Tag Archives: swimming

Sunday 21st August 2022 – HAVING FINISHED …

… all of my work for the weekend by Saturday afternoon, I did something that I haven’t gone for quite some considerable time, and that was that I spent a few hours doing nothing at all except passing the time on the computer to no good purpose.

It was probably something to do with crashing out during the morning and the strong coffee that I’d had at half-time during the football but it was 04:00 when I finally fell into bed and I wasn’t tired then either. But with no alarm in the morning, I didn’t care either.

No-one went past with a steam engine this morning but even so I awoke a couple of times and at one point I was even planning on leaving the bed. But at … errr … 12:30 I finally saw the light of day.

First thing that I did of course was to go for the medication and then the next thing was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were going for a ride on a fairground attraction but it was at an airport. We were in the queue and people just kept on pushing in front of the queue or pushing in ahead of us. There was no discipline in this queue. I rang up the owner or organiser etc to tell him. Of course while this was happening there were even more people pushing in to the front etc so that was a pointless exercise.

Later on I’d ordered a bank robbery in the style of THE LAVENDER HILL MOB with a few people, someone like Sid James and one of the women out of SAINT TRINIANS films. We had the money and secreted it away waiting for an opportune moment. Someone had come along and recognises Sid James as bandit from in the past, even though he’d been keeping his name quiet. Another member of my team came to hear about this and began to feel really edgy. He came to see me and I explained that this was all part of the plan. Instead of them using me to lay their hands on the money and no-one else I’d been using them to lay hold of their experience to pull the job and that I was well in control of the situation even if I didn’t think that I was.

And then there I was lying in bed until some ridiculous time when I decided eventually to get up. As I was sitting on the edge of the bed my father went past the room and shouted at me “isn’t it about time that I got myself going, something like that?”. So I started to dress. I picked up a few things and went downstairs into the street to walk down to the living room. I suddenly realised that I somehow seemed to have acquired one wellington boot and one cardboard box in which to fit my feet. I couldn’t understand what was happening here so I had to go back to my room and sort out some proper footwear so that I could go back down to the living room.

After brunch I did something even more exciting, which was to transcribe not one but two days’ worth of dictaphone notes from my trip around Europe. If I’m not careful I’ll be catching myself up at this rate and that won’t ever do.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022By the time that I’d finished it was time to go out for my afternoon walk.

Not many people down there on the beach today, and there wasn’t anyone sunbathing.

Not that I was surprised because it was quite cool this afternoon. at one stage I was wondering whether to put un a sweater or something. And had I done so, I wouldn’t have been the only one wearing one.

There was someone wrapped in a towel so if he had just come out of the water he’s a better man that I am, Gungha Din.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual while I was here I was having a good look around out to sea.

The first thing that I saw was something fairly large heading out of the bay past the Ile de Chausey and into the English Channel.

It wasn’t easy to identify it so I took a photo with the idea of enlarging and enhancing it when I returned hom later.

And in fact it’s a trawler heading out to sea, something that’s quite unusual for a Sunday. My understanding is that to preserve stocks, commercial fishing is discouraged if not prohibited on a Sunday. So maybe it’s a positioning voyage.

Unfortunately I can’t identify who she is at this distance.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022She wasn’t the only boat out there this afternoon.

The tide is well in so I imagined that the harbour gates and the port de plaisance are open. And with it being a weekend, every man and his dog have brought their water craft to the port.

Five or six yachts in this photo along with several other assorted craft, but really I could have taken a dozen photos from here, all in different directions, that would have included as many boats in each one

So on that note I wandered off on my walk. Today I’m going for my post-prandial perambulation around the medieval city walls

kayakers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Trawlers and yachts aren’t all of the watercraft out there this afternoon either.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m always on the lookout for a few oars here and there and I spotted some others out in the bay this afternoon.

Having seen the kayakers practising in the tidal basin next to the Nautical Centre behind the port, it’s no surprise to see a couple of them out here in the bay this afternoon.

The little wheels on the deck of the one in front are quite interesting too. I suppose that they help when you are trying to manoeuvre your kayak around on dry land. I remember the fun that I used to have trying to do that when I was kayaking at school.

swimmer plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway off I went around the walls and found myself along the little path at the foot thereof that leads to the Plat Gousset.

There was something flailing around out at sea and I wondered if it might be a dolphin or a whale or something like that. After all, there have sightings of all kinds of strange beasts in and around Normandy just recently.

But it is in fact a swimmer and he seemed to be making good and steady progress. And in this weather he deserves a medal.

There have already been REPORTS OF SHARKS IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. I’m not too sure if any are man-eating sharks but to be on the safe side I’d only swim far out if you are a woman or a child.

“And would a shark swallow me whole?”
“No. He’d spit that bit out.”

I’ll get my coat.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path leads on round to the viewpoint that overlooks the Plat Gousset and I always stop there when I’m round this way.

Down below there aren’t the crowds that we have been having over the last few weekends. The cooler weather today is keeping them off the beaches which is just as well as sometimes just recently it’s been overwhelming down there.

There was a line of people sitting on the concrete wall at the edge of the slipway down to the beach.

Don’t ask me why because there was no entertainment down there today. Some weekends, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there has been street theatre, musicians, all that kind of thing down on the Plat Gousset.

No policemen causing a road block this afternoon down on the corner of the Place Marechal Foch.

braderie rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were thousands of people milling about in the streets of the centre of the town though.

There’s another braderie taking place at the town-centre shops today. All of the streets are closed to traffic and the shopkeepers have set out their stalls for all of the passers-by.

It’s all surplus stock, last years unsellable items, this years end-of-summer-season sales with the aim of emptying the shops so that they have room for all of the autumn and winter stock that will be arriving soon.

In the past I’ve been for a wander down there but there never was anything that particularly caught my eye at a price that I could afford.

So resisting the temptation to go down the steps into the town, I carried on with my walk around the walls.

plant trough square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In the Square Maurice Marland there seems to be something rather bizarre happening.

While the square itself is descending into something of a less-than-genteel shabbiness we suddenly seem to have acquired a handful of plant troughs.

They are labelled with the names of individual “gardeners” who have presumably adopted the troughs and there are all kinds of things growing in them.

In this one for example, there’s what looks like a beetroot and some kind of strange plant with fruit that bear more than just a passing relationship to a tomato. Whatever the third plant it, I really have no idea.

dead leaves square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little further on down the path in the square there was something quite interesting to see.

This is something about which I’ve heard so much said just recently. The drought is causing all kinds of problems, one of which is that there is no longer enough water to hydrate the leaves of many of the deciduous trees.

The result of that is that many of the leaves are drying out and the tree is obliged to shed them in order to guarantee the survival of the ones less badly affected. That’s clearly quite evident here with dead leaves in the trees and an enormous pile of discarded leaves blown into a corner by the wind.

All of this behaviour in nature is in a sharp contrast with human behaviour. In humans, if one member is weak o unhealthy, the mother sacrifices everything to keep the weakest one alive. In the natural kingdom the weakest are often discarded to aid the survival of the strongest or healthiest.

yacht le loup port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was a small sailing ship just outside the harbour heading our way.

And so I waited accordingly until it came into view so that I could photograph it. I have a feeling that I ought to know who she is but no name springs to mind. Regular readers of this rubbish ought to recognise them just as well as I do these days.

With nothing else happening out there this afternoon I came home for a glass of iced coconut milk and then to sort out the photos.

After lunch today I’d taken a lump of frozen dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting during the course of the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When it was ready I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray where it could sit proofing itself.

When it was ready I assembled it and put it into the oven to bake and once more it looked quite appetising when it came out of the oven.

It tasted delicious too, which it always does these days. I seem to have found the knack of making them now which is no surprise after the number that I’ve baked over the last couple of years.

So having finished my notes, I’m off to bed. Despite the short day I’m exhausted and I’m ready for bed, especially with an 06:00 start in the morning. There’s a radio programme to do tomorrow.

Considering that Sunday is a day of rest, I’ve had a busy day today. In fact, I’ve had a busy weekend and if I manage to keep this up I shan’t know myself.

It’s quite possibly no coincidence that I had my first shot of Aranesp on Monday for over 2 months but I dunno. They say that it’s the injection of last resort and when I read THE SIDE-EFFECTS I can understand why. And now they want to increase the dose.

There’s no way that I would be having that injection if there were any other solution.

Thursday 28th October 2021 – NOW HERE’S A THING

man catching fish beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was out on my afternoon walk today I saw this guy bending down at the water’s edge with something in his had.

At first I thought that it was a carrier bag of some description but then I asked myself “is that a fish?”. Ohh no, it can’t possibly be a fist at all.

But when I examined the photograph more closely and enlarged and enhanced it somewhat, I could see that right in front of where he’s standing is a fishing net stretching out into the water.

And so the conclusion is that at long last we have actually seen a fisherman catch something out there and I bet that he’ll enjoy that with his cheap for his tea tonight.

Mind you, catching something with a net is one thing – catching it with a rod and line is something else completely and I’m not going to be really satisfied until I see a fisherman pull a fish out using his tackle and equipment.

Another thing about which I’m not satisfied is my sleeping just now. Last night was slightly better than the previous night or two but still not what I would call satisfactory. In fact, far from it.

And one thing that I never understand at all is that I’m lying in bed tossing and turning and not sleeping all the way up to 5 minutes before the alarm goes off – and then I’m out like a light for all of 5 minutes until I’m awoken.

That’s exactly how it was yet again today and once more, i wouldn’t actually call anything like “athletic” the way that I left my stinking pit.

There was still time enough to go off on my travels during the night I was with girl whom I’d met in Brussels for some part of the night. We were gradually working on our friendship and relationship. I was hoping that this time I might be able to make some kind of couple with her but it didn’t quite work out. And it didn’t work out in real life either, much to my dismay. I always seemed to find myself tangled up with these extremely religious people with high principles

Later on there was a game going on, something like “Just A Minute” where they were talking about repairing coaches. The girl sitting next to me used the term “panel beater” to which everyone objected. I told her that you could go into almost any garage in the country and find someone who would be described as a panel beater, painter and sprayer. She used this as the basis for her argument. In the end the presenter put it to the audience but before they could cheer or booh I awoke.

Later on, I’d gone round to see my friend near Munich. I’d bought myself a coffee from a van on the side of the road and gone to see him. We started to chat. I invited to buy him coffee so he ordered two coffees from this van. Then he disappeared. When he came back out of his house I asked him “have you drunk your coffee?”. He replied “yes, but yours is still over there on the van”. I had to go back to the van and pick mine up. There was something to do with a PA system that I’d seen for sale and I was wondering whether to buy it. he was going on about how nice a stack it was. Even though they were different components it all looked quite nice as a stack.

After breakfast I made a start on updating some of the journal entries from earlier in the month. That meant that the first task was the dictaphone. To my surprise several entries were missing. I’d copied them onto the portable laptop while I was away and instead of filing them to store afterwards, I must have deleted them.

There’s always some complication, isn’t there?

So firing up the laptop I found the files and I was in business. While I was at it, I also found another file or two that for some reason or other hadn’t been copied over when I returned home.

So now the first few days are updated, but this is going to be a long job. For example, only 29 other dictaphone files to deal with.

That took me up to lunch and then afterwards I had some post to be doing. I’ve received a few mails about my radio project and they needed answering pretty quickly. It looks as if I’ve been roped in for another event as well.

But turning my attention to more mundane matters, I really do wonder how I’ve managed to get to where I am today with some of the things that I’ve been doing.

Yesterday, the battery in the NIKON D3000 was flat yesterday, as I found out when I went to take a photo. Anyway, that went on charge when I returned home.

Today, just before I went out, I checked the battery in the NIKON D500 to be on the safe side. That was almost flat too and I wished that I’d checked it earlier so it would have had time to charge up.

And then I realised that a few months ago I’d bought two spare batteries for it. Only cheap low-capacity batteries but why they were important was that they came with a free charger that works off a USB port. I’m collecting USB items, like for example the AA/AAA battery charger that I found because they are lighter, easier to carry and just need the one cable.

So with one of the batteries now in the camera, I had another brainwave.

In the drawer is the old NIKON D5000 camera that worked for years until I dropped it, cracked the case and water ingressed and ruined the PCB.

That takes the same battery is the Nikon D3000 and the battery is still in it so I extracted that and put it on charge. We’ll see if it holds a charge and if so we’ll add it to the pile.

people on beach swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So somewhat later than intended I went out for my afternoon walk.

And this afternoon the beach was comparatively crowded. It was a really warm, sunny day for the end of October and with it being the school holidays, everyone had gone down to make the most of it.

So much so that on the extreme left-hand edge of the photo you’ll actually see someone swimming in the sea. I don’t envy him one little bit. If the water isn’t at 37°C I’m not going in it.

The path was crowded with people this afternoon as you might expect so I had to fight my way through the crowds towards the lighthouse.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I came out of the shelter of the College Malraux I was hit by the wind coming from a very unusual quarter – the south-west.

It was quite strong as well so I was expecting to see some excitement at the sea wall by the harbour as the waves will be picked up by the wind and hurled into the wall.

But this turned out to be something of a damp squib, didn’t it? The waves weren’t anything at all to write home about. Something of a major disappointment in fact. This was the best of a pretty poor lot of waves coming in on the wind

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was on my way along the path on top of the cliffs I noticed that the portable boat lift had been moved from its habitual resting place.

Thinking that it might be engaged in some kind of activity I hurried along to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what it it was up to.

To my surprise, I saw that it had been driven into the centre of the chantier naval, parked up and left there. There weren’t any boats about here at all.

All of this looks pretty weird to me. I’ve no idea what is happening with this. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the boat lift here overnight where some motorist might drive into it in the dark.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Over at the ferry terminal, the two Joly France ferries are tied up there.

On the left is the newer one of the two with the smaller upper deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format. The older one of the right has the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “Landscape” format.

And for once, the crane is folded up correctly.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and had more things to do, like splitting a couple of albums into their constituent tracks. And that wasn’t easy for one of them as the tracks ran into each other and I’ll have to think about this carefully.

Tea was the last of the aubergine and kidney bean whatsit, and now that my journal entry is done, I’m off to bed.

But before I go, I’m going to have to try my best not to be so cynical.

Some books that belonged to my grandparents and great grandparents have been discovered and apparently (not that I knew until long after the event) there was a “family meeting” (to which I wasn’t, of course, invited). It was “agreed” that a certain member of the family should take them in and care for them.

My immediate response was “well, that’s the last that anyone will ever see of them”. I really must stop being so cynical.

Saturday 3rd July 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… afternoon I’ve had.

After my lunch I came in here with my coffee to do some work, and the next thing that I remember it was 16:55 and my coffee was cold by the side of my desk.

The confusing thing about this is that I don’t remember falling asleep. It was another one of those occasions where I seems to have switched myself off into a stupor or a cataleptic spasm or something, without any memory of being tired or anything.

What’s bothering me about this is the issue of driving. If I switch off while I’m driving without realising that I’m falling asleep, this could lead to a catastrophe that cold have unpleasant consequences.

But talking of driving, Caliburn and I were out this morning going to the shops as usual on a Saturday morning.

When the alarm went off at 06:00, I was up and about quite quickly even though I’d had a late night. After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out if I’d been anywhere during the night. There was something involving a huge serpent that had been slithering around somewhere and had been causing people to be trapped in their buildings and houses and so on. I had the idea at a certain moment that I was going to trap it and take it to the Government and let it terrorise the Government for a change. So I had everything arranged in my mind about what I would do but actually when I went to do it the serpent wasn’t there. The thing had disappeared. That was a big disappointment so I had to abandon my plans. The moment that I abandoned my plans the serpent came back and started to terrorise everyone else again.

After a shower, a shave and a general clean-up we set off for the shops.

new building at rear of noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLast week at the back of the NOZ car park they had started building a new shop unit.

Although I had the camera with me then, I forgot to photograph it but I remembered to do so this morning. I wonder what they are going to be selling from that shop. I suppose that I’ll have to wait for a few months before I discover that. It’s not going to be a big shop that’s for sure.

At NOZ there wasn’t anything very much of any excitement – just some more vegan soup and a couple more small things and then I went off down the road to LeClerc for the rest of the shopping.

LeClerc had alcohol-free beer on special offer so I stocked up with some bottles. They had some more of those small vegan burgers so I bought another pack. I need to encourage them to stock more vegan products. Oven chips were on offer too so I bought a pack of those as well, although I’m not sure why I did that.

On the way back home we had one of these two-minute torrential downpours that soaked about everyone and everything in its path as it moved down the coast. But I was lucky to be able to make my way back home because there had been an accident or something right outside the entrance to the car park and there was total chaos.

And if that wasn’t enough, all the tourists have arrived now and the roads were jammed with people trying to find a parking space. I was glad to return home, where I had a chat with a neighbour who had arrived at the same time as me.

Armed with my toast and hot chocolate, I came in here and had a few things that I needed to organise for the next month or so and that took me up to a rather late lunch

After lunch I wanted to book my trip to Leuven and my hotel but the less said about the afternoon the better. i’m so dismayed and fed up about it all.

people swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so it was rather late when I went out for my walk and to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

But never mind the beach for a moment. Look at these two people. That had been previously on the beach of course but now they were having a load of fun splashing and swimming around in the water. Perhaps I ought to try that. It would certainly wake me up a little

But then on the other hand I remember when Castor and Pollux asked me if I was going to take part in the Arctic Dip when we were on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in the North West Passage.
“I can’t” I replied. “I have this catheter in and I can’t go into salt water with t”.
Castor asked me later “would you have gone in the water if you didn’t have the catheter?”
“No” I thought to myself. “I’d have found another excuse.

And that reminds me – whatever happened to Castor and Pollux? They haven’t been on a nocturnal voyage with me for ages. But then, there are many people who are conspicuous by their absence these days. Even my life during my sleeping hours is becoming very mundane these days.

Where did all the excitement go?

yachts boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s probably all going on out at sea right now judging by all of tha boats that are sailing around in the Bay of Granville this afternoon.

The weather might be warm but it’s still misty and the visibility isn’t all that much good with the mist that’s hovering around out at sea. We have quite a few yachts sailing around, but everyone seems to be heading back to the harbour right now. It’s close to high tide and if they miss this high tide, the next one will be in the early morning tomorrow so they’ll have to spend the night out at sea.

But that’s not a problem that’s going to affect me right now. I headed off down the path on top of the cliffs, trying to avoid the madding crowds. But I’ve no idea what prompted a group of young people decide to have a game of boules in the middle of the path so everyone had to walk in the grass around them or risk a broken ankle.

f-giki ROBIN DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was walking long the top of the cliffs I was overflown by a light aeroplane to I took a photo of it to see who it might be.

And it’s our old friend F-GIKI who we have seen on many occasions in the past. She’s a small Robin DR 400-120 that belongs to the Granville Aero Club and is used for flight training or refresher courses for pilots who need to keep up their licences.

She had taken off at 17:06, which looks about right to me, and according to her radar plot, went for a flight along the coast towards Avranches, did a lap around the block and came back home, where she landed at 18:11.

f-gdkm robin DR 400 140 B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce F-GIKI had flow off on her little adventure I was overflown yet agaon almost immediately.

This time it’s F-GDKM who has taken to the air. She’s a Robin DR 400-140B, powered by a Lyvoming 160HP engine and she’s a new aeroplane to us. It’s not one that I’ve noticed before. She’s owned by the Manche Aero Club and is available to hire for instruction at €131 per hour for a solo flight and €151 per hour for dual instruction.

She actually took off from the airport at 16:42, her second flight of the day, and did pretty much the same circuit as F-GIKI, returning at 17:31.

And while I was looking at the flight radar, there was something else that caught my eye. At 14:08 a plane had landed at the airport here, N65MJ which is a British registration and had set off from Turweston Airfield near Brackley in the UK at 11:48.

Si what’s a ‘plane from the UK doing landing at an airport where there is no international clearance in the middle of a pandemic when the UK is on France’s red list? I smell something fishy, and I’m not talking about the content’s of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile all of this was going on, there was plenty more activity going on out at sea.

More and more boats started to appear out of the gloom and mist and one of them was one of the Joly France boats that provide the ferry service to the Ile de Chausey. They will be quite busy right now with all of the tourists that we have around here and she certainly looks crowded.

There were a couple of yachts and other light craft out there too, but what caught my eye was what was going on out on the horizon. Just left of centres is a large mast that might belog to one of the larger yachts that plies for hire in the harbour.

However out towards the left edge of the photo there are some pretty big masts and I wonder if it’s Marité on her way home from wherever she’s been for the last few days. It’s certainly big enough.

trawlers l'alize 3 philcathane yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I’ve identified the white trawler that’s in the chantier navale at the moment.

As I went past this morning I was able to read a couple of letters of her name, and that was enough to tell me that she’s L’Alize 3, the trawler that we saw in the inner harbour last week. She’s up there on blocks next to Philcathane with the yacht Rebelle over to the right.

As for the black and white trawler, I still can’t remember her name and there was far too much traffic about today for me to stop and look. I’ll go that way for a look around tomorrow afternoon if I’m not asleep but I’m sure that she’s related to le Pearl. Her owners have a distinctive car and that car was parked underneath this trawler this morning.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now many of the boats that had been out at sea were coming into port, including Joly France

From this angle we can tell that she’s the newer one of the two because her windows are rectangular in “portrait” format rather than the “landscape” format of the older boats.

Now that Joly France is back home, I can go back home too. And I can’t say that I wasn’t sorry. It had been a tough afternoon.

Back home I put the coffee from lunchtime into the microwave to heat it up and then I came in here to push on with some work. I have plenty of work to do from Friday that I haven’t done yet and it won’t ever be done at this rate.

But whatever I did, it took me up tp teatime. A couple of the burgers from today with baked potatoes and veg followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce.

Now that I’ve finished my journal I’m off to make some bread mix. I need new bread for Monday so I can cook it while the oven heats up for the pizza. That sounds like a good plan.

Saturday 3rd April 2021 – HAVING HAD …

… a rather late night last night, I’ve had rather a hard day today.

Despite all of that I was still able to stagger to my feet at the first alarm and take my medication. And then after that I dashed off another batch of photos from August 2019 and my trip around North-Eastern USA.

By the time I finished I was crossing over the Powder River and approaching the border between Montana and Wyoming on my way to Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of probably the greatest defeat of US forces prior to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

A shower followed that and I set the washing machine off on a cycle (pretty clever, my washing machine) and I set off for the shops with Caliburn. And as I slammed the door the rattle and tinkle inside told me that the handle mechanism has disintegrated.

Now I’m having to scramble out of the passenger door until I can take the interior padding off the door and find out what’s happened.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that at the moment – let’s admire what I found parked up outside NOZ this morning.

It’s been quite a while a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, so here’s one to be going on with for now. It’s an Alpine Renault and by the look of the rear spoiler it’s an A310 fitted with the 2664 cc V6 PRV engine. The alloy wheels would date it from the late 70s.

The earlier models were fitted with the old Renault 1605 cc or 1647cc 4-cylinder in-line engine but it was woefully underpowered. The new engines made them go like stink but they had a great deal of trouble keeping the back end on the road – hence the rear spoiler.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was France’s answer to the baby Lotuses and German Porsche 911s but never really caught on. Its rather unusual rear engine and front wheel drive didn’t endear it to the public.

All in all there were about 9,000 examples of the V6 model sold, most of them sold in France. And the small numbers of sales and 40 years since the last one was manufactured make it quite surprising to actually see one still on the road in a place like this.

Now that I’ve taken my photos of the car I went off into NOZ to do my shopping. And it was rather a disappointment in there because there was nothing of any interest in there. All I came away with was a couple of cartons of that smoothie stuff. No Banana this time, just strawberry, but that’s nice too.

Having parked up in LeClerc I went across the road to Intersport where I bought another roll-up rain jacket like the one that I lost somewhere in Canada (a different one and a different place to the one that I left in a Hotel in Calgary).

Now that the weather is warming up I won’t be wearing my winter coat to Leuven. But I’ll still need something light, comfortable and durable to roll up in the backpack in case it rains.

Leclerc came up with nothing whatever of any interest so I bought the minimum that I need and then I drove on home.

But talking of driving, with France going in to a tighter lockdown tonight, the roads into Granville were in gridlock with Parisians fleeing to the coast to escape the lockdown, bringing the virus with them and infecting all of us. Going to the shops was difficult – going home was a nightmare.

Armed with my hot chocolate and slice of sourdough fruit-bread, I came back in here and ended up having a lengthy chat with Liz on the internet.

After lunch I sat down to start on the arrears of my Central European trip but unfortunately crashed out completely and definitely for a good hour or an hour and a half. This meant a rather late walk around the headland.

bathers coming out of water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking down over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach, I was rather surprised to see a group of people running out of the sea.

Whilst I hadn’t actually seen them in the water I had no doubt whatsoever that they had been in there. And even if I hadn’t been as nesh as I am you wouldn’t have caught me being in the water today. Despite the sun, there was a howling gale blowing and it was freezing. I was dressed for an Arctic winter and I was still cold.

Despite the cold, there were hordes of people prowling around outside. Most of them tourists, I imagine, come over here from other parts of France. The car park for mobile homes was absolutely full and there were vehicles turning up and turning away, disappointed.

f-gbai Robin DR.400-108 Dauphin 80 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the path on top of the cliffs, I was overflown by an aeroplane flying in the other direction towards the airport at Donville les Bains.

This aeroplane is F-GBAI, another one of the Robin DR 400s of which we have seen plenty around here. This one is a model 108 Dauphin 80, construction number 1289 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. She took off from Granville at 11:11 this morning for an unknown destination.

She took off again from Avranches Le Val Saint-Pere Airport at 16:09 and landed back at Granville Airport at 16:25. That flight corresponds with the time that I saw her.

There was nothing at all going on out at sea that I could see. Not one single boat, so I headed off across the lawn and the car park.

bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the reinforcing in the concrete on the roof of one of the old bunkers here at the Pointe du Roc.

This is the actual bunker concerned. Unfortunately the entrance has all been filled in so it’s not possible to go inside it. But I was interested to see the round aperture just to the left of centre in this photo. It’s actually, would you believe, a periscope so that the people in there could have a good look around without exposing themselves to enemy fire.

And I was right about the tourists. Just looking at the number plates on the cars I could see reference to départements from all over France. It seems that so very few people here care whether they spread the virus around or not and that’s a real disappointment.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I would have had the army out patrolling the roads and preventing so much movement a long time before this.

With nothing at all going on out at sea I walked around the path on the other side to see what was going on in the port.

chausiais joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port we have not only Chausiais but one of the Joly France boats that provides the ferry service out to the Ile de Chausey.

It’s no real surprise to see them over there at the terminal today. With all of the tourists appearing in the town today I would imagine that there are many who will be travelling out to the island today, some of whom will be staying for quite a while.

That would mean that not only will there be plenty of passengers wanting to travel out there as soon as time permits, there will be a lot of freight, like food for example, going out there too and for that they’ll need the services of Chausiais to ship it all out there.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut what doesn’t seem to be going out today are the fishing boats.

There are so many in the inner harbour that they are even having to tie themselves up in the loading bay underneath the crane. It’s a surprise because despite the wind the sea isn’t all that rough and it’s a bright sunny day, just the right kind of day to be out there hauling in the nets or the dredges.

It’s even more of a surprise too when we hear that the temporary agreement made a few weeks ago between the fishermen of Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands has been renewed for another short while, and also when there are so many tourists in the town who might be interested in trying some of the local produce.

Having seen or there was to see outside I came back in for my hot coffee and to carry on with my work until it was time to knock off for tea. Taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing from Thursday and followed by the last of the apple crumble with the remains of yesterday’s custard. Thoroughly delicious.

Bedtime now, and a nice lie-in because it’s Sunday. And with it being Easter, more hot cross buns for breakfast. I’m looking forward to that, I can tell you. And then I’m having a baking day, seeing as I’ve run out of pizza dough. I need to sort that out.

Wednesday 31st March 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day when I missed most of the afternoon due to crashing out on the chair in the office. And I’ve no idea why because I had the usual amount of sleep last night and I have to say that I slept quite soundly until the alarm went off.

When the first alarm went off, I leapt out of bed quite rapidly too, so it can’t have been a lack of sleep.

First task today after the medication was to begin the photos for August 2019. The actual preparation took a great deal of time before I could actually start on the editing. And then I couldn’t find the dashcam files for my trip around northern USA.

That actually wasn’t as desperate as it might sound because it led to a sorting out of the files on the big back-up disk. There were plenty of duplicate files and in the end by the time I’d had them properly filed (which took much more time than you might think), the amount of free space on the drive had increased to 1.18TB.

So finally having set up all of the base files and the like and created the directories I set off to start the editing. I was intending to do 30 before I stopped and I stuck at it until it was done, even if it meant a rather late lunch.

There were quite a few photos that would be of interest to various Groups on my Social Network so I had to prepare them for publication, and I also had A LOT OF FUN WITH A FEW OF THEM.

By the time that I knocked off for lunch, I was standing in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota. That’s the last resting place of all kinds of famous people such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as a few other people whose deaths WERE EXTREMELY INTERESTING.

After lunch I came back into the office to carry on with my work but to my surprise I crashed out. And it was a long, deep crashing out as well, right up to the point where I missed my afternoon walk. I was about an hour late setting out for my trip around the headland.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen you see these people here in the water you are probably thinking that we were having a nice warm day.

In fact it was rather warm and there was little wind, but I wouldn’t have said that it was warm enough for people to take to the waters. You wouldn’t catch me going into the water at this time of year, but then again, I’m pretty well-known for being nesh when it comes to things like this.

And so having looked up and down the beach for anything interesting and finding nothing at all going on, I cleared off along the path on the top of the cliffs towards the headland.

marker light english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the previous photo you couldn’t see the mist that was shrouding the area this afternoon, but here it is.

You can just about make out the Ile de Chausey on the horizon over there but you couldn’t see very much further beyond that. There was no chance of seeing any boats or anything else further out there, and the Brittany coast was quite obscured.

In the foreground is a marker light for the rocks at the foot of the cliffs. I say that it’s a marker light but I’ve often been out there at night as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I’ve never seen it lit. It looks as if it might probably be redundant.

From there I passed over the lawn and the car park towards the end of the headland.

peche à pied le loup mechanical diggers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t actually make the end of the headland straight away because the action going on out at Le Loup caught my eye.

There were the people – crowds of them today – at the peche à pied seeing as the tide is so far out this afternoon, but I was much more interested in the two mechanical diggers that had made their way out there to Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour.

If you examine the photo closely you’ll see that there is a pipeline that runs between them. That’s the one that we saw them laying the other day. And I know what it is now. I’m told that it’s to “evacuate the waste from the harbour”. What that actually means, I’m really not so sure but it doesn’t look very healthy to me.

Down at the headland there were a few people wandering around but nothing going on out at sea, so I carried on for my walk along the path on top of the headland towards the docks.

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I had a good look down into the chantier navale.

No change in occupancy in there this afternoon but there was a frenzy of work being undertaken on Hermes 1. The top deck is swathed in a tarpaulin and there’s something going on underneath. There’s a compressor going off and making quite a racket and if you look carefully at the photo you’ll see a cloud of either steam or water vapour coming out of a gap in the tarpaulin.

Her hull is masked off in brown paper presumably for a painting spree some time in the near future. There has been a great deal of work being undertaken on her and she’s having a thorough going-over.

komatsu digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it’s after 17:00 and it’s knocking-off time for most of the workers right now.

That presumably applies to the workers down in the harbour too. Here’s one of the diggers heading up the ramp at the outer harbour where the diggers park up overnight and at high tide so I reckon that he is knocking off for the night right now.

The guy down there carrying the baguettes seems to be quite interested in whatever is going on down there, because there is plenty of work going on in the outer harbour that we can’t see in this photo

workmen digger laying chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe need to look at this photo to see what has caught the eye of the man with the baguettes.

One of the diggers might be knocking off but the other one was working away quite hard this afternoon, along with the two men who are in attendance.

What they are actually doing is to sink into the silt some concrete blocks to which they will be attaching some heavy chains to which the boats will tie up when the tide is in.

And if you look closely at the photo here, you’ll see the heavy chain that they will be using. Having been out on the Spirit of Conrad I have seen them fish for a sunken mooring chain with a boat hook, pull it up onto the deck, tie the mooring rope to it and then drop the chain back overboard.

Having had a good walk I came back and the first thing that I did after making my coffee was to listen to the dictaphone, something that I had forgotten to do this morning. Last night we were talking about the work that I used to do, wandering around the town making notes. I’d been looking at some adverts in the newspaper for cars. I was making notes for cars for sale. It turned out that one of my colleagues owned a few of the cars that were advertised and he turned round and said “come on, what’s your price for these?”. I relied “I don’t really have a clue. I have to see them first for if they are white they are no good for what I want. We started talking about minicabs again, the firms that were based in Smallthorne. I was talking about two that came up, one opposite the camping shop and the other one a bit further down. Someone was saying “yes, they’ve changed a lot of their cars recently. They have a lot of new cars”. I said that I’d have to go out on the prowl like I used to. I told them the story of the time that I brought a coachload of people in to drop off in Hanley and how while I was waiting for them I was wandering around the town making notes of what was going on. I was talking to the guy who had taken over from me after I had left. He was saying “you only seem to be working one of your cases”. I replied “I’m not there any more am I?”. He replied “yes, there’s only one of your cases still working. The others are sitting there and there’s one that seems to be totally abandoned. There again, there was nothing owing in that particular respect. It was going to be a ‘nil’ case anyway”.

After that I did some work on the 2020 trip around Central Europe before knocking off to have my hour on the guitar. That was quite enjoyable and passed quite quickly.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta with vegetables followed by my apple crumble with soya coconut dessert stuff.

But now that my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping in the morning so I expect that I’ll probably be totally exhausted tomorrow as well. But at least I’m making progress, even if it isn’t as quick as I would like.

Tuesday 30th March 2021 – HAVING HAD A …

… really bad night last night, caused n the main by only having 5.5 hours of sleep, I’ve had a rather bad day today.

So bad in fact that most of the afternoon had been spent sleeping on the chair in the office. In fact there were times when I could quite easily have crawled back into bed and gone to sleep. and it probably would have been more productive had I have done so too.

But I can’t complain altogether because despite everything, today has been reasonably productive even if I didn’t spend the morning revising my Welsh (school is out for Easter by the way) as I had intended.

In news that will come as totally earth-shattering to most people, I’ve finally finished the photos for July 2019. And furthermore, I’ve burnt a DVD with those on it that I hadn’t burnt previously. This will be sent to Rosemary who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, accompanied me from Aberdeen to Kangerlussuak.

As well as that I’ve finished another page of my voyage around Central Europe and THAT’S NOW ON LINE.

There’s just one more page to do but unfortunately that’s the page where I ran aground months ago. So don’t expect that to resurface any time soon.

In the middle of all of this I had to break off this morning to go into town. I’ve run out of fruit so I need some to keep me going until Thursday.

la grande ancre lifeboat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set down the street towards town and I was arrested by the sight of the lifeboat going out and about for a run around.

They probably haven’t been out for a rescue but it does go out quite often for training exercises and the like and that’s probably what it’s been doing this morning.

There was plenty of other activity going on there at the Fish Processing Plant. Amongst the boats unloading there is our old friend la Grande Ancre who has probably been out collecting shellfish.

And there are plenty of vans parked around there too, presumably to take away the catch from the fishing boats. Whilst the Fish Processing Plant handles a lot of the catch, some of the boats belong to private enterprises such as wet fish shops or restaurants and they have their own vans to take away their shellfish.

Having watched them for a while I skipped off down the street towards town.

pointing rampe du mont à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the pointing that’s been going on on the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret next to the Rue des Juifs.

Having stalled for a few weeks, this project to have apprentices training on the wall seems to have led to something of a spurt and they have advanced quite considerably. Maybe they might even finish it some time soon and start on something else.

Down the steps I went and landed in the Place Pleville and then strode out to the Super U. With the bag that I had in my sac banane I carried away a couple of apples, a couple of pears and a couple of bananas.

It was a shame that the battery in the camera went flat at this point as I would have taken a few more photos while I was out.

Next stop was the Nautical Centre on the seafront. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned something about going on a sailing course and that’s the place to be. They were another one of these places where they know nothing but tell you “look on our website”. But at least they have courses and that’s always a start.

Next door to the CRNG is the Salle Hérel. That’s where the new vaccination centre is so I stuck my head inside to talk to someone. There was someone there so I started to tell my story but he cut me short. “I’m just the technician” he said. “If it’s a medical enquiry you need to come back tomorrow when the centre opens”.

So that’s something else that I need to do on Thursday morning on my way back from the shops. If I can have my second vaccination here instead of going all the way to Valognes, so much the better.

Back at the flat I carried on with work until lunchtime.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on work but I didn’t do a thing. I was curled up on the chair in here for most of the time.

When I awoke I was rather late for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the wall on the end of the car park I looked down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

It goes without saying that I had to admire those people down there on the beach. Not just those paddling around up to their knees but the people who were even deeper in looking as if they were about to launch themselves off swimming in the water. They are braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

Mind you, one can hardly blame them. The sun was out, there wasn’t much wind at all and according to my thermometer at my apartment it was 22°C. Not the kind of weather in which I would want to be seen in the sea but I could understand others wanting to have a go.

fishing boat ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach that there were people around.

Right out at sea by one of the lights on a rock off the Ile de Chausey is one of the trawlers heading off into the English Channel to make its catch. As we saw this morning, they are very busy at the Fish Processing Plant wit all of the boats coming in with their catches.

Having looked around at what was going on I headed off towards the end of the headland, weaving my way through the throngs of people who were out there enjoying the weather this afternoon.

Across the lawn and the car park I went, to see what was happening out at sea. But there was nothing whatever happening out there so I continued on my way along the path on the other side if the headland.

cars parked on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell that we are at the time of the Grande Marée. Just look at all of those cars parked on the harbour wall right now.

That is presumably where many of the people will be waiting for the “all clear” to go out onto the beach to scavenge for shellfish.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I’ve mentioned it before … “on many occasions” – ed … the foreshore is let out to commercial enterprises but at the very low tides of the Grande Marée the shore is uncovered beyond the commercially-let areas and the public has access to those areas.

They can scratch away to their hearts’ content subject to the rules and regulations about quantity and size

diggers laying mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso scratching away to their hearts’ content down in the harbour are the two diggers that are laying the new mooring chains. They seem to be having a whale of a time.

But it beats my why they are doing this now. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or two ago they had whole performance down there working on the mooring chains, digging them out of the silt and refurbishing them. So I wonder why they didn’t do this work then rather than making everyone come back now to do it again.

It seems to be typical of the authorities around here that they don’t have a complete programme of work. They drained the inner port a few years ago to replace the harbour gates, and then came back 6 months later to install the new pontoons. They could have done it at half the cost and in half of the time had they done it when the harbour was empty.

Then there was the notice board giving details of the Pointe du Roc. They dug up the grass and installed a path to there. And then 6 months later they installed the monument to the Resistance and dug up the path that they had laid to the noticeboard and replaced it with a path to the Resistance Monument.

They don’t seem to have the aptitude to be able to think things right through

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s yet more activity at the chantier navale today.

While Hermes I, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady are still on their stocks down there, Spirit of Conrad now seems to have cleared off back into the water after her little sojourn in the chantier navale, all fully repaired and ready for the coming season, if we are actually going to have a tourist season this year.

Hermes I looks quite nice today, all masked off with brown paper. if the weather holds I could see that she’s going to be sprayed with a new coat of paint in certain places. She’ll be as good as new, if not better, by the time she goes back into the water.

And having seen that, and having noticed that there was nothing else going on anywhere else, I cleared off back to my apartment. I have plenty of things that I need to be doing this afternoon.

One of the things that I needed to do was to make another batch of kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges around here so I whizzed up 4 of them to extract the juice which I sieved, and then added the brewing kefir that I had made last time. I’d left an inch or so of the mother solution to use as a starter and then added the sugar lemon and fig and then filled it up with another couple of pints of water.

By now the kefir in the big jug had mixed in quite nicely with the orange juice so I stirred it all around and poured it through my filter stack into the bottles.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo here’s the finished product, all nice and orange. That will keep for a few days until I’m ready to use it.

And you’ll notice that I’m using the two bottles in which I had bought the lemonade the other week. We can see how they get on under the pressure of the fermentation. And if they hold out well enough, I’ll know what to buy the next time that they have a special offer.

As I was settling down afterwards to carry on work, Rosemary rang me up. And we had another one of our marathon chats – a mere 2 hours and 24 minutes. I’m amazed that I have so much to talk about.

That meant that I missed my guitar practice and a few other things besides. But at least with the ‘phone and the headset etc, I could wander around and do other stuff while I was talking.

Tea tonight was some vegan nuggets that I had bought in Leuven and hadn’t eaten. They were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I’ll be having the rest tomorrow. They were actually quite delicious with veg and potatoes and the apple crumble that followed it all down was just as delicious. I am eating well these days.

Having written my notes, I’m now ready for bed. I’m exhausted and ready for a really good sleep and it’s high time that I had one as well.

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.

Sunday 11th October 2020 – SUNDAY IS …

… Day of Rest, but you wouldn’t have thought so today. I’ve been really busy.

And not just during the day either. Having gone to bed quite early, totally exhausted for some reason or other, I went off on the kind of rambles which would put me to shame in my daylight hours.

I started off around Oldham way last night although it turned out to be around Stockport. It was again to do with taxis. Someone had had a burglar alarm fitted inside their commercial garage premises and someone was talking to me about it, a passenger. I said that my vehicles are all fitted with stuff like this as well. As we were talking about this one of the alarms went off. I went round to see and they were busy trying to deal with this alarm so I had the long extension coil out that you could plug into it from where my car was parked but it didn’t quite make it. I was able to give a little advice to these 2 guys. They were Pakistani guys running this garage, talking about having their own taxi service so we talked about planning permission, where they could park their cars for it. They had plenty of room and plenty of ideas. And then all of a sudden one of the fridges had broken down, one of the freezers so they needed to move the stuff out of there. I have them a hand to do it. It was all like Indian takeaway food, all very unhygenic, stacks of mushrooms in these cardboard crate things, all over the place, stuff dropping off everywhere. It wasn’t the kind of place where I would like to eat once I’d seen how they were storing their food.

A bit later on there was something going on somewhere else where there were two guys, really tough guys who had taken over control of someone’s life. It was again to do with some garage or other – it may even have been the same one. They had beaten this guy severely and got him doing all kinds of menial stuff for them and they were getting him to brush the curtains with a wire brush. In the end you could see that he just put the brush down. They went over to talk to him and get him to do it again – “you know what happened last time” but you could see the look in his eyes. He had snapped. These two people were going to be in a lot of trouble once he let himself go. They couldn’t see it but I could. Then they started picking on me. One of them tried to push me arpund but I got him in a backbreaker on the floor and just sat there like that. He said “let me go! Let me go!” but I just sat there on him in this backbreaker just leaving him there. In the end he got free. “I’m not really interested in fighting you” I said. “Just leave it like this”. Then he started to try to provoke me again. I was sitting there doing nothing but I could see that the only way that I was going to stop this was by doing the same again like I did last time. I awoke in a feverish sweat at this point – something that I need to note because they ask me about this at Castle Anthrax.

Somewhat later, my brother and I had been somewhere in Caliburn and he was driving (as if that was likely to happen). We’d gone through Angouleme on the way out and driven for loads and loads of miles to see something and were then on our way back. When we got to near Angouleme (wr didn’t know that it was Angouleme at first) we saw a nice view. We thought that we’d go and photograph it. But then we thought that there was no road down there. He had a look on the GPS “there was a little bit of road further along here” so we went that way. We parked up and started to walk. We got to where this view was, a deep river with a gorge running through the mountains and this enormous tunnel as if the river had been canalised at one time and the river was flowing through there. I went to take a couple of photos of it but for some unknown reason my camera wouldn’t work. Every time I pressed the switch nothing happened. it gave a FAULT error. I tried three or four times but then gave up. We came to a building where there was a meeting place, museum or something with a lot of people walking around inside it. I wanted to take a photo of the inside but we weren’t allowed in as we hadn’t paid. We had to wait outside and take a photo through the door. Every time I went to take a photo someone stood in front of me and took a photo. In the end I pushed my way to the front and told my brother “next time this door opens, nip in and close a certain door (that I indicated) because the light coming in through there is spoiling the photo.” He did that and I took a photo but again the camera didn’t work. The woman in charge saw my brother and threw him out so we couldn’t take any more photos so we had to wander back. A girl with us (and I don’t remember her being with us at the time) who was definitely someone I know – maybe Maria, my Greek friend – said “it sounds like you have a card problem” so I took out the card. “Oh look” she said. “It’s melted” and it had as well. I thought “it’s a good job that there’s a spare one in the van”. We carried on walking but then I realised that I’m not using the SD card. There was another type of card in there. In the end I worked out how to take that out, clean it and put it back. That didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. It still wouldn’t work. We were walking on, now me, someone else (a Bourvil-type of character), a 3rd person and my brother. As we walked into Angouleme we somehow separated. My brother disappeared. We were following where we thought he went and ended up on a dirt road. We thought “this isn’t the main highway, is it”? We turned round and walked back. What we had by this time was a wheelbarrow that we were pushing. But it only had one handle so it was really difficult to push so we were taking it in turns. Two of us would carry it. We carried it in all different types of styles in order to exercise all differnt kinds of muscles. It was still awkward and we weren’t making much progress. The handle was a kind of wheelbrace, a metal one. Someone was walking past and I was pushing this wheelbarrow with its one handle and it suddenly flipped up. The handle flew over as the wheelbarrow canted over and the handle hit on the head the one who was walking past. I apologised but he had a good laugh and a smile about it. There we were in the countryside miles from anywhere, totally lost with a stupid wheelbarrow and a camera that didn’t work.

After all of that, what surprised me, and what will surprise you too no doubt, is that I was up and about as early as 08:45. It’s been a long time such a thing has occurred when I’ve not been going anywhere, hasn’t it?

Mind you, it took me a good while for my head to stop spinning round and it having come to a stop, I could get on and do things.

One of the things that I hadn’t done was to write up my notes from last night. In my state of health, the kind of walks that I’m doing with this monumental climb up the rock at the end of it is exhausting me more than you can imagine and I ended up being in such a state that as soon as the football finished I went straight to bed.

And so this morning I had to write them up. That was followed by transcribing the dictaphone notes. All of that took much longer than you might think too because with it being a Sunday I wasn’t really concentrating too much. Part of the time was spent sorting out some of the shopping that I had bought on Saturday which I still hadn’t put away properly, and that meant a little reorganisation in the fridge because it’s full to capacity.

After lunch I made a start on the work. There’s no bread here so I needed to make two loaves. The first was my fruit loaf – 250 grammes of flour with a banana, a couple of handfuls of raisins, a dozen or so ground Brazil nuts (I like my whizzer) and, for some variety, a good handful of desiccated coconut.

Then there was the main loaf. 500 grams of cereal flour with a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds thrown in .

One of the criticisms of my bread has been that it’s too dry. And so I left it rather wetter than I otherwise would have done to see if it improves things any. I put them both on one side covered with a damp tea towel and left them to proof.

Then I needed to feed my sourdough. I mixed it all well in, threw away some to keep the weight down to 100 grammes that’s effectively 50 grammes of flour and 50 grammes of water) and then added 50 grammes of flour and 50 grammes of water, mixed it all in, and then put it in a new jar- a thinner, taller jar. I put an elastic band around it where the level of the sourdough is, so that I can check if it’s rising.

That’s gone into the fridge where it can slowly ferment until next week when I can add some more. It needs feeding with the same weight of flour and water as there is in the mixture. So next week, I’ll have to add 100 grammes of water and 100 grammes of flour.

If I’d left the sourdough out in the warm, I’d need to feed it every day. The warmer it is, the faster is its metabolic rate.

But as I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … it’s just like having pets around the house, the sourdough and the kefir.

Woman Swimming In Sea Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time for me to go out for my usual afternoon walk. Twice, in fact. The first time was to take out the glass and plastic rubbish. It’s been accumulating for a while and the bag in which it lives was overflowing.

The second time was to make the most of the cold but sunny weather on my walk around the walls. And I wasn’t the only one making the most of it either, and certainly not to the degree that some were taking it. This is what I call courageous. You wouldn’t get me in that water in these kinds of conditions for all the tea in China.

it reminds me on the time on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR when Castor and Pollux asked if I would be taking the Arctic Dip when we were in the High Arctic.
“I can’t” I replied. “I’m not allowed to go into salt water with this catheter port in my chest”.
“What would you done had you not had that catheter there?” asked someone standing close by after they had cleared off
“I’d have looked for another excuse” I replied. I’ve been up to my knees in the Davis Strait 700 miles from the North Pole and that was quite enough for me, thank you.

Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving observed our lady friend for a few minutes, urging her on, I carried on along my path underneath the walls. No chance of going for a run. Far too many people around for that.

Round at the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I could see what was going on down there. Just a handful of people down there on the beach this afternoon and not one of them taking in the sun, never mind going for a swim. Clearly the hardiness of the locals is something restricted to just a few.

But the seaweed scattered all over the beach had attracted my attention. The storms just recently have been so violent, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that they seem to have torn a pile of seaweed off the seafloor and dumped it on the beach

Building Material Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route then took me off around to the Square Maurice Marland. Too many people for me to break out into a run so I had a nice walk.

Out at the end I could see down to the docks, and in particular the loading bay where the Jersey freighters come in to dock. And there’s a pile of building supplies in bags down there waiting for loading so it looks as if either Thora or Normandy Trader, or maybe even both, will be coming into port some time soon.

And that reminds me. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Thora. They have pretty quick turnrounds these days down at the port but I would have expected to have seen it at some point just recently.

And from here I headed on home to my apartment.

Home Made Vegan Pizza Banana Bread Home Made Bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack at the apartment I had a look at the bread. Despite having proofed for well over an our, it still hadn’t risen too much but nevertheless I gace them both a good kneading, shaped them and then put them in their mould.

With the bread being of less weight than in the past (it goes too stale by the end) I used a smaller mould – one of my silicone moulds. The bread was sticking too much to the porcelain one that I have been using. The fruit and nut bread went into the usual small cake mould. I came back in here and did some more work.

With about an hour and fifteen minutes to go before teatime I switched on the oven and stuck the bread in it to cook. Meantime, I rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer at lunchtime, put it onto the greased pizza tray, folded over the dges and left it to proof for forty-five minutes.

When it was ready, I prepared the pizza. It was nicely timed because as soon as I’d finished it, the oven switched off with the bread. So I took out the bread, tipped out the loaves onto a wire grill to cool, switched on the oven again and bunged the pizza in.

It took about 30 minutes to cook – and cooked beautifully too. The edges had risen quite nicely and I’m impressed about how this folding of the edges has turned out.

As for the taste, it was delicious. And I didn’t have any pudding because it was quite filling.

St Helier Jersey Channel Islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter tea, I went out for my usual evening walk.

The sky was really clear tonight and you could see for miles. All the way out to St Helier on Jersey in the Channel Islands. And it’s not every day that I can see so clearly like this all the way out there in the dark. It’s 58 kilometres out to St Helier, as I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … so to see the street lights of the town like this is quite surprising.

And you can clearly see the red aircraft warning lights on the radio tower on the hills at the back of St Helier. And what is the bright light to the left of the image? Is it a fishing boat out there working?

Brittany Coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter taking the photo I walked on along the path at the top of the cliffs on the north side of the headland.

Away in the distance the lights of the small towns all along the north Brittany coast were shining really brightly tonight. You could see all the way down the coast as far as St Cast le Guildo where we slept overnight on board Spirit of Conrad back in July. Right out to the right-hand side of the image is the light of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres away and you won’t see it much clearer than that.

Here I was nearly bowled over by a couple walking along with one of these LED headlights to see where they were going. Somehow though they didn’t see me until they had almost knocked me over

Le Loup Jullouville Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey were the only people whom I saw. No-one else was out there tonight enjoying the pleasant evening.

On the point of the headland there was a nice view across the Baie de Mont St Michel over to the promenade at Jullouville. Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was looking quite nice tonight in the starlight. The reflection of the flashing light on the water came out really well.

From there I carried out my three runs tonight. One along the top of the cliffs to the viewpoint, the second along the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner into the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, and the third one from the church back home. And as for the second, I extended my run by another 10 metres tonight. I’m not far from the brow of the hill now and another couple of weeks shall see me over the top and down the other side.

Back here I’ve written up my notes, and now it’s bedtime. Back to work tomorrow and I have a live concert to edit and engineer ready for broadcast. That’s not a work of five minutes.

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.

Tuesday 14th July 2020 – IT’S NOT BEEN …

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall… a good day again for anything as far as today goes. And while you admire the kids leaping off the diving platform into the sea I can tell you all about it.

So starting as we mean to go on, I missed the three alarms this morning. Or, rather, I did actually hear them but somehow I just couldn’t manage to drag myself out of bed right them.

It was actually about 07:30 when I finally plucked up the courage to leave my stinking pit and that kind of thing is no good to anyone. It’s very disheartening.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

As it happens, I was on the Spirit of Conrad last night all on my own and it was all about sailing across the Atlantic. I’d collected loads of supplies but I didn’t think that there was anything like enough because I didn’t think that it would take such short a time as a week to cross. But anyway I collected these supplies and put them on board. Then they slipped the mooring and I had to walk the boat out of the harbour then get on board and start to sail her away. I made it out to the Isle of Man and moored in the Isle of Man for the night. Next morning I found myself out on the coast of Ireland setting off for a single-handed sail across the Atlantic and I can’t even sail a yacht.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later during the night, having gone back to sleep I found that I had stepped back into that dream again.

It was a house run by some kind of old woman. I was in a room there and she was discussing the fact that all of the tenants they really needed to clean the bath when they had used it because there were so many people needing the bath. She looked at me and said “you’ve not had a shower for a long time Eric”. “Of course I have” I replied. “I had one when I got on the Spirit of Conrad” which was 2 nights ago. She thought that it was yesterday when I had set sail. She said “well I didn’t see you there but if it was yesterday then that’s OK”.

It beats me why Spirit of Conrad is featuring so much just recently on my nocturnal rambles. In my normal awakened state (such as it is) I haven’t really thought about it at all.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo being up and about I did some kind of desultory tidying up ready for my Welsh class.

It’s the last part of this course and then we go on two months’ break. When the course restarts we have to pay to go onto the next level but it’s not expensive by any means.

So when we finished we all said our goodbyes to each other and “see you in the autumn”. But how many of us will is anyone’s guess. We started with 12 and we ended up with 6 after 10 weeks but those who are left were keen enough.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter lunch I attacked the radio project. It was my plan to have it done this afternoon so that I could start on other things.

And indeed by the time 18:00 came round I had finished it off. I could – indeed should – have finished it earlier but Brain of Britain here miscalculated and it ended up being one minute too long.

The only other suitable track by the same artist was only 40 seconds shorter so then I had to go through everything and edit out 20 seconds of speech from the recording so that I ended up with exactly one hour.

I’m not allowed to overrun.

mobile canteen for film crew rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual interruption for my walk around the walls in the afternoon.

Not that I had gone very far before I came to a halt. Here at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord is a food van – a mobile canteen.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall me mentioning that there’s a film being made here. While I’ve not yet been able to catch the cameramen in action, I’ve found where the staff and the actors go when they knock off for lunch

My plan is to nip out round about lunchtime and see if I can spot anyone famous having a butty.

trawler english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was there at the viewpoint I noticed a ship in the distance.

From here I couldn’t identify the silhouette. I thought at first that it might be Chausiais off on another run out to the Ile de Chausey, but when I enlarged and cropped the photo when I returned home I noticed that it was actually one of the larger fishing boats.

And it seems that I know the one too – the black and white one that was in the chantier navale once. However I can’t think of its name right now and I’m sure that you don’t expect me to be able o see it from here.

hang glider crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe crowds were thronging around in their hordes this afternoon.

The pathways were clogged with people strolling around on this Bank Holiday day. And not just terrestrial crowds either because we had quite a few people up in the air too.

You can also see the crowds on the beach too. The day wasn’t that warm – I actually had a sweater on – but it didn’t deter them very much at all, even though the tide was well in and there wasn’t much beach to be on right now.

kids on diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were plenty of people in the water too this afternoon even if it wasn’t that warm.

These kids were enjoying themselves as you can see, climbing up onto the diving platform and then leaping off into the void.

Strangely enough – or maybe it isn’t – the girls were the more adventurous here. They were leaping off without a second thought whereas it took the boys a good few minutes to pluck up the courage to leap off into the cold water.

That showed the boys a thing or two.

sailing school yachts baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy route took me round to the Square Maurice Marland to check up on my baby seagull. He wasn’t there but his mummy was, so unfortunately I have sore misgivings about him.

The other baby seagulls were resting so I had a look at the yachts out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel. The sailing school was in full flight with plenty of yachts out there right now.

It makes me feel that I have missed a trick here. I should have been out there with them learning to handle a boat. What I need to do is to go down and talk to them and see what’s going on and what I need to do.

And, more importantly, when I need to be doing it.

hang gliders pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way home again, I felt the cold hand of death hover over me.

One of the hang gliders from the field by the cemetery has made it this far. And when I say “one of” – I really mean “two of” because if you look closely, it’s a tandem. And the passenger has his phone on a selfie stick taking a video of the flight.

But when the shadow passes overhead, I can understand how the Hobbits felt when the Nazgul passed by overhead.

Back here I finished off the radio programme and had the usual hour on the guitars. And then tea time.

Burger and pasta in tomato sauce followed by apple crumble and my soya coconut stuff. And even though I say it myself, this apple crumble and the bread from Sunday are total perfection. I couldn’t hope for anything better than this.

My plan was, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is to go out for my evening walk. But just as I was preparing myself the phone rang. Rosemary wanted a chat and we had a lot to say to each other, so by the tile that we finished it was … errr … 23:15.

Too late to go for a walk, which is a shame so I stayed here and finished off my journal.

Lots of things to do tomorrow, but only routine stuff and my two courses. But I also need to do some preparation because I have a cunning plan, more of which anon

Saturday 27th June 2020 – MY APPLE PIE …

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hall… passed a very important test today.

And while you admire the photos of a bunch of baby seagulls – the first one being the seagull chick that we’ve been following – I shall tell you all about it.

But we’ll start off by mentioning the fact that this morning I beat the third alarm, just for a change, and was actually half-dressed when it went off. I could do with a few more like that too.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a downside to waking up completely at the sound of the first alarm though.

After the medication I went to listen to the dictaphone but it didn’t help much. Last night I can’t remember at all anything about what I was doing but it was an enormous mega-ramble that I was on, something to do with the seaside and the moment that I awoke when the alarm went off, it wiped everything out of my head completely.

And how disappointing was that? As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have a far more exciting time when I’m on my travels during the night than ever I do when I’m awake.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst thing to do this morning was to tidy up the place a little – and that included steam-cleaning the kitchen.

That’s the one thing about having people coming round to the apartment visiting – it motivates me to get the place looking as if someone actually lives here.

Following that, I could go and have a good shower and a general clean up. And a weigh-in too. And that weight that I put on at the last weigh-in now seems to gone off again.

Either that or my bathroom scales are about as reliable as the blood testing machine at Castle Anthrax.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallFollowing that I made a flying visit to the shops.

First port of call was NOZ where I spent the grand total of €3:19. Two cartons of coconut milk for drinking, another packet of these breaded soya steaks and I can’t remember what the fourth thing was now. But it can’t have been that important.

LeClerc wasn’t that much better either. If I hadn’t bought a net of juice oranges and another batch of falafel (I was looking in the wrong place last week) the expenditure there would have been the same as well.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the visit to the shops I called in at Happy Cash – the second-hand shop on the edge of town.

That wasn’t a very profitable visit because they didn’t have in stock what I wanted so instead I fought my way back home through the traffic.

A final bit of tidying up and then my visitors arrived – bang on time. One of my colleagues from the radio and his wife were in town and they came round for a chat and a cup of tea.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile they were here I gave them a slice of my apple pie and it definitely met with great approval, which pleased me no end, I have to say.

After they left, I sat down to make a start on the photos from July 2019 but shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair.

Crashed out good and proper too for probably about an hour or so. It was 13:40 when I finally pulled myself together – and that was a waste of a morning yet again.

Surprisingly, when I listened to the dictaphone the following morning, there was a recording on it timed at about 12:30 today. I must have gone off on a voyage while I was asleep.

I was on holiday and in a hotel in one of the rooms looking out of the window over the street. There were people in the street and I was listening to Runrig on the radio. At the end of the concert I went to switch it off with the remote control but it wouldn’t actually switch off. I had to physically walk over to the radio and switch it off. That reminded me that something else had happened about this before and I’d been in the same position. It was getting close to meal time and at meal time I was going to go down with my friend. I’m not sure who my friend was – it might have been Rosemary. Then I realised that half of my party were leaving and they would be boarding a plane later on in the evening. I wanted to go to see them off because someone very well-known to regular readers of this rubbish was going back home with this group of the party and I wanted to say goodbye to her. However we weren’t particularly speaking at that particular moment but even so I couldn’t bear the thought of her going away without me saying goodbye to her. So then I realised that not everyone would be going to the airport – only a few people – those who were leaving would be going. I wondered if I could think of an excuse to go down with them but then I didn’t know any of the others well enough to be able to tag along with them to say goodbye. The thing I wanted most in the world was for her to turn round and wave at me and say goodbye even if she didn’t want to speak to me.

And doesn’t that sound familiar to the regular readers of this rubbish? A certain series of events are still playing on my mind after all this time and it doesn’t look as if I’ll ever shake them off.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallIt had been pouring down with rain during part of the morning and it still looked wet and miserable outside so I had lunch indoors today.

Afterwards I had a good look at the hard drives on this computer. Believe it or not, I’m running out of space already and that’s not very good at all. There is going to have to be some serious shuffling around of stuff to make more room, and I’ve made a start on that already.

But interestingly, I came a cross a directory that had been misfiled probably back in 2007 or something like that and there was a whole raft of photos in there – a couple of thousand in fact, that I knew I had somewhere.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a good couple of years ago I spent a whole week trying to hunt down a particular photo and I could never find it.

Well, after this afternoon’s exertions I now know where it is – and where a whole load of others are too, and I delighted a few friends on my social networking account by posting a couple of them on there too.

After all of that, that was the cue to go for a walk. It was pretty windy outside and cloudy too but at least the rain had stopped.

no waiting filming rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallFor a change, I decided to go for a walk around the walls this afternoon.

But I didn’t go far before I came to a halt again. “No Waiting” signs in the car park at the head of the rue du Nord so I went to look at the statutory notice to see what was going to be happening.

It looks like our little corner of the town is going to become famous because they say that they are going to be making a film here in a week or so’s time. That should be interesting.

swimming plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallA few minutes agi I said that the rain had stopped, but that it was still windy and cloudy.

It wasn’t the weather that I would have chosen to have gone into the water, but these people seem to be having a load of fun splashing about in the sea this afternoon.

And they weren’t alone either. I counted probably about a dozen other people havign a good swim around out there this afternoon. made of hardy stuff, these Normans. But then they are all mostly descended from Vikings so anything is possible.

beach tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that may well be true for some, but not for others.

All the money that the commune has (quite rightly, in my opinion) spent in revitalising the tidal swimming pool and here we are, the last weekend in June already, and there’s only one person looking as if he’s anything like in it.

It’s so quiet down there on the beach that the three lifeguards are having a Union meeting and paying no attention whatever to whatever is going on behind the.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallMissing out on the roofing job in the Place Marechal Foch, I walked on round to the Square Maurice Marland to check on my seagull.

The baby that we have been following doesn’t seem to be very lively, but I spent a good 20 minutes watching the antics of these triplets wandering around on the roof flexing their wings. They seem to be getting ready to take to the air pretty soon.

Interesting though it was, things really started to liven up when mummy flew back to the roof. The three youngsters seemed to know instinctively what was going to happen next as they all swarmed around her squawking.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, mummy duly obliged.

She promptly vomited up a huge pile of half-digested seafood and the three little ones tucked in eagerly and greedily to their afternoon snack.

Mummy then took to the air and flew back down to the shore – presumably to go and find dessert to bring back for them. I must admit that I’m no bird-watcher (well, not THAT kind of bird anyway) but I’m fascinated by these seagulls and how their instincts drive them on to know what to do

gas pipe rue lecarpentier granville manche normandy france eric hallWhere this family of seagulls is situated is not very far at all from the steps in the Rue Lecampion where they have been doing all of the work. That was obviously going to be the next place to visit seeing as I was in the vicinity.

And they seem to be making quite good progress right now and I imagine that it will be finished pretty soon. Most of the trench has been backfilled and the cobbles in the lower part have now been tamped firmly home.

Another week or so and they may well be packed up and gone.

cat on digger rue cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallWell, theoretically speaking, that is.

They won’t be able to move the digger for a while because someone else has taken possession. Sitting there on one of the tracks acting as if he owned the digger, which he probably did by now.

He was quite a friendly little cat and I spent a good five minutes giving him a good stroke. Stroking a cat is very good for the stress, so they say. When Nerina and I were together we had four cats so Heaven alone knows what I would have been like without any at all.

repointed wall place du parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that they have spent the last couple of weeks repointing and cleaning up the wall that they repaired in a hurry last year.

We saw a photo of them working on it during the week, but now they seem to have cleared off. Their van is gone too so that must mean that they have now finished.

And it’s quite a reasonable job that they have made of it too. What I’m hoping for now is that they will show the same zeal and vigour around the rest of the walls that seem to be crumbling away faster than they can repair them.

bottle of champagne discarded place du parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallThere has been a lot of talk in the British media about the litter louts in the UK who have been leaving mounds of rubbish all over all kinds of various tourist areas just recently.

In France too, we have our own problems with litter louts leaving their garbage all over the place. But you have to admit that our litter louts are ina completely different league than the UK.

Where else in the world would you find discarded champagne bottles lying around?

My hour on the guitar was spent playing the acoustic guitar. I need to become accustomed to playing that again although i’m not very happy about it. It’s a cheap thing with three steel and three nylon strings and the action is far too high on it

Tea tonight was, as usual, one of my breaded soya steaks with a potato and vegetables, followed by a slice of pie and the last of the delicious banana sorbet.

With it being damp and windy I waited a while before going out for my run, and just as I had made up my mind to go, Rosemary rang me up. We ended up chatting for a good 90 minutes as usual.

While all of this was going on I was engaged in a dispute with someone at the radio. My programme wasn’t broadcast again tonight so we “had words”.

The guy who acts as the main technician for the radio told me that he has a life and that he is only paid to work on Monday morning and all day Tuesday for the radio so we should think ourselves lucky that he’s there.

For my part, I reminded him that we volunteers also have lives and that we aren’t paid at all for our work – in fact, the money and all of our equipment and travelling expenses comes out of our own pockets so he should think himself lucky that we are here. And I mentioned how disappointed I was to read his comments.

In fact he had spent 25 minutes sending me all kinds of screenshots to prove that the programmes were set up correctly, whereas all he needed to do was to click on the link to the broadcast (5 seconds?) and he could hear for himself that it wasn’t going out.

It makes me shudder to think about the attitudes of some people – it really does.

By the time that I went for my evening run it was almost 23:00 – but I went all the same. There was nothing to photograph, for the rather prosaic reason that I couldn’t see very much.

The itinerant was there though, buried deeply in his hedge. Fast asleep, I imagined.

One thing though – and that was that my run tonight was so much easier. I wonder if it’s anything to do with the digestion process that’s using up too much energy shortly after a meal.

But I’m off to bed. And a lie-in tomorrow. There’s a lot to do so I can’ta fford to hang about.

Wednesday 27th May 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

people swimming in water plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall… you’re wondering what the weather has been like today, this photograph will tell you everything that you need to know.

As you can see, crowds on the beach, crowds in the water, everyone having fun. We’ve had what is easily the hottest day of the year. The thermometer that I have outside went up well into the 20s and at one stage peaked at 24°C.

That is pretty good going for a seaside resort in May with the winds that we have around here.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd they were still at it later on when I went for my evening walk and runs.

Admittedly I was a little earlier than usual, but nevertheless there would be no reason to suppose that there would be fewer people there 15 minutes later.

And you can’t see everyone either. There were crowds picnicking on the lawn behind the bunker of the Atlantic Wall and even several little groups sitting down on the grass behind me.

crowds picnicking on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd even later on, they were still out there in droves.

As it was getting dark, the tide still had a long way yet to come in and there were people taking full advantage of that fact by having their picnic on the beach.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen groups of people picnicking down there for a couple of nights last week. I wonder if it’s the same group or whether these people are different.

yachts speedboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just on dry land that there were crowds of people either.

There was the usual motley collection of fishing boats out working, but also a relentless stream of pleasure craft out there in the English Channel and the Baie de Mont St Michel. There’s a couple of yachts in this photo and a speedboat too.

And that’s just one photo of any dozen that I could have taken that would have featured multiple marine craft.

As for me, the day started off thoroughly miserably today.

In fact, it’s probably fairer to say that it ended miserably last night, although that’s not really true. I was planning on going to bed early but some decent music came onto the playlist and while I was listening to it, someone in North America with whom I wanted to chat appeared on the internet.

And by the time I finished talking, it was … errr … 02:30.

Not the slightest danger of m being up before the third alarm today. That goes without saying. The only surprise was that I actually made it up by 08:30.

First job after the medication was to set the yeast to work. 400ml of lukewarm water, a dessert spoon of sugar and a packet of yeast, and then leave it to ferment.

After breakfast I set about making the bread. Although THE LADY AT HARRINGTON HARBOUR who showed me how to make bread had a tendency to fight with her dough, the general opinion around here is that I’m being too rough with it.

It doesn’t need to be put near warmth to make it rise afterwards, apparently. Just leave it a couple of hours under a damp cover.

So I decided to follow these new counsels, and that’s what I did. Treated it gently and then left it.

While it was leaving, I came in here and finished off the radio project. That took longer too because my final speech overran by a country mile the 45 seconds that I allow for it and it wasn’t really possible to edit out the extra.

Instead, I had to hunt elsewhere for bits and pieces that I could cut out to reduce it to the 1:00:00 dead that it’s supposed to be.

By this time the dough had been standing for well over two hours so I went to see how it was going.

People were telling me that it should have doubled in size, but that was rather debatable. Nevertheless, I carried out the next stage of the proceedings which was to grease my bread mould, shape the bread dough and drop it in without mixing it any more.

Then cover it with a damp cloth and it should rise again to double the amount.

While it was rising, I made an apple pie with the last of the pastry rolls out of the fridge. Just one pizza roll to go now, which I’ll use on Sunday.

Having trimmed off the excess I made an apple turnover with that.

During this last bit the oven had been on and warming up, so I bunged the pie and the turnover in. The bread had risen … errr … somewhat, but I bunged it in the oven as well. Otherwise I’d be waiting there now. I reckon my yeast must be going off or something.

home made apple pie apple turnover orange ginger cordial home baked bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallIn the heat of the oven, the bread went up like a lift as I watched it. But only on one side despite it being in the centre of the oven. And why it does that defeats me completely.

For lunch I finished off the bread that was left and then made myself an orange and ginger cordial seeing as I’d run out of the lemon stuff.

By this time the pie and the turnover were cooked, and the bread looked as if it was done as well.

It’s still not shaped right, with only rising on one side, and I’ve no idea why it does that. One of life’s little mysteries, i suppose.

This afternoon I made a start on my accountancy course and managed to complete about three quarters of this week’s work before it was time to go for my walk.

people swimming in water plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I said earlier, the weather was really beautiful today and everyone seemed to be enjoying it.

They seemed to be keeping their social distance too, which is always good news. We’re still on probation with this relaxation of the rules.

So far today there have been just 191 new cases and 66 deaths and that is looking rather optimistic. But people need to keep their heads and their social distance to avoid a second wave of the illness which, if history is anythign to go by, is usually far more virulent than the first.

And as Terry Venables once famously said, “If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again”.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallSo in the glorious summer weather, in just my shirt sleeves (and trousers, of course) I walked on around the walls.

At the lookout over the Place Marechal Foch I had a look out and down over at the building on which they’ve been replacing the roofing, to see how far they have reached.

It’s a big job of course and I wa expecting it to be keeping them out of mischief for quite a while. But they are cracking on like nobody’s business over there and another week might actually see them finished at this rate.

citroen traction avant 11L place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back towards home I passed by the Place Cambernon. And here I was distracted somewhat.

We’ve seen this vehicle before – the other day in fact in the Rue du Roc. And also a couple of months ago, but that’s another story. Today though the owner was with it so I went over for a chat. He had bought it from an auction in this condition, and it’s maintained by a garage in Sartilly that has a couple more.

It’s a 1954 model, and a Citroen 11L by the way, not a 7L. You can tell that by the thickness of the C pillars. The 7L like mine has pillars that aren’t so thick.

Being low down and front wheel drive, it sticks to the road like glue and flat out, it’ll do 110kph. However the noise at anything above 90kph is unbearable. “It’s like an aeroplane” he says. There’s no soundproofing and there’s no heat insulation either so with the engine being up near the bulkhead (the gearbox is in front in these) the engine heat is unbearable.

No seat belts either. He told me that the Law is that if the vehicle is unmodified and as it was as it came out of the factory, then factory specifications is fine. So if the belts aren’t fitted when new, it doesn’t need them as long as he doesn’t modernise the car in other ways.

fishermen in zodiac plat gousset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen a couple of zodiacs flying around as well just recently.

There was another one out there today too. Not the yellow one that we’ve seen a couple of times, or the other one that’s been around a couple of times, but a third one, I reckon.

Judging by all of the equipment that they have on board it, it looks very much as if they are setting off on a fishing expedition somewhere off the coast by Bréhal-Plage.

workmen in boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being such a nice afternoon I went for an extended walk and that took me around to the viewpoint over the harbour.

The big cranes weren’t doing very much, but there was a small water craft scuttling across the harbour with a few workmen in it. It looks as if they are heading for the new pontoon that they’ve been installing.

Somehow I’m not convinced by the use of the boat. I can’t see why they couldn’t walk around the harbour. It would probably do them good.

Back here I had a look at the music course that I’ve started.

It’s evident that I’m not going to finish it either because despite it only being advertised at the weekend, it’s already in week 3 of 6. And the standard is way beyond where I am musically, and that’s not counting the fact that it’s on the piano and i’ve not played the piano since I was 12.

But in the hour or so that I was looking at it, I learnt an enormous amount already, including why “7” chords, such as A7 or E7 are so called. And the way the tutor was talking, I was expected to know that.

There was still the hour on the guitars and then tea. A slice of pie with baked potato and veg and gravy, followed by my apple turnover.

trawler seagulls baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOutside in the evening heat I ran off up the hill and it was awful. I felt every step of the way. However am I going to manage when it’s really hot?

Past the crowds sunbathing and picnicking in the evening, and across the lawn out into the Baie de Mont St Michel I saw this fishing boat come into port. And you can tell that it had a full load of fish in the hold because of the trail of seagulls following it into port.

And I wonder what is the bird that photo-bombed my picture.

Interestingly though, as soon as the fishing boat turned into the harbour, the seagulls cleared off. I wonder why, and where they went.

yachts biae de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut there was still plenty of other maritime traffic to be going on with.

A little earlier I mentioned the yachts that we had seen out in the English Channel. As I was wondering about the fishing boat, the yachts caught me up and I would admire them. The one in the distance looked as if it was going to slalom around the buoys offshore, but the nearer one caught my eye with it towing its dinghy behind it.

It’s certainly the life, isn’t it? Being out there on a boat like that. If I weren’t so ill I’d be out there on my own boat like that. But then, if I weren’t so ill I’d be still in the Auvergne and not here, so it doesn’t make any difference.

traffic lights rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallI ran down across the top of the cliffs on the southern side and stopped for my pause for breath in the usual place.

And it looks now as if the cranes have gone. Finished what they are doing, I suppose, folded their tents and crept off silently into the night.

The traffic lights are still there though, although in a different place. And I can’t see why because of the bend in the road. Still, it’s shopping day tomorrow so I can go for an investigation on my way out.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy resting place on this leg of my run overlooks that chantier navale so I could see what they were up to in there.

The two larger fishing boats that have been there for a while are still here, but the two smaller ones that came to join them a couple of days ago have now gone back into the water.

So on that point I walked up to the road and ran all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury to my next pause for breath.

seagulls pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the cranes gone, I went to look at the pontoons to see where they were up to.

It’s not what I would call finished, but they evidently think so. All of the bits and pieces that we saw on there the other day, they have been removed too.

But it’s impressive to see just how quickly the local wildlife moves in and takes over. Just look at all of the seagulls congregating on the pontoons!

So on that note I ran on down to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord. There was nothing doing there (except our picnickers) so I ran on home again.

What’s surprising me is that despite the shorter day, I managed to accomplish so much. Not like me at all. There is still a mountain of arrears to do but at leat I haven’t fallen behind any more.

Saturday 22nd September 2018 – OUCH!!!

That was what I call a bad day.

It started off reasonably enough with me being out of bed at 08:00. Unfortunately I hadn’t realised that Rachel was working the Saturday morning shift too these days, so the place was rather like the Marie Celeste.

That all took me back to bed, where the next thing that I remember was the hordes coming back at lunchtime. I had a little chat to Rachel but she said something about the leaves in the pool (yes, we have a swimming pool here now) and so I put on my coat to go outside and fish them out.

By that time Darren had returned and he was going at it, and he passed the baton over to Amber. So I came back inside.

Butties for lunch, seeing as we now have some bread, and then we discussed a few things about our plans for the afternoon.

It was at this point that I had a funny turn. To counter it, I went into my room to sit down in the armchair to let the feeling pass.

Next thing I knew was that Rachel was waking me up for supper. 19:15. I’d been out for about 5 hours. And a shame because I’d been up in the High Arctic again.

Totally unsteady on my feet I tottered off for supper and a chat, and then had that same old feeling so I came back in here.

I think that the three weeks away has finally caught up with me and I’ll be like this for a while.

I shall have to pull myself together.

And hats off to whoever sat down and read 72 pages of my blog today. You deserve a medal

Friday 3rd November 2017 – I KNEW …

… that I would suffer for my exertions this last week or so. And sure enough, today was the day.

Although I was out of bed at the appropriate time, I didn’t feel much like it, I was creaking and groaning from every joint and after breakfast, I sat on the sofa and hardly moved. Just the odd mug of coffee and stroll down the corridor, but for much of the morning I was sitting here on the corner of the sofa dozing away.

After lunch I was back on the sofa again for a couple of hours and away with the fairies again. But I knew that I ought to be doing something positive; so I went for a little walk.

shetland trader port de commerce granville manche normandy franceI was right about the pile of gravel on the docks though.

But it wasn’t Pluto or Victress who came for it, but a new arrival, the Shetland Trader. I’ve not seen her before.

Built in 1992 and almost 3,000 tonnes, she’s come from Buckie in Scotland, via Southampton and Alderney for the gravel, which she’s taking over on the usual run to Littlehampton.

But it does make you wonder what hope the UK has after Brexit when it has even to import its gravel from abroad.

With the rain trying its best to break through the clouds, I carried on around the walls.

swimmers beach granville manche normandy franceAnd there aren’t half some courageous people around these days.

Here we are in November and there they are down there, two women who have decided to go for a swim in the sea. All that I can say is “good luck” to them. Rather them than me.

I stood and watched them for a while, but didn’t squidge them with my welly – I left them to it and came back home for coffee and a warm, although I still haven’t put the heating on yet.

Later on in the evening, after having had a good chat with Rosemary on the telephone, I roused myself enough tp make tea. Mashed potatos, vegetables and a vegan burger. I even struggled out for a walk.

But I won’t be doing anything else. I’ve had enough and I’m going to bed.

Saturday 14th February 2014 – WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME …

… that I had a severe attack of cramp during the night?

It’s a good while ago, and so I was quite surprised to have one last night. Severe was not the word, and to make matters worse, there’s one position – my “recovery position” – where I can take the strain and ease the cramp a little, and I had an attack of cramp in that position too as soon as I eased myself into it.

It was absolute agony for a good 15 minutes before it eased off.

What was sad about this is that I was in the middle of a big discussion with Sir Winston Churchill and we were inspecting a couple of VW Beetles, having to be very careful about opening the bonnet of one of them in case the two kittens underneath escaped.

It was cold, wet and miserable this morning, raining in torrents. But I still set off for Montlucon and the shops. The only exciting items purchased were the 2nd and 3rd series of the Hercule Poirot TV series. Of course, they came from NOZ as you might expect. It seems that they are some kind of weekly or monthly offering in the French press and NOZ gets hold of the unsold copies.

But it’s really quite funny llstening to Poirot in French. 90 is translated into “Quatre-vingts-dix” as you might expect from a French TV station, but as everyone knows, Poirot is actually a Belgian and so he would never say “Quatre-vingts-dix” but “nonante”. In fact, all of the slang is translated into Francais de Paris rather than Francais de Bruxelles and it makes a complete nonsene of Poirot’s insistence all throughout the series that he’s Belgian, not French.

Mind you, who am I to complain? Any moral high ground that I might have had went right out of the window when Professor McGonagall said to the students of Hogwarts “I’ll be with you momentarily” in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I died of shame when I heard that, and it still makes me cringe even now.

At Brico Depot I bought a pile of floorboarding, some more beading, the missing hinge (about which much has been written) and all of the hardware for the wardrobe doors. I’m set up for next week now (I hope).

On the way back, I stopped off at Ice Station Zeb … errr … the swimming baths at Commentry. It was freezing although the water in the smaller pool where there’s the bubbling spa was warmish. I had a shower (which was the whole point of going) and tonight I’m going to treat myself to clean bedding.