Tag Archives: a e housman

Monday 30th October 2023 – OHHH! THE EMBARRASSMENT!

This morning I fell in my apartment, and I couldn’t pick myself up again. I had to rely on my cleaner to pick me up and put me on a seat.

What I was trying to do was to tidy up the bedroom but my foot slipped on the parquet floor and I ended up on my knee. And it was only a few weeks ago that I could stand up from a kneeling position if I had something to cling on to. But not any longer.

However at least I was able to pull myself up from bed this morning without any assistance – including any assistance of the alarm. I put that down to the change in time that took place on Sunday morning.

After the medication I came in here to type a letter. My cleaner was off into town so I wanted to send her with a letter to the doctor to find out where I have to go for this cardiac examination and to ask for a transport voucher to take me there.

And it was tidying up in here ready for the cleaner to come down for the letter that I had my issues.

After she’d gone I had plenty of phone calls to make. Caliburn is being picked up on Thursday, and I’ve sorted out some banking issues, including requesting documents that I need for this claim for assistance.

There was a load of stuff that I did, and there is probably more to do too.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night but I couldn’t remember much of it. I was in the middle of an enormous, lengthy dream that involved taxi licences. There had been two taxi licences issued for each small town in some kind of area. As the licences were occasionally handed back someone came along to pick them up and develop them. But I can’t remember any more about it than this because I had quite a dramatic awakening in the middle of this lengthy dream.

Then later on there was something about hospitals, military hospitals being used by some Middle-Eastern guerillas who were fighting for their land from a corrupt Government. Just as this dream was setting off I awoke yet again.

At another point there were two of us, me and someone else, driving in one of these big American articulated lorries along an Interstate highway somewhere, checking our maps and making our arrangements. The guy who was driving turned to his radio to announce that we were going to come off here to head down to the border. Once we arrive, maybe we’d stop for food but if he felt like it he might come off and instead, cut across country south-west and head for a different State border that way. We pushed on, left the Interstate and carried on driving. We came to the rest area where we were going to stop. My niece’s daughter was there. She asked about the recording of a concert. I said that I’d managed to record it and had it on CD. She asked if she could have it. I said that I needed it – obviously I’d recorded it because I wanted it but I could copy it for her if she had a spare CD that I could copy it on to. She hadn’t but she said that she could give me a different concert by this group that was shorter but I said that that still wouldn’t solve the problem because I still wouldn’t have the original concert that I wanted.

Looking at that dream, or, should I say, reading it again, it reminds me of the many times that I’ve rolled up and down Interstate 95 stopping off for home fries, beans and toast at Dysart’s Truckstop near Bangor and that famous night when a bus-load of cheerleaders dressed for action dropped in while we were filling our faces.

There was also that legendary trip in 2017 when Strider STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I went to see Rhys, my friend from University, down in South Carolina and then we crossed over into Georgia just to say that we’d been and then came back up the Outer Banks and over Long island Sound, then back up I-95.

Jackson Browne sang about DRIVING DOWN THE 295 OUT OF PORTLAND, MAINE – the “295” being the ring road that takes I-95 around Portland and if you listen very carefully, you’ll hear the tour bus that he was on while he was playing his guitar.

One thing that I missed was that I never ever had the chance to drive an 18-wheel rig down one of the Interstates. The biggest vehicle that I ever drove down I-95 was a 7.5 tonne GMC flatbed taking a big V8 engine from Canada to Weare in New Hampshire for reconditioning.

Still, the way things are, I suppose that that will have to do.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … , bed there had been another dream in which a woman wearing a red jumper was being followed around by a tall, older guy, some kind of down-and-out. It was clear that he had mental health issues but wasn’t a particular danger but it was extremely uncomfortable for this girl. One day he followed her into her office. She decided that she would skip out and wait for the guy to be tackled but he wandered into the room where she worked. He asked if anyone had seem the woman in the red jumper. Someone said “she’s gone down to the canteen for her lunch” to which he replied ‘that’s a shame. I have no money for any lunch” which sent some kind of alarm signal that made the other people in the room begin to think that this was a situation that wasn’t quite correct.

The rest of the day has been spent writing notes for the next radio programme, having paired off the music earlier. I’ve almost finished all of the notes for that one now. There was also time to review and send off the programme that will be broadcast this coming weekend.

Tea was a stuffed pepper – slightly singed but nice enough nevertheless with vegetables and pasta.

So lots to do tomorrow, including a Welsh class, a few forms to fill in, a few phone calls to make and a Re-Education course to begin.

But looking at some of the notes that I’ve been dictating and typing recently, I seem to be spending far more time looking backwards rather than looking forwards. I suppose that it’s normal, what with things being the way they are and that I only have memories to look forward to.

It reminds me of AE Housman
"Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again."

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.

Monday 25th July 2022 – THE WEATHER HAS …

waves sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… changed dramatically today, as you can see in this photo.

It’s cooled down dramatically, clouded over and a high wind has sprung up. So much so that we are having some impressive waves slamming into the harbour wall while I was out on my afternoon walk.

Contrast that with the situation over the last couple of weeks or so where the heat has been enough to blister a bunch of barnacles and toast a throng of tourists.

This was much more like the usual weather that we have throughout the year and made it feel so much more like home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The situation was reflected in what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Not too many people down there at all and of those who were, there wasn’t a soul in the water as far as I could see.

Anyway, that’s enough about that. My own day has been slightly better than the last couple of days. I only managed to crash out for about 40 minutes today, and seeing as I was up and about at 06:00 after a night that was rather later than I was hoping, I suppose that it’s not too bad.

Mind you it’s a far cry from the days when I could function properly and thoroughly on only 3 hours sleep, or have a working day of 32.5 hours non-stop on the road.

They were the Good Old Days. As A E Housman once famously wrote, “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again”

After the medication and checking my mails and messages, I sat down to prepare another radio programme. I was doing quite well too for quite a long time but I ended up not finishing until 11:30.

But then that’s the problem with choosing songs by Canadian folk groups, Cheshire-based space rockers and Californian cover artists who are so obscure that they don’t even have a biography listed anywhere on the usual pages.

Interestingly, as an aside I ended up writing a few things about the Mariposa Folk Festival at Orilia, Ontario, in 1968 from out of my head without undertaking any research whatever.

And guess what site my social network provider suggested that I should “like” shortly afterwards? I smell a rat, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

While I was listening to the finished product I was sorting out my music and then I had a good session on the guitar, punctuated by my lunchtime fruit. It makes me wonder what my current weight may be. I haven’t weighed myself for a week.

Another thing that punctuated my guitar session was, rather regrettably, a crashing-out for about 40 minutes. and how I’m fed up of this. But then I’ve told you that before.

divers zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022For a change I was out for my afternoon walk at the usual time and after having inspected the beach, I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland.

Out there in the bay this afternoon was a zodiac. At first I thought that it might have been a fisherman or two but closer inspection revealed that it was full of Deep-End Dan and his mates.
“Don’t forget the diver!”
“Going down now, sir!”

No idea what they were after – it certainly wouldn’t be pennies thrown in the Mersey off the ferries – but we’ve seen a few training exercises taking place out there in the past.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Not too many people out there today in the wind so I had the path pretty much to myself this afternoon.

Mind you, there were crowds of people down there on the lower path, as I discovered when I reached the end of the headland. They were all congregating around the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland.

No-one out there fishing this afternoon though. I’m not sure whether that might be due to the notice that has been circulating for much of the day that because of high pollution levels, fishing in certain places is prohibited. I wonder if those “certain places” include the Pointe du Roc.

belle france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The people who had actually made it down to the end of the headland had something to admire this afternoon.

Right down at the head of the bay there was a large boat moving around so I took a photo of it with the idea of enlarging and enhancing it when I returned home.

Having messed around with it for a while I could see that it was without any doubt at all Belle France. It looks as if she has taken a party of day-trippers and tourists down to have a gaze at Mont St Michel from the seaward sid.

Under certain circumstances it’s possible to walk out to Mont St Michel from furhter down the coast and it’s one thing that I’ve been intending to do, but not until my knee improves, if it ever will.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On that not I wandered off on the path down the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the port.

First of all though, there was all kinds of things happening in the bay today. We can see that oen of the sailing schools has gone out regardless of the rough weather, and a few private yachts have gone out as well.

What intrigued me though were all of the cars parked down there on the sea wall. It seemed that there were plenty of fishermen out there. If fishing from the beaches or from the rocks is prohibited, then I suppose that fishing from the sea wall is the obvious place to go.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Plenty of other things happening in the harbour this afternoon too.

Although the tide is well in, the harbour gates to the inner harbour are not yet open. However many of the trawlers and other fishing boats have come into port and they are queueing up waiting for the green light.

And it is a green light too. There’s a red light that shines at the harbour gate when the gate is closed and once it’s open, the light turns to green.

Meanwhile, La Confiance II is still on her own in the chantier naval. No change in there.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On my way back home I looked at the quayside at the loading bay o check on the freight.

The freight that we saw a couple of days ago is still there but we have also acquired a swimming pool now. So one of the Jersey freighters will be in quite soon to whisk it away. The swimming pools are quite valuable so they won’t leave them lying around for long.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d been doing some research into a guy so I’d been to see someone who ran a company that was connected to him. Somehow I found myself inside the build so when I’d made sure that I had my paperwork and a piece of paper with my notes I rang the bell. This guy went to answer the door but he was horrified to find that I was already in there. he went shouting up and down but calmed down when he realised that I was serious and started to answer a couple of my questions. After a few minutes he was more interested in establishing my bona fides so he ended up interrogating me about myself. I was sitting on my windowsill by my kitchen with my mother inside. He was asking questions about my farm and solar energy etc. I wasn’t asking and he was asking “are you sure that that’s correct?”. I replied “yes”. This went on and on and I was wondering when we were going to get round to doing what we were supposed to be doing which was interviewing this particular guy.

And later it was the town fair on a Saturday morning. We’d all gone and ended up enjoying ourselves, sitting down to have a meal. They guy who was organising it was going to bring me home about 13:00 but every time he came near to where I was sitting he was side-tracked off somewhere by something else. he’d have to run away and do something else and then come back, but before he could come back he’d be side-tracked by someone else again and again and again. In no time at all it was 15:20. I was horrified about what people were going to say about me being out so long when I’d promised to be back by 13:00 but there was absolutely nothing that I could do except sit there and wait for this guy to come along and take me home. He was being continually swept away by everyone and everything and had no idea about making sure that I arrived home at the correct time when I’d promised to my parents that I would.

When I sit down and transcribe my notes they usually ring some kind of bell with me. I’m asleep when I dictate them but nevertheless transcribing them triggers off something in my subconscious. But for the last few days I have absolutely no recollection whatever of anything that has gone through my mind about what happened during the night.

And that’s bizarre.

Tea tonight was quite a delicious stuffed pepper. There’s plenty of stuffing left over so I imagine that there will be a taco roll tomorrow if they are still edible and then a good curry on Wednesday.

The food that I eat here is simple but it’s pretty tasty and pretty good. I do look after myself from that point of view. It will be nice when I can bring up those cupboards and install my new oven. But I’ve no idea when that might be

Wednesday 11th May 2022 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… day I’ve had today.

It’s been one of the worst that I’ve had for quite some considerable time, I’m sad to say. So while you admire a few photos of the flight of Airbus A400M aircraft that flew by overhead I’ll tell you all about my sad, sorry tale.

It’s probably something to do with the fact that the medication that I take before I go to bed must have kicked in. i was out like a light almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and that was that. An earthquake could have occurred and a bomb could have gone off but nothing would have awakened me.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The alarm went off at 07:30 and again at 07:45 and again at 08:00 but like Housman’s “Shropshire Lad” who was “One-and-Twenty”, “no use to talk to me”.

The way I was feeling this morning I wouldn’t even have crawled out of bed for Jenny Agutter and Kate Bush, never mind TOTGA, Castor and Zero. It was 10:25 when I finally summoned up the energy to leave my stinking pit, and I was feeling like death.

It goes without saying that there was nothing at all on the dictaphone, and it’s been a long time since that’s been the case. I really was absolutely out of everything last night. And that’s probably the most disappointing part of everything from last night and this morning.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Once I’d had my medication and breakfast I came back in here but I was in no fit state to do any work. I spent the morning vegetating all the way up to lunchtime.

For lunch I had the last helping of the leek and potato soup and it was just as delicious as it was when it was fresh. In fact it was probably better with all of the spices having marinaded in.

Just as I was finishing my soup Rosemary rang me up and we had another lengthy chat. She was keen to know how Paris went because we’d talked about it beforehand, and I was keen to hear about her Ukrainian refugees.

But the bad news is that they haven’t arrived. They’ve been caught in a Covid trap and are currently in isolation somewhere along the route.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After we finished it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, even if I didn’t feel at all like it.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what is happening there.

The weather had turned today. It was a lot cooler than it has been so I wasn’t expecting to see many people out there, even if it was school half-day. And there can’t have been more than a dozen people down there this afternoon.

What did catch my eye though was the couple perched up on the rock just to the right of the steps.

suzanga baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

No Nazguls out there this afternoon but we did have one of the trawlers on her way back in to harbour. She’s Suzanga, the newest of the trawlers in port. We first noticed her coming into port in August last year.

Not very many people on the path either this afternoon. I was pretty much alone out there as I admired the flight of Airbus military aircraft that went flying past out at sea. Far too far out for me to be able to read their serial numbers and not having brought my ‘phone with me, I didn’t have a radar on which to pick them up.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My walk took me across the car park to the end but there was no-one today sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I didn’t wait around.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity out at sea either. We’ve seen Suzanga of course and out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a couple of yachts having a bit of a sail around the bay. And that really was about it.

At fist I thought that it was a catamaran and I had tio look twice to make sure.

So I set off down the footpath on the other side of the headland heading towards the port to see what was happening down there this afternoon before I went back home for my drink.

repainting l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was a great deal of activity taking place in the chantier naval this afternoon and almost all of it was centred around L’Ecume II.

We’d seen it the other day looking in rather a sorry state but they’ve been hard at work having stripped off much of the perished paintwork and primed it. But there’s plenty to go at and they’ll be there for a little while yet smartening her up.

Dodging the classe decouverte walking in a queue-lieu-lieu, or “single file”, I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour because I’d noticed that away in the distance I’d seen Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, tied up at the quayside.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022However as I drew closer, she slipped her moorings and headed off towards the gate and the open sea.

As she passed through the gates I ambushed her with the camera and took a photo as she headed off back to Jersey. I’ve not taken a decent photo of her for quite a while.

There wasn’t a great deal of anything else happening so I ended up back at the apartment where I forgot to make myself a coffee. I really must be slipping. It’s not like me to forget to make myself a coffee.

But I didn’t relax for long because I had things to do. I have to do some work today even if I don’t feel like it at all.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having eaten the last of my fruit buns this morning I needed to make some more.

So 250 grammes of flour, some dried fruit, a banana, piles of other stuff (and I forgot the dessicated cocount) all went in there and for a change it all mixed up quite nicely.

When I was satisfied with it I divided it into 9 buns and put them in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. And I do have to say that they look, and smell, delicious.

As for what they taste like, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to tell you that. But I do reckon that they will be among the best that I have ever baked.

Tea was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have another go at going to bed. And hoping for a better morning. I have an appointment with the sports therapist tomorrow so I’d better be up and about quite early for that. No lying about stinking in bed.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.