Tag Archives: swimmer

Sunday 8th May 2022 – I WASN’T WRONG …

… when I said that I was likely to have a bad day today.

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while you admire a few photos of the various water craft that was out and about offshore this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk, I’ll tell you all about it.

It actually all went wrong late last night because having crashed out so definitively yesterday late afternoon, I wasn’t in the least bit tired and it was long after 02:00 when I finally crawled into bed.

Strangely enough, that was round about the same time that I went to bed last Saturday night too but how I wish that it was for the same reason.

Even though it was really nice to be back in my own bed, I was awake at 10:00 and couldn’t go back to sleep again. Nevertheless it was 11:00 when I finally crawled out of bed.

speedboat zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After the medication I did some work on the radio programmes, pairing off some music for a radio programme that I’ll be preparing in the future.

At the moment I’m almost a whole year ahead which is good news. I have to concentrate on building up a stock ready for if ever I get to go away again and, of course, for another eventuality which you all know.

That took me up to lunchtime – or, rather, brunchtime, because I haven’t had anything to eat yet. Porridge and toast and plenty of strong black coffee to keep me going for the afternoon because, surprisingly, I was starting to flag already.

As I said yesterday, I had a feeling that it was going to be something of a bad day.

zodiac with fishermen baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But not quite yet because there were still things to do.

The first thing was to write a rather difficult message. I’m not very good at expressing my thoughts and emotions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I always end up making a total mess of what I’m trying to write.

But when someone who has known me long enough to know better calls me “sweet”, then that’s the kind of message that deserves something of a rather special reply of the type that I’m really no good at all at writing.

Why does life have to be so full of complications? It would be so much better if I could simply rely on the power of thought transmission.

Having finally sent something (and that took much longer than it ought to have done) that I still didn’t think was good enough but was the best that I could do, I attacked the dictaphone.

I was having a dream about having to write letters to people (something of a premonition, I reckon). Someone was writing them on my behalf but something had happened. The situation had changed unexpectedly and the person writing these letters no longer felt comfortable doing it. The situation was not as she imagined it and she didn’t think that it was as I expressed it so she refused to write any more. I had to collect all the pens and papers and make a list of the people who have already had their letter, then sit down and write the letter again myself to every one who had been missed.

And then I was round at someone’s house doing some tidying up for them (as if that’s ever likely to happen. I can’t even tidy up for myself!). They decided that they would go out and I was still there, not making a great deal of progress. I was busy making myself something to eat when one of them came back, the first to come back and started setting out some food on the table. There were some cakes that he was laying out. I noticed that one of them was a plain scone and I wondered if that was for me. If so, that was quite nice of them. Then someone else came in with a strange-looking object that was like a glass globe that the top came off. They said “here, cook your food in that”. I can’t remember if it was porridge or something like that that I was making but I cooked it in this glass globe thing. It swelled up really nicely and when you coupled up a Land Rover to it at the back it looked absolutely perfect. Whatever it was that I was cooking had the look of like a cake or something like that but when I took it out of the microwave it went flat again which was a shame because it really looked so nice in this glass globe thing in the microwave.

As I expected, I fell asleep in the middle of dictating all of this. And then I fell asleep as soon as I had finished. And on the latter occasion, it was a really deep, intense sleep that wiped me out completely. Right the way up to time to go walkies.

And when I set out I was really in no fit state to go.

people in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The first port of call once I was outside was to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide was on its way out so more and more of the beach was being uncovered. And there were more and more people uncovered too, to such an extent that several of them had actually taken to the water.

And that wasn’t a surprise because it was a gorgeous sunny late Spring day and there wasn’t much wind to cool things down.

even Rover was having a good time too, down at the water’s edge having a good bark at the passing seagulls, trying to chase them away.

fisherman baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Plenty of boats out at sea this afternoon as we have already seen, and plenty of fishermen too.

It seemed as if every rock had its own fisherman perched thereupon this afternoon. I counted a couple of dozen out there casting their lines into the water.

Not that we actually saw anyone catch anything. That’s been a regular theme running through these pages that we have seen hundred upon hundred of fishermen fishing from the rocks and not once have we ever seen anyone pull anything out.

There were crowds of people on the path too. It looked as if the whole town had turned out today for a walk around. After all, it is a Bank Holiday today – VE Day – and that’s quite an important date in the French calendar.

f-gorn Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was out there looking at the sea I was overflown by a light aeroplane heading towards the airfield.

It’s one whom we know quite well – F-GORN, one of the Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 aeroplanes that they have.

When I returned home later I had a look at the flight database. The only flight that was recorded for her today was one where she took off at 15:07, flew briefly around the bay and landed again at 15:17.

But my photo was taken at 16:03 (adjusted) so she’s obviously been out again later and kept below radar level.

Incidentally, when I say “adjusted”, all of my appliances like cameras, dictaphones etc aren’t adjusted for Summer Time.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Crowds of people out on the paths, as I said earlier, and also a few people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban.

There was plenty of activity going on out at sea and there’s little doubt that these people were enjoying the spectacle, both maritime and pescatorial. And with plenty of sun and very little wind, why not?

But I can’t stand here all afternoon watching them. I’ve forgotten to put the coffe on before setting out so I need to go home and make it. I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there.

trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One of the things that I had wanted to do was to check the chantier naval to see what was happening there.

And I was right yesterday when I said that I thought that the trawler there might be a Jersey trawler. Indeed it is, and it’s one whom we have met before. J-158 happens to be the registration number of L’Ecume II and she’s been in the harbour here a couple of times.

Her claim to fame is that a couple of years ago her watch fell asleep at the helm and she ran aground on a sandbank. And by the looks of her hull, she looks as if she’s been having a few more issues as well.

Also in the photo are La Roc A La Mauve III, Valesque and an unidentified inshore fisheries boat.

l'omerta ch646489 petite laura port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday, we saw L’Omerta and another inshore fishing boat over there at the fish processing plant.

They are still here today, and from this viewpoint I can identify the second one. At first I thought that she was Lysandre but on checking her registration number I find that she is actually Petite Laura and she’s a new ship to us. We haven’t seen her before.

You can see in her stern all of the buoys and flags and so on of the type that we see dotted around in the sea just offshore. I’m convinced that they relate to things like lobster pots, indicating where the crew has dropped the pots over the side.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having noticed the dredger in port yesterday I was interested in having a closer look at her today.

And I was right. She certainly is St-Gilles Croix-de Vie, she who comes into port quite often.

But I was more interested in looking at the water level in the inner harbour because that looks a lot lower than it usually is. So what’s happening there?

Back here I had a nice surprise. Rosemary has been tidying up at home and she told me that she had sent me a little gift. So in my mailbox was a little parcel containing a little book on identifying ships. That was really nice of her.

Armed with a mug of coffee I came in here and promptly fell asleep again and that’s how I spent most of the late afternoon. I’m not doing too well right now with all of this. The first couple of days after my transfusion always seem to knock me out.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After lunch I’d taken the last ball of dough out of the freezer.

Now that it had defrosted I rolled it out and left it to proof and then made myself a pizza.

This is the fourth out of this load of dough and I have to say that it was something of a failure becuase 600grams of flour divided into 4 leaves the base too thin. I’ll have to go back to 500 grammes into 3 for the next batch of dough.

So now I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m having an early start tomorrow to prepare a radio programme so I have to be on form. But where I’m going to find the energy to do it I really don’t know.

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Saturday 26th March 2022 – IN SOMETHING OF A …

…. major surprise, the first day of my Welsh revision course actually passed quite well and I’ve no idea why either because as usual we were launched straight into the deep end.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In something else of a major surprise, I actually caught the crane at the ferry terminal working this morning.

With having my Welsh lesson starting at 10:30 I had to nip into town early for my special bread for lunch and the mushrooms for the pizza. And there as I approached the corner of the street the crane was busily swinging something about.

Of course, at this kind of distance and as far as I was away from the outer wall it’s impossible to see what it was that they were moving around. And the sun shining right into the lens of the camera didn’t help matters at all.

person swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And that’s not all either.

When I went out for my afternoon walk I went as usual to look down at what was happening on the beach and out at sea. And despite the weather I really was surprised to see someone actually in the water this afternoon.

That’s what I call “courage”.

But I’m getting ahead of myself yet again today.

When the alarm went off this morning it was yet another struggle to leave my stinking pit for the real world. Nevertheless, I beat the second alarm clock. Not by much, I have to say, but enough.

After breakfast there was plenty of time to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

The Germans were busy executing a load of prisoners whom they had caught last night, hanging them in groups of so many. After they had done several groups, they decided that they would call it a night for the moment, just as they got to one particular woman. They were all there having a little party I suppose. This woman was sleeping on what was a large bed, the type that you would fit probably a dozen people on. One of the women who was there involved in the executions was with a guy. They were busy eating green apples. They asked this woman if she wanted one but she said no. It created problems with her stomach so they carried on with what they were doing while she was there trying to sleep with all this noise. her hands were tied so she couldn’t do very much. When everyone went off to sleep she tried to free her hands but she wasn’t able to do it. Next morning the hangings started again and she was in the first batch of them to go to meet their maker. Interestingly, where this was all taking place was somewhere round by the corner of Alton Street and Walthall Street in Crewe.

And later we were babysitting a small child for someone. I can’t remember who I was with now but it was male. It might have been my brother. We were babysitting in my house. This woman turned up unexpectedly to take the boy away. It was her grandmother on his mother’s side. She had a friend with her. They walked into my house and had a look around. She said to her partner “just remember before you say anything about the condition of their house, it’s their house”. She said that with one of those long pointed looks down her nose. I thought “you ungrateful cow”. I was just about to tell her what I thought of her when she grabbed the child and left so I chased after her but she had gone. Just then my mother in law turned up with her other daughter in law, her brother’s wife, for measuring our house. We had a tape measure and someone asked to know the length of it so I said that it was 20 metres. They insisted that it was 10 but I could see quite clearly that it was 20. I told the story of this woman coming in. My mother-in-law said “yes, quite” as if she clearly agreed with the first woman. I thought “all these miserable people here . I can’t even live my life quietly on my own without having all of these attacks from all kinds of different people. What made it worse was there I was out of the goodness of my heart looking after this little child and all I received was a heap of abuse, which sounds about pretty much par for the course the way things are these days.

And that’s not all of what happened last. But trust me – you really don’t want to know about the bits that are missing, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

There was also an extremely bad-tempered reply to the e-mail that I wrote last night. Which went basically “I’m not paid to do …” a task that he actually volunteered to do without any prompting, and “ohh, that’s different” – the standard sort of reply that you receive when you mention something that they haven’t considered.

And plenty of other bells and whistles besides

“Ohh, that’s different” – like when the subject crops up about the footballer who is accused of cruelty after kicking his cat and you ask his critics if they’ve just eaten a meal containing the flesh of some animal that someone has actually killed.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So climbing down from my soapbox, I headed off into town this morning nice and early just as the shops were opening.

And there at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I watched them playing about with the crane but by the time that I arrived at a good viewing position whatever it was that they were moving had gone out of sight.

There were problems going down into town too. There are some steps that go down from the Rue des Juifs to the Place Pelley and someone has erected a scaffolding across them, as I discovered when I was half-way down.

market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At the Carrefour I bought a special baguette and a punnet of mushrooms and headed for home.

Although it’s early, the market was in full swing. The barbecue on the right, burning its charcoal, was in full operation. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that two years or so ago the Maire at the time tried to stop him burning charcoal, but he fought the case and won.

The walk back up the hill to home was surprisingly easy. Not only did I not stop for breath, I actually made it up to the top at something like a reasonable speed as well.

That’s not like me these days either, is it?

At 10:30 our lesson began and I was actually already connected up. But not for long. The laptop that I use for Zoom crashed and it took me about 15 minutes for it to fire up again and reconnect.

We’re 15 students in this class, all from South Wales apart from me so I’m confusing them all by saying “efo” instead of “gyda”, “rwan” instead of “nawr”, “dwâd” instead of “dod” and so on which isn’t very helpful. I don’t know why they insist on putting me in a South Walian revision group when my learning provider is registered as Coleg Cambria, which is based in Wrexham in North-East Wales.

We had two coffee breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and a lunch hour of course. And to my surprise I managed not to fall asleep either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As soon as it finished I legged it off outside, rather later than usual, but never mind.

Earlier on, I mentioned that it was a beautiful afternoon. And you can tell that by the crowds of people down there on the beach.

This lot is sitting at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord. And there were dozens of other little groups like this one scattered around all over the place as well, enjoying every minute of the weather.

Including the woman, who we saw earlier up to her waist and beyond in the water. Perhaps I ought to mention that despite the crowds down there, she was the only one who had taken the plunge. It wasn’t that warm.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen the crowds on the beach already. Now look at the crowds on the path on top of the cliff.

My route to the lighthouse was dogged by hordes of people pushing pushchairs, walking dogs, holding children and all of that kind of thing. The beautiful weather has brought them out in their droves this afternoon.

And the reason why everyone seems to be on land at the moment is because if you look at the background of the photo you can see that we have the sea mist back again..

There won’t be much sightseeing being done on the water this afternoon.

fishermen in boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However this photo represents something else completely.

There were a couple of boats that I could actually see and even though the bright sunlight was shining directly into the camera and reflecting off just about everywhere else, I still had a go at it.

These two boats were actually full of fishermen – you can tell by the silhouette of their fishing rods – but what caught my eye was how close they were together, like the two trawlers the other day and there were some strange antics going on aboard.

There are some strange things happening out at sea these days.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And whatever it was that they were doing, they had an audience watching them.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had another group of people enjoying the sun and whatever the spectacle was out there with those two boats.

And no dog – or polar bear – to disturb the peace either today.

But I have things to do, places to go, people to see, so I headed off towards the port on the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening over there.

cabin cruisers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was no change whatever either in the chantier naval or over at the ferry terminal since we last looked.

But there was some water in the inner harbour and there was a small cabin cruiser on its way into port. Presumably the larger one is waiting for a bit more water to come in.

Back here there was football on the Internet. Haverfordwest County v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

And what a match this was. The first shot on target was on 32 minutes and the second shot on target was at 51 minutes. We had a brief flurry of action for 5 minutes immediately after than and then it was “as you were”.

The final score was 0-0 and believe me – both sides were lucky to get nil. After the exciting game we had last Friday night, this was a considerable let-down.

Tea was a burger on a bap, and then I came in here to write up my notes.

Having done that, I’ll have a play on the guitar and then go to bed. No lie-in tomorrow either. I’ve set the alarm as I have Day Two of my Welsh revision weekend. I suppose that if you throw enough of it at a wall, some of it might stick.

Tuesday 19th October 2021 – THE EXCITEMENT HERE …

filming foyer des jeunes travailleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… has been intense today – not like when you go camping when the excitement is in tents, but there has been lots going on.

As I went into the kitchen to make myself a coffee earlier on this morning, I could see the crowds gathering on the edge of the car park at the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs.

It wasn’t the ambulance that attracted the crowds – well, maybe it had something to do with it – but if you look closely, you’ll see that the film cameras are turning and the whole event is being filmed.

film crew vehicles place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As we saw the other day when I was wandering around on my post-prandial perambulations, that the public car park outside has been turned into a lorry park.

The film crew vehicles are parked on there and I am sure that there are quite a few more than there were when we last saw them. And apparently they are likely to stay for a few days yet as the filming continues.

At the moment, I haven’t yet found out the name of the film that they are filming but there will probably be something in the papers. I haven’t checked since I went away to Leuven last week. I’m building up far too many arrears.

film crew equipment boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But back to the plot.

As one walks around the circuit around the headland, one stumbles across all kinds of film equipment that has been set up in all kinds of strange places.

This lot here was guarded by a security guard who was more interested in checking the messages on his phone rather than on the security of the equipment, so I was having a look round to see if there was anything that would fit nicely into the back of Caliburn.

people taking a light test place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There are all kinds of people doing all kinds of strange things too.

One of these guys was holding what looked like a microphone and manipulating a portable computer while the other one had some kind of strange black machine with a screen built in.

My initial thought was that they were checking the light with a very sophisticated light meter but having thought about the matter some more, I wondered if they were filming a background, complete with ocean noise, for “green-screening”.

That’s where you film the action against a background of solid colour (usually green but I use bright pink), film a background scene, like a seascape for example, and superimpose the action film onto the background scene, setting the solid coloured background of the action scene to “transparent” on your computer-generated image.

A lot of STRAWBERRY MOOSE‘s action shots are done by green-screening.

But anyway, I digress … “once more” – ed.

Last night I actually had a better night’s sleep. Still not as good as it could be, but an improvement on how it has been just now

After the medication I spent some time revising my Welsh ready for my lesson and I must be psychic because our lesson actually finished right at the point to which I had revised.

But I had a visitor in the middle – someone at the front door downstairs rang the doorbell.

It turned out that he was a locksmith come to change the lock in the apartment that has just been sold.

And I was thinking “if he needs someone to open the front door for him, he can’t be a very good locksmith”.

After lunch I sat down to make a list of things that need to be done within the next couple of weeks, including paying my internet hosting fees, which are not insignificant.

And that reminds me, if you enjoy or appreciate whatever I write, please make your next Amazon purchase by using the links on the sidebar to the right. It costs you no extra but I receive a small commission on the sale.

people swimming on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As usual, when I go out for my afternoon walk, the first thing that I do is to go over and see what is going on down on the beach.

This afternoon I was quite a bit later than usual so the photo doesn’t mean all that much. There was a fair bit of beach down there this afternoon but what caught my eye were the people down there on it.

There’s someone paddling in the water with their trousers rolled up to their knees, but even more interestingly, there seemed to be two people actually in the water up to their necks. Now that’s what I call “brave” as we come into the last third of October.

And that reminds me – although it looks quite nice and it is actually warm, it was freezing this morning and I have now put the heating on in the apartment.

holiday camp donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It was another one of these strange, low-lying suns, which isn’t a surprise seeing what time it was when I went out.

It was quite strange because there was a ray of sunshine illuminating the holiday camp just outside Donville les Bains and was creating quite a spectacular effect.

It’s a shame that the camera couldn’t do the view justice, but I bet that those people over there on the beach were enjoying every single moment of it.

That was my cue to push off along the path, fighting my way past film technicians as I did so.

fishing boats returning home baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And as I was on my way out, everyone else was on his way back.

Although the harbour gates aren’t yet open, there are flocks of trawlers and other fishing boats heading back home with their catch. I counted about a dozen of them, and there were probably plenty more than I could see.

There weren’t many people out there this afternoon so I could stride on with alacrity – and “stride” too, because it seemed to take less effort to go around than it has done of late. I must be feeling better.

speedboat in waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the path and across the car park went I, right the way down to the end of the headland.

And you’ll be forgiven for thinking that the sea was quite rough this afternoon, judging by the way that that speedboat is sending a shower of spray just about everywhere.

In fact, it wasn’t all that rough and there wasn’t all that much wind either. It was just the manner and the speed at which the boat was travelling. It was really bouncing about on top of the waves.

Judging by the flag and all of the radio antennae on the roof of the cabin, she seems to be some kind of “official” craft and that might explain everything.

chausiaise joly france fishing boats waiting to enter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021My route took me along the south side of the headland and to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

There was no change in occupancy in the chantier naval but the outer harbour was heaving with boats. As I said earlier, the harbour gates are still closed but there’s quite a queue of fishing boats waiting to pass through into the inner harbour.

And over at the ferry terminal are Chausiase and one of the Joly France ferries for the Ile de Chausey. The ferries still run throughout the off-season, but on a very reduced schedule.

And I’m not going to mention the crane at all.

unloading bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The smaller boats don’t need to go into the inner harbour. They can unload in the outer port at the wharf by the fish processing plant.

Down there is the fishing boat Bouchots de Chausey loaded to the gunwhales with shellfish, all being unloaded by the crane on the trailer on the back of the tractor.

They’ll be in the shops in the morning, nice and fresh.

Back here I had a coffee and had some work to to in respect of my new radio project, and then I stopped for tea.

The cauliflower was washed, diced and blanched and most of it is on its way to the freezer. The rest went into a cheese sauce along with potatoes, vegetables and some veggie balls from the mountain in the freezer and it was totally delicious.

Right now I’m off to bed. I have a list of things to do and of course I have my physio session later in the afternoon so I need to be on form. A good sleep will do me good and I hope that it’s going to be better than some that I’ve had just recently.

Friday 10th September 2021 – ON WEDNESDAY …

digging trench laying drains rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … we took a little trip to see the roadworks that were going on in the Rue du Boscq.

On the way back home from the physiotherapist I came back that way to see how they were doing and they seem to have made a great amount of progress in just 48 hours.

They’ve already started to dig the trench that looks as if it will be going the length of the street and they are laying the drainage pipes in there already. They certainly seem to be advancing a lot quicker than those workmen did in Leuven when they were doing a similar job that took 18 months and more.

lorry load of gravel on old railway line parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What had excited my curiosity was that a heavy lorry was going down the track bed of the old railway line towards the road works.

He had a trailer that was quite heavily loaded with gravel, and so that gave me some kind of indication that the work was progressing rapidly. They wouldn’t be bringing in the gravel to leave lying around for 12 months or so.

And it was interesting to see that the old track bed was being put to good use as well, even if it won’t ever be a railway line as well. A sign of the times, maybe?

notification of works rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Something else that has appeared since we were here on Wednesday is a noticeboard at the town end of the work setting out the plans.

So we are going to have a cycle path, some car parking, piles of trees (at last), a real footpath and 2 viewpoints, presumably up on top in the Avenue de la Gare where one may look down on the scene.

There don’t seem to be any plans for a lift though to take you up to the station instead of having to negotiate these awful steps.

It’s going to cost pretty much €2,000,000 and I hope that they have their money’s worth out of it.

having fun with signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Talking of “these awful steps”, these are the ones that I mean.

Trying to walk up here with a suitcase in the pitch-black in the middle of winter is a nightmare. Since I tried it once like that, I’ve been going up the Rue Couraye instead.

There was a pile of builders’ material that had been dropped here and it looks as if someone has been having a great amount of fun playing around with the road signs. Still, it keeps them out of mischief.

By the looks of things, I didn’t get into much of a way of mischief during the night. There was nothing whatever recorded on the dictaphone. I didn’t sleep right through though – I had a miserable, uncomfortable night tossing and turning in bed for much of it. I was exhausted when the alarm went off.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After the medication there was the bread-making to be done.

There was no ordinary bread left, and only a very small amount of fruit bread so I decided to make both lots seeing as I had the oven on.

Having had one or two failures with my fruit bread just recently through having tried a new method, I decided on a kind-of hybrid method and that actually looks quite a nice loaf.

After I’ve tried some tomorrow, I’ll tell you what it’s like but I do know that the ordinary loaf is excellent.

Having made the dough I went to have a shower to make myself smell nice and it was just as well that I did because the nurse came earlier than expected.

He had all kinds of trouble trying to find a vein from which to take the blood, but not half as much trouble as some of those butchers in Montlucon did.

Once he had departed I could have my coffee and the last of the old fruit bread, and then make a start. First task was to deal with the dictaphone arrears and now every one of those has been transcribed. Another good job done.

The next task was to deal with an outstanding h=journal entry from THE END OF AUGUST. by the end of the day that was finished and as from tomorrow I can turn my attention back to the 2019 photos and the trip to the Ile de Chausey.

As for updating the journal with the details of the night’s travels for the three weeks or so that I let things lapse, I’ll just do a couple a day.

There were the usual breaks, one for lunch and another one to go to see the physiotherapist.

ferry to ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way out, I went via the old medieval walls.

And from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I could see way out to sea and there was something of a reasonable size heading out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Without any doubt at all, it was one of the ferries going that way so I photographed it in the hope that back here later I could see who it was.

It wasn’t easy, but I could see that she had no step in the stern and had a more angular that streamlined shape so I think that she may well be the elder of the two Joly France boats.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the features that seems to run through these pages is the sad state of the medieval walls.

The area round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was closed off about a year or so ago and when I was round this way a couple of months ago they had made a start on repairing them.

Just recently however, they seem to have made rapid progress and while the actual repointing hasn’t progessed that much on the outisde of the walls, we now have a huge scaffolding that is in the course of being erected just there.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What caught my eye were the huge water tanks that are on the scaffolding there.

With 1,000 litres of water in each of them, each one will weigh a metric tonne. So judging by the way that the scaffolding is being erecting, it looks as if they are going to be erecting a “flying scaffolding” over the walls and the water tanks are being used as a counterweight.

This is going to become quite interesting and one of these days at low tide, I’ll go down onto the beach and have a good look from underneath at what they are doing.

female underwater swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was looking around at the scaffolding I was also having a look around on the beach as well.

Emerging from the water down there just like Ursula Andress in DR NO was another one of these underwater swimmers, complete with snorkel and flippers.

Whatever it is that they are doing, I still haven’t managed to find out. It can’t be anything special because where they are swimming is uncovered at low tide. It must be some kind of training exercise, that’s all that I can think of.

beach swimming pool diving platform promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A view that we haven’t seen properly, with not having come this way for a while, is the view down to the Plat Gousset.

First thing that I noticed was that it it still seems to be the summer season as far as the local Council is concerned. The beach huts are still there and the diving platform is still on its pillar.

These are all removed into storage at the end of the season. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the power in the storms that crash down there during the winter. The storms will make a considerable mess of those cabins if they were to remain there during the winter.

There are some steps at the end of the path that go down to the Place Marechal Foch. I went down that way and headed off through the town centre.

delivery van unloading rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that regular readers of thids rubbish will recall is that bad parking is another regular feature of these pages.

Delivery vans these days are everywhere these days and they park anywhere they like. But if you have a look at this photo very carefully, you’ll see that there’s an empty parking space just to his left,.

Rather than waste 10 seconds of his own by manoeuvring into it, he proceeds to waste about 5 minutes of the time of 20 other motorists stuck in the queue behind him.

This is the kind of thing that brings these delivery drivers into disrepute, and it’s hardly any surprise that people have such a low opinion of them.

At the physiotherapist’s, he put me through my paces on his tilting platform. He gave me a pile of new exercises to do, with the result that just about every joint in my body, except the right knee, which is why I’d gone there for treatment in the first place.

flowers dying avenue de la gare Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down the Avenue de la Gare to look at those flowers that we saw last week.

Whatever was happening to them has obviously happened very quickly because most of the flowers seem to have died in that very short space of time.

And there were no more than a handful of butterflies compared to the other day.

Down the steps I went to the Parc du val es Fleurs to check on the roadworks, and then went to the Carrefour for some fruit, seeing as I won’t be going shopping tomorrow.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s amazing the difference that a couple of kilos of fruit make. It was quite a struggle to climb back up the Rue des Juifs

At the viewpoint overlooking the harbour I could see that the pile of freight that had been visible on the quayside yesterday afternoon has now disappeared.

Checking the comings and goings in he port on the radar later, I could see that Normandy Trader arrived in port at 09:10 and left again at 11:13. That is what I call a quick turn-round. I can’t keep up with all if this.

trawler aground in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yet another subject that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that of fishing vessels which, instead of going into the inner harbour, are left outside in the outer tidal harbour to simply settle down in the silt.

The technical name for this is NAABSA, i.e. Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground, and it seems to be happening more and more frequently these days. We’ve seen this vessel a couple of times now moored up against the sea wall near the entrance to the harbour.

When I first came to live here we would only very seldomly see one, but these days it seems to be a couple of times a week. There must be something going on about the mooring in the inner harbour and I wish that I knew what it was.

trawler saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s plenty going on over at the chantier naval today though.

By the looks of things, there has been a big clear-out of ships that were in there. Of the seven that we have seen over the lst couple of weeks, we now seem to be down to just four.

The ones that remain, by the looks of things, from left to right, are Saint Andrews, the unidentified one, Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta. Back into the water today have gone Yann Frederic, Peccavi and Massabielle.

The next question that needs to be asked is “who is going to come in to take their place?”. There’s a very high turnover of boats in there these days and those places won’t be remaining empty for long.

tank cleaner porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021from the viewpoint over the harbour I headed off for home.

We have another lorry parked up by the Porte St Jean that can’t fit under the arch. It’s not a question of a trans-shipment today. That’s a tank cleaner or drain unblocker.

Someone must have a problem with the drains and so there’s about half a mile of pipework running into the old town as the driver tries to blast it away. There’s no end of inconvenience that you encounter when you are living within the walls.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went home, I went to have a good look down on the beach as usual.

The tide is well out but there weren’t too many people down there. It was rather cool and windy compared to how it has been and that might explain it.

There did seem to be a few people in the water too, although I don’t know why because it’s not really swimming weather. Anyway, I left them to it and came back here for my banana smoothie and a little rest.

As it happened, it was more than a little rest too. Probably about an hour’s deep sleep, in fact. And it’s no surprise because I’d worked hard at the physiotherapist’s and then i’d had the long walk home up the hill.

Tea was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and veg. No pudding still, but it doesn’t seem to be working because not only did I put that 100 grammes back on, I added another 100 grammes to it as well.

But right now i’m off to bed. I have visitors tomorrow morning and I want to be on form.

Thursday 2nd September 2021 – I’VE BEEN OUT AND …

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… about this morning, being sociable, which regular readers of this rubbish will know is not like me at all

As you can see, this morning we have Normandy Trader in the port. She came in on the overnight tide. And I had an appointment to go and have a chat with the crew.

The discussion that we had enables me to tell you a lot more about her too. She’s an ex-military landing craft built in 1964 and served in the Falkland Islands Campaign. And if you look very carefully, you can still see the bullet holes.

There are lots of other news to tell too, but I’m under instructions to leave that for a couple of weeks. So watch this space.

But at least I was right about the reason for the triangular run that they now do on occasion from St Helier to St Malo to Granville to home. There’s no health inspector here at Granville so the shellfish have to be landed at St Malo where there is one.

But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here yet again. After my marathon session last night when I couldn’t sleep and didn’t go to bed until 03:10, I reset the alarm to 08:00 and even so, it was still a nightmare rising from my stinking pit yet again.

At least I’d written up yesterday’s notes so I didn’t need to worry about that.

With such a late start there wasn’t long to wait before breakfast, and after breakfast there was barely enough time to start work before the doorbell rang. And I wasn’t even back in my apartment with my parcels – just loitering at the front door – when someone else turned up with a package for me too.

And isn’t it nice to be finally typing with a decent keyboard – the nearest thing to a flat-key silent portable-computer-type of keyboard that I have ever experienced. It’s definitely something.

Once it had all arrived, I shot off down to the harbour to talk to them at Normandy Trader, bumping into a whole collection of neighbours on the way.

After lunch, I very regrettably fell asleep for a while, which is no surprise after my night’s efforts but even so I’d managed to attack some of the arrears from the other day. But anyway, I was a few minutes late going out for my afternoon walk.

people swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual, I wandered off across the car park over to the wall at the far end to look down onto the beach to see what was going on.

It wasn’t the beach that actually caught my eye today. If you look closely at the photo you’ll see that there are actually some people down there swimming in the water.

And I do have to take my hat off to them because it wasn’t all that hot and it was quite windy too. Not the kind of day to be going out into the water.

As for the beach today, there wasn’t all that much of one this afternoon as the tide is well in right now.

f-gbai Robin DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was busy admiring the view of the swimmers, I was overflown by a small aeroplane heading inland.

No prizes for guessing who she is. She’s F-GBAI of course, the Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the Granville Aero Club. She seems to be about the only aeroplane we ever see these days.

She took off at 14:24 and did a kind-of figure of 8 – one circle inland and the second circle dpwn to Avranches and round the Ile de Chausey to come back into land at 16:02, and as my photo was taken at (adjusted) 15:57 that seems about right to me.

It’s been a while since we’ve featured an aeroplane on these pages but that’s not to say that I haven’t been overflown. I’ve either had the wrong camera, the wrong lens or else I’ve been busy talking to a neighbour.

yacht in high winds baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A short while ago, I mentioned the wind that has sprung up this afternoon out in the bay.

Looking at this photo should give you something of a clue about that. Apart from the whitecaps on the waves, the way that the sails belly out in the wind and the fact that the yacht is keeling over will tell you everything that you need to know.

Strangely though, the wind is coming from the north-east today. It almost invariably comes from west-north-west so to see it actually doing something else is quite a surprise.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The Baie de Mont St Michel is therefore sheltered from the nor’easter and so with the tide being in, it’s no surprise to see one of the sailing schools out there this afternoon. Doesn’t the sea look calmer on that side of the headland?

They are having quite some fun out there in the bay and I haven’t forgotten that once my physio sessions are over I have every intention of joining them

It’s school chucking-out time now incidentally, hence the arrival of the big 53-seater fill-size coach, and have you seen one of the bunkers from this angle, proudly displaying its battle scars from World War II.

normandy trader yacht pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So from there I pushed off across the car park and down to the headland to see what was happening in the bay.

And rattling around the corner right into the wind came Normandy Trader. I was told that she would start her loading at 14:00 so it’s not taken her too long to load up and get under way back home to St Helier.

The yacht that we saw coming in earlier has now made it to the headland anyway so in a few minutes she’ll be in the calmer waters of the Baie de Mont St Michel.

What I’m going to do is to see if I can beat her back to the harbour.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I noticed that there was no change in occupancy of the chantier naval so I turned my attention elsewhere.

Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon there was only one of the ferries that I could see. She’s the very new one, Belle France, and she doesn’t look as if she’s going to be going anywhere this afternoon.

As for the other two, they are probably over at the Ile de Chausey and they’ll be back before long otherwise they will miss the tide.

At this rate I’ll miss my nice banana smoothie if I don’t make an effort to go home. So with nothing else exciting (Galeon Andalucia is still here but you’ve seen enough of her just recently) happing in the inner harbour and no bad parking to upset me, I made for home.

After my drink I tidied up the kitchen because I had a visitor coming round to see me with some information for me and after he had gone I FINALLY finished amending SATURDAY’S ENTRY. It’s really nice having a decent keyboard to type everything with.

When Sunday’s entry was finished, I could start on the tons of stuff that have accumulated on the dictaphone over the last fortnight. Nothing from last night though, which was a shame.

Tea tonight was another handful out of the European Veggie Ball Mountain with microwaved potatoes and veg – delicious as usual – and still no dessert. My appetite has diminished just now and I’m going to keep on encouraging it to do so.

So bedtime now. I have a computer to fix in the morning, fruit bread to make, and in the afternoon it’s the physiotherapist again. As well as that I have a radio epic to prepare for the end of December.

It’s non-stop, isn’t it?

Tuesday 31st August 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day that is best forgotten, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not been good at all.

When the alarm went off I managed to crawl from my bed and take my medicine, and then I had things to do.

The first thing that I needed to do was to bake some bread as I have now run out.

500 grammes of wholemeal cereal flour and a couple of handful of sunflower seeds produces a really nice loaf and using the technique that Liz showed me the other day when she came round, it produces a nice textured dough.

Once it was all kneaded together I left it to proof for a while and came back in here to check my mails and messages.

Meanwhile, according to the dictaphone, There had been a kind of “ping” when I was in bed during the night. Nerina panicked a bit and said something. I looked round and all the electricity was out. It looked as if we’d blown a fuse so I got up, went downstairs and reset the fuse. I came back upstairs and it was already 06:25 so there was no point going back to bed at that time. I decided that I may as well get up.
There was also something somewhere that I was down Middlewich Road somewhere where the Rising Sun used to be. I was with someone and it was a story about a motor bike. Someone had passed their driving test on a motorbike but they had left ot somewhere so we had to go and pick it up. It might have been Liz Ayers who was with me. We found the motorbike and I asked whoever it was with me if she wanted to ride it. She said “yes” so I got on the back, she got on the front and we rode off towards Willaston on it. When we arrived there this person had turned into a little girl wearing a kind-of party dress or bridesmaid’s dress or something. We were walking hand-in-hand down Crewe Road. We came to the turn-off down to Willaston but it was nothing like what the turning was like, but it was all blocked off. They were saying “you have to go down 2nd Avenue and I had no idea where 2nd Avenue was. I was going to go down Coppice Road. There was an interesting alley on our right so I took this girl down there to explore it but we found that it was just taking us back to where we’d been so we turned round and went back. In the meantime there were several other little girls who were all dressed in a similar kind of clothing, bridesmaid or 1st communion or something like that.

After I’d given the bread a second kneading and put it in the mould I came back to look through my Welsh coursework for today but just then Rosemary rang me up for a chat about a problem that she had, which I had to cut short (after about half an hour!) because it was time to go to class.

While I was making my coffee and sorting out my fruit-bread I switched on the oven and then when it was warm I put the bread in.

Just four of us at the Welsh lesson today – well, it is the summer break – and the time passed quite quickly.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere near the end of the lesson the oven switched itself off so once the lesson had finished I went to rescue the bread.

And it looks quite good too. I’m quite pleased with this, especially when I tried a couple of slices for lunch. One of my better loaves of bread, this is.

After my lunch I came back in here to start work but instead I drifted off once again into the Land of Nod and I’m going to have to stop doing this. It’s not doing me any good at all and I have far too much work to be doing right now.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

people swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my afternoon walk, once again I strolled across the car park to go and have a look over the wall and down onto the beach.

The tide is now even further in and there is even less beach to be on, but that clearly hasn’t bothered some of the people down there because, much to my surprise, there were some people actually in the water.

Not actually swimming, but being up to their shoulders in the water counts as much as anything else does. And for that they deserve a medal because the weather has certainly turned today and it seems that autumn is only just around the corner.

It’s the usual procedure while I’m here to have a look out to sea to see what I could see but I couldn’t even see a seagull this afternoon. There wasn’t a single thing happening out at sea so I set off along the path on the top of the cliffs taking care not to fall over again.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut in the distance at sea there was a rainstorm brewing and the Ile de Chausey was pretty much obscured by clouds, as the old song goes.

But there was something moving right out there, just about to disappear itno the rainstorm. Something rather large so I photographed it for further examination when I returned home.

As it happens, I wasn’t much further forward after I’d enlarged and enhanced the photo. My best guess is that it’s one of the Joly France ferries going out there to bring home the day trippers and holidaymakers who are still out there. But which one, I really don’t know..

From what I could see, there is no step in the stern so it may well be the older Joly France boat.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPushing on across the car park I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening down there.

There may well have been no fishermen out at sea this afternoon but there were several people fishing from the rocks today. These two guys were fishing together so I stood and watched them for a while as they sorted themselves out.

Not of course that they actually caught anything while I was watching, and even had they done so, they didn’t seem to have a net to haul in their catch, or a bucket in which to keep it.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey weren’t the only people down there right at the end of the headland either.

Sitting on the bench at the end of the headland was this couple having a little relax.

And the old stone building behind them is one about which we have talked on many occasions. It’s one of the sentry boxes to give shelter to the Customs men while they were keeping an eye on traffic in the bay.

Back in the 18th and 19th Century the Channel Islands were a smuggler’s paradise and boats would regularly run the gauntlet in order to bring contraband into France. Hence the Customs men had these little cabins dotted all around the bay here, and handy semaphores that they used to send messages.

flotsam on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking around at the headland, I noticed this pile of flotsam and jetsam on the beach.

It would be very doubtful if the sacks and their contents had been washed up by the tide – I don’t think that even the power of the tides around here would be strong enough to move them about, but it’s very likely that the couple of buoys have come in with the tide.

As for the two buoys, the white one would seem to be a lobster pot marker or similar, whereas the yellow one is the same colour as the buoys that are used to mark out the patrolled areas of the beaches.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, I trudged on along the path round to the viewpoint from where I could see over the port.

And at least I ca tell you who it wasn’t who we saw out at sea just now. Over there, parked up at the ferry terminal is Belle France, the very newest of the ferries. Behind her is another one of the Joly France but unfortunately I can’t see which one she is.

While I was there I had a look at the chantier naval to see what was happening there but there was no change in any of the occupants today so I left them alone and carried on with my walk around the path.

chausiase galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s someone else who it was’t as well. Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter, is down there moored to the quayside.

Behind her is the Galeon Andalucia and I’m not sure what’s happening with her because everyone, including the owners whom I contacted, told me that she should have sailed by now.

By now, my coffee was calling me so I headed back for home and a nice hot drink. And to draw up a couple of floor plans with a computer design programme for a project that I have in mind right now.

Another thing that I did was to try to write up some of the arrears from the other day but regrettably I fell asleep yet again and I can do without all of this.

As a result I was late for tea. Taco rolls yet again with the leftover stuffing from yesterday lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And while it was all a-doing I sorted out the freezer and tidied it up a little to make a little bit more space.

Once tea was over, I came back into the office just in time to catch the start of Y Drenewydd v Cefn Druids.

Y Drenewydd is a comfortable mid-table side but the Druids are quite frankly wretched. They were miles off the pace last season and during the summser a few of their better players departed for pastures new leaving their new manager to assemble rather hastily a scratch side of cast-offs and hopefuls.

They were swept aside in their opening couple of games this season and this match was no exception. At half-time the score was already 3-0 and Y Drenewydd could have had half a dozen more too.

At the start of the second half Naill McGuiness made a couple of substitutions and his team had a far better shape and even managed a shot on target. However, later in the game Chris Hughes took off a defender and a midfielder (something he should have done much earlier) and put on two extra attackers who simply overwhelmed the defence.

The 5-0 victory in the end was a lucky defeat for the Druids. They could have conceded a dozen and not had any cause to complain.

But here’s a question – what is Lifumpa Mwandwe doing playing in the Welsh Premier League? He was the best player on the field by a country mile and way above the class of everyone else on the field.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another bad day today and I don’t need any more.

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

repairing city walls rue du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out for a walk with Liz at lunchtime on our way back from a coffee we came via the rue du nord, one of the reasons for which being that I wanted to see how they are progressing with the repair work to the medieval city walls.

Much to my surprise, they have already made a decent start to the work and I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen A SIMILAR STYLE OF WORK in the past when they were repairing the walls in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

When they did that work they did what looks like a decent job so I hope that they’ll bet on and do the same here.

And then hopefully they can get on and do the rest of the walls that are falling down around our ears. If medival builders can build something that will last for 600 years there’s no reason why modern builders shouldn’t be able to do so.

But anyway, be that as it may, I was awake at about 06:00 this morning as usual so I had my medication and came back in here listen to the dictaphone. We were all at home but home was dirty, disgusting and untidy and a complete mess. For some reason, at a court my mother’s family life as a young person was being discussed. Then some time later or was it earlier, I dunno, we ended up with anoher girl staying with us and we were trying to think of a place to go. But then this girl started talking about going to somewhere on the North Wales coast where she had been. She asked if we had ever been there and we replied “ohh no, we had far too much class. We went to Rhyl” which provoked howls of laughter but this gave us an idea and we booked a trip to Rhyl. When we arrived on the coach we all piled off and this girl “ohh yes I know all of this, I know all of that” so we were having a laugh and a joke and teasing her. Our mother was telling us to be quiet, we mustn’t be so rude. Then something happened to my mother and she ended up talking about other people behind their backs and we were sitting there saying “mother, don’t be so rude” which of course didn’t go down very well. We crossed the road over to the river.

At that point I’d switched off the dictaphone, which makes a change from the way that things have been just recently.

When I’d finished transcribing the notes I finished off the tidying up of the apartment as far as I could and it actually looks quite tidy, which is just as well, because Liz turned up.

We started off making the first dough for my fruit bread and she gave me several valuable hints for the first kneading, and then we put it into a basin to proof while we had a nice cold drink.

After the drink I mixed the fruit for the filling but Liz thinks that I’m putting too much fruit and nuts in it – and she would leave out the banana too. As for the banana chips she thinks that I should be breaking them up.

Liz showed me her method of adding the fruit and nuts, which might have worked had I not been using so many.

That was the cue to go for a coffee so we walked down to La Rafale, bumping into one of our neighbours on the way. And also meeting another one at the bar.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we came via the Rue du Nord and I’m pleased to report that the absence of boats out to sea over the last couple of days must have been an aberration because they were all there today.

As many yachts as you might care to see this afternoon and I suspect that it might have something to do with the state of the tide. The tide is well in, the outer port is under water and the gates to the harbour and the port de plaisance are open.

It will be a completely different situation, I suspect, when the tide is ebbing and the gates are about to close. Then all of the marine craft will scuttle off home to safety.

Incidentally, there’s a dark blue flag right out there in the distance. I wonder if that’s Black Mamba gone off for a run around in the bay.

swimmer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just water craft that were out there this lunchtime.

There was a swimmer down there doing the Australian crawl along the coastline just offshore. In a wetsuit too, and I can’t say that I blame him either because although it was sunny, it wasn’t actually all that pleasant.

Now comes the story of a disaster. Liz hadn’t asked me how I baked my bread and I hadn’t thought to tell her, so when I produced the bread mould back home she was taken by surprise.

The bread fell apart as we tried to move it gently into the mould so that didn’t work too well. Anyway we put it in the oven to bake while we had lunch.

After lunch, our next trick was to make a pineapple upside-down cake. I don’t know why but I’ve been hankering after one of these for a while and Liz had a recipe. Well, of an apple upside-down cake but the theory is still the same so we had a go at that.

That went into the oven and while it was baking, Liz still had some time to spare. A while back she had sent me a recipe for cranberry and pecan cookies and as I actually had some cranberries (but cashew nuts instead) we made a pile of those too. They went into the oven as soon as the upside-down cake was baked, and we went for a walk outside.

50sa aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe hadn’t gone more than five yards out of the building before two things happened.

Firstly, we were overflown by a light aeroplane. Well, not exactly overflown – it was in fact right out at sea and it was difficult to pick it up with the camera.

Some judicious editing when I was back home later showed it to be 50SA – another light aircraft that does not figure in any register that I have been unable to find, even though we’ve seen it before. It’s painted out in the style of a World-War II US Army Air Force fighter although its fixed tricycle undercarriage tells me that it is anything but.

The second thing that happened was that we were swept away in the turmoil of a furniture removal. Someone else is moving out of the building. There won’t be anyone else left except me at this rate, and I won’t be here for all that long at the rate that bits are dropping off me.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo walk outside the building these days is complete, or even begins, without a walk across to the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see the activity down there.

By now the tide has gone well out and there’s plenty of room for people to be moving around this afternoon. Not that there were too many people though because while the weather had improved, it hadn’t improved that much.

nd while I was admiring the people in the water, Liz’s eye had picked out a father rubbing his young children with sun tan oil so that they could all run into the sea and wash it off.

Yes, I used to be a child too, believe it or not.

marité english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been watching the beach with one eye, the other one had as usual been roving out to sea.

Out there was a silhouette on the horizon that looked quite familiar to me so we headed for the nearest high ground where I could have a better view.

Once safely installed I took a photo and later on after Liz had left, I had a look at it, cropped it, enhanced it and blew it up (the photo, not the object)

No prizes of course for guessing what it might be, because we are all familiar with this silhouette right now.

Anything that’s big, with three masts and loads of sail can only be the Marité, our sole remaining Newfoundlander fishing boat, gone out on the morning tide for a lap around the coast and will probably return home this later on the evening tide.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz had also spotted this and wanted to know what it was. I explained that it was probably asylum-seekers who had gone to the UK, decided that they didn’t like it and came back.

Seriously though, I thought that it might have been fishermen at first, which it may well be, but of what description?

And I wonder if they had anything to do with the strange square object bottom left? It doesn’t look like a mooring buoy marker or a lobster pot marker, so I wonder if it’s a diver in a face mask?

Mind you, what would be be diving for that he couldn’t find quicker and easier in an hour or so when the tide has gome out and the sea bed is uncovered?

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the swimming pool on the quayside and I intimated that this would mean that Normandy Trader would be on her way into port quite soon.

And look who’s in port this afternoon then? I wasn’t wrong. And I was very lucky to see her because usually she comes in as soon as the harbour gates open and she does a quick turn-round and disappears back to Jersey with her load before they close again.

And so I’ve no idea why she’s loitering in port this afternoon. I suppose that these swimming pools have to be stowed very carefully because they are quite fragile, especially when they have a rolling sea to contend with.

Tons of other stuff on the quayside too and they’ll be lucky to fit all of that in. They can’t exactly drop it inside the swimming pool.

fishing boat in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime, while you are admiring Normandy Trader, there’s another item worthy of note.

Here moored up at the quayside by the fish processing plant is another one of the local fishing boats, left to go aground as the tide goes out.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve discussed this phenomenon on many … “many, many” – ed … occasions in the past so I shan’t dwell on it again. Instead, Liz and I will go home and see how the biscuits are doing.

And cooked to perfection they were too, so we had another cold drink to celebrate, and rightly so because when you are out of the wind it’s really quite warm in the sun.

After another chat, Liz decided to head off for home and make tea for Terry who had been out working.

That was a shame because I had a few things that I wanted to discuss, but they were things of the moment and it’s doubtful that the moment will ever present itself in the same way again.

home made fruit bread oat and cranberry cookies pineapple upside down cake Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving seen Liz safely off on her way, I had a look at all of our cooking efforts for today.

As I mentioned earlier, the fruit load was not as it was supposed to be. The consistency and texture were perfect – the best that I’ve ever tasted and that was certainly a success. But picking it up and putting it into the bread mould halfway through its second proofing was not a success as you can see.

We’d already sampled the cookies and I do have to say that they were pretty good too. That was certainly a success and instead of cranberries and pecans, almost any kind of dried fruit and nut will do.

It’s like most things, when you are baking, you have your basic recipe and you adjust it as you go along, depending on what you have to hand.

When I worked in that Italian restaurant in Wandsworth, the woman who owned it told me that whenever she interviewed a new chef she would always have him make a tomato sauce. If that were good, then everything else would be.

Incidentally, my tomato sauce passed muster, but then Nerina was full of fiery Italian blood so what do you expect? I had a good teacher.

Back in my little office I sat down on my comfy chair and found that I couldn’t move. Not actually stuck in it, but I lacked the energy to pull myself out of it. I started to do some work but I couldn’t concentrate on it and that was the most difficult part.

Eventually a football match came on the internet. Connah’s Quay Nomads were playing FC Pristina in the European Championships. Having lost 4-1 in Kosovo last week they were up against it but it all started so well for them and within 3 minutes they had pulled a goal back.

They were pushing forward and forward incessantly and could have had several more but in the space of five minutes were hit for two soft, sucker goals, the kind that would kill off any team.

Nevertheless, Andy Morrison isn’t one to throw in the towel. He pulled off a defender at half time and sent on an attacker and then it was a relentless stream down the field towards the Pristina goal.

To everyone’s surprise, they managed to score three goals as they created all kinds of panic in the Kosovar defence, and had Mike Wilde not been offside in the 70th minute or had Jamie Insall had a clearer connection on the ball in stoppage time, who knows where they would be now?

But this is the problem with so many Welsh clubs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. They are up against teams that are much more street-wise and astute than they are, with several internationals from all over the developing world in their teams, and while domestic Welsh teams can turn on a performance like this, little lapses of concentration and stupid, silly mistakes are ruthlessly punished and rob them of just about everything.

Meanwhile, in the other match that wasn’t broadcast, events went on to prove just how wrong I can be. Having stuffed no fewer than 5 goals past FK Kauno Zalgiris of Lithuania last week, TNS went out and did exactly the same again tonight, to record the biggest ever aggregate win by a Welsh domestic side in any European competition anywhere. Teams with a long history in European competition, like Dinamo Tbilsi, Austria Wien and AA Gent were knocked out of the tournament last night.

It was 01:00 when I finally found the energy to go off to bed. And with getting up at 06:00 and going to the doctor’s tomorrow, I’m not looking forward to that at all.

Thursday 8th July 2021 – THIS IS BECOMING …

… far too much of a habit and it’s getting on my nerves, but I just can’t seem to kick this total and utter exhaustion.

When the alarm went off I was up quite smartly and went off for my medication. And afterwards I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone, but instead I ended up asleep on my chair in the office.

It’s shopping day today and luckily I awoke in time to have my shower before setting out into the cold, damp morning.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the poor weather, the yachting school was out in force this morning.

As I went round the corner I noticed all of the yachts out there having a good sail around. And having crashed out so convincingly this morning I’m glad that I’d decided not to do very much in that respect until my health improves, if it ever does.

Instead I wandered off down the Rue des Juifs towards the town to see what was going on there today now that everywhere is slowly opening up for business.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of stuff – a big load of timber and a shrink-wrapped boat – on the quayside for the last few days.

As I went down the street today I noticed that it had all gone. One of the little Jersey freighters has obviously nipped in during the rainstorm that kept me indoors yesterday and made off with all of the loot. My money is on Thora at the moment because I usually get to hear if Normandy Trader has been about.

In town I bumped into Bernard, one of the people with whom I’d travelled last year on Spirit of Conrad and we had a little chat before I pushed on up the hill towards LIDL.

And what a stagger it was as well. I can’t do much more than this. Looking back over things a couple of years ago when I could walk up there quite easily, I realise just how much my health as deteriorated. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I feel as if I’ve aged 20 years this last couple of months.

At LIDL I spent a lot of money. They had Brazil nuts in today so I bought two packets – I don’t want to be left short again. And as well as they they had some electric juicers in there, reduced from €19:99 to €11:99. I’d seen those before and liked them, so I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. And they were quite light too.

And in case you haven’t guessed, I’m going to restart my drinks processing and the sourdough too when I come back from Leuven, seeing as I haven’t any plans to go anywhere this summer.

baby seagull chick rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that last week we encountered a baby seagull in the town centre, clearly disorientated.

There was another one today in the Rue St Paul today. This is the time that they will be stretching their wings and taking their first flights so we’ll be seeing much more of this.

Luckily, where this one fell to earth is in a quiet suburban street with plenty of cover so it should be fairly safe here until its mother comes to look for it.

Yet another thing that regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many previous incarnations will recall is that back in 2002 when I was doing a furniture removal in France I found the carcass of a Solex moped in an overgrown garden so I liberated it and stuck it in my barn.

One day a few years ago when I was walking home from LIDL I encountered a guy who had three or four Solexes in his garage. He’s a collector and restorer and so seeing as this Solex was doing no good in my barn, next time that I was in France I brought it back and gave it to him.

This morning he was there in his garage again so I stopped to have a chat. He had a really amazing curio that he showed me – a kiddies’ bike that actually looked like a small Solex, complete with imitation plastic motor. I’d never seen one of those before – apparently they are quite rare.

The stagger back up the hill with the shopping was awful. I felt every footstep and I had to stop half a dozen times to catch my breath. Not even my hot chocolate and fruit bread would revive me very much, although I did manage to edit a few of the Greenland 2019 photos.

After lunch I carried on with the photos but one thing that I wanted to do was to telephone Ingrid as I haven’t chatted to her for ages. We had a good chat but I had to hang up in the end because I fell asleep talking to her and had to drag myself back into consciousness.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat made me decide to go out for my afternoon walk, so I wandered off to the end of the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see what was happening.

And here’s a brave soul heading off into the water. The weather had changed and it was rather sunny and warmer than it has been just recently, but still nowhere near warm enough for me to trust to the water.

But this person didn’t seem at all concerned by the temperature and was ready to take the plunge. And in my defence, I can say without any fear of contradiction that whoever it was was the only person to risk going into the water this afternoon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you are thinking, which you probably are, that this person was the only one on the beach you are in fact quite wrong.

The holiday season is now well under way and the schools have broken up for summer. And so as you might expect, there are plenty of tourists about – individuals and families.

And having been deprived of the beach over the last few days, they were out on the sands in force this afternoon to make up for it, even if conditions were not ideal. But at least they had plenty of beach to be on right now because the tide is still a long way out

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking down onto the beach a dark shadow fell upon me. No prizes for guessing what it is.

It’s one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz out for an afternoon’s flight around the headland and he was travelling quite quickly too, which is no surprise in this weather because there was a fair bit of wind blowing around.

In fact, I’d expected to see quite a few this afternoon now that the holiday season is upon us, we have some sunshine and the wind is still here, but he was the only one as far as I could see.

But these shadows that they create as they fly around are quite eerie, especially if one of them should suddenly fall upon you when you aren’t expecting it. It’s hardly any surprise that the Hobbits were so afraid of the Nazgul in Lord of the Rings

trawler working the baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe still haven’t finished yet with the activity at the end of the car park.

One thing that I do when I’m here is to cast my eyes out to sea to see if there’s anything exciting going on out there, and today we’re in luck. It seems that with the Channel Island fishing grounds being in dispute, the local fishermen are having a go at exploiting other areas of the Bay of Granville that they don’t usually fish.

And here’s a trawler out to see off the coast here seeing what he can pull out of the sea. And he is working too, even if he’s too far out at sea for me to tell for sure if his nets are out, because he was zigzagging up and down out there as he would if he did have his tackle out.

And I wonder what luck he’s having.

fishing boats entering baie de mont st michel coming to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat trawler might be out there working, but others are not so diligent.

It looks as if it’s home time for the local fishing fleet. here are a couple of shellfish boats presumably coming back from their specs on the Ile de Chausey with today’s harvest. And you’ll notice that they have canopies over the hold areas of their little boats. That’s to keep the seagulls away from the catch of course.

So having satisfied myself as to the activity going on at the car park outside here, I could push off along the path, fighting my way through the maskless crowds of tourists who have now arrived in considerable numbers and were out there in the first sun that they have seen since they’ve been here.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I didn’t get very far before I was brought to a standstill by yet more activity in the air.

A little earlier I mentioned that I’d only seen one Birdman of Alcatraz go past me on his wind-powered outfit but the racket going on behind me was enough to tell me that one of his powered cousins had taken off from the airfield and was heading my way.

As he few past I took a photo of him. It’s the red one today and he was quite high up. And while he was up there he did a few laps around here and there as well. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to come back down to earth.

But I was in a hurry to make my way back home. I was tired and exhausted and was desperate for my coffee.

yacht joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there was still plenty yet to see before I could go home.

It wasn’t just fihsing boats out there this afternoon heading for home. Leading the charge out of the Ile de Chausey was another one of our old friends, one of the Joly France ferries that run the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

This one is the older of the two, with the “landscape format” windows and she has quite a crowd of people on board, coming back into port from a day out on the island. And she’s hotly pursued by a yacht too who seems also to be in a hurry to return to port ready for when the harbour gates open

fishing boats waiting to enter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve talked … “on many occasions” – ed … about the fishing boats going to try out new areas to fish in case the Channel Islanders start to cut up rough later in the year.

As I walked round the corner and down to the car park I was confronted by several trawlers on their way into port. They hadn’t been in the Baie de Granville as I would have seen them, so the conclusion that I drew was that they must have been working in the Baie de Mont St Michel today.

There were about half a dozen there, although only three of them made it into the photograph. Two of them were heading past Le Loup – the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour – while the third was not moving for some reason known only to itself.

You don’t sell your catch moored up outside the harbour and it’s usually the earlier ones in who have the better prices so she needs to get a move on.

joly france fishing boats entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time I’d walked fown the path and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was quite a pile-up of boats.

They were either waiting for a berth – the small ones that is – at the Fish Processing Plant or, in the case of the larger ones, enough water for them to be able to sail into the harbour and for the harbour gates to open.

Poor Joly France had to fight her way through the fishing boats in order to park up at her berth in the ferry terminal. She normally comes in as the tide is ebbing so I assume that she’s going to drop off these passengers and go back for another load while the tide is still high enough.

In that case she can’t afford to hang about.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe wharf at the Fish Processing Plant is, as you might expect, quite busy this afternoon.

The big orange cranes there will winch up the loads onto the wharf where a fork-lift truck will take them inside the building.

But the vans underneath belong to private operators like fish shops and the like who have contracts with individual boats. When “their” boat comes in, the seafood will be passed by hand to the drivers of the vans who will then load up their vehicle and take it directly to wherever it’s supposed to go without passing through the Fish Processing Plant.

But digging that trench a couple of years ago was a pretty good idea. It fills up quite quickly when the tide turns and it means that there’s a longer window for boats to come in and unload, especially those with a shallow draught.

Anyway I cleared off home to have a coffee and then to work on my notes for my Spirit of Conrad adventure last year but to my shame I ended up falling asleep. I was well away with the fairies too, to such an extent that I missed half of my guitar practice and I’m annoyed intensely by that.

Yes, this is becoming far too much of a bad habit and I wish I knew how to pull myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to fall asleep all the time.

At least I managed to stay awake for tea. Stuffed pepper with rice followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. Delicious as usual.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone to hear if I’d been anywhere. While I was asleep on the chair I was in Canada with a group of people, all young, keen and enthusiastic. I ended up going for a walk around with one of the girls. She was a single girl in her 30s, having loads of fun teasing this particular boy. During our walk I sat down while she went off to make a ‘phone call – it was a call to this boy to tease him even more that she was out for a walk with me. While she’d gone, I had this idea about maybe marrying this girl so I could claim Canadian citizenship then after an appropriate amount of time we could divorce but I could still claim my rights to live in Canada. I was thinking that maybe I should have done that when I was a lot younger. And I wish that I knew who this girl was.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed. I’ve had far too many bad days just recently and it’s high time that things changed around here. I wish that I knew how to do it.

Sunday 4th July 2021 – CONSIDERING THAT IT’S …

… Sunday today and a Day of Rest, you’ll be surprised at just how much work I’ve done today. I know that I am.

There was even the customary lie-in, right up until about 10:30 too before I saw the light of day, and then once I was up, I was well-and-truly up, as Errol Flynn was heard to say on more than just the odd occasion in the past.

First thing that needed doing was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And you can tell that I had forgotten to take my sleeping pill thing last night because there were pages and pages of notes of adventures while I was asleep.

I started off by having marital problems last night. I went to start to get to know one or two people a little better. The problems with my wife increased. She had no interest in me and our marriage and was going about everywhere with her friends both male and female and using this house as a kind of hotel coming and going as she pleased. One night she came back in and as soon as she came in she disappeared. I had to search the property and eventually I found her at an old type of church hall place like St Mark’s with a load of her friends. They were having a party and I thought that well this is on my premises so I said “fancy having a party without inviting me to it”. I thought that they ought to have had me in it at least so I muscled my way in. She was on the floor dancing at the time but tried to intervene. Eventually I became so obnoxious that everyone started to leave and she started to go. I had this 2lb bag of flour with me and for some unknown reason I poured it all down the back of her t-shirt and patted her back with it. Of course this made her extremely uncomfortable and was the rift that drove our marriage apart. I was thinking “how is she going to retaliate to this because she surely wasn’t going to leave things on their own as they have been?”…. I fell asleep here… Yes, the pressure on these not-really-married people was so intense and it soon became clear that whoever didn’t want my wife or anyone of her family in our country. I was quite pleased by this as I could start to get on and do something and issue some directives and at moments at the house but she wasn’t very happy at all when she saw me with what I was doing.

There were some tanks and all the heavy equipment, a full garage … I fell asleep here … at the end we were trying to get more stuff through but because of the train traffic we couldn’t … fell asleep again … I had two apples still in the oven there that couldn’t fit in the loaf that was going in the sixth car bonnet … fell asleep yet again … I can’t think of anything else.

There was something as well about some of my friends trying to rescue the owner of the older freezers and they had us change places and so many responses would be hanging out … fell asleep yet again … when you get there you’ll see that the big pile of equipment and property lined up that people have had to as they have been going past the city hall and this property is all going to be burned at the races and sometimes set on fire … fell asleep again

And with all of that, I’ve absolutely no idea what was going on and, more importantly how much of everything I might have missed.

Later on there was something else about me being at my place for the last day of work before I retired. I decided to have a lie-in and this lie-in went on and on and I was in danger of not even getting there for midday. Eventually I managed to organise myself then someone came in and checked a letter that I’d written before I sent it, or maybe it was notes of an interview or something. I didn’t think that whatever I’d written was complete or good enough but I didn’t really care all that much because apart from having to come back on my final day this was the actual last day that i’d be working because I had so much holiday to take so I wasn’t all that bothered. But this woman came in and checked my letter and all my notes. She seemed quite happy and went off. I turned up in work. The first thing that I did was to go to the bathroom which was situated on the ground floor right near the front door but the corridor had a kink in it so no-one at the door could actually see what was going on inside there. The ladies’ bathroom was on the 2nd floor at the top of the stairs and I don’t know why I remembered that. This dream just faded out at this point and I probably faded out with it, but this is one of these recurring dreams that we have.

Rosemary rang me up just as I was finishing. She had a question to ask me about access issues she was having to one of her sites. In the end after much discussion I managed to identify the problem and helped her to resolve it. She went off happy and I went to have my lunch.

After lunch I had a look at the bread dough that I’d made yesterday. It had risen quite well, both lots, so into the smaller load I added all of the nuts, suitably ground up, and then the fruit and seeds, folded it all in and made sure that it was properly mixed in

With the larger amount of dough, I added in several handfuls of sunflower seeds and mixed them well in. Then both lots were shaped and then put in their respective moulds and left for their second proofing.

Back in here, I then had to organise my voyage to Leuven and back in 10 days time. Because I have some extra appointments, I’m going a day early, on the Tuesday. But with our Welsh class now being on holiday travelling on a Tuesday is no problem.

Although I have extra appointments on the Friday as well, I was at one time thinking of coming home on the Sunday but I’ve decided in the end to come back on the Saturday again. I’m becoming a real home-body, aren’t I?

But eat your hearts out, you Britishers. 1300 miles on a train, half of which is on an ultra-high-speed TGV, all for the grand sum of €123:00 – about £108:00. When I once wanted to go from London to Bath, about 150kms, it cost more than that and it worked out cheaper to hire a car, put the fuel in and drive there and back

people in beach and sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halland then it was time for walkies so I went outside and across the car park to stick my head over the wall at the end to see what was happening down on the beach.

Owing to the crowds of people hanging around, I couldn’t make it to my usual spec, but from where I ended up I could see that there wasn’t much of a beach for people to be on this afternoon. The tide was well-in by now. But nevertheless there was still the odd little crook and nanny on the rocks where people were perched to enjoy the last of it before the water drove them up the steps.

But there was at least one person this afternoon who wasn’t too bothered by all of that. He was well away, enjoying himself in the water up to the top of his legs.

caramaran speedboat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs is customary, while I was here I had a good look out to sea to see if there was anything else exciting going on down there this afternoon.

At least the sea mist that we have had over the last few days seems to have lifted and so we can actually see what’s going on out at sea this afternoon. Even the Ile de Chausey is looking quite nice and resplendent in the sunshine today.

And in between here and there in the Baie de Granville are a couple of boats to whet our appetite this afternoon. A really nice large white catamaran heading our way and also some kind of speedboat travelling quite rapidly towards us too. Presumably they have both set out from the Ile de Chausey.

Diamond DV20 Katana f-gnjc aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s enough nautical action for right now. There was plenty of activity going on in the sky this afternoon.

It was difficult to read the serial number of this aeroplane that had taken off from the airfield because it kept well out to sea. The best I can come up with is that it’s F-GNJC. That’s a Diamond DV20 Katana although this doesn’t look much like one of those to me, although the angle might be deceptive.

But whatever she is, she hasn’t filed a flight plan from the airport and she didn’t fly high enough to be picked up on the flight radar either so it’s another one of those things that’s of no help whatever in enabling us to identify it.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t all by any means either. A short while later something else buzzed by overhead.

This one is a powered hand-glider that had also taken off from the airfield – or, at least, I think that they come from the airfield – this afternoon just after the aeroplane that we saw previously, and headed my way as I was walking around the path on the cliffs.

Of course, there is no flight plan for any of these and they aren’t ever picked up on the radar. Neither do I have access to the registration database and in any case the information would be meaningless to me so I can’t tell you anything whatever about it

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter I’d walked a couple of hundred yards, threading my way through the maskless crowds again, I heard once more the sound of the powered hang-glider.

Thinking that it was the same one coming round again I didn’t pay too much attention but as it passed by I noticed that not only was it a different colour but it was in fact a two-seater machine. That has to be worth photographing before it goes out of view.

One of these days I shall have to go out to the airfield for all kinds of different purposes, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I shall have to see if I can blag a ride in that as well. There’s probably some good photography to be had at 500 feet up.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all the aerial activity either. In between the two shots of the powered hang-glider, there was more aerial activity that caught me eye.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have a couple of birds of prey that fly around the edge of the clifftop here. There is plenty of small wildlife in the long grass, including a colony of rabbits.

It must be good hunting ground for food because we started off with one bird occasionally, and then it became a more frequent visitor. This Spring it brought a friend and now they seem to be here almost every day.

And so am I there days, but not hunting for food. And today I did something completely different and instead of going across the lawn and the car park, I went down the steps and along the lower path.

men fishing from zodiac pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown here we meet all kinds of activity, and it’s the favourite spot for us to catch a few fishermen.

Today there were three of them out there in a zodiac busy casting their lines into the water. And I thought that my luck might be in today as I saw the guy on the left reel in his line. “Are we going to see someone actually catch something after all this time?” I mused, but he reeled in and cast out his line again.

There were a couple of guys fishing from the rocks but they were of little importance today. They weren’t even close to catching anything, so I left them to it and continued on my way down the path.

black pearl chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I can now reveal the name for which I have been searching for the trawler that has been in the chantier naval for the last few days.

This was my purpose of going down on the lower footpath that takes me round to the port this afternoon. I wanted to check up on her name because, knowing my luck, she’ll be back in the water before I would otherwise do it.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I reckoned that she was the sister-ship to the new trawler Le Pearl and I bet that I’m correct too because apart from the colour scheme; she’s called Black Pearl and that’s all pretty conclusive. And it’s nice to be in a position to take a good photo of her.

l'alize 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for the other boat that’s here on the other side of Philcathane, I was right about that yesterday too.

She is indeed the trawler L’Alize III, the trawler that appeared in the inner harbour a short while ago and about which there was all that commotion a couple of months ago. I was rather hoping that there would be someone around with the boat who might want to chat, but there was no-one.

Disappointed, I headed back up the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers in the general direction of home and a nice hot coffee. It was quite a warm afternoon but a hot coffee never goes amiss at any time of the day.

fishing boat coming into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the top of the hill I could look down into the port to see what was happening.

It’s a Sunday today and most of the fishermen are having a day off today. All their boats are moored in the inner harbour. It looks as if there has been one out there working earlier because she’s now come in and is looking for a place to tie up for the rest of the day.

Back at the apartment I made my coffee and then looked at the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer earlier today. It had now defrosted so I could roll it out and put it into the pizza tray (that I’d greased earlier) and left it to fester.

That was the cue to switch on the oven and when it was nice and hot I stuck the two loaves of bread in there to bake.

And while they were baking I came in here and dealt with a large order of things that I need to makr from Amazon.

I know that it’s a popular thing to go “Amazon-bashing” but have a look at where most of the products come from. Amazon might be the handler but in most cases (and in the case of almost everything that I buy) it isn’t the supplier or the expeditor. Most of the products are sold and distributed by small retailers who simply use the on-line “shop window” provided by Amazon.

During the pandemic with more and more small businesses being obliged to close their doors to face-to-face sales, they have turned to on-line shop windows like Amazon.

vegan pizza home nade bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut anyway, when the bread was nearly ready I went and assembled the pizza and once the bread was cooked, out it came and in went the pizza. And when that was done, I sat down and attacked it. It was delicious as well, as was the bottle of that alcohol-free beer that I bought yesterday.

As for the bread, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

“And no dessert?” I hear you say. Well, there’s plenty of chocolate sponge left that needs finishing so I didn’t bake anything else. That’s enough for the next few days and in 10 days time I’m off to Leuven anyway.

Talking about being off, I’m off to bed right now. It’s hard to believe that it’s been my Day of Rest today with everything that I’ve done today. I’m exhausted. I can’t wait to get back to work tomorrow so that I can have a rest.

Wednesday 23rd June 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that another recurring theme that runs through these pages with monotonous regularity is the shameful state of the medieval city walls here.

As you know, there was an initiate 2 years ago to restore part of them in the Rue des Juifs and they did a good job but while they were doing that, more and more of the city walls were being cordoned off as being unsafe for the general public.

more city walls closed to public place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA year or two ago they cordoned off part of the city walls in the Place du Marché Aux Chevaux and as I went past there today, they had closed off yet more of it by order of the mayor.

Much as I despise tourists … “surely not! Perish the thought!” – ed … there’s no doubt that they bring a lot of money into the town and help provide all of the activities and amenities that we have here. One of the things that they come to see is the medieval walled city, but at this rate there won’t be much of a walled city left.

The shame about this is that the Council seems to be showing not the slightest sense of urgency of dealing with this issue and the city walls are crumbling all around them. There’s history going back 600 years and they have a duty to protect it, not to let it rot away like this.

stairs removed to square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers saw the other day that in the Square Potel we saw a mini-differ that had brought down the condemned staircase that led down from the city walls and I mentioned that it was about time that something was done to make all of this area safe too.

But by the looks of things, the digger has cleared off too. The stairs are down and the ground underneath has been tidied but that looks as if it’s going to be our lot for the near future.

But it really is appalling, all of this. There was a campaign, as I have mentioned previously, when the previous mayor was in office to denounce her for the state that the place was getting into. But now there’s a new mayor, I wonder what the people who ran this campaign are saying now.

Today has been something of a depressing day, in case you haven’t already guessed from my first couple of paragraphs.

As usual, I was out of bed bang on the first alarm at 06:00 even though I didn’t feel like it, not having gone to bed until 00:30 this morning.

First task after my medication was to deal with some outstanding correspondence that has built up just recently. And as the regular readers of this rubbish have stopped writing to me, there wasn’t anything to send to them. But a couple of the mails were really quite important and we’ll see how they develop.

Then for a few hours I’ve been musicking. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been digitalising my record collection and today while searching around I came across some more stuff that relates to albums that I own so I was working on that.

Another thing that I did was to record a cassette tape onto the dictaphone to see how that would work. And that, dear reader, was a dismal failure. The sound levels are all over the place and had “clipped” so lowering the recording level after the event was no good. It all ended up filed under CS.

There are a couple of dictaphones around here so I’m going to see if I can find one with a manual recording level rather than an automatic level, and see what good that might do. I’m not beaten yet. Ohhh no!

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from August 2019 and I’m now back in Montana on my way to Winnipeg. And just as I was about to back up my work and go to lunch we had a power cut and it wiped it all out.

After lunch I started to try to restore everything and by the time that it was walkies I was a long way from finishing it.

fishing boat yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I trotted into the wild blue yonder and down to the wall to look out to sea to see what was going on out there today.

Out there in the Bay of Granville there’s some activity going on. Out there today we have a fishing boat that I don’t actually think is fishing right now. It looks as if it’s heading back into harbour.

Behind it is some kind of yacht, right out near the Ile de Chausey. It’s far too far away for me to be able to read its name and head-on to the camera like she is right now, I can’t actually pick up any clues from her hull lay-out either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here, I had a look down onto the beach to see if there was anything exciting happening.

Again, there isn’t all that much beach to be on but nevertheless, there are a couple of ^people down there sitting around on a rock. And rather them than me because it’s not exactly what I would call a warm summer day. Far from it in fact.

And you are probably noticing that today’s photo of the beach is taken frol a different perspective from the usual photographs. Instead of going around the headland this afternoon, I’ve gone off for walk around what remains of the city walls that hasn’t crumbled away.

objects swimming in water plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there near to the Plat Gousset there was something really strange going on this afternoon.

Whatever they are supposed to be, I really have no idea but they are animate objects swimming against the tide and current. They might be humans, they might be mammals or anything at all but I really can’t identify them well enough.

But here’s something interesting. It’s down this path that I used to go running back in the good old days. And as there was no-one around, I actually did break into a run. I only covered about 100 metres which is nothing like enough or anything like as much as I used to do, but it was a start and it astonished me that I could even run that much after what I’ve been through.

lifeguard watching man entering water by diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a viewpoint along the path where I can stop and look out over the Plat Gousset to se what’s going on down there.

And despite it being a wintry day, nothing like summer at all, we actually have a lifeguard on duty there this afternoon, presumably with thermal blankets and mugs of hot soup and other artefacts and devices for treating frostbite.

There’s a guy down there who’s going off to test the water, but I imagine that he’s pretty safe. He’s not actually dressed for going swimming.

And in this photo you can see that the diving platform has been erected on top of the concrete pillar.

people swimming in water plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat guy might not have been dressed for swimming but these two people are, and don’t they know it?

There’s a couple down there in the water cavorting about and they are certainly braver men than I am, Gungha Din because not even Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter in skimpy bikinis would entice me into the water this afternoon in weather like we are having right now.

For a few minutes, I stood there and watched them fooling around and then I wandered off down the path to carry on with the rest of my walk. There were too many people about for me to break into a run. I don’t want to show myself up. I can do that without breaking into a run

seagull chick flapping its wings rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the Square Maurice Marland there were still too many people around for me to start running, so I walked over to the edge of the path where I can look at the seagull chicks on the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs.

And it looks as if there are plenty of things happening right now. A few of them were flapping their wings and taking their first steps towards some kind of flight, like this one here and his sibling who were really making a valiant attempt to get off the ground.

It won’t be long until this new generation of seagulls will be flying around the town. And as an aside, any visitor to Granville is advised to bring a hat. The seagulls have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

digger and lorry rue lecarpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut of the Square Maurice Marland I found myself in the Rue Lecarpentier.

There’s some excitement going on there today as well because we have a lorry and a digger. They aren’t actually doing anything except blocking the street, because this is a cul-de-sac for vehicles and those stuck down at the bottom end were I am can’t move away until the lorry clears off.

Incidentally, there’s an interesting story told about one of the houses here. It’s actually facing into the street but it’s been turned round in effect so that the front entrance is through the garden at the back, off the Rue Notre Dame.

The story is that the owner of the house had an argument with the descendants of the person after whom the street is named, so he changed the layout of his house round so that its address was no longer “Rue Lecarpentier” but “Rue Notre Dame”.

thora normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day, the swimming pool on the quayside suggested to me that Normandy Trader would be in port pretty soon.

Well, I wasn’t wrong, was I? She seems to have come in on the morning tide and brought her friend Thora with her as well.

What with all of the changes that have been going on as a result of Brexit, and one or two as a result of Covid, we have had weeks when we haven’t even seen one of the little Channel Island freighters, never mind both of them. and so we really are lucky to see both of them in port together like this.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe boat that’s underneath the loading crane is Thora.

She was built in the Faroe islands in 1975 and was the fifth of the ferry boats ordered by the Shetland Islands Council when they began to run the ferries between the mainland of Shetland and the outlying islands.

She was one of the two ships that operated the ferry service across Yell Sound but that was a route that was only really busy in the summer so for much of the time she was either laid up or else operated as the relief vessel for the other runs.

She was laid up in 2006 when a new ship arrived to relieve her.

She first appeared here two or three years ago and looked quite smart at the time but the sea and the sinds that we have around here have given her quite a battering.

She’s used occasionally as a car ferry and regular readers of this rubbish will have seen cars lifted off her deck by the crane.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe ship to the right is the Normandy Trader She’s a converted landing craft – an ex-military machine apparently, designed for transporting tanks and that kind of thing.

And apart from the fact that she’s 27 metres long, I’ve not been able to find out very much else about her.

But you can see the swimming pool. That was what gave the game away. I know that she has the contract with a certain manufacturer for moving the swimming pools to their new clients in the Channel Islands, so when I saw one on the quayside on returning from Leuven, I guessed that the boat will be in port quite soon.

After all, they aren’t going to leave them lying around for too long.

patrol boat baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was watching the two little freighters, there was some activity going on close inshore in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw an official-looking boat passing by the entrance to the harbour towing a little boat behind her. And here she is again, or at least, one very much like her.

There’s no possibility of reading her name from here which is a shame. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen one boat very much like her, Les Epiettes when we were on the Ile de Chausey last year and they are some kind of patrol boat. Bit I’ve no idea what they are supposed to be patrolling.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey won’t be patrolling the fisheries right now because by the looks of things the boats are coming in with their catch.

There are quite a few boats down there today, and if you look at the back of the queue you’ll see the boat that we saw as we set out on our journey. I was right when I said that she seemed to be on her way into port.

You can see the layout of the wharf here. The bigger loads of seafood are lifted up my the little cranes that you can see here and are whisked away by fork-lift truck into the plant for processing.

But you’ll notice the ramp that goes down and underneath where the people are working. Several of the smaller boats are chartered by fish shops, restaurants and the like. Their vehicles can drive down there underneath and the crew of “their” boats can pass the catch to them to be taken away

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot all of the fishing boats are in by the look of things.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the activity that has been taking place in the Baie de Mont St Michel. We have another two boats out there fishing even as we speak I don’t know who they are though unfortunately.

Anyway, I’ve done enough right now so I’m heading off home for a hot coffee and to carry on with recovering some of the stuff from when the power went. I never had this problem with laptops.

By 18:00 I’d done all that I could so I had a play with the bass guitar, writing out the notes for one of the songs that I need to learn. This is going to be a very long series of sessions

Tea was a curry from the freezer followed by more apple pie, which really is good. And now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow and there’s quite a list. I need to organise myself for that. I wonder how I’ll get on up the hill?

Sunday 7th March 2021 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

… finished writing up my notes last night I went off and made my kefir. There were a pile of kiwis that were on the verge of going off so I used four of those. Whizzed up in the whizzer and then pressed through the filter system and the brewed kefir mixed in.

While it was seeping through I set another batch of kefir on the way and then the stuff that I’d mixed, I filtered through the filter stack into the bottles and left it to brew.

When I’d finished I came back in here but I wasn’t in the least bit tired so I sat down and did some work. I finished ANOTHER PAGE OF THE ARREARS FROM CENTRAL EUROPE and then I went on and bashed out 30 or so photos from Greenland 2019 and I’m now sailing down Tunulliarfik Fjord.

It was about 01:45 when I finally went to bed so it was something of a disappointment to be awake at 07:50 when I awoke. But there’s no chance whatever of me being up and about on a Sunday at that ridiculous time so I turned over and went back to bed.

10:15 is much more like it on a Sunday.

First task after the medication was to deal with the sink. I went to do all of the washing-up from last night but the water simply didn’t drain out at all.

In the end I dismantled all of the pipework under the sink and found a nice piece of cable to ram down the pipe that I couldn’t dismantle. Judging by how far the cable went down the pipework it was well into the communal lengths before it found the obstruction.

It took quite a while of furkling about with the cable before the obstruction suddenly moved. And then I had to reassemble everything. It wasn’t exactly how I intended to start my Sunday but at least I could crack on.

After all of that I couldn’t concentrate on the blog entry that I’d started and didn’t seem to make any progress so I had another go at the photos. That’s a huge pile of those that I did today and I’m now in a zodiac in Arsuk Fjord heading for a close encounter with a musk-ox.

microlight powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite it being a Sunday, I remembered to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

The sky was absolutely beautiful once more with not a cloud in the sky today. But there were plenty of other things in the air instead. None of the bird-men because there wasn’t enough wind but we did have one or two people up in the air in their powered hang-gliders or whatever they are called.

Several light aircraft were flying past overhead too, but they were too far away for me to photograph with any kind of clarity.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, something else went flying by quite clearly enough for me to photograph this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have some kind of bird of prey flying around the edges of the cliffs. There’s a colony of rabbits somewhere in the cliffs and I imagine that it targets the very young of the colony together with whatever else it can find in the way of small mammals.

As for the details of its species, I have to say that I have no idea. Despite all of the lectures on birdwatching that I’ve had in the past from Nerina, they weren’t about this kind of bird.

But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, we were talking about the gorgeous weather today.

girls coming out of the water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNice though it might have been, it wasn’t all that warm at all and so I was surprised, if not astonished, to see a couple of women emerging from the sea like a couple of 21st-Century sirens. I would have expected the water to have been cold enough to freeze the barnacles off a brass dinghy right now.

When we were in the Arctic we had people throwing themselves into the sea even as the surface was freezing over but they were Canadians and it’s the kind of thing that you might expect from them but it’s not the thing that I would normally expect French people to do for pleasure.

There were quite a few people out there this afternoon, not as many as there were yesterday for sure, and with nothing going on out at sea I walked round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today, the same four boats that have been there since Thursday are still there on their own today, but also, surprisingly, the two boats that were grounded over by the Fish Processing Plant yesterday are still there today.

Every now and again we see the odd boat left there overnight or in between tides but to see them there for this long is quite unusual. It prevents others coming in to unload from reaching the wharf and they can’t be too happy about that.

It’s not as if there isn’t any room in the inner harbour for them to tie up. There is plenty of space in there since they installed the new pontoons.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I mentioned earlier, there wasn’t a great deal of wind this afternoon, but there must be some kind of strong wind blowing from somewhere as you can see from this photograph.

The sea was quite calm this afternoon without any high waves, as you can tell by the wake of the cabin cruiser going past but there was a really powerful current rolling in. It’s about every seventh wave that is the strongest and this seventh waves was smashing in and sending spray right up to the top of the sea wall.

There were several people standing around here at the viewpoint watching the spectacle. I’m not quite sure why because there were no shipwrecks, nobody drownding, in fact nothing to laugh at at all.

yacht st pair sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother indication of how calm the sea really was today was the behaviour of the yacht out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

All of that looks perfectly calm out there and the boat looks perfectly stable regardless of all of the waves beating up against the harbour wall. It seems to be such a really nice day to be out and about on the water.

In the background, the road that leads into Saint-Pair sur Mer is all bathed in sunlight and the chateau d’eau looks particularly prominent today. There’s also some building work going on in St Pair sur Mer too, judging by the crane on the extreme right of the image. I’ll have to go and have a look at that one of these days too.

Back here I made another attempt at rewriting the notes of one of my pages from Central Europe and this time, I made some progress. But I broke off to have a chat with TOTGA and then I had to go to attend to the cooking for the following week.

The pizza dough I had taken out of the freezer this morning and now that it had defrosted I kneaded it again, rolled it and put it on the tray to proof again.

home made vegan pizza apple pie kiwi kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a roll of flaky pastry left over in the fridge since Christmas so I used it this afternoon and made myself an apple pie with it. And while the pie was baking I assembled the pizza and that went into the oven when the pie was finished.

And here we have the finished products from today’s baking session, along with the kefir from last night. That’s already fermenting so it seems to be a very good batch today. I hope that it tastes as good as it performs.

The pizza was delicious but as for the apple pie, I’ll tell you another time – there was no room for any this evening as the pizza was, as usual, quite filling.

Having done a little tidying up, I’m now off to bed as it’s Monday tomorrow and I’m radioing again. I remember saying at the beginning of the week that I was quite optimistic about the week that was to come and I seem to have accomplished a fair amount for a change. I wonder how this week will turn out.

Sunday 8th November 2020 – TODAY I HAD …

… a baking day today and I’ve been hard at it today.

That is, such of the day that I saw because I had another long lie-in today. In fact, it was something like 10:20 when I finally saw the light of day.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone.

We were in Regency times last night, having a lecture about all of the dandies of the Regency days, how they set out to go gambling, womanising, all these other vices that they could have, how they had dissipated their fortunes and had to marry or seduce young girls who were heritees, all this sort of stuff. In the end it ended up with how the aristocracy amused themselves in the winter. We had like a game of darts with snowballs that they threw at a board and how they threw bowls at targets, all this kind of thing. We were well into these aristocratic winter sports when I awoke suddenly.

A little later on I was round at Stoke on Trent last night and met up with a former friend of mine. I was in a J4 van and we had a bit of a good chat. We ended up going back to his house, a big chalet-type place. We got back there and went in. I’d come down from London on the motorway. On the way down to London I would usually go all the way down the A5 but for some unknown reason I’d got on the motorway near Luton or Dunstable, somewhere like that, doing down the M1 a bit and off round the M25 anti-clockwise. But I’d always go home on the motorway. I’d stopped to buy a few things like a big bag of apples – I remembered this. I collected everything up and went to pay for it. I had to go into a little annexe type of place to pay for it. I went to pay with a credit card but it didn’t take cards so I had to pay cash which was a shame. I opened my wallet and there was loads of stuff in there like old ferry tickets, everything, so I took them out and binned them as I didn’t really need them. Then I got in the van and drove back to Stoke on Trent, parked up the van, went into this guy’s house and we could see out of the back. There were a few big hangars at the back. There was a load of old buses in one of them, double-deckers. Every time we turned away and turned back again there would be another double decker in it. In another hangar a bit further down was an old Duple coach from the 1960s. My friend was talking about this duple coach for I was extremely interested in it. The guy just did car repairs but that coach had been there for ages. Thinking on, he hadn’t seen the guy there for several weeks and was wondering if he was OK or something. These double deckers that were appearing were intriguing so we went out and started to talk to these guys about them. They told us a bit of a story. Just then my friend’s wife came and stood on the balcony of one of the bedrooms looking out, accompanied by Zero. I waved, and suddenly Zero came running out down the garden and leapt into my arms, saying “hi darling” so I swung her around for a bit. I thought “God I’m lucky. My lucky day here, isn’t it?”. We went inside and said hello. Someone wanted something and I realised that I had that in the van so I thought that I would go and fetch it. As I was about to go out, my friend’s wife asked “have you started to cook in your flat?” I replied “yes, I have”. “I was going to ask you to bring some fruit or something like that because I’m fed up of having just potatoes”. I thought “hang on, I have this huge bag of apples in my van. I’ll bring that”. I went out and I couldn’t see the van. It was like a no parking area in front of where he was living so I walked a little further down the street but couldn’t see it so I walked a little further up the street and couldn’t see it so I rang him up on the mobile phone “where the hell did I put the van?” “You parked it in the usual place” “Where’s that?”. By now it was pouring down with rain and I saw someone come out of his house. He started to run so I went towards him but it wasn’t him but another guy. Then he came out and he ran off up a completely different street so I set out to follow him.

As well as that, I transcribed a few of the arrears from when I was away and there are just two that remain. They will be done sometime later in the week and then I can bring them up to date.

After a bowl of porridge I prepared the dough for the bread. 250 grammes of plain flour with a banana, some desiccated coconut, sultanas, ground brazil nuts, dried fruit and a pile of sultanas.

Then 500 grammes of cereal flour mixed with several handfuls of sunflower seeds.

All of the dough, having been mixed with the yeast and water and kneaded together, was put on one side to proof.

Next was the sourdough. I took it from the fridge, strained off some of it and discarded it, prepared an equivalent amount of flour and water to what was left and mixed it all together. It didn’t take long to reignite either and by the end of the day it was bubbling away nicely.

Four oranges were then whizzed round in the whizzer and the juice extracted and put in my very large jub. Then the orange pulp was whizzed up again for several minutes and then strained through a fine mesh filter so that any remaining juice would then be added to that which I had separated just now. The remaining pulp was discarded.

The kefir that had been brewing for 10 days was then strained through my filter stack and added to the orange juice, and well stirred in. I then prepared another load of kefir with a fig, several slices of lemon, 40 grammes of sugar and about 2 litres of water. That will need to ferment for a few days.

The mix in the jug, I mixed it again thoroughly and then strained it through my filter stack and bottled it. That needs to ferment for 48 hours or so.

people drying off after a swim Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTaking a break from my baking activities I took myself out for my afternoon walk;

Once again, there ere people down there on the beach drying off as if they had just been in the water for a swim. Had I gone out a little earlier I might even have caught them in the water like I did with that woman yesterday.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they can go into the water all they like but they wouldn’t get me in there joining them. It may have been a beautiful, warm afternoon but it wasn’t that warm. The water would need to be about 35°C before I would want to go into it.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith too many people wandering about to burst into a run, I walked down the path underneath the wall and round the corner to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Plenty of people out there walking around this afternoon, both on the promenade and down on the beach too. And I’m not surprised in view of the beautiful weather.

From there I wandered slowly across the Square Maurice Marland and then round the walls back home where at the door I bumped into one of my neighbours who had gone out for a walk but was obliged to come back as she had forgotten her mask.

That’s two of my neighbours I’ve met today. I bumped into another one of them earlier on my way out of the building.

By now the bread had risen quite nicely so I gave it a good kneading again, shaped it and put it in the moulds. There was far too much fruit bread for the mould so with the excess I made three small fruit bread rolls. They should make a nice snack at some point during the week.

With some spare time on my hands I edited a few more photos from July 2019. I need to keep up with this project that I have let go for several months. They won’t be completed if I don’t do anything about it.

home made bread fruit bread orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy 18:00 it was time to put the bread in the oven for cooking. I brushed the fruit bread and the little buns in milk and dusted them with brown sugar first. They’ll take an hour or so to be ready and so in the meantime I had a rather pleasurable session with the guitars.

Anyway, here’s the “after” photograph. The main loaf didn’t rise as much as I would like but apart from that it looks very nice.

On the other hand, the fruit bread looks really nice and I can’t wait to get stuck into that in due course. The little buns especially, with some strawberry jam as a mid-morning snack with my hot chocolate.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier on, I’d taken the last remaining pizza dough out of the freezer and left it to defrost.

I’d been kneaded it on and off during the afternoon and now I rolled it out and put it on a pizza tray. I prepared my pizza and when the bread was cooked I took it out and put the pizza in.

And when it was cooked, my pizza was delicious. One of the best that I’ve made, even if I had to use tinned mushrooms instead of fresh because I hadn’t been to the shops at the weekend.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith a few minutes to spare before curfew I took myself out and about for my evening run. It was a really beautiful if windy evening and I had a really good session tonight.

At the very end of the Pointe du Roc I had a good look out to sea across to the Brittany coast. It was one of those evenings where you could see for miles and the Brittany coast over there looked really beautiful.

Despite the wind, in the shelter of the bunker there was a good little spec to take a photo and even without the tripod the photo came out really well considering everything.

ceres 2 yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the Pointe du Roc I ran along the path at the top of the cliff down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

There, sitting on the ramps in the chantier navale is the yacht that has been there for the last couple of weeks. And alongside her is the second boat that we saw from a distance the other day. Now that I can see more clearly, I can see that she is the Ceres II, an offshore installation maintenance vessel of 11 metres in length.

Her presence here may be something to do with the proposed offshore wind farm that they are talking about around here and which there has been some commotion across the bay, some of which we were sucked into when we were out there on Spirit of Conrad a few months ago.

Mind you, whatever she is doing here, her AIS transceiver seems to be still in St Vaast around the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at the viewpoint, I scanned the port to see if there was anything else of note going on there tonight.

Nothing, in fact. It was totally dead everywhere. Not even a cat was out there tonight. The port looked quite tranquil, bathed as it was with artificial light. And that reminds me – with lockdown and curfew, I would have expected that they would have turned off most of the street lighting to save a few bob. But apparently not.

Having seen what was going on – or wasn’t, as the case may be, I turned round and ran for home, a darn sight easier than I have done and I reckon that I could have pushed on a lot more than I did.

Tomorrow I’m back at work again. I have two radio programmes to complete this week. I’m hoping that this time, for once, I could pull myself out of bed by the time that the third alarm goes off, pleasant voyages and pleasant companions notwithstanding.

Another thing is to find out how things are doing with Caliburn and hope that he hasn’t gone into lockdown for the foreseeable future. That will be a catastrophe and no mistake.

7th November 2020 – THIS WEEK IS …

polar bear with cubs north west passage victoria strait canada Eric Hall… International Polar Bear Week apparently so I feel that I ought to join in the fun by posting a photo of a couple of mine.

In case you are wondering, this photo was taken last August in the North West Passage, in the Victoria Strait between the Royal Geographical Society islands and King William Island and is just one of the … gulp 2,500 or so exciting photos that I took while I was out there in the High Arctic and with which I shall regale you in due course.

That is, of course, my long-term project for the coming winter – to sort them all out, edit them and upload them to the internet. I’m hoping that once I clear out the arrears back to June, I can crack on with the High Arctic photos, although I’m not sure when all of that might happen.

At least, I didn’t actually fall behind even further today. Even if I slept through the three alarms and didn’t wake up until long after 10:00. It’s always like that when I return home, after all of the effort that I go through, and even more so when I didn’t return home until late.

Being in bed for as long as I was, there was plenty of time to go on several nocturnal rambles, and I must have travelled miles during the night.

I started off in the USA. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing but it involved my father and a whole group of other people whom I knew. There had been some big kind of political debate. Some politician had made a disgraceful affair and all the other politicians were standing up for him. Someone went to get into their car but found that the locks had been changed. This eveil politician had gone around changing everyone’s locks on everything. At that stage I became quite simply fed up and beat both of them into a pulp. I had to sell someone about something or other and I can’t remember what. It was to do with a car needing work or something. I got into my car which was a very new one. I managed to get in and drove away from the scene. As I came up to a set of traffic lights a police car pulled out of a side road right in front of me, blocked the road and put his stop lights on. When the traffic lights changed he went off presumably to drive round the block to come up behind me. But it was a really inconvenient place to stop. There was an abandoned fuel station just across the traffic lights so I pulled over there, of course bitterly regretting what was going to happen next – I was in no illusions. There were a couple of guys there getting petrol out of this abandoned fuel station. They said something about parking there. I said “that’s all right. I’m waiting here to be arrested”. They looked at me a bit wide-eyed so I said to 1 of them “yes the police are coming to arrest me”. He thought that he had better get a move on and do what he’s doing quickly and get out of the way. Just then I saw a group of my friends coming along. They were carrying an engine lift, tools and everything as if they were going to lift the engine out of a car somewhere after what I’d said to them. I thought “this policeman is taking his time isn’t he? I could nip off if I wanted to leave my car there.” But did I want to leave my car there? Did I want to nip off? Did I want to go? There was a cheap Honda Acty microvan things parked up and I was having a look at that.

Later on I was a kid, a teenager doing something with a house. We’d all been working on bits of it and I’d been painting the bedroom. The 1st coat hadn’t worked properly because some filling needed doing on it. I’d done most of that and painted what I’d already done. It hadn’t appeared too badly and I was reasonably pleased with it. Then the tutor came in and started to give me instructions about what he wanted me to do next but I reckoned that in view of the time factor it would be a good idea just to fill the rest of the wall where it needed filling and paint one coat over it to see where it was low. We could fill it again to make it up in the meantime and the coat of paint would be on it ready for the top coat. We had a lengthy discussion about that and in the end he agreed to let me do it as I wanted. He told me that I would have to put a curtain up somewhere over one part where the walls were uneven but I thought that that was going to be a silly idea – it would just draw people’s attention to it but he was pretty adamant so in the end we agreed that we would talk about this again. I did the calculations that by the time I had finished this room putting these coats and this filler on I would have had my A levels by then in which case no-one would be in a position to contradict me at all and I really could then do it as I liked.

There was something where I was doing something with a pile of musicians – it might have been a certain Welsh rock group friends of mine or something like that. We were just sitting around talking about drugs, all this kind of thing. One of them was saying that he hadn’t shot up for a whole 15 concerts but was quite busy taking the weed – the same with a few of the others. I said that I didn’t even know whereabouts to go to get it. I wouldn’t have a clue. They said “that girl who came to your party in your building. She sold us a bag”. I thought that was a bit if a shame because I liked her. Then we ended up at someone’s house after this – it might even have been this girl’s. It was a much nicer apartment than mine, on the floor below from where I was living. We were all getting ready to go places and were sorting through a pile of things and having to tidy everything up. I was sorting through these stones, I’ve no idea why. Some were precious and some weren’t and I was getting it all wrong. There were 3 gear lever knobs from a vehicle in there. It was a really confused thing that I had to sort through. Someone came over to give me a hand. He clearly knew what he was doing. I had to resort what i’d already done because it wasn’t right. I ended up going for a walk around and having a look at her garden which was really nice. On the way back I saw everyone else coming for a walk around the garden. I thought that I might as well have waited until they decided to come rather than go out on my own

Subsequently I was taping a concert of the aforementioned group, trying to get that organised but it was again something that I was only doing half-heartedly and missing most of the joins, thinking that I would have to go back and check it over again. The question of London came up, the question of a restaurant in the basement of a hotel that we go to near the railway station but it had moved down to South London. A girl I was with suggested that we should go there and have a meal. I thought ” that’s a long way to go for a meal and come back. It’s not as if it’s at the railway station where it used to be where we could be in and out in an evening. With this we have to hike most of the way across London to get to it and it’s not going to be the same, particularly with only another two weekends to go…

From there I was walking along Crewe Road into Sandbach and as I was passing the houses at the end of Park Lane I was thinking that I had to go to the bank. But the bank wasn’t where it is but in the street that runs about half a mile to the south, Hassall Road, so I had to find my way around like a deviation. In the end I got to 3rd Avenue and I remembered that I could walk through there that way. I walked down there – there were some kids playing netball in the school plating area there and a couple of boys playing football. I went on and came to a set of steps that I had to walk down. There were two young girls there who were rolling balls down it. Obviously whose ball rolled furthest down the most stairs won. They had a rake that they were using to pull the balls back up. One of them was pulling a ball back up and the rake swung back over her head and nearly impaled me as I was waling past so I made some kind of light hearted remark about it and they laughed. Then I noticed in one of the swimming pools in the back garden of a house round there was a skeleton so I asked “is that your last victim?”. They laughed again. By this time a woman had come down. She thought that it was funny as well so we had a chat. We got to the bottom and there was a really deep puddle. She was talking about the gypsies who lived in Sandbach and how they ahd sometimes washed their clothes in it. When we reached th bottom she said which way she was going, and I thought that this was the other direction so I said goodbye to her. I turned left and she went a little further on and she turned left too. We bumped into each other again. I said “I thought that you were going the other way”. She said “no, this way. I have to fetch some money from the bank”, a different bank. She started to ask “where shall we go from here?” so I said “hurry up and get your money” so she dashed inside the bank.
Later on I stepped back into this dream. I was walking back to the bus. I got on the bus by the centre door and for some reason I didn’t want to sit down at the front so I chose a seat right opposite the centre door where I didn’t have to go very far. Then this woman appeared, the one with whom I’d walked just now. I was hoping that she would get on the bus and come to sit next to me but that was when I awoke.

There was plenty of other stuff too but I can’t remember them. I know that at one time I caught myself dictating into my hand, but I can’t remember what it was that I was saying.

One thing that was rather disappointing was that I wasn’t joined by any of the usual suspects who I like to accompany me. With all of this and the distance that I travelled, I would have expected at least one of them to be there at some point. Instead, I end up with people from whom I spent 38 years trying to escape. It’s just my luck, isn’t it?

By now it was well into the early afternoon and so I ate the half-baguette that was left from yesterday evening. No chance of going out to the shops now – it was far too late.

woman going to swim Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot having done much throughout the day, I reckoned that I ought at least to go out for a walk this afternoon.

But no matter how little I had done and how much I thought that I ought to be doing, I wasn’t going to emulate this woman down here on the beach at the foot of the steps in the Rue du Nord. As I watched her, she marched slowly out to the water’s edge, peeling off her outer garments one by one.

And then she looked for a safe place amongst the rocks where she could leave them and her towel.

woman swimming in sea Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving done that, she continued on her way out to the water’s edge, bent doan and soaked herself in seawater.

Once she was thoroughly wet through, she took the plunge and dived into the water, swimming away from the shore and out to sea.

It’s not the kind of thing that I would want to do. Even on a hot day I’m not all that interested in going into the water, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, even if in the past I have been swimming in the Mediterranean in November. But I’ve no intention of going into the water around here at any time of the year.

marker buoys english channel donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo instead, once my water baby, I wandered off along the Rue du Nord.

With the number of people who were around, many more than I was expecting in the middle of a lockdown, I didn’t feel like showing myself up by breaking into a run. And it’s just as well because during my gentle walk, my eyes probing out to sea picked up something yellow bobbing about on the waves in the sea off the shore of Donville les Bains.

Closer examination reveals that there are in fact two of them, in a nice line across the bay. We’ve seen all kinds of buoys out there in the past, for all kinds of different reasons, and it’s not immediately clear exactly what their purpose is.

people having swam in the sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the footpath under the walls, I had a look down onto the beach round by the Plat Gousset.

And amongst the people wandering around down there were three young people in something of a state of undress. It looks as if we have had a few more water babies this afternoon, but I was too late to actually see them in the water.

But one thing that I did notice was the absence of face masks on the people down there. I know that it’s the policy on the promenade for the compulsory wearing of face masks, and I would have thought that now, seeing as we are in lockdown, that the compulsory wearing of masks would have extended further out from where it was before

house renovation rue le carpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith crowds of people around, I wasn’t able to go for a run across the Square Maurice Marland this afternoon. Well – not with any sense of pride, at least.

But at the top of the Square I had a look at one of the houses in the Rue LeCarpentier. Just before I left, they had erected some scaffolding up around it. But now, the scaffolding is sheeted in a protected netting and it looks as if work has begun.

Interestingly, the company doing the work advertises itself as a “restorer of the country’s patrimoine – a word for which there is no obvious translation but which means basically the intrinsic cultural values and artefacts, whether it’s song, dance, old machinery and buildings, that kind of thing.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that is of course a compulsory activity is to check on what’s happening down at the chantier navale, seeing as I’ve neglected it for over a week.

The yacht that we saw in there the last time we looked is still present and it’s been joined by another boat. It’s not easy to tell from here what kind of boat it is. I shall have to sneak out later tonight for a closer look.

It goes without saying though that the huge mountain of gravel that was on the quayside has gone, and likewise has Neptune, the gravel boat that came into port as I was leaving town. She fetched up a couple of days later in Whitstable where she unloaded, and the last that I heard of her she had picked up a load of something in Dordrecht in the Netherlands and was on her way to Ridham, just down the road from Whitstable.

Back here this evening there was football. TNS were away at Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League, first away at second. It was a good, exciting match and while TNS were clearly the better team, Bala looked extremely dangerous at times and hit the woodwork twice with the keeper beaten and had Chris Venables had a decent touch on a ball in front of goal with Paul Harrison well out of position, Bala could have taken the lead.

As it was, TNS went into the lead after about 75 minutes only for Bala to equalise 5 minutes later. 1-1 was how it ended, a result which was about right altogether.

Tea was pasta with a couple of the burgers that I brought back from Leuven, followed by pineapple rings with chocolate vegan ice cream. No chance of going for an evening walk as there is apparently a curfew and it’s too late now.

Tomorrow will be really busy. I have bread to make – both “normal bread” and banana bread, as that which remained from last time didn’t survive. I have some kefir to make too, and for that I’ll probably use oranges this time.

The sourdough will need reanimating and feeding too, and then next week I’ll have a go making sourdough bread. I can’t use it this time because, having been in the fridge for a week or more, it’s still asleep.

Just like I’m going to be in a few minutes, I reckon. It takes me a couple of days to recover from my efforts in Leuven and I have plenty of work to do.

Tuesday 11th August 2020 – I’VE BEEN SPENDING …

… my money yet again.

swimmers in the schwabinger bach english garden munich germany eric hallWhile you lot admire some photos of people having fun in the water in the Englischer Tur, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have been on the lookout for a new acoustic guitar.

My current one was a £25:00 special of no quality or finish or anything, and rather disappointing all round, and so one of my reasons for being in Germany was to visit the large music shops to see whether there was anything that was more suitable.

Thomann’s had been very disappointing so I was hoping for better luk back in Munich. That was the plan for today.

surfers schwabinger bach english garden munich germany eric hallAnyway, this morning I was wide-awake quite early (Hans’s sofa really is comfortable) and attacked the paperwork.

Heidinnguaq, my Greenland Inuit friend appeared on one of my voyages last night and we’d met as she was doing something as a kind of student so I’d recruited her for my travel company as receptionist, called Heidi, we changed her name to Heidi and she was working there. No matter how I tried I couldn’t make our work relationship into a personal relationship unfortunately. On one occasion we were walking towards the canteen to go and have a meal and she said “I’ll see you back at the office at 13:30 (it was now 12:50)”. I said “yes OK, or you can come and have lunch with me”. “Oh no” she said “you can go and have your lunch in here” she said, pointing to one of the dining rooms. “It’s a smoking one and you can make a mess if you like”, something like that to do with smoking and so on. Definitely doing everything she could to keep me at arms’ length, and I can’t say that I blame her. I would keep a good distance away from myself if only I could.

surfers schwabinger bach english garden munich germany eric hallLater on there was a murder case involving some Chinese people. All of the papers and all of the evidence had been stuffed in an old blue minibus. People had broken into this minibus and started to search through the contents. This was clearly not right and I was wondering why they hadn’t sent the boxes to something like Iron Mountain, something like that. I was wandering around back at my office, getting in arrears again at work and doing some stuff that I didn’t really like. Someone was doing a survey on food and found that we only had something like 81% of food that we needed to survive. I was trying to think of ways to cut down on different things and how to make the food go further which involved taking more care about it but every time I mentioned cheese there was some cheese about someone would say “well so-and-so hasn’t had his cheese yet. Do you want some cheese?” Of course that wasn’t my plan at all because I didn’t want to give it away gratuitously like that. I wanted to keep it. There was some pie left over and I thought that I’d put it in a safe in the spare room but when I went to pick it up this guy there said “oh so-and-so hasn’t had any pie yet” and started to ask around who wanted more pie, whereas I was going to put it in a room and serve it up at tea later that night. I was thinking that there will have to be some really drastic economies of food if we were all going to survive. We can’t afford to waste it all and give it away like this.

Hans appeared at some point and made coffee, and we had a good chat.

Later, we headed out across the road to the cafe where they do very reasonable breakfasts. I had a couple of delicious German bread rolls with jam.

deutsche bahn class 423 743 4 electric multiple unit eching eric hallOff into town now. Caliburn took us to the main-line railway station in town and to catch a train for Munich.

The train that pulled up to take us was one of the lightweight Class 423 units buolt by a consortium including ABB, Adtranz, Alstom and Bombardier specifically for the suburban networks of many German cities during the early years of this century, the first ones actually entering service in 1998.

Clean, tidy, comfortable and quiet, it whizzed us into the city and at the rather appropriately-named Moosach station we alighted and took the Metro down to the Olympic Park. At the big shopping complex near there is A place called Just Music, one of the largest music shops in Germany.

Here, they did EXACTLY what Thomann’s should have done the other week. A salesman listened to what I was telling him about my requirements, sorted out half a dozen guitars, put them in a little room with me, and then left me to it.

After about half an hour I’d whittled the choice down to two and following a lengthy discussion with Hans and the salesman I finally made my choice. So I paid up and left the guitar there for later collection.

We then headed off back to the underground for a train (and a bus) back to the city centre.

karlsplatz munich germany eric hallWe were planning for a mega-ramble around Munich today to see some of the sights and we started today at the Karlsplatz.

Mind you, it’s not everyone who knows it as the Karlsplatz, not even on some occasions the announces on the Underground system. Charles Theodore, the Elector of Bavaria after whom it was named was not very popular with the locals and the story goes that when he died in 1799, the locals held a party that went on for several days.

The locals call it the Stachus, which apparently was the name of a bar that once stood on ths site.

In winter, by the way, the fountain is switched off and it becomes a skating rink.

karlstor munich germany eric hallProbably the most impressive building in the Square and one of the most impressive throughout the city is the Karlstor, or Charles’s Gate.

It goes without saying that being an important city in medieval times, there were fortifications here that included a city wall – or maybe I should say “walls” because like most cities back in those days, rapid growth led to several concentric rings of walls to protect the expanding town.

The Karlstor, originally known as the Neuhauser Tor, is one of the very few surviving structures from the sesond generation of city walls erected in the latter part of the 13th Century and was certainly in existence in 1302.

But what we see today isn’t the original. The original was used as a munitions store and in 1857 the munitions exploded, destroying the gate. In the 1860s the gate was built and it’s quite different now from how it used to be.

Bürgersaalkirche Marianische Männerkongregation Mariä Verkündigung am Bürgersaal zu München Kapellenstrasse Munich eric hallWe walked on into town down the Neuhauserstrasse, stopping for a cold drink on a terrace where we could admire the Burgersaalkirche on the corner of the Kapellenstrasse.

To give it its full name, which is a bit of a mouthful, it’s the Bürgersaalkirche Marianische Männerkongregation Mariä Verkündigung am Bürgersaal, or “Citizens’ Hall Church of the Men’s Congregation of the Annunciation of Mary at the Citizens’ Hall. It’s a Catholic Church then, which is quite evident as Southern Germany and Bavaria in particular is a Catholic region.

It seems to have been at first a Civic Hall when it was built round about 1710 and became a church in 1778. Within it is the grave of Father Rupert Mayer, a Jesuit priest who was a firm and outspoken opponent of the Nazi regime but was spared execution by virtue of his popularity and also by the fact that he had won the iron Cross for bravery as a regimental chaplain in World War I during which he lost a leg while administering the last rites to soldiers in the Front Line in December 1916.

Isartor munich germany eric hallA little earlier we were at the karlstor at the west end of the city. We have now walked all the way through the centre and are now at the Isartor, the gate near the River Isar.

When the second circle of city walls was built between 1285 and 1337, this gate was added to control entrance to the city. The tower was built first and the two flanking towers later when the moat was created.

Unlike the Karlstor, the Isartor is pretty much as it would have been when completed. It is said that the restoration taken place in the 1830s followed the original plans, as were the repairs after the end of World War II during which it was heavily damaged.

interior Asamkirche church sedlingerstrasse munich germany eric hall
Hans had saved the best until last. It took quite a lot of finding but in the end Hans led me to the Asamkirche.

For this we have to turn the clock back once more to our favourite period of Munich Architecture and head for the years 1733-1746 and the Baroque period.

A couple of brothers, a sculptor named Egim Asam and his painter brother Cosmas wanted their own private church and so they bought four houses in the Sendlingerstrasse. Having done that, they set to work to create a veritable masterpiece to showcase their individual talents.

interior Asamkirche church sedlingerstrasse munich germany eric hallAlthough it’s known by the locals as the Asam Church, Its official title is the Church of St Johann Nepumuk.

Because it’s a private church, they didn’t have to conform to any established design and so could pretty much as they pleased. And for that it has some delightful little quirks. You’ll notice (or maybe you won’t) that the altar in the church is to the west, not to the east and Jerusalem which is traditional.

It’s said (and I have to say that I didn’t check) that the altar was so positioned that Egim could see it through the window of his house.

interior Asamkirche church sedlingerstrasse munich germany eric hallAnother little quirk is that it’s symbolically on three levels.

The lower third is for the congegation and is dark and sombre to represent the suffering of the world. The second section is in blue and white and is reserved for the Royal Family of Bavaria and whoever might be the Holy Roman Emperor.

The third part, right up in the roof with all of the wonderful illuminated paintings is reserved specifically for God. The fresco up there is called “the Life of Saint Nepomuk” and is said to be an example of the apogee of the talent of Cosmas Asam.

interior Asamkirche church sedlingerstrasse munich germany eric hallThe story goes that despite it being a private church and built to please the Brothers Asam rather than the church authorities, the neighbours were not very co-operative and insisted that it become a public place of worship and it’s for that reason that we are allowed in today.

And we are lucky to see it too because although damaged during the blitz of Munich in 1944, it survived without suffering very serious damage. Imagine a group of modern-day artists and sculptors trying to reproduce all of this?

In conclusion, I have seen some very opulent churches in my time – many that hardly correspond to the idea of “give all thou hast to the poor”, but this one outdoes them all

Munich Stadtmuseum Sankt-Jakobs-Platz München, Germany eric hallWhile we’d ben on our walk to find the Asam Kirche, we’d seen and interesting building away in the distance so we went to see what it was.

It turns out that it’s the Munich City Museum, in the Sankt Jakobs Platz. Ordinarily we would have gone for a wander around inside but with it being so hot, we’d sat for 15 minutes or so by the fountain just outside to cool down, and by the time we realised what time it was, we had to clear off.

Also in the square was a hideous concrete Brutalist structure that I didn’t photograph, considering that it was of no architectural merit whatever. I found out later that it was the Bavarian Jewish Museum.

Anyway we hurried across town to the Munchener Freiheit where we had arranged to meet Ulli on the way and stopping for a drink and a chat. I like Ulli.

English garden munich germany eric hallHaving done the socialising bit (after all the time that it took to find Ulli too) Hans and I threaded our way through the back streets to the English garden to see the swimmer and the surfers (and I am not making this up, as you have already seen).

We’re back in the days of the unpopular Elector Charles Theodore again. In an attempt to win back some popularity amongst the people after his failed attempt to sell them and their lands to the Emperor of Austria, he decided upon a series of civic imrorvements.

In 1784 he engaged the services of Sir Benjamin Thompson, a Loyalist American who had fled after the American Revolution, to undertake a modernisation of his army, and one of Thompson’s suggestions was a garden.

Although one of the aims was to make a public open space, its real purpose was to train the military in agricultural practices so that they could be loaned out to perform civilian work during times when the Army wasn’t fighting

monopteros english garden munich germany eric hallGradually, the military importance faded and the civilian leisure use of the park increased and under the direction of Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell who assumed responsibility of the Gardens in 1804, the Gardens adopted their current form

This building here is the Monopteros, built on top of an artificial hill that was created using leftover rubble from the renovations of the Royal Palace. There had been a wooden temple nearby but this had weathered away and so in 1836 they erected the hill and this stone temple of 10 columns, designed by Leo von Klenze.

The dome is actually made of copper, although you wouldn’t think so from here.

beauties in the schwabinger bach english garden munich germany eric hallIt’s not just the mound that’s artificial in the park. The river that runs through here and the waterfall are too.

The river is called the Eisbach, which means “Ice Stream and runs for about 2 kilometres through the Gardens, and the waterfall was created here in 1815. It’s an ideal spot to come and soak up the shade on a stifling hot day and to admire many of the wonderful sights that nature can create.

Hans and I remained here for quite a while resting out of the sun and contemplating the scenery.

swimmers in the schwabinger bach english garden munich germany eric hallThe Eisbach lives up to its name because it really is cold. I’m told that the temperature doesn’t exceed 15°C although of course I have no intention of finding out for myself.

Officially, swimming isn’t allowed but as the river is about the fastest that I’ve ever witnessed and the police would stand no chance whatever of catching the people who are flouting the law. They might just fish out a few of the bodies because there have been a number off atalities in there, people succumbing to the cold or to the speed of the river.

It’s not for me, of course. If the water isn’t at 37°C I’m not interested at all in it.

surfers schwabinger bach english garden munich germany eric hallSo we went off to watch the surfers, who you saw earlier.

Surfing first started here in the early 1970s, much to the dismay of the local authorities who tried to stop it. However, various forms of action by interested parties succeeded in reversing the Council’s decision and in 2010 it was afficially permitted and since then, surfers have enhanced the waves by using artificial devices.

We watched them for a while and noticed that they didn’t seem particularly proficient in what they were doing. I suppose that you can’t expect too much in an inland site like this.

Kayakers sometimes have a go at the waves too although they are not made welcome by the surfers and there have been confrontations between the two groups.

Later on, we went back to the music shop to pick up the guitar, and our walk concluded with a trip to the Munchener Freiheit and the Indian café there where I had another bowl of their delicious curry. And then it was time to come home. And hardly surprising – I’d walked 14kms today in the heat.

The guitar is beautiful. It’s an Ibanez softwood acoustic with a beautiful tone and sound, a nice deep bass and a good low action. I’m really pleased with this one. We had a play on it for an hour or so and then one of Hans’s friends phoned us up. Our evening concluded with a session in the beer garden.

Tonight is another night on the really comfortable sofa. And I’m going to make the most of it because there are apparently some Celtic remains in the vicinity that have recently been discovered. Tomorrow’s plan includes a little visit of the site to see what we can see.

And with my interest in that kind of thing, it should be good. My career has been in ruins for quite some considerable time.