Tag Archives: welsh cup

Sunday 20th March 2022 – WHILE I’VE BEEN …

people on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… basking in glorious sunshine out on my rock this afternoon, other people have been suffering.

Alison sent me a lovely video to show me that the region of Leuven in Belgium was hit by a snowstorm this morning. It didn’t last long apparently, but a snowstorm it was nevertheless.

And back here, while I turned off the heating and even had the windows in the living room opened this afternoon, everything is closed and the heating is back on again. It looks as if the brief glimpse of an early summer that we have been having has now ended.

But I bet that we won’t be seeing snow though.

Last night I saw quite a lot of my bed. 00:30 when I finally retired for the night, and it was 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

But I didn’t have much sleep though. There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone and to my dismay I could only decipher less than half of it. Much less in fact. apparently the settings on this new machine are different from the old one that I had.

That’ll teach me to check the manual … “PERSONual” – ed … next time .

After the medication I came back in here to do my best to find out where I’d been during the night. I was with a former friend of mine last night out somewhere in the countryside and there were these two Harley Davidson motorbikes being chased down the road by a bulldozer. When they went past, when they came to a tight corner one of them fell off on the bend

There was also a big meeting taking place of a group of people. It might have been the students’ union, I dunno. It was taking place in a big sports centre somewhere outside a town. It might have been in the Netherlands or Flemish Belgium. At the town where Iw as, I was on a bus that was going to where the Sports Centre was. There was a couple of people on there and we were all speaking to the driver. She was telling us that she was shortly leaving her job and going off touring around New Zealand. I was talking about Canada and the pick-up that I had out there. In the end I was the only one left on the bus and we came to the Sports Centre but she told me that she couldn’t drop me off there because it was on a bad bend so she took me on to the terminus and I had to walk back. I had Strawberry Moose with me. I walked into the hall and saw all kinds of people whom I knew but they didn’t want to talk to me and all moved away. I saw the group from Northern Europe who were all sitting there. One of my sisters was there too and I thought “what is she doing?”. I had to use the bathroom but it was filthy and disgusting and there wasn’t much toilet paper there but I had to go all the same. Someone else came in and shouted “I have a tape for you”. I replied “you’ll have to hang on to it for a minute”. He replied “no, it’s here”. I replied “I can’t come out and do anything right now”. he said that he would have to leave it. I asked him where he was leaving it and he replied “underneath your Bible” and that took me by surprise because I didn’t have a Bible.

With the tons of stuff that I have yet to decipher, nevertheless a connection of Zero put in an appearance. If he was there, it probably means that she wasn’t far behind and so I’m picturing a night of unbridled passion with Zero, TOTGA, Castor and several other young ladies from the dim and distant past putting in all kinds of appearances during the night and I will never ever find out anything about it.

Just my luck.

There was enough time before brunch to sort out the music for one of the radio programmes that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. The joins didn’t work out as well as they have been doing just recently but that’s due to the fact that the tracks are all completely different from each other and there’s no natural flow.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I went out for a very early afternoon walk, for reasons which will become apparent in due course.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach.

And see the crowds of people who were milling around down there. As you saw in the photo of the path along the clifftop, people were out in droves today taking advantage of the really nice weather.

No-one out at sea, as far as I could see. The haze that we had yesterday had lifted somewhat – only somewhat. The Ile de Chausey was quite clearly visible but there wasn’t much to see beyond that kind of range.

diagonal window in house rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having strolled down the path to the lighthouse and having looked back down the path to see the crowds, this house in the Rue du Roc caught my eye.

We have seen this house before and I’ve probably photographed it too but it’s still quite interesting. Most builders and designers seem to lack any imagination but whoever designed this house had plenty to spare

If people are going to put windows in gable ends, they usually make them perpendicular in either the vertical or the horizontal plane, but to see a window in the diagonal to match the pitch of the roof and the pitch of the roof of the neighbouring house is certainly different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Being out for my afternoon walk so early, the tide was well out, as you saw earlier.

And that means that the practitioners of the pèche à pied are finding that the water level is now below the parts of the beach and rocks that are leased commercially. Consequently it’s a free-for-all for everyone down there this afternoon.

And there were the crowds too out there on the rocks looking for the oysters, lobsters, eels and other delicacies. And I hope that they share them with their friends and neighbours because as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the pècheurs à pied, we also had interested spectators too.

Down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a couple of people sitting down and watching the fishermen and women at their work. But they had obviously heard all about me because as soon as I pointed the camera down there, they stood up to leave.

And so I left them to it too and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

pecheur de lys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And the short answer was “nothing”. There had been no change whatever of any importance or significance in the outer harbour since yesterday.

Everything was exactly as it had been, including the old wooden Pecheur de Lys, who hasn’t moved for a considerable period of time.

We saw her in the water for a short while a couple of years ago after a brief overhaul on the blocks in the chantier naval, but that was about it. She was only afloat for a couple of days and then she was hauled back in and that was that.

With nothing else changed in the inner harbour I hurried on back home because there was something important going on that I didn’t want to miss – hence my early afternoon walk.

On Friday evening we saw the first Welsh Cup semi-final between Y Bala and Penybont. This afternoon it was the second semi-final between TNS and Colwyn Bay.

TNS are runaway leaders of the Welsh Premier League, having already won the Championship, and Colwyn Bay are in fourth place in the second tier so the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

However TNS were made to work hard for their victory and the goal that they scored to win the tie was the type that you only ever score when lady luck is shining on you. A corner swerved in, hit the post, bounced out about a foot, hit a TNS attacker in the face and rebounded into the net. And he knew nothing at all about it.

It might have been a different story too if the referee had awarded Colwyn Bay a penalty when Connor Roberts in the TNS goal wrestled an attacking Colwyn Bay attacker to the ground after the ball had been played.

During the football match I found to my surprise that I was drifting off to sleep and when the game finished, rather depressingly I dropped off to sleep more-or-less straight away. And for a good half-hour too

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having taken out a lump of dough out of the freezer immediately after lunch, it was now defrosted so I kneaded it and rolled it out.

After it had proofed I assembled the pizza. I remembered the olives this evening too. and then it went into the oven to bake.

It turned out to be one of the best pizzas that I have ever made as well. This last few that I have made seem to have worked out quite well and I wish that my technique for the rest of my baking activities would develop like this.

Anyway now that tea and the washing up is over and I’ve had a spell on the guitar too today, I’m going to bed. It’s an early start tomorrow as I have a radio show to prepare and I hope that now that I’ve set up the new dictaphone in accordance with the instructions, I’ll be able to listen to where I go during the night.

Fancy going on all of those voyages last night and hardly understanding anything at all of what I was up to.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Saturday 19th February 2022 – HAVING SPENT ABOUT …

prego air fryer place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… a week or so trying to fry some chips in the oven earlier this week, I walked into Noz this morning and Lo! And behold! They had some air fryers in stock, at just €29:99 too.

This is a kind of technology that has passed me by up until now so I’ve not really very much idea about how well they work, but at that kind of price it’s well-worth a try.

Bearing in mind the price of oven chips and the electricity that it takes to cook them, I don’t think that it will take too long to recoup my outlay, and they can’t be any worse that what I’ve been eating for chips so far.

One thing that hasn’t convinced me though is the trade-name of the article. I have a feeling that nine months after making my first batch of chips, I’ll be making medical history.

Trying to awaken this morning nearly wrote my name in the history books too. I didn’t quite go back to sleep after the alarm went off but it was pretty close and I only just managed to make it to my feet before the second alarm went off.

After the medication and a shower to clean myself up, I headed off to the shops. Apart from the air fryer, Noz didn’t come up with very much but at leClerc I spent something like a small fortune.

And for two reasons too

  1. Stocks were pretty low seeing as I haven’t been to the shops for a fortnight
  2. They were having one of their special “multiple offers” again and things like orange juice, soya milk, ginger beer and the like I can always use and the bathroom is a fairly cool room in which to store things.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff and then made myself a coffee. The slice of fruit bread was delicious too.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. And talking about dreaming in French – last night I was with my Welsh class but last night we were speaking Flemish. We’d been on board a ship and it had set sail. I had stayed behind for the next leg of the journey. We carried on having our discussion on line. At one point the discussion became very difficult. One of the girls on board this ship said that it was very late. I had a look at what time it was and I could see that it was a certain time where I was so I said “it must be twintig voor negen where they are. That means that it’s probably late and is getting too late for them”. There was then some discussion about whether we should stop or carry on.

And dreaming in Flemish is a totally new departure, isn’t it?

Later on we were out in the Far East and I stepped back into that dream where I’d left off. We were all getting our radio programmes together but this team there was a team of radio presenters who had to guess whose programme was whose. We did all that we had to do and then our programme was revealed to the public one by one. It came down to the last 3 and there was me, another girl and Liz. They presented their radio programmes and then it came to presenting mine. Mine was about a lake so I presented mine. Then the audience had to award prizes to what they considered to be the best and they also had to guess whose was whose. They were doing pretty well until they reached the last 3, the girl, Liz and me, They had me presenting someone else’s programme but I can’t remember which one – it might have been Liz’s. Then it came to mine which was about the lake but they couldn’t decide who presented it so they gave up. I started off singing the title entry to it, waiting on the podium with this little girl and Liz. I said to the little girl “what do you think? Didn’t we do well?” and we started to sing down the microphone which wasn’t actually picked up by the podcast. They asked me what had inspired me to do this programme. I was beginning some talk about how I had a lorry here and I was on my way to do something else and I just happened to notice the lake in a certain situation, state or colour.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Penybont against Ffynnon Taf in the quarter-final of the Welsh Cup.

Playing football in a hurricane is always a lottery. Even though Penybont are one division and quite a bit above their opponents and played with much more skill, the wind was a great leveller and at one stage Ffynnon Taf were actually leading 2-1.

But almost every second of the last 15 minutes was played in the Ffynnon Taff half and 2 goals in a minute near the end after the Wellmen had gone down to 10 players ensured that Penybont went through.

windsurfer people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By now it was time to go out for my afternoon walk. I mustn’t forget that.

There were quite a few people walking around down on the beach this afternoon, including a windsurfer who looks as if he’s been making the most of the weather today. The sea might not be as rough as it was yesterday but there was quite a wind still.

And you can see what a mess the sea yesterday has made of the beach, with all of the ripples in the sand caused by the force of the waves as they slammed into it at the height of the storm yesterday.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that the storm will have done is to have ripped a load of shellfish from their beds and cast them onto the rocks.

naturally, the seagulls will have made pretty short work of those but there were plenty of people down there scavenging around to see what they can find while the tide is right out. Let’s hope that they don’t find anything that they wouldn’t want to find

Not too many people up here on the path though today. The wind was quite strong and that was keeping them indoors.

The view out to sea and down the coast was quite clear today too but I wasn’t going to stand on top of a bunker to take a photo in this wind. I’ll leave that for another time when the wind calms down.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The clear sky though meant that the view across the bay to Cancale was really good this afternoon.

In the lee of another bunker and the lighthouse I could take a photo without being bowled over by the wind.

The church over there is 18 kms away from where I was standing and I know that from bitter experience. I was once looking for a hotel in the vicinity of Granville and one in Cancale – “18kms away” – was recommended. That was of course 18 kms as the crow flies but to drive it was about 70 kms down to the head to the bay and then back up the other side.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022With nothing else going on around the end of the headland I walked on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

The other day I talked about the new props on which the yacht down there had been posed, but while I was out in Caliburn this morning I had a closer look and saw that in fact it’s a wooden framework that has been knocked up quite quickly and doesn’t look all that strong.

And as you can see, there are no nets on board Tiberiade. That’s what makes me think that the nets on which they have been working in the inner harbour belong to her.

By the way, Joly France wasn’t at the ferry terminal. So hats off to any travellers who have gone out to the Ile de Chausey this morning in this weather.

philcathane les bouchots de chausey fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Here though are quite a few people who haven’t gone out to sea today.

As you can see, most of the fishing fleet is in port today, just as it was yesterday. Over on the far side of the harbour are Philcathane and Les Bouchots de Chausey and everyone else is moored up at the pontoon.

On the extreme right is Calean, with Suzanga moored behind her. In front of Calean is Galean, and then Yann Frederic and in front of her is L’Arc en Ciel.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There are people out in the Baie de Mont St Michel having a look at what the storm might have turned up.

But that would be the last place where I would look. That’s right at the entrance to the harbour and all kinds of boats have probably been doing all kinds of things just there.

And so I left them to it and went back home for a hot coffee. But I didn’t have one because I’d had one at half-time during the football and I need to cut down on my coffee consumption. Instead I came in here and …errr … fell asleep for a few minutes.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and a handful of those tiny breaded soya burger things that are really nice when cooked in the microwave in vegan butter.

Tomorrow I’m going to have my long-awaited lie-in and see if I can’t recharge my batteries. They have been run down flat over the last few weeks and I ought to see what I can do about rectifying the situation.

But not tomorrow. I’ll be in bed.

Saturday 16th October 2021 – THIS NEW WAY …

… home actually seemed to work a lot easier than going home the normal way. So if ever my 07:17 from Brussels is cancelled in the future and I can’t have another cheap ticket any other way, I’m going to consider quite seriously going this way home again.

The alarm was set for 06:00 but it was pretty much a waste of time because I didn’t have much sleep at all. The heating made so much racket that in the end I went down and switched it off, and then I ended up with people talking outside my door for what seemed like hours.

Nevertheless I was up and about as soon as the alarm went off and it didn’t take me long to finish packing and to make my sandwiches. There was even time for coffee and toast for breakfast.

During the night despite the lack of sleep I’d been on my travels again. We’d been having a history class at University but the teacher hadn’t turned up so we’d been running it ourselves. He finally turned up and started, going round the class talking to each one of us. He mentioned to me about going round to teach his daughter guitar if I was free at 17:30 that evening. When I left work I went to park up somewhere to wait. After a while I thought that I’d better ring Laurence to tell her where I was, that I’d be late. She had obviously been asleep because she was very slurred with a tired voice. She just muttered something about the management but I didn’t hear a thing after that. Then I realised that I didn’t have my guitar so I thought that I’d better return to the office and fetch it.

We were all in a car somewhere. We turned up at a house where we were supposed to be. I couldn’t get my car into the drive because the cars were parked too far close up. I had my brother move his car but there still wasn’t enough room which I thought was really strange. Then I realised that the one on the left was too far over so I pushed that out of the way so that I could drive in. Parked in there was the red Opel coupé of a girl whom I knew, really rusty and rotten. Whoever it was with me said “no tax again”. I replied “it’s taxed until June”. Then I had a closer look and it was June 1988 in the window. I said “that sounds just like her, doesn’t it?”. We walked round the back of the house to go in ready to see the lighting of the Christmas tree.

07:00 is the latest time for me to leave my digs because there’s an express train to Brussels at 07:33. But I was on my way at about 06:50.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo October 2021The work that’s taking place in the Martelarenplein outside the station is another one of these tasks that seems to be taking forever. It’s been going on for a couple of years now and progress seems to be very slow.

The fencing is still all around the work so it’s very difficult to take a photo, and the dark early morning doesn’t help very much either, but I did the best that I could in the circumstances.

With having set out so early, I was well in advance of my timetable and luckily, there was an earlier express train, the 07:21, so I didn’t have to wait too long because it was absolutely taters out here and I wish that I’d brought a coat..

class 18 electric locomotive 1903 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that came into Leuven was pulled by, despite its number, a class 18 electric locomotive of the type that we catch quite regularly.

In the darkness I couldn’t see anything of the journey, but we pulled into Brussels with 45 minutes to go before my train to Paris.

And sitting on a draughty station in this weather for that long froze me to the marrow. If there’s a waiting room at the gare du Midi I have yet to find it.

Luckily though, the train came in early and we were allowed to board pretty quickly, which was just as well

Thalys PBKA 4304 gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that I’m on is one of the PBKA – Pars, Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam – trainsets, the one on the left in this image taken at the Gare du Nord in Paris.

having scrambled aboard the crowded train to warm up, I found myself sitting next to a Chinese student who was confused about the application of the Eurorail pass. He didn’t realise that there’s a supplement to pay on the TGV and so he was stuck for an excess charge.

This train is a direct one to Paris. No changing at Lille, which is good news for me because the walk is a painful one in my state of health.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t know why the train from Lille to Paris goes from a different railway station to the one that the long-distance TGVs use.

Much of the route to Paris was spent catching up with my beauty sleep so I was wide awake when we arrived in Paris. I had to show my vaccine passport on arrival and then go to look for RER track E.

It’s actually quite a walk but it’s on the level with no obstructions and on a really good surface so it didn’t seem like too much effort.

Down in the bowels, I didn’t have long to wait for a train. Much more comfortable than the metro, rather like a cheap mainline multiple-unit in fact, and it was only 15 minutes to the Gare St Lazare.

There was quite a walk from there too but once more, it was all on the level and going up to the station was on an escalator so there wasn’t any struggle with the baggage.

clocks outside gare st lazare paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021According to my notes, I’ve never been to the Gare St Lazare before so I went outside for a look around as I had some time.

This was quite interesting, all of these clocks. It’s a design by someone called Armand Fernandez, known as “Arman” and not “Arman in Havana”, and was commissioned by the French Government in 1985.

The station is pretty cramped in its surroundings by other buildings and nowhere is it possible to take a decent photograph.

gare st lazare France Eric Hall photo October 2021Inside the station though, it’s light and airy, having been modernised and upgraded about 10 years or so ago.

It’s not very easy to navigate though as the destination boards and platforms aren’t very clearly indicated.

And while finding where the platform that I need is one thing, finding my way onto it was something else completely.

There’s a “magic eye” that reads the QR code of your ticket, but the eye isn’t where you expect it to be and it took me 5 minutes and the assistance of a passer-by to enable me to find a way to pass the barrier.

56643 class Z 56600 electric multiple unit gare st lazare paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021My train is a newish double-decker multiple-unit, a class Z 56600 Electric Multiple-Unit “Regio 2N” double-decker built by Bombardier and entered service in 2014.

It has all mod cons and is very comfortable. Furthermore it’s non-stop to Caen and it doesn’t hang about either, with a top speed of 200kph.

It’s certainly worth remembering this route for the future if ever there’s a perturbation on my regular route. And if they do electrify my line, something that is under discussion right now, we might even see these in Granville which would be nice.

gare de caen railway station Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021At Caen there’s a one-hour wait for the train to Granville so I could go for a walk around outside.

No problems with photographing the station here because there is very little to obstruct the view. i’ve actually been here once before, but not on a train. I came this way on the bus once when there was a rail strike and we stopped here for a breather

It’s not the original railway station of course. Like so many others in the battle zone in Northern France, it was heavily bombed during the early summer of 1944 to prevent the rapid deployment of Axis forces by rail.

eglise st michel de vaucelles caen Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further down the street in the distance above the tram is a church that I think is the Eglise St Michel De Vaucelles.

There was a church on this site in the days of Charlemagne but there is no trace now of any remains from this period. The church that we see today dates from the early part of the 12th Century although it has been heavily modified since then.

It’s one of the starting points for the pilgrimages to the Mont St Michel.

By now it was lunchtime so I went back inside to eat my sandwiches and I actually treated myself to a mug of hot coffee. I’m really pushing the boat out these days, aren’t I?

bombardier 82792 gare de caen railway station Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that I catch from Caen is one of the Bombardier units that we have seen quite regularly in Granville.

It’s quite bizarre because there are only four power points per carriage and they take some finding. I had to wait for half the journey before a seat at one of them became vacant.

But imagine that! Just four power points, and in the 21st Century too!

These trains are little branch-line rattlers and not as comfortable as the one on which I’ve just been travelling, but at least it does its job and brought me back to Granville.

marité philcathane belle france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Coming back home was easier than it has been recently. I only had to stop four times coming up the hill to home.

One of my stops was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. Marité is down there of course, with the trawler Philcathane across the harbour on the other side.

Down here close to me are Belle France, the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey, and Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter in orange, grey and white.

By the looks of things too, there’s someone having a go at mending his nets on the quayside too.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further up the hill at another one of my rest stops I could see that the sailing schools were in full operation today.

There are a couple of the yellw and orange ones having a sail about, but the black ones seem to be having a conference of some kind.

Arriving back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and reflected on how nice it was to be back home. And only four stops coming back up the hill with the load that I had in my suitcase was quite some progress compared to how I’ve been just recently.

Football later on, in the Welsh Cup. Colwyn Bay of the 2nd Division against Cardiff Metro of the 1st. A game rather short on skill and technique, but a proper cup-tie all the same played in front of a big, noisy crowd. Cardiff Metro had most of the play, missed a penalty, had a goal disallowed for offside and missed three or four absolute sitters.

Colwyn Bay, who were on the back foot for most of the game and only had one real shot on goal. And so, as you might expect, Colwyn Bay won the game 1-0 to move into the next round.

Now that I’ve had tea, I ought to be going to bed but I’m not tired right now. I’ll go to bed at about 03:00 I suppose and then sleep through until tomorrow afternoon.

That’s what usually happens.

Saturday 25th September 2021 – THIS SHELLFISH FESTIVAL …

marquees fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … isn’t half bringing in the crowds. And it’s absolute chaosas well by the looks of things.

Several more marquees and stalls have been set up since we last looked and they are packed to the gunwhales with people who have apparently come from all parts of France in order to indulge in an orgy of shellfish.

Including the boat Anakena, the one that was stranded in port at the height of the pandemic. You can see her, the dark blue one moored in the background. She’s been working her way around the Brittany coast, having set sail from Lorient at the end of August.

marquee marité rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And the chicane in the Rue du Port was total chaos this morning as well.

Motorists not knowing where to go and what to do, stopping, and even parking, in the most inconvenient places, and then there were the hordes of pedestrians milling about in the way of all of the traffic.

The way out to the hypermarket was chaos enough at 09:15. I shuddered to think of what it would be like by the time that I come back, so I went the long way round to reach home. And I bet that despite being the long way round, it took me much less time.

bad parking leclerc hypermarket Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of bad parking … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was enough bad parking today to fill a photo album, so I’ve selected this example for you.

It’s a delivery van delivering products to one of the boutiques in the Hypermarket. Dozens of empty spaces at this time of morning, including this disabled space right by the front door, but reversing in there is far too complicated for this guy.

What he’s chosen to do is to abandon his van in one of the car park paths, blocking in several cars while he was at it, including one with a driver who was trying to leave. But as long as he’s okay, what does he care about anyone else?

Anyway, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here.

Once more, the blasted phone people sent me a text message that awoke me during the night and I had trouble going back to sleep again. Nevertheless I must have done because the alarm awoke me at 07:30

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I copied the audio files onto the computer, and as I type out these notes, I realise that Bane of Britain has forgotten to transcribe them.

Off I went to the shops once I’d awoken. at Noz I didn’t spent much but at LeClerc it was another large bill, due to my buying more coffee and a pile of syrups seeing as I’m running out. I’ve given up making my own drinks for now. I’m not feeling up to tasks like that at the moment.

Another thing that I bought was some of those soya desserts in small pots. I need to vary my diet rather more than I’m doing at the moment.

Back here, having taken the long way round, it was astruggle up the stairs with my heavy shopping. But the fact that I managed it, albeit rather precariously, tells me that the physiotherapy is working somewhat.

Having put down the shopping I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my fruit bread, and then came in here to relax for a while. I was exhausted after my efforts at the shops.

After lunch, there was football. Trefelin against Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup.

The gul in class was pretty evident right from the kick-off and at one point well into the second hald, the stats showed 28% Trefelin possession and 72% Connah’s Quay possession.

Nevertheless, the score at half-time was just 1-0 to the Nomads thanks to a brilliand Jamie Insall goal. The Trefelin goal was having a charmed life with shots whistling narrowly over the bar or around the post, and when they were on target, they found the Trefelin keeper in exceptional form.

Nomads scored a second goal shortly after the interval as a result of a goalmouth scramble, a goal that should quite properly have been disallowed due to a foul on the keeper, but with the Nomads having been denied a stonewall penalty in the 1st half that everyone except the referee thought should have been given, I suppose it evened things up.

The introduction of Jamie Mullan injected some more spark into the Nomads. He had a point to prove, and set about proving it.

2 late goals for the Nomads sealed what was in the end a comfortable victory, but in all honesty they should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the interval.

old car peugeot 203 wedding civic offices Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was getting ready to go out for my afternoon walk there was quite a racket going on outside.

My apartment looks out onto the Civic Offices where the marriages take place, and it looks as if this afternoon, judging by all of the people around there, this today must have been the marriage of the Century.

But my attention was drawn to the car down there. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, and today there’s a Peugeot 203 down there – the white and red car.

These are gorgeous machines and I would have one in a heartbeat, especially a plateau, or pickup. I found one once ON THE ILE D’YEU when Cecile and I went to visit her mother, but I had to decline.

ship relaying bouchot stakes donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual I went across the car park to have a look down onto the beach, but my attention was immediately drawn to this.

Whatever is going on down there, I have no idea but there’s a small ship fitted with a crane of some description, and I’m sure that that row of bouchot stakes wasn’t there yesterday.

It looks as if the bouchot farmers are having an extension, and there are quite a few people on the beach down by the campsite having a good look

And had I been feeling much better, I would have been down there having a good look with them.

people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But enough of that. Let’s go back to the beach.

Today was cloudy and overcast so I didn’t expect to see too many people down there, especially with all of the other attractions going on elsewhere.

And I was right in that respect, at least by the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord, because there was only a handful of people there.

Farther along by the Plat Gousset there were a few more people, but that’s always the case. Access to the beach is much easier along there

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there at the end of the car park, I noticed a light aeroplane taking off from the airfield.

She’s F-GORN, the Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville, on her way out to sea

However I can’t tell you any more than that because she didn’t seem to file a flight plan, and she wasn’t picked up on radar. She’d been out for a couple of flights earlier in the day, flights that had been either recorded or picked up on radar, but for some reason or other, this one hasn’t.

trailer load of everything place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the wall at the end of the car park I set off for my walk, but as I crossed back across the car park I encountered this.

Everyone will know what some of these items are, and I’m surprised to see them on open display like this. But different countries have different attitudes of course.

But whatever the significance of it all is, it beats me. I was thinking that maybe it’s something to do with the wedding that’s going on at the Civic Offices. But it’s certainly strange behaviour and I’ll simply leave it at that.

zodiac men fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my usual vantage point at the highest point of the walk, I had another look out to sea.

There was a zodiac out there, stationary, with a couple of guys in there. “Fishermen” I mused to myself.

But as I watched and prepared to take a photo, another zodiac came around the headland into the bay travelling at some speed so I waited until they were both in the viewfinder before I pressed the shutter.

At least the moving zodiac gave the stationary one a wide berth. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen many photos that showed speeding boats passing fishermen far too close for comfort

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland.

There was someone this afternoon sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban having a good look out to sea. And I’m not sure why because with the mist and haze that was about this afternoon, you couldn’t see very far out across the bay this afternoon.

There weren’t any fishermen down on the rocks this afternoon, nor anyone at the peche à pied. They are all probaby at the shellfish festival having a whale of a time.

So leaving our visitor to it, I set off on the path down the far side of the headland.

cherie d'amour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in the chantier naval this afternoon. L’Omerta was still in there all on her own.

As for the boats that have been in there just recently, sitting in the silt in the tidal harbour is the yellow Cherie d’Amour. She was in the chantier naval for a short period of time a couple of days ago.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was tied up, but you’ve seen plenty of photos of her just recently. The other two Joly France boats are very probably out at sea somewhere around the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to come back in.

marquee chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As for where Chausiaise might be, she’s over there underneath the crane in the loading bay, preulably waiting to load up for her next trip out to the island.

While I was busy looking at the mayhem down at the fish processing plant as everyone swarms around the stalls and marquees, I noticed her over there so I fitted her into this photo of the rest of the activity.

The pile of freight to the right of the crane seems to have increased since we saw it yesterday, and it’s a good job that neither of the two Jersey freighters are coming into port today. It would otherwise have been extremely exciting to watch them try to unload with all of those cars blocking the loading bay.

buffet fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I mentioned yesterday, no fête anywhere in France is complete unless there’s a buvette.

THis one of course is no different than anywhere else in that respect. You can see what looks like a bar and row upon row of tables and benches where everyone can sit down and enjoy a quiet drink.

The doors into the Fish Processing Plant are open, and I understand that that is where the dressing of the shellfish is taking place.

There was apparently even a space for small children to try to dress a shellfish, although what you would do with the sleeves of your garment is something that would confuse me.

la granvillaise coelacanthe suzanga port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021No prozes for guessing who this is.

The angle of the sails and the number “G90” painted thereupon will tell you that this is of course La Granvillaise. Never one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, she’s giving tourists a lap around the harbour, presumably for a couple of bob a head.

You might have noticed Marité in an earlier photo. She’s down there too, although not sailing around right now. Also down there at the back on the left is the trawler Coelacanthe and in the foreground is the new pink Suzanga.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, and last but not least, on my way back to my apartment I was overflown by the yellow autogyro.

She came around the corner from behind my building at an altitude of several hundred feet just as I was crossing the road.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then watched a couple of videos with highlights of a couple of other games from the Welsh Cup. I suppose that I should have been transcribing my dictaphone notes but I rather unfortunately forgot.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the curry from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of lentils, and it was just as delicious. I had one of those soya dessert pots for afterwards to sweeten my palette.

Eventually, I did manage to deal with the dictaphone notes from today. I’d bumped into the captain of one of the little Jersey freighter in Granville and tried to interest him in taking part in our radio programme. But he didn’t have very much for himself to say and he asked about payment. I explained that there was no budget, that we were volunteers. He insisted that there must be some money somewhere. We went round in circles and in the end I thought that I had managed to persuade him that there was nothing. he didn’t speak French but one of his crew did so we arranged that next Sunday we would all meet in one of the bars here and he could let me know exactly what he thought and what he was able to tell me with the aid of his colleague

later, we were at a vehicle exhibition, wandering around looking at all the old lorries that were there, in the USA judging by the plates. A former friend of mine had one, an old Ford-type of lorry but there was no engine in it. We were wandering around and they lifted a flatbed back off a lorry and found that there was another flatbed underneath it, a FEMSA dated 1972. They wondered what this was doing because this was quite rare. They made a few enquiries but the owners knew nothing about it. They rang up FEMSA and quoted the body number. They replied that they sold it to that company in 1972 so this was a big mystery as what they’d bought it for and on what hat they were going to use it. There was an autojumble there as well. I was with some woman looking at all the bits and pieces. She was asking one particular guy loads of questions about stuff. All his stuff was American electrical stuff that was no good for the UK. Eventually we came back and there was a guy actually dismantling a lorry and rebuilding it while the show was going on. He was waiting for some bits but he was quite confident that he would rebuild it and have it on the road. He was planning on a drive from Northern France to South Africa in his lorry so I was interested in going along as a co-driver but he had a team. I still tried to see and ask my way around to see whether or not there might have been a place for me because it was something extremely interesting. But there were all kinds of strange people there, 3 babies, 2 of them very badly sunburnt. There was a woman dressed as a bride who was carrying a baby on her back. I thought “she’s left it rather late to be married, hasn’t she?”

So rather later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. I’ll leave the phone in the living room where if someone messages me tonight, I wont hear it. It’s Sunday, and a lie-in tomorrow and I’m hoping to make the most of it.

But something will go wrong of course – it usually does.

Saturday 13th June 2020 – I SPENT A …

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hall… fortune today in the shops.

And for a couple of good reasons too, so while you admire today’s photos of the baby seagulls, let me tell you about it.

The spending spree started in NOZ, as you might expect. But what you won’t expect is the fact that food (and drink) played only a minor part the expenditure. Some of the alcohol-free beer that I like and the last of the breaded soya fillets, together with a tiny tub of vegan ice cream.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallSome of the rest went on a platform on wheels.

The way things are at the moment I’m not as young as I was and heavy lifting is a problem. I have a collection of wheeled platforms and indeed at one time I made my own, but everything is, of course back in the Auvergne and it’s not much use there.

However the crowing glory was a huge pile of history books. Occasionally NOZ has a book sale and I’ve bought a few from there (I’m currently reading a book that I bought there a while back on the history of Normandy in the Middle Ages) but today was a whole pile of interesting stuff .

Right now one of my bookshelves is groaning under the weight of 7 big new volumes of French and European history, all written from a French perspective.

That lot will keep me out of mischief for a while.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallRound at LeClerc it was also an expensive day

But, once more, there was a very good reason for that. There’s a well-known UK frozen food manufacturer that has a large range of vegetarian products, one or two of which are vegan

It now seems that LeClerc has started to stock them and they had their products on an opening special offer of 34% off.

It’s rare to find high-quality vegan food at a reasonable price but right now there’s some room in the freezer so now there’s a pile of deep-frozen falafel and deep frozen vege-balls in there.

It wasn’t an offer that I could pass up.

Talking of passing up on thisgs, I managed to pass myself up into the kitchen before the third alarm went off this morning – something that doesn’t happen very often these days..

And no-one was more surprised than me.

So after I had my medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone

What a nightmare that I had last night too! I had a house on Osbourne Grove in Shavington. It had either caught alight or someone had planted a bomb in it and everything was due to happen at midnight. I was runing back there – it was nearly 3 minutes to. I got inside the house, I had to rip electrical appliances off the wall, thrown them out of the window, pick up my belongings, pick up Strawberry Moose. I could feel the time really really advancing . I was doing this faster and faster. Then I lost the way a bit and ended up in a telephone box thing – interview booth

Somewhat later on I was driving taxis last night and we were in Earle Street in Crewe where there was a taxi rank. I dunno whether there was something going on but one of the drivers whom I knew came over to me and in a kind of forceful way said “just you go and get me a packet of crisps – a packet of chips and wait for me on tha corner and give them to me when I come past. he was obviously going to do something to upset the other drivers but anyway I set off towards the chip shop round into Market Terrace. Walking down there I met Roxanne. We started talking and she was telling me about how when she was young she’d drawn a picture of her mother and made a remark about it. I said that I disagreed, so she told me about a drawing she had made of me. We had a chat about that, and she added “I had a really good imagination as a child”. Anyway I came round and I got to the fish and chip shop by this time and I was just about to walk in when the alarm went off.

It always does just as things are becoming interesting.

There was more to last night’s voyages too, but as you are all probably having your lunch or something I’l spare you the gory details.

Having dealt with the dictaphone notes I went and had a shower and a weigh-in. And while one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and it’s too early to start crowing, for a whole week now I’ve been below my target weight.

Whether I can keep it up is another thing. We’ll have to see about that but it’s encouraging.

That means that in 11 months since I had my major health scare in the USA I’ve lost 13kgs. Not a pleasant way to lose the weight but the ends justify the means.

It reminds me of the story about my wife, who proudly announced “this last two weeks I’ve lost 5kgs”
“Keep it up, dearest” I urged (I used to call her “dearest” because she was the most expensive thing I’ve ever had) “in another 26 weeks you’ll be gone completely”.

Off to the shops which I’ve already mentioned, swamped in the crowds and the traffic. The port was heaving today with the sailing school having a busy morning. Cars parked everywhere.

Back here I actually managed to unpack everything and even put some of it away without having to go and sit down. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

For lunch I had some of the baguette that I buy every Saturday and then came back in here to do some work.

And I really don’t know what happened after that. There was some work that needed doing which I started but the next thing that I remember was that it was 15:28. I must have been out like a light for 90 minutes or so and I don’t understand that at all.

Mind you, I awoke just in time for the kick-off of today’s football match – the Welsh Cup Final between Bangor City and Port Talbot Town from 2010.

Bangor City were expected to win this match at a canter and at 2-0 up after 15 minutes, it looked all over. But the Spuds stiffened up and began slowly to come into the game.

Bangor spurned a couple of good chances as the match progressed and when the Spuds pulled a goal back out of nothing after an hour, it was game on.

Astonishingly, in a frenetic end to the match, the Spuds scored an equaliser with just two minutes to go, only for Bangor to go back into the lead in injury time, to lift the Cup for the third year in succession.

But what a difference a decade makes. Bangor City were acquired by a couple of crooks (which I can safely say, having in my possession a list of their criminal convictions) whose financial manoeuvres saw the club lose its professional licence and expelled from the Premier League, and the Spuds who now play in the third tier of Welsh football

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was the time – about 90 minutes later than usual, for me to go for my afternoon walk.

From the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I could see that down on the rocks and on the beach just there that the people were gathering in their masses.

When I came out of LeClerc earlier there was a torrential downpour going on and it had been pretty miserable. But now the sun had some out and brought with it the Saturday afternoon crowds

plank surfers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just on the beaches either.

The water was pretty busy too. We had a pile of plank surfers or whatever you call that sport out there two round by the buoys that seem to be marking the end of the swimming zone for the beach at Plat Gousset.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen them out there before. What the attraction is in that sport I really don’t know. But as long as they enjoy it, it keeps them out of mischief.

brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallYou probably noticed from the previous photos how beautiful the weather was looking right now. A real contrast from a few hours ago.

Over across the bay towards Bréhal Plage the colours really were magnificent and while the view into the distance wasn’t as clear as that which we saw the other day whe we saw the wind farm at the back of Coutances, it was certainly a nice sharp view over there.

It’s a shame that I can’t have a sharp view like this when the coast in the distance is clear.

crowds rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallBut you can see what I mean about the crowds out here this afternoon.

That’s the way that I go when I’m walking around the wall – underneath the arch and onto the path behind the outer curtain walls. That was my first running track too when I started running back in the winter, but as you can see, there’s no hope of running down there today.

You’ll notice the puddles on the path too. There was that much rain that the water hasn’t drained off. You’ll also notice that the grass is still quite brown despite the rain of the last couple of days.

crowds beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSurprisingly, the beach wasn’t all that busy. I was expecting to see many more people than that down there.

No-one swimming around in the water either this afternoon either, which was another surprise. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen swimmers in that water in all kinds of temperatures.

No-one in the tidal swimming pool which is a shame after all of the effort that they went to when they cleared it out a month ago. It’s still holding water.

crowds beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo where were all of the people then who should have been on the beach?

This is where most of them seem to be. I’m not sure what the attraction is of the rocks and the stone ramp when there’s some nice sand to sit on.

But do you notice the boy on the left-hand edge of the photo? He’s having a space-hopper ride on one of the yellow buoys that’s broken away from its mooring point.

You can see its chain behind it lying in the sand.

maserati roadworks rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallMy route now took me round through the crowds in the Place Maurice Marland where I could check on my seagulls, and then towards home.

But here in the rue Notre Dame I noticed that the roadworks that they taped off yesterday have not been respected. Someone has driven through the tapes (not this car) and broken them – and now a whole stream of vehicles is passing along the road.

No wonder they have to keep on redoing them if people will drive on the cobbles before the concrete has set.

gribouille seagull place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back to the apartment this view made me lauch.

Here’s Gribouille, the big ginger cat, sitting quite comfortably on his wndowsill admiring the view, taking absolutely no notice whatsoever of the seagull that’s on the windowledge just above his head.

What kind of cat is this? But then again when I was married we had four cats but there was once a mouse in the kitchen that they completely ignored.

Back here it was guitar time already so I had an hour or so on those, followed by tea again. One of my breaded soya fillets with a baked potato and vegetables. I do quite like them but they aren’t on sale in France officially.

However NOZ sells anything and everything that comes its way. I stocked up when I could and it’ll be a shame when the supplies run out.

Out for my run afterwards but I had to abort the first part of the first run.

There was a major gale blowing – a proper sou’wester. And the tall buildings on either side of the rue du Roc were funneling it straight into my face. It was hard enough to walk, and impossible to run in it.

Once I’d gone beyond the buildings on the north side I could break into a run but it was still agony.

storm at sea english channel islands jersey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe itinerant was still there, calmly reading a newspaper as I ran past him down to the clifftop.

And I could see what was going on from the top of the cliff. The strong winds that we had had had blown the storm out to sea and the eastern side of Jersey was now taking a right pasting, presumably from the same storm that we had had earlier.

Whoever might be out there in a boat right now is probably not enjoying that one little bit, I’m sure of that. It’s hardly a surprise that there’s no fishing boat in view.

jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallHowever, one thing that can be said is that I’ve never seen Jersey looking so clear and visible so late in the evening.

With the big70-300mm LENS at full stretch I took a photo, and it’s amazing just how clear it is. We can see the tower at the entrance to the harbour which I reckon is St Helier, and on the right we can even see what looks like a church spire.

That’s not bad for 58 kilometres or so, I reckon.

fishermen resting cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I walked off across the lawn and round to the viewpoint near the coastguard station.

Down by the Sailors’ memorial I looked down onto the rocks and noticed a cuple of guys lounging around here. Nominally fishing, as you can tell by the rods, but the lines aren’t in the water and hey don’t seem to be too interested right now.

And I don’t know why they are there because it can’t be pleasant down there in that wind.

couple resting cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd they weren’t the only ones out there either.

This couple were here sitting on a bench by the old guard cabin, taking the full brunt of this sou’wester that was roaring up the bay.

Anyway, it’s none of my business, so I walked round, crossed over the road and ran on down to my first resting place, despite the crosswind.

heavy machinery fish processing plant rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage of my route takes me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner at the end

While I was catching my breath I walked back to the harbour to see what was going on there. Nothing much, but our heavy equipment is still there. I’ll go for a closer look tomorrow if it’s still there.

From there I ran on round to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord, but there wasn’t anything at all of any interest happening there either so I came on home again.

Sunday tomorrow, and a lie-in too. I suppose that i’d better do some work too, seeing as I have done almost nothing today. But I’m going to make myself an apple crumble for tea, I reckon. We’ve not had one of those for ages.

Saturday 6th June 2020 – IT’S BEEN A …

mother seagull chicks rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hall… somewhat better day today again.

And while you admire the photos of roofs full of seagull chicks staggering around taking their first steps, let me tell you about it.

And in what will probably come as much of a surprise to you as it did to me, then despite my not going to bed until about 00:40 last night, when the first alarm went off at 06:00 this morning I was actually up and about and in the kitchen.

And when was the last time that that ever happened?

seagull chicks rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallIn fact, I was wide awake at 04:45 and couldn’t go back to sleep at all.

Mind you, I know what had caused it. When I awoke I was holding the dictaphone and scratching my head in bewilderment in the middle of dictating a dream

I was back in Gainsborough Road but it was the family house then and it was full of rubbish, all this kind of thing and the garage was half falling down. I’d spent a lot of time trying to work out getting a concreting plan going so I could concrete it over and make a nice base, demolish the garage, make a nice base to start with and get everything tidied up. I’d asked at work and they had put me in touch with a few people. Then we were having a family meal and I mentioned it to my fater “when are we going to do this?” He said “ohh we have a concrete mixer at home. We could do it ourselves”. The discussion became a little heated, all this kind of thing. In the end I just said “as far as my sisters are concerned and my brother is concerned and I’m concerned we’re all fed up of living in a dump. It’s always going to be ‘yes, we’ll do it nexr week – we’ll do it again – we’ll do it some other time – yes, we’ll do it ourselves'”. He turned round and said “it’s all your fault anyway. You can’t bear to get rid of that white Cortina of yours. He started listing all of my junk that was lying around and it was quite true – there was plenty of mine there and I didn’t really have an answer to that and the conversation started to become extremely heated.

mother seagull chicks rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhat was bewildering me was the fact that I couldn’t think of an appropriate answer to the story about the white Cortina.

The rest of the story I recognise only too clearly.

But what’s annoying me at the moment is the fact that for the last few weeks I’ve had all kinds of unpleasant companions with me when I’ve been a-wandering during the night – people whom I’d normally go well out of my way to avoid during my waking hours.

Whatever happened to TOTGA? To Castor? To all kinds of pleasant companions who used to come with me on my travels? What has stopped then coming round? We’ve not even had a nocturnal group ramble around Crewe for months.

No breakfast again but I had a shower, and succeeded in smashing my porcelain soap pumper thing. I’ve had that for over two years without breaking it and that’s an amazing feat I suppose.

Today’s shopping was a rather miserable affair. I didn’t buy all that much at all. But then not eating for four days means that I still have plenty of supplies in.

NOZ had some more of the alcohol-free beer that I like and some decent hole-cutters as well as another pack of these breaded soya fillets. LeClerc had nothing of interest in the cheap range but a pack of vegan burgers (as if I don’t have enough) in the expiry-date range.

Mind you, while I was in there I suddenly developed a raging thirst so I bought – and promptly consumed – a litre of orange juice. Past experience tells me that this means that whatever I’m suffering from has now started to move on.

Back here I tidied up a few things and then edited a few (just a few – I’m still not on form) photos from July 2019.

Another surprising thing is that I stopped for food. If the thirst is a sign that my appetite will return I may as well make a start. So I made a sandwich and had some of the apricots that I bought.

This morning I had used the last of my home-made orange and ginger cordial so after lunch I made some lemon and ginger cordial. Four lemons but they didn’t produce anything like enough pulp and juice that they would normally do, so this batch isn’t going to last that long.

While that was doing, I came back in here to carry on with the photos but shame as it is to admit it, I crashed out. With only 4 hours sleep, that’s probably not a surprise but it was still disappointing.

Nevertheless, there was football on the internet this afternoon – the Welsh Cup Final of 2013 between Bangor City and Prestatyn Town. This was Bangor City at their best against a very-mid-table side and everyone would have been expecting a Bangor City walkover – even though Prestatyn scored a surprisingly lucky goal after just a couple of minutes.

However we had on the field a most unlikely hero in the name of John Hill-Dunt. He was Prestatyn’s goalkeeper all the way through their rise up the Welsh pyramid and a most unlikely goalkeeper you will ever meet.

At first glance, he looks as if he’s several stone overweight and that’s probably not far off being correct, but we were treated to what could only be described as a goalkeeping master-class as he single-handedly kept Bangor City at bay.

His performance in this match would have graced any Cup Final, never mind this one. He was beaten once, but, would you believe, by one of his own players.

On the other hand, Prestatyn had an old experienced campaigner up front in Andy Parkinson who could teach any young defender a thing or two about professionalism, and a young livewire called Jason Price who didn’t know when to stop running.

You can SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS HERE but you aren’t going to see the half of the excitement in this match.

waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter that I went for my walk around the walls, considerably later than usual.

And it was not very pleasant at all out there this afternoon. We were in the middle of a howling, swirling gale and I didn’t enjoy it for a minute.

The tide was some way out but you would never have guessed, seeing how the wind was rolling the waves right up to the promenade at the Plat Gousset

There weren’t too many people about out there today, which is hardly any surprise in all of this.

builders material on quayside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
My walk took me on round past the Square Maurice Marland to check on the seagulls and their chicks.

And to check on what else is going on too. And it looks as if we are going to be having a visit from Thora or Normandy Trader sometime very soon. There’s a whole load of building material and timber now neatly stacked on the quayside.

Mind you, I wouldn’t like to be out there in one of those flat-bottomed boats in this kind of weather right now. But then that’s what they are paid for.

ecluse tidal gates opening port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I stood there watching, I could hear the bell go off across the harbour there.

It’s that time of day. The harbour gates open at 105 minutes before High Tide and sure enough, bang on time, here they were opening up.

There have been a couple of occasions now where we have seen them open and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, even one occasion when I was standing on top of them.

Not astride the opening, luckily.

la grande ancre enters port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd a couple of minutes after they opened borne in on a bouyant tide of silt, cane La Grande Ancre

No idea where she’s been, of course, but she’s not much of a shape to withstand a good old Nor’Easter either.

So having seen her safely into harbour, I headed on for home.

And for a change, I decided to try some tea tonight. A small potato, a handful of mixed veg and a breaded soya steak followed by a small slice of strawberry tart and coconut dessert.

waves storm baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMuch to my surprise, it all managed to stay down although there were times when I wasn’t quite so sure about it.

And then I went out for my evening walk – and I DO mean walk because it was totally impossible to run in this wind. I felt really sorry for the itinerant who is back huddled up under his hedge but I don’t for the life of me understand why he hasn’t gone to ground in one of the old bunkers.

There’s the old watchman’s cabin and the old stone shellfish-drying building, which are out of the wind and have roofs where he’d be far more comfortable.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallApart from him and someone taking a video cam of the wind, I was the only other person out there.

There wasn’t anyone at all so I had a very lonely walk – although I did manage something of a run down along the clifftop above the chantier navale.

No change in there – still the two boats from yesterday – but I could see the waves thundering into the headland down underneath the Chateau de la Crête.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallThe sea was coming in there with an incredible amount of power so I stood and watched it for a while.

Not for long though because no-one could stay out there very long in that. I ended up coming home – walking and not running. No-one could run out there in that.

But now I’m home and I’m thoroughly exhausted. I’m still not as well as I ought to be but I’ve fetched some frozen pizza dough out of the freezer in case I want my usual pizza tomorrow evening.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s no bread in the house now either except what’s in the freezer so I reckon tomorrow when I wake up I’ll make a mix and see where that takes me through the day.

if the oven is going on for a pizza at some point in the evening it may as well go on for a loaf of bread a couple of hours earlier.

But not tonight. I’ve had a long day despite the little pause in early afternoon and I’m off to bed.

waves storm chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday tomorrow, so no alarm. And I’m hoping that it’s not going to be another 04:45 start.

So I’ll leave you with the final pic from this evening and go to bed

See you tomorrow

Sunday 24th May 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a really nice day today.

Not that I did very much work of course, but there again, isn’t that what Sundays are for? Everyone should have one day of the week where they can do whatever they like – even nothing at all if they want – and not feel guilty about it.

As for me, I was in bed at about 00:15 this morning and slept though, with just a couple of awakenings, until about 09:30. Mind you, it was round about 10:00 when I finally saw the light of day and I don’t have any issues at all with that.

Plenty of time therefore to go on my travels. I was in a van driving down Middlewich Street last night. Middlewich Street was a wide 6-lane highway and as I was driving down there, there was a little Tesco’s delivery van in front of me. I went to overtake it and he swerved out across me so I went to overtake it on the inside and he swerved back. he kept this up all the way down Middlewich Street. There was another car as well that was involved in this. When we got to the traffic lights under the Cumberland Bridge these guys got out of their van to park it up and go home so we had an “exchange of pleasantries”. I had to be at a certain venue like a church or something like that as there was a service starting at 09:00 and the radio was broadcasting it. I turned up at the church with half an hour to go but I couldn’t get in to put my microphone between the walls – there were too many people there. I heard one of my colleagues start up the broadcast and I still hadn’t put my microphone in between the walls. It was important that we had been there for this service – it was something to do with the war I think. Anyway I awoke at that particular time in a sweaty panic.
later on I was round at my niece’s and I’d been for a run with someone else, the two of us. When we came back everyone else had started their meal. I had my meal and when it came to dessert there was some vegan sorbet. I got a bowl, put some fruit on it and went to look for the vegan sorbet. It wasn’t in the freezer at all – it was just sitting on the worktop somewhere. I noticed that one of her daughters had had some sorbet so I made some remark about it. My niece was annoyed and told me off for making this remark but I said “seriously, the girl had had the sorbet but didn’t put the bowl back in the freezer – it invited some kind of remark didn’t it?”

Breakfast was consequently rather late, which is not of course of any importance. And then I finished off the web page that I’d half-done yesterday.

TOTGA was on line too, and as we hadn’t spoken for a while (and she hasn’t accompanied me on a voyage during the night since I can’t remember when) we had a good lengthy chat.

Feeling rather brave, I attacked another web page afterwards and rewrote that one too.

After lunch I went for a nice long walk . Not to Durham to care for my children like anyone else defying the best scientific advice in order to be a caring father but all the way around the headland, down onto the harbour, all around the harbour, everywhere, and checked over quite a few things that I wanted to see.

All in all, I took about 30 photographs and they will take some anotation so you aren’t going to get to see them this evening unfortunately.

But everything that we’ve been asking ourselves about things down there has been pretty much cleared up as much as it can be, so keep on checking back to this page over the course of the coming week to see where I am with them

And I did something that I haven’t done for about a year. And that is that I bought myself an ice-cream. The cafés are now open for take-aways and there’s the one in the Rue Lecampion that has vegan sorbet scoops.

It was such a beautiful day today, actually feeling like summer. I was in my shirt sleeves with my jumper tied around my waist and had I had a hanky I would have knotted the corners and stuck it on my head. An ice cream just set it all off perfectly.

Back here, I peeled and diced half of the carrots that I’d bought on Saturday, blanched them and drained them. They are now in the freezer happily freezing themselves. And I’ll do the rest tomorrow.

While I was doing that, there was football on the TV. The Welsh Cup Final of 2016-17 between Bala Town and TNS.

Compared to some of the matches that we have been watching from years gone by, the leap in quality of the players and the facilities was evident. We saw a few weeks ago one match played at Bangor City’s old ramshackle tumbledown Farrar Road a few weeks ago. This one was played at Bangor City’s new state-of-the-art ground at Nantporth and it was light years ahead.

The football was excellent too and it was really nice to see someone other than TNS win something for a change. Quality football is so much better when it’s played on a decent pitch than encourages ball control and skill rather than aimless hoofs upfield out of the mud and divots.

For tea tonight, I was brave. I had a spare shop-bought pizza base and decided that as I was now comfortable with my own pastry and bases, I would use it and get it out of the way.

It didn’t turn out as well as it ought to have done, and it wasn’t until I’d almost finished it that I realised that I’d had the oven turned down for the bread and hadn’t turned it back up.

rabbit pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went for my evening walk and runs.

There has been a lot of talk about wildlife reclaiming the streets of the world since the virus condemned us (except high-ranking Tory hypocrites) to detention à domicile. We had a deer in the harbour a couple of weeks ago (I missed it) but I’ve seen a couple of rabbits scampering around. Today I actually managed to photograph one.

In all the time that I’ve been here I hadn’t seen any until all of this started. Will we see any more now that everyone is out and about? Or is it a case of hare today and gone tomorrow?

zodiac baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing on several occasions is the bright yellow zodiac that appeared here a few days ago and has been circulating around since then.

Here it is again. As I walked around the headland it came out of the haze and followed me around the corner.

One of these days I’m hoping to catch some of the people who belong to it in order to find out what they are doing. It’s something of a mystery to me why they should be here. They don’t look like the ordinary run-of-the-mill maritime employees.

joly france ferry terminal trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of activity in the port too.

Earlier in the day I’d been over to the Ferry terminal and it was deserted. This evening though, both of the Joly France ferries were tied back up so they must have been out at the Ile de Chausey during the day.

And the fishing boats were leaving port too. There were three or four in line astern heading out into the sunset for the evening catch. One of these days I’m determined to go out for a shift on one of them

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving exchanged pleasantries with a neighbour running past, I carried on with my runs and ended up at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

The sun still had a good 15 minutes to set so I just took an evening photo and ran on home again.

So I’ve plenty of work to do over the next few days because in my misguided enthusiasm I also signed up for a free music course, reckoning that I’d have the usual four weeks to prepare – only to find that it started on Friday so I’m already falling behind.

Interestingly, the organisation running the course wanted to know my e-mail address. So they sent me a mail to ask me for it.

You might want to think about that for a moment.

There’s my Welsh homework to do too for Tuesday, as my tutor politely reminded me this afternoon, so that’s a job for first thing tomorrow.

My accountancy course starts this week too so that’s something else to worry about as well.

It’s all go here, isn’t it?

Friday 28th February 2020 – I MISSED …

… the alarms this morning.

Yes, round about 07:30 when I finally heaved myself out of my stinking pit this morning. I’ve no idea why because last night wasn’t exactly a late night.. after the medication I had a look at the dictaphone as usual. I’d been on a few travels too during the night, but not enough to wear me out.

I’d been in Audlem and it had been some kind of New Years Eve or something like that. There were hordes of people out in the street all dressed in fancy clothes. I’d been wandering around looking at them and admiring their outfits, all that kind of thing. Then I headed down to where the Buttermarket was. There were even more people coming out from down Shropshire Street, all in a sort of nightwear type of thing as if they had been to some kind of pyjama party. They were all streaming up to a pub that of course doesn’t exist somewhere on Stafford Street. This pub was a black and white Tudor building with all kinds of statues on the edges of the roof like in Austria. There were all these bunk beds outside and this was the middle of winter and all these bunk beds for kids outside. These kids were all dressed in nightwear and I couldn’t understand what it was that they were doing. This was really late for kids to be out and so on.
Before that we had been in a procession, a procession of all kinds. We were dressed as seafaring pirates, a Marsupilami thing. We were quite happily parading and making up the story as we went along. We saw some being questioned about who was in a huge queue and who wasn’t and we realised that this was going to be the fate of death for us because we wouldn’t be allowed to continue. We chatted amongst ourselves who it was and ended up talking to this very young girl about 6 or 7 and ask her all these questions but by now we weren’t having the microphone passed down to us and being put on the air.

And there was more to all of this lot too.

After breakfast I had a look at some more sound files and, sure enough, just as expected, a couple of them were all over the place and took an age to sort out; Somewhere in the middle of all of this I took my Carnaval costume back to its owner. We had quite a chat and she had a lot to say for herself about her work so I made a note for the future.

hydraulic concrete breaker rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter having finished the sound files I went down into town for my bread. The long way round too seeing as I wasn’t going anywhere special tody.

But down on the harbour, the hydraulic concrete-breaker that’s been breaking up the rocks over at the ferry port is back so that it looks as if they will be restarting there some time very soon.

Not today though. Chausiais and Joly France were over there moored in a NAABSA position on the bottom. It looks as if they have things to do this weekend.

new pontoon rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was here I went to look at the new pontoons that they’ve been installing.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned the cranes on the quayside and that I didn’t think that they will reach over the pontoons.

Today, there were a couple of fishermen there so I asked the question. And the answer is “no, they don’t reach”.
“So what are you going to do then?” asked Our Hero
“Bof” replied one of the fishermen with a beautiful Gallic shrug.

A beautiful word, “Bof” – a must-have word in anyone’s vocabulary. It means basically “I don’t know” but with a much greater air of abandonment.

new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe tide was out so I could walk across the harbour gates to the other side.

Thora had gone, as I had expected, so I could admire the new pontoons here too. They are cracking on with all of this and I don’t think that it will be long before they have finished.

But as I have said before, I hope that they will leave some space for the commercial boats like the gravel boats that come in here, even if they haven’t been in for a while.

At La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and headed for home.

Still plenty of time before lunch so I made a start on scanning in all of the receipts that needed scanning. And I was surprised that there were so many. I seem to have run aground somewhere in my plan for rolling scanning. even worse, I can’t find the receipts for medication that i bought at the end of June prior to going off on my sea voyage. It was an expensive do too so I hope that I didn’t discard the receipts along with all of the rest of the paperwork that I threw away on my travels.

After lunch, I had something very important to do. I’d used up the last of the hummus so I had to make some more. And although it took a while, it was thoroughly wicked when it was finished.

Basically, for any given weight you need 50% of chick peas and 25% sesame seed paste. These are the important figures to remember.
The remaining 25% of the given weight is made up of all kinds of things – olive oil and chick pea juice for a start. Then I use sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic (tons of that) and then your “flavouring ingredient”.

Everything except your flavouring ingredient goes into the whizzer and it’s whizzed round until it’s a nice creamy paste. Then, add your “flavouring ingredient”. I made two batches, one with the roasted peppers that I had prepared last night and the second with some sliced olives. You add that to the mix in the whizzer and whizz it just enough to disperse it rhrough the mix but not enough to break it up completely.

After that, I could crack on then and fill in these forms. And that wasn’t the work of five minutes either, with so many to do. I hadn’t really realised just how many receipts had piled up over that period when I broke my hand.

crowds beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual pause for my afternoon walk. Around the walls this afternoon, but no run because there were far too many people around.

Despite the wind, there were quite a few people down on the beach at the Plat Gousset too. I’ve no idea what they were doing but they were clearly having a good time doing it.

So I came back to carry on work, but it wasn’t quite the success for which I was hoping. There was a little … errr … repose during the afternoon that slowed me down too.

By the time that I had finished the medical expenses it was 18:30 and so I did something that I haven’t done for quite some time, namely I had a play on the bass. It shows you just how much work I’ve had to do that the guitars have been on the back burner all this time. The track “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” by Traffic came round on my playlist so I spent half an hour working out the bass line.

There has been some excitement too. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my disenchantment with certain events over the weekend. The controller has called a meeting for Monday to discuss them but EVERY ONE of the volunteers is refusing to go and there has been a frantic exchange of e-mails.

There are stories of one or two others who are as disenchanted as I am, but I had no idea that the feeling was so general. Not, of course, that I am surprised.

Tea was an “anything curry” of leftover food in the fridge, including a couple of falafel balls that had been in there maybe longer than they ought to have been.

The evening walk around the headland was disappointing. I only managed one run and that was a struggle too as I had a headwind against me. Reaching my mark, never mind extending it, was something of a battle.

Later, I had the football to watch so I started to write my notes on the little old Acer laptop that I have recently raised from the dead just to prove that it still works.

It was Welsh Cup quarter-final and we should have had two second-division teams, Prestatyn Town and Flint Town United. But their match was called off so the cameras made a dash across North Wales to show us Caernarfon Town v Cefn Druids instead.

Caernarfon scored after just a minute – a wicked deflection from a corner that shouldn’t have been awarded in the first place. And then they had Alex Ramsey to thank for a series of excellent saves to keep them in the game for the next hour.

The match hinged on a moment of madness on the hour-mark.

Arsan, one of the Druids defenders, was fouled and the referee blew his whistle to award the free kick. Arsan, in his folly, kicked out at the Caernarfon player for which he was rightly booked. Probably not 30 seconds later, he had the ball and as he ran past a Caernarfon player, fell to his knees. No clearer case of simulation you will ever see, and he picked up another yellow card and was thus expelled from the game.

In my time I’ve seen some stupid players do some stupid things, but nothing quite as stupid as this.

Within the next 5 minutes Caernarfon had scored two more goals, and went on to score a bizarre fourth right at the end when an outstretched Caernarfon boot touched the ball awkwardly causing it to loop up over everyone and drop down behind a defender into the net.

So I’m off to bed now. For the first time in a while I’m off shopping and I hope that they have more of that Alpro soya ice cream. I started on that for tea tonight and it was delicious.

Friday 24th January 2020 – THAT ISN’T …

… the news that I was hoping to hear. Not at all.

My blood count is down to 8.8 – something that will not surprise any regular readers of this rubbish because they will recall that I’ve been mentioning over the last couple of weeks the fact that I’ve not been feeling myself … “just as well” – ed.

Worse though is the fact that my kidneys are now playing up again. They want me to see a kidney specialist the next time that I come.

It looks as if I’m starting to break up. But that was something that was always on the cards. People start to die of this illness after 5 years, and although I was diagnosed with it only 4.25 years ago, there’s no telling how long I had been suffering before I was taken to hospital.

Last night, despite the comfortable bed, I had a very mixed sleep. Tossing and turning around, waking up, all of that. There had been time to go on a voyage or two though.

We started off on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again and we were all having to get off to go for a coach drive. There were crowds of people in this square waiting for the buses and there was a lot going on. Some people who we were with decided that they weren’t going to do as they had other things that they really wanted to do. Anyway it was to see the statue of Sir John Slessor . They asked me if I knew anything about Sir John Slessor. I said “yes, he was an Anglo-Irish guy who was associated with Polar Exploration at one time”. I told a bit about a story but I can’t remember the bit now. There were crowds of people milling around and someone came up to me and asked me if we were going on a train. I said “no, we’re going on a bus”. Someone else asked the same question. There were loads and loads of Arab kids around and every time that I got up to go somewhere they would sit at my seat and I would have to go and grab my seat back again from him. We were sitting there waiting for these buses to come. I had some rare church relics with me – a box of something and a china – porcelain cross, white with blue edgings and I was afraid that one of these days I was going to break these, the way that I’m picking them up and putting them down. I can’t remember who I was with now but I was with some woman or other on this trip.
Later on, I was at the radio and I’d interviewed a rock band. It was an interview that I had done by chance with no plan in mind and I’d had a call or something for one of these programmes so I sent them that.

The alarm went off as usual and I was out of bed before the third alarm which is good news. And after the medication and breakfast, seeing as my appointment isn’t until 13:30, I attacked some radio stuff.

Not one project, but in fact two. The music for the first one is chosen (except the last track of course) and I’ve chosen half for the second one. I may as well use my free time here profitably.

new fence condo gardens windmolenveldstraat leuven belgium eric hallThere was a break while I went to the Spar shop for some bread.

At the back of the Condo Gardens here in the Windmolenveldstraat it doesn’t look good at all – or at least, it didn’t. But it seems that they are making a concerted effort to tidy it up so that it looks pretty.

The new fence looks really nice – and what a pity some low-life character has decided to leave his mark on it. That’s the kind of thing that makes me quite fed up.

laying tactile paving tiensestraat leuven belgium eric hallA little further on down the Tiensestraat there are some exciting signs of activity.

They are using a stone-cutter to slice huge chunks out of the pavement and they are installing tactile pavement right by where the kerb drops are for the pedestrian crossings.

As an aside, I once had a female friend who worked for the Royal National Institute for the Blind and she reckoned that she had some of the responsibility for introducing tactile pavement into the UK.

Back here, I made myself a butty or two and round about 12:00 I headed off up town.

old cars lotus 7 tiensestraat leuven belgium eric hallStraight away, back in the Tiensestraat, I was interrupted by an old car.

We haven’t seen an old car in a while so I reckoned that I had better photograph it. According to the badge, it’s a Lotus 7, and according to its front number plate, it was registered in 1965.

But these are things that you can’t take for granted. Many Lotus 7s were sold in home-assembly kits and there were several other clones doing the rounds too. So you accept with care the “evidence” of the badge.

open air market friday herbert hooverplein leuven belgium eric hallThere’s the little open-air fruit and veg market today in the Herbert Hooverplein.

That was my immediate destination as I wanted an apple and a pear to take to the hospital with me. But having waited for about a week while the assistants served a couple of the slowest customers that I’ve ever seen, I rather lost patience.

Yes, I gave it up as a bad job and abandoned my prospective purchases and carried on the the hospital.

sint pieter hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium eric hallRegular readers of the rubbish will recall what I’m going to be discussing next because we’ve been keeping an eye on these.

We’ve looked at the Hospital Sint Pieter here in the Brusselsestraat. It was built for the French community here in Leuven apparently but they left to go to Louvain-le-Neuve.

This became a huge white elephant and was never ever used to its potential. The respite care was here and so were the guest rooms, where I stayed for a while when I first came to Leuven.

Now it’s empty and they have made a start in demolishing it.

rebuilding car park sint jacobsplein leuven belgium eric hallWe’ve also seen the big hole in the car park in the Sint Jacobsplein.

As to what they were doing with this hole, I really have no idea. And I don’t suppose that I shall ever find out either because by the looks of things they are now filling it back in again.

Had I come by here two weeks ago when I should have been at the hospital, I might have noticed. Anyway, it will probably be fully restored the next time that I come.

building new sewers Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium eric hallThis is something that we haven’t seen before.

The road by the traffic lights in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan is closed off and they have been digging up the road right here. It looks as if they are doing something to the drains and sewers but I’ve no idea what.

It does make me wonder if it is connected in some way to the hole that they dug in the St Jacobsplein car park. That would make a lot of sense I suppose.

rebuilding apartments Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium eric hallThe final thing of note is also in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that sometime last year they completely gutted this block of flats – stripped it right back to the bare concrete. They now seem to be well-advanced with the renovation, and there was a lorry delivering a load of insulation.

The ground floor has been done out into shops so I’ll be interested to see who moves into them when they are ready.

At the hospital they are giving me yet another new treatment. Something called IQYMUNE which, according to Helena, is the bee’s knees. So we shall see.

And it had better be too if it’s to arrest this sudden decline.

Most of the time that I spent here, I was asleep. And it took the doctor an age to awaken me when he needed to talk to me about my kidneys.

My butties had unfortunately disintegrated inside my bag so I ate what I reasonably could, and then spent 15 minutes in the toilet on the way out cleaning bits of tomato, lettuce and hummus from the inside of my rucksack. What a mess!

On the way home I didn’t loiter. Just picked up my fruit and a tin of lentils from the Delhaize and came straight back. One of the side effects of this new medical stuff is “fatigue” and if I don’t have enough problems with that already!

Tea was the second burger with pasta, tomato sauce and vegetables. Followed by peach halves and mango sorbet. Totally delicious, it was too.

And then the football. Rhydaman v Caernarfon Town.

Rhydaman had comfortably disposed of Carmarthen away in the previous round and while Caernarfon are a different proposition to Carmarthen, the home advantage should normally count for something. Especially when I saw just how packed the ground was.

But Carmarthen were undone by four magic moments of Trundlemania and when we saw that Lee Trundle wasn’t playing tonight, then any advantage evaporated.

The game was littered with errors from start to finish and Caernarfon will have to improve dramatically and work on these silly mistakes if they want to push on into Europe. But even so, they had more in the tank than Rhydaman did.

They were 2-0 up by half-time and later in the game when Rhydaman tired, Caernarforn went on the rampage and scored 2 more, exactly as I had predicted to Johan Gallon in my interview with him a few days ago. Not even the introduction of the veteran Andy Robinson by Rhydaman could turn the game around.

Anyway, as this medication is responsible for fatigue and tiredness, I’d better hurry up and finish this before I …


Friday 6th December 2019 – I HAVE JUST SEEN …

… one of the strangest football matches that I have seen for quite some considerable time.

It’s the Welsh Cup this weekend and there are several banana skins lying aound. One of those is Carmarthen Town v Rhydaman, and this was shown on the live internet feed tonight.

Carmarthen are at the foot of the Welsh Premier League and struggling whereas Rhydaman, one division below them in the pyramid, are in 5th place and having a good run of form. Not the match that I would have picked – I’d have gone for Colwyn Bay v Airbus – but’s good enough. It’s the kind of game where you can smell that someone is in for a scalping.

And a scalping there certainly was. Rhydaman, playing away from home at Carmarthen, ran out winners. And not just by the odd goal either but they won 0-4.

You would have thought from the scoreline that this was a right spannering, but that was very far from the truth. Whilst Rhydaman were the better side, they weren’t all that better. The difference was that we were treated to 4 magic moments of Trundlemania

Yes, Lee Trundle. He must be 45 now if he’s a day but still proving that he can cut it with the best and while he’s slowed down considerably as you might expect, he still showed the kind of magic that made him a multi-million pound footballer in the days when multi-million pound footballers were still quite thin on the ground.

I mean – just HOW do you defend against something like this?

Despite a reasonably early night, I missed the alarms again. Not by much – only a few minutes in fact, but missed them nevertheless.

Not only that, although there was nothing on the dictaphone, I had a vague recollection that during the night I’d been on a voyage and found something that was way beyond exciting – the same feeling of elation that I had when I I came across that Santana concert after 42 years of searching.

But what it was, we shall never know now.

After the medication and breakfast, with no dictaphone notes to do, I attacked a couple of digital music files to break up into tracks.

One of them took me four hours to do, and for a variety of reasons too. It was an album of a live concert and with this digital sound analyser program that I have, I could see that it was a series of individual tracks that had been artificially joined together – and by a blind man by the looks of it too.

16 tracks altogether so it took me quite a while to edit all of the joints together properly so that it actually looks like a live concert as well as sounds like one too.

Then I had to break the file down into 16 individual tracks and save each one of those individually, but not before I’d copied about 15 decent applause tracks (some of which went on for half a minute and more) from the file, cut out any speech and unnecessary noise from them, boosted the volume in what are called “S-curves” in places to hide the difference in volume in the joins where I’ve cut things out, and then saved them to disk as 15 individual files.

Applause tracks are good and I love them because I can do all kinds of exciting things with them. But you need a good number of them from the same concert because if you “mix and match” applause tracks from different concerts, the applause doesn’t sound similar and it gives the appearance of being false. And if they are long applause tracks, you can cut them down and that gives you even more opportunity to make something different.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRound about 12:45 I knocked off for lunch.

No bread here and no lettuce either so a walk into town was on the cards. And quite right too. Past the docks where the harbour gates were open sothe trawlers could come inside to unload.

And Charles-Marie is still over there with her winter wrap on.

trawler seagull photobomb port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe gates to the harbour can’t have been open all that long because there were several fishing boats on their way into port right now.

This one coming into port just here gave me a good opportunity for a photo-shoot but as I took a shot, my photo was once more bombed by a blasted seagull.

They get absolutely everywhere, these perishing things.

At the Super-U the lettuce was extortionate. €1:39 for a small one. That’ll teach me to forget one at LIDL, won’t it?

stage place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceAt La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and walked across to the Place general de gaulle to see what was going on.

Nothing right now as you can see, but clearly something will be going on in the very near future because we seem to have acquired a stage.

That’s going to upset a few of the marketeers tomorrow. It’ll quite take the shine off their sausages, now that they can begin to roast them again with charcoal following a recent Court decision.

badgers dry ski slope place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceBut what about our famous ski slope in the town?

No room for any humans on there because we seem to have been overrun by animals. I can understand why they might want to use animals as decoration, but why beavers … or … errr … Castors to the French people around here.

What does a beaver have to do with the festive season?

reindeer sleigh place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceThis is much more like the kind of thing you would expect to see at Christmas, isn’t it?

We have a sledge here and a reindeer pulling it. Presumably there will be a Father Christmas around somewhere to travel in it.

But I have a cunning plan and I shall be having a word with Strawberry Moose in early course and we will go for a little walk together late one night for a photo opportunity.

christmas decorations square potel rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceYesterday I mentioned and indeed showed you a photograph of the Christmas decorations that they were unloading at the Square Potel in the rue des Juifs, and I remember saying that I would go for a butcher’s today.

So here I am in the Square Potel with the decorations and I do have to say that I’m considerably underwhelmed by it all.

Mybe it’s just me I dunno, but I was expecting much more than this.

After lunch, I attacked the sound mixing desk for the vocals for the current project. It took me hours to figure out again how to record anything with it because I had forgotten what I did last time. And then I had to clean out all of the test files, set the volume levels and the like, and then clean out those test files too.

And then I could start.

The recording level is quite low using the built-in mike but my sound analyser program enhances that with no loss of quality. But there is a major problem with it, in that there’s no “pause” facility. So every time you stop for a think or to clear your throat, it restarts with a new track.

Trying to edit out about 40 of those into one coherent track and then split that down into tis segments is going to take me an age.

But I have made a startling discovery, and that is that the mikes that I bought for the mixing panel, using the adapter that came with them I can plug them into the dictaphone, which DOES have a pause facility. And also an output for headphones.

In view of this, I see a whole new world opening up for me here. For although the sound is somewhat tinny, it seems to be of a much higher quality.

storm at sea english channel pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOne thing that I didn’t mention today is that the high winds are back. And with a vengeance too.

There was quite a storm raging out offshore and so even though the tide was on its way out, the waves were still rattling down on the rocks.

Not too many people out there today and that’s hardly a surprise given the conditions.

strange lighting conditions brittany coast granville manche normandy franceBut overcast and miserable and foggy it might be here, over across the bay on the Brittany coast they were having a different kind of weather.

Low cloud, yes, but on the periphery there was bright sunshine and it was creating a most unusual lighting effect over there.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it could do the same thing around here on this side of the bay?

storm sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceGoing around the headland was taking my life in my hands with the wind that was sweeping around there.

narrowly avoiding being squidged on the pedestrian crossing, I went round the cliff to see what the waves were doing on the sea wall.

Not a lot, because the tide was going out rapidly. It must have bee quite impressive an hour or so ago.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceNothing changed at all in the chantier navale today, and Normandy Trader had sodded off too … “that was quick” – ed … so I stood and armired the waves for a little longer.

Every now and again there was a wave more powerful and deeper than the others, and that was providing me with some exciting entertainment.

But after a while I gave it up and headed for home and coffee.

bad parking boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking features quite regularly in these pages. Here’s another example.

I’d seen her pull up as I was on my way home with my lettuce and bread, and I thought to myself at the time “she’s not going to leave that car there, straddling two places and with 6 feet of room in front, is she?”

But yes she is. Gets right on my wick it does.

Back to the sound files and then a break for tea. I made a curry with the leftovers again and there were so many leftovers that there are some leftovers left over. That’ll be a tea for another night then, won’t it?

This evening it was raining when I went out so I didn’t hang around. I had my run though, right up to the top of the ramp and another 20 paces further on. It was feeling good today.

Then we had the football and now, considerably later than planned (like 01:45) I’m off to bed. I’m a busy boy tomorrow and another task has reared its ugly head as well.

Where will I find the time?

Monday 6th May 2019 – AND IN OTHER …

… news, I have made great advances today.

The number of files left to deal with on the backlog of dictaphone notes is down to a mere 94. And every one of those relates to my voyage around Canada in autumn 2015 and thus are very likely to have already been copied onto text.

Even more surprisingly, I’ve actually managed to trace the notes, so tomorrow’s plan is to listen to the dictaphone notes while I’m reading the text and make sure that it’s all there.

And then that will be at least one of my long-term plans all done and dusted and out of the way.

Now the one problem with having a really early night (like 21:45, for example), a really good sleep with just one or two slight interruptions, ignoring the alarms and sleeping through until 06:45, the fact is that when I finally did crawl out of my stinking pit, I felt … errr … even worse.

Plenty of time to go on a travel too during the night. I was in some town or other not too far from where I live, and came across an Auchan supermarket. I thought that I’d go in there to see if they had any of their weigh’n’save stuff. So off I trotted and it suddenly became an internal market hall. I wandered around it but then everyone was being ushered to one side. I asked a girl what was going on, she replied that the President of the Republic was coming. I asked why, and she said that he was going to have treatment at the local hospital and this was where they were dropping him off. So why didn’t they drop him off at the hospital? She replied that he wanted to be seen as very populaire dropped off amongst the people and he could walk up there. He and his entourage would walk up there, about half an hour or so to get there. That might be OK for him but what about everyone else? I could see in the distance a big Mercedes van about to pull up and I imagined that that was him in there.

There was plenty of other stuff going on too during the night, but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

So with a late start, it was a late breakfast and so on, and then I cracked on with the dictaphone notes. And that’s how I’ve spent most of the day.

trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe had several interruptions though. lunch, of course, and my afternoon walk.

There were plenty of trawlers out there again off the coast. This one was out there in the channel between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc.

There were a few other ones further out too, closer to the Ile de Chausey.

working on monument de la resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago we witnessed a few people marking out the grass and telling me that they plan to erect a memorial here.

Sure enough, today they have brought in the diggers and earth-moving equipment and they have made a start on digging up the grass.

They’ve already laid some gravel on what they have dug out, and there’s a compactor there busily firming it up.

working on monument de la resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut this is something that I really don’t understand.

Regular readers of this rubbish willrecall a while back that they had dug up part of the grass and eventually, after much delay, they installed a noticeboard and a path leading thereto.

But only a few months after spending all of that time and money doing all of that, they have gone along and dug it all up again for this work.

It’s not what I would call “joined-up thinking”.

lifeboat memorial harbour light baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceIt was a beautiful afternoon for photography and the view from the lifeboat memorial was particularly impressive.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon and the harbour marker light is clearly visible on its rock. We can see the red bands around it that give some kind of indication of the condition of the tides.

I’m wondering whether there is some kind of correlation between the markings and the opening of the harbour gates. I shall have to check this.

trawler brittany coast granville manche normandy franceRemember yesterday when I saw something out there on the horizon over on the Brittany coast?

With it being such a beautiful afternoon I took the photo again to see whether there was any difference between the two, which might indicate whether there was a moving object on there.

The view was particularly clear and we can see the Brittany coast all the way down past St Malo. There’s the island of cézembre at the mouth of the harbour at St Malo and the tower is, I reckon, a lighthouse on one of the outlying islands.

But we can also see in the background the Brittany coast all the way along to Cap Fréhal (about 60 kms away) and maybe even beyond as far as Paimpol.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWe went along on the cliffs above the chantier navale to se what was going on down there today;

one of the trawlers has gone back into the water and in its place is a large sailing yacht. It looks vaguely familiar to me but I can’t recall its name right now.

It’ll give me something to do on Wednesday to go down there and have a look at it to see who she is.

Another interruption was a visit from the courier too. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my Canadian bank card ran out last month and I need the new one before I can get to my branch, so I called them up the other day.

And I certainly didn’t expect it to be delivered so quickly, and by courier too. So hats off to the Scotia Bank.

And remember the bank card that I left behind in the cash machine in Leuven? The replacement turned up today too from the BNP Paribas.

Tea was baked potatoes and potato curry from November, followed by a slice of my apple pie and the last of the soya cream. The base of the pie is slightly under-cooked, which means that either the temperature was too high or else the pie was too high in the oven.

I was planning to go on my evening walk afterwards, but a football match came on the internet. The final of the Welsh FA Youth Cup between Aberystwyth Town under-19s and Cefn Druids under-19s.

This was a really exciting match, won 2-1 quite rightly by Aberystwyth, but what was even more interesting was that there were half a dozen players out there who could walk into almost any Welsh Premier League side and not be out of place.

Both keepers were excellent as were both left-backs. But star of the show has to be Aberystwyth’s centre-half Lee Jenkins. He’s only 17 but captains the Wales under-18s and has been a regular in the Aberystwyth Town first team for over a year.

He’s a player who is destined for bigger things, I’m sure.

So now, rather later than planned, I’m off to bed.

But I’ve had a good day so I don’t really mind.

trawler english channel jersey granville manche normandy france
trawler english channel jersey granville manche normandy france

Sunday 5th May 2019 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

vegan hummus granville manche normandy france… a baking day. Or, rather, a food making day.

We started off by making another batch of vegan hummus. You can see all of the ingredients here, plus some coarse-ground black pepper of course.

I started off by cutting the pepper into tiny cubes and then roasting it.

While that was doing, I took my whizzer, added a pile of chick peas, half the weight of tahini (sesame seed paste), chick pea juice, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and tarragon, and whizzed it all up into a nice creamy paste.

It doesn’t need to be too liquidy so I usually don’t add much liquid and oil at first, but keep on adding it during the mix to make it right. Remember that you can always add more liquid, but you can’t take it out.

Once it was done and mixed how I wanted it, I added the pepper and olives, and gave them a little whizz, just enough to distribute them throughout the mix and not disintegrate them.

Some of the mixture went into the freezer and some in the fridge for lunch for the next week or so.

making an apple pie granville manche normandy franceLater on, I made an apple pie.

Having an affinity with Belgium, I used boskoop apples, brown sugar, desiccated coconut, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and a couple of vegan pastry rolls

Some lemon juice too, of course.

So first you spread out one of the pastry rolls onto your cutting board, and using the baking tin as a template, cut the pastry round the tin to make the top of your pie, allowing for a 1cm overlap.

Then, grease your baking tin, unroll the second pastry roll and put it in the tin, pressing down VERY LIGHTLY the roll to fit the base properly

Cut the apples into quarters, decore them and cut them into very thin slices. Then add them into the baking tine.

Add them in layers, and on top of each later add some lemon juice (to keep the apples white) some brown sugar, raisins, desiccated coconut, nutmeg and cinnamon.

By the time you’ve built up the layers of filling, the base of the pastry should be completely covered.

Moisten the edge of the pastry in the pie where it overlaps the lip of the pie tin, and then put the pastry top that you cut out earlier on top.

apple pie granville manche normandy franceWith a fork, press down the edges onto the lip of the pie dish so that the pie top and the pie bottom are completely sealed. Then trim off the excess pastry that’s overhanging the pie dish.

Brush the top of your pie with milk, and then prick holes into it with a fork to let out any steam that might build up.

Bung it into the oven at 200°C until it looks like this.Probably 40-45 minutes, something like that.

So what do you do with the excess pastry and apple that you have left over?

apple turnover granville manche normandy franceRoll out your patry with your rolling pin until it’s flat. Keep on cutting off the irregular edges and adding it back to be rolled in, so that the pastry resembles a square as best as you can.

Add your apple, coconut, spices, raisins, lemon juice etc into the centre, and then fold the pastry over the top and, dampening the edges, squeeze them together like a cornish pasty so it’s all sealed togather.

Brush with milk, poke holes to let the steam out, and then bung that in the oven too until it looks like this.

Yesterday I remember saying that knowing my luck, with Sunday being a Day of Rest and no alarm, I’d be wide-awake pretty early on.

And I reckon that 03:50 corresponds pretty closely to this definition. But there was no chance of me rising from my stinking pit at anything like that time. 08:50 was much more like it.

Plenty of time of course to go a-rambling. I was with Liz Ayers last night in Crewe round by the Wistaston area. I’d been taxiing and we had quite a few jobs going on including taking Mrs Urion home for lunch and pick her back up at 13:45. But she was already booked in at 13:45 for a trip to the bank, so I wondered if I was expected to combine the two trips or were they separate. In between jobs I was socialising with Liz then nipping out to do jobs. Liz was talking to a load of other taxi drivers – not me because I didn’t get on with them. She was chatting to him who lived in Ruskin Road. I went past twice, shook (or rather touched, because that was all he was willing to do) his hand and went off to do a job. She said that she was going to stay behind and have a drink. She was chatting to this guy and said they were going to have a drink together. I went back home, and Roxanne was there. I told Roxanne what Liz was doing and she commented that she bet that she was flirting with this guy and she wanted to see. So I put her in the car and we went to this pub at Wells Green and sure enough that’s what she was doing. The dirty look on Roxanne’s face was priceless.
Later on I was out around Nantwich last night with someone or other and we bumped into this friend of mine. I’d been searching the internet about something and had discovered something about Burt Reynolds – his real surname was Diamond because his father had been a diamond cutter. He played bass, including a weird 2-string bass. I happened to mention to this friend of mine that I’d seen this. He said “yes, but he just happened to have been in the right geographical position. I played bass one day and never had the recognition”. “One day!” I retorted. “I’d played bass for years and never had any”. To which he replied “yes, but I played in the daytime”. This conversation went on and he headed off towards London Road – he was probably staying there with his work. We discussed food and he had been to a Chinese restaurant somewhere for his tea. I ended up back home staying in some kind of strange apartment with two bedrooms à l’enfilade living with a woman who had two kids. They had the other bedroom. She said they should both be in year 2 or 3 but one was much smaller than the other. She’d had serious health problems, including incontinence. We talked quite a lot about these kids. She’d had severe medical treatment but was so much better. I was wondering why this friend of mine never said that he had come to stay down here. I’m sure we could have put him up somehow – there’s a comfy sofa for a start, he would have loved that. The conversation drifted away from there and I ended up in the kitchen. My mother was in there doing the washing up, with a length of green garden hose coupled up to the tap and a high-pressure “squirter”. Every question I asked her was answered with “I’ll tell you tomorrow”. I tried to find out what was going on and in the end she said “do you know my neck cancer specialist? Steven? He’s actually died of cancer and I’m going to his funeral tomorrow”. I said that it happens to all of us. We’re all going to get it some time or other and let’s face it – by the time that we get to our age if we haven’t had a serious health crisis already we are doing really well. She didn’t understand for a minute what I meant. I went outside, to find myself at les Guis. there was a load of my friends out there. They had moved Caliburn but there was a pile of smoke everywhere. Piles of wood had been cut. They said that while I had been in the house they had cut all of this wood for me and put it in stacks and cleared the drive that was all overgrown and got the van down there. I thought that this was really nice. All this wood was nicely stacked up. It just needed cutting to length and then I could burn it. I thought that this was marvellous.

After a leisurely start to the day I attacked the dictaphone notes and by the time I was ready to stop to make my hummus for lunch, I was down to just 129 entries.

pointe d'agon lighthouse manche normandy franceThe hummus was delicious as I expected, and once I’d dined I went out into the gorgeous weather.

It really was nice out there today, and I took quite a few long-distance photos of things miles away, to see how the new lens performs.

This is a photo of the lighthouse that is just offshore from the Pointe-D’Agon

mouth of the river sienne manche normandy franceThere’s a really interesting point along the coast where the River Sienne enters the sea.

Because of tidal drift of sedimant, the mouth of the river now faces south rather than east.

And we can see in the background, if we look carefully, the wind-farm near Barneville-Carteret

st helier jerseyJersey was standing out quite clearly on the horizon today too.

The houses of St Helier and that area, 54 kms away, stood out quite clearly in the distance and have cme up quite well in this photo once I enhanced it.

And while I was at at, I was photo-bombed by a seagull. It reminded be very much of that famous World War II photo that a German photo unit took of the UK radar masts at Dover from Cap Griz Nez and managed to pick up a beautiful image of a Supermarine Spitfire that buzzed into the image.

metal detector beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThe tide was on its way out and the crowds hadn’t yet flocked to the beach.

There was one early bird out there already though, and I couldn’t at first make out what it was that he was doing. But cropping the photo and blowing it up (which I can do these days despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) I noticed that he seemed to have a metal detector with him.

He didn’t look as if he was doing all that much good with it though

Back here, I regrettably crashed out on my chair for 20 minutes, but I managed to wake up in time for the football. It’s the Welsh Cup Final between (predictably) TNS and Connah’s Quay Nomads. And just as predictably, TNS won it at something of a canter, 3-0.

Mind you, it’s probably fairer to say that the Nomads lost it. The first goal was the Nomads central defence being half-asleep. Greg Draper is probably the best striker the Welsh Premier League has ever seen and you can’t give him even half-an-inch of room, even when he looks as unwell as he does just recently.

The second goal was the fault of the keeper losing his sense of position, and the third goal was the classic keeper’s dilemma from a set-piece of “do you cover the onrushing forwards in case they make contact with the ball, or do you cover the shot in case the onrushing forwards miss it” and in the end being caught in no-man’s-land between the two.

And the match might have had a totally different outcome has the referee awarded to the Nomads at least one of the three penalties that I would have awarded had I been refereeing.

After the match I made my apple pie and then cooked a vegan pizza, which was just as delicious as normal.

trawler english channel jersey channel islands granville manche normandy franceLater on I went out for my evening walk around the Pointe du Roc.

The harbour gates must have just opened because the sea was alive with trawlers.

Here’s one of them heading off into the sunset, with the coast of Jersey away in the distance. How long they will be continuing to go off that way depends upon the outcome of Brexit.

objects offshore brittany coast granville manche normandy franceBut my attention was drawn by some kind of object on the horizon.

I couldn’t see at that distance what it was so back here I used my “crop – enhance – enlarge” technique to see if I could identify it. And I have to say that I’m still none-the-wiser about what it might be, over there on the extreme right of the image.

What I’ll have to do is to take a similar photo in a day or two’s time to see if it’s still there. If it is, it’s a lighthouse. If not, it’s a ship.

Back home, it’s only 21:30 and despite my little repos earlier this afternoon, I’m exhausted.

So badger the writing of the blog. I intend to take full advantage of my fatigue by going to bed for an early night.

hauteville sur mer manche normandy france
hauteville sur mer manche normandy france

buoy jersey channel islands
buoy jersey channel islands

yachts english channel islands
yachts english channel islands

trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france
trawler english channel granville manche normandy france

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france
trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

Sunday 31st March 2019 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night I had last night.

It seems as if I hadn’t slept for a single moment although on reflection I must have been because at one point I was off on a voyage somewhere and when I find my dictaphone I can tell you all about it.

However, tossing and turning all night, I was eventually up and about at 07:20, to find that it is of course 08:20 because the clocks went forward this morning and we are now on summer time.

And that’s rather appropriate right now what with me stripping off yesterday and it looking quite good this morning too.

And much to my surprise, and probably the surprise of regular readers of this rubbish, who recall that I don’t usually work on a Sunday, I had a very productive morning.

First task was to find a pile of information that someone had asked for. That involved downloading a pile of stuff from the internet and reviewing it. And then organising a couple of links.

Once I’d done that, it reminded me that I had a form to fill in and send off. This is going to commit me to something quite significant but it’s one of those things that if I don’t do it right now, I probably won’t ever to do it again, and not for the obvious reason either.

So that’s now out of the way, but I’m expecting some “further correspondence” about it all. It’s quite inevitable.

Thirdly, I realised that I hadn’t booked any of my travel and accommodation needs for my next trip to Castle Anthrax. And so that’s now done and at the same time I booked my train from Brussels to Leuven. Since I’ve been buying those tickets in advance, I’ve never had them checked at all. You can bet your life that the only time I’ll be asked for them will be the time that I forget to buy them.

Another thing that I needed to do was to obtain the complementary information for my new passport. So I did all of that, only to find that I was actually on the wrong site and ended up wasting $29:00 which I won’t ever get back. A moment’s inattention has cost me dear.

And finally, I needed to contact a friend in Toronto about some issue that I might be having. But for once, she’s not on line. And so I’ll need to think again about that or find another work-around.

All of that took me up to a rather late lunch, so forsaking my usul habits, I had lunch sitting on the sofa watching the football. Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup semi-final against Cardiff Metro.

The Nomads won 3-0, which might make you thing that it was a pretty one-sided match, but that was far from the case.

The Met hit the woodwork three times, and had Will Fuller in the met goal not been recovering from a serious injury that has kept him out for a year, he would have been off his line to intercept a long ball out of the Nomads’ defence that led directly to their third goal.

And so the final will be, rather predictably, between TNS and the Nomads and with TNS having beaten the Nomads on every occasion this year, the result should be a foregone conclusion.

swimmers on diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy franceIt was walk-time after that. Around the walls with the crowds of people out enjoying the afternoon sun. And who can blame them too because it really was nice.

There were even a few people out there swimming, but I thought that that was rather extreme.

I’m not really convinced that I would have been happy to have been on the beach just now. Not in my cozzy anyway.

yachts baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThere were crowds of yachts out there yesterday making the most of the weather.

And today, there were even more of them out there too. It was a shame though that there was so much haze on the horizon. You wouldn’t get to see very much out there.

One of these days I’m going to have to find a way to go out there for a sail around. I need to cultivate a couple of maritime mates.

There were things to do here when I returned but I ended up talking to a couple of people on the internet instead. I really need to stop being so distracted.

Later on, I made a huge cornish pasty.

While I was searching through the freezer the other day I came across a pile of curry that I had made for some project or other that had been left over. And so yesterday I had bought some rolled pastry only a square one this time, and this evening I put the stuff in it and folded it over.

While that was going on, I made my pizza and it was delicious. Even though I say it myself, it was the best that I have ever

On my evening walk around the headland I was totally alone. There wasn’t a soul about, even though it was still comparatively light.

But by the time that I came back I was so tired that I did only half of what I was intending, and then crawled into bed.

I’d had enough.

speedboat buoy granville manche normandy france
speedboat buoy granville manche normandy france

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france
crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Saturday 30th March 2019 – MOVE OVER IMELDA MARCOS

I’ve been shopping for shoes today.

Last weekend after the football there was someone outside the ground handing out vouchers for 25% off the winter sports goods at Intersport.

For a while now I’ve been looking for a new pair of hiking boots and also a new pair of trainers and not found anything that I really liked. So I thought that this morning I may as well go there and see what they have.

As a result, I walked out with a decent pair of walking trainers and a decent pair of hiking boots, and also a pair of photography gloves. And 25% off them all too, and that’s off the mark-down price on the last day of the sale too.

They both have 5 stars for everything, except for impermeability, for which they scored three stars. But this afternoon I gave them a really good drenching in waterproofing solution and when that’s properly dry in the middle of the week, they’ll receive a second coat too.

It worked, and worked in spades too, for the trainers that I wear right now and which have all of the tread worn off due to constant use, so it may well work for them too.

Last night I went to bed and slept right through all the way until the alarm went off. I only have a vague recollection of going on a voyage, concerning a man whose dog had died and he wanted to bury him, but he was lamenting the fact that the only thing that he had was his mother’s old silver casket and how he was going to miss it.

Despite waking up with the alarm, as is usual these days I turned over and went back to sleep again. 07:25 when I arose from the dead, and by the time that I had finished the usual performance and the weekend shower, it was 09:10 before I hit the streets.

road accident avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceLIDL didn’t come up with anything special, so having bought the basics, I headed for NOZ.

But it took me a while to get there due to an enormous queue in the avenue des Matignon. It turns out that there had been a road accident involving a car and a motor bike.

If you look carefully, you can see the debris all over the road.

bad parking noz granville manche normandy franceEventually, I made it to NOZ and here once again, we are confronted with another pile of pathetic parking. It’s the kind of thing that really gets on my wick.

But in Noz, I made one or two interesting purchases. At long last I’ve found a proper pie tin and that cheered me up no end. And a couple of small ramekin dishes for the oven

Furthermore, there was an Inspector Maigret full-length DVD that will go quite nicely with my collection.

brexit fiasco granville manche normandy franceThe shoes were next, and then back to LeClerc.

And isn’t it embarrassing and shameful when you see your country pilloried liks this even in the French local press. How could 17.4 million xenophobic racists, backed by a small group of opportunistic extremist politicians, drag the country through the mire like this.

But back to the plot, I didn’t buy anything special here either.

On the way home, I called at the second-hand shop to see what they had on offer. But there was nothing really that caught my eye at all.

Enormous queues again around the town with everyone taking the summer air. I’d even taken off my jacket. And the rue des Juifs is closed because of the works to the wall, and I had to go all around the houses to get back home.

la granvillaise port de granville harbour manche normandy franceHaving half-unpacked my shopping, I had lunch.

It was such a beautiful day that I took my book and the special baguette that I had bought and went out to sit on the wall overlooking the harbour to see what was going on in the sunshine.

And it was quite a busy lunchtime out there too.

la granvillaise port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWe had La Granvillaise out there doing her stuff after her major refit, and in the company of several other yachts.

And as well as that, we had one of the catamarans owned by one of the fishermen coming into port, presumably to unload this morning’s catch.

No lizards for my pear droppings though. they are probably still hibernating somewhere in a gap in the stone wall.

And then, back in the apartment I unpacked the other half of the shopping, having to stop for a little … errr … relax halfway through. And no surprise there.

football us granvillaise uson mondeville stade louis dior granville manche normandy franceUS Granville’s 2nd XI were playing tonight. USAN Mondeville were the visitors.

I think that I’ve only seen them once this season and I don’t remember much about it. But it was such a nice evening that I went out for a good walk.

And I’m rather disappointed that I did go, because it didn’t turn out as I was hoping.

football photographer stade louis dior granville manche normandy franceWhile you all admire the official photographer and his equipment, I can tell you something about the match.

Although the two teams were pretty much even on the field, Granville had no answer to the power and pace of the corners that the Mondeville winger was banging in.

And they had even less answer to the power and the pace of the defenders who were running in unmarked.

Panic and chaos ensued at every one and Mondeville scored from three of them. Thei fourth goal was from a good clearance by a Granville defender that had the misfortune to find a Mondeville attacker totally unmarked with all of the time in the world 15 metres out.

And, as usual, Granville didn’t have anyone out there who had the striker’s instinct.

ford fiesta trailer granville manche normandy franceOn the way back, Rosemary called me, so we arranged that she would call me back later.

But in the meantime, I was distracted by this vehicle on the car park of the Foyer Des jeunes Travailleurs. Excuse the very blurry photo but I only had the time to shoot off a quick image

It’s a cut-down Ford Fiasco being used as a trailer, and that’s exciting in itself.

An the apartment, Rosemary called me back while I was watching TNS v Barry Town in the Welsh Cup.

Rosemary and I had a very lengthy chat while TNS did the predictable. Barry just couldn’t seem to get going tonight.

So now it’s late, I’ve had no tea but I didn’t care. I’m going to bed and I intend to sleep for a week.

la granvillaise port de granville harbour manche normandy france
la granvillaise port de granville harbour manche normandy france