Tag Archives: victor hugo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 7th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall what usually happens when I have something important or urgent to do, and so it goes without saying that today, with so much going on that I need to do I have been on the receiving end of a load of rubbish.

roadworks place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Monday is of course the day when I work on my rock music programmes for the radio and I had three live concerts to remix, edit, and then to write and dictate the text that I intend to use, and then edit it.

So having left my stinking pit at 06:00 and written all of the notes, at 08:00 precisely they started working on the road underneath my window, using a pneumatic drill.

And that, dear reader, was that.

Mind you, I did have a dash through while they were going for their 2-hour lunch and after when they had finished, and I thought that I’d managed to produce something that was adequate for all three concerts – only to find that one of them has a hole in it.

The irony of that is that I recorded this concert myself on 22nd April 1977 (I wrote it on the tape) but the quality was not as good as I would have liked it to be so rather than spend ages editing it and ending up with something that would still be of somewhat dubious quality, I trawled across all kinds of sources to which I have access to see if I could find a better copy.

And sure enough, I eventually did but firstly, a lot of the audience interaction, some of which was quite important, was edited out and I had to edit it back in from my copy, and secondly, it has a hole in at at 45:20:00 that I didn’t notice when I played it through at first.

It’s not been my day, has it?

The day started off well enough. I was out of bed almost as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00 and after the medication and checking my mails and messages I made a start on writing the notes for the three radio concerts that I was hoping to do.

As I mentioned, the pneumatic drill interrupted my work quite considerably but I picked my way through the quiet gaps in the work as best as I could. I adjusted the one that I mentioned yesterday and that sounds quite nice.

But the second one is perfect, despite all of the work that I had to do on it and I’m really impressed with how it’s come out.

As for the third one, we’ll have to see about that when I’ve filled in the hole, and found something that will take up the time. I’ll probably have to lengthen some applause or something.

There were several interruptions, apart from the pneumatic drill. First of course was for lunch and second was the nurse, about whom I had forgotten, who came to give me my injection.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then of course there was the afternoon walk around the headland.

First call was, as usual, the walk across the car park to the wall at the end where I can look down upon the beach to see who’s around.

And there were plenty of people down there today. It’s school half-term right now so there are families coming here to their second homes and holiday lets to take in the sea air, and to bring their viruses with them.

The figures have calmed down this last couple of days from the ridiculous levels of the last few weeks, so just watch them soar upwards again now that everyone is on the move.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Plenty of other stuff on the move as well this afternoon.

As usual I had a good look round out at sea while I was watching the beach. My eyes fell upon a couple of fishing boats way out in the bay.

Judging by the direction in which they were pointing, they must have been working. They were neither heading back to port or out to sea in the direction of the Channel Islands

Fishing boats with their nets out are obliged to shine a couple of white lights, but I’m not likely to see them at this distance.

f-gcum, robin dr 400/180 regent, baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That wasn’t all that was going on out in the bay this afternoon either.

Not actually in it, as it happens, but over it. We had a light aeroplane flying by way out in the distance.

Of course, from here I have no chance of seeing who she might be but she’s red and white and that seems to suggest that she’s F-GCUM, a Robin Dr 400-180 Regent.

My photo is timed at 15:49 and while no-one took off from the airfield round about then, F-GCUM took off at 15:07, flew up to Utah Beach and then back down in a figure-of-eight to Avranches and then back again where she landed at 16:16.

She must have been on the second part of her flight when I photographed her.

brittany coast in sea mist Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Although the view out to sea was reasonably clear, it wasn’t like that everywhere else.

The way things were, I was hoping that I might possibly be able to see all the way down to Cap Fréhel this afternoon but it wasn’t to be, unfortunately.

There was quite a heavy sea-mist hanging around just offshore and obscuring the coast. It was extremely difficult to make out anything further than the Baie de St Malo and anything coming out of the harbour over there would be immediately lost in the mist.

It wasn’t the day for any kind of long-distance photography in that direction.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel, things were quite dramatically different.

Not a trace of mist just over there and so we have another one of these magnificent sunsets. The Brittany coast, the town of Cancale and the sea just offshore are illuminated by the sun just as if they have been floodlit on a stage.

But we need to make the most of this because the sun is now quite high in the sky and I don’t imagine that we’ll be seeing many more of these beautiful late afternoons now until late autumn. I shall have to find something else to extol.

people watching sunset pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And just for a change, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying it.

Several people had made their way down to the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland and they were admiring the sunset, complete with improvised visors.

Nothing much seems to have happened in the bunker behind me over the weekend. Everything was as I remember it being when I last looked.

And so I carried on down the path towards the port to see what was happening there since Saturday morning.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As far as inhabitants of the chantier naval go, there hasn’t been any change. Tiberiade is still in there, and so it Le Roc A La Mauve III.

However, there’s been a considerable change to Le Roc A La Mauve III. It doesn’t look as if she’s going to be mauve any more, because they are down there busily sanding off all of the paint from the hull of the boat.

She’s going to have a new coat of paint, by the looks of things. I shall have to make a note of her new colour when she’s done so that I can identify her at a distance when she’s out at sea.

When I find the time, whenever that might be, I’ll make up a list of boats that operate out of here and append some photos to help me identify them.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022No difficuly in identifying this boat though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we will probably be able to identify her simply by where she’s moored. She’s L’Omerta of course, and we’ve seen plenty of photos of her moored up at the quayside underneath the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve seen her moored here but like a homing pigeon she’s found her way back again to her nest, sitting on the silt now that the tide is out.

She’s on her own down there today. Everyone else is either in the inner harbour or out working at sea.

harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022What is interesting about what’s happening in the harbour is the case of what isn’t here today.

What have gone from the harbour today are the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

They are probably on their way to Cherbourg or somewhere like that. As I mentioned a few days ago, there are rumours going around that the sailings to Jersey are to restart at the end of April.

Having been standing idle for so long, it’s likely that they have gone for an overhaul and a service ready to restart work. And I’ll have to make a few enquiries myself because as I have mentioned before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m determined to get out there somehow and see what’s going on.

light aeroplane 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was brroding on the infinite, I was overflown by another light aeroplane.

And “overflown” was probably the correct word because she really was right overhead. We can clearly see that she’s 50SA, one of the light aeroplanes that fly out of the airfield.

As I have said before … “and on many occasiosn too” – ed … I’ll have to go out there to the airfield at some point to make enquiries about these aeroplanes that I can’t identify. The registration numbers that they carry aren’t in the series contained in the database to which I have access.

lorry negotiating porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the difficulty of large vehicles faced with the medieval city walls.

On the way back I noticed that not all of the large vehicles trans-ship whatever it is that they carry. Some of them press on regardless.

And this one certainly did – with a clearance of no more than an inch or two either side the driver bravely nosed his vehicle out of the walled city as I watched.

It would have been much more interesting to have actually watched him fight his way in, but I wasn’t here at the time.

Back here I had a coffee and carried on with my work until I had to stop for tea.

Eventually I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was with 2 girls at school last night. They were a few years younger than me but they weren’t particular friends of mine and this was a good few years later at a kind-of party. I’d gone to wash my hands and it was dark so I was having an explore and a look around. I was in some of the classrooms wondering why there was no-one else in here. Suddenly these 2 girls walked in. I shouted “booh!” and they jumped. They put the lights on but it took a while for them to come on then I could see who they were. I said “God it’s only you. I thought that it was someone else” and mentioned the name of a girl in their year who I actually happened to quite like. They said “yes, we noticed that you liked her”. I replied, “yes, she and her friends are really quite nice”. By this time a whole crowd of people had come in. They were all sitting down making coffee and everything. I asked “could someone lend me some coffee?”. These girls said “so and so (her friend) and I have some coffee. You can share ours” and gave me a drink of coffee. They gave me some chocolate cake too, that they put on the saucer of the cup, but it was hot from the coffee so the cake stuck to the saucer. We were talking about something or other and I thought that that reminded me of a man, a distraction for about 30 seconds. Then one of the girls turned to me and asked “who did that remmind you of?”. I replied “do you know, it’s gone clean out of my mind”. We were talking about all kinds of things. The question of coffee came up and she said “my husband never makes me a coffee”. I replied “he ought to” and I told the story of my friend in the USA who even though he didn’t like coffee would quite happily make one for his wife”. She said “yes, come on” in a dismissive tone. We were having quite an interesting chat that I wouldn’t have had with these 2 girls in real life. It was really quite interesting and it was a shame when it petered out

There was also some kind of ceremony going on at a war memorial and we were there. There was talk that they had given some of France’s post-war allocation to people like the Basques and the Greeks to ensure some kind of post-war stability. We then walked back out with Liz and as we were passing a shop she asked if I fancied a coffee. I replied “no, we’re nearly back so I’ll have one when we arrive back home”. She went in anyway and I noticed that she was buying an alcoholic drink. I didn’t say anything, I just watched as the shopkeeper collected all the ingredients to mix it.

Tonight was to empty the fridge of everything loitering in there, especially the stuffing left over from Saturday’s pepper. So I made a really nice curry of all kinds of bits and pieces, and forgot to put the stuffing in it.

Definitely not my day, is it?

Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best, not that that is ever likely to happen. Piles of radio stuff and only one day to do it all before I leave.

The fact that I just can’t get myself up to date is another one of these mysteries that I don’t understand.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Monday 6th December 2021 – THE PECHE À PIED

jullouville baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… has taken on a whole new significance today, judging by the news that’s currently doing the rounds.

A couple of people who were over there at Jullouville looking among the rocks for crabs came across an old boot instead. And in it were the remains of a human foot.

There are of course all kinds of wrecks out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel – fishing boats, aircraft, pleasure craft and so on – and many people have been lost there, especially during the fighting in June and July 1944.

What has quite possibly happened is that Storm Arwen has disturbed an old wreck that still has human remains on board and the boot has floated free.

But it seems that from now on, when one is mentioning the peche à pied one will have to specify to which pied one is actually referring.

This morning at 06:00 when the alarm went off I had a struggle to take to my feet. But once the medication had been taken and the mails and messages checked, I cracked on with the two radio programmes that I needed to prepare, with the aid of a mug of strong coffee.

It took me much longer than I reckoned too, knocking off as finished at 13:15, but that was having had quite a chat on the internet with Liz who was on line.

What else didn’t help was that I couldn’t find a suitable ending-track for my Christmas programme. In the end I had to find one that would do, stretch out the speech that went with it and lengthen a few pauses and in the end it fitted quite nicely.

As for the other radio programme on which I was working went together quite happily

After lunch I had a quick clean-up and then headed off to the physiotherapist.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Outside it was grey and miserable and threatening rain.

On the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I could look down on the fish processing plant. There weren’t any boats down there of course – the tide is well-out right now – but there is a refrigerated lorry and several freezer vans parked down there.

There must be plenty of fishing boats out at sea right now and they will be due back on the early evening tide, when the vehicles down there will take away the catch.

Yesterday while we were out on our travels we noticed that there were no longer any boats moored up at the ferry terminal in the tidal harbour.

joly france belle france chausiaise victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021They have all now come into the inner harbour so that would seem to indicate that they have no plans to go to sea in the immediate future.

The three that are moored together in the foreground are the brand-new Belle France nearest the quayside, with the newer of the two Joly France ferries, the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure next to her. On the outside is the little freighter Chausiaise.

Over at the back on the right are the two Channel island ferries – Victor Hugo on the outside and Granville on the inside moored against the quayside.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Further on down the road I had a look at what was going on with the pointing at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They seem to be making good progress with it, but my attention was drawn to the two guys on the scaffold – the one in the red jacket and the other in the fluorescent jacket.

Judging by the way that they are standing around doing very little and pretending to inspect the work, they look very much like site managers to me.

With the steps being closed off I had to walk down the Rue des Juifs and go through the town that way to my appointment

Today she had me do five minutes on the cross trainer and the rest of the time was spent doing kinetic exercises. And I’m dismayed at how much I seem to have been affected by whatever it is that is going on with my body right now.

Much of my co-ordination and balance has gone completely and I don’t have the power in my knees to stand up from a sitting position without using my hands.

Anyway, after half an hour she threw me out and judging by the state of the pavement I’d just missed a torrential downpour..

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2112/21120044.html”>christmas decorations rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way up to the physiotherapist I’d noticed that the decorations in the Rue Couraye have … errr … evolved.

We now have candy-striped pillars placed over all of the bollards on the edge of the kerb. They have signs on them indicating the nature of the shops alongside.

Dark though it was right now, the Christmas lights weren’t yet illuminated. I can see that i’m going to have to come down later in the evening one night and see how they look, in the hope that they are better than they have been in previous years.

For some reason, I don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that I had in previous years.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Halfway up the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

Not because I was out of breath and not because of anything that was going on in the port either but there was another beautiful sunset out there in the Baie de Granville. This was far too good to miss. It really was quite impressive.

Before I set out earlier I put a can of energy drink into my bag with the idea that if I needed it I could drink it on the way home but I totally forgot about it. I might not be feeling enthusiastic but at least I’m feeling a little more fit than I was three months ago.

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

There’s plenty of beach down there just now, but there wasn’t anyone down there on it. That’s not really a surprise because it was quite windy, going dark and threatening rain.

Back in the apartment I had a nice hot coffee and then transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I’d had quite a busy night by the looks of things. and there was plenty to transcribe.

There were quite a few entries from the last few days too but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to read those.

Anyway, last night I was at the cinema. I’d gone to see some rock concert or other that was taking place there. I mentioned to someone that I was going and he said that his younger sister was going as well. I turned up at this cinema and took a seat. When I looked round, there was a young girl there waving at me. I said “hello”. I thought to myself “is this that girl?” because when I looked around again there was another girl waving at me who looked pretty much identical. I couldn’t work out who was who and I couldn’t remember her name. As usual I was tying myself up in a knot about “should I go and sit next to her and so on? What if it was the wrong girl?”. The usual kind of confused state that I find myself in at times. Then the lights went out and we had the immediate “get your hand off my leg” comment that used to go around the cinemas in Crewe in those days when the lights went off, which always of course caused a lot of laughter. When I looked around though, both the girls had disappeared off somewhere. Here was yet another situation that I’d let slip through my fingers because I was being far too indecisive. The story of my life, isn’t it?

And I wish that I knew who the girl was too. Although seeing as I let her slip through my fingers like that, maybe it’s better that I don’t know, to avoid any disappointment.

Later on I was going out that night and I needed a new jacket to wear to make myself look smart (it’ll take more than a jacket to do that of course) so I went off to a shop that I normally use. I’d had a look round on the upper floors at a few different kinds of things but no jackets. I’d taken off my jacket and hung it on a peg while I was doing that. I then went downstairs to look at the men’s clothing. There were lots of other interesting things down there as well. When I arrived downstairs there was only the men’s clothing section open. The rest was all closed off as if they were remodelling the shop. They were busy hanging clothes onto hooks from behind the blanking-off thing that they were doing. There was a TV there with a load of men there watching the TV. I thought that they had probably been dumped by their wives who had then gone off to do the shopping somewhere else. Before I could look for a jacket I awoke.

Later still Nerina and I had had an argument in Germany somewhere on holiday and she had stormed off. I was walking the streets – it was 00:30 – wondering whether I should go back to the hotel room. As I was walking down the street a car pulled up. A man got out with a little girl about 7 or 8. She walked past me and said “here’s your computer mouse. I got on my bed and it fell off so I put it on the floor and here it is”. I took my computer mouse and was still wondering what to do. Somewhere somehow it turned out that Nerina had gone and my car had gone as well. I was stranded in Germany. I ended up with something like a Bella estate that I had managed to find. I was with that car and with Linda from Portugal (and here’s someone from a very distant past making her debut in my nocturnal rambles) but I’m not sure at all about where this bit with the Bella estate fitted in. I was in Stoke on Trent by this time

Finally I was having to negotiate my passage through the country that had formerly ruled the place where I live. I suspected that it wasn’t going to be easy. We set off and reached the border. I’d built some kind of big snowball or snowman and behind it were hiding several other men. I was discussing with them the plan that we’d go as far as the border and maybe go across. There would be a lot of bloodshed. They asked “what after that?”. I replied “I don’t know after that”.

The early start and the exercise at the physiotherapist’s had worn me out today and what with my early start on Sunday, I ended up drifting away for 20 minutes or so. That was rather a disappointment because I’ve been trying to avoid that for the last couple of months.

Tea was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Saturday evening lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And it’s even more delicious after marinading for a couple of days.

But now I’m off to bed. It’s early but I’m exhausted and I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow. There can’t be many left now before we break for Christmas. With my cookery lesson on Friday I have plenty of notes to review tomorrow so I need to be at my best.

Thursday 25th November 2021 – I MIGHT HAVE BEEN …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… rather hasty when I posted my rather vituperative comments the other day about the state of the road surface in the Rue St Michel.

As I walked past this afternoon on my way to the Post Office I can see that the workmen have come back.

While I watched, they were digging up the surface of the road down to a depth of about 30 centimetres, and they had some rather heavy professional equipment to move the soil, as you can see.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next down there

workmen's equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I can tell you what is happening next on the public car park outside my building.

Aapart from the equipment and material parked down at the far end, there’s a lorry with a skip and the dumper that you saw in the previous photo is bringing the soil to dump into it.

In fact it was the rather frequent passage of the dumper and its load up and down the street here this afternoon that actually drew my attention to the fact that there was work going on somewhere in the vicinity and I ought to be tracking it down.

At least it will give me something to do rather than to wade through mountains of sleep yet again because I had another miserable night. You can tell that my the amount and distance of the voyages on which I travelled.

We were living in London last night and a lad there was living in a house as a lodger. We suddenly found out that his landlady was someone really evil, in the style of Dracula or something so we rushed round there, made our way into his or her room. All of a sudden the woman appeared at the window and was making all kinds of uncomfortable gestures. The guy with me shooed her away and we played cards or something. Later, she came back and started to assemble a scaffolding at the front of the house. We chased her away again. The 3rd time we sent the dog out but it really didn’t do much so this guy went out with the dog, and the dog put an end to this woman. We carried on playing our game, a board game with this person although we were all very reluctant to sit by the window again in case this woman appeared even though the dog had finished her off

Later on there was something about trains being converted from diesel to electric power and running on electric lines in rural locations but I can’t remember that now. It’s all gone right out of my head.

There was a spaceship that landed on some ice. We went to see this spaceship and went on board. We were just about to go to bed when we heard a noise outside. We saw one of the people who had originally been on this boat and had somehow managed to escape. They were busy putting the leg of their boat or whatever back into position after they had moved it out of the way so that they could leave. We anticipated that there was going to be some kind of concert and right as this concert started under way I can’t remember any more about this
They had to start by untangling these jeeps and air passengers and so on, making a place on the stage for me to sing and where I could record but my voice seems to have gone down an octave and I couldn’t sing the parole as high as I used to
Later on I was on some kind of seaplane and it put us down somewhere in the far North of Canada on the sea. As we started to try to clamber off I looked out of the window and saw one girl whom I knew redirecting traffic and so on
“I fell asleep here” – ed
So I didn’t know then what was happening because I fell asleep again. Stopped wondering about what was going on, and then there was the missing one about being on board that seaplane that I added at a later date – and that really makes sense, doesn’t it?
There was a big party taking place and loads of people whom I knew where there. They were all doing exciting things. My German friend, for example, was cycling up a wall. Everyone was going around trying to find a friend, partner or something like that. I knew that nothing was ever going to happen to me. Who should turn up but a long-departed friend of mine. We had a little chat but because of my health issues the idea that I would have a partner was out of the window. We started talking, a couple of us there, and suddenly she burst into tears. I asked her what was the matter and eventually it was when we said that we can’t go on like this. I said “I can’t remember saying it”. She replied “you did, several weeks ago”. I thought that she meant that I’d said it today. Anyway, I tried to explain to her about my health problems, that I had other preoccupations at the moment but it was quite difficult for me to talk as she was in such a condition

Finally, Castor and Pollux put in a brief cameo appearance and it’s been a long time since they’ve done that, isn’t it? There was something about a major airport, it might have been Luton, that was having to close down because two big budget flight companies had collapsed so now the airport wasn’t having the custom that it had. Of course, whatever business we has was going to affect that very much. I said that Travel Agency was going to be the thing to get into because people like Castor and Pollux who were growing up are not going to be very happy sitting on a coach now for 10 days. They’ll be much more interested in sitting on a beach. Whoever it was with me was saying “that will change in the future”. I mentioned “we aren’t talking about the future at the moment, we’re talking about the way things are right now.

Once more I was wide-awake long before the alarm went off, although you might not think so reading all these notes, but even so it took me an age to tear myself out of bed.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I transcribed my masses of dictaphone notes and then set about dealing with these interview sound files. I ended up with two distinct interviews, and two for the price of one is always good value, even if it did take me until tea time, although with plenty of interruptions.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Not the least of the interruptions today was for the bread.

And isn’t this a magnificent-looking loaf? It’s certainly one of the best that I have ever made and when I tried it for lunch with my salad it tasted just as good as it looked.

This one was definitely a success and if I can produce loaves like this all the time I’ll be really happy.

It probably has something to do with the amount of time that I spent kneading it and shaping it. That probably contributed quite a lot to the success.

Something else that has taken up a lot of my time just recently has been a pile of correspondence that I have received today. An enormous box of papers has come to light relating to my maternal grandfather (who died in 1951) and his side of the family. No-one knew that they existed until recently.

Someone is currently scanning everything and sending them out in dribs and drabs. I’ve jhad a few loads just recently and another batch turned up today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my maternal grandmother was a well-known Vaudeville and Music-Hall singer in Canada in the early post-World-War I era.

It turns out that my maternal grandfather was an accomplished piano player and singer, and taught at a private boarding school, Denstone College, near Rocester (and that, incidentally, explains why my grandmother died in the hospital in Stafford). Later on, he had a road haulage business in Wisbech.

The letters are fascinating stuff, in particular his castigation of his younger brother for having abandoned his own business when he became ill, totally and utterly ignoring the fact that he himself had abandoned his own two children to strangers when his wife was taken ill.

In fact, when the south-east of England was evacuated in World-War II he wouldn’t even take his own children into his safe house in Wisbech and they were cared for instead by his younger brother.

But anyway, I digress. But at least I now know why the members of my mother’s side of the family are nothing but a bunch of thespians.

There was tile this afternoon to write the two incendiary (not that it will do me much good but it makes me feel better) letters that I should have written and posted yesterday.

On the way down to the Post Office I had a call to make. We have several projects on the go for the radio right now, one of which concerns the Carnaval here, and not too far away from here lives a woman who is a costumier who makes the outfits for the carnivalers.

My task for today was to persuade her to be interviewed for the radio and after a chat of about 15 minutes she agreed. We’ll have to organise a date in the near future.

jade 3 victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way down into town, passing the Rue St Michel, I ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the port.

We have a trawler – Jade III – over there parked stern-on to the quayside. There’s a van parked next to it and a couple of guts working on untangling a fishing net. They are going to have hours of fun playing around with all of that.

Also over there are the two sad, sorry-looking Channel Island ferries, the blue and white Victor Hugo and behind her, the newer Granville. I wonder if we’ll ever see them resuming their sailings. It’s not looking very optimistic right now.

christmas decorations place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down in the town centre I posted off the two letters that I had written and then looked across at the Christmas decorations on the Place Général de Gaulle

There’s a cherry-picker down there this afternoon so it looks as if they are installing the Christmas lights. And I hope that they will be different from last year’s. I couldn’t ever understand why towns don’t meet up and swap decorations every year so that we have different ones all the time.

As for what’s going on round by Santa, we can’t see anything because of all the forest. It looks as if Birnam Wood has finally made it to Dunsinane after all.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I stopped for a gander at the inner harbour.

It looks as if one of the Jersey freighters has slipped in without me knowing it because a lot of the freight that was on there last time we looked has now disappeared

But not to worry. There’s still a large pile of stuff accumulating on the quayside. It looks as if it’s all going non-stop at the moment and that will keep the little freighters busy. It’s good news for the port too as we are struggling somewhat now that the big gravel boats have stopped coming.

man fishing from beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I remembered to go and have a look at the beach this afternoon.

Only one person down there this afternoon. he looked as if he was a fisherman but I couldn’t see whether or not he had a rod with him. He was however striding out into the water with some great purpose.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my reading 70 and 80-year old letters and editing the sound files for my radio intervals.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta tonight. I have mountains of those and they need to be eaten so I’m doing my best to polish them off. At this rate, I reckon that they’ll finish me off before I finish them.

Bedtime now, and tomorrow I have yet more work to do – not for me either but someone’s bunged a translating job on me at the last moment.

There are also these sound files to send off for some gap-filling, a pile of questions for a bunch of elves, some shopping to do (as I’m at a weekend Welsh School this coming weekend) and several other things before I even start to think about my own work.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Wednesday 10th November 2021 – MARITÉ IS BACK …

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… in port after her little adventure filming whatever it was that she had been filming during the week.

She crept back in on the morning tide and is now happily moored back in her habitual berth and the trawler Saint Gaud has cleared off elsewhere.

Caliburn is back too, but not for very long. The examiner at the Controle Technique didn’t like the crack in the windscreen that’s been there for five years and through four previous controles technique without so much as a mention.

He also needs his headlights polishing too so I’ll go out there with some toothpaste and an old toothbrush to deal with that one day later in the week.

And if I don’t have a decent sleep some time soon I won’t be here for very long either. You can tell just how disturbed it was by the entries on the dictaphone. I started out on my way to Court last night to defend myself against a VAT assessment. I’ve no idea why except that it was something quite old and I hadn’t a clue what it was so I’d just taken a pile of pens and notepaper to write down notes. I found an empty bench and went to sit down and started to rehearse my case. The judge who was sitting at his desk told me not to rehearse my case at all so that confused me even more.

Later on I’d been tidying up a huge pile of papers that were all over the floor, books and everything. It was getting worse and worse the more that I tried to tidy up, everything like that. No matter how much I tried, there was more and more stuff to unpack. Then there was something to do with a couple of friends who came round. We ended up driving back towards Manchester. We were talking about music but the guy wasn’t really listening to what I was saying so I didn’t say very much. When we returned we measured my wall out and found that there were a couple of plssterboards that were too low and needed building up. I took one off the wall to give to him. The we started talking about do he and his wife want to come round for tea or maybe a meal or something and put back the plasterboard but they had to have a look at all the food supplies they had lying around, put it away and see what went into the fridge and let me know

Some time later there was a netball match being played last night. I was on one team. It was strange that everyone except one player was packed into the defensive circle of his own team so there was only me and one girl from the other team playing upfield. We were playing with balloons and I had the upper hand but every time I passed the ball over to the pack to try to get it into the hoop the balloon burst and they had to produce another one. Some balloons were better than others and we never seemed to be making any headway with this. It was all just playing this netball in this one particular area trying to get into the attacking semi-circle

Finally there had been a new road built from Nantwich so although Chester was posted straight on down Welsh Row, Tarporley was for some reason posted off to the right on this new road. A little later on there was a girl driving an Austin A40 in nantwich who was heading towards Tarporley. She decided to take this new road to find out why it didn’t go on down Welsh Row towards Tarporley. At some point she’d parked up her car and was having a huge row with someone. She said something like “my car’s far too new to abandon just like that and walked back to get in her car to carry on down this road. I was there because I was interested in taking photos of the signposts to find out exactly what was happening.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I cracked on with a pile of dictaphone notes from the backlog.

A few more days have been added to the updating and there’s another pile of notes ready to follow that lot tomorrow morning too. It kept me busy for for most of the morning and there’s only four days left to transcribe now.

They aren’t going to be done as quickly as I would like either because by now my turbulent phase was in full swing are there are mounds and mounds of stuff.

There were a couple of breaks in the middle of all of this.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Firstly, I’d almost run out of bread here. And I’d almost run out of yeast too so I had to go with what I had.

For a change I spent quite some time kneading and rolling my dough and it’s come out quite well again. I must remember this technique for the future.

It actually tasted quite nice too and it would have been even better had it had more yeast in it. But I think that the mixture could have benefited from a little more water in it.

The second interruption was the nurse. He couldn’t come on Monday so he came today instead and gave me my Aranesp injection and also my ‘flu injection.

Now i’m injected to the hilt and safe against every known disease, so i’ll probably be run down by a bus as well.

While I was waiting for the bread to cool down I went to take a shower. And my weight is slowly going down. I could make it go down even quicker but experience has shown me that the quicker it comes off, the quicker it goes back on.

omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having finished lunch I set the washing machine off and then set out for the physiotherapist, taking the NIKON 1 J5 with me.

L’Omerta was still moored up at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant, something that seems to be becoming a regular occurrence these days.

Strangely enough, I’d forgotten how to use the little camera and it took me a while to remember. It’s only been four months as well.

These days, my memory is becoming terrible. I keep on telling people that two things happen to you you when you reach my age.

  1. You forget absolutely everything that there is to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is


fishing boats victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was still finding my feet with the camera (I don’t ‘arf do some strange things) I noticed that the inner harbour was strangely deserted.

It seems as if all of the big trawlers and most of the little inshore fishing boats were out at sea this afternoon. There were just a few of the smaller inshore boats left behind – and L’Omerta of course.

But Victor Huge and Granville are still there too. A sad casualty of the Channel Islanders’ willingness to leap aboard the Brexit bandwagon despite the fact that, never having been in the EU, Brexit is nothing to do with them, has been the ferries that for a couple of centuries have been running between here and there.

One of the reasons why I came here was for the ferries – a good chance to exercise my sea-legs – but it’s turned out not to be.

pointing Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Last time that we came down the hill in the Rue des Juifs we saw them erecting a scaffolding to enable them to continue the repointing on the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret that they abandoned a while back.

By now it’s all up and they have actually started work. And it doesn’t look to me as if they are apprentices or work experience trainees either but proper time-served employees.

That’s a shame really because there are so many traditional crafts that are rapidly dying out with no-one to carry them on.

To promote this kind of thing amongst the young and the jobless is a really good way of building up a reservoir of skilled workmen and women with a trade that is a meaningful and valuable occupation.

woman speaking into microphone rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill, through the town centre and back up the hill on the other side to the physiotherapist..

It would have given me great pleasure (well, a lot of things would, actually) to have said that I went all the way without stopping but I did actually stop once in the Rue Couraye – just to take a photograph though, not to catch my breath.

The woman was standing on the side of the road with a professional microphone into which she was talking and which seemed to be connected to something in the rear of that car.

Whatever that was about, I have no idea.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises again because someone else was using the tilting platform. And right at the end she had me staning on something just 10cms wide, one foot behind the other while she threw balls at me to catch.
“your reflexes are really good” she said. Well, she didn’t. She actually said “vos reflèxes sont vachement bien”

It wasn’t for me to disillusion her by telling her that I spent much of my spare time in my teens and 20s as a goalkeeper and later as a wicket-keeper.

After she threw me out, then biting the bullet I headed off on foot to rescue Caliburn, stopping at Aldi on the way for a can of energy drink.

It’s all uphill to the garage – not very steep but long, long, long and it took it out of me but I made it there in the end.

Having paid the bill I went to collect Caliburn only to find that the battery was flat. One of the guys at the garage gave me a jump-start and so I went for a good long drive to put some juice back into the battery.

It was my intention to go to the shops for food but I didn’t fancy the idea of trying to have a jump start on a supermarket car park.

Back here I put the spare battery on charge just in case he won’t start tomorrow and then went to make a coffee. It was at that point that I realised that tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I hope that one of the supermarkets in town will be open tomorrow morning.

There were some mushrooms lying around looking sorry for themselves in the fridge so I made another delicious curry with them. These ad-hoc curries with whatever is lying around are turning out to be quite nice.

So now I’m off to bed, to see where else I might be going tonight. And, more to the point, and more importantly too, who’s going with me. I’ve been having a few interesting partners on my travels just now and it’s a shame that they aren’t here in real life.

Monday 25th October 2021 – JUST AS I FEARED …

concreting rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… and how sad is this?

Last week when I walked down alongside where the old railway like to the port used to go I noticed that they were laying out what looked like some concrete shuttering, and I remember expressing my dismay.

It seems that I’m living in a town that has a total lack of imagination and no understanding of artistic endeavour either. Almost everywhere you go these days in Normandy, you see some nice pavement, something interesting and eye-catching.

But not here in Granville. I’ve been moaning incessantly in the past about the pan of black asphalt that is the new car park by the port, without even a bush or a shrub to break the dreary monotony. And now there’s this ugly concrete pan to deal with.

reinforced concrete matting parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And that isn’t the worst of it either.

At the foot of the steps that lead down to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs there seems to be several acres of matting for reinforced concrete floor pans stacked up one on top of another waiting to be used.

What this signifies is that somewhere else there’s going to be another mass of concrete being laid down somewhere and I’m not looking forward to seeing that at all. The town can do much better than this if it really tries.

What I wasn’t looking forward to today was seeing the heart specialist. I know that there’s something wrong with my heart because it’s either my heart or lungs and it isn’t my lungs.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed and went to take my medicine. And when I’d done that I went off for a shower and a general scrub up to make sure that I was fit to be seen.

Outside it was pitch-black so I didn’t take any photos. And trying to enter the medical centre was exciting because the door was locked and the doctor, being new, wasn’t listed on the bell pushes.

The nurse gave me a good going-over, and examined me thoroughly too, and then sent me to see the doctor.

He gave me a complete workout and has identified the problem. And it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. The vascular evacuation of the heart should be about 60% but mine is just about 47%.

In other words, with my heart already beating 60% faster because of my lack of red blood cells, it now has to work 30% harder yet again (and 30% of 160% is 50% approximately which totals 210%) to maintain the blood supply, and it can’t keep on going like that for ever.

He’s writtten about 3 feet of notes for me to take to Leuven to show my Professor because he feels that there will be a follow-up to this. and to be honest, I don’t really want to know what it ie.

But I’ll telephone my professor tomorrow, have a chat to him and maybe send him the notes so that he can start to organise something.

The cardiologist had given me a prescription for something that might ease my discomfort so I went to the chemist’s.

trawler leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By the time that I was ready to come home, it was quite light as I walked up the hill towards home.

From one of my rest stops I could see that the harbour gates were open and there was a trawler heading out to sea.

It was surrounded by seagulls too, which was surprising. They are usually much more interested in a trawler full of fish heading home rather than an empty one heading out to sea.

There were plenty of other fishermen about though. You can see them in the background standing on the harbour wall, rods in hand.

granville victor hugo belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Here’s an interesting photograph though.

We can see the two Channel Islands ferries still moored up at the quayside – Granville against the quayside and the blue and white Victor Hugo moored alongside. And to the right is Belle France, the newest of the three Ile de Chausey ferries.

But what we can’t see is the Irish trawler Buddy M. She’s slipped out on the tide when I wasn’t looking and is now well on her way back to Ireland.

“Gone! And never called me Mother!”

By the time that I returned it was almost breakfast time so I made myself more coffee and tried one of my fruit buns. And they really are delicious. I’ll be enjoying these for the next week or so with my breakfast coffee.

And then I turned my attention to the radio programme. It takes me about 3.5 hours to do one so starting at 10:15 meant that I wouldn’t be finished by lunchtime. However, I wasn’t all that short of finishing.

The home-made bread is delicious as usual and went down really well with my salad, followed of course by a pile of fruit.

After I finished the radio programme, I had a letter to write. Another incendiary one to deal with yet another problem that has arisen, although I don’t really know what the problem is all about.

The nurse called to visit me a little later. There needs to be a few days before I can have my third Covid injection so it looks as if it it will be on Friday. There has to be 10 days after the Covid injection before I can have my next injection of Aranesp.

65px avion place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021After he had gone, I made ready to leave for my appointment at the physiotherapist’s.

As I left the building I was overflown by a light aeroplane. It’s one that I haven’t seen before, and is carrying the registration number 65PX. That’s a number that is outside the range of registration numbers to which I have access so I can’t tell you any more than that.

The town was packed, with it being the school holidays but I managed to fight my way through the crowds to post my letter at the Post Office. That will set the cat amongst the pigeons when it arrives.

scaffolding rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a crane by the Eglise St Paul reaching over towards the Rue Couraye.

As I walked up one of the side streets towards the Rue Couraye, I could see that the rear part of one of the buildings in the street is swathed in scaffolding, so it’s not surprising that I couldn’t see it from the street.

At the physiotherapists, I had a go on the cross trainer for 5 minutes and then had to perform several exercises. They were quite strenuous and I was quite glad to finish them and leave the place, aching in places that I didn’t even know that I had places.

concrete edging abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home I came back the pretty way via the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

Last week we had seen the digger digging a trench and dropping the soil into the back of the lorry. They aren’t there now but we can see what else has been going on around here.

We now have a border up some of the way, made with concrete blocks. This is turning into a major construction effort and they are going to be here for a while until it’s all finished and the builders have left the site. I assume that they will be laying a border on the far side.

pipework abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When we saw the digger and the lorry last week, it looked as if they were digging a trench for drainage pipes.

Further down the hill, there is another pile of pipes dumped at the side of the work. I suppose that the next task with the digger will be to dig the trench on down the hill and lay the pipes in it.

And there’s plenty of pipe to go at as well. That’s something else that will take a while to sort out.

There wasn’t anything else going on down at this end of the work this afternoon. Nothing was moving at all so I carried on towards home.

square des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021We’ve already seen what was going on in the Rue du Boscq but looking the other way, I could see what was happening in the Place des Docteurs Lanos.

Each time that I look at this Place it seems to be going from worse to worse. It’s now a total and complete mess and this isn’t something that’s going to be restored in a hurry either.

Apart from the concrete mixer and the men in attendance, there wasn’t anything else at all going on down there. The concrete goes all the way down to the far end so they have done that in something of a hurry.

The walk up the hill towards home was rather more painful than it has been just recently and I don’t know why. I seem to be having a slight relapse. But with the harbour gates being closed, there wasn’t anything exciting to see when I stopped for my breath.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021At the top of the hill though, there was something to see.

Or rather, there was something not to see. For the past couple of days we’ve been seeing the trawler Yann Frederic in the chantier naval. But today, it’s empty. It looks as if she’s gone back into the water on the morning tide.

It now remains to be seen who will be coming in next. It’s a far cry from how it was a month or two ago where for a considerable period we had as many as 7 boats in there at one time and you couldn’t find room to swing a cat.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When I returned home I didn’t go straight inside.

Even though it’s considerable later than usual I went to have a look down on the beach to see if there was another feeding frenzy going on in one of the tidal pools, but I was to be disappointed this afternoon.

The tide has made a few nice patterns on the beach as you can see. I’ve never seen it looking as good as this. There were some seagulls admiring it, and also several pedestrians doing the same. But not as many as I was expecting to see. We’d had a thunderstorm while I was in the physiotherapy but it had turned out into a nice, sunny afternoon.

trawlers returning baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021With the naked eye I couldn’t see anything out at sea but a glint of sun on glass had caught my eye.

As a result I took a photo and came back here to examine it. And I could see that right out in the Bay beyond the Ile de Chausey the trawlers were on their way home after their day’s fishing.

Back in the apartment I made a coffee and had a few things to do that took me up to tea time. Stuff on the dictaphone needed transcribing. I was with a girl last night but I can’t remember who she was now. We’d been definitely dating and we’d been round at her mother’s house. It was someone like Mrs Marshall but I don’t think it was Ann, Liz or Jackie. It was a Sunday evening round about 19:00 and time for me to go so she came out with me, went to my car. I unlocked the back door, not the front door. She asked what I was doing so then I went to open the passenger door for her. At that moment the next-door neighbour turned up. We were in Wardle at the bottom of Wardle Avenue although it wasn’t there either. There were some houses across the bottom, all very tight and the girl who lived next door had to manoeuvre her car into her drive between a couple of parked cars. She had only just learnt to drive. The girl with me said something about how well she did it considering she was a learner. That’s all that I remember about that.

Later on there was one of these minor German princesses. I had to write a letter and I needed to know a word in a foreign language so I went to ask a boy I knew about it. When I got to his house Zero was there. She was having some problem about a certain item of her clothing that needed adjusting and it goes without saying that there was one very willing volunteer not a million miles away from here keen to help.

And why do things like that only ever happen during the night and not during my waking hours?

There was more stuff on the dictaphone but as you are eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Tea was a stuffed pepper tonight, with rice and vegetables, and it was delicious as usual.

But now I’ve finished my journal I’m going to bed. I’m hoping to have a good night’s sleep for once. Last night’s was another disappointment and I can’t keep on going like this. If it carries on, I’m going to take a sleeping pill. I know that it’s a last resort but that’s the place in which I find myself right now.

Monday 27th September 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… since we’ve seen the chantier naval looking like this?

Over the last I don’t know how many weeks, we’ve seen as many as 7 boats in there at one time, but it gradually reduced down to 4, and then 3, and then 2, and then1

And when I walked past the place this afternoon, the final boat, L’Omerta, has left the yard too.

“Gone! And never called me ‘mother'”!

The next question is “who is now going to come into the yard next?”. And, more importantly, “when?”. It’s very important for the port to have a busy chantier naval because it encourages people to base their boats here, and that’s good for the town.

As for last night though here, it was a pretty miserable night, the early 06:00 start notwithstanding.

waves man on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021You can tell by the waves out there at sea that there has been quite a storm somewhere.

In fact, it was actually right overhead in the early morning and the howling gale and accompanying rainstorm awoke me on a couple of occasions while I was trying to sleep.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that I was feeling pretty uncomfortable when the alarm went off this morning.

After the medication and checking my messages I sat down to deal with this week’s radio programme. And to my surprise, and probably yours too, it was finished by 11:00 and that’s a new record as far as I can tell.

Mind you, after I’d listened to it, I had to turn round and do some of it again. I tried an experiement that sounded good while I was doing it but while I was listening to it I realised that it wasn’t as good as I thought. The idea was right but the execution wasn’t.

Then I had a listen to the programme that will be broadcast this weekend and realised that I had to redo part of that as well.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m trying – for a couple of reasons – to get well ahead of where I am supposed to be, but that causes its own problems as I realised today.

When George Kooymans retired from Golden Earring in April (he was in hospital in Leuven in May with him) the hunt was on to find which group became the group with the longest continual complement of members.

Of course, down in Texas there was always ZZ Top who have been together for 51 years and so I wrote about that and dictated it into the programme that will be broadcast this weekend.

Of course, having dictated that a few months ago, didn’t Dusty Hill then go and die on me and Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard recrute a new bassist?

Consequently I had to rewrite, dictate and edit a new speech, making it exactly the same length as the part that I was cutting out. And inserting text into the middle of a programme isn’t easy because not only do you have to watch the length, there’s the sound balance that you need to match.

As well as that, I’ve had quite a lot to do about another project on which I’m working for the radio and that has taken up a lot of my time this afternoon. And as a result I didn’t have the time to listen to whatever might be on the dictaphone.

There was the usual walk around the headland too. We’ve seen the beach earlier when we were looking at the waves just offshore. Just the odd person down there this afternoon, which is no surprise given the weather that we were having.

During the walk along the headland down to the lighthouse I was pretty much on my own. And there was nothing whatever going on out at sea. Not even a single boat that I could see. Mind you, the waves out there were enough to put anyone off.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021No-one was around at the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon either, and no boats out there either in the bay.

But as I looked at Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, I could see that the effect of wind-shadow provided by the headland, aabout which I have talked previously … “on many occasions” – ed.

You can see the whitecaps on the waves over there going in towards the beach down at Kairon-Plage but closer to Le Loup the sea is much calmer, due to the wind-shadow.

There were some people over there on the beach and I wonder what they were making of all of this weather today. It’s been quite a change from just recently.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Having taken in what was going on – or wasn’t going on, to be precise – in the chantier naval, I went to look at the fish processing plant.

When we were looking down there over the last few days, the place was covered with marquees and hordes of people for the Fête des Coquilles St Jacques but almost all of that has gone now and they are busy clearing away the rest.

Now we’re back to the refrigerated lorries over there queueing up at the Fish Processing Plant as normal service is resumed and there’s shellfish to be removed to the markets in Paris. All of the excitement seems to be over.

equipment on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021That may well be the case at the Fish Processing Plant but there’s plenty of excitement going on at the quayside.

Yesterday we noticed a pile of equipment that had been dumped on the quayside over at the back of where the Channel Island ferries tie up – you can see the bows of Victor Hugo and Granville over there.

There’s another lorry over there today with some more equipment on the back so it looks as if there’s going to be a big pile of stuff over there by the time that they finish, so it’s going to be some kind of serious work that will be taking place.

crane unloading freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And if that isn’t enough to be going on with, there’s even more excitement at the lading bay.

There’s a large articulated lorry over there having its trailer unloaded by the crane and there’s now an enormous pile of freight there.

Chausiaise is in attendance but that load won’t be going onto her – it’s far too much for her to carry and anyway there isn’t any unloading facilities over on the island and I doubt that her crane will be enough to lift it off.

It looks as if it’s waiting for one of the Jersey freighters but even so it’s going to be a struggle to load it all on. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Back here I carried on with my work and actually crashed out for 15 minutes – the first time since I’ve been working these “revised hours”.

Tea tonight wa s a stuffed pepper with rice but for some reason it didn’t cook as well as it usually does. I don’t know what I did wrong.

But now I’m off to bed. I’m hoping to have a nice long sleep (although I noticed that the wind has sprung up again) because I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I want to be on form.

There’s also my doctor’s appointment tomorrow – the Day of Judgement so I’ll have to remember to take my x-rays. I wonder what he’s going to tell me this time.

By the way, I did eventually transcribe the dictaphone note, but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll save you the gory details.

Saturday 4th September 2021 I KNOW THAT I PROMISED …

dehydrated black fungus noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… never to laugh or take the micky out of foreign translations into English (after all, my writing in French and Flemish isn’t all that much to write home about) but there are some occasions that just leap to the eye.

Here in Noz this morning, I was presented with the opportunity to buy some “dehydrated black fungus”.

The literal translation is of course “dehydrated black mushrooms” and I might ordinarily have been tempted – a handful of those sprinkled on my Sunday pizza would have soon absolrbed any excess liquid, but I couldn’t get past the “black fungus” bit.

So in the end I passed up the opportunity

Having gone to bed reasonably early last night, it was still a struggle to leave the bed at 06:00 when the alarm went off.

After breakfast I had a little session listening to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was staying with someone who was a cross between my Aunt Mary and Rosemary, in a room that was underneath one of the rooms in the attic where there were peopel staying. I wasn’t particularly clean because I’d been working all the time. I didn’t have many clothes with me and it wasn’t possible to wash them so I was rather struggling. We had a big house and there was a huge garden with it, completely overgrown and an absolute mess and we’d started work on tidying that up. Some guy had come along to help us and move the heavy stuff. We’d sorted out all of the washing, all the clothes and stuff in the barn and there was a pile of stuff. By the time that he was ready to leave the place looked brilliant. he said that there was a load of washing and clothes still in the barn but he’d had to take the washing line down. If someone wanted to refix it, he’d come along later and put the clothes back up. I said that I’d do that, although I didn’t feel much like it with my health because I didn’t want him rummaging through those clothes. There was a huge bank at the back of the house and we were manoeuvring stuff up there, putting it into skips and everything. There was an issue with horse hair for some reason. This woman asked me if I’d stayed in that room before. I replied “yes, I was in that same room last year”. She said “ahh well, a horse hair has got out and this was something of a tragedy to her that this horse hair had escaped from this room.

While I was at it, I did a few of the arrears too and just as I was on the point of finishing, there was a power cut and I had to start again, right from the very beginning, having forgotten to save my post as I worked.

And do you know – I’ve been using this text editor – NOTE-TAB – for over 20 years and it wasn’t until just after the power cut that I realised that there’s an autosave facility buried deep in the bowels of this program. It’s now set to “save every 2 minutes”.

But then this is how I’ve learnt most of the details about the programs that I use – thinking about “surely this particular function would be quite useful in this program” and searching my way through the program’s functions until I find it.

Off to the shops I set, and the first port of call was Noz of course. I eschewed the dehydrated black fungus but instead bought a couple of “orange and strawberry” drinks with which to take my medicine.

As well as that, having thought long and hard about what webcam to buy for the big computer (for more than two years in fact) they had some cheap ones at €3:50 so I’ll have a bit of a play with that and see what happens.

At LeClerc they had grapes at, would you believe, €1:49 per kilo so I bought a huge pile of those. The autumn is the time of year that I love, because we have grapes in abundance followed by clementines and satsumas, all the way up to the New Year.

A rather unusual purchase was a tin of WD40. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been having problems with Caliburn’s door latch mechanism and having dismantled it a few weeks ago I could see the problem.

So on the car park of LeClerc it’s all had a really good oiling and it will be having a few more before I reassemble the door panelling.

peugeot car up on blocks rue de la crete Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now here’s something that you very rarely, if ever, see here in France.

By the side of the road in a parking area outside a row of houses is a damaged car, parked up on blocks with its wheels missing. And judging by the amount of rust on the front discs, it’s been like that for quite a while too.

Usually, the council is pretty quick on identifying abandoned vehicles and tagging the wheels to check whether the vehicles are in use (we’ve seen a couple of these) and then if there’s no evidence of movement they take them away.

They don’t need to tag this one to see that it’s not in use.

Back here I put my frozen peas in the freezer, made myself a coffee, sat down to drink it and the next thing that I knew, it was almost 14:00. And it’s been a good couple of weeks since I’ve crashed out se deeply, so definitively and so long as this.

While I was away, I was off on my travels. I was working for Gill Leese again, just as I had been one night a couple of weeks ago, presumably before I had been unceremoniously fired. A few drivers had taken a couple of coaches and gone somewhere. While I was there one of the drivers suddenly asked me “could you ‘phone Gill now?”. I went to fetch my ‘phone but I couldn’t remember the password. When I did, I was entering it in all wrong and it was all totally crazy. It took me ages to actually get into it. I ‘phoned her and she said that there had been a customer who had come in and wanted to take a coach-load of people on a lion hunt somewhere out in Leicestershire way that evening. Would I do it?”. I thought that this was an extremely strange pantomime way of asking me to go about doing something. I said that I would do it but I was still puzzled as to why it had taken her all of this effort instead of someone just asking me outright at some other time during the day.

It took me quite a while to gather my wits (which is a surprise, seeing how few I have left these days) and so I ended up with a very late lunch, yet again.

This afternoon I had a few things to do, including catching up with completing yesterday’s entry (which is still unfinished) but there wasn’t much of an afternoon left before it was time for me to head out to the football.

boats in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mused about the situation that would surely arise when the gates of the port would be due to arise and there would be a mass stampede back to the harbour.

It seems that my afternoon trip out today has coincided with the closure of the gates of the port this afternoon because that’s precisely what I was witnessing as I walked on down the hill

However, there is one boat that seems to be heading off in the opposite direction. He’s quite possibly off for a trip around and either come back on the morning tide or to go off and find another harbour elsewhere.

boats in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The sunout in the west was creating a haze on the water and out of the haze, boats were coming from all directions.

It wasn’t just yachts and cabin cruisers either. There were a few kayakers too, paddling like fury to reach the shore. They’ll want to be home before the evening goes cold because,being so close to the water, it’s very cold in there and you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

There are a couple of boats with multiple oars too. I once knew someone who fell out of one of those. And everyone said that he was out of his schull.

boats entrance to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Outside the entrance to the tidal harbour, there was what almost amounted to a traffic jam.

We have yachts, zodiacs, speedboats and kayakers all jostling for position and fighting for their way into harbour.

So I left them all to it – I didn’t have too much time to waste – and headed off down the hill down the Rue des Juifs on my way down to the centre of the town in the sun on my way to the football.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021You can tell that the summer season has come to an end. All of the attractions that were here for the summer are disappearing one by one.

The kiddies’ roundabout that was here in the Place Charles de Gaulle throughout the summer has been dismantled and taken away. I wouldn’t have thought that a Saturday would have been a good day to remove it with the market and all of the families with children wandering around the shops.

The walk up the hill towards the football ground was tough again, although it seems that it’s a little easier than it has been just recently. Perhaps the physiotherapy is doing its job.

football us granville sologne olympique romorantinais stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the Stade Louis Dior US Granville were plaving Sologne Olympique Romorantinais.

The two teams are quite low down the table having had a poor start to the season and it didn’t go any better for Granville as they lost 1-2.

In fact Granville played quite well but they just couldn’t find the final shot on goal no matter how much of the attack that they had.

And when they did have a decent attempt on goal, a beatiful cross that split the defence, it was the attacker at the far post who ended up in the net and the ball whistled past the post. The goal that they did score was a clearance out of defence that the Granville midfield fired straight back.

Romorantan just had two shots on goal and scored tham both, which shows you just how cruel a game of football could be.

What was quite amusing was that after Granville missed their sitter at the far post, Romorantin went upfield and scored their second, and it was immediately from the kickoff that Granville scored their goal. That was a phrenetic two minutes.

birds flying over stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Apart from the seagulls around here, there are quite a few colonies of songbirds in the town and one of them nestles in the row of trees behind the football ground.

As we were watching the game, the colony came home to roost in the trees, circling around above our heads as they came in to land.

It was like watching a scene from Daphne du Maurier’s THE BIRDS and Jessica Tandy ran from the flock, clutching her skirt between her legs and Alfred Hitchcock explaining to Kenneth Williams “a bird in the hand is worth two in the …”

Being stood up for a couple of hours was more exahusting than I could imagine and I’m seriosly considering taking a seat in the grandstand in future, which shows you how ill I’m feeling these days, and so even the long walk down the hill was exhausting.

marite chausiaise galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The sun was going down as I staggered back up the Rue des Juifs and I was glad to get to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where I could stop and sit on a seat and catch my breath.

The harbour gates were closed by now and everyone who was coming in home is home and tied up.

From left to right, we have Chausiaise, Marité nearest the camera, Galeon Andalucia behind her, still in port, and then Granville and Victor Hugo, the two Channel Island ferries.

repaired wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A couple of weeks ago we witnessed them starting to repair one of the brick walls that form the capping of the retaining wall that separates the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne from the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

The top row of capping had diappeared a while back and they had stuck some bricks on top of it. But now they have infilled and pointed the brickwork and they have done quite a decent job of it too.

The walk up to the top of the hill from here went rather easier than I was expecting and not as much of a struggle as I was fearing. To my surprise, I found that I even had some force in my right knee too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, a good few hours later than usual, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

Surprisingly there were a few people down there too, despite the lateness of the hour and the fact that it was growing dark. Trying to squeeze every last moment of what is left of the summer.

And I’m convinced that when Rosemary came to visit me a couple of years ago she hid a spy camera in this apartment.

She rang me up last weekend just as the final whistle blew on the football that I was watching on the internet, and tonight it was just as I walked through the door after the football up the road.

We had a lengthy chat as usual and as a result I’ve had no tea and I’ve done nothing at all to finish off my day.

It makes me wonder just WHEN I’m ever going to get myself up-to-date.

Friday 3rd September 2021 – JUST LOOK AT …

flowery plant swamped with butterflies avenue de la gare Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… this beautiful flowering shrub.

The flowers are a long cylindrical shape of a mauve colour with a beautiful smell that reminds me immediately of the Mediterranean. There is an enormous row of these shrubs all the way down the side of the Avenue de la Gare.

But it’s not the shrubs or the flowers themselves that are particularly interesting – although they are, of course. The fact is that the plant was absolutely swamped in butterflies. I don’t think that I have ever seen so many butterflies in one place in my whole life.

But anyway, I digress, of course … “yet again” – ed

last night I ended up in bed at some time like a reasonable time, for once, but it didn’t seem to do me any good because I awoke at 05:35 and that defeats the whole point of going to bed early.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. There was a big blazing row going on in the master’s room about something or other and I couldn’t hear what it was and I couldn’t understand it. Anyway I had to make my usual ‘phone call to my girlfriend’s mother so I could speak to my girlfriend. I’d asked the operator to connect me but there was “no-one known of this name”. I had a look in the telephone directory and there wasn’t either I asked “may I borrow the post then I can check the directory to see if it’s a mis-spelling, but I knew it wasn’t because I’d rung it before”. She replied “no, I might need this”. Failing to understand why, I asked her to give me my insurance details because the information would be there somewhere. By the time this row had subsided so I went to see the matron. The office secretary was in there and we bumped into each other in the room and had a surprise. I asked for permission to ring up the mother. The woman replied “yes”. The secretary started to come out with all these facetious off-the-cuff comments about me and this woman. I said nothing for about half an hour and they were still going on. I said “how would you like it if all of them and me came and invaded your country?” and it all went rather downhill from there.

Incidentally, “the mother” and “my girlfriend” starred in one of my more recent rambles a couple of weeks ago. Nice to see them back so soon.

Later on I was with Nerina. I’d been away for 5 years on a business course and I’d come back to my old job and I found it very limited and restricting after everything that I’d done. Nerina suggested that I should move somewhere where my competences would be much better realised. I asked “how do you fancy working and living in London?”. She said that she didn’t. I replied “well, there’s your answer, isn’t it?”. I went on to say “it’s a shame because if you were working in London you would be promoted within a week and probably running the office within a year, there’s that much of a high turnover of staff down there”. We had a laugh and generally just fooled about a bit and

There was some other stuff too but seeing as you are probably eating your tea right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

After the medication and checking the messages etc I went and made my fruit bread for the next week or so. And I don’t know what has happened here but this one has turned out to be a right dismal effort. Probably the worst that I have ever made. But it’ll be eaten all the same, I suppose.

That took me up to breakfast and afterwards I made a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes – in case you haven’t already guessed. I did the ones from last night and now I’ve made a start on the arrears from the last couple of weeks.

By the time that I had finished there are only … gulp … 17 files left to transcribe so at the rate at which I seem to be working, that will take another couple of years.

It might have even ended up with fewer than that, except that I … errr … fell asleep in the middle of it all.

After lunch I had a shower and a tidy-up and then headed off for the physiotherapist.

black mamba charlevy la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down in the harbour, the gates were open so there was some activity going on down there, more of which later.

But first, this photo features three of our old friends. The big dark blue yacht in the background to the left is Black Mamba. The grey, white and turquoise boat to the right is La Grande Ancre, a boat that seems to be connected to the shellfisheries out on the Ile de Chausey.

The trawler in the middle needs no introduction to anyone because we spent all summer looking at her up on blocks in the chantier naval. She is of course Charlevy, now back at work after her overhaul.

For a change, the walk up the hill wasn’t too gruesome. I had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath, more than Wednesday but nothing like as many times as my nadir when I was on my way to Leuven just now.

He had me doing all kinds of exercises on this moving platform thing and then another session on the cross-trainer. And I managed to improve my personal best by a good 20 seconds.

abandoned railway line to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, passing by those gorgeous flowers, I went down to where the old railway line to the harbour crosses the road.

There’s an ongoing programme about them pulling up the railway lines to make a pedestrian footpath so I wanted to see how they were progressing.

But it seems that they started from the side of the road where I’m standing and have made their way downhill to the port. Uphill towards the main line is still in place – for now.

But as for me, I’m going downhill – in many senses of the word. But right now, I’m following the old line down past the Parc des Val Es Fleurs towards the port and home.

It was something of a struggle to come back up the hill to home but not as much of a struggle as it has been just recently

l'arc en ciel le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Nevertheless I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, where I could stop and take a break.

The trawler that is just coming into port here, the black and white one with blue coachlines, is a new one for these pages. She’s called L’Arc En Ciel – “Rainbow” – and I know nothing whatever about her at the moment.

The one to the right, moored up at the fish procession plant needs no introduction. Turquoise and white with gold coachlines means that it can only be one of two boats, and the wings at the side of the bridge tells me that she’s Le Coelacanthe, one of the larger trawlers in the port.

fishing boat victor hugo granville port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was plenty of other activity going on in the port today too, which is no surprise seeing as the harbour gates are now open.

Put-put-puttering her way into harbour this afternoon is another one of the boats that is used in the shellfish. I’m never very good at remembering the names of those boats so I’ve no idea who this is.

In the background are the two Channel Islands ferries Victor Hugo and Granville. Apart from a couple of days last summer, they haven’t turned a propeller since last March (except when they were ejected from the harbour while it was being dredged) and the prospect of the service recommencing is looking bleaker by the day.

classe découvert fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The poor kids have only been back at school for a couple of days but they are hard at it already.

The Classe Découverte – “Class of Discovery” – is quite popular here in France and they are always out and about, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles and staying in hostelsin order to undertake activities outside the classroom.

This group of kids is visiting the Fish Processing plant with their teacher, presumably to have a good look around.

And did I ever tell you that I found out what the pipes and tubes are for? There’s a huge ice-making machine in the plant and before the fishing boats go out to sea they fil their holds with ice to keep their catch cool and fresh until they return home.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021I continued on my way home from the port and as I came out into the Place d’Armes I was overflown.

It wasn’t the first time today, but with the NIKON D3000 it’s not very easy to take photos so far out or so high up and to see the results clearly, but there’s no mistake here.

It’s the yellow autogyro that we have seen on several occasions in the past. He’s rattling by overhead with a passenger on board and one of these days I’m going to make sure that I’m taken up there for a good look around from a few hundred feet. It’ll be an interesting and exciting adventure.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Of course, it goes without saying that I’m heading over to have a peek down over the wall onto the beach to see what is going on down below.

Plenty of people down below on the beach. Even with the holidaymakers gone, everyone back at work and the kids back at school, there are still some people who can find some time to be down there

It even looks as if there have been some folk in the water too. Not me though. It might be nice out there today, but it’s not that nice. For me, if the water isn’t at 37°C then I’m not interested in going near it.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there ontop of the wall looking down on the beach, I was also having a good look around offshore as well.

There was nothing really of any importance. No trawlers, car ferries, Jersey freighters or anything. Just this little yacht quietly tacking too and fro across the bay, taking his time.

However he can’t afford to take too much time because the harbour gates will close before long and then he’ll be out in the cold, quite literally, until the early hours of the morning before he can return home

It was now my moment to return home too so I went and prepared a coffee. And then, rather sadly but not too unexpectedly, I fell asleep for a while.

Would you believe – despite racking my brains for about half an hour, I’ve forgotten what I had for tea. And this is pretty much par for the course. I can remember everything that happened 50 or 60 years ago, but ask me why I have just come into the kitchen. It’s a sign of age.

But now that I’ve finally after all this time finished my notes, I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough of today and there’s shopping to do tomorrow.

Friday 27th August 2021 – JUST IMAGINE …

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… walking out of the front door of your building and being confronted with this!

What with one thing and another, my peregrinations today totalled 98% of my daily effort and so I wasn’t going to give up at that particular point – so I decided to just nip out for a quick lap around the block to take the total over the 100%

With it starting to go dark, I debated whether or not to take the NIKON D500 with me, and I’m really glad that I did. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured a really decent sunset.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some more photos of the sunset this evening, let me tell you about my day starting at the beginning.

As you might expect these days, I didn’t have my early night last night. Just as I was on the point of switching off the computer, Jethro Tull came round on the playlist. And so I was treated to an earful of –
A PASSION PLAY
BENEFIT and
STAND UP
three of the finest rock albums that have ever been recorded

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I did go to bed before
AQUALUNG and
THICK AS A BRICK
came around, just in case …

What surprised me more than anything was that I was up and about at 06:00 just as usual despite the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed. And I can’t keep on going like this.

It took me a while to clear my head, as I’m sure you can imagine, and after the medication I had a few things to do.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe early part of the morning was spent alternating between

  1. tidying up
  2. resting
  3. crashing out

not necessarily in that order.

But the tidying up was because I was expecting visitors. Liz and Terry wanted to see me.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some close-up photos of the Galeon Andalucia, I was going through the apartment like a dose of salts.

By the time that they arrived, the apartment (well, the parts that you could see) was actually looking quite nice and that must have come as quite a shock to my visitors. It’s been a while since they have been to visit me and they aren’t used to this.

Terry had brought his laptop with him. A few months ago I had fixed Liz’s computer and made it work much better, and now Terry was wondering if I could do the same for his. So that’s a job for some time next week.

But that wasn’t the main reason for their visit. They really wanted to tell me that I have to say “goodbye” to an old friend

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just a short while before I was taken ill, I’d bought a small mini-tractor for the farm – a Kubota B1220. And I’d done just 13 hours on it, mostly as a generator powering the cement mixer, before I fell ill

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt had been left down on the farm when I was taken ill and a neighbour had contacted me to tell me that someone had been “playing” with it so Terry and I went to rescue it.

It’s been in the bottom of Terry’s barn ever since.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … one of their acquaintances had seen it, had a good look at it, and then made them an offer. As a result, they came round this morning with a bundle of folding stuff.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s like the story of the digger. I was sorry to see that go last summer but I’m in no state to do anything with them and it’s just a couple of things fewer to worry about.

As a reward I took Liz and Terry out for a coffee at La Rafale where we had a good chinwag and a good laugh at the antics of a cat sitting outside o a third-floor window ledge and an eighteen month-old toddler.

We discussed a few plans for the future and then decided to go for a walk down to the harbour and look at the Galeon Andalucia and whatever else was down there this morning.

black pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that we noticed was that there was a small fuel tanker down on the quayside. The driver was busy coiling up his hose as if he’d finished his work.

Where has was parked was right by where Black Pearl and her younger sister Le Pearl who sailed into the port for the first time last autumn were moored.

As we watched, Black Pearl cast off her mooring and set out from the quayside. The harbour gates were open and so it looked as if, having been refuelled, she was setting off to work. And I imagined that Le Pearl would be following her as soon as she’s ready.

philcathane galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut really it was the Galeon Andalucia that we had come to see, just like everyone else in Granville I reckon.

To her left though is the trawler Philcathane, with the Channel Island ferry Granville immediately behind her. To the right of Granville is her colleague Victor Hugo.

My plan was for us all to go aboard for a good look around but Liz and Terry had other things to do so we just loitered around taking a few photos. Then, in the best traditions of the News of the Screws, we “made our excuses and left”.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually, the Galeon Andalucia wasn’t the only game in town this afternoon.

While we had been looking at the galleon, we’d see some rather distinctive sail-tops go past behind the harbour wall, so distinctive that there were no prizes for guessing to whom they belonged.

One look at the familiar “G90” number on the sails will tell us that it is indeed La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel with a ship-load of passengers on board.

She’s someone else towing behind her an inflatable dinghy that will have room for probably about a quarter of the people currently on board.

chausiaise entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz and Terry don’t come to Granville all that often and so they aren’t aware of the new boats that have been coming into the port recently.

One of them, whom they haven’t seen before, is the little freighter Chausiaise that takes the supplies and the luggage over to the Ile de Chausey.

This is the last weekend of the main holiday season so she’s going to be busy bringing back all of the luggage of the people who have spent the summer out there, and of the holidaymakers whose two weeks in what has laughingly been described this year as “the sun” has come to an end.

commodore voyager english channel France Eric HallBy now, back at the apartment Liz and Terry made ready to leave, but before they did so, I had a quick glance out to sea from the car park.

A big white blob right out there on the horizon indicates that something large has not long ago set out from the port of St Helier heading for the UK. I took a speculative snap of it to see if I could identify it back at the apartment.

It looked very much like one of the Condor high-speed ferries, and I noticed that Condor Voyager had set sail from the port at 10:32. She would seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

Back in the building I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had quite a chat. And I’ve been invited to go for coffee with one of them on Sunday afternoon.

There wasn’t much time left before lunch to do very much, and the first thing that I did after lunch was to have a shower. I have the therapist so I need to look clean and tidy. And I switched on the washing machine too afterwards

marite philcathane galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I was ready, i hit the streets.

Down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I paid a call at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. As well as the Galeaon Andalucia, Marité was in port as well and the two of them made a very nice photo, together like that.

Peering through the rigging of Marité we can see the little trawler Philcathane moored up where the gravel boats used to moor when they came here. To the left of Marité is the little red, white and blue boat that we have seen quite regularly just recently.

And I can confirm that she is indeed Les Epiettes, the one that we saw last year out at the Ile de Chausey. She was down there this morning and I noticed her name as we went past, but I forgot to say..

Having taken the photo, I pushed off through the town and up the hill for my appointent with destiny.

emergency ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came out of the physiotherapist just in time to see an emergency ambulance, all bells and flashing lights, go roaring past me.

It stopped a few hundred metres down the road and the guys within leapt out and went into a building just there. By the time that I caught up with them, they were still inside so I have no idea what was happening.

As it was quite a nice afternoon I decided that I’d go down to the harbour and have a good look around at what was happening there. We’d seen Galeon Andalucia and Les Epiettes earlier this morning, but there was plenty of other stuff that I wanted to see but had been unable to do so

It’s not easy gratuitously wandering around when you’re in company.

While I was down there, I noticed that the harbour gates were closed so I could go back that way home. Spirit of Conrad was in port and Pierre, her skipper, was there so we had quite a chat for a while about this and that.

His trips to the Channel islands have restarted and ordinarily I might be interested but I have another cunning plan for that.

repainting charlevy charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a trawler that we should all recognise, because we’ve seen it often enough just recently.

She’s the trawler Charlevy who spent a considerable amount of time just recently undergoing a repaint at the chantier naval.

And by the looks of things, the paintwork wasn’t completely finished there either. The workman standing on the roof of the bridge is armed with a paintbrush, a roller and a large tub of thick black paint and he’s giving the “ancillaries” a good covering.

And she’ll need it too once she’s out at sea this autumn and winter.

yellow autogyro port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I was watching the work going on aboard Charlevy an old familiar noise roused me from my slumbers.

Rattling by overhead went yet another familiar face, the yellow autogyro that we see quite often flying by as we are out and about on our travels.

But right now I’m going out and about over the harbour gates to the other side, stopping on the way to exchange pleasantries with a fisherman who actually has a bucket with a couple of crabs in it that he has caught.

So that’s a first for me.

briscard pierre de jade catherine philippe chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I went down to the chantier naval to have a look at the fishing boats that were in here, and to see if I can identify them.

Two of the three here were pretty easy to identify because I could see their names displayed. On the left, the smaller white and blue one is called Briscard and on the right, the red, blue and white one is called Catherine Philippe.

The middle one was not so easy, but as I was pondering over it, someone came down the ladder on the far side, so I asked him. “She’s the Pierre de Jade he replied.

So now I know.

peccavi unknown saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the other three here, I didn’t have the same luck.

Once again, two of them were easy to recognise. On the left, we have Peccavi and on the right under the tarpaulin is Saint Andrews – a rather unusual name for a French fishing boat. Why didn’t they call her Saint-André?

But then, if they can call a French trawler Trafalgar, they can call one almost anything.

The black and blue one in the middle remains a mystery. No name was visible and there was no-one around to ask.

retimbering hull peccavi chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was having a prowl around, I noticed this rather unusual work going on with Peccavi.

It looks as if they are sheathing her hull in tongue-and-grooving and I have never seen that done before on a sea-going boat. I wonder what the reason is for this.

But i’m not going to find out right now because there isn’t anyone to ask. Anyway, it’s time for me to be going home and it’s a long haul back up the hill from here. And by the time that I reached the top, I was pretty exhausted too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go in though, I ought to have a look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there this afternoon

Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. It’s not exactly the height of summer, as I realise, but it was still nice enough for people to be out on the beach enjoying one of the last days before the holidays are over.

That was about the sum total of my trip out this afternoon. I came back for my smoothie and to sit down and relax – and to fall asleep as well.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, as I noticed later. I was on board a ship last night. Something had happened and my right leg had been injured. They were saying that they were going to have to amputate it. Of course I was totally opposed to that idea. Nevertheless they doped me up with local anaesthetic and operated away. I was trying to stagger round this common room trying to make myself comfortable. I was just so awful about this. I sat down and there was some news on the TV about 4 marathons that were being run at the same time when there was total confusion about who was in which one and where, as well as on one occasion where on a studio leg someone had tripped over an apparatus and fallen into the athletics’ 100-yard sprint track, demolished all of the hurdles just as all the runners were running up to it so they were all entangled as well. That was so real, that dream having my leg cut off and that was one nocturnal voyage that made me very relieved when it was over.

After tea I went out for my little stroll as I mentioned earlier, and now it’s time for bed. I have shopping in the morning and hence an early start. I think that I’ve done enough for today.

Tuesday 17th August 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not actually sitting in a rainbow but sitting in my little room in Leuven in Belgium.

Just for a change there were very few problems as far as the journey went but I have had a fraught time and I can’t go on like this for much longer.

This morning started fair enough as I was awake as soon as the alarm went off and there was some stuff on the dictaphone. There was something happening last night about Channel swimmers and there was even a dog that swam the Channel but in almost every one of these cases they were carrying drugs and the bag of drugs would split in their stomachs and almost all of them would die from drug overdoses just as they reached shore

Because of my condition I was having to move. They had offered to treat me at Chester General Hospital so I went to live in Connah’s Quay. That was several trips of 150 miles to organise everything . While I was there the new ferry out of Connah’s Quay, Castell Alun I think, was sailing through the sky brightly lit by the moonlight. I went to make myself a mug of hot chocolate which was just powder and boiling water. While I was there some people were walking past my house. They were talking about whatever it was that had to be 94 inches wide rather than 84, and they didn’t know where they would find something like that size. I didn’t know what it was that they were talking about because they certainly wouldn’t find a lorry that width.

To my deep regret I didn’t step back into that epic and memorable dream where I left off yesterday, and wasn’t that a disappointment?

Having tidied and cleaned up the living room yesterday for when the nurse came, it didn’t take too long to prepare everything ready to leave. Taking the rubbish outside was exciting though – I can’t believe that there was so much and I’m surprised that it didn’t walk out there all on its own.

In the absence of the NIKON 1 J5 I took with me the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the old 15-110mm lens.

houses on brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not as easy to pack as the Nikon 1 but a lot smaller, easier and lighter than the big NIKON D500.

First thing that I did when I was out there this morning was to take a few pics with the camera to make sure that it was working correctly.

The weather was really cloudy with just a few gaps in the clouds where the sun was streaming through. It was illuminating a couple of houses way over on the Brittany coast and so I reckoned that that was a good enough object to try out the camera.

And despite the haze on the water across there, it’s not too bad an attempt for a 9 year-old camera and lens of doubtful quality

joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile close to home, there was some activity doing on over at the ferry terminal as if they are preparing the boats for the morning crossings.

To the right of the image is one of the Joly France boats. She’s the one with the rectangular windows in “portrait” format and that tells me that she’s the older one of the two.

As for the one in front of her, hidden by the jetty, it’s difficult to say who she is. The brightness of her colours seems to suggest to me that she’s the brand-new Belle France but that is a mere assumption on my part.

It’s not the little freighter Chausiaise at any rate.

festival de voiles de travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having made sure that the camera was working sufficiently well, I set off for the railway station

What has been catching my eye for the last few days has been the appearance of all of these tents and other weird things that have sprung up all over the harbour.

The tents now have their sides fitted so they are going to be some kind of exhibition rather than somewhere to shelter from the rain.

And the purpose of that rectangular enclosure is still something that I have yet to discover.

victor hugo festival de voiles de travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown on where the fishermen keep their gear and on the car park next door, they have erected a few marquees too.

There’s what looks like the hulk of a very small and old wooden boat.

Incidentally, I found out what it is that is to happen down there because there was an advertisement in a shop window that I passed. It’s the Festival De Voiles De Travail, the “Festival of Working Sailing boats” starting tomorrow and finishing on Sunday.

And it doesn’t make much sense to me to have a Festival to entice crowds down to the town and then erect it on the car park so that they can’t park their cars anywhere to visit it.

police blocking road rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor a change I decided to go to the station via the town centre rather than the park because I didn’t think that I could get up the steps at the end.

Mind you, I was wondering whether I would be allowed to walk up the Rue Couraye because as I turned the corner into the street I encountered a police barrage and they were directing all of the traffic down a side street.

It’s not the done thing of course to photograph the police in the execution of their duty unless there’s a very good reason but of course I was more interested in the guy drinking his coffee outside the café on the corner, which I could photograph having been allowed to pass beyond the barrage.

broken down van rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course you are all wondering why there might be a barrage across the road.

It didn’t take long for me to discover why either. There’s a large van that has broken down on the road junction and as I passed the driver, he was busy telephoning for a dépanneur.

While I was recovering my breath from the climb so far I could take a photo of it, and then I could press on. But it was a long, hard climb up the hill for some reason today and I really didn’t feel anything like as well as I ought to have done or indeed have done in the past.

This was a really difficult walk.

84559 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I arrived at the railway station, my train was already there so I could go along and find my seat. And I needed it too because I was exhausted.

My knee gave out while I was trying to climb into the carriage and it really was a most undignified entrance as I fell inside, dropping all of my luggage, and then trying desperately to stand up again.

Eventually I found my seat and I could set about updating the portable computer with the files that I’d copied earlier off the big computer.

And I had a very cute and charming young companion on my trip to Paris but unfortunately she wasn’t the chatty type so we didn’t say very much at all to each other.

84584 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris France Eric HallMuch to my surprise, and yours too after all of the recent events, we arrived at Gare Montparnasse bang on time to the minutes.

The next bit wasn’t quite so easy because there had been an abandoned piece of luggage found by the entrance to the metro and so it was all closed off while they fetched someone to examine it.

It took them about 15 minutes for them to clear the problem and we could advance. Everywhere was crowded as you might expect although I did just about manage to find a seat.

And that was just as well because trying my best to rush down the long corridor and up the steps had finished me off.

224 TGV Reseau Duplex gare du nord paris France Eric HallMy late arrival at the Gare du Nord meant that I didn’t have too long to wait for my train to Lille Flandres.

As usual, it’s one of the TGV Reseau Duplex double-decker trains, and in order to board it we had to show our vaccine passes and then our rail tickets, which meant that juggling two different screens consecutively on the mobile phone wasn’t an easy task when you have a handful of luggage.

The voyage was quite uneventful and we arrived at Lille on time. But by now the cloudy day had turned to light rain so walking down the road to Lille Europe was at least quite refreshing, even if it was not easy

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4517 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallAs I walked onto the railway station at Lille Europe my train pulled in at the platform.

It’s one of the “Paris Brussels Amsterdam” or PBA Reseau 38000 tri-volt trains, and inside it was chaos as no-one was sitting in the correct seat. But I quickly turfed out the people from my seat and took my place.

For a change I was on my own on this train so I could stretch out on my way to Brussels.

At Brussels they had a barrage as the police were checking vaccination passes. The queue stretched for miles and it wasn’t long before people began looking for a by-pass. I followed them through as well and left the queue behind.

big wheel foire du midi brussels belgium Eric HallUnfortunately the delay meant that I had missed my usual train to Leuven so I had to wait for about 15 minutes for the next one

While I was waiting, I was sitting on a concrete kerbstone watching what was going on all around me. It’s the time of the year right now when we have the Foire du Midi, the big funfair that takes place outside the Gare du Midi.

They have a big wheel too just like the one that we have at Granville and from where I was sitting I could see it going round. There are usually a few other large attractions too but they were out of my view unfortunately.

And it’s much more interesting at night too when everything is all illuminated.

push me pull you gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallEventually my train pulled up, and it was another one of the pushme-pullyous that we have on the Oostende-Welkenraedt route as there is no run-round for the locomotive at Oostende.

It’s brought with it the rain too, as you can see. Luckily I’m underneath the platform canopy but you can see how much is teeming down by looking at the photo. It’s raining cats and dogs right now.

This train was pretty packed too but with being at the front of the train I could grab a seat quite easily before the crowds who had swarmed on board at the centre of the train filtered down my way.

There are a couple of single seats right by the door so I grabbed one of those and I wasn’t bothered by anyone else.

1882 class 18 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallAt Leuven I could wait and photograph the locomotive that was pushing our train.

It’s one of the class 18 electrics – the workhorses of the SNCB these days, and why is it that there is always someone who makes a special effort to walk in front of you when you are photographing something?

The rain was coming down quite heavily by now and I struggled to reach my little room. And I had to come up the stairs on my hands and knees as it was the only way that I could get myself up them.

There is shopping to do as well so after a rest of about 90 minutes I headed off down the road. Just as far as Delhaize because I didn’t have the strength to go to the Carrefour.

And I only bought stuff for tea and a loaf of bread for toast in the morning too. I’m having to do my shopping in two loads because I don’t have the strength to carry everything back up the hill in one go.

Now that I’ve had tea and written my notes, I’m off to bed. No alarm in the morning because I need a good lie-in to recover. And then I’ll have to go down the road and buy the stuff for lunch.

What a state to be in!

Saturday 7th August 2021 – IVE HAD ANOTHER …

… really, really bad day today just like I did a couple of days ago.

Despite me having something of an early night for a change last night, I’ve been like death for most of the day and it’s really beginning to get on my nerves.

The night didn’t go as well as I had hoped either – a terrible pain in my foot meant that I was up at something like 00:30 rubbing some cream into it and that was the last thing that I needed.

Nevertheless I did manage – but only just – to beat the alarm to my feet and then after the meds I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone because there was some stuff on there. We were supposed to be going somewhere today so I got up early and made all the necessary arrangements. The others – there was my brother there and Percy Penguin, one of her friends and a fzw others kept fooling around making no effort whatever to get ready and I was starting to become annoyed. I’d made myself breakfast and by now I was organising dinner – it was 10:30. I had one of these old steak and kidney puddings that you used to have years ago out of a tin. I had one of those on my plate and I’d taken it out of the tin. I hadn’t realised that the others weren’t ready and the pudding was just flopping all over the place making a right mess. I went to put the tin in the kitchen. There was someone in there an I can’t remember who it was. He was asking me about the milk and if my sister had said anything about her headache. I replied “no, she said nothing to me”. All the while there was all of this messing around going on. It was 10:30 and everyone else had been in for breakfast and lunch was starting to be prepared but they were just wasting all amounts of time and we had to be gone by midday and we’ll never be gone at this rate. I was trying to speak to them as well but they were paying no attention whatever.

Later on there were people out near a boating lake in London and had these North American canoes, the type that you kneel in, practising launching them by the four of them running full-tilt into the water, launching the boat and leaping in after it. It was causing all kinds of hilarity amongst the general population watching them but they were getting it down to a fine art and getting off really quickly except that occasionally one of them would forget to leap into the boat or something like that.

Having done that I stripped the bed and now I have nice clean clothes in which to sleep and, having had a good shower and scrub up too, there’s a nice clean me to sleep in them. I put the washing machine on (it was a good fit too) and then Caliburn and I headed for the shops.

LIDL was interesting today, they had more of these flip-top mechanical bottles with drink in them, on special offer, two of them for less than the cost of one empty one at IKEA. i’m going to have to start making drinks again like I said that I would.

Surprisingly, Noz had nothing whatever of any interest and I came away empty-handed so I went to LeClerc where I almost collided with someone coming the wrong way out of the petrol station. I forgot to note the model of my printer so I didn’t buy any ink, and apart from that there wasn’t really anything else of any interest.

back here I put away the frozen food, made myself breakfast and sat down to eat it and drink the hot chocolate.

At some point after that I fell asleep and it was another one of those where I was vaguely awake but totally unable to move or to pull myself around. There was some stuff on the dictaphone too when I looked later. Despite not being up to it, I must have travelled far. I’d been out with a really tiny miniature set of cameras probably no bigger than a couple of grains of gold. The idea was that I was going to leave them dotted around LeClerc so that I could keep my eye on the people who were doing their shopping, see who they were and what they were buying and so on. But while I was doing that one of them fell into a waste paper bin and I thought “it’s not going to be much good in there, is it?”. On my way back I went to go to the toilet and there was a young girl standing outside so I said “hello” to her. I went in and while I was washing my hands she came in behind me and started to ask me question about a game, about the rules, for her family played it in a certain way. I replied “you can play it like that if you like” then a couple of minutes later her little brother came in followed by her mother and father. They were talking about this game and it seemed that the 6 of them, mother, father, 2 kids and another couple would go off down to a caravan every so often. They would stay there for a weekend or something and play this game. She was at the age where she was starting to question all of the rules. Father said “anything to keep the kids quiet” so I made some kind of gesture to say “why don’t you just palm them off on the other couple and clear off?” to which he burst out laughing. This girl knew me by the way from some reason or other because she kept on referring to me by my given name rather than “mister” or “sir” or something. She must have known who I was. And I wish that I knew who she and her family were.

It took me an age to pull myself together and come back into the land of the living and as a result I ended up with a rather late lunch. Back in here again afterwards, I was in almost as bad a way as I had been before lunch. I’m not getting any better.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I plucked up the courage to go outside and see what was happening down on the beach.

Rather more beach than yesterday of course, but not as many people and as before, no-one brave enough to dip their toe in the briny.

And with a storm raging like this right now, it’s hardly a surprise. Not that I’ve been here for too many Augusts, but I can safely say that this is the worst summer that I can ever remember experiencing.

storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a better look at the Baie de Granville and the coast down past Donville les Bains and the old hotel where there are those gruesome flats.

The whitecaps on the waves tell you everything that you need to know. There’s a really bitter wind that’s blowing out there – not exactly in the epic proportions of the other day but pretty near enough.

And it was freezing too. It was cold enough when I went out to the shops this morning but as the day has drawn on, it’s just getting worse and I can’t get myself warm at all.

Some of it is down to my health issues of course, but some of it is also down to the temperature.

yacht storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I had one of my eyes roving around out to sea while the other one was looking down the coast.

And I had to look long and hard before I was able to pick up some kind of water craft – the sail of a yacht out near the Ile de Chausey.

And that’s your lot today. I couldn’t see anything else in the water. But you can see the rain squall out there with the rain bouncing off the surface of the sea, with the yacht swathed in the thick of it. I don’t want to hang around and wait for that to arrive. I need to be pushing on.

storm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not the only rainstorm that’s threatening the Normandy coast either. There’s a nice one brewing over there of the coast of Brittany.

Having decided to head away from the one coming my way from the Ile de Chausey I went down the path and across the car park at the end of the headland where I could see the Brittany coast across the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This one will be in her ein an hour or so so there’s time to take a photo. But not of any boats or ships. There’s nothign whatever doing out on the water except that yacht.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not the day to be going over to the Ile de Chausey unless you absolutely have to.

And so moored at the ferry terminal this afternoon is Belle France. She’s not even proposing to undertake a trip around the bay this afternoon. And if you look at all of the walkways over there and around the harbour, there isn’t a soul out there anywhere.

There were a few people around where I was but they weren’t going anywhere – just loitering around waiting for the weather to make up its mind.

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can’t actually see the rainstorms from this side of the headland where I am now, but instead we can see the area where the sailing schools assemble.

And, of course, there isn’t a boat out there this afternoon. Despite the shelter afforded by the headland, you cans ee the whitecaps on the waves. It’s pretty rough out there and I don’t suppose that they wan’t to give any of their pupils an impromptu ducking.

While I was at it, I had another look into the chantier naval to see what was happening, in view of the rather rapid turn-round just recently, but everything remained the same as it was yesterday afternoon.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I headed back towards my apartment, but not before I’d stuck my head into the port to see who was about in there.

The two Channel Island ferries Victor Hugo i, the foreground and Granville behind her are still there. Apart from two or three days last summer, they haven’t been out of port at all since March last year other than to go for their annual service and when the harbour was drained.

The ferry service from here to Jersey has been runiing for almost a couple of centuries and I can see it coming to a shuddering halt, not that it isn’t halted already, if nothing is done to reinstate the service pretty soon.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone else in port this afternoon is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s moved from the harbour wall by the ferry terminal where she’s been moored for the last couple of days. That tells me that she doesn’t have anything to do for the next while so it’s unlikely that there are any holidaymakers who will need their luggage conveying over to the island.

Back here, I vegetated some more before going for tea. I’m clearly not well right now. Even tea didn’t cheer me up. A baked potato wot veg and a breadcrumbed vegan burger, followed by a baked apple in lieu of anything else.

Now that that’s done, I ‘m going to go to bed – curled up in my nice clean bedding. I don’t feel like doing anything else right now and even if I did, I couldn’t keep my eyes open to do it and I’d be too cold anyway.

There’s a lot of baking tomorrow so an early night and a good sleep will do me good. So who’s going to party under my bedroom window tonight?.

Wednesday 28th July 2021 – SAY HELLO …

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… to a new resident in the port here.

And we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future that’s for sure. She’s called Belle France and she’s came into port last night to take part in working the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

It’s not clear whether she’s in addition to the 2 Joly France boats or whether one of them wiil be sailing off into the sunset in early course.

But one thing that I noticed about Belle France is that she doesn’t appear to be fitted with a crane to load the luggage from the quayside, and that may well explain the presence of Chausiaise in the fleet.

My presence this morning can be best explanied by the fact that I managed to stagger to my feet at 06:00 despite not having gone to bed until 01:00 this morning and so for the rest of the story I only have myself to blame.

But nevertheless I kept on going for quite a while. Nothing on the dictaphone and so I worked on the photos from Greenland in August 2019 . And seeing that we are in the middle of the Olympics, WHALES WON THE GOLD MEDAL in the synchronised swimming.

What else I did was to carry on with loading the shelves in the kitchen. I’ve rearranged them somewhat and now I seem to have made much more room there, which is always nice. And while I was at it, I took out the waste paper and the rubbish to the waste bins and washed my bin. What excitement, hey?

While I was sorting through stuff I came across the filters for the water jug so I cleaned the jug and changed the filter over.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned this before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … why I note down things like this. The answer to that is that this journal is indexed and so I can find out when I last changed the filter and when it’s time to change it again.

It’s important that I write these things down to remember them because two things happen when you reach my age .

  1. you forget everything that it’s possible to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is

Having done all of that (and you’ve no idea how tired that makes me) I came in here. It was round about 12:15 when I sat down and the next thing that I remembered it was 14:05. Yes, I’d had another one of these mega-sleeps that I’ve been sliding into just recently without knowing it.

That led to a very late lunch followed by a very late acoustic guitar practice.

After lunch being fed up of tripping over the clothes airer I put away the dry clothes and then had another look through some papers. And while I didn’t find the papers for which I had been searching yesterday, instead I found Caliburn’s insurance certificate for which I had been searching previously. So I wonder what I’ll be looking for when I find my missing paper.

After another 10 minutes or so dealing with the kitchen shelves, It was time to go walkies

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call is of course the beach down below the cliff just here so I wandered off across the car park for a look.

No buses parked on the kerb or young people on the verge in the car park this this afternoon.

I’m quite a bit earlier than yesterday so the tide isn’t all that far out right now. But nevertheless there are still plenty of people down there enjoying what they can, as I discovered when I stuck my head over the wall.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather was quite mild today and I’d actually gone out without a jacket, which shows you just how brave I am.


tractors people on beach donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just in Granville either.

There must be a very low tide this afternoon because you can see that over on the beach at Donville les Bains the bouchot farmers have brought out all of their tractors and so on ready to begin the harvest as soon as the beds are uncovered.

And you can tell that none of those beaches is affected by the ban because there are quite a few people on the beach right out there, including something of a crowd by the caravan park on the extreme left, as well as a few people taking the waters.

Yes, when I go to visit the airfield, whenever that might be, I’ll pick a nice day and take my butties.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was what my right eye was doing while I was there overlooking the beach. But what was my left eye doing?

As usual, my roving left eye was looking around out to sea to see what might be going on out at sea.

And the answer was “zilch” – nothing at all. There wasn’t a single (or a married) boat between here and the Ile de Chausey and I’ll tell you something else for nothing as well – and that was that this afternoon I didn’t even see a hint of a boat anywhere out at sea at all.

After he crowds of boats that we saw last week and the traffic jams of fishing boats heading for home, I have been amazed by the lack of water craft.

It’s true of course that the tide is out but even so, someone could have nipped out this lunchtime with his butties and gone fishing until this evening when the harbour gates opened up again

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever one thing was not missing from our afternoon’s activities.

Having been overflown by endless squadrons of light aircraft and Nazgul over the past week or two, then yesterday aerial activity in the vicinity was conspicuous by its absence.

The abstinence didn’t last long though. While I was walking along the path near the lighthouse a familiar rattle announced itself and sure enough, the yellow autogyro that we have seen so often in the past went flying by overhead.

And it’s a two-seater too of course. That’s something else I can do whenever I make it to the airfield – I can hitch a ride and go for a fly around. I’d feel much happier in that than in a 2-seater Nazgul.

medieval fish trap plage d'hacqueville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something that I haven’t noticed before.

The other day I took a photo of Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks just outside the harbour. So today I took a photo a little further inland towards the Place d’Hacqueville.

And doesn’t that look like a medieval fish trap to you? It certainly does to me.

It’s like two stone walls built in a V out to sea. The tide comes on and fills the pool with water and hopefully fish, and when the tide goes out, the water percolates out through the gaps in the rocks leaving the fish behind, trapped

Then the medieval fishwives wade in and pull out the fish for supper with their bare hands

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile from my vantage point above the harbour, I’m not too interested in the chantier naval because nothing has changed in there since yesterday

Instead, looking in the other direction, I can see that very shortly we will be expecting the arrival of Normandy Trader.

And how do I know this? The answer is that there’s a swimming pool on the quayside by the loading crane. There’s a company here in France that exports swimming pools to the Channel Islands and I know that the owners of Normandy Trader have the contract to pick them up and take them back to Jersey.

They won’t leave that on the quayside for long in case it’s damaged. Those things are not cheap at all.

boats aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou are all probably wandering what has happened to all of the boats that we haven’t been seeing out at sea just recently.

Well, here there are – or, at least, some of them. There’s a port de plaisance with a gate to keep the water in and that’s where the expensive stuff and the houseboats are moored, but the less expensive boats and the smaller fishing boats are out here in the tidal harbour.

When the tide goes out they simply settle down in the silt and wait for the tide to come back in and re-float them.

You can see what looks like a little river on the left. That’s water that drains out of the inner harbour quite slowly so that the inner harbour settles down and isn’t full when the tide comes back in, which means that they can open the gates a long time before high tide.

victor hugo granville port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime our two Channel Island ferries Victor Hugo in the foreground and Granville in the back ground are still here.

The Channel Islands have announced that entry restrictions to the Channel Islands are being slightly relaxed so people can at long last go to visit the islands.

However, that doesn’t apply to the two ferries. I’ve no idea why not, but it seems a strange decision to me. Maybe they don’t want the kind of numbers coming to the islands that the ferries could bring.

And I do know that there is some kind of issue about finance. The local region has been footing the bill for this for ages and they have suggested that the Channel Islanders put their hands in their pockets too, but as yet, no folding stuff has come from over there.

And as an aside, do you notice a resemblance between Granville and Belle France?

Back here I sorted out some photos, had my bass guitar practice and then went for tea. Chips and curried beans (I found a tin or two in my supplies while I was filling the shelves) and a burger followed by apple pie from the freezer.

Now an early night is called for as I have visitors coming tomorrow, I hope.

Wednesday 21st July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

zodiac speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… just what kind of day it4s been today? just by looking at a few photos that i took.

While I was out at the Pointe du Roc this afternoon there was the infernal racket once more as a rather large zodiac went roaring past, fully-loaded with passengers.

At least they were all wearing lifejackets, so it seemed, and that’s good news because it’s not every boat that sets out with its passengers properly equipped.

And as to where they are going or where they have come from, I’ve no idea. But wherever is their destination, they are cracking on as if they have le feux dans les fesses as they say around here, and are scorching past that speedboat, which is nothing like as speedy as the zodiac.

trawler l'alize 3 galapagos yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while we are on the subject, it seemed that I arrived at the chantier naval at just about the right time this afternoon.

What with everything going on out at sea, it’s no surprise to see that one of the trawlers that was in there also has itchy feet.

You’ll notice that while there is still the yacht Rebelle, we only have two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and the new one whose name I have yet to discover, up there on blocks.

So where has Galapagos, the other trawler that was up on blocks, gone? Have a look very carefully at the portable boat lift. Can you see it in the cradle being lowered into the water in the harbour?

This morning I couldn’t see anything at all. Never mind STARRY-EYED AND LAUGHING I was bleary-eyed and coughing as I crawled from my stinking pit as the alarm went off at 08:00.

After the pile of meds that I’m obliged to take these days, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been on my travels during the night. We were out last night again with the family, some of us, and I was with a girl and I can’t remember who she was again. She went off for a little stroll round where we were standing and fell in with someone who was quite a famous singer. He gave her a great big kiss so she was talking to him and sitting on a seat, though my wife didn’t mind. When they were sitting on these seats there was an odd number and someone was being left out. In the end they came back to my place, a caravan or something, and went over to where my niece, her husband and a few others were standing, grabbed hold of my niece and took her over there instead (… I fell asleep here …) anyway these guys and other people came over after us after we had gone back and I wasn’t quite sure why but they ended up picking up my niece she and the person who was her daughter and one or two other people and these two famous stars all set off and wandered off.

Another thing as well was that I was with my and my mother somewhere in a big apartment but it was a cluttered place and you couldn’t get much furniture against the walls and I was going to be moving here so I had to work out which of my stuff I was going to throw away. But I was asleep standing up against the window and you don’t really want to know the rest because you are probably eating your tea right now. And it’s been a while since one of my nocturnal rambles has finished in a mass of blood and gore and stuff like that, although with my family involved, it’s more than likely.

Later on I had a ticket for the Cup Final and Liverpool were playing a lesser team. It was quite an ordinary stadium, not Wembley. I walked towards the stadium and then turned back and sat down at a seat. Terry said “aren’t you going in?” “In a minute” I replied and then I headed off in. I wanted to squeeze my way into the stands behind the goal but it was empty – just 2 or 3 people. I went to take a place right at the top but the fascia board of the stand roof obscured the view so I had to come a few rows down. Some one asked “are Liverpool the ones in red?”. I replied “quite likely” – then I drew the guy’s attention to the fact that the other team weren’t wearing a proper kit but all kinds of multicoloured buttoned shirts, all different.

It’s not really surprising, is it, that sometimes I awaken more tired than I was when I went off to sleep.

So having printed out … gulp … 29 pages of notes for today’s class, I made my hot chocolate and grabbed some fruit bread and attacked the lesson.

We whacked our way through the whole pile of stuff by the time we finished, bleary-eyed yet again. We are going at a frantic pace and it’s no surprise that one of our number seems to have fallen by the wayside.

One of our number comes from Nantwich, he daughter went to my Grammar School and she knows everywhere that I know. She’s a big rock fan too so I sent her a link to my radio shows (shameless self-publicist that I am) and a copy of the “Strife” concert that I featured as my live concert at the end of February.

There really wasn’t much time for anything else – it was walkies time, rather later than usual of course this week.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo matter how late I am, I always have to go for a look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below to see what’s happening there.

So off I toddled across the car park to look down on the beach and today, there was even less beach to look at than there was yesterday.

Plenty of people as well, some stretched out in the sun, others drying off and the rest splashing around in the sea like a bunch of demented dolphins.

A few kids today too – not many but certainly more than yesterday. And that beats me why there aren’t any more of them in weather like this in midsummer during a school holiday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as is my custom, while one pf my eyes was roving around the beach, the other one was roving out to sea to see what was going on there.

And we have another yacht today. I say “another” because I’m pretty certain that it isn’t the same one that we saw yesterday. It’s smaller for a start, and there seems to be only one man visible aboard her.

And although it looks as if she’s stationary, she is in fact moving slowly and she followed me all the way arund the headland.

And that reminds me of the man who went into the newsagency and asked the woman behind the counter if she kept stationery.
“Only until the last 10 seconds” she replied “and then I go berserk”.

Or as my doctor friend once told me about a young girl whom he was examining – “are you sexually active?” he asked her discreetly when her mother was out of earshot.
“No” she replied. “I just like there”.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw this boat out here in the Baie de Granville yesterday.

Today, there is no doubt as to her identity. If you look very closely, you’ll see that she has her “old” registration number painted in black at the top of one of the sails as you will see if you look closely.

“G90” – so there is no doubt at all that she is in fact La Granvillaise as I thought yesterday. And she’s out again presumably doing a carbon-copy of yesterday’s trip around and about

And as you might expect, there’s another perishing speedboat roaring past her as she leisurely cruises around out at sea.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while everyone seems to be out in the sea playing around, some other people are still having to work.

As I looked farther out to sea I could see something moving around out there and sure enough, it was indeed a local trawler setting out for the fishing grounds.

By the time that I’d spotted it, it was already way out to sea, sailing past the outlers to the north-east of the Ile de Chausey and going at quite a rate of knots.

From my spec, I cleared off across the car park to the end of the Pointe du Roc to see what was happening there.

And with nothing going on there of any more importance than we have already seen either, I headed off down the path.

charles marie entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut hang on a minute! I hadn’t gone very far before I had to stop to take another photograph.

Into the port comes a boat whom we haven’t seen for quite a while. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it before it began to disappear from my view, but I reckon that even without seeing her name, she’s Charles Marie – another one of the boats that plies for hire in the harbour.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen her. She must have a full summer season booked up and is keeping herself really busy even despite Covid.

And I’m glad that someone is for it’s rather grim for some of the others, such as the Jersey ferry boats Granville and Victor Hugo.

coelacanthe leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watechd Charles Marie disappear out of my sight, something else came the other way. Instead of entering the harbour she was leaving it.

It’s only when Tiberiade and Coelacanthe are side by side that I can tell them apart. But cleverly enlarging the photo when I returned to the apartment later, I could see that the trawler that we have here is Coelacanthe.

She’s heading out for the fishing grounds too, I reckon, and is also in quite a hurry for she’s not hanging around. And also in this image – and the previous one too – is the yellow and white fishing boat who was in the chantier navale for a while and whose name I have forgotten yet again.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on around the path, we’re back in playtime again.

It looks as if it’s full sail ahead for the yachting schools today. There seem to be a couple of different ones and you can tell them apart by the colours of the sails of their boats.

They are all out there in the bay this afternoon making the most of things and I’m quite jealous. Had I not had this little problem a couple of months ago, who knows? I might even have been out there with them I’m determined to have a go at sailing one of these days and pick up another certificate to add to my collection.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here I can see down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little freighters load up.

It’s no surprise to see that Thora who we saw yesterday has gone out of harbour. The turnround of these boats is so quick these days.

Yet there’s another pile of stuff on the quayside. Either it’s stuff that Thora brought in with her or else one of the Jersey freighters will be coming back soon and it’s a load for her.

But one thing that is annoying me is that we haven’t seen a gravel boat here for ages. There’s a special kind of gravel found near Avranches and there’s a big ready-mix concrete and roadstone plant near Sittingbourne.

We used to have big 2,500 tonne bulk carriers in here every few months taking gravel to Sittingbourne but with Brexit and the collapse of the British construction industry, we haven’t seen one in ages.

trawler galapagos leaving chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something that we saw earlier this afternoon.

The trawler Galapagos was leaving the chantier naval earlier and was being lowered down into the water by the portable boat lift.

Now, she’s back in the water and giving her engines a little trial before presumably heading off into the wild blue yonder.

So what’s all this about “no fresh fish being sold until” …. whenever it was … then? She’s back in the water a long time before she’s due to start selling her produce, so has this overhaul been quicker than expected, or ar the crew all now going to be going off on holiday?

As for me, I’m going off back home because it’s late and I have things to do. And by the time that I had finished I’d missed my bass guitar practice. The acoustic practice I’d done at lunchtime.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger followed by more of my delicious apple turnover.

And now I’m off to bed. All fighting fit and ready for my Welsh lesson tomorrow. I don’t think.