I finally had my blood count results back today. And the total has dropped from 9.8 to 9.0 – that’s not far short of 10% – in a week. And not only that – some of the things that needed to go up have indeed gone up, but some other things that needed to go up – including the most important things like the haemoglobin – have gone down. According to the infirmière who comes twice a day to inject me with the anti-coagulant, this means that it’s not just a simple case of dilution of the blood but that there’s something much more serious going on somewhere.
This means that it’s time to put Plan B into … errr … operation. Tomorrow, I’m going to see about having a chat with the Médecin Général of my Health Insurance company to see what he thinks about me having a second opinion somewhere with a specialist.
But as you can tell, I am not amused by all of this.
I didn’t manage to make it to Worleston last night by the way. I ended up being sidetracked elsewhere. I started out on the borders of Shropshire, Cheshire and Wales, my old stamping ground from many years ago. I was heading back north towards Crewe, I suppose, and I had the wife of a friend in the car with me. She was complaining about her husband, how he was all untidy and disorganised and how she wished he was like another one of the people that we knew. I cautioned her about that, because in my experience the tidiness and organisation of our other friend was nothing but superficial and just underneath the surface was a kind of chaos worse than ever you could imagine.
So back at my place in France where I brought a coach home – an old Ford R1114 with a Plaxton Supreme body. I drove it down the lane as far as my concrete parking place (which is most unlikely) and managed to turn it round at the bottom and park it facing uphill (which is impossible). I had a few things to do there and then went off for a walk, which took me right out to the southern edge of Stoke on Trent, somewhere round about Blurton or Trentham. Here in the middle of the road was a football match taking place – one team in green and the other in white. It wasn’t a suitable place to play a football match because the road had quite a steep slope, the top of which was defended by the green team. Stanley Matthews was playing on the green team and word had gone out that if his team won, he would be made man of the match, so right at the end of the game the green team had a shot on goal. The white goalkeeper, none other than Lev Yashin, stood there watching the ball, making no effort to save it. When I asked him about it, he replied that Matthews deserved the reward. And so I headed back home, reckoning that it would take me about an hour to walk from here (yes, quite!) and I ended up heading through the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. I was passing by the bus station at Hanley (I go a strange way home, don’t I?) just as a former work colleague was arriving. he told me that my absence was missed because the boss wanted to see me and a pile of other people (who he named). It turned out that the people who he named were those who were top of the list to receive a promotion and so I was wondering whether this meant that I was in a line to receive a promotion too. This was certainly some quite exciting news and I regretted that I hadn’t been there at the time.
The next part of my voyage was even more interesting, because I was actually a nun! (And before anyone ever says anything, my brother really was a nun, although not very many people know this. Every time he was up before the bench, the magistrate used to ask him his occupation and he always replied “nun”). I was going for an interview for a religious post and having a really good chat with the interviewers. They showed me a kind of green plastic key with holes in it at strategic places and asked me if I knew who it was who made the most profit from this. Of course, I had no idea and so they told me that it was eBay. That surprised me, but they replied “when you are using this to do something like buying 30,000 ice creams, by far the greatest percentage of the money is taken by eBay”. I was astounded by the figure of 30,000 and it clearly showed. “Didn’t you realise that as part of your duties you would be taking 30,000 children out for walks?” I replied that I hadn’t given it any thought at all and that if this were part of the duties of the post I wouldn’t hesitate in carrying it out. It was the way that the matter had been presented that had caught me off-balance. But it turned out that the question of the green key related to a form of payment, rather like some kind of credit card. It was inserted into a slot, something similar to an old punch-card data input system, to confirm a payment made on credit.
But going back to the previous night, I was here on my own all morning (it might not sound relevant, but you’ll see how it all develops) as Terry went off to do some work and so, in a mad fit of nostalgia, I played some music that I had on the laptop, and played it pretty loud too. One of the tracks (if that’s the correct word to use) was the “Simple Minds” live concert that I mixed for Radio Anglais
a while ago, and I do have to say that it’s probably the best live concert that I’ve ever mixed. The music is probably the best too, and it features the track “Someone Somewhere in Summertime”. And as I was listening to it, I picked up on the words
“Somewhere there is some place, that one million eyes can’t see”
“And somewhere there is someone, who can see what I can see”
And while I’ve found the place, what I haven’t found in all of my life is someone who can see what I can see. If I had to name the biggest disappointment of all of my life, that would be it, and maybe the vision (because it was more than a simple dream) of the Girl From Worleston the other night is something subconsciously to do with that. As you all know, I’m a great believer in the subconscious, instinct, second sight and all of that.
Anyway, have a listen to Someone, Somewhere in Summertime.
In other news, I’ve not done too much with my dictaphone notes because I’ve been rather sidetracked, dealing with issues arising from the very controversial historian Dr Alwyn Ruddock.
She was (because she died in 2005) a well-known and respected historian who did a great deal of research into the Italian banking families of the 15th and 16th Centuries and during her research, she came across some so-far undiscovered information concerning John Cabot. According to her press release into the Academic World, this information would radically change our perception of the discovery of North America in the 15th Century.
She signed a contract with the Exeter University Press to publish a book, and began to undertake some serious research into her subject. She was sent information from a couple of other historians who had uncovered hitherto-unknown documents and who felt that she was best-placed to use the material, but she dismissed most of that in a rather offhand way.
The upshot of all of this is that she never published her book and when she died, hordes of scholars were eager to peruse her notes to see if they could bring her research to a conclusion and to bring into the public domain her rather startling discoveries. Unfortunately, they were all confounded as in her will, she had left instructions that all of her research notes, photographs etc was to be destroyed unread. And indeed, her executors had shredded 87 sacks of documents and all of the clues to her discoveries were lost.
I’ve never ever met a scholar who has wilfully destroyed his or her research notes. Most scholars have an assistant who will carry on the work if the unforeseen should occur, or else they bequeath their papers to a University so that another researcher could pick them up. And that’s how research should be carried on – as a community project. And if you find that all of your work is ultimately incorrect, then scholars should be sufficiently detached from their subject to contradict themselves, as I have seen several scholars do.
But now all of this work is lost and the poor researcher who discovered some documents in the British Library in 1987 and which were kicked into touch by Dr Ruddock now has to creep back up a dark alley to rescue them and start again, after a delay of almost 30 years.
And we are still no nearer to finding out what it was about Cabot’s voyages to North America that, according to Dr Ruddock, would change our perception of the discovery of North America.