Category Archives: Nerina Hall

Thursday 31st August 2023 – I FORGOT …

… that the nurse would be coming round to visit my neighbour and that they’d need me to open the door to the building.

So that put paid to my lie-in this morning, didn’t it?

What was a shame though was that I was in the middle of a voyage somewhere and as soon as the doorbell rang the whole lot disappeared out of my head – not that there’s much to stop it.

As seems to be usual these days it took me an age to come round into the Land of the Living and I wasn’t in any great rush to actually do anything.

However, after I’d had a coffee and something to eat I transcribed the mountain of dictaphone notes.

The memory card in the dictaphone is now full so I took off all of the files and stored then onto one of the hard drives.

That led me to a great idea. What with an external hard drive and the hard drives in the array on the shelf I set about consolidating the drives and back-ups in a project that is going on even as we speak.

Having set all of that off I then wrote up the notes for yesterday.

The backing up has gone on all day and I’m creating tons of space that I didn’t know that I have. And it’s high time that I organised all of this in a way that makes some kind of sense.

As for my voyages from last night, we started off with some drawings and photographs and had to describe them – I’m not sure now in which language we were doing it. People picked a photo and said something about it. Mine was a photo of an athlete which was done in 16 shades of blue and white. I wanted to say that the colour was flat. There was no gloss or anything about it. It was like a faded newspaper image. I couldn’t think of the word to describe the colours that I wanted to use when I was halfway through the sentence.

I was next with my friends from the Wirral last night. They each received a teddy bear. The girl’s, you could tell it was for her because there was a label attached to the bear saying something or other and the same with that of the guy. It was a different type of bear but again with a label that made it quite clear that it was to be given to him.

Then I was with a friend from school. We were talking about coffee. He’d been doing something and the previous day he’d had some strong coffee to keep him awake. He said that that had kept him going all day. I agreed with coffee and as a 3rd person came to join us I said something like “with my coffee if you stir the coffee and the teaspoon comes out bent then you know that the coffee is about the correct strength”.

I was also with Nerina last night, back in that dream about motorbikes. I was showing her those motor bike engines again with the different attachments like the Francis Barnett engine in a generator frame and the other ones lying around that I never managed to go very far before I awoke. We’d been out for a drive during the night in the snow, driving around looking at everything and the snow was really quite deep. We were having a lot of fun driving, looking at things. It was becoming quite late and the snow was falling quite heavily. Earlier in the evening I’d suggested that we’d go to have a look at it in Winsford because I was still living in Winsford at the time. Round about 00:00, 01:00 she said “let’s go up to Winsford and have a look at the snow, then go to your house for coffee. Where we stopped to look at those engines, the first thing that I had to do was to clean up. I was absolutely filthy. I was scrubbing all this oil etc off. A couple of other people came by and wondered what was going on, why I was looking so dirty. I explained that I’d just been changing a car gearbox – that’s why I was all covered in oil. Someone else who was with us, I can’t remember who it was, was talking to one of these guys. He came over to me and asked “are we going to see that other guy now? He’s invited us round”. I replied “I’m showing Nerina these motor bike engines but you can go. But come back when we’re ready to leave”. He said that he’d do that but he walked up with us to look at the motor bikes. I said to him “I thought that you were going to look at cars, aren’t you?”. He replied “yes I am” but he still came with us. I said “don’t be too long because we’re going soon but if that guy has any Ford Cortina bits let me know and I’ll come down too”.

Finally, there was also something about a single decker bus but a noise in the street awoke me and it vanished out of my head just as I was about to dictate it.

Tea tonight was a leftover curry with the last naan bread, and it really was delicious. I shall have to make some more of that in due course.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll be carrying on with my back-up project and see where that takes me. And I must send off my order for my new course book otherwise I’ll be up a creek without a paddle.

That’s a condition in which I usually find myself and from which I’m trying these days to extricate myself.

And by the way – that’s to everyone who sent me messages about my trip to Paris. But there’s some kind of problem with G-mail right now and my mails to thank people have been returned as undelivered. I’ve no idea why but I’m sorry about it.

Sunday 27th August 2023 – TODAY I HAVE …

… emulated my namesake the mathematician and done three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

As usual, on a Saturday night, I was late going to bed. It doesn’t make much of a difference really on a Saturday if I’m having a lie-in on a Sunday. But this morning I kept on waking up and by 10:00 I’d given up comple tely the whole idea of going back to sleep.

However, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, being up and about is one thing. Being wide awake, fighting fit and raring to go is something else completely and I didn’t even have the energy to go and take my medication for quite a while.

After my midday cereal and cheese on toast I made a start on the next batch of fruit bread. It’s basically a load of bread buns but with all kinds of things in it like ground-up brazil nuts, mashed banana, desiccated coconut, sultanas, almonds, sunflower seeds and anything else that’s lying around.

It takes quite a lot of kneading but when it all goes together it makes a really nice dough.

While I was waiting for the dough to proof, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was back in the good old days of OUSA again. A few of us were hanging around together. For some reason I came across an absolutely enormous pile of money, notes, that could have been worth a fortune, and some letters which on the face of it had been written by one of our group. I didn’t know what to do with these things – I didn’t want to return them to the person to whom I thought they belonged because he’d want to know how I’d managed to find them. So there I was with this huge pile of money in my hand and someone noticed it – the girlfriend of the guy concerned. She asked me from where all this stuff had come. I replied that I didn’t know. I’d just come across it while I was doing some clearing up. I was as confused as everyone else about from where all this had come. She immediately took possession of it and came across the letters that had been written. She immediately associated them with her boyfriend, as I did and anyone else would have done too. She accosted him. At first this led to some very unpleasant minutes but then when she was reading some bits out of these letters to him there was a mention about going to the Eisteddfod. That rang a bell with me because when the Eisteddfod was on that year we were all at the students’ Annual General Meeting so I said “it can’t possibly have been him because he wasn’t at the Eisteddfod but at the Annual meeting”. Then I remembered that I actually had photographs of him speaking from the stage with the backdrop etc making it perfectly clear that we were there. I could remember talking about the Eisteddfod at the meeting so I went to find my information. At first I thought that it was this guy playing fast and loose with someone else but when I remembered talking about the Eisteddfod it couldn’t possibly have been him so I’d no idea what this was about at all.

And then I was in Edleston Road in Crewe, by the Imperial. My youngest sister and her husband were there. He was riding around on what looked like an old moped or something. One thing that we noticed was that in the street were a load of people going past on some of the weirdest pushbikes you’d ever seen, all kinds of strange, ridiculous equipment. One or two of them were totally unable to ride and kept on falling off, making fools of themselves. We wondered what was going on. It turned out that somewhere in town was a display of unusual cycles. At that point I happened to look at the moped thing that my brother in law was riding. It had a strange number-plate on it that I didn’t recognise. I asked him about it. He said that it was his father’s old bike, an old Rover from 1964 and there’s only 20-odd miles on the clock. he was trying to sell it but had no idea of what it was worth but it must be worth thousands. I asked him if I could look at it, which surprised him but eventually he let me have a look. It was something similar to an old Triumph Tiger Cub or something. I thought that I’d like to go for a ride on this but then firstly I couldn’t afford the kind of price that ha was thinking of asking for it and secondly a bike like this doesn’t belong on the road but in a museum. It shouldn’t be run about any old how, spoiling its value by running up the miles on it.

Later on there was another group of us this time having a chat. One of us was talking about programs on the computer, saying that there were some programs that link the computer up to the internet without you even knowing about it and anything could be happening. You could be downloading files from there or your own personal files could be uploaded to the internet and anyone could then really have a look at them. This sounded interesting so I was hoping that he’d say some more about it but as usual in this crowd he had quite a few girls and was more interested in seeing the girls that I was. But at that point I fell asleep.

Well, what I mean is that I’m always asleep when I dictate my notes but what does happen sometimes is that my dictating just tails off into nothingness and occasionally I begin to snore or, like last night, I dropped the dictaphone and it fell on my head.

Finally I was out in the countryside last night somewhere in North Shropshire. I had to take a little girl to school but there was really thick fog so you couldn’t actually see anything. We piled into the van anyway and set off, doing our best in this freezing fog. Gradually as we came to the tops of hills we could see that the tops were clear. When we reached the top of the hills we could see that there was a couple of other people with children walking that way. It was so dangerous to try to go past them that we ended up at walking pace behind them. It wasn’t until they’d stopped to look at something in the hedgerow that we could actually go past and drive on. We then came in to Whitchurch. The first thing that we noticed was a huge supermarket at a place called Crewe Square by a roundabout where the by-pass was, around Whitchurch. But this was nowhere that I recognised at all. We continued and found ourselves going down the hill past the old Grammar School into the town. I was really bewildered as to how I’d actually managed to come this way because it was a really strange way to come. I really couldn’t understand the route that I’d taken.

That wasn’t everything either, but you really don’t want to know about the rest, especially if you are eating your meal or something.

And at some point during the night I was definitely joined by Nerina, my friend from Congleton and also by Zero for a brief moment. It seems that I’m quite popular just at present.

While the fruit buns were baking I assembled my pizza. I’d taken some frozen dough out of the freezer earlier on and it had been defrosting during the afternoon. I’d rolled it out a while back and had left it to proof so I assembled it while I was waiting for the fruit buns.

Once again, it was an excellent pizza. This cheese that I can buy now seems to be doing the job and the cherry tomatoes that I cut in half and stick right on top of everything add the finishing touch

Tomorrow I’m going to have to start to gather up my paperwork ready for Wednesday and to order some stuff off the internet, like my new course book for the forthcoming year. High time that I organised myself.

After all, I’m not going to be here on Wednesday and I hope that, if I have the results that I would like to have, I won’t be here for a while either while they hack me to bits.

But I can’t see that happening very much. It’s not as if it will make much of a difference. As soon as they sort one thing out, something else goes wrong. I’m getting to the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet these days in case something else drops off.

Friday 11th August 2023 – I DIDN’T QUITE …

… manage to go for the rest of the week without crashing out. Having done so well over the last few days, I fell at the final fence this afternoon.

But then that’s hardly a surprise because the last few nights have been what one would call “mobile” and last night was no exception. And I was even up before the alarm went off this morning too.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and then nipped out to the shops.

Caliburn and I went to LIDL for a change this morning and seeing as I didn’t want very much at all, it was quite an expensive shop. And I mean that too.

The fact is that there is always some stuff that I need from there to keep in stock, and as I don’t go there all that often these days, I made the most of my trip and stocked right up.

Amongst the things that I bought from LIDL were some carrots so back here, I cleaned, diced and blanched them ready for freezing. And then armed with my coffee and cheese-on-toast, I went for my Welsh lesson.

It was rather a mixed lesson. Some of it was quite good, and other parts of it were … errr … less so. But now it’s over for the weekend and we’ll live to fight again on Monday.

During the lunch break I transcribed the notes from the dictaphone. There was a claim to be made for some medical expenses. Everyone had to fill in some forms and send them off. I had my papers all over the place as usual. They asked me about mine. I replied “you’ll have to give me 5 minutes while I go upstairs and find them in the bedroom”. I went upstairs to loo, for my receipts. Nerina came in and began to harangue me about this so I shouted at her to leave me alone and let me get on with it otherwise I’ll never ever be able to find it. In the end she wandered off. I carried on looking. One of my sisters then came and asked me the same question. I became even more angry and shouted even more at her. But I just couldn’t find any of these papers. I’d no idea where they’d gone. The last I saw of them, they were on my bedroom windowsill but now they could be anywhere. I didn’t have a clue what had become of them.

And then someone had their babycam monitor focused on their child’s playpen area. every now and again it would take an automatic photograph of the child. On one occasion there was no child to be seen in the photograph. What they saw instead was the family cat, a big long-haired black one, climbing up against the play area opening the door. It had obviously opened the door and the child had gone out through it and was somewhere else around the house

Later on I was at work. Everyone else went off for their evening meal. I was left holding the baby for a while while they were away. After about a couple of hours no-one had come back. I walked out down to Hospital Street in Nantwich to see if I could find them. They were all in a restaurant and had only just begun to eat their meal. I asked how long they were going to be. They didn’t know so I suggested another couple of hours. They said “no” but I could see that that was what it was going to be. I asked “what am I going to do? I’m starving and I have to have my meal yet”. They replied “you can hang on a little longer can’t you?”. So I left. On the corner of Hospital Street and the other one and I’ll tell you the name in a minute … “Pratchett’s Row” – ed … there was a chip shop so I went in and ordered a bag of chips and a cheese toastie. That was an interesting thing because you ordered and paid. They gave you strips of what looked like brown parcel tape with the price of £1:00 on each strip. You then queued and when yours was ready they handed it to you and you handed over the strips of tape to show that you’d paid. I had my chips and cheese toastie and set off back to the office eating on the way back.

Meantime, everyone was talking about football grounds from the 1970s. Vale Park came up and also the subject of the railway station at Longport. I was telling people how I’d go to the game and then walk back to the railway station afterwards on a Friday night with a bag of chips.

Incidentally, during the day yesterday I was having exactly this discussion with someone on the internet, re-living old past glories.

After that I was back in the Auvergne last night in my house. Brigitte had a pile of stuff, food in bottles and cans that she didn’t need. She brought them down to me so I was busy stacking them away in my house ready for future use. There wasn’t anything there that was really appetising but it was free so I took it.

My friend from Congleton was starting a hairdressing business and was looking for premises. She came across a room to let on a farm. We went to look at it. It was a tiny room. You had to climb up there on a weird arrangement, a cross between stairs and a ladder. There was a really tiny window in the wall. Nevertheless she rented it. I thought that it was a strange decision. First of all the customers had to find it and then they had to climb up here. There was barely enough room for the 3 of us to stand upright in it once we left the bed that was in there. It was in High Street in Crewe but the view out of the window was looking at the area with a completely different perspective. I’d never seen that part of Crewe looking like that before. It was reminding me of the climb up Edleston Road but it was all wrong, all in reverse. I really couldn’t understand why it was as it was, for example Edleston Road climbed up towards the middle instead of going downhill towards the middle as it does. We went outside for a walk around. We could see some trees that were pretty much dead. They’d been trimmed off so that they were only growing on our side of the field and cut off where they grew over the neighbour’s field. It was all looking really weird. We went back in and climbed back up into our room. We’d seen when we were outside that this tiny window was actually a large window with most of it being blanked off. I was wondering about how I could take off the blanking so that the window would look a lot brighter and make the room look brighter.

That’s not everything aither, but then again you don’t really want to know the rest, especially if you’re eating a meal.

Rosemary had rung me up at some point during my lesson so I phoned her back as soon as it was over. We had another one of our long marathon chats. She has to go for some surgery on her knee very soon. It seems that old age is catching up on all of us.

That, regrettably, was that. I’d been feeling rather flaky for a little while and not long after we hung up, I drifted off into never-land for some time. It took me a while to recover afterwards, and then I began to look for music for the next radio programme, although I didn’t get very far.

Tea tonight was the last of the vegan sausage rolls with salad and chips, delicious as usual. But I’ll have to think about baking my own sausage rolls in future.

This calls for a cunning plan, and I need to find a recipe for vegan sausage stuffing. As for the pastry, I’ll have to buy it ready-name. making flaky pastry from scratch is an extremely complicated process.

Shopping tomorrow, not that I need all that much. But I’ll go out all the same. It won’t be for long but at least I’ll have some fresh air.

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight, I’m off to bed and I’ll hope for a good night. If I don’t have a good sleep, I hope that I’ll go for a good wander around instead.

Thursday 10th August 2023 – I HAD ANOTHER …

… really mobile night last night. And a busy day too. Things seem to be warming up.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:00 I was with a couple of people who were planning on going on a cycling tour. They were showing me their bikes and how the framework for the pannier fitted on. I could see that there was some recessed bolt holes in the frame and the pannier mounts slid down them and you just pushed a bolt through the frame and the bolt hole in the pannier outfit.

So not having beaten the first alarm I was still able to beat the second. And then after the medication and checking the mails and messages I listened to the rest of the night’s travels on the dictaphone. Nerina and I were going somewhere on a night out to Nantwich or Audlem, somewhere like that. We had to hurry to catch the bus. There was then some talk that we might stay over a couple of days so I had to find some clothes. I couldn’t find any so in the end I had to find an old suitcase of mine with some clothes in it. That was inside the cats’ house. I had to persuade the cats to leave their little house which took a long time. Then I had to take out my suitcase and look through it. I couldn’t find any trousers. I wasn’t sure if I could still fit in my jeans so I had to try on a pair. Then I couldn’t stand up. I needed help for that. In the end I tried them on when I was standing on the floor. I then looked at the time. It was something like 22:10 and the bus was going to leave any minute now. We were clearly going to miss the bus and then next one would make us ridiculously late so I began to think about going in the car and arriving quicker like that

And then I had another long dream that all immediately evaporated the moment I reached for the dictaphone. I can’t remember a thing at all about it. Not a thing. I’m soaked in sweat though so it must have been something interesting.

Later on I’d been somewhere to do something in connection with the group in which I played and we were on our way back. Coming from Congleton towards Crewe there was plenty of traffic. I had my foot down and was going quite quickly, passing the traffic wherever I could. There was a part where you came to a roundabout where the road split into two lanes. I went into the outside lane there and drove all the way down the outside of a line of vehicles, reached the roundabout, spun round the roundabout and came off at my exit, probably cutting in on someone else. The engine of the car cut out. I couldn’t restart it. I had to get out and push the car across the roundabout into a side road. There were vehicles in the way. I rolled into a vehicle. By now this roundabout had transformed itself. It wasn’t the roundabout in Hungerford Road where it was earlier on but now a roundabout back in Sandbach. It was where the guy who played drums lived. There was all sorts of things going on around this area, people using bad language etc. I thought “I wonder how my drummer’s family who were quite respectable people, were coping with what’s going on in the other houses and families around here”.

I was also at a huge factory place last night. 2 huge square glass buildings situated on the far side of a really wide river. The car parking was on one side of the river and you had to walk down a path and across a – not even a bridge but like a concrete path that went across the river and into the factory complex. We’d been there with a couple of people and walked back to the car park. I decided that I wanted to go back to look at some more of it. I said “I’ll be back shortly”, turned round and walked all the way back down the long path, across the concrete path across the river and back to the complex. It took me about 20 minutes to walk there and will take me another 20 minutes to walk back later plus however much time I’d want to spend walking around the factory complex. I’d left them sitting on a car park waiting for me. I’m not going to be very popular by the time I return. I thought to myself that I’d be lucky if they were still there waiting.

Finally my car needed some work doing on it so my father said that he’d help me if I took the car round to him. He lived in Norway north of Narvik so I said that I’d go round after work. While I was at work I was trying a cut-and-paste of a section of an image over an object in an image that I wanted to hide. For some reason I couldn’t make the piece that I’d cut out transfer over via a memory stick or an external hard drive or anything. There was a crowd of people round watching me including TOTGA. I carried on trying but it wouldn’t work. I said that I’d do it after work so a couple of people said that they’d stay behind to watch. Then I remembered that I had to go to see my father. At 16:00 I apologised to everyone who was disappointed that I was going, and set out. Narvik is a long way from Brussels and it was late in the evening. I was in Norway and seen the signs for Narvik. Somehow I’d missed my turning and ended up at a riverside on a gravel road looking at all these boats. I had to rurn round to retrace my steps to find where I’d gone wrong. Then I encountered a load of Volkswagens that had all been in accidents and were heading off somewhere. They had headlights taped into the wing with sellotape so that at least they’d have some light when it went dark. I remembered that my father’s wife had wanted me to sort out some money for her and do a couple of other things. By now it was really late at night. I was thinking that I have all this to do, fix my car, sort out my father’s wife, fix this image that needs doing and be back at work in Brussels in the morning. I’m just never going to fit all this in.

An hour or two were then spent working my way through my notes for my Welsh lesson. But as usual, with having a teflon brain, nothing is sticking.

The lesson itself passed quite quickly again but it was rather patchy. Some of the stuff I could do quite happily but some other stuff was rather … errr … challenging and I don’t know what I’m going to do about that. Nothing, I reckon. You can’t teach an old dog like me new tricks.

When the lesson was over I waded through the radio programme and finished off all of the notes for the second radio programme I’ve done this week. And who knows? I might even start a third tomorrow.

Another exciting task was to write an article for a Welsh newspaper. The new JD Cymru League season starts tomorrow so I’ve written a few hundred words about the teams competing and what I think of their chances

Whether or not it’s published is another thing entirely but it’s one of those things that has to be done by someone at some time.

Tea tonight was one of the vegan burgers out of the European Burger Mountain in the fridge with some pasta and veg in tomato sauce.

Tomorrow morning I have to nip into town early in the morning to do my shopping before the Welsh lesson. It’ll have me running around so I’ll need to have an early night and have some rest.

But if I go off on a few travels during the night in the same way that I have been just recently, I’ll need a rest to recover when I wake up.

Wednesday 9th August 2023 – THERE REALLY ISN’T …

… any point going to bed and trying to go to sleep early if I wake up at 03:00 and then can’t go back to sleep again. It really does defeat the point.

However, I did manage to go back to sleep again, but not for long and when the alarm went off I was already up and about (after a fashion).

Once I’d had my medication I attacked the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few. I was down in the jungle last night with a pair of socks or something that wouldn’t behave themselves. It was like if I took them off they would keep on attacking me each tme that I turned over in bed or something like that.

Later on I did a lovely turn on the football pitch last night. A foul or offside or something was given in our favour so I went back to take the kick but the full-back decided that he’d take it and kicked it upfield. It was a really weak kick and 3 or 4 different players scrambled for it including me. I reached the ball and managed to flick it behind me. I turned and caught everyone totally unawares – including me – and had a shot at goal which hit the post, came back in but unfortunately broke back up the field. We were all caught out by a breakaway back down the field into our penalty area.

I was going away to a music festival at another point. I’d made enquiries and found out the pitch where my friend from the Wirral and his wife were staying which was one of the ones in the middle in a depression or hollow somewhere. I’d arranged to have a pitch very close nearby. We went down there and were one of the first to arrive. We had to sort through all our things to erect the tent. Then I decided that I wanted a shower. The only way to have a shower was to actually have a shower on your bed. My bed was in the middle of 2 or 3 others so I had to prepare for the shower, rig up a hosepipe or something then sit on my bed and wash myself with the hosepipe. The idea that this was going to ruin my bed and bedding never entered my head all at the moment. There was more stuff than this too, including something about the security arrangements. There was a company called Fitz Security that was doing it but I can’t think now what brought that into the conversation during the night.

Back at this folk festival again. It’s now mid-afternoon, everyone is arriving and starting to set up. There’s a food stall being set up somewhere and people are starting to queue for it. Again there’s much more going on than this but I can’t remember it. Some of it relates to the kind of food that was in some cases rather unpleasant.

Actually, if I were in the UK at the moment I would be on my way to a music festival even as we speak. It’s “Cropredy” this weekend, the Fairport Convention festival in Oxfordshire.

Did I dictate the dream that I was working for a taxi company? … “no you didn’t” – ed … A woman turned up and awoke me out of bed. I had to hunt around for my dressing gown. I was most uncomfortable but I let her in. She began to talk about another taxi company, how she’d seen their adverts everywhere and how she was looking forward to maybe working for them etc. I realised that she’d come for an interview at the wrong place. I let her carry on for a while. Suddenly she disappeared, I can’t remember how, during the dream and the interview finished. Then the boss came home and I told him about this incident. I also told him that the immersion heater wasn’t working again and I’d tried to fix it but I wasn’t able to. He was annoyed with having no hot water. he had a look around. The office was quite shabby. he asked “when are you going to paint it as you promised?”. I asked him what colour. he replied “lemon”. I said “yes OK. I’m glad about that. I don’t like white”. We made arrangements that I’d start to paint the place.

There was also something about a Zeppelin type of thing. It had a leak and there was condensation inside the gasbag that was leaking out in drips of water. We landed the Zeppelin, stripped down the valve and installed a new one, fitted it. That seemed to make the matter worse. In the end we went to a Government office where we could maybe find the parts. We were sitting around there for hours. In the end one of the women with us managed to buttonhole one of the clerks to ask him about it. He replied that these parts are special. They’re on the secret list and can only be sold to people who are bona fide citizens of the UK. The guy had a strange foreign accent so I went over to the woman and we had a laugh about the idea that the parts can only be used by bona-fide British people but can be sold by just about anyone in the whole wide world. It didn’t make any sense. We carried on chatting and ere there for quite a while talking about nothing in particular

We had a long rambling dream about being up in the Arctic ready to fly back. We had to wait for a couple of weeks while the weather ship went to pick up some weather information. It went all the way across to Greenland, round the Davis Strait and back. I grabbed hold of one of the officials and asked about the possibility of going out on the weather ship the next season next year. They said that it was simply not possible but I harassed and harangued them and generally tried to insist but it was no use at all. I was there for ages trying to convince them. Then we flew back. We arrived at the airport. I was with Nerina. As we left the plane she said that she’d forgotten something and she’d see me after Immigration. We had to run all the way round this spiral staircase thing going through different rooms, round and round to our left all the time down these stairs. We reached the bottom and had to board a bus. After the long descent down the stairs we boarded this bus. There was just one other man and me. He asked what I thought about the flight. I replied “I can’t remember anything at all about it. I remember boarding the plane and having a cup of coffee. The next thing that I remember was coming in to land at Fredericton and I had a cup of cold coffee”. He didn’t realise that we’d landed at Fredericton and was surprised when I told him the name of the town. He said “you’re wrong about the coffee. You had to go to the machine yourself and put a token in etc”. In the meantime the bus was going down the road at quite a rate of knots into the city. Suddenly it came to a spot where there was a car parked on either side of the road, a lot of cars on one side and just one on the right-hand side. They hadn’t left enough room for the bus to go through so it came to a grinding halt.

There’s no doubt about it – you’re certainly getting your money’s worth with this.

There was the Welsh homework to do and then we had the lesson. It passed reasonably well today, but we have a long way to go of course.

The strange thing was that while I was awake in the middle of the night I was working through my Welsh from yesterday. It’s preying on my mind, I suppose, and I hope that some of it might stick. I can’t remember any of the vocabulary though.

The cleaner came around too and we had a little chat in the middle of everything.

When the lesson was over I attacked another radio programme. I’ve chosen all the music, paired it off and even written the notes for about half of it. I really don’t know what’s happened to me.

Tea was leftovers with a half-helping of curry from the freezer and a naan bread. I won’t be bothered by any vampires for the next couple of days either – that new batch of garlic butter than I made is pretty good.

So now I’m going to try to go to bed early again, and hope that I can have a better sleep than last night. I haven’t paid all this money for this course not to take any benefit from it.

There’s plenty of other stuff going on too so I have my work cut out right now. At least it keeps me out of mischief.

Thursday 3rd August 2023 – YOU CAN TELL …

… what kind of night I had last night simply by looking at the dictaphone and counting the number of times I dictated something. We actually reached double figures, and it’s not every day that that happens.

Furthermore, I was actually up and about before the alarm went off too.

Only by a matter of a handful of seconds, it’s quite true, but nevertheless, it still counts. When I opened my eyes and saw that it was 06:59 on the fitbit I thought that I may as well make the effort.

One thing’s for sure is that I won’t be up early tomorrow. We had football tonight – Hwlffordd v B36 Torshavn in European competition.

1-0 down from the first leg, they rode their luck all through the first half and with half an hour to go actually managed to score a goal that made the score equal over the two legs.

The game went into extra time but Torshavn scored what can only be described as a “controversial penalty” to knock the Welsh side out. Manager Tony Pennock was quite right to be incensed but I notice that he kept very quiet about the penalty that I and the commentators would have awarded against his team earlier in the game to which the referee waved “play on”.

The post-match interviews were quite entertaining. Pennock came out with a few comments that reminded me of Ron Atkinson and his famous quote of “I never comment on referees – and I won’t break the habit of a lifetime for that prat!”

Centre-forward Ben Fawcett, who scored Hwlffordd’s goal, reminded me of Jim Finks, one-time coach of the New Orleans Saints gridiron team who once famously said “We’re not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating”

So with extra time being played, the game didn’t finish until long after 23:00 so it’s going to be a long night tonight.

It’ll be just like today when it took me an absolute age to actually start work – after a very late morning coffee.

And the first thing that I did was to sort out the music for the next radio programme. That took much longer than it ought to have done.

One thing that took the time was that I had to track down a certain track that I needed. In this programme, whenever it will be broadcast, we’ll be celebrating the birthday of a rather obscure musician.

Her partner plays a major rôle in our radio programmes and she actually wrote the words for one or two of his more rare songs and played keyboards on a couple. We can’t actually celebrate her birthday without playing some of her music.

While I was at it, I wrote the text for some of the music that I’ll be playing and I’ll write some more tomorrow. With a bit of luck, God’s help and a Bobby, I might have two radio programmes to prepare on Sunday.

And then there was the dictaphone. And I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff that was on it from the night. I was at the football last night. The town where I was living was a small French town roughly the size of Granville but in the interior down south. They were playing a game of football. I went along to watch the match. There was a lot happening that I’ve forgotten but something that sticks in my mind was that I was chatting to a group of people some of whom were young girls, schoolgirls or whatever. At one point the ball came over our way. I got off my chair and went to pick it up to throw it back in but then I found that I had real difficulty getting back to my feet. When I did, some girl had sat in my chair. I made some remark about it. She said that she’d sat in there first. I thought “never mind”. There was a couple of empty chairs around here and there so I took one of those, sat next to them and continued to watch the game. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

When the alarm went off I awoke with a real start. I was in such a deep sleep. I didn’t know where I was for a minute. When I looked round I thought that the cleaner was here. She was trying to tell me that she has to cut down her hours because one of her family needed help. I was trying to get my head round all this information. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 04:00 and I’d obviously dreamt the alarm somehow. That’s really surprising. It sounded so real too. It goes without saying that there was no cleaner here etc, just me waking up spontaneously for no good reason so I turned over and went back to sleep. I really couldn’t believe it.

Then a surprise for a friend of mine. We’d heard from a restaurant in St Malo that a well-known brand of gravy actually contained animal products. I went to make further enquiries and discovered that it was indeed true. I swapped a meal of greasy sausages and things like that for another kind of meal but I can’t remember what the other meal was now. I’m having a real problem remembering my dreams at the moment. I don’t know why that is.

There was another dream where I was having to see a heart specialist. He’d given me an appointment at 08:10. I went to see him and was there early. There were a couple of other doctors’ surgeries in the same place. One woman came in to sit down. Someone else came in, probably a doctor because he went into one of the side rooms. He then came out and began to talk to this woman about Patagonia and going to have an operation done there. That immediately appealed to me. I began to think about life in Patagonia, how I would go there, how I was going to travel, what I was going to do. I was all building myself up in this dream for a trip to Patagonia on the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

We were wandering around a place in rural Spain. I wanted to go to use the bathroom. I set out to find it. I went past a guy who had a box. He had 4 small logs in it. Sitting across the logs was a French bread pizza. He was trying to light the logs presumably to cook his pizza so I told him what a wonderful thing it was. He didn’t understand so I tried to say it in Spanish. He still didn’t understand me. Everyone with me asked me what I was doing so I explained. I found the bathroom and walked in. To my surprise it was just a communal room with about 6 WCs in it, no partitions or anything. You just sat there or stood there in full view of everyone else and did what you had to do. There was no blushing or anything like that from anyone except from me of course.

That was actually the first time that I’ve had a dream in Spanish.

There was a sequel to this dream as well. A young Spanish boy whose father went to discipline him. He suddenly had a huge pain in his groin that doubled him up. He was rolling around the floor in agony. While this was going on his son was there. This pain didn’t ease off until the guy decided that he’d change his mind about punishing his son. Once he’d made that decision the pain stopped

There was also something about a football match in Spain. While the father was doubled up in pain the opposition team grabbed hold of the football and tried to take a quick free kick and roared off down the field before the referee stopped them and brought them back. It was those two new players from Hwlffordd, Crossdale and the other one … “Owen” – ed … who were doing this.

There was something about cricket too, trying to explain it to a new player about how he could learn the game by watching so when his team was in he’d be out there and he could watch what was happening, then get himself out and come back in, then prepare to go back out again when his team was in, all kinds of stuff like that, this particular dream that I can’t remember the fine details now

And finally there was another dream that I’ve had before. I was with Nerina who was on a bike and I was on foot. We were chatting as she was cycling. We were in Stoke on Trent and came to a steep hill. Something had happened that she had done something that had not been the kind of thing that I would do. People had believed that we had separated. Nerina had strung them on a little. When we came to the steep hill there was a short cut for people on foot so I took it and she continued along the road. She fell in with one of these people who then began to ask her questions about what she was up to. When the short cut re-joined the road we joined up again. By now I was running up the hill and she was cycling. There was a couple of people standing on the pavement ahead of us, one of whom I recognised. A car that was coming up the hill suddenly mounted the pavement and hit these 2 people knocking them flying and drove off again. By now we’d all arrived at this particular point and we tried to ask one of these guys what exactly had happened

It’s no surprise that there was no time to do anything else other than this. There was tea of course, a leftover chili sin carné that was as delicious as ever, and then I dashed in here for the football.

Now the game is over and my notes are finished, I’m off to bed. I’m nipping into town on the bus tomorrow for a little shop and then I’ll probably be flat out asleep in the afternoon recovering from the effort.

That assumes that I wake up in time to go to the shops. Another night like last night and I won’t wake up for a week.

Monday 31st July 2023 – I’M GOING TO STOP …

… discussing my miserable nights because you’re probably just as fed up reading about them as I am having them.

So when the alarm went off I was fast asleep in the bed and it was something of a struggle to crawl out of bed before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I went and had a shower to try to awaken me but that didn’t work very well. After the nurse had been to give me my weekly injection I came back in here.

It took an age for me to come round into the Land of the Living and it was a very late mid-morning coffee. And then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

There were tons of stuff on the dictaphone from the night there too. Someone’s name turned up on my social network, a boy whom I knew from a foreign country when I was at school. We got in touch and agreed to meet. I could recognise him from his photo. He was with some kind of little dog. When they came close to me they suddenly disappeared. I had a walk around this park and couldn’t see them. I walked across the park to the other end and that was when I caught a glimpse of them. I waved and they waved back. Eventually after many attempts we managed to meet up. It turned out this he had stopped to buy a sandwich on his way to meet me and his dog had seen someone with a sandwich and gone haring after it so he’d gone haring after the dog. he wanted to know why I hadn’t written to ask him where he was. I thought “it’s only been like 15 minutes” but something inside told me that it was in fact a couple of years that i’d been wandering around that park. That was a lapse of time that I couldn’t explain

There was something about Zero too last night. My friend from Congleton had had some good luck. She’d had her house up for sale for a considerable amount of time and it had suddenly sold for a much better price than she had anticipated too. She already had another property lined up that she could buy so she didn’t need the money and her doctor was asking her what she planned to do. She could come up with thousands of things. One was to buy a house at Prestatyn where they could go at weekends but would in fact be Zero’s house when she’s a little older. The other doctor thought that a good idea. He also mentioned about her becoming a private patient and having to pay for her medical treatment saying that private patients had so much better treatment than NHS ones etc. He also asked her when she was going to marry again. She made some kind of vague nebulous reply about that.

I can’t remember who I was with in the next one. It wasn’t TOTGA because her name came up in the conversation but it was a girl with whom I used to work who had a good job that involved projects. The thing was that you came up with your own project and this firm would back you and provide you with the resources to do it. She was telling me all about it and how good the other situation was. In fact it might have been someone I used to know quite well, saying how much of a change it was from her previous employment. She said that any kind of project was considered, whether fitting tyres on a car, rock groups practising etc. It’s the sort of thing that had I been able I would have been interested in doing. I had an appointment somewhere else but she was talking away so much about this that I didn’t really want to leave. I wanted to stay to listen to the rest of it even though I was running late. We said that the only way to do a job like this is to go at it 100% give it everything you have and take what opportunities are offered. While this might not suit some people’s mentality it certainly suits others and those are the kind of people who would benefit from some situation like this

Later on we had an old small FIAT saloon, the type that you could load things in through the back window. I was putting some electrical equipment in but knocked the amplifier on the back seat forward into the footwell. As I was locking up the car I told Nerina what I’d done and told her not to let me drive away in the morning like that. She asked why I didn’t do it now. I said that it’s too complicated being in the dark and I can’t see what I’m doing. I might start pulling wires out. She still thought that it would be a good idea to do it now. To be quite honest I was absolutely exhausted. I just really wanted to stop doing it and go to bed but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to explain it as a good reason to Nerina. I was busy finding all kinds of other reasons not to do the job right now.

And finally I was doing some research so I joined an institute. I was in their offices looking through some paperwork. I came across someone’s file. It was a huge front and back piece with hooks on it where you could hang it from a rail with the spine upwards. I took one of these out to have a look at it. It was really just full of notes etc and various items of correspondence, one of which was someone asking around if anyone had an Opel Omega or Corsa that they could take a ride in to see what they were like ready to purchase. Someone scrawled underneath “God, are they asking for a taxi here?”. I had a look through it and went to put it back but I caught my right ankle on a stone on the wall and that caused me to drop to my knees. I don’t know why that happened but I couldn’t stand back up again. And I can’t stand up if I end on my knees either. That’s what’s really stopping me from going very far – the fear of falling over.

So we had Zero, TOTGA, Nerina and a few other regulars out there with us last night. It was nice to see so many of our friends. Still no Castor though, which is a shame. In a couple of weeks time it will be four years since our Brief Encounter in Peel Sound and the Coronation Gulf.

So when I’ve not been asleep I’ve been dealing with the next radio programme. The music is sorted out, paired off and much of the text has been written.

From now on I’m going to try to do things in a slightly different way. Usually I leave the very last track until last but in the programme that I’m preparing, the very last track has already been chosen, and for a very good reason too.

Inserting a track and its relevant text into the middle of a programme is quite complicated and takes much more time but I’ve been giving that a great deal of thought in order to find a work-around.

Tea was a stuffed pepper as usual and it was of course quite nice too. Made with fresh carrots too. There was not enough room in the freezer to buy a bulk lot of carrots to freeze so I just bought a couple to see me through until next weekend.

I’ll need to make some space in the freezer for more veg so I reckon that on Thursday I’ll be having mixed veg in cheese sauce. Now that I can buy vegan cheese in good quantities I can have much more of that, and quite right too.

But that’s for Thursday. There are a few more days in between. I’ll wander off to bed and prepare myself for battle tomorrow. Here’s Hoping that it’s a better day.

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?

Friday 28th April 2023 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I’ve had today. I’ve actually spent most of it asleep.

And that’s no surprise because I had another miserable night. Apart from the fact that I took an absolute age to go off to sleep again, I awoke at about 04:20 and just lay there vegetating for ages.

The alarm goes off at 07:00 these days and at 06:55 I found the energy (I’m not sure where from) to haul myself out of bed to beat the alarm. And that was probably the most energetic thing that I did.

The nurse came round as planned and took my blood sample. She had to take three goes before she could extract any blood from me. This is becoming ridiculous. I really am beginning to hate all of this.

It took me a while to come round into the Land of the Living enough to book all of my transport arrangements for my trip to Leuven. To my dismay my Old Fogey’s Railcard has expired and I’m having to pay full price for my travel, and I’m not ‘arf noticing the difference.

There are several factors contributing to the extra expense, apart from the absence of railcard

  1. I’m coming home on a Friday, not a Saturday
  2. I’m not taking the cheap route via Lille because I can’t walk quickly enough between one railway station and the other. Lille Flandres and Lille Europe are situated a good 10 minutes away from each other for a fit person. God knows how I’ll cope on my crutches if I tried that
  3. The two cheap morning trains from Brussels, at 07:13 and 07:43, are fully booked and there are no seats available

And as for the last couple of times, I’m not staying at my usual hidey-hole either. It’s a long walk from the station and also if I want anything to eat it’s a long walk to the shops. There’s an Ibis Budget at the back of the station where I’ve stayed a few times, and that’s where I’ll be hanging my hat.

It took ages to sort everything out though. I went to pay with my Belgian bank account only to find that the app has to be upgraded. That took an age and when it had finally installed itself correctly the order had timed out and I had to start again.

And then there were issues with the SNCF app. That needed upgrading too and now that it’s done, it won’t open on my old phone. I’ve had to do everything off the computer and I’ll need to print out my tickets.

This afternoon the first thing that I did was to have a shower. I was feeling quite cold and I don’t know why and I thought that a shower would warm me up.

While I was in the bathroom I went one step further than David Crosby, gave in an inch to fear and cut my hair. Probably because I had the flu for Christmas, I reckon.

Back in here I fell asleep yet again, and that was that for quite considerable time. And when I awoke I really felt so miserable. It took for ever for me to pull myself together. I don’t know what’s the matter with me. I’ve been doing so well just recently.

There was time to listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. At one point I was asleep but awake in a kind of dream watching something happen in front of my eyes on the road while I was standing behind a hedge on the edge. It turned out to be a scene from a sequel to a well-known film – a kind-of Lord Of The Rings or The Hobbit or something. It turned out to be a kind-of trailer for a brief film where the producer shows his top-20 moments from his top favourite sequels to well-known films of that nature. We were there watching bits from The Hobbit, Harry Potter, this kind of film until he finally came round to his n° 1. everyone was praying that it wasn’t a certain scene but I didn’t get to see what it was because I awoke just as it was about to start the final scene. Just my luck

Did I dictate the dream … “no, you didn’t” – ed … about being on the taxis last night, having worked really hard with some really long hours. There was a lot of work to do around the Market Drayton area. One of the drivers phoned the people concerned and asked if we were still on for this work. They replied “yes” so he set off to Market Drayton. The way he went was down towards Woore and then across the old road to Knighton, that way. A way that I know well from my perambulations around that area in my youth. We were talking about some other people, Nerina and I, who we knew who had bought some kind of place out there. I had a couple of hours to spare so someone dropped me off at a little sweetshop-type of place. I went in and the guy said “you want upstairs”. I went up these incredibly steep stairs and found myself in this beautiful clean, tidy apartment. It was where one of my taxi drivers and his wife lived. They certainly weren’t the type to have had somewhere that was absolutely spotless. I was intending to try to ask if I could have a bath but when I saw how neat and tidy their house was I had second thoughts because I didn’t really want to mess it up.

And then one of my drivers had been out doing taxi jobs in Northern Ireland with my brother. They’d been away for a while. The guy who had organised it all came back and said that he would refuse to work with my brother again. He began to write out a whole list of everything that went wrong including my brother throwing some mushroom fried rice at him. I had to go off to do something. By the time I came back there was an enormous list. Part of the list was showing that everything in Northern Ireland had increased in price and how much was the increase. This list was enormous, on several pages. The guy in charge of everything said “I think that I’ve decided that I’m going to stop doing the cable car work from now on”. Another guy – a driver – rummaged through his bag and began to pull out things saying “I don’t need this, do I? I don’t need that now, do I?”. Something was strange about what he was pulling out so we had a look at it. It was actually the mirror arm of a car. Why he’d have one of those spare I really don’t know. In the end everyone calmed down and that left me and another driver to do the work for the night. I could see that there was going to be a lot of sorting out that needed to be done over the next couple of days to try to keep everyone happy again and try to stimulate some more business without running into some ridiculous costs.

By the looks of things I’ve been spending a lot of time back on the taxis just recently. And it’s not wishful thinking, I promise you that. For a while it was good fun and quite an enjoyable job but it eventually took on a life of its own and swept us all along in the momentum.

Tea tonight wasn’t as nice as it might have been and I don’t know why. The potatoes didn’t really make nice chips, I suppose, and the sausage rolls somehow didn’t inspire me all that much. My salad was nice though and I’ll have another one of those tomorrow.

Shopping is on the cards so I’ll buy some more spuds for chips for tea tomorrow but the freezer now has some room in it and I’m wondering whether a bag of frozen chips might be a better idea in this case. I shall have to look into that.

There’s more frozen stuff that’s been in the freezer since the Dawn of Time too and I’ll empty a few more bits and pieces to have with my chips and salad tomorrow. But right now I’m off to bed. It’s been a horrible day as I said earlier and the best thing to do is to forget about it and start again tomorrow

It’s been said quite often that no amount of alteration can sometimes change something that’s clearly not working, and it’s better to forget it and start again. I suppose that that’s probably why I have a younger brother.

Tuesday 18th April 2023 – TODAY AT THE …

… hospital was even quicker than yesterday.

For a start, I didn’t have to sign in. Then I knew where I was going, and they didn’t have to weigh me or give me an electrogram.

And with the catheter already being in my arm, I didn’t need to have one fitted, so it was simply a case of giving me the medication.

Consequently I was in there at 08:45 and on my way home by 11:30. I even managed to catch the second half of my Welsh class.

Not that I felt much like it because I had another horrible night. And for some reason or other I awoke bolt-upright in the middle of a dream at 06:59 exactly so I fell out of bed immediately, just so that I can say that I actually did beat the alarm once again.

But not by very much.

It’s not possible to have a shower with my arm swathed in bandages so I had a good stand-up wash and then Caliburn and I headed for the hills.

The people at Avranches are really quite nice and pleasant. They have a good sense of humour too which always helps.

Back here afterwards I had a strong coffee and some of my fruit bread toasted with plenty of butter and then joined my Welsh class. Surprisingly it all passed off quite well and I was surprised.

After the lesson I sat down and listened to the dictaphone. And just look at where I went to during the night. It’s really no wonder that I was feeling so exhausted this morning. I started off in my apartment making breakfast. I put the beans on and a few other bits and pieces. Then I went into the bathroom to fetch some sliced bread from the freezer. I must have had the bread out previously and forgotten to put it back because it was just sitting on the shelf looking moth-eaten as if rats had been eating it. Of course there are no rats or mice anywhere in my apartment. I took 3 slices that looked really sad and put them down on top of the worktop. A huge pile of ants were suddenly disturbed from somewhere and started to scurry round all over the bread. That lot went immediately into the bin. Before that I forgot to say that when I went to go into the bathroom I couldn’t see a thing. I had to play around with the fuses in the wall to switch the fuse back on that control the lights at that end of the apartment. After the mess of the bread I went back into the kitchen. The beans were burning, the toast was smoking as if some bread from before was stuck in there and was on fire. It was all becoming a right mess with everything being burnt and I had nothing to eat.

And then I repeated the same dream pretty much again – about the bread and the kitchen etc being on fire and being eaten by ants and so on that I had earlier. I step back into dreams fairly often but to actually repeat one is rather strange.

Later on some Italian couple involved in some secret society had upset some group of Londoners. We’re going back into the days of Sherlock Holmes. He was investigating this. The Italian man had had an encounter with these four men just after he left home that turned very ugly. They then went to the woman’s house, rang the door and made her answer by taunting her on the doorstep. Sherlock Holmes had crept around the back and rang the bell at the back. The woman had to leave the people at the front and go to the back where she promptly fainted into the arms of Holmes. He quite simply set about the four of her attackers with a hatchet. Three of them he attacked but the fourth one took him by surprise with a pitchfork. He was lucky that he wasn’t badly hurt with the pitchfork but stood his ground and demolished these four guys with his small axe

Break into a stranger’s house and have a huge fight with him and then leave as a kind of pre-emptive strike against something and that really is exactly what I dictated. It’s as if I’ve missed something off the front). But in one particular house I noticed that he had all the ice trays in the freezer of water filling up but they were stacked one on top of another so as they froze they were gradually rising up being pushed out by the frozen water underneath them. I thought “what a good space-saving idea this is”.

The next one is payday. I just received my money and I was dancing about quite happily to some music on the computer. There was mush more to it than this but I can’t remember the rest of it at all.

Then we had 2 iguanas fighting in a hospital. They ended up right by a patient but suddenly a blast of cold air through the air vents on the floor sent them up in the air a little bit and stopped them from fighting. Everyone who was watching them was really amazed at this.

I’d also been away in Canada with a few friends. One of them was Alison. We’d had a much better time than usual because we’d learnt to have better value out of our time than we had done in the past. Then it was time to go back to school. I arrived rather later than I intended but there was still very few people there. I bumped into that girl Liz – not Liz Fox but the other one, her friend who was also called Liz but whose name I can’t now remember after all these years but I can see her vividly. I wanted to have a talk to her but she said “hello” and walked past. I could hear a couple of people gossiping about her from when she was at Primary School. There was some kind of discussion going on about someone. My friend from the Scottish Borders was there involved in this. The guy who was doing most of the talking saw me listening and trying to work out who was the subject. He passed me a Government report of a tribunal. The name wasn’t published but I could see from a lot of the evidence that I had a good idea who it was but I couldn’t put a name to it. I carried on reading it. I could see after a while that he was starting to become impatient. I ended up back in my classroom. A couple of girls came in. They began to talk. We mentioned vaguely the trip that I’d been on. I explained that it was really good but I didn’t go into any detail about it. We began to discuss something else. While we were there someone pulled up in a car. He made a really bad job of parking, left the car and staggered off. We could see that he was totally drunk. I asked who he was. They told me his name. We watched him. Someone said that he had left his 2 kids at home cooking. I’d never seen anyone so drunk as this and still standing on their 2 feet. There was lots more to this too but I can’t remember it now either.

Every now and again a dream comes up that reminds me of my school days and all of the wasted opportunities that I let slip through my fingers while I was there. The first part of that dream was another one that brought back quite a few “if only …” moments and how things really ought to have been so different.

Finally Nerina and I were having one of our big disputes last night. It led to me planning on leaving. I started to prepare my stuff. That meant going home which was a long way so I needed to make sure that I had everything. I couldn’t find the CD that I’d bought so I began to search for it everywhere. After a while Nerina came home. I asked her if she knew where it was. She told me to listen and I could hear a CD playing in the distance. I didn’t recognise it at first but eventually I worked out that it was Steve Winwood singing. That was the one that I wanted. She’d been recording it. She said that it had finished recording so she took it out and gave it back to me. I carried on packing. She was sitting on the sofa. I began to pass her things. There were these 4 oven gloves. I threw them to her and 1 hit her, 2 landed right in front of her and the other landed exactly where I wanted it to be, on the back of the settee behind her. It led to some kind of good-natured discussion after that. I reminded her of the time that she was baking a cake and it all went wrong. She threw it at the wall and I teased her about it and she began to smile. I said that it’s a shame that things changed in our relationship. Again there was much more to it than this that I can’t remember. At one point I was walking down Coleridge Way. There was an argument between 2 lorries, one a cement mixer. It went past the other lorry bu actually driving up on the kerb and scattering the pedestrians. Then it came back and did it again. When I reached where it was there were several pedestrians including a couple of kids lying on the pavement covered in blood as if they’d been struck by this cement mixer. It really was a strange dream.

It’s also another wasted opportunity too but I can really understand that regardless of anything else, she wouldn’t have thought it a wise idea to throw everything up and come off into the great wide-open world with someone like me, married or not.

The rest of the day has been spent finishing off some notes for a radio programme that’s half-completed, and then I made a very brief start on pairing off some music for the next radio programme. I’ll do some more of that tomorrow if I have another short day at the hospital. I know that it won’t be a short day on Thursday because I’ve already been told that the neurologist there is going to put me through my paces on Thursday afternoon.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg. And I’m not sure what happened but my rice and veg were cooked to perfection tonight. I wish that it would turn out like that every time.

There’s plenty of my delicious stuffing left so it’ll be an excellent leftover curry tomorrow. There’s plenty of soya yoghurt to add to it instead of the soya cream and I have some naan bread dough in the freezer that I’ll have to take out of the freezer before I go to the hospital.

It sounds as if it might be a really good curry tomorrow and I hope that it is, especially as I seem to have got the hang of this naan bread.

And having found a good menu on the internet for vegan hash browns, I’ll be moving my meals into further uncharted territory in early course.

Friday 31st March 2023 – MY SAUSAGE …

… chips and beans for tea was delicious. Now that I have some melting vegan cheese, and more importantly, now I know where I can find some more without any effort, I added some cheese to the beans while they were cooking and that made an impressive difference.

The air fryer struck again. Cooked my sausage and chips to perfection. And later on, seeing as I found some more frozen apple pie in the freezer, it defrosted and crisped up my slice of apple pie.

And rummaging around in my box of cooking accessories, I found a shallow porcelain pie dish tested for use in the oven that fits nicely in the basket of the air fryer.

Things are looking up!

There are several other things that also seem to be looking up too.

Firstly, I had another better night of sleep. I was late going to bed and it was a real struggle to awaken but I even managed to beat the first alarm this morning, never mind the second one.

That’s a surprise in itself because although it wasn’t anything as like as restless as it has been in the recent past, I still put in a god few miles while I was asleep. The subject of Lonnie Donegan came up in a discussion between me and several other people. It brought out the fact that after he’d finished with a musical career he’d gone into the motor trade. He’d bought a ruined garage somewhere and had started to work from it. I was hoping that there might have been something going here for me but no-one said anything so I made a few enquiries of my own. I was pointed in the direction of where he might be. I turned up there and it was an ice speedway race taking place on an ice rink somewhere in south London. He was actually racing in it and won, which of course cheered everyone. Then there was something about music. One of the guys in it was called Kenny Driscoll whom I know from “Lone Star”. We were talking about some kind of jazz group that was involving him and someone else well-known was looking for an over-dub guitarist for making albums of the live concerts they were doing

There was something else involving music but I can’t remember very much of this except that it involved some kind of guitarist who was fleeing from justice. They had him surrounded. It went on from there but I can’t remember very much but one of the tracks on the album that he was recording was called “A State of Bohemia”. Someone interpreted it to mean that they were living some kind of uncomplicated life. It was really quite funny because they didn’t know, although most people did, that Bohemia was the name of an ancient State in Central Europe now part of the Czech Republic (and I’m impressed that I knew that in the middle of a dream) but there is lots more to this dream than this but I can’t remember it

And then I was driving taxis in a new town last night. It was a town about which Nerina or whoever the woman with me was knew something about. She showed me a couple of places that she had visited when she was at University there. We had a new driver starting as well. We gave him a run-down of what to do and what we expected of him then we set off. The first job was that we were going to the same place but picking up from different places so we met up and went together in the end. This person paid for both taxis. It came to £2:50, £1:10 for me and £1:40 for him. It had to be split up but for some unknown reason the maths were extremely complicated. I was scratching my head about this because I knew the answer straight away but I didn’t want to say it in case everyone thought that I was trying to cheat someone. We were talking about whether we’d be busy or not but on the way into dropping off these passengers we’d seen queues at almost every taxi rank so we expected that we would have a really busy night. For some reason I wans’t in the mood to be busy. It was very difificult when there were just 2 of you and one was a new driver.

Something else occurred as well. The place was untidy so I asked the family if they would halp me tidy it. One thing was an enormous pile of books with books all over the floor. Their response was a quote from Churchill about “you should find books everywhere in a house and that’s a good sign if there are”. I thought that that was typical with no-one coming round to help me out.

Finally I was out last night somewhere in the Home Counties. There was a group of people who had gone to meet someone. They had an Avengers-like plot trying different pulls on them to see which was the most efficacious in killing them. They lured someone down to a quiet remote cul-de-sac in the countryside. They person whom they were supposed to be meeting wasn’t there so he stopped a passer-by who happened to be one of these secret agents who planted this thing on him and gave him directions as to where he ought to ben which of course were false. He set off with the idea that he’d die. I’d observed this so I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. I got into my red Cortina estate and reversed out of the side street. I hadn’t noticed this traffic island. The rear of the vehicle went up on it and stuck so I gave it some extra revs to take me right over. There was a car coming behind me, one of these horrible yellowy-green 1100s. I hit it and said “oh God! Here we go again”. I pulled up on the side of the road to go to talk to the guy but he just turned his car round and drove away. I wondered what to do next – do I sit there and wait for the police or wait for him to come back or do I go and risk being prosecuted for driving away from an accident. I really had no idea.

So Nerina was there last night, but also so were members of my family (well, Nerina is a member of my family too but you know what I mean). It’s been a good few days since TOTGA and Zero have put in an appearance and my other favourite girl, Castor, seems to have dropped off the radar now. She’s not been around for ages.

It all reminds me of “I’ve been having bad dreams
Well maybe tomorrow when I’m hungry baby
I’d beg for you, what’d I say steal and borrow
Would you help me
Really help me, really help me
To run down the road
Would you be with me”

But not even STEVE MARRIOTT can conjure up Zero, Castor and TOTGA for me.

Anyway, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, so live for the present!

After the medication and checking my mails and messages it took me a good while for me to come to my senses and once I’d had a rather later-than-usual mid-morning coffee I started work.

First thing to do was to pay the property taxes on my place in Canada. I had high hopes for that piece of land, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and was out there getting quotes for log cabins and the like, only to be struck down by a thunderbolt back in late 2015.

The fact that I’m still going is a tribute to the medical staff at Leuven but how I would have loved not to have had to involve them in my projects.

Wouldn’t things have been different? But then I wouldn’t have made it to the Arctic and I wouldn’t have met the Vanilla Queen (who dropped off the radar a long time ago) and Castor.

Second thing was to pay my cleaner. I also had to leave her my niece’s details for when I’m in hospital if the necessity should ever arise. And of course I have a different phone to the one that I used to take with me to Canada so I had to hunt down all of the details and check with her that they were still correct.

During one of the pauses I had a shower too. The physiotherapist was to come round this afternoon and I wanted to be nice and clean for him. And climbing into the bath to take a shower is no longer an issue, which is good news. This physiotherapy is working.

The rest of the day has been spent writing notes for the radio programmes, which are now all done, writing out the details of my trips during the night, and also converting and remixing a couple of soundfiles that I tracked down the other day.

A little earlier I mentioned that there were a couple of other things that seem to be looking up. The second one is that the physiotherapist is as pleased with my improvement as I am and reckons that he can see a time when I’ll no longer need the therapy.

That’s not to say that I’ll be cured, of course. What he means is that if I keep up the exercises as I seem to be doing, then I won’t need him to supervise me.

He’s given me a few more exercises to do and a list of things that I need to buy at the sports shop tomorrow. And as of next week he’s only going to come once a week, Friday morning, to check on my progress.

That’s interesting, to say the least.

Tea was delicious as I said just now, and the apple pie with soya cream finished it off nicely. One more slice of pie left, as far as I could see, so that will bite the dust tomorrow.

While we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’m out shopping if the wind has died down. It reached 110kph this morning but hopefully it will blow itself out at some point.

That’ll be something for me to think about while I’m in bed, and I’m going off there right now. Goodnight.

Tuesday 14th March 2023 – IT’S ALL VERY WELL …

… going to bed early, but it counts for nothing if you can’t go to sleep. It was another one of these miserable, depressing nights when I’m tossing and turning to no good purpose.

To make matters even worse, when I finally did go off to sleep at one point, something awoke me quite dramatically and I sat bolt-upright wide awake.

And then even though I must have gone back to sleep at some point I awoke again just after 07:00 and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already up and about.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I prepared for my Welsh class – interrupted by the local nurse calling round to take a blood sample. For some reason, that was extremely painful. So was my injection yesterday, thinking on. I must be quite sensitive these days, in more ways than one.

The Welsh class passed off quite quickly. Some of it was surprisingly good, which took me by surprise, but some other of it was not so good. Rather patchy, all told

At 14:00 the guy came round so see me about having a shower installed in my new property, whenever it might be that I finally complete the purchase. He was actually a guitarist himself with a Rickenbacker 12-string so we spent more time talking about guitars and music than showers.

However he finally bashed out some kind of quote but I doubt that I’ll be proceeding with it. It’s way out of my pocket, even the “economy” version. It works, I suppose, if you qualify for a French Government grant but I pay my Income Tax in Belgium and the UK and so that is that.

And that reminds me – I should be due for my quarterly Belgian Old-Age Pension payments some time soon. That should be exciting. Whatever can I do with the €97 that I’ll receive?

Once he’d gone, I had a shower and then had a good listen to the stuff on the dictaphone. To my surprise I’d been on quite a few travels during the night. I’d gone somewhere to pick up a pile of clothes. It was something to do with the Avengers and TV programmes from the 60s. I was in Caliburn. I reached where I was supposed to be. These coats were thrown to me and I threw them up onto the roof rack. I had to look around for a way to fasten them on. It was near Christmas by this time although it was sunny. Someone was coming round from this place handing out boxes of chocolates etc to all the employees. Everywhere I turned, there was another piece of chocolate. Someone kept on sticking a box of chocolates in my hand. Every time I went to reach for something or other to tie these clothes onto the roof rack I ended up grabbing a piece of chocolate instead. It was really strange.

Then I was back in this apartment. I had Tuppence, my old black cat, here. I made myself a coffee but it wasn’t strong enough so I put another teaspoon of coffee into it even though it was already now in the pot having percolated. Tuppence was crying to go out so I went and opened the door for her even though it meant that she would just be running around inside the building. The next moment we were in Gainsborough Road. I had all my cats here but something – I don’t know what – awoke me dramatically as I mentioned earlier.

Later on we were at some kind of building in the countryside like a Social Club. Behind it was a car park that you had to access via an arch. Behind it was a building that was another type of Social Club. In the building where I was were all these rich people with Rolls-Royces, horse boxes and things. I was there talking to a lorry driver for some reason. A Rolls-Royce came in towing a horse box. It had been accident-damaged and hit all down the side, this Rolls-Royce dark red. We made a few remarks about it. Someone mentioned something about someone’s Rolls-Royce having broken down and they’d been quoted over £8000 for a new engine. I was thinking about the one that I knew IN A SCRAPYARD IN THE USA (and I was impressed that I could remember that in a dream) and what could be good would be if I could lay my hands on that engine and rebuild it. As I was leaving 2 more people turned up and asked about the Social Club. I told them where to go. They asked where they could park so I told them about the car park. They asked about the one in the rear. I said that the people in there were rather possessive. They had to be careful. Then I had an engine. I’d stripped it down, rebuilt it and had it running on a test bed. I’d put it back in a car and started it up with no water in it just to make sure that it would run. I was slowly filling it with water, talking to someone. All the time there was a stream of water coming out. I could see in the end that one of the hoses for the windscreen washers underneath the bonnet had decayed or broken. The stream of water was coming from there. Trying to remove it to replace it was a nightmare.

I was next living at Davenport Avenue with Nerina. Something happened so I decided that I’d go out for a change for the evening down to the swimming baths. I took a book with me and set off. When I arrived the first person whom I saw was TOTGA (so welcome back, TOTGA) and her daughter. I wasn’t sure if they saw me but they certainly didn’t come over to talk. I thought that I’d go and get ready. Then I started to worry about my catheter. I know that I can’t go swimming in salt water with it. What about chlorine? I thought that I’d relax and read my book for a while then summon up the courage to go to ask someone. There was a little room on a bench next to a little girl and her mother so I squeezed on and started to read. A couple of people whom I knew from work came over for a chat. I ended up with a drink and a packet of crisps. By the time all that finished it was really late. I thought that I’d better go home. I went to pay but they only charged me for the crisps so I paid for them and ran all the way back home. I arrived back. Nerina was sitting on the floor in apair of pyjamas, brand-new by the looks of things. She was surrounded by all kinds of rubbish as if she’d been unwrapping presents etc. She was rather grumpy because I’d been out but it turned out that some members of her family had come round. They had spent the evening talking about a holiday they’d had down in the South-West.

Finally I was back in this dream again with TOTGA and her daughter, staying at some kind of fitness place. It was the break so we all crowded into the break room. There were so many of us that we had to jostle for a place and a place to put our bags down. When we did, someone would move it somewhere else. We helped ourselves to hot water. When I’d done that TOTGA’s daughter made some room for me on a chair next to her. It was beginning to become really chaotic. Everyone complained about the crush and the arrangements in this room. No-one was happy but that was just how it was.

Sitting down here waiting for things to happen I crashed out again. That’s quite disappointing because I ought to be doing so much better than this. Gone are the days where I could work 30 or 40 hours non-stop after just 4 hours of sleep. i’m not as young as I was.

The physiotherapist came round later and he had me walking up and down the stairs outside. He was impressed with the weights that I’d bought at the weekend.

While I was at my lesson earlier I’d worked out that my foot fits nicely into the handle of one of the weights so I’d been practising lifting it up and down with my foot while sitting down. The left leg is quite good but the right leg is struggling to even move with a weight of 2kgs attached to it. What kind of state am I in?

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with rice and veg. There’s plenty of stuffing left as well so I’ll have a good curry tomorrow night with what is left in the fridge

While I’m on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … the cleaner will be coming round tomorrow so I’ll have to have a whizz round to make the place look respectable. A well as that, I’ll have to check all of the paperwork to make sure that I have everything that I need to take with me on Thursday morning to the hospital at Avranches.

08:30 at Avranches on Thursday? Whose silly idea is that?

Sunday 26th Fenruary 2023 – TODAY REALLY SHOULD …

… have been a day off for me but instead, I’ve been working.

In fact I’ve been quite busy, what with one thing or another. Probably even busier than I might be on a normal working day.

It started off quite early too. I was wide awake at 09:00 and try as I might, I coudn’t go back to sleep. By the time it reached 09:30 I had given it up as a bad job and raised myself from the dead.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I didn’t do too much while I slowly came round into the land of the living. And once I was wide-awake, whenever that might have been, I started work.

First thing that I did was to have a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was back at the time when Nerina and I were still together, but you don’t really want to know about what the dream was about because you are probably eating your tea right now and it’s not the moment.

But later on, Deana, my friend from Norway, was in the UK so I’d sent her a message to invite her to come round to see me while she was here. She said that she might do in the afternoon. Another one of my friends, who might have been Sue said that she might call round so I had a shower. before I dressed I fell asleep on the chair. I awoke with a jolt about 13:45, realised that I wasn’t dressed and had to scamper around to find some clothes. The first few that I found didn’t fit me so I thought that I’d fit a few of Nerina’s but I couldn’t find her clothes. Eventually I found one or two that were discarded in the bedroom. There was a cake in the bedroom as well and we had 2 cats that were asleep on the tray next to the cake. Eventually I found my clothes. I picked them up and looked at the time. It was 14:00. I thought that they should have been here by now. Then I noticed that I’d left the phone upstairs while I’d been asleep for all this time. There was a different screen on the phone which was one of the ancient Nokias that I used to have. I picked up the phone and tried to get back to the home screen to see if there were any missed calls but I couldn’t find my way back to the home screen.

A short while later I stepped back into that dream. I was trying to take some clothes from the tumble drier but they were still rather damp. While I was doing it, Nerina turned up. She’d been at work and had come out with some story about how she had to go to Blackpool to help someone recover a car. Of course I didn’t believe it for a minute. Then she tolld me about something that she had to do on Friday lunchtime at work. I knew that she had to go out to buy her chips but she came out with some other story about going somewhere else. Again, I wasn’t too sure about this at all. She came in and Tuppence (the old black cat that I used to have in the 1980s) came running downstairs and looked as if she wanted to go out. As I went to open the door she somehow jumped off the wall and managed to open the door herself and went out. Nerina said that that’s not a surprise if she’s been in here all day asleep

Did I dictate the second part of this dream about Nerina or did I dream it again after I’d fallen asleep yet again because I awoke in the middle of that part of the dream again.

Finally I was with a former friend and someone else, a girl, tramping through the streets of Stoke on Trent. She was talking about some plans she had. I was interested to find out what it was but she was very coy and kept them to herself for a while. Right at the end we were sitting on this hill overlooking Stoke on Trent with all these weeds and everything lying around which had once been a row of terraced houses. Then she told me that she was thinking about having some kind of plan or project for the kids of Stoke on Trent who had been disadvantaged. Would I like to help her? I said yes, i’d quite happily help her If that’s what she wants. I went off with my friend then, walking through these really shabby, rough streets in the place. Some woman then appeared to disrupt us. She came in and started to talk about changing the purple carpet in her house etc

And as I said, there was much more to it than all of this. It was one of those nights that was really turbulent and disturbing. You really don’t want to know any more about it.

For the rest of the day, the primary task has been to deal with the notes of the radio programme that I dictated last night before going to bed. And not only are they now uploaded and edited, I’ve even assembled both the radio programmes. All that’s now required are the final tracks and the speeches to go with them and that shouldn’t take too long.

Ingrid phoned me too and we had a lengthy chat about all kinds of things. She’s still having her health issues so it’s unlikely that I’ll ever see her up here in Granville, but it is nice to have a chat and keep in touch.

Another thing that I’ve done is to bake four bread rolls. As far as the general consistency and baking goes, the air fryer has done a tremendous job and I’m impressed. But the rolls have come out like balls and that will make it difficult for me to toast them or to make some sandwiches.

In the future I’m probably going to be as well making a large loaf rather than small individual rolls but I’ve no complaint about how the air fryer is working.

After I’d had lunch I’d taken some pizza dough – the last one of the batch – out of the freezer and it had been defrosting. Later on I kneaded it and rolled it out onto the pizza tray. At teatime I assembled my pizza and baked it, in the traditional oven. It was one of the best that I’d made as well and I’ll make a few more like that.

So now I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll finish off my radio programmes and then sort out my travel arrangements for later in the week. I configured the apps that I’d downloaded onto my mobile phone the other day so I could do a few things already and it won’t take me long to finish all of that off.

And then we’ll see how we go. Travelling on crutches is going to be quite exciting.

Sunday 19th February 2023 – CONSIDERING THAT I …

… was supposed to be having a day off today, I haven’t ‘arf been busy. In fact, it’s been one of the most productive days that I’ve had for quite a while.

Yet you wouldn’t think so after having yet another turbulent night when I didn’t seem to have all that much sleep. The fact that I was actually up and about not long after 10:00 (and on a Sunday too) tells you all that you need to know about that.

After I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, the first thing that I did was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night, of which there weren’t all that many. We started off with the taxi business last night. We were discussing the people working for us and why they seemed to be sticking to the job instead of going off and doing something more exciting and exhilarating. I mentioned that even 2 more employees were hoping to wangle full-time jobs with us and we couldn’t really understand that because the business didn’t really support it. We had a huge discussion about it. Then we had to go somewhere. We were in a Cortina estate that broke down somewhere. We left it overnight and came back. While Nerina had to go to do something she dropped me off there. It started up straight away so we got into it and set out to drive it back. The roads were very wet and the car didn’t feel at all comfortable on the road. It not long fitted brand-new springs on it so I thought that it would handle much better than it did. That was something of a mystery. There was much more to it than this but I seem to have forgotten a lot of it.

Later on I was driving through rural France somewhere. The roads were extremely difficult. The Cortina estate was going quite well but you would come to these extremely steep hills where the car in front of you would suddenly slow down. You would basically run into the back of it and nudge it along. We’d had 1 or 2 encounters like that. Then I came to a place at the side of the road by an old railway station. It had a couple of motorbike frames outside so I went in. It was a pushbike place and there was a young girl there with a pushbike having her bike serviced by this guy. I apologised for wasting his time but told him that it was the motorbike bits that had caught my eye. He showed me 1 or 2 of the bits and then I went back to the road. I came into a big city somewhere in Alsace. I went to turn up a side street which was extremely steep and the same thing happened again with an Austin A70 saloon that suddenly came to a stop and I pushed it up the hill. I came into a town square where there was this old woman. By now I was on foot. I did the same to her while I was on foot. She had a few things to say so I pretended to ignore her. I was walking up a hill. There was a lorry parked in the road so I had to walk round it. There were crowds of people coming down which stopped me from walking up. I fell down onto my knees and couldn’t pick myself up. When I finally did pick myself up again there were these 2 little boys there. I wanted to go to the toilet but they wanted to follow me. They just wouldn’t leave me alone, pestering me all the time that I was trying to go to the toilet. In the end I abandoned it as a completely bad job and set off on my travels again.

Another thing that I did was to add some new Apps to my telephone.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that recently I changed my phone following the one that I use having a broken charging socket. I resurrected the previous one that I had “lost” and didn’t recover until a few months later. There were some Apps that I had on the old phone that I need to use at some point or other, such as within the next few days for example, so I had to add them on.

This afternoon after food I edited the two dictaphone notes that I’d dictated last night before I went to bed and then in a mad fit of enthusiasm I assembled them into the two radio programmes that I need to make. All that remains to do is to add the final track and the text to bring everything up to one hour each in length.

As well as that, I had another play at baking some bread in the air fryer. And to my surprise, this was the best that I have ever made. My two bread rolls rose up exactly as they should and I’ll be looking forward to eating those, duly toasted and with tons of butter, at some point during the week.

While I was at it, I picked Liz’s brains for a recipe for pancakes. It’s Pancake Tuesday next week and Eric wants to be busy baking. I need to be a little more adventurous with what I cook and try to do a few more things. Certain things, like Hot Cross Buns, are probably a little too complicated and crucial but pancakes are quite simple and straightforward and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have a go.

And I have plenty of vegan soya cream too. That should be delicious.

After I’d finished my lunch earlier I’d taken some pizza dough out of the freezer and had left it to defrost. Later on I gave it a good kneading and rolled it out onto my pizza tray. When it had finished rising I assembled my pizza and it really was delicious today, one of the best that I’ve made.

A problem that I encountered today was this question of transferring money. apparently the daily limit is only per working day, which means that the money that I transferred yesterday won’t go until Monday and I can’t send off the next lot until Tuesday. That’s going to disrupt my plans but it can’t be helped. They’ll have to give me at least a week’s notice to sign the final purchase so even if they notify me on Monday there will still be plenty of time to finish the transfer.

And no, I didn’t go out today for Carnaval. I saw a few photos of the crowds assembling and that was quite enough for me. Everywhere was absolutely heaving and I had no intention of being swept up with my crutches in a mass of crowd like that. They’ll simply have to do without me.

Saturday 18th February 2023 – THAT FOOTBALL MATCH …

… this afternoon was actually quite entertaining.

Considering that the teams were second-bottom and third-bottom of the table, it was quite a skilful match, all thing being considered and I quite enjoyed watching it.

But you can see why Aberystwyth are struggling down in the basement. Leading 3-1 going into injury time, Pontypridd pulled two late goals back to equalise by the final whistle.

As well as that, midway through the first half they had two gilt-edged chances within a minute to score but one shot went wide and the other one went over the bar. And the first goal that they conceded was the result of a careless error.

It’s stupid things like this that has dragged them into the relegation maelstrom and unless they stiffen up at the back and cut out the silly errors they will be out of the league for the first time since the league was formed in 1992 and that will leave Y Drenewydd as the only ever-present.

While we’re on the subject of dragging … “well, one of us is” – ed … I had a hard time dragging myself out of bed this morning. I’d had a pretty rough night yet again, taking hours to go off to sleep and then going off for quite a few travels that must have disturbed my sleep. I started off at some kind of farm or somewhere like thatg with someone who may have been my father. Someone bought a pile of shopping which had been stacked up outside. We were having to wait until about 20:00 when something would happen or someone would come so we were loitering around outside. I was trying hard to find something to do. In the end I went to put the shopping away but found that my father had beaten me to it. Then I thought that I’d go into the washhouse and see what was happening in there. He said that our sister had her boyfriend in there so maybe it wasn’t a good idea. At that point she opened the door and asked if anyone knew how to fix the little light that was in there. I went in there, trying to figure out what light she meant. She had one of these tea lights inside a glass lantern type of thing. She passed the latches to me. When I opened the box it was smoking so I told her about putting used matches back in the box. It was dangerous. I lit the tea light for her inside this lantern. She’d covered the lantern in black plastic so I told her that that would need to be removed too or it would all melt and make a mess.

The next was, according to what I dictated at the time, a dream that produced one of the best nights that I’ve ever had. I was with a friend from Cheshire. I’d been playing around with my 3D programs. Someone else had come along. It might have been Nerina who was talking about designing dresses etc. I began to tell her about the 3D programs for making 3D objects. She suggested it herself so I tried to give her some information about it without letting on that I knew too much. Suddenly my friend from Cheshire became rather belligerent. She tried to pretend to everyone that the two of us were a couple. Then my friend from Cheshire and I ended up on the floor. She had fallen and I’d fallen with her or something but this discussion with half a dozen people went on all around. Then we decided that we’d have to go. Someone asked my friend from Cheshire if she wanted to have some maths lessons to improve her position. She snapped back in a manner that really offended me and probably offended a lot of other people too. We all set off to walk. I tried to hold on to my friend from Cheshire to stop her doing anything rash but as we made our way from one lift to another to go down this building she wrestled away from me and pushed herself forward after someone who was with us. As we all crammed into a lift some of us were left behind including me and another person and a small child who belonged to someone. That was bound to disrupt all kinds of proceedings now that a small child had become separated from her mother. I tried to take hold of the child. This led to all kinds of confusion about getting into the lifts. We were disrupting the other passengers. I could immediately imagine a scenario where I’d be taking the child down in one lift and the mother would be coming back up in another lift to pick up her child again. I could see that this whole evening had descended into total chaos.

But why I would say that this was one of the best nights that I’ve ever had I’ve really no idea.

And then I was with a couple of other people in a house somewhere waiting for my father to come round. I knew that he was due any minute so I thought that we’d go to stand outside but I couldn’t attract their attention enough to make them stop what they were doing and come out. Then I saw Caliburn in the distance turning into the drive that led up to this house so I tried to round them up again. They didn’t move until Caliburn pulled up outside the door. It took them so long to be ready that by the time I’d set foot out of the door my father had become fed up and had driven away. They were all furious but I tried to explain that that was just how my father was . So what happens now? I said “if it’s left to me I’d easily walk after him but you lot go back in the house and I’ll be back in a few minutes”. They seemed to take this as some kind of personal insult. You could tell by the determination on their faces that they intended to go marching down after him, catching up with him and giving him a piece of their mind, maybe more. I thought that that was something that would only inflame the situation even further and make things even worse than they already are. I was extremely unhappy about how this was going to unfold.

Later on there was a dream about Sherlock Holmes who was going back to college to study something. Lestrade was taking the mickey out of him for doing that. I awoke just as I was about to dictate and everything was immediately wiped away from my mind about what was going on in this particular dream. I couldn’t remember anything at all.

At one point Hercule Poirot was undertaking an investigation. He’d invited everyone to a meeting. Someone made the point that maybe in mentioning the past it was his aim to enquire about the present. I told them that it was usually the other way around. When people have a meeting and start to enquire about the present, usually it’s because they want to know something about the past. Someone is trying to put everyone at ease by asking the question about the present.

Finally, I was in work, and not threatening to retire either which makes a change. It was time to go home so we all flooded out of the place into the car park underneath. I went to find my car but in the position where I’d parked it was a Ford Anglia 100E hearse. I’d actually come in the same but a saloon. The hearse was black and all mildewy with dirt and cobwebs whereas mine was at least black and tidy. I spent a good 10 minutes prowling around trying to find mine and wondering what on earth was going on. The I came across the Senator. I thought to myself “did I come here in the Senator instead?” I was confused about the car. In the end I got into the Senator and set off to drive. Going down the road was a car parked at the bottom, a gold Ford Cortina MkIII. It left practically no room to get through. It was a real squeeze for me to get the Senator through. I brushed down the side of this car with the Senator. When I looked there was someone actually sitting in the passenger seat. I thought that this will lead to a few problems now because there’s no insurance on the Senator but then the guy shouldn’t have been sitting there anyway. When I went round the corner some woman flagged me down and muttered something. I wondered what she wanted. After about 3 or 4 times it turned out that what she was asking for was whether the speed limit in here was 30mph or 40. I couldn’t understand why she wanted to know that. What I’d been doing in the office was writing an essay for my University course. I’d actually finished as much as I wanted to write except for the conclusion. I wanted to check that I had enough words. When I turned over the page to write the conclusion I found that I’d already written stuff in about something completely different. It seemed that I’d been writing out this essay in my notebook so I was going to have to go home and copy it all out onto some fresh sheets of paper and add my conclusion at the end before I could submit it.

With all of that, it’s hardly any surprise that I was totally exhausted this morning. But nevertheless, I did manage to beat the second alarm.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I pushed on and completed all of the text for the two radio programmes. And before I go to bed tonight I’ll dictate them. It’s not been possible to do that as yet because with Carnaval and the crowds in caravanettes on the car park, it’s been too noisy to dictate anything. I’ll have to wait until the noise outside dies down.

After the football I didn’t really do very much. After all it took me long enough to type out all of the dictaphone notes. But then I’m entitled to take things easy every now and again.

Tea tonight was quite late. I was chatting to someone on-line and let the time run away with me. But when I finally managed to go for it, it was delicious. Baked potato and salad with one of those breadcrumbed soya fillets. They are really nice and as luck would have it, they had some more in LIDL yesterday so I bought a couple more for the next few weeks.

Tonight I’ll be having a lie-in. It’s Sunday tomorrow and all of my work will be done so I can take it easy. I might even have a go at baking some bread in the air fryer to see what happens. That will be interesting and no mistake.