Tag Archives: lynette

Friday 12th January 2024 – IT WON’T BE …

… doing my head in tonight anyway, this bluetooth tethering. Believe it or not, I’m back home at last.

Carefully avoiding a Golden Earring cliché,
"Home on a kite we fly,
Home on a breeze we blow
Eyeing the folks below and
Watching everybody run,
Each one heading for a different place
Watching everybody hide,
Each behind a different face

Forever forever your lamp will burn
Forever home forever would that you’d learn
That you came with nothing
So with nothing you’ll return"

And that’s truer than you might think too – except that I came home in a taxi, flying along with the speed limiter set at 133 kph, stopping just for a coffee at the half-way point and slowing down just for the heavy traffic on the prif at Caen.

We weren’t even held up, not even for a minute, in Paris. It was straight through the traffic and onto the prif there too. First time that I’ve ever had a journey like that.

And in case you are wondering, I wasn’t discharged from the hospital, I was expelled. And I heard at least one nurse say "if he comes back, I’m leaving".

But to be serious … "for once" – ed … I’m glad that I left today because we had a change of crew this morning and those miserable bar stewards who seem to hate me so much were back on duty.

There had been a few rumours flying around starting yesterday evening that I’d be leaving today and this morning, almost everyone for sure, even the cleaning supervisor who came to check the room over, seemed absolutely convinced, except for one person who hadn’t been told. Of course.

Soon enough I found out when the doctor came to hand me my leaving papers.

"Someone had better ‘phone my taxi" I said. "It’s 4.5 hours to come here"
"Don’t worry about your taxi" she said. "He’s already been called. He’ll be here at 13:30."

Definitely expelled.

Just enough time for me to have a shower, transcribe the dictaphone notes and pack my things.

The shower was nice and lovely, but I didn’t wash my clothes. Then I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I was at a schoolkids’ end-of-year concert last night. It was a concert with a difference because they had one of these horse-racing games and they were all gambling on the horses. Then there was a kind-of gold-mining competition with kids having to report on what they mined, and a whole variety of other things including my middle sister parading up and down dressed as someone so much older. As the event drew to a close I walked up the hill from where this event was taking place. It was in a kind-of mountainous forest that you’d find in the Alps, with loads of fir trees all around. Several clumps of fir trees that I’d recognised from previous years had been cut down. While I was waiting for my sister I noticed a couple of lorries on the road going past.

A little later I was attending a few classes at night school. I had to go to these classes but the subjects were extremely complicated and way over my head. In the end I ended up abandoning them. It was so real going to these night school classes that I really thought that at one stage in my life I’d actually done this and gone to these classes for a short while before abandoning the subjects.

And then I was at a party last night being given by a woman whom I knew from the Auvergne whose boyfriend had very recently left her. We were all having a really good time which surprised me because I didn’t usually socialise very much. Then it came to quite late. She began to talk about the sleeping arrangements – “so-and-so and someone else would sleep here”. There was a variety of single people so she asked “who wants to sleep with me?”. There was a long pause for several seconds that seemed like a lifetime so I said “yes, I will”. She replied “right, that’s settled. So-and-so and someone else would sleep in the other bedroom and the rest of you can sort yourselves out”. Someone asked for a receipt to show that they had slept separately. I couldn’t believe my luck that no-one else had actually said anything and we’d waited for a good couple of seconds. I thought “this isn’t like me, is it?”.

So what’s this all about? Me getting the girl! Imagine that!

After that I was in a really interesting dream about trying to take an oil filter off a car. There were 2 of us doing it and we were there for hours. The reason why we couldn’t take it off was that I was undoing the wrong bolt. But as this dream went on and on the flaming alarm on this blasted machine by the bedside began to go off and awoke everyone in the hospital

And that’s typical, isn’t it? There I was having a good night’s sleep and not even coupled up to the perfusion machine and its alarm goes off. The only surprise is that it didn’t go off just as I was about to get the girl. That’s what usually happens.

But not to worry. There’s usually half an hour between saying “yes” and going to bed. Still plenty of time there for me to pull defeat from the jaws of victory as usual.

Later on the whole family was having a competition to see how many interesting things one could find abandoned in the street and bring home. I was doing something near a school and someone mentioned a computer so I went to have a look. It was the old-type computer with keyboards for opening up this and opening up that etc. But it was 16GB and I couldn’t believe it. Someone said that there was something jammed inside so it had been thrown into a corner. A couple of people had taken bits off it so it had been abandoned. I went to have a look and sure enough I couldn’t work the keys to operate this particular drawer thing. But all the memory was complete on it and the processor was a powerful one so I thought “I’ll take this home”.

In the meantime there were some signings going on at the local football club. It signed two full-backs who turned out actually to play centre-half. The original two centre-halves a couple of days later left. The story was that they were both keen on some other player’s wife and he’d had words about it and they’d had to depart as the club signed two centre halves

Finally, the issue came about this gold Ford Granada MkI covered in dust that no-one could start. I was sure that I could so I went to have a look at it. It was on sale at £370 which I thought was a bargain for this vehicle. It was covered in dust as if it had been in a barn for a while. The story was that they couldn’t lift up the bonnet. That wasn’t anything that was going to defeat me. I went to have a good look at it with the correct kind of tools to lift up the bonnet when someone with an amazing booming voice shouted out something in the hospital right outside my door and I awoke

And when I awoke, it was 07:47 and I must have had the deepest sleep that I’d ever had. And the hospital was like the Mary Celeste – there wasn’t a soul about. No-one rushing about pushing trolleys and the like. That was what made me realise that it was the miserable team of je m’en foutistes.

Je m’en fous is a very impolite way of saying “I don’t care” and if a kid were to say that to its parents or teacher it would expect a clip around the ear. A je m’en foutiste is someone who couldn’t care less about his job and does the barest minimum to avoid being sacked. And there are lots of those about.

They grudgingly brought me two bread rolls for breakfast, the smallest that they could find, with just one portion of jam. And a box of apple juice with no straw.

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … It’s the little things that make a great difference.

The taxi turned up at 13:15, just after I’d had my lunch, such as it was, and once we’d organised the paperwork we hit the road for the easiest journey that I’ve ever had.

My cleaner was waiting for me at the door and she helped me upstairs where I crashed out into a chair. I couldn’t do very much except chat to a neighbour and to Liz on line.

Grahame has sent me another nice mail about Hawkwind and Help Yourself so I sent him a little present, including two of the best improvised live tracks ever.

There are several groups that make it up as they go along during live concerts, but that night at the Patti Pavilion Help Yourself, aided by Deke Leonard and Cochise’s BJ Cole who played pedal steel guitar, they churned out two of the finest ever improvised tracks EDDIE WARING and the old Elias “Bo Diddley” McDaniel standard MONA

Tea tonight was chips, ordinary and sweet potato, with a salad (thanks to my cleaner who bought me a lettuce and some mushrooms) and a veggie burger. And after the deprivations of last week it was absolutely delicious.

And tomorrow it’s soup. There are a couple of leeks that are looking rather sad so leek and potato soup looks as if it might be on the lunchtime menu. I’ll have to bake some bread for that and it’ll be delicious.

But I’m not sure when, because there’s no alarm tonight. I’m sure that it’s more tiring being a passenger than a driver on a long-distance car journey. Even a double espresso didn’t do anything about keeping me awake.

So an early night between my own sheets under my own quilt cover? How nice is that? And no alarm too

It sounds too good to be true, and it probably is. Watch someone ‘phone me up at 08:00 tomorrow morning.

Friday 15th July 2022 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… writing up my notes last night I thought that I’d nip out and see if the moon had broken free of the cloud cover that was hanging around.

Instead I ended up being swept along by crowds of thousands of people – and I really do mean “thousands”.

What I’d forgotten is that last thing at night on Bastille Day there’s a huge firework display at the port and it looks as if most of Normandy had come along to stand on the cliffs to watch the spectacle.

And they weren’t disappointed either.

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were out there for about half an hour while they blasted off a pile of fireworks into the stratosphere.

Considering that it was a free evening’s entertainment, we certainly had our money’s worth and everyone enjoyed it. There was a tumultuous round of applause when it finished, and then I staggered back to my apartment to go to bed.

There were about 60 photos altogether and they are all on line now. You can see them HERE. Remember to click on a thumbnail to see the full-size image.

“Staggered back” is correct too. Yesterday my knee gave way again when I was scrambling over the chest of drawers to close the window in my bedroom. And it seems that I’ve done it a permanent mischief now.

hang glider rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was another “mobile” night last night and so while you admire a few photos of Nazguls flying by overhead, I shall elucidate.

My mother told me to take my younger brothers and sisters to the hospital. We didn’t have much time and it was dark so we set out to jog there. We were up there by Goodall’s Corner in Shavington and had to go down the Newcastle Road. There were all these medical cards and records and a few other bits and pieces so I told my brother to take our two sisters and run off down there towards Newcastle slowly while I picked up a few boxes of stuff that need to be carried and I’d run after them to catch them up. In the distance I could see them but when they got to where the petrol station was they crossed over and went into the petrol station. I had to run in after them to drag them out and explain to them that if I hadn’t seen them out of the corner of my eye cross the road I’d have run right past there with the stuff and we would have been separated for ever. I was quite angry and annoyed about this, not because they had crossed the road but because we could have been separated like that. We carried on and came to a place where we had to climb through a barbed wire fence. I knew of a gap where to go but they somehow found some other gap which wasn’t where we needed to be. They all climbed through there anyway. I suddenly found myself alone at this other gap. Once I’d gone through this other gap we had to negotiate a concentration camp and that was very dangerous because if we looked too healthy or too ill we could be exterminated. Then of course we had to exit on the other side and carry on with our trip to the hospital. This required an awful lot of thought and cunning to do it correctly but there I was on my own. I couldn’t work out where they had gone once they’d gone through this other gap and they’d disappeared.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I forget how this dream actually started but it turned out that we were in native American country and having to be extremely careful. Somehow we ended up losing our way and being attacked or threatened. We had to work our way around and out of there while avoiding a pitched battle which was not going to be easy but I can’t remember all the rest. There was much more to it than this.

I’d decided spontaneously to go to Canada. I booked myself an air ticket and took my suitcase from under the bed. I didn’t even check the case at all – I just grabbed it and set off for the airport. There was a reasonably small-sized queue – we didn’t have to wait all that long to go through the security. But once we were queueing we gradually ended up at the front then it would flash a gate number. Mine flashed. It was 34D. I had a few carrier bags etc that I stuffed in my suitcase and set out to find it. I had to go up some stairs and saw some guys standing by a turnstile type of thing so I went over to them but someone from behind shouted. I looked behind and saw that there was some kind of alcove to the side where there were some immigration or customs people. They told me that I should have gone there first but I hadn’t seen them. There was nothing to indicate that they were there so how was I supposed to know to go there? I thought that this was good. I’d started to have an argument with people already and I’d hardly even arrived, and I’m arguing with the security or immigration people or whatever they were. It won’t do me any good at all.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while you admire a few photos of the crowds engaged in the pèche à pied There were a couple of girls getting into trouble due to a violation of the school’s dress code. What happened was that the skirts could be cut short depending on some kind of ratio relating to the girls’ waists but what they had done was having shortened them once they had turned round and shortened them again and that was against the school rules. They were then causing trouble about their dress code and were going to have to face the music.

There was also something about the dream in which i went to Canada. Someone had been round at my house helping me to pack. They had to write a label to go on my luggage giving all kinds of personal details including the value of my house. They put “£30,000 by auction”. I enquired about that and they said that I’d paid that much money for it when I’d bought it. I replied “yes but look at the improvements”. They replied that it’s still quite a damp house and it needs even more doing to it – one wall repairing. I tried to argue that even so the value must be an awful lot more than £30,000 but they still didn’t agree with what I was saying.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022When the alarm went off it took me a while to get my head together but regardless, I was still up and about before the second alarm.

After the medication I spent a pleasant hour or so transcribing the dictaphone notes and then edited all of the photos that I took last night of the fireworks.

When that task was completed I prepared the web page with the photos of last night. This 3-column layout that I designed earlier this year needs some work to improve the design but it seems to work quite well and to do exactly what I want it to do.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me with that everything that I were to do would turn out like that.It took quite a while to do,

When the page was finished I had another hour on the acoustic guitar. And I quite enjoyed that session too. It seems to be all coming together at long last but I wish that I could remember what it is that I’m supposed to be playing without having to refer to the music.

Most people think that it’s an age thing but I’ve been like this practically all my life.

It reminds me of a conversation that I had with someone a while back.
“Two things happen to you when you get to my age. The first thing is that you forget almost everything.”
“What’s the second thing?”
“Actually, I can’t remember”

The rest of the day, such as there was, has been spent finishing off everything relating to the photos from June and I’ve started to update the blog entries from when I was away. “Started” yes, but I’m a long, long way from finishing.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was the usual pause for me to go off and see what was happening down on the beach.

Across the car park I went, noticing that the car that was blocking up the two car parking spaces had disappeared. The sea seems to have disappeared too because the tide was well out this afternoon.

And it seems that everyone had come out this afternoon too. There were crowds on the beach enjoying the sunshine down there, even if there was quite a lot of wind blowing about right now. So much so that one young boy was chasing down the path after his hat.

kite surfer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022What also caught my eye down there too was some kind of kite or sail.

What I did was to take a photo of it so that I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I could see what it might be.

It’s not just the Nazguls that are out and about this afternoon. We have a kite-surfer down there somehwer ein the sea, regardless of the whitecaps on the waves.

At least, that’s what I reckon, even if I couldn’t quite make out which guy was flying it. At least it isn’t a Nazgul that has fallen to a watery grave thanks to a lucky shot from Legolas.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was also a zodiac out there in the bay.

No trawlers today, or anything else for that matter. Just the zodiac. It was actually moving quite rapidly towards the port so I don’t think that it could have been full of fishermen. They wouldn’t be heading to port when there’s still a couple of hours before the tide comes in.

So fighting my way through all of the crowds, a couple of people who actually said “hello” to me, I wandered off down the path towards the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Crowds on the car park too with cars parked on the lawn, so I headed off for some peace and quiet.

Down on the bench at the cabanon vauban we actually had someone sitting there today. First time for several days that we’d seen someone there.

And she had plenty to occupy her too. Apart from the zodiac that went spluttering by, we had all of the people out there at the peche à pied whom we saw earlier.

But with no trawlers and no other distractions I headed off to the port to see what was happening there.

la confiance 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Today we have had another change of occupancy at the chantier naval.

Monaco du Nord II is still in there over by the portable boat lift, but she’s now been joined by another trawler, La Confiance II.

Who she might be, I really have no idea because we haven’t seen her before here in Granville. But her registration number suggests that she’s an older boat so I’m surprised that she hasn’t featured in these pages before.

And it seems that I’m not wrong about her age either. According to the trawler database, she was launched in 1980 and is made of wood.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Across the bay, our game of “Musican Ships” is continuing.

Today it’s the turn once more of L’Omerta to be tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and settled down in the silt.

Plenty of activity on the quayside up above here. There are loads of shellfish boxes and ancillary equipment up there as if she has just unloaded.

There were crowds on the car park too and what looked suspiciously like a police car cruising around there too. That reminds me that I must change over the insurance sticker in Caliburn’s windscreen before they come cruising around us.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Marité has wandered off today and her berth is now empty. She’s currently at anchor off St. Vaast, just along the coast from Cherbourg.

What else that has also gone is all of the freight that was on the quayside yesterday. According to my maritime radar, Normandy Trader came into port early this morning and loaded up.

Back here I made a coffee and while it was brewing I went and had a shower, a shave and a good clean-up.

When the coffee had been drunk I changed the bedding and then set the washing machine en route. High time that I had some nice clean clothes and clean bedding. I’m letting things slide a little here.

And then I was off to Lidl. I’m running rather low on supplies, especially frozen and fresh vegetables and fruit. The place was packed and the mystery of why stocks had been running low there over the last few weeks was solved. They’ve had a huge change-round in there and everything is in a different place.

That of course is a cunning plan carried out by all large shops. Customers become so used to where all of their regular purchases might be found that they go straight to there and don’t go anywhere else. Shuffling the produce around means that customers have to hunt for their produce, with the shops hoping that they’ll find plenty of other stuff to buy that they haven’t seen before.

Tea tonight was vegan pie with potatoes (now that I have some) and vegetables with gravy. It really was nice.

Tomorrow I’m going to LeClerc for more shopping. Not that I need too much but having broken my floor mop this week, at least I need to replace that. It’s not quite the same as when Nerina went with me to buy a new broom.
“Don’t bother to wrap it” I said to the cashier. “She’ll fly it home” .

Monday 18th April 2022 – THERE WAS MUCH …

yacht trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… more activity out on the water this afternoon.

Still not as much as I would have expected to see, given that it’s a bank holiday and we’re having nice weather, but still much more than there has been just recently.

But be that as it may, let’s retourner à nos moutons and while you all admire the photos of the water craft out there today, I’ll tell you about the morning that I had.

at least, insofar as I remember it because until about 11:00 or so I was deep in the arms of Morpheus. It’s a bank Holiday today so there was no alarm.

cancale brittany trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s no wonder that I was exhausted this morning because I must have travelled miles during my sleep, as I discovered when I listened to the dictaphone.

Some girl had fallen foul of a gangster boss for some reason. She’d been taking photos and dictating things into her dictaphone about this and that, dictating her dreams. This gangland boss insisted that she hand over her memory card and dictaphone which of course she flatly refused to do. This led to some kind of argument or stand-off. In the end one of his minions managed to produce some kind pf portable machine that would copy everything off the memory card and off the dictaphone so that she could have copies of everything that she had done. She could possibly have her memory card and dictaphone back. This was again a completely realistic kind of dream and made me worry about my dictaphone.

And then it was the birthday of TOTGA’s daughter so she was dancing around, reciting words in a form of poetry about presents that she would like to have for her birthday. Then TOTGA was talking about going to China … JUST LIKE SWEET REGINA” – ed … so I asked if the whole family was going. She replied “yes” or at least to the China museum which is free for everyone who visits China. She went over to a ticket machine to try to sort out everything from the machine that was there. I’m missing a few bits off this. I can’t remember all of it.

There were a couple of cowboys, taxi drivers, but one of them was an Indian. There had been some talk about disabled passengers. There was a notice on the door that said “if you’re phoning up for an elderly disabled person make sure that the taxi has a wheelchair lift fitted”. Anyway these 2 guys were on horses. One of them had a horse blanket over his horse because he was an Indian. When you took the blanket off you could see the saddle underneath all ready for war. One of his comrades came into town, also sitting on a blanket ready for war. The other cowboy went out to confront him.

people in zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022I was in a pub waiting for someone to bring round a settee to make it more comfortable. When the pub closed for the afternoon I was cleaning it up and doing some tidying up. There was something like an indoor pool in this pub, a water feature. I thought that I’d put a spade in and get down to the bottom here and see what was happening. Then 2 people turned up, a girl who worked here and her boyfriend, and they were in the middle of having an argument so I left them to it. I put my spade into the water and dug down into the mud and pulled up a huge pile of LPs and single, an Alquin double album, a pile of stuff by Alquin, loads of stuff like that. Everyone came to give me a hand to help me pull all of these out. I realised of course that they would all be ruined but I wondered what on earth they were all doing in there. I recognised one or two of them from stuff that I’d upgraded to CD but I don’t remember throwing away. There I was, picking out all these LPs from this dirty, muddy, filthy water inside this pub.

Robert Fripp was having a party to celebrate the release of his new blues album. A whole pile of us went. There was a young girl there, a bass guitarist, who played bass on his album but when she came to listen to his album you couldn’t hear the bass on it at all. She asked Robert Fripp what had happened to the bass and he told her that basically her playing was rubbish. That had of course reduced her to tears. I went to see him and asked if he would play the album with the bass on it. He replied that with the bass being rubbish he didn’t want to feature it. I told him that he didn’t really understand music because music isn’t just one performer, that sort of thing, music is everyone together, the whole ensemble. We had this argument. I told him that there had been other cases like Richie Blackmore who for example had sacked Mark Clark in the middle of a recording session and played the bass himself because he didn’t like Clark’s bass playing and I’m impressed that I could remember that when I was asleep. I said that it was dishonest in a way to have this girl play and then wipe out her playing. I insisted that he play the album version with her bass on it. He said that it would take some time so I asked him if he would send me a copy of the album with her bass playing on it. He had to fiddle around in the corner of the room to try to find the master tapes.

Finally I’d been at work. Everyone was slowly leaving. In the end there was just me and a girl, the girl whom I knew from Stoke whose name I can’t remember, the pretty one who had cancer. We were chatting away and the conversation became more and more about our intimate selves. In the end I ended up kissing her. We spent a good few minutes like that. Then I had to leave. On the way out I bumped into my elder sister. She noticed that I was late so I said that I’d been seeing some guy whose sister she knew who lived in Shavington. Then I walked down to my parents’ house in Davenport Avenue. It had changed quite considerably from when I remembered it, the outside. I knocked on the door and one of my younger sister’s children let me in. It told me to make sure that I wiped my feet but there wasn’t really any need because the lawn inside the house was all churned up like a ploughed field, a real horrible mess. My sister said that one of her children was dropping out of school. I told her that she better hadn’t because she only has one chance at education and this is it. She didn’t seem to think that she was, it was my sister’s idea that she would.

There was an interruption in the middle of this for a rather late brunch. Porridge, coffee and the last of the hot cross buns. I shall have to hope that someone I know is going back to the UK soon to bring me back another couple of batches. They aren’t very easy to make correctly and I do like them very much.

When I’d finished the dictaphone notes I had a good session on the guitar and then made a start on the radio programme that I’ll be completing tomorrow if all goes according to plan.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ll have to tidy up the apartment tomorrow as I have someone coming round at 14:00 to see me and the place is something of a mess. How I’m going to manage raising myself from the dead with an alarm after several days of lying in remains to be seen.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But that all relates to tomorrow. Today, it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide is of course well out, as we have seen over the last few days. But there weren’t as many people down there today as there have been.

The difference today is the amount of wind that we are having. It’s a lot windier than it has been and I suppose that that is keeping people off the sand. No-one really wants to be out in a cossy in this wind.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And so consequently we had the birdmen of Alcatraz out in numbers this afternoon. I counted a good half dozen and maybe more out and about in the air.

This one is carrying a passenger too, and I haven’t forgotten that it’s on my bucket list to go up for a flight one of these days if I can find an intrepid birdman intrepid enough to take me up, and a Nazgul strong enough to support the two of us. I really could do with losing another 8 or so kilos to bring me down to what I consider to be my optimal weight.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The birdmen of Alcatraz weren’t the only people up in the air today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last couple of days we’ve seen the red powered hang glider flying around and I mentioned yesterday that I wondered what had happened to the yellow one.

Sure enough, around the corner she came this afternoon, pilot and passenger, on their way back to the airfield after a lap around the bay.

All we need now is to see the yellow autogyro and we’ll have had the full set but she’s been conspicuous by her absence for quite a while now.

There was also a small aeroplane flying around the bay but she was too far out for me to be able to take a decent photograph.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Not so many people out on the path either this afternoon.

That’s much more like how it ought to be these days when there’s a pandemic raging.c Not that I’m all that bothered during normal circumstances but if people won’t wear a mask when I’m a person at high risk, I would rather the path be empty.

Only another 87,000 cases yesterday and 35 deaths. Mind you, it hasn’t escaped my notice that the UK hasn’t declared its figures for the last few days. I wonder what’s going on there right now.

people by cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the excitement going on out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see crowds of people down by the cabanon vauban.

Well, at least there were a couple of people gazing out to sea at the trawlers and the zodiac in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And also at the pecheurs à pied too because there were plenty of those down there on the rocks this afternoon too. I wondered why there were so many cars on the car park and so few people about.

So I left them to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

ch798530 briscard ch638749 pescadore sm517594 rocalamauve port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It looks as if there were several boats that missed the tide and the open harbour gates this morning

Settling down in the silt over there at the quayside next to the Fish Processing Plant from front to back are Briscard, Pescadore and Roc A La Mauve. It’s not like any of those to be moored there deliberately.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and settled down in front of the computer for this evening’s football match – a basement match between Barry Town, second bottom, and Aberystwyth Town, third from bottom, in a game that Barry Town must win.

Considering the positions of the teams in the League, this was one of the most exciting games that I’ve seen for quite a while, ranging from end to end like a tide. Aberystwyth took the lead quite early on and managed to hang on for the victory despite Barry throwing the kitchen sink at them in the final 15 minutes.

Whether Barry Town remains in the league now depends on whether Llanilltud Fadre or Pontypridd Town’s grounds are up to the required standard. I wasn’t impressed at all by the ground at LLanilltud when I’ve seen it.

It was too late for food by the time that the football finished so I had a few rounds of toast instead. It won’t do me any harm to go without a full meal here and there. But now I’m off to relax before going to bed.

Tomorrow I’ve an alarm to set, a radio programme to complete, a meeting to attend and a session with a new physiotherapist as well as an apartment to tidy. My few days off passed rather quicker than I was expecting.

Wednesday 9th March 2022 – I HAD A STROKE …

… of luck this morning.

There I was going down the stairs towards the front door when out of the lift came one of my neighbours.

“Are you off to Belgium?” she asked
“Yes I am” I replied
“Come with me” she said.

She was on her way to work so she took me and threw me out about 200 metres from the station and you’ve no idea how much I appreciated it.

That’s because I’d had a really bad night. I hadn’t taken one of those pills before I went to bed and I don’t know whether that’s anything to do with it, but it took an age to go off to sleep and then I awoke again at 04:30 and that was that.

Despite trying my best, I couldn’t go back to sleep and so when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was up and about quite easily.

By 07:30 I was ready to leave so I loitered around until 08:00 and then went off out where I bumped into my neighbour.

concrete pad gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Just or a change, I was at the station at 08:10.

That gave me plenty of time to have a look around to see what has been going on here. And this concrete pad is certainly new

It’s taken over two or three spaces of the railway station car park and unless I’m mistaken, it’s the area where electric cars could be charged too. So if they have been removed, where will the electric cars be charged now?

That’s something that is causing me a little concern. There’s a commitment to phase out new fossil-fuelled cars over the next 15 years or so and so they need to think long and hard about the necessary infrastructure and to have it in place long before the cut-off date – not leave it until the last minute.

And to install a whole new system of wind and tidal power generation. The wind doesn’t stop blowing and the tides don’t stop changing at night when everyone is asleep in bed and not using power. There will be tons of energy available to charge up vehicles if they organise themselves.

mural gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were here last at the railway station they had a pile of scaffolding up inside the building.

Now that they have removed it, we can see what they were doing. We now have a lovely mural of Granville as it was in the days when we had wind-powered “Newfoundlanders” sailing out of the port to the Grand banks of Newfoundland for the cod.

“The cod were in largeness and quantitie … that they stayed our ships” wrote Richard Hakluyt in the 16th Century when he was discussing voyages to “The New World” that went via Newfoundland.

But that was a long time ago.

84567 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022For even more of a change, the train was already in the platform so I took my seat quite quickly.

You might be thinking that that means that the train started off bang on time, but in actual fact we were 5 minutes late leaving.

The train was packed and I had a rather irritable neighbour so while I was able to update the laptop, I wasn’t able to do any work. I read a few theses about medieval castles in Cheshire instead.

By the time that we arrived in Paris we had made up a couple of minutes so I had time to pop into the ticket office at the Metro to buy another set of 10 tickets. I’m running rather low right now

225 TGV Reseau Duplex Gare du Nord Paris France Eric Hall photo March 2022Travelling to the Gare du Nord on the Metro was quite painless – especially since I’ve found my short-cut in the open air.

My train to Lille – Flandres was already in. It is, as you might expect, one of the TGV “Reseau Duplex” double-deckers. Old and showing its age but quick and reasonably comfortable.

As usual we weren’t allowed to board it. There’s an 8-car trainset that comes in later and couples up to the rear of this trainset and then all 16 cars go back to Lille. We have to wait until it’s all coupled up and ready to go before we can board it.

210 TGV Reseau Duplex gare de lille flandres lille France Eric Hall photo March 2022This is the power car of the second trainset, photographed at Lille Flandres as I was leaving the station.

Our train was a few minutes late leaving, like the one from Granville, but that didn’t matter so much as there was plenty of time to walk across the city from Lille-Flandres to the Lille-Europe railway station.

There was even time to find a quiet corner at Lille-Europe and eat my lunchtime sandwiches before boarding my train. But I had to keep an eye out for the railway police who were cautioning people for not wearing a mask. And it’s difficult to eat your butties whilst wearing a mask.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 PBA gare du midi bruxelles belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022When I descended to the platform, the train was already in. It’s one of the PBA – Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam trainsets on which we travel quite frequently.

For reasons that I don’t quite understand, it waits here for about 20 minutes before departing. It’s more-than-likely due to the timing of the various connections that it makes with trains along its route.

And it was packed too and someone had taken my seat which was a shame, for I had rather looked forward to being out of my brain on the 5/15. I ended up sitting elsewhere, hemmed in and once more unable to do any work. I listened to “Colosseum Live” on the phone instead.

2730 class 27 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022At Brussels-Midi there was a train to Leuven already so I didn’t have to hang around waiting.

Running (as best as I could) down the concourse I leapt aboard with no problems and settled down for the journey to Leuven.

When we arrived, I nipped down to the head of the train to see what was pulling us along. It’s one of the old Class 27 electric locomotives and we’ve had a few of these just recently.

Considering that they must be getting on for 40 years old, they are still clocking up the miles on mainline services with little sign of slowing down.

At the back of the station is the little supermarket so I went there and bought the bread, vegan margarine and stuff to drink. It saves on the weight that I have to carry back from the big supermarket later this evening.

martelarenplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022Now here’s a thing!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last however-many years we’ve seen (or not seen, as they case may be) the Martelarenplein, the Square of the Martyrs, all fenced off and covered while they have been renovating it.

Today though, apart from just one small area, all of the fencing has been removed and we can actually walk across the square if we choose to do so.

Not for me right now though. I’m tired and exhausted and and I can’t wait to find my way to my little room.

And once more I’m up a couple of flights of stairs and that’s killing me. Luckily the manager saw me struggling up the stairs so that might hopefully mean a change of room in the future.

Despite a nice hot coffee, I crashed out definitively, and for a good half-hour too.

electric three wheeled vehicle Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve no idea just how much difficulty I had trying to rouse myself to go to the shops for food.

Nevertheless, I’m glad that I did because I encountered this strange machine. It’s a three-wheeler and it’s probably electric because it was quite silent. But whatever it is, it was quite interesting to say the least.

At the supermarket I don’t know what happened there but the shopping bill was much less than it usually is. I don’t reckon that I bought any less than I usually do.

At some point I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. Last night started with a family thing again with my sister and her first husband. It was probably 01:00 and they were thinking about going to bed and I had all of my paperwork to do which involved those two. I had to set the time on Big Ben and a few other things too but I kept on having trouble seeing because the lights on this big tower clock were so dim that I couldn’t actually see how I was setting it. Occasionally it would all light up bright and I’d see that I’d done in incorrectly and had to go back but to be very careful not to wipe off everything that I had done so far – just go back 1 or 2 steps and start on. By now of course it was daylight. I could easily see what was happening and there were all kinds of things going on on this clock face – people laughing and cheering at it. In the end I had to set it by some kind of analogue means moving the hands because I couldn’t make it go correctly by doing it digitally. In the end I managed it but by now it was 06:40 and broad daylight. I had to be up at 10:00 and they had to be up earlier than that. In the end I said that I was going to bed. My sister’s husband said that he was going to lie in in the morning because he was exhausted. I thought “how does he think that I feel?”. On the way back they were rationing out some things for issue and showing me some kind of drink made by a well-known pop manufacturer in a very distinctive bottle. They said that last tie they had issued this it was 17 shillings and so many pence but now it’s just 4.5 pence and they can’t understand what has happened. I asked if it was generic stuff. They replied that it was so I replied that maybe the patent has expired so now it’s being cloned or something but they couldn’t seem to understand. Neither could I but I didn’t really want to because I was so tired

Later, I was in backwoods Canada or backwoods USA sometime in the 50s or 60s judging by the cars that were driving around. I was writing up someone’s memoirs from a set of old war letters, something like that. I’d gone to this house ad he’d let me have all of this communication and I was going through it making notes etc. Gradually one of two other people had let me have their stuff as well. The first guy was concerned that this was going to slow me down doing other people’s stuff as well but I explained that it was all part of the same thing. They gave me a time and said that I had to be finished by something like 18:15. He thought that time was dragging on but I said that I’d be back tomorrow and that seemed to be OK. Various people came to see me and talk to me about everything while I was there making all of these notes and what had happened in the past. It gradually worked out that I was writing stuff about current events as well for a more immediate publication. This was something that concerned all of the people in this area. But all of the cars were fantastic. Someone was driving a pickup where instead of having the pickup bed behind him it was something like an enormous American saloon convertible thing with just 1 seat for the person driving it and the pickup bed was at the side where the passenger would sit. There were all these kind of weird machines that looked like something out of the 50s and 60s

And then I was with Claude and Françoise last night in the Auvergne. They owed me some money and I had a few IOUs and we were settling up. While I was there I showed them how many US dollars I had. I explained about the time that I had to use the toilet in a cafe and I didn’t have any money to go in so I had to write out an IOU. I told them about a trip that I’d made to the USA with 2 girls. We’d roamed around the Midwest in a big American car which was a small Opel saloon from the late 60s, a type 1. On one occasion I’m not quite sure what had happened but these girls must have been in their night clothes in this diner. They had gone to the toilet to have a wash and brush-up but they came out in their night clothes as well. I asked what was going on so they said that they were going back to the car to change. I asked why they hadn’t taken their clothes into the ladies toilets and changed in there instead of doing it on the car park of this diner

Now that I’ve had tea I’m off to bed. I know that it’s early but I’m exhausted and I’ve almost fallen asleep twice. Hospital tomorrow so I’m lying in with no alarm.

After last night’s disaster, I need all the beauty sleep that I can get.

Thursday 3rd March 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

footpath repaired place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… of this rubbish will recall that the other day i made a few scathing remarks about the 5lack of° repair to the footpath on the top of the cliffs just down the road from here.

And so of course, it goes without sating that at some point between Tuesday afternoon and the afternoon today, they came back and repaired it.

Of course I would like to brag that they obviously must have read my journal entry, but I can’t really claim it as a victory for me.

Mind you, I wish that they would have rolled it because with the rain that we have had, it was like walking in porridge.

bicycle shelter under repair place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So that was the situation about the path. How’s the bike shed doing today?

And the answer to that is that there has been absolutely no activity there today except that someone seems to have moved the fence a little.

So that was that, by the looks of things. Heaven alone knows when they will be back.

Anyway this morning, I was back in bed with a great deal of difficulty trying to leave my stinking pit. And I only just made it too before the second alarm went off.

With going to bed late last night after my long phone call, I didn’t take the tablet that I was supposed to. And so I was off on a considerable series of voyages during the night.

We were busy organising things for the radio, interviewing people and so on. I came across someone from the Ukraine so I asked around to see whether someone else would like to interview them. No-one would do that willingly and instead they all encouraged me to do it which I thought was strange. Someone agreed to do the job but only asked 3 or 4 questions which I thought was strange so I was busy in my upstairs room making a list of questions. There were some people from this kind-of radio commune hanging around. At that point 3 girls decided that they would go to bed. I looked out of the window to see who they were. There was one whom I quite liked . They saw me looking so they said “goodnight, Eric” so I replied “goodnight” and we had quite a chat out of this window across this path. A few other people overheard it too. When I went downstairs some woman appeared. She had gone to the airport to meet her daughter who was flying in from the Ukraine but for some reason her ‘plane didn’t arrive. It wasn’t due to arrive now until Sunday. That meant that we wouldn’t be interviewing anyone anyway so I thought that I would take her around and introduce her to everyone here and maybe there would be somewhere where she could stay. I introduced her to the people in the part where I was but for some reason she wasn’t interested in saying “hello” to the kinds which I thought was strange. We went over to the main house. It was a total tip and overgrown garden etc. She met a couple of people there, one of whom was my German friend from the Auvergne. A couple of young boys were showing her posters that they had made, saying “this is what we do. We make these posters and stick them up in all kinds of places”. It was becoming really anarchic, not that I was bothered at all because I’m really anarchic anyway but I wondered how she would react about having to spend the night or maybe more in this type of untidy, unkempt anarchic situation.

Something else came up about this radio programme when I went back to sleep and I found that I was dictating it without holding the dictaphone so I fetched the dictaphone and switched it on, then I couldn’t remember what it was that I was about to dictate

Later on I was round at the house of one of my sisters last night. There were kids everywhere, cats and kittens, everywhere you went to sit, sleeping in food tins etc. She told me to sit down so I did and she put a kitten in my lap. I asked whose it was so she mentioned the name of one of her male cats who was only about 4 months old but had managed to father a litter of kittens. Another one of my sisters was there with a baby. She was trying on an emerald blue-green jacket and trying to choose a suitcase. I asked if she was going away in that outfit. She replied “let’s not push the boat out too far out at the moment”. This was another one of those depressing dreams that I’ve had.

And when the alarm went off I was busy organising some kind of railway tickets for some kind of journey that I was planning but I didn’t go very far with that.

After the medication I transcribed my dictaphone notes, and then much of the rest of the day has been spent in editing and remixing a new live concert for my radio programme.

And this really did take me quite a long time because, with not understanding very much at all of Ukrainian, I’ve had to use a considerable amount of intuitive guesswork as to where one track ends and another one begins so I could edit it correctly.

In the great scheme of things, I don’t suppose that it matters all that much because I doubt if any of my listeners can speak Ukrainian either, but there’s always bound to be one when you don’t expect it

Once I had done that I then had to track down some information about the group who played at the concert, and seeing that that was written in Ukrainian, that wasn’t easy either. However, I had the most astonishing piece of luck the deeper I delved, and if you want to find out more, you’ll need to listen to my radio programme at the end of the month

There were the usual breaks of course. Breakfast with my delicious coffee cake, a mug of coffee here and there, lunch of course, and then of course there was the afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Which started off as usual with me going across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

And to my surprise, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon. I’ve no idea why either. They don’t look as if they are the usual peche à pied crowd. They don’t have spades, rakes, buckets and all of that kind of thing.

It wasn’t actually the kind of weather to be out there wandering around for no good purpose. While it wasn’t actually raining, it wasn’t far off and there was a mist rolling around not too far offshore as well.

For that reason, I didn’t spend too long looking out to sea trying to see anything.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Now, these people are much more like what you would expect to see when there’s some peche à pied going on.

You can see the rakes, or gratteurs and the buckets in which to carry away one’s catch. Wellingtons are a good idea too if you intend to go wading about in the kind of weather that we are having right now.

There were several pecheurs on the car park too who were busy divesting themselves of their outer garments before driving off home. Strangely, they all had the contents of their buckets covered so that I wasn’t able to see what they had.

yacht spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022No-one at the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I carried on around the headland towards the port.

Down in the chantier naval we have a nex occupant today. Where Tiberiade was moored over the last couple of weeks we have an old friend of ours.

No prizes for guessing who she is because we’ve seen her from close up – actually from within. She’s Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago, and she’s being prepared for her summer season as a charter hire boat when she’ll be off on her travels circumnavigating the British Isles.

notre dame de cap lihou joly france ferry terminal les bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, the older of the two Joly france ferry boats is moored up, presumably waiting for the weekend and its next trip out to the Ile de Chausey.

However in front of her is the local lifeboat – Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. So what’s she doing over there and not in her usual berth in the Port de Plaisance?

The boat that’s careening over in the foreground is another one that we know quite well. She’s Les Bouchots de Chausey and we don’t often see her moored in the harbour during daylight hours. She’s usually out working.

Anyway, I’m going to head off for home and my afternoon coffee.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday, when we were out and about on our travels, we saw Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, moored up in the loading bay.

She’s gone back out to sea by the look of things and her place has now been taken by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey and, occasionally, the Channel Islands.

They were actually using the crane as well. I couldn’t tell whether they were loading or unloading her but her jib was certainly swinging round. There’s certainly quite a load of freight on the quayside and if they are loading, it will keep them busy for a while.

cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Over on the far side of the harbour we have one of the trawlers having fun with a fishing net.

She’s Cap Lihou and it looks as if she has caught her nets and tangled them up. They’ve taken them off the boat as you can see by looking at the pulleys on the back, and they are busy sorting them out.

In fact, a closer look at how clean they are and the tangled old mass that you can see on the bollard on the right-hand edge of the photo, she might even be having her old nets exchanged for new ones.

roadmender's lorry rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I noticed that the lorry that we see quite often at the Porte St Jean is parked there again today with its machinery trailer.

There must be some more work going on in the old town and so what I’ll have to do is to go along for a walk in there sometime in the near future for a closer look.

Stopping at the bike shed to take a photo, I came back in here for my coffee and a rest. It’s taking a lot out of me these days.

When I finished my concert I attacked the photos again from Greenland in August 2019 and managed to complete about 40 of them. I’m now walking around on Disko Island off the coast of Greenland in the Davis Strait.

It’s known that Erik the Red visited the island, as did many of the “Golden Age” Arctic Explorers, from whence they recruited quite a few Inuit to accompany them on their travels.

It sounds exciting to be walking around in the footsteps of Erik the Red but don’t forget that I’ve actually stood on the foundations of what is believed to be his house in Brattahlid.

Tea didn’t work out too well. I tried the air fryer tonight and while the chips on the top were nicely cooked, the ones underneath were not. It said to “shake the basket” every so often but I think that it needs a lot more than that, like tipping out and repacking.

But at least it was better and quicker than the chips that I had made in the oven last time.

Tomorrow I’ll crack on with my photos, I reckon. I have to back up my computer too and there’s a letter to write as well. I’ve probably forgotten something quite important but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate time.

Sunday 9th January 2022 – MY CUNNING PLAN …

… for ENDLESS SUNDAYS at lest started as it ought to have done, with me not showing a leg until 10:50 this morning.

As it happens, I’d actually been awake at 07:20 but if anyone thinks that I’m going to be raising myself from the dead at a silly hour like that on a Sunday is mistaken.

Plenty of time therefore for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles here and there. I was with a young girl last night but she was no-one whom we knew. She was small and had wavy blonde hair. I was trying to go from somewhere to somewhere else but there were no buses or trains so I had to walk. The first leg of my journey was something like 30km so I was busy counting the paces as I walked to make sure that I was on the right speed. I’d already done 12km by the time that mid-morning came round. As I was going down West Street I’d acquired this girl by then. She knew that her name was Anemone or Aphrodite and was a Greek goddess. I was being pursued by my mother and one of my sisters. We shook them off by going round one side of a pillar box while they went round the other but we cut round and across and down into Underwood Lane. They followed us from there. They were talking about the Girls’ Grammar School which was down there (which, of course, it isn’t) and my idea of taking this girl to the Grammar School was totally wrong because there was some kind of copyright or something like that on the Grammar School and I couldn’t use it for my purposes. Something complicated like this. I took no notice and carried on walking down the road with this girl. It was pitch-black and you couldn’t see a thing. Trying to negotiate the bends in this road and the road junctions when you can’t see anything and you have these 2 people behind harping on, it was extremely difficult. And I wish that my family would stop following me around when I’m in the company of a nice young girl.

Later on there was something like a natural disaster, like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone. There was a big Bedford-type horsebox involved in this as well. When I arrived, I couldn’t see the girl whom I’d been sent to rescue. There was another one but this was disappointing because I remembered the 1st girl from some other time. Later, the same thing happened again. Another natural disaster like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone, with a different horse box this time. This time it was the girl whom I recognised, the blonde with her hair in a pony tail, and whom I should have picked up last time. I managed to arrive there in time to rescue her this time. I don’t know who she is in “real life” but in my dream I knew who she was but I just couldn’t think who.

And later still I’d moved house again. I was living somewhere else and I’d taken all of my solar panels and wind turbines with me. We’d slowly been reinstalling everything back in. There were loads of people helping me. Someone who might have been my father was in charge of everything but I don’t know who he was. One night I’d gone to bed and next morning I awoke but everyone was already there working so I went out to the yard to the outhouse to fetch some milk. I was checking the batteries, everything. Considering that it was bright sunlight and a really nice day there was only 12.3 volts in the batteries. I thought that that was really strange. There ought to be much more in there than that. So I fetched my milk and the guy in charge shouted something like “are you going back inside? They need you to open the hatch to the loft in there”. I replied “yes. I’ve only just come out for a minute. I’ll be back in in a sec”. Someone else said to this guy that they had a new door to install in there to go out”. Someone else asked “did they get one in the end? They were talking about it yesterday”. He replied “yes. You should see it! They really do fancy themselves, this lot!”.

So having had a few days (and nights) of some really interesting and welcome characters in my rambles, I’m now back to being pursued around by members of my family. That’s a shame, isn’t it? They just won’t leave me alone.

After the medication I came here and transcribed all of the dictaphone notes that you have just read, and by then it was time for brunch. Porridge with toast and buckets-full of coffee.

This afternoon I updated all of the journal entries that needed the dreams adding back – all the way to December 15th. And unfortunately there was nothing really startling about anything that had happened during the night for that couple of weeks.

But I did notice that the images hadn’t been added in for several days so that’s something that I need to do next. All of that relentless series of trips to the hospital over that couple of days in December disrupted my routine, I’m afraid to say.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The weather had shown an improvement since yesterday, which was no surprise as it couldn’t surely have been any worse.

There was some light rain falling but that didn’t bother me too much. It seemed to bother everyone else though because there was no-one around on the beach. It was pretty much deserted down there.

And there was nothing of any nature at all happening out to sea either. No boat of any description sailing around in the bay. It’s not as if it’s really winter though. Temperatures are more like late March than early January.

people path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so with nothing else to detain me, I set off down the path to the end of the headland.

There weren’t very people around on the path either. I encountered no more than half a dozen as I walked down to the lighthouse at the end.

And of those half-a-dozen people, not one of them wearing a mask. There’s an Arrêt Prefectorial about wearing masks in open spaces here in the Manche.

Even if there wasn’t, I would have thought that 303,669 cases of infection yesterday would have given most people a clue as to the gravity of the situation. We aren’t ever going to be rid of the virus if people don’t start to take it seriously.

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, on the subject of taking things seriously, we ought to have a look at (what’s left of) the flag that’s flying over the Memorial to the Missing Seamen.

Yesterday I posted a photo of the flag showing that the red stripe was becoming detached from the rest of the flag after the wind that we had had yesterday afternoon.

And so after the wind that we had had yesterday evening, the flag has now been finished off. We apparently now have Liberty and Fraternity, but Equality has now completely Gone With The Wind.

It’ll probably turn up somewhere on the beach out near Jullouville, just like that foot did a few weeks ago.

And while we’re on the subject of feet on beaches … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s a bay on the border of British Columbia and Washington State where SHOES WITH FEET INSIDE are washed ashore on a regular basis.

So let that be a lesson to you. Always stick a small piece of soap down the bottom of your shoes when you go into the water so that if your feet become detached from your body, they can be washed ashore.

I’ll get my coat.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just for a change there were some people down there at the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. We haven’t seen anyone down there for a good few days.

Whatever it is that they went to see, it beats me because there was nothing at all going on out in the bay this afternoon. And with the mist, the Brittany coast out there on the other side of the bay wasn’t visible either.

The sea had calmed down somewhat as well from yesterday so they weren’t even having the spectacle of the rough sea crashing down on the rocks.

But as long as they were happy, that’s all that counts, although I wish that they would wear their masks. I left them to it and headed off down the path towards the port and home.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No change in the inhabitants of the port this afternoon either.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chaisiaise and the older of the two Joly France boats, the one without a step in the stern. And in the chantier naval we have Gerlean still there. She’s not moved for about a week now.

There was nothing else that piqued my interest so I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. It’s not been that cold out here, as I mentioned earlier, but it was damp and a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

After I’d had lunch I’d taken some pizza dough (the last batch as it happens) out of the freezer and left it to defrost during the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After I’d had my coffee I kneaded it again, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while. When it was ready, I assembled it and it went into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t as good as the last two or three. The base underneath the topping was rather soggy still and it can’t go any lower in the oven. It’s already on the lowest rung that there is.

But nevertheless it still tasted totally delicious. I have the knack now, I reckon, of making a good pizza. All I need now is a good oven but that’s going to have to wait for a while, I reckon. I’m still not sure how I’m going to fit an oven in the kitchen.

So now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning in order to prepare a radio programme. The one that will be broadcast this next weekend will be programme 112 but I’ll be working on programme 143. I’m about 6 months ahead, and on purpose too, for obvious reasons, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

The show must go on, hey, whether I am suffering from ill-health or even pushing up the daisies.

Sunday 4th April 2021 – THIS IS …

crowds place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the kind of thing that is annoying me right now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Hordes of people milling around on the car park outside my apartment building, masks and social distancing optional of course. I really don’t understand it.

What I don’t understand even more is that with France supposed to be closing down in quarantine as of midnight last night, the SNCF ran a pile of extra trains on Friday and Saturday to bring all of the holidaymakers and second home-owners down to the coast. And that surely defeats the whole point of the quarantine and people staying where they live.

Now of course, they are going to be spreading the virus about like wildfire. No wonder the Government can’t bring it under control.

This morning, I was spending much of the time trying to bring my cramp under control. I was hit by a particularly bad attack or two during the night.

And by 07:40 I was wide awake, but no chance of me leaving my bed at that time of the morning. 10:00 is much more like it these days when I’m having a Day of Rest.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’ve been during the night. I was in Eastern Europe somewhere having a bad attack of cramps. In the middle of all of these I got up to go for a walk around. I ended up in a cafe. It was pretty late, about 04:00 in the morning and I was sitting there trying to ease off these cramps. I went into the toilets to take out my thermos flask and pour myself a coffee. There were these guys hanging around there. One of them opened the door and invited me to come in. I said “no thanks. I’m just going to get my coffee”. I put my coffee mug on the side there and went to pour my coffee out of the flask but this guy just went and sat on the table thing and knocked my coffee mug everywhere. I thought “this is a waste of time” and went back into the café part and sat down. The waiter came over and said something basically along the lines of “you can’t drink your own stuff in here” so I said “I’d better have a coffee the. You can fetch me a coffee”. There was then a dispute about where I could sit. The table I had chosen was for residents only and the waiter saying “I’m only serving this part. I’m not serving the rest of the café”. He and the manager then had a dispute about that. In the end I asked “can I sit here or can’t I?”.

At that point I had another bad attack of cramp that awoke me and meant I had to get up and walk around a little.

Later on I had another really bad attack of cramp and ended up walking around the apartment for 10 minutes to get it to ease off but some time during the night I was asleep. I remember vaguely something about 4 old Lambretta scooters, pale yellow with the 2 individual seats, being parked up each in one corner of a yard somewhere. What that was about I really have no idea but that was what was going through my head. One parked in each corner with the rear wheel parked in the apex and the front wheel pointing in towards the centre.

Later still there was a funeral taking place in the family and I ended up discussing all of the arrangements with one of my sisters. We were getting things ready and I had a load of frozen vegetables that I was trying to make something with. We talked about asparagus and I had some jars of asparagus tips (which I actually do) so I went over to her and said “how about we have these with garlic butter to dip in”? She said “it all depends if they are very small and how many other people would be coming”. My brother turned up as well and he joined in the conversation. I had another thought about the food that I wanted to mention to her as well but when it came to tell her I couldn’t think of it. It slipped right out of my head. Of course that was rather embarrassing. The discussion continued and she said “you know that you are going to be a great uncle again. There’s a new girl being born to one of her kids in the family. I said “no” and I turned to my brother and said “you remember that little girl that I used to bounce up and down on my knee a few years ago? She’s having a baby in May – at 14”!

There was more to it than this too but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Part of what was left of today I spent working on the photographs from August 2019. I’m still on my way to Fort Phil Kearny but actually at the moment I’m at a wayside fuel station and café at a place called Spotted Horse in Northern Wyoming where I’m admiring some abandoned vehicles.

Half an hour earlier I’d passed through the small town of Recluse. It is something of a ghost town with a population of 7, and every one of them came out to watch me as I drove through. It was like a scene from THE SHINING.

There was a break for lunch of course. Porridge and a couple of toasted hot cross buns, all of which went down a treat. These hot cross buns are delicious.

After lunch I made a start on the baking for the next week. I made a pile of dough for some pizza bases for the next few weeks and also half a load of dough because for pudding next week I fancy some more of that jam roly-poly that I made a few weeks ago.

While I was at it, I had a drink of my home-made ginger beer which was absolutely delicious, and I also fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution.

Leaving the two lots of dough to fester, I headed off for my afternoon walk around the headland, a few minutes later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown on the beach there were plenty of people wandering around in the afternoon. Some of them were picnicking down there on the rocks too.

It was a really nice afternoon today and it would have been even better had the wind dropped because it was yet another day when we were being beaten about by a mini-gale. And aren’t I fed up of those this last few months.

Regardless of the weather though, there weren’t any people actually in the water. The weather wasn’t anything like as nice as that, although regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen plenty of people in the water just recently despite the wintry conditions.

girl painting people playing boules or petanque place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I set off along the path. But as I passed by, my attention was drawn to this rather large group of people.

Sitting on the wall on the top of the cliff was a girl in a purple anorak. She was either sketching or painting the scene in front of her – I couldn’t quite see exactly what it was.

As for the men, they were playing either boules or petanque, I couldn’t see what. But as you can see, face masks are completely optional, as is social distancing. This is the kind of behaviour that is spreading the disease like wildfire and I wonder how many people are going to have to be infected or die before they finally get the message.

My route continued along the top of the cliffs on my way to the end of the headland. And near the end of the path I was accosted by four guys on bikes who asked me to take their group photograph on the top overlooking the sea.

That’s not a problem for me, as long as it makes people happy.

floating object pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago I mentioned that I had seen something like a plastic 25-litre oil drum bobbing up and down offshore at the Pointe du Roc.

hen I was down at the end of the headland today, there was the object bobbing up and down again. It certainly wasn’t there yesterday or any other day except for the day when I mentioned it. And so I’ve concluded that it’s been brought there specifically and it must obviously be tethered to stop it floating away.

It must therefore probably be a marker for a lobster pot, even if it is of a very ambiguous colour and very close to the foot of the cliffs. And that is a little surprising for me. I’m have expected the marker buoy to be a bright yellow or orange or something so that people could see it easily and steer clear.

speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a speedboat roaring past le Loup out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Surprisingly, despite the beautiful sunny weather and the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday Sunday, there was almost nothing whatever going on out at sea. Apart from this speedboat and another one that was following it across from the Ile de Chausey where this one had apparently come from, there was nothing else whatever out there on the sea anywhere that I could see.

What I was expecting to see were hordes of yachts and other water traffic out there this afternoon. The tide was well up this afternoon as we have already seen, and there wouldn’t be any other reason to prevent all of the pleasure boats putting out to sea.

chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there must be at least one boat out at sea somewhere this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiais and one of the two Joly France ferry boats that run the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey moored up over there at the ferry terminal.

Today though, the Joly France boat has gone and there’s only Chausiais. Joly France must be taking a load of tourists out to spread the disease amongst all of the local inhabitants of the island which will go down really well seeing as there is no medical service over there

And if you look in the harbour, you’ll see the mooring boys bobbing up and down and with the sea being so clear, you can see the mooring chains to which they are attached. It’s a few more of those that they will be adding in the harbour when the diggers come back and they finally get round to carry on with the work.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBD baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as I walk along the footpath on top of the cliffs on the south side of the headland I’m being overflown by a pretty big aeroplane coming from the east.

She’s actually a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registration number F-HRBD registered to Air France. She’s flying over my head at a height of 34,000 on her way to Bogota in Columbia with Flight code AF428 /AFR428 , having taken off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about half an hour previously. She is currently on bearing 261°

Surprisingly, there was nothing else happening anywhere else in the harbour so I turned my attention to heading off home. There was all of my dough busily festering away and awaiting my attention when I return.

Airbus A320-251N G-UZHB english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it all the way back home straight away as I was overflown by yet another large aircraft heading north-eastwards.

Playing about with my image-editing software I managed to make out that she is in Easyjet livery and that means that she must be Flight Code U22036/EZY48ZM, having taken off at 12:15 from Tenerife on her way to Luton Airport.

She’s an Airbus A320-251N, registration G-UZHB and she’s going past me at a height of 38,025 feet.

When she’d gone out of range I went inside to make myself a drink and to attack the dough. I rolled out the dough for the roly-poly, coated it with a thick layer of strawberry jam and rolled it.

With the pizza dough, I split it into 3, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in baking paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. The third part I rolled out and put it into the pizza tray that I had greased, and folded the edges back in.

For the next hour or so I carried on with the photos and then I went back into the kitchen.

With the oven on and heating up, I cut the roly-poly into 2 and put the parts onto a greased baking tray. Then I bunged the baking tray into the oven when it was hot.

Meantime I prepared the pizza and when the roly-poly was cooked I put the pizza in and let that cook away for the next half an hour or so while I did the mountain of washing up that had accumulated. You’ve no idea how much washing up I can accumulate when I’m baking.

vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I attacked it with gusto. And it was really delicious too. But as for the roly-poly, I’ll have to tell you all tomorrow what that was like because the pizza was quite filling and I had no room left for pudding.

Now, I’ve written up my notes and I’m ready for bed. I’ve not had a hard day by any means but I’m still pretty tired. I’ve no plans for an alarm tomorrow seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday so I’m going to have a lie-in, if the cramp lets me.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I have had a couple of decent lie-ins. I Can certainly do with a couple, and I’ll fit the radio work around the rest of the day, breaking the habits of a lifetime for once.

Sunday 17th January 2021 – HERE ARE …

home made bread vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today’s culinary offerings, all fresh out of the oven.

Yes, I’ve been a very busy boy today, even though I didn’t feel very much like it.

What we have is a loaf of bread of course, a vegan pizza ditto, and as an extra special treat a rather overdone (unfortunately) jam roly-poly for pudding next week.

Firstly, as for the pizza, I forgot the tomato sauce so I had to make my own. Three tomatoes were whizzed around in the whizzer and strained to remove the worst of the liquid. The mush was then put back into the whizzer with some concentrate from a tube, some oregano, basil and tarragon and all whizzed up into a purée.

The jam roly-poly is rather different. A mug and a half of flour, half a sachet of yeast some salt, a little sugar and a dab of oil, and make a dough like you would for a pizza.

Leave it to proof for a while and then knead it and roll it out with the rolling pin into a large square. Spread with jam, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and roll it up. And then leave it for an hour or so.

Finally, dust with cinnamon, brush with milk, sprinkle with brown sugar and then cook. I had to cut mine in half to fit in my oven, but here we are – pudding for next week.

That’s not the best of it though.

It’s Sunday with no alarm but even so I was up and about by 09:00 and by 11:15 I’d steam-cleaned the apartment, taken a load of rubbish outside and had the place looking nice and respectable – something that I never thought I would be able to manage.

Liz and Terry promptly turned up, bang on cue, and now I have a major problem because the frozen hot-cross buns that they brought have caused my freezer to have a major overflow and now the rather inefficient icebox in the fridge has had to be pressed into service

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a coffee we went for a walk around the walls in the gale-force winds.

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t like coming around the walls in the afternoon – you see the sun shining off the roof of the Casino and yet the Plat Gousset is in deep shadow from the cliffs. Trying to balance this lighting is what one might describe as “extremely challenging”.

Still, once we were out of the wind we had a pleasant walk in the sun across the Square Maurice Marland, watching the picnickers enjoying their food. And I don’t blame them at all.

pipe markings rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times just recently the weird hieroglyphics painted on the street, presumably something to do with all of the pipework that they will be doing.

The alleyway that cuts through the Rue St Michel where they are currently working terminates in the Rue du Midi and here’s a good example of what I mean. It’s all quite graphic, isn’t it?

So having noted that, we pushed on home because it was lunchtime. Liz had made some leek and potato soup the other day and had plenty left over so she had brought it round. We had soup and bread (she brought some bread too) followed by fruit and mint tea.

After they left, I started on my cooking and while it was all a-doing I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Even though I didn’t have a great deal of sleep I had been on my travels and gone for miles during the night. A whole group of us was together and we were listening to a programme on the radio – a live broadcast of a court case in New York due to start at 07:45 so we had everything all ready and settled down and turned on the radio and it was Kenneth Horne on “Round the Horne”. We were all extremely disappointed because we had been looking forward to this. It was on a Friday and we didn’t have the paper any more with all of the times on it from the previous weekend so we carried on doing some kind of ordinary stuff and the chat came round to something about times and I suddenly realised that if I was saying 07:45 in New York it wouldn’t be 07:45 UK time but USA time and that would explain the difference. We ended up waiting for a bus in the West Midlands somewhere, watching all these buses go past, including a weird single-decker towing a refreshment trailer with people inside having coffee. This went past about 3 or 4 times. Our bus turned up and we clambered aboard and went upstairs. One of the people with us was Liz Ayers or someone resembling her. There were a load of kids all messing around at the front so she went up to them and gave them a lecture, like any teacher would have done to a pile of children. Of course everyone was astonished by this including some of the kids who were sitting somewhere else but she bawled them out. In the end they all settled down quietly and we carried on. Back in the house there was a large number of us getting ready for tea. I was a bit late – everyone had started. Something came on the radio and I remembered that 1 of the girls had wanted to hear something so when I went down to get my tea I said to the girl “such and such a programme is on the radio now”. She asked “why are you telling me?”. I replied “I thought you asked them to tell you”. “No, that’s Helen” she replied, pointing to a girl whom I didn’t know sitting at the table. I told her and then I had to sit down and had to find my meal because there were dozens of meals on this table and none of them particularly corresponded with any seating position. I tried to work out which meal was mine but it was extremely difficult.

Later on I was on holiday with Castor. We’d been driving around Europe in the car. We’d been out for 3 or 4 days and been to a couple of places and seen a few things. Suddenly, she asked me “Eric, do you know how to have fun? Do you know how to party?”. I had to admit – I said ‘no I don’t” which is perfectly true (and it is too – I have no idea how to do these in real life). We had along discussion about the holiday and so on. “Maybe it’s my fault” I said. I pointed to an ruined old church, an Eastern European type church. “See that?” I asked. “We’re in Brasov in Romania at the moment. Perhaps it’s me – maybe I don’t explain things properly. If you want to go to see something like that somewhere we’ve passed through you have to say ‘let’s go and have a look at that’ – you don’t just have to sit there and come with me. You can make suggestions, all this. You can say anything, like ‘how far are we from Bucharest’ and ‘why don’t we go here?’ “. “Yes” she replied ” but no-one knows all the old stories about these places like you do”. Our chat carried on and I tried to make some sense of what was happening.

Later still, I was in Crewe and I had to catch the bus back to Shavington. I had my suitcase and I’d taken so long over this meal, and that was an event too. The café was small, crowded and the seats were jammed up against each other and difficult to find a place to sit. In the end I found a place and a woman sat with me. We had a quick meal and something, and when she got up to go she began to berate the staff about the untidy place and all this, the lack of room. I thought that this was most unfair considering the conditions under which they were working. Then I thought “God, I’d better get a move on or I’ll miss my bus”. I had to go up to the counter and pay. It was £2:50 for a plate of beans on toast and a couple of drinks which I thought was really good value. I only had my card so they gave me the machine. I had to be careful because this was the kind of place where you hide your PIN while you were tapping it in. When I left I thought “I have 5 minutes to go and fetch my suitcase and go and catch my bus. Should I stay at the hotel an extra night, or catch the next bus or should I go on this bus and come back in a car to fetch my luggage?”. I thought that the taxis would be busy because it’s Saturday so coming back might be difficult. In the end I went on the bus and got to Shavington and walked down the street. Of course, all the cars were out. I thought then that I’d better go back on the bus and get my luggage. Then I saw a couple of young girls moving around the house so I thought that I’d go in. So I went in and everyone was pleased to see me. Someone said “I’m sorry about your luggage stuck in New York. We heard the story”. I didn’t understand that at all. One of my sister’s children started to talk that everyone had been up Big Ben. I spoke to her about it and we had a chat. There was my youngest sister there also so we had a bit of a chat as well.

There was much more to it than this too – a whole voyage as well but as you are having your tea right now probably I’ll spare you the gory details.

So now that tea is finished, I’m off to bed. Despite the short sleep and the full, busy day I’ve managed to keep going. But I don’t want to push my luck. There’s still plenty to do.

Friday 8th January 2021 – TODAY WAS …

… the worst day so far of this little bout of ill-health that I’m having.

The alarms went off as usual and even though they awoke me and I was wide awake, I didn’t have the physical strength to leave the bed. It took me until about 09:15 before I could find the energy to leave the bed and for the next hour or two I was right out of everything.

When I finally pulled myself together I sat down and had a play with the dictaphone. And it seemed that I’d travelled miles during the night. Including one trip with one of my sisters, although I shan’t elaborate as you are probably eating a meal right now and I don’t want to spoil your appetite.

Somewhere along the line my wife and I had got back together and were living together. Things weren’t going too well and I had to be very careful about checking my post to make sure that no unexpected letters were being slipped in somewhere that I might have missed. I had to regularly keep an eye on the pile of paperwork for filing that nothing had been slipped in there. This caused one or two raised eyebrows when people started to work out what it was that I was actually doing. I had plenty of things to do the following morning but my brother was around living there I think talking about what we were going to do. He said that he needed some help to put some silencer paste on an exhaust and change a wheel over on his car. He showed me a wheel and the tyre had split. I had plenty of things to do myself that were pretty important but I would give him a hand for 10 minutes. One of the things that I needed was a new tyre for my car. I had a look at one that I had just taken off. It was completely perished and there was a huge split right across the canvas. I showed it to my brother and said “I wet down to London on this on Monday.

In the middle of all of this there was a story about me being in a lorry, a lorry driver and we were filming or rather watching a film of a route that someone had driven and I was trying to have some kind of indication or hints from this video about driving, a Youtube camera shot thing.

The third part of this was when I’d been working with something like Shearings or Adventure Canada and we were going on our Christmas Holidays. We’d each been given a place to go to. I’d been given a place that was only about 3 or 4 miles away from where we were which I thought was a bit miserable. I wasn’t very happy. I was sitting at a table with 3 or 4 old people and they were making jokes about Russian spies. One of them asked me a question “was I a Russian spy?”. I made some kind of sarcastic remark so he started to make a real issue out of this kind of thing. An old guy, Admiral of the Fleet or something. In the end I’d had enough of this. I stood up, threw down my napkin onto the table and said “I’ll tell you what. When I go from here I’m going to become a Russian spy and what I’m going to do will make you look a total and utter fool, and that’s not going to be difficult”. He went apoplectic. I stormed out. One thing that I’d noticed over the last few days that no-one was really speaking to me or giving me anything to do. Even a couple of girls whom I knew walked past. I said “hello girls” but they didn’t respond so I shouted “hello girls” and then they waved to me. 1 of the girls was coming with me. We were in the room where we were working and there was such a racket going on and suddenly one of the chairs caught fire. It had been right up against the heater and the heat had set it off. She switched a few switches and the noise immediately died down to just a noise. It was still annoying but a lot less than it had been. I realised that it had been the air conditioning or the heater fan or something that was blowing and making all of this noise. She was talking about the trip that we were going to go on, asking how long it was going to take us to get there and when would we be ready. I said that I’d be ready in half an hour because I’m not taking very much and if I’ve forgotten anything I can always come back here because we’re only round the corner anyway. I remember saying that the first thing that I’d be doing when I come back before I do anything else is to weld a sill on the red Cortina. That has its MoT very shortly.

As you can imagine, it took me an age to transcribe all of this and I haven’t really done all that much else. I did make the telephone call that I needed to make, only to find that with the Covid situation their office is only open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The only other thing that I’ve done that can be classed in any way productive was something on the principle that if you can’t think of anything to do, or don’t have the energy to do anything, then just do something – anything – so I edited another pile of photos from Greenland in 2019. That’s not a productive day by any means, but I’m struggling with ill-health right now and I have to do what I can.

There were the usual interruptions today. Lunch of course with my delicious bread – and I forgot to mention that the fruit bread that I had with my hot chocolate this morning was delicious.

Another thing that I did was to peel, dice and blanch another kilo or so of carrots. They are in the freezer now freezing away to themselves.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the afternoon walk too, in the freezing weather. The temperature had dropped to 1°C overnight and had risen to about 3°C by this afternoon.

Not too many people out there today but one person who was there who I hadn’t seen for a while was our bird of prey – hovering around over the rocks at the headland looking for a tasty snack. He didn’t catch anything while I was there watching – perhaps I had disturbed the prey, I dunno.

So after a while, I cleared off and left him to it. I walked down along the path overlooking the chantier navale as usual but there was nothing going on there at all that hasn’t been going on before.

new door public conveniences pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I talked about the new door on the public conveniences here.

Previously it was a kind-of roller shutter door, quite lightweight and it looked as if someone had kicked it in. And so they other day they came out and fitted a really heavy-duty sliding door instead. I’d love to see someone try to kick that one in.

However, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a design fault in it and they’ll be out to fix it again, sooner than you might think actually because there are already signs that it wont last long.

What they have done is put the staple for the padlock when the door is closed (on the right-hand side of the door itno the wall and cemented it. That means that any reasonably-sized iron bar can prize it off and there are signs that someone has already had a try. It needs to be in an L-shaped backing plate and screwed to the frame on the inner profile, so that no-one can get behind the screws to prize them out.

Back here I had a coffee and then carried on with some photos in rather a half-hearted fashion. I stopped for guitar practice of course, and that went somewhat better than last night.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside again in the freezing weather I set off for my walk – and four runs tonight. I’m slowly pulling myself up again.

It was too cold ro loiter around outside so I just took one photo of the Plat Gousset to say that I was out, and then I came back home – at a run again.

But to tell you the truth, there wasn’t anything else much to photograph tonight. It was singularly quiet, as it has been all day.

While I’d been out I’d turned on the oven again and was cooking a potato. When I came back I put a slice of pie in there and while I was at it, a frozen apple turnover. I cooked some veg and gravy too, and had pie with baked potato and veg and gravy, followed by apple turnover for tea. I’ll finish the apple crumble tomorrow.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m off to bed. Which is more than … gulp … 68,000 British people will be doing tonight. One person in every thousand in the UK has been diagnosed with Covid today. And apart from the 1325 who won’t be waking up tomorrow – a disgraceful record for a developed nation, my friend Erika from Atlanta and I were working out that in the USA the Death Rate from Covid is 1/59, yet in the UK, with its much-vaunted and magnificent NHS, the death rate is 1/37.

There’s something dreadfully wrong in the UK.

Sunday 6th December 2020 – JUST FOR …

… a change today I’ve been working. even if it is a Sunday.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve not been feeling too good this last couple of days and today was no exception. I didn’t feel like doing anything at all but then I have a theory that whenever one is feeling like this, it doesn’t matter what one does, as long as one does something.

And so, for some of the day I’ve been selecting the music for the next radio programme, editing it, remixing it and merging it into pairs.

When I say “some of the day”, I do have to say that there wasn’t much of a day to have some of. Not when one doesn’t wake up until 12:15 and doesn’t leave one’s bed until 12:30. And that’s something of a surprise when I actually made it into bed as early as 00:30. All that I can say is that I must have needed the sleep.

And sleep I did too, although there were a few travels involved in it all too. I was running a bus company last night and some of my buses were doing a shuttle service around town. I pulled up to where these shuttle buses were parked and ready to to and one of the guys with one of the coaches was someone who shouldn’t be driving for some particular reason. I asked him where the driver was and he looked panic-stricken and flustered and said “ohh he must have been here. He’s probably gone. He’ll be back in a minute”. We waited for a couple of minutes but he never showed up so I asked again “where’s he gone? Tell me where he’s gone”. he was becoming even more flustered. In the end I said that I wanted to see the tachograph disc that’s in the coach. Reluctantly he opened the tachograph. I couldn’t see it fairly well but the guilty look on this guy’s face made me believe that it was his tachograph and he’d been driving the bus despite not being allowed to. I said “right, get everything on board. We’re going”. We picked up all of the luggage that was lying around and got ready to set off. I don’t know whether I was going to drive it back or not but we were ready to go back and sort this out back at the depot.

And later on during the night there was something going on with my family. I had to take my father into work in the morning that meant that I would be late into work again. As I’d already been late getting into work the previous day, not getting in until 09:50. I was up early as usual doing a few things and I was getting rather impatient thinking that he’d better get a move on”. One of my sisters came out. “Dad says to tell you that he’s getting up. He’ll be up in half an hour’s time and you have to take him to work when he gets up”. I said “this is just stupid because I’m going to miss an entire morning’s work now, having done this”. I was extremely annoyed. She said something like “there’s been 5 coffees waiting for you already this morning”. I dismissed that. He finally did get up and said something about responsibilities, all that kind of thing. I said to him “are you going to take responsibility for telling work why it is that I’m so late this morning?”. He brushed off the question so I was really annoyed about this yet again.

I’d had a couple of job interviews lined up anyway so later on I was walking through the streets still in a totally foul mood about this but who should be coming the other way but Doctor Chaker. I couldn’t even bring myself to give him a cheery greeting. I just mumbled “hello” at him and walked on past. As for the 2nd interview this was taking place at a football ground in Belgium, either Mechelen or Beveren. It involved getting the train. I got the train to the railway station and could see the ground quite clearly close by so I set off to walk to the ground. I was looking at houses seeing if there were any rooms to let. I’d rent a furnished room for a while and put my furniture in store. I suddenly realised that I’d gone miles from the football ground. I could see the football ground away in the distance and I remembered now that I’d dne exactly the same thig when I’m come to watch a football match here – that I’d taken a wrong turning and gone miles away and been late for the kick-off. And then I thought “I only have 10 minutes before this interview starts. I’m going to have to run like hell”. I could see the floodlights of the football ground illuminated in the distance. I thought “if I can get there in 10 minutes I’ll be doing really well” so I set off to run down this dirt path past this startled pedestrian thinking to myself “I am never ever going to get there in time”.

But I seem to be spending a considerable amount of time travelling around with my family during the night, something that is totally strange seeing that I don’t spend any time at all thinking about them during my waking time. I’d love to know what’s churning up in the back of my mind and, more importantly, why.

Having recovered my composure I made a start on the music for the radio programme but them knocked off to make the dough for my pizza.

jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall And putting it on one side, I then went out for my afternoon walk.

Just for a change recently, the sky was quite clear. Plenty of heavy cloud about but visibility was really good today. There was an excellent view right across the English Channel to the island of Jersey 38 kilometres away.

Unfortunately the sky wasn’t quite clear enough to make out any of the individual buildings over there today. In the past they have on occasion stood out really clearly and we could even see the radio mast at the back of St Helier, but not today.

rays of sun lighthouse pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhilst the skies over the English Channel were grey and cloudy in the vicinity of the Channel Islands there was quite a different kind of sky looking over to the west.

The clouds in that direction were even heavier but there were a few gaps in the clouds that were giving us another TORA TORA TORA as the rays shone through and reflected off the sea.

No lights on the semaphore masts this afternoon though. I’m intrigued to know what that was all about yesterday and that was something to think about as I walked around the path.

rays of sun cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the Point on the headland there’s a good view across the bay towards the Brittany Coast so I walked across the lawn and the car park and made my way there where I joined someone else taking a photo.

There was even a better view of the rays of the sun here than in the previous photo. The sun is hiding behind the heavy cloud and shining through the gaps. The town of Cancale is standing out really well in silhouette over there on the clifftop in the centre of the photograph.

From there I moved on down the footpath on the cliffs down the southern side of the headland, where a dog tried to bite me. I hope that its ribs aren’t too badly bruised.

carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt that particular moment the sun came out of another gap in the clouds and lit up the town of Carolles as if it had been floodlight. The reflection in the sea over there was extremely interesting too.

But I couldn’t hang around all that long to admire it. I had things to do and so I headed for home. There was nothing in the chantier navale or the port to detain me for very long.

Back here I carried on with the music in some kind of desultory way and even crashed out for 10 minutes too, something that surprised me considering all of the sleep that I’d had this morning.

Round about 18:00 I went to look at the pizza dough and see how it was doing.

vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt had risen incredibly but was far too wet still to do anything with it. In the end I had to add more flour to it, I ended up with four helpings of dough rather than the usual three. Three of those went into the freezer and the fourth I rolled out and put on a pizza tray, folding the edges over, to proof some more.

After about an hour or so I went to check on it. It had risen quite nicely again so I prepared my pizza and put it in the oven to cook. 30 minutes later I pulled it out of the oven, cooked to perfection.

It was delicious, especially when followed down by a banana with banana sorbet and chocolate sauce.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my evening run around the walls of the city

There was only a slight little drizzle this evening but even so I didn’t go around the footpath underneath the walls. Everywhere else is flooded so the footpath is bound to be, so I carried on along the Rue du Nord. I took a photo back down the way that I came and if you look to the right-hand side of the photo you can see the postern gate that I would usually take when the weather permits.

Right in the background you can see the Place d’Armes, and to the right there’s also a light out to see as if a fishing boat is going past.

rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s a bit of a climb up the hill for someone like me but I broke into a run as soon as I could and ran all the way around the corner.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen several photos of the Rue St Jean down at the end near the Place d’Armes, and also round by the Place Cambernon. But this is the bottom end of the street at the Place d’isthme.

And here I was surprised by a police car that came round the corner. For a change, they must be carrying on a night patrol, although I’m not sure why they would be doing it around here. I was half-expecting to be asked to produce my documents and my laissez-passer but they just drove straight past me.

rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the same corner is the end of the Rue Notre Dame. We’ve walked down this street dozens of times but I don’t recall having photographed this end before.

Down the steps from here to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. The tide was was still an hour or two from being right in and with the sea having calmed down from how it has been over the last couple of days, there was nothing in the way of waves breaking onto the sea wall of the Plat Gousset.

With no-one about to disrupt me, I ran all the way across the Square Maurice Marland down to the far end.

square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square there’s a ramp that goes up through another postern gate onto the walls again, but there’s also a kind of lower garden with stairs that lead down to the Rue des Juifs.

In the past it’s made a nice pleasant walk but today the stairs are all closed off due to the deteriorating state of the city walls above. It’s one of the things that I’ve talked about in the past – the fact that the city walls are deteriorating rapidly and since I’ve been here there have been three areas that have been roped offas unsafe without any any attempt being made to repair them.

It makes me wonder where this lack of maintenance is all going to end.

Back here I wrote up my notes and now I’m ready for bed. I’ll finish off the radio programme tomorrow and then try to plan what I have to do for the rest of the week. There’s plenty to do and I have to organise myself better than I am doing at the moment

Thursday 16th April 2020 – I COULDN’T KEEP IT UP …

… this morning, which id something of a shame.

Having done so well this last couple of days, I couldn’t beat the third alarm today. I missed it by about 10 minutes.

Mind you, I didn’t have the early night that I was hoping for last night. I was listening to music again and so enjoying myself, I split up a Louis de Funes soundtrack to extract some more soundbites for my radio shows.

Definitely my favourite French comedian, Louis de Funes, and he deserves to be my co-star on the radio.

So where did I get to during the night, After the medication I could go along and find out.

I was going some kind of post-dated ad for the end of the month – the old men wanted it for some project or other. I’d get them to sign in and anyone who sends me any connections will have a reward because of it. But I was with Nerina for some part of the time.
Later on, a group of us was going skiing. We were all sitting around waiting for the bus to come and pick us up. I had all of the stuff to hand out to everyone for them to take their possessions. But some of the stuff, some of the people couldn’t carry. My brother was lucky – he just had a suitcase there and a guitar. I said “there’s no guy ropes or anything with this”. he said “yes that’s fine, not a problem. It turned out that all the stuff like that was in my suitcase and I’d got tons and tons of stuff like this. Mine was just really really heavy. There was someone who might have been Nerina but I’ve no idea who it was who didn’t have very much either, and someone else who might have been one of my sisters who didn’t have plenty. We were all there with all of these things and there was tons of it all told. I was wondering how on earth we would manage to get all of this onto a bus or a train, however we were going. Each person was responsible for his own but that’s not going to be right with all of the stuff we have. It’s just escalating all of the time out of hand like this
Later still I was just about to go off on a trip with Stuart Graham, the Honda motorcycling racing specialist and tuning guy who lived near Nantwich but just as I was getting ready to go off the alarm rang and put an end to that.

There was much more than this going on too but as you are probably eating a meal right now, I’ll spare you all the gory details.

After breakfast it was digitalising the cassette collection time. Another four albums have bitten the dust this morning but, once again, they are four albums that I won’t beusing in the radio projects, for a variety of reasons.

And it made me realise that there are a pile of albums that I no longer have and I don’t understand that at all. And bearing in mind what they are, I have an idea where they might be. But I’ll never have them back now. Ahhh well!

But the splitting was reasonably comfortable and reasonably rapid, but somehow I’ve ended up with two *.mkv files, which is what I’ve been trying to avoid.

A shower and general clean-up was next. And I weighed myself too. And after all of this running and so forth I’ve … errr … GAINED 800 grammes. It looks as if my scales are as reliable as the blood machine in Castle Anthrax.

manoeuvring flaoting pontoon support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA shooping trip to LIDL was called for next.

And I was right about something else too. Starting on Tuesday earlier this week I’d been hearing strange noises coming from the port and I’d been thinking to myself that it sounds as if they have restarted work on the pontoons.

And that certainly seems to be the case. The big crane on the floating pontoon has one of the large supporting pillars in its evil clutches over there.

installing floating pontoong support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd when I came back from the shops later on, they were hard at work on the pontoon.

You can see the piledriver up there, supported from the big crane, pounding away at the pontoon support and driving it firmly into the bed of the harbour.

And just think how much easier it would have been to have done this work two years or so ago when the harbour was drained and they were reinstalling the new harbour gates. What an effort they would have avoided had they done it then.

marite cargo on quayside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut in the meantime, my attention was distracted by the excitement going on down at the bottom end of the harbour.

You can see Marité there of course, but you’ll also see a pile of large bags of building material. That would seem to indicate that either Thora or Normandy Trader is on her way to port.

We haven’t seen either of them for a few days, but that’s not to say that they haven’t been here. With us in detention à domicile like this and only being allowed out briefly, and with the rapid turnover that the ships seem to be enjoying these days, it’s not impossible that I’ve missed them.

disinfecting streets rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOnwards towards LIDL and in the rue Couraye I came across something interesting.

There have been reports from all over the world about the disinfecting of the streets that receive heavy use. Here in Granville most of the banks and important local shops are situated in the rue Couraye and here they are out spraying the street.

It’s quite possible that the speech by the President the other day has galvanised them into action.

There’s also a story that the town council has ordered 20,000 masks from a local clothing manufacturer to distribute to the population. This ending of the detention à domicile on 11th May might actually be a possibility.

At LIDL tomatoes were in very short supply and those that they had were expensive. In fact I spent a lot of money there, but much of this was on new cooking supplies. They had some new tart cases and stuff like that today.

On the way back, I discovered that La Mie Caline had reopened, so I bought a dejeunette. Things really are slowly returning to normal, bit by bit.

fishing boats entering leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was an article in the local paper this morning that the amount of fish products landed here during the month of march had fallen by 30% or so.

That’s certainly some kind of clear evidence that fishing is continuing despite the crisis, albeit in reduced numbers. And as I walked up the hill in the rue des Juifs there was a delightful nautical danse macabre in the harbour.

One fishing boat was on its way in and another was on its way out, and they were having a nice little waltz around each other.

After lunch I started on the remains of the two radio projects that I hadn’t finished. I’d chosen the final tracks and edited them last night so it was just a case of writing the text, dictating it, editing it, merging it into place with the final track and then editing it all down to one hour for each project.

That took me up to about 16:15 to do them both, and I could have done it quicker too except that I … errr … relaxed for a while.

And then, until 18:00 I had some “me time”. I deserve some. And one of the things that I did was to order a new computer hi-fi system.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the one here has its problems and seeing as I spend so much time these days listening to and editing music and so on here, I ought to have some decent stuff.

And so I ended up in discussion with a musical equipment wholesaler and we’ve worked out a package. There won’t be much change out of €300 for what I’ve ordered, but I’ve had this hi-fi here for at least 18 years and it’s due for a change.

After the hour or so on the guitars, I made tea. Now that I had bought an aubergine I made myself an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit – and forgot to use the mushrooms that were left. I had some of that for tea and there are four helpings left for the freezer. I need to build up the supplies again.

The apple pie was delicious too, with the last of the coconut soya cream. But there’s that lovely banana sorbet for the next couple of days to take my mind off things.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went out for my evening activity.

There was a really beautiful red sky in the distance and by the time that i’d run up to the top of the hill (and that had me in agony) it was lookign even better, with the sun just peeking through the sky over the Ile de Chausey

It looked absolutely wonderful with the cloud just there like that, in exactly the right place.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I carried on with my perambulations while I recovered my breath.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have recently been discussing fishing activity deep in the Baie de Mont St Michel. There’s another fishing boat out there this evening – not the one to the left of the photo which seems to be heading into port, but the one to the right.

That one is farther out, deeper into the bay and has its workign lights switched on, so it would seem to be actively working out there.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut by the time that I’d gone round to the other side of the Pointe du Roc, the sun had sunk below the horizon.

And here I’m presented with one of the most extraordinary sights that I’ve ever seen, and I’m glad that I had the big NIKON D500 with me to photograph it. The way that the sun is reflecting on the cloud above it behind the Ile de Chausey is just like the light of a theatrical backdrop and I’ve never ever seen this effect in real life.

It was totally spell-binding.

spectator enjoying sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t the only one out here tonight enjoying the sunset either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned on previous occasions that we are seeing more and more people flouting the regulations about staying in and so on. We had a fair crowd out in the streets today, and here’s someone who has passed the security barrier to go down to the little cove there to watch the sunset.

Still, I suppose that the sight was well worth it.

support plllar for floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith my usual two stops for a breather, I ran all the way home from here.

But in one of the breaks I had a little diversion to look at what they had been doing in the harbour today. And they have indeed stuck another pontoon support pillar into the ground.

Not all the way down, so presumably they’ll be back to finish it tomorrow and to install the rest. Obviously the local council isn’t worried too much about this virus.

So I’m off to bed, later than I intended. Tomorrow, with no radio stuff to deal with for the first time since I don’t know when, I can make a start of a few of the arrears that have been building up.

And aren’t I looking forward to that?

Thursday 12th March 2020 – I WAS ALMOST …

installing floating pontoon support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… right about the pontoons. So almost right in fact that I’m going to give myself 9 out of 10.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I counted the pillars on the quayside and decided that they were going to install two rows of four, and then they went yesterday and put a fifth one in the row on the north side of the harbour that confounded all of my expectations?

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “thank goodness” – ed … they might have installed five n one row, but today they are indeed starting on a second row, just as I reckoned that they would.

trawler tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut that’s going to be bad news as far as I can see for the shipping in here, where they are installing that second row.

Here’s Tiberiade, a sister ship to Coelacanthe, and I watched her for a good five minutes struggling to negotiate her way around the pillars in order to find a berth to which to tie up.

And that’s just a fishing boat. We have both of the Joly France boats, Chausiais, and then the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and Victor Hugo, that tie up more-or-less where they will be fitting that pontoon. I’m not sure how that’s going to work for them

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd while you admire the photos of the storm that we had tonight, let me tell you about my totally miserable day. A day when everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

And we started off my oversleeping. Not by five minutes or ten minutes but a good hour and a half. Staying up and listening to decent music might be a good plan from that point of view, but 01:30 is being rather optimistic when I want to be up by 06:15

That got me off on the wrong foot and things disintegrated from there on.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe medication was no problem, and then I came back and looked at the dictaphone.

And no wonder that I was exhausted this morning. I’d been miles during the night.

There was a whole group of us discussing some guy’s application for something or other. It was an unusual application – it turned out that he had an eagle on a ring not too far away and he wanted something to control this eagle but no-one would take him seriously about this. Everyone was saying that if he had an eagle living there it would be fantastic. But no-one could quite get to grips with the seriousness of the thing because eagles can even carry off people. This all came about I think when someone was getting married, I’m not quite sure, and there was a fear of this eagle but this sighting was dismissed and they never saw it again. People were saying “ohh well, there you are, it must have been a false report, this kind of thing, but this whole thing was based on the fact that an eagle had reappeared and been seen at a different place entirely so maybe it hadn’t actually gone away but had just basically moved nest into somewhere else.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on, three kids were staying at our old house in Vine Tree Avenue. We were there and there was a hell of a lot going on in this dream. One of my things to do was to go round and check on the flies. For some unknown reason, the flies were of interest. I’d read a book on flies and the life-cycle of the flies, the family of the fly, all this kind of thing and it was interesting to see how much the families of the flies around our house actually bore to it. So I used to do my rounds and check on things while everyone else was out and I still kept on doing my rounds. And on one of my rounds I walked into my parents bedroom and there was one of my sisters. “So what are you doing here?” I asked her “I’m looking for a quiet place to study and write some letters and people wouldn’t leave me alone so I came in here”. I said “the easiest thing to do to be left alone is to not make any noise and people won’t remember about you. You should really be in here and shut the door and that would be better still” and I gave her some more advice like that as well. But it was something about the life cycle of the fly and the family of the fly that interested me.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall
I was in the area of Shavington last night, (…Rope Hall Lane…). I was on a motorcycle and I was following someone in a car. This motorcycle thing went past us, grey but with an orange-painted tank on it. As I went round a bend the guy in the car was busy turning the car round to come back the other way towards me. I asked him what was up. Apparently the motor cycle had hit him and driven off. A crowd of people came round, someone on a police motor bike but it wasn’t a policeman. The guy with me was telling a story about how he had hit him and said a few impolite things and driven away. I suddenly realised that I knew this guy, and I bet that I knew his name as well as he sounded like the kind of person whom I’d met. I mentioned it to him, that he’s a regular on this road and we can find him again at some other time.
But then I was in Shavington (… Rope Lane by the Vine …) with someone else, someone from Canada but not Josée I think. We were talking about my childhood as we drove through Shavington so I took her down Vine Tree Avenue and showed her the house where we lived as kids. Of course it’s much different now than it was in those days. We were having a chat about it when some woman came up and asked me if I knew the area. I said that I had lived here. She replied that she had lived here since the 50s and she knew this street – pointing to Edwards Avenue – by some other name. I said that if she had been here in the 50s she must have known me then so we had a chat. I don’t think that we actually got to mentioning my name, who I was, but we were talking on about Edwards Avenue and Vine Tree Avenue and I was pointing out some garages (… which don’t exist …) that still bore some kind of resemblance to how our houses looked at the time

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I said, no wonder that I was exhausted.

After breakfast, there wasn’t much time before I had to go to the shops, so I looked at the digital soundfile that I’d downloaded yesterday. And one brief listen to that, and that one followed the previous version into the bin as well. The first couple of minutes of the opening track are missing, and that’s no good to anyone.

What I’ll have to do is to download yet another version if I can find one.

Before I went out I grabbed a quick shower and then headed uptown, stopping to watch Tiberiade perform her nautical danse macabre around the harbour.

At LIDL there was nothing of any particular interest, although I did watch in mild amusement as someone came into the shop in plastic gloves and a face mask to do his shopping. I think that some people need to get a sense of proportion. More people died in the 2003 heatwave, and more people will die of influenza in a normal winter. The trouble is that because those things are so normal, the Press never mentions them so people don’t realise.

Talking of journalists, I have a journalist friend in the USA who is currently having a hysterical panic about this virus. So I asked her how the tally of deaths and illness from the virus compares with the amount of firearm-related deaths and injuries in the USA.

She didn’t reply, but kept on having her hysterics.

Yes, never mind this virus. There are people walking the streets in the USA with enough firepower to wipe out a small-sized district at the drop of a hat, yet that causes these silly Americans no concern whatsoever. But then again, I suppose that the USA is such a violent bloodthirsty country that they are accustomed to the idea of violence.

And that’s a dreadful state of mind to be in.

first buds rue de la houle granville manche normandy france eric hallSeveral weeks ago, I posted a photo of what I considered to be the first buds of the year. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the time I expressed my scepticism.

But there’s no doubting whatsoever about these. here in the rue de la Houle there are definitely buds here on this creeping plant that’s growing up the wall.

Yes, we can definitely now say that Spring is on its way quite definitively. That put a little spring into my step, although I wish that I knew what happened to winter.

new house construction rue charles guillebot impasse de la corderie granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the new building that’s going on on the corner of the rue Charles Guillebot and the impasse de la Corderie.

Being in an energetic mood today, I went to have a closer look at it today. It is indeed a new house. But the people who are building it don’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to finish it.

It’s one thing that I’ve noticed here with the local builders. They don’t seem to be in any rush whatever to actually complete anything and we’ve seen projects like this go on for ever.

eglise st paul granville manche normandy france eric hallJust by way of a change, seeing as I’d never come this way, I went down into town via the rue Charles Guillebot.

That takes me down the north side of the eglise St Paul, a side of the church that we haven’t seen before. I’ve probably mentioned this church in the past. It was one of the earliest concrete structures built in modern times (the Romans were well-advanced with the use of concrete) but like most things, was never maintained.

As a result, there are bits dropping off it and there are notices all over the place telling the public to keep well clear.

At La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and headed back home.

floating pontoon support pillar granville manche normandy france eric hallBut once more, I stopped half-wau up the rue des Juifs to admire the view. We saw them earlier knocking the support pillar into the floor, but that was a photo that I had taken later this afternoon.

What we are seeing in this photo is the floating pontoon setting out from its mooring with that support pillar in its evil clutches and being shunted into position by the little boat.

It’s actually quite an exciting procedure watching then manoeuvring about the harbour with all of their equipment. All of this free entertainment that we are having.

Back at the apartment, I had a little surprise. I bumped into one of the more energetic owners here, and he invited me to come with him on a little guided tour.

underneath residence vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallUnderneath this building are several big man-made caverns which had been bricked off and a year or so ago they had found the entrance and smashed their way through the wall to the inside.

There were apparently the water tanks for the old city in the days before there was the mains water supply. All of the rainfall from the roofs of the houses and from the street was channelled into here.

And it’s certainly an impressive sight to see. Apparently, it was full of all kinds of things before they started to clean it out. The plan was to divide it up into private cellars for the owners of the apartments, but it’s hit a major snag.

rubble underneath residence vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd he showed me what was the snag.

One of the underground caverns was well-blocked off and took some smashing down. And when they finally broke their way in, they could see exactly why it was so well sealed.

If the story that I was told is correct, and I would gladly learn otherwise, the building was divided into rooms by all kids of ad-hoc partitions that had accumulated over the centuries. When it was converted into apartments, the old partition walls had to be smashed down and taken away.

Included in the contract for the work was a large sum for “hire of containers and transport away of the waste” and this was duly paid. However it seems that the waste was never transported away at all but thrown down the lift shafts into one of the caverns and the cavern was then sealed off so that no-one would see it.

Of course, this is just one person’s view of the matter and there is very likely another, but one inescapable fact is that m’learned friends have been called in by the building’s management committee.

We shall see how all of this develops over the next few months. But nevertheless, it was exciting being down here and seeing all of this that I had never seen before.

After lunch I boiled up some ginger and then started to make my orange and ginger syrup.

I peeled 5 large juice oranges, gave then a quick whizz in the whizzer and poured off the juice, which I put into a bottle that I had sterilised. That went into the fridge.

The left-over pulp was whizzed down finely and then, after the ginger had simmered for an hour or so, I added the left-over pulp, brought it to the boil again and then left it to simmer.

While that was happening, I made a start on the sound files that we had recorded at the Grande Marée yesterday.

charles marie chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere were a few people out there this afternoon but I didn’t loiter very much.

My route took me round to the chantier navale where I could see that La Granvillaise and one of the fishing boats have gone back into the water. But Charles-Marie is still in there, minus a good few of her planks. This is going to be a long job

There was another classe decouverte out there today too, but no-one whom I recognised so I headed for home. I’m still shaking my head about that unexpected encounter yesterday.

home made orange ginger syrup granville manche normandy france eric hallBack here, I had a look to see how my orange and ginger was doing.

Nicely simmering away so I took it off the heat, added a couple of tablespoons of manuka honey (that’s how I make it into syrup), poured it all into the whizzer and gave it all a really good and lengthy whizz around.

The syrupy mass was then poured into the orange juice that I had put in the fridge earlier and it was all shaken up to mix it in. It all went into the fridge where over the course of the next week or so I’ll be using it up as my morning drink.

Back at my desk, I carried on with the sound file but I didn’t get very far as I drifted away with the fairies. And I also had my half-hour on the bass.

Tea was a burger on a bun with potatoes and veg. And I forgot the veg until the very last minute and had to rush them. The apple pie and ice cream for pudding was delicious too. I really am living well these days.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was quite a wind blowing outside this evening.

Not one of the strongest winds that we have had and not really enough to knock me out of my stride either. And so i was astonished to see how the waves were roaring in to the Plat Gousset.

It is the period of the fullest moon and the highest tides, but even so, I hadn’t expected to see waves like this coming into the Plat Gousset with such incredible force. I stood there for quite a while to watch the show.

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWindy it might have been, but not enough to frustrate my two evening runs. I managed to fit them in without too many problems and managed to push the distances on again. For my second run, I even made it up to the top of the ramp and I haven’t done that for a while.

But there was a lot of activity in the port and at the fish-processing plant. With it being nearly high tide, the gates are open so the big fishing boats can come in and unload.

For my part, I went and had a little play with the NIKON 1 J5 and the f1.8 18.5mm lens

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe photo above was taken with the shutter speed at 1/20 at f1.74 with ISO 900

This photo here was taken completely manual with speed of 1/125 at f1.74 and ISO 2800.

They have both come out rather well and I’m quite pleased with them. Still plenty of room for improvement but I’ll just keep on working away at it until I improve.

So back here I’ve written up all of my notes and now, a lot later than I hoped, I’m going to bed. I hope that I have better luck trying to drag myself out of bed tomorrow morning, but who knows? It’s really driving me to despair

Tuesday 12th APRIL 2016 – I’VE BEEN OFF AGAIN …

… on yet another mega-ramble during the night. I must be sleeping a little better, which must be a sign of something, I suppose.

Last night, I started out with a girl who was supposed to be Amber, my niece’s daughter (but who bore a startling resemblance both in looks and character to my younger sister) and her friend Julianna. And we were in Canada, on our way west towards Centreville to be reunited with Amber’s grandmother. But Amber (or my sister, take your pick) was certain that her grandmother wasn’t there and that when we arrived she and her friend would have to take the ‘plane to fly on to wherever her grandmother was staying. I was surprised at this because it was the usual time for me going to Canada and she was always at home when I arrived (and why we didn’t telephone to check up was something that I don’t understand either). By now, it was late at night and we stopped for the night at a motel. We had our beds in the foyer so everyone had to go past us to enter their rooms and with me and two young girls the place soon became a real dump, with stuff everywhere for I had had to turn the luggage inside-out to find the food to make sandwiches and I’d been finding all sorts of things. But Amber (or my sister) mentioned the name of the town where her grandmother usually stayed so I looked for it on the map but couldn’t find it. But in a moment of inspiration I looked inside the front cover of the map and there was a rubber stamp from a used-car salesman from the town where she might be. I couldn’t read the writing so I asked one of the girls to look. Amber (or my sister) had a look and told me the full address, and the nearest city happened to be about 250 miles in the opposite direction right near where Hannah goes to University at Antigonish. I told Amber (or my sister) to telephone straight away to her father to see if grandmother was at this address, because now that we had it, we could have a good night’s sleep and head down there directly in the morning. And it was here that I noticed that Amber (or my sister) was having a crafty smoke of a cigarette, so did I have words to say to her about that at her age!
From here, the action moved on to Brussels and a group of Russian “nouvels arrivants” living there. Some of these Russians were fairly young but they were all quite street-wise, and everyone seemed to be concerned with some kind of storage of illicit spirits. One of the girls, called Alina (and who bore more than a passing resemblance to girl called Alina whom I once met) was more determined than the rest and was keen to secure her independence. She had once been dared to work out how to break into one of these secret warehouses and much to everyone’s surprise she had managed to do so. Now, she intended to break in for good and clear out all of the stock and, unsurprisingly, in a fit of boredom and lack of excitement in my life, I volunteered to help her. Terry and Liz offered to help as well. So she turned up, worked her way into the warehouse and we loaded up a van with all of these spirits and Terry quickly drove it off while Alina and I sorted out the finances. When I met up with Liz and Terry afterwards, they were both keen to know all about Alina and my involvement with her and how come she felt so confident as to be able to handle all of this at her age, and on reflection I had to admit to them that I knew nothing really concrete or substantial about her and I couldn’t really see how I had come to let myself be involved in all of this, knowing what the Russian Mafia could be quite capable of “arranging”.
After this, it was the turn of my middle sister to make her debut in my nocturnal ramble. There she was with another girl and both had babies in pushchairs. We were all planning to go off somewhere and the bust was at 08:13 but they were taking far too much time to prepare themselves and their charges and I was trying to urge them on. It was a good 10 minutes walk to the bus stop and I looked at my watch – it was 07:56 and I was feeling that if they don’t organise themselves right this minute, we wouldn’t be going anywhere at all.

It wasn’t 07:56 though because I checked. It was 07:23 when I awoke and, much to my surprise, I was feeling a little (but only a little) better. I actually managed to attack my breakfast with much more confidence. I had the usual repose during the morning, being evicted by the cleaner while she did the room and that gave me an opportunity to do some research into the laundry room. There’s a washing machine there that for €2:00 will do all of your clothes so I’ll be sorting that out tomorrow.

I felt a little better going down to the shops for my bread and when I could finally bring myself to eat it, I felt much better after that. So much so that I postponed my afternoon nap until 16:30 and was back up and about at 18:00.

For tea, remembering to go out early so as not to end up locked out like last night, I had pasta and tomato sauce – to take away – for a mere €5:50. Living in an area overrun with students is paying massive dividends with deals like that. And for once, I really enjoyed it and managed to eat it all without any hesitation.

So I’m off to bed in a couple of minutes. I’m glad that I’ve been feeling better today and I hope that I can maintain the improvement tomorrow – especially if I can keep eating like this.