed either. But I didn’t think much of the social distancing on the beach up near the sea wall. Some of those family groups are a lot closer than 2 metres, I reckon.

And once more, the water is pretty packed. In the tidal swimming pool with its suitably-clad lifeguard, and also in the sea. There’s a lifeguard there too – just underneath the centre of the photo.

They seem to be taking it quite seriously.

hang gliders cemetery donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just on the beach or in the sea were the crowds gathering.

Up on the clifftop the birdmen of Alcatraz were gathering,ready to swoop all over us like a flock of Nazgul. At one time I counted as many as five in the air at one time which is some going.

And as I have said before … “on very many occasions” – ed … I’m impressed by the fact that they take off from a patch of ground right by the cemetery. If they make a mistake when either taking off or landing, they don’t have to be carried very far.

That’s rather thoughtful of them, don’t you think?

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t far from there to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch either, so I went to have a look at the roofing job.

The scaffolding is still there. At least, some of it is – the same amount that has been there for a few weeks now. But what is interesting about this photos is that the seagulls have now discovered the roof and have christened it accordingly.

That’s one in the eye for the roofers, isn’t it? I hope that the roofers don’t actually need to go up there again

baby seagull flying rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallTalking of seagulls, I went round to the Square Maurice Marland to check on my baby seagull.

He wasn’t there again today but his mummy was. So I hope that nothing has happened to him. There were plenty of other baby seagulls on other roofs, all of them tentatively taking their first flutters into the air.

It’s fascinating to watch them as they have been growing. Keen birdwatcher that I am, it’s not usually birds like this that hold a fascination for me but somehow the seagulls have managed to attract my attention.

Back here I had yet another interruption as, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out yet again despite having stayed in bed as late as I did.

It’s rather depressing me, this is.

Tea was a potato and veg with a slice of home-made tofu and lentil pie from a while back taken out of the freezer. That was followed by apple crumble from yesterday and I do have to say that that was just as good as the bread. I was well-impressed with that.

Off on my run this evening and I had several interruptions. Gribouille the big ginger cat was waiting at the door for me and he let me pick him up.

I’m highly honoured, aren’t I?

So off I set and I managed to push the boundaries up a little tonight. Still a long way to go though before I reach where I was before I went away.

ford ranger with tent on the back rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut even had I been fit and running properly, this would have stopped me in my tracks any day of the week.

It’s a modern Ford Ranger of course but what was exciting about that was that in the back someone had pitched a tent.

My thinking was that good idea that it might be, it’s not one that I shall be copying in North America for Strider. Knowing my luck, I would wake up to find that a bear was trying to get into bed with me and I’m sure that that’s not a very good idea at all.

Anyway, I pushed on with my runs, down to the clifftop, the walk across the wall, the run along the clifftop and then down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

As I rounded the corner I ran into Maryline so I stopped and we had a good chat for 10 or 15 minutes or so which was very nice and pleasant.

people on the beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt didn’t really matter all that much that it made me late for the sunset because of all of the clouds that were there.

When I finally made it to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord I couldn’t see a thing as far as the sun went. Not too many people on the beach either. No picnickers, just a few people wandering around.

So recovering my breath I ran on back to the apartment to write up my notes.

My last Welsh course for a while tomorrow so despite it being a Bank Holiday here, I’ll have an alarm set and I’ll be up to do my preparation.

Then hopefully I’ll finish off the radio project and then deal wit my TWO courses.

Yes, despite what I said earlier, I’m enrolled in two new courses. The songwriting course of course, but there is also a 6-week course on “Building an Interactive Website”. I’ve been working in *.html for 23 years and I know pretty well the basics but I’m stuck in a time warp from 15 years ago – never progressed after teaching myself *.css.

So it’s high time that I learnt, and this looks like the ideal opportunity.

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 – EVERYBODY SAY “AHHH”

mother seagull with baby granville manche normandy france eric hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been keeping a close eye on the socks of fleagulls that nest on the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs during the Spring.

And so; while keeping an eye on one particular nest today, I noticed something rather different, so I took a photo of it with the aim of blowing it up when I returned to the apartment

And don’t we have one very proud Mummy Seagull here? At least one and maybe two eggs have hatched and there’s a chick or two sheltering under her wings in the nest on the roof.

Well done, mummy, and congratulations. I shall be following their progress over the next few weeks.

hang glider granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the photos of the hang gliders who have been buzzing around the town today like a bunch of Nazgul, let me tell you about my thoroughly miserable day

Just for a change, I was up before the third alarm this morning. But that was as good as it got. Although I had my medication I didn’t feel like any breakfast and in fact I’ve not eaten anything today except some fruit

Yes, I’ve been thinking over the last few days that I was sickening for something and it looks as if I’ve got it.

hang gliders granville manche normandy france eric hallThat’s one of the reasons why I keep my notes – so that I can track my health as it fluctuates up and down. And it’s particularly important right now, seeing as I’ve now been probably 18 weeks without my essential four-weekly treatment.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in March I predicted a decline in health. But that wasn’t really a prediction. Based on previous experience – it was a foregone conclusion.

So with no breakfast I decided that, at least while I was still compos mentis that I would attack my two courses, the Accountancy and the Music course.

hang gliders donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I ended up completely finishing a week of each course too.

As for the Accountancy course, this week’s work was spent on basic numeracy. And I do mean “basic” – in fact I’ve no idea what they must be teaching in school these days if a course like this has to instruct its followers in the kind of basic numeracy that we had to do

The music course was exciting. And now at the end of the week I can play the blues on the piano with 5/10th scale chords and in theory, 7/10th scale chords. The theory being because I can’t stretch my hands far enough.

It really makes me wonder how we managed to play the piano when we were mere kids, having to stretch like that.

No lunch of course, but I did have something to do that involved the fridge. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door pockets are broken on the fridge. The last surviving on was wedged in somehow, but that fell off when I opened the door.

And so, having nothing better to do, I bit the bullet, sorted out the electric drill and screwed all three shelves in. Whether they hold for any length of time I really wouldn’t know, but it has to be better at the moment.

This led to another problem.

The very top shelf is a very tight fit up against the freezer compartment door and with no shelf having been there for 18 months, the ice inside had grown and pushed the compartment door out. And having replaced the shelf, the fridge door wouldn’t now close.

That meant having to defrost the fridge and pull out about half a ton of ice.

But at least the door closes now and there’s room in the freezer compartment to actually put things now. And that’s progress of some kind.

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile all of this was going on, I went for my afternoon walk.

We’ve been having some really glorious weather just recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but not today.

As you can see, the weather has changed and we are now back in all of the fog and mist that I thought that we’d left behind a few weeks ago

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was still quite warm outside though, and so I suppose that out of the wind it would really have been quite nice.

At least, that’s what all of the people down there must be thinking. And good look to them too – sooner them than me. You wouldn’t stand any chance of me getting into the sea down there at any time today.

Mind you, the way things are, you wouldn’t be getting me into the sea at any time these days, even at 40°C in the air.

roofing place marechal fochgranville manche normandy france eric hallFor part of my afternoon walk I’d had the company of a neighbour, but she had cleared off and I carried on on my own.

At the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I had a look down to see how they were doing with the roof of the building there. And the answer was that although progress seems to have been quite rapid, they appear to have had a technical hitch.

Someone was on the roof there hacksawing away at the galvanised sheeting that they have been using to cover the dormer windows. It looks as if they might have misjudged some measurement or other.

yachts sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving stood and watched them for a while, I moved on around onto the Square Maurice Marland to see what was going on there and to check on my seagull.

It also gave me an opportunity to see what was going on out in the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if the sailing school is now in full swing, with all of the little yachts out there having a lap or two around the marker buoys that they put out there.

It’s probably what they call a “slalom for sailors”, I reckon. And wouldn’t it have been a good idea for me to have enrolled onto a course like that? I must make further enquiries.

wooden steps onto ramp down to fishing boats rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis photograph here has made me laugh, and it shouldn’t really, because it’s very sad.

It’s not the workman carrying the metal pole down the ramp that has caught my eye but something else there. They’ve spent I really don’t know how many millions of Euros completely refitting the port out with new ramps and pontoons, and it’s taken about a fortnight for social shaping by the citizens to take place to amend it.

All that money, and someone has felt obliged to build a set of steps out of a few old pallets.

crowds la rafale open place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAll of the restaurants, bars and cafés have been closed in France since the start of the pandemic, but since Tuesday in the “Green Zone” which is where we are living, they can re-open under certain circumstances.

The Place Cambernon Is usually blocked off for July and August to allow the café La Rafale and the restaurant to spread their tables about, but it seems that they have decided to extend the period of closure from now until the end of September.

And La Rafale is taking full advantage of it – and so are the customers too. That’s good news to see the commerce re-igniting.

more work on medieval walls granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations took me on an extended route today because I’d seen some kind of work going on in the distance.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a major amount of work done on the medieval walls all through last year, and I made some kind of derogatory remarks about some of the work that was done.

It’s nice to see that the local council has been following my journal because the work seems to involve cleaning up the mess that passed for pointing on the stairwell here.

They’ve only been at it for a couple of days and already there’s a vast improvement.

On the subject of vast improvements, I wish that there had been a vast improvement with me.

Back home again I started to write out the notes for the radio project on which I was working. I even finished them too in a most amazing blitz of work.

Next stop was to dictate them – and I even managed that too. However, when I went to edit them I found out that someone driving around here in a motor bike had made such a racket that the microphone had picked it up.

Closing all of the windows I went to dictate it again.

However I didn’t get far, because I crashed out for about 15 minutes or so and woke up feeling like death. Eventually I managed to finish dictating it but as I went to upload it to the computer I went off again.

45 minutes this time, and I missed my session on the guitars. And if I had felt bad before, I was feeling even worse now. It’s a really long time – and I do mean long – since I’ve felt as bad as I did just then.

itinerant visitor pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless I was up, so I was staying up. And i wasn’t intending to miss out on my run, despite no food and no health.

There was the usual struggle up the hill – which isn’t getting any better regardless of whatever circumstances. But at least my problems aren’t as bad as some of other people. There’s been an itinerant person wandering around the Pointe du Roc and he seems to have settled down under the hedge for the night.

It beats me why he’s settled there, because there’s plenty of covered spaces where he could settle if he so choose. But I do have to say, that having slept so often in Caliburn, Strider and various hire cars by the side of the sea over the years, there is something hypnotic about sleeping in the open air with the sound of the sea in my head.

storm jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath I ran on down to the top of the cliff to see what was going on.

Nothing much here right now, but away in the distance Jersey and the Channel islands were taking quite a pasting. That’s something of an incredible storm that’s raging out there right now.

There’s quite a high wind blowing here right now, but luckily it’s not coming in this direction but going off out to sea, so it’s not likely to affect us. However, the winds are quite contrary and who knows what’s in store for us overnight.

old cars 1985 morgan pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw a couple of old cars, one of which was a green Morgan, driving around here.

On the car park by the Coastguard Station this evening was this green Morgan. I’m not sure if it’s the same car but anyway, it’s still interesting so with the owner’s permission I photographed it.

He told me that it is an original Morgan, not a reproduction, but it’s one of the modern series and made in 1985. That’s a shame, because I was hoping that it might have been one of the older ones. It’s still nice though.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the wind, there’s still work to be done.

As I wandered around the headland I noticed a couple of fishing boats heading out across the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if they are heading out towards the Brittany coast to see what they can find to catch over there.

It looks as if the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel has been abandoned by the fishing boats right now. But that may well be because of the school of dolphins that is said to be loitering around up there and which have been seen by one or two people – but not by me.

trawlers yacht chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me down along the top of the cliff and past the top of the chantier navale.

We have another occupant in there today, but I’m not sure whether or not it actually counts. There are the two big fishing boats that have been there for ages, but also a small yacht on blocks next to it.

Whatever it is, it was nice to see it so I took a photo and then carried on with my run all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I had stopped for breath, I walked down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

Chausiais was down there, moored up in the loading position underneath the crane. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen her heading out to the Ile de Chausey the other day, so it’s strange that she’s looking as if she’s loading up ready to go out again so soon.

Nothing else seemed to be happening so I turned round and ran off to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord, pushing on by about 50 metres that particular segment of my run.

There was nothing going on there either. The sun was hidden in swathes of clouds and so there were no picnickers out there this evening. So I ran on home.

Having written my notes I’m off to bed, for an early night for once. I’m off for a day out tomorrow so I need to be on form. I’ll try some breakfast tomorrow morning and see if I can keep it down, and I have to go shopping too on my way out as supplies are getting low – not that it particularly matters right now.

Monday 14th October 2019 – SOMETIMES IT’S VERY HARD …

… to say goodbye to people with whom one has been associated for so long, but today is the day that I hit the road, Jack (or Jacques, seeing that I’ll be heading towards Quebec).

4th September I arrived in New Brunswick and apart from 10 days or so clearing out my storage unit in Montreal and visiting family and friends in Ottawa I’ve been here ever since.

If I’m not careful I’ll be putting down roots next, and that will never do. I was born under a wandering star, as the old song went, and I’m destined to wander for the rest of my life until, making reference to a certain posting 6 or so weeks ago when I was still aboard The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, Charon ferries me across the River Styx.

With it being Thanksgiving (which reminds me, Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian family and friends and new readers, et Bonne Action de Grace a toute le monde francophone Canadien) we had another lie-in this morning. Nothing like as dramatic as yesterday’s. Not quite so early in bed, a small disturbance during the night, and raising myself from the Dead round about 08:45. But still, I’ll take that over almost any other night that I’ve had for quite some considerable time.

Eventually there was some noise coming from the rest of the house so I went in to join the (af)fray. We had a reasonably heavy brunch, nothing like the legendary Sunday one but a good one nevertheless, and then hung around chatting for ages. Everyone seemed to be in a very sociable mood today.

With me heading for the hills, I managed to make the printer fire up so I could print off all of my travel documents ready for the trip. Another task accomplished.

This afternoon people had tasks to do so I busied myself packing and having another play around on the bass guitar before I put it away in Strider where it will live for the next foreseeable future.

A curry was on the agenda for supper so for a change Hannah and I attacked it. For some reason that I don’t understand, it didn’t taste anything like as good as any previous one that I have made. I hope that I’m not losing my touch!

But as for my carrot soup, well, what more can I say? All of the leftover carrots (because there were tons of them) steamed slowly to warm them up, with bay leaves for added flavour, and then simmered gently for a while in coconut milk with ginger. Finally the bay leaves were removed and the whole lot given a ride around in the whizzer.

Totally delicious.

Finished packing, and leaving a few things behind such as my spare clothes and my deck shoes, because I seem to have acquired a Tupperware microwave fryer and a pile of CDs somewhere on my travels and it won’t all fit in, and then Rachel took me down to Irvings in Florenceville and the Maritime Atlantic bus.

21:15 it was scheduled to arrive, and at 21:15 arrive it did. And remind me never to travel on a Bank Holiday or thereabouts because it was packed and it was a struggle to find a seat. What I did find though was a backpack under the seat, apparently left behind by someone who had alighted earlier, so I took it down to the driver.

We eventually arrived at Riviere du Loup where we all change buses. It was cold, miserable, wet and rainy but nevertheless I had a chat to the driver. He comes up all the way from Moncton, sleeps in the hotel next door, and then drives all the way back the following day. Reminded me of my days with Shearings when I used to do an overnight run every Friday night from Manchester to Glasgow and Edinburgh and return the following day.

And while I was chatting, someone came around “has anyone seen a black backpack?” so I passed him on to the driver.

So now I’m sitting on a seat in a draughty windswept crowded waiting room here waiting for my bus to Montreal to arrive. I’m reaching the end of this phase of my journey and who knows where I’m going to end up next?

As Winston Churchill once said after the British flight from the Germans at Dunkirk, “this is not the beginning of the end. It is merely the end of the beginning”.

Sunday 13th October 2019 – I SAID YESTERDAY …

… that I was hoping to have a really good sleep last night. And to be honest, I said it without too much conviction.

So consequently, having closed my eyes at some time rather like 22:45 or thereabouts last night, no-one was more surprised than me to notice that when I reopened them, it was … errr … 09:45.

Out like a light, totally painless, didn’t feel a thing.

Even more surprisingly, all of my old good humour, positive thought and optimism had reappeared too. That led me to the conclusion that the deep depression in which I have found myself over the last … I dunno … seven or eight weeks and which affected my sea voyage around the High Arctic so much was caused by nothing more than good old plain and simple fatigue and exhaustion.

That’s certainly borne out by the facts, where in the latter stages of that journey I was existing on about three hours of sleep each night and being kept running by nothing more than adrenalin.

So this morning, with it being a Sunday, everyone else was having a lie-in too and no-one surfaced much before 11:00. The breakfast brunch ended up being much later than it usually is but it was delicious all the same.

After lunch I took Zoe down to her house in Woodstock. And by the time we got … “ohhh not again!” – ed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I used to hire a Dodge Caravan I had a mattress that I used for sleeping. Almost new, it didn’t have much use and so when I emptied my storage locker I brought it back and gave it to Zoe for when she has visitors round at her house.

We went back up to Bob and Ellen’s afterwards to drop her off for a Thanksgiving Dinner. On the way we called at the tyre depot and a mammoth search around the premises turned up my missing notebook for which I shall be eternally grateful.

Ellen made me a coffee and we had a little chat, and then I wished them all goodbye. They wished me a pleasant voyage back to Europe, which was nice of them.

When I returned, everyone was out tidying up the yard. I was put on fire duty, in charge of the rubbish burning. We ended up with fire everywhere except where it was supposed to be, but armed with a big metal snow shovel I was able to deal with the matter before the house burned down.

I ended up smelling like a fire myself, so a shower and change of clothes was called for.

Some more stuff disappeared out of Strider too – into the garage downstairs.

Thanksgiving dinner here tonight. Rachel was cooking lamb for everyone so I made stuffed peppers for our little visitor and me. They were quite delicious. As a special treat I had saved two of the vegan muffins and the two of us ate them to celebrate our own Thanksgiving.

Plenty of carrots left over so the plan for tomorrow is to make a carrot soup using coconut milk, ginger and bay leaves. Meanwhile, I put the lamb bones in some water with some sage, thyme, rosemary and olive oil and I’m boiling them down to make some lamb stock. Not for me, I hasten to add, but for the basis of the weekly work soup for the carnivores.

But it did remind me of the story about when the BBC closed down the children’s programmes on radio and went to sell off all of the assets
“How much did we get for Larry the Lamb?” asked the BBC’s accountant.
“Three and six a pound” was the reply.

Rachel and I are chatting right now as I’m typing, and I’ll be off to bed in a short while. Desperate for another long sleep tonight (without the alarms because it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow) but who knows?

And I need it too. Tomorrow is going to be a very long and painful night and I won’t be having much sleep at all.

Saturday 12th October 2019 – IT’S THE FIRST …

… day of the Bank Holiday today and I have celebrated it by doing absolutely nothing at all.

And that is just as well because I had a horrible night last night. Lying in bed watching the clock go round and round as I tried – not very successfully – to go to sleep.

Yet sleep I must have done at one point as I awoke at 05:45 without the benefit of an alarm. Raining again, and there’s the metal roof of a trailer right underneath my bedroom window.

The alarms went off as usual but quite frankly I couldn’t have cared less about them. I went back down the bed. But Rosemary rand me up at about 08:00 and I spent a pleasant hour or so talking to her. That fired me up to take my medication and to go and make myself a coffee.

Liz was on line too so we had a chat on the internet too – a chat that went on in a kind of desultory fashion all throughout the day. And that included the news that Strawberry Moose will be going on another journey not long after he returns home.

Having had my coffee I was in no real mood for breakfast so I did without. And my fast, such as it was, went on until about 15:00 when I made myself some toast.

In between the coffee and toast I had been sorting out all of my stuff, throwing some stuff away, sticking some more in Strider and taking some stuff out of Strider to take home with me. I found a lot of stuff that was missing but to my great dismay, I can’t find my notebook now.

I’ve already lost one in my jacket in Calgary and to lose a second will be a disaster. So if you gave me your e-mail address on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, then send it to me again using the comments link on the blog.

I shan’t publish the information, but at least I’ll have it for when I return home and can sort out the photos that I’ve promised you.

Once I’d tidied up and had my toast I spent a few hours playing on the bass. Working out a few more bass lines, in particular to a few tracks by Counting Crows off their Recovering The Satellites album. That, by the way, is another album that is guaranteed to reduce me into a state of depression.

A couple of the lyrics are quite meaningful (well, they all are, but in different ways). One in particular reminds me of an incredibly lengthy chat that I had with someone five or six weeks ago, quite late one night
Gonna get back to basics
Guess I’ll start it up again
I’m fallin’ from the ceiling
You’re falling from the sky now and then
Maybe you were shot down in pieces
Maybe I slipped in between
But we were gonna be the wildest
The Wildest
The Wildest
People they ever hoped to see
Just you and me

But as Peter Townsend would tell us, it’s all about Time and Chance, isn’t it?

Very similar to when I used to be repairing my old farmhouse, I reckon. When I had the time I didn’t have the money. And when I had the money I didn’t have the time.

Zoe came into my room later, wondering why I wasn’t coming out to be sociable. I suppose that I ought to be more sociable than I am, so I told her that if she made me a coffee I would come out and drink it. So she did, and I did.

Rachel and I cooked tea tonight, stir-fry vegetables and rice in soy sauce with vegan spring rolls. Delicious it was too. There was some apple crumble left over from last weekend, but there isn’t now.

We all chatted for a while and then like The Knights Of The Round Table we all went our separate ways.

Now I’m back in my room, wondering what tonight is going to bring me. Sleep, I hope, if I’m lucky. I could do with a pile of that. But something extra would be nice too. And right now, I’m listening to Jackson Heights and their album King’s Progress, and in particular the track “Insomnia” where Lee Jackson sings
The whole world’s still sleeping
Kept warm by their dreams
Wrapped up in their loved ones
How peaceful it seems
Lay your head on the pillow
How weary it seems
You would give a small fortune
To get back in your dreams

Those are sentiments with which I concur whole-heartedly.

Thursday 10th October 2019 – I DON’T UNDERSTAND …

… why, but I am just totally stressed out right now to an extent that I didn’t know was possible.

There has been an “incident” (which I’m not going to relate) that not only is nothing to do with me, but doesn’t even relate to me at all and doesn’t even affect me in the slightest, but for some reason it has got deep under my skin.

One thing that the doctors told me is that in order to prolong my life as much as possible I have to avoid all kinds of stresses and strains and any kind of emotional impact.

With having such a low blood count as I do, my heart is having to beat twice as fast and i have to breathe twice as fast to provide enough oxygen to my vital organs. It’s only because I have a coeur de champion that I have kept going for so long, but if I keep on going like today my days are definitely numbered.

I need to get a grip.

And that doesn’t apply just to this particular incident either. Despite an early night, and despite sleeping right through the alarms this morning, it was still 07:20 before I surfaced.

All of the rubbish needed taking down to the street for the dustmen so I took it down before breakfast.

Another leisurely morning and then I went up to the tire depot. Things weren’t quite so busy today and rather like my namesake the mathematician, I did three fifths of five eights of … errr … absolutely nothing. I ended up sleeping for most of the day and that is worrying me intently.

Well, I didn;t actually do absolutely nothing. I taught Zoe to use the new tyre comparison program that I uploaded, and even found a few new features on it too.

Another thing that I did, which ought to have made my blood boil but didn’t, much to my surprise, was to give someone a piece of my mind down the telephone.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I ordered a chip for Strider to deal with his excessive fuel consumption. It was sent back to the supplier because “insufficient address”. A week or so ago I telephoned the supplier, amended the address slightly and so they posted it again.

Only to have it returned a second time.

I telephoned the maildrop place in Mars Hill, just across the border in the USA to ask why they keep on returning it.
“But you don’t have an account with us”
“What do you mean ‘an account’? We’ve been having stuff sent to you for as long as I can remember (which is at least 18 years) and we’ve never needed an account”.
“Well, you do now since we’ve taken it over”
“So if that’s the case, why didn’t you ring up and tell all of your customers that the procedures have changed? And why did you refuse my parcel when my phone number is on the address label and you could have invited me to come over and open an account?”

No answer.

But the suppliers are very understanding and they are sending it now by post direct to Canada (which is what I should have done in the fist place), and it’ll arrive after I’ve returned home of course.

Trying to save pennies here and there is ending up costing me a fortune. It’s false economy.

And people complain about a recession and how things are tight. That guy in Mars Hill has just lost $7:00 because he’s too lazy to pick up the phone and make a phone call.

Later on I gave Darren a hand with the one-tonne Dually which he drove home while I took the post to the Post Office, and then I drove him back to the garage to pick up the three-tonner.

And if you are wondering whether that means that we finally have all of the cars and trucks (except the two twenty-tonners and the artic tractor of course) back at home (first time since I don’t know when) then Rachel’s Golf has had to go to have an exchange driveshaft exchanged once more. Nothing seems to last like it did, but even so, 18 months for a driveshaft is rather extreme).

Rachel cooked a lovely meal for tea and then I helped with the washing and drying. Now I’m sitting in my bedroom not doing all that much right now.

Except to listen to the music. It has a very calming influence on me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and Tinsley Ellis’ “Mystery To Me” is about as good as gets. I’ve been teaching myself to play the lead guitar break (the one from 03:10) on the bass as a way of organising myself.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. The only thing wrong with today though was my attitude and I need to do something about that.

Tuesday 8th October 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… Mr Computer Repair Man again today.

having revelled in my triumphs a few days ago about getting my old Acer Laptop up and running after it crashed out on me in the USA and being able to salvage all of the data, down at the office today Rachel bunged another old laptop at me to see if I could raise that one from the dead too.

I spent a couple of hours working on it and, as much to my own surprise as anyone else’s, it’s now up and running again with not only all of the data still intact but all of the programs too.

It’s an old 2009 Lenovo with a 1.3ghz processor running Windows 7, but now that it’s working again it’s quite sprightly for its age as long as you don’t try to do anything too ambitious with it, but for taking down to the storeroom to do an inventory (which is why it was here in the first place) it’s just the job.

And talking of the storeroom, I’ve checked again and we do have indeed a large supply of 165/80 x 13 and 185/70 x 13 tyres for Ford Cortinas, as well as several other obsolete sizes too for other makes, so I’ve been posting the info on various North American classic car groups to try to drum up the sales.

All in all, I’ve had quite a busy morning.

A relaxing morning too. Although I heard all of the alarms go off, it was about 07:00 when I finally managed to raise myself from the dead. And with no school run this morning I was able to have a leisurely start to the day.

Not to transcribe the dictaphone notes though. There’s a couple on there from during the night and I’ll have to copy those over as soon as I can.

For once, Cujo the Killer Cat co-operated with me so I was able to leave the house pretty much when I wanted to without having to hunt her down.

This afternoon was more running around. Taking the cheques to be posted (it’s that time of the year) mainly.

But I had another task assigned to me which I managed to accomplish. In the garage is a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up with a major electrical problem. With my little home-made testing apparatus I can tell that there’s a live feed reaching the relays at contacts where no live feed should be. This points to a short circuit in the fuse box somewhere and these are impossible to repair.

The easy answer is to replace the fuse box but, to my amazement (or maybe not, because I’ve long-since ceased to be amazed at the antics of modern motor manufacturers) the part is “no longer available” from the manufacturers.

Consequently, with the repaired laptop (and I’m glad now that I repaired it), I’ve been scouring the scrapyards of North America and I’ve eventually tracked down a rear-ended Dodge of the correct year and model in a scrapyard in Colorado.

A photo of the part on that truck looks identical to the one here, and so that’s now winging its way northwards in our direction. And who knows? We might even be able to make this Dodge start properly without having to hot-wire it all the time.

Fighting off waves of fatigue yet again (and I’ve no idea why) I went to pick up Amber from cheerleading practice after school, only to find that our little visitor had stayed behind too. Never mind the crowded cab when we have half-a-million strong therein by the time we get to Woodstock, it was pretty cramped in there with three, but we managed all the same.

Everyone was out this evening so I made myself some potato thins with onions, carrots garlic and assorted herbs with some vegan sausages, and it was delicious. Especially when followed down by one of the vegan muffins from the weekend.

Later this evening after tea I retreated to my room. I’m not feeling myself at the moment … “and quite right too” – ed … so some peace and quiet will do me good. I’m beginning to feel the strain and I really need a couple of days in bed to haul myself up again, but I doubt whether that will happen any time soon.

Looking at my schedule over the past three and a half months, it would have been pretty hectic for a younger person in good health. For an older person who is slowly dying, it’s been taxing to the limit and beyond.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday 7th October 2019 – JUST LIKE OLD TIMES!

Just pulling into the yard this evening with Amber after picking her up after cheerleading practice when Rachel stuck her head out of the door
“Could you go down to the tyre depot and pick up Darren?”

So I dropped off my passenger and headed off to my next job, musing that I ought to fit a meter under Strider’s dashboard and a taxi sign on the roof. When I sold my taxi business in 1989 I thought that I had put this kind of thing well-and-truly to bed.

But no. It was just like old times.

However, if anyone thinks that I’m complaining or that I’m unhappy about it, then that’s far from the truth. I was actually enjoying myself being out and about, especially with some decent music churning away on Strider’s hi-fi.

Actually, one of my old Mancunian acquaintances had made an appearance on my playlist. And as I listened to the words, I realised that they are really quite appropriate to the situation in which I have found myself these days as I struggle with my illness and events associated with it all.

The killer lives inside me: yes, I can feel him move
Sometimes he’s lightly sleeping in the quiet of his room
But then his eyes will rise and stare through mine;
He’ll speak my words and slice my mind inside
Yes the killer lives

Angels live inside me: I can feel them smile…
Their presence strokes and soothes the tempest in my mind
And their love can heal the wounds that I have wrought
They watch me as I go to fall – well, I know I shall be caught
While the angels live

And I too, live inside me and very often don’t know who I am
I know I’m not a hero, but I hope that I’m not damned:
I’m just a man, and killers, angels, all are me:
Dictators, saviours, refugees in war and peace
As long as Man lives…

Because, make no mistake, I am starting to struggle now. I had a really miserable afternoon yesterday and even though I was in bed early and had (for once) a really decent night’s sleep, I wasn’t feeling much better.

Luckily the girls had a lift into school so that I could take things easy this morning. I was in no hurry to surface. I had some food for breakfast, and a coffee, and then a play around on the laptop doing some stuff.

Zoe had told me when she left that she hadn’t been able to find Cujo the Killer Cat, so before I left I tried to hunt her down so that I could put her in one of the rooms where there’s no alarm sensor.

45 minutes I spent trying to find that blasted cat and when I went to the front door to accept a huge parcel delivery, there she was sitting on the bonnet of Strider. Outside all the time!

For most of the day I’ve been running around western New Brunswick fetching parts. It’s been really busy at work today. What added to the confusion was that just as everyone had something important to do, we had a delivery of 72 winter tyres and they all needed sorting and stacking.

Not only that, I’ve been doing my salemanship efforts today. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m something of an expert in Ford Cortina Mk III, Mk IV and Mk V, having made my fortune with them when I ran my taxi company. There are one or two in North America and someone posted on a forum that he couldn’t find any tyres anywhere to fit them

This place where I’m working right now is like an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures dating back years so I had a good look around. And sure enough, there are a handful just the correct size stuck down the back of the depot. And so I put an advert on the appropriate forum.

Back here, still in the driving rainstorm, i went to the Post Office on the way home to post the letters and then came back for tea. Plenty of pasta left over from the weekend, and rice pudding left over from last week. A meal fit for a king.

And then out taxiing until late. Just like old times.

But that’s enough for tonight, I reckon. I’m going to bed and I’m hoping to sleep. I need to pull myself round if I can but then again it’s been almost four months since my last blood transfusion, which I’m supposed to have every four weeks.

But do I care? Of course not. I’ve had a good time. And who wants to lie in bed at home to sit and stare at the bedroom ceiling anyway?

Sunday 6th October 2019 – IT’S BEEN …

… another day that has been somewhat … errr … less-lively than the others.

Sunday is a Day of Rest as we all know, and resting until about 08:30 flat-out with hardly an interruption during the night is as restful as it gets.

I did manage to leave the bed though round about 09:15 for a trip down the corridor and on returning I found that the place in my nice warm bed had been taken by Cujo the Killer Cat, so I had company for a while.

The Taylor Breakfast Brunch was of the usual high standard, although it was rather later than usual because Strider and I had to run to the shops for some milk as we had run out.

I was summoned to the telephone too, and that took about 20 minutes to deal with.

After breakfast we chilled for a while and then I ran Darren back to the tyre depot where he was going to spend the afternoon working on the one-ton truck. He needs to have that running because we are going to take off the dump body from the old one-ton Ford that we brought down here the other week to fit on the new one so that we can haul grain sacks around with it.

Back here, I emptied out Strider and tidied him up some more. I gave a pile of stuff to Zoe and there’s some more for Darren too.

The pace though had rather overwhelmed me and back in my little room I had a doze for an hour or two – despite my lie-in this morning. But I livened myself up with a shower and a change of clothes. I look almost human now!

Rachel made a lovely tea, a kind of hamburger mash with baked potatoes followed by apple crumble. And I loitered around to chat to her and Zoe for ages.

But now I’m off to bed. Worn out too and I don’t understand it because I’ve had a quiet relaxing day. I always seem to be more tired when I’ve not done anything.

Saturday 5th October 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… a very busy boy today.

And that’s hardly a surprise because I had, for the first time since I don’t know when, had a really good sleep last night and I’ve not yet set foot outside the house.

A few items on the dictaphone, although what there is I really don’t know. And I was up and about by 06:40 too.

Rachel and Amber went to work this morning so I decided on a day off. A leisurely breakfast and a long chat with Hannah and our visitor and then I cracked on to work, with just a brief interruption for lunch.

During the course of the day, people were coming and going but I paid no attention whatever and by the time supper was served, I’d finished all of the blog entries for July (including the missing one when I was ill) and most of them for August too. There are only three or four that need to be added, I reckon.

And those that are there make interesting reading. As Kenneth Williams once famously said, “I’m often taken aback by my own brilliance”.

Or, as the Duke of Wellington once remarked about the Battle of Waterloo and which sums up my voyage completely – “By God! I don’t think it would have been done if I had not been there”.

But now Amber is down with the dreaded lurgy. It’s doing the rounds here so I’ll probably catch it the evening that I’m due to catch my bus back to Montreal.

A brief interruption though. US Granville’s match against C Chartres Football was televised this evening and I managed to catch the second half.

Hannah and her friend Journee made tea tonight. For we vegans, she made a stir-fry tofu in a creamy vegan sauce with pasta, and it was absolutely delicious. She followed that up with some vegan muffins that she had found in the Atlantic Superstore and which I will be visiting again.

So it’s bedtime now. No alarm and a day of rest. I’m going to be attacking the rear of Strider and empty out some of the stuff that I fetched back from Montreal. Some is for Darren, some is for Zoe and the rest is for filing under CS.

See you in the morning.

Thursday 3rd October 2019 – I HAVE HAD …

… one of the best Indian meals that I have had for quite a while in North America. Outside Montreal, of course, because nothing can improve upon the Indian cafe that I discovered at Cote Vertu in Montreal.

It seems that a family of Indians – “those” Indians, not “those Indians” = have recently taken over a motel in Woodstock (a phenomenon that I first observed about 15 years or so ago) and converted the restaurant into an Indian restaurant.

I had a vegetable biryani and it was excellent, as indeed was everyone else’s meal. The service unfortunately did not match the food, but I’m sure that it will improve.

And I felt like a good meal tonight too because I’ve had a harrowing day. It all went wrong during the night where I reckoned that I had hardly slept at all. Three dictated files on the dictaphone told a different story but nevertheless that was how I felt.

There was no school run either so I hitched a lift up to the office with Rachel so that I could pick up Strider. But then we had an urgent phone call. The boy who was taking Amber to school failed to turn up so I had to dash home. Amber isn’t a fan of Strider but she had no choice in the matter this morning.

Quite a few stresses and strains at the tyre depot today. It seems that everyone is having weekend blues a few days early. But at least the cashing up was no problem tonight – we were $0:90 over so we decided to Spend Spend Spend!

At lunchtime though I’d come home for a shower and a change of clothes, and also to salvage the Note-Tab clipboard libraries from the old computer – a task that I had forgotten. But that’s now accomplished. And I do have to say that the old computer now that it’s “fixed” seems to be working better than it ever did.

We all went down for an Indian meal tonight, all seven of us. And on the way back Rachel, Zoe and I went to visit one of Rachel’s friends who is on the point of leaving for the winter.

But now I’m set up in my room on my way to bed. Let’s hope that tomorrow will bring us some happiness. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.