Tag Archives: the good the bad and the ugly

Sunday 24th April 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… my walk this afternoon took me around the medieval city walls to see what was happening around there.

And so while you admire the progress that they have been making with the repointing of the medieval city walls in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and the Rue du Nord, I’ll tell you all about my rather quiet day today.

“Quiet” was definitely the word to use because it didn’t actually start until 11:40 when I finally fell, not without a great deal of difficulty, out of bed.

And even then I wasn’t really in all that much of a mood to do very much for a while.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After brunch I eventually buckled down to work and the first task was to pair up the music of the next radio programme.

That didn’t take too long and then I turned my attention to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a war on. The whole system of supply chains and everything was totally disrupted and nothing was being produced anywhere. One person organised something that churned out tonnes of stuff much quicker than anything else had ever been churned out and was rescuing people from cars (including a girl in a wheelchair whom I know), all kinds of things. It became some kind of by-word on the TV what he was doing but someone actually went behind the scenes afterwards and showed loads of collateral damage that had been done. This was really something that could only be done once because they couldn’t afford the damage that was being committed to the infrastructure and everything in doing it. There was litter and junk abandoned all over the place that couldn’t ever be used again. Barges were just emptied and dumped and didn’t go back for return loads etc.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was also something about a delivery service something like ours … “whose?” – ed … that had all kinds of weird and strange rules about delivery. They were catching people out because of the volume of stuff that they were sending. There was one case where they were sending stuff to be collected by a young family on behalf of a relative but were totally overwhelmed with packets. They had to bring in someone from the company to try to deal with all of these deliveries and deal with all of these children as well in this family who were being disturbed by the continual flow of parcels etc. Again there were parcels dumped all over the place. It was like a runaway juggernaut type of situation with these kids in a pram or pushchair and this guy from the parcel company trying to control them and the parcels, trying to obtain all of the address details changed etc. These two dreams were extremely stressful.

Finally there was a group of soldiers, an informal group who rode into a fort in order to help defend it. They eventually found where the colonel’s office was. He was totally intoxicated rather like the colonel in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. He told them to take their place wherever they thought fit. Having had a tour of the walls with the colonel, the guy in charge took a huge lump of bread and some cheese, pickels etc and went back to his men. He started to talk to them about the defence of the city and the battle and shared out the food amongst them.

When I listened to what was on the dictaphone, I was quite surprised. I was convinced that there was much more than this too. I had the feeling that I was awake for much of the night dictating into the dictaphone. I know that in the past I’ve caught myself dictating into my hand instead of the dictaphone and I wonder if I’ve been doing that again.

All of this took me up to the time when I would usually go for walkies around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But as I had made up my mind to go around the walls this afternoon I made a little diversion to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see who was down on the bach this afternoon.

Although there was quite a strong wind it was really bright and sunny this afternoon and so there wre quite a few people down there, not that there was an awful lot of beach to be on right now.

No-one actually brave enough to put their feet in the water though. It wasn’t actually that warm. That will probably be for another time later on. There are a couple more Bank Holidays coming up imminently

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was out there looking down at the beach I had my roving eye looking around out at sea.

Although there was quite a haze out there and not even the Ile de Chausey was visible, there was plenty of activity just offshore. There was a cabin cruiser and a couple of speedboats for a start, and probably a few other things that I couldn’t make out.

No fishing boats though – they must all be having a day off today.

So I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … along the path down past where they were repairing the medieval city walls, dodging the English family with the dog who were trying to negotiate the scaffolding.

But the repairs are continuing along the Rue du Nord right now, even though the big crack in the walls where they have been repairing is filling me with some kind of concern.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I passed through the arch and along the path underneath the walls where I used to go running all that time ago.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset I stopped to have a look down there to see what was happening.

The summer season hasn’t officially started yet. The promenade cabins haven’t arrived on the Plat Gosset yet and the diving platform on the pillar hasn’t been put back. I imagine that that’s for some other time later on.

The tidal swimming pool is looking nice though, although no-one is taking advantage of that right now either.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I continued on to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Maréchal Foch.

As well as the vertical-axis wind turbine spinning around in the foreground, we had lots of people milling around on the beach and on the Plat Gousset. The fine weather has certainly brought them out in their droves.

Even the seagull that bombed the photograph on the extreme left-hand edge seemed to be enjoying itself too as it prepares to alight on the roof of the casino down there.

seagull nesting rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While we’re on the subject of seagulls … “well, one of us is” – ed … it’s that time of year again.

The town’s gardeners have been out cutting the grass and the seagulls have been collecting it. They’ve built all of their nests on the roofs of the houses and they are now settling down to lay their eggs.

In a couple of weeks we might catch sight of the eggs and then we can watch the seagull chicks slowly growing up. I shall have to make a note to come by this way more often in order to watch the events as they unfold until the chicks are ready to fly away.

planters square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Here in the Square Maurice Marland there have been a few more developments too.

A few years ago they spent a lot of money renovating the square and then the let it run to seed somewhat. At one time just recently it was looking quite shabby.

However, while I’ve not been paying attantion, they have been slowly bringing it back into condition.

These planters are quite new. They certainly weren’t here before. I wonder what we’re going to see planted in them.

marité belle france ch711273 hermes 1 ch651332 hera ch639451 philcathane ch642969 Galapagos sm734551 hermine Bastien Steeven pl626645 Le P'tit Caprice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back into town there wasn’t anything happening so I went to have a look at the port.

With having seen no fishing boats out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see them all in the harbour. And they certainly were there too.

Quite a few whom we have seen before, like Hermes I, Hera, Philcathane and Galapagos but there are a couple there who are strangers. SM734551 is called Hermine Bastien Steeven, the SM telling us that despite her Dutch name, is from Saint Malo, and PL626645 is called Le P’tit Caprice, registered down the coast at Paimpol in Brittany.

Marité and Belle France are in there today too which is a surprise. They ought to be out at sea earning their keep with a couple of loads of tourists.

Back here I had a coffee and then sat down with the guitar. On the playlist earlier, the song ROLL ME AWAY had come round. When I listened closely to it, I reckoned that it was a fairly simple chord progression so I sat down to work it out.

And it works too. So for my next trick I’ll work out a bass line to it.

Regular readers will recall that I said in the past that I won’t add any more songs to my own acoustic playlist set until I can master the ones there, but this particular one has always been a favourite of mine and it has a certain significance.

“Stood alone on a mountain top
Starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go East, I could go West
It was all up to me to decide”

Doesn’t that remind me of when I was standing up there on the HIGH PLAINS OF WYOMING in 2002?

And what about
“12 hours out of Mackinaw City
Stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
And I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
Then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing
I knew what she was thinkin’
Roll, roll me away
Won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
And I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word
We just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight
We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone”

And the air certainly was cold where we were at the time that all of this was going on. Yes, one day I really will, I promise you, write about those three missing days on my blog.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Tea tonight was, as usual, a vegan pizza.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been happily defrosting during the afternoon. When I’d finished what I’d needed to do I rolled it out and when it had proofed I assembled it.

After last week’s unsatisfactory attempt when it was overcooked, I turned the oven down slightly today and that produced a much better effort. I didn’t break any teeth this evening.

But I’m off to bed in a minute. An early start and a radio programme to complete. And two to send off – I mustn’t forget that, as I’m not here next week.

Well, in fact I’m not all here at any time but let’s not bog ourselves down in semantics.

Tuesday 8th February 2022 – I’M GOING TO …

… Leuven tomorrow and I do have to say that I’ve never felt less like it. It’s not because of any health issue (although that is weighing me down of course but it’s an “energy and enthusiasm” issue again and I just can’t seem to shake it off.

It wasn’t as if I’d had a bad night either. I was in bed at something like a reasonable time and according to the dictaphone I wasn’t disturbed until comparatively late in the proceedings, so I must have had quite a deep sleep.

Having listened to what I’d been up to during the night, I hadn’t gone all that far either on my travels. There was something last night about a girl who was an orphan who came to stay with us but I don’t remember very much at all about this particular trip.

Later on though we had to go out and investigate someone who was driving without a speedo. When we arrived they were performing some really weird manoeuvres but we couldn’t find anything wrong but told them that now that they have brought themselves to the attention of the police they ought to take it very easy for the next while or so. Then this girl and I went home again.

That was all a bit of a damp squib, wasn’t it?

Leaving the bed though at 07:30 was not as easy as it might have been but eventually I was in the kitchen taking my medicine before coming back in here to check my mails and messages and then to prepare for my Welsh lesson. And, unfortunately, crash out for a short while too.

The lesson was, like most of them these days, quite dismal, just like me but with the course slowly coming to an end I renewed for the next level. I’m not sure how that’s going to work because this one seems to be rather above me, but my brain will seize up if I don’t use it (if it hasn’t already) and I have to push myself along.

After lunch, I had a listen to this concert that has a hole in it. And after quite a while of manipulation … “PERSONipulation” – ed … I’ve actually fixed it with a bit of “cut-and-paste” of another section that I’ve managed to fit in over the top.

It took ages to synchronise the beats but now, not only can you not hear any join or any difference in sound tone and level where I’ve pasted in, you can’t even tell that there’s been any alteration in the beat of the music and I’m well-impressed with what I managed to do.

It ended up being 0.264 of a second over-running but that was no problem to deal with.

However, I’ve also found two other slight holes in the tape when I listened more closely and my next challenge will be to replace them – and to see if I can do a job as well as I did this afternoon or whether that was just a lucky strike.

Another thing that I did was to shuffle the introduction around on another concert that I did yesterday. I’d written something that seemed to run in a logical order but when I recorded it and played it back later when I was editing, it didn’t seem to be right.

That was something that had irritated me ever since yesterday and so this afternoon I did a cut-and-paste on that too and rearranged my intro.

Looking back over the last day or two, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve actually enjoyed doing these concerts – enjoyed them very much, especially the first one that I did yesterday where I manufactured it out of a pile of bits of miscellaneous items.

It seems to me that given half a chance and provided that I can lay my hands on the material, I’ll be doing a few more of these.

My supply of concert material, from the days when I drove a sound engineer around, is limited though to another 40 or so concerts, a few of which are not really suitable so if I keep on going, I’ll start to run out sooner or later. And if ever he contacts me and asks for his material back, then I will be in trouble.

However, it is something of a miracle that after all of the vicissitudes that I’ve been through over the last 45-50 years, I actually still have in my possession as much as I do..

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was, as usual, the beach down at the bottom of the steps at the Rue du Nord to see who was down there this afternoon – and even, of course, that there was a beach for anyone to be on.

This afternoon we had quite a bit of a beach and there were even a few people down there. They were scavenging around on the rocks as if they were hunting for shellfish. Not that it’s the correct time of day and the state of the tide to do that but nevertheless they can probably find something to take home with them.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And, as usual, I was also looking around out at sea to find out what was happening there.

Yesterday we noticed a trawler or two out there working in the Baie de Granville over by the Ile de Chausey. Today, there was another one – and a different one too – working out there in the bay. It seems to be quite the thing these days.

There were a few people out there walking on the path this afternoon, which is not surprising seeing that it’s half-term. The weather wasn’t anything notable either – not at all cold for the time of the year although it was grey and overcast. No problem about being outside this afternoon.

seagull rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However that’s the kind of thing that can change at any moment.

There’s a terrific rainstorm out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and it’s slowly heading my way. Give it half an hour or so and I imagine that we’ll be having all of that dropping on our heads over here.

Consequently I have no intention of hanging around out here on the headland waiting for it to arrive. I shall emulate the seagull in the photo and push on … “push off” – ed … down the path on my way towards home and my nice hot coffee bubbling in the percolator even as we speak.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was interesting to see what was going on in the chantier naval this afternoon

Work on the Le Roc A La Mauve III is proceeding quite rapidly, which makes something of a change around here. There are a couple of people working on her and they have been doing quite a lot of sanding-down of her hull.

You can see the pile of paint dust that has fathered around her on the floor.

Still in the chantier naval up on her ramps is Tiberiade. She’s also having quite a going-over as well.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over at the ferry terminal we have the older of the two Joly France ferries, the one that we saw going out to the island on Saturday morning.

They still run out now and again during the winter, not that we are having any winter right now, and so for that reason she’s tied up there in the NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position rather than tied up with her sisters in the inner harbour.

They are still in there where we saw them on Saturday.

What I’m wondering is whether they will be carrying out a refurbishment on the ferry terminal too. It’s not been used for getting on for two years so it’s probably going to need a good sorting out if ferry services to the Channel Islands are going to restart at the end of April.

plaque to 21st battalion chasseurs à pied place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One thing that I have been meaning to do is to go and look at what was going on on Saturday across the road in the car park of the other building.

There were several wreaths on the floor and above them is this plaque commemorating the the 21st Battalion of the Chasseurs à Pied. I can’t say whether or not this plaque was here prior to Saturday but it certainly looks new and this was where they were standing.

Back here I had a shower and shave and a general clean-up, and then I did my Dave Crosby impression. Must be because I had a flu for Christmas and I’m not feeling up to par.

While I was there, I washed my trainers. They have been filthy and totally disreputable for the last several years but they are supremely comfortable.

One of the things that I did this afternoon while I was editing my sound files and so on was to fall asleep again – for 10 minutes or so. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and quite depressing especially as I had a reasonable sleep last night.

Tea tonight was a taco roll. The stuffing that I forgot to use yesterday was quite edible and there was half a tomato that needed eating so I added that in. Tea was delicious.

And bang on cue, I reached the end of the film that I’d been watching over the last few days while I’ve been eating my evening meal. This one was THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY.

This is a film that I’ve seen in several different versions with several different edits, depending upon the region in which the film was marketed, and I have yet to find a copy of the unedited version that combines all of the different versions.

It’s strange, because when I see that film I always think that it’s the best of the three films but when I see FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE I consider that one to be the best. So I dunno.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. I’ve a 06:00 start and have a lot to do to prepare before I leave for Leuven.

At least I can sleep on the train if necessary.

Sunday 27th November 2016 – I FINALLY FOUND …

…some football this weekend, at my third attempt.

stade jean alame e s vouziers U S st menges 08200 france october octobre 2016U S St Menges were down to play E S Vouziers this afternoon and not only did I manage to find the ground, the teams were actually out there warming up when I arrived, ready to play.

That makes a pleasant change from just recently, having missed all kinds of matches just now.

But what was really interesting was when I walked into the pie hut. The woman behind the counter took one look at me and asked “coffee?”. First time that I’ve been here too!

My fame must be spreading, that’s all that I can say.

stade jean alame e s vouziers U S st menges 08200 france october octobre 2016So once the match kicked off, we all settled down to watch the game.

And in the words of the good old cliché, it really was a game of two halves too.

In the first half, it was a pretty even game. E S Vouziers – in the black-and-white – looked slightly the better team but that was failing to take into account two of the US St Menges players.

stade jean alame e s vouziers U S st menges 08200 france october octobre 2016US St Menges had two attackers who looked streets ahead of anything that ES Vouziers could offer and they combined to make really good attacking play.

The St Menges n°7 and n°9 were really having a good first half and it was absolutely no surprise to anyone that the end of the first half found then 2-0 up. And they were really good value for that score too.

And so we all went off for a half-time coffee and a warm because it was freezing out there.

stade jean alame e s vouziers U S st menges 08200 france october octobre 2016Now I’m not sure what each of the trainers put into the half-time cuppa because we had two different teams out there on the field for the second half.

The two US St Menges attackers had gone completely off the boil and were pretty much anonymous for the second half, whereas the ES Vouziers players came out full of beans.

Vouziers scored within two minutes of coming back on the field and at the end of the match they ran out 3-2 winners. In the second half, they were hardly troubled by US St Menges.

One of the most dramatic half-time turnarounds that I’ve seen for quite a bit.

chasseurs ardennes hunters st menges 08200 france october octobre 2016We had a brief interruption – or, at least, the spectators did. It’s hunting season of course and we are right in the Ardennes here.

Consequently, we had the 21st-Century version of the Chasseurs Ardennais driving past the football ground, on quads, in pick-ups or on these 4×4 machines that you can see here in this photo

I hate hunters with a passion, as you all know, and I shan’t bore you by ranting on about them right now. You can take it as read.

église d’Iges glaire 08200 france october octobre 2016Just across the river, in a tight meander of the River Meuse is the hamlet of Iges, part of the commune of Glaire since 1971. That’s the village church that you can see just here.

The village has a claim to fame in that it was in the Chateau de Bellevue that Napoleon III met Kaiser William during the signing of the surrender document to end this phase of the Franco-Prussian War after defeat at the Battle of Sedan in 1870.

The French soldiers were confined in the open air as prisoners of war, the meander serving as the boundary of the camp. Some were here for 10 days.

It’s also the site of one of the crossings of the Meuse by Guderian’s Panzer Armies in May 1940 in the early days of World War II.

Talking of World War II, you’ll remember on Friday when we went to see the spot just to the north of St Menges where Fairey Battle L-5581 from 88 Squadron RAF crashed into the trees and its crew, Sergeant FE Beames (observer), Sergeant WG Ross (pilot) and LAC JHK Gegg (wireless operator/air gunner) were killed.

I told you at the time that I’d try to track down the graves of the crew and my search led me to the communal cemetery of St Menges. It’s listed as a Commonwealth War Cemetery so I reckoned that it would be a good place to visit.

beames gegg ross fairey battle L-5581 cemetery st menges 08200 france october octobre 2016

My search around the cemetery was rather like that of Tuco near the end of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly but I eventually found the plot.

There’s no site book here, no Union Jack or anything, and the plot is rather small. I was told that just one coffin was used and that rather unfortunately tells us rather too much about the condition of the bodies when they were recovered.

But it is typical of many plots in may cemeteries in this part of Europe, as I said the other day. Three graves in a quiet corner – pilot, navigator, rear gunner – monuments to the absurdity of the Fairey Battle.

I had a bit of a bad night last night. Up and down a couple of times, couldn’t sleep, awake far too early. First down to breakfast, before the staff yet again. And then back to carry on with Happy Valley and Goose Bay.

Having hung my damp clothes from last night on hangers on the curtain rail over the radiator, they were dry by lunchtime too. That was impressive.

And so, off on the attack this afternoon.

I had my pizza tonight down in the village and now I’m off to my room. I’ll try my best to have an early night and a good sleep. My time here is quickly drawing to a close.

Thursday 22nd August 2013 – I’M HERE ON MY …

… own now. Cécile and her mum were up and about and wide-awake quite early and we were on the road for 8:45. I took Cécile to the motorway and pointed her in the right direction for Paris, but I’ve had no news since. She’s on course to turn up in Berlin some time in 2017.

I’ve been catching up with some paperwork (and not by any means with all of it) and that took me until well after midday and then I had to end up drawing a ground plan of the basement seeing as how there isn’t one ad we still need to sort out the cellar. And so armed with that, I went off to the notaires where we finally signed the compromis – meanig of course that a potential purchaser of the apartment is now locked in. Only a major catastrophe can release him from his commitment ow, but I’m not under any illusions as, what with one thing and another, I know all about catastrophes following my recent experiences.

Back home I crashed out for a hour or two and I’m not surprised. I’ve had a stressful week or two.

This evening though, I have done something that I haven’t done for years and years and years, and that is that I sat down and watched television. Belgian TV was broadcasting The Good, The Bad, And The Aardvark. That’s a film that ought to be in the top 10 of anyone’s film collection – one of the greatest films of all time – and not only do I own a copy I have watched it time and time again and in dozens of different edits. But I have to say that I have never seen this edit before, and it contains sequences that I have never ever seen. Furthermore, the added scenes go a long way to filling in the numerous holes in the story – holes that have always puzzled me.

Yes, I was fascinated by this, from start to finish.

But there are still holes in the story, and one day someone might get around to releasing the full unedited version.