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Saturday 13th January 2024 – “IT SOUNDS TOO …

… good to be true”.

Yes, doesn’t it just?

There I was, lying awake, watching the clock on my fitbit tick round and round. 05:35 came round certainly – I saw it and watched it. And a few other times too.

It seems that even being a passenger in a car, never mind the driver, is having this effect on me. In the old days, as I have mentioned previously… "and on many occasions too" – ed … I’d go for a good run before going to bed in order to ease the stress, but I can’t even go for a good walk these days.

And even less so, starting from this afternoon

There was football on the internet, Cardiff Metropolitan v Caernarfon, and I watched the first half on my knees. I’d tripped over something coming into the bedroom and ended up flat on my knees. It took me 50 minutes before I could invent a means of standing up.

My right leg, which was bad before, is now completely impossible. I’d tell you more but there’s no feeling in it as you know. I’ll have to wait until I go to the Centre de Re-education on Tuesday to find out just how bad it is.

The good news (and there has been some today and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any) is that my leek and potato soup was cooked to perfection and the home-made bread rolls were delicious too

For tonight’s meal, the oven chips cooked in the air fryer were done to absolute perfection too so the meal of salad, chips and one of those soya steaks in breadcrumbs was wonderful

Not so much the bread pudding. That was definitely the worse for wear after my week away from home so that’s now pushing up the daisies. But me no daft, me no silly, I’d cut a big pudding into 4 large sliced and there are still 3 in the freezer.

So meanwhile, back at the ran … err … bed I checked the dictaphone when I finally did awaken at 09:50 and there was tons of stuff on it.

We started off with me playing bass and singing in a rock group with a guitarist, my friend from the Wirral on rhythm guitar and a drummer, and we were playing a concert in a pub somewhere in Crewe. Neither the gear nor the van had arrived. It was my friend from the Wirral who was driving it. He eventually turned up, much to the applause of the audience and much to our relief, about an hour late, and we set up our instruments. My friend from the Wirral just sat on the floor, refused to move, refused to stand up and refused to play. He was known for having his moody fits and outbursts and was just in one of them at the moment. In the end the guitarist and I just shrugged our shoulders and began to play. We began to play BORN TO BE WILD. When I awoke I was actually singing it, live on stage, something that took me completely by surprise.

This dream is famous for several things.

Firstly, I did have a friend like that. He would freeze in times of stress and would be totally incapable of acting if a problem arose. On several occasions his friends have had to rally round and help him out of his problems.

Secondly, I was always happier playing in a power trio of drummer, guitarist and me. I had a very good drummer with whom I had a good rapport and we as a rhythm section played in several bands. But every time a fourth (or fifth) member came along, it usually dissoived into chaos.

One thing though, was that I loved to sing but the guitarist with whom I was most associated was also a singer who loved to sing so my chances were few and far between, even though I actually owned the PA that we used (a 200-watt Hiwatt amp with 2x 4×12″ columns and several treble horns).

There’s a story behind those horns too. I wanted a set and there was a pair advertised in the Manchester Evening News at an address in Stockport so we went round hot-foot. And who should open the door but Graham Gouldman, songwriter and bassist at Strawberry Studios down the road from there.

On the subject of people called Graham, I hear that Grahame and STRAWBERRY MOOSE have been having a lively chat via e-mail today.

But thirdly, there’s something that I really don’t understand about this dream is that although I didn’t dictate it, we had another person up on that stage for a while. And I know that we did because I even remember introducing her to the public, the words that I used to introduce her, and the songs that we played.

Anyone care to guess who it was?

When I introduced her to the public from the stage in Crewe as she came up and put on her guitar, I used her real name (not the name by which she is known in these pages), I mentioned her age (which is something that I would absolutely not do these days for anyone) and so asked the audience to “be gentle with her, because I am gentle with her”, something that might have raised a good laugh 50 years ago but would be an absolutely outrageous thing to say today.

We played several numbers that we had worked on together on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR (so you’ve probably guessed now who she was) including that one by Green Day … "BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS" – ed … where that young Inuit boy on board joined in with us.

But what’s astonishing about this is that she put in an appearance and I didn’t dictate it. The other week when I mentioned that my subconscious must be creating a barrier between me and certain people, I wasn’t sure that I was being serious.

After last night’s escapade, I am now. And what I would like to know is how many times and for how long has it been doing that.

One of the most extraordinary things that came out of this exercise that we do about dreams was the girl who dreamt that she could run around in the fields and forests even though she was born without legs and had never un an inch in her life. But this can’t be far behind that.

What happened after this was pretty banal by these kinds of standards. I was part of a delegation that went to South Korea to a military air base there to discuss the products of our company with some people from the Korean military. One night while we were there the guests inn the bar were Widespread Panic. Of course, we went. There was a problem with the cash machine in the restaurant where the concert was to take place. It kept on ringing up ice cream as “various” and charging a purely nominal amount for it so of course we were ordering ice cream all the way through the night like most people would order a beer. We were eating tons of it and I was sure that we would be sick next morning. When we returned it showed the bill from this night at the restaurant had twice as many ices as we had ordered. Instead of there being three for some rounds there had been six. The accounts department was extremely concerned and called us in. I explained that at some part of the night another three people had noticed what we were doing and came over to talk to us. They joined in this ice cream orgy. The accounts department then asked why it was that we considered it to be appropriate that their ice cream should be added to our bill. I explained that these three people were in fact a delegation from Airbus there to see the Korean military too. We were of the opinion that it would be a good idea to entertain them to ice cream because it could open a lot of doors for our company in the UK and France which otherwise would never ever open to anyone. That seemed to settle the matter and everyone seemed quite happy. A few of our colleagues were surprised and disappointed and questioned the bill but that was more out of jealously than anything else.

I’ll have to stop leaning over to where my dictaphone would be in Paris. Anyway Nerina and I had gone on a boat trip around the harbour in St Helier and the Channel Islands area. It was one of these large motor yacht type of things that would carry a dozen couples or something. We boarded it and it set off. We were given something of a running commentary. We noticed that there were plenty of kids up at the front, fishing out of the water all kinds of plastic like old buckets, fishing buoys, jerry cans etc, trying to clean up the harbour. Anything that they noticed, they pulled out. I went to have a look. There were loads of letters there too so I began to fish them out. Many of them were addressed to me so I was quickly collecting a pocketful. There were some addressed to others and looked quite important. In the meantime this guy was busy talking. We noticed that one or two of the couples were actually jumping into the water, swimming around and then catching up the boat. For some reason Nerina and I jumped in and we had a great time splashing around in the harbour. We suddenly realised that the boat was a long way from us by now so we had to swim like hell to catch up with it. I was pulling out more letters from the water at the same time. Eventually we managed to climb aboard. She climbed up the steps at the back and asked me how I came on board. I pointed out a ladder that was there on the rear corner of the boat that she obviously hadn’t seen. We sat down again and I began to open these letters. There was one that was from Poland and had a diplomatic stamp on it. I wondered what this was all about. I managed to open it discreetly. There was a return envelope inside, a pre-stamped one with a Polish diplomatic pass stamp on it addressed to someone at our address urging them to make their donation to their war relief as quickly as possible. I showed it to Nerina to ask her what she thought about it. We sat there puzzling over it.

And as if I’d ever want to swim around in the harbour of St Helier. I’ve seen what’s pumped into there.

The soup was, as I said, delicious.

  • chop a small onion and fry it in olive oil and butter
  • add a couple of garlic cloves with coriander and chives
  • when these are browned and smell nice, add in your finely chopped leeks and potatoes, and stir round to fry for 10 minutes
  • add just enough water to cover, add a stock cube and leave to slow boil (with the lid on) until the potatoes and leeks are really mushy
  • add some soya cream
  • remove from the heat and whizz up with your whizzer
  • then eat with the fresh bread that you prepared earlier and baked while all of the above was going on

As for quantities – leeks and potatoes, how many do you have that need to be used?
And the rest – it’s all down to taste.

There had been some washing going on while all of this was happening so after lunch I hung it up to dry.

Then I … errr … had a little relax.

Watching the football from the floor was a new experience, although I managed to pull myself upright by half-time. Caernarfon had to do better against Cardiff Metropolitan than Hwlllffordd did against Y Bala in order to qualify for the playoffs for a European place next season.

And in a pulsating game that roared from end to end with Caernarfon’s new signing from Porthmadog, Morgan Owen, having an outstanding game, they were still 2-1 down with minutes to go while Hwllffordd were 2-1 up.

But in wild drama at the end, first Danny Gosset scored an equaliser for Caernarfon with just minutes to go, and then down in West Wales Y Bala scored 2 quick goals .

So it’s Caernarfon who push on for Europe while Hwllffordd have to join the fight against relegation.

Tea as I said was excellent so now as I’m cold and in total agony from my knee, I’m off to bed.

Will the young lady from last night come to join me for the second half of our gig? Or will it be someone new?

And more to the point, if my subconscious really is trying to block out some people from visiting me, I can name half a dozen for a start and my subconscious can block them out starting tonight, with my full permission and pleasure.

Saturday 25th November 2023 – I WAS HAPPY …

… that it was today that I went on the bus to the shops and not yesterday.

Yesterday was a cold, wet windy miserably day but today was one of the nicest days that we’ve had for ages and it was a real pleasure to be out.

It was the kind of day where, had things been different, I’d have made a flask of piping hot coffee and gone for a nice long walk northwards along the coast with the camera, but how things have changed in that respect.

Things changed a little in bed last night too because I seem to have had something of a rather more relaxed night. That’s a good thing from the point of view of sleep but a bad thing from the point of view of adventure. The only adventures I have these days are these rather vicarious ones at second hand as my ethereal spirit goes walkabout during the night.

At the hospital they keep on asking me if I want sleeping pills, and I keep on turning them down. My little nocturnal voyages are about all the fun that I have, given the way that things have turned out.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed and struggled to my feet, and then having dressed, I toddled off into the dining area to take my medication.

Back here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night – and it didn’t take me long. I was with a bunch of pirates last night. We’d gone ashore in the High Arctic somewhere amidst all the snow and the ice. Some of the descriptions that the crew was giving off about the are in which they found themselves were extremely poetic, including things like “if it wasn’t for the cold you’d never realise the danger” etc. A couple of the crew wandered away during the night to explore and we didn’t know if we’d be lucky enough to see them next morning etc. As it became light next morning we were rounded up into some kinds of fishing parties. We’d tried to do some fishing the evening before and had caught some cod but this morning we were going to go out on a full-scale fishing operation to revictual the ship. That involved a couple of the rowing boats with a net spread between them and the two rowing boats rowing round in a circle towards each other to tighten the catch inside the net. We were busy organising this when I suddenly awoke

It’s a shame that it ended at that point because I would have loved to have seen how our fishing expedition unfolded. When Richard Hakluyt transcribed John Cabot’s notes in order to include them for publication in his “Principall Navigations” in 1589 he came across Cabot’s delightful description of the Labrador coast and "The cod were in largeness and quantitie … that they stayed our ships".

When my book about the Labrador coast finally hits the shelves, you’ll notice the difference. Constant over-fishing by industrial trawlers decimated the cod fishery so much that in 1992 the Canadian Government imposed a moratorium on cod-fishing. And so all the big industrial trawlers moved off elsewhere and the small subsistence fisherman along the coast was deprived of his livelihood and fell into desolation and despair.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall us working our way down the Nova Scotia coast on our voyages of 2003 and 2010 when we picked our way through the decay and dereliction of piles of abandoned fishing equipment.

strawberry moose, buccaneer, near moyock, north carolina, usa, eric hall, photo, 30th september 2017But while we’re on the subject of pirate ships … "well, one of us is" – ed … we’ve encountered pirate ships before.

In 2017 when we were on our way back from visiting Rhys in South Carolina STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I came across a pirate ship. His Nibs quickly recruited an ad-hoc crew and set sail for the Spanish Main in order to wreak havoc amongst the treasure ships heading back from New Spain to the Old World.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, his antics on the High Seas on his way home from looking after Kathryn at University in Ontario in 2011 led to questions being asked in the Canadian Parliament.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed there was a story about me being at some kind of formal party with about half a dozen other people, having an enormous amount of difficulty trying to keep still, having to keep moving my legs quite regularly. This led to some kind of commotion about food but I can’t now remember very much about this issue of food except that it was something that had caused it.

There was time for a quick wash and brush-up and then I headed for the bus. He was late arriving and with not being able to move around it was quite cold.

However there was a really beautiful blue sky. Jersey stood out really clearly on the horizon this morning and it looked as if I could reach out and touch the Brittany coast across the bay, it was so clear.

There was no ice or frost on the car windscreens which is no surprise as we are only 50 feet from the sea here and in the face of the prevailing westerly winds, but once we were out of the wind, all of the cars parked at the side of the road were iced up.

At St Nicolas no-one made the sign of the Cross today, but after I’d done my shopping I had a pleasant chat about historic buildings with the guy drinking coffee next to me as I waited for my bus home.

The only marzipan that they had was this tricolour stuff but I don’t suppose that it matters under icing. I have to use what I can.

They did have soya yogurt to make my naan bread but it’s only sold in packets of 8 so I’ll be making a lot of naan bread dough tomorrow.

Coming back up the stairs was another nightmare. There’s no doubt that I’m actually moving easier – that was quite evident today and I’m pleased about that – but I can’t lift my leg high enough to climb the steps and we had another gymnastics morning.

But I’ll have to have a word with Severine when I see her again and find out what she can do for me.

Having put the food away I made my cheese on toast and then came in here, where I promptly fell asleep.

A ‘phone call awoke me. The paperwork has come in from the engineer and the co-property committee has decided that they want a couple more quotes. Could I organise it?

When I lived in Expo, that was a co-property and there were enormous issues about an apartment owner who would launch himself into all kinds of unauthorised adventures and then bombard the committee with all kind sof paperwork, and I remember very well many of the issues that arose.

Consequently, I told them that if they give me an authorisation I’ll do it quite happily but I’m not doing it without any authorisation.

This afternoon I soaked all my fruit – and found that although I had all kinds of things in my baking box I didn’t have any glacé cherries, or bigarreaux confits as they call them around here. They had some advertised in LeClerc’s home delivery catalogue so I hope that they’ll still be in stock when I send off my order.

So we now have currants, sultanas, raisins, figs, cranberries, some of that dried gelified fruit, desiccated coconut, ground almonds, banana chips, dried orange chips and the odd partridge in a pear tree divided into two lots – a small one for the pudding and a big one for the cake – soaking in a mixture of vanilla, fleur d’orange, rum essence, brandy essence, all kinds of spices and probably a few other things too.

It’ll be in there for a week or 10 days, being stirred and fed with more liquid over that period ready for a baking session next weekend.

But the essences of rum and brandy are interesting. It’s not available in France – after all, if you have the real stuff, why use artificial? But there’s a chain of shops called “Bulk Barn” in all of the big cities in Canada – something like an old UK “Weigh and Save” on steroids.

Rural Canada is just like the 1950s which is why I really like it, and home baking and that kind of thing are major occupations. And when I was in the one in Fredericton last year I made a wonderful discovery and several bottles of essence found their way into my suitcase for future use.

And by God is it strong!

Back here afterwards I crashed out again, for ages this time, and since then I’ve been de-duplicating one of the backup drives.

Tea tonight was baked potato with salad and a veggie burger in breadcrumbs and that was as delicious as usual.

So now I’m off for a hot drink or two and then I’ll dictate the radio notes ready for tomorrow when I’ll prepare the programme. There’s naan dough to make as well as I’ve now run out.

Something else that I’ve run out of is chocolate biscuits. However when tidying up the shelves the other say I found a couple of packets of industrial ones about which I’d forgotten. I’ll finish these off and bake another batch of biscuits next weekend.

That should keep me out of mischief for a while.

Saturday 24th September 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… how to start today. I’ve been trying to think of some significant event that could open up today’s entry with a bang, but I couldn’t really think of anything.

It’s been that kind of day today.

35ma light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of a few light aeroplanes that were flying around this afternoon, I’ll start at the beginning.

When the alarm went off I was in a University lecture and the lecturer was reading out the conditions for a test. The way he calculated the marks to be awarded only led up to 80%. he said “don’t worry. The other 20% will be awarded depending on how well you got on watching a couple of films”. Of course that didn’t seem right to me. he started to give the instructions but I was busy drawing flowers on the whiteboard that I had. he came out with something and I made rather a lame joke about it. Half-way through, the invigilator came in to ask him if he was ready to start. He said “I have them wound up. They are already cracking jokes “. I thought that had I known, I would have cracked a better joke than that.

light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It wasn’t a very enthusiastic start either.

Although I managed to beat the second alarm, it wasn’t by much. I was still dressing when it went off.

But after I had taken my medication I wandered off for a shower and a general tidy-up.

And then it was time for a quick trip to Lidl. I didn’t want much today because I have something organised later in the week and shan’t need much food – at least as far as LeClerc goes, so there wasn’t much point in going there.

It actually took much longer in Lidl than it might otherwise have done. Only one queue open, and some doddering old woman was having a dispute with the cashier.

She seemed to think that the cashier had failed to charge the reduced price for a short-dated item and nothing that the cashier would do to convince her and it took an age for the matter to be settled. Of course, the cashier isn’t going to print out the receipt and give it to the customer until the bill has been paid.

And when it did come to paying, the old woman had to dig deep in every pocket and bag that she had in order to find the right amount of cash.

There was a lot of words being said by those of us who were stuck in the queue.

f-gnnx Pierre Robin DR400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire F-GNNX, a Robin DR400-120 belonging to the aero club at St Brieuc that came to pay us a visit this afternoon, I was eventually finishing my purchases and driving home.

Having sorted out my purchases I came in here to check my mails and messages.

Do you remember the saga of Not My Cat from the other week? A friend of mine was followed home by two kittens yesterday. They came into her house and settled down. She added “despite leaving the front door open they didn’t want to return outside at all”.

Anyone who knows anything about cats will realise that the cats have now adopted their human and that is that.

Armed with a coffee and some cheese on toast, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

You’ve already read one note from the dictaphone but there was something else too. We were back in the war. The area of Russia where we were living was invaded by the Germans. I’d been caught as being away from my own place when I’d been talking to this girl. I ended up having to work for the Germans but I eventually found my way back home again. There was a second wave of invasions and I was caught yet again away from home so we decided that I’d pretend to be a flatmate of this girl and I’d be having singing lessons. This is how it started. Of course the military came to raid us again. It turned out that the guy who was in charge of the military was the guy who raided the place where we lived the first time so that didn’t work and we were all taken off.

So no TOTGA, no Castor and no Zero last night. But no-one else to disturb me so I ought to be thankful for small mercies.

After lunch I was idly surfing the internet, like you do … “like YOU do” – ed … and I came across a live football game – Wales under-19s v Republic of Ireland under-19s.

It was pretty short of skill as you might expect but a couple of players impressed me. I don’t think that anyone would ever get past whover was Ireland’s n°4.

There were a couple of distractions while it was going on, which meant, would you believe (and knowing how things usually pan out with me, you probably would), I missed the two goals that Ireland scored. 2-0 for Ireland, the final score, which rather flattered them, I reckon.

As the final whistle sounded, it was actually bang on time for my afternoon walk so I hopped outside.

people taking photograph on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a regular feature that runs through these pages is one of photographs of people taking photographs.

Sown on the beach we had some guy posing at the water’s edge with some kind of dog that seemed to be a fashion accessory at his feet while someone else was taking photographs with a mobile ‘phone.

Not exactly what you would call the height of artistic endeavour but it makes some kind of unusual subject.

And just as well too because as far as I could see, they were the only people down there on the beach this afternoon.

jersey shtandart baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while I was up here by the wall, I was having a look around to see what was going on out to sea.

And look who’s back in the neighbourhood. Right out there in the bay a good few miles offshore is our old friend the Russian sailing ship Shtandart. She’s come back to haunt us.

And I can tell that it’s her for the simple reason that there is no AIS signal from anyone out there in that direction. Had this been any other sailing ship she would have had her AIS transmitter functioning but regular readers of this rubbish know all about her switching hers off.

And look at Jersey in the background. On the extreme right we can even make out one of the offshore Martello Towers but I can’t make out which one it is from here.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022That prompted me to take another look at Jersey, without the distractions of Shtandart.

Over on the right we can see the blocks of flats at St Clément. As you’ll see when I finally add the photos from my trip to Jersey there are four fourteen-storey blocks of flats one behind the other on the seafront there and they show up quite clearly.

And then to the left we have various buildings in and around St Helier. It’s not easy to identify which is which because the sunlight is rather bizarre today.

But what I will do is to cadge a lift over to Jersey in Normandy Trader and film a video of the approach when the identity of the buildings will be much clearer.

And while we’re on the subject of Normandy Trader, Nathan her skipper tells me that he came into port on Wednesday while my friends and I were out to pick up those dumpers that we saw at the quayside on Sunday, and then had to come back the following day for more agricultural equipment.

la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was some other stuff out and about too this afternoon.

One of the boats was instantly recognisable. I didn’t need the zoom lens on the NIKON D500 to tell who she was.

Sure enough, it’s another one of our regular customers, La Grande Ancre returning from a day’s fishing out at the Ile de Chausey.

The other boats were too far out to have any realistic idea of whom they might be, so I ignored them for the time being and headed off for my walk – or “hop”, more like.

wedding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The path along the clifftop was really busy this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking about.

However what had attracted my eye was this large group of people on one of the lawns at the end of the headland by the car park.

While I’d been watching the football earlier, one of the distractions was the noise of motor horns coming from vehicles at the Public Rooms presumably attending a wedding. What looks to have happened now is that all of the guests had adjourned to the lawn to carry out their celebrations in the open air.

They even had a couple of cars parked on there, decorated with flags and the like. You can see one of them over on the right.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It actually wasn’t all that much of a nice day for it, no matter how it looked in the previous photos.

And I’m sure that the guys in the two kayaks down there would be able to confirm it. It was cold to the extent that I had on a sweater, and there was quite a wicked wind blowing – one that was certainly rocking the boat.

This would have been the kind of weather that had I been out there on the water I would have wanted some kind of heating. But it’s never a very good idea to light a fire in a canoe for as you know, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

I’ll get my coat.

cabanon vauban person on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What with all of the activity down there this afternoon, once more I’m surprised at the insouciance of some people.

Here we have a big wedding, a pseudo-Spanish galleon, a couple of kayaks, some fishing vessels and several aircraft flying by, all of which in a very strong wind, and here we have someone else sitting in a ringside seat on the bench down by the cabanon vauban and he is far more preoccupied by something else.

Maybe it’s his telephone, maybe it’s a good book, but there’s that much other stuff happening that I would have thought that he might have taken more of an interest in it.

la grande ancre baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Especially as just a minute or two later, La Grande Ancre goes sailing … “dieseling” – ed … part.

When I’d seen her earlier, she seemed to be pretty-much loaded up and I was really interested to see what she might have been carrying.

So here she is, and just look at all that shellfish. and not even a single seagull launching a dive-bombing raid for a free lunch.

It certainly must be profitable out there on the Ile de Chausey with all of that on its way back to the Fish Processing Plant, so I hope that they don’t hit any rough seas otherwise all that lot will come sliding off.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022having seen la Grande Ancre I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

Yesterday we had seen Le Poulbot in the cradle of the portable boat lift waiting for the tide to come right in so that there would be enough water to float her away from the quayside. Anyway, she’s now cleared off back into the water than that is that

There’s still that empty place though where Pierre de Jade was until earlier in the week. I suppose that someone will come along to claim it in due course

In the meantime, Gerlean and L’Omerta are still where they were, over on the right of the yard.

ch922398 Gwenn Ha Ruz port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By now, one of the other boats that was out in the bay has come into port.

She’s one that we have seen before – CH922398, otherwise known as Gwenn Ha Ruz, which means “White and Red” in Breton.

There’s quite a load on board her too so it must have been a really good day out there today from that point of view.

By the way, don’t confuse Gwenn Ha Ruz with Gwenn Ha Du, “White and Black” in Breton. That is the colour (and nickname, incidentally) of the flag of Brittany. And you can see the similarity between the Welsh and the Breton languages.

Back here I had a play with the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. It’s going to be a special programme because there’s an event that needs to be celebrated so I spent quite a while trying to find some appropriate songs.

But now I have my 10 and one or two extra to fill in at the end. But I’ll need to make sure that there wiil be plenty of stuff to cut out of the text because I don’t have the same room to manoeuvre as I usually would for an 11th track.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and one of my breaded quorn fillet things. They really are nice. And as I’m having to ration the potatoes at the moment I had a slice of apple pie from the freezer. Dated September 2020, it was still quite nice.

And now before I go to bed I need to make a start on a mega-back-up. It’s been ages since I’ve done a complete one for the travelling laptop so I need to think about that.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes of course because Sunday is a lie-in and I fully intend to make the most of it.

What could possibly go wrong?

Saturday 17th September 2022 – I FORGOT …

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… that it was Saturday and shopping day today and almost forgot to go out.

When the alarm went off this morning I wasn’t in any rush at all and was lounging around for a whole 10 minutes or so before I had a sudden attack of realisation and leapt to my feet in something of a panic

So while you admire a whole collection of all kinds of aerial craft, because today it looked as if almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon, I shall regale you with my adventures.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And when I say “almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon”, there were even one or two things that couldn’t but were making a valiant attempt.

Like this Nazgul, for an instance. If it were me, I’d have “shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight. “
but Legolas was obviously having much better luck than Wordsworth and me.

This Nazgul came staggering around the headland clearly in some kind of difficulty and he ended up loitering around here for a good five minutes just half an inch above the ground waiting for a gust of wind to pick him up and send him on his way.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBC baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not all of the aerial craft was unidentified though.

Flying by this afternoon was Air France flight AF428 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to, of all places, Bogotà in Colombia, by coincidence where my journalist friend Jill from Philadelphia is on an assignment right now, and had I known, I would have been on it.

The plane that’s taking the flight is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration F-HRBC, and it was at 34,000 feet on course 261° at 460 knots.

We’ve flown on Dreamliners before, once FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE TO MONTREAL IN AUGUST 2014 and once FROM MONTREAL TO CASABLANCA IN OCTOBER 2019.

aeroplane 50SA baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and more banal kinds of flying machine.

So there I was, scrambling to my feet and dashing off to take my medication while I made plans.

After the medication I leapt (well, crawled, actually but sometimes you have to write for effect) into the shower for a good scrub and to make myself pretty, but I’ll need much more than the 4 minutes that the British Government recommends that you spend in the shower in order to do that.

And then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the LeClerc supermarket.

aeroplane 55OJ baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today’s shop was actually quite expensive, but they had a lot of stuff on special offer today.

The hair shampoo that I use, a special type with oils and not soap, was on offer in three-packs. It’ll probably take me the rest of my life to use it all but I couldn’t turn it down.

Fabric softener was at a give-away price too, and then they had some 100% végétale margarine of the best quality in the “end of range” row. It’s much better than the rubbish that I usually buy and the reduced prices was even cheaper than what I would pay for my usual stuff.

Nothing there that I could pass up.

These days I’ve become quite domesticated, haven’t I?

unknown aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home, I called at the Health Centre. The nurse had told me that my vaccination certificate for my fourth vaccination is now ready.

The certificate might be ready but the receptionist wasn’t. Her desk was all closed up. It looks as if the reception is only open 5 days per week. And so instead I came home.

Having put the frozen peas and the cold items away, I came in here and started work.

One thing that I want to do on Saturdays now that I have a little free time with only going to LeClerc and not to Noz is to pair up the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing on Monday. That means that I really can have Sundays off.

If I’m not careful, I’ll end up like Robinson Crusoe. he worked a 5-day week because all his outstanding work was finished by Friday.

unidentified aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The joins in the pairs were amongst the best that I’ve ever made, and I’m very pleased with these.

While I’d been rummaging around in the fridge the other day I found some vegan cheese that I had forgotten. And so for breakfast I had cheese-on-toast and coffee. And that old vegan cheese, stuff that I’d bought ages ago from Lidl, actually melts like real cheese.

That’s the kind of thing that’s useful to know so I made a note.

So having had a nice breakfast, I made a start on what was on the dictaphone from last night. Tons of stuff too. It must have been quite a mobile night.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Last night I was at the airport taxi-driving. I was sitting in the car in the rain watching the line of passengers grow longer and then shorter. Then it was my turn to leave, and I picked up some people going to the hotel in the south near Waterloo. 6 people entered the taxi so I had to insist that 1 of them left as I was only licensed for 5. In the end 2 of them left. They had a chunter but I was only licensed for 5 so there was nothing that I could do about it. We set off

After that I had my boat and I was up round the top of north-west Scotland somewhere. An emergency had occurred and I had to go back to London. It was fairly stormy but I went none-the-less. Although the journey shook me up a lot I made it back without any serious injury or illness.

Later on, Nerina came home from school one day very upset because someone had been taking the mickey out of her. She wanted me to go along and sort them out. Of course it’s not really something that you can sort out as I told her. I said that it was pretty pointless but she insisted so we drove back to Nantwich. I said “when we park up you’ll have to do this, this and this”. She replied “I’m not coming with you”. “Of course you are. This is about you”. In the end we didn’t actually have to go very far because as we pulled up he was there. I had a few words with him about it. He was effectively “what are you going to do about it,”. Of course there wasn’t really anything that you can do about something like that. In the end nothing ever became of it. It didn’t really prove a point but it was one of those things that you just have to do, one of the affairs through which you have to go.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and then this was early in the morning. Everyone was getting up. I was talking to someone at the front door of the residence where I was staying, brushing my teeth. He pointed to my upper lip telling me that there was some toothpaste on it. I replied “don’t worry. I’ll wash my face when I’ve finished”. He replied “yes but I’m telling you that I thought for some reason that it was an extremely silly thing to do”. There was an advert on the TV as well about a young black boy taking 2 children, 1 on the handlebars of his bike and the other in a trailer behind. he was struggling up a hill in the snow. It was something to do with some kind of energy product because it cut to the end where he was cycling up this hill and overtaking everyone like nobody’s business, nothing like the struggle he was having before”. One of my friends from Germany was there. She was there as I was rinsing my face off so we had a little chat. I had my suitcase and was thinking that I’d have time to go to the airport to check in and hand in my suitcase and then come back. Then I’d be ready for going in the evening. I was thinking about it and I wasn’t going for another couple of days yet so why would I be wanting to take my suitcase now? This was starting to become really confusing.

yellow autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the lunchtime fruit the next task was to deal with the carrots. I’m running a little low on them so seeing as they had 1.5kg bags this morning at the same price at which 1kg bags usually sell, I treated myself

They are all now scrubbed, diced, blanched and in the freezer. And I had to be quite imaginative about how I fitted them in because it really is now full to the brim and there’s no room for anything else in there.

Now that I’m much more organised here, I realise that I should have pushed the boat out and bought a bigger freezer. However I would have filled up the space just as quickly and I still would have ended up in this position with no room in there for anything else.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the carrots now done, there’s still no time to breathe a sigh of relief and collapse into a heap.

There’s the afternoon walk – or stagger – around the headland. But not before I’ve gone over to the wall at the end of the car park to check up on the activities down on the beach.

Plenty of people down there this afternoon. No surprise though because although it was quite windy, even if a Nazgul rider didn’t think so, it was a lovely late summer day and it really was a pleasure to be out in it.

There were even one or two people brave enough to be in the water this afternoon.

st helier jersey UK Eric Hall photo September 2022The views out to Jersey were magnificent this afternoon.

They were so good that you could see some of the buildings on the island with the naked eye, and now that I’ve been over there I can tell you what some of them are, and when I’ve finished reviewing the photos I’ll probably be able to tell you what the rest are.

Going from left to right, what I think that we have is first of all Elizabeth Castle and to the right is Fort Regent. Over to the right, the white buildings are the blocks of flats at Le Marais in St Clément.

Of course, that’s guesswork based on what I saw when I was over there, but of course I didn’t actually see everything.

commodore goodwill english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2022And how about a flying ship?

It’s not actually a fata morgana – it is a real ship roughly in the position where it’s supposed to be, but the effects of the haze caused by temperature inversion at the water level gives the impression that she’s flying,.

It’s a phenomenon that’s been observed by mariners for centuries and has been the subject of all kinds of books and the like.

And no prizes for guessing who she might be either. It’s actually Commodore Goodwill out there in the English Channel surrounded by yachts and she left St Helier at 10:36 for a slow sail over to St Malo.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way past the crowds and the wounded Nazguls I crossed the lawn and came to the crowded car park.

Out in the bay there were a couple of kayakers having a good paddle around offshore this afternoon. Having a lot of fun, I suppose.

When I was at school I used to go canoeing but that was a very long time ago and on a canal. I wouldn’t fancy my chances in an open sea in this kind of wind.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE has been kayaking in the open sea while we were in the Arctic, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.
“Would you like a couple of oars?” I asked him before he set out.
“Yes” he replied. “After I’ve come back and put away the kayaking gear”

cabanon vauban man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My route continued across the car park to the end of the headland, and then I picked my way very gingerly down the loose gravel path on my one good leg.

There was plenty going on out at sea and plenty up above in the air too, as you have already seen. Consequently seeing someone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban was no surprise at all.

What was surprising was that he was taking no interest whatever in the exciting events that were unfolding all around him. By the looks of things he was reading a good book, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with continuing my way down towards the port either.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So I scrambled off on my way towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening there.

Nothing much going on at the ferry terminal today. It seems that despite the fine weather, the summer season is grinding to a close. Moored over there are Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. No step in her stern so that means that she’s the older one of the two.

The only one out at the island today is the other one, the newer of the two. So there aren’t any tours around the bay this afternoon.

As for Victor Hugo, she’s still moored in the inner harbour. Her season is definitely finished and I imagine that it won’t be long before she and her sister are off to Cherbourg for a maintenance visit.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The portable boat lift here in the chantier naval is only rated at 100 tons and I don’t imagine that that’s anywhere near as what is required to lift Victor Hugo out of the water.

It would be nice if we had a bigger left to pull heavier boats out of the water but then there’s no real room here for anything large.

Everyone whom we saw yesterday is still here by the way. However I took a better photo of L’Omerta. When I was looking at the radar yesterday I noticed that there isn’t an image for her on the radar database. As I keep the installation here I reckon that it’s upto me to bring it up to date.

That’s a little project for me – to go through and photograph every boat that lives here. I probably have most of them anyway.

Back here I had a coffee and then settled down to watch the football – Y Drenewydd v Penybont in the Welsh Premier League.

This was a game that had everything. Penybont were the better side and they raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half. Watching Y Drenewydd mounting a comeback and trying to pull themselves back into the game made the second half probably one of the most exciting that we have seen.

They pulled a goal back and kept on piling forward, only to be hit by a sucker-punch breakaway that made the score 3-1. Nevertheless they kept on going and scored a second, but couldn’t find a way through for the third despite everything that they tried.

3-2 was about the right result and the game was a great advert for the League except for a couple of “little incidents” in stoppage time that saw a rash of bookings and a sending-off as Penybont tried to slow down the game and run out the clock.

Tea was one of my breaded quorn fillets with veg, and then I came back in here to write up my notes, rather later than usual.

All my work for this weekend is now done so I can have tomorrow off. I even have pizza dough in the freezer (I think).

So I’ll try a walk around the walls tomorrow and see how I feel. I’m still not feeling myself, which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit, but apart from that my right knee is finished, I reckon. I don’t think that I’ll recover from this.

And even if I were to recover, I’m not sure that i’d have the confidence in it that I had.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

Friday 16th September 2022 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

aeroplane 78ASX pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… the ran … errr … apartment, I’ve been a busy little B today, and while you admire a couple of photos of unidentified light aeroplanes flying by overhead this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

And for a change, I actually had a good night’s sleep. I was in bed at a reasonable time and there was nothing whatever on the dictaphone until the alarm went off.

Mind you, I’m pretty certain that I was awake at a couple of moments during the night and it’s quite possible that there was something going on, but rather unfortunately these days I’m becoming used to the idea of forgetting to dictate stuff.

As long as it’s not Zero, Castor or TOTGA then it’s not all that important. I’d hate to miss a voyage with one of them in it.

aeroplane 78ARY baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But do you know what?

With having the longest uninterrupted sleep (according to the dictaphone) that I’ve had just recently, when I awoke this morning I actually felt worse than I have done for a while. But isn’t that par for the course these days? It always happens like that.

So where did I get to during the night then? When the alarm went off this morning I was actually in Vienna. I’d gone with a couple of friends to see some woman whom we knew about refugees and to help them. We’d been there once before to do something with refugees but we decided that we’d go again. When the alarm went off I was in a disco while one of these women was dancing to some kind of obscure pop music. I was standing there with my hands in my pockets musing on events while the music was playing and everyone was dancing around. That’s where it got to when the alarm went off

While we’re on the subject of aeroplanes by the way … “well, one of us is” – ed … the French have a saying jamais deux sans trois.

F-GBAI Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And sure enough a few minutes later an aeroplane did go flying over. And it’s one that we recognise too and can identify.

She’s actually F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club. She was picked up on radar at 16:12 as she flew down the coast, did a lap around Mont St Michel and flew back, coming in to land at 16:36.

So that’s either a sightseeing run or someone clocking up the hours for the renewal of his licence.

My photo was timed at 16:11 (adjusted) which means that she was just about to burst onto the local radar screen when I saw her.

The rest of the day was spent dealing with the photos from Jersey. Having run aground yesterday as I mentioned, I started from the other end and worked backwards. It was a good plan too because I managed to complete over 20 photos and write their notes until I ran aground yet again.

This time, there’s a delightful house at Fliquet that is clearly something special, but I can’t find a single word anywhere about it and it can’t be something that ought to be ignored.

Amongst the pauses today was of course one for my afternoon hobble around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022

And as usual I started off by going over to the wall at the end of the carpark to see what was going on down below.

“Going over” wasn’t exactly the word. “Blown over” is much more appropriate because the wind was quite savage this afternoon and I’d even had to take off my cap as soon as I was outside.

Only a handful of people down there on the beach this afternoon. That was bizarre because even though the wind was thoroughly wicked, it really was a glorious day and I quite enjoyed being out there right now. I’d have thought that there would have been many more people out there in it.

So I headed off along the path towards the end of the headland, admiring the island of Jersey on the horizon which was plainly visible today.

lighthouse cap fréhel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My eyes were however focused at what I could see out along the coast in Brittany. Many of the headlands were quite visible but Cap fréhel, the one on with the lighthouse, was lost in the haze.

There was something out there in that direction that I could see with the naked eye so I photographed it to examine later to see what it was.

At first I thought that it might be the lighthouse itself but it looks too low down to the horizon and there is what looks like rigging attached to it at the top so I dunno.

We’ll have to pass on this one.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not too many people out there on the car park today so I wasn’t overwhelmed.

However we did have a couple of people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon admiring what was (or wasn’t) going on.

They were probably getting their money’s worth looking at the aerial ballet taking place overhead because it was while I was here that we had all of the aeroplanes going past.

Not so much out at sea though. It was strangely quiet in the water today.

omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was a lot going on at the channtier naval today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we haven’t seen L’Omerta playing “Musical Ships” over at the Fish Processing Plant just recently. She won’t be playing again for a while because she’s come into the chantier naval.

She’s on blocks over there where Le Styx used to be and they’ve already started to work on her. Le Styx has gone back into the water by the looks of things so we’ll have to keep an eye out for her to see what she’s up to.

le poulbot black pearl pierre de jade briscard chant des sirenes omerta fishing boats chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And there’s even more changes down there too.

For a start, Massabielle is no longer there. And the unidentified boat has gone! And never called me “mother”! either. Her place has been taken by Black Pearl.

Next to her yesterday was Pierre de Jade but according to the radar, she’s in the inner harbour today tied to a pontoon so I’m not confused as to whether this is she and the radar isn’t correct for some reason, or whether this is a different boat.

She certainly looks the same to me so maybe she’s left her AIS transmitter behind when she was pulled up into the chantier naval. But I’m going for Pierre de Jade

catherine philippe trafalgar peccavi calean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I reached the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I had a look to see if I could see Le Styx but if she was there she was hiding quite successfully.

Plenty of other boats there today though. The white one with light blue and red is Catherine Philippe” and moored at the same pontoon behind her is Trafalgar who was there in the chantier naval for a while just recently.

On the other side of the pontoon in yellow and red stripes is Peccavi who appeared in the chantier naval on a couple of occasions just now.

But talking of Le Styx being well-hidden reminds me of the two soldiers who met in a barracks one afternoon
“I didn’t see you at camouflage parade this morning, Private”
“Thank you, Sarge”.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, over on the far wall, Victor Hugo is back in town.

When I was looking at the radar last night, I noticed that she was back. It looks as if her work for the season is now over. And that was a pretty short season too. As I have said before … ” …and on many occasions too” – ed they need to be doing much more than this if the ferry service is to remain viable.

And I for one hope that it does. It’s why I came here. Next year I’ll plan things better and stay over in jersey a couple of days, if it’s possible.

It probably won’t be long either before her sister Granville comes back to port too. I don’t suppose that she’ll be working much longer either and her season will draw to a close.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Chausiaise is still tied up where she was yesterday too. She hasn’t been out anywhere today.

That was that really. Marité was down at the bottom of the harbour and Shtandart wasn’t and with nothing much else happening I wandered off back home for the last of my chocolate drink.

For a while I carried on with my notes and photos, and eventually went for tea.

There were some burgers that were well out of date so I had one of them with pasta and I’ll finish off the other one at some point in the near future. I’m not too bothered about frozen food right now but for reasons that will become clear I want to clean out the fridge and eating the food that’s in it is the best way of doing that.

Shopping tomorrow so I’m hoping for a restful night and a good sleep. But the way that things usually happen around here that’s hardly likely

There isn’t really much that I need but I have to go through the motions and see what’s about.

Football again tomorrow night. I missed it last weekend and I’m ready to curl up in front of a good internet connection and watch Y Drenewydd. But I can’t remember now who they are playing.

Wednesday 14th September 2022 – PECCAVI WASN’T BACK …

peccavi le styx chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… in the water for very long, was she?

A couple of days ago we sw the portable boat lift hovering around her like a bird of prey, and yesterday she had gone.

But this afternoon as I wandered around the headland on my walk, I noticed that she’s back in the cradle of the portable boat lift, either looking for a berth or else having ha da quick touching up and waiting to be lowered back down again when the tide comes in later this afternoon..

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what’s happened to her. But whatever is going on, it was rather a short stay in the water.

Just for a change my stay in bed last night wasn’t all that short. I was (for once) actually in bed at something like a reasonable time and it’s been a while since that’s happened.

Quite a few little voyages during the night too. I can’t remember who I was with now but I was at a fishing port somewhere. I had a daughter who lived here. My partner asked me about her so I made a couple of excuses and said that she’s just been sent to bed because she’s misbehaved. Just as I was saying that, round the corner she came along wiht the nurse or nanny who looked after her. I thought “that’s my story blown, isn’t it?”. I said to her “hello. What are you doing?”. She replied that she had indeed been sent to bed but for a different reason to the one that I just gave. I asked her if she wants to see me when I’m here, she obviously has to be on her best behaviour because if she keeps on being sent to bed she won’t be able to see me at all. The two of us, my friend and the child’s nurse or nanny, we had a little chat together about everything.

And later, Marianne and I were in the Metro or Underground on our way to a theatre to watch a play or a cinema. We were passing through different Underground stations talking about groups whom we’d seen performing at concert halls nearby. As we closed to our destination Marianne said suddenly that she didn’t have her handbag with her. She’d left it at one of our stops. She had to leap off the train and go back. I carried on and got off at our stop and took up a place where I could watch the train arrive. It wasn’t many minutes afterwards when she arrived, saying that she didn’t have her bag, didn’t have her purse etc. I looked a bit suspicious about everything. She came up with some small change to leave the Underground etc. We went over there and I bought the tickets to go in, all the drinks, sweets etc. We decided that we’d go somewhere else but I can’t remember now where that somewhere else was.

Finally I was unloading a load of Rowntrees products from Strider when I awoke. I thought that he was saying that that company would haul anything if the price was right. They had a couple of large containers with their food on board that was destined for Taylor’s to share out at Christmas. The rest of it was shop deliveries. Even though it was all mis-sorted all over the place it had to be delivered to individual shops. We were going on about our relationship with the shop, about how sometimes it was very good, sometimes it was very bad depending on the particular issues. Before that I’d been somewhere or other from town. We’d been wandering around and there had been this 6-cylinder Harley Davidson parked up at the side of this building. It had been there for a while. Everyone would come to look at it, Harley Davidson aficionados from all over the place. One day a Harley Davidson club turned up to see it and decided that they would take some of us for a ride so somehow they managed to disconnect the lock on it. Someone else bought a trailer of the type that this Harley Davidson would pull when it was working. I was unlucky enough that I had a lift on a traditional Harley. They went north out of Crewe through the lanes. It was a wild experience. He was playing an LP of A NEIGHBOUR OF MINE like THE TALE OF SIR ROBIN but it was the tale of the guy who was actually driving the motorbike and I can’t remember now his name.

For the benefit of any new reader, anyone who knows anything about LORD OF THE RINGS will know exactly what make and model of vehicle Strider is. He’s on my mind at the moment because he’s just been for his safety inspection in Canada and I’m told that he needs some welding. That’s bad news of course but he is 14 years old and is left outside during the Canadian winters, so it’s not a surprise.

It’s high time that I made up my mind about what to do with him.

Having dealt with all of that then most of the rest of the day has been spent with dealing with my Jersey photos. I’ve not done too many of those because most of the time has been spent researching.

And most of that time was trying to find out when a couple of buildings were erecting. It’s always puzzled me that there’s much more information available about older buildings than there is about newer ones

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There were several breaks during the day of course, the afternoon walk being one of them.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach. And today, it was a case of playing “spot the human being”. I certainly couldn’t see one in this photo.

Not that that’s really surprising. The weather has turned yet again and the temperature has dropped. It’s quite cool there and pretty much overcast. Winter won’t be long in a-coming, I reckon.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Looking out to sea was pretty much a waste of time this afternoon as well.

There was quite a sea mist and you couldn’t see the Ile de Chausey this afternoon. I’d almost given up hope of seeing anything out at sea when this zodiac came into view from around the headland. So at least that was something.

There was a guy on board who had in his possession a couple of fishing rods. So there’s no surprise as to where he’ll be going.

However I’m more concerned as to where he’s come from because in the kind of range in which a zodiac travels safely, there’s no port with a ramp into the water right now. It’s only people like us who’ll travel 30 miles in open water on a zodiac trying to find our ship.

But be all that as it may, about 30 seconds after this zodiac came by, another one came around the headland. It looks as if there’s quite a lot going on as far as they are concerned.

lobster pot marker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022A little further on, I came across another marker buoy with a flag.

Having seen quite a few of these, I’m even more convinced that they mark the position of lobster pots that have been dropped overboard in the hope of making a catch.

And just in case I hadn’t seen enough of them already, there were several all dotted along the coast here.

They were all flying the same colour of flag so that seems to be pretty conclusive that the same flag belongs to the same owner, and a different flag belongs to a different owner.

cabanon vauban man on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With not too many people out and about this afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down at the bench at the cabanon vauban.

Nevertheless there were two people down there this afternoon. One of them went and hid out of sight behind the cabin when they saw me coming, such has my fame spread these days. But the other person took no notice so he fitted in quite nicely to my photo.

One or two people down on the lower path too but they didn’t hang around waiting for the bench to clear so that they could take their turn at sitting down.

And neither did I hang around. I cleared off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

pierre de jade chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And plenty of excitement today in the chantier naval.

We’ve seen Peccavi back in town, but it looked very much as if we had yet another trawler in there that wasn’t in there yesterday.

To be on the safe side I took a photo of it with the aim of examining it back at base but when I did so, it turned out to be Pierre de Jade who was in there yesterday.

They must really be cracking on with that because they have already painted out her name with some undercoating. And with all of the workmen swarming all over her in contrast to how the work is progressing on the other boats, it looks as if they have a pressing engagement for her.

shtandart marite chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile down at the far end of the inner harbour it looks as if we have a full house.

Not only is Marité there but it seems that Shtandart is back in town as well, tied up in her usual place. So what’s the story with her then? For how long is she staying?

Chausiaise is down there too in the loading bay underneath the crane. Now that things are quietening down at the end of the summer, maybe she’s thinking about going out with another load to the Channel Islands.

Meanwhile what I am thinking about is going home for a coffee. I’m really struggling, going round my circuit and I certainly can’t do it in 15 minutes as I used to. Fings ain’t looking so good.

For a while I carried on with my photos and later on ended up having a chat with my neighbour. This things isn’t happening this weekend, as I said, but we were talking about a few more opportunities. However, they are increasingly unlikely from my point of view.

Tea tonight was another delicious, magnificent curry and then Rosemary rang so we had another one of our marathon chats. Hence I’m running rather late tonight yet again. There’s no end to it.

Tomorrow I’ll be carrying on with my photos from Jersey. At least I’m ashore now having a coffee – about a quarter of the way through the images. It’s going to take another age to finish it, and then I can restart on all of the other hundreds of outstanding days when there was so much to do that is as yet undone.

It never ends, does it?

Friday 9th September 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least, I hope that it will.

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

And I’m certainly learning a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are living in strange times indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 4th September 2022 – AFTER ALL THAT …

… the blasted, flaming, perishing nurse didn’t show up today.

And after I’d made a special effort to fall out of bed at 08:00 this morning, despite the rather late finish yesterday and the bad time that I had during the night.

speedboat buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire a few photos of various kinds of nautical life that I saw this afternoon, I’ll explain.

Last night I intended to be in bed by about 23:00 but it was much closer to about midnight when I finally staggered off to bed.

And there I was tossing and turning for much of the night trying my best but failing miserably to go off to sleep.

Mind you, I must have done at some point because there were a few things on the dictaphone – notes of where I’d been during the night on my travels.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the medication I came back in here and when I’d eventually awoken (which wasn’t straight away, I’ll promise you) I had a listen to the dictaphone to find where I’d been.

I’d actually awoken with a really vivid sense of having played in goal for Pionsat’s football team for several matches. I really don’t know why but it was such a real feeling. It was hard to explain. We had some kind of team together somewhere in a dream and were looking for reinforcements. I’d heard about some young boy who played in some kind of cup competition as a goalkeeper. When we were putting the team sheet out for the next game a couple of days before hand this boy’s name was on it. I asked what was happening and they said that they’ve signed him up. he was going to sit on the bench for us. As I had to explain to someone that although he’s a good keeper he’s only young. He’ll have plenty of experience and learn quite a lot from just sitting on our bench in case there happens to be an injury. At 16 he has a lot to learn yet. This was when I started to have this feeling about being in goal for Pionsat.

It was actually such a vivid sensation that it took me a good few minutes to come to my senses (such as they are). I really did think that there was actually something in this when I awoke and it took me completely by surprise.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The next three voyages were quite interesting because they were all part and parcel of the same dream. I kept on slipping back into it. And it was another extremely realistic voyage or three as well.

I was with Rosemary and we were discussing the Ukrainians.

And this dream went on and on. We were all in Montreal. I was in the queue for buying something but I can’t remember what now. Their son (whom they don’t have of course) came up to me and asked if I was in a rush to go home. I said “not particularly. Why?”. “How do you fancy a week in Capri?”. I said “I’ll ask you a few questions. One – is it for a nice holiday in the sun?” to which he said “yes”. Then I asked “is your sister going?” to which he said “yes” so I replied “in that case I’m going as well”. We had quite a long chat about that. We all met back up. The father asked where we were but I couldn’t think of the street for a moment. I said “we’re on the south of the Rue St Catherine”. Suddenly I looked around and saw a big hotel and said “yes we’re in Campbell Square”. he picked up the name on an adjoining street and thought that we were in that. I insisted that this was Campbell Square (Place Mark Campbell is actually south of Boulevard Sherbrooke near the eastern end of the island and there’s no hotel there but never mind). I thought “we’d better hurry and organise this trip if we’re going tomorrow. I have to cancel my injection appointment with the nurse. If I cancel that and we decide that we aren’t going”. In the meantime mother and daughter were being rather distant. I couldn’t understand what was happening. When I looked around again the father and the youngest son (which they don’t have) had wandered away for miles. I was trying to find out what was happening here because really we all needed to stick together and book this hotel etc, book this flight and make sure that we were going. It didn’t look as if we were going at the moment and I was confused.

Then back in this dream yet again. A girl and I who had been with the Ukrainians had walked away. They’d gone off somewhere and we were walking past a group of beggars who were trying to entertain someone in the hope of having some money from him. We went past what at first looked like a grassy bank. I had a closer look at it and it was the ruins of a building that had been destroyed in an air raid in the early 1930s. There was a cemetery in the middle of it which I thought must have been the victims but it said something like “a cemetery, late mid-century”. I thought “that can’t be correct”. We carried on walking trying to find out what the Ukrainians were going to do about this idea to go to Italy for a week. We walked into another square and there was this huge magnificent hotel. I said “this is the hotel where we’ll be going to stay before we head off”. She said “there’s been another change of plans now. I heard them talking and it looks as if they’re going to be back home by Saturday so this thing doesn’t look as if it’s going to come off. We have to be careful because we’ll be in the red zone that weekend but if we can return home on Friday i’ve arranged for us to set up the tables presumably for the market stall the following day so this trip isn’t going to happen at all”. I felt extremely disappointed about that.

There’s a large part of this voyage that I’ve left out. Usually, the only things that I leave out are the more gruesome bits and pieces that you really don’t want to read. However today, I’ve left stuff out for another reason completely. If you really want to know the reason why, you’ll have to ask me.

There were a couple of pauses while I was doing that – firstly for breakfast and then for lunch. Yes, I had both today. In fact, going through the fridge yesterday I came across an opened packet of vegan cheese slices about which I had completely forgotten so for breakfast I made myself some cheese on toast.

It was delicious too but I wish that I had remembered to put a few slices of tomato on top.

When I finally finished I spent most of the rest of the afternoon dealing with the photos from Jersey. And once again, more time was spent researching than editing

A few weeks ago Liz and I had chatted about the Rollright Stones – the ancient monument, not the SONG BY “TRAFFIC”. In a Newsgroup that I follow, someone had posted an article about the stones so I sent the link to her and that led to a little chat.

Something else that happened was that I had a little “wobble” and found myself drifting away – the first time for a fortnight. But I think that I won’t count this because after all, it’s Sunday and I did have an early start.

And don’t forget that I did say that I’d go back to bed after the nurse had been. It’s hardly my fault that no-one turned up.

And it goes without saying that I staggered off outside, a little later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not that I went far. Not the way my leg is feeling right now. I went as usual across the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see the crowds.

And while it’s probably wrong to say “crowds”, there were certainly quite a few people down there right now. My attention was focused though on the ones who were brave enough to take to the water. Good for them.

No neighbours out there to detain me this afternoon so I didn’t have cause to hang around. After a look around out to sea, where there wasn’t much going on for a Sunday, I tried my knee out, found that it hadn’t improved any, and abandoned my plans for a hobble off around the medieval city walls.

masthead flag shtandart port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Instear, I took myself off to the viewpoint overlooking the port and the fish processing plant on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne

The first thing that I noticed was that Shtandart is still there. It looks as if the port has become a safe haven for her now. All of those who voted for LePen (and there were many more of them than there ought to be around here) must be exerting their influence.

The second thing though is that she has taken down her Russian flag at the masthead. There’s another banner there right now but I really don’t know to what it refers.

The superimposed images are strange. Top left looks roughly like Asia, bottom left roughly like the Middle East, bottom right like Alaska and the Aleutians, but I’m open to suggestions for the top right image. I wonder if they represent areas that Putin intends to occupy.

le styx spirit of conrad capo di fora charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Chausiaise, Victor Hugo and the trawlers are still there out of shot, and the three boats that we saw yesterday, Le Styx, Spirit of Conrad and Capo di Fora are still there too.

And they’ve now been joined by another yacht that must have come into port after I’d gone back inside yesterday. The blue and white yacht Charles Marie has now come into port. Maybe she has finished her summer season now as well.

There are two other boats in that photo too, a trawler in front of le Styx and a yacht, complete with wind turbine, in front of Spirit of Conrad.

However I have no idea who they are and I have no way of finding out because whoever they are, they don’t have their AIS beacons switched on

grass boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While I was here I had a look at the grass on the top of the cliff.

That rain that we had has clearly done someone some good because while much of the older grass looks as if it’s definitively gone beyond the possibility of recovery (and I’m not even convinced of that) you can see that there’s plenty of new growth springing up.

It’s not going to take too long before we’ll forget that we have had a drought this summer.

This was as far as I went. With no change at the chantier naval today I decided to head off home and not put too much trust in my knee.

As I said yesterday, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in my knee and it’s all rather worrying.

yellow powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way back home I heard an old familiar rattling up in the sky.

And I had to look long and hard to see who it was because it was so high up and lost in the clouds. I only noticed it when it flew into a gap and sure enough, it turned out to be the yellow powered hang-glider.

And while we’re on the subject of ULMs – as the French call “microlight aricraft” … “well, one of us is” – ed … one of them, not one that we know, went down yesterday morning near Falaise in the Calvados and regrettably both persons on board lost their lives .

Before going out I’d mixed up another load of dough and given it a good going-over.

When I came back it had risen quite nicely so I divided it into 3 and put two portions into the freezer. The third one I rolled out and put in the pizza tray for its second proofing.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It sprung up like a mushroom too so when it was ready I assembled it and put it in the oven.

Following on from what I said last Sunday I remembered to put it one shelf higher than I usually do and it was actually cooked to perfection. Easily the best one that I’ve ever made and one of the tastiest too.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’m going to relax for a while and then go off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow – 06:00 in fact – and a radio programme to prepare so I need to be at my best.

What are the odds on the nurse coming along to interrupt me at some point?

But what about last night’s adventures? That football one was certainly bizarre and I can’t believe that I actually had to think about what I’d been doing.

When I was at school I used to play in goal but I never had the height and I was never actually selected to represent the school so thinking that I wasn’t any good, I never kept it up. I just turned out in goal for the odd knock-about side after I left school and played outfield down the left side of the field.

It wasn’t until a good few years later that I discovered that the boy who was n°1 choice in goal at school went on to play for Wycombe Wanderers in the Football League and the boy who was n°2 choice played for Northwich Victoria in the UK’s fifth tier so maybe it was a case that I wasn’t that bad after all. The competition was just too good.

Instead, I ended up keeping wicket for a good-quality club cricket size for a few years until I went off on my travels.

But that voyage with the Ukrainians was interesting too. It’s a shame that I can’t tell all of the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It wasn’t as if Airbus played badly either.

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

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

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

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

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

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

… is probably that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The photos will follow later.

Tuesday 16th August 2022 – SUMMER IS BACK!

After the couple of days that we had of grey overcast weather conditions, Summer came back with a bang today.

Not quite the record-breaking temperatures that we had, but blue skies all the same.

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while we’re on the subject of the hot weather … “well, one of us is” – ed … I thought that you might like to see how things are doing around here.

This is the footpath on top of the cliffs at the back of the Sports Ground. It’s the route that I take down to the end of the headland and you can see how it is (or isn’t) holding up.

The path itself is a layer about an inch thick of dust. On the edges of the path the grass has dried out completely and has died off in places. The rest of it, what’s left, is a burnt shrivelled mass and it’ll take a while to regenerate.

Those little showers of rain that we have had just recently haven’t done anything towards improving the situation.

What else took a while to regenerate this morning was me, unfortunately.

It wasn’t until 09:00 that the alarm went off for me to awaken but there was a good reason for that. Late last night a Paul Temple adventure came up on the old-time radio feed just as I was thinking of going to bed. A programme that is timed at 3:25:00

These old radio programmes are really excellent and so I was planning on listening for an hour or so before going to bed. But instead I ended up listening to the whole programme and it was long after 01:00 when I fell into the stinking pit.

Not that I’m bothered about that because life is for enjoying too as well as working and let’s face it – I’m not getting much pleasure in anything else right now

So after I’d finally staggered into the kitchen for my medication I came back in here to find out where I’d been during the night.

And it’s no surprise that I wasn’t feeling like much today when you look at where I went during the night. Having stayed awake until all hours listening to a Paul Temple episode, when I was asleep I had a Paul Temple episode going on in my head. It went on for hours and hours and hours. It involved some saucepans and saucepan lids but everything was just so confusing that I can’t remember any of it. It rambled on and on and on about these guys who I think might have been sportsmen on small boats or something. That’s all that I can really say about this that went on for hours.

And then we were still in Istanbul (had we been there before? I dunno). We’d been talking to some people about meeting up with someone and performing an interview. They to whom we were talking was a taxi driver had something to do and he produced a girl. She exited his cab and walked away. The person with me said that that would have been a good interview. He explained that she was rather too far in in this organisation and would likely cause a lot of problems. She spent most of her time being institutionalised and the rest of the time going round with this gang. So we agreed and he said that he’d see who else he could find for us. He drove away. The person with me said “God, I have to go” and dashed through the door in this stone terraced house and disappeared. I went through this door. There was a set of really steep steps that went down to the river. I went down there as best as I could. I had no idea where he went. There were 2 or 3 cafés at the bottom. He didn’t appear to be in either so I wondered whether he’d gone to the toilet so I’d wait around. There was a girl painter there with a boy whom she was painting. He was carrying this brown and black cat. She was drawing the cat so I went over to talk to her and to stroke the cat. It wasn’t all that friendly but it didn’t fight or anything. We chatted about the cat for quite some time.

Later on we were on a train heading north towards Doncaster somewhere like that. We were on board and it was an express. There were a few seats taken, not all that many. We walked along the train trying to find our places to sit. I can’t remember any more than that

At some point or other a girl with me announced that she was pregnant but it was sort-of announced by accident. It wasn’t a planned announcement, it came out in the conversation. I asked her what she was going to do but she didn’t give a reply so we went back home and went in. The house was totally filthy and really awful. Everyone was just sitting around in a complete state of untidiness. Someone said “you’ll never guess what the baby (for there was another baby in there) had been playing with. He went on to say that it was a half-dead mouse. “I just threw it i ntothe middle of the room” he said which made everyone shudder. I had to start to look for this thing. I thought that if any girlfriend of mine was going to be pregnant this place is going to have to be cleaned up because she shouldn’t bring up a child in this no matter how someone else was bringing up another one. It clearly wasn’t any good at all and we needed to do something about it.

And finally I was walking along the shore on the edge of a beach. There was some people and a dog down there playing about in somewhere where there had been a great big fire. I could hear them discussing it. They seemed to think that it was some form of spontaneous combustion of whatever was underneath the sand. They were busy digging away at it and walking in for a closer look. I carried on walking past and ended up in the mountains in the snow looking at the maps about the ski resort and the various tracks to descend into the valley again. I was looking for either a blue or a red run. Eventually I found what I thought might be a good place to go down but there was a lot of fog around. It came swirling around cutting off the view of the valley and then the view of the sign with the routes on it. I thought to myself that this is going to be extremely difficult for me to go

That skiing excursion actually reminded me of a skiing adventure in which I took part in Cervinia in Italy in the days of my youth. I was with my Italo-Russian friend and we were up in the mountains of Italy near the Matterhorn. We were with a few other people but we were actually in front and when we returned to the village we found that we were on our own.

There had been hanging clouds in the mountains and they had missed the left-turning in the mist and carried straight on downhill into a different valley and ended up in Switzerland. In the days of border controls with no passports or anything, and the 38-mile taxi ride to return to the hotel was the least of their problems.

But something else that was interesting was the dream about the untidy house. We all know only too much about that these days and so for the rest of the day (because there wasn’t much of the rest of it after typing out all of that) I’ve been tidying up in here.

A huge pile of rubbish, papers and the like, bit the dust today. It’s all in the bin and a lot more would have followed it except that each time that I went out I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat. Not that I’m one for chatting to the neighbours but I do have to try to be sociable occasionally.

And I now know why the barrier to the car park isn’t working. I wondered where the car of one of my neighbours had gone

As well as taking out the papers I’ve actually put some stuff away too, I have cunning plans for more stuff and later on tonight I’m going to go outside with my old non-working printer and … errr … forget where I left it. This is going to be quite a long job.

In fact I was so carried away that I forgot to go for breakfast. That’s not like me, is it? Although I am eating less these days than I have done in the past.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It was a surprise that I actually managed to make it out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I went across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. With the weather being a lot warmer and sunnier than it has been this last couple of days I was expecting to see the crowds.

And as usual, I’m not disappointed. This was just a few of them, with many people having taken to the water to cool off. There were crowds of people elsewhere disporting themselves on beach towels catching the sun all the way down the coast.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it, I had a look out to sea to see what was happening there.

When I’d been walking down to the end of the car park I’d seen something white out at sea. It’s actually a yacht with a white sail with green stripe that’s cavorting around out there and it has a friend way over there towards the northern Normandy shore.

Over to the right of the yacht in the foreground is a marker buoy, presumably indicating another lobster pot, and then we have one of the many bouchot farms of the area in the background with its stakes rearing up like a medieval cheval de frise

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As you can tell from the previous photo, the view was so much better today with the air being much cleaner.

That meant that I had high hopes for a photo of Jersey and St Helier so I went and found a piece of high ground where there might be a really good view.

And once again I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not the clearest view that we have had of St Helier but it’s still pretty good all the same.

One of these days I’ll really have to get myself out there somehow so that I can identify all of the buildings that I can see from here. The way that things are right now, I’ll have to hitch a ride on a freighter.

kayak cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Or else flag down a friendly cabin cruiser.

As I walked through the sandy wastes towards the end of the headland I noticed this cabin cruiser pull up. At first I thought that it might be a group of fishermen but as I watched they lowered something down at the stern.

A couple of minutes later someone climbed in and kayaked away. And it’s a good job that it’s summer because you don’t need to keep warm. After all, we all know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

And on that not, I wandered off further down the path.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The car park was crowded again with cars so I was expecting to see a lot of people here too.

Plenty of folk down on the lower path and there was a couple of people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not that they had very much to see because there were no boats out there this afternoon and no-one fishing on the rocks.

However, the buoy that we saw yesterday marking what I assume to be a lobster pot was still there so they can keep their eye on that.

ch638749 pescadore ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what’s happening in the port.

And there are yet more changes in the chantier naval as another trawler has come in to join the fray today. The black and blue trawler in the middle of all of that is Pescadore.

She always confuses me because when I first came here she was actually blue and white but had a repaint a while back.

Meanwhile over at the ferry terminal out of shot is Chausiaise, the little freighter. She’s not going anywhere at the moment.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here I went to check to see if anyone was playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon but I was side-tracked.

Over there in the inner harbour is a yacht. At first I thought that it might be Charles Marie because it seems to be the same style, but the colours are different. This one here is dark brown rather than dark blue.

So I shall have to go for a closer look to see if I can pick up a name.

But there’s another lorry in the port this afternoon, presumably dropping off some more freight for the Channel Islands. Things are certainly hotting up here as far as freight goes. We’re starting to be over-run and that’s good news.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Heading off towards the inner harbour (forgetting all about the Fish Processing Plant) I noticed that Victor Hugo is back in port.

The last that I heard of her she was running a shuttle around the outlying islands of the Channel Islands but now she’s back in the inner harbour and moored up at the quayside. It looks as if her mad dashes out and about over the last couple of days have come to a halt.

However I hope that it’s only a temporary pause. I mentioned earlier that I want to get out to the Channel Islands at some point in the near future and I had some high hopes that the ferry might become a regular thing. It’s no part of my plan for her to be laid up for long.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So back at the inner harbour and the yacht that’s in here.

It was not easy to read her name but a check of the fleet radar later revealed that she’s called Marie Fernand. She was built in 1894 as one of the harbour pilots for Le Havre and the northern Frenc coast, duties that she carried out until motorisation of the pilot service after World War I.

She was sold to someone in the UK in 1922 and for a long time disappeared from view.

Someone told me a delightful anecdote about her though. They planned to build a reconstruction of her in time for her centenary so they cast around for the plans. However someone had the rather brilliant idea “why don’t we just copy the original?”.

That was the first that the organisers knew that she still existed so they convinced the British owners to sell her back to the port and since then she’s been restored and was present at her own centenary.

There’s the Festival of Working Sailboats taking place soon so I imagine that she’s come here to be part of it.

Back here I had my iced coconut drink and did a little more tidying up. It’s going to take me an age to do what I want to do.

Tea was the second half of that rather wicked curry. and it was wicked as well. I’ll have to put the toilet paper in the fridge later.

But I didn’t go out to put the printer out. Even as I write we’re having a thunderstorm and a rainstorm. The printer doesn’t really work but I want to give someone a sporting chance and soaking it in water won’t help.

No radio tonight – I’m listening to music so I doubt if I’ll have a late night. I must remember to reset the alarm and then tomorrow carry on with my cleaning plan, otherwise known as “throwing out surplus items”.

A good night’s sleep would be nice too. We can live in hope.

Sunday 24th July 2022 – HOW LONG IS IT …

old cars lancia fulvia sport 1600 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

This afternoon when I went out for my walk there was this rather nice Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600cc parked outside by the new bicycle rack.

If I’ve identified this correctly this is one of the “Zagato” models designed by Ercole Spada and built in the early 1970s.

Beautiful cars but if I were spending the kind of money that I’d need to spend to buy one of these, I would have gone for the “Spider” with the roll-down soft top.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But anyway, be that as it may, while you admire a few photos of the local kids throwing themselves off the diving platform at the Plat Gousset, I’ll tell you about my miserable day.

And it’s hardly surprising that it went so bady considering how badly it started. It all went wrong last night when after having crashed out for hours last night, I couldn’t sleep.

At one point I thought that there wasn’t much point in going to bed because it was so late. But round about 03:30 I finally bit the bullet and fell into bed.

And surprisingly I didn’t stay awake all that long once I was in bed.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022No alarm in the morning of course, with it being a Sunday.

And I was awake a few times here and there during the morning with it was about 11:15 when I finally took the plunge and left the bed.

After the medication I came back in here to have a play about with the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and combining the tracks into pairs.

The choice of the music for this week isn’t as exciting as it has been over the last few months and combining them in pairs wasn’t easy as they didn’t gel together at all.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But anyway, I did what I could and it doesn’t sound too bad.

That was the cue to go for lunch. Porridge, toast and strong coffee to try to make me feel better. But unfortunately it didn’t work out because after lunch while I was in the bedroom I drifted off to sleep again. How disappointing is that?

When I awoke I had a play about on the guitar for a while, playing through a few of the songs on my playlist. I have to keep uo on the music otherwise I’ll just slide back into oblivion as I did last winter when I was in a very bad place and stopped practising.

Mind you, I don’t think that I’m in a much better place at all these days seeing how the last couple of days have panned out.

people on diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022At some point or other during the day I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I’d been in digs with some woman in some small town in Scotland. I’d been telling this woman that I was planning on settling in the area so she was trying to give me loads of stuff. I said that that was far too early yet because I don’t know what I had and where I was going etc. I was trying to find the bus timetable. In the end I did and there was one bus in the day and one bus in the evening to Inverness. I was interested in the evening bus to Inverness on Sunday evening so a local bus driver took me to find out about it. We spoke to some kind of strange Mennonite or Amish family who told me the correct answer. As I was leaving some other woman and her child told me the answer as well. The bus was at 22:55 which meant that it didn’t arrive in Inverness until the small hours of the morning which meant that I was going to have to keep my room here in this town. I couldn’t give it up and take a room in Inverness because everything would be closed when I arrived. I was sitting down there working out the differences, if I stayed for a week for example where I was it would cost me more than £1:00 in difference compared to staying as an ordinary bugler boy with the Salvation Army or something. I was performing all these calculations in my head as well to have it all organised here but it wasn’t organised the way that I wanted.

As it happens, I’ve actually been in a similar place to this in the Highlands of Scotland in the past during one of my nocturnal rambles.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And as usual I went out for my afternoon walk.

Today I chose to go around the medieval city walls so the view that I had of the people on the beach is quite different from how it usually is.

Not much beach right now but that didn’t seem to matter because most people who were down there this afternoon had made it into the water.

That’s no surprise because today was another candidate for one of the hottest days of the year.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And there were tons of stuff happening out zt sea today.

The first thing that I noticed as I walked around the corner was that Marité had finally made it out into the bay to take the locals for a ride – in more senses than one.

She was originally a fishing boat that went out to the Grand Banks of Labrador with a load of dories that were used for fishing for cod. She is apparently the last of the wooden-built Newfoundlanders that set sail from the ports of Western France.

la granvillaise ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of of other boats out there too.

It took me a minute to work out who this one might be because I’ve never before seen her with all of her sail unfurled and set. But she is in fact La Granvillaise.

Once she turned to run with the wind I could see the familiar “G90” on her sails.

The Ile de Chausey in the background is looking magnificent too today.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It wasn’t just the Ile de Chausey that was looking nice today.

The view out to Jersey this afternoon was magnificent and you could see everything on the island with the naked eye even though it’s 58kms away from where I was standing. I’ve not enhanced this photo at all.

There are even a couple of speedboats right out there in the bay just off the Channel Islands and the camera has picked them up really well today.

We could do with a few more days like this.

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Retuning to our moutons as they say around here, the new Belle France is having another run-out this afternoon.

She’s taking a boat-load of tourists for a quick lap around the bay while the tide is in the correct position.

As for why all of these boats are out and about this afternoon, this morning has been what they call the Grand Pardon, the religious procession when they bless all of the boats and the seafarers.

Last year we were there taking a few photos but today I was in bed while all of this was going on.

le renard english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There are still more interesting boats out there in the English Channel behind the Ile de Chausey. I haven’t finished yet.

This one isn’t one of our local boats and it’s too far away for me to be able to identify it correctly.

However, a glance at the radar when I returned home showed me that somewhere over there at the time that I took the photo was a 33-metre sailing boat called Le Renard that resembled that boat.

She left St Malo at 13:52 and returned to port at 17:59 so the timing would seem to be correct anyway

repointing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Before I left the area I had a look at the repointing of the medieval city walls to see what was happening down there.

Not that I can see everything everything from here, but by the looks of things they seem to be on the point of finishing. So where will they be going next?

Having shown a few tourists where the steps down to the beach were situated, I walked off across the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and through the arch to walk along the path underneath the city walls.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Having taken a pile of photos of the kids leaping off the diving platform, I carried on to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon. Imagine being sandwiched somewhere in that lot while confronting the issues presented by some of the highest tides in Europe.

It’s not really the place to be if you aren’t of a sociable turn of mind so it wouldn’t be doing me any good at all. I’m not even tempted by an ice-cream these days, due to a “certain photograph” that was published by someone looking down on a delivery vehicle.

seagull with chick square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Instead I wandered off around into the Square Maurice Marland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we have been keeping an eye out on three young seagull chicks. They weren’t there this afternoon but what we did have was a mother seagull teaching her chick to fly.

If her chick had already made it this far, then it’s doing pretty well and won’t need a great deal more teaching. But it was crying for its mother in that weird little chirping noise that baby seagulls make although its mother wasn’t taking much notice and was busy chirping away to herself.

f-gtjc cessna 172s place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022She was probably trying to warn us that there were something else going past us in the air.

This aeroplane is F-GTJC and that tells me that she’s a Cessna 172S. My photo was taken at 16:36 (adjusted) but she wasn’t picked up on radar until 16:51. She was obviously keeping a low profile.

She was near Avranches when she was first observed, and from there she flew westwards along the coast for a while until turning round and flying back diagonally across the bay towards Granville when she disappeared off the radar again at 17:17, presumably going in to land.

trawler belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while all of this was going on, there was a hooting from the ferry terminal.

All of the boats there hoot away when they start to reverse out of their berth, just in case they might collide with something coming into port. But today I was lucky to see Belle France, who had presumably been into the ferry terminal to drop off the passengers who had been around the bay with her just now, reverse out.

She then pulled forward to pull into the inner harbour but was obliged to give way to a trawler that was on its way out to the fishing grounds this afternoon.

ch589986 la bavolette 2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of trawlers out at sea this afternoon, fishing in and out of the paths of the pleasure boats.

One of them was La Bavolette II. She was in the bay not too far offshore having a good fish around.

Back here I had a cold drink with ice and then went through to catalogue today’s photos. and to try to find the name of that sailing boat that we had seen out off the coast in the English Channel near St Malo.

And then I had to think about tea tonight. As usual, Sunday night is pizza night and I’d taken a lump of dough out of the freezer earlier this afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022When I came back from my afternoon walk I gave it a good kneading and then rolled it out and put it on my pizza tray to proof.

When it was ready and had risen quite nicely I assembled the pizza and had it ready to bake.

After it had cooked I sat down to eat it for tea and it really was delicious. After the one last week that didn’t turn out too well, this one was back where it ought to be.

Slightly overcooked but there’s not a lot that I can do about that right now until I can have some help to bring up those kitchen units. Those people who were going to help me never turned up, so no surprise there.

Off to bed early now. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare, and I would like it to be finished before it’s too hot to work.

Monday 11th July 2022 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

fisherman in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… another extremely mobile night.

So while you admire a few nautical photographs featuring some of the dozens of watercraft that were out there today, I’ll tell you all about it.

I started off out with my mother last night. We were delivering beer to various pubs all round a town somewhere. She was driving this artic. at one point we came to a pub on a corner and we took stuff in. I was back sitting inside the passenger seat which was on the right on this lorry. Then she started throwing bottles of wine to me to stack inside the cab. I caught most of them but there were 3 that I dropped. 2 of them I was able to pick up because they had dropped inside the cab but the 3rd one fell on the street. Just then an artic appeared coming from our right and tried to turn into the junction where we were parked. Of course it was practicaly impossible. They widened this road junction by demolishing the pub and a few other places that were on the corner so that he could turn in but when we looked around he had driven away. He hadn’t actually come back now that they had made these major adjustments to this road junction. I was outside picking up this bottle then I had to climb aboard the lorry. The only way to do this was round by the left-hand side of the lorry. I could walk so far but then I had to drop down into a stream and walk along it somehow reach up and open the door hoping that it wasn’t locked and haul myself up and in. I dropped myself into the stream, the water was wetting my feet as I walked. I reached right up and this door was open, unlocked which was a real piece of luck so I started to haul myself up. But I didn’t have the strength to haul myself right up and go in. I was dangling from this door, not able to haul myself up that final few inches so that I could get into the cab.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were in Germany, walking our way all across Europe, in Germany and still had 1000 or so km to go and only a couple of days. We were pressing on quite rapidly and I was certainly at the point of exhaustion but carried on. We came to a supermarket in a small village. The sign said “you are halfway” which meant halfway across Germany but we saw it and of course laughed thinking that if we’re only halfway on our journey now what’s the other half going to be like. We carried on and one of my party said that we need to stop and take a break. There were some bollards in the road a couple of kilometres further on so we can stop and rest on those and take a break before carrying on

In that dream there was something about us sitting at a table and the waiter brought over a carton with all different kinds of milk. He went around the table asking what people wanted to drink. I said that I wanted plantaardige melk which of course is Flemish. It took him a minute to understand what I was saying – for some reason he thought that I’d said “Scottish milk” at first and was going on about how milk was milk. When he suddenly realised what I’d said he said that that kind of stuff was disgusting. I said that it makes no difference. He asked me what kind of milk I want and that’s what I want.

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I had my big Opel Senator and I was down the lanes between Shavington and Weston. It wouldn’t start for some unknown reason so I rolled it but it slipped out of my hands and rolled off down the road and disappeared into the hedge. I ran after it but when I reached where I thought that it had rolled into the hedge it wasn’t there. I had a look all the way along the hedge in the area for probably an hour but I couldn’t see it at all. It was quite dark and everything. I wasn’t making very much headway at all so in the end I ran back home to round up my mother and brothers and sisters to come and help me look.They wouldn’t come and my mother said that she had better things to do. I wondered what could be better than giving me a hand for half an hour in an emergency but she didn’t say anything. In the end I went to fetch my motorbike and go to look for my car. The motorbike hadn’t run for ages so I had to start it with fresh petrol from a ladle. As I was going away from the house my mother was upstairs. She opened the door and made some kind of disparaging comment to me so I tuned to her and let loose a volley of rather offensive abuse. She asked “what do you mean by calling me that?”. I replied “don’t worry. If Mrs Chesters (our neighbour in Shavington) hadn’t been at her window I would have called you something else as well. I started my motorbike and rode it up towards Weston but then I realised that I hadn’t a clue how much petrol was in it. I thought that if I run out of petrol now on the motorbike I’d be in a real pickle. I reached Dodd’s Bank and took the new road around the corner where I met someone from the Welsh football supporters who had just moved into Shavington. We said hello and one or two things. A little further on I met someone else. We mentioned this guy who I’d just seen but I couldn’t stop to talk. I had to go off down the lanes and start to look for my car again before someone found it and had it towed away. Then I’d have no idea what would become of it.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Finally I’d gone to Blackpool in Caliburn. I was driving down the road into town when there were these red flashing lights so I stopped. Caliburn rolled a little so I put on the handbrake. Suddenly I noticed that I was on tramlines and a tram was coming so I had to reverse a little. The tram passed so close to Caliburn that it shook the vehicle. Someone said “that’s close” and someone else replied “when you’ve had your vehicle a long time you know its exact length”. I drove into Blackpool and found a place to park, went and brought some sticks of rock for my family and friends then went off for a wander around. I’m not sure what happened next after that but I ended up in a house in London. The ground floor of it was a flat where someone who lived had gone to live in the Auvergne or somewhere similar, emigrated. The flat was dark and not in very good condition. There was a lot of furniture about. I was with this person’s daughter. We were talking about the flat and a neighbour was there talking about the rock that I’d bought in Blackpool. After the neighbour had left I was looking around thinking “how on earth did they fit all of the furniture that they have taken to the Auvergne in here? It looks cluttered in the Auvergne. Here with all of the stuff that’s left there wouldn’t have been room for any of it”. The girl replied “yes I was wondering that”. When we looked at the condition of some of the furniture and condition of the flat I couldn’t understand why they wanted all of their stuff in the Auvergne to be treated like Royalty. It certainly wasn’t the case here in Blackpool. Her father lived somewhere in the neighbourhood before he was married but her mother had lived in the flat in the basement of this building. She asked me if I would like to go to see it. I said “yes, but is it vacant?”. She replied “no, there are people living in there “. I asked “do they mind?”. She replied “I told them that there was someone coming to look at the bed that they have for sale so you can go in and have a look around”.

cap lihou baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So as Cap Lihou goes sailing past the end of the headland, I’m wondering why it is that the last few nights have been so animated.

Some nights have been positively peaceful with nothing going on at all whereas others have been non-stop from start to finish. I’m intrigued to see whether it’s something to do with the full moon, the state of the tide or the conjunction of the planets

And I shall refrain from making any remark at all about Uranus.

But seriously, just why oh why do members of my family keep sticking their oars in?

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’ve no real objection to Nerina wandering around with me in the depths of night. After all, regardless of anything else I did actually invite her to share my life for better or for worse. But even so, she’s not been around for a while.

As for my family, I fled across the sea in order to leave them far behind me yet they keep on creeping into my night-time activities. Whatever happened to Castor, TOTGA and Zero? And the Vanilla Queen? And Percy Penguin? It’s rather sad when I can’t actually choose my own companions but have to make do with people whom I kicked out of my life 30 years ago?

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite quickly and after the medication and so on I sat down to work on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today. It took me about 4 hours to complete it which, although not particularly fast, was still faster than a few of them have been of late.

While I was listening to it afterwards, I had several tasks to perform.

Firstly I had to send to the owners of this building a copy of my home insurance. And that’s not as easy as it might have been because the way that my French bank’s website and client page is configured, you have to be something of a detective and a mind-reader to track it down.

The next problem was much more complicated.

Someone whom I know had imported into Europe from Canada a vehicle that is not sold over here. And now they need some parts for it. Do I know anyone?

As it happens, my niece’s husband is in the motor trade so after contacting the “client” and obtaining all of the details about the car and its VIN I’ve been liaising with “Canada” about sourcing the parts, arranging shipping, dealing with issues like payment and so on.

Luckily one daughter of my niece works for one of Canada’s largest transport companies so this might actually happen, but it’s not easy and it’s not straightforward.

Once I’d finished with all of that (for now) I had a go at my mailbox. You have no idea how many mails there are in there that arrived while I was away. And I reckon that about 80% of them are junk. I’d had a quick scan through over the weekend and replied to the ones that seemed to be urgent so if you are still awaiting a reply from me, let me know.

As a result of the foregoing I ended up rather later than usual going for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach

And as you might expect, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon, and the water was heaving with people.

That’s no surprise because I think that it’s just about the warmest day of the year today. I’ve had all of the windows open in my apartment and doors propped open in order to have a nice through draught of cool air

The holiday season is really in full swing right now and it’ll be like this until the beginning of September. I hope that they fix the barrier on our private car park.

The next couple of photos are pretty miserable but what is important about them is not so evident at first.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The sky was really clear today and you could see for miles, right out as far as St Helier on Jersey, which you could see with the naked eye.

But there was a weird effect of haze going on out there that was obscuring part of the island several feet above sea level. I could see the island itself quite clearly, except for the part that had disappeared in the mist.

What was interesting about that is that the tower that we can see from here is quite clear just to the left of centre in the photo but it’s part of the island that is right behind it that is lost in the haze. And that’s weird. I would have expected to have not seen the tower either

It’s a phenomenon about which I know very little.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Something else that was quite clear with the naked eye was the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel.

According to my calculations, that’s about 70 kms away from here so it’s not every day that we can see it, even with the 70-300mm LENS. Only 14 times in the last 12 months in fact, one of which was exactly a year ago today.

It’s a really good idea to have an indexable and searchable on-line journal.

So fighting the crowds that were milling around here, I wandered off across the car park down to the end of the headland. But today we have no fishermen on the rocks and no-one on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

l'omerta gerlean yann frederic la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Nothing new at the chantier naval today but it looks as if we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again. L’Omerta and Gerlean were actually moored there together at the fish processing plant.

There were several other boats moored there too. One of the lighters that chugs around the port and also a couple of trawlers – Yann Frederic and over there on the right, La Bavolette II.

There were other trawlers that were on their way into port as well. We saw a couple of them earlier and there were a few more out in the bay heading our way, but I wasn’t going to wait around.

windsurfers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Meantime, my attention was diverted elsewhere.

A little earlier we had seen some yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay but there is also a windsurfing school too, by the looks of things. They seem to have plenty of clients this afternoon, with several zodiacs standing by for when someone falls in

They seem to have erected some kind of barrage of small boats out there too, presumably to stop people going beyond a certain area, but the surfers will know al about it if the wind takes them headlong into the boats.

And from there I headed off home.

hang gliders baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were crowds of people back at the wall overlooking the beach again so I wondered what was happening.

As I watched, a couple of hang-gliders took off from the field next to the cemetery so I waited for them to come my way. But in fact, they just stayed around there and didn’t go far at all.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a good session on the guitar. And that reminded me that I’d still left the bass in Caliburn so I went down there to rescue it and bring it back up here with the Roland bass cube.

Tomorrow I’m going to make a start on this music song-book. You never know when it might come in useful.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and it was actually quite delicious. One of my better attempts, I reckon.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh conversation class on Zoom. I have to keep in practice. And I need to hunt down a summer school as I did last year. I had plenty of success with that

So I hope that I’ll have a good sleep tonight – and I also hope that one of my preferred companions will come with me for a good roam around tonight instead of the ones who have accompanied me just recently.

Tuesday 31st May 2022 – I’VE HAD A …

… really miserable day today and I’ve absolutely no idea why. I thought that having stopped taking that medication 10 days or so ago would have seen an end to days like I had today, but aparently not..

During the night I had a visitor. Zero came to see me but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your evening meal right now.

But I reckon that it was her visit that set me off because I couldn’t go back to sleep after her visit and that was hardly surprising. It’s been a good while since I’ve had such a disturbing experience.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I fell out of bed and went off to have my medication. and then I came back in here and … errr … fell asleep.

And fell asleep in spades too. I couldn’t even make it to my feet for breakfast this morning. I was out like a light for well over two hours and it’s a good job that I didn’t have a Welsh lesson today.

Instead I had a listen to the dictaphone because there was something else on there. There was a hotel in Sandbach and we had to go there to find some oil. It was very late at night so we had to be quiet. A wedding had taken place and they were still celebrating. They had the bride and groom’s room all done out and a Vietnam minefield sign written on the door etc. There were drunk people everywhere. We were on the 3rd floor of this hotel and this was the way out to Bayley Close which is actually in Nantwich but let’s not go letting facts get in the way of a good nocturnal ramble. We were wandering around this hotel trying to find what we were looking for. It was just like one great big maze although it was a small provincial hotel. We were quite lost in it trying to find whatever it was that we wanted. We couldn’t make a noise because of the time and no-one seemed to be in any kind of fit state to ask. We were just going round in circles.

It hadn’t escaped my notice that the details of Zero’s visit weren’t on the dictaphone. It’s hardly surprising that I couldn’t bring myself to dictate them, even when I’m in the arms of Morpheus. That’s not something that happens very often.

And so for the rest of the morning I’ve been writing notes about “my favourite place” for my Welsh exam. And that includes topics that can be covered in “my last holiday”, “celebration”, “family and friends”. It’s all interlinked and the deeper into things I go, the clearer it will all become.

It ended up being a late lunch and then I came back in here and fell asleep again for an hour or so. And it’s really getting on my wick now.

new kerb place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Just for a change, I managed to do something on time this afternoon.

Yes, I staggered off outside for my afternoon walk bang on time to see what was happening around the headland. But first I went to look at what they had been doing with this kerbstone that they had been laying just outside the door here.

By the looks of things, they have just been straightening out the road layout and the junction of the driveway that leads into the car park. And I can’t think why because while it was a bit untidy here, it wasn’t actually anything that was in desperate need of attention.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having resolved that issue I wandered off across the car park to have a look at what was happening down on the beach.

It was quite a nice clear day so I was expecting to see a few people down there this afternoon but surprisingly there can’t have been more than three or four people down there this afternoon that I could see.

The tide was quite a way out so they had plenty of beach to be on as well. But there wasn’t anyone brave enough this afternoon to be in the water.

And no Birdmen of Alcatraz out there this afternoon on their Nazguls.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that I do have to say is that the air was one of the clearest that I have ever seen.

We’ve seen a few photos of that white building in St Helier in the past but what was surprising about today was that I could actually see it with the naked eye even though it is 58 kilometres away.

Although the ferry service is said to have started up again and I’ve seen photos of Granville arriving in St Helier, her older sister Victor Hugo is still tied up here in port where she has been for the last couple of weeks so I’m beginning to wonder what the situation might be with regard to the services to Jersey from here.

It’s one of the things that has quite a high priority on my bucket list and yet I haven’t seen a single advert about the operation as yet.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while I was up here on the wall I had a good look around out at sea as well.

There was something way out in the bay over by the Ile de Chausey so I took a photograph of it with the aim of having a closer look when I returned home.

And having enlarged and enhanced it back here, I could see that it was a trawler busily working away. Unfortunately, at this distance I’m not able to identify it

But you can see how clear the skies are today, just by looking at the colours in this photograph. It’s not often that the come out so clearly and so vividly as they have done today.

plage de la touesse brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There weren’t very many people wandering around on the path so I headed off down towards the end of the headland.

You saw the Cap Fréhel the other day so you don’t really want to see it again so soon. Instead, you can see one of the beaches that are over on the Brittany coast near St Malo.

There are four or five of them over there and it’s difficult to say which one this is. But I think that it may well be the Plage De La Touesse. It’s the only one whose orientation matches the orientation of the beach over there and isn’t hidden behind a headland of rocks

f-gifn Piper PA-28-161 Cadet baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little earlier I mentioned that there were no Birdmen of Alcatraz out there this afternoon.

What we did have though is a light aeroplane flying by overhead. This one is F-GIFN, a Piper PA-28-161 Cadet. She’s actually appeared in our pages before, back in February when she flew into the bay from an unknown direction , flew around and then disappeared.

Today, she did exactly the same. She didn’t come in to land at the airfield here, she didn’t appear on radar and she hasn’t filed a flight plan and so I can’t tell you any more at all about her.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There weren’t very many peole on the car park this afternoon so I wandered off down tot he end of the headland.

There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon, but we did actually have a fisherman down there on the rocks with his rod and line.

Not that he actually caught anything while I was watching but I didn’t really expect him to.

So after a wait of a couple of minutes I wandered off along the path down the other side of the headland to see what was happening down in the port

l'ecume 2 cabin cruiser chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And we have a new occupant in the chantier naval this afternoon.

L’Ecume II is still there today. It looks as if work on her has slowed down just now. But my eye was caught by the boat that is in there with her.

That’s a serious piece of kit, whatever it is. It really looks the business and it’s the type of machine that any one of us is likely to be able to afford, although I’m sure that we all would love to.

It seems to be quite new as well so it’s a surprise to see it in here in the chantier naval. I’ll have to go down there and find out who owns it and see if I can’t blag myself a trip out on it.

joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But at the moment this is more like what I’m able to afford right now.

Over there at the ferry terminal is the new Belle France and one of the Joly France boats, presuably going to go out to the island on the evening tide to bring back to holidaymakers who are out there.

Back here I made myself a coffee and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep again and ended up once more with a mug of cold coffee. This is really awful and I can’t be doing with this. Obviously this medication isn’t the secret.

And after my cold coffee I spent an hour or so writing notes about “sports”, another subject for my Welsh exam.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg, and now I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough for today. It really was awful, especially having a nightmare about Zero. I really can’t keep going on like this. Let’s see what this sports doctor person has to say for himself tomorrow morning.

Friday 20th May 2022 – IT WAS ONLY YESTERDAY …

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… when I said that we hadn’t seen L’Omerta tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and settling down in the silt for a couple of days.

And so of course it goes without saying that this afternoon when I was a-wandering around the headland on my afternoon walk, I should come across her tied up in her usual place, sitting down in the silt waiting for something to happen.

Bang on cue, you might say.

But anyway, let’s leave the subject of my afternoon walk for the moment and start as we mean to go on by turning the clock back to the start of the day when the alarm went off at 07:30 this morning.

And in news that will come as a surprise to everyone, because it certainly came as a surprise to me, I actually fell out of bed when the alarm went off. And how long is it since that has happened?

Mind you, I hope that you aren’t expecting too much because it wasn’t as if it inspired me to do any work. It wasn’t until about 09:30 that I had recovered enough to make a start. But not to worry because that’s better than a 10:30 or a 10:45 start.

The morning was quite a leisurely one. I didn’t actually exert myself too much but even so it ended up being something of a late lunch as I really couldn’t find the energy to pick myself up from my chair and walk into the kitchen. That was expecting far too much.

After lunch I carried on with my rather leisurely day until it was time for me to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And as usual, the first place for me to visit would be the wall at the end of the car park where I could peer down onto the beach to see what was happening down there.

Although it wasn’t quite as warm as it has been just recently, I was still surprised at how few people there were down there this afternoon.

But those who were down there were taking full advantage of it. There were a couple of people down there sunbathing on a couple of towels spread out on the beach, and a couple more people out there having a swim around in the water

It’s been a good few days since we’ve seen anyone swimming around in the water as well.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It was a really nice day as I mentioned earlier, and today I could see for miles out to sea.

It’s been a long time since there has been anything like a clear view of St Helier in Jersey so seeing as we had one of those days today I thought that I would celebrate it by taking a photo of it.

Of course, I don’t really know what it is that I’m seeing out there on Jersey, but now I have no excuse because the ferries to the Channel Islands are up and running at long last. One of these days when I have more time and I’m feeling better, I’ll take myself off out there for a closer look.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But never mind the view out to Jersey for the moment, the view out to the Ile de Chausey was just as spectacular too.

It’s a long time since we’ve seen the island looking as clear as this. We can see all of the colours out there on the island quite clearly today.

What we can’t see though are any water craft. I was amazed at how few boats there were out at sea this afternoon. I don’t think that I counted more than half a dozen all told and this was the kind of weather that had they been there, I certainly would have seen them.

caterpillar pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022I carried on around the path along the headland and across the car park at the far end.

And I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon. I had all kinds of company, like this little fellow who crossed my path as I walked across the car park.

He was certainly brave, taking his like in his hands – or, rather, feet – like this and wandering across the car park where there was all kinds of traffic going by. But he did actually make it to the other side quite safely.

Natural history, and Lepidoptera in particular, is not my strongpoint so I can’t tell you anything about him unfortunately.

f-gbai Robin DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was also something going on up above this afternoon too.

As I walked down to the end of the headland I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way back to the airfield. It’s one of our regulars, F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club.

She took off at 15:32, flew down the bay to Mont St Michel and back again where she came in to land at 16:08. And as my photo is timed at 16:02 (adjusted) that sounds about right to me.

The time is “adjusted” because I don’t alter the time on my digital equipment to reflect summer time.

person reading a book pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But all of this excitement has proved to be far too much for some people.

Here’s someone perched on the rocks right at the end of the headland with her head buried deeply in a book. That’s certainly the right attitude and the correct way to deal with whatever issues life throws at you.

In fact, I had half a mind to go down there and join her.

However, I have other fish to fry so I wandered off down the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening over there this afternoon.

kayaker baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel I actually managed to find a water craft close enough for me to take a decent photograph.

There’s a kayaker out there looking as if he’s doing a couple of laps of Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour.

But what’s intriguing me is how he’s taken his kayak out there because the tide is quite far out and he would have had to drag it quite a distance.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s not advisable to light a fire in a canoe. After all, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

j158 l'ecume 11 St-Gilles Croix-de Vie chantier naval belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There’s been another change in the chantier naval over the last day or so.

That trawler from Caen, L’Oasis has now gone back into the water and Valeque isn’t there either. The only trawler there for the moment is the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II.

And the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still there too. They haven’t sent a lorry to pick her up and take her away just yet.

Over at the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France boats and the very new Belle France that run out to the Ile de Chausey.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and came back in here where I crashed out for a good hour or so. All in all, there wasn’t really much point in getting up so early this morning.

However I did eventually manage to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was in Philadelphia last night, walking across a supermarket car park. I thought that someone beckoned me over but they hadn’t. When I reached there everyone was sitting around on these tables and chairs. There was a seat empty so I asked if it was OK if I could sit there. Someone said yes. Some woman with a baby was by it. They asked if I wouldn’t be comfortable somewhere else. I replied “no, I’m quite happy there”. Everyone was watching a baseball game taking place on this supermarket car park. As I watched, a big service bus pulled away from the car park of the supermarket so I started to follow the bus. I had to run pretty quickly but by the time I reached the end of the car park it had disappeared and I couldn’t work out which way it had gone. I imagined that it had turned right so I went right that way but I couldn’t see it so I went back to the car park entrance and tried to think more logically, looking for signs on the road but I still didn’t see anything although someone with a few kids started to cross the road nearby where I was. There was something about American health insurance, why Americans had a lot more money to spend because they aren’t spending it on health insurance like Europeans

I was with a friend of mine from the Open University and it’s been so long since I’ve seen her that I can’t remember her name. We were in Germany talking about World War II battles. We were describing one where some defenders were trapped in the ruins and how they were bombed by air by zeppelins until they surrendered. She was telling me that a friend of hers was coming for Christmas. It was someone with whom she could have a great deal of fun – a German living in Canada and he knew quite a lot about the old border in Germany particularly with regard to the city with which he was concerned. There was something else but I can’t remember what it was but when she started to talk about it my ears really pricked up so I asked if there was any chance that I could wangle an invite to go to see her over the Christmas period so that I could talk to this guy and find out more about all of this. She started to ask me a few questions about this and that, presumably to find out my interest. Just then as we came into this city a German Post Office cyclist came round a corner but slipped on some ice. The bike slid across the road and hit the kerb. I had my friend stop and got out of the car to go to see. This woman was all covered in blood so I asked my friend to call an ambulance. I checked with this woman if she needed an ambulance in my pidgin German as it was to be the case although she was quite distraught and shocked, not easy to communicate with. So I shouted again to my friend to call an ambulance but she seemed to be rather reluctant to do so and I couldn’t understand why because this was a clear case of someone who certainly needed one after what she had just gone through in the accident on her pushbike.

And later I was back in Germany in a conversation class or something or other. I can’t remember very much about this at all except that one student had a very lightweight tight-fitting crash helmet. I asked about this and the another students said that he’d been like this for the whole 6 years of the course and no-one had been able to talk him out of it. Anyone who would try now would be wasting their time as far as that went. But I can’t remember any more of this at all.

Tea was sausage beans and chips which were delicious, and now I’m off to bed. I’m dropping one of the medicaments tonight and seeing if that makes any difference in how I’m feeling. It’ll probably take a week or so to work but we shall see. I can’t go on like this.