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Sunday 18th September 2022 – THERE’S A NEW …

br905622 cotes de la manche port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022 … kid in town today. Or new boat in the harbour, something like that. Someone whom we haven’t see before.

Her registration number begins with “BR” so that tells me that she comes from Brest down in Finisterre and that’s a long way away from here. Her name is Cotes De La Manche and was launched in 1997. she arrived in port from Antifer at lunchtime today.

She’s not a fishing vessel but an Oceanic Research Ship and travels out and about into the inner ocean monitoring the environment and has been recently involved in research into the effects of the cable that will connect the proposed offshore wind farm near Paimpol to the mainland.

What I was doing during the night was researching into the effects of a rather strange sleep and I’m still not sure about what happened.

It was rather a late night because having done everything that I intended to do, I watched a few films and the like on the internet until about 01:30 when I finally crawled into bed.

What was strange about that was at 08:38 I awoke. and it wasn’t just a brief roll-over or something like that, I was actually wide-awake. There was even a time when I was debating whether or not to raise myself from the dead.

Nevertheless, wiser counsels prevailed and I stayed put. Eventually I went back to sleep and leaving the bed at 11:25 is a much more valid proposition as far as I’m concerned on a Sunday.

After the medication there wasn’t all that much time do do anything until lunchtime. Porridge, cheese on toast and plenty of coffee went down really well. And there’s still some cheese left for tomorrow too

Back in here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to fins out where I’d been during the night. I was back on board a yacht again last night. I had a certain time during which I could be out by I kept on over-running it and being late. Sam said that they reminded her of a pop group whom she’d seen where they had gone on to warm up for the main act when they’d been asked but they stayed on for so long that the main act only had time for 4 numbers. I recalled seeing a group like that as well. I wondered whether she and I had actually been at the same concert.

And then I’d just been in the filthiest office you could imagine. There was oil everywhere and I do mean everywhere. I don’t know how the women working in it could possibly have managed without running away. It was awful. A whole group of us had gone there. I’d met up with Danny Jackson (a taxi proprietor in Crewe whom I used to know). Someone had repaired a hydraulic jack for him and were proudly showing it off. I thought to myself that this jack isn’t going to work. There’s no pressure in the seals for a start. He was outside doing something on a car so I took this jack outside to try to jack up my van. I had BILL BADGER at the time. It started to lift it up and the seals gave out and slid back down again. When I started to jack it up I noticed that one of the rear wheels of the van was in an awful slanting position. I hoped that it was just an effect of it being off the spring rather than something broken or warped, something like that. There were some stuffed animals there as well. I know that he had one so I brought it out to him. He wasn’t paying any attention to it so by the time that I finished I took it back inside. Then he was asking for it and someone said “Eric had one”. I replied “no, that was yours. I brought it out to you but you didn’t want it so I took it back”. He gave me a little lecture about moving his possessions so I thought that it was good that I hadn’t told him about the jack. I was hoping that this animal thing wasn’t going to be covered in oil. It was at that point that we all started to drift home again. I can’t say that I wasn’t happy to leave.

Later on I’d alighted from a bus or train or something and was walking up a hill to some kind of place. There were some people coming up the hill behind me whom I recognised. When I went round the corner and higher up there was a queue of people. I remembered that I’d been on holiday with them once before. They were all ready waiting to sign in at this place and so was I. I could hear them talking. One of them was asking “who shall we invite to come with us?”. They suggested a few names. If they suggested my name, which was unlikely, I’d refuse and tell them “well you’re all far too noisy for me. I’ve come here for the quiet life”.

At some point even later on there was something going on with a sailing ship. Many people including me were of the opinion that all of her rigging and tackle should be replaced because it’s over a certain number of years old. It doesn’t last for ever but the company was exhibiting the ship regardless. Of course people were climbing about in the tackle and if the tackle broke this would cost everyone a lot of money so we couldn’t understand why they weren’t doing it.

That took me up until it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And I didn’t even go beyond the threshold of the building before I had to grab hold of the camera.

The cold hand of doom that fell upon me as I left the building was another Nazgul that went flying by. A two-seater Nazgul too, the pilot having picked up a passenger back at the blast-off point in the field by the cemetery.

In fact there were probably a dozen or so Nazguls out there this afternoon having a flutter around. The wind had died down a little from the last couple of days and so it was much safer for them to be up in the air today than it might have been when the gale was blowing.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And before I even made it right across to the wall, there was a zodiac that I noticed out in the bay.

At first I thought that they might be fishermen but when I enlarged the photo back here later I could see that they were just sitting there, having a concentrated contemplation of the activities that might or might not be going on onshore.

Even more bizarrely, after about 10 minutes they moved off several hundred yards along the coast and stopped again for another contemplation.

No idea what they were up to but it smelt rather fishy to me. However, when you live just a few hundred yards from a Fish Processing Plant, everything seems to smell rather fishy around here.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And eventually I did actually make it over to the wall where I could look down onto the beach.

Quite few people down there this afternoon, although given how nice the weather was this afternoon I was expecting to see many more down there than I actually did.

Of those who were actually down there, some of them were having a little paddle about in the water and some had even gone for a swim in the sea.

This is presumably the swansong of summer, until everyone dresses up as penguins and goes for a run into the sea on Boxing Day.

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Something else was moving around just off the Ile de Chausey and I’d been keeping an eye on it.

It was large and white and after a couple of minutes of reflection I realised that it was heading my way so I took a photograph of it.

No prozes for guessing who it was. When had a closer look at it I could see that it was in fact Belle France, the newest of the Ile de Chausey ferries, surrounded by all other kinds of water craft.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d go for a walk around the medieval city walls today to see what was happening there, so I set off through the crowds of people. It seemed that everyone was up here on the path today instead of down there on the beach.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One of the things that I have been saying rather a lot just recently is that with one thing and another, Summer seems to be coming to an end.

Nothing underlines that so much as this photo here. You’ll see that the crown of the diving platform has now been removed from its concrete pillar and the changing cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away too.

It’s no surprise that the cabins go into store once the crowds go home and they are no longer required. We’ve seen some terrific storms coming in there in the past and the cabins wouldn’t last long. You’d come back next Summer and find nothing but a pile of matchwood

Nothing else much going on this afternoon down at that end so I pushed on through the wilderness that used to be the Square Maurice Marland on my way home.

philcathane rusa dumper freight quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s a lovely pile of freight down on the quayside this afternoon.

A load of dumpers and other stuff presumably destined for a dealer in the Channel Islands are lined up by the fence waiting to be taken away.

Judging by the colours I first thought that they might have been “Kubota” equipment but they seem to be carrying the name of “Rusa”, which as far as I know, is an Indian control equipment company so that doesn’t sound as if it’s correct.

And this was where I suspected that there was something different in the port because I didn’t recognise the array of antennae just to the right.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After everything that we had seen yesterday flying around, up to this point we hadn’t seen a single aeroplane here in the vicinity, except for something miles out in the Baie de Granville.

However as I wandered away through the Square we heard the familiar droning of one of our old friends. The red powered hang-glider had been having a run out this afternoon and was now on her way home.

From down here it looked as if there was only one person aboard, so presumably it as simply a training flight or a flight to clock up the hours rather than a run out to see the sights.

refrigerated vans port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There were however some strange sights to be seen elsewhere around the port.

These two refrigerated vans were parked with their rear doors opened back-to-back with each other as if they were exchanging loads. But with the driver of one of them sitting quietly in his cab, I was obviously missing something.

The last time that we saw a van parked on there with some rather bizarre goings-on around it, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it ended up in the water. Mind you, it had been there much longer than these two.

Several months longer, in fact.

armoury medieval city walls Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way back home I went a new way, across the lawn behind the church.

Previously I’d seen this little gate and room in a bank of earth built right up to the base of the medieval city walls. This is exactly where I would expect the town’s armoury to be built, where there would be no chance of a stray cannonball striking it.

The construction of the walls began by the English in 1440 during the Hundred Years War, and extended and modified considerably over the next couple of centuries, so I can’t say when this room was constructed.

However by the late 14th Century the use of explosives in artillery was well-established. It wasn’t long afterwards that explosive shells of some primitive description took to the air so some protection to the entry to ensure that a shell didn’t hit it, such as might be provided by the church behind me, would be required.

After lunch I took the last lump of dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting for a few hours.

later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I kneaded it out and rolled it. They I put it in the pizza tray to proof.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When it was ready I assembled it, remembering the olives this week, and put it in the oven to cook

It turned out quite nice again, and with not putting quite so many onions on it this week, seemed to taste better too. It goes quite well with fresh tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and olives.

So now that that’s out of the way and I’ve written my notes I’m going to bed. I have a radio programme to do so I need to be up and about early.

It’ll probably take another long, exhausting session to complete it. Sometime between 4-5 hours seems to be par for the course but I wish that it could be done quicker.

And sometime as well I’ll have to think about doing 2 per week as my stock is slowly exhausting itself as I take a week off here and there.

But that’s not this week. I’ll have to make plans for that another time.

Sunday 11th September 2022 – WHILE THIS GUY …

kayak baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… on his kayak goes paddling by the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc, I was busy recovering from yesterday.

Far too tired to go to bed, and far too tired to do anything else after my exertions yesterday, it was rather late when I finally went to bed.

For a couple of hours I was having quite a good sleep and then all of the tossing and turning began and the rest of the night was quite disturbed.

If I had had the energy and initiative (both of which are sadly lacking these days) I could have been up and about a lot earlier than 10:45. But then again it IS Sunday and I’m entitled to have one day of lying in bed vegetating.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as the red powered hang-glider goes gliding by overhead while I was out in the Place d’Armes, I was busy taking my medication and then sitting down to start work.

And work on a Sunday? Yes! Especially when I had a day like yesterday when I didn’t write up my notes.

It took much longer than I ought to have done too, but then again with it being Sunday I wasn’t quite as dedicated as I might otherwise have been. There are always interruptions, one thing leads to another and once you make a start you’ve no idea just how many other things there are.

And this took me up to lunchtime.

It was the usual Sunday breakfast of porridge, toast and plenty of strong black coffee, and a good proportion of my porridge ended up in the bin.

Whyever that would be I have no idea. It’s not like me to leave food that I have made. I usually have a very good idea of how much food I’m able to eat and this was just a usual proportion.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While these people scramble across the rocks with their equipment for the pèche à pied, I began to deal with the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing.

Having been out all day yesterday I hadn’t paired off the music for Monday’s work and so I sat down to do it after my meal.

The joints went together really well and it sounds quite good. And I’m getting to grips with the idea of intros, and extended the one for Monday’s opening track so that there would be enough time to superimpose the introductory speech.

There was also a good lead-in for the speech from this week’s guest and that impressive as well.

And that took me up to the time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The weather was much nicer today – in fact I had the window open again – so there was a good possibility that it would bring out the crowds.

There were plenty of people down there too just as I expected. Plenty of them in the sea too “taking the waters” and that’s quite impressive. We’re approaching the start of Autumn and everything will be cooling down.

The tide was well-out this afternoon – far too far out for people at the Plat Gousset to be taking advantage of it – so it was quite quiet down at that end of the beach. No-one in the water down there unless it was in the tidal swimming pool that I can’t see from here.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And you can see just how far out the tide is right now.

We’re used to seeing the marker lights on the rocks at the end of the Ile de Chausey, but it’s rare to see them so far out of the water like this.

It makes quite a contrast from what we are used to seeing when we are looking out from here or going past on a boat.

That will explain the people that we saw just now on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc on their way out for a bit of pèche à pied .

F-GIKI Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While we were out here on the clifftop there was an aeroplane that had taken off from the airfield.

She’s F-GIKI, a Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 that is owned by the Aero Club of Granville.

She was picked up on radar at 16:20 just offshore from here, flew over Mont St Michel, deep into Brittany and came back over St Malo, coming back in to land at 17:57.

My photo was timed at 16:17 (adjusted) so that’s probably about right. She must be under the radar just here.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Taking my life into my hands, I decided to restart my walks down to the end of the headland.

Fighting my way past the crowds, I came in the end to the bunker at the back of the lighthouse where there’s a good view out to sea.

The view out to sea today towards Jersey wasn’t as good as it might have meen but down the coast it was one of the best that we have had. Cap Fréhel was visible with the naked eye today, and even the lighthouse could be identified.

Having clambered up there to the top of the bunker I took a photo, and I’ve not enhanced it at all.

pointe de carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The view down the bay on the other side of the headland was just as good.

The Pointe de Carolles was looking quite beautiful this afternoon. The sun was catching it quite nicely and we could see the houses down there quite clearly. However they aren’t all that far away.

The hotels down at the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel are much farther away but even so, we can see them quite clearly this afternoon as well, in the background just to the right of the Pointe de Carolles.

It’s a shame that we can’t see Mont St Michel from here – that is, not until someone decides to dynamite the headland over there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The walk down to the end of the headland was undertaken quite gingerly, sliding about on my gammy leg on the loose gravel and rough surface.

As we have already seen, there was plenty of activity down there with the kayak, the pèche-à-pied and all of the views. And so it’s no surprise that this afternoon there were a few people down there making the most of it.

There’s a woman down there hiding in the bushes but I’ve really no idea what she’s doing, and the knee of someone sunbathing too.

Plenty of people wandering around on the lower path as well enoying the lovely afternoon.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, there has been something exciting happening in the inner harbour by the looks of things.

Both od the sailing ships, Marité and Shtandart, have left the port and are out at sea. Marité must have simply gone for a lap around the bay as she did yesterday, because she came back into port at 19:51 this evening.

As for Shtandart, it’s much more difficult to keep track of her. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that she has switched off her AIS beacon and so I’m not able to find out by reference to my radar where she might be.

For all I know, she might even br back in port but it’s dark outside so I won’t be able to see anyway.

Having checked the harbour this afternoon I headed for home.

customs patrol porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And this was something that took me rather by surprise. I’m used to finding police barrages all over the place and even customs barrages. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I’ve even been caught in a few of them.

But what I don’t understand is why on earth they would want to have a customs barrage underneath the Porte St Jean. It’s not as if they are going to come across too many foreign smugglers there or people driving their cars on red diesel.

In fact the funniest moment that I ever had with a French “flying customs patrol” was back in 2002 when they took ages to set up all of their equipment to check the fuel of a lorry that I was driving, only to find out that it was in fact petrol-engined.

Back here there were the dictaphone notes to transcribe. All of them. There was Hans, Alison, Caroline and me. Caroline was in a wheelchair. We came into a building to go upstairs. Caroline went up first because she was going to bring down Aunt Mary in her wheelchair so that we could go up and visit whoever else was in her apartment. We waited and waited but nothing happened. We went upstairs to the floor, going up the stairs. The lift came back and Caroline exiited pushing the person on a wheelchair. We asked Caroline what had happened. She said that the panel had fallen down and you can’t see the buttons to press. We walked in there and a cupboard in there had fallen over blocking the entrance to the lift properly so we just stood it upright. I went to pull Caroline in and this other wheelchair. I thought that I would be blocked in here so I’d have to go down with them and back up. I stepped out. Caroline asked “how do I get in now?”. Suddenly Hans took her wheelchair, folded it up, stuck it in her hand and pushed them both inside it. Alison looked at Hans and said “I thought that you’d do well living in France”. The lift didn’t move but we were now focusing on getting to this door. Caroline would have to fend for herself to make the lift go downstairs and back up again.

Later I was in a white Ford Transit van driving from Nantwich to Crewe. As we reached Wells Green there was a vehicle in the middle of the road turning right so I passed underneath him on the left. Just as I passed him on the left a Morris Minor Traveller came the other way on my side of the road and hit all down the side of the van. Of course I stopped. Some guy came over who said that he had seen the accident. There was a girl there so he pointed me out to her. I shouted to her to come over. She was shouting some guy’s name. I went over to her and asked her why she wouldn’t come over and talk to me about the accident. She replied “no, I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it” and continued to shout this boy’s name. I said “right, let’s call the police”. I picked up my phone to dial 999 but she ran off up the road towards Nantwich. I ‘phoned the police and told them that I was involved in this accident but the driver had taken flight. They said that they’d be here in a moment.

And then we were in a hotel somewhere. There was a big business meeting taking place. I’d arrived early and was waiting maybe for Alison to show up. People stated arriving, all these upper echelons. I was amazed about how they were behaving, insisting, demanding, peremptory with the staff. One guy whom I noticed was particularly revolting with them. another guy sitting near me who was sprawled out on his chair listening to his music, someone walked past and pulled the plug out of the wall accidentally as they were going past. He was outraged and called on them to come back but they can’t have heard and just carried on walking etc. But he had put his power cable across the aisle so what did he expect? Eventually I noticed that it was approaching 16:00 and we had things to do so I decided to go upstairs which meant disturbing this guy again which wasn’t very popular. There was some stuff on the floor by the seat that I thought was mine so I went to pick it up. he made a scene about it as it was his. eventually I made sure that I had everything I need and began to set off for my room. I was really embarrassed by the behaviour of some of these people checking in at this hotel. It wasn’t a good signal for any of them.

I can’t remember very much about this one. I was with Nerina and I’d gone away early for Christmas. She was saying something along the lines of “you can tell that you’re popular when people waited until after you’d gone to bring in their Christmas gifts for each other”. I replied that that’s not true at all because people give their Christmas gifts around before they themselves go on holiday. There were a couple of people who went on holiday before me who brought in Christmas gifts for everyone including me”. That’s about all that I remember

Finally I was watching the football last night as well. Mike Wilde of Connah’s Quay Nomads took a really quick throw-in down the touchline to one of his players who beat someone and passed inside where one of his team-mates was totally unmarked. He came into goal with a on-on-one situation with the keeper. he pushed the ball past the keeper and then tripped over his own foot. The referee blew his whistle to stop the game. Everyone in the crowd could see quite clearly that there was no penalty because he really did stub his toe in the ground going round a good 3 feet from where the keeper was. We were all bewildered as to why the game had stopped.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Tonight’s pizza was one of the best that I have ever made.

And had I remembered to put the olives on it too, it would have been even better. I shall have to remember to make more like this

After breakfast i’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been defrosting all day. After my ginger beer following my walk this afternoon I kneaded it and rolled it out onto the pizza tray where I left it to proof for a while.

When it was ready, I assembled it and put it in the oven to bake, and when it was completely baked it was ready to seat.

Now I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning with a radio programme to prepare. And then I have things to do. It looks as if everything is warming up again.

Sunday 4th September 2022 – AFTER ALL THAT …

… the blasted, flaming, perishing nurse didn’t show up today.

And after I’d made a special effort to fall out of bed at 08:00 this morning, despite the rather late finish yesterday and the bad time that I had during the night.

speedboat buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire a few photos of various kinds of nautical life that I saw this afternoon, I’ll explain.

Last night I intended to be in bed by about 23:00 but it was much closer to about midnight when I finally staggered off to bed.

And there I was tossing and turning for much of the night trying my best but failing miserably to go off to sleep.

Mind you, I must have done at some point because there were a few things on the dictaphone – notes of where I’d been during the night on my travels.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the medication I came back in here and when I’d eventually awoken (which wasn’t straight away, I’ll promise you) I had a listen to the dictaphone to find where I’d been.

I’d actually awoken with a really vivid sense of having played in goal for Pionsat’s football team for several matches. I really don’t know why but it was such a real feeling. It was hard to explain. We had some kind of team together somewhere in a dream and were looking for reinforcements. I’d heard about some young boy who played in some kind of cup competition as a goalkeeper. When we were putting the team sheet out for the next game a couple of days before hand this boy’s name was on it. I asked what was happening and they said that they’ve signed him up. he was going to sit on the bench for us. As I had to explain to someone that although he’s a good keeper he’s only young. He’ll have plenty of experience and learn quite a lot from just sitting on our bench in case there happens to be an injury. At 16 he has a lot to learn yet. This was when I started to have this feeling about being in goal for Pionsat.

It was actually such a vivid sensation that it took me a good few minutes to come to my senses (such as they are). I really did think that there was actually something in this when I awoke and it took me completely by surprise.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The next three voyages were quite interesting because they were all part and parcel of the same dream. I kept on slipping back into it. And it was another extremely realistic voyage or three as well.

I was with Rosemary and we were discussing the Ukrainians.

And this dream went on and on. We were all in Montreal. I was in the queue for buying something but I can’t remember what now. Their son (whom they don’t have of course) came up to me and asked if I was in a rush to go home. I said “not particularly. Why?”. “How do you fancy a week in Capri?”. I said “I’ll ask you a few questions. One – is it for a nice holiday in the sun?” to which he said “yes”. Then I asked “is your sister going?” to which he said “yes” so I replied “in that case I’m going as well”. We had quite a long chat about that. We all met back up. The father asked where we were but I couldn’t think of the street for a moment. I said “we’re on the south of the Rue St Catherine”. Suddenly I looked around and saw a big hotel and said “yes we’re in Campbell Square”. he picked up the name on an adjoining street and thought that we were in that. I insisted that this was Campbell Square (Place Mark Campbell is actually south of Boulevard Sherbrooke near the eastern end of the island and there’s no hotel there but never mind). I thought “we’d better hurry and organise this trip if we’re going tomorrow. I have to cancel my injection appointment with the nurse. If I cancel that and we decide that we aren’t going”. In the meantime mother and daughter were being rather distant. I couldn’t understand what was happening. When I looked around again the father and the youngest son (which they don’t have) had wandered away for miles. I was trying to find out what was happening here because really we all needed to stick together and book this hotel etc, book this flight and make sure that we were going. It didn’t look as if we were going at the moment and I was confused.

Then back in this dream yet again. A girl and I who had been with the Ukrainians had walked away. They’d gone off somewhere and we were walking past a group of beggars who were trying to entertain someone in the hope of having some money from him. We went past what at first looked like a grassy bank. I had a closer look at it and it was the ruins of a building that had been destroyed in an air raid in the early 1930s. There was a cemetery in the middle of it which I thought must have been the victims but it said something like “a cemetery, late mid-century”. I thought “that can’t be correct”. We carried on walking trying to find out what the Ukrainians were going to do about this idea to go to Italy for a week. We walked into another square and there was this huge magnificent hotel. I said “this is the hotel where we’ll be going to stay before we head off”. She said “there’s been another change of plans now. I heard them talking and it looks as if they’re going to be back home by Saturday so this thing doesn’t look as if it’s going to come off. We have to be careful because we’ll be in the red zone that weekend but if we can return home on Friday i’ve arranged for us to set up the tables presumably for the market stall the following day so this trip isn’t going to happen at all”. I felt extremely disappointed about that.

There’s a large part of this voyage that I’ve left out. Usually, the only things that I leave out are the more gruesome bits and pieces that you really don’t want to read. However today, I’ve left stuff out for another reason completely. If you really want to know the reason why, you’ll have to ask me.

There were a couple of pauses while I was doing that – firstly for breakfast and then for lunch. Yes, I had both today. In fact, going through the fridge yesterday I came across an opened packet of vegan cheese slices about which I had completely forgotten so for breakfast I made myself some cheese on toast.

It was delicious too but I wish that I had remembered to put a few slices of tomato on top.

When I finally finished I spent most of the rest of the afternoon dealing with the photos from Jersey. And once again, more time was spent researching than editing

A few weeks ago Liz and I had chatted about the Rollright Stones – the ancient monument, not the SONG BY “TRAFFIC”. In a Newsgroup that I follow, someone had posted an article about the stones so I sent the link to her and that led to a little chat.

Something else that happened was that I had a little “wobble” and found myself drifting away – the first time for a fortnight. But I think that I won’t count this because after all, it’s Sunday and I did have an early start.

And don’t forget that I did say that I’d go back to bed after the nurse had been. It’s hardly my fault that no-one turned up.

And it goes without saying that I staggered off outside, a little later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not that I went far. Not the way my leg is feeling right now. I went as usual across the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see the crowds.

And while it’s probably wrong to say “crowds”, there were certainly quite a few people down there right now. My attention was focused though on the ones who were brave enough to take to the water. Good for them.

No neighbours out there to detain me this afternoon so I didn’t have cause to hang around. After a look around out to sea, where there wasn’t much going on for a Sunday, I tried my knee out, found that it hadn’t improved any, and abandoned my plans for a hobble off around the medieval city walls.

masthead flag shtandart port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Instear, I took myself off to the viewpoint overlooking the port and the fish processing plant on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne

The first thing that I noticed was that Shtandart is still there. It looks as if the port has become a safe haven for her now. All of those who voted for LePen (and there were many more of them than there ought to be around here) must be exerting their influence.

The second thing though is that she has taken down her Russian flag at the masthead. There’s another banner there right now but I really don’t know to what it refers.

The superimposed images are strange. Top left looks roughly like Asia, bottom left roughly like the Middle East, bottom right like Alaska and the Aleutians, but I’m open to suggestions for the top right image. I wonder if they represent areas that Putin intends to occupy.

le styx spirit of conrad capo di fora charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Chausiaise, Victor Hugo and the trawlers are still there out of shot, and the three boats that we saw yesterday, Le Styx, Spirit of Conrad and Capo di Fora are still there too.

And they’ve now been joined by another yacht that must have come into port after I’d gone back inside yesterday. The blue and white yacht Charles Marie has now come into port. Maybe she has finished her summer season now as well.

There are two other boats in that photo too, a trawler in front of le Styx and a yacht, complete with wind turbine, in front of Spirit of Conrad.

However I have no idea who they are and I have no way of finding out because whoever they are, they don’t have their AIS beacons switched on

grass boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While I was here I had a look at the grass on the top of the cliff.

That rain that we had has clearly done someone some good because while much of the older grass looks as if it’s definitively gone beyond the possibility of recovery (and I’m not even convinced of that) you can see that there’s plenty of new growth springing up.

It’s not going to take too long before we’ll forget that we have had a drought this summer.

This was as far as I went. With no change at the chantier naval today I decided to head off home and not put too much trust in my knee.

As I said yesterday, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in my knee and it’s all rather worrying.

yellow powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way back home I heard an old familiar rattling up in the sky.

And I had to look long and hard to see who it was because it was so high up and lost in the clouds. I only noticed it when it flew into a gap and sure enough, it turned out to be the yellow powered hang-glider.

And while we’re on the subject of ULMs – as the French call “microlight aricraft” … “well, one of us is” – ed … one of them, not one that we know, went down yesterday morning near Falaise in the Calvados and regrettably both persons on board lost their lives .

Before going out I’d mixed up another load of dough and given it a good going-over.

When I came back it had risen quite nicely so I divided it into 3 and put two portions into the freezer. The third one I rolled out and put in the pizza tray for its second proofing.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It sprung up like a mushroom too so when it was ready I assembled it and put it in the oven.

Following on from what I said last Sunday I remembered to put it one shelf higher than I usually do and it was actually cooked to perfection. Easily the best one that I’ve ever made and one of the tastiest too.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’m going to relax for a while and then go off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow – 06:00 in fact – and a radio programme to prepare so I need to be at my best.

What are the odds on the nurse coming along to interrupt me at some point?

But what about last night’s adventures? That football one was certainly bizarre and I can’t believe that I actually had to think about what I’d been doing.

When I was at school I used to play in goal but I never had the height and I was never actually selected to represent the school so thinking that I wasn’t any good, I never kept it up. I just turned out in goal for the odd knock-about side after I left school and played outfield down the left side of the field.

It wasn’t until a good few years later that I discovered that the boy who was n°1 choice in goal at school went on to play for Wycombe Wanderers in the Football League and the boy who was n°2 choice played for Northwich Victoria in the UK’s fifth tier so maybe it was a case that I wasn’t that bad after all. The competition was just too good.

Instead, I ended up keeping wicket for a good-quality club cricket size for a few years until I went off on my travels.

But that voyage with the Ukrainians was interesting too. It’s a shame that I can’t tell all of the story.

Sunday 28th August 2022 – NOT TOO MANY …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… people down on the beach this afternoon either.

When I went for my wander around this afternoon (around the medieval city walls rather than around the end of headland) I had a quick glance down onto the beach as usual to see what was happening there.

While it was wrong to say that the place was deserted, we can see that we are coming to the end of the summer season and the crowds are slowly melting away to go back home.

Just two people swimming in the sea here this afternoon as well.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The situation wasn’t all that much better at the beach round at the Plat Gousset.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing people packed shoulder-to-shoulder down there a couple of weeks ago. It’s thinned out quite dramatically down there now that we are at late afternoon on the last weekend of August.

But not to worry. Once the brats are back at school we’ll be swamped with all of the retirees in their caranavettes crawling literally like snails with their homes on their backs into every possible (and several impossible, if previous years are anything to go by) spaces and making life quite intolerable.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m a retiree too and anyone reading these notes on a regular basis will think that I’m a miserable old moaning retiree too, but I have a long way to go before I fall into the category of person who drives a caravanette.

So, retournons à nos moutons, I’ll tell you exactly what kind of category I do fall into today. And that is the one that lies abed until almost midday doing absolutely nothing at all.

Going to bed at 02:00 is probably responsible for some of that, but bone idleness is responsible for the rest. But seeing as it’s Sunday and a Day of Rest, ask me if I care.

Once I’d finally seen the light of day I went off for my medication and after that I came back in here for a very leisurely stroll around the information highway before going for food.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Walking around Brussels I met some kind of guy who lived off his wits doing casual work. We’d had a chat and I went off to do what I was going. On the way back I bumped into him again. He was talking to me about a house clearance that he had done, about how it was taking lots of time etc. I was on my way back into the centre and noticed that some property that had been fenced off for years, the fence had come down ready for some developer to start to demolish and redevelop the property. It was in the centre of a railway line with all these bridges and had been closed off for years and now that the fencing had gone you could see that there was all graffiti etc. The way through led to where the dechetterie was so you had to walk across this site through these ruined buildings, climb through a stile at the far end and you’d be on the road where the dechetterie was. That would take you straight into the centre. I set off to walk through these buildings. I saw that there was something that was severely fire-damaged so I went to have a look. It was painted red, black and white, some buildings. Eventually I managed to find a plaque. This was one of Belgium’s oldest football teams that had played here until fire had destroyed their stadium and the club had folded. It looked very much as if they had been sponsored by this paint company whose warehouse had been here, which was what they were planning to demolish. While I was looking around 1 or 2 other people came up to me and started to chat. I wandered away and found myself by a ticket agency where they sold tickets for all kinds of events. I’d talked to a friend a while ago about going to see a concert and I’d have to travel on the train so I’d need rail tickets. The concert tickets weren’t on sale yet but I could see by peering through the window around the blind that was closing it off that there was someone in there so I knocked on the door. She came over, opened the door and started to talk to me.

Later on I was in Paris. There was some kind of lecture or something taking place and some activity going on. All of the students wanted this lecturer to lead it but he wasn’t really all that impressed with the idea. They were trying to persuade him. Then I was in the air looking down on Paris. I could see a car chase taking place. From my vantage point a few hundred feet up I followed this car chase. It ended up going through the Arc de Triomphe, out the other side and onto the Boulevard Haussman. I was able to follow it although I was floating in the air. I gradually came into land. The street was called Rue Fantastique. I vaguely seemed to remember knowing someone so I thought that I’d go for a wander around here in case this was where they lived. As I was wandering around I could hear them on the ‘phone. She was going on saying “yes, I’ve never been out with a songwriter before. It would be really interesting”. What she must have been doing was arranging a date with the songwriter. She gave him her address which sounded like “Fantastic Alley” which considering that I was in “Fantastic Street”, Rue Fantastique sounded about right. I shouted at the top of my voice “did you say that you lived in Fantastic Alley?” but she didn’t hear me or, at least, didn’t reply. I wandered round and could see her in the window of a bathroom shop which was presumably the one that she owned. I wasn’t sure whether she saw me. I walked on a little way out of this courtyard place and ended up back in the street where there was a timber merchant’s or DiY place.

And how long is it since we’ve had a “flying” dream? It must be ages, I reckon. I don’t recall having had one recently.

And more to the point – when did we last have a night without my family making an appearance?

The rest of the afternoon, such as it was, was spent first of all (and in news that will shock everyone on a Sunday – it certainly shocked me) was to tidy my desk. I found stuff lying around on here since late October 2019 when I came back from an Arctic adventure.

Working on a Sunday? Whatever next!

And then the rest of the time has been spent catching up with the blog entries from my trip around Central Europe. At the moment I’m just about to hit the road in Macon but as I said the other day, I’ll wait until I’ve finished it all before posting details.

medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Having had an uneventful walk past the viewpoint down onto the beach and with nothing much at all happening out at sea I ended up at the viewpoint further along underneath the walls.

Not many people down here either today although there are a few people scavenging, presumably for fish, down at the end of the medieval fish trap. A free meal tonight maybe if they are lucky.

The other day I also mentioned the yellow buoys that mark the limit of the patrolled swimming zone here. You can see them down there and if you look closely you’ll see the chains to which they tethered. There are a few people giving them a close inspection too.

lifeguards tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So if that’s the zone that is patrolled by the lfeguards, where do the lifeguards go when the tide is out beyond the buoys?

Sure enough, the green flag is flying at the tidal swimming pool and you can see the two lifeguards there in the fluorescent yellow tops.

The green flag and the lifeguards are the kind of thing that will bring the crowds, such as they are today, flocking to the pool and it looks like a reasonable turn-out

Stopping for a glance at the Plat Gouseet, I cleared off on my way around the walls.

In the Place Maurice Marland there was a young woman who must have been sitting on a blanket on the grass. She had the blanket spread out across a bench there and was picking bits of grass from it. That’s what I’d call “obsessive”.

typical chausiais rigged yacht festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With nothing else of excitement going on there and all of the seagull nests having been cleared out I went for a look at the last day of the Festival Of Working Sailing Ships.

When I eventually get round to finishing the photos from my sail down the coast you’ll see a few more photos of a small boat rigged like this one.

This is one of the traditional, typical chausias-rigged dinghies doing a lap around the port. It’s very symbolic of the vicinity before mass-produced motorised aluminium yachts took over just about everything.

Bith the 2 men at the bow were pulling on the same oars, which was interesting to say the least, if not confusing.

marité marie fernand philcathane festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As for the rest of the festival, numbers were dropping off as I arrived.

Nothing like as many people as we saw earlier in the week even though it’s Sunday. Marité seems to be doing a roaring trade seeing as she hasn’t gone out to sea this afternoon, but not so many people seem to be interested in Marie Fernand

As for Philcathane and Chausiaise, they are being pretty much ignored. And that’s a shame because I’d ben much more interested in whatever they were up to.

Perhaps we ought to have a festival celebrating the current working boats that operate out of here, with an Open Day where we can swarm all over them. Maybe I should suggest it.

But I won’t invite the jazz band that was playing in the background. I have my dignity.

monaco du nord 2 le styx chausiaise festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But in which class of boat would La Granvillaise fall?

She’s certainly a historic sailing ship but she’s also a current working ship that sails out of the port. And as yesterday, she was sailing around within the confines of the inner harbour this afternoon, diesel-powered unfortunately and with her tender by the side.

The chausiais dinghy had to move out of the way and all of the proceedings were being overlooked by the trawlers Monaco du Nord II and Le Styx as well as several others, while Chausiaise keps a discreet distance.

yellow powered hang glider port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022On the way back home I was oveflown.

Whoever it was was flying at quite an altitude and I couldn’t identify it at first. Back here though having enhanced and enlarged the image I could see that it was the little yellow powered hang glider on its way home after a run out down the bay.

Back here I had another iced ginger beer and then finished off the work that I’d started earlier.

After brunch I’d taken out the last lump of dough from the freezer and that had been quietly defrosting while I’d been working and walking.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When I’d finished working it was ready to be re-kneaded and rolled out, and then I left it to proof for a while.

When it was ready I assembled my pizza and put it in the oven to bake. And when it was finished I attacked it with gusto (and a knife and fork).

The base was slightly overdone so what I’m going to try next week if I remember is to put it in the oven one shelf higher up so that the base will be less cooked but the topping more so.

It’s annoying me somewhat that I don’t have my new oven up here. I’m going to have to think about how I’m going to manage to bring up those kitchen units that I bought in Munich.

But that’s for another time. I have an early start in the morning with a radio programme to prepare so I’m going to have an early night – if I can and I’m not disturbed.

But something is bound to happen. It usually does.

Sunday 21st August 2022 – HAVING FINISHED …

… all of my work for the weekend by Saturday afternoon, I did something that I haven’t gone for quite some considerable time, and that was that I spent a few hours doing nothing at all except passing the time on the computer to no good purpose.

It was probably something to do with crashing out during the morning and the strong coffee that I’d had at half-time during the football but it was 04:00 when I finally fell into bed and I wasn’t tired then either. But with no alarm in the morning, I didn’t care either.

No-one went past with a steam engine this morning but even so I awoke a couple of times and at one point I was even planning on leaving the bed. But at … errr … 12:30 I finally saw the light of day.

First thing that I did of course was to go for the medication and then the next thing was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were going for a ride on a fairground attraction but it was at an airport. We were in the queue and people just kept on pushing in front of the queue or pushing in ahead of us. There was no discipline in this queue. I rang up the owner or organiser etc to tell him. Of course while this was happening there were even more people pushing in to the front etc so that was a pointless exercise.

Later on I’d ordered a bank robbery in the style of THE LAVENDER HILL MOB with a few people, someone like Sid James and one of the women out of SAINT TRINIANS films. We had the money and secreted it away waiting for an opportune moment. Someone had come along and recognises Sid James as bandit from in the past, even though he’d been keeping his name quiet. Another member of my team came to hear about this and began to feel really edgy. He came to see me and I explained that this was all part of the plan. Instead of them using me to lay their hands on the money and no-one else I’d been using them to lay hold of their experience to pull the job and that I was well in control of the situation even if I didn’t think that I was.

And then there I was lying in bed until some ridiculous time when I decided eventually to get up. As I was sitting on the edge of the bed my father went past the room and shouted at me “isn’t it about time that I got myself going, something like that?”. So I started to dress. I picked up a few things and went downstairs into the street to walk down to the living room. I suddenly realised that I somehow seemed to have acquired one wellington boot and one cardboard box in which to fit my feet. I couldn’t understand what was happening here so I had to go back to my room and sort out some proper footwear so that I could go back down to the living room.

After brunch I did something even more exciting, which was to transcribe not one but two days’ worth of dictaphone notes from my trip around Europe. If I’m not careful I’ll be catching myself up at this rate and that won’t ever do.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022By the time that I’d finished it was time to go out for my afternoon walk.

Not many people down there on the beach today, and there wasn’t anyone sunbathing.

Not that I was surprised because it was quite cool this afternoon. at one stage I was wondering whether to put un a sweater or something. And had I done so, I wouldn’t have been the only one wearing one.

There was someone wrapped in a towel so if he had just come out of the water he’s a better man that I am, Gungha Din.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual while I was here I was having a good look around out to sea.

The first thing that I saw was something fairly large heading out of the bay past the Ile de Chausey and into the English Channel.

It wasn’t easy to identify it so I took a photo with the idea of enlarging and enhancing it when I returned hom later.

And in fact it’s a trawler heading out to sea, something that’s quite unusual for a Sunday. My understanding is that to preserve stocks, commercial fishing is discouraged if not prohibited on a Sunday. So maybe it’s a positioning voyage.

Unfortunately I can’t identify who she is at this distance.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022She wasn’t the only boat out there this afternoon.

The tide is well in so I imagined that the harbour gates and the port de plaisance are open. And with it being a weekend, every man and his dog have brought their water craft to the port.

Five or six yachts in this photo along with several other assorted craft, but really I could have taken a dozen photos from here, all in different directions, that would have included as many boats in each one

So on that note I wandered off on my walk. Today I’m going for my post-prandial perambulation around the medieval city walls

kayakers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Trawlers and yachts aren’t all of the watercraft out there this afternoon either.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m always on the lookout for a few oars here and there and I spotted some others out in the bay this afternoon.

Having seen the kayakers practising in the tidal basin next to the Nautical Centre behind the port, it’s no surprise to see a couple of them out here in the bay this afternoon.

The little wheels on the deck of the one in front are quite interesting too. I suppose that they help when you are trying to manoeuvre your kayak around on dry land. I remember the fun that I used to have trying to do that when I was kayaking at school.

swimmer plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway off I went around the walls and found myself along the little path at the foot thereof that leads to the Plat Gousset.

There was something flailing around out at sea and I wondered if it might be a dolphin or a whale or something like that. After all, there have sightings of all kinds of strange beasts in and around Normandy just recently.

But it is in fact a swimmer and he seemed to be making good and steady progress. And in this weather he deserves a medal.

There have already been REPORTS OF SHARKS IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. I’m not too sure if any are man-eating sharks but to be on the safe side I’d only swim far out if you are a woman or a child.

“And would a shark swallow me whole?”
“No. He’d spit that bit out.”

I’ll get my coat.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path leads on round to the viewpoint that overlooks the Plat Gousset and I always stop there when I’m round this way.

Down below there aren’t the crowds that we have been having over the last few weekends. The cooler weather today is keeping them off the beaches which is just as well as sometimes just recently it’s been overwhelming down there.

There was a line of people sitting on the concrete wall at the edge of the slipway down to the beach.

Don’t ask me why because there was no entertainment down there today. Some weekends, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there has been street theatre, musicians, all that kind of thing down on the Plat Gousset.

No policemen causing a road block this afternoon down on the corner of the Place Marechal Foch.

braderie rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were thousands of people milling about in the streets of the centre of the town though.

There’s another braderie taking place at the town-centre shops today. All of the streets are closed to traffic and the shopkeepers have set out their stalls for all of the passers-by.

It’s all surplus stock, last years unsellable items, this years end-of-summer-season sales with the aim of emptying the shops so that they have room for all of the autumn and winter stock that will be arriving soon.

In the past I’ve been for a wander down there but there never was anything that particularly caught my eye at a price that I could afford.

So resisting the temptation to go down the steps into the town, I carried on with my walk around the walls.

plant trough square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In the Square Maurice Marland there seems to be something rather bizarre happening.

While the square itself is descending into something of a less-than-genteel shabbiness we suddenly seem to have acquired a handful of plant troughs.

They are labelled with the names of individual “gardeners” who have presumably adopted the troughs and there are all kinds of things growing in them.

In this one for example, there’s what looks like a beetroot and some kind of strange plant with fruit that bear more than just a passing relationship to a tomato. Whatever the third plant it, I really have no idea.

dead leaves square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little further on down the path in the square there was something quite interesting to see.

This is something about which I’ve heard so much said just recently. The drought is causing all kinds of problems, one of which is that there is no longer enough water to hydrate the leaves of many of the deciduous trees.

The result of that is that many of the leaves are drying out and the tree is obliged to shed them in order to guarantee the survival of the ones less badly affected. That’s clearly quite evident here with dead leaves in the trees and an enormous pile of discarded leaves blown into a corner by the wind.

All of this behaviour in nature is in a sharp contrast with human behaviour. In humans, if one member is weak o unhealthy, the mother sacrifices everything to keep the weakest one alive. In the natural kingdom the weakest are often discarded to aid the survival of the strongest or healthiest.

yacht le loup port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was a small sailing ship just outside the harbour heading our way.

And so I waited accordingly until it came into view so that I could photograph it. I have a feeling that I ought to know who she is but no name springs to mind. Regular readers of this rubbish ought to recognise them just as well as I do these days.

With nothing else happening out there this afternoon I came home for a glass of iced coconut milk and then to sort out the photos.

After lunch today I’d taken a lump of frozen dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting during the course of the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When it was ready I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray where it could sit proofing itself.

When it was ready I assembled it and put it into the oven to bake and once more it looked quite appetising when it came out of the oven.

It tasted delicious too, which it always does these days. I seem to have found the knack of making them now which is no surprise after the number that I’ve baked over the last couple of years.

So having finished my notes, I’m off to bed. Despite the short day I’m exhausted and I’m ready for bed, especially with an 06:00 start in the morning. There’s a radio programme to do tomorrow.

Considering that Sunday is a day of rest, I’ve had a busy day today. In fact, I’ve had a busy weekend and if I manage to keep this up I shan’t know myself.

It’s quite possibly no coincidence that I had my first shot of Aranesp on Monday for over 2 months but I dunno. They say that it’s the injection of last resort and when I read THE SIDE-EFFECTS I can understand why. And now they want to increase the dose.

There’s no way that I would be having that injection if there were any other solution.

Sunday 14th August 2022 – WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT!

It actually rained today. And I missed most of it.

When I (eventually) awoke this morning (yes it was morning) the bright blue sky that we had had for the last I don’t know how long had changed into a woolly grey mass of cloud and the temperature was probably 10°C cooler too. Not that you’d know it in here because being a stone building with walls 1.20m thick it managed to avoid the extremes of temperature that we have outside.

Mind you, it wasn’t far off midnight. That’s because come 03:00 this morning I was still up and about. I’ve no idea what time I eventually went to bed but I was glad that I wasn’t going out at 08:30 this morning.

In actual fact I was awake at 10:20 but there wasn’t all that much likelihood of me showing a leg at that time. It was much more like 11:00 when I finally staggered into the daylight and went for my medication, feeling quite grateful that I’d prepared the music for the radio yesterday instead of trying to do it today.

Back in here, in a mad fit of enthusiasm and I’ve no idea where that came from, I listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a house somewhere down Minshull New Road or somewhere like that, a council house. I don’t know what I was doing in it but it was filthy, dirty, dusty, overfull of furniture etc. The only way out was to climb through a window, one of the smaller fanlight windows at the top. I’d been doing that for a while here and there. One day a girl in there got hold of me, told me her name and told me that she lived in this house and that she was fed up of people coming in and going out again through the window. I made a facetious remark about going out of the door which didn’t go down very well. I said “never mind. I’ll write you an apology. It’s no problem to me” so we agreed that I would write her an apology and she would accept it. We had a chat and she was saying how she hated this house and how she was hoping to move etc, quite a long discussion. In the end I decided that I had to go. Of course the only way out was through the window. I went to open the window which for some unknown reason wasn’t easy today. While I was at it two dogs, a big one and a small one came up and started gnawing at my leg. Then some old man came in and asked what I was doing. I explained to him and explained that I’d seen the girl. He didn’t seem to be all that pleased and was making up all kinds of reasons for it to be extremely difficult for me to climb out of that window. I was determined that I was going anyway. We were talking about travelling around the world. I said that I’d met some interesting people. He asked if I’d been to Moscow so I replied “yes”. He asked if I’d ever been to New York so I replied “yes”. He said that the World Trade Centre has only been down a few years so I replied that I’d been to New York a lot longer than those had been down. We had quite an acrimonious discussion, polite but bad-tempered. All the time I was trying to go out through this window so that I could leave but everything seemed to be conspiring against me to stop me going and to keep me in this flaming filthy, dusty, dirty house.

Later on I was at work. I’d been promoted and was working with the inspectors. We received certain information about different things and I suggested ways of dealing with it that were unorthodox but were bound to bring in results and weren’t illegal. Everyone looked at me strangely and as we didn’t have the staff we put it on the back burner for the moment. In the afternoon we were invited to a beach party so we went down there. A lot of the people were playing beach volleyball but I was peering through some papers that I’d brought with me sitting in the sun. I thought “when I’ve finished these papers I can go and join in the volleyball”. But everyone suddenly packed up and started to move. Someone asked where they were going and the response was “guess”. It turned out that they were all heading to the local night club because even though it wasn’t night time it was probably open by now. I had no intention whatever of going there but one has to be sociable. Just then some woman from the office came by with a huge folder and said “guess what I have in here”. I know that I was trying to lay my hands on a folder for work so I said the name. She said “no. It’s a list of all second-homes and country cottages in the UK”. I suggested that these be compared with the owners. If necessary we could make enquiries about them and tie them up to their owners and see what comes of it. Someone was there, a Prophet of Doom, saying that it would never work, that’s totally illegal” which of course it was nonsense. I was trying to argue my particular corner. For some reason these people seemed to be totally devoid of any imagination and were totally unlikely to make anything work with the kind of imagination that they had.

That’s one thing that I’ve noticed since I left the UK in 1992. These days British people seem to fall at the first fence when they are trying to do something. When a problem arises or a technical hitch develops or something goes wrong or a machine breaks or a plan needs developing, the first setback is enough to make them throw in the towel.

We were always taught to use our imagination, to think, and work out a workaround and I used to have loads of fun doing that. But I seem to be one of a very small breed of people today. It reminds me of the saying “99% of the population has problems, but the rest of us have solutions”.

After lunch I came back in here but strangely, I can’t remember now what I did. I know that I didn’t fall asleep, that is a surprise in itself these days. I managed to keep on going until it was time to go walkies but just as I was about to step out of the door Ingrid rang.

We ended up having a marathon session on the telephone too seeing as it’s been a while since we last spoke, and the result of all of this was that I was considerably late going for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

There were hordes of people down there this afternoon but they weren’t there for the sunbathing.

That was because
1) there was no sun
2) It’s the time for the pèche à pied and they were all mainly down there at the water’s edge having a scratch around to see what they could pull up

bouchot farm donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And with the tide being quite well out, it was all systems go further down the coast.

At Donville les Bains there’s a bouchot farm and you can see all of the stakes planted in the sand. Someone made an accidental discovery that if you leave ropes and things in the water the shellfish will actually grow on them in preference to the sand.

And that’s quite a delicacy too because the shellfish aren’t full of sandy grit and taste so much better.

Why that works so well here, apart from the fact that we have so much shellfish, is that with the high tides, the ropes and stakes can be well-submerged for growing the shellfish but at low tide they are out of the water and can be harvested and the equipment maintained quite easily.

medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But here’s an example of an earlier generation of fish traps.

This is the kind of thing that would have been common in medieval times. They would build a wall of loose-fitting stones across a bay or estuary so that at high tide, water and the fish therein would over flow behind the wall. And as the tide went out, the water would exfiltrate through the gaps in the stones leaving the fish behind.

And then all of your medieval fishwives would wade in and catch the fish with their bare hands ready for supper.

It’s the kind of thing that would still work today if it were properly maintained.

lifeguard tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There’s a sort-of modern version of it here.

That’s the tidal swimming pool at the Plat Gousset and the principle is the same. And today it seems to have caught quite a few fish of the two-legged variety in its trap.

The person in the fluorescent yellow jacket is the lifeguard. There is a handful of them scattered around at various places on the beach keeping an eye on the activities and making sure that no-one is swept away.

Not that they are likely to be swept away in the tidal swimming pool but you never know your luck, I suppose.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From there I wandered off to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Whenever we’ve seen that just recently it’s been heaving with people on the beach taking the sun but not today. There aren’t too many people down there in this weather. They are all wandering around the Place Marechal Foch.

But what caught my eye in this photo was the long queue of traffic coming down the hill into town. I can’t remember ever having seen a traffic jam quite like that in all the time that I’ve been living here

police interaction with mtorcyclist avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The reason for that might be something not unconnected with what’s going on in this photo.

These days it seems that you can’t go anywhere without attracting the attention of the local farces of Law and Order. And a couple of Granville’s finest seem to be rather more than interested in what this biker is up to with his machine.

In actual fact there were four policemen altogether and maybe they were performing a spot check of vehicles entering the town.

Nevertheless it’s good to see them going for the same old stereotyped victims. Nothing much changes, despite the passage of time.

crowds rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022another reason might be that the town centre is all closed off to through traffic today.

No vehicles are allowed in there right now and so they are having to go around the outside. That means that gordes of pedestrians can roam around the streets in perfect safety to their hearts’ content.

Rather bad luck if you live in the town centre and need your car, but never mind.

When I lived in Brussels we had a car-free day one Sunday every year. All of the public transport was free and there were all kinds of entertainments in the street.

Where I lived was on a hill on the edge of the city centre and you could see the dramatic improvement in air quality down below by the end of the day.

le coelacanthe le tiberiade suzanga massabielle nais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My route from here took me through the Place Maurice Marland.

My seagull chick wasn’t there today so maybe it had gone off for a fly around with its mum. I hope that it wasn’t the one that I saw dead by the side of the street on Friday.

There was plenty of activity in the harbour this afternoon. It doesn’t look as if anyone had gone out working. Over there on the back wall we had Le Coelacanthe and little sister le Tiberiade. You can tell them apart in this photo as the gormer has the wings to its bridge.

In the foreground from left to right we have the new Suzanga, the blue Massabielle and on the right, the little white Nais.with red and yellow stripes.

Plenty of others too that didn’t make it into the photograph which was a shame.

marité philcathane chausiase port Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022 Over there in the bay where the gravel boats used to tie up is the trawler Philcathane

The other two boats that are there, I didn’t expect to see them here today. Marité for example, the wooden sailing ship. With it being a Sunday in the middle of the tourist season I would have thought that she would have gone out and about into the bay with a crowd of passengers to earn a few bob while the going was good.

As for Chausiaise, a friend of mine in St Helier sent me a photo this morning of her over there in jersey. The freight situation is definitely hotting up here if she’s being pressed into service.

Victor Hugo, the Channel Islands ferry isn’t here though. She spent yesterday and today running around the Channel Islands but she’s back in port by the time that I’m writing this.

book fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From here I headed for home through the old town.

It’s book fair today and everyone had set out their stall to sell their surplus books. But by the time that I arrived here it was quite late and most people had packed up and had gone home.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall me talking about the Monegasque Royal Family and their connections here when one of the Grimaldis married a local girl. The browny-grey granite house on the street corner on the left is where she lived.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Carrying on homewards I had a look over the wall and out into the bay.

A little earlier I mentioned the pèche à pied. Over there you can still see a few people out there but they are now heading for safety as the tide is coming in. And it comes in here quite rapidly too so they don’t want to be caught hanging about.

It was raining ever so slightly as I reached home and that’s a good thing as this are has been declared in a State of Emergency because of the drought. But we’ll need much more rain than this to do any good. Probably about a week’s torrential downpour.

And now I remember what it was that I did after lunch.

Last weekend I used up the last of the pizza dough so I had to make some more. That was how I spent the early afternoon and it had been proofing while I was otherwise occupied.

When I came back from my walk two lumps went into the freezer and I rolled out the third one and put it on the tray for its second proofing.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on this evening I assembled my pizza and put it in the oven to cook. And it was delicious too.

But here’s something that I rarely do. In fact, I can’t think when I last did it.

Usually I know exactly what my appetite will be and I make my food accordingly. My pizza is always a standard, regular size.

But tonight, about a third of it went into the bin. I quite simply couldn’t finish it and that’s something that has rarely, if ever happened to me before. It’s not like me at all to be off my food and not even want to save it for breakfast.

What’s happening here?

Anyway that’s for another day as I’m off to bed right now. Radioing early in the morning so I need to be at my best. But not much chance of that.

Sunday 7th August 2022 – IT WAS JUST AS WELL …

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… that I decided not to go out today on this trip to see the high tides.

While you admire a few photos of Marité coming into port this afternoon after a trip around the bay, I was still awake at 03:00 this morning not even in the least bit tired. Nowhere near going to bed at all, despite all of the efforts that I expended in coming home yesterday.

That is what comes of crashing out like I did late yesterday afternoon. It was about 03:30 when I finally crawled into bed last night – or rather, this morning – and I still wasn’t all that tired.

Mind you, I must have gone to sleep quite quickly because there was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night and it started quite early.

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was something rather indecent written on a wall about something that I’d been up to in the days of my youth with a young lady. Someone had appended some notes to it that attracted a lot of attention. When I went to see it, none of these allegations were actually true (which they aren’t of course – they related to a friend of mine in real life) but that didn’t alter the fact that these allegations are there so I just simply left them there and ignored them but they seemed to be gathering rather a lot of momentum and people were asking me what I was going to do about it. It was very difficult for me to give an answer because I didn’t know how I was going to silence these rumours even though there was no truth whatever in them because you can’t really counteract an anonymous posting in this respect. I’d actually gone there to do something else involving a bucket of water and I had my hands full with this bucket of water at the time as well which meant that I was even less able to do anything about it.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I was dismantling equipment. I had a little workshop set up that was slowly getting itself organised. My brother had one the same but there had been a load of trouble at his workshop and needed some people to go in to refit it. The floors needed re-doing, everything like that. I went in and there was a group of us there. We did what we could but there were a few things that didn’t work. One was some kind of machine where the carburettor needed dismantling so I was working out how to dismantle this carburettor. I wasn’t easy – it wasn’t like a normal one. It was more like one of these Victorian tube ignition things. I was dismantling it and I had a pile of screws and nuts in my hand. There was a little girl helping me so I asked her to fetch a drawer out of one of these little tiny drawer unit things that you use for keeping nuts and screws. She did but it had stuff in it so I tipped them into something else and put these screws and everything into this drawer and told her to find a little piece of paper and write “carb” on it so we know that it’s where the carburettor goes. Someone said “you like working in this workshop, don’t you?”. I replied “I like working in mine much better”. Then someone came by and tried to hold everyone up, wielding a hammer around. He wanted money. I leapt of the top of this workbench at him but I missed. He had some kind of foam spray that he sprayed on me. He added water and it expanded but the aerosol can was still stuck to my jacket so I was able to beat him to death with this can attached to my jacket just by flailing my jacket around and that was that.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a violent dream like this.

man diving from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire the folk on the diving platform, I was back at home, talking to my Scottish friend. She rang me back later and said that due to a change of plan she’d actually finish work Friday evening. I said that if she could grab a bus, to come down for the weekend. “I can find you a bed” but I added quite quickly something like “don’t worry, your principles won’t be compromised” because of course she’s extremely religious. There was something about a really idle young boy who wouldn’t do anything. We’d installed an air vent with a metal grille in a wall somewhere. The grille was just vertical slats. They were before a judge somewhere trying to talk about him over things that he’d done or not done. I asked the judge if he could paint these metal slats in this ventilation grille for me. They all couldn’t see why not but it was up to him whether he wanted to do the job

people jumping from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Then another dispute arose about the arrival of camp beds. We wanted 4 camp beds for something but it took us a while to convince some distant member of the family that that was what we needed. In the end they agreed to bring them so I went to change into winter clothes including a pair of winter tights so that I could work outside in the winter when they turned up. They had only brought these beds and not a few other bits and pieces that had been asked, and no car batteries. With no car batteries we couldn’t finish the cupboard that we were building inside the corner of one of the rooms. We found out that it was someone else who was supposed to be bringing the batteries but they had gone out so I had to lift these 4 bunk beds with all the noise and everything in the cold. The only one who would help me was some woman, 50, who had driven this car round who looked as if she was dressed like a scout patrol leader or something

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while you admire a couple of photos of the crowds on the beach, I’d also had a chat with some kind of accommodation director at an army barracks about some double flats. His basic response was that if I don’t like the way that things are run I can jump into the fire alongside the flats which I thought wasn’t very polite.

Going back to this military dream again there was some issue about a couple of yachts that were in a basin but then in the middle of dictating this I fell into a deep sleep and I was then treated to 18 minutes of snoring and I’m sorry, Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting your word when you told me that I snored in my sleep.

Despite not having gone to bed until 03:30 I was awake by 09:30.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That’s not the same thing as saying that I was out of bed though.

You’ll have to wait until 10:40 or thereabouts before I finally saw the light of day and then I went off for my medication.

That was followed by working on the music for the radio programme on which I’ll be working on Monday. It’s another good batch of music and the joins have turned out really well.

There’s even a good speech that I managed to track down for my guest and that should bring a smile to the face of everyone who understands it.

After lunch I went and had a wade through all of the … GULP! … 42 photos that I took when I was on my travels. I’ll have to transcribe all of the dictaphone notes at some point and then update the blog entries, along with the entries for when I was in Central Europe that I still haven’t updated yet.

Yes, I’ve let things slide rather a lot just recently and I need to pull myself together.

cap pilar baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway, I trotted out for my afternoon walk around the medieval walls, but I was detained by having seen Marité coming into port on the tide.

Other things were coming into port as well from out in the bay, including the trawler Cap Pilar.

But what caught my eye about her was her rather strange “bow down” position as she came around the headland, almost as if her for’rard hold was flooded. There can’t be that much fish in her to make her trim like that.

So having seem Marité come safely into port, I wandered off for my walk around the walls.

tent on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You’ve already seen several photos of the crowded beaches and the sea this afternoon.

No surprise there because it really was a nice if somewhat windy day today. But I’m not sure why you would need to bring a tent down to the beach today.

For all of the people around there wondering what was going on after the owners had erected it, they must have thought that the excitement was … errr … intense.

Far too intense for me of course, in my state of health. I wandered off down the Rue du Nord on top of the medieval city walls.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last God-knows how long, the wall around here has been sheathed in scaffolding.

But today, I noticed that it had all gone. So much for the workman telling me a few months ago that they will be here for a year.

What with the way that my health is right now, I wasn’t up to going down to the foot of the steps to see the finished results so instead I pointed the camera over the top and had a play with the exposure time.

And I do have to say that I am really quite impressed with the job that they have done. It really does look well and I hope that they can do the rest of the wall to make it look like this.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that here a little further along in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they completely dismantled … “disPERSONtled” – ed … it all the way down almost to ground level.

They rebuilt it right up afterwards and you really can’t tell that it was completely taken apart.

There was a flying scaffolding here too weighed down with 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks. The scaffolding turned up overnight last Summer and it did really well to survive all of the storms that we had in the meantime.

There’s an arch a little further on where I can pass outside the walls and walk along the path underneath the walls. In the days of my youth I used to run down there but these days it’s more of an undignified totter.

street musicians place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path goes past the viewpoints overlooking the diving platform and the beach at the Plat Gousset where I took a few photos, and then I pushed off further along the path.

There’s quite a lot of entertainment going on in the town today and I’d been hearing music. And what caught my eye as I peered down the Rue Paul Poirier was a group of musicians marching up and down the Rue Lecampion into the Place Charles de Gaulle and back again.

Some of the streets are blocked off too for pedestrians only so it looks as if it’s the braderie today, when the shops have a sale to dispose of all of their surplus stock to make more room for the new fashions.

They’ll be setting their stalls out, both literally and figuratively, outside their shops in the street and on the pavements.

seagull chick rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it I wandered off down through the Square Maurice Marland.

All of the roofs in the Rue Des Juifs have been covered with seagull nests and many proud mothers have been rearing their chicks through the early summer. Many of them are now pretty autonomous and are hanging around on their own, just like this one.

But as for the Square itself, it’s looking like a very sad and sorry shadow of itself with the burnt grass and dust-bowl conditions. But you can tell which are the native plants and which are the cultivated ones because it’s the former who seem to be doing better in these drought conditions.

fete des soudeurs port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This weekend it has been the Fête des Soudeurs, a festival where all of the local blacksmiths set up their smithies around the town perform in public, with a few musical performances here and there as accompaniment.

It’s all quietening down now but there is still some music and according to one of my neighbours they are auctioning off some of the artefacts.

These days I seems to be having quite a few interactions with my neighbours. This afternoon I was walking around on top of the cliffs looking down into the sea when I fell in with the young guy from the top floor and we had quite a chat.

Back here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night and then rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer a few hours earlier and put on one side to thaw.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The pizza dough was put into the pizza tray to proof and then when it was ready I assembled the pizza and put it on the oven to bake.

It was another delicious one but I reckon that I need a new sharp knife to cut the base because the one that I’m using is struggling to fight its way through the base. Maybe I ought to slice it in future and then eat it with my fingers.

So having now finished my notes, I’m ready for bed. It’s a 06:00 start in the morning to make a start on the radio programme that I’ll be preparing and the way that things are right now, it’s not going to be easy.

So here’s hoping for a better night than those that I’ve been having just recently.

Sunday 24th July 2022 – HOW LONG IS IT …

old cars lancia fulvia sport 1600 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

This afternoon when I went out for my walk there was this rather nice Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600cc parked outside by the new bicycle rack.

If I’ve identified this correctly this is one of the “Zagato” models designed by Ercole Spada and built in the early 1970s.

Beautiful cars but if I were spending the kind of money that I’d need to spend to buy one of these, I would have gone for the “Spider” with the roll-down soft top.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But anyway, be that as it may, while you admire a few photos of the local kids throwing themselves off the diving platform at the Plat Gousset, I’ll tell you about my miserable day.

And it’s hardly surprising that it went so bady considering how badly it started. It all went wrong last night when after having crashed out for hours last night, I couldn’t sleep.

At one point I thought that there wasn’t much point in going to bed because it was so late. But round about 03:30 I finally bit the bullet and fell into bed.

And surprisingly I didn’t stay awake all that long once I was in bed.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022No alarm in the morning of course, with it being a Sunday.

And I was awake a few times here and there during the morning with it was about 11:15 when I finally took the plunge and left the bed.

After the medication I came back in here to have a play about with the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and combining the tracks into pairs.

The choice of the music for this week isn’t as exciting as it has been over the last few months and combining them in pairs wasn’t easy as they didn’t gel together at all.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But anyway, I did what I could and it doesn’t sound too bad.

That was the cue to go for lunch. Porridge, toast and strong coffee to try to make me feel better. But unfortunately it didn’t work out because after lunch while I was in the bedroom I drifted off to sleep again. How disappointing is that?

When I awoke I had a play about on the guitar for a while, playing through a few of the songs on my playlist. I have to keep uo on the music otherwise I’ll just slide back into oblivion as I did last winter when I was in a very bad place and stopped practising.

Mind you, I don’t think that I’m in a much better place at all these days seeing how the last couple of days have panned out.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022At some point or other during the day I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I’d been in digs with some woman in some small town in Scotland. I’d been telling this woman that I was planning on settling in the area so she was trying to give me loads of stuff. I said that that was far too early yet because I don’t know what I had and where I was going etc. I was trying to find the bus timetable. In the end I did and there was one bus in the day and one bus in the evening to Inverness. I was interested in the evening bus to Inverness on Sunday evening so a local bus driver took me to find out about it. We spoke to some kind of strange Mennonite or Amish family who told me the correct answer. As I was leaving some other woman and her child told me the answer as well. The bus was at 22:55 which meant that it didn’t arrive in Inverness until the small hours of the morning which meant that I was going to have to keep my room here in this town. I couldn’t give it up and take a room in Inverness because everything would be closed when I arrived. I was sitting down there working out the differences, if I stayed for a week for example where I was it would cost me more than £1:00 in difference compared to staying as an ordinary bugler boy with the Salvation Army or something. I was performing all these calculations in my head as well to have it all organised here but it wasn’t organised the way that I wanted.

As it happens, I’ve actually been in a similar place to this in the Highlands of Scotland in the past during one of my nocturnal rambles.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And as usual I went out for my afternoon walk.

Today I chose to go around the medieval city walls so the view that I had of the people on the beach is quite different from how it usually is.

Not much beach right now but that didn’t seem to matter because most people who were down there this afternoon had made it into the water.

That’s no surprise because today was another candidate for one of the hottest days of the year.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And there were tons of stuff happening out zt sea today.

The first thing that I noticed as I walked around the corner was that Marité had finally made it out into the bay to take the locals for a ride – in more senses than one.

She was originally a fishing boat that went out to the Grand Banks of Labrador with a load of dories that were used for fishing for cod. She is apparently the last of the wooden-built Newfoundlanders that set sail from the ports of Western France.

la granvillaise ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of of other boats out there too.

It took me a minute to work out who this one might be because I’ve never before seen her with all of her sail unfurled and set. But she is in fact La Granvillaise.

Once she turned to run with the wind I could see the familiar “G90” on her sails.

The Ile de Chausey in the background is looking magnificent too today.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It wasn’t just the Ile de Chausey that was looking nice today.

The view out to Jersey this afternoon was magnificent and you could see everything on the island with the naked eye even though it’s 58kms away from where I was standing. I’ve not enhanced this photo at all.

There are even a couple of speedboats right out there in the bay just off the Channel Islands and the camera has picked them up really well today.

We could do with a few more days like this.

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Retuning to our moutons as they say around here, the new Belle France is having another run-out this afternoon.

She’s taking a boat-load of tourists for a quick lap around the bay while the tide is in the correct position.

As for why all of these boats are out and about this afternoon, this morning has been what they call the Grand Pardon, the religious procession when they bless all of the boats and the seafarers.

Last year we were there taking a few photos but today I was in bed while all of this was going on.

le renard english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There are still more interesting boats out there in the English Channel behind the Ile de Chausey. I haven’t finished yet.

This one isn’t one of our local boats and it’s too far away for me to be able to identify it correctly.

However, a glance at the radar when I returned home showed me that somewhere over there at the time that I took the photo was a 33-metre sailing boat called Le Renard that resembled that boat.

She left St Malo at 13:52 and returned to port at 17:59 so the timing would seem to be correct anyway

repointing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Before I left the area I had a look at the repointing of the medieval city walls to see what was happening down there.

Not that I can see everything everything from here, but by the looks of things they seem to be on the point of finishing. So where will they be going next?

Having shown a few tourists where the steps down to the beach were situated, I walked off across the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and through the arch to walk along the path underneath the city walls.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Having taken a pile of photos of the kids leaping off the diving platform, I carried on to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon. Imagine being sandwiched somewhere in that lot while confronting the issues presented by some of the highest tides in Europe.

It’s not really the place to be if you aren’t of a sociable turn of mind so it wouldn’t be doing me any good at all. I’m not even tempted by an ice-cream these days, due to a “certain photograph” that was published by someone looking down on a delivery vehicle.

seagull with chick square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Instead I wandered off around into the Square Maurice Marland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we have been keeping an eye out on three young seagull chicks. They weren’t there this afternoon but what we did have was a mother seagull teaching her chick to fly.

If her chick had already made it this far, then it’s doing pretty well and won’t need a great deal more teaching. But it was crying for its mother in that weird little chirping noise that baby seagulls make although its mother wasn’t taking much notice and was busy chirping away to herself.

f-gtjc cessna 172s place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022She was probably trying to warn us that there were something else going past us in the air.

This aeroplane is F-GTJC and that tells me that she’s a Cessna 172S. My photo was taken at 16:36 (adjusted) but she wasn’t picked up on radar until 16:51. She was obviously keeping a low profile.

She was near Avranches when she was first observed, and from there she flew westwards along the coast for a while until turning round and flying back diagonally across the bay towards Granville when she disappeared off the radar again at 17:17, presumably going in to land.

trawler belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while all of this was going on, there was a hooting from the ferry terminal.

All of the boats there hoot away when they start to reverse out of their berth, just in case they might collide with something coming into port. But today I was lucky to see Belle France, who had presumably been into the ferry terminal to drop off the passengers who had been around the bay with her just now, reverse out.

She then pulled forward to pull into the inner harbour but was obliged to give way to a trawler that was on its way out to the fishing grounds this afternoon.

ch589986 la bavolette 2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of trawlers out at sea this afternoon, fishing in and out of the paths of the pleasure boats.

One of them was La Bavolette II. She was in the bay not too far offshore having a good fish around.

Back here I had a cold drink with ice and then went through to catalogue today’s photos. and to try to find the name of that sailing boat that we had seen out off the coast in the English Channel near St Malo.

And then I had to think about tea tonight. As usual, Sunday night is pizza night and I’d taken a lump of dough out of the freezer earlier this afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022When I came back from my afternoon walk I gave it a good kneading and then rolled it out and put it on my pizza tray to proof.

When it was ready and had risen quite nicely I assembled the pizza and had it ready to bake.

After it had cooked I sat down to eat it for tea and it really was delicious. After the one last week that didn’t turn out too well, this one was back where it ought to be.

Slightly overcooked but there’s not a lot that I can do about that right now until I can have some help to bring up those kitchen units. Those people who were going to help me never turned up, so no surprise there.

Off to bed early now. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare, and I would like it to be finished before it’s too hot to work.

Sunday 17th July 2022 – THIS AFTERNOON …

… has been one of the hottest that I can remember. So much so that I almost abandoned my walk after about 5 minutes and come home for the shelter of my apartment with its 1.2m thick stone walls.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It certainly brought out all of the crowds and the town was heaving with people today.

So while you admire the crowds of people on the beach and in the sea enjoying the weather, I’ll tell you about my day today.

No alarm of course, but even though it was extremely late when I went to bed last night I was still up and about by 10:30. Had I made an effort, I could actually have been up and about earlier but hey! It’s Sunday! a good lie-in will do me some good.

At least it isn’t after midday so there is still a fair amount of time to do stuff.

people on rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The first stuff that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

Last night started off with me on board a ship, or a train, something like that. I eventually managed to access my computer and was sitting down there quietly going through some images. A young girl appeared behind me. She went to say “do you have a girl in a blue-grey background?”. Suddenly she shouted “yes you have, it’s on the screen” I asked “what is it?”. She replied “I need to have that photo”. I asked “and?”. “If you can let me have your computer I can copy them out”. I replied “no. I’m working with the computer. You can have it later when I’ve finished”. She made such a complete fuss about this that I said “I’ll tell you what to do. You give me a memory stick and I’ll copy all the files that you want onto it and you can take them away”. She said “I don’t have a memory stick” so I said “so you find one”. She said “you have one” to which I asked “so you want to use MY computer and MY memory stick to move some photos for YOU?”. I was trying my best to stay polite but it wasn’t working. I was starting to become extremely irritated. The more she insisted the more I became annoyed and I could see that this wasn’t going to end very well.

people in sea medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on I was in the Army and we were attacking a block of flats somewhere where my aunt used to live. We’d taken up positions and were busy preparing to go. One section had held them at bay first before we all arrived. They felt that they should have gone into the attack first as a result but as they weren’t they were busy trying to sabotage everything even down to the effect of shooting their own soldiers in the main army to try to have their way. It clearly wasn’t working and everyone was around there and they all gave the order to go. They swarmed in but were held up so there was a huge artillery barrage. Eventually they fought their way into this building. The other person who ran this other battalion was still going on about how he thought that it was all unfair. We could see that there was nothing that was going to happen besides that would console him even now that we’d gone into this building and looked as if we were going to occupy it successfully.

people on beach tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The situation at Lidl was getting out of hand. The manager wanted it done one way, the senior assistant wanted it done another way. The photographer who was taking the photographs wanted a third. Presumably he was working on instructions from the owners of the company so we didn’t understand why everyone else was arguing with him about it. Even when we went for lunch the woman who was serving the tomatoes was having words with this photographer guy. I thought that this was terrible because he was just doing what he had been told to do and nothing to do with what he thinks himself presumably. He won’t have any leeway deciding how this catalogue is made up.

I had a new washing machine and there was a free gift – a year’s supply of washing powder. I askd them if I could change the washing powder for something else because of course living on my own I don’t use all that much. It led to a most extraordinary argument with a salesman who called me all kinds of names under the sun for wearing dirty clothes, or wearing dirty clothes for ever etc. It was most unprofessional and I couldn’t understand what on earth was upsetting him so much when we were discussing a free gift.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I’d been working in an office somewhere. I had everything all done and the place was really tidy for a change with just a few files here and there that I thought that I could do on Monday and I’d be completely up-to-date. I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving my appointment and finishing in a mess when I retired. After all, I could have retired a while back because I’m over the retirement age. Meantime I emptied out all of my drawers. There was a big carrier bag and I thought that I’d struggle to fit everything in it. In the end I managed it. Then I went down to the station – the station at Wigan to buy a single ticket to Crewe. It would cost me £20:50 which I thought was extortionate. All these other people were waiting to use the ticket machine so I had to let them pass while I brooded on how I was going to go home. In the end I just went up to the machine and bought the ticket anyway. When I arrived home my flatmate had been home earlier. We went off to a night club to see a group. I was still fuming about this £20:50. When we arrived at the club the admission fee was £0:92 which I thought was much more reasonable. My friend said “hang on a minute” and went up to one of the members of staff to say 3I had a colleague with me” because I was carrying my camera so we actually could enter for nothing. he was going to report on it and I imagined that he pretended that I was going to be his photographer so we entered this nightclub for free.

This is quite a recurring theme in my dreams, isn’t it? Being at work on the point of retiring and wondering about what kind of mess I’ll be leaving behind.

Finally I was with Jackie and Alison somewhere. We’d been to an Indian restaurant the night before. Next morning we would all meet for lunch. I was still in bed at home in Shavington but the ‘phone rang. That awoke me so I left the bed and everyone was there. My mother said that my older sister had rung wanting to ask me a few questions. I went upstairs to the bathroom. The house was similar to the one in Shavington. I thought that the corner at the top of the stairs would be a nice place to put a 90° circular table and a potted plant or something. I would tell my mother that when I go downstairs. From there I ended up in the street going to this Indian restaurant. I was sure that I was really late. When I arrived everyone had on their face masks so I had to look through my pockets for mine. I then went in and found the 2 girls. One of them had already had her meal but the other was waiting for me to eat before she would order. I thought that with it being lunchtime I didn’t want very much so I just ordered some poppadoms and curry. When it came, it was an enormous dish. I thought “so much for my good resolution”. As I started to eat a man came over and said something to one of the girls. She shook her head but he carried on talking to her. She continued to shake her head, saying “no”. I wondered what on earth was going on because my German wasn’t good enough to understand.

The next task was to pair off all of the music that I’ll be using in the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow.

There’s some good music in that so I wanted to make it sound good so I spent some time on it and it wall worked quite well.

In between everything I went for brunch. Porridge and toast with some nice, strong coffee. If only I could find some decent baked beans. Unfortunately the French variety is not up to much and fool that I am, I didn’t buy a dozen or so tins when I was in Belgium just now with Caliburn.

As well as an hour or so on the guitar I’ve been writing a reply to a friend in the UK. She sent me a long message earlier in the morning and I had to set aside the time to give the matter some proper consideration.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In the middle of everything I went out for my afternoon walk in the middle of this heatwave.

We’ve seen all of the photos of the people on the beach, in the sea and swimming in the medieval fish trap but my immediate concern after all of that was with the repairs that are being undertaken on the medieval city walls.

This part of the wall here in the Rue du Nord looks as if it’s completely finished now and they have made a really good job of it. Although it wasn’t part of the wall that was under threat, there is no need now to worry about this.

All of the scaffolding has been taken down and the road is open to traffic again. It’s just fenced off now to prevent people leaning on the wall while the mortar cures.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was here I stood on the top of the steps to have a look at the outside of the wall.

Unfortunately we can’t see all that much here but it’s pointless going down to the bottom of the steps because it’s all sheathed in a shroud of scaffolding netting.

Nevertheless it looks as if the work here is going to be finished soon too. So what’s the next bit that they’l lbe doing that will keep them here for as long as the guy with whom I spoke a few weeks ago said that they would be staying.

Anyway, that’s a problem for another time.

helicopter baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Right now I headed off down the path further on underneath the walls.

Down there I was overflown by a helicopter, one that I don’t recall seeing before. I can’t even say whether it’s a military helicopter or a civilian one and there’s no clue visible that might enable me to identify it.

Further on down the path I had a good look at the crowds on the beach at the Plat Gousset. Hordes of people down there today enjoying themselves, parasols and sunshades and all.

The problem wth this is that the tide comes in here quite quickly, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. This causes people to scamper to the protection of the promenade, just saving their essentials. Everything else, like their litter, is left behind and that’s how come there’s a lot of plastic floating around in the sea.

seagull chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset I wandered off around into the Square Maurice Marland.

There weren’t too many people here this afternoon but my interest was in the seagull chicks on one of the roofs in the Rue des Juifs on which we’ve been keeping an eye over the last few weeks.

These three seem to have grown quite considerably now and they look in the best of health, which is nice to see.

What else was nice to see was the ladder that the neighbour had put up against the roof and the tubs of water that have been put there for the seagull chicks to drink.

Obviously not everyone agrees with this policy of exterminating them

cap pilar hermes 1 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022A little further along the path I stopped to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

Marité is still all at sea, just as I feel myself at times these days. However over there against the quayside is Cap Pilar and Hermes I. Both of these trawlers feature quite regularly on our pages.

Also on the quayside is a pile of freight, and also a pile of scrap metal. The scrap seems to suggest that Thora has been in port very recently. She brings in a lot of scrap from Jersey to be weighed in here whenever she has some spare room.

From the Square Maurice Marland I headed back towards home via the Rie Notre Dame.

brocante rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Today is the day of the annual brocante in the old town here and I was expecting to see crowds of folk browsing around.

But that’s not the case today. For a start, there were only half the stalls here compared to previous years. And only half the people too. It seems that the hot weather has kept many people away, both stallholders and visitors too.

And as usual, I didn’t stop for a look around. I’ve been here before of course, and found that some people’s idea of the value of junk is totally different from mine

Instead I headed for home. I had some coconut drink in the fridge that needed drinking and this was the right time to drink it, especially with three large ice cubes.

Earlier on this afternoon I’d made another pile of pizza dough seeing that I’d run out.

There was some whole-wheat flour on sale at Leclerc so I’d bought some for my pizza. I wasn’t happy with the industrial bleached flour that I used last time.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022After it had proofed I divided it into three. 2 lumps went into the freezer and I rolled out the third one and put it in the pizza tray.

When it was ready I assembled it and put it in the oven to bake.

Strangely enough it didn’t taste as nice as previous versions of the pizza. It’s not the base – that’s good enough (although it took some cutting) but maybe one of the toppings. But whatever it was, it’s given me the wind.

Perhaps I ought to go outside with a kite. I dunno.

Tomorrow morning I’m radioing again. There’s another programme to make that I can add into the queue so I’m going to have an early night. After all, an 06:00 start needs a lot of sleep just like anything else.

Sunday 10th July 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… wonderful day today in the beautiful weather and so while you admire the photos of the crowds of people making the most of it, I’ll tell you about my day.

It started reasonably enough with being awake at 09:30 but even so it was round about 10:30 when I finally fell out of bed. That was a really nice lie-in and I can do with a few more of those.

First thing that I did of course was to go and take my medicine. I’ve had years of practice at doing that of course, and we aren’t just talking about medication either.

And then I turned my attention to the dictaphone. And by the looks of things it needed all my attention too.

crowds plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I started off with my mother, my other brothers and sisters and my father. We were in somewhere. There was a very earnest discussion going on between my mother and my father. I went to try to find out what it was. Basically they had sent my other brothers and sisters home, my father went off somewhere and my mother went off somewhere else. I went with my mother. We were looking down side streets, everywhere like that. I asked her what we were looking for and she replied “a garden”. That was something that I didn’t understand. This carried on. We were in this wasteland watching the wind blow the soil. In the end my mother said that what we were looking for was a giant armadillo roaming around somewhere. This was what we were looking out for, to make sure that we’ll all be safe from it, making sure of where it was and that the rest of my brothers and sisters weren’t there. We walked around for a bit and ended up going back to where we started. I had STRAWBERRY MOOSE with me. I went across the road but there was a car coming that had caught me in my blind spot so I had to run to get across the road back to my mother. I them threw Strawberry Moose back across the road to the other side but a car coming the other way hit him and swerved. It almost collided with a tree or something. I went back to pick up Strawberry Moose but by now he had somehow become a little girl. I picked her up to ask if she was OK and to ask her if she’d been hit by the car. She replied “no, the car had missed her”. I picked her up and carried her back over the road again to where my mother was.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022To my surprise, later on I’m back with that dream about the giant armadillo. This time I ended up with a family of Russians. I mentioned to one of them who could vaguely understand English about what was going on. She shrugged her shoulders as if to say “so what?”. They had their clothes all ready for washing so I put mine out hoping that they’d be washed instead of having to go through another couple of days. They were being washed and I was talking to the old woman, leader of this Russian family, about this giant armadillo. She didn’t seem to take it seriously and I was rather annoyed when she didn’t. That was surprising too because I didn’t really take it seriously. I didn’t really believe what my mother might have been up to.

Perhaps I ought to mention that even as kids we knew that our mother lived in a parallel universe to everyone else and was often quite detached from reality. At times it was quite embarrassing.

kayaks buoy plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022This time I was in a café with Liz (although which “Liz” I really don’t know because I know or knew quite a few of them), someone else and Malou. At first I was on my own while the other two had gone off to clear the table and bring back some coffee. When they returned, they brought Malou. They asked which coffee was mine. I replied “a black coffee” and they mentioned 3 or 4 different types. I answered “as long as it’s black and no sugar, that’s fine and there’s no liqueur or cognac in it etc”. They sat down and Malou sat down next to me. That’s all that I remember.

And not only Liz but I wish that I knew who this other person was. I’m assuming that it’s a girl.

zodiac kayak buoy plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I was with my friend from the Wirral last night. We had some numbers to work out on the bass guitar but I really can’t remember very much about this. There’s a whole load that’s missing that’s really interesting. It all ended up with me having to go home. We were supposed to go home quite earlyish but there was a woman there who decided that she was going to have a little rest. It was about 00:00. It was 01:30 when she awoke and then began to complain that no-one had awoken her. We replied “you told us that you wanted a little rest so how is it now our fault that everything is running late?” We had this tremendous argument about her and not awakening, everything but we stood our ground. Then we had to rig up some kind of emergency system to the fuel tank so that I could go home. I had no spare tyre and my friend didn’t have a car either so I asked “what is going to happen if I have a problem on the way home?”. He replied “you’ll just have to sort it out”. I replied “that’s the last thing that I wanted to hear”. He made up some story but I knew really that I wasn’t going to have any help. In the end the 2 of us set off for my house. We arrived really late and I was only going to have a couple of hours sleep before going to work. To my surprise I found that my family was up which meant that there was no need for quiet or discretion or anything. I could fix this car and it didn’t matter if I made some noise. I was puzzled as to why they were up, whether there was something going on or whether they were waiting for me, I really didn’t know. Anyway I said that I’d sort out something. I had a few bags together with stuff that I might need. My friend’s parting words were “what’s happening now about this arrangement?”. I thought to myself that it’s not going to be done at this time of night now, is it?


diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So while we admire the fact that the diving platform has now returned to the Plat Gousset, I’m still soldiering on.

I’d been sent to prison and been put in my cell. There was another guy in there and he seemed to be OK etc. I went for a wander around and found myself in a cell with an old guy who was something of a philosopher. We had quite a lengthy chat about all kinds of different things. There was coffee brought around on a tray so I had a coffee and we carried on chatting for a while. I asked if he knew where I could find a blanket. After a couple of minutes he produced one. It wasn’t exactly the type of blanket that I wanted but you can’t pick and choose in a prison so I had that. When it was time for “lights out” I wandered back to my cell and my cellmate was on the ‘phone talking to someone or other. Our cell was quite untidy and my bed was really untidy. I thought “how am I going to sleep in here tonight?”. But looking at everything isn’t going to get it done. I noticed that there was another cup of coffee that this guy had obtained for me and put by my bed so I sat down and drank that for a moment.

And then I was with a couple of other people. We were outside someone’s house in Stoke on Trent when a girl pulled up in one of these Renault tiny little electric car things to say that she couldn’t find first gear. She was a small girl, tiny, petite. We had a look in it and frankly she had that much stuff all around the floorwell that she couldn’t depress the clutch very far. We took it apart to make sure that the linkage on the gearchange was OK, put it back together again to make sure that it worked and put it all back. It seemed to be working fine so she asked about it. I told her so she asked “how much do I owe you?”. I replied “give me a nice smile and we’ll call it quits”. She gave us a smile so we chatted for a bit. She talked about her University so I said that my friend from the Wirral who was here has 2 degrees, one from UMIST and I couldn’t remember where the other one was from. I had a degree from that college in Birkenhead but I couldn’t remember its name and neither could anyone else which was a good start. She asked about the third guy but I replied “you don’t want to know about his degree” because he’d served time in prison. We all ended up on a service bus to go back to where the cars were parked. There was a couple on there going through their shopping and someone found that he’d been to buy a card but had ended up with an empty bag. We all burst out laughing but decided that we’d have to go back on this bus to the card shop to pick up his card. I smiled and said to this girl “welcome to Stoke on Trent. It’s always chaos in Stoke on Trent”. She told me that she was on her way to pick up another car. It was going to take her 3 years to pay for it and we had a chat about that. In the end I gave her my card and said “if you’re staying around here, look me up”. She asked if that was me so I replied “yes”. She gave me a card back but it wasn’t the one that I’d given her so I put it in my wallet to look at later. There were more and more cars coming round this bend actually inside this bus. I thought that if we don’t move back to the town centre to pick up this card we’ll end up with a full bus of people and we’d have to explain everything to them and hope that they’d be OK with the situation.

But Stoke on Trent and no Zero? Isn’t that depressing?

Finally, there was a huge group of us out for a meal. A few of us had been out for a meal before including Jackie (although it wasn’t her). There was another girl called Jackie as well. We’d had a nice vegan meal at this restaurant. I’d had chips and some kind of vegan patty. We were all in this restaurant together, an even bigger group of us and I had to go outside to do something. I went to the bathroom and I had to check on a few things. I was quite hot. On my way back who should I bump into but the petite girl with the electric Renault. I found that she was coming to eat with us which I thought was great. I chatted to her and asked her how her car was. She said that it was absolutely great, it just needed a hoover out. She went into the restaurant, I washed my hands and came in. They had to invent a way of sitting us all together. I had to go and order my meal as everyone else had ordered theirs. I asked Jackie what it was that i’d had last night but she couldn’t remember. There was someone else there saying that the menu had changed – a range of items had dropped off. I had a look and saw that the menu was exactly the same as the one that we’d had yesterday so it must have dropped off a while back. I took off my jumper because I was hot so I was just in a polo shirt and trousers trying to order my meal. I couldn’t remember what I’d had yesterday and neither could they. Of course I was hoping that the seat next to this petite

But here’s a thing – not just once but twice did I step out of a dream and then step back in at a later date. Three times, really, because my friend from the Wirral has appeared in two different ones too that aren’t connected by any other pairing. I don’t think that that has ever happened in the past. Once here and there during a night but two or three? That’s never happened before.

And not only was I back in Zero’s stamping ground and she not making an appearance, we haven’t had TOTGA or Castor too, or even Nerina. But we’ve had my family appearing, up to our ears in fact. All of that is getting on my nerves.

After brunch I sat down and paired off the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing tomorrow. Strangely enough, that went quite well and some of the joints went together much better than I’ve ever done before.

While all of this was going on, I was having a chat with Liz on the internet. It’s been a while since we’ve spoken and it’s nice to hear from her

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on – rather later than usual in fact, I went out for my afternoon walk.

For a change I went off around the old town rather than around the headland. It’s been a while since I’ve been around here. And as we can see, while I’ve been away, the repairs to the medieval city walls have been progressing quite rapidly.

They have reassembled the wall that they partly demolished in the Rue du Nord and have made quite a nice job of the pointing. It’s looking much better now than it ever did before.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was there I wanted to go down the stairs to have a look at what was happening to the outside of the wall.

But that was pretty pointless right now. They have erected a scaffolding now right up to the steps and that’s covered with netting that you can see in the photo so I wouldn’t be able to see anything from down at the bottom.

But from here, what I can see is that they’ve worked all the way down to here too. Although I don’t know what they will be doing with the left-over stones that are on the scaffolding.

When that guy told me a few weeks ago that they’ll be here for another year, I don’t think that he must have meant on this particular part of the wall, considering how much they have advanced in the last few weeks while we were away.

open air theatre plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I walked down the path underneath the walls and round to the Plat Gousset.

On my way round I was aware of someone shouting from down below and I wondered what was going on. It turns out that there was a “spectacle” going on at the open-air theatre this afternoon. Some guy was performing a monologue to a fairly large crowd.

Although I could hear him talking, I couldn’t understand what he was saying so I didn’t hang around long. Instead I looked at the diving platform now installed on the concrete pillar and then pushed off on my walk.

around the world in 80 seconds plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The open-air theatre at the Plat Gousset wasn’t the only entertainment taking place down there today.

Down at the Place Marechal Foch this afternoon there was some kind of entertainment going on, called “Around The World in 80 Seconds”. And I don’t think that they can be going far in that caravan or whatever it is – not in 80 seconds anyway.

However they did have a queue of people waiting to try the experience so I suppose that it must be something worth seeing.

So having seen all that I wanted to see, I headed off around the corner.

seagull chicks rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022One of the things upon which I’ve been keeping an eye have been the three seagull chicks in a nest on a roof in the Rue des Juifs.

We saw them a couple of months ago when they were fresh out of the eggs and they looked so cute and tiny. It’s really hard to believe that these are the same chicks that we saw back then They have certainly grown into monsters.

Although their parents aren’t in shot, there were several adult seagulls loitering on the roof here. It made me think that a very proud mummy seagull had brought all of her friends round to see her babies.

There are times when I don’t ‘arf write some rubbish.

childrens amusements Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while we’re on the subject of rubbish … “well, one of us is” – ed … regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve spoken about the Square Maurice Marland quite often in the past.

For several years it was under renovation but it reopened with quite a fanfare of publicity. As time went on, it became the subject of an anonymous blog by someone who was using what they considered to be the poor state of repair of the Square as a means to attack the mayor at the time.

A new mayor was subsequently elected and I wonder what the author of the blog makes of the Square now. It’s riddled with weeds, dying grass and half of the kiddies’ rides are missing. I noticed today that the roundabout has been taken away.

people on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that yesterday we saw crowds of people on the quayside at the inner harbour.

They are still there today – well, maybe not the same people, but the crowds in general. I’m not sure though what was going on down there because I couldn’t hear any music coming from down there today but whatever it was, it must have been good. They’ve laid out the red carpet for someone, anyway.

There’s an ambulance down there too. I’m not quite sure what they are expecting

However there is still no Marité at the quayside. She’s still out and about in the Atlantic somewhere.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We do have one of our regular sailing ships out there this afternoon.

We saw La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Granville yesterday with sails furled, but here she is today with her sails unfurled and billowing proudly in the wind, always towing her lighter behind her. Although I’d like to see all of her passengers cram themselves into it in the case of an emergency.

In the background is the Brittany coast, looking quite clear today in the sunlight. It really was a nice day out this afternoon.

De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Now here’s a surprise – something that I haven’t seen before.

This twin-engined aeroplane flew out into the bay, did a lap around and then flew off down the coast towards Mont St Michel. I couldn’t see a registration number so I can’t say with any kind of assurance what she might be but she bears quite a resemblance to a “Twin Otter” – a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter.

And what she would be doing around here I really don’t know. I believe that the French Air Force has 5 of them. My contact with them is when I’ve seen them flying around Arctic Canada with Air Inuit when I’ve been out there.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and carried on chatting to Liz and then went off to make my pizza.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Earlier on I’d taken the last of the frozen dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting.

Having kneaded it again, I rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof and later on, assembled my pizza when the dough was ready.

When it was baked I devoured it and it wasn’t as nice as usual, for some reason. I think that the freezer hasn’t been freezing the dough correctly so when I make the next batch I’ll freeze it in the big freezer instead of the ice box in the fridge.

But now having finished my notes I’m off to bed. I have an early (like 06:00) start tomorrow to prepare my radio programme and I want to finish it as quickly as possible.

Then I can relax. But with the distance that I’ve been travelling during the night just now, I don’t know whether a good sleep is on the cards.

Sunday 19th June 2022 – HERE WE ALL ARE …

strawberry moose place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting in a Premiere Classe hotel in Tours in Western France.

And when I say “we” I really do mean “we” for I am not alone. As you might expect, STRAWBERRY MOOSE has come with me too. I can’t leave him behind.

And just in case you are wondering, I’ve already made a considerable list of things that I’ve forgotten. Most people make a lost and pack accordingly. I pack and then make a list of what I’ve forgotten.

Despite a late night last night I was awake at 08:30 and drifted in and out of sleep for another couple of hours

After the meds and checking the medication I started to back up the big computer onto the little portable memory stick that travels with me. And that wasn’t the work of five minutes.

Then I had to finish off emptying out Caliburn and packing up everything to go in him. The final task was to do all of the washing up and cleaning and then disinfect everywhere.

There were plenty of notes on the dictaphone too. I was writing stuff for a radio programme, the notes for the music. One was for a particular group from the 60s. I remembered seeing them and I got on really well with them. They were busted for drugs like most groups were at the time. I always remembered the last time I saw the girl singer was that some of her group had gone already. She was singing with just one or two of them in the street on this makeshift stage. At the end she got off and came over to see me smiling and we bumped fists. She wandered off down the street and that was the last I ever saw of her. I remember thinking about how nostalgic this was and things might have been different to everyone’s lives if instead of bumping fists I’d grabbed hold of her and held her like I wanted to do but I didn’t really know whether I should have done at the time.

Later I was with Nerina and she was having problems as well with her new relationship. They were no longer sharing a room together. Where they worked in this motel they had a room made up for both of them but they were actually sleeping in separate rooms. I asked how long this had been going on and she replied “a couple of years”. Anyway they had been caught doing this and it had led to all kinds of different complications and for all kinds of different reasons that they were no longer actually living together.

Finally there was a group of us on board a boat. We’d had a meal and we were doing the washing up on the back of the boat outside. There was a little guy on board something similar to Hercule Poirot. He came over and said that he had a request for us. We asked what it was and he asked could we go and do the washing up in the kitchen, in the sink. I couldn’t understand why so I asked him why but he couldn’t really come out with a really good answer. Someone else cottoned on to the fact that he didn’t think that the washing up was being done correctly. It needed to be done in running water and the plates properly scrubbed and everything like that. He didn’t think that what we were doing was very hygienic. I was basically on the point of telling him that if he wanted the washing up done down in the boat in the kitchen he can take the bowl away and do it himself rather than disturbing us who were doing it while he was doing nothing but discretion got the better of me. I tried to find out exactly what his precise objection was but for some unknown reason he wasn’t really all that keen in spelling it out. It was annoying me that we were working and he wasn’t and he didn’t like the way that we were working but he didn’t actually volunteer to come along and do the work himself if he wanted it done in a different way.

There was much more to it than this but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

By 16:00 I was on the road again. First stop was at LeClerc to fuel up (and that cost me an arm and a leg) and then we had a leisurely drive through the French countryside.

We hit Tours, 250 kms away, at 20:00 and saw a cheap B&B hotel so I left the ring road, found myself stuck on the motorway and couldn’t find my way back, came off and couldn’t get back on to retrace my steps.

premiere classe hotel joué les tours France Eric Hall photo June 2022However, all was not lost. After I’d been driving for a while around the suburbs of Tours trying to find that hotel, a Première Classe Hotel loomed up out of the gloom.

A room was a mere €45:00 which I’ll take any time, and they arranged for a vegan pizza for me at a nearby hotel that even gave me 15% off.

As you might expect, I’m totally wasted after the drive. I’m clearly not up to this. The day that I drove non-stop pulling a trailer for 32.5 hours are long-gone.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve earned a good night’s sleep.

Sunday 12th June 2022 – I CAN’T EVEN HAVE …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… have a Day of Rest on my Day of Rest, can I?

Sunday is a day when I’m supposed to be having a decent lie-in to catch up with whatever I’ve missed during the week and to tell the truth I would probably still be in bed right now except that I had a rather urgent need to go for a ride on the porcelain horse round about 09:20.

And that killed my lie-in stone-dead, regrettably.

So while you admire a few photos of the various forms of aerial activity that took place around the town this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my rather depressing day today.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After I’d had my medication this morning I came back here and made a start on work.

What I had to do was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. Not that I’ll be doing very much tomorrow, I reckon. If the last few days is anything to go by, I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to haul myself out of bed at any kind of reasonable time tomorrow.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep again and that was that. I was still stark out when Ingrid telephoned me and you’ve no idea how difficult it is to hold a conversation with anyone when all you want to do is to sleep.

As a result of the foregoing I had a rather late lunch again.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to peel and blanch ready to freeze and then I had a listen to what had happened during the night on the dictaphone.

I’d been out somewhere and my elder sister had come with me. She was dressed in a pair of thigh-high black leather boots, black trousers and a black jacket. We went to wherever it was and came back. She started to undress in the middle of the room which I thought was a strange thing to do. She told me “you’ve seen all this before” which of course I probably had but not from my sister. It wasn’t the kind of stuff that I was particularly wanting to see. She just peeled herself out of her clothes like peeling a banana. I thought that this was a strange thing to do.

yacht speedboat la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And then we were talking about Jeeps and things. Someone was asked to describe a Jeep. They said that it was like a Land Rover where all the bodywork had been bent backwards and warped because they’ve just been driving through a housing estate somewhere that was being built and had hit a raised manhole. The Land Rover had stuck on it but of course the momentum had caused all the bodywork to twist and warp on it. It had made a real mess of everything.

There was also a teacher bringing a party of schoolchildren over on a catamaran. As he was bringing them in close to port he was going round reminding them not to ask anyone any stupid questions when they docked. I can’t remember how this developed.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and finally there was a story about how a village in Russia had been hit by Bubonic Plague. People had heard all kinds of mysteries going on about this place. They had been issuing jigsaws to people to piece together to try to work out what was the answer. Someone finally completed one and left it in the street completed and cleared off quickly. The village was closed and no-one was allowed in or out and everyone was dying, even the medical staff. The leader of the medical staff there was dead and had the place at the top of the roll of honour of those who had died

There was time for half an hour on the acoustic guitar too before I was ready for going out for my afternoon walk. I don’t want to forget what I’ve spent all this time learning. And while I was at it, I worked out a simple chord structure to CITY OF LIGHTS by RUNRIG.

Strangely enough, I seem to recall a while ago someone saying that he wasn’t going to learn any more new songs but just go with what he’d got at that point. I wonder who that was.

But since that date 26 songs have somehow been added to it, all of which I play at some point or other and of which 15 are on the playlist

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But anyway that was the cue for me to go off for my walk around the city walls this afternoon.

First stop is, as usual, a look down onto the beach to see what was happening there today. And with it being a really nice afternoon (I ended up in shirt sleeves at some point) there were quite a few people down there today.

Even a few taking to the water too. In fact this had me trying to think of when I was last swimming in the sea and apart from when I fell in when I was up in the High Arctic in 2018, it was when I was in Greece in 2013

Hans and I were actually talking about Greece a while ago and I happened to mention “the last time I was in Athens was with your sister!” That’s the kind of remark that kills a conversation stone-dead, especially when it’s the truth.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And while I’m here I thought that I’d have a good look at the repairs to the medieval city wall.

They have been doing some more dismantling. Quite a lot more has been demolished compared to the last time that we were here. It looks as if they are making a thorough job of it all, and quite right too.

Much as I would have liked to, I didn’t go down the steps to look at what was happening at the outside of the wall. And for obvious reasons too. Going down the steps is one thing. Coming back up is something else completely, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

lobster pot buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Instead I wandered off through the arch and along the path outside the walls towards the Plat Gousset.

Offshore in the bay, as well as all of the boats that we have already seen, there were a few more of these buoys with flags on top.

We’ve had this discussion on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I reckon that they indicate where the local fishermen have dropped their lobster pots so they know where to go to pick them up again.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder how they manage to train a lobster to actually go on one.

kite surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It wasn’t just lobster pots, yachts, cabin cruisers and La Grande Ancre who were out there in the bay either.

The number of hang gliders in the air will give you some kind of indication of how windy it was this afternoon, and there was a kite surfer out there making the most of it too.

We saw a couple of them in the bay on the other side of the headland a couple of days ago but we haven’t see one on this side of the headland for a while. It’s a sure sign that “Sumer is a–cumen in. Lhude sing cucu”, hey?

tidal swimming pool diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There were quite a few people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the masses down to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

And they still haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the concrete pillar down there. Summer is going to be here and gone before they get round to doing it at this rate

Plenty of people in the water here though, but then access from the promenade to the beach is much easier than scrambling down the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Despite the renovations to the tidal swimming pool, it’s still not holding water between high tides. I thought that was rather the point of it

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022You can see what I mean by the access to the beach from the promenade.

There are a couple of ramps and a set of steps that are by no means as challenging as those at the Rue du Nord. And that’s why there are crowds of people down there sitting in the sand.

They are out of the wind too thanks to the headland.

The red machine that we saw down there working with a pile of dislodged rocks is still there too. That’s going to be quite an interesting job of work. I wonder what the purpose of it all is. I suppose that I shall find out in due course.

baby seagulls with mother seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having finished my inspection of the Plat Gousset I wandered off down the Square Maurice Marland to see how the seagulls were doing.

The two chicks that I have been observing were huddled up in some shade this afternoon and I couldn’t take a good photograph so in the end I had to settle with another bunch of chicks, with a very proud mummy standing guard over them

Plenty of sea-going activity in the bay this afternoon but there wasn’t anything exciting going on in the inner harbour this afternoon that we haven’t seen before so I left them to it and wandered off towards home and my strawberry smoothie.

artists fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In the old town this afternoon it’s the Artists’ Fair.

There are plenty of artists in the old town with all kinds of galleries and today was when they were having a sale of unsold work. And frankly I could see why it was unsold because it was either far too overpriced or the quality wasn’t up to all that much.

This modern art, surrealism and impressionism with huge swirls of colours, seems to be all the rage but it’s not something that I like at all. I prefer art to be like a photograph, a faithful representation of a view, with skill and talent.

Something that actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, painted by someone who knows how to paint. But these days I’d be embarrassed to put most of what I see on my wall. I know what I want for my apartment, and I know how much I’m going to pay for it too.

Back here, I crashed out yet again for an hour or so and then I did a pile of Welsh revision, going through some of the stuff that I’d written over the last two weeks.

In between all of this, I had some bread to make. I used the last of the loaf on Friday so I made another pile of dough which I left on one side to proof for a while.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been defrosting. By now that was ready so I kneaded it and rolled it out, putting it on the pizza tray so that that could proof too.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While the bread was baking I assembled my pizza and when the bread was baked I put it in the oven to bake as well.

The bread looks absolutely perfect and the pizza didn’t look too bad either. It tasted quite delicious too and I’ll tell you about the bread tomorrow after I’ve sampled it for lunch.

And talking about tomorrow I took out the next batch of fruit buns from the freezer ready to defrost, and put the carrots in there to freeze for the next couple of weeks.

When I finished tea I washed up a pile of stuff in the kitchen and came in here to write up my notes.

Now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning to prepare a radio programme and I’m not looking forward at all to doing it. I’m really not feeling much like anything at all right now.

Sunday 5th June 2022 – EVEN THOUGH I …

… had a nice lie-in this morning, I still couldn’t manage to go for a whole day without crashing out at some point.

Only for 20 minutes or something like that but it was still enough for me to feel quite miserable about the whole affair.

Anyway, you don’t come here to hear me moaning – at least, I hope that you don’t. I ought to be out here bringing joy and gaiety into everyone’s life instead of sitting here feeling miserable.

This morning I didn’t awaken until about 10:00 and it was about 10:45 when I finally fell out of bed. There’s a pile of stuff on the dictaphone from during the night but as I type out my notes this evening it seems that I’ve forgotten to transcribe them.

Yes, it’s not been a very good day today.

So after the medication it took me a while to come round into the Land of the Living and then I paired up the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. I forgot to do that last week and that delayed me somewhat.

Mind you, I don’t think that I’ll need any excuse to be delayed tomorrow. I’m really not feeling anything like it at all. I did however manage to find some kind of motivation to run through my acoustic set again. It seems to be working OK for the moment.

After lunch I came back in here where I fell asleep. And later on I made a batch of dough for the pizzas, seeing as I seem to have run out again. 500 grammes makes a nice load for 3 pizzas. It was all mixed up quite nicely and left on the side in order to proof.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned that I hadn’t been for a wander around the medieval city walls for a while.

What surprised me was that I actually remembered today, and that’s the reason why this afternoon’s photo of the beach is taken from a different viewpoint.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon on the beach, but no-one brave enough to go into the water. This couple were busy drying themselves off so I was wondering whether they had taken the plunge before I arrived.

And once more, no boats out there in the bay today, as far as I could see.

repairs to medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Another thing that I wanted to check on was the work that was going on on the medieval city walls just recently.

They’ve been making quite a racket with power tools and the like over the last few days so I imagined that they were pushing on. And I wasn’t wrong either.

They have dismantled completely a small part of the wall here in the Rue du Nord and have removied the rotten mortar from the joints of another long length of wall.

The other day one of the workmen told me that they expected to be here for another year and I’m beginning to see that he might not have been joking.

repairs to medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022One of the things that I wanted to do was to go down the steps to look and see how they were progressing with the outside of the wall.

That wasn’t possible this afternoon because there were crowds of people hanging around just there and I’d have to wait for ages before they cleared off.

Instead, I went to have a look at the outside from farther round in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux but they have now covered it completely in security netting so it’s not possible to see anything at all.

What I ought to do, I suppose, is to go out later in the evening when there is no-one around. In fact I used to go out twice a day but I’ve not been up for that for quite a while.

35ma aeroplane Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I wandered off along the path underneath the walls towards the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

But here I was overflown by another aeroplane. This one is another one of the light aircraft that hang around the airfield and which we see every now and again. We saw 50SA yesterday – today it’s the turn of 35MA.

And as I said yesterday, their registration numbers aren’t in the database to which I have access, they don’t file flight plans and they don’t fly high enough to be picked up on civilian radar so I can’t tell you anything at all about them.

building work plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When I got to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I could see that there’s something exciting going on.

At first I thought that it might have been something to do with the phenomenal rainstorm that we had overnight but the cement mixer there seems to indicate that this is a project that’s been going on for a little longer.

By the looks of things they are digging out some rocks from the cliff at the back. I wonder if this is a security issue or whether it means that we are going to be having some more facilities on the Plat Gousset to attract more visitors.

Mind you, the fact that the Big Wheel has been banned from the town seems to indicate that encouraging tourism isn’t all that high on the list of priorities of the current town council.

They seem to be much more interested in turning the town into a genteel retirement home for the fortunate few at the expense of the younger, fitter, healthier population of the town.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022At least though they have managed to give the tidal swimming pool something of a recondition this last couple of weeks.

And at long last it seems to be retaining its water. It’s not been very successful at that in the past and even so, it’s draining out of the drain rather too quickly than I would have expected to see.

And although you can’t see it in this photo, they still haven’t put the diving platform on top of the concrete pillar. That is usually installed at some point shortly after Easter and I can’t understand why they are leaving it so late this year.

Another 4 weeks and the main summer holiday season will be starting.

airbus A400-M baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022With nothing much else going on down there on the Plat Gousset, I headed off towards the Square Maurice Marland

And from around the corner out in the bay came this big Air Force aeroplane flying southwards.

From this angle it’s very difficult to see what it is. I was tempted to suggest that it’s another one of the Airbus A400-M aeroplanes like we saw a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn’t making anything like the racket that one of those would make..

We saw one once at 34,000 feet and the noise was indescribable. At a tenth of that the noise ought to be considerably worse but this was nothing like as loud as I was expecting.

baby seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Our seagull chicks seem to be doing fine.

There are two of them, so it seems, and they are able to stand on their own two feet in a manner of speaking, and seem to be managing quite fine without mummy keeping an eye on them, for she is nowhere to be seen.

It was quite amusing watching them trying to leap up over the ridges in the roofing sheets. They couldn’t quite manage it and I felt for them because I understand exactly how they feel right now

p692 maroni gendarme maritime port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022We have a new visitor in port this afternoon.

This is a ship called Maroni and she belongs to the French maritime police. I wonder what’s going on around here that brings her into port today. There’s nothing going on around here that I can think of.

She’s not the one that came to check our papers when we were on board the Spirit of Conrad. She was called Geranium I and she was accompanying a survey boat that was checking the sea bed for likely spots to position some offshore wind turbines.

marquee port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned the marquee that had appeared on the quayside away across on the other side of the port.

With the 70-300mm LENS on the NIKON D500 I could see that there were stalls set up around the outside of the marquee and there were crowds of people milling around.

There will probably be something about it in the newspaper tomorrow that will tell me what was going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then wrote notes on “School Days” and “Technology” for my Welsh revision. I have to keep on going even though it’s a Sunday.

Later on I divided the dough into three and put two lumps in the freezer.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The third one I rolled out and put on the pizza tray. And when it had had its second proofing I assembled this evening’s pizza.

When it was made I bunged it into the oven to bake and 35 minutes later it was ready to eat.

And I do have to say that it was one of the best pizzas that I’ve made. I don’t like using bleached industrial flour but I wasn’t having much success with any other kind.

Eventually I managed to catch up with the notes from my travels during the night. We’d been to Mexico. There had been some kind of scene about a song that we were supposed to know. I didn’t know particularly well so I didn’t join in. When everyone was cleared away I went over to the front and there on the screen were the words. They had song sheets and lyric sheets and batons for timing etc, a huge pile of mess at the side of the runway. I thought to myself that obviously this song wasn’t as well-known as people were pretending with everything to persuade these people to sing and all these people from the EU to join in as well.

And then there was quite a bit of currency manipulation going on with the German mark. People were coming up with all kinds of things that were going to drive the German mark down including blackmail. I had to do some research into it and found several things so I wrote various notes. I had to write them small because there wasn’t all that much room. In the end what I wrote made a great deal of sense even though there was something like 2,000 words crammed into a space of about 3″x3″. I managed to fit in something about blackmail and showed a little evidence as well. I was pleased with what I’d done and was about to present it to a meeting.

And finally there was something that I was doing for a photographic assignment, having to photograph all these people. There was something about having to get them all onto the photo at once which was going to be extremely difficult. I was trying to work out a way to do it when we had an enormous thunderstorm and everyone scattered. It made it virtually impossible for me to do it. I had to remind everyone that they were quite happy to do it before this thunderstorm. There was still the same photograph to do and still the same amount of space and same amount of land. We needed to push on and do this photograph because of the weather.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m up at 06:00 in the morning to start my radio programme so I need to be on form. But not much chance of that happening these days. I’m going to have to do better than this.

Sunday 29th May 2022 – DESPITE IT BEING …

… a Sunday today, I’ve actually been rather busy. And it’s not like me on a Sunday, is it?

It actually started off like any Sunday ought to have started, by having a nice lie-in. And to a reasonable time as well. None of your middays or anything like that but I was wide awake at 10:05 and by 10:30 I was actually up and about. I’m quite happy about that.

After the medication I started to hunt down the paperwork that I need to complete my tax return. Luckily, the banks have organised themselves correctly and a search on their sites reveals something called “fiscality declarations”. It’s just a case of downloading them and then printing them off.

For a change, I can actually find my pension certificate from Belgium. Last year, my Belgian old-age pension totalled €403:58. Spend, spend, spend, hey?

Unfortunately, there’s a slight problem with my pension from the EU. I need a declaration from them about the tax-free status of my pension from them but as you might expect, their web site is down at the moment.

When I had a look a couple of days ago, the EU’s website was OK but the web site of one of the banks was down. It looks as if they are all taking it in turns to confound everyone and make our tax returns late.

After lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was in the army. A group of us had to go and investigate a chimney from the inside. The vertical transition up and down was easy enough but going from side to side, horizontal transition, was difficult. I had to go first. People were keeping a close eye on what I was doing. I had to call back every couple of minutes to explain the procedure. It was quite complicated to try to move horizontally in this chimney rather than vertically so everyone was keeping close tabs on me. They were pretty impressed with my progress. Someone was telling me about the cables he’d used when he was doing it. He’d plug the electricity cables into a house’s socket but for some unknown reason that had caused certain problems and the light only worked at certain times

And then I’d been away on holiday for several weeks and had taken a whole ton of stuff with me. When I came back to the office and my car I had it all in the office with me ready to move down to the car park. Someone reminded me about a book that he’d lent me. I didn’t remember actually taking it with me. I thought that it must be at home so I went to explain to him. He started to talk to me but then went off to talk to someone else. This happened two or three times. In the end I was fed up of waiting. I went back and started to search through everything that I’d taken with me. I couldn’t find anything there that related to this book at all. There were all sorts of things like 7-inch records, tons of paperwork, all kinds of stuff. Then I thought about how I was going to take all this home. From my office to the car was quite a trek. I’d have to do about a dozen trips to move all this. I thought that I could stick it all in my storage locker and take it home bit by bit over the period of the next few days. I went off to look for a trolley to load it all on so I could take it all round to my storage locker but it was strange that I couldn’t find that book in all this stuff that I had with me. This guy only seemed to be interested in making a scene about his book rather than making genuine enquiries about where it is and what had happened to it.

And then I was also having a laugh at the daughter of my friend Erika in Atlanta, Georgia, who is just 10 years old. According to Erika’s social network, Harper was going over to a friend’s house a few buildings away.
Erika: “Ok, what do we do if someone tries to grab you?”
Harper: “Kick him in the balls and yell ‘FIRE’!”
Erika: “Ha, right, but that’s not a good word, it’s ‘testicles’.”
Harper: “Ok, kick him in the balls and yell ‘TESTICLES’!”
Erika: “You know…that might work too.”.

Kids of that age are wonderful, aren’t they?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk as usual.

There was plenty of sun this afternoon but the strong winds that we had earlier in the year are now back again. For that reason I wasn’t expecting to see too many people out there this afternoon.

And I was right as well. The wind seems to be keeping them all indoors this afternoon. Everywhere was quite deserted, even the car parks up here. It wasn’t like yesterday at all when you could hardly move around down there because of the crowds.

Nobody up in the air either. I would have expected to have seen a few Birdmen of Alcatraz out and about in this weather.

yachts ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022What else I would have expected to have seen would have been fleets of boats out there just offshore having a good run around on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

However it looks as if everyone has now gone back to Paris now that the long weekend is over. There wasn’t anything at all just offshore. All that I could see was right out at the Ile de Chausey where there was a handful of yachts milling around this afternoon.

No speedboats, no cabin cruisers, no fishermen. “No shipwrecks and nobody drownding. In fact, nothing to laugh at at all” as the old song goes.

And so I headed off slowly down the path towards the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that can be said about the day today was that visibility was amongst the best that we have had for a while.

The other day I showed you a photo of St Helier but I can do even better than that today. Even with the naked eye I could see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel this afternoon and considering that that’s about 70kms away, that’s quite impressive.

One of these days I really will post those photos of the Cap Fréhel lighthouse that I took when we sailed down that way on Spirit of Conrad two years ago. I haven’t forgotten but like most things these days, I never seem to have the time to do anything.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday while we were out for our afternoon walk we were overflown by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

Today, someone else has had his chopper out. We were overflown by yet another helicopter as we walked across the lawn at the end of the path.

And this is a helicopter that I don’t recognise. I’m not sure whether or not we have seen it before and unfortunately from this distance I can’t read the registration number that it painted on her tail boom so I’ve no idea who she is.

All of the arrivals at the airfield this afternoon are aeroplanes whom we know for one reason or another so it’s not likely that she went in to land there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With no-one in my way and no cars to knock me over on the car park I had a safe passage down to the end of the headland this afternoon.

And as usual, we had a few people sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban admiring the view.

Not that there was much view to admire this afternoon because there wasn’t a single boat out there in the bay this afternoon. I’ve no idea where they have all gone today, unless they have all gone home.

But there are still five weeks to go before the schools break up for summer and then we’ll know all about tourism and no mistake.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little earlier I mentioned the really good view that we were having this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a decent view of Cancale, away across the bay in Brittany so it seemed to be the right moment to deal with that.

We were actually there five years ago and didn’t take a single photo because we couldn’t find a place to park. And then we were there with Spirit of Conrad but we never stepped ashore.

Why I was there 5 years ago was that I was looking for a hotel for the night and one came up that was 18 kilometres away “in Cancale” so I booked it. Of course, as I was to find out later, that’s 18 kms as the crow flies and I ended up driving almost 90 kms around the bay to reach the hotel

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022We had a few more fishermen out there on the rocks this afternoon.

Not engaged in the peche à pied but using a rod and line like the guy was using the other day when we saw him pull a fish out of the water. These three here didn’t have the same amount of success though but then again, I don’t think that anyone was actually expecting them to.

Mind you, one of them did have a bucket so I suppose that he was having certain expectations.

And who knows? Maybe I might have seen him catch something had I waited around long enough but I had places to go, things to do, people to see etc.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Before I head for home, I had to take a photo of the latest arrival at the chantier naval.

It’s not exactly what I would call a serious piece of maritime equipment and I’m sure that they don’t need the services of the chantier naval to do what needs to be done to it, but as Marechal MacMahon once famously, said, “j’y suis – j’y reste”.

Back here I made a coffee and started work again as I had plenty of things to do. Firstly, I had some home-made bread to make seeing as I had run out. And so I mixed up a big batch of dough and left it to proof for a while.

Before I’d gone out I’d taken the last load of dough out of the freezer and by know that had defrosted so I kneaded it, rolled it out and then pout it on the pizza tray.

By now the bread was ready for its second kneading so I dealt with that and then came in here for a bash on the guitar for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Later on the bread went into the oven and while it was baking I assembled the pizza and that went into the oven when the bread was cooked.

And here are the finished products. The pizza was quite delicious as usual – much as it pains me to say it, going back to commercial bleached flour was the right decision – and I’ll tell you about the bread at lunchtime tomorrow.

But right now I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare. High time that I organised myself better than I am doing. I’m never going to make any progress if I don’t.

Sunday 2Sunday 22nd May 2022 – WE HAD MORE OF A …

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… nautical day today than we have had for the last while.

So while you admire a few photos of all various kinds of water craft that was out there this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my day today.

And to my surprise – and probably yours too – it was rather better than it might otherwise have been today.

Last night, I was in bed by 00:00, without the particular medication that is causing me all of these issues. And as a result, I was tossing and turning in bed for quite some considerable time trying to go off to sleep.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Eventually, I must have managed to drop off to sleep because there was something on the dictaphone. At least I’d managed to go off on my travels for a while at some point during the night.

But even more surprisingly, considering that Sunday is a day when I spend as long as possible lying in bed without moving, by 09:35 I was actually up and about. And, believe it or not, actually feeling as if I was up and about as well. And without an alarm either.

It’s early days yet but even so it’s a long time since I’ve felt like this on a Sunday, isn’t it? Usually I’m lucky to see anything at all this side of midday, medication or not notwithstanding.

yacht speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When I’d finished the medication I had a listen to what was on the dictaphone to see where I was during the night.

This is the story about the Clitheroe Kid who was working with a group of children in a coal mine underground. They were talking about the wages and everything which were peanuts of course. At the end of the shift the children began to come up. Some of them looked as if they were only 5 or 6. A couple of the children didn’t come out. They had to send a rescue party with people like Higginbottom etc. They rescued the ones who were stuck, saying how lucky they were, at least they had a decent hospital near where they were where the children who were injured could receive treatment. They had like an overhead gantry where they could put the children on and it would take them to the hospital. Jimmy Clitheroe was one of the last to leave but one of his friends didn’t appear with him so he shouted that this kid was stuck so they had to go back and free this kid. They came out, and as they were coming out of the mine a kid and her parents, and this kid couldn’t have been more than 5, came back out of the hospital. She saw Clitheroe and his friend and went over to them to share a cigarette with them. Her parents were relieved that their daughter had been saved and that Clitheroe and his friend had managed to make their escape from the coal mine.

This was another one of these dreams that was just so real.

speedboat yacht le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Much of the rest of the day has been spent playing guitar.

There’s a little project simmering away on the back burner right now that might actually come off in the near future if I’m not careful, so I need to be prepared.

Mind you, it’s not something that I can do alone and, regrettably, there is some “history” about this particular event in the past. I hate being dependent upon other people, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Someone has “promised faithfully” to send me something “straight away” for over two weeks and a couple of reminders now and I’m still no further forward.

The last time this happened, I made my own notes which I wrote down in my notebook which is in the pocket of my jacket hanging up on a hook in a hotel in Calgary and at this rate it’ll be quicker to fly over to Canada and rescue them.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Later on I went out as usual for my afternoon walk.

First of all I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to have a look down onto the beach to see who was down there this afternoon.

The good weather that we had earlier in the week looks as of it’s gone for the moment. It was cloudy and rather windy out there this afternoon. Mind you, there were a couple of people down there and they were brave enough to go into the water up to their knees.

So hats off to them. It’s not really the kind of weather that would make me take to the water. But then again water at minus 1°C in a snowstorm 700 miles from the North Pole didn’t deter me, did it?

cormorant baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Out there on the rocks just offshore we had rather an impressive-looking bird flexing its wings down there.

It could well be a cormorant but I don’t really know. I know that when I was married to Nerina I had plenty of lectures about birdwatching and I suppose that I really ought to have paid more attention, but not one of them was about this particular type of bird.

It was around here that some local came up to me to ask me about my photos. He lives locally apparently and he has seen me out and about quite often. We ended up having a little chat for a few minutes about photography and the like.

He was interested to know whether I had ever sold any photos so I delighted in telling him about the photo that appeared in that book a couple of weeks ago, to name but one.

sparrowhawk baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Meanwhile, while we are on the subject of birds … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was another one of the feathered variety a little further along the path.

This is one whom we have seen on several occasions in the past – or one very much like it. It’s a sparrowhawk that preys on the colony of rabbits and other wildlife that live in the long grass on the edge of the cliffs around here.

And all I can say about his efforts this afternoon is that he was having just as much luck as the fishermen were having yesterday..

At the end of the car park I fought my way through the crowds and across the car park down to the end of the headland. No caterpillars to impede my progress this afternoon either.

35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench down at the end of the headland this afternoon, but we had a little bit of aerial activity while I was admiring the view.

It’s one of the little light aeroplanes – 35MA – that fly out of the airfield down the coast. Unfortuately I can’t tell you anything about her because her registration number isn’t listed in the database to which I have access.

She doesn’t file a flight plan either so I can’t tell you where she’s going but it’s a reasonable bet to assume that she’s going down the bay to do a lap around Mont St Michel and then come back in to land.

My journey took me down the path along the other side of the headland so that I could see what was going on down at the port this afternoon.

j158 l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And they have made an enormous amount of progress with L’Ecume II.

She’s almost finished now so it won’t be long at all until she’s back in the water with her nice fresh coat of paint.

The dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still over there too, out of shot on the right by the portable boat lift. The lorry should be coming to take her away any day now ready for her next posting.

It’s interesting to speculate who is going to be next in the chantier naval. It’s only a few months ago that they actually had as many as nine boats in there under repair at the same time.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Meanwhile over at the ferry terminal we have Belle France tied up.

The other two Joly France boats that were there with her yesterday have cleared off this afternoon. Now that the tide is coming in presumably they have slipped their mooring and gone out to the island to bring back the last of the weekend’s holidaymakers ready to catch the last train back to Paris.

But as I said yesterday, I’m much more interested in the two Channel Island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville. I’ll have to try to track down a copy of their schedules to see when they are likely to be sailing out to Jersey.

l'omerta ch643489 petite laura port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Meanwhile, over at the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant, L’Omerta has some company this afternoon.

Moored up behind her is Petite Laura, another one of the shell-fishing boats. Neither of them is doing very much this afternoon except getting in the way of the other boats that might want to come in and unload.

Back here I had a coffee and carried on with the guitar and, a little later, rather regrettably, I fell asleep again for an hour or so. I’m not yet able to shake off all of the vestiges of this medication that I’ve been taking.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After lunch this afternoon I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and it had been defrosting during the afternoon.

Later on this evening I kneaded it and rolled it out, putting it on the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so. And then I assembled this evening’s pizza.

When it was cooked it was quite delicious but I’m finding it difficult to accustom myself to the plain, bleached flour. Admittedly it goes up like a lift and cooks quite nicely but the taste is rather different.

But anyway now that i’ve dealt with all of that I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare, and it will be interesting to see how I cope without this medication and an early start.