Tag Archives: cramp

Monday 18th December – HERE I ALL AM …

… not sitting in a rainbow, but sitting in a seat against a window in a room on the second floor of the Batiment Heuyer of the Hôpital Pitié-Salpetrière.

That’s the Haematology department, so you can imagine why I’m here.

And we’ve just had another delightful verbal exchange, of the kind that you can only have in a hospital.
Ward orderly (about to take Our Hero’s temperature) "are you wearing a hearing aid?"
Our Hero "Pardon?"

Last night I ended up going to bed rather later than I intended. Alison was on line, I noticed, and I wanted to have a chat so it was nearer midnight when I ended up in bed.

Once I was in bed, I found it difficult to go off to sleep, as seems to be the usual case when I’m having to leave my bed early for something special.

When the alarm went off at 05:55 I staggered to my feet and set the wheels in motion. I’d made some sandwiches and packed last night but I had to sort out my medication, have a good wash change my clothes and so on.

There I was, all nice and ready quite early, but the taxi was late. Apparently my co-voyager is an inmate at the Centre de Re-education and having planned to be awoken at, coincidentally, the time of the change of shift, everyone there thought that everyone else had done awoken her. In the end it was the taxi driver who had to shake her awake.

And hadn’t he hit the jackpot? Not only did he manage to cram two different trips into one car on the outward journey, there was also a passenger to bring back. That’s the kind of day of which every taxi driver dreams, and good luck to him.

The other passenger had had a brain tumour and was blind, but its true what they say about other senses making up for those that you’ve lost, because she spoke enough to make up for it.

The driver was quite garrulous too, an older guy for a change, and it turned out that all three of us were cat-lovers so we had a really good chat all the way to Paris.

But I had more in common with the driver than the obvious. He too had lived with a woman and her child for several years and when they separated, he missed the little girl far more than he missed her mother. It seems that I’m not the only one who ought to have been a father. He certainly laughed at the story of Roxanne going off down the street several times on my Honda moped at 8 and 9 years old.

Despite being late, we stopped off for a coffee at a service area too. I had plenty of time to kill and the other passenger didn’t seem to be too bothered.

At Paris we dropped off our passenger at a hospital in the west side of the city and then headed across to the Porte d’Italie and my hospital.

My check-in time was 13:15 but I was here at 12:30. Nevertheless, my room was ready so I was installed here quite quickly.

The room is nice and comfortable, but it’s cold, as I expected and there is no internet.

All kinds of people came to see me so I didn’t really have a chance to settle down for quite a while.

It only took two goes for the nurse to put a catheter in my arm, so well done her.

We’ve had all kinds of orderlies and the like too, including a couple of doctors.

So thanks to the doctors, I now know what is the plan, and it is as I expected.

Apart from the usual tests that have been programmed, they are going to make a start on giving me this medication about which they talked the last time that I was here.

It has some serious side-effects and is not really recommended for anyone who has cardiac issues (which is probably why they never prescribed it at Leuven) but they think that it’s worth a try.

It’s only natural that they want to administer it under medical supervision. And so if you hear nothing more from me, you’ll know that the side effects were as serious as predicted and the cardiac team wasn’t quick enough.

They tell me that I’ll be here until Thursday but I’ve heard promises like that before.

Eventually I managed to find a quiet moment to transcribe the dictaphone notes. During the night I reached out for a green box that was on the bed with all of my shoe care stuff in it. Of course the box wasn’t there but I ended up with an absolutely enormous attack of cramp, thinking “what a way to start this flaming thing about Paris”.

And then there was Aberystwyth Town v Drenewydd in the Welsh Premier League. The Aberystwyth keeper Dave Jones had the ball and was bringing it upfield ready to clear it forward when one of the Drenewydd players tackled him and kicked him on the ankle. You could hear him cry out from where I was and the noise actually awoke me.

Later on, I climbed over the wall of a palace into the courtyard where all of this re-education was taking place. I found my particular body that was in there so I quickly took from it the elastic that was around the ankles and began to rock that particular version of me backwards and forwards to try to free off the movement in the legs but just then I awoke again

The hospital food is pretty appalling, as you might expect, but that’s not my major worry right now.

Having been off the Aranesp for a couple of months, my blood count has crashed down to 7.8. That’s below the critical level and will probably explain why I’ve been feeling so miserable just recently.

And so they have sent off to the laboratory for some blood and it’s likely that I’ll be awoken at some silly hour of the night for a blood transfusion.

It looks as if I can’t have a decent night’s sleep even when I’m in somewhere like this. I’ve spent most of the afternoon listening to Hawkwind so I’ll probably just carry on until I fall asleep or the world falls in on my head.


Thursday 16th November 2023 – I AM ABSOLUTELY …

… exhausted.

You have no idea just how tiring even putting away the shopping can be. And what didn’t help was having to clean, dice and blanch 2 kilos of carrots for the freezer.

Actually, today was just one long continuation of how the night had been because at one point I’d been lying awake for several hours in the middle of the night trying to go back to sleep after a really bad attack of cramp.

Last night I tried a new approach.

When my legs were functioning properly, I had some tough rubber bands that I used to build up my leg muscles when I was going running. Last night I dragged one out, put it around my two ankles and went to bed like that.

My nights are really quite mobile, as you can imagine, so while my legs are moving around in my sleep they are actually acting on each other and that might do something about the leg muscles. It can’t do any harm

And it actually seemed to work – ay least, judging by the way my legs were moving during the night.

At some point I must have gone off to sleep because I was flat-out when the alarm went off, and I staggered to my feet before the second alarm.

After the medication and checking the mails I ended up having a chat on the internet with one of my neighbours. There are several things around here that need attention and there will be one or two workmen coming into the building. As I’m here for most of the time these days, would I be a point of contact to let people in and out of the building?

In theory, it’s no problem to me but as usual, it’s the kind of thing that will happen just at the moment when I’m likely to be busy.

Next thing was to order a few things off the internet. Usually I would go to the shops for things like this but even if I could travel there on the bus, I wouldn’t have the strength to bring the stuff home.

Then there was the shopping from Leclerc. And such was my surprise when I found out that this week there were only the pears that weren’t available. I ended up having to take some stuff out of my on-line basket.

There’s a minimum order of €50 for delivery so I have my priority list and my “extras” list and I move things around depending on availability. So when almost everything in my priority list is available, I put some of the “extras” back ready for the next time in case the next order falls short

The problem was that there was no delivery window until the afternoon.

And so what I did was to go through some of the drawers in the kitchen, sort things out and … gulp … throw some things away that I no longer need. I’m clearly not feeling very well.

What prompted this was having ordered some ground ginger 2 weeks ago as I had run out, while I was filling up the cumin seeds last night I found three packets of ground ginger at the bottom of the box in which I keep the spare spices. High time that I sorted that out and made a list of what I have – and what I don’t have.

Luckily I have plenty of Indian spices so I’m not going to be short of spices for a while but with not going to Leuven and “Exotic World” – the Asian wholesalers – any more, things might become complicated in the future.

But anyway, I ended up with one kitchen drawer completely empty, and I have much more of an idea about what’s in stock here. Quite a few people have “made remarks” about the amount of food in stock around here, but there have been several times in the recent past when I have been totally unable do do anything about buying in food and the stock has come in useful.

While I was having a drink I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There were all kinds of things like food crumbs all over the bed because I’d strapped my legs together and had gone to bed like that so that in the exercise that I’m forced to do during the night, one foot would affect the other and give it a kind of workout. It wasn’t quite as easy as that during the dream because I could hardly move and wasn’t able to tidy up or clean up and the place was deteriorating quite rapidly. I was extremely dismayed but there was nothing much that I could actually do about it.

When I saw my mother gliding across the room I asked her if she was on her way to dictate her first thought of the day, which was a silly thing to do because she replied that it was her second or third. The act of actually asking her made me completely forget what it was that I was going to dictate. But this thing about keeping my legs tied together is working to a certain degree but not to a certain other. I had a terrible attack of cramp in my left leg at that moment but it will ease off after I’ve had a few agonising moments. We’ll see how it goes on.

And later we were building some kind of framework to go in a gap in the bricks, like a window frame. Because I was unable to do anything someone else was helping me. It was so frustrating because he was doing this kind of thing in a very slapdash way trying to cut out lengths of wood with a cheap tooth-saw etc. When it came to trimming 20mm off something or other he did it by eye and it looked as if he was cutting off a whole centimetre. That would have defeated the whole purpose of this framework. In the end I had to stop him. I asked “wouldn’t you be better with a jigsaw doing that?”. He replied “if you have one” so I immediately produced one. Then I produced a battery-powered circular saw and asked “wouldn’t this be any better?”. I sat down and began to measure everything up and put a batten down to follow with the circular saw so that it would cut accurately. I was just so astonished by this guy trying to do this job without measuring properly or without any kind of proper tools – something that was so important.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my DiY skills are nothing to write home about, particularly right at the beginning when I made a start on rebuilding the farm, but at least I knew how to measure up and cut with guides.

And some of the stuff that I was doing just before I fell ill was really impressive. My bedroom down there was magnificent.

It was really quite funny, actually. When I finished rebuilding the walls and putting the roof on and I began to fit out the attic and I thought that it was really good. But the further on I pressed, the more I wanted to go back to where I started, rip it all out and start again.

That’s one thing that I can say about the farm – I may not have been much good but I certainly learnt a lot.

When the shopping came I was … errr … resting, so it was a rather rapid struggle to my feet to open the door to let him into the building.

After I’d put away the frozen food I attacked the carrots. I hadn’t expected them to be available – the 2kg “econopacks” aren’t there all that often – so I was rather caught unawares. But the big soup tureen thing comes in handy for that.

They also had the econopacks of peppers so one went into the fridge for next Monday and the other was cleaned and trimmed and put in the freezer for another time.

To my surprise, the econopacks of aubergines were availabile too so now that there is some space in the freezer I did something that I haven’t done for ages and made one of my mega aubergine and kidney bean whatsits

There was enough for 5 meals so I had one for tea with pasta and veg, and the other four were packed ready for the freezer.

The freezer is in something of a disreputable state so I took out the vegetable drawer, cleaned it, repaired it and packed everything back in it, including the carrots that I’d blanched. It’s amazing how much room there is in the freezer when you tidy it out.

Here and there, I’ve been editing those radio notes that I dictated before going to bed last night. I was hoping to finish the programme today but I was overwhelmed by events as you can tell.

That should be a task to finish for tomorrow and then I’ll have to start the next one, hopefully to record on Saturday night.

Even though there’s some time before bed though, I’m not going to do it tonight. I’m thoroughly exhausted and after my blackcurrant, honey and lemon I’m off to bed.

While I’m asleep I’ll be trying that trick of the elastic strap around the ankle. Exercising in my sleep seems to be the way to go right now.

Thursday 9th November 2023 – MAIS OÙ SONT …

… les neiges d’antan? wrote Francois Villon 550 years ago in his poem La Ballade Des Dames Du Temps Jadis.

And I wrote something similar last night in my tale of woe about “Ladies From Former Times” when I wrote about Castor, Zero and TOTGA and the absence thereof during my nocturnal ramblings. Where indeed are the snows of yesteryear?

So of course it goes without saying that last night Zero and TOTGA came to see me – at different times, I have to say. I don’t think that I could cope with them both together.

It was all extremely confusing because I had another bad night – one of many that I seem to be having these days. I think that it must be my guilty conscience catching up with me, or something like that.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. As I said, at some point TOTGA came by. We were talking about an expression that I’d used in a conversation – one of these superlative hyperbole expressions. At first she didn’t understand it so I explained that it came from the “Round The Horne” programme which was very good at doing that kind of thing. I went to give her an example and was about to talk about Geronimo and his Indian braves when I suddenly had the most appalling attack of cramp in my left lower leg and I awoke in absolute agony.

Can you imagine it? There I was, not only with the bird on my plate but just about to get my fork stuck in it and I had a bad attack of cramp. The first time that she’s shown up for quite a while too. Is there anything more disappointing than that?

Actually, all through the night I was having these bad attacks of cramp and it was probably all of this that was disturbing my sleep.

In fact, I was glad when the alarm went off and I could stagger to my feet.

It took rather longer than usual to come round into the Land of the Living, but once I was finally on the same planet as you lot, I transcribed the dictaphone notes.

TOTGA I mentioned just now. And later on I was in some kind of big city. One of these places with some impressive stone buildings like Bank headquarters etc. I was walking along a path that was on top of a cliff with all of these big buildings on my right. I came to a point where I couldn’t go any further. The wall of the building went right down to the edge of the cliff. I noticed that there was a gate in it. I can’t think why I hadn’t noticed this gate before. I walked through the gate and slowly went up the hill. There in the distance was a Fortis Bank cash machine. Luckily I had my new Fortis card with me. I picked up the card and tried to put it in the machine but it wouldn’t fit. I’d noticed that I’d actually left it stuck to the backing. I had to peel off the backing but it still wouldn’t fit. I noticed that there was still something else attached to it. It took me several goes to have the card completely separate from whatever it was that it was stuck to. I put it in the machine. At first I had a really difficult job to remember the code number. Eventually I recalled it and could access the account. I then had to think about drawing out some money – obviously, with not going anywhere near a bank these days, the more money I have on hand the better but there has to be a limit. I didn’t want to go too close to the limit in case the machine swallowed my card and then I really would be stuck. I had to think really hard about how much money I was going to ask for.

Actually this is a real preoccupation with me right now. I can’t actually go to the bank any more because I can’t climb back onto the bus at the bus stop. I have a little “fighting fund” of cash squirrelled away but it’s not going to last for ever.

It’s actually quite bizarre. When I was at University, as well as being Chair of Northern Europe I was also involved in Disability issues when I was on the Executive Committee and so I’m well-aware of the day-to-day problems that disability can present.

So I’ve never understood why, if the local council only has a certain budget to spend on improving the bus routes and facilities around the town, why one of the last bus stops to be raised up to a working height is the one just outside the Medical Centre where all of the ill and infirm people go.

That should have been one of the first to be raised up. But instead, the buses stop in the roadway far from the pavement and they don’t “kneel down” enough for wheelchairs and handicapped people to board very easily.

Anyway I digress.

A little earlier I also mentioned that Zero put in an appearance. But you really don’t want to know about the voyage that we had together, especially if you are eating your meal right now. It’s been a while since there has been anything really gruesome figuring in my nocturnal voyages, but when there is, there really is.

With a bit of luck she might put in an appearance tonight and we’ll have a happy ending.

Some nights, what goes on in my sleep is far more stressful than anything that happens during the day. It’s similar to the reason why I’m having serious thoughts about stopping my treatment at Leuven. It doesn’t matter how good the treatment might be and how efficient the care is in the journey to and from Vlaanderen is finishing me off.

Once I’d sorted that out I attacked the notes for the radio programme that I dictated last night. And I stuck at it and finished the programme. I’m actually now at 31st May 2024 with my totally-completed radio shows. I want to be as far ahead as I can possibly be because sooner or later the inevitable will catch up with me.

Afterwards I spent some time tidying the apartment. I’m having a visit tomorrow so the place needs to be clean and tidy. I know that cleanliness is next to Godliness but with me it’s next to impossible.

Neitzsche famously said “out of chaos comes order” but he said that a long time before I was ever thought of. Ezra Pound once said of Ford Madox Ford “Put Ford naked in an empty room and within an hour behold total chaos!”. That’s something that I understand very well

The bedroom is actually clean now and I’ve even vacuumed the floor. And you’ve no idea just how difficult a simple task like vacuuming is right now.

And then I had a good wash and brush up and the car came for me to take me to the Centre de Re-education. The ergotherapist had me opening and closing doors, laying tables, picking up pins and counters off the table, that sort of thing. She also says that next week she’ll come round here to give me practical advice about getting the most out of my apartment.

Severine the physiotherapist put me through my paces too and then, totally, exhausted, I headed back home in the car.

My cleaner was just coming into the building so she helped me up the stairs and into here, where I made myself my mug of hot chocolate.

The rest of the day, such as it was, has been spent pairing off the music for the next couple of radio programmes and beginning to write the notes for one of them.

Tea tonight was delicious. Steamed vegetables and a vegan sausage in a vegan cheese sauce. That was a meal that I enjoyed very much.

So now I’m going to bed, but not before I’ve sent someone a message. If I had to pick a favourite relative (and despite everything that I have said, I do actually have one) it’s the one who is getting married in Michigan tomorrow and I’m really disappointed that I can’t be there with her.

She actually works for one of the biggest transport firms in North America and was away on a mission for work when she was caught in the lockdown over across the border in 2020. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to fight the good fight at the shops if the wind has dropped because it was quite savage again today. And then I’ll finalise my tidying up ready to find out what is actually going on about this visit tomorrow.

The plot sickens.

Wednesday 20th September 2023 – APPARENTLY THINGS ARE …

… hotting up around here.

My cleaner actually works for an association called APA – the Allocation Personnalisée d’autonomie, an association of which the aim is to help people in difficulty maintain their autonomy.

She’s recommended that I contact them with the details of my difficulties and see whether or not they may have something on offer that might be of help to me.

Consequently I’ve had an extremely busy day today doing all kinds of things.

For a change I had a nice deep sleep and awoke about 15 minutes before the alarm was due to go off. I was actually planning a dramatic raising from the dead but instead I fell asleep again and the alarm had to awaken me.

After the mails and medication I began to sort out the paperwork.

You have no idea the hoops through which I have to jump in order to go to this perishing hospital. As well as being admitted, I’ve been notified of several tests and I have to ring up to confirm each one.

And then there’s a form that I need to fill in in order to be admitted, with details of my health insurance, medication, all kinds of stuff like that.

Interestingly, one thing of which you don’t have to notify them is your dietary requirements. You are served a standard meal on the day of your arrival. That’s not much use to me, and probably many other people too, so I would have expected it to have been a priority.

Anyway, that took up a whole age of my time.

But there is some good news, and it just goes to underline why I like living here so much – and that’s the solidarity amongst the inhabitants that you don’t find in many other countries these days.

The president of the Residents’ Committee who helped me with the purchase of the apartment downstairs is in Paris next week. She wants to come to the station in Paris on Monday morning and help me on my way to the hospital.

That’s something that I found to be really sweet. It’s not really necessary because I will have the railway company’s personnel helping me, but I’m not going to discourage the best intentions and willingness of someone who is so keen to help

This afternoon I made a big batch of hummus. It’s been ages since I last made some, and this time I regrettably put too much salt in in. That’s not like me because I rarely use salt. But there’s plenty of garlic gone into it and I won’t have too much trouble with passing vampires once I start to eat it.

While the cleaner was here I made a start on writing the notes for the next radio programme, then after she left I had a listen to the dictaphone. We were going somewhere on a works outing from Crewe. We all piled into a coach and set out. We were supposed to be going to Stoke on Trent but we ended up round the Warmingham Road area. We went past the bit where they had straightened out the road. That would have been possible to go to Stoke on Trent that way. I thought that the road was too narrow so we carried on with the intention of going to the roundabout by the railway station and going down there. The guy in charge of the party came over and told me that we can’t go that way. There are all kinds of roadworks. I then suggested that we go to near Kidsgrove and drive down the A34 and took the A500 that way which he agreed. Then something happened and we ended up with not enough places on the bus or something. There was a motor bike there so I went on it and took someone as a passenger. I ended up being tangled up in a group of other motorcyclists. One one particular bend a woman fell off her motor bike. We carried on riding. We eventually ended up at our destination. Then I had a bad attack of cramp and awoke.

I was somewhere in the Philippines last night. There was a young boy doing some kind of DiY project to make some kind of really basic kitchen, basically no more than the size of a large tray. I could see immediately that there were several ways in which he could make things go better. We ended up having a talk about everything. I ended up giving him some help. He was pointing out a few things that I was doing that weren’t correct from his point of view. I was pointing out a few things that weren’t correct from mine. We were talking about all kinds of different things as we were assembling this kitchen arrangement that he was making out of scrap material

While I was at it I did another day’s worth of arrears from when I was at Alison’s just now. Just a couple more days of those to do and then I can attack the ones from when I was in hospital last year. I wish that I could organise myself better these days.

There were other things that I was hoping to do but instead I crashed out on the chair here in the office. Miles away I was too and I don’t understand that because it wasn’t as if I’d had a bad night. I’d been doing quite well just recently too.

Tea tonight was a chili sin carné, the leftovers in the fridge lengthened with a tin of kidney beans. It was actually quite nice too. The freezer is slowly emptying nowand if I’m not careful I might even be able to put the bag of carrots in there – the ones that are currently languishing in the fridge’s icebox.

With a bit of time left I went through another batch of music on the computer to weed out the duplicates, the live albums and to edit the metadata, now I know how to batch-edit it.

But now that I’ve finished the notes I’m off to bed. I’ve put all the clothes away that were loitering around here and it’s looking just a little more tidy. There’s still a lot to do but I’ll worry about that another time. I’ve done enough for one day.

Saturday 15th July 2023 – I REALLY AM …

… fed up of all this.

By the looks of things, I can’t go anywhere or do anything without suffering for it afterwards. I went to the shops this morning as usual, and then spent most of the afternoon flat out asleep in my chair.

In fact I probably would still be asleep even now had I not had an attack of cramp again in one of my legs. And that was rather a shame because I was having a really good and interesting dream and the moment I awoke it all immediately evaporated and I can’t remember a thing about it.

Plenty of dreams during the night though. By the sound of what was on the dictaphone I was quite busy. I’d been cooking and made a big lentil curry. Afterwards I’d put the mixing bowl in the sink and filled it full of water but there was more waste stuff in there than I anticipated. When I tipped it all out into the sink it blocked the sink. The water level in the sink began to overflow so I had to start to scoop out all the stuff with my hands. There was tons of it. Even then although eventually it began to drain away there was still plenty of it left. I tipped the bowl out to empty it and tipped it into the bin, water waste and all but there was still that much stuff still in the sink that it blocked the sink again. I didn’t notice when I put the bowl back in again. It ended up being on top of what was in the sink. It was all an absolute awful mess. I was even contemplating taking the sink out and fitting a different sink at one time because I was certain that the waste trap would be blocked solid and it was such a difficulty to try to move it.

There was also the story of the English cricket team that played a match in Northern Labrador against some team or other. The Inuit were there watching. After the game the English cricketers moved away. A girl who had been watching found a cap left behind by one of the cricketers. She remembered whose cap it was so she walked all the way to their next destination, found out where they were playing and walked there. In the middle of the innings when there was a pause she walked on the field and gave him back his cap by putting it on his head for him. That excited a great deal of comment from all kinds of different people

I also had a really long rambling dream about going on holiday with a friend of mine. We reached the hotel so I alighted – I was on my crutches. Everyone swarmed off into the building. I had to hobble on behind. They were all sidetracked by all kinds of things going on when they arrived. I lost sight of my friend for the moment so I thought that I’d go to find my room. It was room M something. I had a look and the corridor M was miles away on the ground floor. I set off on my crutches. Some woman said where she was going. She said that she was hoping that someone young and fit would come with me to carry my bag. I apologised and pushed on. I somehow ended up in Canada on the border with the USA chatting to a young girl who was living there working in tourism. It seemed that she came from the USA living in a one-roomed shack on her parents’ property and drove a bus. As it happened I’d just won a bus on eBay, a double-decker. That had been the subject of quite some discussion amongst a lot of people. “Who’d Bought it?” “What were they going to do?” etc. We began to talk and ended up talking about all kinds of things. She found out that I was famous so she was pleased and said that she would tell all her friends. We chatted about life in Canada, life in the USA, about my friend in the USA etc. This was a conversation that went on for hours, another one of these conversations that made me feel really good in a dream. It all ended when I had an attack of cramp in my left leg and awoke.

It seems that most of my really interesting dreams are going to be interrupted by attacks of cramp these days. But at least I managed to remember that one.

To my surprise, I was up before the alarm too. Not by much, but by enough to make it a success. And after the medication, mails and messages I went and had a shower to make myself smell nice.

One of the parking spaces in front of Noz was vacant so I called in there. They had some more of those Chinese things so I bought another bag of them. They aren’t all that exciting but they are different.

There were a few other things in there too, together with some vegan Pesto. They had some a while back so I tried it and it was quite nice. I hope that this batch is as good.

Leclerc didn’t have anything exciting and I was wandering around with the impression that I’d forgotten something important. But I couldn’t think of what it might be so whatever it was, I came home without it.

It only turned out to be a small shopping excursion so I profited by topping up the supplies a little. Plenty of flour and stuff like that now, which is just as well as I have no fruit buns left so I need to make a batch tomorrow.

Back in here with my coffee and cheese on toast, and what ended up being a very, very cold second mug of coffee. Like I said, all this is becoming very depressing and I’m totally fed up of it.

Tea was a breadcrumbed quorn fillet and chips with some very sad salad. I should have checked how it was before going to the shops because it was all well past its sell-by date.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I put the new hard drive in I had issues with the Graphics Card and needed to hunt down some new drivers. At some point during the proceedings my operating system (well, the computer’s – my operating system hasn’t been upgraded for years) must have performed an upgrade because when I went to fire up one of my graphics programs, it wouldn’t run.

Consequently whatever I was planning on doing after tea had to wait while I messed around configuring the Graphics Card and its drivers yet again. I hope that this isn’t going to become a regular feature.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll dictate the stuff for the next radio program. That’s something that I can edit tomorrow.

Not tonight though, Josephine. Today has been one of those days that are better forgotten and the sooner I forget this one the better. I can start again tomorrow by making my fruit buns and see where that takes me. A lie-in will probably do me good but as usual, something will happen to disturb me.

Right now another album that sends me into a fit of depression has come round on the playlist. Arguably one of the greates ever live concerts along with COLOSSEUM LIVE, LIVE DATES by Wishbone Ash, Santana’s “Sight and Sound” (which surprisingly was never made into an album) and ALCHEMY LIVE by Dire Straits has to be LIVE IN THE CITY OF LIGHT.

It always brings me out into a terrible fit of nostalgia and I don’t know why because it doesn’t play any significant part in my life, as many other albums do. Maybe that’s why, I dunno. But sitting here listening to tracks like SOMEONE SOMEWHERE IN SUMMERTIME

“Somewhere there is some place, that one million eyes can’t see
And somewhere there is someone, who can see what I can see”

There certainly is, but they can’t get her arms out of the straightjacket.

Thursday 13th July 2023 – NOW THAT’S WHAT I …

… call a much better football match.

In the Europa League Penybont who finished 3rd in the Welsh Premier League last season were playing Santa Coloma from Andorra.

Santa Coloma were the obvious favourites with 4 Andorran internationals in their side and their football was quite attractive but Penybont were full of grit and determination. What Santa Coloma had in skill, Penybont matched them toe to toe with a more physical style and never ever looked second-best even for a moment.

The match was played in a fiercely competitive but totally fair manner, which makes a big change, and the final score of 1-1 was about right.

Considering that these two teams are quite low down the club rankings in the overall scheme of things, it was an excellent advert for European football and it’s a shame that one of these clubs will be eliminated after the second leg in Andorra next week.

At least the football makes up for my rather depressing night. For practically the whole of the night I was wracked with attacks of cramp, and in both my legs too. That was what I call miserable.

However I must have gone to sleep at some point because there’s some stuff on the dictaphone and also because when the alarm went off I was miles away in the next world somewhere and it was quite a shock to be awoken.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages, first thing that I did was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night. I was reading a story in a newspaper or magazine about a Welsh pirate. While I was doing so I dropped a toilet roll. It fell down towards the deck of the boat but I couldn’t catch it. I began to look for it but couldn’t see it. Every time that I seemed to be within touching distance of it, it moved position and went further away again. I thought to myself that this is stupid. Here I am reading something complicated like this from the 16th Century without any problems at all but I can’t manage to control an errant toilet roll on board the ship on which I’m travelling.

I’d been round to the home of a friend from school but I’m sure it was actually the home of someone else. We were going to be doing something but it turned out that there was a football match on the TV. He had it on so I settled down to watch it. I could see that he was frustrated but I wasn’t sure what were his actual plans. he hadn’t really suggested anything. Everything was really going wrong apart from feeling a kind of atmosphere coming from him. He’d asked me to go down to the shops to buy some stamps which I had but while he was sulking he’d gone out for a while and come back. Then he started to stick some stamps on these envelopes. I said that I didn’t realise that he’d been out to buy them himself because he didn’t think that I’d bought them so I produced them. I had the feeling that this whole evening was going totally wrong from start to finish. It was one of those evenings that I wanted to be over as quickly as possible and we can start again some other time.

Then there was something about having some complimentary tickets on the railway. There was a special series of Bank Holidays and I had these complimentary tickets. The railways were working anyway so I thought that I’d go down to the ticket barrier to see one of their clerks there to see whether he knew anyone going through who might want to buy them from me. When I arrived there all of the barriers these days were automated. There was no-one to whom I could talk about my complimentary tickets for these four days of special Bank Holiday.

Next thing was to finish off the notes for the radio programme. I forgot yesterday to do the ones that I’d planned to do then so I ended up doing two lots this morning and that’s that, all ready for dictating. I might even do that tomorrow.

The rest of the time was spent revising for my lesson today. That actually went quite well too so I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting better or whether it’s because I haven’t had time to forget anything yet. Tomorrow is the last day and then there’s a couple of weeks off before I undertake this mega-course.

And if I don’t know it by the end of that, then I never will.

Yesterday, I mentioned that we have fallen behind with what we were supposed to be doing, and I’ve found out how we’re going to be catching up. He asked us to do a mountain of work after the lesson ended. That took up the remainder of the afternoon.

With the football being on, I ended up with an early tea. Fried rice with some of those Chinses thingies that I bought from Noz a few weeks ago. They were quite nice, although nothing particular to write home about. It makes a different meal, and it was done quite quickly too which was just as well.

And there was a change in my habits for tea. I vowed when I moved here that I would only eat my meal sitting at the table in the dining room. Try to be a little civilised for a change. But today it was on a tray on my knee at the computer watching the football. Maybe I should have had pie and chips.

Tomorrow I was going to nip out early and go for a quick run into town for a little shopping. But it’s a Bank Holiday here, the shops are closed and there are no buses. That’s upset my plans.

So sausage, beans and chips, I reckon. That should make a nice change. But I’m beginning to run low on proper, real baked beans. I shall have to organise some supplies from somewhere. Anyone fancy a little run out?

Thursday 6th July 2023 – MY PHYSIOTHERAPIST …

… came round late this afternoon to tell me that he’s not going to be coming back again.

He and my neighbour have apparently had a dispute and she has told him that she doesn’t want to see him again. So he’s told me that it’s not worth his while to come out here just for me. It’s quite a way out of town.

Actually, it’s not as if I’m really bothered. I’ve said before that he has a kind of manner that I don’t really appreciate all that much. Anyway, he’s given me the phone number of a colleague and told me to contact him.

But we shall see. Because right now, I’m too tired to do anything.

It’s not as if I had a bad night either. Fair enough, I was in bed later than I intended but I’ve been to bed much later than this. And had more-restless nights too.

When the alarm went off I was stark out as well and it was a real struggle to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm.

No medication for me. I had a quick wash and brush up and headed out for the laboratory. I arrived bang-on 08:30 and found myself to be the only person there.

It was necessary to wait 20 minutes though. There’s a special test that needs to be carried out that involves a heated tube so I had to wait for it to be warmed up.

But the nurse found a vein and took a sample straight away first go without any difficulty at all. They are pretty good at this laboratory.

When I came out of the cubicle I found the place heaving with people. I’d arrived just at the correct time by the looks of things.

While I was out, I nipped to LeClerc.. Caliburn is running low on diesel and whenever I go to the supermarket there’s usually an enormous queue. It’s not often that I’m out early on a weekday morning so I nipped out that way to check. To my surprise, there was a pump empty so I bunged in 50 litres. That will do me for several months, I reckon.

Back here I had my medication and then spent some time unwinding. I had another call from the nurse. She couldn’t read the stuff that I sent the other day so could I send some different stuff.

Having scanned that and sent it off, the doctor rang me. He still hadn’t received it so I told him that I’d print it out and bring it with me when I go tomorrow. So I printed it all and then the nurse phoned me back to say that he’d now received it and I needn’t bother printing it out.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone during the night. And by the sound of things, I was literally in the Wars. There was a train that we had to go somewhere to board. I think that we were probably prisoners or something. Before I boarded the train I felt the urgent need to go to the bathroom but there wasn’t anywhere to go and I wasn’t able to go standing by the side of the train. In the end I just climbed aboard anyway. I opened a hatch and somehow managed to pull myself inside ready for the train to set off. I don’t know whether we were fighting the Turks or someone like that

We were in the War last night. We left our support trench to go to the Front Line. We had to charge. We swarmed out of the door into No-Man’s Land but didn’t go very far at all. We just took shelter once we were clear. The Germans started to lob hand grenades, really like explosive charges fitted into glass jars. They always seemed to be landing where I was. I had to dodge around quite a lot in order to escape being blown up by one of them. Just at the moment when I was at my least comfortable a German General came round the corner with a couple of orderlies. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or him. He actually ordered me back to my trench instead of wanting to shoot me or anything like that. Then our Colonel came up. He went over to the German General and handed him a file. It turned out that he had given him the whole information about our defences. When I asked why the Colonel said “another part of the Front is much weaker than ours. I wanted to encourage the Germans to go to attack that and leave us all alone

Then I was away somewhere on a voyage and had a really bad attack of cramp in my left calf again. That wiped away every memory that I had of what I was doing and where I had been

Finally I’d been round to see someone. Someone else came with me. This other person was an older person who lived on his own. We were in a car somewhere in Belgium. The first person whom I’d been to see asked me which way I’d come. I told him and he was trying to tell me a better way to arrive that was quicker etc. I wasn’t really sure about this. Then the other person turned up. We got into the car to go somewhere else . I asked him about the first guy “is he always like this?”. He replied “yes, he loves to take control”. Just then the alarm clock somewhere went off. This guy said “yes that’s my alarm clock. I wasn’t sure what was going to be happening so I went to bed and set the alarm for now but as it happens I got up earlier. It’s no problem”. We began to drive to where we were supposed to be going.

Having dealt with that I did some more work on my radio notes and then went back to the Labrador coast. I was interested to read that our hero Vaino Tanner told us a story that when he was in Cartwright he heard a tale of dogs that had attacked and killed a small child, and how all of the locals denied that such a thing had happened.

Yet there I was, out in the abandoned cemetery in the abandoned village of North River across on the other side of Sandwich Bay, looking at the headstone of the grave of Ephraim Williams aged 4 years and 8 months “who was killed by dogs”.

Not only that, looking even deeper into things, I came across the story of little three year-old Willie Davis down the bay at Long Point. His cousin Tom told a reporter that “These dogs come and fastened right into him. I don’t know if Mother was looking or if she heard something. When she started pelting rocks at them, all the proper dogs went away, all but this old black one, he just stayed there and tore away at Willie. “

So small children being attacked, and sometimes killed by dogs is nothing new. In fact, during the Influenza epidemic that almost wiped out the Inuit community of Okak up the coast, it was reported that “dozens of sled dogs grew wild with hunger and began eating the corpses or attacking sick humans”

As well as all of this I’ve been trying to revise the next batch of my Welsh but today it was more a case of fighting off an overwhelming urge to go to sleep. I’m really not doing very well.

Tea was another one of these quinoa and lentil burgers with rice, veg and some thick onion gravy. For some reason, the gravy wasn’t as nice as last week which was a shame. nevertheless, I did manage to eat it all.

Tomorrow I have my appointment with the nerve specialist who is going to do his worst, and I’m not at all looking forward to that. It hurts like hell, but I suppose that it has to be done. I’d better go and have an early night for once in my life.

Wouldn’t it be awkward if I were to fall asleep in the middle of his test?

Friday 30th June 2023 – THAT WAS THREE HOURS …

… of my life that I’ll never ever get back.

It beats me (well, it doesn’t actually – it’s called “egoism”) why people come to these meetings and spend hours talking about nothing of any use whatsoever. There was even a lengthy discussion that went on and on and on about a Motion AFTER it had been defeated.

In my opinion, such as it is, all these meeting and others of a similar type should be held standing up, outside in a rainstorm. That would succeed in concentrating the minds.

My mind was sufficiently concentrated last night to have been up and about once more long before the alarm went off. But I really did wonder why because my head was spinning around for a good few hours. It really was quite uncomfortable.

After the medication I came in here to carry on working but knocked off at 10:00 to stagger outside and catch the bus into town. There was no way that I was going to walk into town.

Having stocked up on a few of the basics I came back on the bus and made myself some coffee and cheese on toast for brunch, and then I started work.

Today I’ve finished my exploration around Cartwright (at long last) and even as we speak I’m heading out in an open boat to go for a walk on what I consider to be the Furdustrandir, the “Wunderstrands” of the Norse sagas and to walk in the footsteps of Vaino Tanner, the Finnish anthropologist

His claim to fame is that during his expedition to the Labrador coast between 1937 and 1939 he made the observation, that has since gone down in history as far as I’m concerned, that

  1. Inuit girls are very keen to marry settlers of European descent
  2. they are the hardest-working of all of the Inuit people (and then goes on to list all of the household tasks that they are expected to do in the home)
  3. they have an extremely sensual nature

I was intrigued to find out how he discovered all of this, particularly the third point, so as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I went to the High Arctic myself in 2018 and 2019 to conduct my own field research into the matter.

There was a pause, for much longer than I was hoping, for this perishing waste of time of a meeting that could have been accomplished in less than an hour had everyone been of a mind to do so, but some people really like to have their money’s worth.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was down on the farm at one point and decided that I was going to stay here this time. That meant moving a lot of stuff from outside the barn door and moving some stuff around inside the barn so that I could put Caliburn in, then I could sleep in Caliburn and cook outside. It was dark and raining bit I did what I could. Then I went to get into Caliburn. Then I remembered that just before I parked him up I’d changed something over but hadn’t tried to see whether he’d start or not. I got in and turned the key. He took an age to start and when he did he wouldn’t fire up or run normally. he was coughing and spluttering. By this time I actually had him into a field where I planned to turn round. I thought to myself that I’m going to have a devil of a job now trying to move him to the path seeing as he’s not running correctly and I had my things all over the place.

There was also some kind of public meeting taking place with crowds of people. I had to wire up the PA system to broadcast to the hall. We had a row of 4 speakers down each side and 4 speakers either side of a corridor down the middle. It meant running wires to them. A friend of mine was cutting the wires and I was installing them. We reached one point where we’d had to move a few things around and the two wires were about 2 metres short. I had to go back to my friend who was busy talking to some young child and sorting something out for it, and ask him for some cables 2 metres long. He cut them. I thought to myself “should I give him back the old wire or should I just keep it and take it home with me at the end when everyone has gone?”.

I was back in that hall again later, this time in rural Canada. There was a big crowd of people in there whom we’d been investigating. A WPC had disguised herself as a citizen in order to infiltrate the group to find out what the private organisation was all about. One day she didn’t turn up so we went for a closer listen to the people and found out that they were concerned about how interested we were and didn’t seem to have had a hand in removing her.

Finally, there had been some kind of issue in an Army camp where I was. The junior staff was rather insubordinate. One of them had stood up to the Colonel and said something quite offensive to him on the lines of “well, you aren’t in charge of me; I am” which outraged the Colonel. He was fuming about it. he was planning on having everything all toughened up in the camp to re-instill some more discipline. There was much more to it than this but I awoke again with a massive attack of cramp in my left leg. That playing up now is all I need.

Tea tonight was chips and salad with some of the frozen sausage rolls, cooked with the chips in the air fryer. Just one more serving of those and then I’ll have to start on something else. But if I go to Noz tomorrow, which is debatable, they might have some more frozen vegan stuff on offer.

But actually there are plenty of carrot burgers, breaded quorn fillets, sausages and falafel so it’s not as if I’m actually going to be short of anything.

And thinking on, I need to make more space in there because I haven’t had a vegan pie for an absolute age. That thick onion gravy was delicious yesterday and some more of that, with steamed veg, new potatoes and a slice of vegan pie really would be delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed and hoping to have a really good sleep. Not that I will, I expect, but I have to keep on trying.

Actually, that’s something at which I’m quite good. A lot of people have said in the past that I’m very trying, which was quite nice of them.

Saturday 3rd June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… really bad fall today.

And this one is the worst that I’ve had. Even worse than the one on the boat coming back from Jersey last summer.

And not only that, it’s much more worrying too. usually what happens is that all of a sudden there’s no sensation at all in my right leg and when I put my foot down I simply fall over gently as if there’s no leg there.

However today, it was the left leg, my good (or maybe I should say less bad) leg, there was a stabbing pain all the way up my left leg and I had a really heavy fall.

It happened on the car park at Noz and I wasn’t able to stand up afterwards. I had to crawl on my hands and knees to Caliburn and lean on him to help me up.

Right now, I can’t move without being on crutches and each time I try to stand up or put my leg in an unusual position the pain comes back.

It’s not a “broken leg” type of pain but definitely a muscle or nerve issue. I’ll have to wait until the physio next comes to see me and have a chat with him. In the meantime I’ll be taking it easy

Not that I took it easy during the night. I stayed up until I finished the notes for the day in Canada 2017 on which I’d been working so that I could go to bed with a clean slate.

But once more, we seem to be back in the “tossing and turning during the night” stages. I thought that we’d got over all of that, but apparently not.

When the alarm went off this morning I was fast asleep again and it was a struggle to beat the second alarm.

There were a few things that I needed to do before setting out and then Caliburn and I went out to the shops.

And today I didn’t buy a thing at Noz. It really was a waste of time going and had I known how it would turn out I wouldn’t have gone at all.

At LeClerc I bought everything that I needed (although I bet that I’ve forgotten something) and then went to the appliances department in a separate building to buy a gas cylinder for my sodastream

Back here I had a fight with the freezer to fit in the beans that I’d bought and then settled down with my coffee and cheese on toast.

Regrettably, I crashed out for a while too. That’s becoming a habit, it seems, whenever I go out and about.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. I was a passenger on a coach trip with a young girl, someone like my youngest sister. We were in like a ballroom place sitting down talking. There were all kinds of things happening. We’d left the room for some reason but when we returned the band was just striking up a waltz. I grabbed hold of whoever I was with and we waltzed into the room. We were the only couple on the dance floor. my friend from Germany was there so she took her husband and they began to dance. We began to have a ballroom dance-type of thing. My partner wasn’t particularly good but I was able to guide her around somewhat. It began to be a nice pleasant evening.

Later on there was a family, something like the Lyons (as in “Life of Lyons”) family who lived at 222 some street or other. One of their children had to go to the radio centre to introduce a radio show. I went to pick him up. First of all I was surprised. I was expecting mansions, all this kind of thing but they were just modern terraced houses in a big square. I drove around and found the house. What was interesting here was that there was no front door. The living room overflowed into a common area. The doors behind went into the kitchens and bedrooms. I could hear the children talking in there. I recognised the voices so I went and knocked on the door leading to the back and they began to come out.

At that moment though I had a horrible attack of cramp in my left calf and that awoke me so I’ll never know how that would have ended..

Finally I had to go to a Tax Office last night to take all my papers. The first thing that I had to do was to take a plastic bag in which to put everything. There was a big pile of them. I took one that implied that I was Moroccan. I don’t know why I did that. I put all my papers in and had to join this queue. There were probably 20 clerks sitting at a long desk. You just went to stand at the desk and one of them would talk to you. I handed all the papers of my employment to her. I was marked down as “leaving definitively”. I had to hand in another certificate to the guy sitting next to this girl. He looked at it and said “we already have these. You didn’t need to bring this”. I replied “I bring everything anyway”. he began to go through all my paperwork with the girl. he asked me “do you have any more income with the Commonwealth?”. I replied “no”.

The rest of the day has been spent feeling sorry for myself and writing up the notes for the next day’s walk (in the days when I could walk) around Québec.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I wrote something about THE CHEMIN DU ROY from Montreal to Québec. I started from Repentigny because I wasn’t sure of the route out of Montreal but over time I traced the route and so I was on foot from the centre of the town out as far as the Jacques Cartier Bridge and a little bit futher east.

And one thing that I’ve often wondered. In North America most of the landmarks are named for the first European who actually saw them. I always wondered what Jacques Cartier must have said when he sailed up the St Lawrence to what in those days was the Iroquois settlement of Hochelaga in 1535 and saw that massive bridge.

There was a burger that had been in the fridge for a while and when I inspected it this evening I decided that the best thing to do with it would be to file it under CS. Consequently I had a further fight with the freezer and put one of the two remaining lasagne slices in there to keep

The other one, I ate tonight with a vegan salad and it was all extremely delicious. I’m really impressed with that lasagne, that’s for sure.

Not so impressed with my health though. It seems that I only have to think about going back to the Land of my Great Grandfather and I have a bad fall, just like last year.

However that time, I ignored it and went all the same, and look how that turned out. I think that my body is trying to tell me something.

What I’ll do for now is to carry on around the Port of Montreal ship-spotting and when things quieten down, dictate some radio notes that I’ve prepared.

No alarm tomorrow. I’ll have a good lie-in. But I have to be a-baking though. I’ve run out of fruit buns. No idea where I’m going to put the ones that need to be stored though. We’re back to where we were ages ago with not even the hint of a place to put stuff

Well, it’ll all work out somehow. It usually does. I just wish that I would.

Thursday 11th May 2023 – THE GOOD NEWS …

… is that I don’t have to come back here until 13th September.

More good news is that there’s a new ice-cream stall in Leuven that has vegan speculoos and coffee ice cream. Right next door to my favouritefritkot too!

And even more good news is that I finally made it to the Asian supermarket and stocked up with fennel, fenugreek and cumin seeds. The Indian cuisine in my apartment can therefore remain on the menu … “PERSONSu” – ed.

On the other hand, the bad news is that I should be enjoying and making the most of whatever I can do and whatever health I have because it’s not going to get any better and it’s all downhill from here.

Despite all of the bits that they’ve taken out of me over the last few years, there are more signs of the disease in my heart and in my kidneys. And they suspect that the problem with the nerves in my leg is the illness taking a hold.

Add to that the brittle bones that I have due to the blood problems, and it seems that they’ve done all that they can. Hence the five-month gap between now and the next visit.

The doctor gave me a pile of stuff to give to my own doctor and he expects him to be keeping a closer eye on me in future.

So it looks as if things are going to be changing. I’ve already given instructions to put Strider up for sale. No point in paying out all this money on insurance if I’m never going to be using him.

One idea going through my head is to fly to Montreal, hire a car, drive down to empty Strider of all of my possessions, throw away or sell some of them and take the rest back to Montreal and rent a storage locker at Jarry like I used to do in the good old days

However, that’s a long way away yet.

It’s more to the point to talk about the rest of the day. I was in bed early and fell asleep quite quickly, which is hardly a surprise given how much exercise I had yesterday.

And apart from the odd tossing and turning here and there, I slept through until the alarm went off.

After a shower I headed off and caught the bus to the hospital.

First appointment was with the kidney guy. He gave me a good going over and was surprised to see the difference in my blood pressure between standing up, lying down, and standing up immediately after lying down. He’s never seen anything quite like it previously.

There was a long wait for the next couple of appointments so I went and found a power point and transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was in bed quite early and asleep quite quickly. I was away on some kind of interesting dream quite early when I had a huge attack of cramp in my sleep. That awoke me of course and the dream disappeared. The cramp stayed for quite some time. And I DO mean “quite some time”.

Later on I was in a court room. There was a case taking place about an inheritance. The plaintiff was some old woman who said that she’d been a nun and had waited devotedly on a guy for so very long so she ought to inherit some of his money. It went to trial and the defendant put into the witness box a friend of this old guy to testify, but as soon as he took the oath he repudiated all his testimony. He went over to the defending counsel and mocked him which didn’t go down very well. It looked as if the plaintiff had actually won by a mile. The case was adjourned for the final summing up that would take place on the Monday. But the friend made a special point of asking for all his phone records back that made the defence suspicious. He went through the phone records and was able to follow them up. He found out that there was something not right between the relationship between the friend and the woman concerned. He made further enquiries and had an adjournment for a couple of days. When the case restarted he smuggled in someone under a blanket into the court. He asked leave to adduce other evidence which he did. He asked the person under the blanket if she recognised anyone in Court. She immediately pointed to the plaintiff and described her as being some neighbour of the old guy or something to do with him but with no relationship whatsoever. Defending counsel asker her who she was. She whipped off her blanket. It was a little old woman underneath there. She declared herself to be the person the plaintiff was alleging to be. She could describe in intimate detail all her early life which was documented and a lot of personal stuff, and describe all about the home and the life of this guy and how she’d been living in poverty somewhere miles away but the defence in the end had managed to track her down and bring her into court. The plaintiff not only lost her case but she and the friend of the dead man who had repudiated his evidence found themselves in a lot more serious trouble than that.

Then I had exactly the same dream again except that it focused more on the start of this story when this kid was probably 6 or 7 years old on a pushbike fighting the boys etc and followed her through adulthood. And then her testimony. Of course it was much harder for the defendant to win but he still managed to pull it off in the end. All the members of his branch of his bank know about this guy just in case he pulls the same scam against somewhere else

Finally I was in bed and at 05:00 the phone rang. I was sure that it was a taxi job and I really didn’t feel like it at that time of the morning. I answered the phone and it was a woman. She asked if we could get together to sort out some insurance issue. I asked what she was talking about. She replied “the solicitors have now told me to contact you to settle the matter. I vaguely remembered something about an accident but no solicitor had been in touch with me. “You need to ask the solicitor to contact me to tell me that and I’ll phone you back”. We had this pointless discussion for about 10 or 15 minutes. Suddenly she was there in the room, a little girl from the Philippines or Indonesia or somewhere saying that her boss had come to stay with her and what the heck was her boss doing staying there when she should be staying in a hotel or something like that. She hated the idea of people taking advantage of her. I thought “this is 05:00. What is this to do with anything?.

Much to my surprise (and yours too) the nurse who took my blood sample did it first go with no pain at all. That was impressive. Not like the people at Avranches who on one of the days that I was there had to take five goes and I ended up looking (and feeling) like a dartboard.

My final appointment was for 15:30 so there was an hour to wait. And they called me to be seen at 17:45, and then only after I’d complained twice. Consequently I wasn’t in a very good mood at the time. Still, having spoken earlier in the week to someone in the UK who had to wait 10 hours for an emergency ambulance and then 12 hours in Casualty before they were seen, I don’t know why I’m upset.

Anyway, the meeting didn’t go to plan. One thing that I do know is that a heart transplant is out of the question. For that to be considered, you need to be in pretty good health and they reckon that the way I am at the moment, the rest of my body wouldn’t stand the shock.

The good news though is that I still have a heart right now. That proves that I’m not a Tory.

It was 18:45 when they threw me out, so it was a good job that I’d been to pick up the medication during the pause at midday.

And despite the rain, I decided to walk home. He’d told me that I need to exercise more, but that’s not easy on crutches of course so I have to do what I can.

At that time of night I didn’t expect the Asian supermarket but my luck was in, which was good news.

With my spirits flagging by the time that I reached the town centre, I went for a bag of chips at the Ali Baba. And finished it off with an ice cream from next door.

It was a long stagger back to the hotel but I found an easier, more convenient way to the hotel that involves much less athleticism. And I was flaming glad to find my way back home after all of that.

53% of my daily activity doesn’t sound a lot but it’s more than I’ve done just recently. No wonder I’m whacked.

So off to bed for an early night. I have to be up early because I have a train to catch in Brussels at 08:13. That’s not something to which I’m looking forward.

Sunday 11th July 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today, and I don’t know why that is.

Well, I do, but it’s something that I don’t care to talk about on here and involves a trip down Memory Lane to places that I’ve been trying to forget.

But I would ordinarily say that I don’t know what’s brought it on, but actually I do – I just don’t know why it’s caught me unawares like this.

It’s one of those things that always seems to hit us when we are at our most vulnerable so I’ll need to have a good night’s sleep and in the words of the boxer Jack Johnson, “Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts”.

This morning after my walk around the upper town at midnight (and about which I haven’t forgotten the photos, by the way) I was to my surprise awake at 07:00. But badger that for a game of cowboys. 09:30 was too early too but 10:45 is much more respectable for a Sunday.

After the medication I came in here again to listen to the dictaphone. At first there was something going on in a big old rambling house full of kids last night but I can’t remember what it was now. And waking up with an attack of cramp and when was the last time that I did that as well? I thought that some of this medication was supposed to stop that.

So having had some kind of meeting (when did this take place?) with a Greek girl with whom I was very friendly in Brussels who put in an appearance I was off in some medieval city somewhere in medieval times. There was some kind of difficulty that I can’t remember now but a man became involved in it who was a so-called spy and he helped me resolve this difficulty. In the end he stood on this bridge of this canal with his hand behind his back hiding a gun these 6 people road up asking for information. He replied “sorry, I don’t have one”. They replied something like “how is it possible to be in this country without an identity card?”. At that moment, from behind his back he pulled out a gun. He made them all drop their guns. Somehow at this point he became me. I ordered 5 of those people away and the 6th guy I mounted on a camel and told him to set out to such-a-place and I’d follow him. On the way out there was a barge going past on the canal so I stopped to take a photo of it. We had another one of these sessions when the NIKON 1 J5 wouldn’t work. All the time this guy was getting further ahead of me as I was trying to take this photo. In the end I said “sod it” and chased after this guy on the camel. Then I got to thinking “how stupid am I? I made those people drop their guns in the street and walk away. Why didn’t I throw them over into the canal? All they need to do now is to wait until I’m out of sight, pick up their guns and come along and chase after me. At least had I thrown their guns into the canal they might have chased after me but they couldn’t have done very much without any weapons”.

There was also something somewhere about me being with a few people and the subject of dreams came up. I was told to go and see a woman with whom by some lucky chance I’d just been talking because she was very keen on the subject. I wish I knew where she’d gone so I could chase after her. I explained to the people with whom I was talking that I’d been following my dreams for nearly 30 years.

So at least I managed to go off somewhere at some point.

One task that I wanted to do was to to pair off the music for the next radio programme and find a suitable chat line for my guest. That was all done and organised and took me nicely up to lunchtime.

Before I could make my lunch though I needed to make some bread mix. Only for a small loaf though because I’m going to be away for a while next week and there’s not much room right now in the freezer.

Talking of the freezer… “well, one of us is” – ed … I also took out the last pile of dough from the freezer so that it could defrost ready for tonight.

After lunch I came back in here and the first thing that I did was to sort out the camera equipment. I have three cameras on the go – the NIKON D500 which is the main one, the little NIKON 1 J5 that I use when weight and/or privacy and discretion are czlled for, and the old NIKON D3000 that I bought ON QUECEC IN 2012 after I had broken the Nikon D5000 and which keeps on rolling along.

Each camera now has its own bag with all of its own accessories inside it and surprisingly, I bought a brand-new upmarket camera bag last year. The D3000 has found its way into that and the D5000 is in the bag that the D5000 used to occupy and which I’ve had for ages.

The J5 is in an even older camera bag that belonged to one of the older 1st-generation digital cameras that I had and which packed up nearly 20 years ago.

One of these days I’ll have to go through the redundant camera equipment, sell it off and use the money to repair the D5000.

With time to spare I sat down to deal with the photos from last night. They are all uploaded, edited and some of the text was written. But my afternoon walk intervened.

Before I went on my walk though I kneaded the bread mix, added the sunflower seeds and put it in the bread mould.

full car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds outside this afternoon were unbearable. You couldn’t move for people and cars. It was not very pleasant at all.

You can see what I mean from this photo. The public car park just outside this building is bursting at the seams and if you look quite closely at the photo you’ll see the crowds of people milling around there today.

In fact, while you are looking closely, you’ll see a group of several people standing together just to the right of centre on this photo, looking over the wall there. That’s my usual spec for when I’m taking photos of the beach if I’m going off around the headland on my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going round that way this afternoon. I’m going off on a trek around the city walls.

That means I’m having to look down onto the beach from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord so the view is rather different than usual.

The tide is well out so there is plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people on it this afternoon taking advantage of the space.

And I’m not sure why because while the conditions weren’t Arctic today the sky was quite overcast and it was cool (if not cold) for the time of the year and there was plenty of wind about. It’s not the kind of day in which you’d catch me sunbathing o the beach, that’s for sure.

people fishing in rock pool beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, I might be down on the beach for other reasons, rather like this family here.

The retreating tide has left several large rockpools behind it, so while daddy supervises the operation, mummy and the two kiddiewinks have taken off their socks and shoes and, in one case, trousers, and they are scavenging around in the rock pools for whatever they can find.

Which I hope they will remember to share with their friends because, after all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

And as for paddling up to my knees, I’ve done that twice now in water that was much colder than this – AT ETAH IN GREENLAND just 700 miles from the North Pole and the second time in the North West Passage in the Canadian High Arctic, about which I’ll write when I can think of what i’m going to say that will express how I felt on that day with the events that were goign on all around me, without causing too many problems.

But meanwhile, trying to dig myself out of the Black Pit into which i’ve fallen, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here and ask why there are all these people wandering around this afternoon.

people at brocants rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe answer to that is that it’s the annual brocante or car boot sale in the old town, and that always attracts the crowds, which is not a good thing from my point of view.

Not 50 yards from where those people are, and they must have walked past that spot to be where they are is a sign “face masks mandatory”, and yet there are so many people who just couldn’t care less.

Having brought the figures down from over 20,000 per day to just a thousand or so, it can’t give anyone any pleasure to see the infection rate rising again so rapidly and yet people totally disregarding even the most basic of rules because they just don’t feel like it.

But anyway, that’s enough of me moaning and whining for the moment. Let’s return to my afternoon walk around the walls

medieval city wall crumbling place du marche au cheveaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the main reasons that I came around this way was to see what they were up to with that scaffolding the other day, but I wasn’t quick enough with the scaffolding and it’s now gone.

But we can see just so clearly now exactly what is the problem with the city walls at the Place du Marché au Chevaux. You can see the vertical crack in the brickwork right there and it’s not before time that they are going to be dealing with it.

It does in fact remind me of the rather nasty crack that appeared on the outside wall of 10 Downing Street but Carrie called in builders to cement over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

And I still haven’t worked out what that wooden structure is that they have built on top of the wall and what its purpose is supposed to be. I suppose that it will become clear over the next few days, but I remember saying that a few days ago.

cement mixer workmen's cabin place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo the obvious question is “what are they going to be doing with the walls?”

Here in the little compound we have what looks like a couple of workmen’s huts but also a cement mixer and tubs full of something or other, so it looks as if they are going to be making a start some time soon on repointing. But I think that it needs a bit more than repointing, if you ask me.

And if you look above the nearest workmen’s hut, you’ll see a map. It tells us of work that they have done in the past in restoring the walls, and what they will be doing this year here in the Place du Marché auc Chevaux.

And I wish that it would tell us what they are going to be doing subsequently because sections of the old medieval walls are being closed off quicker than they can repair them.

It was round here that I fell in with a family – mum, dad, a girl about 12 or so and a grandfather. They were not from round here and were struggling to make out a few of the local landmarks. Jersey was really clear to me today so I pointed it out to them, as well as the Ile de Chausey and even the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel which was perfectly clear with the naked eye today.

bouchot beds donville les bains medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was talking to them, I noticed that the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains were quite visible today too with the tide being so far out.

The tractors were taking advantage of the low tide this afternoon and were out there doing the harvesting.

The medieval fish trap had some water still in it too although no-one was taking advantage of it. I’d love to see it restored and people in there catching their own supper with their own bare hands just like they did in the Middle Ages.

After all, there were enough people down there to have had a good go and made a good catch this afternoon had the fish trap been working properly.

f-gcum Robin DR 400/180 Regent baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was doing that, I was overflwon by a light aeroplane. I mean – we have to have one of those, don’t we, on a day like that?

She’s another one of our old friends, F-GCUM, the Robin DR 400/180 Regent that’s owned by the Granville Aero Club.

And she’s been out for a nice long flight this afternoon. She took off at 13:38 and did a nice figure-of-8 going gown to Avranches then across to Cap Fréhel, back to Granville, over Coutances, up to Barneville Carteret and then back home.

She disappeared off the radar at 15:58 presumably when she went into her landing approach and I saw her about 15 minutes later so it must have been a long, shallow dive into landing.

crowds avenue de la liberation place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you think, by the way that everyone is here who is coming here and that the crowds will slowly die away, then look again at this lot.

There’s a whole stream of cars coming down the hill nose to tail in the Avenue de la Liberation. And good luck to them if they can find somewhere to park when they finally get to where they are going.

It’s a Sunday of course and the public transport doesn’t run on a Sunday. Perhaps the local council needs to think about that in the summer when there are all of these events and organise a “Park and Ride” on the LeClerc Car Park

Plenty of people too in the Place Marechal Foch and walking along the promenade at the Plat Gousset too. And the ice cream parlour looks as if it’s doing a roaring trade.

seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, seeing as I’m here now, I have to go and see how my baby seagulls are doing.

So off I took myself into the Square Maurice Marland, past a couple of little girls playing hopscotch, and up to the place where I can see onto the roofs of the Rue des Juifs where their parents have their nests.

Two of my seagull chicks weren’t up to very much, just curled up in the nest having a relaxing afternoon but the third one here was a little more energetic and he was off for a wander around on the roof.

And I hope that he doesn’t fall off like a couple of his friends seem to have done over the last week or two.

seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually I was watching this particular energetic one for quite a while.

When I first saw him he was flapping his wings like Billio and I thought that he was going to have a go at taking off, but animals, like children, are very contrary and never do what you want or what you expect. Having got myself into a good position, he did nothing at all.

You can tell by the times of the images. 4 minutes after I took up my position he decided to inspect himself for fleas and that was about the limit of his activity while I was watching.

In the end I became fed up before he did and I cleared off, upon which I imagined him immediately taking off, doing a few loop-the loops and Immelmann turns

people in brocante rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square I walked through the alleyway into the Rue Notre Dame where it was all happening.

And the first thing that I noticed was the lack of face masks despite the notices plastered everywhere. And I know that I go on about this quite a lot but 4,000,000 dead and God alone knows how many people’s health permanently damaged, endless queues in hospitals, routine work cancelled (remember, I went 9 months without my four-weekly cancer treatment) just because people can’t be bothered to take the most basic precautions.

But anyway, even though I remembered to bring my money, I didn’t even look at what was on offer. I have seen the prices in the past and that’s been enough for me. Not even the chip van could tempt me this year.

people place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people in the Place Cambernon too, mainly at the bar down the far end.

However I didn’t go that way, I carried on around the church and at the edge of the walls overlooking the port I fell in with one of my neighbours chatting to a couple at the nice house with the nice round turret.

We had quite a pleasant chat for 10 minutes or so but then I set off for home as I had work to do.

autogyros pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I hadn’t gone very far before I was brought to yet another halt.

On my way along the street I’d heard a rattling from the air and I’d wondered what it was. But suddenly in a gap between two houses, two of these autogyros came flying past in formation.

Two-seater autogyros too so they were obviously up to something, like a photo shoot or a film shoot. And one of these days I’ll have to get myself up there in one of those things for a photo shoot.

But not right now. Ad I said earlier, I have things to do this afternoon. Like kneading the pizza dough that had now defrosted, rolling it out and putting it on the pizza dish that I had greased.

When everything was ready I switched on the oven and bunged the bread in to bake, and when the pizza dough had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the bread was baked I put the pizza in and let that bake, and here are the finished products.

Only a small loaf as I mentioned earlier, and I’ll tell you about that in a day or two, but the pizza was delicious as usual.

No pudding because there is still some chocolate sponge left and in any case, I’m pretty full right now.

And now my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’ll sleep off my depression and have a better day tomorrow. And if I have time, I’ll finish off those photos from last night and post them up.

We’ll see how I get on.

Saturday 15th May 2021 – WE’VE HAD A

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… one of these aerial days today – a day when just about everything in the air flew past me today.

It wasn’t possible for me to count all the ones that went past today because I ran out of fingers. Several of them flew past out of range so I couldn’t photograph them but I did photograph those that I could, like this one here.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to identify it because I couldn’t see its serial number anywhere and it’s not a model that I recognise anywhere. It looks like a pretty lightweight machine so it’s quite possibly one of these kit-built aircraft that care classed as microlights.

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is another one that I didn’t recoognise, but that’s for a completely different reason.

As it flew past overhead, it didn’t present to me a surface that carried the registration number. That will be underneath the port wing of course and it wasn’t going that way round. But whatever it is, it’s not one of the aircraft that regularly flies out of the airport here that we see quite regularly.

There was nothing shown on the flight radar for these aircraft of course. It’s unlikely that they file flight plans and they probably don’t fly high enough to be picked up on the radar anywhere.

powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just aeroplanes that went flying past overhead either.

As I walked out of the building here to go for my afternoon walk I was overflown by one of these powered hang glider things. That wasn’t shown on my radar set either and that’s no surprise. It’s the kind of thing that struggles to lift itself over my building, especially as it’s carrying two people therein.

As this went past overhead I was thinking that all I needed now was to see Godzilla going past and then I’d have the full set. Either that or the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many aircraft on one particular day.

This morning I hauled myself out of bed fairly early, just after the first alarm, despite my rather late night.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was really surprised to find that I’d been anywhere because it had been a bad night with several raging attacks of cramp that didn’t ease off even when I went for a walk around.

This was the worst series of attacks that I’d had and they were horrible. Painful and horrible.

aeroplane 55-OJ place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut returning to our moutons as they say around here, while you admire aeroplane 55-OJ, I was somewhere on the outskirts of London last night, living by the side of this big main road that was a 2×2 lane with the carriageway nearest me higher than the other. Crossing over there was quite difficult because it was so busy. One night I’d finished my tea and I had the remains on the plate so I thought that I would take then to the dustbin. I had to walk along the pavement, across the road on a zebra crossing, down a set of steps and across the other road. Luckily there was no traffic and I reached the dustbins to put my stuff away. I’d been counting my steps – so many steps across the road, so many steps across the central reservation and so on. There was a lot of traffic waiting at a junction on the other side of the by-pass and I had to walk my way round. I thought that I recognised one of them. It turned out to be a black boy from the City of London on a bicycle who had been wanted by the police for a murder but released. At that moment a police car pulled up and someone started to talk to the policeman saying something like “it’s happened again but I definitely saw something white which was either something white once 100 times or something white twice 50 times”. I immediately thought of this boy. What had he been up to?

After that I went for a good hot shower which made me feel so much better, and then I stripped the bed and changed the bedding, the first time since I can’t remember when. The bedding, my fleece jacket and a few other bits and pieces went into the washing machine and I set it off on its cycle again.

Meanwhile Caliburn and I went to the shops. At NOZ I found a guide book on Iceland, which will come in handy when I write up my notes and if I ever return to the island. There were also some frozen vegan veggie balls, so I bought three packets of those.

LeClerc’s was an expensive shop this morning, even if I did forget the coffee. They had vegan burgers on special offer, and also some special vegan burgers made of sweet potatoes, a new variety with an introductory offer and I wouldn’t want to miss those. I’m building up rather a large supply of burgers now, more than I can probably tackle so I need to start to make my way into that supply some time soon.

Back here I put the veggie balls in the freezer along with the falafel, the other vegan veggie balls, the vegan sausage rolls and whatever else I have picked up in NOZ over the last while. The freezer is now bursting at the seams.

Having done that I made myself some hot chocolate. And despite now having some more cocoa powder I made it with real chocolate. I even bought a pack of 5 slabs of pure chocolate so that I can do this again for the next while.

And then back in here I sat down and promptly crashed out.

The football had already started when I awoke so I watched the rest of the game. TNS v Bala Town and even though TNS went down to 10 me, with a defender rather harshly sent off, they were always too good for Bala Town.

They won rather comfortably 2-0 but it didn’t do them very much good because Connah’s Quay Nomads beat Penybont and that meant that the Nomads were crowned champions for this season. The 4-1 victory that the Nomads had over TNS a couple of weeks ago proved to be so decisive.

Despite their championship win, the Nomads are rather short on consistency and rather short of strength in depth. If they intend to make progress in European competition and retain their championship, they need to recruit half a dozen good players this close season and move on a few of the fringe players who haven’t contributed enough to the team whenever they have come on to play.

It’s the same with Bala Town. They have a good, solid side but apart from Chris Venables and Henry Jones, they don’t have any players capable of pushing the club up to the next level. And the rest of the League are just also-rans with just the odd star dotted about here and there.

But one thing is quite interesting, and it just goes to show how much the Welsh Premier League has progressed over the last few years is that when an ex-Football League came to play with a Welsh Premier League club it made headline news that reverberated around the pyramid for months.

These days there are ex-Football League players in every club, several players who play International football for their country and a couple of players who were in Wales’ successful Euro 2016 squad. And things can only get better when we see the money that these clubs earn by being successful in Europe.

All of that took me up to the time to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to go down to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon. So dodging the powered hang-glider and other aircraft, I headed in that direction.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon, which was only to be expected seeing as the holiday season is well under way. The town was heaving with people this morning as I drove out to the supermarket so it was no surprise to see the beach so packed.

We’re at the period of lowest tide too so I imagine that many of them down there are scavenging for seafood. And I hope that they will share their catch with their friends because you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

aeroplane 35-MA place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I posted a photo of an unidentified aeroplane that flew overhead while I was walking across the car park.

As I walked back, I was overflown again by an aeroplane that was pretty much identical to one of the unidentified ones. And this time I could see the registration quite clearly on the port wing.

Not that it did me any good because the number on the wing is 35-MA and that is not a number that I can find in the series of registration numbers that I have. And so I’m not able to tell you anything about it, unfortunately. There’s certainly no flight plan or trace of it on the flight radar.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it off the car park and off down the path because I was detained by this absolutely gorgeous machine parked here.

It’s been a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages and to break our barren spell with a vehicle as rare or extraordinary as this is quite exceptional. In case you don’t know what it it, it’s basically a Citroen DS or ID, with the model designation “SM”.

The “S” of course stands for “Sport” but the “M” stands for “Maserati” because the earlier models of the series were powered by the same engine that was in the Maserati Merak and the later ones were powered by the engine out of the Maserati Biturbo.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe model was made between 1970 and 1975, but only about 13,000 models were made.

In 1974 there were just 294 examples sold and in 1975 a mere 115 so with the rationalisation of the French motor industry in the mid-70s, the poor sales resulted in the model being discontinued. What did for the model was the fact that the tax band in which the vehicle fell was so high that few people could afford to run them.

Nevertheless, if I had to choose a French vehicle of this era to keep as my own, there wouldn’t be any question about it. I would have one of these in a heartbeat. One of these would rival the Maserati Quattroporte in my list of top-10 vehicles.

citroen u23 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something else of interest parked up here at the end of the car park.

We’ve seen this vehicle before a few months ago. It’s a Citroen U23 lorry, a type of lorry that was launched in 1936 and was seen everywhere all over France. There are even A FEW EARLY ONES KNOCKING ABOUT ON THE ROADS today. They were also very popular with the French Army in World War II and quite a few were incorporated into the German army after the fall of France.

The earlier models looked very much like a Citroen Traction Avant but the bodywork evolved over the next 30 or so years before the model was abandoned in 1964. This is one of the last redesign of the model, undertaken in the late 1950s.

On that note I finally set off along the path above the cliffs, amongst the madding crowds wearing facemasks to a greater or lesser extent. There was nothing out to sea but as I approached the lighthouse a storm rolled in quite quickly and it began to rain. And so I didn’t wish to hang around for very long outside.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland in the rain I looked down on the chantier navale from the viewpoint overlooking the port.

It looks quite strange right now with nothing in there up on blocks down there. It’s not very often that we can see the place looking quite like this without any boats of any description in there. It’s restricted by the fact that the portable boat lift only has a rating of about 95 tonnes, and so that rules out some of the boats that are based in the harbour.

There’s a dry dock here, the Cale de Radoub, in which larger boats could be placed and where they could be repaired but even though that was declared an Ancient Monument in 2008, it’s been out of use since 1978 and will cost several millions to put into working order so that it could be used again.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the boats that requites an annual inspection is Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat that’s based here and which takes passengers out every now and again.

She had to sail to Lorient for her annual overhaul a few days ago as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. She must have come back on the tide last night. I was lucky enough to catch her coming home last year but I missed her this year.

Back here I made myself a mug of hot coffee and sat down to make a start on doing some work. But instead, I crashed out yet again. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and I’m becoming rather fed up of all of this. I could understand it if I’d done any heavy exercise but even a walk around the block these days is finishing me off.

After I came round and recovered my equilibrium, I spent an hour or so playing the bass. I have to learn the songs on this song list and there’s no time like the present. I ned to exert myself one way or another.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce, which is just as delicious as it was when I made it. And chatting to a few people on the internet later, I posted them my recipe so that they can make it.

Now I’m off to bed, a lot later than usual but it doesn’t matter all that much because I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. And as long as it’s not 13:30 like it was last Saturday, I won’t mind too much.

Friday 14th May 2021 – I DON’T KNOW …

people on lawn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… what on earth was going on this afternoon but I’ve never ever seen so many people wandering around on the paths this afternoon.

All of the car parks were full of cars and all of the paths and the lawn and everywhere else were heaving with people. There must have been something going on this afternoon somewhere in the vicinity to attract crowds like this and I wish that I knew just what it was because it must have been exciting.

What else that was exciting today was the fact that I managed to rise up from the dead just after the first alarm despite my rather late night last night. It wasn’t just a late night either but I spent much of the night wracked by an endless series of attacks of cramp that disrupted just about everything.

At some point I managed to drift off to sleep because there was something on the dictaphone. I was in an old Wild West railway town last night but I can’t remember anything about why I was there or what I was doing. I awoke at 05:20 with a really bad attack of cramp again that had me out of bed in agony for a while.

Anyway, I didn’t have a very good morning after all of that last night. It was rather slow as I carried on with the photos from Wyoming in 2019. Not even a coffee could perk me up and I didn’t do very much at all. I can’t have too many days like this.

After lunch, to my dismay I crashed out. And what was different about that today was that usually I feel myself drifting away and I can usually fight it for so long before I drop off, but today I didn’t even realise that I’d been asleep until I awoke and I’m rather bewildered about that.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent learning some new songs on the bass guitar. A week or two ago someone created a new Group on Social Media for this region and invited me to join. And so I did, and posted a brief bio on there, like you do. And as a result, someone else on there sent me his playlist.

There’s not all that much on there that appeals to me but you have to start somewhere, I suppose.

There was the usual break for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was the wall at the end of the car park. I mustn’t forget to go over there and look down onto the beach.

And while over the last few days it’s been pretty quiet down there, today it was heaving with people. And I don’t know why because the weather wasn’t anything like as good as it has been earlier in the week. It was rather cool, overcast and windy. Not at all like the kind of May Day that we have sometimes that drags out the crowds in their hundreds.

Anyway, that’s enough of that for the moment. I set off on my walk around the headland. And today it wasn’t quite as easy as it has been because of the vehicles and the crowds. It really took me by surprise to see so many cars and people out and about this afternoon.

people fishing from cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were a few people out and about on the sea too.

Just off the shore was this little cabin cruiser with a handful of men on there fishing with rod and line. But as you might expect, true to form, while I was watching them they didn’t manage to catch anything and I’m wondering if they ever will

None of the commercial fishing boats in the vicinity though. In case you missed the news, there was a meeting of the European Union earlier in the week in which banking relations between the UK and the EU were discussed. An agreement was almost reached but at the last moment France vetoed it.

As a result, Jersey has hastily postponed the implementation of its new fishing regulations until the end of June in the hope that the French will reconsider their veto.

With nothing going on out at sea that I could see, I went on my way around the headland and down the path on the other side on the cliffs overlooking the port.

chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe tide is quite far out today so there wasn’t anything going on in there. All we have today is Chausiais, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey with the freight for the island, moored up at the ferry terminal.

None of the two Joly France boats – the passenger ferries for the island – though. They have both gone out to the island with passengers so there must have been hundreds of people in town today for some reason that I don’t understand.

There was nothing going on in the chantier navale today, still no boats of any description in there, so I carried on home.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a pile of freight on the quayside. That had gone. Apparently with the easing of tension, Normandy Trader was able to come in on the morning tide today, drop off a load, load up with the objects on the quayside and clear off on the same tide.

f-gbai Robin DR.400-108B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was planning on taking a photo of the bare quayside by the loading bay I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airport over by Donville les Bains.

It’s one of our regulars, F-GBAI, the Robin DR 400-108B that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville. It’s not unfortunately filed a flight plan so I can’t tell you where it’s been but it’s probably just been for a run around the area by a student pilot or a licensed pilot keeping up his hours.

But anyway, it totally distracted me and I forgot to photograph the quayside. I really ought to concentrate more on what I’m supposed to be doing.

Back here I had my hot mug of coffee and then had a look at this playlist that I’d been sent. And spent the rest of the afternoon having a play through it. Some of the stuff I already knew, some of it I could work out easily enough and some of it is pretty darn complicated

Tea was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from the stuffed pepper yesterday, followed by some of my chocolate sponge and the best chocolate sauce that I’ve ever made. I had made my morning hot chocolate with real chocolate in a bain marie so there was some cocoa powder left, and I’d bought cornflour and sugar yesterday from LIDL

So now it’s bedtime. Once again it’s later than I was expecting. Tomorrow I’m going shopping, something that I know that I don’t usually do when I’m off to Leuven a couple of days later but I’ve not been to LeClerc for several weeks and I’m running low on milk, cocoa powder, olives and a few other bits and pieces that I normally use.

Friday 30th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… slightly better day today. Not very much, but something of an improvement. Mind you, not that things could have been much worse than they were.

And they probably would have been even better had I not had several attacks of cramp during the night, a couple of which dragged me out of bed.

But anyway, I made it up and out of bed just after the first alarm again. And after the medication I listened to the dictaphone. There was some kind of TV programme during the night featuring me. It was like a festival of all my old vehicles. They had managed to collect a whole pile of old vehicles that I used to own and they were all being filmed arriving at this venue where we were supposed to be having this party. The thing that surprised me was that out of all of these old vehicles turning up, they hadn’t managed to go and get Caliburn. I was really surprised by it. I mentioned something like “it’s a shame that I don’t have a boat, isn’t it?”. They said “you do have a boat and it’s on the canal over there” and they were pointing to the canal on Henhull Bridge. I said “God, do I have a boat as well?”. There was something about me getting a boat for going over the sea. And that was one of the times when I awoke with an attack of cramp.

In between all of the wicked attacks of cramp I was visiting a girl, someone like my friend Sue, and I ended up spending the night there, separate beds. I was really tired so by the time that I got up it was quite late in the morning. I went to ‘phone my boss to tell him that I was not going to be in work that day but first of all she had to move an animal out of the bedroom with its pet snail so that I could use the ‘phone in there. But every time I tried to dial I kept on getting a wrong number. In the end I went to dial up on my mobile ‘phone. There was something about the animals she had, a cat and a mouse and a dog and I was training them to eat bits of chocolate that I used to do with my cats, giving them a bit equal and having them sit and wait until I gave the word and this was surprisingly successful. This girl had never seen anything quite like it at all. I went to ‘phone him and ask for Friday off as well and make a few days of it out here with this girl but every time I went to phone I couldn’t get through. This auto-dialler was dialling the first number that I put in that was wrong.

At that point, I went off back to sleep again, leaving the dictaphone running. And my apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting her word when she complained that I snored in bed when I was asleep (not that I ever did too much sleeping if I was with Percy Penguin).

Transcribing that was about all that I managed to do this morning. Not even a mug of coffee was sufficient to galvanise me into action and after I’d had my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I actually crashed out again.

Not for as long as on the two previous days, but it may as well have been, for all the good that it did me from a working point of view.

After lunch I made something of a desultory start on editing my photos from August 2019. Doing anything is better than doing nothing, of course.

Not that I did too many but right now I’m emulating thousands of pioneers on the Trails West to Oregon and California during the Gold Rush years of the late 1840s and 1850s by “nooning” at Cottonwood Creek near modern-day Guernsey in Wyoming. It was an eerie feeling sitting there eating my sandwiches on the same spot where the Donner party had once eaten their lunch just four months before they began to eat each other.

There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach near fish trap rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see who was about down there.

Just a few people walking around down there today and I’ve no idea why because the weather wasn’t unpleasant at all. There are a couple of people walking around on the beach who caught my eye. Not because of their white jackets, but because they were walking past the medieval fish trap.

You can see that it’s doing its job retaining the water that’s come in with the tide. When it was working correctly back in the olden days the water would slowly filter out leaving the fish behind. And then the fishwives would wade in and pull out the fish with their hands.

And they would probably have much more luck than the modern-day fisherman with his rod and line. Who says that modern methods are more efficient?

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the port, was looking very nice today.

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked around the corner and onto the path that leads down to the car park. The tide was not yet right out so there was still plenty of water in the bay. We’ve seen HOW EMPTY THE BAY CAN BE when we are at very low tide.

For a change there weren’t too many cars on the car park. Just three, in fact, this afternoon, and none of them were of any interest. It wasn’t very busy at all so I walked off quietly down to the end of the car park and the end of the headland.

people on lower footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere may not have been anyone about on the cliffs where I’d just been walking or on the car park, but the lower footpath today was heaving with people. There was even someone making an attempt to cycle around it on a mountain bike.

Even more surprisingly, there were no fishermen today on the rocks. It’s too much to suppose that they have given it up as a bad job and gone to the fishmonger’s.

And that reminds me of the story about the mermaid who appeared on the rocks down there. Someone asked what her vital statistics were and the reply was “36 – 24 – €3:60 per kilo”.

On that note, I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on top of the other side of the headland. I forgot to notice if there were any fishing boats out there working this afternoon.

digger with tractors and trailers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint I could see the digger and the tractors and trailers working away at the end of the harbour wall down in the tidal harbour.

It looks as if they have finished digging away at the mountain of sand that had built up at the harbour entrance and were now digging away at a kind of trench further inside the harbour. It’s going to be interesting in a couple of days time to see what they are doing right now.

Incidentally, digging away at the mountain of sand apparently isn’t anything new. It’s a regular task that they undertake every five or so years to keep the passage free.

You can see that the tide is still a fair way up. The waste pipe that they are laying from the pleasure port is still part-submerged in water and the two white diggers haven’t made it out there as yet.

fishing boat out of water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this viewpoint I can see down into the chantier navale

There is no change in occupancy there today – Aztec Lady and the smaller trawler are still parked up on blocks down there and that’s your lot. But there’s something else in there too that looks as if it’s just been hauled out of the water. We can tell that by the amount of water down there behind that little fishing boat.

She’s been dropped onto the trailer by the portable boat lift and is about to be whisked away by the pick-up. That’s presumably the driver inside the cabin making the boat secure before they leave. And I was ready to leave too, and have another mug of coffee.

fishing boat grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I did, I walked past the quay at the fish processing plant.

And there today we have another fishing boat left to go around on the mud as the tide goes out. That’s becoming quite a habit right now.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then carried on with my photographs, such as I was able, and despite another little relaxation for half an hour, and then I had a play on the guitars. And despite how I was feeling, I enjoyed every minute of it too. And I wished that I felt better than I do.

Tea tonight was nothing special. A burger with rice and vegetables with onion gravy followed by apple crumble with the left-over custard from yesterday.

But now I have the opportunity for an early night. After last night, I’m going to have another one of those pills that they prescribe me to have a good night’s sleep. We’ll see how this one works in the hope that I can have a better night’s sleep than I did.

Friday 9th April 2021 – I’VE HAD SOMETHING …

… of a bad day today and I really don’t know why.

It all went wrong during the night when I spent most of it wracked with attacks of cramp and having to get up and walk about to ease it off. They say that the medication that I’m taking takes its time to work but I was expecting it to work quicker than this.

As a result I missed the first alarm this morning. Well, I didn’t because I did actually wake up, but I must have gone back to sleep because the second alarm brought me round properly. And then I spent the rest of the day fighting off the impulse to go back to sleep, sometimes unsuccessfully.

After the medication I went to listen to the dictaphone to hear if, despite the disturbed night, I’d been on any travels anywhere during the night. There was a train that had pulled into a platform but had stopped short to allow a pilot engine to be coupled up with I so consequently getting to it was a bi of a problem. People were having to leap over some adjacent track and a bay platform in order to get to the train. 1 passenger made it and the crew of the train made it over with the help of someone. Then another passenger tried it. It looks as if he made it OK and he got into the train but apparently he hadn’t. Then a 4th couple tried it and made quite a mess of it all. Then the train took off and it was all swaying around quite dramatically. 1 person who had only just caught it was hanging on for dear life in between 2 carriages and it wasn’t long before the whole thing was derailed. That was when I had a wicked attack of cramp that forced me to get up and walk about.

Somewhere along here was the story of a guy and his 2 acquaintances who were rustlers and were knocking everyone off. They’d already had 2 off this particular train that we were talking about and I don’t know how many more they were intending to have before they did some real damage.

For much of the morning I’ve been working on the photos from August 2019. I’ve dealt with another big pile of those today and I’m well ahead today. I’m now at the site of the ghost town of Kooi north-east of Sheridan in Wyoming heading towards the site of the Battlefield of the Little Big Horn

As well as that, I’ve done some of my arrears of my trip around Central Europe and some of my revision for my Welsh course but unfortunately I fell asleep in the middle of that and ended up dropping my papers all over the floor.

All in all, it’s not been a very successful day.

There was the afternoon walk around the headland, rather later than usual today, what with one thing and another.

man leaning on rock beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut time doesn’t seem to be an issue with this guy here on the beach.

The first thing that I did as usual was to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was going on down on the beach. There wasn’t much beach for anything to be going on this afternoon but the guy here managed to find a place to rest, leaning on a rather large rock as he admires the view of whatever was going out at sea.

But with the tide coming in quite rapidly, he’s chosen a good spot, at the foot of the steps up to the Rue du Nord to which he could make a hasty retreat without being cut off anywhere by the tide

Having seen the beach, I headed off along the top of the cliff towards the headland.

philcathane trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an endless stream of trawlers heading out of the fishing port this afternoon. One after the other they were coming around the headland.

There could have been any one of them that I could have photographed but the one that caught my eye particularly was the trawler Philcathane, on her way out to the fishing grounds in the English Channel.

We’ve had the opportunity to examine her in the past when she’s been up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while and ONE NIGHT LAST AUGUST when she was sailing around the harbour late at night.

So leaving the other trawlers to their fate, I carried on with my walk along the headland towards the end of the Pointe du Roc

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur friendly neighbourhood bird of prey is out there again this afternoon.

And I’m glad that it was too. With having seen people on the beach and people i.e. trawlers out at sea, all we needed now to make up our trilogy is is SOMETHING IN THE AIR, as Thunderclap Newman might have said.

You might have noticed in the photographs so far that we have really thick ten-tenths cloud which means that it’s impossible for us to see anything in the way of airliners and there was nothing going on in the way of light aircraft going to and from the airport. A bird of prey is just as good a substitute for an aeroplane in these circumstances.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I had a good look across the sports field to see how they were getting on with the roofing job on the College Malraux.

And they seem to have put a spurt on just recently. They’ve been working from right to left on this side of the roof so they have now done over half of the roof on this side. Give them another six months and they might actually finish the job. They’ve been at it long enough.

What’s surprising though is that they seem to have found enough scaffolding to go all the way down that side. When they were doing the other side they only had enough to do half of it and they had to dismantle it and move it down the side halfway through the job.

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs well as the man on the beach, there was another man out there this afternoon down on the rocks.

My journey from the lawn takes me down the path by the war memorial to the Resistance and then across the car park. From there I can go down to the end of the headland and see what’s going on.

Having seen two guys the other day fishing off the rocks at the headland, they were both there this afternoon but today they were fishing off different rocks.

And once again, they didn’t actually catch anything while I was there. I’m at the stage where I’ve given up expecting to see someone haul a sea-bass out of the water, bad-tempered or not.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was taking the photograph of Philcathane I’d noticed something else out to sea heading our way from the Ile de Chausey.

Having seen Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey yesterday, today it’s the turn of one of the Joly France boats to make an appearance on these pages. We’ve seen both of them tied up at the ferry terminal and in the inner harbour and it’s been a long time since we’ve actually seen one riding the waves.

As she came on over across from the Ile de Chausey I wandered off along the path along the south side of the headland towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have a change of occupancy in the chantier navale this afternoon

Yesterday we saw the portable boat lift loitering around above Lys Noir as if it was about to pick up the boat and take her to the water. Today, we can see that Lys Noir has now gone from the chantier navale back into the water.

That leaves us with just Anakena, Hermes 1, the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and, out of shot, Aztec Lady in there right now, with plenty of room for a couple of other boats to come in.

There’s plenty of activity going on at Anakena though right now with a couple of people standing on her deck talking. She is the boat that was marooned here when all of the ports in Northern Europe closed their doors to foreign boats. With Covid easing off now in several countries, it may be that she’s getting ready to leave port and continue with her journey.

Further on along the path I could see the boats that are still tied up at the fish processing plant.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallTwo of our favourite trawlers are moored to the quayside over there. They haven’t followed all of the rest out to sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy to tell which one is Coelacanthe and which one is Tiberiade when you see them on their own, but when you see them together like this you’ll see that Coelacanthe is slightly bigger and has the raised sides of the hull to protect the bridge doors.

The inner harbour was fairly empty this afternoon. Normandy Trader has left the port, probably on the early morning tide today, so I wandered off home for my hot cup of coffee and try to summon up the energy to carry on with what I had been doing.

As usual I knocked off for my guitar practice and then went for tea. I had a curry out of the freezer tonight with some rice and veg, followed by some more jam roly-poly.

But I imagine that I’m going to have some nightmares tonight because the video that I was watching while I was eating was one of these spaghetti westerns in Italian where right in front of my eyes we had a real genuine scalping with plenty of blood followed by someone being devoured alive by lizards and bats and the like.

Not the kind of thing that I enjoy watching at any time, especially when I’m eating my tea.

Now I’m off to bed. I don’t know where the time goes. Tomorrow I’m off for my second vaccination for Covid. It’s a long way to go, and an early start so I need to be on good form for that. Here’s hoping that I’ll have a better night than last night.