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Wednesday 8th June 2022 – THE EXCITEMENT TODAY …

… has really been intense. I took out not one but actually two loads of rubbish to the bins today – one load of general waste and another of the plastic and glass. Can life really be any more exciting that this?

It did actually remind me of the time when I used to go camping, when all the excitement was in tents, but that’s another story completely.

Once again, I was wide-awake for a good while before the alarm went off and I was up quite promptly when it finally did ring.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022First task after I’d had my medication was to make a big pile of fruit buns as I’d run out.

There’s a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, plenty of dried fruit of all descriptions (although I forgot the desiccated coconut), sunflower seeds, a banana and 250 grammes of wholemeal flour.

It ended up making enough dough for 12 fruit buns and they really are delicious – I had one of them for breakfast with my coffee. I seem to have the hang of making them now.

There are enough now in the cake tin to last me until Saturday and the rest are in the freezer ready to be brought out next week.

Not long after I’d finished making the dough and while it was busy proofing, I had a ‘phone call. Apparently my decision to no longer prepare any live concerts is creating waves. Would I go for a coffee with admin on Friday morning?

Apparently it was an “automatic server upgrade” that caused the problem, although who in their right minds would set upgrades on a broadcasting server to “automatic” is beyond my comprehension. You only want it to upgrade when there’s someone there with it supervising.

And “not many people listen to the broadcasts anyway” and “yours wasn’t the only programme to be lost” are not phrases that I would actually use to soothe a troubled breast.

Once I’d dealt with all of those issues and had breakfast, I spent the morning writing about “Clothes” and “When I was a child” as revision for my Welsh exam, playing my acoustic guitar set and then (rather regrettably) crashing out for well over an hour.

As a result I ended up with rather a late lunch again today.

After lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something about Ukrainian refugees being made welcome wherever they went, a restaurant having these Ukrainian refugees in and giving them a meal free, making sure that they sat in the window where everyone passing by could see them. I can’t remember any more than that

And then I crashed out yet again, for another hour or so. This is becoming far too much of a bad habit that I wish that I could break.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As a result I was late going out for my afternoon walk again.

Nevertheless I headed off across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon. And there wasn’t a soul down there today.

Mind you, you can tell what kind of weather we were having. One look at those waves will tell you that the severe winds that we had for several months earlier in the year are now back with a vengeance.

That’s enough to keep anyone indoors right now. No-one would want to be sunbathing in this storm and I don’t blame them for a moment.

thora baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The sea was quite rough out in the bay and I did notice something struggling to make headway against the waves.

From this distance I couldn’t make out what it was so I took a photo of it so that I could enhance it when I returned to the apartment with the hope of being able to identify it.

And once I’d blown it up (because I can do things like that despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) I could see that it was the little Jersey freighter Thora battling her way through the waves on her way back to St Helier. She must have come in on the morning tide.

There were only one or two people on the path up here this afternoon – the wind was keeping everyone away from here too – so I had it pretty much to myself as I wandered around on my little circuit.

kite surfing baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was no-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban which is no surprise because they would have been blown off the end of the headland in this storm.

And so I carried on walking down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port where a couple of kites caught my attention.

As they came into view from behind the harbour wall I could see that they were actually kite-surfers being pulled along by the kites in the wind. They certainly had the right day for it today.

Apart from Thora, they were the only other things out there on the water and that’s not really a surprise either in this weather. You won’t find any of the sailing schools out there on a day like this.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But some of the Ile de Chausey ferries must be out and about somewhere this afternoon.

The only one in port is Belle France, the newer one of the three. The two Joly France boats aren’t anywhere around the harbour so they must be over at the island. Good luck to those who are coming back on board in this storm.

In the chantier naval there’s no change in occupant. Still the posh new cabin cruiser and the catamaran and that’s your lot. Things have gone a little quiet down there just now.

But apparently L’Ecume II who was in there being repainted for so long is receiving rave reviews for her new appearance. That’s a good advert for the chantier naval.

omerta ch638749 pescadore port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish processing plant, our game of Musical Ships continues.

Gerlean is now no longer there this afternoon but L’Omerta is back again from her sojourn in the inner harbour. And tied up behind her is the little trawler Pescadore.

Back here I had a coffee and then fell asleep yet again for another hour. I think that i’ve spent more time asleep today that I have been awake and that’s a dreadful thought. I telephoned Ingrid too but she was busy and she’ll call me back tomorrow.

Having not done any Welsh revision yesterday I wrote some more notes on “Last Weekend” and “Family and Friends”. And the latter one is not very long. I’ve also had the bass out and worked out a couple of numbers off this playlist that I was sent the other day.

Tea was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg, and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. But I’m wholeheartedly sick of this continual falling asleep. Obviously it wasn’t this medication that was causing it because while things improved for a couple of days I’m back to square one. I think that tomorrow I’ll write to the hospital, tell them about what’s happening and see what they suggest.

Not that I’ll expect too much from them. Their aim is to keep me alive as long as possible regardless of my quality of life. Mine is all about my quality of life and I don’t care about longevity.

Saturday 28th May 2022 – I’VE BEEN RATHER DISAPPOINTED …

… with Noz just recently.

It’s twice now in succession that I’ve been in there and not found anything at all worth buying, not even anything to vary my diet.

A few weeks ago they re-arranged all of the shelves and racks to make it even more difficult for people to find their way around the maze, and since then the place has gone downhill rather rapidly. It’s getting to the stage where I’m wondering whether it’s worth my while still going there.

But all of that is for another time.

This morning I fell out of bed as the first alarm went off – but not without difficulty, I have to say. I really could do with getting more of this poison out of my body. This medication is said to take a month in order to be effective. I imagine that withdrawing from it will take just as long.

Having had the medication I went for a shower and a good clean-up. And then I headed off for the shops.

Noz was a complete waste of time, as I said, and LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special either. I didn’t hang around, and was back here by 10:25. Plenty of time for a strong coffee and a home-made fruit bun.

For the rest of the morning I was working out the music to GRASSHOPPER. I’ve been determined, for personal reasons of my own, to crack this song and after several hours on it today I can play the chords and also a reasonable approximation of the bass line.

Furthermore, I can actually sing it too, which is definitely progress.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that this song has a special significance and refers to one night and a following morning about which I’ll write one of these days when I’ve found out about how the Statute of Limitations works in Canada.

But if I’m assembling some kind of ad-hoc acoustic set for my own amusement, I may as well choose songs that tell little stories. After all, the more I have to say, the less I have to sing and that’s good news from everyone’s point of view.

After lunch I had a little chat with Liz. She was on her way to a wedding and wanted to show me her new frock. It was quite nice, one of these earthy pastel designs that look so much nicer than these formal dress designs.

We talked about quite a few things, and it turns out that, quite surprisingly, she was having the same chat with Terry that I was having with Alison, and at exactly the same time too. Great minds think alike.

Another thing that i’ve been doing is to carry on with my Welsh revision. Today I’ve been doing “If I were 18 years old again” and “Animals”.

With the “if I were 18” etc, I can talk about “family and friends” which is another subject, and with “animals” I can talk about polar bears which comes up in “last holiday”, “celebrations”, “favourite places” etc so you can see how they are all interconnected.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And as usual, there was the afternoon walk around the headland to keep me occupied too.

And as usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

As I mentioned the other day, with it having been a Bank Holiday and people having fait le pont to extend it into the weekend I was expecting to see the crowds. And I wasn’t disappointed either.

There were even a few of them taking to the water too. That was courageous because although it was sunny, it wasn’t that warm today.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And as usual, while I was here I had a good look round out to sea to see what I could see out there as well.

There were plenty of water craft offshore too. Most of them were quite a distance out to sea but this cabin cruiser was a lot closer inshore.

He can’t be a fisherman because he’s travelling far too fast, as you can tell by his wake. And I doubt that he’s on his way back to the harbour because the tide still has a good few hours yet to ebb before the gate to the port de plaisance is closed.

Of the other water craft that was out there this afternoon, there wasn’t anything of any interest.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When we went out for our afternoon walk yesterday we were overflown by a couple of Birdmen of Alcatraz and their Nazguls.

Today it’s the turn of the red powered hang-glider to go flying by overhead as we wandered off down the path towards the end of the headland.

There are two people on board, so it looks as if the pilot has taken a passenger out for a run around Mont St Michel for an afternoon’s sightseeing.

There were also a couple of aeroplanes out there as well this afternoon but they were too far out in the bay for me to be able to identify them. All in all, it was quite a busy day out there.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And not just in the air and in the water either.

The path down to the end of the headland was heaving with people this afternoon too. All of the car parks were full and there were even people parking on the grass by the bunkers.

It looks as if the summer season has started in earnest so I hope that they repair the barrier at the entrance to our private car park otherwise we’ll end up with all of our parking spaces usurped by tourists.

Having a private parking was one of the main reasons why I chose the apartment that I did when I came to live here.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Fighting my way through the crowds, I walked across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

You can tell how busy it is here today. usually there are two and maybe three people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban. Today, we have no fewer than eight people taking it easy out there.

Plenty of stuff going on down there today as well, but no fishermen on the rocks. Obviously, the idea that one fisherman has actually managed to catch something has caused all of the others to go and lie down in a darkened room.

Anyway, I headed off along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I stopped to see how they were progressing with L’Ecume II.

By the looks of things, her paintwork is almost finished. Even down to the anti-fouling paint below the waterline. That’s what stops barnacles clinging to the hull of the boat.

Once upon a time I spoke to a trawler and asked her how she felt about barnacles. She told me that at first she didn’t like them but after a while she found that they began to grow on her.

I’ll get my coat.

That’s probably a good point for me to go off and head for home. I have plenty of things that I ought to be doing this afternoon.

F-ZBQA - Eurocopter EC 145 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But not before I’m overflown yet again.

From this range I can’t read her serial number but she’s very likely to be F-ZBQA, the Eurocopter EC 145 that is based at Donville les Bains and used by the local air-sea rescue service. that’s the one we saw when we had that rather sad encounter last November.

Back here I made a coffee and then cleaned, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots. They had them on special offer at leClerc this afternoon so I bought some more to freeze.

And then I went to have a listen to the dictaphone. I was in Crewe in that flat from the other night off Nantwich Road. There was something about bicycles. They had battery packs made up out of small C-cell batteries that were rechargeable. I went to change them over out of one bike to put in another one that had been standing for quite some time. For some unknown reason, instead of taking off the top of the battery container I unscrewed the battery container from the bottom and the container came apart in my hands. I had a look at the mess and had to think about how I was actually going to rebuild all of this and have it ready for going back on the road again.

Later on we were in Crewe in a field near Pym’s Lane. It was going to be the live broadcast of one of my radio programmes about cooking a Mexican meal. Hordes of people had turned up with their bags and recipes and ingredients etc. There was someone there to interview everyone but they started to interview all kinds of different people and never interviewed me at all. They never came near me to ask me a single question about what was happening. I felt really out on a limb about this. Then I found out that they didn’t broadcast the cookery programme anyway. All these people had turned up for nothing. I was extremely disappointed by all of this. There were all kinds of things going through my head at this particular moment about this cookery programme etc. I was preparing to wander off and leave them all to it and just go back home. Yes, it’s definitely getting to me, isn’t it?

Having done that, I rather regrettably fell asleep again and only just managed to rouse myself in time for tea. A burger on a bap with baked potato and vegetables.

So now I’m off to bed. And a good lie-in because I have another busy day tomorrow. And if you want to hear the concert that you should have heard on Friday, IT’S HERE

Saturday 21st May 2022 – AND SO THIS MORNING …

… having done without one of my medications last night, I was awake at about 07:00 or something like that. And not only was I up and about as soon as the alarm went off at 07:30, I was actually feeling something like enthusiastic as well.

But one swallow doesn’t make a summer of course and there is always whatever is the reverse of the placebo effect to consider. I’ll want to wait for a week or two at least before I decide that it’s this particular medication that’s causing me these issues.

After having organised myself I went for a shower, set the washing machine en route and then Caliburn and I headed off for the shops.

At Noz I didn’t buy anything at all – except for a bottle of something to drink because this morning I had a thirst that you could photograph.

At LeClerc I didn’t buy anything special today but at least the larder is stocked up for the next couple of weeks.

Back here I had a coffee and some toast, put away the food and then sorted out the washing, hanging it up to dry. I seem to have caught up with everything now which make a change. It’s not like le to be up to date, is it?

And then I had a listen to the stuff on the dictaphone from last night. There was a dream about a rather fat schoolgirl who had to solve a few clues that might have led to some kind of mystery writer’s novel being solved. She was floating around in a car park for something. At first she made a little headway but later on became dispirited and was knocked out of her stride somewhat and virtually gave up. It became a story about how she once had a boyfriend from another school, a boy who was 3 years older that her but who had committed suicide. The focus of this investigation shifted away from what she was doing into what had happened at this particular school that had led to this boy’s suicide but I can’t really remember very much apart from thet.

And then at another school was a girl who was nicknamed “Rakkers” short for her name of “Irak” who had written a murder mystery. There was some discussion as to whether this might have been tied in with what this other girl was involved in investigating

After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to wash, peel, dice and blanch ready to freeze. The ones that I’d bought on Monday didn’t really last the pace. They were pretty miserable when I bought them and they don’t improve with keeping.

Back in here, just to show that not much has changed quite yet, I sat down and crashed out. And for a good 90 minutes as well. I’m not out of the woods yet by any means. I have simply moved into different woods.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As a result of all of the foregoing I was rather late going out for my afternoon walk today.

Although it was a bright, sunny day there was something of a strong wind out there so it was a lot colder than it ought to have been.

Add to that the fact that it was late, there weren’t all that many people around down there today and there certainly wasn’t anyone brave enough to be in the water. Going for a paddle looks to be about the limit today.

And there weren’t any more people further down at the Plat Gousset either. They must all be having a day off.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There might have been few people on the beach, but there was a little more going on up in the air thia afternoon.

As I walked across the car park I was overflown by the red hang glider. That went past on its way back to the airfield after what looks like an afternoon out down the bay.

He has a passenger with him today so they have probably been out on a sightseeing expedition down to Mont St Michel.

And I haven’t forgotten that one of these days I’m going to take myself out to the airfield to blag myself into the passenger seats of one of these machines and go for a flight around to see what I can see.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022That wasn’t the only aerial activity this afternoon either.

There was quite a crowd down at the field at the side of the cemetery and as I watched, a birdman of Alcatraz rose up from the air with his Nazgul. However he didn’t advance very far in all the time that I was waiting and after a while I lost patience.

Taking off and landing from the field next to the cemetery is actually quite appropriate. If they make a false manoeuvre then they can just chuck the bodies over the wall and that’s the problem solved with as little drama as possible.

man fishing with zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When I went out to the shops this morning I had to thread my way through the fleets of vehicles pulling boats on trailers down to the harbour.

There were a few of them still out there even though the tide had gone well out and was now on its way back in. One of the boats that I had seen was this zodiac with a fisherman on board and, as you might expect, in all the time that I was watching him he didn’t catch anything at all.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, in all the time that we have been watching the fishermen out here with rod and line, we have yet to see anyone actually pull anything in. I’m not even sure that that’s actually the goal of what they are doing.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday the weather was so clear that we could see quite clearly the island of Jersey away on the horizon.

Today though, even despite the wind, the haze is back and the good view that we had yesterday has gone. However there was something white right out there in the distance so I took a photo of it so that I could examine it back in the apartment to see what it might be.

Rather disappointingly, it turned out to be a yacht. I was hoping that it might be one of the Channel Islands Ferries on its way back home from St Helier. One of these days I’ll actually see them out there working.

people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Down at the end of the path I walked across the car park down to the end of the headland.

There weren’t any caterpillars making their way across there this afternoon but there were one or two people down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not reading a book this afternoon, although they may as well have done because there wasn’t anything else going on down there to hold their interest. All in all it was rather boring out there this afternoon, especially for a late-Spring Saturday afternoon.

And so instead I carried on down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening over there.

j158 l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022No changge in occupancy in the chantier naval today, but they aren’t ‘arf cracking on with the work on L’Ecume II.

When we first saw her in there WHEN WE CAME BACK FROM LEUVEN she was looking distinctly shabby, but they have pressed on with her overhaul quite rapidly.

They have stripped off all of the faded paint right down to the base primer and they are dashing ahead with the top coat of paint. It’s not going to be too long before they will have finished her paintwork and then presumably she’ll be going back in the water and on her way home.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal there is quite a gaggle of boats tied up there today.

On my way out to the shops this morning I’d seen one of the Joly France boats on her way out with a load of passengers for the Ile de Chausey.

But right now, all three of the ferries, the two Joly France boats and the new Belle France are tied up over there. Presumably they are waiting for the tide to come in later on this afternoon when they’ll go back out to the island to bring home the tourists at the end of the day.

But as for Chausiaise, the little freighter, she’s tied up in the inner harbour.

crane swimming pool speedboat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On thing that interested me was ro see what was happening at the quayside with the freight today.

The speedboat is still there, and we also seem to have acquired a swimming pool too. I also know why stuff isn’t being moved as quickly as it usually is right now. That’s because Normandy Trader, one of the three little Jersey freighters, is currently having a major overhaul and has been out of action for several days.

Apparently her overhaul is nearly complete and she’ll be back in service in early course with her nice new stainles steel accessories. COPULATUM EXPENSIUM, AS WE POMPEIIANS SAY

yellow powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having been overflown by the red powered hang-glider on my way out earlier, it was the turn of the yellow powered hang-glider to overfly my on my way home.

Once again, she’s out there with a passenger, presumably also having been for a flight down the bay towards the Mont St Michel.

Back here, I took out the rubbish to the bin, such is the exciting life that I leave, and then brought up the milk that I’d bought this morning that I couldn’t manage to bring up earlier. I can’t believe how difficult I’m finding ordinary everyday tasks these days.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded burgers with a baked potato and veg. And now I’m off to bed. Despite intent upon having a lie-in, I’m going to miss out on that medication again and see what good that might do me. I reckon that it will take a while for the effects to work their way through so the sooner I start, the sooner I’ll finish.

Saturday 12th March 2022 – AS BARRY HAY …

… once famously said at a concert that I witnessed at Scheveningen in 1993, “there’s one thing that I gotta tell you, man, and that it’s good to be back home”

And he’s dead right too.

And I’ll tell you something else for nothing as well in that in the past I’ve been happy to stay out for as long as possible and even longer, but this little apartment perched on my rock surrounded on three sides by the sea is the first ever place where I’ve been keen to return.

Anyway, I digress.

When the alarm went off at 05:30 this morning I was already up and about. Having sleep issues can sometimes be an advantage.

It didn’t take long for me to make myself ready to leave either.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022Down at the Martelarenplein – the Square of the Martyrs – now that they have almost finished the resurfacing after all these years there’s a really beautiful view of the railway station.

It looks absolutely magnificent lit up like this, with the modern trainshed illuminated behind it. The modern bus station to the left is a disaster and the least that is said about that the better.

The story behind the Martelarenplein is that it relates to the events of August 1914 when the Germans, in a fit of rage, totally destroyed the city and reduced it to rubble.

Hundreds of civilians were caught up in the orgy of destruction and massacred, or later killed in reprisals for what the Germans considered to be acts of terrorism – events that have a parallel with events that are taking place elsewhere in Europe even as I write this.

It totally dismays me that after all of the destruction that has taken place over the last 108 years, some insane madman is doing exactly the same thing and that we as ordinary civilians are powerless to prevent it.

537 am96 electric multiple unit gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022With my early start, never mind the 06:33, the 06:14 was in the station when I arrived and I had time to leap aboard.

The train was the one that goes to De Panne and is made up of an AM96 unit, one of the ones with the tilting cab so that passengers can walk through when another trainset is coupled up.

There was a moment of panic when my telephone told me that I didn’t have a ticket. It seems that I’d been disconnected from the SNCB website. And so I switched my phone back on and for some reason it wouldn’t accept my e-mail address.

Just as well that no-one came to check my ticket.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4538 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022When I arrived at Brussels-Midi I went into Carrefour to grab some bread for breakfast, and then went to hunt down my train.

It was already in the station and to my surprise we were even allowed to board. It’s one of the old TGV Reseau 38000 Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam trainsets and it was absolutely crowded. There wasn’t a spare seat anywhere.

Once I’d found my seat, I spent the journey transcribing the dictaphone notes for the last few days. And I’d actually done half of them by the time that we arrived at Paris.

Bang on time too, which was nice, and I didn’t have to wait too long for a metro. As a result I was out of the underground and walking down the road in the open air towards the Gare Montparnasse in quite good time.

And aren’t I glad that I found this easy, comfortable way in the fresh air from the metro station to the railway station.

With an hour or so to wait for my train, I treated myself to a coffee and a nice relax while I waited for things to happen.

84566 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris france Eric Hall photo March 2022No rpizes for guessing which one is my train.

It’s one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis trainsets that we always have. It was just a single 6-car trainset today and it was, like the TGV, packed out. No spare seats at all and I had a companion as far as Argentan.

Despite the abominable state of the track that had me thrown from side to side and made me realise why I never write anything while I’m travelling this route, I did manage to finish my dictaphone notes and I can tell you where I went during the night.

We were on a spacecraft last night. We’d started off with an equal number of each sex but many of the men had been killed when they’d landed on a foreign planet. Now there was just one man in charge and the rest were women and children. The children were gradually ageing and becoming young people. I was on board and we were still landing on strange places an being attacked by the local inhabitants and having to quickly close the door and scramble away. We landed on some kind of mountain and the guy said that he wanted to go to some kind of casino that night. A couple of us went for a walk around and we came to some kind of precipice where we could see straight down many, many, many thousands of miles below us a town that someone pointed out to us and said that it was Pompeii which was where this casino was. There was a huge, enormous palace construction somewhere that we could see and the person with us said that that was the palace of the Borgias. There had been some kind of incident with a loaf of bread as well that had been badly burnt on one end. I had that with me and I cut away the burnt end and I had both pieces in my hand. Then we went back to the spacecraft. When we went round a corner on this rocky path there was a girl, probably about 9, with blonde hair sitting there. She panicked when she saw us and couldn’t move. She had a cat with her. I tried to talk to this girl but of course she didn’t understand anything that I was saying so I started to stroke her cat. After a couple of times her cat started to respond to the stroking. I thought that if I managed to win over the cat I might win over the girl and we could rescue her and take her away in our spacecraft.

Later on we were out around Nantwich last night. We’d come down the Middlewich Road towards the Barony and turned right towards Chester when a strange machine went past. It had four huge wheels and it looked as if they had fish hook fastened to them. We could see what it was doing, that the fishhooks were digging into the ground as the wheels spun so that it go go past in all kinds of soggy and wet and muddy ground. It had a flat frame and someone was sitting on it working a couple of levers with handles and these wheels were really enormous, 4 of them, but very flimsy construction, very thin. We all made a few comment about that Somehow we all ended up in Crewe, near where the old Earl of Crewe used to be. There was some kind of discussion about Doctor Watson who had developed some kind of process that made eyebrows for children’s toys. He was talking about the method that he was using, that sounded quite logical in the dream but I can’t remember it. Sherlock Holmes had given him some advice and charged 2 guineas for the advice that he’d been given but Watson considered that it was really good advice and worth every penny because that was what made the difference between being good and being really excellent

A letter arrived for me from a guy whose surname was Ralf. I knew immediately what it was and I opened it. It was a time sheet and a cheque because I’d taken a lorry and a tanker for him overnight somewhere or other and that was my salary. It was the first-ever payment that I’d had for driving a lorry and that meant that I was a professional HGV driver. My father saw it but he didn’t think that it was enough so he telephoned this guy to tell him off. I had to wrestle the phone from him and tell Ralf to take no notice because I reckoned that it was OK and I wanted to drive for him again in situations like that. I was quite happy. He asked how it went and I said that we went along at a steady speed between 60 and 60 mph. Everyone else was going past me but the lorry was running so smoothly at that speed that I thought that I’d leave it there Everything else had gone fine and because I’d done it in the evening and overnight there was no traffic about so it wasn’t as if I was panicking or anything like that in traffic queues and so on. I quite enjoyed the experience. We chatted about a few other firms that we knew and seen on our travels and by the time the phone call finished I hoped that I’d made a good impression that he might call for me again if he had any more overnight jobs where he couldn’t find a driver.

We arrived at Granville bang on time and then, having called in at Carrefour for my mushrooms, I began the long, weary trudge back home – the trudge that is more than enough to finish me off.

And for some reason, my suitcase seems to weigh three times as much as it usually does. Never mind the apples that I brought back – I must have put the tree in as well.

bad parking rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish that pathetic parking used to be a habitual feature of these pages, but I’m as fed up of talking about it as you probably are of reading about it.

However, sometimes the pathetic parking can’t be ignored, and this one here in the Rue des Juifs is one of those.

The reason why is that this is of course, as I have said before, a service bus route and there’s no conceivable possibility that an 8’6″ single decker service bus with an overhang front and rear can pass through that gap there.

But what does that matter to this delivery driver as long as he doesn’t have to walk more than two feet to deliver whatever it is that he’s delivering?

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One final photo to take before I stagger into my apartment.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw them erect a bike shed in the Place d’Armes and then dismantle part of it again. So while I was away in Leuven they have come back and finished it again.

The next photo of it that I will take will be when someone will leave a bike in it – unless I happen to catch some goings-on behind of of the type that used to go on behind the bike sheds that we had at school.

But those photos will only be available in a plain brown envelope.

Back here I made myself a coffee and when I’d finished drinking it I started to back up the big computer with the files off the laptop that i’d created or edited while I was away.

And it will come as no surprise to anyone to hear that I crashed out for half an hour too. You’ve probably already noticed that I didn’t have my customary half-hour here and there on the way home.

Tea was the burger that I didn’t eat last night in Leuven, being out with Alison again. And they are quite delicious.

So now I’m going to relax for a while before I go to bed. I’ve done enough today and I think that I’ve earned my lie-in tomorrow. As long as I don’t have another ‘phone call when i’m trying to sleep.

Saturday 26th February 2022 – YOU HAVE ALL MISSED …

earth and tyres dumped by farmers at leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… the excitement that took place through the night at quite a few of the supermarkets in Normandy overnight.

It seems that the local farmers had been to pay a visit, and had dropped off loads of earth, old tyres and other assorted stuff all over the entrances to the car parks so that no-one could enter.

The cashier at LeClerc with whom I spoke about the matter couldn’t tell me what was the object of the exercise, but French farmers don’t need an excuse to be militant . They can do it as a matter of course

tractors and lorry removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Some of the obstructions had been moved by the time that I arrived, and when I was on the point of leaving they were removing the others.

One of the workers had seen me taking photographs and came over to talk to me. He wanted to make sure that I knew that they had nothing whatever to do with the depositing of the load and that they were private citizens clearing it up.

Of course, I had no idea that they were anything else, but as they went to great pains to point it out, I thought that it was only correct that I emphasise the point.

Another point that I ought to emphasise was that I didn’t have much sleep last night. Not at all.

It was about 11:30 when I went to bed and with the alarm set for 07:30 I was optimistic that I could have something of a reasonable sleep. However I set off on my first nocturnal ramble at 01:24 according to the dictaphone and I didn’t stop after that. I started off in the north of Québec on a big Harley Davidson. It was winter and snowing heavily, and the only way that I could keep warm was to have my hood up on my jacket right over my head with just a small gap for my face. For some unknown reason the hood came down. I was riding along this autoroute and I was freezing – i’d never been so cold. There was snow and ice everywhere. On one occasion I lost sight of myself and looking on further down the road I couldn’t see where I was on this motorbike. Eventually I managed to catch up with myself and I had my hood back on. I arrived at the place where I was going, somewhere round by Québec or somewhere like that

And later we were back in Québec again, in winter again and at school. Again it was one of those things where my hood came down and I started to freeze to death in the snowstorm without putting my hood back up. Eventually, later on I relocated everything and I could put my hood back up. Then I could go to find the Governor and talk to him about some kind fo reciprocal arrangement for me to leave.

Amazingly, I was back a third time in Québec working in a butcher’s or a food-packing plant where we were putting boxes of food away in freezers ready for distribution. For some reason, in order to move fast, I was on a pair of roller skates and I’ve no idea why that was or how likely it would be and I can’t remember anything more about this, although I do remember that I went back into this dream at a later point but while it was pretty much the same dream my way of moving about this warehouse was a considerable amount slower compared to how it was previously when I was on roller skates.

The dream about the woman in the Ukraine dressed up on the second trip was actually after the Ukraine one that where everyone was freezing cold on the second trip. That’s what I dictated anyway, and what it relates to I really don’t know. Should it be maybe something connected to my second trip to Québec and does the woman relate to the part that I forgot?

It makes me wonder what else I might have forgotten or failed to note when I’ve been out and about at night, and whose visits have I omitted to record.

There was a deer that was wild but somehow it had come into a place where there were lots of people. It started jumping up and knocked over a woman in a bright blue dress before stamping off through the town. This was something to do with me being at work. I’d been absent for a considerable period of time. When I came back I plonked myself in a corner. people were making remarks about me being stuck in a corner. I replied that I’d just sat here to keep out of the way. if it’s someone else’s desk they have to tell me and I’ll quite happily go and sit somewhere else. In the end someone said that it was his seat. I was sure that it wasn’t so I had to gather all of my things. With all of the stuff that I have, it takes much longer than for someone else. Eventually I found that I had almost everything in my arms and stuck into bags etc. They found a place for me on a chair with no table sitting by a wall near a radiator. At least there was a bit of a socket there. One of the girls, Anne-Marie or someone, came to talk to me. “No-one likes Morales”, they said. “You should see his car. It’s parked 15 feet in front of a parking space” etc. That’s just the kind of person whom he is.

While we’re on the subject that vampires come up into this (and what this relates to, I really don’t know). Alison and I suggested meeting Jackie at a town that we know that was decaying, crumbling down where some really depressing things look as if they have taken place. There was something else about whales in an aquarium tank that I can’t remember at all

Finally, I was at some kind of meeting last night. There was some kind of talk being given and later on everyone went for lunch. When we came back out I was looking for a seat because someone had taken mine. There were these 4 statues right at the very front of the room. I patted one on the head and it said “hello” and started to talk to me. I realised that it was one of these pre-programmed things and the reply was based on what you said to it. I asked it all kinds of strange questions and was giving me some reasonably coherent answers, so much so that I was surprised. I was having quite a lot of attention from various people, my conversation with this statue. It turned out that the voice inside it was that of a girl and she came from the Soviet Union somewhere. I had quite an interesting chat with this pre-programmed robot statue thing.

So no TOTGA, Castor or Zero yet again, but having an interesting and exciting chat with a statue is something new. It sounds just about how my real life is these days. If I were to have a statue in here, having an interesting chat with it would make quite a change to talking to myself.

So after the medication I had a shower and then headed off to the shops.

All they had at Noz that interested me was some Italian alcohol-free beer so I bought a couple of packs of that and I’ll try one with my pizza tomorrow.

100 percent veggie food with eggs noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022But what was interesting, for quite another reason, was the 100% veggie Schnitzel escalopes.

Having been caught out on a previous occasion by one of the 100% veggie products that they carried, I check the labels these days and sure enough, it contains eggs. So much for the 100% veggie.

But I thought that the “yellows of eggs from free-range hens in powder” was rather extraordinary. How can powered hens, free-range or otherwise, lay eggs?

At LeClerc’s, apart from forgetting the Vitamin C tablets yet again, I didn’t buy anything special. It was just a normal shop this week. Quite a change from last week.

tractor removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I was leaving the supermarket, the tractor that was helping to move the rubbish turned it.

At first, I saw the tyres so I thought that it was coming to drop some more rubbish off but then I saw that those tyres were stuck on the prongs

On the way home I was listening to some SIMPLE MINDS. It’s another one of these albums that always touches a nerve with me. There’s a time and a place for music like this in my life and unfortunately, it always comes round on the playlist at the wrong.

“Somewhere there is someone who can see what I can see”. Yes, and for three whole days (and nights) too.

Back here I had a coffee and a slice of my really delicious coffee cake, and then I transcribed the dictaphone notes, which you read earlier.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Y Drenewydd v Connah’s Quay Nomads. The Nomads won 2-0 but I’m not going to comment on the match for fear of being charged with bringing the Welsh Premier League into disrepute.

What I can say is that if Chris Hughes, the manager of Y Drenewydd knew Jim Finks, the manager of the New Orleans Saints back in the late 80s, he would be repeating his comments “We’re not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating”

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On that note, it’s probably best that I go out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual I wandered off across the carpark to see what was happening down there on the beach. And I don’t know if the young girl down there is the same one who was down there yesterday but the wellingtons certainly looked familiar.

In fact there were plenty of people down there this afternoon. We’re supposed to be having the carnival but that has been cancelled. Nevertheless I imagine that many people had made arrangements to come here and they are here to make the best of it.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual I also had a good look around out at sea while I was here.

The yellow buoy that we saw yesterday was still out there but I was more interested in the cabin cruiser that was right out in the bay.

By the looks of things it’s a fishing party that’s out there – a rod and line fishing party, I mean. There weren’t any trawlers out there this afternoon. When I went past the port earlier this morning they were all moored up at the quayside.

They must be having a day off today.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that feature regularly in these pages is the water out in the bay.

We’ve seen a few good examples just yesterday of these variegated layers of water and yesterday we even saw quite a clear demarcation line where two currents had met.

But today, just offshore, we had another really good example of what I mean. There’s no physical demarcation but the colours are quite distinct.

On a completely different subject, there was a girl walking along the cliff edge filming herself and talking on the phone. I was inclined to go over to her to tell her to be careful. After all, I don’t want to be a witness at yet another inquest but she stopped her call as I approached and walked off.

She must have heard all about me from someone else.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was something else that was moving about right out in the bay off the Ile de Chausey so I went to stand on my bunker for a better look.

As I thought, it was a yacht returning to port after, presumably a sail out to the island. Not that I’m surprised because it was a gorgeous day. Quite sunny and just enough wind to move boats around out at sea but not enough to disturb those of us up here on the headland.

The sails were quite distinctive but it isn’t a yacht that I recognise. There were several seagulls keeping her company too so I hope that the crew had their headgear. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

couple bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The weather was so nice that I was expecting to see crods of people out and about around the car park.

The lower path that goes round the base of the cliff was crowded today and we even had a pair of lovers right out on the headland at the bench by the cabanon vauban and it looked as if they were having a good time.

And so was I, actually. It was nice to be out there in the sun without too much wind to blow me around off my perch. And so I headed off around the corner to the other side of the headland.

yachts le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a several other people out there taking advantage of the good weather.

There were several yachts wandering around in the bay but these two particularly caught my eye and I waited until they were lined up perfectly with Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour.

Over there in the background there were several people walking around on the beach at the side of the road that runs between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville. They were taking advantage of the nice weather too.

tiberiade la roc a la mauve 3 courrier des iles yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, in the chantier naval it looks as if most of the people connected with the activity down there were having the weekend off too.

As far as I could see, there was just one person down there, working on La Roc A La Mauve III. But by looking around on the ground underneath Courrier des Iles you can tell that they’ve been sanding down her paintwork.

Back here I had a few things to do, such as unpack the shopping and put it away. And I actually found one of the burgers that I especially like.

Consequently, for tea I had a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg. Plenty of mustard and garlic mayonnaise.

So having done everything that needs doing, I’m going to change the bedding. I had a good scrub this morning and I’m feeling quite clean (for a change) so I’m going to make the most of it.

Friday 4th February 2022 – OHH LOOK …

royal belgian air force airbus A400m-10 BAF676 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… at what flew past over my head while I was out for my afternoon walkies

Never mind your “stealth bomber” or “whisper jet”, this was making enough of an indescribable racket that would have awoken the dead down here, even though it was flying overhead at 33,975 feet. I’d forgotten what these things sounded like, having been away from Evere in Belgium in all this time.

For it’s a Belgian Airforce Airbus A400M-180 four-engined turbo-prop, registration number CT-04 coming from “an unreported departure point” flying to Brussels.

And don’t worry – they’ll hear it coming from a long way off. I did, and I hadn’t a clue what it was at first until I saw it but I’m sure that they will know.

Lufthansa LH498/DLH498 Boeing 747-830 D-ABYG pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022This however was much more easy to identify and I’m surprised at how quiet it was. But then, anything would be quiet next to the Airbus.

And it was next to the Airbus too. They crossed flight paths a few minutes after I’d taken the first photo and she came streaking my way.

She’s D-ABYG, a Boeing 747-830 belonging to Lufthansa and known as Baden-Württemberg – build n°1470 and delivered in 2013. One of the 16 still in the air of the 19 747-8s that they own.

She’s flying flight LH498/DLH498 from Frankfurt am Main to Mexico City

Seeing her made me go quite broody because it’s been ALMOST TEN YEARS since I last flew on a Jumbo Jet, when I had my famous little jaunt to Montréal via Schiphol.

It’s been 30 months since I last set foot in Montréal and while Montréal might appreciate the rest from my presence, I’m missing it and that’s part of my problem, I reckon. Montréal has always been my spiritual home.

And I wish that I’d been there today because I haven’t had a very good day at all here yet again.

The night was nothing like as good as last night but then that’s no real surprise because the idea that lightning would strike twice in the same place on consecutive days was far too much to hope for.

And I fell asleep after the first alarm went off and almost failed to beat the second one. And that would have been a tragedy.

After the meds and checking (some of) my mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was in Virlet last night, Les Guis, in my bedroom doing something that was using a lot of electricity. It was time to go to bed so I switched everything off and went outside onto the landing but none of the lights would work. I wondered if I’d cut off the electricity for some reason out there so that I couldn’t see anything out there. Then I noticed that the warning light was red rather than amber. I thought “I can’t have used that much electricity during the day, surely?”. Having had a listen I could hear something whirring in the background. it was the fridge that had been left on for some reason instead of working off the overcharge circuit that was at the farm. I had to change all of the plugs around on there but it was really difficult to do it in the dark and the uncertain floorboards and everything else that was there before I’d put the floor down and the walls in etc. I thought that this was a really silly thing to do, trailing all my electric like that.

And later, I was in the middle of doing something or other when I stopped to go and have coffee. I don’t know where I was, whether I was at school or something, but there were loads of people whom I knew from all through my life. I went downstairs to get this coffee, ddging a lot of people whom I didn’t want to see at that moment. By the coffee stand with a teddy bear was the nice girl from THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR“Yuliya” – ed. The coffee had been spilt all over the floor and everyone was mopping it up and was telling everyone to be careful. I made some remark about “you must have done this” to this girl. She replied “there you go, blaming me again”. I had a coffee. There was a little girl behind me, like a new-starter schoolgirl or something. She had a coffee and was really surprised to find that it was free. What I was doing before I went for the coffee I really can’t remember now. I can’t remember a thing.

There was also something about one of these big shopping centres like the Desjardins Centre in Montréal (yes, Montréal, and I wonder if that was what started me off being broody) but I can’t remember what it was.

Finally I was with a friend last night. He’d been working on a house and I’d gone round to see him. There were all kinds of animals there including a couple of kittens. I was playing with one of the kittens and said to the girl whose house it was “would you miss this one if it went?”. She told me that it was only 14 days old so I replied “maybe we ought to wait a while”. While I was looking around I had a kind of grip thing with some clothes in and one of her cats had climbed into there and gone to sleep. He had been doing some work and he had a pile of bricks, a pile of slates and tiles etc stacked on the floor in the attic of this house. I thought “this isn’t a very good idea because all the weight of that on these beams is going to break the beams if he’s not careful. He was telling me that his wife was back in the UK . There were things going on at the school where all the kids went, how they had moved school. She’d been roped in to do some work about which he wasn’t very happy. He explained that they could go to a place called Beaumont’s where they would have shoes for peanuts and maybe make some money at it. Later, I was with she. She’d been badly injured in something and was covered in plaster. I was as well. She wanted me to do something with this car. There was a car there from the 1930s. That was all covered in plaster as well. I had to help her into it, which wasn’t easy considering how I was. There were tools and everything all over the driver’s seat and the driver’s footwell so I started to move them. She asked me what I was doing. I replied “I can’t possibly drive this car with all of this stuff in the footwell here”. She replied “but if you put it all on the back seat, everyone will see it”. I answered “we can always put it back afterwards. I’ll stay with the car”. Then she wondered why I was going to drive it anyway. I replied “I thought that that was the plan now that you were in it” but she didn’t seem to think that it was. I was really puzzled about what was going to happen so in the end I sat in the driver’s seat which was on the right-hand side of course because this was a British car and told her to tell me when it was clear to pull out. I started to go and she started to panic but this cyclist coming was miles away. There was a police car coming down the hill so I thought that we’d best let the police car go out of sight before we set off. But with me being in plaster etc trying to move this car was a nightmare. There was no power steering, no anything and I was having to maul this round with my hands but I had no power in my arms because of where I’d been injured etc.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent going through the sound files and extracting the bits that I want to include in my broadcast. I’m about half-way through and I would have done much more than that had I not falled asleep after lunch.

And fallen asleep definitively too. For all of 90 minutes. Totally painless. I even went off on a voyage in the middle of it all. There was a long story, most of which I’ve forgotten. I ended up wit a young boy who was distilling something using heat, threading a bottle and pipe through an old resistance element of a 1960s electric cooker. He was adding to it some kind of solution that looked like very thick strong coffee except that it was supposed to be extremely alcoholic. he was gradually feeding this in but there were times when the heat was making his main liquid boil up so it was on the verge of overflowing so he had to turn down the heat. This meant that the dark brown liquid was blowing backwards out onto a tray but he didn’t realise any of this. When I went in there I saw this tray with a fair amount of this black alcoholic liquid so I went to pour it back into his container so that it would percolate back into the main mix that he was heating. For some unknown reason he became quite annoyed about my idea of doing this and made quite a little scene about it

Luckily, because I thought that at one time it would be debatable, I awoke in time for me to go out for my afternoon walk where I encountered those two aeroplanes.

people on beach medieval fish trap rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022First of all I went off for a good look down on the beach and the medieval fish trap.

Plenty of beach again of course, and there were once more plenty of people down there making the most of it.

You probably noticed the bright, clear blue sky that we were having while I was out. It really was a gorgeous day, even if the wind had sprung up somewhat and that probably explains all of the people down there this afternoon.

Very few people up here on the path though. The good weather hadn’t brought them this far out.

marker buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Mind you, it was really windy out there this afternoon, especially up here on the headland.

It was such that I was really having difficulty holding the camera still. That explains why the photo of the marker buoys just offshore is rather more blurred than I would have liked.

Nothing else of any excitement going on anywhere else. The chantier naval was as it was yesterday, the freight was still on the quayside but the cherry picker that we saw yesterday behind my building has cleared off somewhere else.

Consequently I was home quite quickly for my afternoon coffee.

Tea tonight was a falafel burger that I found in the fridge, with pasta and veg. Nothing special, but it was quite nice all the same.

Liz as on line later so we had quite a chat, the first time for what seemed like years. I’ve heard nothing from her for ages, even though she’s been here and there and around and about on my nocturnal rambles.

No shops tomorrow as I’m off to leuven on Wednesday. I’ll nip into town nevertheless for mushrooms and things like that but there won’t be much.

And with having had none of my favourite companions out with me during the night for a few days, they ought to be recovered from the previous exertions and raring to go.

So who will it be tonight? Castor? TOTGA? Zero? Or some other member of my family?

Monday 24th January 2022 – DAY SEVEN …

… of my self-imposed confinement and I had my first human face-to-face interaction for over a week.

Round about 08:00 I telephoned the nurse to tell him of my health issues and advise him not to come, but he told me that he was quite used to dealing with people in ill-health and it didn’t bother him at all that I was not feeling very healthy.

And so he came round and gave me my injection, and he had brought with him a Covid-testing apparatus. He reckoned that if I’m feeling unwell I ought to have a test. I’ll find out the result tomorrow.

He also brought me some good news. I’m now officially certified as 100% unwell and so most of my medical interventions are now reimbursed at 100% by the French Government. I’m not sure if that’s a good thig or a bad thing.

As for the night that I had, that was a bad thing and no mistake. Nit really very much pain to bother me but it was something of a restless night and I took ages to go off to sleep.

Restless was the word too. We were out taxi-driving last night. My father was out doing a job from somewhere but I don’t know where he’d gone. I was around the house doing something else. I could hear him come back and was talking about someone called Morris. I couldn’t hear everything. It seems that Morris was spending so much of his time looking after other people that he didn’t have the time to look after himself and had lost his pub. I couldn’t think who ha was talking about. He came in and said “I’ve just been talking to a friend of yours”. I replied “I don’t know who that was”. He said “I didn’t know which car to take but there was one just outside the house with a plate on it so I took that”. I had a look and it was a brown Mk IV that he had taken which was OK. There was another job from the immediate neighbourhood so he’d left the car down there for some reason and come back here on foot. The impression that I had was that he was wanting me to go with him to do this job, not that I could think why it needs 2 of us but he was quite keen on me going for some reason. I prepared to go and we went outside and it was Gainsborough Road. There was some talk about the untidy garden that was there and I was becoming fed up of all of these people complaining so I had a mind to find a great big scaffolding and erect it all around the house so that it looked as if there was work being done and leave it sitting like that for a while because it was making me totally fed up

I started to dictate this without the dictaphone in my hand again. I was back hime in Gainsborough Road. Someone had pulled up with a pile of stuff for me and the blonde girl who was there, whoever she was, and I went out to unload their car and stock up my kitchen with everything. Later on I had a newspaper round to go and do. It was going to be fairly easy because with everyone cancelling and so on there was only 1 delivery to make. I prepared to go and thought that if I go quickly I’ll be back before Nina comes back. She didn’t come back yesterday afternoon so I wondered where she’d got to but that was up to her. I had everything together but I couldn’t find my keys for the motor bike. I hunted high and low in the house and found all these loads of different keys, different key rings and everything like that but not one for the motorbike. Plenty for cars that were no longer here but none for a car that was here either. I was starting to panic because I was going to be late to deliver this paper and I may well miss Nina at this rate or she might even arrive before I’ve gone out.

last night there was some kind of dream about a tropical island that a few of us were to visit for some reason. I can’t remember who and I can’t remember anything that actually happened when we arrived there unfortunately.

The train pulled into the station and I boarded with this little girl who was with me. Someone was already sitting in my place so I went to sit upstairs on the top row. But then there was something missing about my clothes so I had to go back down where I used to sit, pick them up from there and bring them back to where I was sitting now. Then there was something else that I needed so I went to go down to fetch it. Someone else asked me to fetch something as well but I thought that this is going to keep on happening and it’ll be a complete nightmare so why don’t I go and sit downstairs near where I’m supposed to be and where everything is within reach

Despite being in isolation I’d gone into hospital to watch a film. It was a small room with about a dozen of us. I knew one or two of the people, including a little girl (I seem to be featuring a lot of little girls in my voyages just recently), from a language class. I was in a hospital nightgown thing and I’d walked all the way from my house to this hospital all the way through the town in my nightgown. When it had finished on the way back, I had a think. There’s a quicker was to go home than going through the town so I decided to go that way. For some unknown reason I ended up with a couple of people who gave me a lift. When we turned into South St there was a huge traffic queue. I was sitting there reading a book so I didn’t really notice it but the guy left the car for a look around. he came back and we waited and waited, then I left the car to stretch my legs and go to have a look. I reached the corner of Catherine Street when suddenly this queue finished and everyone moved off. I couldn’t remember which vehicle I’d been in and my bag with all of my possessions was in it and it drove away. I thought “how am I going to get all of my stuff back now?”.

At some point the question of a new house turned up. I was looking at a new house in Audlem. There was a good deal going on one so I had something of an interest in it. I told the estate agent. On the way home I walked back through the village to find out exactly where this house was. I threw my bag which I somehow had onto the property but it became stuck on the roof of the house next door. There was no-one in and no ladder around so I thought “I’m not going to have that back for a while am I?”. I had a look inside the windows and the rooms were really tiny. I thought that this isn’t going to be much use for me with these tiny rooms. Then I was thinking that seeing as I’m in Audlem it’s only a hop and a skip over the border into Shropshire so why don’t I look around Market Drayton or somewhere like that for a house where I’d be in a different County and make a new start?

Not quite the same as GOING TO CALIFORNIA is it though?.

Yes, I think that Cheshire was glad to see the back of me when I left to live on the mainland.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed, staggered off into the kitchen for my medication and then came back in here to check my messages.

Nothing exciting had happened overnight so I occupied myself with the radio programme that needed doing. Even though there were several breaks for drinks, ‘phone calls and the like, it was up and running by 10:35

It could have been ready earlier than that but firstly I wasn’t as motivated as I might have been and secondly, for some unaccountable reason, I ended up 10 seconds short. A mathematical error somewhere, I suppose.

While I was listening to the results and to the radio programme that I was sending off to be broadcast this coming weekend, I carried on amending the journal entries where I’d left off the photos and the details of the nocturnal journeys for the month of January. They are now up-to-date but there are a couple that need doing for December.

There was also a break to go and have a shower and to tidy myself up ready for the nurse.

After he had gone, I made a very late lunch. Soup with vermicelli and some nice fresh bread from yesterday. And being fed up of the bread not lasting, I cut the loaf in half and stuck one half into the freezer to see how it goes when it’s defrosted in a couple of days time.

With lunch out of the way I finished off listening to the radio programmes and updating the journal but to my dismay I fell asleep again. And for a good hour and a half too.

While I was away with the fairies I really was away too. There was a group of builders working on a building at the back of where I was. It was a new-build with brick and they had done some astonishing things while I’d been watching, like standing on window-ledges on the outside of the property several floors up with no safety harness while they worked on the exterior of the building. When I looked again there were two of them, one kneeling on the window-ledge, the other one standing with his legs either side of the first, again several floors up with no safety equipment. They were now rendering the exterior of the building with cement, using a large plastic sheet to give some kind of decorative effect and this was giving me heart failure watching them work like this.

When I finally awoke it took me a good few minutes to gather myself together – in fact I was all for going straight to bed at that point. It was definitely two steps backwards today.

When I’d recovered I made myself a strong coffee but I somehow couldn’t bring myself round to do much work. Transcribing the dictaphone notes was about as much as I could manage – although there were more than just a few of those to deal with.

Tea was a vegan burger with rice and vegetables and now I’m going to bed. Once more, I’m thoroughly exhausted and I’ve no idea why. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I’m hoping that I’ll feel so much better than I did last Tuesday.

Friday 7th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

rainstorm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… photos today, people.

And when you see this photo that I took while I was out on my afternoon walk, you’ll understand why. That’s a rainstorm out there in the Baie de Granville obscuring the Ile de Chausey, and it’s a big one too.

And about two minutes after taking this photograph, I got the lot. Dropped on my head from a great height, as it were.

Had I seen it coming before I went outside I might even have waited for it to pass over, but I didn’t notice it until I was on my way down the path, by which time it was too late, so I carried on regardless and even four or five hours later my trousers are still wet.

It’s a good job that I’d worn my rain jacket.

So what have I been up to today then?

The answer is that I’ve been fairly busy (for once). And that includes during the night too. One of my friends – and I can’t remember who it was now – was teaching a class of Primary School children and the question of cars came up. I’d been dismantling a pile of German cars so I had loads of German numberplates and things. One of the numberplates had a collection of badges on it. There were a lot of things that were very interesting so I arranged to go into her class to give a little talk to the children. Of course Strawberry Moose came with me. When I arrived I was pretty loaded up so people had to open doors etc for me. I finally entered and put everything down. I had to introduce myself and say why I was there. One of the flower pots on the desk fell off onto the floor right in front of us all for no apparent reason so that had to be picked up. Then other things like that started to go wrong. This was taking ages but I’d hardly started. I said that I used to go to this school as a child and Mrs Matthews and Miss Blackburn were my teachers. I’d hardly started but everything was going wrong. We were running out of time. I could see that it would have been far better to have done this in the morning rather than in the afternoon after lunch but it was crazy.

Later on, TOTGA had 2 cats. We were talking on the ‘phone when she gave one such a smack. I asked “what’s up? Poor cat!”. She said “poor chat! How would you like it if one of them had just scratched your brand-new cricket shoes to shreds?” – something like that.

This was something to do with globalisation and my Passat estate. I’d been with a group of people and they’d all decided that they wanted to do different things. This was in the Netherlands or Flanders. I didn’t really want to do anything but they had all decided where they were going. They were all going to different places and I’d be on my own so I tagged on to one of them. There was a howling gale blowing outside that had already blown in one of the windows. We had to run down these 4 flights of stairs to the bottom in the teeth of this gale so I set off. When I reached the bottom there was a German soldier with a rifle holding me up. He asked where I was going and I replied “the hospital” so he showed me where it was and I went on my way. At the hospital we talked about globalisation, how the War had made some big American companies into multinationals. They were talking about cars too. I had a pile of plastic folders on my desk with all information about cars that I’d owned. We went through all of those and came to the one of the Passat. I said that this is the last of the really independent estate cars. After this, everything else was all the same.

There was something else too about TOTGA. She was in goal. There were people throwing all kinds of things at the goal. She was diving around like a goalkeeper keeping them all out. There was something to do with my Passat as well in this but I can’t remember what it was.

So aren’t I the lucky one? A couple of nights of Castor and Zero, and then TOTGA comes along. It’ll be Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter tonight, you just wait and see.

Once I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes (and a second time too because I deleted rather than saved them – it’s a good job that I do my daily back-up) first task was to make the bread.

500 grammes of wholemeal flour, 8 grammes of salt, 80 grammes of sunflower seeds, 2 packs of yeast and 320 grammes of water all kneaded together for about half an hour.

While it was busy proofing, I made the rest of the hummus now that I have a whizzer. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be bothered by vampires and werewolves while eating this batch. It’s wicked.

It’s a simple recipe too. For any given quantity of weight, use 50% of chick peas, 25% of tahini (sesame seed paste), some olive oil and chick pea juice to make it up to about 95%, some sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Then whizz it up into a nice puree to the consistency of cement.

Then add your filling to take it up to 100%. One batch had diced olives and the other one diced sun-dried tomatoes. Whizz them in gently, just enough to disperse them throughout the mix but not to atomise them.

Kepp what you need in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for further use. I have some nice 125ml ice cream tubs that I salvaged from a housemate in Leuven and they are perfect.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back at the bread. It had risen quite nicely and so it was put in the oven to do its stuff for 70 minutes

And this is how it turned out. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It tasted beautiful too, especially with the fresh hummus on it. It made a really wonderful lunch and I was very impressed with this. I’m really going to have to start to get back into cooking again.

And if I’m feeling like that, you can tell that I’m feeling much better than I did earlier in the week. I wonder if I can keep this up for a while.

While I’d been waiting for the bread to bake, I’d been doing this little exercise in my journal that I started yesterday. That’s finished now, which is good news.

But what’s surprising is that there were only 79 entries in total that needed to be amended and none at all before 2012. Considering that this played an important part in my life between 1996 and late 2007 and still does to a considerable degree, this is quite astonishing. I was expecting many, many more than this.

After my delicious lunch, I started on this soundfile and by the time that I was ready to knock off for work, I had finished it. Reduced from 27:32 to 11:35.

At least, I thought that I had. But for some unaccountable reason, one of the channels was would up to +36dB and I hadn’t noticed it before I saved it. And so it’s “clipped” horribly and reducing the decibels just turns it into a big mess.

Luckily, it’s the interviewer’s channel so I’m able to take the master recording (I never edit the master recordings, only copies that I make), cut out the questions, re-edit them and paste them back in over the top where the clipping has taken place.

It’s not easy because there is some overlap, but it’s better than I expected. I’ll finish that tomorrow anyway.

When I started using Audacity I knew next to nothing about it. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I never make any mistakes. I just learn a lot of lessons very quickly.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Like taking a raincoat with me when I go out for my afternoon walk.

Actually, I might have gathered that something was up by the fact that the place was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul about. Certainly not down on the beach this afternoon. I had it all to myself.

There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – at least, as far as I could see. And that wasn’t very far with that rainstorm just offshore. Quite a change from the last couple of days when we’ve had some of the best views that I can remember.

skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was something going on on the car park though.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the lorry and mini-digger coming back and to to the area. And now a skip has appeared with a load of soil in it. Something must be happening somewhere and I suppose that I ought to get out and about and look to see what it is.

But not today. Not in this weather anyway. I girded up my loins, wrapped my raincoat tightly aroud me, stuffed the NIKON D500 up underneath my jumper and waded off through the puddles and down the path.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And it wasn’t until I reached the chantier naval that I stopped either.

But that was because despite the weather, there was some change down there today. Trafalgar, the trawler that we saw in there yesterday, has now disappeared. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

There’s just Gerlean in there today, and she’s heavily wrapped up against the weather, just as I wish that I was.

Not wishing to hang about any longer, I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. And to finish (and then re-start) the editing of the sound-file. And I’m glad that I’ve done it. Quite a change from a couple of days ago.

Tea was some of these burgers in breadcrumbs that I like, with veg and baked potato. They are quite delicious and I enjoyed that meal very much.

So all in all, a busy day today. And about time too. Tomorrow, I’m shopping. Not for very much because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday morning so I’m only planning on going to Lidl. And I’ll be glad to have my lie-in on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that.

Thursday 6th January 2022 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And he’s brought a friend with him too.

It seems that I was exceedingly premature the other day when I said that they must have finished down at the roadworks by the Rue St Michel, because ever since then, the lorry with its trailer and machines has been back every day.

And in the past I’ve mentioned about the difficulties that large vehicles have of passing underneath the Porte St Jean into the old town. It’s usual therefore for there to be a means of trans-shipment using a smaller vehicle, and today there’s a pick-up by the side of the lorry unloading stuff that it’s brought from within the walls

This morning I needed a pick-up to move me from my bed into the living room because I certainly wasn’t capable of doing it under my own steam.

It had been another “nuit blanche” – a night without any sleep. At least, that’s what it felt like and the fact that there was nothing at all recorded on the dictaphone tends to give that idea some credence. I suppose that the awful afternoon that i’d had yesterday was preying on my mind.

After the medication and so on, I came back in here feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything at all. And that’s how it went for a couple of hours.

But a strong mug of coffee at breakfast time gradually seeped down all the way through my muscles and I began slowly to feel more like it. I even went out and did the “end of the month” back-up onto the memory stick that I take to Leuven with me that I use to update the travelling laptop.

And feeling a little more like it after that, I set myself a little task, to prove that I am worthy.

There’s been a persistent … well, not a fault, but something that I would like to change in my notes and I’d made a start back in November and all subsequent entries have reflected it.

It’s to do with a song by Al Stewart that I heard while I was preparing a radio programme and it reminded me of something going back to 2006-07 that I did that I had forgotten, inspired by the same song. The lyrics were … well … extremely appropriate at the time.

Anyway, being up-to-date with that from November, there were entries going back all the way to the start of this journal to amend and so I made a start. Not every day of course, maybe one every few weeks (although just recently they have been a lot more frequent than that) and I made it as far back as the end of October 2020.

And if I have time tonight I’ll do a few more too because it’s quite therapeutic. Al Stewart has a lot to answer for.

Another strong coffee brought me even more into the land of the living and I attacked the soundfile that I started the other day.

With a pause here and there and a pause for my afternoon walk, I was well-advanced. Over 10 minutes of this interview has already gone the way of the west leaving me with, at the moment, just about 15 minutes, of which there will be more following its friends into oblivion.

There is at the moment 8.5 minutes of how I want it to be, so I’m looking as if I’m going to end up with about 12 minutes in total.

It won’t be done tomorrow morning though because I have bread to make. and now that I have a new whizzer, I need to finish off making this large batch of hummus.

In fact there would have been much more of this sound file edited but Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions.

As for the afternoon walk, well, it was like a March day outside – not cold, not wet, not particularly anything.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022First place to go to is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there.

And there was plenty of beach for all kinds of things to be going on, but there weren’t many people down there going on with it. In fact, for the whole length of the beach, I could only see one person, although there was some movement down by the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see whether we might have any kind of maritime activity, but there wasn’t a sausage out there this afternoon that I could see, and it was quite clear this afternoon again.

light aeroplane 50sa pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There might have been nothing going on out at sea, but there was something going on up in the air this afternoon.

As I walked down the path I was overflown by an aeroplane that had taken off from the local airfield. No need to look for a flight plan because it’s our old friend 50SA and, being an ultra-light aircraft, she doesn’t file one which is a shame.

And it’s my intention to go out to the airfield when I come back from Leuven to make further enquiries about these planes and find out what I can about them. But I bet that there will be no-one there to ask when I arrive.

cap fréhel cap erquy brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Yesterday, I mentioned that the views out to sea were amongst the best that we have ever had.

That’s certainly the case today and the view of Cap Fréhel, 70 kms away, even with the naked eye, was quite impressive. Not only that, if you look carefully at this image you can see the headland beyond it.

If I’m correct, that headland in the background to the right of the lighthouse is Cap Erquy and that’s a further 10 or 12 kilometres further on.

Yes, the views were really impressive, but it was a shame that there was only me out there enjoying them. There wasn’t another soul about this afternoon, and that suits me, with another 261,000 infections. I’m dreading going to Paris next week with all of this.

gerlean trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one down by the bench at the end of the headland so I carried on along the path towards the port.

And there’s been another change of occupant in the chantier naval as well since I was last here. Pescadore and La Bavolette II now seem to have gone back into the water and in their place is the trawler Trafalgar whom we have seen in there before.

On the othe rhand, Gerlean is still in there, having a lot of work carried out on her. But I’ll refrain from saying “it looks as if she’s in here for a long stay” for that’s the cue for her to be back in the water when I come by tomorrow.

joly france chausiase ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Joly France boats, the older one of the two unless I’m much mistaken, is still over there as she has been for the last while, but she’s been joined today by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey occasionally.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see the Channel Island ferries back at the ferry terminal? It’s been almost 2 years since they last went out (apart from that little window in the early summer 2020) and with the infection rates being so appalling, that’s not likely to change any time soon.

On the way home, I passed by the lorry and its trailer and little friend, and came back here for a coffee and to carry on work, until Rosemary called.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger with vegetables. Very nice and it made me feel much better. In fact, I’ve not had too bad a day today despite how it started (and how yesterday finished).

Baking bread tomorrow, making hummus, and whatever else I can find to do.

Monday 3rd January 2022 – I’M FEELING A LITTLE …

… better today, although once more I don’t know why, because nothing any different happened today.

having made an effort, I was in bed at some kind of reasonable time – still not as early as I would have liked but early enough to make sure that I had something like a reasonable sleep.

And I didn’t go too far on my travels either. I’d gone back to school. There was something in the newspaper about something or other and I found myself back in school with all this information, or at least some of it. I’ve no idea why. I arrived at the lift (which there wasn’t in my day) and was trying to work out from the names of the teachers on there which lift was going to fo to where. After I’d been doing this for a couple of minutes, someone came over to me – a teacher – and asked me but I couldn’t explain why I was there because I didn’t have all of the information so I made up some story about a handball match and said that we didn’t have handball when we were at school so I was hoping to interview someone about the game. She mentioned a name and wandered off but I couldn’t see that name on this list. There was someone there, an adult person with a baby mentality. She told me that it was 38 so I made some kind of baby talk reply back to her and went back to get into the lift.

Later on there was some kind of headline in the local paper “Boris Johnson gives £30,000 to kids’ school toilet”. It turns out that the tilet in this school had been damaged in some kind of attack and according to the headline he’d given the money to this school to repair it. However it turned out that it was money from a certain budget that had been set aside for this kind of work anyway so it was nothing to do with him, nothing to do with a gift, nothing to do with anything. Just a normal routine that had been gaslit by this newspaper.

And having spent the last couple of nights in the company of some rather interesting and agreeable young ladies, last night’s companions, such as they were, were rather disappointing.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed fairly rapidly, which was something of a surprise to me given the way that things have been just recently. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme and it was all up and running by 10:30, with breaks for coffee and breakfast included.

And I would have finished it earlier too had I been able to find the ZOOM H8 as soon as I started looking at it. Eventually after much binding in the marsh, I found it on the shelf by the computer still plugged into the microphone and the mains.

Next time, I must remember to put it away properly.

Just as I started to listen to the programme that I’d made, Rosemary rang me and we had a very long chat as usual so by the time I’d finished listening to the programme that I made today and the one that I was sending off for broadcast, I ended up having a very late lunch.

First task after lunch was to blanch and then freeze the sprouts and the leeks that were left over from New Year. Now I have a nice collection of frozen veg and there is still no room in the freezer. Every time I take something out, I end up sticking something else back.

The rubbish bin was now full to the brim so I braved the rainstorm and took it outside to the containers.

The dictaphone notes are all now finished too and tomorrow I’ll make a start on updating some of the journal entries where the “overnight notes” haven’t been, in the hope that I can find myself in the company of a few more interesting and agreeable young ladies.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I went out earlier, it was raining quite heavily but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk it had eased off a little. Just a little.

First port of call was of course the beach so I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park. And while there is more and more beach, there are fewer and fewer people on it.

In fact, there was no-one down there this afternoon that I can see. And that’s hardly a surprise given the weather.

In fact, you can tell from the photo just how miserable the weather is this afternoon. Visibility down to about three or four miles with a haze that is actually the cumulative effect of a rainstorm.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As usual, I was lookign around out at sea as well.

And deep in the bay flitting in and out of the squalls was a trawler having a good fish about – at least, all of its white lights were illuminated and that’s a legal requirement for a fishing boat that has all of its nets out.

There was another one further out as well. I caught the occasional glimpse of it during the periods when the rain abated.

No-one on the beach and there was no-one on the path either this afternoon which, given the weather, was no surprise. I could have a wander around in perfect safety despite the totals of infections and deaths. The number of infections in Normandy has more than doubled since the holidaymakers arrived.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one was down at the bench this afternoon, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in the vicinity.

Out at sea off the coast were three fishing boats. The tide is on the way in of course but it will be half an hour at least before it’s deep enough for the boats to moor up at the fish processing plant so they are loitering around offshore until the moment arrives when they can come in.

They haven’t had much of a holiday, these fishermen.

So on that note, I headed off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port and the chantier naval.

La Bavolette II gerlean chantier naval port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And there has been more activity in the chantier naval since I was here last yesterday afternoon.

Although that fishing boat down there has Le Saint Gaud painted on her superstructure, according to the shipping register she’s now called La Bavolette II, having changed her name quite recently.

She’s there in the chantier naval alongside Gerlean who is still in there since the other day.

But I wasn’t there for long. The rain was making me feel quite depressed so I turned for home. I had things to do.

articulated lorry and trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However I couldn’t go home quite yet.

Over on the other side is a large articulated lorry and trailer. At first I thought that it might belong to Plenty’s dad. His lorries come in here quite regularly although I haven’t seen one for a while.

This one however is from somewhere else and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s from the Netherlands. The telephone number isn’t the correct format for Flanders.

Back here I put the coffee on the go and while it was percolating I went for a shower. And while I was at it I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair.

And finally, I was able to drink my coffee.

In the fridge was half a tin of baked beans from Saturday morning. Consequently I cut myself some chips and used the microwave fryer to cook them. They ended up as a soggy mass which was a shame but they were still nice for a change. Baked beans and a vegan burger rounded it off quite nicely.

When this play on the radio finishes, I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lesson starts up again tomorrow so there is a lot of revision to do and lessons to prepare.

Wednesday 29th December 2021 – THERE’S ONE THING …

… about all of these issues I’m having about trying to have some work done on Caliburn during the Christmas – New Year period. And that is that I’m having plenty of exercise. My fitbit tells me that I’m up to 99% of my daily activity and as soon as I press “send” on this journal entry, I’ll take the rubbish out and push it up to over 100%.

This morning I struggled – really struggled – to leave my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30 (yes, I remembered to set it this morning). Having had a late night last night was probably responsible for that but I was having a chat with someone as well as doing some interesting work.

While I was asleep I was off on my travels again. THere was a big concert in Canterbury with loads of groups on. I was down there and I tracked down one or two but in the end someone pointed me to the direction of the organisers who had a shop there too selling all amplifiers second hand, everything that you need. The tod me who was on and when and where so I made a list of groups whom I wanted to see. I was talking to a couple of boys about this as well and writing a list of what I wanted to see. I happened to mention that I was a bassist and that excited them tremendously. They were very keen so I gave them my phone number. Then I was back in Crewe, making everything ready to leave to go back down to Canterbury again. I set off and I was a good way down the road towards the motorway. It was one of those situations where you had to drive west to pick up the motorway on order to go south-east but I realised that I didn’t have my jacket. I didn’t have the list of acts that I wanted to see or where they were playing. I set off anyway thinking that I can redo all of this when I arrive

There was also something about me being in a shop. The floor was very wet. All of a sudden my knee gave way again and I crashed to the floor. Of course everyone came to help me. I said that it wasn’t the first time that I’d had a similar incident to this – in this shop a couple of years ago. She went off to fetch the accident book to go and look through it to see if I was there and to see what remedy they had done to help me ease the problem that I was having

Later on there was something about some kind of list. It might have been a music list or a shopping list, I can’t remember now. Someone had to take me back home for something because my guitar was playing up. Through a few of the songs you could actually hear my guitar, a really searing Gibson lead guitar playing that wasn’t on the original copies. There was something else too but I can’t remember what that was.

And even later during the night I was back with this big rock concert again, going down to Dover rather than Canterbury) to watch these groups. On Saturday I’d been out with Liz and mentioned it to her but she didn’t know what was happening about the snooker final or anything like that. She said that she could make it if there was nothing preventing her. I had to go to find out which groups they were. I could remember four of them so in order to remember them I wrote them down on my stomach in biro and went back to see Liz to tell her, and wouldn’t my stomach be a gruesome sight for anyone?

After the medication and checking my messages I made a long-awaited start on work – and attacked a pile of dictaphone notes. As well as todays, there are a few previous days that have been transcribed and added in where they belong. There are now only … gulp … 27 entries that need to be transcribed before I’m up-to-date enough to let things slide into arrears once again.

When I’d had enough of that I attacked a sound file of an interview that we did a few weeks ago. The content of this one is far the best of all that we interviewed but the quality isn’t up to much.

And there’s so much that needs to fall by the wayside too. There’s still 4:30 to edit on the first pass but by the time that I knocked off, already over 50% has gone into the bin. There will be much more taken out oo, but I have yet another cunning plan for that.

Brain of Britain forgot to make his hummus this morning so I ended up with vegan grated cheese sandwiches for lunch. It made a nice change, I can tell you.

During the morning I made a couple of phone calls – firstly to my doctor for an appointment to renew my physiotherapy prescription and to obtain the final dose of Aranesp.

The second one was to the garage where Caliburn is currently residing. I should have called them last night but with Rosemary on the phone for as long as she was, they were closed when I called them.

Caliburn wasn’t ready, he told me, which was just as well that I didn’t turn up uninvited yesterday evening, but he should be ready at 17:00. And so accordingly at 15:30 I set off.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s a little earlier than normal, I went off to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

Firstly, it has to be said that there wasn’t very much beach for anything to be happening upon right now. The tide was well in and there was hardly enough room to swing a cat down there.

There was however a couple of brave people down there this afternoon on the little piece of beach that was at the foot of the steps. I’ve no idea what they were doing as I couldn’t see that far out and I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021From there I walked around the back of the building and down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There were a few trawlers in the inner harbour, so I noticed, but none of the little shellfish boats that I could see. The outher harbour was quite empty for a change and even the yellow Cherie d’Amour seemed to be out at sea this afternoon.

There was something else out in the bay, right down near to the Pointe de Carolles, as I found out when I examined the photo later. Whoever she is, she has a black sail rather in the style of Black Mamba, but it is not she, according to my shipping database.

place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At long last I could go down the Rampe du Monte à Regret and then the steps to the bottom, because today they have cleared away the huts of the Christmas market.

That was very much a sad affair – just a dozen or so huts without a great deal of patronage. Had they installed them in the centre of town, say, at the Place General de Gaulle, they might have had much more luck with it.

So I trudged along on my weary way out through the town centre and up the long climb all the way to the roundabout right at the top, only stopping once for breath which is a great improvement. And climbing the four steps that I use as the guide to test my knee was much easier too.

Once on the flat I could push on to the garage, stopping at the Aldi for a can of energy drink to keep me going. I seem to be living on tha right now.

christmas market wooden chalets Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I came out of the supermarket, a council lorry with a couple of cabins from the Christmas market drove past.

Hence a very hurried (and rather blurred, unfortunately) photo as they roared past the car park.

17:00 I was told to be at the garage, and it was 17:00 bang-on when I arrived. It took me 80 minutes (including the stop at Aldi) to walk there. And there I found that Caliburn was a long way from being finished.

“If you can wait an hour I can lend you a courtesy vehicle” said the proprietor. Well, I need some shopping from LeClerc, which is about 500 metres away …

Back at the garage I had a half-hour wait and then the proprietor lent me the garage’s van – one of thse little Opel vans like a Berlingo. A typical mechanic’s van – nothing works correctly and there are warning lights everywhere, all of which will be repaired “as soon as we have a moment”.

“Give me a ring tomorrow evening” said the proprietor as I left.

And frankly, I’m worried. I can’t understand what are the problems in fitting a set of discs and pads onto the rear of Caliburn. Had I had my health, my tools and a decent place to work, I could have done the job myself in an hour or so. What’s going on?

Back here I made myself a glorious mug of hot chocolate and then arranged tea. And seeing that I now have some potatoes, it was baked potato with burger – a real one – on a bap.

Now I’m off for bed. I’m exhausted after all of my walking – especially now that I’m at 102%. And I still have a lot to do before I can stop for the New Year break.

Tuesday 28th December 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… a couple of photos of the waves breaking over the sea wall and into the harbour, I’ll tell you about my day today.

And there won’t be much to say because, for a change, I haven’t done a single thing today. Not a thing. I’ve had one of these days where I just lazed around.

Mind you, it all started quite badly today because for one reason or another I forgot to switch on the alarm this morning. Conseuently it was about 10:30 or so when I finally crawled out of bed. It’s a good job that I didn’t have a Welsh lesson today otherwise I may well have missed it.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d had my medication and so on, I came back in here where I sat down and did nothing at all.

As for breakfast, I missed that. I wasn’t hungry at all after my meal last night. The morning coffee that I had though was beautiful.

There was still some hummus left for lunch so I didn’t need to make any more this morning. And after I’d made lunch there was still enough left over for tomorrow too.

Back in here I had a rather desultory afternoon going through a pile of loose files on one of the old hard drives attached to my laptop and allocating them to various directories.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Of course there was the afternoon walk – I managed to stir my stumps to that extent today anyway.

Down on the beach there were several people wandering around this afternoon, but it was this pair who particularly caught my eye. A little girl and, presumably, her father, both with buckets and spades coming down to build a sandcastle.

No prizes for guessing what the kid had for Christmas, is there?

And despite everything else, there wasn’t a soul out at sea this afternoon. So I headed off through the maskless crowds towards the end of the headland.

pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland this afternoon.

And that was no surprise because it really was quite windy this afternoon. It had whipped up quite impressively and was churning up the sea. It’s not the weather to be sitting around bearing the full brunt of what was blowing around out there.

There were a few people walking around on the lower path down there and I bet that they were noticing the wind down there.

Nothing out at sea either this afternoon so I didn’t wait around out here. I headed down the path on my way home.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Walking down the path towards the port I could se the waves breaking on – and over – the sea wall into the harbour and I took the photos that you saw earlier.

The closer I came to the wall the more I could see how turbulent the sea actually was.

On the far right of the image you can see how the receding wave has churned up the one that is incoming, although the tail of the incoming wave is just about to give those people walking on top of the wall down there a good soaking.

So having seen everything that I wanted to see, I made tracks for home. I was ready for my hot coffee.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Looking back behind me as I walked down the road, I could see the sunset.

It was another one of these TORA TORA TORA moments, with the rays of the sun passing through the small gaps in the clouds. It really is quite an impressive effect.

Back here I had my coffee and just as I was sitting down to finally start some kind of work, Rosemary called me and we had another lengthy chat that went on for ever. Our conversation finished just in time, because the nurse came round to inject me.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables, but the burger that was loitering in the fridge was a falafel burger, so that’s effectively falafel for two nights running. Not that I’m complaining because it’s tasty and nutritious.

Eventually I caught up with my nocturnal perambulations. There was something about me being in the dentist’s or something. I’d been injected with some kind of anaesthetic or something but I can’t remember any more really than that

At another moment I was out for a walk last night and I can’t remember very much about it except that at one point the footpath was rather narrow. A tractor came towards me carrying two trees. We had to make ourselves very thin in this pathway and hide behind a bush or something somewhere so that this tractor could go past with these trees without knocking us over

There was also some kind of illegal activity going on involving 2 guys one of whom was rather young and simple. The other one had to take him to Liverpool to make sure that he was seen around a police station so that they could get on with what they were planning to do. The other guy wondered why that was necessary. The other one said that it was because he’d been seen hitch-hiking down towards the south so he would have to be taken back up north again. It was a cover to count for his presence there etc. He had to have possessions with him so they decided on a couple of LPS that were there, one from a pop group from the 60s and he suggested taking a Rolling Stones album with him as well. They were sorting this out at this shop place in London before they prepared to go back up north again

Now I’m off to bed, having made sure that the alarm is set for tomorrow. Nice as lie-ins are, I can’t spend the rest of my life in bed. I have to do some work some time some how.

Thursday 23rd December 2021 – WELL, THAT DIDN’T …

repairing portable boat lift chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… last very long, did it?

While I was out on my post-prandial perambulation this afternoon I went along the path at the top of the cliff above the chantier naval to see what was going on there now thatAztec Lady has gone back into the water.

In fact there’s very little of any excitement going on today because by the looks of things, the lift is out of action. It’s fenced off again and there’s a cherry picker parked at its side with a man scrambling on top.

That didn’t last very long, did it?

Mind you, it lasted longer than my night did last night. It wasn’t so early when I went to bed because, to warm myself up, I had a nice mug of thick, hot chocolate. But even so, I was still wide awake at 06:45 waiting for the 07:30 alarm call.

And typing that made me remember how nice it was so I have just been to make myself another one.

Stuff on the dictaphone too. I’d been on my travels last night. In fact, there was tons of stuff going back for over a week that I need to transcribe at some point when I’m feeling better.

Anyway, I managed to deal with last night’s, which is a major step forward. Last night I dreamt that I’d joined a volunteer fire brigade. I’d been organising my equipment and getting everything ready for being out on call, everything like that, but someone said it wasn’t quite that easy. I had to attend a training session and that was going to take place at 01:00. Of course 01:00 is a crazy time but they had to do it when there was very little interruption around. I looked around at 01:00. It was a cold, wet day and I couldn’t imagine that any kind of rehearsal would take place there, regardless of the fact that in the real world, as a firefighter you are out in all kinds of weather. As I was sitting there debating what to do, I ended up being in Scotland carrying buckets of water for a bakery. I’m not sure where this fitted in but I dozed off to sleep apparently because the next thing that I remember it was 03:20.

Later on, we were at work again, discussing holidays. I happened to mention that if I could I was planning to go to Axel Heiberg Island with one of my explorer friends. We would hire an aeroplane and try to land there. Of course this made everyone go “wow!”. One girl in particular was poring over a map of the High Arctic, all these places, saying about where she wanted to go, what was the sea?. I told her as much as I possibly could. She wanted to know how to get there so I told her about my friends in Canada. She said “I’ll have to go to a travel agent for a brochure”. I replied “no, you can ring the company direct”. I gave her all of the co-ordinates for it. I was being quite a good salesman in my dreams last night

Finally we ended up back at Virlet, me, someone else and some guy. We were talking about the place and I showed him round. I did some tidying up in the attic, all the nails and screws that were all over the floor using a magnet to pick them up. We were talking about it and I said that I lived down here permanently for several years from 2006, a chat like that. Then we had to leave. He wanted to take a photo of something or other, I’m not quite sure what it was. He got down on his knees on a blanket to photograph something in the stairwell. That was when I awoke

After breakfast, I didn’t do much. In fact, I haven’t done much all day. But in the spirit of doing something – anything – is better than nothing, I’ve been wading through one of my hard drives sorting out duplicate files. That’s another 210 GB of free disk space that I’ve created today and there’s still plenty to go at.

There were the usual breaks – for breakfast and my banana and molasses cake; and then lunch of course.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021My afternoon walk too around the headland, as I mentioned earlier.

Down on the beach there were several people wandering about – both down here and over at the Plat Gousset too.

There were quite a few people walking around on the promenade too as well as on the path underneath the walls.

Today was quite a bit warmer than it was yesterday, but it was cloudy and damp. The kind of weather when you might expect to see a few people out there.

Nothing out at sea though, so I had a nice quiet walk down to the end of the headland.

person on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the end of the headland there was no-one sitting on the bench this afternoon, but there was someone sitting farther out on the end of the rocks.

These days, since the events of 6 or so weeks ago, you have to keep a watchful eye on people sitting on the rocks, just in case…

Having inspected the chantier naval I came home for my hot coffee and to carry on weeding this back-up drive and throwing out the duplicates. I think that I’ll be here for ever doing it but at least I’m doing something.

Tea was a burger on a bap which was delicious. And now that I’ve drunk my delicious hot chocolate, I’m off to bed. I’ve a really bust day tomorrow that will end up in a late evening so tomorrow’s notes might be even later than usual.

And don’t forget my Christmas concert tomorrow night at 21:00 CET ON THE RADIO.

Monday 13th December 2021 – I HAVE HAD A …

… very quiet day today.

And that’s not a surprise because after all of the exertions this weekend I was pretty much exhausted, and I need to pace myself ready for my trip to Leuven on Wednesday and my … gulp … three hospital appointments on Thursday.

And although I’m not going to say anything particular about the rotten night that I had last night, I will say that the alarm didn’t go off this morning (I’d put it on “silent” in the cinema on Saturday night and forgotten to unsilence it later) but it made no difference because I was already awake.

There must have been some point during the night where I dozed off to sleep because according to the dictaphone I’d been off on my travels. We were at my father’s place of work last night, Nerina and I, and my father was there. The night before, they’d asked me to take a bus out and I’d been doing bus services around rural North-East Cheshire into the Manchester area in a red double-decker. I’d really enjoyed it and I’d come back and was quite ready to go for more. My father told me that they’d even given me a cash bonus for having done it. They had an 8-wheeled on the pit. They’d just finished servicing it. He told Nerina to get into the cab. He showed her all the controls, she started up the lorry and he told her to go and drive it over to the yard, so she did. He came over to chat to me and said, “well, she’s keen enough so there’s no reason to stop her doing it”. She came back. I had a huge power bar, an extension and a socket and I couldn’t remember what I was going to do with it, walking over to a bus. A guy came out of a door and said “how are you short for wet and dry paper?” I replied “all we can get, I suppose”. My father came over and told him how many we need and then he asked me if I wanted any. I couldn’t think for a moment but Nerina said that she wanted some but said to this guy “make sure that I have a receipt so that I can pay you how much is on the receipt”. She said afterwards “it all sounds very fishy to me and I wondered if they were trying to entrap us all into getting this stuff so I wanted to make it clear that I was going to pay for mine”.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I set about dealing with the radio programme. And by 11:15 this morning it was all up and running. And that includes stopping for a coffee and, later on, for breakfast. And while I was listening to it afterwards, I did some tidying up on the computer.

A shower was next and of all that weight loss that I mentioned the other day, I’ve put most of it back on even though I haven’t done anything that would have contributed to that. Either my scales are up the spout or else my water retention issues are accelerating.

After lunch I sorted myself out again and then headed off to the physiotherapist.

j158 trawler l'ecume 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I walked down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I noticed that there was a trawler coming into port.

And judging by her registration number – J158 – she’s the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II whom we saw in port a few days ago. She’s managed to find her way back into harbour again this afternoon without her crew falling asleep at the helm and running aground on a sandbank.

But her presence here in Granville proves that the British gutter press that is insisting that French ports are locking British fishing boats out of their harbours is talking the most unadulterated garbage.

normandy warrior port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There’s another ship from Jersey here in port this afternoon too.

We can tell by the absence of the upper deck at the stern of this boat that it’s Normandy Warrior, not her sister Normandy Trader.

There’s a huge pile of freight on the quayside here that needs to be loaded onto her deck and she’s going to be a while before all of that is stowed safely on board.

From there I wandered through the town centre and up the hill on the other side to the physiotherapist.

After the usual 5 minutes’ warm-up on the cross trainer she had me doing some kinetic exercises and finishing off on the tilting platform – with 5 minutes’ overtime too.

ON the way home there wasn’t anything of any excitement whatsoever and I had a leisurely stroll home.

cutting trees boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At the top of the hill at the Boulevard Vaufleury the workmen had been out this afternoon.

While I was on my travels yesterday I noticed that there were “no waiting” signs in the parking spaces just here, and this would seem to be the reason why.

There’s a long row of trees all the way down the road and they have been out there this afternoon trimming the trees. This is the time to do it when the sap is dying down and they will be ready for the Spring when the birds are looking for sites to build their nests.

lorry full of paving stones porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I’d been looking at the trees a large lorry went past me.

There was a skip on the back of the lorry – a skip that I recognised as the one that had been left on the car park over the weekend.

It’s now on the back of the lorry and it’s loaded up with these builders’ sacks full of cobbles. And presumably it’s waiting there for the fork lift truck to come from the roadworks in the Rue St Michel to take a few of them away. Presumably he can’t fit through the arch to take them himself

If I have time, I’ll nip down that way again before I leave to Leuven and see how they are doing.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went back into my apartment I went to have a look down on the beach.

And there wasn’t anythign at all going on down there this afternoon. The tide was well in and it was going dark so I imagine that that would put most people off the idea of going for a stroll down there.

Back in the apartment I made myself a hot coffee and then had a little relax. I wasn’t up to doing much work this afternoon. I was pretty tired after all of this exertion.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with baked potato and vegetables and it was delicious as always.

But now even though it’s early, I’m off to bed. We have our last Welsh lesson of the year tomorrow and I have plenty of revision and preparation to do.

Thursday 9th December 2021 – FOR SOME REASON …

… today has gone really slowly. In fact, it’s dragged pretty much today and at one stage I thought that it would never finish.

That makes a change from how it usually is when there never seems to be enough time to do anything at all. And in fact, despite it never seeming to finish, it took quite a while to start, especially when I couldn’t seem to raise my back up off the bed.

However, I was up and about eventually and once I’d come round, had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I started work.

First task was to write a pile of e-mails. The time-limit for my project is drawing closer so I needed to chivvy up a couple of people who were foolish enough to promise me something. As for the other people, that’s Monday’s job.

Next was the recordings from Sunday. I wrote a mail to Laurent enclosing the sound files with a note explaining whet needs to be done.

The organiser from the radio wrote to me too. Would I go with him tomorrow evening and photograph a music concert? So that’s my football tomorrow evening down the spout.

For the rest of the morning I’ve been working on the photos from that music concert at the end of October. I’d forgotten about those – and that’s probably because they’ve forgotten about me. I offered them a spot on my radio programmes as a liv concert one weekend but despite two reminders, I never had a reply.

In fact, of all the mails and messages that I send out offering people free air time, or trying to buy something, or trying to obtain information that might lead to me spending a lot of money with them, I have about 10%-worth of replies.

Seriously, the next person who tells me that there’s a recession on will receive a smack in the mouth.

Another thing that I’ve done today is to scrub, clean and polish Caliburn’s headlights. They have gone rather dim just recently and I found a cheap headlight-polishing kit in LeClerc. And it’s a good job that I did it when I did because half an hour before, and half an hour after, we had a rainstorm.

When I went out to clean the lights it was the only part of the day when it wasn’t raining.

Something else was to soak 750 grammes of dried fruit. I’m going to make a Christmas fruit cake this weekend so I need plenty of dried fruit soaked in flavouring. Finding alcohol-free brandy or rum essence is impossible here so I made my own out of vanilla and orange. That will sit and soak now until Sunday.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite the heavy rain, I dressed for the weather and then went out for my afternoon walk.

First place to visit was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach. And to my surprise, there were some people down there too. They must be as crazy as I am.

One guy was out there walking his dog but I’m not sure what the others were doing. You’re probably expecting me to make some kind of comment about the peche à pied after the news the other day, but I shall refrain.

fishing boat baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was raining quite heavily so I had to be careful where and when I produced the camera.

You can see the kind of weather that we were having by looking at this fishing boat out here in the bay. Not only is it lost in a mist of heavy rain, it’s also quite low down in the water.

Well, that’s relatively speaking, of course. What’s creating that effect is the fact that the sea is quite turbulent today and I took that photo at the apogee of a wave-cycle. That explains everything.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … going out to sea in this kind of weather day after day; week after week, is one of the more dangerous modern occupations and my hat comes off to anyone who does it.

different surfaces in water baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021One thing for certain is that these different colours in the water is not due to variations in the cloud cover.

That’s something that I can confirm today anyway because we are having 10/10ths cloud cover. It’s all thick, heavy and grey out there and yet the sea is producing another one of its multi-coloured layer effects for us.

All that I can suggest is that if it’s not down to what’s underneath on the sea bed, it must be to do with the water-type – the water with the slight brown tinge is presumably fresh water coming from a river and bringing silt with it, and being carried by the tides and current.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There’s none of it round the other side too. You can see the frontier half-way out towards Le Loup

There are two rivers here – a river that flows from a spring in the side of the cliff here and then there’s the River Boscq that runs underneath the Rue du Boscq and out through the harbour.

But once more, I was the only person here watching it. In view of the weather there was no-one else around at all. And, in news that shall surprise no-one, there wasn’t anything going on in the bay either. Everyone else was safe at home in the warmth.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There were a few people walking around by the ferry terminal though.

One of the Joly France boats was there – the older one of the two with the larger upper-deck superstructure and with no step in the stern. They must be planning on running a ferry service out to the Ile de Chausey in the immediate future.

She’d drawn a little crowd too. There were a few people walking around on the quayside over there and also on the wall that goes around the Port de Plaisance.

But I’m not hanging around right now. I’m rather wet at the moment … “no surprise here” – ed … so I’m heading home for a hot coffee.

What I did once I returned home will surprise many people, but I made out a CV and sent it off in answer to a job advertisement.

There’s a good reason for doing this, which I shall now proceed to explain.

Apart from the obvious intention of going back into the Travel business where I spent many happy years in the 80s and early 90s, I wanted my CV to be on their table and brought to their attention and this was the ideal moment to do it.

In the past, I’ve travelled with this company as a client, which is rather like a school field trip rather than a tour, and to say that I’ve been unimpressed with the historians that they have engaged is something of an understatement.

Without wishing to blow my own trumpet too much, I know far more about the Norse voyages to Greenland and North America than the “historian” did, and I’ve spent much more time out on the Labrador coast visiting exciting places that relate to all kinds of history of the Province, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

So what I did in my CV is to post links to much of the stuff that I’ve written in the past, in the days when I used to have time, in the hope that they will read it. So if I don’t win the Tour Manager’s job (which will be a shame if I don’t) they might pick me up as a historian and geographer.

One thing that I do know is that if I don’t apply, I won’t have the job and I won’t lose anything by trying.

But it really is the kind of job that I can do standing on my head. 13 years of leading coach tours behind the iron Curtain, a couple of years organising conferences for that strange American company in Brussels where I worked with Alison. I must be in the mix somewhere

Tea tonight was pasta and a vegan burger and now I’m off to bed. Before I go though, I’ll just add in the dictaphone notes from last night. There was a party taking place and I’d been invited so I was definitely going. There were several girls going too so I thought to myself that I want to play an open hand here for if I’m lucky I might actually end up with one the way things were breaking out. Someone offered me a lift home afterwards, which I refused because I said that I wanted to see how the situation ended with a certain girl because obviously if it ended well I was going to walk her home. If she came with us in the car that would complicate matters even more because there was one boy going to be left over rom these boys and girls anyway and I was hopeful that it wasn’t going to be me. We all turned up at this party and the way that the tables were arranged we were ending up in pairs – boy-girl-boy-girl with a boy at the end. I was lucky in that I was next to the girl I wanted to be. So the meal started to be served but there was some kind of issue between the guy who in theory was alone (there was a guy with him with whom I went to school) and one of the girls that was on the point of turning ugly. I couldn’t understand what was happening. It was a simple matter of dishing out the food but for some unknown reason there was some kind of dispute. I was looking on with some kind of fright because for once I’d actually managed to sit next to the girl I wanted but the way that this was going I could see everyone walking out and that would leave me sitting on my own. One of these “just as I thought I’d got my bird and just about to get my fork stuck in it” moments.

I stepped back into this dream again later with this situation between this boy and this girl and serving out the lettuce was becoming extremely uncomfortable. There I was thinking for once in my life when I really did get the girl this is all going to backfire through no fault of my own and I’ll be on my own again

I’d already started to dig out the interview bits to fit the camera and the reporters and preparing for this to be recorded but the way that things are going on there will be no-one here to record. And what that was about I have no idea at all.

Later on I was trying to tidy up the kitchen where I was living with someone. She had a small daughter about Roxanne’s age. There were clothes everywhere all over the kitchen belonging to this child who was just taking them off and dumping them somewhere. I was collecting them up and putting them in a pile in the wash basket. It was overflowing like mad. I felt like having a word with this woman to say that only one change of clothes every day. I mentioned that I had the clothes and she replied “you know where the linen basket is. Put them there” so I continued to build up this enormous pile of clothing. She was doing something down the sink. I asked her what it was. She replied “a while ago some birds had gone in there in the evacuation and you could see them so you can shoot at them and occasionally hit one of them and it would die in the waste trap”. She said that they were thinking of selling their house so she had to have it cleared out anyway but there was enough room for the water to pass out by the side of it.

Finally I was doing a coach trip but as a passenger, not a driver. The new Covid regulations came out that meant that people could only sit at one of every two seats. I was going around putting bin bags on the alternate seats and taping them in place, making sure that there were notices telling people not to sit there. Of course, in the middle of a coach trip this was extremely difficult. Some people were being co-operative, some were not. The crane parked alongside the coach wasn’t making things easy. In the end I managed to close off half the seats with the exception of the back row because of people were there. I thought that that’s another job in this list that’s been done even if the people were not too keen. I had to borrow a set of scissors from one of the passengers but someone produced this most extraordinary sharp knife with a strange blade but that was exactly what I wanted so I borrowed that as well to do the job.

It was a good day today. Here’s hoping for a better one tomorrow.