Tag Archives: june-W

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

… really bad fall today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 25th May 2023 – I’VE BEEN HAVING …

… a day of nostalgia today (as if I haven’t had a few of those just recently).

They say that music is something that is capable of moving you to another place. That’s certainly true. Anywhere that puts on a “Smiths” song anywhere near where I am and I’ll certainly move to another place.

But that’s not what they really mean, of course.

Today while I’ve been choosing music for my radio programmes I stumbled upon a Golden Earring album. Everyone knows “Radar Love” of course but in the Netherlands they are much better-known than that.

Back in the Summer of 1993 I was lucky enough to stumble upon them quite by accident on the beach at Scheveningen playing an acoustic concert when I was out for a ride on the old CX500 that I had, and it was one of the most enjoyable evenings that I’ve had, even though dawn was breaking by the time I arrived back in Brussels.

Then a few years later when Roxanne went off on a sleepover one night, Laurence and I went to Oostende in my old Merc to see them at the Kuursaal.

And of course, regular readers of this rubbish will recall the significance of “The Vanilla Queen”.

If that’s not enough to be going on with, Tom Petty came round on the playlist.

Back 20-odd years ago I was in Montreal in a heavy snowstorm and had to drive to Bar Harbor in Maine, all the way through the Appalachians.

As usual, I’d brought a pile of cassettes with me but this was the first car that I’d ever hired that had a CD player. So down the road from my motel out at Jarry was a second-hand shop where they had INTO THE GREAT WIDEOPEN, DAMN THE TORPEDOES and a few others.

So steaming all the way through the mountains and the snow, taking a ferry across the Bay of Fundy and going via Halifax to the accompaniment of various Tom Petty albums on continuous play in this Chevrolet Cavalier.

Those were they days of course, and we shan’t see their like again The way things are, it’s an achievement if I can manage to get out of bed.

But get out of bed I did this morning, and before the alarm went off too.

And we had a calamity last night, as I found out once I was up and about.

For my little project about doing my own “Hawkfest” on the radio, I’d collected about 6 hours’ worth of music from obscure space-rock bands. With having a friend whose son was sound engineer for The Pink Fairies, it’s amazing the stuff that turns up.

Anyway, it was all in an obscure recording format so it needed to be converted to *.mp3. It’s not like trying to convert a standard audio or video converter. The “estimated time” was something like 57 hours so the computer was on through the night the other night but last night Bane of Britain forgot and switched off the computer with just 9 hours to go

So no use crying over spilt milk. I went and had my medication instead.

As well as choosing a pile of music and writing out some notes, I’ve been looking at cameras. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we no longer have the NIKON D500 due to certain controversial circumstances, the NIKON D5000 has never been the same since I DROPPED IT in the ferry terminal in Québec waiting to cross the St. Lawrence, the NIKON D3000 is showing its age and I’ve never been a big fan of the mirrorless NIKON 1 J5.

Anyway Nikon has launched a new camera this week and my friends tell me that very soon they will start to clear out all of the previous models. I’ve been chatting with my friend in Vancouver who works for Nikon and he reckons a NoS NIKON Z6ii is the way to go. At least it has an eyepiece viewer that the Nikon 1 doesn’t have and which I miss.

And the advantage of that is that with an adapter that is easily available, I can use all of the old AF-S lenses.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too referring to my nocturnal perambulations. I was with one of my friends last night but I can’t remember who he was. He was feeling rather thirsty but instead of actually buying a can of drink he set about actually taking the back off the drinks machine in the hall and taking the drinks out of the back. Of course while he was doing that the headmistress and one or two teachers came along. They were discussing what was happening with the drinks machine, that things were missing etc, and wondering how it was being done. And there we were right behind it dismantling it. I expected there to be an investigation and we’d be discovered straight away but the more they kept on talking about it, the more we dismantled the machine. In the end he went to grab a can but he missed. It fell down into the chute round the front. No-one of all the people round at the front actually noticed. he quickly put his hand round and took the can of drink, opened it and poured it into another can so that it looked as if it hadn’t come out of our machine and slowly started to reassemble it. By this time there were people going past etc and no-one for even a minute noticed what it was that we were doing and that we were behind the machine and that the machine had been pulled out from the wall a couple of feet.

Nothing about my family last night, and nothing about cats either. But something happened during the day concerning cats. There was a link that popped up on my social network about an elderly cat that is going to be put to sleep because no-one would adopt it and in a fit of weakness I contacted the shelter.

Foolishly, I made the mistake of saying that I was glad that it was an older cat because I didn’t want a circus around here at 03:00. And that led to a really bizarre rant from whoever it was to whom I’m speaking, a rant about
“and what would you do if it awoke you at 03:00? What would happen then?”
My reply was “I didn’t say anything about being awoken. I mentioned “a circus””
“I don’t know what a circus is!” went the person, in one of these indignant, belligerent tones.
“Well, I’ve made my offer. It’s up to you now”
“What offer?”

It’s really too much hard work to try to help people out, isn’t it? I have a nice comfortable home that would suit an elderly cat for a couple of years but I don’t have time to engage in a debate or to put up with people’s attitude. If they want to pick a fight they can pick it with someone else.

Tea tonight was pasta, veg and some of those mini vegan bread-crumbed things that I bought from Noz a couple of months ago. They are actually quite nice and it made a nice meal. But the freezer is emptying quite nicely now and if I’m not careful I’ll have to start to restock it.

Alison and I had a chat on the internet later, now that she’s back from her perambulations in the real world. She has some exciting news to impart but more of that anon.

Tomorrow I’m off to the doc’s to tell him the news about my injections and to have a few prescriptions prepared. When I come back I’ll have to make plans. I’ll be eating the last of my ginger biscuits and I’ll have to bake some more. I could remake a type that I’ve made in the past (like those delicious chocolate ones) or try something completely new, in which case I’ll have to check to see what I have and what I need.

While I’m at it, I might have a go at making a vegan pie. I’ve not made one for ages and the last time that I tried, I had forgotten the knack about how to make pastry. At one time I had it going really well but since I stopped eating pudding I haven’t made anything like as many.

There’s no pizza dough left either so I’ll have to make some more. And if it turns out as well as the last batch, I shall be one very happy bunny indeed.

And it’s about time that there was some happiness in my life. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Tuesday 4th October 2022 – WE HAD A NEW …

… student in our Welsh class this morning.

There I was taking part in the lesson when suddenly something black and furry stuck her head in front of my camera. It’s been three years since I’ve seen Cujo the Killer Cat but she certainly remembered who I was. She jumped up onto my knee in mid lesson and has spent much of the day sitting on my lap being stroked.

That’s because I wasn’t in any condition to go out and about today.

But anyway, more of this anon.

Last night was spent doing a lot of tossing and turning about. The bed isn’t as comfortable as the one in Montreal, that’s to be sure, but I really wasn’t in much of any state to go to sleep.

An alarm going off at 05:45 didn’t improve my morale any, and when I connected to my Zoom lesson at 06:00 and found that I’d downloaded the wrong course book to bring with me, I didn’t feel any better.

Eventually I managed to sort myself out, download the correct book and introduce Cujo to my classmates, accompanied by a pile of “ooohs” and “aaahs”, then the lesson could continue.

It was slow and painful, not helped by the internet connection, and I was glad when it was over.

Next stop was to listen to what was on the dictaphone. There was some kind of nightmare about everyone who was in the water. Some were in tattoos etc. I was watching them. It was the end of a film. When the whistle went, these people set off to start to swim. There was a load of people coming up behind them dressed in Victorian clothes of the era, very posh, who were just shooting them in the water like some kind of sport until there wasn’t anyone left alive. It was so realistic a nightmare that I thought it was the end of a film of a real event. It really was realistic

And then I dreamed that there was a contract out to build a pile of boats for the Canadian Shipping Company or something that meant that some of them had to be redesigned. I submitted work to redesign 4 but when it came down to it I was awarded the contract for 3 but I couldn’t find out what had become of the 4th. So when we had to introduce ourselves to everyone who was watching, this was what I said. Basically that I’d applied for the contract for 4 but only had 3 so it seemed as if boat n°4 which was called Zodiac had not been remodelled and I really didn’t have the remotest idea whether or not that was correct. I might have been given the plans and lost them, something like that, but that was what I said.

Finally I was with my Welsh group. We were about to take part in a lesson so I was changing. There were other people around there changing as well. It was a very small changing room so there wasn’t much room to spread out at all and we had our feet around everyone else’s faces etc. They were talking about photos. The photo that we’d submitted for our group came 2nd. They were talking about a few of the others. One of them of the Weddell Sea in the Australian Antarctic (that’s what I said) was won by someone called June Weddell or something. I said that I knew someone of that name with whom I’d been on trips. Someone said that she studied at the OU and I said “yes, that’s the girl”. Of course my friend’s name is quite similar to that but it’s not the same. I said that I’d talk to her about it and find out more about her photo.

One thing that I haven’t mentioned so far is that when I awoke this morning my foot had swollen up again like a balloon and I was in no fit state to go out anywhere. And so instead I’ve been sorting out photos and recovering from my exertions over the last few days. And that has been that.

Darren came home late from work this evening but he found me a bowl in which I can soak my foot tomorrow. And when Rachel returned we had food and a really good chat.

Right now I’m off to bed for a good sleep. And tomorrow I’ll soak my foot and then I’ll take Strider out for a run to see how he goes. It’ll be good to get out and about up and down the road and see what’s happening in the world.

Not to mention the vegan food on offer at Sobey’s. I need to stock up the larder in here for the next few weeks.

Monday 12th September 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

boats lighthouse ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… day where I’ve done rather more than I would otherwise usually do.

So while you admire the small boats coming back from the north end of the Ile de Chausey. I can tell you that I was leaping out of bed with alacrity this morning at 06:00 this morning as soon as the alarm went off.

And that’s not quite like me these days, is it? But there it was, and here I am.

After the medication this morning, I came back in here to check the mails and messages from over the weekend. And to my surprise, there weren’t all that many. I don’t think that anyone loves me any more.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while Belle france sits quietly in the silt over at the ferry terminal, I’m busy making a start on the radio programme that I’ll be preparing for this week.

This morning it was ready, up and running at 11:10 this morning. And it would have been done much quicker had I not had so much editing to do.

The fact is that this is something special. I’ve had something quite remarkable fall into my possession. A rock group from upstate New York were in the throes of recording an album back in 1971 when they split up. The recoding was never finished and the tapes were lost.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … some kind of copy of the tape has come into my possession.

It seems to me that when this programme hits the airwaves in a few months, it will be the first time ever that a track from this group has been broadcast. And I can’t simply dismiss that in 800 characters.

Furthermore something else has come into my hands where the drummer was the guy who stood in for Keith Moon during a recording session of a Who album. and that’s not something to gloss over lightly either.

While I was listening to it and to the one that I’m sending off for broadcast this week, I was sorting out a few things around here and dealing with a few photos

After the lunchtime fruit I had to organise the payment of my Canadian motor insurance. Although I haven’t driven Strider since 2019 I have to keep the insurance going. It’s no longer possible for foreigners to have an insurance with a non-Canadian or non-USA driving licence but I’m a “legacy” case so I can keep mine up. But if I let it lapse then I’m snookered too.

It’s quite complicated to do it but it has to be done. Mind you, it’s not so complicated as actually having to drive down to the insurance company in Saint John’s to renew it.

It led to quite a chat with my niece as well. We haven’t really spoken for a while so there was a lot to say.

Having done that, I had other things to do. There’s something happening around here at the weekend and if I play my cards correctly I could become involved in it.

It will involve a lot of work and preparation so having sent out an enquiry (to which I have yet to receive a reply) I made a start on organising myself, just in case.

caravanettes mobile homes place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This took me up to the time that I would usually go out for my afternoon walk.

And I didn’t go far at all before I came to a grinding halt. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in the summer I mentioned that once the holidaymakers go back, we’ll be swamped with the old retirees in their mobile homes and caravanettes.

By the looks of things, I’m not wrong either. But then again I knew that. It ws pretty-much odds-on.

That isn’t even a parking spot for mobile homes. There’s a sign to say that they are prohibited. There is a camping ground about 200 metres down the road but it’s probably full right now.

The purpose of the car park is primarily for parking for the locals who live in the walled town where parking is almost impossible. But let’s not go letting rules, regulations and the rights of the local residents stand in the way of a selfish tourist.

So having had my daily moan quite early, I headed off as usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening there.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And sure enough, there were crowds of people down there today. It really was a nice day so it’s not a surprise.

You can’t see too many people in this photo because the tide is quite a way out so there was plenty of beach on which they could spread themselves about.

No-one quite brave enough to take to the waters though. I suppose that the temperature of the sea is dropping now after the bad weather that we had last week and that’ll keep anyone out of the water.

Having seen the beach and the people thereupon, I had a look around out at sea to see what was going on there.

trafalgar baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You’ve seen what was going on right out by the Ile de Chausey but I was also interested in a trawler that I could see out at the entrance to the Baie de Mont St Michel.

At this kind of distance it’s not possible to identify it with any certainly but it’s white with a blue stripe or two and edged in pink. Those are the colours of Trafalgar, as we saw when she was in the chantier naval just now.

This is another unusual place in which to find a trawler but as we have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … since the disruption to the usual fishing arrangements here in the bay we’ve seen the trawler owners trying out all kinds of unusual and different fishing grounds

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way through the crowds I ended up down at the end of the headland.

One thing that I noticed this afternoon was the crowds of people out there at the pèche-à-pied with the tide being so far out right now. This person here was one of several dozens scratching around on the rocks.

And I know the secret of the pèche-à-pied. There’s what they call a “tidal coefficient” – a number that indicates the difference between the high tides and the low tides. The higher the number, the greater the difference between the tides.

And when it’s greater than 100, that’s when the pèche-à-pied is authorised. Today, it’s 101.5

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as for whatever was going on out at sea or on the rocks, thee was quite a crowd of people down there watching it.

There were dozens of people milling around down at the end of the headland and on the lower path. Some of those gravitated down to the bench by the cabanon vauban where they could relax and admire the view. They were actually looking quite romantic down there.

A couple of others were standing there presumably awaiting their turn to take a seat. But today, there was no-one hiding in the bushes or sunbathing over the edge as we saw the other day.

From here I set off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

F-GBAI Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And just then I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way north.

It was too far out to identify it but back here I was able to enlarge and enhance the photo. It’s actually an old friend of ours, F-GBAI.

She’s a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club. She appeared on the radar at 16:08 flying out to the Ile de Chausey and having done a lap around, went down to the Mont St Michel and back up again where she disappeared off the radar in the vicinity of the airfield.

My photo was taken at 16:12 (adjusted) so this flight plan doesn’t really correspond with my photo. Usually we coincide pretty much.

le poulbot pescadore peccavi briscard chant des sirenes massabielle le styx chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while there is no change to day in occupancy of the chantier naval, there looks as if there is something about to happen.

The portable boat lift has left its usual parking place over the drop into the water and is now hovering around over the top of Peccavi. It looks as if she’s about to go back into the water as soon as the tide comes in.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was quietly sleeping in the silt, as you saw a little earlier. She’s presumably waiting for the tide to come in when she can go back out to rescue the day trippers who might be stranded over there right now.

cranes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of months ago they refurbished the crane that lives over on the far side of the harbour.

Right now though they have brought the crane over into the loading bay and the other one has now been pushed over into the back corner.

This could mean one of two things – either they are going to refurbish the other one or else they are going to withdraw it and replace it with one that will handle the freight that the owners of Southern Liner want to transport.

This is something else on which I will have to keep my eye in the future.

Back here I had a nice cold drink and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see what I’d been up to during the night. We had another dream about cars last night. I can’t remember how it started but I remember leaving work and walking outside. My car was the VANDEN PLAS 1300. I went to go into it ans switched on the radio to say that I was going home. There was no tax on it and no MoT on it, one of the many vehicles that I had with no tax and MoT (this is becoming a regular theme, isn’t it?). I remember being annoyed because I never seemed to have the time where I could take one of my vehicles, go right underneath it and do what needed doing and then have it taxed and MoTed. I wondered how long I could go before I was going to be caught. I ended up going back down Gresty Road. This time I was on an electric scooter. I reached the end and turned left. For some reason I had a premonition that something was going to pull out in front of me at Edleston Road top and hit me, or I’d hit it. The police would come along and that’s when I would find out all about having not tax and no MoT.
For the benefit of non-British readers, of whom there are more than just a few, every vehicle on UK roads needs an insurance certificate. It it’s over 3 years old and not a collector’s vehicle it needs a Ministry of Transport safety check every year and on passing the test it’s issued with a Ministry of Transport (MoT) Safety Certificate. Armed with current Insurance and MoT Certificates you can then go to the Post Office and on production of those valid documents you can buy a Road Tax certificate to display in your windscreen. That’s how it used to be anyway when I remember it. It’s all automated these days and done on line.

This was another car dream similar to the first one. I left home and there was no real car for me so I got into a Berkeley 2-wheeler type of thing, again with no insurance, tax or MoT and wishing that we had the time to look at one of my vehicles and have it registered properly. But this is always the thing when you’re spending all this time looking after these kids that you never have time to do anything of your own and everything else falls obviously into arrears.

This story came up with one of my Germany friends about a guy who had joined out chat room group but had been ejected. He said that he had been grouped with 2 particular people. That meant that it was they who had something to do with his ejection but she couldn’t understand why. I replied “no, that’s not correct. he was grouped with me and of course I’m a Moderator. I was the one who ejected him”. She wanted to know why and I replied that it was because of his posts. She said that surely his posts about cups of tea and things weren’t offensive. I replied that that wasn’t what he was writing at all. She was then wondering whether or not we were talking about the same person. I knew exactly whom I was talking about and presumably so did she but she was wondering whether we were talking about the same one

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper and it was really nice too. I think that I have this off to a … errr … tea now. Plenty of stuffing left so it’s a taco roll tomorrow. That’ll be quite powerful, having marinaded in the spicy sauce for 24 hours.

Tomorrow our Welsh class is starting again so I need to be on form. That calls for an early night and a good sleep. So what’s the betting that something will come along to interrupt me?

Saturday 27th August 2022 – I CAN’T REMEMBER …

… the last time that it was as quiet as it was today on the path overlooking the port.

Maybe yesterday, with all of the painters and everything, was exceptional, I dunno, but today there was hardly anyone about at all round there.

wet pavement boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Mind you, that did actually have its own advantages.

During the night we must have had a really heavy rainstorm because you can see just how wet the path is there. That’s the bit that usually floods in the heavy rain so considering that we’ve had no rain to speak of in an age, it must have been something impressive last night.

And you can see the vegetation here. It’s turned a lot more green just overnight. Things must be looking up and if we aren’t careful, we might have our lawn back.

And while we’re on the subject of “during the night” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I actually had quite a disturbed night.

And not just during the night either. I sat up bolt-upright 10 minutes before the alarm was due to go off, to find myself once again dictating notes into my hand. How many times must I have done that?

Nevertheless I grabbed the dictaphone and dictated what I could remember The milk was rather late being delivered so they sent some elderly guy round to check and to go to see his way into the attic. And it was at that moment that I awoke and whatever else was going on just evaporated,

Not a success.

Regardless of that it was still a struggle to fight my way out of bed and take my medicine. And then in an effort to liven myself up, I had an energy drink and then a shower.

It’s shopping day today, not that I need all that much, but I set the washing machine off just to finally at long last empty to linen basket and then we went to the shops.

There wasn’t much that I needed so I didn’t buy much. It still came to €24:00 though, mainly due to the big bag of peaches and the vegan spread and I was back home by 10:05.

But i’m beginning to notice another problem – and that is that it’s a long way up into Caliburn and I’m struggling to make it. That’s ominous.

Back here, armed with a coffee and some toast, I had a listen to the rest of the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few. Someone came to the door of the house where I was at that particular moment. He walked in, saw me and someone else there and asked for “Professor (so-and-so)”. For some unknown reason I went white and began to shake. The person I was with said that he was Detective-Sergeant (someone-or-other) and was here to make a few enquiries. Before he could continue I asked wht=at this was all about so they explained that the professor had been murdered some time previously which caused an enormous amount of upset. At least I discovered that it wasn’t me whom the person was after.

And later I had a train to catch in London at 22:15 and was coming back again early in the morning. I’d been camping so I had to pick up everything and prepare to leave. When it was time to leave I looked around for everything and couldn’t find my bumbag anywhere. I had a good hunt round but couldn’t find it. In the end I decided that I’d have to go without it. I tied my tent to the bottom of my sleeping back, stuck my parasol in the sleeping bag, hoped that my bumbag was in there. I had to walk somewhere to say goodbye, forgot my sleeping bag, walked back, picked it up, got into the car, drove into Crewe. It never occurred to me until far too late that I should have gone to a suburban railway station in a village somewhere and caught a train to Crewe and could have left my car there. When I arrived in Crewe I was too far away from my house to park there so I had to look for a parking space. There wasn’t any in the public highway. In the end I found myself thinking “how much will it cost to use the British Rail car park by the station for 10 hours or whatever. It’s only going to be expensive if I’ve lost my bumbag. If I have to start paying for parking it’s going to be the end of the world

I’d just gone into a restaurant to have some salad sandwiches. Although the place wasn’t crowded the 2 people behind the counter were working like demons. One of my friends from Germany was there and someone else. The someone else was making the sandwiches and my friend was waiting on table and waiting at the counter and also making some sandwiches. I stood there while they were all busy running around. They’d smiled at me but they hadn’t otherwise said “hello”. I thought to myself that this is taking much longer than it ought to fetch me something to eat. There was a dispute about someone – they thought that they’d organised the wrong meal but my friend was adamant that they hadn’t. Someone had set the toaster too high and burnt a lot of the sandwiches. I was beginning to think at the end of the day that I was invisible because no-one took any notice of me at all.

My niece was pregnant last night too. She’d come round for something and had gone off to the corner shop on the corner of Brookhouse Drive and Davenport Avenue (which there isn’t). In the meantime I’d had to nip out to do something so I went off in my red Cortina. It took much longer than I thought. By the time that I returned my niece was sitting in her car on the car park looking extremely miserable so I have her what it was that I had, parked my car and went back to our flat. I found that I was even so late that everyone had already started to deliberately eat it as well. THis was incredibly late as well, I don’t know why everything had taken so long but it wasn’t supposed to be anything like this at all

With not being in any great rush that took me up until my lunchtime fruit. And one of the peaches is bruised already. I can’t seem to keep fruit very long here and I don’t know why.

And afterwards I paired off all of the music. Only 8 tracks because one of them goes on for almost 22 minutes. I always had a secret admiration for Graham Bond’s Holy Magick.

It took far longer that it ought to have done as well because there were small gaps in the recording at regular intervals, as if the tape had been nicked by something sharp that had gone right through. You’ve no idea how many nicks there can be in 22 minutes of recording and I had to patch each one.

The opening is a very good opening too and I like good openings when they can run underneath my opening speech (which lasts for 13.555 seconds) but as this one wasn’t long enough for that, I looped a segment 8 times and it kept the beat all the way through my extended opening.

As well as that, I had to change a track because one that I had chosen was much more suitable as a programme opener. I don’t have too many of those so I don’t want to waste them.

All in all, I’m glad that I did that this afternoon instead of trying to do it on a Sunday when I don’t really feel like it.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That took me more-or-less up to the time to go for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And once more, I was surprised to see so few people down there. They had plenty of beach to be on but for some reason everyone had deserted the sand.

Many of those down there had made it into the water which was no surprise because regardless of what might or might not have happened during the night, we were back to summer again today and it was hot.

Just the day, in fact, when you would expect to see a lot of people.

medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Down at the Plat Gousset it was pretty much the same, although I was intrigued by the guy in suit trousers, shirt and tie. What was he doing down there on his own dressed like that?

But you can see how the medieval fish trap works. As the tide goes out, some water is retained in the trap and that’s where you’ll find the fish that have come in with the tide but been stranded when the tide has gone out.

This would be the time when all of the fishwives would wade in and start to pull out the fish by hand. And that evening, everyone would have a fish supper.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, while I’m here I’m also having a good look out at sea.

In the Baie de Granville there was hardly any water craft today. Just recently we’ve seen hordes of craft but it seems that they are all having a day off today. These three yachts and probably a handful of other boats were all that I could see.

Mind you, the weather was quite hazy today in patches and while some of Jersey was visible from up here, the rest of the island that we could normally wasn’t clear.

The ile de Chausey was quite visible and I had a little smile to myself listening to some British guy telling his friends that it was the Plateau des Minquiers which are just off Jersey to the south.

sailing ship english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further out in the English Channel there was something of interest going on.

There’s another sailing ship right out there again today.

Marité is out at sea but she’s currently behind the Ile de Chausey so I don’t think that it’s her and I’m not sure who else it might be.

La Cancalaise hasn’t been out that way today either, but a couple of other suitable candidates might be Etoile du Roy although that’s unlikely, and Le Renard who was out there in that direction somewhere.

It’s not easy using the radar on my mobile phone and when I return home to look on the computer, all of the ships have changed position so I have to estimate their position at the time from their historical track.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Down at the end of the headland there wasn’t an awful lot going on today so I wandered off across the car park to see what was happening down on the rocks.

We had another fisherman down there this afternoon and I do have to say that I was impressed by his tackle. he had a nice big aluminium box strapped to his back but the way things are around here, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was for a seat rather than to store his catch.

There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. Judging by what happened yesterday, they must have heard me coming and cleared off before I arrived.

Not that I blame them either.

festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Walking down past the sodden part of the path I could see what was happening at the Festival of Working Sailing Ships.

There doesn’t look as if there are all that many people there today either compared to how many there were earlier in the week.

One reason for the comparative lack of people around today is that we’re coming close to the end of the holiday season. Many people will have packed up and gone home this morning, I suppose.

Nevertheless, there would surely still be plenty of people living not too far away who would want to come away for the weekend and see the sights.

la granvillaise marie fernand rowing boats l'alize 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The mystery ship that we saw just now, I can tell you who she isn’t.

It can’t be La Granvillaise because she’s down there giving tourists a lap around the harbour for whatever the local equivalent of half a crown might be. And without her tender either. Let’s hope that she doesn’t need it.

And if you can’t afford the half-crown, you can row your own in one of the rowing boats that are wandering around there. Plenty of opportunity for doing something with a pair of oars.

Up against the wall at the back is of course Marie Fernand and the trawler in the foreground is Alize III

philcathane chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further along the quayside are the trawler Philcathane and the little freighter Chausiaise. Of course there will be no loading up of freight while the Festival is taking place.

But one ship that isn’t there right now is Victor Hugo and I don’t need to consult her itit .. init … tinit … itninnin .. timetable either to tell you where she might be. As I was on my way to the shops this morning I saw her loading up at the Ferry Terminal presumably for a trip out to Jersey.

And as for me, I’m not there right now either. I came back to the apartment for a drink of ice-cold ginger beer. Shop-bought from a while back. And I reckon that I ought to start my drinks-manufacturing again. But in the bathtub in cas eof any unwelcome explosions.

It was a shame about my TV

No football this evening but there were extended highlights of a game last night in the second tier between Ynyshir Albion and Llanelli. I remember Llanelli from their time in the Welsh Premier League but I’ve never seen Ynyshir so I reckoned that that was a good way to relax.

You can’t tell much from highlights of course but Ynyshir looked the better side, even if they couldn’t make their way past Scott Coughlin, who I remember from Afan Lido, in the Llanelli goal who had a good game. Llanelli scored a goal early on and then rode their luck to the final whistle.

Tea was steamed potato, veg and a breaded quorn fillet and as usual it was delicious. I’ll go back to LIDL at some point and look for more of those.

A day off tomorrow with it being Sunday, and no work to do because I’ve done it all already. I’ll have a few more days like that. I’m going to bed early, no alarm, and have a good sleep so I’ll be fighting fit for tomorrow.

And pigs will fly as well.

Wednesday 7th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nautical afternoon out there again this afternoon.

There was so much traffic out there at sea this afternoon that you wouldn’t believe it. Out there at sea is one of the local trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister Tiberiade heading out to the fishing grounds near to the Channel Islands now that the fishing agreement has been extended, being followed by an optimistic seagull or two.

There was a smaller boat out there too, heading back to port from I don’t know where because there isn’t any land out there in that direction for her to come from.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there in the Baie de Mont St Michel they had the sailing school as well. A pile of little tiny yachts and their tutor accompanying them in his little boat.

One of the students appears to be trying to get away from the others, so good luck to him.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my ambition to be out there with them one of these days. Having been to the school last Thursday I am now in possession of the literature to enable me to apply. All I need now is 10 minutes of my time to fill in the forms. But where I’m going to find that time at the moment I really do not know.

At least I made a start in the right direction this morning. Once more I managed to leap out of bed as the first alarm was ringing.

And after I’d had my medication I forgot to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Instead, I started straight away to attack the photos from August 2019. And by the time that I was bored enough to knock off and do something else, not only had I done the arrears, I’d done today’s supply and a few of tomorrow’s too. I have to get ahead because I’m not going to be here on Saturday.

kiwi and pear kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I’ve been up to today is to make another supply of kefir because I’m running low on stocks.

In the fruit and veg cupboard were several rather ripe kiwis (one of which was rather too ripe to use) so I whizzed up three of them with a ripe pear or two and strained them through the sieve into the big jug. The brewing kefir followed it in and I made a new batch in the big jar for next time.

The stuff in the jug was all mixed up and then poured through the filter stack and bottled in the flip-top bottles where they will fester away for a few days and ferment until I’m ready to use them, hoping that they won’t explode under pressure.

There was also time for a bash at the arrears from Central Europe last summer and I made some headway. Not as much as I would have hoped but I had an interruption, as you will find out as you read on.

Other interruptions of course were the morning break for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit cake, my lunch, and then my walk out around the headland this afternoon.

seagull window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside the building I was greeted by one of the regulars who hangs around the neighbourhood.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have often seen the seagull out here. He perches on the windowsill of one of the apartments at the other end of the building and I’m not sure why.

But there was quite a change today. Normally he’s on the windowsill chatting to the model bird on the shelf inside but today, for some reason that I don’t know, he was standing on a different windowsill chirping away to no-one in particular. No model birds for him to talk to there.

seagull street light place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t alone there either.

Sitting on a lamp-post just next to the building is one of the first-year juvenile seagulls. It’s clearly not very happy about the larger one on the window sill in front of it because it’s sitting there bleating away.

Eventually it became fed up of sitting on its perch because it took off and did a few laps of the car park before settling down on the wall at the end of the car park. It’s presumably waiting for daddy (or mummy) to move off the window sill so that it can follow on to the next port of call

men fishing from zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that last summer we saw a yellow zodiac flitting around in the water here and there.

We haven’t seen much of her since then, up until today. But here she is, moored in the English Channel just off the Pointe du Roc with a couple of guys in it casting out a line or two into the water. It looks as if the fishing season is now underway.

It seems that sea bass is the thing that they spend so much time trying to catch around here, but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have yet to see anyone actually catch anything while they have been fishing. And I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the end of the car park, I could look over the wall now that the baby seagull has gone and see what is going on down on the beach this afternoon.

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon with the tide being a good way in but nevertheless some people had managed to find a secluded little spot down there for a little relaxation. The little kid running towards the sea seems to be enjoying himself but the others are more content with keeping quiet and keeping warm.

Winter coats and woolly bonnets abound down there and it’s no surprise because it really was cold this afternoon and there was a bitter wind. I was certainly wrapped up in my winter coat and wished that I had remembered to put on my woolly bonnet.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I said earlier, there was an enormous amount of activity going on out at sea this afternoon.

Right out in the English Channel halfway across to Jersey I managed to pick out a yacht that was sailing on its way to St Helier. It certainly had the right kind of wind to push it along in that direction this afternoon.

And as regular readers will recall, the last time that we saw Jersey we could only just about make out the island and that was our lot. Today, the sky is a little clearer and we can actually see the individual buildings at St Helier. That’s always a good sign.

So with just one or two people walking around on the headland this afternoon, I walked off along the path to the end of the headland to see what was going on.

With the really good view across the English Channel to Jersey this afternoon I went and stood on the roof of the bunker near the end of the headland to see how things were down the Brittany coast.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the first time for quite a while, we’re able to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel down the coast 70 kilometres away. And we can see it quite clearly too, just to the right of centre in this photograph.

When I’ve finished the story of my trip around Central Europe I’ll be starting on the notes of my trip in the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast, and you’ll be able to see exactly how the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel looks from close up, because we sailed right up to it while we were out there and I was able to take some good photos of it.

Climbing down from the roof of the building I made my wy round across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown there on the rocks there were a couple of fishermen having a go at fishing from off the rocks at the foot of the headland.

A little earlier we saw a couple of fishermen fishing from the yellow zodiac and I mused that the fishing season might be under way now. These two guys here would certainly lend credence to that sort of thing.

But once again, despite all of the time that I spent watching them, they didn’t catch anything either. In the end I lost interest and headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on that side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I travelled particularly far because I came to another halt half-way along the path.

sailing school trawler pleasure cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the sailing school that we had seen earlier had regrouped and they were all performing their own version of a nautical danse macabre over there in the bay.

There was another trawler leaving the port too and heading for the fishing grounds. They seem to be leaving in dribs and drabs just now rather in the mass charge en flotte as has been the usual procedure up until very recently.

There was a nice little cabin cruiser following the trawler out of the port and I wondered where he might be going this afternoon.

While I was there I had a look down into the chantier navale to se what was happening there. There was no difference down there from yesterday – the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was still in there, with some paint now missing from her hull.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile there was some excitement going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

Thora, the little Jersey freighter, is in there this afternoon and as I watched , she was being loaded up with material destined for Jersey. Sneaked in on the tide, I reckoned.

With the heavy cloud this afternoon it was impossible to see what was going on above me in the air so I headed on home airless, as you might say. And first task was to collect up all of the rubbish that was lying around and taking it to the big waste disposal bins outside. They were rather overflowing.

Rosemary had rung me up while I was out so I phoned her back. And as a result I missed finishing off my Central Europe trip, missed my guitar practice and missed my evening meal too. In the end I banged a couple of potatoes and some beans into the microwave while I was doing something else.

But now I’ve finished and I’m off to bed. I’ve crashed out twice already while I’ve been typing this and I reckon that the third time will be a good one. Tomorrow is shopping and I need a few things as well. And I have to book my travel to Leuven too for the end of the month.

And to have a go at fixing Caliburn’s door if the wind will drop. I’m going for my second vaccination on Saturday morning and entering and leaving the van is pretty much essential.

Earlier the next morning I finally managed to sort out the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in France yesterday and I was in Granville. I still had Les Guis. It was a Friday evening and I had Caliburn completely emptied out so I popped into Caliburn and headed off back to Les Guis with the aim of throwing another load of stuff in the back of the van and setting off back to Normandy. I arrived there and made a start on a couple of things. As well as that I was organising the furniture in there – the stuff that I was keeping and the stuff that I was throwing away, that kind of thing. I started to write out a note and I was doing it on a piece of wood that was an old bed base. There was a ridge where two pieces were joined and a strengthening batten and I was having to write around that. I remembered that TOTGA lived just down the road from me in France near Virlet so I arranged that I ought to go along and see her. She had this great big trailer that I had borrowed and I might need it again for removing. But in any case I wanted to go to see her. I worked out where she lived and of course it was a Saturday morning by the time I’d arrive so I wondered if maybe she’d gone shopping or something like that or should I invite her to come shopping with me or something.

This dream continued later on. I was going into a café and there were 3 girls whom Î knew in there. They shouted out “what’s this about you going for a drink with someone’s secretary?”. The girl whom we knew, it was her secretary. I remember saying something in a bit of a jokey jest type of thing and I hadn’t reckoned on her taking it seriously but apparently she had. She had written out directions of where she was going to meet. I remember her being a sweet little kid, Anoushka, and she’d written out this letter for me and where to meet so I thought that I’d better do this because it sounds interesting. The 3 girls asked me what I was actually doing down here. I said that I’d driven through the night to get to Brussels and I was sleeping in that little lodge place down near St Jacobsplein in Leuven. June Wayland said “but they’ve closed that route that you use, haven’t they?” and I was trying to think of which route she meant because I’d been coming a different way just recently. One of the things that I do remember was that a game of cricket was taking place, England v Pakistan or India or someone and the match was taking place in the conconrse of the airport – the arrivals lounge or the departure lounge. I thought that that was a strange place to have a cricket match. But they were playing there, and I was watching for a few minutes and wandered away but I could hear the commentary. It came down to the final couple of overs and at a certain point England can’t possibly lose the match now. I had to go to the bathroom from my room in this lodge and there was an Indian guy actually standing in the doorway listening to this. I couldn’t make him move. I thought that he might have seen me but he didn’t so I waited until the math finished. Then he saw me and stepped out of the way so I could leave my room. Then I suddenly realised that I ‘d forgotten my towel so I went back for it. Then I’d forgotten something else and had to go back for that. I ended up at the bathroom but there was someone already there.

Saturday 1st August 2020 – I BIT THE …

… bullet today and finally galvanised myself into action for a change.

But more of that anon.

Despite still being awake at long after 03:00, I was actually sitting on the edge of the bed ready to get up when the third alarm went off at 06:15. But nevertheless it was still a struggle to rise up from that position.

Plenty to do this morning, despite my late night. I might not have been tired enough to sleep last night but I was too tired to do any work. After breakfast (more fruit salad and delicious bread) I finally managed to finish the notes from last night.

There was something on the dictaphone too. It was all about Crewe Alexandra winning promotion. They scored a really good goal. Jordan Bowery scored it – he fought his way through the defence to kick home. The commentators were there congratulating the team. It meant that several others didn’t have the chance to play off as the team coming out straight afterwards for another game were going to be extremely disappointed by the results and so on.

To clean myself off I had a good shower, a shave and a clothes-washing session and then I hit the road.

old car aston martin dbr2 ksv 975 1971 lech austria eric hallYesterday when we’d been down in the town we’d seen a Blower Bentley parked up at the hotel.

Today there’s another old and interesting vehicle parked up in the town and in case you haven’t recognised it, it’s an Aston Martin DBR2.

Well, that’s what you might think but it actually isn’t. According to the UK’s Driver and vehicle Licensing Authority it was first registered in 1971 and a little research reveals that when this vehicle was offered for sale in 2007 by Bonham’s the Auctioneers, it was described as a “1971 Aston Martin DBR2 Recreation”.

old car aston martin dbr2 ksv 975 1971 lech austria eric hallIt wasn’t sold cheaply either by Bonham’s. Including the Buyers’ Premium, it went for almost £78,000.

That price might sound expensive for a replica but an original sold for over £9,000,000 so the price of the replica is pretty small beer. And according to the guy who built a few Aston Martin replicas, even the £78,000 represented “a considerable premium to my build prices” so we’ll all have to go along and order one.

But they aren’t really the same as the original ones unfortunately because with being built to modern standards they have modern engines and a different style of chassis that doesn’t flex as much as the older one did and so takes away much of the excitement of driving it.

der lecher taxi lech austria eric hallIt’s easy to see why this town is the favourite town of Strawberry Moose.

He’s not been here for 48 hours and he has started his own taxi company here. And as you might expect, he’s chosen a most appropriate name for his business. I’m sure that he’ll pick up plenty of work over the period that he’s going to be here.

It’s a shame that he wasn’t here for a photo opportunity but he had plenty of other things to be doing to set his business off on the right foot.

alpine horn lech austria eric hallNot only is it the height of the tourist season it’s also a Saturday and so there are crowds of people around iin the town this morning

To entertain them, there were a few alpine horn players standing on the bridge over the river and I’ve no idea why they were taking such an intense interest in me as I was taking their photograph. I wasn’t making half as much noise as they were and I wasn’t blocking the traffic either.

The lederhosen that they were wearing didn’t impress me all that much either The didn’t look particularly interesting. And they all should be wearing their little felt hats with feathers in.

But it did remind me of the time that I was chatting to Lee Jackson, bassist/vocalist of The Nice, who told me that the only cure for an Alpine Horn was an Alpine maid.

river lech austria eric hallToday, I’m going to be doing what I really wanted to do yesterday had I been on form.

What I had wanted to do was to go for a tramp in the woods, but he got away so I was going to walk up into the mountains along the side of the river to see if I could make it as far as Zug. First I needed some supplies, so I went to the supermarket that I had visited yesterday.

Now that i’d organised food for the journey, I set off up the hill

cable lift lech austria eric hallYesterday we saw at the side of my hotel the cables of a gondola lift going up into the mountains to the east side of the town.

From up here where I’m standing, we can look right across the town and see the cables climbing right up into the mountains, the cable pylons on top of the first crest and then the station at the top way over to the right on the second crest.

One of these days when I’ve saved enough money (because it isn’t cheap by any means) I’ll take the gondola right up to the top because I imagine that the views would be totally spectacular. But knowing my luck, there would be a fog, a low cloud or a heat haze.

upper vorarlberg lech austria eric hallAs you saw in one of the previous photographs, there were two ways to go.

One of the ways was by the ordinary road that climbed its way up through the mountains, or the second way, which was the footpath that wound its way along at the side of the river.

The road looked all hot and bothered and not very inspiring but the path along the river went through a load of shade from the trees that were growing along the banks. And so as far as I was concerned that was the only way to go.

river lech austria eric hallAs you can see from this photo, I wasn’t wrong about the road.

You can see it up there where all of those cars are driving. It’s right out in the open there, in the sun and not the place to be in weather like this.

The town of Zug is out of view behind the crest of the ridge that you can see over to the left of the photo. I imagine that the river will wend its way around there and the path that I’m on will follow the river round to the town.

river lech austria eric hallWhere I took the previous photo was from the bridge just there across the river.

Hidden in the trees back there is a large open-air swimming pool and leisure centre that seemed to be very popular with all kinds of people. It was pretty busy. One of the things that I noticed here was an open-air café where I could conceivably buy a coffee on the way back because I had a feeling that I would be needing it.

But not right now because I was rather hot. I sat on a convenient bench and had a drink of the water that I’d remembered to bring with me.

river lech austria eric hallThe longer that I sit around doing nothing, the longer it will take me to reach Zug so I decided to press on along the trail.

It seemed that it didn’t matter which was I was going to do. Every path or road north-westwards up the valley seemed to lead into the hot sun. There was a really big clearing here round by this cabin and if they didn’t already have enough sunshine there were signs that there was tree-cutting taking place here.

There wasn’t anyone around attending to the timber so I carried on along the path.

mountains upper vorarlberg lech austria eric hallNot too far though because something interesting along the way had caught my eye.

On top of the mountains over there are some buildings and what’s exciting is wondering about how the occupiers get up their with their supplies. But seeing as over there is really the back of Lech I imagine that the buildings are some way connected to the ski lift and gondola system so people might come up that way.

But looking at that slope over there, I imagine that the way down on skis to the main road at the foot of the slope would be quite exciting too.

waterfall river lech austria eric hallIn one of the earlier photos you might have noticed some people at the side of the river and also the start of some rapids.

The elevation into the mountains is a lot steeper than you might think by looking at the photos and the water is running quite fast down the river. And with there being different strata of rocks around here and some rocks wearing quicker than other, the presence of rapids is assured

Not the kind that you can shoot in a raft unfortunately – there isn’t enough water for that at this time of the year.

rapids waterfall river lech austria eric hallNevertheless it’s still quite magnificent and powerful, and I’d love to see it in the spring when there is all of the meltwater flowing down the valley.

There has been so much water in the river at times that there have been some impressive flash floods lower down in the valley. There was a catastrophic flood in June 1910 when the flow of water reached 300 cubic metres per second. A church tower 52 metres high in Lechhausen was badly damaged and 5 million marks worth of damages was caused in Augsburg.

As a result in 1911 they started on building flood defences downriver.

rapids waterfall river lech austria eric hallThe town of Lech hasn’t been spared either. In August 2005 a considerable amount of damage was caused due to a sudden flash flood.

But returning to the river itself, its source is in the Formarinsee, a lake higher up in the mountains, and then flows a distance of about 250 kilometres, draining about 3900 square kilometres before feeding into the River Danube near Donauworth where we visited IN 2015.

It’s not a navigable river, due mainly to the shallow depth and the gravel beds. And also due to the fact that there are 33 power stations along its route.

people in water waterfall rapids river lech austria eric hallBut it’s certainly the place to be in the summer, especially on a hot, stifling day like today.

There was rather a large family group of people sitting on one of the gravel beds having a picnic and a paddle about in the water. And I must admit that I was sorely tempted to go and join them and dangle my feet in the water for 10 minutes or so.

But instead, I pushed on along the path towards Zug. At least there was some shade here amongst the trees as I scrambled up and over some of the undulations in the path

zug mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOver there is the town of Zug, a lot farther away than it looks in this photograph, thanks to the wonders of good long-distance ZOOM LENSES. A couple of minutes further on from where I’d seen the people paddling in the pool I burst out into the sunlight and there it was through the trees.

But now it’s lunchtime and having found a handy bench in the shade, I have my book and my lunch – another half of a small melon and another can of that energy drink that had lifted my spirits yesterday, both of which I had purchased from the supermarket earlier.

And here I sat for a good half hour, in the middle of a golf course apparently judging by all of the people passing by with their golfing trolleys and so on. Not that I could see anything of it through the undergrowth and shrubbery from where I was sitting.

After having sat down and relaxed for about half an hour I pushed on towards the town.

ski lift mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hall
Yesterday I mentioned that we are in the middle of one of the most extensive skiing areas in Europe and so, as you might expect, there are gondolas, ski lifts and drags all over the place.

Here at the side of the river is the bottom station of one of the ski lifts – the Zugerbergbahn – that goes up to the top of the mountains to the north. Up there on top at an altitude of 2100 metres is the Balmalp Lech am Arlberg ski lodge. Tha represents a rise of over 600 metres from my current 1488 metres, according to my telephone.

And avid skier as I was in my younger days, I would have to say that it would have been quite exciting skiing back down from there again through all of those trees. It reminds me of Erma Brobeck who once famously said “I’ve no intention of participating in any sport that has ambulances waiting at the bottom of the hill”.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallThe next stage of my route was comparative easy because for about 5 minutes we actually had a path that was flat, level and comparatively smooth.

Over there ahead of us is presumably the car park for the chairlift and also for people going a-walking around in the vicinity too because it really is a nice area to be walking around.

In the background are some of the most splendid mountains that you have ever seen, still with a couple of vestiges of snow upon them. We actually drove past them, but on the other side on our way to Lech from Dornbirn on the Bregenzerwald Bundesstrasse Highway.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallThis is probably one of the finest glaciated valleys that I have ever seen.

You can usually tell a glaciated valley from a river valley because of its shape. A river valley is more likely to have a “V” shape whereas a glaciated valley is more likely to be a “U” shape. And this one speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

The ridge going across from left to right in the photo looks at fist glance as if it might be a moraine – a bank of gravel left behind by a glacier as it retreats. But it’s not possible to say without excavating it, and it looks a little too unnatural to me.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallFrom the bottom of the valley down by the river up to the village was a climb of about 30 metres, but it looked and felt like a darn sight more than that to me.

Halfway up the path I stopped to recapture my breath and had a look around. There’s a complex of about three or four guest houses on the edge of the village somewhere to the east and I imagine that those buildings over there must be it.

Behind them is the valley up which I walked, and the town of Lech is right down at the bottom somewhere near the left-hand edge of the photo where you can see that cleft between the mountains.

Filialkirche St. Sebastian church mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallEventually I arrived in the centre of the village, such as it is, and found myself standing in a little square outside the church.

The church is the Filialkirche St. Sebastian and it’s an impressive structure for such a small place. There’s quite a story behind it too, in that in the early 17th Century there was an outbreak of the plague here and someone made a vow in connection with the plague.

Unfortunately I’ve not discovered who it was, and what exactly was the nature of the vow, but one of the attributes of Saint Sebastian is that he’s the patron saint of protection from the plague, so I would imagine that it’s due to people praying to Saint Sebastian that if they survive this outbreak they would build a church in his honour in thanks for their safe deliverance – that kind of thing.

musicians upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallApart from the church, there’s little else here to talk about. A couple of hotels, such as this one and that’s your lot.

At least they had some entertainment for us this afternoon, and that’s always welcome. No alpine horns unfortunately, but we do have a guitar, a double bass and a kind of hurdy-gurdy. I was tempted to buy a coffee in order to stop and listen for half an hour, but then I saw the prices.

There isn’t really anything else to do around here, and I suppose that, being so isolated, they can hardly nip to the shops next door for a pint of milk if they run out.

zugertal panoramabus upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOne thing that I was also going to add is that there isn’t really any passing trade, because this road is actually a dead end that comes to a stop in the depths of the mountains.

But just as I was about to say it, around the corner came a tourist bus full of passengers. There isn’t very much to see except the scenery. And I was reminded of Betty Marsden, the English comic actress who when asked what she thought about the Alps, replied “it was terrible. The mountains hid all of the view”.

And I was extremely interested to see that even though it’s advertising an Austrian service, the bus has German number plates.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOne thing that did catch my eye while I was here was that track down there heading over the mountains to the south.

Had I been 20 years younger and in better health, because it’s much steeper than it looks in this photo, I’d have been tempted to have gone for a walk over there. There’s a waterfall, the Wasserfall Zug a kilometre or so up there, and then a long and difficult walk takes you to a lake, the Spuller See.

From there, you can turn right and head to the Bregenzerwald Bundesstrasse or else turn to the right and follow the valley of the Spreubach down to Dalaas in the Voralberg valley.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallHaving had a good look around, I retraced my steps back to the path that I climbed up to the village

So that was Zug then. I’m sure that I’d been here once with Nerina when we passed through in 1988 but I didn’t remember anything at all about it and nothing that I saw had rung a bell with me. It had that kind of effect on me.

But from here I was able to have a better look at that bank while I was up here, and that looks definitely man-made to me from here. There’s a road that runs across it so maybe that’s the reason for the bank. I imagine that it must be quite wet down there in the snow melt.

lake golf course mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOn the way up here I missed this – I can’t have been looking down there in that direction.

This is some kind of leisure facility complete with its own lake, and it had me wondering if it might have been anything to do with the golf course across which I stumbled on the way up because despite seeing the holes, the greens and the golfers, I hadn’t seen a clubhouse.

But that’s something about which I can worry some other time. I’ve had a really good walk up here and now it’s time to go back downhill for a rest. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been going downhill for years.

On the way back I simply retraced my steps for half of the way.

At that cabin where there was all of this new timber, the lumberjacks were busy cutting down another tree so I stood and waited, filming it on my camera. But just when they reached the crucial moment when I expected the tree to come crashing down, they knocked off for a cuppa and that was that.

For a while, I waited around but they didn’t come back so I wrote it off as a bad job and carried on towards home.

When I reached the bridge that we saw in an earlier photo there was another path going straight on down the southern side of the river and as there were a few people following that path, I followed them to see where I would end up.

river lech austria eric hallOver there is the River Lech down in the bottom of the valley.

After scrambling over a couple of stiles and squeezing my way through a couple of narrow gates, i have now found myself back in civilisation, as you can see. The road along which I walked out of Lech earlier today is just the other side of the river where that car is driving

On the left-hand edge of the photo is the little path down which I walked to reach the river so that I could follow the river up into the hills. There’s a little path down there by the waterside that is out of sight.

river lech austria eric hallHere’s a view looking further down into the town. Over there is the river with the waterfront houses and the road behind up which I walked on my way out

The path down which I had walked, called apparently, the Lechuferweg, has transformed itself into a very chic residential street called the Omesberg at the southern end of the town. This would seem to be the place to be around here, where you would live if you were ever to win the lottery.

But I wasn’t going to hang around and enjoy the view or lap up the atmosphere. I was ready for a good, hot mug of coffee and a little relax back at my digs after walking all of this way.

storm mountains upper vorarlberg lech zug austria eric hallAnd have you noticed how the sky has dramatically changed colour over the last few photos?

All the way down the path I was hotly pursued by a low cloud and thunderstorm. Not only the sky but the weather had changed while I was out, and changed quite quickly too. That was another reason to be back in my room as quickly as possible because that lot looks quite nasty..

I just about made it back to the hotel before the heavens opened and drenched the town in a storm of epic proportions. You can understand how come they have these severe flash floods around here with weather like this.

Back here, looking at the storm, I actually crashed out for a while, which was no surprise given the bad night that I had had and the fact that I’d walked almost 10kms today into the mountains and back in the lovely, fresh alpine air.

Tea was a tin of potatoes, a tin of mixed veg and a tin of lentils with some mustard sauce, and it was delicious.

An early night tonight because it’s my last night here. I’m pushing on tomorrow as I still have plenty of places to go and plenty of people to see. Unfortunately June is not available. Her husband is not too well and she’s afraid that any non-urgent meeting might expose him to risk – something that I quite understand.

But still, I’ll be sorry to leave. Lech is one of my most favourite places in Europe and I struck gold with this hotel – I really did. We’ll have tu see what the next 10 days or so will bring.

Wednesday 8th July 2020 – I’VE BEEN …

… back to the hospital this morning.

They called me on the phone this morning at about 09:15 to tell me that they had arranged an X-Ray and an echograph for me – at 10:55. Now just imagine that in the UK. Never mind 100 minutes – it would be more like 100 weeks.

Just as well that I was feeling on form, having had an early night last night and a decent lie-in all the way through to about 07:45.

Plenty of time to go off on my travels during the night. There was a group of us out walking last night and we walked past a couple of football grounds. There was Chelsea on one side and Manchester United on the other. I made some comment about some of the Manchester United fans chanting about Chelsea from their ground. Some Chelsea supporters heard it and thought that I was chanting about them so they decided that they were going to follow us. We walked quite a good way but they were still behind us and I wondered what was going to happen next about all of this but that was when I awoke.
At some point during the night I was in the North East of England. They were building a by-pass and I don’t know if they were using dynamite but there was dust and rocks everywhere all over the by-pass. I was asked to clean it so I had to go and loom for a brush, a nice big long-handled one with stiff bristles. In the end someone gave me one and I took it back up there and started to brush up the highway. I was talking to some people but I abruptly cut off my talk and walked away. They were wondering why I was being so rude and ignorant but what had happened was that some large combine harvester in the distance had been working in a field and suddenly burst through the hedge and was hanging over the hedge in some kind of dangerous predicament and that would have been enough to stop anyone’s conversation if they had actually seen it. I was in a different place to them which was why I had a much better view of what was happening
At some point in the evening we were all in zodiacs sailing around and we had to meet up with a coach. Our zodiacs took to the air and were flying around the coastline looking for this coach. I pointed out where the main road was and I imagined that it would be on the main road somewhere so we shot off there and flew past all of these vehicles parked in this lay-by. There were a few Shearings coaches and a few coaches from other people out on tour so we waved at everyone as we went past but we couldn’t find our coach at all. We ended up back on the ship qt one point – this might even have been before. We were due to dock and I wanted to go ashore and get a pile of stuff because we were going to be a long way out. I needed a blanket to sit on but my blanket was on the bed and there was a white sheet placed all over the bed. There were a few people around there talking. One of them was a friend of mine making her debut on a nocturnal voyage. She said that she was off – had to go to bed because she was feeling really tired. She wanted to go on this moonlight excursion at midnight. I said that we would be gone by midnight but at least you told me so I could tell the captain. There was this other girl around there and she’d remember that they would come and fetch you and had she said anything to the captain of her zodiac?
There was another interchange with some people about a theatre. Someone asked me “you know about the theatre. have you ever heard of a situation where something has been done on the stage where they have used rushes from the filming of it in order to make a film and not bother to use the actual stage in the cinema?” I said “the only time that I can ever think of that happening is when there has been a strike of scene shifters and stage hands and they had broadcast instead the rushes – the temporary shots that they take to remind them where all the scenery would be, that kind of thing. That’s the only time that I can remember that happening.

After the medication I made a start on the dictaphone but the phone call interrupted me and I had to get weaving. The pouring rain put rather a dampener on the proceedings but never mind.

army saloon cars town hall grote markt leuven belgium eric hallThere were very few people out there on the streets today, which surprised me rather, despite the rain.

There was plenty of activity though in the Grote Markt. Three saloon cars which, by the looks of the registration numbers displayed thereupon looked as if they might be vehicles belonging to the Belgian Army.

So what was all that about? It’s one of those questions where it’s not always a good idea to go and make further enquiries. Instead, I pushed on down the hill through the town.

demolishing sint rafael hospital leuven belgium eric hallThere was one thing about the rain though. It was at least keeping all of the dust down.

That was particularly important round by the old Sint Pieters hospital where they were going qt it hammer and tongues. It looked somewhat different from how it looked yesterday evening, that’s for sure.

As I stood there watching for five minutes or so I thought that it might be a good idea to make a video of the demolition. Luckily I was armed with my mobile phone which doesn’t do too bad a job of things like this and THE RESULTING VIDEO CAME OUT RATHER WELL.

It’s a good video record of what was happening there. It looks rather like something out of Jurassic Park

screening coronavirus gasthuisberg uz leuven belgium eric hallAll the way up the hill to the hospital I strolled in the rain.

And I was impressed by what’s going on with regard to the virus in the country that seems to have one of the greatest rates of infections in Europe with its 843 deaths per million of the population.

They really seem to be taking things quite seriously, even down to the drive-in virus testing station here.

At the hospital my appointment was for 10:55. However I was there early and by 10:55 I’d had both of my examinations and was on my way home. Imagine that in the UK!

Back here I carried on with the dictaphone notes and updated the notes for yesterday to include the details of my voyage that morning.

This afternoon I’ve been out for a good four hours. Firstly to the Bank to find out why one of my bank cards wasn’t working. According to them there is no reason why it shouldn’t be working so the girl helped me set up the banking on my phone so that I could contact the helpline.

But imagine this! Before I could go into the bank I had to put on a face mask. Could you believe it? I wonder what would have happened had I put on a mask to go into the bank 6 months ago!

Despite the rain I had a nice walk around and ended up at the Delhaize by the football ground where I bought some stuff for tea. Pasta, a falafel burger and some vegetables

Later on this evening I’m going out for a walk again. The reason for that is that I’m at 188% of my daily activity and I’m going to see if I can push it over the 200%. It’s been a good while since I’ve done that.

Over 20,000 steps already is an impressive total.

Tomorrow I have to be up at 05:30. I’ve a very early train tomorrow in order to take advantage of the cheap rail ticket that I was offered.

For a saving of €60 I’ll get up half an hour earlier.

Thursday 7th February 2019 – WHAT A NICE …

… surprise!

Wandering through the streets on my way to the shops, my phone rang.

It was Terry. He was on his way into Granville and wanted to know if I fancied a coffee.

And so he picked me up and we went off for a drink at the café at LeClerc for half an hour and put the world to rights.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t get out half as often as I should.

Talking of getting out, it was difficult to get out of bed this morning. The alarm may well have gone off at 06:00 but it was after 07:00 when I finally crawled out into the Land of the Living.

cement mixer vieille ville granville manche normandy franceAfter breakfast I had a shower and then wandered off into town.

I didn’t get very far though, because my attention was caught by this cement mixer.

The roads in the medieval town are so narrow and there are the city gates that are quite low and narrow which means that large heavy vehicles can’t go in.

They have to unload outside and tranship in

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn my way down the steps to sea level, there was quite a racket coming from the harbour.

Close inspection revealed that it was La Grande Ancre setting off on another voyage somewhere now that the harbour gates were open.

No idea where she’s going of course. It could be anywhere within reason but more likely she’s taking freight to the Ile de Chausey. That’s her usual run.

roundabout moulin cours jonville granville manche normandy franceIn the town centre at the Cours Jonville, it’s far from carnaval time (that’s the first weekend in March this year) but there’s clearly something going on.

There are people here erecting a roundabout for the kids. So I don’t know whether this means that there will be other sideshows coming, or whether this is just going to be an isolated amusement for a short period.

Up the hill to the station to pick up my tickets for my trip next weekend to Belgium. And here of course I was waylaid by Terry.

Back at LIDL there was nothing special going on. But they did have some decent bath towels. I bought one to use as a guest towel for my visitors (always assuming that I have any) because ones that I have used won’t be fit for much.

new facade theatre place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceI had to stop off at the Estate Agent’s to give them my insurance certificate, but I was distracted on my way.

There’s a little theatre down on the Place Marechal Foch and there’s a pile of work going on there right now.

It looks as if they are erecting a new facade on the theatre. So I wonder what that’s going to look like in a couple of weeks time.

removing waste paper place d'armes granville manche normandy franceAnd that wasn’t everything either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have already seen the waste lorries taking away the glass from the glass waste bins.

But today there was the waste paper lorry there emptying out the waste paper skip. My missing passport is probably somewhere in that lot.

What with going for a coffee, I was back quite late so I only had time for a coffee before it was lunchtime.

And after lunch, I went to sit down to carry on work, but I ended up in bed. And for a good hour or so too.

I went off on a little travel too. There was a party going on in an office where I was working and I was expected to be there, but for some reason or other I didn’t want to go. When I came back from outside, there was some woman dressing up with a party hat. I decided to go on down the corridor to another office in our building to pretend that I was looking for something, but then I realised that I would look rather silly going into that office in my outdoor coat.

fishing boats ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceLeaving the bed was rather difficult again. i was really flat-out. But I had to go off on my afternoon walk in the nice sunshine.

All of the fishing boats were heading back towards the port . It must mean that the tide is coming back in so that they can unload at the fish processing plant.

It’s quite a busy little fishing port here really.

lifeboat statue baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceBut the weather was really good.

This particular view, of the lifeboat memorial on the Pointe du Roc, overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel in the foreground and St Pair sur Mer in the background, came out really quite well.

But to give you some idea of the height of the tide, at high tide the pillar on which is positioned the red marker light for the harbour entrance is almost all submerged.

Having had a little sleep earlier, I was able to crack on with some work. And I managed to keep going until tea time too.

Burger on a bap with veg and potatoes, followed by fruit salad and soya coconut cream. I’m really looking after myself as far as food goes.

sea rue du nord granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t all that windy outside this evening.

But there must have been a storm somewhere because there was quite a roaring sea. The tide was right in and it was making quite a noise as the waves crashed down onto the rocks.

It’s a shame that my camera won’t pick up the best of the image. It’s struggling on as best as it can, but I do have a cunning plan in the back of my mind.

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAnd if you thought that the waves crashing down on the rocks was impressive, you ain’t seen nuffink yet.

The waves were roaring full-tilt into the bay and the sea wall on the Plat Gousset was taking a real bashing.

There were several young kids down there having a field day, running around being soaked by the impressive waves roaring over the walls.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy franceI carried on with my little walk, but was distracted by some moving lights heading into the harbour.

I wandered down to the wall to see what was happening, and I was treated to the rather spectacular sight of a trawler manoeuvring around in the inner basin about to tie up at the fish-processing plant.

I stood and watched it for quite a while.

This evening I had a very lengthy chat with June on the internet. Catherine has gone into hospital and June is a little concerned. Catherine is having a rough time right now so I hope that things improve for her.

And now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a long, difficult day and have done 118% of my daily activity. There’s no doubt that it’s taking a lot out of me right now but I have to keep on going.

fishing boats ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
fishing boats ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

brehal sur mer granville manche normandy france
brehal sur mer granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Sunday 1st July 2018 – I FORGOT …

… that I had set an alarm for Sunday morning while I’m on my travels.

And so at 08:45 we had Billy Cotton bellowing out “Wakey Waaaaaa – KAYYYYYYY” all through the house.

It wasn’t as if we had needed it either because I’d been up and about for an hour or so and had had a shower by this time.

Dave was up a little later (he said that he hadn’t heard the alarm) and we had breakfast together. And I reflected upon my night’s sleep in one of the most comfortable beds in which I have ever slept.

The plan was that I would be away fairly early but Dave and June are very nice people and we were chatting for quite some considerable time, putting the world to rights, and it was gone 13:00 when I left.

My route from there took me down to Lindau, one of my most favourite towns in Germany. I’d wanted to go for a walk around but with running so late it was impossible.

And it was just as well because with it being the first Sunday in July in glorious, boiling hot weather, the whole place was crowded and there were queues everywhere.

I drove straight through (insofar as the traffic would let me), found a bakery for my lunchtime bread, and then found the only vacant car-parking spot in the whole of Baden-Wurttemburg to have lunch. My final tomato hadn’t survived the journey and so that was consigned into the deep.

My route then took me through Friedrichshafen where I had a row with a German taxi driver who wanted to block the dock entrance while he waited for passengers off the Swiss ferry, and then along the Bodensee, dodging from one traffic queue to the next, including one caused by a grockle who had a collapsed wheel bearing on his caravan.

Eventually, after many trials and tribulations, I could hit the foothills of the Scwartzwald and started to climb into the mountains.

It’s been years since I’ve been here too and I made it as far as Donaueschingen, the town that is said to be the source of the River Danube.

The mobile phone once again came up trumps, finding me a little apartment in the “Jagerhaus” – a big wooden chalet on the outskirts of the town.

€57:00 for a night in a large studio apartment, and this place is so good that I could quite happily live here. I have my own fully-fitted kitchen with everything that I need, including a fridge with freezer compartment to deal with my ice blocks.

There’s also a large portable desktop fan, and so I washed all of my clothes and set the fan up to dry them during the night.

But having used so much hot water with the washing, there wasn’t enough left to give me a good wash and I ended up with a cold shower.

But at least I would cook a nice tea of pasta, vegetables and chick peas, which was delicious.

And the bed looks comfy too. I hope that it is because I need my beauty sleep.

Saturday 30th June 2018 – WE HAD ANOTHER …

… early start today.

But this one meant business. Ulli was taking Hans off on a raft ride for his birthday and they had a long way to go. So we barely had time to exchange pleasantries before we all went our separate ways.

But I’d already been on my travels. Back on a job where I should have been retired but was still there. And instead of dealing with the post that was coming in, I was just filing it away un-dealt-with. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had several very similar travels to this one over the years.

For my part, I went off to the big shopping centre down the road. The big DiY place opens early so I went there to look for a German plug for the slow cooker.

A German plug will fit into e French socket but not the other way round, so to solve my cooking issues I’ll fit a German plug for mow. What I’ll do in the long term is to get a three-hole French extension and fit a German plug to that

I was in luck too. They had just the plug that I wanted, and for all of €1:89 too. So I changed the plug in the car park and now we are back in business.

There’s an IKEA just around the corner too so I went in there for breakfast.

But not breakfast in bed, like some lucky people.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day Liz and I went to the IKEA at Caen. But they didn’t have enough of some stuff and they had sold out of some others. And so I went round and stocked up with what I had missed.

And it was cheaper than in Caen too.

I had to try a couple of supermarkets before I found a baguette, and then I headed off for the motorway. And we had an element of confusion yet again as The Lady Who Lives In The Satnav failed to recognise a grade-separated route.

having stopped for half an hour to eat my butties, I arrived at June and Dave’s at about 14:30. They live at Memmingen and June has just had a very major operation, so I was looking forward to seeing her and seeing how she was.

Catherine, her daughter, lives nearby so I went to pick her up and the four of us had a vegan pasta and a really good chat for hours.

June’s son had been a sound engineer for several rock bands, including Hawkwind and had played bass in several bands. All of his equipment was at June’s house and she had never heard his bass, a Fender Jaguar, played. And so I duly obliged.

Later that evening I took Catherine home and came back to June’s where I bedded down for the night in their guest room.

And the bed here is beautifully comfortable. I’m looking forward to this.

Tuesday 22nd May 2018 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about the long walk home at lunchtime. Five and a half kilometres back from where I left Caliburn having his service, in the sun and the heat.

I did it all in one go too, although I did stop for a baguette and also at the place that does iced sorbets – I deserved a treat, I reckon.

But when I returned here, I crashed right out. And for a good while too. A very late lunch therefore, and then I came back – and crashed out yet again. Ruined my day and all of my plans, but that’s just how it’s going to be for the future so I may as well get used to it.

I’d had an early start too – out of bed before the second alarm went off at 06:60, even though I didn’t feel much like it. And then after the usual morning performance I had a good shower and a clean-up. Have to look my best if I’m going out.

First stop was at the second-hand shop where they allowed me to try out the lens that I mentioned, for which I was grateful. I’ll have to examine closely the results and see if there is any difference between the images taken with their lens compared to mine. This will tell me once and for all whether it’s the lens or the camera.

As for the other camera with the useless lens, I’ll have to organise sending that off for examination sometime soon.

Next stop was the car wash where I gave Caliburn his annual bath. And with all of the dirt that fell off him, you wouldn’t think that I’ve only done a mere 1800 kms since last March. There were times, as we all know, when I could do 1800 kms in a weekend, never mind in 15 months or so.

So he’s now at the garage, I walked home and I’ve been pretty useless … "so what’s new?" – ed … for the rest of the day. Even missed my afternoon walk. But I’ve had to get myself into gear because I ended up having two simultaneous conversations on the internet, both of which might involve lengthy journeys on the road and for which a great deal of preparation will be required.

And not only that, I’ve seen a little trip that is tempting me. But for that I’ll have to start selling my body on Boots Corner. It’s a little expensive.

Tea was a frozen curry out of the freezer, and then I managed an evening walk. But I’ll have to go back out again in a minute because I forgot to look at the fitbit when I was out just now. And when I did remember, I was on 97% Being so close, I’ll have to push it over the 100%

And then bed. I’m absolutely whacked, and I have to do it again tomorrow but in reverse when I go to pick up Caliburn.

I’m clearly not as young as I was.

Friday 10th February 2017 – I CAME BACK TO BELGIUM …

… for the good of my health, but it’s not working out quite like that. It’s not doing my pulse rate and heartbeat much good, but that won’t stop me going out for a walk to take the air around the town on another occasion round about University chucking-out time, that’s for sure.

In fact, we got off to a good start – I stepped out of the front door and almost bowled a young schoolgirl straight into the centre of the road. She gave me such a beautiful smile that it cheered me right up for the rest of the day. I had a nice smile from the pharmacist too (not my usual one) as I picked up my next supply of medication, and then I hit the streets.

Last night, in order to get off to sleep early, I watched a film on the laptop. But that didn’t work, just for a change. Mind you, it wasn’t a Bulldog Drummond film so that might explain it. And then we had the usual awakening in the middle of the night and a couple of rude awakenings as people started to stir around here.

During the night, I’d been on my travels. I was having to prepare a thesis to be read out in front of an examining board and I wasn’t all that enthused about the subject that I had to present. On the other hand my friend June has to prepare her thesis on “travel” and she was saying to our mutual friend Krys that it was a shame that I wan’t presenting it because it was a subject that I clearly enjoyed. There was a cabbage that featured somewhere in this story too but I’ve no idea where and why now.

There were only three of us at breakfast but others had clearly been before us as we’d run out of orange juice and other stuff too. And then I came back down here to go back to sleep for a while. When I awoke, I went for a shower, a change of clothes and this led to a shave, and even … shock! horroh! … a haircut.

And I’m glad that I prettied myself up because they came to change the bed linen. So I’m all nice and clean everywhere tonight.While they were doing that, I went out for my baguette.

After lunch, I had another snooze but it was only for about another hour or so. And then – I made an executive decision. I don’t have enough trousers here and this is causing issues. In fact, in the shower I washed one of my pairs. But then I decided that maybe I ought to do something about this, and so I hit the streets as I said just now.

C and A had nothing, and so I went to the Sports shop where I bought my new shoes at the end of Autumn. Two pairs of decent trousers of the kind and of the material that I like, and reduced on special offer to €11:50 each. That’s more than I pay in Montlucon but it can’t be helped.

On the way back, I kept on tripping over college girls. Yes, I’ll come out again at this time of afternoon.

Tonight’s tea was vegan pie, beans, carrots, boiled potatoes and gravy. Totally delicious. A chat on the internet with Liz too.

And so we’ll try to have an early night again tonight. I hope that I’ll feel even better tomorrow. But there are no girls out there to cheer me up.

Wednesday 22nd June 2016 – I WAS OUT GALLIVANTING …

… at lunchtime. June and her husband were travelling back to Germany today and as we know, the motorway passes just a couple of miles from here. In fact, I’ve had more visitors here than I’ve ever had when I’ve been living in France, haven’t i?

But we started off as we meant to go on this morning. I was awake by 05:45, downstairs breakfasting by 07:15 and working on the laptop updating the blog by 08:30. That kept me out of mischief for a couple of hours.

I had a shower, a shave and a change of clothes (such are the highlights of my life these days that I record rubbish like this) so that I could look pretty, and then I hit the streets.

June and her husband appeared bang on time and we wandered off to the fritkot in the centre of town for lunch. The food was, as you might expect, very good there and there were no complaints from anyone, not that there ought to have been. And then we moved down into the main square for coffee and a really good chat. It was a beautiful morning for once, but soon clouded over as the afternoon wore on.

They left the town at about 14:30 and I wandered back to my little room, where a strange thing happened. Yes – I crashed out completely and not just for ten minutes or half an hour but for over 3 hours, which is quite astonishing. I was well-gone.

There’s been something of an upheaval here too. We had two people who left at the weekend, as you know, but someone who had been away came back this afternoon. There had been some confusion in the fridge when I arrived and when I went down to make my evening meal everything in there had been turned around. But now it’s all properly organised and as it should be, which makes a nice change.

For tea, I had boulghour, kidney beans and vegetables with rice and tomato sauce and very nice it was too. Loads of protein in all of that and as you know, I need to be on a high protein diet these days. I followed up with more of the spicy cake and soya custard substitute.

Liz was on the internet tonight so we had a long chat, and now I’m off for an early night. Despite the three hours or so of crashing out, I’m still exhausted and a good sleep will do me good.

Tuesday 21st June 2016 – YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE …

… that it’s the Summer Solstice today. It’s been a cold, miserable, grey wet day today from start to finish, just like a grim February day.

Well, that’s not quite true. The rain did ease off for an hour or so round about midday – just the right time for me to nip out and buy my baguette and a few other bits and pieces for lunch. I wasn’t back all that long before the heavens opened again and that’s how it stayed. Many people have asked why I don’t get out and about and go for much more of an exploration, but in this weather, who can blame me?

I had a bad night again. It was well after midnight before I managed to doze off, despite how tired I must have been after walking to and from the hospital. And I had the odd trip down the corridor too but I was wide-awake by 05:40. I did manage to stay in bed until about 07:00 before I made my start to the day, and I’ve had a little crash-out this afternoon.

So what have I been doing today then.

The short (and the long) answer to this is that I’ve spent most of the day working on my blog, doing a lot of the updating. I’m well into the month of May 2010 and I’m finding that the weather back then was just the same as it is right now – to wit cold and wet. We even had a snowstorm on 5th May 2010 when we were all on our way home from Clermont Ferrand.

For tea tonight I’ve been finishing off the mixture of stuff that I had left over from Friday night.It tasted just as peculiar tonight as it did then, but it wasn’t unpleasant.

The Vietnamese girl was in the kitchen too so I had a good chat to her. Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to be too interested in talking about life in Vietnam and that was what I really wanted to know. People of my generation were brought up with all kinds of tales about life there either in the Communist North or the corrupt American-backed South,and the unification of the country stopped our habitual flow of news. I was keen to have an up-to-date opinion, but it looks as if it won’t be any time soon.

And so tomorrow, I’m off gallivanting again. June and her husband are passing by on their way back to Germany and I’ve invited them to the fritkot for lunch. You can’t pass by Belgium and not visit a fritkot, can you?