Tag Archives: vegan pie

Friday 15th December 2023 – YOU HAVE PROBABLY …

… already guessed what has happened today.

At roughly about 11:40 when I was comfortably settled deep down in the Arms of Morpheus, the telephone rang.

"This is the hospital here in Paris. We’re doing our planning for next week. Can you come on Monday instead of Tuesday? You’ll still be staying for several days."
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we started off with Tuesday, and then it was already changed from Tuesday to Monday a few days ago, and then changed back again to Tuesday at a later date.
"I shall have to see what the taxi company has to say about it. I’ve messed them around enough with all of these cancellations and it is rather short notice"

And so I phoned the taxi company to chat to them about the situation. We had an “interesting and illuminating” discussion which eventually led to them agreeing to take me on Monday instead. The appointment isn’t until 13:15 which means leaving at 09:00 instead of 04:30 and hitting the rush-hour head on, so that might have helped to persuade them. And the lie-in will be useful for me too.

Having had the agreement from the taxi company I phoned back to the hospital and confirmed the situation. So that is that.

When the cleaner came round, we had a discussion about the situation, as we do.

With my usual air of optimism I added "well, it’s 16:00. Still plenty of time for a further change of plan"
"Not at this time of the afternoon. Everyone will be ready to go home" she replied.

And I must admit that I really did admire her confidence. Five minutes later the telephone rang.

This time it was the taxi company. "Would you possibly consider doubling up and sharing a taxi with someone else going to Paris on Monday, leaving at 07:00?"

So much for my lie-in then. But considering how they’ve been messed about by all of these changes to the programme, I have to show some bonne volonté I suppose. My cleaner hopes that it will be a belle blonde travelling with me, but my money is on a retired Bulgarian female weightlifter

They probably won’t say anything to the Social Security about the car-sharing and charge for two trips, but in that position I’d probably do the same too.

But anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, I had a good play around on the guitar before going to bed, something that led me down another road to somewhere deep in the past.
"She moved her hips
And swayed in my direction
I thought we could make it yet
And beat the isolation
But in that gentle dark
We tore ourselves apart
Through fire and rain
Through wilderness and pain
Through the losses, through the gains
On love’s roller coaster train
I call your name"

So hauling myself out of the pit wherein lives the Black Dog, I hauled myself off to bed where I had another turbulent night. And although there was quite a lot going on, I didn’t have any special visitors.

When the alarm went off this morning I already had the bedroom light on and was just about to swing my feet out of bed, so effectively I fell short of an early start by a matter of a handful of seconds. Still, a miss is as good as a mile.

After the meds I came back in here to print off a justificatif de domicile – a certificate issued by the Electricity Board as proof of your occupation of your premises, and then transcribed the mountain of dictaphone notes. It seemed to have been “quantity” last night, not “quality”.

I started off busily organising my bread, dividing it into portion-sized helpings for the future when I awoke this morning. The ambulance had already come for me and there was something going on there too about organising a wholesale supply of food and daily helpings for different people but I wasn’t actually involved in what was going on down there. They’d just come to pick me up and at that moment I awoke.

And then I was doing my English homework at home. I had a list of words and had to find their equivalent in the second column of this list and then insert them in the correct place in the test that I was reading. It was about an American guy from the Mid-West who was finishing work and coming home. Some of the language in this text was extremely dubious so I wouldn’t read it out loud because we had a young girl staying with us. Then my father came home from work. He asked what I was doing so I explained. The girl explained a little too. My father then began to say things like “do they have an equivalent in there for ‘stripper’?” – words like that. As a matter of fact they did but I didn’t want to read them out because of the young girl. My father didn’t seem to care at all. We began to make tea. On the table, there were all kinds of stuff on this table that you wouldn’t believe. There I was with these hot dishes and there was nowhere to put them. I went to move some things out to the side but someone grabbed hold of it and began to use it. Someone else asked me if I wanted a slice of apple pie. That had been put on the floor because it was the only place to put it. This was in my opinion a completely unacceptable way that everything was just scattered about everywhere

Continuing on that dream later on, there was some of my mother’s cooking there and that was something of a mess. No matter how much I actually like hummus I decided that when my mother presented a bowl for the evening meal, I’d rather give it a miss.

My mother’s cooking was legendary, but for all the wrong reasons. When I used to go round to a friend’s house in Nantwich after school his German mother always served me up with piles of food. When I was in Munich with him last year, we talked about it and I asked him why.
"Don’t you remember?" he asked. "I stayed for tea once at your house. Only once."

To be honest, it wasn’t until I met Nerina that I began to eat well

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed it was a Monday morning and I was slowly preparing to go to work. Suddenly I looked at the time. It was 08:20. I had to rush around and find everything really as quickly as possible. I hadn’t even had a wash and probably smelt to high heaven but had to do the best that I possibly could. All the time there were the usual interruptions, people in my way, not being able to find anything. There was a discussion going on about why Manchester United hadn’t done as well as everyone had expected over the last couple of seasons so I had my three ha’pence-worth as I was going around. But I was really fighting a hopeless task and was nothing at all like ready when I realised that the bus had gone and that I’d be late for work. In a fit of exasperation etc I stormed into the kitchen, dropped my things onto the floor and said “this is it! I’ve missed the bus again! I’m not going to miss this bus again whatever happens”.

Believe it or not, I actually laughed in the middle of the dream when I dictated that. I’ve heard those promises before.

A short while later I had exactly the same dream again about preparing for work or for school. Exactly the same thought about never being late went through my head again with exactly the same response from my subconscious during the dream. I ended up storming off out of the room, bad-tempered. I spent some time doing some Welsh revision while I was waiting for the alarm to ring

While I was in Munich I’d gone to see something or other on the outskirts. When I was driving back I came to a roundabout where there was some evidence of bomb damage still – burnt-out buildings etc. I stopped and took the camera but I couldn’t find a good spec to photograph it, where I could fit everything in without the sun interrupting me. At one stage I was trying to cross the road when 3 BMC 1100s appeared one after the other and performed some kind of pirouette around me as I tried to reach the other side of the road

Finally I came across some people who had a Bristol Lodekka double-decker bus, a green one, in their barn in the centre of France. The destination blind on it read ROUTE 929 – LEEDS to OPORTO. They told me some of the story of the bus but not everything. We’d recently come to settle down there. Before leaving someone had given me a box of things with fish in it. I made a little pool for these fish but instead it turned out that they were some giant cormorant birds. They looked quite ridiculous sitting on my little pond. They, at least, one of them, could actually talk and I had some very interesting conversations with the cormorant about laying eggs and hatching, etc. But it was the bus in the neighbour’s barn that intrigued me. I’d love to know what it was doing and how it had ended up there when it should have been somewhere in Oporto

When the bus (the local one, not the 929 from Leeds to Porto) came, I clambered aboard, declining a lift from a neighbour because I have to push myself onwards on the bus whenever I can, and we set off for St Nicolas and on the way, the driver forgot to stop at the Ecole d’Hotellerie to let off the High School baking class

At St Nicolas the first stop was at the Post Office where, armed with my justificatif de domicile, I jumped through various complicated hoops in order to open a bank account.

So shortly I’ll have a bank card and actually be able to draw some cash at some point. As I have mentioned before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … there’s not another cash point in the town accessible to me because I can’t climb back onto the bus afterwards.

It took so long that I didn’t have time for my coffee at the Carrefour but at least I have tomatoes and mushrooms and a few other things. I met the guy with whom I’d had a long chat the other day.
"A British guy who likes our bread and our coffee " he said. "That’s a rare sight"
"If I’d only wanted tea at four o’clock" I replied "I’d have stayed over there".

At the bus stop I had a long chat with a local guy also waiting for the bus, and then with a woman on the bus on her way to the doctor’s.

People are starting to notice me. I’m not sure that that’s a good sign.

Back here I had another chat with a neighbour and then climbed up the stairs to my apartment where I made my coffee and cheese on toast

Despite phone calls, the attentions of the cleaner and the occasional drift away into nothingness I finihsed off the radio notes that I’d started yesterday, and they are now ready for dictation, which I’ll do tomorrow night as usual.

Rosemary rang up too and we had another one of our lengthy chats that seem to go on for ever when we talk about almost nothing.

However, I have made an executive decision, and for the benefit of new readers, of which there are more than a few just recently, an executive decision is a decision that you make which, if it goes wrong, the person making it is executed.

And that is that I’ve decided what to have for Christmas dinner.

For a while now I’ve been thinking about making a vegan pie because I haven’t made one for ages. But this one is going to be different – I’ve ordered some puff pastry rolls.

Making pastry like that from scratch is difficult. You have to roll it out thin, coat is with oil, fold it over, roll it again, coat with oil, fold again ad infinitum. I can imagine exactly how mine would turn out.

However the LeClerc poverty-spec pastry rolls are vegan so that’s what I’ll use.

  • Put a cup of lentils in the slow cooker, cover with water and slowly bring to the boil.
  • When they begin to boil, drain them out and rinse them thoroughly, then put them back on the lowest heat with more water, plenty of herbs and spices and leave them overnight on the lowest heat
  • Next morning, cut up your tofu into small squares and fry with onion, garlic, mushrooms, whatever else you like and plenty of herbs and spices.
  • When they are nice and golden brown, tip in your lentils and stir it round, and then add a few spoons of oats to absorb the liquid and make a glutinous mass
  • Empty it into your pie case, add the top, brush with soya milk and bake until golden brown

As usual, any other suggestions and ideas are welcomed.

Tea tonight was salad, chips and some of those nugget things, something that went down really well.

So having finished my notes, I’ll carry on with the guitar for a while. I’ll have another go at trying to sing MOONAGE DAYDREAM while playing the bass.

At least I’m not the only one how finds it difficult. Grahame wrote that he doesn’t find it easy either. Maybe we ought to hold a “Ziggy Stardust” masterclass at some point.

But if anyone else wants to write and say “hello” or exchange ideas, there’s a link on the bottom right of the page. But if you use Gmail, I can’t reply to you.

In Google’s quest to take over the internet the company wants webmasters to embed its code into all minor domains and until I know why and what it does, I’m not putting it in mine. Consequently Google is blocking me from writing to anyone with a Gmail address.

Tomorrow I have no plans, but as usual, something will probably pop up to distract me. And then on Sunday, I’m baking bread and biscuits and a few other things besides, I reckon.

That means that I’d better remember to order some more vegan butter. I’m going through it at an alarming rate.

Thursday 19th January 2023 – I WAS PLANNING …

… on making a radio programme today but I haven’t. I’m very far from it as it happens not even having written all of the notes, never mind dictated and edited them. There have been planty of other things going on today, all of which have needed my attention.

The first was this thing for the radio that I did yesterday. I should have realised that it was only part of the story and that there was much more to do than that.

Secondly I had a couple of phone calls to make, one of which involves my day out on Tuesday. No-one has told me where I’m supposed to go, what I’m supposed to do, what I need to bring with me, despite a reminder that I sent on Monday.

Consequently I telephoned them this morning and they promised to send me the information today at some point. And so it’s now about 22:00 and the information still hasn’t been received. I can see me turning up on Tuesday morning (I found out by other means where I need to go) without any of the required information, a huge problem developing as a result, and me turning round and saying “hard luck”.

Rosemary rang me as well and we had one of our very lengthy chats about nothing much in particular. She’s currently under a couple of feet of snow down in the Auvergne, as is much of the country today. I saw a photo of the vinyard of my friend in the Saone valley and that’s pretty much in a white-out.

This afternoon I finally managed to contact the garage about the problems that i’m having with Caliburn. There’s no auto-electrician in Granville, as I reckoned, but he’s of my opinion that it’s either a bad earth or a bad starter. As a result he can have a go at fixing it and he’s arranged for me to call in on 31st January. He’ll have a play around to see if he can fix it before I make plans about taking it to Coutances and the auto-electrician.

So what am I going to do on Tuesday? It’s probably the most important meeting that I’ve had for many a year and I need to be there. And so I rang up about hiring a car for a morning. It works out to be about half the price of a taxi and I can even recover the cost by doing a shopping trip around LeClerc instead of having my monthly delivery.

The physiotherapist came round later and had a close look at how I walk. he’s identified another muscle that needs work so he’s given me some exercises for that too. I can see that I’ll be spending most of the rest of my life doing exercises at this rate.

And so that left me with the dictaphone notes to write. Those for yesterday were the first to do and then I updated yesterday’s entry. And then I had a look at today’s stuff. I was working on the radio last night speaking to a woman whom I knew who had a boy who was 6 or 7. They had come from a distant planet to live on the planet where we were. The son spoke the local language and also spoke the language of the planet where they lived before. They had lots of different experiences even down to the kind of pets that they would keep and how they looked after them so I was really keen to interview him. We had quite a long chat for 15 minutes learning all about pets, the way of life, how familes were composed, how they managed on their distant planet somewhere millions of light years away.

Next, I’d gone round to Aunt Mary’s flat to tidy it up. On the way I’d bumped into Nerina and we’d had quite a long chat. For some unknown reason we ended up back together again. I was in the middle of buying a house and was actually filling in a load of documents while she was there. I had to fill in a form with my father’s details. I thought “my father is dead. How do I find out this?”. She said “I didn’t know that he’d died”. Then it came to details of my wife’s parents. I put “not applicable”. She looked rather bizarrely at that. We carried on chatting all the same. We ended up at Aunt Mary’s flat. We thought from what we’d heard that my elder sister and her brother had been to see the place and had it almost ready but when we went in there was nothing whatever that had been done. There were papers all over the place. We made a start on collecting it all together but we couldn’t find any boxess so in the end I thought to myself “there’s no point being here. We may as well go. I’ll leave a note for my elder sister” but trying to find a blank piece of paper with nothing written on the reverse was next to impossible. I already had 2 attempts at pulling a piece of paper out of a notebook only to find that there was something on the back. In the end I thought “we’re wasting our time here. Nothing is going to be done, we aren’t going to find anything, there are no boxes to put anything, there’s no point taking anything away like this. In the end we just left.

Later on I was buying some property and had a pile of forms to sign. I was reading my way through them checking everything, seeing everything that was written down and thinking to myself “this fellow must have had a lot of money when he died to have been able to leave everything like this to all kinds of different people.

Did I dictate this just now or did I dream doing it? Apparently not. Anyway I was with Nerina again and we were chatting. She was saying that she’d given up judo etc. We’d been to some kind of health or other, then we’d gone away. I needed a paper from where we were. It was at this house. The servants were in there so I had to break in ever so quietly to fetch it. I went back there and quietly broke my way in. I was rifling through this paper when 2 people suddenly appeared. They asked if this house had 2 floors. I replied “not if you swam here by the river. It only has 2 floors if you come here by the road”. They disappeared off and I hurried to try to find this paper. They ended up back, and we ended up with quite a few more people. There was some kind of dinner party taking place. It was in the morning as well so we had a cooked breakfast. People were talking to Nerina, asking if it was true that she’d given up judo etc. One of the girls, the one who had come in with this guy while I was finding this paper, she had the tiniest breakfast imaginable, about a quarter of a slice of toast with 2 or 3 baked beans on it. We made a joke about if it was going to be enough. She said that she didn’t eat a lot. We said that she needed to eat to keep up her strength. What will she do if she’s hungry? Luckily she took the teasing in good nature rather than being offended.

Finally, I was still in Slovakia or wherever I was. I’d been in a secondhand transport bookshop. There were tons of stuff in there but there was only one or two things that I wanted, little pamphlets. I picked them up. Someone else wanted something, an American boy who was talking to us about the Warburton Railway and one or two other bits and pieces. When we reached the checkout the guy told us that there was a sale on today. he went throught the stuff we’d bought and it came to 75 cents. he said “that kind of thing deserves a tip” so I gave him €1:00 and told him to keep the change. I gave a book to this American boy and told him “here, have this on me”. We walked off into the town

The vegan pie that I had for tea tonight was delicious, with vegetables and thick gravy. That was, I reckon, the last of the vegan pie so I’ll have to make some plans about making some moreat some point. But I really want to have a good run through the freezer and empty out what it in there first before I decide about making some more stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be taking out a couple of vegan sausages as I fancy some sausage, beans and chips. Those vegan sausages that I bought in Jersey last summer were delicious and I would love to find some more somewhere.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed though. I have my electrical poking and prodding tomorrow and then I’m going shopping in town for mushrooms and to visit the bank. A little expedition on the bus and on my crutches should certainly be different.

Thursday 12th January 2023 – I’VE GIVEN UP …

… making a note of the time when I finally heave myself out of my stinking pit because it’s becoming rather embarrassing that all of my energy in this resepct has evaporated. Instead, I’ll try to concentrate on more positive aspects of everything – if I can actually find any.

It wouldn’t have been during the night though. I did my usual awakening at some silly time and then being unable to go back to sleep for hours. I once read someone’s thesis on Medieval sleeping patterns where there was mention of “first sleeps” and “second sleeps” with people getting up and performing tasks in between. I might not be old enough to remember any medieval sleeping patterns – it just feels like it right now.

Plenty of time to go off on a voyage here and there too. Someone was moving house last night and my family from Wardle was going to look after some stuff for a couple of days. Maybe they had some use for it or something. It was a case of bringing some of the stuff out of this house and putting it onto a trailer that would be towed by a van of theirs. First of all they had to go off somewhere so this girl and I stayed behind. We had to start to take the stuff outside but she was taking ages to do the slightest thing. We were going nowhere because she didn’t seem to have any enthusiasm or energy for the task. Eventually they turned up back so we made a better start. The first thing was these 3 enormous plants. She picked up 2 and went outside. I picked up the third but the stem broke quite low down. I thought “I’ve ruined this”. Then it was the case that she was bringing all kinds of stuff out that these people weren’t going to look after. I couldn’t see the point or purpose in doing that. She started to move bit by bit. The place was dirty and dusty, hadn’t been dusted for years by the looks of things. There were spiders everywhere. I thought that this is really not going to be how I would expect a furniture removal of this sort to be taking place. I felt that we were going to be here while she got organised.

Later during the night we were living in one of these families with children from different parentage. My mother was looking after a couple of children for which she was receiving some money per week. One of these children was actually my elder sister. We didn’t get on and we’d had several fights. One of them was really serious so my mother told me that she would send me away. I thought that if this is an issue between the 2 children and my mother has to choose one of them, why is she choosing the one for which she receives money and want to send away her own child. I made quite a big fuss or argument about all of this. I told her flatly that I wasn’t leaving. If they wanted me out of the house they would have to drag me out. Shortly after that my mother announced that she was having to go away. Because my elder sister and I didn’t get on, I would have to stay temporarily with people while she was away and come back later. Again I refused to go because I saw this for what it was, a plan to simply get me out of the house and once I’d gone they would be no way that she would bring me back in it again so once again I refused flatly to go.

And then I was about to be arrested for something or other. I knew that it was inevitable so I decided that I’d go and surrender myself. I was with 2 girls who might have been Alison and Jackie. I was going through all my paperwork with them making sure that they had everything that I needed. I had all my notes there and pointed out that there were other notes as well, the most recent of which were in a carrier bag in Caliburn on A4 paper folded in half. I went down the various phone numbers with them to make sure that they had them all. Suddenly the question of Zero cropped up. I wondered whether I should give them Zero’s phone number. In the end I decided that while one number more or less won’t make any difference so I gave them her number. I told them that if ever they were to ring it up and her father answered, not to speak to her father but to phone back another time because they would only every have one shot at talking to her. I wrote the number down but the pencil was very blunt. The number was very indistinct so I had to repeat it a couple of times. It didn’t really look like how it ended up being written but it was the best that I could do at that moment because I had a feeling that I ought to go straight away and not wait around any longer otherwise things would just become worse.

At some point I was visiting Clause and Francoise. They had some Ukrainian refugees staying with them, including a girl who I thought was quite cute. We were there, a group of us, hanging around until the evening. I had to go. They asked if I would be back tomorrow but seeing as it was 8 hours home then 8 hours back that might have sounded unlikely but I said to myself “yes, why not?”. I arranged to be there for 09:30 which was totally ridiculous. I set off and drove home like the wind, basically turn round and drive straight back again. The idea that I’d spend the night in a cheap hotel in Montlucon never ever occurred to me until I was well on my way back. As I pulled round the corner towards their house it was 09:35. I thought that I’d done really well to arrive like this. As I came to a stop I looked at my watch and saw that it was 08:30. My watch was clearly playing up. I wondered what on earth the time really was and whether they were still going to be there or if they were fed up and gone without me because I was so late.

Finally, I was in Shrewsbury. I had to come home by catching a coach. I boarded this coach and set off. It drove through the back streets at a hell of a pace and out into the countryside. Then it was me on foot escorting 2 people. I was basically having to crawl on my hands and knees with them. I could see that I was becoming slower and slower. It was quite obvious to me that I can’t keep on doing this. I’m going to have to stop. I’ll be lucky if I make it home. I put on a spurt and we climbed up this steep climb. At the top was this most beautiful view of the sea and inland. Everything from this craggy rock. We talked about the view and everything. They asked why the French didn’t advertise this more. I explained “yes, it’s French. It’s ice to visit and French people have the right to see it but they don’t want it to be overwhelmed. There were a few people round as well running around here and there. These 2 people headed off down the hill but I stood there to look around for a moment. There were people who were just letting themselves go, running full-tilt down this slope. I waited for a moment and when it was clear I ran full tilt down the slope too all the way down to the bottom. Then I looked for the 2 people whom I was conducting but couldn’t see them at all. I wondered where they had gone because they were nowhere in my view at all.

But it was interesting that once more Zero was lurking around in the background but something came up to stop her actually making an appearance. It’s been quite a few times now that that has happened and it’s probably a fact of some significance that she has failed to cross the threshold.

It appears to me that what goes on during the night has far more significance than it might appear at face value although I don’t think much of Freud’s ideas. This exercise that we did 20-odd years ago into dreams seemed to indicate that a dream was an episode of maybe half a dozen long-running threads that ran through someone’s subconscious life but what this actually meant, we never found out. The leader of this project graduated with his Master’s Degree as a result of our efforts but we never saw his thesis.

Today was supposed to be a radio day and indeed it was, although we haven’t set any records today – far from it. I hadn’t as much as sat down and warmed up the computer when I had a message “could I do a tribute for Jeff Beck?”.

Of course I can, but I wanted to do something of a difference. Everyone else will be playing his more famous stuff but I know of at least one unofficial recording that took place in a club when he was in an amateur group long before the Yardbirds, another that he did for a more famous rock star long before he was ever famous and also some session work that he did for a group from Bolton that Jimmy Page sent him via his sister.

Consequently most of the day has been spent following all kinds of casual leads from here or there and I’ve ended up with about 15 tracks, including the tracks for which I’d been looking and also a recording of the only track on which he sang when he was with the Yardbirds.

There’s some rare stuff in there, especially the track on which Jimmy Page plays bass and when I’ve finished writing up the notes (I’ve done the notes for 11 of the 15 songs) it will be something special. I shall see if I can finish it tomorrow morning.

In the middle of all of this, I stopped for a shower, seeing as the physiotherapist is going to be coming round later. Getting into the bath was easier today than it has been of late, and also I can get myself back upright from a kneeling position if there’s something on which I can hang on to pull myself up.

Ask me how I know.

While I was in there I set the washing machine going. There was much more than one machine-load to do so I shall have to do a second load in early course. At least the bedding has been washed and once it’s dried it will be ready. I need to change my bedding much more often than I do.

The physiotherapist regulated my crutches for me and then had me walking around the apartment practising for 10 minutes or so. And once I got the hang of how to walk with them it was much better than trying to hobble around. I’ll try to go for a walk tomorrow if the weather is nice – down to the supermarket on the bus and find some mushrooms and peppers. I’m not sure what else I might need – maybe some frozen peas or something. I’ve plenty of carrots, and if I mix up the beans and sprouts, I can keep that lot going for another week or two.

Talking of sprouts, I had some with my slice of vegan pie tonight with potatoes and gravy. It really was delicious and I shall have to make some more of that.

So I’ll go back and dictate the notes for the radio programme as far as I have done them so far. And then see whereabouts I can reach. I have my final track already planned, as well as my final speech, so it’s the bit in the middle that is the issue.

That will take some thought, but not at 23:00 in the evening.

Thursday 22nd December 2022 – WHAT CAN BE EASIER …

… than buying something, arranging for it to be picked up and shipped to a different address?

Absolutely everything, by the looks of things.

This blasted sunroof that I ordered, paid for and collected (one of my reasons for going to Canada just now) and then arranged to be taken away and delivered to France by a freighting company has now turned up back at the point of collection.

The box has been opened too and all of the special packaging that kept it safe from damage all the way from the manufacturer is “missing”.

It already took 6 weeks for it to be collected by the freighter and then it was away for just about a week or so before it ended up back.

The story (for what it’s worth) is that Customs had to inspect it before it went on board the aeroplane (I’m not quite sure why) and as a result it missed its flight. The freighter will “arrange for it to be picked up again” but we shall see about that.

What is quite upsetting is that it’s no longer in its secure factory packaging, and sending a glass sunroof by air mail without the proper packaging is going to be somewhat problematic.

This shoud have been something sooooooo easy to arrange but that’s not the case. I keep on saying that I ought to stop doing things for other people as I find it so stressful but I always manage to find myself “suckered in” because it’s “so easy”. But for reasons that I don’t understand, it never is.

At least I’d had a decent sleep for a change. I remembered being awake for two or three moments here and there but not for any significant time. Once again I didn’t manage to beat the second alarm but there wasn’t all that much in it. I suppose that that’s optimistic for the way things have been just recently.

Once I’d come round into the Land of the Living I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare for today. There were several interruptions though so I didn’t set any records today.

Firstly, I have joined the rank of the Old Biddies. My shopping trolley has arrived so I had to go downstairs to collect it, and then assemble it. But although it makes me feel as if I’m about 100, it’s safe to lean on when I’m walking and gives me a little support here and there.

It’s quite large too so doing some shopping in the town may well prove to be a little more easy in the future. We’ll have to see after Christmas when I’ll make another foray down to the Carrefour.

Liz was on line too so we had another long chat, and then I prepared the onions and garlic and mixed up all the filling for my pie. It needs to be cooled before I can put it in the pie shell so I thought that if I were to do it early, it would have time to cool down.

And then, rather regrettably, I dozed off for half an hour at some point too.

This afternoon I’ve had a baking fit, but not, I have to say, with a great deal of success.

My pastry wasn’t up to all that much. I’m out of practice, I reckon, and it wouldn’t roll out properly. It ended up as something of a bit og a bodge but it worked.

Next was to make a chocolate sponge cake. That rose quite nicely in the oven but then it collapsed again in the centre. However it’s better than nothing and I’ll cut it in half, join the two halves together with a layer of jam and then ice it. That’s going to be my Christmas cake for this year. It’s the best that I can do.

Next stop was a pile of fruit buns, and I forgot that I had no bananas. Nevertheless, that lot looked as if it might have worked.

Finally, I had a go at making potato cakes for breakfast over the Christmas period. These aren’t a great success but then I’ve never had very much luck with these. But making them in little silicone muffin cases in the air fryer was a good idea.

It was while all of this was going on that I had to deal with the fall-out from this parcels delivery and it’s all very confusing.

For tea tonight, I had something different. While I was searching through the stores I came across a couple of packets of instant chick-pea curry. I tried one with some rice and veg. It was different and I’ve tasted better, but things like this need to be used. I tried to make myself an ad-hoc naan bread to try with it. And while that wasn’t a success either, it wasn’t disagreeable.

There were a couple of things on the dictaphone too from last night. I was on board a ship serving as a crew and the telephone rang. Someone answered it although it was my job to do so so I took it to interrupt him. In the end he said the name of the ship and he said my name and then passed the ‘phone over to me. It was the Institute of Diabetics inviting me to a meeting. Basically I had no interest whatever going to see the Institute of Diabetics. It turned out that these were taking place on board a submarine and I had absolutely no interest whatever in going on board a submarine either but this other sailor had. He was having to work out his plans etc to see how he could possibly fit it all in etc in order to negotiate an invitation for himself. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than going on board a submarine for something like this.

Later on there was a girl called Dianne, a Ukrainian girl with black hair who wanted a portfolio of photos taking. I’d looked on a website and she’d done plenty of portfolios before but I couldn’t actually see what it was that she needed. I was wondering whether it was a case of her redoing some of the earlier ones. I had a sort-around and tried to get a few things together but we had an appointment at 20:00 that was quite important, a contentious one. I had a few things to finish and round about 19:40 I’d done that so I said to Nerina “we have 20 minutes before this appointment so while I make a few sandwiches, can we talk about our plan”. She was puzzled about the sandwiches so I asked what we were going to eat. It seemed that she hadn’t thought anything about sandwiches at all or any food. She could think vaguely about where she could find a sandwich but not anyone else. I could see that this whole situation was going to turn into a nightmare. I knew that the night before I’d been out somewhere. It was really late when I was coming home, in the small hours of the morning. As I walked past Warner’s shop in Shavington there were some lights on and some people in the shop. I stuck my head in and opened the door to ask if they were open. They replied “not really” but what did I want? I just had a bar of chocolate just to get me home. They sold me a Mars bar. This was when I first started thinking about thse photos, when I was on my way home with my Mars bar after that. The rest took place the following day. But I was amazed that no-one else was prepared or had a plan or had anything organised – all down to me again and I only had 20 minutes. It was plenty of time for what I wanted to do but for what everyone else wanted it was nothing at all and it was going to be chaos.

Later on I got back into that dream about Dianne with the two “n”s. That flared up again from the very beginning and we went through that again.

Strangely enough I once met a girl, many years ago, called Dianne (with two “n”s and long black hair) but she was from South Asia somewhere like the Philippines or Indonesia, somewhere like that. Whatever would she be doing suddenly making an appearance in my travels?

So now I’m going to try to have another early night. I’m pretty much ready for this too and see if I can manage another decent sleep. Tomorrow I’m going to have a shower and change my bedding, and then I have a neighbour to see. I have to pay her for the stuff that she bought for me the other day. I’d better have a really good clean-up.

Wednesday 21st December 2022 – I’VE HAD A …

… horrible, really horrible day today. In fact I’ve spent most of it fast asleep on my chair with no enthusiasm to do anything and much of the stuff that I planned to do today has remained undone.

It actually started off quite well too. Although I didn’t beat the second alarm to my feet, There wasn’t much in it and I was good and ready if the pharmacist decided to bring me my injections. But, as you might expect, she didn’t come past.

Someone who did come past though was one of my neighbours saying that she was going shopping. I passed an order for potatoes, carrots, sprouts, pears and clementines. It cost a fortune but now I’m set up with everything in the fruit and veg line for the next two or three weeks.

In the time that it took for her to go and come back, I was flat out asleep on the chair in here. I really have never felt so awful as I did this morning and I’ve no idea why. I reckon that the effects of yesterday were just far too much for me.

This afternoon I’ve been asleep for quite a while too but when you look at what I’ve managed to do, it looks impressive nevertheless. Like tidying up, for example. The place looks a little better now that I’ve cleared a few things away.

And a big load of washing too. Surprisingly that’s all up-to-date now and it’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that.

1kg of sprouts and 1.5kg of carrots took some peeling and blanching, but they are all done now too. The sprouts went into the freezer but there was no room for the carrots so for the moment they are in the ice box in the fridge. It’s not ideal but I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to stock up.

For my Christmas meal, seeing as I don’t have anything special, I’ve decided that I will make a nice pie. So I put a cup full of lentils in the slow cooker. When they boiled up, I drained and rinsed them and put them back with some tofu and a pile of herbs and some garlic. They will marinade on a slow heat overnight and should be delicious.

Tomorrow I’ll fry some onions and add the tuff from the slow cooker and then add porridge oats to bind it all together. And when it’s cooled, I’ll make a nice tasty pie. But I can’t find the pie dish that I want to use and I have a feeling that I might have to invent something for that.

Ingrid telephoned me too and we had a chat. Not quite a Rosemaryesque chat but a long and interesting one nevertheless. She’s just as appalled as everyone else about what went on in the hospital in Leuven.

So this afternoon, I’ve been a really busy little beaver despite the fact that I didn’t feel at all like it and didn’t think that I’d done all that much.

Although I didn’t make any progress with the radio programme that I’ll be trying to prepare tomorrow, I managed to find the energy to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I started off taking a coach tour party to Blackpool. We made it as far as a motorway service area where we’d stop for half an hour although I forgot to tell everyone that it would be just half an hour. It was so tight in there that I had to get off the coach, shunt the other coaches around so I could find myself into a place to park. So there I was, heaving and mauling on these coaches. Eventually I put mine into a decent place. There was a guy with me who was looking at it. I said “it’s a good job that I can do this on my own, isn’t it? I used to be married”. We had a little chat. Gradually the passengers started to drift back. We ended up having another talk about monsters and that kind of thing, how gruesome and everything these slimy creatures were, the kind of stuff that I wouldn’t normally print on my blog but I seem to be doing it a lot just recently.

This next one is a story about a group of kids and adults, all extremely wealthy except 2 boys. 2 young girls move into their neighbourhood and the two boys seem to be more interested in the new girls than these women and girls who had been here before in this rich type of scenario. It starts to cause a load of problems.

So tomorrow I’ll be having a go with making my pie. I also have to make some more fruit buns as there are only enough for breakfast tomorrow. What i’m going to do with the ones that I don’t eat quickly I really don’t know as there is now no room in the freezer.

But that’s a problem for tomorrow. Right now I’m going to bed even if it is early. It’s been a horrible day – the kind that you just want to switch off and start again. But I’ve had a quick taste of my simmering pie filling and it is rather special. provided that I can find a pie dish it should work out really well.

Here’s hoping.

Tuesday 20th September 2022 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… the apartment, I’ve been a busy boy this afternoon.

At breakfast this morning I ate the last of the fruit buns and so I needed to make some more. Consequently, after I came back from my stagger around the headland I made a start and mixed up a pile of dough.

It just so happened that I had two extremely ripe bananas and they certainly made a difference. And as a result there was rather too much liquid so I had to add more flour and thus instead of the usual 9 or 10 there are in fact 11

And they are of good size too so I shall be regaling myself for quite a while.

And it wasn’t only just this afternoon that I was a busy boy either. I kept myself quite occupied during the night as well. There was a “Help Yourself” song stuck in the Top 20 and the group was trying to come in from one way to reach it but someone else had come from ahead of it to reach backwards for it. This was going to cause quite some conflict in the charts as the group itself really didn’t do anything except sit there. And if you can make sense out of all of that, then well-done because I can’t.

We were all then waiting round the corner from Exchange Street for a bus that was coming past at 23:17 because it had a car on it that we wanted to pick up. The bus appeared but it just drove straight past the bus stop. We all set out in pursuit. We caught up with the bus as it pulled into the bus station. The driver was basically talking a load of nonsense saying that this is in fact the 21:17 running late and what made us think that we’d get a car on board his bus anyway? He said that there would be other buses coming in even though it was almost midnight and although the bus station would be closing at midnight. We said that someone had better fetch some drinks for us as we were exhausted but he took one and drank it which we thought was rather cheeky of him. Generally speaking we had the air that he wasn’t going to co-operate at all and was just messing us around until the bus station closed and that would be that. We didn’t have our car, we didn’t have a way of going home, we didn’t have anything. I could see about 20 people spending the night sleeping on board this bus in the bus station.

There was also a white and light blue Plaxton Premier driving along the Rue du Port heading towards the chantier naval. I’d no idea what one of those would be doing round here but it looked happy enough

And next, I was working for OUSA last night recruiting. I was talking to a new girl who had just begun her studies. She lived in North London. At first getting information from her was like getting blood from a stone but gradually we warmed up and we had a really exciting chat. She’d worked for a roofing company and had actually been on roofs, doing roofing herself at one time. I was beginning to think to myself that by the time the end of this chat warmed up, this was someone whom I ought to know really a lot better than I do. We were having a bit of s struggle though because she was sent over to see ma and I was talking to her but it was someone I knew from school who was in charge of all the paperwork and the brochures. I went over to fetch some paperwork and a brochure but of course he’d gone home and there weren’t any so it was rather difficult to have this subject and this conversation on the go. But this was a girl whom I’d have really liked to have met a lot more than I did.

Finally I was on a project building a Combined Heat and Power generator using an old diesel engine to run a generator and to heat water that would provide hot water for various projects. It’s proven technology of course but there were always the prophets of doom about. Some scientist had published some work on the subject. he was quite a famous scientist. The debate was going on about whether he was right in this instance. Someone made the point that he had been right 3 or 4 times but as I explained, that counts for nothing because each case is individual. In any case this isn’t new technology, it’s stuff that’s been used for hundreds of years and even in cars they do it with generators and hot water heating the interior of the car so it obviously works. It doesn’t need a scientist to tell anyone. This carried on until the alarm went off.

After the medication I sorted out a few things that I needed to do and then revised for my Welsh lesson. And I’m glad that I did because today we were only 6 students. Still several who are missing.

Mind you, I nearly didn’t join the lesson. When I went to refresh the portable computer that I use, it took that moment to perform an upgrade. I was about 15 minutes late in joining by which time everyone else was already in breakout rooms.

It passed off quite well today, much better than it did last week and I’m hoping that I can keep it up. And also to continue with my Welsh studies too.

Incidentally, you won’t ever find any double-entendres in anything that I ever write. If you happen to come across one, let me know and I’ll whip it out immediately.

After the fruit I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been. I must admit that I had a smile about the trip to Crewe bus station. No chance of that these days because it’s all been swept away in an orgy of demolition.

It didn’t quite manage to survive 60 years, which is a shocking indictment of modern construction techniques, about which I HAVE BEEN VERY BITTER IN THE PAST.

Nevertheless, it shall be sorely missed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I passed my Biology ‘O’ Level exam thanks to the helpful drawings on the walls of the public conveniences on Crewe Bus Station

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So by now it was time for me to go walkabout

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down there today. The tide was quite a way in so really there wasn’t all that much down there for anything to be going on.

And there weren’t all that many people down there either. The weather has definitely turned and for the first time since I can’t remember when, I have put on a sweater in order to go out.

That’s not like me, is it?

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Even though the tide was quite a way out, there wasn’t all that much going on out at sea this afternoon.

Just really a handful of yachts like this one out in the Baie de Granville, and nothing else. We’re really getting to the end of the season now. It’s the first day of Autumn tomorrow if my calculations are correct.

There weren’t too many people up her eon the path either so I had a quiet walk along the tops of the cliffs. The view was good all the way along the coast and even out to Jersey but there wasn’t anything special to see today so I didn’t take any photographs to add to the record.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So despite the lack of action anywhere around, there were still a couple of people down by the cabanon vauban.

It was quite interesting going across the car park to see them because although there weren’t many people up there, I heard some English people and some German people too. Now that the French people have gone home, the foreigners are coming out in force.

But as for the people down below, I don’t know who they were but they certainly didn’t find the bench by the cabanon vauban to be comfortable enough. The ground looks much more comfortable for the person on the left.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But I suppose that there was someone down there for our people by the cabanon vauban to observe.

The tide is far too far in for the adepts at the peche-à-pied to be out in force, but perched down there like piffy on a rock we have a traditional fisherman with rod and line.

He’s concentrating quite hard on what he’s doing but it doesn’t look as if he’s intending to do anything special because like many other fishermen whom we’ve seen down there, he doesn’t have a box or a bucket in which to put any catch that he might take.

It could be of course that I’m completely missing the point of what the fishing is all about and it isn’t to actually catch anything.

There was quite a lot of traffic down on the road so it took me a minute or two to cross over.

gerlean l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And down at the chantier naval this afternoon there’s yet more exciting stuff going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have become quite used to seeing L’Omerta and Gerlean playing “musical ships” down by the Fish Processing Plant but by the looks of things they are now planning on playing a game in the chantier naval.

And you can see that it’s becoming quite tight in there with all the other usual suspects still in occupancy. There is some talk somewhere about the possibility of expanding the chantier naval and you can see why the proposition has been put forward.

But it’s unlikely that it’ll take effect. All of the quayside is a Protected Monument.

arc en ciel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while the cats, as in L’Omerta and Gerlean are away, the mice have come out to play.

Moored over there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon is the little trawler Arc En Ciel. She’s another one whom we’ve seen on a couple of occasions in the chantier naval in the past.

While she was there I was trying to make out what was going on and what she was doing, but unfortunately she didn’t hang around long enough. Just after I took this photo she pulled away from the wharf and went into the inner harbour and that was that.

F-GORN Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Anyway, it was at this moment that I was distracted.

Flying by overhead as I watched Arc En Ciel came an aeroplane. On closer examination it turned out to be one of our old favourites. She’s F-GORN, a Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the local aero club.

She’d been out a few times during the day and picked up on radar but this flight wasn’t picked up. She was recorded at landing at the airfield here at Granville at 14:03 and the next time she was picked up, she wast taking off at Avranches at 16:29.

As my photo was taken at 16:19 (adjusted) she must have been on her way to Avranches but keeping a very low profile.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home I stopped for a look at the inner harbour.

There was a lorry down there unloading a pile of freight ready to be picked up by one of the little Jersey freighters. Although I’m not quite sure how they are going to load it up with Cotes De La Manche moored up in the way.

Back here I made a start on the fruit buns and I do have to say that they looked quite good while they were proofing.

So as I was going to have the oven on to bake the buns, I abandoned my plans to have a taco roll for tea and found some frozen vegan pie in the freezer. That went in to oven with some potatoes and the fruit buns while I cooked some vegetables in thick gravy

The tea was nice and as for the fruit buns, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

And that’s tomorrow too. Right now I’m off to bed. I have visitors coming tomorrow so I’ll have to do a little tidying up. Not that anyone will notice the difference in here.

Thursday 8th September 2022 – THIS WEATHER …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 25th August 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out and about this afternoon, just for a change. And the days when my whole existence can be uplifted into headline news because I’ve actually been into the town centre shows you what’s going on in my life right now.

With a cheque to pay in, some magnesium tablets to buy and a load of ships in port, it seemed like a good plan.

Yesterday’s highlight, which I didn’t mention for fear of overwhelming you all with excitement, was going to the bins to take out the rubbish. It needed something really riveting to surpass that, didn’t it?

Only a few minutes late going to bed, and for a change I had a reasonable night. Mind you, once again it was a struggle to my feet this morning.

After the meds I attacked the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A bill came through for £170 and I wanted to pay it so I took my credit card and rang up the people concerned ready to pay it over the phone. After being shunted around half a dozen departments I was told that there was another procedure to follow. They explained the procedure to me which I didn’t quite understand but I had a go and the payment failed. I rang them back to explain to them. They explained another procedure which again failed. I was there for about three days trying to speak to all kinds of different people. Eventually they said that they had taken the payment with the credit card over the phone. I asked for confirmation so they put me through to the accounts department to make sure. When I spoke to her and told her about this she replied “you have to pay it”. I retorted “I’ve just paid it”. She asked “have you?” in an air of totally disbelieving tone. I replied “yes” so she said that I’d have to speak to someone in Accounts. I said “I just have done. It was they who just passed me through to you”. I had a feeling that with this money we were just going to be going round and round in a circle and end up nowhere at all. This was taking place while I was in the hospital. I had people in the ward with me so it was really extremely uncomfortable as well.

Afterwards I was in bed but awoke to hear some laughing. The ‘phone went and I couldn’t hear one side of the conversation but the other one was something like “yes, we’re all up and preparing to leave but Eric is still in bed”. I stood up quickly, grabbed my clothes, all my money fell out of my jeans, put on my clothes, kept on having my feet stuck in the legs of my trousers, generally trying to organise myself quickly because they’ll be taking down this tent in a minute. It seemed to me that the quicker I tried to do things, the longer it was actually taking me. I thought that I’d never have enough time to do this and collect my things together before they wanted to pull down this tent.

There was an interruption though in mid-transcribe, and an embarrassing interruption at that.

Yesterday with not feeling so bright and being rather tired, I hadn’t tidied anything up and the place was looking like a total tip. And, of course, I’d completely forgotten about the nurse. She turned up to find me in total chaos and not as clean as I would otherwise have liked the place to have been.

She struggled to find a clean and clear place to put the paper while she wrote out her notes and while she’s a cheerful sort, she clearly wasn’t happy.

All in all, it was rather an shameful situation.

It’s not going to improve very much either because the next time that she’ll be coming to inject me is in 10 days time on a Sunday morning and you all know what I’m like early on a Sunday morning.

After she left I carried on transcribing the notes and almost as soon as I’d finished, Rosemary called me. I’m convinced that when she was here she must have concealed a camera somewhere because she seems to know the precise moment to phone me.

When Rosemary and I finished our chat I started on what was left of the dictaphone notes from my trip around Central Europe and in a mad fit of enthusiasm and energy (don’t ask me where that came from)I completed them all. So that’s another good job completed.

In fact, it took me longer than I was expecting the pause for my lunchtime fruit notwithstanding.

fish processing plant festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Because of the position of the tide, I wanted to go out for my walk earlier than usual this afternoon.

As usual when I’m heading into town my point of reference for checking the camera is the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There wasn’t anyone down there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon. Gerlean who sometimes ties up there was in the inner harbour and I couldn’t see L’Omerta, the other boat that loiters around there usually.

Plenty of boxes on the quayside though so they must be expecting a load of traffic.

sailing boats rowing boat festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact you can see Gerlean down there right now tied up to a pontoon.

What you can’t see though is Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly where she ought to be right now without even looking at the radar. She should be back at her berth. She left home at 09:30 for Jersey and left there at 18:30 to return home.

It reminds me of Frankie Howerd when during one of his TV programmes he turned to the audience and asked “how do I know? Well, I have read the script”

While I was over there I picked up a timetable from the ferry terminal so I now know her agenda. It’s all bad news as far as I can see because the season of sailings is so intermittent that there’s no possibility of my going over there for a convenient three-or four-day break as I was hoping.

Going down all of the steps to the Rue du Port was mush more difficult than I imagined. I’m definitely losing my mobility. I then crossed the road and went over along the side of the Fish Processing Plant towards the harbour gates.

la granvillaise marie fernand grain de sail le loup rouge festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The boat that we haven’t seen before on the extreme right is called Le Loup Rouge. She was built in 1962 and has a very interesting history as she was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose as a racing yacht.

She actually won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s championship that year. Now though, she lives a more sedate life in Cherbourg just going to regattas and exhibitions.

Of course, over there we have on the extreme left La Granvillaise and next to her is Marie Fernand. We are, for the moment anyway, much more interested in the other boat, Grain de Sail

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travailport de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Her claim to fame is that she’s a commercial sailing boat that is powered (almost) exclusively by wind. There’s a small diesel engine on board but that’s just for manoeuvring, so we are told.

But while a uniquely wind-powered boat is nothing unusual, what is unusual about her is that she has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes and twice a year goes over on a triangular voyage from Europe to New York with local French produce for the American market, and then down to the Caribbean and finally back to Europe.

Not that two voyages per year of 50 tonnes is going to contribute much to the environment, but it’s all to prove a point. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I lived in the Auvergne I did much more than that and for a much longer period to prove a point.

le roc a la mauve 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My was timed to perfection as the harbour gates were closed so I could walk over the top to the other side.

As I did so, the first of the shell-fishing boats came in to unload at the fish processing plant. This one is Le Roc à la Mauve whom we saw for a lengthy period in the chantier naval.

Towing her little lighter behind her, she chugged into port with a respectable load of shellfish on board. The guy back there at the HIAB was repositioning the boxes, presumably for ease of unloading.

That’s not the kind of thing that you would do out in the open sea. There have been maritime disasters too numerous to mention where the load in a boat has suddenly shifted or been shifted and caused the boat to capsize with all hands. There was one like that in North Wales not so long ago.

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Once I was on the other side of the harbour I went down to Grain de Sail.

There was a member of the crew on board so I button-holed him. His ship is only a four-berth and as it needs four hands to sail it, it doesn’t take passengers on its transatlantic jaunts.
“What about if you only have three crew members and are in need of a fourth?”
“Do you have a “Marine Marchand” – a Merchant Navy certificate?”
“Regrettably not”
“Then I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be considered.”

And so that was that. At least I tried

Instead I admired the arrays of solar panels and the two wind turbines. They also have some hydro-generators too but I bet that they slow down the boat.

Next stop was the ferry terminal where I picked up a brochure for Victor Hugo. And my enquiries told me that Ukrainian refugees going for a day out to Jersey need a UK visa all the same.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With things to do in the town I headed that way along the side of the quay.

One thing that I like about France is that they are much more child-friendly than the UK and so I was expecting to see much more for the kids than you would see at a festival across the channel.

And I wasn’t wrong either. You can’t have a Festival of sailing ships without having a pirate ship, complete with pirates and buccaneers to chase the kids and press-gang them into service on board.

Even STRAWBERRY MOOSE has experienced life as an active buccaneer, as regular readers of this rubbish WILL RECALL

In fact, looking for that photo made me all nostalgic. That was an excellent road trip, one of the very best, when I started off in the far north of Labrador and three weeks later I was at Rhys’s in South Carolina.

Housman summed it up completely with his
” That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

The buccaneers have now rounded up a crowd of apprentice pirates and one of them is giving them all a lecture on what is expected of them when they serve aboard the Good Ship Glug Glug.

Actually she should have been called The Jolly Roger but the pirate captain’s wife fell off the quayside as she swung the bottle of champers

Anyway, everyone was having a whale of a time (seeing as we are discussing nautical terms) and I left them to it, crossing the ad-hoc bridge over the artificial beach.

film screen festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I thought that I saw a puss .. errr … a TV screen down on the harbour so I went for a closer look seeing as I was here.

It was in fact a screen showing a series of cartoons for children explaining in simple terms all about life at sea. It’s nice to see the kids having a fair whack at the festival.

From there I wandered into town to pay my quarterly pension cheque into my bank account. Now where can I go with €142:60? Spend! Spend! Spend! Hey?

At the chemist’s I bought the magnesium tablets. Extra-strong. According to my friend the pharmacist these will give me a donner un coup de fouet – liven me up.

She might actually have a point there. Thinking about it, I started going downhill when I finished the last lot, went without for a week or 10 days and then had that big box of German ones.

marité festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That was it. I could go home now.

The walk back up the hill wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I still had to stop a couple of times for breath, at one point where I could overlook the port and see what was happening.

Marité was there of course, one of the centres of attention. But you can see just how busy the Festival is. And it will be like that until Sunday now, I reckon. It’s a good way to finish the summer season I suppose, even if the roads and the car parks will be crowded.

So having gathered my wits, I pushed on further up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I wanted to see what was happening on the beach, although I don’t know why because I checked the camera on the way out.

The weather was much nicer today although maybe a little cooler. But the absence of people on the beach can probably be explained by the crowds of people down in the town and at the Festival.

Back here I had a surprise. There’s an undercurrent of dissent about the way the building is managed and two or three people are trying to stir up a revolution. They had pushed a letter into my letterbox

As I’m a tenant and not an owner, it doesn’t really concern me so I wrote a quick note on the back of the letter and put it in the letter box of the building’s President.

During this argument I’m taking no sides but I’m keeping in with the President. She’s the one who has my best chance of coming up the quickest with news of an apartment here to sell that I could buy.

The idea behind renting this place was because it would give me chance to look around and see what else was available. But there is no place on earth better than here so I’m staying here and renting rather than buying somewhere less good.

One day an apartment will come up here.

The walk was such that an iced chocolate drink went down well and then I began to update one or two of the blog entries with the dictaphone notes and images.

After a chat on the ‘phone with the President about my note

Tea tonight (at the usual, correct time) was pie with potatoes, veg and gravy. It’s one of my favourite meals and this one was just as nice as ever. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my meals are simple but they aren’t half tasty.

It’s been a surprising day today – I’ve walked quite a way, not crashed out, done a lot of work. I wonder if I can keep this up. It’s not like me to have a day like this so I’m glad that I made the most of it.

Ready for the (af)fray tomorrow, I hope.

Friday 12th August 2022 – GONE!

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And never called me “mother”!

When I went out this afternoon for my walk, I noticed that Victor Hugo, the Channel Islands ferry boat, has disappeared again. Gone on its travels, probably.

According to the fleet radar, she left at 08:12 and arrived in St Helier at 10:20, which is pretty quick going. And there she sits even as we speak. She doesn’t seem to be in any rush to come back home again.

Here’s hoping that the ferry service starts up again soon.

Something else that is gone! And never called me “mother” either is a certain letter.

This afternoon I have just heaved a rather large shark into the swimming pool by sending a letter of 1573 words to the Hospital’s Director of Medical Services.

Both Liz and Alison, to whom I showed it before I sent it, told me that they reckoned that it was too long. But you know me – never write 100 words when 1000 will do the job just as well.

If the past is anything to go by, which it usually is, the net result of my letter will be “nothing at all” but one can live in hope, even if I end up dying in despair. Some things need to be said, some points need to be underlined and (more importantly) the hospital needs to know in precise detail exactly how I feel.

What they do then is their own affair of course, but at least I’ve done all that I can and I can’t really do any more, much as I would like to. We’ll just sit back and see what happens now. It’s in the lap of the Gods.

But it goes to show the value of keeping a blog, and an indexable, searchable one too because although it took up a lot of time, I could come up with dates, places and resumés of conversations. And it’s that kind of thing that can kill any argument stone-dead before it even starts.

So retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, the alarm going off found me dictating into the dictaphone. So yes, I must have gone off on some travels at some point. And that’s despite a night that was later than it ought to have been.

After the medication I went and had a shower and, because I’m feeling under par due no doubt to having had the ‘flu for Christmas, I cut my hair.

Having dealt wit that I came back in here and, managing to avoid falling asleep, I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I’d gone to the library to look at a book. The Reference Library was extremely untidy. I was searching through the shelves looking for this particular book and laying down one or two others that I might need when one of the workers came past. It was one of the bad-tempered ones and she was saying that the place looked so untidy. She said “get it tidied” to me and presumably one or two other people, members of the public, so I said a few words to her and she said a few words to me and wandered off. In the end what we did was to start to pick up the loose books lying around and stuffing them in the shelves any old how. Of course in libraries there’s a certain order and a certain position to respect, particularly with reference books so we thought that that would give then ten times more work to do when they come to sort it out. A group of us began to talk about this and said how bad it was here. One of them asked me if I’d like to go to the library at Rennes, a young girl, quite nice. I wasn’t sure at first. One of the other people there had been to the library at Rennes with her. She said that she had some spare tickets still so in the end I agreed that I’d go with her. I don’t know why I needed too much persuading to do something with a young girl. The subject came round to religion. I said that I didn’t have a religion which scandalised them so I told them the joke about me walking by a church and God sending down a thunderbolt which they thought was extremely funny.

Telling jokes again in a dream again?

Later on I’d been for a weekend away. I was already in the middle of a holiday. I was in New York somewhere and something had happened and I had to change hotel and had to change the style of the way that I look and the clothes that I was wearing so that I had a completely different look about me. For a couple of days I had to go away to Southport. I found myself standing outside the station and I had all mu luggage – my huge suitcase and my little suitcase, my 2 sacks with all my bedding. I thought “why on earth do I need all of this just for a weekend?” but it was too late. I was there now. I had to be careful about the trains and was wondering how I was going to manage to manhandle all this luggage. I’d gone over there to the station and borrowed a trolley. I put my bags on it and found that it would go up the steps quite comfortably and quite easily. That looked fine. As I reached the top I came to the steps to go down to the other side. These steps were totally different and I thought that this would be totally agonising going down here with all of this. I reached the bottom and found that the 2 bags with my bedding had gone. I don’t remember seeing them fall off. I wondered if someone had taken them. I couldn’t hang around because the train was coming so I took my 2 suitcases and boarded the train. It was crowded and people were moving my suitcases around as they came in and went out. Someone in the end squeezed them in a corner that upset a guy with a musical instrument. His musical instrument was there. The train gradually thinned out so I could rescue my suitcases. He made some kind of gesture to me which I thought might have been friendly but I didn’t know and this train continued rattling on its way to Southend.

Later on it was the graduation of my little girlfriend who worked on Saturdays in the library about whom I’ve talked quite often and I’d been invited which was a surprise. She obviously thought highly of me. Because of the Covid restrictions she could only invite 3 different households and then only 2 people from each household so I felt extremely honoured. We were at the University making all kinds of arrangements. Someone was asking for details about the graduation so I told them basically that there were only 3 households and 2 people from each one. They had a hard time trying to understand it which I didn’t understand. It seemed straightforward to me but I had to tell them probably a dozen times and they still hadn’t understood what was happening. They wanted to know why but it was quite obvious with Covid. We were back in the hall talking about things, talking about computing. Someone asked me if I’d ever used Flash. I replied “God yes I’ve used Flash on games and everything 15 years ago. I’ve certainly used it but I’ve never actually been inside it to see how it works or programmed anything with it”. Then we were talking about 15 years ago and how that was the heyday of the internet when all kinds of private people were making the internet work and it was a really exciting place to be before Corporate took over the internet.

It’s actually quite amazing that I could come out with something like that in a dream. Back 15 years ago the internet was a fun and exciting place to be. In those days small groups of talented individuals were leading the tech revolution. But now they’ve all either sold out, been suckered in or submerged into the Corporate internet world and these days the onlu small groups of individuals remaining are down in the depths of the dark web spending their time waging war on Corporate tech. There doesn’t seem to be the same “Internet Warriors” that we had back then and it’s made the internet a dreary place.

At least I’m still shining the torch for the lost generation of 15-20 years ago of blogs and personal websites and newsgroups. But I won’t be around for long. We need to turn the clock back and reclaim the internet.

Having had a lengthy pause to gather up my thoughts, I sat down and composed my masterpiece. And rather unlike Beethoven who spent 44 years composing and then the next 195 years decomposing, I spent just several hours on writing out my pièce de résistance.

As a result I ended up with a considerably late lunchtime fruit session while Alison and Liz were reviewing “War and Peace”.

Having fixed the typos I printed it out and put it in an envelope, putting the bill from May in an envelope to send back too, and eventually, later than usual, headed out for the town.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I stopped at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera.

There’s a good view down onto the Fish Processing Plant from here and strangely, there were no boats tied up playing “musical ships” today. They must all be out and about somewhere offshore earning a living.

But they are certainly expected back sometime soon. If you look down onto the lover level down the ramp underneath the car park you’ll see the tractor and presumably the trailer that it pulls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen that wandering through the town quite often loaded to the gunwhales with boxes of bouchots.

fire st pair sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday we saw the signs of a fire over the back of the church here in Granville.

Here, it’s the turn of St Pair sur Mer to catch fire. Even though it’s quite a distance away we can see the smoke billowing up from somewhere across the bay there at the back of the town.

And that reminds me. I did have a quick look through the local newspaper this morning but there was nothing at all in it about the fire yesterday. So that’s quite a mystery to me. It’s the kind of thing that you would expect to be reported.

Anyway, I wandered off down towards town.

burnt houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While we’re on the subject of fire … “well, one of us” – ed … we mustn’t forget what happened here in the old town one Saturday evening a few months ago.

That was when the house in the middle here caught fire and went up like a Roman candle, taking the houses on either side with it.

We saw them weatherproof the houses (not that they needed to have bothered given the weather that we have been having) shortly afterwards and that’s how I found them today on my first trip to town after so many weeks.

It looks as if any talk about repairing them has been put on the … errr … back burner for a while, presumably while the insurance details are finalised.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while Victor Hugo has sailed off into the sunset – or, rather, sunrise – Marité is back in town.

She’s been absent for the last couple of days having a sail around the bay, usually coming back at the end of the evening long after I’ve been tucked up in bed with my glass of hot Wincarnis.

When I was younger I would go for the Phyllosan that fortifies the over-forties but they haven’t invented anything yet that will sixtify the over-sixties. But never mind. Sony has a product launch in mind for my generation. Soon they’ll be bringing out the Sony Walkframe.

That is something I could use as well as I staggered into town. I made it to the Post Office and posted my letters, having to remind someone in front of me who clearly has more problems then I do that when you’ve bought your price label for your letter, you need to take your letter off the scales, stick the label onto it and stick it in the post box instead of simply walking out of the building.

And you thought that I had problems.

So I dealt with the necessary, exchanging a few pleasantries with the woman in the queue behind me, and then headed for home.

kiddies roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022One of the things that I wanted to do was to check the kiddies roundabout.

With that article having been in the paper a couple of weeks ago even though the roundabout has been here for several weeks longer than that, I wanted to make sure that we were talking about the same machine.

So yes, by comparing photos this is indeed the one that came here a while back so I’m at a loss to explain why the local newspaper has only recently picked this up.

It must have been a quiet news day.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The climb up the hill was better than I was expecting – in that I actually did manage to make it home.

It was necessary for me to pause a couple of times to catch my breath and at one of those places I was overlooking Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère on the Place Pelley.

It’s still here, despite the best efforts of the residents in the new block of flats in the background to drive out of town everything that disturbs their peace regardless of how popular it might be with the people who were living in the town a long time before they moved in.

It’s quite popular too, with loads of people enjoying a drink. No-one on the boulodrome though. It was far too hot for that.

Round about here I fell in with a neighbour and we had a good chat. Then I pushed on for my final leg.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before going in for my nice cold chocolate drink I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

Being later than usual, the tide was well out so there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. They must have called it a day. A few people here and there in the water which sounded like a good idea.

Back here I had an ice-cold glass of chocolate drink and then had a play around with some photos for a while.

Tea was pie and veg with gravy, in the hope of making yet more room in the freezer. I need beans and peas tomorrow and I’ve no idea where I’m going to put them

Right now, having had a mammoth diet all day of “Eloy” and “Ten Years After”, I’m going to bed ready for shopping tomorrow. And then a nice restful day followed by football on the internet later. The Welsh Premier League starts back up tomorrow afternoon.

And what will my letter to the hospital bring me? I imagine that it will be several weeks before I hear anything, if I hear anything at all. And I don’t think that anything will change. But there’s not much else that I can do. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I can’t keep going on like this.

Friday 15th July 2022 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… writing up my notes last night I thought that I’d nip out and see if the moon had broken free of the cloud cover that was hanging around.

Instead I ended up being swept along by crowds of thousands of people – and I really do mean “thousands”.

What I’d forgotten is that last thing at night on Bastille Day there’s a huge firework display at the port and it looks as if most of Normandy had come along to stand on the cliffs to watch the spectacle.

And they weren’t disappointed either.

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were out there for about half an hour while they blasted off a pile of fireworks into the stratosphere.

Considering that it was a free evening’s entertainment, we certainly had our money’s worth and everyone enjoyed it. There was a tumultuous round of applause when it finished, and then I staggered back to my apartment to go to bed.

There were about 60 photos altogether and they are all on line now. You can see them HERE. Remember to click on a thumbnail to see the full-size image.

“Staggered back” is correct too. Yesterday my knee gave way again when I was scrambling over the chest of drawers to close the window in my bedroom. And it seems that I’ve done it a permanent mischief now.

hang glider rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was another “mobile” night last night and so while you admire a few photos of Nazguls flying by overhead, I shall elucidate.

My mother told me to take my younger brothers and sisters to the hospital. We didn’t have much time and it was dark so we set out to jog there. We were up there by Goodall’s Corner in Shavington and had to go down the Newcastle Road. There were all these medical cards and records and a few other bits and pieces so I told my brother to take our two sisters and run off down there towards Newcastle slowly while I picked up a few boxes of stuff that need to be carried and I’d run after them to catch them up. In the distance I could see them but when they got to where the petrol station was they crossed over and went into the petrol station. I had to run in after them to drag them out and explain to them that if I hadn’t seen them out of the corner of my eye cross the road I’d have run right past there with the stuff and we would have been separated for ever. I was quite angry and annoyed about this, not because they had crossed the road but because we could have been separated like that. We carried on and came to a place where we had to climb through a barbed wire fence. I knew of a gap where to go but they somehow found some other gap which wasn’t where we needed to be. They all climbed through there anyway. I suddenly found myself alone at this other gap. Once I’d gone through this other gap we had to negotiate a concentration camp and that was very dangerous because if we looked too healthy or too ill we could be exterminated. Then of course we had to exit on the other side and carry on with our trip to the hospital. This required an awful lot of thought and cunning to do it correctly but there I was on my own. I couldn’t work out where they had gone once they’d gone through this other gap and they’d disappeared.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I forget how this dream actually started but it turned out that we were in native American country and having to be extremely careful. Somehow we ended up losing our way and being attacked or threatened. We had to work our way around and out of there while avoiding a pitched battle which was not going to be easy but I can’t remember all the rest. There was much more to it than this.

I’d decided spontaneously to go to Canada. I booked myself an air ticket and took my suitcase from under the bed. I didn’t even check the case at all – I just grabbed it and set off for the airport. There was a reasonably small-sized queue – we didn’t have to wait all that long to go through the security. But once we were queueing we gradually ended up at the front then it would flash a gate number. Mine flashed. It was 34D. I had a few carrier bags etc that I stuffed in my suitcase and set out to find it. I had to go up some stairs and saw some guys standing by a turnstile type of thing so I went over to them but someone from behind shouted. I looked behind and saw that there was some kind of alcove to the side where there were some immigration or customs people. They told me that I should have gone there first but I hadn’t seen them. There was nothing to indicate that they were there so how was I supposed to know to go there? I thought that this was good. I’d started to have an argument with people already and I’d hardly even arrived, and I’m arguing with the security or immigration people or whatever they were. It won’t do me any good at all.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while you admire a few photos of the crowds engaged in the pèche à pied There were a couple of girls getting into trouble due to a violation of the school’s dress code. What happened was that the skirts could be cut short depending on some kind of ratio relating to the girls’ waists but what they had done was having shortened them once they had turned round and shortened them again and that was against the school rules. They were then causing trouble about their dress code and were going to have to face the music.

There was also something about the dream in which i went to Canada. Someone had been round at my house helping me to pack. They had to write a label to go on my luggage giving all kinds of personal details including the value of my house. They put “£30,000 by auction”. I enquired about that and they said that I’d paid that much money for it when I’d bought it. I replied “yes but look at the improvements”. They replied that it’s still quite a damp house and it needs even more doing to it – one wall repairing. I tried to argue that even so the value must be an awful lot more than £30,000 but they still didn’t agree with what I was saying.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022When the alarm went off it took me a while to get my head together but regardless, I was still up and about before the second alarm.

After the medication I spent a pleasant hour or so transcribing the dictaphone notes and then edited all of the photos that I took last night of the fireworks.

When that task was completed I prepared the web page with the photos of last night. This 3-column layout that I designed earlier this year needs some work to improve the design but it seems to work quite well and to do exactly what I want it to do.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me with that everything that I were to do would turn out like that.It took quite a while to do,

When the page was finished I had another hour on the acoustic guitar. And I quite enjoyed that session too. It seems to be all coming together at long last but I wish that I could remember what it is that I’m supposed to be playing without having to refer to the music.

Most people think that it’s an age thing but I’ve been like this practically all my life.

It reminds me of a conversation that I had with someone a while back.
“Two things happen to you when you get to my age. The first thing is that you forget almost everything.”
“What’s the second thing?”
“Actually, I can’t remember”

The rest of the day, such as there was, has been spent finishing off everything relating to the photos from June and I’ve started to update the blog entries from when I was away. “Started” yes, but I’m a long, long way from finishing.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was the usual pause for me to go off and see what was happening down on the beach.

Across the car park I went, noticing that the car that was blocking up the two car parking spaces had disappeared. The sea seems to have disappeared too because the tide was well out this afternoon.

And it seems that everyone had come out this afternoon too. There were crowds on the beach enjoying the sunshine down there, even if there was quite a lot of wind blowing about right now. So much so that one young boy was chasing down the path after his hat.

kite surfer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022What also caught my eye down there too was some kind of kite or sail.

What I did was to take a photo of it so that I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I could see what it might be.

It’s not just the Nazguls that are out and about this afternoon. We have a kite-surfer down there somehwer ein the sea, regardless of the whitecaps on the waves.

At least, that’s what I reckon, even if I couldn’t quite make out which guy was flying it. At least it isn’t a Nazgul that has fallen to a watery grave thanks to a lucky shot from Legolas.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was also a zodiac out there in the bay.

No trawlers today, or anything else for that matter. Just the zodiac. It was actually moving quite rapidly towards the port so I don’t think that it could have been full of fishermen. They wouldn’t be heading to port when there’s still a couple of hours before the tide comes in.

So fighting my way through all of the crowds, a couple of people who actually said “hello” to me, I wandered off down the path towards the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Crowds on the car park too with cars parked on the lawn, so I headed off for some peace and quiet.

Down on the bench at the cabanon vauban we actually had someone sitting there today. First time for several days that we’d seen someone there.

And she had plenty to occupy her too. Apart from the zodiac that went spluttering by, we had all of the people out there at the peche à pied whom we saw earlier.

But with no trawlers and no other distractions I headed off to the port to see what was happening there.

la confiance 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Today we have had another change of occupancy at the chantier naval.

Monaco du Nord II is still in there over by the portable boat lift, but she’s now been joined by another trawler, La Confiance II.

Who she might be, I really have no idea because we haven’t seen her before here in Granville. But her registration number suggests that she’s an older boat so I’m surprised that she hasn’t featured in these pages before.

And it seems that I’m not wrong about her age either. According to the trawler database, she was launched in 1980 and is made of wood.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Across the bay, our game of “Musican Ships” is continuing.

Today it’s the turn once more of L’Omerta to be tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and settled down in the silt.

Plenty of activity on the quayside up above here. There are loads of shellfish boxes and ancillary equipment up there as if she has just unloaded.

There were crowds on the car park too and what looked suspiciously like a police car cruising around there too. That reminds me that I must change over the insurance sticker in Caliburn’s windscreen before they come cruising around us.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Marité has wandered off today and her berth is now empty. She’s currently at anchor off St. Vaast, just along the coast from Cherbourg.

What else that has also gone is all of the freight that was on the quayside yesterday. According to my maritime radar, Normandy Trader came into port early this morning and loaded up.

Back here I made a coffee and while it was brewing I went and had a shower, a shave and a good clean-up.

When the coffee had been drunk I changed the bedding and then set the washing machine en route. High time that I had some nice clean clothes and clean bedding. I’m letting things slide a little here.

And then I was off to Lidl. I’m running rather low on supplies, especially frozen and fresh vegetables and fruit. The place was packed and the mystery of why stocks had been running low there over the last few weeks was solved. They’ve had a huge change-round in there and everything is in a different place.

That of course is a cunning plan carried out by all large shops. Customers become so used to where all of their regular purchases might be found that they go straight to there and don’t go anywhere else. Shuffling the produce around means that customers have to hunt for their produce, with the shops hoping that they’ll find plenty of other stuff to buy that they haven’t seen before.

Tea tonight was vegan pie with potatoes (now that I have some) and vegetables with gravy. It really was nice.

Tomorrow I’m going to LeClerc for more shopping. Not that I need too much but having broken my floor mop this week, at least I need to replace that. It’s not quite the same as when Nerina went with me to buy a new broom.
“Don’t bother to wrap it” I said to the cashier. “She’ll fly it home” .

Monday 9th May 2022 – HERE’S A SIGHT …

victor hugo belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022…. that I am more than happy to see.

Over there moored at the quayside is Victor Hugo, one of the two ferries that run out to the Channel Islands. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the service from Granville restarted on the 5th of May after a break of over two years (with the exception of one very short week).

There was this worrying feeling that with the end of the gravel boats and the cancellation of the Big Wheel, the ferry to the Channel Islands would be the next thing that this mayor would cancel in his valiant attempt to turn the town into some kind of haven for luxury retirees rather than a working, bustling seaport.

And so I for one am more than pleased to see the service restart.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But what comes with one hand goes with the other.

On Saturday I made the remark that the kiddies’ roundabout was back in the Place Charles de Gaulle during the outdoor market. But today, there it was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Never mind “musical chairs”. That roundabout is certainly doing the rounds a darn sight quicker than I can keep up with it.

Anyway, last night despite going to bed rather later than I intended, I still managed to be up and about “fairly shortly” after 06:00, beating the second alarm rather comfortably even if I didn’t feel much like it.

After the medication I had two radio programmes to prepare. I’d written the notes while I was in Leuven last week so that saved me some time but even so, it still took an age to complete everything. It wasn’t until 12:35 that both programmes were finished.

There had been a few pauses during the proceedings of course. I felt that I had the kind of thirst that you could photograph so I had several mugs of coffee during the morning, as well as stopping for breakfast.

And then the nurse came round to give me my injection for today.

When it was finished I made myself a big bowl of leek and potato soup. There was a big frozen mass of leeks in the freezer that weren’t doing much and having been brought several packs of hot cross buns last weekend seeing as I had run out, I needed to make some space in the freezer

While that was cooking I went and had a shower and a clean-up. And then filled the washing machine ready for when I go out later. I’m running out of clothes again.

The soup was delicious. Nice and thick and creamy and there’s enough for three days in total. And I’ll have to make some more some other time. The cumin and tarragon in it gave it an additional bite.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having set the washing machine off on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I went out for my physiotherapy appointment.

First thing though was to stop at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I can look down on what’s going on at the fish processing plant.

And as you might expect, L’Omerta is still tied up there. It looks as if she’s moved in there permanently now. Mind you, the other boat that was there yesterday, Petite Laura, she has moved away. There’s another boat tucked away around the corner but I can’t see who she is.

There were plenty of seagulls floating around down there too, waiting for some shellfish to drop off the quayside.

la granvillaise trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of other excitement going on out there this afternoon.

My attention had been caught by the boat that was over there out at sea. Even though we can’t see her registration number at this distance, my money is on her being G90 – La Granvillaise. The shape of the lasts and the sails, even if they aren’t all unfurled, would seem to indicate that

And there’s still plenty of activity in the chantier naval. From left to right we have an unidentified boat, then L’Ecume II, Valesque, and then another unidentified boat. By the looks of things Le Roc A La Mauve III has finally gone back into the water after all this time.

boules petanque place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My route into town took me down past the Place Pelley and the Bar Ephemere.

When we came past here on Saturday there wasn’t anyone down there playing boules, which took me by surprise because it seems to be an unstoppable national sport. But they are making up for it today. There are plenty of boulonauts down there right now.

The walk up the hill was strangely difficult today, and I don’t know why that might be. It might have been quite warm outside but nothing else had changed.

And starting today I have a new physiotherapist. She took my X-rays and MRI Scans and then put me through several tests before giving me a few exercises.

At least having all of these different people means that I’m having all kinds of different tests and that can only be a good thing.

ambulance rue couraye rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On the way home, down at the bottom of the hill there was yet more excitement.

There was an emergency ambulance parked at the corner of the Rue Couraye and the Rue Paul Poirier, complete with blue flashing light. There wasn’t anyone in attendance though and I couldn’t see where they had gone.

On the corner of the Rue Lecampion I had to go to the pharmacy. The nurse this morning asked me to ask them for a container to deposit my discarded needles. He usually takes them away but I imagine that he’s being overloaded right now. I’ve “had the summons” to have my fourth Covid injection (which he’ll be doing next time he passes) and if I’ve been summoned, so has everyone else.

building work rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022If the walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was tough, the walk up the Rue des Juifs back home was even tougher.

There were several occasions where I had to stop to catch my breath, one of which was just by where there was some building work going on. We had a skip lorry with crane and another small lorry in attendance.

It’s one thing that I’ve noticed, that there seems to be more and more renovation work taking place about the town, either rebuilding or renovating existing apartments or building new ones.

It’s quite a boom business now, but I bet that it’s not going to result in many more permanent homes. Holiday accommodation and Air B&B lets seem to be the way that things are going, pricing permanent residents out of the market.

classe decouvert rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Another thing that I’ve mentioned … “quite often” – ed … on these pages is what is called the classe decouverte.

This involves school kids being taken out of their normal environment to experience life elsewhere. And here is one such class, all congregating underneath the tree by the drawbridge into the walled city while someone was telling them all about the French Revolution.

The walled city is quite important because revolutionary forces defended it against counter-revolutionaries in a famous battle during the Revolution.

The conversation sounded quite interesting and I was in half a mind to hang around and hear the end of it but I was gripped by a raging thirst and wanted to go home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First though, I had to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what is happening down there.

Plenty of people down there sunning themselves on the sand and a couple of people out there on a zodiac. But no-one brave enough to go in the water, which was a surprise because it’s a lovely afternoon right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’ve been during the night. I was starting to shave myself with an electric razor last night but no matter how hard I tried, it hardly made any impact at all. I was there for hours trying to shave my face but there was very little hair coming off. I thought that I was going to be here for hours but I had to do it. Now that I’d started, it would look a mess if I only were to do a bit of it. After about an hour I had a feel of my face. There was still plenty on it in places. There was a knock at the door and a girl came in carrying my breakfast. I was lying on the floor trying to do my face so she didn’t see me at first. Eventually she put down the tray and we had a chat. I offered her some of my breakfast but I was still concerned about this shaving and getting my face done so I could hurry up and go out.

Having listened to the radio programmes that I prepared today, I went for tea. Pie with veg and gravy.

And now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form. But there’s not much danger of that.

Thursday 24th March 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… so busy today that I’ve only just realised that, as I’ve sat down to write up my notes, I’ve forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

And “so busy”? It’s been a long time since I’ve said that, isn’t it? Too early to go crowing though. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

It didn’t actually start out very well though. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep yet again. It was at 07:50 when I sat bolt-upright and another minute or two before I fell out of bed.

At least I beat the alarm at 08:00 which was good news.

After breakfast and having made sure that the 3-column page was working correctly (thanks, Grahame) I carried on mounting the … gulp … 184 photos of that group that I saw back at the end of October.

And then came the acid test – would a web page work with three columns of all of these photos?

The short answer to that was “no”. And trying to find an error in 940 lines of code is not easy.

Eventually, I found not one, and not two, but three errors where either I’d missed out a line, missed out a tag or put in a tag somewhere other than where it’s supposed to go.

Eventually, it worked out and I split the page into four to make it more manageable.

So, does it work? JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.

As you might expect, in the semi-darkness and depressing lighting, many of the photos didn’t work out as well as they might have done under other conditions, and in fact some of them never even staggered onto the pages. But a few of them AREN’T TOO BAD.

That took me most of the day to do all that, but to be fair, there were several interruptions like a coffee break, breakfast, and stuff like that.

And lunch of course. And as I was quietly reading a report on a disappeared ocean liner which I was eating my lunchtime butties, I suddenly noticed the time. 13:22.

“Blimmin’ ‘eck!” I cried. “My Welsh revision lesson starts in 8 minutes”.

And despite my pessimism yesterday, that could have gone much worse than it did as well. It shows up how much I don’t know, of course, but at least I managed to struggle through two hours of it without making myself look stupid.

Mind you, I can do that often enough under normal circumstances without practising for it or speaking another language..

As soon as the lesson was over (for it was for two hours and over-run by rather a lot) I cleared off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022First stop was, as usual, the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what’s happening.

The weather today was gorgeous and I actually could have gone out without a jacket had I so desired. And it certainly brought out the crowds this afternoon.

There’s probably a dozen people in this shot alone, including the person coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord. And any other shot of the beach this afternoon would probably have shown a similar number of people.

Meanwhile, out at sea, I couldn’t see anything at all. And that wasn’t the fault of the weather because it really was nice out there as well.

men working on medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was however quite a racket coming from over where they are repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

That prompted me to take a photo of it from over here and I was actually lucky enough to photograph a couple of the guys who are working there, just to prove that there is actually some work being undertaken there.

And then, joining the throngs of people on the path, I headed off down towards the lighthouse in the hope that I might see something of interest going on – but with no success. There didn’t seem to be anything out-of-the-ordinary happening today.

people on bench with dog cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With no-one playing around on the gun barrel at the lighthouse this afternoon I walked off across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

Today, we have yet more people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out at sea at absolutely nothing at all.

And I wondered what it was that was lying down underneath the bench. At first glance I thought that it might have been a polar bear but not even climate change could produce anything like that around here. It turned out to be a long-haired white dog of some variety or other.

So instead I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland to spy out the land around there.

spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And after the frenzied activity of the last few days or so, it’s all gone quiet in the chantier naval.

The only boats still in there are Spirit of Conrad and the little Le Roc A La Mauve III. And by the looks of things, the latter won’t be in there for much longer and as I mentioned the other day, Pierre the skipper is keen for the former to go back into the water some time rather soon.

After all, he has plenty of work booked for the summer and after what he has suffered over the last two years with almost everything being cancelled, I’m sure that the sooner he’s back out there earning money, the better for all concerned.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over there at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries.

That’s the older one, I reckon. And you can tell that from the stern. The newer one of the two has a step in it. As well as that, the upper-deck superstructure on the older one is larger, although of course you can’t tell that until the two of them are side-by-side.

But it’s interesting in that if one of them is going to be moving and the other one not, it’s always this one that’s on the move, not the other. I would have expected the owners to alternate them so that they have an equal amount of use.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that they own that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

It seems that they have plenty of work for her at the moment because usually she’s tied up in the inner harbour after the occasional trip here and there. Leaving her out here means that she must be off on another trip out sometime soon.

That might explain the sacks of builders’ material that we saw by the crane in the previous photo.

Pretty soon though, they are going to have to start thinking about some other arrangement. If they really are going to restart the ferries to the Channel Islands, as is suggested, they can’t be leaving ships moored up for too long at the ferry terminal.

l'omerta jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I came across L’Omerta again, moored in the silt underneath the fish processing plant.

At one time she practically lived there. She spent day after day tied up without moving, and then we didn’t see her for a while. But now she’s made a comeback.

And interestingly, Jade III is behind her, also settled down on the silt. We saw her yesterday tied up in the inner harbour while almost everyone else was out at sea. But today she’s made it as far as the outer tidal harbour before she stopped and tied up again.

There’s something strange happening here and I wish that I knew what it was.

Back home, having ignored the glaziers’ van parked by the Porte St Jean, I made myself a coffee and finished off what I’d been doing with those web pages.

After a good half-hour on the guitar I spent some time editing a few more photos from the High Arctic 2019 and the dog that I saw earlier must have been a premonition because I ended up editing a few photos of a polar bear and her cub that I encountered on Baffin Island while we were wandering around in Buchan Gulf.

Tea tonight should have been taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Monday but one look at the tacos convinced me that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. They ended up being filed under “CS”.

But not to worry. Having worked out the other week what those mystery pies were and found that they were savoury vegan pies, I had the last remaining one with potatoes, veg and a nice thick gravy.

Thoroughly delicious.

So what about that then?

During a previous existence when I was travelling for months around Canada every year I was churning out tons of stuff that found its way onto a web page. But somehow, having been swept away in a tide of whatever it was that swept me away, I’ve done very little of what has been important.

So four in a day is something of an achievement. But as I said earlier, doing it on just one day is no big deal. Margaret Thatcher once said something like “anyone can do a good day’s work when they feel like it. But doing a good day’s work when you don’t feel like it is something else completely”.

Over the last few years i’ve had far too many days when I haven’t felt like it. So let’s see what tomorrow brings. There aren’t (officially, anyway) any distractions but something will probably turn up and knock me out of my stride.

And, on a final note, with 40 minutes to spare before bedtime, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was something to do with the Lord of Darkness and somehow there was a technique how you could make a car like you would make a crèpe – pour liquid over a hot surface and make some kind of metal. They had made an experimental version for one group of people from the afterlife. Now they were working on their masterpiece. The Lord of Darkness had appeared with his entourage and took his place inside his car. The first car was vibrating a little and there was a danger that the power would run out so they asked the Lord of Darkness how they would deal with it. he replied that you could fit another element of a battery in there because they were several 2-volt cells and you would put another several cells in there to keep it at 12 volt and increase the amperage so that the amperage would probably match what was in his car

And then I’d ordered some LPs from Amazon. They turned up on a van at something silly like 06:00. Someone had a look to see and they were due to be delivered between 07:00 and 11:00 but it made no difference because they were here and we were here. But he couldn’t put the albums in the box in which they were supposed to arrive. There was a plastic box with lid that had to be assembled to put these albums in but for some unknown reason they wouldn’t go in and the box wouldn’t assemble and stay together. He was there for ages trying to fix this. In the end he asked if I would object if he didn’t leave the box but took it back with him. I thought that if I did object, I’d be here for hours trying to assemble it so he may as well take it and go back on his round. He asked which way to go so I replied “go out of our drive, turn right to the end of the road, turn left down to the end of the road and turn right and you’re heading towards the M6. Someone else who was there started to try to give him some really complicated directions. I thought that delivery and van drivers don’t need complicated directions. They keep it simple so there’s less chance of becoming lost. being lost is losing money for them

Later on I was with two other people last night. One of them was my little Inuit girl from Uummannaq. But she hadn’t half put on weight. She had her little sister with her who was about 3 probably. We were doing something, the 3 of us and then it was time to go. The two of them, my friend and the other person who was with me went to sit in the front of the car. I took the little girl and went to put her in the back. One thing that she liked was to be covered up by something so I took a piece of paper, a sheet of a newspaper to cover her up but she already had one and was covered up in it. She was rather cross that I was going to cover her up with 2 things. I had to fold up this piece and put it away. The other 2 wondered what was happening because of the little girl being cross but I explained and that was that.

Finally I was at an auction sale last night. They were selling things like tins of Pemmican and so on. One was from something like 1758 and another was a few years later all the way through to 1933. It looks very much as if someone had raided some explorers’ caches either in the Arctic or the Antarctic or Northern Canada. They were spending a considerable amount of time discussing the provenance of this stuff. I was hoping that they’d hurry up and start the sale

Where as all of this energy and motivation come from just now? Whatever is going on with me?

Thursday 17th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… several photos of the excitement that we had out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon, let me tell you about the somewhat less-than-exciting day that I had today.

It started off rather badly when I switched off the alarm at 07:30 and … errr … went back to sleep. I awoke with a start at 07:59 and I just about managed to put my feet on the floor as the 08:00 repeat went off.

Mind you, it’s my own fault. I did say that I was planning to have an early night but I picked up the guitar for a quick strum and that, dear reader, was that.

Somehow, from out of nowhere, I managed to start to transcribe the dictaphone notes. That was the first thing that I did once I’d taken my medicine.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022They were collecting goods for refugees again. I was wandering around trying to find a place where I could set up to co-ordinate the relief and find an office. That means finding a house where there was someone and finding a lorry and driver, all that kind of thing. I could do some driving myself but for some reason no matter where I walked there was always something getting in the way. There was even some moment where all of this became extremely violent but I can’t remember very much about all of this particular part of a dream etc. Just walking past these lorries and not being able to go into a house and the feeling of violence that was going on with this as well

Again, I was doing something else for refugees and I was absolutely tired out completely so I went to bed. When I awoke halfway through my sleep I noticed that halfway through the head of the bed were things like bottled from old-age pensioners and messages from old women. I thought that they had donated but they hadn’t donated. Instead, there were all kind sof things like bottles of spirits and (… I fell asleep here …) so when I awoke all those bottles were empty. Obviously someone had left them there to incriminate me or frighten me or something like that but it wasn’t going to work. I was going to carry on.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There were four of us who had been out working for the local council in a lorry. We had been doing all kinds of things, cleaning up places and so on. But tempers between the two drivers were becoming really frayed. One was working inside the cab of the vehicle so the other grabbed a can of spray paint and aimed the spray at him from the other side of the window. The first guy instinctively ducked and banged his head which made the other guy laugh. But now we couldn’t see out of the windscreen. We had to go back to the depot. I’d warned this guy not to use the spray can but he wouldn’t listen so I said that when we arrive at the depot there will be quite a row about this. He said “so you should” because he’d sprayed something like “vegans rule OK” and they’ll all think that it’s me. I was totally disgusted. The fourth guy decided that he was going to go home so we all decided that we would take the lorry back. The fourth guy was only a young apprentice so I told him that I hoped that he wouldn’t really get into any kind of trouble at all over this. I hoped that I wouldn’t either and maybe we would see each other again but this was a terrible note some kind of day’s work, trying to drive home in this lorry when we can’t see out of the windscreen because of the paint etc. I felt dismayed that these 2 guys, after I’d told them about losing their temper between themselves had gone and done this kind of thing that would land us all in all kinds of trouble

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’d had some kind of family meeting. My brother was there and so were some others. I suddenly noticed the time. I only had something like 45 minutes to go home, change and reach the airport before my flight on holiday departed. When the meeting came to an end I had to dash out quite quickly, picked up my suit and thought that I’d find a hedge behind which I could change while I’m on my travels. I picked up my things and overtook them as they were wending their way home. I found what looked like a likely place. Now there was only something like 40 minutes to my flight. Just as I was about to go behind the hedge to change into my suit I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my suitcase. That was at my brother’s shop. Of course he’d now locked up and gone straight home. I would have to go there first but I wouldn’t have time and if he hasn’t gone straight home I’m never have my suitcase. It looked to me rather regrettably that I wasn’t going to be leaving on this holiday to the Far East.

An East German bank had a large sum of gold on hand. A group of people set out from the UK to try to rob it. They had to work out all kinds of things such as guards tea-breaks, changes of shift and everything so that they could pass frontiers without very much inspection etc. When they arrived at the bank they raided the vehicle that was carrying it only to find that it was empty. It turned out that what had happened was that the bank had put it on deposit with a bank back in the UK to use as collateral for some kind of financial deal that was taking place. There they were in the middle of the street with a double-decker bus full of their own men, raided this place. They had some of their own men tied up as decoys etc. Now they were arguing about what they were going to do next. Were they going back to the UK to raid this British bank or would they try to raid somewhere else in East Germany or were they just going to abandon the whole thing and go home?

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So, once more, none of my favourite young ladies came to visit me, although I did have a very strong feeling that TOTGA was around somewhere last night and I was surprised to hear nothing about her on the dictaphone this morning.

The rest of the day has been spent, such as it was during all of the other interruptions, in catching up with the outstanding entries from when I was in Leuven. I’d just done some basic rough notes at the time but now they are complete.

As for the interruptions, we had coffee, and breakfast, and lunch, and taking out a huge pile of rubbish. I’m having a good sort-out here and all kinds of stuff that I’ve been keeping for no good reason have gone the Way of the West.

A few phone calls and booking a few hotels for a little journey I’ll be making were also a few tasks that I also accomplished today.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to have a think about rearranging the kitchen. In the back of Caliburn are the cupboards that I bought ages ago that will replace the stuff that I’m using as an island. But I’m planning on doing something about a wall unit so that I can have a proper oven.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then there was of course the afternoon walk.

And I hardly had time to step out of the front door when I felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

It’s that time of year again. The sun is out and there’s quite a wind so it’s brought out the Birdmen of Alcatraz in numbers. One of them flew past on his Nazgul as I went outside.

He was followed by several of his mates as well. Not quite the Nine Riders but it was pretty much almost. Legolas would have had a few easy targets this afternoon.

people entering water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And once he was out of the way I could wander across to the end of the car park to see what was going on there.

A reasonable amount of beach there this afternoon and there were several people down there on it.

Even this intrepid pair of pedestrians looking as if they are going full-tilt headlong into the water.

As I said just now, it’s a nice sunny day. But it’s not that nice. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the only water that interests me from a bathing point of view is water at 37°C

When we were out in the High Arctic in 2019 Castor asked me if I would like to jump into the sea with her.

“I can’t” I replied. “I have a catheter in my chest”

Someone who had overheard the conversation asked me later “Had you not had the catheter, what would you have done?”

“I’d have thought of another excuse”. Sea water at -0.5°C might be interesting for some but not for me. Not even Castor could drag me in to water at that temperature.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was having a good look around out at sea.

There was probably about a dozen trawlers heading back into port right now. The viewing conditions were absolutely perfect today and I could see for miles out to sea. There have been days just recently when I wouldn’t have seen anything at all quite like this.

The tide isn’t far enough in to open the harbour gates right now but I imagine that it might be by the time that they all arrive in the outer harbour. They won’t have to wait long, I reckon.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen plenty of photos already of the Dassault Falcon 50M that was flying around in large circles out in the bay.

This is the type of jet that started the genocide in Rwanda when the one carrying the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents was shot down at Kigali, but this particular one here is one of the 8 Falcon 50M machines owned by the French Navy and used for maritime surveillance.

So what’s it doing here? It certainly had a great deal of interest in what was happening out at sea and was circling around the bay for quite some time

We’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, this was quite an interesting situation.

There were two trawlers here outside the outer harbour waiting for more tide to come in and they seemed to have stopped to have a chat.

It’s not often that you see them as close as this in the open sea and I was wondering if maybe one of the had wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from the other

However, when you see two lots of extremely strange activity taking place in more-or-less the same place, like the Falcon circling around and these two trawlers, you have to wonder if the two events are somehow connected.

joly france sm735890 lysandre ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’ve seen the larger trawlers loitering around outside the harbour waiting for the tide, but there’s enough water in there already for the smaller ones.

Coming a-chugging into port is Lysandre, the little shell-fishing boat that is registered in St Malo but now just recently seems to have taken up residence here in Granville.

There’s one of the little port runabouts out there too, heading towards the Joly France ferry that’s moored up at the Ferry terminal.

There must be something exciting going on over there too because there’s a small crowd up on the harbour wall having a good look.

le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whatever excitement that might have been going on in the chantier naval is well and truly over now

The unidentified yacht that we’ve been seeing in there for the last few weeks has now disappeared.

We’re now just left with Le Roc A La Mauve III nearest the camera, and then La Granvillaise and Charles-Marie.

Finally Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago. A few days ago I was talking to her skipper. She’s off on a circumnavigation of the UK quite soon but I have desisted.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday I mentioned the freight that was on the quayside.

It’s still there today, and it’s not alone either. Another pile of stuff has come to join it And by the looks of things, there’s a third lot that’s just arrived on the lorry that’s parked behind it.

Back here I finished off my journal entries and then had an hour or so on the guitar. I seem to be much more relaxed than I have been just recently.

Tea was one of those meat turnovers with potatoes and gravy and it was really delicious too

For a change, I ate earlier than usual because I wanted to do my notes and have an early night but as you might expect, Rosemary rang me up for another one of our marathon chats. Consequently it’s much later than I would have liked it to be.

Tomorrow I have a letter to write. I hate writing letters at the best of times and this one has been loitering around for a few months.

Wednesday 16th March 2022 – AFTER THE OTHER NIGHT’s …

… disaster I remembered to take that pill and decided that I would stay awake and work until I felt really tired.

The wisdom of that idea was quite apparent when it was 02:00 and I was still awake and at the computer.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that at 07:30 when the alarm went off I managed to fall out of bed. Definitely a case of “shaken but not stirred”.

And that became apparent when I came back in here after the medication where, settling down in my comfy chair, I went to sleep again. And that’s how I stayed until 09:00

Part of the morning, once I was properly awake, concerned organising the music again. I had to make a new playlist for one of my batches of music for a start, and then there was some sound files that needed chopping up.

There are dozens of those and the first one proved to be far more difficult than anyone might imagine because after the first 5 tracks, the rest of it doesn’t go in accordance with the running order that I have. In the end after much binding in the marsh, I abandoned that and did three different ones.

That leaves me with about 30 to do. A mere bagatelle.

Something else that I’ve been doing is to run through another pile of photos from th High Arctic in August 2019. And if anyone thinks that they are having problems with prices in the shops these days, then HAVE A LOOK AT THESE in Qikiqtarjuaq, an island in the Davis Strait between the far North of Canada and Greenland.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me glad at times that I don’t live in the High Arctic and I feel sorry for those who do. And my hat goes off to the girl whom I met in Edmonton in 2018 and subsequently on several occasions who threw up her life in Montréal to go and live among the Inuit on Baffin Island

We had the usual interruptions for breakfast (and my coffee machine, while not perfect, is a vast improvement on the old one) and for lunch. I even spent some time having a little sort-out in the kitchen.

But don’t worry – it was only a little one. These new pills aren’t working that well.

As well as that, I sent off an order to Amazon. I need a new course book for the next lot of Welsh lessons, and while I was at it, I ordered a new dictaphone identical to the one that broke down a couple of months ago.

It served me well for a considerable number of years and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Using the ZOOM H1 is too inconvenient when it comes to playing back. Of course I copy it onto the computer to listen to it but it needs a lot of enhancement in order to be able to hear it.

There was also a pause for a shower, and then I wandered off out for my rendezvous with the physiotherapist.

lorry with trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen quite often one of the main problems that arises when you live in a walled city – big stuff can’t pass through the gateways and has to trns-ship.

We’ve seen on many occasions this lorry (or one very much like it) and its trailer with the digger on board parked up at the Porte St Jean whenever there’s road work to be carried out within the walls

It has to stop here and the driver has to drive the digger off and through into the town under its own steam to get where it’s going and that’s not the work of five minutes either. But there’s no other solution unfortunately – at least, one that’s practical.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You didn’t notice it in the previous photo because I enhanced it but I’ve not enhanced this one, so you’ll notice the rather strange, eerie yellowy-green light.

There’s a dust storm blowing up from the Sahara and it arrived at my friend’s in Munich yesterday late afternoon. But now it’s arrived here and we’re having it. It’s certainly a strange effect.

However, returning to the subject-matter of the photo, the tide is well out at the moment and there are no fishing boats moored up at the Fish Processing Plant.

And there aren’t any ferries at the ferry terminal either. They must be all at sea this afternoon, just like I seem to be these days. But at least they’ll be back sometime soon, which is more that I will.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down at the loading bay in the port there’s a pile of freight that’s accumulated on the quayside.

That tells us that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming in within the next day or two to whisk it all away.

And no large masts in the harbour either. That tells us that Marité is still in Cherbourg having her annual check-over ready to start work for the summer season.

By now it was starting to rain – enough to dampen my enthusiasm but not enough to dampen the spirits of the boulonauts who carried on playing. It’ll take more than a torrential downpour to stop them from playing.

renewing road surface abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had yet more activity taking place.

That’s the site of the old railway branch (you can still see the rails) that used to go to the cold store where they used to keep the cod that the trawlers brought into port when fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland was still undertaken.

Nowadays it’s a short-cut for pedestrians but at the moment it looks as if they are resurfacing it. I wonder what it will look like when they finish it.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapists was just as good as it was on Monday. And once more she had me on the couch massaging my patella with her electric machine. And then I had some exercises to do.

But the knee doesn’t seem to be strengthening and the left knee now seems to be hurting. I hope that the doctor can see something on the x-rays about which he can do something.

brick capping rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain still pouring down, I walked through the completely deserted town centre and back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

When I reached the place where they had been repairing the wall, I had a look at the brick capping that they put on top a good few months ago.

There is still no pointing in between the bricks and the moisture that will penetrate will destroy the capping if there’s any frost to freeze it.

Mind you, by the look of things, winter is a thing of the past. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we haven’t had a winter this year, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll have another one ever again at the rate that things are going.

le coelacanthe trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now, the tide is much further in.

A big bunch of the smaller boats with shallow draught is down there at the Fish Processing Plant, all unloading their catch with the various vans and lorries of the owners waiting to take away the harvest.

Behind them, a few of the larger ones are waiting for the gates into the inner harbour to open so that they can go in. We can of course recognise Coelacanthe, the green and white trawler with the gold stripe.

There is even a trawler moored up at the ferry terminal out of everyone else’s way as the rush begins.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain that was falling, I was all ready to rush home. But there was one thing that I needed to do first.

But it didn’t really matter because there was no-one down there on the beach. And that’s no surprise because I wouldn’t have been out there in this weather had I not had to.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone.

War had broken out so they were arming the island on which Zero lived with battleships and things like that. My father noticed and made some kind of comment and I replied but I can’t remember what I said but it was basically to do with the fact that we are all in this together. And here’s another voyage in which Zero was involved and I can’t remember how or why. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on, everyone was getting their stuff out ready to welcome the Ukrainian refugees. One lot that was to come hadn’t come so the people who were waiting to show them their way threw all of their paintwork and the Ukrainian flag into the hedge back on someone else’s land. This caused a lot of problems and they had to prepare the stuff again. It turned out then that someone still had the stuff wrong even though the gates were now open. They were going around in yellow and blue even though they had nothign to do with the situation in the Ukraine.

Finally I was with my brother and someone else. I was supposed to be going outside but it was raining. I took some hot water with me anyway and poured it into the bath but I just lay down and curled up under a blanket or quilt any old how. I wasn’t interested at all in anything. The water was going cold and I was asleep under this quilt. The 2 of them walked past so I gave them a wave and curled up back underneath my blanket again. A little later I was climbing up this hill. There were loads of buses and coaches full of all kinds of children heading down the hill. It looked as if it was like a Sunday School outing or something. I got to where I was supposed to be going. I had some clothes baskets with me. I was going to do someone’s washing. I put down the baskets and the dog moved them so I told it to bring the baskets back. To my surprise, it did. That was quite amusing for both me and the woman who owned the dog when she realised exactly what had happened.

There was much more than this too but you really don’t want to know about it

There was no tea tonight as I had the first of my 5 revision lessons. Instead I grabbed an “unlabelled” frozen pie out of the freezer, defrosted it and warmed it up. To my surprise it turned out to be a vegan lentil pie. There are two more slices of that in the freezer so now that I know what they are I’ll have another tomorrow with potatoes, veg and gravy.

The Welsh lesson was something of a disaster. We were 14 students and the aim was to put us in pairs to chat about topics that the tutor gave us, and then to swap around after 20 minutes. And I’m just dismayed about how much I don’t know and how much I’ve forgotten.

Now i’m off to bed. I have two days with no interruptions so I need to get a move on and hope that no-one interrupts me and I can crack on with work. After last night, I need a good sleep.

If you aren’t tired, you can WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS of last night’s football. And there was so much that they have cut out half of them, which is a shame.

Thursday 24th February 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… a few photos of the storm that we had today pushing the waves up and over the sea wall in the harbour, let me tell you of a most astonishing coincidence.

My brother’s birthday is the 3rd of September, and that’s the date that World War II broke out. And it looks very much as if my birthday is the day that World War III broke out.

What fills me full of dismay is just how stupid the human race can be, seeing the damage that several World Wars have caused to the whole of the World, that it departs on another orgy of massacre and destruction.

It makes me wonder why I’m bothering having my hospital treatment. Who would want to live in a World as stupid as this one?

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Last night I was feeling in such a depressing mood that when I finished writing up my notes I started to listen to QUADROPHENIA by The Who.

It’s one of the best albums ever recorded and brings back many happy memories of a drive down to South London one weekend in mid-May 1974 to see The Who in concert at Charlton Athletic’s football ground.

We had my old MkI Cortina, PMB270D, a battery-powered tape player and just one cassette tape – “Quadrophenia” – and when we returned to Chester where I was living at the time the guy whose tape it was gave it to me to keep.

And I still have it too, even though I’ve long-since replaced it with a CD.

It’s an album that brings back many happy memories of that Summer and every time I hear it, it brings back a bad attack of nostalgia.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And hence, having listened to it round and round, it was almost 02:00 when I fell into bed to go to sleep.

Once I dozed off I went off on a series of probably the most extraordinary journeys that I have had for quite some considerable time.

The start was a long, rambling dream that I had but I can only remember when we were on board ship. I was making breakfast for these two girls – it was muesli and two teacakes. For some unknown reason the teacakes just wouldn’t toast. They were taking all day. In between I was doing a couple of other things. For some reason, one of those things took far longer than it ought to be done. I suddenly remembered the teacakes just as someone else said something about them so I dashed back to the galley and they were there under the grill but they were on fire. Everyone was really surprised and concerned by this but bread catching fire under a grill when you are toasting it is no big deal. J simply pulled them out with a pair of scissors and put some new ones under. But for some unknown reason this seemed to develop into some kind of major situation and there was no need for it at all

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022But there was someone else. I can’t remember now where I was but I was with someone else. There were lots of pets around. For some unknown reason they had a lion as a pet. It was in a room with me and someone else . It was being rather playful, trying to nip me. Then I could see that it was starting to lose its playfulness and the nips started to become more serious. I kept on pushing the animal away but it kept on coming back. In the end I had to insist to someone that they came along and removed it because I could see that this was going to end in tears if we weren’t careful.

And then we had something involving trams. There was some question that I was coming home from work, something like that, and I’d met these 3 girls. 2 of them I knew and the other one I didn’t. I found the 3rd one quite attractive so I wanted to get to know her better. As it happened they reached the tram stop at more-or-less the same time that I was walking back from work so we started to chat as a group of 4, these 3 girls and me. I suppose that it must have become pretty obvious to the other 2 exactly what I was up to. The thing that surprised me most though was that I was coming back from work and I’d been working on cars. I was in oily clothes and had oily hands. I was hardly the kind of boy that would be respectable but it didn’t bother these 3 girls at all. On one occasion I reached the tram stop just as they were alighting but the girl whom I liked and one of the others alighted so I waved “hello” but they disappeared off. I wondered what on earth was happening here. The 2nd girl came over and said “don’t worry about those 2. They’ve just nipped back to (I think her name was Jane, this 3rd girl) they’ve just nipped back to Jane’s house so that she can fetch her cloak and they’ll be back. Something came up about the address. It was “Toxteth Road” and I was trying to think why I knew about Toxteth Road and why it seemed to be so significant about this particular moment.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022I’m trying to think where I reached with this because it might be that I stepped back into the same dream or else I’ve remembered something different. There was one occasion when I was on my way back home. I was coming in a different way past this tram stop so I went to sit somewhere below it where I could see them alight. I couldn’t find a good spec to sit where I could survey the tram stop. I ended up in the square sitting on a plastic chair where I could see the tram stop about 22 metres away. At that moment someone else whom I vaguely knew turned up. We started chatting and I basically explained that I was waiting here for someone and we carried on talking for a while. Suddenly I realised that the girls hadn’t turned up. I happened to mention it to him and he said “to be honest, they know other people and there’s someone who hangs around that girl who is 55 and they go round there some times. You’ll probably find it extremely difficult to move him out of this girl’s orbit”. I burst out laughing and said “I can’t even get a girl in a bloody dream, can I?”. His ears pricked up and asked “what’s all this about dreams?”. I explained that this was a dream, that I was very interested in dreams and I’d been keeping records of my dreams since that University course 25 years ago when I volunteered to be a guinea pig for the experiment. He was most interested and we had quite a chat about that. But imagine being in a dream and knowing that it’s a dream and talking to someone about it being a dream when one is actually in a dream oneself and being able to recall so much factual information out of one’s subconscious when one is in a subconscious state.

Unbelievably, I stepped back into this dream yet again later on, and how many times have I ever done this before – the same circumstances and characters three times?. Not very many at all, if any. This time we were all in a house, this girl included. She was sorting through some things and on her rubber dinghy she had some paddles. She needed some stuff to clean them. She’d seen across the road in the distance a marine supplier’s so I suggested that we went. We collected our things together but as it was rather cold I went to find my leather jacket. I couldn’t find it, and the cats weren’t sleeping on it so “never mind, I’ll go without”. The 2 of us set off outside and I took hold of her hand and she took hold of mine. We skipped off down the street and across the main road to the other side. She was saying something about if her friends saw her like this with me, what would they think?. I burst out laughing and said “oh just tell them that I’m a dirty old man but I have plenty of money”. She said “dirty? You do wash, do you?” and I replied “ohh yes, on special occasions” and we skipped across the road and skipped up the steps and we saw the sign that said “marine market” and skipped off that way.

And do you know what? That was the happiest that I have ever been for an extremely considerable period of time, probably about for ever in fact, and it was a shame that it actually happened in a dream and not in real life. I should be so lucky. There’s definitely something missing in my life, something that I will never ever recapture – except maybe once a couple of years ago, but the World is not ready to hear that story quite yet.

Finally, I was with Laurence and Roxanne. We were in some country like the Soviet Union, somewhere like that, and we had to go north to a town called Brest (not, presumably the Brest-Litovsk that’s on the border with Poland). We ended up at a railway station quite late at night. There was a large queue so Laurence told Roxanne to stand in the queue until it reached the front. When it did, she went to take over and came back with a pile of tickets. She siad that there was a return ticket for Roxanne but we only have two single tickets. We ended up in a hotel somewhere, a cheap hotel that wasn’t too bad. The next morning we had to pack but there was tons of stuff to pack so it was good that we had some expanding rucksacks but even so there was still quite a struggle. I couldn’t find Laurence. I heard some noise outside the room so I went and found her scrubbing the floor of the corridor. I asked why and she said “you have to make the place tidy when you go”. I replied “yes, tidy is one thing but it looks as if you are working here”. We were arranging all our things. I remembered that when we had set out on this journey there had been quite a few of us and I was ready to go but everyone else wasn’t. It took until really late at night for them to prepare themselves to leave and half of them weren’t ready even then and had to go next morning to buy some stuff while we were away. All in all it was a thing of total chaos, this particular trip. If we had all been properly organised when we set out, none of this would have happened.

When Rosemary had telephoned me yesterday, she said that she would phone me today to wish me a happy birthday. “Not too early” I said and so, sure enough, at 09:15 she phoned me up.

Anyone who rings me up at that time of morning when I’m having a lie-in will hear nothing but a series of grunts and so I’m afraid that the conversation didn’t last very long.

However there was no possibility of my going back to sleep after that no matter how hard I tried. And I did try too – all the way up to 10:50 when I finally abandoned the idea and crawled out of bed.

After the medication the rest of the morning (and a little of the afternoon too) was spent transcribing the dictaphone notes. I’m not sure that there has ever been a night when I’ve travelled so far and with so much emotion.

No breakfast this morning so I had a brunch this afternoon, porridge and toast with plenty of coffee. And then much of the rest of the afternoon was spent acknowledging messages and speaking to Ingrid on the phone who rang me back to send me some birthday greetings

storm beach rue du nord baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then I went off for my afternoon walk.

Yesterday I made the point that the gale-force wind that we have been having for the last while seemed to have died down. And how I wish that I’d kept my moth closed as the wind was back today, and with a vengeance as well.

You can tell that just by looking at the sea out here in the Baie de Granville. We didn’t even see waves like that at the height of Storm Useless. It was no surprise that there was no-one down there this afternoon, despite the sun.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, having a look around out at sea, I was surprised to see that there was a trawler out there just off the Ile de Chausey.

When Storm Useless was blowing, all of the fishing boats remained in harbour, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today the winds were stronger and the waves were rougher than they were back then but nevertheless here we are.

We’ve seen a trawler out there for the last few days and although I couldn’t identify it, this one is certainly a different one than whoever was out there before.

And to take this photo, I had to find a suitable wall on which to prop the NIKON D500 because the wind was wobbling it around in my hands.

waves rocks marker light pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday, I posted a photo of the marker light on the rock just offshore here.

Today, I’m rather earlier than I was yesterday and so you can see the difference in the height of the water even over such a short space of time. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe.

There wasn’t anyone else out there this afternoon and that’s no surprise because the wind was wicked out here. At one point I was having to walk crab-like along the path in order to advance, and when the wind suddenly dropped for a moment I almost ended up over the cliff.

storm le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I reached the lighthouse I had a look over the car park to see what was happening in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Sometimes the bay over there is in the wind shadow where the waves are quite calm, but not today. Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour is being battered by the wind and waves this afternoon.

Round the corner actually in the bay the situation was even worse as you have already seen, with the waves slamming into the sea wall. I wasn’t going to hang around spending too long watching and so I headed home in the wind.

Back here, no coffee. I’ve already had too much of that today. But my coffee cake really was delicious. I can’t believe that I’ve actually made a cake that has come out as well as this – a vegan cake with no eggs in it either.

Tea tonight was a slice of pie with potatoes, vegetables and gravy. And that was really delicious. I cut it into 8 slices and the other 7 are in the freezer – for once there was actually some room in there. The filling wasn’t up to much because it was a rather ad-hoc mixture but I’ll do better than this when I prepare one properly instead of dragging something unknown out of the freezer.

So that’s that. I’m going to bed very soon ready to restart tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow. We are living in very worrying times, for all kinds of reasons. But another journey tonight like that one last night and I’ll feel so much better. I wish I knew who she was.