Tag Archives: photographer

Friday 30th September 2022 – OUCH!

That was painful. I’ve just come back from an afternoon out where despite having a broken kneecap I’ve walked an agonising 116% of my daily total today.

At least last night I’d had a good sleep. This is one of the most comfortable beds in which I’ve ever slept and I really would have enjoyed it even more had I not left the alarm to ring at 07:30 this morning i.e. just 3 or so hours after I went to bed.

However no danger whatsoever of me leaving the bed at that time. Even 11:48, or 05:48 around here when I finally did surface was probably an exaggeration.

shower room cobalt boutique hotel rue st hubert Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo October 2022After the medication I updated the blog so you can now find out where I went yesterday and then I went for a shower and a clothes-washing.

And I forgot all about the phenomenon of “Québec Showers”.

“What are “Québec Showers”?” I hear new readers ask.
Regular readers of this rubbish will know all about “Québec Showers”. That’s where you see C and F on the taps and you think that they mean Chaud and Froid but they actually mean “Cold” and “Freezing”.

Actually, despite the foregoing, the shower is quite nice. It washed me and my clothes a treat.

Another thing that I’d done was to send a few messages to various people and as a result I went out at 11:40.

new building rue st herbert Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022The last time that we were here in the rue St Herbert there was a big hole in the ground just down the road from the hotel – the brick-built building to the left – where I usually stay.

When we wandered past this morning we noticed that a huge tower block of apartments had mushroomed up to fill the hole and by the looks of things everyone has already moved in. It didn’t take them long to throw it up.

It’s probably a quite popular, and quite expensive place right across the road from the Berri-UQAM metro station.

Down at the Metro station at Berri-UQAM I met Dorothée. She was a young girl whom I met in New Brunswick while she was on a school exchange and we kept in touch. She’s now studying at the University of Montreal and so she nipped out in her lunch break to meet me.

We had a lengthy chat that went on for two hours, chatting all about old times and so on, and then she had to leave for a lecture.

fountain place emilie gamelin Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022After Dorothée left to go back to University I went to sit outside in the sun for an hour. At least I have some nice weather for it.

The crowds are out today loitering around in the place Emilie Gamelin making the most of the good weather before the leaves turn golden and begin to drop off.

And who was Emilie Gamelin when she was at home, if she ever was?

She was the founder of the Sœurs de la Providence de Montréal, one of the many religious orders that existed in Québec. She contracted cholera during the epidemic of 1851 and died shortly afterwards.

notre dame basilique cathedral place d'armes Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Once I’d recovered from my exertions I made my way to the Gare Berri-UQAM and caught the Metro to Place d’Armes for a wander around the square and the cathedral.

The cathedral was built in the 1820s to the design of James O’Donnell but since then has been amended considerably. The two towers, for example, were designed by John Ostell and were erected in the early 1840s.

Since then further alterations have taken place and a programme of restoration began in 1979 following an arson attack the previous year.

Monument à Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve place d'armes Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Before the basilique was erected there was an earlier church on the site of what is now the Place d’Armes that was demolished in 1830.

The Place d’Armes is now the home of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, one of the founders of Montréal, or Ville-Marie as it was known back in his day.

He comes from the region of Troyes in France and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on one of our visits to the town we went to have a look AT HIS FAMILY HOME.

The site of VIlle-Marie was established after several confrontations with the First-Nation tribes.

plaque place notre dame Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Both Cartier and Champlain encountered settlements of Iroquois in the immediate area and once the first colonists arrived here in 1642 they attempted to push out the Iroquois.

On 30th March 1644 there was a confrontation in the immediate vicinity between a party of settlers and a band of Iroquois that ended inconclusively.

Although the war with the First nations raged on for another 50-odd years this confrontation is considered by some to be the decisive moment in the establishment of the European settlement of Ville-Marie.

plaque place notre dame Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Of course, these days times have changed.

European exploitation and mistreatment of autochtone inhabitants is being rightly recognised for what it was and the rights of the autochtones to defend their land, their settlements and their way of life are being rightly recognised as the heroic struggle that it was.

For that reason, the placing of a plaque to acknowledge that is long overdue and I’m surprised to see that we had to wait until 2019 to see it.

composite image Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022It’s not of course the first time that we’ve seen something similar.

When we were at the Little Big Horn battlefield we encountered memorial stones to the native Americans who “died defending the Lakota way of life” and when I finish editing all of the photos YOU’LL SEE THEM.

As well as that, when we were in Santa Fe we saw a plaque that spoke in extremely dismissive, if not offensive terms of the native Americans, with an explanatory and apologetic plaque attached at its side.

Times indeed are a-changin’

Le vieux séminaire de Saint-Sulpice rue notre dame Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Despite all of the times that i’ve come to Montréal I’ve never managed to take a decent photograph of Le Vieux Séminaire De Saint-Sulpice

There has always been scaffolding around it, or lorries parked in front of it, or pedestrians who won’t get out of the way, and today is no exception.

It’s important to take a photo of it because it is said to be the oldest surviving building in Montréal, dating from the 1680s and the members of the Sulpician Order took up occupancy in 1685.

There’s said to be some very historic archives in there with records going back to the 16th Century and how I would love to lose myself inside there for a couple of days.

cruise ship amera port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022From the Place d’Armes I went for a wander through the old town down to the old part of the port to see what’s going on.

There aren’t very many commercial freighters that use the old part of the port these days and the freight facilities are pretty much derelict. Instead they’ve constructed a huge modern cruise ship terminal and we’ve seen plenty of cruise ships in here in the past.

And there’s another cruise ship in there today. I’ll have to go for a wander to see who she is and what she’s doing here.

cruise terminal cruise ship viking star port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022You can see what I mean about the cruise terminal.

It looked quite a tempting sight for me to go to visit but there were quite a few security guards loitering around who wouldn’t let anyone past who didn’t have a boarding card. They didn’t seem to welcome anyone who might be seen as a potential stowaway .

But it does hold a special fascination for me because it was probably somewhere around here that my great grandparents first set foot ashore in Canada when they emigrated from here after my great grandfather’s military service ended.

So it looks as if we have two for the price of one here.

juno marie cruise ship amera port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Firstly, let’s mention the oil tanker that’s here fuelling up the cruise ship. She’s called Juno Marie.

She was built in 2004 and displaces about 2000 tonnes. That’s not very much but she presumably just runs around the port fuelling up the ships that call in here.

We’ve seen her before, in AUGUST 2018 in fact when we were passing through Montreal on the way to the Arctic, when she was also fuelling up a cruise ship that was calling here.

cruise ship amera juno marie port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022As for the cruise ship herself, she’s called Amera

She was built in 1988, displaces about 35,000 tonnes and carries a total of 835 passengers and 440 crew.

A week ago she was at St Anthony and then St John’s in Newfoundland and since then she’s been sailing up the St Lawrence River, having done a lap around the Saguenay Fjord at one point with a port of call at a small town called Port Alfred.

She arrived here in Montreal earlier this afternoon.

juno marie port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022In the meantime, having seen Juno Marie just now coiling in her pipes and setting sail out of the berth she’s now heading off downriver.

What I imagine that she’s doing is going to the storage tanks at the port to fuel up ready for her next client. She’s the kind of ship that’s being kept busy.

The crane on her deck will probably be for swinging the hose out to the ship that she would be fuelling. Modern fuelling hoses are reinforced these days and would be quite heavy.

cruise ship viking star port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Amera is not the only cruise ship in port this afternoon.

This one is Viking Star who is basically following in the footsteps, or, more appropriately, the wake of Amera, although she put in at Sydney on Cape Breton Island last week on her way around.

Launched in 2014, she is the flagship of the Viking Line. Displacing 48,000 tonnes, she can carry 902 passengers and 602 crew

Her relatively compact size means that she can fit into some ports into which other cruise ships can’t fit, although the town of Bourne in Massachussetts will certainly have one or two remarks to make about that.

vm/s hercules port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Another ship that’s in port today is the VM S Hercules

She’s described as a floating crane and is owned by the St Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. Believe it or not, she was actually built in 1961 by Marine Industries of Sorel, just down the river, and displaces 2100 tonnes

She’s not actually a ship, in the general way of things. She’s more like a large floating pontoon with an enormous crane on top so she’s probably used for maintenance and recovery rather than for unloading freighters that arrive in port.

grain silos entrance to lachine canal port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022If you had come here 50 years ago the waterfront scene would have been completely different.

All along the port would have been grain silos like these, dozens of them. All of the grain from the Great Plains would have arrived here and been stored in the silos ready to be shipped to Europe.

However in 1959 the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway has permitted larger ships to sail further inland via the Great Lakes

As well as that, with there being a railway line between Winnipeg and Churchill on the shore of the Hudson Bay, because of global warming the Bay is ice-free long enough for the grain to be shipped out of Churchill. Because of the curvature of the earth, it’s a much shorter and less-complicated route to Europe.

outdoor photography class port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall as a common feature is photographs of people taking photographs.

And, not to be out-done, this afternoon down at the old port we come across not one or two but probably a whole dozen people here down in the port taking photographs of a young lady.

It goes without saying that seeing everyone here, I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of them all myself.

outdoor photography class port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s no doubt and judging by all of the equipment that the photographers have, cameras as well as lighting equipment, it looks very much as if I’ve stumbled upon some kind of outdoor photography class.

That much seems to be evident by all of the photographers standing around exchanging information about settings and apertures and the like.

Usually, most photographers guard their settings quite jealously. They are very persoonal and it’s quite oftten the difference between half an aperture or a tenth of a second that can transform a good photograph into a great one

outdoor photography class port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022As far as I could tell, in my mind that she’s a professional model being moved around as her photographers think fit.

But whoever the model is, she doesn’t look all that comfortable sitting there on the back of that bench. However the model seems to be enjoying herself, being the centre of attention with all of those guys around her. And who can blame her?

Had there been a pause in the session I’d have gone to have a chat with her but as they were all so busy and I was pushed for time I left them to it and wandered away.

canadian national EMD GP9 4135 GP38-2 4904 port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Pushed for time indeed.

As you might expect with a working port and a very large country to service, there’s a thriving network around here and it’s connected to the railway network at each end of the docks.

And having heard the rhythmic clanking of the bell at the level crossing that told me that there was a train on its way.

canadian national EMD GP9 4135 port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022It’s a double-headed train with two locomotives. That tells us IF OUR OBSERVATIONS IN WYOMING In 2002 are anything to go by, that it’s half a mile long.

The locomotive at the head of the train is painted in Canadian National Railway colours and is numbered 4135

That tells us that she was built by the Electro-Motive Diesel Company or EMD, a subsibuary (at least, in 2022 because the company changes hands often) of the Caterpillar equipment company

canadian national EMD GP9 4135 port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022She’s a GP-9, or the ninth version of their general-purpose locomotives and was built as long ago as December 1957

Her actual designation is that she’s a GP9RM, the RM indicating that at some point in the past she’s been rebuilt and so no longer complies with the manufacturer’s specifications. Not that that’s a surprise for a locomotive that’s almost as old as I am.

As for exactly how she’s been rebuilt, that’s impossible for anyone really to say. Someone who seems to know what he’s talking about tells me that “no two rebuild programs were identical”.

canadian national GP38-2 4904 port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022The one behind is a much more modern locomotive, at least by Canadian standards.

She’s another EMD machine, this time a GP38-2 version, built between 1972 and 1986.

She’s currently wearing the livery of GATX, the General American Transport Company founded in Chicago in 1898 to lease railway wagons to rail shipment companies.

canadian national GP38-2 4904 port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Since then the company has branched out into the leasing of locomotives and other railway equipment.

Unfortunately I can’t tell you too much about her. The company doesn’t tell us too much about the history of its locomotives.

There doesn’t seem to be too much information about her by reference to the fleet number either. It’s quite possible that she’s been renumbered at some point in her history

caboose port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022At the rear of the train is a caboose in which the guard sits.

In Europe it would be called a guard’s van and a caboose would probably be known as the offspring of a Native American woman.

One of the purposes of the guard’s presence is to keep an eye on the level crossings to make sure that no vehicle or pedestrian tries to force a passage across in front of the oncoming train. Traffic control along here isn’t very efficient.

big wheel port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Here’s something that we’ve been noticing as we’ve been coming here in the late summer over the years

The big wheel has become something of a major attraction here in the port since its erection in 2017 to celebrate the 375th anniversary of the founding of the city.

It’s 60 metres high, has 24 cabins and cost $28 million, which was apparently financed by a group of private investors. It operates all through the year thanks to its heating system and resistance to strong winds, and can carry a fulll load of 336 people.

tyrolean zip wire port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Another attraction here in the port of Montreal is the Tyrolean Zip wire.

It’s the longest urban zipline in Canada apparently at 365 metres and is 25 metres from the ground.

Something that is unusual as far as any European in concerned is to see an upper weight limit on equipment such as this. It’s something that wouldn’t usually concern anyone but, I suppose, being situated close to the border with the USA, it’s of some kind of importance.

marché bonsecours Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way down to the port I came by the Marché Bonsecours.

The site itself was one of the most important in the city and after the fire in 1833 that destroyed the house of brewer John Molson that was situated here the municipality bought it.

From 1844-1847 the present building was erected here as a market to the designs of William Footner to replace the older Marché St Anne.

Following the riots that led to the burning down of the Parliament building in 1849 the delegates met here for a while and once another Parliament building was inaugurated the Municipal council met here until 1878.

notre dame de bonsecours chapel Montreal Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022Today, it’s now a commercial centre with boutique-type shops and cafes.

It’s also used as a space for exhibitions of art and the like, and rooms are available for hire by the public.

It’s really very hard to believe that a building such as this was at one time left derelict and in 1963 there was even a proposal for its demolition. But as we’ve seen so many times in North America, there doesn’t seem to be the same pride in the patrimony as in other parts of the world.

So abandoning another good rant for the moment, I’m going to wander down to the waterfront.

clock tower memorial port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022We’ve seen this building many times in the past. It’s the Memorial Clock Tower, one of the typical symbols of Montreal and is a monument or memorial to the Canadan sailors who lost their lives during World War I

The tower was designed by Paul Leclaire and was built between 1919 and 1922. The mechanism is based on the mechanism that works Big Ben in London.

You wouldn’t have had this view of it in 1922 though. As I mentioned elsewhere, the Port of Montreal was formerly one of the leading grain exporting ports and the area in front of the tower where you can see all the trees was formerly the site of yet more grain sheds.

oceanex connaigra port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022While I was busily admiring the Memorial Clock Tower, I noticed a ship coming upriver so I decided to loiter around to see who she might be.

The ship to the left is hidden by a wharf so I can’t see her name and by the time I’d checked on my maritime radar she had left, but the one heading my way is called Oceanex Connaigra

You can tell by the writing on the hull that she’s owned by the Oceanex company.

oceanex connaigra port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022When I returned to my hotel I had a quick look to see what I could find out about the company.

It’s based in St John’s in Newfoundland and its mission statement is to provide transportation services between the Atlantic coast of North America and Newfoundland and Labrador, from whole shiploads to individual vehicles

It’s been carrying on this business in one form or another since 1909

oceanex connaigra port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022As for the ship herself, she was built in 2013 in Germany

She displaces 26,000 tonnes, is 210 metres long and has a draught of 8.45 metres. She cost the company $108 000 000 to purchase. The company chairman told me that to fuel her up would cost $1 800 000 and that was a long time ago too. God knows what it would cost now.

According to the records of the maritime radar, she seems to operate a shuttle service between St John’s and Montreal.

oceanex connaigra port de Montreal harbour Canada Eric Hall photo September 2022What caught my eye about her was the fact that she can transport “individual vehicles”.

And so as she sailed past I was expecting to see that she had some kind of Ro-Ro configuration, and I was rather interested to see that she does have that capability.

But what I found even more interesting is that she is licenced to carry 27 passengers too. Are you thinking what i’m thinking? I shall have to go and sweep the dust off Strider.

gare dalhousie Montreal Canada  Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way back to my hotel I went past the site of the Gare Dalhousie

It’s a national monument because, as a plaque on the side of the wall proudly proclaims, "the first regular transcontinental train departed from this place 28th June 1886".

However, that’s a complete and absolute fabrication, as several million people who live in Canada will tell you.

The train left here on that date and headed for Port Moody which is on the Pacific coast. There is another 1250 kilometres that separates Montreal from Halifax on the Atlantic coast and this “first regular transcontinental train” didn’t cover a single kilometre of that distance.

But then again, the people of the Maritime Provinces of Canada are quite used to being totally ignored by anyone further west and so this is absolutely no surprise whatsoever. Nevertheless, it is pretty shameful

The train, and the railway station were run by the Canadian Pacific railway so it seems to be absolutely appropriate that it later came to be the home of the National Circus School. Clowns a-plenty, I should imagine.

At one time the Canadian Pacific had quite an extensive network of lines in the Maritimes but practically overnight in the 1980s the company wiped it out entirely. Maybe the statement on the plaque is Canadian Pacific’s way of trying to hide its embarrassment.

gare viger Montreal Canada  Eric Hall photo September 2022Just down the road from the Gare Dalhousie is my favourite building in the whole of Montreal – the Gare Viger.

Gare Dalhousie only lasted as a passenger terminus until 1898. The Gare Viger, designed by Bruce Price was opened as a railway station, railway offices and hotel.

The hotel closed in 1935 and the rooms were taken over by part of the administration of the city who stayed here until 2006, having bought out the rest of the building when the Canadian Pacific ceased operations from here in 1951.

When we first came past here in 2010 it was boarded up and derelict. We’ve been slowly watching the renovations take place and much of it now is let as offices. But there’s still a lot to do with the building if it’s to be restored to its former glory.

A very slow, very agonising (and I do mean “slow and agonising”) walk brought me all the way back to Berri-UQAM – a walk that would usually take me about 15 minutes but today took me about an hour – and I caught a metro train back to Cote-Vertu.

When I’d been there yesterday I’d seen a pizza place that sold pizza by the topping so I chose one that didn’t include cheese. And it really was delicious.

There’s a fruit wholesaler there as well so I stocked up with grapes and bananas

On the way back I was feeling rather better and I moved a little easier. The climb up the stairs was ever so slightly easier but they had changed the code on the front door here and it was quite an effort to persuade someone to open the door for me.

Once inside I had a listen to the dictaphone. We were discussing one of my father’s old vans last night. When we were kids we had a Bedford Utilabrake, CA Bedford and had it for a couple of years. It was as rotten as hell and it went on its way eventually. We were chatting about it last night and much of that which we discussed we talked was actually quite accurate which was a big surprise

So having written up my notes I’ll go to bed. I’ll add in the photos at some other date – there are over 35 photos from today’s walk to edit and sort.

But a good sleep in the comfortable bed will do me good – no alarm until late and sweet dreams (I hope).

So who’s going to disturb me first then.

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

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

It’s been that kind of day today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll get my coat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday 30th August 2022 – I’VE NO IDEA …

people digging on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… what this guy is doing here on the beach this afternoon.

But whatever it was that he was doing, he wasn’t doing it on his own because there was someone else a little farther away doing the same thing.

At first I thought that they might be engaged at the peche à pied but –

  1. they wouldn’t be doing it that far away from the water’s edge on a public beach
  2. it looked much more to me as if this guy was digging a big hole

But whatever it is –
Don’t dig there, dig it elsewhere.
You’re digging it round and it ought to be square.
The shape of it’s wrong, it’s much too long,
And you can’t put a hole where a hole don’t belong.

people taking photographs port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022No prizes for guessing what these people are doing though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the recurring features that appear on these pages is photos of people taking photos.

This couple here has been captivated by the view from one of the viewpoints overlooking the port and so the guy had whipped out his mobile ‘phone to record it for posterity.

He’s certainly picked the right kind of day to do it anyway.

No prizes for guessing what I was doing this morning either.

Until 07:30 I was asleep. Well, sort-off because according to the dictaphone I’d been off on my travels during the night. I didn’t go as far as I did on the previous evening but it was far enough.

In fact when the alarm went off I was away with the fairies and the shock jolted me out of my reverie and the details of the voyage evaporated. I’d been on holiday and I had a pile of holiday snaps showing photos of the swamps and signs on the swamps etc. There was a big sign that said “beware conger eels” written in French etc. I was busy showing these photos to someone when the alarm went off and awoke me, and that was that.

The morning was quite difficult for me today. I thought that it was bad yesterday but today was somehow worse. Not even sticking my head under a cold tap was enough to revitalise me.

Consequently the morning had a very very slow start today.

There was a Welsh group chat this morning and today there were three of us with the tutor. And I reckon that it was much more difficult with the three of us than it was when I was on my own.

Last week I didn’t have time to think and so I was continually speaking by reflex. With other people here, there was too much time to think and that always makes it so difficult. I don’t do “thinking”, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

As an aside, the fruit buns were delicious regardless of the fact that they were overcooked.

When I’d finished my lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone from last night. We were watching the gymnastics on TV last night. Some young girl from somewhere had taken the event by surprise and on her first turn on the mat had scored a really impressive score. Then it came to her second time and rhe clock was still ticking down but she was still in her day clothes, not in her leotard. She was eating an ice cream. At first we thought that it was a dead rat on which she was chewing but was in facc an ice cream. While they were counting down her start and the music was playing she was just standing there on the edge of the mat eating this ice cream. We were screaming with frustration that she needs to go out there and perform

And then I was out driving last night, coming through the road between Nantwich and Church Minshull. There were 3 girls walking down there. I knew one of them because I know her mother so I went to blow my horn but for some unknown reason the horn didn’t work. What had happened just before that was that I’d set out in the van. I wanted to do something but was distracted and found myself driving in the grass verge on the other side of the road. I could quite easily have been in the hedge or something. I managed to stop just in time and a Volkswagen microbus went past from immediately behind. It was blue and white. I followed it. It had no rear lights on but the front lights were working fine but no rear lights. That was when I encountered these girls. Some time before that we’d been on some kind of trip. I had all of my stuff together and I’d been nibbling away at the biscuits that I was going to take with me out tomorrw so I decided that I’d make some food. I had some potatoes and I had a few burgers and some baps so I was going to make myself burger and chips. When I went to look at the baps they were all covered in green. The bread had gone off so I didn’t really know what I was going to do now about this. I’d just have to make more chips, I suppose. It was disappointing seeing the bread like that. I hadn’t been away for a week and I was expecting to be out here for several weeks before wit all these people like this but tomorrow we were starting at 07:00, I’d eaten all the biscuits, I had no baps. I was wondering whether we’d actually have time to go and buy some food on the way out otherwise it was going to be a very long hungry day for me. There was some point in this where Liz asked me “have you made any long-term arrangements with people whom you’ve met while you’ve been away here?”. I told her that I’m not the type to make any long-term people arrangements as you know

There was another “dictating a dream into my hand” moments. That’s a shame because it really was something interesting and once again it evaporated as soon as I grabbed hold of the dictaphone so I can’t remember anything whatever about it at all. I know that I was walking around somewhere in it on holiday with a few other people.

And the rest you know.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent working on the entries from the voyage around Central Europe. At the moment I’m in a hotel in Switzerland on my way into Germany.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was the usual break for me to go for my afternoon walk.

And as usual I wandered off over to the wall at the end of the cap park to see what was going on down on the beach. And just as yesterday, there was plenty of people down on the beach but not too many people enjoying it.

It was a beautiful day too, even if it was a little windy, although not as windy as it was last night when some kind of storm brew up while I was preparing to go to bed.

Even so, there was at least one person brave enough to go into the water.

bouchot farm donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Plenty of activity over on the beaches by Donville-les-Bains this afternoon too.

he tide is quite far out right now so the bouchot harvesters are hard at it over there on their marine farm.

And by the looks of things, everyone is out there just now. There are probably as many as seven or eight tractors out there and quite a few of them are towing trailers presumably to take away the harvest.

Quite a few people out there for a walk too, enjoying the nice weather. The beaches over there might be much more isolated but they are certainly more accessible than where I am.

service bus fixing barrier rubbish lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was plenty of activity taking place just outside the building here.

What caught my eye at first was the arrival of the refuse lorry that pulled into the car park and did a U-turn so that the crane to empty the bins was on the correct side.

In the background you can see the barrier to our car park going up and down. The repairers were here this afternoon fixing it. Only three months after someone drove into it and damaged it, and after the holiday season, when we needed it most, is over.

And just then the service bus pulled up at the bus stop too.

It was all happening here this afternoon.

marité english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I’d been watching what was going on, I was also having a crafty glance out at sea.

There was something quite large sailing about around at the back of the Ile de Chausey in the English Channel so I went to find a better vantage point.

Once there, I took a photo of it to examine at my leisure, and back here having enlarged and enhanced it, it looked pretty much like Marité having another run out and about this afternoon.

There are a couple of other boats out there with her but I can’t see who they might be.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With only a handful of people up here on the path I didn’t have too much trouble going down the path to the end of the headland.

No fishermen out there this afternoon but there was a couple of people who arrived at the bench by the cabanon vauban just as I turned up, so I took a quick photograph.

However I wasn’t sure why they would be there this afternoon. The Brittany coast was rather shrouded in haze so you couldn’t see much over there, and where you could see anything, there was really only Marité and her entourage.

So I left them all to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there.

charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And yet more excitement today in the chantier naval.

Yesterday saw the arrival of Hermes I and Charlevy down there but because of the way that the portable boat lift was parked, we couldn’t really see them both in one shot.

It was lucky that I’d chosen Hermes I to feature because today she has gone back into the water. and so therefore I can photograph Charlevy in all her glory.

There isn’t any other change back there. The other 5 boats that were there yesterday were still here today.

freight port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022What isn’t there today though is Marité.

She’s cleared off out into the bay with a boat-load of passengers and checking her route on the radar, that was what led me to believe that it was she out at sea.

What there is though is the lorry that brings all of the freight to the port for one of the little freighters. Service had been suspended of course for the duration of the Festival so I imagine that they will be itching to get going again.

Also in port today is Victor Hugo, out of shot to the right. She’ll be back out to St Helier tomorrow morning.

yellow autogyro port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Just one last thing before I go back in.

The familiar rattle of what I imagine to be a rotary engine told me that one of our regulars was coming our way. Out of the clouds came the little yellow autogyro that we see now and again.

She hasn’t been around for a few weeks so it’s nice to know that she’s still going out and about.

As for me though, I’m not still going out and about. I’m heading for home and my iced ginger beer.

There’s something important that I needed to do as soon as I came in so that’s now out of the way. Something that I’ve been promising myself for a while and I reckon that I deserve a treat every now and again.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg. The stuffing was lethal considering that it had been marinading for 24 hours. There’s some left over so I’ll be having a curry even more wicked than usual.

Everything was early though today because we had football on the internet – Penybont v Hwlffordd. An entertaining game for the neutral supporter but the lack of technique was disappointing and there was a woeful lack of striking power on that field.

You’ll probably think that a score of 3-2 for Penybont will contradict what I’m saying but in fact most of those goals came from errors at set pieces.

These teams aren’t going to be bottom of the table but they will have to do much better than this if they are to challenge for honours.

But right now I’m going to bed. I have a busy day tomorrow for a change. We shall see.

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.

Wednesday 3rd August 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed that I would never do. But needs must when the devil drives and it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.

In fact what I’ve done, while we’re on the subject of driving … “well, one of us is” – ed … is that I drove to the railway station this morning in Caliburn.

It totally beats me why they can lay on a bus service that serves our building, and then send the bus off to places that don’t include the town centre or the railway station or anywhere else that anyone would realistically want to visit

Having spent far too much time hanging around in the past, I set the alarm for 07:00 today and that gave me enough time to prepare myself and to have a whizz around the apartment to clean it a little and take out the rubbish.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were a few parking spaces free just outside the station which was my good luck. I didn’t have too far to walk

As a result I was on the station in plenty of time for the train, which pulled into the station through the fog. The weather was clammy, foggy and not very encouraging this morning.

Our train was, as usual, one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis models, consisting of 2×6-car units. It was quite busy today and by the time that we arrived in Paris it was totally crowded.

Nevertheless I was lucky in that I had no-one sitting next to me so I could spread out and work in comfort.

It didn’t take me long to update the computer and then I read a book all the way to Paris. For a change, it was a novel, “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G K Chesterton.

eiffel tower sacre coeur paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022By the time that we reached Paris the fog had gone and we had a bright blue sky.

My seat was a good one this morning and as we pulled into the city and passed over the petite ceinture, the railway that used to perform a complete circle of the city in the olden days, I had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.

In fact you might say that I really had an Eiffel of it.

Over on the right on the skyline is the Sacré Coeur church in Montmartre. Where we stayed a couple of months ago was just round there about 10 minutes away but we didn’t have the time to visit it back then. I haven’t been there since I went with Nerina at some ridiculous time of the morning before the rush-hour traffic hit it some time years ago.

We were about 15 minutes late arriving in Paris but that didn’t matter too much because there was a long wait for my train to Brussels today.

ukrainian refugee centre gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual I walked down the street in the open air to the Metro station instead of going through the labyrinth. It was blistering hot and I melted through the streets to the Metro. The Metro was packed but I managed to find the last remaining seat to Gare du Nord.

At the Gare du Nord I went to check to see if the Ukrainian Refugee post was still operating.

There’s a very active Group of activists in Normandy who are very interested in the lot of the refugees and I have some connection with a couple of them. While I’m on my travels I like to see what’s going on in this respect so I can pass on the information to people who can make use of it.

And then there was the wait for the train. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not taking the earlier “Ouigo” train and going via Lille. I’m not up to the walk across town at the moment so I’m paying extre and going on the later “Thalys” direct to Brussels.

The Gare du Nord was packed as well and there was no hope of finding a seat anywhere. I headed off to my usual comfortable secret bolt-hole where I was shouted at by a trolley driver but I took no notice.

Thalys PBKA 4301 gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022And then I had to fight my way on board the train to Brussels.

It was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam trainsets and it was packed. There wasn’t a single seat free.

There was all kinds of confusion about the seats too, to which I contributed somewhat, with the ticket inspector having flicked over my electronic ticket while checking it so I ended up sitting in my seat for the return journey instead.

And in the confusion I lost my computer mouse. I had a feeling that it wasn’t my lucky day today.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022As our train pulled in to Brussels, so did a push-me-pull-you for Leuven.

An ancient graffiti-ridden vinyl-upholstered relic of the 1970s as you can see in the photo where they have done a pretty poor job of cleaning it up but it was here and now do I fell aboard and that whipped us off to Leuven.

It was pushed by one of the Class 18 electric locomotives that these days are the mainstay of main-line passenger trains on locomotive-hauled lines. We’ve been on plenty of these in the past.

Having done a little shopping in the supermarket at the back of the station I came on here to encounter a load of confusion about the keys to my room.

And they have put me up two flights of stairs as well and I really don’t need that at all. Not in my state of health right now

pennsylvania volkswagen naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I made it down to Delhaize for the rest of the supplies for my stay here.

And on the way down, this Volkswagen caught my eye, mainly because it’s carrying a number plate from Pennsylvania.

Why I’m interested in this is to find out how the car managed to come over here. There is a vehicle ferry from Europe to North America and back again but it’s for unaccompanied vehicles only and the prices are on another planet.

If I could find a ferry that is at amore reasonable price I’d sell Strider, my Canadian pickup, and take Caliburn over every year to North America.

roadworks Weldadigheidsstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while back in the Weldadigheidsstraat there was a rather large crane that was doing some kind of work at a house down there.

And so going past today I had a look down the street to see if it was still there, only to be confronted by a pile of paving blocks and building materials.

There’s some kind of process of gentrification taking place in Leuven right now and this street looks as if it’s about to fall victim to the designs of the planners.

What’s regrettable about this is that once the council does this it adds on about €20,000 to the house prices in the area and this makes the properties even less affordable to low-income earners.

Prices in town are already far too high for many people and this kind of thing won’t help any.

In Delhaize I stocked up with stuff and it wasn’t all that expensive. But then again with me being much more restrictive on what I eat these days, I’m not buying as much. And i was lucky enough to find a hard-wired mouse so I’m back in business, and after tea I can write up my notes.

photographer naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that my pages are full of photographs of people taking photographs.

Here’s someone else whom I caught doing it at the corner of the Naamsevest and the Naamsestraat. I had a good look round but I couldn’t see what had attracted his attention but never mind. I cleared off home.

Tea was a vegan burger with pasta and veg – the vegan burgers that I bring from home because LIDL actually does a good line in cheap vegan burgers

The reason why I do that is because if I have one with me and I’m too tired to go to the shops after I arrive, I can buy a bag of chips from across the road and I still have something like a meal to keep me going until I feel better.

What a state of affairs to be in.

Meanwhile – the dictaphone. We were at school, a whole mob of us, and there was a radio play in which we were performing. It started off with someone falling over a pile of students’ outstretched legs so it was a long stretched-out “AAARRRGGGHHH” sound to open it. This was how this radio play opened. It was one of a series of radio plays that the school was actually doing. There was much more to it than this. I was around with a few of the kids so I was a kid myself. We all had something to do with this, a group of us, and I was involved in this and there was definitely something happening in which we were involved but I can’t remember now what it was. It was just how this radio programme started up.

Later on my car was away at the garage having work done at it. There was something involving British Salt and the garage there but I can’t remember what it was. I needed a car to go to Chester and the wholesale warehouse. My last port of call was at my sister’s to see whether she had something. They were living in a mobile home place. I went there and knocked on the flyscreen but no-one came. A neighbour came round and started talking to me about it, pointing out this old car and saying that this was her old car but she had to have one because some of her kids went to Nantwich High School and some went to the local one. This is what you have to do when your children are spread out like that. I knocked a couple of times but she didn’t come to the door so I wondered what was happening. This was not like her. If she had been there she would have come. There was much more to it than this but that’s all that I remember.

And finally I was running tours around Perth and Scotland. I had a variety of part-time people helping me. One young boy, a friend of TOTGA, had just quit because he misunderstood the situation. He expected something else other than guiding tourists around. We were waiting at Tourist Information for a party that was turning up at 16:00. I’d told a friend to turn up at 14:00 so that I could show him a few things and point out to him so that he’d know about them. Time dragged on and he wasn’t there. It was 14:30,14:45 so I phoned him and he was still at home. He said “well I was out last night”. I said “I need you here to do this”. He said that he’d come down and tried to engage me in conversation over the telephone. I said “we’ll talk about this when you arrive because we’re in something of a rush at the moment. Come here as quick as you can”. The person with me asked me about this boy quitting. What did I think? I said that it was rather silly. I could see that once again I was going to be plagued with unreliable employees. I could see that I was going to be here full-time doing all this on my own as usual. I thought that I’m not going to be able to go home until Sunday after everything finishes. It’s a long way to go in an evening to go home. I said that I’ll be going home on Sunday evening. Someone asked “doing what?” so I replied “going home” “doing what?” going home!”. I suddenly realised that they were asking me “doing what” when I was back home. I replied “going back to work of course”. The friend had been telling me that it had been raining which was why he hadn’t come in but actually where we were it was bright sunshine so I had no idea why he decided why he didn’t want to come in and do this and even less of an idea why he didn’t want to tell me that he didn’t want to come in and do this.

Unreliable employees was the bane of my life wasn’t it?

Having already crashed out once earlier, I’m off to bed now. I have no fewer than four appointments at the hospital tomorrow so I can’t afford to hang about. I need a good night’s sleep.

Thursday 21st April 2022 – GLOBAL WARMING ANYONE?

When John Ross, the leader of the first European expedition credited with exploring the north coast of Lancaster Sound, came by here in 1818 and when William Parry examined it in 1819-20, they noticed what might have been the entrance to a bay, which Parry called Croker Bay after the then-Secretary to the Admiralty.

dry valley croker bay devon island canada adventure canada into the north west passage 2019 photo august 2019 eric hallThey weren’t actually sure about whether it was a bay or not because the whole coastline was covered in impenetrable ice so they couldn’t sail in to make sure.

And there I was 200 years later, 25 kms deep into what is quite clearly a fjord rather than a bay, at the mouth of a dry valley where a glacier once flowed and where there isn’t a single trace of ice.

If you want to look for the “Croker Bay Glacier” you need to travel another 5kms up the fjord and eventually you’ll reach it. Over the last 200 years or so, a belt of ice 30kms deep and heaven alone knows how thick has melted.

Anyway I digress … “yet again” – ed.

aeroplane 54aay baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Outside this afternoon we’ve been having an aerial day but while you admire the light aeroplane 54AAY that flew past overhead making its debut on these pages, I’ll start at the very beginning … “a very good place to start” – ed.

And once more, it was a struggle for me to crawl out of bed again. I didn’t beat the second alarm, having gone back to sleep after the first one, but I was still up before the 3rd, even though it was “only just”.

And after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise I found that I’d stepped back into a dream not once but twice.

It’s becoming something of a habit.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of my former work colleagues starred in this one. It was something to do with his retirement. He’d been called out for overstaying his retirement by some kind of sea creature so he went down to attack this sea creature and had a fight with it. He was stopped and they arranged a proper bour of either boxing or wrestling between the two of them. it was rather unfair because this sea creature had 4 arms instead of just 2 and it had to have its gills reinforced. The fight took place and eventually the sea creature won it. The person commentating said that it was a really good fight but he reckoned that every non-human and probably one or two humans as well really enjoyed the result and how it panned out

And then I started dictating the next dream in French. I was at home and had invited some friends round. They were actually grown-ups and I was only quite young. We ended up playing cards which I thought was a good game. They were 3 middle-aged men and one had a wife but she didn’t want to come. We dealt, and dealt for partners etc. They asked what I had to drink. I had a bottle of beer on the side from yesterday that I could drink. I looked in the drinks cupboard and they had one of these boxes of wine and there was some whisky etc so I started to put everything out ready for people to help themselves to alcohol

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That dream continued afterwards and I’d actually met the wife. They were living in a big detached house very much like UK 1930s but it was in France. She was dreading the start of the French school year because her kids were going to school. I asked her if her move to France was permanent. She told me 20 good reasons why it was. We were having quite a chat when her husband came up and said that when he had the house tidied up and the kitchen arranged I would have to come over for a cup of tea by the fire

Later on I was talking to Percy Penguin, and it’s been a while since she’s put in an appearance. She was being very cagey on the telephone about something. I could tell that there was something going on but she didn’t seem to want to expand on it very much. I couldn’t seem to chisel it out of her. At the same time I was talking to a footballer who lived on the continent. We were planning some kind of event together. My family came on the phone and I started to chat to them and happened to mention something about my youngest sister. They replied “haven’t you heard?”. I said “no” and they answered that she’d died. I was appalled. I asked how. It seemed that she and her husband had gone for a breakfast brunch somewhere. Some security guard had knocked her husband’s cup or something onto the floor so they had “had words”. A fight started and my sister had tried to join in but the security guard pulled out his revolver and shot her 4 times in the groin. At that moment he had been arrested.

Airbus A350-941 F-HTRE pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We haven’t quite finished yet, but we’ll have an interruption to watch F-HTRE go past overhead.

She’s an Airbus A350-941 owned by Air Caraibes and first took to the air in July 2019. She’s flying TX514/FWI14J from Orly to Fort de France in the Caribbean and went past me at 38,000 feet and 498 knots at vector 272°

But in the meantime I was stepping back into the dream involving my youngest sister. Everyone was now round at my house collecting her stuff to take away. I was busy writing a note to my brother expressing my condolences etc.

Once again it took me a couple of hours to come to my senses, which is a surprise seeing how few I have these days, but when I’d come round I made a start on the photos from the High Arctic of 2019. By the time that I’d finished this evening I was up the end of Croker Bay pinned against a glacier.

There’s a huge batch of photos that I’ve dealt with over the last couple of days. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I have simply moved into different woods.

We had a whole variety of interruptions today, coffee and breakfast being not the least of them.

But on the subject of fruit bread, I had the last slice today.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s the cue for another load – this time it was fruit buns because there was nothing else to bake in the oven so I had the room.

And here’s the results. Enough to keep me going until I clear off next Friday, with a few in the freezer for when I come back too.

It’s basically a bread mix of 250 grammes with a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, some dessicated coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped banana chips, some of those mixed dried fruits and a fresh banana all mixed in. And probably a few other things too that happen to be lying around.

And then when it’s all proofed, cooked for 40 minutes on a medium-high oven.

For lunch I took the remaining half-loaf out of the freezer this morning and it had been defrosting. And there’s nothing like fresh bread like that. I’ll have to make another loaf on Sunday, I reckon, while I’m doing my pizza and I’ll freeze half of that too.

taped off front of building place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was of course the usual afternoon walk around the headland.

However today I didn’t go very far before I came to a stop. Just outside the front door in fact.

There’s something afoot here just outside the building, and I’ve no idea what because I haven’t heard anything at all. But whatever it is, they have most of the front of the building taped off, presumably to prevent access.

The plot thickens, that’s for sure.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But anyway, we can leave that for a while. Let’s go and have a look down on the beach.

It was another quite nice day today and the crowds were out enjoying it. Down on the beach too there were plenty of people taking the air including a group of young women playing with a frisbee.

There were other folk down there too, poking around in rock pools, scavenging amongst the rocks and the like. We can tell that the tide is on its way out this afternoon.

And they had beautiful weather for it too.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was up here looking down onto the beach I also had my roving eye wandering around looking at what was going on offshore.

There was quite a haze today so I couldn’t see all that far but I did notice a couple of fishing boats out there. One that we can see here but there was another one further out as well.

And presumably they were working too because they were pointing away from the harbour and following the coast.

Of course, they are far too far out to sea for me to be able to identify them, especially in these weather conditions when I had to peer through a sea mist to see anything at all.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That wasn’t everything either.

Just down there offshore is a collection of marker buoys. It looks as if someone has dropped a few lobster pots into the water just there.

Mind you, that’s not all that far out and I suppose that they will just come along later this afternoon walking across the sand to collect them and their catch because I’m pretty certain that where they have dropped them is out of the water when the tide is right out.

That speedboat roaring past didn’t have anything to do with them anyway

However that’s not my problem. Armes with my face mask, I went to fight the good fight amongst the crowds of people on the path.

people taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a recurring theme that runs through these pages as that oe me taking photos of people taking photos.

But here’s quite a new twist on the subject. Down at the end of the headland I looked back and saw a guy setting up a tripod with his camera perched thereupon.

And having done that, he took up station with his beloved and the self-timer did the rest, much to the chagrin of one of the workers at the coastguard post who wanted to drive past there in his car and who was obliged to wait.

But they did make a handsome couple.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just with lobster pots and trawlers that people were out fishing this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen someone perched on the rocks with rod and line at the end of the headland but today we had one of the aforementioned.

And it still bewilders me that these fishermen don’t have a basket or anything in which to put their catch. However, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the years that we’ve been watching them, we’ve yet to see a fishermen pull a fish out of the water with rod and line.

There were no spectators on the bench at the cabanon vauban either today. They must have known that I was coming.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the end of the headland I walked down towards the port to see what was happening there today.

And there has been another change in occupancy at the chantier naval today. Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there showing little signs of moving but Anakena seems to have finished her overhaul and she’s now gone back into the water, ready for her summer voyages to the frozen north.

And how I wish that I was going with her too, but I suppose that you are fed up of me moaning about that. It’s high time that I went out and got myself a life. I need to do something to start moving again but with these heart issues and knee issues it’s not so easy.

But I have the doctor to see next week and the heart specialist at the hospital to see on the 5th of May so who knows? Something might start happening soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Over at the fist processing plant it looks as if there’s a very long and complicated game of “Musical Ships” taking place.

Briscard was there but she went and L’Omerta came in her place. And then they swapped places, and today they have swapped back again. The excitement here is terrific and I might have to go and lie down in a darkened room.

Instead, I came home for a coffee, a session on the guitar and then (regrettably) I crashed out for a good while. I don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

Tea was a curry made with leftovers, and delicious it was too. Tomorrow I fancy sausage, beans and chips, especially now that I have my air fryer. I’ve no excuse now for rubbishy chips

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’ll have a strum on the guitar and then go to bed. I could do with a much better night and then maybe I’ll have a much better day to follow.

Thursday 7th April 2022 – MY BLOOD PRESSURE …

… is up. When it was checked at the hospital this morning, it was at 168 over 109 and that set all sorts of alarm bells ringing in there.

They have told me to double the dose of certain medication that I take, and to visit my GP for a blood test in 14 days time to see if this extra medication is causing any more problems.

Mind you, had I told them the real reason for the high blood pressure they wouldn’t have done anything at all and allowed it to pass. It’s all to do with the fact that I had a visitor during the night, someone who stayed with me all the way through.

Not Zero though, despite my comments yesterday. In actual fact TOTGA had the call-up last night, and a very young TOTGA it was too. There was a group of us on board a ship – maybe even THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR discussing all kinds of things. For some reason I lay down to sleep under a blanket. It was one of those sleeps where you were asleep but you could hear everything that was going on. They were talking away. I turned over and fell off the seat onto the floor. Everyone came round to see me and to see what I was doing and help me up. Gradually the conversation drifted off and it was just me and TOTGA. I started to become quite familiar with her. I happened to mention that I knew almost everyone on board to which she replied that so did she. She pointed out a few people whom she knew. There were persons who were friends of my mother so she said “let’s go downstairs and see who I know through my grandfather”. At this point I slapped her behind. We were halfway down the stairs when there was a bride and groom coming up. They had married and were travelling on their honeymoon, still in their wedding clothes. They were saying that they had just bought a pub in Alsager and had demolished it and were going to build houses on it. They were really surprised to see TOTGA here. The way that the two of us were fooling around, it was quite obvious to anyone that the two of us were a couple, which would have been quite strange because of the difference between our two ages during this dream but it was pretty clear to everyone. TOTGA knew the bride and that’s how we were talking but it was clear to everyone that the two of us were certainly a couple.

I forgot to mention that the group of us was doing things in music and the reason why the 2 of us were alone was that we had to persuade whoever was supposed to be looking after her that she could come on a tour abroad with the rest of us and play the music and that she’d be fine and well-looked after (clearly whoever writes the script and directs these nocturnal rambles doesn’t know me very well. Since when would TOTGA ever be safe alone with me?) etc but we didn’t reach that point in the dream

Later on I stepped back into this dream where the leader of the orchestra was trying to spit up TOTGA and me. He thought that our relationship was inappropriate but I was so unwilling to give her up and she was so unwilling to give me up. All around us things like Russian songs and Russian poems had been written on the walls of this ship and the 2 of us wrote something on there too but I can’t remember what.

And then I was back in this dream yet again but I missed a lot of the start that I can’t remember that I’d dictated into my hand without the dictaphone being there. The 2 of us were walking down a set of steps with some people whom she knew, her parents or guardians or something. I had my arm around her but considering her age that would be most unlikely. Again we were looking for these musicians, talking about playing in this music group. I’ve missed so much off the start of this with dictating into my hand.

Finally I was back in this dream again. We’d made it to Köln. I came out of the station and onto the square there and was thinking about where we were going to play. It looked very much as if we’d made up our minds so I went back to the station to find everyone else and that’s all that i can remember of this, coming out of the station, making up my mind and going back. But I’m sure that there was a lot more to it that I can’t remember now.

So having spent the whole night in the company of a very young TOTGA and on a very familiar basis too, it’s hardly surprising that my blood pressure was racing. Yours would have been racing too under these circumstances.

When the alarm went off I was already up and about and when the second one went off, I had actually already had a shower. It goes to show that I can do it when I really try.

rebuilding tiensestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Having made my butties I staggered off outside into the rain and my walk up to the hospital.

At the start of the Tiensestraat where it leaves the Rector de Somerplein I walked past the building that they started to knock about a couple of months ago.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we were lucky enough to have had a peek inside back then but it’s not quite so easy right now with all of the goings-on.

But I’m intrigued to see what they are going to be doing with it. I hope that it’s not going to become another fast-food joint. There are already plenty of those in the town and it would be nice to see something rather more substantial.

photographer rector de somerplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that taking photos of people taking photos is a fairly regular theme that runs through these pages.

Today we have something slightly different, a photo of someone making a film.

Back there where they have the camera, there’s some kind of plaque set in the floor that doesn’t announce anything in particular yet it seems to be of a great interest to the guy with his camera and his assistant.

That prompted me to make a mental note to go for a closer look on the way home but regrettably, it seems that I forgot.

marquee stand demolition site brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022My route carried on through the rain down to the demolition site that was formerly Sint Pieter’s Hospital.

The site over there where there’s the concrete base is where they occasionally erect a marquee when there is something going on in the town but right now there isn’t anything happening anywhere.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … if they are going to be building some kind of “model village” on this site with expensive apartments and all that kind of thing, they are going to have to do something about the view.

demolition site brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022This isn’t really what you want to see if you’ve shelled out a lot of money for somewhere reasonable to live, is it?

But then again, as we have often said about Belgium, they don’t seem to be in all that much of a hurry to do things around here so I’m not expecting these apartments to see the light of day for quite a while yet. It took them long enough to knock down the hospital.

But as we saw yesterday, the pile of soil on the extreme right seems to be slowly growing. Perhaps one of these days they’ll get round to landscaping part of the site with it. Just imagine the weeds that will be growing in it once the summer arrives.

new building kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022And while we’re on the subject of growing … “well, one of us is” – ed … the newt building in between the Kupicijnenvoer and the Zongang seems to have stopped.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time that we are here we saw them caulking the joints where they had installed the windows. This month they have now gone along and installed the exterior cladding.

They have been quite quick doing that, which just goes to show that even Belgian builders can get a move on when they have to. It won’t be long before the tenants start moving in.

It’s not for me though. It’ll be quite dark in there, I reckon. I’ll need more light than they can offer otherwise I’ll wilt.

new building kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Another new building that has attracted our interest over the last few months is the one that they are erecting further down the Kapucijnenvoer on the other side of the road.

They are making a start on the second floor now and in the normal course of events it shouldn’t take them too long to do that. But the depth of the foundations and the height of the cranes onsite seem to suggest that the building is going to be a lot higher that that.

The size of the underground car park is quite impressive too so I’m intrigued to see how tall the building will be and who is going to occupy it. In Leuven you would think that it would be something to do with the University, but why would they need such a car park?

And the final climb up the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan finished me off. Despite the cooling effect of the rain I was defeated at the halfway mark and had to stop for breath

furniture lift monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022And a couple of places further up the hill too, although one was for a photo opportunity too.

This is something that you don’t see too often, except in Belgium where you find them quite often. Moving house is sometimes complicated when apartment-dwelling is commonplace, and the easiest way to shift your furniture can often be “out of the window”.

That’s where these furniture lifts come in handy. They can do the job in a couple of minutes. When I moved into my apartment in Brussels in 2000 I hired one, but when I finally moved out in 2011 I went out in the hours of darkness via the interior lift.

And so I struggled on up the hill to the hospital. It was a bad day.

At the urology department they poked and prodded me around, took piles of copious notes and weighed me. Despite all of the exercise that I’ve had over the last week I’ve gained 2kg and I don’t know how. And they’ll “get back to me” in due course.

They had already been looking for me at the Haematology Day Clinic so when I arrived they were ready for me. As soon as I walked into the reception she had the paperwork and my ID bracelet all ready. The fact that they are beginning to know me in the hospital is a little disturbing.

With everything ready, I was coupled up quite quickly and I didn’t have to wait very long for the doctor to see me.

She was much more friendly than the one last time but she had no concrete suggestions about my struggles. Next month I have the appointment with the heart specialist and we’ll see what he can suggest.

Having picked up some extra medication I headed for home and halfway down the hill I had a ‘phone call from Urology. “Come back on 5th May”. So that’s now three appointments on that day. Things are obviously reaching a critical point.

bicycle rack kruisstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Several months ago I noticed that they were installing some cycle racks at the side of the Sin Jakobuskerk.

At the time I speculated that they weren’t likely to see much business because they were rather off the beaten track as far as accommodation goes, and it looks as if I might have been right.

What caught my interest though was the electric bike in the foreground. I noticed that it was carrying some kind of registration plate. As well as that, instead of having a chain it has a synthetic drive belt.

Next time that I’m out and about I’ll have to keep an eye out for what’s happening with this situation. I’ve not encountered it before.

The banana-flavoured soya milk that I love and can only buy in Belgium has now run out so I called into Delhaize for more supplies on the way home. And back here I had a coffee and a chat with Liz before I rather unceremoniously crashed out.

This evening I’m not all that hungry so I’ve just had a couple of biscuits. This weight issue isn’t do to food but to water issues, but even so I should take every opportunity to cut down on my food intake.

So having written my notes I’m going to lounge around for a while before going to bed.

But a whole night with TOTGA! Whatever next?

Friday 25th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

girl taking photos hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that one of the recurring themes that run though these pages is photos of people taking photos.

And sure enough, we had a couple of those today. We also had the first Bird-Man of Alcatraz this year too today but his Nazgul came to grief on the car park at the back of the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc.

There was a young girl taking a photo of our bird-man packing up his troubles in his old kit bag and so I joined in the fun by taking a photograph of the girl taking a photograph.

And then, like the KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR we went our separate ways.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022My journey didn’t take me very far before I came once more to a stop.

This afternoon there were some people down there by the bench at the cabanon vauban and one of them was taking a couple of photos.

Even at this distance I could take a photo of what she was doing so that I could add it to my collection of photographs of people taking photographs.

However, as usual, I’m running ahead of myself here. Let’s go back and start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While you admire a few photos of the huge rollers coming in and colliding with the sea wall, I’m going to start today’s story even before the very beginning.

In fact, last night, I couldn’t go to sleep. In the end I ended up watching a film on the internet while I was waiting for sleep to come and it was at about 01:30 when I finally staggered into bed.

That doesn’t bode well for a 07:30 start but if we turn the clock back a year or two, I was going to bed at that time and arising at 06:00 without the least problem. And then going out for a run around the town.

Ohhh! How things have changed!

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t a great deal of time to go off on much of a nocturnal ramble, but I did my best.

Compared to the events of the last few nights; what happened last night was rather tame. Nevertheless, there was a very enigmatic entry on the dictaphone.

It went “I wish that I knew more about that dark-haired girl who came to visit me last night but that’s all there was on the dictaphone so I’ve no idea at all about anything relating to this”.

And I was dead right too. I wish that I did know more about it as well because it’s the kind of thing that must have been extremely interesting. I seem to be meeting an awful lot of unidentified young ladies just recently and it’s extremely frustrating to say the least when I can’t recall who they are or what we did.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I was with Nerina again last night. We were doing something at a bungalow on the Poets Estate near Coleridge Way around there. I’d been working on a car. I’d put my things away but when I went back there were still some bits and pieces lying around so I picked them up and put them in my pocket. Then I went to look at the car. The seat adjuster had broken – the circlip that holds it in place had come off. I made a mental note to do something about that when I was in a place where I could fix it. Then we drove to Nerina’s – it was about 21:45. Nerina’s mother said “oh, you’re early. She had tea ready which, for me, was vegan sausages. We had our meal then I was going to show Nerina this seat attachment thing because if she will be going out in the car in the morning she’ll need to know about this so she’ll know what to expect and she’ll know how to fix it. I couldn’t find a circlip to hold it in position. I was singing RIDING THE WAVES by Steve Harley all the time and I don’t know why and even Nerina made a mention of it during the dream.

And how I wish that I could sing it as well as I could 30 years ago

What I’ve been doing all day today is dealing with the arrears on the dictaphone that hadn’t been transcribed. I’ve no idea where I found all of the energy to do it but I did it all the same and now it’s finished.

Surprisingly, of the 40-odd sound-files that I had to transcribe, TOTGA and Zero only put in a very minimal appearance or two but we haven’t seen anything of Castor for a while and that is depressing me.

But anyway, all I need to do now is to find an hour or two over the weekend and update the relevant journal entries.

We had the usual breaks during the course of the day, a coffee or a hot blackcurrant here and there, a slice of my wonderful, delicious coffee cake and then lunch of course.

Another couple of things that I needed to do was to telephone the doctor about another appointment. I need more Aranesp for my fortnightly injections.

And then I had to write out a recipe. A while ago I’d promised my friend in Munich a copy of my vegan pie recipe but I had kept on forgetting. But the photo of my pie the other day reminded me.

low loader place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was a lot of noise going on outside during the afternoon, heavy machinery and so on, so I wondered what I was going to see when I went outside.

Right outside my front door was an articulated tractor unit with a low-loader trailer attached thereto. And running around the area was a large tractor-type JCB thing with a pair of fork loaders on the front.

What was strange about this, and I didn’t notice until afterwards otherwise I would have taken a photo of it, was that the driver of the JCB thing was a young woman.

That is surely the first time that I have ever seen someone of the female sex driving a machine like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so as usual I wandered off down to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide was well in now so there wasn’t much beach to be on. But nevertheless there were plenty of people down there wandering around or sitting on the rocks as you can see at the bottom of the photo.

There was even a young girl down there in pink wellingtons actually going out into the water and that was rather courageous of her. I can’t see what she and, presumably, her father were doing down there. They had no equipment for the pèche à pied and in any case the tide is too far up for that.

buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Every now and again we notice a certain type of yellow buoy out there in the bay in between Granville and St Martin.

Today we have another one of them, and I wish that I knew what it was doing and what was its significance. It’s not a mooring buoy and it doesn’t look like a typical lobster pot marker buoy to me.

There were several seagulls flying around it and so I was wondering whether we might be in for a romantic love story. After all, the ocean is the place where buoy meets gull.

Yes, I’ll get my coat.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I also had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening there.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the different layers of water that coexist side-by-side in the bay and the mystery that it causes.

What we have here today is a kind-of ripple effect in the water. The last time that I saw something like this was POINT PELÉE, the southernmost point of mainland Canada when I was there with Katherine in 2010.

What was happening there was that we had a river flow heading to the east and a wind-blown flow heading west. However here today, just for a change there wasn’t anything like enough wind for a similar phenomenon today.

There were crowds of people milling around this afternoon as you might have seen in some of the previous photos. It was a nice day and it had certainly brought out the crowds.

The storm and the waves had subsided considerably since yesterday but coming into the Baie de Mont St Michel every now and again were some very heavy rollers. You saw a couple of them breaking on the harbour wall in the photos right at the beginning.

courrier des iles chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In the chantier naval we have a new occupier over at the back of the yard. She’s Courrier des Iles, one of the charter hire boats that operate out of the port.

Not that I know too much about the operation of the smaller boats that ply for hire but the larger ones certainly have to have an annual inspection before they can carry fare-paying passengers and so if that’s the case with her, she’s probably having an overhaul to prepare her for the forthcoming season.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the yard, Tiberiade, Le Roc à le Mauve III and the two yachts are still in there receiving attention.

cable laying rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022At the rear of the apartment I found out what was going on with all of this machinery.

They are laying some cable in the underground conduit and although you can’t see it in this photo, the cable reel is whizzing around. It’s on a stand of course, and there is someone somewhere else in the neighbourhood pulling on the end of the cable to whizz it through the conduit.

Back here I had a coffee and came back in here to carry on with the dictaphone notes and eventually I finished them

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce and it was quite a delicious, if quick tea.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping tomorrow so I need to be fit. I don’t need much but we shall see what the shops come up with.

Tuesday 9th November 2021 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… aerial afternoon this afternoon, just for a change.

Not a nazgul or any bird-men of Alcatraz but actually an aeroplane flyng by overhead out in the bay on its way hame to the airfield just outside Donville Les Bains.

Its an aeroplane that we have seen before – F-HGSM, a Robin DR400/160 aeroplane that’s owned by the Aero Club of Greaves of Mont Saint Michel just down the road from here – coming out for a quick lap around towards the end of the afternoon.

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen her before, and a few minutes later we saw her again, this time flying the other way.

In fact she’s spent much of the afternoon flying up and down the coast between Avranches and Granville. The first this that she was picked up on radar today was at 14:41.

Unfortunately, many of her flights weren’t picked up on radar. Certainly, these two weren’t. The aeroplane doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan either so I can’t say much more about what she’s been up to.

65px light aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Jamais deux sans trois – “never just two without a third” as they say around here.

Sure enough, no sooner had F-HGSM disappeared off down the coast then around the corner came another aeroplane from the direction of the airfield. But as this one approached me it did a dramatic U-turn and headed back the way from which he came.

Unfortunately I can only tell you even less about this particular one because it’s another one with one of these short registration numbers – 65PX -that isn’t on any database to which I have access. So I let it go off on its way.

This morning, I had a great deal of difficulty going off on my way. Despite a reasonably early night I had an extreme amount of difficulty leaving my bed. But as I promised no to talk about my bad nights I won’t say any more.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then knuckled down to revise my Welsh from last week and to prepare for my lesson this morning.

There was a slight interruption though because the NIKON 1 J5 came back. I shall have a play with that in due course.

The Welsh lesson passed quite quickly and quite well too. An I need to remember now is “Fish Fingers, Baked Beans, More Beans, MMMMM”

After lunch I updated a few more days of the journal from late October, transcribed a few more entries for due course and then set about dealing with last night’s issues. I’d been back at my old school last night but I didn’t recognise anything of it. All of the House names had been changed to reflect the current way of thinking. I couldn’t see a timetable or a room list, a teacher list or anything like that. I was just wandering around aimlessly checking rooms to see if there was anyone I recognised, which I ddn’t. The teachers all looked strange, young and modern to me. Each class had a Social Media page that was pretty open and even the teachers were writing down their innermost thoughts on this. I went to have a look at the roll-call for students who had started this year. There were some from Pontypool, some from Galashiels, even some from Centreville in Canada. This has all changed from how it used to be with just local recruitment. I wondered where they were all staying because there’s nowhere for groups of kids to stay in Nantwich

Then about 85 minutes later, the problem with the school was that they were recruiting from all over the place, Galashiels, down south, even Cetreville in Canada. There didn’t seem to be anyone local at all. All the classes had Social Media accounts. Even teachers were writing their innermost thoughts down there. It didn’t look anything like the school that I knew with local recruitment. It seemed to me that there was a year that was being missed for which they weren’t offering tuition which I thought was strange. I must have dictated the previous notes and then gone back to sleep right back into where I left off yet again.

Later still, I’d been leaving France for Belgium and gone a different way than usual. I was looking over the map and the road that I wanted was over the edge of a page so I was wondering where I was going to end up. At first I thought that it looked shorter but then with it going off the page it started to look longer. I was wondering whether I’d made the right decision. I noticed that it seemed to end up back on the road that I used to take when I went down to the Auvergne through the mountains of the Ardennes. I was trying to work out exactly where that was going to be.
There was also something about living on a farm and buying a car, but I wasn’t allowed to use the car on the road. I bought it and I was trying to smarten it up and getting it to be a kind-of custom hot-rod thing. I’d bought 2 exhaust pipes for it that go down the outside of the car. Then I found out that there was another type that improved performance even more than I ought to have bought and it was starting to get a little bit crazy.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021In the middle of all of this I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First stop is at the end ot the car park where I can look down on the beach. And considering that we are now rapidly approaching mid-November there were still plenty of people down there this afternoon.

It was actually quite a nice, sunny day which was a surprise, and there wasn’t very much wind. And as you can see, there was plenty of beach down there for everyone to wak upon with the tide being well out this afternoon.

seagulls harvesting bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the beach towards Donville les bains there were even more crowds down there.

Mainly crowds – or shoud I say flocks – of seagulls. They seem to be enjoying themselves having a feeding frenzy in the tidal pools with all of the fish that has been left behind, stranded by the tide.

Further on down the coast the harvesters of bouchots are also out there at work. You can see a couple of their tractors heading out towards the beds. No trailers though, so they aren’t ready to pull them in just yet.

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual, when I’m out and about looking at what is going on down on the beach, I have one eye looking around out at sea to se what’s happening there.

Right now of course we are living in interesting times so I’m keeping a close watch on all of the activity. And there’s plenty og avtivity out there this afternoon.

Out there we have a couple of trawlers looking as if they are working rather than heading in for home. And the yacht that’s out there with them is going to have a long wait before the tide comes in far enough for it to make it back home.

patrol boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I’m not the only one keeping a close eye on the activity either.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, that looks like a French Navy patrol boat out there having a little wander around in the bay.

Of course, with things starting to heat up around here in the bay, it’s not surprising that the French Government has sent someone in to watch what is going on.

It’s not just the British Navy that has warships, despite what the crooks in Westminster and the collaborationist press will tell the gullible public.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon in the nice weather, although I don’t know where they have come from. The schoolkids were out ther eorienteering too but none of them came over for a chat this afternoon.

people taking self photograph cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the end of the path I crossed over the car park to go down to the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a regular feature on these pages is photographs of people taking photographs of people. And here were a couple of people in action down by the cabanon vauban.

Whether or not “selfies” actually count as photographs of people taking photographs of people, I’ve included it all the same. There was another couple as well on the car park taking photos of each other but I wasn’t quick enough for that.

man fishing off rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And our photoraphers weren’t the only ones down there at the end of the headland.

We had the fishermen out there on the rocks as well. Here is one of them almost up to his knees in the water casting his line into the deep. Not that he’ll be catching very much if past experience is anything to go by.

With plenty of things to do I couldn’t hang around very long to watch. I cleared off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Over at the ferry terminal there was one of the Joly France ferries sitting in the silt. It’s the older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure

On this side of the harbour at the chantier naval there wasn’t anything at all happening.

The portable boat lift is still standing there in the middle of the yard with its wheels off waiting for something to happen to it. And I hope that they won’t be taking too long to repair it. The town needs the business that the chantier naval can bring.

joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One of the ways of telling the two Joly France boats apart is by the step in the stern of the newer one.

There’s a really good view of the stern of the new one down there in the inner harbour and you can see the step quite clearly.

To the left of her is the very new Belle France ferry that came into the town earlier in the year.

And if you want a full house, Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter, is over on the right out of shot. There’s nothing whatever going on over at the Ile de Chausey today, not like the other day when we saw them streaming out from port.

roofing rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further along the road there was quite a racket coming from somewhere in the Rue du Port.

Looking down there from up on top of the cliff I could see that there was someone down there doing a bit of roofing.

It’s certainly the right kind of weather to do it. It’s a nightmare being up on a roof in a torrential downpour and a howling gale, as I know from bitter experience. And I’m surprised that, just for once, there isn’t a howling gale blowing around.

Anyway, there’s plenty of time for him to be soaked to the skin or blown off the scaffolding. It looks as if he’s only just started and the weather can turn at any moment.

people taking photographs boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little earlier, I mentioned something about some people taking photographs of each other.

When I was down at the Pointe du Roc I wasn’t quick enough to catch them but I caught up with them in the Boulevard Vaufleury, standing in the middle of the road defying the oncoming traffic to take their photos.

She had a bunch of flowers earlier. I wonder where she has stuck them.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and carried on with the dictaphone notes, and that took me right up to teatime.

It was a quick tea of taco rolls and rice with veg (not dropped into the sink tonight) because there was football on the internet. Hwlffordd v Barry Town.

Played in a driving rainstorm on a sodden pitch it wasn’t a very attractive game as the teams struggled to come to terms with the conditions. The match ended 1-1 which was probably a fair result in the circumstances although the goals were really messy goalmouth scrambles.

It wasn’t at all like the match LAST WEEKEND which had a couple of the finest goals you’ll see at this level of football.

Anyway now I’m off to bed for another night’s voyages. Listening to all of the stuff on the dictaphone I’ve been having some really vivid dreams just recently, and plenty of them too.

All of this corresponds with my dreadful nights and I’m wondering if there’s been a change in eithe rmy diet or my medication that has brought all of this on. I shall have to go back and review everything to see what it’s all about.

Sunday 15th August 2021 – THE OTHER DAY …

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when discussing all of the boats that were out there on the water, I believe that I mentioned how I would love to be out there when the harbour gates are near closing, in order to witness the stampede as the boats all headed back for port.

And sure enough, this afternoon I had my wish, and a lot sooner than I was expecting as well. The tide is advancing quite rapidly and even though this is my usual time to be out, you can see the mad dash for home already.

Belle France is well up there in second place to that cabin cruiser in front, but on the outside there’s a speedboat coming incredibly quickly, making quite a wave as he does so.

boats heading for harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the pther side of the headland, things are much more advanced.

There are at least five and maybe even more small boats in the photo just here, all dashing for the port de plaisance while they still are able to do so.

Nobody would want to be stranded out in the bay during the night, especially if they have work to go to in the morning.

Not too many people out on the sea wall watching them though. I would have expected this to have been one of the best free entertainments going.

Last night I did without any kind of entertainment – free or otherwise – after the football. At the final whistle I staggered off to bed and that was that.

At 06:19 I was awake but if anyone thinks that I’ll be leaving my bed at that time of day on a Sunday they are mistaken. Even 09:10 is a bit optimistic. 10:40 is much more like it.

Ordinarily I would have said that that was a good sleep but there is tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I must have been quite disturbed (as if I’m not disturbed enough as it it).

I started off at the home of a couple of friends last night, doing a load of moving for them or something like that. I’d gone to her office room to talk to her but she was busy on the phone so I went into his office room kind of thing and he wasn’t there. I thought that I would wait for him to come back and I started listening to music and I thought “He has loads of LPs so I’m sure that he has loads of live cast-offs that would do for a live concert”. There was a box of strawberries and cream by the side of his computer and I was busy eating my way through those and scrolling through his Facebook screen. Suddenly I saw a message that he had sent me about Welsh Premier League football and I could see my reply under there. I thought that I’d better not be confused in this subject comes up again because I’ll be replying as someone else instead of me and reading my own replies. When they did come down they looked so young and it was very hard for me to believe that it was them. I couldn’t believe it. They were talking about everything, about how we don’t need to go out for a meal tonight but we can go for breakfast tomorrow somewhere. I said that my partner (and I couldn’t think of her name) was having to teach this afternoon but I’d been watching “Alfie” and this started off with some guys going to rob the home of a policewoman or something but the robbery had all gone wrong and several policemen in there and there had ended up being a gunfight and all these guys had gone to prison and been sent down for an enormous length of time. The Michael Caine character had to flee the country with his girlfriend and she was telling him all this bad news about everything else that was connected with this but still going wrong. He was pretty powerless where he was to actually do anything about it

This flat (and I wish that I knew which flat is was that I was discussing) is ideal for the kind of thing for a weekend retreat where you can come away from Paris on Friday and be here Friday night, and not have to go back until Sunday night and spend every weekend down by the sea.

A little later I was on my way to a football match and I arrived in Chester and was running late so I had to take a taxi. I went to the local rank but there were only little electric telephone box-type cars so I said to a guy standing near it “is that yours?”. Another guy immediately leapt out of a vehicle and asked “taxi?”. I replied “yes but just give me a minute to make a phone call. Is there a phone handy?”. I had a discount card that I needed to ring up to book. he showed me over to a phone but said “there’s still 12 minutes left on the meter. Where do you want to go? I said “Deva Road” so he replied “come on. We’ll get there before this runs out”. He ushered me into a red Rover V8 and drove me there. We had a bit of a laugh in the snow about how uneconomical his car was, everything. He said that it wasn’t that bad. As I got up the steps to the football ground, I did a bit of shopping and started to walk back. I didn’t go to the game at all if there had been one.

A group of travellers turned up in Palestine, amongst them a three year old boy that was donated by some parent in some emergency but when they got to Palestine they didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do so they built some kind of meeting centre or something like that to show at least that they weren’t going to waste any time.

Somewhere as well there was a story of two 9-year-old girls who used to go around all these rock festivals and blues festivals filming the events. Their mother would form them into some kind or promotional video. I was there somewhere with a girl and I introduced her to people like John Hite and someone who wrote a lot of songs, Creedence Clearwater Revival (do I mean Bob Hite of Canned Heat?). I said “there you are, you have to meet John Hite and a few others and that’s something to tell your friends, isn’t it?”. She replied “most of my friends wouldn’t even know who people like that are”.

Later I woke up in a panic thinking that it was 16:00 and I had a flight back to Europe in an hour and I had so much to do. I grabbed all of my things and shot off to the airport and then spent quite a lot of time trying to find a place to sit down and sort myself out and pack everything. A couple of people came to join me and we were talking about the lack of seats in this place. The discussion drifted on to airports in North Carolina and the rudimentary facilities there, some experience that I could share with these two people as well.

As well as all of this, someone had asked me to do some tiling for him. I’m not very good at tiling but I went along to have a look. At my place I’d tiled on top of a piece of lino so I found a piece of lino and cut to size and cleaned up but instead of using soap I’d used fat and it made a right mess of everywhere so I had to take it out. There was fat all over the floor so I prepared to mop it up. Then he came in. He hadn’t really twigged on what was going on but he was inspecting it as much as he could and how I knew what was going to be done to the right size so that I’d cut off a piece of lino as a template. He went to look at it. I told him that it was wet so he said “we’d better open it out to dry” so he opened it out on his balcony. He asked me “your insurance liability is up to date, isn’t it?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any and I was beginning to regret having said that I would do this job for him the way that he was going on like this.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mail and then I went off to have a look at the view now that the tide is on its way out.

boats baie de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s the view that greeted me looking out across the Baie de Granville and the English Channel this morning.

After the really wonderful few days that we have had, summer is now apparently over and we are back in winter again.

It’s pretty pointless trying to look for car ferries and sailing ships in that lot just there. It was raining too, the first time for about a week, and that didn’t help matters at all. We could have had Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster out there this morning and I wouldn’t have seen them.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view down the coast was, if anything, even worse.

We can just about make out the white beach huts on the promenade at the Plat Gousset but our view doesn’t go very much beyond there right now. The Rue du Nord is swathed in raincloud too.

Hopefully the view will be better on the other side of the headland in the lee of the wind. The rain might not have reached there yet.

spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we might not have any rain, the view isn’t all that much better, which is a shame.

However Aztec Lady is back in town. She’s the blue boat over there that goes on a few exciting voyages every so often, although the current travel regulations have curtailed much of the more interesting sailings.

To her left, bow-end on to the camera is Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast last year. The last time that I’d heard of her, she was over at the Ile de Chausey but I met her skipper yesterday so I assumed that she had come home.

suzanga baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother boat that was on her way home this morning in all of the bad weather is the trawler Suzanga.

She’s the new boat in town, having only recently arrived from the shipbuilders in Turkey, and she’s already out there earning her keep.

That’s several new trawlers that have joined the local fleet since I’ve been living here. It shows that contrary to all expectations, the local ship owners are rather optimistic about the future of the fishing industry here, and that’s always quite a good sign.

Positive thinking seems to be in rather short supply these days among some people.

zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the miserable weather, there’s plenty of activity in port this morning which is nice to see.

There were several zodiacs loitering aroind in the neighbourhood, almost as if there was a cruise ship like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR anchored somewhere offshore.

But the girl who was driving this one came in, went up to the harbour wall, said something to a few people and then turned round and sailed back out again. So what was that all about then?

passengers boarding zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile I could see the heads of some other people down there and they looked as if they were sitting in a zodiac, but I couldn’t really see because the house roofs were in the way.

It took about 20 minutes for them to decide what they were going to do and I had to wait around all that time because there wasn’t anything else going on that I could see that would occupy my mind.

Eventually they threw a rope to someone on the quayside and they moved away, so that I could see what was going on.

people on board zodiac leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey set off in the tracks of the one that had left earlier.

And I know that my expedition friends would be having heart failure seeing a moving zodiac with people standing up in it as it travels, even if they are hanging on to something.

The way that they pitch and roll and sway in the sea means that they aren’t as stable as they might be with a high centre of gravity when people are standing up. Everyone should be sitting down and luggage goes at their feet to keep the centre of gravity lower still.

By now I was becoming rather wet (as if I wasn’t wet enough before I started) so I headed for home and a nice hot coffee, and then start work on yesterday’s journal entry.

dropping off passengers blocking rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other during the day I was interrupted by noise from out at the back.

The streets around the old town are closed today as it’s the book fair, and there was a breakdown lorry trying to gain access . The driver had gone off to seek assistance but in the meantime, another car had come past him and then inexplicably stopped, rather selfishly, to let out his passengers while he goes to park the car.

Never mind that the road is narrow enough so that no-one else behind him could go past. That’s clearly unimportant as long as he’s OK.

The selfishness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Writing my notes was a long and arduous task today, and took much longer than I expected. I even had a rather quick lunch to try to make more time but as you probably realise, something like that seldom seems to work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

No afternoon walk seems to be complete without that these days.

The tide has come in quite quickly but there are still plenty of brave souls down there trying out the beach, sitting around and sunbathing.

There didn’t seem to be anyone actually in the water this afternoon but that’s not to say that there weren’t any.

kayaker baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other people in the water though, but in a different fashion entirely.

Like this kayaker for instance. He must have paddled his canoe quite a long way to end up here, and now he’s going to have to turn round and paddle himself all the way back, and pretty quickly too if he wants to find a slipway or launching pad still in the water.

And is that a fishing rod that he has poking up behind him? It can’t be all that comfortable fishing in a kayak. And where would be put his catch?

great cormorant baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was out here like piffy on a rock was this strange creature.

It’s actually a Great Cormorant and he’s a long way from home. His breeding colony is probably the one across the bay on one of the small islands facing Cancale. Several of those islands – the uninhabited ones – are know to be breeding grounds.

They were much more widespread than that at one time but predators like foxes and rats have seen off several colonies. In fact there’s a plan for the Ile de Chausey for a mass eradication of non-indigenous predators.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when you compare this photo of the one that I took down the coast earlier today, you’ll see a great difference.

Of course, the rain cloud has now passed on to better things and the weather is so much nicer. In addition to that, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz have awoken and they have come here with their Nazgul to have an afternoon’s adventuring.

One of them has just taken off from the field by the cemetery and at the moment he’s fighting to gain control of his Nazgul, after which he’ll be heading this way.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere didn’t seem to be all that much going on farther out at sea this afternoon but I did scan the horizon.

At one point I picked up something large and dark out by the Ile de Chausey and although I couldn’t imagine it being anything else other than the sail of a yacht I took a photo to check when I returned home.

Sure enough, it is a yacht although it’s too far out to see if it’s anyone we know. Black Mamba isn’t in port right now but she’s apparently in Cherbourg right now so I doubt that it might be her.

belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere is someone else who we might have seen over the last few days out there in the English Channel.

Unfortunately the weather is nothing like as clear as it was yesterday morning for us to give a positive identification but thinking that it might again be the training ship Belem, I made a note of her position.

Sure enough, when I returned, I could check on the historical radar plot and Belem was indeed at that spot round about that time of the afternoon.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing else going on out there of any importance (apart from the mad stampede that you saw earlier) so I pushed on around the headland.

As I crossed over the road, one of the errant Nazgul went swooping by over the top of the old bunker so I stopped to take a photograph of it.

And then I ended up in a mad stampede of my own down the hill chasing after my camera’s lens cap that I had unfortunately dropped.

Luckily I managed to avoid being run down by a car coming up the hill towards me. We both would have had a surprise.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again, this time by a mechanical device and I wondered why it had taken them so long to find me.

This is one that we recognise, having seen her many times just recently. She’s the Granville Aero Club’s Robin DR 400-140B F-GBAI going out on an afternoon flight.

She was first picked up on radar at 16:01 (my photo is (adjusted) 16:14) and she did a few laps around the Ile de Chausey and then up and down the coast before disappearing off the radar again near the airfield at 17:50

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupant at the chantier naval today so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The ferry that we saw coming over from the Ile de Chausey, I wasn’t sure who she was. But I can tell you who she wasn’t because the older one of the two Joly France boats is sitting there at the quayside already with a load of people on the path just above her as if they have just gone ashore.

And here on the other side is the little freighter Chausiaise. So it can’t be any one of those two. But we’ll find out in a couple of minutes.

belle france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it didn’t even take that long before we were to find out.

Around the bend, alongside the sea wall and into the harbour came the brand-new Belle France, crammed to the gunwhales with people from the Ile de Chausey.

There were quite a few people on the sea wall by now admiring her as she appeared, and quite rightly too because not only is she a beautiful machine, she’s a sign of faith and optimism that there’s plenty of life left in the port.

And with the uncertain future surrounding the Channel Island ferries and the gravel boats, then this is good news.

man taking photograph car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I have to do before I finish.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my pages are littered with inter alia photos of people taking photos. Today we had a large family group with a photographer who was taking pictures of them, with tripod and all.

This was far too good an opportunity to miss and I had to add a discreet shot of the event to my little collection.

Back here at the apartment I finally finished my notes from yesterday and then I joined up the tracks for the radio programme for tomorrow.

When that was done I attacked my pizza which was delicious. I haven’t made anything else though because I’m off on Tuesday to Leuven.

And now seeing as I’m exhausted, I’m off for an early night ready to start work tomorrow. Radio first of course, and I also have the injection man coming as well. I wonder if that will kickstart me into life for my trip to Leuven.

Thursday 25th March 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night that was!

demolition st pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall… while you admire the photos of the roadworks and demolitions that we have been following over the last few years, I’ll tell you all about it.

And if you want to know more about the photos as you pass by them, click on the image aside and a new window will open up with an enlarged photo and a caption.

But I spent most if not all of the night battling with cramp. I’ve had some bad nights just recently with cramp, and some worse nights too, but none were as bad as last night’s attacks.

demolition st pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallIn fact, even when it started to grow light I was still awake in agony having already hopped around the rom to free everything off at least half a dozen times

When the alarm went off I was in no condition to leave the bed and in fact i totally ignored all of the alarms. Instead, I stayed in bed until about 08:20 and it’s been a while since I’ve done that in the week.

But at least I managed to drift off to sleep at some point and I even managed to go off on my travels. And that reminds me – if you missed last night’s voyages they are on-line now too

sint Jacobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallGreenock Morton were playing in a football match last night and were attacking the opponents’ goal. The team that they were playing had a couple of old Morton players in it like Gregor Buchanan. They were attacking the goal and they should have scored three or four in this one particular movement. They were trying to force the ball over the line. One of the Morton players even managed to lift it over the bar from standing on the goal line, there were that many bodies in the way and he had to get the ball over them. Interesting though was that all of the players were just like wraiths, something that made me wonder if the opponents were not in fact Wraith Rovers, just a ghostly outline rather than actual real players whom I could see. I remember shouting encouragement from the terraces but funnily enough I was the only person doing it and it sounded terribly embarrassing

biezenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallLater on there was a roundabout that had been built by Crewe and on this roundabout heading towards the town was my former friend from Stoke on Trent on a motorbike carrying a 5-gallon container of diesel. I was going the other way on a motorbike. Behind him on my old Honda Melody was Zero. She was only about 10 but she was riding this Honda Melody. I pulled up alongside the guy and we started to have a bit of a chat. The girl said “look here!” and she went off on this motor bike, did a couple of sliding turns, came back and slid to a halt. The bike toppled over and she got off and came to sit in between the two of us, telling us all about riding her motor bike. I asked “have you been taking Strawberry Moose out for a ride?”. she replied “yes”. The guy was saying that she’d held him tight while driving. She replied “ohh no! He’s been for a ride with me properly on it”.

And that brought back many happy memories of when I was living with Laurence and 8 year-old Roxanne 20-odd years ago and I taught Roxanne to ride the Melody

Sint-Hubertusstraat Leuven belgium Eric HallComing downstairs was something of a stagger.

My knee was certainly better but it wasn’t that good and I still couldn’t put too much weight on it and I needed to grip onto something to haul myself up into a standing position.

But I did eventually reach the ground floor and I attacked the dictaphone to see where I’d been during last night and the night before. And to my surprise, I had travelled quite far as you have probably noticed if you’ve read all of my notes.

monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallLater on, I took my courage in both hands and limped off down to the supermarket.

The Delhaize rather than the Carrefour because it was closer and I wasn’t up to going the extra distance. But I did what shopping I needed to do and staggered back.

Despite my injury and despite the load that I was carrying I made it back without too much of a problem, and then made myself some toast for a rather late breakfast.

There was time for a shower and some clothes washing, and then I headed off to the hospital.

It was a depressing walk down to the town because I really wasn’t feeling like it but I did it all the same.

photographer taking photos grote markt leuven belgique Eric HallAs I passed through the Grote Markt I stumbled upon a young photgrapher doing her stuff.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, another one of the regular features on these pages is photographers taking photos. There’s usually one or two appearing every now and again.

Having seen that, I carried on with my walk past all of the building work that has been going on over the last couple of years that is progressing rather too slowly for my liking.

new pipework near the herestraat leuven belgium Eric HallUp at the hospital there was yet more excitement.

It was not easy to see what they were doing but they had a digger out there digging a trench along by the lagoon over there and they have a great long length of large-diameter rubber pipe that I imagine that they will drop into the trench when they have done it.

But as to its purpose, I’ve no idea. And the guys were too far away to ask.

At the hospital I had a Covid-test and then they could treat me for my illness. The wired me up and plugged me in and gave me my intravenous drip.

The doctor came to see me and I told her about my “incident” yesterday and all of the cramps that I’ve been having.

As for the fall, there is no damage and all of the muscles and ligaments are working fine. As for the cramps, she doesn’t think that they are cramps but what her translation from the Flemish was “wandering leg” – she didn’t know its precise English translation and I didn’t understand the Flemish.

Anyway, she’s prescribed me a pill that will ease the cramps and help me have a decent sleep. It takes a while to work so I won’t see the results for a couple of weeks.

Kaatje came to see me too and we had quite a chat. She told me about her holiday plans for a cycling tour with her friends. When she came into my room I was listening to COLOSSEUM LIVE – one of the top five live albums ever and which always brings back memories of the High Arctic and THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

She asked me about it and I told her that it dated from 1973. “I wasn’t even born then” she replied. I keep on forgetting how old I am, although the events of yesterday and today have aged me by 20 years.

The doctor came back with my test results – blood count down to 8.9 which is no great surprise is it? And then I cleared off to pick up my medication.

herestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOutside the hospital there was a bright blue sky but some really filthy dark black clouds.

This was creating some really strange lighting effects so I took a photo of it. Unfortunately the camera was not able to reproduce the effect which is rather a disappointment so you’ll just have to imagine it.

But at least, the photo from this angle gives you an idea of how far out of town the hospital is and how far I have to walk to come here. As an aside, having gone to the shops this morning as well I’m now on 191% of my daily total according to my fitbit and that’s impressive for someone with a damaged knee.

monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallOver the last couple of years we’ve been watching the slow rebuilding of the Monseignur Van Waeyenberghlaan and you have already seen the work that they have been doing.

The upper end of the avenue is now complete and the traffic is now able to circulate around there too part of the way down.

People on foot are able to circulate down there too so I continued on my way down the avenue and back towards town. In an hour’s time I would be meeting Alison for a chat and a coffee.

demolition kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the demolition of St Pieter’s Hospital, and I posted two new photos earlier.

The demolition work has also been taking place around the back so I went to see how they were doing with that little lot.

Whatever it is that they were demolishing, they have now demolished it and the rebuilding has started. That looks as if it might be a subterranean car park down there and to the left there’s a piledriver that will be sinking the foundations of whatever will be going on top.

Alison and I had a good chat and a little wander around and then we went back to the car park underneath the Ladeuzeplein.

crowds monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallBelgium temporarily relaxed its Covid restrictions a couple of days ago but now they are retightening them again.

There were plenty of people out and about making most of the warm weather and the end of the relaxed restrictions and they were having a little party on the Ladeuzeplein.

Just for a change, it seemed that social distancing was being respected. In fact we saw several stewards who were presumably enforcing them. And as we watched, a police car pulled onto the square and drove around to make its presence felt.

university library monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven Eric HallThere was a really fine night tonight and I’m not surprised that so many people were out there.

The moon that was shining up above the University Library was particularly splendid. It was just the kind of thing that was crying out for a photograph so I obliged, even if the NIKON 1 J5 is not the most ideal camera for this kind of thing.

We picked up Alison’s car and she drove us back here to my little place. With not having had a coffee while we were out, I made one here and we had a nice long chat. And then I accompanied her to her car.

After she left I wrote up my notes of the day’s activities and now I’m off to bed. I’ll try one of these new pills to see where they gat me. No alarm in the morning – I’m going to have a nice lie-in. I always feel a little groggy after my treatment and the rest does me good.

Friday 26th February 2021 – IT SEEMS TO BE …

… quite the thing for me to feature on my pages photos of people taking photos, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

We’ve had people taking photos too many times to count, people taking photos of people taking photos of people and even, on one occasion if I remember correctly, people taking photos of people taking photoe of people taking photos of people. We’ve also had FILM CREWS while we’ve been out and about on our travels.

tv cameraman filming brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallToday, it’s the turn of a TV cameraman to feature on these pages. Here he was, quite happily setting up his camera to do some filming down the Brusselsestraat in Leuven.

There wasn’t a van about, or anyone waving a microphone around so I couldn’t see where he’d come from or what the purpose of his filming would be, but as the Belgian Government was about to make an important public announcement, I imagine that it’s going to be something to do about people’s reactions to whatever news there might be.

And I’m not sure what your reaction might be when I tell you that I was up and about, wandering around my digs before the alarm went off, but I bet that it would be worth filming too.

Mind you, it was something of a cheat because the alarm wasn’t actually set for … errr … 06:00 or thereabouts this morning. Having my medication takes a lot out of me so this morning it was set for 08:00.

Even so, wandering around the place at 07:33 is something that I can’t always do even when the alarm is set for 06:00. It reminds me of the time when I used to arive late at school and the teacher used to ask me why. I used to reply that there were eight people in our house but the alarm was only set for seven.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I started off last night with a guy and girl, going round a back trail at the back end of Crewe. It was a muddy track, very steep and up and down with hairpin beds, everything like that. I was havng to coach them their way round. This woman was nervous. I was trying hard not to frighten her but make her aware of all of the dangers. At one point we had to ski up and down and back up a slope. I had to get my skis ready – this guy got his, the woman got hers. Mine were somewhere along the road. This incidentally evolved during this voyage into a place that we have visited several times on various nocturnal rambles, that high, narrow mountain pass where we’ve been skiing and walking a few times in the past.

And somewhere in this I was having some work do to. I wasn’t in the office and I was planning on doing it at home but everything was making me run late and my ‘phone was einging more often. At one stage it was a guy from the office asking me when I was intending to do this thing. I replied that I’d be back by 15:15 and I’ll get on with it then. He asked “what about … (and mentioned the name of another case I had to deal with)?”. I replied “don’t worry. That’s not quite so urgent. I’ll deal with that as well while I’m at it”.

Later on, we had an old Ford E83W van (actually when we were kids my father had two, KLG93 and XVT772 but that’s another story) in our drive and my father and brother were talking about breaking it for spares. I thought that it was far too good to break. We were all underneath it and getting all of the mud off from underneath but keeping it in shape as it came off so that it could be used as a profile to make repair panels for other vans. This involved picking these lumps of mud out from underneath and posting them off to him. In the meantime there was a very informal game of cricket taking place between some American kids so they didn’t really have a great idea about what they were doing and this was going on all around ths van. I’d been watching for a while and decided that I’d join in. I fielded somewhere and of course having played a lot of cricket I took up a rather professional stance. Someone said something and someone mentioned wicket-keeping. I said that I had my old wicket-keeper’s gloves somewhere (and I do too, but these days I couldn’t even begin to think where they might be) and then went on to say things like “I’m thnking of taking up cricket again and keeping wicket”. The girl who was in charge of this game told us to hush as we were disturbing everyone’s concentration. But the important thing was this van. I had a good look underneath it and thought that there was nothing much wrong with this yet they were all talking about breaking it for spares.

It took quite a while to type out all of that as you can imagine, and then I attacked last night’s notes. I’d fallen asleep in the middle of writing it and when I awoke I was too tired to finish them so I went straight to bed. Anyway, they are now all done and dusted. But I think that I’ll probably have to end up rewriting them at some point. They aren’t what I would actually call coherent.

From then on, it was the turn of the radio programme to receive my attention. Yesterday I’d chosen the music for the next three “studio” programmes in the sequence (the “live” ones are done separately). Today I combined them into pairs and added into the first pair for each programme the introductory notes. These are pre-recorded and I either fit them in over the top of a suitable quiet passage near the beginning or else prefix the music with it.

Combining the music in pairs isn’t as easy as it sounds either because you need to choose music that is roughly similar in beat and speed and merge then so that there seems to be a seamless joint. But sometimes it’s much more exciting and challenging, not to mention satisfying, to pair up two completely different tracks and try to make it sound good.

There was the usual pause for lunch, and round about 15:30 when I’d finished the music I went for a walk around the town.

This is the first time, by the way, for I don’t know how long, when I haven’t been seriously looking at computers in FNAC. With its 8GB of RAM and its new 1TB solid-state drive, at long last I have a travelling laptop fast enough to do the kind of work that I want when I’m out and about.

The processor isn’t very quick so it won’t do some things, but to replace it with anything much better, we’re looking at prices in the region of €1200. So that’s a non-starter.

At the Sports Shop I finally found a decent woolly hat to go on my woolly head. A proper insulated hat that will keep my head warm if ever I make it back to the High Arctic, which, at the rate that things are going, is highly unlikely.

queue outside shop diestestraat leuven belgium Eric HallIn the Dienstestraat I noticed a huge queue of people outside a shop. It reminded me very much of Poland and the Soviet Union in the late 70s and early 80s when I used to travel around there.

However what was happening was that it’s the last week of this particular shop. It’s closing down at the weekend and everything in there is on sale at just €1:00, so people were queueing up there in the hope of finding a bargain.

It wasn’t the kind of thing that would have tempted me to go over and see if there were any. I’m not standing in a queue for ages like that. I had one or two things that I needed to do, like go to Delhaize and buy something to eat for tea otherwise I’m going to be disappointed.

lust bistro wieringstraat leuven belgium Eric HallComing out of Delhaize, I noticed this bistro in the side street. We’ll have to go and visit it once everywhere reopens. It sounds to me like a pretty exciting place.

Back here I had an hour or so editing photos from Greenland 2019. We’re now at Hvalsey inspecting the remains of the Norse church that was the site of the last written record of the Norse in Greenland before the colony disappeared.

Now that I’ve had my tea, and done the washing-up, I listened to my live concert on THE RADIO.

Many years ago I had a sort-of girlfriend whose elder brother had a friend who was a drummer. His group had had a couple of albums but they weren’t ever really successful, but they were a phenomenal live act. I came across the drummer on the internet a few months ago and we started to chat. He sent me some tapes of his group playing live and I made up a live concert out of it.

Even though I say it myself, it came out really well and I was very proud of it. And you can hear it ON SATURDAY EVENING at 21:00 European time, 20:00 UK time, 15:00.

So I’m going to have a quick tidy up and then I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I have to be in Brussels by 07:10

Sunday 27th December 2020 – WITH IT …

… being a Sunday, I had a nice long lie-in this morning.

There are lie-ins and there are lie-ins, but 12:30 is stretching something of a limit. My excuse is that I didn’t go to bed until about 02:30 this morning, and the time wasn’t wasted anyway because I’d ben choosing the music for the next radio programme and remixing them ready for use. Not as much as I would like to have done, but it’s progress of kinds all the same.

And then, when you see where I’ve been during the night, you’ll understand why I was in bed for so long. Last night there was a Russian industrialist who had a huge factory. He was very disillusioned about having to turn out stuff for the Russians during the Winter War against Finland in 1939-40. They had surveillance on him because of course he was a very important cog in the wheel and they couldn’t really work out at one time whether it was in fact him or a plant from another country but no-one knew the right kind of questions to ask him and when they did ask him something he came back with the correct answer anyway. Then the was ended and he got down to doing some more usual stuff and then the war erupted against Germany. They ended up with a triumvirate of 3 people who would control the Russian industrial production, at least through the plants in which he had a say about the Russian Army. But it was this lack of trust that was the thing and at 1 point in this dream we were wandering through the streets of Moscow just wondering what on earth was going on and who was doing what to whom and such

I was with someone last night, a cross between a certain girl of my former acquaintance and my Greek friend from Brussels. We were together somewhere and I had to go along and take the van but Caliburn started squeaking again from the wheel bearing so I asked someone at the local garage if they could have a listen to it to see what they thought. The girl there said “yes, fine”. She’d fetch someone and it turned out to be the mechanic from the building where I was living. I didn’t really want him to look at it because I didn’t really like very much of his work but he said that he’d look at it, and of course I’d need a spare vehicle, wouldn’t I? So we made some arrangements to look at it. This girl and I wandered off somewhere and I ended up having to stay in a temporary room in my hotel place where I was staying while Caliburn was being fixed so I asked this girl if she would like to stop with me but she didn’t give me a definite answer on that. From there a few things happened that I had forgotten and I had to head off and walk somewhere alongside a river but the river was probably 200 yards away from the edge of the road. So I walked and at a certain point on my right, down from the highest part of the land was this really steep railway line and this steam locomotive and coal train came down it. I looked over the other side of the road to see where it was but it was so steep that it went into an underground tunnel so you couldn’t see the train. But then this train emerged near the river and swung round to the right to follow the river in the same way that I was walking

But going back to that dream with my Greek friend again – I must have stepped right back into it when I went back to sleep – I was off, picked up to go back to the hotel and I’d had to drop off somewhere at my old place but I crashed out and went to sleep. It was about 17:15 when I awoke in a real panic and had to get dressed and get ready, and I wondered what she had been doing all of this time and whether she was still waiting for me. Of course I couldn’t find any clothes, the clothes were wrong, the oranges – I went to eat an orange but they were all bad. Every time I went to peel one it was bad, rotten. Later on I ended up at another hotel and they gave me the bill and I thought “God, this is half as much again as where I’m staying at the moment” but I had a look round at the hotel and all of the facilities they had and thought “€60 isn’t all that bad for this place”. I went to find myself my room but instead ended up in the dining room. I fetched a coffee and went to sit down at a table. There was all piles of EU stuff all over the place including the new chauffeurs’ arrangements. For some unknown reason I hadn’t had a copy of this but there was a copy on display so I rooted round in a cardboard box for one. When I went back to my table someone was sitting in a seat very close to it so I excused myself wanting to sit near to them and sat down at another chair at the same table. All this time I was wondering about this girl. What was she doing, would she still be waiting etc?

I’d been off to a jumble sale and I had the Minerva and a trailer and a whole pile of other stuff that I was going to sell at this car boot sale. I’d arranged to meet Nerina a little later on. I’d been to this sale and it wasn’t particularly successful and I had loads of stuff left over so I started to get ready to go round to Nerina’s house. Going down Middlewich Street with this trailer but there was loads of stuff on here that belonged to other people. A group of kids had put a pile of flip-top bottles on board. I was trying to tell them that they aren’t mine and I had to explain to them in detail that they’d paid a deposit on these bottles and they wouldn’t have the deposit back if they didn’t take the bottles back. Eventually I found the adults who were with them and told these adults. I stopped my Minerva and said “take them off the trailer”. I went for a stroll down to do something – I can’t remember now and that took me far longer than I thought it would take me. Again I was worried if Nerina would still be there. What was happening about her? When I went back I found that the Minerva had been completely stripped and there was just the bodyshell. Everything else had gone. The trailer had disappeared and all that I was left with was my handcart with a couple of really heavy objects on it. I thought “God, I have to push this all the way home. I can’t pull it with the Minerva”. I was trying to work out which would be the best way home. In the end I worked out to go back up Bradfield Road, past Leighton Hospital and down Middlewich Road and past Wistaston Green home. Then I thought “why don’t I ring up Nerina and get her to come and pick me up, or at least explain what’s happened”. But try as I might, I couldn’t get my phone to work then, switching it on and off, it was still not working when I switched it back on. It came up as if I had a new account and I had to register myself, all this. I was in this narrow lane and there were these 2 tractors coming. They had to drive over the fence and into a field in order to get round me. I was in all kinds of states here about this and I awoke in another cold sweat. But quite often in tis dream I was calling the Minerva a Marina. How strange that was. There’s obviously some kind of Freudian slip involved here.

And all of this missing appointments and anxiety too. There’s been too much of this going on just recently.

What with the late start, transcribing all of that took up most of the early afternoon, especially with a pause for hot chocolate and a mince pie for a break.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I was able to go off and about, armed with the little NIKON 1 J5, fitted with the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been out like that.

The first thing that I did was to take a photo of the moon with the zoom lens at its fullest extent, and then cropped it to see what it would do and how it compares with a photo taken with the NIKON D500. And while the quality is less than that of the big Nikon, it’s certainly good enough, all things considered.

And the moon isn’t all that far away from being full. I shall have to give consideration to shaving the palm of my hands in a day or two’s time.

rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you might expect, I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon either. You can see all of the people out there taking a stroll in the afternoon.

There are plenty walking around on the Plat Gousset away in the distance, but you can also see the Rue du Nord to the right, the little postern gate through which I run, and the path that goes long underneath the walls.

I can’t imagine why the people would be walking around on the path underneath the walls. I would reckon that they might need a snorkel and flippers to go around the path.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd in case you are wondering why, just have a look out to sea from at the English Channel just now where I’m standing in the car park.

We are in the grip of a severe storm last night and for most of the day, even earlier in the morning when I was still working, it’s been pouring down and with really high winds for most of that time. I even had to postpone my walk this afternoon for half an hour.

We can’t see any ships or anything like that out there and that’s not a surprise at all, given everything that was going on out there.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the car park I pushed on a little further along the track on the top of the cliffs.

And the further along the path that I walked, the more the weather deteriorated. You can see in this photo here just how much it has deteriorated too. In the background, that’s not land at all. There is no land out there at all. That’s the force of the spray of the rain off the surface of the sea.

This is not the moment to be hanging around right now. I need to push on and complete my circuit because if I don’t, I’ll catch the lot of it.

photographer photographing rainstorm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it seems that I wasn’t the only one out there taking advantage of the weather to take a few photographs.

This guy was enjoying himself out there taking a photo or two or three of the approaching storm. And I wasn’t convinced by the idea of doing it with a lightweight tripod without a ballast weight securing it. The wind was extremely strong here, blowing everything about and a camera and tripod would soon be gone with the wind in all of this.

And look at all of the puddles lying around here. You can see what I mean about the miserable weather that we have been having and why I wouldn’t be on the path under the walls right now.

sunset rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo instead, I walked across the lawn and then across the car park down to the point of the headland to have a look out across the Bay to see what is going on over there.

There is nothing whatever going on as far as boats and shipping were concerned but we were having another brilliant sunset evening out there. Not just the heavy clouds and the sunset streaming through the gaps, but also the effects of the rainstorm as it tumbles out of the clouds.

It’s certainly something special today as you can see. But I’m not going to be here admiring it for too long

joly france chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I was right too, because the wind was quicker than I was.

By the time that I reached the viewpoint overlooking the cliffs on the south side (having dodged the flood on the footpath I was soaked to the skin. and whipped by the hailstones. And over there underneath the crane in the loading bay in the port, Joly France and Chausiais are moored there and I’ve no idea why they would be moored over there at all.

Particularly Joly France because she’s not able to carry the type of load for which they would need to use the big crane to load her up. If it were Chausiais moored under the crane, I could maybe undertsand it a little better.

le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou will have noticed that there were plenty of fishing boats moored in the harbour this afternoon.

But not for long. Despite the miserable weather, they were all preparing to go out to sea. One of them, our old friend Le Coelacanthe was making her way out of the harbour being photobombed by a seagull on her way out to sea, her crew all decked in rain and wet gear for what they are about to receive and will be receiving any minute now.

As for me, I’d already been receiving it and I was in a rush to return home to the warm and dry.

When I returned home, I rolled out the pizza dough and put it in the tray ready to rise for the next hour or so.

While I’d been away, Rosemary had telephoned me so I called her back and we had a chat for an hour or so, meaning that I had missed my Welsh homework. I’ll have to do two lots on the train to Leuven tomorrow and that wasn’t part of the plan.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to assemble my pizza – with tinned mushrooms unfortunately as I didn’t have fresh.

And when I put it in the oven I set out for my evening walk. But there was no possibility of going out anywhere in what was awaiting me outside. This was the kind of rain that I was hoping not to see and it will be disappointing if it’s like this when I go out tomorrow morning.

Instead I came back in and did the washing and tidying up while the pizza was cooking.

Delicious it was too, and no pudding either because it was quite filling.

And now, my notes are written so I’m off to bed. No matter what, I have to be up early tomorrow for my train. I can’t afford to hang about.

Saturday 31st October 2020 – I DID HAVE …

… my lie-in this morning.

Until all of about 10:00 too. Mind you, seeing as I was still up and about at 03;30 it wasn’t all that much of a lie-in today. Not at all. For some unknown reason, despite my exhausting day I just couldn’t go to sleep.

Anyway, when I listened to the dictaphone this morning- or what was left of this morning – there was some stuff on there from yesterday too. So first thing that I did was to add all of that into yesterday’s entry. Then I could concentrate on where I’d been last night and, more importantly, who came with me.

There was some kind of football match going on last night, a team of grown-up men if you like and they were playing in the Cup against another team. This other team sent out its juniors to face them for some unknown reason and Zero was there playing centre-forward. There were two matches that they had to play and this team of kids won them both, with Zero scoring a couple of important goals playing centre-forward. It’s nice to see her around on my travels.

Later on I was in a van or pickup, presumably Strider and I was waiting at some traffic lights. There were three or four people behind me. I was editing Strider’s signwriting while I was waiting at the lights. I could do that with the computer and it would change all over the van. I was busy doing that and the lights changed so I pulled off. There was a big pickup and another van behind me. We advanced up to another road junction and turned right I suddenly realised why this road had so much traffic on it. It was the main road from Ottawa to Québec and I’d just turned off the main road from Montreal to the east so it’s bound to be extremely busy here. It went through a beautiful pass, a big main road going through this beauiful pass and Québec City was just at the end of it. I thought “why didn’t I come this way before because it seems to be so much quicker. The I realised that going home from Adventure Canada the coach had gone this way; He went to the other side of Ottawa to drop off Castor and Pollux and then turned round and gone back to Ottawa to drop off their grandparents. That seemed to be such a sensible way of doing things and I wondered why I had never thought of doing that before either. And all the time I was wondering what these people in these vehicles were thinking with Caliburn’s signwriting changing just like that while I was either parked at those lights or starting to drive away.

There’s something else that spun into my mind as well, to do with a river. There was a girl doing something in this river, it might have been Zero or it might have been Castor. We were all alongside his river – there was something going on on it and I can”t remember very much now. Later on they drained the river and I started looking on this river bed for something that was concerning this girl. I was chatting to a few of the organisers and they were saying something like “yes well someone found something and we saw them using it”. I wondered whether it might have been this girl who had found it without actually telling me. That was a big disappointment for me because I was hoping to find it and give it to her as a way of drawing her attention to me. But I don’t remember very much about this – it was all very confusing.

And there was far more to this series of voyages too but seeing as you are probably eating a meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

After hat, I went and had a shower and washed my clothes. I need to look as pretty as I can s eeing as I’m staying here until at least Friday. I say “at least” because with more and more European states closing their borders to travel it might not be as easy as I think it might be to return home.

And while we’re on the subject of lockdowns … “well, one of us is” – ed … the Tory Party’s social media site had a post pinned to the top accusing Keir Starmer of “playing party politics with people’s lives” by demanding a second lockdown. It mysteriously disappeared earlier this morning and then later this evening the Tory Party announced the same measures that the Labour Party had demanded and which they had criticised.

You really couldn’t make this up.

After lunch I sat down here for a few minutes – and promptly crashed out. A really deep and depressing and disappointing sleep that lasted for almost an hour.

skip windmolenveldstraat leuven belgium Eric HallOnce I pulled myself together I went out for an afternoon walk around.

Not that I went very far before I came to a halt. There’s been a building site at the back here that has been abandoned for longer than I can remember and which had become a local rubbish dump.

A few months ago I noticed that it had been fenced off, and today I noticed that there was a skip there loaded up with much of the rubbish that had been abandoned. It might be that work is goign to restart there sometime soon and if do, that should be very interesting.

Maybe it’s going to be an extension of this place.

If you’re wondering about the photos by the way, the battery in the NIKON 1 J5 has gone flat on me yet again.

It’s a good job that I had my phone with me right now.

demolition and rebuilding tiensesteenweg leuven belgium Eric HallSo having dealt with that, I pushed onto the Tiensesteenweg where I was nearly squidged by a kid on a scooter.

In the street there’s more stuff of interest going on. There’s a building here that’s been knocked down. The site is fenced off and there’s some heavy machinery there. That presumably means that they are going to be rebuilding something else in its place.

In fact, there were several places up and down the Tiensesteenweg where there is redevelopment taking place. Despite the virus and the retraction of the economy, it still seems to be “full speed ahead” at the moment in this respect.

photographer cardinal ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallDown the Tiensesteenweg I went, into the Herbert Hooverplein and then into the Ladeuzeplein towards the main shops.

Down at the bottom end of the Square there was a couple having fun with a camera and tripod. One of the things that I seem to do is to spend a lot of my time taking photos of people taking photos.

And for a change, there weren’t too many people about here today. It seems that people here might be taking this health crisis seriously which can only be good news. It won’t disappear if people don’t treat t with respect and obey the rules.

market brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallMind you, that wasn’t the case here. The maket in the Brusselsestraat is still open and there’s even more chaos than normal.

This is what I don’t understand. With a shelf-life of just 14 days, thus virus could be halted if they simply had three weeks of draconian restrictions. Half-hearted measures are not going to be good for anything.

And on the market there was a stall selling bratwurst – ed and that got me thinking. The idea of making sausages out of unruly children might be the answer to the post-Brexit food catastrophe in the UK. Perhaps they need to think about that to go along with hedgerow foraging and apple scrumping.

grote beguinhof leuven belgium Eric HallThere was some more shopping that I needed to so for a change I decided to go on to the Carrefour supermarket on the edge of town.

My route took me down through the Grote Beguinhof, the ancient area on the edge of the city which were formerly a kind of almshouses. Having been derelict for years they are now student accommodation for the University here and it really is a beautiful area.

It’s a pity that it didn’t become private accommodation because an apartment in here would be wonderful. I would be right at home here.

river dijle leuven belgium Eric HallThere’s a dual carriageway not too far away from here and a subway takes pedestrians and cyclists underneath.

But the River Dijle flows along right by here and it was looking really nice at this time of the year with the leaves almost all off the trees.

At the Carrefour there was plenty of vegan food, much of which was reduced so I stocked up with a few extra items for my diet. But looking at the selection, I decided that I would come here again the next time that i come to Leuven. There’s much more choice here.

stadion den dreef leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way back I went to have a look at the Stadion den Dreef.

Yes, I’m definitely missing my live football here. OH Leuven were promoted to the Premier Division for this season but with matches being played behind closed doors, there won’t be any chance of seeing them again for a while.

But there was football on the internet so I came home;

In the Welsh Premier League we were treated to Haverfordwest County against Bala Town. Haverforwest were promoted this year and I’ve seen them a couple of times this season.

Each time that I’ve seen them they have played quite well and deserve their mid-table position. They gave leaders TNS a fright the other week and this week we were entertained to an exciting 1-1 drawn. And had they been more clinical up front, they might have had more of it.

Tea was burgers and pasta with tomato sauce followed by tinned peaches and ice cream.

Bed-time now because I’m going out for the day tomorrow so I need to be on form. Let’s hope that it’s stopped raining.

Monday 8th June 2020 – IT DOESN’T SEEM …

… to matter these days how busy I am, or how busy I’m not, I can never seem to finish anything like I intend to.

Missing the third alarm doesn’t seem to make much difference either – when it went off this morning I was having a guided tour of an apartment that was for sale and it took me a couple of minutes to rouse myself from my slumbers.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where else I’d been during the night.

To start off, I was doing a quiz in the USA somewhere about some Miami gangster who had gone north for the good of his health and had taken over the running of operations in New York and New Jersey, that area. The newspaper clipping was about 20 facts associated with him and giving his membership of secret societies and his donations of public works which were immense and his treatment of arresting people who weren’t wearing trousers or still in a nappy or something like that as well I dunno. Yes I was here with these 20 questions. There were some words as well – to guess the meaning of these words like gangster English – yes when i awoke just now I was busy doing the work as well.
And having complained the other day about none of my regular companions featuring these days in my travels, Percy Penguin and I had had an argument last night and she wasn’t speaking to me. I’d retired but I’d been working for them and he had slowly started to pay me back the money that ha owed me, her father, and I’d been doing work for him as well. But even after we’d had an argument I was still working there. Instead of me going to the farm on Thursday night to get paid he came down to see me. he had someone else in the car – I can’t remember who now and he paid me the money. My parents were watching out of a window while this was going on – it was at Little Heath at Audlem. I knew from Caroline that they were going out this evening so I said to him “what time are you going out?” He didn’t know and was prevaricating a bit about this so I asked him again and he didn’t really give a clear answer so I said “tell Percy Penguin that I’ll ring her tonight” thinking that I’ll ring her round about 17:00 after she gets out of college and before they have tea. It was all very iffy.

But well done to Percy Penguin for making an appearance, although she actually didn’t even make an appearance herself. She was just there in spirit

No breakfast again this morning. Instead, I went to finish off the notes from yesterday. And I hadn’t realised that there were so many because it took hours to do. I really excelled myself yesterday, so it seemed.

Once I’d finished that, whenever it was, I had a go at the Welsh homework. That took longer than anticipated too due to unforeseen format challenges. I fixed it in the end but for some reason the *TAB* key ended up working backwards.

The rest of the day has been spent on working on another radio project and forgetting almost everything else that I had to do, I finally finished it at something like 19:15. That was an effort and a half.

There were however a few interruptions.

Lunch was one of them, and the loaf of bread that I made was just like a loaf of bread should be. The crust was rather armour-plated and I’m not sure about what to do about that but the bread inside was delicious

There was a ‘phone call from the people at the radio too, wondering how I was doing. We ended up having quite a chat and I ended up missing the time when I usually go for my walk.

low tide plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallEventually though I made it outside where I could see what was going on.

We were in the grip of a gale-force wind again so there was almost no-one down on the beach. And that was a surprise because they would have had all of this beach to play with

The tide is about as far out as it might go right now and the yellow buoys that mark the end of the swimming zone (if that is indeed what they are ) are looking quite silly having settled down on the sand.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere might be almost no-one on the beach but there is plenty going on out to sea today.

There are a couple of the trawler-type of fishing boats out there right now in the English Channel heading towards each other looking as if they are going to have a chat. Seeing as they are surrounded by seagulls, it looks as if they may well have their fishing gear out.

There are a couple of other boats out there on the horizon but they are too far away for me to be able to say what they are.

trawlers english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s not just over there that it’s busy either.

Over by the Ile de Chausey there’s a lot going on too right now. A couple more of the trawler-type boats are out there too but I can’t see whether or not they are working or merely passing through on their way elsewhere.

Mind you, they must have been out for quite a while as the harbour gates will have been closed for several hours and it only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to reach that spot.

roofing rue du port granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me around the headland and down along the clifftop on the south side of the headland.

A rhythmic tapping told me that someone was doing some work somewhere, so I set out to track it down. And it seems to me that we have another roofing job being undertaken in the vicinity.

These guys down there on that house roof in the rue du Port look as if they are going at that job hammer and tongs. It wasn’t like that yesterday, that I’m pretty certain, but I’m not sure about the wisdom of taking outs some of the roofing structure so that they can climb through it

lifebelt new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHere’s something else that i didn’t notice yesterday.

It looks as if they have fitted some lifesaving equipment on the pontoons this morning. I’m sure that I would have remembered seeing that red lifebelt housing and the light down there on the pontoons.

But anyway, I came back here, had a slice of cake and carried on with my work.

No tea either tonight – a packet of bombay mix that needed eating will keep me going until the morning, I reckon.

Surprisingly, or maybe it isn’t, I was sitting here doing not very much when I … errr … closed my eyes. I’m not sure why but it was, I suppose, better than falling asleep in mid-afternoon.

Nevertheless I almost missed my evening run so I had to leg it outside quickly.

The run up the hill was a little better than it has been of late so I was pretty pleased for once, despite the offensive comments hurled by a young girl out of a car window. But there’s still a long way to go before I’m satisfied.

having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop past the itinerant who is still there.

fishing boats trawler baie de mont st michel sunset reflecting off terrelabouet brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was nothing going on out in the English Channel so I carried on around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday the sunlight flashing off the objects over across the Baie de Mont St Michel round by Terreboulet.

There was the same effect this evening too, and if anything it was even better.

We also had several fishing boats out there this evening. Some of them were clearly working but one or two were heading back to port, presumably to unload.

woman taking photograph man pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that I have a thing about people taking photographs.

Down by the old sentry cabin right at the end of the Pointe du Roc we had a woman taking aim with a telephone camera, presumably at the guy who was standing perched on the rock right down at the end.

It’s not entirely certain how he’s managed to make his way down there, but I reckon that it’s going to be interesting to watch him as he tries to scramble back up again.

st pair sur mer baie de mont st michel fishing port de granville harbour wall manche normandy france eric hallMy run continued around the corner and along the clifftop on the south side of the headland.

However before I set off I took a photo of the harbour wall down there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen people standing on that harbour wall before and while they aren’t jumping in, the only other thing that I can think that they are doing is fishing.

And the evenig sun has caught St Pair Sur Mer beautifully this evening.

le loup marker light port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I stopped further down to catch my breath I noticed Le Loup – “the Wolf”. That’s the name that’s written on the marker light just outside the harbour entrance.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the marker light standing well clear of the water, perched upon its rock at low tide. This evening, we’re not too far off high tide and if you compare the photo WITH THIS ONE you can see just how high the tide rises – and there’s still time at either end yet.

It’s said that here at Granville we have some of the highest tides in Europe and I can readily believe that.

seagull fishing boat unloading fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and even pushed on 20 metres or so beyond my marker, which pleased me somewhat.

While I was recovering my breath I wandered down to the viewpoint over the harbour to see what was happening. A little earlier we had seen a couple of fishing boats heading into harbour to unload. Here’s one of them with its catch being winched up on one of the little cranes.

You will have noticed the socks of fleagulls in attendance in case the loas happens to slip.

beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on up the hill and round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord to have a look at the sunset.

The tide was in of course but that didn’t stop the picnickers. I exchanged pleasantries with a couple of women carrying bowls of food and glasses of wine who were going to sit on one of the benches in the communal garden to have their evenign meal.

And who can blame them?

As for me, I ran on home where I bumped (literally) into a neighbour.

So an early night tonight. Tomorrow I have my Welsh class and there’s a lot of preparation to do. There’s another radio project that needs doing too, a couple more courses to attend to, and then a pile of arrears to catch up with.

It’s all go round here, isn’t it?