Tag Archives: ann_m

Saturday 20th January 2024 – THIS BLASTED DRINK …

… that they have prescribed me to alleviate the excess potassium in my kidneys really is driving me mad.

Last night I had a drink of it before going to bed and was stark out of everything, including my head, for several hours once I’d gone to bed. Fair enough, it was after midnight when I finally retired but until about 03:20 when I awoke, in exactly the same position as when I went to sleep, I remember nothing whatever.

And then after the helping this morning I was slumped over my desk fast asleep until 11:20, and then it took a good while before I felt in any condition to stand up and make my cheese on toast.

There should have been a helping at midday too but I eschewed that. I just couldn’t imagine the idea of being stark out for several hours during the afternoon.

And so as you can imagine, I haven’t done very much today . And surprisingly, I didn’t do much during the night either. I was working on the radio at one point night and was trying to prepare a programme. We had a visitor, a little girl rather like Shirley Temple, come along so naturally I let her do a little here and there and I played a song for her etc. A few people gathered around the doorway to watch. After we’d done about 3 or 4 songs I said that we were going to continue the programme and I’d play a song for one of the girls standing at the door so I wanted everyone to be quiet. That brought something of a dispute and discussion from some of them. I thought “this isn’t going to be very good radio at all”. Eventually when I had everyone quiet I was just about to play the song when the girl … shall we say … made a noise. Of course the whole studio dissolved into a huge fit of laughter. I thought “God, this is no way to run a radio station with all of this kind of thing going on”.

Later on, my friends from the Wirral and I were out in the red Cortina estate going somewhere when I needed to stop for fuel. There was a little wayside pump at the side of the road so we stopped there. There was no cashier, no owner’s sign and no price displayed. By the time I went to fuel up it had transformed into a proper fuel station with shop, cashier, café etc. My friend told me that he’d paid so I began to fuel up. The car was quite empty so it needed a lot of fuel. I asked him how much he paid but he didn’t answer. Instead, a figure of £91:37 flashed up on the screen. I didn’t realise the significance of this so as he hadn’t answered I asked him again. Again he didn’t reply but once more the figure of £91:37 flashed up on the screen. After another couple of times of asking I suddenly realised that the figure of £91:37 was what he’d paid. The actual total was less than that. He and his wife said “I didn’t realise that you were so poor”. I asked what he meant and he said “the car stereo – you’re using something different and DAMNATION ALLEY is playing. I actually had a micro-card reader with memory card plugged into the aux socket of the car stereo. I reminded him that he needed his change but he seemed to walk away so I had to remind him to collect his change. However we ended up going into a little shop on the site. We had to queue to go in so my friend’s wife reminded me to look for some marmalade. When we finally reached the head of the queue my friend asked for a tin of something that was displayed on the wall behind the cashier. It was written in Chinese characters and was a kind-of duck-egg blue. He studied the tin for a while and said “I think the type that I have is a darker green colour” so the guy pointed to another one on the side wall. It looked the same to me and my friend’s wife whispered to him “never mind. We’ll go to (a shop name). We get more points there anyway”.

And when I awoke, “Damnation Alley” was indeed playing on the computer. How about that for foresight?

And the red Cortina estate again? It’s probably tired of sitting in the warehouse and needs a run out. It’s not been run since 2000 when I drove it from Brussels to Montaigut towing a scrap MkV Cortina on an A-frame.

That was an adventure and no mistake. No rear brakes on it either so I came at night down the autoroute in the darkness and was only stopped once by the Police

But it’ll make someone a lovely, and valuable vehicle. It needs the head refurbishing, especially the valve guides replacing as it burns a cloud of oil when it starts up, which is no surprise due to its intergalactic mileage. But then the head will need refurbishing anyway to comply with “unleaded” standards.

There are no rear brakes, as I said. There’s a strange vibration from the back axle that vibrates the rear brake pipe and fractures it at one of the cylinders so it leaks fluid. The easiest answer is to blank off the brake line and drive carefully.

The wheels need refurbishing too. They are alloy wheels but they are letting out air.

Apart from that, it’s all original, never been welded and it’s a beautiful car that’ll look really nice on someone’s drive or on a Summer Sunday drive.

But I digress … "again" – ed

So that was the story of my night. When the alarm went off I fell out of bed and took my blood pressure – still slowly rising and I don’t have a clue why – not that I am too bothered because I can’t do anything about it anyway so why worry?

Then we had the usual pantomime of me trying to dress and then I staggered off to find my medication, including this blasted drink stuff.

Back here, as I said, I crashed out for several hours and then I wasn’t in much of a state to do anything.

When I finally started work, whenever that was, I carried on with de-duplicating my computer . I disposed of quite a few files that were duplicates or earlier versions of ones already there and one of the directories (yes, I grew up with DOS 5.0) is looking a little tidier now.

While I was searching for something I came across a live football match – Pontypridd United v Cardiff Metropolitan. And I’d watched 55 minutes of it before I realised that it was from last year and I’d seen it before.

There was football later on – TNS v Abertawe under-21s in the final of a cup competition run by the Football Association of Wales.

Not that I’m a big fan of TNS by any means at all – quite the reverse, and for a variety of reasons too that would take far too long to explain. But when they are up against one of the five teams that turned their backs on the Welsh pyramid when it was created in 1992, I’ll be their biggest fan.

Of course, it’s quite true that TNS, based in Oswestry, are in effect an English club But there’s a huge Welsh heritage in Oswestry , which was part of Wales until comparatively modern times and a survey taken in 1972 indicated that a return to Wales would be popular. And the situation has intensified since.

However the big clubs have turned their backs on their country and continued to play their football in the English leagues purely for financial reasons

It’s a long and complicated story but to cut things short … "hooray" – ed … Abertawe’s under-21s made it to the final where they met TNs and I am delighted to say that TNS stuffed them 5-1 in a historic result.

Down the centre of the field it was all pretty much even but TNS’s wingers tore Abertawe’s full-backs to shreds, which you’ll see in due course when the presenting company posts the highlight video.

In the meantime, HERE’S AN INTERESTING MATCH in the second tier between Caerfyrddyn and Rhydaman. I don’t think that I have ever seen so many “sitters” missed in one game in the whole of my life.

Tea tonight was delicious baked potatoes done to perfection in the air fryer, and a vegan salad and vegan burger.

And I’ve reached a crisis because I’m running low, very low indeed on the burgers that I like, the vegetable mash type that are covered in a kind-of battery breadcrumbs. I shall have to smile sweetly at Liz and pick her brains on a way of making them. We had an interesting chat this evening and I should have asked her then.

Or anyone else’s brains if anyone else has any ideas too. Someone always comes up with something.

So that’s it for today. I’ve done enough. And no baking tomorrow means that I can take it easy. But what a life, locked in my apartment and daren’t go out in case I can’t climb the stairs on the way back.

But I’ve been thinking about this nerve issue. I’ve said before that after I’ve had a fall I always seem to feel worse.

And so I’m wondering if it’s not the fall that causing the sudden dramatic deterioration each time, but the dramatic deterioration that’s causing the fall.

Remember when I was at Noz a few months ago when I had that sudden, stabbing pain in my left (the good) leg that caused me to fall down? Maybe it’s that that’s happening in the right leg but because the senses there are dead, I can’t feel it.

If you can imagine an electric discharge or shock in your system for example that scorches down your leg and burns out a nerve, something like that.

So I’ll talk to the specialist when I see him on 14th February. Meantime I’m off to Paris again on Tuesday to have a Holter machine fitted – a machine that monitors your heartbeat on a permanent basis.

Rosemary thinks that that’s the first step before having a pacemaker fitted. I suppose that they’ll have to try to do something to keep me alive, even if it’s just to watch THIS RARE BING6NEEL SYNDROME advance through my body.

"It’s just like you, that is, not to have a simple illness like everyone else" she complained.

Sunday 24th December 2023 – AFTER ALL OF …

… the effort that I went to so that I would be up and about at 08:20 – and on a Sunday too – the nurse didn’t turn up until 09:20.

And it wasn’t Yoan either. It was his weekend off so he sent his sidekick Isabelle to deal with today’s issues, including sorting me out.

That was actually quite nice because I like Isabelle. One of her children was on a University exchange programme in Dublin last year so they met up in Belfast and went for a wander around for a week. I suggested a few places for them to visit.

My memories in Belfast aren’t quite so pleasant as that. I used to do deliveries there in the mid-70s in a van with British number-plates and on one occasion I was “detained” by a military patrol while my bona fides were checked.

Mind you, it was coming back from one such delivery that I had my encounter with that student from Lancaster University that I recounted a couple of months or so ago – the girl who didn’t like Tuppence, my old black cat.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, it wasn’t really all that much of an effort to raise myself from the Dead in time for Isabelle. In fact, I was actually up and wandering about at 07:45 this morning.

And that’s not something that happens every Sunday, is it?

Once Isabelle had gone (and come back to see if I actually had some injections in stock, and then departed again) I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. The first was another dream of which I’ve forgotten most. They were talking about putting me under and they were asking which side of my body I wanted to come round on. I misunderstood the question and replied something to do with strawberries because I had a fancy at that moment to eat something like that. The discussion went on about the hospital. They asked me how I liked being there. I replied that it was far better than I imagined. The treatment that I’m having here couldn’t be better anywhere else. Again there was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately it all evaporated while I was trying to dictate it.

Those are sentiments that I would certainly echo about the Hôpital Pitié-Salpetrière – if only the food were better and they’d turn up the heating.

And then I’d been with my friends from the Wirral on a motorbike voyage somewhere for a while. We ended up back at their house. I was having to travel on back to my house but for some reason I needed to unwind because the final leg had been extremely difficult – even though we had been on motor bikes we’d had to lower our baggage down some kind of cliff somewhere in order to reach the bottom which was extremely complicated. While we’d been in Wrexham there had been some kind of riot or disturbance and they’d actually blown away a whole cliff so that there was a view from the town right the way down the Dee valley into the mountains there. We made our way down these mountains and this cliff. The husband caught something in a pool – he’d wandered off to a pool and was there with his hands in it. We ended up back at their house. They went and sat in their living room and I just slumped into the kitchen for a while. Then I noticed that what he had done was that he’d caught some kind of small fish and put it in a bowl. I knocked on the door of their sitting room and they opened it. I told them that one of my cats has a pet goldfish. I recounted the story of how it caught it and brought it home, then it had actually fished another one out of a pond and brought it home too. Then I began to prepare to leave. Foolishly I took off my boots and then I couldn’t put them back on again as my feat swelled up. I noticed that I was wearing odd socks – one was a dark brown and the other was a slightly lighter shade of brown.

Back into another dream that I’ve had in the past. We’re discussing railway locomotives. It turned out that not only did one railway company put a locomotive at an experimenter so that he could make his experiments, it put a whole fleet out to one guy and allowed him to experiment all up and down their main line with a fleet of locomotives. These were interesting because although they were coal-fired they actually started up on oil. To make them start you lit an oily rag and stuck it under the chassis at the air intake. This was at the height of World War I. There was a huge casualty sorting station – I said that it was at Valenciennes but it can’t have been because that was behind enemy lines – where they would take all the wounded prisoners and soldiers from the front line back to a field hospital. Anyone who was injured there and taken away was really lucky because the locomotives and the field ambulance trains really worked extremely well and all kinds of experiments went on. I should have been working there and helping these people shift coal around but I was far more interested reading books about this and talking to some of the workers. We even made whole charts of how much more efficient it would be taking all factors into account, including the factors of children killing donkeys – if a donkey was old and overworked it was put into a field to recover but all of the children would climb all over it and there were several instances of donkeys killed by over-enthusiastic children. There was one particular incident where I was reading a book when I should have been moving coal. Some woman dropped a few things as she was carrying the coal and told me to stand guard over it until she could come back to pick it up so that no-one else would take it.

Yes, lighting oily rags and holding them up to the air intake while someone else turns the motor. I remember very well doing that for my father in the winter of 1963. Gardner 5LW and 5LX engines were notoriously difficult to start in the cold and there was always an endless collection of old Fodens parked up outside our house at night in those days.

The winter that year was so cold that at times we had a paraffin heater underneath the fuel tank to stop the diesel from freezing, and I’ve seen fires lit under fuel tanks too.

But as for experimental trains running wild on main lines, the Great Western Railway company lent an experimental train to a Doctor Dionysus Lardner and the train would turn up unannounced at all kinds of strange places.

When Brunel was asked what he would do if he encountered Lardner and his train coming towards him on the same line, Brunel replied "I would increase my speed and rely on my superior velocity to drive him off the rails".

When Sir Daniel Gooch wrote his memoirs just before he died, he commented on the incident and said "whatever would be said of such a mode of proceeding today?"

So having dealt with all of that, I’ve had a very quiet day today. I’ve made my hash browns, for better or for worse, and despite following the instructions carefully, they don’t seem to be any better than any others that I’ve previously made.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, of course. They’ll be on the breakfast menu tomorrow along with beans on toast, vegan sausage and mushroom paté on toast and we’ll see how it goes. But I really don’t know why I can never make hash browns properly

So, tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about them, if I haven’t died of food poisoning in the meantime.

Sunday 12th November 2023 – AND THERE I WAS …

… planning on a nice relaxing day today with very little, if anything, to do. But as usual, all kinds of events come along to confound me.

What didn’t help was that it wasn’t until 11:42 this morning that I first noticed what time it was. And that is far from being the same as saying what time it was that I actually arose from the dead.

And if things start badly, things can only be worse. You should see the amount of stuff on the dictaphone from during the night. I must have travelled miles and that probably explains why I was so exhausted yet again once I arose.

After I’d had my medication and checked my mails I sat down and began to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

All of them.

There had been a storm or fire or both or something in the big house in which we lived altogether and it had been badly damaged. There was a lot of repair work needed to be done to it. At the moment it was a question of trying to secure the premises against anything worse happening. We were basically divided into shifts and rotas about how to look after the property. I had to stand there on patrol at one point to keep away any onlookers or anyone who might be there for some kind of nefarious purposes. There was a lot of paperwork that had burnt and was blowing around. While I was standing there looking at it a few more bits fell from the ceiling to the ground. I was supposed at this point to go on patrol around the area to see who was about but I had a lot of difficulty walking and I’d be of no use if I had to confront anyone so I decided to let other people do that. When I walked round the corner there on the field even though it was raining were a few of my housemates playing cricket. One of them shouted “go and put the kettle on, Eric” but of course it was going to be extremely difficult because of the fire and the damage and because of my difficulties. In the end he left the cricket field and wandered off somewhere as if he was going to do it.

At some point there was a question of another young girl of woman being involved in this. When we finally met her we found that she was just as handicapped as I am so obviously she couldn’t stand her patrol looking after the building and patrolling the area for a couple of days. We felt that we should have known about her handicap beforehand otherwise we could have made certain allowances for her but now things are under way and already happening it’s rather too late now for that.

It was the custom of the hospital to send several patients dressed up as Father Christmas, his helpers and his reindeer to go and collect money for charitable purposes. This year though they decided that instead of making a sleigh they would do it with a motorbike and sidecar. They asked me if I would like to go but I couldn’t really get in and out of the sidecar very easily so that would seem to rule that out. Then they were having a lot of difficulty trying to think of someone else. I thought to myself that if I’d known that I was expected to do this sort of thing along with everyone else I’d have thought twice about coming here.

And that was another dream that I actually dictated in French.

Then there was someone in our group with a name something like Awotni but when we had a list of members we couldn’t see anyone who corresponded to that. I made some kind of light-hearted remark about Polish family names which was immediately greeted with distaste by some members of the group. Then I remembered thinking that maybe if this person had been treated for a long time he shouldn’t be in our group anyway or maybe the group isn’t the correct place for them to be because this group that I’m in is about everyone being able to do every different thing.

There was also a girl put into our group who didn’t seem to be capable of doing very much. We didn’t think much of that idea because we were all trying to be as equal as possible and doing as many tasks as we could. We didn’t really want anyone who didn’t have the courage to follow it all through. This person seemed to be treating it just as a way of relaxing than a matter of life and death like the rest of us thought that it was. We didn’t appreciate that kind of levity at these serious moments.

“I wish that you’d store your accessories and introduce them into the discussions as appropriate” we said to someone who seemed to be much more able to move about than the rest of us but who didn’t seem to work as hard. We considered that due to the health that everyone put in we ought to be doing so much more and there should be so much more solidarity amongst the patients.

Zero put in an appearance last night. Her father was talking about a Christmas dinner that he’d made and how she’d sat down from the start and eaten absolutely everything put in front of her, all the way through to the Christmas pudding. He was ever so impressed that she’d managed to take all of it. It was the way that he said it that made me think of some kind of double-entendre and to my complete surprise, in the middle of this dream I had an immense fit of jealousy.

It actually reminded me of the girl who went into a pub and asked for a double-entendre so the barman gave her one.

But it was a real surprise, as I could tell from how I dictated it. But at least after talking about Christmas food yesterday, it’s made me focus on what I need to do for Christmas. So Liz – I shall be relying on you to tell me when to start to make my cake to make sure that I don’t leave it too late.

And I’ll make sure that it’s squirrelled away so that Zero can’t find it. As Liz will tell you, I don’t “do” sharing when it comes to cake. However, if Zero (or TOTGA, or Castor) were here, I might be persuaded to make an exception.

My friends from the Wirral came to see me last night. We were talking about all the old times etc. In the end we had to go out to do something. And the wife had a pushchair with one of her kids in it. While I was eating my meal I’d seen a photo and I was trying for ages to place this photo. It suddenly occurred to me that it was the old petrol station in Hungerford Road (of course there never was a petrol station there). I eventually worked out where this photo was and decided that we had to go. There was a big problem about 2 of my cars that needed moving around, some kind of question about them having no tax, no MoT, all Cortima MkIIIs. I needed to move them from where they were stored. We had a huge debate about which one we should move first and which should be moved second. I wasn’t even sure to where I was going to move them. In the end my friend asked me about driving – how come the Senator was the only big vehicle that I had these days. I replied “actually I can’t drive any more anyway so there’s no point having a car. If I am able to drive in the near future it won’t be in professional transport so I won’t need a big car”. We then went back to discussing in which order we were going to move these 2 MkIII Cortinas.

And that’s a recurring dream, isn’t it? Having cars scattered all over the place with no tax or MoT which need to be moved around.

I was in Crewe again last night and had gone to a petrol station. I bumped into a guy … "Lee Jenkins" – ed … whom I knew who played centre-half for Haverfordwest. We began to talk about vehicles and how he’d bought a MkIII Cortina once and when he’d come to sell it he had over £1000 for it. I pointed to mine and said “do you mean like this?”. I was in my gold MkIII estate, the one in the barn in Virlet. His eyes lit up and he said “wow! It’s great!” and went to have a really good look around it. He asked if he could take it for a drive but I had to decline. He said “you’re probably afraid that I’d never bring it back!”. I replied “something like that”. I told him all about the vehicle, one owner from new, guaranteed genuine mileage etc, We had quite a lengthy chat about it.

And “wow” he may well say. Cortina MkIII 2000E models were pretty rare on the ground when they were new and current, but in my atelier in Montaigut is a 2000E saloon and the gold MkIII estate in my barn in Virlet is a 2000E estate of which there are known to be no more than half a dozen still in existence and which is worth a King’s ransom.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed I was at work in Belgium. I’d gone out for a coffee break, to stand outside. While I was out there a girl came up and began to attack me, trying to push me into the lake. After I’d fought her off I went into the security hut. The guy there made me a coffee. We had a little chat about how crazy some people are in this building. I had to go to fetch something from my car. On the way back I met a Post Office girl trying to talk to a cat. It turned out that cats received telegrams. You had to give the telegram to the correct cat, not just to any cat. They were trying to train the cats to accept the telegrams which I thought was the strangest thing that I’d ever seen. I walked back down to the front door of the building, pressed the button for the sliding doors to open but nothing happened. I could hear people on the inside but no matter how I pressed the button I couldn’t make the sliding doors open so that I could go in. I thought “this is good, isn’t it? I’m locked outside the building now”.

What with stopping for lunch, it took me until about 15:00 to transcribe all of that – and it might have been done quicker had I not … errr … gone off with the fairies for a while.

Then I went to make my fruit bread. I took my time making the dough and it actually turned out quite well.

After I’d finished my lunch I’d taken the last of the pizza dough out of the freezer (so I’ll have to make some more next weekend) and it had been defrosting.

Just as I was going to deal with it Rosemary rang me for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions. She’s rather worried because she has a major operation shortly (which I why she couldn’t have come with me to Michigan) and she wants someone to either reassure her or to talk her out of it.

She talked about her operation at great length and in great detail, despite me telling her on several occasions not to. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall exactly how I feel about operations and surgery.

But it’s not likely that I’m going to talk anyone out of surgery. No matter how ill even the thought of it makes me feel, I’m a firm believer in the principle of Macbeth and the murder of Duncan “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”.

It’s much more painful to spend all of this time worrying and postponing it rather than to have it done quickly.

When they operated on my kidneys they didn’t even tell me. They just took me, bed and all, down into the basement, stuck a mask over my face and said “here – smell this!”. And that was the last that I knew about it.

As a result everything was running really late. But the fruit bread is, for once, cooked to perfection and the pizza was pretty good too.

So I’ll wander off and have a good sleep. For a change, there’s nothing happening tomorrow so I can push on with a few things without any interruptions.

Well, such is the theory. We all know how it works in practice.

Thursday 31st August 2023 – I FORGOT …

… that the nurse would be coming round to visit my neighbour and that they’d need me to open the door to the building.

So that put paid to my lie-in this morning, didn’t it?

What was a shame though was that I was in the middle of a voyage somewhere and as soon as the doorbell rang the whole lot disappeared out of my head – not that there’s much to stop it.

As seems to be usual these days it took me an age to come round into the Land of the Living and I wasn’t in any great rush to actually do anything.

However, after I’d had a coffee and something to eat I transcribed the mountain of dictaphone notes.

The memory card in the dictaphone is now full so I took off all of the files and stored then onto one of the hard drives.

That led me to a great idea. What with an external hard drive and the hard drives in the array on the shelf I set about consolidating the drives and back-ups in a project that is going on even as we speak.

Having set all of that off I then wrote up the notes for yesterday.

The backing up has gone on all day and I’m creating tons of space that I didn’t know that I have. And it’s high time that I organised all of this in a way that makes some kind of sense.

As for my voyages from last night, we started off with some drawings and photographs and had to describe them – I’m not sure now in which language we were doing it. People picked a photo and said something about it. Mine was a photo of an athlete which was done in 16 shades of blue and white. I wanted to say that the colour was flat. There was no gloss or anything about it. It was like a faded newspaper image. I couldn’t think of the word to describe the colours that I wanted to use when I was halfway through the sentence.

I was next with my friends from the Wirral last night. They each received a teddy bear. The girl’s, you could tell it was for her because there was a label attached to the bear saying something or other and the same with that of the guy. It was a different type of bear but again with a label that made it quite clear that it was to be given to him.

Then I was with a friend from school. We were talking about coffee. He’d been doing something and the previous day he’d had some strong coffee to keep him awake. He said that that had kept him going all day. I agreed with coffee and as a 3rd person came to join us I said something like “with my coffee if you stir the coffee and the teaspoon comes out bent then you know that the coffee is about the correct strength”.

I was also with Nerina last night, back in that dream about motorbikes. I was showing her those motor bike engines again with the different attachments like the Francis Barnett engine in a generator frame and the other ones lying around that I never managed to go very far before I awoke. We’d been out for a drive during the night in the snow, driving around looking at everything and the snow was really quite deep. We were having a lot of fun driving, looking at things. It was becoming quite late and the snow was falling quite heavily. Earlier in the evening I’d suggested that we’d go to have a look at it in Winsford because I was still living in Winsford at the time. Round about 00:00, 01:00 she said “let’s go up to Winsford and have a look at the snow, then go to your house for coffee. Where we stopped to look at those engines, the first thing that I had to do was to clean up. I was absolutely filthy. I was scrubbing all this oil etc off. A couple of other people came by and wondered what was going on, why I was looking so dirty. I explained that I’d just been changing a car gearbox – that’s why I was all covered in oil. Someone else who was with us, I can’t remember who it was, was talking to one of these guys. He came over to me and asked “are we going to see that other guy now? He’s invited us round”. I replied “I’m showing Nerina these motor bike engines but you can go. But come back when we’re ready to leave”. He said that he’d do that but he walked up with us to look at the motor bikes. I said to him “I thought that you were going to look at cars, aren’t you?”. He replied “yes I am” but he still came with us. I said “don’t be too long because we’re going soon but if that guy has any Ford Cortina bits let me know and I’ll come down too”.

Finally, there was also something about a single decker bus but a noise in the street awoke me and it vanished out of my head just as I was about to dictate it.

Tea tonight was a leftover curry with the last naan bread, and it really was delicious. I shall have to make some more of that in due course.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll be carrying on with my back-up project and see where that takes me. And I must send off my order for my new course book otherwise I’ll be up a creek without a paddle.

That’s a condition in which I usually find myself and from which I’m trying these days to extricate myself.

And by the way – that’s to everyone who sent me messages about my trip to Paris. But there’s some kind of problem with G-mail right now and my mails to thank people have been returned as undelivered. I’ve no idea why but I’m sorry about it.

Monday 5th June 2023 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

… somewhat better than the previous one.

But that’s not difficult. Almost anything could have been better than that.

Feeling as tired as I was, I went to bed early and was asleep quite quickly. Just the occasional tossing and turning here and there.

Mind you, I did awaken early and when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was already up. Not quite “about” but I was sitting on the edge of the bed dressing.

After the medication I went and had a shower. It was something of a struggle to climb into the bath but only because of the pain in the lower calf, not because of any underlying health issue that might have affected my climbing into the bath in the past

The nurse came round at 08:20 and gave me my injection. He went afterwards to my neighbour who had the bad fall. Apparently things are not looking so good for her and that will be quite a shame.

And the nerve specialist finally phoned me back early this morning too. He can fit me on on 20th June at 10:15.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent travelling through Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island and on the ferry across the Gulf of St Lawrence. We’re now pulling into port at Argentia ready for Strider, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and me to drive up to Saint John to see my friend who lives there.

Argentia is quite an interesting place. The slow Transatlantic convoys – those with prefix SC – in World War II set out from Sydney, from where I’d just sailed, and the destroyer patrols that guarded the convoys in the early stages of their journey sheltered here in Argentia.

The village itself was demolished to make room for the naval installations. Even the bodies in the graveyard were dug up.

On 10th August 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt met in the harbour on board a ship in the harbour to discuss issues concerning the conduct of the War to date and how the USA could help to further the UK’s War aims.

When I was HERE IN 2010 it was in the middle of a torrential rainstorm so I didn’t have much of a look round. And when I was there in 2017 I was in too much of a rush.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night too. I was keeping a diary. One of the entries on which I was working was about my trip to the hospital where I’d ended up being in some kind of class that was doing something like an eye examination test where everyone was being asked questions about eyes etc but in a more vernacular rather than a scientific sense. I wasn’t asked any questions but I still had to take part in it. I was writing it up in the diary. There were lots more than happened on that particular day but I can’t remember much of it now

There was another dream about a circus, Silcock’s Circus but I can’t remember how it went. But then I was with my friends from the Wirral and another one of my friends but the woman with him was neither of the women with whom he has been married. We’d all met up once for my birthday but it was time to go. We walked back to the bus stop in Weston. The couple from the Wirral were walking ahead so I was walking with the other two who were bringing up the rear. I said my fondest goodbyes to them and that I’d see them again but I wasn’t sure when, then walked off to say goodbye to the others. The Wirral couple cut me off and headed that way. The other two went to speak to them. I thought “never mind. I’ll wander off anyway and leave those four to it”. Eventually the 6 of us (so who was the sixth?) were together at the bus stop. I pointed out the new views of Crewe with all of the redevelopment and cutting down of trees you could see so much more of the town from here than you could 30 years ago. We talked about all of the changes that had taken place in the area. Mrs Wirral asked me if I could fly by aeroplane. I told her that I had done but the problem with aeroplanes was the transfers. If I go by bus it’s basically door to door with no wandering around unnecessarily whereas with the aeroplane I’d have to walk miles and that was what was the problem with that. It wasn’t the question that I couldn’t afford it. That was something else.

I was an explorer back in the early Middle Ages. I discovered Paris on behalf of the French. That led to huge dances and celebrations all over the country. I was at one of them. For some reason King George ended up displeased and I was arrested. Crowds of people still came out to the exit to watch me take my exercise. I was thinking that one day they would decide to cut off my head at the end of all this. They were presumably letting things drag because nothing at all seemed to be changing.

At some point during the morning I dozed off for half an hour. I’ve clearly not recovered from Saturday night and my lack of sleep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, made with one of the peppers out of the freezer. And I cooked it in the air fryer on a low heat of 160°C for a total of 17 minutes, and that cooked it to perfection. It really was done to a turn.

And on the subject of things being cooked to perfection, my fruit buns were certainly delicious. It was an excellent batch that I made yesterday.

So tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson so I need to prepare for it. And the physiotherapist is coming round tomorrow afternoon too. I’m not sure what he’ll have to say about my leg and the little incident on Saturday morning, but with having had the nerve specialist contacting me again, it looks as if things are slowly moving forward.

it just makes me wish that I was.

Saturday 20th May 2023 – YOU CAN TELL …

… that it’s THAT time of the year again.

All the way back from the shops this morning, stuck behind two perishing motorhomes crawling along at 10 miles per hour admiring the scenery and occasionally coming to a dead stop. “Ohh look Petunia! A seagull!” all the way to the motor home camp site which, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is just 200 yards down the road from here on the way to the lighthouse.

So it won’t be long before Caliburn and I will be playing skittles with the hordes of tourists swarming across the road without even looking before they step off the edge of the pavement.

Anyway, that’s for later on in the season.

Right now I’m more interested in what happened today, and especially this morning when just as I was on the point of throwing the bedclothes off and raising myself from the dead, the alarm went off. So we’ll call than a honourable draw this morning.

There was some paperwork that needed doing first thing after my medication so I did that and then it was time for me to nip out to the shops. And I noticed the tenant in my new apartment cleaning the windows. Word has spread around quite quickly.

Noz came up with a few things, including a new non-stick pie tin to replace the old cheap metal ones that I had. It’s the same pattern design as the frying pan I bought the other week.

Matching frying pan and pie tin? Whatever next? I’ll be going for colour-co-ordinated curtains at this rate. They were having a “cat accessory” sale as well. After what I’ve been dreaming just recently, do you think that someone is trying to tell me something?

At Leclerc I hardly spend anything. There wasn’t much that I needed apart from the fruit and some soya desserts that were in the clearance bin. And then I had to go across the road to post a letter to the property management company of this building.

Back here I had coffee and breakfast – more cheese on toast (it’s lovely being able to buy vegan cheese) – and then checked the dictaphone. I was in Caliburn at one point. We were driving somewhere through the countryside and came to what looked like a steep hill. I got out to push Caliburn up the hill but it wasn’t actually an uphill but a downhill. Caliburn roared away all on his own and I had to run after him. I ran for a couple of miles and came eventually to a bad bend. There was a Bova-bodied coach that Caliburn had hit. Several people in it were badly injured. There was shattered wood and a couple of other cars badly damaged all around there. My first thought was that I was really really sorry about all of this. I said it about 3 or 4 times. One guy on the coach who seemed to be uninjured said “I’ve bandaged some of the people over here as best as I can but there’s all that side down there. I felt really dreadful

And then I was with, of all people, that strange Burmese girl whom I met in Brussels. We were in Egypt and I had to go to Cairo to pick up a hire car but I was the wrong side of the Nile. I met some friends of mine – it might have been my friends from the Wirral in fact – and we were chatting. Then I thought “God! I’m going to have to go”. I had a choice between saying goodbye to the Burmese girl or to a cat and strangely I chose the cat. I picked up the cat and stroked it. everyone else in the area came round and started to stroke it. In the meantime the Burmese girl was hiding in a little recess somewhere. She wouldn’t come out and her mother was scolding her for this and that. In the end she asked me when I was coming back. I said a date and she said “I’ll make sure that she’s here to see you”. I thought that that was strange but anyway that was what we arranged. I had to set off to walk to Cairo. They rang me up from the hire company and said that they’d dropped off the car somewhere. I thought “I now have to go to walk and pick up this car and come all the way back and load it. Why couldn’t they have dropped it off at the hotel where I could simply have loaded the car and gone?”. I set off and met the husband from the Wirral. The vehicle that they had for me was one of these big American semi-trailer rigs, just the cab unit. I thought “this is enormous”. Alvin got out and said that it’s a 5-speed and started to give me a whole run-down but I couldn’t hear a word that he said. He wandered off and the Burmese girl and I climbed in – what she was doing there with me – she said something like “wouldn’t it have been a better idea to have arranged this vehicle differently?”. I was beginning to think that driving something big like this through the streets of Cairo she was probably right. I wish that I’d done it differently now but it’s too late. She was nervous and asked “shouldn’t we have this vehicle towed?”. I said that if anyone is going to do any towing it’s going to be this. This is the correct vehicle to do that. We set off anyway and I suddenly realised that I didn’t know whether this was a petrol or diesel engine. What’s going to happen now when I come to fuel up?

I stepped back into this dream later on and she was wandering around a supermarket looking for some hamburger buns so she could make hamburgers for tea.

And then she was there again a third time. The two of us were actually at a rifle range at a fairground, in a booth, a sort-of shooting gallery. The guy in control of the place was behaving rather strangely so we were keeping some kind of eye on him at the same time that we were shooting to find out what was going on.

Finally, we were talking about history later and Pliny the Younger whose eye-witness accounts of things like the eruption at Pompeii in which his father was killed was the basis of a lot of modern history.

It’s strange though, thinking about that Burmese girl turning up in the middle of the night. What brought her into the proceedings?

In fact, it was pretty strange all round. About 20 or so years ago (I was still working and had the armoured Opel Omega) she sent me an e-mail. “I’m a Burmese illegal and I need help. I think you can help me”.

What help I would be to a young desperate girl is anyone’s guess, and how did she find my e-mail address?.

That’s the kind of thing that piques my interest and has brought me more than my fair share of trouble in the past, as events in the High Arctic will demonstrate, but anyway, I must know more about this.

We met and I took her for a drive and then a walk, taking all of the usual precautions. She regaled me about how she’d fled Myanmar through the jungle swamps and into Thailand and stowed away on an aeroplane – you know, the usual story.

But while she was telling me this I was looking her over. Perfectly manicured hands and skin, designer denim jacket and jeans – someone who’s fled through the jungle and stowed away on an aeroplane? If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck and that’s all there is to it.

So I was wondering where all of this was going to go, so seeing as we were close to Valentine’s Day I sent her a bunch or red roses a couple of days later to try to draw her out but I don’t think that she was born yesterday because she cottoned on to my game, I reckon. After she’d tried to up the ante with a story about how she “really did have a passport” and I still didn’t take the bait, it petered out.

There have been a few bizarre encounters in my life, and that was certainly one of them. And I wasn’t on a ship remixing a Colosseum live concert either. I must have been losing my touch.

For the rest of the day I haven’t done very much. Just a leisurely ramble around here and there, and I had the guitars out for a while a well.

For tea there were no chips because the potatoes aren’t big enough. So I cubed them and fried them and they were just as good with a salad and some of those small breaded quornburgers. There’s still a few left before I start on the big ones, but the freezer is now emptying quite quickly and I’ll have to start another marathon baking session soon.

Hence the new pie dish.

So before I go to bed I’ll dictate some radio notes. That will give me something to do tomorrow and at least make sure that i’ve actually achieved something this weekend. High time I did some work.

Monday 5th September 2022 – YOU WON’T FIND …

victor hugo baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Victor Hugo in port this afternoon.

While I was out taking my little (and I DO mean “little”) walk outside this afternoon I noticed her out in the bay going “Full Speed Ahead”.

She’s not on a scheduled sailing to Jersey today – I’m sure of that. And so I checked on the radar later on this evening. She’s actually moored in Cherbourg even as we speak so and as her next trip out isn’t for another week or so, I imagine that she’ll be staying there until then.

Having been keeping an eye on her for the last year or so, I reckon that she’s travelled further “light” to Cherbourg and back than she has travelled with fare-paying passengers.

And last night I travelled quite some distance too. Not as far as one or two just recently but certainly a lot farther than on many other nights.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I didn’t feel anything at all like leaving my bed but needs must when the devil drives and I did beat the second alarm although I don’t know how.

After the medication I came back in here to make a start with the radio programme.

It took me until almost 11:30 to complete it today and that’s a really long time. But then there are several good reasons for that.

  1. There was an early break for a coffee
  2. As predicted, the nurse came around to give me the injection that I should have had yesterday
  3. Liz told me that a couple of her grandchildren had started school today and she sent me some photos, so we had a little chat
  4. There was a hole that I had missed in one of the tracks that I’d chosen so I had to hunt down another copy, only to find that that had a hole in exactly the same place

There were probably a couple of other reasons too that I can’t now remember. All in all, I don’t suppose that it was too bad.

But as you might expect, the nurse turned up right at an “inappropriate” moment and I had to make him wait for a couple of minutes until I’d finished … errr … whatever it was that I was doing.

While I was listening to the one that I’d prepared and the one that I’ll be sending off, I was making a late breakfast. The last of the baguette that I bought on Saturday and the last of the vegan cheese that I found in the fridge the other day, washed down with hot, strong coffee.

This afternoon I’ve had plenty to do such as organising the directories that are still out of order and then dealing with a query relating to a Ukrainian refugee living in Paris. I don’t know how I manage to involve myself in things like this.

Eventually I managed to set off outside for my afternoon walk but at the front door I was buttonholed by a neighbour (yes again) where I had a conversation for about 15 minutes.

Not that I’m complaining too much though because it’s just because I was held up that I saw Victor Hugo head out into the bay. Had I gone out at the normal time I would have missed it.

fisherman people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so I staggered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

There weren’t all that many people down on the beach this afternoon. Almost every holidaymaker has now returned home, even the British ones, and so it’s really only the locals and the pensioners in their mobile homes who are out there now.

But to my surprise, there was someone down there fishing from the rocks on the beach. I can’t recall having seen anyone fishing from there before.

But he wont be there long, given the speed at which the tide comes in.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As usual, while I was up here looking around, I was looking around out at sea as well.

As well as seeing Victor Hugo out there heading away towards Cherbourg, there were also plenty of yachts out and about in the bay.

They were quite a long way out as well, right by the marker light that signals the rocks at the extreme end of the Ile de Chausey and the chain of rocks.

There were no fishing boats in sight this afternoon though. And it was such a clear day that had they been there, i’m sure that I would have seen them

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the weather being so nice, the views out to sea were quite clear.

The Ile de Chausey was looking quite nice too. We could see it quite clearly this afternoon although the weather wasn’t quite bright enough to see the whites of the cottages. Only the surfaces facing the afternoon sun were able to pick up the sunlight.

There was a yacht out there too, out there round about where a couple of years ago we had that famous incident of the rubber boat ramming the one that had stopped at his mooring place.

It’s a shame that we don’t have any more incidents like that where I can see them

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was something else out there moving around just offshore from the Ile de Chausey.

At this kind of distance I couldn’t see what it was so I took a photo and, back here at the apartment I enlarged and enhanced it in order to see if I could identify it.

And as it happens, I can see that it’s one of the ferries that run between here and the island. It doesn’t look like Belle France, the new one, though. It is therefore one of the Joly France boats but I cant even begin to tell you which one it might be.

le loup yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022From here I wandered off at a snail’s pace back across the car park and down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

We’d seen a few yachts out on the other side but over here there were even more of them. A couple of the sailing schools were out in the bay this afternoon and I caught one of the schools going out and doing a lap around Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour.

They had a couple of zodiacs swarming around them too making sure that they stay in a straight line and don’t stray too far off course.

And here I was a week or two ago saying how I’d be out there with them one day, but not much channce of that right now.

arranging fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Victor Hugo wasn’t in the inner harbour, but there was plenty of other activity going on.

Over there on the quayside there’s someone who has stretched out what looks like a new fishing net and there’s plenty of other activity going on with fishing equipment in the background too.

Back here I had a drink of ginger beer that I’d bought on Saturday. It reminded me of the story of the time that a couple of Scotsmen stepped off a ‘plane at Toronto airport.
“What is the purpose of your visit?” asked the immigration officer.
“We saw that advert ‘Drink Canada Dry’ and here we are” they replied.

later on I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. There was an invasion planned for the Ile de Chausey by environmentalists who were opposed to the rearing and eating of turkeys on the island. This was investigated and it turned out that there were 4 different groups of people with 4 different aims in view who were going to have some part of what was going on. The interesting part about it was that the newspapers responded in a very aggressive way, telling people that if they don’t like it, to go and live somewhere else, generally being quite aggressive to the demonstrators even though they hadn’t actually started the invasion yet.

I was there in my apartment with Percy Penguin. We were living together. My friends from the Wirral came round and I was going to cook them a meal. We started to chat and I asked the woman how she was. She replied “ask my husband first” so I asked him. He said that he was feeling a little under the weather suffering from this and that, usual age ailments. I then asked the wife how she was. There were some tree roots that I’d noticed growing across my lawn so I was there pulling these roots up, like this willow that we used to have in the Auvergne. These roots would go for miles so I was busy pulling them up. I asked the wife how she was. She began to come out with a long complicated story while I was pulling on this stuff. Halfway through she broke off and went to do something that she’d forgotten which left just me and Percy Penguin. Her husband had gone as well. I wondered how they would finish it. What would happen next?

Yes, with all of the boats that I’ve had from my palodeon years and they were entitled to stay. If the couple from the Wirral were becoming annoyed with me about the food it was they who were going, not the bikes. We walked through the town. It was a sunny day towards the beach that afternoon. All of a sudden I lost them. I caught up with them later again outside this working shop. They had stupidly allowed something to be performed and had come to a rest in full view of me. I wasn’t sure how this shock was going to help everyone particularly those in the bushes who were hiding. I realise that this makes no sense at all and I’m sure that I haven’t transcribed it correctly, but nevertheless it’s a really confusing story.

Later on I was with Nerina and that Les whom we knew. We were in Gresty. Something had happened and we’d changed some of the wiring on the Cortina, the red Cortina estate with some wires off his car. I’d wired it up and had it running. he had loads of problems doing his and we were running hours late. he seemed to be taking all day to do a simple job which was very frustrating. In the end he finished it. Both cars started. He looked at mine and said that I had the wiring wrong (as if I’d have the wiring wrong on a Cortina). Eventually I had to correct it and it ran OK. From there I started to push a wheelbarrow down Gresty Lane. I had Nerina and Roxanne with me. Roxanne kept on saying that this was her motorbike transport but it was just so heavy and awkward to push, this wheelbarrow. I’d never had a wheelbarrow quite like this. Every step became agony after a while. I was glad when we stopped somewhere half-way. We went in and this was where Roxanne and Nerina had tea. The place was really untidy. There were plates and half-eaten sandwiches everywhere. I really fancied a coffee at this moment but no-one seemed to be thinking about making one for me.

Finally I was queueing to enter the USA. I’d arrived on my ‘plane, joined the queue at Passport Control. The last time that I’d been here it was quite chaotic at Passport Control with queues everywhere all over the place but this time they seemed to be much more efficient. They had it organised much better. I was sitting at the front of the queue only to find that i’ve forgotten to fill in my form. The young guy there chuntered a little but I filled it in. We had a little chat and I told him to have a nice day. He looked at me and said thank you so I thought “thanks to all them at immigration control.
“So here I am
With my immigration form
Big enough to keep me warm
When the cold wind’s blowing.”

Tea was one of the best stuffed peppers that I’ve ever made. I enjoyed eating that one very much and the leftover stuffing for the taco roll tomorrow will be wicked after marinading for 24 hours.

But that’s tomorrow. I’m off to bed right now hoping for a good sleep and some pleasant travels with charming companions.

It’s nice to see Percy Penguin again anyway. She doesn’t figure in my voyages half as much as she deserves.

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

peccavi carteret trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… various photos of various sea-going craft that were out and about on the water this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my somewhat depressing day today.

It couldn’t have got off to a worse start this morning. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I leant out of bed and switched it off. And the next thing that I remember was when it went off again at 08:00.

Although I didn’t go back to sleep at that point, it was … errr … somewhat later when I finally arose from the dead.

After I had taken my medication I came back in here to sit on my chair where I … errr … fell asleep again for 20 minutes.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, I awoke in time to prepare for my Welsh lesson today but there was actually no need because we didn’t finish the first lesson last week and we only just about reached the end of it today.

That’s because we spent much more time talking in this lesson and after my weekend course I was feeling much more confident about things. As a result the lesson passed quite well, to my surprise.

There was lunch as well and it seems that I might have miscalculated the bread issue. Even if there’s enough bread left for tomorrow, there won’t be enough for sandwiches on my journey tomorrow and I don’t want to take the bread out of the freezer just for a couple of slices.

What I’ll have to do is to make other plans for lunch on my travels.

ch933900 carteret jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch, having fought off yet more sleep, I had a listen to where I’d been during the night.

I was a famous footballer in the days before I was famous and I’d fixed a car for one of my clubmates, a white 2000E with a black vinyl roof. I had it running really well and everyone came to see it. They stood there and listened to it. Someone noticed the ice in the radiator. I explained that it had only just gone in and it would melt but they all started making fun of this ice that was in there. Just then I was violently sick. This went on for 3 or 4 minutes that I was violently sick. Someone else who had a white 2000E came up, a footballer, and said “come with me. We’re going to the chemist. Apparently it was something to do with what I was eating. It was good for sport and energy but not for my general health. Someone went to fetch his car and beckoned to me get in it but I noticed that one of his rear lights was not working.

belle france joly france black pearl peccavi charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was then with a group of people last night in a house somewhere. One person was having trouble with his car so he set off and we followed him. He went down a hill, you could hear his car misfiring from here, and reached the bottom, pulled off and went round the roundabout underneath. It was obvious that he was still having problems. His car managed to go round the roundabout but he ended up in the wrong gear and tried to come back. He was struggling up the hill and an ancient Austin 7 went past. By the time we returned to the house the guy in the Austin 7 had checked the car over, adjusted the points and was giving him a few other suggestions about how he could improve the performance on his car like put a shaft in to connect the gear lever up to the flywheel, one or two other little things like that. They’d made a meal for me but first when I came in the offered me a cup of tea but I asked “what about everyone else for a cup of tea?”. I went to pour some tea for everyone and have mine with my meal in a couple of minutes.

omerta calean chant de sirenes trafalgar pierre de jade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I’d been to see people like those whom I knew from the Wirral and the like. We’d been talking about all meeting up in the States sometime at the end of the summer. Gradually there were just me and one of them left. We were on a petrol station. He was on his Harley Davidson, a gold one. I said goodbye to him and “see you in a couple of months”. He said “what?”. He’d plainly forgotten about this trip about which we’d been talking. I knew really that it wasn’t going to happen so I just thought that I’d mention the trip but without any real hope that it would actually come off. We were looking at all these electric motorcycles including tiny little 33cc ones. I was estimating how much time it would take me to return home on one of those, not because it could travel quickly but obviously it was so uncomfortable that you could never have a comfortable ride on a motorcycle so small as this. We had a look at the 50cc and 75cc ones but they didn’t seem to be all that much better. I set off home and as I walked out of this garage there was a blind spot for the security cameras where I could easily have picked up one of these motorbikes and walked off with it but I decided against it. I set off to walk home, interested to see how many hours it would take me so that I could compare it at some other time with one of these small motorbikes. I didn’t think that it would be any quicker because although you could move quicker, you’d need to spend more time recovering from the uncomfortable position.

Finally I’d been to see Morton playing but they’d been playing somewhere like Hamilton or Motherwell. I walked out of the ground down to the old A74 because the motorway hadn’t been built yet. I started to hitch a lift but there was no-one stopping for me to go home and I ended up in Stirling (don’t ask me how), walking through the town centre of Stirling at night. I thought that I’d better buy a few things to keep me going for the journey because it was a long way. I ended up talking to Louise, discussing changing part of a car. I showed her how to work a power bar backwards so that you didn’t have as long a swing but you could get more power on it. I was still a long way from home and working out how many hours it would take me to actually walk. I arrived at a figure of something like 80 hours if I didn’t have a lift.

person sitting on rock rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022That took me up to the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, my first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there.

And there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon but there were rocks a-plenty and there was someone sitting down there like Piffy on … errr … a rock, acting as if she owned it.

There was quite a bit of mist out at sea again but as you have seen, there was plenty of maritime traffic today as well, with all of the fishing boats heading back to port this afternoon.

repointing medieval city walls place du marche au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However my mind was elsewhere this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach, I could also see that there was plenty of activity going on this afternoon on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

There were several people scrambling over the scaffolding, doing some pointing on the wall over there. And there’s plenty of it that needs to be done as well, but over the last couple of weeks since they seem to have made rapid progress.

They may well not be there for much longer, but then again I have said things like that before and been confounded.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing is sure though, and that it that they may well not be there for much longer this afternoon.

Over at the Ile de Chausey is one of the most wicked storms that I’ve seen for quite a while and while, for a change, the wind isn’t all that strong, it won’t be too long before it’s upon us.

That’s really the cue for me to get a move on. I’ve no idea how long it’ll take for the storm to arrive but I don’t want to be caught out and about in it.

But at least I won’t be alone because there were several other people out and about. But I bet that they won’t be out and about for long.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, there will be several people who will end up being taken by surprise by the rainstorm, if it does actually arrive.

Down here on the bench by the cabanon vauban, you can’t see over the top of the cliff and beyond the lighthouse and so the couple sitting down here won’t have any idea of what’s lurking out at sea. And it’s not exactly a place from where you can run easily, with all of the steps and the muddy path.

But then I suppose that they can always shelter inside the cabanon if necessary.

Leaving them to it, I headed off down the path on top of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen all of the fishing boats lined up waiting, either to unload at the fish processing plant or for the gates to the inner harbour to open.

But I was more intrigued to see what was happening with Chausiaise. She’s currently moored at the pontoon where many of the fishing boats tie up so they aren’t going to be too pleased to see her there.

And she has her crane extended too so there’s something going on with her right now.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then made another start on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Right now we’re anchored off Devon Island and I’m stuck – there’s a hill there by the old RCMP post at Dundas Harbour where there’s a memorial monument. And I know the name of this hill – it’s named after a sailor on Belcher’s expdition of 1852 but can I think of his name?

To try to think, I had a good spell on the guitar but it didn’t work and even now, as I’m about to go to bed I still can’t think of his name.

Tea was a left-over curry which was delicious and then I came in here to write up my notes. And I had an interruption as well. I seem to be in great demand just recently and I don’t understand why because it’s not the usual state of affairs as far as I am concerned.

But all of that is for another time. I’m going to have a quiet play on the guitar and then I’m off to bed. I have the doctor in the morning and the physiotherapist in the afternoon. And then on Thursday I’m off on my travels again.

There’s no holding me back right now.

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… be a new world record even for these days, the new bike shed didn’t last very long.

Not even 15 hours, because when I came home from the doctor’s this morning, the guy who was there yesterday installing it had returned and was now busy dismantling … “disPERSONing” – ed … it again.

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

It’s not as if building a bike shed is rocket science so there’s no reason why he would need to take it apart again. But all that I can say is that I’m glad that I didn’t take my bike out of the back of Caliburn last night and park it in there.

There has been other news too today, and this news is equally depressing. At 12:00 midday all over France they tested the nuclear alert sirens, not that there’s anywhere these days to hide if there’s a nuclear attack.

We are living in interesting times.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So while you admire some photos of the fête foraine, the funfair, let me tell you about where I went during the night.

I was out on the Wirral peninsula last night. I’d been there before and I’d seen all of these kids coming out of school. There was a bus stop by three different schools, judging by the uniforms. I’d seen some kinds in another street, a residential suburban street and I wondered where on earth it might have been. I was looking for the house of a girl I know and her brother. I was wandering around and I only had the street name but I didn’t have the number or the ‘phone number and I didn’t even know exactly where it was so I had to find it on the map on my phone or something. I was walking around and suddenly came across a place in a street that went from north-east to south-west where I might have seen these children congregating but on a closer look it wasn’t actually the same place but pretty similar. Then I bumped into a little boy and a little girl. They were extremely talkative. They asked me what I was doing so I said that I was looking for this street that might have been called Allison Avenue, something like that, She said “oh, that lot of streets” as if she knew where it was. She said “why don’t you go to the end of the street here and look left? You can see all the way down the road to Liverpool from here”. I thought “maybe if I had time, I might but I don’t know where I have to go yet”. I started to quiz this girl but just then 2 other people came past and started to ask her something and she was talking to them. I was holding this girl’s arm by this time and I started to stroke it basically to keep her attention focused on me while she was talking to these 2 people.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And later I was at a football match last night, watching a game sitting in the stand quite quietly. The ground was pretty full and these 2 boys were sitting next to me and started to crowd over onto my seat. They asked me if I was enjoying the game etc. The one in the middle asked “who was the hardest? me or his friend?”. I eplied that I don’t know his friend so I can’t really say. Then a fight erupted between the three of us and it was all extremely depressing kind of thing.

And then I was in my Opel Senator last night, using it as a taxi. I was parked up somewhere in Brussels and some guy who had at one time been a regular passenger in my taxi turned up. He said “we want to borrow your taxi for a moment to have” and about 10 of his friends stormed into it. They wouldn’t leave when I told them to so I went to ‘phone the police but my ‘phone kept on playing up – I couldn’t remember the password or the password was wrong or the ‘phone screen wasn’t working, all kinds of things like this. No matter what I tried I couldn’t make these people leave my car.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Finally, I’d been out with some of my family again. I’d been out on a motorbike but I had my beige Cortina YLO with me. I was in an awful hurry to leave but they were loitering around. I was sitting there drumming my fingers on the table but my motorbike by now I’d actually coupled it up to the Cortina with a A-frame and so I set off on the motorbike pulling the car from Shavington. When I looked behind, the family was following me so I went quite quickly through the S-bends in Gresty, putting the motorbike well down to go round these bends towing the Cortina. I could hear tham say that I must be crazy or something. I arrived in Crewe and ended up in a subway somewhere. I had to cycle (because it was now a bike, that of Marianne’s that I was on) up the hill to the street-level but the gearing was all wrong on this bike. I couldn’t make it up the slope. No matter how fast I pedalled, it wasn’t advancing any. I had to roll back to the bottom of the slope on this bike pulling this car and then play with the gear arrangements on this bike in order to find the correct gear that would see me, the bike and the car back up the hill again and onto the street level so that we could continue.

But as you can see, it wasn’t a very pleasant night last night and in some respects I was glad when I awoke. That was actually quite early and I was out of bed as soon as the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I went off to have a shower and a good clean-up ready to go to the doctor’s.

loading joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, I stopped to check the NIKON 1 J5.

Over at the ferry terminal was one of the Joly France boats, the older one of the two. And they were loading her up with stuff, judging my the crane with its hook dangling down into the forward hold of the boat.

It’s not exactly the best day of the year for a run out to the Ile de Chausey. It’s quite cool and windy and I’m well-wrapped up for a change.

lysandre les bouchots de chausey la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was there at the viewpoint I noticed that there was plenty of activity going on down at the fish processing plant.

No prizes for spotting La Grande Ancre. Her silhouette is quite unique and you’ll be able to spot her anywhere.

Whoever is behind her I don’t know, but in front of her is Les Bouchots de Chausey unloading its catch onto the tractor and trailer that takes it away.

And just puling away from the quayside is Lysandre, the St Malo-registered shell-fishing boat that comes into port here every now and again.

marite thora belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s quite a lot of activity going on at the quayside in the inner harbour too.

Marité is there of course, but in front of her is Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters that run a regular service over here. Before she came to Jersey, she was a car ferry out in the Shetland Islands.

The other Joly France boat is down there in the foreground, tied up to Belle France. And if I’m not mistaken, Chausiaise is moored up on the other side of her. They can’t have much on today.

At the doctors he gave me my prescription for the Aranesp that pumps me up ready for when I go to Leuven, and also a prescription for an X-Ray on my knee. I’m not sure if I mentioned that the physiotherapist is of the opinion that there has been no improvement to my knee despite 6 months of effort.

“That’s not normal” she had told me, and that’s no surprise because neither am I.

Ther does however seem to have been some kind of communication between him and the hospital, because he also mentioned that counselling is a good idea for me. So God help the person who draws the short straw and has to probe the depths of my subconscious mind.

He has however given me some tablets to take before I go to bed. I’ll try them to see how they go but if it interrupts my nocturnal rambles I shall stop. Quite frankly, what goes on with me during the night is about the only excitement that I have these days.

Plenty of excitement at the chemists though when I took the prescription there. Some French woman was complaining about this that wasn’t right in France and that wasn’t right in France, so I asked her if she would like to swap her French nationality for my British nationality.

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back up the hill I noticed to my surprise that Tiberiade was not out of the chantier naval.

It doesn’t look though as if she’s had a complete repaint. There are still plenty of patches of wear on her hull. She doesn’t have her nets on board though either, so she’s not completely ready to go back out to sea.

As for me, I was more than completely ready for my morning coffee and slice of coffee cake. I’d made it all the way up the hill without stopping for breath and I was pretty exhausted. None of these health issues are doing me any good, but you knew that anyway.

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Goinf past the bike shed I noticed that the guy had gone and taken all of the innards with him.

All I can say is that that didn’t last very long, did it?

Back here I had a coffee and my cake and then attacked the dictaphone notes. As I said earlier, it wasn’t a very happy night by all accounts

After lunch, I was back out again. This time to the physiotherapist. She’s back from her holiday and it’s her birthday today too.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Once more, I stopped at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury to check the camera again.

Right out at the entrance to the harbour there were some people out there wandering around as if they were engaged in the peche à pied.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with all of the stuff that is probably dropped and churned up by the boats that come in and out of the harbour, that’s the last place that I would look for shellfish.

By the time that I arrived at the physiotherapist’s, I was melting. It had warmed up dramatically and I was in my winter coat. But anyway she used a machine to massage my knee and then to finish off she had me doing a few exercises.

vegan cheese vegan dessert lidl Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After I left the physio I went round to LIDL to pick up a few bits and pieces. With going to Leuven next week I’m not shopping on Saturday.

And here’s an astonishing thing that I haven’t noticed before. Vegan cheese slices – and “English” (presumably Red Leicester) too.

Of course I’ve no idea what they might be like but the vegan deserts aren’t as good as they might be so I’m not too optimistic. However, if no-one buys the stuff they won’t stock any more vegan food so they need some kind of encouragement.

If it melts, it might be good for cheese on toast and there’s only one way to find that out, isn’t there?

new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I had a look again at the new building that was going on at the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They don’t seem to have made a great deal of progress since we saw them last, but the road must be closed for some good purpose that isn’t easily apparent.

At the bottom of the hill is the funfair – the fête foraine – so I went for a wander around there for 10 minutes. It’s not as good as it might be when it’s all lit up but I’m already on 105% of my daily activity and I’m not going out again in the dark.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back here at the building I can’t go inside until I’ve seen what’s happening down on the beach.

By the time that I came back I was rather later than usual but there was still some beach to be on and there were a few people down there actually on it. They were probably enjoying the warm weather.

Back in here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. We’re doing a series of programmes on the Ukraine and I spent an hour or so tracking down some Ukrainian rock groups. One of them burst into the limelight thanks to an appearance that they made at a concert in Lviv and I actually managed to track down the concert too

Now I shall have to brush up my Russian because this concert was in pre-independence days and it’s 30 years since my last trip to Eastern Europe.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I used to work for a coach company that won a contract to take tourists behind the Iron Curtain. As I fancied the job as driver, I found a local woman who spoke Russian and she taught me the basics, most of which I have forgotten.

While I was at it I also came across a friend of a friend of a friend who has a daughter in the Ukraine and I’ve been trying to set up an interview for the radio. But that’s not easy, as you can imagine.

Another thing that I did was to bash out a few more photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Where has this energy come from?

Tea tonight was a potato and mushroom curry, and then I came back in here to write up my notes – and to make a long ‘phone call to Florida. My network of contacts stretches throughout the world and it’s just as well, with all of this going on.

Friday 11th February 2022 – THAT WAS A …

… horrible night last night.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I went to bed fairly early hoping to have a really good sleep. However at about 23:00 a party started up in one of the University houses at the back here.

At at 04:30 they were still at it and I hadn’t had a moment of sleep.

Eventually I must have dropped off because when I awoke, at 09:35, there were four files on the dictaphone. I was with my youngest sister last night. To my surprise we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend. We were on a bus doing a lap around a football ground so that we could watch the game but it was almost impossible to see it no matter where I moved to or where I sat or where I went. I tried to sit in all kinds of places. On one occasion I saw the goalkeeper catch the ball but it was behind the line so I indicated that it was a goal. He thought that the ball had come through the side netting into his hands. it was very much a one-sided match. That American guy Lamela was playing and someone said “look what they would have missed had he gone to Celtic”. Eventually the bus stopped because it was half-time. I hoped to find a better seat when everyone had got off. Then I noticed that just round the corner was a petrol station so I said to her “do you want to come along and have a coffee? See if they have a coffee there”. She was searching through her money – she had plenty there, all £10 notes. In the end off we went. She wasn’t very talkative and I had the impression that she wasn’t very happy. We went past a fish and chip shop so I said “would you like a bag of chips as well?” but it turned out to be a place that made venetian blinds. There was something going on about fires at football grounds and they were talking about Airdrie that had been burnt to a cinder and several other grounds where they had had fires, how at Dundee they’d had a big fire but it wasn’t the case at all of an opportunist suspicious fire because the chairman was young, keen and energetic and it had taken him years to rebuild his fortune after the fire even if the club had been refused planning permission to re-erect a stand and how many of their supporters had died in the fire. As they were explaining, my sister asked “how long do we have?”. I replied “normally 15 minutes”. I wondered how much of that time had already passed so I said “as long as it takes if we grab a coffee and are quick back”.

By now I was with Zero and the two of us were at some kind of water park or adventure park. What I’d heard was that they were going to freeze over a waterfall or part of it so that we could go skiing on it. I contacted my friends from the Wirral to see if they wanted to come. Sure enough, they turned up so I went to meet them while Zero was visiting this waterfall walking exercise. She was obviously having a whale of a time. They turned up but for some reason they weren’t very happy at all. My friend’s wife wandered off on her own and he hung around for a minute and then asked “do you want to have a beer or something and I have to go back to the car or something” and walked off in order to get a panda. Zero was enjoying herself but this was coming to an end and they were going to freeze over the waterfall so I had to find the wife. I walked all the way up this slope but I couldn’t see her. I bumped into a few people whom I knew and told them what was happening. They said “surely your friends will turn up to go skiing”. I said “no, they are coming up now”. I walked all the way up the hill but couldn’t find her at all. She had disappeared. Someone said “she’s just walked past at the end of the water wheel” so I decided to turn round and walk back to see if she was there. In the meantime all the kids came off this lake-walking thing so I thought that I’d better go and find Zero otherwise she’ll be the next person who is going to be lost.

I stepped right back into this dream again. The husband turned up and the discussion went on about porridge for breakfast. I offered him some porridge but he thought that it wasn’t porridge but something else. I was absolutely certain that it was porridge and I couldn’t understand why it was that he was saying something different

There had been some kind of incident on Moathouse Drive in Crewe. Someone had been arrested for it and I had to go along and give evidence. I was there making my statement and the person was brought in behind me to make their statement and it was my little Inuit friend from Uummannaq. While she made her statement I waited for her. I had a look round while I was waiting and came across a map of the High Arctic islands in Nunavut. When she finished giving her evidence I said that I’d take her home. I knew where she lived. I showed her this map, explaining to her about the Inuit in Canada and the outlying islands and she was extremely interested. She had some kind of pet like a mongoose or a weasel, something like that, and it was running around inside this room. I had to catch it and that wasn’t easy. It was a persistent animal. In the end I caught it and we both set off. Somehow I ended up back at my house alone with this animal. I let it loose inside my house, my house in Winsford. I’m not quite sure how it happened after that but with me having an empty room in my house and my brother living in all kinds of strange circumstances I ought to invite him to come and stay but it didn’t quite work out like that and I can’t remember how it finished.

After the medication I spent much of the day working on the remaining music for the next batch of radio programmes. All five of them are now prepared and there’s some good music in there.

There were several breaks of course, Breakfast, lunch, and then a couple of chats with Liz and Alison.

Later on I went for a walk around the town to stretch my legs.

dismantling market stall herbert hooverplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022My route took me down the Teinsestraat and into the Herbert Hooverplein.

It’s market day this morning and the square, and the adjacent Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein are swamped with stalls, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen in the past but at the start of the afternoon they begin to pack everything up.

When I arrived this afternoon I was just in time to see the last couple of stalls being dismantled.

At FNAC there was nothing there that interested me. I had half a mind to buy a new voice recorder to replace my old Sony but they didn’t have anything at all.

With nothing that I needed to buy particularly, I didn’t go into ay other shop but instead headed across town to Origin’o, the vegan shop, for some more grated cheese, some vegan sausages and a dessert for Saturday night’s tea

rebuilding medieval city walls handbooghof leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back into town I came back via the Handbooghof to have a look at the repairs to the city walls around there

There isn’t actually very much to see because of the high fence that they have built around it. Apart from the decoration on the fence, we can make out something of what they have been doing and the different types of brick and stone that have been used.

Sourcing the material to rebuild it can’t have been easy though because I imagine that like most similar places, the walls will have been used as a quarry during the expansion of the town in the past.

At Delhaize there was a disaster. They had run out of the banana-flavoured soya drink that I love. I’ve had to make do with chocolate but it really isn’t the same.

Back here I crashed out for an hour or so, even before I had time to make myself a coffee. I’m not coping too well with things at the moment and the bad night just about finished me off.

So now that I’ve had tea I’m off for a very early night. Grab a few hours sleep before the party starts up again tonight.

Wednesday 10th November 2021 – MARITÉ IS BACK …

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… in port after her little adventure filming whatever it was that she had been filming during the week.

She crept back in on the morning tide and is now happily moored back in her habitual berth and the trawler Saint Gaud has cleared off elsewhere.

Caliburn is back too, but not for very long. The examiner at the Controle Technique didn’t like the crack in the windscreen that’s been there for five years and through four previous controles technique without so much as a mention.

He also needs his headlights polishing too so I’ll go out there with some toothpaste and an old toothbrush to deal with that one day later in the week.

And if I don’t have a decent sleep some time soon I won’t be here for very long either. You can tell just how disturbed it was by the entries on the dictaphone. I started out on my way to Court last night to defend myself against a VAT assessment. I’ve no idea why except that it was something quite old and I hadn’t a clue what it was so I’d just taken a pile of pens and notepaper to write down notes. I found an empty bench and went to sit down and started to rehearse my case. The judge who was sitting at his desk told me not to rehearse my case at all so that confused me even more.

Later on I’d been tidying up a huge pile of papers that were all over the floor, books and everything. It was getting worse and worse the more that I tried to tidy up, everything like that. No matter how much I tried, there was more and more stuff to unpack. Then there was something to do with a couple of friends who came round. We ended up driving back towards Manchester. We were talking about music but the guy wasn’t really listening to what I was saying so I didn’t say very much. When we returned we measured my wall out and found that there were a couple of plssterboards that were too low and needed building up. I took one off the wall to give to him. The we started talking about do he and his wife want to come round for tea or maybe a meal or something and put back the plasterboard but they had to have a look at all the food supplies they had lying around, put it away and see what went into the fridge and let me know

Some time later there was a netball match being played last night. I was on one team. It was strange that everyone except one player was packed into the defensive circle of his own team so there was only me and one girl from the other team playing upfield. We were playing with balloons and I had the upper hand but every time I passed the ball over to the pack to try to get it into the hoop the balloon burst and they had to produce another one. Some balloons were better than others and we never seemed to be making any headway with this. It was all just playing this netball in this one particular area trying to get into the attacking semi-circle

Finally there had been a new road built from Nantwich so although Chester was posted straight on down Welsh Row, Tarporley was for some reason posted off to the right on this new road. A little later on there was a girl driving an Austin A40 in nantwich who was heading towards Tarporley. She decided to take this new road to find out why it didn’t go on down Welsh Row towards Tarporley. At some point she’d parked up her car and was having a huge row with someone. She said something like “my car’s far too new to abandon just like that and walked back to get in her car to carry on down this road. I was there because I was interested in taking photos of the signposts to find out exactly what was happening.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I cracked on with a pile of dictaphone notes from the backlog.

A few more days have been added to the updating and there’s another pile of notes ready to follow that lot tomorrow morning too. It kept me busy for for most of the morning and there’s only four days left to transcribe now.

They aren’t going to be done as quickly as I would like either because by now my turbulent phase was in full swing are there are mounds and mounds of stuff.

There were a couple of breaks in the middle of all of this.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Firstly, I’d almost run out of bread here. And I’d almost run out of yeast too so I had to go with what I had.

For a change I spent quite some time kneading and rolling my dough and it’s come out quite well again. I must remember this technique for the future.

It actually tasted quite nice too and it would have been even better had it had more yeast in it. But I think that the mixture could have benefited from a little more water in it.

The second interruption was the nurse. He couldn’t come on Monday so he came today instead and gave me my Aranesp injection and also my ‘flu injection.

Now i’m injected to the hilt and safe against every known disease, so i’ll probably be run down by a bus as well.

While I was waiting for the bread to cool down I went to take a shower. And my weight is slowly going down. I could make it go down even quicker but experience has shown me that the quicker it comes off, the quicker it goes back on.

omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having finished lunch I set the washing machine off and then set out for the physiotherapist, taking the NIKON 1 J5 with me.

L’Omerta was still moored up at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant, something that seems to be becoming a regular occurrence these days.

Strangely enough, I’d forgotten how to use the little camera and it took me a while to remember. It’s only been four months as well.

These days, my memory is becoming terrible. I keep on telling people that two things happen to you you when you reach my age.

  1. You forget absolutely everything that there is to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is


fishing boats victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was still finding my feet with the camera (I don’t ‘arf do some strange things) I noticed that the inner harbour was strangely deserted.

It seems as if all of the big trawlers and most of the little inshore fishing boats were out at sea this afternoon. There were just a few of the smaller inshore boats left behind – and L’Omerta of course.

But Victor Huge and Granville are still there too. A sad casualty of the Channel Islanders’ willingness to leap aboard the Brexit bandwagon despite the fact that, never having been in the EU, Brexit is nothing to do with them, has been the ferries that for a couple of centuries have been running between here and there.

One of the reasons why I came here was for the ferries – a good chance to exercise my sea-legs – but it’s turned out not to be.

pointing Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Last time that we came down the hill in the Rue des Juifs we saw them erecting a scaffolding to enable them to continue the repointing on the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret that they abandoned a while back.

By now it’s all up and they have actually started work. And it doesn’t look to me as if they are apprentices or work experience trainees either but proper time-served employees.

That’s a shame really because there are so many traditional crafts that are rapidly dying out with no-one to carry them on.

To promote this kind of thing amongst the young and the jobless is a really good way of building up a reservoir of skilled workmen and women with a trade that is a meaningful and valuable occupation.

woman speaking into microphone rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill, through the town centre and back up the hill on the other side to the physiotherapist..

It would have given me great pleasure (well, a lot of things would, actually) to have said that I went all the way without stopping but I did actually stop once in the Rue Couraye – just to take a photograph though, not to catch my breath.

The woman was standing on the side of the road with a professional microphone into which she was talking and which seemed to be connected to something in the rear of that car.

Whatever that was about, I have no idea.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises again because someone else was using the tilting platform. And right at the end she had me staning on something just 10cms wide, one foot behind the other while she threw balls at me to catch.
“your reflexes are really good” she said. Well, she didn’t. She actually said “vos reflèxes sont vachement bien”

It wasn’t for me to disillusion her by telling her that I spent much of my spare time in my teens and 20s as a goalkeeper and later as a wicket-keeper.

After she threw me out, then biting the bullet I headed off on foot to rescue Caliburn, stopping at Aldi on the way for a can of energy drink.

It’s all uphill to the garage – not very steep but long, long, long and it took it out of me but I made it there in the end.

Having paid the bill I went to collect Caliburn only to find that the battery was flat. One of the guys at the garage gave me a jump-start and so I went for a good long drive to put some juice back into the battery.

It was my intention to go to the shops for food but I didn’t fancy the idea of trying to have a jump start on a supermarket car park.

Back here I put the spare battery on charge just in case he won’t start tomorrow and then went to make a coffee. It was at that point that I realised that tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I hope that one of the supermarkets in town will be open tomorrow morning.

There were some mushrooms lying around looking sorry for themselves in the fridge so I made another delicious curry with them. These ad-hoc curries with whatever is lying around are turning out to be quite nice.

So now I’m off to bed, to see where else I might be going tonight. And, more to the point, and more importantly too, who’s going with me. I’ve been having a few interesting partners on my travels just now and it’s a shame that they aren’t here in real life.

Friday 17th September 2021 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S …

… exertions it was no surprise to anyone that I was in bed by 20:45. But the difficulty whenever I do that is that I’m usually awake quite early and so I never seem to take advantage of it.

But if anyone thinks that I’m going to be out of bed at 05:40 and doing things when there’s no alarm set, they are totally mistaken. Even 07:20 was rather early but there’s no point in staying in bed if I can’t go back to sleep

At 09:00 I nipped downstairs to the “Match” supermarket in the basement for my bread for lunch. And some drink too. I’ve already finished off the 1.5 litres of iced tea and 2 litres of banana-flavoured soya drink that I brought on Wednesday night.

Back up in my room I finished off my notes from yesterday and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was with a couple of friends and we were discussing, of all things, rape. The girl said something like “rapists should all go on strike and down tools”. I replied that if all rapists downed tools, there wouldn’t be any such thing as rape at all. And despite the gravity of the subject, I was pretty impressed that I could come out with a pun like that while I was asleep.
Later on there was an issue about a socket not working. I immediately reckoned that there was a bad joint somewhere and the first joint that I tested came apart when I pulled it I was with a guy whom I knew so I asked him if he would hold a lamp at the socket while I held the wires togeter to see if this was the bad joing in question but he refused. I had to run off and try to find a light with a plug that would fit in the socket and try it myself.
Even later Rosemary was asking me about the Battle of Rhedae. I knew that it had taken place on the outskirts of Clermont Ferrand (which it didn’t – I was thinking of the Battle of Gergovie) so I went to fetch my Michelin guide to the Puy de Dome and had a good search through but couldn’t find it in there, which was no surprise seeing as Rhedae, which is these days believed by many to the the town of Quillan, is in the Razès in South West France.

class 18 electric locomotives gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was busy working I was keeping an eye on what was going on outside down on the station.

At a certain moment a train from Oostende pulled into the station just as a train from Eupen and Welkenraedt pulled in on its way to Oostende.

But of them were powered by the typical Class 18 electric locomotives. The one from Eupen, furthes away from the camera, is being pulled by a locomotive whose number I can’t see, and the one from Oostende, closes to the camera, is being pushed by locomotive number 1819.

aeroplane going in to land brussels airport zaventem Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021What else I could see from my window were aeroplanes flying from right to left just above the horizon.

Way over to the left is the Brussels National Airport at Zaventem. All of these aeroplanes are on the flightpath going into land there and there were quite a few too. At one stage I counted one every three or four minutes.

When I lived in Schaerbeek back in the early 1990s my apartment looked out right across to the airport way out in the distance and the aeroplanes that came in to land were clearly visible at night with their landling lights illuminated. They would come into land right in line head-on to my apartment and the view was fantastic.

universitaire ziekenhuis Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that you could see from my window up here on the 5th floor was the Universitaire Ziekenhuis Leuven, the University Hospital of Leuven.

That’s the building, or buildings, I should maybe say, over there on the skyline on the right-hand side of the photo. And this photo will give you some idea of the size of the hospital. It’s one of the biggest in Europe, if not the World.

The thing that impressed me about this hospital is that while most hospitals give instructions zbout how to arrive there from the town centre, this hospital give directions from the airport.

It’s truly a cosmopolitan hospital and that’s what I want. Many hospitals and medical services are quite chauvinistic about their treatment, but not so the Belgians. They aren’t afraid to mention medical research that is being undergone in other countries.

class 21 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that I noticed pulling into the station was a rather elderly Class 21 locomotive.

These first came into service in the mid-80s, with 144 taking to the rails. There are Class 11s, Class 12s, Class 21s and Class 27s, with the latter being the most powerful and the former being the least powerful.

They were built by the Belgian BN/ACEC combine which is now no longer in business. And so since the Class 18s have arrived, these are gradually being withdrawn and dismantled as a source of spares for the big Class 27s.

Something else that came through the staion that I wasn’t quick enough to photograph, much to my regret was one of the new Bombardier-Alstom “M7” double deck multiple units that are currently on proving trials on the Belgian network. That would have been quite a thing.

With a nice quiet day I ought to have done so much more too but unfortunately much of the time was spent curled up on my bed having a little relax. No point in fighting it.

Later in the evening I caught a bus that took me out to Alison Wonderland, as her new home is called. She had some falafel left over from her barbecue so I cooked it while she went to the fritkot down the road for a bag of chips.

We had a nice meal and lengthy chat, and instead of singing for my supper I helped her move some heavy furniture around.

Once I’d recovered my strength Alison drove me home. I was totally exhaused and so with an early start tomorrow, instead of writing up my notes I crawled into bed and that was that.

Sunday 15th August 2021 – THE OTHER DAY …

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when discussing all of the boats that were out there on the water, I believe that I mentioned how I would love to be out there when the harbour gates are near closing, in order to witness the stampede as the boats all headed back for port.

And sure enough, this afternoon I had my wish, and a lot sooner than I was expecting as well. The tide is advancing quite rapidly and even though this is my usual time to be out, you can see the mad dash for home already.

Belle France is well up there in second place to that cabin cruiser in front, but on the outside there’s a speedboat coming incredibly quickly, making quite a wave as he does so.

boats heading for harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the pther side of the headland, things are much more advanced.

There are at least five and maybe even more small boats in the photo just here, all dashing for the port de plaisance while they still are able to do so.

Nobody would want to be stranded out in the bay during the night, especially if they have work to go to in the morning.

Not too many people out on the sea wall watching them though. I would have expected this to have been one of the best free entertainments going.

Last night I did without any kind of entertainment – free or otherwise – after the football. At the final whistle I staggered off to bed and that was that.

At 06:19 I was awake but if anyone thinks that I’ll be leaving my bed at that time of day on a Sunday they are mistaken. Even 09:10 is a bit optimistic. 10:40 is much more like it.

Ordinarily I would have said that that was a good sleep but there is tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I must have been quite disturbed (as if I’m not disturbed enough as it it).

I started off at the home of a couple of friends last night, doing a load of moving for them or something like that. I’d gone to her office room to talk to her but she was busy on the phone so I went into his office room kind of thing and he wasn’t there. I thought that I would wait for him to come back and I started listening to music and I thought “He has loads of LPs so I’m sure that he has loads of live cast-offs that would do for a live concert”. There was a box of strawberries and cream by the side of his computer and I was busy eating my way through those and scrolling through his Facebook screen. Suddenly I saw a message that he had sent me about Welsh Premier League football and I could see my reply under there. I thought that I’d better not be confused in this subject comes up again because I’ll be replying as someone else instead of me and reading my own replies. When they did come down they looked so young and it was very hard for me to believe that it was them. I couldn’t believe it. They were talking about everything, about how we don’t need to go out for a meal tonight but we can go for breakfast tomorrow somewhere. I said that my partner (and I couldn’t think of her name) was having to teach this afternoon but I’d been watching “Alfie” and this started off with some guys going to rob the home of a policewoman or something but the robbery had all gone wrong and several policemen in there and there had ended up being a gunfight and all these guys had gone to prison and been sent down for an enormous length of time. The Michael Caine character had to flee the country with his girlfriend and she was telling him all this bad news about everything else that was connected with this but still going wrong. He was pretty powerless where he was to actually do anything about it

This flat (and I wish that I knew which flat is was that I was discussing) is ideal for the kind of thing for a weekend retreat where you can come away from Paris on Friday and be here Friday night, and not have to go back until Sunday night and spend every weekend down by the sea.

A little later I was on my way to a football match and I arrived in Chester and was running late so I had to take a taxi. I went to the local rank but there were only little electric telephone box-type cars so I said to a guy standing near it “is that yours?”. Another guy immediately leapt out of a vehicle and asked “taxi?”. I replied “yes but just give me a minute to make a phone call. Is there a phone handy?”. I had a discount card that I needed to ring up to book. he showed me over to a phone but said “there’s still 12 minutes left on the meter. Where do you want to go? I said “Deva Road” so he replied “come on. We’ll get there before this runs out”. He ushered me into a red Rover V8 and drove me there. We had a bit of a laugh in the snow about how uneconomical his car was, everything. He said that it wasn’t that bad. As I got up the steps to the football ground, I did a bit of shopping and started to walk back. I didn’t go to the game at all if there had been one.

A group of travellers turned up in Palestine, amongst them a three year old boy that was donated by some parent in some emergency but when they got to Palestine they didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do so they built some kind of meeting centre or something like that to show at least that they weren’t going to waste any time.

Somewhere as well there was a story of two 9-year-old girls who used to go around all these rock festivals and blues festivals filming the events. Their mother would form them into some kind or promotional video. I was there somewhere with a girl and I introduced her to people like John Hite and someone who wrote a lot of songs, Creedence Clearwater Revival (do I mean Bob Hite of Canned Heat?). I said “there you are, you have to meet John Hite and a few others and that’s something to tell your friends, isn’t it?”. She replied “most of my friends wouldn’t even know who people like that are”.

Later I woke up in a panic thinking that it was 16:00 and I had a flight back to Europe in an hour and I had so much to do. I grabbed all of my things and shot off to the airport and then spent quite a lot of time trying to find a place to sit down and sort myself out and pack everything. A couple of people came to join me and we were talking about the lack of seats in this place. The discussion drifted on to airports in North Carolina and the rudimentary facilities there, some experience that I could share with these two people as well.

As well as all of this, someone had asked me to do some tiling for him. I’m not very good at tiling but I went along to have a look. At my place I’d tiled on top of a piece of lino so I found a piece of lino and cut to size and cleaned up but instead of using soap I’d used fat and it made a right mess of everywhere so I had to take it out. There was fat all over the floor so I prepared to mop it up. Then he came in. He hadn’t really twigged on what was going on but he was inspecting it as much as he could and how I knew what was going to be done to the right size so that I’d cut off a piece of lino as a template. He went to look at it. I told him that it was wet so he said “we’d better open it out to dry” so he opened it out on his balcony. He asked me “your insurance liability is up to date, isn’t it?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any and I was beginning to regret having said that I would do this job for him the way that he was going on like this.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mail and then I went off to have a look at the view now that the tide is on its way out.

boats baie de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s the view that greeted me looking out across the Baie de Granville and the English Channel this morning.

After the really wonderful few days that we have had, summer is now apparently over and we are back in winter again.

It’s pretty pointless trying to look for car ferries and sailing ships in that lot just there. It was raining too, the first time for about a week, and that didn’t help matters at all. We could have had Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster out there this morning and I wouldn’t have seen them.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view down the coast was, if anything, even worse.

We can just about make out the white beach huts on the promenade at the Plat Gousset but our view doesn’t go very much beyond there right now. The Rue du Nord is swathed in raincloud too.

Hopefully the view will be better on the other side of the headland in the lee of the wind. The rain might not have reached there yet.

spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we might not have any rain, the view isn’t all that much better, which is a shame.

However Aztec Lady is back in town. She’s the blue boat over there that goes on a few exciting voyages every so often, although the current travel regulations have curtailed much of the more interesting sailings.

To her left, bow-end on to the camera is Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast last year. The last time that I’d heard of her, she was over at the Ile de Chausey but I met her skipper yesterday so I assumed that she had come home.

suzanga baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother boat that was on her way home this morning in all of the bad weather is the trawler Suzanga.

She’s the new boat in town, having only recently arrived from the shipbuilders in Turkey, and she’s already out there earning her keep.

That’s several new trawlers that have joined the local fleet since I’ve been living here. It shows that contrary to all expectations, the local ship owners are rather optimistic about the future of the fishing industry here, and that’s always quite a good sign.

Positive thinking seems to be in rather short supply these days among some people.

zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the miserable weather, there’s plenty of activity in port this morning which is nice to see.

There were several zodiacs loitering aroind in the neighbourhood, almost as if there was a cruise ship like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR anchored somewhere offshore.

But the girl who was driving this one came in, went up to the harbour wall, said something to a few people and then turned round and sailed back out again. So what was that all about then?

passengers boarding zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile I could see the heads of some other people down there and they looked as if they were sitting in a zodiac, but I couldn’t really see because the house roofs were in the way.

It took about 20 minutes for them to decide what they were going to do and I had to wait around all that time because there wasn’t anything else going on that I could see that would occupy my mind.

Eventually they threw a rope to someone on the quayside and they moved away, so that I could see what was going on.

people on board zodiac leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey set off in the tracks of the one that had left earlier.

And I know that my expedition friends would be having heart failure seeing a moving zodiac with people standing up in it as it travels, even if they are hanging on to something.

The way that they pitch and roll and sway in the sea means that they aren’t as stable as they might be with a high centre of gravity when people are standing up. Everyone should be sitting down and luggage goes at their feet to keep the centre of gravity lower still.

By now I was becoming rather wet (as if I wasn’t wet enough before I started) so I headed for home and a nice hot coffee, and then start work on yesterday’s journal entry.

dropping off passengers blocking rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other during the day I was interrupted by noise from out at the back.

The streets around the old town are closed today as it’s the book fair, and there was a breakdown lorry trying to gain access . The driver had gone off to seek assistance but in the meantime, another car had come past him and then inexplicably stopped, rather selfishly, to let out his passengers while he goes to park the car.

Never mind that the road is narrow enough so that no-one else behind him could go past. That’s clearly unimportant as long as he’s OK.

The selfishness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Writing my notes was a long and arduous task today, and took much longer than I expected. I even had a rather quick lunch to try to make more time but as you probably realise, something like that seldom seems to work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

No afternoon walk seems to be complete without that these days.

The tide has come in quite quickly but there are still plenty of brave souls down there trying out the beach, sitting around and sunbathing.

There didn’t seem to be anyone actually in the water this afternoon but that’s not to say that there weren’t any.

kayaker baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other people in the water though, but in a different fashion entirely.

Like this kayaker for instance. He must have paddled his canoe quite a long way to end up here, and now he’s going to have to turn round and paddle himself all the way back, and pretty quickly too if he wants to find a slipway or launching pad still in the water.

And is that a fishing rod that he has poking up behind him? It can’t be all that comfortable fishing in a kayak. And where would be put his catch?

great cormorant baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was out here like piffy on a rock was this strange creature.

It’s actually a Great Cormorant and he’s a long way from home. His breeding colony is probably the one across the bay on one of the small islands facing Cancale. Several of those islands – the uninhabited ones – are know to be breeding grounds.

They were much more widespread than that at one time but predators like foxes and rats have seen off several colonies. In fact there’s a plan for the Ile de Chausey for a mass eradication of non-indigenous predators.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when you compare this photo of the one that I took down the coast earlier today, you’ll see a great difference.

Of course, the rain cloud has now passed on to better things and the weather is so much nicer. In addition to that, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz have awoken and they have come here with their Nazgul to have an afternoon’s adventuring.

One of them has just taken off from the field by the cemetery and at the moment he’s fighting to gain control of his Nazgul, after which he’ll be heading this way.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere didn’t seem to be all that much going on farther out at sea this afternoon but I did scan the horizon.

At one point I picked up something large and dark out by the Ile de Chausey and although I couldn’t imagine it being anything else other than the sail of a yacht I took a photo to check when I returned home.

Sure enough, it is a yacht although it’s too far out to see if it’s anyone we know. Black Mamba isn’t in port right now but she’s apparently in Cherbourg right now so I doubt that it might be her.

belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere is someone else who we might have seen over the last few days out there in the English Channel.

Unfortunately the weather is nothing like as clear as it was yesterday morning for us to give a positive identification but thinking that it might again be the training ship Belem, I made a note of her position.

Sure enough, when I returned, I could check on the historical radar plot and Belem was indeed at that spot round about that time of the afternoon.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing else going on out there of any importance (apart from the mad stampede that you saw earlier) so I pushed on around the headland.

As I crossed over the road, one of the errant Nazgul went swooping by over the top of the old bunker so I stopped to take a photograph of it.

And then I ended up in a mad stampede of my own down the hill chasing after my camera’s lens cap that I had unfortunately dropped.

Luckily I managed to avoid being run down by a car coming up the hill towards me. We both would have had a surprise.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again, this time by a mechanical device and I wondered why it had taken them so long to find me.

This is one that we recognise, having seen her many times just recently. She’s the Granville Aero Club’s Robin DR 400-140B F-GBAI going out on an afternoon flight.

She was first picked up on radar at 16:01 (my photo is (adjusted) 16:14) and she did a few laps around the Ile de Chausey and then up and down the coast before disappearing off the radar again near the airfield at 17:50

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupant at the chantier naval today so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The ferry that we saw coming over from the Ile de Chausey, I wasn’t sure who she was. But I can tell you who she wasn’t because the older one of the two Joly France boats is sitting there at the quayside already with a load of people on the path just above her as if they have just gone ashore.

And here on the other side is the little freighter Chausiaise. So it can’t be any one of those two. But we’ll find out in a couple of minutes.

belle france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it didn’t even take that long before we were to find out.

Around the bend, alongside the sea wall and into the harbour came the brand-new Belle France, crammed to the gunwhales with people from the Ile de Chausey.

There were quite a few people on the sea wall by now admiring her as she appeared, and quite rightly too because not only is she a beautiful machine, she’s a sign of faith and optimism that there’s plenty of life left in the port.

And with the uncertain future surrounding the Channel Island ferries and the gravel boats, then this is good news.

man taking photograph car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I have to do before I finish.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my pages are littered with inter alia photos of people taking photos. Today we had a large family group with a photographer who was taking pictures of them, with tripod and all.

This was far too good an opportunity to miss and I had to add a discreet shot of the event to my little collection.

Back here at the apartment I finally finished my notes from yesterday and then I joined up the tracks for the radio programme for tomorrow.

When that was done I attacked my pizza which was delicious. I haven’t made anything else though because I’m off on Tuesday to Leuven.

And now seeing as I’m exhausted, I’m off for an early night ready to start work tomorrow. Radio first of course, and I also have the injection man coming as well. I wonder if that will kickstart me into life for my trip to Leuven.

Sunday 18th July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

boats heading to harbour baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… what kind of weather we’ve had today by looking at this photo.

Piles of boats out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel heading back towards the Port de Plaisance before the gates close with the turn of the tide. It seems that everyone has been out to sea this afternoon.

And that’s really not a surprise at all because the temperature reached the upper 20s this afternoon and there was almost no wind and it’s a long time since I’ve been able to sat that

But I missed a lot of the day today because of course I was going to have a lie-in this morning to recover from my journey to Leuven.

And with the intention of having a lie-in, 07:20 is far too early for me to be thinking of leaving my stinking pit. Even 09:30 was far too early but because couldn’t go back to sleep I was up and about shortly afterwards.

My push for fewer medications seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Instead of there being 7 pills and tablets to take every morning, there are now 9. So that didn’t work.

And what else didn’t work was relieving this fatigue either. I’ve spent most of the day trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, not to fall asleep.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was at the Grammar School last night and there was a meeting taking place of the School Committee – some teachers, some pupils. The door was in a position where from the top of the stairs I could take photos of people coming and going so that was what I was doing. I’d been talking to a few people whom I knew. Then a girl appeared. I know who she is but I just can’t put a name and I wish that I could remember her name, and she was wearing some kind of ridiculous plunging neckline top. From where I was on the top of the stairs I had a really good view. There was a lavatory block in the middle of the hall with the Gents on one side and the Ladies on the other and on one of the ends. For some unknown reason none of these were suitable so this girl asked me where else do the ladies go. So I told her about the loos next to the 5th form common room. She looked bewildered and I thought “well, I’ve not been in this school for so long. The 5th form common room is bound to have changed from where it was in my day” and I had to try to explain to her where it all was. They said “okay” they’ll go off and find it. So off they went in a kind-of completely different way to the way that I had told them to go so I’d no idea what was happening there.

Some time later I was round at a friend’s and he was in a couple with a girl who is in real life the wife of someone else. He was talking about going on holiday and he had a trailer coupled up to his car but he had just a piece of paper as the rear numberplate with a number written on it put over the top of the number of the trailer. I told him that he would be far better off getting a real numberplate and putting it on. He was convinced that he was doing things the right way so I left him to it. I told him that in Europe trailers were registered themselves with their own numbers, all that kind of thing. So the girl and I were there after he had gone and we were doing some things. There was something important that needed doing for which I needed her help but I can’t remember what it was now but she said “we’ll see how it goes” but then as time drew on she said “we’re going to have to do this scene with some vehicles on it” so reluctantly I agreed and anyway so something was getting on and there were a couple of lively cats and a small dog playing around and then she made a decision about having a cup of tea so I got up to make one. I put the tea bags in the pot and I was about to fill the pot and she said “no, don’t make a pot of tea because I won’t be drinking it” so I said “I won’t bring you tea in the morning then in that case” so I went off to I don’t know where.

But there was somewhere along the line that I’d been out in a car and we were going to somewhere near Aberystwyth. I was with Percy Penguin and we drove all the way out there to do something but in the end came across an auction where they were selling old motorbikes. There was one old British one in a terrible state but looked complete but there were no bids on it so the guy said “does anyone want it?”. I was feeling really bad because had we gone in Caliburn I could have brought that back without any trouble at all but instead we’d gone in an ordinary saloon car and there was no room in it for a thing like a motor bike. I was really upset by that, and not just when I was asleep either.

Before lunch I went and mixed three loads of dough – one for the pizza bases for the next three weeks, the second for the jam roly-poly and the third with wholemeal flour for the fruit bread. That was all mixed up and then I could go for my lunch.

This afternoon, in between bouts of sleep I tried to bring up to date Friday’s journal entry, but I have to say that I didn’t get very far with it and nothing has changed with the entry already so far on line.

Another thing was to give all of the dough a second kneading. The roly poly was flattened out square and spread with jam, and then rolled up rather like a swiss roll. I had to cut it in two to make it fit the baking tray.

The pizza dough was kneaded, divided into 3 and two of the lumps were rolled in oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in the freezer. The third was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof.

To the wholemeal dough, I added a ripe banana, some desiccated coconut, dried fruit, sultanas and various assorted nuts ground into powder. That was all mixed up, kneaded, shaped and put in the smaller bread mould.

As well as all of that, I’ve been pairing off the music for the next radio programme bur I won’t be working on that this week because I have a full-time Welsh course stating at 11:00 on Monday

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between that I went off for my afternoon walk, not forgetting that I have to go to the beach to see what was happening there.

Across the car park I went and looked over the wall to see what was happening, and I was amazed by the crowds of people down there. And although there wasn’t very much beach to be on right now, the sea was pretty much full of people this afternoon.

It seems that every man and his dog has gone down to the beach to frolic about in the sea this afternoon. It would surprise me if there was enough room for everyone to find a little spot to sit down

man and woman on inflatable boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just down on the beach that there were crowds of people either.

The sea was quite full as well with all kinds of craft out there this afternoon. There were several interesting boats but my vote for pride of place has to go to this inflatable zodiac thing that was paddling around offshore with a man and a woman on board doing the paddling.

And I particularly liked their version of a lifeboat that they were towing behind them. An inflatable rubber ring in the form of a car tyre that will be a great help if ever it were to be called upon to perform the task for which it was intended.

flags pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are four flagpoles by the Monument to the French Resistance, but one of them was taken away a few weeks ago.

While i was away it seems that they have done whatever it was that needed to be done to the flagpole and it’s resumed its place down by the lighthouse. So the German flag was once more flying quite happily by the American, French and British flags.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon, most of whom weren’t wearing masks despite the rising infection totals here in France. I still wear mine and in any case I did my best to keep my distance as I walked around the path.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking around the path I noticed something moving out at sea. I took a photo of it with the aim of enlarging it whe I returned home.

Actually, I had a really good idea of what it might be and as I enlarged the image I could see that I was right too. It’s one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

She’s pretty much loaded up with passengers, either day trippers or holidaymakers coming back and presumably catching the evening train to Paris.

But back to our story, and I carried on down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t much going on there so I continued on down the path and round the other side.

f-bslf Robin DR-315 Petit Prince pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown by a light aircraft that had apparently just taken off from the airport.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before – F-BSLF, a Robin DR-315 “Petit Prince”. She’s not one of the Aero Club aeroplanes who we see on regular occasions.

In fact she only arrived this morning at the airport. Although she didn’t file a flight plan, she was picked up by radar at 08:51 somewhere near St Seglin heading towards the airport and disappeared off the radar near Mont St Michel, presumably to have a closer view as she came in to land.

And then she took off again at 16:13, when was when I saw her, and she flew south before disappearing off the radar again at Baulin near St Seglin. So it’s reasonable to suppose that she comes from somewhere around there.

l'alize 3 galapagos chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving disposed of the aeroplane I could continue on my way along the path towards the harbour and see what’s going on down there.

And there have been changes at the chantier naval while I’ve been away. We are down to just two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and Galapagos. The other two trawlers that were there, Black Pearl and Charles Marie II have gone back into the water. The latter boat wasn’t in the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. They told me last time I was down there that she would be back in the water “shortly”, but they were clearly talking in Geological terms.

marite big wheel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the wall I could see down into the inner harbour.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity down there this afternoon. But our old friend Marité is still in there. It looks as if that trip that she was planning yesterday when all of those people were going aboard can’t have been going very far – probably just into the bay and back.

The big wheel is there of course, and it was actually working as well. There must have been plenty of people wanting to go for a ride. It’s not the thing for me though – I’m sure that I have a much better view from up here on top of the cliffs than I would on top of the wheel.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the inner harbour a siren from the ferry terminal brought me back to reality.

When I looked round I could see that Joly France was reversing out of the terminal – hence the siren – and heading back out to sea. There must be plenty more people out there on the island waiting to come back to the mainland, more than the other Joly France boat can handle.

But I couldn’t wait for the two boats to come back. I came on back home to carry on work and trying hard not to fall asleep.

Round about 18:00 I put on the oven and bunged in the fruit loaf followed a few minutes later by the jam roly poly. And when they were cooked I bunged in the pizza which I had been preparing.

vegan pizza jam roly poly fruit bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I took that out of the oven. And here it is with the jam roly poly and the fruit bread.

The pizza looks absolutely delicious and it tasted delicious too. As for the jam roly poly and the fruit bread, you’ll have to wait for a day or two before I can tell you what they are like.

Back in here, fighting off the fatigue yet again, I wrote up my notes for the day and posted them on line. And that’s all that I’m doing today. I’m completely exhausted and I have so much to do tomorrow, so I’m off for an early night in bed tonight.

And I can’t wait for that either. A good night’s sleep will do me the world of good – I hope.

Monday 28th June 2021 – NOT VERY MANY …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… photos today unfortunately.

And no people on the beach today either, and none of that should be any surprise when you look at the weather that we had today. You can see the water streaming like a waterfall out of the outflow pipe on the right of the image.

Last night I must have been lucky to have found a little gap in the weather when I went out for my evening stroll because all day it’s been teeming down like this and those of us who braved the weather ended up looking like haggard, drowned rats when we made it back home. I know that I did.

The person I felt most sorry for was the little girl trying desperately to seek shelter underneath our doorway while she waited for a parent to come and pick her up after school. She was still there, even wetter, desperately trying to contact someone on her mobile phone when I returned home.

30 years ago I would have invited her in and lent her a towel to dry off in the warmth while she waited because I wouldn’t have let a dog out in this weather, but these days it’s not possible to do this sort of thing, even with the best intentions.

People have become so suspicious about other people’s motives. And all that I can say is that these suspicions tell me far more about what’s going on in their minds than what’s going on in my mind.

flooded footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall“And just in case you are wondering” said he, returning to his moutons, remember the path that I showed you the other day?

This is the path today. It’s like a river running all the way down the path now and it’s almost impossible to walk down there. It’s true to say that these are exceptional times this weekend, but there’s really no need to let it get out of hand like this. Half a day’s work, several sacks of gravel and some plastic pipe could clear all of this, if anyone were bothered.

So apart from that, what else has happened today?

The alarm went off at 06:00 as usual and I was up pretty quickly too which is always nice. And after the medication I listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

I was talking to my friends from the Wirral and a few people. She was talking about the skiing trip that she was going on with a few friends to Italy. I asked her when she was going and she replied “Sunday”. The more she continued to talk about it, the more my ears pricked up until in the end I asked “do you have a vacancy”? She replied “yes” so that was that. I was gone. She told me the times of the flights and everything. I had to get there for the first flight and sort out all of my equipment. I didn’t have any – it was all in the Auvergne. I didn’t even have a ski jacket but I went all the same. I turned up in the resort and the first thing was to check the hotel that they had me down as a vegan and then to the bank to talk to the receptionist there. Then I was sitting outside in my shirtsleeves in the snow watching a couple of helicopters land, and the landings were really rough. Someone came out to fetch us all to give us the introductory talk inside. It was really snowing heavily while I was outside there as well sitting on that stone wall.

But what’s this? A dream about snow and skiing and not being in the mountain pass that features so regularly in our nocturnal voyages? What’s happening here?

Once I’d organised myself I attacked the radio programme and round about 11:45 I brought it to a conclusion, even with one stop for a coffee and a second for breakfast. And even though I say it myself, it all went very well.

The rest of the day has been spent dealing with yesterday’s journal entry and bringing it up to date. That’s all completed and now on line with all of the photographs. It would have been finished earlier except for the fact that I had a little … errr … relax. And it was a little relax too – about 10 or 15 minutes, that’s all.

There was the break for the afternoon walk, colliding with our young person sheltering underneath the door as I went out. And I didn’t hang about on my way round the circuit either

segway riding lessons pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, this is one photograph that I had to take.

This afternoon there seems to be some kind of training session going on at the Pointe du Roc involving Segways and some kind of obstacle course. and chapeau to the few people who seemed to have persevered despite the adverse weather conditions. It can’t have been any fun standing around out there in all of this.

So I left them to it and waded on down the path at the top of the cliff overlooking the harbour. And it’s a good job that there was nothing going on down there this afternoon as there wasn’t anywhere for me to stand to photograph it. Instead I hurried on home for my hot coffee, colliding once more with the young person on our doorstep.

And I did feel sorry for her

When I’d finished the journal from yesterday I had a bit of a sort-out, emptying a drawer to look for missing receipts for my health insurers. And I found one too, which was quite pleasant. I’m sure that there most be a couple more knocking around somewhere, but like most things these days, I’ve let my organisation go to pot.

Guitar practice was, for a change, quite enjoyable today and I had a good time. For the half-hour on the acoustic guitar I gave myself a little concert of four or five songs that I can play quite easily and which don’t sound too bad when I sing them. I’m going to do what I said I’ do a long time ago, and just concentrate on having 15 or so and playing them really well rather than dispersing my energies.

Home-made Cornish pasty for tea, with baked potato and vegetables and it was exceptionally good. If the pie is as good as this was then it’s really going to be something. Apple pie and coconut whatsit for pudding and the rest of the apple pie is going in the freezer for I have ambitions to do something nice for pudding tomorrow while I’m baking my bread.

High time that I treated myself.