Tag Archives: ric baines

Friday 23rd February 2024 – MY DAY OF …

… baking was quite a success.

And it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that

Yes, everything that I did today seemed to work and I’ve ended up with some pretty nice stuff. I’m quite pleased.

Ad for a change I actually had a good night too. In bed nice and early and I didn’t have much that kept me awake . And once I’d gone to sleep, I stayed asleep until the alarm went off.

Billy Cotton made me leave the bed and the first thing that I did was to take my blood pressure. 15.1/8.6. That’s low compared to how it has been. You can tell that I didn’t have a visit from Castor, Zero or TOTGA last night.

Before I went to bed it was 17.5/10.4 so the sleep did me some good by the looks of things.

After the morning medication the first thing that I did was to make the dough for the bread. And kneading it gently, as if I was massaging Zero’s clavicles, I was careful not to overwork it by resorting to violence.

When I was quite satisfied that it was ready, I rolled it out into a long sausage, cut it into three equal sections and then flattened it all down.

A handy small baking tray with a piece of baking paper was called into service upon which they could repose and hopefully rise.

Next step was to make the vegan cream filling. Whizz ip some milk until it’s quite frothy, add sugar, a little butter, vanilla extract, cornflour, and whizz it all up while slowly heating it in a saucepan.

That was complicated. I had the hand-whisk whisking it all over the kitchen until I managed to rig up a saucepan lid as a shield.

Meanwhile, melt some chocolate in the microwave and when it’s melted, whisk it well into the mixture

When It’s all whisked and nice and thick, leave it to cool. And there’s my chocolate cream filling.

Then the chocolate cake. A mixture of flour, sugar, oil, water and cocoa powder with a few extras. All mixed up into a kind-of batter-like goo, poured into a cake tray and then baked for 40 minutes.

By now the vegan cream was cold so it went in the fridge and I put the bread in the oven to bake.

They had risen quite nicely and were baked to perfection too so I had some lovely cheese on toast.

Rosemary rang me in the middle of everything so I phoned her back. Just a short chat today – a mere 58 minutes during which we put the World to rights but I also ended up going for a virtual drive around Montlucon.

Once everything was finished and the chaos was over I had a listen to find out where I’d been during the night. I’d started work but there was still a girl at school who I happened to like. For the last few mornings I’d been taking her into school. One particular morning we were running really late. It meant that I was going to be late for work if I dropped her off at school but nevertheless I was going to drop her off. We were preparing everything and panicking a little – I wasn’t dressed even. One of my friends came along and asked me what was happening. The girl briefly explained. He immediately said “I can run you into school to save Eric some bother”. I said that it’s no bother because I was quite interested in spending as much time as possible with her but he absolutely insisted and insisted until in the end she went off with him. I was furious. I sent him a text message “after all you promised me last time …” (because we’d had a similar situation a while ago where he’d done exactly the same thing and spiked my guns with a certain young lady. So I was set to go to work but there was a whole crowd of schoolkids around. I was in my Ford Cortina estate. I had to make the kids move so I could leave the car park but for some unknown reason they didn’t want to go. At that moment the car turned into a kind of cross between a bus and a taxi. All the kids were pleased because that was what they were waiting for. They said that they’d been waiting for a bus but the school had produced something else so there were some issues. I had to watch them safely aboard. I wasn’t sure which school they attended or where they went so in order to prevent a stampede I said “Primary School children first”. A few came on. Then I had to think of another way of dividing up these schoolkids so that I wouldn’t have all of them on board at once. But I was absolutely furious with my friend for spiking my guns with that other girl. It’s exactly what has happened before with him and it’s exactly what has happened in loads of dreams before this. Any time I’m anywhere close to getting the girl someone comes along to spoil it

Looking back at what I dictated, I was surprised that I’d been able to express myself like that during a dream. They must have been things that I felt quite deeply.

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … it’s usually my family who appear during the night and forestall all of my plans, sticking the baton dans la rue of whatever project I’m undertaking. They are always appearing at the crucial moment just as I’m about to Get The Girl and blow my chances out of the water.

But in the past, there have been a couple of friends who had the habit of doing that. One of them pretended to be looking after my best interests, as if I was senile or something, but in actual fact he had another agenda completely.

The second one, the one in the dream, he couldn’t stand to see anyone Get The Girl, whether he had already got a girl or not. He was of the opinion that only he should ever Get The Girl, no matter how many other girls he already had and that’s not an exaggeration either.

Anyway, this is all water under the bridge. There’s no point really in raking up stuff like this. Ambrose Bierce said "A year is a period of 365 disappointments" and we should all simply be resigned to it

It’s as I said though, there are some things that drag you down. Instead of trying to rise up, people simply want you to be down at their level. And in the end you either sink in with them or cast them all aside.

In Matthew 10:14 the Bible tells you "if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet"

So abandoning another good rant for the moment, the cleaner was here again so I finished off the radio notes and hacked a few sound-tracks about to extract and convert a few tracks that I need for the next programme.

While I was at it, I hacked around a few sound-tracks of Louis de Funès films to collect a few more sound-bytes. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that although he’s been dead for several years, he and I have some interesting chats on my radio programmes.

Of course, having served on the Students’ Executive Committee and on other committees dealing with the various University bodies, I’m quite used to communicating with the deceased.

But Louis de Funès is my favourite French actor. Who will ever forget the MUSKATNOOS, HERR MULLER? or the NUDISTS sketches?

His sound-bytes really fit in well with my programmes and I keep on looking out for more in order to enlarge our conversations.

When the cleaner had gone I went into the kitchen, took the cake and cut it into 3 equal sizes. The took the cream from the fridge, whisked it again and used it as a filler in order to layer the slices. It was then wrapped in baking paper, clingfilm and put in the fridge.

And from what I tasted from the crumbs that were scattered around, it will be a world-beating cake. Nice and rich and chocolaty. I hope that it will last a while too. I’m fed up of things going off so quickly

Tea was chips from the air fryer with some of those vegan nuggets. There was a salad too which was delicious, and it would have been even more so had I remembered the mushrooms. I really don’t know what’s happening to me right now.

The vegan mayonnaise that I made though is holding up really well and was delicious.

So no alarm in the morning, a nice lie-in with a cooked breakfast and chocolate cake for my afternoon snack. It doesn’t get much better than this. A nice lazy day is planned with a football match in the late afternoon and a cooked tea with vegan wellington and roast potatoes.

That should give me something to celebrate, right enough. And i deserve it. I never thought that I’d ever arrive here. But as Mae West said, "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

However, it’s too late to do anything about that now. I’ve managed to live to a ripe old age, and there’s no doubt that as I’ve grown older, I’ve certainly grown riper.

Anyone nearby will tell you that.

Thursday 15th February 2024 – I REALLY DON’T …

… know what’s happening to me right now.

Once again, I was absolutely flat-out this afternoon, sleeping quietly on my chair for a good 90 minutes. And nothing whatever disturbed me, not even a message on the ‘phone from Rosemary, and regular readers of this rubbish will recall the racket that this ‘phone makes whenever I receive a message or ‘phone call.

It was just like yesterday in fact, where I was well away with the fairies on the way home from Paris.

One thing that I can’t blame is tiredness. Just for a change I was in bed early and actually had a comfortable night’s sleep without waking too much.

Mind you, I could have done with another couple of hours when the alarm went off. It took me several minutes to work out what was going on (and that’s not unusual, is it?). What I mean by that is that I had the impression that there were several beds in here with several people, and a whole series of alarms was going off to awaken different people. I had a hard time believing that my alarm call was real.

But anyway I slid eventually to my feet and went for the blood pressure machine. 17.2/10.6 this morning. But as for last night’s, where did I record the figures? They aren’t written on my little booklet thing where I record them so I don’t have a clue.

They’ll turn up one day so I left them to it and went for my medication. Tons of it as usual and it’s really becoming quite ridiculous, but never mind. 10 tablets or powders in the morning and 5 at night before I go to bed is where we’re at right now.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was having a dream last night about the words dim ond da – that’s “not but good”, messing around with them, trying to fit them into different sentences that I’d written. Then we came across some of the radio notes that I’d written and just dictated. I decided that they were horrible and needed amending. I added in some bits but they were even worse, but then I couldn’t remember how to return to the original. That confused me for quite some time. When I did, I found that I’d still missed some out. Nevertheless the programme sounded better but there were so much more that I could do with this particular programme that I thought that I was going to start to rewrite it and dictate it again but that would have to be something that would have to be done later and not now.

And there have been more than just one or two occasions where this kind of thing has happened in real life when I’ve been writing a radio programme or editing a website, ending up forgetting all kinds of important things that I had included and somehow seemed to have managed to wipe out some important stuff that I really wanted to include.

This was another night where I was with my former friend. We were chatting to two other people whom we knew who we’d met some time previously. We’d arranged for this meeting so they came round . We showed them how to climb into my attic up the electric cable but the guy’s girlfriend was afraid to do it so my former friend’s wife stayed down with her and the other four of us climbed into the attic which was full of rubbish as usual. We spread ourselves out to make ourselves comfortable to talk. This started in the attic but ended up standing in Nantwich Road by the old police station. We were as usual discussing cars. My ex-friend was talking to him about several cars including one with a particular registration that would suit his wife but not while they were living in Porthcawl because it was a dangerous place to be apparently, according to him. I was talking to the other guy, telling him that I was having to dispose of some of my cars because I’d sold my house and had nowhere to keep them. I was renting a warehouse at the moment but that was precarious. However there was also a car that I wanted to buy, a yellow Ford Zephyr 6. While this was all going on there was a road rally taking place and all these old historic cars were going past. While I was talking to him about that particular one, I could hear something going past running on 5 cylinders instead of 6. It was this Zephyr so I pointed it out to him. I told him the story about how the driver had taken it out for a run 2 weeks ago but the insurance wasn’t correct at the time and he’d had a collision with a police car. As the policeman was looking round his car and preparing to nab him for no insurance, there was another bigger accident immediately right by them. The policeman went over to that and waved this guy away which was probably about the luckiest break that he’d ever had in his life

These days I seem to have a thing about Ford Zephyr 6s. There was one in my dreams a couple of nights ago and I’m sure that there have been others. They are MkIII Zephyrs, the kind that my father had in the late 60s and early 70s. Lovely, comfortable roomy cars with plenty of woomph.

A couple of nights ago I mentioned the one that I had – a MkIV model – that caught fire after a Jethro Tull concert in Manchester.

However, the story about “no insurance” rang a bell with me. When I was living in Winsford I bought a Rover 2000 at the auctions at Prees Heath and took a chance on driving it home. It goes without saying that I was pulled over by the police and asked for the documents for the car, like the MoT and the … errr … insurance.

Not having any of course, I pleaded ignorance and so was given the dreaded white slip “to produce your documents at your nearest Police Station within 5 days – or else …” – “or else” being anything from a slap on the wrist to three months at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and in my case, it would be nearer the latter than the former. The Cheshire Constabulary and I didn’t get on very well.

Two days later I had a phone call – “this is PC Grindlay here. I stopped you the other day in that Rover. I forgot to write the date on the copy of the white slip. You will write it on for me, won’t you?”.
“Of course I will” I said, lying through my teeth. I could just picture the scene in the Nantwich Magistrates’ Court. “Five days from WHAT date, Your Honour?”.

But to be on the safe side I promptly put the Rover through the auctions at Queensferry so that someone else, presumably in North Wales, would have more headaches than I would.

Queensferry Auctions was quite fun though in the old days. Having little money we once bought a Citroen Dyane from a scrapyard for £25, drove it to Queensferry and put it through the auctions where it fetched £35. A few of those used to keep us going when we were hard-up

Another thing that we used to do when we were broke was to wander round the scrapyards and take the back seats out of cars. You’d be surprised at the amount of money that had slipped unnoticed out of people’s pockets.

It wasn’t just money either – all kinds of things were “salvaged” including, on one occasion, a really complicated food tester with temperature probe.

Anyway, I digress … "again" – ed

Once I’d returned to the Land of the Living I started on the notes for the radio programme. There were several that I hadn’t written so I worked my way through them and now they are all ready for dictation on Saturday night. Hopefully all of the Carnivalers will have gone home by then and we’ll go back to being quiet again.

THis afternoon I was doing paperwork. It was the middle of October when I last filed away my papers so there were piles here in all kinds of heaps all over the place.

Anyway, they are now all sorted away, bills paid, actions taken and quite a few filed under CS. The place is looking much more like home now in my bedroom/office.

My cleaner came round too. Yesterday I’d given her the prescription that I’d had from Paris and she’d been this morning to the chemist’s. Now you can’t move around here for medication.

Then there was another task that needed doing now that it was after 09:00 in North America.

My Canadian bank card expired in March last year and of course I hadn’t been to North America this autumn and so didn’t have the new one.

After six months I had the dreaded “your account is now placed in suspense” notice so that was that. And then I had a letter from Service New Brunswick about paying my property taxes on my place there, which, with a suspended bank account, will be extremely difficult.

Consequently I had sent my niece along to ransack my mailbox and she found it under a pile of rubbish, and she posted it to me – the card, not the rubbish.

Now I needed to unfreeze the account and that was not the work of five minutes either. I shudder to think how much the ‘phone call will cost me at the end of the month but it needed to be done. So now my Canadian bank account is working, my bank card works, and the letter from Service New Brunswick wasn’t even the demand for payment in any case.

But buying that place in Canada was an ace of a move. No-one asks for Visas, your right of residence in Canada, that sort of thing in Canada. You can buy cars, take out insurance, open bank accounts, have mobile phones, absolutely everything as long as you can produce a property tax certificate.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve blagged my way through all kinds of situations that would have forestalled many other people, thanks to my little piece of Canada. I might have the noisiest, most mentally-unstable neighbours in the World on my southern border, but so what?

After that I went for my hot chocolate and then came back in here ready to work but as I mentioned earlier, I went off with the fairies instead. And I can tell you where I ended up too. I’d been running some kind of football training sessions for boys and girls. I’d heard a complaint that two boys had been overheard saying that they couldn’t wait to see a certain girl use the toilet again so I went to check and was confident that no-one using the toilet could be seen from outside. The rumours continued so I arranged for a piece of white canvas to be fitted to block the window arranged in such a way that it would shield the toilet but still allow light in. I was sure that there could be no possibility of anyone being seen from outside but the rumour gained ground again, I checked the toilet and was confident, so I didn’t really know what I could do now apart from bricking up the window. And I wasn’t convinced that that would stop the rumours either.

Tea tonight was that vegan sausage-meat patty with baked potato and a tin of mixed peppers that I’d found on the shelf. I felt rather like Mr Carmichael and SUPPER WAITS ON THE TABLE INSIDE A TIN.

The patty wasn’t a success. Not that it didn’t taste nice, but that in the fridge it hadn’t really kept its shape and consistency. But never mind – it was a rather ad-hoc thing using up some left-over stuffing. I’ll just have to work on it and improve my technique.

So right now I’m going to work on my sleep and improve my technique there. Having felt like Tommy Cooper this afternoon and "I knew a man who dreamed that he was awake, and when he awoke, he was!", I want to dream of nicer things.

However, rather like Barbara Follet, "my dreams are going through their death flurries. They are dying before the steel javelins and arrows of a world of Time and Money" and that will be the end of the World if that does happen. It’s only my dreams that keep me going these days

And as Dietrich Bonhoffer said "the only fight that is lost is that which we give up" so I’ll go and fight the good fight in bed right now.

See you all tomorrow.

Friday 20th october 2023 – I’M ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED …

… that some people have been put on this earth for no other reason than to cause as much inconvenience, chaos and disruption to people’s lives as they possibly can.

This saga about these documents that I have to send off for my hospital visit is rumbling on and on and on.

When I returned from the shops this morning I found an e-mail that had been sent to me with a request for a whole pile of documents. It ended up being a pile of 19 documents that they wanted, several of which had already been sent.

Having collected the ones that I had and scanned in the rest I sent them off, only to receive a reply asking for more and more.

And so it went on during the day until 16:47, 13 minutes before the Assurance Office closed, asking me
1) why am I going to the hospital? What are they planning on doing to me
and
2) why am I going to a hospital so far away.

And so I replied
1) "On page 5 of document 2 it clearly states ‘we propose a further stay in hospital to supplement the investigation ….’" (and then a whole list of tests that they propose).
and
2) "If your doctors would be so kind as to look at page 2 of document 2 they will see that I have ALREADY been to a local hospital who were unable to identify the problem and the condition has since deteriorated. Therefore there needs to be a further investigation in depth"

By the time that my reply was ready the Assurance Office had closed – which means that they won’t now reply with a decision until after I’ve left – and so, being in a totally foul mood, I added a few other bells and whistles to my letter and finished it off with a "if there is anything else by which I can waste even more of my time by repeating to you information that is already in your possession, please don’t hesitate to let me know".

Many years ago, I was totally and utterly stressed out and would lose my temper at the slightest provocation. You’ve no idea what used to go through my mind back in those horrible days and it took an enormous effort to get a grip of things.

Living in splendid isolation in the mountains of Central France miles away from all kinds of interaction with people worked wonders and although things would occasionally crop up, I’d just fly to Canada, hire a car and go and sit in the wilderness and the peri-arctic tundra until sanity returned.

Back in 2019 I was walking along the old Emigrant Trail through South Pass in the Rockies, thinking just how peaceful and calm things are around here, and how I ought to spend more time in places like this. But unfortunately, these days, I can no longer run away and hide

Meanwhile, back at the ra … errr … apartment …

Last night was a slightly better night. There was still plenty going on but I managed to ignore a lot of it.

It was still a struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone. I’d talked to a few people about how I was going to change the kitchen round in my house. One of my friends began to talk to me about the kitchen that I had, what it was like etc so I explained. I explained that I’d probably be wanting to dispose of it completely, even down to the pipes etc. he said that he would like to have it. I said that that was fine by me. He asked if he could come to pick it up the next day. I burst out laughing and said “I haven’t even organised anything yet or ordered anything, let alone had it delivered etc”. He replied “your niece’s daughter is going to be rather upset because she’s planning on taking a day off tomorrow and coming to help me do it”.

And later I was going through the collection of solo poses for my 3D characters, picking out the individual poses and making some kind of giant collage with them all superimposed. I’d done three and was on the way to finishing off a fourth when someone came to the door. They asked me what I was doing so I explained. They thought that it was a pretty pointless task because I wouldn’t have the benefit from doing it. I’d be long gone before this project was particularly finished

Finally I’d been out drinking (so that was obviously a dream) with a couple of people from Crewe and we were on our way home. We called at a pub on the way back and outside the pub next door was a guy whom we all knew. We had a chat with him. I asked my two companions what was happening this weekend. They didn’t really come out with much. I needed to use the bathroom so I went to find it. It was in a terrible mess with toilet paper everywhere etc. I tidied it up as best as I could. I found that the door wouldn’t close. There was no bolt so in the end I teased a nail out of the wall and slipped it in where the bolt should be. That managed to close it. The next step was to sit down but the toilet seat fell off. In the end I thought that I’d abandon it as a bad job and just go home.

Deciding last week to go to the shops at St Nicolas was a really good decision. The bus whisked me off and dropped me off on the raised kerb, and then I had a slow wander around the Carrefour just picking up one or two things that I need quite quickly, like tomatoes, lettuce and mushrooms.

With plenty of time before the bus came back for me I had a nice hot coffee and then sat and watched the world go by.

As I said before, I think that I’m moving a little easier after the exercise so I can’t wait for this rehabilitation course, that should have started last week, to begin.

After my bread and soup we had this totally shambolic afternoon of dealing with all of this paperwork and fielding probably about a dozen phone calls for one reason or another.

The only one that was really welcome was Rosemary, and we had a good chat for a while.

Last night I’d dictated the notes for one of the radio programmes but when I listened to them I decided that they weren’t up to much so I re-dictated them. They are no edited and in the process of being assembled.

If I’m lucky, I might finish it tonight and even dictate the notes for the next programme in the list.

Tea was a baked potato, salad and one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like so much.

So when I’ve finished what I need to do, I’ll go to bed. I have my blood test tomorrow and then I crack on with the notes that I’ll dictate in a minute.

Many years ago, “Bomber” Harris used to greet members of the Air Ministry whenever he met them with “and what have you done to impede the War effort today?”. I had so much to do, some of which was quite important, but I’ve not done any of it, what with one thing and another.

So who’s going to come along and impede my efforts tomorrow?

Monday 5th June 2023 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

… somewhat better than the previous one.

But that’s not difficult. Almost anything could have been better than that.

Feeling as tired as I was, I went to bed early and was asleep quite quickly. Just the occasional tossing and turning here and there.

Mind you, I did awaken early and when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was already up. Not quite “about” but I was sitting on the edge of the bed dressing.

After the medication I went and had a shower. It was something of a struggle to climb into the bath but only because of the pain in the lower calf, not because of any underlying health issue that might have affected my climbing into the bath in the past

The nurse came round at 08:20 and gave me my injection. He went afterwards to my neighbour who had the bad fall. Apparently things are not looking so good for her and that will be quite a shame.

And the nerve specialist finally phoned me back early this morning too. He can fit me on on 20th June at 10:15.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent travelling through Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island and on the ferry across the Gulf of St Lawrence. We’re now pulling into port at Argentia ready for Strider, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and me to drive up to Saint John to see my friend who lives there.

Argentia is quite an interesting place. The slow Transatlantic convoys – those with prefix SC – in World War II set out from Sydney, from where I’d just sailed, and the destroyer patrols that guarded the convoys in the early stages of their journey sheltered here in Argentia.

The village itself was demolished to make room for the naval installations. Even the bodies in the graveyard were dug up.

On 10th August 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt met in the harbour on board a ship in the harbour to discuss issues concerning the conduct of the War to date and how the USA could help to further the UK’s War aims.

When I was HERE IN 2010 it was in the middle of a torrential rainstorm so I didn’t have much of a look round. And when I was there in 2017 I was in too much of a rush.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night too. I was keeping a diary. One of the entries on which I was working was about my trip to the hospital where I’d ended up being in some kind of class that was doing something like an eye examination test where everyone was being asked questions about eyes etc but in a more vernacular rather than a scientific sense. I wasn’t asked any questions but I still had to take part in it. I was writing it up in the diary. There were lots more than happened on that particular day but I can’t remember much of it now

There was another dream about a circus, Silcock’s Circus but I can’t remember how it went. But then I was with my friends from the Wirral and another one of my friends but the woman with him was neither of the women with whom he has been married. We’d all met up once for my birthday but it was time to go. We walked back to the bus stop in Weston. The couple from the Wirral were walking ahead so I was walking with the other two who were bringing up the rear. I said my fondest goodbyes to them and that I’d see them again but I wasn’t sure when, then walked off to say goodbye to the others. The Wirral couple cut me off and headed that way. The other two went to speak to them. I thought “never mind. I’ll wander off anyway and leave those four to it”. Eventually the 6 of us (so who was the sixth?) were together at the bus stop. I pointed out the new views of Crewe with all of the redevelopment and cutting down of trees you could see so much more of the town from here than you could 30 years ago. We talked about all of the changes that had taken place in the area. Mrs Wirral asked me if I could fly by aeroplane. I told her that I had done but the problem with aeroplanes was the transfers. If I go by bus it’s basically door to door with no wandering around unnecessarily whereas with the aeroplane I’d have to walk miles and that was what was the problem with that. It wasn’t the question that I couldn’t afford it. That was something else.

I was an explorer back in the early Middle Ages. I discovered Paris on behalf of the French. That led to huge dances and celebrations all over the country. I was at one of them. For some reason King George ended up displeased and I was arrested. Crowds of people still came out to the exit to watch me take my exercise. I was thinking that one day they would decide to cut off my head at the end of all this. They were presumably letting things drag because nothing at all seemed to be changing.

At some point during the morning I dozed off for half an hour. I’ve clearly not recovered from Saturday night and my lack of sleep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, made with one of the peppers out of the freezer. And I cooked it in the air fryer on a low heat of 160°C for a total of 17 minutes, and that cooked it to perfection. It really was done to a turn.

And on the subject of things being cooked to perfection, my fruit buns were certainly delicious. It was an excellent batch that I made yesterday.

So tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson so I need to prepare for it. And the physiotherapist is coming round tomorrow afternoon too. I’m not sure what he’ll have to say about my leg and the little incident on Saturday morning, but with having had the nerve specialist contacting me again, it looks as if things are slowly moving forward.

it just makes me wish that I was.

Monday 1st May 2023 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a Bank Holiday of course and so I have celebrated it by imitating my namesake the mathematician and doing three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

And when I say “nothing”, what I actually mean is that I switched off the alarm last night before going to bed and so, despite waking up here and there on several occasions, I didn’t actually leave my stinking pit until 11:55 this morning.

That’s what I call a lie-in.

And I did actually transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was going to say that I left it until after lunch but lunch was of course taken quite quickly after raising myself from the dead.

And didn’t I travel miles during the night? I was in a hotel room somewhere. In the distance I could hear a woman shouting but it was very muffled as if it was a voice coming through a phone. I then heard my brother answer. A heated conversation went on for a couple of minutes. There was then a pause. Afterwards he came into the room. You could see that he was extremely emotional. I asked him “who was that shouting on the phone?”. He mentioned a couple of guys’ names. I said “no, the woman”. He mentioned a friend of his. I asked him what was going on. For some reason he wouldn’t tell me. In the end I went out for a walk. Putting the conversation together I had the impression that my brother was extremely short of money. I remembered myself about how I used to be short of money and how I always used to go out to find a part-time job or something. For some reason he didn’t feel like working very hard to pull himself out of a hole.

Later on we were in an office somewhere. It was actually quite dark even though it was the middle of the afternoon. You couldn’t really see very much. We went outside because we had to drive to our other office. I’d never seen a sky so black and clouds so heavy in all my life. It was a real, proper torrential rainstorm type of clouds. We drove to the other office. A couple of people in the car were talking. One said that they were going to buy a television. I thought that she was buying it for home but apparently it was for the office. I asked about it. She said that one of these price war places on the internet was selling TVs that were only tuned in to Channel 4. Their aim was to have one in the office with the Channel’s rolling news service playing, either talking or watching, so they could see where they are and find out what was happening in the world exactly when it happened. I thought that a surprise because these were young people who didn’t seem to have too much interest in current events.

And then I was driving in a car through part of Texas last night. The roads were absolutely awful, full of pits and everything. At a certain point, without realising it I crossed the border into Spain (or do I mean Mexico?) following another car. We drove down this dirt road that had taken us over the border which came to a dead stop by 3 enormous hangars hidden in the trees. Seeing a railway line I wondered if there would be some railway locomotives. I took my camera, left the car and walked to one of these hangars. I ended up following a corridor that took a lot of twists and turns. In the end I decided that it was pointless to keep on going this way. I turned round. At one point I must have taken a false turn because I started to find myself up against all kinds of historic artefacts, business machines, typewriters etc from the 1930s. I thought “I didn’t remember these, coming along here”. I came to where there was a set of steps with half the steps missing. I had to lower myself over the edge onto the stairs down below and drop down into a room where there were old bicycles from the 1930s. I thought “I seem to have found myself in a museum now”. It was a strange museum with heaps of stuff piled everywhere with no explanation. I quickly worked out the way to go and ended up at the front door. I didn’t recognise the view from there at all, and it was locked. A woman came over to see me, talking in Spanish which I didn’t understand. She pointed the other way from which I’d just come. I had the impression that the museum was closed to new visitors and the people in there were having to leave. Just then an announcement came over saying something like “it’s now 21:00 and everyone has to go”. I thought “21:00 – I have no hotel, I don’t know where the car is, I’m in a strange country, nowhere to stay”.

I stepped back into this dream later. I ended up walking around with a young guy in the Czech Republic somewhere looking at al the buildings in this town. He asked me questions about the building – whether things in the Czech Republic had improved over the last 30 years. I said “in the big cities and major centres of population things have certainly changed but not so much in the rural areas. The emphasis at the moment is on key industries and commerce. Social needs are being somewhat left behind”. We climbed over a pile of rubble that was being used to regenerate the town centre. He started to ask me whether it would be possible for us to maybe see each other again for another talk as he had to leave. I made a non-committal reply to that.

That’s one thing that I actually noticed with my frequent visits behind the Iron Curtain in the old days and then how things changed once the Wall came down. How quickly things changed. And how quickly they adopted the worst aspects of capitalism too. I loved the east in the old days and even took Nerina there on our honeymoon. There was an innocence and naivety there that was quite appealing and 10 or 12 years later it had all gone completely

And later I was walking through a town in Germany. I’d left my rucksack at the airport and gone to do something, then I had to return to pick up my rucksack because it was late. I couldn’t work out how to get to the airport . I was wandering aimlessly around the countryside and came to a town with a beautiful church or something perched on a hill. I stopped to take a photo with the NIKON D3000 but the photo came out all dark. I went to try to take it again but it was difficult being on crutches etc. I couldn’t really feel the camera controls. Then I bumped into my friend from Munich. He took me into a hotel where he was staying. The girls were there as well so we began to walk round these stone passageways. We came to a place where there was a cupboard in the way. We couldn’t go through. I climbed over the cupboard and so did he. We bumped into one of the girls. I ended up having to crawl underneath a bed to enter the room. I thought “this looks wrong to me”. It turned out to be a room in a hostel with about 30 beds and desks etc in it. I had a look around. The people looked reasonably respectable wo I thougth “I’m going to try to book a room here but I don’t want a room in a hostel”. My friend said “they are very expensive”. I said “if everyone else is staying here I’ll stay here but not in a hostel”. I had to walk around the corridors to try to find the reception. There were all kinds of exhibition cases with expensive guitars. I heard a familiar voice. It was another friend of mine, one from my Manchester days, giving a conducted tour of the castle. I thought “that’s strange. He’s only been here 5 minutes and he’s doing conducted tours already as if he’s been here 100 years”. I asked him where the reception was. He pointed in some general direction and said “it’s in an office in between 2 floors over there” so I headed that way to book in.

While I was out driving around I heard yet another friend on the radio. His wife had been doing some knitting and she had a ball of yarn left over. She was going to give it away to anyone who might find some kind of pleasure from doing something with it during lockdown. There was quite a chat about this ball of yarn. I couldn’t understand why because it was a case of “who wants it”. A short while later when I was back home he turned up. He’d brought some things for me that his wife had. I misunderstood because there was something said about eggs. I had some eggs in my fridge. I thought that he was after them for her because I thought that they were hers. I gave him the eggs. While I was going through the dishwasher I found some meat stands, metal things with prongs that you use to put your meat while carving it. I have them to him to him too because they’d be much more use. I don’t use things like that for cutting bread or cake anyway.

So a lot of my friends were out and about with me last night and it was nice to see them all. No Castor, TOTGA or Zero unfortunately, but everyone else was most welcome.

Something else that I did was to have a little look through one of my playlists that will be on the music player later in the week and making sure that it was up to date

Tea was a stuffed pepper. A frozen one out of the freezer. However I turned the heat down on the air fryer to make sure that it was cooked better but that way it didn’t dry out the humidity. There’s obviously a fine line between heating it through and boiling off the water and I’ve not found it yet. I need to practise more.

But right now I’m off to bed. No Welsh in the morning as it’s a holiday over there. So who knows? I might even do some homework. I have to crack on.

1st April 2023 – HAVING SAID THAT …

… I didn’t need much from the shops last weekend and ended up spending a small fortune, I ended up spending next to nothing today, which is always good news for my bank account.

Noz came up with something for which I’ve been searching for years – a small biscuit tray for the oven. It’s still bigger than what I wanted but it’s small enough to let the heat circulate around the oven without blocking off the top from the bottom, which is always good news.

That’s all that I bought from there. From LeClerc I just bought the basic stuff for a mere €17:00. There wasn’t anything on offer or anything in the clearance bins or anything special that I needed.

At Intersport though a very nice young girl showed me the stuff that the physiotherapist says that I need and although it was expensive, the total that I spent today was still less than whatever I spent last weekend.

It was a good day at the shops today.

Much better than the night though.

Apart from the fact that I spent much of the night tossing and turning again, that stabbing pain in my foot came back. In the heel this time, not the sole of the foot. This kept me awake for quite some time and it wasn’t very nice.

Consequently it was a very weary and bleary me who staggered out of bed when the alarm went off but I still managed to summon up the effort to head out to the shops, despite the devastating wind that was blowing around outside.

And in news that will make everyone sit bolt upright, I actually just used one crutch and my wheelie shopping trolley today to do the shopping, and it all went off very well.

However, I’m still not too confident about it although there are signs of hope. I’ll keep on practising because if I can do it convincingly and confidently, then travelling with a suitcase comes right back on the agenda.

What with these improvements, I’m interested to see how I get on at the hospital and what they might be able to do for me to make life easier.

Back here I made some coffee and with the air fryer I made some cheese on toast with tomato. It was quite a nice brunch and I’ll have to do more of this. As you can gather, I’m becoming quite involved in this air fryer lark now

Once I’d finished eating I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was cat-sitting someone’s cats. That person was actually there at the start. While we were organising ourselves 2 people knocked at the door. I went to see them and dealt with them. That seemed to be it but 2 other people knocked on the door – 2 people with whom I worked in the past. They came into the apartment and began to talk to whoever it was whose apartment it was while I continued getting these cats ready. One was a small kitten which was stuck behind a sofa and a door across a room. It couldn’t climb over the sofa to come back into the room. I had to help it. I noticed that while I was trying to sort it out there were 4 dummies lying around on the floor. I thought that the cats would be okay if they become lonely.

And then I was at an animal refuge last night having taken jars of sweet wrappings in as some kind of donation. There was one jar of sweet wrappers that was absolutely full to the brim. It was just not possible to fit anything else in there. I produced Tuppence, my old black cat, who was going to help me sort through it. If there was anything nice, she’d eat it. The people at the refuge took one look at her and began to ask me about her. I said that she’d been mine for years. We’re an old couple together. They said “yes but you really need to take her to the vet”. I replied “I’m afraid to take her to the vet because of what the vet might tell me. I don’t really want to lose her”. They said that I’d lose her anyway if she died so it’s much better that she’s looked at in comfort. There was a question about an old Alsatian dog there too but I’m not sure where that fitted into this.

A group of us were having a meeting at my house in Virlet although it was a different house. I’d been to my University exam which was on the fate of Sir John Franklin. I did absolutely dreadfully. I couldn’t even remember the name of his ship etc. All the basics had just evaporated out of my head. I ran out of time trying to think as well. Back at the house we’d been talking. I’d done some work on it since the last time they were there. My friend agreed to come and see it. We crawled through the hatchway into the front area of the house so I could show him the work that I’d done. It looked to me as if someone else had been doing stuff there to such an extent that I was confused as to where I was. It certainly looked as if someone else had been having a go at doing some work. I didn’t say anything. I just let them see it and peer through the broken floors etc. My friend pointed out a huge bulge in the wall. He asked “what’s going on there?”. I replied “nothing as far as I know”. I thought to myself that that bulge wasn’t there last time I was here. I wonder what’s going on. I noticed that someone had tied a blue cargo strap around it to stop it going any worse. I certainly hadn’t done that. I’d no idea what was happening there.

Even more interestingly I was in the middle of another dream when the alarm went off. It awoke me. When I looked it was actually 05:30 and it wasn’t the alarm at all that had gone off. I must have dreamt that. Whatever it was that I was dreaming at the time completely evaporated out of my head. I can’t remember anything at all about it.

Just recently I seem to have spent a lot of time thinking about cats during the night. I grew up with cats and when I had a more settled lifestyle I had a few of my own. One poor girl who I thought was wonderful, I showed her the door because she wanted me to choose between her and Tuppence.

Luckily Nerina liked cats as much as I did and so did Roxanne who acquired a couple of kittens for our little family much to her mother’s annoyance.

Maybe if I do eventually move onto the ground floor where there are windows to the outside and if my travelling days are over, any objection that I might have had to looking after another cat would no longer exist

Rather regrettably, I crashed out this afternoon, and that’s no surprise given how my night went. I’d dictated the notes for the two radio programmes that I wanted to do and was in the middle of editing the first one when I crashed out. I was gone for a good while too.

However I awoke just in time for the football – a bottom-of-the-table match between Pontypool United and Aberystwyth Town. Whoever would win would put some daylight between themselves and the loser in the battle to avoid relegation.

Pontypool played the better football in the first half and went into the break deservedly 1-0 up. Only some heroics from Aberystwyth keeper Matthew Turner had kept Aberystwyth within touching distance.

During the second half Aberystwyth slowly came back into the game and piled on the pressure, but still had to rely on Turner a couple of times and a couple of desperate goal-line clearance to prevent certain goals from Pontypool breakaways.

But deep into stoppage time, Aberystwyth won a corner. Turner went upfield in a brave attempt to put pressure on the Pontypool defence and I don’t think that there was anyone more surprised than him WHEN THE BALL FELL AT HIS FEET.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last weekend I had a play around with the soundfile of a song and cut in a few extra bits and pieces. And after I finished it, I suddenly thought of a way that would have made everything so much easier.

So having listened to STEVE MARRIOTT yesterday and all of the memories that it brought back, I decided that the song wasn’t long enough so I had a play around with that. And now the song has extended from just over 3 minutes to just over 4 minutes and you can’t hear the joins.

That’s something that I must try to do more often, I suppose. It certainly makes things much different and much more interesting. With the truncated attention span that people have these days anything over 3 minutes is turned down flat by most record producers.

Ohhh! For the good old days of Southern Rock bands like Widespread Panic, Blackberry Smoke and the Marshall Tucker Band and lead guitar solos that could last for several weeks.

Anyway, I shall go to bed and dream about cats and lead guitar solos. And a nice lie-in until tomorrow with nothing planned to do all day. High time I had a Day of Rest.

However something will probably come along to disturb me. It usually does.

Friday 13th January 2023 – IT JUST GOES …

… to show that I can do it when I really try and what’s going wrong with me right now is inside my head rather than anywhere else.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already up and about dressing and when the second alarm went off at 07:45 I’d already had my medication and was sitting down working at the computer.

And if that’s not extraordinary behaviour, it should be borne in mind that I didn’t go to bed until 01:00, I was wide-awake again at 06:45 and I didn’t crash out at all at any point today.

There was however something or urgency to be done, and that might explain things. Having done a lot of work on the radio programme for Jeff Beck by the time that I wrote up my notes last night, I stayed up and finished everything that I had on hand – dictating the notes, editing them, pairing off the music and then joining everything together.

No wonder that it took me until 01:00 this morning!

And this morning, I wrote out a few more notes to conclude the programme, dictated and edited them, and then joined them in with the final tracks. I’d finished everything and listened to it to make sure that it was OK and it was all ready to go by 10:00 this morning.

And it was broadcast this evening.

Having been done in a hurry, it would have benefited from some further editing, but the joints for the tracks were perfection.

That was the cue to sit down with a mug of strong coffee and a fruit bun and relax for an hour or two. It’s not like me to work like this, especially these days.

At some point in the morning I had a ‘phone call. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have a little project simmering away on the back burner. The gist of this phone call was that in about 10 days or so I may have some news to impart to you in this respect.

Not before, though. There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.

At some point I was intending to go off down into town to try out my new crutches. When I felt like going out I looked out of the window and saw that instead of the bright sunny weather that we had had earlier, we were now in the middle of a tropical downpour.

That was the cue to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was on a holiday somewhere, one of these walking holiday things where you stay in a hotel for a week and go to different places for walks around interesting sites. We’d just been on one and were on our way back. Someone mentioned something about a walk that they had done that was extremely interesting. I told them about my trip to the High Arctic. As the lift thinned out someone said to me “hey Reverend, where’s your dog collar today?”. I made some kind of joke about that. The question of cars came up. I said that I had 2 cars, rather a car and a van. I left the lift and to my surprise I could walk up a step with my left foot, something that I haven’t done for ages. I thought that this walking is certainly doing me better. I was expecting a letter for a radio programme that I was doing. I thought “the post has come this morning so it should be in our pigeon hole”. I went to the post room and picked up my key to go to look inside my pigeon hole. There were envelopes everywhere, all over all the tables, the reception counter, piles of post that hadn’t been sorted as yet. I thought to myself “I won’t find my envelope here”. Then I put the key in the key hole in my pigeon hole so that I could open it to make sure that it hasn’t arrived and found that the key wouldn’t fit. For some unknown reason I was trying with the wrong key.

And then I was at another holiday hotel with a lot of people my age or maybe younger. I decided that I wasn’t really going to do any of the optional trips. I’d just sit there and relax. Somehow I was swept along, chatting to a woman here and another one there etc. We all were going on a car-sharing ride. I ended up with a woman who I was convinced that I’d been with yesterday. We were chatting ever so friendly. We reached this car park and the first thing that we saw was piles and piles of dwarves who were all going somewhere. The woman with me made some remark about how nice it was to see them all there obviously in a group with friends etc. We pushed on and reached where these cars were parked. I was dithering about finding a seat. I couldn’t make up my mind which seat in which car to take. I was sure that I must have been frustrating this woman. In the end we found a car with 2 empty seats. We got in and began to chat with the people with it. I looked across and in the car parked next to us, there was the woman with whom I’d been the previous evening. I wondered who on earth this woman was with whom I’d palled up and what she had to do with anything.

It looks as if I have the wanderlust again and I’m ready to go off on another journey. But that’s out of the question right now, and for a variety of reasons too. Health is one of them, and money is another. I shall have to give up my wanderings for a good while while I get myself on an even keel.

At least the crutches seem to work as they are supposed to. I finally made it out to the bus and ended up in town. And from getting off the bus to getting back to the bus stop with my shopping took me less than half the time that it did when I tried it previously. At least I have the fresh stuff that I wanted to buy

It was much easier, even if it was very tiring, and I’ll have another go at travelling into town on the bus next weekend, I reckon. I might even try to go for a little walk tomorrow if I can.

But regardless of anything, I was glad to be back and have a mug of hot chocolate. Coming back up the stairs with the shopping was hard work and provided all kinds of entertainment to one of the neighbours.

Tea tonight was chips and veggie balls with a salad. The lettuce was starting to look rather sad to I was glad to attack it once again. There’s enough good stuff left in the lettuce for tomorrow too. A salad every now and again is really quite nice

So that’s that for now. I’m going to bed, having just had a nice long what with a friend of mine on line. I don’t know what i’ll be doing tomorrow but it won’t be shopping. At some point I have to bake some bread and some fruit buns so we’ll see how I get on with that.

But that’s for another time. I’ve done enough for today.

Tuesday 15th November 2022 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about them planning to heave me out in the near future.

The doctor came to see me this morning and gave me an examination and I went through my usual spiel about the hospital going round and round in circles and I was pretty sure that she understood.

However she came back a short while later with her professor who had a chat with me. She explained that there were at least two viruses in my body and there are still traces of pneumonia in my body.

However she did yell me that despite everything, they were still planning on letting me go. Apparently they were worried that I’d catch Covid if I remained in the hospital;

And so I asked whether she was worried about me catching Covid during the 1400km round trip to the hospital and back to the various appointments that (I hoped) was sure to follow.

Now that took her completely by surprise and totally deflated her. Apparently she was totally unaware that I lived in France. Making the most of her bewilderment I mentioned that when patients were temporarily discharged from the hospital a room was made available at St Pieter’s Hospital. However they have demolished that, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There’s always Pellemberg, where I’ve stayed before, out in the wilds of the back of beyond, so I made sure that she was aware that I knew all about it.

However I have a feeling that I’m going to be out on my ear in a few days time regardless of anything else, a golden opportunity will be missed, and I’ll spend the rest of what’s left of my life travelling to and from Granville to Leuven and going round and round in circles when I get here

And isn’t that a depressing thought?

There was something quite important that happened on Monday that I forgot to mention last night

During the night of Sunday and Monday I must have had a dream at some point early on about a doctor wanting a urine sample for me the next time that I went from the bathroom. Consequently when I awoke at some point to go to the bathroom I rang for help

When the nurse came I babbled something incoherently about giving a sample, even though my body was desperately trying to process when it might have been that the doctor had come to see me.

Anyway, the story ended with the nurse helping me totally unnecessarily to the bathroom and no sample being taken.

It was really, really confusing.

Last night was much more quiet. No-one came to see me and apart from the odd trip or two to the bathroom nothing happened at all. Mind you there was some stuff on the dictaphone.

I was travelling on a train and it had an accident. I ended up falling across my youngest sister. When we picked ourselves up there were3 of us in the compartment, me, my brother and my youngest sister. I had some dresses that needed to be tried on by someone but seeing as she was there I had her try them on. They fitted her beautifully, these exotic party dresses that looked as if they might have been made for an adult but fitted a child. There were 1 or 2 gasps of astonishment from another woman who was there too. I gave her one, I gave her the second and I gave her the third. It all went really well. I asked my sister if she wanted some coffee. She’d never tried coffee before so I made her something weak. she drank it and thought that it was nice. The second dress, I gave her a second coffee and I’d made it the same. She thought that was nice too. But the third dress I made the coffee just how Nerina liked it. Of course she wasn’t there so I offered it to my sister. She tasted it and pulled a face. She asked about it so I said that it’s coffee that I’d made for Nerina. I could see that she was putting it on one side as if she was going to deliberately forget to drink it at some point or other.

I was moving house and I had a few people who were going to help me. They’d come round to see me to talk about the job, some young people and have a look through. The vehicle we were going to use was an elderly Ford Transit heavyweight van, a kind of van built on the long wheelbase rather than the panel van integral design method. An ancient, elderly thing but it would do the job. As we were talking a friend of mine rang up. He started to talk to me about the move. He asked me what my plans were. I felt terrible trying to discuss it with him without actually having discussed it with these people. That’s why they were here. The plan was that Day 1 we’d pack up the apartment into this van, Day 2 we’d drive to Shrewsbury, Day 3 we’d have a day off to recover and Day 4 we’d unload the van at the new house. My friend was astonished about this. He thought that it would cost the earth. I couldn’t talk about that because I wanted to talk to these people about it first. It was a very awkward, stilted telephone conversation. One or two things did actually come out which resulted in one of the people with me sending me an e-mail. I thought that this conversation with my friend was going to go completely out of hand if I wasn’t careful. How I wish that he hadn’t called up at that moment so as to give me some time to agree terms with these people who had just come round.

There was more to it than this but you don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating a meal.

When the alarm went off at 06:30 I was already awake. There’s that much racket here in the early morning that after about 05:30 it’s almost impossible to sleep if you’re as light a sleeper as I am.

We had all of the usual routine but a physiotherapist came to see me and ran me through a few exercises. My legs are much weaker than you’d expect and it’s going to be ludicrous if they let me out into the wild blue yonder.

As well as the doctor and her professor I had a Welsh lesson too. Surprisingly that passed OK and in fact I was quite pleased about how it went.

And that makes a big change, doesn’t it?

The rest of the day has been spent dealing with nurses, falling asleep, all kinds of stuff like that. And eating my rather boring meals. They are good, well-prepared and filling but they are all the same and after nearly 3 weeks I would die for something different.

Anyway it’s early now and I’m told that a nurse will come by later on at some point but even so I’m going to settle down under the bedclothes and listen to the old-time radio.

Tomorrow there are no appointments so it should be a quiet day. There’s something happening on Thursday and then several appointments a week later. So if they throw me out after my Thursday appointment I’ll have to kick my heels around Leuven for a week.

This is all turning into something of a farce, except that it really is no laughing matter.

Wednesday 21st September 2022 – I KNOW THAT …

… this is rather late being posted, but better late than never and if a thing is good it’s worth waiting for. And so is this

mont st michel by night Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022In fact I’ve been out and about today and didn’t return home until after midnight, when I would let it all hang out.

So while you admire a couple of photos of Mont St Michel in the darkness, I shall tell you all about my busy day.

As usual, the alarm went off at 07:30 and after the medication etc I set about tidying up because I was going to have some visitors today. I seem to be in demand just now

And it’s a good job that I’d started early because they came early too and I wasn’t ready. I had a few things that I hadn’t done so I had to to finish off while I was chatting.

That’s rather an uncomfortable situation to be in but at least having visitors around means that I have to keep the place looking something like tidy.

mont st michel by night Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was such a lot of things to say so we had a coffee and spent quite a while chatting, but it was such a nice day yesterday that it was a shame to waste it.

When they had been here the other day i’d mentioned about the beautiful views along the coast so I reckoned that that would be quite a nice drive today, and so we hit the road, Jack, or Jacques seeing as we are where we are.

The obvious place to go to in this nice weather is the viewpoint up on the Pointe de Carolles where there is the Cabanon Vauban. We’ve been here several times before but my visitors haven’t so off we went. I couldn’t actually remember where the turning was so we almost drove past it

tombelaine mont st michel from pointe de carolles Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It was something of a long slow path across the fields once we’d parked the car, but the view from the end was worth it.

It’s one of the best views of Mont St Michel from up here, with the island of Tombelaine over to the left.

The tide is well out as you can see, and in certain conditions it’s possible to walk from the coast at Genets over to Tombelaine and Mont St Michel and it’s quite a popular thing to do. But you need a guide who knows the way because it’s not an easy trip and there’s no marked path.

There was plenty of marine traffic down there in the bay too, including a trawler that was having a go with its nets out to see what it could pull up.

fire on brittany coast Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But also over on the brittany side there was a fire in one of the small towns.

It’s not possible to say what it was at this distance – whether it was a bonfire or a house fire, but it looked as if it had been burning for a while.

We went for a walk along the clifftop but we couldn’t see very much else – I’m not up for clambering over the rocks these days – so in the end we headed for the car, once I remembered the correct trail. I seem to be forgetting everything.

And then we went back to the main road to carry on southwards.

tombelaine mont st michel viewed from champeaux Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s another viewpoint further along the road at Champeaux and I couldn’t remember where that was for a moment either.

The view from here is even better so when we eventually reached it we stopped here as well

Tombelaine was at one time the site of a monastic cell where in the 11th Century two monks from Mont St Michel came to live the life of hermit. The place was fortified in 1204 after the English had been expelled from Normandy and then by the English during the Hundred Years War.

There were various plans, such as to create a mini-Mont-St Michel here or, to turn it into a tourist destination but in the end it’s become a site for birdwatching (but not the kind of birds that I would be interested in watching) and is owned by the State and classed as a National Treasure.

st jean le thomas viewed from champeaux Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s also a good view from up here down onto the town of St Jean le Thomas.

The town was gifted by “William of the Long Sword” to the monks of Mont St Michel in 917AD but there was some conflict 200 years later between the monks and another “Lord of the Manor” about wood-cutting rights so it seems that the gift wasn’t as complete as it might otherwise have been.

There was a castle there at one time but Philippe-Augustus, King of France 1180-1223 ordered the castle to be surrendered to the monks and destroyed. At the turn of the 20th Century all of the remains of the castle had gone.

The narrow-gauge tacot railway line from Granville ran through here between 1908 and 1935. I’m not sure what there is that remains of the railway network in the town today. I suppose that one of these days I ought to go and have a look.

SAMU service d'aide medicale urgente helicopter airbus H145 T2 avranches Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By now we were hungry so we headed into Avranches for a snack.

We parked up the car and headed into town on foot. And as we did so we were overflown by a helicopter.

It’s not the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that we usually see but one that belongs to the SAMU – the Service D’aide Medicale Urgente or “Emergency Medical Services” so I suppose that it’s the local air ambulance.

She’s an Airbus H145 T2 and we’ve seen a few of those flying around here. It’s the later version of the Air-Sea Rescue’s Eurocopter EC 145.

Once again we had to struggle to find something to eat but finally a little café came up trumps with some sandwiches.

castle avranches Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We could sit outside in the sun where there was a really good view of the castle at Avranches.

Shame as it is to say it, I’d forgotten all about this castle. Its origins date from the middle of the 10th Century and was one of the earlies recorded stone castles. However there is no trace of that construction remaining. What we see dates to the time of William the Conqueror.

It’s actually built by the Dukes of Normandy on a promontory overlooking the baie de Mont St Michel on a site that was known to have been occupied by the Celts and then by the Romans.

From its position it could obstruct the passage of Breton forces in the days before both Brittany and Normandy were part of the Kingdom of France.

The castle was surrendered to the French in 1203 and was fought over on many subsequent occasions, including in 1944 when considerable damage was caused to the fabric of the building.

Back to the car after a very long chat and we headed off for our final destination.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, parking at Mont St Michel costs an arm and a leg and we were only going to be here for a couple of hours.

However a friendly café owner, having served us a couple of coffees, informed us that as we were now customers of hers, we could leave the car on her car park. She told us how to unhitch the barrier later and we expressed our gratitude in monetary terms.

mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was a 15-minute walk to the shuttle terminus and a 15-minute wait for a bus to arrive, and then we were off.

My friends were quite impressed with the push-me-pull-you nature of the bus and, as they had never been here before, with the view that we had of the Mont as we approached it.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s all changed considerably since I first came here 40 or so years ago. The causeway was different and there was no official car park either. You drove down here and parked where you could.

In those days I’ve seen more than a few cars have to be winched out from the rapidly-approaching tide.

powered hang glider mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as we alighted from the bus, we had one of our old friends come to visit us.

When we’ve been wandering around the clifftops back at home we’ve seen the powered hang-gliders dozens of times coming back from the head of the bay and I’ve often speculated that they have been for a look at what’s going on down here.

Sure enough, one of them, the red one, flew past overhead as we walked the rest of the way towards the walls so we all said “hello” and continued on our respective ways.

porte de l'avancée mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022bathed in the glorious early evening sunset is the entry, the Porte de L’Avancée.

Although there is, officially at any rate, only one way in, changes in technology over the past have meant that the original entrance, buit shortly after the Fall of Normandy when the inhabitants were massacred by Breton soldiers, was insufficient to defend the mount from invasion.

And this although the Porte de L’Avancée is the first part of the entrance that you encounter, it was actually almost the last part of the fortifications to be built, as far as I can tell, and dates from 1530.

tour gabriel mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Over to the left is the Tour Gabriel or “Gabriel’s Tower”.

This was perhaps the last part of the fortifications to be built and dates from 1534. It was built on the orders of Gabriel du Puy who was in charge of the mount at the time. Because it’s round, it has a really good field of fire that can defend the entrance from attack by sea in this direction.

There was a windmill built on the tower in 1627 and the tower even served as a lighthouse.

The building in front of it is more modern although I’ve not been able to find out the date on which it was built. But it’s outside the walls so it presumably dates from a period when the military funnction of the mount ceased.

ramparts tour du roy tour de la liberté mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Over on the right are the ramparts, the Tour du Roy, the “King’s Tower”, and theTour de la Liberté, “Liberty Tower”.

The Tour du Roy and the little Tour de l’Arcade that you can just about make out to its right date from the improvements of 1417 at the height of the Hundred Years War, presumably after Henry V of England landed in Normandy on 1st August and laid siege to Caen, which he captured on the 17th.

The Tour de la Liberté used to be known until 1789 as the Tour Beatrix and although I found the plans for it, I’ve not been able to find the date of its construction. It was certainly here in 1434 as it was reported as damaged by cannon fire in a siege by the English, and was repaired in 1441 and reconstructed in 1479.

There were important building works to strengthen the fortifications between 1389 and 1410 and it’s likely that it dates from that period.

mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As for the abbey itself, this is what everyone comes to see, although I’m not going to see it as I’d never get up the hill.

The village itself is known to have existed in 709 but before that, as a result of several alleged miracles, it was a site of pilgrimage and the Abbots of the cathedral at Avranches promoted the site in various written tracts. Some kind of church was erected in the village and was gradually expanded.

Some monks came here to seek sanctuary but their church was sacked by the Vikings in 847.

It was re-established later but in 965 the construction of the Abbey began. In 1022 Richard Duke of Normandy gave to the monks the Ile de Chausey who then used rock from the islands to expand the Abbey.

However by the mid-18th Century the place was starting to fall into ruins and the French Revolution finished it off.

It was declared a “national Monument” as early as 1862 and restoration began shortly afterwards.

maison de l'artichaut mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This is the Maison De L’artichaut, so-called because its decorations on the spire are said to resemble artichokes.

It was actually created as part of the Hotellerie de la Licorne – the “Hostel of the Unicorn” which dates from the 15th Century.

It was declared a “Historic Monument” in 1918 and the upper part in 1936, however it’s not stated in the Formal Notice when it was actually built. One can only assume that it was built either at the same time or shortly after the Hotellerie de la Licorne.

On the right just here are the steps that lead up to the ramparts but I wasn’t going for a stroll up there.

porte du roy mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This here is the Porte du Roy – the “King’s Gate”.

This is another addition from the work of 1417. With no ditch here at the time, the mount was easy to attack and difficult to defend so a ditch was dug and the gate was built, with a drawbridge to protect the entrance.

There was also a metal portcullis here to defend the entrance.

Nevertheless all of this was still insufficient so another entrance was built in 1440, part of which you can see through the arch, because of the advances in artillery that rendered the gate obsolete.

The final entrance that we saw earlier in was added in 1530 following further advances in artillery and offensive techniques..

You can see all of the steps up to the ramparts again on the left of the photo.

grande rue mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This is the Grande Rue or “High Street”. I reckon that just about every building in here is a listed National Monument.

And it was here that I abandoned my friends for a while and let them carry on up the hill. It had defeated me so I wandered back outside to wait for them and to have a look around while they carried on trudging up the hill.

And while I was waiting outside I took many of the photos that you saw just now.

When they returned we had a very leisurely walk back to the bus stop, and then an even more leisurely wait for a bus to arrive. There are only two running right now so it was a very long wait.

sunset mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022At least, the wait meant that we had a good opportunity to see the sun setting. That was quite beautiful.

Back at the shuttle terminal we walked back to the café, rescued the car and I took the photos of Mont St Michel in the darkness as the lights came on.

We had a good drive back to Granville and I invited them to a restaurant where I treated them to a meal to thank them for a wonderful day out. And as a result it was after midnight when I returned home.

No time to write up my notes so I’ll do that tomorrow. which I did, hence the amended page.

And I also transcribed the dictaphone notes too. There was a trawler whose registration number was something like KVKLNO something or other. We’d been to a football match watching Morton. people were saying about how poor the side was these days. I was thinking that it’s not a case of how poor the side was, it’s a case of the money becoming tight everywhere and they are suffering. A subject came up that involved trawlers. One of the group said that thanks to someone else but I can’t remember who, they were saved from certain events that might have happened invloving this trawler because that particular person made them aware of things but I can’t remember what that was.

There was something going on last night with my beige Cortina. I was at home and talking to my sister. She was cleaning the house really deeply but we didn’t have all that long to wait before we had to go out so I couldn’t understand why she had suddenly started on this plan. One of the topics of conversation was the local councillor when we lived in Shavington. He was my age and had been on a student exchange with me. On one particular coach trip coming back from somewhere there had been a few shenanigans as you would expect with a bunch of teenagers. He’d been a part of all of this yet here he was 30 years later being all “Holier Than Thou”. Of course everyone remembered him and we made our best to make sure that everyone knew exactly what had been happening back in those days.

Wonders will never cease.

Saturday 10th September 2022 – NOT MY CAT

not my cat place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Say “hello” to Not My Cat.

There’s a lengthy thread on all forms of Social Media with posts about Not My Cat. Anyone who knows anything about cats will know that they come and go as they please and finding Not My Cat in a house is a regular occurrence.

Finding Not My Cat in a block of flats is even more rare especially when, as far as I know, no-one has a cat and there’s a security door.

But I opened the door to my apartment this morning and there was Not My Cat waiting outside. Quite a young cat by the looks of things. He (or she) ran inside before I could do or say anything, did a tour of the place, found a cosy spot on the sofa, curled up and went to sleep as if he owned it.

When I stroked him he purred quite loudly and I’m sure that he could have settled down here for ever and how I would have liked that. Only the other day I was talking about having a cat around the place. But someone would be missing him somewhere.

A little later I had to go out so I picked him up to carry him out. He ran down the stairs to the front door and as I opened it he skipped off outside like a 5 year-old girl and that was that. He didn’t have any fear or anxiety about going out.

And that was that. What a shame because even though it was only for half an hour or so, I really enjoyed having Not My Cat here.

Maybe it’s a sign from somewhere.

He’s not the first Not My Cat that I’ve had around. Back in the Auvergne there was a FERAL BLACK CAT that roamed around that adopted me during that really bad winter that we had.

Not My Cat wasn’t the only visitor that I had today, and that will explain the mad burst of energy and all of the tidying up just recently. But I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:30 I was straight out of bed which is a surprise by itself and by the time that the 3rd alarm went off at 08:00 I’d had my medication showered and shaved.

When Lidl opened its door at 08:30 I’d already been outside for 5 minutes and by 09:15 I was back here.

It was an expensive shop at Lidl today but I’m not going to miss out on Bags of Brazil nuts at 40% off. And I’m certainly not going to miss out on grapes at €0:99 a kilo. We’re coming to the interesting time of the year.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I pulled up on the car park I noticed that Marité ws out and aboout on her travels again so I went upstairs to fetch the NIKON D500.

Back down here I strolled over to the wall at the end of the headland and took a photo of her.

She was quite far out by the time that I came back down too. It was a windy morning and she had some of her sails unfurled but I bet that the diesel motor was churning away too.

Settling down with a coffee, I had a listen to what was on the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I can’t remember too much about this particular voyage but we were working on a friend’s boat for some unknown reason, some kind of galleon. We needed to contact someone else about it. That other place asked us for the name of the boat and who owned it. For some unknown reason every time we tried to say his name a different name came out. They couldn’t match it with anything in their database. We must have said it 3 or 4 times and they still didn’t get it right as far as we were concerned.

A little later I was with Liz, wandering around the shops. We came to a newsagent’s where they had some brochures about camping. I had a look at a couple of them. One of them was for a company called Action Canada. The name caught my eye. I noticed that up in Labrador they had a camp site and 3 months there in June, July and August cost something like €3,000. I thought to myself “I could do this”. I picked up a brochure and showed it to Liz. When we had a look, this was a brochure for the British Isles only. I’d picked up the wrong one. I went back to try to find the one for Canada to find that where they had been, the owner had cleared out this particular range. We were scrabbling around looking for this particular brochure in stuff that was piled on the floor but we couldn’t find it. I was thinking to myself “here’s another one that has slipped away isn’t it?”.

Finally I was out with a bus-load of passengers and we were cruising around the back end of Shavington. We ended up on a dirt road. We were making comments about the dirt road etc. All of a sudden we came to a bit where they were tarmacking it. They actually had the whole road blocked off. I reached where these guys were working and asked “which way is past for me?”. He pointed to a steep bank that was probably about 1:2. he said “go down there”. I asked “are you serious?”. He replied “yes”. I thought that at the very least the front end of the coach is going to ground out on the bottom etc. I had the passengers making sure that they were sitting down and strapped in, and ever so slowly went down there and managed to bring the coach down to the bottom. We pulled away and ended up right where we ought to be in this café where we were stopping for lunch. I went in to see the girl. She was telling us that we would have to wait for a bit because we were early. I asked where was the best place to park the coach. She replied “about 1.8 kms away”. I replied “I’m not walking 1.8 kms”. Nerina who was with me said that she’d walk around the local area for a minute and look around. She was telling us about a mine shaft that was here which was why we’d come here for a coffee stop so that the people could see the mineshaft. She started to give the whole rigmarole speech. I thought “if she does this we aren’t going to have the time for the meal” so I had to somehow stop her and organise things properly. It occurred to me sometime during the night that I’d done the whole of the morning’s trip without putting on any music on the PA of the coach. I thought “that’s not like me at all to do that”.

Bang on cue at 11:00 my friends turned up. Someone whom I knew from my time in Manchester and with whom I’d kept in touch ever since, and was even best man when I married. We haven’t seen each other for eight years and so when I heard that he and his wife were passing through the area on their way down south, I invited them to call in.

And this is when Not My Cat appeared.

There was so much to discuss and we were in here for a couple of hours. However the weather improved dramatically and it looked like a nice day so we decided to go for a walk around the headland.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You can see how much the weather had improved by looking at this photo of the Ile de Chausey.

With the sun being behind me the colours on the island came up much better than they notmally do in the afternoon. Perhaps I ought to go out more often in the morning.

There’s a yacht sailing around out there too but that was all the marine traffic that there was just now. Marité must be loitering around somewhere behind the island.

We couldn’t see Jersey today though. Still, I suppose that you can’t have everything.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We carried on walking along the path towards the port.

There was no-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban but there was something in the iar, for the first time for several days. It’s a different autogyro than the one that we normally see. That one is yellow but this one is white and red.

It seems that this place is becoming much more popular as far as aerial travel goes, with all kinds of different planes putting in an appearance.

We went to la Rafale for a coffee and waited for a while until the crowds down in the town dispersed after the market was over, and then we went to hunt for food.

And just as you might expect, all of the restaurants had closed for the afternoon.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Instead, we went for a walk around the harbour.

As we reached the Ferry terminal where we made a pit stop, we were lucky enough to witness the arrival of one of the Joly France ferries from the Ile de Chausey.

This is the older one of the near-identical pair, as you can tell by her windows. There’s quite a crowd on board and they can’t have appreciated the weather that was out there in the bay this morning.

While we were there on the quayside at the fish-processing plant we saw the tractor and trailer belonging to Les Bouchots de Chausey pull up, as well as another outfit that I didn’t recognise. It looks as if the shell-fishing boats are out there working today.

briscard chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One place that I wanted to visit seeing as I was out on my travels with people who could pick me up if I fell over was the chantier naval

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a shell-fishing boat in the chantier naval that I haven’t been able to identify and I wanted to see who she might be.

We headed off that way and that enabled us to identify that it is Briscard who is in there next to Peccavi.

Hhaving ascertained that we wandered back into the town to find food. Our first choice didn’t serve meals on a Saturday evening so we ended up at the pizzeria. They also served Italian food and to my surprise it was no problem at all to rustle up a vegan meal for me.

It was quite delicious too.

bar ephemère chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home we went up the Rue des Juifs where we would look down on the boulodrome.

The Bar Ephemère, Chez Maguie, is still here and in the twilight it’s looking quite nice with all of the lights that illuminate it.

Whether it will be here there next year though is something else completely. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the residents of the building opposite have launched a petition to oppose it.

They were successful in obtaining a ban on the Big Wheel that we used to have here and that has probably given them courage. If only we had a maire and a town council who would do their job and respect the wishes of the other residents.

It’s quite true that I moan about the tourists being here, but even I realise that without them this town would be a very poor place.

old cars chevrolet covette stingray rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Something else that we saw on the way up was a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

It’s been quite a while since we featured an old car in these pages. For some reason or other we don’t seem to see so many these days, so it cheered me up to see something like this just parked at the side of the road.

This is one of the third generation of Corvettes, one of the “T-top” versions, and it’s a later rather than earlier model because of the bumpers. The earlier ones had a traditional metal bumper but in 1973 it was replaced with the plastic “collision bumper”.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We stopped a little higher up for me to catch my breath, and to overlook the port.

Now that it’s going dark and all of the lights are on, it’s looking quite dramatic down there tonight. All of the lights reflecting off the water, and the lights at the town of Carolles down there underneath the Pointe de Carolles.

The ferry terminal is still lit up, although it looks as if all of the ferries are now back home. Presumably they are cleaning them out ready for work tomorrow.

Looking at this photo, I really ought to start to go out again at night like I used to.

sunset baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Back in the car park my friends prepared to leave to go back to their camp site.

We watched the sun go down while we were there but it wasn’t as spectacular as some that we have seen. It actually sunk below the horizon a while back and all that we are seeing is the reflection of the sun in the sky.

We’ve seen some good ones of those in the past. One in particular that I remember was on 21st June one night when I was in Scotland years ago when I drove my coach up to the top of a hill near Stirling in Scotland at celestial midnight and watched the night fail to go dark and the sun to rise a few hours later.

After they had left I went back in. 135% of my daily activity when I’m having major mobility issues is something of an achievement. And so I’m going to bed while I still can. I’ll probably pay for all of this tomorrow but who cares?

Live for today, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

Sunday 7th August 2022 – IT WAS JUST AS WELL …

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… that I decided not to go out today on this trip to see the high tides.

While you admire a few photos of Marité coming into port this afternoon after a trip around the bay, I was still awake at 03:00 this morning not even in the least bit tired. Nowhere near going to bed at all, despite all of the efforts that I expended in coming home yesterday.

That is what comes of crashing out like I did late yesterday afternoon. It was about 03:30 when I finally crawled into bed last night – or rather, this morning – and I still wasn’t all that tired.

Mind you, I must have gone to sleep quite quickly because there was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night and it started quite early.

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was something rather indecent written on a wall about something that I’d been up to in the days of my youth with a young lady. Someone had appended some notes to it that attracted a lot of attention. When I went to see it, none of these allegations were actually true (which they aren’t of course – they related to a friend of mine in real life) but that didn’t alter the fact that these allegations are there so I just simply left them there and ignored them but they seemed to be gathering rather a lot of momentum and people were asking me what I was going to do about it. It was very difficult for me to give an answer because I didn’t know how I was going to silence these rumours even though there was no truth whatever in them because you can’t really counteract an anonymous posting in this respect. I’d actually gone there to do something else involving a bucket of water and I had my hands full with this bucket of water at the time as well which meant that I was even less able to do anything about it.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I was dismantling equipment. I had a little workshop set up that was slowly getting itself organised. My brother had one the same but there had been a load of trouble at his workshop and needed some people to go in to refit it. The floors needed re-doing, everything like that. I went in and there was a group of us there. We did what we could but there were a few things that didn’t work. One was some kind of machine where the carburettor needed dismantling so I was working out how to dismantle this carburettor. I wasn’t easy – it wasn’t like a normal one. It was more like one of these Victorian tube ignition things. I was dismantling it and I had a pile of screws and nuts in my hand. There was a little girl helping me so I asked her to fetch a drawer out of one of these little tiny drawer unit things that you use for keeping nuts and screws. She did but it had stuff in it so I tipped them into something else and put these screws and everything into this drawer and told her to find a little piece of paper and write “carb” on it so we know that it’s where the carburettor goes. Someone said “you like working in this workshop, don’t you?”. I replied “I like working in mine much better”. Then someone came by and tried to hold everyone up, wielding a hammer around. He wanted money. I leapt of the top of this workbench at him but I missed. He had some kind of foam spray that he sprayed on me. He added water and it expanded but the aerosol can was still stuck to my jacket so I was able to beat him to death with this can attached to my jacket just by flailing my jacket around and that was that.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a violent dream like this.

man diving from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire the folk on the diving platform, I was back at home, talking to my Scottish friend. She rang me back later and said that due to a change of plan she’d actually finish work Friday evening. I said that if she could grab a bus, to come down for the weekend. “I can find you a bed” but I added quite quickly something like “don’t worry, your principles won’t be compromised” because of course she’s extremely religious. There was something about a really idle young boy who wouldn’t do anything. We’d installed an air vent with a metal grille in a wall somewhere. The grille was just vertical slats. They were before a judge somewhere trying to talk about him over things that he’d done or not done. I asked the judge if he could paint these metal slats in this ventilation grille for me. They all couldn’t see why not but it was up to him whether he wanted to do the job

people jumping from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Then another dispute arose about the arrival of camp beds. We wanted 4 camp beds for something but it took us a while to convince some distant member of the family that that was what we needed. In the end they agreed to bring them so I went to change into winter clothes including a pair of winter tights so that I could work outside in the winter when they turned up. They had only brought these beds and not a few other bits and pieces that had been asked, and no car batteries. With no car batteries we couldn’t finish the cupboard that we were building inside the corner of one of the rooms. We found out that it was someone else who was supposed to be bringing the batteries but they had gone out so I had to lift these 4 bunk beds with all the noise and everything in the cold. The only one who would help me was some woman, 50, who had driven this car round who looked as if she was dressed like a scout patrol leader or something

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while you admire a couple of photos of the crowds on the beach, I’d also had a chat with some kind of accommodation director at an army barracks about some double flats. His basic response was that if I don’t like the way that things are run I can jump into the fire alongside the flats which I thought wasn’t very polite.

Going back to this military dream again there was some issue about a couple of yachts that were in a basin but then in the middle of dictating this I fell into a deep sleep and I was then treated to 18 minutes of snoring and I’m sorry, Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting your word when you told me that I snored in my sleep.

Despite not having gone to bed until 03:30 I was awake by 09:30.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That’s not the same thing as saying that I was out of bed though.

You’ll have to wait until 10:40 or thereabouts before I finally saw the light of day and then I went off for my medication.

That was followed by working on the music for the radio programme on which I’ll be working on Monday. It’s another good batch of music and the joins have turned out really well.

There’s even a good speech that I managed to track down for my guest and that should bring a smile to the face of everyone who understands it.

After lunch I went and had a wade through all of the … GULP! … 42 photos that I took when I was on my travels. I’ll have to transcribe all of the dictaphone notes at some point and then update the blog entries, along with the entries for when I was in Central Europe that I still haven’t updated yet.

Yes, I’ve let things slide rather a lot just recently and I need to pull myself together.

cap pilar baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway, I trotted out for my afternoon walk around the medieval walls, but I was detained by having seen Marité coming into port on the tide.

Other things were coming into port as well from out in the bay, including the trawler Cap Pilar.

But what caught my eye about her was her rather strange “bow down” position as she came around the headland, almost as if her for’rard hold was flooded. There can’t be that much fish in her to make her trim like that.

So having seem Marité come safely into port, I wandered off for my walk around the walls.

tent on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You’ve already seen several photos of the crowded beaches and the sea this afternoon.

No surprise there because it really was a nice if somewhat windy day today. But I’m not sure why you would need to bring a tent down to the beach today.

For all of the people around there wondering what was going on after the owners had erected it, they must have thought that the excitement was … errr … intense.

Far too intense for me of course, in my state of health. I wandered off down the Rue du Nord on top of the medieval city walls.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last God-knows how long, the wall around here has been sheathed in scaffolding.

But today, I noticed that it had all gone. So much for the workman telling me a few months ago that they will be here for a year.

What with the way that my health is right now, I wasn’t up to going down to the foot of the steps to see the finished results so instead I pointed the camera over the top and had a play with the exposure time.

And I do have to say that I am really quite impressed with the job that they have done. It really does look well and I hope that they can do the rest of the wall to make it look like this.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that here a little further along in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they completely dismantled … “disPERSONtled” – ed … it all the way down almost to ground level.

They rebuilt it right up afterwards and you really can’t tell that it was completely taken apart.

There was a flying scaffolding here too weighed down with 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks. The scaffolding turned up overnight last Summer and it did really well to survive all of the storms that we had in the meantime.

There’s an arch a little further on where I can pass outside the walls and walk along the path underneath the walls. In the days of my youth I used to run down there but these days it’s more of an undignified totter.

street musicians place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path goes past the viewpoints overlooking the diving platform and the beach at the Plat Gousset where I took a few photos, and then I pushed off further along the path.

There’s quite a lot of entertainment going on in the town today and I’d been hearing music. And what caught my eye as I peered down the Rue Paul Poirier was a group of musicians marching up and down the Rue Lecampion into the Place Charles de Gaulle and back again.

Some of the streets are blocked off too for pedestrians only so it looks as if it’s the braderie today, when the shops have a sale to dispose of all of their surplus stock to make more room for the new fashions.

They’ll be setting their stalls out, both literally and figuratively, outside their shops in the street and on the pavements.

seagull chick rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it I wandered off down through the Square Maurice Marland.

All of the roofs in the Rue Des Juifs have been covered with seagull nests and many proud mothers have been rearing their chicks through the early summer. Many of them are now pretty autonomous and are hanging around on their own, just like this one.

But as for the Square itself, it’s looking like a very sad and sorry shadow of itself with the burnt grass and dust-bowl conditions. But you can tell which are the native plants and which are the cultivated ones because it’s the former who seem to be doing better in these drought conditions.

fete des soudeurs port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This weekend it has been the Fête des Soudeurs, a festival where all of the local blacksmiths set up their smithies around the town perform in public, with a few musical performances here and there as accompaniment.

It’s all quietening down now but there is still some music and according to one of my neighbours they are auctioning off some of the artefacts.

These days I seems to be having quite a few interactions with my neighbours. This afternoon I was walking around on top of the cliffs looking down into the sea when I fell in with the young guy from the top floor and we had quite a chat.

Back here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night and then rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer a few hours earlier and put on one side to thaw.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The pizza dough was put into the pizza tray to proof and then when it was ready I assembled the pizza and put it on the oven to bake.

It was another delicious one but I reckon that I need a new sharp knife to cut the base because the one that I’m using is struggling to fight its way through the base. Maybe I ought to slice it in future and then eat it with my fingers.

So having now finished my notes, I’m ready for bed. It’s a 06:00 start in the morning to make a start on the radio programme that I’ll be preparing and the way that things are right now, it’s not going to be easy.

So here’s hoping for a better night than those that I’ve been having just recently.

Tuesday 2nd August 2022 – I REALLY THOUGHT …

… that I was going to have a good day today, but it all went pear-shaped round about 18:00 when after valiantly fighting off sleep for most of the day up to that point I finally succumbed.

And it might only have been for about 45 minutes too but it was still 45 minutes more than I wanted.

Mind you, last night I did end up going to bed rather later than intended, having been stuck at the computer longer than I wanted because a “Paul Temple” episode came up on the playlist just as I was going to bed.

However, at least the night was better than the previous one and I didn’t go as far on my travels.

But more about that in due course.

Much of the day has been spent going through the kitchen sorting out the herbs and spices, seeing what I have in stock and working out what I need to buy. And that took me longer than you might think as well because I had stuff everywhere.

It’s all sorted out and counted now, and arranged so that I know where it is.

When I’d done that, the next thing to organise was the medication. That’s something else that I have spread about all over the apartment and I don’t really know what I have. In fact there is probably more of medication that I no longer use than medication that I currently take

Something else that I needed to do was to back up the computer. I haven’t backed up the big computer onto the portable computer since I was on my travels back in June and so I’ve had to copy everything over onto the memory stick that I take with me so that I can do it on the train.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on my key ring I have a tiny 64GB memory stick that’s about half the size of a postage stamp. That lives on the key ring and I use it for transferring files between the desktop machine and the travelling laptop

Strange as it may seem, all of the foregoing took me until quite late in the afternoon. I do have to admit that I wasn’t in much of a hurry but all the same there was still plenty to do.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland today.

And first stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be on too because the tide was quite far out this afternoon. And the nice weather had enticed quite a few people out there to take advantage of it as well.

Some of them had even gone into the water too which was a surprise. It wasn’t that nice

boat zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, while I was there, I had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening out there too.

There was a stationary cabin cruiser down there just offshore with a couple of men on board who looked as if they might be fishing. And so I’m sure that they weren’t all that happy when that zodiac roared over so that the crew thereof could exchange a few pleasantries with them.

And that really was that in Granville Bay. There weren’t any fishing boats or any other pleasure craft or any other water craft of any nature out there. I had no idea where they had all gone. This was the kind of weather where I’d expected to see quite a few people out and about.

Right out in the English Channel beyond the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of sails away on the horizon.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With the 70-300mm LENS I took a photo of one of the sets of sails to see if I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I might be able to identify it.

And so having done the necessary, I couldn’t identify the ship but I could certainly identify the arrangement of her sails, and that told me that she was either La Granvillaise or her sister La Cancalaise who sails out of Cancale.

Sure enough, when I checked the fleet radar, I could see that La Cancalaise was out and about on her travels in that general area this afternoon so that seems to answer that question

F-GCUM - Robin DR400/180  baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That wasn’t all of it either.

While I was walking down the path in company of all of the crowds of people, I was overflown by a light aeroplane out there in the bay.

She’s another one of our regulars – F-GCUM – a Robin DR400-180 that belongs to the aero club and which flies around the bay quite often.

This afternoon she took off from the airfield at 16:05 and flew down the bay where she did a lap around Mont St Michel and then flew straight back up the coast, when she landed back home at 16:33

There were crowds of people down at the car park, so much so that they were queueing to find a place to park.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Nevertheless there wasn’t anyone down at the bench at the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that means that they missed quite a free show.

One of the sailing schools from Granville had gone out this afternoon and they had ended up right across the bay on the Brittany side.

And it’s not every day that you see the sailing schools go so far on their travels. We’ve only seen them over there once or twice in all of the time that we’ve been here.

You can see how far the tide is out in the bay this afternoon too. The water on the Brittany side of the bay is quite shallow.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022and right now, as I was looking down the bay, I was overflown yet again.

Unfortunately the aeroplane didn’t manoeuvre itself into a position where I would read its registration number, and there wasn’t anyone out and about on the radar there at that particular moment so I couldn’t identify it like that.

So instead I set off to walk down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

There was no change at the chantier naval today. There were the same five boats there that were there yesterday.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There’s a little change going on at the Fish Processing Plant though.

L’Omerta is still there playing “Musical Ships” today, but she’s there on her own. Gerlean isn’t there though though. She’s cleared off and right now she was moored at one of the pontoons in the inner harbour.

It beats me why L’Omerta can’t do the same.

But they are assembling quite a collection of fishing equipment on the quayside up above her. Is that all going into L’Omerta at some point, or is someone else coming in to take it away?

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, in the inner harbour, Victor Hugo is back again.

She’s spent the last 12 days in Cherbourg apparently, without going anywhere at all. And so as far as this plan to reopen the ferry service between Granville and St Helier goes, the plot sickens.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were with a group of people last night discussing these films on TV last night about how some of this surrealist comedy was done so well that you’d think that it was real even though you knew that it wasn’t. Then there was the kind of tragedy that you’d have that was done really well but you knew immediately also that it wasn’t real so you had a hard time equating to the other film because you always had in the back of your mind that this isn’t real at all, quite a difference from the comedy type of film. We were having an extremely in-depth conversation in our sleep. Of course I had my foot firmly in the comedy camp. A couple of people arguing against me mentioned films but I had never seen them so I didn’t really know.

Later on I’d been out around the town with a friend of mine from Manchester of all people. We’d been wandering round a couple of bars and places. It was quite busy because it was I dunno Roses Day or something, a day of a Battle of the Roses. In the end I had the idea to go down to the computer halls at the University even though it was late, take STRAWBERRY MOOSE with us, climb into the laboratories and send a few messages to Yorkist supporters about their failure at one of the battles that was being celebrated today. i’d done it before on previous occasions and thought that this might be another moment to do it. My friend was rather reluctant but anyway we went out. We found that the streets were totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul around. We couldn’t understand why. We expected to see crowds of people around there. I’d been trying to get some kind of picture on my laptop before going out but that hadn’t worked at all. That was one of the reasons why I suggested going out for it I had my laptop working we could have done it with that. Everywhere was totally quiet, the driveways were closed and locked. They had these metal fences up to keep people out but there wasn’t a soul about at all. It was just so eerie considering what was going on in the bar and what kind of important historical day it was.

They were still carrying out experiments on people’s knee joints with this machine. They kneel down onto the floor and are clamped into this machine and it puts vibrations through it. I was clamped into one after much complaining by authorities but it was designed for me anyway. A few other people were clamped in. One guy had osteo-arthritis but they turned him down. I was the one who had to tell him that he couldn’t be included in the study and had to send him back to wherever it was that he came from. The question of my knee is even infiltrating into my dreams these days.

Tea tonight was the rest of the curry from yesterday and it’s even more delicious when it’s been marinading for 24 hours in its own juices.

Now here’s a surprise. After I finished the washing-up I steam-cleaned the microwave. It hasn’t been cleaned for a while and needed a good going-over.

But that is one of the things that needs to be replaced in due course. It was a small, cheap microwave with a plastic cover over the metal interior and the plastic is now lifting off and the metal is rusting. It’s not very hygienic but there’s no point in replacing it until I have my new kitchen units up here.

So an early-ish start tomorrow because I’m off on the train to Leuven. Not that I’m looking forward to it but we’ll see how it goes. It’ll do me good to get out and about, even if it’s only going just that far.

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

peccavi carteret trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… various photos of various sea-going craft that were out and about on the water this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my somewhat depressing day today.

It couldn’t have got off to a worse start this morning. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I leant out of bed and switched it off. And the next thing that I remember was when it went off again at 08:00.

Although I didn’t go back to sleep at that point, it was … errr … somewhat later when I finally arose from the dead.

After I had taken my medication I came back in here to sit on my chair where I … errr … fell asleep again for 20 minutes.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, I awoke in time to prepare for my Welsh lesson today but there was actually no need because we didn’t finish the first lesson last week and we only just about reached the end of it today.

That’s because we spent much more time talking in this lesson and after my weekend course I was feeling much more confident about things. As a result the lesson passed quite well, to my surprise.

There was lunch as well and it seems that I might have miscalculated the bread issue. Even if there’s enough bread left for tomorrow, there won’t be enough for sandwiches on my journey tomorrow and I don’t want to take the bread out of the freezer just for a couple of slices.

What I’ll have to do is to make other plans for lunch on my travels.

ch933900 carteret jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch, having fought off yet more sleep, I had a listen to where I’d been during the night.

I was a famous footballer in the days before I was famous and I’d fixed a car for one of my clubmates, a white 2000E with a black vinyl roof. I had it running really well and everyone came to see it. They stood there and listened to it. Someone noticed the ice in the radiator. I explained that it had only just gone in and it would melt but they all started making fun of this ice that was in there. Just then I was violently sick. This went on for 3 or 4 minutes that I was violently sick. Someone else who had a white 2000E came up, a footballer, and said “come with me. We’re going to the chemist. Apparently it was something to do with what I was eating. It was good for sport and energy but not for my general health. Someone went to fetch his car and beckoned to me get in it but I noticed that one of his rear lights was not working.

belle france joly france black pearl peccavi charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was then with a group of people last night in a house somewhere. One person was having trouble with his car so he set off and we followed him. He went down a hill, you could hear his car misfiring from here, and reached the bottom, pulled off and went round the roundabout underneath. It was obvious that he was still having problems. His car managed to go round the roundabout but he ended up in the wrong gear and tried to come back. He was struggling up the hill and an ancient Austin 7 went past. By the time we returned to the house the guy in the Austin 7 had checked the car over, adjusted the points and was giving him a few other suggestions about how he could improve the performance on his car like put a shaft in to connect the gear lever up to the flywheel, one or two other little things like that. They’d made a meal for me but first when I came in the offered me a cup of tea but I asked “what about everyone else for a cup of tea?”. I went to pour some tea for everyone and have mine with my meal in a couple of minutes.

omerta calean chant de sirenes trafalgar pierre de jade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I’d been to see people like those whom I knew from the Wirral and the like. We’d been talking about all meeting up in the States sometime at the end of the summer. Gradually there were just me and one of them left. We were on a petrol station. He was on his Harley Davidson, a gold one. I said goodbye to him and “see you in a couple of months”. He said “what?”. He’d plainly forgotten about this trip about which we’d been talking. I knew really that it wasn’t going to happen so I just thought that I’d mention the trip but without any real hope that it would actually come off. We were looking at all these electric motorcycles including tiny little 33cc ones. I was estimating how much time it would take me to return home on one of those, not because it could travel quickly but obviously it was so uncomfortable that you could never have a comfortable ride on a motorcycle so small as this. We had a look at the 50cc and 75cc ones but they didn’t seem to be all that much better. I set off home and as I walked out of this garage there was a blind spot for the security cameras where I could easily have picked up one of these motorbikes and walked off with it but I decided against it. I set off to walk home, interested to see how many hours it would take me so that I could compare it at some other time with one of these small motorbikes. I didn’t think that it would be any quicker because although you could move quicker, you’d need to spend more time recovering from the uncomfortable position.

Finally I’d been to see Morton playing but they’d been playing somewhere like Hamilton or Motherwell. I walked out of the ground down to the old A74 because the motorway hadn’t been built yet. I started to hitch a lift but there was no-one stopping for me to go home and I ended up in Stirling (don’t ask me how), walking through the town centre of Stirling at night. I thought that I’d better buy a few things to keep me going for the journey because it was a long way. I ended up talking to Louise, discussing changing part of a car. I showed her how to work a power bar backwards so that you didn’t have as long a swing but you could get more power on it. I was still a long way from home and working out how many hours it would take me to actually walk. I arrived at a figure of something like 80 hours if I didn’t have a lift.

person sitting on rock rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022That took me up to the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, my first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there.

And there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon but there were rocks a-plenty and there was someone sitting down there like Piffy on … errr … a rock, acting as if she owned it.

There was quite a bit of mist out at sea again but as you have seen, there was plenty of maritime traffic today as well, with all of the fishing boats heading back to port this afternoon.

repointing medieval city walls place du marche au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However my mind was elsewhere this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach, I could also see that there was plenty of activity going on this afternoon on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

There were several people scrambling over the scaffolding, doing some pointing on the wall over there. And there’s plenty of it that needs to be done as well, but over the last couple of weeks since they seem to have made rapid progress.

They may well not be there for much longer, but then again I have said things like that before and been confounded.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing is sure though, and that it that they may well not be there for much longer this afternoon.

Over at the Ile de Chausey is one of the most wicked storms that I’ve seen for quite a while and while, for a change, the wind isn’t all that strong, it won’t be too long before it’s upon us.

That’s really the cue for me to get a move on. I’ve no idea how long it’ll take for the storm to arrive but I don’t want to be caught out and about in it.

But at least I won’t be alone because there were several other people out and about. But I bet that they won’t be out and about for long.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, there will be several people who will end up being taken by surprise by the rainstorm, if it does actually arrive.

Down here on the bench by the cabanon vauban, you can’t see over the top of the cliff and beyond the lighthouse and so the couple sitting down here won’t have any idea of what’s lurking out at sea. And it’s not exactly a place from where you can run easily, with all of the steps and the muddy path.

But then I suppose that they can always shelter inside the cabanon if necessary.

Leaving them to it, I headed off down the path on top of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen all of the fishing boats lined up waiting, either to unload at the fish processing plant or for the gates to the inner harbour to open.

But I was more intrigued to see what was happening with Chausiaise. She’s currently moored at the pontoon where many of the fishing boats tie up so they aren’t going to be too pleased to see her there.

And she has her crane extended too so there’s something going on with her right now.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then made another start on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Right now we’re anchored off Devon Island and I’m stuck – there’s a hill there by the old RCMP post at Dundas Harbour where there’s a memorial monument. And I know the name of this hill – it’s named after a sailor on Belcher’s expdition of 1852 but can I think of his name?

To try to think, I had a good spell on the guitar but it didn’t work and even now, as I’m about to go to bed I still can’t think of his name.

Tea was a left-over curry which was delicious and then I came in here to write up my notes. And I had an interruption as well. I seem to be in great demand just recently and I don’t understand why because it’s not the usual state of affairs as far as I am concerned.

But all of that is for another time. I’m going to have a quiet play on the guitar and then I’m off to bed. I have the doctor in the morning and the physiotherapist in the afternoon. And then on Thursday I’m off on my travels again.

There’s no holding me back right now.

Sunday 26th September 2021 – NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… the perfect vegan pizza.

It really was too. I had to make a new batch of pizza dough this afternoon because I’d run out of the last batch. But I used wholemeal flour instead of bleached white flour and although the taste was rather unusual, it rose to perfection.

It’s a shame that I can’t make my bread dough rise quite like this batch of pizza dough did, and I don’t know why it won’t. I shall just have to keep on practising until I can find the key.

But it’s bizarre all the same.

And that’s what I call a lie-in too. Despite not going to bed until about 00:30 I was asleep until about 10:35 this morning. And it was … errr … some time later when I finally arose from the dead.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’ve forgotten very much about the first part of my travels but it was some kind of car journey with kids and we had to make up a bed inside the car for them because it was a long way travelling through the night but I can’t remember very much about this at all.

A short while later I was with a woman and we were wandering around the streets of a strange city somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was an aimless wandering around and I let her take charge but every time she seemed to take a decision to go somewhere it was always the wrong way. But it was still quite an adventure. It was hot and stuffy with quite a lot of traffic about, including one bus where the passengers were arguing with the driver about which way to go. Then we came to a complicated road junction where I misunderstood the lights and was nearly squidged. By this time I was with Nerina. We had been somewhere the night before after she had come in. She was telling me that a she came in my brother had invited her out for a drink. She said that she had this opinion that he’d known that she had been drinking although it was 16 minutes since her last one and she should have been clear so maybe she’d drink her drink in a different way next time to provoke a different reaction in her stomach.

I was wandering around Nantwich later and it was something to do with my German friend who was there – I’d arranged to meet him so I went to phone him up but I phoned Percy Penguin instead. I had a little chat with her and we tentatively arranged to meet. Then I was back in my house getting things ready for going. Another friend had said that someone had left me a message. I had a look and it was yet a third friend looking for the seed potatoes that he’s left. I had absolutely no idea where these were so I started to hunt my through for them and couldn’t fond anything. I came across my boots that I’d been wearing that I’d forgotten all about. I wondered if I should take those because the ones that I was wearing now were extremely comfortable although they were rather old and I still couldn’t find these potatoes. Liz Ayers turned up and said something like it was time to go. I told her that we hadn’t found these potatoes and she said that she wanted to go round to my house on the way back to see whether there was anything there that we needed. This was going to end in a load of confusion.

Later still, there were some more people round at my house. I had to go off somewhere and knew that I was going to miss these people by ages because I wouldn’t be back until late. When I returned there were 2 people walking up the stairs in front of me in the dark without the light on. I was wondering what they were doing. They went to my door and rang the bell. Whoever was in my house opened the door. This woman asked “have you received a message or a bill some time today?” to which whoever it was said “no”. Just then a girl came out of my apartment, a girl who had been in there earlier and was the one whom I was afraid that I was going to miss, carrying a box of stuff to put in her car. These 2 women saw her and asked “are you leaving? I hope that you are going to come back again”. She replied “yes, I’ll be coming back”. I added “yes, she better had be coming back”. We were having this kind of chat on the stairs at about 23:00 and this girl should have gone a long time ago. I was leafing through an old file and came across a sailor’s discharge book from the Navy, showing all the ships that he had been in, where he’d been torpedoed, where his ship had broken in 2 and sank, whatever. I was so fascinated by this book and deeply absorbed in it and wasn’t folling half of what was happening in this conversation which was strange because I was very keen to keep friendly and keep in touch with this other girl.

While I was at it, I transcribed the notes from yesterday and now they are on line as well.

After lunch, I had a little vegetate – after all, it IS Sunday. I was doing some research on something that I had read about a Communist sympathiser known as Hilaire Noulens, whose real name was Jakob Rudnik as I discovered, who was sent by Comintern to Shanghai to foment rebellion against the “International Forces” in 1931 but was arrested and exposed.

In the “International Zone” of Shanghai in the 1920s and early 1930s there were all kinds of strange and bewildering goings-on until 1932 when the Japanese invasion put a stop to most of it.

Following that I organised and paired off the music for the radio show that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and a little later I went off and prepared the dough for my next batch of pizza.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was going on down on the beach.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon. Although we are at the last weekend of September it is unseasonably warm right now with very little wind so people were taking full advantage.

There were even a couple of people in the water right up to their knees. I know that it was a nice day, but it wasn’t that nice. But then the definition of “nice water” for me is “water that is at 37°C”

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further along down at the beach at the Plat Gousset there were even more people.

Of course, the access there is much easier but they are closer to some competing attractions such as the Fête des Coquillages St Jacques down at the port. A plate of shellfish surely has to be a better deal?

But then I suppose there are those people who have come here to take the waters. As you can see, there are even more people up to their knees in it over there. Sooner them than me.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t anything happening this afternoon out at sea so I had a look over to the Ile de Chausey.

The view was quite good today – not as nice as it has been but better than most days – so the colours didn’t come out particularly too well.

There was one of the two Joly France ferries (Belle France is still moored at the Ferry Terminal as I found out later) moored out there and we could see it quite clearly from here.

While I was admiring the view I fell in with another one of my neighbours and we had a lengthy chat. I seem to be quite popular these days and it’s not like me to be so sociable, is it?

While I was chatting, I was overflown by just about everything that could possibly take to the air, as you might expect. But you can’t be so impolite to break off a good chat to take a couple of photos. There will be other times.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my viewpoint up on top of the old bunker at the back of the lighthouse I could just about make out the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with my naked eye.

With the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS the photo came out quite clearly after I’d enhanced it somewhat and we coud see once more the land beyong the cape.

Surprisingly, apart from the Joly France boat that I mentioned earlier and something far to small to identify, I couldn’t see a single other boat out there at sea this afternoon.

yacht small boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The position in the Baie de Mont St Michel is rather different.

As I walked across the lawn and the car park, that was once more packed to the gunwhales, I could see a couple of things out there towards the Brittany coast.

I took a photo of what I saw with a view to having a closer look when I returned home. And I’ve managed to capture a yacht with its sails furled and also a smaller boat of some other type.

But what “other type” it was, I couldn’t say. I couldn’t see clearly enough.

cabanon vauban couple changing a baby pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the looks of things, I wasn’t the only person admiring the view out across the bay this afternoon.

There was a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban and my first thought was that they were having a picnic. “A nice big helping of shellfish from the fête”, I mused.

Back here I had a closer look and I could see that in fact they were actually changing a baby. And I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that because any other baby is probably going to be just as noisy as the on that you already have.

F-GKAO - Piper PA-28-181 Archer 2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round about now I was overflown by another aeroplane and I was in a position to be able to take a photo of it.

It seems that this is one that we haven’t seen before so i’m glad that I was able to photograph her. She’s F-GKAO, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II.

She’s spent much of the day flying around here. When I saw her, she had taken off at 16:24, flown down the coast as far as Avranches, and then along the coast to Cap Fréhel before coming back into land at 17:16.

At 18:07 she took off and, stopping at Dinard and then Dinan, disappeared off the radar near Rennes St Jacques at 19:30.

buvette fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As you can see, the buvette at the fête is still going great guns.

There was no change at the chanter naval today, with just L’Omerta still in there, and there was only Belle France moored at the ferry terminal so I didn’t spend too long having a look around there.

It seemed to me too that there has been an expansion of the facilities there today. Yesterday, everything seemed to stop by the door into the Fish Processing plant, but today there are a few more marquees and stalls further on that seem to have attracted quite a crowd of people.

equipment on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But what had attracted me – or, at least, my attention, was the big pile of equipment in the background.

Full of curiosity I cropped it out and enlarged it to see if I might be able to work out what it all is.

It looks like another load of pipework, as far as I can tell. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they did dig up part of the quayside to lay a network of pipes.

Perhaps they are going to repeat the process once the crowds disappear and the harbour is pretty much empty. Whatever happens, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that the crowds were still flocking to the Festival.

There are probably even more today than there were yesterday. It’s a good turnout and I’m glad that I’m up here.

You are probably wondering how come I never went down to see what was going on down there. The truth is that I don’t feel up to it. Not even the downhill part, never mind the climb back up afterwards.

What i’m going to be doing is to wait for the doctor to see the x-ray photos of my lungs and see where I go from there.

electricians compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thiing to see is something that I haven’t noticed before, not having come this far down the hill on my previous walks.

There’s some kind of compound been created on the waste land at the side of the Boulevard des Terreneuviers. By the looks of things and the name on one of the containers, we’re going to be seeing some electrical work taking place down here pretty shortly.

Not right now though. I came back home for a cold drink and to check on the pizza dough – to find that it had risen by an extraordinary amount.

While I was waiting for the pizza to cook, I peeled and diced about 1.5kg of carrots and blanched them ready for freezing. I hadn’t planned to buying a pile of carrots, but when loose carrots worked out at €1:79 per kilo and yet a 2kg bag was €1:29, what would you do?

That 1.5kg filled the saucepan, so I’ll do the rest tomorrow afternoon.

Bedtime now that I’ve finished my notes. An early start because I have my radio show to do so I won’t be hanging around either. I hope that I’ll have a good night’s sleep, but we shall see.

Sunday 18th July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

boats heading to harbour baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… what kind of weather we’ve had today by looking at this photo.

Piles of boats out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel heading back towards the Port de Plaisance before the gates close with the turn of the tide. It seems that everyone has been out to sea this afternoon.

And that’s really not a surprise at all because the temperature reached the upper 20s this afternoon and there was almost no wind and it’s a long time since I’ve been able to sat that

But I missed a lot of the day today because of course I was going to have a lie-in this morning to recover from my journey to Leuven.

And with the intention of having a lie-in, 07:20 is far too early for me to be thinking of leaving my stinking pit. Even 09:30 was far too early but because couldn’t go back to sleep I was up and about shortly afterwards.

My push for fewer medications seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Instead of there being 7 pills and tablets to take every morning, there are now 9. So that didn’t work.

And what else didn’t work was relieving this fatigue either. I’ve spent most of the day trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, not to fall asleep.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was at the Grammar School last night and there was a meeting taking place of the School Committee – some teachers, some pupils. The door was in a position where from the top of the stairs I could take photos of people coming and going so that was what I was doing. I’d been talking to a few people whom I knew. Then a girl appeared. I know who she is but I just can’t put a name and I wish that I could remember her name, and she was wearing some kind of ridiculous plunging neckline top. From where I was on the top of the stairs I had a really good view. There was a lavatory block in the middle of the hall with the Gents on one side and the Ladies on the other and on one of the ends. For some unknown reason none of these were suitable so this girl asked me where else do the ladies go. So I told her about the loos next to the 5th form common room. She looked bewildered and I thought “well, I’ve not been in this school for so long. The 5th form common room is bound to have changed from where it was in my day” and I had to try to explain to her where it all was. They said “okay” they’ll go off and find it. So off they went in a kind-of completely different way to the way that I had told them to go so I’d no idea what was happening there.

Some time later I was round at a friend’s and he was in a couple with a girl who is in real life the wife of someone else. He was talking about going on holiday and he had a trailer coupled up to his car but he had just a piece of paper as the rear numberplate with a number written on it put over the top of the number of the trailer. I told him that he would be far better off getting a real numberplate and putting it on. He was convinced that he was doing things the right way so I left him to it. I told him that in Europe trailers were registered themselves with their own numbers, all that kind of thing. So the girl and I were there after he had gone and we were doing some things. There was something important that needed doing for which I needed her help but I can’t remember what it was now but she said “we’ll see how it goes” but then as time drew on she said “we’re going to have to do this scene with some vehicles on it” so reluctantly I agreed and anyway so something was getting on and there were a couple of lively cats and a small dog playing around and then she made a decision about having a cup of tea so I got up to make one. I put the tea bags in the pot and I was about to fill the pot and she said “no, don’t make a pot of tea because I won’t be drinking it” so I said “I won’t bring you tea in the morning then in that case” so I went off to I don’t know where.

But there was somewhere along the line that I’d been out in a car and we were going to somewhere near Aberystwyth. I was with Percy Penguin and we drove all the way out there to do something but in the end came across an auction where they were selling old motorbikes. There was one old British one in a terrible state but looked complete but there were no bids on it so the guy said “does anyone want it?”. I was feeling really bad because had we gone in Caliburn I could have brought that back without any trouble at all but instead we’d gone in an ordinary saloon car and there was no room in it for a thing like a motor bike. I was really upset by that, and not just when I was asleep either.

Before lunch I went and mixed three loads of dough – one for the pizza bases for the next three weeks, the second for the jam roly-poly and the third with wholemeal flour for the fruit bread. That was all mixed up and then I could go for my lunch.

This afternoon, in between bouts of sleep I tried to bring up to date Friday’s journal entry, but I have to say that I didn’t get very far with it and nothing has changed with the entry already so far on line.

Another thing was to give all of the dough a second kneading. The roly poly was flattened out square and spread with jam, and then rolled up rather like a swiss roll. I had to cut it in two to make it fit the baking tray.

The pizza dough was kneaded, divided into 3 and two of the lumps were rolled in oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in the freezer. The third was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof.

To the wholemeal dough, I added a ripe banana, some desiccated coconut, dried fruit, sultanas and various assorted nuts ground into powder. That was all mixed up, kneaded, shaped and put in the smaller bread mould.

As well as all of that, I’ve been pairing off the music for the next radio programme bur I won’t be working on that this week because I have a full-time Welsh course stating at 11:00 on Monday

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between that I went off for my afternoon walk, not forgetting that I have to go to the beach to see what was happening there.

Across the car park I went and looked over the wall to see what was happening, and I was amazed by the crowds of people down there. And although there wasn’t very much beach to be on right now, the sea was pretty much full of people this afternoon.

It seems that every man and his dog has gone down to the beach to frolic about in the sea this afternoon. It would surprise me if there was enough room for everyone to find a little spot to sit down

man and woman on inflatable boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just down on the beach that there were crowds of people either.

The sea was quite full as well with all kinds of craft out there this afternoon. There were several interesting boats but my vote for pride of place has to go to this inflatable zodiac thing that was paddling around offshore with a man and a woman on board doing the paddling.

And I particularly liked their version of a lifeboat that they were towing behind them. An inflatable rubber ring in the form of a car tyre that will be a great help if ever it were to be called upon to perform the task for which it was intended.

flags pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are four flagpoles by the Monument to the French Resistance, but one of them was taken away a few weeks ago.

While i was away it seems that they have done whatever it was that needed to be done to the flagpole and it’s resumed its place down by the lighthouse. So the German flag was once more flying quite happily by the American, French and British flags.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon, most of whom weren’t wearing masks despite the rising infection totals here in France. I still wear mine and in any case I did my best to keep my distance as I walked around the path.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking around the path I noticed something moving out at sea. I took a photo of it with the aim of enlarging it whe I returned home.

Actually, I had a really good idea of what it might be and as I enlarged the image I could see that I was right too. It’s one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

She’s pretty much loaded up with passengers, either day trippers or holidaymakers coming back and presumably catching the evening train to Paris.

But back to our story, and I carried on down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t much going on there so I continued on down the path and round the other side.

f-bslf Robin DR-315 Petit Prince pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown by a light aircraft that had apparently just taken off from the airport.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before – F-BSLF, a Robin DR-315 “Petit Prince”. She’s not one of the Aero Club aeroplanes who we see on regular occasions.

In fact she only arrived this morning at the airport. Although she didn’t file a flight plan, she was picked up by radar at 08:51 somewhere near St Seglin heading towards the airport and disappeared off the radar near Mont St Michel, presumably to have a closer view as she came in to land.

And then she took off again at 16:13, when was when I saw her, and she flew south before disappearing off the radar again at Baulin near St Seglin. So it’s reasonable to suppose that she comes from somewhere around there.

l'alize 3 galapagos chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving disposed of the aeroplane I could continue on my way along the path towards the harbour and see what’s going on down there.

And there have been changes at the chantier naval while I’ve been away. We are down to just two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and Galapagos. The other two trawlers that were there, Black Pearl and Charles Marie II have gone back into the water. The latter boat wasn’t in the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. They told me last time I was down there that she would be back in the water “shortly”, but they were clearly talking in Geological terms.

marite big wheel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the wall I could see down into the inner harbour.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity down there this afternoon. But our old friend Marité is still in there. It looks as if that trip that she was planning yesterday when all of those people were going aboard can’t have been going very far – probably just into the bay and back.

The big wheel is there of course, and it was actually working as well. There must have been plenty of people wanting to go for a ride. It’s not the thing for me though – I’m sure that I have a much better view from up here on top of the cliffs than I would on top of the wheel.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the inner harbour a siren from the ferry terminal brought me back to reality.

When I looked round I could see that Joly France was reversing out of the terminal – hence the siren – and heading back out to sea. There must be plenty more people out there on the island waiting to come back to the mainland, more than the other Joly France boat can handle.

But I couldn’t wait for the two boats to come back. I came on back home to carry on work and trying hard not to fall asleep.

Round about 18:00 I put on the oven and bunged in the fruit loaf followed a few minutes later by the jam roly poly. And when they were cooked I bunged in the pizza which I had been preparing.

vegan pizza jam roly poly fruit bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I took that out of the oven. And here it is with the jam roly poly and the fruit bread.

The pizza looks absolutely delicious and it tasted delicious too. As for the jam roly poly and the fruit bread, you’ll have to wait for a day or two before I can tell you what they are like.

Back in here, fighting off the fatigue yet again, I wrote up my notes for the day and posted them on line. And that’s all that I’m doing today. I’m completely exhausted and I have so much to do tomorrow, so I’m off for an early night in bed tonight.

And I can’t wait for that either. A good night’s sleep will do me the world of good – I hope.