Tag Archives: rainstorm

Friday 10th November 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable afternoon when I’ve spend a good proportion of it fast asleep on my chair in here.

You’ve no idea just how much it takes out of me, staggering two or three hundred metres on crutches and then climbing up 25 stairs back to here, all of which with a very low blood count and a leaking valve in my heart. I was dead to the world for a good couple of hours.

For a change, I’d actually been to bed early. And that’s not something that happens every day. And although I didn’t go far during my travels, it was still quite a restless night.

When the alarm went off I staggered to my feet and went off in search of my medication. And then back here I made a start on my shopping list from LeClerc for next Wednesday and to see what I need from the shops this morning.

In the freezing cold I crawled downstairs and over to the bus and although the driver was on there sitting comfortably she didn’t let me on until departure time. I know that she’s well within her rights to do that, as she’s on an official break, but it was still freezing.

At St Nicolas I alighted and the first port of call was the Post Office. I’m having “issues” at the moment with my bank in Canada and the only way to wind them up is by mail. Phoning them is a waste of time as I proved the other day.

In the Carrefour next door I bought some of the worst mushrooms that I’ve seen for quite a while – I have to say that the fruit and veg at the Carrefour at St Nicolas is nothing like as good as the one at the Port – and a few other bits and pieces.

While I was packing my backpack I dropped something on the floor and as I remembered what happened the last time I bent down to pick something up when I had a backpack I had to ask someone to pick it up for me.

My coffee was quite nice while I waited for the bus, and then I wandered off outside to the bus stop.

While I’d been in the supermarket the weather had been reasonable but the moment I set foot outside the weather changed dramatically and I got the lot.

As soon as I climbed onto the bus the sun came out but as we pulled up at the bus stop outside we had another downpour.
"The rain falls down upon the just
and also on the unjust fellow
But mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella"

The climb up the stairs was agony as you might expect, and then I made some soup to eat with the crusty bread that I’d just bought.

Back in here, when I wasn’t asleep, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. One of my favourite rock groups was playing in London so I went down on the train to see them. When I arrived in London I couldn’t remember the name of the venue or the place to go to pick up the tickets. I knew that a friend was in London so I thought that I’d phone him so that maybe we could meet somewhere. I began to walk towards the centre but I didn’t recognise anywhere. It was nothing at all like anything I ever knew about the way into the centre of the city from where the train would bring me in. We ended up talking on the phone. He asked me to say where I was but I couldn’t. He asked if I was at such-and-such a place. I didn’t know. Then I found myself standing alongside one of the sections of the old London Wall. I told him that I was here and to come to meet me . This whole affair was really one of total chaos again. Everything that could possibly go wrong seemed to be going wrong at that moment

And later on it was time to return from London. We were round at a girl’s house and she had lent us a Ford Transit diesel. It was quite a mess. The exhaust pipe on it stretched out about 6 feet at the back with a kink in it. My friend had changed the oil, the oil filter etc in it. When we started it there were clouds of blue smoke, it was burning that much oil. I remember a plane going overhead and we couldn’t see the plane because of the smoke. We put everything in the van and set off. My friend was driving like a maniac. It’s not very often that I’m concerned but I told him to slow down as he drove it flat out right past the turning where we were supposed to go. I told him to slow down and he replied “this is how you drive your office car, isn’t it?”. I really didn’t know what to say about that.

While I was at it I finished off the notes that I’d started yesterday for the next radio programme and I’ll dictate them before I go to bed. if I complete the programme tomorrow I can actually have a day off on Sunday – the first time for ages – but I do have some fruit buns to make.

The estate agent turned up this afternoon too. He came “to value the apartment”, apparently. I did ask if the owner was planning on selling it because I have a cunning plan, but apparently not. “It’s being valued for his personal reasons and he has no intention of selling it”.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there are at least two prices for every property on sale in France. The first price is the price that it is advertised and which is aimed at British people and Parisians. The second price is the realistic price that the owner will sell it to a local person and it’s usually much less than the first price, especially if you can stump up the cash.

Following that, I carried on updating the notes from last Autumn. I’ve done all of those that relate to the hospital and I’m now sitting in the Place Gamelin in Montréal making the most of the last of the Canadian sunshine and the really beautiful autumn colours on the trees.

Montréal, and Canada in particular, is really beautiful in the autumn and I really miss my annual visits to pay homage to the land of my Grandmother. I’m hoping that one of these days my cousin Sandra will come over from Ottawa and bring some autumn with her.

It’s all well and good that I’m pressing on, especially as I’ll have much more time on my hands following the death yesterday of one of the largest social networks.

We always suspected that this “it’s free and it always will be” was a load of nonsense and so it has proved. Now, you have to automatically agree to have your personal information sold off to anyone and everyone, or else pay to opt out.

So if anyone wants to chat to me from now on, you’ll have to use the Social network that works with reference to the telephone system.

If you want my phone number you’ll have to write and ask me for it – unless you have a G-mail account in which case I won’t be able to reply.

That’s another issue, isn’t it? Google is blocking its mail-servers to all “minor domains” like mine, unless you include in your webserver a few lines of code that Google sends you.

And if anyone thinks that I’m going to include any form of Google coding on my webserver without them telling me exactly what it does, then they are mistaken.

It’s fair to say that with all of this turbulence going on right now with these major players in the tech world, it looks as if we are beginning to see the start of a technology crisis. They are obviously sensing a danger of losing their grip on things and maybe the revenue coming in isn’t what they would like it to be.

It makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing a renaissance of something like Myspace or whether we’ll be going back to the good old days of 30 years ago when people like us were cutting our teeth on Local Area Networks, Bulletin Boards and the anarchy and chaos that was Usenet.

Tea tonight was chips, vegan salad and some of those strange veggie balls based on kidney beans. And it was actually quite nice.

So now it’s nearly bedtime I’ll go and make myself a hot drink, dictate my radio notes and then go to bed.

We’ll see what tomorrow might bring.

Friday 22nd September 2023 – I MADE IT …

… down into town and back today doing a round of various places that I had to visit. And strangely enough, I felt much better for it too.

It rather reminds me of the time in my late teens when I was staggering back home after a visit to the Lion and Swan in Crewe and stopping at Crewe Bus Station for “obvious reasons”.

“Phew!” I said. “Just made it!” And the guy standing next to me said “blimey! Can you make me one just like it?”.

Unfortunately, Crewe Bust station and the public conveniences that it housed have been demolished, and that’s a shame. It was thanks to a careful study of the helpful diagrams on the wall that I passed my Biology “O” Levels.

They were at one time planning on giving guided tours of the public conveniences on the Bus Station. The cost would have been 2/6d per visit, or 2/7d if you wanted to see all of it.

Last night was one of those extremely turbulent nights where I travelled miles and consequently didn’t have much in the way of sleep. And so what with my trip into town today and my long walk around, I’m surprised, really surprised, that I kept going.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed and went for my medication and to read my mails and messages. Once I’d done all that I headed off for a shower to make myself look pretty.

When I awoke there was an enormous torrential rainstorm going on so I was really thinking about abandoning my trip out, but by the time that I hit the streets it had stopped.

The bus dropped me off at the Port and my first call was at the Credit Agricole to have them sign a form. The Belgian Government is starting to pay Old-Age pensions directly into bank accounts and I need a rubber stamp and signature on the bank details form.

And for such a simple task as that, I was there for about 15 minutes while they tried to work out how to apply a rubber stamp, a signature and a date to a form.

Next stop was the Post Office to post off a few letters that I’d written just recently, and then to the chemist’s to pick up the Aranesp that I’d ordered yesterday. And there I encountered my cleaner picking up some medication for another one of her clients.

At the Carrefour I did some basic shopping and then headed back for the bus home. It’s quite a climb into the bus because there’s no pavement where it pulls up but for some reason it was easier to climb in today.

Back here I put everything away and then made my coffee and cheese on toast. The Amazon fairy had been too and left me a package, the stuff that I’d ordered on line earlier in the week.

Apart from the silicon bowls that fit in the air fryer and the Christmas pudding steamer, highlight was my new waist bag. I’ve had various ones over the years and they are very handy when you go travelling, but the one that I’ve used for the last 12 years or so is falling to bits and one of the zips doesn’t work properly.

They had them on line that were bigger than that one, with more pockets and a holder for a bottle of water so I treated myself. And it really does seem to be the bee’s knees. It took a while to pack it because I wanted to make sure that it has everything that I need.

One of the most important items in my waist bag is a couple of sheets of … errr … tissue paper. I was caught out once in Romania 30 or so years ago and I won’t be caught like that again.

A little earlier I mentioned that it had been a turbulent night, and I wasn’t exaggerating. There was another long rambling dream that I seem to have lost. It concerns some things involving a lot of girls. They aren’t really what they seem to be, these things. There was one situation where we were on a train, a works train going back to the station after doing some work. On a train that was coming in behind us they loaded up some furniture. One woman said that she wanted it but I was hopeful of having it, a nice metal two-door cabinet. When we finally pulled in at the station we’d had to wait for a few minutes at a platform. Had I known, I would have nipped off there. When we pulled in, the train had caught up with us and they were wheeling the cabinet away. I woman in front of me was racing after it and of course I couldn’t go as quickly as I ought to do so I didn’t make it to have the cabinet. There was much more going on than this, including people, the kind of things that we’d bought. Someone came out with the name of an author – it might have been Richard Graves. I said that I knew his grand-daughter. She was a girl whom I knew and was hopeful of being friendly with her. They were asking if anyone wanted any torture equipment, but it was more like practical joke things, whoopie cushions etc rather than torture equipment. When I found out what it was I was rather disappointed. There was much more than this but it’s all melted away from this dream that went on for hours and was really exciting.

Did I dictate the dream about chasing after this furniture that was being brought into the station behind us on a works train, someone beating me and going ahead to the kiosk for it first? … “yes you did” – ed.. We’d then been out in town shopping. Everyone had his own chair that the restaurant or café kept. It had their name on it. Luckily the girl I’d brought with me was extremely new and only had an old T-shirt like that with a name on. It was called Carol or Caroline, just looking at this girl’s number, She told Caroline to go home and let the world know about your new hobby of collecting these T-shirts.

Did I mention that there was a story about some chairs of some description? … “yes you did” – ed. We had to sit on them in this café, some special luxury leather chairs. Someone would come over from one of the islands to the mainland, our friends, and treat us there instead of a workman (… at this point the dictaphone went quiet, except for my snoring …)

Something occurred that reminded me of something similar to the Lords of the Rings – 5 Lords of Darkness, a giant, an elf, a dwarf and a few others. They had cornered whoever was the hero and his friends on an island. The evil people decided that they wanted to capture them so they chose 3 of their number to assault the island. They were met by a rain of arrows from one of the party who was on the island. In the end 2 of these 3 people looked like pin cushions but the arrows weren’t particularly hurting them. In the end they charged the island. The biggest one of the 3, he was struck by a pike that one of the defenders was holding which ripped off his head from its socket. A second one was killed with a sword and the third was taken prisoner, the one who was mostly affected by arrows. The other 2 and their supporters were then disillusioned and disheartened and weren’t really sure what they could do now to resolve the situation.

Something else to do with this dream concerned the recital of a poem. I can’t remember how the poem went. It was something like “it’s not the eyes that provide the allure of …” (whatever it was). Once again it was something that evaporated immediately

At another moment I’d committed a robbery and stolen millions of Pounds. I had it hidden under the floor in the basement in the house where I was living in London, a 3-storey terraced house with the living room on the first floor, the bedroom on the second and a kind-of cellar/laundry room etc on the ground floor. The Police obviously suspected me. They were around searching my house. I was convinced that eventually they’d find it but I’d give them a run for their money in looking for it. I’d been outside somewhere and was on my way home. Word must have gone round Gangland – I’d noticed several people whom I’d not seen before loitering around. As I went to try to put the key in the door a couple of these people approached me quite quickly but discreetly. I turned to them and said “oh no you don’t!”. That slowed their tracks and I closed the door behind me. What I then did was with these people now loitering outside my door I told the police in my basement that there was some kind of street issue going on outside. A couple of policemen went out, took these people by surprise, harangued them and made them go away. I thought that it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. When they came back in we had a really good laugh about it. I told them that that’s really the first time that I’ve ever felt uncomfortable living in this particular house

Meanwhile 4 medieval soldiers had been trapped inside a gatehouse to a walled city for several days. With nothing else to do in a desperate situation they quite simply roared out of their building and charged the attackers and actually managed to drive them away which took everyone by surprise.

Finally, there was a group of us living in a house. We had to leave it quite quickly so I began to pack my basic essentials and there was still some stuff left over. I had a pile of small cardboard boxes. I told one of the guys living with us that he was far better placed than me that he could have the boxes and someone would have to take my stuff with him while I went to fetch Caliburn and come back to pick it up. At first he was being extremely difficult about it and I couldn’t understand why. In the end he asked “could I see these boxes?”. I showed him and his eyes lit up. He said “that’s no problem at all”. I explained to him that certain stuff was for throwing away, certain stuff was stuff that he could keep and the rest was mine. He should take everything away and I’d be round for my stuff again when I’ve managed to pick up Caliburn

Having done that, I transcribed another day’s worth of arrears and then finished off the notes for the radio programme.

In between everything I baked a small loaf of bread. I’m not going shopping tomorrow so I need something for my cheese on toast and for sandwiches on Monday. And then I made tea. Some kind of burger – I don’t know what it was – and a salad and baked potato seeing as I had the oven on to bake my bread.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day without very much excitement. It’ll do me good to have a quiet weekend ready to Fight the Good Fight on Monday morning. I’ll be ready for Paris, but will Paris be ready for me?

Tuesday 12th September 2023 – I HAVE HAD …

… the kind of day today that you can only ever have in Belgium.

In the middle of my Welsh lesson, during which I was speaking Welsh, I had a ‘phone call which I had to answer, and ended up having a conversation in French.

Back to the Welsh lesson, speaking Welsh again, and someone came to the door, so I ended up having a conversation in Flemish.

And then back to speaking Welsh.

It reminded me of the time years ago when I was living here and there were 14 of us sitting round a table talking in French, and French was the mother-tongue of none of us.

Something else that was good and interesting was that I had another excellent night’s sleep again and I wish that I could have a few more of those. I’ve really no idea why that might be because sofas are not actually renowned for their comfort and my bed was the best that I could afford.

Anyway I was up once more before the alarm went off and had a very slow awakening before I was ready to Fight The Good Fight.

Alison was going to work late this morning so she dropped me off at the supermarket in the village where I stocked up on the basics that I need to keep me going until Friday morning.

The walk back here with a heavy rucksack was not easy because it’s much further than you might think and the road is quite uneven. So I was glad to be back and have my cheese and tomato on toast, especially now that I have some tomato to go on it.

There was something on the dictaphone from the night. I was in Canada talking to my niece. Actually, I wasn’t in Canada but somewhere else and she was there. We were chatting and she was talking about the tyres. She had a little Subaru vehicle that she used as a private runabout. She had a certain type of tyre on it which she found to be great in winter when she was in and out. My car over there had Arctic Grip tyres on it but her husband’s vehicle had racing tyres which surprisingly gave him the best grip of all in the snow and ice. They’d already had snow and ice there. There was plenty of snow but it had all levelled out. They also had a guy with a cattle truck, one that my father had found for him. He used to work for people in the area including my niece in transporting the cattle around from one day to the next to different places in the area.

It’s not easy having my Welsh lesson using the mobile phone but the computer isn’t powerful enough to run videos. We have a couple of new students in our class this year so hopefully we’ll keep on going.

The good news is that there’s no exam at the end of the year so I might go to take the exam that I should have taken last summer. Having spent all that time away and then in hospital, I didn’t feel that I’d done enough prepare me for it.

The discussion in Flemish was with the guy who mows Alison’s lawn, but the phone call in French was with the hospital where I went 10 days ago, and that was much more exciting.

"Mr Hall, we’ve arranged a bed for you. We’d like you to set aside a week to come to stay with us, starting 25th September"

So six weeks from seeing the Specialist to seeing the Hospital Consultant, and then three and a half weeks from seeing the Consultant to being called into the hospital. It’s not quite the four days that I had to wait when I first came to Leuven in 2016, but it’s still treatment that you would never have on the NHS.

After the lesson was over I had a slice of toast and a coffee and then crashed out. I’d been fighting off sleep since I came back from my walk but in the end I succumbed.

While I’d been asleep we’d had a rainstorm so the Angel Of The Lord Came Down And Gave Another Rinse to the clothes that I’d had drying outside. They aren’t ever going to dry at this rate.

For the rest of the afternoon I’ve been doing more radio stuff and then I went for tea – burger on a bun with pasta and veg in a tomato and cheese sauce.

When Alison came back we had a chat and then she went off to bed. Now that I’ve written my notes I’m going to bed too and if I sleep as well as I have done this last couple of days I’ll be more than happy.

Saturday 5th August 2023 – IT’S REALLY WILD …

… outside. Some of the strongest winds that I have known since I have been here are howling around outside as I write these notes.

It’s been like this all day although maybe it’s a little worse now than it was. It certainly didn’t keep me awake during the night.

Plenty of other things did though, and I wish that I knew what they were, for it was another night when it seemed to take an age for me to go off to sleep, no matter how tired I was.

When the alarm went off I had to struggle out of bed. And later on it was even more of a struggle to make my way to Caliburn. I’m not very steady on my crutches at the best of times, but with my shopping trolley in a howling gale and torrential rainstorm made it even worse.

They were late opening up at Noz so I had to sit in the van for a while. And I’m glad that I went there because I was rather lucky.

While I’d been waiting, I’d been lamenting on the state of Caliburn’s wheels that are dirty, pitted and rusting. I’d painted the spare wheels a while ago and there in Noz today was some rustproofing wheel paint so I bought a couple of tins.

All I need now is for the wind to drop and the rain to stop.

There was also some jars of curry – vegan lentil Korma – so I grabbed a couple of jars of that too for use one of these days.

LeClerc didn’t come up with much but I seemed to have been in there for ages. I was quite late coming back. Especially as I was held up by a van crawling along at 20kph with a tannoy blaring out of it.

There’s a circus somewhere in town and this van was announcing it. Driven by one of the clowns, most likely.

There was quite a battle to make it back to the apartment with all of this wind.

Having sorted out the shopping I had my coffee and cheese on toast, then came back in here where, true to form just recently, I crashed out. Good and proper too.

There was quite a lot of stuff on the dictaphone from the night too, as I found out later on. I was back in hospital. They stuck an intravenous drip in my arm and connected a drip-feed to it. When they finished they disconnected the drip and strapped the catheter under a bandage of plasters and everything and sent me home to come back in a week or so. I then had to go to a check-up a day or two later. I can’t remember now where this check-up was but it was something significant. They checked me and from what they could see everything was back to normal. There were a couple more measurements and readings they wanted to take. They were underneath the bandages and strapping so they needed to take it all off. I was aware of how much all of this hurt, putting these needles in and taking them out again so I made something of a face about it. She told me that if all went well they would take it out today. I thought “what about if I have to come back here in a few days?”. She didn’t really have an answer to that. I felt just totally fed up at this point that they were thinking about all these things and no-one was actually thinking about me and the effect that the needles were having on me.

I had to join in last night with some people engaged in a tug of war with a gigantic ginger cat. Apparently it was a security cat that belonged to some kind of building and had been massively over-fed. It was having severe health problems and needed to be taken to the vet. They had so much difficulty catching it that eventually they managed to get a lead around it but they needed some help to try to pull it into a cage because it was so big.

Later on I was coming from Chester. As I approached Nantwich I was having a debate with myself about whether it would be quicker to go through the town centre or around the by-pass. Eventually I chose to go round the by-pass. It was the wrong decision because it was chucking-out time at Reaseheath College. The whole area was swarming with people, pedestrians, cyclists etc. We were held up for ages. I was bringing a coupe back to the area, 2 people sitting in the back seat. They were flirting around. I was having to keep a close watch in my mirror in all this traffic but I couldn’t see the road because of these two people. I was trying at the time to work out how best to tell them to sit still and not move about so that I could see what was going on behind me.

It was also the end of term. A bunch of kids from school were off to University. One girl in particular whom I liked, I’d been helping her with all of her paperwork, to prepare it. She was packing and I was going to take her to the University to install her there. I had my car in the car park. We were going through the final preparation getting the paperwork ready when one of her friends who was going to the same University said that we’d take her as well. She asked which car it was. I told her that it was a pale blue Ford Cortina RBY623R. I told her where it was parked. We collected the other girl’s things and went to draw out some money and to photocopy a few documents. She asked if we could stop somewhere as we were passing through France to pick up some alcohol. She was a small girl who looked younger than she was. I told her to print out an extra copy of her birth certificate and put it in her purse with her so that she wouldn’t have any problems in places like that. We then went to the printer, which was like a cash point. We had to insert a document. There was a keyboard where you had to type whatever information you wanted to insert. She inserted some documents, typed a few things and then printed them out. There was a couple of other people waiting to use the machine. They complained about how long she was taking which I thought was strange as it was the only one for the entire school. There must have been queues like this before.

As I went back to sleep I was on a bus with my passengers. I was collecting up my paperwork, tools and a box full of washers, drill bits etc, getting ready. I had prepared a map of the area. We set off in the coach on the way home, stopping by various places on the way.

Later on I finished off the radio notes ready for dictating and then went back to my Canada 2017 trip. I’ve now crossed the Churchill River and on my way north-east.

Churchill River was interesting. Trying to research it is not very easy because it wasn’t called Churchill River until 1965. When it was originally observed by Europeans, they named it “Grand River” but in 1821 it was renamed “Hamilton River” in honour of the then-Governor of Newfoundland.

So you can see what I mean.

And it’s likely to become even more complicated in due course as there is a movement afoot to petition the Government to change the name to represent its Innu heritage.

In case you’re wondering, which I’m sure you are, there are three, and maybe four, ethnic groups here in Labrador. Along the coast, north of Hamilton Inlet but formerly much further south too, are the Inuit.

In the southern part of Labrador and the interior of the north are the Innu, recognised by themselves as forming one ethnic grouo but some people, including our hero Viano Tanner, suggest that the southern people, known by the French in the past as Montagnais and the people in the interior further north , known in the past as Naskapi, are distinct and discrete groups.

And since 1982 the Métis have been recognised as a distinct and discrete ethnic group.

Something else that I’ve been doing is hunting down Court injunctions.

In 2012 Valard, the company that is building the dam at the Muskrat Falls and Nalcor, the energy corporation of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government were granted an injunction which prohibited “NunatuKavut (the local Innu) members and others from going within 50 meters of the Site which included any areas of land that Nalcor is authorized to use, or shall be authorized to use in the future”.

A Court of Appeal hearing in 2014 found that this injunction “prohibited the people of NunatuKavut from carrying out traditional activities and accessing their traditional lands” in defiance of a Treaty of Native Rights and overturned the injunction.

But the lesson we can learn from that is that not even a Treaty with native people is allowed to stand in the way of one of the Newfoundland Government’s sacred cows, if the Government thinks that it can get away with it.

Tea tonight was chips, salad and one of those kale and lentil burgers that I bought the other day. The burger wasn’t at all what I expected but it was actually quite nice and I wished that I’d bought some more of them.

Having written my notes now I’m going to dictate my notes for the radio if the wind dies down and I can hear myself think. And then I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I have fruit buns to make and radio programmes to prepare, so by the looks of things I’ll be busy. Mind you, I’ll probably fall asleep instead. That seems to be how things work these days.

Thursday 27th April 2023 – WE ARE HAVING …

… a disaster.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Alison and I have a favourite restaurant in Leuven where we usually end up in the middle of our walk around the town. She passed by there earlier this evening for a portion of the beautiful sweet potatoes, only to find that it’s closed down definitively.

We started to go there because another vegan restaurant that we used, “The Loving Hut”, closed down a few years ago. We’ll now have to look for somewhere else, always assuming that there IS somewhere else to go.

We shall have to make further enquiries.

Further enquiries too about my sleeping issues because it was yet another depressing night when I took an absolute age to go off to sleep.

And once more, I awoke in the middle of the night and spend a miserable couple of hours trying to go back to sleep. However at one point I must have dozed off because I sat bolt upright wide-awake (well, sort-of) at 06:59, a minute before the alarm went off, so I fell out of bed just for the sake of saying that I beat the alarm once again.

When I was checking my mails and messages I found out what had awoken me. It was the nurse sending me a message to say that he’d miscalculated and it’s tomorrow when he needs to come to take my blood sample.

Once I’d organised myself this morning and awoken properly I bashed out another radio programme from the stuff that I had lying around. I’m getting nicely ahead of myself now, but it will all go pear-shaped of course because someone whose virtues I’ll be extolling will drop dead just before the programme will be broadcast.

And that reminds me. Some of the more legendary figures of the rock world are reaching the kind of age when fate will overtake them. I suppose that when I have time I really ought to prepare a couple of programmes that relate to people like Bob Dylan and keep them on the back-burner “just in case”.

It was while I was on my way to la Haye-Pesnel in Caliburn yesterday that I thought of a really good idea for a programme in this respect. What provoked the was when Spirit came onto Caliburn’s playlist and played “All Along The Watchtower”.

This afternoon I had a ‘phone call. Would I like a lift to town?

It was raining outside quite heavily and although I did have things to do, I didn’t fancy walking down there in this so I grabbed a lift. A couple of my neighbours were going off to the shops.

They threw me out in the town centre and I went to the letting agency. That’s a good place to start, I reckon, with my quest to gain vacant possession of my new apartment. However, there was only a receptionist there. The agent was out on a mission.

She took my details and said that the agent will call me back. And, as you might imagine, I’m still waiting. I’m also still waiting for the return phone call from my visit to the property management company yesterday. I have a rather uneasy feeling that I’m going to end up with a bunch of je m’en foutists.

That’s a beautiful French expression. Je m’en fous is rather a vulgar French way of saying “I couldn’t care less” (I’m sure that you can think of an English equivalent, but this is a family website) and so a je m’en foutist is an employee who is only interested in collecting his salary and doing as little as possible to actually earn it.

It was 15:05 when I went in, and by 15:10 I was back out again. The rain had quietened down considerably so I decided to walk back. It didn’t take me long and I didn’t have to stop for breath too often. But one thing that I noticed was that trying to squeeze into the back of the neighbour’s car, my right leg wasn’t comfortable whatsoever – not one little bit.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in the middle of having a dream but I awoke (that was the time in the middle of the night). The dream evaporated completely and everything went except for a vision that I had about coffee in Malta or Cyprus that cost £3:00 per ounce. That’s all that I can remember about it.

Again this next one is another one of which I can only remember bits. I was at a talent contest last night. There was a couple of girls singing in Inuit. One was an older girl and the other was a younger girl. What happened now I forget, but later on someone else at this concert contacted me. They had a house to let in Greenland. They were quite fed up of the type of tenant they were having. They tended to be the younger, trendy type of person and they wanted someone more traditional. It turned out that they were writing the adverts in the newspaper in Inuktitut, the more modern style of Inuit language for people looking for lets. I suggested that she write the adverts in Sisu, the more traditional type of language, and that way it would be the more traditional type of person who would understand the advert and would make more of an effort to reply to rent it. She thought that that was a good idea. She turned over in bed and squashed me. She said “I’m hitting you, am I? It’s most uncomfortable lying here in bed with all these people” but this was the way of life up there and we just had to accept it. I walked out to Caliburn. He was up on a jack for some reason. I noticed that one of his rear tyres had a bald patch. That was strange. It had only done 8000 kms, these tyres. Most of the tyres were in really good condition but just this one bald patch. It started to worry me for it meant that there was something wrong somewhere with Caliburn’s suspension or brakes. I needed to try to sort it out but there was this expensive tyre that had just gone to waste.

After that I made some hot chocolate and had a few of my delicious chocolate biscuits – and then I rather regrettably fell asleep for a while.

As for tea tonight, I couldn’t think of what to have. In the end I settled for steamed vegetables with falafel in a vegan cheese sauce.

That was really delicious yet again, but I have to say that this other type of vegan cheese is nothing like as tasty as the vegan Cheshire Cheese. Even though the Cheshire Cheese is much more expensive, I think that I’ll be sticking with that in future.

Tomorrow the nurse is coming to take my blood sample, and then I don’t have anything planned for several days, except the football over the weekend of course. I’ll have to start to plan for my trip to Leuven though because that’s important. It seems that all kinds of things are unravelling right now.

And who knows? I might even have someone return one of my phone calls about the visits that I’ve made. If that happens, there won’t be any notes tomorrow night. I’ll have passed out from the shock.

Friday 7th October 2022 – MEANWHILE, IN THE …

… kitchen –
Our Hero – “where’s the tin opener?”
Rachel – “with the utensils”
OH – “the what?”
Rachel – “knives forks and spoons”
OH – “Oh yes! But don’t use big words with me. I come from Crewe”

Yes, I’ve been cooking again. Tea tonight was a stir-fry. Mine had black beans in it whereas Rachel’s and Darren’s had chicken.

Interestingly, the only shop-bought vegetable that went into the frying pan was the onion. All the rest were harvested out of Darren and Rachel’s vegetable plot except for the mushrooms which were picked locally.

Darren has decided to “go back to the land”. With no tractor-pulling over Covid, he spent his spare time developing a large vegetable plot and buying another freezer, and he’s now well away. I was going to say “reaping the fruits of his labour” but in actual fact, it’s “reaping the vegetables of his labours”.

Last night I was certainly reaping the fruits of a really good sleep. I must have travelled miles according to the dictaphone, and even Zero came to visit me too.

Once again I waited until everyone had gone off to work before I arose from the dead, and then I had the medication followed by a shower and a washing of my clothes. I need to keep things up-to-date. And with it being a bright, sunny day and plenty of wind to go with it, the clothes would dry quite quickly.

Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone. I started off working in a hotel room and for some unknown reason the only way that I could leave the room was to go out of the window and crawl along a ledge literally no more than 3 inches wide up to a kind-of roof balcony thing where I could climb over the wall and onto the lower part of the roof. That meant climbing up to the window, kneeling down, hanging onto the window frame, inching my way round. There was a key in the window that I could grab and hold on to. Then I’d have to find 1 or 2 other handholds while I shuffled along on my knees in order to get to this stone wall over which I needed to climb. I had to do this a dozen tiles during this dream and each time was a nightmare. The final time though, somehow the key had become disengaged and had fallen on top of the ledge along which I had to shuffle. It meant that one of my handholds was missing so I had to shuffle along with one less handhold, grasp other handholds which of course weren’t there. All in all, even in a dream it was nerve-wracking and frightening when I considered how high up it was and I was still trying to do it.

And then following the success of our Anglo-French group in France we thought that we’d start an Anglo-German group in Brussels. We’d learnt from out mistakes that this one would be a lot better. I was on my way out to Germany, to Achern, to do something. I thought that while I was there I’d look up a library to find some information about the town, how many people lived there etc. It would make a nice introduction to this Anglo-French group. I was in a car from the office so I asked one of my colleagues if parking would be reimbursed. She told me that it would be reimbursed so I decided that I would just park up in the centre of town where I could walk to the library and do what I needed to do there.

And finally I was with Zero last night, and so a big “hello” to her. It’s nice to see a friendly face on my travels. She came to see me last night somewhere in Europe. I had 2 bottles of whisky, some strange pink whisky that I was going to take back to her father. She decided that she would play a joke on her father by hiding in these bottles of whisky. We rigged up some kind of interior chamber in there, she climbed into it and we closed up the bottles. To carry them, I strapped them to my legs. I had to do a lot of skiing that day, a lot of climbing and then gradually turned up at his house. I said that I’d lost his daughter somewhere. I wondered where she’d gone to. I put these 2 bottles on the table-top. You could see her in there. We opened the first bottle but there was such a vacuum inside there that it broke the bottle when we opened it. The second one was OK but at first there was no sign of life at all. I was extremely worried. Gradually she came back to life again and started to breathe when she had some fresh oxygen. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. She told me that she didn’t want to do that again. I said “I don’t ever want to do that again either. I was so worried when we took off the tops and saw that you weren’t moving. For all the will in the world I wouldn’t have let you get in those 2 bottles if you hadn’t wanted to do it so badly”.

Anyway, I had to wait for a couple of hours until Rosemary re-contacted me. It’s the rear sunroof that’s broken so I had to drive down to Woodstock and Corey Ford. And we’ll have to have a bigger vehicle because by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong so we were rather crowded in the cab.

Ordering the sunroof was quite straightforward, and then I had to go and do a little more shopping before coming home.

The trip to and from Woodstock took much longer than usual.

mack thermodyne b51 tractor lorry lakeville new brunswick Canada Eric Hall photo 7th October 2022On the road down to Woodstock there’s some kind of commercial vehicle repairer. Sometimes he has some interesting things in there so I took a little detour to see if there was anything there today.

And I was in luck, because he had this beautiful beast in there – a Mack Thermodyne B51 articulated lorry tractor unit.

This was a model that was built between 1953 and 1966 and while elderly ladies in films can tell the difference between a 1955 and a 1956 saloon car at just a glance in films, I would have no idea at all about the actual age of this lorry

mack thermodyne b51 tractor lorry lakeville new brunswick Canada Eric Hall photo 7th October 2022Looking at this one from this angle, it looks as if it might be the version with the longer rear wheelbase than the standard one.

That was quite common in Canada at the time because it enabled a greater weight to be carried in the trailer than with a normal configuration.

For someone like me, it’s really hard to say but what I can tell you is that this is the traditional “Mack” that everyone would imagine in truck-driving film of the cult years of the 1950s and 1960s.but, surprisingly, I can’t recall seeing one in CONVOY, good buddy.

They were the first Mack lorries in which a diesel engine was offered, and altogether, of the various models of B-series lorries, over 125,000 of them were manufactured, although I haven’t seen one about for ages.

What did for them was that they had a narrow power band, which was right at the top end of their RPM and so you needed a lot of gearchanges to keep the power going if you had a heavy load, and there was a tendency to over-rev the engines which drastically reduced their lifeespan

new brunswick maine border usa Canada Eric Hall photo 7th October 2022Climbing out of Lakeville we reach the top of a rise where the views over the surrounding countryside are quite spectacular.

Over there on the left in the distance is the USA and the State of Maine. We are so close to the USA here that my niece’s husband once said "you can spit into the USA from our house" – and so I did

On the horizon straight ahead is Mars Hill and that’s where I have my little piece of Canada. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the southern boundary of my property is the International frontier with the USA

saint john river valley new brunswick Canada Eric Hall photo 7th October 2022Over there to the right, or east, is the valley of the Saint John River.

This afternoon we can’t see the valley too well but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, if we come past here early in the morning at this time of the year there’s a thin ribbon of mist over there.

That’s a good indication of where the river might be , and we can follow its course for miles.

It’s rather uncomfortable when you’re driving at the riverside because sometimes you’re up on a hill where the air is clear and then all of a sudden you drop into a dip where you’re enveloped in a thick mist and you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.

ford pickup jacksonville new brunswick Canada Eric Hall photo 7th October 2022We haven’t finished our encounters with interesting vehicles yet.

Parked under a hedge at the bottom of a garden in the settlement of Jacksonville is this old Ford pick-up..

Not that I know very much about them, but that looks like one of the first-generation F-series vehicles with the “million dollar cab” designed in the late 1940s. And judging by the appearance of the radiator grille this is an earlier one rather than a later model. The radiator grille was redesigned at the end of 1950.

And the poor thing has seen better days, but I hope that it’s here under the hedge destined for some kind of restoration.

international scout pickup woodstock new brunswick Canada Eric Hall photo 7th October 2022On the other hand, this isn’t destined for restoration at all but is going for breaking.

It’s an International Harvester Scout pick-up dating from the early 1960s and it actually was pulled out of a hedge in the vicinity, according to its owner with whom I had a little chat. It’s here in Woodstock on a forecourt waiting for space in the workshop when it can be pulled in and work started on it.

But also in the workshop is another one of these that is midway through restoration and parts taken off the one here are going onto that one. It seems such a shame, really, but that’s the way of the World with vehicles like this.

saint john river valley new brunswick Canada Eric Hall photo 7th October 2022It was a good idea to stop here and chat to the guy at the workshop because there’s a view over the Saint John River Valley that I’ve never noticed before.

It’s a shame about the mist hiding the view but you can still make out the mountains in the centre of the Province away in the distance. We’ve driven over those mountains ON A COUPLE OF OCCASIONS on our way to and from the coast

By the time that I returned home it was threatening rain (it’s actually pouring down right now) so I took in the washing and came in here to edit the photos. Regrettably, instead I fell asleep for a short while.

Tea was a stir-fry with rice and now, having had a good play with a cat, I’m going to bed. It’s holiday weekend here so no work tomorrow. I suppose though that there will be plenty to do all the same.

So there were a couple of nightmares in that lot, especially with trying to drown Zero in alcohol. What a sad story that was. Nevertheless it’s interesting to speculate about what happens if someone dies in a dream? Do they write themselves out of any subsequent dream? Or do we only only encounter them on the second plane? Or do they keep on coming back all he same.

With plenty of people, it would really be interesting to find out, but definitely not with Castor, TOTGA or especially Zero.

Tuesday 27th September 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

beach donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… photos today. And when you look at the photo of the beach down towards Donville les Bains you’ll see why.

When I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland I was almost swept away in a rainstorm and at one point I was even thinking of giving up and going back home. However I trudged wearily and wetly on around my circuit.

So providing that I haven’t caught pneumonia or something else and don’t pop my clogs I’ll tell you all about my day.

And as usual, when the alarm went off at 07:30 it was a struggle to leave my stinking pit. And after the medication I came back in here to revise my Welsh ready for my lesson.

Mind you, I need not have bothered because it was a pretty gruesome lesson. It didn’t go according to plan at all and I made rather a mess of things. Somehow I’ve not been able to get to grips with things since we started back and that’s quite depressing.

After the lunchtime fruit I’ve been organising a few things. There’s a little something simmering away on the back burner and I need to prepare for it. and so I’ve been dragging stuff out of cubby holes and that sort of thing today

Another thing that I’ve been doing is checking all of the electric stuff and making sure that it’s fully-charged. It’s twice this week that I’ve been caught with my batteries flat.

windsurfer beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And that took me up to the time when I usually go for my afternoon walk.

It’s no surprise that there was almost no-one down there on the beach. There was just one person out there at the water’s edge eyeing the waves but I was more interested in this guy here.

Al dressed up for the wind-surfing complete with board, but he’s on his way back to the steps up to the Rue du Nord. Obviously the storm was far too much even for him.

It was certainly far too much for me and as I said, I was in half a mind to turn round and go back home.

However, I carried gamely on, not that it did me any good at all because I couldn’t see a thing out there. There was just one person running around on the lawn and that was that. There wasn’t even anyone on the bench at the cabanon vauban..

briscard chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so I pushed on along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

And yet more excitement in the chantier naval again today. The only boat that remains in there today is Briscard. The other two, Gerlean and Chant des Sirenes, have now gone back into the water.

Not that this is a good day to be going back into the water. I certainly wouldn’t want to be out there today, not in a 25-ton fishing vessel anyway. We would have been OK on a 12,000 tonne vessel like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

And thinking about that has got me going again, hasn’t it? High time I hit the frozen north. What actually brought that to my mind was how cold and wet and windy it was. It actually felt like the Arctic standing there today.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today is usually the day that one of the freighters from Jersey comes into port.

And there’s a huge pile of freight waiting on the quayside to be picked up as you can see, but this isn’t really the kind of weather that you would expect to see one of them struggle into port.

The two lorries there are quite interesting though. The other day we saw two refrigerated vans parked back-to-back with their doors opened. Today, there are two refrigerated artics doing the same thing.

It must be some kind of ritual, I suppose.

blocked street rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But there’s something going on here in the Rue du Port right now.

There was something in the news this morning about the bus routes being closed this weekend and this is probably why. There’s some kind of concert taking place by the looks of things and they are busy setting up the stage.

Last year, I vaguely remember something about this so I’ll have to look through the old records to find out.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. This was another one of these dreams where I had all of my work in a total mess so I was planning on retiring. I had my German homework to do but I hadn’t done it and I hadn’t done the next lot. The tutor started to harass me about my German. I couldn’t make up my mind whether to drop it or not. I explained that I was in a really bad place in my head at the moment. This wasn’t really the time but she kept on insisting. She started to talk about how badly she’d been done by some people. The football team that she’d trained for a football match who had let her down. This conversation started off being about me and my homework very quickly became a conversation all about her. I felt even more isolated while this was going on than I did before.

And I also have the very, very strong feeling that Zero was around last night too, but there was nothing on the dictaphone about that. That’s bizarre.

The rest of the day has been spent doing a load of washing and carrying on with what I was doing before I went out.

Tea was a burger on a bap with the last of the potatoes and then I had another meal to cook because there was still some stuff left in the fridge that needed to be eaten.

So now I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’ve forgotten all about a football match tonight which was sad, and I have a busy day tomorrow so I’m not going to be hanging around for long.

Thursday 8th September 2022 – THIS WEATHER …

rainstorm baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… has certainly changed dramatically over the last week or so and I’m glad that I went to Jersey when I did.

While I was out there this afternoon on my post-prandial crawl, there was another rainstorm out in the bay. It was missing us by quite a few miles and battering the Pointe de Carolles and Jullouville.

But not to worry. We had had a considerable numbers of showers throughout the day. One moment we had bright sunlight and the next moment we were knee-deep in the rain.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What has happened today, if you haven’t guessed it from watching the rain cloud, is that the wind has turned round.

Instead of blowing from the south-east it’s now back in its usual direction of north-west. That has stirred up all of the waves and as you can see, Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour, is taking something of a battering.

Not as much as it might have done though because the wind has dropped slightly today. Had we had yesterday’s wind, we wouldn’t have seen it for the spray.

weeds place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022but at least the local vegetation is enjoying it.

As we have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the local vegetation is extremely resilient. As you can see, the weeds that grow around here have sprung dramatically into life already.

You would have thought that after 47 days without a drop of rain they would have been dead and buried but that’s far from the case. You can see now how it is that after a rainstorm in the Sahara, animal life suddenly makes a dramatic reappearance after having lain dormant for so long.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Unfortunately, last night I didn’t remain dormant long enough.

While you look at a couple of photos of the waves breaking on the harbour wall I was tossing and turning in bed trying my best to sleep.

The number of times that I awoke for no good reason is something that I can’t understand, but there we are. It’s not as if there were masses of notes on the dictaphone.

And once again, leaving my stinking pit was something of a challenge too, just as it has been for the last few weeks or so. I might be feeling a little better these days and not falling asleep during the afternoon but I’m obviously not that much better.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022after the medication I came in here and checked my mails.

And to my surprise there was a message from that garage in British Columbia. But only to say that the VIN that I quoted was wrong.

What I had to do then was to contact Rosemary to ask her to take a photo of her friend’s Carte Grise so that I can forward it on. A photograph can’t lie.

But I seemed to have dropped myself right into the middle of some “events” down there and we’ll have to see how that transpires.

spirit of conrad baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you look at few more photos, this time of boats, which in this one might be Spirit of Conrad I put everything behind me and started work.

The morning was spent on my trip to Jersey last week. And despite all the time that I spent on it, I’m still standing at the ferry terminal waiting to board Victor Hugo in order to set off for the Channel Islands.

That’s about photo number 5, and when you realise that there are 94 altogether that need things doing to them, you’ll understand that it’s going to be a very long job. Especially when you consider that I’m not as young, fit and enthusiastic as I used to be.

yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This afternoon … well, shock! Horror! I’ve cleaned the bathroom.

It goes without saying that I had a shower first so that I wouldn’t dirty it afterwards, and then I stripped out all that I could. The floor has been brushed, vacuumed and mopped, the carpet has been cleaned, and so has absolutely everything else.

What I haven’t done though is to empty and clean the cupboards. There are limits to what I’m prepared to do when I’m not feeling too well. That’s going to be a job for another time.

But really, I’m swamped in unused medicine and so on and I really don’t know what to do with it. The best plan will be to speak to the chemist next time that I’m down there and check with her.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Eventually I could call a temporary halt to the proceedings in the bathroom because it was time for my afternoon stagger outside.

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there on the beach.

Just a handful of people down there this afternoon wandering about in the sunshine. No-one sunbathing, which is no surprise, and no-one in the water either. It seems that the summer is now over as far as that is concerned.

Mind you, they wouldn’t have far to run each time the weather broke because they couldn’t be any wetter standing in the water than they would be standing in the rain.
“The boy stood on the burning deck
While all around had fled
But for the rain
I’d examine his brain
a passing psychiatrist said”

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The weather further out to sea was quite hazy but closer to home there were some surprising views today.

One of the best was the Ile de Chausey. It’s not every day that we see it looking as nice as this. It was quite clear and we could see the colours of the island quite distinctly

Interestingly, you can see some white vertical lines over there on the island. Many of the houses down there are all painted white and what you are actually seeing is the the sun catching the end walls of the houses and the light reflecting therefrom.

And you can see how rough the sea is as well today. That’s probably one of the reasons why there are no swimmers.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Having seen all that there was to see over on this side of the headland I crawled down to the viewpoint on the other side of the headland where I could overlook the port.

Yesterday we saw Le Coelacanthe and le Tiberiade moored down there, but they have cleared off today. In their place, and obviously compting in a new series of “Musical Ships” is La Grande Ancre

She has one of the harbour lighters on board, as well as a pile of fishing equipment.

There’s another boat behind her – a small inshore shell-fishing boat but at this distance I’m not able to see who she might be. Anyway, she didn’t stay long and was soon on her way.

le soupape, pescadore, peccavi, chant des sirenes le styx le poulbot chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, more excitement in the Chantier Naval.

Trafalgar, the white trawler with blue and pink stripes, has now gone back into the water and her place has been taken by an unidentified shell-fishing boat.

Also back in the water today is Charlevy. She’s been replaced by Le Styx whom we saw moored in the inner harbour for a few days.

There’s another change too. Le Poulbot has moved from her position in front of Le Soupape and she’s now up on blocks in front of Le Styx.

Plenty of people down there working too. It’s quite a hive of activity down there this afternoon.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022A little earlier you might have noticed a photo with a yacht and a cabin cruiser in it.

This is a better photo of the cabin cruiser. It looks quite old and I bet that it’s a beast of a thing and just the kind of boat that I would like to own.

It’s quite a shame really but had things been very different, I might have ended up living on a boat in a harbour. But then again, had things really been different, I would still be living in the Auvergne. sigh

Still, this isn’t the time to be all broody

trafalgar les bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Just in case you are wondering where Trafalgar is, she’s over there just about to tie up in front of Les Bouchots de Chausey

There’s a large pile of fishing net just there where she’s about to tie up, so I imagine that’s her net and they’ll be fixing it back on this evening ready to go out fishing tomorrow.

From there I headed back home where I had an “unusual” encounter with a rather inebriated motorist who wanted to engage me in conversation

This afternoon I walked quite far considering everything. But it showed that I’m still far from having recovered from the events of last week. And even if I were to be moving around easier, I’d still be quite wary about trusting this right leg in the future.

Back here I had some more ginger beer and then listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was taking an exam for the Open University. There was one subject with 3 parts to this question, each of which was an essay all done under the heading of one question. It was quite complicated. The first part I did without too many problems whatsoever. The second part was much more difficult but the third part seemed to be straightforward so I simply dictated that answer then went back to do the second part. At one point I stood up to walk around and stretch my legs just as one of the main invigilators came into the room. He was astonished to see people up and about walking around. He ordered us to sit down and carry on. It was 20 past something already and we only had 10 more minutes. I was suddenly in a panic then. Not only had I to dash down the rest of the answers to this second part, I realised that the third part being dictated won’t fetch any marks. I’d have to write that out again. Then my handwriting had disintegrated and became more like a doctor’s handwriting. I thought to myself that really this is going to be an absolute and total fail before I even started anything. I could see that happening here..

Later on I was working for the Resistance. It was being completely shaken up by the French government. Ally my hippie friends were being pursued. I was trying to keep out of the way but at the same time give them what support I could. There was a group of them fleeing down Crewe Road towards Goodall’s Corner in Shavington. I followed them down there at a safe distance. Most of them had been dispersed. There was just a couple there. They’d gone on a flight in a light aircraft. I joined the flight and it went to Paris. We all piled out at Paris in the suburbs and the plane went off to land somewhere for the night. We would make our way on foot to that place so as not to attract attention by arriving by plane. We started to walk. This young girl who was in charge was extremely nervous. An older person was rather more steady so I found myself walking with him or her for much of the time. I noticed that the lens hood of my camera had gone. It must have fallen off either in the plane or when we were running around. We came to near the Gare du Nord to catch our train. There were three statues at the side of the road. The other guy went to take a photo of them so I did too but my camera decided not to work for some reason no matter how much I tried (and that’s a recurring theme during my dreams, isn’t it?). By now this girl was in a real state because there had been €1400 taken from her bank account “to pay crash fees”. There had been another deduction for crash fees that she’d not seen how much it was yet in respect of this light aeroplane. apparently when it landed it was detained for e few minutes and the pilot questioned before he could go on his way again. They linked it to this girl and somehow with having access to her bank account they’d debited her with crash fees, which were the fees for the officials to turn up at the site. I was thinking jamais deux sans trois but I hope that this aeroplane will be OK when we meet it and that it hasn’t really crashed because she’d really have something about which to complain if they take away the money from her account for the real crash of an aeroplane.

vegan curry pasty place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was some curry left over after yesterday’s tea and I wanted to do something different with it.

Consequently I made some pastry with the aim of making something like a Cornish pasty with it. But my pastry didn’t turn out too well, there wasn’t enough filling and generally speaking it wasn’t a great success from the making point of view.

But from the eating point if view, it was everything that you would want from an impromptu meal, along with baked potatoes and veg cooked in a really thick gravy.

There were really no words to describe how nice this was. It made quite a pleasant change from the usual diet.

So bedtime now. Not much to clean now and I’ll finish that tomorrow with a bit of luck. And then I can speak to the woman who I’ve lined up to come and clean for me.

It was a step that I thought that I would never take but it’s taken me almost 3 weeks to clean this place and it’s still not very good. But I can’t keep on going like this. Something needs to change, although I’m not quite sure what.

But I’ll worry about that another time. Right now I’m off to bed.

Wednesday 7th September 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall the storm cloud that was gathering out in the bay yesterday afternoon.

storm cloud baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today, we had practically the same, except that the clud was a little further to the north, hovering around over Pointe de Grouin.

The wind was just the same, blowing around from south-east to north-west contrary to the usual direction, and I was thinking just as yesterday that the wind doesn’t need to veer around very much for that lot to be blown back over here and drop well and truly on us.

And just like yesterday, that was exactly what happened. About half an hour later the wind changed direction and shortly afterwards we were swamped with another torrential downpour.

It certainly makes a change, for according to official records that were published this morning, we went a total of 47 days without the slightest drop of rain this summer just gone and if that’s not a record, I don’t know what is.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while we’re on the subject of records … “well, one of us is” – ed … we didn’t quite have a new record of sound-files dictated during the night while I was away on my travels, but it was still pretty good going.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. While you admire a few photos of the maritime activity today (of which there was plenty, for a change) I’ll start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

And last night was a “highly active” night with plenty of tossing and turning. And dictating too as you’ll find out in due course.

So much so that when the alarm went off this morning I was pretty wasted and it was another long, dispirited attempt to try to drag myself out of bed before the second alarm went off.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the medication I came back in here and spent a good half-hour or so trying to summon up the energy to actually push on and do something.

But once checking the mails and messages was out of the way, I could make a start. And I’ve finally finished all of the photos from my Jersey trip.

And it didn’t ‘arf take quite a while too. There has to be a quicker way of batch-processing what I’m doing with the photos and one of these days I’ll sit down and write out some scripts to automate the process if I can.

But the trouble is that when you are up to your neck in alligators it’s very hard to remember that what you are trying to do is to just drain the swamp.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Anyway, they are all on line now so that’s that done.

At the moment what I’m doing is posting the text from the blog entry for that day into the correct position and then I’ll have to write more notes for some of the other photos.

There were 94 in all that made the final cut which isn’t bad, so there will only be a small percentage of those that will figure in the journal entry. I’ll make up a photo page for the rest when I have a moment, whenever that might be.

Apart from all of that, I’ve been extremely business today and that’s not like me, is it?

speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One thing that’s been annoying me is the hunt that I’m on for the piece for that car that was imported into Europe from Canada and spare bodywork panels aren’t available in Europe.

Not being able to interest my relatives in the affair and it’s not the kind of thing that you can ask friends to do, I finally after many vicissitudes tracked down the original supplier a few weeks ago and I contacted them.

There was an acknowledgement and then nothing else, even after a reminder so this afternoon I tracked down their social media page and left a few messages.

Eventually, someone responded to me and told me that they “would get back to” me. I have a feeling that this saga is going to run and run until we all die of boredom.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m thoroughly fed up of trying to do business. I send off countless e-mails for all kinds of things and rarely receive a reply, never mind reach a satisfactory conclusion.

That’s not necessarily the case all the time. A couple of my friends are involved in Arctic Exploration as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I religiously follow up their links to see what opportunities there might be for me to go North again.

And someone has actually replied and ‘phoned me back this afternoon. And that’s a first, isn’t it?

Mind you, this won’t go all that far either, I reckon. I can sense it.

But doesn’t everywhere look nice and bright and let so much more light in when you clean the windows? First time since … errr … I’ve been here that I’ve washed the outside of the windows. And they were dirty too!

It’s not a particularly good job because scrambling over the furniture is a bit beyond me at the moment but it’s stall a vast improvement. That cheap telescopic window cleaning tool that I bought from Noz ages ago is certainly the business.

You’re probably surprised that I found the time to go out for my afternoon walk.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2209/22090044.html”>people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as usual I wandered off across the car park to look at what was happening down on the beach. And wasn’t this a surprise that there were actually some people down there today?

It doesn’t look as if they are sunbathers though. Probably just holidaymakers from the caravanette park down the road from where I live out for a run around before the storm hits.

With the wind blowing from the opposite direction today it would be quite sheltered down there. Not sheltered enough though to encourage people into the water. It looks as if that’s finished for the season now until the end of the year when everyone dresses up as penguins and goes for the winter dip.

thora arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Having taken a few photos of boats and the like out at sea I staggered off down to the viewpoint overlooking the park

Not that I got very far though. As I passed through the arch in the opposite wall of the car park ready to go down the street, around the corner came the familiar sight of Thora on her way into port.

Thinking about it actually, she came into port last Wednesday too as we were strapped into our seats waiting for Victor Hugo to reverse out of her berth. It must be every Wednesday that she comes into port, so I’ll have to keep an eye open for that.

Incidentally, Normandy Trader comes into port every Thursday at least.

thora arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By the time that I made it down to the viewpoint, Thora was well inside the harbour heading towards the gates into the inner harbour.

She doesn’t look as if she has much of a load on there at all today. By that, I’m making reference to what is known as the “Plimsoll Line”.

The Plimsoll Line is the round circle with the line through it and it’s effectively the loading gauge of the ship. You can in theory load up the ship until that line is level with the water.

There are different lines painted on the ship for each ocean and season during which the ship sails. You want to see the Plimsoll Line for “Winter North Atlantic”. It’s a lot lower down than, say, “Tropical Freshwater” where you can stick far more freight on a boat and have it much lower in the water.

le tiberiade le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Now this is a photo that I’ve been wanting to take for years.

It’s a decent (in composition, if maybe not in technique) photograph showing sisters Le Tiberiade and Le Coelacanthe together. And why I wanted this photo is to compare them so that I can tell them apart when I see them on their own.

When they are here like this we can see that Le Coelacanthe is slightly bigger, it has wings at the side of the wheelhouse to stop the spray going inside, thz masthead is much more substantial but she only has three windows at the side of the wheelhouse rather than four.

It might be a good idea for me to run one of those photo competitions and let the regular readers of this rubbish recall the differences and award a prize to the person who comes up with the most.

And did you hear about the man who invented the crowbar?
He was awarded first prize.

I’ll get my coat.

shtandart leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While I was busy watching Thora making her way across the inner harbour to tie up underneath the crane, suddenly Shtandart slipped her moorings and set off.

Crowds of people on board too. So unless she’s kidnapped a pile of hostages, repatriating a bunch of unwelcome Russians or taking back some recruits for the Russian Army, it looks as if she’s going out for a lap around the bay.

But it’s rather late for that now, unless she’s planning to stay out for the night.

It’s something that I can’t say for definite because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I’ve said it before, she has her AIS transmitter switched off so I can’t pick her up on my radar and tell you where she is for definite.

shtandart leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you watch Shtandart make her way out of harbour (under her diesel engine, not – regrettably – under canvas) I headed for home and my glass of ginger beer.

And also to attack the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few. This was another one of which I’d forgotten half as soon as I grabbed the dictaphone. There was a robbery taking place on Jersey. The people who committed it were on the same boat as we were on the way home. I can’t remember any more about it except that at one point there was a couple of young lads dressed in some kind of hip clothing going past. A TV company was interviewing people about it. I said something like “each generation has its own identity, its own clothes etc. We’ve all been there and we’ve all done that when we were that age too. So what?”.

Some time later there was this family heading towards the ferry to go to Jersey. They were struggling along carrying this stuff. This was when these new colour codes had been invited. We didn’t really know what they were out on the island so we didn’t realise that the boy pushing the pram with a lot of clothing and suitcases in it was really disabled so he was met with hoots of derision. He dropped the pram onto the ground, he fell onto the ground abd everyone was still laughing at him because they hadn’t seen or understood the significance of the flag that he was flying. The landlord in charge of a pub there in Jersey was telling me that these people were so unreliable that they even had a couple of lock-up garages repossessed that they were using to do these different things.

shtandart leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It had been the play-off final in Wales. The 2 clubs had travelled down to Cardiff along with all of their supporters. I’d arranged a lot of transport for a lot of different groups but there was some kind of issue. Going back was extremely difficult and no-one reached home until the small hours of the following morning at least. One coach didn’t arrive until Sunday lunchtime. Someone had been suggesting to me that a coach from Caernarfon was even later still. I went round to see it and the driver was still there. I asked him if he’d had a good trip. He shrugged his shoulders. I asked what time he’d returned. He replied “07:00 on Sunday” which given everything else that had happened I didn’t think was too bad. I asked him about that.

There was a boat out in Cardigan Bay doing something. At one moment the passengers thought that they were all going back into harbour but someone else on board from the crew announced that he had a couple more verses to do yet of his song. Everyone groaned while he started to sing. There were even a few people who wished that the ship would sink so that they could escape from all of this.

We were in a hotel. We’d gone to some kind of meeting or other. The boss said that we’d all meet for breakfast. Some time or other early on he came round and awoke us all, told us to fetch our breakfast and come to his room. I thought he said Room 32 but in fact he said Room 22. It took me a while to gather my wits and prepare myself. I picked up my breakfast, went to Room 32, found that it wasn’t there, went to Room 22, opened the door and went it. The room was crowded. Instead of just being the half-dozen or so of us there were probably 25 people in there including some young kids. There was just 1 seat vacant but there was someone’s meal in front of that. I asked if I should go to fetch a chair but no-one took any notice. They didn’t say anything. I was just about to shout at the top of my voice to awaken everyone and attract their attention when the church clock here began to ring and I awoke.

Back asleep again and I was with a group of hippies or people like that. We’d gone off camping for the weekend. I’d gone in Caliburn but there were all kinds of people there in tents etc. Someone had rigged up some kind of LED warning system. I’d made an adapter for it with a set of Christmas lights and strung a set of Christmas Lights and connected them to a low-frequency sound detector. Sure enough, I managed to make mine work which impressed everyone. They all came round to see it. They went over to my van but I had someone with me. They came back with my big pressure cooker. They said that someone’s sister (and they produced this young girl) was going to set up a recording device to record the arrival of the moles because this light chain pulse emitter would go off and emit a noise. She then said that she didn’t want to do it ina pressure cooker so I tried to find out exactly how she wanted to do it. A pressure cooker and an automatic voice recorder with a pressure cooker to act as an echo chamber and the voice recorder set to “automatic” to switch on when there was a noise would be ideal I would have thought, given the limited stuff that we had available. But she wanted to do it another way and I wanted to find out which

So no-one whom we know came with us last night. A good thing in certain circumstances with certain people, but not so good in other circumstances with other people

Tea was a left-over curry and I was rather ambitions with that and there is some left over that I will have to find a way of using. Delicious as it was, I can’t really have a curry made of left-overs from a left-over curry. One idea would be to make a left-over pasty and bake it on the oven. That would certainly be interesting, to say the least.

So having cleaned the outside of the windows, whatever next? Maybe I ought to think about cleaning the insides.

Actually, I might take my life into my own hands and steam-clean the bathroom next.

God help us!

Tuesday 6th September 2022 – WHILE I WAS OUT …

rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022… this afternoon, I noticed this rather enormous rain cloud out in the bay.

The wind was blowing from the south-east rather than from the north-west this afternoon, and blowing in spades as well. The cloud was down there in the south west though and so any change of direction in the wind could create a few problems.

Sure enough, about half an hour later the wind swung round 90° clockwise and about half an hour after that we had the rainstorm to end all rainstorms.

It didn’t last all that long but it was impressive while it happened and maybe tomorrow we might see some kind of change in the vegetation if we are lucky. It’s still looking quite burnt-out right at the moment.

Maybe tomorrow there might be some change in me too. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling burnt-out too, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But I seemed to have improved – until I had that big fall on board Victor Hugo last week that stopped me dead in my tracks.

A good night’s sleep will probably do me a world of good too and last night I almost had it too. I only awoke a couple of times during the night and there was only one sound-file on the dictaphone.

But what a sound-file it was!

This was another really long, rambling dream that went on for ages. I was at school, in my room because we had little dormitories. Someone called me but I couldn’t think why. I went outside my room but couldn’t see anyone. I wandered round. In the end I found myself holding a young cat, a light-coloured tabby so I was walking around finding out what I was supposed to do with this cat. I must have walked around the entire school asking people questions about this cat. In the end I ended up in the secretary’s office. She explained to me that it was the cat out of their office. Could they have it back? Surprisingly I felt extremely disappointed having to hand back this cat because even though I didn’t have any equipment I would have quite happily taken it with me and kept it in my room. I told her that if she’s ever looking for someone to look after it for a while I’d be quite happy to do that. She replied “yes but there are a lot of people in the queue”. I was surprised at how disappointed I felt.

Later on there was some kind of festival going on in the school and there were loads of people milling around. I had some sandwiches and I was going off to find somewhere to eat but there was hot food being served so I wondered if this was going to be provided free. I ended up at a kind-of snack café where I could see the prices clearly displayed so I imagined that that would be the same everywhere. I went and found a seat where I could sit and eat my sandwiches. The guy there was Jolyon Robinson from school. He was going on about how few people were going round right now. I explained that most of them have probably gone into town to find a good restaurant. Wherever we went anywhere with the school and was staying on we’d go into town to find an Indian and eat Indians all over the UK. He thought that that was quite strange. I was rummaging around on the table and came across a bill for a restaurant. I said “there you are. Look at this”. I read out the items on the bill and the bill was something like £63:00 for 1 meal for 1 person. I noticed that the price for dessert was a flamenkuche which was £18:00. I said “ik kan een mooije flamenkucke gebacke” in Flemish. He looked at me strangely so I told him what it meant. I said that I wouldn’t pay £18:00 for one of these when I can make one in 20 minutes. Some woman sitting nearby came over and snatched the receipt away from me. She said “this is a receipt from (somewhere else). That’s wrong, what you are saying anyway” but I couldn’t understand at all about why it was wrong and why she was making such a fuss.

Strangely enough, with not travelling anything like as far as I used to do, the idea of adopting a cat is something that has gone round inside my head. For many years when I was on my own in the past I had a cat, my black cat “Tuppence” who used to do her best to chase away any girl who I brought home, and when I was married we ended up with four of them.

Despite having one of the best sleeps that I’ve had for quite a while, it was even so the worst morning that I’d had for quite a while about leaving the bed. I did beat the second alarm to my feet but only just. I was only half-dressed when it went off.

Back in here after the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes, as you have seen, and the rest of the day was spent editing the photos from Jersey.

And that’s taking much longer than it should do, not because of any difficulty that I had with the editing, but finding out what was actually depicted thereupon. And it needs to be done too because after all, that was the whole point of going to Jersey in the first place

Right now I’m just off the coast here in Granville on my way home with another 15 or so photos to edit. And they won’t take too long to do seeing as I’m back home.

And aren’t they “famous last words”? We’ve heard all of that before.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022With nothing else exciting happening, I went out for my afternoon walk.

High winds and overcast skies were enough to put the willies up anyone this afternoon. There was hardly anyone about up on top of the cliffs so I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down on the beach this afternoon.

And so I wasn’t disappointed to find that the beach was absolutely deserted this afternoon. There wasn’t a soul about

There was however someone with a van working on the new car-park barrier that was installed last week but as soon as he saw me coming, he hopped into the van and cleared off.

As for the bust that was loitering around here for a couple of days, I haven’t seen that since I said something about it on Friday.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022Walking across the car park and down the side street to the viewpoint overlooking the port wasn’t easy. I was continually being blown about by the wind and when you are as unsteady on your feet as I am these days you’ll know all about it.

There wasn’t even one boat out at sea this afternoon and that’s no surprise either. Just have a look at the waves surging around by Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the port.

No waves and spray splashing around at the base though. The wind is in the wrong direction for that today. We’ll have to wait for that until the wind veers back round to the north-west.

work on crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022There was some work going on at the crane in the inner harbour.

The crane over there is the one that has recently been refurbished – at a cost not unadjacent to €80,000, so I’m told – but it looks as if there’s a guy down there giving the thing some further attention.

What with the barrier at our car park being adjusted just about a week after it’s been installed, it seems to be the thing these days that nothing seems to work as it should despite all of the care, attention and money that has been lavished upon it.

But on the subject of the cranes, I’m still dismayed that the gravel boats are no longer coming into the port. We haven’t seen one of those for a couple of years.

cancale brittany France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022While I was up here on the cliffs I noticed that I could see the town of Cancale quite clearly.

While the view out to sea wasn’t all that much to write home about, the wind was keeping the air in the bay quite clear and the clouds were preventing too much reflection from the sun

Mind you, the rainstorm over there wasn’t doing the visibility much good. You can see how heavy it was.

Back here I had a coffee and then carried on with the photos until I ran out of steam. It’s quite hard to keep the concentration going for too long. At least, it is for me.

Tea was a taco roll with most of the rest of the stuffing, accompanied by rice and veg. It was delicious as usual.

Anyway, I’m off to bed in a moment. For some reason I’m feeling quite tired, although I haven’t done all that much today in the way of physical activity.

But what I am going to do it so try to walk with that crutch that I have in the cupboard from three years ago to see if that can encourage me to move around more. I’m fed up of being stuck around here leaning from wall to wall

In theory I could push on farther but I don’t have the confidence to do so right now. That walk back from the ferry terminal to here was a nightmare.

And I’m worried about what might happen if I fall over and can’t pick myself up, particularly when I’m very close to the edge of the top of a cliff.

Thursday 1st September 2022 – THE DECISION …

hermitage donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… about whether or not I ought to go for a walk this afternoon was taken out of my hands today.

For the first time since I don’t know how long (several months, probably) it was pouring with rain outside this afternoon. You can tell that by simply looking at the photos of “The Hermitage” – the old seafront hotel that is now converted into apartments. You can hardly see it through the drizzle

In the past though, I’ve been out for a walk or two in weather much wetter than this but I had a feeling that today this was nature’s way of telling me to go back inside and rest.

And rest I did. No alarm this morning so I stayed in bed until 09:30 and I needed it too.

Moving about was a little easier. Only a little though. I was still aching in my knee, my hip and now my groin. I know that yesterday I’d performed 180% of my daily activity according to the fitbit but I’ve done far more than that in the past without feeling as bad as I did.

There was no rush to start work today. I had a nice, leisurely morning and in the end I didn’t even sort out any music to which to listen this week. I ended up instead listening to the old-time radio and my favourite radio programmes from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Eventually though I started on transcribing all of the notes on the dictaphone. There were two days’ worth – yesterday and today, and all told there were tons of them. Having dealt with all of yesterday’s, I made a start on today’s. I was doing something with the taxis again last night. Someone phoned up – it might have been my brother probably, I dunno – and was shouting at the girl who was answering the phone and doing the radio. In the end I took over. It took me a whole while to chisel out the information from him bit by bit. It was basically “Friday 12:50 or earlier if possible, pickup from Glasgow and take him to Northampton”. It took an age to chisel all of that out of him bit by bit. Everyone was short-tempered by the time that I finished this call.

And then I can’t remember much of this bit. There was Nerina and I, once again having our marriage difficulties. She and her friend had once ganged up on me once playing cards, even going as far as to look up the rules about borrowing cards from the pack which I thought was totally unnecessary. anyway they were there working on some other stuff again about that. There was much more to this but I can’t remember it now.

And Zero was back last night. After all this time and how nice it was to see her smiling face, even if it was only for a fleeting second. We were tidying up in her school classroom and she was one of the last to be there. She went home and we said that we’d be round later. There was me and another girl but I can’t remember who she was. We were getting close to finishing. The guy in charge said that he was leaving. We said that the place wasn’t tidied up yet so he replied “you stay and finish it but don’t take too long”. There was just the 2 of us there and we were tidying it up. The girl with me thought that she’d telephoned to Zero to say that we’d be round in a few minutes. I could tell that the conversation was going quite badly. It finished off by her saying “well, we’ll see you tomorrow”. I wondered what was going on. It turned out, so she said, that Zero’s father who was the last person to leave was probably not feeling too well so they’d be spending a lot of time dealing with him. I said “I’m having to go tomorrow so we could I suppose always turn up unexpectedly tomorrow to say goodbye. We did that once before and it went quite well but I’d much rather have gone round on a day when we’d been invited and when people were expecting us. That way there’s no question of having any kind of conflicting interest etc”. I forgot to mention that after the girl with me had hung up on Zero she went and sat down somewhere and put her feet up. I was still wrestling with these 3 enormous boxes. I had to insist that she got back on her feet and came to help me otherwise I would never finish this lot either and I’d be here all night.

Once again I could see that all my best-laid plans here were coming to nought even before we’d gone very far at all, and that’s just typical whenever any of my interests seemed to coincide with those of anyone else back in the old days. No wonder I prefer to live alone. It’s far less complicated.

There I was with a date with Zero and everyone else was deliberately pushing spokes into the wheels. Just as always.

All that remained (for the moment at least) was the blog entry for yesterday. That took a total age to write but at least it’s all nicely on line now. Without the photos though. I couldn’t stomach working my way through 97 of those this afternoon. I wasn’t in the mood.

The proceedings were interrupted by me finally deciding to risk my knee on an adventure outside.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And despite the poor weather I went off for a stroll across the car park to the wall.

With the weather being as it was, I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down there on the beach so the half-a-dozen or so people down there took me somewhat by surprise. I don’t know what they were doing down there but at least whatever it was, they had plenty of beach to do it on.

It was a waste of time looking out to sea because the mist was pretty thick out there and you couldn’t see anything.

Going to to St Helier yesterday was a good plan because I had the last of the decent weather. It would have been miserable out there today.

But this took me completely by surprise.

bus place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022This photo isn’t about Caliburn. You can see the bus stop over there on the left-hand edge of the photograph so why is the bus parking there? And for not the least of the reasons being that any passengers would have to go into the street in order to board the bus.

You can see the rain too. It was pretty miserable but I can’t say that I’m sorry that we’ve finally had some rain.

Before I went back in I was buttonholed by one of my neighbours who attracted my attention from her second-floor window. We had quite an impromptu chat at distance, with me being slowly and inevitable soaked to the skin.

Back in the flat I had a nice strong coffee and then carried on with the blog until it was finished (for now) and then I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tea tonight was a left-over curry with mushrooms, potatoes and the left-over stuffing along with a big handful of peanuts. And I do have to say that it was the best one that I’ve ever made.

A quiet evening now and I’ll probably end up with an early night. It’s still raining and my legs are still hurting and who knows how all of this will pan out.

We’ll all find out tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not a success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not that I blame them either.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a shame about my TV

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

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

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

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

And pigs will fly as well.

Wednesday 17th August 2022 – SO RATHER LATER …

… than usual, here I am writing up my notes.

Yes, this evening I’ve been gallivanting – spending time with the neighbours and as anyone will tell you, that’s not like me at all, is it? I don’t do “social”.

Anyway, another late night again yesterday, but not at all as late as the previous night. I didn’t finish my notes until late (and that’s not a surprise seeing how many there were) and then there was something interesting (and I can’t remember now what it was) that came round on the playlist.

So that was that.

It was another morning when I didn’t feel much like leaving the bed and in fact I loitered around for a good few minutes before deciding to pluck up the courage to haul myself out of my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I had been during the night. I started in a hotel near the town centre of a strange town somewhere in Southern Belgium. I’d stopped there the night because I had to go to a meeting in another town that evening and this was the best that I could do. I looked at the travel arrangements. I could see where the buses pulled up and parked but I had a quick look on the internet and saw that there was a train so I decided to set out and find the Railway Station. I went outside just as the bus pulled away from the bus stop so I couldn’t see what that was. Round a couple of corners I could see a road in the distance high up that was dropping down to the road on which was my hotel. I remembered the layout of the roads now. There was a car park with a few ancient Harrington coaches complete with tailfins. Then I saw a sign that said “to the railway station”. I followed the sign and ended up in a shopping precinct. I couldn’t find my way out of there. Neither could another girl who was there as well. We both ended up looking for an exit. I tried a door and it turned out to be a bingo club. They asked me what I wanted. I replied that I was looking for a way to check my internet statistics. They gave me a file with their login details. The said “careful not to put your Ni n° in”. Another woman said “yes well he’ll tell you all about doing that”.

And later I’d gone into my apartment building and ended up talking to the new girl next door about a few things. She was showing me her apartment and everything. As I was leaving she asked “when can I come to visit yours?”. I replied “you can come now if you like” not thinking that she would because there’s a football match on the internet. She came anyway and she had a look round. She said how much she liked it even though it was cheap and basic with no real main facilities. I was thinking to myself that it’s a good job that I’d tidied it and put stuff away. Just then 2 customers appeared. We were somehow then in the dining room She asked if I was getting something to eat. I replied “no, I eat later” because I was going to eat at home. She took some stuff and started eating. I was trying to have a conversation with her but her conversations were more of these where you’d tell her something and she’d go off on a long speech about something else. When she would draw breath you’d start to tell her about something yourself but you could see after about 5 seconds that she had totally lost interest and wasn’t anywhere interested your conversation. I thought that it was quite pointless trying to engage her in conversation. Just then another man appeared. He came to sit at our table to eat. He said to one of the boys his given name and I recognised him straight away but he’s going to be working late tonight. I thought “does he have a football match on the internet too?”.

After that I was living in this block of flats. A new neighbour invited me in so I went in. It was a woman and I showed her around and a few tricks about the apartment etc. She asked when would I invite her to visit mine so we went next-door to mine which although furnished quite cheaply was neat and tidy. i was thinking that it’s a good job that i’d tidied up before I went out. We were chatting and ended up in the sea off Morecambe. My mother came along and put her glass down by this girl. My mother asked why and my grandmother replied “she obviously has a crush on you so it’s to keep the crushes away”

And that’s a regular theme isn’t it? No sooner do I start to think that I’m making progress in my life and along comes some member of the family to throw a spanner in the works. How many dreams have I had like that?

After that my youngest sister and I were going somewhere so we were at the bus stop at Shavington. It was extremely early, about 07:00. Someone said something to a couple of people who were waiting with me so I replied. He said “God! I didn’t see you there!” and there I was in a bright white shirt in the dark. We had a chat and I went back to the others. His bus appeared – he was going to Crewe so he climbed aboard. Then the bus came down the hill from Dodd’s Bank. I could see all the swarms of school children heading our way so that must have been the school bus. he did a U-turn at the Sugar Loaf but it wasn’t a very good one, not like the drivers we used to have years ago (who really could turn these old Crosville Bristol LWL single deckers on a sixpence). It was someone whom I knew and at first I thought that it was my father. I told my sister that he’s not very good at that. All the kids swarmed on. Then a Ford Zodiac MkIV appeared. I thought that this is the bus replacement so I flagged him down. I only had adult tickets so my sister got onto the back seat. I said to the driver who was my father that I only had adult tickets. He replied “just give me one for you. Your sister is OK”. We squidged onto the back seat with all of these other people. It was really quite uncomfortable in there and I couldn’t understand it. I was telling her that I used to have one of these years ago (in fact mine was a Zephyr 6, and fancy remembering that in the middle of a dream) and they were really comfortable cars. What surprised me was that a couple of Cortinas pulled up to take the kids away to school. They put about 20 kids in each packed on the back seat and in the boot with their heads poking up where the parcel shelf used to be and packed on the front seat and no-one said a word about that but they would soon complain if I tried to put more than 4 passenger into a taxi in the old days.

Again I can only remember a part of this. I was again with I think my youngest sister . We were waiting in the desert when a hearse pulled up and offered us a lift. We climbed in and there was a body in the back. We reached a cemetery and had to dig a grave. We dug this grave and it wasn’t very deep at all. Then they took out this coffin and put it in. The coffin was probably no more than an inch below the surface. I said “this is far to shallow for a grave isn’t it?”. He replied ” no, it’s fine. Don’t you worry about that. Just lower the coffin in”. We lowered the coffin in and he went off to do something. I thought to my sister “he’d have plenty of opportunity here to dig off the top off this coffin and drop another body or two inside it, won’t he?”.

Finally there had been two teams building the same railway line through the mountains somewhere. It had been very acrimonious. One had done it in concrete and the other in something else and they’d laid this stuff down sometimes on top of each other etc until they reached the end of the line where they had supposed to be. There was a cabin at the end of the line and we went there to inspect it and saw the confusion between the 2 lines. We slept there the night and next morning set back to walk to the halfway point where everything was already ready. We’d only gone maybe a mile, not even that, and all these concrete and other stuff works just petered out. It had all been done for show and the rest of the rail bed was just bare earth. Someone had marked out the track with stakes where the track should go. We reached certain parts where it wouldn’t even fit. They hadn’t even dug out the cuttings etc. There was one bit where on the edge of a mountain they hadn’t cut into the mountain for the track. There was no way that you could lay track on this. This became quite acrimonious as well. When we returned to the half-way cabin it was quite warm inside because there had been an old 1930s car in there that we’d made to run and managed to use to heat the water to heat the cabin. I had to but some petrol for a girl who was there but when I was searching through my pockets I couldn’t find my dictaphone. I wondered if I’d left it at the cabin so I’d have to go all the way back to the cabin at the end of the line, fetch my dictaphone and come all the way back to this one.

It’s hardly surprising that after having travelled that far during the night I wanted to stay in bed. And it will be no surprise to anyone that in the middle of transcribing all of that I actually fell asleep for an hour or so. I went to have a shower whan I awoke in order to awaken me properly and while I was at it I weighed myself. I’ve losrt another few hundred grammes and I’m only 1100 grammes away from my first target weight (but still over 6000 from where I want to be).

The rest of the day has been spent tidying up. I’ve actually cleared a whole shelf in the cupboard by the door and now I have to try to think what to do with it. What do I have that I can hide away in there out of the way?

Plenty of stuff that I should have put outside for the bin dippers but it’s raining again quite heavily right now, not that it will last all that long..

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Mind you, it’ll certainly do some good for the vegetation.

Here’s a photo that I took from almost the same place as yesterday. The hour or so of rain that we had didn’t do anything about the dust that’s around on the path but do you notice the change in the greenery today.

It’s the mauvaises herbes – the weeds that seem to have benefited from the rain yesterday. You can see that they seem to have managed to absorb some of the water and they have turned green.

What that shows in that it’s the indigenous plants that survive the best and recover the quickest after unnatural conditions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t raining when I went outside for my afternoon walk today though.

It was actually quite nice again if a little windy so I reckoned that there might be a few people out and about on the beach down below the cliffs.

There were actually more people that I was expecting and some of them had even gone onto the water which, because of the wind was quite adventurous.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea this afternoon. It wasn’t as clear as yesterday but much clearer than the other day so had there been anything out there I would have seen it.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Instead I made my way all along the path to the end and across the car park without seeing anything out at sea.

There was however something to see down here – to wit a couple of fishermen practising their art from the rocks down below. And, optimists that they are, they even had a bucket or something in which to deposit their catch.

Mind you, one of the guys looks as if he’s ready to pack up and go home. The other one looks like he’s here for the Duration and seems to be rather comfortable sitting on his rock. All he needs is a pointed hat and a long white beard and he’ll be well away.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And they have an audience this afternoon too.

There was someone sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban but he must have heard me creeping up because as soon as I poised the camera ready to shoot, he stood up.

Mind you, there really were only the fishermen out there to watch and if one of them was going home, I suppose that our spectator was too. It was actually quite strange that here we are in the middle of the summer season and there wasn’t one boat out there at all.

cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway I wandered off down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

And there is no change in occupancy of the place this afternoon but there’s a great deal of work going on with Cap Lihou.

In her exposed position out there by the portable boat lift we can see all around her and they seem to be having a right old time over there with a sandblaster or something, for much of her bright blue paintwork has now disappeared.

She’s obviously going to be receiving the full treatment. She looked quite nice before so if they do as good a job on her as they did with the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II she’ll look fabulous when she’s finished.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There wasn’t anyone over at the Fish Processing Plant so I turned my attention elsewhere while I was here.

Over at the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France ferries and we can tell by the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

It’s a surprise to see her here just now. Just recently we’ve seen then runnign back from the Ile de Chsueey or doing a lap of honour around the bay with a bunch of tourists. It must be a quiet afternoon today.

Not for me. I want to return to my tidying up so I’m in a hurry to go home

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I go home though I just thought that I’d mention that Chausiaise is over in the loading bay underneath the crane.

It looks as if she’s going for another run out but I wonder what she’ll be taking, seeing as all of the material is still on the quayside, and, more importantly, where she’s going.

Back here I made a coffee, finished off what I was doing and then made ready for my trip upstairs. One of the residents seems to have taken a shine to me and she’s invited me upstairs on a couple of occasions.

She’s not yet invited me to see her etchings though, and that’s a good thing.

When I set out I only intended to be there for a short while but it was three hours that I was absent. It’s hardly surprising that everything is running late and I’ve had no tea tonight. So I’ve had to rush my notes.

Anyway now that they are done I’m off to bed. I’ll carry on with the tidying up tomorrow and see where that brings me. I now know how Heracles felt in the Augean stables and I’m not likely to have any rivers flowing through here.

Tuesday 16th August 2022 – SUMMER IS BACK!

After the couple of days that we had of grey overcast weather conditions, Summer came back with a bang today.

Not quite the record-breaking temperatures that we had, but blue skies all the same.

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while we’re on the subject of the hot weather … “well, one of us is” – ed … I thought that you might like to see how things are doing around here.

This is the footpath on top of the cliffs at the back of the Sports Ground. It’s the route that I take down to the end of the headland and you can see how it is (or isn’t) holding up.

The path itself is a layer about an inch thick of dust. On the edges of the path the grass has dried out completely and has died off in places. The rest of it, what’s left, is a burnt shrivelled mass and it’ll take a while to regenerate.

Those little showers of rain that we have had just recently haven’t done anything towards improving the situation.

What else took a while to regenerate this morning was me, unfortunately.

It wasn’t until 09:00 that the alarm went off for me to awaken but there was a good reason for that. Late last night a Paul Temple adventure came up on the old-time radio feed just as I was thinking of going to bed. A programme that is timed at 3:25:00

These old radio programmes are really excellent and so I was planning on listening for an hour or so before going to bed. But instead I ended up listening to the whole programme and it was long after 01:00 when I fell into the stinking pit.

Not that I’m bothered about that because life is for enjoying too as well as working and let’s face it – I’m not getting much pleasure in anything else right now

So after I’d finally staggered into the kitchen for my medication I came back in here to find out where I’d been during the night.

And it’s no surprise that I wasn’t feeling like much today when you look at where I went during the night. Having stayed awake until all hours listening to a Paul Temple episode, when I was asleep I had a Paul Temple episode going on in my head. It went on for hours and hours and hours. It involved some saucepans and saucepan lids but everything was just so confusing that I can’t remember any of it. It rambled on and on and on about these guys who I think might have been sportsmen on small boats or something. That’s all that I can really say about this that went on for hours.

And then we were still in Istanbul (had we been there before? I dunno). We’d been talking to some people about meeting up with someone and performing an interview. They to whom we were talking was a taxi driver had something to do and he produced a girl. She exited his cab and walked away. The person with me said that that would have been a good interview. He explained that she was rather too far in in this organisation and would likely cause a lot of problems. She spent most of her time being institutionalised and the rest of the time going round with this gang. So we agreed and he said that he’d see who else he could find for us. He drove away. The person with me said “God, I have to go” and dashed through the door in this stone terraced house and disappeared. I went through this door. There was a set of really steep steps that went down to the river. I went down there as best as I could. I had no idea where he went. There were 2 or 3 cafés at the bottom. He didn’t appear to be in either so I wondered whether he’d gone to the toilet so I’d wait around. There was a girl painter there with a boy whom she was painting. He was carrying this brown and black cat. She was drawing the cat so I went over to talk to her and to stroke the cat. It wasn’t all that friendly but it didn’t fight or anything. We chatted about the cat for quite some time.

Later on we were on a train heading north towards Doncaster somewhere like that. We were on board and it was an express. There were a few seats taken, not all that many. We walked along the train trying to find our places to sit. I can’t remember any more than that

At some point or other a girl with me announced that she was pregnant but it was sort-of announced by accident. It wasn’t a planned announcement, it came out in the conversation. I asked her what she was going to do but she didn’t give a reply so we went back home and went in. The house was totally filthy and really awful. Everyone was just sitting around in a complete state of untidiness. Someone said “you’ll never guess what the baby (for there was another baby in there) had been playing with. He went on to say that it was a half-dead mouse. “I just threw it i ntothe middle of the room” he said which made everyone shudder. I had to start to look for this thing. I thought that if any girlfriend of mine was going to be pregnant this place is going to have to be cleaned up because she shouldn’t bring up a child in this no matter how someone else was bringing up another one. It clearly wasn’t any good at all and we needed to do something about it.

And finally I was walking along the shore on the edge of a beach. There was some people and a dog down there playing about in somewhere where there had been a great big fire. I could hear them discussing it. They seemed to think that it was some form of spontaneous combustion of whatever was underneath the sand. They were busy digging away at it and walking in for a closer look. I carried on walking past and ended up in the mountains in the snow looking at the maps about the ski resort and the various tracks to descend into the valley again. I was looking for either a blue or a red run. Eventually I found what I thought might be a good place to go down but there was a lot of fog around. It came swirling around cutting off the view of the valley and then the view of the sign with the routes on it. I thought to myself that this is going to be extremely difficult for me to go

That skiing excursion actually reminded me of a skiing adventure in which I took part in Cervinia in Italy in the days of my youth. I was with my Italo-Russian friend and we were up in the mountains of Italy near the Matterhorn. We were with a few other people but we were actually in front and when we returned to the village we found that we were on our own.

There had been hanging clouds in the mountains and they had missed the left-turning in the mist and carried straight on downhill into a different valley and ended up in Switzerland. In the days of border controls with no passports or anything, and the 38-mile taxi ride to return to the hotel was the least of their problems.

But something else that was interesting was the dream about the untidy house. We all know only too much about that these days and so for the rest of the day (because there wasn’t much of the rest of it after typing out all of that) I’ve been tidying up in here.

A huge pile of rubbish, papers and the like, bit the dust today. It’s all in the bin and a lot more would have followed it except that each time that I went out I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat. Not that I’m one for chatting to the neighbours but I do have to try to be sociable occasionally.

And I now know why the barrier to the car park isn’t working. I wondered where the car of one of my neighbours had gone

As well as taking out the papers I’ve actually put some stuff away too, I have cunning plans for more stuff and later on tonight I’m going to go outside with my old non-working printer and … errr … forget where I left it. This is going to be quite a long job.

In fact I was so carried away that I forgot to go for breakfast. That’s not like me, is it? Although I am eating less these days than I have done in the past.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It was a surprise that I actually managed to make it out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I went across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. With the weather being a lot warmer and sunnier than it has been this last couple of days I was expecting to see the crowds.

And as usual, I’m not disappointed. This was just a few of them, with many people having taken to the water to cool off. There were crowds of people elsewhere disporting themselves on beach towels catching the sun all the way down the coast.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it, I had a look out to sea to see what was happening there.

When I’d been walking down to the end of the car park I’d seen something white out at sea. It’s actually a yacht with a white sail with green stripe that’s cavorting around out there and it has a friend way over there towards the northern Normandy shore.

Over to the right of the yacht in the foreground is a marker buoy, presumably indicating another lobster pot, and then we have one of the many bouchot farms of the area in the background with its stakes rearing up like a medieval cheval de frise

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As you can tell from the previous photo, the view was so much better today with the air being much cleaner.

That meant that I had high hopes for a photo of Jersey and St Helier so I went and found a piece of high ground where there might be a really good view.

And once again I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not the clearest view that we have had of St Helier but it’s still pretty good all the same.

One of these days I’ll really have to get myself out there somehow so that I can identify all of the buildings that I can see from here. The way that things are right now, I’ll have to hitch a ride on a freighter.

kayak cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Or else flag down a friendly cabin cruiser.

As I walked through the sandy wastes towards the end of the headland I noticed this cabin cruiser pull up. At first I thought that it might be a group of fishermen but as I watched they lowered something down at the stern.

A couple of minutes later someone climbed in and kayaked away. And it’s a good job that it’s summer because you don’t need to keep warm. After all, we all know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

And on that not, I wandered off further down the path.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The car park was crowded again with cars so I was expecting to see a lot of people here too.

Plenty of folk down on the lower path and there was a couple of people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not that they had very much to see because there were no boats out there this afternoon and no-one fishing on the rocks.

However, the buoy that we saw yesterday marking what I assume to be a lobster pot was still there so they can keep their eye on that.

ch638749 pescadore ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what’s happening in the port.

And there are yet more changes in the chantier naval as another trawler has come in to join the fray today. The black and blue trawler in the middle of all of that is Pescadore.

She always confuses me because when I first came here she was actually blue and white but had a repaint a while back.

Meanwhile over at the ferry terminal out of shot is Chausiaise, the little freighter. She’s not going anywhere at the moment.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here I went to check to see if anyone was playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon but I was side-tracked.

Over there in the inner harbour is a yacht. At first I thought that it might be Charles Marie because it seems to be the same style, but the colours are different. This one here is dark brown rather than dark blue.

So I shall have to go for a closer look to see if I can pick up a name.

But there’s another lorry in the port this afternoon, presumably dropping off some more freight for the Channel Islands. Things are certainly hotting up here as far as freight goes. We’re starting to be over-run and that’s good news.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Heading off towards the inner harbour (forgetting all about the Fish Processing Plant) I noticed that Victor Hugo is back in port.

The last that I heard of her she was running a shuttle around the outlying islands of the Channel Islands but now she’s back in the inner harbour and moored up at the quayside. It looks as if her mad dashes out and about over the last couple of days have come to a halt.

However I hope that it’s only a temporary pause. I mentioned earlier that I want to get out to the Channel Islands at some point in the near future and I had some high hopes that the ferry might become a regular thing. It’s no part of my plan for her to be laid up for long.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So back at the inner harbour and the yacht that’s in here.

It was not easy to read her name but a check of the fleet radar later revealed that she’s called Marie Fernand. She was built in 1894 as one of the harbour pilots for Le Havre and the northern Frenc coast, duties that she carried out until motorisation of the pilot service after World War I.

She was sold to someone in the UK in 1922 and for a long time disappeared from view.

Someone told me a delightful anecdote about her though. They planned to build a reconstruction of her in time for her centenary so they cast around for the plans. However someone had the rather brilliant idea “why don’t we just copy the original?”.

That was the first that the organisers knew that she still existed so they convinced the British owners to sell her back to the port and since then she’s been restored and was present at her own centenary.

There’s the Festival of Working Sailboats taking place soon so I imagine that she’s come here to be part of it.

Back here I had my iced coconut drink and did a little more tidying up. It’s going to take me an age to do what I want to do.

Tea was the second half of that rather wicked curry. and it was wicked as well. I’ll have to put the toilet paper in the fridge later.

But I didn’t go out to put the printer out. Even as I write we’re having a thunderstorm and a rainstorm. The printer doesn’t really work but I want to give someone a sporting chance and soaking it in water won’t help.

No radio tonight – I’m listening to music so I doubt if I’ll have a late night. I must remember to reset the alarm and then tomorrow carry on with my cleaning plan, otherwise known as “throwing out surplus items”.

A good night’s sleep would be nice too. We can live in hope.

Sunday 14th August 2022 – WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT!

It actually rained today. And I missed most of it.

When I (eventually) awoke this morning (yes it was morning) the bright blue sky that we had had for the last I don’t know how long had changed into a woolly grey mass of cloud and the temperature was probably 10°C cooler too. Not that you’d know it in here because being a stone building with walls 1.20m thick it managed to avoid the extremes of temperature that we have outside.

Mind you, it wasn’t far off midnight. That’s because come 03:00 this morning I was still up and about. I’ve no idea what time I eventually went to bed but I was glad that I wasn’t going out at 08:30 this morning.

In actual fact I was awake at 10:20 but there wasn’t all that much likelihood of me showing a leg at that time. It was much more like 11:00 when I finally staggered into the daylight and went for my medication, feeling quite grateful that I’d prepared the music for the radio yesterday instead of trying to do it today.

Back in here, in a mad fit of enthusiasm and I’ve no idea where that came from, I listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a house somewhere down Minshull New Road or somewhere like that, a council house. I don’t know what I was doing in it but it was filthy, dirty, dusty, overfull of furniture etc. The only way out was to climb through a window, one of the smaller fanlight windows at the top. I’d been doing that for a while here and there. One day a girl in there got hold of me, told me her name and told me that she lived in this house and that she was fed up of people coming in and going out again through the window. I made a facetious remark about going out of the door which didn’t go down very well. I said “never mind. I’ll write you an apology. It’s no problem to me” so we agreed that I would write her an apology and she would accept it. We had a chat and she was saying how she hated this house and how she was hoping to move etc, quite a long discussion. In the end I decided that I had to go. Of course the only way out was through the window. I went to open the window which for some unknown reason wasn’t easy today. While I was at it two dogs, a big one and a small one came up and started gnawing at my leg. Then some old man came in and asked what I was doing. I explained to him and explained that I’d seen the girl. He didn’t seem to be all that pleased and was making up all kinds of reasons for it to be extremely difficult for me to climb out of that window. I was determined that I was going anyway. We were talking about travelling around the world. I said that I’d met some interesting people. He asked if I’d been to Moscow so I replied “yes”. He asked if I’d ever been to New York so I replied “yes”. He said that the World Trade Centre has only been down a few years so I replied that I’d been to New York a lot longer than those had been down. We had quite an acrimonious discussion, polite but bad-tempered. All the time I was trying to go out through this window so that I could leave but everything seemed to be conspiring against me to stop me going and to keep me in this flaming filthy, dusty, dirty house.

Later on I was at work. I’d been promoted and was working with the inspectors. We received certain information about different things and I suggested ways of dealing with it that were unorthodox but were bound to bring in results and weren’t illegal. Everyone looked at me strangely and as we didn’t have the staff we put it on the back burner for the moment. In the afternoon we were invited to a beach party so we went down there. A lot of the people were playing beach volleyball but I was peering through some papers that I’d brought with me sitting in the sun. I thought “when I’ve finished these papers I can go and join in the volleyball”. But everyone suddenly packed up and started to move. Someone asked where they were going and the response was “guess”. It turned out that they were all heading to the local night club because even though it wasn’t night time it was probably open by now. I had no intention whatever of going there but one has to be sociable. Just then some woman from the office came by with a huge folder and said “guess what I have in here”. I know that I was trying to lay my hands on a folder for work so I said the name. She said “no. It’s a list of all second-homes and country cottages in the UK”. I suggested that these be compared with the owners. If necessary we could make enquiries about them and tie them up to their owners and see what comes of it. Someone was there, a Prophet of Doom, saying that it would never work, that’s totally illegal” which of course it was nonsense. I was trying to argue my particular corner. For some reason these people seemed to be totally devoid of any imagination and were totally unlikely to make anything work with the kind of imagination that they had.

That’s one thing that I’ve noticed since I left the UK in 1992. These days British people seem to fall at the first fence when they are trying to do something. When a problem arises or a technical hitch develops or something goes wrong or a machine breaks or a plan needs developing, the first setback is enough to make them throw in the towel.

We were always taught to use our imagination, to think, and work out a workaround and I used to have loads of fun doing that. But I seem to be one of a very small breed of people today. It reminds me of the saying “99% of the population has problems, but the rest of us have solutions”.

After lunch I came back in here but strangely, I can’t remember now what I did. I know that I didn’t fall asleep, that is a surprise in itself these days. I managed to keep on going until it was time to go walkies but just as I was about to step out of the door Ingrid rang.

We ended up having a marathon session on the telephone too seeing as it’s been a while since we last spoke, and the result of all of this was that I was considerably late going for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

There were hordes of people down there this afternoon but they weren’t there for the sunbathing.

That was because
1) there was no sun
2) It’s the time for the pèche à pied and they were all mainly down there at the water’s edge having a scratch around to see what they could pull up

bouchot farm donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And with the tide being quite well out, it was all systems go further down the coast.

At Donville les Bains there’s a bouchot farm and you can see all of the stakes planted in the sand. Someone made an accidental discovery that if you leave ropes and things in the water the shellfish will actually grow on them in preference to the sand.

And that’s quite a delicacy too because the shellfish aren’t full of sandy grit and taste so much better.

Why that works so well here, apart from the fact that we have so much shellfish, is that with the high tides, the ropes and stakes can be well-submerged for growing the shellfish but at low tide they are out of the water and can be harvested and the equipment maintained quite easily.

medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But here’s an example of an earlier generation of fish traps.

This is the kind of thing that would have been common in medieval times. They would build a wall of loose-fitting stones across a bay or estuary so that at high tide, water and the fish therein would over flow behind the wall. And as the tide went out, the water would exfiltrate through the gaps in the stones leaving the fish behind.

And then all of your medieval fishwives would wade in and catch the fish with their bare hands ready for supper.

It’s the kind of thing that would still work today if it were properly maintained.

lifeguard tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There’s a sort-of modern version of it here.

That’s the tidal swimming pool at the Plat Gousset and the principle is the same. And today it seems to have caught quite a few fish of the two-legged variety in its trap.

The person in the fluorescent yellow jacket is the lifeguard. There is a handful of them scattered around at various places on the beach keeping an eye on the activities and making sure that no-one is swept away.

Not that they are likely to be swept away in the tidal swimming pool but you never know your luck, I suppose.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From there I wandered off to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Whenever we’ve seen that just recently it’s been heaving with people on the beach taking the sun but not today. There aren’t too many people down there in this weather. They are all wandering around the Place Marechal Foch.

But what caught my eye in this photo was the long queue of traffic coming down the hill into town. I can’t remember ever having seen a traffic jam quite like that in all the time that I’ve been living here

police interaction with mtorcyclist avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The reason for that might be something not unconnected with what’s going on in this photo.

These days it seems that you can’t go anywhere without attracting the attention of the local farces of Law and Order. And a couple of Granville’s finest seem to be rather more than interested in what this biker is up to with his machine.

In actual fact there were four policemen altogether and maybe they were performing a spot check of vehicles entering the town.

Nevertheless it’s good to see them going for the same old stereotyped victims. Nothing much changes, despite the passage of time.

crowds rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022another reason might be that the town centre is all closed off to through traffic today.

No vehicles are allowed in there right now and so they are having to go around the outside. That means that gordes of pedestrians can roam around the streets in perfect safety to their hearts’ content.

Rather bad luck if you live in the town centre and need your car, but never mind.

When I lived in Brussels we had a car-free day one Sunday every year. All of the public transport was free and there were all kinds of entertainments in the street.

Where I lived was on a hill on the edge of the city centre and you could see the dramatic improvement in air quality down below by the end of the day.

le coelacanthe le tiberiade suzanga massabielle nais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My route from here took me through the Place Maurice Marland.

My seagull chick wasn’t there today so maybe it had gone off for a fly around with its mum. I hope that it wasn’t the one that I saw dead by the side of the street on Friday.

There was plenty of activity in the harbour this afternoon. It doesn’t look as if anyone had gone out working. Over there on the back wall we had Le Coelacanthe and little sister le Tiberiade. You can tell them apart in this photo as the gormer has the wings to its bridge.

In the foreground from left to right we have the new Suzanga, the blue Massabielle and on the right, the little white Nais.with red and yellow stripes.

Plenty of others too that didn’t make it into the photograph which was a shame.

marité philcathane chausiase port Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022 Over there in the bay where the gravel boats used to tie up is the trawler Philcathane

The other two boats that are there, I didn’t expect to see them here today. Marité for example, the wooden sailing ship. With it being a Sunday in the middle of the tourist season I would have thought that she would have gone out and about into the bay with a crowd of passengers to earn a few bob while the going was good.

As for Chausiaise, a friend of mine in St Helier sent me a photo this morning of her over there in jersey. The freight situation is definitely hotting up here if she’s being pressed into service.

Victor Hugo, the Channel Islands ferry isn’t here though. She spent yesterday and today running around the Channel Islands but she’s back in port by the time that I’m writing this.

book fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From here I headed for home through the old town.

It’s book fair today and everyone had set out their stall to sell their surplus books. But by the time that I arrived here it was quite late and most people had packed up and had gone home.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall me talking about the Monegasque Royal Family and their connections here when one of the Grimaldis married a local girl. The browny-grey granite house on the street corner on the left is where she lived.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Carrying on homewards I had a look over the wall and out into the bay.

A little earlier I mentioned the pèche à pied. Over there you can still see a few people out there but they are now heading for safety as the tide is coming in. And it comes in here quite rapidly too so they don’t want to be caught hanging about.

It was raining ever so slightly as I reached home and that’s a good thing as this are has been declared in a State of Emergency because of the drought. But we’ll need much more rain than this to do any good. Probably about a week’s torrential downpour.

And now I remember what it was that I did after lunch.

Last weekend I used up the last of the pizza dough so I had to make some more. That was how I spent the early afternoon and it had been proofing while I was otherwise occupied.

When I came back from my walk two lumps went into the freezer and I rolled out the third one and put it on the tray for its second proofing.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on this evening I assembled my pizza and put it in the oven to cook. And it was delicious too.

But here’s something that I rarely do. In fact, I can’t think when I last did it.

Usually I know exactly what my appetite will be and I make my food accordingly. My pizza is always a standard, regular size.

But tonight, about a third of it went into the bin. I quite simply couldn’t finish it and that’s something that has rarely, if ever happened to me before. It’s not like me at all to be off my food and not even want to save it for breakfast.

What’s happening here?

Anyway that’s for another day as I’m off to bed right now. Radioing early in the morning so I need to be at my best. But not much chance of that.