Tag Archives: Tawny

Wednesday 16th March 2022 – AFTER THE OTHER NIGHT’s …

… disaster I remembered to take that pill and decided that I would stay awake and work until I felt really tired.

The wisdom of that idea was quite apparent when it was 02:00 and I was still awake and at the computer.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that at 07:30 when the alarm went off I managed to fall out of bed. Definitely a case of “shaken but not stirred”.

And that became apparent when I came back in here after the medication where, settling down in my comfy chair, I went to sleep again. And that’s how I stayed until 09:00

Part of the morning, once I was properly awake, concerned organising the music again. I had to make a new playlist for one of my batches of music for a start, and then there was some sound files that needed chopping up.

There are dozens of those and the first one proved to be far more difficult than anyone might imagine because after the first 5 tracks, the rest of it doesn’t go in accordance with the running order that I have. In the end after much binding in the marsh, I abandoned that and did three different ones.

That leaves me with about 30 to do. A mere bagatelle.

Something else that I’ve been doing is to run through another pile of photos from th High Arctic in August 2019. And if anyone thinks that they are having problems with prices in the shops these days, then HAVE A LOOK AT THESE in Qikiqtarjuaq, an island in the Davis Strait between the far North of Canada and Greenland.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me glad at times that I don’t live in the High Arctic and I feel sorry for those who do. And my hat goes off to the girl whom I met in Edmonton in 2018 and subsequently on several occasions who threw up her life in Montréal to go and live among the Inuit on Baffin Island

We had the usual interruptions for breakfast (and my coffee machine, while not perfect, is a vast improvement on the old one) and for lunch. I even spent some time having a little sort-out in the kitchen.

But don’t worry – it was only a little one. These new pills aren’t working that well.

As well as that, I sent off an order to Amazon. I need a new course book for the next lot of Welsh lessons, and while I was at it, I ordered a new dictaphone identical to the one that broke down a couple of months ago.

It served me well for a considerable number of years and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Using the ZOOM H1 is too inconvenient when it comes to playing back. Of course I copy it onto the computer to listen to it but it needs a lot of enhancement in order to be able to hear it.

There was also a pause for a shower, and then I wandered off out for my rendezvous with the physiotherapist.

lorry with trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen quite often one of the main problems that arises when you live in a walled city – big stuff can’t pass through the gateways and has to trns-ship.

We’ve seen on many occasions this lorry (or one very much like it) and its trailer with the digger on board parked up at the Porte St Jean whenever there’s road work to be carried out within the walls

It has to stop here and the driver has to drive the digger off and through into the town under its own steam to get where it’s going and that’s not the work of five minutes either. But there’s no other solution unfortunately – at least, one that’s practical.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You didn’t notice it in the previous photo because I enhanced it but I’ve not enhanced this one, so you’ll notice the rather strange, eerie yellowy-green light.

There’s a dust storm blowing up from the Sahara and it arrived at my friend’s in Munich yesterday late afternoon. But now it’s arrived here and we’re having it. It’s certainly a strange effect.

However, returning to the subject-matter of the photo, the tide is well out at the moment and there are no fishing boats moored up at the Fish Processing Plant.

And there aren’t any ferries at the ferry terminal either. They must be all at sea this afternoon, just like I seem to be these days. But at least they’ll be back sometime soon, which is more that I will.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down at the loading bay in the port there’s a pile of freight that’s accumulated on the quayside.

That tells us that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming in within the next day or two to whisk it all away.

And no large masts in the harbour either. That tells us that Marité is still in Cherbourg having her annual check-over ready to start work for the summer season.

By now it was starting to rain – enough to dampen my enthusiasm but not enough to dampen the spirits of the boulonauts who carried on playing. It’ll take more than a torrential downpour to stop them from playing.

renewing road surface abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had yet more activity taking place.

That’s the site of the old railway branch (you can still see the rails) that used to go to the cold store where they used to keep the cod that the trawlers brought into port when fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland was still undertaken.

Nowadays it’s a short-cut for pedestrians but at the moment it looks as if they are resurfacing it. I wonder what it will look like when they finish it.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapists was just as good as it was on Monday. And once more she had me on the couch massaging my patella with her electric machine. And then I had some exercises to do.

But the knee doesn’t seem to be strengthening and the left knee now seems to be hurting. I hope that the doctor can see something on the x-rays about which he can do something.

brick capping rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain still pouring down, I walked through the completely deserted town centre and back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

When I reached the place where they had been repairing the wall, I had a look at the brick capping that they put on top a good few months ago.

There is still no pointing in between the bricks and the moisture that will penetrate will destroy the capping if there’s any frost to freeze it.

Mind you, by the look of things, winter is a thing of the past. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we haven’t had a winter this year, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll have another one ever again at the rate that things are going.

le coelacanthe trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now, the tide is much further in.

A big bunch of the smaller boats with shallow draught is down there at the Fish Processing Plant, all unloading their catch with the various vans and lorries of the owners waiting to take away the harvest.

Behind them, a few of the larger ones are waiting for the gates into the inner harbour to open so that they can go in. We can of course recognise Coelacanthe, the green and white trawler with the gold stripe.

There is even a trawler moored up at the ferry terminal out of everyone else’s way as the rush begins.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain that was falling, I was all ready to rush home. But there was one thing that I needed to do first.

But it didn’t really matter because there was no-one down there on the beach. And that’s no surprise because I wouldn’t have been out there in this weather had I not had to.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone.

War had broken out so they were arming the island on which Zero lived with battleships and things like that. My father noticed and made some kind of comment and I replied but I can’t remember what I said but it was basically to do with the fact that we are all in this together. And here’s another voyage in which Zero was involved and I can’t remember how or why. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on, everyone was getting their stuff out ready to welcome the Ukrainian refugees. One lot that was to come hadn’t come so the people who were waiting to show them their way threw all of their paintwork and the Ukrainian flag into the hedge back on someone else’s land. This caused a lot of problems and they had to prepare the stuff again. It turned out then that someone still had the stuff wrong even though the gates were now open. They were going around in yellow and blue even though they had nothign to do with the situation in the Ukraine.

Finally I was with my brother and someone else. I was supposed to be going outside but it was raining. I took some hot water with me anyway and poured it into the bath but I just lay down and curled up under a blanket or quilt any old how. I wasn’t interested at all in anything. The water was going cold and I was asleep under this quilt. The 2 of them walked past so I gave them a wave and curled up back underneath my blanket again. A little later I was climbing up this hill. There were loads of buses and coaches full of all kinds of children heading down the hill. It looked as if it was like a Sunday School outing or something. I got to where I was supposed to be going. I had some clothes baskets with me. I was going to do someone’s washing. I put down the baskets and the dog moved them so I told it to bring the baskets back. To my surprise, it did. That was quite amusing for both me and the woman who owned the dog when she realised exactly what had happened.

There was much more than this too but you really don’t want to know about it

There was no tea tonight as I had the first of my 5 revision lessons. Instead I grabbed an “unlabelled” frozen pie out of the freezer, defrosted it and warmed it up. To my surprise it turned out to be a vegan lentil pie. There are two more slices of that in the freezer so now that I know what they are I’ll have another tomorrow with potatoes, veg and gravy.

The Welsh lesson was something of a disaster. We were 14 students and the aim was to put us in pairs to chat about topics that the tutor gave us, and then to swap around after 20 minutes. And I’m just dismayed about how much I don’t know and how much I’ve forgotten.

Now i’m off to bed. I have two days with no interruptions so I need to get a move on and hope that no-one interrupts me and I can crack on with work. After last night, I need a good sleep.

If you aren’t tired, you can WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS of last night’s football. And there was so much that they have cut out half of them, which is a shame.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Sunday 13th February 2022 – I DON’T EVER …

… want to have to do that again! NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET has got nothing on this!

But anyway, last night I was in bed by 22:00 with the alarm set for 05:00 and hoping to have a good sleep.

But that was some hope because I was off on my travels during the night and I must have gone so far that I really don’t know how I had any sleep at all.

At some point I was with a girl who has featured on several occasions in the past, usually with her brother who was a friend of mine and who both lived on a farm, but tonight she was with another girl – I don’t know who she was but I know that I know her. We were tidying up a pile of stuff, just generally chatting. The farmer’s daughter had to go out for something that just left me and this girl. The conversation turned round to that girl and me. I said that I don’t want anything to happen to her because I’m rather fond of her. This girl was rather surprised so I said “yes but I thought that most people knew that”. She asked if our farmer’s daughter knew that and I replied “of course she did”. “What did she do?”. “Nothing” I replied. “She had her own life to live etc”. I explained that we’d been out once or twice. She asked “what was she doing?” I said “it was just like this”. “Any snogging?” she asked. I replied “no unfortunately”. “Why on earth not?”. “I didn’t want to drive her away”. She wanted to know if she was married with kids. I replied that she was and had 2 kids. The conversation just drifted around like that. I thought that the farmer’s daughter would only be gone for a few minutes but it must have been ages that we were having this chat.

And before anyone grasps the wrong end of the stick, the fact that she is a farmer’s daughter has nothing whatever to do with Deep Purple.

Finally I was in the Army last night, looking through a pile of files and lists. No matter how hard I looked, all I could find were details of an assignment to the Entertainment Unit. They were all put in an envelope ready to be sent off to some kind of competition or show or something. There were all people there, including Jimmy Clitheroe but I couldn’t find anything in these service records and service history at all. This was really annoying. In the end there was a sergeant there who was responsible for the paperwork. I asked him and he pointed to these envelopes and said “but it’s all there”. I shouted that it wasn’t. I said that all it was was these application forms for this concert thing. I picked them up and dropped them in the bin. I told him precisely and in no uncertain terms exactly what I wanted. He started to go through the filing cabinet trying to find all this information.

Wherever did I find the time to go to sleep?

It didn’t take me long to tidy up and I decided not to make any sandwiches because I only get into trouble when I eat them and I’ll be home in time for a late lunch. So at 05:30 I had already handed in the key and was well off down the road.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022As I approached the railway station I went to have a look at the Martelarenplein.

We’ve seen this now every month for the last I don’t know how many years and and I have to say that for the last half-dozen or so months there seems to be very little, if any improvement.

Just like every building project in Belgium, they are really taking their time with this and at the rate that they are going, I reckon that I’ll be finished long before they are here.

05:50 when I arrived at the railway station so I had 19 minutes to wait in the freezing cold and wind before my train came in.

class AM96 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022The train this morning is the 06:09 from Landen to De Panne via Brussels Airport and the City Centre.

Today it’s one of the AM96 electric multiple units. Fairly modern, quite clean and comfortable and I’m quite happy to be aboard one of these.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have mentioned their unique features before. When a train is made up of two trainsets, the rubber ring makes an airtight seal around the join and the drivers’ cabs swivel round out of the way so that you can walk from one trainset to the next.

We arrived at Bruxelles-Midi at 06:49, 28 minutes before my train to Lille. And this was when disaster stuck. There on the sign was “07:17 to Strasbourg via Lille cancelled”.

That was certainly a tragedy. With it being a weekend, the 07:47 direct to Paris doesn’t run either so that was that.

At the ticket office they proposed the following itinerary –

  • 08:17 to Lille Europe arriving 08:51
  • 10:42 from Lille Flandre to Paris Gare du Nord arriving 11:48
  • 12:59 Paris St Lazare to Lison arriving 15:31
  • 15:52 Lison to Granville arriving 16:43


Only three hours later than usual.

But if anyone thinks that I’m going to be waiting for almost two hours on a draughty, freezing cold railway station in Lille they are mistaken. I have another plan. But in the meantime I went to buy some food from Carrefour. I have a feeling that I might need it at this rate.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022Wherever I go, it has to start with the 08:17 to Montpelier via Lille

It’s one of the PBA (Paris Brussels Amsterdam) TGV Reseau 38000 trainsets and when I boarded it I could see exactly why my train had been cancelled. Two trainloads of people were “squeezed” into this one and it was still empty. I don’t suppose that they considered it worth their while to run the earlier one if it only had half the number on board that this one had.

There are a couple of small seats stuck in a corner by the baggage racks so I grabbed one of those and settled down while the train shot off into the void.

When it reached Lille Europe, I stayed on board. Next stop is Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and from there is a Reseau Express Regional (RER) D train that goes into the city centre and out to Orly. I can alight at Denfert-Rochereau which is 5 stops and 40 minutes away, and then it’s 3 stops on the traditional metro to Gare Montparnasse.

The chances are that with a good run I could still catch my 10:59 train to Granville.

So at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport I hurtled off the train and up to the RER platforms on the level above to find “No RER Service today to Paris”.

That’s all I needed.

Plan C involved legging it right across Terminal 2 (which is enormous) to the other side and the express buses that go to the Stade de France RER station. That’s on RER line D so I need to change at Chatelet. I would lose 5 minutes but who knows?

Strangely enough, whenever I’m at Terminal 2, I ALWAYS SEEM TO BE REQUIRED TO RUN.

airport express coach stade de france paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022at Gate 2F I leapt on board a waiting coach and we shot off round and round the ragged rock until we finally found the exit that took us out onto the motorway and into northern Paris.

And there we hit a pile of roadworks and a long queue of traffic and I watched the time on my fitbit melt slowly away as we tried to jostle our way into the only lane that was moving.

We eventually made it to the Stade de France railway station. My train was to leave Montparnasse at 10:59 and as I alighted from the bus it was 10:59 precisely.

Never mind, it was a good try. At least, with all of the running around that I had to do I must have lost a good few kilos.

train RER D gare de stade de france paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022Now that I’m here I may as well push on.

Down on the platform I waited for the train to come in. The next stop is the Gare du Nord anyway and that gives me plenty of opportunity to work out something else. There has to be a Plan D somewhere.

At the Gare du Nord I didn’t even come up into the daylight. Here is RER line E and the terminus of that is at Gare St Lazare (well, near enough anyway) so I may as well see what gives there.

printemps department store rue caumartin paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022Where the RER station emerges into the street is right at the back of the Printemps Department Store.

Round at the front is the Boulevard Haussman where you find the headquarters of SPECTRE and several other extremely exclusive premises. But as you might expect, I’m not going that way. I’m going in the opposite direction.

There may be a considerable amount of time to spare but I’m not going to go for a look around in Printemps. It’s the kind of place where people like us need a credit account in order to simply look in the window.

gare st lazare paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022When I was here last I didn’t have too much time to take a photo of the Gare St Lazare so here we are. We can see the clocks that we saw last time outside the building but from a different perspective.

And here, I had my only slice of luck today.

When I arrived I noticed that there was a train to Caen at 11:59, one hour earlier than the one to Cherbourg on which they had booked me. Now if there would be a train from Caen to Rennes that connects with it, I will be à la maison and sec as they say around here.

Sure enough, the train arrives in Caen at 13:58 and at 14:10 there’s a train departing for Rennes so I sallied forth into the ticket office with right and a certificate of cancellation on my side.

Bombardier Regio 2N 56670 caen normandy france Eric Hall photo February 2022Just by way of a change I met a very pleasant and helpful SNCF ticket agent who took one look at all of my paperwork (Government officials on the mainland LOVE paperwork and rubber stamps) and issued me with a ticket for the earlier train.

It’s one of the really comfortable and quick Bombardier Regio 2N electric double-deckers. I was in the front coach upstairs with about 2 other people so I could settle down with my bread rolls and have a crafty nibble.

When the ticket collector came round I showed him my original ticket and gave him all of the rest of the paperwork that I had and he hardly bothered to check them. I went back to eating my bread rolls and listening to Hawkwind again.

And I still think that the violin solo on STEPPENWOLF is one of the best that has ever been recorded.

Bombardier B82650 84555 gec alstom regiolis gare de granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And here I am at Granville. My train is the Bombardier B825 on the left.

When I arrived at Caen it was already in and raring to go. It was quite full too and there are no luggage facilities, seeing as it’s a cross-country train. But I struggled aboard and eventually found somewhere for my suitcase and me.

There is no electricity on board these trains so I didn’t switch on the laptop. All the way to Granville I listened to COLOSSEUM LIVE on the telephone.

As I explained a while ago, I usually encounter interesting young ladies in peculiar situations whenever I listen to this album, such as in the High Arctic in 2018 and again a year later on the same ship in the same seat in the same place when I had two of the strangest encounters that I have ever had in modern times.

Today though, I’ve already had so many strange encounters, one way or another, that I probably wouldn’t have noticed another one by this time.

It’s no surprise that I dozed off for 10 minutes on the way home. And I immediately went off on a little wander. I was with another taxi driver and we were talking to a third. He had had the right to an engine in compensation for something but his wife at the time was now living with yet a fourth taxi driver and he had received this engine. He had fitted it into his car, “the T-reg”. I was surprised that after all of these years he was now back on the road but the reply was yes, it’s called “Creamony Cars” or something like that

Here at Granville on the right is the train that I should have caught. It beat me here (assuming that it was on time) by about 2 hours. And I don’t suppose that that was too bad because there was a moment when I was standing in front of the sign at the RER station at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport that I thought that I would never arrive at all.

The walk through the town was a nightmare. Even going down the hill was agony.

harbour gates closing port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Climbing back up the hill up to my rock was even worse and it took me an age.

During one of my rather too frequent pauses during my climb I looked down at the harbour to see what was happening and I was lucky enough to see the red warning light flashing and the gates slowly closing.

So whoever might have been in the harbour loading up has now long gone and I won’t know who they are.

It was like Ice Station Zebra in here too when I arrived but ask me if I care. I made a coffee and collapsed into my chair.

No pizza tonight. I was too late to take some dough out of the freezer and it wouldn’t defrost so I had potatoes, veg and vegan sausage with vegan cheese sauce. It was lovely too.

Tomorrow is usually when I set an alarm for 06:00 and spend the day working on the radio but if anyone thinks that I’m doing that then they are mistaken. I’m going to bed and going to sleep until I awaken and hard luck on anyone who expects me to do anything. I’ve had a harrowing day.

Mind you, that could all change if TOTGA, Castor and/or Zero invite me to come with them for a midnight ramble. Imagine my sharing a room with Zero the other night and she not being there!

Saturday 12th February 2022 – HAVING BEEN DEPRIVED …

… of really good company for quite some considerable time, Alison and I had hatched a cunning plan last time I was here. Subsequently we had been in touch with Jackie in Köln and suggested that we meet up for a day and exchange our news. After all, it’s been two years since we last met.

And so, seeing as Aachen is halfway in between the two of us, we set off this morning by car.

Not that I was feeling too much like it because it had been another rotten night.

As I mentioned yesterday I was in bed early and although the party that started at about 00:30 wasn’t anything at all like last night but what did happen was that I had another series of regular voyages that overwhelmed the dictaphone.

We started off in World War I last night. There was something about this arty (do I mean “artillery”?) regiment that I’d encountered that had turned up at Ieper somewhere where there had been some crucial fighting in November 1914 where the Germans had been pushing either side of the British and a British salient had been created. This was one of the crucial moments of the war and of course the area was totally devastated. I was talking to a soldier from this unit. He was saying that they had only been in this particular area for a weekend or so. It wasn’t actually in the thick of the fighting but it was pretty close to it. We were talking about the area and the history because with it being in the cockpit of Europe it was a pretty vital place. Battles had been fought here for years and all kinds of stuff had been uncovered in the past but the war had come and obliterated everything. He said to me that it was all very interesting to me of course. We talked about some of the bodies that had been found here and one in particular that had belonged to a regiment that had had 100% casualties during a charge. A couple of other regiments that had gone to relieve them had also had 100% casualties. One body that had been found subsequently must have been something of a hero to have gone like that. This conversation went on for quite some time.

Later on we were going somewhere last night walking by a canal looking at an old ruined cottage there and some kind of crane with a platform dangling from the grab. This cottage had been burnt to the ground practically. It turned out that it belonged to someone and they had discovered several structural defects in it. They had been trying to repair it but the thng had caught fire and gone up. The crane and platform were there for when they needed to make a bridge to take machinery over there and demolish it. This was in the parish magazine that some woman not my mother had had and as she had a mailbox I couldn’t understand why she had had it every time. There were several other magazines, including one about cars and a foreign boy who lived there sad that he had put it for me. There were a couple of conjunctions so he said that he had written some notes for me. I chucked that away but this parish magazine was very interesting and so was another article about some kind of meeting that everyone had had, some exhibition or something. It seemed to me that for the environmental group that we were running we could have made a really good magazine out of all of this. We could have had some names and e-mails from the people who attended this meeting, made a really good newsletter and hoped to push on and do something like that every month or so.. This was my one big opportunity and it had gone

Meanwhile, up in my room I was sharing a room with Zero. She wasn’t there but the room was in a real mess. She had shoes all over the place so the first thing that I wanted to do was to tidy up her shoes so I said to whoever it was I was with – a woman – that I would have to find one of these plastic boxes to put all her shoes in. She produced one immediately but I came up with some excuse why we couldn’t use that because I wasn’t really ready to do it just then. Yes, imagine this? Me sharing a room with Zero and she isn’t in it!

There was something else about this woman too. Her mother was going into an old people’s home and was looking at one in Union Street. pointed out that the one in Shavington by the Vine pub was being expanded and having new rooms so maybe she could get her in there. I thought that Shavington would be a much nicer place because it was a smaller village, you can’t go far, you can’t get lost, everything that you need is there, shops and everything and with it being quiet there was less risk of being knocked down than an old people’s home in a rundown area on the edge of Crewe Town Centre. Whoever it was put my comments down to some kind of loyalty about Shavington than any kind of practical consideration which was a shame because I really did think that it was so much better.

I was also at Liverpool football ground last night. They were discussing the remodelling of the stadium and all the crowd had to fit into a room that was the size of a normal living room. They were discussing ways to make it more safe and fit more people in. I thought that if they were only going to be havng 50 people at the most then they are wasting their time, aren’ they? This discussion went on for hours about whether they should put this extra level in. I was saying that they could knock a hole through where the kitchen is and have a bar, stuff like that. It was really getting out of hand. And then the subject drifted round to players. There were some people from Crewe there. It seems that they were interested in taking on trial a player from Crewe and they were trying to work out which one it was. In the end they had to aska girl who worked at Crewe – they had to ask her her name and check her writing. In the end they came up with a name. They thought that it woukd be “somebody Thomas” and that immediately meant about three or four different players. In the end end they had an idea whom it might be and asked me to go and fetch him. I said “OK but tell me who it isn’t” so they said it was “something Thomas”, a double-barrelled surname to go and not fetch him. Then the conversation continued about players from Egypt and the Ukraine. Someone took the paper from me and gave me another paper and it was for a guy called Olivier Ochoi and that was now the player that I had to fetch to bring up here. I asked them “are you sure this time?” and the general consensus seemed to be “yes”.

On the subject of football it was also the Welsh Premier League Final between Newtown and Aberystwyth and was taking place somewhere I can’t remember. I was up early at 06:30 and drove all the way out to where it was. The were busy setting out the hall there for spectators to come along and watch the game. It was a big hall shaped like a figure 8 bit wuth 2 squares and a joining piece. In one of these was a TV and someone was busy arranging a TV in front of it so that he and his friends could watch it. I explained that last time there was a play-off final, in the other room they had a big 225″ TV and arranged all the chairs in semi-circles around to watch so I didn’t think that what he was doing was going to work. Having checked out the place I had then to go back home for all my stuff and the radio stuff because I was going to do some radio interviewing for the game. I went outside, it was still dark and the whole car was starting to freeze up. I had some trouble trying to remember what key it was because it wasn’t the usual car. I eventually managed to open the door and I got in. Some young boy opened the window at the back – it was a rear-engined car – and asked me if I needed any help for this, any help for that. I replied “no” so he asked what I was going to do about this, what was I going to do about that and kept asking so persistently. In the end I got out of the car, picked up his bike and threw it over the fence into a field. He had a run off after it but then he came back and tried to get nto the car and tried to steal something out of the car. I had to get out and go to deal with that

Anyway I stepped back into this dream about this football match. I was in this car and we had all arranged to meet at a service station on the A55. That was where everyone met up but no-one still knew where it was going on. I was sitting down there trying to pass the time waiting for a decision to be made. I ended up talking to someone. We had a really good chat and I was sorting through a few boxes of stuff that they had. When I looked at my watch it was 14:20. I looked around and everyone else had gone. I scrambled over to try to find someone now. I went to the reception desk to ask if they knew where everyone had gone. They said that is was something like “Fingland” but of course that meant absolutely nothing to me. There was only 40 minutes to kick-off and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go. I thought “how on earth am I going to find out now where I’m supposed to be heading now that everyone else has gone and cleared off.

Anyway when the alarm went off I was out of bed fairly quickly and by the time that Alison arrived I was actually ready.

It was freezing outside as we set off, and we had a really good chat all the way to Aachen.

Jackie arrived at the station just as we did. We parked the car and then headed off into the centre.

barbarella cafe aachen germany Eric Hall photo February 2022Our day turned into trip to various coffee houses, restaurants and shops.

Alison knew a good café around the corner from where we had parked the car and so we headed that way. The coffee was really nice there and the cakes that the girls tried were delicious too. There may have been vegan cakes I suppose, but I didn’t ask. Having had toast for breakfast I wasn’t hungry.

It was in an area of the city that I don’t really know so when we left, I was surprised to find that we were only just around the corner from the Rathaus, and isn’t the German name for a Town Hall really appropriate?.

The main shopping centre is on the other side of the city so we headed off that way.

roman remains aachen germany Eric Hall photo February 2022The site is known to have been inhabited for almost 5000 years but perhaps its best-know period was that under the Romans from the beginning of the First Century until its evacuation, which appears to have taken place round about 383AD. No Roman coin has been discovered here later than that date.

There are plenty of Roman remains here in the city, especially those here in the Elisengarten.
We made quite a tour of the shops and the two girls found a load of interesting stuff to take home with them.

And as well as that, I wasn’t left out of the shopping either. I found some of that really nice vegan cheese that I used to buy in Montlucon, and the two girls bought me a pile of that lovely vegan chocolate for my birthday.

spa elisenbrunnen pavilion cathedral st folian church aachen germany Eric Hall photo February 2022From the shopping precinct we can see across the road to the Elisenbrunnen Pavilion.

The Roman name of the town was Aquae Grannae – the waters of Grannus – and the most popular source from where the water can be obtained is from over there. However there’s a big notice by the outlet that says “not for drinking”. I should really have brought something in which I could have taken some water away.

Although it’s often said that the pavilion was built in the 1820s, it was in fact destroyed by bombing during World War II and this replica was built in the early 1950s.

Lunch was nice too, at one of these franchised bio restaurants down at the side of the spa. My salad was delicious. And then we went back to the shops.

As darkness fell we went for another coffee and then dropped Jackie off at the railway station for her train back home. At the station we fell foul of a German police patrol. “That’s why I moved from Germany” said Alison, and I could see her point. It was all extremely unnecessary and I admired her for her calm.

When she dropped me off at home I wandered round to the fritkot but they were overflowing with customers and weren’t taking any more orders before they closed. It was lucky that I had some pasta left.

There’s an 05:00 start in the morning ready for my trip home so right now I’m off to bed. Not that I’m expecting a better night that I’ve had just recently but we have to make an effort and if necessary I can sleep on the train.

Friday 11th February 2022 – THAT WAS A …

… horrible night last night.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I went to bed fairly early hoping to have a really good sleep. However at about 23:00 a party started up in one of the University houses at the back here.

At at 04:30 they were still at it and I hadn’t had a moment of sleep.

Eventually I must have dropped off because when I awoke, at 09:35, there were four files on the dictaphone. I was with my youngest sister last night. To my surprise we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend. We were on a bus doing a lap around a football ground so that we could watch the game but it was almost impossible to see it no matter where I moved to or where I sat or where I went. I tried to sit in all kinds of places. On one occasion I saw the goalkeeper catch the ball but it was behind the line so I indicated that it was a goal. He thought that the ball had come through the side netting into his hands. it was very much a one-sided match. That American guy Lamela was playing and someone said “look what they would have missed had he gone to Celtic”. Eventually the bus stopped because it was half-time. I hoped to find a better seat when everyone had got off. Then I noticed that just round the corner was a petrol station so I said to her “do you want to come along and have a coffee? See if they have a coffee there”. She was searching through her money – she had plenty there, all £10 notes. In the end off we went. She wasn’t very talkative and I had the impression that she wasn’t very happy. We went past a fish and chip shop so I said “would you like a bag of chips as well?” but it turned out to be a place that made venetian blinds. There was something going on about fires at football grounds and they were talking about Airdrie that had been burnt to a cinder and several other grounds where they had had fires, how at Dundee they’d had a big fire but it wasn’t the case at all of an opportunist suspicious fire because the chairman was young, keen and energetic and it had taken him years to rebuild his fortune after the fire even if the club had been refused planning permission to re-erect a stand and how many of their supporters had died in the fire. As they were explaining, my sister asked “how long do we have?”. I replied “normally 15 minutes”. I wondered how much of that time had already passed so I said “as long as it takes if we grab a coffee and are quick back”.

By now I was with Zero and the two of us were at some kind of water park or adventure park. What I’d heard was that they were going to freeze over a waterfall or part of it so that we could go skiing on it. I contacted my friends from the Wirral to see if they wanted to come. Sure enough, they turned up so I went to meet them while Zero was visiting this waterfall walking exercise. She was obviously having a whale of a time. They turned up but for some reason they weren’t very happy at all. My friend’s wife wandered off on her own and he hung around for a minute and then asked “do you want to have a beer or something and I have to go back to the car or something” and walked off in order to get a panda. Zero was enjoying herself but this was coming to an end and they were going to freeze over the waterfall so I had to find the wife. I walked all the way up this slope but I couldn’t see her. I bumped into a few people whom I knew and told them what was happening. They said “surely your friends will turn up to go skiing”. I said “no, they are coming up now”. I walked all the way up the hill but couldn’t find her at all. She had disappeared. Someone said “she’s just walked past at the end of the water wheel” so I decided to turn round and walk back to see if she was there. In the meantime all the kids came off this lake-walking thing so I thought that I’d better go and find Zero otherwise she’ll be the next person who is going to be lost.

I stepped right back into this dream again. The husband turned up and the discussion went on about porridge for breakfast. I offered him some porridge but he thought that it wasn’t porridge but something else. I was absolutely certain that it was porridge and I couldn’t understand why it was that he was saying something different

There had been some kind of incident on Moathouse Drive in Crewe. Someone had been arrested for it and I had to go along and give evidence. I was there making my statement and the person was brought in behind me to make their statement and it was my little Inuit friend from Uummannaq. While she made her statement I waited for her. I had a look round while I was waiting and came across a map of the High Arctic islands in Nunavut. When she finished giving her evidence I said that I’d take her home. I knew where she lived. I showed her this map, explaining to her about the Inuit in Canada and the outlying islands and she was extremely interested. She had some kind of pet like a mongoose or a weasel, something like that, and it was running around inside this room. I had to catch it and that wasn’t easy. It was a persistent animal. In the end I caught it and we both set off. Somehow I ended up back at my house alone with this animal. I let it loose inside my house, my house in Winsford. I’m not quite sure how it happened after that but with me having an empty room in my house and my brother living in all kinds of strange circumstances I ought to invite him to come and stay but it didn’t quite work out like that and I can’t remember how it finished.

After the medication I spent much of the day working on the remaining music for the next batch of radio programmes. All five of them are now prepared and there’s some good music in there.

There were several breaks of course, Breakfast, lunch, and then a couple of chats with Liz and Alison.

Later on I went for a walk around the town to stretch my legs.

dismantling market stall herbert hooverplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022My route took me down the Teinsestraat and into the Herbert Hooverplein.

It’s market day this morning and the square, and the adjacent Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein are swamped with stalls, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen in the past but at the start of the afternoon they begin to pack everything up.

When I arrived this afternoon I was just in time to see the last couple of stalls being dismantled.

At FNAC there was nothing there that interested me. I had half a mind to buy a new voice recorder to replace my old Sony but they didn’t have anything at all.

With nothing that I needed to buy particularly, I didn’t go into ay other shop but instead headed across town to Origin’o, the vegan shop, for some more grated cheese, some vegan sausages and a dessert for Saturday night’s tea

rebuilding medieval city walls handbooghof leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back into town I came back via the Handbooghof to have a look at the repairs to the city walls around there

There isn’t actually very much to see because of the high fence that they have built around it. Apart from the decoration on the fence, we can make out something of what they have been doing and the different types of brick and stone that have been used.

Sourcing the material to rebuild it can’t have been easy though because I imagine that like most similar places, the walls will have been used as a quarry during the expansion of the town in the past.

At Delhaize there was a disaster. They had run out of the banana-flavoured soya drink that I love. I’ve had to make do with chocolate but it really isn’t the same.

Back here I crashed out for an hour or so, even before I had time to make myself a coffee. I’m not coping too well with things at the moment and the bad night just about finished me off.

So now that I’ve had tea I’m off for a very early night. Grab a few hours sleep before the party starts up again tonight.

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

… wondering who would be waiting for me when I went to sleep last night.

Much to my surprise, and yours too probably, because things don’t normally happen like this, it was none other than Zero.

She hung around for a while, but nothing like long enough, and eventually evaporated into the night.

What’s surprising about that is that usually when I’m transcribing the dictaphone notes I have some kind of very vague recollection in the back of my mind of what went on and typing it out brings it back. But I have no memory whatever of her being there, except what was on the dictaphone.

So that was rather a waste of a visit, wasn’t it? Her being there and me having no recollection of it.

vegan food with eggs and milk noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This is something else that’s quite surprising.

It was in Noz and advertised as a vegan pancake mix. I was tempted to try it until I noticed the instructions.

You probably have too, if you’ve clicked on the image to see it full-size. To make it, you need to stir in “eggs and milk”. Some vegan food product, isn’t it?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not an ethical vegan (although I may as well be these days) but a vegan for health reasons. My pancreas failed 30-odd years ago so I can’t digest animal fats.

I was given a choice of four ways of controlling it –

  • taking daily injections to stimulate it (but I’d lose my professional driving licences like my HGV licence, my PSV licence, my taxi licence and all of that, and that was my living in those days)
  • by a transplant (but back in those days it was very much in its infancy and the success rate wasn’t very high)
  • do nothing (and risk an attack and possible death)
  • by diet, cutting out animal fats completely.

The choice was pretty much obvious, so I need to be very careful about what I eat.

And eating stuff that needs eggs and milk is not part of the plan obviously.

Today wasn’t actually part of anyone’s plan because it’s been awful. And I thought that with the last week or so, I was over all of this.

Leaving the bed wasn’t all that difficult even if it was something of s short night compared to what it should have been, and neither was the medication and the shower that I had afterwards.

Then Caliburn and I hit the streets for a tour of the shops – the first time since early December that w’ve had a complete tour.

Noz had piles of things, including that alcohol-free beer that I like, so I stocked up with quite a pile of stuff. No rolling pin to replace the one that I broke ages ago and have been struggling with ever since, no cake tin and no pizza plate either (I’m fed up of my pizza overflowing my plate).

micro creche near noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Centrakor – and the first time that I’ve been in there for an age – came up with a good heavy-duty rolling pin but nothing else.

But while I was there I went for a closer look at the building that they’ve been erecting at the back of Noz and Centrakor. It now seems to be complete, and it looks as i it’s going to be some kind of crèche.

And a crèche is not something that happens between two cars in Knightsbridge either.

At Leclerc the fuel tanker doing a delivery was just coupling up to leave after doing a refuelling. That meant that there was no-one there and my timing was perfect because as it pulled away I pulled on right behind and had the first load of diesel.

First time I’ve fuelled up since April last year by the way. I’m going nowhere these days, am I? In many senses of the word..

At Leclerc I ended up with one of those expensive 7-inch cake tins that I mentioned last time. If I’m going to be baking cake I need the correct tin rather than trying to make do with an oversize pyrex bowl

Lots of other stuff too, and so in the end it was a rather expensive morning out. But at least the pantry is full for the next while and I’ll be able to eat.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff (they had some of those breaded soya fillets in Noz and I managed to squeeze them into the freezer somehow), made a coffee, came back in here and … errr … crashed out.

Properly crashed out too. I was gone for ages and ended up with a late lunch.

Back here afterwards I felt like nothing on earth. I tried to have a go at coupling up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing, on the grounds that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing at all, but I ended up right out of it yet again. It was an awful afternoon.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As a result of the foregoing it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk. Mind you, I was lucky that I went out at all because I don’t recall ever feeling less like it.

First stop was the beach of course so I dragged myself with a considerable amount of reluctance over to the wall at the end of the car park.

Not much beach, which is no real surprise because I’m about 45 minutes later than usual, and I couldn’t see anyone down there today. But once again, it was fairly warm for the time of year (although I’m back to being absolutely freezing again) so I was surprised that the place looked so empty.

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

ile de chausey storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This quite possibly might have something to do with it.

Out in the bay there was a rainstorm brewing and judging by the direction in which the wind was blowing, it was heading my way.

Not that there was much wind to worry about this afternoon. We seem to be in the middle of a quiet spell from that point of view, in sharp contrast to what we had several weeks ago.

And we did have some rain too. When I went out to the shops this morning it was raining. So it looks as if the clouds have gone back out to sea to fetch some more.

There were a few more people wandering around up by the lighthouse so I kept well clear – I don’t want to catch what they all seem to have – and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore, or in the outer harbour or the chantier naval either so I carried on.

crane philcathane la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The big crane is still over there, along with la Grande Ancre, Philcathane and another boat that I can’t identify.

However I can tell you more about the machine that the crane came to lift. It was an electrically-powered piling rig and weighed in at 50 tonnes.

It was Normandy Trader that took her away – she apparently has engines that are 100hp more powerful than her sister Normandy Warrior.

Back here I had a coffee, managed not to fall asleep, and then finished off the music for Monday. Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone.

Zero, of course, I have already mentioned. But later I was with a woman and her daughter last night, aged about 6 or 7 like Laurence and Roxanne. We’d gone to visit IKEA – they’d never been before. We had to park on the car park and that was an art in itself as it was extremely busy. Then I had to go and change my clothes because I was in some kind of oily wotk clothes. My office was on the top floor so I rang up to say that I would send someone up to say that I was coming up for some clothes but no-one had any clothes ready for me or anything. There was a huge row about that to start with which didn’t make the rest of the day go well. When we’d all been to the bathroom we went into IKEA, the 3 of us. The little girl had a play on the kiddies’ playground and we bumped into one of my friends from Montréal and had a chat, then carried on wandering around. Then we stopped for coffee. For some reason we didn’t take our coffee together. I had a machine that they had to listen to music so I went to sit somewhere else. The other 2 were sitting somewhere else so I went to join them but the music was disturbing everyone there so I had to turn off the music. The little girl was sulking and said “I’d be happier staying in Crewe” to which her mother said “of course you wouldn’t”. To cheer her up we went and found the kiddies’ toy things and she had a play around on those again. There was lots more to it than this but I can’t remember it now or anything else which is a shame.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream where I was earlier after I’d gone back to sleep. We ended up back in a room. I’d been out somewhere. My brother and 2 other people were there. After about 10 minutes I suddenly thought “where’s this woman and her daughter (and by now, it was my friend from Montréal who was the mother)? They’ve wandered off somewhere”. I thought that I was supposed to be with them so I rang her up on her ‘phone. She said that she was at some exhibition of money-making. I siad “oh, I’d better come and join you”. She replied “it’s only going to be on until 15:00”. She gave me the address . I replied “I don’t know how long it will be until I reach you but I’ll be there”. The other 2 didn’t want to go for some reason and it was just my brother who came with me. I started to look on a map to find this address and I suddenly realised that it was right in the vicinity of where we were standing. I had a very good idea of where it is, Rue des Deux Canals so we shot off outside. There was all kinds of stuff. It was difficult to cross the road because there were all lorries and cars. We went off down one road and came to a turning. I had to stop to check the phone to find the correct address but I couldn’t find the map. While I was doing that my brother said “Reg has been sent to prison again”. I asjed “what for this time?”. “Because he refused to climb over a wall and tie up his boat” and started to read details of the indictment to me while I was busy trying to find this street. It was all becoming a really confusing mess – even more so with my family becoming involved yet again.

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

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap. I’d bought a couple of those nice burgers that I like and I had a few baps left over. That was quite a nice tea again and I do have to say that it might be simple food but I do eat well.

Bed-time now, and a lie-in tomorrow as it’s Sunday. I deserve it too because despite feelig better than I did, it’s not been an easy week.

In fact I’m not having a very easy time and I don’t know what to do about that. As Bob Dylan sang in TANGLED UP IN BLUE, “the only thing I knew for sure was to keep on keeping on”.

But I’m not doing that all that well these days.

But “I wondered if she’s changed at all – if her hair was still red”. Now who does that remind me of? And will she be meeting me again tonight?

Tuesday 25th January 2022 – DAY EIGHT …

… of my self-imposed exile and I actually set foot outside the building this afternoon, for the first time in over a week.

My Covid test result has come back and, as I expected (well, as I knew, really) it was negative so tomorrow I’m going to restart my physiotherapy sessions.

My plan is to take Caliburn, and for several reasons too –

  1. with not having been out for exercise for over a week, I’m not sure how I’m going to manage the climb up the hill and back again.
  2. with everything floating around and my still not feeling 100%, I don’t want to pick up something while I’m out and about in town.
  3. with having been stuck inside for 10 days and not having done any shopping for a week before, supplies are running low so a trip to Lidl with Caliburn is in order.

And so I went outside to make sure that Caliburn will start, having been idle for almost three weeks and with the temperatures hovering around zero. And sure enough, he fired up fairly easily.

While we’re on the subject of zero … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent much of the night in the company of Zero. And several other people too but it was she who figured the most in all of my lengthy travels.

For some of the time, she was with one of my sisters. They had moved into a house and shared a bedroom, with posters and everything like that all over the bedroom door and wall. I’d been working in the area so I popped in to see how they were doing.

Later on, I dropped straight back into the dream at some point near or nearabouts, with the three of us travelling on a train somewhere.

Later still, there was a reality TV programme about a young girl who I reckoned was Zero, who would choose her boyfriend. The choice had narrowed down to 2. 2 guys turned up, 1 of whom looked like the young dynamic type and the other looked like a slightly older, shy person. It goes without saying that she chose the 1st one. The guy who was 2nd was extremely bitter and disappointed about all of this but I explained to his that he had come a darn sight farther in this competition than almost anyone else and what wouldn’t I have given to change places with him and been up there on the stage at that particular moment when Zero was on the point of making a choice? The conversation drifted around to talk about general life and happiness etc and I can’t remember very much about where it went after this. It was certainly one of those things that if you set your goals too high you’ll fail and you’ll always be unhappy. Success is measured by the level of expectation and I have several examples of this that have occurred during my life. I gave him a few examples but I can’t remember what they mean now.

Still plenty to go at yet. There was 1 of these guys again with a baby or very small child who was about to board a tram. He pointed to one of the trams and said “it’s nice to see some Bristol artwork these days” and went off and boarded his tram.

And then we had 2 girls who had been friends for years. There was a huge pile of glass bottles stored in the garage of one of them. They loaded them into the boot of the 2nd one’s car to take to the recycling plant but half an hour later she was back with the bottles. Her friend asked why and she replied saying “(the name of the other girl’s partner) he’s round there with her at the moment and didn’t want to enter up them”. The other girl went somewhat ashen and said “yes, it was the same with Hugh. They don’t stay faithful for two long”. They began to put the bottles back into the space where the woman had been tidying up after they had gone. Just then her boyfriend or husband came back. He saw what was going on and probably got the message straight away. They started to have an argument which on the girl’s part was more sadness than anything else. By this time I was there and I don’t know why. The girl was talking to me saying “this is where all our money goes”. He was saying “don’t you show him that! Don’t you show him that!” but she showed it to me all the same and said “look where the red circles are”. It was all about guitars that he’d bought and music that he’d bought, everything like that with just 2 or 3 gigs where he’d made a bit of money. The conversation turned round to things like people growing up and taking responsibility, being adult, something that of course never ever happened to me, and it gradually petered out on that kind of discussion.

And finally I was visiting the university and a friend had come over from North America and was staying in the University for 10 days or something. I’d gone to see my niece and her husband, so had he actually come over from North America? I dunno. But I’d gone off to see him and he asked me to stay for a few days so I did, and shared his room. He also had another room-mate and 3 of us in there was rather cramped. We had a very bad night’s sleep the 1st night and the 2nd night his room-mate moved out to go to stay with friends. He and I shared the room but I had another bad night waking up every 5 minutes. In the end he awoke and said that he had things to do so I said that I’d catch him up. It turned out that he had to take a bus to the main university building and the refectory there. I told him “leave some kind of indication where you might be and I’ll catch you up”. He went and I gathered my wash things together and went to find a shower but couldn’t find one. I found some urinals but that was about it. I thought “I’m going to have to go back and take my shower in his room”. I remembered that there was somewhere where food could be obtained so I thought that I’d have a quick look. I couldn’t find it but I found a place where half a dozen old cars had been dumped. Someone was taking some spares off one of them. On the way back to his place there was some kind of dispute between some boys and a couple of girls and a couple of older students from the University had involved themselves in it and were arguing with these boys. I broke into a run, to my own amazement, and ran for miles all the way round the University campus and up these side streets thinking to myself that this is really good with me running like this but I’m never going to meet my friend now because I want to organise myself, go to the bathroom, have a shower, find something to eat and this will take me most of the morning. I wonder where he’ll be by the time that I’m ready to go on the bus and go to the main building to meet him. But I was so happy running that I didn’t really want to stop

There was even more too as it happens, but as you are probably eating a meal or something right now, I’ll spare you the gory details. But is it any wonder that I’m so exhausted these days with all of the mileage that I’m putting in during the night instead of sleeping?

When the alarm went off I arose quite quickly and went off to take my medication, and then to check my mails and messages. Having done that, I sat down and revised my Welsh from last week and prepared for today’s lesson.

There was a new pupil this week as well so some time was spent in introductions, and the lesson itself passed quite uneventfully, and quickly too.

There was some soup left – not much – but there were a couple of frozen potatoes in the freezer that needed eating so I tipped them in as well.

After lunch I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and it’s no surprise that it took me almost all afternoon (apart from going out to play with Caliburn), although I might have had then done sooner had I not … errr … closed my eyes for quite a while. Much longer than I would have expected or would have hoped for.

But there was a pile of mail in my letter box, all of which were for my next series of appointments at the hospital. And instead of being at 13:30 they are for 11:10 which puts paid to my lie-in to recover from my journey.

With something of a start, I noticed the time. 20:05. Tea thus ended up being out of a tin because there was a football match kicking off at 20:45. Cardiff Metro v Barry.

Both teams at the wrong end of the table and it wasn’t difficult to see why because whatever skill there was only occurred in brief flashes. Cardiff Metro have only a small and diminishing pool of players from which to pick, but Barry seem to have gone backwards this season.

Surprisingly, the Met won 2-0. And surprisingly because at one stage they were really lucky to have nil and I reckoned that it would stay like that if they carried on playing until the next matches on Saturday evening. However one goal from a defensive error and a second from a breakaway down the field in the final minutes as Barry were pushing everyone up for an equaliser sums it all up really.

This isn’t Barry’s season, is it?

Right now I’m off to bed, and to see where I’ll end up during the night. If Zero is as tired out as I am after everything that went on during the night, she won’t be joining me, but TOTGA has had a couple of days off and Castor has been away for a week or so so who knows? I might end up with yet more pleasant companions.

But knowing my luck, I’ll get my family again.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so I’ll make a mental note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Sunday 2nd January 2022 – I DON’T KNOW WHY …

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… but I have had a really bad day today.

And while you admire a few photos of the waves breaking on the sea wall down at the harbour, I’ll tell you all about it.

It probably has something to do with the fact that I didn’t go to bed until about 02:15. And even though it’s a Sunday when I usually have a lie-in, it’s still pretty extreme all the same.

Waking at 07:40 didn’t help matters very much but there was little danger of my leaving the bed at that ridiculous hour. I turned over and tried to go back to sleep, without a great deal of success, and finally arose from my stinking pit at about 10:30.

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was still plenty of time for me to go off on a voyage during the night too. And having had the pleasure of the company of Castor and TOTGA yesterday, it was the turn of Zero to put in an appearance last night.

She was there last night with a girl whom I knew from Shavington and quite a few girls all playing around by where we were. One of them was becoming a little drunk so all of the others were saying “check the date. Check to see if it’s her birthday”. They were playing around and at one point Zero asked for a beauty spot to be placed on her cheek. I went to fetch a pencil from my car to put it on but someone beat me to it. I was quite jealous and very disappointed about that. They carried on playing around and then all went back to their beds. One of the girls said something about changing the bedding. The woman who was in charge said something like “no, there’s something else. You have to spend another night in that bedding because there’s something else”.

Anyway the story went on from there but you really don’t want to know about it. You are probably eating your meal right now.

But considering how barren the nights have been over the last few weeks and how I’ve been deprived of some really decent company on my nocturnal voyages, having three of my most favourite female figures accompany me around over the last two nights is a very welcome relief.

If only it were for real …

Having raised myself from the dead I had my medication and then came back here and checked my mails and messages. I ended up as well having a chat with my niece in Canada too.

Before lunch I paired off all of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow morning, if I awaken in time.

Once lunch was out of the way I came back here to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night, and then a few others from the arrears. Now there are only four more to do and that’s tomorrow afternoon’s task.

There might have been more done too but unfortunately I fell asleep – not once but twice too. As I said earlier, I’m not feeling to well right now and I don’t know why because nothing had happened that might have caused it.

Going outside for my afternoon walk was painful too considering how things are.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Nevertheless, outside I staggered and went off to look to see what was happening down on the beach. Although there was more beach than there has been at this time just recently, I wasn’t expecting to see very much activity down there today.

However, there were half a dozen people down there wandering around this afternoon. And just wandering around too – they weren’t really up to very much.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see if there was anything going on. But there were no boats at all of any description in the bay this afternoon, and neither were there any buoys. The sea was totally deserted.

lighthouse semaphone pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There weren’t too many people walking around on the path on top of the cliffs either.

There was something of a wind but no sunshine, but it wasn’t that cold and unpleasant this afternoon, so there was no reason why they should all be staying at home.

At least though I could have the path pretty much to myself and it didn’t really matter very much whether the people whom I encountered were masked or unmasked. And so I pushed on along the path towards the lighthouse at the end of the headland in the gloom, past the ruined bunker and the old gun emplacement.

colours in water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Crossing the car park I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

No boats, and no-one down at the bench by the cabanon vauban either. However, what caught my eye was the sea.

One of the things that I have mentioned in the past is the strange situation of the different colours of the water in the sea. This afternoon, off the end of the Pointe du Roc and the Baie de Mont St Michel, the difference in colour was startling. I’ve never seen such a remarkable contrast in the past.

But in the meantime I’d been attracted by the nise of the sea breaking on the sea wall round the corner so I went off down there.

bouchots de chausey unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Having left the sea wall behind me, I headed for home and my hot coffee.

Down at the fish processing plant, the little Bouchots de Chausey was down there, unloading a huge pile of bouchots onto the tractor and trailer. By the looks of things she has a very good catch on board this afternoon

Back at the apartment I had my coffee and then came back in here to carry on with my little desultory activity of transcribing some of the dictaphone notes.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just after lunch I took out a lump of frozen pizza dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

When I’d finished all of the transcibing that I was going to do, I went and kneaded out the dough again and then rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray so that it might rise.

Later on I went and assembled it, and then I put it in the oven to bake. And when it was finished, it was absolutely delicious. One of the best that I’ve made.

But now I’m off to bed. I’m not feeling too god, I’m exhausted despite all of the sleep that I had, and I have a 06:00 start in order to prepare my radio programme so I need to be at my best.

Wednesday 22nd December 2021 – ALL OF THE …

repointed wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… scaffolding has gone from the Rampe du Monte à Regret, I noticed today.

It looks as if all of the repointing of the wall has now finished, they’ve dismantled the scaffolding, picked up their tools and, as Longfellow once wrote, “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away.”.

As for the quality of the work, they’ve mixed the mortar too dry by the looks of things. It won’t percolate into the stone and so will eventually solidify and drop out and they’ll have to do it all over again.

christmas market place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021You are probably thinking that that means that I can now take the short cut and go down the steps to the street.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The Christmas market is in full swing down there and the whole area is cordoned off. There’s just one entrance and that’s at street level, where there’s a security guard checking Covid passports.

As I type out these notes I’m actually supposed to be down there. A group has been in touch with me about doing a live show for my radio programme and they are playing there tonight.

But if anyone thinks that I’m standing outside in a bitter wind for 2 hours with a temperature of minus 1°C they are mistaken.

And it was freezing this morning too. Winter has come with quite a bang just now. I was freezing when I awoke – at 06:45, about 45 minutes before the alarm went off.

At least I managed to leap out of bed with alacrity (and you all thought that I slept on my own) and dress rather hurriedly before I froze to death.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021After the medication I came in here to check my mails and messages, and then went back into Ice Station Zebra to make the bread for this coming week now that I’ve finished off the bread that I’d brought back from Leuven.

Another 500 grammes of flour, a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and this time I remembered the Vitamin C tablet too. It all went together really well and kneaded up quite nicely.

It went into the oven and 75 minutes later I had a beautiful, soft loaf of bread with a nice even texture. One of the best that I’ve made so far. My bread-making technique is improving, so it seems.

While I was at it, I cleaned, diced and blanched the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought on Monday. They are waiting for some room to be made in the freezer so I can file them away for future use.

One thing that I needed to do was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I’d been invited out again for a meal with some people whom I knew. I went off and turned up at this restaurant. I didn’t know these people all that well. There were 2 of them, a guy and a woman who weren’t a couple. We were having a chat and at that moment another girl came down to join us. She was a young girl and dressed so simply but really well, really beautifully that it took my breath away. I made a few complimentary remarks and she blushed I suppose, and sat down. They asked about when the others would turn up. I had heard that someone I used to know and his wife and daughter (who was actually Zero) were coming but they had to go to the dentist’s first so they may not make it depending on what had happened at the dentists, which was going to be something of a shame. They were asking “should be order?”. I replied “no. We’ll have to wait until everyone else turns up and we’ll have to order together, I suppose. That seems to be the normal way of doing things”. However, I did have another reason for not wanting to start until everyone (well, at least one person) was present.

At some point during the night I was walking around the fish docks at some fishing port in the UK. I was doing something at one end of the port where there were a few fishing boats at anchor but I had to walk round the other side of the port where everyone was and that was where you could really smell the fish. Then I had to walk all the way back again but I can’t remember why and I can’t remember what was happening about it all.

As I was off to the physiotherapist this afternoon I needed a shower so I had to wait until the oven had finished backing as I needed the heater in the bathroom. And as a result of everything I ended up having a very late lunch.

freezing fog port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to brave the freezing conditions and head up to the physiotherapist.

And you can see how cold it is by looking out beyond the outer harbour into the bay. You can see a layer of freezing fog that’s obscuring the view of the Pointe de Carolles.

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked round the corner to the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And although it’s only 14:45 the sun is pretty low in the sky as well, as you can tell. It’s not the kind of weather to be out unless you have to.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021But talking of being out, the port was quite empty of fishing vessels.

They all must be out at sea this afternoon, except for Jade III that is doing something exciting, having reversed up to the wharf by the fish processing plant. Unfortunately, I can’t see what she’s up to.

There wasn’t much else of any excitement going on around the town so I had a slow, weary trudge up to the physiotherapist. For some unknown reason I wasn’t feeling myself this afternoon which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit.

At the physiotherapist she put me on the cross trainer for five minutes and then we did some kinetic exercises, finishing off with 5 minutes on the tilting platform. The exercises that I had to do on there were agonising but I suppose that if it hurts men it’s doing me some good – except that it’s hurting me in places where I have no problems and not where I have the issues.

It was a very weary and painful me who staggered into the street when my half-hour was up. And also a very destitute one because it’s the year-end and I had to pay her.

Outdoor Market Place General De Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way back I noticed that we had a little mini-outdoor market going on in the Place General de Gaulle.

It usually takes place on Saturday of course and that’s Christmas Day so it looks to me as if they have brought it (or, at least, part of it because there aren’t all that many stalls there) forward to today.

There weren’t all that many people there this afternoon which is really no surprise in this weather, and I felt really sorry for the stallholders who are obliged to stand outside without any real form of shelter from the cold and the wind.

Spirit Of Conrad Aztec Lady Anakena charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021My weary trudge continued on up the hill towards home. However I stopped to have a look at the charter boats in the port.

On the left is of course our old friend Spirit of Conrad in which we sailed down the Brittany coast in the summer of 2019. To her right is Aztec Lady who has now been liberated from her stay in the chantier naval.

The large blue boat to her right is Anakena, the big boat that is planning to sail up the Norwegian coast next summer if conditions allow, and alongside her under a tarpaulin is CHarles Marie. She doesn’t look as if she’s going anywhere any time soon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It goes without saying that before I can go in, I have to go for a look at the beach.

And to my surprise there was someone taking a long, solitary walk out towards the water’s edge. all alone down there without another soul around him (or her). That was a lonely stroll.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had work to do. Someone at the University of Newfoundland is writing a thesis on Paradise River, a settlement of sorts on the Labrador Coast. I’ve visited it on several occasions and have dozens of photographs of the area.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … he’s written to me and asked me if he may use some of my photos to illustrate his thesis. So we agreed a trade – I’ll send him some photographs and he’ll send me a copy of his thesis to add to my pile of Labrador literature.

Consequently I had to sort back through my photos for September 2014 and September 2017 to dig out some good ones for him.

Tea was taco rolls with the leftover stuffing, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And now, as it’s cold and I’m cold, I’m off to warm myself up in bed.

Tomorrow I have to tidy up in my bedroom as I have someone coming round on Friday to record something or other for the radio so the place needs to look as if it’s habitable.

Tuesday 14th December 2021 – LOOK AT THIS!

christmas cake with icing place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Here’s my Christmas cake, all finished and almost ready to eat. And doesn’t it look nice?

The icing is a bit hit-and-miss unfortunately as I don’t have a proper palette knife to spread it. And the icing is a little too runny so it’s slowly sliding down to the bottom so every hour or so I have to scrape it back up again.

Maybe overnight it might set in which case it will be fine but let’s hope so.

All that I can say is that considering my first go at icing a large cake like this, I haven’t done too badly although I’m the first to admit that I have a lot to learn about baking a cake.

But in bed last night I wouldn’t have learnt anything because I spent much of the time trying all I could to drop off to sleep.

It must have worked at some point because I was off on my travels at one or two points. I’ve no idea what was happening at first but according to the dictaphone but I was definitely off on my travels with all kinds of animals and horrific things going on there for 10 minutes while I was asleep.

Later on, Matthew was giving a speech on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night. Apparently when it comes to unloading a zodiac it’s always the infirm people who leave first and leave the fit people behind so that they can have a better control of the boat and everything that’s going on. But it seemed that someone concealed their illness, let everyone else leave the boat first until there was just him and the driver. Then this guy couldn’t leave the boat – he wasn’t able to. There was only the driver to help him. While the driver was concentrating on dealing with this guy the zodiac was out of control and they risked losing the zodiac as well as the two people on it while all this was happening. He was not impressed at all and gave the audience what amounted to a real dressing down about this kind of behaviour. He insisted that the infirm people should leave the zodiac first and people should accept their responsibilities and accept their limitations and not put the whole party at risk.

Later on a former friend of mine and I were down in the Auvergne last night. We needed some product of something or other so we had to drive back to Stoke on Trent to fetch it. We took some stuff back with us with the idea that we could do some work on his house while we were there. We hadn’t heard anything from his wife so we did it anyway. He drove back and I was a passenger in this sports car thing. The arrangement was that I’d drive back to the Auvergne and he’d be passenger. It was very tiring of course and we had to set a route, like 3 hours for this bit which would normally take 2, etc. It took ages to get back and we arrived in Stoke on Trent and the first thing that we did was to fall into a bed fully clothed and went to sleep. Shortly afterwards, Zero of all people came in. She saw us both and got into bed with us, being very little-girly. She came and snuggled up to me so I snuggled up to her as well.

Yes, not very often at all that I’m lucky enough to snuggle up to Zero during the night, is it? Add to that the events of the other night when I was back at school and things are looking up.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wish that my daylight hours would be as exciting as what goes on during the night.

There was much more going on during the night too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I won’t put you off your food by talking to you about it.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to revise my Welsh from last week. Only to find that I’d forgotten most of what I’d learnt. This teflon brain that I have is really getting on my nerves.

There weren’t too many of us in the lesson this morning, considering that it’s the last of the year. And to my surprise, it passed well enough. Revising and preparing an hour or so before the lesson seems to be a good idea.

christmas cake with marzipan place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021After lunch, I decided to marzipan the Christmas cake.

With no apricot jam I had to use blackcurrant jam but that seemed to work just fine. I warmed the marzipan in my hands, coated the worktop with flour and then rolled out the marzipan.

It was rolled out rather thin so I built it up with a couple of layers and given half a chance and more marzipan I would have made it thicker. It’s rather thinner than you might expect in a Christmas cake but as I have said earlier, I have a lot to learn.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out and about on my post-prandial perambulations.

First stop was over to the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there. And seeing as there wasn’t all that much beach on which anything could be going on, I wasn’t expecting very much to be going on at all.

And consequently I wasn’t disappointed. There wasn’t anyone at all down there that I could see this afternoon. There didn’t even seem to be anyone walking around on the promenade at the Plat Gousset either.

philcathane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Mind yuo, there was something going on right out in the Baie de Granville.

From my vantage point on the cliffs I could see something moving in the raincloud out at sea so I photographed it with the aim of enhancing it when I’m back at home to see if I could find out who it might be.

The colour scheme gave me some kind of clue though. If I had to guess at this range I would have said that it may well be Philcathane.

Anyway, whoever she might be, she was the only thing out there that I could see moving around out at sea.

cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And it wasn’t just out at sea or on the beach at the Rue du Nord that there was next-to-no activity.

Down at the bench by the Cabanon Vauban there wasn’t a soul either. There were one or two people wandering around on the path down below, but no-one stopping for a rest.

But then there was nothing happening out at sea here, there wasn’t a sunset of any description to admire and the Brittany coast round by Cancale was obscured by clouds. And so I pushed off along the path around to the other side of the headland.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Yesterday I posted a photo of the portable boat lift because it looked as if there had been something going on with it during the day.

So when I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that they have been doing yet more work on it.

Yesterday it was in grey rust-proof primer but today it’s been painted again and now has its top-coat of a nice off-white. And it really does look nice painted like that.

It can’t be long now until it’s finished and we’re back at work down there. It’s been very quiet over the last couple of months around here with no boats under repair down there.

chant de sirenes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The last time that I looked, L’Omerta was tied up at the fish processing plant.

She’s not there today though. Moored in her place was one of the smaller trawlers – Chant de Sirenes – “Song of the Mermaids”.

It looks to me as if she’s either unloading her catch right now or loading up a pile of catch boxes because there are some men working in the stern of the boat and there are some others up on the quayside with a pile of boxes that are identical to those in the stern.

Why they are doing it from above I really don’t know. It’s much easier to load up the boat from the level down below.

philcathane baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I was turning for home I looked round, just in time to see the trawler that we had seen earlier come into harbour.

And there’s no need to do anything to the photo back at the apartment because we can see quite clearly who she is from here.

She is in fact Philcathane, coming back in from a day’s fishing out at sea.

And so I headed for home, surprising a couple of kids aged about 11 or 12 having a crafty cigarette behind a hedge as I walked past.

After a coffee I started to ice my Christmas cake and while it ought to be done better, I’m still reasonably pleased with what I’ve done.

Tea was a curry out of the freezer and now, rather later than intended, I’m off to bed. I’ve a 06:00 start in the morning so I need to make to most of what remains of the night.

Sunday 5th December 2021 – AFTER THIS MORNING’S …

laurent comité de jumelage cerences bere regis Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… exertions, I was glad actually to come back home and sit down.

And for a change, when the alarm went off this morning at 09:30 (and isn’t that early for a Sunday morning?) I was already up and about. A quick tidy-up and a play with my equipment to make sure that it was all in working order and I was ready to go.

And while I was at it, I worked out (quite by accident too) how to switch the recording from 2-track stereo to two mono tracks. And I’m a lot happier now I know how to do that.

Laurent turned up on time and we set off for Cérences, stopping to put fuel in Laurent’s car. It was my turn to pay because, after all, he’s been driving me around on these interviews for quite a few times now.

laurent comité de jumelage cerences bere regis Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The interview was rather a disappointment.

My understanding was that we were to interview the President of this twinning committee and so it would be somewhere quiet and secluded. However it turned out that the whole committee was there and the interview took place in the middle of a Christmas Fair.

There was nowhere to bolt the pivoting mike stand so the committee ended up passing “their” microphone from hand to hand, with all of the pops and crackles that that entailed.

But at least they were content to see us, which is more than most people have been with this radio project on which we are working and I might be able to salvage something out of it.

But all of this is a learning curve for me and it’s only by making mistakes and learning how to rectify them that I’m going to make progress.

On the way home Laurent took me on a little drive to show me a few places of his childhood and then back here I made lunch although I needn’t have done so as I hadn’t realised that the clock on his car wasn’t changed at the end of October and it was earlier than I thought.

After lunch I prepared the dough for my loaf of bread for this week, and also a fruit loaf for breakfast. Yes, a fruit loaf, not fruit buns, and that’s because my oven is too small to make fruit buns at the same time that I’m baking bread. I wish that I had a larger oven.

people beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Later on it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down there this afternoon. And to my surprise there was actually someone down on the beach.

That was a surprise because the weather wasn’t nice at all. It had been quite miserable this morning, brightening up a little while we were on our way home but it had soon clouded over again.

buoy on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And it wasn’t just people who were down on the beach either.

It looks as if Storm Arwen that paid us a visit last weekend has left us a little present. Down there on the beach below is what looks like a marker buoy off a mooring chain

Somewhere around here in some local port will be someone now fishing in vain with his boathook for the mooring chains.

These are sunk in most harbours and regular readers of this rubbish will have seen them in Granville. They run along the bottom of the port, indicated with the red buoys. You fish for the chain with your boat hook, tie your boat to it and drop the chain back into the water.

rainstorm ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021One look at the weather told me that I wasn’t going to stay out here long.

There was a rainstorm cascading down out there in the bay somewhere around the Ile de Chausey. Although it wasn’t as big or heavy a rainstorm that we have had just recently, it would still be wet and the wind was blowing it in my direction.

“This isn’t the time to be hanging around” I told myself, and headed off down the path towards the lighthouse, in the hope that I could complete the circuit and be back home with my mug of hot coffee before it arrived.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There were only a couple of people out there this afternoon and that was a shame because once again we were having some interesting light effects.

The cloud cover only seemed to extend as far as the other side of the baie de Mont St Michel and the brittany coast down towards Cap Fréhel was basking in gorgeous sunshine by the looks of things.

Had I not been in a rush to return home I would have gone to stand on my bunker and taken a photo all the way down the coast because the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel was visible with the naked eye yet again this afternoon.

brittany coast cancale Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021But instead, I made do with a photo of the Brittany coast over at Cancale.

The weird clouds and lighting effects were silhouetting the skyline of the town on top of the cliffs over there and it was quite impressive.

It’s a shame though that there was only me out there now enjoying it. Everyone else had gone and there was no-one out there sitting on the bench down below.

And with no boats or anything out at sea this afternoon I carried on down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

tractor trailer fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was nothing whatever going on in the port this afternoon.

There weren’t any boats moored up at the ferry terminal this afternoon and nothing – not even L’Omerta – moored at the fish processing plant.

The tractor and trailer that handle the loads brought in by some of the smaller boats were down there this afternoon so presumably there are some boats out at sea and which will be coming home on the evening tide.

And with nothing else worthy of note I cleared off home and my coffee before the rain arrived.

Later on I bunged my bread into the oven and let it do its work.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while it was working I was busy rolling out the dough for the pizza and putting it in the tray to rise.

When it was ready I assembled the pizza and as soon as the bread finished I took it out and the pizza went in. And when it came out, it was delicious too. I think that I have the hang of making pizza now.

And so I should after all of the times that I’ve been baking them. But if I were to have a better oven they would be better still. But that isn’t likely to happen any time soon, if at all.

Eventually I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. At the beginning it was to do with the radio station. We were having to organise some songs but I wasn’t sure about what kind of songs and how many to organise so I was going through other people’s entries on the Social Media page looking for examples that had been suggested by other people at other times. There was one in particular but the guy who had sung it felt himself and made him feel silly but I can’t remember very much more about this.

Later on I was at a holiday camp last night and had Zero with me. There had been a lot going on so I decided in the morning that I’d go back to bed and have a couple of hours sleep. She went off to play somewhere. A woman came along just as I was waking up, sitting there talking to me, telling me about Zero, everything like that. I went to dress but I couldn’t find any of my clothes. There were some clothes lying around belonging to someone else so I put them on. I made a joke that I’d put on my underpants inside-out. Also in an unconnected incident I’d broken my pencil so the joke was going around that I’d put on my underpants inside-out and broken my pencil as a consequence. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember, and a lot more that I can but as you are eating your lunch you don’t want to be reading about it.

Finally I was staying at a strange boarding house with a girl who was a cross between a girl I know in Swindon and another one I know in Scotland. We had separate rooms of course. We were up until fairly late that night then went to bed and arranged to meet next morning. When I awoke it was something like 09:25. I thought “breakfast will be over in a minute so even though I’d switched on the computer and switched on everything and went outside to use the bathroom. I found that thr bathroom was actually a glass cubicle stuck on the end of the house. Everyone could see what you were doing. There were lace curtains at the side but they kept on coming undone. When you finished what you were doing there was no toilet paper, just a pile of old clothes and you had to tear off a bit. I started to do that but there was another couple inside there, from Clacton in Essex. They were talking away. I thought “this is the strangest situation that I’ve ever been in. I could see the girl who was with me. She was down on the lawn sunbathing, talking to it looked as if it was the woman who owned the place. I thought “I’d better get a move on otherwise breakfast will have finished”. I couldn’t seem to tear off a suitable piece of this old clothing to use and ended up with miles of it. Trying to do it in this glass cubicle where these curtains kept coming undone and everyone could see inside was not really very comfortable. In the end I stuffed a large piece of the cloth into my trouser pocket, dressed and went outside with the aim that I can go and arrange myself properly somewhere more quiet and more convenient than this.

And now that everything is done and finished, I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning as I have to radio programmes to prepare. But at least I’ve done a lot of the work already so it shouldn’t take too long.

And isn’t that the Kiss of Death?

Tuesday 16th November 2021 – LAST NIGHT WAS A …

… much better night, in that I actually managed to go to sleep.

Mind you, it was rather late when I went to bed. I was downloading something off the internet that took far, far longer than I expected and I ended up having to loiter around until it finished. I didn’t want to abandon the proceedings half-way through as I’d probably forget what I was doing.

There was nevertheless plenty of time for me to go for a wander around during the night. I was round at someone’s house. Zero was there with her father. He had a Volvo but an indicator was out and he couldn’t buy a bulb for it. I had a look at the list of bulbs and it was a current bulb so there was no reason why he couldn’t. We tried a couple of places but couldn’t get one. In the end even though I was going to be late for my bus back from Wheelock I practised by trying to wedge some kind of bulb in somehow. To my surprise it actually worked. I had to get all of my things together and when I went to open the car to take my bag out this large dog in the back tried to come out. I had to lecture this dog firmly to stay put to prepare all my things. I had to go down to the end of the road to catch the bus but it was late now. I has hoping that he would offer to run me back to Crewe and if he did would he bring Zero with him? That’s a few times now just recently that she’s put in an appearance during the night and I wonder why.

Some time later I was with some guy in a block of flats near the airport watching planes take off, chatting about the aeroplanes. Someone was saying that the last flying Caravelle goes over late at night from here. Of course I knew it and had been out to see it a couple of times at night. Just at that moment a light aeroplane flew past, a tiny thing. He came in to land but his approach was so steep. The guy said “he clipped the top of my balcony the other week doing this”. As he came into tland on the runway he was miles short because of his steep approach and hit a red and white Austin 1100 and was turned upside-down on his top wing. I leant over the balcony to look. The driver of this car ran over and went to look at the aeroplane. I shouted down “is everything OK?”. He shouted “no, phone for an ambulance. I picked up the phone and went to dial 999. By this time there were crowds of people all around this. I couldn’t hear a thing. They were all crowding me, all trying to find out what was happening. I was dialling 999 and I couldn’t hear anyone on the phone because of the noise. I had to push people out of the way and have them keep quiet. It was like a nightmare.

Leaving the bed at 07:30 was something of a struggle after all of this. I’ve felt much better even after 4 hours sleep than I did last night after 6.5 hours sleep.

After the medication I Had a look at my mails and messages and then set about revising my Welsh from last week (once I found my paper with the notes on it) and preparing the lesson for today but regrettably, I … errr … dozed off for 10 minutes instead.

The lesson itself passed quite well and I even managed not to fall asleep either. But regrettably I finished my last fruit bun. I shall have to make some more on Sunday after I return.

After lunch I had a few things to do which resulted in uncovering yet another batch of image files that I had overlooked. Undoubtedly all duplicates because they had been on a portable disk drive so I must have done a back-up at some point a long time ago.

Well, not all that long ago because there was almost … errr … 450GB of them. But moving them over to where I can merge them in had created all that space on my back-up drive which probably means that i’ll be able to do another back-up one of these days.

And if I keep on uncovering files like this, I’ll soon end up with a new slimline version of my computer and all of its assorted drives.

boat offshore beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual there was the afternoon walk around the headland to clear out all of the cobwebs.

At the end of the car park I could look down onto the beach and see what was happening down below.

And the answer was “not a lot” because

  1. There was not an awful lot of beach to be on
  2. There was no-one down there on whatever little beach there was.


fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021If you had a close look at the previous photo you would have seen a speedboat of some type or other over to the left.

But this isn’t it. There were three or four of them out there and this was one of the other ones that went roaring past where I was standing.

Judging by the looks of things, they were fishermen. They had all of their gear in the rear, including their fishing rods in the upright position.

Why they would need a boat like this and why they would want to move at this speed I really don’t know because this is the kind of thing that would drive away all of the fish for miles around.

boats offshore baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was a cabin cruiser out there too, anchored out by the marker buoy that se saw the other day.

One of the speedboats came along to join it, something that must have upset the fishermen, if that’s who they were, in the cabin cruiser, when the speedboat turned up at full speed.

There were several other boats in the distance too but I couldn’t see who they were or what they were doing. There was quite a sea-fog today rolling in with the wind that was obscuring almost everything that’s out there.

evening sky baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on along the path towards the lighthouse I could see the sky doing some interesting things out towards the Brittany coast.

When I arrived at the end of the headland I could see that the mist and cloud had come right down to sea level and it was not possible to see anything at all out there.

But there was another nice gap in the clouds and although the setting sun wasn’t shining through it today, someone was having a lovely evening sunset out there on the other side of the clouds.

Of course, as we all know, “red sky at night means St Malo is on fire”.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Arounf the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel the sky was rather clearer.

There was a queue of boats, one of which was this yacht, loitering around just offshore around by Le Loup, the light on the rock by the entrance to the harbour.

As to why they were waiting, I don’t know the answer to that because judging by how far in the tide was right now, the harbour gates would have been open for a while and anyone could have gone back in had they wished.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One thing that I did say previously was that I wouldn’t feature the chantier naval and the portable boat lift unless there was a change in situation there.

While I was out yesterday I noticed that there was something going on over there but with only having theF1.8 18.5MM LENS on the NIKON 1 J5 I couldn’t take photo that was clear enough.

Today though while I was right over there I didn’t have the same issues. But as you can see, we now have a van, a trainer and a cherry picker down there next to the portable boat lift, so it looks as if repairs are now well under way.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There wasn’t really much else going on over there so I had a look over at the ferry terminal.

Moored over there this afternoon is one of the Joly France boats. There’s no step in the stern and the windows are in “landscape” format so by that we gather that it’s the older one of the two.

As for the other Joly France boat and the very new Belle France, they are moored up together in the inner harbour and don’t look as if they will be going out to sea any time soon

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Also not going out to sea any time soon are some of the trawlers that hang around the port.

There’s a handful of them that came in to port a short while ago and are over there unloading at the fish processing plant.

L’Omerta is still over there looking as if she hasn’t moved for quite a while. And she seems to have acquired a tender – or, at least, there’s one tied up to her at this side.

light aeroplane 45AHB boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Seeing as it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything go flying by, I thought that I’d take a photo of this aeroplane as it went by overhead.

It’s another one of the light aircraft whose registration number isn’t in the series to which I have access so I can’t say very much about it.

Just as I was about to cross the road I was almost run down by one of my neighbours driving by so we had a chat, and then I came back for my coffee and to carry on where I left off with my work.

Tea tonight was the rest of the curry and it was just as nice as last night. Now I’m off to bed as I have an early start in the morning and a train to catch.

Leuven here I come.

Saturday 6th November 2021 – I DIDN’T HAVE …

… such a productive day today as I did yesterday. I found it very hard to make a start yet again.

It should actually have been a much better day today because for once I was actually wide awake a 07:15 – 15 minutes before the alarm went off – and I should have taken full advantage of it but once again, being awake is one thing – actually leaving the bed is something else completely.

Anyway I eventually crawled out of bed and went off for my medication.

Back here I ended up deep in conversation with someone on the internet.

In my possession is a very limited-edition copy of David Hill’s AN ATLAS OF ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND but unfortunately there are several pages missing.

The person with whom I was chatting had been a student of David Hill at Manchester University and had a copy of the Atlas himself so he copied the pages for me and sent them to me, along with several maps showing the distribution of Royal lands in South Cheshire, North Shropshire and the Maelor, my old stamping ground of course, and a copy of his thesis on the Domesday Book entries for that area.

That really was a wonderful gesture and I was very grateful for all of that. It’s restored a little of my faith in human nature.

boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After breakfast I headed off out to do some shopping. No Caliburn so I went on foot to the local shops in town.

And by the looks of things I wasn’t the only one going out and about this morning. There was a relentless stream of boats heading out to the Ile de Chausey this morning.

That suggests that the gate at the entry to the port de plaisance opened a short while ago and everyone is taking full advnatage.

boat yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, some boats are quicker away than others.

This one was right out in the bay going past the Ile de Chausey and by the size of the wake that he’s creating compared to the size of his boat he must have le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

On the other hand I don’t believe that the yacht to the right has gone out at that kind of speed. Either she’s been out all night or else she’s come from a non-tidal harbour, if there is such a thing around here

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route today was to go around the headland and down into town that way.

And I hadn’t gone too far along the path before one of the Joly France came around the corner.

One look at the stern is enough to tell us that she’s the older boat of the two. The newer one has a step cut into the stern.

There’s quite a crowd of people on board the boat as well. It’s not the best day to be going out to the Ile de Chausey but at least it’s not raining.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2111/21110044.html”>boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the path and across the car park I could hear this dreadful racket coming from the water and I wondered what it might be.

At the end of the headland I found out that it wasn’t just one boat making a noise but a whole collection of them.

It looks to me as if the whole world is heading out to the ile de Chausey this morning and I’ve no idea why it should be so popular. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper.

And while we are on the subject of the local newspaper, the helicopter was scrambled yesterday to rescue two people stuck in a tidal swimming pool but a pleasure boat beat the helicopter to it.

fishermen boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And that’s not all of the water craft either.

As I went down the steps to the bottom I noticed that there were three fishermen setting themselves up on the rocks down there.

And they were having a grandstand view of everything going sailing past them this morning.

And they can consider themselves lucky too. Many people would pay good money to see a spectacle like this and we are all having it for free.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I walked along the path at the foot of the cliffs and that brought me down to by the chantier naval.

We can have a closer look at the portable boat lift and see how sorry it’s looking without her wheels. It must be some kind of serious repair that’s had her holed up like this in the middle of the yard.

But we can do with getting her back on her feet – or her wheels, at any rate. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a proper functioning boat repair yard is vital to the success of the port.

fishing boat with tender leaving fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Tanking of the success of the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was a small fishing boat unloading as I was walking along the quayside.

It didn’t take her long and, hauling her tender alongside her, she was soon off on her way again.

Her name was clearly visible on the wind deflector over the cabin but it was written in some crazy Gothic script that I couldn’t decipher. And as she doesn’t have an AIS beacon, I can’t check her registration number against my records.

crab left behind by the tide port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was something else of interest in the tidal harbour this morning.

What he’s actually doing here I really don’t know. Whether he’s fallen out of a basket from a boat that’s unloading or whether he simply fancies going for a walk is something of a mystery.

But one thing is certain and that it’s very rare for a crab to be left behind by a receding tide. If he doesn’t get a move on, he’ll be on someone’s dinner plate this evening.

st gaud port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday from up above at the viewpoint overlooking the port I noticed that there was a trawler moored where Marité is usually tied up.

As I was down this way I went for a look to see who she was.

She’s the Saint Gaud, named after a former Bishop of Evreux. There’s a shrine dedicated to him at St Pair sur Mer that used to be a centre of pilgrimage where mothers would bring their babies to receive a blessing.

After his retirement as Bishop he came to live in the Forest of Scissy part of which is today the town of St Pair sur Mer.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Next to her at the quayside is the little Chausey freighter Chausiaise.

She has a sliding top that covers the hold, as you can see. It’s similar to a design that we did in the 1980s for an outdoor swimming pool where the sides and roof slide back underneath one another to make it an open-air one in good weather.

There’s no photo of her in the shipping database and as I maintain the AIS beacon for the port I feel that I’m in some way responsible for the local boats. This photo has come out quite well so it’s now been uploaded to the database.

By the way, up on the city walls just to the left of the French flag is the viewpoint that overlooks the inner port. And that’s the hill that I have to stagger up to go home.

Around the corner I bumped into the itinerant, still going strong. I’ve not seen him for a while so we had a chat and then I went off to buy the lettuce, a baguette, some mushrooms and a couple of peppers. And a can of drink for the journey back.

barbecue marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I passed round by the market.

All of the smoke that you can see is from the legendary barbecue about which there was so much trouble two years or so ago. He uses charcoal to grill his sausages and the mayor at the time didn’t like the smell or the smoke so she tried to make him convert to gas.

He took her all the way up the heirarchical ladder of appeals and in the end he won his case, so he still used the charcoal. The Carnaval that year was … errr … rather cruel.

marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But as you can see, the market here on a Saturday morning is quite popular. It certainly pulls in the crowds.

For the first few weeks that I lived here I would come back this way from the shops on a Saturday morning but the first weekend that I tried it after the summer holidays started, I found an alternative route very quickly.

On the way back home I stopped halfway up the hill. Not because I was exhausted but rather because I wasn’t and I had my can of drink to drink before I returned home. It was nice sitting on the wall overlooking the port with a can of drink in my hand.

As I approached my buildiing I bumped into yet another neighbour and she held me captive for 20 minutes chatting about this and that. I reallt do seem to be popular right now and i’ve no idea what I’ve done to deserve that.

As a result it was almost lunchtime by the time that I came back inside.

This afternoon I’ve been working on the arears of the journal, adding in the photos and the dreams from when I was in Leuven last month. Now they are all up-to-date.

And after I’d done that I transcribed some dreams for a couple more days and I’ll be adding them in as I go along over the next while – just in time (presumably) to go into arrears again when I go to Leuven in 10 days time. It’s a vicious circle in which I find myself at the moment.

In the meantime, last night I was with my mother somewhere. I was in one room of the house. There was music on the radio so I was playing along on the bass but on one particular song the bass actually switched on and was really loud. When I looked, one of the potentiometers was glowing red-hot with sparks. I couldn’t get down there to turn off or turn down the sound

There had been a whole new road network opened from after Whitchurch to Shrewsbury and Market Drayton. It was quite late at night and I decided that even though I had things to do I would go to see if after someone had told me something about it. I set off and just as I was coming onto the new bit there was a telephone box so I thought that I’d stop and put all my papers in order because I’d thrown them into the car. I wanted to check on the ferry at 02:30 which was the one that I should have been on but then I couldn’t find my papers. The 2 people sitting in the back, I don’t know where they came from were having a rummage around in the car. Eventually they found something and I found the rest. I was sitting on it. Percy Penguin in the passenger seat read out the ferry booking number to me so I wrote it down. I found that I’d already written it once in my notebook. That meant that I could phone up about the ferry that I should have been on.

I’d been doing a coach tour. I’d had to go out, drive over 300 miles, pick up some passengers and bring them back to the depot and be back by lunchtime. I had loads of things that I’d brought with me, tools and everything and I had to get them into my red Cortina estate. That took me an age to do that. Then I had to set off and drive back home but I had a phone call to make, to ring up my niece in Canada. I parked my car at the side of the road and went to the phone box. The number wasn’t actually the number that I thought it was but it was there written down so I thought that I’d go to dial it. Then I noticed that my bike was missing. The car outside had changed into a bike. I went out to look for it and there were 2 girls there. One was Zero. She had my bike but she had hit something with it. I asked her why she’d taken it. She relied that 2 boys had taken it and had a ride on it but it was some stupid bike without a computer so they’d dumped it so she’d gone on it and gone for a ride. I had to go back and find a phone box and telephone Canada again. She came with me in the phone box. I started looking for my notebook which I eventually found. There was the number written down in it but it was the wrong number. I remembered that the last time the number had changed. I thought that I’m not going to be able to phone up because I only have one 10p. If I dial the wrong number I’m going to lose it and I won’t be able to call her again.

But here I am, stuck in a tiny, confined space like a telephone box with Zero who can’t possibly escape from my evil clutches and I choose that moment to awaken. You couldn’t make up something like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I nepped out at 16:00 to go and see the beach.

At the moment the tide is well out as you can see so there was plenty of beach this afternoon. There were quite a few people down there as well this afternoon going for a good walk around .

The weather is quite cool and there’s a little wind, but it’s been windier and colder than this already so it’s not too bad for November. But I imagine that over the next few weeks winter will be starting to get a grip on everything and that will be the last that we shall see of the idlers.

hermitage promenade donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few weeks ago I posted a photo or two to show that the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away for the wonter to protect them from the storms.

Down on the promenade at Donville-les-Bains they don’t seem to be too concerned by that. The cabins are still there.

To the left is that big building that used to be a hotel but is now a block of apartments and flats. I had a look at a room that was to let there not long after I came to live here but it really was in bad condition and I didn’t like it all that much at all.

Back here I carried on work until tea time. Breaded burgers and veg with baked potatoes and it really was delicious. I must admit that I’m eating really well since I’ve been living here.

Now my journal entry is written I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to the lie-in tomorrow but the problem will be that having spent all weel working myself up to it, somethign will happen to put a spanner in the works.

We shall see.