Tag Archives: vegan cheese sauce

Friday 19th August 2022 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I’ve had a good day today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how long will that last?

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

Thursday 11th August 2022 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S …

… somewhat better day yesterday, the wheels came off again today. No surprise there, I suppose.

What didn’t help was not going to bed until long after midnight. I don’t know why but I wasn’t tired at all the later it became and even going to bed then, I wasn’t tired and couldn’t drop off to sleep.

Eventually though I did and I was still flat-out when the alarm went off.

You’ve no idea how much effort it took for me to crawl out of bed either. I was convinced that I was going to fail to beat the second alarm, and there wasn’t all that much in it.

After the medication I came back here and that was the last that I remember until 10:00. I’d crashed out completely, and for about two hours too. That was rather upsetting and it put me all behind.

Mind you I caught up again, and in unexpected circumstances too. When I went to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night, to my surprise it was completely blank. I hadn’t expected that.

It beats me completely why I should be so tired if I’ve slept right the way through with no interruptions. But they days when I could work and work and work after days when I’ve had no more than 4 hours sleep look as if they are long gone.

So instead of transcribing nothing, I’ve been transcribing a few days’ worth of notes from when I was in Leuven and that’s all up to date now. For my next trick I’ll have to deal with the stuff from my trip out to Central Europe which is still awaiting attention. That will have to be my next plan, I reckon.

As you might expect, I haven’t written the letter that I needed to write, and neither have I written those 2 e-mails. That’s because despite having crashed out so dramatically this morning, I crashed out again this afternoon.

And did I have a rude awakening?

The hospital called me. They want me to cut out one of my medications and to up my doses of Aranesp (which I haven’t taken for a few weeks).

The bad news is that when I go back in October they are going to send me to the Pneumonologist for more tests. So I explained that I’d had tests with Pneumology just now and they were exactly the same tests as I underwent a year ago. That’s a whole year of my life wasted while they are messing around.

Let me explain more fully. This illness that I have – no-one has survived more than 11 years with it. I fell ill in Summer 2015 so that’s 7 years ago. Even in the best-case scenario I have no more than 4 years left to live. Last year it was a maximum of 5 years of course so I have wasted 20% of my life while they have been messing around.

In any other time, had they said “don’t come back for three months” I’d have been on the next ‘plane to Montreal but I can’t even get down the road these days.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Somewhere in the middle of all of this I went out for my afternoon walk.

Across the car park, with no-one parked in a position about which I could complain, and over to the wall at the end where I could look down upon the crowds on the beach.

And crowds there were too. Plenty of people down there enjoying themselves in the stifling heat. yet another candidate for “hottest day of the year”.

Some had even gone into the sea too and I can’t say that I didn’t sumpathise. At another time in other circumstances I would have been tempted to go down there myself and join in.

hermes I baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was up here I was looking around out at sea to see what was happening.

It was quite busy too out there, both with pleasure craft and with working boats. One of the latter was our old friend Hermes I who we saw the other day having a go at ramming one of the Joly France boats

At this distance I can’t tell if she has her tackle out though. usually we can see the cables but I couldn’t see them when I enhanced the image. She’s also supposed to display 2 white lights if she has her gear out but I can’t see those either.

But what I did like about this photo was being photo-bombed by a seagull as I was taking it. There are plenty of seagulls about right now.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was another mad stampede of boats coming back from the Ile de Chausey this afternoon while I was out.

Amongst the crowd was one of the Joly France ferries. And we can tell by her windows in “landscape” format that she’s the older one of the two.

She has quite a crowd of people on board too. There must have been hundreds of people out there on the islands this afternoon.

Hundreds of people up here on the path too. I had to fight my way past the throngs of people and through the car park down to the end of the headland

fire Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022No-one down on the bench by the cabanon vauban or fishing from the rocks so I carried on down the path on the other side of the headland.

And what’s going on here? As I walked down the path towards the port I noticed a column of smoke billowing up from behind the church.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago when we had a similar phenomenon it was the recycling plant that had gone up like Joan of Arc but in this kind of weather almost anything will burn if you apply a naked flame to it.

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what’s in the local paper.

And talking of the local paper, the local newspaper ran an article a few weeks ago about the new kiddies roundabout in the Place Charles de Gaulle. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I scooped them by a couple of weeks.

belle france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little earlier I mentioned the stampede of boats that was on its way back to the mainland from the Ile de Chausey.

We’ve already seen one of the Joly France boats but 15 minutes behind her is the very new Belle France.

She has quite a crowd of people on board as well this afternoon so they really must have had a busy day out on the island.

And that has me thinking. Water supplies out there on the island are quite limited so I wonder how they are coping in the secheresse with all of these people going out there. I’ve been on Greek islands where they had ships outfitted as tankers that would bring in the fresh water overnight from the mainland but I’ve not seen anything like that here.

ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Onwards I went to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval to see what was happening there.

And we have yet another change in occupancy today. Chant des Sirenes, La Soupape I and Cap Lihou are still in there along with Peccavi who came to join them earlier in the week.

But the unidentified trawler has now left and she’s been replaced by another. I can’t see her registration number unfortunately but her colour scheme is that of Trafalgar who we have seen in there a few times.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a healthy ship repair yard is a good sign for a port as it encourages more shipowners to take up residence.

sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There has also been some activity at the Fish processing Plant today too.

The two boats that were there yesterday, L’Omerta and La Grande Ancre, are no longer there and the boat that would normally replace L’Omerta, Gerlean, hasn’t come back to take over.

But moored over there is one of the blue and white shell-fishing boats and we can tell by her registration number that begins with SM for St Malo that it is in fact Lysandre.

One of these days I’ll have to find out why it is that she finds life in Granville more exciting than one of the ports over on the Brittany side of the bay where she is officially based.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I mentioned Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters.

So look who’s in port this afternoon.

You can tell that it’s her and not her sister Normandy Warrior because she has the raised deck at the back of the wheelhouse. She’s actually a veteran of the Falklands War and I’ve seen the bullet holes in her superstructure.

After that I came back for some fruit and carried on with whatever I was doing. and I can’t remember what that was now

Interestingly though on Monday when I was doing my radio programme on Monday I was talking about Terry Reid who almost sang with Led Zeppelin. This evening, my cousin’s son-in-law who runs the biggest second-hand record shop in Ottawa posted a couple of photos of a couple of rare LPs that he had just acquired – of Terry Reid.

It’s a small world.

Tea was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan chees sauce and then back in here I wrote up my notes which took a lot longer than it ought because I was chatting to Liz on the internet. We had a lot to say for ourselves.

And then someone posted a pile of old coach photos on the internet – mainly of Plaxton-bodied Ford R1114 coaches and I drifted away in a wave of nostalgia, having driven dozens of those during a substantial period of my life before I fell in love with Van Hool bodied Volvo B10M coaches in which I drove over most of Europe

So on that note, later than usual, I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping for a good sleep and a better day tomorrow. High time I snapped out of this depression in which I’ve slid yet again and got on with what I’m supposed to be doing.

Thursday 28th July 2022 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… candidate for one of the worst days that I’ve had for quite a while.

Most of it has been spent asleep on my chair in the bedroom and that is extremely depressing.

So while you admire a few photos of the aerial activity that was taking place this afternoon while I was out and about on my travels I’ll tell you all about it, not that you want to hear it.

Anyway, last night I went to bed rather later than I intended, although not as late as it might have been.

55qj aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But it was quite a lively night yet again and I was travelling about for quite a distance.

There was something happening last night. Someone had copy/pasted his signature into a document but the copy/paste had included a lot of inappropriate stuff. This had caused all kinds of problems for him with him copy/pasting instead of cropping what he had copy/pasted

And I was asking my self if I had I dictated about one daughter of my niece being upset about something? I dunno … “no you hadn’t” – ed. I was trying to talk to her and she went off to sit somewhere on a bench so I went over there to sit not too close to her to give her some room but not too far away. She said something but I can’t remember what it was, an ambiguous comment that could have meant “move up closer” or “move further away” and I couldn’t work out which was the meaning of this comment that she had said to me. I was at a loss to understand it.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022A little later I was in a Welsh class. We’d come back after the holidays. We were a full class and I was sitting next to the boy next to whom I usually sit. We talked about what we’d done. The guy behind us talked about what he had done too so I rang up one or two other people who were in the class and was talking to them about their holidays. The teacher started to walk down the aisle handing out papers so I cut off the conversations. Some boy sitting in the aisle next to me started to play some Santana and put his music player on my desk. He asked “how do you fancy a bit of Santana?”. Much as I would have a bit of Santana any time, that wasn’t the time or place so I told him “not now” but he wouldn’t listen. He kept turning this Santana music. He was clearly irritating the prof, it was irritating me and irritating most of the other people around us too. We didn’t want that at that particular moment.

We’d been on the office outing somewhere. We’d been to a town somewhere in Europe. We’d arrived and we were all on board the bus. It was raining quite heavily so they decided that they would abandon the walking tour. Some woman was there with a young daughter and I was quite interested in the daughter. Everyone was asking what they were going to do etc so I said to this woman “when they drop us off we can go for a coffee” as an excuse to talk to the daughter. That seemed to be like a very good idea. She seemed to like that idea. We had to fetch our things and meet back on the bus in a couple of minutes. I wandered off back to my room to get my things together and walk back to where I thought that we’d pick up the bus but it wasn’t there. I was wondering what on earth had happened to it so I had a wander around. I overheard these 2 people talking, talking about the group. One of them had been on “Eric’s group and I’m sure that we’d had more goes than we were supposed to”. That rang a bell with me about something that we’d done. I walked round the corner and it was 2 people from our party. I asked them if they knew where we were meeting the bus. They thought that it was here but I thought that it was somewhere else. I thought that it might be a good idea to go down to this other place to have a look as it wasn’t far away but they didn’t seem to be interested in leaving so I thought that maybe I’d go on my own and leave them there because if they were there they would hold the bus for me if it were to come for me and I wasn’t there and give me chance to return to catch it.

A little later Percy Penguin made a brief appearance in a German class that I was teaching. I was trying to have my students say the diphthong “HK” correctly. She was there in this class having a practice and not getting it right.

Once more it was a struggle to leave the bed before the second alarm went off but I managed it nevertheless (only just) and then I came in here to transcribe my dictaphone notes.

Round about 10:00 I fell asleep and apart from a few moments of wakefulness here and there, that was that until about 15:30. Somehow I’d managed to fit in my breakfast and my lunchtime fruit but I’m not sure how.

Before going out for my afternoon walk I had a shower to clean myself up. I weighmed myself too and the weight that I’d been slowly losing over the last couple of weeks has gone back on. That has probably depressed me more than falling asleep.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, after the shower I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And dodging the Nazguls that were flying by overhead I went over to the wall at the end of the headland to look down on the beach to see what was happening.

There ween’t all that many people down there this afternoon but of those who were there, there were quite a few of them in the water.

Further on down the coast a little way there were plenty of people in the water down there, but access to the beach down there at the Plat Gousset is so much easier.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As well as the aeroplanes and so on, there were one or two boats out at sea this afternoon.

There was one of the shell-fishing boats on its way back to port from out at the Ile de Chausey. It’s far too far away for me to identify it from here but her colours and the dinghy that she is towing reminds me very much of Les Bouchots de Chausey.

With the wind that was blowing there was quite a bit of dust about this afternoon. This drought is starting to become serious. It’ s making the place look like 1930s Oklahoma right now and it’s not going to improve until we have some rain.

Although when that might be I have no idea.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Down at the end of the headland I crossed the car park and went down to see what was happening on the rocks.

We had a couple of fishermen out there with rod and line this afternoon. They seemed to be enjoyng themselves except, of course, that they weren’t actually catching anything.

Not that I expected that they would.

No-one sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban either. They seem to be having a day off today. So I wandered off around the corner and down the path on the other side of the headland.

fishing boat la confiance 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Down at the port we have a change in occupancy in the chantier naval.

La Confiance II is still in there, and there was someone doing some arc-welding on it as I went past this afternoon. And she’s now been joined by one of the little shell-fishing boats.

Unfortunately I can’t see her registration number so I’m not able to tell you who she might be.

No-one over at the ferry terminal either. They must all be out at work today as well. There was even La Cancalaise, the sister ship to La Granvillaise, out at the Ile de Chausey with a party from Cancale.

ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 ch640361 nais fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We didn’t have any ships at the Fish Processing Plant playing “Musical Ships” but we did have some fishing boats over there unloading.

Two of them are regulars of ours and we have seen them many times. At the front of the queue is CH922344 who is of course Le Roc A La Mauve III who we saw in the chantier naval for quite a while earlier in the year, and behind her is CH640361 who is Nais.

The third one is a mystery though. Her registration number begins with “M” and that’s the registration code for Milford Haven in Wales, so I’m not likely to find her in my database of French fishing vessels. Nevertheless it’s quite a puzzle as to what she’s doing coming all the way here.

chausiaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Just now I mentioned that there was no-one at the ferry terminal.

As I walked back to the apartment, around the corner behind me came Chausiaise. She’s rather early and I don’t think that there’s enough water for her to moor at the ferry terminal quite yet.

Back here I had a coffee and then spent a while having a play on the acoustic guitar. I’m enjoying myself much more on the acoustic than I have done for a while and I can actually play an F chord that sounds like an F chord.

In fact, I’m tending much more to play songs in the original key regardless of the chords rather than playing them in keys in which the chords are easier to play. Gone are the days were I’m stuck in A C D E and G and their derivatives.

Tea was steamed veg with veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce and it really was delicious.

So bedtime now. if I’m lucky I’ll be in bed early and have a good night’s sleep. Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. I can’t go on like this.

Thursday 9th June 2022 – I WAS DOING …

… really well today. I went all the way through to the late afternoon without crashing out and I even managed to accomplish a great deal of work which was quite a surprise.

And when you see how far I travelled during the night, it’s a surprise that I wasn’t dead on my feet a long time before I did.

Once again I was awake before the alarm went off – at about 06:30 in fact – and there was no difficulty at all in leaving the bed as soon as the alarm sounded.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We started off with something to do with Christmas time. There were Christmas carols. Some young girl had to sing them but someone was busy trying to make her intoxicated and she was far too young for that so that they could take advantage of her. Her mother found out about what was going on and stepped in to put a stop to the situation developing out of hand. There was part of it with someone having an on-line chat. She was having all of these people queueing up to have on-line chats with her as soon as she came on-line. There were so many that she couldn’t carry on a conversation with any of them and was being swamped. If it had been a case of 2 or 3 conversations it wouldn’t have been too bad but this was dozens of people calling her for conversations as soon as she came on line and she wasn’t able to cope with any of this at all. That was a dream that was again extremely vivid and extremely real, far too real to be comfortable.

Then I had to go to the Wistaston Green estate to pick up Andrew Beddow to take him to one of the clubs in Crewe. The taxi fare came to £1:40 but he gave me a 20-guinea piece to hold onto as a sign of good faith while I waited while he went off to change a £20 note so that he’d have the correct change to give me. We were talking about taxis and money and the clubs etc. It was quite an interesting chat.

There was some kind of quiz game on TV. One of the contestants was having a right mauling and the producer went over to the presenter to ask him to go easy with the contestant because she was someone from his old school. He wanted her to have an easy ride about it. The presenter wasn’t having any of this and if anything, started to make the questions even tougher for this particular girl. That’s all that I remember of this which is a shame.

There was a swimming pool where a lot of young girls used to go. The owners had it in their heads that they wanted to set up cameras and film everyone from a safety point of view and tuition point of view. None of the customers or regulars were having it. They believed that this was being done for some kind of mischievous purpose. Everyone just upped and walked out. Even the boss of this company quit as well right in the middle of him having some kind of beauty appointment with Frank Sinatra when he handed in his notice and left.

Nerina and I had both been at work as well and we’d come home to our flat as usual. We had to go out again so we made ready. She was going out of the door and I had to check to make sure that I had my keys and money etc. There was a note on our door so she picked it up and read it. She asked me if I’d go down and put the money in an envelope that someone would give her and then inside an envelope that someone else would give her and take it to the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival so that they’d be up-to-date and if I could spend any time to work down there that would be great. I said that I’d see what I could do about that. Then we prepared to go out. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember any more now. What confused me about this was that I found myself dictating this into my hand as well and I had to go back and start again from the beginning using the dictaphone this time. That’s how come I forgot a lot og it

And then I had to go to Nantes or Rennes and I was in the red Cortina estate. I drove all the way down there and found what I had to do. I had to come back in 2 days time. I had all my dirty clothes and a big plastic sack and I wandered around looking for a tap. Eventually I found one in a park and filled the plastic sack of clothes full of water. I was going to leave it down there for a couple of days all to soak and I could pick it up when I returned in 2 days time for the next meeting or whatever it was. While I was wrestling with this bag a woman, her husband and three little girls came down the steps. Of course I was in their way with this bag so I had to move it out of the way. I didn’t realise how heavy it was now and it was quite a wrestle for me to move it out of the path so that they could all go past and go on into this park.

Meanwhile I went all the way down to the end of the yard in these 2 old Commer vans so that I could dismantle all of the plumbing fittings that were around here. And I have a feeling that I’ve missed off a lot of this one as well.

After the events of recent times, I’m surprised that I wasn’t stark out at some early point in the morning after all of that.

There was an interruption at 10:00 for breakfast with my delicious fruit buns and to answer the telephone when Ingrid rang me. We chatted for quite a long time as we had plenty to say to each other. It’s been quite a while since we last spoke.

Having finished the dictaphone notes I had a form to fill in.

Every couple of years I have to complete a certificate to say that I’m still alive so that I can continue to receive my pension. The doctor countersigned it last time that I was there but I’d forgotten to send it off. Now they were telling me that they are planning to stop paying me unless I send it back quite soon.

It did rather remind me of the story that I’d heard about the guy who had been left a large sum of money in a will “if he could prove that he was still alive”. He had to find a Justice of the Peace to swear an oath.
The JP asked him “Are you …. (Mr X)?”
“Yes I am”
“Are you still alive?”

That left me with enough time for a shower and a good clean-up before lunch.

After lunch I had several e-mails to write. As I’ve mentioned before, this Sports Therapist wants to give me a few sessions of therapy and he wants to give a prescription to the physiotherapist about some special exercises.

Before he can do so, he needs a resumé of my health condition, presumably to make sure that nothing that he’s prescribing will compromise my hospital treatment or create a bad effect on my health.

Another thing is to tell them about how I’m feeling about my health in general, that seems to be deteriorating quite rapidly now. And so I composed an e-mail to each of the services that is treating me to make them aware of the situation and to ask them for the resumé.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my trip to the physiotherapist.

And as usual, I went to the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening this afternoon down in the harbour.

And our game of Musical Ships has taken another turn this afternoon. L’Omerta is no longer there this afternoon but in her place Gerlean is back again.

At the moment then there are only these two boats playing “Musical Ships” and I wonder how long they’ll be able to keep it up, or whether we’ll have some more players in due course.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was here I had a good look out in the baie de Mont St Michel.

There was plenty of activity going on there this afternoon too. After the storms of yesterday that kept everyone indoors a few of the sailing schools were out there today.

There were two sailing schools out there just outside the harbour with a couple of zodiacs shepherding them around.

And there was a third one out there deeper in the bay too as I discovered later as I was walking down the hill towards town. The students were certainly having their money’s worth this afternoon.

While I was here I had quite a shock as well. A girl who was the spitting image of Castor went walking past. I did a double-take and I still wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t she and it was quite unnerving.

Something similar happened to me in Brussels a few years ago now. It’s been years since I’ve seen Zero in the flesh and I’ve often imagined how she might have looked as she’s grown older.

And then in Brussels, of all places, into a café where I was drinking walked a girl who was exactly how I had imagined Zero to be by then. I was so surprised that I dropped my coffee.

painting zebra crossing Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here – there was work going on in the street this afternoon.

The pedestrian crossing here has faded quite considerably and this afternoon they are repainting it.

And that reminds me of the time that a pedestrian was trying desperately to cross a busy street and a passer-by yelled at him “there’s a zebra crossing just a little further down the street”
“Well, I hope that it’s having better luck than I am” retorted the pedestrian.

So hotfoot in desperate pursuit of the Castor lookalike and failing miserably, I headed off down the hill into town and the Post Office where I posted my letter about my pension and then wandered off to the physiotherapist.

Somehow today, although the climb up the hill was agony again, the physiotherapy session wasn’t quite as painful today. Even so, I staggered out of there at the end of the session looking like “The Death of Nelson”.

Even walking down the hill was painful, and the least said about the climb back up towards home the better.

victor hugo chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Once again, I had to make several pauses on the way back up there to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. Marité was there with members of her crew clambering all over her, but I was more interested in Victor Hugo and Chausiaise

We still haven’t seen Victor Hugo in action so far despite the service to the Channel Islands being up and running for over a month. We’ve noticed her absence on a couple of occasions and I’ve seen photos of her out around the Channel Islands when other ships have encountered her, but that’s all there is so far.

And Chausiaise seems to be leading something of a nomadic life in the harbour, moving around from berth to berth.

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having recovered my breath I pushed on up to the top of the hill and home.

Before going inside though, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look at what was going on out at sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy taking photos out there today as I only had the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens with me. I could pick up this speedboat that was out in the bay but that was the best that I could do.

Whether there was anything else out there I really couldn’t say. The focal length of the lens isn’t all that long and in any case the weather conditions weren’t as good as they have been just recently.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And of course while I was here I had to go and look at what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

Sticking my head over the wall and having a look I could see that there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon and several of them had actually taken to the water.

There was a little wind about, although nothing like as much as yesterday, and it was nice and warm. In fact, I’d come all the way back from the physiotherapist’s in my shirt sleeves.

It was that kind of day today. I actually saw a lizard today – a sure sign that sumer is acumen in.

bus with passengers place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was a crowds of people loitering around in the vicinity and as I watched, a coach pulled up and they all scrambled aboard.

Where the coach is parked is where they put that new kerb in the other day, and the fact that the coach is there explains in part why they installed that kerb.

As of 1st July they are reorganising the town’s bus service. There’s a new line being added and there are a few more changes, one of which is rerouting the bus that comes up here. Instead of going down the Boulevard Vaufleury where no-one lives, it will now coming through the square where everyone including me lives, and the bus stop will be where they installed that kerb.

That couldn’t be much better for me, could it?

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and then I crashed out. I knew that I couldn’t keep going for ever. I’m surprised that I kept going as long as I did after the night that I had. I was out of it all for about 90 minutes and felt like death.

There was plenty still to do but I’ll have to do that tomorrow for I’m not in any fit state to do it now.

Tea was steamed veg with vegan cheese sauce and falafel, and that was just as delicious as usual.

So having written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m hoping for a good night’s sleep where I can recharge my battery and have a better day tomorrow. I have that meeting tomorrow at 10:00 about the radio and we’ll see what happens there.

Friday 3rd June 2022 – GONE!

cabin cruiser catamaran joly france belle france chantier naval ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And never called me “mother”!

Yes, as I wandered around the headland this afternoon and reached the chantier naval I noticed that the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie has now disappeared.

They were there the other day with a large portable crane busily dismantling it and at some point subsequently they have been with a lorry to whisk it away.

We’ll have to content ourselves today with the cabin cruiser and the catamaran, and with Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries over there at the ferry terminal.

After saying yesterday that I’d managed to go a whole day yesterday without crashing out at all, how those words came back to bite me today. And bite me in spades too.

After I’d had my medication I came back in here to sit down ready to start work and the next thing that I remember was that it was 10:40. I’d been out like a light for over 2.5 hours and that was pretty dismal.

But it seems to be par for the course these days.

What might account for much of this is the fact, as I alluded yesterday, that it was something of a highly mobile night as far as my voyages went. I started off talking to someone about how ill I was feeling. I’d been down in the south of France in a dark blue car and a couple of people from my family. I’d been feeling ill again. I was explaining that it was just like 2018 when I’d been feeling really ill and I was right down there on the Mediterranean coast. I was talking about the journey that I was in the middle of doing. They came out with the idea that maybe I could find a couple of passengers who would want to come along on that particular trip. They could pay me a lot of money for having some kind of bespoke travel arrangement around France like that but then of course a Cortina would be the wrong car. You would need something like a Volkswagen minibus or something in which to do that kind of thing.

There was also a big football match being played in Crewe at 08:00 on a Sunday. I was up at 06:30 going for a walk around. There were hundreds of football supporters asleep all over the town in doorways etc who had been unable to find rooms or anything. They had crashed out in the first available shelter out of the open air where they could be some kind of reasonably comfortable and reasonably protected from the elements.

We had a girl who came to see me with her father. He was waving around a receipt because he’d bought a car that was named after him. I couldn’t see why that was any concern of mine but apparently they all thought that it was something to do with me and wanted me to deal with the matter. I didn’t have a clue what was happening about this. It was a definitely a garage from where he’d bought the car, not from me.

And then there was a really heavy snowstorm around Crewe so I’d been out in the night spreading salt around the pavements to make access to the office earlier although I didn’t bother around areas where people were actually having to walk through paks and grass etc. There was one area of grass that was extremely overgrown. It was impossible to walk through there although someone was running a little circus through a corner of it. On the way back I went by there to have a look. It was one of these Wild West circuses with the guy I knew from Eddie and the Hot Rods in charge and Laurent and a few others dressed up in Wild West clothes marshalling the entertainment etc. They all seemed to be having a tremendous amount of fun down there.

Finally there was something strange about people having bodyguards outside their rooms while they were sleeping. Someone had this young girl who was guarding a room by standing on her hands upside down. There was a discussion about how they were going to overcome her. Someone suggested cutting off her feet. They thought “yes, but how far up the legs would you want to go to actually cut off her feet”. This became something of a strange discussion amongst a couple of people.

After all of that it’s hardly a surprise that I was quite exhausted.

Once I’d organised myself and had a late breakfast I had a strum through my acoustic guitar set just to make sure that I don’t forget it.

It will be a shame to put it on the back burner after I’ve gone to all of this trouble to learn it, even if I probably won’t ever have the chance to play it again. Certainly not at Nicorps

After lunch I spent an hour writing about “The Future”. One of the things that I was happy to say – well, not happy to say but you know what I mean – was that I don’t think that I have a future. What with war and Covid and my illness that is slowly deteriorating day after day I don’t have much of a future

And that’s not an idle statement either. When I went out last night I took my acoustic guitar, my bass and my little Roland bass cube with me. I’d brought the acoustic back last night and this afternoon I brought the bass cube and the bass back.

Or, at least, I tried to. I didn’t have the strength to bring them both upstairs at once. I had to make two trips. And you’ve no idea how that made me feel.

There are some kitchen units in the back of Caliburn that I need to bring up here and assemble, but I’ve no idea how I’m going to find the strength to do that

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual, I went across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

There was plenty of beach to be on, but there were only these two people down there as far as I could see. They had the whole of the beach to themselves.

It was quite a nice day today but there weren’t all that many people at all out there enjoying it. Even up on the path on top of the cliffs it was quite quiet today. I had the place pretty much to myself this afternoon.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022What was probably keeping them all indoors was the racket that was coming from the repointing of the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

Someone was up there working with a power tool and you could hear the whining from up here. It must have been deafening down on the beach.

And that reminded me that I forgot to go and have a wander around the walls during the week to check on the repairs and to see how the baby seagulls were doing. If I remember, I’ll wander around that way this weekend.

hauteville sur mer Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Although the view out to sea wasn’t as clear as it has been just recently, the sun shining along the coast and reflecting off the sand was producing some nice effects.

Over there is the town of Hauteville sur Mer where the River Sienne flows into the sea. With the white houses and the golden sand over there it looked really nice in the afternoon sun.

Strangely enough, there wasn’t anything at all happening out at sea this afternoon. I couldn’t see a single water craft of any description out there in the bay or further out in the English Channel. I’ve given up hope of ever seeing one of the Channel Island ferries out there.

f-gbai Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the other hand, things were different as far as aerial activity went.

As I was wandering along the path towards the end of the headland I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airfield. It’s one of the regular ones that we see, F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club.

She took off at 15:24 and flew out to do a lap around the Ile de Chausey before going down to Mont St Michel and then back up where she came in to land at 16:00.

And seeing that my photo was taken at 15:51 (adjusted) that’s about right, I reckon.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone else filed a flight plan or flew high enough to be picked up on radar?

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As I went around the corner of the headland, coming the other way was a speedboat.

This is the first water craft that we’ve seen today. I’ve no idea where everyone else might be today.

They certainly weren’t down on the bench at the cabanon vauban today. That was quite deserted too this afternoon. It’s a shame that the town isn’t like this all the time

And so instead I wandered off around the headland and down the path on the other side in order to check on what what was happening in the chantier naval, as we have seen earlier.

l'omerta ch589986 la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When we were out yesterday we took a photo of the port by the fish processing plant because, for a change, it was strangely deserted.

Today though; L’Omerta is back where she seems to spend most of her time. And she has company too. Behind her moored up against the quayside is the little trawler La Bavolette II. Presumably she arrived too late and the gates to the inner harbour were closed.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had an important e-mail to write. It concerns the live rock concerts that I do for the radio programmes. Basically, I’m not going to produce any more if they can’t guarantee to broadcast them. I’m still pretty upset about last weekend’s concert not being broadcast after all of the effort that I put into making it.

It’s not as if it’s the only one that’s been missed either. There have been several and it totally defeats the purpose of spending all this time preparing them if they are going to be missed.

The rest of the day was spent writing notes about “I don’t like” for my Welsh exam, and then playing some stuff off this playlist that I was sent. I need to work on that now for the next few weeks.

Tea was steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce which was delicious. And now I’m off to bed. I’m shopping tomorrow (if I can stay awake) and I mustn’t forget the olive oil because I’m running very low.

In fact I’ll probably remember everything else except that. I’m not doing all that well right now

Thursday 26th May 2022 – I’M QUITE SURE THAT …

… this physiotherapist is doing her best to finish me off. This afternoon our session finished with 10 minutes on the exercise bicycle and she programmed it so that the final few minutes were at the maximum resistance and I really struggled to make any headway.

The other day I mentioned something about staggering out of the building close to death and that’s just how I felt today.

But all in all I’m feeling pretty dismayed by what is going on with me right now. For the last few sessions she’s had me standing on one leg balancing with my eyes closed, something that has been a dismal failure.

And there I was in the past, scrambling over scaffolding, along beams and rafters, reroofing houses, reflooring bedrooms without any problems of balance at all. I don’t know what’s happened to me just recently but it seems as if I can’t really do anything as I used to in the past and all the enjoyment that I had out of doing things like this has gone. I’m in a bad way.

At least it seems that having abandoned that medication I can actually get up in the morning now. Once again I managed to leave the bed as the first alarm call went off at 07:30. That’s certainly an improvement from 10 days ago so I suppose that I ought to be thankful for that.

And after the medication I spent most of the day working on my Welsh course, making a table for the past and future tenses of the most common verbs and trying my best to learn them. And it’s not easy because I have a teflon brain. Nothing sticks to it.

Rosemary rang me this morning for a chat as well and we had another one of our marathon sessions on the ‘phone. As well as breakfast and lunch and a coffee here and there, I also had a shower. I must make myself nice and pretty for my physiotherapy session.

gerlean l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Eventually it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk across town for the physiotherapist.

And once again, we seem to be playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon. Gerlean is still there from yesterday but Nais who was there the last time that we looked has now disappeared.

In her place, L’Omerta was now coming back into port to tie up at the fish processing plant where we usually see her. I don’t suppose that she can keep away.

There’s another smaller boat tied up there in front of Gerlean but I don’t think that she has anything to do with the fishing trade, and neither does the van that’s pulling up on the lower level, unless she’s going to be doing some repairs on one of the boats.

cranes freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022We’ve seen a couple of the little Jersey freighters in port over the last couple of days.

Thora in there yesterday and between her and Normandy Warrior, they seem to have cleared away all of the backlog of freight that had built up over the last week or two.

But those two little mini-containers are quite interesting. They are of the type that Thora carries on her deck, presumably to transport high-value goods, and they have been dropped onto the quayside waiting for someone to come and take them away.

And no Marité. I don’t know where she’s gone but she’s making a good trip of it.

chez maguie bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And finally, the Bar Ephemere, Chez Maguie is open on the Place Pelley.

It’s been installed for a couple of weeks now but today was the first time that I’ve seen it actually open with the crowds of clients loitering around. But no boulonauts this afternoon, which is a surprise.

Going down the Rampe du Monte à Regret, I was almost squidged by a cyclist who took it upon himself to cycle down there. They seem to think that everything is permitted here in Granville.

And it wasn’t just me either. It’s a Bank Holiday today so there were crowds of people in the town today, all at risk from errant cyclists.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And here’s a thing!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there has been quite some controversy about the kiddies’ roundabout that appears every now and again on the Place Charles de Gaulle, with claims that it’s over-size and forcing pedestrians to walk in the road.

The on that is the subject of all of these issues is a pink one, but today we have another one, a yellow one, and this is definitely smaller than the pink one.

So the question is, is this a permanent replacement for the pink one or just a temporary one? Watch this space.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist’s was a struggle this afternoon. A real struggle. And apart from that I found that I’d forgotten my fitbit, forgotten my pouch thing with my wallet and cards, forgotten almost everything.

And my physiotherapist is away for a few days so she’s had to shuffle my schedules around.

When she finished with me she threw me out and I staggered off down the hill in agony. I’m really not doing too well right now

royal enfield motorcycle rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It was a long and weary road going through the town and back up the hill towards home.

But at least there was something for me to admire while I stopped to catch my breath. A more modern version of an early 1960s Real Oilfield.

When they stopped producing them in the UK in the late 60s they sold the design and the presses to India who manufactured them and once they had ironed out the notorious British quality control issues, began to import them back into Europe.

My friend in Munich has one and I’ve mee mulling over the idea of treating myself to something like this or even a Triumph baby Trident but I can’t even pick myself up if I fall over, never mind a motorbike as well.

cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There were a couple of trawlers on their way into the har bour as I walked up the hill.

One of them went off to by the Fish Processing Plant but the second one came into the inner harbour to tie up at the pontoon here.

She’s Cap Lihou, a trawler whom we have seen on several occasions in the past. By the looks of things she’s one of the last trawlers to come into port this afternoon.

Having recovered my breath for a moment and waved “hello” at one of my neighbours heading down the hill, I carried on with my struggle up the bank towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Instead of going inside for my coffee I carried on across the car park to have a look at what was going on down on the beach.

Surprisingly, because it wasn’t a very nice day this afternoon, there were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon.

It’s probably something to do with the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday in France today. The Month of May is full of Bank Holidays – we have May 1st, and then VE Day, and then Ascension followed by Pentecost. That explains the crowds.

There were crowds of people on the path up here too, and judging by the number plates of the cars, I bet that half the cars on our private car park were nothing to do with the occupants of the apartments either.

trawler fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was up here I had, as usual, a look out to sea to see what was happening there

There was the last of the trawlers over there on the left on its way back to the harbour and there was one of the shell-fishing boats making its way back too but that was about that.

So having satisfied my curiosity I headed back to my apartment for a coffee and where I rather regrettably fell asleep for a short while. And cold coffee isn’t my cup of tea, I’m afraid.

Once I’d recovered I had a listen to the dictaphone. The first voyage had something to do with Spanish exploration in the Golden Age with the three cities of Asturias … “which is actually a Province” – ed … Barcelona and I can’t remember the third that were on some kind of promontory or peninsula. All the boats had set out from there and gone off and discovered all different parts of the World and so on. These towns are really famous as far as Spanish history went as a result but I awoke quite quickly in this dream so I couldn’t really find out much about it.

And then I was in Stoke on Trent at a big factory complex that had been built in an old quarry. They were demolising it and as they were knocking it down to the ground where this quarry had been infilled they were pulling out all kinds of lorries, plant and machinery etc that had been used as infill. I was astonished by all of this stuff. I thought that it was brilliant. They told me that part of the grounds had been an old Primary School and when the area had become depopulated they had taken it over and demolished it. They told me how they had demolished it. The wall had gone and it had turned into a nature garden before completely removing it to make it into an industrial property etc. It was really quite fascinating. But I couldn’t get over all these lorries that were buried in the side of this quarry as infill and had been backfilled all around.

But when the alarm went off I was busy telling Liz the story about someone I once knew in Stoke on Trent who had bought a few houses for cash in a subsidence zone. They were really dreadful houses but he was hoping to build up a property portfolio of them. They really were in awful condition. That was as far as I reached when the alarm went off.

And that was a pity. Had I started to tell that story a few minutes earlier, I might actually have met up with Zero. I’ve not had any of my young lady friends accompany me for ages and I’m missing them terribly. I really must improve my aim

Tea tonight was steamed veg with falafel with vegan cheese sauce, and very nice it was too. But right now I’m off to bed. Wishing myself sweet dreams but somehow I don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that I had a while ago.

And don’t forget, on Friday and Saturday at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto time, one of the five best live concerts of all time. BO NOT MISS A MINUTE

Wednesday 11th May 2022 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… day I’ve had today.

It’s been one of the worst that I’ve had for quite some considerable time, I’m sad to say. So while you admire a few photos of the flight of Airbus A400M aircraft that flew by overhead I’ll tell you all about my sad, sorry tale.

It’s probably something to do with the fact that the medication that I take before I go to bed must have kicked in. i was out like a light almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and that was that. An earthquake could have occurred and a bomb could have gone off but nothing would have awakened me.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The alarm went off at 07:30 and again at 07:45 and again at 08:00 but like Housman’s “Shropshire Lad” who was “One-and-Twenty”, “no use to talk to me”.

The way I was feeling this morning I wouldn’t even have crawled out of bed for Jenny Agutter and Kate Bush, never mind TOTGA, Castor and Zero. It was 10:25 when I finally summoned up the energy to leave my stinking pit, and I was feeling like death.

It goes without saying that there was nothing at all on the dictaphone, and it’s been a long time since that’s been the case. I really was absolutely out of everything last night. And that’s probably the most disappointing part of everything from last night and this morning.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Once I’d had my medication and breakfast I came back in here but I was in no fit state to do any work. I spent the morning vegetating all the way up to lunchtime.

For lunch I had the last helping of the leek and potato soup and it was just as delicious as it was when it was fresh. In fact it was probably better with all of the spices having marinaded in.

Just as I was finishing my soup Rosemary rang me up and we had another lengthy chat. She was keen to know how Paris went because we’d talked about it beforehand, and I was keen to hear about her Ukrainian refugees.

But the bad news is that they haven’t arrived. They’ve been caught in a Covid trap and are currently in isolation somewhere along the route.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After we finished it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, even if I didn’t feel at all like it.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what is happening there.

The weather had turned today. It was a lot cooler than it has been so I wasn’t expecting to see many people out there, even if it was school half-day. And there can’t have been more than a dozen people down there this afternoon.

What did catch my eye though was the couple perched up on the rock just to the right of the steps.

suzanga baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

No Nazguls out there this afternoon but we did have one of the trawlers on her way back in to harbour. She’s Suzanga, the newest of the trawlers in port. We first noticed her coming into port in August last year.

Not very many people on the path either this afternoon. I was pretty much alone out there as I admired the flight of Airbus military aircraft that went flying past out at sea. Far too far out for me to be able to read their serial numbers and not having brought my ‘phone with me, I didn’t have a radar on which to pick them up.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My walk took me across the car park to the end but there was no-one today sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I didn’t wait around.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity out at sea either. We’ve seen Suzanga of course and out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a couple of yachts having a bit of a sail around the bay. And that really was about it.

At fist I thought that it was a catamaran and I had tio look twice to make sure.

So I set off down the footpath on the other side of the headland heading towards the port to see what was happening down there this afternoon before I went back home for my drink.

repainting l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was a great deal of activity taking place in the chantier naval this afternoon and almost all of it was centred around L’Ecume II.

We’d seen it the other day looking in rather a sorry state but they’ve been hard at work having stripped off much of the perished paintwork and primed it. But there’s plenty to go at and they’ll be there for a little while yet smartening her up.

Dodging the classe decouverte walking in a queue-lieu-lieu, or “single file”, I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour because I’d noticed that away in the distance I’d seen Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, tied up at the quayside.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022However as I drew closer, she slipped her moorings and headed off towards the gate and the open sea.

As she passed through the gates I ambushed her with the camera and took a photo as she headed off back to Jersey. I’ve not taken a decent photo of her for quite a while.

There wasn’t a great deal of anything else happening so I ended up back at the apartment where I forgot to make myself a coffee. I really must be slipping. It’s not like me to forget to make myself a coffee.

But I didn’t relax for long because I had things to do. I have to do some work today even if I don’t feel like it at all.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having eaten the last of my fruit buns this morning I needed to make some more.

So 250 grammes of flour, some dried fruit, a banana, piles of other stuff (and I forgot the dessicated cocount) all went in there and for a change it all mixed up quite nicely.

When I was satisfied with it I divided it into 9 buns and put them in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. And I do have to say that they look, and smell, delicious.

As for what they taste like, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to tell you that. But I do reckon that they will be among the best that I have ever baked.

Tea was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have another go at going to bed. And hoping for a better morning. I have an appointment with the sports therapist tomorrow so I’d better be up and about quite early for that. No lying about stinking in bed.

Monday 11th April 2022 – I REALLY SHOULD …

… have put my mortgage on it yesterday because, the way that things were panning out, it was inevitable.

Sure enough, at 08:20 this morning the doorbell rang. “Mr Hall, I’m in the building. May I come and give you your injection?”.

So there I was, hurriedly trying to dress myself while he was banging on the door. After all, I don’t want to give him an inferiority complex.

digging up road rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else on which I should have bet my mortgage was “how long will it be before they dig up that brand-new road on which they spent all that money just recently”?

It’s been completed and opened for traffic for just about a couple of months but sure enough, here they are with half of the width coned off and someone hacking away at the surface. It was inevitable, wasn’t it?

Anyway, back to where we ought to be.

Last night I fell into a very cold bed and that was the last that I remember of anything until this perishing ring on the blasted bell this flaming morning.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night because I didn’t remember a thing about anything So after having taken my medication I sat down and transcribed them.

I started off with something to do with a radio show. I bet that I’ve missed out lots of it. It was that I couldn’t do all of my radio programmes this week and so they had done some kind of message to say that I’d been unwell or injured myself climbing onto a railway station platform or something like that although they didn’t elaborate why I would want to climb onto a railway station platform. There was the inference that it was something to do with refugees or something and they didn’t want anyone to know that I was doing that kind of thing so they had to invent some kind of excuse.

Later on the 4 of us had gone off for another weekend. I can’t remember where it was now. We’d been looking at hotels but because of the budgetary issues we were looking at hotels further out of the city. I’d done some research and I’d come up with 4 that fitted the bill in the same kind of neighbourhood. They were miles from anywhere. We reached the 1st one which was a brand new chain hotel type of thing. Its budget was like €55 per night but they looked at it and decided that it would be far too expensive for us even though I told them that it fitted in with our budget. They still thought that it was far expensive so we went to the next one. To my surprise they only booked 2 rooms. It seemed that the girls were sharing the one and the boys (me and whoever) were sharing another. Across the road was another hotel of a similar type but it was blue. I’d stayed there once the very first time that I’d started out on my travels and thought that it was expensive for what it was supposed to be. They asked about restaurants but there weren’t all that many in the area at all. Nevertheless we booked in. We had to take a table and banqueting stuff out of our room so we carried the headboard out. It was enormously heavy. The guy who was with me carried it first but he almost dropped it so I had to help him. One of the waiters came along. He had a tray and put the coffee machine on it and the sugar in the bowl. It was quite interesting the way he put the sugar in the bowl. He had 2 spoons, 1 with white sugar and 1 with brown and he poured it into the sugar bowl so that it was half-and-half. He put some milk onto the tray. Another woman came in and began to hurry around. She prepared a second sugar bowl and put it on the tray so we made some kind of funny remark about that.

The rest of the morning, once I’d awoken, was to back up the computer – to copy all of the files that I had created or changed on the laptop while I was away and then load them up onto the big machine. There were quite a few of those as well and it took me a while to organise it all.

With what time was left before lunch I went for a shower, and I’ve put back all of the weight that I’ve lost over the last few months despite all of the walking that I did while I was away. I also had to organise the clothes ready for washing, which I’ll be doing while I’m out at the physiotherapist

There have also been several in-depth discussions on the internet too about the events of the last couple of days.

As well as that, although the trip was a success to the extent that everyone reached Granville safely and without losing anything along the way, there were several aspects that needed to be improved. Whatever you do, it’s always a good idea to sit down afterwards to see how things could have been accomplished better.

rocalamauve le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so on that note I headed off to the physiotherapist for my Monday afternoon session.

As usual I paused at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check that the NIKON 1 J5 was working and also to see what was happening down there this afternoon.

There were a few fishing boats down there this afternoon. At the front is Roc A La Mauve and at the rear is Le Styx at the rear. I can’t see who the boat in the middle is.

You can see the crane unloading Roc A La Mauve and the pile of boxes full of shellfish on the quayside already unloaded.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And as I watched, another trawler came chugging into port

Unfortunately she’s far too far out for me to be able to say with any certainty who she might be but I can see that the seagull over there was having a really good look.

Over there to the left at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs over to the Ile de Chausey.

There’s something over there in front of her too – probably one of the Joly France ferries. It’s holiday time for the next two weeks so I imagine that there must be plenty of custom for a trip out to the island.

marite belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Whoever it was over there at the ferry terminal, it isn’t Belle France.

She’s down there tied up at the quayside in the inner harbour. There can’t be that much trade over to the island today.

But I was more interested in seeing Marité back in port again. She’s been away for the last while or so having her annual overhaul. She can’t be overhauled here in the chantier naval because the portable boat lift over there doesn’t have the lifting capacity to lift her out of the water.

There’s also a swimming pool over there. That means that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming over in the course of the next few days.

boules bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that we usually see down on the Place Pelley during the summer is the Bar Ephemère, the temporary café that they erect on the boulodrome.

It’s here already and they are busy unloading it and erecting it all, ready for the Easter rush.

And it’s not disturbing the boules players at all. They are still managing to fit in a few games around all of the goings-on.

One of my friends had asked me to find out if there were any golf courses near here so I went to the Tourist Information Office. That was a waste of time because there were crowds of people in there and of the assistants, two of them were helping one client and all the rest of the assistants were Miltonists.

And in case you wonder what a Miltonist is, there’s a line in Milton’s poem “On His Blindness” that goes “They also serve who only stand and wait”.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill in the Rue Couraye I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was closed off to traffic so I made a mental note to go back that way to find out why.

Not now though. I pushed on to the physiotherapist.

She had me on the couch again with the electro-massage machine and then I had the honour of being the first to have a go on the new electric bicycle. And finally a few kinetic exercises before she threw me out.

Back again on Wednesday for my last session with her before she moves on to her new job. She’s fixing me up for sessions with one of her colleagues.

place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Who remembers the Place des Docteurs Lanos?

The last time we saw it, it was a huge mess of mud that had been churned up by all of the vehicles that had been on there while they had been using it to store the building materials.

On my way to find out why the Rue Roger Maris was closed, I had a look to see what they had been doing there and as you can see, they have made quite a bit of progress there since I was last down this way.

But as for why the street was closed off, there wasn’t anything evident that I could see, apart from the guy digging up the road around the corner in the Rue du Boscq.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route took me back through the town and up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

Near the top I stopped because there was something interesting going on out in the bay. One of the sailing schools was out again this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve promised that I’ll be out there with them one day soon but the way things are with the physiotherapy, the Welsh lessons, the radio and my trips to Leuven it’s difficult to know when I can fit anything else into my programme.

You can see that most of the fishing boats are now back home too and tied up in the inner harbour.

anakena rocalamauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was here I had a look to see what was happening in the chantier naval.

Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water. I saw her moored up in the inner harbour. La Roc A La Mauve III is still there though, up on the blocks. How long has she been there now?

Also in there is Anakena. We saw her being lifted out of the water the other day just before I set off on my voyage. She has a programme of voyages out to the North so I imagine that she’s having her annual overhaul too.

One of the places that she’s visiting is Greenland, according to the local newspapers of a while back, so I sent a mail to her owners to see what the plan was because I’m keen to get back to Uummannaq and my little Inuit friend Heidinngauq but they never replied.

That’s the story of my life. People complain about there being a recession but how many times have I sent out mails to enquire about products and never received a reply?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As has been the case in the past, I can’t go back into the apartment without seeing what was going on down on the beach.

With it being holiday times and reasonably good weather I was expecting to see the crowds down there and I was right as wzll. The place was heaving. No-one actually in the water though.

One thing thatt I did while I was out was to make sure that Caliburn started. We have to go out on Wednesday and with him having stood around for over a fortnight it’s as well to check.

Back here I had a good play on the guitar and then organised my photos from today. I have to stop letting things hang around here for as long as I do. Especially as I may well be off on yet more travels some time soon

And regrettably, I also crashed out for half an hour too.

Tea was a disappointment. It should have been steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce (now that I have some) but the veg was over-steamed which is quite rare these days with my steamer that doesn’t seem to work as I would like it.

So having written my notes I’m going to hang around for a while and then go to bed. I have a radio programme to do tomorrow seeing as there is no Welsh course tomorrow.

But it’s not going to be a 06:00 start. That I can promise you.

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – NOW THAT THE WIND …

woman sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… has calmed down to just “high speed” instead of LUDICROUS SPEED, people are slowly returning to their old habits.

For the first time for a while, there was someone this afternoon sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc admiring the view.

At least, I imagined that they were admiring the view, because it was one of these days when admiring the view required quite an effort because there was some kind of hazy mist out there which meant that you couldn’t see all that far this afternoon.

contrasting water pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was however something for me to see, that certainly isn’t to anyone else’s taste.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see something strange happening in the water where there are a couple of distinct colours and a distinct line between them.

Today was one of those occasions, as you can see in the image just here. I’ve no idea what causes this effect – it’s certainly nothing to do with the underlying nature of the sea bed and nothing to do with the clouds in the sky either because we have 10/10ths cloud today.

As for me, I also had another few hours of uninterrupted sleep. In bed at 23:50 and the first file on the dictaphone was timed at 03:41, so that’s almost 4 hours and that’s pretty good going for the last few weeks.

Nevertheless it was a struggle to leave the bed at 07:30. In fact it was more like 07:50 when I finally showed a leg and then I staggered off to take my medicine.

The morning was a very slow start but eventually I managed to summon up the strength to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I’d been injured in some fighting that had taken place and been taken to hospital but the opposing army was closing in so I put on a disguise to modify my appearance. I thought that it looked OK but someone else there thought that it was quite obvious that it was a disguise and spoilt the effect. This led to a bitter argument between the two of us and it ended up by me striking out at this person because I thought that everything was perfect and I was bound to escape detection if the enemy came into this town.

Later on I was out with Paul Temple and his mate, Sexton Smith or whatever his name was, except that in the radio programmes his assistant was a woman called Steve. We were going to do something that involved a trip down the coast of South-West England and North-West France. It meant getting a few things ready but my bedroom was a tip with dismantled Cortina parts all over the place. it took me ages to sort out what things that I needed. We got everything together and the two of us, Paul Temple and me and a third guy who was some kind of French person, we set off from the house in a car down this very long drive. When we reached the main road we got out and got into Paul Temple’s car which was a left-hand drive French registered Austin Cambridge. I asked “what about the food and the things we need to take?”. They replied “you’re in charge of that” so we had to get out the food that we need for the journey. It came to the case of hiring an aeroplane and that was my job too apparently. We then had to pick up his friend and that meant going back up the drive to this house again. Halfway up the drive we encountered another vehicle travelling slowly so we overtook it on this muddy drive but there was an electricity post in the way so we had to swerve back and almost cut up this car. In the meantime he said to the guy who was with us “you fancy a Honda, don’t you? There’s one for sale on the front here” so they talked about this Honda for a while. When we returned to the courtyard in front of this house one of the people there was a schoolteacher – there were several outside – but his friend Sexton Smith or whatever his name was still hadn’t turned up

One thing that I forgot to mention about Paul Temple was the tomcat, a long-haired ginger cat, which had the ability to blend in with whatever boundary it was against and was a valuable member of this expedition, and whatever that is supposed to mean, I really don’t know.

Ingrid telephoned me too, which was very nice because I’ve not heard from her for ages. We had the kind of chat that would rival any one that I’ve had with Rosemary, but then a lot of things have happened since we last spoke to each other.

While I was rummaging around in the freezer I came across a bag of what looked like pie filling and so that gave me an idea for a cunning plan. I put it out to defrost. However it turned out to be some kind of potato curry, by which time it was too far defrosted to put it back.

After lunch, I sprang into action.

For reasons that will become apparent tomorrow, I decided that I needed to bake a cake. For some reason or other I had a fancy for a coffee cake so yesterday I’d trawled the internet for a suitable recipe for a vegan coffee cake using ingredients that I had to hand.

Having finished my butties and fruit I set about mixing everything together in accordance with the instructions. This time I mixed the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients and it all seemed to go really well when I combined both lots.

While it was baking, I made a vegan pie with the mix that had defrosted and some pastry that I knocked together while I was in the mood. There wasn’t enough mix to fill the pie so I lengthened it with a tin of sweetcorn and then a tin of lentils.

The cake took ages to bake – probably double the time that it said in the recipe. I think that my oven is rubbish as everything I bake doesn’t work out properly.

When it was done I took it out to cool and put the pie in to bake.

There was a recipe for some vegan coffee cream cake filling that would go really nicely in between the two layers of cake. And having struggled with the icing for the Christmas cake, I mixed it all in the whizzer and that seemed to work perfectly.

coffee cake vegan pie place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the cake cooled, I cut it in half, spread the cream on the top of one of the halves and pressed them together, and then iced the cake with the remainder.

Here I found an unexpected problem. I’ve never, in all the time that I’ve been baking, had a cake that has risen as well as this one, and as a result it’s too tall to go in my cake tin. I wish now that I’d brought the giant one with me from the Auvergne.

And one thing that I can say, is that if the finished cake tastes as good as the mix did when I licked the spatula, it will be absolutely delicious.

Much later than usual because of the time that the cooking took, I went out for my afternoon walk. However, on the car park I encountered Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad, and we spent a good few minutes chatting about his plans for the forthcoming season with his craft.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022After he had wandered off back inside the building I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There weren’t as many people down there this afternoon as there have been over the past few days. Just one or two ambling aimlessly about and someone on the water’s edge scaving for seafood amongst the rocks.

You can see plenty of shellfish stuck to the rocks down there, but the key, apparently, is to find some that are still living. If they are dead then they are of no use and, of course, many of them will have been pillaged by our feathered friends.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was looking down on the beach my eyes were also roving around out at sea to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we peered through the gloom and saw a trawler working away off the Ile de Chausey in the Baie de Granville.

At this distance, because it has to be about 10-12 miles away from where I’m standing, it’s not possible to identify it and I can’t even be sure that it was the same one that was out there yesterday.

Since Brexit and the issues with the Jersey authorities, we’ve seen more and more fishing boats working away out there rather than being further out in the bay.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here, I had a different view over the section of the wall that they have been repairing in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The first thing that I noticed was that I could now see the wall from where they have removed the covering to the scaffolding, and they have totally repointed all of that and rebuilt the part of the wall that is above the level of the street.

The second thing that I noticed was that there was someone down there on the scaffolding pointing away at one of the two very large cracks in the wall. And that’s the kind of crack that will take an awful lot of filling.

It will look lovely when it’s finished, although when that might be is anyone’s guess. And then what bit are they going to do next?

people on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not very many people about on the path this afternoon so I had a very quiet and comfortable walk down to the lighthouse this afternoon.

We’ve already seen someone down on the rocks at the Rue du Nord looking for shellfish, and further along on the beach there was someone else having a go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw the marker just of the coast here, most of which was covered by the tide. Today though, the tide is well out and we can see all of the marker and the man having a scratch around will give you an idea of the scale of how high the tides are when they come right in.

new flagpole monument to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that the other day we saw that the bolts had been drilled in the new concrete base for the flagpole that will replace the one that was blown down in the storm a while back.

When we saw it I mentioned that I supposed that within the next few days we would see the flagpole back up, and here it is today, properly erected. They did that quicker than I was expecting, especially knowing the pace at which they work around here.

So I wandered off across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea and to check on whoever might be sitting on the bench out there. And then I wandered off down the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday down at the chantier naval, we saw some activity with the portable boat lift as it was busy caressing Tiberiade, and I wondered what it was doing.

It’s not possible to see what was going on between the two of them yesterday but today, there’s a new arrival in there. Another yacht is down there receiving attention. And that has an interesting arrangement holding it up in the horizontal.

Back here I had a coffee and, not falling asleep, I made a start on some of the older dictaphone notes that have been hanging around waiting to be dealt with. Just a mere 19 to do now and then I’ll be ready to build up another backlog

Tea tonight was a delicious teamed veg with vegan sausage and vegan cheese sauce. Another delicious meal that I really enjoyed.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in, for reasons that will be apparent. I’m not sure that I deserve one after how inactive I’ve been over the last few weeks but I’m going to have one again – if only to see who will be coming with me on a nocturnal ramble or two.

Friday 18th February 2022 – I WAS IN …

storm beach rue du nord baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… two minds this afternoon … errr … weather to go out for my afternoon walk.

The local weather office had produced a map today showing predicted windspeeds and Granville just happened to be at the junction of two wind bands – 100-110 kmh and 110-120 kmh – between 15:00 and 17:00, just round about when I usually go out for my walk.

But nevertheless at my usual time of 15:45 I set off out and while the sea looked quite turbulent, as you can see in the photo, the wind was actually something of a damp squib. We’ve had much stronger winds than this in the recent past without any drama at all.

Never mind Storm Eunice, it was more like Storm Useless. 110kph might look inpressive but a few weeks ago we had gusts of 140kph so we are used to it.

For a change, last night wasn’t all that turbulent – or, at least, not as turbulent as it has been. It was probably due to the fact that when it was bedtime I wasn’t in the least tired and it ended up being 01:30 when I finally crawled into bed.

As a result, things wre not all that easy when the alarm went off at 07:30, although I did manage to beat the second alarm.

There wasn’t all that much time for me to go on anything like as many nocturnal voyages as I seem to be doing just recently. I had to go to pay a fine at the police station last night. I hadn’t been given the formal notice to pay but I’d been given the decision. I knew that there was something else happening at the police station that was likely very much to have me arrested but my idea was to have everything over and finished as quickly as possible. I turned up at the police station but the entrance hall there was under all kinds of renovation so I had to walk through all this work, everything like that. I eventually ended up at a temporary desk and handed over the paper. The policeman started to go through the list to see what he had of cases but couldn’t find my case. I saw a name that I thought was mine so I said that i’d seen it so he turned back a couple of pages but it wasn’t and that annoyed him. I thought that if I carried on like this the kind of outcome isn’t going to be any good whatsoever so in the end I decided that i’d keep quiet and let him find it himself and see what happens. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember that bit now.

After the medication I spent the rest of the day transcribing dictaphone notes and updating a few previous journal entries. What started off as being 41 dictaphone sound files is now down to 22.

There were several voyages involving members of my family, which is regrettable, but also a few featuring people like Zero, which always cheers me up. But we’ve not had a voyage featuring Castor for quite some time and that’s disappointing.

There were also several breaks today, firstly for breakfast and secondly for lunch. And I do have to say that my fruit bread is absolutely excellent. This is a really impressive fruit loaf.

There was also a rather unfortunate break when I fell asleep. But that’s not really a surprise these days, is it?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I mentioned earlier, I did manage to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the wall overlooking the beach to see what was happening down below. And apart from the waves that were coming in with the kind of force that I haven’t seen for a while, there were actually several people down on the beach.

That was quite surprising because of the weather, but then again apart from the wind it wasn’t actually a bad day. Warm for the time of the year and fairly sunny.

storm le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When I went round the corner where the Monument to the Resistance is situated, I had a really good view of how the storm was raging in the bay.

The waves down there were quite impressive, smashing over the rocks on which Le Loup, the light that guards the entrance to the harbour, is situated.

And judging by the tree on the right, Bob Dylan wouldn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows around here, would he.

Not that it’s any surprise, but there was no-one out at the end of the headland today admiring the view. Only me of course, and I was glad when I turned the corner and had the wind blowing into my back instead of into my face.

man and van on ramp port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022No change of occupancy in the chantier naval or the ferry terminal today so I had a look around elsewhere.

It was the van on the boat-launching ramp underneath the fish processing plant that caught me eye. I wondered what it was doing there because the incoming tide would make short work of it.

However there was a man standing on the silt down there having a good look around. But at what I really don’t know. However it is round about the time of year when they dredge the harbour so I wonder if he’s eyeing up the job.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the path towards the inner harbour I noticed that Normandy Trader is still in port.

She came in on the evenign tide last night as I mentioned, and she should have gone out on the morning tide after laoding up (you can see the swimming pool on board) but a message went round earlier in the day that “due to abnormal weather conditions” she won’t be going out until things calm down.

What I did was to send a message to the crew to invite them round for a coffee but they didn’t reply. I suppose that they were quite comfortable on board.

Incidentally, you’ll notice the small “upper deck” behind the wheelhouse. That’s how we know that she’s Normandy Trader and not her sister Normandy Warrior.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Also in the inner harbour is a trawler that we haven’t seen for a while.

She’s Philcathane of course, and moored up against the harbour wall just like almost every other fishing boat. It loks as if none of the fishing boats have gone out today and that’s not a surprise in this weather.

Outside the building I noticed one of my neighbours struggling taking her rubbish over to the bins so I gave her a hand. We had a little chat about next-to-nothing and then I came back in for my coffee, clutching my new credit card in my hand.

So “Spend Spend Spend” hey?

After the coffee I finished off what I was doing and then went for tea. Veggie balls, pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce and it really was nice. It might only be simple food that I cook but it really is delicious

So tomorrow if Caliburn is still there and hasn’t been blown away I’ll be going to the shops. I wonder how things would work if I fitted him with sails.

Sunday 13th February 2022 – I DON’T EVER …

… want to have to do that again! NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET has got nothing on this!

But anyway, last night I was in bed by 22:00 with the alarm set for 05:00 and hoping to have a good sleep.

But that was some hope because I was off on my travels during the night and I must have gone so far that I really don’t know how I had any sleep at all.

At some point I was with a girl who has featured on several occasions in the past, usually with her brother who was a friend of mine and who both lived on a farm, but tonight she was with another girl – I don’t know who she was but I know that I know her. We were tidying up a pile of stuff, just generally chatting. The farmer’s daughter had to go out for something that just left me and this girl. The conversation turned round to that girl and me. I said that I don’t want anything to happen to her because I’m rather fond of her. This girl was rather surprised so I said “yes but I thought that most people knew that”. She asked if our farmer’s daughter knew that and I replied “of course she did”. “What did she do?”. “Nothing” I replied. “She had her own life to live etc”. I explained that we’d been out once or twice. She asked “what was she doing?” I said “it was just like this”. “Any snogging?” she asked. I replied “no unfortunately”. “Why on earth not?”. “I didn’t want to drive her away”. She wanted to know if she was married with kids. I replied that she was and had 2 kids. The conversation just drifted around like that. I thought that the farmer’s daughter would only be gone for a few minutes but it must have been ages that we were having this chat.

And before anyone grasps the wrong end of the stick, the fact that she is a farmer’s daughter has nothing whatever to do with Deep Purple.

Finally I was in the Army last night, looking through a pile of files and lists. No matter how hard I looked, all I could find were details of an assignment to the Entertainment Unit. They were all put in an envelope ready to be sent off to some kind of competition or show or something. There were all people there, including Jimmy Clitheroe but I couldn’t find anything in these service records and service history at all. This was really annoying. In the end there was a sergeant there who was responsible for the paperwork. I asked him and he pointed to these envelopes and said “but it’s all there”. I shouted that it wasn’t. I said that all it was was these application forms for this concert thing. I picked them up and dropped them in the bin. I told him precisely and in no uncertain terms exactly what I wanted. He started to go through the filing cabinet trying to find all this information.

Wherever did I find the time to go to sleep?

It didn’t take me long to tidy up and I decided not to make any sandwiches because I only get into trouble when I eat them and I’ll be home in time for a late lunch. So at 05:30 I had already handed in the key and was well off down the road.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022As I approached the railway station I went to have a look at the Martelarenplein.

We’ve seen this now every month for the last I don’t know how many years and and I have to say that for the last half-dozen or so months there seems to be very little, if any improvement.

Just like every building project in Belgium, they are really taking their time with this and at the rate that they are going, I reckon that I’ll be finished long before they are here.

05:50 when I arrived at the railway station so I had 19 minutes to wait in the freezing cold and wind before my train came in.

class AM96 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022The train this morning is the 06:09 from Landen to De Panne via Brussels Airport and the City Centre.

Today it’s one of the AM96 electric multiple units. Fairly modern, quite clean and comfortable and I’m quite happy to be aboard one of these.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have mentioned their unique features before. When a train is made up of two trainsets, the rubber ring makes an airtight seal around the join and the drivers’ cabs swivel round out of the way so that you can walk from one trainset to the next.

We arrived at Bruxelles-Midi at 06:49, 28 minutes before my train to Lille. And this was when disaster stuck. There on the sign was “07:17 to Strasbourg via Lille cancelled”.

That was certainly a tragedy. With it being a weekend, the 07:47 direct to Paris doesn’t run either so that was that.

At the ticket office they proposed the following itinerary –

  • 08:17 to Lille Europe arriving 08:51
  • 10:42 from Lille Flandre to Paris Gare du Nord arriving 11:48
  • 12:59 Paris St Lazare to Lison arriving 15:31
  • 15:52 Lison to Granville arriving 16:43


Only three hours later than usual.

But if anyone thinks that I’m going to be waiting for almost two hours on a draughty, freezing cold railway station in Lille they are mistaken. I have another plan. But in the meantime I went to buy some food from Carrefour. I have a feeling that I might need it at this rate.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022Wherever I go, it has to start with the 08:17 to Montpelier via Lille

It’s one of the PBA (Paris Brussels Amsterdam) TGV Reseau 38000 trainsets and when I boarded it I could see exactly why my train had been cancelled. Two trainloads of people were “squeezed” into this one and it was still empty. I don’t suppose that they considered it worth their while to run the earlier one if it only had half the number on board that this one had.

There are a couple of small seats stuck in a corner by the baggage racks so I grabbed one of those and settled down while the train shot off into the void.

When it reached Lille Europe, I stayed on board. Next stop is Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and from there is a Reseau Express Regional (RER) D train that goes into the city centre and out to Orly. I can alight at Denfert-Rochereau which is 5 stops and 40 minutes away, and then it’s 3 stops on the traditional metro to Gare Montparnasse.

The chances are that with a good run I could still catch my 10:59 train to Granville.

So at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport I hurtled off the train and up to the RER platforms on the level above to find “No RER Service today to Paris”.

That’s all I needed.

Plan C involved legging it right across Terminal 2 (which is enormous) to the other side and the express buses that go to the Stade de France RER station. That’s on RER line D so I need to change at Chatelet. I would lose 5 minutes but who knows?

Strangely enough, whenever I’m at Terminal 2, I ALWAYS SEEM TO BE REQUIRED TO RUN.

airport express coach stade de france paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022at Gate 2F I leapt on board a waiting coach and we shot off round and round the ragged rock until we finally found the exit that took us out onto the motorway and into northern Paris.

And there we hit a pile of roadworks and a long queue of traffic and I watched the time on my fitbit melt slowly away as we tried to jostle our way into the only lane that was moving.

We eventually made it to the Stade de France railway station. My train was to leave Montparnasse at 10:59 and as I alighted from the bus it was 10:59 precisely.

Never mind, it was a good try. At least, with all of the running around that I had to do I must have lost a good few kilos.

train RER D gare de stade de france paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022Now that I’m here I may as well push on.

Down on the platform I waited for the train to come in. The next stop is the Gare du Nord anyway and that gives me plenty of opportunity to work out something else. There has to be a Plan D somewhere.

At the Gare du Nord I didn’t even come up into the daylight. Here is RER line E and the terminus of that is at Gare St Lazare (well, near enough anyway) so I may as well see what gives there.

printemps department store rue caumartin paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022Where the RER station emerges into the street is right at the back of the Printemps Department Store.

Round at the front is the Boulevard Haussman where you find the headquarters of SPECTRE and several other extremely exclusive premises. But as you might expect, I’m not going that way. I’m going in the opposite direction.

There may be a considerable amount of time to spare but I’m not going to go for a look around in Printemps. It’s the kind of place where people like us need a credit account in order to simply look in the window.

gare st lazare paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022When I was here last I didn’t have too much time to take a photo of the Gare St Lazare so here we are. We can see the clocks that we saw last time outside the building but from a different perspective.

And here, I had my only slice of luck today.

When I arrived I noticed that there was a train to Caen at 11:59, one hour earlier than the one to Cherbourg on which they had booked me. Now if there would be a train from Caen to Rennes that connects with it, I will be à la maison and sec as they say around here.

Sure enough, the train arrives in Caen at 13:58 and at 14:10 there’s a train departing for Rennes so I sallied forth into the ticket office with right and a certificate of cancellation on my side.

Bombardier Regio 2N 56670 caen normandy france Eric Hall photo February 2022Just by way of a change I met a very pleasant and helpful SNCF ticket agent who took one look at all of my paperwork (Government officials on the mainland LOVE paperwork and rubber stamps) and issued me with a ticket for the earlier train.

It’s one of the really comfortable and quick Bombardier Regio 2N electric double-deckers. I was in the front coach upstairs with about 2 other people so I could settle down with my bread rolls and have a crafty nibble.

When the ticket collector came round I showed him my original ticket and gave him all of the rest of the paperwork that I had and he hardly bothered to check them. I went back to eating my bread rolls and listening to Hawkwind again.

And I still think that the violin solo on STEPPENWOLF is one of the best that has ever been recorded.

Bombardier B82650 84555 gec alstom regiolis gare de granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And here I am at Granville. My train is the Bombardier B825 on the left.

When I arrived at Caen it was already in and raring to go. It was quite full too and there are no luggage facilities, seeing as it’s a cross-country train. But I struggled aboard and eventually found somewhere for my suitcase and me.

There is no electricity on board these trains so I didn’t switch on the laptop. All the way to Granville I listened to COLOSSEUM LIVE on the telephone.

As I explained a while ago, I usually encounter interesting young ladies in peculiar situations whenever I listen to this album, such as in the High Arctic in 2018 and again a year later on the same ship in the same seat in the same place when I had two of the strangest encounters that I have ever had in modern times.

Today though, I’ve already had so many strange encounters, one way or another, that I probably wouldn’t have noticed another one by this time.

It’s no surprise that I dozed off for 10 minutes on the way home. And I immediately went off on a little wander. I was with another taxi driver and we were talking to a third. He had had the right to an engine in compensation for something but his wife at the time was now living with yet a fourth taxi driver and he had received this engine. He had fitted it into his car, “the T-reg”. I was surprised that after all of these years he was now back on the road but the reply was yes, it’s called “Creamony Cars” or something like that

Here at Granville on the right is the train that I should have caught. It beat me here (assuming that it was on time) by about 2 hours. And I don’t suppose that that was too bad because there was a moment when I was standing in front of the sign at the RER station at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport that I thought that I would never arrive at all.

The walk through the town was a nightmare. Even going down the hill was agony.

harbour gates closing port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Climbing back up the hill up to my rock was even worse and it took me an age.

During one of my rather too frequent pauses during my climb I looked down at the harbour to see what was happening and I was lucky enough to see the red warning light flashing and the gates slowly closing.

So whoever might have been in the harbour loading up has now long gone and I won’t know who they are.

It was like Ice Station Zebra in here too when I arrived but ask me if I care. I made a coffee and collapsed into my chair.

No pizza tonight. I was too late to take some dough out of the freezer and it wouldn’t defrost so I had potatoes, veg and vegan sausage with vegan cheese sauce. It was lovely too.

Tomorrow is usually when I set an alarm for 06:00 and spend the day working on the radio but if anyone thinks that I’m doing that then they are mistaken. I’m going to bed and going to sleep until I awaken and hard luck on anyone who expects me to do anything. I’ve had a harrowing day.

Mind you, that could all change if TOTGA, Castor and/or Zero invite me to come with them for a midnight ramble. Imagine my sharing a room with Zero the other night and she not being there!

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… one of the lowest tides so far this winter, and so as we might expect, the crowds are out at the pèche à pied this afternoon.

That is, of course “fishing on foot”, not “fishing for feet”, although there was probably a little of that going on too after the events of several weeks ago when someone did fish up a human foot – or, at least, the remains of one.

And that reminds me – I wonder whatever was the outcome of that. Nothing more ever appeared in the local Press and I’m intrigued to find out some more about it.

I shall have to put my best foot forward and go to enquire of the local bobbies sometime. Maybe they have one foot in the grave already.

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And it wasn’t just on the beach that people were fishing either.

Right out at sea at the top end of the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of fishing boats wandering around. Far too far out for me to be able to tell exactly what they were doing, unfortunately.

For a change, I knew what I was doing today – and that was “making some progress”. Being unable to eliminate all of the background noise from my radio interview, I cheated and made my own background noise, and then overdubbed it onto the supplementary questions.

Surprisingly, after a considerable amount of tweaking, it didn’t sound too bad at all and it’s difficult to hear the joints.

Yes, a better day today and I was able to make progress. And not just that either. I have a much better idea of what I’m going to do with it all.

It took a good while though to work myself up to it. It was rather later than usual when I went to bed and despite dropping off to sleep quite quickly, I was awake just as quickly too and had another hour or so of wishing I was dead or something before dropping off into the Land of Nod.

And not tossing and turning too much during the night either, for the first time since I really can’t remember when.

Leaving the bed was another struggle, which was a surprise seeing as I’d been awake since 06:10 and starting work after the medication was even more so and it took me quite a while to start up.

First task was to listen to the dictaphone. I started out with Nerina last night. We were driving somewhere, the two of us, in our separate cars, looking for a place to park. For some unknown reason I missed a turning and carried straight on down this road. When I looked behind me she had gone. I stopped and someone, I’ve no idea who or how, said that he’d nip down this side road after her. I parked up Caliburn, walked a little further down and turned left where there was a road junction that went left back on itself and another road that went left and forward on itself like a “K” on its back. I followed the road that was going back on itself thinking that I’d reach the road where Nerina had turned off. I’d left my van so that if she turned up she’d see it, know that I’m around and wait. I walked down this road. There was a canal on the right and buildings on the left. It narrowed into a footpath and then came out onto the road that Nerina must have taken. There were people around, like a park etc, and the canal. I couldn’t see Nerina, I couldn’t see June, I couldn’t see anything of that so I walked a little way back along this road heading towards the main road again. I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t see anyone so I thought that I’d walk back to where my van is and see what happens next. Of course there’s no point ringing her because she had a mobile ‘phone but she never ever brought it with her so ringing her wouldn’t be any use.

We never had that trouble in real life though. We could wander off in different directions even in major cities but we’d soon find each other again, like a pair of homing pigeons. Except once many years ago in Budapest when I nipped out of the car, told her to “drive round the block and come back” because there was nowhere to park while I had things to do, and then having to wait three quarters of an hour in a tee shirt in a snow storm because I’d sent her off round the only 5-sided block in the whole of Hungary and she had, unsurprisingly, become disorientated.

And I remember that car very well. OCC883S, a Cortina estate that I bought for £50 to break for spares 35 years ago and ended up driving it, and the two of us, all the way from Crewe to the border of the USSR via Italy and Yugoslavia, and they wouldn’t let us in because Nerina didn’t have a visa.

Some local reversed into us as well outside the railway station in Budapest and was shocked to the core when I told him to forget it and drive on. As if another dent on that car was going to make any difference.

And then it cracked the head in Ulm on the way back so when you left the car overnight, water would drain into a cylinder and stop the car from starting. We had to drain out the water every night, start the car up empty next morning and then fill it up with water once it was running.

Later on I was with Nerina and TOTGA of all people in Gainsborough Road doing some tidying up (as if that would ever be likely). We discovered a huge damp patch on the floor that was wringing wet and were having a big discussion about whta we were going to do about it. I was busy working through my music playing different tapes here and there. It was starting to become quite late and TOTGA decided that she would have to go home. Before she went I put on an album, THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by Audience, I don’t know why, but that was playing. Anyway she eventually decided that she would have to go so i went to the front door to see her off. “There’s no need to see me off” she said but she added that this time would be the best time to ‘phone her because everything was quiet just before she goes to bed and she wasn’t ever really doing anything else. The she said something like “there’s no need to take me to the door”. I thought “of course there is, if I can get a hug out of it” and I gave her a big hug. She was rather wary about what was going to happen next, something that will come as no surprise, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I could sense that things were not maybe as I would like them to be.

So no surprise there either. Over the years she had several lucky escapes from my evil clutches so no reason why that shouldn’t continue in the virtual world.

After a shower, I went for lunch where I finished off the last of the bread. Must make some more tomorrow.

In the meantime I made a start on the radio programme and made quite good progress. I might even have finished off the final part but Rosemary rang up for another one of our mega-chats that go on for hours and hours.

There was of course a break for my trip to the physiotherapist.

coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And on the way down into town I stopped to have a look at chat was going on in the port this afternoon.

And what is Coelacanthe doing? She’s moored stern-on to the quayside right by the fish-processing plant so they won’t be untangling her nets there in that small space and the ice chute that pumps the ice into the holds of the ships that are setting out is the grey tube in the foreground so she’s not taking on ice.

Meantime, in the background, after her perambulations of yesterday afternoon, Belle France is back tied up at the quayside near the port office. She can’t have gone far yesterday afternoon.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill I could hear the noise of machinery coming from down below in the street.

The council has parked a load of vans and lorries and so on down on the boulodrome on the Place Pelley. And even so, the presence of several vehicles isn’t going to put the boulonauts off their stride.

They will still be carrying on regardless. A game of boules is quite serious stuff around here. Nevertheless, I decided to go that way into town to see what was going on down there.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So this is what they are up to this afternoon.

Pollards!

What they are doing is pollarding the trees around here, namely trimming them down so that there is less weight on the trunks and to increase the density of the foliage, all of which is supposed to make the trees last longer.

The wood isn’t going to waste by the way, because there was someone picking up the bits that had been cut off and was busy stuffing them into the back of his car. I suppose that they will be the right kind of thing for basket-weaving and the like.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The last time that we were down here in town they were beginning to set up the kiddies’ roundabout.

They’ve finished doing that now and it’s up and running, with fare-paying passengers by the looks of it.

And if you look closely at it, it seems to be smaller than in previous years. Perhaps that’s just an optical illusion or else this is how the stand-off with the town council has been resolved.

Whatever it is, there seems little doubt that pedestrians can walk all the way around it without stepping into the street, which was one of the objections that the council had.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me doing exercises, including standing on one leg, throwing a ball behind me and then catching it as it rebounded from the wall. I’m still trying to work out why.

Around the corner to Lidl next. I’ve run out of frozen peas and quinoa and they are a vital part of my cuisine. I bought a few other bits and pieces too but I forgot the tarragon.

house building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022ON the way home I came past the new house that they have been trying to build for a lifetime on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

We’ve not had a photo of it from this angle, as far as I can remember, so I took one while I was organising my shopping which, for some reason, felt as heavy as lead today.

A few hundred yards further on, my neighbour who had been at the physiotherapist’s came by and offered me a lift which was quite nice of him. We had quite a good chat on the way home. And I can’t say that I was sorry to have a lift. I wasn’t doing too well on the way home.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I’d been getting out of the car I’d heard the noise of a powerful power tool coming from within the walled town so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and went back outside while the coffee was brewing.

My first thought was that they might have been doing something in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux where they are repairing the medieval city walls, but it wasn’t clear from this photo.

But we can see how they are progressing with the repair work. Where the scaffolding is, they’ve done almost all the way up to the very top, and are working their way along at the foot of the walls.

But those two very large vertical cracks are looking quite ominous and they will need quite a large amount of attention.

Back in the old days, when they would finish the repointing, they would drill two holes in a piece of glass and screw it with one screw either side of where the crack was. They would check the glass regularly and if it became cracked, they would know that there was still movement in the walls.

You see that kind of thing in plenty of medieval churches and the like even today.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was at it, I went for a butcher’s down on the beach.

Plenty of beach, even though it’s later than usual, but no-one down there on it. The weather might have been miserable but it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t that cold. It doesn’t seem like midwinter at all right now.

Back in the apartment I carried on with the radio programme until Rosemary rang up for one of her chats.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. And the potatoes weren’t steamed enough. I must give them a few minutes on their own before I add in all of the other vegetables, I reckon. Everything will be so much better.

So while I’ve been writing out my notes I’ve had a hot chocolate and now I’m on the hot blackcurrant, lemon and honey drink. I’m having plenty to drink and it’s all healthy. It might make me want to go for a ride on the porcelain horse later but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate moment.

Right now I’m off to bed, hoping for a more exciting and productive day tomorrow if I can find this momentum again. I need to finish this off and move it out of the way and get on with other things.

In the meantime, if you want to see the highlights of yesterday evening’s football, THEY ARE HERE.

Wednesday 26th January 2022 – I HAD A …

… lovely tea tonight, I really did.

Steamed vegetables with vegan veggie balls all tossed in a really nice thick vegan cheese sauce. And for a change the vegetables were cooked to perfection and it really was delicious. I loved every mouthful of it.

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Breakfast was pretty wonderful too.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d finished the last of the Christmas cake, and what a success that was! Even the icing hardened off after a week or so.

Unfortunately the banana and molasses cake had gone the Way of the West over the last four weeks that it had been standing idle, and so I made another batch of fruit buns first thing this morning after the medication and these have worked really well yet again

It’s just a simple 250-gramme bread recipe but with only 2/3rd water and a very ripe banana mixed in, along with sunflower seeds, dried fruit of all kinds and varieties, desiccated coconut and about 100 grammes of brazil nuts ground into rather a coarse flour.

Of coarse … “he means “of course”” – ed … there will have to be some coarseness involved if I’m doing something, won’t there?

Not much last night though. After the heady and turbulent nights that I’ve had in the recent past with Zero, Castor, TOTGA and a few other of my favourite young ladies coming to join me in my nocturnal rambles for hours and hours on end, last night brought me down to earth with a bump. A guy a know from way back when and I were rewiring a car somewhere using bits of wire but there was a whole wiring harness from another scrap car and I was cutting a whole length of wire out of it (and the times that I’ve done that too in real life!). Someone asked me what I was doing so I explained. They were a bit upset thinking that I’d been doing it in a different way but it seemed pretty reasonable to me. Then I could remember that my father could get hold of wire as well so I told my friend that we were using wire with a blue and grey trace but we could get from my father some yellow and grey trace for it and maybe we should go down there. He asked what time my father was working so I could explained. he said that if I get down there to Church Lawton I could take the car because there’s a misfire that needs sorting out and we can pick up some wire while we’re there. Of course I wondered if he was actually going to be out there and be the one to bring me back. We had a discussion about that but I can’t really remember where we went to after that.

Added to this was that some girl was involved in this but I can’t remember why. There was also something about why were we using this black wire with different-coloured tracing in it when we could have had any-coloured wire from anywhere to do the job and the more wire with higher contrast in it the better.

And what was he doing putting in an appearance in my nocturnal rambles? He was one of these people who had a very volatile character and while we had something of a working relationship back in the 70s and early 80s it fell apart dramatically on 2 occasions, the second time for good.

And if you think that that’s interesting, you ain’t seen nuffink yet. I was taxi-driving last night, going down Market Street and then up the bank in Middlewich Street. There was some excitement when a couple of boys on bikes were blocking my path. I got rid of them. Just then I heard a voice cry “Eric!”. I turned round and it was someone on a moped. The name “Frank” came into my head so I said “hello Frank”. Then I realised that it wasn’t so I said “it’s not Frank, it’s Pete”. He used to be the landlord of a couple of pubs in Crewe but had had some severe mental health issues. I asked him what he was doing now and he replied that he was working as a family counsellor. He was off the drink and had himself properly organised, all this kind of thing. We had quite a chat. I asked where he was living. He said he was living with his aunt, or his mother, or someone else who had a motorbike but they were constantly rowing about things but staying together. Then he said “you’ll remember (a girl’s name) “. I looked and there was a girl there. “Last time you saw her, she was a tiny baby” so I looked and asked “how old are you now?”. “11” she replied but she was quite big for 11 so we had a chat and I had a hug which was very nice and we all started to chat about the old days.

And why did he become involved in my travels too? He was someone who lost his town-centre pub due to a redevelopment project and they transferred him to a different kind of pub on a decaying housing estate and his character didn’t suit the locals at all. The last I heard of him, 40 years ago, he was having some really serious and tragic problems and I haven’t heard a word or even thought about him since.

The reason why there wasn’t as much going on during the night as there has been just recently is probably because I didn’t go to bed until almost 02:00. After crashing out so dramatically yesterday I wasn’t in the least bit tired. But when you have an 07:30 start in the morning, there isn’t much time for voyaging.

There had also been my first nocturnal challenge too – and that was changing the batteries in the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep and the net result of my experiences is that I’m going to replace my ancient Sony with like-for-like. I can change those batteries in my sleep with no problem.

After the meds I made my fruit buns and then after breakfast I carried on going backwards through the journal to update it to include the missing journeys and photos.

At 12:30 I ground to a halt and went for a shower, followed by lunch. And the pain in my jaw has eased considerably over the last couple of days so I tried some sandwiches instead of soup. And that worked fine today.

Later on I went off and parked Caliburn on the street outside Lidl and walked down for my physiotherapy session. And the exercises that she’s had me doing, I can feel the difference between my left knee and the bad right one. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve broken both my knees once and the right one a second time in motorcycle accidents in my teenage years.

And then the right one a third time in a skiing accident in the 1970s – and next day drove my old BMC HALF-TON VAN all the way back to Winsford from Inverness and it’s not an automatic.

That van, known as “Bill Badger”, could tell a few stories, and you’ve heard a few of them, Alison.

It’s a good job that I went in Caliburn to the physiotherapist because I had a funny turn in Lidl – a week of inactivity hasn’t been kind to me by the looks of things.

The bill in Lidl was enormous, but seeing as I haven’t been shopping for almost 3 weeks it’s not a surprise. But they did have these tactile glove on offer again and they are great for photography in the winter, if I ever get back to the High Arctic, which these days is looking more and more unlikely until I learn to sail.

On the steps I bumped into my neighbour from up above and we had a chat, then I came in here to put away the frozen food, make a coffee and collapse into a chair. That was hard work.

Now that tea is over and the washing up done, I’m off to bed. Despite my bad night I’ve kept going all day which is good news but I still can’t motivate myself. maybe a good sleep might recharge the batteries, but I dunno.

And in any case, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day and I wouldn’t exchange any of that for anything else – except if it were to happen in real life.

But fat chance of that.

Saturday 22nd January 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… else today that I don’t normally do and haven’t done for years, and that it to take a couple of painkillers.

Usually pain doesn’t bother me all that much but the pain in my jaw today has been agony and if I were a football coach I’d seriously be contemplating taking out all my teeth and fitting seats instead.

Things weren’t so bad this morning if I remember correctly – and I can’t remember very much because it was something of a mad scramble to leave the bed. I’d switched off the alarm at 07:30 and thought “I’ll just give it 5 minutes” and the next thing I remember was that it was 07:59 and I hadn’t make it out of bed when the 08:00 alarm went off.

So after the medication it was a slow start to the day but eventually I managed to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were piles of them too. I was making myself something with chips last night and I wanted more chips so I went to find another potato. But the only potatoes that I could find were far too big for what I wanted. While I was doing that I was at the back of the shop. We were having problems with all sorts of people who were coming in and out of the shop and trying to come through to the back which of course was off limits. Then one of the younger girls shouted and said “an educated while man has just gone out of the back door” so I dashed out to see. The back door had been left wide open and there was a car on the back with a broken wheel which I think I must have heard pull up because I heard a strange noise a few minutes earlier. Then I was on my way home. It was North America. There were kids playing around. One kid jumped up to grab hold of a balcony or something on a first floor and worked him or herself along to where there was a wall where they could lower themselves down and walk away. Another kid did the same thing and became tangled up with the first kid and they couldn’t move. Someone shouted for help so someone came out of a nearby house. The 1st kid took it upon himself to leap off so he swung off with his hands. He fell on the pavement really awkwardly near where I was so I started to go over to see him

We’d been skiing, a party of us, but the weather wasn’t really good enough. There wasn’t really all that much snow. I’d started out by being in Montreal and was telling a few people about my trip somewhere. I mentioned that the snow was about a metre deep which took them by surprise. They thought that the snow was more like here, basically an iced-over covering. Then we were preparing to go skiing. There were several girls in our party but one in particular I was quite fond of. As it happened when she came to rent her ski equipment I was already in the queue so I fetched her equipment for her. We chatted a little but she didn’t seem to be very enthusiastic but she didn’t seem keen to wander away either. Skiing was extremely difficult because you were OK on the flats and on the edges but it was the transition from the flats to the edges that caught out a lot of people. It wasn’t really enjoyable. When it went dark we came back and I collected up the equipment. I didn’t want to be away too long because there was some kind of dance or disco that night and I had my eyes set on persuading this girl to come with me. I was busy trying to fire myself up to some kind of positive mood because when you feel positive things seem to go much easier. When I went to hand in this ski equipment there were loads of people in suits, businessmen, hogging all the way round the bar and you couldn’t get to the bar at all to hand over your things, never mind order a drink or anything with all of these businessmen types in the way and they didn’t want to move. Even when the Chancellor of the Exchequer turned up no-one would make room for him. All the time I felt that it I don’t organise myself very soon I’ll miss my opportunity such as it is with this girl, aren’t I? And we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

I’d had to go to the hospital in Granville so off I went. It wasn’t situated where it is but beyond LeClerc on the road to Villedieu. I’d been there doing a few things, talking to a few people whom I’d met on holiday with Adventure Canada. By the time I’d finished, I’d written a letter so I said goodbye to a few of these people but one of these people just totally ignored me which I thought was strange. I looked in at the reception desk but the people I’d been talking to had said about the hospital that was somewhere else in the town is closed after 11:00 so we’d been making jokes about “what happens at 11:30 if you cut your finger off?” etc. I went to the reception but there was no-one there so I took their sellotape and sealed up my letter. The receptionist came and I asked her about the hospital. Where do you go?. She told me of a hospital somewhere to the north 25 kilometres away which was a different on to the one that someone else thought was the nearest. So I left and went down to the car park. I had three vehicles on the car park, Caliburn, my red Cortina estate and another one that I’d bought. When I arrived, the other vehicle had gone, the red Cortina estate had been set on fire and had been put out and the back doors of Caliburn were open and everything that was in the back except for one or two little bits and pieces had been taken. I thought “I know what’s going to happen next. They are going to turn up having taken away one vehicle and take away the red Cortina estate” so I started it up ready to move it. I had a look at it and with the paintwork really blistered, even though i starts and runs the police are going to be quite interested in the state of the vehicle. I’m going to have to spend a weekend just preparing it and giving it a quick spray-over just so I can continue to use it without being unduly bothered by the police. And then what was I going to do with Caliburn because if they came back and I’d removed the red Cortina and that had gone, they’d take Caliburn away

So there I was on my way back, having stepped back more-or-less into the previous dream where I’d stepped out, driving past a house and a woman I know from here was tending her garden. I waved to her. A little further on she had some kind of cockerel that I didn’t recognise so I stopped to ask her the breed of the bird. She pointed to a heap of rubbish on the other side of the road. She said “there’s a letter for you over there in that heap of rubbish about an appointment. I went over to have a look and it was all the stuff out of the back of Caliburn, the false floor, the mattress and several other things. A little further on there was Caliburn. He’d been hit in the side so there was a huge dent down the side, a window was broken so they had obviously hit it with another car to move it. Everything had gone out of the back except a few bits and pieces. Strawberry Moose was there so I rescued him. There was no real point in doing anything with Caliburn because just hitting him with that car had damaged him irreparably. There was absolutely nothing to be done. It wasn’t even worth taking away the stuff that was still in the back of it.

And all of that news about Caliburn and my red Cortina estate was enough to put anyone off.

By the time that I finished all of that it was lunchtime so I went to make my sandwiches. And they ended in the bin too because by now with my aching jaw I couldn’t eat them. It was soup with pasta, and aren’t I glad that I bought that job lot of vegan soup from Noz when I did?

This afternoon I finished off the dictaphone entries and started to edit and re-upload some of the previous journal entries that were incomplete. I’ll finish the others in due course

Tea was an overcooked pasta with overcooked veg in a vegan cheese sauce. And it was still difficult to eat. I’m hoping that whatever it is that is causing this pain will go away pretty soon so that I can have some nice things to eat. If I carry on like this much longer it will be soup and ice cream and nothing else.

But not tomorrow. It will be toast and porridge, with pizza for tea, unless something dramatic happens.

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – DAY TWO …

… of my enforced isolation passed quite uneventfully today.

And I’m glad that I decided to stay in because the news in the local rag was quite discouraging. 60 pupils of “a local High School” (and they didn’t say which one, but there is one just across the car park from here) who went on a ski trip last week have all come back testing positive for Covid.

Consequently, when I do decide to go back out to reconnect with the real world, it will be in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, as I did 2 years ago at the start of the pandemic.

And going back out might be sooner than I imagine because I’ve felt much better today and if I can keep up the improvement, I might even return to normal by the end of next week, but that’s some long hope, isn’t it?

After going to bed last night just after 20:30, I was awake again at 04:40 and spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep until the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I came back in here to gather my wits a little and make a start of some work, but I’ve no idea why, after all of the sleep that I had during the night, I dozed off to sleep again.

By breakfast-time I was awake again, and after my coffee and cake (and if I’m not careful I’ll run out of Christmas cake by the weekend) I slowly tried to wind myself up to do some work. And as it happened I made a start on the sencond run-through of some of the radio interviews.

But only a start. I’d rather not dwell too much on all of that. I was definitely not feeling myself today.

One thing that surprised me was that I remembered to ring up the physiotherapist to say that I won’t be coming today. I’ve no idea what it is that I’ve caught but I’m sure that they don’t want it.

As the afternoon wore on, I gradually pulled myself round, and I’m feeling better than I was this time yesterday – although that’s not saying very much at all. Mind you, I did realise round about 16:00 that I hadn’t had any lunch. I must be ill if I’m off my food.

Mustn’t forget the dictaphone either. Tons of stuff on there. It really must have been a disturbed night last night. We started off by me being given custody of a baby that a girl had had and of which I was the father so I had to collect her from school. We knew that this girl was unstable so we set a kind of trap in this hotel room where I was staying, me and three other people because we were sure that she’d try to come in. Sure enough a man appeared at the hotel at about 02:00. He hid inside a cardboard box and gradually inched it across forward into the hotel lift, went up to the 11th floor, left the lift and came back downstairs to the 10th floor. He burst into my room, but it was in fact the girl. She found one of the people sleeping on the floor but the other one stayed hidden under the bed and didn’t move out. She started to become violent so we were violent back so she just stood there and let us be violent to her. It didn’t seem to affect her in the slightest. We were hitting her with chains but she was just standing there. We were wondering how on earth we were going to get this girl organised. We couldn’t set fire to her clothes because the hotel smoke alarm would go off etc. The more we hit her, the more she just stood there and took it so in the end we were very close to giving it up as a bad job

There was a hot air balloon called “The Olga” that was to take off. There were people around there taking photos. I was taking some. Someone asked of there had been any other photos taken in the past. I didn’t have any. The balloon inflated and set off. Suddenly I remembered that I did have a photo of a balloon called “Olga” so I went to have a look. Sure enough, there it was but it was a different balloon in a totally different situation so it was clearly not the correct balloon which was disappointing.

I was also with someone last night but I can’t remember who. We ended up back in Gainsborough Road. I went in with this other person whose father came from Crewe but she came from Abergele. We went in, and my mother was there with some other woman. Se was doing her bes salesman role explaining about my house, everything. It really did look nice the way that it had all been finished off. In the end she said to me “why don’t you take this woman upstairs and so her around?”. I had to point out that first of all I had no idea what we were doing there anyway when there were tenants in there, to show this woman around upstairs, but I went upstairs. There was a kid asleep in the small bedroom and stuff all over the floor. There was another kid sitting on a bed in another room. I noticed that my fitted wardrobes had been demolished. There was a man in the bathroom so I explained the bathroom to the lady and told her about the central heating, so on. We went downstairs and Joanie and Malcolm turned up with their new baby. She’d brought lots of jars of coffee, stuff like that and I wondered what the hell was going on in my house, people just walking in like this even though there were tenants living in there who obviously can’t have been very impressed.

There was some kind of dispute in Portsmouth about rerouting a bus route. It had taken up 2 parking spaces and led to a confrontation. They were saying that there was no other way to reroute these buses but there was in fact a road but where the bus would end up stopping was by a place frequented by a couple of gangs so the bus company didn’t want to stop there. I happened to be down in Portsmouth at the time, in a vehicle with a trailer on it. When we came to the bank that the buses would have to drive up – it was a dirt track – we couldn’t get the vehicle with its trailer up there. We uncoupled the trailer and drove the vehicle up, then we pushed the trailer up. But one of the guys was standing there looking at me while I was pushing this trailer and not lending a hand at all. We coupled up the vehicle and drove off down this dirt track. At the end was a fuel station so we stopped for fuel. I was with Nerina by this time. She was pointing out some beautiful parts of the town that she could see. I said “it’s not like that at all, really. There are a few nice bits but the rest of it is just mundane”. She replied “you could come here and have your hospital treatment if you like”. I told her that I was happy with Leuven. She saw some other buildings that looked nice but I said that they were industrial ones. We had to go to see someone. We were on our way to him. It seemed to me that she was doing everything she could to slow down our arrival there. he had a couple of daughters who were also concerned in what we were doing. She said “we can see them after 20:00, can’t we, on our way home? And these other people we have to see, we can see them later too”. I had a feeling that the rate we were going on meant that we would never ever get to see anyone. It was just dragging on and on and on, this journey.

Finally, I’d been in Spain. I had been in France and I was flying down to Spain but somehow I’d ended up with a car to hire. A black Alfa Romeo saloon. In it I had all my affairs, everything. When I parked it in this street I was busy doing something and when I looked round, the car had gone. I had a look around but couldn’t see it anywhere. eventually I found a public telephone box by a Formula 1 hotel so I phoned the police. I dialled 11 (as in 112) but someone immediately answered. It was a private person and she couldn’t help me at all. A guy standing nearby who had heard what I waid told me that the number for the police was 22 so I dialled them and explained as best as I could what had happened. They left me hanging on the line for ages and ages and ages. A policeman at his desk nearby wondered what I was doing so I explained it to him. He said there’s nothing much we can do, is there? If the car’s gone, it’s gone”. I said “yes, but no-one has even taken the registration number, the details, my details, all this kind of thing. I thought that at least someone would have come down and taken the information”.

Tea tonight was pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce. I fancied something light that would fill me and would be easy to digest. And now I’m preparing myself to go to bed.

But before I do, I saw a video about the snowfall that they have just had in Ottawa, so I sent a message to my family and friends who live there.

But of course there is one person there to whom I would like to send a message to see if she’s OK but it’s probably not good idea to go raking around in the ashes of a fire that was extinguished rather dramatically all that time ago. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big believer in the sixth sense and so if I send the message via the power of thought backed by sufficient force of character. I’m convinced that she’ll receive it.

Keep the faith!