Tag Archives: welsh

Tuesday 21st March 2023 – THERE’S NO PEACE …

… for the wicked, is there?

Following a couple of telephone calls that I’ve either received or made today, my agenda for the next few weeks looks like this –
28/03 – the neurologist
17/04 – hospital Avranches
18/04 – hospital Avranches
19/04 – hospital Avranches
20/04 – hospital Avranches
21/04 – hospital Avranches
04/05 – hospital Leuven
11/05 – hospital Leuven

If I can arrange one of those appointments at Leuven it might end up to be a little better but it’s still a hectic schedule.

The appointment next week is with the neurologist where he will tell me the results of the tests that I did last week and what they propose to do in the future in order to deal with the issues that they have discovered.

The fact that there is already a whole week of further appointments (in at 09:00 and back home every evening) seems to indicate that they are optimistic about doing something about it. But what that’s going to be all about, I really don’t know..

In a sense I’m glad that I’m not having to stay over at the hospital. Hospital beds are not known for their comfort and I’m having enough trouble trying to sleep here as it is in my own comfortable bed. But 25 miles in and 25 miles back every day for a week is not exactly what I had in mind. I shall have to fuel up Caliburn of course.

And I’ll need a bank loan for that.

It goes without saying that I had another bad night last night. I think that this is becoming the default these days and I’ve no idea why I’m having so much difficulty trying to go to sleep.

And flaming car alarms going off at blasted 06:50 with enough noise to awaken the perishing dead doesn’t help matter either. Luckily though I managed to drop off back to sleep at some point, only to be rudely awoken by the alarm at 07:30.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to prepare for my Welsh lesson. And the lesson itself was a miserable effort because it was a revision exercise and I’d forgotten almost everything that we needed to know for it. I was really glad when it was all over.

No physiotherapy today. He’d sent me a message saying that he he wa sill and of course he doesn’t want to spread his germs around. So armed with a pile of fruit I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had to write out my notes during the night but I couldn’t find a pencil. When I did find one I couldn’t remember what day I was on and where I had to start. I was keeping my diary of course but I was weeks ahead of where I was supposed to have been. That was OK for one thing but when it came to writing it out I needed of course to write it out on the correct day

Later on there was a group of emotionally-disturbed kids. They had to go somewhere so they asked me if I’d take them and hand them over to this teacher. A couple of them weren’t particularly any great problem but the third one was a young girl, a teenager who seemed to think that the reason why she was having to go somewhere else was that someone wanted to get rid of her out of their class, something of a paranoia situation. I assured her that it was nothing to do with me. I was just doing what I’d been told. If another teacher came along to tell me not to do it I’d quite happily not do it. If she didn’t want to go to that other class it’s up to her to go to talk to the teachers concerned, tell them that she doesn’t want to go, tell them why and for them to come back and tell me. It took quite some convincing to do. In the middle of this argument or discussion someone rather senior in the hierarchy came past. I stopped him, took hold of this girl, basically gave her a push and said “right – go and tell him all about it”. I sat and watched those two having a debate. As far as I was concerned I was doing what I’d been told. That was what i’d been told. If anyone wanted to tell me any different I was fine with that as long as it was someone official telling me.

Finally, there were all big upheavals in the football world last night. Rhyl’s charge for promotion remained on course but the rails came off Bangor City’s promotion bid with a couple of defeats. The whole club was in turmoil now as they were falling well short of expectations. There would have been much more to this had that stupid car alarm not gone off at 06:50.

That latter dream though is quite interesting. Rhyl and Bangor City were until quite recently two of the biggest names in Welsh football but due to reasons that I would mention if it were not for the laws of slander and libel, (of course, vulgar abuse can’t be slanderous or libellous but that’s not really the point) they were obliged to reform way down in the pyramid.

They have both had an inexorable rise back up so far in the pyramid but while Rhyl are remorselessly ploughing on, Bangor have lost their last 2 games and it looks very much at this stage as if they won’t be going up with Rhyl to Level 2. And all those people who put their mortgage on Bangor’s promotion will be very disappointed.

The rest of the day has been spent either on the phone or sorting out this new database that I’m trying to create for my radio programmes. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I want to try doing something new once I can organise myself better.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg – delicious as usual and there is quite a bit of stuffing left over that will go nicely in a leftover curry tomorrow evening.

There was football on the internet tonight – Wales C v England C. Played in a driving rainstorm on a waterlogged pitch it was never going to be a classic and England scored the only goal of the game from a howler in the Wales defence. But I was bewildered by one or two of the substitutions that the Wales manager made. I’m sure that he must have been watching a different game to the one that I saw.

So I’m off to bed now. I’m going to have a nice comfortable night with no plans tomorrow except that the cleaner is coming round so I’ll probably end up quietly in my room writing the notes for a future radio programme while she does her stuff in the living room.

That probably means that I’ll have to spend half an hour tidying up before she comes. And then I’ll have to think about what’s going to happen about my legs. This all sounds extremely interesting.

Tuesday 14th March 2023 – IT’S ALL VERY WELL …

… going to bed early, but it counts for nothing if you can’t go to sleep. It was another one of these miserable, depressing nights when I’m tossing and turning to no good purpose.

To make matters even worse, when I finally did go off to sleep at one point, something awoke me quite dramatically and I sat bolt-upright wide awake.

And then even though I must have gone back to sleep at some point I awoke again just after 07:00 and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already up and about.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I prepared for my Welsh class – interrupted by the local nurse calling round to take a blood sample. For some reason, that was extremely painful. So was my injection yesterday, thinking on. I must be quite sensitive these days, in more ways than one.

The Welsh class passed off quite quickly. Some of it was surprisingly good, which took me by surprise, but some other of it was not so good. Rather patchy, all told

At 14:00 the guy came round so see me about having a shower installed in my new property, whenever it might be that I finally complete the purchase. He was actually a guitarist himself with a Rickenbacker 12-string so we spent more time talking about guitars and music than showers.

However he finally bashed out some kind of quote but I doubt that I’ll be proceeding with it. It’s way out of my pocket, even the “economy” version. It works, I suppose, if you qualify for a French Government grant but I pay my Income Tax in Belgium and the UK and so that is that.

And that reminds me – I should be due for my quarterly Belgian Old-Age Pension payments some time soon. That should be exciting. Whatever can I do with the €97 that I’ll receive?

Once he’d gone, I had a shower and then had a good listen to the stuff on the dictaphone. To my surprise I’d been on quite a few travels during the night. I’d gone somewhere to pick up a pile of clothes. It was something to do with the Avengers and TV programmes from the 60s. I was in Caliburn. I reached where I was supposed to be. These coats were thrown to me and I threw them up onto the roof rack. I had to look around for a way to fasten them on. It was near Christmas by this time although it was sunny. Someone was coming round from this place handing out boxes of chocolates etc to all the employees. Everywhere I turned, there was another piece of chocolate. Someone kept on sticking a box of chocolates in my hand. Every time I went to reach for something or other to tie these clothes onto the roof rack I ended up grabbing a piece of chocolate instead. It was really strange.

Then I was back in this apartment. I had Tuppence, my old black cat, here. I made myself a coffee but it wasn’t strong enough so I put another teaspoon of coffee into it even though it was already now in the pot having percolated. Tuppence was crying to go out so I went and opened the door for her even though it meant that she would just be running around inside the building. The next moment we were in Gainsborough Road. I had all my cats here but something – I don’t know what – awoke me dramatically as I mentioned earlier.

Later on we were at some kind of building in the countryside like a Social Club. Behind it was a car park that you had to access via an arch. Behind it was a building that was another type of Social Club. In the building where I was were all these rich people with Rolls-Royces, horse boxes and things. I was there talking to a lorry driver for some reason. A Rolls-Royce came in towing a horse box. It had been accident-damaged and hit all down the side, this Rolls-Royce dark red. We made a few remarks about it. Someone mentioned something about someone’s Rolls-Royce having broken down and they’d been quoted over £8000 for a new engine. I was thinking about the one that I knew IN A SCRAPYARD IN THE USA (and I was impressed that I could remember that in a dream) and what could be good would be if I could lay my hands on that engine and rebuild it. As I was leaving 2 more people turned up and asked about the Social Club. I told them where to go. They asked where they could park so I told them about the car park. They asked about the one in the rear. I said that the people in there were rather possessive. They had to be careful. Then I had an engine. I’d stripped it down, rebuilt it and had it running on a test bed. I’d put it back in a car and started it up with no water in it just to make sure that it would run. I was slowly filling it with water, talking to someone. All the time there was a stream of water coming out. I could see in the end that one of the hoses for the windscreen washers underneath the bonnet had decayed or broken. The stream of water was coming from there. Trying to remove it to replace it was a nightmare.

I was next living at Davenport Avenue with Nerina. Something happened so I decided that I’d go out for a change for the evening down to the swimming baths. I took a book with me and set off. When I arrived the first person whom I saw was TOTGA (so welcome back, TOTGA) and her daughter. I wasn’t sure if they saw me but they certainly didn’t come over to talk. I thought that I’d go and get ready. Then I started to worry about my catheter. I know that I can’t go swimming in salt water with it. What about chlorine? I thought that I’d relax and read my book for a while then summon up the courage to go to ask someone. There was a little room on a bench next to a little girl and her mother so I squeezed on and started to read. A couple of people whom I knew from work came over for a chat. I ended up with a drink and a packet of crisps. By the time all that finished it was really late. I thought that I’d better go home. I went to pay but they only charged me for the crisps so I paid for them and ran all the way back home. I arrived back. Nerina was sitting on the floor in apair of pyjamas, brand-new by the looks of things. She was surrounded by all kinds of rubbish as if she’d been unwrapping presents etc. She was rather grumpy because I’d been out but it turned out that some members of her family had come round. They had spent the evening talking about a holiday they’d had down in the South-West.

Finally I was back in this dream again with TOTGA and her daughter, staying at some kind of fitness place. It was the break so we all crowded into the break room. There were so many of us that we had to jostle for a place and a place to put our bags down. When we did, someone would move it somewhere else. We helped ourselves to hot water. When I’d done that TOTGA’s daughter made some room for me on a chair next to her. It was beginning to become really chaotic. Everyone complained about the crush and the arrangements in this room. No-one was happy but that was just how it was.

Sitting down here waiting for things to happen I crashed out again. That’s quite disappointing because I ought to be doing so much better than this. Gone are the days where I could work 30 or 40 hours non-stop after just 4 hours of sleep. i’m not as young as I was.

The physiotherapist came round later and he had me walking up and down the stairs outside. He was impressed with the weights that I’d bought at the weekend.

While I was at my lesson earlier I’d worked out that my foot fits nicely into the handle of one of the weights so I’d been practising lifting it up and down with my foot while sitting down. The left leg is quite good but the right leg is struggling to even move with a weight of 2kgs attached to it. What kind of state am I in?

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with rice and veg. There’s plenty of stuffing left as well so I’ll have a good curry tomorrow night with what is left in the fridge

While I’m on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … the cleaner will be coming round tomorrow so I’ll have to have a whizz round to make the place look respectable. A well as that, I’ll have to check all of the paperwork to make sure that I have everything that I need to take with me on Thursday morning to the hospital at Avranches.

08:30 at Avranches on Thursday? Whose silly idea is that?

Tuesday 7th March 2023 – MY LEFTOVER CURRY …

… tonight was absolutely delicious.

Half a small courgette, a pile of mushrooms, some garlic, some chick peas and an onion and there we go. Lots of nice spices (I still have some left even though I was unable to buy any on my last trip to Leuven) and it was delicious. But I must remember to put the toilet paper in the fridge tonight because I was rather heavy-handed with the chili.

Anyway, last night was rather better from a sleep point of view. Not by much, I have to say, but I did manage to fall asleep comfortably at some point.

We had some travels last night, but I didn’t go all that far. I was in the Army, in World War I. I was in a front-line trench during an artillery bombardment. Suddenly the whistle blew and we charged out of the trench. My regiment was the Cheshire Regiment. For some reason the NCOs and officers wanted us to follow the Hampshire Regiment but once I passed through the barbed wire into No-Man’s Land (and I will never ever forget the University ) I came across a group of North Staffords. I followed them. It was probably lucky that I did because from what I understood the regiment I should have been with was massacred yet we of the North Staffords were able to find some kind of shelter in the lee of a hill where we could build a trench to occupy. That way we were at least spared for the moment from artillery fire.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was deep in the arms of Morpheus so I awoke with a start. It all took me by surprise.

But anyway I was up and out of bed straight away and after the medication and checking my mails and messages I started to revise my Welsh ready for the lesson.

However there was an interruption. The bank telephoned me to invite me to bring forward our appointment to tomorrow. One day here and there doesn’t make much difference in the great scheme of things so I agreed. I shall hobble down into town on my crutches and see what happens, passing by the chemist on the way..

We were very few at the lesson today so it’s always hard work in these circumstances. However, once again it passed off fairly well. I don’t know whether it’s my preparation that’s paying dividends or whether things are becoming easier or whether my brain is functioning better, but things might be looking up.

After the lesson I had a shower and a good clean-up. And it was much easier climbing into the bath for my shower. I remember how awful it was when I came back here in December. I’m not going to pretend that things are now back to normal but I don’t have to put any thought into climbing into the bath.

And to your surprise, and certainly to mine, I did some tidying up later. There have been all kinds of papers lying around here but the bin across the road has been full for a while. But my paper bin was now well overflowing so I gathered it all up and took it down there.

Somehow I managed to fit it all into the paper bin and it made the apartment look so much better, and I profited by bringing back the last of the shopping that was hanging around in Caliburn.

The physiotherapist was impressed with my progress. He’s going to design an exercise programme for me to follow to make sure that I work hard at my leg muscles. And he didn’t bat an eyelid when I told him that I intended to walk to the bank tomorrow. He just warned me to use both crutches.

The rest of the day has been spent pairing off all of the music for the next radio programme and making a start on writing the notes. I’m not working very hard, I have to admit, but I’m making slow progress

The curry was, as I said, absolutely delicious and after that I ended up having a lengthy chat with someone who lives in Virlet who has tracked me down via my social network. We had a lot to say to each other and we’ll be working a few things out in due course

Right now though I’m off to bed. I have a lot to do tomorrow apart from my little trek into town. And I’m actually looking forward to that one way or another. It would be nice though if there were a café half-way up the hill where I could stop for a coffee. That would make things much easier but I don’t suppose you can have everything.

Tuesday 14th February 2023 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… my Welsh lesson passed off quite well today.

Maybe it was the fact that I’d spent more time revising it, I dunno, but I actually knew most of what was being discussed and even managed to write a little 8-line story featuring as many irregular plurals as I could remember.

So I’m not sure what happened there.

Not that it was anything about having a good night’s sleep, because I didn’t have one of those. Taking ages to go to sleep, tossing and turning in bed, aches and pains in the legs and feet. We had all of those last night and more besides.

And plenty of voyages too during the periods when I did manage to go to sleep. To start off, there was a group of us. One of them was someone who played for Dire Straits. They asked about songs that he’d be happy to play. He replied that he didn’t want to play any Dire Straits songs because he considered them to be something in the past and that was all over. he wanted to move onwards. We were playing football. Someone took a throw-in. They threw the ball to him. He was whistling or humming a Dire Straits song at that time. he trapped the ball that was thrown to him and just lobbed it halfway down the field over the head of the goalkeeper into the net without even breaking his stride or rhythm

And then I was out in the early morning dropping off all of the documents at the various places that they needed to be. I was actually in Crewe in a sports car. When I reached the final destination which was in Earle Street near Boots I noticed that it was positioned awkwardly on the lip of the rear boot lid. I wondered if I’d dropped any off. I decided that I’d do a U-turn to retrace my steps to the previous drop-off to see if it had fallen off on the way. By now I had someone else with me. He was nagging me about my seat belt as I came to one of these pedestrian crossings in the town. As we turned into Market Street the traffic was really heavy which I thought was bizarre for this time of the morning. There at the side of the road were some documents all parcelled up. They looked very much like how documents from our office would have been parcelled up to be taken to somewhere else. I wondered if these were in fact mine that had fallen out of the car. There was no place to stop and there were crowds everywhere so I couldn’t simply pull up and take a quick glance at them.

Later on, some American tennis player was playing at Wimbledon. He was winning. He’d won a couple of sets on match point. People were unhappy with how he was behaving. The rumour was going around that if he didn’t clean up his act they’d make sure that he’d lose the final set. There was a delay in the play. He was busy sorting out his equipment, his car etc. I went over to talk to him. We ended up playing table tennis using our hands as bats and an orange as a ball. It was really quite amusing. But then he decided to do an overarm serve with a pomegranate.

At one point during the night I was having a strange dream (not that the others that I have are not strange). I was with someone who might have been Rosemary and the Ukkrainian family. We were in a big city living on the outskirts. We had to take the young girl to school so we walked miles all the way into the town to near the town centre by the inner ring road. When we reached the port there was a sign to say that the school had moved. It meant walking halfway back again and out towards near where I lived. Of course everyone was disappointed. Mrs Ukrainian was wondering how we would do it because everyone was tired. I chivvied everyone up and we began to walk back. Mr Ukrainian was playing in a rock group with a bassist with someone with whom I worked in Brussels (now what is he doing wandering around in here?). The bassist was someone who sang but he died so they asked me if I’d play bass and sing. The reason for that was that I’d been singing a Barclay james Harvest song all the way into the town centre when we were walking. I said that I’d give it a try but I wasn’t very enthusiastic because I didn’t think that I could do it. As we were walking back we could see in the distance that everything was really foggy. There was a huge blanket of fog covering the coast where I lived. We stopped on this headland where I could point out a few things to everyone but of course with the fog being there we couldn’t see all that much.

When the alarm went off I was out of bed fairly quickly and then after the medication and checking the mails and messages I worked on the revision for my lesson.

There were a couple of phone calls too that disrupted my revision. Firstly, I have to go to the hospital on Thursday 16th March for these tests. At Avranches, by the way, not at Leuven. Nor at Granville.

They say that they will try to have everything done on the day, but I’ll still take the laptop and a bag of clothes with me because I’ve heard stories like this before, as I’m sure we all have.

And then these people dealing with this money transfer rang me up. They seem to be inventing all kinds of difficulties to delay this transfer and if they don’t extricate their digits I shall have to think of a Plan B.

After the lesson I dragged myself out for a walk. In connection with the radio programme that I prepared yesterday for Carnaval, I needed some photographs so I grabbed my crutches and the NIKON 1 J5 and set off to do my worst.

Back here I had a shower and then transcribed my dictaphone while I awaited for the physiotherapist to come round. He ran me through a few more exercises and then cleared off. He might not be here on Thursday because parking will become difficult while Carnaval is on. The public car park out here is filling up rapidly and by Thursday there will be no room at all.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing from yesterday. There’s still some left over and with what else is in the freezer will make a nice curry for tomorrow night, I hope.

There are no plans for tomorrow. Just the cleaner coming round to tidy up for me so I’ll have to spend some time making the place look tidy.

And do some of my exercises. Climbing into the shower this afternoon was not as easy as it was. I reckon that I haven’t quite recovered from Saturday’s adventures down in town on my crutches. The physiotherapist was pleased that I made it there and back, just as I was, but I’m still a long way away from being better.

Tuesday 7th February 2023 – MY WELSH LESSON …

… went quite well today and I was really pleased about that. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like that about my course.

What I put it down to is the fact that for once I had a decent night’s sleep last night. I can’t remember if I awoke at any time during the night and there wasn’t a great deal on the dictaphone. In fact I was wide awake at 07:00 and when the first alarm went off at 07:30 I was actually sitting on the side of the bed fully clothed with my feet on the floor.

And that just goes to prove that I can do it when I want to.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I came in here to revise for my lesson, and then I made some coffee and sorted out a fruit bun ready for my lesson.

Just as I connected to my lesson, the doorbell rang. It was the doctor who was in the building so had taken the opportunity to come to see me. He’s had the report from the nerve specialist and he confirmed that I’ll be going back to hospital some time soon, depending on when there will be a bed and some treatment available.

It’s likely that I’ll be there for about a week while they undergo a series of tests.

He’s also prepared me for some bad news. He’s told me that it’s a possibility that it’s not the virus that has affected my nerve transmissions but it’s my underlying illness that’s eating away deeper into my body. We had a situation where the illness has spread into my kidneys and I had an operation in May 2021. It spread into my heart a little later and so it’s now a possibility that it’s going elsewhere too. I mustn’t be surprised if it’s spreading into my nervous system.

And if that really is the case, it might explain a lot of other things that are going on with me too.

As I mentioned earlier, the lesson passed off quite well and the first thing that I did afterwards was to go for a shower. It was quite embarrassed being examined by the doctor when I was all dishevelled and unkempt.

But while we’re talking about the shower … “well, one of us is” – ed … it was much easier actually climbing into the bath today for my shower. There was nothing like the struggle that I had when I first came back from hospital.

This afternoon I’ve been choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes. And there will be some good stuff in these as well. Tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll pair off the music and start writing out the notes.

The physiotherapist is pleased with my progress too. He’s noticed an improvement, with a little more force in my legs. He’s given me yet more exercises to perform and these are pretty difficult. He wants me to continue them for sessions of 10 minutes but 2 minutes is more than enough before my muscles give out.

After he’d gone I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a group of us from work going somewhere. We had 2 coaches. I was travelling as a passenger on one of them. At a certain point a girl whom I knew from work came in. She was travelling on the other bus but came to sit in ours, sitting right on the back seat talking away. She was trying to explain something but was becoming redder and redder and more embarrassed and more shy as the discussion continued. I was trying my best to put her at ease. In the end I told her to come and sit by me so that we could talk a little easier because I was in a block of 4 seats, 2 facing forward and 2 facing back. She came to sit facing me and said “you have a lot more stuff on your coach than we have on ours”. I said that ours was a better coach. We carried on chatting. We were driving through Brussels although it was no Brussels that I knew, looking for a certain park where we would stop for lunch. Eventually we found it, negotiating our way through these back streets, through these children pouring out of school at lunchtime to go home. I was certain that our bus had clipped the wing mirror of a car at one point. We reached this park. It was a little cold, a little grey and the odd fleck of rain. I said to this girl “would you like to come for a coffee? I’ll buy you a drink”. She didn’t want a coffee but she said that she’d have something. We prepared to leave. She said that she had a seat on the coach that she could bring so that she didn’t have to sit on the grass. I said that she should fetch that and we’d go off and find somewhere where we can have a drink

And then once more there was a group of us in some house somewhere. We had a list of things that needed doing. For a variety of reasons a couple of things weren’t done. The old guy who thought that he was running the place was extremely angry and upset. He accused everyone of doing all kinds of things to deliberately obstruct this particular house move. First of all he complained that we should have done the stuff on Friday yet here we were, still here, so we had to explain to him that Terry’s van broke down on Friday and he had to have it fixed. Then he complained about me taking out my own stuff from the house on Saturday. I explained that we had just taken the stuff out so we could fill it in to some kind of room and photograph it to make it look lived-in so we could let it. Then we brought back the stuff. His other 2 children who were there, he was lecturing them to such a degree that in the end they decided that they could no longer live under the same roof with him and either he’d have to move out or they would. It was all developing into an extremely ugly situation.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing. And how nice it was too. There’s some left over and so tomorrow I’ll be having another leftover curry with all of the stuff that’s left over in the fridge. They seem to work quite well

So tomorrow morning I’ll ring up to check on Caliburn and if he’s ready I’ll catch the bus out there to fetch him back. I’ll do some shopping on the way back too – probably at LIDL because I haven’t been there for ages and I’m sure that they’ll have plenty of stuff that I need.

And then I really must do all of this paperwork that I need to complete. Time is evaporating before my eyes and I’ll run out of time if I’m not careful.

Tuesday 31st January 2023 – AND I WAS DOING …

… so well too!

On my way out in Caliburn to the garage this afternoon I have to say that this was the first time since Canada that I’ve felt comfortable behind the steering wheel.

The physiotherapist and his exercises seem to have been doing me some good because not only could I climb inside Caliburn so much easier, I could use the brake and accelerator with my right leg without any unusual strain or effort.

As I pulled into the compound at the garage to drop Caliburn off I was congratulating myself on how well I’d done and how I was looking forward to having him back when he’s fixed, and going back on the road again.

And then my leg collapsed as I climbed out of the cab.

That’s the first time that such a thing has happened since I fell down the stairs at the railway station at Leuven the day that they threw me out of the hospital in early December. You’ve no idea how depressed that made me. I really had thought that I had passed beyond that stage by now.

But one thing that I do have to say. And that is that in the past whenever the leg has collapsed and decanted me onto the floor, it’s taken me longer and longer each time – most recently a matter of days – to gather up my strength again. But today, I wasn’t really inconvenienced at all. So I suppose that that is progress of a sort.

Last night’s sleep was progress of a sort as well in that I don’t remember very much about waking up. There was some stuff on the dictaphone, but not very much so I suppose that it must have been quite calm.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was up and about quite quickly and that makes a change just recently too. And having had my medication and checked my mails and messages (and still no news from the solicitor) I prepared for my Welsh lesson this morning.

And something else was quite surprising, that the lesson passed quite quickly and quite successfully too. I’m not quite sure why that would be because for the last few months I’ve been quite disappointed. Nothing seems to stick in my head.

When the lesson had finished I girded up my loins and went downstairs to Caliburn. Once more he struggled into life but he started up and I had a good drive out to the garage.

On the way out I noticed that there were notices plastered to all of the bus stops. It suddenly occurred to me that today is a General Strike by French Trades Unions so how was I going to find my way back home? That’s something to worry about in due course, I suppose.

At the garage I dropped off Caliburn and had a chat to the guy in charge about what needed doing. And then I staggered off to the bus stop down the road to see what was going on.

And there I breathed a sigh of relief. “Due to the General Strike the bus service will only be running from 09:00 – 12:00 and 13:30 to 16:00 today”. It was now 14:17 and there was a bus due at 14:32.

The bus was on time too and so I was back here by 15:00. And after a little rest I had sometidying up to do because the physiotherapist was coming round.

When he finally turned up, later than programmed, he ran me through a few more exercises. He seems to think that talking about surgery is premature and that a couple of months of intensive exercises might show enough improvement to render it unnecessary. I hope that he’s right because regular readers of this rubbish will recall how I feel about hospitals and surgery, but I have a feeling that he is being rather optimistic. With all of the walking that I did until recently, if exercise would be the thing to resolve the issue I wouldn’t ever have had the issue in the first place.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate I came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was on the taxis last night, in the office waiting for work. One or two of the drivers were busy but I wasn’t particularly. I couldn’t recall having been out. It was coming close to my going-home time. There were a couple of other drivers in there from different firms who were chatting, talking about food etc. One of them all of a sudden had to run out to his car for something. Almost as soon as he left the room his hand-held radio started to squawk and the controller tried to talk to him about something. Of course he wasn’t there. I was just about to go home when the boss answered the telephone. He came over to me and said “fancy going to the airport?”. I thought “well, it’s late. What about one of the full-time drivers?”. He replied “he’s going as well”. He told me to take the Granada. The Granada was at the hospital for something or other. I told him that. he replied “what? The black one?”. That was the brand-new one that we’d just bought. I answered “no, the old blue one” because I would have gone in the old blue Granada rather than the brand-new car. He was busy trying to sort it out.

And then I can’t remember very much about this next bit. There were 2 teams of football, one playing in red and the other in white. The team in white had had a couple of players sent off but the team in red wasn’t particularly able to take advantage of the extra numbers. It was a match where there were plenty of loose balls and possession going to the opposite team.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with rice and veg. And there’s a little stuffing left that I can use in a curry. There aren’t a lot of leftovers left over in the fridge so I’ll probably have to lengthen the curry with a tin of something – chick peas or lentils perhaps. It’ll be delicious anyway.

But I’m going to have to go through the spices in the box under the shelves again because a few of the pots are running low of stuff. That will be a nice job for tomorrow afternoon after the cleaner has gone home. Tomorrow morning I’ll have to bake some fruit buns because I’ve run out and there was too much going on today to make them as I planned.

And i’ll have to remind the solicitor to send me the information that I need because I really want to push on with everything and have this purchase completed. I don’t want it to drag on as I want to settle myself down in my new home as quickly as possible.

Buying it isn’t the end of the story though. I have to persuade the tenant to leave.

Tuesday 17th January 2023 – THIS SOCIAL SERVICES …

… visitor who came to see me after lunch wasn’t really of all that much help. She had a chat with me, handed me a brochure and a few notes, and then left again. And so I’m no further forwrd than I was before.

What I was actually hoping was to have been placed on some kind of “at risk” register because I’m not under too many illusions that I’m ever going to be much better than I am and I’m sure that things will continue to deteriorate. I would have expected there to have been some kind of register of people living alone who are suffering from serious illness.

And so it looks as if I shall have to make my own arrangements to secure my own future.

That’s quite the normal situation and so it’s not a big deal from my point of view, but it’s still a disappointment all the same.

Last night was a disappointment as well. I didn’t go to bed particularly early but even so it took me a whole age to go off to sleep. I was certainly still awake at 01:30 or so when I checked the time.

But I did doze off at some point, only to become embroiled in yet another altercation with members of my family. I was busy working on the computer doing something with an old-world programme. My brother just walked up to my desk, opened a drawer, took out my packet of sweets and walked off with it. I ran after him, grabbed hold of it, put it back in my drawer and slammed it shut. He went off telling his mother that I’d pinched his sweets so my mother told me to give them back to him straight away. I told her “what are you on about? I bought these on Saturday night and put them in my drawer” so she had a shouting match with him. I was trying to work out this old program that I used to use years ago but it wasn’t working very well. I was sure that I ought to be doing much better with this than I was but there were just so many distractions.

It beats me why they keep on showing up during my nocturnal voyages. I have many more things that are much more important than worrying about them.

The Welsh lesson with something of a disappointment. Although I was up quite quickly when the alarm rang (for a change) I wasn’t in all that much of a mood to do any revision today. I worked my way through some stuff in order to prepare myself but I didn’t feel much like it and I could have done much better.

After the Social Services had been for a visit I sat down to choose some music for the next series of radio programmes until the physiotherapist came round. he was quite pleased with the progress that I seem to have been making and he’s given me some more hints and tips. That’s nore stuff to work on for the next while.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll, and there’s still some stuffing that’s left over. That’s the cue for a nice left-over curry tomorrow to keep me out of mischief. I hope that it will turn out to be as good as the last couple that I have made because it seems that I have the hang of them now.

Tomorrow the cleaner is coming round so I’ll have to spend an hour or so tidying up the place in the morning to make it look nice. Then I’ll have to go for a play with Caliburn and mak sure that he starts ready for a trip out next week.

If not, I’ll have to think of a Plan B because I have an appointment that I can’t afford to miss.

Tuesday 10th January 2023 – JUST FOR A …

… change, especially just recently, I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night last night. And neither did I start work at some ridiculous hour like yesterday.

But I don’t want anyone to go thinking that I changed the habits of a lifetime and had a decent sleep. There was that mush stuff on the dictaphone that I must have travelled miles during the night. There was a dream that someone was pushing a pram or pushchair about on a street. Someone else noticed that there were several dents and scratches on the side of a car that corresponded where this person had been pushing this pushchair. There was another couple in thie street too with an almost-identical pushchair. It wasn’t very clear at all who it was in fact who had done the damage. Which of these 2 couples pushed their pushchair into the side of these parked cars.

And then I was working in a mine or quarry. We were having to send out different priorities of ore. I had the calculations wrong and instead of ending up with 4 different categories I only ended up with 3 and one of them was short. Someone else pointed out the mistake and I had to go back to review it. It was a very complicated transaction. In the end I agreed that I’d missed something out and I had to rework it and repack the order. Before I did I had to have someone else tally it for me to make sure that it was correct this time. I asked someone in a neighbouring workroom if they could tally this order for me and chack that I had everything that I needed.

At some point I was staying an a rented apartment for a weekend. While I was there I had to visit some other people. I had an appointment for maybe 09:00. I’d been awake a couple of times earlier than that but I thought “another 5 minutes would be fine”. All of a sudden it was 08:19. I had to leap out of bed, quickly take my computer and shove it in my travel bag etc and prepare to leave quite hurriedly without having done anything. I thought that it was lucky that I was staying here the night that I can tidy up and clean up tomorrow morning before I leave otherwise I’d be having some real problems about trying to leave here and making this appointment.

I stepped back into this dream later on where I’d been running late. I got as far as one railway station in Stoke on Trent and had to drive to the next one. There was that much snow about that I couldn’t see the road markings. I was sure that I was in the wrong place. At one stage I felt that I was going down a one-way street the wrong way. Dragging my suitcase through the snow (I was no longer in a car by this time) I reached the main road and only had 15 minutes to reach the other railway station. I thought that this is going to be a long way and I’m really going to have to get a move on if I’m going to catch this train. There were all kinds of little things, people bumping me as they came out of shops etc slowing me down. I thought that I’d never arrive. I’d be sitting on that station and everyone else woud turn up to meet me and say “why didn’t you just stay in bed and make the most of it?” like they did. I could see that this was all going to end up as a great big failure.

There was also something to do with one of the Yugoslav republics like Croatia joining the EU. There were reports about how much corruption there was in a place like this. Someone was recounting the story of his dreams as if that was any particular evidence. The dream included this coach and car. They were racing each other down this set of steps – you’d go down 20 steps and then there would be a flat part, then another 20 steps. I’m not sure what that had to do with anything.

For a brief moment too I was with TOTGA and one of her friends on a bus going to Stoke on Trent. They were talking about Crewe and Stoke on Trent and I was sitting on a seat. I don’t think that they noticed that I was there. I was eating a very large bag of crisps at the time while they were talking away. I was really quite anonymous as if I wasn’t there and they hadn’t seen me but I was on board that bus and listening just the same

The alarm going off at 07:30 awoke me but it was more like 08:30 when I finally left the bed. I didn’t want to push my luck with the Welsh lesson looming. Anyway, after the medication I spent an hour or so preparing for my lesson before it began.

Once the technical issues with the old laptop had resolved themselves I joined the lesson. There weren’t all that many of us today but it passed off well enough. Preparing for the lesson certainly helps. Depsite another technical issue rearing its ugly head in mid-lesson, I managed to stick it out right to the very end without falling asleep.

Almost as soon as it finished I had a ‘phone call. The physiotherapist was actually in the building seeing someone so could he come round when he finished instead of at 17:00?

It’s no problem for me so he was here at about 14:00. He’s noticed a slight improvement in the right leg now which is encouraging. But we are still a very long way from being anywhere close to where I would like to be. I still can’t manage more than half a dozen steps without having to stop to catch my breath and adjust my balance.

Nevertheless, if I feel a little better later in the week I might have another go at going to the supermarket in the town. We shall seel

Rosemary rang me today as well and we had another one of our marathon chats. She’s off on a voyage in a couple of weeks’ time . It’s a shame that I’m not feeling up to travelling because a little voyage around Indo-China would probably have done me a worls of good. But I need to concentrate on getting myself into some kind of order before I attempt anything else.

Tea was a taco roll with some of the stuffing left over from yesterday. There’s a little more left too so I’ll make a curry with that for tomorrow, the rest of the mushrooms and a potato. For the rest of the week there’s a burger and a slice of pie, maybe suasage and beans plus whatever else I can find in the freezer. Somewhere in there is a box of vegan sausage rolls and it won’t do any harm to go on an expedition into the depths of darkest freezer to see what else I can find.

Making room in there isn’t a bad idea actually as come the weekend I’ll be baking bread and fruit buns and some of all that will need freezing.

God knows where I’m going to put it all.

Tuesday 13th December 2022 – WHAT A STATE …

… to be in! Downstairs on the front door there’s a notice “if anyone is going to the shops, could they take me with them?” Can you imagine how things have worked out for me over the last few months?

This afternoon I went out to try to start Caliburn and eventually after much coaxing, he staggered into life. I set off for a drive and probably went about 30 kms trying to warm him up and charge up the battery.

However it didn’t seem to do much good because when I pulled into LIDL car park to see whether I could stagger over to the trolleys, I tried the starter and it was a desperate moment as I almost ended up walking home.

That was enough for me and I decided that if I didn’t leave the engine running and go home now, I never ever would get home. I can’t believe that I’d gone so far and the battery was even more dead than when I started.

As well as that I had to park where there was a kerb because I don’t have the strength to haul myself into the cab off the ground.

And so you can see, there’s a very fine line to walk between discretion and valour and God knows where it is right now.

Last night was another miserable, depressing night with me tossing and turning and I really don’t know what’s happening here either. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was in no fit state to leave the bed and it was a real struggle for me to sort myself out.

The Welsh lesson though went reasonably well because I managed to prepare for it and I feel so much better when I can do that. However I’m not making the kind of progress that I would like. I’d be the first to admit that.

After the lesson I went for my run around in Caliburn and then came back to listen to the dictaphone. And there was tons of stuff on there from the night. There was a group of us packing to go somewhere. The conversation drifted round to all sorts of things. Several of the people were being extremely difficult in my opinion. One woman was really taking her time filling out a form. Everyone was explaining the difficulties that she was having but I didn’t think that they were anything at all. A few of us were talking about insurance and how it was sometimes quite catastrophic. I told them about how I worked in an insurance company (… and I did too …) and someone a few years later had T-boned my car. They actually worked for that insurance company and had their insurance there and how it was an endless tale of delays. We were discussing this. Suddenly I remembered the girl’s name who I worked with who this girl who was talking knew. I said her name and of course it cut the conversation. I felt extremely guilty about this. We were all sitting there trying to organise this and that one woman was taking so much time filling out a simple form. I was of the opinion that we weren’t ever going to get away at this rate
This meeting where there were people on about this insurance company and everything like that was where that guy stood up to make that announcement that his girlfriend was pregnant or they were getting married or something. That was really raining on everyone else’s parade at that particular moment. They were all disappointed that their thunder had been stolen.

There was some kind of tropical storm hitting the Carolinas and everyone had taken shelter. I’d gone with a news party to have a look at the situation inside one of these bunkers because the roof was damaged and water is getting in. I found several women, one of whom I knew very well, busy rolling up tissue and cloth in order to make some kind of something or other that would pass the time. This particular girl was working so quickly that she was way ahead of everyone else. While I was talking to her I looked up. A young girl who had come with her into the shelter was walking past on her way to the corner to lay down. I drew this woman’s attention to it. She invited the other one over to come along and join her to fold up tissue. Of course they started chatting like a couple of people in this situation would.

It was Friday night. I’d finished work and gone home. There was a story on the radio about how business was suffering from big bankruptcies and P-registered Cavaliers were being sold for as little as £3,000. I was wondering whether to go round to see a friend of mine and his wife, and of course Zero but thinking that I’d been round there every night this week I imagine that they must be becoming pretty fed up. The last thing that I wanted them to do was to stop me going round at all. So much as it hurt me, I decided that I’d stay at home tonight and start to sort through my toolbox. While I was doing that the TV was on. There was something happening about relief supplies involving DiY equipment. A whole pile of Opposition amendments were taking place to ensure that the Queen paid VAT on everything. They were all being passed so obviously there was some kind of mini-revolt going on in the House of Commons. Ordinarily that would have been just the kind of thing that I would have talked about with my friend but with having made a vow not to go round tonight I decided to keep to it and stay at home. I started to go through my toolbox making up kits of things that I might need in the future like electric sockets and so on

But imagine that? How many times is this that during the night I’ve turned down an opportunity to go and see Zero. I must be ill or something.

Tea was falafel with pasta and veg. I was hoping to have some potatoes so that I could have sausage, beans and chips tonight but that was something of a failure due to the issues that I had at LIDL. I hope that some good comes of my sign because I can’t go on living on my stocks of food. Rosemary and I talked about that on the ‘phone earlier and this was one of the things that galvanised me into making my sign.

And so we’ll see. It’ll be nice if it works and I can get some stock back in. The cupboard will be bare before I know it if I’m not careful.

Tuesday 27th September 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

beach donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… photos today. And when you look at the photo of the beach down towards Donville les Bains you’ll see why.

When I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland I was almost swept away in a rainstorm and at one point I was even thinking of giving up and going back home. However I trudged wearily and wetly on around my circuit.

So providing that I haven’t caught pneumonia or something else and don’t pop my clogs I’ll tell you all about my day.

And as usual, when the alarm went off at 07:30 it was a struggle to leave my stinking pit. And after the medication I came back in here to revise my Welsh ready for my lesson.

Mind you, I need not have bothered because it was a pretty gruesome lesson. It didn’t go according to plan at all and I made rather a mess of things. Somehow I’ve not been able to get to grips with things since we started back and that’s quite depressing.

After the lunchtime fruit I’ve been organising a few things. There’s a little something simmering away on the back burner and I need to prepare for it. and so I’ve been dragging stuff out of cubby holes and that sort of thing today

Another thing that I’ve been doing is checking all of the electric stuff and making sure that it’s fully-charged. It’s twice this week that I’ve been caught with my batteries flat.

windsurfer beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And that took me up to the time when I usually go for my afternoon walk.

It’s no surprise that there was almost no-one down there on the beach. There was just one person out there at the water’s edge eyeing the waves but I was more interested in this guy here.

Al dressed up for the wind-surfing complete with board, but he’s on his way back to the steps up to the Rue du Nord. Obviously the storm was far too much even for him.

It was certainly far too much for me and as I said, I was in half a mind to turn round and go back home.

However, I carried gamely on, not that it did me any good at all because I couldn’t see a thing out there. There was just one person running around on the lawn and that was that. There wasn’t even anyone on the bench at the cabanon vauban..

briscard chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so I pushed on along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

And yet more excitement in the chantier naval again today. The only boat that remains in there today is Briscard. The other two, Gerlean and Chant des Sirenes, have now gone back into the water.

Not that this is a good day to be going back into the water. I certainly wouldn’t want to be out there today, not in a 25-ton fishing vessel anyway. We would have been OK on a 12,000 tonne vessel like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

And thinking about that has got me going again, hasn’t it? High time I hit the frozen north. What actually brought that to my mind was how cold and wet and windy it was. It actually felt like the Arctic standing there today.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today is usually the day that one of the freighters from Jersey comes into port.

And there’s a huge pile of freight waiting on the quayside to be picked up as you can see, but this isn’t really the kind of weather that you would expect to see one of them struggle into port.

The two lorries there are quite interesting though. The other day we saw two refrigerated vans parked back-to-back with their doors opened. Today, there are two refrigerated artics doing the same thing.

It must be some kind of ritual, I suppose.

blocked street rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But there’s something going on here in the Rue du Port right now.

There was something in the news this morning about the bus routes being closed this weekend and this is probably why. There’s some kind of concert taking place by the looks of things and they are busy setting up the stage.

Last year, I vaguely remember something about this so I’ll have to look through the old records to find out.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. This was another one of these dreams where I had all of my work in a total mess so I was planning on retiring. I had my German homework to do but I hadn’t done it and I hadn’t done the next lot. The tutor started to harass me about my German. I couldn’t make up my mind whether to drop it or not. I explained that I was in a really bad place in my head at the moment. This wasn’t really the time but she kept on insisting. She started to talk about how badly she’d been done by some people. The football team that she’d trained for a football match who had let her down. This conversation started off being about me and my homework very quickly became a conversation all about her. I felt even more isolated while this was going on than I did before.

And I also have the very, very strong feeling that Zero was around last night too, but there was nothing on the dictaphone about that. That’s bizarre.

The rest of the day has been spent doing a load of washing and carrying on with what I was doing before I went out.

Tea was a burger on a bap with the last of the potatoes and then I had another meal to cook because there was still some stuff left in the fridge that needed to be eaten.

So now I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’ve forgotten all about a football match tonight which was sad, and I have a busy day tomorrow so I’m not going to be hanging around for long.

Tuesday 13th September 2022 – THAT WAS HORRIBLE!

Quite the worst Welsh lesson that I have ever had. I couldn’t remember a thing and it all went from bad to worse.

Having a lay-off for three months or so was clearly the wrong thing to do, but unfortunately there didn’t seem to ba ny other way to keep going during the Summer break. That’s something to which I ought to attend in the future.

Right now though, I’m worrying about the present.

Going to bed was rather later than I was hoping so I didn’t have too much sleep. And compared with the last couple of days it was rather a lethargic raising of the dead when the alarm went off.

When the alarm did go off I was talking to some people about someone who was in a harbour somewhere along the coast over in the Channel Islands. I’d only just started this when the alarm went off and spoilt my journey.

Actually making a start on my Welsh revision was even more lethargic than leaving the bed, although at least I didn’t suffer the indignity of falling asleep. Finally, grabbing hold of my coffee and fruit bun I went for the disaster that was my lesson.

What made it worse was that there were only 4 of us today rather than the usual dozen or so. Consequently we were under much more pressure and there was nowhere to hide when you are constantly in the spotlight.

This afternoon I finally caught up with the guy with whom I needed to speak about this weekend and, regrettably, it’s not possible to involve myself in it. It was an extremely long shot but if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

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

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As usual, my walk took me across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon. The good weather hadn’t arrived today so it was much more like a mid-September day with a heavy overcast and a wind.

The tide was well out again today so those people who had actually managed to go down there had plenty of room to spread out. But surprisingly, there wasn’t anyone up at this end of the beach having a scratch around for shellfish.

No-one flexing their mussels today, you might say.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Nevertheless, there were plenty of people out there on the rocks this afternoon.

Not scratching around with pèche-à-pied instruments but actually brandishing a rod and line from the rocks. In fact, almost every rock down there had a fisherman perched thereupon.

And this isn’t our usual spec at the end of the headland either there wasn’t any room out there for any more fishermen. This lot were down the northern side of the headland.

And, as you might expect, we didn’t see anyone pull anything out of the water this afternoon. Not that anyone was expecting it.

ship english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The view out at sea this afternoon was quite miserable. But the view down the coast was so much better.

The headland at Cap Fréhel was quite visible this afternoon, even with the naked eye, but strangely we couldn’t see the lighthouse at the end. There was something out there that I could see so I took a photo with the aim of enhancing and enlarging it when I returned home.

Back here, when I had a closer look, I could see that it wasn’t the lighthouse. It’s actually a large ship, a blue one. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to identify it.

There was nothing in or around the port of St Malo that might have corresponded, but it could be a serviceship for the proposed offshore wind farm there.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and so I carried on with my walk around the headland.

Fighting my way through the throngs of the people too. There might have been only a few people down on the beach this afternoon but there were plenty of others around and they were all up here walking around.

And it looks as if there are a couple of new people who have rented one of the apartments in our building because there was one of the occupiers showing them around out here, explaining how the buses and the refuse collection works.

And it’s all of these temporary lets via the Internet that are killing the accommodation possibilities in these seaside resorts.

cabanon vauban person on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There wee crowds everywhere up here on the cliff path and lawn this afternoon.

Even down on the bench by the cabanon vauban. There was someone else down there with his backpack and his bottle of water looking around at what was going on down there. Fishermen and that ship that I’d seen a little earlier.

Not much else though. No-one is going out right now with the tide being as far out as it is. I can see me having to change my timetable in order to capture a little more of the action when the boats are going out and coming back in.

joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022From there I walked around the path on the other side of the headland down to the port.

It looks as if the summer season is dying out right now because this afternoon we have two of the three ferries moored up over there this afternoon. There is Belle France and there is the newer one of the two Joly France ferries with its windows in “portrait” format.

No sign yet of Victor Hugo though. She ought to be coming back pretty soon because later on in the week she has some work booked, running out the last ferries of the year to St Helier.

It goes without saying that I’m quite disappointed with the ferry service to the Channel Islands. Half a dozen trips per month, and just in the summer season too, and the service isn’t going to last all that long.

les poulbots unknown pierre de jade briscard chant des sirenes massabielle le styx chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, there were things that I needed to check in the chantier naval

Yesterday we saw the portable boat lift hovering around over Peccavi looking as if she was about to be put back in the water. Well she’s not there now, the ground’s all flat. And in her place is the trawler Pierre de Jade.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we know a lot about her because she was marooned in the chantier naval for quite a long period of time.

There’s another change too. Pescadore has gone back into the water too and her place has now been taken by a trawler that unfortunately I don’t recognise. She’s switched off her AIS transmitter so I can’t pick up a signal to tell me who she might be.

Time for another reconnoitre, I reckon.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Before I go back home I had a look down into the inner harbour.

Shtandart hasn’t come back yet but Marité is there in port. That’s another sign that the Summer season is drawing rapidly to a close.

So another day during which I managed to make a complete tour of the headland after my fall a couple of weeks ago. But I was decidedly unsteady on my feet today and I had a few wobbles. I don’t think that I’m in much shape to go anywhere really.

There xas some chocolate milk today for a mid-afternoon drink, and then I had a good listen to the dictaphone to find out where i’d been during the night.

I started off on a ferry going across the Gulf of St Lawrence somewhere. There were all these strange goings-on happening in the water but that was all that I remember. I can’t actually remember anything about this dream.

And later I had a house with a big front yard, a piece down the side and planty of room at the back. It was looking like a scrapyard with bits and pieces everywhere. Cars and cars etc. I started one evening trying to tidy up the place. By the time dawn came up there were only a couple of cars and a car bonnet that needed to be moved. I’d installed a sign outside the house that pointed to “Eric”. I’d made arrangements to build a sign so that people could see that it was here where I lived and that I had cars and everything. I programmed the sign so that if you typed up the name it came up with another. For some unknown reason that function didn’t work. I couldn’t make it change automatically. But the first sign that I mentioned was still out there. Liz and Terry popped by. They saw what was going on so they came for a chat. They had a look around and asked what this sign was for on the street. I couldn’t think so I said that it was a bed-and-breakfast. She said that I wasn’t going to have many people in here. I said that it’s basically for people driving past who want somewhere to stay for the night. If they came past here late in the evening they would never make it to the coast. She had a look and the place was all untidy. She said that she couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to stay here. It became later and later and they decided that they were going to stay. I had a little giggle to myself with Liz saying that at one time she’d never want to sleep in a caravan but here they are, they’d actually bought a caravan. I went outside to finish off. A Cavalier, the type from 1984 turned up, a beige one, Y-registration. It was all smashed in down one side. Behind it an elderly Jaguar or Daimler stretch limousine came along. The guy in the Cavalier went to exit and enter this Jaguar thing and drive away with the driver. I went to have a look. This Cavalier was actually a Private Hire vehicle complete with plate but it was all smashed in down one side, far worse than any one that I’d ever had and I couldn’t understand at all why it would still be working.

During the night I’d also been out doing a coach trip to some kind of market or trade fair. All these passengers on board and we were wandering around here. Someone knew half the stalls and told me where to go to try on a leather jacket. As the crowds were drifting away I went round. Most of the stuff had been packed away and there was only one rail. I tried on a leather jacket and I happened to like it so I walked away with it without paying, wearing it. No-one said anything, no-one chased after me. I ended up walking right out of the market ready to go home. I ended up back at the Leese’s. She had noticed the time and thought that I was going to be hours late because when she’d seen me she was sleeping. She thought that this was a bad sign. If course Iw as soon awake, soon tidied up, soon had everything ready and soon back. She was surprised. There was another job to do that they didn’t think I’d be ready for. That was another coach trip. She had the paperwork ready and gave me a portable ‘phone. She started to explain it to me how it worked, the numbers and what the numbers meant and so on. of course I knew all this thing really well with having used mobile phones before but she insisted on showing me like some 5 year old baby would be shown something. It was all extremely patronising

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg. And as I expected, the stuffing was quite powerful after marinading for 24 hours. Perhaps I ought to leave it for longer and see what it would be like then.

So, bedtime after a really disappointing day – for the Welsh lesson and for my little weekend project too. But as one door closes, another one opens and we’ll have to see where that one takes us

But that’s tomorrow. Here’s hoping for a better day.

Tuesday 23rd August 2022 – THAT WAS EXHAUSTING!

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while you admire several photos of the piles of waterborne traffic that was out there today, I’ll tell you all about it.

This morning I had a conversation class with my Welsh group, from 11:00 until midday. And I was the only student in the class. There were just me and the tutor.

And to my, your and probably the tutor’s surprise, I managed 53 minutes of conversing in Welsh before I ran aground. And that must be quite remarkable. And by the time that it finished I was totally wasted

It wasn’t particularly good, but it does go to prove that I can talk a load of total rubbish in many different languages, not just in English.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Not that I was feeling very much like it because it was another kind-of late night.

As usual, something interesting came up on the radio just as I was about to go to bed and so I stayed up to listen to it. I can’t remember what it was now but it must have been something interesting, like an Agatha Christie or a Paul Temple.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was away on my travels but the moment that it went off, the details of the voyage evaporated and I can’t remember anything at all.

It was a slow start to the day while I tried to gather my wits and organise myself ready for my chat. And then grabbing a strong coffee and a fruit bun, I switched on the portable computer that has the webcam and the Zoom extension.

monaco du nord II baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022After the lesson was over I finished off the coffee and sighed with relief for quite a while, following which I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if there was anywhere else that I’d been that I’d recorded..

Firstly, I was Christmas. I was up in my room working and the rest of the family were in the house. When I went downstairs to fetch something I found that they had all had Christmas dinner. Everything was spread out all over the table mostly and the cake was mostly eaten etc. I wanted to know what was happening. I was told “you should have come down”. I replied “no-one told me when it was going to be ready”. They all seemed to be extremely disinterested so I called my father a few names and he moved away. Some other girl decided to pick a fight with me so I called her a few names as well. A found a plate and a fork and managed to find myself a piece of Christmas cake which was going to be my Christmas dinner as I stood defiantly in the middle of this room where everyone else was sitting around eating and slowly ate my Christmas cake. I made sure that everyone saw me and they all kept their distance from me after I’d snapped at a few of them and no-one said a word to me

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And then I was flying out to Canada. In the morning I had been at work. As the morning wore on it became increasingly difficult for me to slip away to catch my plane. The take-off was at 15:00 so I had to be there at the latest at 14:00. It was just dragging on and on the morning that I couldn’t get away. Eventually I managed to tear myself away with about 15 minutes to go. I had to drive to the airport, park the car, take a bus back to the terminal, check in etc. This was going to take ages. When I went outside my father was there with someone. He said “come over here. I’d like you to meet someone”. I said “no, you can’t drive me to the airport can you? I’m running so late”. he said “oh no, I can’t do that”. That was annoying. In the end I got into my car and drove like the wind to the airport. part of the time I was driving on the wrong side of the road. I couldn’t remember whether I was in the Uk or Europe. I was only when I was halfway to the airport I thought “do I have my passport?” I could see that if I stopped to check I’d be totally late for my plane and I’d have to search when I was in the queue for checking in. If I didn’t have it then it would be even more of a catastrophe. I was really panicking. So much so that I had a night sweat and I’ve not had one of those for several weeks.

By the time that I’d finished, it meant that my lunchtime fruit was rather later than usual, and then the rest of the afternoon was spend dealing with some notes of previous days from when I was gallivanting around in Central Europe.

Not all of it, that is, because I couldn’t keep going and ended up drifting away into the ether for half an hour or so at one point.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And that meant that my afternoon walk was later than usual.

As usual I went off over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening. And to my surprise there were crowds of people down there. And some of them had even gone into the water too.

Surprise, because it was still cold out there, cloudy and overcast. Not the weather for me to have gone willingly into the sea. I would have been much more likely to have taken refuge in the tent that’s down there on the beach than lounge about on the beach in my cozzy.

You have already seen the boats out there in the bay.

While I was walking down towards the end of the headland I was stopping to take a few photos of the loads of marine traffic that was out and about.

cap frehel brittany France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while the weather out to sea was fairly hazy at a distance, the view along the coast was one of the best that I have seen.

Even standing on the clifftop I could see the lighthouse at Cap Frehel quite clearly with the naked eye, and when I clambered up on top of the bunker with the camera, the photo revealed not only the headland on which it stands, but the headland behind it too further over to the right.

That’s possibly the Cap d’Erquy or even the coast that leads up to the Ile de Bréhat although it would be astonishing if we could see that far out. It’s already about 70km to the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel.

There is a formula about how far you can theoretically see to the horizon depending on how high up you are, but the real distance also depends on the atmospheric conditions. Sometimes you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were crowds of people milling around at the end of the headland and on the car park.

These people were however getting away from it all this afternoon. There were in fact several people out there on the rocks fishing, but they all kept to their individual rocks.

We didn’t see anyone catch anything while we were out there this afternoon and that’s just as well. We can’t have the fishermen going around making a habit of catching anything, especially when I’m watching them.

The seagull that was swimming around just offshore was enjoying himself though, relaxing in the surf.

monaco du nord 2 marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile just offshore at the Pointe du Roc we had plenty of traffic too.

In previous photos we saw Marité and then Monaco du Nord II out there going for a sail. Marité wasn’t in anything of a hurry but Monaco du Nord II I was and for a moment I thought that they might be on a collision course.

Consequently I loitered around in the vicinity hoping for some spectacular entertainment but they managed to avoid each other and the latter passed the former without any incident.

You can see what I mean about the view though. The town of Cancale across the bay was quite clearly visible today just above Marité.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It’s no surprise that I wasn’t alone watching all of the activity going on out there today because there was plenty of activity to keep people occupied.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban there was a couple of people. They were evidently concentrating on what was happening out at sea and that’s no surprise either. When Marité is in full sail she’s quite a spectacular sight.

While I was there I filmed a little video of Marité and then I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland down towards the port to see what was happening there this afternoon.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The only boat that was tied up at the Fish Processing Plant was one of the harbour lighters.

What I was interested in though was what was going on underneath the Plant. They must be expecting a few of the little fishing boats to come in shortly.

While most of the catch is hauled up to the Plant by the cranes that you can see, a couple of the smaller boats are owned by private individuals and seafood shops who process their own catch and those vehicles are there to take it away

That’s a lovely collection of fish boxes there on the quayside too. I suppose that the boats drop off their full boxes and take away some empty ones for the next day’s work.

lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And right on cue one of the little fishing boats comes into port.

There are two that look pretty much the same – Petite Laura and Lysandre. and even if we couldn’t read the name on the wind deflector above the wheelhouse we can tell by the registration number, that begins with “SM” for St Malo, this this one is Lysandre.

Meanwhile, over at the chantier naval there is no change in occupant. Still the same trawlers that were there yesterday and for much of last week. 6 boats in there at once is quite good and there’s not much room for anyone else, although we have actually seen nine in there at one time.

shtandart la granvillaise festival of working sailing ships port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My path carried on down towards the inner harbour.

The arrangements for the Festival of Working Sailing Ships are proceeding apace. They have erected plenty of marquees down there now ready for all of the displays. And while I was watching they were testing the lighting.

The Russian sailing ship Shtandart is still there, as is Marie Fernand out of shot over on the right. But also in there is La Granvillaise who has now come in to join the party.

Who else will be coming in to join them?

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Also in port, but not taking part in the Festival of Working Sailing Ships, is Victor Hugo.

She spent overnight the night before last on a sleep-out at St Helier and came back to Granville at 17:35 yesterday evening so I only just missed her arrival.

Back here I finished off the last of the coconut milk and then finished off the dictaphone notes on which I’d been working. There’s still a pile to go that represent seven days’ worth of dictating and there’s a considerable volume of stuff in there.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with the remains of yesterday’s stuffing. I’d forgotten to put any garlic in it yesterday so I added it in. And having been marinading in spices for 24 hours it was pretty powerful.

Although I’m listening to the Old-Time Radio (and the Navy Lark right at this moment) I’m going to try my best for an early night. Strange as it is to say it, I’m more exhausted having spent 53 minutes talking in Welsh than any other activity that I’ve performed for a while.

A good sleep will do me good.

Friday 22nd July 2022 – THAT WAS HORRIBLE!

It really does look as if I’ve slipped right back into where I was a couple of months ago. This morning I crashed right out in front of the computer, a proper, deep crash-out of the kind that I was having a couple of months ago. I was away with the fairies for a couple of hours and as a result I was late for my Welsh class.

That’s probably the most depressing thing that’s happened to me just recently.

kites pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of a group of people flying a couple of kites around on the lawn at the Pointe du Roc I’ll tell you about my day today.

Actually, last night I ended up going to be rather later than I had hoped. Not as late as I have done on some occasions and certainly not late enough to to have caused all of the problems this morning.

Nevertheless, leaving the bed this morning was something of a struggle and I had to get a move on in order to beat the second alarm.

After the meds I came in here to start on transcribing the dictaphone notes but I didn’t even make a start before I wandered away into the ether.

kites pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Eventually I made it to the Welsh lesson.

Now that we’ve all worked out a few things on our own like screen sharing of *.pdfs and the like we managed to organise ourselves so much better and the lessons went quite well.

It really was a shame that the course came to an end because the group of people on the course were amongst the nicest whom I’ve met for quite a while. Consequently we’ve created a group on Social Media where we can keep in touch.

And I really hope that we do.

After I’d had my fruit for lunch I had a listen to what was on the dictaphone. I had actually managed to go for a wander around during the night, even if I hadn’t gone far. I had been at school last night. There was a lot happening last night but I can’t remember much about it but I do remember towards the end doing bakery and I had all of the children making cream cakes etc using all kinds of tools etc that we had lying around. It became after a while a gardening expedition as well. I taught them how to lay out a garden and grow vegetables. I gave them all seeds etc. We were going through the gardens digging up their potatoes. They had potatoes, these kids, steam the back way with all these potatoes around etc and the next group would go up and go through their gardens borrowing extra tools and showing off the fine band of potatoes that they’s managed to grow and put them in a basket. It was all very satisfying and rewarding watching these kids working like this.

As well as this thing about cream cakes there was some kind of hide-and-seek or some kind of game that involved a delivery of the products and you could only accept delivery when it’s your turn. You had to wait standing by the tree if it wasn’t your turn but I don’t know how it finished from there. It was all certainly complicated.

But this is what is something of a surprise to me. I’ve had nights where it seems that I’ve been off on a non-stop series of rambles from the time that I’ve gone to bed until the time that I’ve awoken and I’ve carried on during the day with no problem at all.

Yet here I am, not having gone very far at all last night and I’m totally wasted. It makes no sense to me.

Anyway, that’s another problem. I went off for my afternoon walk around the headland, much later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022as usual, I went over to the wall at the end of the headland to see who was down on the beach.

There weren’t all that many people down there today and no-one at all in the water and that’s no surprise because the weather has changed dramatically. It’s cool, overcast and there is quite a wind that has sprung up from somewhere.

It’s not really the weather for the pèche à pied either but there is someone down there with a fishing net so they must be quite optimistic.

There were no fishing boats out there in the bay this afternoon so with nothing to detain me I headed off past the kite-fliers and down to the end of the headland.

captain corsaire baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022At the end of the headland I ran into a yacht that was going out into the bay.

She’s called Captain Corsaire which, apparently, is the name of a clothing company from St Malo.

Not that I know very much about the registration numbers of yachts, but I’m wondering if the “GBR” that’s written on her sails implies that she’s registered in the UK

She’s struggling to make headway against the wind at the moment and it must be making things quite exciting for the members of the crew who are on board. They must be shipping quite a bit of water in this wind.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were a couple of other yachts out there too, and a few people down there by the cabanon vauban watching them all.

This family had been walking along the lower path and had gone down to the end of the headland for a closer look at all of the maritime activity.

There weren’t any fishermen out there today either, neither with the rod and line nor at the pèche à pied.

They are leaving the local fish alone and having a day off so I decided to leave the headland alone and go off on the path down the other side of the headland to see what was happening down in the port this afternoon.

la confiance 2 chantier naval joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022No changes in the chantier naval today.

La Confiance II is still over there up on her blocks but no-one else has come in to join her. We could do with a bit more business in there right now. It’s the kind of things that keeps the wheels of industry turning.

Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, one of the Joly France boats is moored up. We can tell by her windows being in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

As to where the older one of the two is, stick around and you’ll find out in very early course.

l'omerta ch714399 l'iris de suse port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the Fish Processing Plant, L’Omerta is still moored up there.

It doesn’t look as if she has moved for a few days now. But at least she has another companion today. I can read her registration number, CH714339, and that tells me that according to my fishing database she’s a fishing boat called L’Iris de Suse.

Her colours are really eye-catching and it’s not easy to confuse her with any other fishing boat.

There are no refrigerated lorries up at the Fish Processing Plant right now so it doesn’t look as if they are expecting many fishing boats to come in on this tide.

seagull car towing zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There wasn’t anything going on up above at the Fish Processing Plant but there was plenty going on below.

There were a couple of cars driving down the ramp underneath, each one towing a trailer on which was a zodiac. Down at the end they performed a U-turn and then reversed up to the slope that drops down into the water.

By the looks of things they were going to drop off the zodiacs into the water, upsetting a flock of seagulls as they were doing so. But why they would be doing that right now, I wouldn’t know.

The way the tide is though, they won’t be in the water for all that long, unless they plan on staying out until the tide comes back in later on tonight.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Just now I mentioned something about the older Joly France ferry.

While I was walking around the headland just now I noticed something large making waves out by the Ile de Chausey and I imagined that it was one of the ferries on its way back to port.

Sure enough as I headed for home, around the headland came the older Joly France boat complete with a big load of passengers, coming back from the island this afternoon.

No trace of the very new Belle France though. We haven’t seen her for some time so I wonder where she’s got to.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On the way home I stopped for a look at the loading bay down at the bottom of the inner harbour.

Even though a pile of stuff was loaded up onto Chausiaise for delivery to St Helier the other day, yet more stuff has arrived. I don’t know whether the Jersey freighters come in at the weekend so it looks as if we’ll be having a visit quite early next week.

Back here I had a few things to do and then I went for tea. Sausage, beans and chips thanks to my air fryer and how glad am I that I bought one of those? The chips and sausage were cooked to perfection, much better than any other way that I’ve tried to cook them.

Yes, that was €28:00 very well spent.

So having started off talking about kites, then seeing as I’m not able to “fly a yellow paper sun in your sky when the wind is high, when the wind is high”, I’m going shopping tomorrow and “all of these and seven wonders more will I find” if I’m lucky.

But right now I’m off to bed with the hope that I’ll find an interesting companion for tonight’s travels so that “In letters of gold on a snow white kite I will write “I love you” and send it soaring high above you for all to read” tomorrow.

Yes, the Shulman brothers were churning out DECENT STUFF long before they formed “Gentle Giant”.

Thursday 21st July 2022 – I WAS RIGHT …

la confiance 2 chantier naval chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… when I said the other day that it looked as if Les Bouchots de Chausey wasn’t going to be around for very long in the chantier naval.

When I went past this afternoon she had gone! And never called me “mother”. There was just La Confiance II in there now and that was that.

Meanwhile, in other news, over at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter. The last time that we saw her was when she was underneath the crane in the loading bay in the inner harbour.

However someone whom I know sent me a photo this morning of Chausiaise in the harbour at St Helier. That will explain why she was loading up the other day.

It will also explain why ships like Southern Liner have been in port sounding out the possibility of running additional freight services to the Channel Islands. Business must be booming if they have pressed Chausiaise into service on that route too.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While we’re on the subject of ferry terminals and ferries … “well, one of us is” – ed … other things that have gone! And never called me “mother” either are the two Channel Island ferries.

Granville departed at 11:04 and is currently in St Helier. Victor Hugo also left at 11:04 and may currently be found in Cherbourg.

So what’s happening there I really don’t know, but the plot sickens. Whatever it is that’s going on, I wish that they would sort themselves out quite quickly because all of this isn’t doing anyone any good.

Last night’s sleep didn’t do me much good, unfortunately. It was another one of those nights where I struggled to go to sleep and when I did, I was soon awake as the bedroom warmed up dramatically.

Things were such that I could even have left the bed at 07:00 but I loitered around until the alarm went off at 07:30, for old time’s sake.

After the medication I went outside to take some stuff out of Caliburn. A pile of rubbish went into the waste bin and some more stuff came upstairs.

The idea was that someone was coming round this morning. There was a request on Social Network for an offcut of linoleum and I have some here.

We’d agreed a deal that he could have it for free in exchange for helping me bring upstairs the flat-pack units that I’d bought from IKEA in Germany the other week, hence the tidying up in Caliburn. However it goes without saying that after all that effort on my part, he never turned up.

What else never turned up was the Zoom link to the Welsh class. As a late addition to the course I’m not on the mailing list. I had to send an e-mail to the tutor and hope that she saw it. I ended up being 45 minutes late for my course.

She was much more organised today which was good, and that was helped by the fact that we as students are starting to take the initiative and between us we’ve worked out screen-sharing for powerpoints and so on and that makes things much easier when we are in break-out rooms.

Once again we bashed right through without lunch and finished early. That gave me time to deal with a few things such as the dictaphone.

My solicitor came round last night and he brought his managing partner with him. This was when my parents were out then – there was me and one or two other people. They began to talk and said that they had some good news for me. Firstly all my accounts had been accepted. They confirmed that I didn’t actually buy or sell anything so I’m not liable to anything. Secondly they aren’t interested in any accounts for previous years. The third thing is that I don’t have to sit any English exams at all. For unknown reasons this really delighted me. When my parents came back it took an age for them to stop talking. At the end I could tell them all my good news. They wanted to know all about the implications of it. They were wondering about this English exam because they thought that I could have some really high marks with my English. Not taking it would reduce my overall average. I explained that things like time was an issue, my energy was an issue. If I could receive a credit for my English without taking an exam then I would go that way. We had quite a long talk about everything about this.

There was something going on later about 2 girls who knew each other. They had been to the USSR and had noticed a few business opportunities that they could exploit. One went back to the USA and the other stayed in the USSR. They set up this import-export agency. For one of them it went really well and so was living a life of comparative luxury but the other one was living in poverty in a caravan and eventually on an old boat. She had to cross the Atlantic in this boat but it was not particularly seaworthy. Things like the wind generator was only held on by an old nail etc. This was going to be a voyage fraught with disaster. I was on it as it slipped out of harbour and she went off to do something. As we rounded the bend to leave the harbour there was a catamaran coming in with children on board. I couldn’t really stop the boat so I had to put it into the side wall where it bounced along the side wall and out so that it left this catamaran plenty of room. She was quite upset about that and asked me what I thought that I was doing. I explained that I’d never been on board a boat before in these kinds of circumstances and I was doing what I thought was correct to the best of the ability that I had

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

That meant that it was cooler than it otherwise might have been when I went out so I wasn’t expecting to se too many people out there but I was pleasantly surprised.

It was warmer than I was expecting anyway and the crowds were wandering around everywhere even down on the beach and even one or two brave souls who had gone into the water.

No Nazguls out there today though. There wasn’t all that much wind about.

ch651332 hera suzanga baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that I have mentioned recently is the fact that the fishing boats seem to be exploiting new areas of the sea since the issues with the Channel Islands.

This wzs illustrated today by not one but two trawlers out there in the bay with their nets out and I was expecting to see one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek vs Greek” moments as Hera in blue and Suzanga in pink sailed towards each other on a collision course.

They did however pass by with a couple of metres spare, and then both did a U-turn and went back for another go at each other.

This was certainly exciting and I stayed around for a few minutes to watch but eventually they formed themselves into parallel lines and headed off into the sunset.

lysandre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of other boats out there this afternoon too.

This blue inshore shell-fishing boat heading back from the Ile de Chausey is blue and white and that tells me that it’s either Lysandre or Petite Laura because there isn’t much differenc ebetween the two and I can’t read the registration number from here.

But for reasons that you will find out if you have the patience to read on to the end, I reckon that this boat is Lysandre.

And there were others too but they were too far out to identify.

10sa aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And there weren’t just crowds on the path or on the sea either.

Although we had to Nazguls in the air today while I was out, we did have a light aeroplane. As far as I can tell, its registration number seems to be 10SA and that’s one of the ones that isn’t on the aeroplane database that I can access.

But that’s a number that hasn’t appeared before in our paperwork so I’m wondering it it is in fact 50SA with some dirt or staining obscuring part of its registration.

Or maybe I should have gone to a well-known chain of opticians.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022My eyesight can’t all be that bad today though.

Although there’s quite a bit of haze about today I actually did manage to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with the naked eye, even if it is about 70 kms away from where I’m standing.

In fact it was easier to see with the naked eye than it was with the camera and that’s not something that heppens every day. Usually the camera picks out objects much better than the naked eye at any kind of distance.

One of these days I’ll post the photo that I took of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel that I took when we sailed past on Spirit of Conrad so you can see what it is that you are supposed to be seeing.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022With the crowds out there this afternoon it was quite busy at the end of the headland so I fought my way down to the end of the headland.

There were plenty of fishermen out there too. There seemed to be one on every rock. This guy, and presumably one of his offspring, were out there near the cabanon vauban.

Only the father seemed to be fishing though. Although the younger one had a fishing rod handy, he seemed to me more interested in scrambling around on the rocks and I’ve no idea why.

But then we’ve only ever seen one fisherman actually catch something so I imagine that the younger one found it to be rather boring.

cabanon vauban man pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Mind you, there was an audience out there this afternoon.

Not sitting on the bench but standing down at the end of the headland was this guy armed with a camera. And there was plenty going on down there so I’m surprised that he wasn’t taking any interest in anything that was happening around him.

There were more people in the vicinity too, including a Dutch family of a father and two young girls who were taking photos of almost everything. And much as I like to take photos of people taking photos, there are some limits to what it’s polite to do.

yachts speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off around the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was plenty going on there as well. Out by Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour, a few yachts from one of the sailing schools were happily sailing by.

There was a speedboat too roaring past, as well as another boat hiding behind the light.

There was quite a lot of other stuff too but they somehow managed to make themselves out of shot.

Having made a photographic note of what was going on at the ferry terminal and the chantier naval, I carried on along the path towards home.

l'omerta petite laura port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the Fish Processing Plant we can see L’Omerta. She’s still there from the other day and doesn’t look as if she’s moved.

And behind her is a blue and white shell-fishing boat. She has a “CH” (Cherbourg) registration number so she’s not Lysandre, who has an “SM” (St Malo) number and so she must be Petite Laura

That means that the one that we saw earlier out in the bay must be Lysandre because it’s certainly a different boat.

With my chocolate drink awaiting me at home, I headed off back to the apartment

extinction rebellion posters Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It looks as if the flyposters have been out overnight.

There’s a project afoot to turn the road between Granville and Avranches into a dual carriageway and it’s causing a great deal of controversy. It now looks as if the Extinction Rebellion movement people are now on the case.

Actually I sympathise with their campaign because the road isn’t all that busy. And they could deal with much of that by making the train service more reliable and regular.

At the moment it’s just trains between Caen and Rennes but they really need to restore the trains between Cherbourg and St Malo and that will double the frequency of trains on the section of the line between Granville and Avranches.

Bus transport around Granville is improving and if they would make more of an effort at Avranches I for one wouldn’t need to use the van to travel there.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun and that was quite delicious with potatoes and vegetables. Tomorrow I’m going for sausage beans and chips.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed and prepare for the last day of my Summer School. I’m glad that I found this Summer School because even if it’s not as well-organised as it might be, it’s still bringing my Welsh out of the dark recesses of my mind and that can’t be a bad thing.

There’s still 6 weeks until our course restarts and I bet that I will have forgotten it all again by then.

Wednesday 20th July 2022 – SUNDAY NIGHT’S PIZZA …

… may not have been as good as others might have been in the past but tonight’s curry was a belter. One of the best that i’ve ever made.

Basically it was the left-overs out of the fridge with a potato added thereto and cooked to perfection with lots of lovely spices and some soya cream.

And if I can make curry like that again on a regular basis, I’ll be in business.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Quite a lot more pleasure boats out there at sea today so while you admire them all in the next few photos (becase these are all that there were), I’li start at the very beginning.

And at least last night was somewhat better than the previous one. Even with the bedroom window closed and the fan switched off it was a lot cooler in the bedroom and I actually managed to go to sleep.

So much so that when the alarm went off at 07:30 it was a struggle to leave the bed.

Nevertheless I beat the second alarm to my feet (which is always good news) and staggered off into the kitchen to take my medicine.

fishermen speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

We started off with a neighbour just like that guy in Virlet who was bad-tempered and miserable, always finding fault, always being picky. We’d all been somewhere on board a bus, a pile of us. He had 2 young girls with him. When the bus stopped and everyone alighted he disappeared for a moment. I was going through my things and found some small bottles of water so I gave one each to these 2 girls and also a sweet. When he came back I gave him one as well, a bottle of water and a sweet. He was going on about how I was trying to buy friends, this kind of thing. I said “no, not at all. It was just something that I wanted to do because I’m that kind of person” or something like that. While they were all sitting there talking I took out my laptop and my headphones and was going to sit down to transcribe some notes.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then someone had heard of a photographer so he went to see him about doing some photographs. When the photos were done they were so good that he was wondering who it was who recommended him, whether he was a relation or simply just a friend of that person

Finally I was with a group of friends and we had gone to a meeting or something. There was a lunch laid on so we started to help ourselves to lunch. This meeting had cost us £8:00 each to go. We went but the meeting wasn’t particularly inspiring but the lunch was quite nice. This carried on for a short while afterwards and then they started to lay out the table with all these curries etc so I asked if we were going to stay for this as well. They replied “well we’d better start moving around or else we’ll be stuck in one place”. We started to wander around and they started to bring all of the things that they were going to serve. In the meantime where was this nice curry. I thought “never mind anything else. I’m going to have some of the curry”. We started to help ourselves to the meals. One of the things that was happening was a display of firearms with the children. The firearms discipline was hopeless. All the kids were turning their backs on each other while they were carrying loaded firearms. I said to one of the girls with us that that was terrible. If they had done that anywhere else they would have been thrown out immediately. Some fellow turned round and made some kind of remark to me. I replied “don’t worry. I’m a foreigner”. He asked “why is it that you are telling her then?”. I said that’s OK because she’s a foreigner too” so he turned round and walked away at that point.

The Welsh class continued with its usual chaotic structure but I’m not complaining. After all, it is free and it’s the best offer that I’ve had for a Summer School. And once again we didn’t stop for lunch but crashed on right through.

One of the tasks that we had to do was to read a couple of chapters of a book. The book was able to be downloaded as an *.epub but no program that I have on any of my computers would read it.

Eventually I tracked down a program – CALIBRE – that would read it but the field of view is so small that I can’t read the text and after spending about an hour at it I’ve still not found a way to zoom the page up to a realistic size.

It really beats me why people can’t stick to a good old-fashioned *.pdf format for on-line books.

When the course finished I had my lunchtime fruit and then a play about on the guitar for a while. That took me up to the walkies time.

people on beach rue do nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And as usual I went out across the car park over to the wall at the end so that I can look down onto the beach.

Less and less beach down there today, and fewer and fewer people too. It was really warm out there this afternoon but I think tht what must have put people off was the fact that it was nothing like as warm as Monday. That really was exceptional.

And while we’re on the subject of the beach … “well, one of us is” – ed … someone trying to negotiate the steps that lead to the beach missed their footing and fell from the cliffs onto the beach yesterday evening.

That was the reason why the Air-Sea rescue helicopter was hovering around here while I was on the ‘phone.

hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022You’ve seen all of the photos of what was going on out at sea this afternoon, so I had a look elsewhere to see if there was anything else going on.

And as I watched, a couple of Nazgul reared up from the field at the side of the cemetery and began to head my way.

“Your Only Protection is Flight” as Hawkwind sang in SONIC ATTACK, especially as I’m over 10 years old and don’t have a cocoon, but whereas a couple of years ago I could quite happily run all the way around the headland, these days I can’t even run for a bus.

There were quite a few people out and about on the path today and so we had the dust-clouds to deal with. I shudder to think what it will be like if the wind gets up with all of this dust about. It won’t be pleasant.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Down at the end of the headland there was no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

However we did have a fisherman out there on the rocks. What with the ones that you might have seen earlier in one of the boat it seemed to be quite busy from that point of view.

There were even a few people having a go at the pèche à pied although I’m not quite sure, for the tide is nowhere near far enough out.

But that’s their problem, not mine. I left them to it, in the hope that a Nazgul would get them, and headed off down the path towards the port.

les bouchots de chausey la confiance 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And yet another change in occupancy in the chantier naval.

We still have Les Bouchots de Chausey if it is indeed she, and La Confiance II but Monaco du Nord II has disappeared. back into the water, I suppose.

And while L’Omerta is still tied up – on her own – at the Fish Processing Plant, there wasn’t anyone this afternoon over at the ferry terminal. All of the ferries to the Ile of Chausey are presumably out.

But a friend of a friend tells me that Granville, the newer of the two Channel Islands ferries, has turned up this evening in St Helier and is planning on staying the night over there. So some kind of skeleton service is being run at the moment.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And if you are wondering where Chausiaise is, the little freighter is over there at the quayside underneath the crane, presumably being loaded with supplies for the island.

Marité is over there too. She’s not going anywhere right now by the looks of things. It doesn’t seem to be much of a summer so far for the town’s water craft.

Back at the apartment I had a good clean-up and a shower to make myself look pretty and then, bang on cure, Rosemary rang me. She MUST have installed a camera here somewhere.

It ended up being another one of our long chats, mainly about her Ukrainian guests. By the sound of things they have settled in the Auvergne and seem to be at home.

Their issue is first of all to learn to speak French, and secondly, to sort out some kind of employment. This involves contacting all kinds of Government agencies and finding out what facilities are available for Ukrainian refugees to integrate into French society, and so we spent the time of our ‘phone call making lists

Hopefully, progress can be made. But I can see myself being recruited into going for another trip into Central France some time in the near future for a hands-on task.

Tea was my delicious curry and then I came in here to write up my notes.

And now I’m off to bed. Another day at Summer School tomorrow and I’ll see how I get on. I’m not expecting too much but it’s all that’s on offer right now.

And considering that all of these supplementary courses are free, I’m just grateful that the Welsh Government is taking the trouble to educate us.