Tag Archives: bad night

Sunday 4th June 2023 – THAT WAS A HORRIBLE …

… night last night. I don’t think that I went off to sleep for a moment.

My left leg was hurting all the way through the night and I just couldn’t make myself comfortable.

So much so that I was wide awake at 08:00 and out of bed by 08:30 and when was the last time that that ever happened on a Sunday?

After the medication and the mails and messages I spent much of the day working on my Canada 2017 journey. I’ve now spent a week at my niece’s house, done some work on Strider and now I’m on my way for the Bay of Fundy to pick up Strider’s insurance.

That’s something that I won’t have to worry about in the future because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Strider is up for sale. There’s no point in having him sitting rusting away at the end of my niece’s drive when someone else can make use of him.

Liz came onto the internet too. Her grand-daughter is into ballet and is off shortly to Portugal to perform. She’s appeared in a couple of videos just recently so Liz sent me the links to watch.

Tonight’s pizza was another masterpiece. I seem to have this off to quite a fine art now and that’s really good. I’m not sure how I can improve on how they are turning out at the moment.

What helped today though was that the oven was stinking hot when the pizza went in. I’d run out of fruit buns at the end of the week so I made a batch this afternoon and they look quite good. I’ll tell you tomorrow about how they taste.

There’s a little room in the freezer now to put the spare ones. While I was ferreting about in there I found a plastic container with some soup in it. Carrot and ginger it was, and I remember making that and how good it was.

And notice the use of the past tense. The soup no longer exists and it was just as delicious as I remembered it. It made a nice change from cheese on toast at lunchtime.

Despite what I said just now, I must have gone to sleep at some point during the night because there was some stuff on the dictaphone. I started off in the Air Force in World War I. My aeroplane had been attacked and I’d been killed. I was still somehow going through the lines of a song trying to work out the lyrics and have the tune fitted into them because it wasn’t as straightforward as it might have seemed.

Then I was in the mountains of Central Europe last night with a couple of other people. We’d been climbing these rocks and were having to move this wood about, these very long tree trunks. At times it was extremely difficult and complicated on these rocks. More than once we almost dropped them into the valley down below. When we reached a place where we could relax I was talking about cars. Someone knew where there was a certain type of car for sale but it was in Bulgaria. he translated the advert for me. I mentioned that I’d be interested in paying so much for it. In Bulgaria he said that’s an “anhorse”. I had to be very careful not to confuse it with “anhorst” and a few others that meant different sums. he coached me through it and then wrote it down. I looked at samples of his writing. There was writing of other people there. Some of it was really close together but very tall. He talked about whose that was. We agreed to make an appointment to see the vehicle but now we had to retrace our steps back the way we’d come with these two enormous tree trunks which was really difficult. We almost dropped them again in the same place. One of the other people suggested that he go in front so that he could hold them from the front while I held them at the back and we slid them along. How he was going to go to the front past me and these tree trunks was another big complicated issue. There was also a young girl there too but I can’t remember what she was doing or why she was there.

And then very early on Sunday morning I was heading into Crewe Town Centre to do something about this leg. I’d gone over the bridge in Flag Lane ready to turn into Delamere Street and they both came round the corner, my father eating some chips. I grabbed a chip and said that I hadn’t had any this weekend. I asked how they were and they asked how I was. We had a little chat really about nothing very much in particular

Shortly I’m going to bed – nice and early too. I’m absolutely whacked and I’ve already fallen asleep once or twice today sitting on my chair. I’m hoping to have a really good sleep tonight. I’m certainly tired enough but things never work out quite like that, do they?

Saturday 3rd June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… really bad fall today.

And this one is the worst that I’ve had. Even worse than the one on the boat coming back from Jersey last summer.

And not only that, it’s much more worrying too. usually what happens is that all of a sudden there’s no sensation at all in my right leg and when I put my foot down I simply fall over gently as if there’s no leg there.

However today, it was the left leg, my good (or maybe I should say less bad) leg, there was a stabbing pain all the way up my left leg and I had a really heavy fall.

It happened on the car park at Noz and I wasn’t able to stand up afterwards. I had to crawl on my hands and knees to Caliburn and lean on him to help me up.

Right now, I can’t move without being on crutches and each time I try to stand up or put my leg in an unusual position the pain comes back.

It’s not a “broken leg” type of pain but definitely a muscle or nerve issue. I’ll have to wait until the physio next comes to see me and have a chat with him. In the meantime I’ll be taking it easy

Not that I took it easy during the night. I stayed up until I finished the notes for the day in Canada 2017 on which I’d been working so that I could go to bed with a clean slate.

But once more, we seem to be back in the “tossing and turning during the night” stages. I thought that we’d got over all of that, but apparently not.

When the alarm went off this morning I was fast asleep again and it was a struggle to beat the second alarm.

There were a few things that I needed to do before setting out and then Caliburn and I went out to the shops.

And today I didn’t buy a thing at Noz. It really was a waste of time going and had I known how it would turn out I wouldn’t have gone at all.

At LeClerc I bought everything that I needed (although I bet that I’ve forgotten something) and then went to the appliances department in a separate building to buy a gas cylinder for my sodastream

Back here I had a fight with the freezer to fit in the beans that I’d bought and then settled down with my coffee and cheese on toast.

Regrettably, I crashed out for a while too. That’s becoming a habit, it seems, whenever I go out and about.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. I was a passenger on a coach trip with a young girl, someone like my youngest sister. We were in like a ballroom place sitting down talking. There were all kinds of things happening. We’d left the room for some reason but when we returned the band was just striking up a waltz. I grabbed hold of whoever I was with and we waltzed into the room. We were the only couple on the dance floor. my friend from Germany was there so she took her husband and they began to dance. We began to have a ballroom dance-type of thing. My partner wasn’t particularly good but I was able to guide her around somewhat. It began to be a nice pleasant evening.

Later on there was a family, something like the Lyons (as in “Life of Lyons”) family who lived at 222 some street or other. One of their children had to go to the radio centre to introduce a radio show. I went to pick him up. First of all I was surprised. I was expecting mansions, all this kind of thing but they were just modern terraced houses in a big square. I drove around and found the house. What was interesting here was that there was no front door. The living room overflowed into a common area. The doors behind went into the kitchens and bedrooms. I could hear the children talking in there. I recognised the voices so I went and knocked on the door leading to the back and they began to come out.

At that moment though I had a horrible attack of cramp in my left calf and that awoke me so I’ll never know how that would have ended..

Finally I had to go to a Tax Office last night to take all my papers. The first thing that I had to do was to take a plastic bag in which to put everything. There was a big pile of them. I took one that implied that I was Moroccan. I don’t know why I did that. I put all my papers in and had to join this queue. There were probably 20 clerks sitting at a long desk. You just went to stand at the desk and one of them would talk to you. I handed all the papers of my employment to her. I was marked down as “leaving definitively”. I had to hand in another certificate to the guy sitting next to this girl. He looked at it and said “we already have these. You didn’t need to bring this”. I replied “I bring everything anyway”. he began to go through all my paperwork with the girl. he asked me “do you have any more income with the Commonwealth?”. I replied “no”.

The rest of the day has been spent feeling sorry for myself and writing up the notes for the next day’s walk (in the days when I could walk) around Québec.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I wrote something about THE CHEMIN DU ROY from Montreal to Québec. I started from Repentigny because I wasn’t sure of the route out of Montreal but over time I traced the route and so I was on foot from the centre of the town out as far as the Jacques Cartier Bridge and a little bit futher east.

And one thing that I’ve often wondered. In North America most of the landmarks are named for the first European who actually saw them. I always wondered what Jacques Cartier must have said when he sailed up the St Lawrence to what in those days was the Iroquois settlement of Hochelaga in 1535 and saw that massive bridge.

There was a burger that had been in the fridge for a while and when I inspected it this evening I decided that the best thing to do with it would be to file it under CS. Consequently I had a further fight with the freezer and put one of the two remaining lasagne slices in there to keep

The other one, I ate tonight with a vegan salad and it was all extremely delicious. I’m really impressed with that lasagne, that’s for sure.

Not so impressed with my health though. It seems that I only have to think about going back to the Land of my Great Grandfather and I have a bad fall, just like last year.

However that time, I ignored it and went all the same, and look how that turned out. I think that my body is trying to tell me something.

What I’ll do for now is to carry on around the Port of Montreal ship-spotting and when things quieten down, dictate some radio notes that I’ve prepared.

No alarm tomorrow. I’ll have a good lie-in. But I have to be a-baking though. I’ve run out of fruit buns. No idea where I’m going to put the ones that need to be stored though. We’re back to where we were ages ago with not even the hint of a place to put stuff

Well, it’ll all work out somehow. It usually does. I just wish that I would.

Monday 22nd May 2023 – WHEN I AWOKE …

… this morning, I was actually fully clothed flat out on top of the bed. I’ve no idea what happened there but I must have been really tired.

However not so tired that I didn’t get up early. Once more, when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was already up and about.

Yes, that was one strange night.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I started work. And by the time I finished at tea-time, I’d finished two radio programmes.

Had things been different they would have been finished a lot earlier too but there were plenty of interruptions.

Firstly, the nurse came round and gave me my fortnightly injection. It’s supposed to perk me up and keep me going for another two weeks but it doesn’t feel like it. The effects of the product are definitely not working as well as they did at first and wearing off quicker.

They’ve already increased the dose from 40mg to 60 mg and I suppose that the next step will be to have the injections every 10 days instead of every 14.

The “release and retained” lists for the clubs in the Welsh pyramid were released today as well – 9 days early and already, players are on the move around. Consequently I’ve had to start to update my lists earlier than usual.

And then someone with whom I wanted to have a word came on line so we were chatting for some considerable time too.

Going back to the radio programme, when I was in France during my schooldays I met a Swiss bassist called Walter Fröhlich. He was one of the bassists who, along with Felix Pappalardi and Gerry McAvoy, inspired me to play bass in the days before I heard “Quadrophenia”. Wandering around in the depths of my back-up drive I came across one of the songs on which Fröhlich played so of course I had to include it in one of the programmes.

All in all, I accomplished a lot today although it doesn’t much look like it.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with pasta and vegetables. Yes, pasta. I said I would, and there was some nice spicy tomato sauce to go with it too.

There was the dictaphone too. I had my own apartment in Granville somewhere last night. It wasn’t by the sea at all but in the St Nicolas area. I’d spoken to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages half as often as she deserves) about coming round but she was with another guy and said “the two of us would come round”. She put her boyfriend on the phone and he spoke to me. We agreed to meet up at 20:45. He asked what the weather was like because it was pouring down with rain. I said that it’s really wet under foot but not waterlogged or anything like that so it’s OK to move around. He replied “yes but the big difficulty is that Percy Penguin is the same height as you so we’d end up with 3 of us on my motor bike”. My response was “that’s OK. We can go out in Caliburn. I decided that the best thing was for me to go round at 21:00 and pick them both up. They were living here in this building at the time so I thought that it would be nice for Caliburn and me to come back.

And later on I was at a strange kind of roundabout or road junction somewhere. To negotiate it was extremely complicated and I ended up flattening a couple of trees that had been planted because of the way that some vehicles had been parked on it. A car and I merged in together on this junction but the other driver felt that he should have had priority although there wasn’t a road sign anywhere. It certainly wasn’t clear. When I stopped he left his car and came to start an argument. I explained the situation as I’d seen it but he carried on and on and on. I said “look, something happened there and something wasn’t correct but it doesn’t make any difference. No-one had any problems. The vehicles didn’t touch each other” but he still carried on. I went on saying “if you become upset like this every time you see something happen that’s not what you think is correct then I’m surprised that you ever get anywhere”. But so it continued.

The interesting thing about it was that all of this took place in French.

So I’ll be off to bed in a minute. There’s a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to do some revision and be ready to go. But I don’t feel like it. In fact I don’t feel much like anything right now. But I dunno. It’ll all work out in Boomland, as T2 told us back in 1970. And that reminds me – where the heck is my copy of that? I haven’t seen that around for absolute ages.

Saturday 6th May 2023 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… why I went to the shops this morning in the rain. It wasn’t as if I needed very much at all and it ended up being one of the cheapest shopping days that I’ve had for quite some considerable time.

For all the good I did, I may as well have stayed in bed, but that wasn’t anything that was going to work because despite not going to bed until midnight last night, I was up and about yet again before the alarm went off after another night spent with a great deal of tossing and turning.

Anyway, after the medication and checking my mails and messages I had a shower and then set the washing machine off with a load of dirty clothes while I went to the shops.

Noz came up with some vegan chocolate and some almond milk, and LeClerc had nothing whatever of any interest. In theory I could have done without anything that I bought today.

Back here I had a coffee and some cheese on toast, and then came in here to vegetate seeing as I’ve already done my weekend’s work.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, slightly more coherent than the previous day’s rubbish. I was writing a report on a Welsh football match that I’d seen. One of the teams that was playing was Barry Town. I remember dictating that there was no need for the opposition striker to head the ball exactly where he did, straight into the hands of the Barry keeper. he had the whole of the goal at which to aim. That’s all that I remember of this particular dream.

And then later on I’d gone to the bank last night to organise things about my new property. I had a pile of paperwork with me. I was standing in the queue waiting to be served but people who worked there were just coming along picking people out of the queue with whom to deal regardless of any order. I was left standing there while everyone else was served. I grabbed hold of one of these people and asked “how come he’s being served before me?”. She just looked at me and said “I don’t know” and carried on taking this other guy off somewhere to sit. I was standing there totally amazed at this, and it all seemed so real as well.

This afternoon I’ve been planning. If things really are going to take longer than I hope about moving house, I need to set a few things in motion. My microwave oven is way beyond its last legs and needs replacing as a matter of urgency. And then it might be an idea to assemble my kitchen cabinets anyway. We shall have to see about that.

There was football on the internet later. The second of the playoff semi-finals between Cardiff Metropolitan and Haverfordwest. And surprisingly, it was Haverfordwest who won the match despite finishing 3 places lower than the Met and playing on their ground.

They had New Zealand international goalkeeper Zak Turner to thank for their win. He impressed me the last time that I saw him, and today he saved a penalty and then made a brilliant stop in a one-on-one with Stuart Jones in the final minutes of the game.

In the penalty shootout he saved a couple of penalties too and when much-travelled former Swindon Town striker Elliott Dugan scored the winner the large away contingent erupted.

But seriously, it was a disappointing match as both teams were afraid to commit themselves, and Haverfordwest will have to play much better than this against Newtown if they want to get back into Europe for the first time since their UEFA cup adventure in 2004.

Tea tonight was the last of those little quinoa burgers with some chips and salad. A nice salad too and I’m getting so much better at this.

So now I’m going to dictate the radio notes that I wrote the other day and then I’m off to bed. I’m hoping for a nice lie-in tomorrow but it’s unlikely that I’ll have one, if the last few days have been anything to go by.

Friday 5th May 2023 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a slightly better day today. Towards the end of the afternoon I started to feel a little more like it and actually managed to do some work.

Not that I was expecting to of course, because we had another depressing night. I was rather later than intended going to bed, and then although I was asleep quite early on I awoke a couple of times. Once at 06:30 when I couldn’t go back to sleep so by the time that the alarm went off at 07:00 I was up and about already.

Well, sort-of. I wouldn’t have said that I was wide awake.

Something that I’ve done today that I haven’t done for quite some considerable time was to have some breakfast. Over the past year or so I’ve been cutting down considerably on what I’ve been eating as I’m not as mobile as I once was.

Desserts and breakfast were the two things that were struck off my list but this morning I’m not sure why but I went for a bowl of cornflakes.

That actually led to a late lunch of my fruit bun and fru it. It did me good to wait for a while before eating. I’ll get to my target weight yet.

This afternoon I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was with a couple of people last night. We were planning on going somewhere in Wales. I was going t drive and take these 2 other people with me, a man and wife, but the wife insisted that we went via Reading instead of via Chester. I said that that was stupid because it’s hundreds of miles out of our way. She explained that she knew the way via Reading. I said that I knew the way via Chester. I lived in Chester (which I did, between 1972 and 1974) and I travelled through Chester dozens of times. She was absolutely adamant. This led to the most surprising argument etc. She was really in a fury. In the end her husband said “look, let’s go with you. I’ll persuade her and talk to her”. In the end they agreed to go with me but she said “he’s not having anything when he arrives”. I thought that at this stage I couldn’t really be bothered. We set out. When we were in Chester fuelling up at a petrol station I asked “what time did I say that we’d be in Chester?”. Someone replied “09:35” so I asked “what time is it now?”. It was 09:36. I said “it just goes to show, doesn’t it?”. On the way back we came to a road junction on the Calveley Straight. I turned left and found myself going back to Chester. I thought “God, here we go. She’s going to go off”. Everyone else thought it quite funny. We had to find somewhere to do a U-turn. There was a house with a large drive up ahead but I was going too fast. I ended up on the lawn and it was wet and slippery. I said “for God’s sake don’t let the car stop now”. But we did stop and slid up to the edge of the lawn. We all had to exit the car and lift it up over the edge onto the driveway so that we could drive away again. We were then in a garage of some description, all having to tidy it up. It seemed that the more we tidied it the more rubbish we found. In the end we were just brushing stuff into bins and bags etc. I had one guy brush a whole load of nails and tacks into a big plastic bag.

There was something else later about a debate as to whose car we would go in. In the end we agreed to go in mine so we all piled into it. It was when we had to be fully clothed to be outside. I remember thinking how lucky we were to be mainly together. On the way home my partner’s husband had died so she wanted to go that way to see him. I explained how they made the shine on but she wasn’t in the least bit interested. I said “but you’ll be finding out soon about this once you qualify” but no-one paid much attention …. and at this point I fell asleep. I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m actually asleep when I’m dictating but at this point in this dream (which was actually in places a meaningless jumble of indistinct words) there was dead silence followed by me snoring.

Finally, I was in work last night in an office, and this is a recurring dream, isn’t it? For some reason I just wasn’t accomplishing anything – rather like my life at the moment as it happens. I couldn’t concentrate. In the end I gave it up as a bad job. It was coffee break so I went to the coffee room. There was some kind of party there with lots of food. It took me ages to get a coffee by which time most of the food had gone. I picked up something to eat and sat down. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing that I knew, the room was empty, everyone had gone and all of the food had been taken away. I had to redress myself quickly. I couldn’t find my clothes at first, then I couldn’t find how to switch off the TV. For some reason the remote control wasn’t working. In the end I left it and walked to the head of the stairs. I leapt over the handrail and dropped down onto the floor below. Then I couldn’t remember where my office was. I had a pnaic attack at that moment. I walked down the corridor and someone nearly ran me over with a trolley. A guy smiled at me so he obviously knew who I was. I thought he looked familiar but I couldn’t remember who. I eventually found my way back to my office where the people weren’t really concentrating. They were singing at their desks etc. It was all extremely weird. I thought “I’m just not getting anything done at all. I can’t concentrate. I’ll have to sit down, put my head down and work, maybe work all the way through my lunch break to make up for the time that I’ve wasted so far this morning”.

The rest of the day was spent finishing off the notes that I started the other day for a forthcoming radio programme. There wasn’t much to do but finding the motivation was the big issue here. Anyway, that’s all done and dusted and I’ll dictate them late tomorrow night when it’s all quiet.

Tea tonight was a salad with chips and some of those miniature vegan sausage rolls, the latter two cooked in the air fryer. And there’s definitely something wrong with my palette because they didn’t taste as they normally do either.

And then we had the football. The first of two semi-finals that shall eventually decide who’ll accompany TNS, Connahs Quay Nomads and Penybont into Europe. After their mauling at the weekend Y Bala were hoping to gain some consolation and we had quite an exciting match against Y Drenewydd.

The latter were the better team but Bala never stopped running and pushed them all the way. The big difference was that a coupke of shots from Y Drenewydd that hit the woodwork found their way into the back of the Bala net, whereas a couple of shots hitting the Drenewydd woodwork went out for goal kicks.

4-2 to Drenewydd was the final score and although they deserve their win, the scoreline was rather flattering. The winners will go on to play the winners of Saturday’s match between Cardiff Metro and Haverfordwest.

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I have one or two more things to do and then I’m off to bed. Shopping in the morning and I don’t need much as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. Here’s hoping that I feel better.

Thursday 4th May 2023 – I HOPE THAT YOU HAD …

… a happy star wars day today. May the Fourth be with you.

It’s certainly been with someone, because it hasn’t been with me at all. I don’t know why but I seem to have gone several paces backwards today.

It was another one of these usual nights that started off with a disaster. Every night before I go to bed I back up my computer.

There’s a powerful memory stick in one of the back ports and I use the search option to identify all of the files that I’ve used during the day and copy them onto the memory stick “just in case”.

So there I was using the “search all files saved today” function and all of a sudden it came up with “no files found”. That’s of course nonsense because I’ve spent much of the day working on the computer.

Three or four attempts came up with the same result, but then all of a sudden the light went on in my brain. In the time it had taken (a mere few milliseconds) to actually start and then finish the search it had passed midnight. So “today” was now “yesterday” and I wasn’t searching that. In the couple of milliseconds that had been “today” I hadn’t used any files.

From all of the foregoing you’ll gather that I had a late night. But even so, coupled with all of the usual difficulties that I’ve been having about sleeping, I was still up and about before the alarm went off at 07:00.

When I say “up and about”, I mean in the figurative sense. The body was there but the mind certainly wasn’t and I can’t think of a single thing that I did during the morning. I just sat and vegetated.

At lunchtime though I went and had a shower in the hope that that would revive me (it didn’t) and then I walked into town. And I hadn’t gone 20 yards from my doorstep before my right leg collapsed again. Luckily I had my crutches to hand otherwise we might have had a nasty accident.

It gave out again a bit further on as I headed down the hill and this is extremely discouraging news. I’m off to Leuven next Wednesday and this is not the time for my leg to be breaking down.

At the letting agent’s I introduced myself and gave them the necessary paperwork and discussed my plans. They shall make further enquiries and get back to me. But it’s not going to be as quick as I was expecting or hoping. Not to worry though. The news that they were able to give me was encouraging from my own point of view.

It was a bright sunny day when I set out so of course I went without a coat. And so as you might expect, it was raining when I returned. Only for a while tough. It soon brightened up again.

Still warm though, so the sight of two elderly tourists wandering around in thermal bubble-jackets, woolly hats and scarves was rather bewildering.

Back here I had some hot chocolate and more of my coffee biscuits and then transcribed the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few. And for a start I had awoken again right in the middle of a dream only for it all to completely evaporate away the moment that I awoke. This is all very depressing and disappointment because I want to know who it is on whom I’m missing out.

Later I’d gone out for a run in a wood in an old quarry. I was running around there when my brother appeared (yet again). For a while he was with me but I accelerated a little and left him behind. When it came to going back home I started to race and I was quite some distance in front. I pounded up a steep gravel bank to the top, only to find that he had caught up with me somehow. He said something like “oh I’m going to catch you up”. I replied “no you aren’t”. He asked why and I replied “I’m going to go ‘BOOOH” to you” which of course I did. he was so startled that he fell down in this quarry all the way to the bottom again. I could have carried on had I wanted but I stopped to see how he was. Then we carried on back towards home talking about football and things like that.

And then I was with a girl from University last night. We were talking a bit about old times, then I forget most of what happened after that. But later I stepped back into this dream and she was running a newspaper or some kind of similar office. I’d started to do some volunteer work for her. I turned up in the afternoon after lunch. She was doling out the work to different people. She gave me a couple of pieces, one of which was some information about someone who lived in a certain building in the City of London. At first I didn’t recognise the name of the building – then I did because it was the building where my aunt used to live but had changed names. I knew that there was a pretty disreputable guy who lived there. This was asking all kinds about him. She wanted someone to research it. That’s why she asked me to do it. There was more stuff too, a little more complicated. I was reading this memo that had come. It was a simple straightforward memo by the looks of things. I suddenly had a kind-of Writer’s Block. I couldn’t think of how I was going to reply to it. Then I began to worry thinking that I don’t have much time as it is. I can’t afford to spend this time sitting here staring at this and not actually doing anything about it.

I also had a phone call to make. It was really early in the morning. Another friend of mine from University (and I wish that I’d noted who he was) was in a Court case. He’d said something about something or other. I’d sent him a message asking him if he needed me to do anything for him – to find anything. But late last night as I was going to, I noticed that he’d replied and said “no” so this morning very early as soon as I awoke I phoned him and had a very quiet word with him to wish him luck and making sure that there had been no new developments overnight that needed me to do something on his behalf.

Finally, coming into Paris, I was with a couple of good friends. We were driving. The first thing that I noticed was that at the slip road at the side of the motorway there were a couple of motor bikes that looked as if they’d had an accident and were blocking the road. A little further back there was a car and someone was moving a pile of cones so that the car could join the main motorway rather than carry on along the small road. Then there was a whole pile of motorcycles that looked as if they’d been flattened by something and cars that were parked any old how. It all looked as if they’d been disturbed by a hurricane or tornado or something. As we dropped down the hill into the city we could see everything in the distance. There was what looked like a huge gorilla walking around in a park quite some distance away. We could make it out with the naked eye. We all stopped and had a look. Just then our car performed a 360° pirouette then carried on driving.

After all of that I … errr … reclined for a while.

Tea tonight was one of those curried vegan burgers with some curried fried rice. And for some reason it didn’t taste as nice as my food has been doing just recently. In fact, thinking about it, yesterday’s meal didn’t taste as good as it might have done either. I wonder if I’m sickening for something.

Like I said just now, this is really not the time for me to go breaking down.

But break down I did because when I came back in here after tea, I crashed out yet again. This really is too bad.

Things are going to have to improve at some point soon, I hope, because all of this is getting on my nerves as you can imagine. I’m not looking forward to my trip next week if I can’t do better than this.

But one thing is certain after what I learnt today, and that is that I’m not going anywhere without my crutches. Not on your Nellus Secundus

Wednesday 3rd May 2023 – SOME STUPID PSEUDO-JOURNALIST …

… is telling me that the events that took place in Wrexham over the weekend are the most important things to have happened in Welsh football “for decades”.

So a club’s promotion from the fifth to the fourth tier of a foreign football league is more important than the country getting to the semi finals of the European Cup …checks notes … seven years ago, or getting to the World Cup just recently?

To be honest, I’m finding this hysteria and sycophanty to have reached the levels of total absurdity and insanity, and I’m totally astonished to see all these supposedly well-informed people blindly leaping aboard any old passing bandwagon. They have totally lost touch with reality.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s talk about more exciting things. Like the night that I had last night, for example.

It was another late night and yet another where I took ages to go off to sleep. And I awoke in the middle of events and took ages to go back to sleep again. But I must have done at some point because when the alarm went off, I was stark out and it was something of a battle to leave the bed.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages and so on, I set to work.

And I was at it for ages but it was all well worthwhile because I now have a biscuit tin full off rather overdone coffee, orange and almond biscuits.

Somewhat on the strong side unfortunately (note – put less coffee in next time) and rather overdone (must buy a new oven) but nevertheless, here we are. I tried a few with my afternoon hot chocolate and I’m still alive so I suppose they are OK.

As well as all of that I made a batch of dough for my naan bread and some more dough for the next round of pizzas. The naan dough didn’t rise at all but the pizza dough went up like a lift. I wonder why the difference. It’s the same flour.

And while I was at it I finished off that big bag of flour that I bought a while ago. A good job I bought another one the other week.

While the cleaner was here cleaning up, I carried on with the notes for the next radio programme and they are well over halfway through. I’ll finish them off over the next couple of days and dictate them through the night on Saturday when it’s quiet. With all of the baking done already I’ll have nothing to do on Sunday so I can edit and assemble the radio programme

After she left I had my hot chocolate and biscuits and then had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was a passenger on a double-decker bus last night going from South Wales up to the North going through all these little by-ways, country lanes and alongside canal towpaths, disrupting football matches etc. I ended up driving it at some point. It took 1 hour 20 minutes. There was a big campaign for 3 buses to go across Wales to link up bits of the country. They would all meet and interchange in the centre. Somewhere along the route I stopped and went to a chip shop. The people with me had written down an order, I think that it was for 2 chicken and chips or something and I was going to buy something else with chips. When I was finally served the guy told me “there’s something over there already cooked”. I said “I’ll tell you what I want and you can see what you can do”. But he took the paper from me which was an old order that had been printed out with the new order written in biro on the blank side. I thought to myself “this is going to end up in a right mess and confusion now he’s doing this”.

And later there was a game of football going on between 2 villages. I went along as a spectator. I was chatting to a couple of the guys on one team. They went 1-0 down almost straight away from the kick-off so I decided that I’d give them some coaching from the touchline. There was 1 lad who was really quick. I had him do a beautiful diagonal pass and run on for the return. He got in right behind the defence and hit the post. On another occasion he missed an open goal in pretty much the same fashion. 30 seconds later he scored one and 30 seconds later scored a second, all the time with me standing on the touchline telling him what to do. It looked quite straightforward and simple for me. Then I thought to myself “now we’re 2 minutes into the game, he’s hit the post, missed a sitter and scored twice. I’d better go to sit down and shut up before I’m accused of ruining the game.

It reminds me of a game that I saw years ago when Pionsat’s 3rd XI was playing somewhere. They had a young lad playing centre-forward who was completely out of his depth but trying very hard. When Pionsat won a penalty and the centre-back went to take it I shouted at the lad to follow it in. Sure enough he did, and sure enough, the keeper spilled it and he had a simple tap-in. No-one was more pleased than he was.

Tea tonight was a leftover curry, and the naan bread wasn’t as good as the previous batch. That first batch must have been “beginner’s luck” but I’ll persevere. I’m sure that I’m on the right track somewhere and it’s just a case of fine-tuning everything until I arrive at where I want to be. We won’t be discouraged.

So I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I have my appointment with the house agent about doing something about my new apartment and to see where I stand. In the meantime I’ll read up about Peter Rachman and see if I can find out a few tips. He was, of course, a stateless person and with me having no right to vote in any country in the World right now, we have more than just a few things in common.

Tuesday 2nd May 2023 – TODAY WAS A …

… day that I really want to forget.

Not that there was all that much to forget because it was what I would call a very short day today.

Last night however was a lot longer. Bright sunlight streaming in through the windows, birds chirping around outside and kids on their way to school and I hadn’t gone to bed yet. 07:10 and I was still up and about.

That’ll teach me to have an unscheduled lie-in on a Monday morning.

It was some time later than that that I finally went off to bed, with the alarm set for 13:00 just in case I happened to fall asleep deeper than I was expecting.

However that was a waste of time because although I did end up going to sleep at some point it was only for a couple of hours. I was back awake again at 10:00 and at 12:00 I’d given up any thought whatever of going off to sleep. And that was that.

After what might have been a breakfast or was probably more like a lunch, I had a listen to the dictaphone. There was something going on while I was asleep certainly but when I awoke it completely evaporated and I couldn’t remember anything at all about it. I certainly knew that I’d been away somewhere.

Next step was to listen to the radio programme that I was to send off for broadcasting this coming weekend.

It was one that I’d prepared last September before going off on my voyage to eternity, one of the batch when something must have happened to the tone controls because there was just far too much bass on it and it sounded really muffled.

Having spent a while trying to edit it, I gave up and redid it. It sounds much better now.

There was an interruption when the physiotherapist called. He had a look at my right leg, checked on my exercises and then that was that. he wasn’t here long. But I wasn’t happy when he went into my bedroom to grab a pillow. I don’t like people wandering around in my apartment like that.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg, all very nice and tasty. There’s not a lot left over for a curry tomorrow night so I might have to lengthen it out with a potato or something.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’m having to have a bake-in. I’ve run out of my delicious chocolate biscuits, run out of naan bread, and I also used the last of the pizza bases on Sunday too.

Nice as my chocolate biscuits were, I’ll have to think of a new type of biscuit to make. I should have bought some fresh ginger at the weekend but there’s always some sort of stuff lying around that I can use as flavouring in a regular 4/8/10 mixture.

But the naan bread will be interesting. I shall have fun with another batch of those.

Saturday 29th April 2023 – THAT WAS EMBARRASSING

It’s cup final weekend in Wales at the moment. The Welsh Cup is being played tomorrow between TNS and Y Bala, but today at lunchtime we had the final of the Welsh Amateur Cup between Trethomas Bluebirds and Denbigh Town and this evening, the 2nd Division Cup between Barry Town and Colwyn Bay.

It was the latter game to which I’m referring right now. Barry had won the southern division and Colwyn Bay the northern, having had some really impressive runs all the way to the league titles. Colwyn Bay for example had only lost once this season and Barry twice, and they have both been promoted to the Welsh Premier League next season.

They both had reached the final of the cup competition at something of a canter and so we were all expecting a real humdinger of a match this evening.

However, for reasons that have no place being discussed here, Colwyn Bay sent out their youth team to face a Barry Town team in full cry. And the result was rather predictable. Even strolling around at a leisurely pace with no sense of urgency at all, they still had far, far too much in the tank for Colwyn Bay.

The other match finished 2-1 for Trethomas and the scoreline was an understatement because in all honesty Trethomas should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the final whistle. But at least it was entertainment and not punishment.

While we’re on the subject of punishment … “” – ed … I actually had a better night last night for a while. I was fast asleep quite quickly, and doesn’t that make a change? However, I was back wide awake again at 04:20 and I spent the next couple of hours tossing and turning about.

Mind you, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. At some point after 06:30 I must have dropped off to sleep because I was flat out asleep when the alarm went off at 07:00 and I had a struggle to beat the second alarm.

Anyway, once I organised myself Caliburn and I set sail for the shops.

First port of call was at Noz where I didn’t buy anything special. I did however buy a new pizza tray. I had to butcher my old one to make it fit into this little oven and I’ll need a proper one for the new oven, whenever I might actually install it. So seeing as they had a stock at a silly price I bought one.

That’s the thing with a shop like Noz. It sells all kinds of end-of-ranges, bankrupt stock, that kind of thing, so if you see something you buy it, even if you don’t need it yet because when you do need it, they won’t have it.

Leclerc came up with nothing at all of any interest so I headed for home, where I had a chat with a neighbour on the doorstep. I seem to be flavour of the month right now.

After a coffee and a cheese on toast there was time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. This is only part of a dream last night . I had to do something about my family and this involved involving my brother. I had to go to find him. I knew where he was, in his dormitory, so I crossed over the road and stood at the bottom of the stairs. I looked up to the dormitory and shouted. There were a few people walking around there but he didn’t come. I shouted again but he still didn’t come. In the end I gave up and decided to do something different on my own and walked away. As I walked down the stairs to go out of the building I bumped into him. he asked about something or other. I replied that I’d shouted twice and he hadn’t come so I was just going to leave it. The dream carried on from there but I can’t remember any more now

There was something else about me having a couple of cats as well. I’d built some play activities for them, one of which was something extremely tall. Someone made a pun about it saying “that’s a bit over the top isn’t it, that one?”.

And finally there was a cricket or football match taking place somewhere outside town one afternoon. I set out to walk there to see what was happening. As I drew closer I could see a group of people there wearing crash helmets. I thought “this is strange”. I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my camera with me. I thought “that’s disappointing but I don’t have time to go home to pick it up and come back again”. When I arrived at this field, a while before this match was due to start, there were these kids playing a kind of ice hockey. There was someone there who bore a strong resemblance to Nigel Garbage throwing a puck up in the air. These kids were practising hitting it. One kid hit the puck and it flew past me. I put out my hand instinctively and almost caught it. I thought “I wonder if they are looking for a goalkeeper … “net minder” – ed. We made ourselves ready for what was going to happen. One thing was quite strange – all through this dream I had a feeling that Zero was there. I couldn’t see her and had no evidence to suppose that she was. There was just this really uncomfortable feeling that she was there in this dream somewhere and I think it was that that awoke me

Earlier on I mentioned the Welsh Amateur Cup. This is for clubs who don’t qualify for the professional cup. There were 250 clubs who participated and in the end it came down to two clubs from the 3rd tier – Denbigh from the 3rd tier north-west and Trethomas from – I think – the 3rd tier south-west.

Both clubs are third in their respective leagues so we were expecting a tough match. However it was nothing like it. As I side, the score might have been close but the play wasn’t and Trethomas made really heavy weather of what should have been a simple task.

As for the second match, well, I’m not going to say anything because I imagine that there will be quite enough said about that elsewhere.

The rest of the day has been spent, would you believe, working on the photos from 2019. It’s been ages since I’ve edited those so I carried on with a few more today. We’re still in Peel Sound right now somewhere in between Somerset Island and Prince of Wales Island heading for my Appointment with Destiny on one of the days that is missing from my blog .

One day I’ll have to write up those missing days.

Tea tonight was chips – not frozen chips because they were quite expensive and they had normal potatoes at a good price. Plenty of rather elderly burgers in breadcrumbs in the freezer so two small ones bit the dust today with the chips and a delicious salad. Over the next few weeks I’ll have to dispose of a pile more, and then give serious consideration to make a start on making them.

But it’s late now – early morning in fact – and I can’t sleep. I’ll feel like death in the morning but having done my radio programme for next week I’m not bothered if I sleep all day really.

As long as I don’t miss TNS v Y Bala. I know what the score will be already but we have to go through the motions, I suppose.

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.

Thursday 27th April 2023 – WE ARE HAVING …

… a disaster.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Alison and I have a favourite restaurant in Leuven where we usually end up in the middle of our walk around the town. She passed by there earlier this evening for a portion of the beautiful sweet potatoes, only to find that it’s closed down definitively.

We started to go there because another vegan restaurant that we used, “The Loving Hut”, closed down a few years ago. We’ll now have to look for somewhere else, always assuming that there IS somewhere else to go.

We shall have to make further enquiries.

Further enquiries too about my sleeping issues because it was yet another depressing night when I took an absolute age to go off to sleep.

And once more, I awoke in the middle of the night and spend a miserable couple of hours trying to go back to sleep. However at one point I must have dozed off because I sat bolt upright wide-awake (well, sort-of) at 06:59, a minute before the alarm went off, so I fell out of bed just for the sake of saying that I beat the alarm once again.

When I was checking my mails and messages I found out what had awoken me. It was the nurse sending me a message to say that he’d miscalculated and it’s tomorrow when he needs to come to take my blood sample.

Once I’d organised myself this morning and awoken properly I bashed out another radio programme from the stuff that I had lying around. I’m getting nicely ahead of myself now, but it will all go pear-shaped of course because someone whose virtues I’ll be extolling will drop dead just before the programme will be broadcast.

And that reminds me. Some of the more legendary figures of the rock world are reaching the kind of age when fate will overtake them. I suppose that when I have time I really ought to prepare a couple of programmes that relate to people like Bob Dylan and keep them on the back-burner “just in case”.

It was while I was on my way to la Haye-Pesnel in Caliburn yesterday that I thought of a really good idea for a programme in this respect. What provoked the was when Spirit came onto Caliburn’s playlist and played “All Along The Watchtower”.

This afternoon I had a ‘phone call. Would I like a lift to town?

It was raining outside quite heavily and although I did have things to do, I didn’t fancy walking down there in this so I grabbed a lift. A couple of my neighbours were going off to the shops.

They threw me out in the town centre and I went to the letting agency. That’s a good place to start, I reckon, with my quest to gain vacant possession of my new apartment. However, there was only a receptionist there. The agent was out on a mission.

She took my details and said that the agent will call me back. And, as you might imagine, I’m still waiting. I’m also still waiting for the return phone call from my visit to the property management company yesterday. I have a rather uneasy feeling that I’m going to end up with a bunch of je m’en foutists.

That’s a beautiful French expression. Je m’en fous is rather a vulgar French way of saying “I couldn’t care less” (I’m sure that you can think of an English equivalent, but this is a family website) and so a je m’en foutist is an employee who is only interested in collecting his salary and doing as little as possible to actually earn it.

It was 15:05 when I went in, and by 15:10 I was back out again. The rain had quietened down considerably so I decided to walk back. It didn’t take me long and I didn’t have to stop for breath too often. But one thing that I noticed was that trying to squeeze into the back of the neighbour’s car, my right leg wasn’t comfortable whatsoever – not one little bit.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in the middle of having a dream but I awoke (that was the time in the middle of the night). The dream evaporated completely and everything went except for a vision that I had about coffee in Malta or Cyprus that cost £3:00 per ounce. That’s all that I can remember about it.

Again this next one is another one of which I can only remember bits. I was at a talent contest last night. There was a couple of girls singing in Inuit. One was an older girl and the other was a younger girl. What happened now I forget, but later on someone else at this concert contacted me. They had a house to let in Greenland. They were quite fed up of the type of tenant they were having. They tended to be the younger, trendy type of person and they wanted someone more traditional. It turned out that they were writing the adverts in the newspaper in Inuktitut, the more modern style of Inuit language for people looking for lets. I suggested that she write the adverts in Sisu, the more traditional type of language, and that way it would be the more traditional type of person who would understand the advert and would make more of an effort to reply to rent it. She thought that that was a good idea. She turned over in bed and squashed me. She said “I’m hitting you, am I? It’s most uncomfortable lying here in bed with all these people” but this was the way of life up there and we just had to accept it. I walked out to Caliburn. He was up on a jack for some reason. I noticed that one of his rear tyres had a bald patch. That was strange. It had only done 8000 kms, these tyres. Most of the tyres were in really good condition but just this one bald patch. It started to worry me for it meant that there was something wrong somewhere with Caliburn’s suspension or brakes. I needed to try to sort it out but there was this expensive tyre that had just gone to waste.

After that I made some hot chocolate and had a few of my delicious chocolate biscuits – and then I rather regrettably fell asleep for a while.

As for tea tonight, I couldn’t think of what to have. In the end I settled for steamed vegetables with falafel in a vegan cheese sauce.

That was really delicious yet again, but I have to say that this other type of vegan cheese is nothing like as tasty as the vegan Cheshire Cheese. Even though the Cheshire Cheese is much more expensive, I think that I’ll be sticking with that in future.

Tomorrow the nurse is coming to take my blood sample, and then I don’t have anything planned for several days, except the football over the weekend of course. I’ll have to start to plan for my trip to Leuven though because that’s important. It seems that all kinds of things are unravelling right now.

And who knows? I might even have someone return one of my phone calls about the visits that I’ve made. If that happens, there won’t be any notes tomorrow night. I’ll have passed out from the shock.

Wednesday 26th April 2023 – THE DEED IS DONE

After this morning’s efforts I’m now the proud owner of another property. All signed, sealed, delivered and paid-for

But when I’m able to move into it is another story completely. There’s a strict procedure to follow and, surprisingly, it’s not the duty of a solicitor to perform it. It needs to be undertaken by a huissier, which is, I suppose, a cross between a bailiff and a Clerk of the Court. So I need to make further enquiries.

But the timetable that I had laid out in my head is looking … errr … optimistic.

The solicitor tells me that the letting of the property is undertaken by a management agent – the same management agent who manages the communal affairs of this building – so that’s obviously the best place to start. In fact, on the way home I stopped off at their offices to talk to the managing agent but she was busy. They said that she would call me back this afternoon but it’s now 21:30 and I’m still waiting.

There was plenty of waiting around during the night too because it was yet another bad night. At some point I did go off to sleep but I did awaken at about 04:00 for several hours but dozed off again. I awoke about 5 minutes before the alarm went off so I fell out of bed with the idea that at least I could say that I beat the alarm again, but I didn’t feel much like it.

After the medication I went for a shower and then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the notaire‘s office at la Haye Pesnel.

09:30 was the time of our meeting and to my surprise, I only had to wait 10 minutes today beyond that time. That makes a change. Nice guy though he is, he usually works to his own convenience and not that of his clients.

he explained the reason to me why completion took so long. This building is officially an Ancient Monument, built in 1668 and registered on the French list of Historic Places.

There are all kinds of things that need to be investigated in this case. It’s not easy tracing the official history of a building and finding the deeds of a property that old when there’s been a Revolution and a couple of World Wars that have destroyed all kinds of archives. For example, the Public Records Office in St-Lô, the capital of this département, were destroyed by the Americans in a bombing raid in June 1944 and I bet that the Revolutionnaires had a bit of a bonfire too.

That’s the least of the problems that the notaire faced. Because it’s a listed building the Government has first dibs and so it can’t be sold to a private person until the Government has been offered it and sent a formal refusal.

And so once the sale can actually go ahead, the change of ownership (even if, in my case, I only own 250/10000 of the property) has to be notified to the Register of Historic Buildings and a list of permitted and forbidden alterations and activities has to be prepared.

The notaire certainly earned his money.

Liz thinks that it’s appropriate that I’ve bought a slice of French history. I told her that it’s appropriate because I’m something of an ancient monument myself.

In case you don’t know, where I live is part of a huge old military barracks complex built by the French in the 17th Century to protect the coast of Normandy from raids by the British forces based in the Channel Islands in the turmoil that followed the 30 Years War.

It was occupied by the French Army until 1988 when it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The huge dormitory building is now the local High School, the canteen is now the Young Workers’ Hostel, the Officers’ Quarters is now the public rooms and Council offices and the other two buildings that were the barracks offices have been converted into small apartments.

When I moved here, it was as a tenant, with the aim that I can have a look around the town and see if I could find somewhere nice to live with the money left over from the sale of my apartment in Brussels, but I love it here up on the rock with the sea on three sides in this magnificent building and my really nice neighbours.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed …this is the first place in the whole of my life where I’ve actually felt “at home” so I didn’t want to move away. I’ve had to wait patiently for something to come up for sale that I could afford.

Of course I’m not in my new place yet, and it will be quite a while before I am as well, but I’m one step further on down the road.

Ordinarily I would have qualms about putting a tenant out on the streets but a rented apartment has to be offered to a sitting tenant first, and so she’s had a couple of bites at the cherry and turned them down. And in any case, I can always put her in touch with the landlord of my current apartment if she needs somewhere else to go.

Anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

When I left the notaire I went to the management agent but she was unavailable, so I went across the road to LeClerc for a bit of shopping.

Back here I had a coffee and some cheese on toast from the air fryer, and then I went to see the President of the Residents’ Committee to thank her for everything that she did. It was a tip-off from her that put on on the scent of the new apartment and I shall be forever grateful.

The cleaner had been and gone while I was away chatting so I made some hot chocolate and armed with some of my delicious chocolate biscuits, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was living in a caravan somewhere in a field. When I returned home my brother was there. He’d found his way in and was going through my record collection. I went to throw him out but he put up a bit of resistance. In the end I had to phone the police. At that point he left but he took several of my albums with him. I had to follow him to find out where he was going and what he was going to be doing. The police weren’t a great deal of help which I thought was unfortunate. In the end I walked back from Crewe (we were in Crewe at the time by now) to my caravan. All along the path were loads of dead foxes. It was very difficult to say whether they had been dead before or dead since or whether someone had moved them. I really didn’t know what I was going to expect when I returned to my caravan. When I opened the door I couldn’t see whether anything had changed or not. It was one of these dreams that awoke me bolt-upright and I couldn’t go back to sleep for ages afterwards.

And then I was part of an investigating team inspecting a battlefield in Normandy during the war. We were looking at a damaged American tank. We examined some of the bullets that had hit it. They turned out to be American. Part of the job of our unit was to investigate American or Allied weapons that had fallen into the hands of the Axis so we were interested in these bullets. We managed to find one that was almost intact. Somewhere near the battlefield was another unit that was involved in discipline etc that had a female civilian judge in charge of it. I went with my officer down there. We presented ourselves to this woman and explained what we had found. She wanted to know our interest. We said what we were doing. Our job was to trace this equipment to find out whether it had been equipment that had the Germans had captured, whether it was equipment that had been sent to the Soviet Union on Lend-Lease or whether it was something much more sinister than that, an American soldier firing on his own side. A guy with this woman judge immediately went on the offensive to some kind of absurd and ridiculous degree that embarrassed everyone there in this room. It made the situation completely uncomfortable. We had to explain that finding the answer to these kinds of questions was very important for a variety of reasons but he was still carried away on this emotional tide.

And while I was on my travels later on, someone had contacted me to go to meet them somewhere. I got back into Caliburn and set off. I noticed that Caliburn was running low on diesel. I thought that I knew where the diesel station was but by the time that I’d arrive it would be after 19:00 and it would be closed. It was in a very rural area so what would I do? As I drove down this road I came to 2 petrol stations, one on either side of the road, that I’d forgotten about. Problem solved. I pulled in there and fuelled up. I went in there to have a coffee too. You chose a mixer cup and they mixed your coffee and poured it into a goblet to give to you. I said that I’d go to the van for my thermal mug. When I reached Caliburn it was surrounded by people eating sandwiches etc so I had to fight my way in. I took my thermal mug but it was full of rubbish so I had to start to remove it. Some wouldn’t come out. It was a really difficult job to extract this rubbish. When I returned to the coffee counter the woman saw me. She asked “rubbish?” and found a waste bin to throw it into. I gave her my mug but I must have been distracted because I stood there and she was serving other people. There was an issue with someone’s card. She had to ring up about it. I asked “is that my card?” and she replied “no, you’re good to go”. Just then the guy she was ringing up managed to get through. He said something about Cheadle Hulme. I said “are we that close to Manchester”? She replied “that’s not that close to Manchester, is it?”.

I’ve forgotten most of this final dream. There was a couple of teenagers, a boy and girl, who were doing ice-dancing. Their routine wasn’t particularly adventurous but you could see that they were quite relaxed. They knew their stuff and quite enjoyed it. The next couple came on, a much older man with a girl probably about 6 or 7. You could see that she was terrified as they went through their routine. It was as if this guy was dancing with a plank of wood. They tried a few adventurous things and it must have been a horrible thing to do because you could see that this girl was scared to death. She was as rigid as a board as he was trying to hold her and twirl her around in the air. We thought “this isn’t any good whatsoever. They are never going anywhere like that”

And then I crashed out. The events of the day have been far too much for me, I reckon.

Tea tonight was a delicious left-over curry with naan bread. That’s the last of that batch and I do have to say that it was a total success. I shall definitely have to make much more of that, and quite right too

So that’s enough for today. I’m off to bed. I have the nurse coming to take a blood sample tomorrow morning so I shall have to be fighting-fit and hope that he won’t be looking in vain to find a vein in my arm. I’m fed up of being a dartboard.

Tuesday 25th April 2023 – MY CHOCOLATE BISCUITS …

… are absolutely delicious. I’m well impressed with how they have turned out.

It’s a simple biscuit recipe of sugar, butter and flour in a ratio of 4:8:10. And then I ground up some almonds in a whizzer, added some vanilla and some of that concentrated orange essence and off we went.

And when it was all mixed together I added in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder and mixed it in. And then I rolled it out and cut it into small squares.

When they were baked, there was one that was distorted so I tasted it and I really do think that I’ve hit the jackpot with that. I’m tempted, when I have time, to make some chocolate-flavoured buttercream and make some bourbon-like sandwich biscuits. They should be extraordinary.

But that’s for maybe tomorrow. I’m more interested at the moment about what happened today.

As usual it started off pretty badly. Once again I took ages to go off to sleep. And I was wide awake again at 03:30. However I did manage to go back to sleep at one point because the alarm awoke me at 07:00.

It was a struggle to leave the bed but I managed to beat the second alarm, and after the medication, mails and messages I prepared for my Welsh lesson.

Once again there weren’t all that many of us there but nevertheless it passed off quite well and I was surprised about how much of the comprehension exercise I managed to complete. I actually had all of the questions correct but there was one where I’d guessed the answer from what I heard.

After my lunchtime fruit I had a baking session.

There wasn’t just the biscuits but also a pile of fruit buns. I’d run out of fruit bread this morning so I need to stock up. And they came out quite nicely too. I’ll definitely make some more of those. Some have gone into the bread tin and the rest have gone into the freezer where they can be pulled out as and when required.

While I was waiting for everything to bake or cook or to rise up I tidied out the food shelves in the kitchen to make sure that I knew what I had. Some stuff found its way into the bin. It was stuff that I’d bought from NOZ and I was surprised that the sell-by date was in 2020. It wouldn’t have been so bad had they been in tins but they were in fact in glass bottles.

A pile of stuff found its way into the bins outside too. The bag with the glass and plastic was overflowing so a little walk around outside would do me good.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. Not very much though. I’d joined the Army last night. I was obviously not cut out for the basic training. We’d all started, checked in and found out where we were sleeping. Next morning we had all the stupid army routine then we all had to assemble to go off on a bus somewhere. The sergeant in charge was reminding us to do this and do that but of course we hadn’t done it because we didn’t know and no-one had said. He said “turn your room keys in now because you should have all your possessions with you”. Most of the platoon had left their coats in their room so he was haranguing everyone. We all had to go back. I said “I’m sorry sarge” but at least I had a smile from him which I suppose was something or other.

With the time that was left I was editing down the final batch of notes that I have recorded for one of the radio programmes. It’s not finished yet of course because I wasn’t as focused as I might have been. Things are going to start to become complicated from now on because I’m now reaching the stage where I’ll be changing the format and content of my programmes.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll, and there’s enough stuffing left over to go into a nice curry tomorrow, with naan bread and yoghurt.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’m off to sign for my new apartment tomorrow morning. It’ll be a while before I move in because I have to give the tenant three months notice to leave and then I want to have the bathroom and the kitchen done.

So whatever, I’m going to have my work cut out once it all goes through.

Monday 24th April 2023 – THAT WAS DIFFICULT!

With nothing much better to do today, I decided that I’d do this radio programme about the 14th July.

It wasn’t easy because I had all of the music, including the very, very last track already in my mind so I had to make sure that the speech fitted all of the gaps in between the music. I know that with the way that I speak, 300 characters of text is the equivalent of 17 seconds of speech so I can make sure that I’m always somewhere in the right kind of area, but that doesn’t take into account the fact that song lengths are often not as published and there’s quite often a silence at the beginning or end. And so it can quite often be rather hit-and-miss, especially if my maths aren’t up to much.

So no-one was more surprised than me to find myself almost a minute short of where I needed to be.

Luckily, when I’d been preparing the programme I’d made a reserve selection of appropriate songs of various lengths and so with a little judicious editing I managed to fit in Lindisfarne’s “Bring Down The Government” with some explanatory text.

It still wasn’t right though and I ended up having to re-dictate a couple of speeches and then do yet more editing. What with one thing and another (and once you get started you’d be surprised at how many other things there are) it was 21:00 when I finally finished.

It was some real good fortune that I actually felt like doing it too because I had another wretched night. I was in bed reasonably early but once again it took me an age to go off to sleep. I awoke again at 04:15 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I watched the dawn slowly rise but I must have gone back to sleep at some point because when the alarm went off at 07:00 it was a real shock to the system.

With the nurse coming today to give me my injection I had to have a shower otherwise he wouldn’t have come in through the door. So of course he has to come quite early today while I’m still soaking myself. That was rather embarrassing.

And he has to come back on Thursday to take a blood sample, so later on this week I’ll be doing another dartboard impression. At this rate I’ll be more comfortable sleeping on a bed of nails but I bet that someone would tell me to fakir off.

Next task that interrupted me was the dictaphone, to see where I’d been last night. Nothing like what I’d been up to on previous nights but then again it wasn’t as if I’d had much sleep. I was out with Steve Winwood last night for some strange reason. There was talk of forming a group but nothing ever came of it. We went to an Indian restaurant somewhere, one that I’d been told was good. As I didn’t know how to go to it, it was in a completely different town, we had to go all around the houses. We arrived and they began to serve us. It was a very strict place. Everything was very formal. We ordered our starters and he went to go to the bathroom. Someone on another table obviously recognised him and asked him what numbers he was going to perform with his new band. He mentioned a few songs and then walked off. I could hear him talking to someone in the distance but I couldn’t see him, going on about the restaurant and how he didn’t expect such a posh, formal place etc. One of the things that I asked him was that I read somewhere that the very first chord he ever played on a guitar was Dflat. I asked him why. He said that it sounded good. I asked if it was the opening chord maybe to a song. he made a very non-commital reply to that which I thought was bizarre.

Later on a group of us was walking up a mountain pass. At the side of the road there were 4 or 5 cars that were parked. Then there was a very sharp bend. Round this bend coming towards us was a cattle wagon, a big heavy thing that was fully-loaded. he took the bend really wide because of his length and almost knocked the wall down into the valley then drove straight into the back of one of these vehicles. he didn’t stop. He kept on trying to push this vehicle forward into all the others to push them to give him more room to turn. Someone shouted “camera” so I took out my camera and began to take a couple of photos. It was only then that he stopped and got out to inspect the damage. By now he’s transformed into a yellow school bus. 3 people came with a huge bag and had to clamber onto the roof at the back of the coach in order to put the bag on the roof rack. Another girl appeared. She went round to the front and said to the driver something like “I was on this bus yesterday and I think that I might have left something on board”. This was probably the most surreal thing that I’d ever witnessed

And then, in between everything else, I dealt with the radio programme.

Tea was a delicious stuffed pepper. And what I did was to turn down the air fryer 20° and to cook it twice as long as I did last week. That cooked it to perfection.

Plenty of stuffing left over for a taco roll tomorrow and for a leftover curry on Wednesday. That’s what i’m looking forward to more than anything because, of course, I have a naan bread awaiting me. I’m really impressed with the naan breads that I made and I’ll make another batch of them.

What I’ll have to do though is to remember that the dough expands considerably so instead of making the batch into three lumps, I’ll have to make it into four or even five.

But never mind – it’s still delicious.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson so I need to be on form, and then on Wednesday I go to sign the purchase agreement for my new apartment.

And then the fun will begin.

Sunday 23rd April 2023 – THAT WAS A …

… horrible day today.

With it being Sunday it’s supposed to be a day of rest during which I can lie in bed for as long as I want.

Certainly much longer than 09:30, but by that time this morning I had given up trying to go back to sleep. I’d awoken about an hour earlier and was just lying there tossing and turning to no good purpose.

So after the medication and checking my mails and messages I didn’t do very much at all for a while. Being up and about is one thing but actually being active is something else completely.

Once I’d finally joined the Land of the Living I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had a cat, a ginger cat last night. As I was going somewhere I took the cat with me in its carrier. We boarded the ship, I parked the car and took the carrier with me ready to go into the lounge. That meant climbing up a row of steps to the top deck so I threw the carrier up to the top so that I could pull myself up with both hands but the wind caught it and blew it over the side. That was the last that I saw of it, carrier and all. The cat was gone. A couple of minutes later there was a similar situation but this time with the laptop. I was doing almost exactly the same thing and that went over the side too

There were also 2 old women living together. I don’t know why but it was night-time and I was sleeping there. We heard a strange kind of noise so we listened. We couldn’t work out what it was so we ignored it. About half an hour later we heard the noise again. We came to the conclusion that it was one of these old women. We awoke the other one and had her go into her sister’s room to find out what was happening. From there the dream jumped to me at the doctor’s, arguing with him to try to have him come out. He was being extremely unco-operative. In the end we persuaded him to come to this girl’s house. We jumped again and it was in a court. It could have been a coroner’s court. Whoever was presiding asked the doctor the question “if he had reacted 10 minutes earlier would the deceased had still been alive?”. He had to admit “yes, she would have been”.

We were also out on the taxis last night. I was at my little workshop. I had someone with me and we had to leave so I went to get into a MkIII Cortina estate that was there. I put the key in and turned it but there were no lights on the dashboard. I said “God! Don’t tell me that the battery is flat. We’ll be stuck here for ever with everyone being busy”. Just then the ‘phone rang. It was Margaret. She asked “is there no dashboard light on the MkIV a problem?”. Whoever was with me explained to her that if there’s no battery or alternator connected you won’t have a light anyway but there’s no reason why the car won’t start. She tried it and it started so she went off to do her jobs. We hung up the ‘phone, I turned the key and the MkIII estate fired up and we set off.

And then I was with my friends from the Wirral. We were going to look at some houses that were damaged by fire or something and just left. We decided to go to have a look at them. There was another old woman living there who had a rather depressing kitchen and people had offered to help her improve it. She kept on turning them down and wasn’t very nice about it either. We came to these houses. The husband was in his Land Rover. Just then as we were on our way to go around the block to look at the back someone in a taxi that had been dressed up as a Carnival float reversed it out of a side street into the road and he just drove straight into the rear of it. This was his 4th accident in 2 weeks that I knew that he had been involved in but he wasn’t bothered in the slightest. I would have despaired if there had been so many for me. What he needed to have done was to have stopped and he could have avoided it. We managed to see one of the houses that had been fire-damaged. He was going on about how £12,000 to repair it was probably an exaggeration. He thought that it could be done for half. I couldn’t understand why the thought that because it may not have needed £12,000 but it wasn’t going to be far off to put this place right. It was simply not going to be saving thousands.

Later I was working in an office with John Cale, but which John Cale I don’t know. John Cale of Velvet Underground or John Cale the mate of Eric Clapton? We were working for an insurance company. Every now and again when the pressure of work became too much, we’d stop. He’d bring in some coffee and I’d bring in some biscuits and we’d have a little 10-minute coffee break. Anyone passing by at that moment could come in for a coffee and chat. management didn’t like it. They felt that we were wasting time. We explained that a morale-building exercise like this was doing us good. The funny thing about it was that this particular dream I dreamt in Welsh, so seeing as Velvet Underground’s John Cale was born in Garnant, it may well have been him.

I had exactly the same dream about an hour later. This time it was still John Cale but which one again? It was again in Welsh. I remember the ugly call and walked out when my grandfather became ill. I said that we’re invited for coffee and biscuits. They replied some kind of sarcastic comment that I didn’t have the time to mess around while they were paying me

I ended up on a holiday. We were coming back and had to unpack. That was the awkward bit because Caliburn was so full of stuff that in the end I had to reverse him out of the garage into the street and start to unload that way. I was talking to Jimmy Page. The subject of “Stairway To Heaven” came up. We ended up having a jam – me on bass and him on guitar. We had a lead guitar solo right at the very end of “Stairway” that went on for probably 20 minutes. It was the most incredible thing that I’ve ever heard. Strangely enough Jimmy Page said that he didn’t like it all that much but I thought that it was magnificent. When I awoke I wished that I could remember how it went because I really enjoyed playing that. However, it wasn’t “Stairway to Heaven” because when I awoke I was playing another Led Zeppelin song going round in my head but I forgot which one it was straight away.

Some of the rest of the day has been spent completing another radio programme. I’m now well ahead of where I want to be. I try to be about 6 months, or 25 programmes, ahead of where I am at the moment but tomorrow I’ll be sending off programme 176 and today I was completing programme 208.

That’s a good plan because if I end up stuck in hospital again like I did last autumn or if I go off on another long voyage, or if the worst ever comes to the worst then I’ll be covered for quite a while.

It’s all quite surprising really because I didn’t expect to be still going after all this time. I remember the hospital telling me back in 2017 when I talked about leaving Leuven and finding another place to live that I’d be wasting my time and money buying an apartment. That didn’t age well, did it?

The rest of the afternoon was spent flat-out on a chair. There can’t have been too much sleep during the night with all of that travelling around that I did and my early start in the morning so it’s not any surprise. It’s still quite dismal though. I wish that I could have a decent sleep at some point, with a few of my favourite visitors coming to see me.

And that reminds me. The final track that I chose for the radio programme that I prepared today was AIRPORT by my old partner in crime from my days stamping around Manchester in the mid-70s.
“Already it’s too late, you’re through the boarding-gate
And walking on the tarmac.
Already you are free, already you’ve left me
And cannot bear to look back, can you?”

And she didn’t look back either. How long is it now since Castor has put in an appearance during one of my nocturnal voyages?

Tea tonight was another pizza of course, and once again it really was an excellent pizza with putting the tomatoes on last and using that expensive grated vegan Cheshire Cheese.

So now I’m off to bed. With having prepared a couple of radio programmes this last week I don’t need to do any work for the radio tomorrow so I’m leaving the alarm set for 07:00 instead of 06:00 and I’ll have a little extra sleep, if I can.

The nurse is coming tomorrow morning to give me my injection so I’d better have a shower at some point early in the morning before he arrives. And I’ll have to tell him about the blood test that I need to have later in the week so he can come round and do the necessary.

So, see you in the morning.