Tag Archives: thierry_p

Friday 10th June 2022 – YES, WELL … !

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While you admire a few photos of Marité and La Granvillaise going out and about for a run around in the bay, let me tell you about yet another miserable day.

Most of the day has been spent asleep, something that comes as a great surprise to me because there was nothing at all on the dictaphone from last night and no-one was more surprised than me to be awoken by the alarm going on at 07:30.

By the looks of things I hadn’t stirred at all during the night so ordinarily you might expect me to be fighting fit today.

But “fighting for breath” and “fit to drop” was the best that I could manage.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Back here I set an alarm for 09:50.

The reason was that I knew that I was tired and that at some point this morning I was going to crash out. With this appointment at 10:00 my logic was that the sooner I went to sleep the sooner I’d awaken and there’s no point in fighting the inevitable.

When the alarm went off I staggered off for my meeting. Thierry hasn’t seen me for several months and he certainly noticed a deterioration in my condition.

We had a coffee and quite a lengthy chat about all kinds of things. The Council is moving out of the building here in the autumn and there is talk that it might be converted into apartments. I made sure that he knew that I might be interested.

la granvillaise marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Back here I had a fruit bun and then had a look at my Welsh revision.

This morning I wrote about “My Region” and “Television or Radio”. Seeing as I don’t have a television the second one was quite straightforward and I could churn out a pile of stuff about working at the radio.

After lunch I came back in here for a session on the acoustic guitar, but not for long because I crashed out again. And I was out for a considerable period of time too

When I awoke it was almost time for me to go for my afternoon walk. I can’t believe that I’d been out of it for so long.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And so as usual the first thing that I did was to go across to the car park to have a look at what was happening down on the beach today.

First of all though there wasn’t all that much beach to be on. The tide was well in this afternoon so there wasn’t really all that much room for people to be on.

And that probably explains why there wasn’t anyone down there at all this afternoon.

The weather didn’t help much either. It was cold and overcast and not the kind of weather to entice anyone out to go sunbathing down there. And certainly not in the water either.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the other hand there was plenty of activity out at sea this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach one of my eyes was roving around out at sea and it was spoilt for choice. There was quite a selection of yachts and cabin cruisers out there in the bay today.

Not so many people up here on the path though. probably no more than half a dozen so I could wander around wuite comfortably on my own.

There wasn’t anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban either. And that was surprising because they would have had a grandstand view of Marité and La Granvillaise sailing past.

yellow autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was a much better view of everything from the air and we had one of our old friends up there enjoying it.

It’s the yello autogyrow on its way back to the airfield. It’s come from down the south of the bay so presumably the pilot has been taking his passenger for a run around the Mont St Michel.

They have arrived back here just in time to have a really good view of Marité and La Granvillaise sailing by underneath.

Right now though I’m off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what’s happening there.

pescadore wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And there has been quite a lot of activity in the chantier naval just recently.

There’s the cabin cruiser and the catamaran still there but we have two more boats in there. One of them is the trawler Pescadore who we have seen around and about on several occasions.

The other one is extremely interesting. She seems to be called Wavecat Express and judging by the signwriting that has been removed, she was owned until quite recently bu a Dutch company called “Vletterlieden”.

That’s a company that I actually know, and according to their website “Our core business is the mooring and unmooring of seagoing vessels and the supervision of all ships in and around the ports and locks of IJmuiden”

So I wonder what has brought her here. Are we going to be seeing some kind of new activity in the port in due course?

hauts de france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022She’s not the only new boat in port either today.

Over there is a boat called Hauts de France and according to her signage she’s owned by the Department of Lighthouses and Marker Buoys.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing a few new marker buoys appearing on the quayside so presumably Hauts de France has come into port to pick them up and drop them off in the sea to create some kind of sea lane.

It looks as if there’s a lot of excitement brewing around here right now, and I for one am all in favour of that.

Back here I had a coffee and then I crashed out yet again for quite some time. With all of the things that I planned to do and I’m getting nothing done at all.

But when I awoke I managed to write some notes on “My Home” and “My Last Holiday”.

Tea tonight was vegan sausage, beans and chips (I love my air fryer) and French supermarket beans are appalling. Not even pepper, cheese and chili power could make them taste any better.

But now even though it’s early I’m off to bed. I’m totally fed up and I’ve had enough for now. Shopping tomorrow so I’m hoping to have a much better day than this one. Things can’t get much worse, that’s for sure.

Friday 1st October 2021 – I’VE HAD AN EXCITING …

… day today. So much so that I’ve hardly done a thing of what I’m supposed to be doing.

It wasn’t very exciting at first though. The first job that I had to tackle was to get my entry from last night on line.

For some reason, access to my web host timed out last night every time I tried to access it, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went to bed.

The night was better than some that I’ve had just recently although I wasn’t too happy about being wide-awake at 06:40.

Nevertheless I waiting until the alarm went off, had my medication and then came in here to tackle a few tasks.

The web-host was still timing out and even clearing the cache and cookies on the (four!) different browsers that I use didn’t make things any better.

However I do have another browser that I don’t use too often, and for a variety of reasons too, but its big advantage (which at times is a big disadvantage) is that it automatically erases your browser history, cache and cookies and everything else on closedown.

On trying that, it worked perfectly (given its limitations) and I was able to upload the journal entry.

Then I had a rather onerous task to perform. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I was having some kind of issues about an insurance policy that I believed that I had and that other people disagreed.

Searching around in the apartment (and thank heavens that I have most of my papers filed neatly) I found exactly what I was looking for, so I sat down and wrote two letters.

Incendiary letters – the type that blister the paint off the walls of the office where they are opened – are two-a-penny around here, but the two I wrote today will probably beat most of those. And they were written in French too.

They will certainly provoke a reaction, although whether it will be the reaction that I want remains to be seen.

Writing those took much longer that it ought to have done because Rosemary rang me – not once but twice. She’s having difficulty dealing with a French administrative issue but because I can’t go into the site, I was unable to help her.

As a result, it was lunchtime by the time that I’d finished .

After lunch I had a shower (and my weight is now down to the lowest that it’s been for a good seven or eight months) and then headed off towards town.

baie de mont st michel joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I stopped to have a look down into the harbour.

From here, I could see that they are up to their antics with the crane again. Parked up, fully extended like that, at the worst possible angle for it to be. All of the weight on the arm pressing down on the hydraulic seals. They won’t last for long.

Down there underneath the crane moored at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats. The older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “landscape” format.

dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was here, I had a look down towards the chantier naval to see what was happening in there today.

No boats as yet, but there’s a much better view of the dredger that arrived here at the end of last week. And it’s definitely a dredger too, I reckon. We can see the grab quite clearly, and the pipework that discharges the waste water that the grab might pick up.

But when is she going to go into the water? And more importantly, where? They must have some task lined up for her now that she’s here, and I wonder what it’s going to be.

Time will tell.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So from there I wandered off down the hill towards town.

For a change, moored up underneath the crane is Belle France – the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey that arrived here in the summer. She won’t be loading, of course, so I imagine that she’s just parked there waiting for a more permanent mooring.

Into town, I went to the Post Office and posted my letters. Recorded delivery with registered receipt. I’m taking no chances. Mind you, I did include the bill for the postage and my time when I wrote the letters.

Whether the recipients will pay me, I really have no idea and I doubt it very much, but at least it’s a menacing gesture.

The walk up to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as exhausting as it has been. He put me for 20 minutes on this tilting platform thing and we went through several exercises to strengthen my knees.

Finally, he put me on this cross trainer thing and I managed to push my personal best up to 3:05 which is pretty good. Even more surprisingly, when I had a second go after catching my breath, I was so busy talking that I went well over 2 minutes without even noticing.

After he threw me out, I headed for home via the steps down to the Parc Du Val Es Fleurs.

soil parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t a weird collection of signs at the bottom of the steps this afternoon.

Instead of the signs, we now have a huge pile or two of soil now deposited at the end of the car park where they had set up their little compound, with the signs hidden somewhere behind it.

It looks as if the renovations are progressing quite rapidly. That pile of earth wasn’t there last week, and this week, some of it has been removed already and presumably scattered about somewhere over the course of the work

digger on abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And as for this beast here, I wonder if he’s the machine that moved it.

He was sitting on the abandoned railway line a short distance down from where everything was happening looking as if he was waiting for a signal from someone to go and do something else.

There was a driver in it and the engine was ticking over too, so he was clearly up to some kind of work.

But I didn’t wait to see. I continued on my way down past the Primary School to the corner of the Rue du Boscq.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the end of the road on the corner by the Rue du Boscq I asked myself if this is where the big pile of soil is going.

After all, they seem to have just about everything else here – piles of gravel, piles of sand, and that looks like soil down there right by the yellow digger.

At the moment this all looks like quite a mess but then it wasn’t actually very pretty here before the work started. It was a rather sad place. And so I’m looking forward to see how it develops over the next few months.

It has to be an improvement on how it used to be.

new roadway construction rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The reverse angle shot from where I was taking the previous photo already shows signs of dramatic improvement.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the Rue du Boscq in all kinds of different states but right now we can actually see signs of progress. The stones are all down by the looks of things and there’s just a little bit of building up to be done before they add the tarmac.

Last time I photographed this, with the grader and the compacter here, I made some kind of remark about the Trans-Labrador Highway. If this had been Labrador, all of the construction crews would have been long-gone by now and they would be running heavy lorries on it already.

filling road markers with water rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the far end of the roadworks there’s quite a bit of excitement going on right now.

They are obviously expecting a storm here this weekend, because being carried on that digger is a pallet tank of 1,000 litres of water and the guy in the red fluorescent jacket is opening the tap and filling the red and white road markers with water, presumably to weigh them down.

Of course, for an extremely complicated job like that, there had to be a supervisor, doesn’t there?

There was qute an interesting storm in the Avenue de la Libération when I walked past. There was a vehicle dropping off a passenger in the Place Marechal Foch right on the corner, not caring less that there were three or four vehicles waiting to turn into the square behind the.

As the next in the queue was a large lorry, he was too wide to pass in the inside lane and consequently the traffic was backed up right the way through the town centre as this one person leisurely took its time.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk back up the hill towards home was a little easier than it has been of late.

There were only a couple of times where I had to stop for my breath. One of those was at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The gates were now open and this trawler was setting out for the fishing grounds, rather later than the others.

She must be one of the lucky 50% of the local fleet that has been given a permit by the Channel Islands authorities. Whether the remaining 31 temporary permits will be finalised or whether they will join the ranks of the 75 who have been rejected remains to be seen.

marité chausiaise joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there catching my breath, I noticed that there had been a change in position of some of the boats.

On our way out, Belle France was moored over there underneath the crane, but now her place has been taken by Chausiaise.

Belle France is now moored down here next to one of the Joly France boats. This is the newer one of the two as we can tell by the small upper deck superstructure.

Also in the photo is of course Marité. She’s in port rather than being out on an excursion, which is probably logical now that the summer season has come to an end.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked further on up the hill, I noticed that there was something rather strange going on.

The trawler that we had seen earlier setting out to sea was now on her way back to port, like you do if you have forgotten your butties or your overcoat.

But instead of coming back into the harbour, she did a rather dramatic left-hand U-turn and headed off back out to sea, brushing along the harbour wall. And I’ve no idea what that was all about either.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And here’s something else about which I have no idea at all.

A few days ago I posted a photo of a workmen’s compound that had sprung up in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers, something that looked as if it might have some kind of connection to the electricity supply.

Although I have yet to see anyone working around there, we now seem to have acquired a large lorry and a digger, so it looks as if we are about to see some trench-digging beginning some time fairly soon.

That’s something else for us to monitor in the forthcoming weeks.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

Actually, there wasn’t all that much beach for people to be on this afternoon, and that’s probably why there weren’t all that many people on it. In fact I didn’t see a soul.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that I had intended to do this afternoon was to go and have a look at the builders’ compound that has sprung up in the Place d’Armes.

Instead however I fell in with one of the guys from the radio, we had quite a chat and I’m afraid that it totally slipped my mind. There’s always tomorrow.

Back here, I had a couple of things to do – including playing the guitar for the first time since for about ever. These days it’s very hard for me to summon up any enthusiasm.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, some veggie balls and the left-over pasta mix from last night. And I’m convinced that spicy food left to marinade for 24 hours improves its flavour considerably.

And then we had the football. Y Fflint v Y Bala.

Flint at one time were leading the league and with a front line of veteran striker Michael Wilde who is enjoying a resurgence wince his move, and Jack Kenny who I have always admired, it was no real surprise.

However they have gone off the boil just recently and were up against a Bala side that has always been a good, if inconsistent side that is enjoying a bit of a good run right now.

Most of the football was played in the Flint half and it was easy to see why – Bala were certainly the more skilful side.

However Flint caught them on the break with a good cross over to Michael Wilde to head home, and he almost had a second 5 minutes later when a powerful run, shrugging off four defenders, saw his shot strike the inside of the post but rebound to safety.

A couple of substitutions for Bala did the trick though. They wore down the opposition and scored twice later in the game to pull off a deserved victory.

Mind you, it ought not to have been. Bala scored one of their goals from a throw-in which absolutely everyone watching on the internet and in the ground except the linesman and the referee considered that it should have been awarded to Flint.

And where did I go last night? Mustn’t forget that. In fact I must have forgotten it because I remember almost nothing about this except that that there was some kind of special offer for families going for a 4-week speaking course in Welsh that was being offered as a taster. There was some issue about driving licences in these communities but that’s really all that I can remember.

So I’ll go off to bed and hope for a more memorable voyage during the night.

Wednesday 29th September 2021 – WITH REGARD TO …

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… that big pile of freight that we’ve been seeing on the quayside just recently, a nice freshly-painted Thora sailed into port this morning.

As you can see, all of the red equipment that was down there on the quayside has disappeared, presumably onto the deck of Thora. Also on there is the little blue shipping container that was on the quayside for a few days, and what looks like a shrink-wrapped speedboat.

The galvanised sheets are still on the quayside. There’s clearly no room to fit them on board so I imagine that they are waiting for Normandy Trader to finish her paint job at St Malo.

Last night, just for a change, I had a better night’s sleep. Still tossing and turning around of course and drifting in and out of consciousness but at least it felt better. Especially after an absence of far too long, Castor was somewhere about in my nocturnal ramblings.

A photo of Castor suddenly appeared on my social network timeline. She’d obviously been away and this was her parents – you could see their reflection in this glass window taking a photo of her now that she’d come back from somewhere, with some kind of comment underneath it. I typed a message underneath, basically ‘welcome home. It’s really good to travel away, see new people, make new friends, but it’s really nice to come back home”. I posted my comment but the situation moved round from there somehow and we ended up talking about my house in Gainsborough Road. The bottom end of the garden was now a vegetable garden and where I used to compost all of the lawn cuttings, everything, they had gone so I was posting messages about “regular readers of this rubbish will note that there’s something missing from this garden. What is it?”. this kind of thing and I don’t know how we got there from being with Castor.

But it’s really good to see Castor back on my nocturnal voyages again, even if it is only a photograph. What do I have to do to have a real appearance?

Later on, I was in Virlet last night and a group of us had gone up there. Someone had taken some of us in his car and we were working away doing all bits and pieces. I was on the ground floor and there were some people in the attic doing some work. When it was time to go most of them came down but one woman didn’t. The guy who took us told us that she had used the wrong size of bore in one of the pieces of wood. I couldn’t see why she was so upset so I went to look. A couple of other people came as well. They had been working putting nails or screws or hooks into a piece of wood. She was telling me about this piece of wood. It was actually one of the friends of Liz Ayers whom I only ever met twice, of all people. I told her that it wasn’t any matter. The shutters were looking really good. I’d varnished them the last time that I was there but I hadn’t seen them since they were dry. We talked about them for a bit. The guy who had taken some of us there went into the cupboard there and pulled out the file and went to write down his mileage so that he’d be reimbursed. 1 or 2 of the other people asked what about them? Shouldn’t they be reimbursed as well? I replied “everyone put your mileage down. Go on – it doesn’t make any difference to me.

Later still I was in my Escort van and I’d gone for a drive. I ended up somewhere near the seaside on the south coast. By this time I was running out of diesel. I’d been running on ceramic diesel (whatever that might be) and I couldn’t find a ceramic diesel petrol station anywhere. In the end I found one that had fuel in so we filled up with fuel and it came to just over £40:00. I managed to root around and find the cash. I drove into town and ended up with a few people from the radio. We were wandering round this building that looked quite impressive. It was brand-new. I wondered what it was going to be. We walked into a room at the end. There were quite a few people in there obviously testing it out for sound. I walked up to the top and could see immediately that it was a Court. I said my bit “The Jury has heard the evidence and now we await the verdict”. Everyone looked at me of course. Then I noticed that the Judge sitting at his bench couldn’t see the first couple of front rows where the press was sitting and 1 or 2 other people. I pointed this out but everyone said that it didn’t matter. I said “the press can still be in contempt of court as well and the judge has to observe them”. We had a good look round and it came to be time to go. We ended up with a huge pile of stuff that was on trolleys that somehow had to fit into my Escort van so we had to decide on a way to go back to the van. Some people though that it was quickest to go one certain way but it was all loose gravel. I thought that we would never get the trolleys down here. One of them tried but all of his stuff started to fall off so we decided to look for another way. He said something like “how am I going to get back home with all of this?”. I said “don’t worry. It’s all going in the van”.

After the medication I had a few things to do and then Rosemary called me. She’d seen a message that I’d posted last night and sent me a message to ask if she could speak to me today.

Her husband had had a lot of heart issues and after his series of operations he managed to survive another 15 years before succumbing so she urged me not to give up hope, which was quite nice of her.

Of course, my issues are somewhat different but it’s very nice to see some solidarity amongst British people. Since the days of “Every man for himself” that began in the 1980s, solidarity went right out of the window in the UK and that’s the one thing that I miss the most and one of the (many) reasons why I left.

As a result not only did I miss my morning coffee, I missed my breakfast too and I was almost late for lunch. I just can’t believe where the time goes.

After lunch I had a shower and a general clean up. And my weight, that had been slowly increasing over the last week or so, is now back down almost to where it was 2 weeks ago.

Still 5 kg to go before I reach my target weight and 10kg to go before reach my ideal weight but I have a feeling that I’m not going ever to get back to the heady days of Winter 2019. But at least it’s not ballooning out of control as it did three or four years ago.

At least, not for the moment. But if everyone wants me to slow down, not go for walks and all of that kind of thing, it’s a distinct possibility, although everything might be overtaken by events.

yacht zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Outside, although the sun was shining, the wind was blowing quite strongly.

Not quite the gale-force winds of earlier in the week but strong enough to make this yacht struggle as it tried to tack in towards the port de plaisance, with some men in a zodiac as spectators.

From the viewpoint on the corner in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I walked on down the Rue des Juifs where I noticed Thora at the loading bay so I stopped to photograph her and the load that she had on deck.

The walk through the town and up the hill to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as bad as it has been just recently and I’ve no idea why. I only had to stop three times to catch my breath instead of the usual nine of ten.

The physiotherapist was running late so he put me in the room by myself, showed me hoswto work the tilting platform thigs and let me run through a whole series of exercises all on my own while he caught up with some previous patient.

There was no-one around when the exercises finished so I let myself out and headed for home. I was going to stop at the supermarket for a cold drink to help me back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs but Bane of Britain had forgotten to bring his money, hadn’t he?

la grande ancre buddy m men working with fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back up the hill I had to stop several times to catch my breath.

One of the places where I stopped was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour where I was interested to see what was going on. The trawler Buddy M was still there as I expected, but she was now joined by La Grande Ancre.

Yesterday, I’d seen a fork-lift truck wrestling with some old steel cable, coiling it up to be taken away. Today there were some fishermen down there spreading out a very large fishing net with the aim of, I suppose, attaching it to the new steel cable that was also down there yesterday.

man fishing with net place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of fishing nets … “well, one of us is” – ed … here’s something interesting going on down at the water’s edge.

When I reached my building, instead of going inside I went over to see what was going on down on the beach, and this was what caught my eye.

We’ve seen him – or someone very much like him – before messing about in the water with a fishing net. And while the view from up here isn’t the best he doesn’t look as if he’s caught anything either despite the net – apart from several strands of seaweed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And then I carried on with what I had been aiming to do when I came over here.

Down on the beach there were actually a couple of people who looked as if they had actually been in the water for a swim. Well, good luck to them. It didn’t seem that warm this afternoon and in any case there was quite a wind that would be enough to cool anyone’s ardour.

Back in here I had my first coffee of the day, and then opened the letter that I received from the Hospital. Having galvanised them into action by telling them last time that my local doctor was leading from the front, they’ve now arranged a series of tests for me when I go there next time.

Of course, if they find something, then at least I’ll be in the right place for someone to be able to do something about it. But I’ll still take all of my papers from here with me too, and submerge them with paperwork.

Time goes quickly when you are enjoying yourself, and in no time at all it was time for tea. A burger with pasta and veg, followed by a soya dessert. Nothing special, but still very nice.

And tonight I’ve actually finished everything quite early so I’m going to make myself a drink. I think I’ve earned it. I have a day in at home tomorrow but a radio meeting tomorrow night. And i’m going to drive there, I’m afraid. I’d love to walk but I’m just not up to it right now.

Friday 5th February 2021 – I’M NOT GOING …

… to tell you about what time I awoke this morning.

Just let me say that I would have been dismayed if I had awoken at this time on a Sunday, never mind a day when I’m supposed to be working.

What was even worse was that I’d made every effort to have an early start, even down to going to bed as early as 22:30. But it just didn’t seem to work. However, it did mean that there was plenty of time to go walkabout during the night. And that I most certainly did.

I was having to go to Court for something or other and a friendly accountant said that he had come to help me so we arranged to meet at 17:30 in a local pub. Some solicitor said that he would help me first as well. I was talking to the solicitor and we arranged that he would come round and photograph all of my cars to prove that I was just driving around in old bangers “as long as you don’t photograph the fact that not a single one is taxed” because things really were tough and all these vehicles that I had weren’t taxed. Nerina and I were doing some cleaning or tidying up and I had sat down for a breather and in walked this accountant. I’d completely forgotten about him. He’d brought a pile of forms from the Musicians Union – apparently to be a musician you needed a licence and it cost £55,000. Of course there was no chance whatever of me paying that. He started to ask me questions all about the group – what songs did we play? Where did we practise? How often did we perform? He gave me a huge list of songs “do you play any of these?”. I made some facetious remark “these must be the only members of the Musicians Union then, the groups in this list”. All the time Nerina was wandering around – we were in the Rockwood in Alton Street by the way at the time and I’m sure that she was totally bewildered as to who this guy was and what I was doing and why I wasn’t helping with the tidying up or anything. This conversation continued more on the lines of filling in these Musicians Union forms than any help that he was going to give me for the issues that I was having.

Later on I’d gone to meet TOTGA – she was working for another taxi company in Crewe but in the old Up The Junction building. I went into her office but she was actually downstairs and I could hear all of the talk that was going on through the radio monitor. They were talking about all the financial affairs of the company going wrong. Basically they had committed to buy a new fleet of taxis right at the time of the Miners Strike when there wasn’t much money circulating around and people in Aberystwyth who had undertaken to buy the previous taxis let them down. I ended up talking to a guy who had been a driver for me, a young guy. He’d written a book and was going through the book with me telling me all the issues that this taxi company was having. The boss of the company came up. he came up with Derek Guyler who had been some kind of office manager. Guyler was arguing for a pay rise for the drivers and a taxi to take the kids to school. The guy running it was extremely angry and laying into Guyler verbally about all kinds of stuff so I thought that this was the moment to leave before he turned on me. I went downstairs but lost my way and ended up in the basement. I had to climb out through a window onto the track. There were 2 boys who were very keen to find out what I’d been doing so I explained and they wandered off in their direction and I wandered off in mine.

Later still we were all off to Blackpool or some seaside resort – it wasn’t Blackpool. I was with an old couple and we rented a room and another small room for me. She cooked a meal which was disgusting but I ate some but not all of it. They went off to buy some tickets for a performance but I stayed behind to try to clean up everywhere because it was really dirty. I was doing fine and I had my 3 cats there. A little girl came in to give me a hand. We were laughing and joking and I had a close look at her – she was a lot older than she ought to be, a bit like a Jimmy Clitheroe kind of character. We were laughing and joking while I was cleaning this up. Then my partner turned up – I can’t remember if it was Cécile or Nerina. A while before this I’d been talking to a guy who was a bit of a singer – we’d been in a club somewhere preparing things for a concert and he was telling me about his stage performances. I thought “yes, well I’ve heard all this before”. When this couple came back they brought piles of people with them, all an extended family. My partner was there. We all had to go outside because this guy was going to give a concert. We all had to wait and we waited for hours. In the end they brought up some vehicles so that we could sit in these vehicles, American-type minibus things. He came out eventually and announced that he didn’t have a licence for the concert to take place on this particular stage so he was only allowed 2 minutes. In this 2 minutes he just told us about his future concerts and his career. I thought “yes, well, I’ve heard all of this before” and I wasn’t particularly impressed.

So welcome back to TOTGA who has been conspicuous by her absence for the last few weeks or so.

As you can imagine, with this really late start and all of this to type out, there wasn’t any time to do anything else before lunch. But there was still something to do – a friend of mine who is the “panicky” type has just learnt that her boyfriend has come down with Covid. She’s panicking about this so it’s been necessary to do something about it.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had another good friend who went down with Covid along with her husband and son, although her daughter who shares the same facilities didn’t, and the infected ones all made a good recovery. I spent some time putting the two of them in touch with each other so that the one can reassure the other.

After lunch (more of my leek and potato soup with home-made bread) I caught up with a pile of correspondence. I’ve had a pile of e-mails hanging round here that needed answering and it was the plan to deal with them today and I really can’t postpone them any longer. And a couple were extremely lengthy too.

As well as that, two other issues reared their heads.

Firstly, Canada has closed its borders to cruise ships of over 100 passengers until Spring 2022. I’d been offered a place on an expedition for this Summer but I hadn’t said anything much about it because I thought it most unlikely that it will travel this year. And now, of course, I’m proved right – although it really was an odds-on certainty, this. I imagine that the cancelled people from 2020 and now 2021 will be offered first dibs at the voyage for 2022 so I wrote to the organisers to stake my claim for 2023, along with the necessary information. I’ll get to Axel Heiberg Island yet!

Secondly, I’ve sold another one of my photos. I used to sell a lot of them at one time and even had one on the front cover of an issue of “Now Toronto” 20 or so years ago but I’m being pushed further and further down the rankings by the more established agencies. The last one that I sold was of THE MEMORIAL TO GEORGE CARTWRIGHT 6 or so months ago which is used as a still IN A FILM.

This photo that has been bought today is of AN OLD COMMUNITY ON THE “FORGOTTEN COAST” OF QUEBEC.

In case anyone thinks that I’m blowing my own trumpet unnecessarily, I’m under no illusions. It’s not the quality of the images that is the selling point – it’s the fact that I’ve been to places where few other people have been and that my photos are easy to find.

And when they are found, they have my contact details on them. I’m very particular about that.

That all took me up to my afternoon walk

seagulls sitting on rock place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a really beautiful afternoon – it really was, and you can see from this photo of the rock just offshore here that there were a number of people enjoying it.

Not humans because, surprisingly there were very few taking advantage of the warm, sunny Spring-like day that we had today. I was dressed up for midwinter yet I could quite comfortably have gone round in my shirt sleeves had I so desired.

There was very little wind too and at long last the paths had dried out sufficiently so that in most places you could walk around without too much discomfort and mud.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now I did say that there were no humans out and about in the lovely weather. That’s not particularly accurate because there was someone out there offshore in his cabin cruiser having a little swan around.

He swanned off and so did I, because there wasn’t anything of any importance or note happening anywhere else.

However I did bump into the guy who organises the radio and we had quite a chat about this and that and a couple of little projects, one of which was particularly appealing to me because it involves one of my favourite musicians.

Back here I managed to drink my coffee without falling asleep, and I attacked the photos from Greenland in July 2019. I really must push on with those as much as I can.

Guitar practice was interesting because I found a better way to play the bass line to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Down on the Corner” and with the acoustic guitar I worked out the chords to Tom Petty’s “Too Good To Be True” that I am keen to add to my little repertoire.

Tea was veggie balls with pasta and veg followed by apple pie and now having written my notes, I’m going to go to bed. “Must do better” is the phrase that comes to mind, although I wish I knew how. It’s all very well having some kind of problem and knowing that you have some kind of problem but when you don’t know what it is, it’s rather difficult to deal with it.

Wednesday 6th January 2021 – I WON’T EVER SEE …

… my friendly neighbourhood ginger cat again.

Regular readers of this rubbish may recall that I mentioned a while ago that his mum, one of my neighbours, had been offered an apartment in sheltered accommodation due to her age and infirmity. This afternoon as I put my head outside the door of the building I saw a removal van outside the door to her block.

And when I went out later this evening, her apartment was totally empty and cleared out. There she was – she and her cat – gone, and never called me mother (next week, East Lynne).

As for me I was totally gone last night too. When I finally made it into bed, late as usual just recently, I was out like a light and didn’t move a muscle until the alarm went off. And while I didn’t actually beat the third alarm, I wasn’t many minutes behind it.

After the medication I had a few things to do and then I had to ring up the doctor’s and make an appointment. And you can tell that this isn’t the UK.
“Is it urgent?”
“no, not particularly”
“Is 9:30 tomorrow OK?”

Haven’t dealt with that I sat down to start to dictate the notes that I’d written but then almost immediately I was interrupted by a telephone call. Would I like to go for a coffee with the manager of the radio station?

So I managed to dictate all of the notes and then go and have a shower before I headed off across the car park to the Municipal offices at the back. Coffee was served and then we had a lengthy chat about Brexit and Scottish and Welsh independence.

Very little to do with the radio, and it seemed to me that I was being interrogated for something, although I don’t know what it might be. We shall see what transpires of this in due course, if anything.

There was no bass guitar practice tonight. Even though I seem to be a little better today, it’s not that much better and it took me an age to do what it would normally take a couple of hours to do. When it came to 18:00 and knocking-off time, I wasn’t far away from finishing so I pushed on and by 18:35 both of the outstanding radio programmes were now completed up and running.

Of course we had had a couple of interruptions. Lunch was taken of course and unfortunately the bread supplies are quite low. I need to look into this.

There was the afternoon walk and today this was a walk with a difference.

If I’m baking bread tomorrow morning, I may as well make a sourdough fruit loaf so having fed the sourdough and watched it rise like a lift, I headed off into town. I have no jellied fruit and I need to buy some. The Super U in the town is the place for that.

water tower chateau d'eau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside it was cold and cloudy but with the sun poking through the clouds here and there.

But just for a change, instead of the sun lighting up the sea or the Brittany cliffs or whatever, today the sun was streaming down onto the water tower up near the Shopping Centre. It was all particularly impressive.

The Super U came up trumps with the jellied fruit but my new bank card wouldn’t work. having tried a couple of times I paid in cash and went round to the Bank to try it there. Once again, it didn’t work so I went to chat to a cashier.

It seems that Brain of Britain has struck again. Somehow I must have taken the old card out of my wallet, signed the new card and then put the old card back in the wallet.

sunset on water baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else much going on in the town I headed back for home.

By now, with the sun having moved around on its cycle and with the clouds having been blown around by the wind the sun was now shining in a different direction. It was rather later than usual so we were having a gorgeous orange glow in the sky which was reflecting off the water in the bay.

This is without doubt one of the best sunsets that we’ve seen so far, even though the photo was being photobombed by a seagull flying through the shot and I stayed out there for a while to watch it – the sunset that is, not the seagull.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there I had a look down to see what was going on at the chantier navale

There was nothing special going on there this afternoon. The yacht is still there on its blocks and there are a couple of cars parked around it. It’s not clear though whether they have anything to do with the yacht or its owners. There certainly doesn’t seem to have been much progress on the yacht, whatever they might be doing, over the past few months.

The trawler is still there too, parked up on blocks at the back near the portable boat lift. There’s a van parked right by it so it might well be that there has been some kind of work being undertaken.

But that’s been there for a while too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRather than go straight home I went to have a look out to sea from the North side of the headland to see if there was anything exciting going on.

Nothing much at all though this afternoon. No boats out to sea or anything else. There were a few people out walking on the beach, presumably looking for shellfish or something similar lying around on the beach. I’m not sure what they have found.

For a couple of minutes I watched them and then came on back into the apartment for a hot coffee and a slice of Christmas cake. Having digested that I cracked on with the radio work that I had been doing until I finished it.

And I might have finished it earlier too had I not crashed out a couple of times.

gymnasium jean galfione Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the practice with the 6-string guitar, I headed off out for my evening walk.

Seeing as I hadn’t been round the headland this afternoon I went that way this evening in the dark. The gymnasium of the College Malraux was all lit up and so there must have been something going in there. It’s actually called the Gymnase Jean Galfione.

And in case you are wondering who Jean Galfione was when he was at home, if he ever was, he is probably France’s most successful pole vaulter and won the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games as well as winning several other championship events.

woman with laptop pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s a shame that this photo hasn’t worked out as I wanted, but it was taken in quite a hurry.

You can’t actually see clearly in this photo but there’s a woman there with a large dog, and also a laptop computer. And what she’s doing working on a laptop with a dog outside in the middle of winter I really do not know.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few months ago we also saw a couple of other people working on a laptop outside in the cold on the city walls. So I’ve no idea what that is all about.

From there, I ran home – my first run for a week or 10 days. I really wasn’t up to it and I was in agony when I finished but I can’t let this thing pass me by.

Tea was pasta with veg and some veggie balls followed by defrosted apple crumble; And then I made my sourdough loaf – or, at least, the first mix of it so that it can do what it might do overnight. It’s crammed full of goodies like

  • a pile of whizzed up brazil nuts
  • several dessert spoons of desiccated coconut
  • ditto sunflower seeds
  • a couple of handfuls of raisins
  • ditto jellied fruits

and I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m going to make some dough for my main loaf and let that rise overnight too. It both loaves have their second kneading first thing tomorrow morning, they’ll be ready to bake as soon a I come back from the shops and I can have fresh bread for lunch.