Tag Archives: TNS

Sunday 20th March 2022 – WHILE I’VE BEEN …

people on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… basking in glorious sunshine out on my rock this afternoon, other people have been suffering.

Alison sent me a lovely video to show me that the region of Leuven in Belgium was hit by a snowstorm this morning. It didn’t last long apparently, but a snowstorm it was nevertheless.

And back here, while I turned off the heating and even had the windows in the living room opened this afternoon, everything is closed and the heating is back on again. It looks as if the brief glimpse of an early summer that we have been having has now ended.

But I bet that we won’t be seeing snow though.

Last night I saw quite a lot of my bed. 00:30 when I finally retired for the night, and it was 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

But I didn’t have much sleep though. There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone and to my dismay I could only decipher less than half of it. Much less in fact. apparently the settings on this new machine are different from the old one that I had.

That’ll teach me to check the manual … “PERSONual” – ed … next time .

After the medication I came back in here to do my best to find out where I’d been during the night. I was with a former friend of mine last night out somewhere in the countryside and there were these two Harley Davidson motorbikes being chased down the road by a bulldozer. When they went past, when they came to a tight corner one of them fell off on the bend

There was also a big meeting taking place of a group of people. It might have been the students’ union, I dunno. It was taking place in a big sports centre somewhere outside a town. It might have been in the Netherlands or Flemish Belgium. At the town where Iw as, I was on a bus that was going to where the Sports Centre was. There was a couple of people on there and we were all speaking to the driver. She was telling us that she was shortly leaving her job and going off touring around New Zealand. I was talking about Canada and the pick-up that I had out there. In the end I was the only one left on the bus and we came to the Sports Centre but she told me that she couldn’t drop me off there because it was on a bad bend so she took me on to the terminus and I had to walk back. I had Strawberry Moose with me. I walked into the hall and saw all kinds of people whom I knew but they didn’t want to talk to me and all moved away. I saw the group from Northern Europe who were all sitting there. One of my sisters was there too and I thought “what is she doing?”. I had to use the bathroom but it was filthy and disgusting and there wasn’t much toilet paper there but I had to go all the same. Someone else came in and shouted “I have a tape for you”. I replied “you’ll have to hang on to it for a minute”. He replied “no, it’s here”. I replied “I can’t come out and do anything right now”. he said that he would have to leave it. I asked him where he was leaving it and he replied “underneath your Bible” and that took me by surprise because I didn’t have a Bible.

With the tons of stuff that I have yet to decipher, nevertheless a connection of Zero put in an appearance. If he was there, it probably means that she wasn’t far behind and so I’m picturing a night of unbridled passion with Zero, TOTGA, Castor and several other young ladies from the dim and distant past putting in all kinds of appearances during the night and I will never ever find out anything about it.

Just my luck.

There was enough time before brunch to sort out the music for one of the radio programmes that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. The joins didn’t work out as well as they have been doing just recently but that’s due to the fact that the tracks are all completely different from each other and there’s no natural flow.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I went out for a very early afternoon walk, for reasons which will become apparent in due course.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach.

And see the crowds of people who were milling around down there. As you saw in the photo of the path along the clifftop, people were out in droves today taking advantage of the really nice weather.

No-one out at sea, as far as I could see. The haze that we had yesterday had lifted somewhat – only somewhat. The Ile de Chausey was quite clearly visible but there wasn’t much to see beyond that kind of range.

diagonal window in house rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having strolled down the path to the lighthouse and having looked back down the path to see the crowds, this house in the Rue du Roc caught my eye.

We have seen this house before and I’ve probably photographed it too but it’s still quite interesting. Most builders and designers seem to lack any imagination but whoever designed this house had plenty to spare

If people are going to put windows in gable ends, they usually make them perpendicular in either the vertical or the horizontal plane, but to see a window in the diagonal to match the pitch of the roof and the pitch of the roof of the neighbouring house is certainly different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Being out for my afternoon walk so early, the tide was well out, as you saw earlier.

And that means that the practitioners of the pèche à pied are finding that the water level is now below the parts of the beach and rocks that are leased commercially. Consequently it’s a free-for-all for everyone down there this afternoon.

And there were the crowds too out there on the rocks looking for the oysters, lobsters, eels and other delicacies. And I hope that they share them with their friends and neighbours because as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the pècheurs à pied, we also had interested spectators too.

Down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a couple of people sitting down and watching the fishermen and women at their work. But they had obviously heard all about me because as soon as I pointed the camera down there, they stood up to leave.

And so I left them to it too and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

pecheur de lys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And the short answer was “nothing”. There had been no change whatever of any importance or significance in the outer harbour since yesterday.

Everything was exactly as it had been, including the old wooden Pecheur de Lys, who hasn’t moved for a considerable period of time.

We saw her in the water for a short while a couple of years ago after a brief overhaul on the blocks in the chantier naval, but that was about it. She was only afloat for a couple of days and then she was hauled back in and that was that.

With nothing else changed in the inner harbour I hurried on back home because there was something important going on that I didn’t want to miss – hence my early afternoon walk.

On Friday evening we saw the first Welsh Cup semi-final between Y Bala and Penybont. This afternoon it was the second semi-final between TNS and Colwyn Bay.

TNS are runaway leaders of the Welsh Premier League, having already won the Championship, and Colwyn Bay are in fourth place in the second tier so the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

However TNS were made to work hard for their victory and the goal that they scored to win the tie was the type that you only ever score when lady luck is shining on you. A corner swerved in, hit the post, bounced out about a foot, hit a TNS attacker in the face and rebounded into the net. And he knew nothing at all about it.

It might have been a different story too if the referee had awarded Colwyn Bay a penalty when Connor Roberts in the TNS goal wrestled an attacking Colwyn Bay attacker to the ground after the ball had been played.

During the football match I found to my surprise that I was drifting off to sleep and when the game finished, rather depressingly I dropped off to sleep more-or-less straight away. And for a good half-hour too

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having taken out a lump of dough out of the freezer immediately after lunch, it was now defrosted so I kneaded it and rolled it out.

After it had proofed I assembled the pizza. I remembered the olives this evening too. and then it went into the oven to bake.

It turned out to be one of the best pizzas that I have ever made as well. This last few that I have made seem to have worked out quite well and I wish that my technique for the rest of my baking activities would develop like this.

Anyway now that tea and the washing up is over and I’ve had a spell on the guitar too today, I’m going to bed. It’s an early start tomorrow as I have a radio show to prepare and I hope that now that I’ve set up the new dictaphone in accordance with the instructions, I’ll be able to listen to where I go during the night.

Fancy going on all of those voyages last night and hardly understanding anything at all of what I was up to.

Friday 4th March 2022 – I’M NOT CONVINCED …

… about these pills that I’m supposed to be taking before I go to bed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you admire a photo of the crowds of people on the beach this afternoon, what with going to bed early last night I took one of them. And I fell asleep quite quickly.

It didn’t stop me from going off on a few nocturnal travels though, some of which were quite incomprehensible. At the very beginning there was something very amazing about 3 little shopping bags that were like boats floating on the water. People were using them to take things to places but it was really confused I can’t remember anything about it apart from that.

Later on we were with Nerina round at the home of someone from the Welsh group. We were just talking around etc and we suddenly had to leave. She had made this big pile of sandwiches and so she gave us some of them, salad and hummus sandwiches. We ended up taking them and left. Just as we were going she said something like “don’t forget to bring back some of that gorgeous cake when you come back”. Nerina and I bumped into someone else and told them the story of the sandwiches and cake which they thought was funny. Nerina asked “what time should we go back?”. I didn’t know so she said ‘how about 14:45 and we can have a siesta before we go back in the afternoon?”. On the was back was a very narrow lane which was very difficult for 2 vehicles to negotiate. I was driving down and someone came round the corner in an old C15 van. He saw me coming but pushed on regardless. We had to do some incredible negotiation so that he could go past but in the end he dropped into a ditch and couldn’t extricate himself. I couldn’t stay where I was – I had to go on further but in the meantime someone else came and instead of waiting where it was safe he pushed on as well. I said to the second guy “what a stupid thing to do, trying to pass here with these ditches. It was much safer to pass back there where you’ve just come from.

And later on, I was in a gym. There was a set of weights , the bar and weights, that were in a ramp. I was underneath it ad I was having to lift up this ramp with this set of weights, hold it above my head and then lower it down. As far as I knew I went off and I was doing that

At some other point I was in hospital having my treatment but they weren’t giving me my infusion, they were examining me all over and they pushed this huge, enormous needle like a knitting needle into my arm and I had a panic attack. Everyone else started to laugh. I thought that that was most unprofessional and most unpleasant and I was really annoyed and angry by this. They didn’t seem to take my worries seriously – it was all a big joke and I was so annoyed. The woman came round with the trolley with sandwiches on it but there were no sandwiches on it for me and that made me even more annoyed. I disconnected myself, went outside to my motorbike and went for a ride. I ended up on the A51 that leads out of Nantwich towards Chester. As I was going up the hill towards the canal this absolutely enormous monster aeroplane flew overhead. I couldn’t find my camera so I stopped to rummage through my affairs by which time this aeroplane had flown away by the time that I found my camera. I was having a friendly chat with a little kid who was having some grief from his parents for something or other. As I was putting away my stuff a woman came up to me and said “if you need your washing doing let me know”. I couldn’t work out what she meant. I had to ask her 3 or 4 times for an explanation. It turned out that I was parked in the entrance to a hotel and she thought that I was staying there. I explained what was happening and the doorkeeper for the hotel came over to talk to me. he told me that I was lucky that I wasn’t dragged in and had to pay for a meal or something. I said that he probably noticed that I was polite and courteous to this woman. He replied “yes, that’s why you didn’t have any trouble. We were also impressed about how you were talking to that child”. I had to wait for someone to finish their ‘phone call before I could go into the ‘phone box to make myself ready. I put my things in the top box of the motorbike but it wouldn’t close. I had to spend some time on it to make it close. I then went to kickstart to motorcycle but the piston stuck in the barrel so that it wouldn’t kickstart. I thought “this is another one of those days that really isn’t my day, isn’t it?”.

Finally there were 3 young girls and I’ve no idea who they were, wandering around somewhere in this town. They had a bottle of spirits with them. They were having a crafty drink of these spirits as they were going around but something went wrong, one of them disappeared and the other 2 made a quick getaway. They carried on walking away from this town drinking these spirits. They caught up with the third girl. Then this scene drifted to the 3rd girl waking up. She could remember what happened up to that point where they’d met up but the rest was a complete blank. She couldn’t understand it. She’d never had a lot of drink before. One of her friends who had awoken came to join her and they were trying to dress. It looked extremely funny watching them having to swap socks, swap shoes because they couldn’t remember whose was whose and they were in a completely intoxicated state and well out of everything. They finally were ready and I had to take them somewhere. I had to fiddle with my camera to find out where I was and get my camera at the end of the reel, I suppose. My sister was with me. She suggested “that’s where you are isn’t it?”. I replied “no, I’m roling the film round the other way”. Eventually I could reach the starting place so that we could all prepare to leave.

When the alarm went off it was a real struggle for me to leave my bed. I finally managed to struggle out just before the second alarm but it didn’t do me too good because after my medication I came back in here to start work but instead I crashed right out.

10:10 when I finally awoke – for the first time – and I fell asleep a second time early in the afternoon too. I’m not quite sure what these pills are supposed to do but I don’t think that they are supposed to do that.

After transcribing the dictaphone notes, I performed the back-up on the computer that I should have done a couple of days ago on the First of the month. And then copied onto the portable USB drive that’s on my door key the files that need backing up onto the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven

All of that took me up to lunchtime. And with having finished the half of loaf that wasn’t in the freezer, I made lunch with some taco rolls. No sense in defrosting half a loaf for today that will then stand idle until Monday.

This afternoon the first thing that I had to do was to bring up-do-date the database that I keep for my radio programmes. The events of the last week or so have meant that some of the radio shows have had to be shuffled around, a few new ones inserted, all that kind of thing, that have led to several changes.

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

We’ve already seen a photo of the crowds of people down on the beach, and here’s a few more. And one or two of them look as if they might be brave souls who have actually been for a walk into the sea.

It’s not exactly the kind of weather for the sea today. It was overcast and quite windy but, as seems to be the thing these days, it’s not as cold as it might be for this time of year. We haven’t had a winter at all this year. Just two days of frost and that’s all.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And, as usual, I was also looking out at sea to see what was going on there.

In the distance was something or other so I walked all the way down to the end of the headland to take a photo that I could enhance when I returned home and have a look at what it might be.

It’s actually a trawler out there in the bay. The tide is too far out right now for the gates to the inner harbour to be opened in the very near future so it’s probably working out there. They are popping up in all kinds of strange places these days.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whether the pople down on the beach at the Rue du Nord were engaged in the peche à pied I couldn’t really say.

But this lot down here on the rocks at the end of the headland are certainly having a go. These people here are just a few of the hordes who were down there this afternoon, armed with all of the equipment necessary.

There wasn’t anyone at the cabanon vauban this afternoon – presumably the lure of the peche à pied was too much for them – so I carried on around the path towards the port on the other side of the headland.

courrier des iles, le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad les bouchots de chausey chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And at the chantier naval there’s even more excitement this afternoon.

We now have a couple more boats in there – boats that we all know quite well because we’ve seen them quite often during the summer.

G90 is of course easy to identify. She’s La Granvillaise. And then the blue and white boat next to Spirit of Conrad is Charles Marie. Both of these boats do charter trips around the bay during the season.

The ferry terminal is empty this afternoon. Both the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and the Ile de Chausey ferry Joly France have cleared off.

belle france joly france chausiaise marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As for where Joly France might be, she isn’t moored in the inner harbour.

Her younger sister is down there on the left with Belle France and Chausiaise. Joly France is probably out somewhere running a trip to the Ile de Chausey.

Marité is down there too. She hasn’t moved for a while but I imagine that she’ll be off on her travels quite soon. She’ll need her certificate to carry passengers and as the portable boat lift isn’t strong enough to lift her ut of the water she has to go off elsewhere where she can be lifted out of the water.

removing vegetation medieval city walls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little further on along the path I could see in the distance that there was some work going on on the medieval city walls in the Rue des Juifs.

When I was on my way to town the other day I noticed that there were “no parking” signs down there. And what they are doing is attacking the vegetation that’s been growing up the walls.

If the roots penetrate the mortar they will chisel it out and make the walls unstable, which is why they have to keep on removing it.

Back here I had a coffee and then pushed on with another pile of photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. I’m now at Qikiqtarjuaq – Broughton Island – off the coast of Canada in he Davis Strait.

And I’m not sure why we called there when there was an abandoned whaling station just 50 miles up the coast from here that would have been far more interesting for me.

There was a quick tea tonight because there was football on the internet later – YNS v Y Fflint. TNS won 2-1 as you might expect but it might have been a different story had Y Fflint’s goalkeeper and their attackers been on better form. They certainly had the chances.

While I was watching the game I was talking to Rosemary. She had rung me up on the telephone and there was a lot of things to discuss, given the state of the world right now.

And now I’m off to bed. It’s late but nevertheless I’ll take a pill tonight and see what happens. I hope that I have a better morning tomorrow than I did today.

Friday 21st January 2022 – DAY FOUR …

… of my self-enforced confinement is almost over.

And while yesterday was one step forward, today has actually been two steps backward, and that’s really disappointing.

Not going to bed until about 02:35 might explain some of it, but I cheated and switched off the alarm. Consequently it was about 10:00 when I finally surfaced.

It sounds as if it might have been a reasonable amount of sleep (for a change) but when I listened to the dictaphone, it was anything but. I was with TOTGA last night, so it’s not surprising that things were turbulent. We were walking around the town and streets of Crewe, the north side, collecting money for what was supposed to be the TV licence people although I wasn’t convinced that it was. We’d already collected some but then there was the pub to go to – The Royal Scot – and then a pile of houses around there. I suggested going to the Royal Scot first but she suggested that we do the private houses. I didn’t necessarily agree with it but it wasn’t anything for me to particularly worry about. However it turned into one of these arguments that you have, something about nothing. We carried on walking but as we we were walking past the brook in Underwood Lane a woman came out from behind there moaning and grumbling about the TV licence collectors and how the security staff at Tesco have no courage. Another woman on the other side of the road on the green bank there was mowing the grass with a mini-tractor. She told her basically to stop complaining etc. The two of them had an argument which led to the one on the tractor saying “I’m going to have a camp site anyway” to which both TOTGA and I thought was a great idea. The bad-tempered woman didn’t seem to appreciate that there were two other people siding with this woman. It was quite funny thought how this argument between the two of us sprang up out of nothing and I still can’t understand why we ended up arguing about it when it wasn’t really of any importance anyway.

There was another dream that involved TOTGA but I can’t remember much of it, which is quite obviously a shame. Fancy not remembering an encounter with her. We were both on some kind of island but we weren’t supposed to know about each other being here either. Eventually we met up and there was some talk about some other people who weren’t very nice people. We had to go to see them so I shrugged my shoulders and the two of us set off. But there was much more to it than that but I just can’t remember now.

Later on there were quite a few of us on an island. One of the girls, I don’t know who, said that she had seen someone. We all thought that it sounded like Trotsky or Lenin or someone like that. She then described this person and it turned out in fact to be him so we all huddled together while we thought of a plan. In the meantime there were some Christmas decorations but they were out. Feeling around, it seemed that when I had rolled over at some time I’d pulled the wires apart so I was groping around in the dark trying to find these two wires so that I could put them together again.

I’d been at some kind of festivity that had been cancelled. A town had dropped out of it so someone asked me on the radio if I thought that Granville would take its place. I replied that as far as I could see Granville wouldn’t take the place of anyone and wasn’t going to do anything.

Down this path … “which path?” – ed … I walked and I could see a kind of round circle that was lit up and going round and round. I suddenly realised that it must be our headquarters. People came out of the shadows where they had been hiding to welcome us but I awoke just as it was starting to become exciting.

It took me all that was left of the morning to type out that. And I was quite exhausted typing it too. It must have been breath-taking when it was all going on for “real”.

But that wasn’t all that I had to do either. I noticed from yesterday’s entry that two paragraphs had been somehow missed off. And so I had to add them in as well.

As I was late arising, I hadn’t bothered with breakfast so I had a typical Sunday brunch at 13:00 – porridge, toast and strong black coffee, in the hope that the coffee would revive me and there would be less pain in my jaw with the porridge.

The pain was reduced, but not gone completely, and the coffee didn’t work at all. I spent the whole afternoon either writing up the dictaphone notes from previous days or else flat out on the chair fast asleep. And when I awoke I was seriously contemplating crawling into bed and pulling the covers over me because I was absolutely freezing.

That’s one thing that I’ve noticed this week – how cold I’ve been. I’m here right now fully dressed, with a dressing gown on top and the heating going flat out.

Tea was a rather rushed meal out of the freezer because there was football on the internet – TNS v Connah’s Quay. The season has restarted after the Covid break. TNS won at a canter, as you might expect, especially when Connah’s handed them all three goals on a plate. And two goals disallowed too for good measure.

The commentator asked a guest at half time “what do you think Craig Harrison (the Connah’s Quay manager) ought to be doing now?”. The immediate thought that went through my mind was “to persuade Oliver Byrne (the Connah’s Quay keeper) to come off his line”. He’s one of the best shot-stoppers in the league but he won’t come out for crosses. One of the goals and the two disallowed goals could have been prevented if he had come out for crosses instead of staying back on his line.

But now anyway I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow when I can finish the dictaphone notes and then crack on with something else. But I’m really not feeling at all like it right now.

And if you think that I’m spending far too much time moaning instead of doing anything, another purpose of these notes is to record my state of health and how I’m feeling about it. It’s quite important that I keep an eye on myself and that I’m able to look back on it in the future and see how it evolved.

Although right now, I don’t see too much of a future.

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

Friday 19th November 2021 – JUST A FEW …

… more brief notes because I’m in the middle of watching a football match and when it’s finished I’m off to bed because I have to get up at 05:00.

And I do remember that I said that I was going to update the notes from yesterday but unfortunately things didn’t quite work out like that. Not the least reason being the fact that I had yet another bad night last night and I ended off drifting into sleep a couple of times this afternoon when I should have been working.

It felt as if I didn’t have any sleep at all last night but considering the amount of stuff that was on the dictaphone from last night I must have fallen asleep several times.

I was out in Caliburn last night, going from Winsford to Crewe and it was very late. I couldn’t think of what was wrong. I’d been driving for a few hundred yards and I suddenly realised thet I had no headlights. I looked around and there were no electrics of any kind working in the van. Just then I was going past a farm so I pulled into the farm yard to get off the road before someone ran into the back. Jerry and Mike were there, leading some camels with kids on them. They passed in through Caliburn and out the other side and then came back that way. They asked me what I was doing so I explained. They had a few suggestions but I suggested that it was the main fuse that had gone. Jerry said “hang on. We’ll have a look” and lifted up the bonnet but said “ohh it’s a new Transit and I don’t know these ones”. I had a look and saw that the battery had shifted position so I put it back. Sure enough, there was the main fuse underneath the battery and it had broken. Some woman came by now from the farm and asked what was going on. I explained to her but she replied “we don’t have one of those”. I said that I’d have to order one but in the meantime I was sure that I could rig up something so that I could carry on driving and do whatever I had to do.
Later on there was something about dressing up in fancy dress in the Welsh class. One guy had dressed as a canwyll yr ysbryd but I thought that he should have been more like a ghost with a sheet over him as well while he was doing it. There was quite a lot to this dream but I can’t remember any more than that
Some time later I’d been out with with my friend from Congleton. She lived somewhere out beyond Manchester but I was far too tired to take her home so she arranged for her mother to come and pick her up from my family home which was actually where she lived in Congleton. We stopped somewhere for a quick flirt about, something like that, and then I drove back. She said “don’t park where you normally park. Pull up across the road” because her aunt had parked there once and a policeman had come along and moved her on
Finally someone was making a film about the Great Train Robbery. Of course they were disguising all the names and the names of towns and so on but it was quite clear what it was. I had some kind of rôle to play in it. I was on my way to the garage where everyone was assembling. There was a policewoman directing traffic so I had a chat to her. She was saying how glad she was going to be to get off work at the end of her shift. I thought “you’re going to have a surprise later on in that case”. I arrived at the garage and everyone was trying to organise themselves but there were still a few things that weren’t working. There was this red MkV Cortina and they couldn’t make the flashers work on it. One guy was frustrated and put a great big dent in the boot. The I noticed that a few of the things were going wrong in this organisation. Some of the equipment wasn’t up to much. I immediately thought that this was going to be a catastrophe. Everyone would be caught quite quickly because of all this. I recommended not sharing out the money until much later when the hue and cry had died down a little. Someone there had guns and everything like that. I could see that several tragedies are going to arise in this affair if we weren’t careful.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed for my medication and then checked my mails and messages. Liz was on line too so we had a little chat for a while.

Today’s task was to choose the music for the next four radio programmes and that took far longer than it ought to have done as well. Mind you, had I been wide awake and in the mood to work I could have done it a lot quicker than I did

After breakfast I went out for a walk. I needed a bread knife because there isn’t one here,

outdoor market herbert hooverplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021Down at the end of the Tiensestraat I came once more into the Herbert Hooverplein.

Being earlier than usual, the outdoor market here was in full swing.

This is the kind of place like one of these Middle-Eastern or North African street markets – apart from the weather of course. You can buy absolutely everything imaginable here, including bulbs for planting in the garden

Surprisingly, there didn’t seem to be too many customers around right now. It’s not actually that late in the morning. I would have expected the place to be heaving with folk.

outdoor market monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021The market stretches on around and into the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein.

Standing underneath the arches to the entrance to the University Library I have a good view of all of the stalls and what they are selling.

The University Library is the same one that was burnt by the Germans during the Sack of Leuven in 1914 and all of the books, some as old as 1300 years, went up in flames.

Collections were made throughout the World to rebuild the building and to restock it, so the Germans came by in 1940 and burnt it again.

house building diestsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021Sown in the Diestsestraat are a couple of cheap shops that sell household equipment so I wen to try my luck there.

First though, I went to have a look at the house-building that’s been going on down there.

They are actually making reasonable progress which is quite a surprise considering that this is Belgium where they seem to be taking their time about most of these building projects.

And you’ve no idea how hard it was to actually find a bread-knife around Leuven. I tried several shops in the Diestsestraat but had no success.

While I was out I went to Delhaize to buy the salad stuff and fruit for lunch today and for my butties tomorrow on my way home. And in Hema, a more-upmarket kitchen shop near Delhaize, I finally found a bread knife at a reasonable price, so I can make my sandwiches in peace,

man filming grote markt leuven Belgium photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that taking photos of people taking photos is a regular occurrence in these pages.

Today I was eben more lucky because there was someone actually filming here with a film-camera. However I couldn’t see what it was that he was actually filming, and he didn’t stay long.

Back at my little room, after lunch I carried on with the music, fighting off wave after wave of sleep, mostly very unsuccessfully. However, at least it was only 10 minutes here and there, not several hours as was the case a couple of months ago.

Tea was falafel and pasta followed by soya dessert, and now I’m settling down to watch the football. TNS v Newtown.

TNS won the match 2-0 but it would have been a totally different story had the referee awarded maybe even one of the stonewall penalties that I would have awarded to Newtown had I been refereeing it.

And this is, shame as it is to say it, the first time that i’ve ever seen TNS set out to kick an opposing player off the park. As I have said before, Lifumpa Mwandwe is far too good for this league but he’s not going to last long in it if in other matches he’s kicked about as much as he was tonight.

Saturday 9th October 2021 – I DON’T BELIEVE IT!

Yesterday I posted that I had a really good sleep all the way up to 04:41 in the morning.

Anyone care to guess what time I awoke this morning?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. 04:41. Someone round here somewhere must have an alarm clock set for an early start, unless my body clock is playing tricks with me again. It can’t be a coincidence.

Although I was once more in bed early yesterday evening, the big difference is that I had a wretched night. I spent most of the night tossing and turning in my bed it it didn’t seem as if I had slept at all.

Mind you, the dictaphone tells a completely different story because by the looks of things I travelled miles during the night.

After the medication and checking my mails, I prepared to fight the good fight with the dictaphone. And I wasn’t joking about the miles either. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

We were at school, primary school and we’d had a test. Then the teacher sat down and started, we thought, to read through it and give us the answers. No-one understood what she said about question 1 and she didn’t mention question 2 so I asked “could we have the answer to question 2?”. She replied “you’re supposed to be writing down the answers”. We said “we’ve done that. We’re waiting for the answers”. She replied “the next person who makes a noise will be beaten”. Just then one of the children had been playing with something, a traffic light or something, and the lens fell off. She grabbed hold of the child and took it into her room and prepared her cane. There was another teacher there and they were discussing this child’s anatomy about where they were going to give it the cane. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened. I remembered seeing it perhaps on some other occasion the previous day or something. Of course, all the children there were quite distressed by this.

Later on I was playing bass with a guitarist and I just couldn’t find the opening note. It was one of these heavy metal power trio things like Robin Trower. My bass playing was awful. Eventually he told me that the opening note was E which I didn’t think it was, but that was what we started to play.

There was something else about some people. There had been a raid on a camp somewhere and they had found a steel door. Behind the door was a pile of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers. They had gone through and processed them, and found that there were some valuable workers there with them. They were then going to embarrass a few other countries by pointing out what they had found in this batch of asylum seekers.

So the French were interested in these people as resistance fighters from start to finish yet the British were more discerning looking on them as sex objects, that kind of thing.

There was a family barbecue and everyone was buying everything. We were all there at 09:00 lined up outside the supermarket. I was the first one away and took my stuff to where this was being held. My brother was in charge of the camp and I noticed that he had 10 litres of petrol stored somewhere and was planning to burn down some undergrowth near where this petrol was. I went back for a second load. I had a Landrover chassis but it wasn’t really – no body on it and you sat in it rather than on it, towing a trailer. We returned and my brother was there by this time and one of Lynette’s children had stayed with me. We started to unload this stuff. he was fetching out his petrol and putting down a circle ready to burn. I said “don’t be stupid! You have all that fuel there and some gas. He asked “what do you mean? The first lot has already been burned”. I can’t remember who I looked at but I said “thank God I wasn’t here at the moment when you did that.

All these pretty girls (which pretty girls?) were a pile of water too at the port (if that makes any sense) and I wanted to send them away because much as they were very attractive and helping to keep the male/female ratio a little closer than it might be, they were distracting me from anything else going on.

There was some kind of downhill water racing course in a machine, like a series of rapids or something like that. You go down there and when you reach the lake at the bottom you have to swim underneath the water in a tunnel and come out at the other end where the finishing line it. I did it 3 times and filmed it, including the bit of me going under the water down this tunnel which of course is an astonishing thing for me and made a collage together of how the film would be. Nerina was in here somewhere and I was showing this film to her and actually going ahead and doing it for her although I can’t think why. I can’t remember where this went or what happened about it afterwards.

We were off on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR again and it was lunch, or evening meal and we were queueing to get it. There seemed to be two queues, one for the normal meal and another for the fish or cheese variety. I had a look at the cheese variety that turned out to be a white square of fish in cheese sauce with toast. I thought that I would try that but I couldn’t find the vegetables. I managed to grab plenty of toast but there were some people chuntering about “all these people pushing in, doing this and doing that”, whatever. Despite the fact that I had to pay 20p extra my meal was looking like a washout. I went over to where Liz was sitting and asked if this looked right to her, my meal I had to choose a place to sit and there wer e2 seats, one either side of her, that were free. The one on the right was opposite another seat of course. I could see that the seat facing Liz was the handbag of the mother of Zero. The seat next on the right had someone else’s handbag on, and the seat on the left facing the seat on the right of Liz had nothing on it. I wondered if that was where Zero was going to sit so I decided that i’d sit at that seat facing there in the hope that it would be the case.

And that’s not all of it either. There was other stuff too but I’m sure that you wouldn’t appreciate my posting it as you are probably eating your meal right now.

It took me all morning to type out all of that – right up to lunchtime. But there was a reason for that.

home made bread fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Yesterday saw me almost reach the end of the bread, so seeing as I wasn’t going to go shopping this morning, I decided to do some baking.

There were only two or three fruit buns left too, so while I was at it, I made half a dozen of those. If I make some space in the freezer somehow (don’t ask me how) I can freeze half the load and three of the fruit buns for when I return from Leuven.

And I shall too, because this batch has turned out really well. The buns look really good and believe me! The loaf is excellent!

After lunch, there was football on the internet. Connah’s Quay v TNS.

TNS are way out in front of the table but Connah’s Quay, despite winning the league for the last two years in succession, are stuck in mid-table and their manager left in midweek. Nevertheless it was a pulsating, exciting match decided by a penalty for TNS not long after the start of the second half.

Mind you, it could have been completely different had Connah’s Quay been awarded a penalty for what looked like a pretty clear handball earlier in the game.

Both sides had a player sent off for fighting later in the game and we carried on into no less than 6 minutes of injury time that came from God Knows Where because this is the first match that I have seen for ages where neither first-aid attendant was required to enter the pitch.

Connah’s Quay actually had the ball in the TNS net in the dying seconds of the game but it was ruled out for offside.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021This took me up to walkies time so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

Almost immediately I felt the icy hand of death upon my shoulder, but what had happened was that a Nazgul had gone flying by overhead. A two-seater Nazgul too.

In fact, I could have photographed any number of them this afternoon because they were out there in force. probably about half a dozen that I could see at any one time and I bet that there were more than that as well in total.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having dealt with the issue of the Nazgul, I wandered off to the end of the car park to see what was happening on the beach.

And with the tide being out this afternoon, there was plenty of beach to be on. And there were crowds down there too – more than we have seen on the beach for quite a while.

That wasn’t really a surprise because despite it being October and there being a fair bit of wind about, the day was the warmest that we have had for a couple of weeks and once I was out of the wind I was obliged to remove my jacket.

aerial ballet hang glider powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was watching the people on the beach, another Nazgul flew by overhead.

And around the corner from behind the College Malraux came the little red powered hang glider that had been out for a spin.

As they closed up on each other, they performed a really delightful aerial ballet – they really did. Not a danse macabre as we have seen the trawlers in the harbour do so often but a proper little dance.

powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So having performed its little pas de deux with the hang glider, the powered machine headed off.

Its route took it out to sea across the Baie de Granville and I could follow it for quite a way. But then it headed off towards the airfield to come in to land.

The little scene had been witnessed by the crowds of people who were out there this afternoon. It seems that the whole town had come out up here for a walk.

hang glider falls to earth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I fought my way through the crowds of people I had a very unexpected sight right in front of me.

Another Nazgul had gone by overhead and as I walked along the path he came tumbling out of the air and touched down right on the very edge of the cliff. With the camera already in my hand, it was an instinctive shot into the sun, hence the overexposed image.

My intention was to go over there and buttonhole him and ask him about his association and how I can blag my way up into the air, but as quick as he came down, he leapt of the cliff and was away, long before I could catch up with him.

digger heavy machine laying pipeline baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was walking over the path towards the car park, I could see that there was plenty of activity going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s a Saturday of course today, a weekend, so no-one was more surprised than me to see the heavy tractor thing and the digger out there working on this pipeline. It’s very unusual for this kind of work to be carried out at a weekend.

Obviously the tide is playing an important role in this, and with the lowest tides of the season being round about now, they must be paying the workmen a good bonus to have the work done.

Crowds of people out there too having a dab at the pèche à pied while they have the opportunity.

SNU Service National Universel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There were three Gendarme vehicles and a pile of gendarmes on the car park and they seemed to be dealing with this group of people, one of whom was carrying a banner.

Thinking that I might be witnessing some kind of exciting incident I sidled up to one of them. “Who are you?” I asked.
“We’re the SNU” he replied
“What’s that?”
“The Service National Universal#34;
“And what’s that all about?”
“We volunteer” he said, and at that he wandered off. Talk about informative!

Anyway, having made my own enquiries subsequently I can tell you that this is a French Government initiative aimed at kids between 15 and 17 who want to “participate in the construction of a society of Engagement built around national cohesion”.

And don’t blame me. I’m only quoting. I don’t write rubbish like that. I have my own brand of rubbish to write.

F-HFMS Robin DR 400-160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And while I was talking to that young person, I was overflown by a light aeroplane from the airfield.

And she’s a new one. We haven’t seen her before. We’ve seen plenty like her though because she’s a Robin DR 400-160 like some of the aeroplanes at the Aero Club de Granville, but this one is owned by the Aeroclub d’Andaines, near Alençon and is registered F-HFMS.

With no flight plan filed, I can’t tell you where she was going from here at 16:20, or even how she’d arrived here, but she was picked up on radar at 19:33 somewhere in the vicinity of Vire and did a big loop towards Alençon.

She disappeared off the radar at 19:59 not too far from Alençon somewhere near her home airfield at Rives d’Andaines.

trawler pescadore yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having spent a lot of time out there this afternoon, I headed off back down the other side of the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And here in the chantier naval this afternoon we have another new arrival to accompany the yacht that came in here on Thursday morning.

She has her AIS beacon switched off so I couldn’t tell you her name at first but her serial number came up trumps. She’s Pescadore and why I didn’t recognise her was that she used to be blue and yellow before she had a new paint job.

She was in here a couple of weeks ago, so I wonder what has happened to make her come back.

l'omerta tractor trailer vehicles under fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another one of our old favourites from the chantier naval is sitting on the silt over there at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s L’Omerta and was in the chantier naval for a repaint a couple fo weeks ago as well.

And it looks as if they are going to be expecting a bumper harvest of shellfish this evening when the tide brings in the boats that are out working. As well as the tractor and trailer in position, we have several vehicles on the concrete pad underneath the Fish Processing Plant waiting to take away the loads from their boats.

Back here I made a coffee and sat down for a relax. I should have gone up town this evening to watch the football but I wasn’t up to in. Instead I carried on with the updating of some of the journal entries for August to add in the details of my nocturnal voyages.

They are all now complete, so something positive came out of today.

Something else that I forgot to mention was that somewhere along the line I had a play with that desktop mixer and made it work after a fashion. But I need to do more work on it some time.

Tea tonight was a breadcrumbed vegan burger with veg and some more of those nice potatoes.

Now that my journal is finally finished, I’m off to bed, hoping that there’s no 04:41 alarm in the morning.

Today has been something of a bad day. As well as not having had much sleep, I’ve opened a letter, thrown the contents away and filed the envelope, made a mug of coffee without any coffee in it, and boiled the kettle without any water.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Saturday 18th September 2021 – JUST A FEW LINES …

… because I’m really not feeling like sitting down and writing War and Peace after the day that I’ve had.

As seems to be usual these days, I had a pretty disturbed night last night, not being able to sleep very much. It always seems to be the case when I have to arise early in the morning.

But arise early I did and I had plenty of time for my train. I was on the station at 06:15 in the freezing cold – winter is coming quicker than you might think

My train was the 06:33 to Brussels that arrived at about 07:05 so there was plenty of time for me to go to the supermarket and pick up a little something for lunch before my train left at 07:43.

Yes, half an hour later than usual, simply because my usual one had no seats left. But even though this train costs €30:00 more, I don’t have to change trains at Lille and stagger halfway across town.

We were 10 minutes late arriving in Paris Gare du Nord but there was still plenty of time to cross the city on the metro to Gare Montparnasse.

The train that was awaiting me was a two-trainset one of 16 carriages, and was pretty much empty. It looks as if they were just using one trainset pulling the second one as a positioning voyage. I’d slept for much of the way between Brussels and Paris, and repeated the exercise on the train between Paris and Granville.

In fact I was asleep when the train pulled into the railway station at Granville.

The walk downhill into town was quite easy but to be on the safe side I’d bought a can of go-juice at the Carrefour in the Rue Couraye.

The climb back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs was a nightmare as you might expect and I can’t go on much longer like this. It took me about four or five stops to make it up to the top, one of which was a nice long one while I drank the drink that I’d just brought.

Back here I sat in my chair and vegetated for quite a while. It’s good to be back home, as Barry Hay once famously said.

Later on I made a coffee and without moving from my chair I watched the football on the internet. TNS v Barry Town.

With the demise of Connah’s Quay Nomads and the strengthening of TNS over the summer, TNS are pretty unstoppable and this is how it proved to be.

Their 3-1 victory tonight was really a foregone conclusion but Barry’s defence was appalling. Their second goal came about because the Barry keeper didn’t dive to cut out a ball doing across inside his goal area at about knee-height.

For the third goal, Declan McManus was standing in an onside position on the goal line right in the centre of goal with not a defender anywhere near him for about 15 seconds before he was presented with a simple tap-in.

Round about 23:00 I finally summoned up the energy to leave my chair. I’ve had no tea tonight because I was too tired to make it and I’m just going to dash off a few notes before I go to bed. I’ll add the photos into the notes in due course when I’m feeling better.

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

repairing city walls rue du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out for a walk with Liz at lunchtime on our way back from a coffee we came via the rue du nord, one of the reasons for which being that I wanted to see how they are progressing with the repair work to the medieval city walls.

Much to my surprise, they have already made a decent start to the work and I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen A SIMILAR STYLE OF WORK in the past when they were repairing the walls in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

When they did that work they did what looks like a decent job so I hope that they’ll bet on and do the same here.

And then hopefully they can get on and do the rest of the walls that are falling down around our ears. If medival builders can build something that will last for 600 years there’s no reason why modern builders shouldn’t be able to do so.

But anyway, be that as it may, I was awake at about 06:00 this morning as usual so I had my medication and came back in here listen to the dictaphone. We were all at home but home was dirty, disgusting and untidy and a complete mess. For some reason, at a court my mother’s family life as a young person was being discussed. Then some time later or was it earlier, I dunno, we ended up with anoher girl staying with us and we were trying to think of a place to go. But then this girl started talking about going to somewhere on the North Wales coast where she had been. She asked if we had ever been there and we replied “ohh no, we had far too much class. We went to Rhyl” which provoked howls of laughter but this gave us an idea and we booked a trip to Rhyl. When we arrived on the coach we all piled off and this girl “ohh yes I know all of this, I know all of that” so we were having a laugh and a joke and teasing her. Our mother was telling us to be quiet, we mustn’t be so rude. Then something happened to my mother and she ended up talking about other people behind their backs and we were sitting there saying “mother, don’t be so rude” which of course didn’t go down very well. We crossed the road over to the river.

At that point I’d switched off the dictaphone, which makes a change from the way that things have been just recently.

When I’d finished transcribing the notes I finished off the tidying up of the apartment as far as I could and it actually looks quite tidy, which is just as well, because Liz turned up.

We started off making the first dough for my fruit bread and she gave me several valuable hints for the first kneading, and then we put it into a basin to proof while we had a nice cold drink.

After the drink I mixed the fruit for the filling but Liz thinks that I’m putting too much fruit and nuts in it – and she would leave out the banana too. As for the banana chips she thinks that I should be breaking them up.

Liz showed me her method of adding the fruit and nuts, which might have worked had I not been using so many.

That was the cue to go for a coffee so we walked down to La Rafale, bumping into one of our neighbours on the way. And also meeting another one at the bar.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we came via the Rue du Nord and I’m pleased to report that the absence of boats out to sea over the last couple of days must have been an aberration because they were all there today.

As many yachts as you might care to see this afternoon and I suspect that it might have something to do with the state of the tide. The tide is well in, the outer port is under water and the gates to the harbour and the port de plaisance are open.

It will be a completely different situation, I suspect, when the tide is ebbing and the gates are about to close. Then all of the marine craft will scuttle off home to safety.

Incidentally, there’s a dark blue flag right out there in the distance. I wonder if that’s Black Mamba gone off for a run around in the bay.

swimmer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just water craft that were out there this lunchtime.

There was a swimmer down there doing the Australian crawl along the coastline just offshore. In a wetsuit too, and I can’t say that I blame him either because although it was sunny, it wasn’t actually all that pleasant.

Now comes the story of a disaster. Liz hadn’t asked me how I baked my bread and I hadn’t thought to tell her, so when I produced the bread mould back home she was taken by surprise.

The bread fell apart as we tried to move it gently into the mould so that didn’t work too well. Anyway we put it in the oven to bake while we had lunch.

After lunch, our next trick was to make a pineapple upside-down cake. I don’t know why but I’ve been hankering after one of these for a while and Liz had a recipe. Well, of an apple upside-down cake but the theory is still the same so we had a go at that.

That went into the oven and while it was baking, Liz still had some time to spare. A while back she had sent me a recipe for cranberry and pecan cookies and as I actually had some cranberries (but cashew nuts instead) we made a pile of those too. They went into the oven as soon as the upside-down cake was baked, and we went for a walk outside.

50sa aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe hadn’t gone more than five yards out of the building before two things happened.

Firstly, we were overflown by a light aeroplane. Well, not exactly overflown – it was in fact right out at sea and it was difficult to pick it up with the camera.

Some judicious editing when I was back home later showed it to be 50SA – another light aircraft that does not figure in any register that I have been unable to find, even though we’ve seen it before. It’s painted out in the style of a World-War II US Army Air Force fighter although its fixed tricycle undercarriage tells me that it is anything but.

The second thing that happened was that we were swept away in the turmoil of a furniture removal. Someone else is moving out of the building. There won’t be anyone else left except me at this rate, and I won’t be here for all that long at the rate that bits are dropping off me.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo walk outside the building these days is complete, or even begins, without a walk across to the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see the activity down there.

By now the tide has gone well out and there’s plenty of room for people to be moving around this afternoon. Not that there were too many people though because while the weather had improved, it hadn’t improved that much.

nd while I was admiring the people in the water, Liz’s eye had picked out a father rubbing his young children with sun tan oil so that they could all run into the sea and wash it off.

Yes, I used to be a child too, believe it or not.

marité english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been watching the beach with one eye, the other one had as usual been roving out to sea.

Out there was a silhouette on the horizon that looked quite familiar to me so we headed for the nearest high ground where I could have a better view.

Once safely installed I took a photo and later on after Liz had left, I had a look at it, cropped it, enhanced it and blew it up (the photo, not the object)

No prizes of course for guessing what it might be, because we are all familiar with this silhouette right now.

Anything that’s big, with three masts and loads of sail can only be the Marité, our sole remaining Newfoundlander fishing boat, gone out on the morning tide for a lap around the coast and will probably return home this later on the evening tide.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz had also spotted this and wanted to know what it was. I explained that it was probably asylum-seekers who had gone to the UK, decided that they didn’t like it and came back.

Seriously though, I thought that it might have been fishermen at first, which it may well be, but of what description?

And I wonder if they had anything to do with the strange square object bottom left? It doesn’t look like a mooring buoy marker or a lobster pot marker, so I wonder if it’s a diver in a face mask?

Mind you, what would be be diving for that he couldn’t find quicker and easier in an hour or so when the tide has gome out and the sea bed is uncovered?

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the swimming pool on the quayside and I intimated that this would mean that Normandy Trader would be on her way into port quite soon.

And look who’s in port this afternoon then? I wasn’t wrong. And I was very lucky to see her because usually she comes in as soon as the harbour gates open and she does a quick turn-round and disappears back to Jersey with her load before they close again.

And so I’ve no idea why she’s loitering in port this afternoon. I suppose that these swimming pools have to be stowed very carefully because they are quite fragile, especially when they have a rolling sea to contend with.

Tons of other stuff on the quayside too and they’ll be lucky to fit all of that in. They can’t exactly drop it inside the swimming pool.

fishing boat in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime, while you are admiring Normandy Trader, there’s another item worthy of note.

Here moored up at the quayside by the fish processing plant is another one of the local fishing boats, left to go aground as the tide goes out.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve discussed this phenomenon on many … “many, many” – ed … occasions in the past so I shan’t dwell on it again. Instead, Liz and I will go home and see how the biscuits are doing.

And cooked to perfection they were too, so we had another cold drink to celebrate, and rightly so because when you are out of the wind it’s really quite warm in the sun.

After another chat, Liz decided to head off for home and make tea for Terry who had been out working.

That was a shame because I had a few things that I wanted to discuss, but they were things of the moment and it’s doubtful that the moment will ever present itself in the same way again.

home made fruit bread oat and cranberry cookies pineapple upside down cake Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving seen Liz safely off on her way, I had a look at all of our cooking efforts for today.

As I mentioned earlier, the fruit load was not as it was supposed to be. The consistency and texture were perfect – the best that I’ve ever tasted and that was certainly a success. But picking it up and putting it into the bread mould halfway through its second proofing was not a success as you can see.

We’d already sampled the cookies and I do have to say that they were pretty good too. That was certainly a success and instead of cranberries and pecans, almost any kind of dried fruit and nut will do.

It’s like most things, when you are baking, you have your basic recipe and you adjust it as you go along, depending on what you have to hand.

When I worked in that Italian restaurant in Wandsworth, the woman who owned it told me that whenever she interviewed a new chef she would always have him make a tomato sauce. If that were good, then everything else would be.

Incidentally, my tomato sauce passed muster, but then Nerina was full of fiery Italian blood so what do you expect? I had a good teacher.

Back in my little office I sat down on my comfy chair and found that I couldn’t move. Not actually stuck in it, but I lacked the energy to pull myself out of it. I started to do some work but I couldn’t concentrate on it and that was the most difficult part.

Eventually a football match came on the internet. Connah’s Quay Nomads were playing FC Pristina in the European Championships. Having lost 4-1 in Kosovo last week they were up against it but it all started so well for them and within 3 minutes they had pulled a goal back.

They were pushing forward and forward incessantly and could have had several more but in the space of five minutes were hit for two soft, sucker goals, the kind that would kill off any team.

Nevertheless, Andy Morrison isn’t one to throw in the towel. He pulled off a defender at half time and sent on an attacker and then it was a relentless stream down the field towards the Pristina goal.

To everyone’s surprise, they managed to score three goals as they created all kinds of panic in the Kosovar defence, and had Mike Wilde not been offside in the 70th minute or had Jamie Insall had a clearer connection on the ball in stoppage time, who knows where they would be now?

But this is the problem with so many Welsh clubs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. They are up against teams that are much more street-wise and astute than they are, with several internationals from all over the developing world in their teams, and while domestic Welsh teams can turn on a performance like this, little lapses of concentration and stupid, silly mistakes are ruthlessly punished and rob them of just about everything.

Meanwhile, in the other match that wasn’t broadcast, events went on to prove just how wrong I can be. Having stuffed no fewer than 5 goals past FK Kauno Zalgiris of Lithuania last week, TNS went out and did exactly the same again tonight, to record the biggest ever aggregate win by a Welsh domestic side in any European competition anywhere. Teams with a long history in European competition, like Dinamo Tbilsi, Austria Wien and AA Gent were knocked out of the tournament last night.

It was 01:00 when I finally found the energy to go off to bed. And with getting up at 06:00 and going to the doctor’s tomorrow, I’m not looking forward to that at all.

Saturday 15th May 2021 – WE’VE HAD A

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… one of these aerial days today – a day when just about everything in the air flew past me today.

It wasn’t possible for me to count all the ones that went past today because I ran out of fingers. Several of them flew past out of range so I couldn’t photograph them but I did photograph those that I could, like this one here.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to identify it because I couldn’t see its serial number anywhere and it’s not a model that I recognise anywhere. It looks like a pretty lightweight machine so it’s quite possibly one of these kit-built aircraft that care classed as microlights.

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is another one that I didn’t recoognise, but that’s for a completely different reason.

As it flew past overhead, it didn’t present to me a surface that carried the registration number. That will be underneath the port wing of course and it wasn’t going that way round. But whatever it is, it’s not one of the aircraft that regularly flies out of the airport here that we see quite regularly.

There was nothing shown on the flight radar for these aircraft of course. It’s unlikely that they file flight plans and they probably don’t fly high enough to be picked up on the radar anywhere.

powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just aeroplanes that went flying past overhead either.

As I walked out of the building here to go for my afternoon walk I was overflown by one of these powered hang glider things. That wasn’t shown on my radar set either and that’s no surprise. It’s the kind of thing that struggles to lift itself over my building, especially as it’s carrying two people therein.

As this went past overhead I was thinking that all I needed now was to see Godzilla going past and then I’d have the full set. Either that or the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many aircraft on one particular day.

This morning I hauled myself out of bed fairly early, just after the first alarm, despite my rather late night.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was really surprised to find that I’d been anywhere because it had been a bad night with several raging attacks of cramp that didn’t ease off even when I went for a walk around.

This was the worst series of attacks that I’d had and they were horrible. Painful and horrible.

aeroplane 55-OJ place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut returning to our moutons as they say around here, while you admire aeroplane 55-OJ, I was somewhere on the outskirts of London last night, living by the side of this big main road that was a 2×2 lane with the carriageway nearest me higher than the other. Crossing over there was quite difficult because it was so busy. One night I’d finished my tea and I had the remains on the plate so I thought that I would take then to the dustbin. I had to walk along the pavement, across the road on a zebra crossing, down a set of steps and across the other road. Luckily there was no traffic and I reached the dustbins to put my stuff away. I’d been counting my steps – so many steps across the road, so many steps across the central reservation and so on. There was a lot of traffic waiting at a junction on the other side of the by-pass and I had to walk my way round. I thought that I recognised one of them. It turned out to be a black boy from the City of London on a bicycle who had been wanted by the police for a murder but released. At that moment a police car pulled up and someone started to talk to the policeman saying something like “it’s happened again but I definitely saw something white which was either something white once 100 times or something white twice 50 times”. I immediately thought of this boy. What had he been up to?

After that I went for a good hot shower which made me feel so much better, and then I stripped the bed and changed the bedding, the first time since I can’t remember when. The bedding, my fleece jacket and a few other bits and pieces went into the washing machine and I set it off on its cycle again.

Meanwhile Caliburn and I went to the shops. At NOZ I found a guide book on Iceland, which will come in handy when I write up my notes and if I ever return to the island. There were also some frozen vegan veggie balls, so I bought three packets of those.

LeClerc’s was an expensive shop this morning, even if I did forget the coffee. They had vegan burgers on special offer, and also some special vegan burgers made of sweet potatoes, a new variety with an introductory offer and I wouldn’t want to miss those. I’m building up rather a large supply of burgers now, more than I can probably tackle so I need to start to make my way into that supply some time soon.

Back here I put the veggie balls in the freezer along with the falafel, the other vegan veggie balls, the vegan sausage rolls and whatever else I have picked up in NOZ over the last while. The freezer is now bursting at the seams.

Having done that I made myself some hot chocolate. And despite now having some more cocoa powder I made it with real chocolate. I even bought a pack of 5 slabs of pure chocolate so that I can do this again for the next while.

And then back in here I sat down and promptly crashed out.

The football had already started when I awoke so I watched the rest of the game. TNS v Bala Town and even though TNS went down to 10 me, with a defender rather harshly sent off, they were always too good for Bala Town.

They won rather comfortably 2-0 but it didn’t do them very much good because Connah’s Quay Nomads beat Penybont and that meant that the Nomads were crowned champions for this season. The 4-1 victory that the Nomads had over TNS a couple of weeks ago proved to be so decisive.

Despite their championship win, the Nomads are rather short on consistency and rather short of strength in depth. If they intend to make progress in European competition and retain their championship, they need to recruit half a dozen good players this close season and move on a few of the fringe players who haven’t contributed enough to the team whenever they have come on to play.

It’s the same with Bala Town. They have a good, solid side but apart from Chris Venables and Henry Jones, they don’t have any players capable of pushing the club up to the next level. And the rest of the League are just also-rans with just the odd star dotted about here and there.

But one thing is quite interesting, and it just goes to show how much the Welsh Premier League has progressed over the last few years is that when an ex-Football League came to play with a Welsh Premier League club it made headline news that reverberated around the pyramid for months.

These days there are ex-Football League players in every club, several players who play International football for their country and a couple of players who were in Wales’ successful Euro 2016 squad. And things can only get better when we see the money that these clubs earn by being successful in Europe.

All of that took me up to the time to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to go down to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon. So dodging the powered hang-glider and other aircraft, I headed in that direction.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon, which was only to be expected seeing as the holiday season is well under way. The town was heaving with people this morning as I drove out to the supermarket so it was no surprise to see the beach so packed.

We’re at the period of lowest tide too so I imagine that many of them down there are scavenging for seafood. And I hope that they will share their catch with their friends because you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

aeroplane 35-MA place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I posted a photo of an unidentified aeroplane that flew overhead while I was walking across the car park.

As I walked back, I was overflown again by an aeroplane that was pretty much identical to one of the unidentified ones. And this time I could see the registration quite clearly on the port wing.

Not that it did me any good because the number on the wing is 35-MA and that is not a number that I can find in the series of registration numbers that I have. And so I’m not able to tell you anything about it, unfortunately. There’s certainly no flight plan or trace of it on the flight radar.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it off the car park and off down the path because I was detained by this absolutely gorgeous machine parked here.

It’s been a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages and to break our barren spell with a vehicle as rare or extraordinary as this is quite exceptional. In case you don’t know what it it, it’s basically a Citroen DS or ID, with the model designation “SM”.

The “S” of course stands for “Sport” but the “M” stands for “Maserati” because the earlier models of the series were powered by the same engine that was in the Maserati Merak and the later ones were powered by the engine out of the Maserati Biturbo.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe model was made between 1970 and 1975, but only about 13,000 models were made.

In 1974 there were just 294 examples sold and in 1975 a mere 115 so with the rationalisation of the French motor industry in the mid-70s, the poor sales resulted in the model being discontinued. What did for the model was the fact that the tax band in which the vehicle fell was so high that few people could afford to run them.

Nevertheless, if I had to choose a French vehicle of this era to keep as my own, there wouldn’t be any question about it. I would have one of these in a heartbeat. One of these would rival the Maserati Quattroporte in my list of top-10 vehicles.

citroen u23 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something else of interest parked up here at the end of the car park.

We’ve seen this vehicle before a few months ago. It’s a Citroen U23 lorry, a type of lorry that was launched in 1936 and was seen everywhere all over France. There are even A FEW EARLY ONES KNOCKING ABOUT ON THE ROADS today. They were also very popular with the French Army in World War II and quite a few were incorporated into the German army after the fall of France.

The earlier models looked very much like a Citroen Traction Avant but the bodywork evolved over the next 30 or so years before the model was abandoned in 1964. This is one of the last redesign of the model, undertaken in the late 1950s.

On that note I finally set off along the path above the cliffs, amongst the madding crowds wearing facemasks to a greater or lesser extent. There was nothing out to sea but as I approached the lighthouse a storm rolled in quite quickly and it began to rain. And so I didn’t wish to hang around for very long outside.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland in the rain I looked down on the chantier navale from the viewpoint overlooking the port.

It looks quite strange right now with nothing in there up on blocks down there. It’s not very often that we can see the place looking quite like this without any boats of any description in there. It’s restricted by the fact that the portable boat lift only has a rating of about 95 tonnes, and so that rules out some of the boats that are based in the harbour.

There’s a dry dock here, the Cale de Radoub, in which larger boats could be placed and where they could be repaired but even though that was declared an Ancient Monument in 2008, it’s been out of use since 1978 and will cost several millions to put into working order so that it could be used again.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the boats that requites an annual inspection is Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat that’s based here and which takes passengers out every now and again.

She had to sail to Lorient for her annual overhaul a few days ago as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. She must have come back on the tide last night. I was lucky enough to catch her coming home last year but I missed her this year.

Back here I made myself a mug of hot coffee and sat down to make a start on doing some work. But instead, I crashed out yet again. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and I’m becoming rather fed up of all of this. I could understand it if I’d done any heavy exercise but even a walk around the block these days is finishing me off.

After I came round and recovered my equilibrium, I spent an hour or so playing the bass. I have to learn the songs on this song list and there’s no time like the present. I ned to exert myself one way or another.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce, which is just as delicious as it was when I made it. And chatting to a few people on the internet later, I posted them my recipe so that they can make it.

Now I’m off to bed, a lot later than usual but it doesn’t matter all that much because I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. And as long as it’s not 13:30 like it was last Saturday, I won’t mind too much.

Saturday 1st May 2021 – GRRRRRR!

This morning Caliburn and I nipped out to the shops as is usual on a Saturday morning, only to find that they were all closed.

Of course it’s a Bank Holiday here today, but I’m not used to the idea of shops being closed on days like this. And had I known, I could have had a nice long lie-in and you’ve no idea how dismayed I am about that.

Instead, something strange happened this morning. I was away on a voyage and suddenly I awoke, sat bolt upright and got out of bed in something of a panic as if I was hours late. Looking at my watch, it showed 05:59 – one minute before the alarm was due to go off.

So what happened there then, I have no idea at all. It was all extremely weird.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was up to my eyes in some kind of project that involved cowboys and indians. There was work everywhere that I was trying to do. I had a pencil but it was so blunt that it wasn’t writing and every time that I went to sharpen it I just broke the lead off it again. I wasn’t making very much progress. While I was there a girl came up and said that she had finished what she was doing and was planning on starting the next step. That was something that I particularly wanted to do myself and I’d organised someone else to help me but she was there ready so I basically told her to make a start on it and gave her my notes. She asked how much I would pay her, to which of course I made some kind of ribald comment and decided that I’d go back to my desk and sort out this information, get another pencil, try sharpening that and see if it will sharpen any better that I could use to write what I’m doing while I’m doing now.

Later on, I don’t remember very much about this but I’d captured a large German battleship like the Scharnhorst and I had it in a dry dock behind me. Some girl in whom I had some kind of interest came up to talk to me and totally failed to notice this battleship behind me which I found really surprising and I had to draw her attention to it. And this was when I suddenly awoke.

Once I’d finished the dictaphone I did some more work on the photos from August 2019. I’ve now moved on from my lunch stop ON COTTONWOOD CREEK and I’m on my way to one of the most exciting and important sites on the whole Oregon And California Trail

A little later I went for a good shower and a change of clothes and then went out for my abortive attempt at shopping. And with no bread in the house right now, I bought a baguette from a boulangerie on the way home.

The rest of the day back here I’ve spent a good deal of time scrolling through the 1911 census that has been put on line for free this weekend, trying to find some traces of my family.

That’s not easy because apart from the fact that some of my family was in Canada at this time, my family was somewhat disjointed. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was widowed from her first husband, married a second time, was in a hospital for 25 years after the birth of my aunt which meant that my mother and her sister were fostered out in various families before going to live with an aunt and uncle in Somerset.

And that’s just my mother’s side. On my father’s side it’s even more complicated than that.

That took up most of the rest of the day, what with having yet another hour crashed out on the chair. That was disappointing too because for the first time since I’ve been back from Leuven I was remarkably sprightly this morning and I thought that I was in for a really good day for a change.

There was the usual break for lunch of course, and the walk around the headland this afternoon too.

buoys people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs seems to be becoming quite a habit these days, the first thing that I did once I was outside was to go to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on today.

Surprisingly there wee very few people down there on the beach this afternoon. There was one person in my field of view down there, but he seemed to be very interested in what look like buoys down there at the water’s edge. There’s a blue one close by the person and a white one a little further out but I can’t see what they are attached to.

But apart from him – or her – that was that really. And that was a surprise. It was quite a nice afternoon, with the wind having dropped and for the first time since I don’t know when, I wasn’t freezing either.

yachts donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there at the end of the car park I had a look out to sea to see what was goign on.

And I noticed that the yachting school at Bréhal sur Mer was out there this afternoon. Not too many of their boats but they are having a good sail around in the nice weather and I wish that I was with them.

Instead I set off on my trudge around the headland. Not quite the weary trudge of the last couple of days but I’m still not back to my sprightly self. It’s really hard to imagine that it was less than a year ago that I was running all the way round my circuit.

Not that I would be running today either because although there were very few people on the beach, there were crowds of people walking around the footpath and I wouldn’t want to show myself up.

people standing on rock pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I had a good look around to see whether we had any fishermen out there on the rocks today.

No fishermen today, but there were several people out there just standing about and chatting, including this group of three young people standing on a rock down there having a good chat. In fact, there were quite a few people around there on the lower path this afternoon going the long way round.

While I was there I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats in the bay but I couldn’t see any at all. But that’s not to say that there weren’t any. I can’t see all of the bay from here.

aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there are many more boats anchored in there than there have been over the past couple of weeks.

I’m not quite sure if this is telling us that the dredging work is over now or whether it’s just a weekend thing and they’ll all be gone by Monday to give the digger driver the opportunity to carry on with his work throughout the next week.

Meanwhile, in the chantier navale things are as they were yesterday. the little fishing boat is still there and so is Aztec Lady. But no-one else has come to join them as yet.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on there was ample evidence that the digging work in the harbour hasn’t finished.

If the digging were over they would have taken away the digger that’s been doing it but the fact that it’s still here would indicate that they will be carrying in next week.

But I carried on home to have a coffee and try to do some more work on this flaming census.

At 18:00 I knocked off as there was football. This social media blackout this weekend meant that I couldn’t access my usual source of entertainment. Instead I had to set un an account with the broadcast subcontractor so that I could access it from their website. And surprisingly, it was a much more stable platform.

Last Saturday we saw Connah’s Quay Nomads turn on the aerial performance to devastate TNS. Today in the return match TNS came out with three centre-backs and flooded their penalty area with defenders.

As a result we were treated to a dreadful match with aimless hopeful passes upfield going astray. TNS were a much more skilful and technical side as anyone would guess, but that counted for nothing as their attack was completely snuffed out by the Nomads defence and presented no threat whatsoever.

This was one of those matches that is best forgotten.

Then it was tea time. Rice and a curry out of a tin, followed by apple crumble and my home-made custard. Cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence. While it would be wrong to say that it was real custard, it was certainly acceptable.

Anyway now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted but I’ll be having a nice lazy day tomorrow I hope. So I hope that no-one spoils it.

Tuesday 27th April 2021 – IT’S THAT TIME …

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of the year again.

And it’s going to take much more than a global pandemic to stop the hordes of Frenchmen and women (and even children) from the local area and many kilometres around from swarming onto the beaches with their various tools and implements.

Yes, it’s the lowest tide of the season and the time when the public areas of the beach below the leased concessions are uncovered and the general public has the right to go harvesting down there.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the low tide several weeks ago they had made a start on laying some kind of pipeline from the harbour out towards the sea, for a reason that totally defeats me.

But anyway they are back out there again extending it even further out towards the sea. And if you look closely you’ll see that it’s propped up on some concrete blocks, blocks pretty similar to those that they were manipulating in the outer harbour a week or two ago.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, the one big problem that I have … “only one?” – ed … is that if I happen to go to bed early, I have a tendency to wake up early too.

Usually that’s no bad thing, especially if I forget to set the alarm, but if I have set the alarm but wake up at … errr .. 04:10 then it is. And so lying there tossing and turning and wishing that I can go back to sleep is a bit of a shame, wsting all that resting time. It’s not as if I have too much of that.

Of course, there is usually always a point at which I do manage to go back to sleep and it’s usually always about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. And this morning was no exception.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was round at my father’s in this old flat that he had, Peggy Tyrell’s flat. he had this big old smelly dog there. I was apparently going to be staying the night looking after his place for him but I wasn’t all that happy about having that dog. I don’t do dogs. I had things to do and I certainly wasn’t take it for a walk in the morning and clean up all its mess. This led to a bit of an awkward time because I didn’t want to tell him this outright. He was getting this dog ready, cleaning it up, everything then in the end he shipped it off on a train to Stoke on Trent. I had to go off somewhere near Knutsford way to hire an inflatable dinghy. We’d been to see them the day before about it so I went back the next morning. Everyone was busy to I started to take this dinghy down. Someone came over and asked me what I was doing so I told him that I was hiring the dinghy. In the end they dismantled the apparatus for me to take this dinghy and they stuck it in the back of Caliburn for me. Then they were talking to me about “we’ll just get you a mat to go inside it, we’ll just get you this and just get you that”. This was taking absolutely ages to prepare. I asked “what am I going to do if I’m back late?” I couldn’t see me doing what I needed to do in the time that they were going to be open on a Sunday. He replied “that’s OK because someone’s on a run down to London so they aren’t going to be back until late so we’re still going to be here for them”. I still wasn’t convinced. In the end they agreed that I should just leave it roughly where I found it, by the metal skip. They had it in the back of Caliburn and it made the back doors of Caliburn bulge a little. And I noticed that there was a huge gash down the side of Caliburn and the gash had even gone through the metal. That part of Caliburn’s body was bowing out alarmingly. I thought “this doesn’t look right at all here”.

One thing that I wanted to do this morning was to have a shower and change my clothes. Even I was starting to notice it now.

The rest of the morning was spent revising my Welsh, attending my Welsh class, talking to a neighbour about his missing thermometer and then vacuuming the living room and kitchen floor because that was another thing that was getting on my nerves too.

After lunch, which was much later than usual, I posted a couple of photos of old lorries to an Abandoned Lorries page on the internet. It’s amazing the stuff that I was unearthing while I was in the depths of darkest Wyoming in August 2019 and there are always people who are interested in it.

That took me up to walkies-time

peche à pied people on beach buoy rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wal to see who was out and about on the beach this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was probably expecting to see half of the town out there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure why anyone would be out there at the water’s edge with a couple of very large dogs though.

The weather was a little warmer today and the wind had dropped slightly and I suppose that that encouraged the crowds to come out and try their luck on the beach.

and have you noticed the yellow buoy bobbing about just offshore.

f-gorn Robin DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on the beach either. We had a little bit of air traffic too flying past overhead.

This aeroplane is our old friend F-GORN. She’s a Robin DR 400-120 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. We’ve seen her out and about a couple of times just recently doing a few laps around the block and today was another one of these local trips.

She’d taken off from the local airport at Donville les Bains and apparently flown north because she was picked up on the radar near Lessay at 15:23. She did a circuit around and back, landing again at the airport at 15:52. So not exactly what I would call an interesting adventure.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour was looking quite interesting today – or, at least, it would have done had it not been for all of the haze that was about today.

This is a view that I always like, the light out there in between the two trees at the edge of the car park. It’s the first thing that I see as I walk around the remains of the large bunker at the back of the lighthouse and onto the path that leads down to the car park.

And the crowds of people that you can see congregating around the light down there scratching away at the rocks tell their own story.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this vantage point, I can also see the rear of the roof of the College Malraux that is opposite my building in the Place d’Armes.

That reroofing job has been on the go now for a considerable length of time and they are slowly moving closer to the end of the job. A couple of days before I went away I took a photo of the roof of the building and took this one today to compare the two and see how far they progressed over that period.

You can see the results of the difference FOR YOURSELF. That photo was taken just two weeks ago.

It’s not exactly a rapid rate of progress.

digging out harbour entrance port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, around the path on top of the cliffs I headed towards the port to see how things were developing around there with the work that was being undertaken at the entrance to the outer harbour.

Now that they have made some advancement with their little task I can see more clearly what it is that they are doing. There’s some kind of sandbank or embankment that’s built up by the red or port light, presumably due to tidal scouring elsewhere that’s building up over in that corner.

And what they are doing is digging it out and depositing it elsewhere where the tidal current will carry the silt out to sea.

We can see the end of the pipe too, and the concrete blocks upon which they are laying it. It’s going to be interesting to see how far it goes out to sea, and also to seee ho long it withstands the rigours of the forces of nature out there.

anakena aztec lady fishing boats chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the cliffs I can also see down into the chantier navale just here, and I notice that we have yet another change of occupier in there today.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, as they have been for quite some time, and the two fishing boats that arrived in there yesterday morning. But there’s another fishing boat that has appeared in there this morning. That’s the little fishing boat, the blue and white one, that’s in the middle of the other two.

And have you noticed all of the cars parked on top of the harbour wall? It seems that the pecheurs à pied don’t have the energy to walk to the car park just down the road.

draining inner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the reason why Marité cleared off so smartish-like yesterday (she’s actually now in Lorient, presumably having her annual check-up) and why the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo are no longer there.

Someone has forgotten to close the harbour gates after the tide has started to go out and the inner harbour is now drained of all of its water.

That’s probably indicative of the fact that they are doing some work in there as well and once more, I’m bewildered why they didn’t wait until now to install the new pontoons. It would have taken them a quarter of the time and a quarter of the money to have installed them with the harbour drained of water.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be keeping an eye on this too to see what happens.

Back here I had a coffee, not as strong as I would like it because I can’t find my spare coffee, and then I came in here to carry on with the photos from Wyoming. I’m now in the middle of the Midwest Oilfield, centre of the Teapot Dome scandal in the early 1920s and I can see the teapot from where I’m standing right now.

And as it happened I might have gone way beyond it too except that there were a couple of interruptions. I fell asleep while I was doing it, which was one reason, and the second reason was that the bank phoned me. We’ve arranged to have a little chat in mid-May when (or if) the curfew is lifted.

The hour spend on the guitar was much better than yesterday and then I went for a quick tea, as there was football on the internet.

After their debacle on Saturday a very much-changed TNS side took the field against Caernarfon Town in a match that not only would they be expected to win at a canter, they would need to win as well to restore their credibility.

And what we were treated to was a defensive masterclass that made a total fool of Caernarfon’s depressing negative-goal difference because although the match was played for 99% on the time on the edge of Caernarfon’s penalty area, TNS couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Well, they did once, but it was ruled out (and rightly so) for a foul and they missed yet another penalty too. And one thing that TNS won’t be bragging about is that Caernarfon ended up with just 9 players on the field by the end of the game.

It was probably the most magnificent defensive performance that I’ve ever seen from anyone and Lewis Brass, who has been out of the game for 6 months but was called into the team due to a long-term injury to Josh Tibbets had a tremendous match in the Caernarfon goal.

TNS have hit a run of poor form just at the wrong time, exactly as they did last season. There’s the return match against Connah’s Quay on Saturday evening and I reckon that the championship of the Welsh Premier League is riding on that game.

So on that night I’m off to bed, later than I intended. But it can’t be helped. Football always comes first.

Saturday 24th April 2021 – THERE ARE MANY …

… things in this life that I don’t understand. And the older that I become, the more I realise that the less and less I actually do understand.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I was going through a phase of not being able to haul myself out of bed at any price regardless of however many alarms that I set and how loud and for how long I set them.

On Thursday I switched off the alarms so that I could have a lie-in and then on Thursday night before going to bed, I switched them back on.

The chattering birds outside my window, helped by the rattling fridge downstairs, awoke me at about 05:20. And not being able to go back to sleep, I lay awake waiting for the 06:00 alarm.

When I checked the time again, it was actually 06:10 and the alarms hadn’t gone off. It seems that last night I’d set them for 08:00 in error. And had I not been awake and instead slept right through to when the alarms would have actually gone off, I’d have missed my train home.

So what would have been the odds on that in similar circumstances a couple of weeks ago?

And this is what I just don’t understand – that I can actually do it when I have to so why can’t I do it when I don’t have to?

But anyway, there I was, up and about on time so I tidied everything up, made my sandwiches, packed up and headed off for the railway station.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric HallHere’s something that is extremely interesting.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that not long after I came to live in Leuven in 2016 they closed off the Martelarenplein outside the railway station in order to completely refurbish it. And since then, it’s been all fenced off and the fences covered with tarpaulins so it’s impossible to see through it.

This morning though, some of the tarpaulin covering has been taken away and it’s now actually possible to see what they have been doing for all of this time.

And to be quite honest, it really doesn’t look all that different than it did before, although I do have to say that judging by how the place appears right now, there is still a great deal of work to be done. Another project around the town that has gone on far longer than it ought to have done.

So on the station, I didn’t have to wait too long for my train to come in.

automotrice am96 multiple unit 543 gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallThe train that I’m catching this morning is the 08:19 to the Belgian coast, calling at the Airport, and then the city centre before it clears off coastwards.

Just for a change, it’s not one of the depressing and dirty AM80 units but a much more modern AM96, the type with the rubber bellows and the swivelling drivers’ cabs. Bang on time it was when it pulled in and it pulled out on time too.

When we arrived in Brussels I still had 90 minutes to wait before my train came in so I went and sat in the main concourse for a while.

Once I’d worked out where my train would be arriving (there’s only a choice of 2 platforms for the Thalys and the train to Amsterdam pulled into one of them) I went up there to wait.

A few minutes later I was joined by a young lady. “This platform is quite big and lonely and there aren’t many people about” she said. “Would you mind if I waited near you? I’d feel safer”? She clearly didn’t know me very well.

Thalys PBKA 4331 gare de brussels midi railway station belgium  Eric HallSoon enough, a train pulled into the station at my platform.

It’s one of the PBKA (Paris – Brussels – Cologne – Amsterdam) units, number 4331, a nice clean and shiny one just out of the carriage wash. But it only had 8 carriages, numbered 1-8 which didn’t really suit me because I had a seat in carriage number 18.

My lady-friend had a seat in carriage 8 so she cleared off to board the train and take her seat. I had a few enquiries to make, such as to go and find an arrivals board to find out what trains were due to arrive in the very near future. That should tell me everything that I need to know.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4536 coupling up to Thalys PBKA 4331 gare de brussels midi railway station belgium Eric HallAnd I was quite right too. 5 minutes before my train was due to depart, a TGV was coming into the station from Amsterdam. And sure enough it pulled up at this platform and I had the pleasure of watching them couple up two trainsets together.

This one is one of the PBA (Paris – Brussels – Amsterdam) Reseau 38000 tri-volt trainsets, number 4536, and once it was all coupled up I could take my seat in carriage 18. It was really busy too which is no surprise seeing as it’s the only train to Paris this morning and I’m not sure whether there will be one in the afternoon either.

We set out bang on time and arrived bang on time in Paris too, and there the passengers had to run the gauntlet of a police barrage, checking papers.

Although I don’t have a valid Covid test result, I’ve been out of the country for less than 72 hours and have a Carte de Séjour to prove my address and residence status, so I didn’t have a problem. A really good plan, that, to apply for my Carte de Séjour when I did.

And I’ll tell you something else as well, and that is that the gendarmette who questioned me at the station can detain me for further questioning any time she likes. Actually, I should be being paid by the police force, judging by the number of times that I’ve had to help them with their enquiries.

The metro was quite rapid and when I arrived at Montparnasse I even managed to find a seat, which was just as well because I had a wait of about 90 minutes for my train. I could eat my butties in comfort.

82694 Bombardier B82500 84559 GEC Alstom Regiolis gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a 6-carriage train (the one on the right, not the Bombardier B82500 on the left) to Granville and it was packed.

Even worse, there were no reserved seats. But I was one of the lucky ones in that I didn’t have a neighbour so I could fall asleep and drop my laptop on the floor in comfort.

We were held up somewhere in the countryside by electrical current issues but we made up the missing minutes as we hurtled down the line towards the coast.

And when we arrived, actually a couple of minutes early, we’d somehow managed to throw out most of the passengers and there weren’t all that many of us left.

When I’d left Leuven this morning it was pretty cold but here in Granville we were having a heatwave and I had to strip off to walk home, down the steps and through the park.

citroen ami electric car parc de val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the past we’ve seen some pretty awful and horrible-looking cars but this is one that really takes the biscuit.

It’s a Citroen Ami all-electric car and I do have to say that it’s one of the most hideous that I’ve ever seen.

The climb up the Rue des Juifs was rather painful in the heat and seeing as I’m not feeling myself right now, I had to stop for a breather half-way up the hill and that’s not like me at all. And I can’t blame the shopping that I was carrying because I’ve come up the hill with much more than this.

Having put the cold stuff away I came in here to watch this evening’s football.

And this was the match of the season – TNS, top of the table, against Connah’s Quay Nomads in second place. The Nomads do have some quality but they aren’t consistent enough to do it every week, whereas TNS are like a well-oiled machine and tick over quite smoothly.

Ordinarily we might be expecting a tight game but Nomads have been known to crumble at the most inappropriate times so I don’t think that too many neutral supporters would have had their money on the Nomads.

But while you always find the odd player here and there who has a bad game, it’s very rare to find half a dozen who are having a poor performance all at the same time. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the TNS centre-half pairing of Blaine Hudson and Ryan Astles were having a nightmare match.

Despite having 60% of the ball TNS never really did much with it and Connah’s Quay simply swept them aside. Michael Wilde, a player released by TNS a few seasons ago, scored a hat-trick and Jamie Insall scored a fourth while Astles and Hudson stood around watching them.

In the end TNS had 5 strikers on the field and while they did manage to score one early in the game, they never ever looked likely to trouble the Nomads back line and when they were awarded a penalty towards the end of the game, Oliver Byrne in the Nomads goal saved it quite comfortably.

It’s been about 20 years since I’ve been watching the Welsh Premier League and I have never ever seen TNS play so badly as they did today, although a lot of the credit should go to the Nomads back 4 and Callum Morris just in front of them who stopped almost everything that TNS tried to do.

One thing that I forgot to do until later was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d started out with a former friend of mine and we were in Nantwich, Crewe Road end, going to visit some people. There were two girls there talking away and the guy was some kind of electronics guy and his house was a total tip worse than mine and there was stuff everywhere – all bits and pieces for making radios and so on. These 2 girls were young teenage girls busy talking away and at a certain moment I said to one of them “what language are you speaking? Is it Welsh”? They replied “no, it’s Slovensko”. So I asked “Slovene”? and they replied “no” so I asked “Slovak”? and they said “no” so we agreed that they were talking Czech. I was intrigued to know what they were doing while they were looking at all these bits and pieces. At the end of the road I looked out and there was an old guy on a walkframe, delivering the newspapers. It looked as if he had a paper round. I thought “it’s one way of keeping busy when you are old”. I went off into my shed, rooting around for something. There were all these old people standing around, not saying or doing anything, just standing there and it was making me feel uncomfortable. I of these 2 girls came in and she asked me for something. I couldn’t remember what it was she asked me but she saw it while I was searching through stuff so I let her have one. The other one came in and asked “where’s mine”? So I had to find one for her as well. I told her to make sure that she used it otherwise I’d be wanting it back.

Later on I was in Winsford with my father and a few other people, and Denise was there (as if that was ever likely to happen). One of my sisters was talking to Denise about operations, telling her about how she should have had a breast cancer operation a long time ago. Paul Ross rang up but my father was on the other phone so he couldn’t speak to him. Paul Ross came round and said that yesterday evening Dave Clark had died. We worked out that since Christmas we’d had 4 deaths in the immediate close circle and it was enough to make you wonder who was going to be next. Everyone looked at me but I said “as far as I’m concerned, it’s the creaky gate that hangs the longest, isn’t it”?

Anyway, now I’m off to make some sourdough mix and then I’m going to bed. No alarm in the morning and quite right too as I deserve a lie-in after my efforts today.

Saturday 17th April 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

fisherman throwing fish back into sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of this rubbish will recall that we have watched fisherman after fisherman standing on the rocks, or in boats, or on the beach, day after day after week after week and never ever catching anything at all.

And here we are today, watching a fisherman with a fish in his hand, and what is he doing except throwing it back into the sea. The first one that we’ve ever seen caught around here.

Mind you, this is a bit of a cheat. It looks as if he’s had a fishing net out on the beach while the tide has been in and while it’s on its way out, he’s gone out there to retrieve his catch. But as for why he would want to thrown one of his catch back into the sea is totally beyond me. I don’t understand this at all.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the only thing that’s been puzzling me this afternoon. We’ve had another one of these aerial afternoons today, with an endless stream of aircraft going by overhead.

Not any big stuff unfortunately – that is to say, nothing that I could see, and that is no surprise given the thick 10/10ths clouds that we’ve had today. We probably couldn’t see a thing about two or three thousand feet. Instead we’ve had a procession of all kinds of light aircraft going past me while I was on my afternoon walk.

This is just one of the machines that flew by me. It’s a helicopter of course but it’s of a type that I don’t immediately recognise with its twin outriggers at the rear. The make will probably occur to me once I’ve pressed “send” and published these notes, as this sort of thing usually does.

This morning I was up with the lark and the first alarm yet again, and then after my medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had actually been in Vienna. It was something to do with the cathedral. It was a huge place and there were all kinds of things happening to it so they had set up a team to keep watch on there. Some of the watching was discreet and some of the watching was public. There was a theatre there and a couple of people who were involved in this, at the end of the night when everyone had gone would audition acts who would act out in the theatre. There would be actors, dancers, that kind of thing and I’m often stay up at night and watch. I really couldn’t tell the difference between a good actor and a bad actor from the standard at which they were dealing because they weren’t dealing with the ordinary run-of-the-mill stuff and some of the acerbic comments that they were making about some people I didn’t understand at all because it was way over my head. But it was extremely interesting. The cathedral authorities were receiving notes or finding notes such as “what about the damage to such-and-such cathedral over 11 years that went un-noticed and they were spending all of their time examining what was happening here?” These were generally dismissed as being to work of ineffective or weak people whereas some notes they were taking far more seriously because of the style in which they had been written. This dream went on for ages and ages and there was much more to it than this. I just wish that I could remember it all.

First task this morning after the dictaphone was to deal with the photos from August 2019. And I’ve found to my dismay that I’ve made a rather serious error. While I was in North America I visited the site of Fort CF Smith in Montana and although the remains have been described as “difficult to see”, I couldn’t see them at all.

With everything that I’ve been through, I would have thought that I would have been able to discern something so I was disappointed.

But examining a few aerial and satellite photographs I’ve discovered that the Lady Who Lives In The Satellite has some how made an error of about 200 metres because while the GPS co-ordinates on the Satnav gave me one reading, the same co-ordinates typed into a satellite viewer come up with a place on the other side of the road.

And to make things even worse, from the satellite, the outline of the fort is clearer than anything similar that I have ever seen.

Ahh well. You can’t win a coconut every time. I shall just have to go back there again.

There was a break in the middle of all of this for a shower, and then later on I went for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread. No shopping today as I’m off on my travels on Wednesday at … gulp … 05:55.

There have been a few things that I needed to do this morning too. Like emptying out the mailbox, claiming a refund for my delayed train the other week before the time period runs out, and then trying to make a recalcitrant shipping company reply to a message that I’ve sent them four times now.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on with some work but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. I was away for over an hour as well and I’m not very happy about that. But at least I’ve managed to catch up with some outstanding work that I’ve been meaning to do, and that’s another task completed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a break for my afternoon walk of course and so I went out with the NIKON D500 and peered over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

This afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see very much because the weather was totally depressing. Dark, overcast and miserable. There were a few people walking around down there but not too many actually making themselves comfortable.

The members of the little group in this photograph were just about the only people standing around, although I suspect that they were more interested in the little kiddy that was running around

And of course, there was the fisherman with his net …

Nothing else was going on around here and I had the footpath on the top of the cliffs to myself

boat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was swathed in darkness today in the miserable weather.

So much so that in fact I was surprised to note that it wasn’t illuminated, especially as the tide was well out today and the rock was exposed. There was a fisherman around there too, in his rubber boat, having a go at the sea bass and being singularly unsuccessful.

There wasn’t anything else going on out there this afternoon. For a change, there were no fishing boats in the Baie de Mont St Michel either. They must be having the weekend off.

So in the absence of anything else exciting, I carried on along the path and across the main road where a Mercedes actually stopped to let me cross. Wonders will never cease.

cherie d'amour chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe yellow fishing boat was down there in the chantier navale and once again the ladder was propped up against the hull so I couldn’t see the name on it.

With nothing better to do, I went for a walk down there for a closer look and I can now tell you that she’s called Cherie d’Amour. She’s up there on her chocks and blocks, but I couldn’t actually see any signs of work that was being undertaken on her.

They aren’t very big, these fishing boats. But all they do is to go back and to to the shellfish beds and lay the odd lobster pot. And as I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they have a cover over the boat to stop the seabirds diving down to steal the catch.

aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was down there, I took the opportunity to have a look at the other more longer-term occupants of the Chantier Navale, like Aztec Lady over there.

She’s actually the longest inhabitant of the Chantier Navale and she’s been there longer than I can remember, and longer than I ever thought she would when she first arrived here all that time ago.

And despite all of the time that she’s been in here, she looks as if she has a long way to go yet. Her hull is looking rather shabby and in need of a coat of paint. I would have thought that they would have given the paintwork a good going over to freshen her up while she’s been here.

anakena chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other boat that has been in here for a good length of time is this one, Anakena.

And seen from this angle, out of the water and up on blocks, you can see that she’s a very serious piece of kit, well beyond what you’d expect to see in a port like this. The carrying capacity of the portable boat lift is 95 tonnes and I bet that she’s pretty near the maximum.

What I do know is that she’s 23 metres long and 5 metres wide and she would have been the kind of boat that I would have considered for a trip up to the far North except that she’s only single-hulled.

Nothing else of any note in the Chantier Navale so I wandered off back towards the apartment.

f-brnq Piper PA-28R-200 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHalfway home, I started to encounter the aerial flotilla that I mentioned earlier.

This particular one is a Piper PA-28R-200, serial number F-BRNQ. I’ve no idea where she had come from but she was picked up on the radar just to the west of Chartres. She then disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south-west of St Hilaire du Harcouet about 15 minutes before I saw her.

Apparently she had taken off from Lognes at the south-east of Paris at 14:47 and landed at Granville at 16:22. And at 17:18 the took off again and flew back to Lognes. She spends a lot of time at Lognes, so it seems, so it’s a fair bet that Lognes is her home airfield.

light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw the helicopter earlier on. That was the next thing to fly past, but then it was followed by this machine.

This is a type of machine that I’ve seen before. I recognise the shape, but it’s another thing to which I cannot put a name. It’s something else that I’ll probably discover quite soon after I’ve posted this on-line.

But I really don’t understand why it is that there would be so many aircraft, one after the other, flying past over my head this afternoon as I was walking home for my hot coffee. It did make me wonder what I’d be encountering next before I reached my own front door.

modern morgan v twin rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it goes without saying that after all of this I was going to encounter something unusual before my journey finished.

This machine roared past me as I crossed over the Rue des Juifs and at first glance I thought that it might have been the Holy Grail of road vehicles – a V-twin three-wheeler Morgan. That’s probably what it might be, although it’s not what I was hoping for. A lose look at the engine and the front of the chassis shows that it’s a modern reproduction.

What I was hoping to see was a 3-wheeler Morgan from the 1920s and 30s fitted with the old V-twin JAP engine, something that I would sell my soul to own if ever one became available. But I doubt whether one will ever come up for sale in the near future.

Back here there was football. TNS v Penybont on the internet. As expected, TNS ran out winners 1-0, but they were made to work hard for it.

Penybont defended really well but like most Welsh Premier League clubs, were devoid of very much firepower. Sam Snaith is the one player whom they have who can pull something out of nothing but taking him off the field after an hour because he hasn’t doe anything much as yet and replacing him with a player who doesn’t have the same flashes of inspiration and who needs much more service was a tactic that was never going to pay off.

And that’s a surprise considering that Penybont’s manager Rhys Griffiths was one of the greatest strikers that the WPL has ever produced.

While I was doing that I was copying the CDs that I had received from the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. I’m going to be doing a radio programme in the near future that features music from the Festivals.

Tea was out of a tin tonight, followed by one of the desserts that I made the other day. And now I’ve done my notes, I’m off to bed and hopefully having a lie-in tomorrow. And about time too. I’m ready for this.

Saturday 10th April 2021 – WOO-HOO – I’M VACCINATED!

Yes, I’ve now had both my jabs and I have a Certificate to prove it too! At least I shall be in the forefront of the queue whenever normal service is resumed.

That’s not to say that I’m going to be perfectly safe. I’ve had the Pfizer vaccination so I’m now about 95% safe against current strains of the virus but there are no details about how I’ll be covered against any new strains and in any case I could carry the vaccine around and infect others.

So I still have to be careful whatever I do. I can’t throw caution to the wind.

Mind you, I did throw caution to the wind last night because what with one thing or another it was long after 01:00 when I finally went to bed.

Nevertheless I still managed to crawl out of my stinking pit a 06:00 when the first alarm went off. It just confirms my suspicions that the issues that I’ve been having about leaving my bed have nothing to do with any physical complaint.

First thing was to grab the medication and the second thing was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. In fact I was doing something last night and I can’t remember what it was but I ended up in Canada. It was something to do with cars ad I can’t remember at all. I ended up at my niece’s. One of her daughters was there and feeling very happy with herself because she had taken some courses to improve her reading ability. The had studied these courses for 12 months and when I arrived there I found that she had received a Diploma award from the Open University for English speaking and she was absolutely delighted. And of course so was I because she deserves something like that.

There was time to have a whack at some of the photos from North America from August 2019 before going for a shower, and then I made a coffee in my thermal mug, grabbed some crackers and then leapt into Caliburn.

And I did too, because the door opened quite easily this morning which is very good news.

It was pouring with rain this morning so it was a pretty miserable drive up north towards Valognes. There was a lot of things to see on the way but the rain put a complete dampener on everything.

There was something that I stopped to see on my way north, because there was a good view from inside Caliburn.

Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle on the outskirts of the town of Le Plessis-Lastelle.

It’s formerly the site of a castle on a nice high ridge and was destroyed during a revolt against Duke William of Normandy in 1047. It was rebuilt later but fell into disrepair, although a traveller in 1835 remarked that it was still in reasonable condition.

In 1911 the locals transformed what remains of the site into a Calvary but during the fighting in Normandy in 1944 it was very badly damaged. A programme of restoration was finished in 1967 and this is how it appears today.

And that reminds me of the story that I heard about the renovation of the Calvary after the war. There was a call for designs for the Calvary but due to a misunderstanding on the telephone, someone sent in a drawing of George Custer on his horse.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, 15 minutes early I arrived at the hospital.

As you can see, it looks quite … errr … interesting from the front. It’s actually an old Benedictine Abbey and as it came into the possession of the State in 1803 one can easily imagine that it was a prize of the Revolution. It was registered as an ancient monument in 1937.

When the hospital was inaugurated in 1977 it didn’t have a particular name but it was opened by Simone Veil who was Minister of Health – the fist female to hold the post – at the time. When she died in 2018 the hospital was given her name.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the back though, it’s totally different, with all kinds of modernisations having been undertaken.

When I came here before, the Vaccination Centre was under there but seeing it all in darkness and it being a Saturday morning, I was full of foreboding.

A sign on the door said “Vaccination Centre now moved to …. (another address in town)” so I had to leap back into Caliburn, type the address into the Satnave and let the Lady Who Lives In The Satnav plot me a course.

Eventually I arrived at the Sports Centre on the other side of town where I had my injection, was given my certificate and left to fester for 15 minutes before they threw me back out into the rain.

My route back was a different one from my way out so there were new things to see on the way home.

chateau de saint saveur le vicomte Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came down the hill into Saint Saveur le Vicomte I was confronted by this beautiful building here. I had to do a U-turn and go back up the hill to find a good viewpoint where I could stick the camera out of Caliburn’s window.

This is the Chateau de Saint Saveur le Vicomte and it has a very interesting history because in view of its strategic position on a hill at the side of a river that leads into the interior, the Norse raiders built a fort there, according to one local historian.

Whatever was on there was destroyed during the revolt against Duke William. A subsequent castle here was an English stronghold in the Hundred Years War.

It later became a hospital, an orphanage and later a prison. Badly damaged by Allied Bombing in 1944, it’s now the subject of a restoration project financed by the proceeds of the national lottery.

On the way home I called in at Coutances and fuelled up Caliburn and then went to the LeClerc and LIDL here. They are much bigger than the ones in Granville and even though there’s more stuff in there, there isn’t anything extra that suited me. I did by some sweet potatoes though as they were cheap, and I’ll have to think of something to do with them.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then came in here to carry on work but unfortunately I crashed out. And crashed out good and properly too, for about an hour and a half.

And when I awoke I had a sore arm again and I was also freezing, freezing cold. So much so that having turned off the heating about a week ago, I tuned it on again full-blast.

When I eventually recovered, I went outside for a walk where I bumped into Pierre the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. he told me that the other week the boat was simply in the chantier navale simply for an annual service.

But all of his tours this year are cancelled yet again. He’s thinking about doing trips up the Brittany coast whenever the situation relaxes.

Finding that the battery was yet again flat in the NIKON D500 I came back in for the NIKON D3000 and then I went back outsode again for my afternoon walk in the wind and rain.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe whole of the town around here was totally deserted which was no surprise given the weather. There wasn’t a soul on the beach at all.

That’s something of a surprise of course because we’ve seen people down there in all kinds of weather, even swimming in it. But not today. I suppose that it was just too much for them today.

Instead, I trudged off along the path towards the end of the headland in my lonely solitude, and also in the rainstorm too. It must have been raining quite a lot over the last 18 hours because the path was flooded yet again and I had to pick my way gingerly around the puddles as I wended my weary way.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the elevated part at the far end I could see something moving right out there in the English Channel so I took a photograph of it, regretting that I didn’t have the big NIKON D500 with me.

Of course it’s much too far out for me to be able to identify it but enhancing the image considerably I could make out some rough idea of its colours. That seems to indicate that its a Condor Ferries boat.

Its silhouette seems to match that of Commodore Goodwill, the Ro-Ro ferry that does the shuttle between St Malo, St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey.

Ro-Ro stands for “roll on, roll off” and should not be confused with ferries such as Herald of Free Enterprise and Estonia which were Ro-Ro-Ro ferries, which stands for “roll on, roll over, roll off”.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was more movement out to sea too, but this time so much closer to home.

This is one of the little shellfish boats that worked the beds off the Ile de Chausey, I reckon. She’s on her way home to port in Granville, even if the tide isn’t far enough in for the harbour gates to be open.

Off the lawn and down the path to car park I went, encountering a family whose members were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

Across the car park to the end of the headland to see what was going on. And the answer to that was nothing at all. So picking my way through the puddles I walked down the path on the other side of the headland.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on in the harbour this afternoon.

The tide was still far out so the outer harbour was quite dry. But we can see all of the tyre tracks of the various heavy vehicles that have been working in there over the last month when we had the very low tides. Their work doesn’t seem to be finished so I wonder when, or maybe if, we will ever see them back working here again.

The fishing boat that we saw earlier is now in the harbour, here on the left, and it’s looking rather bewildered as the skipper tries to think of what to do next with it. And unfortunately she’s still too far out for me to be able to read her name on the visor over the cabin.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is still no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today.

We have, from left to right, Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. In the background is Aztec Lady, with a pile of small assorted yachts on the other side of the wall.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay around to count them because I had to rush on home for the football this afternoon. TNS were playing away to Bala Town.

What astonished me about this match was that the two best players in the Welsh Premier League, Greg Draper and Henry Jones, managed just 28 minutes on the field between them.

Even more strangely was that the best player on the field, TNS’s Ben Clark, was substituted after 60 minutes of the game, with no sign of an injury. He’d run the Bala defence ragged and had a hand in TNS’s goal, but after he left the field the spark went out of the TNS side and Bala had several good chances to equalise, although they were unable to convert them.

Tea was out of a tin seeing as it’s Saturday and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to make some sourdough dough ready for baking tomorrow. And then I’m off to bed for a nice lie in.

And I deserve it too.

Saturday 13th March 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the photos of today’s storm out at sea I’ll tell all you about my miserable day today.

And miserable it was as well too. It took me ages to go off to sleep, no matter how tired I was when I finally crawled into bed. at one stage I didn’t think that I would drop off at all.

And when I awoke this morning I had a pain in my left shoulder – one of the better-known side-effects of this vaccination. It’s not all that uncomfortable actually, and in any case, by all accounts it’s far better than what you have to go through if you actually catch the virus.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the medication, I had a listen to he dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

I was transferring a load of stuff from one hard drive to another (rather reminiscent of what I was doing yesterday) but some of the files wouldn’t move. That was extremely disappointing. I tried a few little tricks but they still wouldn’t move. As I was passing through the data cable that ran between one and the other there were all these kids who were on holiday. There were 3 groups of kids, blond-haired boys and girls who were all different ages, probably 8 or 9 and I dunno 2 groups slightly older and different ages. I kept on confusing them because of the time difference that it was taking me to do this. I decided that I would be chatty so I spoke to the youngest group and said “hi”. This girl gave me a puzzled look and said something that I didn’t catch so I said “hi again”. She repeated what she had just said. I gave her a smile and a wave and walked on through the data cable to the other drive, sitting there wondering what it was that she said. Had she said that she didn’t speak English and I pretended not to hear it or didn’t notice that that was what she said.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I was at a music festival, a huge thing and there were enormous crowds there. But it was all family stuff. We were wandering around the camp site and there was no social distancing whatever and there were arguments over pitches and who was going to camp where and whatever.

Just as that voyage was starting to get under way, the alarm went off and I awoke. And I was up and out of bed before the second one went off.

Before I went to have my shower I made a start on tidying up the back-up drive. As I expected, it’s slow progress from here on in and it’s going to be a long time before it’s done. Mind you, I did liberate another 40GB of free space sorting out the duplicates.

After my shower I went off to the shops. And I wasn’t out all that long and didn’t spend much money either. And what I did spend, a lot of it went on an industrial-size bottle of clothes-washing liquid from NOZ.

Back here I carried on with the sorting out of the duplicate files but at some point I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 14:00. I’ve no idea how long I was out of it but it made me run a lot later than I intended.

After lunch I worked on the Greenland photos. I only did a few yesterday so I had a lot to do today to catch up. Right now we’re in the Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord in Greenland going to look at the Sermitsiaq Glacier that drains off the Maniitsoq Ice Cap.

This was the last complete day on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. Tomorrow afternoon we alight at Kangerlussuak and take the aeroplane to Toronto where I push onwards deeper into North America.

At 15:45 I was ready to go out for my afternoon walk but we were in the middle of a torrential downpour and hailstorm. I wasn’t going to go out for a walk in any of that.

Round about an hour later the rain eased off a little so I nipped out.

storm at sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was only a brief amelioration in the weather too. As you can see, there’s a raging storm going on out over the Ile de Chausey and I hadn’t gone all that far before it caught me in the open. It was completely wild out there right now and I was soaked to the skin.

There had been one or two other people out there but by the time I reached the lawn and the car park, I was pretty much all on my own out there and that was hardly any surprise at all given the conditions.

Nothing going on out at sea today, either in the English Channel or the Baie de Mont St Michel so I pushed on along the path to see what was happening at the port.

charlevy trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have another change of occupant in the chantier navale today. Well, yesterday, actually, as I noticed it when I arrived back from Valognes last night but of course it was too dark to photograph.

Today, we have one of the bigger trawlers, Charlevy in there undergoing work. I’ve no idea what’s the matter with her and there was no-one around there to ask either. In fact there was no-one working on any of the boats down there today and I’m not surprised about that either. I wouldn’t be out there working in the kind of weather that we were having this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday, the ferry terminal was overflowing with boats – both of the Joly France ferries and Chausiais were moored over there. But they have all left the quayside today as you can see.

joly france chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the Joly France boats, the older one, has disappeared completely but the other one and Chausiais are now moored up in the inner harbour next to the two Channel island ferry boats.

By now, I was a total drowned rat so I hurried on back to the apartment. A hot coffee and a slice of Liz’s cake from yesterday went down really nicely, and I had a quick bash at the notes from Central Europe last year until the football came on.

Haverfordwest County, one of the newly-promoted teams this season were facing perennial champions TNS

TNS are currently in second position in the table having over the last couple of weeks lost their ruthless streak. The owners of the club have, on the other hand, retained their ruthless streak and sacked the management team early in the week in an effort to climb back to the top.

TNS, although they showed plenty of skill, looked to be very lethargic today but Haverfordwest, although clearly not as skilful, were very well marshalled. TNS had the lion’s share of possession and Haverfordwest were content to let them run around and shepherd them into blind alleys.

To everyone’s surprise, Haverfordwest took the lead, from a breakaway upfield after 17 minutes, but when TNS equalised from a corner early in the second half we could see a familiar script being replayed.

Later in the match Haverfordwest tired and we were all expecting a couple more TNS goals, but instead one of the Haverfordwest attackers took them completely by surprise and combined well with one of his colleagues who scored a beautiful goal to restore Haverfordwest’s surprise lead.

And as the match played out to a conclusion, it was Haverfordwest who were still going forward and won probably the most surprising victory of the season so far.

For tea I just had some pasta and vegetables and then came in here to write my notes. Now that they are done I’m going to prepare some sourdough and then I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in tomorrow and I can’t say that I don’t need it. A good sleep will do me good.