Tag Archives: sunset

Monday 7th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall what usually happens when I have something important or urgent to do, and so it goes without saying that today, with so much going on that I need to do I have been on the receiving end of a load of rubbish.

roadworks place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Monday is of course the day when I work on my rock music programmes for the radio and I had three live concerts to remix, edit, and then to write and dictate the text that I intend to use, and then edit it.

So having left my stinking pit at 06:00 and written all of the notes, at 08:00 precisely they started working on the road underneath my window, using a pneumatic drill.

And that, dear reader, was that.

Mind you, I did have a dash through while they were going for their 2-hour lunch and after when they had finished, and I thought that I’d managed to produce something that was adequate for all three concerts – only to find that one of them has a hole in it.

The irony of that is that I recorded this concert myself on 22nd April 1977 (I wrote it on the tape) but the quality was not as good as I would have liked it to be so rather than spend ages editing it and ending up with something that would still be of somewhat dubious quality, I trawled across all kinds of sources to which I have access to see if I could find a better copy.

And sure enough, I eventually did but firstly, a lot of the audience interaction, some of which was quite important, was edited out and I had to edit it back in from my copy, and secondly, it has a hole in at at 45:20:00 that I didn’t notice when I played it through at first.

It’s not been my day, has it?

The day started off well enough. I was out of bed almost as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00 and after the medication and checking my mails and messages I made a start on writing the notes for the three radio concerts that I was hoping to do.

As I mentioned, the pneumatic drill interrupted my work quite considerably but I picked my way through the quiet gaps in the work as best as I could. I adjusted the one that I mentioned yesterday and that sounds quite nice.

But the second one is perfect, despite all of the work that I had to do on it and I’m really impressed with how it’s come out.

As for the third one, we’ll have to see about that when I’ve filled in the hole, and found something that will take up the time. I’ll probably have to lengthen some applause or something.

There were several interruptions, apart from the pneumatic drill. First of course was for lunch and second was the nurse, about whom I had forgotten, who came to give me my injection.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then of course there was the afternoon walk around the headland.

First call was, as usual, the walk across the car park to the wall at the end where I can look down upon the beach to see who’s around.

And there were plenty of people down there today. It’s school half-term right now so there are families coming here to their second homes and holiday lets to take in the sea air, and to bring their viruses with them.

The figures have calmed down this last couple of days from the ridiculous levels of the last few weeks, so just watch them soar upwards again now that everyone is on the move.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Plenty of other stuff on the move as well this afternoon.

As usual I had a good look round out at sea while I was watching the beach. My eyes fell upon a couple of fishing boats way out in the bay.

Judging by the direction in which they were pointing, they must have been working. They were neither heading back to port or out to sea in the direction of the Channel Islands

Fishing boats with their nets out are obliged to shine a couple of white lights, but I’m not likely to see them at this distance.

f-gcum, robin dr 400/180 regent, baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That wasn’t all that was going on out in the bay this afternoon either.

Not actually in it, as it happens, but over it. We had a light aeroplane flying by way out in the distance.

Of course, from here I have no chance of seeing who she might be but she’s red and white and that seems to suggest that she’s F-GCUM, a Robin Dr 400-180 Regent.

My photo is timed at 15:49 and while no-one took off from the airfield round about then, F-GCUM took off at 15:07, flew up to Utah Beach and then back down in a figure-of-eight to Avranches and then back again where she landed at 16:16.

She must have been on the second part of her flight when I photographed her.

brittany coast in sea mist Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Although the view out to sea was reasonably clear, it wasn’t like that everywhere else.

The way things were, I was hoping that I might possibly be able to see all the way down to Cap Fréhel this afternoon but it wasn’t to be, unfortunately.

There was quite a heavy sea-mist hanging around just offshore and obscuring the coast. It was extremely difficult to make out anything further than the Baie de St Malo and anything coming out of the harbour over there would be immediately lost in the mist.

It wasn’t the day for any kind of long-distance photography in that direction.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel, things were quite dramatically different.

Not a trace of mist just over there and so we have another one of these magnificent sunsets. The Brittany coast, the town of Cancale and the sea just offshore are illuminated by the sun just as if they have been floodlit on a stage.

But we need to make the most of this because the sun is now quite high in the sky and I don’t imagine that we’ll be seeing many more of these beautiful late afternoons now until late autumn. I shall have to find something else to extol.

people watching sunset pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And just for a change, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying it.

Several people had made their way down to the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland and they were admiring the sunset, complete with improvised visors.

Nothing much seems to have happened in the bunker behind me over the weekend. Everything was as I remember it being when I last looked.

And so I carried on down the path towards the port to see what was happening there since Saturday morning.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As far as inhabitants of the chantier naval go, there hasn’t been any change. Tiberiade is still in there, and so it Le Roc A La Mauve III.

However, there’s been a considerable change to Le Roc A La Mauve III. It doesn’t look as if she’s going to be mauve any more, because they are down there busily sanding off all of the paint from the hull of the boat.

She’s going to have a new coat of paint, by the looks of things. I shall have to make a note of her new colour when she’s done so that I can identify her at a distance when she’s out at sea.

When I find the time, whenever that might be, I’ll make up a list of boats that operate out of here and append some photos to help me identify them.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022No difficuly in identifying this boat though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we will probably be able to identify her simply by where she’s moored. She’s L’Omerta of course, and we’ve seen plenty of photos of her moored up at the quayside underneath the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve seen her moored here but like a homing pigeon she’s found her way back again to her nest, sitting on the silt now that the tide is out.

She’s on her own down there today. Everyone else is either in the inner harbour or out working at sea.

harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022What is interesting about what’s happening in the harbour is the case of what isn’t here today.

What have gone from the harbour today are the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

They are probably on their way to Cherbourg or somewhere like that. As I mentioned a few days ago, there are rumours going around that the sailings to Jersey are to restart at the end of April.

Having been standing idle for so long, it’s likely that they have gone for an overhaul and a service ready to restart work. And I’ll have to make a few enquiries myself because as I have mentioned before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m determined to get out there somehow and see what’s going on.

light aeroplane 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was brroding on the infinite, I was overflown by another light aeroplane.

And “overflown” was probably the correct word because she really was right overhead. We can clearly see that she’s 50SA, one of the light aeroplanes that fly out of the airfield.

As I have said before … “and on many occasiosn too” – ed … I’ll have to go out there to the airfield at some point to make enquiries about these aeroplanes that I can’t identify. The registration numbers that they carry aren’t in the series contained in the database to which I have access.

lorry negotiating porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the difficulty of large vehicles faced with the medieval city walls.

On the way back I noticed that not all of the large vehicles trans-ship whatever it is that they carry. Some of them press on regardless.

And this one certainly did – with a clearance of no more than an inch or two either side the driver bravely nosed his vehicle out of the walled city as I watched.

It would have been much more interesting to have actually watched him fight his way in, but I wasn’t here at the time.

Back here I had a coffee and carried on with my work until I had to stop for tea.

Eventually I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was with 2 girls at school last night. They were a few years younger than me but they weren’t particular friends of mine and this was a good few years later at a kind-of party. I’d gone to wash my hands and it was dark so I was having an explore and a look around. I was in some of the classrooms wondering why there was no-one else in here. Suddenly these 2 girls walked in. I shouted “booh!” and they jumped. They put the lights on but it took a while for them to come on then I could see who they were. I said “God it’s only you. I thought that it was someone else” and mentioned the name of a girl in their year who I actually happened to quite like. They said “yes, we noticed that you liked her”. I replied, “yes, she and her friends are really quite nice”. By this time a whole crowd of people had come in. They were all sitting down making coffee and everything. I asked “could someone lend me some coffee?”. These girls said “so and so (her friend) and I have some coffee. You can share ours” and gave me a drink of coffee. They gave me some chocolate cake too, that they put on the saucer of the cup, but it was hot from the coffee so the cake stuck to the saucer. We were talking about something or other and I thought that that reminded me of a man, a distraction for about 30 seconds. Then one of the girls turned to me and asked “who did that remmind you of?”. I replied “do you know, it’s gone clean out of my mind”. We were talking about all kinds of things. The question of coffee came up and she said “my husband never makes me a coffee”. I replied “he ought to” and I told the story of my friend in the USA who even though he didn’t like coffee would quite happily make one for his wife”. She said “yes, come on” in a dismissive tone. We were having quite an interesting chat that I wouldn’t have had with these 2 girls in real life. It was really quite interesting and it was a shame when it petered out

There was also some kind of ceremony going on at a war memorial and we were there. There was talk that they had given some of France’s post-war allocation to people like the Basques and the Greeks to ensure some kind of post-war stability. We then walked back out with Liz and as we were passing a shop she asked if I fancied a coffee. I replied “no, we’re nearly back so I’ll have one when we arrive back home”. She went in anyway and I noticed that she was buying an alcoholic drink. I didn’t say anything, I just watched as the shopkeeper collected all the ingredients to mix it.

Tonight was to empty the fridge of everything loitering in there, especially the stuffing left over from Saturday’s pepper. So I made a really nice curry of all kinds of bits and pieces, and forgot to put the stuffing in it.

Definitely not my day, is it?

Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best, not that that is ever likely to happen. Piles of radio stuff and only one day to do it all before I leave.

The fact that I just can’t get myself up to date is another one of these mysteries that I don’t understand.

Thursday 3rd February 2022 – SOMETHING HAPPENED …

… last night that hasn’t happened for weeks and weeks, if not months and months.

and that was that I went to bed at something like a reasonable time, fell asleep quite quickly, and slept all the way through until the alarm went off without awakening once.

The sleep was so deep that I made an executive decision (and for the benefit of new readers, an executive decision is one that, if it’s the wrong decision, the person making it is executed) to switch off the alarms and go back to sleep.

It was just after 10:00 when I finally arose from the dead, hours later than intended, and it remains to be seen whether it’s done me any good. But I don’t care.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Immediately after the medication, before I’d even checked my mails and messages, I set about making the bread.

500 grammes of wholewheat flour, some salt, several handfuls of sunflower seeds, yeast and water (I forgot the Vitamin C tablet), and it all went together perfectly. In fact, the dough felt like the best that I’ve ever made.

It rose quite well too and it was cooked to perfection after 75 minutes. It tasted quite good too, as I was to find out later. I’m quite happy with this;

Half of the loaf has gone into the freezer to keep it fresh for later.

While it was doing its stuff I was checking my mails and messages, and writing a message to someone. It was a very difficult message to write, for all kinds of reasons, but she did ask …

After lunch I worked on the missing radio interview, and that’s all done and dusted now. In fact they are all done because I re-edited a couple of previous ones that needed improving, and tomorrow I’m going to start assembling my programme.

It’s going to be a major “cut and paste” job with plenty of music in between. Hans in Germany wrote a song especially for the occasion, someone else sent me two of his songs, and I’ll be cutting bits out of them to use as appropriate. I’ve no idea how it’ll turn out but I’ll just be glad to have it finished and on its way.

Let’s see if I can do that before I go to Leuven next Wednesday.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As you might expect, there was the usual afternoon break for my walk around the headland.

First stop though has to be the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach this afternoon, and quite a few people down there for a walk too. There are four people in this photo but altogether I counted at least a dozen or so and there were probably more too.

Not so many up here on the path though. I was pretty much on my own.

boat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I was casting my other eye out to sea at the same time as I was looking down on the beach.

Surprisingly, after yesterday, there weren’t any fishing boats out at sea that I could see, but there was something out just off the Ile de Chausey on the right-hand edge of this rather murky photo.

Out of interest, I took a photo of it and tried to enhance it to see whom it might be, but to no avail. She has a similar kind of silhouette to La Grande Ancre but I don’t think that it’s she.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Out at the end of the headland we were having yet another glorious sunset.

This time of the year is well-known for these, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I have said so in the past … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

While the Brittany coast was shrouded in a rainstorm that was stretching all the way down the bay, there was a touch of blue sky here.

And that was all there was of it. The rest of the sky was quite grey and miserable.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

No surprise because the whole of the town was out on the beach this afternoon engaged in the peche à pied – “fishing on foot”.

For the benefit of the recent readers of this rubbish, the area of the shore between high and low tide is let out to commercial fishermen who exploit the shellfish that might be found.

However, we have probably the widest tidal range in Europe here and several times per year, the water level drops below the level that is commercially exploited. On those days, subject to a few conditions, the area below the low water line, when it’s exposed by a very low tide, is a free-for-all where anyone at all might harvest whatever they might find.

Including human feet and unexploded munitions too, of which there have been more than just a few.

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There might not have been many people wandering around on the path or sitting down on the bench below but I did have some company up here this afternoon.

We haven’t seen our friendly neighbourhood bird of prey for quite a while but here he is this afternoon.

He’s usually to be found on the other side of the headland where there’s a colony of rabbits, but I don’t know what there is that might be of interest to him down here.

In fact he didn’t swoop down to investigate anything in all of the time that I was watching him so it must have been rather slim pickings today. He’ll probably be back on the other side tomorrow if he has no luck here.

le tiberiade chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little farther on along the path I noticed some more activity in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Yesterday we saw Coelacanthe in an unusual position at the quayside, moored stern-on, but today all of the excitement centres around her little sister Tiberiade.

She’s made her way into the chantier naval for some kind of attention, to join up with Le Roc A La Mauve III who is sill over out of shot on her blocks near the portable boat lift.

And if you want to tell Coelacanthe and Tiberiade apart when they aren’t side by side (the latter is smaller), then Coelacanthe has wings on the railings at the side of the bridge whereas Tiberiade has open railings.

pollarding crew rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday we saw the pollarding crews out in the town by the Place Pelley working on the trees down there.

By the looks of things this afternoon they are working their way up the Rue des Juifs. They are at one of the viewpoints overlooking the inner harbour where there’s a good view, a comfy bench (which, inexplicably, faces the street and not the port) and more importantly, a handful of trees.

It looks as if it’s their turn to have having the treatment this afternoon. Tomorrow, I suppose, they’ll be finishing off down there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they did the trees in the Boulevard Vaufleury a few weeks ago.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a quick look down into the inner harbour to see how things are developing.

There’s another pile of freight that’s appeared on the quayside since we last looked. And that reminds me – we haven’t seen Thora, one of the three little Jersey freighters, in port for a while. I know that the two others were in St Malo this morning but they have gone back to Jersey.

Perhaps we’re going to be having a flying visit sometime soon, or else Chausiaise, currently tied up with her sisters in the inner harbour, might fancy another run out to stretch her legs. It will be interesting indeed if she has decided to pick up the cudgel.

cherry picker place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, it looks as if we are in for interesting times too.

Right underneath my dining-room window someone has parked a cherry-picker. It looks as if there is going to be some work done around here somewhere at some time in the near future.

They used something like this when they patched up the flashing around the skylights at the front a while back. I wonder if they are going to be starting work on the skylights at the rear, or is it for something else?

Back here I had a coffee and finished off the radio stuff that I’d been doing. Then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Last night there was a group of us with a couple of American tanks that we’d disguised and painted to be like German small tanks. We were in German uniforms, behind German lines during the German retreat across Europe. We’d been continually held up, which was not part of our plan because it wouldn’t be long before someone recognised what we had. At one point we had to wait around for a while and then we were waved on and ended up in a queue to cross a large river. One of our party wandered off and found a place where he could have some ice-cream. he was sitting there eating it when a large party of Germans turned up. he immediately suspected that these Germans would recognise the tank and arrest everyone who was with it. He decided that he would keep a very low profile with his ice-cream while the events unfolded between these 2 groups of people

And later there was me and my brother (again!) and several other kids. We were playing around at some kind of thing and we ended up, 4 of us, me, my brother and 2 girls, one younger than the other, spending most of our time playing badminton. The other kids weren’t interested at all in it. It was all taking place in some kind of garage. The 4 of us were reasonably clean although we had a few marks on us where we had touched oily things. We gradually split up into 2 camps, the 4 of us badminton players and the others. We wrote a kind-of poem about what we were doing and that was when we discovered the names of these 2 girls (I can’t remember them now). I was sitting down somewhere in this room and I made a gesture to the older of these 2 girls if she wanted to go to play badminton. One of the other kids saw me make this gesture and pulled a face and didn’t seem very keen at all, but it wasn’t anything to do with them. The other girl said “yes, ok” so I picked up my racket, she picked up hers. I asked “where’s your sister?” – I imagined that they were sisters. She replied “she’s gone off to play with your brother somewhere”.

Tea tonight was a handful of those small breaded quorn fillets with veg and potatoes, and that made enough room to put the half of a loaf into the freezer. It’s really cramped in there with no more room to put anything at all.

At the moment I’m resisting the temptation to sort through it all because it’s so well-packed that if I disturb it, I won’t be able to fit everything back in and then I’ll have some real problems. But I’m sure that there are tons of stuff that need eating that have been in there for ages.

Having had my hot chocolate, I’m off to bed, hoping for as good a sleep as I had last night. Not much chance of that, I know, but we can all live in hope.

And then to see what happens tomorrow about this series of radio programmes. Won’t I be glad to see it gone?

Tuesday 1st February 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

chausiaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise loading up at the loading bay in the port, and then go and tie up.

This afternoon, while I was out on my post-prandial perambulation around the perimeter, I noticed Chausiaise right out there in the Baie de Granville about eight or nine miles offshore.

What caught my eye about this was that she wasn’t in the normal shipping lane that she would use to travel to and from the Ile de Chausey, her usual route, but in fact she was in the shipping lane that the boats use when they are travelling to and from the Channel Islands.

A quick look at the shipping register showed that she had in fact been in the port of St Helier this morning.

When she first came here a couple of years ago, I REMEMBER SPECULATING that there might be more to her presence in the port than mere trips back and towards Chausey. It looks as if there is some kind of substance in that.

Mind you, I was lucky that I actually managed to see her today because the way I was feeling this afternoon, I may well have ended up in bed and not gone anywhere at all.

fire engine porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Part of the reason for this was that I ended up having a rather late night, despite what I might have said yesterday.

As I was closing everything down last night, I went into the living room where I noticed that down at the Porte St Jean we had a fire engine with its blue lights flashing.

One or two other smaller vehicles with blue lights were loitering around too but it was very difficult to say what they were doing. I might ordinarily have been tempted to have gone out for a wander to see but I was ready for bed and it would have been rather an interesting sight had I done so.

At least I didn’t wake up at 04:00 or something silly like that. I managed to stay asleep (or thereabouts) until the alarm went off and then it was quite a struggle to rise up and leave my stinking pit.

Things didn’t improve as the morning went on either and I couldn’t concentrate on my Welsh lesson either. It ended up as being something of a disaster today. I didn’t fall asleep but it would be wrong to suggest that I was awake.

And not only that, I was freezing cold again. Despite the thermometer in the dining room showing some kind of reasonable temperature, I was sitting on an electric heater and I still wasn’t warm.

After lunch I came back in here and … errr … fell asleep. And that was how I was until it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. I really don’t know how I managed to wake up in time for going out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Nevertheless, out I went and staggered off down to the end of the car park to look over the wall onto the beach.

Despite how miserable the weather was, as you can tell from this photograph, there were a couple of people down on the beach. And there was plenty of beach for them to be down there on this afternoon too.

Very few people up here on the path though. All the way around the circuit I didn’t count more than half a dozen people. I imagine that they had far more sense then to be out here this afternoon. At least it was warmer than it ought to have been.

While I was looking down on the beach I was also looking around out at sea. And that was when I saw Chausiaise in the distance.

chausiaise trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d walked down to the end of the headland by the lighthouse she had made some progress in towards the coast.

She wasn’t the only boat out there either this afternoon. I noticed later on when I was looking at the first photo of Chausiaise that there was a trawler hiding away in the gloom, and there were several others too out here in the bay.

Consequently I waited until she approached another vessel out there and then took another photo of her. Things were quite busy out there at sea this afternoon and it’s about time that we saw some more seagoing stuff.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the headland this afternoon and that was a shame because everyone was missing quite a show.

Not only were they missing the boats massing out in the bay, they were missing another beautiful sunset.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this is one of the things that I like about this time of the year – the really nice sunsets in the bay. We’ve seen a few of those over the last few days.

And that was quite a storm that was brewing across the bay obscuring the Brittany coast.

ch932880 calean baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Just now I mentioned something about the boats massing out there in the baie de Mont St Michel.

It will be quite a while before the harbour gates open but even so there were several boats hanging around waiting for the tide to come in.

This one is called Calean, I think. It’s very difficult to read her name or her registration number at this distance but everything seems to correspond with who she is.

The others were even farther out to sea so I left them alone and headed off down the path towards the port to see what was happening there.

ch907879 arc en ciel chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And we have a new vessel in the chantier naval today.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there over in the far corner out of shot but Arc en Ciel – “Rainbow” – has come to join her.

Behind her on top of the silt you can see the mooring chains in the inner harbour. There are small buoys tied to the chains that float up to the surface when the tide comes in, so the boatmen know where to fish with their boathooks to pick up a chain so that they can tie their boats to it.

Back here I regrettably fell asleep again but eventually I came round enough to listen to the dictaphone notes. I was back in the UK last night and there had been a revolt by the Army, or, at least, part of the army. It had led from a misunderstanding about a training exercise and hed lef to fighting and bloodshed amongst units of the Regular Army. Eventually control had been regained and those engaged in the rebellion, such as it was, had been rounded up. Some of the fighting had really been vicious. The Queen was involved in it somewhere, being threatened, and was out of the Public eye for 3.5 weeks. They thought that either the strain had been too much for her or she’d been injured or had had a health crisis triggered by it. It was a training exercise gone wrong rather than a deliberate act of rebellion. Eventually they rounded everyone up suppressed it but it was really nasty while it was going on.

Later on I was down in London. I can’t remember which car I had. I think it was the blue estate. There was something going on with some people, market traders of something, and they were looking for as much help as they could get. I volunteered but they kept on coming out with all kinds of weird suggestions as to why I shouldn’t help them, the Cortina estate was too good, but it wasn’t. It was another one of my vehicles where nothing really worked on it except that it kept going, it needed “that type of insurance”, “that type of cover” etc. They were coming up with minute details of legislation which I thought for a market trader was completely ridiculous. I’d never yet met a London market trader who had stuck to the letter of the law so rigidly. I kept on coming up with counter-arguments but they weren’t interested in them at all. I had the impression very quickly that they were just not interested in my helping them no matter what I offered to do. I kept up the pretence of arguing with them simply to annoy them and get on their nerves because it was annoying me and getting on my nerves the fact that they weren’t interested in accepting any help from me.

So none of my favourite companions last night. I think that they must all be as exhausted as I am after the last couple of weeks.

Tea was a taco roll with the remainder of yesterday’s stuffing – a quick tea because there was football on the internet. Aberystwyth Town third from bottom were playing Haverfordwest, second from bottom, in what was Aberystwyth’s 1000th game in the League – the first team to reach that milestone.

Haverfordwest were actually the better team as far as skill went but Aberystwyth play with a spirit that is only mayched by maybe Caernarfon Town. I’ve seen Aber play several times this season and I’ve said … “and on several occasions too” – ed … that all they needed were a few breaks.

And they certainly got those this evening. They punished a Haverfordwest mistake to go one up and then scored a second out of nothing from another defensive mistake that led to all kinds of panic in the Haverfordwest defence and the giving away of a penalty.

Two-nil was something of an exaggeration but having seen them lose games when the rub of the green has gone against them, it’s high time that they had some luck.

So now I’m going to bed. It’s been another bad day today and I really ought to be doing my best to pul myself round. let’s see how I do tomorrow. Things surely can’t become any worse.

Monday 31st January 2022 – WHAT THE H*LL …

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… happened to me this morning?

While you admire a few photos that I took of the sunset this afternoon that illuminated the Baie de Mont St Michel, I’ll surprise you all by telling you that not only was my radio programme finished by 09:15, I was actually listening to it running through.

and that includes having to rewrite and redictate about a third of it because I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d done. And then it needed some further editing too because after I’d re-edited the speech parts that i’d redone, I’d forgotten to shunt the rest of it down the line.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And if you are wondering how come I managed to do it so quickly and so comprehensively, you’ll be even more surprised when I tell you that at 04:34 I was sitting at my desk in here starting work.

Whatever happened during the night I really don’t know but I had something like a reasonable sleep for a few hours and that was that. And it was absolutely impossible for me to go back to sleep.

There wasn’t any point in lying in bed trying and failing to sleep and waiting for the alarm to go off at 06:00 so I arose from the dead and started work.

The earlier I start, the earlier I finish.

But as far as the radio programme went, today was the first time that I’ve actually felt that a series of speeches and introductions went well. I must be improving, which I suppose that I ought to seeing as this was programme 148 that I was preparing.

If I’ve not learnt anything in all this time then there’s something seriously wrong.

After breakfast and after having listened to the programme I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been and, more importantly, who had come with me. There was a whole pile of stuff going on last night about someone who walked out of my life last summer, about how someone was trying to make her husband reduce the price of the house that he had for sale and if necessary sell it to them yard by yard so that they could keep under their budget. She asked them to quite honestly prepare some kind of statement about how their personal wealth had increased and so on over the last 12 months. She was walking home with Phil Lynott and saying how much he contributed towards her childhood. There was tonnes of other stuff as well and she finished by saying that as of the end of the month or the end of the week their address would be “The Turfs” but she didn’t actually say where, “presumably for a very good reason” said the cynic inside me. I dunno about this but there was tons of stuff and I missed most of it

And later Nerina was back again last night after our row on Thursday (was it on Thursday? At least, that’s what I said during the night). We were having a chat about things trying to organise ourselves. We came to the conclusion that we’d been using the car far too much. We thought about the idea of trying to do things differently. We were becoming more organised in the kitchen etc but again the question of the car turned up. I said “how about going somewhere on the bikes?”. Nerina had a bike and I had the bike of Marianne’s. They both needed som adjustment but I said that we could do that and spend some days out on our bikes and see where we went from there. She was coming up with a few reasons why we couldn’t do that but none of those seemed to relate to the point that we would try to see what we could do about the bikes. We could have a go at it. I had the impression that she wasn’t all that keen on the idea of cycling but it seemed to me that if we were to stop using the car to go to work or something it was the obvious answer. Spending half a day trying to organise it to see if it would work would be a good plan. Anyway she was off making something with 3 apples and I was washing up in the kitchen and this conversation was going on and on. I was trying to persuade her to at least have a try about doing it.

Following that I went and had a really good shower and clean-up to prepare for my trip to the physiotherapist, and then I … errr … fell asleep.

It was therefore a rather late lunch and then I headed out for my appointment.

le loup baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022At the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I stopped to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working.

The weather today was grey and windy – very windy in fact – and there was more than just a hint of rain in the air as you can tell from the rainstorm that’s out there just offshore from the Pointe de Carolles. We can’t see very much out there in the distance this afternoon.

The tide was well out as you can see. The inner harbour is pretty much dry and Le Loup was slowly rising up out of the waves, just about to be buzzed by a long-distance seagull.

spirit of conrad black mamba charles marie anakena belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, there is quite a full house down there in the harbour.

From left to right insofar as I can identify them, we have Spirit of Conrad with an unidentified yacht next to her. Then the yacht with “154” on her hull is, I think, Black Mamba moored alongside Charles Marie.

to their right is Anakena, then a couple of unidentified fishing boats and finally the new Belle France. But no Aztec Lady. It looks as if she’s headed off to the Arctic already.

As for Anakena, her owners were talking about Greenland not so long ago so I sent them a message to ask about their trips. However, as you might expect, they never replied.

The next person who complains about a recession with get a smack in the mouth.

loading building material chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was walking down the hill towards the port, I could see that the big crane in the loading bay was busy working.

My first thought was that one of the Jersey freighters was in port this afternoon, but in fact it’s Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, that’s receiving attention.

It looks as if she’s preparing for a run out to the island, but I can’t think what they will be doing with all of that building equipment on the island.

But that was enough excitement for now. I have an appointment and I’ll be late if I’m not careful. I need to get a move on.

installing kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s coming up to school half-term, as this photo will tell us.

Carnaval is cancelled yet again this year but we are having the kiddies’ roundabout at least, to keep the brats entertained.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was some dispute about the roundabout that usually comes here – it was oversize and obstructing the pavement so there was some talk of revoking its licence or making it go somewhere else.

The owner intended to lodge an appeal against any decision that the council might make, but it looks as if some kind of compromise has been reached because he’s setting up in his usual place, just across the road from the Mairie.

The walk up the hill was agony. I made it up without stopping but I knew all about every inch of the way. And I spent most of my session doing kinetic exercises

My neighbour was there too and he offered me a lift home, but I decided to walk.

street lights trees rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home I went via the back of the town centre to see what was happening at the Rue du Boscq.

If you look closely, you’ll see that we now have some trees planted all the way down on the right-hand side of the concrete walkway. But it still doesn’t look like it does on the artist’s impression, but then again these things never do. They only produce these drawings to hoodwink the gullible public.

As for the grey columns, they look as if they might be streetlights. And I’ll probably get to find out next week when I wander off to Leuven – unless it’s light at that time of the morning. They days are lengthening rapidly.

new brickwork rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A few weeks ago I posted a photo of the new bricks that they had put on top of the wall on the Rue des Juifs after they had finished pointing it.

At the time I remember remarking that they’ll be back quite soon to point the brickwork and I’d forgotten all about them until this afternoon.

Well, anyway, they have been back and they have actually repointed one of the gaps. But they haven’t bothered with the rest. It’s true that we don’t have any really cold weather like they might elsewhere, but if they don’t point the bricks quite soon and the frost gets in, then it would have been a waste of time sticking the brickwork on top.

les bouchots de chausey tiberiade coelacanthe marite skyjack port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In a few weeks time Marité will be going for her annual inspection prior to the start of the tourist season at Easter.

It looks like they are carrying out a few repairs to her masts and rigging, and they’ve even involved a skyjack in the repair procedure.

Over in the background to the left, the boat that I couldn’t identify yesterday is Les Bouchots de Chausey and to the right we have the two big trawlers Coelacanthe and Tiberiade.

In the background on the quayside there are a couple of people working on some fishing nets. As they say, “there’s a time for fishing, and a time for mending the nets”.

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On our way out to the physiotherapist’s, we saw the big crane loading up Chausiaise with a pile of building material.

The harbour gates are still closed so she won’t be going anywhere right now, but she’s moved away from the loading bay and she’s now moored up alongside one of the Joly France ferries that go to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s the newer one of the two sisters, as we can tell by the fact that she had a much smaller upper-deck superstructure. The older one is presumably moored out at the ferry terminal, where she has been for several days now.

lifeboat helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Excuse the blurred photo here but I had to take it in rather a hurry and the NIKON 1 J5 isn’t as reactive as the bigger Nikons.

Out there in the bay I’d noticed the lifeboat, the Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, out there in the bay heading off out to sea. And as I watched, the air-sea rescue helicopter flew by overhead, went out to the lifeboat and did a couple of laps around.

Once they had co-ordinated themselves, off they set out to sea, followed by a couple of seagulls. Whatever is going on out there, doubtless there will be some kind of report in the local paper if it’s anything important.

It’s a shame that the photo didn’t turn out very well.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was busy dealing with the helicopter and the lifeboat, another boat roared into life down in the harbour.

It looks as if it’s the turn of Belle France to go for a little wander around. But she can’t be going far because right now the harbour gates are closed so the best that she could do is a quick lap around the inner harbour.

However, I had a quick lap of my own to make so I didn’t want to hang around to see what she was up to. I was tired, cold and fed up and needed a hot coffee to warm me up so I headed on up the hill towards home sweet home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But not before I’d seen what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

It wasn’t easy to take this shot either because there was a howling gale blowing out here and I was having trouble trying to keep my feet. So whether or not there was any beach for anyone to be on, I didn’t actually expect to see anyone on it so I wasn’t disappointed.

Back here I made myself a coffee and came in here to carry on with my work. And when I awoke, the coffee was still there, untouched, and stone-cold. It doesn’t stay warm if it’s left for almost two hours.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, and having had a hot chocolate and written my notes I’m off to bed.

Writing my notes was not easy because despite all of the sleep that I’ve had today I’m still quite exhausted. I’ve been struggling to keep awake.

It’s my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I want to be on form, and so I need to have a better night’s sleep tonight than I did last night. I must admit that I’m ready for it, but then again, so I was yesterday and look how that turned out.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

… about today, the better because it’s been one of those days that’s best forgotten.

In fact, it all went wrong before it even started, if you know what I mean. The alarm went off as usual at 07:30 and the next thing that I remember, it was 08:03. Yes, for the first time in ages, I’d gone back to sleep after the alarm. Definitely getting back into old habits.

So it was rather a rush this morning to have my medication and then have a shower and clean-up before dashing out to the shops.

Well, to Lidl anyway.

09:11 I’d set out, and at 09:58 I was back in the house. Mind you, it was hardly a surprise because there was nothing whatever going on anywhere. It was a wet, grey, dark, depressing morning, the ideal day to match my mood.

Back here I dictated the dictaphone notes from last night. And I was rather puzzled by one sound-file that ran for 57 minutes. “That must have been some voyage” I mused, only to find that it was 00:34 of me talking and the remaining 56:26 of me snoring. I’d drifted off back to sleep with the machine still running.

And apologies to Percy Penguin. She used to complain about me snoring during the night and I always denied it. Well …

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment we’d come back on a ferry from somewhere in Europe. When we readhed the pier where we could disembark there were thousand upon thousand of us. We had to walk the length of this pier to reach the ferry terminal. Formerly there had been a train service between the ferry and the terminal. You could still see the railway station and the lines and an odd steam-train or two were going past crowded with people. We walked, and reached a T-junction where we had to turn left and ended up in the ferry terminal, suitcases, everything, hordes and thousands of people. I don’t know where it went from this but a little later there was an announcement on the radio that thousands of people were still stranded at the ferry terminal after 2 days. It looked as if we’d been there and there was no way for us to move on at the moment. Someone said something that he had arranged for a nurse to come to look after the disabled people so that their carers could have rest. It was all just total and utter chaos.

Also last night I was with one of my friends from Montreal for a while. We arranged to meet at some other time. She was living in Russia at the time so she suggested we meet and what I thought was today. I asked her where we would meet – I assumed that it would be half-way between the two -and she mentioned the name of a hotel somewhere in Kiev. I had a look on a map on the internet and found the hotel. It wasn’t too far from the railway station and in fact I’d driven past there once with her and she’d pointed it out to me. I wanted to know what time we were meeting so I rang her on her mobile number but had a recorded message something like “please don’t wake my dad, please don’t wake my dad”. I wondered what was happening because that was a long way to go, all the way to Kiev on the train from Brussels and not be met or not be picked up by anyone. I wanted some kind of more definite arrangements but she wasn’t answering her ‘phone.

As well as that I was out in Caliburn last night looking for the place where he would be MoT’d. It was a strange drive in some kind of strange village or town and then out into the countryside where I kept on being surrounded by sheep and i’m not really sure about that.

And just for a change I managed to save the text file without deleting it.

What else I’ve been doing today is to finish off that sound file that I had to re-edit. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because there was a lot of “bleeding over” between the channels so I had to be careful how I edited it and some of the stuff that I would have liked to have kept ended up having to go.

But at least it sounds more like something that it ought to do.

Going out for my afternoon walk wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been either.

When I went into the living room to gather up my stuff as I would usually do at the usual time, it was raining like rain that I had never seen and was as black as the ace of spades outside. There was no possibility of going for a walk in any of that.

rainstorm underneath door place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022About half an hour later it eased off so I decided to make a run – well, perhaps a crawl – for it.

And this is what has happened in the building. The rain has come down with so much force and with the wind being so strong, it’s blown all of the water underneath the front door and we’ve had a mini-flood on the ground floor.

Luckily though it’s not made it into any of the apartments down there, but now we know why there’s a kind-of step at the front door of the apartments down there if this is the kind of thing that happens on a regular basis.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Once I’d finally negotiated the entrance to the building I could go outside and see what was going on.

As I expected, the answer was “nothing at all”. There wasn’t a soul down on the beach which is no surprise given the weather that we had just had. Mind you, it was probably drier to actually go and sit in the sea.

With nothing else of any kind of note whatever happening, I pushed off towards the headland. The quicker I start, the quicker I finish.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was out there looking down onto the beach, I was also having a look around out at sea.

Not that I could see very much out there. It was rather like yesterday in that respect. There was another rainstorm circulating out there in the bay that was making life interesting for that small boat that was racing away from it towards the mainland.

Seeing the rainstorm was the cue for me to put my skates on. The wind was blowing it in my direction. I’d been caught in that downpour yesterday and I didn’t fancy another one. The sooner I return home the better

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, as I walked on down the path, all on my tod, the sun suddenly and rather dramatically came out over the Brittany coast.

It looked pretty good in this photo but it became even better a little later when the heavy, dark cloud had moved completely away and was shining over the sea.

But I wasn’t to be lulled into a false sense of security by any of this. There might be sunshine over there but there was none of that here and the rainstorm was coming closer and closer.

The rain falls down upon the just
and on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, I’d mentioned the wind.

In fact, the wind was blowing quite strongly, although not as strongly as it had done when we had had the rainstorm. And you can see what damage the wind has been doing, because it’s shredded the French flag that flies above the monument to the departed seafarers.

And as you might expect, there was no-one else apart from me admiring it. Not even anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, and that’s not a surprise to anyone at all.

waves harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So with nothing happening in the bay, I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was quite a wind and a turbulent sea but with the tide being well-out there were no waves breaking on the sea today. However, over on the wall that protects the port de plaisance we had some waves breaking there.

That’s the first time that I recall seeing the waves there. The wind must be blowing on the correct direction for that to happen. It’s probably quite a rare phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in other news, there was still Gerlean and Joly France in the chantier naval and the ferry terminal, but you are probably fed up of seeing them.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In the inner port, we had most of the trawlers tied up. They haven’t gone out today.

They must be having a weekend off, or else the weather is too turbulent for even them to put out to sea this afternoon.

And so I made it back home where I was finally able to have my hot coffee. And then I sat down to pair of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday but to my shame I fell asleep in the middle of doing it.

Not just for 5 or 10 minutes either but for well over an hour. A really deep sleep as well, the type that I haven’t had for several months. And that depressed me more than just about anything else.

When I awoke, the storm was back. And in spades too. A howling gale with driving rain. I’m glad that I went out when I did otherwise I would never have made it.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and now I’m off to bed. Although I’m not sure how I’ll sleep with the wind blowing tin cans around outside and the fact that I had such a good sleep this afternoon.

But it’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in. Rather like the CATALOGUE PRINCESS, APPRENTICE SEDUCTRESS, I seem to be spending most of my time praying “for endless Sundays” instead of performing ” to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles” of the streets of the old walled city at the back here.

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Saturday 1st January 2022 – HAPPY NEW YEAR

Here’s hoping that 2022 will be a far better year than 2021. Although today’s figure of almost 220,000 infections seems to suggest that the worst is yet to come.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s this kind of thing that’s responsible for the incredible rate of increase in infections.

Having seen the swarms of people at the station 2 weeks ago ready to bring the virus out to the provinces and the seaside resorts, seeing people congregating like this without any kind of facemask or protection whatever will spread it like widfire.

The figures of infections and the rising numbers of deaths is well in the public domain and I really don’t know what it will take for people to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

But I console myself with the idea that if they don’t want to wear a mask, then nature will take care of them, as it usually does.

It didn’t take much care of me last night though.

It was about 03:00 when I finally went to bed. And it was about the first year since I don’t know when when I haven’t been out for a prowl around the town at midnight. I’m really not “with it” at all right now.

11:00 was a pretty good time to raise myself from the dead on a Bank Holiday despite the fact that I had been awake on numerous occasions during the night. That much is evident by the amount of voyages that I undertook during the night. I started off at a rugby match at a girls’ school and there were loads of girls there, like a couple whom I know from here and there and there was one who immediately sprang to my mind. They were playing rugby against another school. I had some of them sitting beside me and the rest were out on the field, swapping over now and again as you do. The one in particular who was in a really nice cape to keep warm who really caught my eye about all this.

And later we were back again for the third time (what happened to the second time?) with these girls and all my favourite girls were they. Saying that what an effective fighting force they would make and they would worry most men if they started getting going

Later still I was in Leclerc again shopping and all of the girls from somewhere that I couldn’t decipher were walking down the corridor behind where all of the tills are. So fancy meeting them again, and I wish that I could work out where they were from!

Meanwhile TOTGA was having problems and her car was being repossessed, a dark blue Austin 1100 and so were her other cars, including the Vanden Plas Princes that I used to own (which I still do in real life of course). She was distraught. We’d been to a dance of some sort, a group of us. There had been a flare somewhere so she and everyone else dashed out to their cars to go to help out at this fire. She ended up with her car on fire but she was still driving. An ambulance had taken a short cut, come out of a side road into the main road and hit her. It wasn’t badly damaged so the ambulance sped on its way but TOTGA ended up going to the wrong house and fighting the wrong fire. Later on we were all in a night club and she wanted to plug in some electric but all the plugs were wrong. In the end she brought an adaptor. She said that other people had used this adaptor to plug whatever it was into the mains but it was totally the wrong type. She said that what they did was to hold it against the contacts in the wall. I tried that but I had blue sparks and shocks everywhere so she agreed that it wasn’t a good idea. However it fused all of the power in the power circuit, not the light circuit. The disco ground to a halt so I thought that we had better go as this will cause a load of problems in a moment. We went outside and she came out a little later carrying a fuel can that was on fire. I shouted “put it down! Put it down!” which eventually she did. She came over and got into her car, this blue 1100. Just as we were about to set off she noticed that coming round the corner was a boy she knew from school. “Oh God! Should I tell him that this car is restored? Shall I tell him … what shall I tell him?”. Just then I let out the clutch and hit the kerb with the car. I thought “Oh God! It’s not my day either, is it?”. Then we drove off.

We eventually ended up in a night club. There was a group of us there with Jools Holland on saxophone and flute etc. I was playing the bass, piano and guitar. However, by now I was with Castor. We were playing the same music and she was full of despair about something. I was trying my best to cheer her up. Then we had to go on the stage – Duke Ellington announced us. It was an old blues number. Sometimes we played it in a contemporary fashion, sometimes we didn’t and I couldn’t remember what kind of fashion we were going to play it in tonight –

We were back on the orphanage (whichever orphanage we were in before, wherever it was) and one of the girls got up to sing and play a musical instrument, the one with glasses. She’d been all wired up to the electricity somehow and cables everywhere but the computer completely spoiled her voice. I was there with Castor. She was very upset about something but I can’t remember. Then the entertainment started. It was another girl singing, again all wired up to the mains and so on. She wasn’t much good and I was thinking “Castor should really be up there singing with all of these”.

Later still I was on my way to Canada on holiday with someone and I had to stop and pick up some money. I pulled up at the bank that I knew. It was just 09:00 and it was opening but there would be a delay as the time lock doesn’t open until 09:10 to take the money out of the safe, which was quite surprising but that’s Canada for you. So I went in. It was a little Asian girl whom I know and she was telling me all about the stresses and strains she was under. I took her in my arms and gave her a hug. We had a bit of a chat and everything but then I had to prepare to leave. There was lots more to this but I can’t remember it because I awoke in the middle of it but it was one of these dreams that I wished would go on for ever.

Next morning it was New Year’s Day and prize-making time so we sent four girls, one of whom was the blonde-haired girl whom I happened to like quite a lot to get the prize ready and everything organised. While I was watching her, one or two of them came up to me for a chat but I can’t remember anything more now about this.

Yes, it was certainly interesting last night. Stepping out of dreams and back into them later, appearances by both TOTGA and Castor, what else would I need? Apart from Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter of course. I just wish that last night could have gone on for ever.

But using the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep is … errr … challenging, and the recoding quality of the built-in microphone is appalling. I had to make a considerable amount of editing before I could even hear what I had dictated and it took me almost all of the day.

Brunch was very appetising, with my potato fritters, baked beans and vegan sausage followed by toast and mushroom paté with buckets full of hot black coffee. I really enjoyed that today.

There was a pause from my exertions with the dictaphone for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The first place to visit is of course the beach to see what’s happening there.

Although there won’t be very mcuh beach at all, given the state of the tide, I was still expecting to see hordes of people down there today, given what we had seen over the last couple of days.

But I was to be disappointed. It was really quite quiet down there. In fact I couldn’t actually see anyone down there today, which was a great surprise. Not even anyone going up and down the steps to the Rue du Nord.

buoy baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was looking down onto the beach I was also keeping an eye out in the bay to see what was happening there.

There wasn’t a boat of any description at all down there, but there was something out there that attracted my attention. It’s a yellow buoy of the type which we have seen before and relates, I think, to the yacht club over at Coudeville-Plage. But what it signifies I have no idea at all.

No-one on the beach or on the sea, but there were crowds wandering around mask-less on the path around the headland. So I set off to join them on my way down to the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So apart from all of the people down there at the end of the headland, what else was going on out there?

No fishing boats this afternoon because they are all still on holiday, but we did have a couple of yachts and what looks like a couple of zodiacs swanning around in the bay. When I was crossing over the car park on my way to the end of the headland I noticed them.

So there are some people out there who are making the most of the nice afternoon. I watched them for a minute or so and then carried on with my walk across the car park to the end of the path.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Earlier on with my notes I mentioned the hordes of people standing on the rocks by the bench at the cabanon vauban.

When I first saw them I wondered what it was that they were watching that had attracted their attention. When I had a good look, I couldn’t see anything particular but I did notice the beautiful sunset.

It was making a nice glossy streak of light all the way across the bay towards where I was standing. It was the kind of view that we see quite often at this time of year and it’s still quite magical even though we have seen it on several occasions.

And leaving it there to set even lower I carried on along the path on the other side of the headland towards home and my hot coffee.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, Joly France was moored up at the ferry terminal.

She’s the older one of the two, without the step in the stern. The other one is moored up with Belle France and Chausiaise in the inner harbour.

There were plenty of people walking around over there on the harbour wall too this afternoon and again, from what I can see, there were no facemasks over there either. I wonder what I’ll do when I find people wearing facemasks … “Find something else to moan about, I shouldn’t wonder” – ed.

sunset baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I had a look over my shoulder to see what was happening behind me.

Although the sunset streaming through the clouds was nothing like as impressive as it has been just recently, it was illuminating the Brittany coast and in particular the town of Cancale like something out of a film set.

Back at the apartment I had the coffee that was waiting for me, along with a mince pie (I still have a couple left) and then carried on with my dictaphone notes.

Tea tonight was another Christmas dinner with all kinds of steamed veg, roast potatoes and seitan slices. And so tomorrow there will be more leeks and sprouts to freeze, although where I’m going to put them is something else completely. There isn’t even half an inch of room.

But that’s for tomorrow. Right now, late as it is, I’m off to bed. It’s Sunday tomorrow so I can have yet another lie in.

Tuesday 28th December 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… a couple of photos of the waves breaking over the sea wall and into the harbour, I’ll tell you about my day today.

And there won’t be much to say because, for a change, I haven’t done a single thing today. Not a thing. I’ve had one of these days where I just lazed around.

Mind you, it all started quite badly today because for one reason or another I forgot to switch on the alarm this morning. Conseuently it was about 10:30 or so when I finally crawled out of bed. It’s a good job that I didn’t have a Welsh lesson today otherwise I may well have missed it.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d had my medication and so on, I came back in here where I sat down and did nothing at all.

As for breakfast, I missed that. I wasn’t hungry at all after my meal last night. The morning coffee that I had though was beautiful.

There was still some hummus left for lunch so I didn’t need to make any more this morning. And after I’d made lunch there was still enough left over for tomorrow too.

Back in here I had a rather desultory afternoon going through a pile of loose files on one of the old hard drives attached to my laptop and allocating them to various directories.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Of course there was the afternoon walk – I managed to stir my stumps to that extent today anyway.

Down on the beach there were several people wandering around this afternoon, but it was this pair who particularly caught my eye. A little girl and, presumably, her father, both with buckets and spades coming down to build a sandcastle.

No prizes for guessing what the kid had for Christmas, is there?

And despite everything else, there wasn’t a soul out at sea this afternoon. So I headed off through the maskless crowds towards the end of the headland.

pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland this afternoon.

And that was no surprise because it really was quite windy this afternoon. It had whipped up quite impressively and was churning up the sea. It’s not the weather to be sitting around bearing the full brunt of what was blowing around out there.

There were a few people walking around on the lower path down there and I bet that they were noticing the wind down there.

Nothing out at sea either this afternoon so I didn’t wait around out here. I headed down the path on my way home.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Walking down the path towards the port I could se the waves breaking on – and over – the sea wall into the harbour and I took the photos that you saw earlier.

The closer I came to the wall the more I could see how turbulent the sea actually was.

On the far right of the image you can see how the receding wave has churned up the one that is incoming, although the tail of the incoming wave is just about to give those people walking on top of the wall down there a good soaking.

So having seen everything that I wanted to see, I made tracks for home. I was ready for my hot coffee.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Looking back behind me as I walked down the road, I could see the sunset.

It was another one of these TORA TORA TORA moments, with the rays of the sun passing through the small gaps in the clouds. It really is quite an impressive effect.

Back here I had my coffee and just as I was sitting down to finally start some kind of work, Rosemary called me and we had another lengthy chat that went on for ever. Our conversation finished just in time, because the nurse came round to inject me.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables, but the burger that was loitering in the fridge was a falafel burger, so that’s effectively falafel for two nights running. Not that I’m complaining because it’s tasty and nutritious.

Eventually I caught up with my nocturnal perambulations. There was something about me being in the dentist’s or something. I’d been injected with some kind of anaesthetic or something but I can’t remember any more really than that

At another moment I was out for a walk last night and I can’t remember very much about it except that at one point the footpath was rather narrow. A tractor came towards me carrying two trees. We had to make ourselves very thin in this pathway and hide behind a bush or something somewhere so that this tractor could go past with these trees without knocking us over

There was also some kind of illegal activity going on involving 2 guys one of whom was rather young and simple. The other one had to take him to Liverpool to make sure that he was seen around a police station so that they could get on with what they were planning to do. The other guy wondered why that was necessary. The other one said that it was because he’d been seen hitch-hiking down towards the south so he would have to be taken back up north again. It was a cover to count for his presence there etc. He had to have possessions with him so they decided on a couple of LPS that were there, one from a pop group from the 60s and he suggested taking a Rolling Stones album with him as well. They were sorting this out at this shop place in London before they prepared to go back up north again

Now I’m off to bed, having made sure that the alarm is set for tomorrow. Nice as lie-ins are, I can’t spend the rest of my life in bed. I have to do some work some time some how.

Monday 27th December 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

sunset sea mist baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday’s posting included a note about the glorious sunsets that we have at this time of year.

On my way back from taking Caliburn to the mender’s to have his rear discs changed, there was yet another one. I noticed it as I walked up the hill from the town centre towards home.

And as well as the sunset we also had a sea mist that was rolling around in the bay restricting the view of the Brittany coast It was the kind of weather that made me want to head for home and my nice mug of hot coffee.

Anything to keep me awake of course because I’d had another rough night. Not because I was unsettled but because I was late going to bed. For some reason I couldn’t find the energy to go to bed when I ought to have done.

Nevertheless I managed to haul myself out of the bed in some kind of order when the alarm went off at 06:00.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone just now. I was going out for my evening run and I’d met someone. I can’t remember who it was but it wasn’t a very agreeable meeting. Then I came across a girl from school dressed in casual clothes. Then a few more people from school, boys and girls. Gradually, the further on round my course I went, the more people from school I met until I ended up in the dressing room for the gym. I had to fight my way through the crowds of people. They all wanted to know where I was going. I replied that I was going for a run. They said “yes, but there’s something else that you have to do” and I can’t remember what that something else was. I had to fight my way through the crowds and find the tutor and explain to him and carry on. Then I was stuck in the gym again. This time I couldn’t find the tutor to explain what was happening. These crowds of people, there were more and more of them and I was trying to fight my way through them, all this sort of thing. It was quite a struggle and I wasn’t making any headway at all through these crowds and just couldn’t find the tutor this time. And this a a dream of the “classic” type, isn’t it?

Later on I had a dream that was so real. There was a girl who lived in Chester who I bumped into. I thought that she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She could sing and had a beautiful voice. Some time a couple of years later when my enthusiasm for this girl had died down I came across her music. I managed to collect together easily a dozen songs and thought that there was enough here to make a radio programme, a live concert, and also some other songs for something else so I sat down to edit them. I was editing them in the street with the volume pretty loud in the hope that she would hear it and would come to find out who it was who was playing this music because I’d forgotten her name and where she lived. It was the kind of thing that having discovered her music it was now starting to haunt me that I couldn’t remember her at all or at least any details about her

There was also lots of other stuff going on during the night. There were a couple of young boys in the youth team at Morton given their chance to make their first-team debuts. There was also a girl whom I know from the internet who put in an appearance last night and it’s a shame that she couldn’t manage that for real.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to prepare the radio programme. And in news that will surprise almost everyone, because it certainly surprised me, I was all done and finished and ready to go at 11:20. I’ve never finished a radio programme so early.

That included stopping for a coffee at about 07:30. But not breakfast because I’d finished my programme by the time I was ready for food.

When I’d finished listening to the finished article I went for a shower and then for lunch. And that reminds me – I must make more hummus pretty soon.

After lunch I organised myself and then headed out for Caliburn. And we went off to the garage for his new brakes – and here’s hoping that they have the correct parts this time.

For a change it wasn’t too wondy and it wasn’t too cold either, so I decided to walk home – all 6kms of it

As I passed Aldi I popped in for some shopping. My cucumber and my lettuce were looking extremely sad at lunchtime so they ended up in the bin. Replacements were on the agenda today

There wasn’t much going on of any excitement happening on the way home really.

sign blown down in the wind avenue des matignons Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However there’s a derelict garage and house in the Avenue des Matignons that have been up for sale and have just recently been sold.

A big sign had appeared saying that they will be building a couple of blocks of flats thereupon, but it looks as if the wind that we have had just recently has done for part of the sign.

It’s lying there flat on its face next to a very sad framework. They could do with re-erecting it because I can’t remember what it was saying right now. But whatever it is, I won’t be able to afford it. And I wouldn’t want to live there anyway.

bad parking bus station gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that pathetic parking has been a regular feature of these pages in the past.

This one is a pretty fine example. That’s the car park for the railway station down there, and that particular zone is where the buses park as they connect with the incoming trains.

However there’s a horsebox down there parked sort-of-ish in the bus station and as you can see, not only is it parked poorly, it’s also straddling the white line taking up two of the four bays. That’s bound to be popular with the bus operator, I don’t think.

Down in the town I didn’t see anything of any interest so I pushed on towards home.

loading fishing nets tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Half-way up the hill I stopped for a moment – and not to drink the can of energy drink that I had bought in Aldi either.

The trawler Tiberiade is down there, having reversed in to the quayside and there is a couple of men down there sorting out and untangling a fishing net.

It looks as if Father Christmas has brought a new fishing net for Tiberiade, and I would have loved to have seen him try to fit it into a stocking.

They were taking their time with the net so I didn’t hang around for too long. I headed on for home and my coffee.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in though, I went to have a look down on the beach.

And the pleasant weather had brought out the crowds this afternoon. There were about half a dozen people down there having a walk around in the mild weather.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. A pile of sprouts and leeks were left over from Christmas Day so I prepared them and blanched them ready for freezing which I shall do when they have drained properly.

Laurent came round bang on 17:00 and we talked about the message that he wanted me to write. It’s a complicated message because the person to whom he wants to speak is rather nervous about it, judging by what I read, and needs rather a large amount of reassurance.

It’s very difficult to do that but at the same time keep things professional and business-like but after about 90 minutes I was happy with what I had written.

Now we are in the Lap of the Gods.

After Laurent had had a coffee he went home and I made tea – falafel and steamed vegetables with a vegan cheese sauce.

While I was eat my meal in the evening I usually watch a film on the old laptop that’s in the dining area.

The current film is THE HITCH-HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY but I’ve almost reached the end. And there was a line or two in there quoted by Arthur Dent that rang a bell with me.
“And for one week, one week, in my sad little blip of my existence, it made me happy”.

Yes, one of these days I shall have to write up the story of those missing few days at the end of August 2019, if the dust will ever settle. I dunno.

Sunday 26th December 2021 – IT REALLY IS …

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021 … unbelievable, isn’t it?

Look at all of the crowds here walking along the path between the College Malraux and the Pointe du Roc. Hordes of them, and not even one single face mask to be seen.

Yesterday we had almost 105,000 cases of infection here in France and much of it is heading our way on the holiday trains that I saw at Gare Montparnasse at the weekend.

As well as that, there’s a Prefectorial Arrêt ordering the wearing of facemasks in public in the Manche, and no-one (except me) taking any notice whatsoever of it all.

If they all catch Covid, it will be no surprise, and won’t the World be a much better place when these people are no longer on it? Serve them all right, the lot of them.

But in much more interesting news, while I’m typing out these notes, I’m letting my evening meal cook itself. And in news that will come as a complete surprise to regular readers of this rubbish who will recall that Sunday night is pizza night, I’m not having a pizza.

Yes, as it’s Boxing Day, I’m cooking another Christmas meal.

With it also being Boxing Day, I had a nice lie-in this morning. All the way up to 10:30 which was really pleasant. I could do with a few more of these although I doubt that I will have any more for a while.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and sent out a few replies to messages that I had received over the last day or so. And then, I had a relaxing morning doing next-to-nothing except sorting out this old hard drive. Another 2.3GB of duplicate data has bitten the dust and there’s still more to go. It’s hard to think that my first home computer back in the 1980s worked on 2x 5.25″ floppy drives of 256kb each and at a push I could make it work on just one.

There was a ‘phone call immediately after 12:00 – someone is well-aware of my habits. A friend of mine is writing a book and needs a letter writing in English to a “witness”. It’s an extremely complicated and crucial letter so he’s asked me if I could write it for him.

Not a problem – after all, he’s helped me out on numerous occasions, so he’s going to come round tomorrow at 17:00 for me to do it.

The work is piling up, isn’t it?

After my Christmas brunch of beans, sausage, potato fritters, toast with mushroom pâté, I sat down to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow (yes, I’m still working). And to my surprise, the joints went together perfectly – they couldn’t have been better.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, especially after yesterday when I didn’t go out at all.

What was disappointing was that there wasn’t anyone down there on the beach at all. I must have missed the mad stampede into the sea down at Donville-les-Bains this afternoon.

No-one down on the beach here either, although over there we can see plenty of people walking around on the path underneath the city wall and over on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So with absolutely nothing whatever going on out at sea, I turned my attention to the Ile de Chausey.

There was something of a sea mist over there in the direction of the Ile de Chausey so we couldn’t see it as clearly as we have done just recently. It was all hidden in some kind of light blue haze.

But even more interestingly, there weren’t any boats at all out there at sea this afternoon. I would have expected there to have been quite a few out there right now as people sail off their Christmas pudding. I’ve no idea where they all are.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A little earlier I showed you the photo of the crowds of people milling round on the path.

While I was up there on top of the bunker I had a good look around in the other direction down the coast.

The view was much clearer in that direction and even with the naked eye I could just about make out the lighthouse at the Cap Fréhel 70 kilometres away. The camera lens didn’t bring it out very much better than I could see with the naked eye, unfortunately.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Another thing that I noticed while I was up there on top of the bunker was the sunset over the Brittany coast.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one of the things that I like about going out for my walk at this time of afternoon at this time of year is the magnificent sunsets that we can sometimes have.

This afternoon there was another TORA TORA TORA effect with the rays of the sun streaming down through the small gaps in the clouds over there.

The nice round circle in the centre of the bay was most impressive.

cabanon vauban people at bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the sunset.

It’s been a few days since we’ve seen people down by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland but today with all of the crowds milling around on the paths I was expecting to see some people down there this afternoon.

Sure enough, we have four people down there right now. Not actually admiring the sunset but talking to each other with their backs to the view. But I imagine that they will be turning round in a moment or two to see the beautiful sight behind them.

light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while there was nothing whatever going on out at sea, we had a few things going on up above in the sky.

The usual sounds of machines in the air told me that there was something heading my way.

Unfortunately it was too far out for me to see its registration number but it doesn’t resemble any of the larger aeroplanes that loiter around at the airfield.

It’s probably one of the light aircraft there that isn’t registered on the main database and doesn’t file a flight plan.

red autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The light aeroplane wasn’t alone either.

Following it very closely was one of our regular visitors – the red autogyro. It was following the aeroplane so closely that I imagined that they had been out together for a lap around the bay.

My lap around the headland was coming to a close as well so I set off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening down there.

l'omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021L’Ormerta was back in town today.

She was moored over by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt seeing as the tide has gone out. There is a whole pile of fish baskets just above it on the quayside so it looks as if she is in the course of being made ready to go to sea.

At the chantier naval the portable boat lift was back in its position over the dock. The yard was still fenced off, however and there was no boat in there awaiting repair. I imagine that it will be getting back under way after the New Year.

articulated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And talking about the fishing boats being made ready to go out to sea, there was an articulated refrigeration lorry pulling up at the fish processing plant.

It looks as if they will be expecting a decent crop of seafood when the boats come back from their next trip out.

My trip out was drawing to a close so I headed back home. I’d put the coffee machine on the go before I went out and the coffee should now be nice and hot.

Back here I made a couple of ‘phone calls to wish a friend the season’s greetings but she was out which was a shame. I’m not having a great deal of luck just recently.

Tea was delicious as usual. But I have so many vegetables left over – leeks and sprouts – that tomorrow I’m going to have a blanching session followed by a freezing session.

And whatever else happens, I mustn’t forget last night’s voyages. They are really quite important. And there were plenty of them too. It must have been a restless night.

I started off in hospital. It was actually my old Grammar School building but it was a hospital. I was walking there. As I was walking through a ward of a corridor there was someone there who was not a medical staff but opened a door and pushed a rat into the room. Someone inside said “you’re cheating! This isn’t a minute!”. I chased him off and asked matron what was happening. She replied “he’s not a medical staff. He’s a friend of mine. I have a personal pet project that I’m following up”. I said “it doesn’t look very good to me”. There were some other kinds of slithering animals etc that were being introduced into this hospital for one reason or another that made me most uneasy. Outside there were a few kids messing around. Girls probably mid-teens. One of them started to talk about a Beatles song, Savoy Truffle. She asked whether something was in the song and I said that it was. She threw me something like a very small but heavy frisbee. I caught it and threw it back to her. She asked me about something else. I said “yes” so she threw it again. This went on for a couple of minutes. Then a couple of other girls who had been watching came down and it was as if they had put me in the middle, like a kid’s game to catch this thing as they were throwing it between themselves. Of course I caught it. One of the girls had a kind of wrestling match with me to to try to wrestle it from me.

Later on I was driving a lorry up to Scotland last night. I had a box with me that I had to bury, the ashes of one of my cats. I dropped off the cars that were on the back of this lorry, drove out of the yard and stopped at the side of the road to make sure that all of the straps were secure and weren’t going to fall off as I drove home. There, it was a lot of wasteland so I started to look around to find a place to bury this box with this cat’s ashes. A couple of little kids came round to see what I was doing. I explained it to them. In the end we found a few cemeteries where you could bury ashes but there were lots of people round there. I didn’t have a spade. In the end I thought that I would just throw it in a ditch on this wasteland. I thought that I could drop it in my old rucksack and leave that there. I wasn’t very happy but that was the only solution. I Went to the bottom of the rucksack and pulled out a few things that I’d overlooked and put the box in there ready to discard. Then I had another thought. I kept on having all these different thoughts of course but every time I tried something I ended up with some kind of problem so I would think of something else. That would create a problem as well

And then I was back on the taxis last night. After I’d sold it we were going through the paperwork. The boy who lived down Coleridge Way, we found some papers of his. I was back out again driving, sometimes in France, sometimes in the UK, enjoying things much better in France than the UK. Then I had to go to the station in Sandbach so I was driving down the A530 and came to the roundabout at the end of Bradwell Road. The car skidded at the roundabout, mounted the pavement, went through a pile of snow, missed a lorry and ended up facing the correct way down the correct street. Everyone gave a round of applause for that so I got out and bowed to everyone. I got into a different vehicle and started to drive back up there. I can’t remember now what happened after that.

While I was asleep in the middle of one of my voyages someone came past, banged on the door and shouted “alarm call for Madame -” (and said a Russian girl’s name). I wondered what she was doing sleeping in my room

Later on there was some kind of workmen’s or youth hostel where I was staying. There were dozens of people staying there but I always seemed to be pushed out on the margins for everything. I remember we would have our meal and then be in this series of common rooms and I would always end up being on my own. When the meal was finished there was this huge bowl of water that needed to be taken out and emptied and for some reason or other I would always do it. They would probably have to open the door for me while I took it out. There would be people hanging around the sink etc. I’d tip the water in down the sink. Gradually after I’d been there a few days I discovered the snacks, where they kept the fruit salad, where they kept the soya dessert. Gradually, wandering around I came to where they kept the fruit so things weren’t going to be too bad. The people there from all places and all nationalities but it seemed that everyone was speaking English which I thought was a shame. Then I thought that I would have to look for a couple of books, something like “500 Words You Never Knew In France”, that kind of thing and make more of an effort to improve my foreign languages.

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

Having done all of that, which totally exhausted me, now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m preparing a radio programme. It’s later than I would like right now so it’ll be a struggle to leave my bed. But we’ll manage somehow, won’t we?.

Tuesday 21st December 2021 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… day when I’ve not accomplished anything like as much as I intended to today and I’m really going to have to snap out of this if I want to make any progress because it’s getting me down.

Going late to bed last night didn’t help matters too much and as usual it was difficult to haul myself out of bed. However, as I had things to do, there wasn’t any question about it.

No medication this morning because I don’t have time to wait for the side-effects to kick in. Instead I took the paper rubbish out to the paper bin, and I hadn’t realised just how much there was and how long it had been hanging around.

But of course, you couldn’t take a pile of paper outside with the winds that we have had just recently.

Back inside I actually tidied up the kitchen and the dining area and even vacuumed the floor and it’s a long time since I’ve done that.

Caliburn’s new brake discs had arrived, having been on order for several weeks, so I had to take him to the mender’s and drop him off so they can fix him. And it was freezing outside, really cold. Minus 0.3°C and that’s the coldest that it’s been so far this winter.

Laurent came to pick me up and bring me home where we had a coffee and then wandered off down the road to speak to Nadia.

She’s a costumier who lives down the road and makes all of the costumes for the Carnival. We’re starting a series pf programmes about the Carnival in February in the hope that it isn’t cancelled again, and she’s an ideal candidate to be interviewed to tell us about her life, her work and how the Carnival affects her.

After we’d finished Laurent went home and I came back here for another coffee and to crash out in front of the computer. Well, not exactly crash out because I was as compos mentis as I can be these days, but I certainly was in no mood to do anything.

After lunch I forced myself into work and began the arrangements for my Christmas programmes. –

Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 11:00 –
An exclusive interview with Father Christmas and his Elves, direct from his workshop in a secret location

Friday 24th December 2021 and Saturday 25th December 2021 at 21:00
Christmas songs with your favourite rock stars

Friday 31st December 2021 and Saturday 1st January 2022 at 21:00
A New Years Eve live concert from Boston, MA,; USA recorded on 31st December 1975

These can be heard on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS


There’s also a special treat – while I was sorting out all of the old hard drives I came across many of the old radio programmes that we did in the old Radio Anglais days. So what I’ll be doing is on Christmas Eve at midnight I’ll upload it to my website and you can hear it AT THIS LINK – but not yet. You’ll have to wait until Christmas Eve.


And just a reminder …
All times are CET (French time)
For the UK, subtract one hour
For Toronto, subtract six hours
And you’ll have to work out the rest for yourself

peche à pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite everything there was still time for me to go out for my afternoon walk and with the aim of catching up with my old habits I went over to the wall at the end of the car park.

What took me by surprise was the number of people down there on the beach this afternoon. As I suspected, all of the holidaymakers and second-home owners have descended on the town and packed it out.

And there were many down there trying their luck at catching fresh oysters for their Christmas treat. Oysters is a big tradition in France on Christmas Day, rather like my Christmas cake is to me.

man in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021In fact there were so many people around roday that you had to be inventive if you wanted to have some peace and quiet.

Here’s someone out in the bay in his zodiac having a little relax. At first I thought that he might be fishing but having a closer look at his boat I couldn’t see any fishing equipment.

Just as I was standing here watching him, a neighbour of mine pulled up in her car and we had a chat for a quarter of an hour or so before I wandered off on my travels.

fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s coming up to Christmas for most of us, others are still out there working.

While I was looking out to sea I noticed two fishing boats heading slowly for home, presumably with a full catch after a hard day’s work.

And of you look very closely at the photo, to the upper left of the right-hand fishing boat you’ll see what looks like the Loch Ness Monster rearing its ugly head out of the water.

That took me rather by surprise. I’ve enlarged the photo and enhanced it and I still can’t make out what it is.

f-GSBV Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And how long is it since we’ve seen an aeroplane overflying us?

Today it’s the turn of F-GSBV – a Robin DR400-180 from the flying school here at Granville, flying past on its way home.

At least, I thought that she was on her way home but according to her flight plan, she took off at 16:06 and flew southwards before coming back, did a figure-of-eight over the airport heading northwards before coming home much later than when I saw her.

Someone clearly has a lot of flying hours to catch up.

base of flagpole pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regumar readers of this rubbish will recall that the Pointe du Roc was devasted by gusts of 136kph at the height of Storm Arwen.

One of the flagpoles was uprooted and I posted a photo of it leaning drunkenly against its neighbour.

It’s now been removed and the base has been cordoned off. Presumably in the New Year they’ll re-drill it and fit new anchor bolts and then re-erect the flagpole.

You can see the size of the anchor bolts in the concrete base as they seem to have left one behind. You can imagine the force of the wind that tore the others out of their concrete settling.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what I like about this time of the year are the magnificent sunsets that we have.

With the beautiful blue, clear sky that we had had today we were having another one and this has to be one of the best that we have seen for quite a while.

As I came up the path towards the lighthouse I noticed how nice it was looking, and as I walked across the car park I could see it in all its splendour. And one of the fishing boats that we had seen earlier had caught me up and you can see it silhouetted over on the right.

cabanon vauban woman on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And, just for a change just recently I wasn’t on my own admiring it.

As well as the crowds that were milling around on the car park and the footpath, there was someone down below on the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland.

Whatever it was that she was doing, she seemed to be totally engrossed in it, so I left her alone and pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed … along the path towards the port to see what was happening there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At the chantier naval there was no change in the situation this afternoon. Aztec Lady was still there of course but that was about it.

Over at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France ferries in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) situation. She’s the older one of the two, as we can see because there’s no step in her stern.

There were a couple of people up on the sea wall making the most of the early evening sun sinking slowly down below the horizon, but my attention had also been caught by something in the water in the background, moving quite rapidly.

roofing rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having done all of that I set out back to home, but I didn’t go far before I was distracted by the sound of Pink Floyd.

Further investigation revealed that there were a couple of workmen on a roof down in the Rue du Port, doing a re-roofing job by the looks of things. And I do have to say that I admired their choice of music.

Further along here, while walking on the path just above the port I fell in with another neighbour and we had another chat for a while – so much so that by the time I arrived home the coffee that I’d set in motion before coming out was now cold.

Having finished my radio notes I thought about tea. Stuffed pepper with veg and rice and it was delicious.

And while I was at it, I almost forgot the dictaphone too. We were all by a river somewhere in different positions. I wanted to attract someone’s attention so I built a mine and put it in the river to float it down there so that everyone else would see it. However I didn’t have any means of controlling it or directing it so it wasn’t as good an idea as it sounded. I was wishing, when I was halfway through making it, that I had some kind of radio control apparatus that I could make this thing work.

In actual fact, back in the 1960s my grandparents lived near a canal and it was the start of the pleasure boat cruise network in those days. A big marina had been built at Barbridge and there was a lot of traffic on the canal. My brother and I had the idea to build a replica “mine” complete with horns, like an old German contact-mine, and float it down the canal into the marina and watch the chaos and confusion from a discreet distance. However our parents, in a rare act of parenting, vetoed the idea quite firmly.

Later on we were at the side of a river waiting for something. The guy in charge of this expedition said that he had sent someone down with the sandwiches. They got down to where we were. As they approached the first person he dropped the lot onto the floor. Of course everyone mulled round to see what they could find but the sandwiches were all messed up in the mud and totally unfit to eat

I was also back with the taxis last night. My brother was driving and he had driven all night, all the previous evening until quite late and was back in again early next morning working. My mother mentioned that when he had taken her home at the end of the shift at the evening he’d fallen asleep a couple of times driving and she had to wake him up. That surprised him that he was back in early next morning working away again. There was something about a job going on from Underwood Lane to Audlem so I made sure that whoever it was had our ‘phone number so they could ring up and book it for the next evening

I’d been out somewhere and I had a pile of oranges and one of them was rotten and had leaked everywhere so I had to go upstairs and wash everything out. Some had fallen on my pillow so I’d rinsed everything off. My mother wanted something so I went into her room. She started to laugh about these oranges and I became extremely annoyed so I tipped the contents of the bag, rotten oranges and all, all over her bed and left them there with it all staining into her bedclothes.

There was something else about photocopying. There was a girl doing a pile of photocopying and she was saying something about how the photocopying companies said that it couldn’t be done but she could do it. I asked “is that recto-verso? Because I found the same”. She asked “how do you do your recto-versos?”. I had to think for a moment because it’s one of those automatic things that you do without even thinking about it. I had to think for a minute and then explain it to her but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right because I’d never really thought about it. She asked “did you write and tell the company?”. I answered “no. They told me that it couldn’t be done when I asked them and I had to work it out for myself so it’s nothing to do with the company. It’s something to do with me that I can do it. The company shouldn’t be profiting from my ideas”. She agreed to that.

And now, later than intended, which is no surprise after transcribing all of that, I’m off to bed. I’m baking bread tomorrow, making more hummus, peeling a pile of carrots and going to the physiotherapist. It’s all go around here and I’m exhausted.

Tuesday 7th December 2021 – JUST BY WAY OF …

… a change, there has been no excitement in the local area today.

The rest of the body that goes with the foot wasn’t washed up on a beach anywhere in the vicinity. And neither was the Loch Ness Monster or Godzilla. In fact, we were all back to normal again.

Plenty of excitement during the night though. I’d been asked if I’d do a lorry-driving job driving a tanker somewhere. I said that I would and set out from the UK in this artic towing this tanker. We reached the docks and I drove my lorry on board. They said that they would park it so I let them park. When the ship docked I went down below to the hold and found that they’d uncoupled my lorry from the trailer. I though that this is going to be an absolute bitch for me to couple up because I haven’t driven a lorry for 30 years. I have to line everything up, mate it up, connect it up, connect all the cables. I drove round there but thought that this doesn’t feel like my tractor. For a start, my music wasn”t playing and it was a lot rougher to drive than mine. I wondered if I’d got the wrong tractor but they keys all fitted and everything. When I arrived round at the other side I noticed that the tractor had had a couple of its wheels taken off so I had to hunt for a couple of wheels which wasn’t easy. There was a big inspection pit there full of snakes and all kinds of other obnoxious reptiles (and we had this the other day). Eventually I found 2 wheels but on one the tyre was really thin on it. There was another new tyre there ready to put on. I thought “I have to put these 2 wheels back on, change this tyre over, reverse this tractor unit in underneath this trailer and so on. I’ve already been at it for about 6 hours and the ferry has probably done 2 trips back and to to the UK while I’ve been doing this and I’m never going to get away at this rate as I keep on finding more and more problems with this flaming tractor. This continued confusion and frustration is another regular feature.

Something else that is a regular feature is about me being back in work and planning on leaving. My last day should have been a Monday but I left instead on the Friday and was heading to the South Atlantic. However they were overrun with work so they asked me to come back on the Monday. I was really disappointed, firstly because I wanted to be in the South Atlantic and secondly because I’d left behind a whole pile of messy cases that I didn’t want to do. When I finally made it into the office on Monday morning there were a whole pile of cakes and everything on my desk and people making comments about “ohh your appetite’s back as well Eric” – all that. There was also something about a family with a young girl. They had been doing something with the town, some kind of course. The young girl hadn’t been there for the first couple of days because she was ill but she had come back after I’d left and was being very impolite and very awkward. A few people had had words about her behaviour. I don’t know where that fitted in but by now I was back at work with all of these tyres to change (as in the previous voyage) and a whole pile of paperwork and stuff that we were doing and reordering. I was completely fed up with having to come back and if they thought that I would come back the day after, they were very mistaken.

Later on I did step back into that dream where I left off, the one where I was back in work the day after but convinced that that was going to be my final day. I spent a lot of the time looking in hedgerows for orienteering clips that were supposed to be there.

Finally I was in an Inuit settlement in Nunavut. In a gap between a couple of houses was a river but when I looked it was a really long cascading waterfall with about 4 or 5 different drops. I took the camera out to take a photo but it was a really difficult one to photograph. Just as I took the photograph 4 or 5 girls came past on bikes saying “that’s a strange thing to photograph”. I told them to come here and look, which they did. When I showed them the photograph it consisted of them on their bikes obscuring my photograph.

After all of that excitement it was a struggle for me to leave my bed when the alarm went off. When I eventually did struggle to my feet I went off for my medication feeling rather unsteady on my feet.

After checking the mails and messages I sat down to revise my Welsh for the lesson and to write up my notes from last week too. And all of that took longer than it ought to have done as well.

The lesson passed quite quickly and for a change it passed off quite well too without me, for once, making a fool of myself. But I’m really struggling with this teflon brain of mine. Nothing seems to stick to it

After lunch I had a few things to organise that took me right up until it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As usual, my first port of call was going to be at the beach – or, rather, at the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach.

It was the kind of day where I didn’t expect to se anyone down there, and I was right too. It was fairly windy today but more relevantly, we’d been having rainstorms on and off all throughout the day

At the moment it had stopped raining but 10 minutes ago and at various times during the rest of the day we were having it coming down in buckets.

In fact, no sooner had I taken the photo of the beach it all came down again so I put away the camera on the inside of my rain jacket and trudged off down the path.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That will explain why there are no photographs until I arrived at the car park at the end of the path – it was too wet to take out the camera.

However by the time I reached here the rain had diminished somewhat so to celebrate the occasion I took a photograph of Le Loup – the marker light that sits on the rock at the entrance to the port.

It looks quite nice framed through the trees like that and the rain that was falling down was giving it something of a surreal effect. We’ve seen plenty of photos of it when it’s been beautifully illuminated by the sunshine so it’s nice to have a photo that is somewhat different.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Talking of the sunshine, we’re having another one of these beautiful sunsets.

Over towards the Brittany coast there’s a gap in the clouds and the sunshine is streaming down and lighting up a little patch on the sea in the centre of the bay.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this time of the year is always good for this kind of effect and it was rather a shame that I was the only one out there enjoying it this afternoon.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021With nothing else going on I wandered off down the path towards the port.

And there is something going on down at the chantier naval this afternoon. The first thing that I noticed was that the wheels of the portable boat lift have now disappeared. I wonder where they have gone.

There’s a guy down there too, going back and to between the ladder on the side of the boat lift and his van. He’s the only one down there this afternoon – everyone else who has been working down there recently seems to have cleared off.

Probably something to do with the weather, I reckon.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And this afternoon we have a boat over at the fish processing plant this afternoon.

It’s not any of the usual suspects such as L’Omerta but one of the larger trawlers – Jade III in fact, as I was to find out as I drew closer – and as I’m useless at drawing, it was a pretty poor likeness.

Her registration number tells me that she’s from St Brieuc, although we’ve seen her here a few times, and it’s a good job that she has a catamaran hull so that she can settle down in the silt without too many problems.

The problem that I was having now was that it had started to rain fairly heavily so I headed off back home quite quickly.

fork lift truck place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went inside though, I was distracted by the goings-on on the car park outside.

There was a fork-lift truck racing around on there, heading back on its way out again. he drove off towards the medieval walled city again, the wrong way down the one-way street.

He’s presumably working on the Rue St Michel and that reminded me that tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll have to go that way and see what they are up to. It’s been a while since I’ve last checked and I imagine that they’ve made some progress since then.

workmen's compound skip lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So this is what the fork-lift truck has been up to.

It looks as if there has been a load of material delivered in those large sacks to what used to be the workmen’s compound and the fork-lift truck has been lifting them on to the back of the pickup over there, which is now heading off in that general direction as well.

The skip is back as well, having been gone for a few days. Things must be hotting up over there.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee and then transcribed the notes off the dictaphone for today, which I posted earlier.

This evening’s mean was a curry made of all of the left-overs in the fridge, lengthened with a tin of lentils. There’s enough there for a meal tomorrow as well and that’ll save me having to think of a meal. I’m not sure what’s happening but I seem to have lost all of my enthusiasm for everything just now.

So later than usual, and later than intended, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I need to make a start on editing the sound-file that I recorded on Sunday morning. I’m hoping therefore to have a decent night’s sleep. It’s been a while ….

Monday 6th December 2021 – THE PECHE À PIED

jullouville baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… has taken on a whole new significance today, judging by the news that’s currently doing the rounds.

A couple of people who were over there at Jullouville looking among the rocks for crabs came across an old boot instead. And in it were the remains of a human foot.

There are of course all kinds of wrecks out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel – fishing boats, aircraft, pleasure craft and so on – and many people have been lost there, especially during the fighting in June and July 1944.

What has quite possibly happened is that Storm Arwen has disturbed an old wreck that still has human remains on board and the boot has floated free.

But it seems that from now on, when one is mentioning the peche à pied one will have to specify to which pied one is actually referring.

This morning at 06:00 when the alarm went off I had a struggle to take to my feet. But once the medication had been taken and the mails and messages checked, I cracked on with the two radio programmes that I needed to prepare, with the aid of a mug of strong coffee.

It took me much longer than I reckoned too, knocking off as finished at 13:15, but that was having had quite a chat on the internet with Liz who was on line.

What else didn’t help was that I couldn’t find a suitable ending-track for my Christmas programme. In the end I had to find one that would do, stretch out the speech that went with it and lengthen a few pauses and in the end it fitted quite nicely.

As for the other radio programme on which I was working went together quite happily

After lunch I had a quick clean-up and then headed off to the physiotherapist.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Outside it was grey and miserable and threatening rain.

On the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I could look down on the fish processing plant. There weren’t any boats down there of course – the tide is well-out right now – but there is a refrigerated lorry and several freezer vans parked down there.

There must be plenty of fishing boats out at sea right now and they will be due back on the early evening tide, when the vehicles down there will take away the catch.

Yesterday while we were out on our travels we noticed that there were no longer any boats moored up at the ferry terminal in the tidal harbour.

joly france belle france chausiaise victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021They have all now come into the inner harbour so that would seem to indicate that they have no plans to go to sea in the immediate future.

The three that are moored together in the foreground are the brand-new Belle France nearest the quayside, with the newer of the two Joly France ferries, the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure next to her. On the outside is the little freighter Chausiaise.

Over at the back on the right are the two Channel island ferries – Victor Hugo on the outside and Granville on the inside moored against the quayside.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Further on down the road I had a look at what was going on with the pointing at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They seem to be making good progress with it, but my attention was drawn to the two guys on the scaffold – the one in the red jacket and the other in the fluorescent jacket.

Judging by the way that they are standing around doing very little and pretending to inspect the work, they look very much like site managers to me.

With the steps being closed off I had to walk down the Rue des Juifs and go through the town that way to my appointment

Today she had me do five minutes on the cross trainer and the rest of the time was spent doing kinetic exercises. And I’m dismayed at how much I seem to have been affected by whatever it is that is going on with my body right now.

Much of my co-ordination and balance has gone completely and I don’t have the power in my knees to stand up from a sitting position without using my hands.

Anyway, after half an hour she threw me out and judging by the state of the pavement I’d just missed a torrential downpour..

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2112/21120044.html”>christmas decorations rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way up to the physiotherapist I’d noticed that the decorations in the Rue Couraye have … errr … evolved.

We now have candy-striped pillars placed over all of the bollards on the edge of the kerb. They have signs on them indicating the nature of the shops alongside.

Dark though it was right now, the Christmas lights weren’t yet illuminated. I can see that i’m going to have to come down later in the evening one night and see how they look, in the hope that they are better than they have been in previous years.

For some reason, I don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that I had in previous years.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Halfway up the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

Not because I was out of breath and not because of anything that was going on in the port either but there was another beautiful sunset out there in the Baie de Granville. This was far too good to miss. It really was quite impressive.

Before I set out earlier I put a can of energy drink into my bag with the idea that if I needed it I could drink it on the way home but I totally forgot about it. I might not be feeling enthusiastic but at least I’m feeling a little more fit than I was three months ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before going back into my building I went over to have a look down onto the beach.

There’s plenty of beach down there just now, but there wasn’t anyone down there on it. That’s not really a surprise because it was quite windy, going dark and threatening rain.

Back in the apartment I had a nice hot coffee and then transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I’d had quite a busy night by the looks of things. and there was plenty to transcribe.

There were quite a few entries from the last few days too but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to read those.

Anyway, last night I was at the cinema. I’d gone to see some rock concert or other that was taking place there. I mentioned to someone that I was going and he said that his younger sister was going as well. I turned up at this cinema and took a seat. When I looked round, there was a young girl there waving at me. I said “hello”. I thought to myself “is this that girl?” because when I looked around again there was another girl waving at me who looked pretty much identical. I couldn’t work out who was who and I couldn’t remember her name. As usual I was tying myself up in a knot about “should I go and sit next to her and so on? What if it was the wrong girl?”. The usual kind of confused state that I find myself in at times. Then the lights went out and we had the immediate “get your hand off my leg” comment that used to go around the cinemas in Crewe in those days when the lights went off, which always of course caused a lot of laughter. When I looked around though, both the girls had disappeared off somewhere. Here was yet another situation that I’d let slip through my fingers because I was being far too indecisive. The story of my life, isn’t it?

And I wish that I knew who the girl was too. Although seeing as I let her slip through my fingers like that, maybe it’s better that I don’t know, to avoid any disappointment.

Later on I was going out that night and I needed a new jacket to wear to make myself look smart (it’ll take more than a jacket to do that of course) so I went off to a shop that I normally use. I’d had a look round on the upper floors at a few different kinds of things but no jackets. I’d taken off my jacket and hung it on a peg while I was doing that. I then went downstairs to look at the men’s clothing. There were lots of other interesting things down there as well. When I arrived downstairs there was only the men’s clothing section open. The rest was all closed off as if they were remodelling the shop. They were busy hanging clothes onto hooks from behind the blanking-off thing that they were doing. There was a TV there with a load of men there watching the TV. I thought that they had probably been dumped by their wives who had then gone off to do the shopping somewhere else. Before I could look for a jacket I awoke.

Later still Nerina and I had had an argument in Germany somewhere on holiday and she had stormed off. I was walking the streets – it was 00:30 – wondering whether I should go back to the hotel room. As I was walking down the street a car pulled up. A man got out with a little girl about 7 or 8. She walked past me and said “here’s your computer mouse. I got on my bed and it fell off so I put it on the floor and here it is”. I took my computer mouse and was still wondering what to do. Somewhere somehow it turned out that Nerina had gone and my car had gone as well. I was stranded in Germany. I ended up with something like a Bella estate that I had managed to find. I was with that car and with Linda from Portugal (and here’s someone from a very distant past making her debut in my nocturnal rambles) but I’m not sure at all about where this bit with the Bella estate fitted in. I was in Stoke on Trent by this time

Finally I was having to negotiate my passage through the country that had formerly ruled the place where I live. I suspected that it wasn’t going to be easy. We set off and reached the border. I’d built some kind of big snowball or snowman and behind it were hiding several other men. I was discussing with them the plan that we’d go as far as the border and maybe go across. There would be a lot of bloodshed. They asked “what after that?”. I replied “I don’t know after that”.

The early start and the exercise at the physiotherapist’s had worn me out today and what with my early start on Sunday, I ended up drifting away for 20 minutes or so. That was rather a disappointment because I’ve been trying to avoid that for the last couple of months.

Tea was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Saturday evening lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And it’s even more delicious after marinading for a couple of days.

But now I’m off to bed. It’s early but I’m exhausted and I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow. There can’t be many left now before we break for Christmas. With my cookery lesson on Friday I have plenty of notes to review tomorrow so I need to be at my best.

Monday 29th November 2021 – SAY HELLO, EVERYONE …

marité normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to Normandy Warrior.

Moored down there behind Marité is the newest freighter to visit the port. You won’t have seen her before because we are lucky enough today to catch her on her maiden voyage to the town

She’s the sister ship to Normandy Trader and you can tell them apart because Normandy Trader has a small upper deck behind her bridge on which lightweight articles can be loaded.

normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few months ago I mentioned that the crew of Normandy Trader were talking about buying another boat.

What I had assumed that they meant was that they were going to replace her with a larger ship, but actually there’s an issue about licences and permits for larger boats and so they have managed to track down a sister ship and they are going to be operating the two simultaneously.

So here is Normandy Warrior busily being loaded with a huge pile of freight that has accumulated over the last few days for her first return journey from Granville to Jersey.

replacing christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that has been going on today has been the repair to the town following the devastation of Storm Arwen.

The Christmas decorations in the Place General de Gaulle were savaged quite badly. Father Christmas was blown halfway down the street and the trees that they had erected to surround him were all bowled over.

As I walked past on my way to the physiotherapists they were busy re-erecting the trees. Santa had already been restored to his previous place, so let’s hope that he stays there this time.

broken slates rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That wasn’t the only sign of a tragedy either.

As I was walking home along the Rue General Patton I was trying to avoid all of the broken slates that were littering the floor.

It seems that there has been a roof quite badly damaged in the storm and there were broken slates everywhere. This is going to be quite a bill for someone to have to pay

It’s actually quite a testament to our building that despite being exposed to the full force of the wind, we seem to have escaped quite lightly.

school children college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I’ve no idea what might be happening here.

When I returned with Caliburn from having his windscreen replaced, all of the schoolkids from the College Malraux were outside on the public car park hanging around.

Whatever had caused it had happened before I arrived so I wasn’t able to identify a reason, but the fact that all of the fire doors are open seems to indicate that there has been a fire alarm and the school has been evacuated.

While we are on the subject of alarms, my alarms didn’t go off this morning. Not that it made any difference because I was wide awake. I’d had another bad night where it seemed that I hadn’t slept at all.

And seeing that there are no files recorded on the dictaphone (and it’s been quite a while since that has happened, hasn’t it?) that’s a distinct possibility.

So I fell out of bed at 06:00 and staggered off for my medication. Then back here I checked my mails and messages and then had an hour or so working on the radio programme that I should be doing this week, although when, I don’t know.

A shower was next, to get myself cleaned up, and then I changed the bedding. I’m not sure when I did that last but one thing that I did notice last night was that it was high (and I do mean “high”) time that I changed it.

And then I put set the washing machine on the go.

Having made sure that Caliburn would start, I prepared myself to leave and then headed off to the windscreen fitter’s. And with the temperature being at 2.5°C, I put my woolly hat on my woolly head for the first time this winter.

Having dropped off Caliburn I went for a walk – to buy the stuff that I need to clean his wheels, to go to Bio-Coop to see if they had any vegan cheese (which they didn’t) and then to LeClerc for a coffee, where I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

When Caliburn was ready I picked him up and drove home, and I was amazed about how pitted and grimy his old windscreen must have been.

unloading scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Back at the building there was someone here unloading a scaffolding.

Not to climb up onto the roof, but they were actually taking it inside the building.

These rooms are quite high and to reach the ceiling is not very easy at all. It looks as if someone is redecorating and the scaffolding must be to enable them to paint the ceiling.

Back here I sat down to carry on with the radio programme but unfortunately I dozed off again. As a result I had rather a late lunch.

After lunch I tracked down the rest of the things that I need to give Caliburn his showroom appearance and then headed off to town.

black pearl spirit of conrad Courrier des Iles charles marie anakena aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I could see that a trawler was just pulling up at the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s Black Pearl, one of the newer trawlers in the port whom we saw sail into port a while back.

Also in the shot are a load of the hire yachts that re laid up over the winter. We have, from left to right, Spirit of Conrad on whom we went up the Brittany coast 18 months or so ago, and then Charles Marie with the little Courrier des Iles moored against her.

Over on the right, Anakena is moored against the quayside with Aztec Ladymoored against her.

installing christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021With the Rampe du Monte à Regret being closed while they repoint the wall, I carried on down the Rue des Juifs.

Down in the Avenue de la Liberation the Council’s cherry picker was out installing more Christmas lights. I wonder what this lot of lights is going to be like this year.

Heading through town, I climbed back up the Rue Couraye towards the physiotherapists, stopping off at Carrefour on the way. I forgot the tomatoes this weekend and I bought a can of energy drink to help my climb the hill back home.

At the physiotherapist’s she tightened up the screw on the cross trainer t make it harder for me to work the machine, and then I had a few kinetic exercises to carry out.

Finally I was put on the tilting platform and she obviously likes my company … “I can’t think why” – ed … because she let me stay on the machine for an extra 10 minutes.

abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back down the steps at the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs to see how the work was going.

From up above though, I could see that they are slowly advancing with the kerb along the line of the old abandoned railway. They are still a long way from finishing it though.

They’ve not made it to the road yet so it was something of a muddy tramp across the churned-up grass onto the car park and then down the steps to the bottom by where they have installed the keep-fit equipment

cutting wood parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was on my way down there I heard the sound of a circular saw being used .

As I walked a little further on I could see that there was a van and a trailer. There was a generator in front of the van and they were using it to power a circular bench-saw.

Having cut the wood into the required length the guy working the saw carried it off to his friends who were working out of shot on the course of the abandoned railway line.

And judging by the amount of wood that he has on the trailer, he’s going to be working there for quite some time.

creating boardwark abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021What they are actually doing is construction some kind of boardwalk at the side of the concrete pathway that they have laid.

While I was going past I asked them if they would be going the full length of the abandoned railway track and they replied in the affirmative. And I can imagine that it will be fun riding a bike on that in the pouring rain.

But once again it’s pretty dismal, all of this concrete that they have been laying all over the place. I’m sure that they could do much better than that if they really tried, but they seem to be singularly lacking in imagination around here.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile further down the road I came upon the Parc des Docteurs Lanos.

It’s still quite a mess, churned up by all of the heavy vehicles that have been driving on there moving all of the stuff about, and that is going to take a considerable amount of effort to restore it, unless they do as they have done elsewhere an sink it under a mass of concrete.

And talking of stuff, there seems to be considerably less stuff on there now. They are using it up as a considerable rate and the fact that they aren’t replacing it with any rapidity seems to indicate that the work is slowly coming to an end.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And talking about masses of concreete, here’s a photo of the view behind me showing the Rue du Boscq.

Last time that we looked down here they were laying yet more concrete reinforcement matting and sure enough, while I was away in Leuven they have poured yet more concrete down.

One of these days I’ll post a photo of the car park at Lezardrieux where we visited with Spirit of Conrad. There, they laid out the car park with small stone setts and used setts of different colours to mark out the lines and it all looked quite nice.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the other end of the street, the situation was just the same.

Another mass of concrete poured down at this end too. It all looks so dreary and depressing.

Mind you, there’s a lorry-load of earth down there and they are tipping it into the gap between the edge of the concrete and the stone wall to the right. I wonder if that is where they will be planting the hundreds of trees that they have promised.

But anyway I left them to it and carried on home dodging the broken slates in the Rue General Patton.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday we saw a really nice sunset, with what remained of the sun peeking through a small gap in the clouds.

This afternoon, we had a similar phenomenon. There wasn’t as much cloud this afternoon and so the effect was much more dramatic.

In the background we can see the church at Cancale across the bay on the Brittany coast, silhouetted against the orange sky, just to the left of centre.

It is one thing that I like about this time of year. At the time when I usually go for my walk, we have some wonderful lighting effects. We’ve seen quite a few already and there will be plenty more before Spring, I hope.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went in for my afternoon coffee, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look over onto the beach.

There wasn’t anything going on down there this afternoon, for the simple reason that there wasn’t much beach for anything to be happening on. The tide was well in right now.

So on that point I came back in for my coffee and carried on with some work, but I knocked off earlier than I normally do.

That’s because in a fit of extravagance (or forgetfulness) I bought two loads of peppers at the weekend and I had no idea of when I was going to use them. So I made one of my mega-curries with peppers, mushrooms, a tin of diced veg and a tin of white beans.

It was absolutely delicious and there’s plenty left. So when it’s cooled down and there’s some more room in the freezer, I’ll parcel it all up into individual helpings and freeze them for later use.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long day, walked miles and I’m exhausted. I want to make the most of this and hopefully have a really good sleep for a change.

Sunday 27th November 2021 – I ACTUALLY MANAGED …

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to go out and about this afternoon to see what damage Storm Arwen had caused.

First port of call has obviously to be the workmen’s compound down at the bottom. Or, rather, what is left of the workmen’s compound.

Parts of it are all tangled up over there, but the rest of it is all over the place in the car park, along with all kinds of other rubbish that has been blown in from all over the place as well

There are going to be some very unhappy people when they come in the morning to inspect their vehicles.

repairing medieval city walls place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another place that was going to be interesting to see is the face of the medieval city walls that they are repairing underneath the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The walls are still standing, which is a surprise after the battering that it received, but the protection that the workmen built to protect themselves from objects dropped from above did not. And that’s hardly a surprise becuase, as we said the other day, it looked rather flimsy.

The first job on Monday morning therefore will be to re-erect their little shelter. And then they can crack on with the repairing. And by the looks of things they seem to be doing a reasonable job. We can’t afford to have them going for a Burton.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, up above in the Place, the scaffolding seems to have survived. The 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks seemed to have done its job.

All in all, we seem to have been quite fortunate with the storm. Gusts of 136 kph are not to be sneezed at, and the town’s firemen were called out 36 times during the storm, so it seemed that plenty of people had it far worse than we did.

It didn’t even keep me awake all that much. Although I didn’t go to bed as early as I would have liked, I managed to spend more time asleep than I have done just recently.

That’s not to say that I didn’t go on any travels during the night. In fact, quite the reverse. We were at school last night. My brother had been summoned before the headmaster for something so he actually left at about 08:30 and was playing for another team early on. We had to be back by 10:00 so at 09:45 I went over to the door to meet him. he came out with a group of other people, one of whom was someone from the radio. We all started to talk a little about my brother’s issues although he looked extremely happy just then when he came out. Then something and I don’t know what reminded me that I had to do something with the green folder and send it off to another house at school to have a listen before I could go ahead with the radio programme.

Later on I had Caliburn except that it wasn’t Caliburn but my red Cortina estate, loaded up with all my stuff for moving house like I did when I was moving from the UK to Brussels. I had to go somewhere for a few days so I parked it up in the street in Underwood Lane near where I lived. On my way back we went to a house to pick up some shovels and spades. It was 04:00. A woman came out and I thought that she looked familiar. It turned out that she’d been the person who had bought one of my houses somewhere else. It was her but she’d since moved and bought another house. She was telling me that I now have a house down there as well. We collected everything and went into the street but we couldn’t see Caliburn anywhere. We walked up and down that street 3 or 4 times and there was no trace of him. We were thinking about which scrapyards to ring up, all of this kind of thing but there was still no trace

Later still on I was back in the hospital and I couldn’t find a shovel that I’d use to dig a grave. I pointed to that fellow but he didn’t see us so I thought that I’d stick my 2 bodies into 1 grave. I needed to enlarge the grave. There was a fight going on between fishermen, farmers and the French police. I thought that now there wasn’t very much attraction so I’ll stop where I am because someone was after the issue fee “I see Eric” but I didn’t know my name and I wanted everything cleared up. And what that was all about I have no idea.

Finally we’d been up in the High Arctic as far as Grize Fiord and even further. We’d been in this town watching the aeroplanes come in to land and then all set off back home again. I had this old double-decker bus that we were driving, heading up the A5 from London. My car was in front and for some unknown reason it was driving on its own, driving really recklessly and I was convinced that there was going to be an accident with this. All of a sudden it did a turn right across several carriageways and pulled up against the kerb. I stopped the bus and went round to see what was going on. My brother was there so I asked him why he did that strange manoeuvre. He pointed to this shop selling clothes. I stuck my head in but couldn’t see anything exciting. While he was there I said to the people on board the bus “let me have my stuff and I can load my car ready to go”. I took a few bits and pieces out but someone on the top deck picked up my big sports bag and dropped it over the top straight into the boor of the car. It went in with an Enormous crash. I said that I hoped that there was nothing breakable in there, like my portable computer. Then I had a look at the bus. All the time that it had spent in the High Arctic had taken its toll and it was as rusty as hell, rusting everywhere as f it had just happened overnight. Even the sides of the bus were rusty and you could see the name of the previous owner, “Lena Tours” because of how the bodywork had rusted. I wondered how we were able to drive this without the police stopping us and taking a look.

And why does my brother keep on showing up in my voyages? Why can’t it be someone like Zero or Castor or TOTGA?

Anyway, leaving my bed at 09:00 was not very easy this morning but it had to be done and I staggered into the dining are for my medication. I checked my mails and messages, made a quick breakfast and went for my Welsh lesson – all 5 hours of it.

The time passed quite quickly too, and the one hour for lunch passed even quicker because I seem once more to have run out of pizza dough so I made to make a hurried batch. And it didn’t turn out too badly either, all things considered.

We had plenty of fun in our lessons today and I hope that I remember everything that we learnt. Some of it wasn’t familiar at all so I imagine that it’s South Walian and that will lead to a few complications when we’re back in our normal class on Tuesday after the weekend school.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As soon as the lesson finished I grabbed the camera and finally made it outside.

Having seen the compound across the car park I went down to the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was happening on the beach.

There were actually two people down there, which was a surprise. The weather might have moderated somewhat after the wind of the last couple of days but it was still really cold and not the kind of weather that I would have chosen to be down there.

But there’s no accounting for taste.

outdoor tidal swimming pool donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further on along the beach towards Donville-les-Bains there was something strange in the water.

My first thought was that it was an ancient wreck uncovered by the storm, something that is a regular occurrence in many parts of the world.

However it seems to be the tidal swimming pool down there at Donville. I didn’t recognise it because I don’t think that I’ve seen it more than a couple of times in all the time that I’ve lived here.

There must be some kind of optical illusion or trick of the light that has made it so visible this afternoon.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having inspected the work down at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I headed off along the path at the foot of the city walls, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been down here.

A little earlier I’d already seen the tidal swimming pool at Donviille-les-Bains so I was interested to see the one at the Plat Gousset here to see if it had survived the storm.

It seems to have managed okay but there’s some kind of turbulence going on at the back og the pool so I wonder what that is all about.

Perhaps they’ve caught the Loch Ness Monster. I didn’t realise that the storm had been that intense.

generator building equipment Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another feature that occurs quite regularly on these pages is the state of the Square Maurice Marland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, they spent quite a while on repairing the place a few years ago and since then it’s been left todecay, something that seems to have happened a lot more rapidly that I had tought.

While I was there today though, I noticed that a pile of equipment has arrived here, includiing what looks like a diesel generator in a soundproof box. So maybe things are going to start moving again.

building equipment Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And a little further on, I can see that they already have.

The part where the children’s entertainments used to be is now cordoned off and they have a strange tracked machine just there. That certainly looks as if it means business.

Much of the surrounding area has been sheeted over too and there’s some building material stacked up too. This is looking as if it’s going to be quite interesting and I’ll be back here more often than I am at the moment to check on things.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Leaving the Square Maurice Marland I headed off towards the Rue St Michel to see how things were unfoding there.

It was difficult to see anything from down at the bottom end the other day because of all of the machinery, so this afternoon I came up via the alley at the top

From this angle it’s quite clear that they’ve scraped away the old horrible surface and that does actually look deep enough to lay some cobbles. But having been disappointed in the past by this kind of thing, we’ll have to see what happens.

And then wonder how long it will be before they dig it up again.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021From the end of the Rue st Michel I walked onto the city walls.

It’s going quite dark quite quickly now and I just about caught the last few rays of sun as the reflected up and through a couple of small holes in this really thick cloud cover.

That was the cue for me to head home. No coffee tonight as I’m pretty-much coffeed out after all that I’ve drunk today. I rolled out my pizza and then went to pair off my music instead, although I won’t be preparing a programme tomorrow as I’m having Caliburn’s windscreen fixed.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021When I’d finished that I went to have a play with my pizza.

When it was assembled it went into the oven for 35 minutes and I was ready for it when it was finally cooked. It was quite delicious too.

having finished everything in what was a really hectic day, I’m ready for bed. I have an early start because I need a shower and a shave before I take Caliburn off. If I have to pretty myself up, that’s going to take more time than I can spare.