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Saturday 17th September 2022 – I FORGOT …

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… that it was Saturday and shopping day today and almost forgot to go out.

When the alarm went off this morning I wasn’t in any rush at all and was lounging around for a whole 10 minutes or so before I had a sudden attack of realisation and leapt to my feet in something of a panic

So while you admire a whole collection of all kinds of aerial craft, because today it looked as if almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon, I shall regale you with my adventures.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And when I say “almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon”, there were even one or two things that couldn’t but were making a valiant attempt.

Like this Nazgul, for an instance. If it were me, I’d have “shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight. “
but Legolas was obviously having much better luck than Wordsworth and me.

This Nazgul came staggering around the headland clearly in some kind of difficulty and he ended up loitering around here for a good five minutes just half an inch above the ground waiting for a gust of wind to pick him up and send him on his way.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBC baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not all of the aerial craft was unidentified though.

Flying by this afternoon was Air France flight AF428 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to, of all places, Bogotà in Colombia, by coincidence where my journalist friend Jill from Philadelphia is on an assignment right now, and had I known, I would have been on it.

The plane that’s taking the flight is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration F-HRBC, and it was at 34,000 feet on course 261° at 460 knots.

We’ve flown on Dreamliners before, once FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE TO MONTREAL IN AUGUST 2014 and once FROM MONTREAL TO CASABLANCA IN OCTOBER 2019.

aeroplane 50SA baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and more banal kinds of flying machine.

So there I was, scrambling to my feet and dashing off to take my medication while I made plans.

After the medication I leapt (well, crawled, actually but sometimes you have to write for effect) into the shower for a good scrub and to make myself pretty, but I’ll need much more than the 4 minutes that the British Government recommends that you spend in the shower in order to do that.

And then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the LeClerc supermarket.

aeroplane 55OJ baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today’s shop was actually quite expensive, but they had a lot of stuff on special offer today.

The hair shampoo that I use, a special type with oils and not soap, was on offer in three-packs. It’ll probably take me the rest of my life to use it all but I couldn’t turn it down.

Fabric softener was at a give-away price too, and then they had some 100% végétale margarine of the best quality in the “end of range” row. It’s much better than the rubbish that I usually buy and the reduced prices was even cheaper than what I would pay for my usual stuff.

Nothing there that I could pass up.

These days I’ve become quite domesticated, haven’t I?

unknown aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home, I called at the Health Centre. The nurse had told me that my vaccination certificate for my fourth vaccination is now ready.

The certificate might be ready but the receptionist wasn’t. Her desk was all closed up. It looks as if the reception is only open 5 days per week. And so instead I came home.

Having put the frozen peas and the cold items away, I came in here and started work.

One thing that I want to do on Saturdays now that I have a little free time with only going to LeClerc and not to Noz is to pair up the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing on Monday. That means that I really can have Sundays off.

If I’m not careful, I’ll end up like Robinson Crusoe. he worked a 5-day week because all his outstanding work was finished by Friday.

unidentified aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The joins in the pairs were amongst the best that I’ve ever made, and I’m very pleased with these.

While I’d been rummaging around in the fridge the other day I found some vegan cheese that I had forgotten. And so for breakfast I had cheese-on-toast and coffee. And that old vegan cheese, stuff that I’d bought ages ago from Lidl, actually melts like real cheese.

That’s the kind of thing that’s useful to know so I made a note.

So having had a nice breakfast, I made a start on what was on the dictaphone from last night. Tons of stuff too. It must have been quite a mobile night.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Last night I was at the airport taxi-driving. I was sitting in the car in the rain watching the line of passengers grow longer and then shorter. Then it was my turn to leave, and I picked up some people going to the hotel in the south near Waterloo. 6 people entered the taxi so I had to insist that 1 of them left as I was only licensed for 5. In the end 2 of them left. They had a chunter but I was only licensed for 5 so there was nothing that I could do about it. We set off

After that I had my boat and I was up round the top of north-west Scotland somewhere. An emergency had occurred and I had to go back to London. It was fairly stormy but I went none-the-less. Although the journey shook me up a lot I made it back without any serious injury or illness.

Later on, Nerina came home from school one day very upset because someone had been taking the mickey out of her. She wanted me to go along and sort them out. Of course it’s not really something that you can sort out as I told her. I said that it was pretty pointless but she insisted so we drove back to Nantwich. I said “when we park up you’ll have to do this, this and this”. She replied “I’m not coming with you”. “Of course you are. This is about you”. In the end we didn’t actually have to go very far because as we pulled up he was there. I had a few words with him about it. He was effectively “what are you going to do about it,”. Of course there wasn’t really anything that you can do about something like that. In the end nothing ever became of it. It didn’t really prove a point but it was one of those things that you just have to do, one of the affairs through which you have to go.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and then this was early in the morning. Everyone was getting up. I was talking to someone at the front door of the residence where I was staying, brushing my teeth. He pointed to my upper lip telling me that there was some toothpaste on it. I replied “don’t worry. I’ll wash my face when I’ve finished”. He replied “yes but I’m telling you that I thought for some reason that it was an extremely silly thing to do”. There was an advert on the TV as well about a young black boy taking 2 children, 1 on the handlebars of his bike and the other in a trailer behind. he was struggling up a hill in the snow. It was something to do with some kind of energy product because it cut to the end where he was cycling up this hill and overtaking everyone like nobody’s business, nothing like the struggle he was having before”. One of my friends from Germany was there. She was there as I was rinsing my face off so we had a little chat. I had my suitcase and was thinking that I’d have time to go to the airport to check in and hand in my suitcase and then come back. Then I’d be ready for going in the evening. I was thinking about it and I wasn’t going for another couple of days yet so why would I be wanting to take my suitcase now? This was starting to become really confusing.

yellow autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the lunchtime fruit the next task was to deal with the carrots. I’m running a little low on them so seeing as they had 1.5kg bags this morning at the same price at which 1kg bags usually sell, I treated myself

They are all now scrubbed, diced, blanched and in the freezer. And I had to be quite imaginative about how I fitted them in because it really is now full to the brim and there’s no room for anything else in there.

Now that I’m much more organised here, I realise that I should have pushed the boat out and bought a bigger freezer. However I would have filled up the space just as quickly and I still would have ended up in this position with no room in there for anything else.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the carrots now done, there’s still no time to breathe a sigh of relief and collapse into a heap.

There’s the afternoon walk – or stagger – around the headland. But not before I’ve gone over to the wall at the end of the car park to check up on the activities down on the beach.

Plenty of people down there this afternoon. No surprise though because although it was quite windy, even if a Nazgul rider didn’t think so, it was a lovely late summer day and it really was a pleasure to be out in it.

There were even one or two people brave enough to be in the water this afternoon.

st helier jersey UK Eric Hall photo September 2022The views out to Jersey were magnificent this afternoon.

They were so good that you could see some of the buildings on the island with the naked eye, and now that I’ve been over there I can tell you what some of them are, and when I’ve finished reviewing the photos I’ll probably be able to tell you what the rest are.

Going from left to right, what I think that we have is first of all Elizabeth Castle and to the right is Fort Regent. Over to the right, the white buildings are the blocks of flats at Le Marais in St Clément.

Of course, that’s guesswork based on what I saw when I was over there, but of course I didn’t actually see everything.

commodore goodwill english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2022And how about a flying ship?

It’s not actually a fata morgana – it is a real ship roughly in the position where it’s supposed to be, but the effects of the haze caused by temperature inversion at the water level gives the impression that she’s flying,.

It’s a phenomenon that’s been observed by mariners for centuries and has been the subject of all kinds of books and the like.

And no prizes for guessing who she might be either. It’s actually Commodore Goodwill out there in the English Channel surrounded by yachts and she left St Helier at 10:36 for a slow sail over to St Malo.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way past the crowds and the wounded Nazguls I crossed the lawn and came to the crowded car park.

Out in the bay there were a couple of kayakers having a good paddle around offshore this afternoon. Having a lot of fun, I suppose.

When I was at school I used to go canoeing but that was a very long time ago and on a canal. I wouldn’t fancy my chances in an open sea in this kind of wind.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE has been kayaking in the open sea while we were in the Arctic, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.
“Would you like a couple of oars?” I asked him before he set out.
“Yes” he replied. “After I’ve come back and put away the kayaking gear”

cabanon vauban man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My route continued across the car park to the end of the headland, and then I picked my way very gingerly down the loose gravel path on my one good leg.

There was plenty going on out at sea and plenty up above in the air too, as you have already seen. Consequently seeing someone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban was no surprise at all.

What was surprising was that he was taking no interest whatever in the exciting events that were unfolding all around him. By the looks of things he was reading a good book, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with continuing my way down towards the port either.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So I scrambled off on my way towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening there.

Nothing much going on at the ferry terminal today. It seems that despite the fine weather, the summer season is grinding to a close. Moored over there are Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. No step in her stern so that means that she’s the older one of the two.

The only one out at the island today is the other one, the newer of the two. So there aren’t any tours around the bay this afternoon.

As for Victor Hugo, she’s still moored in the inner harbour. Her season is definitely finished and I imagine that it won’t be long before she and her sister are off to Cherbourg for a maintenance visit.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The portable boat lift here in the chantier naval is only rated at 100 tons and I don’t imagine that that’s anywhere near as what is required to lift Victor Hugo out of the water.

It would be nice if we had a bigger left to pull heavier boats out of the water but then there’s no real room here for anything large.

Everyone whom we saw yesterday is still here by the way. However I took a better photo of L’Omerta. When I was looking at the radar yesterday I noticed that there isn’t an image for her on the radar database. As I keep the installation here I reckon that it’s upto me to bring it up to date.

That’s a little project for me – to go through and photograph every boat that lives here. I probably have most of them anyway.

Back here I had a coffee and then settled down to watch the football – Y Drenewydd v Penybont in the Welsh Premier League.

This was a game that had everything. Penybont were the better side and they raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half. Watching Y Drenewydd mounting a comeback and trying to pull themselves back into the game made the second half probably one of the most exciting that we have seen.

They pulled a goal back and kept on piling forward, only to be hit by a sucker-punch breakaway that made the score 3-1. Nevertheless they kept on going and scored a second, but couldn’t find a way through for the third despite everything that they tried.

3-2 was about the right result and the game was a great advert for the League except for a couple of “little incidents” in stoppage time that saw a rash of bookings and a sending-off as Penybont tried to slow down the game and run out the clock.

Tea was one of my breaded quorn fillets with veg, and then I came back in here to write up my notes, rather later than usual.

All my work for this weekend is now done so I can have tomorrow off. I even have pizza dough in the freezer (I think).

So I’ll try a walk around the walls tomorrow and see how I feel. I’m still not feeling myself, which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit, but apart from that my right knee is finished, I reckon. I don’t think that I’ll recover from this.

And even if I were to recover, I’m not sure that i’d have the confidence in it that I had.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

Friday 2nd September 2022 – I’VE JUST HAD …

yellow powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… one of the most delicious meals that I’ve had for quite a while.

So while you admire a couple of photos of the little yellow powered hang glider that caught me unawares not once but twice this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

And what I can say is that it was a pretty good move to buy those four tins of baked beans in St Helier the other day, and the vegan sausage that I bought were way beyond excellent, all washed down with chips and the malt vinegar that I’ve had here for a while

It’s been years since I’ve had real baked beans. The European ones are quite insipid and even the “English-recipe” ones that I buy in North America are nothing like these.

And the “proper” American ones are awful – packed so full of sugar that they are disgusting. So the cheap Morrisons ones went down a treat.-

yellow powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022last night wasn’t quite so much of a treat though.

For some reason that I have yet to understand, the computer fired itself up at 03:20 and it goes without saying that that awoke me bolt up right. A while later I had a bad attack of cramp, the first time for years since I’ve been taking these magnesium tablets,

And not only that. There was a problem with the elastic knee support that cut into my leg and the elastic ankle support that cut into my big toe that awoke me each time and in the end I took them both off.

Add to that the fact that I was off on my travels during the night and you can understand why it wasn’t a treat going to bed.

Waking up was even worse and I struggled to take to my feet. I beat the second alarm but not very much.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. No Zero unfortunately, and neither was there any TOTGA or Castor. We’d opened some kind of specialty shop somewhere or other and it had gradually evolved into a whole range of things like a corner shop, café, restaurant etc. There was a great wish to try to keep it ethical but one of the partners ended up having an affair with someone on the quiet. Things were not going right at all. Someone buttonholed the female partner of the business and started to talk about ethics. The complaint of course was that he preached ethics but didn’t practise them because of this, this and this. This set the woman thinking. The next thing we knew was that a couple of people left to go travelling. She’s there in her little house that she built herself at the side of the bus station instead of the company premises that were there. Someone from the company asked “do you have enough small change for 2 tills?”. She replied “yes”. 2 women came over and shook hands and thanked her for giving them the opportunity to take over and run this ethical business. She was walking away from it after her principles had been betrayed.

There were 2 people who were supposed to be busking in the street. One was a girl hitting a piece of scaffolding pipe with a scaffolding joint. The second one was a guy and I’m sure that he had a guitar but I couldn’t see it. They were arguing about things that were going wrong and not performing. I stood there watching them for a couple of minutes until my partner dragged me away. She asked what i was doing. I replied “those 2 look interesting from a music point of view”. I wanted to go to give them my card but she put her foot down about people behaving like that being friends of ours. I had to convince her that the world was full of personal and petty disputes etc. That’s nothing to what I’ve seen in the past. She wasn’t really interested but I still had this strong temptation to back and make myself known to them and see what could be developed between the 3 of us at least.

Later on I was with someone and going through this list of songs that I had that were on my playlist for some reason or other, checking which ones they were and why they were there. We only had three organised before I had this dramatic pain in my big toe that I mentioned earlier so I don’t know what that was going to do. That was a shame because it sounded as if it might have been exciting.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while a zodiac goes past out in the bay, I was on a bus or a plane even going somewhere. It was the time when my radio programme was being broadcast. There were 2 guys sitting in front whom I could hear talking. They were talking about a previous broadcast so I couldn’t be sure which one was being broadcast so I had a listen. I could identify it from about 3 seconds of music and thought “this is the correct one being broadcast today”. I put the headphones back and started to ferret around in my briefcase for the green file in which I keep all the information. The girl next to me was rather irritated and asked “you aren’t searching for something else are you?”. I replied “yes but I promise you that this is the last thing”. She said “we can swap places if you like”. I replied “no, I’m quite comfortable where I am. It will be the very last thing I promise you that I’ll be looking for”. Then I was looking through the papers and found that the paper that I wanted wasn’t in the file. Just then the alarm went off.

The rest of the day was spent mainly going through the photos from Jersey. Not that I’ve done very many at all because much of the time was spent researching what it was that I’d photographed. And even though there’s a long, long way to go, I’ve been able to identify many of the features that show up so clearly when I see them from here, and that was the aim of the trip in the first place.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regardless of how I’m feeling, I still went outside this afternoon.

And as usual I staggered across the car park to see what was going on down on the beach. And there seemed to be plenty of all of that too with quite a few people down there enjoying themselves today.

They certainly had better weather for it too. The sun was out, there wasn’t very much wind and with everyone else now back at work or at school, there aren’t the crowds of heaving msses with which everyone has to contend.

shtandart baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What also caught my eye quite early on too were the sails that I could see in the distance.

It’s not Marité of course but the Russian sailing ship Shtandart that came in here for the Festival of Working Sailing Ships. and I don’t know why she’s still here either because the Festival has now finished of course.

Here’s hoping that she’s not going to be moving in here permanently. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not actually overwhelmed to see her in here. But then it’s not my decision.

buses place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There seems to be something rather bizarre happening with the buses.

The bus that we saw parked in a strange position yesterday was there again this afternoon. But it’s not the service bus on a layover because as I watched, the service bus pulled in at the usual bus stop, discharged some, picked up others and then cleared off again on its route.

And when I came back from my little crawl around later, she was still there too so there’s something strange happening here with the local buses.

That’s something else that I’ll need to check. It it’s here tomorrow I shall go and engage the driver in conversation

unidentified light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Right now though there was an aeroplane flying by overhead.

Regrettably I couldn’t quite read its registration number so I’ve no idea who it might be. But it begins with “OO” and that’s a series of numbers assigned to Belgium so it’s strange to see it out here.

She wasn’t picked up on the civilian radar either.

Now that I have access to the records of a few more airfields I could cast my net further around but there’s no aeroplane of any similar registration anywhere and so that would seem to be that.

delta airlines Airbus A330-223 N857NW baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022No such problems with this aeroplane though. I didn’t need much help with this one.

She’s N857NW, an Airbus A330-223 owned by Delta Airlines and took off two and a half hours late at 15:59 from Paris Charles de Gaulle on flight DL 265 to JFK Airport, New York.

The delay incidentally was caused by the late arrival of the outbound flight DL264, although why a 40-minute delay in arriving should put it back by that much is rather strange. But at least it had a nice clear sky in which to fly back.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The way that I’m feeling right now, I’m not going aroind the headland.

Cliniging on to a series of stone walls in case I might fall, I made my way slowly to the viewpoint overlooking the port. And at least we can confirm that Marité isn’t out at sea hidden in the haze. She’s moored up in her usual place at the end of the inner harbour.

Also in there this afternoon are la Grande Ancre ,Chausiaise and Victor Hugo. Obviously the trip out to St Helier with me on Wednesday was far too much for the latter ship.

Plenty of trawlers in there this afternoon too. They must be having a day off today.

le soupape pescadore peccavi trafalgar chant des sirenes ch639133 le poulbot charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022In the meantime I noticed that there’s a change in occupancy at the chantier naval so I gingerly inched my way in that direction.

All of the usual suspects, le soupape , trafalgar , peccavi , trafalgar , chant des sirenes and charlevy are still in there but there’s another boat come to join them.

Her name isn’t visible from here but I can see her registration number. It’s CH639133 and that tells me that she’s Le Poulbot.

Although her registration number is quite old, built in 1986, we haven’t seen her before. Apparently she seems to spend much of her time in Fécamp.

le roc a la mauve 3 joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With Victor Hugo and Chausiaise being in the inner harbour I had a quick look over to see who was at the ferry terminal.

All that I could see was the new Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. Judging by the windows in “portrait” format, it’s the newer one of the two.

In the foreground in Le Roc à La Mauve III and we know all about her because we saw her in the chantier naval for quite a long time.

Back here I had a coffee, finished off what I was doing and then went for tea. My delicious meal of vegan sausage, chips and beans. And I’ll have plenty more of that in due course. I have set plans afoot.

Later on, there was football in the Welsh Premier League – Caernarfon Twon v Airbus UK Broughton. Promoted for this season, Airbus are pretty much up against it already. Yet to take a point after four matches.

And today they didn’t help themselves very much, going down 3-1 in a score that very much flattered Caernarfon. But then experience will always tell.

It wasn’t as if Airbus played badly either.

Their goal really summed up their misfortune. Caernarfon had a bucket-load of corners but as usual these days, the delivery towards the goal was pretty dismal. Airbus won just two or three but the deliveries were peaches and one of them was a free header that led to their goal.

The margin between winning and losing is wafer-thin. We had two identical situations with one-on-ones in front of goal. Josh Tibbetts saved the one on the Caernarfon goal but Mike Jones didn’t.

And then when Caernarfon were awarded a penalty Mike Jones managed to stop it. But he couldn’t cling on and with 20 players to whom the ball could have rolled, it of course had to roll to an unmarked Cofi

Yes, when your luck is out, it’s well and truly out.

Bedtime now, very late, and shopping tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to that either. To be frank, I’m rather nervous about going out in case I have another fall. I know exactly now how a tortoise feels when it ends up upside-down. And it’s not very pleasant.

Tuesday 30th August 2022 – I’VE NO IDEA …

people digging on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… what this guy is doing here on the beach this afternoon.

But whatever it was that he was doing, he wasn’t doing it on his own because there was someone else a little farther away doing the same thing.

At first I thought that they might be engaged at the peche à pied but –

  1. they wouldn’t be doing it that far away from the water’s edge on a public beach
  2. it looked much more to me as if this guy was digging a big hole

But whatever it is –
Don’t dig there, dig it elsewhere.
You’re digging it round and it ought to be square.
The shape of it’s wrong, it’s much too long,
And you can’t put a hole where a hole don’t belong.

people taking photographs port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022No prizes for guessing what these people are doing though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the recurring features that appear on these pages is photos of people taking photos.

This couple here has been captivated by the view from one of the viewpoints overlooking the port and so the guy had whipped out his mobile ‘phone to record it for posterity.

He’s certainly picked the right kind of day to do it anyway.

No prizes for guessing what I was doing this morning either.

Until 07:30 I was asleep. Well, sort-off because according to the dictaphone I’d been off on my travels during the night. I didn’t go as far as I did on the previous evening but it was far enough.

In fact when the alarm went off I was away with the fairies and the shock jolted me out of my reverie and the details of the voyage evaporated. I’d been on holiday and I had a pile of holiday snaps showing photos of the swamps and signs on the swamps etc. There was a big sign that said “beware conger eels” written in French etc. I was busy showing these photos to someone when the alarm went off and awoke me, and that was that.

The morning was quite difficult for me today. I thought that it was bad yesterday but today was somehow worse. Not even sticking my head under a cold tap was enough to revitalise me.

Consequently the morning had a very very slow start today.

There was a Welsh group chat this morning and today there were three of us with the tutor. And I reckon that it was much more difficult with the three of us than it was when I was on my own.

Last week I didn’t have time to think and so I was continually speaking by reflex. With other people here, there was too much time to think and that always makes it so difficult. I don’t do “thinking”, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

As an aside, the fruit buns were delicious regardless of the fact that they were overcooked.

When I’d finished my lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone from last night. We were watching the gymnastics on TV last night. Some young girl from somewhere had taken the event by surprise and on her first turn on the mat had scored a really impressive score. Then it came to her second time and rhe clock was still ticking down but she was still in her day clothes, not in her leotard. She was eating an ice cream. At first we thought that it was a dead rat on which she was chewing but was in facc an ice cream. While they were counting down her start and the music was playing she was just standing there on the edge of the mat eating this ice cream. We were screaming with frustration that she needs to go out there and perform

And then I was out driving last night, coming through the road between Nantwich and Church Minshull. There were 3 girls walking down there. I knew one of them because I know her mother so I went to blow my horn but for some unknown reason the horn didn’t work. What had happened just before that was that I’d set out in the van. I wanted to do something but was distracted and found myself driving in the grass verge on the other side of the road. I could quite easily have been in the hedge or something. I managed to stop just in time and a Volkswagen microbus went past from immediately behind. It was blue and white. I followed it. It had no rear lights on but the front lights were working fine but no rear lights. That was when I encountered these girls. Some time before that we’d been on some kind of trip. I had all of my stuff together and I’d been nibbling away at the biscuits that I was going to take with me out tomorrw so I decided that I’d make some food. I had some potatoes and I had a few burgers and some baps so I was going to make myself burger and chips. When I went to look at the baps they were all covered in green. The bread had gone off so I didn’t really know what I was going to do now about this. I’d just have to make more chips, I suppose. It was disappointing seeing the bread like that. I hadn’t been away for a week and I was expecting to be out here for several weeks before wit all these people like this but tomorrow we were starting at 07:00, I’d eaten all the biscuits, I had no baps. I was wondering whether we’d actually have time to go and buy some food on the way out otherwise it was going to be a very long hungry day for me. There was some point in this where Liz asked me “have you made any long-term arrangements with people whom you’ve met while you’ve been away here?”. I told her that I’m not the type to make any long-term people arrangements as you know

There was another “dictating a dream into my hand” moments. That’s a shame because it really was something interesting and once again it evaporated as soon as I grabbed hold of the dictaphone so I can’t remember anything whatever about it at all. I know that I was walking around somewhere in it on holiday with a few other people.

And the rest you know.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent working on the entries from the voyage around Central Europe. At the moment I’m in a hotel in Switzerland on my way into Germany.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was the usual break for me to go for my afternoon walk.

And as usual I wandered off over to the wall at the end of the cap park to see what was going on down on the beach. And just as yesterday, there was plenty of people down on the beach but not too many people enjoying it.

It was a beautiful day too, even if it was a little windy, although not as windy as it was last night when some kind of storm brew up while I was preparing to go to bed.

Even so, there was at least one person brave enough to go into the water.

bouchot farm donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Plenty of activity over on the beaches by Donville-les-Bains this afternoon too.

he tide is quite far out right now so the bouchot harvesters are hard at it over there on their marine farm.

And by the looks of things, everyone is out there just now. There are probably as many as seven or eight tractors out there and quite a few of them are towing trailers presumably to take away the harvest.

Quite a few people out there for a walk too, enjoying the nice weather. The beaches over there might be much more isolated but they are certainly more accessible than where I am.

service bus fixing barrier rubbish lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was plenty of activity taking place just outside the building here.

What caught my eye at first was the arrival of the refuse lorry that pulled into the car park and did a U-turn so that the crane to empty the bins was on the correct side.

In the background you can see the barrier to our car park going up and down. The repairers were here this afternoon fixing it. Only three months after someone drove into it and damaged it, and after the holiday season, when we needed it most, is over.

And just then the service bus pulled up at the bus stop too.

It was all happening here this afternoon.

marité english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I’d been watching what was going on, I was also having a crafty glance out at sea.

There was something quite large sailing about around at the back of the Ile de Chausey in the English Channel so I went to find a better vantage point.

Once there, I took a photo of it to examine at my leisure, and back here having enlarged and enhanced it, it looked pretty much like Marité having another run out and about this afternoon.

There are a couple of other boats out there with her but I can’t see who they might be.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With only a handful of people up here on the path I didn’t have too much trouble going down the path to the end of the headland.

No fishermen out there this afternoon but there was a couple of people who arrived at the bench by the cabanon vauban just as I turned up, so I took a quick photograph.

However I wasn’t sure why they would be there this afternoon. The Brittany coast was rather shrouded in haze so you couldn’t see much over there, and where you could see anything, there was really only Marité and her entourage.

So I left them all to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there.

charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And yet more excitement today in the chantier naval.

Yesterday saw the arrival of Hermes I and Charlevy down there but because of the way that the portable boat lift was parked, we couldn’t really see them both in one shot.

It was lucky that I’d chosen Hermes I to feature because today she has gone back into the water. and so therefore I can photograph Charlevy in all her glory.

There isn’t any other change back there. The other 5 boats that were there yesterday were still here today.

freight port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022What isn’t there today though is Marité.

She’s cleared off out into the bay with a boat-load of passengers and checking her route on the radar, that was what led me to believe that it was she out at sea.

What there is though is the lorry that brings all of the freight to the port for one of the little freighters. Service had been suspended of course for the duration of the Festival so I imagine that they will be itching to get going again.

Also in port today is Victor Hugo, out of shot to the right. She’ll be back out to St Helier tomorrow morning.

yellow autogyro port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Just one last thing before I go back in.

The familiar rattle of what I imagine to be a rotary engine told me that one of our regulars was coming our way. Out of the clouds came the little yellow autogyro that we see now and again.

She hasn’t been around for a few weeks so it’s nice to know that she’s still going out and about.

As for me though, I’m not still going out and about. I’m heading for home and my iced ginger beer.

There’s something important that I needed to do as soon as I came in so that’s now out of the way. Something that I’ve been promising myself for a while and I reckon that I deserve a treat every now and again.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg. The stuffing was lethal considering that it had been marinading for 24 hours. There’s some left over so I’ll be having a curry even more wicked than usual.

Everything was early though today because we had football on the internet – Penybont v Hwlffordd. An entertaining game for the neutral supporter but the lack of technique was disappointing and there was a woeful lack of striking power on that field.

You’ll probably think that a score of 3-2 for Penybont will contradict what I’m saying but in fact most of those goals came from errors at set pieces.

These teams aren’t going to be bottom of the table but they will have to do much better than this if they are to challenge for honours.

But right now I’m going to bed. I have a busy day tomorrow for a change. We shall see.

Saturday 20th August 2022 – IF EVER I LAY …

… my hands on whoever went past here in what sounded like a steam engine at 06:08 this morning, they’ll be eating soup through a straw for the next month. I was having a really good sleep at that moment and after it had gone past I didn’t go off to sleep again.

And there I was, hoping for a decent sleep as well.

belle france joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a few photos of the Ile de Chausey ferries, including a rather delightful “Greek v Greek” moment between Belle france and the newer of the two Joly France boats, I’ll fill you in.

Although not in the same fashion as I would had you been driving steam engine around here at 06:08 this morning.

Anyway, I suppose that I was being somewhat optimistic about a good night’s sleep. It was another late night, later than intended so I was fighting a losing battle before I started.

Just as I was going to bed last night, the broadcasting company that covers the Welsh Premier League posted the highlands of the games that evening, Y Drenewydd v Y Fflint and Connah’s Quay Nomads v Airbus UK Broughton.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Of course I had to stay up and watch them before retiring, didn’t I?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I used to enthuse about Lifumpa Mwandwe at Y Drenewydd. He’s no longer there, having moved to the North American professional game in the Summer.

But it looks as if he’s been replaced in my estimation by Okera Simmonds, about whom I said a few positive things last weekend.

Top of the League now, Y Fflint, after their impressive victory last night, but they’ve been there before and fallen away towards the end of the season so I’m not making all that much of it.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This morning despite the early awakening I had a difficult start yet again to the day, struggling to leave the bed.

But a good shower after the medication livened me up somewhat. I also set the washing machine off as I’m running out of clothes. By the looks of things I haven’t done any washing for months but that can’t be right

Having organised all of that I headed off to the shops. Well, shop, actually because I only went to Leclerc. There’s not much point going to Noz these days although one of these days I’ll have to go to Lidl I suppose.

At leclerc I didn’t buy anything special at all. It was rather a mundane shop today and didn’t cost very much at all. A few more months of spending like this will sort me out, I reckon.

On the way back home I went to the dechetterie.

Last night I took out the printers and left them by the side of the rubbish bins so that anyone who would like to can help themselves to them and see what they can make of them.

While I was at it, I stuck all of the cardboard boxes into Caliburn and seeing as I was quite early (I was there at leClerc at opening time) and didn’t have any frozen food, I went by the dechetterie to drop them off.

container dechetterie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But I was surprised by the grills that they have around the containers these days. It means that you have to tear up or crush your boxes to pass them through the slots and drop them into the containers.

It was all very reminiscent of the old piano-smashing competitions where you had to demolish a piano and pass the debris through a hoop, and the quickest one would win.

Anyone as old as me would surely remember those. And what a waste of good pianos that was.

Back here I put everything away (and that’s a surprise), hung up the washing and then made some toast and coffee for breakfast.

le loup joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While you admire another photo of Joly France going out and passing Le loup on her way back to the Ile de Chausey, I was finishing breakfast and then having a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was a concert that I didn’t attend for some reason but a lot of my friends did. I had a visit from someone who told me that the rock group for this concert so would I think about doing something? I took my guitar and things and went off to this concert. There were about half a dozen people messing around on stage. One was my friend from the Wirral with his drum kit. I gestured to the stage and he picked up what I was doing. One of the guitarists stayed up and in the end we made ready to play an impromptu set with just a dozen numbers of typical 3-minute standards. The guitarist was sulking with me and I’m not quite sure why but I determined not to let that bother with me. I’d just ignore him and just be my usual gushing outgoing self on stage and he can sort out his own problems.

Later on I had a girlfriend who worked in a Chinese restaurant. We were due to go to the cinema so I turned up to see if she was ready but she was waiting on in the restaurant. I asked her what was happening. She said that she had to work today because no-one else had come in and her mother who ran the restaurant wanted her to work. I rolled up my sleeves, took off my jacket and said “here, I’ll give you a hand”. I was running around clearing tables etc. A group of young people came in. They knew the girl and saw me. They asked why I was there and I said that I’m taking her to the cinema but she’s having to work and can’t go. They started to talk to her and asked what was on etc. They wanted to know the reasons why she was working in the restaurant instead of being out enjoying herself etc.

Actually that dream reminded me of something that happened many years ago when we used to go skiing on a dry slope on the Wirral on a Sunday evening.

There was a Chinese take-away just down the road with a really cute young girl who worked the counter. We used to go there for a takeaway for tea. Not that I like Chinese food but I would have gone anywhere to see her.

On one occasion a group of us was going to a Chinese banquet so I had a cunning plan. Without saying anything, I asked her to show me how to eat with chopsticks so that I would look good at this banquet and so she gave me a few lessons.

When I felt competent enough, I put my plan into operation. “You’ve been so kind and helpful that i’d like to thank you. Would you like to come with me to the banquet as a recompene?”.

She replied “no”.

Ahh well … . Someone else who had a lucky escape, I suppose. My life is littered with those.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was somewhere like in the story of Tim The Magician from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL but he was actually walking forward as he was making the explosions. They were assembling a team to meet him.

It was at that point that this steam engine thing, whatever it was, went whooshing past on the street and awoke me. I could actually hear the noise that it was making when I listened to the recording.

However prior to that I’d been back at work again, another one of these dreams where I was sitting on piles of arrears of work and thinking to myself that I could retire today if I like because I’m past retirement age and it wouldn’t make any difference. I started to drop a couple of hints to a couple of people. They were talking about where I was going. I replied that if the Northwich office has air conditioning I’ll be going there tomorrow. It’s high time that this place brought itself kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. They started asking someone else questions about the place in Northwich but she couldn’t tell them much.

And isn’t that a recurring dream too, about me being at work past retirement age with piles of arrears?

We had yet another mad fit of enthusiasm and I transcribed the notes for another day when I was off in the Great Wild World back in June-July. I’m not sure what’s happening there.

But it wasn’t as enthusiastic as it might otherwise have been as I rather regrettably dozed off for 20 minutes while I was doing it. Mind you, with having had such a rude awakening, I’m not really surprised.

After my lunchtime fruit I peeled, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots. They were on special offer at LeClerc so I reckoned that I should pick some up. Believe it or not, there was actually some room in the freezer.

Next task was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I know that that’s usually my task for Sunday but I need to make the most of this enthusiasm and go ahead while the going is good.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

There were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon. The weather has improves somewhat and while it wasn’t actually warm, it was quite sunny and that had brought out the crowds.

Some of the people had even managed to drag themselves into the water and my hat went off to them because the weather wasn’t quite that good.

You wouldn’t catch me going into it but then again, water for me to immerse myself in it needs to be at 37°C.

yachts speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, while I was up here on the cliff looking down I had my other eye roaming around offshore.

Out there in the bay there was quite a bit of activity today. In the foreground we had a speedboat that looked as if it was in a devilish hurry, as you can tell by the size of the wake that it’s creating.

A little further behind it is a couple of small yachts. Judging by the sails they belong to one of the sailing schools that are in the vicinity.

There are several of those and when I find out what this series of medical appointments is all about, then I really am going to see whether or not there’s a way that I can fit a course of sailing into my activities.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t just in the immediate vicinity where I was looking either.

Right out in the English Channel way behind the Ile de Chausey was something quite large out on the horizon. It’s definitely a ship, but which one?

Back here I had a look at the radar and nothing obvious presented itself. However Commodore Goodwill left St Helier at 11:59 and arrived at St Malo at 19:34 and she has the same silhouette as the ship out there on the horizon.

However 7.5 is an awfully long time for the crossing so I don’t know what happened there.

She wasn’t the only mystery ship out there this afternoon.

la cancalaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further round was a small sailing ship, far too far out for me to identify it, but I took a photo of it all the same so that I could have a closer look back home later.

Having enlarged it, it’s still not possible to say with any certainly and you’ve no idea how many other ships were out there confusing the radar screen this afternoon.

However one of the boats out there was La Cancalaise, sister ship to our own La Gravillaise but based across the bay at Cancale, and the outline of the boat in the photo is not unlike their outline.

Consequently, I reckon that it would well be La Cancalaise out there, in the absence of any better suggestion.

f-guxa Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was out there admiring the shipping I was overflown by a light aeroplane that was coming from the direction of the airfield.

She’s F-GUXA, a stranger to us. She’s not appeared in our notes before.

She’s a Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince, construction number 2467 and is owned by the Aéroclub Regionale De Caen.

Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan as far as I can see and she must have been keeping quite low because she wasn’t picked up on the civilian radar to which I have access, so that’s really that.

cabin cruiser speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But meanwhile, back in the ocean, the sea was crowded today.

Considering how quiet it’s been out at sea just now, it looks as if everyone has been saving up for the weekend. It’s certainly brought them out in their droves.

There might only be three or four boats in this photo but I reckon that in total there were about 50 altogether in the vicinity of the port today here and there.

No-one from the sailing school, which was a surprise though, although on my way to the shops this morning they were having kayaking lessons in the tidal basin next to the Nautical Centre behind the port.

A right bunch of oars if you ask me.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022at least the people down on the bench by the cabanon vauban were having their money’s worth this afternoon.

Those who were down there during the week didn’t have all that much to cheer about but with all of the traffic out there today, that probably made up for it.

And all of the pedestrians too. The car park was heaving yet again and there were crowds down on the lower path.

The buoys for the lobster pots were still there, and in fact they seem to have acquired yet another friend for company.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022having seen what there was to see at the end of the headland I walked down the path towards the port.

On my way I was overflown yet again, this time by the little yellow powered hang-glider. He’d just come up from down at the end of the bay, presumably having taken a passenger for a sight-seeing trip because there were two of them on board.

There was no change at the chantier naval today either. There were still the same boats there as yesterday.

And no-one at the ferry terminal. We’d seen the Joly France ferry come in but she’d unloaded and gone back out straight away. It must be busy out there this afternoon.

zodiac diving boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were none of our usual suspects at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon.

However my attention was drawn to what was going on at the slipway underneath. One of the harbour lighters is there – the one that takes the divers out and about – and there was quite a crowd on board.

As well as that, a van towing a zodiac had pulled up and there was quite a crowd around there as well. There’s plenty happening over there this afternoon.

Back here I made a coffee and then came in here to play about with the photos for a while.

That took me up to kick-off this early evening, Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Metropolitan

Both teams had won their opening matches last weekend but with the result tonight, how poor must Airbus have been last weekend?

Even though this game was played at Aberystwyth, the Met tore Aberystwyth to shreds and the final score of 0-4 was no exaggeration. Apart from a spell of about 15 minutes in the second half, Aberystwyth offered nothing at all.

Last season their defence was incredibly shaky and at times they were in deep trouble at the wrong end of the season, but they have made a few new signings and they have done nothing to improve the side.

The defence is going to have to be stiffened up quite considerably and they really need something up front. Alex Lang in the Met goal had very little to do today.

Tea was another one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like from Lidl. They are really nice in vegan butter with baked potatoes and steamed veg.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in. It’s Sunday and having done all of my work already it’ll be a quiet day I hope. Who’ll come along to disturb it? Or will that blasted steam engine thing go past again at 06:08?

Saturday 14th May 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… day where I’ve hardly ever stopped. So much co that I’ve not even had time to upload any of the photographs that I’ve taken today.

Just for a change, the way that things have been just recently, I managed to beat the second alarm to my feet. Well, actually, I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when it went off so I suppose that that counts.

Mind you, I was feeling rather like death but I struggled on as best as I could despite everything.

Having had my medication the first thing that I did ws to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. There was something going on with Québec. If you worked with the Canadian Civil Service and you were close to retirement and that meant that your family was to be split up for different kinds of reasons like some were working and some were not, you had the right to settle in Quebec so you could reunite all your family together. I came to hear of this proposal because I was close to retirement date and my mother who was a few months older than my father and my other siblings, we all tried to arrange a meeting with someone official. The Premier of Québec was having some kind of entertainment thing. He was busy giving speeches to different people about the advantages of living in Québec although he did make some remark about people who travelled 350 miles just to catch a little bit of country food which he thought was a strange behaviour. I thought that his attitude was strange because of course it was country food that was the mainstay of Canadian society before Europeans. I had every hope that my application to move to Québec for this family reunification programme would be accepted. There was much more than this too but I can’t remember the rest of it. It’s slipped right out of my mind.

Having done that I spent an hour or so revising my Welsh ready for the first day of my weekend revision school

When I was ready I switched on the laptop that I use for Zoom meetings, only for it to perform a major update, consequently I was late joining and that was rather annoying. Punctuality is the politeness of princes.

We covered a lot of ground this morning and I was ready to knock off for lunch before my brain turned to spaghetti. We had an hour’s break so I nipped out for my afternoon walk considerably earlier than usual, for reasons that will soon become apparent.

Back here there was time for my butties before we started up again.

This afternoon we spent in small groups of two and three chatting about selected topics that are likely to come up in the exam next month. The conversations are quite lively and despite the lack of vocabulary we are making considerable progress.

These free supplementary classes that I managed to track down are worth every penny.

When the day’s work finally finished I dashed into the bedroom where my office is. I had 20 minutes before kick-off

It’s the final of the playoff in the JD Cymru League between Caernarfon Town and Y Fflint. It’s a winner-take-all match, the winner representing the league in the Irn-Bru Cup with teams from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.

As for the match itself, I’ll let you be the judge of that. It was probably the most exciting, and intense matches that I have seen for many a long while, a game that swung from end to end from start to finish played like a game of chess. And it was certainly the most dramatic.

Don’t take my word for it. I don’t know how many of the regular readers of this rubbish are football fans but if you are and have a couple of hours spare you can WATCH THE GAME HERE. You won’t be disappointed.

That took me up to a rather late tea. There was some stuffing left over from last night so I had a taco roll with rice and veg. And as usual, marinading overnight makes it all taste so much better.

So now I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm in the morning and I’m starting the day with a mock exam. On a Sunday too. Whose crazy idea was that? I must be out of my head.

Monday 18th April 2022 – THERE WAS MUCH …

yacht trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… more activity out on the water this afternoon.

Still not as much as I would have expected to see, given that it’s a bank holiday and we’re having nice weather, but still much more than there has been just recently.

But be that as it may, let’s retourner à nos moutons and while you all admire the photos of the water craft out there today, I’ll tell you about the morning that I had.

at least, insofar as I remember it because until about 11:00 or so I was deep in the arms of Morpheus. It’s a bank Holiday today so there was no alarm.

cancale brittany trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s no wonder that I was exhausted this morning because I must have travelled miles during my sleep, as I discovered when I listened to the dictaphone.

Some girl had fallen foul of a gangster boss for some reason. She’d been taking photos and dictating things into her dictaphone about this and that, dictating her dreams. This gangland boss insisted that she hand over her memory card and dictaphone which of course she flatly refused to do. This led to some kind of argument or stand-off. In the end one of his minions managed to produce some kind pf portable machine that would copy everything off the memory card and off the dictaphone so that she could have copies of everything that she had done. She could possibly have her memory card and dictaphone back. This was again a completely realistic kind of dream and made me worry about my dictaphone.

And then it was the birthday of TOTGA’s daughter so she was dancing around, reciting words in a form of poetry about presents that she would like to have for her birthday. Then TOTGA was talking about going to China … JUST LIKE SWEET REGINA” – ed … so I asked if the whole family was going. She replied “yes” or at least to the China museum which is free for everyone who visits China. She went over to a ticket machine to try to sort out everything from the machine that was there. I’m missing a few bits off this. I can’t remember all of it.

There were a couple of cowboys, taxi drivers, but one of them was an Indian. There had been some talk about disabled passengers. There was a notice on the door that said “if you’re phoning up for an elderly disabled person make sure that the taxi has a wheelchair lift fitted”. Anyway these 2 guys were on horses. One of them had a horse blanket over his horse because he was an Indian. When you took the blanket off you could see the saddle underneath all ready for war. One of his comrades came into town, also sitting on a blanket ready for war. The other cowboy went out to confront him.

people in zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022I was in a pub waiting for someone to bring round a settee to make it more comfortable. When the pub closed for the afternoon I was cleaning it up and doing some tidying up. There was something like an indoor pool in this pub, a water feature. I thought that I’d put a spade in and get down to the bottom here and see what was happening. Then 2 people turned up, a girl who worked here and her boyfriend, and they were in the middle of having an argument so I left them to it. I put my spade into the water and dug down into the mud and pulled up a huge pile of LPs and single, an Alquin double album, a pile of stuff by Alquin, loads of stuff like that. Everyone came to give me a hand to help me pull all of these out. I realised of course that they would all be ruined but I wondered what on earth they were all doing in there. I recognised one or two of them from stuff that I’d upgraded to CD but I don’t remember throwing away. There I was, picking out all these LPs from this dirty, muddy, filthy water inside this pub.

Robert Fripp was having a party to celebrate the release of his new blues album. A whole pile of us went. There was a young girl there, a bass guitarist, who played bass on his album but when she came to listen to his album you couldn’t hear the bass on it at all. She asked Robert Fripp what had happened to the bass and he told her that basically her playing was rubbish. That had of course reduced her to tears. I went to see him and asked if he would play the album with the bass on it. He replied that with the bass being rubbish he didn’t want to feature it. I told him that he didn’t really understand music because music isn’t just one performer, that sort of thing, music is everyone together, the whole ensemble. We had this argument. I told him that there had been other cases like Richie Blackmore who for example had sacked Mark Clark in the middle of a recording session and played the bass himself because he didn’t like Clark’s bass playing and I’m impressed that I could remember that when I was asleep. I said that it was dishonest in a way to have this girl play and then wipe out her playing. I insisted that he play the album version with her bass on it. He said that it would take some time so I asked him if he would send me a copy of the album with her bass playing on it. He had to fiddle around in the corner of the room to try to find the master tapes.

Finally I’d been at work. Everyone was slowly leaving. In the end there was just me and a girl, the girl whom I knew from Stoke whose name I can’t remember, the pretty one who had cancer. We were chatting away and the conversation became more and more about our intimate selves. In the end I ended up kissing her. We spent a good few minutes like that. Then I had to leave. On the way out I bumped into my elder sister. She noticed that I was late so I said that I’d been seeing some guy whose sister she knew who lived in Shavington. Then I walked down to my parents’ house in Davenport Avenue. It had changed quite considerably from when I remembered it, the outside. I knocked on the door and one of my younger sister’s children let me in. It told me to make sure that I wiped my feet but there wasn’t really any need because the lawn inside the house was all churned up like a ploughed field, a real horrible mess. My sister said that one of her children was dropping out of school. I told her that she better hadn’t because she only has one chance at education and this is it. She didn’t seem to think that she was, it was my sister’s idea that she would.

There was an interruption in the middle of this for a rather late brunch. Porridge, coffee and the last of the hot cross buns. I shall have to hope that someone I know is going back to the UK soon to bring me back another couple of batches. They aren’t very easy to make correctly and I do like them very much.

When I’d finished the dictaphone notes I had a good session on the guitar and then made a start on the radio programme that I’ll be completing tomorrow if all goes according to plan.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ll have to tidy up the apartment tomorrow as I have someone coming round at 14:00 to see me and the place is something of a mess. How I’m going to manage raising myself from the dead with an alarm after several days of lying in remains to be seen.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But that all relates to tomorrow. Today, it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide is of course well out, as we have seen over the last few days. But there weren’t as many people down there today as there have been.

The difference today is the amount of wind that we are having. It’s a lot windier than it has been and I suppose that that is keeping people off the sand. No-one really wants to be out in a cossy in this wind.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And so consequently we had the birdmen of Alcatraz out in numbers this afternoon. I counted a good half dozen and maybe more out and about in the air.

This one is carrying a passenger too, and I haven’t forgotten that it’s on my bucket list to go up for a flight one of these days if I can find an intrepid birdman intrepid enough to take me up, and a Nazgul strong enough to support the two of us. I really could do with losing another 8 or so kilos to bring me down to what I consider to be my optimal weight.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The birdmen of Alcatraz weren’t the only people up in the air today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last couple of days we’ve seen the red powered hang glider flying around and I mentioned yesterday that I wondered what had happened to the yellow one.

Sure enough, around the corner she came this afternoon, pilot and passenger, on their way back to the airfield after a lap around the bay.

All we need now is to see the yellow autogyro and we’ll have had the full set but she’s been conspicuous by her absence for quite a while now.

There was also a small aeroplane flying around the bay but she was too far out for me to be able to take a decent photograph.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Not so many people out on the path either this afternoon.

That’s much more like how it ought to be these days when there’s a pandemic raging.c Not that I’m all that bothered during normal circumstances but if people won’t wear a mask when I’m a person at high risk, I would rather the path be empty.

Only another 87,000 cases yesterday and 35 deaths. Mind you, it hasn’t escaped my notice that the UK hasn’t declared its figures for the last few days. I wonder what’s going on there right now.

people by cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the excitement going on out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see crowds of people down by the cabanon vauban.

Well, at least there were a couple of people gazing out to sea at the trawlers and the zodiac in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And also at the pecheurs à pied too because there were plenty of those down there on the rocks this afternoon too. I wondered why there were so many cars on the car park and so few people about.

So I left them to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

ch798530 briscard ch638749 pescadore sm517594 rocalamauve port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It looks as if there were several boats that missed the tide and the open harbour gates this morning

Settling down in the silt over there at the quayside next to the Fish Processing Plant from front to back are Briscard, Pescadore and Roc A La Mauve. It’s not like any of those to be moored there deliberately.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and settled down in front of the computer for this evening’s football match – a basement match between Barry Town, second bottom, and Aberystwyth Town, third from bottom, in a game that Barry Town must win.

Considering the positions of the teams in the League, this was one of the most exciting games that I’ve seen for quite a while, ranging from end to end like a tide. Aberystwyth took the lead quite early on and managed to hang on for the victory despite Barry throwing the kitchen sink at them in the final 15 minutes.

Whether Barry Town remains in the league now depends on whether Llanilltud Fadre or Pontypridd Town’s grounds are up to the required standard. I wasn’t impressed at all by the ground at LLanilltud when I’ve seen it.

It was too late for food by the time that the football finished so I had a few rounds of toast instead. It won’t do me any harm to go without a full meal here and there. But now I’m off to relax before going to bed.

Tomorrow I’ve an alarm to set, a radio programme to complete, a meeting to attend and a session with a new physiotherapist as well as an apartment to tidy. My few days off passed rather quicker than I was expecting.

Friday 15th April 2022 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… this afternoon on my wander around the headland.

As usual, the first port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

But I needn’t have bothered today. There could have been Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster down there for all I knew, and I wouldn’t have seen them in this rolling sea mist that’s coming off the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have had sea mists before, but nothing quite like this one. It reminds me of the STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE between Labrador and Newfoundland.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else that I saw on my travels as I peered through the fog was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz whose Nazgul seems to have come to grief here on the headland.

So while you admire a few photos of the pair of them wrestling with each other and the elements, I’ll tell you something about my day.

And with no alarm, I was expecting either an 06:00 start or another 12:30 rude awakening but to my surprise, and probably yours too, it was a much more sedate and realistic 09:40 when I finally crawled out of bed.

First stop after the medication this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Again I think that I missed out a lot but I was in Brussels last night – although it wasn’t Brussels – living in an apartment building. Underneath where I was living was a casino. There was a group of us talking about the EU and one or two of the rackets that went on there in the 80s and 90s that were exposed. Someone was running a Social media page called “EU rackets” but it was titled in German where it listed everything that was happening. One of the girls there was a German girl whom I knew. She was saying that she took part in this page to help the guy to run it but he was just as much a racketeer as the rackets that he was exposing. He lived in the building and was into large-scale gambling. Although they weren’t allowed to do it in the building where he lived, he found another way. That was when I mentioned the subject of this casino at the foot of the hill where my apartment building was. We spent a lot of time chatting about gambling and that kind of thing.

And then it was Welsh Cup quarter-final day. I was talking to someone about the games. There were 4 of them of course and were being played two at the same time with one before and one after these two. I couldn’t remember who was playing where and kept on being confused. I was talking to someone but I couldn’t come out with the correct venues and correct teams. We ended up outside a stadium for a match Aberystwyth against Cardiff Metro. We looked in and saw that the game had already started so I said to the people with me that I was going to stay and watch the game. Then I could go to the second and then to the third instead of watching it on the TV. So I went in and said goodbye to the people as I’d be staying here. Someone inside the ground asked “what did you say?”. I replied “I’ll be staying here”. They asked if I had a ticket. I replied that I could walk round and pay for one. There was a cat walking around on the stands so I picked it up for a stroke and went over to talk to someone but they had a lion. The lion expressed a great deal of interest in this cat so I pulled the cat away thinking that the lion might eat it but someone said “no, put it back” so I put the cat back and the lion started to wash the cat.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This was a continuation of a dream that I’ve had before a long time ago so I said to myself in my dream. Someone was running an office somewhere and a young guy turns up for an interview. Although there’s no vacancy they feel sorry for him and fit him in for a couple of hours because it fits in with his life as a single father and offer him some work. I don’t know where it went from there but tonight it turned out that this guy had been an actor and had played Jesus in some kind of film or play. There was some kind of stigma over him and a couple of other people knew about this and they were doing all they could to keep out of his way. he was pushing his trolley with his possessions on it heading right for these 2 people. They were wondering how on earth they were going to get out of meeting him when suddenly a girl exclaimed “oh, it’s Jesus” and ran over and started talking to him. He started to tell his hard luck story. Someone else who was around interrupted them saying “aren’t you going to deliver those objects that you have?”. He said to this girl that he had better push on and do his job. These 2 objects were destined for the room in which the other 2 people were hiding. They were now panicking about where they could go to keep out of the way of this guy while he stuck these 2 parcels in this room

The rest of the morning was spent working on the photos from my trip around the Canadian High Arctic of 2019. Despite having dealt with a few dozen, I’m still on my zodiac in Dundas Harbour on Devon Island where I look as if I may be until doomsday at this rate.

After a lunch of porridge and hot cross buns I had a few things to do, a session on the guitar and a chat on the internet with someone or other who shall be nameless but you all know who it is, and then, much earlier than usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022You’ve seen the weather conditions today so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of photographs.

And the Birdman of Alcatraz and his Nazgul weren’t expecting much of anything either because after having wrestled with each other for a while, he imitated one of Longfellow’s characters and “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”.

Frankly, I don’t know what he must have been thinking, having come out in this kind of weather. I would imagine that, being uniquely wind-powered, you would need a good few hundred yards of room to manoeuvre your Nazgul if you are to avoid catastrophe and the visibility wasn’t anything like that good.

Being out in a rolling sea mist is a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one.

cabanon vauban people bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s not a Bank Holiday here in France but nevertheless there are plenty of people on holiday, wandering around here and there.

And even a few down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban too. Although what they might be expecting to see down there is anyone’s guess because I couldn’t see anything.

Actually, I think they realised after a while that it was pretty pointless being down there because, as I watched, they slowly packed up their things and began to move away. Not that things are much better anywhere else, that is.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the newspaper this morning it said that one of the highest tidal coefficients of the year would be this weekend.

That can only mean one thing – the pèche à pied. With the high coefficient, it means that the public area of the foreshore will be uncovered at low tide so it will be a free-for-all as everyone swarms down there to see what they can find.

There are already a few people down there making their way to the water’s edge. And if this blasted fog would lift we would probably find that there are a few more people further out as well. When we did a radio programme from down there a couple of years ago there were hundreds of people.

ch721430 le styx ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So leaving them to it, I headed off down the path towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

And there’s a change of occupant – or, rather, an additional occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon too. We’ve seen the trawler Le Styx on a few occasions just recently unloading at the fish processing plant but here she is today up on blocks undergoing servicing.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there too. At least, I think that it’s her. I can read her registration number from here now but strangely, it isn’t in the trawler database that I found. Perhaps she’s been brought in from elsewhere and is being reregistered.

ch642969 galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another trawler that we’ve seen once or twice on our way around in the past is Galapagos.

She’s over there by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt and waiting for the tide to come in. By the looks of things she must have missed the opening of the harbour gates because she’s not one that usually loiters around over there.

As for me, I’m not loitering around either. There’s a good reason why I’ve gone for an early walk this afternoon and I’d better get a move on and head for home otherwise I’ll be late.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But the way things are, I’m not going home quite yet.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise tied up at the pontoon where the trawlers usually tie up. That would be bound to lead to complications.

Anyway, she’s cleared off somewhere else now and the trawlers are tied up where they belong.

But still missing from our photo are the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo. The last I heard of them, they had been hauled out of the water at Cherbourg.

But that was a while ago. If the service to the Channel Islands is to restart, they ought to have started it now while the crowds are here for the Easter break.

weeding porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One final thing before I go back inside.

It’s the time of year when they send the gardening crew out. Today, they are pulling the weeds out of the rocks in the medieval walls by the Porte St Jean. If the roots penetrate between the rocks they’ll loosen the stonework and bring it down.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to repoint the whole back wall of my house in Virlet when I puled the ivy off.

Interestingly, you’ll notice that the van has the old-style number plates. That means that it last had a change of owner prior to 2009. So the local council has owned it for at least 13 years.

It’s not like the UK here where people change cars every couple of years. That’s why second-hand vehicles are comparatively more expensive.

Back at home I settled down in front of the computer to watch Y Bala v Y Drenewydd in the battle for second place. And just as the whistle went for the kick-off Rosemary rang. So that was the first half effectively out of the window.

That was a shame because the first half was the better of the two with both teams going for it. The match finished 1-0 for Bala which was about the right result. Apart from my favourite player Mwandwe, Y Drenewydd didn’t offer much up front today. Bala’s defence was quite effective.

But SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE WOODWORK at the town end of the Oval Stadium at Caernarfon. I bet that it has a headache this evening after this afternoon’s match against Penybont.

For tea tonight I had the curry that I’ve been trying to have for a day or two. And of course it was delicious. It couldn’t be anything else.

So shopping tomorrow. I don’t need all that much, I suppose, but it’s been a while since I’ve been and I need a few supplies, as well as to see what’s on offer in Noz. I need to vary my diet again, I reckon.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Friday 4th March 2022 – I’M NOT CONVINCED …

… about these pills that I’m supposed to be taking before I go to bed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you admire a photo of the crowds of people on the beach this afternoon, what with going to bed early last night I took one of them. And I fell asleep quite quickly.

It didn’t stop me from going off on a few nocturnal travels though, some of which were quite incomprehensible. At the very beginning there was something very amazing about 3 little shopping bags that were like boats floating on the water. People were using them to take things to places but it was really confused I can’t remember anything about it apart from that.

Later on we were with Nerina round at the home of someone from the Welsh group. We were just talking around etc and we suddenly had to leave. She had made this big pile of sandwiches and so she gave us some of them, salad and hummus sandwiches. We ended up taking them and left. Just as we were going she said something like “don’t forget to bring back some of that gorgeous cake when you come back”. Nerina and I bumped into someone else and told them the story of the sandwiches and cake which they thought was funny. Nerina asked “what time should we go back?”. I didn’t know so she said ‘how about 14:45 and we can have a siesta before we go back in the afternoon?”. On the was back was a very narrow lane which was very difficult for 2 vehicles to negotiate. I was driving down and someone came round the corner in an old C15 van. He saw me coming but pushed on regardless. We had to do some incredible negotiation so that he could go past but in the end he dropped into a ditch and couldn’t extricate himself. I couldn’t stay where I was – I had to go on further but in the meantime someone else came and instead of waiting where it was safe he pushed on as well. I said to the second guy “what a stupid thing to do, trying to pass here with these ditches. It was much safer to pass back there where you’ve just come from.

And later on, I was in a gym. There was a set of weights , the bar and weights, that were in a ramp. I was underneath it ad I was having to lift up this ramp with this set of weights, hold it above my head and then lower it down. As far as I knew I went off and I was doing that

At some other point I was in hospital having my treatment but they weren’t giving me my infusion, they were examining me all over and they pushed this huge, enormous needle like a knitting needle into my arm and I had a panic attack. Everyone else started to laugh. I thought that that was most unprofessional and most unpleasant and I was really annoyed and angry by this. They didn’t seem to take my worries seriously – it was all a big joke and I was so annoyed. The woman came round with the trolley with sandwiches on it but there were no sandwiches on it for me and that made me even more annoyed. I disconnected myself, went outside to my motorbike and went for a ride. I ended up on the A51 that leads out of Nantwich towards Chester. As I was going up the hill towards the canal this absolutely enormous monster aeroplane flew overhead. I couldn’t find my camera so I stopped to rummage through my affairs by which time this aeroplane had flown away by the time that I found my camera. I was having a friendly chat with a little kid who was having some grief from his parents for something or other. As I was putting away my stuff a woman came up to me and said “if you need your washing doing let me know”. I couldn’t work out what she meant. I had to ask her 3 or 4 times for an explanation. It turned out that I was parked in the entrance to a hotel and she thought that I was staying there. I explained what was happening and the doorkeeper for the hotel came over to talk to me. he told me that I was lucky that I wasn’t dragged in and had to pay for a meal or something. I said that he probably noticed that I was polite and courteous to this woman. He replied “yes, that’s why you didn’t have any trouble. We were also impressed about how you were talking to that child”. I had to wait for someone to finish their ‘phone call before I could go into the ‘phone box to make myself ready. I put my things in the top box of the motorbike but it wouldn’t close. I had to spend some time on it to make it close. I then went to kickstart to motorcycle but the piston stuck in the barrel so that it wouldn’t kickstart. I thought “this is another one of those days that really isn’t my day, isn’t it?”.

Finally there were 3 young girls and I’ve no idea who they were, wandering around somewhere in this town. They had a bottle of spirits with them. They were having a crafty drink of these spirits as they were going around but something went wrong, one of them disappeared and the other 2 made a quick getaway. They carried on walking away from this town drinking these spirits. They caught up with the third girl. Then this scene drifted to the 3rd girl waking up. She could remember what happened up to that point where they’d met up but the rest was a complete blank. She couldn’t understand it. She’d never had a lot of drink before. One of her friends who had awoken came to join her and they were trying to dress. It looked extremely funny watching them having to swap socks, swap shoes because they couldn’t remember whose was whose and they were in a completely intoxicated state and well out of everything. They finally were ready and I had to take them somewhere. I had to fiddle with my camera to find out where I was and get my camera at the end of the reel, I suppose. My sister was with me. She suggested “that’s where you are isn’t it?”. I replied “no, I’m roling the film round the other way”. Eventually I could reach the starting place so that we could all prepare to leave.

When the alarm went off it was a real struggle for me to leave my bed. I finally managed to struggle out just before the second alarm but it didn’t do me too good because after my medication I came back in here to start work but instead I crashed right out.

10:10 when I finally awoke – for the first time – and I fell asleep a second time early in the afternoon too. I’m not quite sure what these pills are supposed to do but I don’t think that they are supposed to do that.

After transcribing the dictaphone notes, I performed the back-up on the computer that I should have done a couple of days ago on the First of the month. And then copied onto the portable USB drive that’s on my door key the files that need backing up onto the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven

All of that took me up to lunchtime. And with having finished the half of loaf that wasn’t in the freezer, I made lunch with some taco rolls. No sense in defrosting half a loaf for today that will then stand idle until Monday.

This afternoon the first thing that I had to do was to bring up-do-date the database that I keep for my radio programmes. The events of the last week or so have meant that some of the radio shows have had to be shuffled around, a few new ones inserted, all that kind of thing, that have led to several changes.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I went outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

We’ve already seen a photo of the crowds of people down on the beach, and here’s a few more. And one or two of them look as if they might be brave souls who have actually been for a walk into the sea.

It’s not exactly the kind of weather for the sea today. It was overcast and quite windy but, as seems to be the thing these days, it’s not as cold as it might be for this time of year. We haven’t had a winter at all this year. Just two days of frost and that’s all.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And, as usual, I was also looking out at sea to see what was going on there.

In the distance was something or other so I walked all the way down to the end of the headland to take a photo that I could enhance when I returned home and have a look at what it might be.

It’s actually a trawler out there in the bay. The tide is too far out right now for the gates to the inner harbour to be opened in the very near future so it’s probably working out there. They are popping up in all kinds of strange places these days.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whether the pople down on the beach at the Rue du Nord were engaged in the peche à pied I couldn’t really say.

But this lot down here on the rocks at the end of the headland are certainly having a go. These people here are just a few of the hordes who were down there this afternoon, armed with all of the equipment necessary.

There wasn’t anyone at the cabanon vauban this afternoon – presumably the lure of the peche à pied was too much for them – so I carried on around the path towards the port on the other side of the headland.

courrier des iles, le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad les bouchots de chausey chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And at the chantier naval there’s even more excitement this afternoon.

We now have a couple more boats in there – boats that we all know quite well because we’ve seen them quite often during the summer.

G90 is of course easy to identify. She’s La Granvillaise. And then the blue and white boat next to Spirit of Conrad is Charles Marie. Both of these boats do charter trips around the bay during the season.

The ferry terminal is empty this afternoon. Both the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and the Ile de Chausey ferry Joly France have cleared off.

belle france joly france chausiaise marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As for where Joly France might be, she isn’t moored in the inner harbour.

Her younger sister is down there on the left with Belle France and Chausiaise. Joly France is probably out somewhere running a trip to the Ile de Chausey.

Marité is down there too. She hasn’t moved for a while but I imagine that she’ll be off on her travels quite soon. She’ll need her certificate to carry passengers and as the portable boat lift isn’t strong enough to lift her ut of the water she has to go off elsewhere where she can be lifted out of the water.

removing vegetation medieval city walls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little further on along the path I could see in the distance that there was some work going on on the medieval city walls in the Rue des Juifs.

When I was on my way to town the other day I noticed that there were “no parking” signs down there. And what they are doing is attacking the vegetation that’s been growing up the walls.

If the roots penetrate the mortar they will chisel it out and make the walls unstable, which is why they have to keep on removing it.

Back here I had a coffee and then pushed on with another pile of photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. I’m now at Qikiqtarjuaq – Broughton Island – off the coast of Canada in he Davis Strait.

And I’m not sure why we called there when there was an abandoned whaling station just 50 miles up the coast from here that would have been far more interesting for me.

There was a quick tea tonight because there was football on the internet later – YNS v Y Fflint. TNS won 2-1 as you might expect but it might have been a different story had Y Fflint’s goalkeeper and their attackers been on better form. They certainly had the chances.

While I was watching the game I was talking to Rosemary. She had rung me up on the telephone and there was a lot of things to discuss, given the state of the world right now.

And now I’m off to bed. It’s late but nevertheless I’ll take a pill tonight and see what happens. I hope that I have a better morning tomorrow than I did today.

Saturday 26th February 2022 – YOU HAVE ALL MISSED …

earth and tyres dumped by farmers at leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… the excitement that took place through the night at quite a few of the supermarkets in Normandy overnight.

It seems that the local farmers had been to pay a visit, and had dropped off loads of earth, old tyres and other assorted stuff all over the entrances to the car parks so that no-one could enter.

The cashier at LeClerc with whom I spoke about the matter couldn’t tell me what was the object of the exercise, but French farmers don’t need an excuse to be militant . They can do it as a matter of course

tractors and lorry removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Some of the obstructions had been moved by the time that I arrived, and when I was on the point of leaving they were removing the others.

One of the workers had seen me taking photographs and came over to talk to me. He wanted to make sure that I knew that they had nothing whatever to do with the depositing of the load and that they were private citizens clearing it up.

Of course, I had no idea that they were anything else, but as they went to great pains to point it out, I thought that it was only correct that I emphasise the point.

Another point that I ought to emphasise was that I didn’t have much sleep last night. Not at all.

It was about 11:30 when I went to bed and with the alarm set for 07:30 I was optimistic that I could have something of a reasonable sleep. However I set off on my first nocturnal ramble at 01:24 according to the dictaphone and I didn’t stop after that. I started off in the north of Québec on a big Harley Davidson. It was winter and snowing heavily, and the only way that I could keep warm was to have my hood up on my jacket right over my head with just a small gap for my face. For some unknown reason the hood came down. I was riding along this autoroute and I was freezing – i’d never been so cold. There was snow and ice everywhere. On one occasion I lost sight of myself and looking on further down the road I couldn’t see where I was on this motorbike. Eventually I managed to catch up with myself and I had my hood back on. I arrived at the place where I was going, somewhere round by Québec or somewhere like that

And later we were back in Québec again, in winter again and at school. Again it was one of those things where my hood came down and I started to freeze to death in the snowstorm without putting my hood back up. Eventually, later on I relocated everything and I could put my hood back up. Then I could go to find the Governor and talk to him about some kind fo reciprocal arrangement for me to leave.

Amazingly, I was back a third time in Québec working in a butcher’s or a food-packing plant where we were putting boxes of food away in freezers ready for distribution. For some reason, in order to move fast, I was on a pair of roller skates and I’ve no idea why that was or how likely it would be and I can’t remember anything more about this, although I do remember that I went back into this dream at a later point but while it was pretty much the same dream my way of moving about this warehouse was a considerable amount slower compared to how it was previously when I was on roller skates.

The dream about the woman in the Ukraine dressed up on the second trip was actually after the Ukraine one that where everyone was freezing cold on the second trip. That’s what I dictated anyway, and what it relates to I really don’t know. Should it be maybe something connected to my second trip to Québec and does the woman relate to the part that I forgot?

It makes me wonder what else I might have forgotten or failed to note when I’ve been out and about at night, and whose visits have I omitted to record.

There was a deer that was wild but somehow it had come into a place where there were lots of people. It started jumping up and knocked over a woman in a bright blue dress before stamping off through the town. This was something to do with me being at work. I’d been absent for a considerable period of time. When I came back I plonked myself in a corner. people were making remarks about me being stuck in a corner. I replied that I’d just sat here to keep out of the way. if it’s someone else’s desk they have to tell me and I’ll quite happily go and sit somewhere else. In the end someone said that it was his seat. I was sure that it wasn’t so I had to gather all of my things. With all of the stuff that I have, it takes much longer than for someone else. Eventually I found that I had almost everything in my arms and stuck into bags etc. They found a place for me on a chair with no table sitting by a wall near a radiator. At least there was a bit of a socket there. One of the girls, Anne-Marie or someone, came to talk to me. “No-one likes Morales”, they said. “You should see his car. It’s parked 15 feet in front of a parking space” etc. That’s just the kind of person whom he is.

While we’re on the subject that vampires come up into this (and what this relates to, I really don’t know). Alison and I suggested meeting Jackie at a town that we know that was decaying, crumbling down where some really depressing things look as if they have taken place. There was something else about whales in an aquarium tank that I can’t remember at all

Finally, I was at some kind of meeting last night. There was some kind of talk being given and later on everyone went for lunch. When we came back out I was looking for a seat because someone had taken mine. There were these 4 statues right at the very front of the room. I patted one on the head and it said “hello” and started to talk to me. I realised that it was one of these pre-programmed things and the reply was based on what you said to it. I asked it all kinds of strange questions and was giving me some reasonably coherent answers, so much so that I was surprised. I was having quite a lot of attention from various people, my conversation with this statue. It turned out that the voice inside it was that of a girl and she came from the Soviet Union somewhere. I had quite an interesting chat with this pre-programmed robot statue thing.

So no TOTGA, Castor or Zero yet again, but having an interesting and exciting chat with a statue is something new. It sounds just about how my real life is these days. If I were to have a statue in here, having an interesting chat with it would make quite a change to talking to myself.

So after the medication I had a shower and then headed off to the shops.

All they had at Noz that interested me was some Italian alcohol-free beer so I bought a couple of packs of that and I’ll try one with my pizza tomorrow.

100 percent veggie food with eggs noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022But what was interesting, for quite another reason, was the 100% veggie Schnitzel escalopes.

Having been caught out on a previous occasion by one of the 100% veggie products that they carried, I check the labels these days and sure enough, it contains eggs. So much for the 100% veggie.

But I thought that the “yellows of eggs from free-range hens in powder” was rather extraordinary. How can powered hens, free-range or otherwise, lay eggs?

At LeClerc’s, apart from forgetting the Vitamin C tablets yet again, I didn’t buy anything special. It was just a normal shop this week. Quite a change from last week.

tractor removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I was leaving the supermarket, the tractor that was helping to move the rubbish turned it.

At first, I saw the tyres so I thought that it was coming to drop some more rubbish off but then I saw that those tyres were stuck on the prongs

On the way home I was listening to some SIMPLE MINDS. It’s another one of these albums that always touches a nerve with me. There’s a time and a place for music like this in my life and unfortunately, it always comes round on the playlist at the wrong.

“Somewhere there is someone who can see what I can see”. Yes, and for three whole days (and nights) too.

Back here I had a coffee and a slice of my really delicious coffee cake, and then I transcribed the dictaphone notes, which you read earlier.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Y Drenewydd v Connah’s Quay Nomads. The Nomads won 2-0 but I’m not going to comment on the match for fear of being charged with bringing the Welsh Premier League into disrepute.

What I can say is that if Chris Hughes, the manager of Y Drenewydd knew Jim Finks, the manager of the New Orleans Saints back in the late 80s, he would be repeating his comments “We’re not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating”

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On that note, it’s probably best that I go out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual I wandered off across the carpark to see what was happening down there on the beach. And I don’t know if the young girl down there is the same one who was down there yesterday but the wellingtons certainly looked familiar.

In fact there were plenty of people down there this afternoon. We’re supposed to be having the carnival but that has been cancelled. Nevertheless I imagine that many people had made arrangements to come here and they are here to make the best of it.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual I also had a good look around out at sea while I was here.

The yellow buoy that we saw yesterday was still out there but I was more interested in the cabin cruiser that was right out in the bay.

By the looks of things it’s a fishing party that’s out there – a rod and line fishing party, I mean. There weren’t any trawlers out there this afternoon. When I went past the port earlier this morning they were all moored up at the quayside.

They must be having a day off today.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that feature regularly in these pages is the water out in the bay.

We’ve seen a few good examples just yesterday of these variegated layers of water and yesterday we even saw quite a clear demarcation line where two currents had met.

But today, just offshore, we had another really good example of what I mean. There’s no physical demarcation but the colours are quite distinct.

On a completely different subject, there was a girl walking along the cliff edge filming herself and talking on the phone. I was inclined to go over to her to tell her to be careful. After all, I don’t want to be a witness at yet another inquest but she stopped her call as I approached and walked off.

She must have heard all about me from someone else.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was something else that was moving about right out in the bay off the Ile de Chausey so I went to stand on my bunker for a better look.

As I thought, it was a yacht returning to port after, presumably a sail out to the island. Not that I’m surprised because it was a gorgeous day. Quite sunny and just enough wind to move boats around out at sea but not enough to disturb those of us up here on the headland.

The sails were quite distinctive but it isn’t a yacht that I recognise. There were several seagulls keeping her company too so I hope that the crew had their headgear. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

couple bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The weather was so nice that I was expecting to see crods of people out and about around the car park.

The lower path that goes round the base of the cliff was crowded today and we even had a pair of lovers right out on the headland at the bench by the cabanon vauban and it looked as if they were having a good time.

And so was I, actually. It was nice to be out there in the sun without too much wind to blow me around off my perch. And so I headed off around the corner to the other side of the headland.

yachts le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a several other people out there taking advantage of the good weather.

There were several yachts wandering around in the bay but these two particularly caught my eye and I waited until they were lined up perfectly with Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour.

Over there in the background there were several people walking around on the beach at the side of the road that runs between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville. They were taking advantage of the nice weather too.

tiberiade la roc a la mauve 3 courrier des iles yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, in the chantier naval it looks as if most of the people connected with the activity down there were having the weekend off too.

As far as I could see, there was just one person down there, working on La Roc A La Mauve III. But by looking around on the ground underneath Courrier des Iles you can tell that they’ve been sanding down her paintwork.

Back here I had a few things to do, such as unpack the shopping and put it away. And I actually found one of the burgers that I especially like.

Consequently, for tea I had a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg. Plenty of mustard and garlic mayonnaise.

So having done everything that needs doing, I’m going to change the bedding. I had a good scrub this morning and I’m feeling quite clean (for a change) so I’m going to make the most of it.

Sunday 20th February 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today has been one of those days when I have done nothing at all whatever of any importance.

In fact, it’s been so relaxing that I’ve even forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes, as I have just found out. That’s something that I have to do tomorrow after my radio programme is finished.

And when I did, I hadn’t realised just how much there was. I started off with my youngest sister last night but first of all we were in a huge house or something like a castle that was built on a rock. I’d seen a vehicle pull up and I knew whose it was and I knew whom he might have been to see down somewhere else in the building. Later on I climbed down the outside of the building and right the way down the rocks at the bottom where there was a courtyard and there were quite a few people in there having a party, including the woman concerned. It was the mother of a girl whom I know from the Auvergne and who had accompanied me on a few nocturnal rambles in the distant past. I could see that with this party she had obviously known that this guy had been here so I just briefly mentioned it in passing. Then we were chatting away. I thought that I might have been invited to this party but no I wasn’t. I went somewhere else from there and ended up inside and had my sister sitting on my knee. We were chatting about this and that and having quite a bit of fun because she was quite young and I like children of that age so it was all very pleasant. I asked if by any chance my niece and one of her daughters were coming over from Canada. She replied “no they aren’t coming over this year. They came over three times last year and and your brother (who she meant to me) had bean teasing that girl (she meant the one from the Auvergne) about she was having to go into boarding school”. There was a lot more to it than this that I can’t remember.

Something else bizarre happened last night. I don’t know what it was but these two people picked me up, dragged me off and started to interrogate me about something that had happened. I knew nothing about it but they were quite insistent that I did. In the end I had to sign all of these affidavits etc to say that I hadn’t done anything and they were going to give me some money. But they deducted some money for this and some money for that and some money for something else and I ended up with only about 60% of it. But then thinking on it was 60% more than I would have received anyway so maybe it was a good deal although it was something of anguish at the time and rather nerve-wracking as they were quite insistent. In the end I walked away with some cash so I don’t suppose that it could have been too bad and I’m still trying to work out exactly what it was that happened.

There was something else at some point too about a load of new people coming to work in our office so I’d been trying to wrangle a transfer. I was wandering, talking to a few people saying that I hope that they’ll give me a transfer but it won’t be to somewhere exciting like Caithness or Skipton or somewhere like that but to another one of our offices in Stoke on Trent somewhere and that won’t be any good at all.

Laurence and I had been out around Nantwich somewhere wandering around and we came to some kind of museum so we went in for 5 minutes for a quick look around. It was quite nice and I thought that this would be a good place to bring Roxanne. She said “but it would be snowing tomorrow”. I replied “I don’t necessarily mean tomorrow and in any case it’s indoors so she would probably enjoy it anyway”. So we went back out but there was a problem with the trams so we would have to catch a bus. It turned out that there was one in 4 minutes’ time, probably because there was something going on at the cathedral and they had the road up. She set off while I sorted out the tickets and then ran after the tram, which sometimes was a tram, sometimes a bus, and leapt aboard. There was a severely handicapped girl manoeuvring around but I was fighting my way in trying to find Nerina because I was with her now but she wasn’t there. Someone said something like she had just alighted but by this time the bus had started moving. I stayed on but people started to talk about Nerina. Then this vehicle ended up in the wilds somewhere because the normal way home through Wistaston, there was a fight going on between a big group of people and so we must take another way. All the people were running down the street trying to catch up with this bus or something. The driver told me that he was rather confused about where to go so I replied “if you turn right here you’ll end up in Ganshoren and go back over to Jette”. He turned right but it was a road that I didn’t know at all but I saw a sign for Woluwe so I assumed that we were somewhere along the correct road somewhere. All the time this nonsense was going on. We then came to a new part in this road that was even more confusing than what we had come to before and it was a case of guesswork as to which road to take when we reached a certain road junction.

And even later still I was on yet another bus in Belgium. There were a lot of people talking. The subject came round to petrol stations. Someone was saying that there are far fewer petrol stations in Belgium than there ever used to be. She pointed to a Delhaize supermarket that we drove past on the corner of the street and said that in the old days that used to be 2 petrol stations. The talk continued and I noticed one of the people looking at me so I said “excuse me but I’m a foreigner and I’m really interested in what you’re saying”. The carried on talking and in the end we arrived at the terminus and we all had to alight. Someone said to one of the girls “why don’t you take him (meaning me) and show him (something or other)”. She replied “OK” and took me off. It was a shop and she took me down into the basement. I had a wander round in there. Suddenly she started to bake a cake. I wasn’t taking a great deal of notice but when she finished I asked “how did you bake a cake without any eggs in it?”. She replied “I’ve just made this one without any eggs”. I suddenly realised that she had as well and I wished that I had taken more notice of what it was that she was doing. Meanwhile the server from down there came up and said “thank you for being so disorganised. You’ve made me miss my break and you’ve made me have problems serving one of the customers” to which we replied “maybe we’ll offer the customer a piece of cake and it might make them feel better.

After all of that it’s no surprise that I stayed in bed until 10:30 this morning, even though I was wide-awake a long time earlier than that. But Sunday is a day for mending the nets.

After the medication I sat down and paired up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. And a couple of the joints that I made are totally perfect and I’m well-impressed.

After lunch, I had a football match to watch. While I was in Aachen last Saturday I missed Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League and I have deliberately refrained subsequently from watching any highlights.

This atfernoon I managed to track down the complete game on the internet and so I watched it. I shan’t say anything about the game because, quite frankly, it was one of the most exciting games that I have ever seen. Maybe some of my readers are football fans and if so, you’ll really enjoy this game. It’s at THIS LINK with, rarely, a commentary in English but, unfortunately, with a couple of holes in the recording.

One thing that I will say is that I found the comments of the commentators concerning the Caernarfon Town’s goalkeeper most inappropriate.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my youth I was a goalkeeper, although nothing whatever like at this standard, and I’ll promise you that an 18 year-old kid keeping goal in a howling gale against grown men, some of whom have been capped for Wales, is always going to be advised to punch instead of catch when he’s surrounded by other players in a crowded penalty area, whatever the commentators might think.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down below. And to my surprise, there were dozens of people down there going for a walk around.

In this photo are just a few of them, but why this particular view is that there is something on the sand on the extreme left. It seems to be something with a handle but no matter how I enlarged and enhanced it, I can’t make out what it was.

It’s interesting to conjecture that it might be some kind of flotsam and jetsam tossed onto the beach by the storm but I’m not quite sure how likely that would be.

lighthouse semaphore people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as crowds on the beach, there were also crowds wandering around on the path on top of the cliffs

And strangely enough, despite the storm warning of the other day, I will bet that the winds this afternoon when I was out were stronger than those during the storm when I was out that afternoon.

There wasn’t anyone out at the headland though and that was no surprise. The wind certainly took away my breath and would have taken away the breath of anyone else sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

There was a couple struggling along in the distance on the lower path, and “struggling” was certainly the word in this wind.

people on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Once I’d gone round the corner to the other side of the headland we were in a wind shadow so it was much easier to move around.

There were quite a few people walking around on the harbour wall too, and with the tide being right out it was probably as safe as it can be. But in a few hours’ time when the tide is right in it might be a different proposition entirely. The seagull was enjoying itself anyway.

One thing that I noticed was the hold hand-powered crane down at the end of the harbour wall. I must have seen it before because I’ve often walked down there in the olden days when I could walk places, but I don’t remember it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal we now have two ferry boats. The newer Joly France boat has come along to join her older sister.

They must have been quite busy this weekend despite the bad weather, so hats off to those who have gone down to the sea in ships.

Back in the apartment I had a hot coffee waiting for me and I couldn’t wait to drink it. Although it’s not cold, according to the temperature, I’m freezing.

And I’ve been freezing for several weeks and I don’t know why. I keep on thinking that I’m sickening for something but it’s certainly taking its time arriving.

After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I gave it a kneading and then rolled it out onto the tray where it proofed to its heart’s content.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When it was ready I assembled it and stuck it in the oven to bake.

And I do have to say that today’s effort was the best pizza that I have ever made. Cooked to perfection (unlike my previous effort) and tasted totally delicious.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m up early in the morning and I have a radio programme to prepare. And then there’s a letter to write, and I need to nip into town to post it.

No physiotherapy for 10 days though. She’s on holiday so I can have a few days off. And I need it too.

Sunday 6th February 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

vegan pizza fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… photos today. In fact, only the one, of my rather overcooked (don’t ask me how) pizza and some fruit buns to tide me over for a few days.

The truth is that despite it being a Sunday, I’ve been extremely busy – to such an extent that I haven’t set foot outside the door today. There has been plenty of work, which won’t be done by itself, and even so, I’m a long way yet from finishing it and there’s still plenty to do.

Tons, and I do mean “tons” of stuff on the dictaphone too. I was working in an office somewhere and I heard a couple of people talking about working at C-radio and it sounded from what they were saying that they wanted me to do it. I thought that it might be something interesting to do so I waited until they approached me. They invited me into their little office. I went in but only one of them did and the other one didn’t. It took me a minute to realise that the other one hadn’t followed me in so I immediately dashed out to where I worked to hide all my confidential and secret papers etc. I ended up with a cucumber in one hand and something else in the other. I went back into this room but they had gone. I spent the next few minutes hunting around in all kinds of different areas and different rooms trying to find them but it seemed to me very much that I had lost my chance because of that.

Later on I was in a house with some guy last night and he had put the contents up for sale so there were people coming along and walking around looking at everything. There were kinds of things that you carried with you and you put them down when you saw something that had caught your eye. These people were doing this, walking around making sure that they had declared their interest in the particular item that they wanted. Of course they then had to negotiate a price or maybe come back later. It was really complicated. I was with him for a good while while this was going on. Eventually someone turned up who admired almost everything that the guy had which wa well represented because there was too much stuff, the place was cramped. But this guy really liked most of the stuff so he sat down and started to have a pretty in-depth discussion about everything and all of his possessions.

There was also something about carrying some signs for some sort of purpose and if you won’t then there were some people who were supposed to shoot you but I’m not quite sure how that worked out because everyone did take their signs so that was something that never really happened although it was told to me that it might (and I wish that I could hear this more clearly).

There was something about hijacking a train like THE TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT too. This train was roaring down between Carlisle and Newcastle being pursued by just about everyone including the police. The crooks who were supposed to stop the train to take the goods from it couldn’t work out how to stop it. It was just going faster and their accomplices were going even faster on the road trying to catch up with it. All the other trains were shunted out of the way to let this one run through. An old lady who was crazy about cats was involved in it somewhere. After taking a dog-leg around the junction at Hexham the train disappeared and these guys in this car suddenly came into a yard full of locomotives. They thought that maybe it would be better if they were to steal a locomotive and give chase in that. It was a really weird and unusual dream, all of this. I remember that there was a town and they had to close the level crossing gates and there were crowds of 100s of people watching the first train coming in and having to be shunted out of the way and the second one racing through followed by this car that was trying to catch up with it.

As well as all that I was running a coach business last night and someone was talking to me about some of the confrontations between some of the drivers. I explained that there were some people out there doing work in coaches that they have bought for £1500 and others in coaches that they paid £200,000 for and it’s all a rat race of undercutting to the bottom. It causes a lot of problems. A job had been arranged by someone and he was going to drive the coach. His son dressed up in his school uniform to drive it and he looked a lot younger than 25 but he never was. He and his father and sister who was about 6 set out to go. I bumped into them and said “we’re leaving there now”. I said to the girl “doesn’t your brother look smart?” but she mumbled and grumbled something. We ended up going to a coach open day. We walked into this yard and into the offices. You could smell the diesel fumes everywhere. The offices were like in a cave. I said “you can’t go on presenting a place to the public like this”. He replied “yes but you have to keep a coach running to disguise the noise”. I wondered what on earth these people were up to if they were making a noise and didn’t want people to know that they were up to something and would suffocate all of their visitors by doing it.

We were on our way to Dover last night – or, at least, there was a TV programme about it – which I suppose beats being on our way to Wembley, and there was a story, I dunno if it was about Amundsen or someone like that and his ship was sailing from Dover. There was a kind of sculpture up on the cliffs so they showed this sculpture thing and a memorial. Down below on the main road was a kind of café that was like “the Amundsen Café” and I thought “I’ve been there”. Outside there were loads of people milling around as if they were going on a winter holiday, carrying skis and there was someone with a shopping trolley with skis in it etc. They were all talking about “the Monty Python Cheese Shop” sketch. Someone was saying that everyone was surprised when he said “ohh pooh!” when he had done something wrong. There was someone there with an LDV van and someone was explaining to him about how they had intended to modernise the front of the LDV and how it would be a different shape. The guy replied “yes, I know. There were one or two that were actually made like that but forward control vans are very old-fashioned and not a very safe design these days.

What didn’t help was not leaving my stinking pit until 11:05 this morning. I know that it’s a Sunday and there’s no alarm (and quite rightly so) so that I can stay in bed until I want to, but that was rather exaggerated with the amount of things that I need to do.

There were in fact several moments when I could have been up earlier, as I noticed when I checked my watch, but I couldn’t be asked to haul myself out.

When I finally did, I had my medication, checked my mails and messages (the helicopter rescue yesterday was because someone had become stranded on the beach at high tide – no surprise there) and then made a start on preparing a few live concerts.

One concert has worked out surprisingly well. It was a collection of live (and not-so-live) tracks that I found on a set of old CDs representing left-overs from the past of various concerts by a group from the 70s and 80s. I had to re-record the tracks, prepare a pile of applause to overdub so that the applause sounds consistent and then merge it together to make one concert out of it.

It actually sounds surprisingly good although it needs a little tampering.

The second one, which isn’t quite finished, has also turned out well. I’ve done a lot of chopping and changing around with this one so that it sounds much different from how it was played back in 1974.

There were several interruptions today too. Lunch of course, and football was the other. The League Cup Final between Connah’s Quay Nomads and Cardiff Metro.

At the end of play the score was 0-0 but despite that, it was quite an exciting and absorbing game and certainly not a drab affair by any means.

We went to penalties and, unbelievably, we had 24 penalties in order to decide on who would be off to Scotland in the Challenge Cup next year. A couple were missed on the way but when the Met’s Eliot Evans hit the post that was that.

But if the Met play with that kind of spirit in subsequent matches they won’t be bothered too much about relegation

After all that, no wonder I didn’t have much time for anything else.

With no pizza dough I made some more as well, and also some fruit buns as I’m right out of those. And I don’t know why my pizza was way overcooked as everything was just as usual. One of those things, I suppose.

With an 06:00 start in the morning I’m off now to bed and hoping for yet more pleasant dreams and charming company. It’s hard to believe that with all that travelling last night, not one of my favourite companions made an appearance, but I hope that I’ll be lucky and that they’ll come out to play tonight.

Tuesday 1st February 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

chausiaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise loading up at the loading bay in the port, and then go and tie up.

This afternoon, while I was out on my post-prandial perambulation around the perimeter, I noticed Chausiaise right out there in the Baie de Granville about eight or nine miles offshore.

What caught my eye about this was that she wasn’t in the normal shipping lane that she would use to travel to and from the Ile de Chausey, her usual route, but in fact she was in the shipping lane that the boats use when they are travelling to and from the Channel Islands.

A quick look at the shipping register showed that she had in fact been in the port of St Helier this morning.

When she first came here a couple of years ago, I REMEMBER SPECULATING that there might be more to her presence in the port than mere trips back and towards Chausey. It looks as if there is some kind of substance in that.

Mind you, I was lucky that I actually managed to see her today because the way I was feeling this afternoon, I may well have ended up in bed and not gone anywhere at all.

fire engine porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Part of the reason for this was that I ended up having a rather late night, despite what I might have said yesterday.

As I was closing everything down last night, I went into the living room where I noticed that down at the Porte St Jean we had a fire engine with its blue lights flashing.

One or two other smaller vehicles with blue lights were loitering around too but it was very difficult to say what they were doing. I might ordinarily have been tempted to have gone out for a wander to see but I was ready for bed and it would have been rather an interesting sight had I done so.

At least I didn’t wake up at 04:00 or something silly like that. I managed to stay asleep (or thereabouts) until the alarm went off and then it was quite a struggle to rise up and leave my stinking pit.

Things didn’t improve as the morning went on either and I couldn’t concentrate on my Welsh lesson either. It ended up as being something of a disaster today. I didn’t fall asleep but it would be wrong to suggest that I was awake.

And not only that, I was freezing cold again. Despite the thermometer in the dining room showing some kind of reasonable temperature, I was sitting on an electric heater and I still wasn’t warm.

After lunch I came back in here and … errr … fell asleep. And that was how I was until it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. I really don’t know how I managed to wake up in time for going out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Nevertheless, out I went and staggered off down to the end of the car park to look over the wall onto the beach.

Despite how miserable the weather was, as you can tell from this photograph, there were a couple of people down on the beach. And there was plenty of beach for them to be down there on this afternoon too.

Very few people up here on the path though. All the way around the circuit I didn’t count more than half a dozen people. I imagine that they had far more sense then to be out here this afternoon. At least it was warmer than it ought to have been.

While I was looking down on the beach I was also looking around out at sea. And that was when I saw Chausiaise in the distance.

chausiaise trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d walked down to the end of the headland by the lighthouse she had made some progress in towards the coast.

She wasn’t the only boat out there either this afternoon. I noticed later on when I was looking at the first photo of Chausiaise that there was a trawler hiding away in the gloom, and there were several others too out here in the bay.

Consequently I waited until she approached another vessel out there and then took another photo of her. Things were quite busy out there at sea this afternoon and it’s about time that we saw some more seagoing stuff.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the headland this afternoon and that was a shame because everyone was missing quite a show.

Not only were they missing the boats massing out in the bay, they were missing another beautiful sunset.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this is one of the things that I like about this time of the year – the really nice sunsets in the bay. We’ve seen a few of those over the last few days.

And that was quite a storm that was brewing across the bay obscuring the Brittany coast.

ch932880 calean baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Just now I mentioned something about the boats massing out there in the baie de Mont St Michel.

It will be quite a while before the harbour gates open but even so there were several boats hanging around waiting for the tide to come in.

This one is called Calean, I think. It’s very difficult to read her name or her registration number at this distance but everything seems to correspond with who she is.

The others were even farther out to sea so I left them alone and headed off down the path towards the port to see what was happening there.

ch907879 arc en ciel chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And we have a new vessel in the chantier naval today.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there over in the far corner out of shot but Arc en Ciel – “Rainbow” – has come to join her.

Behind her on top of the silt you can see the mooring chains in the inner harbour. There are small buoys tied to the chains that float up to the surface when the tide comes in, so the boatmen know where to fish with their boathooks to pick up a chain so that they can tie their boats to it.

Back here I regrettably fell asleep again but eventually I came round enough to listen to the dictaphone notes. I was back in the UK last night and there had been a revolt by the Army, or, at least, part of the army. It had led from a misunderstanding about a training exercise and hed lef to fighting and bloodshed amongst units of the Regular Army. Eventually control had been regained and those engaged in the rebellion, such as it was, had been rounded up. Some of the fighting had really been vicious. The Queen was involved in it somewhere, being threatened, and was out of the Public eye for 3.5 weeks. They thought that either the strain had been too much for her or she’d been injured or had had a health crisis triggered by it. It was a training exercise gone wrong rather than a deliberate act of rebellion. Eventually they rounded everyone up suppressed it but it was really nasty while it was going on.

Later on I was down in London. I can’t remember which car I had. I think it was the blue estate. There was something going on with some people, market traders of something, and they were looking for as much help as they could get. I volunteered but they kept on coming out with all kinds of weird suggestions as to why I shouldn’t help them, the Cortina estate was too good, but it wasn’t. It was another one of my vehicles where nothing really worked on it except that it kept going, it needed “that type of insurance”, “that type of cover” etc. They were coming up with minute details of legislation which I thought for a market trader was completely ridiculous. I’d never yet met a London market trader who had stuck to the letter of the law so rigidly. I kept on coming up with counter-arguments but they weren’t interested in them at all. I had the impression very quickly that they were just not interested in my helping them no matter what I offered to do. I kept up the pretence of arguing with them simply to annoy them and get on their nerves because it was annoying me and getting on my nerves the fact that they weren’t interested in accepting any help from me.

So none of my favourite companions last night. I think that they must all be as exhausted as I am after the last couple of weeks.

Tea was a taco roll with the remainder of yesterday’s stuffing – a quick tea because there was football on the internet. Aberystwyth Town third from bottom were playing Haverfordwest, second from bottom, in what was Aberystwyth’s 1000th game in the League – the first team to reach that milestone.

Haverfordwest were actually the better team as far as skill went but Aberystwyth play with a spirit that is only mayched by maybe Caernarfon Town. I’ve seen Aber play several times this season and I’ve said … “and on several occasions too” – ed … that all they needed were a few breaks.

And they certainly got those this evening. They punished a Haverfordwest mistake to go one up and then scored a second out of nothing from another defensive mistake that led to all kinds of panic in the Haverfordwest defence and the giving away of a penalty.

Two-nil was something of an exaggeration but having seen them lose games when the rub of the green has gone against them, it’s high time that they had some luck.

So now I’m going to bed. It’s been another bad day today and I really ought to be doing my best to pul myself round. let’s see how I do tomorrow. Things surely can’t become any worse.

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… something about the gun whose mount they uncovered when they cleaned out the abandoned bunker the other day.

Thanks to a friendly neighbourhood press release, the gun that was mounted on the mounting that you can see in the foreground just behind the wire grill was a naval-type 105mm gun.

That will probably mean that it’s the SKC/32 rather than a derivative of the 88mm flakartillerie gun, and was the secondary armament on several of the larger German ships and also the primary artillery on many of the earlier generations of World-War II U-boats (but not, surprisingly, the Class VII which still used the 75mm gun).

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022What I didn’t find out though was the name of the boat that was in the chantier naval at the side of Gerlean.

That’s because when I looked this afternoon, there she was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!.

Surprisingly, Gerlean had gone too. She’s been in there for quite a while but it looks as if she’s gone back into the water.

And what wouldn’t I have given to have gone back to bed this morning? I know that 07:30 isn’t as early as I used to get up in the good old days when I was feeling better, but it’s still far too flaming early for me these days.

After the medication I came back in here and sat on the chair. And while it would be wrong to say that I fell asleep again, I may well have done for all the work that I was doing.

A strong mug of coffee and a fruit bun at breakfast time did something to revive me and so I tackled the dictaphone notes. I was playing football last night with a couple of teams of girls. There was some confusion going on about the score because one team had had to play either with a woman short or out of position etc. No allowance had been made for that and they thought that that was rather unfair. On my way home I said goodbye. One of the girls who looked like my niece’s youngest daughter – it might have been her – had a tiny long-necked dragon-type of insect thing that she was training. She was training it by either giving it or withholding food. We all thought that it was pretty amazing but thinking on it was the kind of thing that you can do if you are using food as a tuition method. I said goodbye to them all and went outside. I was sleeping in a hedge like in Vine Tree Avenue in Shavington but it was freezing and I thought that I’m not looking forward to sleeping outside tonight in this.

Later on there was something about vehicles in the rush hour, someone driving some kind of I dunno maybe a stolen car but the authorities were already there and there were two vehicles of theirs being in plain clothes that were following this vehicle with these outlaws in it to try to find out what they were doing and where they were going and what their plan was.

And yet in the Magistrates’ Court (whatever this is all about I really don’t know) there was someone being dragged around by his collar lying on his back along the floor. I’ve no idea why and I’ve no idea what it relates to

There was also something about a car and caravan, one of these big North American caravan things. There was traffic stopped or slowing down to let a pedestrian walk across the road. This car and trailer didn’t see it until very late and swerved off the road having to drive in through all of the trees and smashed up while this pedestrian was slowly making its way across to the other side of the road

Finally, Nerina and I were working on VBH, one of my old yellow Cortinas. She was getting together all of the bits and pieces and I was busy adding them on etc. She was becoming very frustrated saying “you’ve no idea how long it’s taking me to get all of this stuff together”. I replied “yes, I can imagine, but it’s not taking me any less time to do all of the work. While we were doing that we were talking about the invasion of Normandy, how there were still one or two hold-out towns of Germans on the coast. We were discussing how quickly it would take them to close the gap. We didn’t think that it would take them long – a bus would do that trip in 3 or 4 minutes. We were talking about that. Just then a couple appeared in a white Ford Transit, people whom we knew who worked on the radio. They stopped and said “hello” and said that they were going off somewhere but they would come back to give us a hand. Off they went. Nerina brought me a dish of pea soup and I spilt most of it down me, on the carpet, on the rug and made quite a mess. I said “not to worry. I’ll change my clothes and put everything in the wash, including the rug etc. Then this couple came back. It hadn’t taken them long. They stopped a little further down the road, got out and went to talk to a couple of other people whome they must have known who were about 100 yards away from us, found some chairs and sat down and made themselves comfortable. We thought “they aren’t going to be coming along helping us, are they?”. Nerina said something like “it’s not surprising that his nickname is “the King” is it?”. I went off to find some clean clothes but in my bedroom all of my furniture had been moved around. I asked my brother what was going on. He wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I finally found my chest of drawers and went to take a clean tee-shirt. he said “you have bed bugs in there” so I opened it and had a sniff and thought “no, there are no bed bugs in here. What’s he talking about?”. We had this really ferocious argument about him changing everything around in the room without talking to me about it.

And I do wish that my family would clear of and leave me alone when I’m in the middle of a nocturnal ramble. It really is quite depressing when they keep on butting in. I don’t mind Nerina – after all, I chose her to come into my life for better or for worse and after a few of the women whom I subsequently encountered, I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t the person that I imagined her to be – but the others I can do without.

For lunch I finished off the half-loaf that I had out. The other half still in the freezer can wait until Monday before I take it out. It went in almost as soon as it was cooked so I hope that it will be nice and fresh.

After lunch I attacked the files for the radio project. One lot went fine with no issues but the second on, that it quite long and the third one, they are presenting me with quite a problem. There was a lot of background noise and I forgot to record some ambience so I had to invent some, and that wasn’t easy.

And then, there’s a difference in tone between what we recorded on the day and what we recorded here in my apartment. There’s much more resonance in the original one because it was recorded in a public hall with different acoustics so I’ve spent most of the afternoon experimenting with echo settings and changing the tone.

That’s a long, hard job and it’s going to take me a while to have it how I want it, if I can manage it at all. If not, I’ll have to “invent” something else.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was at the wall at the end of the car park overlooking the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

Not that there was very much beach for anyone to be on, because the tide is quite well in.There’s still some room for some people to go for a walk if they so choose, but there was no-one down there.

It wasn’t a bad day, actually. There was very little wind compared to what we usually have and it was fairly warm for the time of year too. Not the kind of weather to keep me indoors anyway.

strange lighting effects baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We were however having some strange lighting effects out at sea.

Somewhere over there is the Brittany coast, although you would never guess if I hadn’t told you. There’s some sun shining through a gap in the clouds higer up, but we have some kind of sea mist just offshore and fairly low down.

You can even see some kind of demarcation line in the bay which the mist reaches, and it all looks particularly weird.

What the horizontal lines represent between the mist and the sunlight represent is something else that I can’t understand either. I wish that I’d paid more attention to Miss Coxon’s Meteorology lessons 50-odd years ago.

The guy from the council has finished his work with the concrete pad for the new flagpole so I pushed on to check the bunker before continuing my walk around the headland.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Gerlean and the other boat next to her may well have cleared off, but the third boat is there so I concentrated on trying to identify her.

Her registration number is pretty much out of sight and I can’t decipher it, and we have her name written in some of this stupid illegible font on the wind deflector above the cabin.

Doing the best that I can, I think that she’s called Le Roc A La Mauve III, and that’s not impossible because according to the Companies Register there’s a company based down the road in Donville les Bains called “Le Roc A La Mauve” and which is described as “sea farmers”.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and as for where Gerlean is, look no further.

It sounded to me as if there was a lot of noise coming from the chantier naval and what was happening was that the portable boat lift was busy lowering Gerlean back into the water.

And once in there, she cleared off across the harbour and out to sea. Probably for sea trials, I reckon, after her repairs. It’s not very likely that she’ll make straight for the fishing grounds after having been dropped back into the water after all of this time.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France boats moored up.

It’s the older one, by the looks of things, without the step in the stern. They do still run out to the Ile de Chausey in winter but nothing like as regularly as in the summer.

And hang onto your hats, because we might be seeing some other boats over there. My understanding is that the Channel Island ferries have been sold to a new owner and service is due to restart in late April.

Mind you, we’ve all heard that before. Let’s hope that for this time, it really is true.

la grande ancre mobile crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home for my coffee I had a look in the inner harbour to see what was going on.

The big mobile crane has now been folded up and the machinery that came on the lorry that it unloaded has also gone. Apparently one of the Jersey freighter, either Normandy Trader or Normandy Warrior, came in earlier today to pick it up and take it away.

Back here I had my coffee and then carried on with this sound file editing which is going to take me quite a while and then nipped into the kitchen for a quick tea. More veg and baked potatoes with an ancient breaded soya fillet that I found, simply to make more space so that I could file away the rest of the carrots.

And thzn football. Y Bala v Y Drenewydd. Much more skilful than earlier in the week and Bala won by the only goal. But it was something of a midfield battle and the strikers didn’t have much of a look-in. And of course Drenewydd’s defeat gave TNS an opportunity to go even farther ahead.

They are well out on top, Cefn Druids are well adrift in the basement, but the other 10 places are really up for grabs with no-one stamping their authority on the League.

But now it’s bed-time. And I wonder who’ll be coming walkies with me during the night. After the delightful company that I had a few days ago, Castor, TOTGA and Zero, I shudder to think who’ll be out there waiting for me to appear tonight.

Tuesday 25th January 2022 – DAY EIGHT …

… of my self-imposed exile and I actually set foot outside the building this afternoon, for the first time in over a week.

My Covid test result has come back and, as I expected (well, as I knew, really) it was negative so tomorrow I’m going to restart my physiotherapy sessions.

My plan is to take Caliburn, and for several reasons too –

  1. with not having been out for exercise for over a week, I’m not sure how I’m going to manage the climb up the hill and back again.
  2. with everything floating around and my still not feeling 100%, I don’t want to pick up something while I’m out and about in town.
  3. with having been stuck inside for 10 days and not having done any shopping for a week before, supplies are running low so a trip to Lidl with Caliburn is in order.

And so I went outside to make sure that Caliburn will start, having been idle for almost three weeks and with the temperatures hovering around zero. And sure enough, he fired up fairly easily.

While we’re on the subject of zero … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent much of the night in the company of Zero. And several other people too but it was she who figured the most in all of my lengthy travels.

For some of the time, she was with one of my sisters. They had moved into a house and shared a bedroom, with posters and everything like that all over the bedroom door and wall. I’d been working in the area so I popped in to see how they were doing.

Later on, I dropped straight back into the dream at some point near or nearabouts, with the three of us travelling on a train somewhere.

Later still, there was a reality TV programme about a young girl who I reckoned was Zero, who would choose her boyfriend. The choice had narrowed down to 2. 2 guys turned up, 1 of whom looked like the young dynamic type and the other looked like a slightly older, shy person. It goes without saying that she chose the 1st one. The guy who was 2nd was extremely bitter and disappointed about all of this but I explained to his that he had come a darn sight farther in this competition than almost anyone else and what wouldn’t I have given to change places with him and been up there on the stage at that particular moment when Zero was on the point of making a choice? The conversation drifted around to talk about general life and happiness etc and I can’t remember very much about where it went after this. It was certainly one of those things that if you set your goals too high you’ll fail and you’ll always be unhappy. Success is measured by the level of expectation and I have several examples of this that have occurred during my life. I gave him a few examples but I can’t remember what they mean now.

Still plenty to go at yet. There was 1 of these guys again with a baby or very small child who was about to board a tram. He pointed to one of the trams and said “it’s nice to see some Bristol artwork these days” and went off and boarded his tram.

And then we had 2 girls who had been friends for years. There was a huge pile of glass bottles stored in the garage of one of them. They loaded them into the boot of the 2nd one’s car to take to the recycling plant but half an hour later she was back with the bottles. Her friend asked why and she replied saying “(the name of the other girl’s partner) he’s round there with her at the moment and didn’t want to enter up them”. The other girl went somewhat ashen and said “yes, it was the same with Hugh. They don’t stay faithful for two long”. They began to put the bottles back into the space where the woman had been tidying up after they had gone. Just then her boyfriend or husband came back. He saw what was going on and probably got the message straight away. They started to have an argument which on the girl’s part was more sadness than anything else. By this time I was there and I don’t know why. The girl was talking to me saying “this is where all our money goes”. He was saying “don’t you show him that! Don’t you show him that!” but she showed it to me all the same and said “look where the red circles are”. It was all about guitars that he’d bought and music that he’d bought, everything like that with just 2 or 3 gigs where he’d made a bit of money. The conversation turned round to things like people growing up and taking responsibility, being adult, something that of course never ever happened to me, and it gradually petered out on that kind of discussion.

And finally I was visiting the university and a friend had come over from North America and was staying in the University for 10 days or something. I’d gone to see my niece and her husband, so had he actually come over from North America? I dunno. But I’d gone off to see him and he asked me to stay for a few days so I did, and shared his room. He also had another room-mate and 3 of us in there was rather cramped. We had a very bad night’s sleep the 1st night and the 2nd night his room-mate moved out to go to stay with friends. He and I shared the room but I had another bad night waking up every 5 minutes. In the end he awoke and said that he had things to do so I said that I’d catch him up. It turned out that he had to take a bus to the main university building and the refectory there. I told him “leave some kind of indication where you might be and I’ll catch you up”. He went and I gathered my wash things together and went to find a shower but couldn’t find one. I found some urinals but that was about it. I thought “I’m going to have to go back and take my shower in his room”. I remembered that there was somewhere where food could be obtained so I thought that I’d have a quick look. I couldn’t find it but I found a place where half a dozen old cars had been dumped. Someone was taking some spares off one of them. On the way back to his place there was some kind of dispute between some boys and a couple of girls and a couple of older students from the University had involved themselves in it and were arguing with these boys. I broke into a run, to my own amazement, and ran for miles all the way round the University campus and up these side streets thinking to myself that this is really good with me running like this but I’m never going to meet my friend now because I want to organise myself, go to the bathroom, have a shower, find something to eat and this will take me most of the morning. I wonder where he’ll be by the time that I’m ready to go on the bus and go to the main building to meet him. But I was so happy running that I didn’t really want to stop

There was even more too as it happens, but as you are probably eating a meal or something right now, I’ll spare you the gory details. But is it any wonder that I’m so exhausted these days with all of the mileage that I’m putting in during the night instead of sleeping?

When the alarm went off I arose quite quickly and went off to take my medication, and then to check my mails and messages. Having done that, I sat down and revised my Welsh from last week and prepared for today’s lesson.

There was a new pupil this week as well so some time was spent in introductions, and the lesson itself passed quite uneventfully, and quickly too.

There was some soup left – not much – but there were a couple of frozen potatoes in the freezer that needed eating so I tipped them in as well.

After lunch I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and it’s no surprise that it took me almost all afternoon (apart from going out to play with Caliburn), although I might have had then done sooner had I not … errr … closed my eyes for quite a while. Much longer than I would have expected or would have hoped for.

But there was a pile of mail in my letter box, all of which were for my next series of appointments at the hospital. And instead of being at 13:30 they are for 11:10 which puts paid to my lie-in to recover from my journey.

With something of a start, I noticed the time. 20:05. Tea thus ended up being out of a tin because there was a football match kicking off at 20:45. Cardiff Metro v Barry.

Both teams at the wrong end of the table and it wasn’t difficult to see why because whatever skill there was only occurred in brief flashes. Cardiff Metro have only a small and diminishing pool of players from which to pick, but Barry seem to have gone backwards this season.

Surprisingly, the Met won 2-0. And surprisingly because at one stage they were really lucky to have nil and I reckoned that it would stay like that if they carried on playing until the next matches on Saturday evening. However one goal from a defensive error and a second from a breakaway down the field in the final minutes as Barry were pushing everyone up for an equaliser sums it all up really.

This isn’t Barry’s season, is it?

Right now I’m off to bed, and to see where I’ll end up during the night. If Zero is as tired out as I am after everything that went on during the night, she won’t be joining me, but TOTGA has had a couple of days off and Castor has been away for a week or so so who knows? I might end up with yet more pleasant companions.

But knowing my luck, I’ll get my family again.