Category Archives: doctor

Tuesday 28th May 2024 – “YOU ARE REQUESTED …

… to come for an appointment at the hospital at Avranches on Friday morning at 09:00. Ohhh – and bring your overnight things”.

Things are moving faster than I even expected and it’s rather important because this weekend I have friends coming over from Germany to visit me. I bet that they didn’t expect to come to visit me in a hospital bed.

But yet more visits? More visits this year than I’ve had in all the other years combined since I’ve been living here. Anyone would think that I’m dying or something.

Last night I actually felt like dying. I’d done all that I could to have an early night and then the fates conspired against me, one thing led to another, and once you begin you’ve no idea how many other things there are. As a result I was late into bed once more.

However I actually found it a little easier to crawl into bed last night and turning over through the pain barrier into the only position in which it’s possible at the moment to be comfortable was nothing like as painful as it has been

My legs were well inside the bed too which meant that I didn’t fall out once which was an improvement on the previous night. Nevertheless I was awake a long time before the alarm went off and wandering around the bathroom when it finally did ring.

No blood test today for some reason. He’s going to do it tomorrow, which probably means that I won’t have my injection of the Last Resort until Thursday, if it’s not too late by then

But I do wish that he’d stop moaning. Things may well not be pleasant for him around here right now, but imagine how they are for me. Don’t you think that I’d change things if I could?

After he left I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There wasn’t actually anything on it but that’s not to say that I didn’t go anywhere.

In fact I had the greatest memory of another one of those really long dreams that I’m sifting through my head before I dictate them, just like the other night. This was a lengthy newspaper article that I was writing about how unjust it is to blame goalkeepers for their errors on the field. A keeper who lets a shot roll in under his body has no more lost the game for his club than the centre-forward who misses a sitter. Yet you see plenty of “goalkeeper error” videos but very rarely a “centre forward error” one.

What started this. I suppose, was a game that I saw the other day between Annan Athletic Under 17s and Threave Rovers Under 17s when the Annan keeper was yellow-carded for “deliberate handball” giving away a freekick that led to a goal by Threave Rovers. The game was being played on a sports centre pitch where there were five different sets of markings and he simply carried the ball out to the wrong set of lines. So what I was doing in my sleep was going through lists of games where a keeper had made a mistake and conceded a bad goal and a striker had missed a sitter in front of goal, and comparing who was blamed for the defeat.

Of course, each time that I thought that I’d had my list ready to dictate I remembered something else and had to start my list again. But I was awake before I could do that.

Coffee and delicious flapjack were next, then back in here I didn’t do all that much for a while.

A ring on the doorbell, a real one this times, jogged me into action. It was the doctor. He took one look at me and almost collapsed with shock.

He gave me a good going-over and reckoned that I ought to have a spell in hospital – “and not just a couple of days either”. He’d “have a word with the nephrology professor” at Avranches about me

So after he left I began to bring my medical file up-to-date, weeding out all of the time-expired stuff and adding in the new stuff. You’ve no idea how much has changed over the past few weeks.

My prescription – I’d given than to the nurse this morning. I had to print off another one along with yet more paperwork.

In the middle of all of this the hospital at Avranches rang up with the convoquation. So here we go.

Firstly, I had to book the taxi to take me. Secondly, I had to tell Paris where I was going just in case I can’t make their appointment on the 10th of June.

The doctor’s office rang me back later too “there’s another medicament …” so I had to contact my poor cleaner. And having one hospital take me off the Burinex for something else, Avranches has now put me back on the Burinex. And that’s just as well because I never had these problems when I was taking that.

In the middle of all of this I’d been doing some radio stuff. I’d started by choosing some music for another programme but with the news that I had, I verified three more programmes and sent them off. I told you that it’s a good idea to have a few prepared in advance.

At long last I could go for tea – a taco roll with rice and veg. Totally delicious as usual. I really do like my boring meals. They are totally different from what I’ll be eating in a few days time. I hope that some of you will be sending me food parcels.

But that’s for another time. I’m living from day to day here – in fact, from minute to minute. Getting into bed is the next challenge

The hospital should be fun – in the sense of interaction with others. I don’t see enough people, stranded as I am in my apartment. I know that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having told me that I need to get out more.

But it’s going to be a struggle for them at Avranches. Last time I was there I heard more than one nurse say, as I was climbing into the taxi to take me home "if he comes back, I’m leaving!"

Monday 15th April 2024 = I’M IN HOSPITAL

The emergency department of our local hospital in Granville. I made a brave face of it just long enough for the nurse to take one look at me as she came into the apartment.

After she’d dealt with my puttees and the plaster on my foot she sent me to bed and sent for the doctor.

The rest is, as they say, history.

What’s disappointing about all of this, from my point of view is that I’d made a special effort to be in bed really early and so at 22:00I was tucked up in bed with STRAWBERRY MOOSE to keep me warm hoping for a really good sleep.

As it happens, I can’t remember very much at all about last night. I was totally out of everything. There is some stuff on the dictaphone too and it’s certainly one of the strangest things that I’ve ever dictated. One of my failures was a failure of politeness and whoever was in charge of issuing the politeness had failed to endorse me so I’d fallen down on that, which meant that the Controle Technique on the van had failed as well and I didn’t know what I was going to do about it. I pretended to ignore it and went out anyway one day. I was in the van looking for this Minister of Politeness and went past the Police Station. A police car pulled out from the side of the road to perform a U-turn but stopped to let me go past. I stopped to let him pull out because I thought that I’d rather have him where I could see him in front of me and know what he’s up to. He drifted off with his superior and they went off to look for something else. A few other people had gone to look for this Minister of Politeness which left me there without my certificate and I was going to be in quite a few problems

When the alarm went off I staggered off for the medication and then for a wash and brush up to look pretty for when she arrives. Not to mention setting out the room as she likes
"setting out the room as she likes?" – ed
Didn’t I just tell you not to mention that?

So she came, she saw and she complained. Off I went to bed like a rather naughty child and tucked myself in.

One thing that I did do was to tell my cleaner that I was tucked up in bed. I sent her a message. She pops in every now and again to drop off something and I didn’t want to frighten her.

Actually, she stuck her head into the bedroom later on to see how I was doing and if I needed anything, which was nice of her. She told me later that the sight of me frightened her to death – by which of course she means about how ill I looked. I usually frighten people to death every day for other reasons.

The nurse rang me and told me that she’d seen the doctor’s secretary and he’d be here after his morning surgery closed, which was fair enough.

Sure enough, at about 13:00 he turned up, and he was horrified by my sight too. He gave me a good going-over and then recommended the hospital.

Once I’d agreed (there’s no point having his advice and not taking it) he called the taxi company that handles my affairs and they said that they’d be here in an hour.

Just enough time to sort out my papers and pack a bag (which I didn’t take because I didn’t know if I’d be staying) and then Antoine from the taxi company took me to the Hospital’s Emergency Department.

Having been categorised by an Emergency doctor as “non-urgent” by which they mean “not about to die” judging by the state of some of the others, and having been given a blood test I was put on a bed in the corridor to wait my turn.

There was soup and coffee being passed down the line (not like at Riom where Liz had to run out and purchase supplies) but it didn’t reach me and I was in no mood to ask. And when I’m off my food, you know that here’s something wrong.

There was plenty of time to observe the goings-on and I was glad that I’ve not been arrested. The French Gendarmes don’t mess about asking people to “come quietly”. There were at least two detenus brought into Emergency in handcuffs for a check-over after helping the Gendarmes with their enquiries.

They didn’t actually get round to me that night and I was pushed, bed and all, into an empty office where I was left alone in the dark with the occasional visitor to check on me.

As for me, I felt like death and I could feel that I was going to be worse.

But my faithful cleaner sent me a lovely message – "Courage! The whole building chez nous is with you!"
To which I thought "Blimey! It must be a pretty big bed"

Tuesday 12th December 2023 – THE DOCTOR CAME …

… round here at the end of the morning, with a student trailing along behind.

As he walked into the apartment he looked at me and said "it’s getting worse, isn’t it?"

Considering that when he saw me a year ago after my torrid three months away from home he told me quite frankly that he thought that I was dying and that I wouldn’t pull through, his comments today weren’t exactly encouraging. How much worse can it be?

It has left me with the feeling that the clock is winding down rapidly now and the first thought that came into my head when Frodo and Sam were staring despair in the face near the end of LORD OF THE RINGS
"Have you thought of an ending?"
"Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant."

He was insisting yet again that I ought to see a therapist (read “psychiatrist”) to help me come to terms with “events” but as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … anyone who sees a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

And I really would feel terribly sorry for whoever it is who draws the short straw and has to probe the depths of my subconscious mind.

Actually, I don’t honestly think that he’s too far off the mark because I haven’t had a good day today.

It was another disturbed night and an early start in the morning because I ended up not being able to sleep all that much.

After the medication I had a few things to do and it ended up being another nostalgic trip down Memory Lane. And as PG Wodehouse once famously said, "memories are like mulligatawny soup in a cheap restaurant. It is best not to stir them"

Eventually I managed to sit down and transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was going through editing my blog last night. As well as that, I was comparing a few web pages to check on things. I came across 2 that were absolutely identical so I deleted one of them. It wasn’t until later that I realised that one of them was actually the copy on the hard drive and the other was the copy on the server. I needed to have the two copies of course but I couldn’t remember the name of the file. I then had to go all the way through, count the files and compare each of them one by one. This led to its own complications because the only way to identify the different web pages was by the images on them but I kept on losing count. A couple of people there were trying to help me but they weren’t particularly helpful. There was one occasion where I missed an image and just wanted to go back a short way but she reset the machine that she had so that it went right the way back to the start so we’d have to start all over again. I had a feeling that this is a job that is never ever going to be finished because no matter how many times I make a start on it I can’t keep my concentration going long enough to count all of the web pages and images correctly (and doesn’t this sound so familiar?) and I’d just keep on slipping up every time. I’d never find this missing file that I deleted in error.

I was then doing something different with the blog. I was trying to prepare a report of each and every football match that had taken place over the last 4 or 5 years. I had some notes and we had some old newspapers. By going through them we were able to make some kind of rough approximation of what had happened the previous season and were able to make some kind of report of each game that had taken place so that with the aid of a couple of very small children I went back and did a couple of years. That seemed to work fine. I set a little task and sent the children away to do the previous years but I was rather over-ambitious with that and the children weren’t able to do it. A couple of parents came to see me and in the end we all sat down, had a talk about it and went to work it out. One woman complained in a light-hearted way that I was speaking Geordie to them but another one replied “no, that’s Scots” and they were all being rather confused by my accent. I actually awoke before we finished it. But someone had asked me about how many years back I was going to do. I replied that that would be the last one because we couldn’t rely on having copies of the newspapers any further back than that. Without access to any records it was going to be practically impossible to complete.

Later on last night I was in Leuven, preparing to go to do my shopping. Then a flyer came round from LIDL. I thought to myself “I haven’t been to LIDL for months and this would give me a good opportunity to go”. I didn’t know where the LIDL was in Leuven. I’d have to have a look at the map to work out a route. 5 minutes later found me out in the street and I’d forgotten to look at the map. I was wandering off, daydreaming as usual down the road and almost ended up driving through a red traffic light. All kinds of traffic came to join me at the next traffic light. There was a while MkIV Cortina saloon full of people etc. Then I suddenly had a brainwave about where there might be a LIDL – miles out of my route but I may as well go while I’m out. I began to plan my itinerary about what I was doing, where I was going and what I was going to buy while I was sitting in the van at the traffic light.

Rapidly changing country, I was at the Centre Normandy, somewhere like that, standing at the reception when a giant rat scurried across the room. I picked up one of these pointed letter-openers and threw it at the rat and skewered it straight away. I felt really impressed with that, except of course that the idea of a rat running around somewhere like that is horrible.

Finally, we were in Virlet preparing to come back north. Someone had already heaved a brick through the windscreen of the Ford Escort so I wanted to make sure that everything was properly burglar-proof. One of the windows was rather badly-damaged and was easy for anyone to try to come in that way so I was trying to find some string to secure it but I found a piece of wood that was exactly the correct size to blank it off. I went looking for my drill, screws and bits. I found them lying around on the floor in all kinds of places where I’d left them the previous day when I’d been working and been too tired to put everything away. I began to collect everything together to prepare. I can’t remember who I was with now but Percy Penguin was also there.

There was some more stuff than this but you really don’t want to read it, especially if you’re eating your meal.

After a good wash I prepared for my Welsh lesson and it was a disaster. Nothing whatever would sink into my head today. And being disrupted by the visit of the doctor didn’t help at all.

The car came for me later to take me to the Centre de Re-education and I don’t know why, but I fell into the pit with the Black Dog. And fell quite deeply too.

Not that that usually bothers me because I’ve fallen in there many times before, and sometimes much deeper than this, but I’ve always consoled myself with the thought that when things are really bad, they can only improve. However, at the moment, it’s difficult to see quite how.

Severine pulled and tugged me about for half an hour and then I had the ergotherapist who discussed her report with me.

Back here later I made my hot chocolate and biscuits, and then promptly crashed out.

The hospital and I had a chat at some point. My visit on Monday is now cancelled and I have to come on Tuesday, as previously advised, instead. However it still involves a stay. But that’s next week. There is still plenty of time for further changes before then.

My cleaner came round too. The doctor had given me a prescription for more medication so I’d sent her a message to ask her if she could fetch the products. I warned her that she’d need a shopping trolley

Tea was a taco roll, and there’s enough stuffing left over for a leftover curry tomorrow.

There’s the Centre de Re-education again tomorrow and then I’ll finish off the radio notes. I waded through a pile of them earlier before tea and I’ve done about 70% already.

But right now I’m exhausted again so despite how early it is, I reckon that I’ll go to bed. Not that it’ll do me much good but I have to show willing.

Monday 16th October 2023 – MEANWHILE, ON THE …

… telephone –
Our Hero "I have to travel to the hospital in Paris and the doctor has given me an authorisation for transport"
Health Assurance Official "you need to bring the form in here so that we can stamp it"
Our Hero "if I were able to bring the authorisation into your office, I wouldn’t be needing the authorisation"

You can’t make up stories like that.

And so it’s been another day when I’ve done almost nothing at all.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night too and strangely, I don’t remember some of it. Although I’m asleep when I’m dictating the notes, when I’m transcribing them there’s some kind of lightbulb that goes on in my head about most of them.

But last night there were a few that meant nothing at all to me when I came to listen to them.

When the alarm went off this morning I staggered out of bed and went off to take my medication. And then I came back here.

It took a while for me to come round into some kind of working mode, but my relaxation had been interrupted by the doorbell. The nurse had come to see my neighbour but she didn’t open the front door for him so I was obliged to stagger to the door in here to press the switch.

When I finally felt more like it, I had a listen to the dictaphone. Nerina had gone to the hospital to have an operation to have an operation on a cancer or something. Everyone else had disappeared and I was at home on my own. I’d been in Canada, dealing with the fall-out of a ferry that had sunk in one of the big rivers there. There was a great deal of talk about conspiracy theories regarding it, how it was time-expired and couldn’t find insurance for it etc. Whoever it was who was also with us then came back and handed me an envelope. I’d asked them to bring me £1000 cash back from the bank so they brought it back for me. It was all wrapped up in a little packet and they thought “why has the bank gone to this length with this money?”. I asked about Nerina and explained that there was a phone call that she needed to make but I’d left the details back downstairs. Then this person began to talk to me about a British aircraft carrier, “Eagle” that had also sunk in mysterious circumstances. That person seemed to think too that there was a problem with insurance etc, how it was a faulty build etc, how sinking was probably the best answer for it as far as the Navy was concerned. This conversation went on at some length. I explained that there was talk of this ferry, that suddenly the insurance offer had increased from several hundred thousands to¨£3,000,000. The person said that the same thing had happened with “Eagle” but that was done under the counter in a pub or café. I began to ask about Nerina and her operation, how she was doing.

In fact Nerina did once go into hospital back all those years ago and I did go to see her – but not for long. I have a horror of operations, tubes, pipes and all that kind of thing and if I had stuck around I’d have found myself in the next bed.

What I’m going through when I go to hospital is my worst nightmare. They are all well aware that the staff isn’t allowed to discuss operations with me and when I went two years ago to have the carcinogenic bit cut out of my kidneys no-one said anything. They came, pushed me out of my room to downstairs and stuck a gas mask over my face and that was all I knew about the entire proceedings

It’s one of the reasons why I never wanted children – because I’d be expected to be in the delivery room and there would be no way on this earth that that would ever happen. Of course, it’s always possible to be excused attendance but it’s the kind of thing that would be thrown back at you in any kind of dispute. And quite frankly, there are enough reasons to moan at me and complain about me without actually going looking for them.

Later on there was a group of us doing some things around the Crewe area. One was my brother and the other was a girl whom I knew when I lived in Chester. We had to go to some shops for some medication from the chemist and something else. We climbed into my car and drove. At a certain moment going up the street a woman appeared on a bike on the wrong side of the road. I didn’t see her until the last moment. I swerved to miss her. I hit the tyre on the kerb and burst it. I went for a slow limp to somewhere where I could change it but then another tyre burst. I thought “this is no good”. There was some stuff that we needed in the car so I was trying to group it all together in a bag. It was extremely difficult. My brother was making his usual remarks so in the end I gave him the bag and said “here, you carry it”. We set off but they began to wander off in the wrong direction. I said “if we go to the chemist’s in Bedford Street we’re only a couple of hundred yards away from Nantwich Road. If that chemist doesn’t have everything there are 2 or 3 chemists there. The other thing we need can also be bought from a shop there too”. We set off to walk down Bedford Street. I was talking to this girl about the area where she lived in Chester. I told her that I thought that the pub “The Beehive” had now become something else but she didn’t know. I asked where she lived, if she still lived in Chester. She said no, that she lived in Scapa Flow. We ended up taking a short cut through a building. I said to my brother “how do you fancy a nice cheap flat in Edinburgh,” because it was very cheap and it wasn’t really all that bad for the money. We went through this flat and out of the front door into the street.

And then a few of us were talking about my sister’s van. She had a Morris 1000 van and was having a few transformations done to it. When it was finished it looked like a pest on wheels. She would go round the shops with it until one night we stole it and hid it. One night we were down at a pub and she was out in a car. She came past and tried to attract our attention. We thought that we’d better disperse. We scattered and a couple of us ended up in Queen’s Drive in Nantwich where we were being overtaken by a film – a ship thing had passed which was this Morris 1000 van covered in brambles and weeds etc. There was something too about asking my sister the old question of days, the 21st, 24th and a couple of other occasions in that month. She found out the dates wrote them down on a piece of paper and stick them against the bridge behind my headboard in the dark.

Finally I had to go to Whitchurch to see a member of my father’s family. A letter had been delivered to my house for one of them. It was now 04:00 and we were finishing off the taxi work so I set off to deliver it. When I arrived at where I thought they lived I couldn’t identify the house. I saw something that might have been it and began to prowl around. In one of the outbuildings I found the bodyshell of an ancient 1950s Standard Vanguard Vignale … "actually a Phase I" – ed. There was also a set of number-plates on the floor written in Latin alphabet and then in Arabic. I wondered what they’d been doing with the number-plates off a Turkish lorry at one time. As I walked out of the barn I bumped straight into the guy. I came up with some kind of feeble excuse and handed him a letter. He seemed to be extremely delighted. I suddenly realised that it was his taxi wages that I was giving him. We had quite a chat. He asked me if we’d been busy on the taxis. I replied “very busy. I’ve not had my tea yet” and dawn was breaking the following morning”. Then I set out for home. As I was trying to put the key into the ignition some car tried to squeeze through the gap where I was parked. I told her to be a little patient but she snapped at me. When I set off I was driving on the wrong side of the road for a while. When I ended up in Whitchurch I was now on a bike. There was a cyclist in front of me moaning and complaining that I wasn’t in the correct lane, I was too close to him, all that kind of nonsense. He and I had a few words then I carried on heading for home.

Later on, the doctor came round to see how I was doing.

He gave me the famous bon de transport to go to Paris, another one for when these sessions at the Centre de Réeducation begin. Then there’s a prescription for something to help me in and out of the bath (not a student nurse, unfortunately) and finally, a prescription for an ergo-therapist.

An ergotherapist is one of those people who come to study your lifestyle and habits, and suggests ways and items that might improve your quality of life.

If he examines my lifestyle and habits he’ll have a hell of a shock.

Next step was to arrange the purchase of this IMac. I’ve decided that I’m going to buy it because at the very least it’ll replace the laptop that I’m using in the dining room to watch DVDs when I’m having my tea.

There was another visitor too. My cleaner came to see me and brought me my post. She’d heard about my story with the transport authorisation and as she’s going to the veg market tomorrow morning at Yquelon she can drop my form off as she’s passing, and also pick up my bathroom thing.

We went through a pile of stuff too about these chairlifts and tomorrow I’ll be ordering brochures.

Tea was later than usual – stuffed pepper and pasta. Just as nice as usual. So now I’m going to bed.

But I’m sickening for something again. This evening I’ve developed a really raging thirst and that’s always a sign that something is going on in my body. A collapse in health usually follows and what’s sad is that there isn’t much health left to collapse.

But if the Health Assurance people do agree to pay for my trip in a taxi to the hospital, that will be an enormous weight of my mind. I’m not looking forward to the trip if I have to go by train.

Friday 18th August 2023 – WHAT SURPRISES ME …

… is that I managed to keep on going for as long as I did today after all of my exertions.

As I predicted (well, it really wasn’t much of a prediction) I lay awake for hours after going to bed last night and just couldn’t settle down. As I’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … there’s no point going to bed early if I’m not able to go to sleep.

But sleep I must have done at some point during the night because when the alarm went off I was flat out miles away, deep in the Arms of Morpheus.

Leaving the bed before the second alarm was something of a struggle but I managed it all the same, and then had something of slow drag around into consciousness.

Despite everything else I managed to fall into the shower and have a good scrub up, and then I hit the town.

The bus was already at the bus stop so I staggered aboard, and then staggered out at the bus stop by the port.

First stop was at the doctor’s to pick up my prescription. I’m running out of medication so I need to stock up.

next stop was at the Carrefour around the corner where I bought a few supplies to keep me going, like peppers, mushrooms, potatoes and the like.

The reason why I buy my peppers here is that they sell two for €0:99 – teacup sized ones that are ideal for making stuffed peppers. The ones that you buy elsewhere are often quite enormous and overwhelm whatever it is that I’m cooking.

Final port of call was at the chemist for my Aranesp and to have the prescription dispensed.

By the time that I’d bought everything that I needed, my backpack was quite heavy and it was a struggle to come back up the hill. It took me an absolute age and I was exhausted. I had to make dozens of pauses

Back here I cleaned out one of the peppers and put it in the freezer and then armed with my coffee and cheese and toast I came in here, rather later then intended, for my Welsh lesson.

During the pause at lunchtime, I wrote up the dictaphone notes. I was waiting at Goodall’s Corner in Shavington for a bus to go to Nantwich for a hospital appointment. It seemed as if I’d been there for hours but no bus came. I’d seen buses coming in the other direction from Nantwich but none going that way. Eventually someone told me that there wzs a change on the route. He offered to take me to his house in Stock Lane because the buses were going past there at the moment. He took me down there. I went into his house. There were a few people in there, all denying that I was ill. In the end I had to show them my scars where the needles had been in my arms, the site of my old catheter etc before they eventually agreed that I was undergoing some medical treatment. Then we heard the bus so I went outside. The bus pulled up and I boarded. There was a driver and a couple of other passengers. The whole lower deck of this bus was covered in dolls etc. The driver, while he was driving, was playing a game of some kind like cards or something with another one of the passengers. I thought that this was the most weird bus trip that i’d ever had.

What was interesting about this dream was that I was waiting for the bus on the “wrong” side of the road, as I would do if I were in Europe. And all the traffic was driving on the right too.

And then, half an hour later we had a suddenly this dream came alive. The person who was being me began to take off after the girl in this particular scene. That caused a lot of embarrassment. First of all, what was happening was that we’d been paired off. There was a doll that was me, a doll that was a girl, there were several of these pairs and we’d been paired off each at someone’s house but at first nothing had ever happened until we suddenly began to come to life” and I have absolutely no recollection of this or no idea at all what it concerns.

Then we had a dream that was quite similar to that again with 2 dolls, a male and a female. It wasn’t until they’d been together for a while that people noticed that these dolls were starting to turn themselves into a couple

Next I was at a supermarket. There were these toy things, dolls or whatever, tied up at a kind of hitching rail outside the store. All of a sudden a few people came along and began to push themselves into the queue in the wrong place. I thought to myself that there’s going to be some kind of severe confrontation with this lot any minute now.

I was then with Mike Harris, the chairman from TNS. We were talking about the European Cup Final between his team and a team that I was representing from Wales. He said that he wanted to approach UEFA to see whether they’d agree to host the game in Budapest. I said that in principle I’d agree but I’d like to play the game in Leichtenstein. Apart from the fact that there’s a lovely stadium there, it’s the crossroads of Europe etc. He asked me how we’d go about it. I told him that I knew Mike Lee, the Press Officer who went on to lead the UK’s bid for the Olympics in London. I imagined that he’d have a replacement and we’d start of by contacting him.

What’s strange about this is that I BO – or did – know Mike Lee, and he was Press Officer for UEFA and he did leave to work as leader of the team what worked on bringing the Olympic Games to London. And the football stadium at Vaduz in Leichtenstein is quite nice, AS REGULAR READERS OF THIS RUBBISH WILL RECALL.

But no Zero last night, and no California either. I must be slipping.

The Welsh lesson went quite well for a change, even though I had to fight off several waves of sleep. But once it was over and I was armed with my hot chocolate I wasn’t so lucky and ended off drifting away for half an hour or so.

That actually makes a change. usually, going into tow and back exhausts me completely and I’m flat out on my chair a long time before this.

There was time to spend an hour or two writing radio programme notes and then I went for tea – chips with salad and some of those quorn nuggets that are really nice.

But now I’m ready for bed, I reckon, not that I’m particularly tired after having crashed out just now. But it’ll catch up with me sooner or later. Shopping tomorrow, and with some room in the freezer, I hope that there’s some good stuff in Noz now that I have room for it

And having been to the shops I’ll probably be flat out in the afternoon. As long as I don’t miss the football tomorrow evening.

Friday 7th July 2023 – I ALMOST SCORED …

… maximum points today.

There I was with Caliburn on our way to the nerve specialists when a bunch of people, adults and kids, too busy going “ooohhh look! A Seagull!” to notice that they had stepped off the kerb right in front of us.

My reactions are quite slow these days, I know, but had they been any slower we would have had an impressive game of ten-pin bowling with a few live skittles.

Yes, it’s tourist time again and the place is swarming, all the way through the night as well.

That might make you think that it’s difficult to go to sleep but actually I had one of the best nights’ sleeps that I’ve had for ages, and that’s quite bizarre.

When the alarm went off I was dead to the world and as usual, it was difficult to summon up the energy to beat the second alarm.

First thing that I did after the medication was to make some bread. I’m not going into town this morning but I still wanted my cheese on toast so I made a nice round bap. It was quite good. The air fryer did me proud although I had to wait for a couple of hours while the dough rose and all of that.

While it was doing that, I had a listen to the dictaphone. There wasn’t much on there from the night so it must have been quite a deep sleep. I was on a bus travelling to somewhere in Yorkshire. There was a new railway station there being built, a big interchange. The bus when it hit the town centre went an unfamiliar way. It looked as if it was taking us to the new railway station. We knew nothing about this. We just thought that it would drop us off here and we’d have to walk to the old one. When we came to outside the station we could see that the station was full of trains. There were all kinds of chalk noticeboards about this train and that train, some trains running 30 minutes late etc. I made a brief note on the back of an envelope to be able to discuss with the girl travelling with me. When I found her she was perplexed because she couldn’t find any of our suitcases. There was all kinds of confusion happening here at this new railway station

After my cheese on toast I carried on with my trip around Canada in 2017. I’m now leaving the Furdustrandir and heading out to the abandoned fishing settlement of Pack’s Harbour, on an island out to sea.

Someone asked me whether STRAWBERRY MOOSE was with me. He was actually with me in Labrador, but didn’t come with me on the boat.

If the truth be known, there was some confusion. It was intended that he should come with me so I told him to go and bring back a couple of oars. He must have misunderstood what I was asking because he wandered off towards the red light district.

In the middle of all of this I went for a shower to make myself look nice for the doctor, and then carried on with my desultory Welsh revision. I really am hopeless at this.

The doctor put me through my paces. It’s agony having all of these mini-electric shocks while he records my reflex reactions. I was there for well over an hour too. But he told me what I knew already, and that was that there is a deterioration in my condition.

One good (if it can be called good) thing that came out of it though is that if they do decide to take me on, he’ll authorise a taxi from the railway station at Montparnasse to the hospital.

And that’s a great weight off my mind. It’s bad enough on Line 4 to the Gare du Nord but if I have to change lines and go up and down stairs it will become impossible.

After the doctor’s I went to Lidl for the weekend shopping. I didn’t buy much but it’s still expensive. To my surprise, 500 grammes of mushrooms were only a few pence dearer than 250 grammes. So I bought the larger size and tomorrow at lunchtime I’ll have mushroom soup. That should be really nice.

Amongst the things that I bought this evening was a kilo of carrots as I’m running out. So after tea – chips, salad and these vegan nugget things, I diced and blanched the carrots. before I go to bed I’ll be freezing them

And I won’t be long going to bed either. I’ve not done the radio notes today and I was going to do them now but I’m exhausted. I had to fight off a wave of sleep earlier and I don’t think I’ll be successful this time. I’ll hurry up and finish my notes, then have an early night before I …

errrr …


Friday 23rd June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… morning today when I’ve been up before the alarm has gone off. And a good while before it too. I’ve no idea what’s happening right now about that.

So having had such an early start I downloaded a couple more programs that I’d overlooked, and then fine-tuned a couple of others.

A few directories that I’d copied back from the back-up drive were rather all over the place so the next task is to go through and tidy them up.

No time like the present, so I cracked on with them. That’s the one thing about doing a clean install is that it gives you an opportunity to tidy things up and eliminate unwanted files and programs. There must be tons of programs that I only ever use once every Preston Guild so they won’t be added back for a while.

And files too. I usually only like to keep on the computer the files that I need on a regular basis but I forget to weed the unused ones out.

Round about 10:15 I suddenly remembered that I needed to go into town so I threw the dirty clothes (of which there was quite a pile) into the washing machine and then staggered off into the wind.

First stop was at the doctor’s – or, rather, the receptionist – to pick up the certificate that the doctor had prepared for me. I can crack on and apply for my disability permit now.

Then I went to Carrefour for a bit of shopping. And amongst the bits and pieces that I bought was another head of broccoli. Ad for two reasons too

  1. I’ve been slowly working my way through the stock just now and it’s going down
  2. there was a lump in there with a nice thick stalk and I fancied some broccoli stalk soup again for lunch

Final stop was the chemist’s. And as soon as she saw me my favourite server said to her colleague “I’ll fetch Monsieur Hall’s stuff”. I’m not sure whether to be flattered that she was so interested, or concerned that people are beginning to recognise me.

Staggering back up the hill was agony yet again and it took me a while to make it to the top of my rock and back home.

But the climb is worth it because I do like my building and my apartment. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s the first place where I’ve ever felt actually at home.

Back here I blanched the broccoli and then made my soup. I fried an onion in cumin and coriander, added a pile of garlic and then the finely chopped broccoli stalk with a finely diced potato, stirred it all in and then added some of the broccoli water from the blanching along with a stock cube.

While it was doing, I took the washing from the machine and hung it up to dry. I’ll have some clean clothes for a change when they are all done.

When it was sufficiently done I whizzed it all up and ate it with the crusty bread that I’d bought. Totally delicious

Back in the office I almost fell asleep and my coffee almost went cold, but I managed just about to fight it off. And then I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was with my niece’s husband last night cleaning out the kitchens of a couple of elderly people who had died in isolation somewhere in Canada. All of their things and possessions were simply abandoned and we were going through throwing most of it away because it was all old, muddy, sticky, an absolute mess. One thing that we were trying to do was to try to decipher why they had half of this stuff. With no labels we couldn’t see what it was. Even with labels on it was hard for us in modern times to understand the use to which they would have put these products back in the old days. But there was all kinds of things even down to old cough drops and boiled sweets, stuff like that, all disgusting really.

Later on I was being pestered by someone on the internet about something that I’d written. He wrote back with things like “see page so-and-so of this article” and when I looked, it had nothing whatever to do at all with the subject under discussion. I wrote back and told him. He sent back an e-mail saying something like “Oh God there’s obviously been some mistake in the page number or formatting of the book where this paragraph was inserted in here where it shouldn’t be”. Of course I’d heard this trick before so I sent him an equally-dismissive e-mail about that. He sent me a reply back as if he wanted to carry on the fight regardless. I had to sit and compose a mail telling him to basically clear off because he was wasting my time and that of everyone else with his nonsense

And then a whole group of us had been out somewhere and had come back to my house afterwards. The first thing that I did on returning was to switch on the heater. Everyone swarmed in and someone began to cook some breakfast, some bacon. They’d asked what we were going to have to eat but I didn’t really have much of an idea because I didn’t have very much in. Someone found some bacon and began to cook it. They were cooking it in a kind of oven that was like an old toolbox. After a while they complained that it wasn’t cooking correctly, asking me what I was going to do about it. I replied “nothing. It’s nothing to do with me. You don’t cook bacon like that and if you want to cook bacon anyway that’s entirely up to you”. They weren’t very happy about this but I wasn’t very happy about people cooking bacon in my house. I had a few things to do so I thought that I’d wander off in a corner and so them. But with all of this stuff going on in my house I couldn’t really do anything until everyone had left and I wasn’t sure when that was going to be.

Finally we were back in Canada around a camp fire making coffee with one of these plunger coffee makers but I awoke just as it was starting so I can’t think about what that was all about

The rest of the afternoon I’ve been back in Labrador trying to resolve a knotty problem.

At the back of the town of Cartwright is a hill called Flagstaff Hill where it is said that Captain Cartwright installed two cannon after his fishing station was raided by an American pirate.

So everyone says, and so I was having a peruse through his diary to find the date that the cannon were put there and, strange as it is to say it, he doesn’t mention the cannon in his diary at all. In fact he doesn’t even mention the hill.

That’s bewildering because he talks about just about everything else, including strange things like how many fish his team caught on certain days.

Something else that I found bizarre in his diary was that he records every little event of what happened the day that the pirates came, including all of the unpleasant details and he lists all of his employees who deserted his post to go with the pirates and concludes with
“A very fine day”,

But apart from that, he makes no mention of the guns so I’m intrigued now to find out more about how they came there..

Tea tonight was a breaded quorn fillet with chips and salad, and quite nice as usual. But there’s not much room in the freezer right now, especially since I bought the broccoli and a couple more peppers, so I shall have to be circumspect at the shops tomorrow.

Rather like when Kenneth Williams told Peter Butterworth “there are people around. We’ll need to be circumspect”
“Oh I was, sir. When I was a child.”

Thursday 22nd June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… depressing day today. And I bet that you are as fed up of reading about it as I am about living it.

My own fault though. I had a doctor’s appointment at 10:00 this morning so I decided that I’d be brave and walk – or, rather, hobble – down the hill into town on my crutches.

The idea didn’t exactly fill me with confidence but I had to do it. And it passed without any serious incident, which was good news. Just the occasional wobble here and there.

But as you might expect, I was well out of it this afternoon. Totally out of my tree in fact.

And that’s not really much of a surprise because apart from the fact that it seems to be par for the course these days whenever I go anywhere, when the alarm went off this morning at 07:00 I’d been up for ages.

First thing that I did after the medication was to try to resolve a computer issue. I said yesterday that I’d fitted a new hard drive into this machine. A couple of my graphics programs weren’t functioning correctly so I left them in the end and went to bed.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, graphics is one of the reasons why I bought a machine like this big desktop machine. But it’s not a proprietary machine, it’s something of a “bitsa” with a collection of assorted bits and pieces for the best possible performance, and I’ve upgraded it since I’ve had it.

Consequently you’re wasting your time looking for a manufacturer’s upgrade.

After prowling around for a while in the innards of the machine, I found that it was working with the drivers for a Windows-generic video card and I couldn’t remember the make of the video card that we fitted. I had to work through quite a collection of drivers until I found the correct one.

It’s working so much better now, which is nice.

All I need to work out now is why although the operating system recognises the 32GB of RAM that’s fitted, only one bank of 16GB seems to be working.

Even so, with a Solid State Hard Drive powering the machine it’s working a lot quicker and a lot quieter too.

In between all of this I had a shower to make myself look pretty and then struggled down to the doctors for a check-up and for the prescription for the next lot of Aranesp. I mentioned the hospital in Paris and he says that it’s one of the best in the country with a famous nerve-centre, if you’ll excuse the pun.

But the good news, if you can call it that, is that because there is no obvious element that’s affecting my nervous system, he reckons that I’m classed as permanently disabled. He’ll type a report for me to pick up tomorrow and told me to go the the Mairie and tell them.

And so I did, and they gave me half a rain-forest worth of papers to fill in. And if I need any help I can call a Social Services rep to help me. I have to fill it in and send it to the Prefecture at St-Lô, and then prepare for a long wait.

But if I’m lucky, I’ll have a disabled parking pass, free transport on the buses (mind you, buses are free here in Granville anyway) and things like that.

Next stop was the Post Office.

Something else that I’d done this morning was to gather up the papers that I needed and to fill in my Tax Return. That needed to be posted and there was a recorded delivery letter to pick up.

Next week it’s the annual general meeting of the owners of this building and as I own 250/10,000 of it since April I’m invited. So there was another rain-forest worth of papers about that sent to me by recorded delivery.

There’s a new artisanal high-class bakery opened in town so I stopped off for some specialty bread for my cheese on toast. I thought that in view of the effort that I’d made, I deserved to pousser le bateau dehors as they might say around here.

Final stop was to go to the chemists to drop off the prescription. 6 months worth of Aranesp but they can only order it one month at a time. I have to ring her every 4 weeks to reorder it.

It was the nice cheerful girl who served me today. “do you want to pay for it now?” she asked.
“Just this four weeks” I replied. “Not all of it”
“That’s what I meant” she retorted.

It was a struggle to come back up the hill onto my rock and I was exhausted. I had my coffee and cheese on toast but that was really my lot. I was in no fit state to do anything else for quite a while.

Later on I did manage to have a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And it’s a surprise to me that I was up and about so early because I travelled miles. In fact, I probably got out of bed on my way back home from my travels. I started out in Labrador last night. I’d been to visit a spot where a member of my family used to live. There was some information that I gathered there that I knew would be of interest to someone else who was hunting down family relics. I made a note and brought the information or copies of it with me and met up with this guy back at his place where because of the way that whatever was written on this information that I had, it was all about snow etc which of course would be most unlikely in South Cheshire but it was a very complicated ritual involved in making sure that he had the information. Then I had of course to get the information from him that he had found out about my family so it was all extremely confusing about this Labrador in Cheshire kind of thing.

Then there was a tractor for sale at a rather cheap price. I went to see it but when I returned Nerina asked me about it. I told her that basically it’s been taken in part-exchange and they want rid of it quite quickly so they’ll do a good deal for cash. She was wondering why it wasn’t on the forecourt. I explained that word about this tractor would go around by word of mouth quickly enough. They don’t need to make any effort to sell it etc. There was one guy there who insisted on shouting me down, giving me his own interpretation of what was happening even though I’d just been to talk to the owner about it. he wouldn’t let up no matter how I tried to explain to Nerina. In the end I told her “the vendor knows exactly how much that tractor owes him, exactly how much it’s costing them to keep it on the forecourt”, all the little details like that. They’ll know exactly where the breakeven point will be so if someone comes along with the cash they’d let it go. But this guy was not having any of this at all. It was really strange how he thought he knew absolutely everything without even having been to see it and talk to people about it. He thought that I was totally wrong.

I’d also been out with one of my schoolfriends. On the way back we stopped at his house. I started to chat to his sister who I fancied (and I actually did too in real life). We had something of a flirty exchange as a couple of teenagers would. I happened to mention something about Saturday night. she said that she was doing something that night which was a shame because I was hoping that she might be free and want to come out somewhere. We continued this chat and she asked me “what are you doing Tuesday night?”. I replied “nothing”. She continued “do you want to come with me on Tuesday night instead?”. Of course immediately my ears pricked up. I asked “where are we going?”. She asked “how do you fancy going to church?”. I replied “if it means going with you, I’ll come”. She said “it’s every fortnight”. I replied “that’s not a problem. I can manage that”. We arranged to meet on the Tuesday night. I went outside after that ready to go home. My friend was outside so I said “you’ll never guess what I’m doing on Tuesday night”. He replied “you’re going to church youth club aren’t you?”. I asked “how do you know?”. he didn’t really give me an answer about that but he obviously knew that there was something in the wind. She didn’t really like me all that much in real life when we were at school, which was no real surprise. But she went to University in Manchester while I was living there and we did meet up a few times, but nothing much ever came of it.

I was at work last night. I’d gone into the office which was packed. I went to find the lift to take me up to my floor. There were dozens of people hanging around the lift, people making music and singing Christmas carols, a little choir etc. It looked as if everyone was preparing fo Christmas. I was hoping that I’d see my Irish friend so that I could talk to her about my date on Tuesday night (so I must have gone back into that previous dream) but I can’t remember what happened after that.

She was a nice girl too and I liked her very much. We went on a skiing holiday once together which was really good fun but she had far too much good sense ever to become involved with me

Finally we were in Iceland waiting for a ferry back to the mainland of Europe. There was a storm and the ferry was delayed. It looked as if it wouldn’t sail for ages. Everyone was dashing around trying to find accommodation but I had a cunning plan. I would hire a van and sleep in it for a few nights which I reckoned would work out a lot cheaper. There was a young girl there whom I liked very much. We’d spent a lot of time chatting. We were standing in the queue and I bought her a coffee. I asked her what she intended to do. Obviously if she didn’t have any accommodation i was going to invite her to share the van. She mentioned Tom, another guy on this trip with us. She said “I’ll be spending the night with Tom, my boyfriend. I’ve been spending the last couple of nights with him anyway so another night won’t make any difference”. Of course you’ve absolutely no idea how disappointed I was, or maybe you have, I dunno. It’s quite a regular occurrence during the night – me being confounded like this while I’m engaged in the evil pursuit of nice young ladies. Anyway that was that.

The physiotherapist came round today too and massaged my right knee which is now playing up after my walk. I’m wondering what is going to break next. I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

Tea was a big bowl of pasta and veg with the rest of that vegan bolognaise stuff from last week. I livened it up with some chili and garlic salt and that gave it a kick.

Tomorrow I’m off to town again for my Aranesp and a bit of shopping. That means that in the afternoon I’ll be flat out on my chair again. It’s becoming far too much of a habit but there’s nothing that I can do about it regrettable. Onwards and upwards, hey?

Tuesday 20th June 2023 – I’VE HAD A …

… horrible afternoon today. and I really mean that too, in case you think that I’m exaggerating. I’ve spent almost all of it fast asleep on my chair, well out of just about everything.

It’s not as f I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep last night. I was in bed at some kind of realistic time and I can’t remember being awake for all that long.

And when the alarm went off I was on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. It was the last day of our trip around the High Arctic so we came back on board handing in all of our possessions etc ready to go to our cabins to pack for the next morning before we leave. I was talking to a few people and a girl probably in her late 20s with curly hair began to talk to me. She asked me what my plans were. I said that we were going to fly to Houston from here. I was going to hire a car and drive around for a few days. She didn’t ask but began to plan my voyage with me “we’ll have to do this, we’ll have to do that but you’ll have to drive of course” etc. She was a nice enough girl, pleasant, but I couldn’t get over the fact that she was wanting to come along and hang around with me for a few days. I went back to my room thinking “I hope that I recognise her when we’re having our evening meal tonight”. Back in my cabin, it was an absolute tip. I remember leaving in a hurry but I didn’t remember it being in such a mess as this. I began to tidy up but there was so much stuff, all kinds of it and a huge pile of lace curtains that i’d somehow brought with me. I thought “there’s no way I can take this home” so I began to wrap it up and put it in a sack ready to take to the rubbish. It was at that point that the alarm went off.

After I’d had my medication I did some preparation for my Welsh class but at about 09:50 I headed out for the nerve specialist, having a little chat with a neighbour on my way out.

The news was, as I suspected, not so good. All of the obvious checks were made and came up with nothing. The only thing to think of is that the cancer is spreading into my nervous system.

There’s a hospital in Paris that specialises in nervous disorders and goes deeply into the matter. Would I like to go there? Well, do bears have picnics in the woods?

As well as that, there’s also what they call a Centre de Réeducation here in Granville. That’s a place where people who have had a severe accident or illness go in order to redevelop their life skills ready to go back to their normal life. He thinks that I might benefit from going there and would I like a referral?

One thing that he did tell me is that I mustn’t hold out too much hope. If the cancer is in the nervous system nothing is going to improve but it’s important that I keep my autonomy as long as possible and the treatment that I’ll be receiving will be towards that end.

On leaving, I went to Lidl to do some shopping and then I came back here. Grabbing something to eat and a coffee, I went to my Welsh lesson. But it wasn’t a success. My mind and my heart weren’t in it and I was really glad when it was over.

While I ate my lunchtime fruit afterwards I was chatting to Liz on the internet and then I completely, absolutely and definitively crashed out. and it was the deepest and most desperate that I’ve had.

When I finally awoke I had my hot chocolate and then transcribed the dictaphone notes. Some you have seen, but there were other. I was back at school last night. I couldn’t find any course work for any of my lessons. I’d left my satchel in our form room while I’d gone off somewhere. When I came back there was a class in there so I couldn’t go in. One thing led to another. The following morning I still didn’t have my class work so I decided that I’d go in to the class to enquire. No-one understand what I was talking about for a minute until it suddenly twigged that it was in fact my form classroom too but no-one had seen my satchel. The teacher couldn’t help and neither could any of the pupils in there. In the end I had to leave it and go to find my current class completely without papers. I walked in a few minutes late. The teacher scowled at me and asked where I’d been. I gave some kind of vague excuse and sat down. She had to give me a photocopied sheet for the current lesson that we were supposed to be doing. There was something strange, that the class that I’d interrupted to find my possessions, all the kids were in school uniform except for 2 who were in completely different school uniform of green pink and white that had nothing whatever to do with our school colours that were navy blue and white.

And then I was with a girl from school last night. We had a kind-of fast food stall in the town centre late at night. It was an upmarket thing. We had a stainless steel plate that we heated on electric elements and would fry peppers and stuff like that on it. It was a very complicated way to go about doing things but if you used the correct cooking oil it turned out to be really nice. It was the end of the night about 02:00. Everyone was going home and we were packing up. Lots of people would come over to chat and have something to eat. We ended up having an interesting chat with a couple of guys and girls. They gave my girl a beer to try, a special beer. She politely offered me one but I said no. She offered me some cake so I said no. We had a very interesting chat about nothing at all for a couple of minutes as we were cleaning everything up and putting it away.

Before I had tea I had to clean dice and blanch a kilo of carrots. I’d bought some at Lidl because I was running low. And it was a real fight to fit them in the freezer.

Then I made tea. A taco roll with rice and veg followed by the cinnamon roll and ice crea.

So having had an awful day, I’m going to bed. I’ve had enough of this and I’m going to start afresh tomorrow. There’s something going on right now in my body and I wish that I knew what it was.

Friday 26th May 2023 – MY LUNCH TODAY …

… was delicious.

Down at the supermarket in town this morning they had some fresh broccoli on special offer so I bought a chunk, trimmed off the florets, blanched them and then stuck them in the freezer for a later date, now that I have room.

There was a nice, thick, chunky stalk left over so I made a soup. I fried an onion and garlic in olive oil with some cumin and coriander, diced a couple of small potatoes and diced the stalk, added it to the mixture to fry and when it was all soft, added some of the water in which I’d blanched the broccoli.

After about 20 minutes’ worth of simmering, I whizzed it with the whizzer and ate it with some crusty bread.

And I’ll do that again!

But here I am, waxing lyrical about going to the shops and buying some broccoli as if it’s the highlight of my life. One of those memory things popped up on my social network, reminding me that 11 years ago today I was out on an icebreaker as we smashed our way through the pack-ice on our way back to Natashquan after taking relief supplies out to THAT ISOLATED ISLAND off the “forgotten coast” of Québec.

The moral of this story is “whenever an opportunity comes your way, grab it with both hands and go right to the end. You’ll never know if you’ll have another chance, and you never know what the future has in store for you”.

While we’re on the subject of the High Arctic … “well, one of us is” – ed … the first track to come round on the playlist this morning, after what I had said yesterday, was THE VANILLA QUEEN.

It’s been a long time since that “fascinating lady” has been to “haunt me in my dreams” after “the bright, nocturnal Vanilla Queen” and I stood together on the bow of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR watching the midnight sun in the Davis Strait. I was never the same again.

And while we’re on the subject of the High Arctic … “well, one of us is” – ed … the lovely Dyan Birch, whose voice is up there with Kate Bush, Julianne Regan and Annie Haslam, put in an appearance shortly afterwards.

She was well-know of course for her stint in Kokomo but before that she sang in an obscure Liverpool group called Arrival and their first album was one of the very first albums that I ever bought all those years ago.

The song that featured on the playlist was HEY THAT’S NO WAY TO SAY GOODBYE and I picked that as one of the ones to be broadcast in one of my radio programmes in due course.

It’s the song that came into my head up in the High Arctic as I watched “someone” walk from out on this desolate windswept and icebound airstrip to her aeroplane without waving or looking back and I thought to myself “hey, that’s no way to say goodbye!” but a few years later when I was saying goodbye to someone else on another airport, I suddenly realised the reason why some goodbyes have to be said in that way.

Samuel Gurney Cresswell, the artist and Arctic explorer, was once asked to explain Robert McClure’s loss of nerve after their dreadful experience in the moving pack-ice not too far from the first airport that I first mentioned. He replied that a voyage to the High Arctic “ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”.

However it didn’t work for me. One day I’ll write up the story of those three missing days.

But that’s enough maudlin nostalgia for the moment. We all know that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Let’s turn our attention instead to this morning, and the fact that one more I was up and about (in principle because I was far from awake) before the alarm went off.

But a shower slowly brought me round and I put the washing on the go. Oh! The excitement! It’s almost as riveting as the day that I had when the highlight was taking out the rubbish.

There was plenty of time before I had to go anywhere so I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. This was another one of these work dreams again, and I’m having plenty of those. I was working in an office but I wasn’t very productive and I wasn’t doing very much at all. Mostly wasting time. The Germans invaded the country and occupied the town where our office was situated. They ordered most people to leave. Those people gathered their things together and started to set off. At that moment I came back into the building having missed everything that was going on, saw them going, and said something like “goodbye, my colleagues. I don’t know how many of us will meet again after this thing has happened. Wishing everyone the best”. I’d heard some stories that some farmers had been far too friendly with the invaders and denounced a couple of people already. So we sat and started on what was going to be a very long ordeal.

But invaders again? We had them the other night, didn’t we?

Then there was something else on these lines. Someone ended up sending something or other to the office where we were working, as a kind-of sign of discontent but I can’t remember anything about it.

I also spent much of the night in company with a young girl and I wish that I knew who she was. We were talking about the area up at the back of Barrow, places like that. I mentioned a fishing port that was formerly very busy. When the fishing died out they came and moved some of the railway lines that connect the port network to the main line but left a diesel shunter behind that was now stranded on the dock and can’t be moved. We were chatting about all kinds of interesting things. Right at the end there was some kind of problem about her having to pay her rent on her little apartment so I suggested that she comes to live in mine. This was another one of those really nice, warm comfortable dreams that I wished would go on for ever and I don’t have too many of those.

But seriously, who would want a relationship with me?

It was a slow stagger down to the doctor’s and I didn’t have long to wait to see him. But as I thought the other day, he confirmed that with this series of injections, there’s nowhere else to go. He wrote out everything that I needed, wrote out the prescriptions, and that was that.

And that got me thinking.

It’s not the first time that I’ve mentioned it but a few years ago I was standing ON THE CREST OF SOUTH PASS, the gap that the “trails west” emigrants used when crossing the Continental Divide where to the east the waters drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, and to the west they drain into the Pacific.

It’s the most peaceful place on earth and I want to go back. I’m getting itchy feet again.

At the Carrefour round the corner I bought the broccoli, some mushrooms, some potatoes and a couple more of the small peppers. Now I know that I can freeze them, i might as well put a stock in the freezer now that there’s room.

Have you any idea how much a month’s supply of Aranesp costs? You really don’t want to know. And because it’s not on the list of GP-prescribed medication I have to pay for it up front and claim it back from my health insurance. That will hurt for a while.

So loaded up with a ton of medication (I’m singlehandedly keeping the French pharmaceutical industry afloat and they won’t ‘arf miss me when nature takes its toll) and having to go back tomorrow for some more, I crawled back up the hill onto my rock where I made my soup, had lunch and then … errr … relaxed. This stagger back takes its toll of me.

This afternoon I finished off choosing the music for the next batch of radio programmes but I’ve run aground at the moment. There’s a French musician called Miquette Giraudy who collaborated with Steve Hillside-Village and she wrote and played on several tracks. But you try to find them. None of my usual sources came up with the goods. The best example of her work that I can find so far is the album on which she collaborated with Hillage after he left “Gong”.

Both Alison and Liz were on line later so I ended up chatting to both of them. Alison was telling me more detail relating to our chat yesterday and Liz was showing me photos of her little week away in the Marches.

Tea was chips (now that I have some potatoes) done in the air fryer, with salad and some of the veggie balls. So you might say that part of my meal was a load of balls this evening. But then again, you might not.

Shopping tomorrow, not that I need very much at all but I have to go through the motions. I’ll go to LeClerc of course to see what they have to say for themselves, and I’lll also go for a prowl around at Noz. There’s usually a few surprises there and it’s nice to buy something different. It helps to shake up the diet.

And then after lunch a walk into town to pick up the Aranesp, which means that in the afternoon I’ll be crashing out. Terrible, isn’t it?

Wednesday 12th April 2023 – MY HOME-MADE …

… garlic naan was delicious. And what’s even better is that there are two more balls of dough in the freezer for further use for the next batch of leftover curries. And shock! Horror! I didn’t use the air fryer but stuck the naan in the wok to cook when I’d finished cooking the curry.

The leftover curry tonight was even better than usual too. The naan bread recipe called for just half a pot of soya yoghurt so instead of soya cream, I added the remains of the pot to my curry and that definitely gave it a certain je ne sais quoi that it didn’t have before.

The fact is that gradually I’m working on my diet and my meals and I’m having some really good stuff. My diet is improving in leaps and bounds and that can only be good news.

It’s better news that what happened during the night. That’s certainly true. I was late going to bed and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already sitting down here working. I’d been up since 06:00 and awake for more than an hour before that. It was quite a dreadful night.

Anyway I went for a shower and then set off to walk to the doctor’s, with both my crutches. I almost had a fall going down the steps to the Place Pelley but I managed to hang on and made it the rest of the way.

The doctor was extremely pleased to see me and he said so. He also said that when he saw me for the first time after I came back from Canada via the hospital he was extremely worried and wasn’t sure at all that I would pull through.

Not the first time that I’ve heard that either. I had a friend once who told me that he had been at death’s door but the hospital pulled him through.

After the doctor threw me out, armed with a pile of prescriptions, I went first to the little Carrefour and then round to the pharmacy. Outside, I met the friendly neighbourhood itinerant street dweller and we had quite a chat.

The chemist has to order in my Aranesp so that’s another trip down into town tomorrow. And I’m slowly warming to the idea of going to Leuven next by train regardless of the struggle through Paris because right now I seem to be managing to walk fairly well, all things considered, on my crutches and I’m hoping for an improvement after my week next week at the hospital.

What underlined that was the walk back home afterwards. I made it all the way back here without having to stop to catch my breath and it’s been an age since I’ve been able to do that. Things are looking up.

While i’d been in town I’d bought a crusty baguette so I made some cheese on toast for a late breakfast, especially now that I can actually buy vegan cheese in the big supermarkets. It’s not just my cooking that’s looking up but the supply of ingredients too.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too from during the night despite how short it was. I was driving a taxi last night. I had my little company going but all kinds of issues were going on. I ended up with just one car doing a few bits and pieces here and there. I was fed up with trying to organise everything and do everything. It ended up in Court for some reason or other. It was all very depressing last night.

And then I was in a house with someone. She was going to have a bath. She had left me alone in the living room. I’d seen all of her plants. She had some books on plants.

There was also a dream about a big female cat like Chloe (the cervil). She’d had kittens and one of them wasn’t very well. It had a respiratory issue. She brought the kitten to me to presumably take to the vet. I took the kitten and her too at the same time.

Later on I stepped back into one of these dreams again about a girl whom I’d been dating. Her parents began to accept me as some kind of fixture. She told me that Robert had rung up to talk to me. She thought that this was my father. I explained that this was Percy Penguin’s father. I couldn’t understand why he would want to get in touch with me. Her mother didn’t say very much and wandered away so I talked to this girl who by now had become Percy Penguin. She was saying that she’s being treated much better at home now because she’s been spending more time with them and more time looking after the pets and animals which has made har parents quite grateful. Maybe my new favoured position has something to do with all of that.

When I awoke later on (whatever that’s supposed to mean) I was with this girl again. I don’t know what’s happening here now.

That’s not everything that happened during the night by the way, but you really don’t want to know about the rest of it.

The cleaner came round this afternoon and we had a good chat while I wrote out some notes for one of my radio programmes. But then I crashed out – good and proper too – for at least an hour so I didn’t do as much as I would have liked. But I still managed to find the time to make some dough for the delicious naan bread.

having talked about my curry earlier, I’m just going to do a little more work and then I’ll head for bed. No lie-in tomorrow of course because I’m having a blood test and I have to have had nothing to eat. So right now I’m finishing off the last of the special chocolate that I bought for myself for Easter and then I’ll be going to bed.

But after crashing out like I did today I probably won’t have much of a sleep tonight either. Still, a good walk into town should wear me out enough and I’ll be fit for nothing when the physio comes round on Friday morning.

It’s all go around here, isn’t it?

Tuesday 28th March 2023 – AFTER ALL THAT …

… I didn’t have my door painted today.

Just as I was going out to the doctor’s, the painter rang me again. “Apartment 13 isn’t it, yours?”

“Yes it is but you’re not coming round now are you? I told you yesterday that I’m out this morning” and he confirmed that he would be back at 14:00 as we agreed yesterday.

At 13:30, just as my Welsh lesson was coming to an end, the bell rang. “It’s the painter”.

When he eventually found me, after having wandered around the building for 10 minutes, he said “there’s been a mistake. It’s not your door I’m supposed to be painting at all. It’s another one somewhere else”.

“That’s what I thought” I replied. “My landlord never told me anything at all about having my door painted” and that was that. he wandered off again elsewhere.

So retournons à nos moutons as they say around here – just for a change last night I actually had a really good sleep without too much tossing and turning around at all. The only disappointment from my point of view is that having gone to bed much later than I was intending, I didn’t have enough of it and that was rather depressing.

It was another real struggle to leave the bed this morning but I didn’t hang about too long. I managed to beat the second alarm, but not by much.

And after the medication and checking the mails and messages I went and had a shower so that I could look my best. And climbing into the bath to take a shower is no longer any kind of effort – at least, at the moment. Who knows what the future might bring?

Having dealt with the painter as I said earlier, I went to see the nerve specialist. And regrettably, I fell asleep in the waiting room. I must have been tired.

So the news is that there is a trace of cancer in the nerve cells and also a trace of infection. But what’s causing most of the problem seems to be some kind of inflammation. And that’s what the hospital is going to be treating when I go there for a week. He told me not to be too optimistic but I should certainly expect some improvement.

And if there really is some improvement on top of what I’ve already noticed, I shall be quite happy for once.

On the way home I went via LIDL but there wasn’t all that much that was interesting. I still spent €15:00 though, without an awful lot to show for it.

Back here I made myself a vegan cheese butty with tomato (I’d not had any breakfast of course) and then attended the second part of my Welsh lesson, that passed off OK.

This afternoon, there was football on the internet – Cymru under-17s against Montenegro under-17s, many of whom looked rather older than I was expecting.

Cymru needed a point to qualify for the European finals in the summer and were cruising along nicely, but two goals in a minute in first-half stoppage time seemed to have sunk them. The first goal, fair enough, but in a mad fit of rush of blood to the head, the whole team swarmed upfield from the kick-off to try to score an equaliser, and were hit with a sucker punch – a long ball out of defence over the top of the advancing Cymru defenders with an attacker running on from deep.

Pretty much text-book stuff.

Cymru pulled one back 10 minutes into the second half and then in the dying seconds the centre-back showed them how to do it, running in from defence and backheeling one home from three yards out to equalise and for Cymru to qualify.

But Cymru are going to have to find some strikers from somewhere. The midfield tore the Montenegrins to shreds and the guy on the right wing, Freddy Issaka, had them in all kinds of spins but the front two couldn’t hit the nether regions of a ruminant animal with a stringed musical instrument with all of the chances that they were given.

Shooting wide from just three feet out, right in the centre of the goal, was just one of the several simple chances that Cymru missed.

During half time I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I’d taken over the job as a football secretary of a local football club. The very first day I’d received some forms to fill in but I thought that I’d deal with them after the weekend. When I was talking to one of the guys from the club on the Saturday night he told me that one in particular I should have dealt with immediately and sent back because it concerns their match on Sunday. If it’s not dealt with immediately then the match won’t go ahead. There’ll be all kinds of consequences. I was totally unaware of that so I thought that I’d go to the bank to see if the form was still there. I arrived at the bank. The woman there was most unhelpful and I didn’t feel like pushing the matter. I thought that I’d leave it. I’d been invited to a party on the Saturday night. Lots of people were going. I walked along to the venue. Instead it was by the side of a river. Even though it was late at night it was all lit up. Photography would have been excellent had I had a decent camera and a decent place to stand to take the photos. I tried with what equipment I had but nothing actually worked that I wanted. There were far too many people in the way. On the way I’d stopped off at a chip shop to buy sausage and chips. I put my £2 down on the counter. Eventually I was served – about half a dozen cold chips and a small sausage which I thought was ridiculous for the £2 so I took a photo of it. While I was at this waterfront site I heard a couple of people saying that even though a couple of the girls were going to somewhere in the Spring, they were going to build a castellated wall around. This woman was describing in detail what this castellated wall was. Her friend was listening intently and so was I. at the same time for some reason I was mixing cement in the back of Caliburn on a plastic sheet. I couldn’t think why I was mixing the cement. There wasn’t much of it and trying to mix it in the back of Caliburn where I can’t stand up was extremely complicated.

The physiotherapist came round and ran me through my paces. He asked me if I would be interested in upping my programme to include a few more exercises. He was telling me that most people only like to take their therapy up to a certain point and leave it as it is but what about me?

My reply was that there’s a whole world out there still waiting for me and I want to get out and see it and take part in it. So he’s going to work out another programme for me

In between everything else I’ve been selecting more music for the radio programmes. What I’ll have to do now is to start to write out the notes. I’ve a few now that need text and then I can dictate one or two of them over the weekend to start to make some more programmes. I’ve plenty in the pipeline already prepared but you never know when I’m going to be “indisposed”.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg. And my stuffing is now down to a fine art and tastes really exquisite. I can’t wait to get my hands on a real kitchen though, although I’ve no idea when that might be.

Tomorrow the cleaner is coming so I’ll have some tidying up to do. It’s the last time this month that she’ll be here so I’ll have to do the accounts at some point. That might be a good thing to do if I need a break from writing radio notes.

However I am hoping for plenty of dictaphone notes. I need to bring some more excitement into my life and nothing much is happening during the daylight hours. Wandering off into the next dimension when I’m fast asleep is about the best that I can manage right now.

Tuesday 7th February 2023 – MY WELSH LESSON …

… went quite well today and I was really pleased about that. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like that about my course.

What I put it down to is the fact that for once I had a decent night’s sleep last night. I can’t remember if I awoke at any time during the night and there wasn’t a great deal on the dictaphone. In fact I was wide awake at 07:00 and when the first alarm went off at 07:30 I was actually sitting on the side of the bed fully clothed with my feet on the floor.

And that just goes to prove that I can do it when I want to.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I came in here to revise for my lesson, and then I made some coffee and sorted out a fruit bun ready for my lesson.

Just as I connected to my lesson, the doorbell rang. It was the doctor who was in the building so had taken the opportunity to come to see me. He’s had the report from the nerve specialist and he confirmed that I’ll be going back to hospital some time soon, depending on when there will be a bed and some treatment available.

It’s likely that I’ll be there for about a week while they undergo a series of tests.

He’s also prepared me for some bad news. He’s told me that it’s a possibility that it’s not the virus that has affected my nerve transmissions but it’s my underlying illness that’s eating away deeper into my body. We had a situation where the illness has spread into my kidneys and I had an operation in May 2021. It spread into my heart a little later and so it’s now a possibility that it’s going elsewhere too. I mustn’t be surprised if it’s spreading into my nervous system.

And if that really is the case, it might explain a lot of other things that are going on with me too.

As I mentioned earlier, the lesson passed off quite well and the first thing that I did afterwards was to go for a shower. It was quite embarrassed being examined by the doctor when I was all dishevelled and unkempt.

But while we’re talking about the shower … “well, one of us is” – ed … it was much easier actually climbing into the bath today for my shower. There was nothing like the struggle that I had when I first came back from hospital.

This afternoon I’ve been choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes. And there will be some good stuff in these as well. Tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll pair off the music and start writing out the notes.

The physiotherapist is pleased with my progress too. He’s noticed an improvement, with a little more force in my legs. He’s given me yet more exercises to perform and these are pretty difficult. He wants me to continue them for sessions of 10 minutes but 2 minutes is more than enough before my muscles give out.

After he’d gone I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a group of us from work going somewhere. We had 2 coaches. I was travelling as a passenger on one of them. At a certain point a girl whom I knew from work came in. She was travelling on the other bus but came to sit in ours, sitting right on the back seat talking away. She was trying to explain something but was becoming redder and redder and more embarrassed and more shy as the discussion continued. I was trying my best to put her at ease. In the end I told her to come and sit by me so that we could talk a little easier because I was in a block of 4 seats, 2 facing forward and 2 facing back. She came to sit facing me and said “you have a lot more stuff on your coach than we have on ours”. I said that ours was a better coach. We carried on chatting. We were driving through Brussels although it was no Brussels that I knew, looking for a certain park where we would stop for lunch. Eventually we found it, negotiating our way through these back streets, through these children pouring out of school at lunchtime to go home. I was certain that our bus had clipped the wing mirror of a car at one point. We reached this park. It was a little cold, a little grey and the odd fleck of rain. I said to this girl “would you like to come for a coffee? I’ll buy you a drink”. She didn’t want a coffee but she said that she’d have something. We prepared to leave. She said that she had a seat on the coach that she could bring so that she didn’t have to sit on the grass. I said that she should fetch that and we’d go off and find somewhere where we can have a drink

And then once more there was a group of us in some house somewhere. We had a list of things that needed doing. For a variety of reasons a couple of things weren’t done. The old guy who thought that he was running the place was extremely angry and upset. He accused everyone of doing all kinds of things to deliberately obstruct this particular house move. First of all he complained that we should have done the stuff on Friday yet here we were, still here, so we had to explain to him that Terry’s van broke down on Friday and he had to have it fixed. Then he complained about me taking out my own stuff from the house on Saturday. I explained that we had just taken the stuff out so we could fill it in to some kind of room and photograph it to make it look lived-in so we could let it. Then we brought back the stuff. His other 2 children who were there, he was lecturing them to such a degree that in the end they decided that they could no longer live under the same roof with him and either he’d have to move out or they would. It was all developing into an extremely ugly situation.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing. And how nice it was too. There’s some left over and so tomorrow I’ll be having another leftover curry with all of the stuff that’s left over in the fridge. They seem to work quite well

So tomorrow morning I’ll ring up to check on Caliburn and if he’s ready I’ll catch the bus out there to fetch him back. I’ll do some shopping on the way back too – probably at LIDL because I haven’t been there for ages and I’m sure that they’ll have plenty of stuff that I need.

And then I really must do all of this paperwork that I need to complete. Time is evaporating before my eyes and I’ll run out of time if I’m not careful.

Friday 27th January 2023 – I HAD ANOTHER …

… lie-in this morning.

But that was completely involuntary and by accident because the alarm failed to go off this morning.

When I checked the mobile phone I found that the battery had gone flat and it had switched off. Further enquiry revealed that what had happened was that the charging plug had somehow become detached from the telephone. With no possibility to repair something like this, that was that.

We aren’t lost though. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few years ago I lost my mobile phone and being totally unable to find it, I bought another one. A few months later, when I was tidying Caliburn looking for something else, I found the ‘phone down underneath the driver’s seat. so it went into a drawer and I forgot all about it.

Today’s events made ne remember where it was so I hunted it down but found, to my dismay, that the SIM card wasn’t the same size. But not to worry – I’ll sort it out later.

The morning was spent working on the notes for the radio programmes that I’ll be doing on Monday and chatting to Liz and Rosemary on the internet. But once the afternoon came round I dressed myself up and went out to catch the bus.

And today I’m very proud of myself in one respect, but not in another. When the bus dropped me off at the Place Godal I set off on my marathon hike to the Orange Telecom shop. That really is quite a walk, only about 400 metres short of the railway station and I was really impressed that I made it all the way there on my crutches.

But not so impressed when I spoke to the assistant at the shop. he took both telephones, took the SIM card out of the one that i’m going to use, peeled off the small adapter that was around it, put the SIM card from the broken ‘phone into the adapter and put that in the other ‘phone.

It was as simple as that and had I noticed that earlier when I was at home this morning, I could have saved myself the walk.

However the walk did me good and it’s made me think a little more about how I might go for broke and try one of these days to walk on my crutches to the railway station. But the last 400 metres is a killer hill, and I bet that the whole route will be a lot more difficult when I have things to carry.

Back down in the town I went to the Carrefour and bought a few bits and pieces, like mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and the like.

At the bus stop there was a 45-minute wait for the bus and it was cold out there and so I decided that I’d cross over the road and catch the bus in the other direction, round to the terminus at the other end of the line and then rode the bus back. At least it was warm and comfortable on the bus out of the wind.

Just about 45 minutes after I returned home I had to go back out again. The taxi came to pick me up to take me to this nerve specialist. and I’ll tell you now that pumping electricity through me as he did was one of the most painful things that has ever happened to me.

There’s nothing much wrong with my arms but there’s an issue with my left leg. As for my right leg, well, the least said about that the better. It’s quite clear according to him that there’s some serious damage.

He’s going to discuss things with my doctor but he did warn me that I need to pack my suitcase. I suppose that I’ll have to buy a couple of pairs of pyjamas too. Hospital nightwear is pretty depressing and I … errr … don’t actually have any of my own.

After I returned I transcribed the notes of my voyages from last night. I’d just finished work and I needed something for the weekend, which was in Chester, so I set out for Chester. It was such a nice evening so I decided that I would walk. I took a t-shirt, a cagoule, a fleece and another rainproof jacket just in case. The walk as far as the suburbs of Chester was quite uneventful and I quite enjoyed it but as I arrived closer to the city, it went really dark. We suddenly had a torrential downpour of rain. Luckily with the 2 rain jackets that I had and the fleece in between the 2 I kept warm and dry. I was able to walk quite comfortably up to the traffic lights on the edge of the city. Then the rain stopped and it went bright again. I stopped to take off the rain jacket. There were some people coming the other way who started to admire my rain jacket and particularly my yellow fleece, starting to talk to each other about it. They asked me a few questions but for some unknown reason I replied in French. I could see a look of puzzle on their faces as I did so but I didn’t really want to hang around and chat to them because I had a lot to do. I wanted to have it done as quickly as possible because of course it’s a long way to Chester and a long way back if you are walking.

As an aside, I walked back through the night from Chester to where I was living near Audlem a couple of times – all 30 or so miles of it – when the girl whom I was seeing went to College there and I didn’t have a car. It didn’t take me as long as you might think and even once or twice I walked straight to work and did 8 hours before going home to bed. I couldn’t do it now, even if I didn’t have the crutches.

I can’t remember who I was with later on, but it was a married couple. They were my age. It concerned a Ford Granada and there was some work that needed doing on it, the front wheel bearings and a few other bits and pieces. It had been around for a while and the work hadn’t started. I was with the woman who said that she had had a dream last night about her husband who had gone off to do this and that and somethign else. She’d happened to mention the Granada and he replied “oh yes, I’m going to get down to do it starting tomorrow”. He seemed so enthusiastic so she said that that’s possibly a good sign that means that he will. I said “strangely enough, I had a dream about someone working on a Granada too”. Then I told her the story of a friend whom I knew who had a Granada and who had been in the same position. He just wouldn’t start doing the repairs which was something to do with the wheel bearings and the front wings. After so many months he’d just put everything in a box and sold it, including the car, for someone else to do. She was surprised. Next time I went round her husband was there. He said “by the way, I’d done one of those front wheel bearings. It only took me 15 minutes as well”.

Tea tonight was some of these mini sausage rolls with baked potatoes, veg and gravy. They were actually quite delicious. I’ll have to work out a way of ordering some more of these “Green Cuisine” products. Noz has them in on the odd occasion but I’d love to have a more regular supply. It’s not possible to order stuff like this from the UK these days, what with Brexit and all that.

So hopefully tomorrow the alarm will go of and awaken me properly this time. Not that I have too much to do this weekend – do my cleaner’s accounts, do some more work on sorting out how I’m going to pay for this apartment that I’m supposed to be buying and that kind of thing. So I might even finish the notes for these radio programmes.

And having been to the shops this week, I have everything that I need, I reckon, but I really am going to try to go out for a walk more often, even if it isn’t far. Having made it as far as the Orange Mobile place today, I need to keep up the good work and see if I can exercise myself back into some sort of condition.

Only time will tell.

Friday 20th January 2023 – THAT’S PUT SOMETHING …

… of a hole in my bank account this afternoon.

And that’s just the start of things too. It’ll get much worse than this over the course of the next couple of months.

But that’s for some other time. There are many more things that are much more important going on right now.

Like yet again, I had a lot of trouble struggling out of bed again. Not as late as it has been sometimes just recently, but later than I would have liked.

And I couldn’t hang around too long because I had a taxi coming for me. Thanks to the doctor who issued me with a travel voucher, I had a free taxi this morning to and from this nerve specialist person with whom I had an appointment.

He didn’t give me the electric examination that was organised – he was much more interested in testing my reflexes with some kind of vibrating tuning fork. And sure enough, while I could feel the vibrations in the left leg, I felt nothing at all in the right leg. He seems to think that a hospital intervention might be needed, and so he’s called me back next Friday evening for a full examination and he’ll write an appropriate report.

And, as you might expect, I don’t like the sound of this at all. However, if it means that I might actually be able to regain some of my mobility it might well be worth the suffering.

While I was waiting for my lift back home, one of my neighbours drove past. he stopped for a chat and later on sent me a copy of an interview that a friend of his had carried out with the late lamented David Crosby. That will come in handy for something or other.

Back here I had a nice strong coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. As for my first little voyage, you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

Later on Cardiff City had been relegated to the Welsh 2nd Division. They were playing at home for the 1st match so I went along to see. They had a new entrance to their front of the ground like an archway through into a park. We walked past there and round the top at the end of these houses then back down behind the houses to the pitch. It was basically being played on a public park that was full of timber that had been felled so the game was extremely bizarre watching them playing the ball and trying not to hit these piles of timber. I ended up chatting there to a guy who was telling me about everything that was wrong with Cardiff City and why they were relegated. He could see that they were pleying quite well but lacked any kind of enthusiasm. He said that it was something that the captain needed to organise to bring some enthusiasm and energy into the team.

And then I was in Lesotho of all places with an African guy who was driving some kind of small lorry. We were driving through this mountain pass and came to a small village. There was a policeman there who stepped out in front and stopped the vehicle. It turned out that he only had a 5-figure number on his vehicle which meant that it hadn’t had an overhaul in 5 years so the policeman decided to examine it. I was intrigued by this situation never having seen this kind of thing before. I was asking the policeman all kinds of information about what he was doing and the reasons. Eventually he waved on this guy to drive and I followed on behind on foot. As we came close to a big city I lost him in the traffic. I ended up walking into the centre of town through these parks etc trying to check my internet. One thing that I wanted to do was to log in while I was here so that everyone would know where I was but for some unknown reason the logging-in system on the mobile phone wasn’t working. Apparenty I read somewhere that not every country had adopted this system, which was probably why. Lesotho was one of them. I had to just wander around to try to find a quiet place where I wouldn’t be overlooked and disturbed and have a think about how I was going to do this.

This afternoon I had to go into town. The Belgian Government pays my Belgian Old-Age pension by cheque. And although it might only be €34:00 per month, it’s still something that I can spend and one of the cheques was about to run out of time. Luckily, the bus stops right outside my door here so I don’t have to walk far at all to catch it once I can get downstairs.

The walk at the other end though is quite long and I was interested to see how I would manage on my crutches. It was slow and laborious but I made it in the end and I paid in my cheques. So spend! Spend! Spend!

On the way, I bumped into the homeless guy who wanders around the town and we had a good chat. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen him so we had a lot of things to say to each other.

But back at the bank, I had another reason to be there. I have a project on the go at the moment as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and this is the moment to put my hand in my pocket. And how long do you think that it takes to transfer money from my savings account to my current account and then to make a bank transfer?

Back here at home on the internet I could do it in a couple of minutes but there’s a delay of a few days if I do that. The transfer needs to be done “on the spot” and done correctly too so I wanted the bank to do it and it took over an hour. And then the bank clerk forgot to give me back my card.

Once I’d recovered my card I went to the Carrefour in the town and did a bit of shopping. Mushrooms for the pizza and the stuffing, some salad and a couple of other things. Much as I would like to buy more, I can’t actually carry it. And if I take my wheeled trolley I can’t use my crutches so I can’t walk very well.

With having been so long at the bank I had a long wait at the bus stop for the bus back home. It was crowded too but I found a seat so I had a comfortable ride.

Back here I made a hot chocolate and then regrettably I crashed out – and for quite a while too. The walk to the bank must have worn me out but at least I have one less thing to worry about.

Tea tonight was my sausage, beans and chips and it was delicious. I really do like my air fryer although I feel that I ought to be doing more with it than I actually do. I shall have to find a recipe book from somewhere to see what vegan meals I can conjure up. There has to be something going on somewhere

So tomorrow I don’t have anything organised that needs doing so I can catch up with the radio programme that I’ve been trying to do for several days. What I can do, I suppose, is to prowl around in cyberspace and see what I need to make things more comfortable for me.

But having spent more today in one swell foop than I have ever spent of my own money in one day than I have spent for some considerable time and with plenty more to go out as well, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to afford anything else.