Tag Archives: tidying up

Wednesday 21st September 2022 – I KNOW THAT …

… this is rather late being posted, but better late than never and if a thing is good it’s worth waiting for. And so is this

mont st michel by night Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022In fact I’ve been out and about today and didn’t return home until after midnight, when I would let it all hang out.

So while you admire a couple of photos of Mont St Michel in the darkness, I shall tell you all about my busy day.

As usual, the alarm went off at 07:30 and after the medication etc I set about tidying up because I was going to have some visitors today. I seem to be in demand just now

And it’s a good job that I’d started early because they came early too and I wasn’t ready. I had a few things that I hadn’t done so I had to to finish off while I was chatting.

That’s rather an uncomfortable situation to be in but at least having visitors around means that I have to keep the place looking something like tidy.

mont st michel by night Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was such a lot of things to say so we had a coffee and spent quite a while chatting, but it was such a nice day yesterday that it was a shame to waste it.

When they had been here the other day i’d mentioned about the beautiful views along the coast so I reckoned that that would be quite a nice drive today, and so we hit the road, Jack, or Jacques seeing as we are where we are.

The obvious place to go to in this nice weather is the viewpoint up on the Pointe de Carolles where there is the Cabanon Vauban. We’ve been here several times before but my visitors haven’t so off we went. I couldn’t actually remember where the turning was so we almost drove past it

tombelaine mont st michel from pointe de carolles Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It was something of a long slow path across the fields once we’d parked the car, but the view from the end was worth it.

It’s one of the best views of Mont St Michel from up here, with the island of Tombelaine over to the left.

The tide is well out as you can see, and in certain conditions it’s possible to walk from the coast at Genets over to Tombelaine and Mont St Michel and it’s quite a popular thing to do. But you need a guide who knows the way because it’s not an easy trip and there’s no marked path.

There was plenty of marine traffic down there in the bay too, including a trawler that was having a go with its nets out to see what it could pull up.

fire on brittany coast Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But also over on the brittany side there was a fire in one of the small towns.

It’s not possible to say what it was at this distance – whether it was a bonfire or a house fire, but it looked as if it had been burning for a while.

We went for a walk along the clifftop but we couldn’t see very much else – I’m not up for clambering over the rocks these days – so in the end we headed for the car, once I remembered the correct trail. I seem to be forgetting everything.

And then we went back to the main road to carry on southwards.

tombelaine mont st michel viewed from champeaux Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s another viewpoint further along the road at Champeaux and I couldn’t remember where that was for a moment either.

The view from here is even better so when we eventually reached it we stopped here as well

Tombelaine was at one time the site of a monastic cell where in the 11th Century two monks from Mont St Michel came to live the life of hermit. The place was fortified in 1204 after the English had been expelled from Normandy and then by the English during the Hundred Years War.

There were various plans, such as to create a mini-Mont-St Michel here or, to turn it into a tourist destination but in the end it’s become a site for birdwatching (but not the kind of birds that I would be interested in watching) and is owned by the State and classed as a National Treasure.

st jean le thomas viewed from champeaux Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s also a good view from up here down onto the town of St Jean le Thomas.

The town was gifted by “William of the Long Sword” to the monks of Mont St Michel in 917AD but there was some conflict 200 years later between the monks and another “Lord of the Manor” about wood-cutting rights so it seems that the gift wasn’t as complete as it might otherwise have been.

There was a castle there at one time but Philippe-Augustus, King of France 1180-1223 ordered the castle to be surrendered to the monks and destroyed. At the turn of the 20th Century all of the remains of the castle had gone.

The narrow-gauge tacot railway line from Granville ran through here between 1908 and 1935. I’m not sure what there is that remains of the railway network in the town today. I suppose that one of these days I ought to go and have a look.

SAMU service d'aide medicale urgente helicopter airbus H145 T2 avranches Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By now we were hungry so we headed into Avranches for a snack.

We parked up the car and headed into town on foot. And as we did so we were overflown by a helicopter.

It’s not the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that we usually see but one that belongs to the SAMU – the Service D’aide Medicale Urgente or “Emergency Medical Services” so I suppose that it’s the local air ambulance.

She’s an Airbus H145 T2 and we’ve seen a few of those flying around here. It’s the later version of the Air-Sea Rescue’s Eurocopter EC 145.

Once again we had to struggle to find something to eat but finally a little café came up trumps with some sandwiches.

castle avranches Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We could sit outside in the sun where there was a really good view of the castle at Avranches.

Shame as it is to say it, I’d forgotten all about this castle. Its origins date from the middle of the 10th Century and was one of the earlies recorded stone castles. However there is no trace of that construction remaining. What we see dates to the time of William the Conqueror.

It’s actually built by the Dukes of Normandy on a promontory overlooking the baie de Mont St Michel on a site that was known to have been occupied by the Celts and then by the Romans.

From its position it could obstruct the passage of Breton forces in the days before both Brittany and Normandy were part of the Kingdom of France.

The castle was surrendered to the French in 1203 and was fought over on many subsequent occasions, including in 1944 when considerable damage was caused to the fabric of the building.

Back to the car after a very long chat and we headed off for our final destination.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, parking at Mont St Michel costs an arm and a leg and we were only going to be here for a couple of hours.

However a friendly café owner, having served us a couple of coffees, informed us that as we were now customers of hers, we could leave the car on her car park. She told us how to unhitch the barrier later and we expressed our gratitude in monetary terms.

mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was a 15-minute walk to the shuttle terminus and a 15-minute wait for a bus to arrive, and then we were off.

My friends were quite impressed with the push-me-pull-you nature of the bus and, as they had never been here before, with the view that we had of the Mont as we approached it.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s all changed considerably since I first came here 40 or so years ago. The causeway was different and there was no official car park either. You drove down here and parked where you could.

In those days I’ve seen more than a few cars have to be winched out from the rapidly-approaching tide.

powered hang glider mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as we alighted from the bus, we had one of our old friends come to visit us.

When we’ve been wandering around the clifftops back at home we’ve seen the powered hang-gliders dozens of times coming back from the head of the bay and I’ve often speculated that they have been for a look at what’s going on down here.

Sure enough, one of them, the red one, flew past overhead as we walked the rest of the way towards the walls so we all said “hello” and continued on our respective ways.

porte de l'avancée mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022bathed in the glorious early evening sunset is the entry, the Porte de L’Avancée.

Although there is, officially at any rate, only one way in, changes in technology over the past have meant that the original entrance, buit shortly after the Fall of Normandy when the inhabitants were massacred by Breton soldiers, was insufficient to defend the mount from invasion.

And this although the Porte de L’Avancée is the first part of the entrance that you encounter, it was actually almost the last part of the fortifications to be built, as far as I can tell, and dates from 1530.

tour gabriel mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Over to the left is the Tour Gabriel or “Gabriel’s Tower”.

This was perhaps the last part of the fortifications to be built and dates from 1534. It was built on the orders of Gabriel du Puy who was in charge of the mount at the time. Because it’s round, it has a really good field of fire that can defend the entrance from attack by sea in this direction.

There was a windmill built on the tower in 1627 and the tower even served as a lighthouse.

The building in front of it is more modern although I’ve not been able to find out the date on which it was built. But it’s outside the walls so it presumably dates from a period when the military funnction of the mount ceased.

ramparts tour du roy tour de la liberté mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Over on the right are the ramparts, the Tour du Roy, the “King’s Tower”, and theTour de la Liberté, “Liberty Tower”.

The Tour du Roy and the little Tour de l’Arcade that you can just about make out to its right date from the improvements of 1417 at the height of the Hundred Years War, presumably after Henry V of England landed in Normandy on 1st August and laid siege to Caen, which he captured on the 17th.

The Tour de la Liberté used to be known until 1789 as the Tour Beatrix and although I found the plans for it, I’ve not been able to find the date of its construction. It was certainly here in 1434 as it was reported as damaged by cannon fire in a siege by the English, and was repaired in 1441 and reconstructed in 1479.

There were important building works to strengthen the fortifications between 1389 and 1410 and it’s likely that it dates from that period.

mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As for the abbey itself, this is what everyone comes to see, although I’m not going to see it as I’d never get up the hill.

The village itself is known to have existed in 709 but before that, as a result of several alleged miracles, it was a site of pilgrimage and the Abbots of the cathedral at Avranches promoted the site in various written tracts. Some kind of church was erected in the village and was gradually expanded.

Some monks came here to seek sanctuary but their church was sacked by the Vikings in 847.

It was re-established later but in 965 the construction of the Abbey began. In 1022 Richard Duke of Normandy gave to the monks the Ile de Chausey who then used rock from the islands to expand the Abbey.

However by the mid-18th Century the place was starting to fall into ruins and the French Revolution finished it off.

It was declared a “national Monument” as early as 1862 and restoration began shortly afterwards.

maison de l'artichaut mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This is the Maison De L’artichaut, so-called because its decorations on the spire are said to resemble artichokes.

It was actually created as part of the Hotellerie de la Licorne – the “Hostel of the Unicorn” which dates from the 15th Century.

It was declared a “Historic Monument” in 1918 and the upper part in 1936, however it’s not stated in the Formal Notice when it was actually built. One can only assume that it was built either at the same time or shortly after the Hotellerie de la Licorne.

On the right just here are the steps that lead up to the ramparts but I wasn’t going for a stroll up there.

porte du roy mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This here is the Porte du Roy – the “King’s Gate”.

This is another addition from the work of 1417. With no ditch here at the time, the mount was easy to attack and difficult to defend so a ditch was dug and the gate was built, with a drawbridge to protect the entrance.

There was also a metal portcullis here to defend the entrance.

Nevertheless all of this was still insufficient so another entrance was built in 1440, part of which you can see through the arch, because of the advances in artillery that rendered the gate obsolete.

The final entrance that we saw earlier in was added in 1530 following further advances in artillery and offensive techniques..

You can see all of the steps up to the ramparts again on the left of the photo.

grande rue mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This is the Grande Rue or “High Street”. I reckon that just about every building in here is a listed National Monument.

And it was here that I abandoned my friends for a while and let them carry on up the hill. It had defeated me so I wandered back outside to wait for them and to have a look around while they carried on trudging up the hill.

And while I was waiting outside I took many of the photos that you saw just now.

When they returned we had a very leisurely walk back to the bus stop, and then an even more leisurely wait for a bus to arrive. There are only two running right now so it was a very long wait.

sunset mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022At least, the wait meant that we had a good opportunity to see the sun setting. That was quite beautiful.

Back at the shuttle terminal we walked back to the café, rescued the car and I took the photos of Mont St Michel in the darkness as the lights came on.

We had a good drive back to Granville and I invited them to a restaurant where I treated them to a meal to thank them for a wonderful day out. And as a result it was after midnight when I returned home.

No time to write up my notes so I’ll do that tomorrow. which I did, hence the amended page.

And I also transcribed the dictaphone notes too. There was a trawler whose registration number was something like KVKLNO something or other. We’d been to a football match watching Morton. people were saying about how poor the side was these days. I was thinking that it’s not a case of how poor the side was, it’s a case of the money becoming tight everywhere and they are suffering. A subject came up that involved trawlers. One of the group said that thanks to someone else but I can’t remember who, they were saved from certain events that might have happened invloving this trawler because that particular person made them aware of things but I can’t remember what that was.

There was something going on last night with my beige Cortina. I was at home and talking to my sister. She was cleaning the house really deeply but we didn’t have all that long to wait before we had to go out so I couldn’t understand why she had suddenly started on this plan. One of the topics of conversation was the local councillor when we lived in Shavington. He was my age and had been on a student exchange with me. On one particular coach trip coming back from somewhere there had been a few shenanigans as you would expect with a bunch of teenagers. He’d been a part of all of this yet here he was 30 years later being all “Holier Than Thou”. Of course everyone remembered him and we made our best to make sure that everyone knew exactly what had been happening back in those days.

Wonders will never cease.

Friday 9th September 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that it seemed as if Summer is over now for the rest of the year.

This morning, after I awoke, I went and closed the window in the living room – the first time that it’s been closed since my return from Leuven in August.

And the only reason that I closed it then was because I didn’t want to come back home and find that a family of seagulls had taken up residence.

le coelacanthe la grande ancre ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so as Le Coelacanthe and Le Grande Ancre struggle through the storm towards the harbour, I’m struggling to heave myself out of my stinking pit.

And to my surprise it was a little easier today than it has been of late. Not that I wasn’t tired, just that I had rather more resolution than I’ve had in the past and where that came from I’ve really no idea.

Having had the medication this morning, I had a rather slow, desultory session of transcribing the dictaphone notes. And that was quite confusing as it seems that somehow I’ve managed to miss recording a dream somewhere.

I was heading off somewhere and who should come bouncing down the road but Zero? We started to talk and she told me about how things were at home. She was telling me that amongst other things she really wasn’t getting on well with her father. All he was doing was staying at home moaning about the money, the rent, about prices and his wife going out all the time amongst everything else. She was pretty much fed up of it. She started to tell me all kinds of things like that. She was standing really close to me, probably no more than half an inch or so. We set off to walk into Crewe and ended up at Edleston Road near the old NUR club. That was when the dream ended which was a shame and I tried my very very best not to let it finish.

And then I was at the River Neva at Leningrad. It was really, really wide but it was basically some kind of flood plain that had flooded which was so wide and the river itself was fairly narrow. I was waiting there trying to cross but there was no way of crossing so it looked as if I was going to have to swim. A young Russian girl came along and asked me in English if she could come with me. I replied “sure” and I jumped in. I found an old light deal table and was pushing that in front of me. She asked me why so I told her “this river is enormous and I’m going to have to stop for a break halfway through. If my feet can’t hit the floor I need something on which to sit”. In the end we reached the dyke and set off to walk down the dyke across the river into town. She was talking to me about the city and how no-one has any money any more, how it’s sad etc. Of course I’d heard all these stories before. I began to wonder to myself what it is that she’s doing. Why would she want to be with me? Why is she being so nice to me etc?”. There had to be something going on here that is beyond my comprehension for the moment.

To continue my dream about my father (and which dream was that?) the biscuit rolled off itself down South Street past “Up The Junction” and this girl and I were forced to run after it and try to catch it before it hit the main road.

This final part was rather embarrassing last night. I went to stay at a guest house where I usually stay, somewhere round the Wardle/Barbridge area. On my way I popped into a house to see the people and the husband of this guest house was there. We chatted away but in the end I decided that I’d have to leave. But I completely forgot to ask him if he had a room free. It didn’t enter into my mind. I drove round to that house and went in. There was only a young girl there making herself some food. I started to assemble the bed in the spare room as I would normally do. She came in, looked at me and said “I think that you’re going to get yourself in trouble”. I asked why and she replied “you’ve not told anyone that you’re coming, have you?”. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t, and here I was making myself comfortable in someone’s room. I had to wait for the landlady to come back but she didn’t come back. Lunch was served and they even managed to find me some food even though I wasn’t expected. I settled down for a long wait until the landlady came in. It was ever so embarrassing having gone and assumed for myself that I could stay and organised a room in which I wanted to sleep without asking a single person.

So Zero made an appearance last night. And how nice that was to see a familiar face. She should appear more often. And the tales that she was telling me last night were really quite true as well. The times that she had in real life confided in me all kinds of stories of things that happened at home.

By the way, that wasn’t all that went on during the night, the missing dream notwithstanding. But honestly you wouldn’t thank me for posting the rest, especially if you’re eating your meal right now.

le coelacanthe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While you are looking at another photo of em>Le Coelacanthe, I was off to finish off the tidying up in the living room.

That was quite a battle too but now it actually looks as if someone lives here. It’s not been as clean or looking as nice as this for quite some considerable time. Just one or two bits to finish off but after all of that effort I ran out of steam and that’s hardly a surprise. I was glad to sit down again.

After the fruit I sat down and bashed away at the trip to Jersey. I’ve still not set foot ashore but I’ve managed now to complete over 20% of the photos that need doing. It’s a slow process but it’ll be good when it’s finished.

At least, I hope that it will.

It does remind me of the story about the destroyer that was having no end of difficulty manoeuvring during a fleet exercise in World War II.
“What on earth do you think you are you doing?” asked the exasperated admiral.
“Learning a lot” was the reply.

And I’m certainly learning a lot.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Still, there’s a time for fishing and a time for mending the nets. Right now it’s “walkies” … “staggeries, more like” – ed.

As usual I staggered across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. and with it now being autumn in all but name I wasn’t expecting to see much.

There were a few people down there this afternoon but no-one was sunbathing. I was in my shirt sleeves but they were dressed for colder weather. And in a few weeks, if not sooner, I’ll be doing the same thing.

tractor trailer fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Having satisfied myself with events on this side of the headland I went across the road to the other side.

The first thing that I noticed was the tractor and its trailer on the ramp underneath the fish processing plant. That would seem to indicate that the little Les Bouchots de Chausey is on her way into port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen the trailer loaded up to the sky with crates of shellfish. And one of these days I really will follow it to find out just where it goes when it’s loaded.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The second thing that I noticed was the storm that was raging out at sea.

The spray over the base of Le Loup – the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour – wasn’t as impressive as we have seen it in the past but you have to remember that the tide is quite far out at the moment.

It’ll be much more impressive in an hour’s time but by them I’m hoping to be tucked up back at home with a glass of warm Wincarnis.

They used to do Phyllosan that fotifies the over-forties. Why can’t they do stuff that will sixtify the over-sixties?.

le coelacanthe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022A little earlier we saw a couple of photos of Le Coelacanthe out in the Baie de Granville looking as if she’s heading for port

However as she came past the headland she did a marvellous little U-turn and headed back out to sea. A closer look revealed that she had her nets out.

Since the issues about fishing out in the bay in waters that have been unilaterally claimed by the Channel Islands, we’ve seen them fishing in all kinds of strange places but I can’t recall anyone having been fishing just there.

We are living in strange times indeed.

le tibériade baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So that was the story of Le Coelacanthe.

We saw her the other day moored at the Fish Processing Plant with her sister Le Tibériade. The two are clearly inseparable because a few minutes after she went past, Le Tibériade appeared from behind the headland.

She had her nets out too by the looks of things because she did the same U-turn and headed off back out around the headland into the Baie de Granville. I wonder how long they’ll be keeping it up, or is this just something to fill in the time while they are waiting for the harbour gates to open?

la grande ancre baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022right at the beginning when we saw Le Coelacanthe coming across the bay followed by La Grande Ancre.

Not long after we’d seen the two trawlers in action, La Grande Ancre came around the headland too. But she didn’t perform a U-turn like the others. Instead, she carried on towards the harbour.

She still has the lighter on her deck that she had the other day when we saw her, and there’s a pile of fishing equipment in it.

What caught my eye though was the sailor sitting on the lighter. In the rough weather like we are having just now that can’t be a very secure place to be.

les bouchots de chausey baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Coming in a couple of minutes behind La Grande Ancre was another one of our old friends, one that I was expecting to arrive.

And sure enough, into port fighting her was through the waves came Les Bouchots de Chausey. You can see how rough it is there with her being tossed around there like a cork.

She must have quite a load on if she’s coming in so early in the tide. They wouldn’t send the tractor and trailer for half a load and in any case, she’d stay out as long as possible to make sure that it was worth her while to come home.

le poulbot pescadore peccavi chant des sirenes massabielle le styx chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While I was watching the arrivals into port, I also happened to notice yet another change over at the chantier naval.

It was a slow, agonising walk down there to the viewpoint but I went all the same. It was worth the crawl because I now know why Le Poulbot was moved to sit in front of Le Styx yesterday.

That’s because previously she was in front of la Soupape and that latter has now been put back into the water. In fact Le Poulbot has now taken her place.

And where she was, there is now the trawler Massabielle. It’s her turn to have a good working-over.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On my way down to the chantier naval I heard an old couple sitting on the wall talking about the Ile de Chausey.

When I hobbled back I noticed that they now had a brochure in their sweaty little mitts and were making plans. And it looks as if there are still plans to be made because one of the Joly France ferries is already at the quayside ready for an early start tomorrow morning.

One glance at the windows of the boat is sufficient to tell us which one she is. With her windows in “portrait” and not “landscape” format, she’s the newer one of the two.

The other two aren’t around anywhere just now so they must still be out at the island.>br clear=”both”>

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On my way home I stopped to look at what was happening now in port.

La Grande Ancre was not only in port now, she was actually tied up and they were beginning to unload her. That was what I called “quick work”.

Alongside her is Les Bouchots de Chausey. She wasn’t loitering around either. She’l be tied up and unloading in a minute too.

No-one interrupted me on my walk back home today. And now that summer is over, it’s coffee time and I’ll finish the ginger beer another time.

The Trip to Jersey will be finished another time too. You’ve no idea how time-consuming it is to do what I want to do and there’s tea to prepare.

Sausage beans and chips with real baked beans and they were really delicious. Those sausages and beans that I bought in St Helier really are the business.

And then I had to send some info to someone before I could start on writing my notes, hence they are rather late tonight.

Tomorrow I’m in a rush so I’ll just nip to LIDL early, I reckon. They open at 08:30 and if I’m lucky I’ll be there at the door when they open. So this means that the phone will probably upgrade tonight and switch itself off.

It wouldn’t be for the first time, would it?

Thursday 8th September 2022 – THIS WEATHER …

rainstorm baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… has certainly changed dramatically over the last week or so and I’m glad that I went to Jersey when I did.

While I was out there this afternoon on my post-prandial crawl, there was another rainstorm out in the bay. It was missing us by quite a few miles and battering the Pointe de Carolles and Jullouville.

But not to worry. We had had a considerable numbers of showers throughout the day. One moment we had bright sunlight and the next moment we were knee-deep in the rain.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What has happened today, if you haven’t guessed it from watching the rain cloud, is that the wind has turned round.

Instead of blowing from the south-east it’s now back in its usual direction of north-west. That has stirred up all of the waves and as you can see, Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour, is taking something of a battering.

Not as much as it might have done though because the wind has dropped slightly today. Had we had yesterday’s wind, we wouldn’t have seen it for the spray.

weeds place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022but at least the local vegetation is enjoying it.

As we have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the local vegetation is extremely resilient. As you can see, the weeds that grow around here have sprung dramatically into life already.

You would have thought that after 47 days without a drop of rain they would have been dead and buried but that’s far from the case. You can see now how it is that after a rainstorm in the Sahara, animal life suddenly makes a dramatic reappearance after having lain dormant for so long.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Unfortunately, last night I didn’t remain dormant long enough.

While you look at a couple of photos of the waves breaking on the harbour wall I was tossing and turning in bed trying my best to sleep.

The number of times that I awoke for no good reason is something that I can’t understand, but there we are. It’s not as if there were masses of notes on the dictaphone.

And once again, leaving my stinking pit was something of a challenge too, just as it has been for the last few weeks or so. I might be feeling a little better these days and not falling asleep during the afternoon but I’m obviously not that much better.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022after the medication I came in here and checked my mails.

And to my surprise there was a message from that garage in British Columbia. But only to say that the VIN that I quoted was wrong.

What I had to do then was to contact Rosemary to ask her to take a photo of her friend’s Carte Grise so that I can forward it on. A photograph can’t lie.

But I seemed to have dropped myself right into the middle of some “events” down there and we’ll have to see how that transpires.

spirit of conrad baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you look at few more photos, this time of boats, which in this one might be Spirit of Conrad I put everything behind me and started work.

The morning was spent on my trip to Jersey last week. And despite all the time that I spent on it, I’m still standing at the ferry terminal waiting to board Victor Hugo in order to set off for the Channel Islands.

That’s about photo number 5, and when you realise that there are 94 altogether that need things doing to them, you’ll understand that it’s going to be a very long job. Especially when you consider that I’m not as young, fit and enthusiastic as I used to be.

yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This afternoon … well, shock! Horror! I’ve cleaned the bathroom.

It goes without saying that I had a shower first so that I wouldn’t dirty it afterwards, and then I stripped out all that I could. The floor has been brushed, vacuumed and mopped, the carpet has been cleaned, and so has absolutely everything else.

What I haven’t done though is to empty and clean the cupboards. There are limits to what I’m prepared to do when I’m not feeling too well. That’s going to be a job for another time.

But really, I’m swamped in unused medicine and so on and I really don’t know what to do with it. The best plan will be to speak to the chemist next time that I’m down there and check with her.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Eventually I could call a temporary halt to the proceedings in the bathroom because it was time for my afternoon stagger outside.

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there on the beach.

Just a handful of people down there this afternoon wandering about in the sunshine. No-one sunbathing, which is no surprise, and no-one in the water either. It seems that the summer is now over as far as that is concerned.

Mind you, they wouldn’t have far to run each time the weather broke because they couldn’t be any wetter standing in the water than they would be standing in the rain.
“The boy stood on the burning deck
While all around had fled
But for the rain
I’d examine his brain
a passing psychiatrist said”

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The weather further out to sea was quite hazy but closer to home there were some surprising views today.

One of the best was the Ile de Chausey. It’s not every day that we see it looking as nice as this. It was quite clear and we could see the colours of the island quite distinctly

Interestingly, you can see some white vertical lines over there on the island. Many of the houses down there are all painted white and what you are actually seeing is the the sun catching the end walls of the houses and the light reflecting therefrom.

And you can see how rough the sea is as well today. That’s probably one of the reasons why there are no swimmers.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Having seen all that there was to see over on this side of the headland I crawled down to the viewpoint on the other side of the headland where I could overlook the port.

Yesterday we saw Le Coelacanthe and le Tiberiade moored down there, but they have cleared off today. In their place, and obviously compting in a new series of “Musical Ships” is La Grande Ancre

She has one of the harbour lighters on board, as well as a pile of fishing equipment.

There’s another boat behind her – a small inshore shell-fishing boat but at this distance I’m not able to see who she might be. Anyway, she didn’t stay long and was soon on her way.

le soupape, pescadore, peccavi, chant des sirenes le styx le poulbot chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, more excitement in the Chantier Naval.

Trafalgar, the white trawler with blue and pink stripes, has now gone back into the water and her place has been taken by an unidentified shell-fishing boat.

Also back in the water today is Charlevy. She’s been replaced by Le Styx whom we saw moored in the inner harbour for a few days.

There’s another change too. Le Poulbot has moved from her position in front of Le Soupape and she’s now up on blocks in front of Le Styx.

Plenty of people down there working too. It’s quite a hive of activity down there this afternoon.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022A little earlier you might have noticed a photo with a yacht and a cabin cruiser in it.

This is a better photo of the cabin cruiser. It looks quite old and I bet that it’s a beast of a thing and just the kind of boat that I would like to own.

It’s quite a shame really but had things been very different, I might have ended up living on a boat in a harbour. But then again, had things really been different, I would still be living in the Auvergne. sigh

Still, this isn’t the time to be all broody

trafalgar les bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Just in case you are wondering where Trafalgar is, she’s over there just about to tie up in front of Les Bouchots de Chausey

There’s a large pile of fishing net just there where she’s about to tie up, so I imagine that’s her net and they’ll be fixing it back on this evening ready to go out fishing tomorrow.

From there I headed back home where I had an “unusual” encounter with a rather inebriated motorist who wanted to engage me in conversation

This afternoon I walked quite far considering everything. But it showed that I’m still far from having recovered from the events of last week. And even if I were to be moving around easier, I’d still be quite wary about trusting this right leg in the future.

Back here I had some more ginger beer and then listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was taking an exam for the Open University. There was one subject with 3 parts to this question, each of which was an essay all done under the heading of one question. It was quite complicated. The first part I did without too many problems whatsoever. The second part was much more difficult but the third part seemed to be straightforward so I simply dictated that answer then went back to do the second part. At one point I stood up to walk around and stretch my legs just as one of the main invigilators came into the room. He was astonished to see people up and about walking around. He ordered us to sit down and carry on. It was 20 past something already and we only had 10 more minutes. I was suddenly in a panic then. Not only had I to dash down the rest of the answers to this second part, I realised that the third part being dictated won’t fetch any marks. I’d have to write that out again. Then my handwriting had disintegrated and became more like a doctor’s handwriting. I thought to myself that really this is going to be an absolute and total fail before I even started anything. I could see that happening here..

Later on I was working for the Resistance. It was being completely shaken up by the French government. Ally my hippie friends were being pursued. I was trying to keep out of the way but at the same time give them what support I could. There was a group of them fleeing down Crewe Road towards Goodall’s Corner in Shavington. I followed them down there at a safe distance. Most of them had been dispersed. There was just a couple there. They’d gone on a flight in a light aircraft. I joined the flight and it went to Paris. We all piled out at Paris in the suburbs and the plane went off to land somewhere for the night. We would make our way on foot to that place so as not to attract attention by arriving by plane. We started to walk. This young girl who was in charge was extremely nervous. An older person was rather more steady so I found myself walking with him or her for much of the time. I noticed that the lens hood of my camera had gone. It must have fallen off either in the plane or when we were running around. We came to near the Gare du Nord to catch our train. There were three statues at the side of the road. The other guy went to take a photo of them so I did too but my camera decided not to work for some reason no matter how much I tried (and that’s a recurring theme during my dreams, isn’t it?). By now this girl was in a real state because there had been €1400 taken from her bank account “to pay crash fees”. There had been another deduction for crash fees that she’d not seen how much it was yet in respect of this light aeroplane. apparently when it landed it was detained for e few minutes and the pilot questioned before he could go on his way again. They linked it to this girl and somehow with having access to her bank account they’d debited her with crash fees, which were the fees for the officials to turn up at the site. I was thinking jamais deux sans trois but I hope that this aeroplane will be OK when we meet it and that it hasn’t really crashed because she’d really have something about which to complain if they take away the money from her account for the real crash of an aeroplane.

vegan curry pasty place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was some curry left over after yesterday’s tea and I wanted to do something different with it.

Consequently I made some pastry with the aim of making something like a Cornish pasty with it. But my pastry didn’t turn out too well, there wasn’t enough filling and generally speaking it wasn’t a great success from the making point of view.

But from the eating point if view, it was everything that you would want from an impromptu meal, along with baked potatoes and veg cooked in a really thick gravy.

There were really no words to describe how nice this was. It made quite a pleasant change from the usual diet.

So bedtime now. Not much to clean now and I’ll finish that tomorrow with a bit of luck. And then I can speak to the woman who I’ve lined up to come and clean for me.

It was a step that I thought that I would never take but it’s taken me almost 3 weeks to clean this place and it’s still not very good. But I can’t keep on going like this. Something needs to change, although I’m not quite sure what.

But I’ll worry about that another time. Right now I’m off to bed.

Monday 29th August 2022 – BEFORE I START …

… crowing about another day where I haven’t crashed out at all (and how many consecutive days is this now?) just let me mention two things –

  1. I didn’t go to bed until 22:25 and I was up at 06:00
  2. There were no fewer than TWELVE entries on the dictaphone during the night. And if that isn’t a recode I don’t know what is

In fact, the longest period during which I wasn’t disturbed was one hour and 22 minutes.

So given the foregoing, I expected to be crashed out on my chair a long time before tea never mind still going strong at this time of evening.

Something else I’ve noticed is that my walking seems to be a little easier and so is my breathing. Only a little, but it’s noticeable. I know that they told me a week or two ago to stop taking one particular medication, but I was feeling quite ill a good while before I started taking it. So it can’t be that.

Nevertheless, it was a struggle to tear myself out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00 and I really didn’t feel much like doing the radio programme today.

However, despite a couple of interruptions, for coffee and for breakfast, it was all up and running and sounding quite well by 11:10. Mind you, with two tracks less about which to write, it ought to have been finished a while before then.

However I made a total mess of dictating the speech and had to restart not once but twice. And you try saying “The Victor Brox Blues Band” when you’re half asleep

Yes, 2 tracks short today, but when you open with a track that is 21:42 long, it doesn’t leave much time for many others when you only have an hour to do.

There are plenty of short tracks that aren’t being used because with 11 tracks in about 52 minutes, it’s not that easy to fit so many in. One of these days I’ll have to start doing programmes with 13 tracks. That’ll move them on.

While I was listening to that one and the one that I’m sending off for broadcast (I’m several months ahead) I was … errrr … tidying up.

Lazy me hasn’t filed away the post since last October and there’s paperwork and letters all over the bedroom. Having made a start yesterday on tidying the desk, I went through the paperwork that was lying around, sorted it into date order, perforated it all and filed it away in a binder.

There are binders for each year with papers filed in date order, but since everything seems to be digitalised these days I’m doing two years to a binder.

After lunch I had something important to do.

On Friday I ate the last of the fruit buns and so I had to make some more. It took quite a while to make the dough with all of the extras that went into it, and then I divided it up into 10 and made buns, leaving them to proof

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While the buns were busy proofing I went out for my afternoon walk.

And you can tell that the holiday season is now over. The car park was comparatively empty and down on the beach there weren’t all that many people down there at all.

It’s true to say that the weather was quite windy but that wouldn’t be enough to keep the crowds back at home if there were crowds of people and a beach to be on. It certainly kept them out of the sea anyway today.

But I’ve never seen the beach as empty as this on a sunny August day.

people on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little further on along the path I noticed these people scrambling over the rocks.

From up here I had no idea what they were doing, not even with a 300mm telescopic lens. They didn’t look as if they were engaged in the peche à pied because they didn’t seem to have any equipment.

My neighbour couldn’t understand what was happening either. She was slowly ambling along the path so I stopped and we had a good chat for 10 minutes

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not the sociable type at all, but I have to be friendly with the neighbours. It makes the world go round and makes life here much easier.

scuba divers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further along the path I noticed some unusual activity just offshore in the bay.

And I’m not talking about the lobster pot buoy either, but the other objects down there in the water.

It didn’t take me long to work out what they were, particularly once they broke surface, because we’ve seen them before. It seems to be where they practice their SCUBA-diving techniques although I couldn’t see a boat anywhere in the vicinity.

So would you call them SCUBA-divers or frogmen? If the latter, I suppose that we’ll have to call them “frogpersons” these days.

And SCUBA? Why, its “Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus” of course.

unidentified aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was walking along the path in comparative solitude I noticed an aeroplane out at sea.

Just in case I could identify it, I took a photo to check when I returned home, but it was far too far out at sea for me to read its registration number.

As you might expect, I checked the registers of the local airfields and there were no arrivals or departures that corresponded with the time that the aeroplane flew past

On the path there can’t have been more than a dozen people walking past. It seems that the holiday season has ended here too.

cabanon vauban person pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Not so many people on the car park either. It was almost as if I had the place to myself.

So I pushed on down to the end of the headland to see what was happening here. There was a young woman out by the cabanon vauban who was taking a photograph of themselves but as soon as I arrived she put her ‘phone away.

However I’m not sure why she would want to be down there this afternoon. It wasn’t as if there was anything going on out at sea. There wasn’t a single boat out in the bay that I noticed, and the weather wasn’t all that bad either.

breakdown rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Fromthe end of the headland I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

It may well have been that there would have been an extra vehicle on the car park but whoever it was didn’t quite make it to the top of the hill. a depanneuse had been sent for and he was busy dragging a car onto the load bed.

And depanneuse is a lovely word. It’s a feminine word and means here in a France a “breakdown truck”. But if you see the word depanneur on a notice in Québec, it doesn’t mean the driver or the male version of a breakdown truck, but it’s actually Québecois for a “corner shop”.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The tide was well out this afternoon so the port was quite dry.

But once again you can tell that the summer season is over. We’ve been used to seeing all of the Ile de Chausey ferries out and about in the afternoon doing all kinds of things to keep themselves busy with the crowds of tourists looking for things to do.

But today, Belle France, the newest one of the three, was parked up at the ferry terminal waiting for the tide. There wasn’t anyone loitering around there with her so it looks as if she’s going to be there for a while.

unloading shellfish drags port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Here was something interesting that I noticed while I was here.

Those down there are the drags for the shellfish trawlers. The are marked, usually with electric welding writing, with the name of the ship to which they belong and they are stored down there.

A lorry-load has just turned up and there’s a forklift truck dropping them off.

The grillage is made to a certain size so that when the drag is dragged along the sea bed, anything undersize slips through the grillage and back onto the sea bed.

Mind you, they still manage to pull up all kinds of interesting things, unexploded World War II munitions included. There are plenty of those about out there.

la soupape trafalgar peccavi trafalgar chant de sirenes hermes I charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile there is much excitement in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Cap Lihou has gone back into the water, what with her brand-new paint job. But La Soupape Trafalgar Peccavi Trafalgar and Chant De Sirenes are still in there too.

However we have a couple of new occupiers in there over at the back. We can see Hermes I quite clearly but hidden behind the portable boat lift is Charlevy.

So things are looking up in the chantier naval and that is good news for all of us.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Not so much though over in the inner harbour.

Almost all of the fixtures and fittings of the Festival of Working Sailing Ships have now gone. It didn’t take them long to remove all of that. The only thing that I can see that still remains is the artificial beach over on the right-hand side.

Something else that has also gone is Marité. And never called me “mother”! She was glued to the harbour for most of the Festival when all of the crowds were about but once the visitors departed she cast off her chains and cleared off.

She left at 09:10 and didn’t return until 20:36 having spent the day having a run-around in the bay.

chausiaise victor hugo arc en ciel massabielle port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Someone else who is back in port after being away for a while is Victor Hugo.

She’s been running around in the Channel Islands and came back into port yesterday evening at 20:57 and tied up next to Chausiaise. She won’t be back out now until Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Meanwhile, several of the trawlers haven’t gone out to sea this morning. We can see Arc en Ciel and Massabielle down there and there are a few more too.

But I didn’t stay around to see them. I came back home for my iced ginger beer.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And having drunk my drink, I brushed the fruit buns with vegan milk and brown sugar and put them in to bake.

And I’m not sure what happened by the bottom of the buns are slightly burnt as if they are overcooked. And I cooked them as I would usually do. So what’s happening there? With my pizza being overcooked too, I wonder if my oven has finally started to do what it is supposed to do.

While they were baking I was transcribing the dictaphone notes. And I’m not convinced that you’ll want to know about them. I was with Rosemary in Canada. We’d been for a walk in this city then she had to go off somewhere so I kept on wandering around. We met up again and ended up right out of town at this park somewhere wandering around the park. I said that I had things to do so I needed to be back in town so I’d leave her there and come back for her at 19:00. I walked back into the city centre and was sitting on a bench catching my breath when another tourist from our group came past – a South-Asian guy. He sat down and was complaining about the distance that he’d walked and how he was going to find someone with a Honda moped. I said that I had one of those back at home (and I do back in Virlet – a Honda Melody actually) which of course was no use here. he was saying that so far he’d walked 12 kilometres. I had a look at my fitbit and found that i’d only done 7 which really surprised me as I thought that I’d done three times that. We carried on talking and a 3rd member of our party, David from my building, turned up and joined in our chat. I said that I was going to go back to pick up Rosemary because I was going to cook a meal. This Indian guy’s eyes lit up. “A meal?” he asked. “I’d have to come to help you do something” but I didn’t like the idea of someone inviting themselves in for one of my meals like this.

I was getting married but at the very last moment the bride pulled out. She didn’t tell me until the very final minute. I had to go round to tell all the guests that the wedding had been cancelled. That’s all that I remember of this. There was an awful lot more to it.

Back at my wedding again and this time I’d married. I was standing on a page about to give a speech when my mother in law turned up with a bunch of flowers and began to chat me up in the middle of all of this crowd of people. I thought that regardless of anything else this was extremely inappropriate, certainly not the time and place to do something like this.

This was another one where I found myself dictating into my hand again. There was some kind of issue with the parking and one of the guys at the wedding stood up and was making a speech about the issue but I can’t remember now what he said because the dream evaporated when I was halfway through it.

This was my parents again at this wedding talking to some other people who were there including some girl who they happened to like and wanted me to marry at one point. I had to hurry up and change ready to go on my holiday. I was chatting to a girl of 12, something like that, and realised that I had to prepare to go on my honeymoon

There was a girl there notoriously flirting around, getting on everyone else’s nerves so she was arrested and found guilty of water-walking, whatever that is, I dunno.

Dick Whittington had been elected in 1066 for each year and protested in favour of more-normal relationships between London and Exeter, Bristol and Manchester.

I’d been out to somewhere near Audlem, some stately home to do something or other. It was early in the morning. When I arrived there was no-one around so I had to wait for someone but they didn’t show up so I was sitting in their library reading books. Then I had to go to work. They told me that it was 07:40 so I’d have to leave. I went down to my car but I wasn’t sure that it would start so I coupled up one of these battery packs to it. That didn’t do anything, the whole car was dead so I disconnected it. There was enough charge in the battery just to turn the engine over sufficiently for it to fire up. I drove off down the long drive. There was a small lorry heading my way something like a Mercedes 508 with a tipper back. The path was extremely narrow so trying to pass was quite difficult. I had to use a paper in front of the car to press down the weeds to find out where the edge of the road was so that I didn’t slip into the ditch at the side. On the way down the drive before that lorry a woman and her friend had been talking. I mentioned something about DVDs. They said that they had plenty ond they would lend me one for the journey back. As I set off to drive they came running out of the barn with these buckets of DVDs. So I tried to stop. There were no brakes so the vehicle rolled on about 10 metres and they had to catch me up. I had a quick glance. There was nothing there that I needed so I set off down the farm track. Turning onto the main road was on a really bad bend. I wished that I had some extra-powerful rear lights so that people coming from a distance away could actually see me coming onto the road. For some unknown reason the Polish guy who worked there hadn’t fitted any. I drove on down there and came to a road junction. There was a guy who pulled up with his car on a piece of wasteland at this road junction and then went running back to the main road waving as if he was trying to flag down a car behind. I asked him if he needed any help but he just ignored me and carried on trying to wave down whatever it was that was coming behind him.

I’d booked a hotel, an expensive hotel but it was at a bucket price at an on-line website place for e47:00. When I had the bill next morning it was for €163:00. I had a look and there were all kinds of optional things that he’d added in to this bill that I hadn’t the remotest interest in paying. There was €43:00 for the privilege of booking a room at Christmas and New Year which I didn’t want. There was £25:00 for the manual finding of the records, all kinds of this. I was flatly refusing to pay this. He told me that it was too late to take them off my credit card but I told him that I wanted it put back on my credit card because I’m not paying it. I went through the bill item by item, crossed off what I didn’t agree with until it came back down to this €47:00 that I’d been promised. He wasn’t going to move an inch and I could see that we were heading for some kind of enormous confrontation.

I was back working for Shearings again, doing a feeder out from the tour interchange to places all round the East Midlands. I set out with a coach and started to climb up through the Pennines. It was a brand new coach full of all mod cons, everything, really nice. We were doing OK. Then I had to come down a hill. While I was driving I was sewing my trousers because I had a tear in them. I was doing that but as we went down this hill I stopped sewing and concentrated. I suddenly found myself in a series of bends that I didn’t recognise at all. An ancient Ford Anglia came the other way that virtually brought me to a stop on one set of bends. When I came round these bends I came to a road sign that said “Windermere”. I thought “where am I going here? I don’t recognise any of this and I shouldn’t be anywhere near Windermere”. I pulled up at the side of the road in a lay-by. All the passengers alighted to stretch their legs. I went to fetch my SatNav. I thought that I’d plug it in and plug in the address of the first drop-off. That way I’ll have the coach take me back to where I want to go. There were all discussions about this coach and all of the luxuries that were fitted to it that we never had when we were driving the old Fords etc. Even so there was still only room for one official passenger which was bound to make life complicated when you had 2 drivers bringing their wives on a Christmas tour.

There were some people in a medival tower being taken to their rooms . Although this was a modern period these people might have been prisoners or something like that being led through the tower. One said to the other “at least it’s not bad. We know that there are people in the adjoining rooms”. One of the people in one of the adjoining rooms was a young girl. They said “goodnight” as they walked past but there was no reply from her room so they were wondering what was going on in there, it was so quiet and she didn’t seem to be about.

And there was more to that than this as well but if you’re eating your tea you really don’t want to hear about it.

Tea was a stuffed pepper as usual and it was one of the best that I’ve ever made. Plenty of stuffing left too so I’ll have a good taco roll tomorrow.

But I have no idea what was going on between 00:30 and 02:01 when I dictated no fewer than SEVEN soundfiles and stepped back into the same dream a total of four times one after the other.

It’s probably the strangest night that I’ve ever had and it’s a shame that none of my regulars were there to share it..

Friday 19th August 2022 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I’ve had a good day today.

Here in the apartment I can’t move because of carboard boxes too. And printers. There are two of them that are destined for that great office in the sky once it goes dark.

What I’ve actually done is to strip out the cupboard and wardrobe in the bedroom. Apart from finding all kinds of stuff that I didn’t know that I had or forgotten that I’d bought, I found a big pile of cardboard boxes that I had no idea why I was keeping them.

They are all now piled up by the door waiting for dark as well, always assuming that I can leave the apartment because of the cardboard boxes in the way of the door.

In fact I had a good couple of hours in the cupboard stripping it out without even stopping to catch my breath. And now, there’s tons of storage space that I’ve liberated. I shan’t know myself at this rate.

As well as that, over the last couple of days I’ve been walking a little easier too and it was better again today, although I’ve no idea why that should be. But whatever it is, all of the foregoing has made me feel much better.

And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to say all that.

It will be interesting if this new, improved me can keep on going and keep the momentum. We all know some very well-worn phrases about swallows and summers but there’s absolutely no reason why I can’t make the most of it while it’s there to be made the most of.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of the two Joly France ferries coming back from the island in line-astern, I’ll tell you how my day went today.

And as usual these days, it started off with a late night. I’m having a few of those just now.

A turbulent night as well. I didn’t sleep very well at all. Tossing and turning around for much of it, wide awake, something of a failure as far as I can see.

Consequently it was something of quite a struggle to rouse myself from the depths of wherever I was when the alarm went off. I’m having more than just a few of those as well just recently too.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022after the medication I came here to have a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

To my surprise, I hadn’t gone very far. I had a group of people around, a couple of girls whom I knew and one or two others. I was sorting out something to eat. There was a bag full of cooked sausages so I put some plates out and started to put these sausages on the plates for these people. Gradually everyone came in and began to sit down. One of the girls piped up and said ‘now Eric what about our ski holiday?”. I simply had a flash of horror because it was now 20:30 and we had a plane to board at 22:00 to take us to our ski holiday. It had completely and utterly slipped my mind. Of course it seemed to have slipped everyone else’s mind too who was going except this girl who had left it until the last minute to remind me. I sat there totally lost for words which is not like me trying to think of what to say while everyone else sat there and waited for some kind of reply from me but I really didn’t know what to say about that.

It must have been a bad night if I’d only gone off for a wander once despite spending most of the night tossing any turning around like that.

But it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good, so the saying goes. Having typed that out fairly quickly, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I dealt with (a mountain of) recordings from one of the days when I was out and about in Central Europe. And I bet that that took you by surprise as much as it took me.

Had I not had an interruption in mid-transcribe, I could have done far more too. However Rosemary rang me up and we had another one of our marathon chats that go on for hours and hours.

It’s almost back-to-school time and some arrangement ought to be made for Miss Ukraine to be educated. Whether or not she’ll benefit academically is one thing, but she’ll certainly benefit from having some social contact with local kids of her age.

And now that she’s a teenager I’m sure that the question of “boys” will be somewhere on the agenda at some point in the near future and she isn’t going to meet too many where she is.

Her parents don’t have a clue about what to do and neither does Rosemary so we spent some time surfing the internet looking for clues, as well as having one of our usual chats.

It was after the phone call and having finished the notes that I was transcribing that I attacked the cupboard in here.

It’s not very well-laid out so it’s always going to be problematic but I’ve been stuffing things in there for a little over 5 years without much thought. And I’ve no idea why I have so many empty boxes.

But now they are ready to go along with a lot of other old stuff (yes, I’m ACTUALLY throwing stuff away) and there’s now quite a lot of room to bring yet more rubbish into the apartment. This is progress.

With a break for my fruit and to chat with my niece’s eldest daughter on the internet (it’s her birthday today) all of this took me up to the time for me to go for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, my first stop would be at the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With nothing to hold me up on my way across the car park I strode out (for the first time for months). I wasn’t expecting to see too many people down there on the beach because the weather has changed dramatically.

The temperature must have dropped about 20°C since those heady days of 10 days ago and although we had some blue sky, we also had plenty of cloud and wind.

There wasn’t anyone at all in the water and that’s no surprise at all to anyone in this weather

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022During the morning we had had some rain, and with the rain that we had had overnight, it’s done wonders for the local plant life.

Although the path is still quite dusty, the vegetation is starting to regain its colour. We saw yesterday how the weeds had picked up after those two quick showers but if you look closely today at a photo that I took from roughly the same place as the others, you’ll see that the grass is now starting to find its colour.

It’s pretty good how quickly nature can revitalise itself after such a period of stress. Give it a few hundred thousand years after humans have been eradicated from the planet and we’ll see Mother Nature in all her glory.

Well, we won’t, because we won’t be here. But you know what I mean. But it’s not just in the nineteen-seventies that humans have “Mother Nature on the run”.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Just now we saw the older of the two Joly France boats coming across the bay from the Ile de Chausey.

Shortly afterwards we had another boat come around the headland heading out into the bay. At first I thought that it might be Lysandre or her look-alike Petite Laura so I took a photo with the aim of enhancing and enlarging it when I returned home to see who it was.

However, it’s neither of the two. It looks like some kind of unusual design of cabin cruiser that has taken to the water.

So leaving that alone I fought my way through the crowds to the end of the headland. It was busy up here today yet again as holidaymakers look around for something to do.

lobster pot buoys pointe de roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When I was out here yesterday I forgot to check to see if the buoy for what I preusme to be a lobster pot was still out here just offshore.

So either it’s the same one that I hadn’t noticed yesterday or else it’s an entirely new one that has appeared offshore today. And it seems to have found a friend too.

Not that I would know anything about it but I would imagine that the fact that the flags on the buoys are different colours, they belong to different owners. But I really have no idea. I know that I would want my flags to be different from any other.

There wasn’t anyone on the bench by the cabanon vauban so I cleared off down the path towards the port.

le roc a la mauve III belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was no change in occupant yet again at the chantier naval so I had a look over at the ferry terminal to see what was going on.

Moored over there at the head of the queue is Belle France. We didn’t see her out and about this afternoon but that is not of course to say that she hasn’t gone anywhere.

My attention was also caught by the fishing boat down there with the impressive-looking HIAB on board. She’s le Roc à la Mauve III who we saw in the chantier naval for a while a couple of months ago.

With a crane like that on board they must be expecting to haul in a whole load of shellfish.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, as I was watching Belle France, the first of the Joly France ferries that we saw earlier pulled into port.

She is of course the older one of the two. That you can tell from her windows in “landscape” format and the larger upper deck superstructure. She has quite a crowd of people on board this afternoon. It must have been quite busy over there today.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned something about the water over on the island. There was something about that in the local paper yesterday.

Scooped them again, didn’t I? I wonder if they are actually reading my notes.

plant with flowers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I walked down the path on top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour I had a look at the lawn by the Boulevard Vaufleury.

A little while ago I mentioned the grass and how quickly it seems to be regenerating. But nothing like as quickly as this here.

This plant has not only recovered its green colour but pushed out some flowers since I was last here. That’s quite dramatic. Mind you, whatever would my friends make of me taking photographs of flowers?

IT HAS BEEN SAID in the past that the only time I would ever take a photo of a flower would be if there were an old car parked upon it.

While I was musing over this, the other Joly France ferry pulled around the headland and you saw a photo of that just now.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before going home to carry on, I went to have a look in the inner harbour.

Victor Hugo has gone out again but back in port is Chausiaise after her run out to St Helier. She docked at 21:04 last night.

Back here I had a coffee and sat down for a while. And regrettably I … errr … disappeared with the fairies. Only for about 15 minutes or so but even so it was something of a disappointment after what else had been happening.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. Delicious as usual. At least I’m slowly making some room in the freezer but there is still plenty more to go at in there that needs finishing off.

And while we’re on the subject of cold storage … “well one of us is” – ed … it IS nice to be able to open the fridge door without the fear of being buried under a pile of bottles.

So how long will that last?

Anyway I’ll try one more time for an early night. Shopping tomorrow although I don’t need all that much. And we’ll see how long this mad fit of enthusiasm lasts. If it keeps up, I shan’t know myself but not even I am that optimistic.

Thursday 18th August 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today but I haven’t crashed out.

Not yet anyway. The night is young and there’s plenty of time to go.

Even more astonishingly, I’ve had yet another letter from the hospital this morning to the effect that I know have no fewer than SIX appointments scheduled for my next visit to the hospital. And if that’s not a record, I don’t know what it.

Perhaps it’s as well if I mention that the letter that they sent me is dated 9th August – that’s before I sent my incendiary missive their way. heaven alone knows what will be the response to that and how many appointments I mend up when the whatsit hits the wherever.

On the other hand, they could of course tell me to clear off, and I’m quite prepared for that possibility too.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022However, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here and let’s talk about what happened today while you admire a few photos of Belle France leading the new Joly France ferry out to the Ile de Chausey.

Despite what I said last night, it ended up being a night much later than I had intended. Just as I was going to bed, TUNNEL OF LOVE, one of the must beautiful songs ever recorded, came round on the playlist.

Of course, it’s not a song that you can only play once. A song about nostalgia and Ohhh! What might have been if only …

Having a song like that going around in my head on my way to bed, of course it’s bound to be a very turbulent night.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This is a long rambling dream yet again but I can only remember bits of it. I was with Liz and Terry and they had a Ukrainian family staying with them pretty similar to Rosemary’s. Terry and Liz were going off somewhere in the morning so the Ukrainian guy came to see me to ask me what they needed doing today. I was surprised at how much his English had improved. I didn’t know so I asked Liz but she wasn’t there. I went to the top of the stairs out to the back garden and shouted for Terry. He came round so I went down to meet him and asked him what he wanted to be done. He pointed to an area round at the back of the shed between the shed and the river where they had plented onions but it was pretty weed-infested. He said “he can do that”. I said “OK – I’ll get him on that” but it was raining quite heavily so I didn’t know if he wanted to go out and do it just then. Then Terry changed into Liz. We had to walk back to the house. I was walking so much easier but when I reached the steps that started to lead up I started to take them 1-2, 1-2 and I actually managed 4 steps like that before my knee gave out which was an impressive turnaround. By this time Liz had gone up to the top and she wondered where I was. She saw me coming behind after her so she carried on. By now she was carrying this huge balloon in front of her. There was a line of school children so she just charged this line and pushed them along, pushed some out of the way and pushed the others forward etc until they all became embedded when she was about 2/3rds of the way down. The kids thought that this was really funny but the teachers weren’t impressed. I went up to Liz and said “Liz, I’m not with you”. There was much more to it than this and I really can’t remember it.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was also something else in a dream about me walking around. There was a girl walking around. She was caught in this flood that knocked her over and she nearly drowned. Luckily she managed to scramble free. That’s about the only thing that I can remember of that dream.

Later on I’d been on a train with some people heading towards Crewe. I alighted at a railway station somwhere to stretch my legs while the passengers were boarding. There were some people there clearly having problems so I went over to see what was going on. They were boarding this train but their train was about 12 hours late and they’d been shunted halfway across the south of France in different directions before they had been finally brought to this railway station somehow and were now going to make their way to Crewe on this particular train. I boarded the train and sat with them, talking about the train and completely lost track of time. They were talking about the stations, at which ones they were stopping. I explained that it was stopping at a lot more than usual because of all of these problems. We rattled through the railway station at Whitchurch and I was still talking when suddenly we were coming into the outskirts of Crewe so I had to run the length of the train to where I was sitting before, unplug and close my computer, pick up everything and hurtle to the door just as the guard was locking it. I thought “I’m going to be stuck on this train now until it reaches its destination wherever that might be”. Luckily he saw me running. He asked if I wanted off. I replied “yes” so he opened the door so that I could fall out onto the platform with all m stuff just as the train pulled away. I thought “that was a really lucky escape there”.

And we’ve had quite a few “train” and “railway station” dreams too.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Ohh no! I’ve not finished yet! Far from it.

I was on another train but I can’t remember now what was happening but it was something to do with meals on board that we never had and dietary requirements that we never had but I just can’t remember what happened with this now.

Nerina was about somewhere as well at some point but I can’t remember why. It was something to do with me tidying up. There were all these beer bottles lying around. I said “this is what happens since you’ve been back isn’t it?”. She said “yes but how many did you drink the other night when it was hot?”. I said that I’d dunk 3. She asked me where I’d found them. I replied that I had them from an Italian guy at work. She wanted to know why I’d been seeing him.

And seeing as I’m teetotal, the idea that I’d be drinking beer is rather bizarre too.

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Finally there were 4 of us, 3 men and Nerina. She had to go for a Covid special treatment because her first injection had come up with something. We all went to this marquee and those 2 stood outside and the 2 of us went in. Going in was something because there were people blocking the door. We had to register Nerina. Eventually she managed to be seen so i went to stand outside. We were waiting for ages watching all these GMT double-deckers drive past. Suddenly she came out so we could leave. I asked about her treatment and how many injections she’d had. She said that this was her 2nd. She asked a couple of strange questions. There was some kind of crate or container on wheels that she was pushing so we took it in turns to push it. First one guy pushed it and then I pushed it and then Nerina and then the other guy. At one point one of the guys said that he was becoming fed up of pushing this which was no surprise for it was up a steep hill on a grassy verge. I said “never mind, I’ll push it”. I pushed it up to the top of the hill. Not too far away was a pub. It used to be called the “Cheshire Cheese”. This guy said “do you know, it’s been years since i’ve been to a pub on a Saturday night for a quiet drink”. I said to him “go and ask the other guy and if he agrees we’ll all go in there and have a drink on the way home” so he went off to check with the other guy about going for a drink.

So after having several of my family members coming round to bother me, I had Nerina last night come to join me. Her presence doesn’t bother me at all because, after all, I did invite her willingly to take part in my life, for better or for worse so she’s every right to be here.

But where are Castor, Zero and TOTGA? I haven’t seen them for an age.

Anyway, it was another difficult start to the morning as I struggled to my feet to face the day. And after the medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few.

There was an interruption when the Postie came by with a large box. So I now have the bits for the fridge and I can open the door without running any risk (for now, anyway) of a load of bottles falling out.

Having eventually finished the dictaphone notes the rest of the day has been spent steam-cleaning the kitchen. Well, not exactly, and for two reasons too –

1) My in-depth cleaning skills aren’t as good as many other people’s. I don’t seem to have the correct technique in this respect
2) These days I can’t work like I used to. I can only do about 10 minutes and then I have to go and sit down for an hour. Consequently it’s taking me an age to do anything.

However you can actually see the difference and if I keep on progressing like this, a little bit here and a little bit there, I might eventually finish it. Who knows?

There were the usual interruptions, like the Postie, breakfast, my lunchtime fruit and also my walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while I was being buzzed by the Nazgul that you saw earlier, I headed off to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

The weather was bright and sunny with a few clouds here and there, but colder than it has been of late. Nevertheless there were still plenty of people down there on the beach.

And even a few taking to the water. I know that at one point I was sorely tempted to go down and join them but today wasn’t one of those days. It wasn’t that warm.

There’s a yellow inflatable boat down there on the rocks and that would be much more like my way of going out to sea.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This isn’t it though.

While I was looking down onto the beach I was also looking out to sea at the same time. And that was when I picked up a white streak of water being disturbed way out in the bay.

A closer look when I returned home and enlarges and enhanced the image shows that it was a zodiac streaking by. He wasn’t hanging about at all. Il a le feu dans ses fesses – “he has a fire up his … ” well, never mind.

The footpath was crowded again today. All of the people who had turned out this afternoon but probably found it too cold on the beach had gone for a walk instead.

f-gcum robin dr400 180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while I was fighting my way through the multitudes I was being overflown yet again.

We’ve seen the Nazgul and the red powered hang-glider, and now it’s the turn of F-GCUM, one of the Robin DR400-180 aeroplanes that belong to the aero club and fly out of the airfield just a couple of miles up the coast.

She took off from the airfield at 16:04, flew down the coast to do a lap around Mont St Michel and then came back home to land at 16:28. So seeing that my photo is timed at 16:20 (adjusted) that’s about right, I reckon.

And I wish that everyone else who takes off from there would file a flight plan.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Fighting my way through the carpark and past the cars parked on the lawn, I ended up at the end of the headland again.

There were a few people loitering around by the cabanon vauban and they were certainly having their money’s worth this afternoon for a change given how things have been this last couple of days.

A little earlier we saw Belle France and the newer Joly France ferries go past on their way out to the island. Those people down there must have had a spectacular view of them going by just offshore

And so must the people down on the bottom path. There were quite a few people wandering around down there too.

wind surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And the two ferries weren’t all that there was to see this afternoon either.

swinging along on the breeze behind them (well, a long way behind them actually) was a windsurfer, looking for all the world totally untroubled by anything. He must have been having a really good time out there just now.

When I was in Brussels I met a young guy who had been a champion windsurfer. He told me that on several occasions he had set out from Kent to try to windsurf across the Channel but kept on running foul of the French marine patrol who didn’t want him and his craft in French waters.

And seeing how quickly this guy was moving on his windsurf board, I could see how it might have been possible to travel that distance.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So leaving the windsurfer to his own devices I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

So ask me how I know that the second ferry in the line was the newer one of the two Joly France boats. The answer is that here at the ferry terminal we have the second one.

And by looking at the windows and seeing that they are in “landscape”, not “portrait” format, that she has a larger upper deck superstructure and there’s no step cut in the stern, we can tell that this one is the older one of the two.

There’s no-one about on board so it looks as if she’s not going anywhere right now.

gerlean fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Over at the Fish processing Plant we have a ship tied up there that’s sitting in the silt, seeing as the tide is not yet in.

She is of course Gerlean and we can recognise her with no problems, having seen her often enough these days tied up over there. No sign of L’Omerta today though.

And as for what’s happening in the chantier naval today, everything over there is exactly the same as yesterday. No additions, and nothing taken away either.

On that note I headed for home and my coffee.

marité marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But before I do, just a little change down there at the loading bay.

All of the freight that’s been there for a few days has now gone. That means that someone has been in to pick it up but I don’t know who that might be. Neither Normandy Trader nor Normandy Warrior have been in port today.

On the other hand, Chausiaise departed at 10:17 and arrived in St Helier at 13:47 and wasn’t back in the harbour when I looked, so that’s the likely answer.

Meanwhile, in other news, Marité and the new arrival, Marie Fernand, are still here thia afternoon.

Back here I had my coffee and did a little more desultory cleaning up. If I’m not careful this place might end up looking as if someone is living here and we can’t allow that.

Tea was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg and it really was delicious too.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll gird up my lojns and try for an early night at long last. A few more travels might do me good but wouldn’t it be nice if one of my favourite young ladies came to visit me? I wonder where they have got to.

And remember the traffic queue and the policemen from Sunday? Apparently it was a “control” and they stopped for questioning 266 motor vehicles.

History does not record how many led to a subsequent prosecution.

Tuesday 16th August 2022 – SUMMER IS BACK!

After the couple of days that we had of grey overcast weather conditions, Summer came back with a bang today.

Not quite the record-breaking temperatures that we had, but blue skies all the same.

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while we’re on the subject of the hot weather … “well, one of us is” – ed … I thought that you might like to see how things are doing around here.

This is the footpath on top of the cliffs at the back of the Sports Ground. It’s the route that I take down to the end of the headland and you can see how it is (or isn’t) holding up.

The path itself is a layer about an inch thick of dust. On the edges of the path the grass has dried out completely and has died off in places. The rest of it, what’s left, is a burnt shrivelled mass and it’ll take a while to regenerate.

Those little showers of rain that we have had just recently haven’t done anything towards improving the situation.

What else took a while to regenerate this morning was me, unfortunately.

It wasn’t until 09:00 that the alarm went off for me to awaken but there was a good reason for that. Late last night a Paul Temple adventure came up on the old-time radio feed just as I was thinking of going to bed. A programme that is timed at 3:25:00

These old radio programmes are really excellent and so I was planning on listening for an hour or so before going to bed. But instead I ended up listening to the whole programme and it was long after 01:00 when I fell into the stinking pit.

Not that I’m bothered about that because life is for enjoying too as well as working and let’s face it – I’m not getting much pleasure in anything else right now

So after I’d finally staggered into the kitchen for my medication I came back in here to find out where I’d been during the night.

And it’s no surprise that I wasn’t feeling like much today when you look at where I went during the night. Having stayed awake until all hours listening to a Paul Temple episode, when I was asleep I had a Paul Temple episode going on in my head. It went on for hours and hours and hours. It involved some saucepans and saucepan lids but everything was just so confusing that I can’t remember any of it. It rambled on and on and on about these guys who I think might have been sportsmen on small boats or something. That’s all that I can really say about this that went on for hours.

And then we were still in Istanbul (had we been there before? I dunno). We’d been talking to some people about meeting up with someone and performing an interview. They to whom we were talking was a taxi driver had something to do and he produced a girl. She exited his cab and walked away. The person with me said that that would have been a good interview. He explained that she was rather too far in in this organisation and would likely cause a lot of problems. She spent most of her time being institutionalised and the rest of the time going round with this gang. So we agreed and he said that he’d see who else he could find for us. He drove away. The person with me said “God, I have to go” and dashed through the door in this stone terraced house and disappeared. I went through this door. There was a set of really steep steps that went down to the river. I went down there as best as I could. I had no idea where he went. There were 2 or 3 cafés at the bottom. He didn’t appear to be in either so I wondered whether he’d gone to the toilet so I’d wait around. There was a girl painter there with a boy whom she was painting. He was carrying this brown and black cat. She was drawing the cat so I went over to talk to her and to stroke the cat. It wasn’t all that friendly but it didn’t fight or anything. We chatted about the cat for quite some time.

Later on we were on a train heading north towards Doncaster somewhere like that. We were on board and it was an express. There were a few seats taken, not all that many. We walked along the train trying to find our places to sit. I can’t remember any more than that

At some point or other a girl with me announced that she was pregnant but it was sort-of announced by accident. It wasn’t a planned announcement, it came out in the conversation. I asked her what she was going to do but she didn’t give a reply so we went back home and went in. The house was totally filthy and really awful. Everyone was just sitting around in a complete state of untidiness. Someone said “you’ll never guess what the baby (for there was another baby in there) had been playing with. He went on to say that it was a half-dead mouse. “I just threw it i ntothe middle of the room” he said which made everyone shudder. I had to start to look for this thing. I thought that if any girlfriend of mine was going to be pregnant this place is going to have to be cleaned up because she shouldn’t bring up a child in this no matter how someone else was bringing up another one. It clearly wasn’t any good at all and we needed to do something about it.

And finally I was walking along the shore on the edge of a beach. There was some people and a dog down there playing about in somewhere where there had been a great big fire. I could hear them discussing it. They seemed to think that it was some form of spontaneous combustion of whatever was underneath the sand. They were busy digging away at it and walking in for a closer look. I carried on walking past and ended up in the mountains in the snow looking at the maps about the ski resort and the various tracks to descend into the valley again. I was looking for either a blue or a red run. Eventually I found what I thought might be a good place to go down but there was a lot of fog around. It came swirling around cutting off the view of the valley and then the view of the sign with the routes on it. I thought to myself that this is going to be extremely difficult for me to go

That skiing excursion actually reminded me of a skiing adventure in which I took part in Cervinia in Italy in the days of my youth. I was with my Italo-Russian friend and we were up in the mountains of Italy near the Matterhorn. We were with a few other people but we were actually in front and when we returned to the village we found that we were on our own.

There had been hanging clouds in the mountains and they had missed the left-turning in the mist and carried straight on downhill into a different valley and ended up in Switzerland. In the days of border controls with no passports or anything, and the 38-mile taxi ride to return to the hotel was the least of their problems.

But something else that was interesting was the dream about the untidy house. We all know only too much about that these days and so for the rest of the day (because there wasn’t much of the rest of it after typing out all of that) I’ve been tidying up in here.

A huge pile of rubbish, papers and the like, bit the dust today. It’s all in the bin and a lot more would have followed it except that each time that I went out I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat. Not that I’m one for chatting to the neighbours but I do have to try to be sociable occasionally.

And I now know why the barrier to the car park isn’t working. I wondered where the car of one of my neighbours had gone

As well as taking out the papers I’ve actually put some stuff away too, I have cunning plans for more stuff and later on tonight I’m going to go outside with my old non-working printer and … errr … forget where I left it. This is going to be quite a long job.

In fact I was so carried away that I forgot to go for breakfast. That’s not like me, is it? Although I am eating less these days than I have done in the past.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It was a surprise that I actually managed to make it out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I went across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. With the weather being a lot warmer and sunnier than it has been this last couple of days I was expecting to see the crowds.

And as usual, I’m not disappointed. This was just a few of them, with many people having taken to the water to cool off. There were crowds of people elsewhere disporting themselves on beach towels catching the sun all the way down the coast.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it, I had a look out to sea to see what was happening there.

When I’d been walking down to the end of the car park I’d seen something white out at sea. It’s actually a yacht with a white sail with green stripe that’s cavorting around out there and it has a friend way over there towards the northern Normandy shore.

Over to the right of the yacht in the foreground is a marker buoy, presumably indicating another lobster pot, and then we have one of the many bouchot farms of the area in the background with its stakes rearing up like a medieval cheval de frise

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As you can tell from the previous photo, the view was so much better today with the air being much cleaner.

That meant that I had high hopes for a photo of Jersey and St Helier so I went and found a piece of high ground where there might be a really good view.

And once again I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not the clearest view that we have had of St Helier but it’s still pretty good all the same.

One of these days I’ll really have to get myself out there somehow so that I can identify all of the buildings that I can see from here. The way that things are right now, I’ll have to hitch a ride on a freighter.

kayak cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Or else flag down a friendly cabin cruiser.

As I walked through the sandy wastes towards the end of the headland I noticed this cabin cruiser pull up. At first I thought that it might be a group of fishermen but as I watched they lowered something down at the stern.

A couple of minutes later someone climbed in and kayaked away. And it’s a good job that it’s summer because you don’t need to keep warm. After all, we all know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

And on that not, I wandered off further down the path.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The car park was crowded again with cars so I was expecting to see a lot of people here too.

Plenty of folk down on the lower path and there was a couple of people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not that they had very much to see because there were no boats out there this afternoon and no-one fishing on the rocks.

However, the buoy that we saw yesterday marking what I assume to be a lobster pot was still there so they can keep their eye on that.

ch638749 pescadore ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what’s happening in the port.

And there are yet more changes in the chantier naval as another trawler has come in to join the fray today. The black and blue trawler in the middle of all of that is Pescadore.

She always confuses me because when I first came here she was actually blue and white but had a repaint a while back.

Meanwhile over at the ferry terminal out of shot is Chausiaise, the little freighter. She’s not going anywhere at the moment.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here I went to check to see if anyone was playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon but I was side-tracked.

Over there in the inner harbour is a yacht. At first I thought that it might be Charles Marie because it seems to be the same style, but the colours are different. This one here is dark brown rather than dark blue.

So I shall have to go for a closer look to see if I can pick up a name.

But there’s another lorry in the port this afternoon, presumably dropping off some more freight for the Channel Islands. Things are certainly hotting up here as far as freight goes. We’re starting to be over-run and that’s good news.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Heading off towards the inner harbour (forgetting all about the Fish Processing Plant) I noticed that Victor Hugo is back in port.

The last that I heard of her she was running a shuttle around the outlying islands of the Channel Islands but now she’s back in the inner harbour and moored up at the quayside. It looks as if her mad dashes out and about over the last couple of days have come to a halt.

However I hope that it’s only a temporary pause. I mentioned earlier that I want to get out to the Channel Islands at some point in the near future and I had some high hopes that the ferry might become a regular thing. It’s no part of my plan for her to be laid up for long.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So back at the inner harbour and the yacht that’s in here.

It was not easy to read her name but a check of the fleet radar later revealed that she’s called Marie Fernand. She was built in 1894 as one of the harbour pilots for Le Havre and the northern Frenc coast, duties that she carried out until motorisation of the pilot service after World War I.

She was sold to someone in the UK in 1922 and for a long time disappeared from view.

Someone told me a delightful anecdote about her though. They planned to build a reconstruction of her in time for her centenary so they cast around for the plans. However someone had the rather brilliant idea “why don’t we just copy the original?”.

That was the first that the organisers knew that she still existed so they convinced the British owners to sell her back to the port and since then she’s been restored and was present at her own centenary.

There’s the Festival of Working Sailboats taking place soon so I imagine that she’s come here to be part of it.

Back here I had my iced coconut drink and did a little more tidying up. It’s going to take me an age to do what I want to do.

Tea was the second half of that rather wicked curry. and it was wicked as well. I’ll have to put the toilet paper in the fridge later.

But I didn’t go out to put the printer out. Even as I write we’re having a thunderstorm and a rainstorm. The printer doesn’t really work but I want to give someone a sporting chance and soaking it in water won’t help.

No radio tonight – I’m listening to music so I doubt if I’ll have a late night. I must remember to reset the alarm and then tomorrow carry on with my cleaning plan, otherwise known as “throwing out surplus items”.

A good night’s sleep would be nice too. We can live in hope.

Wednesday 3rd August 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed that I would never do. But needs must when the devil drives and it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.

In fact what I’ve done, while we’re on the subject of driving … “well, one of us is” – ed … is that I drove to the railway station this morning in Caliburn.

It totally beats me why they can lay on a bus service that serves our building, and then send the bus off to places that don’t include the town centre or the railway station or anywhere else that anyone would realistically want to visit

Having spent far too much time hanging around in the past, I set the alarm for 07:00 today and that gave me enough time to prepare myself and to have a whizz around the apartment to clean it a little and take out the rubbish.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were a few parking spaces free just outside the station which was my good luck. I didn’t have too far to walk

As a result I was on the station in plenty of time for the train, which pulled into the station through the fog. The weather was clammy, foggy and not very encouraging this morning.

Our train was, as usual, one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis models, consisting of 2×6-car units. It was quite busy today and by the time that we arrived in Paris it was totally crowded.

Nevertheless I was lucky in that I had no-one sitting next to me so I could spread out and work in comfort.

It didn’t take me long to update the computer and then I read a book all the way to Paris. For a change, it was a novel, “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G K Chesterton.

eiffel tower sacre coeur paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022By the time that we reached Paris the fog had gone and we had a bright blue sky.

My seat was a good one this morning and as we pulled into the city and passed over the petite ceinture, the railway that used to perform a complete circle of the city in the olden days, I had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.

In fact you might say that I really had an Eiffel of it.

Over on the right on the skyline is the Sacré Coeur church in Montmartre. Where we stayed a couple of months ago was just round there about 10 minutes away but we didn’t have the time to visit it back then. I haven’t been there since I went with Nerina at some ridiculous time of the morning before the rush-hour traffic hit it some time years ago.

We were about 15 minutes late arriving in Paris but that didn’t matter too much because there was a long wait for my train to Brussels today.

ukrainian refugee centre gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual I walked down the street in the open air to the Metro station instead of going through the labyrinth. It was blistering hot and I melted through the streets to the Metro. The Metro was packed but I managed to find the last remaining seat to Gare du Nord.

At the Gare du Nord I went to check to see if the Ukrainian Refugee post was still operating.

There’s a very active Group of activists in Normandy who are very interested in the lot of the refugees and I have some connection with a couple of them. While I’m on my travels I like to see what’s going on in this respect so I can pass on the information to people who can make use of it.

And then there was the wait for the train. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not taking the earlier “Ouigo” train and going via Lille. I’m not up to the walk across town at the moment so I’m paying extre and going on the later “Thalys” direct to Brussels.

The Gare du Nord was packed as well and there was no hope of finding a seat anywhere. I headed off to my usual comfortable secret bolt-hole where I was shouted at by a trolley driver but I took no notice.

Thalys PBKA 4301 gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022And then I had to fight my way on board the train to Brussels.

It was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam trainsets and it was packed. There wasn’t a single seat free.

There was all kinds of confusion about the seats too, to which I contributed somewhat, with the ticket inspector having flicked over my electronic ticket while checking it so I ended up sitting in my seat for the return journey instead.

And in the confusion I lost my computer mouse. I had a feeling that it wasn’t my lucky day today.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022As our train pulled in to Brussels, so did a push-me-pull-you for Leuven.

An ancient graffiti-ridden vinyl-upholstered relic of the 1970s as you can see in the photo where they have done a pretty poor job of cleaning it up but it was here and now do I fell aboard and that whipped us off to Leuven.

It was pushed by one of the Class 18 electric locomotives that these days are the mainstay of main-line passenger trains on locomotive-hauled lines. We’ve been on plenty of these in the past.

Having done a little shopping in the supermarket at the back of the station I came on here to encounter a load of confusion about the keys to my room.

And they have put me up two flights of stairs as well and I really don’t need that at all. Not in my state of health right now

pennsylvania volkswagen naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I made it down to Delhaize for the rest of the supplies for my stay here.

And on the way down, this Volkswagen caught my eye, mainly because it’s carrying a number plate from Pennsylvania.

Why I’m interested in this is to find out how the car managed to come over here. There is a vehicle ferry from Europe to North America and back again but it’s for unaccompanied vehicles only and the prices are on another planet.

If I could find a ferry that is at amore reasonable price I’d sell Strider, my Canadian pickup, and take Caliburn over every year to North America.

roadworks Weldadigheidsstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while back in the Weldadigheidsstraat there was a rather large crane that was doing some kind of work at a house down there.

And so going past today I had a look down the street to see if it was still there, only to be confronted by a pile of paving blocks and building materials.

There’s some kind of process of gentrification taking place in Leuven right now and this street looks as if it’s about to fall victim to the designs of the planners.

What’s regrettable about this is that once the council does this it adds on about €20,000 to the house prices in the area and this makes the properties even less affordable to low-income earners.

Prices in town are already far too high for many people and this kind of thing won’t help any.

In Delhaize I stocked up with stuff and it wasn’t all that expensive. But then again with me being much more restrictive on what I eat these days, I’m not buying as much. And i was lucky enough to find a hard-wired mouse so I’m back in business, and after tea I can write up my notes.

photographer naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that my pages are full of photographs of people taking photographs.

Here’s someone else whom I caught doing it at the corner of the Naamsevest and the Naamsestraat. I had a good look round but I couldn’t see what had attracted his attention but never mind. I cleared off home.

Tea was a vegan burger with pasta and veg – the vegan burgers that I bring from home because LIDL actually does a good line in cheap vegan burgers

The reason why I do that is because if I have one with me and I’m too tired to go to the shops after I arrive, I can buy a bag of chips from across the road and I still have something like a meal to keep me going until I feel better.

What a state of affairs to be in.

Meanwhile – the dictaphone. We were at school, a whole mob of us, and there was a radio play in which we were performing. It started off with someone falling over a pile of students’ outstretched legs so it was a long stretched-out “AAARRRGGGHHH” sound to open it. This was how this radio play opened. It was one of a series of radio plays that the school was actually doing. There was much more to it than this. I was around with a few of the kids so I was a kid myself. We all had something to do with this, a group of us, and I was involved in this and there was definitely something happening in which we were involved but I can’t remember now what it was. It was just how this radio programme started up.

Later on my car was away at the garage having work done at it. There was something involving British Salt and the garage there but I can’t remember what it was. I needed a car to go to Chester and the wholesale warehouse. My last port of call was at my sister’s to see whether she had something. They were living in a mobile home place. I went there and knocked on the flyscreen but no-one came. A neighbour came round and started talking to me about it, pointing out this old car and saying that this was her old car but she had to have one because some of her kids went to Nantwich High School and some went to the local one. This is what you have to do when your children are spread out like that. I knocked a couple of times but she didn’t come to the door so I wondered what was happening. This was not like her. If she had been there she would have come. There was much more to it than this but that’s all that I remember.

And finally I was running tours around Perth and Scotland. I had a variety of part-time people helping me. One young boy, a friend of TOTGA, had just quit because he misunderstood the situation. He expected something else other than guiding tourists around. We were waiting at Tourist Information for a party that was turning up at 16:00. I’d told a friend to turn up at 14:00 so that I could show him a few things and point out to him so that he’d know about them. Time dragged on and he wasn’t there. It was 14:30,14:45 so I phoned him and he was still at home. He said “well I was out last night”. I said “I need you here to do this”. He said that he’d come down and tried to engage me in conversation over the telephone. I said “we’ll talk about this when you arrive because we’re in something of a rush at the moment. Come here as quick as you can”. The person with me asked me about this boy quitting. What did I think? I said that it was rather silly. I could see that once again I was going to be plagued with unreliable employees. I could see that I was going to be here full-time doing all this on my own as usual. I thought that I’m not going to be able to go home until Sunday after everything finishes. It’s a long way to go in an evening to go home. I said that I’ll be going home on Sunday evening. Someone asked “doing what?” so I replied “going home” “doing what?” going home!”. I suddenly realised that they were asking me “doing what” when I was back home. I replied “going back to work of course”. The friend had been telling me that it had been raining which was why he hadn’t come in but actually where we were it was bright sunshine so I had no idea why he decided why he didn’t want to come in and do this and even less of an idea why he didn’t want to tell me that he didn’t want to come in and do this.

Unreliable employees was the bane of my life wasn’t it?

Having already crashed out once earlier, I’m off to bed now. I have no fewer than four appointments at the hospital tomorrow so I can’t afford to hang about. I need a good night’s sleep.

Tuesday 2nd August 2022 – I REALLY THOUGHT …

… that I was going to have a good day today, but it all went pear-shaped round about 18:00 when after valiantly fighting off sleep for most of the day up to that point I finally succumbed.

And it might only have been for about 45 minutes too but it was still 45 minutes more than I wanted.

Mind you, last night I did end up going to bed rather later than intended, having been stuck at the computer longer than I wanted because a “Paul Temple” episode came up on the playlist just as I was going to bed.

However, at least the night was better than the previous one and I didn’t go as far on my travels.

But more about that in due course.

Much of the day has been spent going through the kitchen sorting out the herbs and spices, seeing what I have in stock and working out what I need to buy. And that took me longer than you might think as well because I had stuff everywhere.

It’s all sorted out and counted now, and arranged so that I know where it is.

When I’d done that, the next thing to organise was the medication. That’s something else that I have spread about all over the apartment and I don’t really know what I have. In fact there is probably more of medication that I no longer use than medication that I currently take

Something else that I needed to do was to back up the computer. I haven’t backed up the big computer onto the portable computer since I was on my travels back in June and so I’ve had to copy everything over onto the memory stick that I take with me so that I can do it on the train.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on my key ring I have a tiny 64GB memory stick that’s about half the size of a postage stamp. That lives on the key ring and I use it for transferring files between the desktop machine and the travelling laptop

Strange as it may seem, all of the foregoing took me until quite late in the afternoon. I do have to admit that I wasn’t in much of a hurry but all the same there was still plenty to do.

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

And first stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be on too because the tide was quite far out this afternoon. And the nice weather had enticed quite a few people out there to take advantage of it as well.

Some of them had even gone into the water too which was a surprise. It wasn’t that nice

boat zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, while I was there, I had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening out there too.

There was a stationary cabin cruiser down there just offshore with a couple of men on board who looked as if they might be fishing. And so I’m sure that they weren’t all that happy when that zodiac roared over so that the crew thereof could exchange a few pleasantries with them.

And that really was that in Granville Bay. There weren’t any fishing boats or any other pleasure craft or any other water craft of any nature out there. I had no idea where they had all gone. This was the kind of weather where I’d expected to see quite a few people out and about.

Right out in the English Channel beyond the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of sails away on the horizon.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With the 70-300mm LENS I took a photo of one of the sets of sails to see if I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I might be able to identify it.

And so having done the necessary, I couldn’t identify the ship but I could certainly identify the arrangement of her sails, and that told me that she was either La Granvillaise or her sister La Cancalaise who sails out of Cancale.

Sure enough, when I checked the fleet radar, I could see that La Cancalaise was out and about on her travels in that general area this afternoon so that seems to answer that question

F-GCUM - Robin DR400/180  baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That wasn’t all of it either.

While I was walking down the path in company of all of the crowds of people, I was overflown by a light aeroplane out there in the bay.

She’s another one of our regulars – F-GCUM – a Robin DR400-180 that belongs to the aero club and which flies around the bay quite often.

This afternoon she took off from the airfield at 16:05 and flew down the bay where she did a lap around Mont St Michel and then flew straight back up the coast, when she landed back home at 16:33

There were crowds of people down at the car park, so much so that they were queueing to find a place to park.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Nevertheless there wasn’t anyone down at the bench at the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that means that they missed quite a free show.

One of the sailing schools from Granville had gone out this afternoon and they had ended up right across the bay on the Brittany side.

And it’s not every day that you see the sailing schools go so far on their travels. We’ve only seen them over there once or twice in all of the time that we’ve been here.

You can see how far the tide is out in the bay this afternoon too. The water on the Brittany side of the bay is quite shallow.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022and right now, as I was looking down the bay, I was overflown yet again.

Unfortunately the aeroplane didn’t manoeuvre itself into a position where I would read its registration number, and there wasn’t anyone out and about on the radar there at that particular moment so I couldn’t identify it like that.

So instead I set off to walk down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

There was no change at the chantier naval today. There were the same five boats there that were there yesterday.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There’s a little change going on at the Fish Processing Plant though.

L’Omerta is still there playing “Musical Ships” today, but she’s there on her own. Gerlean isn’t there though though. She’s cleared off and right now she was moored at one of the pontoons in the inner harbour.

It beats me why L’Omerta can’t do the same.

But they are assembling quite a collection of fishing equipment on the quayside up above her. Is that all going into L’Omerta at some point, or is someone else coming in to take it away?

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, in the inner harbour, Victor Hugo is back again.

She’s spent the last 12 days in Cherbourg apparently, without going anywhere at all. And so as far as this plan to reopen the ferry service between Granville and St Helier goes, the plot sickens.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were with a group of people last night discussing these films on TV last night about how some of this surrealist comedy was done so well that you’d think that it was real even though you knew that it wasn’t. Then there was the kind of tragedy that you’d have that was done really well but you knew immediately also that it wasn’t real so you had a hard time equating to the other film because you always had in the back of your mind that this isn’t real at all, quite a difference from the comedy type of film. We were having an extremely in-depth conversation in our sleep. Of course I had my foot firmly in the comedy camp. A couple of people arguing against me mentioned films but I had never seen them so I didn’t really know.

Later on I’d been out around the town with a friend of mine from Manchester of all people. We’d been wandering round a couple of bars and places. It was quite busy because it was I dunno Roses Day or something, a day of a Battle of the Roses. In the end I had the idea to go down to the computer halls at the University even though it was late, take STRAWBERRY MOOSE with us, climb into the laboratories and send a few messages to Yorkist supporters about their failure at one of the battles that was being celebrated today. i’d done it before on previous occasions and thought that this might be another moment to do it. My friend was rather reluctant but anyway we went out. We found that the streets were totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul around. We couldn’t understand why. We expected to see crowds of people around there. I’d been trying to get some kind of picture on my laptop before going out but that hadn’t worked at all. That was one of the reasons why I suggested going out for it I had my laptop working we could have done it with that. Everywhere was totally quiet, the driveways were closed and locked. They had these metal fences up to keep people out but there wasn’t a soul about at all. It was just so eerie considering what was going on in the bar and what kind of important historical day it was.

They were still carrying out experiments on people’s knee joints with this machine. They kneel down onto the floor and are clamped into this machine and it puts vibrations through it. I was clamped into one after much complaining by authorities but it was designed for me anyway. A few other people were clamped in. One guy had osteo-arthritis but they turned him down. I was the one who had to tell him that he couldn’t be included in the study and had to send him back to wherever it was that he came from. The question of my knee is even infiltrating into my dreams these days.

Tea tonight was the rest of the curry from yesterday and it’s even more delicious when it’s been marinading for 24 hours in its own juices.

Now here’s a surprise. After I finished the washing-up I steam-cleaned the microwave. It hasn’t been cleaned for a while and needed a good going-over.

But that is one of the things that needs to be replaced in due course. It was a small, cheap microwave with a plastic cover over the metal interior and the plastic is now lifting off and the metal is rusting. It’s not very hygienic but there’s no point in replacing it until I have my new kitchen units up here.

So an early-ish start tomorrow because I’m off on the train to Leuven. Not that I’m looking forward to it but we’ll see how it goes. It’ll do me good to get out and about, even if it’s only going just that far.

Thursday 21st July 2022 – I WAS RIGHT …

la confiance 2 chantier naval chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… when I said the other day that it looked as if Les Bouchots de Chausey wasn’t going to be around for very long in the chantier naval.

When I went past this afternoon she had gone! And never called me “mother”. There was just La Confiance II in there now and that was that.

Meanwhile, in other news, over at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter. The last time that we saw her was when she was underneath the crane in the loading bay in the inner harbour.

However someone whom I know sent me a photo this morning of Chausiaise in the harbour at St Helier. That will explain why she was loading up the other day.

It will also explain why ships like Southern Liner have been in port sounding out the possibility of running additional freight services to the Channel Islands. Business must be booming if they have pressed Chausiaise into service on that route too.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While we’re on the subject of ferry terminals and ferries … “well, one of us is” – ed … other things that have gone! And never called me “mother” either are the two Channel Island ferries.

Granville departed at 11:04 and is currently in St Helier. Victor Hugo also left at 11:04 and may currently be found in Cherbourg.

So what’s happening there I really don’t know, but the plot sickens. Whatever it is that’s going on, I wish that they would sort themselves out quite quickly because all of this isn’t doing anyone any good.

Last night’s sleep didn’t do me much good, unfortunately. It was another one of those nights where I struggled to go to sleep and when I did, I was soon awake as the bedroom warmed up dramatically.

Things were such that I could even have left the bed at 07:00 but I loitered around until the alarm went off at 07:30, for old time’s sake.

After the medication I went outside to take some stuff out of Caliburn. A pile of rubbish went into the waste bin and some more stuff came upstairs.

The idea was that someone was coming round this morning. There was a request on Social Network for an offcut of linoleum and I have some here.

We’d agreed a deal that he could have it for free in exchange for helping me bring upstairs the flat-pack units that I’d bought from IKEA in Germany the other week, hence the tidying up in Caliburn. However it goes without saying that after all that effort on my part, he never turned up.

What else never turned up was the Zoom link to the Welsh class. As a late addition to the course I’m not on the mailing list. I had to send an e-mail to the tutor and hope that she saw it. I ended up being 45 minutes late for my course.

She was much more organised today which was good, and that was helped by the fact that we as students are starting to take the initiative and between us we’ve worked out screen-sharing for powerpoints and so on and that makes things much easier when we are in break-out rooms.

Once again we bashed right through without lunch and finished early. That gave me time to deal with a few things such as the dictaphone.

My solicitor came round last night and he brought his managing partner with him. This was when my parents were out then – there was me and one or two other people. They began to talk and said that they had some good news for me. Firstly all my accounts had been accepted. They confirmed that I didn’t actually buy or sell anything so I’m not liable to anything. Secondly they aren’t interested in any accounts for previous years. The third thing is that I don’t have to sit any English exams at all. For unknown reasons this really delighted me. When my parents came back it took an age for them to stop talking. At the end I could tell them all my good news. They wanted to know all about the implications of it. They were wondering about this English exam because they thought that I could have some really high marks with my English. Not taking it would reduce my overall average. I explained that things like time was an issue, my energy was an issue. If I could receive a credit for my English without taking an exam then I would go that way. We had quite a long talk about everything about this.

There was something going on later about 2 girls who knew each other. They had been to the USSR and had noticed a few business opportunities that they could exploit. One went back to the USA and the other stayed in the USSR. They set up this import-export agency. For one of them it went really well and so was living a life of comparative luxury but the other one was living in poverty in a caravan and eventually on an old boat. She had to cross the Atlantic in this boat but it was not particularly seaworthy. Things like the wind generator was only held on by an old nail etc. This was going to be a voyage fraught with disaster. I was on it as it slipped out of harbour and she went off to do something. As we rounded the bend to leave the harbour there was a catamaran coming in with children on board. I couldn’t really stop the boat so I had to put it into the side wall where it bounced along the side wall and out so that it left this catamaran plenty of room. She was quite upset about that and asked me what I thought that I was doing. I explained that I’d never been on board a boat before in these kinds of circumstances and I was doing what I thought was correct to the best of the ability that I had

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

That meant that it was cooler than it otherwise might have been when I went out so I wasn’t expecting to se too many people out there but I was pleasantly surprised.

It was warmer than I was expecting anyway and the crowds were wandering around everywhere even down on the beach and even one or two brave souls who had gone into the water.

No Nazguls out there today though. There wasn’t all that much wind about.

ch651332 hera suzanga baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that I have mentioned recently is the fact that the fishing boats seem to be exploiting new areas of the sea since the issues with the Channel Islands.

This wzs illustrated today by not one but two trawlers out there in the bay with their nets out and I was expecting to see one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek vs Greek” moments as Hera in blue and Suzanga in pink sailed towards each other on a collision course.

They did however pass by with a couple of metres spare, and then both did a U-turn and went back for another go at each other.

This was certainly exciting and I stayed around for a few minutes to watch but eventually they formed themselves into parallel lines and headed off into the sunset.

lysandre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of other boats out there this afternoon too.

This blue inshore shell-fishing boat heading back from the Ile de Chausey is blue and white and that tells me that it’s either Lysandre or Petite Laura because there isn’t much differenc ebetween the two and I can’t read the registration number from here.

But for reasons that you will find out if you have the patience to read on to the end, I reckon that this boat is Lysandre.

And there were others too but they were too far out to identify.

10sa aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And there weren’t just crowds on the path or on the sea either.

Although we had to Nazguls in the air today while I was out, we did have a light aeroplane. As far as I can tell, its registration number seems to be 10SA and that’s one of the ones that isn’t on the aeroplane database that I can access.

But that’s a number that hasn’t appeared before in our paperwork so I’m wondering it it is in fact 50SA with some dirt or staining obscuring part of its registration.

Or maybe I should have gone to a well-known chain of opticians.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022My eyesight can’t all be that bad today though.

Although there’s quite a bit of haze about today I actually did manage to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with the naked eye, even if it is about 70 kms away from where I’m standing.

In fact it was easier to see with the naked eye than it was with the camera and that’s not something that heppens every day. Usually the camera picks out objects much better than the naked eye at any kind of distance.

One of these days I’ll post the photo that I took of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel that I took when we sailed past on Spirit of Conrad so you can see what it is that you are supposed to be seeing.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022With the crowds out there this afternoon it was quite busy at the end of the headland so I fought my way down to the end of the headland.

There were plenty of fishermen out there too. There seemed to be one on every rock. This guy, and presumably one of his offspring, were out there near the cabanon vauban.

Only the father seemed to be fishing though. Although the younger one had a fishing rod handy, he seemed to me more interested in scrambling around on the rocks and I’ve no idea why.

But then we’ve only ever seen one fisherman actually catch something so I imagine that the younger one found it to be rather boring.

cabanon vauban man pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Mind you, there was an audience out there this afternoon.

Not sitting on the bench but standing down at the end of the headland was this guy armed with a camera. And there was plenty going on down there so I’m surprised that he wasn’t taking any interest in anything that was happening around him.

There were more people in the vicinity too, including a Dutch family of a father and two young girls who were taking photos of almost everything. And much as I like to take photos of people taking photos, there are some limits to what it’s polite to do.

yachts speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off around the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was plenty going on there as well. Out by Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour, a few yachts from one of the sailing schools were happily sailing by.

There was a speedboat too roaring past, as well as another boat hiding behind the light.

There was quite a lot of other stuff too but they somehow managed to make themselves out of shot.

Having made a photographic note of what was going on at the ferry terminal and the chantier naval, I carried on along the path towards home.

l'omerta petite laura port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the Fish Processing Plant we can see L’Omerta. She’s still there from the other day and doesn’t look as if she’s moved.

And behind her is a blue and white shell-fishing boat. She has a “CH” (Cherbourg) registration number so she’s not Lysandre, who has an “SM” (St Malo) number and so she must be Petite Laura

That means that the one that we saw earlier out in the bay must be Lysandre because it’s certainly a different boat.

With my chocolate drink awaiting me at home, I headed off back to the apartment

extinction rebellion posters Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It looks as if the flyposters have been out overnight.

There’s a project afoot to turn the road between Granville and Avranches into a dual carriageway and it’s causing a great deal of controversy. It now looks as if the Extinction Rebellion movement people are now on the case.

Actually I sympathise with their campaign because the road isn’t all that busy. And they could deal with much of that by making the train service more reliable and regular.

At the moment it’s just trains between Caen and Rennes but they really need to restore the trains between Cherbourg and St Malo and that will double the frequency of trains on the section of the line between Granville and Avranches.

Bus transport around Granville is improving and if they would make more of an effort at Avranches I for one wouldn’t need to use the van to travel there.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun and that was quite delicious with potatoes and vegetables. Tomorrow I’m going for sausage beans and chips.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed and prepare for the last day of my Summer School. I’m glad that I found this Summer School because even if it’s not as well-organised as it might be, it’s still bringing my Welsh out of the dark recesses of my mind and that can’t be a bad thing.

There’s still 6 weeks until our course restarts and I bet that I will have forgotten it all again by then.

Sunday 19th June 2022 – HERE WE ALL ARE …

strawberry moose place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting in a Premiere Classe hotel in Tours in Western France.

And when I say “we” I really do mean “we” for I am not alone. As you might expect, STRAWBERRY MOOSE has come with me too. I can’t leave him behind.

And just in case you are wondering, I’ve already made a considerable list of things that I’ve forgotten. Most people make a lost and pack accordingly. I pack and then make a list of what I’ve forgotten.

Despite a late night last night I was awake at 08:30 and drifted in and out of sleep for another couple of hours

After the meds and checking the medication I started to back up the big computer onto the little portable memory stick that travels with me. And that wasn’t the work of five minutes.

Then I had to finish off emptying out Caliburn and packing up everything to go in him. The final task was to do all of the washing up and cleaning and then disinfect everywhere.

There were plenty of notes on the dictaphone too. I was writing stuff for a radio programme, the notes for the music. One was for a particular group from the 60s. I remembered seeing them and I got on really well with them. They were busted for drugs like most groups were at the time. I always remembered the last time I saw the girl singer was that some of her group had gone already. She was singing with just one or two of them in the street on this makeshift stage. At the end she got off and came over to see me smiling and we bumped fists. She wandered off down the street and that was the last I ever saw of her. I remember thinking about how nostalgic this was and things might have been different to everyone’s lives if instead of bumping fists I’d grabbed hold of her and held her like I wanted to do but I didn’t really know whether I should have done at the time.

Later I was with Nerina and she was having problems as well with her new relationship. They were no longer sharing a room together. Where they worked in this motel they had a room made up for both of them but they were actually sleeping in separate rooms. I asked how long this had been going on and she replied “a couple of years”. Anyway they had been caught doing this and it had led to all kinds of different complications and for all kinds of different reasons that they were no longer actually living together.

Finally there was a group of us on board a boat. We’d had a meal and we were doing the washing up on the back of the boat outside. There was a little guy on board something similar to Hercule Poirot. He came over and said that he had a request for us. We asked what it was and he asked could we go and do the washing up in the kitchen, in the sink. I couldn’t understand why so I asked him why but he couldn’t really come out with a really good answer. Someone else cottoned on to the fact that he didn’t think that the washing up was being done correctly. It needed to be done in running water and the plates properly scrubbed and everything like that. He didn’t think that what we were doing was very hygienic. I was basically on the point of telling him that if he wanted the washing up done down in the boat in the kitchen he can take the bowl away and do it himself rather than disturbing us who were doing it while he was doing nothing but discretion got the better of me. I tried to find out exactly what his precise objection was but for some unknown reason he wasn’t really all that keen in spelling it out. It was annoying me that we were working and he wasn’t and he didn’t like the way that we were working but he didn’t actually volunteer to come along and do the work himself if he wanted it done in a different way.

There was much more to it than this but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

By 16:00 I was on the road again. First stop was at LeClerc to fuel up (and that cost me an arm and a leg) and then we had a leisurely drive through the French countryside.

We hit Tours, 250 kms away, at 20:00 and saw a cheap B&B hotel so I left the ring road, found myself stuck on the motorway and couldn’t find my way back, came off and couldn’t get back on to retrace my steps.

premiere classe hotel joué les tours France Eric Hall photo June 2022However, all was not lost. After I’d been driving for a while around the suburbs of Tours trying to find that hotel, a Première Classe Hotel loomed up out of the gloom.

A room was a mere €45:00 which I’ll take any time, and they arranged for a vegan pizza for me at a nearby hotel that even gave me 15% off.

As you might expect, I’m totally wasted after the drive. I’m clearly not up to this. The day that I drove non-stop pulling a trailer for 32.5 hours are long-gone.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve earned a good night’s sleep.

Friday 13th May 2022 – THIS WAS PROBABLY …

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… the worst day that I have had for quite a while.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve had a few of those just recently.

So while you admire a few photos of everything that was going on out at sea this afternoon, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I couldn’t move an inch and it was just the same at 07:45 and again at 08:00. In fact it was, would you believe, 10:20 when I finally put my feet on the floor this morning

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It wasn’t that that was the worrying part about it. What worried me more than anything was that I was feeling as if I had a hangover. I don’t know what there are in these pills but they are certainly kicking in with a vengeance

But seriously, if this is how I’m going to end up, I’m going to try to work out which one of these new medications it is that’s causing this and simply stop taking them.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the only excitement that I seem to have these days is what goes on during the night. The last thing that I want to do is to cut all of that out of my life.

In fact I can understand why (although that’s not the same as saying that I agree with) the taking of hallucinatory drugs is so habit-forming. There is certainly something to be said for being taken out of yourself and going off on a series of voyages into the ether.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while we’re on the subject of my nocturnal voyages … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve actually managed to pull myself together at some point during the day and dealt with the stuff on the dictaphone.

I was going to do a coach job which meant taking a coach to a race track by a big army camp in Yorkshire. I set off in Nerina’s Ford Escort to go to find the coach. When I reached the army camp I parked the Escort and got out but I must have knocked the gear lever by mistake for all of a sudden it revved up and roared off across the car park on its own with no-one at the wheel. It was late at night and there weren’t all that many vehicles on the car park but I had a feeling that this was going to be a recipe for disaster. I had to run after it but I didn’t have a hope of catching it. I could see it driving erratically around this car park. There was no way that I would catch it. Gradually the car park filled up, ordinary people, whole families of Gypsies hauling scrap and rags, soldiers etc. Of course I lost sight of the car and had to climb up onto a bank in the middle of the race course and that wore me out so I had to climb up a smaller one but I couldn’t see as far. Then they came in with the coach. I thought to myself that if I’d made such a mess of driving this Escort what am I going to be like driving this coach? This is going to be an absolute nightmare to me and how am I going to explain to Nerina what’s happened about her car? She’s not going to believe this story for a minute.

yachts speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And then there was a big group of us on an aeroplane. I somehow ended up with a girl whom I’d sat newt to on numerous occasions. We were discussing an aeroplane incident in the Atlantic similar to the Titanic and we were looking for the location of the yellow parachute of the plane. We were poring over maps documentation etc but we couldn’t actually see it. As well as that we were having a big lengthy chat. This girl was married but was in bad company and they spent a lot of money gambling. I’d been trying to tell her to cut down on it. She told me that last weekend she’d refused to go out even though everyone else in her family had wanted to. They’d wanted to go out on a big gambling spree but she’d dug her heels in and ended uo not going out at all. I was immediately pleased with her. Our hunt went on with quite a few documents but we couldn’t relate anything in them to anything on the ground. In the end she asked me quite pointedly what I was going to do now. I interpreted this as being that she wanted me to go. I gave her a great big kiss but she fought me off saying that people were looking so I prepared to leave on my own

That actually took me until rather late in the afternoon to type all of that out. For the first part of the day I couldn’t actually bring myself to do anything. It was all far too reminiscent of 2003/2004/2005 when I was going through another phase like this and I remember how difficult it was to climb out of the pit back then.

It was only Rhys’s wedding that rekindled my spirit of adventure back then. I’ll have to persuade him to marry again.

A lot of the morning was spent trying to recover and then the rest of the day was spent tidying up in the kitchen. There were piles of stuff everywhere and all of the washing-up that I hadn’t done yesterday after my rather busy day.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There is of course the afternoon walk around the headland so I had to drag myself out of the apartment and off on my way.

First port of call was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down on the beach to see what’s happening down there today.

It was a really nice day and there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. No-one brave enough though to take to the water which was a surprise. I’d have expected to have seen the crowds in there today with the nice weather that we are having but they semmed to have all chickened out.

f-pdyt Turquetil DYT-01 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was looking around out at sea at all of the maritime traffic, I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airfield.

It’s a new one on us. We’ve not seen her before. She’s F-PDYT, a Turquetil DYT-01 and that’s a machine about which I can tell you nothing at all.

Firstly, she hasn’t filed a flight plan and secondly, she wasn’t picked up on any radar anywhere so I can’t tell you anything about where she’s been and where she’s going.

And then I can’t even tell you anything about the manufacturer either because I can’t find any information about that either. It’s really not my day, is it?

As I walked down the path I came across a large group of people trying to take a selfie so I took their phones and duly obliged them. We had a little chat and then I carried on my way.

fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Nown at the end of the path I walked across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

For a change there wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, which was a surprise because there was enough going on out there this afternoon to keep everyone entertained for hours.

We’ve already seen plenty of marine traffic going by this afternoon, but this speedboat was stationary out in the bay. There were several fishermen on board but in all the time that I was watching, no-one actually pulled anything out of the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the time that we’ve been here, we’ve never ever seen anyone catch anything with a rod and line.

l'ecume 2 valeque sagone d'angawelys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From there I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the port.

There was quite a racket coming from the chantier naval this afternoon. It looked as if they had the air sander working full tilt on L’Ecume II grinding off the old paintwork.

In actual fact they are making quite rapid progress on her, which you can see when you compare her to how she was ON SUNDAY.

It’s not like them at all to be this rapid, is it?

St-Gilles Croix-de Vie chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday I mentioned that the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie had finished its work in the harbour and had been towed across the harbour to the portable boat lift and had been lifted out of the water.

She’s now out there on a couple of blocks while they start to dismantle her ready to be taken away.

She doesn’t actually sail into port, as you might expect. She comes into port in a dismantled form on the back of a low loader and they assemble her on the hard-standing before they drop her into the water.

And then they dismantle her ready for her to be taken away again on the lorry that will come to pick her up in due course and take her off somewhere else.

fishing boats unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022This afternoon there was quite a crowd over at the fish processing plant.

All of the boats are coming in to unload, swarming around L’Omerta that is still there after all this time. And there are a couple of large refrigerated lorries over there ready to whisk away the catch.

Back here I carried on tidying the kitchen and putting away the shopping from Thursday. The place looks a little more respectable now which makes a change. It had got into quite amess over the last few days.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper now that I have some and it tasted quite delicious. But I’m using a different rice right now and it’s not as nice as the usual stuff.

So later tha usual, I’m off to bed. I have a weekend school for my Welsh course so I’m hoping for a better start to the day tomorrow that today’s start. That was appalling and I don’t want to do that again.

Wednesday 20th April 2022 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today unfortunately.

After having had a few weeks of feeling so much better, today was something of a relapse.

It was one of those things that I knew as soon as I awoke this morning. It was a real struggle to leave the bed (but I still managed to beat the second alarm) and I was feeling like death. For a couple of hours I couldn’t manage to do anything at all and it was a desperate struggle to keep awake for much of it.

Mind you, I had another extremely violent dream and I reckon that it was this that took a lot out of me. We were in some city somewhere in Eastern Europe. There had been a load of events leading up to something but I’ve forgotten them all. We went into this restaurant, it might have been in Eastern Germany, to order something. There were all these people milling around, all kinds of people of all kinds of sexual persuasion just as there used to be in West Berlin in the early 80s. No-one seemed to be paying very much attention so our drink hadn’t come so I went to walk out. Someone gave me a bunch of flowers so I just threw them onto the floor and walked out. Someone tried to restrain me so I gave them a “Glasgow Kiss”. It just descended into a complete and utter orgy of violence after that. It just became worse and worse afterwards and really you don’t want to know about it. It was all absolutely appalling and violent and so real as well.

And then there was a group of us somewhere in Ireland last night. There were several abandoned villages and the talk was that one of them should be reoccupied so they sent a guy out there. They asked which house he would be living in and he replied “the warm house”. They arranged for him to have supplied etc and his letters delivered. A short while later a few more people went out to live there, prospectors, miners, etc. I was one of them although I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I had my electricity bill, 3 for one property, 3 for another and 1 for a third as well as a few other bits and pieces. I was trying to contact the Electricity Board to have some kind of overview of my account so that I could write out one cheque to clear everything. This was much more difficult than it seemed and I could see that after the time that I had spent on the ‘phone and on the 2-way radio trying to talk to people, I was just going to have to write out one cheque for each individual bill and pay it like that. If I run out of cheques that would be rather too bad.

So having had my medication, checked my mails and messages and transcribed the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the day dealing with the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. We eventually struggled onto the shore on Devon island across the bay from Dundas Harbour, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and me, and His Nibs was serenaded by a lady Inuit drum-dancer whom we encountered.

Right now, we’re back in our zodiac heading back to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

Something else that I did was to do some tidying up (shock! Horror!) here in the bedroom and also to deal with some more photos that I found hidden in the depths of the computer that look as if they have been here since the Dawn of Time.

There were the usual pauses for breakfast, for lunch, for a good session on the guitar and also my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And as usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

And just here at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord there wasn’t very much happening at all. There was hardly anyone down there this afternoon.

Quite a few people further down by the Plat Gousset though. That seems to be where all of the action is taking place. Maybe I ought to go for a wander in that direction one of these days.

But not to buy an ice-cream. There’s a photo (not one of mine) currently doing the rounds about a “certain event” that took place there earlier today.

marker buoys baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were however considerably more people up her eon the path so I was glad that I remembered to wear my mask.

Anyway, I walked all the way round and across to the car park to see what was happening out at sea and once again there were strange objects bobbing up and down in the water.

Nothing particularly exciting though. No dolphin or anything, just a buoy marking where a fisherman has dropped a lobster pot into the water.

And the 25-litre plastic container seems to be back. It wasn’t there yesterday. It’s probably also being used as a pot marker in that case. But these lobster pots are quite interesting. How on earth do you train a lobster to go on one?

cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Although there wasn’t a great deal going on out at sea this afternoon, there had been some people watching it.

However, they must have heard about me because as I turned up and prepared the camera, they stood up and began to leave. This is what happens when you are famous.

So with nothing else happening over here, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on down at the harbour. Not all that much, I imagined. I was having one of those days today that one has when things aren’t going too well.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was no change in occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon. Still just Anakena and la Roc A la Mauve III.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chausiaise today and that was about it. By the looks of things the two Joly France boats are out at the Ile de Chausey and Belle France is still moored in the inner harbour.

But still no sign of the Channel Island ferries. If they really are planning to restart the service by the end of April as the intimated earlier in the year, they need to be getting a move on. There’s not long to go.

In any case, I can’t see me being off to Jersey before I go off on my next trip.

And that was something else that I did this morning and forgot to mention – to book my next trip on the road.

ch 798530 briscard port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The other day we saw a few fishing boats moored up on the silt by the fish processing plant.

Yesterday they had gone and L’Omerta was in their place. But today she’s gone and one of the three that was here the other day – Briscard – is now back again. It looks as if it’s becoming a popular spot.

Abd back here in my apartment I made a coffee and came back in her – and prmptly fell asleep. I told you that I was having a bad day and it didn’t improve as time went on.

Tea tomight was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday. And so tomorrow I’ll be having a curry with the left-over food in the fridge

Anyway, right now I’m off to bed. I’m hoping for a better night tonight without the violence, and a better day to follow. I was really hoping that I’d seen the last of these bad days that I’ve been having, but apparently not.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Sunday 30th January 2022 – NORMAL SERVICE …

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… has resumed, at long last.

While I was out for my afternoon walk today I was overflown by an aeroplane from the airfield down the coast.

Well, not exactly overflown because it was way, way out in the bay and I had to do quite a bit of manipulation … “PERSONimpulation” – ed … in order to work out who she was.

She is in fact F-GIKI, one of the Robin DR400s owned by the local aero-club and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s the first aeroplane that we have seen at close quarters since I can’t remember when.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s also been an absolute age since we’ve seen a pleasure boat out at sea too.

And today, out in the Baie de Granville, there’s a yacht threading its way out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Under diesel power too by the look of things. She’s creating a wake so she’s obviously moving, but her sails have not been unfurled so it’s not the wind that’s pushing her along.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, but I can say that she isn’t Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the Brittany coast 18 months ago. Her skipper was sitting on the wall outside the building and we actually had a good chat as I set off for my walk this afternoon.

cabanon vauban people on bench rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Normal service has also been resumed down by the cabanon vauban too.

After a period of absence, we now have some people back sitting on the bench down there, as well as someone sitting on the rocks out at the very end of the headland.

It looks as if people are resurrecting their old habits, despite the rapidly-mounting infection and death toll. It seems to me very much as if people have given up the fight against Covid, and that’s a catastrophe. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, i’ve been told to my face that it I catch it, I’m a goner.

In fact, this morning, I felt like a goner too.

Or maybe I should say “this afternoon” because it was 12:15 when I arose from the dead. And that’s despite going to bed as early as 01:00 too.

And the sore throat is back, so is the cold, so is the inertia, so is absolutely everything. And I’m glad that I paired off the music yesterday because I wouldn’t have been able to do it today.

After lunch, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. People were being interviewed about the effect of the Covid pandemic on their lives. Most people were saying that they were treating it as something that had become normal. There was only one girl who thought that it was something completely special that had changed her life and done things differently because of it. She was standing on the harbour bridge when they were lowering a boat into the water about 30 or 30 feet below where she was standing. Once the boat hit the water she jumped in too and had a greatbig splash across the harbour, swam to the boat and climbed in

Later on there was something to do with a kite that was flying around the Pointe du Roc. He hadn’t made it go very high but there was still a crowd of people there watching him and seeing what he was doing with it.

So no Zero, no TOTGA, no Castor and (thankfully) no family either. All in all, it was rather quiet during the night. I wonder what went wrong.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022That led me up to my afternoon walk.

This afternoon was a really beautiful day, just like mid-April in fact. And while there wasn’t much beach down there, the way that the tide is right now, there were still crowds of people down there making the most of whatever beach there was.

There were crowds of people loitering around up here on top too. The path was packed with folk this afternoon.

Among the people out and about was Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. He was sitting on a wall with a couple of other people having a good chat. I joined in and the discussion turned to Greenland and we did our best to try to persuade him to run an expedition out there one of these days.

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, we’d seen F-GIKI setting out on a flight out into the baie de Granville.

What I would usually do is to check the flight logs and radar plots to see where she was going but I didn’t bother in this case because a couple of minutes later she was back. “Forgotten to switch off the water” I mused.

A few minutes later, another aeroplane flew back again out to sea only this time I was far too far away to take a good shot of it to see if it was F-GIKI going back out again. I was around the other side of the headland.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But before that, my attention had been caught by a variety of objects out there in the bay.

Closer examination revealed them to be marker buoys of the type that fishermen use when they had sunk some lobster pots or have some kind of net out. We don’t usually see them as close as this to shore.

And have you ever seen a lobster pot? How on earth do you train a lobster to use one of those?

On that note I carried on with my little walk around the headland, across the car park and down to the end of the headland where I saw the people sitting on the bench and on the rocks.

speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was yet more action out there, and this is probably what has attracted the attention of the people sitting down there at the end of the headland.

There’s a yacht out there having a little perambulation, and as I watched, a speedboat came roaring by as if, as they say around here, il a le feu dans ses fesses – “he has a fire up his … errr … posterior”.

Anyway I wasn’t going to stay around to see what he was doing, I wandered off back home. There wasn’t anything else of any excitement going on, as if I haven’t already had enough for one day.

Immediately after lunch I’d taken the final lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been sitting defrosting all afternoon.

Back here I gave it a really good kneading, rolled it out with my new rolling pin (which is excellent, by the way) and put it on the pizza tray so that it might raise itself from the dead too.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When it was ready I assembled my pizza (forgetting the peppers, by the way) and then shoved it in the oven .

And I do have to say that this was one of the very best ever pizzas that I have ever made. I was well-impressed with this one. Everything about it was perfect.

While I was waiting for it to do its stuff I was occupied doing something that you will never believe. And neither do I, as it happens. But I actually did some tidying up in the bedroom. And that’s not “normal service” by any means, is it?

Not a lot of tidying up, it has to be said, so there’s no need for you to worry. But nevertheless for a Sunday too, that’s really quite extraordinary. There are even places where I can see the floor in here.

But right now I’m going to see my bed. There’s an 06:00 start on a Monday so that I have plenty of time to prepare my radio programme. And there’s plenty of other stuff too, if I could only organise myself (which is a thankless task these days, I know) and a trip to see the physiotherapist.

Another thing that I need to do is to book my travel to Leuven. It’s not long now before I need to leave for my next appointment and I can’t keep on leaving things until the last minute like I usually do. I have to be much better organised than I am.

But not right now. I’m off to bed.