Tag Archives: vegan pie

Monday 9th May 2022 – HERE’S A SIGHT …

victor hugo belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022…. that I am more than happy to see.

Over there moored at the quayside is Victor Hugo, one of the two ferries that run out to the Channel Islands. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the service from Granville restarted on the 5th of May after a break of over two years (with the exception of one very short week).

There was this worrying feeling that with the end of the gravel boats and the cancellation of the Big Wheel, the ferry to the Channel Islands would be the next thing that this mayor would cancel in his valiant attempt to turn the town into some kind of haven for luxury retirees rather than a working, bustling seaport.

And so I for one am more than pleased to see the service restart.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But what comes with one hand goes with the other.

On Saturday I made the remark that the kiddies’ roundabout was back in the Place Charles de Gaulle during the outdoor market. But today, there it was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Never mind “musical chairs”. That roundabout is certainly doing the rounds a darn sight quicker than I can keep up with it.

Anyway, last night despite going to bed rather later than I intended, I still managed to be up and about “fairly shortly” after 06:00, beating the second alarm rather comfortably even if I didn’t feel much like it.

After the medication I had two radio programmes to prepare. I’d written the notes while I was in Leuven last week so that saved me some time but even so, it still took an age to complete everything. It wasn’t until 12:35 that both programmes were finished.

There had been a few pauses during the proceedings of course. I felt that I had the kind of thirst that you could photograph so I had several mugs of coffee during the morning, as well as stopping for breakfast.

And then the nurse came round to give me my injection for today.

When it was finished I made myself a big bowl of leek and potato soup. There was a big frozen mass of leeks in the freezer that weren’t doing much and having been brought several packs of hot cross buns last weekend seeing as I had run out, I needed to make some space in the freezer

While that was cooking I went and had a shower and a clean-up. And then filled the washing machine ready for when I go out later. I’m running out of clothes again.

The soup was delicious. Nice and thick and creamy and there’s enough for three days in total. And I’ll have to make some more some other time. The cumin and tarragon in it gave it an additional bite.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having set the washing machine off on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I went out for my physiotherapy appointment.

First thing though was to stop at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I can look down on what’s going on at the fish processing plant.

And as you might expect, L’Omerta is still tied up there. It looks as if she’s moved in there permanently now. Mind you, the other boat that was there yesterday, Petite Laura, she has moved away. There’s another boat tucked away around the corner but I can’t see who she is.

There were plenty of seagulls floating around down there too, waiting for some shellfish to drop off the quayside.

la granvillaise trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of other excitement going on out there this afternoon.

My attention had been caught by the boat that was over there out at sea. Even though we can’t see her registration number at this distance, my money is on her being G90 – La Granvillaise. The shape of the lasts and the sails, even if they aren’t all unfurled, would seem to indicate that

And there’s still plenty of activity in the chantier naval. From left to right we have an unidentified boat, then L’Ecume II, Valesque, and then another unidentified boat. By the looks of things Le Roc A La Mauve III has finally gone back into the water after all this time.

boules petanque place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My route into town took me down past the Place Pelley and the Bar Ephemere.

When we came past here on Saturday there wasn’t anyone down there playing boules, which took me by surprise because it seems to be an unstoppable national sport. But they are making up for it today. There are plenty of boulonauts down there right now.

The walk up the hill was strangely difficult today, and I don’t know why that might be. It might have been quite warm outside but nothing else had changed.

And starting today I have a new physiotherapist. She took my X-rays and MRI Scans and then put me through several tests before giving me a few exercises.

At least having all of these different people means that I’m having all kinds of different tests and that can only be a good thing.

ambulance rue couraye rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On the way home, down at the bottom of the hill there was yet more excitement.

There was an emergency ambulance parked at the corner of the Rue Couraye and the Rue Paul Poirier, complete with blue flashing light. There wasn’t anyone in attendance though and I couldn’t see where they had gone.

On the corner of the Rue Lecampion I had to go to the pharmacy. The nurse this morning asked me to ask them for a container to deposit my discarded needles. He usually takes them away but I imagine that he’s being overloaded right now. I’ve “had the summons” to have my fourth Covid injection (which he’ll be doing next time he passes) and if I’ve been summoned, so has everyone else.

building work rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022If the walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was tough, the walk up the Rue des Juifs back home was even tougher.

There were several occasions where I had to stop to catch my breath, one of which was just by where there was some building work going on. We had a skip lorry with crane and another small lorry in attendance.

It’s one thing that I’ve noticed, that there seems to be more and more renovation work taking place about the town, either rebuilding or renovating existing apartments or building new ones.

It’s quite a boom business now, but I bet that it’s not going to result in many more permanent homes. Holiday accommodation and Air B&B lets seem to be the way that things are going, pricing permanent residents out of the market.

classe decouvert rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Another thing that I’ve mentioned … “quite often” – ed … on these pages is what is called the classe decouverte.

This involves school kids being taken out of their normal environment to experience life elsewhere. And here is one such class, all congregating underneath the tree by the drawbridge into the walled city while someone was telling them all about the French Revolution.

The walled city is quite important because revolutionary forces defended it against counter-revolutionaries in a famous battle during the Revolution.

The conversation sounded quite interesting and I was in half a mind to hang around and hear the end of it but I was gripped by a raging thirst and wanted to go home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First though, I had to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what is happening down there.

Plenty of people down there sunning themselves on the sand and a couple of people out there on a zodiac. But no-one brave enough to go in the water, which was a surprise because it’s a lovely afternoon right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’ve been during the night. I was starting to shave myself with an electric razor last night but no matter how hard I tried, it hardly made any impact at all. I was there for hours trying to shave my face but there was very little hair coming off. I thought that I was going to be here for hours but I had to do it. Now that I’d started, it would look a mess if I only were to do a bit of it. After about an hour I had a feel of my face. There was still plenty on it in places. There was a knock at the door and a girl came in carrying my breakfast. I was lying on the floor trying to do my face so she didn’t see me at first. Eventually she put down the tray and we had a chat. I offered her some of my breakfast but I was still concerned about this shaving and getting my face done so I could hurry up and go out.

Having listened to the radio programmes that I prepared today, I went for tea. Pie with veg and gravy.

And now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form. But there’s not much danger of that.

Thursday 24th March 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… so busy today that I’ve only just realised that, as I’ve sat down to write up my notes, I’ve forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

And “so busy”? It’s been a long time since I’ve said that, isn’t it? Too early to go crowing though. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

It didn’t actually start out very well though. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep yet again. It was at 07:50 when I sat bolt-upright and another minute or two before I fell out of bed.

At least I beat the alarm at 08:00 which was good news.

After breakfast and having made sure that the 3-column page was working correctly (thanks, Grahame) I carried on mounting the … gulp … 184 photos of that group that I saw back at the end of October.

And then came the acid test – would a web page work with three columns of all of these photos?

The short answer to that was “no”. And trying to find an error in 940 lines of code is not easy.

Eventually, I found not one, and not two, but three errors where either I’d missed out a line, missed out a tag or put in a tag somewhere other than where it’s supposed to go.

Eventually, it worked out and I split the page into four to make it more manageable.

So, does it work? JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.

As you might expect, in the semi-darkness and depressing lighting, many of the photos didn’t work out as well as they might have done under other conditions, and in fact some of them never even staggered onto the pages. But a few of them AREN’T TOO BAD.

That took me most of the day to do all that, but to be fair, there were several interruptions like a coffee break, breakfast, and stuff like that.

And lunch of course. And as I was quietly reading a report on a disappeared ocean liner which I was eating my lunchtime butties, I suddenly noticed the time. 13:22.

“Blimmin’ ‘eck!” I cried. “My Welsh revision lesson starts in 8 minutes”.

And despite my pessimism yesterday, that could have gone much worse than it did as well. It shows up how much I don’t know, of course, but at least I managed to struggle through two hours of it without making myself look stupid.

Mind you, I can do that often enough under normal circumstances without practising for it or speaking another language..

As soon as the lesson was over (for it was for two hours and over-run by rather a lot) I cleared off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022First stop was, as usual, the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what’s happening.

The weather today was gorgeous and I actually could have gone out without a jacket had I so desired. And it certainly brought out the crowds this afternoon.

There’s probably a dozen people in this shot alone, including the person coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord. And any other shot of the beach this afternoon would probably have shown a similar number of people.

Meanwhile, out at sea, I couldn’t see anything at all. And that wasn’t the fault of the weather because it really was nice out there as well.

men working on medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was however quite a racket coming from over where they are repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

That prompted me to take a photo of it from over here and I was actually lucky enough to photograph a couple of the guys who are working there, just to prove that there is actually some work being undertaken there.

And then, joining the throngs of people on the path, I headed off down towards the lighthouse in the hope that I might see something of interest going on – but with no success. There didn’t seem to be anything out-of-the-ordinary happening today.

people on bench with dog cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With no-one playing around on the gun barrel at the lighthouse this afternoon I walked off across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

Today, we have yet more people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out at sea at absolutely nothing at all.

And I wondered what it was that was lying down underneath the bench. At first glance I thought that it might have been a polar bear but not even climate change could produce anything like that around here. It turned out to be a long-haired white dog of some variety or other.

So instead I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland to spy out the land around there.

spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And after the frenzied activity of the last few days or so, it’s all gone quiet in the chantier naval.

The only boats still in there are Spirit of Conrad and the little Le Roc A La Mauve III. And by the looks of things, the latter won’t be in there for much longer and as I mentioned the other day, Pierre the skipper is keen for the former to go back into the water some time rather soon.

After all, he has plenty of work booked for the summer and after what he has suffered over the last two years with almost everything being cancelled, I’m sure that the sooner he’s back out there earning money, the better for all concerned.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over there at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries.

That’s the older one, I reckon. And you can tell that from the stern. The newer one of the two has a step in it. As well as that, the upper-deck superstructure on the older one is larger, although of course you can’t tell that until the two of them are side-by-side.

But it’s interesting in that if one of them is going to be moving and the other one not, it’s always this one that’s on the move, not the other. I would have expected the owners to alternate them so that they have an equal amount of use.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that they own that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

It seems that they have plenty of work for her at the moment because usually she’s tied up in the inner harbour after the occasional trip here and there. Leaving her out here means that she must be off on another trip out sometime soon.

That might explain the sacks of builders’ material that we saw by the crane in the previous photo.

Pretty soon though, they are going to have to start thinking about some other arrangement. If they really are going to restart the ferries to the Channel Islands, as is suggested, they can’t be leaving ships moored up for too long at the ferry terminal.

l'omerta jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I came across L’Omerta again, moored in the silt underneath the fish processing plant.

At one time she practically lived there. She spent day after day tied up without moving, and then we didn’t see her for a while. But now she’s made a comeback.

And interestingly, Jade III is behind her, also settled down on the silt. We saw her yesterday tied up in the inner harbour while almost everyone else was out at sea. But today she’s made it as far as the outer tidal harbour before she stopped and tied up again.

There’s something strange happening here and I wish that I knew what it was.

Back home, having ignored the glaziers’ van parked by the Porte St Jean, I made myself a coffee and finished off what I’d been doing with those web pages.

After a good half-hour on the guitar I spent some time editing a few more photos from the High Arctic 2019 and the dog that I saw earlier must have been a premonition because I ended up editing a few photos of a polar bear and her cub that I encountered on Baffin Island while we were wandering around in Buchan Gulf.

Tea tonight should have been taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Monday but one look at the tacos convinced me that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. They ended up being filed under “CS”.

But not to worry. Having worked out the other week what those mystery pies were and found that they were savoury vegan pies, I had the last remaining one with potatoes, veg and a nice thick gravy.

Thoroughly delicious.

So what about that then?

During a previous existence when I was travelling for months around Canada every year I was churning out tons of stuff that found its way onto a web page. But somehow, having been swept away in a tide of whatever it was that swept me away, I’ve done very little of what has been important.

So four in a day is something of an achievement. But as I said earlier, doing it on just one day is no big deal. Margaret Thatcher once said something like “anyone can do a good day’s work when they feel like it. But doing a good day’s work when you don’t feel like it is something else completely”.

Over the last few years i’ve had far too many days when I haven’t felt like it. So let’s see what tomorrow brings. There aren’t (officially, anyway) any distractions but something will probably turn up and knock me out of my stride.

And, on a final note, with 40 minutes to spare before bedtime, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was something to do with the Lord of Darkness and somehow there was a technique how you could make a car like you would make a crèpe – pour liquid over a hot surface and make some kind of metal. They had made an experimental version for one group of people from the afterlife. Now they were working on their masterpiece. The Lord of Darkness had appeared with his entourage and took his place inside his car. The first car was vibrating a little and there was a danger that the power would run out so they asked the Lord of Darkness how they would deal with it. he replied that you could fit another element of a battery in there because they were several 2-volt cells and you would put another several cells in there to keep it at 12 volt and increase the amperage so that the amperage would probably match what was in his car

And then I’d ordered some LPs from Amazon. They turned up on a van at something silly like 06:00. Someone had a look to see and they were due to be delivered between 07:00 and 11:00 but it made no difference because they were here and we were here. But he couldn’t put the albums in the box in which they were supposed to arrive. There was a plastic box with lid that had to be assembled to put these albums in but for some unknown reason they wouldn’t go in and the box wouldn’t assemble and stay together. He was there for ages trying to fix this. In the end he asked if I would object if he didn’t leave the box but took it back with him. I thought that if I did object, I’d be here for hours trying to assemble it so he may as well take it and go back on his round. He asked which way to go so I replied “go out of our drive, turn right to the end of the road, turn left down to the end of the road and turn right and you’re heading towards the M6. Someone else who was there started to try to give him some really complicated directions. I thought that delivery and van drivers don’t need complicated directions. They keep it simple so there’s less chance of becoming lost. being lost is losing money for them

Later on I was with two other people last night. One of them was my little Inuit girl from Uummannaq. But she hadn’t half put on weight. She had her little sister with her who was about 3 probably. We were doing something, the 3 of us and then it was time to go. The two of them, my friend and the other person who was with me went to sit in the front of the car. I took the little girl and went to put her in the back. One thing that she liked was to be covered up by something so I took a piece of paper, a sheet of a newspaper to cover her up but she already had one and was covered up in it. She was rather cross that I was going to cover her up with 2 things. I had to fold up this piece and put it away. The other 2 wondered what was happening because of the little girl being cross but I explained and that was that.

Finally I was at an auction sale last night. They were selling things like tins of Pemmican and so on. One was from something like 1758 and another was a few years later all the way through to 1933. It looks very much as if someone had raided some explorers’ caches either in the Arctic or the Antarctic or Northern Canada. They were spending a considerable amount of time discussing the provenance of this stuff. I was hoping that they’d hurry up and start the sale

Where as all of this energy and motivation come from just now? Whatever is going on with me?

Thursday 17th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… several photos of the excitement that we had out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon, let me tell you about the somewhat less-than-exciting day that I had today.

It started off rather badly when I switched off the alarm at 07:30 and … errr … went back to sleep. I awoke with a start at 07:59 and I just about managed to put my feet on the floor as the 08:00 repeat went off.

Mind you, it’s my own fault. I did say that I was planning to have an early night but I picked up the guitar for a quick strum and that, dear reader, was that.

Somehow, from out of nowhere, I managed to start to transcribe the dictaphone notes. That was the first thing that I did once I’d taken my medicine.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022They were collecting goods for refugees again. I was wandering around trying to find a place where I could set up to co-ordinate the relief and find an office. That means finding a house where there was someone and finding a lorry and driver, all that kind of thing. I could do some driving myself but for some reason no matter where I walked there was always something getting in the way. There was even some moment where all of this became extremely violent but I can’t remember very much about all of this particular part of a dream etc. Just walking past these lorries and not being able to go into a house and the feeling of violence that was going on with this as well

Again, I was doing something else for refugees and I was absolutely tired out completely so I went to bed. When I awoke halfway through my sleep I noticed that halfway through the head of the bed were things like bottled from old-age pensioners and messages from old women. I thought that they had donated but they hadn’t donated. Instead, there were all kind sof things like bottles of spirits and (… I fell asleep here …) so when I awoke all those bottles were empty. Obviously someone had left them there to incriminate me or frighten me or something like that but it wasn’t going to work. I was going to carry on.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There were four of us who had been out working for the local council in a lorry. We had been doing all kinds of things, cleaning up places and so on. But tempers between the two drivers were becoming really frayed. One was working inside the cab of the vehicle so the other grabbed a can of spray paint and aimed the spray at him from the other side of the window. The first guy instinctively ducked and banged his head which made the other guy laugh. But now we couldn’t see out of the windscreen. We had to go back to the depot. I’d warned this guy not to use the spray can but he wouldn’t listen so I said that when we arrive at the depot there will be quite a row about this. He said “so you should” because he’d sprayed something like “vegans rule OK” and they’ll all think that it’s me. I was totally disgusted. The fourth guy decided that he was going to go home so we all decided that we would take the lorry back. The fourth guy was only a young apprentice so I told him that I hoped that he wouldn’t really get into any kind of trouble at all over this. I hoped that I wouldn’t either and maybe we would see each other again but this was a terrible note some kind of day’s work, trying to drive home in this lorry when we can’t see out of the windscreen because of the paint etc. I felt dismayed that these 2 guys, after I’d told them about losing their temper between themselves had gone and done this kind of thing that would land us all in all kinds of trouble

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’d had some kind of family meeting. My brother was there and so were some others. I suddenly noticed the time. I only had something like 45 minutes to go home, change and reach the airport before my flight on holiday departed. When the meeting came to an end I had to dash out quite quickly, picked up my suit and thought that I’d find a hedge behind which I could change while I’m on my travels. I picked up my things and overtook them as they were wending their way home. I found what looked like a likely place. Now there was only something like 40 minutes to my flight. Just as I was about to go behind the hedge to change into my suit I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my suitcase. That was at my brother’s shop. Of course he’d now locked up and gone straight home. I would have to go there first but I wouldn’t have time and if he hasn’t gone straight home I’m never have my suitcase. It looked to me rather regrettably that I wasn’t going to be leaving on this holiday to the Far East.

An East German bank had a large sum of gold on hand. A group of people set out from the UK to try to rob it. They had to work out all kinds of things such as guards tea-breaks, changes of shift and everything so that they could pass frontiers without very much inspection etc. When they arrived at the bank they raided the vehicle that was carrying it only to find that it was empty. It turned out that what had happened was that the bank had put it on deposit with a bank back in the UK to use as collateral for some kind of financial deal that was taking place. There they were in the middle of the street with a double-decker bus full of their own men, raided this place. They had some of their own men tied up as decoys etc. Now they were arguing about what they were going to do next. Were they going back to the UK to raid this British bank or would they try to raid somewhere else in East Germany or were they just going to abandon the whole thing and go home?

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So, once more, none of my favourite young ladies came to visit me, although I did have a very strong feeling that TOTGA was around somewhere last night and I was surprised to hear nothing about her on the dictaphone this morning.

The rest of the day has been spent, such as it was during all of the other interruptions, in catching up with the outstanding entries from when I was in Leuven. I’d just done some basic rough notes at the time but now they are complete.

As for the interruptions, we had coffee, and breakfast, and lunch, and taking out a huge pile of rubbish. I’m having a good sort-out here and all kinds of stuff that I’ve been keeping for no good reason have gone the Way of the West.

A few phone calls and booking a few hotels for a little journey I’ll be making were also a few tasks that I also accomplished today.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to have a think about rearranging the kitchen. In the back of Caliburn are the cupboards that I bought ages ago that will replace the stuff that I’m using as an island. But I’m planning on doing something about a wall unit so that I can have a proper oven.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then there was of course the afternoon walk.

And I hardly had time to step out of the front door when I felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

It’s that time of year again. The sun is out and there’s quite a wind so it’s brought out the Birdmen of Alcatraz in numbers. One of them flew past on his Nazgul as I went outside.

He was followed by several of his mates as well. Not quite the Nine Riders but it was pretty much almost. Legolas would have had a few easy targets this afternoon.

people entering water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And once he was out of the way I could wander across to the end of the car park to see what was going on there.

A reasonable amount of beach there this afternoon and there were several people down there on it.

Even this intrepid pair of pedestrians looking as if they are going full-tilt headlong into the water.

As I said just now, it’s a nice sunny day. But it’s not that nice. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the only water that interests me from a bathing point of view is water at 37°C

When we were out in the High Arctic in 2019 Castor asked me if I would like to jump into the sea with her.

“I can’t” I replied. “I have a catheter in my chest”

Someone who had overheard the conversation asked me later “Had you not had the catheter, what would you have done?”

“I’d have thought of another excuse”. Sea water at -0.5°C might be interesting for some but not for me. Not even Castor could drag me in to water at that temperature.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was having a good look around out at sea.

There was probably about a dozen trawlers heading back into port right now. The viewing conditions were absolutely perfect today and I could see for miles out to sea. There have been days just recently when I wouldn’t have seen anything at all quite like this.

The tide isn’t far enough in to open the harbour gates right now but I imagine that it might be by the time that they all arrive in the outer harbour. They won’t have to wait long, I reckon.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen plenty of photos already of the Dassault Falcon 50M that was flying around in large circles out in the bay.

This is the type of jet that started the genocide in Rwanda when the one carrying the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents was shot down at Kigali, but this particular one here is one of the 8 Falcon 50M machines owned by the French Navy and used for maritime surveillance.

So what’s it doing here? It certainly had a great deal of interest in what was happening out at sea and was circling around the bay for quite some time

We’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, this was quite an interesting situation.

There were two trawlers here outside the outer harbour waiting for more tide to come in and they seemed to have stopped to have a chat.

It’s not often that you see them as close as this in the open sea and I was wondering if maybe one of the had wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from the other

However, when you see two lots of extremely strange activity taking place in more-or-less the same place, like the Falcon circling around and these two trawlers, you have to wonder if the two events are somehow connected.

joly france sm735890 lysandre ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’ve seen the larger trawlers loitering around outside the harbour waiting for the tide, but there’s enough water in there already for the smaller ones.

Coming a-chugging into port is Lysandre, the little shell-fishing boat that is registered in St Malo but now just recently seems to have taken up residence here in Granville.

There’s one of the little port runabouts out there too, heading towards the Joly France ferry that’s moored up at the Ferry terminal.

There must be something exciting going on over there too because there’s a small crowd up on the harbour wall having a good look.

le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whatever excitement that might have been going on in the chantier naval is well and truly over now

The unidentified yacht that we’ve been seeing in there for the last few weeks has now disappeared.

We’re now just left with Le Roc A La Mauve III nearest the camera, and then La Granvillaise and Charles-Marie.

Finally Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago. A few days ago I was talking to her skipper. She’s off on a circumnavigation of the UK quite soon but I have desisted.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday I mentioned the freight that was on the quayside.

It’s still there today, and it’s not alone either. Another pile of stuff has come to join it And by the looks of things, there’s a third lot that’s just arrived on the lorry that’s parked behind it.

Back here I finished off my journal entries and then had an hour or so on the guitar. I seem to be much more relaxed than I have been just recently.

Tea was one of those meat turnovers with potatoes and gravy and it was really delicious too

For a change, I ate earlier than usual because I wanted to do my notes and have an early night but as you might expect, Rosemary rang me up for another one of our marathon chats. Consequently it’s much later than I would have liked it to be.

Tomorrow I have a letter to write. I hate writing letters at the best of times and this one has been loitering around for a few months.

Wednesday 16th March 2022 – AFTER THE OTHER NIGHT’s …

… disaster I remembered to take that pill and decided that I would stay awake and work until I felt really tired.

The wisdom of that idea was quite apparent when it was 02:00 and I was still awake and at the computer.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that at 07:30 when the alarm went off I managed to fall out of bed. Definitely a case of “shaken but not stirred”.

And that became apparent when I came back in here after the medication where, settling down in my comfy chair, I went to sleep again. And that’s how I stayed until 09:00

Part of the morning, once I was properly awake, concerned organising the music again. I had to make a new playlist for one of my batches of music for a start, and then there was some sound files that needed chopping up.

There are dozens of those and the first one proved to be far more difficult than anyone might imagine because after the first 5 tracks, the rest of it doesn’t go in accordance with the running order that I have. In the end after much binding in the marsh, I abandoned that and did three different ones.

That leaves me with about 30 to do. A mere bagatelle.

Something else that I’ve been doing is to run through another pile of photos from th High Arctic in August 2019. And if anyone thinks that they are having problems with prices in the shops these days, then HAVE A LOOK AT THESE in Qikiqtarjuaq, an island in the Davis Strait between the far North of Canada and Greenland.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me glad at times that I don’t live in the High Arctic and I feel sorry for those who do. And my hat goes off to the girl whom I met in Edmonton in 2018 and subsequently on several occasions who threw up her life in Montréal to go and live among the Inuit on Baffin Island

We had the usual interruptions for breakfast (and my coffee machine, while not perfect, is a vast improvement on the old one) and for lunch. I even spent some time having a little sort-out in the kitchen.

But don’t worry – it was only a little one. These new pills aren’t working that well.

As well as that, I sent off an order to Amazon. I need a new course book for the next lot of Welsh lessons, and while I was at it, I ordered a new dictaphone identical to the one that broke down a couple of months ago.

It served me well for a considerable number of years and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Using the ZOOM H1 is too inconvenient when it comes to playing back. Of course I copy it onto the computer to listen to it but it needs a lot of enhancement in order to be able to hear it.

There was also a pause for a shower, and then I wandered off out for my rendezvous with the physiotherapist.

lorry with trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen quite often one of the main problems that arises when you live in a walled city – big stuff can’t pass through the gateways and has to trns-ship.

We’ve seen on many occasions this lorry (or one very much like it) and its trailer with the digger on board parked up at the Porte St Jean whenever there’s road work to be carried out within the walls

It has to stop here and the driver has to drive the digger off and through into the town under its own steam to get where it’s going and that’s not the work of five minutes either. But there’s no other solution unfortunately – at least, one that’s practical.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You didn’t notice it in the previous photo because I enhanced it but I’ve not enhanced this one, so you’ll notice the rather strange, eerie yellowy-green light.

There’s a dust storm blowing up from the Sahara and it arrived at my friend’s in Munich yesterday late afternoon. But now it’s arrived here and we’re having it. It’s certainly a strange effect.

However, returning to the subject-matter of the photo, the tide is well out at the moment and there are no fishing boats moored up at the Fish Processing Plant.

And there aren’t any ferries at the ferry terminal either. They must be all at sea this afternoon, just like I seem to be these days. But at least they’ll be back sometime soon, which is more that I will.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down at the loading bay in the port there’s a pile of freight that’s accumulated on the quayside.

That tells us that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming in within the next day or two to whisk it all away.

And no large masts in the harbour either. That tells us that Marité is still in Cherbourg having her annual check-over ready to start work for the summer season.

By now it was starting to rain – enough to dampen my enthusiasm but not enough to dampen the spirits of the boulonauts who carried on playing. It’ll take more than a torrential downpour to stop them from playing.

renewing road surface abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had yet more activity taking place.

That’s the site of the old railway branch (you can still see the rails) that used to go to the cold store where they used to keep the cod that the trawlers brought into port when fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland was still undertaken.

Nowadays it’s a short-cut for pedestrians but at the moment it looks as if they are resurfacing it. I wonder what it will look like when they finish it.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapists was just as good as it was on Monday. And once more she had me on the couch massaging my patella with her electric machine. And then I had some exercises to do.

But the knee doesn’t seem to be strengthening and the left knee now seems to be hurting. I hope that the doctor can see something on the x-rays about which he can do something.

brick capping rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain still pouring down, I walked through the completely deserted town centre and back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

When I reached the place where they had been repairing the wall, I had a look at the brick capping that they put on top a good few months ago.

There is still no pointing in between the bricks and the moisture that will penetrate will destroy the capping if there’s any frost to freeze it.

Mind you, by the look of things, winter is a thing of the past. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we haven’t had a winter this year, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll have another one ever again at the rate that things are going.

le coelacanthe trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now, the tide is much further in.

A big bunch of the smaller boats with shallow draught is down there at the Fish Processing Plant, all unloading their catch with the various vans and lorries of the owners waiting to take away the harvest.

Behind them, a few of the larger ones are waiting for the gates into the inner harbour to open so that they can go in. We can of course recognise Coelacanthe, the green and white trawler with the gold stripe.

There is even a trawler moored up at the ferry terminal out of everyone else’s way as the rush begins.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain that was falling, I was all ready to rush home. But there was one thing that I needed to do first.

But it didn’t really matter because there was no-one down there on the beach. And that’s no surprise because I wouldn’t have been out there in this weather had I not had to.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone.

War had broken out so they were arming the island on which Zero lived with battleships and things like that. My father noticed and made some kind of comment and I replied but I can’t remember what I said but it was basically to do with the fact that we are all in this together. And here’s another voyage in which Zero was involved and I can’t remember how or why. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on, everyone was getting their stuff out ready to welcome the Ukrainian refugees. One lot that was to come hadn’t come so the people who were waiting to show them their way threw all of their paintwork and the Ukrainian flag into the hedge back on someone else’s land. This caused a lot of problems and they had to prepare the stuff again. It turned out then that someone still had the stuff wrong even though the gates were now open. They were going around in yellow and blue even though they had nothign to do with the situation in the Ukraine.

Finally I was with my brother and someone else. I was supposed to be going outside but it was raining. I took some hot water with me anyway and poured it into the bath but I just lay down and curled up under a blanket or quilt any old how. I wasn’t interested at all in anything. The water was going cold and I was asleep under this quilt. The 2 of them walked past so I gave them a wave and curled up back underneath my blanket again. A little later I was climbing up this hill. There were loads of buses and coaches full of all kinds of children heading down the hill. It looked as if it was like a Sunday School outing or something. I got to where I was supposed to be going. I had some clothes baskets with me. I was going to do someone’s washing. I put down the baskets and the dog moved them so I told it to bring the baskets back. To my surprise, it did. That was quite amusing for both me and the woman who owned the dog when she realised exactly what had happened.

There was much more than this too but you really don’t want to know about it

There was no tea tonight as I had the first of my 5 revision lessons. Instead I grabbed an “unlabelled” frozen pie out of the freezer, defrosted it and warmed it up. To my surprise it turned out to be a vegan lentil pie. There are two more slices of that in the freezer so now that I know what they are I’ll have another tomorrow with potatoes, veg and gravy.

The Welsh lesson was something of a disaster. We were 14 students and the aim was to put us in pairs to chat about topics that the tutor gave us, and then to swap around after 20 minutes. And I’m just dismayed about how much I don’t know and how much I’ve forgotten.

Now i’m off to bed. I have two days with no interruptions so I need to get a move on and hope that no-one interrupts me and I can crack on with work. After last night, I need a good sleep.

If you aren’t tired, you can WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS of last night’s football. And there was so much that they have cut out half of them, which is a shame.

Thursday 24th February 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… a few photos of the storm that we had today pushing the waves up and over the sea wall in the harbour, let me tell you of a most astonishing coincidence.

My brother’s birthday is the 3rd of September, and that’s the date that World War II broke out. And it looks very much as if my birthday is the day that World War III broke out.

What fills me full of dismay is just how stupid the human race can be, seeing the damage that several World Wars have caused to the whole of the World, that it departs on another orgy of massacre and destruction.

It makes me wonder why I’m bothering having my hospital treatment. Who would want to live in a World as stupid as this one?

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Last night I was feeling in such a depressing mood that when I finished writing up my notes I started to listen to QUADROPHENIA by The Who.

It’s one of the best albums ever recorded and brings back many happy memories of a drive down to South London one weekend in mid-May 1974 to see The Who in concert at Charlton Athletic’s football ground.

We had my old MkI Cortina, PMB270D, a battery-powered tape player and just one cassette tape – “Quadrophenia” – and when we returned to Chester where I was living at the time the guy whose tape it was gave it to me to keep.

And I still have it too, even though I’ve long-since replaced it with a CD.

It’s an album that brings back many happy memories of that Summer and every time I hear it, it brings back a bad attack of nostalgia.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And hence, having listened to it round and round, it was almost 02:00 when I fell into bed to go to sleep.

Once I dozed off I went off on a series of probably the most extraordinary journeys that I have had for quite some considerable time.

The start was a long, rambling dream that I had but I can only remember when we were on board ship. I was making breakfast for these two girls – it was muesli and two teacakes. For some unknown reason the teacakes just wouldn’t toast. They were taking all day. In between I was doing a couple of other things. For some reason, one of those things took far longer than it ought to be done. I suddenly remembered the teacakes just as someone else said something about them so I dashed back to the galley and they were there under the grill but they were on fire. Everyone was really surprised and concerned by this but bread catching fire under a grill when you are toasting it is no big deal. J simply pulled them out with a pair of scissors and put some new ones under. But for some unknown reason this seemed to develop into some kind of major situation and there was no need for it at all

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022But there was someone else. I can’t remember now where I was but I was with someone else. There were lots of pets around. For some unknown reason they had a lion as a pet. It was in a room with me and someone else . It was being rather playful, trying to nip me. Then I could see that it was starting to lose its playfulness and the nips started to become more serious. I kept on pushing the animal away but it kept on coming back. In the end I had to insist to someone that they came along and removed it because I could see that this was going to end in tears if we weren’t careful.

And then we had something involving trams. There was some question that I was coming home from work, something like that, and I’d met these 3 girls. 2 of them I knew and the other one I didn’t. I found the 3rd one quite attractive so I wanted to get to know her better. As it happened they reached the tram stop at more-or-less the same time that I was walking back from work so we started to chat as a group of 4, these 3 girls and me. I suppose that it must have become pretty obvious to the other 2 exactly what I was up to. The thing that surprised me most though was that I was coming back from work and I’d been working on cars. I was in oily clothes and had oily hands. I was hardly the kind of boy that would be respectable but it didn’t bother these 3 girls at all. On one occasion I reached the tram stop just as they were alighting but the girl whom I liked and one of the others alighted so I waved “hello” but they disappeared off. I wondered what on earth was happening here. The 2nd girl came over and said “don’t worry about those 2. They’ve just nipped back to (I think her name was Jane, this 3rd girl) they’ve just nipped back to Jane’s house so that she can fetch her cloak and they’ll be back. Something came up about the address. It was “Toxteth Road” and I was trying to think why I knew about Toxteth Road and why it seemed to be so significant about this particular moment.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022I’m trying to think where I reached with this because it might be that I stepped back into the same dream or else I’ve remembered something different. There was one occasion when I was on my way back home. I was coming in a different way past this tram stop so I went to sit somewhere below it where I could see them alight. I couldn’t find a good spec to sit where I could survey the tram stop. I ended up in the square sitting on a plastic chair where I could see the tram stop about 22 metres away. At that moment someone else whom I vaguely knew turned up. We started chatting and I basically explained that I was waiting here for someone and we carried on talking for a while. Suddenly I realised that the girls hadn’t turned up. I happened to mention it to him and he said “to be honest, they know other people and there’s someone who hangs around that girl who is 55 and they go round there some times. You’ll probably find it extremely difficult to move him out of this girl’s orbit”. I burst out laughing and said “I can’t even get a girl in a bloody dream, can I?”. His ears pricked up and asked “what’s all this about dreams?”. I explained that this was a dream, that I was very interested in dreams and I’d been keeping records of my dreams since that University course 25 years ago when I volunteered to be a guinea pig for the experiment. He was most interested and we had quite a chat about that. But imagine being in a dream and knowing that it’s a dream and talking to someone about it being a dream when one is actually in a dream oneself and being able to recall so much factual information out of one’s subconscious when one is in a subconscious state.

Unbelievably, I stepped back into this dream yet again later on, and how many times have I ever done this before – the same circumstances and characters three times?. Not very many at all, if any. This time we were all in a house, this girl included. She was sorting through some things and on her rubber dinghy she had some paddles. She needed some stuff to clean them. She’d seen across the road in the distance a marine supplier’s so I suggested that we went. We collected our things together but as it was rather cold I went to find my leather jacket. I couldn’t find it, and the cats weren’t sleeping on it so “never mind, I’ll go without”. The 2 of us set off outside and I took hold of her hand and she took hold of mine. We skipped off down the street and across the main road to the other side. She was saying something about if her friends saw her like this with me, what would they think?. I burst out laughing and said “oh just tell them that I’m a dirty old man but I have plenty of money”. She said “dirty? You do wash, do you?” and I replied “ohh yes, on special occasions” and we skipped across the road and skipped up the steps and we saw the sign that said “marine market” and skipped off that way.

And do you know what? That was the happiest that I have ever been for an extremely considerable period of time, probably about for ever in fact, and it was a shame that it actually happened in a dream and not in real life. I should be so lucky. There’s definitely something missing in my life, something that I will never ever recapture – except maybe once a couple of years ago, but the World is not ready to hear that story quite yet.

Finally, I was with Laurence and Roxanne. We were in some country like the Soviet Union, somewhere like that, and we had to go north to a town called Brest (not, presumably the Brest-Litovsk that’s on the border with Poland). We ended up at a railway station quite late at night. There was a large queue so Laurence told Roxanne to stand in the queue until it reached the front. When it did, she went to take over and came back with a pile of tickets. She siad that there was a return ticket for Roxanne but we only have two single tickets. We ended up in a hotel somewhere, a cheap hotel that wasn’t too bad. The next morning we had to pack but there was tons of stuff to pack so it was good that we had some expanding rucksacks but even so there was still quite a struggle. I couldn’t find Laurence. I heard some noise outside the room so I went and found her scrubbing the floor of the corridor. I asked why and she said “you have to make the place tidy when you go”. I replied “yes, tidy is one thing but it looks as if you are working here”. We were arranging all our things. I remembered that when we had set out on this journey there had been quite a few of us and I was ready to go but everyone else wasn’t. It took until really late at night for them to prepare themselves to leave and half of them weren’t ready even then and had to go next morning to buy some stuff while we were away. All in all it was a thing of total chaos, this particular trip. If we had all been properly organised when we set out, none of this would have happened.

When Rosemary had telephoned me yesterday, she said that she would phone me today to wish me a happy birthday. “Not too early” I said and so, sure enough, at 09:15 she phoned me up.

Anyone who rings me up at that time of morning when I’m having a lie-in will hear nothing but a series of grunts and so I’m afraid that the conversation didn’t last very long.

However there was no possibility of my going back to sleep after that no matter how hard I tried. And I did try too – all the way up to 10:50 when I finally abandoned the idea and crawled out of bed.

After the medication the rest of the morning (and a little of the afternoon too) was spent transcribing the dictaphone notes. I’m not sure that there has ever been a night when I’ve travelled so far and with so much emotion.

No breakfast this morning so I had a brunch this afternoon, porridge and toast with plenty of coffee. And then much of the rest of the afternoon was spent acknowledging messages and speaking to Ingrid on the phone who rang me back to send me some birthday greetings

storm beach rue du nord baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then I went off for my afternoon walk.

Yesterday I made the point that the gale-force wind that we have been having for the last while seemed to have died down. And how I wish that I’d kept my moth closed as the wind was back today, and with a vengeance as well.

You can tell that just by looking at the sea out here in the Baie de Granville. We didn’t even see waves like that at the height of Storm Useless. It was no surprise that there was no-one down there this afternoon, despite the sun.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, having a look around out at sea, I was surprised to see that there was a trawler out there just off the Ile de Chausey.

When Storm Useless was blowing, all of the fishing boats remained in harbour, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today the winds were stronger and the waves were rougher than they were back then but nevertheless here we are.

We’ve seen a trawler out there for the last few days and although I couldn’t identify it, this one is certainly a different one than whoever was out there before.

And to take this photo, I had to find a suitable wall on which to prop the NIKON D500 because the wind was wobbling it around in my hands.

waves rocks marker light pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday, I posted a photo of the marker light on the rock just offshore here.

Today, I’m rather earlier than I was yesterday and so you can see the difference in the height of the water even over such a short space of time. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe.

There wasn’t anyone else out there this afternoon and that’s no surprise because the wind was wicked out here. At one point I was having to walk crab-like along the path in order to advance, and when the wind suddenly dropped for a moment I almost ended up over the cliff.

storm le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I reached the lighthouse I had a look over the car park to see what was happening in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Sometimes the bay over there is in the wind shadow where the waves are quite calm, but not today. Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour is being battered by the wind and waves this afternoon.

Round the corner actually in the bay the situation was even worse as you have already seen, with the waves slamming into the sea wall. I wasn’t going to hang around spending too long watching and so I headed home in the wind.

Back here, no coffee. I’ve already had too much of that today. But my coffee cake really was delicious. I can’t believe that I’ve actually made a cake that has come out as well as this – a vegan cake with no eggs in it either.

Tea tonight was a slice of pie with potatoes, vegetables and gravy. And that was really delicious. I cut it into 8 slices and the other 7 are in the freezer – for once there was actually some room in there. The filling wasn’t up to much because it was a rather ad-hoc mixture but I’ll do better than this when I prepare one properly instead of dragging something unknown out of the freezer.

So that’s that. I’m going to bed very soon ready to restart tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow. We are living in very worrying times, for all kinds of reasons. But another journey tonight like that one last night and I’ll feel so much better. I wish I knew who she was.

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – NOW THAT THE WIND …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After lunch, I sprang into action.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 22nd September 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I’ve actually had a good day today. Not that I’ve done very much in the way of work, but I didn’t crash out. And any day when I don’t crash out is a good day today.

Not that going to bed early helped much, because, as you might expect, I was awake again at 05:20. It’s rather pointless, isn’t it?

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It started off with something somewhere about me having a twin VHS recorder and I was trying to copy films from one tape to another, but it was so long since I’d done it that I couldn’t remember and I wasn’t doing very well at this. I’d tried 1 or 2 but it didn’t seem to work so I was having to go away and sit and think about how I used to do it and try to do it again. I can’t remember much more than that.

Later on I was in Brussels and suddenly had a whim to go down to the Auvergne so I climbed into Caliburn and set off. It was rush hour of course so fighting my way around the ring road was something of a nightmare with all kinds of people doing all kinds of crazy things. Eventually I arrived. I don’t remember the journey and I don’t remember arriving but the next thing that I remember was that I was sitting in what I suppose was my living room on some comfy seat on castors that you could move around with your feet. There was a big roaring fire and Rosemary was there who had presumably lit the fire for me. Later on – because I dictated the first part and then afterwards stepped right back into the place where I left off, AGAIN! – there were 2 girls there and I had to show them how to use the bathroom and everything. I looked outside and it was snowing so I went to send a text to say that it was snowing but then I thought to myself that this can’t be real – in a dream as well! – because it was August. It was getting light so Rosemary who had now transformed herself into that woman whom I knew in Stockport wondered if she should make us all a cup of tea. I thought that that was a great idea. As it became light there was a couple of dogs flying around into the area and they met up with each other and started to fight.

This was actually one of the most realistic voyages that I have had and when I awoke I was all for immediately leaping into Caliburn and leaving Brussels for the south.

This morning I had a little relax and took care of a few personal things that needed attention, and then just as I was about to start work, Rosemary rang – by pure coincidence – and we had another one of our marathon chats that went on for ever – well, until lunch time actually.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off and then headed off to the physiotherapist

chausiaise buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we discussed the two cranes on the quayside and how one of them seems to have developed some nomadic tendencies of late.

It’s been off on its travels too since we last saw it. It’s now found a place on the quayside in between Chausiaise, the Ile de Chausey ferry, and Buddy M, the trawler that came over from Ireland the other day for a reason that I have yet to discover.

There’s plenty of traffic on the quayside too and I wonder why that is. Usually there’s no big issue about parking in the public car parks once the tourists have gone home and I’ve no heard of any big event going on in the town today.

trimming vegetation Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way downhill in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne on my way towards the Rue des Juifs, I noticed that at last they have started to trim the vegetation.

Usually, I’m all in favour of letting the vegetation grow as much as it likes without doing too much trimming but regular readers of this rubbish will have noticed from some of the blurrings on some of the photos, that the vegetation has grown so high that it’s been getting in the way of my photos and I’m not tall enough to photograph over it.

So I’m hoping that clearing the vegetation will improve my view and improve the quality of my photos. and they need all of the improvement in quality that they can get.

“And who are the 2E et 202E de Ligne?” I hear you ask. The answer is that the Second and Two Hundred and Second Regiments of the Line were the regiments that were stationed in the barracks here where I now live.

From the town centre I pushed on up the hill towards the physiotherapist, stopping more times than I would like or care to admit, in order to catch my breath.

building due for demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I came up to near the top, I stopped to have a look at what was happening to this building.

It used to be a hairdresser’s with apartments over the top but one day about a year or so ago an announcement went up in the window Fermé à cause de péril imminent – “closed on account of an immediate danger”.

A short while later I managed to wangle a view of the Order from the Préfet. The building was said to be in a dangerous, insalubrious condition with a list of faults in the apartments as long as your arm. In view of that, it was no surprise that they obtained an Order for eviction and closing of the premises.

notice of impending demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The building went up for sale a while back, but today I observed that there was a sign affixed to the window.

It seems that the building has now been sold and the new owners obtained planning permission 2 weeks ago to demolish the existing building and replace it with a building of 8 apartments with commercial premises on the ground floor.

This will be another worksite that we shall follow and see how things develop, or, in this case, how they redevelop.

At the physiotherapist he put me through my paces and I actually went for 2:08 in the cross trainer thing before I had to stop for breath. That’s about 20 seconds more than my previous best.

But the sad thing is that the cross trainer is not the street on which you walk. That’s an entirely different proposition.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy an energy drink to propel me up the hill on the way back. It was quite warm and sweaty and the drink was cold so that was even better.

cherry picker crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I stopped on several occasions to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing a cherry picker down there next to the crane that’s up at that end. It’s still there today, although it’s no clear what has been going on or what it has been doing.

The dark blue container by the crane is one that belongs on Mormandy Trader, by the way. She carries a few of them when she roams about, but on her last trip here (which was early Monday morning, by the way), she must have been fully loaded with other stuff.

windsurfers kayakers chateau de la crête baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up, I had another stop for breath and a sit-down to attack my drink and cool off.

Over in the distance I could see that the sailing school was in action again this afternoon but to my surprise, they aren’t yachts out there but windsurfers.

They must do a little of everything there, because there are a couple of kayakers too whom I could see.

Incidentally, they are in the artificial lagoon there. There’s a wall that traps some of the sea when the tide goes out so that the people on the beach don’t have to walk miles to the water when the tide is out.

setting up marquee rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that on Saturday I talked about the chicane in the Rue du Port.

As I walked back up the hill towards home I noticed that they now seem to be erecting a marquee down there now, and part of the car park at the Fish Processing Plant is cordoned off too.

So it looks as if maybe this weekend there is going to be an event taking place in the town, so I’ll have to prime myself for another walk.

It must be something to do with the Fish Processing Plant, I reckon, because there must be 100 places where they could set up a large marquee without having to interrupt all of the traffic in the Rue du Port.

The walk back up the final 100 metres of the hill wasn’t as bad as I was fearing although it would have been even better had I not been almost squidged by a car full of Bretons coming the wrong way down a one-way street.

peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went back to my apartment I went to see how they were getting on with the peche à pied seeing as by now the tide was miles out

Sure enough, there were quite a few people scavenging around on the rocks down there this afternoon taking advantage of the very low tide and hoping to see what they can find.

One or two people too down at the water’s edge, although I couldn’t tell if they were scavenging for shellfish or paddling in the water. The afternoon was quite nice right now, but it wasn’t that nice. Not for me, anyway.

beach plat gousset Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Of course it goes without saying that I went to have a look down on the beach.

Plenty of beach to be on, but surprisingly apart from the scavengers doing the pêche à pied, there weren’t too many other people there. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are closed so I would have thought that there would have been many more people down there making the most of our Indian Summer.

And I was correct about the disappearance of the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset. They were taken away yesterday morning, apparently. That probably means that the diving platform out at the Plat Gousset has gone too.

Back here in the apartment I hung out the washing and then made the dough for my next batch of fruit bread because I had the last slice this morning. And almost immediately that I finished, a neighbour came to see me and I had to go to talk to him for about 45 minutes.

After I came back there was just enough time to update a couple of earlier journal entries with the missing dream details before it was time to bake the bread.

While it was at it I stuck some potatoes and the last slice of pie in there, and then blanched the leeks that I’d bought on Monday ready for freezing.

Tea was pie with potatoes, veg, (leeks of course included) and gravy. It was very nice too.

And now that my delicious meal is over and my notes are written, it’s time for bed. Later than I was hoping. I have a whole day at home tomorrow so I’m expecting something to pop up at the last minute to disturb me.

Tuesday 14th September 2021 – WELL, AT LEAST …

chest x-rays place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… I do actually have a set of lungs

There are certainly two of them inside my ribcage and while I don’t really know anything about what I’m looking at, they both look pretty much the same to me.

And one thing that I like about the French – indeed the European – medical servce is that not only was there just a couple of days between my ‘phone call and my appointment and not a couple of months as in the UK, my appointment was at 10:00 and at 09:51 I had been x-rayed and was waiting for the images.

And they said “wait 30 minutes and then pick up your photos”, but the actual wait was more like just over 20 minutes. Efficient is not the word.

Last night was another bad night that I spent tossing and turning under the covers drifting in and out of sleep. And it really was a struggle to haul myself out of bed when the alarm went off.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There were three presidents or secretaries or whatever of the Rolling Stones Fan Club who had arrived by canal or on bikes on their way into town so I had to go out there to the canal. I was one of the first away and when I arrived I found that George was there. He’d been there for hours watching them because they had been waiting for so long. He thought that there were 4 or them but I definitely only counted three. Then some more of our party turned up so I went into the back of my van to get out the stuff that we needed for this operation.

Later on during the night I’d gone on a holiday somewhere skiing. There were all kinds of organised excursions as well. There was one where they were allocating people to different things. Someone asked me what I was doing on one particular afternoon right before we went home. I said that I didn’t know so they replied that the notice board was “over there”. I had a look and it seemed that I’d been put down for an early start to go on a coach tour. I thought “I may as well go”. Only about half the people who had been put down turned up and no-one was particularly interesting but we had a chat all the same. The concern was with drivers’ hours. Was the driver taking us on this sight-seeing trip going to be the same one who was going to be taking us home in the evening because how would he fit his drivers hours in? We ended up in Coventry at the museum. The bus driver had parked the exit door right over a puddle. everyone was getting out of this coach and wading through this puddle but I slid down the wing because it was an old half-cab bus and reached the ground that way and went off to have a look at a few of the exhibits which showed Coventry basically before it was bombed, and Coventry afterwards. I mentioned to Nerina, who had turned up by this time that I’d written about Coventry for my University thesis (and I DID TOO as it happens). She replied “yes, she knew” but she didn’t seem to be all that interested so I didn’t say any more.

Having written out my notes, I headed off for my x-rays at the Laboratory On The Edge of Town. And that didn’t take as long as I was fearing, and I was back well in time for my Welsh lesson.

teacher taking photo of schoolchildren place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the regular features of these pages is “taking photos of people taking photos of people”.

As I pulled into the car park outside here I nearly squidged a crocodile of schoolkids on a walk around the area. They weren’t in any particular hurry to get out of my way.

They all assembled on the clifftop over by the wall that overlooks the beach, and a teacher went to take a photo of them all. Luckily I had the NIKON D3000 to hand and was able to take a quick snap of them all before they all moved on.

The Welsh lesson wasn’t as easy as it might have been, and for two reasons too –

  1. I was struggling to keep awake for some of it
  2. Now that on-line working has come to an end, Zoom has stopped its free offer for schools and colleges, so every 40 minutes we had to log out and back in again.

As for the lesson itself, it passed quite well and I seem to have grasped the hang of what we were studying.

After lunch I had another go at these old duplicates and, to my surprise I found another several thousand that I hadn’t thought too much about. But eliminating the duplicates went ahead quite happily and another 6.2GB of photos bit the dust.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I went out for my afternoon walk, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

The tide was quite well in so there wasn’t a great deal of beach to be on. Not that it made a great deal of difference because the weather wasn’t as good as it might have been – cloudy and overcast – and not the right kind of day for sunbathing.

Nevertheless, there were still a couple of people who had taken to the water this afternoon and looked as if they were enjoying it. So hats off to them.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With the cloud cover that we were having today, it kept the haze down so the view out to sea was quite good.

Not as good as it was the other day but still better than some days that we’ve had. While I was looking out to sea towards Jersey I could see a small yacht about halfway out in the bay.

The island of Jersey was visible in the background but we couldn’t actually see or distinguish anything out there this afternoon.

And so instead, with nothing else going on out there at sea, I set off for my walk along the headland out towards the lighthouse.

boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I reached the lawn, I could see out across to the other side of the headland and into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Out there in the bay this afternoon was a small motor boat. I couldn’t see what the crew were doing, but I shouldn’t be surprised if they were out there fishing.

My attention was also drawn to the background of the photo. We’ve seen quite a few interesting things on the skyline at the back of Jullouville and today we can see on the right some kind of chimney and on the left there’s some kind of what looks like a stone tower.

One of these days i’ll have to go for a drive around there for a closer look around.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But right now I was more intent on pushing off across the car park over to the headland to see what was going on out at sea.

And, just like yesterday, and one or two other days just recently, I wasn’t the only one interested in what was going on. Today, we had a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban looking out to sea.

Not to any good purpose of course, because out in the bay all the way across the bay to Cancale there wasn’t anything going on at all. Not even a boat of any description.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the far side of the headland towards the port.

When I’d gone past the sailing school this morning on the way to the laboratory they were busy dragging out a few of the yachts ready to start the lessons.

And this afternoon, as I walked along the clifftop I could see some of the yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay having a lap around before the tide went out.

In the background, there were people out there on the Plage d’Hacqueville having a good walk around. i’ve not yet set my foot on that beach so that’s another job for one of these days.

saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path took me along to the viewpoint that overlooks the chantier naval where I can see what was going on down there.

The work on the little trawler Saint Andrews is progressing. Some of the hull and superstructure has been masked off and they are quite busy giving her a second coat of paint.

She looks something of a mess right now but I bet that she will look really nice when she’s finished.

There wasn’t any change of occupancy in there again today so I carried on down the path

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I took a couple of photos of the ferry terminal, where we saw the two Joly France boats.

At the time, I mused about the whereabouts of the brand-new ferry Belle France. I didn’t know then where she was but I can tell you where she is today. She’s actually tied up at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

In front of her, out of shot, is the newer one of the two Joly France ferries. The older one of the two is nowhere about so she’s probably out at the Ile de Chausey witnessing the next instalment of dodgems round by the landing stage.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I watched, the reversing siren on Belle France sounded and she reversed out of her berth.

From my viewpoint I saw her reverse out into the channel and she looked as if she was about to head off to the Ile de Chausey, even though there were no passengers on board.

However, having reversed out and turned 180°, she then reversed back into her berth and tied up again. I’ve no idea why she wanted to do that.

From the viewpoint I headed off back to the apartment and my banana smoothie and where I unfortunately crashed out for an hour or so.

This evening I’ve packed my suitcase ready for tomorrow and then made tea – a slice of pie with potatoes and vegetables. And it tasted delicious.

Right now though, I’m off to bed. I need to be on form tomorrow for my trip to Leuven. I’m not looking forward to this.

Friday 6th August 2021 – JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT …

yacht rebelle trawler monaco du nord 2 trawler charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that is was safe to go back into the chantier naval, look who’s returned.

And judging by the pile of water underneath her, she’s not long returned either.

Sure enough, the yacht Rebelle whom we witnessed going back into the water yesterday afternoon as now turned up back on her blocks in the chantier naval. Putting her into the water yesterday in the middle of that tempest found out a few things about her.

The next question is “how long is she going to be staying here this time?”.

A few other items of note as well, while we are here at the viewpoint overlooking the port *

  1. we now know the name of the blue trawler that has been there a while because they have finally got round to painting it on her superstructure. She’s called Monaco du Nord II, “Monaco du Nord” being the nickname give by the people of Granville to their town
  2. where the smaller fishing boat was that went back into the water yesterday, we now have another small trawler up on the blocks in her place.

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

Certainly not for me, anyway. It was at 00:20 this morning when the revellers awoke my by carousing underneath my window on the way home from wherever it was that they had been. I could have done without that, thank you very much.

Especially as it was difficult for me to drop off to sleep again afterwards. I had a very fitful, disturbed sleep.

After breakfast, I had a little listen to the dictaphone and sure enough, I’d been on my travels during the night. Someone was pushing a photo or drawing around and wondering what it was. I had a very good idea what it was but I wasn’t going to tell them and I’m not going to tell you either – you’re probably eating your tea of something. An “exploded diagram” could not have been a better description.

Later on I was out climbing with an explorer friend of mine in a limestone cliff kind of thing. We were following a map and we didn’t really have a great idea of where we were going but we were working it out. There was like a canyon through these limestone rocks and that was where we were heading. We climbed up about 3/4 of the way and stopped to get our bearings and have a chat. I thought that I could see the cleft so I pointed it out to him and he thought so too so I set off to climb in the front. But it seemed that the whole cliff had fallen over and was hard up against the wall of his attic so when we reached the top of course the cleft was on the side that we couldn’t reach which was up against his attic wall. That was a disappointment. I asked him how long he had been living in this house and he replied “6 years”. He asked me if I knew Ottawa and Gatineau. I replied “not really, no”. He asked how well I knew Canada. I replied that I knew the east pretty well but once I started going west of Montreal it all became a question of reliability of any vehicles that I owned. We had quite a laugh about that. I was going to ask him if he had lined out the attic himself with plasterboard but I didn’t have the time.

There were a few tasks that needed my attention this morning and I settled down to do them but feeling my eyelids become heavier and heavier in the end I succumbed – on the grounds that I wasn’t going to be doing anything at this rate if I didn’t bring matters to a head.

For about 50 minutes I’d been crashed out on the chair and during that time I’d travelled a surprising difference. I had a Moskvitch car, a dark green 412, given to me to take me to the airport or somewhere like that. I’d left it parked up at the side of my lock-up garage but decided that I’d go back and re-park it a little better. When I got there I found that someone had done something to the front left-hand wing, putting a cut in it as if they had pushed in a pile of rust or as if they had used a metal-cutter or something. It made quite a mess of this wing and it looked pretty dangerous. But at another point as well i was driving somewhere. It must have been in North America but I was driving on the left, a big, long main road and there was a vehicle in front of me. I couldn’t see very well what was going on coming towards me because it was that dusk time of day. Suddenly I noticed a huge collection of headlights that indicated that a load of vehicles were coming. As I couldn’t see anything silhouetted in the headlights I worked out that it was clear in front so I put my foot down to overtake. But these vehicles coming towards me were approaching a lot more rapidly than I thought so I had to put the brakes on and slow right down again. There was some debate going on too about the vehicles that my father had driven at his last place of employment. At first I was remembering that they were AEC Mercurys but of course they were all Fodens and ERFs so must have been Mercurys where he was working prior to that.

The morning was spent tidying up the music. That’s pretty important because of the radio programmes and I can’t just do things any old how. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either, having forgotten to take screenshots of the music directories before I took out the old hard drive.

Eventually I managed it, and it would have been much easier and quicker had I first, rather than last, remembered that I had a full_size SATA hard-drive caddy. It took quite a while to set that up, mainly due to dirt and some such on the contacts but at least I could check what I’d done.

By the way this SATA caddy takes, in theory, 4x6TB hard drives and now that I know that it works with at least one (and maybe more if the computer has a multiple port SATA driver) hard drive, I shall be experimenting

Anyway, all of that was after lunch. I had to have my break for my butties and my fruit, and the coffee for afters.

Having finished playing with the computer I went outside for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo off across the car park I trotted, over to the wall to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

And the tide is encroaching further and further and there is less and less space on which people can congregate. So there weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon.

And if you want a clue as to what the weather is doing, just have a look at the clothing. Not quite winter woollies but pretty damn near, I can tell you. And that will explain why there doesn’t seem to be anyone swimming in the water today as well.

yachts ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallas usual, while i had one eye roving the beach this afternoon, the other eye was roving out to sea.

And today, you could actually see things out there, which was surprising after yesterday. I thought that that weather was going to be here for good. At least the two yachts out there were making the most of the weather right now.

The sea was a lot calmer despite the wind, and the Ile de Chausey was quite clearly visible. It was even possible to see Jersey out there today. It was rather a shame about yesterday’s weather.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the last couple of days there have been quite a few moments of excitement when ships and boats of all descriptions have come around the headland.

Not today though. It was quite disappointing. Just this small yacht and nothing else. I can’t think where everyone else has gone.

But I know where I’m going. I’m going across the car park and round the headland to the other side to see what excitement awaits me around there. We can’t have a nice day like this (figuratively speaking) and nothign happening at all.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut right at this moment, I was overflown yet again by an aeroplane that has taken off from the airfield.

The outline or silhouette of this one is quite distinctive with her long nose and tricycle undercarriage. She can only be F-GVJC, the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we have seen on a couple of occasions just recently.

And she did indeed take off at 15:47, which fits in with my photograph, and was still airborne when I checked two hours later, drifting up and down the coast between Avranches and Lingreville for no good purpose as far as I could tell.

joly france carolles plage baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA few minutes ago I was wondering where everyone had gone to. And now I know the answer for at least one of our seaborne craft.

Right out down the bay near the Pointe de Carolles was a dark outline leaving a wake behind it. Too far in to the coast to be a fishing vessel so I took a photo to enlarge and enhance back at the apartment.

And while it’s not clear from the image exactly who she is, her colour scheme and general size tells me that she’s one of the Joly France boats taking punters for a lap around the bay for a few bob a head while there’s time before nipping over to the Ile de Chausey.

Anything to keep busy, I suppose. They had a rotten season last year.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome other people keeping quite busy this afternoon are the various sailing schools. They are out in force after the whitewash yesterday afternoon.

And rather strangely, this bunch is quite strung out with several stragglers. usually they keep together in some kind of tight formation. Unless they happen this afternoon to be doing some kind of nautical danse macabre.

All the others were bunched up out of shot down by the shore to the left, not doing very much that was exciting. And they still had a couple of hours to go before they needed to be back home again.

storm waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday of course we had the big storm as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and as I do too. My clothes were still wet this morning.

But while the storm has abated somewhat, it’s still piling on somewhere out at sea as you can tell by the force with which the water is hitting the sea wall.

And it beats me why so many people are opposed to harvesting the energy inherent in the sea when you ssee the waves coming in like that. The power in that lot down there could keep the area running for a while.

The answer to the conundrum about how to cope with the world’s energy demands is not to consume as much energy, but that’s far too simple a solution.

Stopping to admire the chantier naval, which you saw earlier, I came back home and carried on with the photos from Greenland 2019. That’s another pile of those moved on although I’m a very long way from finishing them. They’ll just be added to the piles of other arrears, I suppose.

There was guitar practice of course, followed by tea. Pie from the freezer with veg followed by the last of the coconut whatsit with pears. And I used the wrong bowls with those because that’s two now that cracked under the heat.

An early night now and I’m ready for this. Shopping tomorrow of course and so a clean-up at long last. I might even push the boat out and change the bedding if I’m not careful. This lot will probably walk into the washing machine on its own.

Monday 5th July 2021 – WELL I’LL BE …

… and I will be too.

It’s another one of these “if you don’t try it, it won’t work so try it and see what happens – you have nothing to lose” moments.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but many others will not, that I don’t have health insurance from the French Government. When I took early retirement from my job in Belgium I kept my private health insurance and as it’s more comprehensive than offered by the French Government (because it’s Belgian) ther’s no need for any other cover.

To prove that you have French health insurance, a person has a Carte Vitale – a green and yellow chipped photo ID card. For the people of pension age, it confers other benefits too but I’ve never been too bothered by any of those.

However the Government’s Covid passport scheme, and hence the European passport scheme, depends on having a Carte Vitale and so back at the beginning of the year, more in hope than expectation, I applied for one.

For months I didn’t hear a thing but about 6 weeks ago I had a message asking me to send off a photo and a copy of some photo ID which I did. And in the post this morning, sure enough, came a Carte Vitale. So now all that I have to do is to work out what I can do with it.

Another thing that has taken up most of the latter part of the afternoon was to answer a phone call about a subject that has been simmering away in the background for 6 months or so. There’s a possibility of going North again, and a lot farther north (depending of course on the ice conditions) than we did IN SEPTEMBER 2018.

One of the things on which it depends (and there are several) is how far the news of certain events of two years ago, and about which I haven’t yet written but will write one of these days when I can think of a way to express them, have spread.

And also, how far the Covid epidemic has spread too. This particular journey starts and finishes within Canada and so will not be affected by the closure of Canada’s borders but if I can’t get into Canada to reach the starting point, then I shall … errr … be in difficulties.

But as it isn’t going to happen for at least a year and maybe even longer than that, then the future remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, returning to our moutons, as they say around here, despite another crazy, late night, I was up at 06:00 as the alarm went off.

After the medication, I sat down to deal with the next radio programme in the cycle. And today it took me rather longer than usual and it wasn’t until midday that I had finished.

There was a reason for this, and not just a halt for coffee and breakfast either. But when I’d listened to the programme that I was to send off today, I found a glaring mistake in it. So as well as the programme that I was doing, I had to write out some more text for the other one to rectify the mistake, record that too, and then do some rather hasty doctoring in order to make that one work as well.

There was the dictaphone too, to find out where I’d been during the night. We were back with the old Cortinas last night scattered all over the place and I was doing some work, The paraffin heater was becoming rather low on fuel and I was wondering whether to go and fill it up. But my friend and his wife, I noticed hat they were preparing to go out in the evening and when I looked, they were wearing masks and I thought “they are off to do another bank robbery”. I decided that I would go and fill up the oil heater which meant that I had to go across the car park. There on the car park were crowds of people milling around using the paraffin machines. I thought “I hope that there’s no-one using mine”. Eventually I had to fight my way into the end of the queue. Mine was OK which I thought was lucky but there were loads of people hanging around it, especially kids and I had difficulty trying to put my container over the nozzle of the filler. I said a few times to a kid “be careful, don’t step back” but like kids they would step back anyway and got oil all over themselves. There were a few moanings and rumblings, that kind of thing. Eventually a guy said that he would do it for me. He did it but kept finding an obstruction so he went to siphon it and ended up with a mouth full of dirty engine oil. At this point I thought that I’d give up and go and buy some fuel from the petrol station but then I wasn’t sure what fuel I was using in my oil heater. I thought that if it’s not paraffin and I go and buy some fresh paraffin and put it in, then of course it’s going to start to pop because the regulator is only going to be set for whatever fuel I have in it, not paraffin. Having worked in the motor trade as often as I did with insurance companies I cantell you what happens when an oil stove pops and there’s a jet of flame that shoots out from it and sO many fires starting. This isn4t really the best way forward to go at all.
So after this car had done its aerobatics and gone out of the way (and what was that part about?) I could prepare to fuel up but I was offered a posting to the Caernarfonshire Fuel Authorities for my time getting the most out of this fuel station was over because it was the old Alan Pond garage in Crewe and it was time that I looked for somewhere a bit nearer wherever it was that I might be living

The rest of the day has been spent working on the photos from August 2019 and now we are heading up to the end of the Nassuttooq, or Nagssugtoq, or Nordre Stromfjord in Greenland preparing to go ashore for a walk around amongst the artefacts.

Talking of going for a walk, it was time soon enough for me to go for my walk around the headland.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call was to go to check on what is going on down on the beach this afternoon and so I walked off across the car park for a look over the wall down to the beach.

This afternoon, there was no-one down on the beach. And that’s no surprise, and there were two reasons for that. Firstly, with the tide being well in, there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon. and the second reason was that it was raining yet again – no surprise here – and not only was there no-one on the beach, there was no-one about on the path up above either.

But one thing that did catch my eye in this photo was in the upper right-hand corner where the other day that had set up some scaffolding underneath the city walls. There seems now to be some kind of covering over the scaffolding now, so I’ll have to go along to check on that later this week.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking with one eye at events going on (or not going on as the case may be) down on the beach the other eye was roving around out to sea to see what was going on in that direction.

The weather was pretty rough this afternoon and so was the sea, and it was quite a struggle for the fishing boats making their way back into the harbour before the tide turns. This one here was battling its way through the waves on its way back to the Fish Processing Plant.

My journey along the path was something of a struggle too in the miserable weather. I really can’t believe that it’s July when we are having weather like this.

fishing boat yacht brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view out to sea might have been pretty depressing and miserable but along the Brittany coast it was actually quite clear.

Off the coat near St Malo one of the beaches was quite clearly visible, as were two very small yachts just offshore and another larger yacht that was sailing by offshore out there. There was a fishing boat out there too having a go at harvesting the sea at the entrance to the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Nothing else was going on out there so I carried on down the path and across the car park down to the end of the headland to see what was happening down there.

man fishing off rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sea was actually quite rough out there this afternoon with spray flying around just about everywhere where the waves were breaking on the rocks.

It’s the kind of weather where the best policy would be to keep away from the edge but it’s not the kind of weather that’s going to deter a keen fisherman from trying his luck even if his bait is going to be swished around by the waves.

Even in the best of weather they don’t seem to catch anything so I didn’t fancy his chances in this weather. Mind you, he was the only one out here trying his luck. Anyone else interested in fishing must have decided to stay indoors and I wish that I had stayed indoors too.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the headland I walked off around the headland on the other side of the headland and came across another group of people who might have wished that they had stayed indoors too.

It’s not the weather to go off sightseeing out at sea but one of the Joly France boats – the newer one – that provides the ferry service out to the Ile de Chausey looks as if she’s taken a load of tourists out on a trip around the Baie de Mont St Michel.

In this weather you’d certainly need your sea legs to go off on a voyage around the bay in a small boat like that. It was pretty rough on land as well and it was something of a stagger along the clifftop for me in the wind and rain.

l'omerta fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith no change of occupancy in the chantier naval today, and with you having seen yesterday in close-up the new boats that were in there, I didn’t bother to take a photograph of anything going on in there.

Instead I concentrated on what was happening in the outer port at the Fish Processing Plant as the fishing boats come in to unload. And here’s an unusual sight. That looks as if it might be L’Omerta over there leaving the quayside.

What’s unusual about it is that instead of staying tied up at the quayside she’s gone off to moor herself in the inner harbour for a change. She’s spent the last couple of weeks moored up there and left to go aground when the tide goes out.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2107/21070044.html”>fishing boat yacht kairon plage baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as some boats leave the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant, other boats come along to take their place.

A short while ago we saw a fishing boat out at sea heading in towards port. By now, it’s taken me so long to walk around my circuit that she’s caught me up and she’s now about to enter port where she can unload too.

Behind her is a yacht that I thought at first was heading in towards the harbour but when I cropped and enlarged the photo I noticed that she was actually heading out to sea. She’s not the Spirit of Conrad and I can’t think who else she might be, and I pondered on that as I headed home.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked past the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I noticed that there was another pile of merchandise lined up on the quayside underneath the loading crane where the Jersey freighters tie up.

The swimming pool on the quayside seems to indicate that it’s Normandy Trader who’ll be coming in to take the stuff away. She has the contract with the manufacturer to transport his pools to the Channel Islands whenever it’s necessary.

But the shrink-wrapped boat that’s at the other side of the crane is a puzzle. That’s been there for a while now and showing no signs of moving. But the red tent that we saw at the end of last week has gone now. Whatever its purpose was is now clearly over.

Back here I had my ‘phone call from Canada that went on for quite a considerable time and which meant that unfortunately my guitar practice time was curtailed.

But I had a lovely tea – pie with veg and gravy followed by chocolate sponge and coconut soya whatsit. But right now I’m off to bed now that my journal is finished. We have a Welsh conversation group meeting tomorrow so I need to catch up with my revision in the morning.

Sunday 27th June 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today that I haven’t done for absolutely ages. And that is that I’ve been out for an evening walk. And I’ve even seen the sun go down on the Ile de Chausey for the first time since I don’t know when.

Mind you, there’s a good reason for that. When I went out for my usual afternoon walk today the rain was so heavy that the noise was deafening. According to a storm warning that we received round about lunch-time, the amount of rain that was planned to fall during the afternoon would be the equivalent of three weeks’ worth of rain.

And anyone who has seen the amount of rain that we have had this last three weeks will know that a pasting was on its way.

Something else that I’ve done today that I haven’t done for ages is to awaken to the sound of the alarm on a Sunday at 06:00. And if I ever understand what made me forget myself so much to have set an alarm for this morning , I’ll let you know because it’s certainly something that I didn’t intend to do.

Furthermore it interrupted me right in the middle of an exciting voyage too. I’d gone round to a girl’s house. It was in some kind of back entry I’d been walking down there. there were big houses and some girls were coming out into the back as I walked past so I walked into their yard. They were setting up a tennis game. One of them was serving a few balls that came remarkably close to me and I was very surprised. As this game developed a guy whom I used to know turned up. He started to work on a red Cortina belonging to one of these girls – the girl who had been serving these balls at me. I could see that there was some kind of chemistry between those two. He was going things like draining the oil all over the floor of the garage and he was masking up and painting some bits as well. He was asking me questions about the Capri that I had and what I’d done. I said that I’d swapped over a load of engines. he said “I thought that you were putting the yellow engine into that one”. “No” I replied. “I’ve put the red one in for now and the yellow one is going in somewhere else and when that’s done I’m going to take out this engine and rebuild it”. He was wrestling with this girl and I was getting more and more jealous and that was when the alarm went off and what the alarm was doing going off at 06:00 on a Sunday morning I really don’t know.

It took me quite a while to go back to sleep as well but eventually I dropped off. There was someone like a French friend of mine who was going to come to visit so we were tidying up the house. I was tidying one of the rooms and rearranging the furniture and some old guy who lived there came back from work. Whoever it was in charge told us all to stop and to get on and do some things but I was still looking around for any tons of mess that needed cleaning hidden behind chairs and so on. I had to go off to work – I worked in a cafe or a hotel or something so I set off to walk. There were a couple of these motorbike/moped things going past. I thought that one of them might have been my friend arriving. Anyway I ended up at an ice-skating rink and I wanted to go in. I was going to hire my skates but then I saw that I needed a towel to dry off after the shower and a few other things too. I thought rather than just help myself and leave the money on the counter I’d wait for the woman to finish what she was doing then she could come and serve me properly. She was with one of the managers and they were filling out a diary about cleaning and so on.

It was about 10:45 when I eventually managed to haul myself out of bed and go for my medication – but not before I’d checked the stuff in the slow cooker to see how it was doing.

After the medication I mixed a pile of pizza dough and then left it to rise. I then came back in here and typed out the notes on the dictaphone, the two above from today and the one from yesterday which is now on-line, and then organised some stuff that needed organising.

Lunch was porridge and toast with coffee following which I came in here and did some music stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be preparing a radio programme and the music is already chosen. This afternoon arranged it into pairs and merged the pairs together. Tomorrow I can start by writing the text.

Another thing that I’ve done is to check the specifications of my computer because it needs upgrading and I need to make sure that I buy the correct parts for it.

With the walk being abandoned I kneaded the pizza dough, divided it into 3, put two parts in the freezer and rolled out the third, putting it on the pizza tray.

While that was doing I’d tipped the stuff out of the slow cooker into the wok where the tofu was marinading, mixed it all around, brought it to the boil, added a few spoonsful of porridge oats to thicken and glutify it, and left it to simmer.

Pastry was next. I made a nice mixing of pastry, rolled out enough to make a base in a pie dish and rolled out some more to make a lid and then switched off the filling to let it cool down.

Once it had cooled down sufficiently I stuck it in the pie bottom, added the top and sealed it, and put it in the oven to bake. With the leftover pastry and the leftover filling I made a pasty-type of thing for tea tomorrow night.

vegan pizza vegan pie vegan cornish pasty place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile all of that was cooking I assembled my pizza and when the pie was properly baked, I swapped it over for the pizza.

When the pizza was baked too, I could sit down and have my tea. And as for the pizza, it was delicious – one of the best that I’ve ever made too. I just wish that I had remembered to turn up the heat in the oven to “full”, and then it would have been even better.

And why no pudding tonight? That’s because I’m having to bake bread on Tuesday morning and I’ll make a pudding then. Meantime, I’ll live off the apple pie that’s in the fridge.

Finally the rain stopped and I went out for my walk.

storm out at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier on I mentioned that this afternoon we were in the grip of a torrential rainstorm. This had only eased off a short while ago.

And that looks like it might be the storm over there, heading off down the coast of the Cotentin Peninsula depositing the contents of the heavy raincloud onto Agon-Coutainville and into the sea just offshore.

As you can see, there’s no point in scanning the horizon for any fishing boats or anything like that this evening. Whatever is going on out there, we aren’t able to see anything because of the raincloud.

man fishing from yellow zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a craft that we have seen on many occasions in the past – always assuming of course that it’s the same boat.

It’s quite possibly the same yellow zodiac that we have seen on previous occasions in the past moving in and out of the harbour and the Baie de Mont St Michel. Today, it’s anchored in the Baie de Granville and is occupied by a man who is bent on fishing in the water just offshore. He has one rod in the water and another one upright in the back of the boat.

As I watched him for a while he didn’t manage to pull anything out of the water and eventually, pulled his rod out of the water, sat down at the controls of his boat and roared off into the sunset. Another unsuccessful fishing expedition out of the many that we have seen so far.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo with him having cleared off now I can concentrate on what I’m supposed to be doing this evening.

No walk around anywhere in Granville would be complete without looking down on the beach at the Rue du Nord to see what is going on down there this evening. Due to the later hour, I didn’t expect to see anyone sunning themselves down there, and the fact that the tide was right in meant that there wouldn’t be too much beach to actually be on.

From this photo you can see how people can descend to the beach here. Over there at the top of the image towards the right is the set of steps that descend from the Rue du Nord. The foot of the set up steps in deep in the water which shows you just how far in the tide actually is right now.

wooden structure medieval city walls place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that we have noticed over the last while is the state of the medieval city walls and how the walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux have been fenced off to prevent people going too close to it.

What I noticed here today was that there is some kind of wooden structure that has been assembled and fastened to the wall. And I’ve no idea as to its purpose either. It doesn’t look very substantial so it can’t be anything important.

But out of shot is some kind of trailer that looks as if it might be a workman’s cabin. That’s appeared here over the last few days and so who knows? We might even be seeing something actually happening to the city walls in the near future and won’t that be a surprise?

person swimming diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something going on round by the diving platform at the Plat Gousset and so, bravely dodging the big puddles on the path underneath the medieval walls, I wandered off that way to see what it might be.

First of all though you can see how high the tide is right now. There’s a concrete pillar out there on which is a kind of diving platform that the kids use for leaping into the water wen the weather is much more clement than it is right now. And today, the diving platform is actually submerged by the tide. Only the guard rail is above the water right now.

And as for what is actually splashing around in the water by the diving platform, it’s a swimmer who seems to be enjoying himself in the water. And sooner him than me in this weather. Mind you, it’s so wet out here that I don’t suppose that it makes much difference whether you are in or out.

urban trail announcement medieval city walls Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s something else that has attracted out attention over the last few days.

Having seen this sign I can tell you that this “Urban Trail” and the white tapes that have sprung up all over the place relate to a couple of races that took place on Friday evening in the town. 700 runners were attracted to the town to take part in 2 races, one of 13 kilometres and the other one of 8 kilometres.

Quite a few people have used the opportunity of the lockdown to start some kind of régime of fitness and many of the runners, particularly in the 8-kilometre race, were debutants at road-racing.

man with guitar girls sitting on sea wall plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow that my curiosity was satisfied I pushed on towards the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

There might not be a beach to sit on right now but there’s a sea wall. And with the comfortable seat and the calm sea, it’s an ideal place to sit and watch the sunset as these two young girls are doing.

But I’m not sure what the man is doing, apart from chatting to them of course. And he’s carrying a guitar as well so maybe he’s going to give them both a tune. The girl farthest away from the camera doesn’t seem to be to impressed by what is happening.

Nor me either, for that matter, I cleared off across to the Square Maurice Marland to see what was happening there.

seagull chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst of all, I have to go to see what my seagull chicks are doing on the roofs across in the Rue des Juifs.

And they seem to be coming along quite nicely. They look quite healthy and while they weren’t actually flapping their wings, they were quite active and alert, waiting for mummy to come home with supper.

As for the Square itself, I was hoping that with signs of repair taking place here and there around the town that they might have actually done something to start work on tidying up the place and restoring the kiddies’ rides ready for summer. But there looks to be no chance of that happening right now.

Another opportunity lost.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when they do eventually get round to restoring the place after all of this time, I hope that they do a far better job than they have done here. Because this is dreadful.

At one time the Rue St Michel used to be a really nice authentic cobbled street here in the centre of the old town but as we know, it’s been dug up a couple of times just recently while they have been replacing various pipes and cables.

But now they seem to have finished, they haven’t bothered to put back the cobbles at all. They have simply resurfaced the street with asphalt and how I hate to see that. It shows a total lack of imagination and lack of skill, particularly when we are talking about a historic place like the medieval walled city up here on the rock.

All of the old-time skills are dying out and I suppose that this is another one where there is no-one left with the skill to do the job correctly.

trawler l'alize 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the alleyway there’s a view over the inner harbour and at last I can identify the fishing boat that I saw yesterday.

She isn’t in fact a new one and I’m surprised that I didn’t recognise her because she is in her way quite a famous little boats. She’s L’Alize III and she was the boat that was excluded from the fishing grounds around the Channel Islands on 18th May and which led to yet another confrontation between the Channel Islands authorities and the town of Granville.

But this was enough for me. I folded up my tent and cleared off into the shadows back towards my apartment. I’m exhausted and so I’m off to bed. An early start in the morning and I’m radioing, so I need to be fit.

Monday 7th June 2021 – EEEUUURRRGGGHHH!

It’s been another one of those days where I’ve not been able to progress very much today.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I staggered out of bed and went off to find my medication. Luckily that hadn’t been moved about in the turmoil of yesterday so that wasn’t an issue. And then I came back in here to work

For some reason or other despite the fact that I worked quite hard without too many interruptions, except for having a desultory chat with Liz while I was working and also for making my hot chocolate and fruit bread, it took me much longer than it usually would.

By the time that I had finished, it was well after lunchtime so I don’t know what happened there because recently, having prepared the music while I was in Leuven, I’ve been finished by 11:30 and there had been plenty of time to do other things.

After lunch I started to look at the journal entry for last night but the next thing that I remember was that it was 16:20 and I’d been asleep for two hours or so. That was extremely depressing and I’m totally fed up of this. Whatever they did to me in that hospital obviously isn’t working from that point of view.

And so it was rather late when I went out for my walk

skip lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I hadn’t gone more than three feet outside my door before I stumbled across some activity going on in the builders’ compound just across the road.

There’s a skip lorry pulled up there and I was hoping that I was going to see him pull a skip up onto the back of his lorry. Unfortunately as I watched he pressed the button that lifted up the legs on his lorry so he must have just dropped one off and now he was going to go back to the depot empty.

There seems to be quite a collection of empty skips over there now so it doesn’t look as if the work that’s going on in the Rue St Michel is far from finished. That’s another job that’s been going on for far longer than it ought to have done.

person on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe beach was next. Not actually to go and walk upon it but to go and see what is going on down there this afternoon.

Off I trotted across the car park over to the wall at the end and I stuck my head over the wall to see what was going on. And while there wasn’t much beach for anyone to be on, there was still someone managing to find a perch on a rock down at the far end.

And I hope that the person down there was comfortable because the wind has got up again. It’s now blowing a gale again and I don’t think that we will ever see the back of this wind at this rate.

That’s something else that’s annoying me right now too.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut the girl down there on the rock wasn’t alone – at least in spirit – because out there in the Baie de Granville there were plenty of boats there in the sea just off the shore from Bréhal-Plage.

Only one or two of the boats were moving, and so I reckon that the others must be there for the fishing. There are plenty of buoys out there so there must be either quite a few lobster pots put down or else they have been put down in the water for the purpose of anchoring the boats.

But there was no point in my speculating on that because I couldn’t see what they were doing from where I was standing. I headed off along the path towards the headland.

removing flagpole base pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we have noticed in the past has been the four flagpoles that were up by the War Memorial to the French Resistance. A few months ago I noticed that there were only three there now – one of them had been removed.

They had however left the base of the flagpole behind but it seems that today they have started to dig up the base of the flagpole. I wonder if this means that they are reducing the number of flags to three.

And if so, why would they take one out of the middle of the row and not one at the end? It’s going to look quite odd with one missing from the middle of the row.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking across the lawn to look at the flagpoles I’d noticed some kind of boat moored in the Baie de Mont St Michel by Le Loup just outside the harbour entrance, and so after having dealt with them I walked down to have a closer look.

It’s not possible to see what boat it is. The layout of its masts seems to indicate that it might be La Granvillaise but she usually tows her dinghy, not having it winched up. Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which I sailed down the Brittany Coast, had her dinghy winched up but she only has one mast.

But then there wasn’t anything else of note around the end of the headland so I walked off around the path at the top of the cliff.

addictive sailing catamaran port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe path along the top of the cliff takes me to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour but before I reached the viewpoint I saw this boat in the outer harbour and as it was about to disappear into the inner harbour I had to take the best photo that I could.

She’s a catamaran, not a yacht, and she disappeared out of my view before I could make a note of her name. But a “sailing ship” called Addictive Sailing pulled into the harbour at about the same time that she arrived, according to my shipping radar so it could well be her.

Thinking that maybe one of these days I’ll go down to the harbour for a closer look and see for myself, I walked on down to the viewpoint.

35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was there, I was overflown by yet another light aircraft taking off from the airport at Donville les Bains.

And once more, it’s another one of our old friends – 35MA – who regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing yesterday when it flew over our heads then. And I wish I knew to which database her registration number relates so that I could find out more about her.

That’s a job for another time I reckon, but right now I have other fish to fry I’m much more interested in all of the marine craft that are down there in the harbour this afternoon now that the tide is well in.

boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I was right about all of the boats. Despite the issues with the UK and with the Channel Islands, there is still plenty of fishing activity going on

The wharf underneath the Fish Processing Plant is crowded with the small boats unloading their shellfish. Most of the catch goes into the Fish Processing Plant but we can see down below the Fish Processing Plant a couple of vans that are picking up the shellfish from a couple of the boats there.

There are one or two private companies, like the local shellfish shops, who buy the catch fresh out of the water and have it straight on the slab within minutes of its arrival in port.

Turkish Airlines TC-JJY Boeing 777 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home I was overflown yet again, but this time by something large and moving quickly, high up in the atmosphere creating a vapour trail.

She’s too high up to have come from one of the Paris airports so I went to have a look on my flight radar to see who she might be.

There was only one large craft in the area right now, and that is TC-JJY, a Boeing 777 from Turkish Airlines built in 2015 that is carrying flight TK1/THY1 which is their flight from Istanbul to New York, flying overhead at 34,000 feet at 450 knots.

Back here I had an outstanding journal entry to deal with so I made a start, knocking off for guitar practice which was quite dismal, and ten for tea. I had the last slice of vegan pie, with baked potatoes, veg and gravy, followed by apple crumble and nice thick, hot fresh custard.

But now that today’s and yesterday’s journal entries are done, I’m going to bed. Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to revise, and then I have my exam on Wednesday. I need to start revision.

Thursday 29th April 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… yet more movement in the chantier navale this morning, and I was lucky to be there to see it.

As I walked down to the end of the road this morning on my way out to the shops (I did actually make it there) I saw Anakena slowly making her way across the inner harbour – the tide being well in at this moment.

She’s been in the chantier navale for quite a considerable time, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so it’s very nice to see her finally back in the water heading off towards her habitual berth in the inner harbour.

Not very quickly, I have to say. She’s taking her time manoeuvring across the harbour, not in any great rush. I suppose that after all of this time she needs to get her sea legs back again.

anakena victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I’d reached the bottom of the steps of the Rampe du Monte a Regret she was pulling into where she normally moors up.

But what caught my eye at this particular moment was the fact the Victor Hugo was also back in town today. Her stay in Cherbourg wasn’t all that long at all – just long enough for them to do whatever it was that they were doing that required the harbour gates to be left open the other day when the tide went out.

Anyway, after my horrible day yesterday, when I went to bed I found that I couldn’t go to sleep straight away. I spent quite a lot of time tossing and turning before I finally dropped off to sleep.

On awakening this morning, I knew that it was going to be another one of those days when I was going to be feeling really bad. And I wasn’t wrong either.

It was a real effort to haul myself out of bed and for much of the morning I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. But based upon the assumption that whatever I do has to be better than doing nothing at all, I filed away a pile of papers and wrote a letter that needed dealing with.

After a shower I gathered my thoughts and then went off to the shops where I encountered Anakena on her little perambulation around the port.

drawbridge pont levis Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere have been a few construction machines wandering around here this last day or two, and it seems that they are back working here in the Rue Cambernon.

That was closed to circulation a while ago while they had it dug up and it looks as if they are doing yet more work on it. One of these days I’ll have to go for a wander around there to see what they are up to.

Stopping off at the Post Office to post my letter, I carried on to the LIDL, totally exhausted by the walk.

And today I spent a lot of money in there, what with supplied being run down due to me not having done any shopping around Granville for a while. They had frozen falafel on special offer so I bought a box of that for future use. I bought some coffee too, which means that I’ll probably find my missing coffee tomorrow when I’m looking for something else.

The walk home was agony. Being loaded up as I was didn’t help much, and not being well made things even worse. But when I returned home I made myself some hot chocolate and with a slice of my sourdough fruit bread I came back in here.

And that was that, unfortunately, for the morning. Whatever time that was left before lunch was spent sleeping on my chair.

After a very late lunch again, I came back here again and fell asleep in plain mid-edit of the August 2019 photos in Wyoming. I’m currently parked on the verge of Highway 319 just north of Glendo, Wyoming, admiring a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe coal train passing by.

Somewhat later than usual, I staggered out into the sunlight for my afternoon walk.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park and looked over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Just a few people out this afternoon. It wasn’t all that warm out there this afternoon and there was plenty of wind about so I suppose that all of that was keeping people indoors. In fact, there weren’t too many people about at all walking around.

With nothing going on out at sea , I pushed off along the footpath on top of the cliffs. The view out to sea was hazy and misty today and there wasn’t much of a view out there. We could see the ile de Chausey but not really very much out to sea beyond there.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the fishing boats working out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel between the coast here and the Brittany coast over on the other side.

As I walked across the path at the end of the lawn and over the car park, I could see that there were a couple of boats out there working today. There’s a trawler in mid-channel and another fishing boat out on the far side of the bay, although I can’t see what that one is.

There were a couple of others deeper in the bay towards the Mont St Michel but they were too far away to see. So there is evidently enough seafood out there in the bay to keep them in business for a while

people fishing on the rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, the fishing boats are probably having more luck than these people are having right now.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the amount of people fishing with rod and line into the sea. The rocks on the end of the Pointe du Roc seems to be a popular place (or plaice) for them and there is another pile of them out there today.

It goes without saying that I didn’t see anyone catch anything while I was watching … “no surprise there” – ed … so I left them to it and cleared off down the path on top of the cliffs to carry on with my walk.

diggers working in outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my vantage point on top of the cliffs I can see out past the harbour entrance to see what they are up to out there this afternoon.

Being earlier than I was yesterday, the tide is quite far out and so in the distance we can see the two white diggers that are installing this famous drainage pipe out across the bay. They are making quite good progress with that although I think that once we have a few winter storms and raging high tides, it’ll be interesting to see how well it survived.

The yellow digger is there too right by the harbour wall, digging away at this sandbank and they are making good progress with that too. Not only is it going to be interesting to see how much they dig away, it’ll also be interesting to see what else they will be digging up that’s been embedded in the silt for all this time.

aztec lady fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier today we saw Anakena sailing away out of the chantier navale to her berth after all of this time in there.

Nothing else has arrived there over the course of the day so we are now down to just two boats the little fishing boat that came a day or two ago and Aztec Lady that has been there for a while now.

Back in the apartment I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had a good chat, and then I came up here for a mug of very strong coffee and to carry on with a few more photos.

That took me up to guitar practice and afterwards I had tea. A slice of pie with veg and gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. I’ve now run out of custard powder so I might have a go at making my own with cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence.

And right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another horrible day today and I can’t afford to have too many of these right now. I really need to organise myself and start to feel better and do a few of the things that have been building up.

So here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow.

Friday 8th January 2021 – TODAY WAS …

… the worst day so far of this little bout of ill-health that I’m having.

The alarms went off as usual and even though they awoke me and I was wide awake, I didn’t have the physical strength to leave the bed. It took me until about 09:15 before I could find the energy to leave the bed and for the next hour or two I was right out of everything.

When I finally pulled myself together I sat down and had a play with the dictaphone. And it seemed that I’d travelled miles during the night. Including one trip with one of my sisters, although I shan’t elaborate as you are probably eating a meal right now and I don’t want to spoil your appetite.

Somewhere along the line my wife and I had got back together and were living together. Things weren’t going too well and I had to be very careful about checking my post to make sure that no unexpected letters were being slipped in somewhere that I might have missed. I had to regularly keep an eye on the pile of paperwork for filing that nothing had been slipped in there. This caused one or two raised eyebrows when people started to work out what it was that I was actually doing. I had plenty of things to do the following morning but my brother was around living there I think talking about what we were going to do. He said that he needed some help to put some silencer paste on an exhaust and change a wheel over on his car. He showed me a wheel and the tyre had split. I had plenty of things to do myself that were pretty important but I would give him a hand for 10 minutes. One of the things that I needed was a new tyre for my car. I had a look at one that I had just taken off. It was completely perished and there was a huge split right across the canvas. I showed it to my brother and said “I wet down to London on this on Monday.

In the middle of all of this there was a story about me being in a lorry, a lorry driver and we were filming or rather watching a film of a route that someone had driven and I was trying to have some kind of indication or hints from this video about driving, a Youtube camera shot thing.

The third part of this was when I’d been working with something like Shearings or Adventure Canada and we were going on our Christmas Holidays. We’d each been given a place to go to. I’d been given a place that was only about 3 or 4 miles away from where we were which I thought was a bit miserable. I wasn’t very happy. I was sitting at a table with 3 or 4 old people and they were making jokes about Russian spies. One of them asked me a question “was I a Russian spy?”. I made some kind of sarcastic remark so he started to make a real issue out of this kind of thing. An old guy, Admiral of the Fleet or something. In the end I’d had enough of this. I stood up, threw down my napkin onto the table and said “I’ll tell you what. When I go from here I’m going to become a Russian spy and what I’m going to do will make you look a total and utter fool, and that’s not going to be difficult”. He went apoplectic. I stormed out. One thing that I’d noticed over the last few days that no-one was really speaking to me or giving me anything to do. Even a couple of girls whom I knew walked past. I said “hello girls” but they didn’t respond so I shouted “hello girls” and then they waved to me. 1 of the girls was coming with me. We were in the room where we were working and there was such a racket going on and suddenly one of the chairs caught fire. It had been right up against the heater and the heat had set it off. She switched a few switches and the noise immediately died down to just a noise. It was still annoying but a lot less than it had been. I realised that it had been the air conditioning or the heater fan or something that was blowing and making all of this noise. She was talking about the trip that we were going to go on, asking how long it was going to take us to get there and when would we be ready. I said that I’d be ready in half an hour because I’m not taking very much and if I’ve forgotten anything I can always come back here because we’re only round the corner anyway. I remember saying that the first thing that I’d be doing when I come back before I do anything else is to weld a sill on the red Cortina. That has its MoT very shortly.

As you can imagine, it took me an age to transcribe all of this and I haven’t really done all that much else. I did make the telephone call that I needed to make, only to find that with the Covid situation their office is only open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The only other thing that I’ve done that can be classed in any way productive was something on the principle that if you can’t think of anything to do, or don’t have the energy to do anything, then just do something – anything – so I edited another pile of photos from Greenland in 2019. That’s not a productive day by any means, but I’m struggling with ill-health right now and I have to do what I can.

There were the usual interruptions today. Lunch of course with my delicious bread – and I forgot to mention that the fruit bread that I had with my hot chocolate this morning was delicious.

Another thing that I did was to peel, dice and blanch another kilo or so of carrots. They are in the freezer now freezing away to themselves.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the afternoon walk too, in the freezing weather. The temperature had dropped to 1°C overnight and had risen to about 3°C by this afternoon.

Not too many people out there today but one person who was there who I hadn’t seen for a while was our bird of prey – hovering around over the rocks at the headland looking for a tasty snack. He didn’t catch anything while I was there watching – perhaps I had disturbed the prey, I dunno.

So after a while, I cleared off and left him to it. I walked down along the path overlooking the chantier navale as usual but there was nothing going on there at all that hasn’t been going on before.

new door public conveniences pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I talked about the new door on the public conveniences here.

Previously it was a kind-of roller shutter door, quite lightweight and it looked as if someone had kicked it in. And so they other day they came out and fitted a really heavy-duty sliding door instead. I’d love to see someone try to kick that one in.

However, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a design fault in it and they’ll be out to fix it again, sooner than you might think actually because there are already signs that it wont last long.

What they have done is put the staple for the padlock when the door is closed (on the right-hand side of the door itno the wall and cemented it. That means that any reasonably-sized iron bar can prize it off and there are signs that someone has already had a try. It needs to be in an L-shaped backing plate and screwed to the frame on the inner profile, so that no-one can get behind the screws to prize them out.

Back here I had a coffee and then carried on with some photos in rather a half-hearted fashion. I stopped for guitar practice of course, and that went somewhat better than last night.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside again in the freezing weather I set off for my walk – and four runs tonight. I’m slowly pulling myself up again.

It was too cold ro loiter around outside so I just took one photo of the Plat Gousset to say that I was out, and then I came back home – at a run again.

But to tell you the truth, there wasn’t anything else much to photograph tonight. It was singularly quiet, as it has been all day.

While I’d been out I’d turned on the oven again and was cooking a potato. When I came back I put a slice of pie in there and while I was at it, a frozen apple turnover. I cooked some veg and gravy too, and had pie with baked potato and veg and gravy, followed by apple turnover for tea. I’ll finish the apple crumble tomorrow.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m off to bed. Which is more than … gulp … 68,000 British people will be doing tonight. One person in every thousand in the UK has been diagnosed with Covid today. And apart from the 1325 who won’t be waking up tomorrow – a disgraceful record for a developed nation, my friend Erika from Atlanta and I were working out that in the USA the Death Rate from Covid is 1/59, yet in the UK, with its much-vaunted and magnificent NHS, the death rate is 1/37.

There’s something dreadfully wrong in the UK.

Thursday 24th December 2020 – WOW!

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven though I say it myself, I’m quite impressed with this photo that I took this afternoon.

It’s not necessarily the quality of it because I still have a great deal of issues with that, but it’s the dramatic and stark effect of the colours here. Just as I lined up a shot of Cancale silhouetted on its clifftop across the Bay, the light gave me everything I wanted just at the correct moment and it’s come out exactly as I would have wished, with no post-processing at all.

It’s one of those very rare photographs where everything that you are trying to do suddenly does it itself with you having to try.

Another thing that I did without really having to try was to haul myself out of bed before the third alarm. And I bet that that took you as much by surprise as it took me too. Mind you, I was only sitting on the edge of the bed is a dazed and weary state, not exactly running around like a headless chicken.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was in the USA last night and Trump was giving a concert. He had someone playing banjo or mandolin or something and he was playing bass and singing, doing some kind of rap about how good he was, and everyone in the crowd was greeting him with stony silence. He was becoming all worked up on the stage and everyone was treating him with stony silence. When everyone left I had a look at the bass guitar. It was just a cheap $29 thing so I said to someone of the road crew “at least you might have got him a real guitar to play with”. They replied “he does have a real one but he was afraid he’d be all emotional”. Trump heard this conversation and came over, and started to have a bit of a go at me about it. I said “I’ll tell you what my life means to me. Come with me”. He couldn’t get the hang of what was going on but “come with me, come outside”. So we went outside and there was Caliburn. I opened the door to the back of Caliburn and there on the floor was a mattress and a sleeping bag and a few bits and pieces. I was living rough. And there at the side of the sleeping bag was the Gibson EB3. “That’s what my bass means to me” I said. “It’s all that I have here”.

The next thing was about the wife of my friend on the Wirral. She was telling me that she had been taken into a bedroom by an Indian guy to which I said “lucky her” and they spent 4 hours together so I said “even more lucky her” discussing some kind of new sales venture for some kind of product that she might have been interested in. There was much more to it than this but in the time it took me to grab hold of the dictaphone I forgot it.

The next hour or so was spent dealing with the arrears of work. I’ve been stuck in Chateau Gaillard for the last 2 weeks and I can’t seem to drag myself out of there. I seem to be bogged in there quite deeply at the moment.

That took me up to shower time and weigh time, and I’ve gained 1kilo in weight in this last week. But examining my body closely (and isn’t that a gruesome task?) I noticed that my feet and ankles are swollen. So it looks as if the water retention is back again and that will explain this weight issue.

crowds at seafood shop rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set to the shops for the groceries to see me through the Christmas period.

It’s the tradition in France for people to have oysters as a Christmas treat (which probably explains why so many babies are born here at the end of September) and there in the Rue Lecampion where there’s the fishmonger’s, with the butcher just down the road, it just looks like Poland as I remember it in the 1970s, or the UK after 6 months of Brexit.

But I was joking about the oysters and babies just now. Don’t you believe everything that you hear about oysters. I had 12 of them on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.

christmas decorations place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s unlikely that I’m going to get down into town to see the Christmas lights this year. I’m not well and I know it, and I’m not going to tax my system too much.

But it didn’t prevent me from having a good mooch around for a look at the decorations in the Place Charles de Gaulle. And I was right about one thing, in that they aren’t very inspiring this year. It seems to be merely the same stuff that has been here for the last ever so many years, just arranged differently.

But anyway I pushed on to the Railway Station for my tickets for next week. The clerk in the office was on her own so I asked her about the trains next week. At the moment, they are still running as advertised. Whether it stays like that, we shall see.

bad parking bmw bus station railway station Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that pathetic parking takes up a lot of room on these pages.

Not so much recently – not (I hasten to add) because the situation has improved but because there is just so much of it that it’s become boring and even i’m fed up of it. But I couldn’t let a thing like this go by.

Right outside the railway station is the bus station. all of the long-distance buses (of which there are plenty) as well as the two service buses for the town come here and there are 4 bays. But this driver has decided that he’s allowed to park in one of them and the bus that goes in there can park elsewhere.

Of course, it’s a BMW and like Audi drivers, they consider that the rules of the road and of common courtesy don’t apply to them.

On the way up the hill I stuck my head in the newsagent’s. I’d heard that US Granville had made some club facemasks and the newsagent was selling them. These are tough times and we have to do what we can to help things along right now, and so I bought one to wear when I’m in Belgium.

At La Vie Claire they had Seitan slices so I bought two ridiculously expensive packs and then went round to LIDL for the shopping. I bought most of what I needed but shock! horror! no Brussels sprouts. How do you have Christmas without Brussels sprouts?

Luckily I still have some frozen ones for the meals on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but it’s going to be touch and go after that.

christmas market kddies roundabout place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back into town again I went past the Place Generale De Gaulle again.

There’s quite a lot going on in there now that wasn’t happening earlier. They seem to be setting up some kind of Christmas market in the Square, although that doesn’t look much like Christmas goodies to me.

But at least the kiddies’ roundabout was working and entertaining some clients. And that’s good news because Christmas is all about children anyway and they ought to be making the most of it while they are still young enough.

seafood stall rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a fresh seafood stall on the harbour every Friday morning selling the stuff that his boat has landed that morning. But with Friday being Christmas Day it looks as if he’s having his stall a day earlier to cash in on the Christmas trade.

And quite right too. Even though I don’t eat animal products, it’s up to others what they do and there is nothing at all quite like fresh food of any description.

So having caught my breath, for I was carrying some quite heavy shopping, I carried on back home where I had a slice of my fruit bread and a mug of hot chocolate.

And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out good and proper on my chair. It was late-ish when I returned from the shops but even so, it was 13:30 when I awoke, feeling like total death yet again. This is what I meant earlier when I said that I wasn’t too good right now. It’s just not possible at the moment for me to live a normal life like this and it’s dismaying me very much.

So at lunch, I’d run out of bread so I set about making some more. Not the sourdough this time but a real loaf. I want to see how my technique is doing and to see if the fault about my sourdough not rising is because of me or the sourdough.

And so I bashed out a quick 500-gramme dough mix with yeast and several handfuls of sunflower seeds and left it on one side to see what it would do.

storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was walkies time so I set out into the wild blue yonder.

And wild was hardly the word either. The wind has shifted around and we now have a nor’easter instead of a sou’wester as we had yesterday. So if you thought that the Bay of Granville was turbulent yesterday, you ought to have seen it this afternoon. There hasn’t been anything quite like this for a considerable period of time and I bet that the boys in Thora and Normandy Trader are glad that they are tucked up safe and sound in the harbour in St Helier.

It was enough to make me want to join them but the journey across to Jersey would be extremely uncomfortable right now.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were hordes of people out there this afternoon, everyone having a pre-Christmas walk I reckon and making the most of the lack of rain (for the moment at least).

And if you are able to peer underneath the clouds, it was the kind of afternoon where the visibility was so impressive and you could see a very long great distance down the coast. Cap Frehel and its lighthouse were just about visible with the naked eye over to the right on this photo.

We’ve had some good shots of Cap Frehel in the past, better than this one of course, but it’s not every day that it’s visible with the naked eye

rainstorm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little earlier I taked about the lack of rain – “at the moment” – and I said that for a reason.

While I was scanning along the Brittany coast with the camera, I noticed a strange phenomenon out there in certain places so I photographed it for a closer look to see what it might be. And back here in the comfort and warmth of my apartment I determined that it was actually a rainstorm out there.

Of course, as I said earlier, the wind is blowing in the wrong direction for us to be bothered about it right now, but the wind is a highly volatile and uncertain beast and can change direction at any given moment.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving taken my photographs I walked off across the lawn and the car park (almost being squidged by a motorist reversing out of a parking place) down to the end of the headland.

Once more, there are no boats out there in the bay but we do have this beautiful sunset, an excellent example of which you have already seen. And here’s another really good view of Cancale across the Baie de Mont St Michel, lit up as if it was on a stage and they had switched on the spotlights.

Far too many people about for me to break into a run this afternoon so I walked off down the path instead.

st pair sur mer baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw just now how churned up the sea was around the north side of the headland with this raging nor’easter.

Nothing could have been a greater contrast than the sea down on the southern side of the headland by the port. Whereas yesterday we had a raging storm with waves crashing over the sea wall, today the sea seems to be almost becalmed.

Actually, it isn’t but that was how it was looking this afternoon especially after yesterday.

But that was enough for me anyway, I had a peek in at the chantier navale to see that there was no change whatever there, and then carried on home for a hot coffee and a mince pie. And delicious, if a bit sweet and sickly.

And the bread had risen like a lift. I’d never had it go up quite like this before. It was so impressive. I gave it a good squeezing to let the gases out and then shaped it and put it in its bread mould, covering it with a damp tea-towel.

And now I have a little Christmas present for you all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my friend Liz and I produced a series of programmes for several local radio stations in the Auvergne under the “Radio Anglais” banner back in those days.

While I was looking around for something I came across one of the Christmas Specials that we did, so I’ve uploaded it to the internet FOR YOU ALL TO LISTEN TO OVER CHRISTMAS with much love and best wishes from me.

Don’t take too long in listening to it because I need the space on my server so I’ll be taking it down again after a week or so. So you’ll probably be better off downloading it onto your own machine. Or, if you make your next Amazon purchase via the links on the right and I receive a small commission on the deal, I can buy more space.

While I was at guitar practice I had the oven warming up and I slipped the loaf of bread in there at a suitable moment along with a potato and, later on, a slice of frozen home-made pie.

rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the guitar, it was time for evening walkies. And with the wind now blowing in the opposite direction from yesterday, it was the outward journey that caused me more problems than just a few.

In fact, I had to abort the trip along the Rue du Nord and seek shelter within the narrow streets of the old town by dodging down an alley way. We’ve seen plenty of photos of the Rue St Jean in our time but we haven’t seen one from this viewpoint. The Place Cambernon is just down there at the bottom and the Porte St Jean which we have photographed on several occasions is right down there at the end out of the picture.

And if you look up at the top you can see the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou all illuminated.

rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going that way. I’m going in this direction down towards the Place de l’Isthme.

We took a photo of the street from the Place de L’Isthme a few weeks ago and so I reckoned that I should take one back up to the place where I was at the time, just for the record. And then I set off for a run along there all the way to the end of the street.

As I emerged into the open square at the end I was hit by a huge blast of wind that brought me to a dead stop, and I’m not surprised because it was wild.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was enough to make me not want to hang around any longer out of doors – especially now that it had started to rain as well, And so I went down ste steps to the Place Maurice Marland and ran on home.

But up on the walls the night was looking so beautiful despite the rain, so I took a photo of the harbour, the Baie de Mont St Michel and all of the lights out there twinkling away on the Brittany coast. It was all looking quite magical tonight and I’ve no idea why.

But that’s enough of my waxing lyrical for the moment. It’s time I was at home tucking into the tea.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile my veg was cooking (endives, broccoli, leeks and carrots) I had a look at the bread to see how it was doing.

It had risen quite a lot while it was sitting for its second proofing, but in the oven it’s not done too much more. But as I took it out of its mould, part of it had stuck so I sampled it. And it was perfect, it really was. The best that I’ve made to date. There’s nothing wrong with my technique at all.

With the veg water I made a delicious gravy, and the whole lot was finished off with apple crumble with some soya dessert stuff. That was what I called a good tea.

So now it’s Christmas Day and I’ve written up my notes. I’m off to bed. A Merry Christmas to you all and I hope that Santa brings you lots of nice things, including, more important than presents, lots of love and good health. We’re living in hard times right now but at least we are living, and the joys of the internet mean that we can stay even closer all the same.

There’s our radio show to listen to and tomorrow night at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time, 15:00 Montreal and Toronto time etc, there’s my Christmas broadcast on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS. It’s a special live rock concert that I’ve spent some time preparing and I hope that you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed preparing it.

Best wishes from me.