Tag Archives: vegan ice cream

Saturday 17th June 2023 – I’M REALLY GLAD …

… that I decided in the end to go to Noz while I was out at the shops because I had a lovely tea tonight, and I’ll be having more of the same over the next few days.

Last night though I wasn’t all that sure and I was still undecided when I went to bed. And although it took me just as long as usual to go off to sleep I had a better night’s sleep for once, such as it was.

When the alarm went off this morning I was dead to the world and it was quite a battle to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I caught up with a few bits and pieces and then set off for the shops.

What made me decide to go to Noz was that there was a parking space free right outside the front door so I didn’t have to go far.

And I did well in there today with quite a lot of stuff. Some of those frozen Chinese things that I had a while back, some Kale and Quinoa burgers, a new light fitting for the toilet, and a small pyrex bowl (I’ve been after one of these for a while) smaller than the standard size to fit in the air fryer with room to spare, and some other stuff too.

But pide of place was some more stuff from that German vegan company, such as a bake-it-yourself vegan apple and cinnamon roll and some vegan chocolate ice-cream. So my pudding tonight was marvellous. I’ve given up having dessert but as long as there’s this cinnamon roll and ice-cream I’ll carry on and make an exception.

And there are dramatic new developments at LeClerc. They are now selling vegan cheese of course and have been for a while, and they had some more in the short-date clearance bins too (“had” being the operative word here ‘cos it’s not there now, the ground’s all flat).

But now, even more progress is being made because they are now stocking vegan sausages. Wonders will never cease. We’re definitely being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century here.

Although I have a few packs of vegan sausages in the freezer I bought another one today. Not because I needed it but as a sign of solidarity. It’ll encourage them to keep on stocking them.

But two weeks on the run they’ve had no cheap frozen peas in. Just expensive ones. I think that someone has really been taking the peas over this.

Back here I made my cheese on toast and some nice strong coffee but regrettably crashed out. And crashed out good and proper too. Not once but twice and that’s depressing.

When I’ve not been asleep (which wasn’t often) I’ve been working on my Canada notes, hunting around the cemetery in Cartwright for the grave of Garnett Lethbridge.

The story told around Cartwright is that Lethbridge befriended a young fox-fur farmer called Clarence Birdseye whose farm at Muddy Bay was failing, and taught him a little technique that he’d learnt for freezing his catch of fish when he was out on the ice.

Birdseye took copious notes and when his fox farm failed in 1917 he went back to the USA to develop the technique that Lethbridge had taught him.

Birdseye went on to make millions while Lethbridge caught the flu in 1918 and died in poverty, being buried in a pauper’s grave.

Well, he would have been, except that the pauper objected so he had to have one of his own.

As an aside, in the Census of 1911 there were 49 inhabitants of Cartwright. And 17 people were buried in the cemetery who had died of flu in November 1918.

As another aside, in the period 1911-1921 the population of the island of Newfoundland rose by 8.5%. In the same period in Labrador the population fell from 3949 to 3774 despite a net migration gain of 106 people.

But returning to Lethbridge, his grandfather was an interesting character. He came from Devon and was one of the first settlers on the coast. A tinsmith by trade, he came to Labrador with Hunt and Henley when their salmon-canning factory opened .

When the Hudson’s Bay Company bought out Hunt and Henley’s business they closed down the plant. Lethbridge senior was so incensed that he refused to have any dealings with them and on his deathbed ordered that all of his possessions, including his boat, should be burnt so as not to fall into the hands of the company.

There were exciting times on the Labrador coast all those years ago. I would have been quite at home there.

Especially when you have a close look at the Censuses for that period, and two columns that caught my eye. The enumerators had to record the number of people who were “crazy or lunatic” or “idiotic or silly”. And I’m sure that you think that I’m making this up.

There was also time to go through the dictaphone and see what happened during the night. There was something going on in Guildford to do with some wrestler’s wife who was going to take on some kind of role in running the town and maybe going to be given the keys to the treasury. That led to some kind of scandal. Members of the council ended up being impeached. As a result of a huge press campaign coverage it never happened but there was a little more contentious issues of a similar nature somewhere else in the vicinity too that attracted a lot of attention

Later on a group of us had been out somewhere in Germany on a tram. We’d been out and had to catch this tram. The tran station was absolutely heaving. When the tram pulled in we had to fight to board. Everyone was on one side of the track but we noticed that it was a single track and there was a platform on the other side. When the tram pulled in we swung round the other side where there were fewer people and swarmed aboard. We managed to grab a seat. It was an extremely uncomfortable seat but we managed it all the same. At some point we alighted. There had been some issues about the railway line. We’d been cutting up these railway lines. We suddenly realised that we’d cut the railway line for the tram. We were sitting here with this big square-profile length of wood like a chevron or a demi-chevron or something. We suddenly realised that this was our tram. A couple that had gone past weren’t actually ours. They were much smaller anyway. We eventually ended up back at home, or at least I did. Something had happened and the washing machine hadn’t been put back in the right place. There was some coffee in the pot so I poured it. It was cold. I went to put it in the microwave. I thought that I would have to move the washing machine before I go. I wondered how I was actually going to do it. I suddenly had this eerie feeling that here I am in the house, the doors are open and there’s coffee around but there isn’t anyone. There should be people so why aren’t there any people? It was really weird, all this, about what was actually happening in this house.

Tea was a salad and chips and something that I found in the freezer that had been in there since the Dawn of Time. “Surely not very old” I hear you say. “Well, geologically speaking, I suppose not” I reply. And followed my a bit of the cinnamon roll and ice cream.

Tomorrow is Sunday so I’m having a lie-in. And I have to make some pizza dough too because I’ve run out. The big question is whether there’s enough room in the freezer to store the excess, but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate moment.

Right now I have other fish to fry, like a nice warm bed.

Thursday 17th June 2021 – THEY DIDN’T KEEP …

… me in the hospital. They soon kicked me out of the hospital yesterday and I’m back in my comfy little digs now where I started out this morning.

When the alarm went off this morning I awoke in a really damp sweat again. I staggered out of bed at 06:00 and the first thng that I did after that was to listen to the dictaphone. there were a couple of files on there – one from two nights ago that I had yet to transcribe, and the one for last night.

This was something like I’d joined the Army and I had a whole list of things that I wanted to do. One of the things was to go for a whole series of medical examinations but the map was so confusing and the details so confusing that I wasn’t sure when or where to go. In the end I set off to try to find the place. It was a staggering set of old buildings, old ruined medieval towers propped up with wood, old burnt-out houses, two cars that had collided outside a house all entangled in a big heap of metal. Just totally strange. Luckily I met one of the professors whom I knew and I asked her where I was supposed to go. She pointed me to the place, just opposite the shop. She showed me a side street as well and said “down there is the French educational building” or French school or whatever. So I set off for my medical.

So having dealt with that, I made a start on writing up the blog but the next thing that I remember was at it was 08:00. I’d crashed out for about an hour or so sitting on my sofa. But once I pulled myself round, made myself a coffee and carried on with the notes.

Once they were published I made some toast for breakfast and then chose the music for the next radio programme.

A shower and a clothes-washing session was next, followed by making my sandwiches ready for the hospital, and then I hit the streets.

people at tables in street tienestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnd it was nice to see so many people taking advantage of the easing of the Corona Virus situations.

In the beautiful sunny weather and at lunchtime too there were crowds of people sitting at tables at the various restaurants in the town, like here in the Tienesestraat. And beautiful weather it was too. Summer has arrived at long last and the restrictions have been eased in time for people to enjoy it.

But I can’t help the feeling in the back of my mind that all of this is happening far too soon. We’ve already seen that the ease in restrictions in the UK has led to a rise in cases from less than 2,000 per day to the figure today of 11,007.

But as REACT – the body that surveys the spread of the virus in the UK – has said, the UK’s policy of just a single vaccination has been a failure. At least, in Europe, they’ve concentrated on double vaccinations.

road works amerikalaan, Franz Tielemanslaan brusselsestraat Leuven belgium Eric HallCarrying on down the hill through the town centre and out the other side, I came to the road junction of the Brusselsestraat, the Amerikalaan and the Franz Tielemanslaan

When we were here last month we had seen them working on the pavement there doing some remodelling. They seem to have advanced quite nicely with that and I do have to say that while I’m not too keen on the brickwork for the cycle path, it’s a vast improvement on the slabs of asphalt that they used in the Monseigneur Van Waeyenbeghlaan.

They seem to have moved on now and are doing some kind of work on the little square that is build over the River Dijle at the back. It’s going to be interesting to see what they are going to do there and how it’s going to look when it’s all finished.

velodrome brusselsestrat Leuven belgium Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of how things are going to look in the future, I went along the Brusselsestraat to see how things were developing at the site of St Pieter’s hospital that they have spent the last year or so demolishing.

Part of the site has been cleared and they were erecting a huge wooden structure in the place of part of it.

There was a guy standing underneath a parasol nearby who came over to chat with me.He told me that they were building a velodrome on the site. Apparently it’s going to take 6 years for the whole of the site to be cleared and redeveloped, so as a temporary measure, they are erecting this velodrome.

The velodrome is expected to be there for three years before they will be starting to redevelop this part of the site.

clearing site of sint pieter's hospital brusselsestraat Leuven Eric HallAs for the rest of the site, they are clearing the site fairly rapidly as you can see.

They seem to have ground up the rubble into a fine powder and now they are loading it up onto a series of lorries which will presumably take it off to another site to use as infill or as part of a mix for some new concrete somewhere.

But it’s going to be a long time, I reckon, before they uncover the river that runs underneath the site. That’s certainly the plan, but we shall have to see how things develop.

Right now though, I’m continuing down the street on my way towards the hospital There is still plenty to see.

bicycle racks kruisstraat leuven Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time that we were here we saw them erecting some bicycle racks in the Kruisstraat. I mentioned at the time that I couldn’t see why they were erecting them there as there weren’t the clients there to use them.

Now that they have been here for four weeks we can see how things are developing here. And it looks as if my assumptions were correct because there can’t be more than half a dozen bikes and scooters there. Not like the bike racks elsewhere that are bursting to overflow.

At the hospital they gave me a Covid test, which was negative, of course. Then they took a blood sample and coupled me up to the stuff that they pump into me. And I had an interesting trilingual chat with the nurse who was dealing with me.

The doctor who came to see me told me that my blood count had increased to 8.9 and so I can go home. There’s no reason for the increase that I can see, and it certainly doesn’t seem like it. All that I can say is that Liz Messenger’s cake contains many secret ingredients and has magic properties.

But the doctor didn’t really have too many answers for the other points that I raised – the night sweats, the increase in weight and all of that. But next time that I come, I have four appointments at different units of the hospital, and we shall see how things develop at that point.

vegetarian menu frittoerist sint jacobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way home I walked down the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan towards the Sint jacobsplein when the menu at the Frittoerist, the Fritkot in the Sint Jacobsplein.

It shows you how much things have evolved these days when even a fritkot can offer a vegetarian menu to the public. Mind you, this is Leuven, a town full of students where I’m sure that they outnumber the locals, as anyone who remembers my desperate search for accommodation here 5 years ago will recall.

At least the fritkot is open and accessible. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the street here in front of the fritkot and the square behind it were dug up for well over a year and access to the place was rather difficult. Clambering over a pile of bricks and mud was not the easiest way to go about buying a cornet de fritjes.

building site kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallDown at the end of the street is the street known as the Kapucijnenvoer where there is more building work being undertaken.

They are progressing with the development of this site, pourig ton after ton of concrete into the place. The base is now concreted over and they are building some kind of rooms down there. These might be private cellars for the residents or they might be machinery rooms for lifts, air conditioning, power plants and the like.

The rest of the subterranean labyrinth is quite possibly going to be used as a car park, but there is no ramp installed there right now.

And you can see the red-capped metal strengthening bars. It looks as if they are going to be building concrete pillars to support the building that’s going to be erected here. And by the diameter of the pillars, it’s going to be some substantial building.

building site kapucijnenvoer zongang leuven belgium Eric HallThere’s another building site in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we are keeping an eye. It’s the one in between the Kapicijnenvoer and the Zongang.

They seem to be making some rather rapid progress on this particular site and that makes quite a change here in Belgium. It’s going to be some kind of block of flats by the looks of things, but on a restrictive site like that, the apartments are going to be rather restricted in size. It’s another one of these “we shall have to see” situations.

All that I can say is that it’s a shame that the nice building behind it that was revealed by the demolition of whatever was on this site previously is going to be obscured by the building that they are erecting. And I can bet my bottom dollar that whatever they are going to erect here won’t be anything half as attractive as the building behind it.

digger being taken away from building site sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallBack now in the Brusselsestraat on the way into the city centre I went past the site of the demolition of St Pieters hospital.

And to my surprise there’s a big lorry here that seems to be taking away one of the big machines that has been working on the site for the past ever so many months.

What is so surprising about this is that even though the building has been brought down, they are still a long way from clearing the site. And with them in the near future having to lift the culvert off the river here, they are going to need all of the heavy equipment that they can get.

Maybe they are taking it off to work elsewhere and they’ll be bringing it back in due course when it’s needed back here.

crowds of people watching football zeelstraat leuven belgium Eric HallOne of the things that I have to do today is to go along to the bank and withdraw some money as I’m rather short of ready cash.

Going into the town wentre the crowds of people were all sitting on seats in the public areas watching the football, just like here in the Zeelstraat. Belgium are playing Denmark in the European Championships and it seems to be the thing here that rather than sit lone in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you go out and sit in the square with the crowds.

Having arranged some cash I set off to meet Alison and while I was on my way through one of the back squares stumbled across a new ice cream parlour. They had two varieties of vegan ice-cream – chocolate and moka – so despite the dreadful service in the place I eventually walked away with my prize.

Alison and I went for a meal at the Greenway Vegan Restaurant. I had a red pepper burger and Alison had a Thai wrap. And then we went off for a coffee and a chat.

Aliso had to leave early so I came back home – totally hot and sweaty, drained of blood and having walked 124% of my daily activity. No wonder I was exhausted. And so I hauled myself off to bed thinking that I will write up my notes tomorrow.

Tuesday 15th June 2021 – SUMER IS ACUMEN IN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So who knows?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 23rd September 2020 – NOW HERE’S A THING .

For much of the morning, ever since I awoke, I had a song – the title track from the album ZOOROPA – going round and round in my head.

When I’d finished doing what I had to do I switched on the music here. There are somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 tracks on my computer and the playlist is set to “automatic random”. And the first track that came up on the playlist was, of course, the title track from the album ZOOROPA.

That was uncanny – if not eerie.

Doing what I had to do didn’t take all that long this morning because there wasn’t all that much to do. When I listened to the dictaphone, I discovered that it was rather like my bank account right now – nothing in it.

That means that I can’t have gone anywhere last night – something that surprised me completely, and for two reasons.

  1. I had an early night last night
  2. I treated myself to a lie-in this morning – to wit – I didn’t leave my stinking pit until about 08:30

You would have thought that with an early night like that I would have gone off for miles.

With nothing to download, I did take full advantage and transcribed another pile of the arrears. Now there’s just a handful left and hopefully I can deal with them tomorrow.

“Hopefully” is the correct word too because I’m going to be busy. I have to make some bread quite early on and leave it to proof while I’m out at the shops. Then, of course, I have to come back and bake it.

Something else that I did this morning was to attack a pile of the photos from my trip up the Brittany coast in Spirit of Conrad. We’re now just pulling into the harbour at St Cast le Guildo where we spent out third night on board

After lunch I set about doing some tidying up in the bedroom. Much of the time was spent sorting through a large pile of post that I’d brought back from the Auvergne.

Mixed up in there was all kinds of stuff that I’d wished that I’d found two years ago and which would have saved me a lot of effort.

But at least you can walk around the bedroom without walking on anything and you don’t have to move anything to go anywhere else. It’ll be even better tomorrow after I’ve had another go at it and put some more stuff away.

reroofing house parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other evening we saw another heavy machine parked up in the Place du Parvis Notre Dame and I mentioned that I would look out for where it’s working.

Here at the side of the church there’s another roofing job going on. They have ripped off the slates and the old laths and are currently fitting new laths.

And helping them in the task is the big machine that we saw the other evening. So now we know.

Mind you, I don’t envy the men up there on that scaffolding. It’s freezing cold this afternoon, quite a dramatic drop over the last couple of days and there’s quite a gale blowing. Definitely not the weather to be up there.

And so it’s hardly surprising that there was no-one about having an afternoon walk.

people sitting on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt had it all to myself – to such an extent that seeing as the footpath under the walls was in the shelter out of the wind I ran all the way down the path.

But this is what I call courage. As I said, the weather has turned and it’s just like winter outside this afternoon. But these brave souls have brought their fold-up chairs and are sitting there on the beach evidently enjoying the weather.

And so are the seagulls too by the looks of things. They are evidently waiting for exciting things to happen but I think that they might well be in for a long wait.

No-one in the Square Maurice Marland either so I had a good run all the way across there too.

crane removing fishing nets coelacanthe tiberiade trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut there was plenty of activity in the port this afternoon. I noticed that the big crane was in operation so i wondered if one of the Channel island freighters, Thora or Normandy Trader, was in port.

But it was nothing to do with them at all. Two of the town’s trawlers, Coelacanthe and her little sister Tiberiade were moored up in the unloading bay this afternoon and the crane was busy relieving them of their trawl nets.

Whether they are to be repaired (because we’ve seen plenty of sailors sewing up trawl nets in the harbour) or to be replaced remains to be seen.

But it looks as if Normandy Trader will be in port some time soon. I’ve heard that the company that owns her has bought a lorry to do its own transporting, and the the one that I saw in a photo looks pretty much like that one down there.

big wheel moved place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s still more excitement down there as well.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing throughout the summer the Big Wheel in the car park down in the Place Godal. But there it is – gone! A sure sign that the summer season is finished.

My walk around the walls continued and as there was still no-one about I ran the final few hundred metres back home.

After I came back I recorded another album with the USB turntable. But I must remember not to go banging about while I do it. I’d completely forgotten about the effect that knocking the turntable has on the LP that’s playing, and I had to re-record one of the sides to eliminate the jumping about.

Thinking about it (which I do quite often these days) it’s been 20 years or so since I’ve played an LP. I didn’t have it set up in Expo, I’m sure of that.

After the guitar, I had tea. Taco rolls and rice, using the left-over stuffing with some kidney beans in it. And the rest of my apple crumble with some vegan chocolate ice cream. While I’m baking the bread tomorrow I’ll make a rice pudding too.

I can also cook a sheep’s head, and if I leave the eyes in it, that’ll see me through the week.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOutside tonight, I didn’t hang around. If I thought that the wind was bad outside this afternoon, it was totally wicked this evening.

The people on board Joly France, the ferry that goes out to the Ile de Chausey who were returning from the island will have known all about the crossing, that’s for sure. They were being tossed around like corks.

And that reminds me of the time that I was on board a cross-Channel ferry with Percy Penguin once, bringing back a coach from France. This was 1992 and there was a hurricane in the Channel and the crossing took 19 hours as we couldn’t get into port.

One guy was leaning over the rails “feeding the fishes” quite dramatically.
“The trouble with you” I said “is that you have a weak stomach!”
“Weak stomach rubbish!” he retorted. “I’m throwing it as far as everyone else!”

Despite everything, I’ve managed three runs this evening too, so what with 6 altogether today I’m feeling quite impressed with myself.

But tomorrow should be a better day. Cooking the rice pudding, baking the bread, making some more cordial and going shopping too. I suppose that I ought to have a look at making this kefir and kombucha too, seeing as I have had the book for two years, the container for 12 months and the powder for 6 months

Monday 14th September 2020 – I’M NOT SURE …

… whether this has been a good day or a bad day.

When the third alarm went off this morning I was still in bed but surprisingly, I actually sprung up out of bed and sat on the edge. I’ve no idea what happened there – the “springing up” bit, I mean.

And neither will you when I tell you that I was still up and about at 01:40 this morning too. Having a lie-in is one thing but not when it adjusts my body clock quite like this.

As usual these days, it took an age for the bed to stop spinning so that I could get off, and once I’d gathered my wits I had a listen to the dictaphone.

We started off with a voyage that went on for ages and ages. I thought at first that it was a dream about football but it’s not. It took me a while to think about what it was actually about because when I tried to dictate it, it had all gone completely out of my head for a while but suddenly it all came back to me, as the skunk said when the wind changed.

It was actually about skiing. We were all going skiing, a huge group of us with a couple of friends of mine from the Wirral. I had some people whom they knew from the past but couldn’t remember very well some of the people. We’d all met up and having a ski around in the mountains. I was explaining to them my favourite ski runs particularly in the summer when there was still snow up in the mountains and skiing was still possible. We were making plans to all go and they were asking me “did my friends like this? Did my friends like to stop for regular breaks?” All this kind of thing. I hadn’t really got round to telling them that there was only me who was interested in going with them to do this. This conversation about my favourite ski runs in this mountain went on – you get to the top and you get the drag lift up here and you take this nice beautiful red run all the way down here. This went on for ages. Then it was time for break and we were sitting around. I was waiting at a table with this particular group. People were asking “do we want to continue? Do we want to go on?” I said “my group hasn’t asked for any food yet” so I said to them “do you have any requests? And make sure that they are physically possible”. Everyone burst out laughing but no-one actually asked for anything.

A little later it was a beautiful afternoon and I was walking around the little park/lawn place by the Boulevard Vaufleury and is this the first time that I’ve dreamt about Granville? Even though it was beautiful there was no-one really taking advantage of it except a group of schoolkids doing physical exercises under the supervision of a teacher who might have been called Taylor. There were people discussing a murder and whether a certain guy had done it and someone else chimed in “well they’ve got the wrong Taylor there haven’t they?” to which everyone wondered what he was meaning. I’m not quite sure where it went after that.

Not only that, I attacked a few of the arrears and I’m slowly whittling them down. As well as that, while I was listening to this week’s radio programme before I sent it off (I did remember), I spent an hour or so on the arrears of photos for July.

Having sent off the broadcast, I extracted the digital record turntable. Not being able to find the software for it, I had to hunt it down on the internet. But once it was all installed and connected up, it seemed to work quite well and I was able to record an album – the one that I wanted to record.

The only downside is that it recorded in mono. That’s not as big a deal because I can convert it into stereo. It was true mono too – not just one track of a stereo recording, so the fault either lies with the album (it might be a mono recording) or with the settings that I’m using. I shall have to check.

But once I’d done it, I was able to use part of it to complete some old stuff that I have from another time in order to recreate a rock concert that I had seen in 1971. That took the rest of the day but now it’s a nice live concert of almost an hour, including the legendary track about which I shall one of these days recount a very long story.

government boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs usual, I went out for my afternoon walk. And in the heat too. My thermometer at home was showing 29°C and it felt like it too.

The crowds of people who were out there were enjoying it too. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people out there on a working day. Not so many people out a sea today though, which isn’t really all that much of a surprise. But this boat was out there again, towing a dinghy behind it this time.

It’s been a couple of times that I’ve seen it now and I’ve still not been able to work out what it is and who owns it.

government boat lifeboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut anyway I carried on around the headland to the other side and there I was treated to an interesting nautical danse macabre.

The lifeboat was coming out of its berth in the port de plaisance and it crossed the mystery boat right outside the harbour. We had a couple of toots on a siren and then a complicated manoeuvre as they avoided each other.

The mystery boat, which has an interesting heavy-duty crane in the bows, then carried on into the Port de Plaisance. And I carried on home.

There was the session of Welsh and the time on the guitars and then I stopped for tea. Stuffed pepper followed by my delicious apple crumble with the left-over ice-cream out of one of the containers in the freezer. I need to make some more room in there.

donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was still stifling hot when I went out for my evening walk and runs.

There were quite a few people about this evening here and there which is hardly surprising given the heat. There was a heat haze out to sea so the view wasn’t as clear as it has been just recently.

However the view of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains along the coast was particularly impressive tonight and the photograph that I took came out rather well.

The Rue du Nord on the right of the photo has come out rather well and on the left you can see the red lights on the wind turbines round somewhere near Cerences.

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallBut my reverie was disturbed by a noise coming from down below on the beach so I had a look over the wall.

Pitch-black is one thing for most of us but for young people it’s something else. These two down here checking messages on their mobile phones seemed to be having a very enjoyable time. And why not?

As for me I walked up to the old gate in the walls and then ran down the path towards the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset.

helicopter english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I didn’t get very far and actually had to break off my run which disappointed me, because the excitement yet isn’t over.

As I was running down the path I was overtaken by a helicopter that flew along the coast and then went to ground down near the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

“This is a strange time of the night to be having your chopper out” I mused to myself, and then carried on with my run. On reflection, the helicopter is quite probably the local air-sea rescue machine.

Nothing much else happened so I headed home. I managed my three runs although I do have to say that I never ever felt less like it. Having crashed out for 15 minutes after tea has taken its toll.

Tomorrow it’s Welsh class so I need to do some more revision, and then there’s the concert to finish off, followed by the missing week of my internet course.

Then at last I can turn my attention to other stuff. And not before time either.

Saturday 15th August 2020 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done since 2005. And this time even more so because while back then it cost me nothing, this time it’s cost me a lot of money.

But ask me if I care.

What I’ve done is to walk away from a hotel that I had booked for tonight and went somewhere else (far more expensive).

But more of this later. Last night I had a strange sleep – waking up at about 00:45 to find that the radio was playing. And then sleeping through until about 05:45 without moving. Not a single nocturnal voyage anyqhere to be seen

Plenty of time to do a load of paperwork and then I went down to breakfast. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling too well so I didn’t eat much which was a shame because there was tons of stuff there. It could have been an outstanding breakfast.

Unfortunately Jackie wasn’t available but Alison was free today as well as tomorrow so we agreed to meet up this afternoon.

Dodging the roadworks and the heavy showers, I set off for Leuven.

Friterie Marsupilami Route de Marche, 6600 Bastogne, Belgium eric hallThe Lady Who Lives In The SatNav brought me all the way through Luxembourg, where I fuelled up before crossing the Belgian border (fuel at €0:97/litre) and the Ardennes, passing through the town of Bastogne where I stopped to take a photo of another abandoned bus

It’s an old “bendy bus”, one of the articulated buses and judging by its number plate it comes from the town of Rotenburg in Lower Saxony but it’s now the Friterie Marsupilami, the FritKot on the Edge of Town.

There’s a fritkot on almost every corner in Belgium and this is certainly one of the more interesting ones. It’s closed though so I couldn’t find out what it was like.

It took me a good while to find Alison’s house – The Lady Who Lives In The SatNav having brought me into town in entirely the wrong direction. It was a nice afternon so we went to the English shop for a supplies such as vegan ice cream.

herons Kasteel van Leefdaal belgium eric hallLater on we went for a walk. We discovered a new footpath that eventually took us past the Kasteel van Leefdaal.

Here we could admire the wildlife swimming on one of the many ponds – mostly man-made ponds – around there

Not that I would want to go swimming on a pond like that. There’s that much algae floating aound on top that you could probably walk on it – or, at least, someone lighter than me could. I must keep on with the battle to keep my weight down.

swans Kasteel van Leefdaal belgium eric hallThe Chateau isn’t open to the public unfortunately and it’s hidden behind a rather large wall so you can’t actually see very much of it.

Currently owned by the Counts of Liedekerke it dates from the Renaissance period and replaced a previous building. There is known to have been a building on the site since at least the 12th Century.

Armed with our vegan ice cream, we then went back to Alison’s house for a chat. We must be both getting old because we ended up crashing out in the garden in the sun, something that we found quite amusing, although in fact it was a rather sad indictment of our states of health these days.

Alison had to go out later so I set off through one of the most wicked rainstorms that I have ever encountered. All of the road round by Braine l’Alleud was flooded and the traffic lights at a road junction had failed. That led to certain complications until we all managed to sort ourselves out.

strawberry moose silly belgium eric hallAs well as having A FAVOURITE TOWN IN AUSTRIA Strawberry Moose also has a favourite town in Belgium.

It goes without saying that as we were passing within a mile or two of the place, we had to go there. His Nibs is never one to pass up on a photo opportunity whenever he gets the chance, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Having done that, we headed off down to peruwelz on the Belgian – French border and my hotel. But one look at it convinced me that this was not where I wanted to stay. Crowds of single men loitering outside, sitting on the steps or leaning against the wall. Crowds of them.

It’s the kind pf place that gave me a most uneasy, eerie feeling that I can’t explain. But always having been one to rely on my own intuition, I decided that it wasn’t the place for me so I went elsewhere.

Tea tonight was a plate of chips and a salad, and watching the people coming into the fritkot, I can see immediately why the infection rate in Belgium is so high. Despite all of the precautions that are supposed to be taken, the wearing of masks is, shall we say, rather casual.

And the roads in Belgium are appalling. They are much worse that I ever remembered them. They are just like in a third-world country and for one of the richest countries in the world, it’s an embarrassment.

Tomorrow I won’t have far to go on Belgian roads because I’m close to the frontier here. About a kilometre away, I reckon.

With any luck I’ll be over the border early tomorrow and then a leisurely drive home. It might take a couple of days to make it but I’ll be back by the middle of the week. It’s been a long time

Sunday 9th August 2020 – HOW LONG IS IT …

river danube cruiser bolero marbach an der donau austria eric hall… since we’ve had a ship of the day on here?

This time of year we are usually posting one or two every day as we stroll up and down the St Lawrence in Canada. This unfortunately is not the St Lawrence but it’s the best that I can do right now. Right outside the window of tonight’s hotel the River Danube is flowing by and it’s making me quite homesick for the mighty Canadian river.

When I download all of the photos from the camera, edit them and upload them again, you’ll see an enormous cruise ship – a kind of luxury barge – sailing past. Not a 100,000 tonne container ship but it will have to do.

Hotel Minerva Mosonmagyarovar Hungary eric hallIn my really comfortable hotel, the Hotel Minerva in Mosonmagyarovar I had a really good sleep and even though it was Sunday with no alarm, I still awoke at about 05:50.

There was tons of stuff on the dictaphone again. It had been a really busy night

At one point during the night I was somewhere in Eastern Europe in a car, a Sunbeam Alpine convertible. I was driving through the mountains at a really rapid rate of knots but the headlights were set far too high and on main beam you could only see clouds. Dipped beam was set too high as well. I’d been driving around like this doing my best to avoid an accident at night. I suddenly realised that the windscreen was wrong. It was too far sloping back and I was sitting in the wrong position. I organised myself sitting properly and carried on driving. I eventually ended up somewhere where there was a girl. My brother was chatting her up obviously. I had a bit of pastry left so I started making some pastry for a pie and it gradually evolved into a crumble when I added sugar to it although I didn’t actually add any oats. This girl was very interested and came over to talk to me about it. She said “if you have any more interesting recipes let me have them”. I told her that I had dozens, and we had a huge intellectual discussion about my pastry and apple crumble and so on.

Later on, I was away on another voyage but i’ve forgotten half of it. We were .. I’d been out somewhere taxi driving. I had my old Ford Anglia and I dropped some people off in the mountains. I was coming back but I couldn’t get round one of the bends. I had to get out and push the car round. Three guys came to help me so I offered them a lift. They were going all the way to Shavington so I took them there and they booked a taxi for a couple of days time going from Wybunbury to Shavington. I went home and all of the papers were everywhere. My brother and Nerina were going through trying to sort out some kind of system with the paperwork, looking for vehicle records. They had a really good sort through it. I was thinking “I ought to be doing some sorting out while they were doing all of this but I decided in the end that I would start to look at my clothes. I had 2 chests of drawers but I only found 1 drawer with my clothes in it so I wondered where the rest of my things are. I had 2 more chests of drawers somewhere so I went off to have a look through those. While I was doing that there was a young girl, obviously nothing to do with our family having a play around and there were some people admiring some clothes belonging to this girl that were hanging up. I half-expected them to engage me in some kind of conversation but they didn’t. In the end I got on the bus and went to Chester, and walked from Chester towards Wrexham and came to a housing estate of modern terraced houses with a garage on the groud floor, then a first floor and then a second floor. For some unknown reason I thought that this was Brickfield. I was wandering around this estate looking at things and thinking that it would be nice for me to come and live here. Then I heard people talking about how they lived here and the winds and how cold it was so I decided maybe I won’t. I carried on walking a little further but lost all the signposts and I was on a modern 1930s semi-detached type of estate place. I saw a sign for Flint but I thought that i don’t want to go there – i want to head back towards Wrexham so I tried another road. I heard people talking about the Nobel Prize for Literature and how all the people who had entered for this year, and they were saying that if they don’t enter for next year we’ll know that they were just one-hit wonders and not really significant. There was a primus stove and it had been a long time since I’d seen one so I got it and pumped up the pressure and went to try to light it but I couldn’t get the nozzle to work. A guy saw me and came running over the road. It turned out to be his and he was one of these authors. We talked about his live stove thing and he said yes, that he uses it for heat mostly rather than lighting. We had a talk about it aand he went to pump it up, found that it was pumped up and went to light it as well but he couldn’t. he had a kind of Piazzo lighting arrangement where he clicked on the button to light it. I chided him about that. “You really ought to do it with a match”. Someone came along. He had something else and said “you light it with that” but I can’t remember what it was. It turned out that it was all kinds of things like cabbage leaves and so on. I knew exactly what it was and I told him but I can’t remember now. They lit it and started to smoke it and said “yes! This is really good. We had a good chat about that as well.

Going back to sleep, I found myself back in the same dream. So where was I? All the time that this was going on I was thinking that I’d caught the bus to Chester and now I was walking down the road to Wrexham and I’d missed the last bus back by a long time. The only way home for me now was to carry on walking towards Wrexham and then back to Crewe that way. That was going to take me all night at the very least to do all that but I hadn’t even given it any thought about what I was going to do about getting home.

But when I really do get home I’m really going to be having a lot of fun editing all of these photos and transcribing all of the dictaphone notes.

Unfortunately I’m afraid that the days when I could do that during the evening when I arrived at a place of repose are long-since over. Usually now, when I arrive at somewhere for the evening I simply crash out on the bed for an hour or two.

But I digress.

Breakfast was quite nice – not as nice as I had in Lech but nevertheless it was something to be going on with. I didn’t like the coffee but that’s probably more to do with the fact that I couldn’t understand the Hungarian instructions on the coffee machine.

typical traditional hungarian house hegyshalom hungary eric hallLater on, I headed off for the border in the heat. 09:30 and it was already 31°C. I shudder to think how hot it’s going to be later in the day.

The scenery around this part of Hungary is very flat and monotonous and there wasn’t all that much to see. There were some delightful little Osterreich rural cottages along the way and In the village of Hegyshalom, not far from the Austrian border, there were some splendid examples in the shade of the trees.

The big BMW lets the show down unfortunately. It seems that even in Central Europe the price of a rural cottage is way beyond the means of the average rural-dweller and now the province of the big city-slicker.

But I was surprised at the border. There was all new security fencing with razor wire, a full and complete border patrol and interrogation, and a Romanian lorry being slowly dismantled over on one side.

It reminded me just like the old times pre-1992. Although, interestingly, the old Hungarian border installations from the Cold War days, including the watchtower, were all still there but abandoned, empty and closed up. All of the excitement was on the Austrian side.

This just goes to show you just how much the world has turned round on itself over the last 30 years – something about which I have commented ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS in the past.

Photography is of course not allowed at border crossings but rather unfortunately, I seemed to have forgotten to switch off the dashcam in Caliburn. So when I finally get round to editing the video recordings, we can see my border crossing.

war memorial zurndorf austria eric hallA mere cockstride from the border in Austria I came to the village of Zurndorf, where my attention was drawn to this rather impressive war memorial.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a great interest in war memorials in Central and Eastern Europe. The political situation here has varied greatly over the centuries as the Austrian Empire dealt with waves of Muslim invaders, grew to its greatest extent with the annexation of Bosnia in 1908 and then disappeared completely in 1938 with the Anschluss.

Consequently, different regions found themselves fighting different wars as well as quite often being on different sides in the same war, so it’s interesting to see all of this reflected on some of the memorials.

war memorial zurndorf austria eric hallThis one unfortunately is quite banal – with just a mention of the two World Wars and nothing about the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 or any other conflict in which Austrian troops were involved.

But these monuments in Axis countries are quite different from the monuments in Western countries in a very significant way. In the West, the number of casualties in World War I vastly exceeded the casualties of World War II. But here in Austria, this War memorial shows something quite different as we have seen in many Axis countries.

The upper photo shows the casualties from World War I, and it’s known that the casualty figures of the Central Powers were in a similar region to those of the UK and France. But in World War II when Allied casualties were much less than in the previous war, the caualties of the Axis powers were enormous. The bottom photo shows the casualties from that war, so just compare the two and see what I mean.

There are no dates of death unfortunately, but we have seen on many others that the greater part occurred in the final couple of years of the war. It just goes to show the horrors that were taking place on the Eastern Front in the second half of World War II when the Axis Powers were on the run from the Soviets.

Anyone who denies the overwhelming efforts of the Soviet Union in defeating the Axis Powers unfortunately somewhat misinformed.

gaz m21 volga baleen autoexpert recaio bruckerstrasse parndorf austria eric hallIn the heat I carried on across Northern Austria. But not too far. Only to the town of Parndorf.

If someone were to ask me whar car I would really like, from anywhere in the world, then if I couldn’t lay my hands on one of Erich Ubelacker’s Tatra 77s, i’d have to go for something like a GAZ M21.

And sure enough, to my surprise, here parked up by the side of the road in Parndorf is a rather sorry-looking M21. Where’s my trailer just when I need it?

gaz m21 volga baleen autoexpert recaio bruckerstrasse parndorf austria eric hallGAZ stands, of course for the Gorki Avto Zavod, the Gorki Auto Factory in the Soviet Union, and they were the cars to own if you were anyone in the Soviet Union in the 1960s

Many people have suggested that this was because they were the only car available in the Soviet Union, but that’s doing them a great disservice because they really were a much better car than anyone ever gave them credit with a great many modern features and, unlike cars from the West, were built to last for ever.

One very happy owner of an M21 was the astronaut Yuri Gagarin who often spoke kindly about his car

gaz m21 volga baleen autoexpert recaio bruckerstrasse parndorf austria eric hallThis particular one is a Series III GAZ M21 Volga – known as the baleen or “whale”. You can tell that by the radiator grille.

They were nominally made from 1962 to 1970 but that’s only half a story. So popular were they with taxi drivers and the like that there was an outcry when the model was withdrawn and a flourishing aftermarket set up where “new” vehicles were assembled from factory spare parts combined with other bits salvaged from scrap yards. I once met someone who had a “new” one that was first registered as late as 1988.

For a short while they were on sale in Belgium, where a diesel conversion was quite popular, but I never found one for sale when I lived there.

So yes, I would bring this one home with me in a heartbeat.

vienna austria eric hallHaving satiated my interest for the moment I continued on my way westward.

Not being a fan of big cities when I’m in a hurry, I gave the centre of Vienna a wide berth, even if it is one of my most favourite cities in Europe. But away in the distance I could see it from a suitable vantage point on a low hill to the south so I took a photograph.

It’s a shame though that the photo showed nothing of the city’s magnificence from here. Nothing of the really classical buildings – just more banal late 20th Century high-rise architecture. One of these days whenever its possible to do so, I’m going to catch the overnight train to Vienna and spend a week here.

Through the southern suburbs of Vienna I pushed, and onto St Polten.

For lunch I found a nice shady spot on the edge of a forest and settled down in my comfortable chair in the shade to eat my butties.

I stayed there for a couple of hours too as the heat passed me by. A good book was quite a help, although I ended up drifting away with the fairies at one point.

Benedictine Abbey Melk austria eric hallA little later I picked up the Danube and followed it for a while. And here I ended up in the town of Melk, another place where I would have been happy to spend several hours wandering about had I had the time.

Although the Benedictine Abbey dates from the early years of the 18th Century, it replaced one from the latter part of the 11th Century which in turn replaced a castle owned by Leopold II of Austria. The family of Leopold, the Babenburgs, ruled Austria for another 150 years or so until 1246 and several of the rulers are buried in the Abbey, as is the Irish Saint Colman.

It became a great centre of learning in the Middle Ages and had a magnificent library, although several fires throughout its history have caused irreparable damage to some of the collection. Because of its academic stature, it survived several attempts at dissolution, including the persecution by the Nazis after the Anschluss.

citroen traction avant pochlarn austria eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will know what this is because you have seen one often enough. There’s ONE SITTING IN THE BACK OF MY WORKSHOP in the Auvergne.

Taking photos of a moving vehicle from another moving vehicle is always a challenge , and I seem to have managed to catch a road sign right in the middle of the photo that obscures half of the car. But what I reckon is that it’s a Traction Avant Lght 7, and with the curly bumpers rather than the straight ones.

And that’s confirmed by the design of the boot lid. Although you can’t see it in this photo, it did indeed have the shape of the spare wheel on the boot lid, being an early model.

Kath. Pfarr und Wallfahrtskirche Schmerzhafte Mutter Gottes, Maria Taferl austria eric hallFor a few miles I followed the Citroen until we crossed over the Danube where he turned right and I turned left.

Having seen the barge on the river – the one that I showed you earlier, I pulled up in a small town further along the river. Behind me up on a hill is the Basilica of Maria Taferl, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Austria where it is said that a couple of local people made a miraculous recovery from serious illness and injury by praying to Mary.

The current church was built in the second half of the 17th Century to replace an earlier one, and It’s said to contain all kinds of important relics and souvenirs left by pilgrims who have come to visit the site over the centuries

Further along the road I stopped off at one point to put some fuel in Caliburn and shortly afterwards my journey brought me into the small town of Au An der Donau where there’s a luxury hotel, the Donauhotel Lettnerhof, on the banks of the Danube. There are some cheaper rooms down in the basement and one of those was available.

No air-conditioning down there but they supplied a portable fan for me and that works fine. There’s also an ice-cream stall on the river bank with a fine selection of vegan sorbets. Banana and coffee went down really well.

So far I’ve had a shower and washed my clothes, which are currently drying on the fan here. I’m off for an early night and hopefully a good sleep. I’m slowly heading homewards, which is a shame. But I have to go home sometime, I suppose. I can’t drift around for ever.

But interestingly, leaving Eastern Europe filled me full of depression. It always used to do that back in the old days and once again when I WENT TO ZATEC a few years ago.

I’m surprised that it still does make me feel like that. It’s the kind of thing that makes me think that I didn’t make the most of my Freedom of Movement and Freedom to Live Anywhere when I had the chance.

It’s too late now.

Thursday 6th August 2020 – I TOOK IT …

… easy today. I didn’t leave my room until midday, despite the chambermaid’s insistence.

Last night I was in bed fairly early but it was a restless night and I didn’t really have a deep sleep. And despite the three alarms going off on time, I didn’t leave my bed until about 08:00.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. For part of the night I was at work and just across from there was a school. It got to the type where I was well over 65 and thought that I was going to retire. After all, I should after all that time. I was really worried because Castor was there (I wondered when she would put in an appearance) and how was she going to cope without seeing me there but how was I going to cope without seeing her and I was trying to sleep for 10 minutes thinking about that.

Later on we were prisoners of war and were all in a hut. The drain had blocked and there was a really foul smell coming from the middle. We all had to go back in but somehow keep clear of this central drain that was overflowing and smelling. Someone else had taken hold of my seat and wouldn’t move. That became an extremely complicated situation. There was a situation in Ireland where they weren’t used to handling prisoners and there for example you couls see where the hut had actually been on the ground because the ground was marked. There was like a string vest type of thing – I’ve no idea what it was about – but it had a huge wine stain in it from where some wine had been spilt by the prisoners.

Even later I was a passenger in a bus last night and we were driving somewhere. It was from Bluestones traffic lights towards Nantwich down the old by-pass. From the traffic lights a boy of about 10 or 11 on a pushbike tried to race us away. We soon overtook hime but going over the canal bridge something happened and we had to stop. There were two or three lorries behind us. They had to swerve out into the middle of the road to try to pass us and almost collided with vehicles coming the other way. It was all very dangerous, that sort of thing as they were out there in the middle of the road trying to go past us just over this blind hill. Eventually we got under way again and set off. There was loads of traffic coming the other way and I’m not surprised with it being so busy that it had been so dangerous like that.

There was also something else that stuck in my mind – a breakdown of the lorry of one of the contractors at my father’s old factory – one of the old 8-wheeler S36 Fodens.

But there was a lot more too but seeing as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Having finally awoken, I headed off unsteadily to breakfast. You’ve no idea just how much that walk yesterday took out of me. I wasn’t all that hungry so I didn’t have much and I was soon back in my room.

Much of the time was spent sorting out my things and tidying up my affairs, as well as having a little relax. The chambermaid was quite insistent so I let her in to empty the bins and do a few little things.

Round about midday I reckoned that despite everything I ought to make a move and head into town. And even though most of the way was downhill I still regretted having set out because I wasn’t feeling at all like it.

quotes plaques on wall Goethova stezka Karlovy Vary Czech republic eric hallWhen I arrived in town I took a different route into the centre – down the footpath, the Goethova Stezka, on the left-hand side of the river.

My Czech isn’t up to very much at all so i’m not able to tell you too much about what is happening down here but it seels that the walk is lined by plaques carrying quotes of various famous authors and philosophers and the like who may have visited the town.

The reference to the Arhimandrit Mitrofor may refer to a senior religious official of the Eastern Orthodox Church who has earned respect or performed service for which the Church is grateful. There is a Monastery in the town of Sinaia but it’s led by aHegumen, a Grade or two below that of Arhimandrit.

Jungmann could be anyone really, but is more than likely to refer to Josef Jungmann, the man considered to be responsible for the revival of the modern Czech language, although he was long-dead by 1895.

Kaiserbad Spa karlovy vary czech republic eric hallWhen I came into town yesterday I’d taken a photo of this building but it wasn’t much good so one of the reasons that I came down this way was to take a photo from a better perspective.

As I said yesterday, it’s the Kaiserbad Spa built in the late 19th Century on the site of a brewery to cater for the increasing flow of people who “came to take the waters”.

But its glorious heyday is long passed. Closed in 1994 it was allowed to become derelict but was ceded to the city in 2008 sice when it’s ben undergoing a programme of major restoration. And not before time, I have to say

river tepla Zahradní Karlovy Vary Czech republic eric hallHaving passed everywhere that I photographed yesterday, I headed straight for the more modern part of town.

This took me along the banks of the River Tepla and by the delightful Zahradni Terrace. This was really the elite end of town for most of the visitors who came here back at the end of the 19th Century and even today there are plenty of hotels and upmarket shops here.

As we’ve said quite often as we’ve admired buildings here, it goes to show just how glorious this city must have been at the end of the 19th Century

In the town centre my Czech pronunciation brought out a few smiles and laughs as I tried to order some chips for lunch. And I did have another Italian chat with the guy with the Italian food stall in the centre. But actually I didn’t do much. I just had a little walk around and then spent a lot of time sitting around in the sun.

It made me wish that I’d brought a book with me to pass the time, although at one stage I did manage to have a little doze.

Thermal Velky Sal conference centre thermal spa hotel Ivana Petrovice Pavlova Karlovy Vary Czech republic eric hallThis is one building that didn’t impress me very much. I mean – for a modern concrete Brutalist building I suppose that it’s quite attractive but it’s totally out of place here.

It’s the Thermal Velky Sal (“Great Hall”) Conference Centre and Spa Hotel, designed by architects Vera and Vladimír Machonin. Construction began in 1968 and took 9 years, basically because they had difficulty with the infiltration of groundwater into the foundations and basement area which led to the cash running out and a need to refinance the project.

The sad thing about this though is that in order to build the place, they had to demolish about 30 houses, mostly from the 19th Century, and so imagine how this place would have looked back then prior to the demolition

After my good rest I set off back for home. It took quite a while too a I didn’t push on too much. Just a little 30-minutes of walk followed by a 15-minute rest. And at one of my stops I actually found someone selling vegan strawberry sorbet. It wasn’t cheap but it really was delicious and I enjoyed it.

hoonigan microcar MC Brezová Czech republic eric hallThere’s a petrol station at the roadside halfway home from the town centre, and as I walked byn this little car pulled in to fuel up.

Not seeing a badge on it, I couldn’t see what kind of car it was and of course my Czech isn’t good enough to ask. But the “MC” that I noticed on the back might seem to suggest that it’s a Microcar MC from France, so it’s a long way from home over here.

Back here at my hotel I had a look at how far I’d gone today. And what a disappointment it was. I’ve only done a mere 169% of my daily activity today – almost 14kms.

Finally making it up to my room, I lay on the bed and crashed out until 19:00. Out like a light and that was no surprise. I had a shower but had a little “incident” with the washing. I took down the nice clean and dry undies that I’d washed yesterday – and washed them again. I’m not doing too well am I?

Too late to make any tea, I decided to pass on that and make up for it with a good breakfast in the morning. I’m hitting the road tomorrow so I need to be on form. That means a nice early night and hopefully a decent sleep.

But we’ll see all about that in the morning.

Monday 3rd August 2020 – I’M NOT SURE …

… what it was that went past here at 05:49 but whatever it was, it made enough of a racket to awaken me.

I was in the middle of a nocturnal voyage too – something about an Austin 1300GT that was dismantled. It was bright yellow, the same colour as my taxis were, and we were discussing its paint job. I remember saying that it would come out of the factory with the underneath of the wings already painted like that and so there would only be one or two panels that you would need to pay for the painting.

Anyway, little chance of going back to sleep at that point so I did some work on the laptop instead.

Hans went out to the shop and came back with fresh bread rolls so we had a good breakfast and then went out to IKEA. And there I struck lucky – in the reduced section was a small folding camp bed for just €20:00. That is now in Caliburn ready for another adventure.

For lunch Hans made burgers and chips and then we went for a walk. Because of Brexit issues, he’s had to go back to work and so runs a small whisky shop in the town. He took me to see it and to show me around. And I think that I went on all of these walks today and I forgot to take my camera with me each time.

On the way back we stopped at the ice cream parlour for dessert and then it was time for me to hit the road.

hotel primavera parco furth germany eric hallA leisurely drive through the German countryside has brought me as far as Furth where I’m staying for the night.

This is a nice hotel too. There are several buildings here around a central courtyard so it’s fairly quiet and that suits me fine. I can smuggle the slow cooker into my room without any problems at all and so I’ve had another nice tea of all kind of tinned bits and pieces.

And having done the washing up, I’m going to have an early night. I’ve not done very much today but I’m totally exhausted having done it.

Sunday 12th July 2020 – MY BREAD …

home baked bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall… seems to have gone somewhat berserk today.

This isn’t cooked. This is it on its second rise in the windowsill. It’s totally overflowing the bread mould and about to expand onto the windowsill.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my previous attempts at bread-making. I’ve never ever had bread perform quite like this. But then again it’s new flour and new yeast, and that must make a difference.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall So while you admire this evening’s sunset, let me tell you that the bread rose a darn sight better than I did this morning. Although for a Sunday, 10:00 is quite an acceptable time for me to be up and about.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone too so I must have been somewhere during the night. Unfortunately what with one thing and another I forgot to transcribe the notes today.

You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see where I’ve been. I for one can”t wait to find out!

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNo time like the present! First thing that I did was to mix the bread dough. 600 grammes of flour and a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds seeing as they were reasonably handy. A couple of teaspoons of salt in there too, all mixed together.

Meanwhile I’d heated 400ml of water to about 30 degrees or so, added a little sugar to activate the yeast, and then a sachet of yeast.

That went onto one side until there was a really good froth on top of the water to show that the yeast was working, and then tipped into the flour and thoroughly mixed together.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe thing about bread dough is that you know when it’s exactly right. It makes a lovely elasticky ball that no longer sticks to anything and takes all of the floury mess off your hands.

It’s something of a “trial and error” procedure so you need a bit of flour and a bit of water stabding by in case your mixture is either too wet or too dry.

When it’s done, you stick it on one side under a cloth for a couple of hours and let it do its stuff.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd while it was doing its stuff I was busy editing some more photos from my trip on the Spirit of Conrad. There are about 400 of those and if I’ve done a quarter I’ll be lucky.

For lunch I had breakfast – muesli with soya milk and some grape juice.

Following that, I made some pizza dough – basically the same recipe as the bread dough except that I add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. 500 grammes of that is enough for three pizza bases.

That went on one side while I greased my bread mould and put the bread dough into it. That went onto the side next to the pizza dough.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday is the day when I go for my very long afternoon walk and end up in town for my treat of the week – my vegan banana sorbet.

But with it being such a delicious hot day and all of the bright sunlight that goes with it, it had brought out the people in droves.

And no question of Social Distancing either. Crowds congregating as they wish. Anyone would think that this virus had passed and wasn’t coming back. But several hundred infections and several deaths every day ought to give someone a clue about what is happening.

yachts speedboats english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAt least, out at sea, social distancing of a sort can be maintained.

And how many boats did you count out there in this photo? I haven’t counted them but there must be several dozen all jostling about in the English Channel in between the mainland and the Ile de Chausey.

We have yachts, speedboats, zodiacs, everything. You name it and it’s out there somewhere having a splash around at sea. And if I had the chance, I would be joining them.

yachts speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was a really beautiful day for photography.

The sky was hot, the air was clear and there wasn’t a trace of sea mist anywhere. It had all been burnt off. And so the view out to the Ile de Chausey was spectacular.

It’s not every day that you cans ee the colours of the buildings on the island as clearly as this. The lighthouse is there on its peak just to the left of centre, and the semaphore station is the square building on the ridge to the right.

st helier jersey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it wasn’t just the Ile de Chausey that stood out really well in the afternoon sun.

The island of Jersey was looking quite spectacular too today. We can actually see the houses at St Helier too – and that’s at a distance of about 58 kilometres away.

Unfortunately we can’t see if either Thora or Normandy Trader are on their way to pick up that load of timber that’s still on the quayside here awaiting collection

cap frehel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd down the coast the weather is just as good too.

We saw yesterday the outline of the lighthouse away down the coast on Cap Fréhel but today we can even see the the Cape itself away on the extreme right of the image here.

As for the thing that’s farther over to th right, I’m still undecided as to what that might be. It could be a yacht or it could be one of the lighthouses off the coast of St Malo but I really have no idea.

1943 carving in concrete pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, leaving that to one side for the moment I carried on with my walk along the top and then down the stairs to the viewpoint right at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

And here’s something that I don’t recall seeing before – or maybe I do, I dunno. A nice flat piece of concrete in the steps leading down, with a little design in it and dated 1943.

Probably a souvenir from when they were building the Atlantic Wall and there must be a story behind this if only I knew what it was. I wonder who inscribed it here.

seagulls on rocks in sea pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAs it happened, I’d gone down there for a special purpose.

While I was descending the steps I noticed a huge swarm of seagulls on the rocks and riding the waves and I hadn’t a clue why. My first thought was that they might have been fishing but I didn’t notice any bird catch anything – rather like my local fishermen.

It wasn’t as if they were sleeping either. There was plenty of activity going on down there, so it beats me.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut talking of fishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … one of the rocks out there had a fisherman or two perched thereupon.

Jusding by the writing on the back of the tee-shirt – BELGIUM – they are probably grockles come to disturb the peace of the local inhabitants.

For a good few minutes I stood and watched them too but, true to form, they didn’t pull anything out of the water. As I have said … “on many, many occasions” – ed … I’ve yet to actually see any fishermen actually catch anything there

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the old road that eventually comes out by the chantier navale.

And dodging the swarming masses I finally made it down there to see what was going on. We still have six boats in there. I know that you can only see five but the sixth is in front of the two on the extreme left and you can’t see it.

There were massive crowds too on the quayside around here. Holiday season is in full swing and it was definitely a case of “dodge the covid-carrier” around here today.

portacabins gone from port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe gates across the harbour entrance were closed so it was possible for me to walk across the top to the other side.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw a rack of portacabins over here for some reason or other – I never did find out why. But they have gone now so whatever they were doing is finished.

ulm microlight granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving dealt with that I walked through the port and then around the town in a glorious figure of 8, ending up at the ice cream parlour for my Sunday ice cream

But not before I was buzzed once more by yet another low-flying object. A microlight, or ULM as they call them around here, was flying by overhead disturbing the peace.

So having picked up my ice-cream I headed off once more down the Rue Lecampion and down the Rue du Port

buoys on boatd fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe new car park down there is depressing me completely. A solid mass of tarmac without one blade of grass or any other greenery What a shame.

And that thought brought me along to one of the fishing boats here. Do you notice the buoys and the flags at the stern? Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve often wondered about those, but now I know.

The flags are an indication that a casier such as a lobster pot, is at the other end on the sea bed. And the round buoys can either serve that purpose too or otherwise they might be mooring buoys

coelacanthe tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA couple of our more well-know trawlers are in the harbour today.

Coelacanthe and Tiberiade probably belong to the same company, seeing as they carry the same livery, but they are in fact different types of boat.

Coelacanthe seems to be a bigger boat, with more solid superstructure at the side rails and with a different array on the cabin roof.

One of these days I’ll have to blag myself a ride out to sea in one of them.

Rosemary called me while I was out so I arranged to phone her when I returned home.

Back here, by now we’ve already seen what has become of the bread in the bread mould, and the pizza dough has expanded dramatically too.

In the meantime I phoned Rosemary back and we had a chat. And I worked out a cunning plan, more of which anon

So while the oven was heating up I prepared an apple crumble. The bread went into the oven when it was hot, followed by the crumble. But there was plenty of crumble mix left over so with another apple, I made a small apple crumble too. There will be enough for ages, I reckon, like that.

Once the bread and the crumble was under way I split the pizza dough into 3. One I rolled out and shaped to fit in the pizza tray and the other two were rolled in olive oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in a plastic bag in the freezer for another time.

vegan pizza place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving left the pizza on its tray for half an hour, I then went and prepared it ready for the oven.

When I took out the bread and the crumble, I put the pizza in and let it cook for half an hour. And this is the result.

The pizza base had risen to perfection – it really had – and the toppings of course were the usual delicious items. I have to say that this was the best pizza that I have ever cooked – and I’ve cooked plenty of them, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

home baked bread apple crumble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAs for the bread and the apple crumble, then the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

And the eating didn’t take place tonight because I was rather full after my pizza and i’m trying to cut down on what I eat. So I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

One thing though – with all of this cooking there was a whole pile of tidying up and washing up to do. Not my favourite occupation at all.

later on, I went out for my evening run, dropping off the bin bag in the bin as I went.

people sitting in sunset pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith a little effort I managed to extend my run up the hill another 50 metres again, and then having walked up to the corner, i ran down to the clifftop.

Nothing much going on there so I walked across the lawn to the other side. On the viewpoint was a couple watching the evening sunset. And quite right too because, as you have already seen, it really was beautiful again tonight.

The next stage of my run took me along the clifftop but there was nothing going on there very much.

striations colour variations in water pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe did however have another case of the different colours in the water.

And while I was on the train the other day i was reading the account of the journey of Vilhjalmur Stefansson to the Arctic coast of Canada between 1908 and 1912

Of the Mackenzie River he wrote “The huge volume of fresh water in the spring (the river usually opens between the fifth and twenty-fifth of May) not only melts away the sea ice, but also by its current drives away any that happens to be floating about, so that none but the strongest ones from seaward can fill the immediate vicinity of the delta with ice. The volume of fresh water is so large, tluit the whaling ships in passing outside of Mackenzie Bay take water for cooking and drinking purposes that has not a taint of brackishness
even where land is not in sight from the masthead”.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallI ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury and having recovered my breath, I ran on round to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

We’ve already seen the sunset out to sea and while there were no picnickers this evening, there were still a few people on the beach.

Crowds up here watching the sunset too so I didn’t hang around for long after the sun had gone down. I ran on home to write up my notes.

And having done that, much later than I intended, I’m now off to bed. It’s been a long day and I deserve a good rest.

Sunday 5th July 2020 – WITH IT BEING …

… a Sunday and therefore a Day of rest, anyone who thinks that I might have leapt out of bed at 07:30 when I awoke is quite clearly mistaken

09:30 is much more realistic as far as I’m concerned and I’m quite happy with that.

After the meds I had a look at the dictaphone sure enough, I’d been on a few voyages during the night.

There was something going on last night about Space and I’m not sure how or why or where it was but there were three of us – me, a girl and a Welsh guy. Something happened – we’d been in contact with some extra-terrestres (I’m dreaming in French again) and we were all trying to decide what to do. I came up with a few ideas – I couldn’t really remember what they were. This Welsh guy came up with an idea “why don’t I go to deep Space to visit them and talk to them?”. He was a salesman by profession and of vourse being Welsh he knew how to talk so that seemed to be the way forward. We could see if we looked through an inspection hatch that there was a little hole on the side of this planet. That was where he had to aim his spacecraft for. We had to wait until the Americans had a space rocket ready to blast a capsule off into high outer space orbit so that he could contact the extra-terrestres and start selling them things. I thought that this was a really weird thing to be doing.
We were on our boat last night and we came to a place where some of us wanted to get off to go to look at some things. But Strawberry Moose he stayed on board and everyone wondered where he was. I said that he wanted to stay on board and do some things on board. We all got down into our zodiacs but the two girls whom I hoped would come with us stayed on board as well which was disappointing. We finally came ashore in a jungle area where a woman had arranged to meet two people who would be in a bar around the corner. So we went to this bar while everyone else dispersed. There was no sign of these two people at all and we waited for about 10 minutes. In the end we decided to go. Just then this German boy off one of the crossings turned up in the bar and started to talk to us. That was the last thing that we wanted, to end up with him. Before we went in we had to organise our clothes. I had some clothes that wouldn’t go in the washing machine to be washed in the cycle that they had. I was going to do them by hand but the guy in charge of the laundry had this procedure. He had some washing conditioner arranged in a series – a bowl with conditioner, a bowl with clean water, a beaker full of conditioner and another bowl of plain water. He took hold of one of my socks and was pasting this conditioner over it. Normally when I wash my socks I put one over my hand , rub soap into it, put the other sock over the other hand, rub soap into that and rub the two together like I’m washing my hands. He was doing it in a strange way so I thought I’d do it in that way too, watching him and seeing what procedure he was going to use.
There was a group of us in a room in a house later on. The room was really untidy and there was a load of papers and magazines and maps and things. They were all mine and all needed to be tidied up. A couple of girls were helping me, going through the piles and getting them in the right order, unfolding them and laying them flat, merging them together. There were piles of cables, computer and audio cables etc all over the place and they were all arranged in some weird crazy cat’s cradle. While the girls were organising these magazines and I’d done a bit of that I was starting to untangle these cables. One of the girls with black hair and glasses came over and said “I’ve already done that”. I showed here that there was a lot that was still tangled up. She said “just leave it for the moment because we can do that when it’s more convenient”. She started to take down the washing that was hanging up everywhere. We were on a big barge and we had to leave the main waterway to go down some kind of side waterway. It was a very tight turn, almost as if you had to double back on yourself which is no fun when you have a big barge like we had. The girl at the helm up front had to steer this barge round and I knew that she didn’t like doing it here so I said “this is your favourite bend, isn’t it, Judy?”. She didn’t hear me at first so I said it again. She made some kind of grimace. When we got to this waterway it was dry and there were sheep in it. We had to pivot this boat round to get it lined up then get out and drag it up out of the water onto this pathway that was going downhill. The first time we did it the boat ground out. It was in the wrong area and was going to hit the wall so we had to push it back to line it up to start again. I had a feeling that this was not going to be easy having to do this. But somewhere in the middle of all of this was Alan Dean – now when was the last time I ever heard of him? I was at the top of the steps walking down with some swing doors at the bottom. He was down there. It was a case of playing a bass guitar and I was stuck. I wanted to improve and I didn’t know where to go, how to learn, how to change my procedures. I thought that I would look at a few videos on Youtube but that was somewhere stuck in the middle that was.

It was therefore something of a major surprise that I found myself awake so early after that. And even more of a surprise that I kept going all day without a rest.

But let’s not go getting ahead of ourselves here.

It took me long enough to type out all of that, and then there was my Welsh homework. With having missed Tuesday’s lesson I had to do the coursework myself before I could make a start.

So what with one thing and another it was lunchtime by the time it was all done.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I spent a few days a couple of months ago copying all of the files from various hard drives onto the new external drive that I had bought.

The aim was to compare them and delete any duplicate files but for some unknown reason the file duplicate detecting program was having issues.

This afternoon I uninstalled it and reinstalled it but it still wouldn’t work. However eventually I found the reason. Two of the drives are “C” drives out of old computers with the deep BIOS settings on them – the settings that drive the drives. Of course you can’t delete those so when the program detected two identical files in the BIOS settings in two drives it was obliged to pause for thought.

Excluding those files from the compare did the trick, and so the afternoon has been spent mostly dealing with this little project.

bird of prey pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was of course the afternoon walk to deal with, and with it being a Sunday it was the day when I go into town for my weekly ice cream.

But I didn’t go very far before I was interrupted. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m quite a keen bird watcher and when I was married I had many a lecture on birdwatching from poor Nerina.

Anyway, this bird here was hovering around over the edge of the cliff where the little rabbit colony seems to be. I imagine that it was looking for any errant rabbit babies.

bird of prey pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s a bird of prey of some description but whatever it is, I’m none-the-wiser.

My friend Erika thinks that it’s either a white-tailed hawk or a hobby and she certainly has more idea than I do. My bird-identifying is rather like that of a woman identifying a car.

“What kind of car was it, madam?”
“A red one”.

And that’s me with birds too unfortunately

peche a pied port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs it’s my long Sunday walk I went down the steps at the end of the path and round the headland on the lower level.

Plenty of people milling around there today. The holidays are well under way now. And there were loads of people out there on the rocks this afternoon too. It’s a low tide today and so those who practise the peche à pied are out there in force.

Here’s hoping that they share their catch out with their friends too. After all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

fishing boats chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe path carries on around the foot of the cliff and then past the Chantier navale.

A big surprise in there today. It seems that they’ve been busy while I was away, for every berth has some kind of vessel in there undergoing repair. No fewer than six fishing boats, I make it, up on blocks today.

Having been quiet for a while, it’s good to see them so busy. It’ll just be someone’s luck to have a breakdown while there’s no berth available to accommodate them

covid warning notice fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe tide was right out just now as we have seen so I was able to take the short cut across the top of the harbour gates to the other side.

On the way past the Fish processing plant I observed this notice pasted to the door. Briefly, and crudely (and if you want anything crude, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man!) translated by Yours Truly, there have been several “incidents” at the Fish processing plant that breach the Corona virus precautions.

This notice informs everyone of these breaches and states that if there are any more, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry will take whatever action they consider necessary.

They don’t mess about here. None of your “driving to Barnard Castle” or “going to Greece via Bulgaria” in these situations.

spirit of conrad victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOur home from last week is still in port.

Spirit of Conrad is quietly moored where we left her on Friday evening, with the big wheel in the background.

The two Channel island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville are there in port too. We are told that the ferry service is to start very soon – the 11th July is one date that is freely bandied about.

But the regulations for travelling are extremely severe and I don’t imagine that there will be many takers at the moment.

man fallen out of zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving observed the shipping in the harbour I walked on round to the end of the wall to see what was going on.

Here was something interesting. There was a zodiac parked up in the water over there and it looked as if there was no-one in it. Enlarging the photo when I returned home, I could see that there was someone in the water right by it.

It was one of those situations where I couldn’t see what he was doing or why he would have been in the water. It’s a shame that I didn’t notice him until it was too late to do any good.

propellor of antwerpen port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis propellor here from a ship is propped up against the wall of the harbour offices and I must have walked past here 100 times without really noticing it.

It belonged to a small ship of 265 or so tonnes, the Antwerpen. She was a German coaster built in 1917 by the Germans but abandoned in Oostende at the Armistice.

Taken over by the Belgian Navy, she was repossessed by the Germans in 1940 when Belgium fell, and was one of the boats that plied between Granville and the Channel islands taking supplies out there.

In December 1940 in thick fog she was rammed by another vessel in her convoy and sank in shallow water. Demolished finally in 1963, her propellor was found by divers in 1986 and presented to the port office.

bad parking port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing that features quite often in these pages, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is pathetic parking.

And does parking ever get more pathetic than this? All of these cars are parked without any regard whatsoever for the road markings. It’s totally unbelievable, isn’t it?

Continuing on my walk, I went round onto the quayside to see what was happening, but there was nothing whatever going on there this afternoon.

big wheel place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallThat was probably because the gates were closed and the tide was right out. Not much point in anyone being here right now.

Turning on my heel, i went out to have a look at the big wheel. It’s going round and there are people on it too, although it would be wrong to say that it was actually busy. No clues at all.

And so I pushed on into the rue LeCampion to my little ice cream stall and had the weekly ice cream. I need to keep up with my habits while the summer is here.

steps rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallFor a change I walked back along the rue LeCampion, up the steps at the Rampe du Monte Regret and under the drawbridge into the old town.

The aim of going this way was to see how they were getting on with the replacement of the gas pipe in the rue Lecarpentier.

By the looks of things, they seem to have finished the work. And it looks quite a tidy job too. You’ll hardly notice that all of that has been dug up and subsequently replaced.

yacht english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallUp through the Place Cambernon and through the alley down to the rue du Nord and along the walls to the viewpoint.

There was a yacht out there in the English Channel struggling along in the wind. It’s not a boat that I recognise either and I can’t read a name on her anywhere.

Back here I carried on with my work and at 18:00 knocked off for a play on the guitars for an hour or so.

Later on I had tea. Another home-made pizza that was really delicious. But no pudding tonight as I wasn’t that hungry.

My run this evening was a dismal failure – and for a couple of reasons too.

  1. When I came back in this afternoon I put the camera battery on charge. And when i went out this evening, I forgot to put the battery back in it – so no photos
  2. There’s a gale blowing out here – 75 kph winds. Several of my runs ended abruptly as I turned a corner and ran into a headwind that blew me backwards. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so depressed. Something of a failure, that was

So I’m packed now and I’ll be off on my travels tomorrow. Back to Castle Anthrax. I wonder what plans they have in store for me there.

Saturday 4th July 2020 – THERE WAS NO …

… possibility that I was ever going to beat the alarms this morning.

In fact, I didn’t even try. Not after going to be quite late last night. I was lucky to be up by 07:30.

After the medication I went for a shower but it seems that Bane of Britain has struck again. Guess who forgot to switch the hot water back on again last night?

Instead I worked my way through the hundreds of e-mails and messages that had built up over the week. Or, at least, some of them, because I went off to the shops.

Espace Auto was a waste of time. They are now on Summer hours which means that they are closed on Saturdays. I shall have to go some other time to pick up the estimate for the repairs to Caliburn’s bodywork.

Noz was likewise a waste of time. Sometimes the shop is excellent with tons of really good stuff, but at other times there’s nothing of interest.

Today was one of the latter. I ended up with another pack of those breaded soya steaks (there were only four left), a tub of vegan chocolate and hazelnut ice-cream and a book about Serbia in World War I. It’s actually quite interesting to see these history books that recount history in quite a different way to to the way that it’s told to kids in the UK. There’s a completely different perspective and point of view.

LeClerc wasn’t all that much better. I don’t need much because I’m off again on Monday morning for three or four days but even so I managed to forget the apples.

The guy and his wife in front of me in the queue bought enough beer and spirits to keep them going for a year but the cashier and I commiserated with each other that whatever they were doing, we hadn’t been invited.

Dodging the raindrops I drove back here stuck behind a flaming grockle in a perishing mobile home stopping every blasted minute to admire a sodding seagull. I can’t see why they don’t just post their money to us and stay at home.

The rest of the day was spent in going through the outstanding mail and then uploading the missing blog entries. They aren’t complete because I’ve not yet transcribed the dictaphone entries or edited the … gulp … 400 or so photos that I took while I was on my travels.

While we’re on the subject of photos … “well, one of us is” – ed … I went out for my afternoon walk as usual.

people picnicking on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather wasn’t very nice at all. It was cool and damp, trying its best to rain a little.

That didn’t stop the picnickers on the beach though. They were all down there making the most of the first day of the Grandes Vacances that will continue for the next 8 weeks until the end of August.

It’ll take more than just a bit of bad weather to stop a kid with a bucket and spade scrambling over a rock on a beach

fishing from beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just kids with buckets and spades or adults with picnic hampers either today.

The fishermen were out there in their numbers, up to their knees in the surf casting their lines into the sea.

Having made enquiries with the crew of the Spirit of Conrad, I now know that they are actually fishing for sea bass, or bar. I’m not sure whether they are any of DOCTOR EVIL’S EVIL-NATURED SEA BASS because as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have yet to see anyone actually catch anything and five days on board a boat in the middle of a fleet of fishing boats didn’t change that situation either.

It was round about here in the Place du Marché aux Chevaus that I was almost knocked over by an old barsteward in a car reversing out of a parking place without looking. We had what can only be described as “a frank exchange of views” but what impressed me more than anything was that he used the adjective “Belgian” in connection with the way that i was speaking.

It’s hard to believe that after 13 years living in France I still speak French with a noticeable Belgian accent, rather than the British accent which is what most people might expect.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk today carried on around the walls and I ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there have been roofing works going on here for the last couple of months and I was intrigued to see how they had progressed.

They seem to have finished the roof but the scaffolding – or, at least, some of it, is still there. We shall see over the course of the next week or so if that part that remains is finally removed or whether they will be doing something else.

seagull big wheel place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I carried on around the walls and ended up in the Square Maurice Marland.

When we arrived in port yesterday, we could see that the Big Wheel had been erected in the Place Godal. It comes every year for July and August but people were wondering if it would come this year due to the fact that last year apparently it was quite poorly patronised.

But here it is and if you look closely at it you’ll see that there are actually people on board right now, as well as the customary seagull giving it an official fly-past.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallTalking of seagulls, while I was here I had a look to see how my baby seagull on the roof in the rue des Juifs was doing.

Some of the babies here are flapping their wings and trying to fly but my one here is a week or two behind and hasn’t quite reached that stage. But he or she seems to be healthy enough and is certainly looking fairly active.

Next week I’ll pass by for another look and see how it’s getting on. We’re reaching the stage where we’ll soon be seeing a few of them taking to the air.

Back at the apartment I carried on with work and then had just 40 minutes on the guitar tonight – the 6-string. One thing that I realised while I was on board the ship is that I’m not going to have my music with me all the time and so I’ll be far better off practising half a dozen songs really well until I can reach the stage where I can play them without the music and sing them without the lyrics.

Tea tonight was one of the breaded soya fillets with potato and vegetables, followed by a slice of apple pie from the other week. I’d frozen the slices that were left when I went away and so this morning I pulled out two for the weekend.

And that reminds me – don’t forget to take the pizza dough out of the freezer in the morning.

Later on, I was just about to go out for my walk when the phone rang. Rosemary called me and we had another one of ur very lengthy chats about not too much in particular.

By the time we had finished it was gone 23:00 and raining quite heavily so it was no time to go for my evening run. I stayed in and finished my notes instead.

So tomorrow I must organise myself. There’s my Welsh course to review seeing as I missed last week’s lesson and homework to be done of course. Travel tickets need to be printed too and to pack my things.

Another thing is that I’ve started a new course today. Seeing as how I enjoyed the blues piano course (even if I can’t play the piano at all and was more interested in the theory) there was a free one on song-writing.

Not just lyrics either (although I’m sure that they can give me a few tips) but on chord arrangement and structure too, and that’s the interesting part. I’m intrigued to see what it will do.

But that’s for tomorrow. Tonight is bed time with, I hope, a lie-in tomorrow. I deserve one after this week’s efforts.

Sunday 31st May 2020 – HANDY HINT N° 12345

Before sewing up the hole in your pocket, make sure that you’ve left nothing down inside the lining, because once it’s in, it’s in for good.

Yes, pride always comes before a fall, doesn’t it? Well, actually, that’s a misquote from Proverbs 16:18 which states “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”. But even that’s correct as well.

seagull divebombing fire breville sur mer donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallBut never mind that. here’s an exciting photograph.

It’s not every day by any means that the local wildlife co-operates with the photographer. In fact, wildlife, children and females are notorious for never doing what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Like my friend who once proudly told me “one word from me, and my wife does exactly as she likes!”

But here, we have a seagull doing a very passing resemblance of a dive bomber pulling out of a dive having dropped a bomb on something onshore.

And you’ve no idea just how long I had to wait to take this photo.

seagull yacht baie de mont st michel joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd that’s not the only piece of wildlife that appeared in my photos today.

This seagull bottom left appeared by accident, making a really good photobomb as I tried to take a photo of Joly France pulling out of the harbour and heading off with passengers this afternoon for the Ile de Chausey.

A good 10 minutes I was waiting there too for there to be a calamity with Joly France having to negotiate a flotilla of yachts just outside the harbour.

But she made a clean getaway without colliding with a yacht or sinking a speedboat, much to my dismay.

However, there is some good news about clean getaways, and that is that even though today is a Sunday and a lie-in with no alarm, I made a clean getaway from my bed by 08:10 this morning.

So don’t ask me what happened there because I’ve no idea. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there have been days when I can’t even manage that when I’m supposed to be getting up early.

During the night I’d been on my travels, right enough.

I’m not too sure about what was happening for the first part of the night but it certainly involved a cricket match on the beach and the limit of the field was like a hexagon and there were people standind at each angle of the hexagon to field the ball.
Later on there had been a new EU ruling for the removal of trees. We’d planted a double row of cypress leylandii down the edge of a field next to a main road so the decision was taken to pull up one of the rows. I had to be there with a tractor and my father was there with someone else – a girl. She was in charge of this operation so I had been given instructions as to where I was to drive this tractor and go down and pull these trees. There was also at about every foot or something like that, chicken in rosemary with potatoes in rosemary fried in oil and she wss taking away the meals as well, except for one every so many when she was just taking out the hot potatoes. I was intrigued by what was going on so I asked her about this. She replied “ohh yes we’ll be making many friends with this job.” The whole point and purpose of this job totally bemused me and I didn’t have a clue what was happening. Anyway it wasn’t my father, it was a friend of mine who was there with this girl and that reminded me of something that had happened a little earlier. He was due to come round to visit me the previous day at 10:30. I’d been doing something, I can’t remember what, but it involved tidying up this hotel. I was with another guy and we were tidying this up. He suddenly said “do you have any beds in this hotel?” I asked “why, are you tired?” and it turned out that he was. he’d been on work since 04:00 and he wanted to go off and have a sleep somewhere. She – the owner of the hotel – found him a bed and I carried on. I noticed a stain on my jumper and had to go and wash this stain out. I had to find two or three different bathrooms before I could find it. So I was there taking off my jumper, washing out this stain. I was hearing all of this noise in this hotel and I’d been interested in staying here because it was near to where I used to go quite often but when I heard all the noise coming from the guests in there I thought that I’m glad that I didn’t. The we were walking through the streets of Manchester, the back streets round near where that hotel was where I used to go to when I had the coaches and I suddenly realised that my friend was to have come round at 10:30. but actually I had been at home at 10:30. Then I realised that we had actually finished that hotel job and we had been home, and it was 10:40 when we had set out again.So yes, we had been there at 10:30 and he hadn’t turned up. When he turned up with this girl about these trees and removing these potatoes and meals he didn’t say anything about us not being there the previous day so I imagined that for some unknown reason he just hadn’t come.

But don’t ask me what I’ve done today because I don’t really remember doing anything. I had a really lazy day, to which I’m entitled every now and again of course.

cat place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was such a beautiful day today that I had to go out, of course.

And it goes without saying that I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the sun at lunchtime. El Moggo was up there sitting on his thrid floor windowsill taking in the rays, looking as if he owned the place, which he probably did.

It looks as if he had seen something down below, so here’s hoping that he didn’t decide to pounce.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being such a beautiful day I took my butties to go and sit on the wall above the harbour and see what was going on down there.

And just as I arrived, so did one of the Joly France boats coming back from the Ile de Chausey. It’s the older one with the smaller window and doesn’t have the step in the stern, as you probably noticed in one of the photos above as it was pulling out.

And have I noticed the crane in the bows before? I’m sure that i might haven but I don’t recall it being extended like that while she’s been sailing.

joly france chaisiais ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMuch to my surprise she didn’t pull up at the ferry terminal as she would normally do, but at the harbour wall.

In all the time that I’ve lived here I’ve never seen the ferries moor there. And it’s interesting that she’s there next to Chausiais who hasn’t moved from that impromptu berth fora few days now.

That makes me wonder if they are still working on something over at the ferry terminal that is stopping the boats mooring there. But anyway, she did pull over tothe ferry terminal to load up and then she cleared off.

old cars morgan boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that was far from being all of the excitement for today.

With living in civilisation as I do these days, old cars are few and far between. It’s not every day that you see them, but when you do, they certainly are interesting, like this car, which I believe might be a Morgan.

Not the old Morgan three-wheeler with the JAP V-twin engine in front, for one of which I would give all that I own and more besides quite happily, but something much more modern.

Always assuming that it is a Morgan of course, because these days there are so many kit cars around that are clones of something famous. So you can never be sure.

old cars jaguar boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallIt went off down the road, closely followed by this machine.

Once more, this could be anything, although the prancing animal on top of the radiator suggests “Jaguar”. In which case it might be one of the old “Swallow Sidecars” SS jaguars from the 1930s, although the front wings don’t look very Jaguar to me at all.

So I shall have to make further enquiries about this one too and report back.

speedboat port de granville harbour normandy france eric hallBut this is much more like the kind of scenery that I should be expecting.

He came roaring into the harbour as if the Hounds of Hell were clutching at his coat tails – avec le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

The people who had been picnicking next to me and now playing beach skittles on the grass were quite alarmed by it all.

After my butties I went back to my apartment and had a look (just a look!) at the next web page to be edited.

There was an unknown lorry on there that needed identifying so I posted it in a newsgroup that I follow that concerns itself wit abandoned lorries. And that I think was the sum total of my work today

yachts english channel islands jersey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe beautiful weather at lunchtime had made me feel like another ice cream so seeign as it really was a beautiful day, I decided to walk into town – the long way round – to go and pick one up.

And if you thought that the sea was busy earlier, then you should see it now. We’re quite used to long lines of vehicles towing trailers with boats thereupon queueing up down the street awaiting their turn to discharge their cargoes into the sea

The whole town become littered with cars and trailers parked up just about everywhere while their owners take to the waters.

pleasure boats pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallYachts are fine because they are beautiful and graceful – and silent.

That’s more than can be said for the speedboats and the other powered marine craft that are in the water and go round shattering the peace. And it can’t be much fun to be in a small yacht and hit the wake of a fast-moving boat like that.

But at least there’s no kayak out there right now. There have been one or two incidents just recently of kayaks being swamped for one reason or another, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

microlight ulm granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it isn’t just on the roads or in the se or on the beaches and the lawns that we have the crowds of people.

It’s becoming pretty densely populated in the air too around here. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the flocks of the Birdmen of Alcatraz hovering above us like Nazgul, but there are one or two people who are fitting motors to their contraptions and roaring past overhead.

There’s no peace for the wicked, is there?

autogyro granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this machine on a few previous occasions too.

We first encountered it A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO during our visit to the Cabanon Vauban and we’ve seen it sporadically since then flying around and about. It’s certainly an interesting machine.

And reading what I’ve just been typing, anyone would think that I’m turning into a right grumpy old do-and-so in my old age.

But that’s far from being the truth. I’m the first to realise that all of these people coming here like this are actually bringing money into the town and the reason why we have so many facilities here is because we have so many visitors spending their money in the town.

We should all be grateful for that.

crowds beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallNot much chance of any peace and quiet anyway with the crowds on the beach.

This is one of the more inaccessible parts of the beach here. There’s a very long series of steep winding steps that come down the cliff to just there and you can see that the hordes have even swarmed onto here. And finding the gap in the wall that leads to the steps isn’t the easiest thing to do either

I shudder to think of what it must be like round at the Plat Gousset this afternoon

frogmen pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThese persons here have found an ideal way to get themselves far from the madding crowd.

Nothing like an aqualung or snorkel and a pair of flippers and a spot of deep-sea diving for some peace and quiet.

But what’s interesting about this is what they are supposed to be doing. That area just there is uncovered during low tide and there’s nothing of any particular interest at that spot.

It’s not as if there’s a shipwreck or buried treasure or anything like that might attract the attention of a frogman – or frogperson as I suppose we have to call them these days and even if there had been, it could be accessed at low tide without even getting your feet wet.

At least there aren’t four skin divers down there

water port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I continued on my way around the headland and down the old track into the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been noticing just how clear the water in the sea has been just recently. I’ve seen much worse than this in the past in the harbour as well.

It’s a very rare event indeed to be able to see the bottom of the harbour when the tide is this far in. Nevertheless, it’s still not clean enough to entice me in.

trawlers fishing boats rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe new pontoons that they have installed are proving to be quite popular.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw all of the seagulls enjoying them, and today with very few of the fishing boats being out, they are clustered around too.

But right on the extremem left of the photo the pontoons come to an abrupt stop. I wonder if they are going to continue along to the harbour wall.

Another mystery was solved here today as well.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw what looked like a vacuum cleaner nozzle down into the hold of one of the fishing boats and I speculated that it might be for sucking up the shellfish.

However, that’s not the case at all. I went to have a closer look and it is in fact an ice chute – for pumping ice into the hold of the boats presumably to keep the shellfish fresh

Picking up my ice cream (which was one of the reasons why I came down here in the first place) I went for a wander around on the other side of the harbour.

But while there were plenty of people milling around over there, there wasn’t anything that particularly caught my attention so I headed back for home.

It wasn’t easy though. The fine weather had brought everyone out and the streets were crowded with no thought whatever about social distancing. I really do hope that we don’t have a second wave of the pandemic because with people thronging around like this, it’ll spread liKe wild fire.

Back home, I was going to attempt something exciting.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on Thursday I’d bought a pack of frozen strawberries. During the course of the day I’d had them out of the freezer to defrost.

Now that i was back, I made some pastry – and I do have to say that it came out perfectly because I could roll the ball around in my hands without any of the pastry sticking to my fingers.

With the rolling pin I flattened it out, put it in a pie dish, trimmed it off and stuck it in a hot oven. And with the excess pastry I made an apple turnover.

Meantime, being very brave, I burnt my bridges and made the Sunday pizza on the last of the shop-bought pastry rolls. It’s goign to be my own dough from now on.

When the pie base was cooked, that and the turnover came out and the pizza went in.

With the strawberries, I filled the pie and then prepared some agar-agar to pour over it so that it would set like a vegan gelatine, and stuck it in the fridge to set.

After I’d eaten my pizza, I looked at the strawberry tart and unfortunately, the agar-agar hadn’t set. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but this was not one of my triumphs. However, when I’ve finished the apple pie, I’ll attack that and see how it tastes.

photographer pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallOn that note I went out for my evening run. Another struggle up the hill and down to the cifftop. It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier these days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one little peccadillo that I have is to stick my nose into other people’s photo shoots. Not photo-bombing them bu to take photos of people taking photos.

And up on the lawn at the Pointe du Roc, which seems to be a very popular place for photo shoots these days, there was another one going on. So i couldn’t resist the temptation to join in with my own three ha’porth.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut you can tell what the weather was like this evening simply by looking at the crowds of people here.

There were parties of picnickers all over the place and more coming along to swell the numbers even as we speak. Not very good or the social distancing but who can blame them in weather like this?

Around the corner by the coastguard point I even bumped into one of my neighbours taking the air and we had a good chat for quite a while – and that was mainly for an opportunity to soak up the sun as well

moon granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and with my usual two resting places, ended up at the viewpoint at the rue du Nord.

But on one of my rests I happened to notice that the moon had already risen. And it really did look beautiful in the evening sky tonight.

Considering that I didn’t have the tripod with me – or even the monopod, the photo has come out really well. But I suppose that I ought to be making more of an effort to go out with the tripod one of these days and take some decent photos.

And I’ll have to work on the time-delay functions too. I’ve not used it yet on the NIKON D500

crowds picnicking plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the viewpoint at the rue du nord I stopped to catch my breath and then to have a good look around.

And as seems to be usual these days, we have the crowds on the beach enjoying the evening sunshine, and having a picnic too in the pleasant weather. They’ve certainly chosen a nice evening for it.

But one thing that I have noticed about the evening picnickers is that it always seems to be a different crowd in that spot. I don’t think that i’ve ever noticed the same group of people there consecutively. I think that if I had a group of people with whom I enjoyed picnicking, then in weather like this I’d be down there every night.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the setting sun this evening was splendid. I recall a gasp of admiration from a couple of people who had followed me down to the viewpoint when they noticed it.

Still half an hour or so before it sets, and unfortunately I don’t have the time to spare to wait. I don’t know where all of my time goes these days.

Instead, I ran on back to my apartment to write up my notes.

While I was writing up the day’s activities, a piece of music came onto the playlist.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my computer is awash with music – a couple of thousand albums almost all digitalised these days after our ptoject of the winter – and there is music going on in this apartment from the moment I awaken until the moment that I go to sleep.

Some music though I have to be very careful about playing, and for various reasons too. Some songs I can’t hear at all, even if I happen to like them, and others I can only listen to when i’m in the right kind of mood.

A couple of songs in that latter group always seem to appear on the playlist when I’m in the wrong kind of mood to hear them and sure enough tonight, while I was “hiding in a room in my mind” as Kate Bush used to say, onto the playlist came THIS SONG.

Magnificent song though it is, it’s the kind of song that I have a great difficulty hearing, much as I want to. I’ll always end up playing it two or three times one after the other even though I know exactly what’s going to happen.

And on that note (well, we are talking music here), with my notes not even half-finished, I went to bed. I’ll finish these tomorrow.

Saturday 4th April 2020 – ANOTHER DAY …

… when I’ve been nothing like as productive as I ought to be.

And that’s a shame because it all started so well too. I comfortably beat the third alarm to my feet and after the medication I attacked the dictaphone.

Once again, the excesses of the couple of nights just recently seem to have been curbed. But while the quality seems to have been cut down, it’s done nothing the stem the emotion.

Last night I was in hospital and that I was going to have an operation. It was an appendicitis operation but it was on my throat of all places. Af course these were strange times with all kinds of different people having all kinds of different things wrong with them because of this virus and I couldn’t get into the hospital at all, but in the end they let me in. I’d been on board a ship which may or may not have been The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour going round the Far North of Scotland and they had given me some gas anaesthetic. They clamped it over my nose and mouth and started to feed me the anaesthetic and I wasn’t going under. I was just sitting there looking at them, that kind of thing. They got a teddy bear out and started to play with this teddy bear to try to distract me but that didn’t work. In the end they simply turned up the gas until the gas was full on. Eventually I managed to pass out. Even though I was unconscious I could hear them moving all the knives, equipment and everything around. I was absolutely dreading what was going to happen next and this was another occasion where I actually awoke myself in order to avoid it.

There have been one or two like that just recently where the situation has been such that I’ve been obliged to awaken myself to avoid it. I’ve often said … “on many occasions” – ed … that the whole idea of hospîtals and surgery and all of that kind of thing is something that I can’t stomach.

What I’ve been going through this last four years or so, with hospitals, operations, tubes and pipes and all that kind of thing is my worst nightmare and there are medical actions that have been proposed to me that I’ve turned down flat because I couldn’t even stand the thought of them, not the action.

It’s the law in France that any surgical intervention, no matter what, has to be explained in precise detail to the victim and his or her consent obtained. When they wanted to do stuff to me I flatly refused to hear what they wanted to tell me and there was something of a stand-off.

In the end they had to prepare a document to the effect that I would give my consent to the operation but I didn’t want to hear anything about it. They weren’t sure just how that would stand up in Court if it came to that, but that’s all that they were getting from me.

After breakfast I made a start on the digitalising of my album collection. No major issues today except that one of them took a good while to deal with. And Rosemary rang me up in the middle of it all for a good chat.

As a result of all of this, I was late going for my shower and even later going out to the shops. No queue when I arrived (there was when I left) and I was able to buy most things that I needed.

No small tins of kidney beans and still no pizza bases. No pizza flour either, so I bought some ordinary flour and I’m going to have a go, once I’ve used the last base in my stock this weekend, to make a pizza base. I have yeast, salt and oil and I can’t think what else I might need.

But years ago, I used to buy flat round bread in Belgium, slice it horizontally rather than vertically, and use that as a pizza base. There’s always a way, and I seem to remember that the bread base worked quite well.

There was ice cream that needed to be bought but I baulked at the price that LeClerc wanted for the Alpro stuff. However, they had a tub left of that delicious banana sorbet.

Back here, Laurent had returned to me his comments on our project so after a little bit here and there I could send it off for consideration. We then ended up in a discussion about the audio diary that we are keeping.

In between all of this, I was speaking to someone on the internet. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the hi-fi that’s connected to the computer is in the process of giving up the ghost. 18 or so years, 6 of which were being stored in a damp shed, hasn’t done it any favours.

I’m not going to waste my money on any cheap stuff, seeing as how much time I spend here and the kind of work that I do, so I’ve been talking to a specialist place in Germany about what I need to have some really decent desktop quality.

Eventually I was able to turn my attention to my own radio projects, but not as much as I could because I ended up … errr … relaxing for a while. And a proper, deep relax it was too and that was quite depressing.

As a result I ended up not even finishing one, never mind both of them. So although it’s against my principles, I’ll have to work tomorrow – my day off.

After the session on the guitar, I made myself some tea. Saturday night so it’s usually a meal out of a tin, but the way things are, I’m not doing anything with my tins right now.

But I have plenty of vegan burgers which are quick to cook and anyway, I believe that some vegan burger mix is heading my way in the post sometime. So pasta, veg and tomato sauce with a vegan burger it was too.

The last of the apple pie and the last of the Alpro soya ice cream. Tomorrow, it’s the day that I cook a dessert and I haven’t had rice pudding for a good while, so I reckon that we’ll have a rice pudding for the next few days.

sun reflecting off windows granville manche normandy france eric hallThat was the cue for me to go off for my evening walk.

It was still light out there, but the sun was quite low in the sky. I ended up with this beautiful image across the day of the sun shining directly into the windows of this building on the hilltop across the bay at the back of town.

It would have been a beautiful sunset tonight, but we had a good one last night and I don’t want to clutter things up with too much of the same photograph.

young people enjoying sunset pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s hard enough as it is for me to find things of interest in the time that I’m allowed out. I mean – we haven’t had a “pathetic parking” photo for weeks.

But returning to the sunset, there were all kinds of people out there enjoying it. Almost every secluded nook and cranny had a couple of people in it, keeping out of the way of their neighbours and, I imagine, out of the way of any surveillance.

What a state in which we are living. We are told that it is for our own good, which is probably correct right now, but it’s also correct to say that it’s usually been a war or a violent revolution that has been required to take back control from a fascist once he’s laid his hands on it.

The easiest way to control a population is to frighten it. It was a principle of the Nazis expounded by Goering. At the moment, the people don’t need any more frightening in order to let themselves be controlled, but it’s going to be interesting to see what steps the Governments will be taking in the future to control the population in this measure.

How many more virus scares will we have once this one is out of the way?

seagulls granville manche normandy france eric hallTalking of scaring people, anyone who had the wind put up them by the Hitchcock film THE BIRDS won’t have enjoyed what’s been happening in the old walled town just now.

Whatever is going on I really don’t know, but the seagulls are becoming a lot less nervous of people and are clamouring around so much more. In fact there was quite a flock of them this evening circling around above the old town this evening.

Whoever was out there walking this evening, I hope that he was wearing a hat. These gulls have an accuracy that would put Bomber Command to shame

And keeping up with the routine, I managed all four runs tonight and, much to my surpise, they weren’t difficult. In fact, I overran the first by about 30 metres and had it not been uphill I could have carried on..

And I’m glad that I’m doing it because of that 800 grammes that I had gained, I’d lost 400 since Thursday.

And that reminds me of the time That Nerina told me that during a certain two-week period she had lost 2kgs.
“Keep it up, darling” I urged. “At this rate, by Christmas you’ll be gone completely”.

On that point, I’ll clear off. It’s Sunday and I can have a lie-in. But I’ll have to work, I suppose. These things don’t get done themselves, do they?

Thursday 2nd April 2020 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… a very friendly, very interesting and very lengthy conversation with a very nice young girl. She stopped me for a chat while I was out for my evening runs tonight.

We were there for about 10 minutes or so chatting away about all kinds of things.

And do you know what?

I don’t have the first clue who she is.

Something else that I don’t have the first clue about is why I bothered to waste my time by going for an early night. Just for a change, I beat the third alarm out of bed and after the medication I had a look at the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

I’d started out by doing my best to obey the quarantine but I had to keep on nipping out of my apartment to the room in the attic for something or other. That meant going out into the street and in my the next door and up the stairs. This happened not once, not twice but three or four times and I was sure that someone would cotton on to what was happening. Sure enough, one time I did it, I heard another door bang in the room and heard someone going up the inside stairs, so I stood behind the door and waited. When whoever it was came in, I shouted “BOOH!”and scared them. It was a girl with whom I once worked and she’s someone I haven’t thought about for years. I had a laugh and a joke with her about the situation but I bet that she was being very curious about who was where, for reasons that I suspected were not entirely altruistic. The I was talking to someone else about this and they said “whatever happens, it’s not going to be right for ages and ages yet before the world is back to normal. All kinds of things have been cut off and we can basically forget all about”.
Later on, someone at work was selected for some kind of medical test so he started to prepare himself, saying “yes, I’ll call you when I get there and let you know how things are going on”. My boss recoiled in horror “no, no. Just give us a ring – it will be fine”. he was obviously extremely suspicious about this and I had the feeling that he would have been quite happy if this employee had picked up some kind of infection from one of these medical trials
Moi, je lui proposé que lui, il lui garde et envoyer un audio de son voyage et de contacter avec quelque chose d’intéressant mais il l’a réussi. Le patron lui a accordé raise parce que … Now why am I dictating this in French? I know that I sometimes dream in French (and in Flemish too before now) but this is the first ever time that I’ve dictated my notes in French … so they decided that the risks just weren’t worth the experience of broadcasting like that.
The next voyage was similar to the one just now about the being summoned and going for a walk and sending an audio report and that was rejected too as the story was pretty much the same
Later on we were discussing trains, HS2 and all of this and I’m still convinced that it’s just a white elephant and it’s not going to do anything particular. We had the usual arguments so I wrote a song about travelling from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to Brussels on the TGV. It came to the attention of Alquin and they weren’t sure – should I join Alquin or would they create a band for me and find me a couple of musicians or something like that. In the meantime I’d been collecting some stuff – I’m not quite sure what it was. Quarantine had ended and everyone was out on the streets. There was a big cinema complex and I was walking through it with stuff in my hat. And the thing that I remember was a really really familiar voice said “just leave it up here against the wall, Eric”. I looked round and it was a guitarist who I knew. I can’t think whether it was that Mike Averill or Sherman Downey – someone like that. He said it quite clearly in his voice that I could hear it in my sleep “just leave it here, Eric” and it was the surprise of the realism of the voice and how I heard it that awoke me
I was in a office last night working and the place was in a total tip as you might expect. There was a girl sitting next to me at my desk. She was going through all my papers and there was a load of stuff I didn’t want her to see because it was quite personal. I asked her what she was doing and she replied that she was looking for a file or a letter. I asked which one and she told me that it was in connection with an accident that I had had with a Woolworths van or lorry 18 months ago. She was going some kind of survey on it. She said “I thought that would be in the International file”. I said “no, for if it involved two people of the same nation it would be in the national, not the international one” so I had to go and fetch the file. There were papers everywhere in a big bundle and I thought that i would come back to sort these out. Then I got to thinking that I’m not going to be able to cope with all of this. I’ve probably had enough. I decided more-or-less on the spot that I was going to retire. It was only 2 days to the end of the month so I thought that at the end of the month I would retire and that would be that.

So after all of that, it’s pretty pointless going to bed early, isn’t it?

But as an aside, looking at where I’ve been during the last couple of nights, anyone would think that I had something of a preoccupation with this virus that’s going round. But that’s not the case at all.

It’s true to say that I’m being more careful than I otherwise would be, but I’m not taking this situation as intently or as keenly as some others, that’s for sure. Being engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the illness that I have, this virus thing is just another complication to add to an already-complicated tangle of affairs.

After breakfast I had a go at a couple of albums – tracking down the digital sound files and sorting them out.

And then, after a shower (the first for a few days) I headed out to town.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn my way out of the medieval walled city I stopped to have a look over the wall to see what was going on, as I had heard the crane in operation.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader here in port the other day. And here she is, unloading another pile of what looks like shellfish and taking on board a load of timber as a return load to the Channel islands.

It was another quick turn-round too. When I went out in the evening, she was long-gone. She clearly doesn’t want to hang around with these current health issues going on.

repointing stonework rampe du monte a regret granville manche normandy france eric hallMy route into town took me down the Rampe du Monte A Regret

Over the past few months I’ve been seeing workmen there ripping out the vegetation that’s been growing in the cracks between the stones, but today I noticed that they’ve been repointing the joints.

This will look quite nice when it’s all done, but I wish that they would spend more of their time dealing with the bits of wall that are actually falling down.

We’ve seen plenty of those just recently.

As I was going past the laboratory, I called in to see where they had got to with my blood test results. They’d completed the examinations and had posted the results, but of course the post is somewhat sporadic these days.

They gave me a copy so I could review it at my leisure. My blood count is at 9.3, which is quite a surprise to most people because when I last had treatment – two months ago, it was 8.8.

We’ve seen in the past that the results from the hospital and the results from the laboratory differ considerably, and nothing seems to have changed right now. I know that the blood count can fluctuate, but surely not by this much.

There weren’t too many people in LIDL this morning so we didn’t have to queue outside. They didn’t seem to be short of very much at all (except pizza bases – I wonder why there’s a run on those right now) so I did what I needed, as well as buying a metre rule with spirit level and a few other accessories. A baguette too, seeing as my favourite boulanger is still closed.

Back here there was time to deal witha couple more albums before lunch, and also 20 or so photos from July 2019. Dynjandi and the Arnarfjördu were the places for which I was trying to remember the names yesterday.

After lunch I finished off the notes for the two radio projects on which i’m working, dictated them, and started on the editing.

To my chagrin I could have made much more progress than I did, but

  1. I was in discussion for some of the time with Laurent about our Grande Marée Virtuelle – I have some lines to learn
  2. I … errr … went off with the fairies for a good half-hour. And a proper one too – hardly surprising after my last couple of nights but disappointing all the same.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and then I stopped for tea. A slice of that tofu and lentil pie from February with jacket potates, veg and gravy.

While it was cooking in the oven, I sorted out all of the carrots that I had bought on Saturday, washed scrubbed, diced and then blanched them

By this time my tea was ready. And it was followed by a slice of apple pie with vegan ice cream and chocolate sauce. Thoroughly delicious.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallOut on my walk this evening, I missed the sunset.

The sky was a beautiful red though, so I suppose that it’s better than nothing. And while I was admiring it was when I was accosted by the aforementioned young lady.

Bad news when I had my shower this morning. I seemed to have gained 800 grams since the weekend and that’s no good at all. As a consequence I put in no fewer than four runs tonight. I have to get things under control

Another thing that I need to do is to have a good sleep. It won’t be as long as last night’s, unfortunately, but it will still do me good.

But I wonder where I’ll finish up tonight?