Tag Archives: baked beans

Thursday 30th May 2024 – SO HERE WE GO.

Yes, by the time that some of you (but not others, of course) will be reading this I’ll have been tucked up all nice and cosy in bed by a bevy of beautiful nurses at the hospital at Avranches.

Some hopes.

Knowing my luck it will be a retired female Bulgarian weightlifter or hammer-thrower and she won’t have tucked me up at all; never mind smoothed my fevered brow. I shall have to do that by myself.

Before I leave here in the morning I’ll have done all that I can and the rest is in the hands of the Gods.

If it’s anything like last night, it’ll be extremely difficult, that’s for sure. The lethargy about which I spoke … "at great length" – ed … carried on and I couldn’t summon up the energy to leave my comfy chair until almost 01:00, well after my usual bedtime.

It’s difficult to explain what’s happening to me right now. I can’t seem to find the effort to do the simplest of things and it’s so dispiriting.

At least, getting into bed was so much easier and apart from the difficulties that I’m having with my legs right now, even turning over and over in bed was much easier too. Things seem to be pretty much back to normal … "for now" – ed … in that respect, and aren’t I grateful?

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then crawled off into the bathroom.

After that it was the medication. 13 different capsules or potions if we count the anti-potassium stuff. I must be reaching a world-record of some kind at some point. I hear that the French Government is putting up taxes quite soon. It’s all my fault.

For a change, the nurse didn’t have too much to say for himself. But he couldn’t make his card reader connect to the internet to read my health card so after much binding in the marsh he said that he’ll do it next time. I hope that there will be a “next time” anyway.

After he left I had a “rest” for a while and then transcribed the dictaphone notes. Last night there was a group of young girls taking part in a singing competition. While the singing was absolutely excellent they made life extremely difficult for the judges by crowding the backstage and confusing themselves with the other groups so people lost track of who was who because there were so many of them. In the end the judges had to ask several groups to perform again which led to a lot of chaos from some of the groups of parents whose children were feeling excluded by this. All in all, what should have been a simple singing competition turned into absolute chaos coupled with the fact that some jewellery went missing at some point. Of course The Saint was in the audience so everyone suspected him. Some of the parents wanted him involved in helping to find it. It all went on throughout the night in the usual turmoil and complete mess. Nothing was ever decided.

These “Saint” DVDs are a long way from being finished too. I’m about halfway through the black-and-white episodes and then I have all of the colour ones to go at. And all these wonderful British cars of the 1950s and 60s too. Not a single mainstream British car anywhere these days. Hard to believe that at one time the UK led the World

There was another thing about being on the roads of Maine in a snowstorm on I-98 going north. There was a huge pile-up and they were announcing things on the radio “2 women injured” then the total went to “5 women injured” and gradually increased. I heard someone in the background say “what the heck is going on there? Aren’t there any males in that traffic queue?”. I thought to myself “that’s a really nice thing to say, isn’t it, seeing as I’m stranded in this queue but near the front nowhere near where these collisions are taking place?”.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been on Interstate 95 in Maine on numerous occasions, but rarely in the snow. But we’re back to this theme of “token womanism” again where “x people were hurt, of which Y were women and children” Imagine the outcry if they had said “X people were hurt, of which Z were men”.

We once did a study of “minorities” listing all of the people from different classes of minority and subtracting them from the total population. We eventually reached the conclusion that a white middle-class middle-aged man was very much a minority when it came to today’s scale of things. Of course, our report was … errr … mislaid.

After my coffee and flapjack I fell asleep again but this afternoon I’ve been packing and making myself ready for the road tomorrow and the hospital at Avranches as well as doing some stuff for the radio. I’m not sure what they want of me but I know what I want of them and I’m hoping that they can do something to alleviate my suffering.

On that note, I’ve baked a loaf of bread and I shall take half of it with me. My invitees can share out the rest amongst themselves. But with my half a loaf and half a flapjack I’m hoping that at least there will be some food for me to eat somewhere.

That’s the big problem – who do I know who can bring me some food parcels?

But I’ll worry about that in due course. I’ve had a nice tea tonight of baked potato (seeing as I had the oven going) sausage and beans.

It’s been ages since I’ve had baked beans so, listening to my stomach right now, I won’t need a taxi to get me to Avranches in the morning.

Friday 1st December 2023 – THE BAD NEWS …

… is that my carcinogenic protein has now been found in my nervous system

The good news is that the doctor whom I saw in Paris at lunchtime is keen to have a go at tackling it. And who am I to object to that? What do I have to lose? My marbles – I lost them a long time ago. In fact, I doubt if I ever found them.

But it’s nice to have some good news. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any, and that’s not a cue to talk about those three days that are missing from my blog at the end of August 2019 aboard THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR either.

But while we’re on the subject of good news … "well, one of us is" – ed … I had a really good session on the acoustic guitar working my way through part of my playlist. I reckoned that if I was going to spend 4 hours sitting in a car going to Paris, that would be as good a time as any to catch up on my beauty sleep so I may as well make the most of my own personal time.

The trouble is that most of my playlist is nostalgia-based and I have a lot of stories to tell about the songs on it. For example, in REAL LIFE my heroine comes from the Outaouais with black curly hair and, quite probably, regular readers of this rubbish will recall the name by which she might be known.

Then there’s MARY JANE’S LAST DANCE. "I’m tired of screwing up, tired of going down, tired of myself, tired of this town". I remember singing this to myself driving down from Crewe to Dover Docks through the night with all of my life that remained packed into the back of an old Cortina Estate

And I could go on … "not with a pickaxe through your neck, you couldn’t" – ed

So abandoning yet another good rant for a while, I hauled myself off to bed.

As usual, being a very light sleeper and having to make sure that I’m out of bed promptly, I had an enormous amount of trouble going to sleep.

But in between the spells of wakefulness I must have gone off to sleep because the alarm awoke me.

First things first – I had a good wash and put on some clean clothes. If I’m going to be poked and prodded about I might as well make an effort.

Second thing was to check the papers in my backpack to make sure that I had them all. My sandwiches were in there too – I’d made them up the night before. It’s always a good plan to have a few bits of bread in the freezer.

Finally, there were the dictaphone notes. Something had gone wrong and we’d had a calamity. As a result everyone in our house had to go out on some kind of visit to someone important at some ridiculous hour of night in the middle of winter. There was a big storm raging. This meeting went on apparently much longer that it was supposed to and it was gone midnight when we all finally struggled back. I was in front having to feel my way along the wall and along the clothes line etc in order to arrive at the building. I eventually ended up in the outhouse to the house. I eventually managed to put the key into the door and open it. I threw on the light switch but there was very little power in the batteries so there was barely a glimmer of light illuminating anything. I could see that this was just going from bad to worse to worse.

Later I was at the University of Duluth in Minnesota last night watching a strange kind of game, something of a cross between basketball and ice hockey. Each team consists of both males and females. The aim was as in basketball or ice hockey to work the ball down towards the goal area where you could lob the ball over the crossbar. If it hit the ground you’d have a free shot at scoring a point, similar to basketball. The net was a kind-of thick arrangement where it was quite easy for the ball to be lost inside. Then it would vibrate and shake around, then dart out in all kinds of strange directions and everyone would run after it. I was watching from behind one of the goals because I knew someone from Duluth who was taking part. Duluth was leading up until the final minute when the opposition managed to get the ball over the bar and bounce on the ground behind which meant that they could have a free shot. However their free shot was held up in the net and the whistle blew before it was ejected. I went to have a chat to my friend afterwards but he couldn’t stay around because he’d only turned up to play the game. He was busy with his harvest back on his own farm.

Strangely enough, I’ve never been to Duluth. I did actually have a passage booked on a freighter going from Ijmuijen to Chicago and Duluth once but at the outbreak of Covid all ad-hoc passengers were excluded from freight sailings and as far as I’m aware they haven’t restarted.

Finally I went into work on Monday but half the cars wouldn’t start and there was a big meeting taking place. The boss asked me to go to the Centre des Urgences to explain and arrange for some assistance. All of a sudden I had a mental blank and couldn’t remember where it was. For about 10 minutes I was wandering aimlessly about the building even ending up down in the basement again in the stores with Henri. Eventually someone explained to me where it was and I found it but it seemed to be for people who were having to travel at last-minute rather than anything else Nevertheless I went over and began to explain the problem but a girl sitting behind one of the desks shouted at me “can’t you see that I’m busy? Can’t you see that I have plenty of other things to do?”. I stormed right over to her and gave her a complete and utter mouthful of exactly what I thought of her interruption and then went over to find someone else with whom I could speak at another desk.

The car came for me bang on time and as I was struggling downstairs the visiting nurse was running up on his way to attend to my neighbour.
"Do you want a Covid injection?" he asked. "I have one left over"
Do bears have picnics in the woods?

So there I was, a taxi driver at the bottom of the stairs, the nurse and I halfway up, me with no clothes on my upper body receiving an injection. It must have made a wonderful sight, but I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity.

The drive to Paris was uneventful apart from the traffic around the Péripherique of course. And finding the correct building in the hospital complex (because it really is a maze) was quite straightforward.

Finding the entrance however was another thing, and once we found it, finding the reception was even more complicated.

And then I had the doctor, and we had quite an interesting discussion.
"Do you know why the hospital at Montlucon took out your spleen?" he asked.
"To be honest" I replied "I don’t think that even they knew why they did it"

And then I recounted my tale of woe about the events that took place between November 2015 and March 2016 with which regular readers of this rubbish will recall being regaled at the time.

But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and he told me that the last lumbar puncture revealed traces of the carcinogenic protein in the liquid that flows around my nervous system

So that, dear reader, is that.

But I’ve had to fight all my life and even if I were ready to stop, I wouldn’t know how to.

Over 30 years ago I met the old blues singer TS McPhee in a snooker club in Crewe and we had a good chat. He wrote A SONG ABOUT DYING "I’m like a ship on the ocean that’s rolling from side to side".

He goes on to say "I’ve done everything that I ever set out to do". Well, he might, but I’m a long way short of that and so I’m going to keep on keeping on, as BOB DYLAN WOULD SAY

He’s keen to get in there and fight too, which is good news. It’s always nice to have allies and I don’t have many of them.

His plan is to call me in after the New Year and have me stay for a few days. He plans another one of these really agonising lumbar punctures to check the results, and then he’s going to spend some time examining my heart.

What he reckons is that following the disastrous sessions of chemotherapy that I had and which were rapidly abandoned, there might be some kind of tablet that might stimulate the nerve cells to fight back in the same way that Aranesp stimulates the red blood cells.

However it’s not for the faint-hearted – and he means that in the literal sense. He needs to know if my heart will withstand the strain. If not, he’ll have to think of a Plan B.

He told me about the side effect too, one of which is “bad attacks of cramp” however I don’t really know whether I have any vacant spaces in which to fit any more attacks of cramp.

At one time I started recording the attacks of cramp that I was having but for quite a while now, the only recording of attacks of cramp that takes place is when I go for a day without any, and I bet that you’ve not noticed too many instances of that.

After he threw me out I thought that I’d find a quiet place to eat my butties undisturbed and then phone the driver to say that I was ready but I’d hardly taken the first bite out of my bread before I was caught in flagrante delicto

Apart from the traffic leaving Paris and on the péripherique de Caen we had a straightforward drive home and I drifted away with the fairies now and again.

We were back here at 17:50 and the first thing that I did was to have an energy drink and then make a massive mug of hot chocolate. I’d had nothing whatever to drink all day.

After a rest I had another helping of sausage beans and chips. Something quick and easy.

But after my exertions today I’m off to bed. I’m not going shopping tomorrow. I really can’t haul myself off outside after today.

Instead I’ll send off my supermarket order and add onto it the things that I’d usually buy at the Carrefour.

Discretion is the better part of valour after the events of today.

Friday 24th November 2023 – AS YOU MIGHT …

… expect, having decided not to go to the shops this morning in case the garage came to pick up Caliburn, they didn’t turn up at all.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, this is par for the course. Only I can do things like DRIVE 500 MILES TO VISIT AN ISOLATED ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE and find it closed for the season, or load up Caliburn to go to the dechetterie and pick the only day in the month when it is closed.

And in 2022 where I booked 4 nights in a hotel in Montreal to find that the only day that the train to the east left was on the third night

That’s the kind of thing that crops up all the time and regular readers of this rubbish are used to this by now.

Having said that, it was really just as well that I didn’t go because I really didn’t feel like it. It was another horrible night where it took ages to go off to sleep and when I did, I had another incredibly mobile night.

When the alarm went off I staggered into the kitchen, to find that I was actually feeling rather more steady on my feet today than I have done just recently, and I even managed 4 steps without leaning on anything.

It might be Severine’s exertions that are working, or it might be my nocturnal exercises with the elastic band wrapped round my ankles, or it might just be my imagination.

After the medication and checking my mails (and I’ve had authorisation to have a taxi for Paris on Friday next week) I had a very slow start to the day and it took a while to wind myself up ready to start. We were on board a ship again last night and every time we’d go ashore I’d always sit with the same person, another guy. On this particular occasion we all lined up ready to climb into the boats to take us ashore. I sat down in a good place but the guy walked straight past me and went to sit down next to someone else. In the end I had either a girl or a woman sit next to me but I was more interested in listening to what these other 2 guys were doing. They were having a tremendous amount of fun talking about Queen Victoria as a painter, cracking jokes with each other etc. One of them was having a go at painting and everyone was crowded around having a look. All of a sudden, even in the dream, I felt really lonely and alone.

Liz once asked me a good while ago if I ever felt lonely, living as I do. But in fact I don’t actually live alone. The advantage of having a split personality is that there’s always a group of me living inside my head and there’s that much noise going on that I’m certainly not lonely.

But in actual fact, the alternatives to being lonely are probably worse. “he who travels fastest travels furthest” and “he who travels fastest travels alone”. And I’ve certainly covered much more ground alone than I otherwise would have done.

The only time that I have really regretted being on my own was at times such as strolling across the Little Big Horn battlefield or standing on the top of South Pass, or visiting the Norse Furdustrandir on the coast of Labrador and there was no-one to share the experience with me.

But of course, had I had someone in tow before I set off, I wouldn’t have ever arrived at anywhere like that. I really ought to have had a daughter. Castor enjoyed my little stories when we were alone together on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR late at night.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bedroom we were all discussing what we would be doing on a particular evening at home. Almost everyone had various plans but it ended up that I would be there with my 3 younger siblings at home wo we were trying to work out what we would be doing about a meal. I tried to find out whether there was any food that needed collecting because sometimes there was but the food that I could have picked up coming back from Percy Penguin’s I’d picked up the previous day. There were 1 or 2 things from other outlying farms but it was quite out of the way to go. They did ask me if I’d go out there to pick it up but for some reason I said that it would be difficult. As they were leaving my parents turned to me and said “you’ll be OK organising this meal for the other 3 won’t you? And you’ll be paying”. That was the first news that I heard about it. They had never ever discussed the payment with me for a single minute until they had some of their feet outside the door.

And then I had exactly the same dream half an hour later – word for word.

Later on I was seeing on some kind of basis a girl who had the same name as one of my regular visitors, but it wasn’t she . A third by began to hang around occasionally. I’d invited the girl back for a meal and I’d cooked something but the guy showed up. Out of courtesy I gave him some food. He asked for something but I only had a little so I said “you’re eating me out of house and home aren’t you?”. He replied “it’s not my fault. I didn’t ask to come for a meal”. I replied “you asked to asked to hang around with this girl. What did you expect?”. In the end it ended up in one of these arguments that we had. I said to the boy “there’s only one person who can decided who the girl goes out with and that’s the girl herself” and I went off to clear the table. About 30 seconds later he said “it looks as if I’m stealing your girlfriend” and walked out of the room with her. After she left she stuck her head back in the door to say “if you see (something) belonging to me you’ll remember to give it to me won’t you? You will still keep looking for it, won’t you?”. I answered with a very non-committal “yes” and carried on clearing the table.

Some of my plants are going to miss my layered kitchen but I’m going to have it remodelled as I can no longer walk up the steps. One of the plants was an adopted plant that came from a level kitchen anyway so it wouldn’t have too much trouble readapting but the others will probably find it difficult because the steps in the kitchen are completely beyond me now. It’s high time that I had the floor and everything put on the level. And what that has to do with anything I really don’t know at all.

There was another dream too. We were on holiday. I was with a girl but I can’t remember who she was. There was a variety of older couples. There was a very young girl there with a much older man. He was disabled. We formed the opinion that she wasn’t looking after him correctly. She seemed to be a nice enough girl but there was something about how the reaction between the 2 of them didn’t seem correct at all. When we travelled to this particular hotel we could see that the old guy was having a hard time but the girl didn’t seem to be particularly concerned all that much. Next day we were going somewhere and the girl appeared on her own. She tagged onto our little group of people. We didn’t really say all that much to her but when we climbed out of the coach to go on the way back to the hotel we began to chat. We asked about the guy and she gave some very non-committal answers. I had the uncomfortable feeling that she was trying to ingratiate herself with me for some reason but I wasn’t really sure why. As we climbed up and down the steps across this entry to go to the hotel I shouted out to my girlfriend “all those in favour of a coffee say ‘Aye'” and the girl shouted “Aye” too. I had no idea exactly what was happening but there were some things about this situation that just didn’t seem right to me at all.

That’s just another one of a whole series of strange encounters that I’ve had with strange people. 25 years ago I had an e-mail from a girl. “I’m a clandestine from Myanmar here in Brussels with no papers at all. I think you can help me”.
My biggest default has always been my curiosity and that has led me into a pile of difficulties and problems in the past but nevertheless, I responded.
We met up in Brussels and she got into my car. A beautiful young Oriental girl, probably early 20s at most. Perfectly manicured hands, perfectly coiffured hair, designer denim jacket with matching jeans.
If it looks like a rat and walks like a rat and smells like a rat, then it’s a rat. There’s no way she’d fought her way through the mangrove swamps on the border between Myanmar and Thailand

She played me along for a while and I played her along for a while but she eventually grasped the message that whatever she wanted from me she wasn’t going to get until I in my turn had some answers to a whole host of difficult questions, and that was something else that fizzled out.

There was another complicate dream about a girl who lived on a model housing estate that wasn’t quite finished. She had a pet that might have been a dog. As she travelled a lot she relied on one of the neighbours, a young guy, to feed the dog for her. On one occasion that she’d been away something had gone wrong about the dog food. In the end the guy had only ended up making meals for the dog for 3 days instead of 7. It led to quite a few complications, not only for her and the guy but for a few passers-by who heard their discussion. That’s all that I remember about this dream but it did go on for hours and hours and at one point I remember sitting on the kerb overlooking this housing estate eating a meal that I suspected was dog food.

There was something to do with a Prisoner-of-War camp. There were civilian internees, of which I was one, who had to go to the camp during the day but were allowed home on parole at night. On one particular occasion I was one of the last ones to leave. There were 2 women who had come there but were both ill in bed. By the looks of things they weren’t going home. The female commandant grabbed hold of me and began to give me things, festooning me like a Christmas tree. There were all kinds of stuff that apparently these women had brought that needed to go home. I couldn’t understand how I was supposed to carry all of this but she said “things like the Hoover here you can pull by the cord and it’ll follow you”. In the end, being in no position to argue, I shook my head and set off to catch the bus back to where I was staying. There were all kinds of complications about bringing these things into the lift. The Hoover snagged on its cable around a step, it was left out of the lift when we went in and the doors closed. There were all kinds of extreme difficulties through which I was going, trying to move these things while these 2 women were just lying there in bed doing nothing while I was doing all of this and upsetting everyone else who was trying to share a lift with me, waiting at the entrance to this building while the door opened. I can’t ever remember feeling as frustrated as I did about this

And that used to be a regular feature during my nocturnal voyages too.

Having dealt with all of that (which took much longer than it ought) I attacked the radio programme. And despite several occasions when I went off with the fairies I actually finished all of the notes. That leaves me tomorrow afternoon for starting my Christmas baking because I’m shopping in the morning.

With some time left over I carried on going through one of the back-up drives in the array on the shelf and made another pile of space.

Tea tonight was a delicious sausage, beans and chips. If I’m not careful I’ll be running out of sausages in due course. That batch of vegan sausages that I bought in Jersey is delicious but I won’t be able to buy any more. Beans though are no problem. Ric and Elaine bought me some last year and Liz and Terry bought me a pile this summer when they came over.

So I’m going to bed now, ready to fight the good fight in the shops at St Nicolas tomorrow. I need some mushrooms for my pizza on Sunday and a few other bits and pieces too.

And then I’ll have to think about an order from LeClerc. At the moment I’m doing Ok for supplies but I’ll never be able to find anything when I really need it.

Ordering my shopping is just like waiting for the garage to come for Caliburn, really.

Friday 27th October 2023 – THE PREVIOUS DAYS’ …

… completely entries are now all on line.

That’s because I have now found a decent internet connection – yes, I’m back home.

And getting back home was an adventure all of its own as you will find out as you read on.

Last night I’d gone to bed early ready for my early 05:30 start but as usual, I couldn’t sleep. I awoke at 12!50 with a start. I had the radio on and was still listening to it. Somehow the dictaphone that was by the side of the bed fell on the floor. I couldn’t find out where the noise that I was listening to was coming from. I searched round the bedroom for a minute or two until I suddenly regained my senses and found that it was my radio. I took off the headphones ready to go back into this dream and carry on.

And so I dictated into my little machine.

At some point I must have gone back to sleep but I awoke again at 03:00 and that was really that. By 04:30 I’d given up any attempt to sleep and ended up listening to the old-time radio programmes.

At 05:40 someone came round to take my blood pressure and then I had the breakfast that I was promised.

After everyone had gone I had a really good wash and then carried on with selecting the music for the next series of radio programmes. Nurses came and went of course but I battled on and I’m now up to 29th November 2024, with several holes in between such as my Isle of Wight Festival and my Hawkfest programmes for which I’ve yet to decide on the music.

The Hawkfest should be exciting though. There have been a whole variety of Spacerock groups from all over the world who have performed at the various Hawkfests and I managed to talk to a few of them at some point or another. I’ll probably end up with a couple of hours of music and there will still be a lot that I’d have to leave out.

At 11:50 I was whisked off to the IRM unit (in a wheelchair – how the mighty have fallen) where they injected me with a radioactive substance and left me to simmer for an hour, and then they stuck me in another Stargate where I went back and to for 20 minutes.

Back at my unit I was eventually allowed to eat my lunch – several hours later – and the doctor came to see me.

She told me much of what I already knew – about how the cancer is spreading through my kidneys, my heart and into my nervous system via a few other parts of my body.

She thinks, as I have been told elsewhere, that I wouldn’t be able to survive a heart transplant in my state of health so that’s out of the question. As a result she advised me not to buy any long-playing records.

However, she wants me to have an IRM done of my heart, and that can be done locally. It may be that some tweaking can be done to it to keep it going.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that right back at the beginning of all of this in 2015 I was told that I had a coeur de champion – the “heart of a champion” and that’s what will keep me going, but if ever my heart begins to give out, it’s the downhill slope.

And so her comments weren’t any surprise.

She did have some good news. She’s talked to the Haematology department and they may well be willing to take me on instead of my having to go all the way to Leuven. I’m entitled to transport to any hospital within 500kms of home. Paris is 334 kms and Leuven is 650 kms, so continue to go to Leuven means going by train and really, I just can’t do it any longer.

And that’s a disappointment. I had quite enjoyed my spell at Leuven because firstly it’s a beautiful city secondly, I get to see Alison, and thirdly it awoke all of the Flemish that I’d picked up when I lived in Brussels.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I first met Alison at that weird American company where I worked for almost a year after I left General Electric.

The doctor took my telephone and spent the next hour or so reading all of my reports from Leuven and translating them from Flemish to French. She’ll take them to the Haematologist and have a chat.

Presumably they’ll look into the other things that are going wrong with me.

The car pulled up for me just over an hour late and then we set off into the traffic.

Paris and its outskirts were nose-to-tail all the way, and we crawled slowly out of the city. Once we hit the countryside we could put our foot down and began to make good time, only to be pulled over in a Gendarme control.

It’ s obviously near the end of the month and the Gendarmes don’t have enough victims so they went over the car with a toothcomb until they found something for which they could write out a ticket.

It was 21:00 when we finally arrived here and my cleaner was waiting for me. She and the taxi driver helped me up the stairs into my apartment for which I was grateful. It was an agonising climb.

Once I’d recovered I made myself baked potato, baked beans and vegan sausage and that was that.

Now I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. There’s no alarm in the morning and I’m going to have a lie-in – if I can. There’s usually always someone who comes along to interrupt me.

Friday 15th September 2023 – AS BARRY HAY …

… once famously said, "there’s just one thing – IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME".

And you’ve no idea the size of the sigh of relief that escaped from my lips when I collapsed into my chair here in my office.

Hardly surprising since I’ve been on the road since 05:20 this morning. That was when my alarm went off and I was already packed and dressed. It didn’t take too long to load up the car and then hit the road.

Alison dropped me off at the Kortenberg railway station and it took me a while to work out how to reach the platform. It’s not like a conventional station and things take some hunting down.

nevertheless I was soon on the platform and in time for the 06:28 to Brussels. And it was just as well that I chose that train because these are low-line commuter units where the floor is level with the platform, not like the urban express double-deckers where there’s a climb up into the carriage that I can no longer accomplish.

The rain pulled in bang on time so I had about 75 minutes to wait.

However, what I’d learnt so far today was that the 65 minutes to traverse Paris isn’t going to be enough. I need to think of another plan.

At the booking office they wouldn’t let me change my ticket, but up on the platform, speaking to the train manager I had better luck and she let me hop aboard one of the casual seats at the back of the bar, which I thought was very nice of her.

And it was just as well too because with the renovations taking place at the Gare du Nord they have moved the taxi rank from just outside the door and now it’s a real marathon trek to the rank. I really was finished long before I reached it.

As luck would have it, the taxi marshal waved me to the front of the queue and I had a really nice and chatty lady driver who drove me to Montparnasse.

There was 33 minutes to wait for the departure of my train so it was just as well that I’d caught the earlier train. I was able to grab a cup of coffee which was also just as well – that’s all that I had to eat or drink on the journey because I’d forgotten my bottle of ginger beer in Alison’s fridge.

The train was packed and we were crammed in like sardines. I managed a brief five minutes of … errr … relaxing, but that was all.

It was on time pulling into the station and I was lucky in that I only had to wait two minutes for the bus to the town centre. And from there I had a horrible, miserable walk to the bus stop at the port for my bus up here.

There’s no kerb there and the buses don’t kneel down very much so climbing in was a real effort. And then climbing up the stairs to here, I just couldn’t do it. In the end I had to take off my backpack and drag it on the floor behind me. I am not ever going to do this journey again.

Back here when I finally arrived I made myself an ice-cold drink and came in here where I crashed out on the chair and that was really that.

Tea tonight was sausage chips and beans (I’ll end up looking like a sausage after this week) and then we had football on the internet – Colwyn Bay v Aberystwyth.

The match was a real bottom-of-the-table shocker that Colwyn Bay won 3-1, and I have to be honest and say that they won’t ever have a victory as easy as that again. After only 40 minutes the commentator said “Mae Aberystwyth yn siomedig” – Aberystwyth are disappointing – and that was aun understatement.

One bright spark for Aberystwyth was that at half-time they brought on a left-back called Akeem Hinds. I hadn’t seen him before. He certainly livened up the team with some good interceptions and some beautiful crosses into the penalty area.

What with Colwyn Bay’s Nigerian forward Udoyen Akpan who has come to the club from Cyprus, here are two players on whom I shall be keeping a very close eye.

Mind you, I said the same about Okera Simmonds who played for Y Fflint last season, and he disappeared without trace. I must be the Kiss of Death.

Surprisingly, despite the short night there were tons of stuff on the dictaphone. I don’t know what was happening here but I was pulling nails and plastic skewers out of my foot. I took one out and it didn’t ‘arf hurt. I just wondered whether that was symbolic of the pains that I’m having in my feet or something at the moment.

The next thing was that the alarm went off so I trued to turn off the dictaphone and tried to turn off a couple of other things. I suddenly realised that it was the phone. I fell out of bed and crawled across the floor to turn off the phone. For some reason my brother wouldn’t leave the bed so the girl with me was wondering what on earth was the matter with him. Suddenly I looked at my watch and saw that it was 01:27. I’d awoken and actually dreamed of the alarm going off.

I was with my mother and brother. We pulled into Paris. We left the train and walked outside the station ready to walk across Paris to the next railway station. There were kids on bikes and scooters having fun in one of the squares. My mother said something like “we need to be careful around here because of all these kids” but they looked fairly harmless to me. For some eason we became separated. My mother and brother went off down one street and I went off down the other. I was sure that I was correct. This road took me to the top of a hill where I could see right over Paris. It looked miles away but the way my mother was going was even further away. I shouted for my mother but couldn’t hear anything so I carried on walking by myself in a field. I shouted again and this time she answered. The fence was quite high and I couldn’t climb it so I had to walk back to where the fence was low and then climb up a bank to go over the top. As I climbed up the bank the top kept falling down and I kept sliding down to the bottom again. This happened several times. In the end there was a vehicle, some kind of army lorry buried in the bank. Suddenly it gave a lurch and rolled over, throwing me onto the floor near where my mother and brother were . They said “quickly, grab that guy …” and mentioned someone’s name “… and he’ll take us”. But I couldn’t see who it was that she meant because I couldn’t see anyone around

I was with my friends from the weekend. We’d just left the train and gone walking. We came across a big bush that was on fire. We tried to stop the fire by stamping it but it burnt me. The fire gradually burnt itself out. All the climbing ivy over this object died so we scraped away some of the ivy and that was a job and a half of its own. We found a woman sitting there. Apparently she was with some kind of Social Services and had come to check up on us to make sure that we were all OK and not up to mischief. Of course we caught her like this.

When we finally did leave the house we ended up at the end of the drive and across the road into the chemist’s, nearly being knocked down by a big old Humber that stopped to let us through. I handed a form to the chemist and said “four dailies”. He said “this isn’t the correct form. Where’s the rest of it? It should be twice this size”. He showed me a full example of a form. The last thing I wanted was an argument so I took the form back and said “just give us four dailies”. She rattled off four dailies. One of my friends went to pay but it was £30 and something. That horrified him but I thought that this job of getting to the station to catch his train was just so complicated that we weren’t ever going to manage this at all at this rate. All we want is four tickets and it was turning into a right pantomime

I was in a butcher’s buying food for tea for about a dozen meals that I needed. He sat down with some huge piles of meat and began to give me things like brains of DH Lawrence etc. I wondered what on earth was going on because I was a vegan and he was giving me all these cuts of meat to eat for my tea

Anyway, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow and I don’t feel at all like it. As I said, I’m not going to be doing this journey again. I just can’t.

Friday 14th July 2023 – MY SAUSAGE BEANS AND CHIPS …

… tonight were absolutely excellent, and cheered me up after another miserable night.

And something rather unusual happened last night. I was in the middle of dictating a dream when suddenly there was silence and I then heard myself snoring. But strangely I was only asleep for about 8 minutes according to the timestamp and in that time I went off on another little ramble

That’s something that has never happened before, as far as I’m aware. I’ve gone back to sleep in the middle of dictating something but usually that has been that for quite a while.

All it all it was rather a mobile night and I was flat out when the alarm went off.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I had a chat with Liz – the first for a while – and then a listen to the dictaphone to unravel my voyages of the night. It was school holidays so we’d all gone down to Kent. We were in the sea just a little way offshore and there was a girl there but I can’t remember any more about it.

We were then discussing the football. In one of these second legs one team had changed its entire back line and gone with a completely different set of defenders and midfielders. While we were discussing it we learned that one of the football managers who’d been on the park a couple of days earlier had died during the night but we didn’t get round to working out which one it was

There was a group of us who had been to Shrewsbury for something, a concert or whatever. We’d met some Ukrainian refugees. At the end we said goodbye to everyone and set out to walk back to London. I was in charge, showing the way. At one point I took the wrong turning at a roundabout and found that we were going back towards the town centre. We had to turn round and walk back the way we’d just come, re-join our tracks and carry on out of the city into the countryside. As we were doing that a couple of people from our party disappeared. We found them in a restaurant on the side of the street where one of these refugee people was with his family. We had a lengthy chat with them. Just as we were leaving the woman took us aside to ask how many there were of us. She counted and there were 7. She said that it’s because her husband and her friend wanted to buy us all a present. We thought that was strange because we hardly knew them but she was completely adamant about it.

At some point in the proceedings my brother was involved. I had to take something to a town in Scotland in the car. The guy told me where to go but when I arrived there was no-one around. A couple of minutes later he rang me again to ask where I was. I told him that I’d been there but didn’t see anyone. I was sitting in the side of this street for quite a while. In the end he agreed to come to find me where I was. he said something about a red engine but what I had in the back of my van was certainly not a red engine. I wondered if I had the correct thing. There was something in this town that I had to take away. I said to my brother “if I end up not dropping off this engine I’ll need someone else to take away this other thing”. He said that he’d do it for the petrol money. I told him to mark down his mileage. Then I had to sit and wait for this person to turn up.

I’d kidnapped a girl and was going to take her back to my camp. We set out to walk back to my camp. She was complaining that her feet were hurting. With my conjuring trick I summoned up some shoes and socks … fell asleep here … we were walking up the side of this motorway but she said that her feet were hurting so I magicked up a pair of suitable shoes and socks that she put on and said that it was so much better

While I was asleep in the middle of that dream I was kitting out an ambulance. There was an attendant who was rather miserable like Goldstein in The Navy Lark who was always moaning. We were kitting out this second ambulance to replace Caliburn. The idea was to take it for an MoT without saying that it’s mine to see whether it makes any difference and then start to arrange all the stuff. We’d be able to put away the stuff but it was all in some kind of haphazard order. I wanted it tidying out but the orderly guy was rather upset. I told him just to get on with it, we’ll do some and he can do the rest. He didn’t like the order in which I was putting stuff in the van but that was a shame, too bad. He made a few comments but I didn’t really take all that much notice about them

There was more to it than that too but you really don’t want to know about it right now, especially if you are eating your meal.

It was just as well that I’d done that homework last night and some revision this morning because in our Welsh lesson we were thrown straight in. We were hard at it all day but even so we didn’t finish the course. We missed out quite a bit.

Still, I don’t suppose that you can have everything.

It’s over now so I have a couple of weeks to forget everything before my month of full-time education begins. That should be fun on Zoom too and I’ll probably be worn to a frazzle by the end of it.

When it was all over I had my hot chocolate and home-made biscuits and then I relaxed somewhat.

In an on-line library I found the diary of Dr Eliot Curwen so I borrowed it for a read.

There was no Government medical service on the Labrador coast until, would you believe, 1982. In 1892 Wilfred Grenfell had come out from the UK as part of the Mission to Deep-Sea Fishermen and he was so appalled by the poverty that he saw that he left the Mission, set up the International Grenfell Association to provide medical care.

Rather than having a hospital to which the people could travel (although there were eventually a couple created) the hospital travelled to the people. It was actually a small steam-boat in which he and his “WOPs” – volunteers who came “with-out pay” – worked up and down the coast

Grenfell was really something of a showman and entertainer and so his published accounts should be interpreted carefully, but Curwen, who came out as a WOP on Grenfell’s second voyage was a naïve, innocent college graduate from a well-heeled background and the distaste and horror of what he saw oozed from every page.

He recounts one occasion where he tried to photograph a family but the father wouldn’t let the children come out of their sod hut. He eventually found the reason – and that was that the children didn’t have one single item of clothing between them.

There’s a story of a father who tramped the countryside for miles trying to find food for his starving family. Returning unsuccessfully, he chased his wife and eldest children away from the house as they could manage independently, killed his three youngest children with an axe and then shot himself.

At roughly the same time as this, Captain William Kennedy, captain of HMS Druid out on Fisheries patrol off the Labrador coast wrote in his autobiography “these poor trampled-down folk, who never see a coin of the realm, are told they are British subjects. It’s an idle mockery. Under the truck system they are ground down and half starved, having often nothing but corn-cake and molasses to eat in the winter, and not sufficient clothing to enable them to withstand the rigorous climate at that season … On our visits round the island, we met with sights enough to sicken us, and make us ashamed to think that these poor creatures were British subjects like ourselves.”

Labrador didn’t become part of Canada until 1949. Prior to that it was a British colony

As I said earlier, tea was delicious. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I run out of British baked beans because those elsewhere taste totally different. In Canada for example the tins are packed full of corn syrup and taste awful. They aren’t all that much better over here.

Tomorrow I’m shopping, if the weather has improved. It was horrible today with storms, high winds, gusts of rain, just about everything that you don’t really want in mid-July. If necessary I can stay in because I have sufficient to keep me going but I’ll go stir-crazy if I don’t go out.

It reminds me of four years ago when we were on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR on our Arctic Expedition for 3 months and everyone was developing Cabin Fever by the end of it.

It has to be said that it would have been a much better voyage if a couple of people I could think of hadn’t been on it. But there again, they would probably say the same thing about me.

Friday 12th May 2023 – AS BARRY HAY …

… once famously said – “What else can I say except IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO BE BACK HOME

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … out of all of the places where I have ever lived, the only place where I’ve ever experienced homesickness when I’ve been away is this beautiful building here with the spectacular scenery and wonderful neighbours.

Mind you, it was a struggle to get back here. having crowed so lustily about the outward trip, the return was nothing like the same.

It always seems to be at railway stations where it all seems to go wrong, as witness my rather dramatic and spectacular fall on a railway station in Montreal in October.

And so it was today. To pass through the automatic barriers at the Metro at the Gare du Nord in Paris you have to move smartly. I wasn’t smart enough and ended up being trapped as the barriers closed between me and my backpack. It took the combined efforts of three passers-by to free me from my trap.

And the struggle was clearly far too much for me because I had another bad fall straight away afterwards, and a couple of people had to pick me up because I couldn’t pick myself up.

One of the guys was going my way so he took my backpack and helped me onto the Metro as far as Montparnasse. Ahh well.

As usual, when I have a reason to leave the bed, I have a fitful restless night. And so it was last night. But when the alarm went off at 06:25 I was up quite quickly.

Once I’d packed, I was down to the railway station and as usual with the SNCB it was an antediluvian AM80 that came in this morning and I have all kinds of difficulties climbing into one of those. And climbing out at Gare du Midi in Brussels too.

The TGV was already in but they wouldn’t let us board for ages. And we had a “security issue” that delayed the loading even more.

The train did however set off on time and I spent the journey doing some research for my High Arctic photos of 2019. And you have to admire the naming conventions of James Rae as he roamed around the High Arctic explaining his reasons for the names that he gave to the geographical features that he encountered, such as, for example, Bence Jones Island in the Rae Strait “after the distinguished medical man and analytical chemist of that name, to whose kindness I and my party were much indebted for having proposed the use of, and prepared, some extract of tea for the expedition.’”.

One of the Inuit ladies I encountered on Devon Island gave me some of her native Labrador Tea to try. I shall probably have to name my new apartment after her because the tea was “much enjoyed”. She was so pleased that I enjoyed it that she performed a drum dance for STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I’m sure that you think that I’m making this up.

At the Gare du Nord I had my “issues” but with an aching leg and wounded pride I made it down the Rue du Départ to Montparnasse and my train without encountering anyone I know. And with catching a later train out of Brussels this morning I didn’t have long to wait.

The train was acually half-empty but for some reason they had me sharing a seat with someone. But once I was sure that evryone who was on was on, I went across the gangway and had a seat all to myself.

At Granville we pulled into one of the older platforms that the Caen-Rennes diesels use and with our train being higher you’ve no idea the struggle that I had to exit the train.

The leg is definitely weakened though because hauling myself into Caliburn was a struggle and I was back to how I was in January without the force to press the brake pedal properly. As I’ve said before, each time that I have a fall, it takes longer and longer to recover.

back here I made a nice strong coffee and came in here to collapse in a chair, from where I didn’t move for hours.

Earlier on, I mentioned my restless night. Tons of stuff on the dictaphone to prove it too. I’d bought a property last night. I’d paid a lot of money for it but I could afford it. It was in rural Normandy somewhere. We were discussing plans to move into it etc but I wanted to have a closer look at what was involved. I managed to dig up an old sale brochure for it from years ago where there was a house, an annexe and a Plaxton Embassy-bodied coach that had been converted into a race car transporter with some kind of car that had been modified for racing. There was a big garage and workshop area. I thought that this was absolutely fine if I could find someone else to come to share it with me. We’d be away with all of this if it turns out to be the same kind of place.

Someone wanted a letter posting but for various reasons they weren’t able to do it. They asked me if I would go. After much persuasion I went on the pushbike. The first thing that I noticed was that there were no brakes on it. I thought that I’d be really running a risk going all the way to the post box particularly as I’d have to cycle through Crewe town centre. But cycle I did, nearly knocking people over, taking wide turns and nearly ending up on the wrong side of the traffic island. I eventually reached the cinema which was absolutely packed because there was an extremely controversial film being shown. There were 2 pillar poxes outside, one of which had a stamp machine attached. I didn’t know which pillar box to put the letter because the time of the collections was exactly the same. It looked as if they were both receiving the correct attention. In the end I simply put it in the newer one of the two.

And then I was in a fast-food restaurant last night in the USA. I tool a banana. There was a guy there mopping the floor. He took three bananas and put them on the scales with mine. I told him to clear off and it led to a strange argument where he insisted that I was paying for his bananas. The clerk behind the counter also thought that I was. We had something of an argument for about 5 minutes. In the end I took my banana off the scales, pout $0:60 down on the countertop and began to walk away. That ended up into another discussion that turned out to be much more friendly and I’d no idea why. We ended up talking about shift rotas etc. The cashier showed me how her shift rota worked and how she had to change a few things round. I bet that you’re really enjoying these exciting moments.

We were working on something for the radio. We needed a troupe of dancing children. We recruited a couple of kids whom we knew but we were short on numbers. I went past a sports field and there was a group of kids there. There were two who were controlling the crowd and dancing in time to some music that was going on in the background, a boy and a girl. They looked quite good so I thought that I’d go over to talk to them. I went over and said “hello”. They replied “we aren’t allowed to talk to strange men” … “obviously your reputation is spreading wider than you realise” – ed … “and there’s no teacher here at the moment”. I said “no problem. The headmaster knows me from something else so I’ll give you a note, you can give it to him and he’ll decide what to do”. The idea was to write a little note to the headmaster say what was happening and take the matter from there. Going through my pockets, first of all I couldn’t find a pen. I asked if anyone had a pen. One of the people standing around, I could see that he had some pens in this top pocket but he didn’t volunteer. Eventually I borrowed one from someone but then I couldn’t find any paper on which to write. I thought “here I am snatching defeat from the jaws of victory yet again!”.

Finally I wanted a new ladder so I was going to go to the DiY shop. Half a dozen people said that they wanted things so we all piled into my van and went. I bought my ladder and a couple of things. Someone else bought a roof ladder etc. Then I had to go to pay for it. Then we’d all go to sit in someone’s car. There were quite a few people crowded around in cars and it was really cramped. I told the driver to pull down the road and stop. I had to pay with a credit card. he said “ohh not another credit card”. I replied that it’s far better walking around the streets with a credit card than a wad of cash. I was about to give him a few other good reasons but the guy in the back began to be annoyed because we were driving through an area full of local police. For some reason he didn’t want to involve them. The guy in this car wasn’t going to stop. It looked as if he was going to take me all the way home to drop off this ladder and for me to pay him. Then of course I had to return to pick up everyone else and pick up Caliburn. I thought “for just a simple ladder, this is something else that’s becoming extremely complicated” and that wouldn’t be a first time, would it?

Tea was sausage chips and beans – some of the vegan sausages that I’d bought in Jersey and beans with vegan cheese now that I’ve found a reliable and hopefully constant source.

But I dunno about going to bed because as usual after all of this effort I can’t relax. Back in the old days when I was stressed out after chauffeuring around Brussels I’d go for a long run around the area where I lived. These days though I couldn’t even run for my life.

Saturday 4th February 2023 – AND I WAS DOING …

… so well too.

But once again, this afternoon, I crashed out for half an hour or so and that effectively disrupted me completely. I really did think that I’d gone beyond that.

It was probably something to do with the night that I had had, which was later than usual and coupled with difficulties about going to sleep once I was finally in bed.

And I was off on quite a few voyages during the night too. There was something about a woman who was on Death Row back in the 19th Century for having strangled a teacher. It turned out that it wasn’t her but someone else. He’d arranged the crime so that it looked as if she’d done it. He was being blackmailed by this teacher for something or other and wanted to put an end to it all so he put an end to the teacher. Then he came in to gloat over the woman before she went off to be hanged. There was also something about a sale on eBay of a place infested with rats etc. It turned out to be a Ford garage that had closed down years ago. It was full of old Ford bits and pieces, spare parts etc. While we were all watching the video of this particular place I wrote a note to someone who was there, saying “this is how my place is going to look in 20 years time”.

Following that, I’d been in Canada and the USA. It was a Sunday and I was flying back on the Tuesday so I had to drive to Montreal, hand back my hire car and find a place to stay for the night and then fly back to Europe. When I came back I went to the radio offices and there had been a few changes. They had agreed to let a girl whom I used to know interview a few people. I had one or two projects in mind that she could do so I said that I’d go to see her. Someone else said that they would come along and bring the equipment. I set off up the stairs to her office under the eaves. When I arrived there was one of her daughters and someone else. I said “have you seen your mother?”. They replied “no, she’s gone in the air ambulance”. I asked “what’s happened?”. They replied “someone has been injured over at the nail bar”. I said “but the nail bar is only just there across the car park”. “Oh yes, they have had to go to the person’s home”. Just at that moment the other person came into the office so I said “yes well some people will do absolutely anything for a ride in a helicopter”. It looked as if we weren’t going to make any progress at all on that particular day with that particular plan.

In fact, what happened during that little voyage was exactly as she would have behaved in real life in similar circumstances.

At some point during the night I awoke because of a stabbing pain in my right knee. But then back in this dream with that woman again again after I’d sorted out the pain in my right knee there was something about bringing more animals around to be shared out amongst the different offices. I wondered what animal we’d put in her room – whether we’d put something like a gorilla. It would be quite a handful for her to handle if of course she didn’t get the better of it first

Later on I was back in this dream yet again, at the radio we’d gone out to try to interview a few people about various things. The weather was really poor so in the end we didn’t go out because there wouldn’t be anyone there. I was chatting to a girl who worked at the radio. She said that the bad weather didn’t seem to stop me going outside and started to call me a few uncomplimentary names working her way through the alphabet for a name with each initial. I stopped her when she reached round about “D” or “E” because I couldn’t see the point in her continuing. She had made her point. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

And finally I was round at my niece’s last night although it was in the UK. We’d gone to discuss a few things. It was in the evening after we’d had a meal and I was feeling rather tired. I had a girl with me. I don’t know who she was but she might have been Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear in these pages half as often as she deserves. We were all sitting there basically doing our own thing listening to the radio and the adverts. When an advert for a certain delivery company came on the radio I explained to the girl with me that that was where my niece’s’s daughter worked (which she actually does). This girl was confused about which daughter because there’s a choice of three. It went on like this for a while. In the end she suddenly announced that she was tired. We hadn’t actually done anything which was rather disappointing but I could understand how she was feeling because I was far too tired to do anything. I’d just sat there and done nothing. I think that my niece was rather fed up too and had wandered off to do her own thing somewhere else in the room so it was no surprise that this girl was totally bored.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was up and out of bed reasonably promptly despite how I was feeling, and how I’m looking forward to a really good lie-in tomorrow. That’s because I’ve had a really busy day today and accomplished quite a lot.

For a start, most of the morning has been spent finishing off the notes for the two radio programmes that I’ll be preparing, and I even went as far as to dictate them and upload them onto the computer for editing. That’s what I call working hard.

Next step was to find what I needed for this money transfer. And that’s not easy too because the paperwork that they want doesn’t exist. This afternoon I spoke to people at both the banks concerned and they agreed to send me some information that they think might do. And I hope that it does too because it’s important.

And then there were the notes of my nocturnal voyages to deal with. Plenty of those, as you have seen already.

It was round about here that I crashed out, which was rather unfortunate. I was quite a long way away with the fairies and even when I finally awoke it took me a good while to gather up my wits, something that is quite surprising considering how few wits I still possess these days.

Once more, another lovely, delicious tea. We had one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like with a baked potato and some salad. I’ve really got the hang of all of this now and my meals are looking much nicer.

So now, not only am I up-to-date, I’m actually ahead of myself at the moment. I really can treat myself to a day off tomorrow and how I’m looking forward to that. But something will come along to disrupt me, I’m sure of that. It usually does.

And next week I’m hoping that Caliburn will be back and I can get on with organising myself properly as I would like to, even doing a lap or two around the shops if I’m lucky. Things are looking up.

Tuesday 11th October 2022 – THE CAT SAT …

… on the mat, as the old saying goes.

But this morning, she didn’t. As I found out when I went to sit on the chair to take part in my Welsh lesson.

Of course, at 05:55 it’s quite dark and you can’t see all that much. And as I’m half asleep anyway and my eyes aren’t focusing properly after another miserable night, seeing a black cat on a dark blue chair is not easy.

However, she soon let me know that she was there. Poor Cujo, the Killer Cat.

The Welsh lesson itself was quite awful. I wasn’t in the mood, I was tired, I was having to juggle computer screens around and at one point my microphone stopped working. I was really glad when the lesson ground to a halt.

cujo the killer cat centreville new brunswick Canada Eric Hall photo 11th October 2022Cujo the Killer Cat had forgiven me for my faux pas earlier because during the first part of the lesson she was on my knee.

She cleared off at some point but as soon as the lesson ended she came back again. For an hour or so while I was dozing after the lesson I didn’t mind but when I wanted to work she just sat on the laptop on my knees and that was that.

No chance whatever of actually doing any work this morning so I relaxed instead.

Later on, I went for a shower and a clothes-washing session, and having rounded up all of the felines, I hung up my clothes in the wind. Then Strider, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I headed for Woodstock.

And by the time we got … errr … etc. etc.

This sunroof is enormous. It only just fits into the back of Strider. It’s heavy too and sending it back to Europe is going to be astronomical. Buying it hit the limit on my bank card so that’s grounded out right now and I had to use my European card for the balance.

It was a good job that I had some cash on me for my purchases at Sobey’s afterwards.

From there I drove to Florenceville to go to the bank to sort out my card, but I wonder is any of the regular readers of this rubbish would recall which day of the week is the one when the Scotia Bank closes early?

Round to the mill in Centreville to see what was happening there but, falling asleep, I ended up going back home for a coffee and a doze.

There was time before tea to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. I had joined some kind of internet chat room but the nickname that I had chosen, I didn’t really want to advertise so I only published it as a form of coded URL so that only a certain few people would be able to know the URL and know that it was me but that’s really all that I remember of this at the moment

I should mention somewhere that Hannah and Jake were involved in this but I can’t remember how or why.

But I remember a bit more about that dream now. We were having a party somewhere in North America. I’d had a friend on the internet, a girl whom I knew. They wee talking about travelling so I said that if ever they were to find themselves in the UK they can come to Crewe and I’d be quite happy to put them up, cook a meal, that sort of thing. She said that that wouldn’t be possible because she and her partner were lesbians. The authorities would look very dimly on the idea of a pair of lesbians travelling with a very young girl and sharing accommodation with her, that kind of thing. They needed to be very careful about it which I thought was ridiculous.

Tea was a burger with baked potatoes and the left-over beans from yesterday’s brunch. I had a long chat with Darren and when Rachel came home we had a good chat too.

But right now I’m off to bed. It’s early but I’m exhausted and I have a long day tomorrow. I need to be on form, and I also need to avoid sitting on any cats. If they want to sit on me, that’s fine. But not the other way round.

Friday 9th September 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that it seemed as if Summer is over now for the rest of the year.

This morning, after I awoke, I went and closed the window in the living room – the first time that it’s been closed since my return from Leuven in August.

And the only reason that I closed it then was because I didn’t want to come back home and find that a family of seagulls had taken up residence.

le coelacanthe la grande ancre ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so as Le Coelacanthe and Le Grande Ancre struggle through the storm towards the harbour, I’m struggling to heave myself out of my stinking pit.

And to my surprise it was a little easier today than it has been of late. Not that I wasn’t tired, just that I had rather more resolution than I’ve had in the past and where that came from I’ve really no idea.

Having had the medication this morning, I had a rather slow, desultory session of transcribing the dictaphone notes. And that was quite confusing as it seems that somehow I’ve managed to miss recording a dream somewhere.

I was heading off somewhere and who should come bouncing down the road but Zero? We started to talk and she told me about how things were at home. She was telling me that amongst other things she really wasn’t getting on well with her father. All he was doing was staying at home moaning about the money, the rent, about prices and his wife going out all the time amongst everything else. She was pretty much fed up of it. She started to tell me all kinds of things like that. She was standing really close to me, probably no more than half an inch or so. We set off to walk into Crewe and ended up at Edleston Road near the old NUR club. That was when the dream ended which was a shame and I tried my very very best not to let it finish.

And then I was at the River Neva at Leningrad. It was really, really wide but it was basically some kind of flood plain that had flooded which was so wide and the river itself was fairly narrow. I was waiting there trying to cross but there was no way of crossing so it looked as if I was going to have to swim. A young Russian girl came along and asked me in English if she could come with me. I replied “sure” and I jumped in. I found an old light deal table and was pushing that in front of me. She asked me why so I told her “this river is enormous and I’m going to have to stop for a break halfway through. If my feet can’t hit the floor I need something on which to sit”. In the end we reached the dyke and set off to walk down the dyke across the river into town. She was talking to me about the city and how no-one has any money any more, how it’s sad etc. Of course I’d heard all these stories before. I began to wonder to myself what it is that she’s doing. Why would she want to be with me? Why is she being so nice to me etc?”. There had to be something going on here that is beyond my comprehension for the moment.

To continue my dream about my father (and which dream was that?) the biscuit rolled off itself down South Street past “Up The Junction” and this girl and I were forced to run after it and try to catch it before it hit the main road.

This final part was rather embarrassing last night. I went to stay at a guest house where I usually stay, somewhere round the Wardle/Barbridge area. On my way I popped into a house to see the people and the husband of this guest house was there. We chatted away but in the end I decided that I’d have to leave. But I completely forgot to ask him if he had a room free. It didn’t enter into my mind. I drove round to that house and went in. There was only a young girl there making herself some food. I started to assemble the bed in the spare room as I would normally do. She came in, looked at me and said “I think that you’re going to get yourself in trouble”. I asked why and she replied “you’ve not told anyone that you’re coming, have you?”. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t, and here I was making myself comfortable in someone’s room. I had to wait for the landlady to come back but she didn’t come back. Lunch was served and they even managed to find me some food even though I wasn’t expected. I settled down for a long wait until the landlady came in. It was ever so embarrassing having gone and assumed for myself that I could stay and organised a room in which I wanted to sleep without asking a single person.

So Zero made an appearance last night. And how nice that was to see a familiar face. She should appear more often. And the tales that she was telling me last night were really quite true as well. The times that she had in real life confided in me all kinds of stories of things that happened at home.

By the way, that wasn’t all that went on during the night, the missing dream notwithstanding. But honestly you wouldn’t thank me for posting the rest, especially if you’re eating your meal right now.

le coelacanthe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While you are looking at another photo of em>Le Coelacanthe, I was off to finish off the tidying up in the living room.

That was quite a battle too but now it actually looks as if someone lives here. It’s not been as clean or looking as nice as this for quite some considerable time. Just one or two bits to finish off but after all of that effort I ran out of steam and that’s hardly a surprise. I was glad to sit down again.

After the fruit I sat down and bashed away at the trip to Jersey. I’ve still not set foot ashore but I’ve managed now to complete over 20% of the photos that need doing. It’s a slow process but it’ll be good when it’s finished.

At least, I hope that it will.

It does remind me of the story about the destroyer that was having no end of difficulty manoeuvring during a fleet exercise in World War II.
“What on earth do you think you are you doing?” asked the exasperated admiral.
“Learning a lot” was the reply.

And I’m certainly learning a lot.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Still, there’s a time for fishing and a time for mending the nets. Right now it’s “walkies” … “staggeries, more like” – ed.

As usual I staggered across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. and with it now being autumn in all but name I wasn’t expecting to see much.

There were a few people down there this afternoon but no-one was sunbathing. I was in my shirt sleeves but they were dressed for colder weather. And in a few weeks, if not sooner, I’ll be doing the same thing.

tractor trailer fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Having satisfied myself with events on this side of the headland I went across the road to the other side.

The first thing that I noticed was the tractor and its trailer on the ramp underneath the fish processing plant. That would seem to indicate that the little Les Bouchots de Chausey is on her way into port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen the trailer loaded up to the sky with crates of shellfish. And one of these days I really will follow it to find out just where it goes when it’s loaded.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The second thing that I noticed was the storm that was raging out at sea.

The spray over the base of Le Loup – the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour – wasn’t as impressive as we have seen it in the past but you have to remember that the tide is quite far out at the moment.

It’ll be much more impressive in an hour’s time but by them I’m hoping to be tucked up back at home with a glass of warm Wincarnis.

They used to do Phyllosan that fotifies the over-forties. Why can’t they do stuff that will sixtify the over-sixties?.

le coelacanthe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022A little earlier we saw a couple of photos of Le Coelacanthe out in the Baie de Granville looking as if she’s heading for port

However as she came past the headland she did a marvellous little U-turn and headed back out to sea. A closer look revealed that she had her nets out.

Since the issues about fishing out in the bay in waters that have been unilaterally claimed by the Channel Islands, we’ve seen them fishing in all kinds of strange places but I can’t recall anyone having been fishing just there.

We are living in strange times indeed.

le tibériade baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So that was the story of Le Coelacanthe.

We saw her the other day moored at the Fish Processing Plant with her sister Le Tibériade. The two are clearly inseparable because a few minutes after she went past, Le Tibériade appeared from behind the headland.

She had her nets out too by the looks of things because she did the same U-turn and headed off back out around the headland into the Baie de Granville. I wonder how long they’ll be keeping it up, or is this just something to fill in the time while they are waiting for the harbour gates to open?

la grande ancre baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022right at the beginning when we saw Le Coelacanthe coming across the bay followed by La Grande Ancre.

Not long after we’d seen the two trawlers in action, La Grande Ancre came around the headland too. But she didn’t perform a U-turn like the others. Instead, she carried on towards the harbour.

She still has the lighter on her deck that she had the other day when we saw her, and there’s a pile of fishing equipment in it.

What caught my eye though was the sailor sitting on the lighter. In the rough weather like we are having just now that can’t be a very secure place to be.

les bouchots de chausey baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Coming in a couple of minutes behind La Grande Ancre was another one of our old friends, one that I was expecting to arrive.

And sure enough, into port fighting her was through the waves came Les Bouchots de Chausey. You can see how rough it is there with her being tossed around there like a cork.

She must have quite a load on if she’s coming in so early in the tide. They wouldn’t send the tractor and trailer for half a load and in any case, she’d stay out as long as possible to make sure that it was worth her while to come home.

le poulbot pescadore peccavi chant des sirenes massabielle le styx chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While I was watching the arrivals into port, I also happened to notice yet another change over at the chantier naval.

It was a slow, agonising walk down there to the viewpoint but I went all the same. It was worth the crawl because I now know why Le Poulbot was moved to sit in front of Le Styx yesterday.

That’s because previously she was in front of la Soupape and that latter has now been put back into the water. In fact Le Poulbot has now taken her place.

And where she was, there is now the trawler Massabielle. It’s her turn to have a good working-over.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On my way down to the chantier naval I heard an old couple sitting on the wall talking about the Ile de Chausey.

When I hobbled back I noticed that they now had a brochure in their sweaty little mitts and were making plans. And it looks as if there are still plans to be made because one of the Joly France ferries is already at the quayside ready for an early start tomorrow morning.

One glance at the windows of the boat is sufficient to tell us which one she is. With her windows in “portrait” and not “landscape” format, she’s the newer one of the two.

The other two aren’t around anywhere just now so they must still be out at the island.>br clear=”both”>

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On my way home I stopped to look at what was happening now in port.

La Grande Ancre was not only in port now, she was actually tied up and they were beginning to unload her. That was what I called “quick work”.

Alongside her is Les Bouchots de Chausey. She wasn’t loitering around either. She’l be tied up and unloading in a minute too.

No-one interrupted me on my walk back home today. And now that summer is over, it’s coffee time and I’ll finish the ginger beer another time.

The Trip to Jersey will be finished another time too. You’ve no idea how time-consuming it is to do what I want to do and there’s tea to prepare.

Sausage beans and chips with real baked beans and they were really delicious. Those sausages and beans that I bought in St Helier really are the business.

And then I had to send some info to someone before I could start on writing my notes, hence they are rather late tonight.

Tomorrow I’m in a rush so I’ll just nip to LIDL early, I reckon. They open at 08:30 and if I’m lucky I’ll be there at the door when they open. So this means that the phone will probably upgrade tonight and switch itself off.

It wouldn’t be for the first time, would it?

Friday 2nd September 2022 – I’VE JUST HAD …

yellow powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… one of the most delicious meals that I’ve had for quite a while.

So while you admire a couple of photos of the little yellow powered hang glider that caught me unawares not once but twice this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

And what I can say is that it was a pretty good move to buy those four tins of baked beans in St Helier the other day, and the vegan sausage that I bought were way beyond excellent, all washed down with chips and the malt vinegar that I’ve had here for a while

It’s been years since I’ve had real baked beans. The European ones are quite insipid and even the “English-recipe” ones that I buy in North America are nothing like these.

And the “proper” American ones are awful – packed so full of sugar that they are disgusting. So the cheap Morrisons ones went down a treat.-

yellow powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022last night wasn’t quite so much of a treat though.

For some reason that I have yet to understand, the computer fired itself up at 03:20 and it goes without saying that that awoke me bolt up right. A while later I had a bad attack of cramp, the first time for years since I’ve been taking these magnesium tablets,

And not only that. There was a problem with the elastic knee support that cut into my leg and the elastic ankle support that cut into my big toe that awoke me each time and in the end I took them both off.

Add to that the fact that I was off on my travels during the night and you can understand why it wasn’t a treat going to bed.

Waking up was even worse and I struggled to take to my feet. I beat the second alarm but not very much.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. No Zero unfortunately, and neither was there any TOTGA or Castor. We’d opened some kind of specialty shop somewhere or other and it had gradually evolved into a whole range of things like a corner shop, café, restaurant etc. There was a great wish to try to keep it ethical but one of the partners ended up having an affair with someone on the quiet. Things were not going right at all. Someone buttonholed the female partner of the business and started to talk about ethics. The complaint of course was that he preached ethics but didn’t practise them because of this, this and this. This set the woman thinking. The next thing we knew was that a couple of people left to go travelling. She’s there in her little house that she built herself at the side of the bus station instead of the company premises that were there. Someone from the company asked “do you have enough small change for 2 tills?”. She replied “yes”. 2 women came over and shook hands and thanked her for giving them the opportunity to take over and run this ethical business. She was walking away from it after her principles had been betrayed.

There were 2 people who were supposed to be busking in the street. One was a girl hitting a piece of scaffolding pipe with a scaffolding joint. The second one was a guy and I’m sure that he had a guitar but I couldn’t see it. They were arguing about things that were going wrong and not performing. I stood there watching them for a couple of minutes until my partner dragged me away. She asked what i was doing. I replied “those 2 look interesting from a music point of view”. I wanted to go to give them my card but she put her foot down about people behaving like that being friends of ours. I had to convince her that the world was full of personal and petty disputes etc. That’s nothing to what I’ve seen in the past. She wasn’t really interested but I still had this strong temptation to back and make myself known to them and see what could be developed between the 3 of us at least.

Later on I was with someone and going through this list of songs that I had that were on my playlist for some reason or other, checking which ones they were and why they were there. We only had three organised before I had this dramatic pain in my big toe that I mentioned earlier so I don’t know what that was going to do. That was a shame because it sounded as if it might have been exciting.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while a zodiac goes past out in the bay, I was on a bus or a plane even going somewhere. It was the time when my radio programme was being broadcast. There were 2 guys sitting in front whom I could hear talking. They were talking about a previous broadcast so I couldn’t be sure which one was being broadcast so I had a listen. I could identify it from about 3 seconds of music and thought “this is the correct one being broadcast today”. I put the headphones back and started to ferret around in my briefcase for the green file in which I keep all the information. The girl next to me was rather irritated and asked “you aren’t searching for something else are you?”. I replied “yes but I promise you that this is the last thing”. She said “we can swap places if you like”. I replied “no, I’m quite comfortable where I am. It will be the very last thing I promise you that I’ll be looking for”. Then I was looking through the papers and found that the paper that I wanted wasn’t in the file. Just then the alarm went off.

The rest of the day was spent mainly going through the photos from Jersey. Not that I’ve done very many at all because much of the time was spent researching what it was that I’d photographed. And even though there’s a long, long way to go, I’ve been able to identify many of the features that show up so clearly when I see them from here, and that was the aim of the trip in the first place.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regardless of how I’m feeling, I still went outside this afternoon.

And as usual I staggered across the car park to see what was going on down on the beach. And there seemed to be plenty of all of that too with quite a few people down there enjoying themselves today.

They certainly had better weather for it too. The sun was out, there wasn’t very much wind and with everyone else now back at work or at school, there aren’t the crowds of heaving msses with which everyone has to contend.

shtandart baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What also caught my eye quite early on too were the sails that I could see in the distance.

It’s not Marité of course but the Russian sailing ship Shtandart that came in here for the Festival of Working Sailing Ships. and I don’t know why she’s still here either because the Festival has now finished of course.

Here’s hoping that she’s not going to be moving in here permanently. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not actually overwhelmed to see her in here. But then it’s not my decision.

buses place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There seems to be something rather bizarre happening with the buses.

The bus that we saw parked in a strange position yesterday was there again this afternoon. But it’s not the service bus on a layover because as I watched, the service bus pulled in at the usual bus stop, discharged some, picked up others and then cleared off again on its route.

And when I came back from my little crawl around later, she was still there too so there’s something strange happening here with the local buses.

That’s something else that I’ll need to check. It it’s here tomorrow I shall go and engage the driver in conversation

unidentified light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Right now though there was an aeroplane flying by overhead.

Regrettably I couldn’t quite read its registration number so I’ve no idea who it might be. But it begins with “OO” and that’s a series of numbers assigned to Belgium so it’s strange to see it out here.

She wasn’t picked up on the civilian radar either.

Now that I have access to the records of a few more airfields I could cast my net further around but there’s no aeroplane of any similar registration anywhere and so that would seem to be that.

delta airlines Airbus A330-223 N857NW baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022No such problems with this aeroplane though. I didn’t need much help with this one.

She’s N857NW, an Airbus A330-223 owned by Delta Airlines and took off two and a half hours late at 15:59 from Paris Charles de Gaulle on flight DL 265 to JFK Airport, New York.

The delay incidentally was caused by the late arrival of the outbound flight DL264, although why a 40-minute delay in arriving should put it back by that much is rather strange. But at least it had a nice clear sky in which to fly back.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The way that I’m feeling right now, I’m not going aroind the headland.

Cliniging on to a series of stone walls in case I might fall, I made my way slowly to the viewpoint overlooking the port. And at least we can confirm that Marité isn’t out at sea hidden in the haze. She’s moored up in her usual place at the end of the inner harbour.

Also in there this afternoon are la Grande Ancre ,Chausiaise and Victor Hugo. Obviously the trip out to St Helier with me on Wednesday was far too much for the latter ship.

Plenty of trawlers in there this afternoon too. They must be having a day off today.

le soupape pescadore peccavi trafalgar chant des sirenes ch639133 le poulbot charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022In the meantime I noticed that there’s a change in occupancy at the chantier naval so I gingerly inched my way in that direction.

All of the usual suspects, le soupape , trafalgar , peccavi , trafalgar , chant des sirenes and charlevy are still in there but there’s another boat come to join them.

Her name isn’t visible from here but I can see her registration number. It’s CH639133 and that tells me that she’s Le Poulbot.

Although her registration number is quite old, built in 1986, we haven’t seen her before. Apparently she seems to spend much of her time in Fécamp.

le roc a la mauve 3 joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With Victor Hugo and Chausiaise being in the inner harbour I had a quick look over to see who was at the ferry terminal.

All that I could see was the new Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. Judging by the windows in “portrait” format, it’s the newer one of the two.

In the foreground in Le Roc à La Mauve III and we know all about her because we saw her in the chantier naval for quite a long time.

Back here I had a coffee, finished off what I was doing and then went for tea. My delicious meal of vegan sausage, chips and beans. And I’ll have plenty more of that in due course. I have set plans afoot.

Later on, there was football in the Welsh Premier League – Caernarfon Twon v Airbus UK Broughton. Promoted for this season, Airbus are pretty much up against it already. Yet to take a point after four matches.

And today they didn’t help themselves very much, going down 3-1 in a score that very much flattered Caernarfon. But then experience will always tell.

It wasn’t as if Airbus played badly either.

Their goal really summed up their misfortune. Caernarfon had a bucket-load of corners but as usual these days, the delivery towards the goal was pretty dismal. Airbus won just two or three but the deliveries were peaches and one of them was a free header that led to their goal.

The margin between winning and losing is wafer-thin. We had two identical situations with one-on-ones in front of goal. Josh Tibbetts saved the one on the Caernarfon goal but Mike Jones didn’t.

And then when Caernarfon were awarded a penalty Mike Jones managed to stop it. But he couldn’t cling on and with 20 players to whom the ball could have rolled, it of course had to roll to an unmarked Cofi

Yes, when your luck is out, it’s well and truly out.

Bedtime now, very late, and shopping tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to that either. To be frank, I’m rather nervous about going out in case I have another fall. I know exactly now how a tortoise feels when it ends up upside-down. And it’s not very pleasant.

Wednesday 31st August 2022 – AND THAT, DEAR READER …

… is probably that!

Having been feeling a little better (both physically and mentally) this last week or so I decided today to pousser le bateau dehors as they might say around here, And I’ve had a day out.

What I was looking forward to was a good day out, and how I wish that it was. However my knee gave out again on the way out and luckily there was a handle to grab hold of.

On the way back I wasn’t so lucky. BOTH knees gave out and I couldn’t pick myself up at all no matter how hard I tried. It took two people to pick me up and sit me in a seat.

The walk back from the port took me almost an hour, taking baby steps and stopping frequently when my knees (and hips because they are now aching badly) gave out and clinging to everything to which I could cling. And I can’t climb steps with either leg now except if I’m grasping hold of something to pull me up.

Consequently I don’t think that I’ll be going far from now on.

Anyway, leaving aside the “feeling sorry for myself”” stage, let us begin. And I’ll “start at the very beginning – a very good place to start” as the old song goes.

So having gone to bed at some reasonably early time last night I was up and about at 07:00 when the alarm went off and the first thing that I did was to go and have a shower and a clean-up ready for the off.

Last night I’d packed my bag so I didn’t have too much to do and so at about 08:05 this morning I left the house, forgetting the secret supply of cash stashed away in Caliburn. And I was to regret that later.

There were quite a few people on the move today so I joined the crowd heading down the hill towards the town and then at the Rampe du Monte à Regret, like the KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE we each went our separate ways because there was a lot going on today.

And it was going down the ramp to the bottom that my right leg gave way but luckily I fell into the wall without hitting the ground. However it hurt like hell and I had to wait several minutes until I felt safe enough to move.

“This is a good start to the day” I thought to myself.

The wall across to the port and down the side of the quayside was agonising and I hoped that it would ease off. And there I pumped into my friend the captain of Normandy Trader and his family. I mentioned a while ago that there was no freight delivery while the Festival was on last week so he and his family had taken a holiday over here.

We joined the immense queue at the Ferry Terminal where we had to wait for what seemed like hours and then finally we could pick up our tickets.

Once in possession of our tickets we passed through passport control and a customs inspection and then had to wait for what seemed like yet more hours.

At passport control the guy there went to stamp my passport but I told him that I had a carte de séjour so he checked it and waved me through.

Finally Victor Hugo came around the corner from the inner harbour once the gates were opened and we could all pile on board.

Yes, that’s right. I’m off to St Helier. Living here all these years and never been once. Only three more sailings to go this year after this one but I can’t make any of them for a variety of reasons and who knows what next year might bring? So it’s now or never.

Not to mention the fact that I’ve been having all these reminders about my Arctic adventures just recently so I’ve really been hearing the call of the ocean and missing the touch of the salt spray on my lips.

We all had to sit inside and buckle up while the captain manoeuvred. Victor Hugo is a high-speed craft and walking about on board is not for the faint-hearted so it’s discouraged.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall several weeks ago that we saw Victor Hugo loitering around for quite some time off the end of the headland pointing towards Jersey. She did it again this morning. The cynic inside me suggested that now that they have rowed her out of the harbour they need to wind up the elastic band.

Once we were ready we shot off towards Jersey. I was given permission to go up to the upper deck and go outside. I was told that I had to remain seated and there was a large rubber collision buoy tied by the rails which made a comfortable seat.

And that reminds me. You might have to wait a while for the photos because there’s not much short of 100 that I took today and they all need editing.

It seemed to take quite a while to arrive at St Helier (not incidentally, pronounced as “Hell ‘ere”) and regrettably my seat was on the wrong side of the boat to photograph our arrival. But when the crewmen began to prepare for docking and were otherwise engaged I nipped over to the other side of the boar for a few photos.

There was another passenger on board who had difficulty walking so we helped each other to immigration. It seems to be miles to the terminal where immigration was quite painless.

From there it’s quite a long walk into the town and I wasn’t up to much of it but there’s a pop-up café that serves vegan food on the quayside where the pleasure boats tie up so I made for there. No snacks though – it was all main meals so I had a coffee and ate my crackers. I always buy packets of those and these are my emergency supplies when I’m travelling.

With no cash on me I headed to the bank where I drew out some money. Regrettably though the notes were endorsed “Bank of Jersey” so I’m going to be pretty limited as to where I can spend them.

The town centre of St Helier is actually quite nice. I did a recce of interesting sites and came across a healthfood shop that had inter alia “Old-time” vegan sausages. 16 of them went into my backpack and they’ll be in the freezer when I return home.

There were also some packs of hot-cross buns in one of the supermarkets there so I bought a pack of those for lunch.

An extremely long walk took me back into the town centre via the ferry terminal (I must learn to read the stuff that’s given to me) and outside the bus station waited for the “Vintage Bus” that was going to take me on my “Vintage Tour” of the eastern end of the island.

And you’ve no idea how disappointed I was when a single-decker Bristol LH turned up. And what does that make me when I was actually 21 years old when the “Vintage Bus” was built? That is really what I call “depressing”. and even more so when I found out that the bus was actually first registered as new when I was 23.

It was a beautiful drive out to St Catherine’s Pier at the extreme north-east of the island where we stopped for a look around. This pier and its installations were part of what the British Government hoped would be a good port for the Royal Navy but it took so long to build that steam had given way to coal and warships had evolved so much that there wasn’t enough draught in the harbour for the new generation of warships so it was abandoned.

We headed back down south along the coast and stopped for another break at Gorey, a beautiful little place where there’s a magnificent view of Mount Orgueil Castle

Back in town I bought an energy drink and went to sit down to eat some of my hot cross buns and have a drink. Following which I went off for a wander around the old harbour looking at what was happening there.

Before going back to the boat I went to one of the supermarkets. On my travels I’d seen some tins of real baked beans. British baked beans taste like no others in the World and having had a diet of European and North American ones for years and now that I have some real sausages, I put four tins of beans in my backpack as well. And if I could have carried them I would have had four more.

The walk back to the ferry terminal was agony. I was aching just about everywhere so it was a long, slow walk. And it was a good job that I decided to leave myself plenty of time because by now quite a wind was blowing and the sea was roughing up.

We left 20 minutes early straight into the wind. They let me upstairs and outside quite early on so I sat on the buoy and filmed our departure, and then took plenty of photos on the way back. I was joined by a young boy at some point who was quite interested in the geography and history of the area so we had quite a chat.

Standing up to go back inside as we pulled into port, this was where I had my fall and that was that, right in front of the President of the company that is now operating the line. A couple of crew members came, picked me up and sat me in a seat while we tied up.

Climbing the 30 steps up to the passport control was agonising, really agonising. Luckily it was the same passport control officer on duty so I gave him my carte de séjour along with my passport and that kept him happy.

As for the walk back here, I don’t really want to talk about it. I don’t think that I’ve ever been in so much difficulty. Climbing the stairs was even worse. Back here I collapsed into my chair and that was that until bedtime.

During the night though I’d travelled miles and it took me a while to transcribe all of the notes. I started off skiing. Things were just totally confusing. I had a bag of chips and some coffee etc. You had to enter this house by the 1st floor window. That was how the ski slope started. You had to climb up there and then ski down and keep on doing that all the time. I was in this queue with my bag of chips and my coffee but there were no ladders going up to the 1st floor windows. You had to lift yourself up with your arms onto a kind of ledge, push yourself up and in. I couldn’t do that, not in my state of health and with my chips and coffee etc. In the end the woman behind me gave me a leg up. Everyone was moaning because they all thought that I was pushing in the queue. By the time that I was up there on top everyone had gone there from behind. I sat down with my ships and coffee. a woman came clambering in through the window. We made some kind of witty remark about what i’d been up to in that queue. I mentioned that my coffee was going cold. She said that there was another coffee. Someone climbed in through the window behind her so she asked him if he had a coffee for me, but he didn’t. Then I couldn’t find my chips (“maybe I’d had them” I mused later). I could find loads of newspaper but the actual piece of newspaper with the chips wrapped in, I couldn’t find that at all. My idea to sit down and have a quiet 15 minutes to eat my chips and drink my coffee looked as if is was totally wasted

There was a drugs gang based in Nantwich that had been supplying drugs throughout Europe. This was at the time that the political changes were taking place in the late 80s and early 90s. There were all these upheavals happening and they were taking advantage of it to flood the world with the drugs from the Congo. Eventually they were caught. They were in Court and the judge was describing them as totally vile and evil human beings who’d brought death and misery to millions”. It looked very much to me as if he was leading up to a penalty of life imprisonment.

Later on I’d been round to someone’s house as a teenager. We’d been hanging out together. His mother didn’t look very happy at all. I had the impression that she’d been having arguments with the in-laws. Someone had died and the in-laws were bringing themselves much further forward in their lives and making it a misery for everyone else as they did things their way. I think that this woman had had some flak. She asked us if we’d like a coffee. We replied “yes” so she disappeared. We carried on doing some stuff and then decided that we’d go and play Scalextric upstairs in the bedroom so he’d go and tell his mother. I thought “yes, we’ll have these coffees as well because it’s been taking ages”. He went into the kitchen and there was his mother sitting on a chair really red-faced looking as if she’d been crying. I went over and was about to ask her what was the matter when I noticed a gesture from this boy to say nothing so I said nothing. He simply explained to his mother what we were doing. We went upstairs to his room. The 1st thing was to find my headphones that someone else had picked up and was wearing instead of theirs. I had to sort my headphones out and generally organise myself for this game of Scalextric but it was this guy’s mother who was worrying me.

And then I had to go to work so I decided that I’d take the Melody again. It was rather later than usual so I set off. I noticed that I didn’t have very much fuel so I went towards Stoke on Trent and turned off down a side road that went down a steep hill and back up the other side into a town where I could fuel up. I was actually pedalling it at this point. I came to the town and stopped at a road junction. Some woman who ran a corner shop said that someone was asking after me which I thought was strange because who knows that I’m coming this way and how would she know me anyway?. I asked what time and she replied “about 06:53”. I went and found a petrol station and fuelled up. Someone was there with an enormous cat in a cage. They’d taken the trap off the cage so you could see inside it. Everyone wanted to stroke it but the owner was very possessive of it and wouldn’t allow people to stroke it. We all said that it was a really wonderful cat. That cheered him up a little.

That dream where I was on my bike, I ended up with a young Chinese girl. I’d been in Crewe and was trying to find a bus back home. I couldn’t work out where the bus stop was and I couldn’t out the bus times so I just waited. I saw a bus arrive that was going back to my house so I shouted at it. he pulled up about 100 yards down the road. I had to run. It was really crowded but I fought my way on. The Chinese girl was on there. We started to chat and ended up having quite a flirt about. It was quite obvious that we were a couple. She complained that I hadn’t had a shower which was quite right. Anyway she’d had a lot of financial problems spending largely on her credit card. She’d had to sell her house and use the equity to pay off her credit card. I talked to her about that but she didn’t seem in the least embarrassed or anything. In the end it was quite later, almost 02:00 when we pulled up in the town where we had to alight. She went skipping off to the tram and I had al ths stuff to carry. I dropped half of it so I picked it up and we went outside. She was telling me about a shop there that had a couple of kittens. Then we set off to walk the rest of the way home

And finally I was back on that tram, with an English girl this time. She had to reassemble her glasses again because they came apart and she put them in her glasses case. We boarded the tram but there were only 4 or 5 of us on there and she wouldn’t come and sit by me or sit on my knee or something. We began to talk to the driver who was a professional boxer. He was to have a fight on the Monday night and if he were to win it he might even go through the entire season undefeated. This tram rattled in towards the city centre to pick up everyone else and the alarm went off.

It’s no wonder that I was exhausted after all of that. But I’m more interested in seeing how I feel tomorrow.

Right now though I’m off to bed and there will be no alarm in the morning. I’ll sleep until I wake, and then I’ll come back at some point during the day tomorrow to tell you all of my story.

“I am hurt but I am not slain, I’ll lay me down and bleed a while, and then I’ll rise and fight again” as said Sir Andrew Barton, according to one of the Child Ballads.

The photos will follow later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally, I was able to drink my coffee.

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

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

Friday 29th October 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the worst night of them all so far last night. And four files on the dictaphone tells you what kind of restless night it was.

There was a pile of dirty washing-up that needed doing. Some had already been done so my brother and I cracked on and finished it all. After we’d had something to eat there was washing up to be done and I didn’t bother to wash up but he insisted that we wash up. I refused. I only wash up once per day and that was before going to bed. This argument rolled on so I went outside. I frightened one of the seamen sitting on the steps of our ship who was looking at another ship close by. I asked him what was going on and he said “nothing in particular” and wandered off. There were 3 or 4 ships in the immediate vicinity, one a ship owned by Disney that didn’t have any superstructure like a barge. The people on it were speaking Russian so I spoke to them in Russian – “hello, how are you? My name is Eric” in Russian and they were overwhelmed that someone was speaking Russian to them and they actually came over on board our ship to talk to me. And it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken any Russian. I learnt some basic Russian from a local woman in Nantwich before I started taking coaches behind the Iron Curtain and I’ve probably forgotten most of it now.

3 of us, a guy a girl and I had to check out a disturbance on a common somewhere. There was no-one around but interviewing the locals it appeared that foreigners gathered there later on in the evening. The guy with me who was in charge told the girl to stay there on her own and make a report which I thought was strange. I expected one of the others of us to stay as well and pretend to be a courting couple. A single girl on her own would be rather prominent out there. Anyway, that was what we agreed to do and the 2 or us went away. We ended up being stuck in this huge queue of pedestrians at a roundabout. It seemed that it was Derby County’s birthday and there was some kind of celebration. We ended up in this charity shop and they had some Derby County ski suits that were really nice. I was tempted to buy one but I didn’t like the idea of carrying something with “Derby County” on it so I didn’t. We had a good look around but couldn’t see anything else. We went out and decided to go for a meal. I reminded him about this woman and said “when we go to pick her up we’d better take her a cup of coffee”. He replied “yes. hang on here while I go and fetch one”. I said “it won’t be much use now. She’ll need it at 8 o’clock when we finish. She’ll be freezing”. He said “yes” and came out with some other stuff that I can’t remember now.

Later on Liz had bought some furniture for her new house, a bed. The people in IKEA were showing up how it went together to demonstrate what it looked like. She quite liked it and said that she’d take it but it turned out that there was a 6-month delay for delivery. I said “stick it in Caliburn and we’ll take it round in Caliburn”. She said that there was no-one there to assemble it, Terry had gone to work. I replied “I’ll assemble it”. She said “you have other things to do, haven’t you?”. I replied “I can spare an hour or two to do this bed”. They couldn’t find the right nails or screws ro go with this package. I pointed out various piles of screws and nails on the floor by the bed and this was starting to become really complicated. it turned out that she had gone in to buy a bed for one of her grandchildren because the two of them were sharing a bed and it was most uncomfortable for them. She wanted to get them separate beds and saw this while she was there.

Finally, I’d made myself some muesli and was looking for a container to put it in now that I’d come back from being away. I had plenty of flower pots but couldn’t find them all. Eventually I found a large one so I took a bucket of water and washed it out and had it looking fairly clean. Then I don’t know why I did this but I tipped the bucket of water into the flower pot. Of course the water went everywhere, all over the table, all over the carpet so I had to pour the water back into the bucket quickly. My brother said that we ought to find a mop. As we were going through into the back room to fetch a mop the police were in there. They’d been looking for someone for ages who had disappeared and were wondering where he’d got to. It turned out that he was in the next room. He’d killed himself. They were puzzled because the electrode that he had used to earth himself when he gave himself an electric shock wasn’t actually attached to anything metal, just to a wooden chair leg so that wouldn’t in theory have killed him so they began to wonder about his wife’s involvement with this.

But seriously, how come my brother has been playing such a large part in my voyages for the last few days or so? What’s been bringing him into the equation?

As a consequence of all of this it was a weary crawl out from under the covers this morning when the alarm went off. Mind you, I don’t suppose that it helped very much

After the medication and checking my mails I made a start on continuing with the blog entries but I didn’t get very far.

Not long after I’d started I had a message – do I have any Greenlandic music?

Of course, I have a couple of rock albums from Greenlandic rock groups who sing in Inuktitut but that wasn’t what was required. Did I have any Greenlandic music that would do as the background for a radio programme?

“Not to hand at this very moment” was the obvious answer but I do have two Greenlandic friends, one of Danish extraction and the other a young Inuit girl who are musicians so most of the morning was spent talking to them.

Nive told me that I could help myself to anything of hers (of which there is quite a lot) that I could find in the public media and Heidinnguaq, the young girl whom I met in Uummannaq sent me a couple of songs that she wrote which she plays guitar and sings.

And so what was left of the morning was spent chasing down the various files, editing them and remixing them suitably for the radio shows.

While I was on a roll, as the saying goes, I contacted the son of the guy (now unfortunately no longer with us) who wrote “Grasshopper” – the song that I mentioned yesterday – to see whether his father ever left his notes about his song construction. We had quite a chat for a while but to no avail – there were no notes left behind.

And so, there’s no time like the present and I contacted my musical friend who lives in Germany and sent him the link to the song. He’s going to score it for me. I’ve worked out the melody on the bass guitar but many of the chords bear absolutely no resemblance to the root notes, so they must all be derivatives and that’s way beyong my capabilities.

To take me up to lunch, the nurse came round and injected me with my third vaccination for Covid. Now I’m completely up-to-date with my injections and I have a very sore right arm.

After lunch I had a ‘phone call from the guy who co-ordinates the radio. What am I doing on the 12th November?

Apparently there’s a big meeting taking place to formally open the “Greenland Week” here but the girl who has chosen to make up a radio programme of the event can’t make it. Seeing as I know Uummannaq and the people there so well, could I replace her?

Well, of course I will actually, but really I can’t find the time to do my own stuff, never mind anyone else’s.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021After all of that I went out for my afternoon walk.

Quite a few people down on the beach this afternoon, although nobody brave enough to tackle the water.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather has now turned and there’s a strong with blowing in its usual direction from the North-West. So the fact that it’s reasonably warm for the time of year counts for nothing really in this.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As usual while I’m out looking down on the beach, I have one eye roving about offshore to see what I can catch.

And what caught my eye was this storm raging away out in the bay. Somewhere out there is the island of Jersey but you can’t hope to see it because of the intense rainstorm that is falling down right now.

It’s not any surprise that you can’t see any boats out there in that direction. having seen that huge storm approaching, they have presumably run for cover and I for one don’t blame them.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little further along the coast I came to where I could see over the Ile de Chausey.

In actual fact, where I couldn’t see over the Ile de Chausey very much because there was a massive rainstorm over there too.

This one was far more ominous because the wind was blowing it in my direction and I began to regret that I had come out without a jacket because I had a feeling that in a couple of minutes time I would be right underneath all of that.

people in zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021as I walked further on along the path, I did eventually come across some maritime activity.

It looks to me as if it’s a couple of zodiacs in which these people are standing, and the marker buoy behind them is not one that would relate to a lobster pot or anything like that.

The conclusion that I drew from this is that they are frogmen – or maybe I should be saying “frogpersons” these days – going for a practice over the side. We’ve seen quite a few of them in the past just offshore.

yacht rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked down across the carpark to the end of the headland the storm arrived and I got the lot, just as I predicted.

And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one who was having a great deal of difficulty with the weather. There was a yacht out here in the bay battling had to overcome the elements and making rather … errr … heavy weather of it.

The rainstorm was absolutely wicked so I had no intention whatever of hanging around in it seeing how things would develop.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By now, the wind had increased considerably in speed and velocity and I was expecting to see the results of it on the sea wall.

I’d seen a large wave crash into the wall and sent spray high into the air so I prepared for another.

However it’s usually every seventh wave that is the most powerful but by the time that I’d seen the second or third I was drenched to the skin and the camera was soaking wet so I took a photo of whatever I could get and cleared off.

It reminded me of the time that Kenneth Williams appeared in Bamber Gascoigne’s farce “Share My Lettuce”. He came on stage and described how he disguised himself as a tree in order to study more closely the birds that might nest in it. And he finished his description with “and then I unfurl an umbrella and hold it up over my head”
The narrator said “but the birds will see through your disguise, won’t they, and stay away?”
“Maybe they will” replied Kenneth Williams “but I’m not getting wet for a load of bleeding birds!”.

crane unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Had the weather been any better I would almost certainly have gone for a closer look at this.

There’s a large lorry with something heavy on the trailer, and a very large mobile crane either lifting it off or putting it back on. It’s a shame that right now it’s raining so heavily that I can’t see anything at all. Not even after enhancing the image.

Back at home I made myself a coffee and then dashed through the photographs. I needed a quick, early tea because there’s football on this evening. I ended up with baked potatoes, baked beans and a vegan burger.

You have to feel sorry for Aberystwyth Town though. Second from bottom in the JD Cymru League but against the team that was second in the table, Y Fflint, nothing seemed to go right.

When they remembered to keep the ball on the ground instead of long, aimless punts upfield, they played some really nice, attractive football that kept them going forward despite all of the pressure that they were under.

They did however ahve to misfortune to find Y Flint’s goalkeeper Jon Rushton in excellent form and he made half a dozen top-drawer saves to keep his team out of danger.

Y Fflint scored twice through one of my favourite players, Jack Kenny, who would be a top-class player if he would just learn to control his temper, booked yet again for yet another off-the-ball incident when there was really no need except his own misplaced pride.

Aberystwyth did score a goal – a marvellous goal worthy of any “goal of the month” competition when Rushton punched a ball out upfield and Louis Bradford lobbed it back into goal right over everyone else’s head. have a look at about ABOUT 1:41:25 ONWARDS OF THIS VIDEO

Not long after the football finished and I was writing up my notes, I fell asleep at my desk. I hauled myself off to bed instead, reckoning that I’ll finish my notes tomorrow.

Goodnight.

Thursday 22nd July 2021 – NO SURPRISES THEN …

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… for guessing who this ship is.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen it now three days on the run, each time getting closer to confirm by assumptions about her identity.

And sure enough, here she is today just entering the Baie de Mont St Michel and we can see quite clearly the number G90 on her sail and so she is without any doubt La Granvillaise, as I thought.

But you have no idea how lucky you are with this photo because when I spied her, she’d already furled up a couple of her sails and that one followed suit quite quickly. I was only just in time.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe people in La Granvillaise weren’t the only people in a hurry to return home either while I was out.

This large zodiac was belting along at an incredible rate of knots across the Baie de Granville, presumably trying to return home before it turned into a pumpkin or something like that.

These things make quite a racket, as anyone who has ever travelled on one will tell you, and the noise that they make when travelling at full-speed is ear-splitting and shatters the environment for quite a large radius around.

As you might expect, I for one was glad when he had cleared off around the headland and gone the Way of the West as they used to say.

Of course, regular readers of this rubbish will recall where the phrase “Gone West” comes from because we’ve touched on this in the past.

It refers to the endless lines of wagon trains that set off in the 1840s and 1850s from the eastern part of the USA to head to California and Oregon. Dysentery, cholera, childbirth, drowning, starvation, wild animals, accident and murder (more emigrants were killed by their colleagues than by native Americans, incidentally) took such a toll of the emigrants that anyone who “went west” would never likely to be seen again by those at home.

speedboat people fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I bet the guys in this small cabin cruiser are totally fed up of what is going on all around them.

They’ve just been buzzed by an ear-splitting zodiac going past hell-for leather, and now they have to contend with a speedboat.

The guys in the cabin cruiser are fishing and if they had ever caught anything before, which is extremely doublful, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, they won’t be catching anything with all of this going on.

The guys in the speedboat have all of their fishing gear in the back too, but they won’t be catching anything at all going at that rate of knots so it’s just as well that they have their equipment out of the water.

But I’m going to leave all of this behind me and talk about calmer pursuits.

As usual this week, as was up and out of bed as the alarm rang at 08:00. And after my medication I made a bread mix. I don’t have any bread in the house right now.

With that out of the way I came into here to listen to the dictaphone. Unfortunately I can’t remember very much about last night except that there was some girl trying to model a bikini but where she was was invaded by hundreds and thousands of these polystyrene balls and she had to clear them out of a couple of rooms in order that they could carry on.

It’s a shame that I don’t remember at all very much about this because I sure would have liked to. Girls in bikinis is something of which there is a great shortage currently in my life.

There wasn’t much time left to do much so I edited some more photos, on the grounds that doing something – anything – of the arrears is better than sitting around doing nothing.

Then I went to make my hot chocolate and grab some fruit bread before my Welsh lesson. And because I was hoping to be early, my laptop decided to do an upgrade.

It’s one of those days, isn’t it?

As usual we belted at 100mph through the paperwork and had a couple of role plays. I was running an excellent café somewhere in Wales selling all kinds of exciting stuff. I clearly missed my vocation here.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m sure that Rosemary has planted a camera in my apartment. No sooner had my Welsh lesson ended than she rang up and we had a good chat.

It seems that I might have forgotten to mention that my friend Mike Beedell in Gatineau has an exciting plan for August 2022 and I’m on his mailing list, so I mentioned it to Rosemary. She’s going to add herself onto it, so watch this space – the dynamic duo may yet be hitting the road again to recreate our triumphs of 2019.

Eventually I managed to go out for my afternoon – now early evening – walk.

bus parked place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this was the sight that greeted me when I put my sooty foot outside the door this evening.

Normally I wouldn’t have minded so much except that that’s our kerb – not the council’s – on which he has sat his 11 tonnes of bus. And secondly there’s part of the car park down the Boulevard Vaufleury that’s set aside for tour coaches to park.

And then of course there are always the bus bays outside the College in the Rue du Roc if he can’t be bothered to walk from the Boulevard Vaufleury.

This sort of thing always gets my goat, if you haven’t already guessed. It’s definitely one of the more classic cases of pathetic parking, isn’t it?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut anyway, let’s leave that alone for the moment and wander off to have a good look down onto the beach.

Off across the car park go I to the wall at the end and have a good look down. And as you can see, there is even less beach than before for people to occupy this evening.

And the lateness of the hour hasn’t prevented the people from taking to the water has it? They are heaving down there with the great unwashed masses.

And a few more children today too. Obviously, some parents have been reading my notes, which makes a very nice change these days. I could do with all the readership that I could get.

yacht speedboats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked along the path on my way around the headland I was watching all of the activity out to sea.

We’ve already seen plenty of it, and there is plenty more to come. There were no yachts today surveying the beach at the Rue du Nord, but there was one out at sea heading back towards Granville.

She has quite a crowd with her too. There’s a zodiac that has just gone roaring past her and a little further out there’s a speedboat that’s gone roaring past both of them

But as for me, I continue on a much more leisurely, and quieter pace along the path and across the car park to the end of the headland.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall has been the never-ending saga of the local fishermen.

Making wisecracks at their expense is rather depassé days but I can’t help thinking that here they are, with no net to haul in their catch and no basket in which to keep it. It’s almost as if they don’t expect to catch anything.

Here’s another one of them on the rocks at the Pointe du Roc, casting his line out to sea, more in hope than in expectation. And one of these days I will see a fisherman pull a fish out of the water and carry it off home for his tea.

powered hang glider microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right on cue, as I was watching our fisherman doing his best, I was overflown yet again.

It’s one of the two powered hang gliders or whatever they are that regularly float around overhead. Today we are honoured by the red one flipping about in the sky.

In fact he did a nice big circle around, almost as if he was looking for something. I can’t think what else was going through his mind as he passed by.

But I wasn’t going to hang around. I was heading off along the path on top of the headland overlooking the port.

yacht rebelle trawler l'alize 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it looks as if we are going to have yet another change of occupancy here in the chantier naval.

Judging by the way that the portable boat lift is positioned, it looks as if it’s going to be L’Alize 3 that is next to go back into the water, and later this afternoon too by the looks of things before the tide goes out.

That wil just leave us with the yacht Rebelle and the unidentified trawler. And I suppose that I had better go down and find out her name before I’m much older. At this rate she’ll be back in the water before I can get down there to see.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw some freight on the quayside yesterday waiting to be picked up.

It’s still there today, and it looks as if it’s been joined by a skyjack. So one assumes that one of the Jersey freighters will be in port pretty soon to whisk it all away.

While I was walking along the clifftop above the port, I fell in with one of my neighbours. We had a really good chat and put the world to rights for half an hour before I headed off home.

It’s not like me to be this sociable, is it? Two lengthy chats in one day? Whatever next?

speedboat yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I can go home I’m attracted by some kind of luxury cabin cruiser heading into port.

He’s doing his best to disturb the yachting school out there. Even if it’s late, they are all still out there at it and probably will be until the tide has well-turned.

Back at the building the coach was still outside damaging the kerb. But doing my best to ignore it I came inside.

Too late to do anything now, I made tea. Burger on a bap with baked beans followed by jam roly poly and coconut whatsit. Totally delicious.

Right now, I’m totally bleary-eyed. I think that I’ve looked at the computer far too long so I’m off to bed. Last Welsh Summer School tomorrow so my routine will revert to normal. If I can wait that long.