Tag Archives: y drenewydd

Saturday 26th February 2022 – YOU HAVE ALL MISSED …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They must be having a day off today.

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

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

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

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

She must have heard all about me from someone else.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 11th December 2021 – I’VE BEEN BUILDING …

… up to this for a couple of weeks now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but this morning I failed miserably to arise from my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30.

In fact, it was extremely difficult at 08:55 as well but somehow I managed to drag myself out. I’m not doing too well at all with this.

Not that I had a late night either. I was in bed at a respectable hour, time enough to give me the better part of 8 hours’ sleep but there were things going on during the night that I can’t explain.

I was interviewing someone at work last night but had to go over and see Aunt Mary so I wanted to complete this interview as quickly as possible. It was a rather wealthy woman whom I was interviewing and she was having some kind of financial issues. I mentioned that a big overseas insurance company had recently gone bankrupt and wondered whether that might have been anything to do with it. They couldn’t understand that so I had a close look at the papers and saw that I had misread the date. It was 1982. They were quite angry about this so I said that I would write a letter of apology. He dictated the address but I couldn’t make any sense of it because the names were all completely different when he read it back to me to what I’d written in the first place. This went on and eventually when they had gone I looked at the time. It was 18:10 and my bus was at 18:20. I had to pack up my desk and pack up everything, change my clothes and so on. First of all all the bathrooms were occupied etc so I decided to go as I was and change at her house. I had to stuff everything into my briefcase but there was far too much stuff. I couldn’t get it to close. I had to run downstairs. In the meantime someone told me that Aunt Mary had been assaulted by someone who had called her by name and said so that I’d sent them. It was obviously something to do with someone at work and I couldn’t understand that. I’d only said something about my plans to one or two people. I ran downstairs hoping to find a bus to take me tothe station to catch my train. A kind-of weird bus pulled up. When it pulled up it was being towed by a Land Rover. The Land Rover parked at the bus stop and then uncoupled itself and pulled away. I noticed that it had a sign for “Alba” in the window of the Land Rover and I couldn’t understand what was happening here either. I was going to be horribly late for this appointment with Aunt Mary and I hadn’t a clue what was going on about this attack that she’d had or anything. It was all a great big mess.

There was also something else happening to do with the medieval King of Ireland. Some of his journeys from written accounts had been plotted onto some kind of map. Again, it was something to do with me having to go over there to talk to him but I can’t remember any more about this part of the journey apart from what I’ve already said.

When I went back off to sleep I went back into this dream about Ireland again with the King of Ireland being stuck over there I had to go over to see him, everything like that but again I can’t remember anything. However it involved going on a lorry but the lorry was already full of people in the cab and in the back. I can’t remember anything else really.

Later in the night I had a couple of cats. One of them was a little grey and white one. They were all outside but this little grey and white one stayed close to home which was quite unusual for her. After Nerina had gone to work I went inside and lit the gas fire because it was cold. I’d make myself a cup of tea but I poured water into a colander, not a saucepan. In the end I managed to fill the coffee machine with water and make myself a coffee, but it was warm, not hot. I put some food down for the cats and some water for this grey and white one but one of the girls said “she wants to go out”. Why she couldn’t have let it out I don’t know. I had to cross the kitchen and open the door for it and let it out. I don’t know where this dream was going after that.

When I went off back into the arms of Morpheus I was back at work and had to interview the same woman whom I had interviewed earlier in the evening. And we had exactly the same encounter.. There was me, another person from work, this woman and her adviser. The first thing was that she was having difficulty obtaining a repayment. I said that there was no difficulty as far as our end goes. I showed him a letter or something where the instructions were clear but they actually referred to payment, not to refunds. I didn’t know exactly what he was saying so I wanted to find out some further information. Then he said that she was experiencing a lot of financial difficulties that she shouldn’t be experiencing. I had a look through his papers and saw that an insurance company to which she was a contributor had gone into liquidation. I pointed this out to him but he replied “that was 1982” so I had another look. Yes, I’d misread the date. He was rather annoyed about that so I agreed to send him a letter of apology. he told me the address and I wrote it down. When he read it back it was different. Each time I corrected it and he read it back it was different again. I wasn’t sure what on earth was happening here about this because nothing seemed to be making sense. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now but it may well have been the same that I experienced when I first dreamt it.

Later on I was with someone and we were at the fruit-picking farm at Shavington where we used to go as kids. We were talking about things that had happened there when we were kids and how things are completely different these days. Even the layout of the farm was different. We talked about the girl who was supposed to be picking blackberries but ended up picking raspberries claiming that they were unripe blackberries, and ended up being given the sack. We ended up in the potato fields there. They had quite a few mis-shapen potatoes. This girl went to fetch a spade. I asked why and she replied “I’m going to get some potatoes to take home to my mother”. I said “you want to be very cow because you can be overlooked from here”. Sure enough there were quite a few people going past who could easily see what she was trying to do. They were higher up on a hill on the main path that went between one farm and another.

Finally I was at Barlow’s scrapyard in Crewe but it was nothing like Barlow’s scrapyard that I ever saw. He was having a clear-out. I’d only popped in for something because I was on my way round to see my sister because I had a date at 19:30. We were talking and he was giving me a few little bits and pieces. He said “your girlfriend has a mini, doesn’t she?”. He came out with a pile of things like air filters, all this kind of thing, all new old stock and handed them to me. By this time Nerina had turned up so he brought her a toolbox and a whole pile of nuts and blots from minis he’d dismantled. We were having a whole pile of stuff given to us here. When I looked, not only was it late for me to go round to my sister’s, it was getting late for me to go on this date as well. Then he wheeled out something that was an astonishing machine. It was an ancient motorbike but as the tale unfurled it became something on three storeys like a racing car but you sat on the third storey in like a torpedo body with a tiny engine on that level. and then there was a pile of equipment underneath it, and another level underneath that which was where the wheels were. It was all belt-driven. he explained to me what it was and I’d vaguely heard the name but never seen one. It was a racing car from about 1910. even though how frail and unwieldly it looked it would do 200 mph when it was tuned up. He asked me if I wanted it. I thought “of course I want this. Who wouldn’t?”. My German friend was there too. He wasn’t the least bit impressed. My idea was that seeing as it was a kind of sectional thing I could take it to bits and take each section up to my apartment and renovate it in the kitchen then take it downstairs to reassemble when it’s done. But no-one could really understand what was so fantastic about it except me. I thought that it was a fantastic thing.

As you can see, it was probably one of the most turbulent nights that I’ve had and it’s no surprise that I was totally wasted this morning.

While I was lying in bed I set myself three tasks to perform before lunchtime.

The first was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. I can’t do that on Sunday as I usually do because if things go according to plan (which they usually don’t) I’m baking my Christmas cake. And that will be a labour of love

The second thing was to sort out the photos from last night’s festival, edit them and post them off to the person who is preparing the radio programme

Third thing was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. I knew that there would be plenty – but not quite as many as there were. That really was quite extraordinary.

To my surprise, I finished everything on time and then went to eat my butties for lunch.

After lunch there was football. Aberystwyth v Y Drenewydd from last night. Y Drenewydd ran out comfortable winners 4-2 due to Aberystwyth’s defence pushing too far up and not getting back quick enough to counter the speedy Drenewydd breakaways.

But here’s an interesting fact. I’ve often talked about Lifumpa Mwandwe of Drenewydd and how he’s far, far better than the average player in the Welsh Premier League. According to some statistician 150 could have been awarded in Newtown’s favour before thise match started, of which 50 of them were awarded for fouls on Mwandwe.

It seems that kicking him off the park isn’t just confined to TNS.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk. And I didn’t want to, because it was teeming down outside.

Nevertheless I wasn’t the only person out there this afternoon. There were actually three brave souls down on the beach – one man with his dog who we have seen before, and another couple wandering about in the rain.

And then there was me, wandering around in the rain up here too. I wasn’t going to loiter around because I was becoming rather wet rather rapidly – not that that is any great news to regular readers of this rubbish who will recall it as my regular state of existence.

damaged flagpole pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that we have been battered quite severely just recently by a couple of really impressive storms.

As I was to find out when I arrived at the Memorial to the French Resistance up here on the lawn at the end of the headland. One of the flagpoles has taken a right battering.

And it has too. It’s anchored to a block of concrete by a set of heavy duty concrete anchor bolts and two of the three have been ripped right out of the concrete. And it takes some force to do that.

So having photographed it I wandered off to the end of the headland but there was no-one there – not that I expected there to be – and no-one out at sea either. everyone else had far more sense than me.

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Although there wasn’t a great deal of wind there was a great deal of power in the wind still stored up from the storm the other day.

As I walked around the headland I could see the waves breaking onto the sea wall. They weren’t quite going over the top but some of them were really impressive nevertheless.

This wasn’t the best one that I’ve seen but usually it’s every seventh wave that’s the best and by the time three had gone round both the camera and I were soaked to the skin so I took this photo and cleared off quick, which was rather a shame but a practical necessity.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A few weeks ago I mentioned that I won’t be taking any more photos of the portable boat lift unless there was some change in the situation there.

Well, we certainly have that today. The last time that I took a photo of it, it was because the wheels had disappeared. Today, not only are they back but they are fitted onto the lift as well.

It looks as if the major overhaul that it’s been undergoing for the last couple of months is now drawing slowly to a close and the chantier naval may soon be back in business.

Back at the apartment I came in here to carry on with some work that needed doing, and then at 18:30 I set out again.

The purpose of my trip out was two-fold.

  1. to photograph the Christmas lights
  2. to do some work for the radio

Having taken a few photos on the way down we met at a restaurant in the Rue Couraye where I had a delicious but expensive salad while everyone else ate normally. And then off to the cinema to watch half a dozen short films of this “Fish and Films” Festival.

Our purpose wasn’t the films themselves but to interview the people who were leaving to ask their impressions of the films. We ended up with quite a mixed bag.

On the way home I photographed the rest of the Christmas lights in the town centre and that’s my task for tomorrow afternoon while my cake is baking – to edit and post the photos that I took.

But not now. It’s almost midnight and so I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in tomorrow and I’ll need it to recover from the distance that I travelled during last night. I don’t think that I’ve ever travelled so far in one night before and it left me quite exhausted.

Saturday 23rd October 2021 – IT WAS ANOTHER …

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… one of these aerial days today. Two on the run just now is good going.

But it really is getting to be a bit like “Play School” around here. It’s not the shape of the window through which we’ll be looking today, but to see which colour powered hang-glider goes flying by overhead as I walk around my circuit.

Yesterday it was the yellow one that went by, so today it’s the turn of the red one to fly overhead on its way back to the airfield. And carrying a passenger too. I really ought to go down there and blag myself a turn aboard one of these little machines.

light aeroplane 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A short while later on, another machine with which we are quite familiar went past.

She’s 50SA, a light aeroplane that isn’t registered in any database that I have been able to find so I’ve still no idea as to who she is and what she’s doing.

There was plenty more to see too, flying by in the clear sky at 35,000 feet but Brain of Britain had let the battery in the NIKON D500 go flat so I ended up with the NIKON D3000.

It was fitted with the big, powerful lens but while the near-distance shots are pretty good in most circumstances, it won’t focus properly for long-distance shots and at 35,000 feet it won’t focus at all.

Last night was another miserable, sad night. I’d been listening to my radio show but fell asleep just before midnight just as “Man” were finishing. And then I was awake at 05:30 in the morning and just couldn’t go back to sleep. Except of course, 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

While I was taking my medication etc I was listening to the latter part of my rock show, and then I headed off for town and the shops.

At Noz I stocked up the wine cellar a little – not that I drink it myself but I’m often invited out these days – and they had some more vegan food in the freezer there at a give-away price. There’s no room in my freezer but it fitted in somehow.

At Leclerc there was nothing whatever of any interest except some vegan burgers at a greatly reduced price so I bought a couple of those. I now have the European Vegan Burger Mountain in my fridge and I wish that I’d bought a larger one now.

They did however have grapes at €1:49 per kilo so I posted the fact on my social network.
“Don’t do that” replied Hans. “You’ll have everyone swarming over from the Uk to strip the shelves bare#34;
“They’ll have a job” I retorted. “After i’ve passed through there aren’t any left.”

Back here I put the cool and frozen stuff away (not without a fight) and then made myself some coffee and toast. Using the proper coffee machine because I’m awash with real coffee at the moment, as I discovered when I tidied up the shelf unit a couple of months ago, and it all has to be used.

While I was sitting down I had a listen to the dictaphone. We were in Liverpool probably last night. It started off with me in Croydon or somewhere. All the kids were milling around in the street heading for school, all in a blue school uniform. Gradually the scene moved into the school. There were some kinds on the 1st floor balcony and others downstairs on the ground floor. I was on the ground floor. All of a sudden this drunk came rolling down the steps on the balcony, over the end of the wall and landed smack on the floor right in front of where I was sitting. It turned out to be Paul McCartney. He came down to see it and check that it was OK. Then the assembly started. There was a guy with a guitar so we were all poking fun at everything that was about to happen, like kids do. McCartney said something about someone needs to go out at half-time to do something. I said that I’d go because I’d suddenly realised that I couldn’t remember what I’d done with my camera and where I’d put it

After lunch I sat down and carried on with my medical receipts. A few of them are missing and a few others have timed out, but I sent them in just the same with a note to excuse them.

There was also plenty of stuff about my radio project so I spent the rest of the afternoon dealing with that.

people on beach rue du nord yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Of course, I had to have a break for my afternoon walk.

Out across the car park and down to the wall at the end where I could see the beach. Plenty of beach, and plenty of people too. After all, it was a nice afternoon.

Some yachts out there too over across the bay near Coudeville. I’ve no idea where they have come from because the tide is well out here and they aren’t likely to have come out of the port here in the mornign and hung about all day.

men with kayaks beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was yet more items of interest further along the beach.

There were a couple of guys dragging kayaks into the water. And they are fishermen by the looks of the rods that they have on board their craft.

And that must be a difficult job, because when you are sitting down with your legs outstretched in a kayak, you’re only pulling from the waits with no help at all from the leg muscles.

Obviously it’s not a good idea to make love in a kayak. After all, making love in a kayak has a lot in common with Watney’s beer. They are both f***ing close to water.

joly france ile de chausey bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021THis morning as I was on my way out to the shops, I drove past the harbour just as one of the Joly France boats, probably the one that was aground there yesterday afternoon, was leaving for the Ile de Chausey.

When I took this pic, I could see something large and white just offshore from the Ile de Chausey. Blowing up the photo, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation, I could see that it is indeed a Joly France boat.

She’s not likely to be coming home though. It’s a good couple of hours before the tide is far enough in and it only takes her half an hour or so to cross the bay. She’ll be hanging around for a bit until she can reach the jetty on the island.

coudeville plage kayakers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier, I mentioned that the bay was looking quite nice in the sun.

For that reason I took a photo of Coudeville-Plage. However, due to focusing and other issues with the NIKON D3000 over distance, this one and the previous one haven’t turned out too well.

Mind you, you can see the two kayakers at the bottom of the image so the near-distance shots have come out reasonably well.

Actually, as with the NIKON 1 J5 in the dark, I think that I’m expecting too much of these cameras and pushing them beyond their feasible limits.

Either that, or my technique is rubbish.

man fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The guys in the kayaks weren’t the only ones who had gone fishing this afternoon.

Down on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc is another fisherman, standing up this time. I noticed him as I crossed the car park a little further back so I came down to see how he was getting on.

It goes without saying that he didn’t catch anything while I wss watching, which is no surprise. Either they never ever catch anything or my presence is the kiss of death to the local fishermen.

Anyway, I left him in peace and cleared off.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Next port of call is the viewpoint overlooking the harbour so I headed off along the path on top of the headland.

Yann Frederic is still in there, which was good news. That means I can take another photo of her because yesterday’s was rubbish, with the waving long grass confusing the focal length of the image.

Why I needed to do that is because I had a look on the shipping database and found that she doesn’t have a photo on there. As I maintain the AIS beacon detector for the port, I suppose that I’m responsible in some way towards the boats in here so I went to put that right and upload a photo of her.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another boat that is still here is Jade III.

She’s actually moored on the slipway as you can see, not settling down in the silt. There was someone around there with her but I couldn’t see what he was doing. It can’t have been anythign important.

Back here I had another coffee and finished off the outstanding work.

There was football on later, Y Drenewydd v Caernarfon.

Y Drenewydd won the game 1-0 with a goal scored in first-half stoppage time by the excellent Mwandwe. Caernarfon were strangely subdued with their three star midfielders, Thomas, Edwards and Hughes looking very much out of sorts this afternoon and they didn’t look much like scoring.

In the end the finished the match with two out-and-out strikers, Cai Jones and Mike Hayes up front as well as the veteran former Welsh International defender Steve Evans playing centre forward, but it still didn’t look as if they would ever score with their misfiring midfield.

Incidentally, Steve Evans was booked for a foul just a couple of seconds after coming onto the field before he’d even touched the ball.

Later on I had tea – a couple of the small breaded burgers that I had bought this morning and they were nice too.

But now it’s ridiculously late so I’m off to bed, even though I’m not tired. But here’s hoping that I have a good sleep.

Saturday 2nd October 2021 – YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING …

… why there aren’t any photos today. Well, read on.

Last night I didn’t finish my journal entry because I almost fell asleep on my chair and in any case it was almost bed time so I posted what I’d done and went to bed.

It was another depressing night, tossing and turning and not really going into a deep sleep at all, although there must have been some at some point because there was stuff on the dictaphone.

Once again, I awoke in a deep sweat – it seems to be happening almost every night now and why I note them is because it’s one of the things that they always ask me at hospital.

After the medication I came in here to organise a few things. With these new sleeping hours there isn’t time to do much before I have to go out to the shops.

Windy, grey and damp this morning but that’s enough about me. So was the weather.

At Noz they didn’t have a lot although there was some kind of book sale so I bought a couple more to add to my library.

LeClerc was an expensive shop because I bought more coffee. I always go for the instant coffee in the silver paper containers rather than glass jars to save on waste and (of course) they are lighter for me to carry upstairs – that’s the kind of state that I’m in these days.

They never seem to have any when I need some and last week I had to buy a different variety that I don’t like all that much. But this week they had my preferred brand so I added a packet to the weekly shop to keep in store.

As I mentioned earlier, the weather was windy, damp and overcast. When I went out of LeClerc it was teeming down with a torrential downpour of rain, the kind of downpour that we haven’t had for ages. From the end of the covered parking to where I park Caliburn is about 30 metres but I was soaked and so were the paper bags with my fruit and veg in them.

By the time I reached home it was pouring down even more, and that’s exactly how it stayed until at least it went dark. And if anyone thinks that I’m going out in that, they are mistaken.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then made a coffee. And while I was drinking it, I turned my attention to the dictaphone. I downloaded the files onto the computer but then I remembered that I had no hummus for lunch.

Luckily I had everything that I needed

At some point during the night Barbararling – and it’s probably been 10 years since she last featured in a nocturnal ramble so what’s made her reappear? – was there in her role as mother of Zero but I don’t remember much of that at all, which is a shame. Wouldn’t I have liked to have known how this would have ended?

Somewhat later I’d gone to look at the new building to where I was moving. I was in the laundry on the 1st floor and to get down onto the ground floor I somehow missed the stairs and slid down a kind of post thing and ended up in the foyer. The foyer was full of plants that were not in very good condition but were giving off tons of fruit. All the people there were discussing the plants and fruit and what needed to be done. I happened to say something and someone asked “are you moving in?”. I replied “yes, on the 12th”. I’d gone and had a quote for a kitchen and some kitchen fitters and I was checking out the apartment but I couldn’t get in, something like that. So these people started to talk and they knew the person who was moving and thought “thank God she’s going”. Everyone said that they had seen her packing and driving off with some stuff. They tried to find the advert for me in a magazine for the property that was on sale but we couldn’t find it. Then the German army turned up and started to interrogate everyone quite roughly.

Finally, I was in New Brunswick last night as well. There were some people whom I knew who had a laboratory and making dangerous drugs. They sent some off in a car to someone and they rang him up to tell them that they were on their way. Someone said something about the last time the shipment was intercepted by the police and this guy went totally berserk and completely wrecked the apartment building where he was living.

After lunch I sat down and carried on with the journal entry from yesterday, but only in a half-hearted way because I’ve been shuffling the music around.

There are 6 groups of artists, grouped at random, each with about 50 artists, and I alternate from one group to the next so that I’m not playing the same group all the time. But over the last year or so it seems to have settled down into a rut so I wanted to shake things up a little.

No walk of course but I made a coffee all the same and carried on with my work.

While I was looking through my messages I came across a video of the highlights of Y Barri v Y Drenewydd from this afternoon, a match in which Y Drenewydd won 0-3.

And I’ll ask the same question that I asked a few weeks ago – “whatever is Lifumpa Mwandwe doing playing in the Welsh pyramid?”. He’s a country mile above everyone else whom I’ve ever seen.

Tea tonight was baked potato, veg and a couple of those small breaded soya burgers that I bought ages ago and froze. That’s the last of those which is a shame because I liked them.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I really feel that I ought to stick my head out of the window to see if the weather has eased off and if so, go for a walk, but I’m not up to that.

Instead, I’m going to have a little relax before going to bed. Make the most of my evening and have a nice lie-in tomorrow. And then bake my fruit bread because I’ve run out.

Tuesday 31st August 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day that is best forgotten, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not been good at all.

When the alarm went off I managed to crawl from my bed and take my medicine, and then I had things to do.

The first thing that I needed to do was to bake some bread as I have now run out.

500 grammes of wholemeal cereal flour and a couple of handful of sunflower seeds produces a really nice loaf and using the technique that Liz showed me the other day when she came round, it produces a nice textured dough.

Once it was all kneaded together I left it to proof for a while and came back in here to check my mails and messages.

Meanwhile, according to the dictaphone, There had been a kind of “ping” when I was in bed during the night. Nerina panicked a bit and said something. I looked round and all the electricity was out. It looked as if we’d blown a fuse so I got up, went downstairs and reset the fuse. I came back upstairs and it was already 06:25 so there was no point going back to bed at that time. I decided that I may as well get up.
There was also something somewhere that I was down Middlewich Road somewhere where the Rising Sun used to be. I was with someone and it was a story about a motor bike. Someone had passed their driving test on a motorbike but they had left ot somewhere so we had to go and pick it up. It might have been Liz Ayers who was with me. We found the motorbike and I asked whoever it was with me if she wanted to ride it. She said “yes” so I got on the back, she got on the front and we rode off towards Willaston on it. When we arrived there this person had turned into a little girl wearing a kind-of party dress or bridesmaid’s dress or something. We were walking hand-in-hand down Crewe Road. We came to the turn-off down to Willaston but it was nothing like what the turning was like, but it was all blocked off. They were saying “you have to go down 2nd Avenue and I had no idea where 2nd Avenue was. I was going to go down Coppice Road. There was an interesting alley on our right so I took this girl down there to explore it but we found that it was just taking us back to where we’d been so we turned round and went back. In the meantime there were several other little girls who were all dressed in a similar kind of clothing, bridesmaid or 1st communion or something like that.

After I’d given the bread a second kneading and put it in the mould I came back to look through my Welsh coursework for today but just then Rosemary rang me up for a chat about a problem that she had, which I had to cut short (after about half an hour!) because it was time to go to class.

While I was making my coffee and sorting out my fruit-bread I switched on the oven and then when it was warm I put the bread in.

Just four of us at the Welsh lesson today – well, it is the summer break – and the time passed quite quickly.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere near the end of the lesson the oven switched itself off so once the lesson had finished I went to rescue the bread.

And it looks quite good too. I’m quite pleased with this, especially when I tried a couple of slices for lunch. One of my better loaves of bread, this is.

After my lunch I came back in here to start work but instead I drifted off once again into the Land of Nod and I’m going to have to stop doing this. It’s not doing me any good at all and I have far too much work to be doing right now.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

people swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my afternoon walk, once again I strolled across the car park to go and have a look over the wall and down onto the beach.

The tide is now even further in and there is even less beach to be on, but that clearly hasn’t bothered some of the people down there because, much to my surprise, there were some people actually in the water.

Not actually swimming, but being up to their shoulders in the water counts as much as anything else does. And for that they deserve a medal because the weather has certainly turned today and it seems that autumn is only just around the corner.

It’s the usual procedure while I’m here to have a look out to sea to see what I could see but I couldn’t even see a seagull this afternoon. There wasn’t a single thing happening out at sea so I set off along the path on the top of the cliffs taking care not to fall over again.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut in the distance at sea there was a rainstorm brewing and the Ile de Chausey was pretty much obscured by clouds, as the old song goes.

But there was something moving right out there, just about to disappear itno the rainstorm. Something rather large so I photographed it for further examination when I returned home.

As it happens, I wasn’t much further forward after I’d enlarged and enhanced the photo. My best guess is that it’s one of the Joly France ferries going out there to bring home the day trippers and holidaymakers who are still out there. But which one, I really don’t know..

From what I could see, there is no step in the stern so it may well be the older Joly France boat.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPushing on across the car park I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening down there.

There may well have been no fishermen out at sea this afternoon but there were several people fishing from the rocks today. These two guys were fishing together so I stood and watched them for a while as they sorted themselves out.

Not of course that they actually caught anything while I was watching, and even had they done so, they didn’t seem to have a net to haul in their catch, or a bucket in which to keep it.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey weren’t the only people down there right at the end of the headland either.

Sitting on the bench at the end of the headland was this couple having a little relax.

And the old stone building behind them is one about which we have talked on many occasions. It’s one of the sentry boxes to give shelter to the Customs men while they were keeping an eye on traffic in the bay.

Back in the 18th and 19th Century the Channel Islands were a smuggler’s paradise and boats would regularly run the gauntlet in order to bring contraband into France. Hence the Customs men had these little cabins dotted all around the bay here, and handy semaphores that they used to send messages.

flotsam on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking around at the headland, I noticed this pile of flotsam and jetsam on the beach.

It would be very doubtful if the sacks and their contents had been washed up by the tide – I don’t think that even the power of the tides around here would be strong enough to move them about, but it’s very likely that the couple of buoys have come in with the tide.

As for the two buoys, the white one would seem to be a lobster pot marker or similar, whereas the yellow one is the same colour as the buoys that are used to mark out the patrolled areas of the beaches.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, I trudged on along the path round to the viewpoint from where I could see over the port.

And at least I ca tell you who it wasn’t who we saw out at sea just now. Over there, parked up at the ferry terminal is Belle France, the very newest of the ferries. Behind her is another one of the Joly France but unfortunately I can’t see which one she is.

While I was there I had a look at the chantier naval to see what was happening there but there was no change in any of the occupants today so I left them alone and carried on with my walk around the path.

chausiase galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s someone else who it was’t as well. Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter, is down there moored to the quayside.

Behind her is the Galeon Andalucia and I’m not sure what’s happening with her because everyone, including the owners whom I contacted, told me that she should have sailed by now.

By now, my coffee was calling me so I headed back for home and a nice hot drink. And to draw up a couple of floor plans with a computer design programme for a project that I have in mind right now.

Another thing that I did was to try to write up some of the arrears from the other day but regrettably I fell asleep yet again and I can do without all of this.

As a result I was late for tea. Taco rolls yet again with the leftover stuffing from yesterday lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And while it was all a-doing I sorted out the freezer and tidied it up a little to make a little bit more space.

Once tea was over, I came back into the office just in time to catch the start of Y Drenewydd v Cefn Druids.

Y Drenewydd is a comfortable mid-table side but the Druids are quite frankly wretched. They were miles off the pace last season and during the summser a few of their better players departed for pastures new leaving their new manager to assemble rather hastily a scratch side of cast-offs and hopefuls.

They were swept aside in their opening couple of games this season and this match was no exception. At half-time the score was already 3-0 and Y Drenewydd could have had half a dozen more too.

At the start of the second half Naill McGuiness made a couple of substitutions and his team had a far better shape and even managed a shot on target. However, later in the game Chris Hughes took off a defender and a midfielder (something he should have done much earlier) and put on two extra attackers who simply overwhelmed the defence.

The 5-0 victory in the end was a lucky defeat for the Druids. They could have conceded a dozen and not had any cause to complain.

But here’s a question – what is Lifumpa Mwandwe doing playing in the Welsh Premier League? He was the best player on the field by a country mile and way above the class of everyone else on the field.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another bad day today and I don’t need any more.

Saturday 29th May 2021 – WORDS FAIL ME

medication Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnd as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that’s not something that happens every day either.

Just look at all of this. Pills and potions and lotions and ointments and all kinds of stuff. There is in fact €235 worth of medication here, and that’s just for a month too. Most of that will need renewing the next time I come to the hospital.

In the past I’ve been very scathing of people who filled themselves up with pills, but I take it all back unreservedly. If I run quickly with all of that inside me, I’ll rattle.

But no chance of me moving very quickly right now because I’ve had an awful day. Last night, watching a film didn’t help and I saw this one through to the end. There was also a little journey during the night, something about having to sleep with someone or other. They took me off to this place and they found that it was a girl. I thought “well, I’m not even able to sleep with anyone at the moment and I don’t really think that it would be appropriate for me to do so anyway. We were settling down to an interesting dream when for no apparent reason the ‘phone rang at 00:30. And when I get my hands on whoever it was who rang me to break up what had the makings of an exciting voyage they’ll be drinking soup through a straw for the next 4 weeks

Waking up at 07:00 didn’t help the proceedings much either.

By 09:00 I was up and about and I spent the morning in rather bucolic pursuits, choosing the music for another radio programme. At about 11:30 I had to knock off because I needed to go to the chemist down the road and knowing my luck, he would close at lunchtime.

As it was, he only had some of the stuff in that I needed so I would have to go back later.

At lunchtime there was football – Caernarfon v Y Drenewydd in a match for the remaining place in the Europa League. Fans were excluded, despite the pleas from all kinds of people, including me, that went unanswered, and so we had fans in trees, looking out of attic windows, peering through the fence, leaning on ladders against the wall.

And what a match it was – a real pendulum that swung first one way and then the other until near the end when Y Drenewydd roared away.

The difference was the quality on the bench. Caernarfon had two early injuries, to Mendes and Mike Hayes, and their replacements weren’t really able to recreate the skill.

On the other hand, Y Drenewydd had strength in depth and at 3-2 down, Chris Hughes threw on 2 more attackers who tore the Caernarfon defence to shreds and scored three goals between them near the end.

And spare a thought for Lewis Brass in the Caernarfon goal. On two occasions he made really acrobatic saves to prevent certain goals, and the rebounds off his hands could have gone anywhere. But of course, they just had to fall to an unmarked Y Drenewydd player, didn’t they?

When your luck is in, it’s really in.

This afternoon I’ve spent most of the time sleeping and I don’t know why. I was hoping that these blood transfusions would have kindled some fire inside me but it seems to have made things worse because I was flat out, gone. I managed to recover something in order to speak to Ingrid and Rosemary but God alone knows what they must have thought of the conversation.

I’d even managed to go off on another good ramble. There was something about going through some kind of upheaval that was unpopular and while we were at it we were thumbing through some kind of electronic display of an Al Stewart album. The first couple of songs were familiar but a quick look through towards the end out of order using some kind of pointy stick to prise the pages down showed songs that I didn’t know

Later I was with some girl I’d only recently met at Bill’s funeral service at Pionsat church. They had his coffin in the hearse and were to take it to the cemetery and I wondered how they would do that – which way would they go.

Later on I managed to find the energy to go and pick up the remainder of the medication and on the way back I had vegan sausage, beans and ships for tea.

Now I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough of today and it’s high time that it finished. I had been hoping to write some radio notes this afternoon for another programme but I’m going to have to do that tomorrow instead, if I can find the energy.

Right now, I’ve had enough. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

Sunday 23rd May 2021 – YOU WOULD HAVE …

… expected that I would have learnt enough about tempting fate about my postings.

“An early night” I said. “Fighting fit for tomorrow” I implied. Well, quite. Not even the usual good-old reliable stand-by of watching an old black-and-white film of the dozens that I have downloaded from THE INTERNET ARCHIVE for copyright-lapsed media and many other similar sites, something that has worked WITH MONOTONOUS REGULARITY AND RELIABILITY in the past

In fact I’d watched 2 films and there wasn’t even the vaguest possibility of sleep.

What was happening was that a pain developing in the very region that they had mentioned. And as the evening, and the night had worn on it became worse and worse. Why I hadn’t worried about it at first was because it was a pain that I’d had before and had eventually gone away all on its own.

And I hadn’t mentioned it before in these notes because it was rather a delicate subject.

By 04:30 the pain was indescribable and eventually I succumbed. In all my life I’d never had a pain quite like this. The nurse told me to wait for an hour while she monitored it and as there was no amelioration she called the night doctor.

He had a look and a poke around, and the next thing was that a porter turned up and whisked my bed off to the operating theatre. And after a considerable amount of moving about and swapping rooms, they eventually found where I was supposed to be.

The surgeon was only a young girl but she tried a trick or two first, none of which worked so I was moved yet again. She came along as well, I suppose because I did see her later. But when I arrived, it was just about 08:30. I was undressed and someone clamped a mask over my face. “Have a whiff of this” he said.

The next thing that I remember was that it was 12:35 and I was in the post-op room. “When can I go back to my room?” I asked. “There’s an important football match at 13:15”. And there was too. Pen-y-bont v Y Drenewydd in the other European Competition qualifier. “Later” replied a nurse.

Had I known and had anyone said, I’d have taken my phone with me to watch it down there because by the time that they had monitored everything and the blood transfusion had finished (blood count down yet again to 7.5 despite yesterday’s transfusion) and a porter had come to take me back, I was just in time to watch the final 30 seconds of the game.

Y Drenewydd won the match 1-0 so we are all set up for an intriguing final with Caernarfon for the last place. The 6th and 7th teams have knocked out the 4th and 5th. These two clubs are quite equal but I think that Caernarfon are playing at home and they have that certain little something.

So that’s the Kiss of Death duly given then.

intravenous drip gasthuisberg university hospital Leuven Belgium Eric HallSo here I am in my room with a pile of intravenous drips on the walkie thing. And that’s not all because there are another couple … errr … elsewhere and I’m not photographing them. You’re probably eating your meal or something right now.

Down below I’m all bandaged up and I’m confined to bed, so the nurses are pretty safe at the moment. My request for a gondola’s pole so I can punt my bed around the hospital corridors in hot pursuit has been denied which is a shame.

This would be just the ideal moment for Castor to come along and put in an appearance, enter my bubble and soothe my fevered brow. And wouldn’t that be nice if it were ever to happen. But it’s not unfortunately so I shall have to cope on my own which is a bit miserable.

hospital meal gasthuisberg university hospital Leuven Belgium Eric HallAt least the food here is better than at that dreadful doss-house in Riom where they served me up half a plate of overcooked courgettes that time.

Tonight’s tea was a couple of small breadcrumbed quorn burgers of the type that I once bought in NOZ, with potatoes and endives. With tomato soup to start and although I couldn’t eat the dessert (a milky chocolate dessert thing) the nurse brought me a bag of crisps instead.

The issues with the diet by the way are due to the fact that both the dietician and cute Kaatje who says that she is my social worker but is really my psychiatrist (all terminally ill patients have a psychiatrist allotted to them) are on holiday until Tuesday.

When it all went quiet I made up a playlist of my favourite albums so I’m surrounded by some really good music, I’ve had internet chats with Esi and Alison, internet chats with Rosemary, Liz (whom I’ve convinced that my suffering is worth at least 2 cakes) and TOTGA as well as a few others, friendly nurses who run off and bring me bottles of Sprite and packets of crisps, and reasonable food, a comfy bed and some peace and quiet.

What more could any man desire? Apart from TOTGA, Castor and Kaatje to bubble up and soothe my fevered brown of course.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out to sea this afternoon.

Somewhere in that sea fog out there are the Iles de Chausey but you can’t actually see them this afternoon. After all of the nice weather that we’ve had over the last couple of days, we are now having a change of weather. It’s still warm and bright outside, but as for whether or not there were any clouds in the sky, that’s a completely different story.

What isn’t a completely different story is that once more I managed to stagger to my feet shortly after the first alarm went off at 06:00, and by the time that the third alarm went off I was already sitting at the computer working.

We were all on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night, heading off on a cruise somewhere and TOTGA and her 2 kids came to see me off. This was very nice of them of course and I was hoping that it would lead to something further but we’d have to see (and not for nothing is she known as “The One That Got Away). There was still a couple of hours before our ship sailed. Then I had to leave the group with which i was in order to go to the bathroom. This meant stepping off the ship. As I walked down to the bow there were all these people from the restaurant standing around at the front of the ship having a cigarette, people who worked there, so I made a cheery kind of comment which they took in good heart and I walked off down the corridor of the port to try to find the bathroom, all the time thinking that in 2 hours time something might develop with TOTGA if I’m lucky – but just at this point I fell asleep again. And my apologies to Percy Penguin whose word I doubted when she told me that I snored.

Incidentally, just before I went to bed last night I was having a long chat with TOTGA about her daughter. It just goes to show …

Later on, a lady who worked in the OU said that she would do a drawing of me in pen and ink or something so I went to see her. I ended up staying. She was only down the road from Nina’s so I’d been to see her and then gone down to see this woman. She lived just on the border between Wales and England in Wales, 1 mile from the border. We were chatting and she had some shopping to do so we set out and walked along the old railway line that ran past her house into the UK and got to Ashbourne although it wasn’t the Ashbourne that I knew. She did a few bits and pieces and I was trying to go to the toilet but everywhere that I was going was full or there were cars going past or something and in the end we ended up walking back to her house. She had loads of stuff all over the place that she was drawing for people I knew from the OU. I was saying that that was the area where I’d like to live, on the border there. It always struck me as being an extremely romantic type of place and there were places like Tamworth and so on within easy reach. It all seemed so historical and all so interesting compared to Crewe.

That’s something else we were doing too. We’d been to Virlet at one point too, I don’t know why. I had a tiny solar panel there with a USB type of plug on it that you could plug things like telephones that kind of thing into it which would charge up off the solar panel. Quite a few people were interested in that and I was telling them all about it.

Once I’d organised myself I sat down and ran through about 20 photos from my Greenland 2019 trip, making sure that they were edited properly. I’m pressing on with these

Next, I turned my attention to the preparation for my Welsh class. That involved reading through the notes that I made during last week’s lesson, going through it all, and then looking through the course book for the text for this weeks lesson.

The lesson itself passed fairly well, I suppose. I was in a slightly better mood then last week and feeling much more like it.

After lunch I spent some of the time dealing with a few outstanding issues. Now that the new ID cards are coming through the system and being issued, it’s clear that the enormous backlog is being cleared. This is the moment to make my application to convert my ID card to the new type to reflect our revised status on the Mainland.

We now have no more rights over here than any refugee from Somalia or Syria.

Another thing that needed doing was to go through my bank accounts and see how the land lies. I still have my Canada money kicking around and it’ll be two years’ worth soon. With no prospect of going back until at least 2022 and maybe not even then, I need to make it all work for me in the meantime. It’s doing no good in a deposit account.

Unfortunately, the guy whose number I was given wasn’t the correct person and he couldn’t think of anyone who might help me. So it’s back to the drawing board as far as this is concerned.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Once again, as you might expect, the tide is miles out at sea again. These are the highest and lowest tides of the year right now of course and the public areas of the fishing beds are exposed. There were crowds of people on the beach down there by the steps underneath the Place d’Armes but from up here on the cliffs it didn’t look as if they were actually doing the peche à pied

Maybe they were just enjoying the good weather because despite the rolling sea fog that we were having, it wasn’t cold and it wasn’t all that windy.

kids at gymnase jean galfione place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe schools are still out on half-term this evening so it was fairly quiet around the College Malraux this afternoon. No hordes of schoolkids and no parents parked up where they shouldn’t be.

But there was something going on at the Gymnasium Jean Galfione at the back of the school. These kids all seem to be dressed in some kind of corporate outfit so maybe there’s been some kind of team sport going on there this afternoon.

They were sitting there quietly, presumably waiting for Godot so I left them to it and carried on with my walk along the footpath.

renault voltigeur pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHow long is it since we’ve seen an old car on these pages? Quite a while, isn’t it?

My route took me over the lawn and onto the car park at the back of the lighthouse and there sitting quietly is a rather elderly Renault Voltigeur.

We all know about these vehicles and their heavier brothers, the Renault Goelettes. These were the vehicles used by all of the authorities for a 20 year period from the end of the 40s to the end of the 60s and were the typical paniers à salades, “salad baskets”, used by the Police to carry away detainees, although salade is a more polite way of of expressing what they were usually called.

High ground clearance and short wheelbase, they were ideal for the poor state of the roads in France after the war and with a traditional rear-wheel drive and cheap, basic and simple to assemble, they were much more common than the rival Citroen H “garden sheds” but never acquired the same cult status or lasted as long as their Citroen rivals.

It’s very, very rare to see one on the road these days.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers on their scaffolding at the College Malraux.

They have spent several months working on the side of the roof facing my building and about a fortnight ago they moved their scaffolding round to the side. While I’ve been away they seem to have moved their scaffolding round to the other side of the building and I noticed that they are now busy attacking that slope.

With all of that do do, that’s probably going to take them up to summer, given the speed at which they have been working so far.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the viewpoint overlooking the port there was nothing much going on, and there were just the two boats in the chantier navale.

But I did notice one of the two diggers that have been working in the port seems to have retired from the fray and is now clanking on its tracks up the ramp.

It was difficult to see what was going on with it over there but there was a workman round at the front of the machine, so maybe they are going to change her bucket for one of a different size, or maybe even fit a grab onto the end of the arm. But there wasn’t anything down there to fit it with.

digger tractor port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, out in the port, the other digger is hard at it with the tractor and trailer.

It seems to have dug up a pile of rocks from the bed of the port and is busy tipping them into the trailer to be taken away. And why they would be doing that I really don’t know because they’ll have to go down extremely deep in order to make it into a wet harbour at all states of the tide.

And that gives me an idea. Maybe they are going to fit a breaker attachment onto the other digger so that it can break up some more of the rock.

After watching them for a while I came back here for coffee and some of my delicious vegan cake and then carried on with my arrears of my journey to Central Europe. And once again I crashed out completely for a good half-hour and felt pretty dreadful again when I came round.

The hour on the guitars was quite enjoyable and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap followed by my nice jam pie with the last of the soya coconut dessert.

The good news was that the football is back. Y Drenewydd were playing Penybont and it was a good match. Despite Y Drenewydd being at the foot of the table they were far too good for mid-table Penybont and fully deserved their 2-0 win, and even missed a penalty. Despite the long pause in the season they’ve obviously kept themselves fit as the game was played at 100% for the whole of the 90 minutes. I quite enjoyed watching the game.

Now I’m off to bed, later than usual. But the football is always much more interesting than sleeping. Tomorrow I have a pile of correspondence that needs my attention, some tidying up, and then I need to crack on. There’s plenty to do.

Saturday 19th December 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

… you were wondering (which I’m sure you aren’t) I missed the 3rd alarm this morning too.

Nothing like as dramatically as yesterday, it has to be said. Only by about 20 minutes as it happened but still, a miss is as good as a mile as they say. And after something of a rather late night, I’m not really all that surprised.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. And it’s no surprise that I was late getting up with everything going on that went on during the night.

I’m not quite sure what I was doing during part of the night but I had a cat. I was cooking a bone and the bone had obviously been there for a very long time because it had all dried out and the meat was dry and the skin made a kind of sub-cutaneous fat crackling that all broke away from the bone. It was like eating a packet of crisps. I was Eating this and the recipe had been sent to me by my friend in Galashiels so I asked her if her meat had turned out like this, whether it was simply a cheap cut, something like that, but I never really got an answer. That was when I awoke.

Later on there was a bunch of us in a school yard. We’d been on a trip by coach or a cruise or something like that and it was the final day. We had a big debriefing session and a little snack but that was before the evening meal which was the last on that we’d be taking together. I wanted to say goodbye to these girls with whom I’d been friendly. They might have been Castor and Pollux or they might not, I dunno. I knew which table they usually sat at so as soon as the meeting was open I made a beeline for that table and I was the first basically there. I sat down and other people came to join me. But at the evening meal there was only about a quarter of the people there, just 4 tables and the rest of the people, including the two people whom I was hoping to see, hadn’t come down. I imagined that the snack that they’d had in the afternoon was enough for them. That was extremely disappointing to me as you could imagine. Anyway I started to pass the cups and plates around – they were actually underneath the table on a shelf thing that pulled out so I was passing them around. I started out by pouring out tea and I asked if anyone else wanted one. Someone did, and I got into such a confusion about his mug that in the end he took the mug off me and held it while I poured it. The conversation descended into telling bawdy jokes and everyone was having a really good laugh. The annoying thing was that I couldn’t think of a joke to tell and that’s not like me. I couldn’t think of a single 1 and everyone else was telling these jokes and we were laughing, having a really good time about this but I felt terrible because I couldn’t think of a single joke and feeling even worse because these 2 girls hadn’t shown up. This put a real damper on my trip in the end.

Having had a shower, I put the washing machine en route (I’m having clean sheets tonight) and then headed out to the shops. Caliburn started straight away with his nice, new battery so there was no problem there.

NOZ came up with a couple of CDs and not really much of anything else important. On the other hand I spent a lot of money in LeClerc on all kinds of exciting things, mostly food-related. I didn’t buy much in the way of fresh vegetables for Christmas – I’m leaving that until Thursday when I’ll also be hoping, if I’m lucky, to find some Seitan slices.

firemen breaking into a house rue paul legibon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on the way back from the shops we had some excitement.

In the Rue Paul Legibon in the Quartier St Nicolas we had a police van and a fire engine in attendance at a house. And as I watched (firstly from stuck in a queue behind the fire engine and then in the church car park across the road) two firemen shinned up a ladder onto the terrace and proceeded to break into the house.

So whatever was going on there must have been quite important, if not serious, and doubtless we’ll be hearing more about this in due course.

Back here I put the frozen food (there wasn’t all that much) into the freezer, hung up the washing and then made myself a hot chocolate. And with a slice of my delicious fruit bread I attacked some arrears.

That took me up to lunchtime, and then after lunch I started to put some of the purchases away. Not all of them of course, I’m not feeling that much better. And when I felt up to it, I had a few things to do here that needed doing.

wassmer 54 f-bukk light aircraft Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to walkies-time so I set off out of the apartment.

And almost straight away, as soon as I had set foot out of the door I was buzzed by a light aircraft that had obviously been hovering around, waiting for me to come outside.

It’s none other than our old friend F-BUKK, the rather elderly Lycoming-engined Wassmer W54 that seems to have moved into the vicinity these days. And strangely enough, she’s not on the list of arrivals and departures for Granville Airport today although she was briefly picked up on their radar at 15:57 (roughly when I saw her) and disappeared as quickly as she appeared.

And I can’t find her anywhere else.

high winds pointe du roc baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut it’s a surprise really that there was anything very much going on outside today.

The howling, bitter wind that has plagued us these last few days, or weeks, or months, is still here. It’s churning up the sea quite considerably as you can tell from this photograph. All across the bay this afternoon we cansee the whitecaps that have been whipped up by the wicked wind.

It might be difficult to work out where it’s coming from, but I can tell you with extreme confidence exactly where it’s going. And I’m glad at times like this that I’m not a Scotsman.

For that reason I’m not going to hang about and I wandered off across the lawn and car park to the end of the headland.

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening around there today either so I wandered off down the path on the other side of the cliffs.

And here in the chantier navale at long last, we have a new arrival. We seem to have acquired one of the little trawlers that has come in here to have some work done on her. I’ve seen her about the port here and there in the past and she does have a local (Cherbourg) registration so she’s one of ours.

Is this the start of another rush of work, or are we just going to be having work in dribs and drabs until people start preparing for next summer. After all being alone on a small boat is probably about the safest place you can be in a pandemic, and we’re certain to be having a few more waves of this virus.

dry land map of United Kingdom port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks or so ago we saw a phenomenon in the harbour that seemed to represent the outline of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

As I wandered along the clifftop, lonely as a cloud etc etc, I noticed that we had the same phenomenon again today. And just as before, we had a sock of fleagulls reposing upon it. It’s not quite as accurately drawn as the time before but you can still make out the eastern and northern parts of the country, with the County of Kent just disappearing underneath the harbour wall.

That’s something else about which I would like to find out more. There’s a story that there’s a previous harbour wall somewhere prior to the building of the present one and this may be where the foundations are, the shallow depth of silt on top causing the water to dry out quicker.

Back here I grabbed a coffee and organised one or two things quickly because there was more football on the internet today. A bottom-of-the-table match between Y Fflint and Aberystwyth. I was impressed with Flint when I first saw them but they slid down the table at an alarming rate after that really heavy defeat and have recently changed their manager to no-nonsense Neil Gibson who a few years ago kicked Prestatyn Town three divisions up the pyramid in a very short space of time.

On the other hand, Aberystwyth are a good side with some good players but for some reason have simply failed to fire up and are in desperate danger of being sucked down into a relegation scrap. A win for both sides was vital today.

And the match went pretty much as expected. Aberystwyth throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Flint who had to sit back and hope to absorb it, and hit Aberystwyth on the break.

And I do have to say that Flint’s defence was magnificent today. They fought like lions with what at times was desperate defending and were unlucky with a break after 35 minutes when a header was pushed over the bar by Connor Roberts in the Aber goal.

But Roberts could do nothing in the 40th minute when one of the most beautiful, inch-perfect long balls out of defence that you have ever seen fell to Mark Cadwallader who shrugged off a desperate challenge TO TOE-POKE THE BALL PAST ROBERTS.

In the second half Aberystwyth had even more of the game and were pounding the Flint goal at will but were undone late in the game by not one but two breakaways for probably the most surprising victory that I’ve seen for a while and a result that just goes to underline Aberystwyth’s season to date.

They were unlucky to lose at all, and certainly not by a score of 3-0. Now both clubs are stuck right in a pack of four at the bottom with Y Drenewydd and Cefn Druids and this can all go in any direction.

But it’s easy to see why our two teams tonight are deep in the mire. Too many wayward passes, not marking close enough and, in Aber’s case especially, not having the killer instinct when they need it.

rue du nord place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow it was time for me to go out for my evening walk and runs. And the first two legs of my evening adventures brought me to the gate where I would disappear down to the footpath underneath the walls

Looking back behind me from this particular spot the view back down the Rue du Nord to the Place d’Armes over to the right was really impressive this evening. And the beam of the lighthouse down at the Pointe du Roc was making a nice hazy fog of light, as you can see over on the right behind the College Malraux.

Having taken the photo I disappeared down the path and along underneath the walls.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith no rain for at least 24 hours, which is strange just recently, that path under the walls wasn’t all that wet so my runs down there were reasonably comfortable tonight.

But where I stopped, halfway around to catch my breath, the view over the Plat Gousset was looking quite nice and special so I decided to have a little fun. I’d take three or four photos of the same view on different settings and see how they worked out.

The photo up above was one of them, and the one below is another of them. All of the rest were filed under “CS”.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular one has had a little post-work done on it but the first one is just as it came out of the camera and all in all, they aren’t too bad really.

The discarded ones were over-exposed. You’ve no idea (well, some of you have, of course) how difficult it is to set the camera for the right amount of light for artificial light when the surroundings are in pitch-black.

From there I did the next leg of my run down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. And, as usual thse days, there was nothing whatever going on down there, interesting or not so I turned and headed for home.

crescent moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd tonight the crescent moon was back.

A little higher in the sky tonight so I could see it before I crossed the Square Maurice Marland, and I spent a couple of minutes trying to take a good photo of it.

From there I ran on down to the walls, walked along the walls and then ran on home for tea. I can’t get used to this “early” lark.

Tea tonight was pasta and nice fresh (and I do mean fresh because broccoli was the special offer today and I had bought sprouts on Thursday) steamed vegetables with vegan pesto (I’d bought some of that too) and an old falafel burger followed by rice pudding.

Rosemary had called me while I was out so I phoned her back and we were chatting for a couple of hours, which is why I’m still writing my notes long after 02:00. But now I’ve finished, I’m off to bed.

But I’ll leave you tonight with a special treat. For those of you who worry about me, I put it all down to the kind of company that I keep. This is ONE OF MY FRIENDS FROM OTTAWA in Canada. I hope that you enjoy it.

Friday 18th December 2020 – AS YOU PROBABLY …

… might have guessed – after yesterday there was no hope whatever of my beating the third alarm to my feet. Not a hope.

In fact it was 09:35 when I finally shook off whatever it was that I was suffering from and arose from the dead.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And while I might not have been here in body, I was certainly out and about in spirit.

We started off in the living room in Shavington and there were piles of us there – we’d got ourselves into little groups. Suddenly another 11 children arrived and we had to add a couple of children to each of the groups. Not being able to find anything and not being able to think of a good way of doing it I cut up a paper into 8 with 8 squares because 2 of the kids were quite well known to us and one of the leaders of one of the groups immediately bagged them as soon as they walked in. That left 8 or 9, maybe there was 1 left over. The idea was that someone would call out say 1 and 2, or 7 and 4 or 3 and 1 or something and that way have these kids allocated. This took so long in doing, for reasons that I don’t understand – there was a dog asleep on the sofa and I couldn’t find half my paperwork, I’d lost my keys and there was something that I knew before I went to bed that I couldn’t find. And everyone had crashed out to sleep in a heap anyway so it wouldn’t make any difference whose group anyone went to.

Later, we’d been off on a University field trip. Again, we’d been divided into groups and we’d been to visit all of these particular sites. Our group came across a particular site where there was a destroyed statue or cairn or something and the remains of what was quite classed quite clearly as an Iron-Age fort. We reckoned that there had been a battle here maybe and that the fort had been overwhelmed by the Romans and they had built a Victory cairn. of course, time had weathered everything away. The tutor came to see how we were doing and we showed her this and explained our theory. She was immediately all excited and said “there’s a Mr so-and-so coming round with another group. Make sure that one of you grabs hold of him and show him all of this”. Of course I had the short straw so I had to stay behind while they all moved off but I forgot his name so that wasn’t any good. When I tried to ask each group that came along, no-one would actually identify themselves as being this special person doing this special research. By then it was almost time to go home and everyone was congregating down at the bottom so I went down to the bottom and there were 1 or 2 more groups that I hadn’t seen who hadn’t made it round yet so I asked them. Someone stepped forward but this person didn’t correspond with the description that I’d been given. I don’t think that I ever solved that particular problem about finding that person and showing them that sight.

Still plenty to go at yet. I was next somewhere around the Crewe Road in Nantwich. I was looking in a driveway and there was a shoot of what looked like one of these ground alder trees pushing up. I took hold of it and pulled it to pull it up but off shot this root. I had to follow this root and it went for a couple of hundred yards all the way down Crewe Road pulling it up out of the tarmac. In the end I thought “this is going to go on for ever” so I cut it off with a pair of sharp scissors, making sure that I did it behind a bud. Then I had to go and wash my hands that were filthy so I went into a garage of a house – the door was open. I had a look but there was no water in there but the drain was like a drain down from the house above the garage went off in a 90° elbow but the pipe that it went into wasn’t a tight fit at all – just something pushed over and was dripping away. I pulled it apart to clean it but I lost a piece, the drain plug underneath the elbow. I had to reassemble it but still it wouldn’t go on correctly – there was this piece missing too. In the end I found the piece and put it in but the junction was no better and probably even worse than it was before I’d started messing with it. In the end, after having been there for about 10 minutes I just left it and thought that the occupier will have to deal wit it when he realises that he has a really bad leak worse than he had before.

Finally there were 2 of us inside this hospital ward, me and a woman or girl. I can’t remember how this started now but we were in there talking away and I thought “I’d better go and put some clothes on in a moment” so I looked around for a dressing gown but thought “no, I may as well go down to my bed” which was a few floors below. Off I set down the stairs but someone accosted me going down the stairs and asked “do you think that there ought to be separate stairs for patients?”. I couldn’t be bothered about that so I said “yes, absolutely right” and trotted off down these stairs and ended up at my bed on floor Minus 2. it was really early in the morning and a lot of people were still asleep even though the alarm had gone off a long while ago. I had a chat with a few people while I made my bed and then went to make myself a coffee in the put but it turned out that I made soup instead – I must have opened the wrong sachet and there were these dehydrated vegetables everywhere. The lid of the pot was on wrong and that wasn’t going to help matters any. I was having a bit of a moan about this. I noticed that there was a little girl in bed, about 4 or so, asleep in one of the beds, fast asleep with her arms open really wide as if she was hugging something. I remembered that she has her big teddy bear in the cupboard underneath her bed so I thought “wouldn’t it be nice if I got her teddy out and put it on her bed so she could put her arms round it and cuddle it while she was asleep?”. Then I had another thought that I’d better get dressed, but how was I going to remember where this room was that I’d just come from that I’d go back and meet this woman? Then I realised that with it being to common day room of our particular ward it should be written on a piece of paper somewhere on a list so I ought to go and find this list and check to see which room it was that I had just come from.

With all of that going on, it’s hardly surprising that I didn’t leave the bed until 09:35, is it?

And it goes without saying that it took me all of the morning to type out all of that.

Next task was to book my few days in Belgium. Much to my surprise, the trains are actually running according to the timetable (although there is still plenty of time for all that to change of course) and in view of the fact that I had a Christmas bonus voucher from the SNCF the price of the return ticket to Brussels – 1300 kilometres of which about half is undertaken on a TGV – came to just €121:00. I reckon that that’s about the cheapest that I’ve had.

My departure is on Monday 28th December and my return will be on Sunday 3rd January, so I’ll be celebrating New Year in Belgium.

After lunch, I had a look at the kefir.

This morning I finished one of the bottles which mean that the last bottle of Kiwi Kefir went in the fridge. The next batch is ready and so I attended to that. 4 of the clementines went in the whizzer and were whizzed up nicely to extract the juice which was then passed through my nest of filters into the large 3-litre jug.

clementine kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir was then poured through the nest of filters into the jug, leaving about an inch of the mother solution behind. 40 grammes (7 large lumps) of sugar, half a lemon cut into slices and a dried fig cut in half went in too, and then the bottle was filled up with 2.5 litres of water and the top sealed.

The clementine kefir was then run back through the fine filter and funnelled into the various bottles that I use, and here’s the finished solution.

That’s enough for about 5 days of medication in the morning and if it works properly (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t) it will be delicious. I like my Clementine kefir, but I’m going to have to experiment with other varieties.

Next step, which I mustn’t forget, is to feed the sourdough. As I said, my next batch of bread is going to be a standard batch of yeast bread, just to see whether it’s my technique at fault, but I’m not going to completely abandon the idea of sourdough.

Despite still not feeling very well, I wasn’t going to let it prevent me from heading out to my afternoon walk around the headland.

colours in water rainstorm ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while it wasn’t as yet raining, I could see that at any moment it was about to, and I’m glad that i’d donned my raincoat.

You can see from here that the Ile de Chausey is shrouded in a rainstorm and quite luckily at the moment the wind is blowing out to sea. The moment the wind drops we’ll be getting all of that on our heads.

And you’ll notice that other weird phenomenon that we have sometimes over here too. The different colours in the water there. And I wish that I had a tame oceanographer handy who could explain it all to me.

marine debris peche a pied Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe high winds and damp weather were keeping most people indoors this afernoon. There can’t have been more than half a dozen folk out there this afternoon.

But there was at least one brave soul out there this afternoon. After I’d walked around the headland and started back on the other side I came across this guy out there having a go at the peche à pied to see what he could find.

And while we don’t usually see much marine debris around here, and I’ve never known for sure why, there’s some in this photo. What looks like a concrete block to his right and a sheet of moulded composite board further over.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a little cabin cruiser in the chantier navale.

You’ll remember that I speculated that it wouldn’t be around here for very long, and it seems that I was right on that score because here she is today, gone. Conspicuous by her absence.

As for the big yacht that’s been in here since time immemorial, it looks as if she’s having a new coat of paint. So here’s hoping that the rainstorm is going to keep well away until it’s dried. It’s really not the kind of weather to be out there painting anything right now.

As for me, it wasn’t the kind of weather for me to be out there either. I came on back home for a coffee.

After the coffee I spent an hour or so working on the arrears of the summer, and then knocked off for guitar practice, which went much better. I discovered that I could even play the bass to “White Wedding” while I’m singing it, which would have astonished me three months ago.
“Hey little sister, what do you think about that?”
“It’s a nice day to start again.”

christmas lights rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPutting down the guitar I was back out again quite quickly for my evening runs.

And it seems that I’ve started a trend. I had a letter put through my letter box by one of my neighbours to thank me for brightening up the place with my lights, and it seems that the guy who lives in the house by the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord has decided to follow suit.

There were plenty of fishing boats out there tonight but I imagine that you are pretty sick of seeing substandard photos of blurred boats beating a retreat across the Bay back to port, so I left them alone. Instead I ran on all the way round to the viewpoint over looking the Place Marechal Foch, a rund that I do in three legs, rather lake Jake The Peg.

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing happening there but seeing as it was before 19:30 all of the lights on the shops in the Rue Paul Poirier were illuminated.

We’d missed them by a tiny fraction of a second yesterday and I was determined not to miss them today to make up for it.

The run across the Square Maurice Marland was totally painful. I wasn’t feeling so good and the runs up to this point had been difficult, but trying to run into the teeth of a gale was agonising. I really struggled to make it across to the other side and had to stop for a few minutes.

Nothing much happening anywhere else so I ran on home from the walls and started to make tea.

And tea was very pleasant tonight because I had company. Not physical company, I hasten to add, but my friend Esi who lives in Brussels was having a Zoom party so while I was eating my tea I joined in. Curry and rice with convivial chat for an hour or so was very nice indeed and made a pleasant change. There were about a dozen or so of us all told.

But I had to leave after a while because there’s football on the internet. Caernarfon v Y Drenewydd, with the latter badly in need of some points.

But you can’t play football in a monsoon with a howling gale blowing the ball anywhere except where you want it to go. The Cofis, playing with the wind in the 1st half scored the first goal even though Newtown had the better of the chances, but in the 2nd half the boot was on the other foot as the wind helped Newtown move up the field.

And after about 75 minutes, you could se the light go on in the head of Chris Hughes, the manager of Y Drenewydd. Sitting on his bench was Jake Phillips, who probably has the longest throw in professional football right now. And with the wind behind him, he should have been on from the restart.

But onto the field he trotted – and his first task before he’d even entered the pitch was to take a throw-in. He heaved a really long throw right into the penalty area, helped by the wind. It was headed on by a Newtown attacker to a colleague who slotted it into the net to equalise.

And that’s how the game ended – one goal each. It could have been more but Tibbetts in the Cofis goal had an excellent game to keep Newtown out, but this match was never going to be entertaining in the weather that they were having and I was glad to be undercover in my apartment.

Bed now and shopping tomorrow, if I can remember to wake up in time. There’s so much that I need to buy for my Christmas cooking and it isn’t going to be easy. I’ll have to scan through my recipes before I set out and see what I need.

Friday 11th September 2015 – WHAT A NIGHTMARE!

Absolutely.

There I was on my travels last night and who should come breezing in but Nerina. She’d left me two months ago but now she had discovered that she was pregnant and so wanted to come back. No wonder that I awoke all cold and sweating!

I’d been elsewhere on my travels too. I’d been quite friendly with a group of girls and every time I went around to see them their mother used to shout at me “and wipe your feet!” and this went on for ages. But then one day they announced that they were selling up and going to have to find somewhere else to live, and so I answered that there were some nice big houses by Pebble Brook School, in Buchan Grove in fact (which of course, is nowhere near Pebble Brook School but anything is possible when I’m voyaging during the night)

That latter bit does in fact have some significance for anyone who can remember events of 40 years ago, but if you weren’t around just then, then you missed out on events of earth-shattering importance.

All of the foregoing might lead you to suppose that I had a really good night’s sleep, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. I just couldn’t drop off, for a start. I was awake for hours, and then I had another bad, uncomfortable night where I kept on waking up.

But eventually there I was, with a coffee. But not a shower. It’s another pay-shower and I don’t have any quarters. But it does go to show just what good value the Goose Point Campground at Alburgh was.

Talking of campgrounds, I can’t stay here two further nights either.It’s Homecoming Week here at the High School (hence all of the sports) and there’s quite a few inter-school competitions this weekend. The campground is therefore full but they’ve squeezed me in elsewhere for tonight and then I have to move on. Not that it’s a big deal because I could be quite comfortable here if I had decent accommodation.

north beach burlington vermont usaAnd talking of things being decent, after I’d bought my butty for this afternoon I went down to the beach to eat it.

First time that I’ve been down here and it certainly is a nice place to be. I’ve not seen a beach quite like this except when I was on my travels at the start of Spring last year when I went down to western France for a week.

north beach burlington vermont usaIn fact this whole area reminds me very much of western France, which is probably what attracted many of the early settlers here. Because this area was first settled by mainly French settlers from Nouvelle France.

In fact, if you look in the telephone directory, you’ll see loads and loads of French surnames. I was sitting behind someone called Gagnon and they announced the name “Tremblay” for one of the players on the hockey team last night.

north beach burlington vermont usaBut just a word of warning if you fancy coming down here visiting in a school bus or something – there’s a 9-foot height limit under the abandoned railway so you’ll need to leave the bus miles away and walk down.

As for me, no trouble with Strider. That’s another reason for having a Ford Ranger. he fits anywhere that a small family car will go. And so I was able to sit and eat my butties in peace and enjoy the nice weather. Summer was back today.

After lunch I went up to Home Depot and had a plank of cheap OSB cut for the floor of Strider. I’ve had it cut to 40″ by 6’and I’ve now encountered another problem. And that is that with his boot liner, he’s not even 6 feet long and that means that

  1. I have to cut down the wood further (good job that I have a saw
  2. My camp bed won’t fit in the back of it

And so I can see that I’m going to have to make a bed to fit it. But then, I was half-prepared for this anyway – hence the circular saw.

Back at the High School, I armed myself with a press permit (Radio Anglais has a lot to be said for it) and so I was authorised to take photos of tonight’s football matches

football refereeing girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaWe started off with the girls against Colchester High School, and the first thing that you’ll notice is the refereeing.They don’t have one referee and two linesman but two referees (possibly one from each school) and the pitch seems to be divided up by an invisible diagonal line, with each referee administrating on “his” side of the line.

This was how the hockey was refereed too last night but I just thought that that was usual. School hockey refereeing has probably come a long way since Joyce Grenfell refereed a hockey match at St Trinians.

The Seahorses scored just as I was entering the ground (I was late). Their n°10, whose play was very reminiscent of Les “the Truck” Davies at Bangor City in the Welsh Premier League, chased after a long ball forward (I would have given her offside by a foot, but never mind) despite being well-marked by her limpet-like defender.

And as the keeper came out for the loose ball, the n°10 kept bustling forward, shrugging off a few tough challenges, got her head to the ball and nodded it over the keeper’s outstretched arms into the net.

A proper “English Centre-Forward” of the type that followers of the English Premier League haven’t seen in years.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaBut the Seahorses couldn’t keep it up. They were, unfortunately, possessed of a “Pionsat” central defence, and anyone who has been a regular reader of this rubbish will know what I mean by that. They don’t seem to be able to clear the ball, dither about and are indecisive when the ball should be kicked upfield, into touch, or anywhere else for that matter, and this led to their downfall.

The central defence, from a fairly inocuous position, hang on to the ball too long instead of clearing it, and of course they eventually lose possession. And the result of that is, as we all were expecting the moment that the n°6 didn’t kick it upfield as soon as she had the ball, was inevitable.

It goes from bad to worse too. One lesson that I’ve always tried to drill into my young strikers in Pionsat’s 2nd XI is that no matter how hopeless a cause looks, you always follow the ball in. At this level, anything can happen, and young Florian has scored a few goals doing just that.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaHere, a superb shot is well-saved by the Seahorse keeper but she can only push it onto the bar.

The Colchester n°5, playing inside-right and who was easily the best player on the field (and I told her so after the match – her name is Rachel apparently) was following up the shot and with the Seahorse defence being slow to react, she got her head to the ball and that was the winner.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaIt nearly wasn’t though. The Seahorses kept on going forward, without much luck, but here one of the girls has a shot from the diagonal corner of the penalty area, beats the keeper but hits the post and rebounds back into play.

There’s not another Seahorse close enough to capitalise on the loose ball, and this just goes to show the benefits of following in rather than standing around watching.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaMost exciting moment of the match was after about 15 minutes of the second half.

The Seahorses won a free kick and it was a beautiful strike right around the end of the wall. But the Colchester keeper produced an equally beautiful diving save to push the ball out for a corner.

But you’ll notice the two Seahorses on the right – quick enough off the mark that time, but strangely, no-one running in on the left.

But the result was the right one – Colchester always looked more dangerous going forward and were more organised in defence, choosing the simple but much more effective option of clearing the ball at every opportunity.

And I’ll tell you something else for nothing too – I’ve seen a bigger bunch of girls playing football in the English Premier League too than I saw out here tonight. This kind of match is the kind that would send shivers down the spine of any woman’s football team in any other country.

As for the boys’ match against Middlebury, this really was a game of two halves. Or two keepers, in fact, as Middlebury changed keeper at half time. And this is something that is amazing me – the substitutions.

We had rolling substitutions, which you expect at this level, but not at the speed that they were doing it. Every couple of minutes there was a substitution, and at one stage they made a substitution just 20 seconds after having made a previous one. Not only does it break up the game, how on earth do you build a balanced, confident and cohesive team with all of this going on?

middlebury tigers goalkeeper dives bravely at the feet of burlington high school seahorses attacker vermont usaThis was just like last night’s match – pretty much one-way traffic, but this time all flowing towards the Middlebury goal and the keeper had to show some real heroics to keep the ball out of the net.

This here is not the only example of him bravely diving at the feet of a Seahorse attacker. He did it a couple of times, and it’s just as well because his defence was just a little shaky and were rather short on skill compared to the Seahorses

burlington high school seahorses hit bar middlebury high school tigers vermont usaHere’s one that the keeper didn’t get to, but no matter. The ball, played in by the Seahorses n°14, who was the best player on the field in this match, hits the top of the bar and goes out of play.

But the Tigers (as the Middlebury team is called) defenders need to be much closer in on the attackers to stop them having these shots on goal. Giving them half a yard of space is inviting trouble.

And so as you might expect, with all of this dominance and one-way traffic, Middlebury break away upfield, the first time that they have kept possession in the opponents’ half, and take the lead.

A goal out of absolutely nothing and so unexpected that I wasn’t ready, but a 40-yard hooker right over the diving keeper’s despairing wave (he might have got his fingers to it) and dropping neatly in the top right-hand corner of the net. Absolutely inch-perfect.

Of course, I have no photo of it, but by pure coincidence, there was a goal scored in the Welsh Premier League a few weeks ago that was a stunning carbon-copy of this goal. Check out Neil Mitchell’s goal for Newtown (Y Drenewydd) in this clip.

burlington high school seahorses equalise middlebury high school tigers football match vermont usaBut with just 6 seconds to go (nice big digital displays here) Burlington finally find their way past the keeper.

A diagonal ball in from the right wing finds a player totally unmarked in the centre of the goalmouth – absolutely shocking defending, this – and he doesn’t have any problems whatever finding the back of the net. Nothing the keeper could do about this.

And so at half time, we have the goalkeeping change. And this is where the roof falls in on Middlebury because up to now, the keeper has been a one-man show on his team.

burlington high school seahorses take the lead middlebury high school tigers vermont usaAfter just 55 minutes of the match there’s another diagonal ball out across the penalty area to the right-hand corner and the keeper rushes off his line, even though there are two defenders out there.

Now I know that he’s not going to reach it in time, but anyway he’s out there, and it’s an easy matter for the attacker to sidestep him and slot the ball into the empty net.

But never mind that – just look at the two Seahorse attackers there. Where’s the defence?

And it goes from bad to worse. From the kick-off the Tigers lose possession and a punt upfield from the Seahorses, again to thet right-hand corner of the are produces a weak shot to the keeper, who has stayed on his line correctly this time, and the ball goes right through his hands into the net.

burlington high school seahorses attacker middlebury high school tigers goalkeeper brilliant save vermont usaBut let’s not criticise the keeper. Here he is, in a one-on-one with a Seahorse attacker, doing the right thing by coming out just far enough to block the sight of the goal, forcing the Seahorse attacker into a shot, and then spreading himself wide enough to get something on the shot and push it wide.

That was an excellent save, and credit where credit is due.

So the Seahorses made hard work of what should have been a comfortable win, because the Tigers defence was dreadful and had it not been for the heroics by the Tigers keeper in the first half, this could have been an embarrassing result. You can’t play with a central defence of Lord Lucan and Martin Bormann and get away with it.