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Saturday 4th September 2021 I KNOW THAT I PROMISED …

dehydrated black fungus noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… never to laugh or take the micky out of foreign translations into English (after all, my writing in French and Flemish isn’t all that much to write home about) but there are some occasions that just leap to the eye.

Here in Noz this morning, I was presented with the opportunity to buy some “dehydrated black fungus”.

The literal translation is of course “dehydrated black mushrooms” and I might ordinarily have been tempted – a handful of those sprinkled on my Sunday pizza would have soon absolrbed any excess liquid, but I couldn’t get past the “black fungus” bit.

So in the end I passed up the opportunity

Having gone to bed reasonably early last night, it was still a struggle to leave the bed at 06:00 when the alarm went off.

After breakfast I had a little session listening to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was staying with someone who was a cross between my Aunt Mary and Rosemary, in a room that was underneath one of the rooms in the attic where there were peopel staying. I wasn’t particularly clean because I’d been working all the time. I didn’t have many clothes with me and it wasn’t possible to wash them so I was rather struggling. We had a big house and there was a huge garden with it, completely overgrown and an absolute mess and we’d started work on tidying that up. Some guy had come along to help us and move the heavy stuff. We’d sorted out all of the washing, all the clothes and stuff in the barn and there was a pile of stuff. By the time that he was ready to leave the place looked brilliant. he said that there was a load of washing and clothes still in the barn but he’d had to take the washing line down. If someone wanted to refix it, he’d come along later and put the clothes back up. I said that I’d do that, although I didn’t feel much like it with my health because I didn’t want him rummaging through those clothes. There was a huge bank at the back of the house and we were manoeuvring stuff up there, putting it into skips and everything. There was an issue with horse hair for some reason. This woman asked me if I’d stayed in that room before. I replied “yes, I was in that same room last year”. She said “ahh well, a horse hair has got out and this was something of a tragedy to her that this horse hair had escaped from this room.

While I was at it, I did a few of the arrears too and just as I was on the point of finishing, there was a power cut and I had to start again, right from the very beginning, having forgotten to save my post as I worked.

And do you know – I’ve been using this text editor – NOTE-TAB – for over 20 years and it wasn’t until just after the power cut that I realised that there’s an autosave facility buried deep in the bowels of this program. It’s now set to “save every 2 minutes”.

But then this is how I’ve learnt most of the details about the programs that I use – thinking about “surely this particular function would be quite useful in this program” and searching my way through the program’s functions until I find it.

Off to the shops I set, and the first port of call was Noz of course. I eschewed the dehydrated black fungus but instead bought a couple of “orange and strawberry” drinks with which to take my medicine.

As well as that, having thought long and hard about what webcam to buy for the big computer (for more than two years in fact) they had some cheap ones at €3:50 so I’ll have a bit of a play with that and see what happens.

At LeClerc they had grapes at, would you believe, €1:49 per kilo so I bought a huge pile of those. The autumn is the time of year that I love, because we have grapes in abundance followed by clementines and satsumas, all the way up to the New Year.

A rather unusual purchase was a tin of WD40. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been having problems with Caliburn’s door latch mechanism and having dismantled it a few weeks ago I could see the problem.

So on the car park of LeClerc it’s all had a really good oiling and it will be having a few more before I reassemble the door panelling.

peugeot car up on blocks rue de la crete Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now here’s something that you very rarely, if ever, see here in France.

By the side of the road in a parking area outside a row of houses is a damaged car, parked up on blocks with its wheels missing. And judging by the amount of rust on the front discs, it’s been like that for quite a while too.

Usually, the council is pretty quick on identifying abandoned vehicles and tagging the wheels to check whether the vehicles are in use (we’ve seen a couple of these) and then if there’s no evidence of movement they take them away.

They don’t need to tag this one to see that it’s not in use.

Back here I put my frozen peas in the freezer, made myself a coffee, sat down to drink it and the next thing that I knew, it was almost 14:00. And it’s been a good couple of weeks since I’ve crashed out se deeply, so definitively and so long as this.

While I was away, I was off on my travels. I was working for Gill Leese again, just as I had been one night a couple of weeks ago, presumably before I had been unceremoniously fired. A few drivers had taken a couple of coaches and gone somewhere. While I was there one of the drivers suddenly asked me “could you ‘phone Gill now?”. I went to fetch my ‘phone but I couldn’t remember the password. When I did, I was entering it in all wrong and it was all totally crazy. It took me ages to actually get into it. I ‘phoned her and she said that there had been a customer who had come in and wanted to take a coach-load of people on a lion hunt somewhere out in Leicestershire way that evening. Would I do it?”. I thought that this was an extremely strange pantomime way of asking me to go about doing something. I said that I would do it but I was still puzzled as to why it had taken her all of this effort instead of someone just asking me outright at some other time during the day.

It took me quite a while to gather my wits (which is a surprise, seeing how few I have left these days) and so I ended up with a very late lunch, yet again.

This afternoon I had a few things to do, including catching up with completing yesterday’s entry (which is still unfinished) but there wasn’t much of an afternoon left before it was time for me to head out to the football.

boats in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mused about the situation that would surely arise when the gates of the port would be due to arise and there would be a mass stampede back to the harbour.

It seems that my afternoon trip out today has coincided with the closure of the gates of the port this afternoon because that’s precisely what I was witnessing as I walked on down the hill

However, there is one boat that seems to be heading off in the opposite direction. He’s quite possibly off for a trip around and either come back on the morning tide or to go off and find another harbour elsewhere.

boats in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The sunout in the west was creating a haze on the water and out of the haze, boats were coming from all directions.

It wasn’t just yachts and cabin cruisers either. There were a few kayakers too, paddling like fury to reach the shore. They’ll want to be home before the evening goes cold because,being so close to the water, it’s very cold in there and you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

There are a couple of boats with multiple oars too. I once knew someone who fell out of one of those. And everyone said that he was out of his schull.

boats entrance to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Outside the entrance to the tidal harbour, there was what almost amounted to a traffic jam.

We have yachts, zodiacs, speedboats and kayakers all jostling for position and fighting for their way into harbour.

So I left them all to it – I didn’t have too much time to waste – and headed off down the hill down the Rue des Juifs on my way down to the centre of the town in the sun on my way to the football.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021You can tell that the summer season has come to an end. All of the attractions that were here for the summer are disappearing one by one.

The kiddies’ roundabout that was here in the Place Charles de Gaulle throughout the summer has been dismantled and taken away. I wouldn’t have thought that a Saturday would have been a good day to remove it with the market and all of the families with children wandering around the shops.

The walk up the hill towards the football ground was tough again, although it seems that it’s a little easier than it has been just recently. Perhaps the physiotherapy is doing its job.

football us granville sologne olympique romorantinais stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the Stade Louis Dior US Granville were plaving Sologne Olympique Romorantinais.

The two teams are quite low down the table having had a poor start to the season and it didn’t go any better for Granville as they lost 1-2.

In fact Granville played quite well but they just couldn’t find the final shot on goal no matter how much of the attack that they had.

And when they did have a decent attempt on goal, a beatiful cross that split the defence, it was the attacker at the far post who ended up in the net and the ball whistled past the post. The goal that they did score was a clearance out of defence that the Granville midfield fired straight back.

Romorantan just had two shots on goal and scored tham both, which shows you just how cruel a game of football could be.

What was quite amusing was that after Granville missed their sitter at the far post, Romorantin went upfield and scored their second, and it was immediately from the kickoff that Granville scored their goal. That was a phrenetic two minutes.

birds flying over stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Apart from the seagulls around here, there are quite a few colonies of songbirds in the town and one of them nestles in the row of trees behind the football ground.

As we were watching the game, the colony came home to roost in the trees, circling around above our heads as they came in to land.

It was like watching a scene from Daphne du Maurier’s THE BIRDS and Jessica Tandy ran from the flock, clutching her skirt between her legs and Alfred Hitchcock explaining to Kenneth Williams “a bird in the hand is worth two in the …”

Being stood up for a couple of hours was more exahusting than I could imagine and I’m seriosly considering taking a seat in the grandstand in future, which shows you how ill I’m feeling these days, and so even the long walk down the hill was exhausting.

marite chausiaise galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The sun was going down as I staggered back up the Rue des Juifs and I was glad to get to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where I could stop and sit on a seat and catch my breath.

The harbour gates were closed by now and everyone who was coming in home is home and tied up.

From left to right, we have Chausiaise, Marité nearest the camera, Galeon Andalucia behind her, still in port, and then Granville and Victor Hugo, the two Channel Island ferries.

repaired wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A couple of weeks ago we witnessed them starting to repair one of the brick walls that form the capping of the retaining wall that separates the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne from the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

The top row of capping had diappeared a while back and they had stuck some bricks on top of it. But now they have infilled and pointed the brickwork and they have done quite a decent job of it too.

The walk up to the top of the hill from here went rather easier than I was expecting and not as much of a struggle as I was fearing. To my surprise, I found that I even had some force in my right knee too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, a good few hours later than usual, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

Surprisingly there were a few people down there too, despite the lateness of the hour and the fact that it was growing dark. Trying to squeeze every last moment of what is left of the summer.

And I’m convinced that when Rosemary came to visit me a couple of years ago she hid a spy camera in this apartment.

She rang me up last weekend just as the final whistle blew on the football that I was watching on the internet, and tonight it was just as I walked through the door after the football up the road.

We had a lengthy chat as usual and as a result I’ve had no tea and I’ve done nothing at all to finish off my day.

It makes me wonder just WHEN I’m ever going to get myself up-to-date.

Thursday 3rd October 2019 – I HAVE HAD …

… one of the best Indian meals that I have had for quite a while in North America. Outside Montreal, of course, because nothing can improve upon the Indian cafe that I discovered at Cote Vertu in Montreal.

It seems that a family of Indians – “those” Indians, not “those Indians” = have recently taken over a motel in Woodstock (a phenomenon that I first observed about 15 years or so ago) and converted the restaurant into an Indian restaurant.

I had a vegetable biryani and it was excellent, as indeed was everyone else’s meal. The service unfortunately did not match the food, but I’m sure that it will improve.

And I felt like a good meal tonight too because I’ve had a harrowing day. It all went wrong during the night where I reckoned that I had hardly slept at all. Three dictated files on the dictaphone told a different story but nevertheless that was how I felt.

There was no school run either so I hitched a lift up to the office with Rachel so that I could pick up Strider. But then we had an urgent phone call. The boy who was taking Amber to school failed to turn up so I had to dash home. Amber isn’t a fan of Strider but she had no choice in the matter this morning.

Quite a few stresses and strains at the tyre depot today. It seems that everyone is having weekend blues a few days early. But at least the cashing up was no problem tonight – we were $0:90 over so we decided to Spend Spend Spend!

At lunchtime though I’d come home for a shower and a change of clothes, and also to salvage the Note-Tab clipboard libraries from the old computer – a task that I had forgotten. But that’s now accomplished. And I do have to say that the old computer now that it’s “fixed” seems to be working better than it ever did.

We all went down for an Indian meal tonight, all seven of us. And on the way back Rachel, Zoe and I went to visit one of Rachel’s friends who is on the point of leaving for the winter.

But now I’m set up in my room on my way to bed. Let’s hope that tomorrow will bring us some happiness. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Friday 23rd November 2018 – FOR THE FIRST TIME …

… for quite some considerable time, we’ve had rain today.

Not enough to prevent me from going for my series of perambulations but enough to make me put on the raincoat and do up the hood. And it’s not a long knee-length raincoat, Rhys.

With having had a reasonably early night, I had a good sleep too.

During the night last night there was something of a family reunion. I’m no longer sure of the beginning or even the middle but right at the end I can remember going to bed – in Vine Tree Avenue of all places. But when I went to get into bed with Nerina, my younger sister was asleep in there too. When I awoke her to find out what was going on, she told me that there was someone else asleep in her bed so she had to find somewhere else to sleep. I went to look in her bed and found that one of my friends had actually gone to sleep in there.
As an aside, in real life whoever was asleep in her bed later became her husband. But that’s another story.

It wasn’t a particularly early start this morning either. I had a bit of a lie-in, and then I attacked the breakfast.

This morning I’ve been a busy little B. The blog for the last week or two is up to date and you can see where I updated starting from this page and working forward.

When I’m more organised, I’ll be starting from the end of October and working backwards, doing three or four a day until it’s all done. It might take me several years to do it but if I don’t start, I won’t finish.

Another task that I’ve done this morning that took me far longer than it ought was to merge the clipbook libraries.

The program that I use the most is a text editor called Notetab. I do evrything with it, from making brief notes right up to hand-coding my own web pages.

The main advantages that it has are that

  1. you can have several *.txt or *.html files open at any one time
  2. you can build up a whole series of clipbook libraries, so that you can save a regular block of text or coding that you use on a regular basis, and just one click inserts it into your document, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall

There are enough old computers here to sink a ship, and there are backups that date to about 1999, so this morning I started to extract the libraries from the various machines and merge them together.

having done a couple this morning, I then did a big back-up of the laptop and I’ll be backing up my data a couple of times a day from now on, always assuming that I remember.

While I was searching for something else, I came across a rare book going back to AD731 that has now been uploaded to the internet and available for free download. And so I’ve now added a copy of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People to my virtual library.

This is one of the very earliest histories of England and, along with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, was the basis of much of what was known about English history in the Dark Ages.

And that reminds me. I brought my Domesday Book with me from the farm, but did I bring my Anglo-Saxon Chronicle?

This muesli that I made really is wicked. It went down a treat on my butties at lunchtime and there is still plenty left. And after lunch I came back into my little office and carried on with Day Four of the High Arctic.

trawler aztec lady ship repair yard port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was a break for a walk around the headland. Although it was raining, it wasn’t all that bad-certainly not bad enough to stop me.

At the ship repairers, Aztec Lady was still there, up on blocks. There was a ladder up to her deck but I couldn’t see any sign of any work being done.

The trawlers are still up there too receiving attention. I’m not sure what they are doing to the pink and white one that we saw being lifted out of the water.

fishing boats quay port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that back when they were dredging out the harbour, they had a digger in the tidal basin here at low tide.

It was digging out a deep channel at the outside of the fishing quay by the fish processing plant.

This was done presumably with the aim of making a cut there that would provide access to the quay for a greater part of the day

fishing boats quay port de granville harbour manche normandy france There’s a whole line of smaller boats that have been queueing up outside the harbour now on their way in to tie up and unload.

If you look at the surrounding tidal harbour, you can see that it’s a long way from being submerged right now.

It certainly seems that the little channel that they dug out is working, and in spades too, which is good news for the port and the town.

More time available to unload means that more fishing boats can use the facilities

Just by way of a change I’d been chatting to a couple of neighbours too – one as I left the building and the second as I arrived back. It’s all go here, isn’t it?

In the mail today I’ve had the bill for the taxe d’habitation – the Council Tax – for next year for my house in the Auvergne. Eat your hearts out, you UK dwellers. My council tax for next year is all of €24:00.

Ingrid phoned me up after I came back. And we had a lengthy chat for a good hour or so about all kinds of things. She’s not too well right now, so I told her that some nice, relaxing sea air would do her the world of good.

There was a pepper left over so tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. I need to rid myself of the perishable stuff before I go away on Sunday.

Then, back into the rain. There was just one other person out there this evening but Minette, the black cat, was there on her windowsill. She had a good stroke and even allowed me to pick her up for 30 seconds.

But for some reason or another, I’m feeling quite tired. No idea why – it’s not as if I had a bad night. But I do seem to think that I’ve not had my usual afternoon doze so that might account for it.

It’s a good enough reason to go to bed.

Tuesday 19th May 2015 – SO HERE I AM …

… sitting at home with a laptop with a failed hard drive that doesn’t work.

And am I downhearted? No!!!!

Because I have another laptop with half a screen and half a keyboard to keep me going. And this just shows the beauty of a little program like Note Tab, where you can create your own library of regularly-used text and click on the library entry with the mouse to insert it in the text that you are writing.

So once you have set up your own alphabet library, using copy-paste from work that you have done before, you can type all kinds of lengthy documents using just a mouse (and if your mouse packs up, you can plug in an external one).

As for the cracked screen, then an old external screen from a desktop machine works fine, although by manoeuvring your work around to good bits of the screen, even that is not essential. And that’s how I’m working even as we speak

So you see, we’re still here and still churning out the rubbish. It’ll take more than a mere damaged computer to put a stop to me.

What did however put a stop to me was the phone, so at least I know that that is now working again. Terry is stuck for a cement mixer and seeing as how the one that I have is his old one, he wanted to know if he could borrow it. Well, I’m not likely to be using it for quite a while yet, so he came round to pick it up and we had quite a chat.

Then I went back and cracked on with the work.

And until about midnight, that’s exactly what I did too. All of the blog is now up-to-date and tomorrow, once I’ve taken Caliburn for his annual check-up, I’ll start on the radio programmes.

Shame that I lost them in my hard-drive crash, but there you go.

Tuesday 12th June 2012 – IT WAS A …

… much better day today.

A mere 3.5 mm of rainfall fell today, and given what we have had just recently that’s a positive drought.

This morning though I was on the computer and finally finished the spell-check on my notes from Canada.

You might be wondering why I was using a spell checker, but apart from the obvious reason, it also has a multiple-entry correction facility. And the speed at which I transcribe my notes from the dictaphone there are always the same faults and typing errors and the multiple-entry correction fixes all of those in one keystroke and that saves me ages.

Next thing was to go into my text editor program.

I use Note-tab instead of Notepad, and for a few good reasons too

  • it has multiple-page facility, which Notepad does not have, so I can have a dozen pages open all at once
  • it has a library facility. That means that you can build up your own library of common phrases or keystrokes and use just one click to insert the block of text instead of typing it out each time
  • There’s an excellent find/replace facility too. If you want to change – say, an é letter into its alt-code for web purposes, or change a name from Mike to Michael in a huge block of text, tabbing through the find/replace facility does it far more quickly than you would do it by hand. How long would it have taken to change the … (gulp) … 745 cases of e-acute manually one-by-one?

After that I went off a-gardening.

I’ve had some bean, pea and sweetcorn seeds soaking since Saturday and they needed planting before they go rotten. And the pea seeds were already chitting too.

This meant “weeding” and to my delight this was much easier than I had anticipated. The ground was so waterloged and the raised beds were working so well that the roots of the weeds were not in very deep at all and came out quite easily.

I did the bean and pea beds in no time at all.

But this was where I discovered that I had been rather too quick off the mark. When I returned from Canada I had checked the beans and peas and noticed that next-to-nothing had come up – hence the soaking of another batch of seeds.

climbing frame beans peas les guis virlet puy de dome franceBut after weeding, I reckoned that the peas must have been slow germinators as there are now about a dozen or so rearing up their ugly heads, not to mention all of the seeds that I had just been soaking.

Anyway, I planted everything all ready for the second phase of gardening, and I also found the old pea frame. I gave that a going-over and then installed it over the pea bed to give them something to cling to.

You can also see one of the bean beds in front of the pea bed, a potato bed to the left, a compost bin to the right with a blueberry bush in front.

It did rather remind me of the story of the Crewe and Nantiwh Borough Council workmen, and the foreman ringing up the clerk of works on one particular job that they were on –
“the men’s shovels haven’t arrived yet on this job. What are we going to do?”
The clerk of works replied “tell the men to lean on each other until they arrive!”

In other news, I’m having phone issues again. The phone that I bought from a brocante three years ago for 50 cents seems to have given up the ghost. I have another Belgian phone that I could use to replace it but I don’t have a French (or a generic) phone cable – the one for the broken phone is a special type made just for that phone and isn’t interchangeable.

After much searching, I decided to buy a new phone. And this wasn’t as easy as it sounds either. The cheapest ‘phone is €9:99 but there is a €6:50 postage fee from amazon.fr.

There were quite a few others to choose from but the one at €15:50 comes with many more facilities and is also on special offer – free delivery, and so that makes it cheaper than the cheapest. So that’s on its way now and hopefully my phone issues might be at an end.

I did once have a spare phone but I lent it to a girl who used to live around here but she has moved – twice as it happens – and so I won’t ever be seeing that again, will I?