Category Archives: Ingrid

Thursday 23rd June 2022 – THAT WAS A …

… nice evening tonight.

Rosemary and I along with Rosemary’s Ukrainian refugee family drove all the way out to the camp site at Les Ancizes where we met Ingrid and Clotilde. We had a good evening meal and a good chat and the owner of the establishment even treated the Ukrainians to a round of drinks.

Miss Ukraine didn’t finish her burger so I teased her by saying that she wasn’t going home until she finished it but she put on such a sad face that not only did I relent, I let her have an ice-cream too. After all, every kid has the right to an ice-cream.

And there were no issues about being full up when the ice-cream arrived. She scraped the glass so hard to collect the last bits that Rosemary and I were convinced that if she carried on she would be through the glass and out the other side.

Mind you we were lucky that we could go. At 15:00 there was such a torrential rainstorm that I thought that the end of the world had come and the gale that accompanied it brought down a thick tree trunk in next door’s garden.

And it was another night full of celestial artillery too. Even though I went to bed early I was awoken at 0:40 by a clap of thunder that would have awoken the dead. And I was still awake a few hours later when the binmen came round.

After tea in bed I had a shower and then did some clothes washing. And while Rosemary ran Mr Ukraine into town to buy some stuff I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Something had happened to a young person. All of his stuff had been damaged and waterlogged etc. In the end it had come to me so I’d sorted it out, dried it out, had it cleaned and everything. I rang up his parents about it. They were extremely unhappy to the point of violence about someone having been through all their son’s affairs. I thought that this would have been what someone would have wanted someone else to do instead of being given a huge mass of soggy wet and miserable paper and clothing etc but these people were really on the point of violence about all of this. I really couldn’t understand what was going through their heads.

Later on I’d written a letter and gone to have it printed but the printer had been going offset on my printer and it did it again so I had to go to find a public printer. I’d been working in the middle of the street in Crewe so I had to leave my things there and hope that no-one would pinch them while I went off to find a printer. Just as I was leaving there were these people in what looked like a Bond Bug but an enormous vehicle. There were probably 12 people, piles of kids as well as adults in this. They pulled out of a parking place, did a U-turn and hit my bag and drove off. I thought that the police would be interested in this. As I arrived at where I thought that I knew where there was a printer there were loads of these elderly motorcycles from 100 years ago and a few orchestras playing a song that I can’t remember now what it was. It looked like some rally of vintage motorbikes. I was really depressed that I hadn’t brought my camera with me for once. I arrived at this place and first of all I had to weigh my package but weighing t on this set of scales by this printer was so complicated and there were so many formulas even depending on the age of the person you were sending the parcel to, I was just hopelessly confused and couldn’t work out exactly what I was supposed to do and how much I was supposed to pay for posting it off. .

When they came back we were invited for coffee with the Ukrainians and then after lunch we had a major rainstorm and also a visitor.

That took us up to time to go for our meal. We crowded into Rosemary’s car and set off, going the pretty way past Chateau Rocher and Chateaneuf les Bains.

It was good to meet up with everyone again and chat and we all had a good time. I was definitely sorry when they all decided that it was time to go home.

Stopping in St Gervais to put fuel in Rosemary’s car we then came back the quick way vial Teilhet and Menat. After all, it was too dark to see anything

And so I’m off to bed. Having done my washing this morning I’m ready to hit the road again. I have to push onwards if I’m ever to get anywhere. I can’t hang around here for ever.

Sunday 26th July 2020 – IT’S SUNDAY …

… so today was something of a lie-in. Plenty of time to go off on my travels during the night, and I took full advantage. I started off somewhere, I dunno if I was on board ship again. I can’t remember a lot of what was going on but I remember having to go somewhere. I was driving a car and I came across that girl with very blonde, very curly hair who was walking a dog, a girl who I knew to be a friend of a girl I knew. I crept up behind her in the car and went to blow the horn but it didn’t work. In the end I blew it a second time – it worked and she fell down on the floor. I went to open the window to say something to her but the window wouldn’t open so she couldn’t see who it was. There was something else that led from there with a couple of girls. They put a ladder up to climb to this basket because there was something that they could see there. These girls were very very interested in this. When they came back down again they were ever so disappointed because all that it had been had been some kind of bolt on the masthead that had broken off. But there were all kinds of things invloved in this – school dinners, bus rides going on with the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR, zodiacs, this kind of thing and I can hardly remember any of it now.

Later on I was being chased around by all these fascists and a really aggressive woman who was going to make mincemeat out of me. She had the law on her side but we kept on being ahead of them kept on making more remarks and so on. It turned out that we were in Shavington in Edwards Avenue looking up at Edwards Close. That wasn’t how it used to be – there were only two or three houses at the side of it and then a road that went through. We were saying that I bet she knows where she is going for she’s here for the very first time to do something with Mick Matthews who was a member of the British Union of Fascists. Someone else siad “that’s alright. We have nothing to worry about. She can fetch the police because we are all under 12. We can’t be prosecuted and we can’t be found guilty of anything”. She was chasing us all round this situation with her friends and we were doing everything we could to keep one step ahead of her. There was one point where we were invited to a royal banquet. We got there and we had to do this procession round. There was this woman who had also been invited and sitting at a table. We weren’t sure whether she recognised us, whether the scowl that she gave us was just the usual scowl or meant that she recognised us. We noticed that there were two places set for us but we decided that we weren’t going to sit there and we’d get something to eat from somewhere else.

There was something else involving the President of the USA and I can’t remember what that was now.

Sometime later on I was driving a lorry somewhere with a trailer on the back. The trailer was just clipping the lamp-posts, all that kind of thing. I was sure that I was too far over the nearside and on one occasion I’d hit a car that was waiting at a road junction but I didn’t feel a bang so I carried on driving. It turned out that we were at Shearings waiting for a couple of coaches to come in. They were running hours late and we wondered why they hadn’t rung up to say how late they were but of course that would have made them even later. I had to check a coach over but they asked me how much water it had taken. I said “about half” although it was a lot more empty than that – it had taken a lot more than just half the amount. Then I head a voice calling. It sounded as if one coach was on its way in. I wondered who it was but it turned out that it was Rosemary calling offering me a cup of tea.

Yes, a cup of tea brought to me in bed and that’s all very pleasant. I could quite get used to this, but not really at 07:20 or thereabouts on a Sunday morning.

09:20 was when I finally arose, and so I organised a few things here, helped Rosemary set up her television, uploaded the July 2019 photos of Iceland and Greenland to Rosemary’s laptop and then collected my things together.

We drove to La Peize in Rosemary’s car. We ended up at Clotilde’s, who I haven’t seen for a good few years. Christiane was there too and I haven’t seen her for even longer. Clotilde had prepared a nice lunch for us all that was very nice.

puits michelin la peize puy de dome france eric hallAfter lunch we had a walk round the village and ended up at the Puits Michelin, the old coal mine on the edge of the town.

We’ve been here before, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, many years ago, and there’s quite a story behind this coal mine. For this, we have to turn the clock back to the end of the 19th Century.

Coal had been discovered near St Eloy-les-Mines (which wasn’t “les mines” then of course) back in medieval times but commercial exploitation began in the early part of the 18th Century, with a mine reported as being in existence by 1741. In the latter part of the 19th Century deep mines began to be sunk. Little by little, the valley of the River Bouble was explored and further pits were sunk.

puits michelin la peize puy de dome france eric hallEventually they reached the village of Gouttières.

The railway was expanded down to here and a huge marshalling yard was built for the coal that was expected to be transported from the area. Several more pits were sunk and then they found a beautiful thick part of the seam on the edge of La Peize.

This led to the creation of the Puits Michelin here with its substantial structures and the huge area set aside for an enormous slag heap and spoil tip.

puits michelin la peize puy de dome france eric hallThere are two stories about the subselquent events that occurred leading to the abandonment of the mine.

Here, we’re actually at the border of four different communes and the story that’s often bandied around in the area is the communes could not reach an agreement as to how the rights, the obligations and, more importantly, the taxes would be apportioned between them.

But knowing a little about life in the Auvergne, having lived there for long enough, I consider that to be an unlikely tale. Around here, money certainly talks and I’m certain that a large organisation like Michelin would have been able to overwhelm a few local concillors by waving a handful of used fivers around at various commune treasuries.

However, a good while ago I was having a scratch around in the vicinity and I came across the coal seam where it came out on the surface. So I’m much more inclined to believe that the seam, despite being so thick where the mine was sunk, simply petered out a short distance further on where geological inclination brought it to the surface.

The mine closed down after a mere 5 years and it’s significant that none of the other pits in the area survived all that much longer

clotilde rosemary christiane la peize puy de dome france eric hallThe four of uscarried on along oour route past Arno’s and round by the carrière de la Peize where a lot of the stones for the substantial builtings in the are was quarried..

After we left we went Clotilde’s back to my house and collected a few things that I had forgotten and which I needed. I spent 25 minutes looking for A BOOK that I needed but couldn’t find. And after I had given up I put my hand straight onto it by accident.

Having also collected a few other things that would come in handy back at Granville we then drove to the camp site at Les Ancizes.

Ingrid was there already so I treated her and Rosemary to a meal with thanks for all the help that they had given me over the last few days. It was nice to be together for a quiet social occasion after all of the hard work that we had done.

Now I’m back at Rosemary’s and I’m off to bed already. I want an early night as I have a heavy day in front of me tomorrow. There’s a lot to do and I don’t think, the way things are going, that I have a lot of time in which to do it.

Saturday 25th July 2020 – I’M WHACKED PART III

We’ve been hard at it again today.

And still suffering the effects of yesterday because no matter what, I still couldn’t rouse myself out for the third alarm. 06:40 it was when I finally crawled out of bed.

There was the usual cup of tea brought to me, and then I carried on with paperwork and the like.

There was a group of us last night in a hotel, a conference or something like that. I ended up sharing a table with someone who resembled a girl from the radio. It seemed that at every meal I was sitting next to her which pleased me enormously of course. This slowly developed over the period that we were there. We were all on our own in a group, a lot of us, talking about spices and herbs. She had a huge collection of spices that she bought and she told us where to go to get them. She said that anyone who would like to could buy her a spice as a memento. I was immediately keen to go along and do this. In the end I found where she indicated the spice shop was but is was a 2nd hand record shop. I was looking in there at the records and found loads of obscure American records of the type that I’ve been recording of my own collection but this isn’t really getting my thing advanced. At some point I’d been talking to a couple of guys. This girl and another girl had said that they had been friends for 22 years and they can’t possibly have been work colleagues for 22 years because they weren’t much older than that so we were wondering if they had been friends or something. I made some kind of remark “it doesn’t matter if they are 22 years old I could still keep up”. I was with her friend at one particular point when a Ford Cortina Estate mark III gold came by, covered in patches of underseal and rust preventer, that kind of thing. I told her that I had a vehicle like that. She expressed surprise but wasn’t very interested. That reminded me that somewhere along the line I was with Nerina at one point talking about getting a new car for the taxis but for our own private vehicle would we be tempted to get something decent that we could use for a taxi if necessary and was that really a good idea. I thought that I’d like my taxi business to be bigger but only in a bigger town where there is room and scope without treading on people’s toes. But back to this story with the girl from the radio – I remember that they went off on an expedition somewhere leaving some of us behind. I was left behind and feeling very disappointed about this.

At another point in the night there was a question about scaffolding – being on scaffolding and what happens if a pole breaks or someone cuts one while you are on it. Terry told me about a system that he had where there was always a couple of wires to attach the scaffolding to various points somewhere so that if it did break the wires would snag somewhere and at least give some kind of temporary support while you scrambled down.

This yacht thing – there was more to it than that, including me buying a yacht for some reason. And I would love to know what “this yacht thing” was all about and what did I forget to record during the night.

After breakfast we collected our wits and the like and then headed off to Ingrid’s with the trailer. I managed to reverse that all the way down the drive at Daniel’s and drop it off there although the socket would benefit from a pile of easing oil.

Ingrid was pleased to see us and we had a long chat – to such an extent that Ingrid made lunch for us. We were there for quite a while.

Later on we went to Les Guis. I found a few things that we needed either for Rosemary’s house or for the barn and did a little more clearing.

One thing that I did was to place the pane of glass in the frame above the door in the bathroom. I bought that just before I was taken ill and I’d never had the chance to fit it. Rodents had been getting into the shower room and I wanted to keep them out.

That was actually the first constructive thing that I’d done down there. The ret of the time I’ve spent either clearing up or weeding. Having inspected the hole in the attic I injected a pile of expanding foam into it to block it up and I’ll see tomorrow if that has done the trick.

With the van all loaded up we went round to say goodbye to my neighbours but they were busy so we didn’t spend any time there.

Back here we crashed out for an hour or so and then I unloaded Caliburn.

After tea I had a look at a chair that needed fixing. I managed some of it with the aid of an electric drill that had a jammed trigger which was something of a complication, but the project failed because the sunken nut that I had found was too large for the hole. That’s a job for a wood file in due course.

Having had a shower and a clothes washing session, I’m now off to bed. Sunday tomorrow so a lie-in. And I’ve earned that too after this week’s efforts.

Friday 24th July 2020 – I’M WHACKED PART II

It’s been another really difficult day today right enough.

Just for a change … “quite” – ed … I missed the three alarms. I couldn’t summon up the energy to leave the bed. 06:30 was when I finally saw the light.

Rosemary brought me a cup of tea again at 07:00 which was nice, and I listened to the dictaphone in luxury.

We were moving about exploring last night and some of our party – we were in the snows – decided that we would go for a look round. he said “I’d be away for a few months” so off he went and we stayed there in our tents during the winter amusing ourselves and keeping ourselves busy. This guy never ever came back. After a month or so we were thinking of having a search party for him.

There was something else to do with – I don’t know what it was about really. The only thing that i can remember from this dream was that there were some people discussing some kind of – I didn’t know what it was. They were discussing this object and I was talking about something that needed examining and checking over. The guy said “that’s all right. I’ve replaced them anyway with normal stuff”. When I had a look, what I was looking at was a dark blue Ford Escort and what he had been referring to was some optional extra wheels that he had now taken off and put on some standard ones.

when I finished the paperwork we had breakfast.

Having rung Ingrid we set off for St Eloy les Mines and the dechetterie and tipped the rubbish into the container. And that wasn’t easy, being surrounded by people who didn’t know how to drive.

Having finally been able to empty the rubbish out of the trailer, we pushed off to chez moi again.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallOne of the things that I wanted to do that I hadn’t done the other day was to fight my way into the barn. So donning the gloves and wielding the brushcutter off I went and fought my way through the brambles.

As usual, Rosemary and Ingrid (when she arrived) followed on behind with the clippers and trimmers to make the passage easier.

It took a while to accomplish it too. Ingrid and I aren’t well and the heat was oppressive as well so we worked to a rhythm of maybe 20 minutes working and then a 10-minute pause for water and a breather. And all of this seemed to work because we made it across to the barn in the end without any undue difficulty.

From somewhere, and I’m not sure where, I even found the strength to fight my way to the downhill lean-to and I can get in there now, although I’m not too sure that I actually want to. The state of the place filled me with dismay.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallanother task that needed doing, for which Rosemary volunteered, was to sweep the concrete hardstanding.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it was overwhelmed with debris but we took most of that down to the dechetterie the other day. But there was still a lot of dust and dirt, old leaves, weeds and the like that were all over the place looking untidy so Rosemary went berserk with the yard brush.

Ingrid and I joined in later when we had finished what we were doing and by the time that we were ready to go, the place was looking all quite nice and tidy. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

By the time that we were finished we were totally exhausted. It was something like a stagger back home. Nothing important for the dechetterie so in the end we just bagged the rubbish and dropped it in the waste bin.

When we plucked up the courage (round about 16:00) we had lunch and then I crashed out for an hour or so. Well away with the fairies.

Later I fixed a dismantled settee and then it was my turn to make tea. We had a stuffed pepper which Rosemary enjoyed very much.

A shower and a clothes wash finished my day – and finished me too. I’m now off to bed to catch up with my beauty sleep.

Thursday 23rd July 2020 – I’M WHACKED!

Yes, it’s been a very hard day today.

Having crashed out so definitively yesterday evening, I slept right through and even missed the third alarm. Only by a few minutes but nevertheless …

First task was to write up my journal from last night, in the middle of which Rosemary brought me a cup of tea. Even so, I managed somehow to crash out again.

Afrer breakfast we organised a few things and then set off.

First port of call was near St Priest les Champs to drop off the door. And as it happens, Rosemary knows the lady of the house so we had a chat for a while.

Second was Ingrid’s at Biollet where she made us a drink. We had a really good chat and then went round to pick up her trailer – a big single-beast trailer much bigger than I was expecting. But the bigger the better. I can fit more stuff in it.

caliburn trailer pouzol puy de dome france eric hallRosemary and I said goodbye to Ingrid and set off to my place.

Tons of stuff lying around there that was of no use to man nor beast and that was something that I was always going to do “tomorrow”. But it was depressing me seeing it all lying there like that so we heaved it all into the trailer regardless.

But as an aside, I need to work on my reversing. I’m somewhat out of practice and I made something of a dog’s breakfast getting the trailer down the track to my house.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallOne thing that I wanted to do while I was there was to check on the pointing of the wall that I had built in 2012.

No cows in the field and no farmer about so we went in to check.

It’s all holding up remarkably well, all things considered, and I’m proud of the job that I did on that considering that it was my first proper effort at building a stone wall. But the joint between the lean-to and the main house wall is separating and if I do ever make it back I’ll need to refill that.

The dechetterie at St Eloy les Mines would be closed for lunch by now so we made our way back home for something to eat. Rosemary indicated some more rubbish that needed heaving into the trailer while she made the food.

This afternoon Rosemary had a bank appointment so I went off to the dechetterie where the old woman in charge directed me to the correct bay to unload it.

Back now to my house where I loaded up the trailer yet again. The concrete parking space is now clear of nonsense, some of the rubbish hanging around outside has gone too, and I’ve even thrown away some stuff in the verandah too. Plenty more to go at too, stuff that’s been hanging around for centuries and which probably will never be used..

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallWhile I was there, I went to check on the bedroom.

It seems to be unaffected by the rodent infestation so I spent some time in there sorting out some stuff in the wardrobes. There were a few bits and pieces that I wanted to collect that I’d stored in there for safe-keeping and so I rescued them.

The rest of the stuff that’s in there can remain for another day or until I move back down whenever

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallBut I do have to say that it was totally depressing to see the bedroom looking like this.

It took me four long years (not continuously, of course) to convert it from A RUBBLE-STREWN WRECK into wnat you see today, complete with fitted wardrobes and everything, and I was so proud of what i’d managed to build with my own fair hands.

And all in all, I reckon that I had no more than about three months’ use out of it before I was taken ill and rushed to hospital. That was the saddest part of all about this.

As for the attic, that’s had it, I reckon. And so has everything in there, I reckon. There’s little hope of salvaging anything from there although I did bring out a set of plastic drawers.

On the ground floor I did some tidying up – just a little. And there’s plenty more to go at in there too.

All in all, I could spend the rest of my life tidying up in there and still not see the end of it all. No matter what I did, I could never make that place look tidy

The dechetterie would be closed by now so I came on back to Rosemary’s, totally exhausted, with a full trailer behind Caliburn.

We had tea and a good chat, following which I had a shower and washed my clothes. And all of that was just as well too.

Plenty more work to do tomorrow- this little visit is far from over – not by any means. A good night’s sleep is called for so that I can be fighting fit. But there’s little hope of that.

Wednesday 22nd July 2020 – BACK HOME

Yes, I’ve been back home today.

And before anyone suggests that it’s rather a long way for me to drive in my current circumstances, that isn’t actually what I mean.

For a change I was awake quite early, and so there was time to listen to the dictaphone

It was a confusing voyage last night. There were quite a few of us and I’m not quite sure of what we were doing and where we were going but we were all young teenagers, that kind of thing or a few maybe even younger and that’s basically all that I can remember.

While I was typing out all of that I even had a cup of coffee brought to me in bed. And how any years is it since that ever happened?

Having dealt with all of the paperwork I went down to breakfast and then decided (just for a change) to organise myself.

I emptied everything out of the back of Caliburn, tidied him a little, found a pile of rubbish that needed throwing away, and then threw a few gardening tools in the back.

Having made two phone calls, we set off.

First port of call was in St Eloy where I bought some petrol in a container. Second, also in St Eloy, was for some rubber gloves and a pile of rat and mouse poison.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallWe then disappeared off into the countryside and ended up back at home – my old place in Les Guis.

Time hasn’t been kind to it at all. In the couple of years since I’ve been there nature has totally overwhelmed it and it was something like an Amazon rainforest.

But by now Ingrid had arrived and the three of us set to with a will. I went ahead with Terry’s brush-cutter and cut a swathe through the vegetation, with Rosemary and Ingrid following on behind with the clippers.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallAnd it was really hard work too there. The heat didn’t help very much.

What also didn’t help much was all of the objects hidden in the undergrowth. The brushcutter and its blade looked as if it had fought a war (which it probably had) as I hacked my way through the undergrowth.

All of this in just a couple of years since Terry and I were here last picking up the mini-tractor. It’s hardly a surprise that lost cities are still being discovered in the Amazon rainforest with vegetation growing like this.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallBy the time that 14:00 arrived, we had reached the house and could go in all of the doors there.

And how sad everything was, with reams and reams of cobwebs, dust and everything all over the place. And we were exhausted too by this point and so called it a day.

As we weresitting around chatting, a neighbour came round to see us and to see how things were and we had a little discussion. But Ingrid went off for her appointment and Rosemary and I came home for a rather late lunch.

Later on, I went back to my house. Those two phone calls that I’d made earlier – one had been to Ingrid and the other had been to someone else.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been slowly replacing the windows in the house and that I bought a matching front door. That needs a new doorframe building but because it has to be in hardwood and not softwood, it’s beyond the capacity of the tools that I have here.

Previously, I’d made “local enquiries” and someone had come up the name of a reliable joiner. It had always been my intention to have a joiner make a doorframe, so I had phoned him up.

Much to my surprise (and yours too) I asked him when he would be free. He replied “I can come at 18:00”.

You can’t put obstacles in the path of willing workmen so I arranged to meet him at the Intermarché in Pionsat. We drove up to the house and he did all the measurements. While I was at it, I mentioned the third window that is yet to be installed. “I’ll do that as well if you like”.

And why not?

So the arrangement is that I’ll drop off the door on him tomorrow and leave him to it. There’s no time schedule – he can do it whenever he’s free. Which won’t be before September because all of the sawmills will be closed for summer holiday.

Having bid my farewell, I drove back to Rosemary’s where she had made tea.

A shower to clean myself up and to wash my clothes was next and then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed right out.

The exercise had clearly affected me and I felt that I had done quite enough for today. I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Monday 13th August 2018 – YOU HAVE TO LAUGH!

A few weeks ago Hans and I were in a restaurant in Liège in Belgium surrounded by beautiful young girls who would surely have attracted our attention 10 years ago, but instead we were talking about our medication and bathroom visits.

This morning, Terry, Ingrid and I were sitting around the breakfast table discussing Old-Age Pensions.

We’re getting old, aren’t we?

Ingrid’s spare bed was quite comfortable, and I was joined during the night by one of her cats. And wasn’t the cat surprised when it discovered that it wasn’t Ingrid stroking it, but a stranger?

Once we’d organised ourselves, we headed off back to my house and began to search for objects that I needed and which I should have fetched when I was here last time. I discovered most of them, but one thing – the most important – has eluded me and I’ve no idea now where it might be.

With the piles of plastic crates that I brought with me, I started to pack up the books, CDs and DVDs that are still down there. But I did say that this was going to be emotional and I was quite right – especially when I discovered the mouse nests, complete with baby mice, in amongst all of the books.

It’s amazing just how much nature has taken over since November 2015 when I was carted off to hospital. To come back and live here, what with all of the weeds and all of the livestock, would be very difficult indeed for me.

In the end, I abandoned the project and locked up the house. I’ll have to come back and do some more when I’m feeling much more like it, whenever that might be.

We went round to say goodbye and thank you to Lisette, and also round to say hello and goodbye to Rob and Nicolette. They have always been very good to me and they were very supportive when I was here a few weeks ago.

We said goodbye to Ingrid too and I arranged with her that once my October session at the hospital is over, she might come to visit me for a while. She starts a training course in October so we’ll have to see how it fits in with her timetable.

Terry’s van is much more powerful than Caliburn but it has a low-ratio gearbox for more torque (which is just as well when you see what it usually pulls around behind it) and so it’s not so quick as Caliburn when it has a load on.

But it went really well on the way back and even though we stopped for half an hour for lunch, it took us a total of 7 hours from door to door on the motorway, and that’s impressive. Having left at 13:15, we were back at 20:15 on the dot despite having planned to be back by 21:00.

We had a quick snack when we returned, and then I went to bed for an early night. I was thoroughly exhausted and I’ve no idea how Terry must have felt.

Sunday 12th August 2018 – HAVING LAST NIGHT …

… been tucked up nicely in a spare bed at Liz and Terry’s, tonight I’m tucked up nicely in a spare bed at Ingrid’s in Biollet, just 15 miles away from my place at Virlet.

With it being Sunday there was no alarm but we had to rise early and organise ourselves. After breakfast we loaded up Terry’s van with some bits and pieces, including the plastic boxes that I had brought with me, and then hit the road.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but when I was at my house a few weeks ago I noticed that my tractor had been moved. And subsequently I had a message from Desirée and Simon to say that it had been further moved.

It’s an expensive piece of kit, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, so it needed to be rescued. There’s a little bit of room on Terry and Liz’s car park and so we had agreed that it should go there out of the way and Terry can use it if he needs to.

And with Terry suddenly having a very rare free day from work on Monday, we went off to fetch it.

terry messenger les guis virlet franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I was there just now, I couldn’t get to the house because of all of the weeds.

But Terry had brought his heavy-duty brushcutter and it made pretty short work of the undergrowth. It didn’t take him long to cut a path through to the house and the barn.

And then I could enter the house, rescue the keys and then load up the tractor into Terry’s van. Terry had worked out the dimensions and there was plenty of room in his van for it to fit.

I have new neighbours too, Lisette and Berry, as Lieneke and Guus have sold their house. I went round to introduce myself and have a chat, and then we went off.

Ingrid had been to Clermont-Ferrand and we had arranged to meet up at the campsite at Les Ancizes. That serves snacks and is guaranteed to be open on a Sunday evening in the summer, so we had a meal there. Much to my surprise, they had a vegan dish on offer, Thai rice with mixed vegetables.

Back at Ingrid’s, we all had a good chat and I had a shower, managing to walk on a thorn that was stuck to my trousers. And that didn’t half hurt.

So here I am now, tucked up in bed. I’m going to have a really emotional day tomorrow so I need to be on top form.

Tuesday 28th March 2017 – I’VE LOST COUNT …

… of the number of times that I’ve stepped out of my life. Just thrown a few boxes of stuff into the back of an old car, said “goodbye cruel world” and moved on.

And yet, as I sit in my little hotel room in Poitiers, I can reflect on the fact that however many times I’ve done that in the past, here’s another time to be going on with, because I’m doing it again.

I’ve long-since come to the conclusion that I can no longer carry on at the farm. I can’t even drag myself upstairs, never mind a pile of wood, water, food, all that kind of thing. I can feel myself going downhill from one day to the next and if I feel like this now, what am I going to feel like in 8 months time when winter starts? Being too ill to move in minus 16°C with no heat and no mobile phone signal to call for help is not really such a good idea.

And so I need to move on now. While I still can. And so for the last week or so I’ve been packing up boxes of my more important stuff and bunging them into the back of Caliburn. And after a visit to the bank at 17:00, we hit the road.

I’ve not taken some stuff that I wanted, and that’s for sure. The furniture that I had set aside, I’m not up to mountaineering across the barn to fetch it (yes, I’m beginning to realise that I’ve left this “moving” lark a little too late, haven’t I?”. And other things that I dearly wanted to take with me – well, I can’t find them anywhere as far as I have looked.

But a few things are notable by their consistency. I’ve always taken with me my LPs and my guitar (the Gibson EB3 bass) and they are all comfortable in the back of Caliburn. In fact, the guitar was the first thing to go in.

Howeer, to return things to their proper order, I had another good sleep last night. Tossing and turning a little as I seem to do these days, nevertheless it’s really comfortable in my bed. And then a nice early rising and breakfasting long before the alarm went off.

After a nice repose, I then attacked the barn once more, looking for some more stuff (that I didn’t find, of course) and making sure that I had forgotten nothing. And then taking down some more stuff to put in Caliburn.

Once that was all out of the way, I locked up the barn completely and then made a start on tidying up the attic and cleaning everything. I did have half a mind to take a pile of stuff down to the launderette to wash but that can al wait for some other time.

After lunch, Ingrid came round to visit me again and we blitzed the attic, vacuuming it and cleaning it from top to toe. It’s never been looking as nice as it does right now, that’s for sure. Everything else was loaded into the back and we sat down for a breather. THis was the first time that I’ve ever been ready well in advance of leaving. usually it’s all a last-minute rush.

Ingrid and I said our goodbyes and I went to Pionsat and the Post Office to stop my post deliveries. But as you might expect, the Post Office was closed. No idea what will happen about that now as I had dismantled the post box before I left.

At the bank I concluded the business that I had started the other day, and then we hit the highway. Me, Caliburn and Strawberry Moose. Only a vague idea of where we’re going to go. At the moment we are just going to drift around until we find somewhere nice to live. Somethind will turn up – it usually does… "it’s called “Prison”" – ed.

But driving through the mountains of the Creuse I was listening to Carole King singing “You make me feel like a natural woman”. Well, as it happened, I was feeling like a natural woman too, but where I was going to find one around there is anybody’s guess.

Monday 27th March 2017 – I AM COMPLETELY …

… utterly and absolutely whacked.

It all went wrong at about 04:30 when I awoke. 5 or so hours sleep – that’s not bad going.

And I couldn’t go back to sleep either and so by 06:30 I was up and about, tucking into my breakfast when the alarm went off.

After a brief (and I DO mean brief) pause, I went out to work. Whenever have I been out at work before 09:00? And by 10:30 I’d searched through the bits of the barn that were accessible (and a few bits that weren’t either) and while I did find a few things that will come in useful, I didn’t find what I was looking for.

And then I decided to tackle the job that I have been putting off and off for the last 6 years, ever since I returned from selling Expo – and that was to attack the stack of boxes in the lean-to.

6 years hasn’t been kind to them and there are several, complete with their contents, that are totally beyond redemption. Whatever I was keeping, and why I was keeping it, it’s all academic now. I filled another couple of bags of rubbish and that’s not half of it.

But at least by lunchtime that was half of the lean-to sorted through and a couple of boxes rescued. I dragged myself up into the attic for a break and a butty. I reckoned that I had earned it.

A little later, I was joined by Ingrid and we had a really good chat for an hour. We discussed the lean-to and then, to my surprise, Ingrid girded up her loins and we both went downstairs to attack the rest of the lean-to. The beauty of there being two of us was that we were much more focused and within about 45 minutes it had all been reviewed and a few more boxes rescued.

Good old Ingrid.

That was enough for today. Ingrid went home and I had to go to Evaux-les-Bains – apparently I had left a pile of papers and some money (and not an inconsiderable amount) in the hire car when I took it back on Friday.

So what a day. I’m done for, I reckon. I managed some pasta, mushrooms and ratatouille for tea, and now it’s bedtime. I can’t move.

But at least that’s a few things accomplished. And if I had more time, there would be more accomplished too. A raging bonfire is called for, I reckon. We’ve not had one in a bit.

And funnily enough, listening to the music and Velvet Underground come on. “I am tired, I am weary. I could sleep for a thousand years”.

Sounds about right.

Thursday 23rd March 2017 – COURGETTE LEEK AND POTATO …

… soup for lunch. Tea was lentil, pepper and tomato sauce for my pasta, all followed by a raspberry and banana dessert.

The Lap of Luxury, you might think, and indeed you would be right because I had a Meals on Wheels service today. Ingrid came round with a pile of goodies that she had made this morning, especially for me!

Last night, my bunged-up nose and me were in bed early enough and I was soon asleep curled up under the quilt. I had to leave the bed at one point, but here’s a thing – when I went back to sleep it was until the alarm awoke me. And it’s been a while since that has happened.

Pouring with rain outside and cold, wet and miserable inside. I held off for a couple of hours but there’s no point in killing myself for no good reason – I ended up lighting the fire. And it soon became warm in here too. I meant to do some more packing but I couldn’t find the enthusiasm (no big surprise here). I just sat in the warm.

Ingrid came round at lunchtime with my food parcels and in exchange I gave her the big vegetable steamer that I was intending to use on my woodstove. No point in my keeping that now – it may as well go to a good home.

After Ingrid left, I carried on with a little (just a little) desultory tidying up but not making progress, and at 16:00 I rang up to enquire about Caliburn. Apparently he’s still not ready and won’t be done until tomorrow afternoon. And so I curled up in the warmth again.

I had my tea, with grateful thanks again to Ingrid, and then a little relax before going to bed.

But I need to organise myself much more than this. It’s all very well saying that I have nowhere to put anything until Caliburn comes back, but while this s true, I could be doing other stuff. But the weather is getting me right down. I can’t do anything when it’s cold, damp and wet.

I need a change.

Wednesday 22nd March 2017 – ONE THING …

… about being in bed early is that there I was, out like a light, with just the odd bit of tossing and turning, and that was how I stayed until about 06:40. Totally painless. And with the early morning sun streaming into my room, I felt so much better than I did yesterday.

But it had been freezing in the night. The windows in the attic roof were all iced over. But nevertheless it was reasonably warm in the attic while I had my breakfast.

And then I had some work to do. The technician was due to arrive and so it was a good reason to do a little tidying up. And with the bright sunlight I could use the vacuum cleaner too. That didn’t take too long at all.

When he arrived, he told me that the fault wasn’t at my place but at the exchange (GRRRR – after all that!) and in fact, when I looked, I noticed that I had a connection. he helped me configure it and then cleared off. And, as luck would have it, I received a message from Orange to say that as the fault was not on my premises, I wouldn’t be charged for the call-out.

And so as I settled down again, I had a phone call from Ingrid. She had to go to Marcillat and so I invited her round for a coffee – that’s the least that I can do. And that meant that I had to tidy up here in the attic too. I need to be pushed like this.

Anyway, she came round and we had a coffee and a good chat, and then, much to my surprise, she made me a sandwich. And, while I was eating that, she fetched me up a huge pile of wood. Saying that I was overwhelmed is the least of it.

We nipped into Pionsat for the Bank appointment and then came back here for another coffee before she hit the road back to Biollet. I made some tea and then, still struggling with my cold and cough, I headed off to bed.

My bed is absolutely beautiful and it’s soooooooo comfortable, and it’s a shame that I can’t take it with me. It’s out of the question for me to struggle with it out through the window here and down the scaffolding. I remember the issues that I had trying to get it up into the bedroom.

I shall have to think of a Plan B, and I have one in mind

Monday 20th March 2017 – NOW I KNOW …

… why I spent all that money two years ago buying that new bed and expensive mattress and all of that nice bedding. For I was out like a light last night and had one of the most comfortable sleeps that I have had in years. So much so that in fact I was rather reluctant to leave it.

Even more so when I saw what the weather was doing outside. Cold wet and grey, just like I was feeling in fact, so no change there.

But anyway, I managed a decent breakfast – muesli with soya milk, an apple puree thing and grapefruit juice all washed down with coffee of course. And then gathering my wits as well as a few things here and there, Caliburn, Strawberry Moose and I hit the streets.

We ended up at Evaux-les-Bains where I took Caliburn to the menders. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in October in Brussels, Caliburn was the victim of a Belgian driver who didn’t know where the brakes were on his car. Anyway, today he goes to be mended.

And not only that, there’s some rust creeping through that’s making him look a little untidy, and so he’s having that attended to. He’ll be 10 in a couple of weeks time and, unfortunately, he’s starting to show his age. But then, aren’t we all?

They had a little Skoda Fabia for me to borrow while he’s being fixed (that’s why I’m having his body done right now – while I have free access to a hire car). It’s not a bad little car but it’s very plasticky and I can’t see anyone having 10 years out of one of these. But it’s free for five days so good luck to me.

Once I was properly organised I went round to Ingrid’s at Biollet. Ingrid was the only one of my Auvergnat friends who came to see me while I was really ill (of course, never forgetting Jean-Marc who drove all the way from Macon to see me, for which I will always be grateful) and it’s only right that I go to thank her. Generally-speaking, my Auvergnat friends turned out to be one big disappointment. When the going got tough, they certainly got going – but in the opposite direction.

And after all that I’ve done for them too.

Ingrid and I had coffee and a good chat which was very nice, and then I had to go to Montlucon to change my Livebox – that seems to be the reason why I’m not connecting to the internet. And Ingrid offered to come too for the ride and the company which was nice.

Changing the Livebox was a matter of minutes and then it was lunchtime. We repaired to a cafe across the street which fixed us a couple of salads and the dressing was superb.

By now, the sun was out and it was a glorious day – far too nice to go back home, and so I proposed a trip to Clermont Ferrand. Something that I needed to do there and now seemed like as good a time as any. We had an exciting time trying to find the Prefecture, and an even more exciting time trying to find the car afterwards. But it was only 5 minutes at the Prefecture and we spent the remainder of the two hours sitting in the sunshine at a cafe on the Place de Jaude. And very nice it was too.

I stopped for a coffee back at Ingrid’s and then headed for home. The Skoda is a nice little car but it’s not for me – I’ll tell you that for nothing. And back here I crashed out. It had been a long tiring day and I’m not as young as I was.

And the new Livebox?

That’s not perishing working either!

Tuesday 9th February 2016 – I HAD A VISITOR TODAY

And wasn’t that nice too? Ingrid came round to visit me for a couple of hours to see how I was doing and that cheered me up greatly. It’s nice to have good friends and it’s nice for them to take an interest in what is going on and in what you are doing. She came round ar 15:00 and we were chatting away until after 17:00, with lots of news about people whom we used to know. After all, since the demise of all of the community self-help groups that we used to have, we’ve all been out of touch with everyone else and what’s been going on.

After Ingrid left, we had tea. Liz had made some vegan pies in the morning before going to work and I had mine with a baked potato, broccoli and sweet corn. Absolutely gorgeous, it was too.

And I needed it too because I was exhausted after a most astonishing series of lengthy rambles during the night. It started off with a group of six women, blasted off in a rocket to go to a distant planet. When they arrive, they divide themselves up into three groups of two. One of these pairs, an older woman and a younger one, leave the rocket to go in search of intelligent life, I suppose. However they become separated and the younger one, who is very insecure, wanders around very carefully trying to avoid being contacted and meeting anyone. She then finds a little shower block kind of place where she can take a shower. Its a white stuccoed stone-built small circular building but on multi-levels descending deep underground with just one shower on each level and a continual supply of warm water. It’s just like a scene from one of the Our Man Flint films. Down in the basement where there are actually two shower units and someone has been doing some plumbing there, she finds a suitable shower where she can have a wash even though there is no soap. In mid shower, she’s interrupted by two humanoid women who work here – clearly human but clearly of this planet. She asks them if they have any soap which takes them quite by surprise. But still, someone produces some. They start to chat and this young girl from the spacecraft reveals that her interest is in Population – both growth and control. Just by chance, it turns out that this is the Office of Demographics of this planet so they decide to engage her. They are very very friendly and very very helpful, finding her a desk, somewhere to sit, some work to do, and they add her onto all of the rotas for holidays, birthday cakes, memo distribution. She fits in straight away, right from Day One.
And what was my role in all of this? I’ve no idea but after a trip down the corridor it was my turn to be new in an office. I was wandering around there, getting my bearings, and I met up with Laurence’s step-father Paulo. We had a long chat and he invited me to lunch, taking me to a café. And it was the worst café that I have ever visited. The queues were absolutely enormous with one queue for meals and another queue for snacks and no-one came to serve at the queue for snacks, except on the very very odd occasion. Someone would, very occasionally, be moved on from there but we waited and waited. The place was filthy and horrible and the servers were quite disgusting, picking up and serving the sticky cakes with their fingers and then licking their fingers clean. Eventually we did make it to the head of the queue, Paulo, his friend, and me, and we found the food to be very very basic, something with chips. I just asked for a giant plate of chips but they were freezing, freezing cold. It was horrible, the worst café in the world and I can’t think of any reason at all why anyone would ever want to come and eat here, in this filthy café with this disgraceful service and shocking food.
From here, we wound ourselves backwards to Hillbilly days and we had received a carriage from the Flying Scotsman. It was to be converted into a convertible for some kind of exhibition or other, which we were very unhappy about, but we had won this prize and that was that. We had to go to stay in this place in the Wilderness which was two converted railway carriages used as holiday homes. It was the weirdest place that I’ve ever visited or ever been. The people who were running it were strange people to say the least and there were two guys there more content on stealing everything that they could lay their hands on rather than anything else. And that includes one of the carriages, for which they had rigged up one kind of cable and winch to help them tow it away. But we were easily able to outwit these men because they were not too bright, to say the least. The people who ran it were as poor as church mice and doing everything in their power to try to get more money. One thing that they were trying to do was to defraud the baker, and we had to continually speak to the baker to ensure that we received our order and that it was correct. We noticed that the food that these people were eating was disgusting – cheap, offal kind of meat slices and cheese slices. They were even eating kittens and one of our party, a young girl (wherever did she spring from) was so dismayed about this. We tried to convince her that this is what rural people have to do – kittens are useless mouths and out there you have to eat anything that presents itself and which would otherwise consume foodstuffs itself.
By now we were at an airport and waiting for a couple of people to arrive (and this had strains of déjà vu about it too). Four people in fact, and they turned out to be a girl who has featured occasionally in these nocturnal rambles, her mother, her friend and her friend’s mother. We had to take them somewhere and so they all piled into the car, which was my father’s old grey Cortina. But then the girl suddenly remembered that she had forgotten something and dashed out of the car to fetch it. We were all there urging her to get a move on. But eventually I parked the car up and decided that I would abandon it, as I have done with a variety of other Cortinas during my nocturnal ramblings . It needed to be emptied but as it was still dark I connected up a light to the car’s battery but it wasn’t good enough to see very much so I decided on coming back a little later to do it when it was light. But “a little later” meant that it was even darker because it had been the evening just a couple of hours ago. I’d also left the light connected and so I was wondering if the battery of the car would be flat by now. There was one of these “know it all” teenagers hanging around offering me all kinds of gratuitous advice and that was getting on my nerves too.

No wonder that I was exhausted. I even managed a sort-of lie in until 08:15 too. But it wasn’t quite as good as it sounds because according to the dictaphone, which I use during the night to record these adventures, I’d woken up every two hours or so anyway, just like being back at hospital, I suppose. I can see me having to work hard to snap myself out of this. But it’s perfectly understandable that I didn’t do very much this morning either after all of this during the night.

Friday 15th January 2016 – THE ROAD TO MONTLUCON …

… wasn’t too bad this morning. I was up bright and early … "well, maybe not so bright" – ed … at 07:00 and by 07:25 I was on the road with a nice thermal mug of hot coffee to keep me going.

I took it fairly easy and although Caliburn slipped around in a couple of places we didn’t have any big issues. Even going down the Font Nanaud wasn’t anything like the challenge that I expected it to be, and by the time that I reached whatever the name of the place is in between Marcillat and Villebret, the road was pretty clear. All in all, it only took me 10 or so minutes longer than usual and I was parked up at the hospital by 08:30 as usual.

Mind you, I’d beaten all of the staff of the day hospital into work so had to hang around 10 minutes before the doors opened up. And then, being first in, I could have my comfy spec in the armchair in the corner by the radiator and the power point.

It was the student nurse who came to fit my drain and that filled me full of foreboding. She was the one who had had three tries the other week before abandoning the job and calling for a friend. But today, to my surprise, not only did she do it in one, it was the least painful of all of them.

And here we had the confusion, much to my dismay. It was the young doctor who had telephoned yesterday to summon me to hospital, and although he had probably told the nurses that I was coming, there had been some confusion about the ordering of my blood. Consequently, I had to wait until about 11:15 for the blood to arrive. Then we had the new marvels of modern 21st-Century technology for warming up the blood – to wit – me stuffing it up my jumper.

At about 11:40, someone brought me a nice hot cup of coffee. I’d only been waiting since about 09:00 (the first time that I asked). But in the meantime I’d not been idle. I’d downloaded another whole pile of stuff from and now I reckon that I have a whole decent set of radio programmes to keep me company. I’ll have to check to see if I can find The Men From The Ministry because I forgot about that.

Running so late, I ordered lunch, and ended up with asparagus and tomato for starters, rice and boiled carrots with a bread roll for main course, and then apple purée and an orange for desert. Not the most exciting meal that I’ve ever had, by a long chalk, but it was quite filling and actually tasted quite nice.

It was 14:50 by the time that they had finished with me and I was really disappointed by this. But every cloud has a silver lining, for Ingrid was in the hospital and due to finish what she was doing at 15:00. So go down to the shops or have a coffee with Ingrid? No competition really, is there?

By 16:20 I was on the road and by then, the return journey was a very different story. There had been a flurry of snow in Montlucon at lunchtime and everyone had rushed to the window to see it. But by the time I reached Villebret there was much more than just a flurry and it gradually worsened the higher into the mountains that I climbed. The drag up to the Font Nanaud (height, 934 metres) was exciting, especially as there had been no snowplough or gritter south of Pionsat (I eventually met one, coming towards me from St Gervais) and I was right behind a Mercedes Vito towing a plant trailer with a mini-loader on the back.

He of course had no chance, but he did his best. Rear-wheel drive is useless in this weather when you are pulling something like that and he was sliding everywhere across the road, fighting for grip. He ought to have realised that it was pointless and should have turned round on the old railway track bed to go back down, but he pressed gamely on.

It wasn’t very long before the inevitable happened. He completely lost traction, slewed across the road and came to a shuddering stop. I couldn’t stop to help him because I would have lost traction too so I chugged on over the top and down the bank towards St Gervais.

snow january 2016 centre ornithologique st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceThe conditions round by St Gervais weren’t quite so bad as up on the Font, and the farther south that you travelled, the easier the route became.

By the time I got to Phoen … errr … the Centre Ornithologique, things had cleared quite considerably and the roads were much easier to move about, which was good news for me.

snow january 2016 centre ornithologique st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceI stopped here to take a few photographs of the snow, to record it for posterity. St Gervais, over there on the hill about 100 feet higher up than where I am, looks particularly covered and you can tell by the sky that there’s more to come.

Pulling away from here wasn’t easy either, with a couple of traction issues to get over the ridges made by the car tyres in the snow. But I was soon off and back down here to dig myself in for the foreseeable future.

I have no plans for going out anywhere else until my next hospital visit. And that’s a thought to depress just about anyone

Just in case you are wondering, we had none of the usual suspects, no family members and only one slight mention of a place of my previous existence during my nocturnal rambles of last night.

I’ve no idea where I was when I started off last night but it was a place that I certainly didn’t recognise, somewhere on the coast of the UK. It was a holiday resort, at a part of the town that was inland a little and high up with a view over the bay. There was quite a group of us and we’d heard that one of our rock heroes or bands was playing in this place at the carnival on the seafront. The word “Jubilee” was mentioned, and it turned out that Jubilee was a suburb of this particular town with access to the sea, so I was making a few enquiries to find out which trams we needed to catch to go there. There was a tram stop just outside the building where we were staying and I was trying to read the timetables and tram routes. But I was there for hours trying to find out which tram it was that went to Jubilee, with trams passing in front of me and all around me. In the end, I went back into the building, which was the hospital where I’d been a few days ago.
We then had an old woman putting in an appearance. I’ve no idea who she was but last night she was living next door to me and I had her doing quite a few of my affairs for me. I’d just turn up out of the blue and she’d do a few things for me and then I’d go off again. When I was there last time, and had her go along and do something for me, and as a reward I had paid for her haircut at the hairdressers. She said that she had only just been, so I told her to go again and have the same cut done, or something else, a second time. And so she ended up with almost no hair. She also said that next day she was going into hospital for an urgent operation but that cut no ice with me. I was supposedly in Crewe by this time, Alton Street or somewhere around there. I had wandered off somewhere and a couple of days later I was back, still looking for this Jubilee. I went into the local hospital and here I came across this woman. she’d had her surgery and I’d forgotten completely about it, so I had to pretend to be interested and to talk to her about it. I’d intended to go to see her later in the day in fact because this was really early in the morning when I arrived. But she was awake this early so we had the chat about her operation
From here I went off to work as a general handyman for some rich old lady. We were somewhere in an urban French environment and she took me with her, beckoned me to follow her around and through these old outbuildings into a large barn-type of place and through into a garage that fronted the street. I had to open the doors to let her friend in with a car. These buildings were full of what I thought were dead insects but she explained that they were immature crabs. She’d bought a huge pile of them but ended up with 100 too many but rather than take them back she’d just dumped them out of the car and they had all died. So we managed to bring the car in and then we went off, her beckoning me to follow once more up to a gallery place with a metal walkway. She’d erected a kind of metal fence around it that went around a kind of headland that she owned or had something to do with. It seemed that the neighbours had objected to the fence (it was merely strands of barbed wire) and so it had to be pulled up, so that was my job. Some guy who worked for some Civil Service body was watching me, telling me what a good job it was in the Civil Service and how I ought to apply to work there. But I was busy pulling up these stakes and coiling up this wire. He wanted to know what I was going to do with this wire so I replied that I was going to keep it – one of the perks of my job. He had quite a moan about that. meantime, I’d noticed that this wire was swinging around all over the road so I had to go down and coil it up properly. I’d also had to consult my telephone to see what was going on because someone else had started this job with me but had gone again, so I wanted to see where he was. However, I somehow managed to connect to a film on this telephone – a black-and-white film of the 30s with some film star appearing in it and I couldn’t stop it – each time that I tried to press “stop” or to switch it off, I had a “buy it now” screen. The volume was set quite loud – I couldn’t lower that and everyone in the area could hear it.

And so despite my trip to Montlucon today, I reckon that I’m still cracking up far more miles during the night. It’s hardly any surprise that I’m so exhausted these days.

But I do wonder what it is that they are putting in my food to make all of this happen.