Tag Archives: tramp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We shall see.

Tuesday 15th June 2021 – SUMER IS ACUMEN IN.

big wheel place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLhude sing cucu and all of that stuff.

You can always tell when summer is about to arrive in Granville because the Big Wheel puts in an appearance. It must have sneaked in under the cover of darkness and there they are on the Place Albert Godal sticking it up. By the time that I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon (God willing) it might even be working.

But I’ve been working today – and working quite hard too, would you believe. Although it was a real struggle, I managed to be out of bed by 06:00 all the same although I would have given all that I own to have been back in bed tucked up in the warmth.

And “back in the warmth” would have been appropriate because there was a cold, clammy mist outside this morning when I awoke. It didn’t look very sunny at all and there would be no chance whatever of seeing TITTAN 1 or any of its siblings.

After the medication I sorted out the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days. They are up to date now and I can turn my attention to last night’s activity. I was out behind the Iron Curtain on a coach tour as a passenger. Everyone was getting ready to go off on an excursion. I hadn’t heard about this so I wondered what was happening. I asked one of the organisers who was rather brusque with me. He told me that they were just going to visit a church and maybe going on to a show or something. I knew where this church was so I said that I’d follow them on. We were told that things were strange in this town because of different rules and regulations. For example, we’d find lots of doors open, or I did when I walked through it, but no-one was there answering it. Films that were going, when you went to watch them they would freeze and when you’d turn your back they would move again. It turned out that because of Covid no-one was allowed to stay in anyone else’s house. They were worried that people meeting each other in a night club or a cinema or somewhere like that would end up pairing off for the night. The authorities wanted to prevent that from happening. It sounded strange to me. All round this city was ringed with these forest ridges where you could go. There would be loads of people about. The place was like a ghost town and there was no-one about at all because of this.

Following that I worked on my Welsh revision and I’m glad that I did because there was a lot that I didn’t know..

And then grabbing my slice of cake and a mug of hot chocolate I went for my lesson. And surprisingly it went quite well although, shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep three times. Not flat out but I could feel myself going off and managed to stop myself just in time.

The results of our exam won’t be known for another 6 weeks, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for longer than I was expecting.

And while we’re on the subject of tests, my Covid test came back negative.

After lunch I had a huge pile of correspondence and printing to do, as well as my tax return. I’ve no idea what i’m supposed to be doing with that. I just date it and sign it, attach a load of papers from various people and let them deal with it. If they need any more info, they can write and ask for it.

gardeners sheltering from the heat rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was stifling hot when I set out for the town.

And I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the heat. There are some gardeners around the town dealing with the vegetation and they clearly decided that the only protection is flight. They’ve pulled their lorry up underneath a tree and they were all sitting on the wall in the shade.

Not for me though. I pushed on to the estate agent’s and gave them the certificate of insurance for my apartment. They didn’t think that it was the correct one but they’ll sort it out.

And I cursed my bad luck as well. They had a storage garage to let that would have been ideal for me to rent and dump all of this stuff out of Caliburn but I’d missed it by a whisker. It was now let.

Next stop is the Post Office. I’m just a whisker away from having a Carte Vitale, the card that opens the dorrs to the French Social Security system. I didn’t think I’d qualify but I applied all the same. And surprisingly, I had the paperwork back asking for my photo, a copy of my carte d’identité and a specimen signature.

So who knows?

Third stop was at the bank. They pay my Belgian pension 6-monthly by cheque and I don’t know why, but anyway the cheques came the other day and I need to pay them in. Now where can I go with €230?

unsafe scaffolding rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way up to the Tax Office (there are 41 steps up to the Eglise St Paul and I felt every one of them) I came across this interesting arrangement.

The scaffolding legs that are on the floor don’t go all the way up to the top. It’s just a few 2-metre lengths and the rest of the height of the scaffolding is somehow wedged up against the lengths on the floor.

No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t see how it was rendered safe. That’s the kind of thing that looks totally unsafe to me. But there’s probably a very simple answer to this even if I couldn’t see it so don’t take this insecurity for granted. It probably makes perfect sense to those who go up it.

beach Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving deposited my papers in the letter box, I headed down to the beach. A different one today – the one by the Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais with its tidal pool.

And there were quite a few people taking in the sun down there today. And I’m not surprised because it was a really scorching afternoon.

One person down there enjoying the weather was our friend the itinerant who used o hang around up here in the past. He was in an expansive mood and we spent a good 45 minutes chatting before, in the words of the News Of The Screws reporter “I made my excuses and left”. I had plenty of things to do right now and standing there talking wasn’t getting them done.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I left I noticed a Bird Man of Alcatraz on his way towards the end of the headland, but rather more likely on a direct collision course with the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I awaited the inevitable calamity, he did a U-turn and steered himself out of the way and headed back from whence he came. And I cursed my bad luck. It’s really not my day, is it?

To console myself, I went off and treated myself to an ice-cream. It was that kind of day. And my favourite ice-cream stall was actually closed, which was a surprise to me. But the one next door wasn’t. And it really did taste delicious. I shall have to go there again.

zero waste shop mademoiselle vrac Rue Georges Clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe old pharmacy in the Rue Georges Clemenceau closed down a while ago and it’s now been reoccupied.

It’s going to be one of those weigh-and-save places, rather like the BULK BARN places that we know from Canada, but I bet that it will be much more upmarket than that and we’ll be hard-pressed to find any bargains.

You would think that with the absence of packaging, the produce would be cheaper but that’s rarely the case.

Back here, my Inuit friend Heidinguaq was on-line so we had a little chat. It’s nice to see her after than nocturnal visit that she paid me the other day. I asked if she would be coming to Europe some time soon. She hoped so so I said that we’d meet up and I’d bring my bass.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE will come too. Those two have a special affinity after their meeting in Uummannaq when we called in there with THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

The guitar practice was slow but sure, and then I had veggie balls and pasta for tea, followed by apple pie and home made custard.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m going to Leuven tomorrow and I have nothing whatsoever ready. It’s one of those days.

Thursday 4th February 2021 – HAVING WAXED SO LYRICALLY …

… at great length about the epicurean delicacies for my meals yesterday, today’s evening meal was a much more plebeian beans and chips with a burger on the side.

For some unknown reason, I had a fancy for baked beans for tea – maybe my subconscious is telling me that I should have a bubble-bath tomorrow – and in the absence of anything else to go with it, I settled on chips, in order to dispose of some really old potatoes, and a burger out of the stock in the fridge.

Making chips here is not too easy because I don’t have – and I don’t want – a deep-fat fryer but my niece Rachel who is a Tupperware senior manager let me have an incredible heavy-duty thing that fries in a microwave. It’s something that I haven’t used much because actually it’s too big to rotate in my microwave oven, but I worked out that if I take out the turntable and put a ramekin dish in there upside-down to cover over the pivot (I’m nothing if not inventive), I can put the Tupperware thing in on top of the ramekin dish and it just about fits in.

It doesn’t rotate but you can’t have everything and while the results are not spectacular, it does what it’s supposed to do.

Talking of things doing what they are supposed to do, I didn’t exactly beat the third alarm clock to my feet today. Mind you, it was a close-run thing, as the Duke of Wellington said after the Battle of Waterloo, because by the time that the alarm stopped ringing, I was actually on my feet.

Only just, it has to be said, and it took the room a good few minutes to stop spinning round so that I could join in, but there I was.

After the medication I did a few bits and pieces and then had a shower ready to hit the streets.

Granville carnaval unesco Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll over town there have been all kinds of things springing up about Carnaval, the event that occurs here OVER THE MARDI GRAS WEEKEND.

No Carnaval this year, for obvious reasons, but there are still a few displays all over the town featuring what might have been on the carnival floats had they been permitted to parade, and we saw THE COW AND PENGUINS when we returned from Leuven the other day.

What is on this sign is a timeline that records the successful application for Carnaval to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After all of the preparatory work, a formal application was made in January 2014 and approval was given in November 2016.

It’s one of the claims to fame of the town and one of the reasons why I chose this place to come and spend my final years after I was released from hospital in 2017. There’s almost always something interesting and exciting going on here

trawlers ready to leave port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on down the road I noticed that all of the trawlers were lined up at the harbour gates.

It’s the moment for the harbour gates to open (and indeed, they did open as I was watching) and all of the fishing boats in the harbour streamed out line astern into the open sea. Fishing seems to be back on the agenda for the moment, although for how long I don’t know with the Silly Brits threatening to revoke the agreement if they don’t get what they want, like the bunch of spoilt little brats they are.

But I mustn’t let myself become bogged down in politics, must I? I promised that I wouldn’t do that.

normandy trader unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have a visitor in the harbour this morning too. Normandy Trader sneaked in on the evening tide and here she is, loading up in order to leave the harbour on the tide.

And I know now why she goes over to St Malo at times on her voyages over here. It’s to do with the shellfish that she brings from the Jersey Seafood Co-operative. They have to be unloaded at a port where there is a Health Inspector to give them a health check, and there isn’t one here at the moment.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s talk of having a full Customs Post here in Granville for the port and the airport, but as yet, it doesn’t seem to be in place.

At the Post Office I sent off my application for the Securité Sociale and we’ll see how that evolves. I have been more hopeful about other things, but if you don’t apply, you don’t get, do you?

LIDL wasn’t anything to write home about. There wasn’t anything at all of any interest on special offer today so I just bought a few things there and headed back home again.

digging trench in rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey had been busy while I’d been away.

A trench has been dug right across the road at the corner of the Rue Lecampion and the Rue Paul Poirier and as I watched, and the traffic waited, a digger picked up a huge sheet of metal to use as a bridge for the traffic to cross.

Down at the far end of the Rue Paul Poirier I fell in with the friendly neighbourhood itinerant and we had a nice long chat for about 15 minutes about nothing much at all, and then I hurried on home in case my frozen peas were to thaw out

Clutching a slice of my delicious sourdough fruit bread and a mug of hot chocolate I came in here and sat down, and made a start on transcribing the remaining dictaphone notes. And there was so much to transcribe that it took me right up until afternoon walkies.

Yesterday’s notes ARE NOW ONLINE, all of them. And by that I DO mean “all”, because there were miles and miles of them. I must have had a really bad night.

Then I could turn my attention to today’s notes. A few prisoners had escaped from a prison and they were being pursued across this building site. 1 had been caught but the other 2 had got away, not without a great deal of difficulty. 1 of them, who reminded me of Kenneth Williams, was almost crushed by a railway locomotive as he ran across the shunting track. The locomotive pinned him up against another one and damaged his hip but he still struggled on. 2 of them ran down the east end of London and ended up in an old derelict market hall type of place that was now a café. The healthy 1 was well ahead and ran into this place. The other 1 running behind him was immediately stuck in some kind of ante-room where there were loads of kids hanging around sitting there drinking coffee. It turned out to be some kind of teenagers’ quiet coffee bar where they could go and watch TV and sit, run by the Church. They showed soap operas there on the TV and this was where the 2 men were going to lay low for a day or 2 where they could get coffee and sleep for a while until they worked out their next move.

Later on I was on a walking tour of Eastern Europe with someone and an old Morris MO went past. I went to grab hold of my camera but I suddenly realised that I didn’t have it with me. I thought “where had I left that?”. I had to wrack my brains all the way back to the start of the day at the hotel and I couldn’t remember having it with me at all during any part of the day. Had I left it at the hotel? Had I put it down when we stopped for a breather and not picked it up? Or had I lost it the day before? I didn’t really know so I had to retrace all of my steps. Obviously the other guy wasn’t all that interested in coming back with me. He preferred to sit and wait which I suppose was the correct kind of thing so off I set. I walked through this small town where a boy was kicking a ball up into the air and then getting underneath to head it as it came down. I carried on walking back to the hotel that was miles away, trying to look on the way back to see if my camera was anywhere

And I bet that you are just as intrigued as I am to know why I seem to be having all of these camera issues during my nocturnal voyages just lately. Who is trying to tell me what?

There was a break of course for lunch – more of my delicious leek and potato soup with home-made bread (there were still some epicurean delights during the day) and then when I’d finished my dictaphone notes I went out for my walk.

erecting scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been following the progress of the roofing job that’s being undertaken at the College Malraux across the car park from here.

The scaffolding has been slowly advancing ahead of the work, as they take it from a finished part behind them and erect it in front at a place that has yet to receive attention. Today, they have dismantled some more from the side and are now erecting it at the end of the building here.

As we suspected right at the very beginning, this is going to be a very long job and they will be here for a while yet.

The paths had dried out considerably and there wasn’t much water left to block my path. But there wasn’t anything much to see anywhere. All the fishing boats were way out of sight and Normandy Trader had long-since left port.

cale de radoub port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut earlier on in the day I’d seen a photo of the Cale de Radoub – the old dry dock here in the harbour.

Completed in 1888 it was used as a dry dock to repair the old wooden fishing boats that went out to the Grand Banks to bring in the cod and the photo that I saw was actually of a boat being repaired in there, but it’s been out of use since 1978 and has fallen into decay.

It was declared a Historic Monument on 28th March 2008 and every now and again there’s talk of recommissioning it, but the cost of restoring it to full working order has frightened off the town council.

Back here I had a phone call to make. I had a letter from the hospital arranging my next series of appointments … for Wednesdays, despite what the doctor told me. So I had to ring them back and change them all over again to a Thursday.

When I had returned I’d made myself a coffee but by the time I came to drink it, it was cold. Not simply due to the fact that I’d been on the telephone, but also due to the fact that I’d crashed out yet again.

For the rest of the afternoon, such as it was, I made progress on my little report about Oradour sur Glane.

There was guitar practice of course which for some reason I didn’t enjoy, and then tea which I have already mentioned.

Bedtime now, and a full day at home with (hopefully) no interruptions and I can press on.

Ever the optimist, aren’t I?

Saturday 9th January 2021 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… another depressing, dismal, miserable day as far as my health has gone.

But more of this anon

heavy frost noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday has also been the first day that I’ve had to scrape the ice of Caliburn’s windscreen before I could take him out for a drive to the shops.

Overnight the temperature had dropped to -0.5°C – the first time that it’s been below freezing, and we had had a heavy frost as you can see in this photo of the grass down the side of NOZ. It’s not quite the -16°C of the Auvergne of course through which I lived for 9 years, for the first couple of years at least in the most primitive of circumstances, and there was no snow either.

But winter is here with a bang and although it’s still above freezing even as I type, this brilliant clear sky outside fills me full of misgivings. I’ve turned the heating up.

But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, it was another horrible day for me. Once again I heard the alarms but I couldn’t get out of bed and it was just after 08:00 when I finally tore myself from underneath the covers.

And it took me quite a while to find enough energy to go and find my medication too. It was definitely one of the worst starts to the day that I’ve had.

However I did manage to have a shower too and then I wandered off to organise Caliburn so that I could go to the shops.

NOZ came up with a few odds and sods of this and that but nothing worth shouting about so I wandered down the road to LeClerc.

bad parking leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallExcuse the extremely blurred photo but the camera has focused on some dirt on the windscreen of Caliburn instead of the car over there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking features quite often in these pages, and here’s another fine example. Of course, it’s an Audi, as you might expect, and the driver has just abandoned (I won’t say “parked”) his car like that in two spaces and cleared off inside.

As for me, I had my own parking issues. With Caliburn being wider than a standard car, I always park at the end of a row and park right over so that there’s a good gap up the side. That was what I did today, so the person in the next bay parked right over on the white line which meant that it was a struggle to put my shopping into the side door.

And talking of the shopping, I bought loads of fruit and some other bits and pieces but there was nothing in the sales that caught my fancy.

Back at the apartment I put the frozen food away and then made myself a banana smoothie with plenty of ice – I really did have a fancy for that this afternoon.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep on the chair and that was that until 14:00. Just going to the shops had totally exhausted me. And I felt totally dreadful when I awoke. I know that I’ve had some bad re-awakenings but I don’t think that I’ve ever had one quite like this.

unloading seafood fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter a rather late lunch I went for my afternoon walk – into town and the chemist’s to pick up the medication that they didn’t have on Thursday.

At the foot of the Escalier des Noires Vaches there was one of the shellfish boats unloading its catch into a fish shop van – presumably there’s some kind of connection between the two. But I didn’t stop to enquire. I pushed on along the quayside where I bumped into the itinerant and we had a little chat.

Having picked up my medication I came on back home and sat down to listen – at long last – to where I’d been during the night.

At some point during the night I ended up in Accrington, although it was nothing like the Accrington that I know, and as I’ve only ever been to Accrington twice in my life I wondered why I would suddenly find myself there on a nocturnal voyage.. I ended up in a big office building and I was looking through all the stuff that was on sale in the Oxfam shop there. There were 2 Oxfam shops and I’d gone from one to the other in these 2 big skyscraper buildings and I hadn’t found anything that I wanted. I ended up in the living room of one of these shops. There were 2 people in there so I asked them if they could tell me the way to the railway station. They said “it’s only a few minutes walk away from here, but really you aren’t supposed to be in here”. I apologised and said “just point me in the direction of where the railway station is and that will be fine”. Some other guy said “we’ll have to get someone to take you”. “Why’s that?” “Well, you aren’t qualified to do that”. I looked at this guy and could see that he’s a foreigner but I could see the first bit clearly that he was talking about the other 2 guys had hushed him up. One of them said that he would sort something out but I shouldn’t really be in that room where they are. It’s a private room.

Later on I was working in a nursing home in the UK. We’d started to organise holidays and I’d been based in Dover. I had to pick up a group of people and they were all elderly and infirm, on crutches and in wheelchairs, that kind of thing and I had to meet them at the station. when they came off the train I was staggered at my lot which wasn’t much good. I had to take them into town, so I pointed out a few things to them. After we’d set off for a couple of minutes someone made me aware that there were 3 people missing. I knew about 1 who had gone off to do her own thing but another couple had apparently gone off to visit a fort in the vicinity. That left me with 15 instead of 18. I told them about an anecdote – how I’d met a hotel keeper down here when I was travelling back and to to Europe but I didn’t have the chance to finish it as I was kept on being interrupted. Eventually I had to tell them about the area where we were and took them to a corner of a street basically. This was the street where my newsreader lived and at that moment my newsreader suddenly decided to update and started to pump out loads of information going back a couple of years. With my newsreader 99% is rubbish and you have to sift through to try to have the 1% that’s good. I thought “how am I going to explain to people that they are going to be seeing news 5 years old that we already know what has and hasn’t happened and how are they going to act when they start to get it again.

Later still I was with 1 of my regular girls but I can’t remember who it was now – something that really fills me with dismay as I’m sure you can imagine. We were talking about cars. I had my collection of vehicles, a Cortina, a couple of others and a BT estate from Italy that I had that I was quite happy showing off. It came to the question of doing them up, and I decided that I would sell everything except the one that I really liked and I’d spend all my money restoring that one. Then off we separated and a short while later she was sitting at a table with a couple of people who had kidnapped her. I walked over and said “hi”. I was breakfast time so I mouthed that I would fetch a loaf and bring it back. I brought it back to the table and these 2 guys were still sitting there. They wouldn’t take a hint about going and leave the 2 or us on our own. I cut a couple of slices off this bread and put them in the toaster but it jammed the toaster and 1 piece just wouldn’t come free and wouldn’t switch off. All smoke started to come out as if the toast was burning inside it.

But this thing about kidnapping (which thing? Have I missed something?) relates to something else that happened earlier where there was a young girl who had to be home at something like 22:30 but it got to 22:15, 22:20, 22:25 and she still hadn’t turned up. I ended up going to a night club and she was sitting on 1 of the tables there. There were a couple of people with her so I gave her a wide berth although I kept an eye on the proceedings. Round about 02:30 her mother stormed in, grabbed hold of her and they had this really intense discussion and I don’t know what happened after that, which is disappointing.

There was more stuff too, but as you are probably eating a meal right now, I’ll spare your stomachs. But it seems that the really disturbing dreams are back again. They went away for a while so I wonder what has summoned them to return.

rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my evening walks I had a quick dash around my circuit – four legs of my run tonight as well.

There were a few people out there tonight but nothing else much going on at all. I took a photo of the Christmas lights in the shop in the Rue Georges Clemenceau just to prove that I was out and that I wasn’t the only one still with Cristmas lights illuminated, and then I ran back home for tea.

There was some stuffing left over from my stuffed pepper so I added a small tin of kidney beans and a mushroom and then had taco rolls with rice and veg followed by the last of the apple crumble.

So now I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed. A lie-in tomorrow of course and I hope that it’ll do me some good. I can’t go on like this. It’s getting on my wick.

Thursday 7th January 2021 – I STILL DON’T …

… know where all of the time goes, that’s for sure. All that I’ve done today as far as work goes is to answer about 10 e-mails and that’s my lot.

Mind you, it was something of a late start this morning. I heard all of the alarms go off but it was still about 07:00 when I finally left the bed.

First thing was to check the dough. 2 loads because I had prepared a normal yeast-driven loaf as well last night before going to bed.

And while the sourdough hadn’t risen by much, the standard loaf had gone up like a lift. I kneaded them both and put them in their respective moulds to proof a second time and then, after the medication, I came in here to check the dictaphone.

There was a really weird kind of dance thing going on last night with 3 young girls who were dancing and singing and performing these really rhythmic movements. There were me and two other people at the other end of the dance floor just basically keeping in time to the music. For some unknown reason, what we were trying to do was that the movements that these people were performing led to them being separated at some time and our job seemed to be that one of us, when we saw someone separated was, in keeping in time to the music, to go off down there and somehow capture the one who had come out of the pack if you like and was dancing on her own halfway down the hall. I noticed that at one time that it was always the same girl who was doing this. She had a beautiful voice and I remember thinking to myself “I wouldn’t mind capturing her”. On one occasion when this rhythmic dance was going on I had to rhythmically make my way back to my group and one of my colleagues was preparing to advance. He ended up pirouetting round and his hand caught in my clothes and went underneath the top that I was wearing and missed my catheter by a millimetre otherwise it would have been really really dramatic. We had a bit of a joke about that.

What goes on in the night is really exciting, isn’t it?

As I was off out I put a load of clothes into the washing machine to do while I’m out at the doctor’s.

The interesting thing there was that he doesn’t recommend a ‘flu injection. Everyone is in facemasks and the ‘flu isn’t expected to take a hold this year.

As for my booster injections for my immune system (I have to have them every 5 years) he gave me a prescription, along with the prescription for the medication that I forgot.

The most interesting thing is the Covid vaccine. Here in Granville, we aren’t a priority, so it seems. Cases here in the town are rare due to the fact that we are on a westerly clifftop in one of the strongest prevailing winds in Europe. Any airborne virus here is blown well inland and the only time that we usually have any outbreaks is when the holidaymakers arrive.

However, he does agree that I should be in the first batch to be vaccinated as soon as we have supplies and he made a note in my file that I would be willing to take it

christmas decorations rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving bade farewell to the doctor I set off towards LIDL for supplies.

It’s been a long time since I set my foot in the Rue Couraye, what with having chosen a different route to go uptown just recently, so I didn’t really know much about what’s been going on there for a while. But it seems that we had have some kind of novel decorations in the street – some that I haven’t seen before.

At LIDL it was a major shop and I staggered home under quite a load. Not helped any by the fact that they were selling 3kg of carrots for the price of 1kg, and ditto the potatoes. The freezer is for a change fairly empty and I can always do things with potatoes.

trawlers ready to leave port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving called at the chemist’s for a rest and my medication (I have to go back for some on Saturday) I staggered up the Rue des Juifs towards home. And there I noticed that the trawlers were starting to pull away from the quayside.

The harbour gates were closed, so I was expecting them to open any minute now so I hung around to watch. However I was distracted. While I was observing the harbour I fell in with our itinerant friend who is still loitering about the town and we had a chat.

One thing that I noticed was that he had a shopping bag full of groceries so at least it seems that he’s feeding himself, which is one less thing for anyone to worry about.

On returning home I switched on the oven and then, having checked the loaves, I put them into the oven to bake.

Once again, the sourdough loaf hadn’t done very much but the normal loaf had risen impressively again. And this time I did remember to brush the top of the fruit loaf with milk and sprinkle the top with brown sugar.

home baked bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile it was cooking I came in here and answered a couple of outstanding e-mails and then when the oven timer switched itself off I went to check the bread.

The standard loaf was cooked perfectly but the sourdough wasn’t so I left that in for another 20 minutes and with the standard loaf, I made some sandwiches for lunch. And it really was a good loaf, this one. Just as it should be and it was delicious.

After lunch, I attacked the carrots, peeled and diced about a kilo or so and then blanched them ready for freezing. I’ll do some more tomorrow too and then finish the rest off on Saturday.

moving scaffolding roofing college malraux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on this afternoon I went out for my usual afternoon walk around the headland.

The other day, I mentioned that they had started to move the scaffolding from the north end of the east wall and reposition it down at the south end of that wall. Here, on the extreme right, you can see than dismantling some more of it to move that along too. And you can also see where they are ripping off the slates from farther along.

Up until a couple of days ago they were working to the right-hand side of the safety rail going up the roof.

This is going to be a very long job, I can see that

first buds pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the path at the side of the College I stopped to have a look at one of the bushes that was growing there.

The other day the gardeners had been by and trimmed the bushes back. But I’d noticed, a day or so later, that there seemed to be some small buds starting to grow. Sure enough, one or two of them have burst out into leaves.

It’s very tempting to say that the mild winter that we have had to date has started the first buds of the year off early but I suspect that the bushes haven’t quite gone into hibernation and there has still been some rising sap in the bush, and that has provoked the growth.

It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on it.

sea fog pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut whatever else happens today, I won’t be keeping an eye out to see what is happening out to sea down the Brittany coast today.

You’ve probably noticed from a couple of earlier photos that there seemed to be quite a mist hanging around today, but out at sea there seems to be so much more of it and there’s quite a heavy fog bank rolling in along the coast and onto the headland where I’m standing.

It’s one of those occasions where you might expect primeval man, or Godzilla or something similar to come emerging from the miasma.

calm seas baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInterestingly, in the reverse angle of this shot, there’s hardly a wisp of fog to be seen along the coast.

But you can see the reason why the fog is here. If you look closely at the water you’ll notice that it’s calm and almost flat as a mirror. There’s hardly a breath of wind at all – hardly enough to disperse a fogbank, that’s for sure.

But nevertheless out of the fog and gloom came one of my neighbours who had also been for a walk. So we had a chat for a few minutes about nothing in particular before I wandered off to carry on with my perambulations.

scull pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s one thing about a fog and a really calm sea, and that it encourages people to take to the water.

Paddling around the headland from the direction of the port de plaisance came a couple of kayaks. And as I watched, they paddled their way around the marker light on the rocks below.

There was the idea in my mind to make the old hoary joke which regular readers of this rubbish will recall, about it being inadvisable to light a fire in a canoe because you can’t have your kayak and heat it, but a closer inspection revealed that these aren’t kayaks but in fact sculls, so I doubt if the rowers in there would get up to any such scullduggery.

beautiful sun shining on sea baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the last couple of days we’ve been having some brilliant sunsets out across the bay. As I walked across the lawn and the car park to the other side of the headland I sensed that today might be different with the fog.

Unfortunately I was correct. There was nothing really like the views that we have had for the last few days. Nevertheless it was quite different and quite unusual, and was creating quite an eerie effect, especially where we seem to be half in and half out of a fog bank.

The rays of sun streaming out through the hole in the clouds and disappearing into the fog bank were quite novel too.

speedboat with cabin baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou probably noticed in the previous photo the traces of a wake passing through the image.

There was a boat out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and it was making quite a racket and going like the clappers too. My first thought was that it was a fishing boat but no fishing boat goes that quickly. I’ve no idea who he was or where he’d been.

With nothing else of interest out there this afternoon, I made tracks for home. It’s a shame that there was no freighter in port today, and I wonder when we are next going to have another gravel boat.

home made sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack home I made myself a coffee and then went to have a look at the sourdough loaf. It’s been cooling off in the oven for a good couple of hours.

It’s possibly overdone on top, although I did lower the shelf when I put it back in at lunchtime so that the bottom would cook better, but it doesn’t look at all bad really. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. And for that, you’ll all have to wait until tomorrow morning’s hot chocolate break.

Instead, I hung up the washing, something that I had forgotten to do earlier, and then came in here to carry on with my e-mail marathon. And it would have been better had I not crashed out again.

There was the usual hour on the guitars of course but for some reason I couldn’t get my head around the acoustic guitar and I’ve no idea why. I didn’t seem to have the same motivation which was strange.

Afterwards, I went out for my evening walk – and I tried a few more runs today too. In fact I made it up to three legs. Not much, but better than it has been.

When I stopped for breath after one of the legs, I looked out to sea and the fog seemed to have lifted. It as a really clear evening and you could see for miles.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou probably won’t think all that much of this photo but this is taken with the camera perched on a rock, hand-held. And the camera is in fact the little NIKON 1 J5 which in the past has not proved to be very successful in the past in the pitch-black.

However, with some judicious manipulation I managed to take some photos of St Helier, 58 miles away. And the lights of fishing boats out to sea and even some stars too. And for a camera that doesn’t like the dark, that’s quite impressive even if the quality isn’t up to all that much.

Had I taken the tripod with me, and worked out how the time-lapse procedure works on the calmera, I might have done even better than this.

place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the viepoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch there wasn’t much going on at all. The whole town seemed to be deserted and I hadn’t seen a soul.

Instead I came on back to the apartment for tea. Stuffed peppers followed by apple crumble. There’s only enough crumble left for one meal now, so I might have to defrost a slice of frozen apple pie for tea on Saturday.

But now I’ve written up my notes, I’m going to go to bed. Just a couple of phone calls to make tomorrow, a form to fill in and some carrots to peel and blanche and then I can crack on with work.

And, of course, the fruit bread to try. I mustn’t forget that.

Saturday 14th November 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… the way things have been recently, I actually managed to beat the third alarm this morning.

Well, sort-of anyway. I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor waiting for the world to stop spinning round before I stood up.

Mind you,with not having gone to bed until almost 01:00 this morning I did realise that it was going to be a very long day.

There was a sale onlast night and there were one or two things that I wanted so after I’d finished writing my notes I went to make my purchases.

Only to find that Paypal now has this weird system like my French bank does, that in order to make a purchase they will send a numerical code to your phone number for you to enter into a box on the vendor’s website. It’s a system that has never troubled me previously with Paypal so I’ve never had occasion to use it. So when I didn’t receive the text message I found to my dismay that it had been sent to my old number in Virlet which has of course been out of commission for well over 4 years.

Now you can change your ‘phone number, but only if you log in. And to log in, you need the four-figure number that they send to your phone. Which is still in the Auvergne.

The next step is to send Paypal a message. But to do that you need to log into your account, for which you need the four-figure number.

There is of course the option to telephone them, for which you don’t need to log in. But you can only call them between 09:00 and 19:30 Mondays to Fridays.

In the end, having exhausted ever other avenue, I created a new Paypal account, which was not easy, and thanked my stars that there was a one-hour time difference between here and the UK and for having an on-line access to my bank statements.

It just goes to prove a point doesn’t it? If something is going to go wrong, it’s going to go wrong with me.

With what little sleep I had, I still found time to wander off.I was in Nantwich last night. I had a little house there in Welsh Row that used to be an old shop at one time. I had all kinds of various friends and acquaintances. Two of them were people like Walter Billington used to be. They had been to visit me and I’d shown them out but I’d suddenly discovered them back in my house again searching for something. I went to grab them both but one got away. The other one I managed to grab hold of him and got him in an arm lock and stuck his head under a cold tap to cool him down, and phoned the police. It was a sergeant who knew me so I explained exactly what had gone on and where I was. He asked me “are you drowning someone?” I replied “yes”. In the end a black policewoman turned up outside in a Ford Anglia panda car so I dragged this guy downstairs, not caring if he was bumping along the floor or anything, let her in and told her the story. She made him sit in a corner while we went through the kind of things that he might have been looking at.

After the meds and transcribing the dictaphone notes I found some time to do some work on the outstanding blog entries, which makes a change. And then I went for a shower. At least my weight has stabilised – albeit at 100 grammes over one of my target weights. It’s not gone up any but it hasn’t gone down either.

And then I set off for the shops, in a howling gale. And I bumped into the itinerant who is still sleeping rough. I urged him to go to the Mairie to seek help, but he says that he will be OK. I’m not too sure about that but I’ve learnt from bitter experience, as I’m sure you have too, that trying to persuade people to do things, even if you think that it’s in their best interests, quite often rebounds.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were on our way to the shops the other day we saw some workmen busily starting to rip out the front of the cafe on the corner in the Rue Paul Poirier.

In just two days, they seem to have really gone to town with it, for not only have they completely ripped it out, they’ve erected a temporary facade around it to protect the building while they set about installing a new shop front.

It would be nice to think that they would replace it with something nice and aesthetically pleasing rather than something that is simply utilitarian. We can always live in hope, I suppose. It’s better than dying in despair.

replacing shop front rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of utilitarian, this is what I was talking about.

Regular readers of this rubbish will call that we saw a similar temporary structure across the front of a shop in the Rue Couraye when we were out picking up our rail tickets the other day. That’s all been swept away and we’ve been left with this.

But whatever you might say about “utilitarian”, it’s a vast improvement on the cheap and dated 1960s aluminium shop front that was here before.

However there’s a singular lack of imagination around here because there have been three or four new shop fronts in the town since I’ve been living here and they all look like this. Here’s hoping that the one they are doing in the Rue Paul Poirier will be a little more individual.

No figs at the fruit and veg shop, La Halle Gourmande, and none at the Health Shop, La Vie Claire either. It’s the end of the season. So I asked the guy there what I should use in my kefir instead of figs and he gave me a bizarre look and said “dried figs” – the look being the kind of look that means “why aren’t you using dried figs to start with?”.

At LIDL they had a packet of dried figs and they had tons of other stuff too. But I was limited by what I could carry away. It’s a long walk home and the final climb is long and steep. I wish that they would hurry up and fix Caliburn.

Back here I put away the frozen food and one or two other things, made myself a hot chocolate and grabbed a slice of my banana bread, and then came in here to do some work. I was doing all right too up to a certain point, and then the next thing that I remember was that it was 13:45. 90 minutes I’d been out for, I reckon.

It took me a while to come round to my senses and then I ended up with a very late lunch.

That confused all of my timing and I was running well behind after that.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on in the afternoon I took myself off for a walk around the headland in the gale force wind that was blowing out there.

Although it was dry at the moment, there was plenty of rain about and the strong winds were blowing it all about at a ridiculous speed. The clouds were so thick and heavy that we were having some really unusual lighting effects in the sky like this one across the bay over the Brittany coast.

And with the wind, everything was changing so rapidly too. I’d go to take a photo of a particularly impressive scene and by the time that the camera had focused it had changed considerably.

different colours tidal settlement baie de mont st michel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnoher thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we mentioned the other day is the phenomenon of different colours in the sea – this layering effect that we see every now and again.

There was another beautiful example this afternoon in the sea just off the Pointe du Roc. I’d struggled around the headland in the wind but when I saw this I considered it to be worth the effort.

We’ve seen plenty of photos of this point when the tide has been out and there’s nothing on what is at the moment the sea bed to cause this dramatic change in colouring. It’s not even the effect of the clouds obscuring the sun either because you can see what the weather is like.

victor hugo spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith there being no-one about I had a little run down to the viewpoint overlooking the port and then had a slow walk the rest of the way home.

It didn’t turn out to be all that slow though because the rain that had been loitering around just offshore came in and got me and I ended up having to run for it. Not before I’d taken a nice photo of the harbour with the two Channel Islands ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville down there along with Spirit of Conrad and Aztec Lady.

The harbour gates can’t have long opened because we can see the trail of sediment flowing into the harbour from outside. It’s quite a dramatic contrast when you see it in this context.

Back here I played with a few photos, chatted on the internet with Rosemary and then it was time for the football. TNS v Barry Town.

And regrettably, Apart from the first 5 minutes, Barry didn’t start to play until there was 15 minutes to go by which they were already 2-0 down. They pulled back a goal pretty quickly but it was too little far too late.

One thing that I noticed though was that the Barry defenders were giving the attackers of TNS far too much time and space instead of closing them down. With the space that TNS was being gifteg, it’s no surprise that they were running the defence ragged and they really ought to have had a couple more, including what I considered to be a stonewall penalty.

But I really do wonder what Kayne McLaggon had to do to be awarded a free kick in his favour. The TNS central defenders were kicking lumps out of him and when he fell over the outstretched leg of a defender (no penalty, and quite right too) he was booked for diving, which was probably the most extraordinary decision that I noticed.

Tea at half time was out of a tin, followed by another slice of defrosted apple pie.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then I went out walkies on my evening circuit.

As it happens, I didn’t go far. It was much later than usual, there’s a curfew too and the gale is still howling away like mad but I needed the exercise. The Rue du Nord was looking quite pretty in the streetlights and as that’s one of the bits that I run, I set off down there, to the surprise of a couple of small dogs and their owners.

At least it’s in the shelter out of the wind so that it didn’t bother me too much. I could run down there quite comfortably until I reach the incline, which brings me to a shuddering halt.

place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an alleyway that cuts through there and leads to the Place Cambernon so I nipped down there instead of going all the way around the walls.

And it looks as if the Christmas decorations fairy has paid here a visit too. They might not be illuminated yet but they have certainly been installed. This is looking quite good, I reckon.

But the Place Cambernon isn’t. The bar La Rafale and the restaurant La Contremarche are closed. The place is like a ghost town. But then again, it would be even more of a ghost town if everyone caught the virus and died. I cleared off too, back home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow is a day of rest but I have carrots to freeze, bread to bake and pizza dough to make. My work is never completed, is it?

Saturday 6th June 2020 – IT’S BEEN A …

mother seagull chicks rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hall… somewhat better day today again.

And while you admire the photos of roofs full of seagull chicks staggering around taking their first steps, let me tell you about it.

And in what will probably come as much of a surprise to you as it did to me, then despite my not going to bed until about 00:40 last night, when the first alarm went off at 06:00 this morning I was actually up and about and in the kitchen.

And when was the last time that that ever happened?

seagull chicks rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallIn fact, I was wide awake at 04:45 and couldn’t go back to sleep at all.

Mind you, I know what had caused it. When I awoke I was holding the dictaphone and scratching my head in bewilderment in the middle of dictating a dream

I was back in Gainsborough Road but it was the family house then and it was full of rubbish, all this kind of thing and the garage was half falling down. I’d spent a lot of time trying to work out getting a concreting plan going so I could concrete it over and make a nice base, demolish the garage, make a nice base to start with and get everything tidied up. I’d asked at work and they had put me in touch with a few people. Then we were having a family meal and I mentioned it to my fater “when are we going to do this?” He said “ohh we have a concrete mixer at home. We could do it ourselves”. The discussion became a little heated, all this kind of thing. In the end I just said “as far as my sisters are concerned and my brother is concerned and I’m concerned we’re all fed up of living in a dump. It’s always going to be ‘yes, we’ll do it nexr week – we’ll do it again – we’ll do it some other time – yes, we’ll do it ourselves'”. He turned round and said “it’s all your fault anyway. You can’t bear to get rid of that white Cortina of yours. He started listing all of my junk that was lying around and it was quite true – there was plenty of mine there and I didn’t really have an answer to that and the conversation started to become extremely heated.

mother seagull chicks rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhat was bewildering me was the fact that I couldn’t think of an appropriate answer to the story about the white Cortina.

The rest of the story I recognise only too clearly.

But what’s annoying me at the moment is the fact that for the last few weeks I’ve had all kinds of unpleasant companions with me when I’ve been a-wandering during the night – people whom I’d normally go well out of my way to avoid during my waking hours.

Whatever happened to TOTGA? To Castor? To all kinds of pleasant companions who used to come with me on my travels? What has stopped then coming round? We’ve not even had a nocturnal group ramble around Crewe for months.

No breakfast again but I had a shower, and succeeded in smashing my porcelain soap pumper thing. I’ve had that for over two years without breaking it and that’s an amazing feat I suppose.

Today’s shopping was a rather miserable affair. I didn’t buy all that much at all. But then not eating for four days means that I still have plenty of supplies in.

NOZ had some more of the alcohol-free beer that I like and some decent hole-cutters as well as another pack of these breaded soya fillets. LeClerc had nothing of interest in the cheap range but a pack of vegan burgers (as if I don’t have enough) in the expiry-date range.

Mind you, while I was in there I suddenly developed a raging thirst so I bought – and promptly consumed – a litre of orange juice. Past experience tells me that this means that whatever I’m suffering from has now started to move on.

Back here I tidied up a few things and then edited a few (just a few – I’m still not on form) photos from July 2019.

Another surprising thing is that I stopped for food. If the thirst is a sign that my appetite will return I may as well make a start. So I made a sandwich and had some of the apricots that I bought.

This morning I had used the last of my home-made orange and ginger cordial so after lunch I made some lemon and ginger cordial. Four lemons but they didn’t produce anything like enough pulp and juice that they would normally do, so this batch isn’t going to last that long.

While that was doing, I came back in here to carry on with the photos but shame as it is to admit it, I crashed out. With only 4 hours sleep, that’s probably not a surprise but it was still disappointing.

Nevertheless, there was football on the internet this afternoon – the Welsh Cup Final of 2013 between Bangor City and Prestatyn Town. This was Bangor City at their best against a very-mid-table side and everyone would have been expecting a Bangor City walkover – even though Prestatyn scored a surprisingly lucky goal after just a couple of minutes.

However we had on the field a most unlikely hero in the name of John Hill-Dunt. He was Prestatyn’s goalkeeper all the way through their rise up the Welsh pyramid and a most unlikely goalkeeper you will ever meet.

At first glance, he looks as if he’s several stone overweight and that’s probably not far off being correct, but we were treated to what could only be described as a goalkeeping master-class as he single-handedly kept Bangor City at bay.

His performance in this match would have graced any Cup Final, never mind this one. He was beaten once, but, would you believe, by one of his own players.

On the other hand, Prestatyn had an old experienced campaigner up front in Andy Parkinson who could teach any young defender a thing or two about professionalism, and a young livewire called Jason Price who didn’t know when to stop running.

You can SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS HERE but you aren’t going to see the half of the excitement in this match.

waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter that I went for my walk around the walls, considerably later than usual.

And it was not very pleasant at all out there this afternoon. We were in the middle of a howling, swirling gale and I didn’t enjoy it for a minute.

The tide was some way out but you would never have guessed, seeing how the wind was rolling the waves right up to the promenade at the Plat Gousset

There weren’t too many people about out there today, which is hardly any surprise in all of this.

builders material on quayside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
My walk took me on round past the Square Maurice Marland to check on the seagulls and their chicks.

And to check on what else is going on too. And it looks as if we are going to be having a visit from Thora or Normandy Trader sometime very soon. There’s a whole load of building material and timber now neatly stacked on the quayside.

Mind you, I wouldn’t like to be out there in one of those flat-bottomed boats in this kind of weather right now. But then that’s what they are paid for.

ecluse tidal gates opening port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I stood there watching, I could hear the bell go off across the harbour there.

It’s that time of day. The harbour gates open at 105 minutes before High Tide and sure enough, bang on time, here they were opening up.

There have been a couple of occasions now where we have seen them open and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, even one occasion when I was standing on top of them.

Not astride the opening, luckily.

la grande ancre enters port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd a couple of minutes after they opened borne in on a bouyant tide of silt, cane La Grande Ancre

No idea where she’s been, of course, but she’s not much of a shape to withstand a good old Nor’Easter either.

So having seen her safely into harbour, I headed on for home.

And for a change, I decided to try some tea tonight. A small potato, a handful of mixed veg and a breaded soya steak followed by a small slice of strawberry tart and coconut dessert.

waves storm baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMuch to my surprise, it all managed to stay down although there were times when I wasn’t quite so sure about it.

And then I went out for my evening walk – and I DO mean walk because it was totally impossible to run in this wind. I felt really sorry for the itinerant who is back huddled up under his hedge but I don’t for the life of me understand why he hasn’t gone to ground in one of the old bunkers.

There’s the old watchman’s cabin and the old stone shellfish-drying building, which are out of the wind and have roofs where he’d be far more comfortable.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallApart from him and someone taking a video cam of the wind, I was the only other person out there.

There wasn’t anyone at all so I had a very lonely walk – although I did manage something of a run down along the clifftop above the chantier navale.

No change in there – still the two boats from yesterday – but I could see the waves thundering into the headland down underneath the Chateau de la Crête.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallThe sea was coming in there with an incredible amount of power so I stood and watched it for a while.

Not for long though because no-one could stay out there very long in that. I ended up coming home – walking and not running. No-one could run out there in that.

But now I’m home and I’m thoroughly exhausted. I’m still not as well as I ought to be but I’ve fetched some frozen pizza dough out of the freezer in case I want my usual pizza tomorrow evening.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s no bread in the house now either except what’s in the freezer so I reckon tomorrow when I wake up I’ll make a mix and see where that takes me through the day.

if the oven is going on for a pizza at some point in the evening it may as well go on for a loaf of bread a couple of hours earlier.

But not tonight. I’ve had a long day despite the little pause in early afternoon and I’m off to bed.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday tomorrow, so no alarm. And I’m hoping that it’s not going to be another 04:45 start.

So I’ll leave you with the final pic from this evening and go to bed

See you tomorrow

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 – EVERYBODY SAY “AHHH”

mother seagull with baby granville manche normandy france eric hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been keeping a close eye on the socks of fleagulls that nest on the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs during the Spring.

And so; while keeping an eye on one particular nest today, I noticed something rather different, so I took a photo of it with the aim of blowing it up when I returned to the apartment

And don’t we have one very proud Mummy Seagull here? At least one and maybe two eggs have hatched and there’s a chick or two sheltering under her wings in the nest on the roof.

Well done, mummy, and congratulations. I shall be following their progress over the next few weeks.

hang glider granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the photos of the hang gliders who have been buzzing around the town today like a bunch of Nazgul, let me tell you about my thoroughly miserable day

Just for a change, I was up before the third alarm this morning. But that was as good as it got. Although I had my medication I didn’t feel like any breakfast and in fact I’ve not eaten anything today except some fruit

Yes, I’ve been thinking over the last few days that I was sickening for something and it looks as if I’ve got it.

hang gliders granville manche normandy france eric hallThat’s one of the reasons why I keep my notes – so that I can track my health as it fluctuates up and down. And it’s particularly important right now, seeing as I’ve now been probably 18 weeks without my essential four-weekly treatment.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in March I predicted a decline in health. But that wasn’t really a prediction. Based on previous experience – it was a foregone conclusion.

So with no breakfast I decided that, at least while I was still compos mentis that I would attack my two courses, the Accountancy and the Music course.

hang gliders donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I ended up completely finishing a week of each course too.

As for the Accountancy course, this week’s work was spent on basic numeracy. And I do mean “basic” – in fact I’ve no idea what they must be teaching in school these days if a course like this has to instruct its followers in the kind of basic numeracy that we had to do

The music course was exciting. And now at the end of the week I can play the blues on the piano with 5/10th scale chords and in theory, 7/10th scale chords. The theory being because I can’t stretch my hands far enough.

It really makes me wonder how we managed to play the piano when we were mere kids, having to stretch like that.

No lunch of course, but I did have something to do that involved the fridge. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door pockets are broken on the fridge. The last surviving on was wedged in somehow, but that fell off when I opened the door.

And so, having nothing better to do, I bit the bullet, sorted out the electric drill and screwed all three shelves in. Whether they hold for any length of time I really wouldn’t know, but it has to be better at the moment.

This led to another problem.

The very top shelf is a very tight fit up against the freezer compartment door and with no shelf having been there for 18 months, the ice inside had grown and pushed the compartment door out. And having replaced the shelf, the fridge door wouldn’t now close.

That meant having to defrost the fridge and pull out about half a ton of ice.

But at least the door closes now and there’s room in the freezer compartment to actually put things now. And that’s progress of some kind.

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile all of this was going on, I went for my afternoon walk.

We’ve been having some really glorious weather just recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but not today.

As you can see, the weather has changed and we are now back in all of the fog and mist that I thought that we’d left behind a few weeks ago

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was still quite warm outside though, and so I suppose that out of the wind it would really have been quite nice.

At least, that’s what all of the people down there must be thinking. And good look to them too – sooner them than me. You wouldn’t stand any chance of me getting into the sea down there at any time today.

Mind you, the way things are, you wouldn’t be getting me into the sea at any time these days, even at 40°C in the air.

roofing place marechal fochgranville manche normandy france eric hallFor part of my afternoon walk I’d had the company of a neighbour, but she had cleared off and I carried on on my own.

At the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I had a look down to see how they were doing with the roof of the building there. And the answer was that although progress seems to have been quite rapid, they appear to have had a technical hitch.

Someone was on the roof there hacksawing away at the galvanised sheeting that they have been using to cover the dormer windows. It looks as if they might have misjudged some measurement or other.

yachts sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving stood and watched them for a while, I moved on around onto the Square Maurice Marland to see what was going on there and to check on my seagull.

It also gave me an opportunity to see what was going on out in the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if the sailing school is now in full swing, with all of the little yachts out there having a lap or two around the marker buoys that they put out there.

It’s probably what they call a “slalom for sailors”, I reckon. And wouldn’t it have been a good idea for me to have enrolled onto a course like that? I must make further enquiries.

wooden steps onto ramp down to fishing boats rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis photograph here has made me laugh, and it shouldn’t really, because it’s very sad.

It’s not the workman carrying the metal pole down the ramp that has caught my eye but something else there. They’ve spent I really don’t know how many millions of Euros completely refitting the port out with new ramps and pontoons, and it’s taken about a fortnight for social shaping by the citizens to take place to amend it.

All that money, and someone has felt obliged to build a set of steps out of a few old pallets.

crowds la rafale open place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAll of the restaurants, bars and cafés have been closed in France since the start of the pandemic, but since Tuesday in the “Green Zone” which is where we are living, they can re-open under certain circumstances.

The Place Cambernon Is usually blocked off for July and August to allow the café La Rafale and the restaurant to spread their tables about, but it seems that they have decided to extend the period of closure from now until the end of September.

And La Rafale is taking full advantage of it – and so are the customers too. That’s good news to see the commerce re-igniting.

more work on medieval walls granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations took me on an extended route today because I’d seen some kind of work going on in the distance.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a major amount of work done on the medieval walls all through last year, and I made some kind of derogatory remarks about some of the work that was done.

It’s nice to see that the local council has been following my journal because the work seems to involve cleaning up the mess that passed for pointing on the stairwell here.

They’ve only been at it for a couple of days and already there’s a vast improvement.

On the subject of vast improvements, I wish that there had been a vast improvement with me.

Back home again I started to write out the notes for the radio project on which I was working. I even finished them too in a most amazing blitz of work.

Next stop was to dictate them – and I even managed that too. However, when I went to edit them I found out that someone driving around here in a motor bike had made such a racket that the microphone had picked it up.

Closing all of the windows I went to dictate it again.

However I didn’t get far, because I crashed out for about 15 minutes or so and woke up feeling like death. Eventually I managed to finish dictating it but as I went to upload it to the computer I went off again.

45 minutes this time, and I missed my session on the guitars. And if I had felt bad before, I was feeling even worse now. It’s a really long time – and I do mean long – since I’ve felt as bad as I did just then.

itinerant visitor pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless I was up, so I was staying up. And i wasn’t intending to miss out on my run, despite no food and no health.

There was the usual struggle up the hill – which isn’t getting any better regardless of whatever circumstances. But at least my problems aren’t as bad as some of other people. There’s been an itinerant person wandering around the Pointe du Roc and he seems to have settled down under the hedge for the night.

It beats me why he’s settled there, because there’s plenty of covered spaces where he could settle if he so choose. But I do have to say, that having slept so often in Caliburn, Strider and various hire cars by the side of the sea over the years, there is something hypnotic about sleeping in the open air with the sound of the sea in my head.

storm jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath I ran on down to the top of the cliff to see what was going on.

Nothing much here right now, but away in the distance Jersey and the Channel islands were taking quite a pasting. That’s something of an incredible storm that’s raging out there right now.

There’s quite a high wind blowing here right now, but luckily it’s not coming in this direction but going off out to sea, so it’s not likely to affect us. However, the winds are quite contrary and who knows what’s in store for us overnight.

old cars 1985 morgan pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw a couple of old cars, one of which was a green Morgan, driving around here.

On the car park by the Coastguard Station this evening was this green Morgan. I’m not sure if it’s the same car but anyway, it’s still interesting so with the owner’s permission I photographed it.

He told me that it is an original Morgan, not a reproduction, but it’s one of the modern series and made in 1985. That’s a shame, because I was hoping that it might have been one of the older ones. It’s still nice though.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the wind, there’s still work to be done.

As I wandered around the headland I noticed a couple of fishing boats heading out across the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if they are heading out towards the Brittany coast to see what they can find to catch over there.

It looks as if the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel has been abandoned by the fishing boats right now. But that may well be because of the school of dolphins that is said to be loitering around up there and which have been seen by one or two people – but not by me.

trawlers yacht chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me down along the top of the cliff and past the top of the chantier navale.

We have another occupant in there today, but I’m not sure whether or not it actually counts. There are the two big fishing boats that have been there for ages, but also a small yacht on blocks next to it.

Whatever it is, it was nice to see it so I took a photo and then carried on with my run all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I had stopped for breath, I walked down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

Chausiais was down there, moored up in the loading position underneath the crane. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen her heading out to the Ile de Chausey the other day, so it’s strange that she’s looking as if she’s loading up ready to go out again so soon.

Nothing else seemed to be happening so I turned round and ran off to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord, pushing on by about 50 metres that particular segment of my run.

There was nothing going on there either. The sun was hidden in swathes of clouds and so there were no picnickers out there this evening. So I ran on home.

Having written my notes I’m off to bed, for an early night for once. I’m off for a day out tomorrow so I need to be on form. I’ll try some breakfast tomorrow morning and see if I can keep it down, and I have to go shopping too on my way out as supplies are getting low – not that it particularly matters right now.