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Sunday 4th September 2022 – AFTER ALL THAT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was with Rosemary and we were discussing the Ukrainians.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 18th August 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today but I haven’t crashed out.

Not yet anyway. The night is young and there’s plenty of time to go.

Even more astonishingly, I’ve had yet another letter from the hospital this morning to the effect that I know have no fewer than SIX appointments scheduled for my next visit to the hospital. And if that’s not a record, I don’t know what it.

Perhaps it’s as well if I mention that the letter that they sent me is dated 9th August – that’s before I sent my incendiary missive their way. heaven alone knows what will be the response to that and how many appointments I mend up when the whatsit hits the wherever.

On the other hand, they could of course tell me to clear off, and I’m quite prepared for that possibility too.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022However, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here and let’s talk about what happened today while you admire a few photos of Belle France leading the new Joly France ferry out to the Ile de Chausey.

Despite what I said last night, it ended up being a night much later than I had intended. Just as I was going to bed, TUNNEL OF LOVE, one of the must beautiful songs ever recorded, came round on the playlist.

Of course, it’s not a song that you can only play once. A song about nostalgia and Ohhh! What might have been if only …

Having a song like that going around in my head on my way to bed, of course it’s bound to be a very turbulent night.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This is a long rambling dream yet again but I can only remember bits of it. I was with Liz and Terry and they had a Ukrainian family staying with them pretty similar to Rosemary’s. Terry and Liz were going off somewhere in the morning so the Ukrainian guy came to see me to ask me what they needed doing today. I was surprised at how much his English had improved. I didn’t know so I asked Liz but she wasn’t there. I went to the top of the stairs out to the back garden and shouted for Terry. He came round so I went down to meet him and asked him what he wanted to be done. He pointed to an area round at the back of the shed between the shed and the river where they had plented onions but it was pretty weed-infested. He said “he can do that”. I said “OK – I’ll get him on that” but it was raining quite heavily so I didn’t know if he wanted to go out and do it just then. Then Terry changed into Liz. We had to walk back to the house. I was walking so much easier but when I reached the steps that started to lead up I started to take them 1-2, 1-2 and I actually managed 4 steps like that before my knee gave out which was an impressive turnaround. By this time Liz had gone up to the top and she wondered where I was. She saw me coming behind after her so she carried on. By now she was carrying this huge balloon in front of her. There was a line of school children so she just charged this line and pushed them along, pushed some out of the way and pushed the others forward etc until they all became embedded when she was about 2/3rds of the way down. The kids thought that this was really funny but the teachers weren’t impressed. I went up to Liz and said “Liz, I’m not with you”. There was much more to it than this and I really can’t remember it.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was also something else in a dream about me walking around. There was a girl walking around. She was caught in this flood that knocked her over and she nearly drowned. Luckily she managed to scramble free. That’s about the only thing that I can remember of that dream.

Later on I’d been on a train with some people heading towards Crewe. I alighted at a railway station somwhere to stretch my legs while the passengers were boarding. There were some people there clearly having problems so I went over to see what was going on. They were boarding this train but their train was about 12 hours late and they’d been shunted halfway across the south of France in different directions before they had been finally brought to this railway station somehow and were now going to make their way to Crewe on this particular train. I boarded the train and sat with them, talking about the train and completely lost track of time. They were talking about the stations, at which ones they were stopping. I explained that it was stopping at a lot more than usual because of all of these problems. We rattled through the railway station at Whitchurch and I was still talking when suddenly we were coming into the outskirts of Crewe so I had to run the length of the train to where I was sitting before, unplug and close my computer, pick up everything and hurtle to the door just as the guard was locking it. I thought “I’m going to be stuck on this train now until it reaches its destination wherever that might be”. Luckily he saw me running. He asked if I wanted off. I replied “yes” so he opened the door so that I could fall out onto the platform with all m stuff just as the train pulled away. I thought “that was a really lucky escape there”.

And we’ve had quite a few “train” and “railway station” dreams too.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Ohh no! I’ve not finished yet! Far from it.

I was on another train but I can’t remember now what was happening but it was something to do with meals on board that we never had and dietary requirements that we never had but I just can’t remember what happened with this now.

Nerina was about somewhere as well at some point but I can’t remember why. It was something to do with me tidying up. There were all these beer bottles lying around. I said “this is what happens since you’ve been back isn’t it?”. She said “yes but how many did you drink the other night when it was hot?”. I said that I’d dunk 3. She asked me where I’d found them. I replied that I had them from an Italian guy at work. She wanted to know why I’d been seeing him.

And seeing as I’m teetotal, the idea that I’d be drinking beer is rather bizarre too.

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Finally there were 4 of us, 3 men and Nerina. She had to go for a Covid special treatment because her first injection had come up with something. We all went to this marquee and those 2 stood outside and the 2 of us went in. Going in was something because there were people blocking the door. We had to register Nerina. Eventually she managed to be seen so i went to stand outside. We were waiting for ages watching all these GMT double-deckers drive past. Suddenly she came out so we could leave. I asked about her treatment and how many injections she’d had. She said that this was her 2nd. She asked a couple of strange questions. There was some kind of crate or container on wheels that she was pushing so we took it in turns to push it. First one guy pushed it and then I pushed it and then Nerina and then the other guy. At one point one of the guys said that he was becoming fed up of pushing this which was no surprise for it was up a steep hill on a grassy verge. I said “never mind, I’ll push it”. I pushed it up to the top of the hill. Not too far away was a pub. It used to be called the “Cheshire Cheese”. This guy said “do you know, it’s been years since i’ve been to a pub on a Saturday night for a quiet drink”. I said to him “go and ask the other guy and if he agrees we’ll all go in there and have a drink on the way home” so he went off to check with the other guy about going for a drink.

So after having several of my family members coming round to bother me, I had Nerina last night come to join me. Her presence doesn’t bother me at all because, after all, I did invite her willingly to take part in my life, for better or for worse so she’s every right to be here.

But where are Castor, Zero and TOTGA? I haven’t seen them for an age.

Anyway, it was another difficult start to the morning as I struggled to my feet to face the day. And after the medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few.

There was an interruption when the Postie came by with a large box. So I now have the bits for the fridge and I can open the door without running any risk (for now, anyway) of a load of bottles falling out.

Having eventually finished the dictaphone notes the rest of the day has been spent steam-cleaning the kitchen. Well, not exactly, and for two reasons too –

1) My in-depth cleaning skills aren’t as good as many other people’s. I don’t seem to have the correct technique in this respect
2) These days I can’t work like I used to. I can only do about 10 minutes and then I have to go and sit down for an hour. Consequently it’s taking me an age to do anything.

However you can actually see the difference and if I keep on progressing like this, a little bit here and a little bit there, I might eventually finish it. Who knows?

There were the usual interruptions, like the Postie, breakfast, my lunchtime fruit and also my walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while I was being buzzed by the Nazgul that you saw earlier, I headed off to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

The weather was bright and sunny with a few clouds here and there, but colder than it has been of late. Nevertheless there were still plenty of people down there on the beach.

And even a few taking to the water. I know that at one point I was sorely tempted to go down and join them but today wasn’t one of those days. It wasn’t that warm.

There’s a yellow inflatable boat down there on the rocks and that would be much more like my way of going out to sea.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This isn’t it though.

While I was looking down onto the beach I was also looking out to sea at the same time. And that was when I picked up a white streak of water being disturbed way out in the bay.

A closer look when I returned home and enlarges and enhanced the image shows that it was a zodiac streaking by. He wasn’t hanging about at all. Il a le feu dans ses fesses – “he has a fire up his … ” well, never mind.

The footpath was crowded again today. All of the people who had turned out this afternoon but probably found it too cold on the beach had gone for a walk instead.

f-gcum robin dr400 180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while I was fighting my way through the multitudes I was being overflown yet again.

We’ve seen the Nazgul and the red powered hang-glider, and now it’s the turn of F-GCUM, one of the Robin DR400-180 aeroplanes that belong to the aero club and fly out of the airfield just a couple of miles up the coast.

She took off from the airfield at 16:04, flew down the coast to do a lap around Mont St Michel and then came back home to land at 16:28. So seeing that my photo is timed at 16:20 (adjusted) that’s about right, I reckon.

And I wish that everyone else who takes off from there would file a flight plan.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Fighting my way through the carpark and past the cars parked on the lawn, I ended up at the end of the headland again.

There were a few people loitering around by the cabanon vauban and they were certainly having their money’s worth this afternoon for a change given how things have been this last couple of days.

A little earlier we saw Belle France and the newer Joly France ferries go past on their way out to the island. Those people down there must have had a spectacular view of them going by just offshore

And so must the people down on the bottom path. There were quite a few people wandering around down there too.

wind surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And the two ferries weren’t all that there was to see this afternoon either.

swinging along on the breeze behind them (well, a long way behind them actually) was a windsurfer, looking for all the world totally untroubled by anything. He must have been having a really good time out there just now.

When I was in Brussels I met a young guy who had been a champion windsurfer. He told me that on several occasions he had set out from Kent to try to windsurf across the Channel but kept on running foul of the French marine patrol who didn’t want him and his craft in French waters.

And seeing how quickly this guy was moving on his windsurf board, I could see how it might have been possible to travel that distance.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So leaving the windsurfer to his own devices I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

So ask me how I know that the second ferry in the line was the newer one of the two Joly France boats. The answer is that here at the ferry terminal we have the second one.

And by looking at the windows and seeing that they are in “landscape”, not “portrait” format, that she has a larger upper deck superstructure and there’s no step cut in the stern, we can tell that this one is the older one of the two.

There’s no-one about on board so it looks as if she’s not going anywhere right now.

gerlean fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Over at the Fish processing Plant we have a ship tied up there that’s sitting in the silt, seeing as the tide is not yet in.

She is of course Gerlean and we can recognise her with no problems, having seen her often enough these days tied up over there. No sign of L’Omerta today though.

And as for what’s happening in the chantier naval today, everything over there is exactly the same as yesterday. No additions, and nothing taken away either.

On that note I headed for home and my coffee.

marité marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But before I do, just a little change down there at the loading bay.

All of the freight that’s been there for a few days has now gone. That means that someone has been in to pick it up but I don’t know who that might be. Neither Normandy Trader nor Normandy Warrior have been in port today.

On the other hand, Chausiaise departed at 10:17 and arrived in St Helier at 13:47 and wasn’t back in the harbour when I looked, so that’s the likely answer.

Meanwhile, in other news, Marité and the new arrival, Marie Fernand, are still here thia afternoon.

Back here I had my coffee and did a little more desultory cleaning up. If I’m not careful this place might end up looking as if someone is living here and we can’t allow that.

Tea was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg and it really was delicious too.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll gird up my lojns and try for an early night at long last. A few more travels might do me good but wouldn’t it be nice if one of my favourite young ladies came to visit me? I wonder where they have got to.

And remember the traffic queue and the policemen from Sunday? Apparently it was a “control” and they stopped for questioning 266 motor vehicles.

History does not record how many led to a subsequent prosecution.

Saturday 6th August 2022 – AS BARRY HAY ONCE …

… famously said, IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME.

And, shame as it is to admit it, it was good to have Caliburn at the railway station too because the train can be 15 minutes late arriving in Granville, I can go to do a pile of shopping in Lidl, and still be back home before the usual time that I would have been had I walked, and without any of the stress and fatigue.

Just as well too because apart from the fact that it was a scorching afternoon that would have burnt me to a frazzle had I tried to walk, I’d had another bad night. In fact, when the alarm went off at 05:30 I was already up and about tidying the room.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Never mind the 06:33 to Oostende, I was well in advance for the 06:09 to Knokke via the airport

For a change, I was out of the building quite rapidly and soon at the Martelarenplein. That’s been under renovation for years too so it’s really nice to see it almost clear of the evidence. Just a portaloo and a little compound to go.

But by the looks of things, Birnam Wood is now on its way to Dunsinane, and presumably intending to travel there by taxi too because it’s just behind where they are that the taxis line up to take away the passengers.

And you can see the time on the station clock just above the trees.

glad road sign martelarenplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022It goes without saying that I’m quite happy too. Especially as I’m on my way home.

Seriously … “just for once” – edGlad is Flemish for “slippery”. What this sign is referring to is that there’s a spiral cycle ramp just here and when it rains and the water comes cascading down it’s quite treacherous.

It beats me why someone would want to bring a horse up there, but I was going to go for a closer look but there were no little girls around to come with me, presumably something compulsory, judging by the accompanying sign.

sncb 535 am96 multiple unit gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Bang on time the 06:06 pulled in so I clambered aboard that and headed into Brussels via the airport.

It’s one of the class of AM96 multiple units with the rubber bellows end and the driver’s cab that tilts away when two or more trainsets are coupled together. These are quite comfortable, compared to some of the trains that work this line.

Not much luggage space though which is rather sad for a train that goes back and to via the airport. When the train is full we’re all somewhat overwhelmed with suitcases, although it was quite empty today.

ukrainian refugee centre gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022At Brussels I had a few things to do there so I was glad that I was on the earlier train.

First thing to do was to check the Ukrainian Refugee Centre to make sure that it was still operating. It was all closed up when I went by but that’s presumably due to the early hour. It looks as if it’s still operating in normal times.

Second thing was to draw more cash from the one-armed bandit. I don’t use very much cash at all these days, preferring to pay by card for everything but nevertheless it’s still handy to have some floating about.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that as a result of years of bitter experience, I keep €50 tucked away in my phone case and another €50 tucked away in Caliburn just in case I forget my bank cards when I’m on my travels, and I’ve had to rely on them more than once.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4537 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022There was only a short wait after that because much to my surprise, and everyone else’s too they posted the train to Paris half an hour before the next one so we all swarmed up to the platform.

Today’s train consists of two trainsets, each of 8 carriages. Mine is a “PBA” trainset, one of the Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam Reseau 38000 tri-volt units. Quite elderly now but still quite capable of cruising for hours effortlessly non-stop at speeds of over 300kph.

Despite their age, it’s still by far the most comfortable and quickest way to travel to Paris. Many people think that an aeroplane might be quicker but it takes an age to travel from Brussels to the airport at Zaventam and then from Charles de Gaulle to the centre of Paris.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4533 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022The other trainset is also a “PBA” and that’s a surprise. We’re quite used to having hybrid trains consisting of different types of trainsets.

Everyone suged aboard and I could understand why they posted the train earlier too. There were 16 carriages on this train, all of which except the two buffet cars have 108 seats, and there wasn’t an empty seat on the whole train.

Getting that lot on board would take much longer than 15 minutes.

My seat was squashed in a corner out of the way so I passed the time of the journey choosing more music for my radio shows and keeping myself to myself.

Paris was heaving too. I was lucky enough to grab a seat on the Metro and we whizzed through the drains quite rapidly.

At the exit at the Gare Montparnasse Metro station a couple of people offered to carry my suitcase up the stairs for me, which was very nice of them. I didn’t take up their offer as I have to do all that I can to maintain my autonomy.

Nevertheless I am glad that I found that easier walk down the street instead of struggling through the labyrinth.

Gare Montparnasse was heaving with people this morning but then the first Saturday in August, that’s hardly a surprise. And I was lucky to find a seat next to an electric socket that actually worked so I could charge up the phone and listen to a live concert of Steve Harley and Nick Pynn which has one of the best versions of “Riding The Waves” that I’ve ever heard.

84558 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris france Eric Hall photo August 2022The train back home was as usual a Gec Alstom Regiolis

Once again we were called early to the train which was once more just as well, and for the same reason as before. 2×6-car units and not a spare seat anywhere.

Lucky me! I had a lovely travelling companion but she didn’t say much and I carried on choosing music, reading a couple of books and … errr … falling asleep as we all went West.

The car park at the station was heaving too and leaving took quite a while. But I’m glad that I took the opportunity to go to Lidl because I could stock up with stuff for the next few days.

You’ve no idea how glad I was to be back at my apartment. I struggled up the stairs not once but twice with my stuff and ended up having quite a long chat with my neighbour from upstairs and we put the world to rights for a while.

Once I’d installed myself inside I made a nice strong coffee and a couple of rounds of toast – the first stuff that I’d eaten today and it was 15:30.

While I was drinking the coffee (two cups) I backed up the big computer in here and even before I’d finished the coffee I’d fallen asleep again. This time it was a good one and I was gone for about an hour and a half.

Tea was what I should have had last night. Alison coming by yesterday was a surprise so we had eaten out and I brought the stuff back with me today. It’s a shame to waste it.

There was the dictaphone to deal with at some point too. I was cooking some food in the oven. There was some stuff in there that I’d bought and there was a pie in there, something like that. I put the pie in what was really the vegetable container in the fridge but that was in the oven. When I went to turn the pie over to do the other side I noticed what i’d done and had to take it out. I went to pull the vegetable tray out but it was made of glass and really hot. I dropped it on the floor. Luckily it didn’t break and didn’t damage my pie. I had to look around for a pyrex bowl in which to put my pie so it would heat up properly in the oven while everything else in there was cooking

Later I was in charge of a gaol last night in Alabama or Georgia somewhere in the USA. There was turmoil because the State declared itself independent from the USA and everything changed. The townspeople wanted to take control of the gaol because there was an Afro-Caribbean prisoner in there who they wanted to summarily execute. I’d arranged for my men to be in the prison so that there would be no violent takeover. Anyway the people came in. I was standing there with a loaded shotgun. They considered that to be provocation. One man sidled up towards me supposedly out of my vision to try to overpower me but I stepped back and drove the butt of the shotgun into his stomach. I’d sharpened the butt of the shotgun into a point so it was like a spear. It pierced his skin and that took him by surprise. We ended up in a back room where I stabbed him several more times with this shotgun. He ended up unconscious on the floor. I walked back into the room with the shotgun in one hand and an automatic pistol in the other and asked “what happens now?”. That took them completely by surprise that I’d managed to overpower this guy so easily.

Finally Zero’s dad had given me a small red FIAT car that was in really good condition. I’d brought it in through my front door and into the house to give to Nerina, the idea of the house being that he couldn’t claim it back just in case there was a problem because I wasn’t sure about how reliable this gift was going to be. Then I had to go and do some work on the computer so I went upstairs to my office . I’d arranged all the furniture at one time that meant that I couldn’t see the computer screen from where my desk was so I had to rearrange it all back again. While the computer was warming up there was a programme on the internet about some kind of race through these fields by the people of this village. They had become so bogged down in the mud etc that they’d had to bring dogs in to tow them out. One of the competitors had to stay behind because they had a pair of chains to use to attach these dogs to all the teams. Instead of being clear favourites they were way down the field by the end. The judges had to mark their lateness as being compulsory rather than voluntary and that was controversial. The judges had to stay there really late to mark this particular leg so they weren’t happy either. It was all rather chaotic

It’s been an age since Zero has come for a wander with me during the night but every now and again her father pops up uninvited. He’s obviously “The Banquo at my banquet, a cuckoo in my nest”. Why can’t he send Zero instead?

So now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted and a good sleep will really do me good, I reckon. I’ve been invited out tomorrow but I don’t know if I shall go. I’m not feeling up to it right now so we’ll have to see if I’m feeling any better in the morning.

Sunday 31st July 2022 – I’VE ACTUALLY BEEN …

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 31 July 2022… out and about today, just for a change.

There was a group called “Jet Blast” entertaining the lunchtime crowds at the summer street market at St Martin de Bréhal up the coast from here and Laurent had sent me a mail to ask me if I would like to go.

It meant setting an alarm this morning and regular readers of this rubbish will recall how well that goes down on a Sunday, but it’s high time that I got out and about to changer mes idées as they say around here.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that most people think that I ought to get out more often.

As a consequence of my early start (and isn’t 09:50 an early start on a Sunday?) I was early in bed for a Saturday night. Not quite before midnight but there wasn’t all that much in it.

It was a highly mobile night with tons of stuff on the dictaphone but I didn’t have time to transcribe it. I didn’t even have time for the medication because the side-effects take a while to work. Instead, I went and had a shower and a good clean-up. I need to look pretty.

Bang on time to the second Laurent rang the bell so I went downstairs, grabbing a raincoat on the way because it looked grey and overcast. And then we headed off.

st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It’s been several years since I’ve been to St Martin and I’d almost forgotten what it looked like.

And with it being the summer market, the place was packed. We were lucky enough to find a car parking place within staggering distance of the centre of the town which was just as well because I’m not as mobile as I used to be.

And then we walked down the road into town past some of the really nice houses and Laurent filled me in with a few of the secrets of the owners of the properties.

The larger places are mainly second homes of wealthy people from Paris who have all kinds of skeletons in their cupboards that only the locals know.

st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The main street was closed to traffic and that was where the commerçants had set their stalls out.

You could buy almost anything here this afternoon, and there were all kinds of people walking around carrying all kinds of things that they had purchased.

Even the local lifeboatmen – the Sauveteurs de Mer – had a stall selling tee-shirts and similar in order to raise funds.

The cafés and restaurants were packed as well and trying to find a place to have a coffee was simply not possible this morning.

st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Instead we walked down to the promenade to see what was happening there.

The tide doesn’t come in anything like as much as it does at Granville down the coast so there’s always quite a few people enjoying the beach at all hours. Except, of course today, because I really was thinking that it was going to rain and so did everyone else by the looks of things.

The likelihood of rain doesn’t make any difference to anyone who fancies a dip in the sea hence the two people who were brave enough to do in there this morning and good for them

marité st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I was glad that I’d taken the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS with me.

As usual, I was having a good browse around out at sea and was able to pick up some sails out there on the horizon. It didn’t take much identifying to work out who she was. She was of course Marité out and about this morning in the bay.

As for the boat that was with her, I couldn’t recognise her and there wasn’t anything shown on the radar so whoever she was, she didn’t have a working AIS on board so that was that.

la granvillaise st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022You don’t need an AIS beacon to tell who she is.

The configuration of her sails is enough to suggest that she’s La Granvillaise and in fact when I returned home and enlarged and enhanced the image I could see the writing of her registration number on her sails.

There was actually quite a lot of maritime traffic out there this morning but down at sea level it’s not always easy to make it out. I’m much happier at 50 metres above sea level on my cliffs back home.

Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And talking of the cliffs back home, it’s amazing what you can see with a good zoom lens.

The long tall building in the centre is the College Malraux and the slightly taller building to the left is where I live. The slightly smaller building to the left of that is where the public rooms are, where the wedding took place yesterday. The whitish building in between the two is the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs.

My afternoon walk goes from my building along the top of the cliffs to the right all the way down to the end where the lighthouse is, and then back down the path on the other side of the headland.

So now you know.

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So then we had “Jet Blast” up on stage.

A three-piece band that performed a pretty staple diet of rock and funk music, I’ve seen much better than these. But I’ve also seen much worse too and for a small seaside resort on a Sunday morning I don’t suppose that they were too bad.

What let them down very much was their choice of songs. Musically there wasn’t much wrong with them but with the kind of voices that they had, they shouldn’t be trying to sing songs like “Live And Let Die”.

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As for their version of “The Immigrant Song”, I much preferred the version by THE VIKING KITTENS.

And who could possibly sing the wrong words to “Born To Be Wild”? Even with me the way I am these days – I can sing the lyrics perfectly to obscure rock songs of the 1960s but ask me what I went into the kitchen for five minutes ago.

It reminds me of when I went to see “The Who” in London back in the early Seventies with Roger Daltrey singing “… errr … root ti toot ti tattoo too”.

We did have a few drops of rain too after about 15 minutes but it didn’t last all that long. Nothing at all to worry about.

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Their finale was a rather low-tempo version of SOUL SACRIFICE, a long way from the original version.

What was interesting about this is that in the live version by Santana, there’s a very lengthy percussion solo. “Jet Blast” imitated that (to a certain degree) by not only the drummer but the guitarist and the bassist abandoning their guitars for some percussion instruments.

It was certainly a different way of performing it so hats off to them for initiative and innovation, even if it lacked the inspiration of the original. But then no-one can play Santana quite like Carlos Santana

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022They were on stage for about 90 minutes or so altogether and all in all I don’t suppose that it was too bad at all.

Everyone in the audience seemed to enjoy it anyway, some more than others.

Just for a change, I didn’t take too many photographs, but those that I took are ALL ON LINE

We managed to grab a table in a café afterwards and have a coffee and a chat. We made a few plans for some more trips out but all of that depends very much on how things develop with my health. I can’t plan too far ahead these days.

kite surfer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on Laurent drove me home.

Before I came in I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening there and, being distracted by a kite surfer, I forgot to look down onto the beach.

Back here I had work to do. I went through and edited all of the photos and created the web page to which I referred to make sure that all of my images from today are on line. And then I set about transcribing the mountains of dictaphone notes.

I was at the top of Vine Tree Avenue in Rope Lane. There were a couple of people waiting for the bus. Just then Sweep, my grey cat, came and they started to call it names so I asked what was up. They said that it was mean because it attacked them. I picked her up and stroked her and asked them if she looked as if she was a mean cat that attacks people. They must have been mean to it to make it attack. We had a little chat about cats etc. Then I decided that I’d come in and I’d bring Sweep in with me. I brought her into my flat but she didn’t seem all that happy being indoors and wanted to go back out again. I was getting the impression that she was going to start on a kind-of new life somewhere that didn’t involve me as a human in it and I felt really disappointed by that.

Later on I’d gone to get a job in an office somewhere talking about car insurance. It was specialising in Ford Cortinas. The talk that I was given told me that I was going to be learning all about Cortinas even down as far as the MkII. I said that that was very nice but I owned my first MkI Cortina in 1974 … “actually 1973” – ed … and since then I’ve owned the lot and I have at the moment a MkII, 3xMkIV and 2xMkV. We had a chat about them. Then I went round to one of my garages because I had Cortinas dotted about all over the place in different garages and workshops. In one of them I had a couple of engines up on pallets but the pallets were uneven so I was looking for slivers of wood to even up the pallets. I was hunting around for ages for these, then I suddenly realised that in my workshop I’d have them where I’d been cutting wood. My workshop was open with hordes of people milling around inside it, all my tools and everything were in there. I went in and found a few bits of wood but by dismantling some kind of template that I had in there I found all the wood that I needed. There was a girl in there whom I thought looked quite attractive, a young girl. She came over to me and asked “didn’t you used to do the car boot sales for MENCAP?”. I replied “I was there driving a friend but I didn’t actually take part in the organisation or anything. I was certainly present”. She was telling me who she was there with and having a chat. I said “hang on a minute”. I was chewing on a piece of wood. “Let me take this wood out of my mouth”. She looked astonished. “What are you chewing on?”. I replied “wait a minute” and took these pieces of wood out of my mouth. I started to chat to her again and we had a nice friendly conversation.

I had an office at the back of a railway station on top of a railway line. I was doing some research into one of their locomotive engineers there. Something came up about this nationally so I offered to let someone have a look at my research. They seemed to think that I was in much more need of help myself because of all of the mess that I was in. I said that I was in a mess but it was all a question of organisation, not of facts. I collected a great many of the papers and it was just a matter of sorting them out but they were quite welcome to come along and refer to some of them while this was all going on.

There was something in there that they were going to be giving their workers fewer holidays and less paid time off and that sparked a walk-out of people from there.

There was something going on about computer programming. I can’t really remember very much but it was to do with people getting old and cars parked in the street restricting the flow of traffic but I can’t remember any more about this.

We (whoever “we” were) were at a motorcycle rally and someone’s motorcycle had broken down. We went to have a look at it and took the back wheel out which was no problem at all but it wouldn’t detatch from the hub housing. I left it on one side and had a look around the rest of the motorbike. In the end the driver admitted that what was happening was that it was the primary-chain tensioner had given up so I asked to know a way of adjusting the timing or getting a new chain and tensioner to fit. He explained that with these new-fangled motorcycles it’s not as easy as that and in any case you can’t just set the timing by eye even if you were able to change the chain and tensioner. It has to be done by some kind of celestial line-up that means that you have to take the motorcycle to either Mexico City or Moscow in order to set the timing. This is way beyond any technical capability I ever had so I could see that I was going to have to admit defeat before I started on this particular motorbike because there was no way that I had this kind of facility.

Finally I had a go at the music that I’ll be using in the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow, pairing it off ready for writing the notes tomorrow morning.

With all of everything that had been going on today I’d forgotten to take the dough out of the freezer so there was no pizza tonight. Instead I had sausage, beans and chips and that made a very acceptable meal. I also finished watching FAREWELL MY LOVELY which is one of the most powerful films that I’ve ever seen, up there in the same class as THE MALTESE FALCON and THE BIG SLEEP.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning and I’ve plenty to do as usual. And then I have to summon up the courage to go to Leuven on Wednesday.

How I’m not looking forward to that.

Tuesday 26th July 2022 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

hang gliding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… problems that I’ve been having over the past few days, today has been a rather better day from that point of view.

So while you admire several photos of all of the aerial activity that was going on outside this afternoon, I’ll tell you something about it.

Last night, I was much later than usual in going to bed. There was a Hercule Poirot programme, MURDER IN THREE ACTS, that came round on the playlist and so I stayed up to listen to it instead of going to bed.

Sleep is of course quite important but sometimes a little relaxation is quite good for the soul and I enjoyed the radio programme very much.

35ma aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As a result, trying to wake up at 07:30 was extremely difficult indeed and I was very lucky that I managed to beat the second alarm to my feet.

After the medication and so on I came in here to deal with my mails and messages and then I had things to do.

However I didn’t do much. Surprisingly I didn’t fall asleep today (although I was pretty darned close to it) hence the day being rather better, but for all the good that I was doing today it didn’t really make much difference.

At least the weather was warmer today than yesterday. We’re slowly climbing back into heatwave territory.

45ahb pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was rather a late breakfast today, with the last of my delicious fruit buns and some nice strong coffee.

And a rather late lunch too. Just the usual fruit at the moment. I’m still taking a lot of care about my eating habits and trying where I can to cut down on everything. This diet of fruit and nuts hasn’t lost me much weight but you ought to see me climb trees.

After lunch I went through everything that was in the kitchen and sorted out what I needed to make another batch of fruit buns. I seem to be running low on just about everything right now and I’ll have to stock up on my baking supplies.

It would be nice though if I could bring up here the two cupboard things that I bought in IKEA and install the proper oven.

What a state to get it, hey?

yellow autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While we’re on the subject of all of the aerial craft that went by overhead this afternoon, here’s a horrible photo of the yellow autogyro.

Horrible because it was taken directly into the sun rather quickly through a gap in a couple of buildingss, but important because it’s the yellow autogyro.

And why that is important because the other day we saw a beautiful new and shiny red autogyro fly past and the thought had gone through my mind that the reason why I hadn’t seen it before might have been because it might have been the yellow one having been given a respray.

But as the yellow one is still up in the air then that can’t be the case.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Rather later than usual, for reasons that you will soon find out if you read on down to the end, I went out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I wandered across the car park through the crowds to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

There wasn’t much beach to be on but that didn’t matter much because the warm weather had driven many of the people into the water to cool down. It was that kind of day today.

Quite windy too, as you have probably guessed when you saw the squadrons of Nazguls flying by overhead in one of the earlier photos.

man on paddle board baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was quite a bit of excitement going on out in the bay too.

This guy was out on what looked to be a paddle board but he’d stopped to sit down and have a rest for a while when I saw him.

At first I thought that he might have been in a kayak but on closer inspection I ruled that out.

And he was on his own too, which is just as well because making love in a kayak is rather like Watneys Beer – it’s f***ing close to water.

yacht
marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was walking down the path and being overflown by all kinds or aerial machines, I was also looking out to sea to see what was happening there.

Through the gap in the trees at the far end of the headland I could see Marité riding at anchor in the Baie de Mont St Michel near Le Loup – the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour.

But what’s interesting in this photo is the colour of the grass in the background. It’s a rather scorched light brown colour right now. Apart from that 5-minute shower that I mentioned the other day, we’ve not had any rain for ages and everywhere is looking rather like North Africa at the moment.

yacht joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Marité wasn’t the only ship out there in the bay this afternoon either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we’d seen Belle France out at the bottom of the bay with, probably, a full load of passengers going for a look at Mont St Michel. Today, we have one of the Joly France ferries coming back from down there with a full load of passengers.

Have a look at her windows. They are in “portrait” format rather than “landscape” format and so that tells us that she is the newer one of the two. Her upper deck superstructure is smaller than her sister too.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Fighting my way through the crowds I wandered off through the car park down to the end of the headland.

And this afternoon, we had a fisherman out there on the rocks this afternoon. Just one fisherman, and he didn’t look as if he was all that interested in catching anything. He didn’t have a bucket of anything in which to put his catch.

Mind you we have actually seen someone catch something with rod and line a couple of months ago, although I didn’t see what he actually did with his catch. I was just hoping that it wasn’t one of Austin Powers’ bad-tempered sea bass.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022With all of the activity out in the bay and the fisherman on the rocks, it’s hardly surprising that that there was quite a crowd watching everything that was going on.

Sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban in a front row seat was this family watching Joly France go sailing past around the headland and Marité at anchor in the bay, as well as a host of other small craft out there too.

Having watched everything for a while I wandered off down the path and around the corner to go and see what was happening down at the port this afternoon

ch517520 yann frederic ch898472 cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022L’Omerta was still moored at her position at the Fish Processing Plant but I was more interested in the two boats that were moored behind her.

The one at the front is Yann Frederic and the one behind is Cap Lihou. I’m not quite sure what they were doing over there but there was quite a crowd of people watching them doing it and there was a van over there looking as if it was unloading some shell-fishing crates.

Meanwhile, La Confiance II was still in the chantier naval and Chausiaise was moored up at the ferry terminal.

The harbour gates were opn by now and all of the other fishing boats were streaming into the inner harbour.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And once everyone had gone sailing in, it was the turn of the ships in the inner harbour to come sailing out.

And just for a change these days I was right yesterday about the freight on the quayside when I said that it wouldn’t be there for long. Out of the inner harbour came Normandy Trader with a load of freight, including the swimming pool that had been on the quayside yesterday.

The guy walking on the deck by the crane is Nathan the skipper.

You can tell that she’s Normandy Trader and not Normandy Warrior by the raised deck at the back of the wheelhouse.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, this is why I’d gone out later than normal this afternoon.

Word had reached me on the grapevine that Marité was out and about this afternoon so I imagined that she would want to come home when the harbour gates opened and I wanted to see it.

Sure enough, as soon as the commercial congestion at the harbour entrance eased, she pulled up her anchor and set sal for the harbour and I watched her come into port and tie up.

She had quite a crowd of people on board too so it must have been a good trip. It’s a shame that her staff aren’t nicer otherwise I might be out there myself one of these days.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was quite a crowd of people lining the walls watching her come into port this afternoon.

And that had led to some of the worst examples of pathetic parking that we have seen for a while. It’s a subject that I’ve tried to avoid but sometimes it’s inescapable and it’s the kind of thing that brings these holidaymakers and their caravanettes into disrepute.

When he finally moved off, he went to try to park in a car park in which caravanettes are prohibited as if it didn’t matter at all.

These caravanette drivers have a logic that only works in their bizarre minds

normandy trader bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Before going in for a drink, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to check on Normandy Trader.

It had taken me an age to make sure that Marité was tucked up safely in bed so by now Normandy Trader was miles out at sea. I was hoping that I’d catch her a bit closer to shore than I did.

Back here I had a drink of iced almond milk and then had a look at how my fruit bread was doing. I’d mixed up the dough before going out and now that it was proofed I divided it up into little rolls and put them on some baking paper on the shelf.

When they’s had another go at proofing, I brushed them with milk and dusted them with brown sugar and bunged them in the oven to bake for 35 minutes.

While they were baking I had a listen to the dictaphone. I had been playing in a rock group during the night. I was talking to one of the girls in it. There were a couple of people who were in the group who were very insecure and needed a lot of guidance. We had one or two people who would do that. For example, One girl (wit whom I’d worked a few times in the dim and distant past) needed a lot of prodding around and guiding and taking places and everything and there was a guy near to where she lived and where she worked who would do all of that. Some of us were very self-reliant and would make our own way without any problems. Others needed just as much help but couldn’t really find anyone to do things for them. It all came to be rather chaotic. There were the wrong kind of people hanging around and it was a shame because it was a really good experience except for these people. I was talking to one of the girls, explaining about that girl’s helper and how it would have been nice if everyone had found someone like that who could have led them around and worked on their personal development or whatever so that they would have been much more comfortable with themselves and the travelling.

But what’s she doing making a rather dramatic appearance in my nocturnal voyages? She’s someone about whom I haven’t thought for even a minute for probably 38 years

Later on I was out in my van and I’d encountered a young girl somehow. I’d lent her the music and she was really delighted with it. I’d made arrangements to go and pick it up again but when I arrived she was at her grandmother’s house at Kidsgrove up at the back, Newchapel way and a really steep hill to get there. I’d gone with Caliburn. Her grandmother had given me a list of things to do, some of which I could do on the spot and some I couldn’t, like disposing of a pile of mail for her etc. I invented some kind of procedure that meant that I’d have to come back there again in the hope that I’d see this girl when I went back. I had to sort out my tapes that she had. The grandmother asked me something about this job and I was stuck because I couldn’t remember what it was that I’d told her that I’d do. I had to invent something quite quickly. For once it seemed that I was going to be getting somewhere with some young girl which was very nice. When I left I noticed that I didn’t have much fuel in Caliburn so I’d have to go along and find some fuel somewhere and that wasn’t easy. This was once for a change something positive, even if I didn’t actually “get the girl” during the dream.

And Newchapel again? I’ve been there a few times during the night, probably more times than I ever was there in real life. That’s a mystery too.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022By now the fruit buns were cooked and they looked absolutely delicious so I took them out of the oven to cool, and then thought about making tea.

Plenty of stuffing eft over from yesterday’s pepper so I made myself a taco roll with rice and vegetables and that really was delicious again. Spicy food tastes so much better after it has marinaded for 24 hours.

Back in here I wrote up my notes from today and engaged in an argument on my social network with someone who posted a photo that he had taken in Norway of a car and was insisting that it was a MkIII Cortina estate when it was actually a Ford Taunus

Yes, I can be a pedant when I have to be.

Tomorrow I’m hoping that I’ll feel better. Not crashing out (even if it was touch-and-go on occasion) today was already an improvement despite the lack of sleep, so a good sleep might make me feel even better.

But as events have shown, quite often a good sleep usually makes me feel worse. But whatever it is, it’s still quite depressing.

Friday 22nd July 2022 – THAT WAS HORRIBLE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I really hope that we do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, that was €28:00 very well spent.

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

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

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

Monday 18th July 2022 – WE’RE LIVING …

burnt grass on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022IN A DUST BOWL.

That’s the path that leads up to the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc (the lighthouse is behind me) and “scorched earth” has nothing on this.

The grass is dying and whenever there’s a gust of wind it whips a cloud of dust into the air. We are “living in interesting times” right now and if people don’t get a grip and do something, it will be like this much more often.

Nature is indeed starting to fight back at the human race and we have only ourselves to blame.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in 2018 I was on Bylot Island in the Canadian Arctic with an Inuit guy. He told me that where we were standing was where he used to come with his kayak when he was a boy to collect ice from the glacier that was here so that his grandfather could have some fresh, pure water for his tea.

He then took us to where the glacier was on that day. We had to walk a little over two kilometres.
“How old are you, Michael?”
“I’m 22”

Anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming needs to take a little trip to the Arctic and talk to the Inuit who are watching their traditional way of life evaporating before their eyes..

But anyway, I digress.

Nature was certainly getting its own back on me last night. It was far too hot to sleep and I had a miserable night tossing and turning.

However I must have done at some point because there was some stuff on the dictaphone. I’d been with the boys in the band, one of the groups in which I used to play back in the mid-70s. We’d had to go to the Post Office to pick up some new equipment for one of them. When we arrived there was an enormous queue so we had to fight our way to the front eventually. There were crowds of people in the Post Office but the woman didn’t have the time to look for it. She wanted us to come back later. I said “yes, how about 45 minutes?”. That would give us chance to have a bag of chips or something for lunch. She replied “yes, that’s OK”. We went outside but the other 2 didn’t want to wait. They got into the van and drove off home which left me wandering around Crewe wondering what I was going to do. Eventually I drove home and parked the vehicle. I took this speaker cabinet out of the van. It was on 4 castors and I had to push it home over a muddy farm track. It wasn’t easy to push this. It was narrow and there were cars and bikes coming so I had to pull into the side to let them go. A girl appeared – a girl who lived in our building. She said that she would help me push it. I replied that there was no need, I could manage but she pushed it quite easily which surprised me. We reached the part where I’d put down a wooden flooring in this lane. We started pushing it and it really was easy. We pushed it between us up to my building. She made some facetious remark about the carpet that I’d laid down for my speaker. I said “yes and I’d have finished the rest of the way to the van had I had more wood but I’ve not been to Canada for the last few years and that’s where I usually buy it. It’s dirt-cheap there”. We entered the lift and I asked her what floor she wanted. She said “the first floor”. I wanted the ground floor so the lift took us down. I thought that it would take us to the first floor where she lived but instead it went on down to mine. We both left the lift and started to move the speaker cabinet. I thought that it was polite to ask her if she wanted to come in for a coffee or something but my place was a total tip. Even so I thought that it was the polite thing to do to ask her if she would like to come in.

Later on I was driving a taxi last night. On the radio the instructions came through to go and pick up someone called “Jagger”. They said that the address was in Walthall Street. I reached the street and asked for the number of the house. They said that they didn’t have it but it was the one with the wooden frame and the music. I drove down the street, eventually found it and knocked on the door. This old woman came out and Mick Jagger came as well. They both got into my cab. I asked them where they wanted to go to. The woman said that she lived next door to TB Furnishing. That shop I didn’t have a clue where it was. She said that it was one of the streets off Nantwich Road. I headed up that way and when I reached Nantwich Road heading towards the railway station the woman said “it’s not in this direction. Everyone else usually goes another way”. I replied “you tell me which way they go and I’ll take you that way. It’s no problem”. I couldn’t work out where this place was. Mick Jagger was going to Nantwich once I dropped off this old woman but I couldn’t get this old woman out of the cab because I didn’t know where she wanted dropping off.

Finally I was at work and someone came over to me to ask if I recognised a song. They said the first line of it. It was a Barclay James Harvest song “See The Gambler Make a Stand”, one of the tracks that I play on the acoustic guitar. I recognised the song immediately and told them the name … THE WORLD GOES ON” – ed … and which album it was off … “Octoberon” – ed … one of the best albums ever recorded in Progressive Rock (which it is). They asked a little more about it so I said that I would look it up on the computer. I went over to their computer to call up one of the music sites to look at it. They were busy playing on their computer, playing something on there so I had to use a different keyboard. This involved pressing piles of mud, pushing my finger deep into these piles of mud outside their vehicle to type this up. Of course, dealing with mud is not very easy to find the correct keys and their computer was even slower than mine. I thought that it would take quite a time to go through.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was up and out of bed quite quickly. Having taken my medication and checked my mails and messages I sat down to prepare the radio programme that I wanted to do today. I wasn’t in any rush and it took longer to do than some of the ones that I’ve done quite recently.

But it really ought to have taken longer than it did because what I do is to prepare 10 tracks for about 48 minutes, 10 speeches that go for about 8 minutes after being edited, work out how much time is left for a final track, knock off 45 seconds for a final closing speech and then choose a track for the time that remains and then record the final speech which, after editing, should last for 45 seconds.

And in case you are wondering, 300 characters of text works out at 17 seconds of speech.

Anyway, usually it all over-runs so I have to edit some speech out from here and there to make it all fit and that can take a lot of time, but today it was a perfect fit. Just 0.3 seconds under, and lengthening a few pauses took that up in a couple of mouse strokes.

While I was listening to it, I was on the hunt for a Welsh Summer School. The problem with having a teflon brain is that nothing sticks to it so I need to keep it working.

Coleg Cambria, with whom I study, had a couple but for some reason that I don’t understand, our tutor didn’t tell us about them. So they have been and gone.

So rummaging through a few of my contacts elewhere I ended up with a tutor whom I know from Coleg Gwent with whom I did those supplementary classes earlier this year. Her college had a Summer School that started today and after much binding in the marsh I managed to blag my way onto it.

So that’s me occupied for the rest of the week.

While I was at it I also had a good session on the guitar today.

For a change, I missed breakfast so I ended up having my fruit bun for lunch with a pile of fruit. And then, regrettably, the bad night caught up with me and that was that for an hour. No problem sleeping in this heat when I’m on my chair, is there?

As usual I headed off out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And I rather wished that I hadn’t either because it was breathtakingly hot and I was seriously considering going back into my apartment.

As usual I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to have a look down at what was going on down there

There weren’t all that many people out there this afternoon and that’s no surprise because anyone with any sense would be sitting inside the fridge keeping cold on an afternoon like this. Somehow I don’t think that being in the water will cool anyone down enough today

seagulls people in water plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There wasn’t anything at all happening out at sea this afternoon, but I was rather intrigued by the people here.

There was a kid on the rocks at the edge of the water doing something or other and an adult with a couple of kids in some swimming rings shaped like swans.

Interestingly though there was a flight of seagulls on their way over to inspect the proceedings and presumably making a bombing raid on the people in the water. That would have livened up the proceedings quite considerably.

The path was completely empty this afternoon. There wasn’t anyone at all out there as I headed off towards the lighthouse.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There might have been nothing happening out at sea but we had something going on in the air this afternoon.

It was making quite a racket even though I couldn’t see it, but eventually I managed to lay my eyes on it. It was one of the powered hang gliders on its way out into the bay.

Unfortunately I can’t tell which one because it was flying so high that I was struggling to make it out.

At the car park at the end of the headland there were just four or five cars and no more than 15 people in total. That was all that I saw out there this afternoon.

No real surprise. One of my friends told me later that the temperature this afternoon had reached 41°C and sent me a photo to prove it. That’s what I call warm.

buoys pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

Nor anyone walking around the lower path either so I was having a good look at the buoy that we saw yesterday, simply because today it seems to have found a friend. There’s another buoy there by its side now.

There were a couple of others further on round the headland too but I left them to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I was expecting all that much.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon we had a couple of boats moored up.

At the front is the little freighter Chausiase and behind her is one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey. No step cut out of the stern so she would be the older one of the two.

No Channel Island ferries though. Victor Hugo is still moored up in the inner harbour.

But the situation regarding the Channel Island ferries is becoming clearer by the day. There was a court hearing today that seems to suggest that the previous operators of the ferry service have not handed over the keys and documentation that the new operators require.

They have entered a defence against the action but my understanding is that it’s been struck out, so they are appealing.

l'omerta saint andrews port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022For that reason we’ll have to turn our attention elsechere.

Like to the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant where our game of musical ships continues with L’Omerta moored there again in her usual position. And behind her is the little trawler Saint Andrews.

Plenty of vehicles around there too on the lower level, and up above are a couple of piles of fishing equipment.

There is one of the little harbour lighters there too but I can’t identify her unfortunately, even if she does have a name.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On my way back to my apartment and my coconut drink, I noticed that Martité was back in town.

No point though in going to ask when their next trip out will be, because the answer will be “it’s all on the website” and they’ll go back to chatting amongst themselves.

So with my coconut drink I pressed on with dealing with this Welsh Summer School and making sure that I had been accepted. And, of course, thanking Karen (who taught the supplementary courses and who found this course for me at lunchtime) for her assistance.

Byddaf i yna I said. “I’ll be there’.

As I said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they are taking quite seriously this “Million Welsh Speakers by 2025” or whenever the time limit is.

Tea tonight was a rather sad stuffed pepper. “Sad” in the sense that it was the pepper itself that was showing signs of age. The stuffing was excellent.

So now I’m off to bed. I have four days of Welsh Summer School now for the rest of the week and that will keep me out of mischief for a while. But I bet that I’ll forget it all by the time that our course starts up again in September.

Saturday 18th June 2022 – I WAS THINKING …

“which is always dangerous” – ed … of hitting the road this weekend.

But a temperature of 32°C in an old van without air-conditioning heading off into the wild blue yonder is more than any man can stand and so I eschewed the idea for now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In order to underline the situation, I’ll post a couple of photos that I took of the crowds of people swimming in the sea today

You can tell how warm it was just by looking at these photos.

It was quite warm during the night too and I was tossing and turning for much of it. It was really difficult to go off to sleep.

By about 06:45 I’d effectively given up and I was sitting there waiting for the alarm to go off when with about 5 minutes to go I drifted off to sleep again and when the alarm went off I awoke with a start.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Nevertheless I was out of bed as it rang and went off for my medication.

When I’d checked my mails and messages afterwards the first thing that I did was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d had the insurance through for the van. I remembered distinctly putting the certificate and policy in the container up on the roof rack while I was sorting everything out but it wasn’t there when I went to look for it. I turned the van inside out but still couldn’t find anything. By now we were 6 months into the insurance. I said that I would have to have a duplicate but my brother didn’t think that they would send me one after 6 months if I turned round and said that it was missing. I was just going to say that I’d misplaced it but he didn’t think that that was a good enough excuse for having a duplicate. We had one of our interminable discussions about it. In the end he decided that he would search through Caliburn to see if he couldn’t find the papers. at that point I left him to it. No point in both of us doing the same thing and getting annoyed with both of us doing it

We’re now in a Welsh lesson. A few of us given Welsh lessons on top of this double decker bus. One by one we must have been plucked off and disappeared because further along the programme nothing was heard but Welsh on this bus. The people weemed to be unaware that there was a party of English persons I fell asleep here

Finally it was the World Series of baseball and one of the coaches would be happy having amateur referees in it. That was a crazy thing to do because these World Series games go on for every. In any case his tactics were all wrong and the other teams were exploiting his tactics. The one team that had made it to the final had some depressing tactics of their own, like timewasting and making each play count minutes although they did manage to bottle up the defence of the others and make them run down one corridor. This violent hugging had cost the coach a $25 fine at the last game and was likely to be repeated if he continued.

At some point as well I was with Louise. She had had a long wheelbase Landrover that she had fitted a short cab. She’d sold the long wheelbase cab to someone in the area but he’d died before he could collect it so his executor was trying to haul away the cab. She was a kind of mouse who wouldn’t engage with him because she said that it was this other guy’s, even though he’d died. She had it all laid out in bits where it should go, here and there, everything. She showed me round quite proudly. Her uncle was there as well. He was talking to me about this and that. We were out there and all of a sudden it started to rain a torrential rainstorm. He said that he had to nip over and buy some fish but if I got in his car and sheltered from the rain he would come back when he had his fish and drive me home

The bit about Caliburn’s insurance was interesting. It expires at the end of the month and I had the new paperwork the other day. I’d forgotten all about it completely and dreaming about it reminded me, so I nipped out to put it in Caliburn before I forget it completely.

What I started to do next was to download a load of music. Not sound files but “proper” music because if I do manage to go off on my travels I’ll be taking the Gibson EB3 and the acoustic with me and having a little ja session all of my own.

at some point I had to break off because I needed some bread for lunch. I’m not taking half a loaf out of the freezer.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey l'omerta le roc a la mauve 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022So on my way into town I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the fish processing plant to see who was there this morning.

And we had quite a crowd down there today. From front to back we have La Grande Ancre, Les Bouchots de Chausey, L’Omerta, Le Roc A La Mauve III and a small boat that as far as I know doesn’t have a name.

Plenty of vehicles down on the lower level too, unloading the boats and taking away the catch. It’s always quite a profitable affair and sometimes I’ve seen the tractor and trailer groaning under the weight of shellfish taken off Les Bouchots de Chausey

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was plenty of activity outside the harbour in the bay too.

This yacht that was sailing past the entrance to the harbour was gorgeous and I quite liked the sails on the smaller one that was following along behind her.

And that wasn’t everything out there either. There were more than enough boats of all types, shapes and sizes sailing around there today ad I could have spent all afternoon there photographing them.

But instead I pushed on down the hill towards the town centre and the supermarket for my baguette.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Now here’s quite a surprise.

Here we are on a Saturday in summer and there are crowds of people round about, as we have seen already in our photos of the beach, yet for some unknown reason the crew of Marité has decided not to put to sea today.

It’s the kid fo day when I would have expected them to have rounded up hordes of passengers and gone off for a lap around the bay.

As for me, I went off for a lap around to Carrefour where I bought a baguette and a can of cold drink for the climb back up the hill to home.

saturday market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the way back home I wandered back through town past the Place General de Gaulle.

With it being a Saturday morning it’s market day and the open-air market is in full swing. Mind you, there isn’t really anything there that is of interest to me.

The walk up the hill in the heat was agonising as I expected and I enjoyed the stop that I made halfway up when I drank the can of cold drink. That made me feel better.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then carried on with the downloading of the music. I ended up having a play around with Wishbone Ash’s THE BALLAD OF THE BEACON. It’s much easier than you would think.

In the middle of all that, rather regrettably I dozed off for 10 minutes or so. And I was doing so well too.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy Francec Hall photo June 2022As it happens I was rather late going for my afternoon walk today.

Having already looked down onto the beac I wandered off along the path towards the end of the headland, having a look out to sea to see what was happening. Out there in the bay this afternoon was a zodiac with a few people in it.

At first I thought that they might have been fishermen but before I could have a good look at them they started up the engine and cleared off around the headland out of sight.

As for me, I cleared off around the headland too, but at a rather more sedate pace

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There wasn’t anyone on the bench at the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I carried on down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

Over at the ferry terminal across the harbour we had Belle France, the newest of the ferries that go over to the Ile de Chausey. The other two aren’t in port anywhere so I imagine that they are out there at the Ile de Chausey already waiting for the tide.

Still no Victor Hugo either. According to the maritime radar she spent the night at St Helier and left early this evening, presumably to come back here. I’ll get to see her yet!

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Earlier this morning I mentioned that Maritéwas still in port despite it being a summer Saturday today

And she was still there this afternoon too. By the looks of things she hasn’t been out at all today. I know that it’s none of my business but if I were in charge of Marité she’d be out all weekend during the summer, as much as possible.

Most of the fishing boats are also in the harbour too. They don’t go out at weekend either. Even L’Omerta was moored up at the fish processing plant, settling down into the silt. All on her own as well.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Just now I mentioned Victor Hugo being out at St Helier.

Also out at St Helier, according to the maritime radar, is Southern Liner, the freighter that was in port yesterday.

And I can tell you much more about her today. The company that owns her has started a freight service between St Malo and the Channel Islands just recently and as they had a couple of days free they sent the ship over here to see how she would get on in and around the harbour here.

Apparently the plan is that they want to see if there is sufficient demand for another freight service between Granville and the Channel Islands, using small containers rather than loose freight that the other little freighters carry.

This is something that is going to be interesting

Back here I crashed out again for rather longer than I was hoping – so much so that my coffee was stone cold. But I did some more music downloading. There’s still plenty to go at.

Tea was a breaded quorn burger with baked potato and veg, and then I had my notes to write, interrupted by another marathon phone call from Rosemary, hence I’m way later than I intended.

We’ve had a storm and a rainstorm too so that might cool everything down. I hope so because I’ve been in shirtsleeves with z fan going all day and I’m still struggling for breath in this heat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 11th June 2022 – HAVING COMPLAINED BITTERLY …

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… over the last few days about the general lack of water craft out here, we made up for it in spades this afternoon.

While I was out on my afternoon walk today I was spoilt for choice. The sea was heaving with water craft having a good run around.

So while you admire a few photos of various different types of water craft, including La Granvillaise out and about yet again this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my pretty miserable day today.

In fact it was probably the worst day that I’ve had so far in a series of pretty bad days.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It was what I call a “mobile” night but more of that anon.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I struggled to my feet fairly quickly and after the medication I went off and had a shower to clean myself up ready for the shops.

Well, “shop” actually, because I’d resolved to give Noz a miss today. There doesn’t seem to be much point going there. There hasn’t been anything worth buying there for quite some time.

Having had a shower I set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then Caliburn and I hit the streets

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022At LeClerc is would ordinarily have been a cheap shop because I didn’t need much after last week.

However, having spend the annual budget of a small emerging nation on a bottle of olive oil last week they had the cheap economy olive oil in stock again today so I bought a litre of it. Stockpiling? Perish the thought.

And chocolate. I usually but the very cheap stuff for a nibble before I go to bed but today they had some really good quality stuff on special offer if you bought a multiple pack so I treated myself to a little luxury.

It didn’t take all that long at all and I was back here hanging out my washing by 10:15.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was drinking my coffee and eating my fruit bun, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was something about being wanted for some kind of activity or rather having to hide but being quite conspicuous about hiding and not finding it easy to find somewhere where I could out of everyone’s view. You were always going to be in the view of different people when you were hiding with all of this going on at the moment.

And I’ve no idea at all what that was all about

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There had been a big Inuit celebration with hundreds of young Inuit from all over the place. I’d been keeping an eye on it all and in particular on my little Inuit friend Heidinnguaq. As the event was drawing to a close I was distracted for a moment and when I turned round again she had gone. She was nowhere to be seen in this room. She certainly wasn’t where she was standing a minute earlier. I started to ask a few people where she was but no-one seemed to have seen her. At the same time I had a raging thirst so I had a hunt to find a drink of something. In the end I found a bottle of lemonade. It had one of these child-proof locks on it and I couldn’t break the lock to open it. There was a young couple, a boy and a girl, having a wrestling match on the floor getting in everyone’s way. I still couldn’t find Heidinnguaq and was thinking that I’m going to have to go outside to have a look for her to see where she is. I really wanted to see her before everyone drifted away. There I was, roaming around this hall clutching this bottle of lemonade trying to open it, trying to find her but I couldn’t find her anywhere. She’d just disappeared completely.

I was away at one of these office or factory team-building weekends. It was total chaos as nothing was organised. You had to do everything yourself. It took a while but eventually I had myself in a nice routine for making my toast and coffee. I became quite relaxed about it. Quite a few people remarked about how relaxed I was so I explained my method of getting up in the morning, having a coffee, not having something to eat until mid-morning break etc, demonstrating how to use the toaster but there was always someone’s toast left in it that they’d forgotten burnt to a crisp. You had to pull it out with your fingers burning the ends of them etc. It was quite easy after a short while to build up a routine and stick to it. It meant that you were much more organised than everyone else. It meant that the weekend past so much better and more successfully. This was another thing that was so real as well. While I was dictating this I was looking round for the toast that I’d put in the toaster while I was asleep thinking that it’s probably going to be ready now and I’d prepare the stuff to butter it. I was really that real.

Finally I was with my friend from Munich wandering around near the Thames and near the seaside. he was showing us all this redevelopment which was really looking quite nice. They’d built into this redevelopment some kind of storage units. I was thinking what a great amount of fun I could have with a storage unit here, all the things that I could keep in it. They were trying to dissuade me against the idea but someone else said “with all the stuff you have you could soon fill one of these”. We were wandering around looking at these places. He was telling me about a bad-tempered meeting he’d been to. Then he showed me some of the drawings, really good drawings of people having Superman fights in groups of people. That was his impression of what had happened. I asked if he was going to have them published. He replied maybe one or two but one or two more he was going to bring down and have photocopied then just go round adding bits to it as time went on. He could do that sitting here and have crowds around watching him. Meantime I was still talking about these storage units. I’d gone over to have a look at one or two. There were all kinds of plans going around in my head about these storage units and what I could do with them.

It was a struggle to complete this this morning because I was continually dropping off into sleep. Not even my mug of strong black coffee could keep me going.

But when I awoke later I had a play around with the acoustic guitar and finally managed to work out the chords to ZERO SHE FLIES. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Zero, who features quite regularly, takes her nickname from this song and for that reason I’m keen to add it to my repertoire.

After lunch I came back here and crashed out almost straight away, and crashed out in spades as well. So much so that my walk around the headland was much later than it usually is.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and as usual I wandered off across the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what was happening there.

And even though the tide was well in and there wasn’t much beach to be on, there were still plenty of people down there this afternoon and if the noise was anything to go by, they were all enjoying themselves immensely.

Quite a few of them were brave enough to go into the sea as well and that’s no surprise because it was a lovely afternoon and I was sorry that I had missed some of it.

And having taken a few photos of the boats out in the bay I wandered off along the cliffs towards the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Strangely enough despite it being a Saturday and a nice afternoon there weren’t too many people out here on the cliffs this afternoon.

And yet we had a couple of people sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban. They were being treated to a magnificent spectacle too as La Granvillaise and several other boats went sailing past them.

No Marité today though. I don’t know where she is. She’s certainly not in port this afternoon. She must have gone out on the early morning tide.

But right now I was going to wander off down the path on the other side of the headland and see what was happening in the port.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As I went off to the shops this morning I saw one of the Joly France ferries taking a pile of passengers out to the Ile de Chausey.

By the looks of things she’s stayed out there today because the only one of the Ile de Chausey ferries over there at the ferry terminal is the new Belle France.

Presumably she’ll be going out to the island a little later to bring back anyone who won’t fit on the others that are already out there.

Meanwhile in the chantier naval there is no change. There are still the four boats that we saw yetserday and that was that. I’m intrigued to see what Wavecat Express will be doing when she goes back into the water.

car dressed up for wedding boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022What awoke me this afternoon was the beeping of car horns from what was presumably a wedding in the Civic Rooms.

There was a wedding party wandering around the headland looking for a place to take a few photographs and presumably this car was something to do with them.

Despite the number of weddings that we have here, I don’t think that I’ve seen a car dressed up quite like this before. It’s quite a novel departure from the normal state of affairs.

So with nothing else going on, I headed for home and a strawberry smoothie. It was too warm for coffee.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But before I go home, let me just mention that apart from the small boat that’s down there at the Fish Processing Plant, there isn’t anyone else.

It looks as if Gerlean and L’Omerta are having a day off from playing “Musical Ships” and have gone off elsewhere.

Not that I’m surprised because I’m going off elsewhere too – back home.

Back here I made my smoothie and came in here, where I fell asleep again. And for well over an hour too. I did manage to find the time to write some notes about “Next Weekend” and “Learning Welsh” for my Welsh revision. That’s all the 28 topics covered and now I just have to revise what I wrote

There wasn’t enough time to play bass or to freeze the kilo of carrots that I bought and I’m pretty much fed up about that. I don’t seem to be able to do anything like what I want to do these days without falling asleep.

Tea was a breaded quorn fillet with potatoes and vegetables and it was quite delicious. But now I’m off to bed. I’m thoroughly fed up of just about everything right now. I have so much to do and neither the time nor the energy to do it.

And I’ve no idea how I’m going to fight my way out of this.

Saturday 28th May 2022 – I’VE BEEN RATHER DISAPPOINTED …

… with Noz just recently.

It’s twice now in succession that I’ve been in there and not found anything at all worth buying, not even anything to vary my diet.

A few weeks ago they re-arranged all of the shelves and racks to make it even more difficult for people to find their way around the maze, and since then the place has gone downhill rather rapidly. It’s getting to the stage where I’m wondering whether it’s worth my while still going there.

But all of that is for another time.

This morning I fell out of bed as the first alarm went off – but not without difficulty, I have to say. I really could do with getting more of this poison out of my body. This medication is said to take a month in order to be effective. I imagine that withdrawing from it will take just as long.

Having had the medication I went for a shower and a good clean-up. And then I headed off for the shops.

Noz was a complete waste of time, as I said, and LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special either. I didn’t hang around, and was back here by 10:25. Plenty of time for a strong coffee and a home-made fruit bun.

For the rest of the morning I was working out the music to GRASSHOPPER. I’ve been determined, for personal reasons of my own, to crack this song and after several hours on it today I can play the chords and also a reasonable approximation of the bass line.

Furthermore, I can actually sing it too, which is definitely progress.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that this song has a special significance and refers to one night and a following morning about which I’ll write one of these days when I’ve found out about how the Statute of Limitations works in Canada.

But if I’m assembling some kind of ad-hoc acoustic set for my own amusement, I may as well choose songs that tell little stories. After all, the more I have to say, the less I have to sing and that’s good news from everyone’s point of view.

After lunch I had a little chat with Liz. She was on her way to a wedding and wanted to show me her new frock. It was quite nice, one of these earthy pastel designs that look so much nicer than these formal dress designs.

We talked about quite a few things, and it turns out that, quite surprisingly, she was having the same chat with Terry that I was having with Alison, and at exactly the same time too. Great minds think alike.

Another thing that i’ve been doing is to carry on with my Welsh revision. Today I’ve been doing “If I were 18 years old again” and “Animals”.

With the “if I were 18” etc, I can talk about “family and friends” which is another subject, and with “animals” I can talk about polar bears which comes up in “last holiday”, “celebrations”, “favourite places” etc so you can see how they are all interconnected.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And as usual, there was the afternoon walk around the headland to keep me occupied too.

And as usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

As I mentioned the other day, with it having been a Bank Holiday and people having fait le pont to extend it into the weekend I was expecting to see the crowds. And I wasn’t disappointed either.

There were even a few of them taking to the water too. That was courageous because although it was sunny, it wasn’t that warm today.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And as usual, while I was here I had a good look round out to sea to see what I could see out there as well.

There were plenty of water craft offshore too. Most of them were quite a distance out to sea but this cabin cruiser was a lot closer inshore.

He can’t be a fisherman because he’s travelling far too fast, as you can tell by his wake. And I doubt that he’s on his way back to the harbour because the tide still has a good few hours yet to ebb before the gate to the port de plaisance is closed.

Of the other water craft that was out there this afternoon, there wasn’t anything of any interest.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When we went out for our afternoon walk yesterday we were overflown by a couple of Birdmen of Alcatraz and their Nazguls.

Today it’s the turn of the red powered hang-glider to go flying by overhead as we wandered off down the path towards the end of the headland.

There are two people on board, so it looks as if the pilot has taken a passenger out for a run around Mont St Michel for an afternoon’s sightseeing.

There were also a couple of aeroplanes out there as well this afternoon but they were too far out in the bay for me to be able to identify them. All in all, it was quite a busy day out there.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And not just in the air and in the water either.

The path down to the end of the headland was heaving with people this afternoon too. All of the car parks were full and there were even people parking on the grass by the bunkers.

It looks as if the summer season has started in earnest so I hope that they repair the barrier at the entrance to our private car park otherwise we’ll end up with all of our parking spaces usurped by tourists.

Having a private parking was one of the main reasons why I chose the apartment that I did when I came to live here.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Fighting my way through the crowds, I walked across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

You can tell how busy it is here today. usually there are two and maybe three people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban. Today, we have no fewer than eight people taking it easy out there.

Plenty of stuff going on down there today as well, but no fishermen on the rocks. Obviously, the idea that one fisherman has actually managed to catch something has caused all of the others to go and lie down in a darkened room.

Anyway, I headed off along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I stopped to see how they were progressing with L’Ecume II.

By the looks of things, her paintwork is almost finished. Even down to the anti-fouling paint below the waterline. That’s what stops barnacles clinging to the hull of the boat.

Once upon a time I spoke to a trawler and asked her how she felt about barnacles. She told me that at first she didn’t like them but after a while she found that they began to grow on her.

I’ll get my coat.

That’s probably a good point for me to go off and head for home. I have plenty of things that I ought to be doing this afternoon.

F-ZBQA - Eurocopter EC 145 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But not before I’m overflown yet again.

From this range I can’t read her serial number but she’s very likely to be F-ZBQA, the Eurocopter EC 145 that is based at Donville les Bains and used by the local air-sea rescue service. that’s the one we saw when we had that rather sad encounter last November.

Back here I made a coffee and then cleaned, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots. They had them on special offer at leClerc this afternoon so I bought some more to freeze.

And then I went to have a listen to the dictaphone. I was in Crewe in that flat from the other night off Nantwich Road. There was something about bicycles. They had battery packs made up out of small C-cell batteries that were rechargeable. I went to change them over out of one bike to put in another one that had been standing for quite some time. For some unknown reason, instead of taking off the top of the battery container I unscrewed the battery container from the bottom and the container came apart in my hands. I had a look at the mess and had to think about how I was actually going to rebuild all of this and have it ready for going back on the road again.

Later on we were in Crewe in a field near Pym’s Lane. It was going to be the live broadcast of one of my radio programmes about cooking a Mexican meal. Hordes of people had turned up with their bags and recipes and ingredients etc. There was someone there to interview everyone but they started to interview all kinds of different people and never interviewed me at all. They never came near me to ask me a single question about what was happening. I felt really out on a limb about this. Then I found out that they didn’t broadcast the cookery programme anyway. All these people had turned up for nothing. I was extremely disappointed by all of this. There were all kinds of things going through my head at this particular moment about this cookery programme etc. I was preparing to wander off and leave them all to it and just go back home. Yes, it’s definitely getting to me, isn’t it?

Having done that, I rather regrettably fell asleep again and only just managed to rouse myself in time for tea. A burger on a bap with baked potato and vegetables.

So now I’m off to bed. And a good lie-in because I have another busy day tomorrow. And if you want to hear the concert that you should have heard on Friday, IT’S HERE

Wednesday 25th May 2022 – EVERYONE SAY “AHHH” …

seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… as a very proud mummy seagull shows off her brood of baby chicks to the assembled multitudes this afternoon.

Over the last two or three weeks i4ve been keeping a little desultory eye on her and finally today, I noticed that her eggs have hatched and she has her little babies all around her.

If I can count correctly, I reckon that there are three of them and that’s pretty good going for a brood of seagulls. She’s going to have her work cut out for the next couple of months while they learn to fly and to fend for themselves.

Not all that many of them actually survive to maturity and I remember a couple of years ago when we were keeping an eye on one particular nest where all of the offspring died.

This morning I must admit that I was feeling something like death after yet another good sleep. It seems that the deeper I sleep, the harder it is to awaken even if I do have a decent 8 hours-worth.

What I mean is that once more I was awake before the alarm went off but I had a struggle to leave the bed. It’s all something like Jethro Tull and
“Remembering mornings, shillings spent.
Made no sense to leave the bed.
The bad old days, they came and went,
Giving way to fruitful years.”

except that I’m a long way yet from THOSE FRUITFUL YEARS. I’m still at the “Fears of dying, getting old” stage.

Anyway I eventually staggered out of bed and went for my medication, and then I spent much of the day working on a table (the first of many) for my Welsh revision.

Welsh is a strange language. The “5 Ws”, or interrogative questioning words ‘When, where, why, what, who (and how)” take different verbs depending on how they are being used in a sentence.

Part of our exam is to ask questions based on missing words in adverts, for example the time might be missing and we are expected to ask the examiner “what time is the …” so a good working knowledge of these words and when they take either “mae”, “sy” or “ydy” is pretty important.

Tomorrow’s table is going to be verbs. There are four verbs that are used all the time – to go, to go, to have and to come so I’m going to make a table up for all of that as well.

And then there are 28 subjects that we have to revise and we’ll be expected to speak for a minute on five of thm that the examiner will choose. So every day I’m going to pick two and write out 6 sentences for each one.

That will be my revision.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As usual, I wandered off outside for my afternoon walk at some point during the day.

And for a change I decided that I would go for a walk around the city walls, hence the change in perspective of the photo of the people on the beach.

As fas as I could tell, they were the only people down there this afternoon which wasn’t all that much of a surprise because first of all there wasn’t much beach to be on right now, and secondly, the weather had changed and it was rather cool, grey and overcast.

Certainly not the right kind of weather for being at the peche à pied today.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was here I had a good look out to sea to see what was happening.

Unfortunately, the good weather that we had yesterday has disappeared. It’s fairly hazy and misty out there today so I can’t see all that much this afternoon.

All that I could see were a couple of small boats like this zodiac offshore with a couple of fishermen on board. But they didn’t have the same luck as the guy yesterday whom we saw pulling a tiddler out of the water.

That was something that was really quite surprising. I hope that we don’t have to wait another five years to see someone else catch a fish out there.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further along the Rue du Nord I went to have a look at the work that they are doing on the medieval city walls.

They are making some progress on the medieval latrine which is now a public convenience for those out walking around the walls, and they are also having a good rake-out of the walls to clear out all of the old mortar from between the stones.

They are going to have their work cut out to repoint all of that. It’s not the easiest job in the world as I remember from when I repointed the walls of my house in the Auvergne, but it really does look beautiful when it’s completed.

repairing medieval city wall place dy marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Here’s the part of the wall that they have completed already, or, to coin a phrase, “here is one I made earlier”.

Despite all of the complications, including being obliged to erect a “flying scaffolding”, a scaffolding that’s held up from the top and not from the bottom, they have done a really good job of this.

Mind you, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we’ll see how it’s holding in in 20 years time. Or, at least, you lot will because I won’t be here by then unless a miracle happens.

It always reminds me of the time that a solicitor was looking for me in Brussels.
“Mr Hall! We thought that you had died!”
“Not at all” I replied. “I just smell like it”.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From the Place du Marche Aux Chevaux I walked off along the path underneath the walls towards the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset.

Last week I mentioned that that were preparing the tidal swimming pool ready for the summer season, but with the tide being right in of course, we can’t actually see how it looks today.

But whatever they have been doing, they haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the top of the concrete pillar down there. They are usually quite rapid at sorting everything out ready for the tourists. It’s not like them to be dragging their feet.

But the sea is quite wild this afternoon so there wouldn’t have been anyone down ther eusing it anyway.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further on I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the beach.

You can tell how miserable and depressing the weather is today by the fact that there are so few people down there. And not just on the beach, but also on the promenade. Considering that it’s school half-day, there would normally be quite a few more people down there.

The vertical axis wind turbine was going round quite quickly too. The story is that it was installed to power the lights on the Plat Gousset but I’m not sure whether it’s still working. It’s certainly in the ideal place to catch the wind that goes roaring through that gap.

That’s actually a man-made gap, dug out by the English during the Hundred Years War as part of the defences of the walled city.

bollards rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday I took a photo of them installing bollards in the Rue Paul Poirier to stop motorists parking on the pavement.

And in the newspaper this morning there were all kinds of people, mainly tradesmen, expressing their discontent with the work that the Council had done.

Apparently they are worried about losing trade if motorists are unable to plough down pedestrians on the pavement and prevent pushchairs and wheelchairs from going by.

So I carried on along the path to see how the seagulls were going, and then headed for home and a hor coffee. It wasn’t smoothie weather this afternoon, not at all.

crane loading thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After yesterday’s vitis to the port of Normandy Warrior yesterday, we have another visitor in there today.

This time it’s Thora who has come into port on the afternoon tide. They have already unloaded her and now they are busy loading her up ready for her return trip this afternoon. They don’t hang around long these days.

As you can see, she has quite a cargo to take back this afternoon. Things are looking up for business by the looks of things.

On the way home I had a chat with the newspaper shop owner and then came here for my coffee and, regrettably, to fall asleep again. I’m not doing too well right now but even so, it’s better than it was a week ago.

And it won’t be long before I have the Sports therapist person to see. I wonder what damage he can do to me.

There was the dictaphone to listen to too. There was a young girl who I was actively pursuing, for obvious reasons of course. Her story was that she was in an occupied country and there was someone, a soldier or a civilian, who had gone to ground on her. She had fallen in love with him But he was doing no good there. Sooner or later he was bound to be captured and that would lead to problems for everyone. The easiest way for them to deal with the issues would be for him to escape or evade and reach the UK where he could continue the fight, then come back when the war was over. But it was very hard to try to tell this girl about what was right and proper when she had her heart set on being with him all the time regardless of whatever risks they were running about being together and being caught etc. He would be much better off making a break for the UK and freedom

Tea tonight was a curry made of bits and pieces loitering around in the fridge. And it was quite delicious too. I seem to have the knack of making good curries these days.

So tomorrow I have the physiotherapist, some revision and then there’s plenty of paperwork that needs to be done. I can’t let that slip.

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.

Saturday 16th April 2022 – IT WAS SUCH …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… a nice afternoon that the crowds were out in droves when I went out for my post-prandial perambulation.

The tide was well out so there was plenty of beach for everyone to be on, and that was just as well because there were plenty of people on it.

It’s been a good while since we’ve seen so many people down there. It looks as if the holiday season has really taken off this weekend and I bet that they are regretting not having the Jersey ferries up and running to cater for all of the trade. This would have been just the weather to go for a ride out to St Helier.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Iwasn’t just on the beach that we had the crowds either.

The paths around the headland were heaving with people as you can see in this photo and the car park was overflowing with vehicles parked on the grass.

Brain of Britain forgot to take his face mask with him too. I bet that I’ll regret that before too long, the way things are. We’re still in 6 figures of daily infections and a couple of hundred deaths each day, and it’s no surprise when you see crowds like this taking no precautions whatsoever.

f-gcum Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And it was quite busy in the air today too.

Apart from the commercial flights that were passing by too far out in the bay for me to see them properly we had a couple of light aircraft going by too.

None of the little ones that we see quite often though. This one here is F-GCUM, a Robin DR400/180 that belongs to the Aero Club here.

She took off at 16:21, went down the coast, came back, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey and landed again at 17:03. It’s probably just a flight for someone to keep up his hours

While we’re on the subject of hours … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent hours in bed last night.

All about seven of them because I was, as usual, late going to bed. Just as I was on the point of going, something interesting (and I can’t remember what now) came up on the playlist so I stayed up to listen.

It might have been ONE OF THE SONGS that my Inuit friend HEIDINNGUAQ sent me for a radio show a while back. Any mention these days of Greenland and the High Arctic is enough to stop me in my tracks. I’ve walked those streets in Uummannaq and STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I are in a hurry to go back.

Anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, I finally managed to drop off to sleep and that was where I stayed until the alarm went off at 07:30. And I was still there when it went off again at 07:45.

Mind you, I did managed to beat the third and final call at 08:00 and that is some doing, seeing the way that things have been around here just recently.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went for a shower to tidy myself up. And since Wednesday I’ve lost another 600 grammes of weight. For some reason or other I must have been having water retention issues and doubling the dose seems to have had some effect.

But that of course reminds me of when I was in Liège a few years ago with my German friend from Munich. We were in a restaurant, surrounded by pretty young girls, talking about … our medication.

That’s when I realised that I was getting old. We would have been talking about something quite different five years ago.

Considering that I didn’t need all that much today, I spent quite a lot of money. And all of it was on food.

Noz came up trumps yet again – more of those little breaded quorn burgers that I like. Two packets of those are now in the freezer.

As for LeClerc, I can’t think what I bought that contributed to the fortune that I spent in there today. And I nearly spent more than that as well because someone disappeared with my trolley and when I caught up with it, a couple of packets of sausages had been added.

car leclerc yquelon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But this in the car park intrigued me. I’ve never seen a car like this before.

Its small size suggests to me that it’s a Japanese town-car model but the steering wheel is on the left and it has a built-in rear fog light so it’s not a “grey import”. But it’s bizarre all the same.

These days though I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to new cars. I don’t have a clue as to what’s on the market and what isn’t

Back here I put the frozen food and the cool stuff away and then made myself a coffee. Eagerly clutching a slice of my fruit bread in my sweaty little mitt as well, I came in here to listen to the dictaphone.

We’d been on holiday to a hotel or some place like that. We’d been picked up by a coach in Manchester and driven to this place. When we arrived we had to all sign a paper for our drinking chits etc. We had been out for the day for a drive. I don’t know what happened but I missed the bus and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go back because I didn’t even know the name of the town, never mind the name of the hotel. Of course I was on foot in the North-East of England. I thought that the only solution was to walk back and follow the route that we’d taken and hope that I would get it right. Following a route in reverse is not as easy as following it going forward. I set off and I’d been walking for about 10 minutes when I bumped into 2 other people, 2 girls who had also missed the bus. I thought that at least I’m on the right road here. We ended up crossing this enormous suspension bridge with a central stay, the highest central stay I’d ever seen. I remembered coming over this. We’d turned left onto it so I thought that we’d have to turn right. We prepared to cross over it but one of these girls fancied a cup of coffee. I had no money with me so she had to buy it. By now we were on this bridge so we had to cling on to the side rail while she went to fetch this coffee. Then she had to find a place to put it which was on something soft like the mattress of a bed. We were clinging on to the side of this bridge with our arms, she’d put this coffee down and we had to unhitch one of our arms to drink this coffee. This was becoming confusing. I asked her the name of the hotel but she didn’t know it or know the town either. The 3rd one hadn’t anything to say at all so there we were with this coffee hanging onto this bridge by our arms trying to drink this coffee with the mugs on a soft surface on probably the highest bridge in the UK

It ended up being quite a late lunch, what with one thing and another (and once you make a start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that led to an even later walk around the headland. Wherever did the time go to today?

As I mentioned earlier, there were hordes of people out there on the beach this afternoon. Not just out at the water’s edge either but settling down in the shelter of the cliffs ready for the long stay until the tide comes in.

Gone are the days unfortunately when there would be the beach-side café and the “pot of tea for six” that people my age will remember. And I have a special reason for remembering it too because apparently the people who cared for my mother as a small child had a beach-side café at Epple Bay on the Isle of Thanet between the wars

But, of course, not that I would remember it. I’m not that old, even if I feel like it and look like it as well.

Cirrus SR22 n549cd baie de Mont St Michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And back in the air again we had another visitor. And I DO mean visitor.

This is apparently N-549CD, a Cirrus SR22, and its claim to fame is that apart from THE AIRBUS A400M that we saw a couple of months ago, this has to be about the noisiest plane that I’ve ever heard.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan and she kept below civilian radar so I can’t tell you where she went, but she arrived at the airfield here on the 13th of April after a 3-hour flight from Schwabish Hall in Germany.

She’s owned by the Plane Fun Inc Trustee Corporation from Snellville, Georgia, USA

le loup yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There might have been plenty of things going on on land and in the air this afternoon but there was almost nothing at all going on out at sea.

In the immediate vicinity of the port, loitering around by Le Loup waiting for the tide to come in were a couple of boats, a yacht and a cabin cruiser.

And that was about your lot. There wasn’t anything at all out at sea as far as I could see, and that was a real surprise given the weather and the crowds.

And so with nothing at all to watch, there wasn’t anyone down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either so I cleared off rather rapidly down the path on the other side of the headland towards the harbour.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there has been yet another change of occupant at the chantier naval today too.

We still have the little Roc A La Mauve III down there and the much bigger Anakena, but where’s Le Styx? She put in an appearance yesterday afternoon but it must only have been a flying visit because this afternoon, she’s gone!

And never called me “mother”!

But if you want to know where Chausiaise went to, she’s over there at the ferry terminal not doing very much at all.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is something else that won’t, regrettably, be doing very much at all later in the summer. In fact, it won’t be doing anything at all.

Never mind all of the fishing boats tied up in the inner harbour, we’re much more interested in what isn’t there, and won’t be there in the summer.

Regular readers of this rubbish are used to seeing during the months of July and August the big wheel that comes along and sets itself up down there behind the warehouse. But it won’t be back again.

Apparently the inhabitants of one of the blocks of flats there petitioned the Maire to ban it because, apparently, it makes too much noise and they have to spend all summer with their windows closed. And surprisingly, the Maire has acquiesced.

Firstly, I don’t know why people do this kind of thing. Much as I hate tourists, this is a seaside resort and the crowds come here and expect to be entertained. And if you want to live by the seaside, you expect the inconvenience of the tourist attractions – unless of course you are a NIMBY.

Secondly, there are acres of empty space all the way down the far side of the harbour round by where the Channel Island ferries tie up. Why not stick the wheel there? It’ll be far enough away not to disturb the NIMBY residents with what little amount of noise that it really does make.

With all of this, I can’t help thinking that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I had another task to perform.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I had a strange delivery in the Post. This glossy booklet about “A Changing Canada” in the 21st Century suddenly turned up. It’s not anything that I’ve ordered or requested so I’ve no idea what it is about.

So what I have done is to photograph the front cover, post it on my Social Network, and see if any of my Canadian contacts can throw any light on the aforementioned.

And having done that (with no replies to date) I went and had a really good session on the guitar.

Now that I have some more of those breaded quorn fillets I had a couple of them with potato and veg. They really are nice and if I’m going to fill up the freezer with something, it may as well be them.

But the freezer is now filled up and there’s no more room for anything else. I had to buy a few loose carrots as there wasn’t any space to do any freezing. Just when I think that I have the freezer under control, I fill it up again.

And I daren’t sort through it because it’s so well packed that I would never be able to re-pack it again. At least, if World War III breaks out, I won’t starve for a while.

Friday 11th March 2022 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… a lovely meal with Alison at the Greenway restaurant.

She finished work today early so she came into Leuven on the bus and we went off for an evening out. A vegan burger followed by a nice coffee in the Grote Markt and then I walked her back to the bus station.

Now that I’m back in my little room I’m writing out my notes and then I’m off to bed for I have an early start in the morning. My train to Brussels is at 06:33.

And if my night was anything last night, I won’t be having much sleep anyway because it was another highly mobile night with tons of stuff on the dictaphone. I started off in the USA last night. I can’t remember whom I was with but it was a guy. We’d gone to this kind-of students’ bar and there had been some kind of incident between me, this guy and the guy who was running the place. It started out as a kind-of light-hearted thing to which no-one took any offence. There were some people getting up some teams for football and we went to join them. We sat around in this room for over an hour and a half waiting for this particular game to start. Just before it was due to start someone came over to us and said that they were sorry that they couldn’t fit us into a team and we’d have to go, which annoyed me intensely for I’d been sitting around here for an hour and a half as had the guy with me and seeing as there were 2 of us they could have fitted us into a team quite easily, one on each side but for some reason they didn’t want us. We went back into another bar and someone from the administration of this club came in and saw us, and made some kind of comment so I made a few comments back. The situation quickly escalated. Some other woman who had the air of being a manager came over to try to give us a lecture I gave her a lecture back instead. She really wasn’t impressed with what I had to say which was hardly a surprise. In the end my friend and I decided that we would leave as we weren’t going to hand around with this kind of people and this woman who was some kind of student said that she was worth $400,000 to which I replied “that’s pretty small beer alongside my $3,000,000, isn’t it?”. That didn’t go down very well. It all finished with her saying that she was going to be taking her A Levels here starting in the summer. I said “let me give you a word of advice. Don’t take them in this place”. We moved outside and the guy asked “what do you mean by your $3,000,000?” so I explained. We passed some kind of marina full of all of these abandoned and burnt-out boats that looked as if they had belonged to a fairground at one time and had all been laid up, derelict and so on

A young boy had been killed and a young girl had gone missing from her school in the USA. They were going to write some kind of letter to this boy’s family and it was an extremely complicated affair and they were having to hunt for envelopes and paper and so on to write this letter. It took an age to do this and before they had even finished it there was a fight between two small children who were something to do with this disappearance. That was broken up but then there was a third fight between two similar children. This was all getting completely out of hand. Then a hurricane came to the area and everyone had to shelter in some kind of hurricane shelter at the school This missing girl turned up, accompanied by a boy called Darcy, someone who had had some kind of issue with his motorbike earlier in the school year and another boy who was there who was the leader of the gang who supposedly this boy and girl were with. Everyone was saying things like “how brave she is to come out of hiding because she’s bound to be questioned about the death of this boy”. It carried on a bit like this, I suppose.

There had been a huge civil engineering disaster and this whole building site had collapsed. There were all kinds of people on this site, not rescuing because no-one had been killed or lost but investigating it. I was involved because I’d been on there doing some kind of work and I had to re-excavate a trench that had collapsed with a pipe in it. It turned out that the person in charge was a young girl whom I knew very well. Basically she’d been surrounded by lots of friends but most of them had been there to ee how much money they could make out of her and out of this particular contract and they had all almost exclusively let her down with this particular work. She was called up before this inquisition/tribunal to investigate what was the final straw on this site. I unfortunately had to give evidence about what I had been doing, which was basically trying to put right a lot of this stuff that had been going wrong. This girl was practically in tears about everyone who had let her down. I was having to tell her the bitter truth about what was going on and about how one or two other people and I had been covering up as best we could to make sure that this project went ahead And even as this tribunal was taking place a cement mixer on another site overturned and on the site somewhere else overturned There were all kinds of incidents like this. Basically all this girl’s friends had come along to offer help to get this building off the ground but they had all taken out of it as much as they could and disappeared one by one until she was on her own to carry the can for the consequences

I was with a few people from school last night but we were probably in our 20s, something like that. One was a girl whom I knew quite well and she had a sister. Her sister (although it wasn’t her sister in real life) was another girl whom I knew from school and whom I’d actually dated at one time and whom I liked very much but her parents hated me. We’d been a group of us doing something and we’d finished it. It had been an extremely emotional thing, something to do with the war and something to do with the military, all this kind of thing and civilians caught up with it and fighting it, very disjointed, and included this woman driving this really old ERF or Foden articulated tanker about. When it finished and it was all over and we were walking back, I caught up with her. She was on her own now. Slowly this group of people reassembled and I managed to get her on her own and told her “I’m going to write a book about all of this”. She asked me what it was going to be called. “Oh I’m carrying a heavy load” I replied, from the song by “Free”. As we walked back to the village where she lived I asked about her sister. I said that I felt like asking her if she wanted to come to the cinema”. The girl said “yes, why don’t you?”. We went into the office where she was working. She was on her own so I said “do you fancy coming to the cinem0 at some time over the weekend?”. She replied that she had to do something on some night but she was free and asked “what did you want to see?”. I mentioned this spy thriller but she pulled a face so I asked “is there anything that you want to see? We’ll go and see that. I’m not bothered”. Just then a crowd of people burst into the office. Her parents, and a couple of people who ran the office where she was working. She was trying to hold a conversation with me. She asked me where I was working but before I could reply she was swept up in all of this commotion. I ended up sitting here talking to a guy about football. He asked if I was watching the football that night. The World Cup was on. I said “no. They never came to see me when I was bad”. I mentioned that if my team were playing in it I would watch it but he couldn’t work out what I was trying to say. He asked “do you watch any football around here?”. I replied “no. I go over the border to Wales to watch it. I go over the border to watch it but he still didn’t twig In the meantime I was trying to work out which car I was going to take. Jackie had asked me what I was doing for work . I told her that I’d sold the taxis but she said that she knew. There was all this commotion going on that no sensible conversation could take place and I felt that this was going to be another one of those occasions where I was going to have victory snatched from my grasp at the last minute.

But the opening part was extremely emotional and powerful about this war thing and I don’t know why this song fitted in but it seemed to be so apt – so appropriate.

After breakfast I made a start on collecting together the music for the next batch of radio programmes.

You will recall from just now that I mentioned a song by “Free” that contained the lyrics “Oh I’m carrying a heavy load”. And GUESS WHICH SONG came round first on the playlist to be featured on my next series of radio programmes?

After lunch I finished off the music and then wandered off to the shops.

dismantling market stall herbert hooverplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I walked across the Herbert Hooverplein. It’s where the big market is held every Friday morning but being somewhat later today, almost everyone had gone. There was just the one guy here folding up his stall “like the Arabs and as silently steal away”, as Longfellow would have said.

There was nothing of any interest whatever in FNAC yet again. I’m beginning to despair of ever finding anything useful in there these days.

For a change I didn’t go and look in the cheap shops. I headed across town to the Origin’O or whatever it’s called to see if the low stocks that they had yesterday had been replenished.

And the answer to that is “no” – so it looks as if that’s the end of that shop from my point of view too.

house new building zongang Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I need is a big bag of cumin. They don’t sell it in the size that I would like in Granville.

And so on my way down to the big “Exotic World” ethnic supermarket I nipped down the Zongang to have a look at the house that I mentioned yesterday.

It’s not actually as dark as I was thinking right now. But it’s mid-afternoon and I imagine that it’s a completely different proposition in the morning and evening when the sun is low in the sky.

Clutching my big bag of cumin (and also a small bag of cumin seeds) I headed back towards town.

medieval tower demolition site brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022Another place that I wanted to see today was the demolition site at the old Sint Pieter’s Hospital.

Although there seems to be a lot of traffic around there just now, nothing much seems to have changed. The old medieval tower is still standing, which is just as well, still sheathed in its protective coat of scaffolding and net.

They have some floodlights there, I notice, which seems to indicate that they work here after dark. I wonder what it is that they do because there isn’t anything evident, even if the pile of rubble on the left seems to be larger than last time.

demolition site brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022But the old block of buildings on the right that they started to knock down a few months ago – that’s still standing too.

It looks as if they have demolished all that they intend to demolish of that right now and they are going to leave it at that.

And so, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … if they are going to be building luxury apartments here, they are going to have to improve the view that the people will have from their windows. It’s not what I would call “very inspiring”.

demolition site rear of velodrome oude lievevrouwstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022The site at the back of the little velodrome looks quite clear now.

Last month, I mentioned that it’s possible to pass through now into the Oude Lievevrouwstraat and they seem to have done some more tidying up at the back of where they erect the marquee when they have a function here.

That’s progress of a sort anyway.

On the way back to my little room I popped into Delhaize. Now I have more banana drink, vegan garlic mayonnaise and also a few vegan sausages.

But no grated vegan cheese anywhere, so I hope that the cheese that I bought from LIDL the other day will melt over my pizza.

Back here I tidied up the place for a while ready to leave early tomorrow and then wandered off to meet Alison when she told me that she was on her way.

We met as usual at the “Tiger” although as she was early, she came some way in my direction to meet me. We went to the “Greenway” vegan restaurant for a burger, and then for a coffee and a good chat in the Grote Markt.

night diestsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022late in the evening the buses for Alison to return home are quite irregular so she stands more chance of catching a bus at a more convenient time at the bus station.

It’s “sort-of” on my way back home I suppose so I accompanied her. The Diestsestraat was for a change quite deserted but the lights of the shops gave some kind of weird, eerie effect as we walked back.

Only 10 minutes to wait for a bus at the bus station so I hung around with her until it came. And it was just as well that I waited because it was running late.

Had it not turned up, there would have been quite a long wait for the next one and a cold draughty bus station is not the place to be hanging around.

fair martelarenplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022The other day I posted a photo of the shiny new Martelarenplein with most of its fencing removed.

It hasn’t taken long for it to be reoccupied, has it? It must be fairground time right now and all of the attractions have now moved in and occupied the square. That should keep the town busy for a while.

The walk back home was quiet and uneventful. I wrote my notes, finished off the tidying up and crawled into bed.

An early night and an early start tomorrow.