Category Archives: Credit Agricole

Friday 22nd September 2023 – I MADE IT …

… down into town and back today doing a round of various places that I had to visit. And strangely enough, I felt much better for it too.

It rather reminds me of the time in my late teens when I was staggering back home after a visit to the Lion and Swan in Crewe and stopping at Crewe Bus Station for “obvious reasons”.

“Phew!” I said. “Just made it!” And the guy standing next to me said “blimey! Can you make me one just like it?”.

Unfortunately, Crewe Bust station and the public conveniences that it housed have been demolished, and that’s a shame. It was thanks to a careful study of the helpful diagrams on the wall that I passed my Biology “O” Levels.

They were at one time planning on giving guided tours of the public conveniences on the Bus Station. The cost would have been 2/6d per visit, or 2/7d if you wanted to see all of it.

Last night was one of those extremely turbulent nights where I travelled miles and consequently didn’t have much in the way of sleep. And so what with my trip into town today and my long walk around, I’m surprised, really surprised, that I kept going.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed and went for my medication and to read my mails and messages. Once I’d done all that I headed off for a shower to make myself look pretty.

When I awoke there was an enormous torrential rainstorm going on so I was really thinking about abandoning my trip out, but by the time that I hit the streets it had stopped.

The bus dropped me off at the Port and my first call was at the Credit Agricole to have them sign a form. The Belgian Government is starting to pay Old-Age pensions directly into bank accounts and I need a rubber stamp and signature on the bank details form.

And for such a simple task as that, I was there for about 15 minutes while they tried to work out how to apply a rubber stamp, a signature and a date to a form.

Next stop was the Post Office to post off a few letters that I’d written just recently, and then to the chemist’s to pick up the Aranesp that I’d ordered yesterday. And there I encountered my cleaner picking up some medication for another one of her clients.

At the Carrefour I did some basic shopping and then headed back for the bus home. It’s quite a climb into the bus because there’s no pavement where it pulls up but for some reason it was easier to climb in today.

Back here I put everything away and then made my coffee and cheese on toast. The Amazon fairy had been too and left me a package, the stuff that I’d ordered on line earlier in the week.

Apart from the silicon bowls that fit in the air fryer and the Christmas pudding steamer, highlight was my new waist bag. I’ve had various ones over the years and they are very handy when you go travelling, but the one that I’ve used for the last 12 years or so is falling to bits and one of the zips doesn’t work properly.

They had them on line that were bigger than that one, with more pockets and a holder for a bottle of water so I treated myself. And it really does seem to be the bee’s knees. It took a while to pack it because I wanted to make sure that it has everything that I need.

One of the most important items in my waist bag is a couple of sheets of … errr … tissue paper. I was caught out once in Romania 30 or so years ago and I won’t be caught like that again.

A little earlier I mentioned that it had been a turbulent night, and I wasn’t exaggerating. There was another long rambling dream that I seem to have lost. It concerns some things involving a lot of girls. They aren’t really what they seem to be, these things. There was one situation where we were on a train, a works train going back to the station after doing some work. On a train that was coming in behind us they loaded up some furniture. One woman said that she wanted it but I was hopeful of having it, a nice metal two-door cabinet. When we finally pulled in at the station we’d had to wait for a few minutes at a platform. Had I known, I would have nipped off there. When we pulled in, the train had caught up with us and they were wheeling the cabinet away. I woman in front of me was racing after it and of course I couldn’t go as quickly as I ought to do so I didn’t make it to have the cabinet. There was much more going on than this, including people, the kind of things that we’d bought. Someone came out with the name of an author – it might have been Richard Graves. I said that I knew his grand-daughter. She was a girl whom I knew and was hopeful of being friendly with her. They were asking if anyone wanted any torture equipment, but it was more like practical joke things, whoopie cushions etc rather than torture equipment. When I found out what it was I was rather disappointed. There was much more than this but it’s all melted away from this dream that went on for hours and was really exciting.

Did I dictate the dream about chasing after this furniture that was being brought into the station behind us on a works train, someone beating me and going ahead to the kiosk for it first? … “yes you did” – ed.. We’d then been out in town shopping. Everyone had his own chair that the restaurant or café kept. It had their name on it. Luckily the girl I’d brought with me was extremely new and only had an old T-shirt like that with a name on. It was called Carol or Caroline, just looking at this girl’s number, She told Caroline to go home and let the world know about your new hobby of collecting these T-shirts.

Did I mention that there was a story about some chairs of some description? … “yes you did” – ed. We had to sit on them in this café, some special luxury leather chairs. Someone would come over from one of the islands to the mainland, our friends, and treat us there instead of a workman (… at this point the dictaphone went quiet, except for my snoring …)

Something occurred that reminded me of something similar to the Lords of the Rings – 5 Lords of Darkness, a giant, an elf, a dwarf and a few others. They had cornered whoever was the hero and his friends on an island. The evil people decided that they wanted to capture them so they chose 3 of their number to assault the island. They were met by a rain of arrows from one of the party who was on the island. In the end 2 of these 3 people looked like pin cushions but the arrows weren’t particularly hurting them. In the end they charged the island. The biggest one of the 3, he was struck by a pike that one of the defenders was holding which ripped off his head from its socket. A second one was killed with a sword and the third was taken prisoner, the one who was mostly affected by arrows. The other 2 and their supporters were then disillusioned and disheartened and weren’t really sure what they could do now to resolve the situation.

Something else to do with this dream concerned the recital of a poem. I can’t remember how the poem went. It was something like “it’s not the eyes that provide the allure of …” (whatever it was). Once again it was something that evaporated immediately

At another moment I’d committed a robbery and stolen millions of Pounds. I had it hidden under the floor in the basement in the house where I was living in London, a 3-storey terraced house with the living room on the first floor, the bedroom on the second and a kind-of cellar/laundry room etc on the ground floor. The Police obviously suspected me. They were around searching my house. I was convinced that eventually they’d find it but I’d give them a run for their money in looking for it. I’d been outside somewhere and was on my way home. Word must have gone round Gangland – I’d noticed several people whom I’d not seen before loitering around. As I went to try to put the key in the door a couple of these people approached me quite quickly but discreetly. I turned to them and said “oh no you don’t!”. That slowed their tracks and I closed the door behind me. What I then did was with these people now loitering outside my door I told the police in my basement that there was some kind of street issue going on outside. A couple of policemen went out, took these people by surprise, harangued them and made them go away. I thought that it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. When they came back in we had a really good laugh about it. I told them that that’s really the first time that I’ve ever felt uncomfortable living in this particular house

Meanwhile 4 medieval soldiers had been trapped inside a gatehouse to a walled city for several days. With nothing else to do in a desperate situation they quite simply roared out of their building and charged the attackers and actually managed to drive them away which took everyone by surprise.

Finally, there was a group of us living in a house. We had to leave it quite quickly so I began to pack my basic essentials and there was still some stuff left over. I had a pile of small cardboard boxes. I told one of the guys living with us that he was far better placed than me that he could have the boxes and someone would have to take my stuff with him while I went to fetch Caliburn and come back to pick it up. At first he was being extremely difficult about it and I couldn’t understand why. In the end he asked “could I see these boxes?”. I showed him and his eyes lit up. He said “that’s no problem at all”. I explained to him that certain stuff was for throwing away, certain stuff was stuff that he could keep and the rest was mine. He should take everything away and I’d be round for my stuff again when I’ve managed to pick up Caliburn

Having done that, I transcribed another day’s worth of arrears and then finished off the notes for the radio programme.

In between everything I baked a small loaf of bread. I’m not going shopping tomorrow so I need something for my cheese on toast and for sandwiches on Monday. And then I made tea. Some kind of burger – I don’t know what it was – and a salad and baked potato seeing as I had the oven on to bake my bread.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day without very much excitement. It’ll do me good to have a quiet weekend ready to Fight the Good Fight on Monday morning. I’ll be ready for Paris, but will Paris be ready for me?

Wednesday 8th March 2023 – MY LITTLE WALK …

… into town this morning was quite a success, all things considered.

In fact, despite walking much farther than I have ever walked in one go, I managed to do it without any complications or difficulties and I was quite impressed.

Much more impressed than I was with my night of trying to go off to sleep. That was something of a disaster because it took me hours to drop off and I was wide awake again at 04:45. That’s the kind of thing that fills me with dismay.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I must have had a deep sleep at some point. I was with Zero’s father (but not Zero unfortunately) last night walking around this industrial estate somewhere. We’d actually been in our office and had seen something on a TV programme from the USA about chaos in an Australian chat room on the internet. The Americans were going on about how there were all these wonderful innovations coming from Australia that had yet to hit the USA such as video conferencing etc. Of course, as we were walking around we were talking about how we’ve been saying that we’ve been having all of this for 20 years in the UK. There were vehicles parked everywhere on this industrial estate on the grass verges and all over the place. We’d heard a story of someone who had been taken seriously ill there. There were some paramedics tending to him. We were wandering vaguely that way to see what we could do. There were some women lorry drivers parked on a car park doing something on the internet and having a blazing row about someone doing something or other. We just kept on walking and talking.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then had a few things to do here and there before setting out for town, like doing some photocopying and writing an important letter.

It was cold, windy and threatening rain but all the same it was quite a nice walk. Despite the crutches it took me less time than the time before to make it to the chemists where I picked up the product that I need for my hospital visit next week.

They agreed to dispense the prescription that I’d received at Leuven, but only insofar as they could because the trade names are different for the products and while some are easy to translate, others are not and they don’t want to make a mistake.

Some of the stuff wasn’t in stock so they had to order it. And that means another trip into town tomorrow. That should be exciting.

After that, I staggered on to the bank. When the final Act of Purchase is signed for this apartment that I’m buying, I’ll need to have an insurance policy in force to cover my liability. The bank deals with my insurance policies and the more that I have, the greater a discount I receive so I may as well get them to do it.

All in all I was there for an hour and a half. Actually signing the forms for the insurance took about 10 minutes but the rest of the time was spent having the hard sell worked upon me for more stuff that I don’t need. I couldn’t help but bring to my mind the lyrics of PRETTY BOY FLOYD and
“As through this life you travel
You’ll meet some funny men.
Some rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen.”

It was too late to do anything much by the time that the interview finished so I posted the letter and then headed for home. There’s a new spices shop opened in town and I wanted to go for a look around but not during lunch break. As Maréchal Foch once said when he was appointed to command a French Army during World War I “I only require two things. A free hand to deal with the Army as I think fit, and two hours for lunch” and nothing in France has changed.

It was 13:00 by the time that I returned here – a three-hour round trip. The first thing that I did was to have lunch. I ‘d been given a coffee down at the Bank but that’s not enough for a growing boy like me. And I do have to say that my fruit buns are delicious.

The second thing that I did was to make the place a little more presentable so that the cleaner wouldn’t have a heart attack. And I’d locked the door to the apartment on coming back through force of habit so she had to phone me up to get me to open the door.

While she was here I wrote out the notes for the radio programme that I’d been preparing and they are mostly complete. I just want to rewrite the final one so that it makes a nice lead-in to the end of the programme.

Another thing that I did today was to make the final payment for the apartment that I’ll be purchasing. That involved sorting out a few things in Belgium. I had hoped to do that over the counter when I was in Belgium last week but what with not being kicked out of the hospital until it was far too late, that was that.

But it’s all paid for now and I’m just waiting for the solicitor to extricate his digit and bring the papers up to date. But I do have to say that I’m glad that I hung on to the balance of the sale price of my old apartment in Belgium and didn’t fritter it away.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with a salad. And for a change, seeing as I had some vegan sliced cheese, I made my burger into a cheeseburger and that was delicious with a baked potato done in the air fryer.

So tomorrow I’m heading back into town to pick up the rest of the medication. I have noticed that the muscles on my legs are thickening out again so all of this moving about is doing me good. I shall have to do more of it, if only I could summon up the energy.

So let’s see what the hospital at Avranches can come up with next week. I don’t think that I’ll actually pick up my bed and walk, but almost anything will be an improvement to how things are right now.

Friday 20th January 2023 – THAT’S PUT SOMETHING …

… of a hole in my bank account this afternoon.

And that’s just the start of things too. It’ll get much worse than this over the course of the next couple of months.

But that’s for some other time. There are many more things that are much more important going on right now.

Like yet again, I had a lot of trouble struggling out of bed again. Not as late as it has been sometimes just recently, but later than I would have liked.

And I couldn’t hang around too long because I had a taxi coming for me. Thanks to the doctor who issued me with a travel voucher, I had a free taxi this morning to and from this nerve specialist person with whom I had an appointment.

He didn’t give me the electric examination that was organised – he was much more interested in testing my reflexes with some kind of vibrating tuning fork. And sure enough, while I could feel the vibrations in the left leg, I felt nothing at all in the right leg. He seems to think that a hospital intervention might be needed, and so he’s called me back next Friday evening for a full examination and he’ll write an appropriate report.

And, as you might expect, I don’t like the sound of this at all. However, if it means that I might actually be able to regain some of my mobility it might well be worth the suffering.

While I was waiting for my lift back home, one of my neighbours drove past. he stopped for a chat and later on sent me a copy of an interview that a friend of his had carried out with the late lamented David Crosby. That will come in handy for something or other.

Back here I had a nice strong coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. As for my first little voyage, you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

Later on Cardiff City had been relegated to the Welsh 2nd Division. They were playing at home for the 1st match so I went along to see. They had a new entrance to their front of the ground like an archway through into a park. We walked past there and round the top at the end of these houses then back down behind the houses to the pitch. It was basically being played on a public park that was full of timber that had been felled so the game was extremely bizarre watching them playing the ball and trying not to hit these piles of timber. I ended up chatting there to a guy who was telling me about everything that was wrong with Cardiff City and why they were relegated. He could see that they were pleying quite well but lacked any kind of enthusiasm. He said that it was something that the captain needed to organise to bring some enthusiasm and energy into the team.

And then I was in Lesotho of all places with an African guy who was driving some kind of small lorry. We were driving through this mountain pass and came to a small village. There was a policeman there who stepped out in front and stopped the vehicle. It turned out that he only had a 5-figure number on his vehicle which meant that it hadn’t had an overhaul in 5 years so the policeman decided to examine it. I was intrigued by this situation never having seen this kind of thing before. I was asking the policeman all kinds of information about what he was doing and the reasons. Eventually he waved on this guy to drive and I followed on behind on foot. As we came close to a big city I lost him in the traffic. I ended up walking into the centre of town through these parks etc trying to check my internet. One thing that I wanted to do was to log in while I was here so that everyone would know where I was but for some unknown reason the logging-in system on the mobile phone wasn’t working. Apparenty I read somewhere that not every country had adopted this system, which was probably why. Lesotho was one of them. I had to just wander around to try to find a quiet place where I wouldn’t be overlooked and disturbed and have a think about how I was going to do this.

This afternoon I had to go into town. The Belgian Government pays my Belgian Old-Age pension by cheque. And although it might only be €34:00 per month, it’s still something that I can spend and one of the cheques was about to run out of time. Luckily, the bus stops right outside my door here so I don’t have to walk far at all to catch it once I can get downstairs.

The walk at the other end though is quite long and I was interested to see how I would manage on my crutches. It was slow and laborious but I made it in the end and I paid in my cheques. So spend! Spend! Spend!

On the way, I bumped into the homeless guy who wanders around the town and we had a good chat. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen him so we had a lot of things to say to each other.

But back at the bank, I had another reason to be there. I have a project on the go at the moment as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and this is the moment to put my hand in my pocket. And how long do you think that it takes to transfer money from my savings account to my current account and then to make a bank transfer?

Back here at home on the internet I could do it in a couple of minutes but there’s a delay of a few days if I do that. The transfer needs to be done “on the spot” and done correctly too so I wanted the bank to do it and it took over an hour. And then the bank clerk forgot to give me back my card.

Once I’d recovered my card I went to the Carrefour in the town and did a bit of shopping. Mushrooms for the pizza and the stuffing, some salad and a couple of other things. Much as I would like to buy more, I can’t actually carry it. And if I take my wheeled trolley I can’t use my crutches so I can’t walk very well.

With having been so long at the bank I had a long wait at the bus stop for the bus back home. It was crowded too but I found a seat so I had a comfortable ride.

Back here I made a hot chocolate and then regrettably I crashed out – and for quite a while too. The walk to the bank must have worn me out but at least I have one less thing to worry about.

Tea tonight was my sausage, beans and chips and it was delicious. I really do like my air fryer although I feel that I ought to be doing more with it than I actually do. I shall have to find a recipe book from somewhere to see what vegan meals I can conjure up. There has to be something going on somewhere

So tomorrow I don’t have anything organised that needs doing so I can catch up with the radio programme that I’ve been trying to do for several days. What I can do, I suppose, is to prowl around in cyberspace and see what I need to make things more comfortable for me.

But having spent more today in one swell foop than I have ever spent of my own money in one day than I have spent for some considerable time and with plenty more to go out as well, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to afford anything else.

Thursday 25th August 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out and about this afternoon, just for a change. And the days when my whole existence can be uplifted into headline news because I’ve actually been into the town centre shows you what’s going on in my life right now.

With a cheque to pay in, some magnesium tablets to buy and a load of ships in port, it seemed like a good plan.

Yesterday’s highlight, which I didn’t mention for fear of overwhelming you all with excitement, was going to the bins to take out the rubbish. It needed something really riveting to surpass that, didn’t it?

Only a few minutes late going to bed, and for a change I had a reasonable night. Mind you, once again it was a struggle to my feet this morning.

After the meds I attacked the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A bill came through for £170 and I wanted to pay it so I took my credit card and rang up the people concerned ready to pay it over the phone. After being shunted around half a dozen departments I was told that there was another procedure to follow. They explained the procedure to me which I didn’t quite understand but I had a go and the payment failed. I rang them back to explain to them. They explained another procedure which again failed. I was there for about three days trying to speak to all kinds of different people. Eventually they said that they had taken the payment with the credit card over the phone. I asked for confirmation so they put me through to the accounts department to make sure. When I spoke to her and told her about this she replied “you have to pay it”. I retorted “I’ve just paid it”. She asked “have you?” in an air of totally disbelieving tone. I replied “yes” so she said that I’d have to speak to someone in Accounts. I said “I just have done. It was they who just passed me through to you”. I had a feeling that with this money we were just going to be going round and round in a circle and end up nowhere at all. This was taking place while I was in the hospital. I had people in the ward with me so it was really extremely uncomfortable as well.

Afterwards I was in bed but awoke to hear some laughing. The ‘phone went and I couldn’t hear one side of the conversation but the other one was something like “yes, we’re all up and preparing to leave but Eric is still in bed”. I stood up quickly, grabbed my clothes, all my money fell out of my jeans, put on my clothes, kept on having my feet stuck in the legs of my trousers, generally trying to organise myself quickly because they’ll be taking down this tent in a minute. It seemed to me that the quicker I tried to do things, the longer it was actually taking me. I thought that I’d never have enough time to do this and collect my things together before they wanted to pull down this tent.

There was an interruption though in mid-transcribe, and an embarrassing interruption at that.

Yesterday with not feeling so bright and being rather tired, I hadn’t tidied anything up and the place was looking like a total tip. And, of course, I’d completely forgotten about the nurse. She turned up to find me in total chaos and not as clean as I would otherwise have liked the place to have been.

She struggled to find a clean and clear place to put the paper while she wrote out her notes and while she’s a cheerful sort, she clearly wasn’t happy.

All in all, it was rather an shameful situation.

It’s not going to improve very much either because the next time that she’ll be coming to inject me is in 10 days time on a Sunday morning and you all know what I’m like early on a Sunday morning.

After she left I carried on transcribing the notes and almost as soon as I’d finished, Rosemary called me. I’m convinced that when she was here she must have concealed a camera somewhere because she seems to know the precise moment to phone me.

When Rosemary and I finished our chat I started on what was left of the dictaphone notes from my trip around Central Europe and in a mad fit of enthusiasm and energy (don’t ask me where that came from)I completed them all. So that’s another good job completed.

In fact, it took me longer than I was expecting the pause for my lunchtime fruit notwithstanding.

fish processing plant festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Because of the position of the tide, I wanted to go out for my walk earlier than usual this afternoon.

As usual when I’m heading into town my point of reference for checking the camera is the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There wasn’t anyone down there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon. Gerlean who sometimes ties up there was in the inner harbour and I couldn’t see L’Omerta, the other boat that loiters around there usually.

Plenty of boxes on the quayside though so they must be expecting a load of traffic.

sailing boats rowing boat festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact you can see Gerlean down there right now tied up to a pontoon.

What you can’t see though is Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly where she ought to be right now without even looking at the radar. She should be back at her berth. She left home at 09:30 for Jersey and left there at 18:30 to return home.

It reminds me of Frankie Howerd when during one of his TV programmes he turned to the audience and asked “how do I know? Well, I have read the script”

While I was over there I picked up a timetable from the ferry terminal so I now know her agenda. It’s all bad news as far as I can see because the season of sailings is so intermittent that there’s no possibility of my going over there for a convenient three-or four-day break as I was hoping.

Going down all of the steps to the Rue du Port was mush more difficult than I imagined. I’m definitely losing my mobility. I then crossed the road and went over along the side of the Fish Processing Plant towards the harbour gates.

la granvillaise marie fernand grain de sail le loup rouge festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The boat that we haven’t seen before on the extreme right is called Le Loup Rouge. She was built in 1962 and has a very interesting history as she was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose as a racing yacht.

She actually won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s championship that year. Now though, she lives a more sedate life in Cherbourg just going to regattas and exhibitions.

Of course, over there we have on the extreme left La Granvillaise and next to her is Marie Fernand. We are, for the moment anyway, much more interested in the other boat, Grain de Sail

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travailport de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Her claim to fame is that she’s a commercial sailing boat that is powered (almost) exclusively by wind. There’s a small diesel engine on board but that’s just for manoeuvring, so we are told.

But while a uniquely wind-powered boat is nothing unusual, what is unusual about her is that she has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes and twice a year goes over on a triangular voyage from Europe to New York with local French produce for the American market, and then down to the Caribbean and finally back to Europe.

Not that two voyages per year of 50 tonnes is going to contribute much to the environment, but it’s all to prove a point. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I lived in the Auvergne I did much more than that and for a much longer period to prove a point.

le roc a la mauve 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My was timed to perfection as the harbour gates were closed so I could walk over the top to the other side.

As I did so, the first of the shell-fishing boats came in to unload at the fish processing plant. This one is Le Roc à la Mauve whom we saw for a lengthy period in the chantier naval.

Towing her little lighter behind her, she chugged into port with a respectable load of shellfish on board. The guy back there at the HIAB was repositioning the boxes, presumably for ease of unloading.

That’s not the kind of thing that you would do out in the open sea. There have been maritime disasters too numerous to mention where the load in a boat has suddenly shifted or been shifted and caused the boat to capsize with all hands. There was one like that in North Wales not so long ago.

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Once I was on the other side of the harbour I went down to Grain de Sail.

There was a member of the crew on board so I button-holed him. His ship is only a four-berth and as it needs four hands to sail it, it doesn’t take passengers on its transatlantic jaunts.
“What about if you only have three crew members and are in need of a fourth?”
“Do you have a “Marine Marchand” – a Merchant Navy certificate?”
“Regrettably not”
“Then I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be considered.”

And so that was that. At least I tried

Instead I admired the arrays of solar panels and the two wind turbines. They also have some hydro-generators too but I bet that they slow down the boat.

Next stop was the ferry terminal where I picked up a brochure for Victor Hugo. And my enquiries told me that Ukrainian refugees going for a day out to Jersey need a UK visa all the same.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With things to do in the town I headed that way along the side of the quay.

One thing that I like about France is that they are much more child-friendly than the UK and so I was expecting to see much more for the kids than you would see at a festival across the channel.

And I wasn’t wrong either. You can’t have a Festival of sailing ships without having a pirate ship, complete with pirates and buccaneers to chase the kids and press-gang them into service on board.

Even STRAWBERRY MOOSE has experienced life as an active buccaneer, as regular readers of this rubbish WILL RECALL

In fact, looking for that photo made me all nostalgic. That was an excellent road trip, one of the very best, when I started off in the far north of Labrador and three weeks later I was at Rhys’s in South Carolina.

Housman summed it up completely with his
” That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

The buccaneers have now rounded up a crowd of apprentice pirates and one of them is giving them all a lecture on what is expected of them when they serve aboard the Good Ship Glug Glug.

Actually she should have been called The Jolly Roger but the pirate captain’s wife fell off the quayside as she swung the bottle of champers

Anyway, everyone was having a whale of a time (seeing as we are discussing nautical terms) and I left them to it, crossing the ad-hoc bridge over the artificial beach.

film screen festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I thought that I saw a puss .. errr … a TV screen down on the harbour so I went for a closer look seeing as I was here.

It was in fact a screen showing a series of cartoons for children explaining in simple terms all about life at sea. It’s nice to see the kids having a fair whack at the festival.

From there I wandered into town to pay my quarterly pension cheque into my bank account. Now where can I go with €142:60? Spend! Spend! Spend! Hey?

At the chemist’s I bought the magnesium tablets. Extra-strong. According to my friend the pharmacist these will give me a donner un coup de fouet – liven me up.

She might actually have a point there. Thinking about it, I started going downhill when I finished the last lot, went without for a week or 10 days and then had that big box of German ones.

marité festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That was it. I could go home now.

The walk back up the hill wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I still had to stop a couple of times for breath, at one point where I could overlook the port and see what was happening.

Marité was there of course, one of the centres of attention. But you can see just how busy the Festival is. And it will be like that until Sunday now, I reckon. It’s a good way to finish the summer season I suppose, even if the roads and the car parks will be crowded.

So having gathered my wits, I pushed on further up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I wanted to see what was happening on the beach, although I don’t know why because I checked the camera on the way out.

The weather was much nicer today although maybe a little cooler. But the absence of people on the beach can probably be explained by the crowds of people down in the town and at the Festival.

Back here I had a surprise. There’s an undercurrent of dissent about the way the building is managed and two or three people are trying to stir up a revolution. They had pushed a letter into my letterbox

As I’m a tenant and not an owner, it doesn’t really concern me so I wrote a quick note on the back of the letter and put it in the letter box of the building’s President.

During this argument I’m taking no sides but I’m keeping in with the President. She’s the one who has my best chance of coming up the quickest with news of an apartment here to sell that I could buy.

The idea behind renting this place was because it would give me chance to look around and see what else was available. But there is no place on earth better than here so I’m staying here and renting rather than buying somewhere less good.

One day an apartment will come up here.

The walk was such that an iced chocolate drink went down well and then I began to update one or two of the blog entries with the dictaphone notes and images.

After a chat on the ‘phone with the President about my note

Tea tonight (at the usual, correct time) was pie with potatoes, veg and gravy. It’s one of my favourite meals and this one was just as nice as ever. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my meals are simple but they aren’t half tasty.

It’s been a surprising day today – I’ve walked quite a way, not crashed out, done a lot of work. I wonder if I can keep this up. It’s not like me to have a day like this so I’m glad that I made the most of it.

Ready for the (af)fray tomorrow, I hope.

Thursday 2nd June 2022 – WELL THAT WAS A …

folk club nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022 … complete waste of time, that was.

Someone had told me about a folk club that takes place at a bar in the countryside about 25 miles away but its meetings usually coincide when I’m in Leuven. With not going to Leuven this month, I decided that I’d go along this evening and see what happens.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been working out a little basic acoustic set so I can contribute something to the evening.

But when I arrived, no-one said “hello” and no-one spoke to me. I tried to engage a few people in conversation but they just cut me dead.

No-one asked me if I wanted to sing or to play an instrument but people who came in after me and who were clearly “known” to the organisers were dragged up onto the stage to do something.

In the past I’ve been ignored by a far better class of person than anyone whom I’d be likely to meet at an event like this so after an hour I paid for my coffee and headed for home, thinking that there are many more things that I can be doing that would be far more exciting than sitting around like Piffy on a rock hoping that someone might condescend to talk to me.

But at least I can forget about the acoustic guitar now and concentrate on the bass for the next 4 weeks. There aren’t any more incestuous events like this one to attend for a while.

What puzzles me though is that usually, people only start to ignore me once they know me and find out about me. It’s quite rare for me to be ignored before someone has even found out anything about me. My reputation must be spreading wider than I realise.

Anyway, today, this is the first time for quite a while, I haven’t crashed out during the day at all. And actually, I didn’t go anywhere during the night either. I wonder if by any chance the two events are connected.

But it certainly was something of a tempestuous night. If only it had been one where I had managed to sleep all the way through I would have felt so much better. But beggars can’t be choosers.

After the medication I had a play around with this music list that I’d been sent and thanks to Grahame who solved the mystery of the “H” chord things seemed to work much easier. But there are one or two songs that I don’t recognise at all and I can’t find anything that might resemble them either, so this is going to be a long job.

But then I had another couple of runs through the acoustic list to see how that was doing. But I’m having problems remembering the chord sequences. Two things happen when you reach my age – the first is that you forget absolutely everything. As for the second thing – I can’t remember what that is.

Before lunch I spend an hour writing about “Food” for my Welsh revision. I need to keep that going.

After lunch I had to complete my tax return. Half the stuff was missing and I had to resort to a few ingenious downloads. And then the printer ran out of ink and I had to hunt down a spare ink cartridge

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When I’d finally collected everything together I headed off to town to post it off.

First place to stop was at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to make sure that the NIKON D500 was working and to see what was happening in the port.

And the answer was “nothing”. There wasn’t even one fishing boat moored at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon.

PLenty of vehicles around at the fish processing plant though. It looks as if they are expecting a good catch this afternoon.

cabin cruiser catamaran chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022With having the big Nikon I could have a much better view of the chantier naval fron here than I ordinarily would with the NIKON 1 J5.

And the big luxury cabin cruiser that we’ve seen for the last few days has a companion in there this afternoon. There’s a catamaran moored in there now receiving attention.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon so there wasn’t anything loitering around in the bay or just outside the harbour so I headed off down into town towards the Post Office to post my tax return and the Bank to pay in my pension cheque for the last couple of months.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned that Victor Hugo, one of the Channel Island ferries, had been tied up in port for as long as I could remember even though the ferry service officially restarted about a month ago.

It goes without saying that having committed that to print, she’s no longer there this afternoon. In fact, I heard that she arrived in St Helier round about the time that I was staring at her empty berth.

Down in the town I had to wait a while in a queue at the Post Office and then I was only just in time to make the bank to pay in my cheque. So “spend! spend! spend!” hey?

marquee port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The climb back up the hill was real agony and I’m wondering if my blood count has collapsed. I remember being this ill trying to chop down a tree just before I was carried off to hospital.

On one of my pauses for breath I had a look across the port and noticed this marquee. I haven’t see that before, so I wonder what’s going on that requires a marquee like that. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper about it.

But whatever it might be, it’s going to be pretty impressive with a marquee like that.

As for the boats, we can make out the dark blue and white Charles Marie and behind her, the little Courrier des Iles.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While we’re on the subject of boats … “well, one of us is” – edMarité is back in port.

She’s been away for several days on a voyage. I don’t know where though because I’m not really all that interested. I love the ship of course but it’s her personnel that get on my wick.

Anything you want to know, go down and ask them and they drudgingly stop chatting amongst themselves long enough to say “it’s all on the internet” and then carry on ignoring you.

In fact, that seems to be the way of the world right now. Customer service has gone right out of the window and “it’s all on the internet”. No-one wants to help you any more.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The rest of the climb up the hill was agony but even so I went to see what was going on down on the beach.

It was trying to rain so there weren’t too many people down there at all. There was just this couple, as far as I could see.

Back here I had a coffee and then learnt all about “Food” for my Welsh revision. They I printed off a few of the songs that I’ve added to my playlist just recently and collected my things together.

A brief stop to buy some diesel and then we drove out to Nicorps – and then drove back.

So that was that. Not a very good day but if you want to find a prince you have to kiss a lot of frogs. I think that I shall just have to accept the fact that I’m not a “people” person and I’m far better off as a hermit. Maybe I should go back to live in the Auvergne.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll get my coat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Tuesday 12th October 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today, no-one bothered me at all. I had quite a calm day today wthout having to deal with reams of phone calls, people having fits of hysteria an dall that kind of nonsense.

Last night’s sleep wasn’t as good as it might have been either. It was another one of these nights when I was tossing and turning around in bed.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too.

I was the owner of a helicopter last night and something had happened that meant that I was in a lot of financial difficulties over it. Some big company was trying to squeeze me out and had been serving writs and summonses on me that I’d been fighting off, not receiving and refusing to receive and so on. eventually I had to go somewhere in my helicopter and ran out of fuel and had to put down on the North European coast somewhere. So I had to land and somehow found my way back to my base but there was no food to eat or anything like that. There was a girl and a guy eating some stuff so I went to fetch their plates to wash them up but they hadn’t finished. They were playing some kind of game with a couple of cats.

There was something about a girl probably 13 or 14 driving around in an America sports car, probably in his 20s. She was clowning around in the car as if she owned it. They were just driving around like they used to do in the old days and generally showing herself off to everyone in this car.

I was in Shavington last night and they had organised a football team and it was playing friendlies. The first match that they played, they lost 2-0 and were getting ready on Sunday to play another match. They were discussing the teams, who was playing and who wasn’t, what position. I was thinking that it was a shame that they hadn’t done this a few years ago. Then a group of us headed back to the house. I was bringing back some things that I’d discovered in an old cellar. We bumped into a woman and her daughter. The daughter was on a scooter and were chatting away. The woman with me (I don’t know who it was) said “when we get back to the house I’d better get a cardboard box to put this girl’s present in. She was in fact 21 even though she only looked 13 or something. To descend into the cellar was a complicated thing. We had to move a metal grille with a pile of paper on it so this woman could go down there and get a box. half of the stuff on top of this box fell down and it was all generally confusing.

Later on my mother was going berserk about some photos that had been taken of the surrounding buildings. I had a close look at it but some of them I didn’t recognise although it was my camera. It looked to me as if someone else had been taking the photos so I was rather annoyed about this. as I tried to look my mother told me to stop wasting my time and not to bother looking through them because that was her decision anyway so I went for a walk. It turned out to be in Sandbach. I had a walk round, initially to have a look at these buildings but I don’t know what happened. I was eventually caught up in the kids coming out from school. The girls from the Grammar School were wearing big cloaks and just red tartan-coloured knickers, that’s all that they were wearing. Of course they were flirting around with a few boys, that sort of thing while they were doing it.

There was a lie-in until 07:30, which seems to be the start time these days, I had my medication, checked my mails and messages and then started to revise my Welsh ready for my lesson.

That started at 11:00 and went on until 01:30 without any problems although I made one or two simple errors that were rather embarrassing.

After lunch I had some correspondence to deal with and then I set out for town.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, there’s a good view looking out over the harbour.

This afternoon, the sailing schools were out having fun this afternoon. It was a little cool and windy, but a nice sunny day so I suppose that it was the ideal kind of weather for them to be afloat out there.

Down in the harbour itself there wasn’t very much happening at all. everything seemed to be exactly as it was when we saw it yesterday afternoon.

dumper depositing sand in skip boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was however something goin on down at the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

A dumper had turned up with a load of sand and was busy tipping it onto a container that has turned up today.

When the dumper left, I followed its course and I can now tell you that this compound and the associated machinery are here in connection with the work that we saw the other day in the Rue Cambernon.

At least, that was where it was heading when I lost sight of it.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further down the hill I came to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

There’s something having been going on down there because the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie has shuffled round a little and all of the pipes seem to have moved somewhat.

The number of pipes doesn’t seem to have diminished any, though. I wonder when they are going to start doing something with them. The dredger has been here for a couple of weeks and someone must be paying a rental for that.

First stop was at the Health Centre. My doctor had told me that a new cardiac specialist had set up shop there so I went to try and blag an appointment with him, taking with me the letter that my doctor had given me.

Unfortunately the receptionist was rather intransigent but I did manage to coax the doctor’s phone number from her.

Next stop was at the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last three months of my state pension from Belgium, and it needed to be paid in. Now, where can I go with €90:18?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I only worked for about 11 months in the Belgian State Pension Scheme, back in 2005/06.

Final port of call was at the Post Office. I’ve had the estimate for the repair of the NIKON 1 J5 and it’s less that I was expecting. I needed to authorise the work and, more importantly, to pay the bill.

The way back home up the hill passed much more easily that it has done of late and I’ve no idea why that is either. It wasn’t anything like the struggle that it was a couple of weeks ago, although it’s still a long way short of how it was 18 months ago.

buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Back at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour we could see that Buddy M, the trawler from Cork, is still there.

She’s been here a few weeks now having her overhaul, and I’ve noticed over the last couple of days that there has been a white van parked by her. maybe that can belongs to the mechanics.

From there I carried on up the hill, rather more easily, heading for my apartment and a cup of coffee. I felt that I had earned it this afternoon.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Outside the apartment there was one of my neighbours so I went over and had a chat, grabbing a photograph of a Birdman of Alcatraz on my way.

Shortly afterwards, another neighbour came over and then a third, ans we were gossiping away like a bunch of old women for about half an hour.

Most of the topic centred around the garden outside the building. There’s been a proposal for the occupiers of the building to do something with it, like plant flowers and the like. Not that it affects me in any way as I won’t be taking part, but I can’t be unsociable all my life..

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Once everyone drifted away from the conversation I walked over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

And pleasant day thatit was, there wasn’t anyone down there at all, even though there was plenty of beach to be on right now. Even the Birdmen of Alcatraz had folded up their wings and departed.

There were a few boats out there in the bay, but they were even farther out that usual so taking a photo would have been pretty much a waste of time.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But one thing that I did notice was a couple of people out on the rocks further around the beach.

They had piled up some of their clothing down there and had gone for a little paddle in the water. I hope that they were enjoying it.

Back in the apartment I made a coffee and then sat down to telephone the heart specialist. After much debate and discussion they eventually managed to fit me in on Monday 25th October – at 08:00.

That’s going to be some appointment, at that time of the morning.

Tea was pasta and veggie balls again in spicy tomato sauce – more spicy that normal because I dropped the tabasco sauce into the mix. But apart from that it was nice.

Now I’m off to bed, later than I would have liked, because I’m up at 06:00 tomorrow. I’m off to Leuven on the 08:45 train for a long day’s travel and I’m no good if I’m half asleep.

Tuesday 15th June 2021 – SUMER IS ACUMEN IN.

big wheel place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLhude sing cucu and all of that stuff.

You can always tell when summer is about to arrive in Granville because the Big Wheel puts in an appearance. It must have sneaked in under the cover of darkness and there they are on the Place Albert Godal sticking it up. By the time that I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon (God willing) it might even be working.

But I’ve been working today – and working quite hard too, would you believe. Although it was a real struggle, I managed to be out of bed by 06:00 all the same although I would have given all that I own to have been back in bed tucked up in the warmth.

And “back in the warmth” would have been appropriate because there was a cold, clammy mist outside this morning when I awoke. It didn’t look very sunny at all and there would be no chance whatever of seeing TITTAN 1 or any of its siblings.

After the medication I sorted out the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days. They are up to date now and I can turn my attention to last night’s activity. I was out behind the Iron Curtain on a coach tour as a passenger. Everyone was getting ready to go off on an excursion. I hadn’t heard about this so I wondered what was happening. I asked one of the organisers who was rather brusque with me. He told me that they were just going to visit a church and maybe going on to a show or something. I knew where this church was so I said that I’d follow them on. We were told that things were strange in this town because of different rules and regulations. For example, we’d find lots of doors open, or I did when I walked through it, but no-one was there answering it. Films that were going, when you went to watch them they would freeze and when you’d turn your back they would move again. It turned out that because of Covid no-one was allowed to stay in anyone else’s house. They were worried that people meeting each other in a night club or a cinema or somewhere like that would end up pairing off for the night. The authorities wanted to prevent that from happening. It sounded strange to me. All round this city was ringed with these forest ridges where you could go. There would be loads of people about. The place was like a ghost town and there was no-one about at all because of this.

Following that I worked on my Welsh revision and I’m glad that I did because there was a lot that I didn’t know..

And then grabbing my slice of cake and a mug of hot chocolate I went for my lesson. And surprisingly it went quite well although, shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep three times. Not flat out but I could feel myself going off and managed to stop myself just in time.

The results of our exam won’t be known for another 6 weeks, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for longer than I was expecting.

And while we’re on the subject of tests, my Covid test came back negative.

After lunch I had a huge pile of correspondence and printing to do, as well as my tax return. I’ve no idea what i’m supposed to be doing with that. I just date it and sign it, attach a load of papers from various people and let them deal with it. If they need any more info, they can write and ask for it.

gardeners sheltering from the heat rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was stifling hot when I set out for the town.

And I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the heat. There are some gardeners around the town dealing with the vegetation and they clearly decided that the only protection is flight. They’ve pulled their lorry up underneath a tree and they were all sitting on the wall in the shade.

Not for me though. I pushed on to the estate agent’s and gave them the certificate of insurance for my apartment. They didn’t think that it was the correct one but they’ll sort it out.

And I cursed my bad luck as well. They had a storage garage to let that would have been ideal for me to rent and dump all of this stuff out of Caliburn but I’d missed it by a whisker. It was now let.

Next stop is the Post Office. I’m just a whisker away from having a Carte Vitale, the card that opens the dorrs to the French Social Security system. I didn’t think I’d qualify but I applied all the same. And surprisingly, I had the paperwork back asking for my photo, a copy of my carte d’identité and a specimen signature.

So who knows?

Third stop was at the bank. They pay my Belgian pension 6-monthly by cheque and I don’t know why, but anyway the cheques came the other day and I need to pay them in. Now where can I go with €230?

unsafe scaffolding rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way up to the Tax Office (there are 41 steps up to the Eglise St Paul and I felt every one of them) I came across this interesting arrangement.

The scaffolding legs that are on the floor don’t go all the way up to the top. It’s just a few 2-metre lengths and the rest of the height of the scaffolding is somehow wedged up against the lengths on the floor.

No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t see how it was rendered safe. That’s the kind of thing that looks totally unsafe to me. But there’s probably a very simple answer to this even if I couldn’t see it so don’t take this insecurity for granted. It probably makes perfect sense to those who go up it.

beach Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving deposited my papers in the letter box, I headed down to the beach. A different one today – the one by the Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais with its tidal pool.

And there were quite a few people taking in the sun down there today. And I’m not surprised because it was a really scorching afternoon.

One person down there enjoying the weather was our friend the itinerant who used o hang around up here in the past. He was in an expansive mood and we spent a good 45 minutes chatting before, in the words of the News Of The Screws reporter “I made my excuses and left”. I had plenty of things to do right now and standing there talking wasn’t getting them done.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I left I noticed a Bird Man of Alcatraz on his way towards the end of the headland, but rather more likely on a direct collision course with the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I awaited the inevitable calamity, he did a U-turn and steered himself out of the way and headed back from whence he came. And I cursed my bad luck. It’s really not my day, is it?

To console myself, I went off and treated myself to an ice-cream. It was that kind of day. And my favourite ice-cream stall was actually closed, which was a surprise to me. But the one next door wasn’t. And it really did taste delicious. I shall have to go there again.

zero waste shop mademoiselle vrac Rue Georges Clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe old pharmacy in the Rue Georges Clemenceau closed down a while ago and it’s now been reoccupied.

It’s going to be one of those weigh-and-save places, rather like the BULK BARN places that we know from Canada, but I bet that it will be much more upmarket than that and we’ll be hard-pressed to find any bargains.

You would think that with the absence of packaging, the produce would be cheaper but that’s rarely the case.

Back here, my Inuit friend Heidinguaq was on-line so we had a little chat. It’s nice to see her after than nocturnal visit that she paid me the other day. I asked if she would be coming to Europe some time soon. She hoped so so I said that we’d meet up and I’d bring my bass.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE will come too. Those two have a special affinity after their meeting in Uummannaq when we called in there with THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

The guitar practice was slow but sure, and then I had veggie balls and pasta for tea, followed by apple pie and home made custard.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m going to Leuven tomorrow and I have nothing whatsoever ready. It’s one of those days.

Tuesday 18th May 2021 – I REMEMBER HEARING …

… a story about a destroyer in World War II. It was ordered to join a convoy that was sailing into a battle zone where there were a couple of U-boat wolfpacks. The destroyer signalled “mechanical problems prevent joining convoy” and the convoy commodore signals back “this is not the time for destroyers to be breaking down”.

And this is not the time for me to be breaking down either. The day before I have a long tiring journey to Leuven and I have had a dreadful afternoon. Crashed out on the chair in the office for 2.5 hours, missing guitar practice, missing absolutely everything.

There was even the mug of coffee from after my afternoon walk, half-drunk and freezing cold, as I discovered when I awoke.

This is absolutely no good at all and if I can’t pull myself together soon I’m going to have a real struggle on my hands.

It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was in bed by 23:00 And had a decent almost-uninterrupted sleep all the way through until the alarm went off at 06:00. And then, I leapt out of bed with alacrity. Well, almost, but you know what I mean.

After the medication I came along to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And surprise! Surprise! Having complained the other day about the absence of congenial company on my nocturnal rambles, Zero put in a welcome appearance.

I’d been working at the house of a former friend of mine and it was time for me to go home. They very kindly made me breakfast which I had and then I got up. While I was organising my things his wife asked “Eric do you have any washing that needs doing?”. I thought “my clothes are a bit dirty” but I asked if it would be ok and she said yes so I went to the van to fetch some clean ones – there are always clean clothes in the van. Zero was there and where I’d been sitting was some kind of hair clasp or something. I looked around again and she was sitting there having breakfast. I said to her “have you seen your hair holder, your thing?”. She replied “yes thanks” I said “it’s there with your doll”. She said “yes” and carried on eating. There was something else on the settee so I went over to it and asked if anyone had put anything there about these pearls that they had in a necklace that was there but how nice it was” and Helen Whatshername from the Open University, Scots girl, joined it and really told me off for noticing them which I thought was a strange thing to do.

There was much more to it than this but it deteriorated rapidly after than and as you are probably eating your tea or something right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Most of the rest of the first part of the morning was spent revising my Welsh and working through the notes for the forthcoming lesson, although I did take 20 minutes off to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate) and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson and it passed quite quickly and for a change I didn’t have too much trouble.

Well, I did, but not with the lesson. My laptop hung up in the middle and in the end I had to go and fetch the other laptop and fix it up. It would be nice if I could make the mike function on this big machine work, but that’s a job for again, I reckon, when I upgrade the hard drives.

We finished quite late, as usual and I had some work to do and a letter to write so it was something of a latte lunch today. and then I could go off into town.

boats in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the street I could look out over the harbour and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

The tide is in so there were plenty of boats bobbing up and down in the harbour right now. And just outside the harbour the sailing school was in full swing with the little boats being led out to sea by the pilot boat. And I haven’t forgotten that I have to contact the sailing school one of these days to find out about when I can go sailing.

But not right now. I have things to do in town so I headed off down the street. I cast my eye on the pointing on the wall at the head of the Rampe du Monte à Regret and noticed that they hadn’t advanced any further than when I last noticed.

And the workmen and apprentices weren’t there either. They don’t seem to be all that keen on completing the job, which is a bit of a shame. I could have had this job finished all on my own right now.

bar ephemere place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there is plenty of action on the Place Pleville where all of the layabouts play boules instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Summer is definitely acumen in and lhude sing seagull because the bar ephemere, the temporary bar, has arrived. It’s an old shipping container that has been transformed into a temporary bar and by the looks of things it’s just been dropped off in its usual temporary summer home.

You can see the owners talking out the benches and tables from the inside of the container and setting them up ready to receive their clients.

The post office was my next port of call where I dropped off the letter that I needed to send and then wandered off to the bank for my appointment.

And I didn’t understand why they had called me in for a chat because there wasn’t anything that needed doing or needed signing. It seemed to me that the bank clerk just wanted a chat.

He got that, all right, and I managed to deal with a little issue here and there that needed doing, although they don’t seem all that interested in pushing on to the next level which is a bit of a surprise. That’s the problem with these little provincial banks and it’s one of the reasons why I keep my accounts open in Brussels.

Next stop was the public library where at long last I was able to find a map of the town in the early 1950s. Although the tacot, or “rattletrap”, the old narrow-gauge railway network had been ripped up by then, there was still evidence of the earthworks so I could at least trace its course, but only to the town boundary.

It seems that I shall have to cast my net wider if I’m to find out more about it.

articles on quayside awaiting transport port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving left the library I wandered off down to the port to see what was happening down there these days with all of the changes going on.

And there is some activity going on in the loading bay as supplies of wood and so on and a couple of tractors are now parked up. It looks as if Normandy Trader or Thora, the two little Jersey freighters, are expected in the port soon enough to take them away.

But there is still no news on what is happening with the shellfish of the Jersey Seafarers’ Co-operative. That looks as if it’s well and truly blocked from being landed here in the port.

When Normandy Trader came into port the other day – minus the shellfish – she was met with a couple of jeers and catcalls but that was about it. I imagine that had she come in with the shellfish, the reception would have been a darn sight warmer.

seats on granville jersey ferry covered up port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese are the seats on board Granviile, the newer of the two boats that (in theory at least) provide the ferry service from here to Jersey. As you can see, they are all covered up to protect them from deterioration from the sun.

There was some kind of fitter on board doing something so I engaged him in conversation. Apart from a period of about a week last summer, they haven’t run out since March last year at the start of the pandemic. I asked the fitter if there were any plans to restart the ferry soon and he replied “maybe at the start of July. We’ll have to see”.

They know about as much as I do about the future of the ferry service from here. I hope that they set it up and are allowed to start running again. It’s good for the town of course to bring people here from abroad. They spend their money here and provide employment, and you can’t have too much of any of that.

spirit of conrad black mamba port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little further along the quayside Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the Brittany coast last summer, is moored. She has Black Mamba tied up behind her and an unidentified boat that I didn’t recognise tied up at her side.

Pierre, her owner, was there and we had a chat. He has 3 trips organised all the way down the coast as far as Ouessant and my ears pricked up at that. I made further enquiries but it turns out that the first trip is going on Friday when I am in Leuven, the second clashes with my Welsh exam, and the third one clashes with my next trip to Leuven.

Not much luck there for me, so I asked him to keep me in mind for his next series of trips. I’m keen to get away for a week or two and a trip on a yacht will do me a world of good, I reckon.

victor hugo black mamba aztec lady anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I was hoping to do was to speak to the owners of Anakena to find out more about the boat and what her plans are for the future.

She’s moored here of course, where she has been for well over a year (apart from her sojourn in the chantier navale recently) and with Aztec Lady to keep her company. She was on her way to the Far North when she was held up in here when everywhere closed their ports to visitors and I was hoping to find out when – and where – she’ll be going.

However, rather like the Marie Celeste, she was completely deserted. There was no-one about at all so that was rather a pointless visit. She’ll be in good company here with Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries in the background keeping her company as well.

And so I crossed over the top of the closed harbour gates to the other side and climbed up the steps to the top road, the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

fishing boat l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s yet another fishing boat left at the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant to settle in the silt as the tide goes out.

She’s L’Omerta, one of the larger fishing boats that collects the shellfish. And I’m interested in whatever story there might be in her name. L’Omerta isn’t just Silence in Italian, it’s the name of the Oath of Silence that members of the Mafia take when they are recruited into the Society.

And another thing that interests me, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, is why the boats are left to go high and dry at the fish processing plant instead of being moored in the main harbour or moored somewhere else out of the way.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I needed to do of course was to go and check on the beach near the Rue du Nord to see how things were going down there.

And so when I arrived back at my building I went down to the end of the car park to look over the wall.

It had been a warm day today, the first really warm day that we had had, so it was hardly a surprise to see people actually settling down to soak up the sun. A day like today has been a long time coming.

A couple of my neighbours were up there on the car park talking so I joined in and had an exchange of pleasantries while I was about it. I’m not the sociable type as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I can’t ignore my neighbours too much.

fishing boat english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also a fishing boat out there too, trawling away in the Baie de Granville in the gap between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey. They are a lot more active in the local area these days, given the situation further out in the bay.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a mug of coffee and brought it in here to do some work, but the next thing that I remember is that it was 19:20. and it was another one of these occasions when I didn’t even remember going to sleep.

Anyway, girding up my loins, I made myself pasta and veg with a burger, one of the pile that I need to finish off. There a couple of dozen or so of those in the fridge that I’m going to have to eat sometime, not to mention the pile that are in the freezer.

When I come back from Leuven I’m going to have to go through everything and see what I have and what I need to make to keep the supplies going.

But not right now. I’m going off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and a bad evening and I’m off to Leuven in the morning. I haven’t even printed my rail tickets yet and I have to do that pretty quickly

Thursday 14th January 2021 – JUST FOR A …

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… change, I managed to beat the third alarm again this morning.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t. When it started up I was still in bed but I was on the point of hauling myself out of my stinking pit at that moment, and I was out of bed like a ferret up a trouser leg.

Mind you, to be perfectly honest I would have given all that I had to have been able to go back to bed and back to sleep because I didn’t feel like it at all today. It wasn’t a good start to the day at all.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe orange kefir has calmed down enough to drink now, so I took my medication with that this morning. And it is delicious, I do have to say that. It’s a good batch.

And then I came back in here to check the dictaphone. That was one of the things that I promised yesterday that I would do first thing. And indeed there were several files recorded on there so I sat down to have a listen and to transcribe them.

There was one for yesterday and one for the day before and they are now on-line where they ought to be. But don’t worry – there was nothing exciting which is a shame. And no interesting companions, which is even worse.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall The ones from today weren’t any more exciting either.

We started off on a ferry – one of these boats with cabins. I’d designed a pile of furniture and fitted it into these rooms – cabins the previous year. Some kind of incident had taken place between me and a girl. This year I had to design the same cabins and a similar kind of furniture but the measurements were completely different. When everything was laid out in the room it looked fine, OK, but the measurements were different. People crowded in to see what was happening. The guy in charge asked me what I thought about it so I told him. He told me what he thought, that it was very good, that sort of thing but when I mentioned “of course the measurements aren’t the same, are they? I’d like to know why there is the difference. He made a remark about “all the youngsters of today, they aren’t the same as in the past”. I could see that that was some kind of barbed comment. We were making all kinds of barbed comments about this and he even had some kind of winch thing to compress the furniture to see if it would fit any better.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHe then asked if I would be interested in taking the cabin. Of course I was going to hold out for the old measurements, the stuff that I had designed for last year but my partner said something about “we’ll take the bed It’s a lovely diesel-powered bed”, all of this but I was trying to get whoever it was to keep quiet about this because I wanted to solve this problem first but this was knowingly aiding this other guy in dealing with this year’s issues and not the issues that I wanted dealing with last year about this girl – that was it (what was? Which girl?). There had been a disco on board and he was posting all the photos of the New Year’s disco. For some reason I hadn’t gone – whether I hadn’t been invited I don’t know but I’d been scanning these photos to see whether this girl was on there but I couldn’t see her on there so I was wondering whether she had gone or not.

And I wish that I knew who she was.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, there was a question of winning an Audi car in a competition but I had undone the wrong tin and got the wrong food in this so I’d put the stuff somewhere like under the bed or under the pillow in the hope that no-one would notice it and we’d carry on that I might qualify to win this car. I’m not sure if anyone had noticed but a TV presenter had started to make all kinds of cracks about Covid as if he knew that I had some kind of guilty secret about it and he was grinding the axe in me, making me suffer instead of minding these Series 19 Brush locomotives which was what I wanted to do in the first place.

And I don’t know what all that was about either, to be honest.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I had a shower and a general clean-up, then grabbing my shopping bag, I headed out into the street for my Thursday shop at LIDL.

And if you thought that the weather had been bad just recently, it had absolutely nothing on what was going on this morning. One glance at the rough seas engulfing that trawler out there would give you a clue as to what the weather was doing.

We’ve had winds, and we’ve had more winds, but this morning’s winds were more than we have had for quite a while.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt first, I wasn’t sure what the ship was that I had seen, so I waited for it to pull into the harbour.

Now that I can see it closer up, I can recognise it as one that’s been in the harbour before, but I can’t think of her name right now. And in the background is the new trawler Le Pearl.

You’ll notice the red light illuminated at the harbour gate too. It started to flash just as our trawler came in and once it was safely in, the gates closed right behind it. Perfect timing, I would say.

Calling at the Post Office to post a letter, I pushed on along my way out of town.

There were a few things of interest that I bought in LIDL but I’m not going to say too much about them right now as it’s something for the future. But I bought my fruit and so on and then headed for home.

On the way back, I stopped off to try out their new cheque paying-in machine. All straightforward and easy once you know what to do.

bad parking rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking takes up a lot of room o these pages – so much so that you are probably as fed up of reading about it as I am of writing about it.

But sometimes, something happens that leaps out at you and you can’t pass it by – like this little incident here. On the left of where this delivery van is parked is a special parking bay reserved for deliveries and it happens to be empty right now. But our hero has parked alongside the loading bay, in the street, right next to a bollard, something that prevents anyone behind him from driving past

You really can’t make up things like this.

heavy industrial equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, I pushed on up the road, not feeling anything like it at all, until I reached my building.

And here, I had something of a surprise. We have visitors in the square. A few huge earth-moving machines are parked up in the car park of the building across the road. It looks as if we are going to be having some major work done somewhere in the vicinity in the very near future.

No doubt we shall find out more about this in the near future.

Back here, I didn’t even have time to unload the shopping before I sat down and promptly dozed off. These walks, loaded up with shopping, are killing me at the moment but I need to do it. But eventually I recovered and was able to drink my cold chocolate and eat my slice of fruit sourdough.

At lunch I used the last of my bread so I need to make another loaf pretty soon, and then I came in here to carry on with the arrears of work. I’m still at the Chateau Gaillard but we’ve reached the period of the Religious Wars right now, so not very much to do.

person in water in wet suit place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was of course the afternoon walk. And even though by now it was raining, I was determined to go out and stretch my legs even more.

But not quite like this person is doing right now. In this wind you are not going to get me anywhere near the water’s edge, not even dressed in what appears to be a wetsuit. He’s a braver man than I am, Gunga Din.

Instead, I wandered off along the footpath on top of the cliffs, battling against the raging storm and the rain.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn and across the car park by the lighthouse and then down to the headland to catch the full force of the gale.

The weather was comparatively clear today, and for once you could see the Brittany coast and just about make out the church of Cancale on the cliffs across the bay. There was another nice sunset – although it’s not really a sunset right now – out there in the middle of the bay with the rays of sun shining through the gaps in the clouds and illuminating the water.

It’s a shame that the weather was so bad, but then again we wouldn’t have had the effect if the weather had been different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather might indeed have been bad, but it wasn’t bad enough to put off these two people here down below where I’m standing.

As usual, there is always someone somewhere doing the peche à pied – the scavenging amongst the rocks for the shellfish. This are is quite famous for its shellfish, as you have probably gathered from the number of boats that go out from here and the number of people that we see on occasion when there’s a huge tidal coefficient.

There are always people going around armed with their gratter and bucket.

joker fishing boat trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I wandered off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

This path takes me to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and I always like to look down to see what’s going on there. And we have a change of occupant as well today. The yacht that has been there for ever is still there, as are the trawler and Joker, the blue and white shellfish boat.

But there’s a nw visitor in there today – the little silver and grey shellfish boat that has come to join in the fun.

unloading heavy equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving admired the boats back at the chantier navale I headed off for home, to find myself confronted by yet more machinery.

This low-loader has just dropped off a little mini-digger. And seeing that there were a few guys hanging around I went to ask them what was going on.

There’s a street near here called the Rue St Michel and for the last 2 weeks it’s been covered with all kinds of multi-coloured hieroglyphics. It seems that some of those markings indicate a gas pipe, and these guys have come to dig it up and replace it.

Back here I carried on with my arrears and then broke off for my hour on the guitars, which I didn’t enjoy because I discovered that I seem to have lost my voice today, something that will please my neighbours mightily.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I went out for my evening walk the rain had stopped and we were treated to just the hurricane-force winds that made it difficult to run.

But at least the sea was enjoying the weather. You’ve already seen several photos that I’ve taken showing the waves coming crashing over the sea wall at the Plat Gousset with such incredible force. And I have to admit that I enjoyed the view as well – in fact I stayed there for a good few minutes watching them.

But I can’t stay there for ever. I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland in the direction of home.

gas pipe fitting repairing rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home, I go past a little alley that leads down to the Rue t Michel, a dead-end street of old stone houses in the old Medieval town.

In the past I’ve wandered down it a couple of times but I’ve never taken a photo of what’s going on because it’s usually too dark. But tonight, taking my time, I managed to take a rather respectable photo of the end of the street. You can see all of the fencing that they are presumably going to put around the hole that they dig.

You can also see the crazy markings on the surface too but unfortunately, you can’t see the mini-digger, because that’s right behind where I’m standing.

trawler fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe little alleyway continues on to the old Medieval walls and so I went that way for a change.

From there I walked along the walls to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where there is the really good view over the Fish Processing Plant. Quite a few of the fishing boats are still out fishing so the plant is open with people working there, a refrigerated lorry in the loading bay and a couple of vans on the car park.

And there’s a trawler moored up there too unloading even as we speak

trawler fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut some of the trawlers are already in, moored up at the quayside. And I’m not really sure if they are parking up or preparing to go out, with their lights ablaze like that.

Braving the wind and rain, I ran on home for my tea. With the leftover stuffing from Tuesday, I added a small tin of kidney beans and made myself taco rolls with rice, followed by another wedge of jam pie with soya coconut sauce.

Tons of stuff to write out again today so t’s going to be another late night by the looks of things. And what with an early start, I’ll end up looking and feeling like death. At least I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow.

Thursday 14th May 2020 – THAT WAS A …

… better day today!

For a start, I actually made it out of bed before the third alarm. And after yesterday’s disaster, that was really some kind of progress.

And I was off on a voyage as well during the night. Not quite as graphic as the previous night’s, which is a good thing, I suppose. There were three of us wandering around central London last night, me and two girls. I know these two girls and I just can’t think who they are. It was the time of a vampire attack on the city and we’d been doing something, fighting off these vampires and a fourth member of our party, an elderly gentleman dressed in Victorian suit and top hat was helping but he was taken ill on one occasion. So I went over to see him although it wasn’t me – but it was me in the dream if you know what I mean – and I undid his shirt. I found that he had a bandage wrapped round his chest so I had to undo the bandage. He snarled and snapped at me and I realised that he was a vampire. Someone had pushed a stake through his heart at one time. I grabbed these two girls and I stuck a cross in his way or his hand or something and we ran off. Somehow we became separated and I ended up with one of these girls and she ended up going home. I escorted her home and we came back out. We were on this street, something like rue St Catherine Est (near the CHUM) in Montreal. Down at the bottom of a hill was a church and that was where I’d arranged to meat this other girl. We were late so I said to this girl who was with me “stay here” and I ran on down to see the other. There she was outside this building and she was curling up, settling down on the floor going to sleep to wait for us on the pavement. I grabbed hold of her “God, don’t do that!”. She asked “where’s the other girl?”. “I’ve left her on a street cornerto come and fetch you. Now we have to go and fetch her back”. We were loaded up with valuables (…like the camera…) but we couldn’t find anywhere to put them. There were all these boxes where you could leave stuff but there was no key. We had to scratch around for a key or a lock or something – we didn’t have one. Time was getting on and in the end I thought “God just put the stuff in there. If someone pinches it, too bad”. The door didn’t close, the camera strap was dangling out right by a fire, everything like that. We ran back up the hill and as we ran back up we were really afraid of what we would see – whether the vampire had hold of this girl again. Should I have left a cross in her hand or wrapped garlic around her neck or something? I started to have all of these weird ideas about what was going to happen and what I should have done.

After breakfast I assembled the radio project as far as I could and checked the timing. Knock off 30 seconds from what was left out of the hour, and that was the length of track for which I was looking.

A shower was next, and a shave and general clean-up. And of that 300 grammes of weight that I had lost at the last weigh-in, I’d put 400 grammes back.

workmen rue st jean medieval city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s Thursday today, and so that means shopping of course. But once again, I didn’t go very far before I stopped.

One of the penalties of living in a medieval walled city is that quite often the old gates are too low for lorries and the like and regular readers of this rubbish will have seen plenty of examples of trans-shipment

There’s more work taking place within the walls, I imagine, and they can’t pass the lorry and the trailer here through the gateway. They are going to have to unload all of this, I imagine, and take it through as best as they can.

joly france baie de mont st michel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen all of the ferries – the two for the Channel Islands and the two for the Ile de Chausey, parked up during the confinement.

But today it looks as if things have eased off. Joly France, one of the passenger ferries that goes out to the Ile de Chausey, was just heading off out of the harbour and by the looks of things, she has a good complement of passengers.

Here’s hoping that none of them are infected because the virus would spread like wildfire out on the island.

First stop was the Post Office to post of Rosemary’s Christmas present. I know that it’s May but she was away from home until the day of the lockdown and as she came home, the Post Office closed.

We had to queue outside and were allowed in three by three.

At the Bank, where I went to pay in a cheque and to change a standing order, it was even worse. Facemasks compulsory (luckily I had taken with me the one that I was given by a neighbour the other week), oOnly one person in at a time and so the queue was down the street.

The counter clerk was very scrupulous about cleaning off the perspex window and all of that, and then handled all of my paperwork and bank card, which made the scrupulous cleaning of the perspex screen rather superfluous.

At LIDL I spent more than intended, but a large part of that was spent on a folding rucksack. It’s a reasonable size but folds up into a large pocket and it’s just the job for when I go on excursions.

The apple pie is on its last slice too but they had on special offer some frozen red fruits – €1:79 for a 750 gramme bag. So I bought a bag and I’ll make a pie with that tomorrow.

floating pontoon out to outer harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I bought a dejeunette from La Mie Caline for lunch, but was once more interrupted walking up the Rue des Juifs.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen them floating the new pontoons across the harbour by pushing them with a motor boat, but this one is actually being pushed out of the inner harbour.

We’ve also seen the mounting brackets that they installed at the ferry terminal. It looks as if, now that Joly France has gone off on her travels, that they are going to install the new pontoons.

Back here I wrote the text for the final track, uploaded it to the computer, edited it and assembled the final track. I was over time by 5 seconds but a quick edit of some speech soon dealt with that.

After lunch, while I listened to my handiwork, I had a look at the template issue for one of my websites – the issue that I mentioned the other day.

And it should be no surprise to anyone that I resolved the issue in less than 10 seconds. In fact, I’d been thinking about this problem here and there and I had a very good idea of what I had done. And I was right.

It will also be no surprise to anyone that I also had a little doze for a few minutes here and there.

Once I’d recovered my composure I set about installing the new hi-fi. And I rather think that I’ve over-egged the pudding somewhat.

It was necessary to drill a couple of holes in the furniture and then perform a complicated rewiring job which meant practically dismantling the computer and a few other things too.

It led to something of a tidy-up too (and putting away a pile of papers) and then I connected everything up. And as I said, I’ve over-egged the pudding somewhat because this system is somewhat overwhelming.

But the quality is phenomenal nevertheless and I’m as impressed with this as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

Somewhat later that anticipated, I went out for my afternoon walk.

On the way out with the hi-fi box I bumped into a woman from the Mairie who was handing out the free washable face masks that the commune had ordered for their inhabitants. I asked her for an innuendo so she gave me one.

“Corona virus?” I enquired.
“No” she replied. “The school next door starts back up next week. We don’t want you frightening the kids”.

trawler english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall

The hurricane was still blowing and it was a struggle to walk around the walls. But I wasn’t struggling half as much as some people. The trawler out there in the English Channel near the Ile de Chausey was really making heavy weather of the journey home.

You can tell by the whitecaps on the tops of the waves that far out (that’s probably about 10 kilometres out) just how wild the wind is right now.

windsurfer people on beach donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the trawler wasn’t the only one out there in the wind.

Never mind the story about the beaches being closed and so on, we have a windsurfer out there enjoying the storm. And I suppose that he parachuted in from the air too.

But there must be a good handful of people out there on that beach between Donville les Bains and Bréhal Plage and I have no idea why they are there and what they are doing.

There was still half an hour left to enjoy the music before the hour on the guitar, which was spent mainly playing around with two Dire Straits tracks – “Sultans of Swing” and “Tunnel of Love”. Despite all of the time that I’ve spent working out “Telegraph Road”, i reckon that right now it’s beyond what I’m really capable of doing.

Tea was a nice stuffed pepper followed by the last of that delicious apple pie that I made, so tomorrow is going to be a baking day, I reckon.

car caravan parking rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBack outside in the teeth of the gale and my run up the hill which was agonising tonight.

And at the caravanette park in the rue du Roc we have yet more grockles who haven’t quite grasped what all of this virus thing is about. I’ve seen the local police on their patrols and I reckon that they ought to be doing something about this.

But anyway having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop to see what I could see out to sea.

And the answer to that was “nothing at all”.

sunlight relection beach st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallAround the corner to the south side of the headland and I noticed something glistening on the beach over across the bay at St Pair Sur Mer.

Being of a curious bent … “errr … quite” – ed … I took a photo of it to crop and blow up back here. And what I can see is that it seems to be the sun’s reflection on the window there reflecting into a tidal pool on the beach.

It’s quite amazing what you can pick up with a good zoom lens.

floating pontoon ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallEarlier on today we noticed that they were pushing a floating pontoon out of the harbour.

At the time I speculated that they might be finally going to fit them to the mounting brackets that they fitted to the harbour wall over at the ferry terminal.

And sure enough, there they are in position. But I’m intrigued to see what is going to happen when the tide goes out because it dries out over there. And what happens to the pontoons then will be interesting.

floating pontoons port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDespite the howling gale I struggled on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury and I was pretty done in when I finally reached my marker.

Back down to the viewpoint over the harbour to see what they had been up to down there. And it looks as if some of the floating pontoons down there (we’d seen three rows yesterday) have gone.

The missing ones are probably those that they installed at the ferry terminal.

My next run took me round to the viewpoint in the rue du Nord but there was nothing going on over there so I turned round and ran back home as best as I could in the wind.

So now I’ve finished this, I’m ready for bed. This was a better day today and I felt a bit more like myself. Here’s hoping for an even better day tomorrow.

Friday 6th March 2020 – SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!

Yes, I’ve had some good fortune today, and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any. But that’s another story of course, the sea approaches to Kugluktuk not excepted.

In fact, I should really have started this entry yesterday because that was when it all kicked off. Only in my confused state – something that is a regular occurrence these days – I forgot to mention it.

So yesterday I had a letter from the Belgian Old-Age Pension Authorities. After only about a year or so since I made my application, they have finally agreed to grant me an old-age pension in respect of my time spent working for General Electric and for that other strange American company where I met Alison.

So, as of 1st March 2019, I am richer by the princely sum of … errr … €29:47 per month. Yes, I can really go wild with that, can’t I?

But it’s not actually the sum of money that is important. It’s what goes with it that matters. I haven’t yet looked closely into it but there are things like free eye care, free dental treatment and the like. I’m not quite sure what, but believe me, I shall be looking closely into it over the course of the next few days.

And that’s not all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to go to the Bank today to pick up this blasted form. Three weeks since I handed it in, just for a simple stamp to be stamped upon it, and it took until today for it to be completed.

The guy to whom I spoke – he was as bewildered as I was as to why no-one there could have done it on the spot. he suggested that, the next time, I speak to him directly when I need something like this.

But then the subject turned round to the question of my money there. Not that there’s a great deal, but even so, he reckons that I could be doing so much better with it. And he worked out a little plan.

“You have your contents insurance with us” he said “but if you had other insurances, you’d get an even better deal”.
“But I do!” I insisted. “I have my motor insurance, my legal protection insurance (yes, I had a very mis-spent youth and who knows what’s bubbling away somewhere?) and the insurance on Virlet with you”
“No you don’t” he retorted.
“Yes I do” I insisted. “Have a look at my July outgoings”
And so he did. And there were my three annual payments
“But these are with the Credit Agricole Centre-France” he said. “That’s a different organisation”
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the fun and games we had when I moved here and tried to have my bank accounts set up and transferred over. I thought, that after much ado about nothing and all of the time that it took, the situation had been resolved. But apparently not.

Anyway, he picked up the ‘phone and did it all on the spot so that at long last, all of my banking details are under the same roof in France.

“And I have some good news for you” he said. “This is a cheaper area for insurance than the Puy-De-Dome. You’ll be saving on your insurances with us.”

So he’s going to look at them more closely and get back to me with some revised propositions. And, hopefully, some money back too.

This morning I was ever so close to beating the alarms. I failed by a matter of seconds and that was very sad news.

But still, an early start (just about) and after the medication, I looked at the dictaphone. Strawberry Moose starred in last night’s entertainment. he was out somewhere and there was a football match going on with all different people, women and girls just kicking around playing. He was on the sidelines cheering and they were talking about him. Someone was saying, some woman saying that she’d been out for 30 years but had had to go back to work and was working as a typist and was taking Strawberry Moose with her to do some kind of reporting. I said “he’s going to be extremely busy then because tomorrow he’s going to the swimming baths and he has another football match to go to tomorrow afternoon”. I was busy trying to fit a dressing-up costume on him but his paws were too big to go through the sleeve holes and so on. This was another one with a lot lore to it than this but I can’t remember it now.

So that was the best that I could do during the night, and I went for breakfast instead.

Once breakfast was out of the way I had a look at a few digital tracks. No problems with any of them this morning although a couple of them ended up being far longer than I was expecting, and one of them many more tracks than there ought to be. I wonder if this is a “lost studio master” with the discarded tracks left on it. Who knows?

gravel lorry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll of that took me up to about 11:30, believe it or not, and then it was time to go out for my dejeunette.

And one part of me wished that I hadn’t because I’ve never seen a rainstorm like it. I was drenched before I’d gone 100 yards. But another part of me was pleased that I went because I caught a gravel lorry just finishing tipping its load on the quayside and then reversing into a gravel bay to turn round.

And you can tell about the rain from just looking at the photo.

concrete drainage channels parking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me down past the car park that they are fitting out on the quayside on the rue du Port.

And I believe that I made some kind of sarcastic comment about the roller-coaster concrete track that they had laid in the middle of it.

But it’s quite clear now why they have done it like that, and I’m off to eat some humble pie instead. They’ve fitted some concrete guttering on the concrete strip that they laid, and the dips now have drainage grids installed in them.

So they are obviously like a roller-coaster in order to channel away the water. So I’ll shut up.

Having picked up my bread at La Mie Caline I came back here and as there was still plenty of time before lunch I finished off the editing of the sound file for Project 030.

For lunch I had more of the mushroom, leek and potato soup and it’s even more delicious. Tomorrow will be the last load and then I’ll be back on the hummus butties. Must take some hummus out of the freezer.

after lunch I went down into town for my appointment with the Credit Agricole, as I mentioned earlier.

toffee apples candy floss stall granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, I decided to go for a little walk around to see what was happening.

The fete foraine – the funfair – has cleared off as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But not all of it has gone. The candu floss and toffee apple stall is still here.

Does that mean that it’s going to stay here for the summer? That will be quite interesting if it does. It will all add to life’s great pageant down here on the coast for the season.

pile of gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s exciting, isn’t it?

There’s certainly something going on here because the pile of gravel by the conveyor is getting bigger and bigger so there’s clearly something about to happen.

And I’m afraid that curiosity got the better of me when I returned home. I had a look at the shipping AIS map and, sure enough, the bulk carrier Neptune that comes in here sometimes for the gravel in in the English Channel and it’s heading in this direction.

Of course, it’s too early to say what it’s doing and where it’s going, but it’s optimistic.

pontoon port de granville granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the installation of these three large grey pillars in the harbour and my theory about that they are for.

And it looks as if I’m right on that score too, because down there they are installing some pontoons heading our perpendicularly to the quayside and anchored to the posts.

Incidentally, I had a look to see how the pontoons are fastened to the mounting brackets. They are on rollers in grooves so that they will float up and down as the water level changes.

Unless they have a puncture, which is always possible I suppose.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me back around the long way in order to clock up the percentages on the fitbit.

And look who’s coming into harbour right now! It’s our old friend Thora coming in from Jersey on the afternoon tide. So hello to Thora.

As for me, I made it back and cracked on with the Project 030. I joined it all up and found a final track to finish it off, and then dictated the notes for it.

Just for a change, I ended up being four seconds short so I had to dictate a little extra to let into the proceedings. But that’s now all done and dusted and it doesn’t sound too bad.

What makes a difference is that there’s less talking from me.

Tea tonight was a burger and pasta in tomato sauce followed by apple crumble and the last of the Alpro Soya Dessert (note to buy some more).

And while I was eating, I was musing over my breakfast. Home-made muesli (well, home-mixed, should I say because the individual items were brought in), home-made apple and pear purée and home-made apple and pear cordial.

That’s all pretty impressive stuff, I have to say.

rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I took the little NIKON 1 J5 with me, fitted with the f1.8 50mm lens.

You can see the image that I took with it tonight. That’s darkened four stops on the Exposure Compensation function. Still far too bright. And far too blurred.

What I’ll have to do is to set the camera to shutter priority and use a faster speed to eliminate the blurring, and then give it all some further thought.

Despite the howling gale I managed my two runs, although the first was not where I usually go. The wind blew me out of there.

The football was weird. TNS sprinted into a 2-goal lead in minutes and never ever looked like they were in trouble. Barry Town were pretty poor and the possession – 62%-38% and the corners 8-2 tell their own story.

And if it could speak, the Barry Town woodwork would have a few things to say. It’s no exaggeration that TNS could have had half a dozen against a very poor Barry Town side by half-time.

But football is a funny game, as we all know. After about 55 minutes the Barry Town right-back floated in a speculative cross to the TNS penalty area from the right wing. Everyone, including the TNS goalkeeper Paul Harrison, stood and watched as it floated aimless into the area and be picked up by the slightest breeze that drifted it onto the far post and rebounded into the net.

Deep into injury time Barry Town won their second corner of the game. The high cross was headed by a Barry Town attacker towards the outstretched arms of Paul Harrison,, only for it to hit one of his own players and take a wicked deflection into the net.

So probably the most astonishing 2-2 draw that i’ve ever seen. And I bet that the crowd is still shaking its head over this result because I know that I am.

Shopping tomorrow, and if I’m early, I’m going on a little expedition. “Spend, spend, spend!” as I said earlier.

Friday 14th February 2020 – IT’S ST VALENTINE’S DAY …

… and someone loves me evidently.

No-one tangible unfortunately, but someone “up there” … “down there, more like” – ed … must do, because I’ve had some good fortune. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Those of you who read my notes from yesterday will remember that I’d received this strange letter from some insurance company in Belgium. I rang them up this morning to enquire about it because it was puzzling me.

It turns out that, not that I remember, but when I worked for that strange American company in Belgium I’d been part of their occupational pension scheme which involves a “lump sum” payment on retirement.

As I officially retired, as far as Belgium is concerned, last year on reaching 65, I claimed my Belgian retirement pension to which I’m entitled having worked for this company and also my spell at General Electric.

This was awarded to me and as a result my identity number in the Belgian national records system has been reactivated and the Insurance company has thus been able to track me down and write to me telling me to claim it.

Usually I like to slip sideways off national registers because being on them brings the wrong kind of attention from the Authorities, but for once, as I said, it’s good news

Other good news – well, almost good news – is that I’m feeling a lot more like myself today. I must have had one of these 24-hour bug things, that’s all that I can think of, and of course I have no immune system to fight it off.

And I almost beat the third alarm today too. I had my head off the pillow and I was just about to sit up straight when it went off. Still never mind. Close enough!

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. And another night of rambling away to myself. I started off with something to do with the dictaphone last night but as soon as I picked up the dictaphone whatever memory I had in my mind had gone completely and I’d completely forgotten what it was all about. But I did remember a bit of it. I was walking past an outdoor swimming pool. It was pouring down with rain and there was a big fat boy swimming in there. He climbe dout and got his clothes on and started to get dressed. He went inside the office and there was something happening inside the office with a couple of people and he was one of them but this is where my memory runs out. This certainly involved something to do with dancing and i was trying to work out a dance step with someone or other, a girl but I’ve no idea now.
Later last night I was emptying out Marianne’s apartment getting a pile of stuff in her living room and throwing away some of it, putting some of it in boxes and bags and getting it ready to be taken down to Caliburn. I was working quite well and was quite impressed wuth myself but when I had a look at the bedroom and kitchen there was still tons to do there and I started to get a bit despairing. But I thought well, it’s no good me standing here looking at it is it? I may as well press on regardless and get on with it, which was what I did. I was looking out of this window at Caliburn parked in the street, all that kind of thing.

So whatever all that was about, I really have no idea.

After breakfast I set about cutting up a few albums and this was an agonising task. The first one just wouldn’t cut as it was supposed to and after much binding in the marsh I realised that it was actually titled wrongly and not the track it was supposed to be.

The second one wouldn’t cut properly either but after a while (and I do mean a while) I realised that it was a studio acetate rather than a recording master and so the track order is quite different than the published and printed album.

The third one was one of the very few that had survived the Universal Studios fire so it was actually very high quality although it was “in bits” and needed reassembling.

But just a reminder – I’m only tracking down digital tracks for albums that I already own on vinyl or on tape.

trawler coelacanthe port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving resolved the issue of this pension thing, I had to go to the bank to have my payment details confirmed and stamped.

But on the way I was … errr … detained. We saw the trawler
Coelacanthe doing some kind of weird nautical danse macabre in the harbour the other day, but here she is again manoeuvring herself around.

Obviously the fishing is back on the agenda right now that Storm Ciara has passed.

Meanwhile, at the Bank, in the headlong plummet into the abyss of being The Worst Bank In The World, the Credit Agricole Normandie once again rises to the top, or maybe I should say “sinks to the bottom” to snatch the lead from the Royal Bank of Scotland once more.

“Ohh we can’t do that here” said the second cashier to whom I had spoken. “Our Head Office has to do that”.
“All I want is for you to confirm my bank account details and to apply your stamp”
“No, our Head Office has to do that”.

Totally pathetic, that is. Whatever happened to the excellent service and first-class customer consideration that I had at Pionsat? There was none of this nonsense.

trawler coelacanthe port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back to the apartment I picked up my dejeunette from La Mie Caline and then went to see what was happening in the harbour.

And the gates were open now, so Coelacanthe was heading off out so sea. And at the same time there were fishing boats coming in so we had a kind of traffic jam at the port entrance as they jostled for position.

But as for me, I came back here to carry on work. There was plenty to do

This afternoon I started to attack the outstanding photos. And there are more than I thought because there were those few weeks when I had my broken hand and couldn’t type or do anything.

Not only that, there were piles missing so I had to fire up the failed laptop and see if they were still left on there, and also to fire up the travel laptop to see what was on there.

They’ve all been copied over, although I’m still not convinced that they are all here as they are supposed to be. And it took an age to do so.

By the time that I’d knocked off for tea I’d finished all of the photos for June. And I think that I was unnecessarily depressed about the quality – at least of the early ones – because they didn’t need much post-work at all. Well, not as much as I was expecting anyway.

But of course that’s without making any reference to the ones that were taken under the Arctic light which is a great deal different than any light that I’m used to.

samu pompiers emergency ambulance rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy afternoon was interrupted, as you might expect, by my afternoon walk. And, for a change and I’ve no idea why, there were hordes of people out there. A nice day, yes, but not that nice.

And I’d hardly set foot out of my apartment before I was shocked out of my usual reverie by the sirens of an emergency ambulance roaring past me.

So, as you might expect, I wandered off down the footpath at the top of the cliffs in order to catch up with it to find out what was going on that needed an ambulance.

samu pompiers emergency ambulance rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut when I finally caught up with it I was none-the-wiser. And not even better-informed either.

The ambulance was parked at the side of the road sure enough and there was an ambulance man talking to a family group on the grass verge. But as for why, I really have no idea.

And whatever was going on there didn’t look like anything particularly urgent to me, so I left them to it.

digger hydraulic drill concrete breaker port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBy now, the tide was well on its way out. Not quite right out yet though.

And so I was totally surprised to see the digger and the concrete-breaker already making their way out across the water to the ferry terminal. What was really quite amusing was that, as I watched, the digger bogged down a couple of times and he used his jib and bucket as a lever to pull himself out.

On eof the best free afternoon’s entertainments that I had had.

tractor trailer port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut the sight of the digger bogging down, even with its caterpillar tracks, had presumably convinced the tractor driver that the time wasn’t right for him to set out.

He was waiting patiently at the foot of the concrete ramp for the tide to subside some more and for the ground to dry out a little before he sets off.

And I can’t say that I blamed him. After all, he doesn’t have a bucket and jib to pull himself out if he becomes bogged down.

hydraulic concrete breaker port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut they had the order of proceeding all wrong anyway.

The tractor should have been the fourth, not the third machine to move. Because he’s not ready to set out quite yet he’s stopping the other concrete breaker from going across.

The other two by this time had actually made it across and had started work while they were still sitting there.

modeling mannequin rue st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallDesperate to bring the day’s total up to 100%, I went on another extended walk to clock up the miles.

My route back brought me along the rue St Jean towards home, and there at the dressmaker’s there was some excitement going on. Someone was all dressed up like something out of the 19th Century and there was someone else taking a photo of her using a tablet.

With nothing better to do, I stayed and watched them for a minute to see what they were up to but after the photo they just hung around chatting so I cleared off home.

cat place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it looks as if I have a new neighbour too.

Whoever they are, they must be acclimatising their family pet to his new surroundings as they had a cat tethered to a lead that was tied in through their window on the ground floor.

A very friendly cat too, and we had a good ten minutes of chat and socialisation. I hope that he’ll be there again.

Back here, I carried on working despite having a little snooze here and there. But nothing like as complete as they have been just recently.

Tea was next and, having tidied the freezer once more, I came across a potato and lentil curry of 2018. That was totally delicious with rice and vegetables.

No more rice pudding so I had a banana and raspberry sorbet. And even though it was the cheap LIDL sorbet it was still delicious.

But one thing that I noticed was that there are only a couple of slices of pie left. Sunday’s task will therefore be to make another pie. If I can fit in two pies at once I might even make an apple pie.

night trawlers entering port de  granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe evening walk was, as usual, all alone around the walls. That meant that I could fit in my two runs in relative comfort, regardless of the howling gale.

Being almost at 100% I extended my walk and went on the cliff by the fish processing plant where, from my lunchtime spec when the weather is good, I could see the fishing boats coming home now that the tide was coming back in.

Fishing is back on the agenda now that Storm Ciara has passed.

Back here, there was the football. Bala Town v TNS in the Welsh Premier League

TNS have swept all before them over the past 10 seasons although Connah’s Quay are catching them up. And with TNS losing at Newtown the other day the gap has narrowed.

Bala are, somewhat surprisingly considering that they have two of the best players in the league in their team, somewhat off the pace.

The match though, went according to expectations. TNS had about 80% of the possession and had Bala pegged back in their area for most of the match. But we were treated to something much more than a defensive masterclass – more like a desperate rearguard “thin red line” defence as bala did everything they possibly could.

Henry Jones and Chris Venables were surprisingly subdued today and so they offered little in attack. The big winger Lassana Mendes though had an excellent game and why he didn’t win the man of the match award I really don’t know.

Surprisingly, despite having nothing much up front, Bala took a surprise lead when a corner into the TNS penalty area was headed into his own net by Aeron Edwards. But TNS pulled one back with a penalty late in the game – a case of “blaa to hand” rather than “hand to ball” but a penalty none-the-less.

But no matter how much they threw at the Bala defence they couldn’t break through for a winner.

Meanwhile over on Deeside, Connah’s Quay put four past Caernarfon to go top of the table. Interesting times indeed.

But asI write up the notes I have a feeling that I’m not going to reach the end before I crash out at my desk so i’d better ….

ZZZZZZZZZ

Thursday 31st October 2019 – I DIDN’T …

… manage to get out for my evening walk/run tonight.

Just for a change I’d managed to be ready quite early so that I could make the most of it, when Rosemary rang. One hour and 35 minutes we were on the phone and so that was really that. I can’t go for a walk at 22:00

And so, all in all, it was a good job that I’d had my long walk up to LIDL today.

Not this morning though because I was doing other things this morning. Like sleeping. I didn’t leave the bed until about 09:30 this morning.

And it wasn’t my fault either. There I was planning to go to bed and have a nice early night last night, and just as I was about to switch off the computer, then Hawkwind Live Chronicles came onto the playlist.

The best album I’ve heard for a long time too so I stayed awake to listen to it. All 1 hour and 25 minutes of it.

And as that ended, then Ocean by Eloy came on. The second-best album I’ve heard in a while. So I stayed up and listened to that.

What with one thing and another, it was eventually 03:05 when I switched off the computer and went to bed.

Mind you, it wasn’t completely wasted time because I’d done some work updating the web pages during that time.

A late start meant that everything else, like my shower, was late too. And before I hit the streets I had to organise the rail tickets for Belgium and print them all off so that I had them to hand.

First stop in town was at the bank. I needed to pay for what I purchased yesterday and as the money is going abroad it needed to be done quickly and, more importantly, correctly. Hence the bank.

Second stop was at the railway station. I know that I’m trying to go paperless these days but I would feel a lot better with the tickets actually in my hand, so I printed them off at the machine there.

Finally I made it t LIDL but I didn’t buy all that much. However they did have a range of vegan blackcurrant sorbet so in a gesture of solidarity I bought one. What I didn’t buy though was garlic! Sold out! And that’s a shock for me because a kitchen without any garlic isn’t a kitchen at all.

On the way back to the apartment I took a diversion via the docks to see the new boat. And she’s not a new boat at all but our old friend Aztec Lady back from her summer season at Svalbard I must remember one of these days to find out more about her voyages.

After lunch I tackled a job that I have been putting off for a week or so – and that was to freeze the carrots. Only just in time too because they were on the turn. But they are all peeled, diced, blanched and in the freezer.

And what was left (there were too many for the saucepan) I made a carrot and coconut soup, I was rather too extravagant with the powdered ginger and it’s rather overwhelmed it. Still, it’s in now and you can’t take it out.

While that was going on, I had a go at tidying the freezer. And there is tons of stuff in there. Enough pies to sink a ship for a start, and a second set of four frozen aubergine and kidney bean whatsits that I had forgotten that I had made. So for the next two months it’s pie one night and kidney bean and aubergine whatsit on another before I even start thinking about the rest of the meals.

Last night before going to bed I’d checked Caliburn’s battery. 14.0 volts and the “fully charged” light was on, so I had unplugged it. This morning when I checked it, it was showing 12.9 volts (which is good) and this afternoon, 6 hours later, it was still showing 12.9, so it’s not losing any significant charge. I coupled it up to Caliburn and he fired up immediately into life, so at least I can take him for his controle technique on Tuesday and be back on four wheels by the end of the week.

Having done that, I went for my afternoon walk. And on returning I found that somehow I have contrived to manage to lose my fitbit. And that’s before the new bracelet has arrived too, for which I pad a shed-load of money. No idea where I lost it either. It’s probably fallen out of my pocket while I was walking around, in which case it’s probably gone for good.

These days I seem to be making far too much of a habit of losing all my possessions. I’m not sure what’s going on but I definitely seem to be breaking up.

Back at the apartment I had a little doze for 10 minutes and regular readers of this rubbish will be the first to remark that this is the first time in about a week that I’ve crashed out. That’s definitely progress of some kind.

But once back on my feet I tackled a few of these marathon dictaphone entries. Five of them in fact and that might sound reasonable, but the mega 20-minute one is next on the list and I need to be on form for that. So that’s a job for tomorrow morning, I reckon.

Tea, was as promised, the burger on a bap. delicious it was too, even though it was interrupted by two young girls trick-or-treating. Luckily I have a sweetie-jar here so I was able to hand out some goodies. They aren’t getting their hands on my grapes though. That’s the one good thing that I’ve found about going out for small amounts of shopping several times per week – tha it means that I can buy several loads of grapes.

As I’d used the last of the coconut soya cream in the carrot soup, I went for the blackcurrant sorbet to go on my fruit salad, only to find that I’d forgotten to put it in the freezer. “That was an expensive way to get a storage container” I mused, but it hadn’t actually defrosted too far.

So Rosemary on the phone, and now bed-time. No guitar today, and no web-site amendment either. I’m falling behind again and I need to get on top of things. It’s too late for an early night too.

I really must get myself organised.