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Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 14th January 2022 – AFTER ALL OF YESTERDAY’S …

… efforts, I ended up in bed at some kind of early time of night. With no need for an alarm tomorrow no appointments, and also no phone either), I was going to make the most of it.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out like that. I don’t sleep as well in the bed here as I do in my bed at home, and then there was the fact that I’d been off on my travels.

There are several different sound files on the dictaphone, and that shows that I had a very disturbed night. At some point I’d just been to fill the kettle that was on the bedside table, put it on its stand and went to switch it on to make a cup of coffee in the middle of the night.

It’s amazing the kind of things that you can do when you are fast asleep, isn’t it?

There was something about submarines last night. It wasn’t a tube as you might expect but it was U-shaped passenger compartment where four people could lie down. It was the only way to be. Two of them were in the higher part in the centre and two were in the lower part, one at each end. The submarine was sent on active service like that. There was no way for any of these people to move once they were on board and it must have been the most uncomfortable and claustrophobic thing ever yet even I had been out in it on active service. On one occasion I was at school watching these kids and the tutor was talking about who’d done what, who’d dome something else, naming these kids. Then on eof the kids mentioned my name. It turned out that one of the kids wanted me to give a talk on these submarines so I gave them a little talk on it. As I say, it’s most surprising because you would never ever get me into a submarine like this, not in a million years. later on when I went to see if I was back again with this submarine there was something to do with lords and ladies, not their names, and some kind of operating manual about this submarine but I can’t remember what this was and what it related to, anything like that

Much as I hate submarines I found myself volunteering for the crew of this to go out and sail in it and that is most unlikely for me. But anyway it looks as if I’ve just stepped back into the story from which I had just stepped out.

There were some of us last night around the West Midlands. We’d been somewhere and had to return home so we were looking for a railway station. We were in a vehicle and had driven underneath a railway line. A little further ahead was another railway line so we imagined that there was a railway junction which might mean that there would be a station. There was a bus coming out of there with schoolkids. We saw a sign that said “Intercity” so we turned down this road underneath the railway bridge and followed the railway line. Instead it took us into a yard where there were all kinds of railway maintenance equipment etc. We thought “this can’t possibly be right” but we carried on. At the end of the yard was a kind of dirt track out so we followed this dirt track, still following the railway and ended up somehow in someone’s house. We thought “we’re in civilisation so we can get out here” but we ended up in some girl’s bedroom. There was no handle on the door on the inside. This guy and I had a look round but I could see that this wasn’t going to work so we’d be better clearing off quickly. I went back into the annexe where we’d appeared. The other two people were standing there. I told them that we had better make ourselves scarce because this isn’t it. The fourth person, the one who had come with me into the main room hadn’t put in an appearance. We thought “we can’t hang around because sooner or later we’ll be caught by someone being in this house.

Finally I was in Shavington last night and there was an Austin 1100 being worked on down the street. A young boy was going it. There was a little girl of about 3 or 4 helping him or watching him. He was talking to her and asked her where something was, like a nursery or a toy room or something. She took him down to where Caliburn was parked. He opened the door of Caliburn and took out a bottle of beer and started to drink it. I went down there and grabbed hold of him and asked him what he was doing. He wouldn’t answer so I asked him for his name. He gave me about 4 or 5 different names. In the end I asked him what was his name in his birth certificate. He replied “none of those. It’s extremely complicated”. I was becoming extremely short-tempered at this particular moment so maybe it was just as well that I awoke.

Being awake is one thing. Being out of bed is something else. It was round about 09:30 when I finally arose from the dead, and then after the medication I spent much of the day choosing the music for the next batch of 5 radio programmes.

All of that is done and dusted, although it took me longer than it might have done. Breakfast was a contributory factor and so was lunch, but there was more than just a small amount of indolence too

folding up market stall herbert hooverplein leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022When I’d finished, I went off into town for my walk.

With it being Friday, it’s market day in the Herbert Hooverplein and the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein although they have usually all cleared off by 14:00. I caught the very last one, who “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”, just like in Longfellow’s “The Day Is Done”.

First stop on my way into town was at the FNAC to check the data cables for my telephone. But if anyone thinks that I’m going to be paying the kind of price that they want for one, then they are mistaken.

demolition of match supermarket bondgenotenlaan leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022So never mind. I have a cunning plan, so I headed off outside the front door into the Bondgenotenlaan.

There’s a “Match” supermarket just up the road from here but by the looks of things it isn’t going to be here all that long. Since I was here last, they have made a start on demolishing it.

That’s a shame because what we’ll have is a modern deluxe building with the kind of rent that a supermarket like Match could never pay and make a profit, and there’s another local amenity gone for good.

However it is quite amusing seeing the 18th Century building still standing after all these years and here they are ripping down something of the 1960s. It just goes to show.

In Kruidvat, as I expected, I struck it lucky. I picked up a 2-metre micro-USB cable for just €2:99. That’s much more like it.

That was a good move because I can use that with the ZOOM H8 and bring the smaller cable with me on my travels to use with the ‘phone and the NIKON 1 J5.

wall plaque sack of leuven louis melsensstraat leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022In my quest for a baking tin, I went down the Louis Melsensstraat towards the cheap shops. And here I noticed a wall plaque of a type that I don’t recall seeing before.

The story of the Sack of Leuven by the Germans in August 1914 has been told often enough and you’ll see many buildings in the town with a wall plaque like the one on the left, indicating that the building was a victim of the German atrocities.

The one on the right though is different. I’ve no idea to what the date of 1922 refers. It might possibly related to the date when the building was restored. I shall have to make certain enquiries when I find someone who might know the answer.

Neither Wibra, Zeeman nor Hema came up with a suitable baking tin so it looks as if I’ll have to buy one of the overpriced ones at LeClerc when I go home. Those there are 18cm ones there but that’s more than enough for me to make a cake for myself in the future. The pyrex dish that I used instead was rather too large for what I want.

There was better luck in Sports Direct, where I bought some new trousers and also in the health-food shop Origin’o where I picked up some more grated vegan cheese for my pizzas and some vegan sausages. I really enjoyed those that I bought last time I was here.

river dijle leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way to Delhaize (for some more banana soya drink) and Hema, I went for a little wander by the River Dijle to see what was happening there.

It’s changed quite a lot since we last stood on this spot. Back in 2016 when I was living here the river was overflowing after that very dramatic rainstorm that we had had, and a few months ago it was pretty full too after a lengthy bout of rain.

At Delhaize I picked up my drink and then went round to Hema. No baking tins here either, which was a surprise. Hema usually has almost everything that you need. What do people in Flanders (and France) use when they are baking cakes? And where do they go to buy it?

christmas trees grote markt leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022Back in the Grote Markt, it’s starting to go dark so they have illuminated the Christmas trees and the other decorations.

The crèche has gone so there isn’t all that much here to illuminate today so we have to do the best that we can with what we’ve got. Lighting up the real tree that’s here is … errr … interesting.

It’s still quite cold so I’m not going to hang around this afternoon. There are plenty of places that I would like to visit, but not in this weather. The possibility of a piping-hot coffee is summoning me home.

Back here I had the coffee that I had promised myself and then went through the photos that I’d taken over the last few days.

But now that I’ve had my tea, I’m off to bed. I have an 05:00 start in the morning ready for my train at 06:26.

Monday 3rd January 2022 – I’M FEELING A LITTLE …

… better today, although once more I don’t know why, because nothing any different happened today.

having made an effort, I was in bed at some kind of reasonable time – still not as early as I would have liked but early enough to make sure that I had something like a reasonable sleep.

And I didn’t go too far on my travels either. I’d gone back to school. There was something in the newspaper about something or other and I found myself back in school with all this information, or at least some of it. I’ve no idea why. I arrived at the lift (which there wasn’t in my day) and was trying to work out from the names of the teachers on there which lift was going to fo to where. After I’d been doing this for a couple of minutes, someone came over to me – a teacher – and asked me but I couldn’t explain why I was there because I didn’t have all of the information so I made up some story about a handball match and said that we didn’t have handball when we were at school so I was hoping to interview someone about the game. She mentioned a name and wandered off but I couldn’t see that name on this list. There was someone there, an adult person with a baby mentality. She told me that it was 38 so I made some kind of baby talk reply back to her and went back to get into the lift.

Later on there was some kind of headline in the local paper “Boris Johnson gives £30,000 to kids’ school toilet”. It turns out that the tilet in this school had been damaged in some kind of attack and according to the headline he’d given the money to this school to repair it. However it turned out that it was money from a certain budget that had been set aside for this kind of work anyway so it was nothing to do with him, nothing to do with a gift, nothing to do with anything. Just a normal routine that had been gaslit by this newspaper.

And having spent the last couple of nights in the company of some rather interesting and agreeable young ladies, last night’s companions, such as they were, were rather disappointing.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed fairly rapidly, which was something of a surprise to me given the way that things have been just recently. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme and it was all up and running by 10:30, with breaks for coffee and breakfast included.

And I would have finished it earlier too had I been able to find the ZOOM H8 as soon as I started looking at it. Eventually after much binding in the marsh, I found it on the shelf by the computer still plugged into the microphone and the mains.

Next time, I must remember to put it away properly.

Just as I started to listen to the programme that I’d made, Rosemary rang me and we had a very long chat as usual so by the time I’d finished listening to the programme that I made today and the one that I was sending off for broadcast, I ended up having a very late lunch.

First task after lunch was to blanch and then freeze the sprouts and the leeks that were left over from New Year. Now I have a nice collection of frozen veg and there is still no room in the freezer. Every time I take something out, I end up sticking something else back.

The rubbish bin was now full to the brim so I braved the rainstorm and took it outside to the containers.

The dictaphone notes are all now finished too and tomorrow I’ll make a start on updating some of the journal entries where the “overnight notes” haven’t been, in the hope that I can find myself in the company of a few more interesting and agreeable young ladies.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I went out earlier, it was raining quite heavily but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk it had eased off a little. Just a little.

First port of call was of course the beach so I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park. And while there is more and more beach, there are fewer and fewer people on it.

In fact, there was no-one down there this afternoon that I can see. And that’s hardly a surprise given the weather.

In fact, you can tell from the photo just how miserable the weather is this afternoon. Visibility down to about three or four miles with a haze that is actually the cumulative effect of a rainstorm.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As usual, I was lookign around out at sea as well.

And deep in the bay flitting in and out of the squalls was a trawler having a good fish about – at least, all of its white lights were illuminated and that’s a legal requirement for a fishing boat that has all of its nets out.

There was another one further out as well. I caught the occasional glimpse of it during the periods when the rain abated.

No-one on the beach and there was no-one on the path either this afternoon which, given the weather, was no surprise. I could have a wander around in perfect safety despite the totals of infections and deaths. The number of infections in Normandy has more than doubled since the holidaymakers arrived.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one was down at the bench this afternoon, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in the vicinity.

Out at sea off the coast were three fishing boats. The tide is on the way in of course but it will be half an hour at least before it’s deep enough for the boats to moor up at the fish processing plant so they are loitering around offshore until the moment arrives when they can come in.

They haven’t had much of a holiday, these fishermen.

So on that note, I headed off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port and the chantier naval.

La Bavolette II gerlean chantier naval port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And there has been more activity in the chantier naval since I was here last yesterday afternoon.

Although that fishing boat down there has Le Saint Gaud painted on her superstructure, according to the shipping register she’s now called La Bavolette II, having changed her name quite recently.

She’s there in the chantier naval alongside Gerlean who is still in there since the other day.

But I wasn’t there for long. The rain was making me feel quite depressed so I turned for home. I had things to do.

articulated lorry and trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However I couldn’t go home quite yet.

Over on the other side is a large articulated lorry and trailer. At first I thought that it might belong to Plenty’s dad. His lorries come in here quite regularly although I haven’t seen one for a while.

This one however is from somewhere else and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s from the Netherlands. The telephone number isn’t the correct format for Flanders.

Back here I put the coffee on the go and while it was percolating I went for a shower. And while I was at it I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair.

And finally, I was able to drink my coffee.

In the fridge was half a tin of baked beans from Saturday morning. Consequently I cut myself some chips and used the microwave fryer to cook them. They ended up as a soggy mass which was a shame but they were still nice for a change. Baked beans and a vegan burger rounded it off quite nicely.

When this play on the radio finishes, I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lesson starts up again tomorrow so there is a lot of revision to do and lessons to prepare.

Monday 15th November 2021 – NOW THAT REALLY WAS …

… a bad night. Had it not been for the fact that there was something on the dictaphone I would have said that I didn’t go to sleep at all. It certainly didn’t seem like it at all.

But during the night I was wandering around Crewe at the back of Delamere Street and Market Street. There was an area of houses that had been condemned and the roofs were off and everything like that. One had been a bar and one a café. I’d gone there with my desktop computer and I’d set myself up in there, doing some work as well as having a little sleep on the bench that was there. After a while I went off to do something quick but when I returned this place was pretty busy. It was advertised as a bar but it was still open. There were some people sitting on the bench where I’d been sitting and working so I had to have them unplug my computer and pass it over to me. They weren’t very happy and neither was I. It was a right grumpy situation there at that bench where I was.

The alarm didn’t go off with its usual serenade this morning at 06:00 and I don’t know why, but as I was awake anyway it didn’t make much difference.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then set about dealing with the radio programme that I needed to prepare.

There weren’t any records set today though because there was a continual series of interruptions, mostly to do with the radio interview that I did on Friday night. And I do have to say that in the time it took me to sort out everything, including yesterday’s work, I could have made the programme myself and had it up and running ready to go.

While I was listening to the finished product and the programme that will be broadcast this weekend I was having a play around with the new ZOOM H8.

And now I seem to have somehow enabled it to record in stereo with one microphone, and now I can’t remember how I did it and can’t return it to mono. I’m going to have to learn so much more about this machine, I reckon.

After lunch I went and had a shower and then prepared myself to go to the physiotherapist.

fishing boats waiting to go into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down to the corner of the city walls I went where I could see what was going on down in the Harbour.

And by the looks of things, it seems to me that the gates of the inner harbour are about to open. That’s judging by all of the fishing boats coming into the outer harbour right now.

There will be plenty more of them coming in within the next few minutes but I’m not going to be here to watch them because I’m running rather late as it is. I’ll probably catch them on the way back.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the hill I paused at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry loaded with a couple of shrink-wrapped boats pull up on the quayside. When I looked this afternoon I could see that the boats are now down there waiting to be picked up.

Neither of the two Jersey freighters has been in today, and they’ll need to come in soon because there’s quite a pile of builders’ material building up down there too and they’ll be struggling to get everything on board if it builds up like this.

The walk through town and up the hill was one of the easiest that I’ve had for a while. I didn’t stop at all and I wasn’t in as much distress as I have been just recently by the time that I reached the physiotherapist’s.

Today she had me doing a few more kinetic exercises and then a good 15 minutes on this tilting platform thing.

drains fitted abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back by the Parc du Val es Fleurs to see how they were doing with the engineering work.

Last time we came this way we’d seen them doing something with a load of drainage pipes. They now seem to have laid them and buried them in because there are now some drainage access points that have been installed.

This gives you some idea of how high they are going to be building up the road surface. And you can also see the electric conduit that they have fitted. It looks as if we are going to be having some street lights down here too.

workmen working on abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little bit further on I could hear the sound of a cement mixer.

From where I was standing I couldn’t actually see what was happening but there definitely was a cement mixer working away by where they were standing.

Now that winter is arriving, it won’t be possible for me to sneak down there in the evening and spy out the land because by the time that they will have knocked off it will be far too dark to see anything.

When I come back on Saturday, I’ll have too much stuff with me to come back this way.

sports equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing last time that we were down here was the workmen installing some sports equipment.

By the looks of things it’s all here now, installed and ready to use. And according to a notice at the side, there’s even an application that one can download to work out some kind of exercise routine.

Had I not just come from having a go on the cross trainer in the physiotherapist’s, I might have bbeen tempted to have had a little play on the one here myself.

concrete shuttering abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Whatever those guys were doing with e cement mixer the higher up the track, it must have been something to do with this.

This looks like another load of concrete shuttering that they are installing on the edge of the track. There was someone there working on it so I had to wait until he turned his back before I could take a photograph.

And how I wish that they would show some initiative and imagination and use something else. But on that depressing note, I headed off down the street towards the town

workmen parc des docteurs lanos abandoned railway Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at what used to be the Parc des Docteurs Lanos or whatever it is called, the work is still continuing.

And they are really churning it up into a right quagmire. It seems to be the material store and as I watched, an engine with some kind of fork lift attachment came by and picked up a pallet of kerbstones.

He made quite a difficult task of it too, with two wheels off the ground at one time.

With all of this going on here, I imagine that this will be the very last area to be completed, whenever that might be.

concrete reinforcement matting rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But this across the road is absolutely awful, isn’t it?

You can see that all of the area over there, except for some very small parts of the surface, are covered in concrete reinforcement matting. This probably means that they will be pouring concrete all over all of it.

If we are lucky, the small areas that are not going to be concreted might well be reserved for planting trees. That will at least be something, I suppose, but it’s nowhere near enough greenery for my liking.

workmen working on roof rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Now that the border of the road on the left-hand side is fully concreted, I walked along there on my way down the Rue du Boscq.

Half-way down I came across some more workmen. With a rather large cherry-picker or skyjack or whatever it is, they are carrying out some work on the roof of this building down here.

But the machine that they have is a useful piece of equipment and I would have loved to have had something like this when I was down on my farm. I could have had hours of endless fun with this.

concrete reinforcement matting tactile pavement rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the far end there is yet more concrete planned.

They’ve filled all of this in with concrete reinforcement matting so they will be pouring concrete down there any day now.

But you can also see the slab of tactile pavement that has already been installed. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I once met the girl who worked for the RNIB whose claim to fame is that she was the person who invented tactile pavement.

At one time I could tell you exactly how many times of tactile pavement there were and what the different shapes indicated, but that’s something that has long gone out of my head.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The way back up the hill towards home was much better than it was a few weeks ago.

Although I did stop halfway up, it wasn’t to catch my breath but to take a photo of the freight on the quayside, totally forgetting that I’d taken the same photo earlier.

Something else that I forgot when I arrived back home was to go and take a photo of the beach at the Rue du Nord. I went straight back home instead. And I suppose that you are grateful for that.

Back here I had a coffee and there were a few things to do but after the events of last night, I ended up drifting off into the Land of Nod for about 10 minutes. And that makes a change from a few months ago when it was well over an hour, and sometimes even two hours.

Tea tonight was a curry made up of everything lying around in the fridge. And there was enough for two nights too, which is good news because it means that I don’t have to cook very much tomorrow.

And now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be at my best. I’m hoping that tonight I might actually go to sleep.

Monday 8th November 2021 – GUESS WHO …

… has just dropped his rice and veg down the sink?

So we ended up with not very much for tea this evening. Mind you, it’ll do me good for once in a while.

There has however been some good news. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m having heart problems right now.

2 weeks ago I went to see the cardiologist who checked me over, found that I still had a heart (which means that I’m not a Conservative) but it has a few problems.

He gave me a report that I scanned and sent off to the hospital in Leuven, on the grounds that if I’m going to have another major health issue, it makes much more sense to have them both treated at the same place to avoid complications.

Anyway, they have now replied. And they’ve offered me an appointment earlier on the same day that I have my usual treatment in 10 days time. So they obviously think that there’s something worth following up.

This morning’s 06:00 start was rather painful seeing that I didn’t take full advantage of the night in bed that I had.

But after the medication and checking my mails and messages I attacked the radio programme that I wanted to prepare. And by 10:50 it was up and running. I could even have finished it earlier except that for a while I was talking to someone on the internet about something or other.

And that included a break for coffee and for breakfast too.

It was the old ZOOM H1 that I used too, not the new ZOOM H8. I’ve not as yet worked out how to record in stereo with just one mike on that.

While I was listening to the finished product I was doing some research. I’ve received a pile of paperwork relating to our family history and I’ve been going through it.

And if anyone wonders why my mother’s side of the family (including me) is so … errr … combative, it seems that somewhere in our family tree we are related to EDWARD KENEALY of TICHBOURNE CLAIMANT fame, or rather, infamy.

One thing that I’ve been doing as well today is to attack the dictaphone backlog, and another few days from late October have now been updated.

While I was at it, I had a go at last night’s voyages too. There was some kind of machinery or equipment used in connection with my health. I posted something about it and someone posted back that it was ridiculous, that this didn’t exist. I had to go through all this rigmarole to prove that it did and how I was supposed to use it because of my health

Later on there was some guy who had a mine of some description. He had a girlfriend and she and her father went off to look at this mine leaving the guy and his two friends like Bulldog Drummond behind. When they didn’t come back at the end of the day he started to become worried and decided that next morning he would set out to the mine to look for them. Next morning instead there was a press release that this woman considered that he’d been exploiting her and that she was now assuming control of the mine. It was necessary for him to infiltrate this circle of people with whom she was now working. He and one of his friends arranged to disappear and the disappearance became headline news. The 3 of them set off for this hotel where everyone was staying. When they arrived they found that it was some kind of show with cheerleaders or something. They found a cheerleader uniform and dressed in it as girls, but found another group who had exactly the same uniform. They waylaid a couple of girls, borrowed their uniforms and went on to do a kind-of dance routine. One of them lost her dress so quickly the 2nd one had to drag her away and lock her in a room somewhere. This guy couldn’t understand why he was being treated like that. His friend explained to him that with the scientist being missing, he couldn’t go around identifying himself as who he was even if it was simply over the case of a missing dress because everyone would immediately put two and two together, knowing everyone’s relationship wtth each other and immediately guess what was going on. It was very important for them to remain anonymous for as long as possible.

Somewhere in all of this I was fostering a kitten, a tabby and white one. Someone came to see me and saw the kitten. When I went to bed the kitten came and got into bed with me but it got up again, ate some food and wouldn’t settle after that

Later on I was back in Virlet and, surprisingly, back with the kitten. There had been a big rainstorm and a lot of the houses were flooded. Mine was OK. I came back from work, it was my last day at work. I opened the outer door but when I came inside I found that I had left the inner door open. I walked in and there was someone in there. She said “look what your kitten has got”. I had a look and the kitten had one of my bread buns. I said “it doesn’t really matter because it’s been here over a week now so it’s bound to be no good”. She put the kitten down and let the kitten run off with it. We were talking about voyages to space, the stars, saying that they need to be somewhere deep at the bottom of a deep quarry to launch the rocket. We were working out other suitable places. We thought that the Auvergne would be fine for that because it was so soggy that if you put a rocket on top of the ground somewhere it would just sink in and go down to any depth you like before you could fire it.

For some reason or other, the nurse never came round today to give me my injection. I changed the time from 15:00 to 12:00 so I can go for my physiotherapist for 15:30. He didn’t come at 12:00 and he never rang me later on to say that he was here at the normal time but had missed me.

courreur des iles charles marie lorries unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way out to the physiotherapist I went down to look at the port to see what was going on this afternoon.

What caught my eye were the two lorries over there unloading. I’m not sure what they were unloading but the old cold storage plant over there has been closed since cod-fishing on the Grand Banks was suspended in 1992.

There were a few of the charter boats down there this afternoon too. Charles Marie is moored up against the harbour wall, with Courreur des Iles moored alongside. There won’t be much going on with them now until maybe Christmas.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they had some work experience people out repointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They did half of it and then stopped, but today I noticed that there were scaffolders down there erecting scaffolding down alongside the part that they didn’t make a start laat time.

Perhaps we’re going to be having another lot of Work Experience people learning the trade. There’s plenty of work for them when they qualify, and not just around the city walls here in the medieval city. There are plenty of stone houses and walls that could benefit.

Once again I walked all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping. She had me on this tilting platform thing doing exercises to strengthen my knees and shoulders. We finished off with 5 minutes on the cross trainer.

It has to be said that i’m doing much better now than I was when I first came. But then that’s the point of the exercises, isn’t it?

place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Going back, I went the short way right down the Rue Couraye into the town centre.

The kiddies’ roundabout has now gone, and we aren’t sure if it’ll be coming back again. The owner was in front of the local council last Friday arguing his case about his roundabout, which is larger than he said in his planning application and which forces pedestrians to walk in the road.

He’s asked for a 12-month adjournment of the case to give him time to buy a slightly smaller machine and the council has offered him another site. They haven’t been able to agree a compromise so we’ll see how things develop over the next few days.

erecting christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, around the corner, the Rue Paul Poirier is closed to traffic.

They have a cherry picker out there and he’s busy putting up the Christmas lights. Unfortunately, they look just like the Christmas lights that they had last year and the year before that, and the year before that as well.

The lack of imagination that they show round here in respect of the Christmas decorations is dispiriting.

Once again, I made it all the way back up the hill to home without stopping once, which pleased me very much. I wonder if these heart tablets that the cardiologist prescribed are having some effect, or whether it’s the effect of the physiotherapy.

It’s still a struggle to make it up the hill and I don’t really feel comfortable while I’m doing it, but I have to do what I can.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went back into the building I went to have a look down on the beach.

Today the weather was cool, windy and overcast so even though there was plenty of beach down there, there weren’t all that many people down there on it. And I wasn’t surprised either.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a coffee and then attacked the photos from that rock concert the other day. There’s another huge pile of those that are now done.

What I’ll be doing will be to create three-column *.css layout to show the photos off. I’ll have to dig deep into my memory for that because it’s been probably not far short of 20 years since I was doing three-column *.css stuff.

Two-column stuff is quite easy because it’s either “align-left” or “align-right” and I use that all the time. But I’ll sort it out.

Tea was stuffed pepper with whatever rice and veg remained in the sieve after I’d finished pouring it into the sink. And it was quite nice too, what I was able to eat.

But now I’m finished my notes I’m off to bed. A nice long sleep, I hope, but if it’s anything like the last few weeks it’ll be a disappointment. I’m seriously considering sleeping pills if this carries on.

Monday 1st November 2021 – WHAT A DAY!

You might think that when I tell you that I finished my radio programme by 10:35 this morning, that I had set a new record. But unfortunately it wasn’t quite like that.

After yet another miserable night I sat bolt upright at 06:11 wondering why my alarm hadn’t gone off at 06:00. I fell out of bed, had my medication and dashed back to make a start with the radio programme.

And then, 40 minutes later when the alarm finally did go off, I was wondering what on earth was happening until I suddenly twigged. I hadn’t had a shower yesterday so I hadn’t plugged my fitbit into the computer to upload the data and synchronise itself.

Consequently it hadn’t adjusted to the change of the hour and I’d actually left my bed at 05:11

Making a start at such a time like that, I might even have finished a lot earlier too but today I decided that instead of using the ZOOM H1, I used the new ZOOM H8.

It is, as you might expect, much more complicated to set up and takes much longer to regulate but the quality is undoubtedly better. It was a really good experience to use it because it made sure that I understood how it worked and that I could produce some results from it.

However I won’t be using it again for my radio programmes – for the simple reason that to record in stereo I need to use two mikes and two channels otherwise it simply records in mono. The little Zoom records automatically in stereo.

Having done that, I had breakfast and then I had a few other things to do that took me right up to lunchtime – and my bread is absolutely delicious, just as I thought that it would be.

My bad day hasn’t quite finished yet either.

After lunch I put the heater on in the bathroom to warm it up ready for my shower and my general clean-up before going out for my physiotherapy session – and then I realised that today in France is a Bank Holiday and there is no physiotherapy today.

And with it being a Bank Holiday, I could have legitimately had a nice long lie-in instead of being up and about at that ridiculous time this morning.

Instead, I carried on with writing up Saturday’s journal entry, and listening to where I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin, who doesn’t figure in these notes half as often as she deserves, had paid me a flying visit. Instead of seeing her at the usual time I was having to see her at a different time. I came back from work, went to the canteen, had some lunch and went round to dump some stuff in her house. There were some people in there and she came and had cut her hair. It was just down to her shoulder blades and I felt very disappointed with that.

Later on I wanted to buy some shares so I had a cunning plan. To go to the Post Office, open a bank account and buy the shares at the Post Office and start to pay the dividends into that account. In the meantime that would enable me to close down one of my two accounts here in France. I arrived at the Post Office rather late and there was a queue right outside the door but I was seen quite quickly. I had to reduce my documentation which was a bit of a fumble. The guy found out that I already had an account there so the first part was quite easy and straightforward. Then he told me that they didn’t actually purchase shares – the office was somewhere else. It wasn’t in the locality where I had to go for them which was something of a disappointment. I should really have done this at the bank. I was preparing to leave but suddenly realised that he hadn’t asked me for the money to pay into this account, presumably because it was open already. I wondered what I was going to do about that.

Finally, there had been an airship that had crashed in north-west France. We’d gone out to investigate it. As we were investigating it we didn’t think that it looked quite right. We heard that somewhere along the route a pile of bodies and debris and everything had been found on top of a mountain along this airship’s route. Our immediate thought was that it had grounded out on some high point and ripped off the rear cabin. This was soon changed after a while when it seemed that the rear cabin had been in an explosion. A bomb had been planted aboard that had blown the rear cabin out and killed everyone in there whose bodies had fallen onto this mountain-top. Of course this had altered the handling capabilities of the airship and that was what had caused it to crash around where we were. We set off in a car to try to locate the spot where these bodies had been found. We were driving somewhere around the Chester way heading into North Wales. There was an old Ford Zodiac with a pile of aerials on it looking as if it was some kind of radio car that was in the hunt. We were heading into North Wales to carry on our quest for this first lot of human remains and so on into North Wales. There was something about someone had bought the site to erect a monument and the site had changed hands again and the new owner was trying to raise money for a monument.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was the break this afternoon for my walk, somewhat later than usual.

There wasn’t anyone down on the beach this afternoon, for the rather prosaic reason that there isn’t any beach for anyone to be on. The tide is right in now, up to the foot of the cliffs.

You can see what I meant yesterday about those people down there. It’s easy to be cut off from the steps that bring people up to the Rue du Nord.

There were very few people around on the path this afternoon so I had this part of my circuit at least pretty much to myself.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Along the path and across the car park I came to the end of the headland.

There were a couple of people down there looking as if they were taking a photograph of themselves standing on the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, photographs of people taking photographs is something that features quite often on these pages.

There weren’t any fishermen out there this afternoon on the rocks, and no boats in the bay either. It was all quite quiet as everyone begins to go into hibernation for the winter, which won’t be long a-coming.

le styx unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change at all in the chantier naval this afternoon – the portable boat lift was still parked up in the middle of the yard.

Over at the fish processing plant, we had one of the port’s trawlers, Le Styx, unloading over there onto the wharf. You can see one of the many electric cranes that they use to winch the loads up onto the top.

When she finished unloading, she cast off and pulled away from the plant, but I didn’t see where she went because I was moving off down the path towards home.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I walked past the place where I could look down on the workmen’s compound in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

That job that they are undertaking in the Rue Cambernon is taking its time. They must be doing a thorough job on it, whatever it is. I shall have to go down that way on Wednesday on my way to the physiotherapist in order to have a closer look.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my journal entry from Saturday and now that’s on line. There are just a huge pile of photos now to edit, and I’ll make a start on that tomorrow.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and it was delicious as usual. And now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a long day and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best. But no matter what I do, there’s little hope of that.

Wednesday 27th October 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for many months.

And that is that I walked all the way from here to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station in one go without once stopping for breath. And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done that, hasn’t it?

Mind you, the last couple of hundred yards were a killer but I was determined to keep on going and I made it in the end, staggering into the surgery on my last legs.

But one thing that I didn’t do was to take any photos today. Bane of Britain went out to the physiotherapist’s without checking the battery in the camera so it goes without saying that it was flat, wasn’t it?

“Never mind” I thought to myself. “I’ll take them with the camera on the phone on the may home”. However in the physiotherapist’s was one of my neighbours and when he finished, he waited for me and offered me a lift home.

Usually I don’t take lifts back home because I have to push myself onwards as best as I can and if I stop making an effort, I’ll never ever start again. But he had wasted 15 minutes of his time waiting for me so I couldn’t politely refuse.

Anyway, last night I went to bed at about 23:15 and had a really deep sleep, all the way through to … errr … 02:40. And at 04:50 I was still awake, regrettably. What a dreadful night.

However, at some point I must have gone back to sleep because I awoke, bolt-upright as if a bomb had gone off somewhere, about 10 minutes before the alarm was due to go off.

When the alarm finally did sound, it was a real effort to heave myself out of bed and as you might expect, I felt dreadful. After the medication it took quite a while to recover my senses, which is quite a surprise seeing how few that I have these days.

Once I’d gathered my strength I spent most of the morning playing with my new toy – a 12-channel ZOOM H8 portable mixer-recorder.

It’s much more complicated than my two-channel ZOOM H1 but I’m fed up of having to make do with equipment that isn’t up to what I’m trying to do. The little Zoom is fine for my own radio programmes but not for going out and about to meet people and interview them.

There was an interruption in the middle of all of this for one of my mega-chats with Rosemary who rang me up just as I was about to eat breakfast. And my fruit buns really are delicious.

During the night I was being a detective investigating someone about something. I’d been to his house and met him although of course I didn’t say why I was there. A little later I met a girl and I was around at the house where she lived. I noticed that on the wall was a photo of one of this guy’s flatmates. There was a group of us talking but everyone slowly drifted away until she was on her own. I drew her attention to the photo and told her that if ever she saw me in that house she wasn’t to let on at all that she knew me. Then a group of people came in. One of them was this girl’s boyfriend. They were discussing what they were going to do that night. They asked her and she replied that she was thinking of going out. This guy said “you aren’t going out with Eric, are you?”. She didn’t answer the question. Much as I would have liked to have asked her out, obviously with what appeared to be her boyfriend and a few mates there it wasn’t something that I was going to do at that particular moment although I was keen to know what she was doing in that house with that other guy whose photo she had and what was her connection with it all. I wanted to get her on her own and talk some more about it.

At another point I was working in a Government Office. A file came on my desk for someone who was described as a teacher and railwayman. I had a look and there was a big gap in his employment history so I was searching through some papers in his file and found that he was describing himself as a mandolin player with the Eurythmics. I thought “this sounds really interesting. I shall have to follow this up”.

After lunch I went for a shower and then spent some time sorting out my photos from when I was in Leuven the other day. It’s high time that I organised myself and caught up with the arrears of all of this outstanding stuff.

A little earlier I mentioned the Physiotherapist. I had a few kinetic exercises and then a spell on the rotating platform thing – the first time for ages. And I was glad to have a lift home as I was aching just about everywhere.

Back here I had a coffee and then did some more stuff for my project. This is taking an age and i’m not receiving anything like as much help as I expected or was hoping.

For tea tonight I attacked the European Burger Mountain in my fridge, with some pasta and vegetables. It’s all good stuff.

Strangely enough, after my dreadful night I didn’t crash out today so I must be improving somewhat, I think. But I’m taking no chances. I was just about to go to bed when onto the playlist came Man singing GRASSHOPPER from the album RHINOS WINOS AND LUNATICS.
“Now that night has taken time into its keeping
And thrown it in my face
We just lie here in the darkness counting seconds
And pack them in your case
I have given everything I had to give you
I’d give it all again
But I think the time has come for you to leave me
Tonight has been the last we will have”

“Night has a way of getting colder
Morning has come and I can’t hold her anymore
She will go today”

The lyrics remind me of a night a couple of years ago in the Canadian High Arctic and a certain young lady of my acquaintance. And those lyrics are exactly how it was, an evening that will never ever come again and one of these days I’ll actually write up the journal entry for that couple of days that are missing.

But that’s going to be quite a task as I don’t really even know and still haven’t worked out what actually happened that night.

What a thing to go to bed on, hey? I foretell another bad night.