Tag Archives: omar khayyam

Monday 20th May 2024 – YOU’VE PROBABLY ALL …

… read yesterday’s embarrassing blog entry now that it’s on line.

Ohhh!! The shame of it all. I eventually managed to make my way to bed, fully-clothed, at about 02:30 which, seeing as the alarm was set for 07:00 was going to be something of an effort.

Especially as today is another Bank Holiday and usually you wouldn’t see my head poking out from under the covers until about 11:00 I suppose

But all of that was back in the olden days. How times have changed. And not for the better either

When the alarm went off I arose from the dead and went for a wash in the bathroom to clean up

The dining area needed arranging for the nurse too but I arranged it somewhat differently to make it easier for me to stand up. The heights for my arms to push up so that I can stand up have to be calculated pretty precisely .

The nurse noticed a deterioration today. I told him how fed up I was with it all. I need to start laying the foundations for my eventual depart

After he left I came back in here and with an old, pretty full A4 binder and my pillow, managed to raise up the height of the chair so I can sit down with no worries about getting up again. What kind of state am I really in?

At least I was able to write out the blog entry from last night and post it on line.

This afternoon I had a lot of personal stuff to do. And do you remember that issue that reared its ugly head in the UK? The bullet is bitten, the die is cast
"The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it"
and I shall be making one of the greatest expenditures in my life.

In fact, only the purchase of Expo, my second apartment in Brussels and my apartment downstairs here have cost me more, and the sad thing is that I won’t ever see the benefit of it.

Ahh well, such is life I suppose

That left me some time to transcribe last night’s diictaphone notes. And to my surprise, there was something. They were doing some kind of survey into criminal investigations. I’d been leading some kind of group that had a great deal of interest in this. We were comparing various things together to see about them. One year we had a graph that had an abnormal part in it so we looked further into it. That was what they called “The Irish Sex Scandal” when the Irish Government spent so long investigating a case before brining it to court that it was deemed to be – not “Perverting The Court of Justice” but whatever I mean … "defeating the ends of natural justice" – ed … to bring it to Court. The prosecution collapsed accordingly. We began to wonder whether there had been any other UK cases that had collapsed like this because of a want of prosecution. We began to look further into a lot of old cases to make sure that at least the defence had been correctly run and the correct information had been supplied to them for them to decide what to do with it

During the day I’d been crashing out here and there, which is no surprise given the sleep that I hadn’t had. When I was asleep in the morning I was doing something in the countryside. There was a campsite there. I was having a good wash but a couple of people were having a shower. It suddenly occurred to me “why don’t I have a shower instead?”. I gathered up my things and must have gone into twenty cubicles without finding a single cubicle that had everything one would need for a proper shower. There was always something missing. On one occasion I was menaced by a dog but as it approached me I menaced it back and it ran away. Twenty cabins I must have tried and not one of them had all one would need for a shower.

That sounds typical, doesn’t it?

There was still some time to write a few notes for a forthcoming radio programme before going to make my stuffed pepper and I’ll finish it tomorrow. But after my Welsh lesson. I’m going to bed now ready to be fighting fit for tomorrow

And by that, dear reader, I mean “fighting for breath and fit to drop”.

Wednesday 24th August 2022 – WHAT HAPPENED THERE?

cabin cuiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While you’re admiring a few of this afternoon’s photos featuring a variety of water craft, I’m still trying to understand what happened just now.

There I was going through all of the day’s photos editing them when I noticed that the time was 19:45.

That’s 15 minutes later than the usual tea-making time so I downed tools and went off to make tea – a curry from all of the leftovers as usual on a Wednesday.

But when I checked the time as I sat down to eat, it was actually 19:26. Somewhere along the line I’ve gained an hour and I wish that I could do that every day.

But it looks as if I’m cracking up. Even more evidence, in fact.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I suspected, it was another night that was later than I anticipated. And for the usual reason too, that just as I was going to bed something interesting came up on the computer’s playlist.

It was of course another “Paul Temple” episode and these are far too good to miss. So for that reason it was … errr … somewhat later than usual that I went to bed.

Waking up with the alarm was one thing. Leaving the bed was something else completely and I wasn’t too far short of missing the second alarm.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I came in here to work and once I’d awoken properly and pulled myself together I could listen to the dictaphone to find out where I went last night.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022I had a job working for NATO in Brussels so I arranged to reserve a little apartment for myself for the night. I packed everything and went off to Brussels to find my little apartment. I ended up staying in a hotel room that night instead. Next morning when I was on my travels walking around I cam across a little apartment that looked really nice and was affordable. I started to rent that. I was settled down in a very short space of time. I also ended up with 3 cars for some reason, a Mini, another vehicle and a Morris 1000. I installed myself and the following night I was going to see a concert of some type. I went and bought some food but for some reason I didn’t eat it. I bought something else which was a raw steak. I had a primus stove and a frying pan so I went to this concert quite early on and started to fry this steak in the foyer while I was waiting for things to happen. The first thing that I did was to telephone my father. It was actually supposed to have been a former friend of mine but I ended up with my father. Someone said said “wait a minute” and they went to fetch my father but I fell asleep. When I awoke, the line was dead. He had gone. I found that friend’s phone number and called him. It took me about 4 or 5 goes to get through. His son answered it but when he saw the ‘phone number on the display he said “it must be for my dad” and passed it through. We had a chat but just then the bouncers appeared. I said that I’d have to go as I’d have to dismantle my frying pan and stove. By now the steak was cooked. One or two people were looking at me wondering what on earth I was doing going to eat a steak. It suddenly appeared to me that I was vegetarian so I walked back to Caliburn and threw this steak away thinking that I’d find a pack of chips somewhere. When I reached Caliburn I didn’t have the frying pan. I thought that I must have left that somewhere so I needed to retrace my steps. I bumped into another woman who said that it was strange that I’m cooking a steak when I’m vegan

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little later on I stepped back into that dream and continued where I left of in the same dream. I was actually round at that former friend’s house and we were talking about either music or books or something. The subject of a couple of authors came up or musicians or something. We began to discuss what they were doing

But I can’t believe that I was round there last night and Zero didn’t make an appearance. I’ve not seen her, or Castor or TOTGA for months and I’m beginning to feel that they have deserted me.

As I have asked before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … why is it that my family, who I can quite easily live without, continue to haunt me in my dreams while those whom I would dearly like and give anything to have accompany me on my nocturnal voyages are conspicuous by their absence?

And while we’re on the subject of “haunt me in my dreams”, someone else who hasn’t been around for quite a while is The Vanilla Queen. Her ship seems to have sailed a long time ago.

Fighting off (successfully, for a change) a couple of waves of fatigue, some of the rest of the day has been spent transcribing arrears of dictaphone notes. There are just three days left to do and I suppose that had I pushed on, I could have finished them.

However one thing that I’ve learnt (through many years of bitter experience) is that output tapers off the longer you perform a continuous task as you begin to lose interest, and you become distracted far too easily.

That’s why I always have several tasks on the go at once and when I feel the interest flagging I can pass on to another one.

And so much of the rest of the time has been spent updating the earlier entries with the missing details. I’m not going to publicise them yet otherwise people will be leaping through all kinds of hoops to find them. There are two batches and I’ll publicise each batch as it’s finished individually.

A final thing that I’ve been doing is downloading a couple of photos and publishing them in our Welsh group chat. One of the things about which I was talking to my tutor during our marathon chat was the annual sealift in Arctic Canada.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve talked in the past about the prices in the shops in the Canadian High Arctic. That’s because they have one, just one, sealift every year – a delivery of freight that comes by sea and is offloaded into barges that bring it ashore.

And sometimes, as in 2018, they don’t have any at all if the weather is too bad. And whatever isn’t brought in by sea is obliged to be flown in and that comes at an even more hefty price.

So someone whom I know in Iqaluit on Baffin Island told me that yesterday – actually yesterday – they had the annual sealift and he very kindly let me have some photos. So I posted them in our chat group with a little note – in Welsh.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022We had the usual interruption for me to go on my afternoon walk. And for a change I wasn’t all that late.

Across the car park through the hordes of people over to the wall at the end to see what was happening down on the beach. And not only were there hordes of people up here, there were hordes of people down there too.

And a good proportion of those who were down there were in the water too, so hats off to them. It was a lovely day, but not that nice as far as I was concerned. And not as nice as some others might have thought either because there was definitely at least one kid squealing away.

There was a tent again too, and I was all intent on including it in the photo but it was too far out of shot.

kayak plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were in fact people all the way down the beach as far as the Plat Gousset.

The yellow buoy that you can see marks the limit of the patrolled water. There are several of those buoys all in a line connected by a chain. However my interest was centred on the red object just offshore.

Despite having a good look at it, I couldn’t decide whether it was a kayak or an inflatable dinghy. As someone who has been half-way around the Arctic on board an inflatable dinghy, albeit a motorised one, I was hoping that it might have been the latter.

After all, they are very famous and go back to the days long before motor power, when all inflatable dinghies were sail-powered. Classical poems were even written about them. After all, you’ve all heard about Edward FitzGerald and “The Rubber Yacht of Omar Khayyam”

I’ll get my coat.

yellow powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I mentioned just now, there were crowds of people out here on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way down to the end.

And as I was doing so, I was overflown yet again. The little yellow powered hang-glider thing went flying past overhead on its way back to the airfield after a flight down the bay.

As it happens I was out at a different time today than yesterday so I was wondering whether he loiters out of sight around a corner and waits for me to come out before pouncing.

We haven’t seen any of the other little machines for a good few weeks. That’s a surprise considering the fact that we’re in a Summer season.

buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022On my way down the path I was looking out at sea to see what else was happening and you’ve already seen a couple of photos of what I saw.

But what else I saw was a collection of buoys out at sea, presumably indicating where some of the fishermen have dropped off their lobster pots. There were probably half a dozen or so that I saw out there with a variety of flags, suggesting that several fishermen had been out there.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much else to see because we were having another sea fog this afternoon. Only a small part of the Ile de Chausey was actually visible and that was our lot.

And so I carried on over to the lighthouse and across the car park

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From there I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

There were a couple of the yacht schools out and about as you have seen, but down there on the rocks were several fishermen.

It was like a garden gnome convention with each rock having its own angler. These three were deep in concentration studying their equipment but they didn’t really look as if they were about to catch anything.

After our jackpot a couple of days ago, we have to realise that you can’t win a coconut every time

cabanon vauban people taking photographs bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With all that was going on down on the rocks and out to sea, I was expecting to see plenty of people out here at the end of the headland.

Loads of people on the path, and even a couple down by the cabanon vauban too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one theme that runs through these pages is “photos of people taking photos of people”. And so we were lucky this afternoon as someone duly obliged as I was watching, with his subject doing her best to look disinterested.

We’ve not had any more rain since the other day, by the way, and you can see how sad the vegetation is looking.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From thee I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there.

There wasn’t anyone playing “Musical Ships” again so I had a look over at the ferry terminal. Chausiaise is over there – there mustn’t be any freight workings while the Festival of Working Sailing Ships is taking place.

None of her sisters were there either. And they weren’t in port anywhere so there must be a lot going on at the Ile de Chausey despite it being obscured by fog and presumably they are all over there right now.

49ade aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here looking at Chausiaise I was overflown yet again.

This time it’s an aeroplane though. From what I can see, her registration number is 49ADE and unfortunately that doesn’t tell us a lot. Her number isn’t in the database to which I can have access so I can’t tell you much about her, except that we haven’t seen her before.

An aeroplane like this won’t have filed a flight plan – it’s certainly not filed at the airfield here – and so I can’t tell you where it’s come from and where it’s going.

cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But right now I’m going to look at the things going on at the chantier naval.

Still the same half a dozen boats – no change there – but the respray on Cap Lihou is proceeding apace. They have done quite a considerable amount of work on her since yesterday and they are well advanced with the new paint job.

There are several people on the sky jack at the rear and judging by the noise that’s coming from down there they are still throwing the paint on.

There’s someone up on the roof of the wheelhouse but it’s not clear to me what he’s doing. It looks as if he’s wearing an aqualung but that can’t be right. For a start, there aren’t any park benches there for him to sit on.

marité festival of working sailing ships port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Walking further on down the path I reached the point where I could overlook the inner harbour.

Once again, Marité is having a day off and is tied up at the quayside next to the Russian ship Shtandart. But it looks as if the Festival of Working Sailing Ships is now open, judging by the crowds milling around down there.

The marquees are heaving with people this afternoon so there must be some kind of exhibition taking place. I really ought to go down and have a look.

But is that a TV screen of some description over there on the right?

la granvillaise marie fernand graine de sail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In the previous photo we couldn’t see La Granvillaise and Marie Fernand. They’ve moved from where they had been tied up.

They are now tied up over there where Spirit of Conrad (currently in Norway) usually moors. La Granvillaise is on the left and in the middle of those three is Marie Fernand.

The boat on the right is much more interesting. She’s a commercial freight-carrying yacht called Graine de Sail and her claim to fame is that she has sailed across the Atlantic with 50 tonnes of freight on a commercial voyage.

It goes without saying that I want to talk to her crew, and for obvious reasons too, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Back here I had a chocolate soya drink and then carried on with my work until a strangely early tea. But nevertheless the curry that I made was one of the best that I have ever made and if I can make more like that I’ll be really happy.

Friday 17th June 2022 – "THE MOVING FINGER"

“writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it”
.

So wrote Omar Khayyam in his famous Rubaiyat 900 years ago. But of course he was talking nonsense because a good rubber or a backspace key can erase as much as you like of anything that you have written.

What you cannot lure back to cancel, not even half a word, never mind half a line, is a word that you have spoken and how I’m regretting many of the words that I spoke, or, “mis-spoke”, to be more accurate, in my Welsh exam this afternoon.

Luckily, it’s a conversation exam so, as has been drummed into us on many occasions, they aren’t looking for perfection. Just whether you can hold a conversation that is intelligible and which flows.

The part of the exam which I feared the most, the “asking questions to fill in the gaps”, actually went quite well but the conversation was strewn with errors. However I managed to keep it going, he understood me, I understood his questions and he understood my replies.

Where it fell apart was when I had to interrogate him for a minute or two about his house. You’ve no idea how difficult it is to ask someone a barrage of questions for that length of time.

Yes, what wouldn’t I give for my moving tongue to wipe away whatever it was that I said so that I could start again?

But anyway there isn’t really anything that I can do about that now.

Let’s focus on the rest of the day instead.

southern liner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And how about this ship that appeared in port this morning?

The other day I mentioned that it looked as if we were expecting some interesting things happening in port but I wasn’t expecting anything quite like this.

She’s Southern Liner, a small bulk carrier of 1100 tonnes, registered in Panama, that for the last few weeks has been running a shuttle between St Malo and St Helier but for some reason or other has now come into port here.

Is this going to be the start of something important? I hope so, because we could do with some more trade coming into the harbour.

Not like some of the locals will like it. Having had a successful campaign against the Big Wheel that I mentioned a few weeks ago, they are now campaigning against the Bar Ephemère and are campaigning to close it down.

They seem to be determined to destroy everything that disturbs the peace and tranquility of their little world on the seafront and so I’m on record now as saying that if they don’t like the town and its entertainment I’ll help them pack and I’ll personally run them out of town.

At times I think that a great many people have forgotten that many years ago they were young people too. They need to get over themselves, grow up, and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

So once again I was awake early. Round about 06:45 as it happens. And when the alarm went off I was up and about quite quickly.

After the medication and checking my mails I spent the rest of the morning and the early part of the afternoon revising my Welsh, with the usual stops for a coffee, for breakfast and for lunch as well.

a little earlier I mentioned the exam. It should have been much better than it was but having to think on my feet and talk for more than five minutes is quite confusing. Still, too late to complain about it now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Once the exam was over I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach to see what was happening down there.

It was no surprise to see crowds of people down there because it was the hottest day of the year today. It’s quite cool in my apartment with walls of solid stone 1.2 metres thick and even so I didn’t have a jumper on at all today.

Some of the people down there had taken to the water too and I can’t say that I blamed them. I was rather tempted myself – that tells you just how warm it was today.

marker lights ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was looking down onto the beach, my other eye was roving about out at sea to see what was going on there.

There was quite a haze out there this afternoon and a strange reflection from the water. In recent times when the tide has been out we’ve seen the really nice beaches down at the north end of the Ile de Chausey but today the haze had hidden all of that.

And as far as I could see, there wasn’t a single boat out there at all this afternoon and that was something of a surprise. Admittedly the tide was quite far out so there won’t be anyone on their way home but I was expecting to see something going on out there, regardless of the haze.

marker buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022A few days ago we saw a beautiful flag out there in the bay, presumably indicating where someone has dropped off a lobster pot.

There were a few more out there in the bay this afternoon. By the looks of things the inshore fishing is intensifying, possibly because of the summer season and the tourists. They’ll all be asking for fresh lobster.

Mind you, I can tell you a story about “fresh lobster” from my days in tourism but this is not the time and the place, bearing in mind the peculiar way that calumnie works in France.

There weren’t too many people here on the path so I could wander round in comparative peace and quiet on my way around my circuit.

securite civile van pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But there had been something going on on the lawn here by one of the old bunkers and by the looks of things I had missed it.

That van there is a Securité Civile – Moyens Aeriens – “Civil Security by Aerial Means” and it is usually out and about wherever the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter is operating.

And so it looks as if they have had their chopper out around here performing a rescue. That’s cleared off, presumably to hospital with the rescuee and the van is on its way back to the depot with all of the climbing equipment and everything else that it carries.

And I was too late to catch it all in action.

That was enough excitement for the afternoon. There was no-one down on the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland so I wandered off around the end of the headland and down the path on the other side towards the port.

l'alize 3 charles marie 2 wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And we have yet another change in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Wavecat Express is still there but the catamaran that has been there for a while has now gone back into the water.

L’Alize III that we saw in there on Wednesday is still in there today and she has company. The blue and white trawler that’s come to join her is Charles Marie II..

And there’s a yacht in there too today. I wonder if it’s the same one that we saw the other day that was briefly in here but didn’t stick around.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again by the looks of things.

Yes, it’s L’Omerta back again, moored up to the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant and settling down into the silt.

There were quite a few cars down there on the lower level so it looks as if they are expecting a lot of the smaller shell-fishing boats coming into port to unload as soon as the tide turns.

On the way home I went to inspect Southern Liner and then back here I had a strawberry smoothie.

Next task was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something going on about learning French last night but I can’t remember anything at all about it. It all went out of my head the moment I grabbed hold of the dictaphone.

Later on I was in my white Passat estate going to Germany from Brussels. Leaving Brussels was a real mess because everywhere was in roadworks. I had to go a long way out out of my way. eventually I picked up a road to Liège and set off to go that way. This road disappeared into a tunnel with a black and white road surface. There was a load of slow-moving pedestrians in it (by now I was on foot) and I was running into these pedestrians, they were moving so slowly. We went round a corner in this tunnel and ended up in some kind of subterranean railway station. A train pulled in so we all slmabered aboard. I walked down to the rear of the train where I could look out of the windows at the back and down the line. I didn’t have a ticket, was just standing there watching. The train gradually filled up. In the end the last 2 seats were taken by a couple of men who were clearly under the weather. They were dressed in light blue tuxedos. It looked to me as if they had been on a night out in a casino or something like that, spent their money and had plenty to drink. They settled down in these last two seats so I was standing up by there. The train pulled away and that was that.

And regrettably I fell asleep at some point. The only time that I fell asleep today as well and again, only for about 15 minutes.

After I awoke and came back round into the land of the living I started to empty Caliburn.

At great personal expense I’ve brought up two of my four kitchen units. I can bring them across the yard on a trolley, carry them to the front door (just about) and then roll them in their boxes head over heels up the stairs. It’s back-breaking so I’m not going to do the other two until tomorrow.

What I am going to do later though, when I’ve recovered, is to go down and bring up a pile of the lighter stuff. It’ll be another job done.

Tea tonight was a curry made of leftover bits and pieces and it was delicious. So now I’m going to take it easy because tomorrow I have some cleaning up to do.