… much better night last night, due to the fact that there wasn’t any noise from the neighbouring room. Mind you, there’s some noise coming from there now so here’s hoping that they’ll shut up in due course before bedtime.
It still didn’t make for an uninterrupted sleep because I was off on my travels during the night and I must have gone for miles. I started off in the USA travelling south and I’d come into Georgia, still travelling south and something must have happened because the next thing that I remember was that I was in a car with half a dozen other people. The woman was driving so recklessly through these roadworks, knocking over all these bollards. We’d been driving down a highway and now we were threading our way through a town. Two of these people were talking about how grateful they were to this woman for picking them up because they would never have found someone else going their way after they had been rear-ended in their car. They were chatting away and I thought to myself that pretty soon I’m going to be going into a couple of new States that I don’t know. So I asked “how far are we from the Georgia Florida border?” The woman replied “we’ll be crossing the border in about an hour or so”. The dawn was just so dramatic. It changed from a dark night to bright sunlight in an instant. I saw that the sun was about a quarter high so I thought that I must have gone to sleep or something. We were talking about race cars. They were mocking my English language about Wimbledon so we ended up talking about tractor pulling. The guy said that he’d be too scared to try tractor pulling because that’s really something.
Later on I was in the far north of Canada somewhere with my friend from Munich, standing on a clifftop watching events unfolding. Dawn was just breaking. We’d been around and I don’t know where but we’d ended up somewhere near a village. It had only been the smaller schoolchildren who had gone to school that day. As dawn started to break there were sounds of sirens or a horn and I thought that it must be an icebreaker coming down the river. I wondered if it would be Terry Fox, the icebreaker that I knew. So we looked and it was a heavy lorry coming down there zigzagging from side to side as if to flatten all of the streets, going downhill backwards to this village. We went down to see and by now all the schoolchildren were assembling, all ages, ready to go into school. There was a shop there that we came across because we followed the lorry and it had stopped there to get diesel. We walked into this shop with all of these schoolkids around, looking at us because we were dressed differently and looked differently. It was a second-hand place with loads of second-hand books and everything. There wee a few guitars there so my idea was that we would have an impromptu concert but all the strings had been knotted together so we couldn’t actually play anything on them. That was a really disappointing thing because we were hoping to have a little bit of fun with them.
Later still I was at my lock-up at Smallman Road and it was in a terrible mess. My brother was there and he started to help me tidy up, something about which I wasn’t very happy because when people start tidying up you don’t know where they put things and you never find them But after half an hour it made an enormous difference and you could actually walk around places which you hadn’t done in there for years. I then suggested o get the stuff out of Caliburn like the two spare wheels and a pile of boxes, the snow chains and everything. That was what we did and started moving stuff around out of Caliburn but somehow I became all oily and we were going to be really dirty and getting these tyres out of the back and so on.
Somewhere along the way I was standing in a queue behind a woman who was buying pieces of broken chocolate but she took so long trying to take her money from her purse that I was sure that I was going to miss what I was going to do and I wished that she would get a move on.
After the exertions of the last couple of days I stayed in bed until 10:00 and when I eventually rose again from the dead I went and had my medication. After that I chose the music for another radio programme. That’s three now that I’ve done and I’ll do the fourth tomorrow, I reckon.
After I’d made my sandwiches I headed off to the hospital for my appointment.
No market there this morning, and so instead I could admire the flowers. I’m not a flower person – in fact I once told my friend Lorna that the only time that you would find a flower on any photo that I took would be if there were an old car parked on top of it – but these are particularly beautiful.
As you might expect, I have no idea what kind of flowers these might be. “Yellow and white ones” would be my best guess.
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time we were here we saw this container with a couple of exercise bicycles in it. And I’ve finally worked out what its purpose is.
It seems that in about 30 days time there will be some kind of cycling World Championships taking place and this is some kind of advertisement to publicise the event.
We’ll see how events unfold here over the course of the next few weeks.
At the height of the storm the river LOOKED LIKE THIS and you can see how different the river is today. The doorway down there shows that there was a couple of feet of difference in the height of the river.
The country is still reeling from the effects of the storm, but luckily we here in Leuven didn’t suffer very much – not half as much as some places over in the east by the German border.
They have swept away all of what was the Sint Pieter’s Hospital and it seems that they are now starting to demolish the rear of the Sint Rafael Hospital. This is certainly some kind of new development that wasn’t here last time I was in Leuven.
This part of the redevelopment of the site is something that I hadn’t seen on the plans so I’ll be very interested to see how this particular story unfolds.
Something else that has turned up on the site since I was last here is a couple of lorry-loads of what looks like soil.
Presumably they are going to bulldoze it all over the site, and I hope that they will plant bushes and trees there as well while they are at it.
Here in the centre of the town there aren’t anything like enough trees and other greenery to revitalise the atmosphere and no effort should be spared to make the place look environmentally friendly.
It has been protected by scaffolding and there’s some metal sheeting to cover it over. But right now it seems that they are starting work on restoring it – and not before time either. It should look really nice when it’s finished – I hope.
The walk up the hill to the hospital was a nightmare. I had to stop about a dozen or so times in order to catch my breath and when I finally reached the hospital I was obliged to take the escalator up to the first floor.
That’s something that has not happened since I first came here 5 years ago and it’s definitely a backward step.
The nurse who attended to me was very sweet and she can come and massage my clavicles any time she likes. The doctor on the other hand was somewhat lacking in his approach and I don’t think that he’ll be working long in the profession.
He certainly didn’t have the interest in his task – whenever I mentioned something else that was the problem it was “see your GP about that” – except that he said it in French because that the language that he used to speak to me. He didn’t have the least curiosity and that’s no good for a doctor.
My blood count has gone up from 9.0 to 9.2 although it doesn’t seem anything like it. There’s definitely some other underlying problem with the health issues that I’m having right now.
While I was here I made a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes (hence today’s notes) but Alison popped by to see me so we ended up chatting instead. I’ll have to do the outstanding notes tomorrow, unless something else crops up in the meantime.
The big building that is receiving all of their attention right now is advancing. Not exactly quite rapidly but there is a great deal of surface area that is involved in this particular project and the volume alone will count for a lot.
It’s going to be quite a while before the building appears above ground level and judging by the thickness of the walls it’s going to be quite a substantial building too that is going to tower up above the surrounding building.
There’s part of this complex that runs round the back of the Onze Lieve Vrouwstraat in the distance and it looks as if they are now making a start on demolishing part of that – something else that I haven’t noticed on the plans of the site.
It seems that they are going to be making quite a clean sweep of the area and while I’m not sorry to see much of it go, there are some parts of it that have a certain something that will be missed when it’s gone.
While I was on my way up to the hospital there was a lorry there with the site crane lifting from the trailer a pile of concrete sheets that are presumably going to be the flooring. But by the time that I came back, they had all gone.
But the building is shooting up quite quickly, much quicker than we would expect, bearing in mind the speed at which other building projects are carried on in the town. Normally they take an age but they aren’t hanging around with this one.
While I was passing I peered through the new building out to the back, and you can see how closely they have built this structure to the house behind. This is going to cut out all of the light that would otherwise fall on the building.
There’s supposed to be a parking place for each of the apartments too and I’m not sure how they are going to fit any of that in on the site or in the little yard at the back.
Unfortunately I didn’t check it as thoroughly as I might because I was rather distracted by the noticeboard giving the explanations. And I wonder what exactly is a “Honkhuis”. My imagination is running wild right now.
And so I’ll have to have a look at the noticeboard next time I go past there and make better notes of how the site is going to evolve. But at least I did notice that the culvert that covers the river there is going to be removed and the river will be exposed once more to the open air.
On my way past it to the hospital there was no-one actually using it so I refrained from taking a photo, thinking that I’ll catch someone using it on the way back and photograph it then.
There was indeed someone using it, but not a cyclist. When I arrived some little girl was just cycling away from it with her mother. Instead I caught a man taking his dog for a run around it.
Not the best use of the velodrome, I have to say. I was expecting it to be much more popular with the youngsters than it seems to be.
We now seem to have some kind of hardstanding behind the velodrome, surrounded by a load of potted palms or whatever they might be. The purpose of this hardstanding is a mystery to me.
The way back home was accomplished without as much effort as I was expecting. I stopped at the chemist’s on the way back but she didn’t have everything that I needed so I’ll have to go back there tomorrow to pick up everything. I can do that while I’m having a little walk about
Now that I’ve had tea, and the music seems to have quietened down for a moment, I’m going to go to bed. No alarm in the morning – I’m going to have yet another lie-in. So here’s hoping that no-one manages to disturb me during the night.