Tag Archives: bouquet granvillais

Friday 27th January 2023 – I HAD ANOTHER …

… lie-in this morning.

But that was completely involuntary and by accident because the alarm failed to go off this morning.

When I checked the mobile phone I found that the battery had gone flat and it had switched off. Further enquiry revealed that what had happened was that the charging plug had somehow become detached from the telephone. With no possibility to repair something like this, that was that.

We aren’t lost though. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few years ago I lost my mobile phone and being totally unable to find it, I bought another one. A few months later, when I was tidying Caliburn looking for something else, I found the ‘phone down underneath the driver’s seat. so it went into a drawer and I forgot all about it.

Today’s events made ne remember where it was so I hunted it down but found, to my dismay, that the SIM card wasn’t the same size. But not to worry – I’ll sort it out later.

The morning was spent working on the notes for the radio programmes that I’ll be doing on Monday and chatting to Liz and Rosemary on the internet. But once the afternoon came round I dressed myself up and went out to catch the bus.

And today I’m very proud of myself in one respect, but not in another. When the bus dropped me off at the Place Godal I set off on my marathon hike to the Orange Telecom shop. That really is quite a walk, only about 400 metres short of the railway station and I was really impressed that I made it all the way there on my crutches.

But not so impressed when I spoke to the assistant at the shop. he took both telephones, took the SIM card out of the one that i’m going to use, peeled off the small adapter that was around it, put the SIM card from the broken ‘phone into the adapter and put that in the other ‘phone.

It was as simple as that and had I noticed that earlier when I was at home this morning, I could have saved myself the walk.

However the walk did me good and it’s made me think a little more about how I might go for broke and try one of these days to walk on my crutches to the railway station. But the last 400 metres is a killer hill, and I bet that the whole route will be a lot more difficult when I have things to carry.

Back down in the town I went to the Carrefour and bought a few bits and pieces, like mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and the like.

At the bus stop there was a 45-minute wait for the bus and it was cold out there and so I decided that I’d cross over the road and catch the bus in the other direction, round to the terminus at the other end of the line and then rode the bus back. At least it was warm and comfortable on the bus out of the wind.

Just about 45 minutes after I returned home I had to go back out again. The taxi came to pick me up to take me to this nerve specialist. and I’ll tell you now that pumping electricity through me as he did was one of the most painful things that has ever happened to me.

There’s nothing much wrong with my arms but there’s an issue with my left leg. As for my right leg, well, the least said about that the better. It’s quite clear according to him that there’s some serious damage.

He’s going to discuss things with my doctor but he did warn me that I need to pack my suitcase. I suppose that I’ll have to buy a couple of pairs of pyjamas too. Hospital nightwear is pretty depressing and I … errr … don’t actually have any of my own.

After I returned I transcribed the notes of my voyages from last night. I’d just finished work and I needed something for the weekend, which was in Chester, so I set out for Chester. It was such a nice evening so I decided that I would walk. I took a t-shirt, a cagoule, a fleece and another rainproof jacket just in case. The walk as far as the suburbs of Chester was quite uneventful and I quite enjoyed it but as I arrived closer to the city, it went really dark. We suddenly had a torrential downpour of rain. Luckily with the 2 rain jackets that I had and the fleece in between the 2 I kept warm and dry. I was able to walk quite comfortably up to the traffic lights on the edge of the city. Then the rain stopped and it went bright again. I stopped to take off the rain jacket. There were some people coming the other way who started to admire my rain jacket and particularly my yellow fleece, starting to talk to each other about it. They asked me a few questions but for some unknown reason I replied in French. I could see a look of puzzle on their faces as I did so but I didn’t really want to hang around and chat to them because I had a lot to do. I wanted to have it done as quickly as possible because of course it’s a long way to Chester and a long way back if you are walking.

As an aside, I walked back through the night from Chester to where I was living near Audlem a couple of times – all 30 or so miles of it – when the girl whom I was seeing went to College there and I didn’t have a car. It didn’t take me as long as you might think and even once or twice I walked straight to work and did 8 hours before going home to bed. I couldn’t do it now, even if I didn’t have the crutches.

I can’t remember who I was with later on, but it was a married couple. They were my age. It concerned a Ford Granada and there was some work that needed doing on it, the front wheel bearings and a few other bits and pieces. It had been around for a while and the work hadn’t started. I was with the woman who said that she had had a dream last night about her husband who had gone off to do this and that and somethign else. She’d happened to mention the Granada and he replied “oh yes, I’m going to get down to do it starting tomorrow”. He seemed so enthusiastic so she said that that’s possibly a good sign that means that he will. I said “strangely enough, I had a dream about someone working on a Granada too”. Then I told her the story of a friend whom I knew who had a Granada and who had been in the same position. He just wouldn’t start doing the repairs which was something to do with the wheel bearings and the front wings. After so many months he’d just put everything in a box and sold it, including the car, for someone else to do. She was surprised. Next time I went round her husband was there. He said “by the way, I’d done one of those front wheel bearings. It only took me 15 minutes as well”.

Tea tonight was some of these mini sausage rolls with baked potatoes, veg and gravy. They were actually quite delicious. I’ll have to work out a way of ordering some more of these “Green Cuisine” products. Noz has them in on the odd occasion but I’d love to have a more regular supply. It’s not possible to order stuff like this from the UK these days, what with Brexit and all that.

So hopefully tomorrow the alarm will go of and awaken me properly this time. Not that I have too much to do this weekend – do my cleaner’s accounts, do some more work on sorting out how I’m going to pay for this apartment that I’m supposed to be buying and that kind of thing. So I might even finish the notes for these radio programmes.

And having been to the shops this week, I have everything that I need, I reckon, but I really am going to try to go out for a walk more often, even if it isn’t far. Having made it as far as the Orange Mobile place today, I need to keep up the good work and see if I can exercise myself back into some sort of condition.

Only time will tell.

Thursday 26th January 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… quiet day today where I haven’t done all that much at all.

But it’s not been without interest. The physiotherapist has had me walking up and down the stairs here this afternoon, but leading with my left foot down and right leg up rather than the other way around. At first it was quite difficult but it didn’t take long to ease off. That’s one of the new exercises that I have to do now with effect from today.

And to my surprise, these exercises seem to be working. I was able to get into the bath for my shower and out again without too many problems. It’s still not 100% of course – far from it – but a vast improvement on the almost-impossible struggle that I had the first time that I tried it 6 weeks ago.

But as I said, it’s going to be a long, hard road.

Getting out of bed this morning was a long, hard road. Not helped in the least by still being up and about at 00:30 this morning. And so I was a little late getting out of bed this morning.

Plenty of time to go off on my travels last night though. I was watching a film on the TV. It was a medieval film about a castle on the coast of England somewhere on the south-east where the knights in armour were occupying it. There was a danger of an invasion so the Lord was rallying his troops to do they best they could in case this invasion took place. One of the visiting knights had fallen in love with a girl whose father was a labourer in the castle. He spent a lot of time talking to her. All of a sudden this castle moved to the borders of Wales. From a nearby church tower someoe fired an arrow into the castle. That was a signal for a siege of this castle to begin. Just then my brother came in. He’d been out somewhere. He wasn’t impressed at all with this film and started to fool around while it was on. He was firing a bow and arrow around the house while I was trying to watch the film. I told him to clear off but he took no notice. Then my parents came in. This wouldn’t be the kind of film that would interest them at all so I could see the TV being changed over to another channel and that would be that once they established themselves in the living room

A little later I was in my father’s place of work. He was working in the office. I’d been doing a few things and I had something to do that required me sitting at a desk. I went to sit on the empty desk next to him but found that there was a young boy already there doing some homework. He’d dated his homework the 12th of whatever month. I thought “he’s started early because that’s not for another week”. I suddenly realised that it was today. I was running so far behind. I tried to squeeze in at this table too but my father told me not to disturb the boy. I did my best to fit in. My father started to talk to me but I had a lot of problems trying to understand what he said. He said that he had a transistor radio from someone. at first I couldn’t work out who but then I realised the shop that he had been to. I said “that’s because you’ve spent a load of money I suppose”. He thought that that was what it might be. Then he started to talk about a night club he used to visit years ago which I thought was in Winsford. He was telling me that someone had asked him for directions to go there, some taxi operator. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was. Then he told me that it wasn’t in Winsford anyway. By this time my father and this boy had worked their way down this table to the end so there was no room for me to sit there. I was then trying to work out where I was going to sit down to do my work because there didn’t seem to be any other empty space.

I had also been round to a former friend’s – someone who has a connection with Zero – for some reason or other. He was talking about the bread that he’d made. It was really light and fluffy. He said that he’d left the flour to soak before he’d actually used it so I was intrigued. He took me into the kitchen to show me some dough that he had soaking in some plastic bags. For some unknown reason I came away from there with a brush cutter. To drive past to his house we’d driven from the north end of Stoke on Trent past Port Vale’s football ground then past Stoke City’s football ground to his house. I mentioned some nickname to do with the club. He was surprised to hear me say this. He didn’t realise that I knew what it was. For some reason he lent me his brush cutter. I couldn’t think of what to do with it. There was some fuel in it. I carried it away. One of the reasons why I’d gone round there – I found that not one of my cars had an MoT or tax these days. I’d had 2 run out last year and suddenly remembered that the 3rd ran out in March but it was now May. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do about that. I had this brush cutter and was back at the station. There was some kind of competition about getting on the last train. I had to cross over the bridge from the platform where I was up the steps and across the top to the other side then back down the other side and then come back again after a train has passed through. I headed that way towards the bridge, checked the signals to show that they were on green which meant that the train wasn’t coming for a while and crossed over. Then I was thinking about crossing back to catch this other train but I thought that that would drop me off in Altrincham and it would be a very long walk at some silly time of night back home where it’s much easier to catch the 1st train and forget about the train that’s going to be bringing me back. I ended up walking into the town from there to get on a bus but thought that with this brush cutter with fuel in it are they going to let me go on the bus?

So here we go again. Plenty of opportunities for my family to come along again and stick their oars into whatever I’m trying to do, and then being so close to Zero but yet so far. How could I get so close to you and still feel so far away as TOM PETTY SANG.

And while we’re on the subject – “One day you belonged to me. Next day I just wouldn’t know”. What does that remind you of? Yes, one day I’ll write those missing notes for those three days right at the beginning of September 2019.

So having dealt with the issues of the dictaphone I sat down and selected the music for the next batch of radio programmes. I’m working on the radio stuff on Thursday as well as Monday until I’ve build up my library of six months’ work.

Then I paired off the music for the next two programmes and made a start on writing the notes for them. It worked so well on Monday doing it like this that I thought that I’d try it again, although I’m hoping that it won’t be another 04:00 start.

In the middle of all of this I went for a shower. I have to be all clean and tidy and smell nice for the physiotherapist. And as I said, climbing into the bath for a shower was nothing like a difficult as it was when I first tried it after coming out of hospital

And climbing up and down the stairs, I bumped into a neighbour – the one who helped me so much in my plans to involve myself in that apartment downstairs. Having a mole on the inside track on the Residents’ Committee of the building enabled me to take several short-cuts that I would otherwise have been unwilling to take.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m convinced that Rosemary installed a camera in this apartment when she came to visit. I’d hardly sat down at my desk after the physiotherapist had gone and she called me up. We had another one of our marathon chats as she prepares for her Asian adventure in a couple of weeks’ time.

And how I wish that my health had been better otherwise I might have been tempted to climb aboard the ‘plane with her.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun with chips and a simple lettuce and tomato salad with vegan mayonnaise. It was delicious and I even now can still taste the mustard that I spread on the bun. Chips today means no chips tomorrow so I was wondering what to have for tea. And then I remembered the vegan sausage rolls in the freezer. They will go nicely with some baked potatoes.

So right now I’m going to bed. I might have a decent sleep tonight if I’m lucky, and then I have plenty of work to do. But my day will finish off with a visit to the specialist for my EMG – the electric tests on the nerves on my legs. And then I’ll have some news. Last time when I was there, it didn’t sound all that optimistic and the tests that he carried out seemed to confirm it. But who knows – something good might come of it.

Wednesday 25th January 2023 – AFTER ALL OF …

… the excitement and effort yesterday, I’ve been taking it easy today.

With not going to bed before midnight last night, I decided to ignore the alarms this morning and I stayed in bed until 09:45 this morning. That’s all very well for an odd day here and there but it’s not too good in the long term, that’s for sure, and I really do have to put in more of an effort to crawl out of bed at a more respectable time.

It must have been a really good night for sleeping too because I didn’t go far during on my travels. We were working in a garage during the night. There was a Hillman Imp van there that someone had partially dismantled the rear light unit on the left-hand side. I went to reassemble it. Just then A former friend of mine from school appeared in the distance and was wandering into the garage. He pointed out that he’d had some problems with the vehicle on that corner and had taken the rear light apart to look at the suspension. He found that the hi-fi speaker was missing out of the place where it goes which was accessible through the back of the rear light. I had a look and you could see that there was no speaker there. All the lugs had corroded so it looked as if it had been missing for quite some considerable time.

After a leisurely start to the day I started to edit the radio programme that will (hopefully) be broadcast on Friday. We’ve had another musician go off and play in that great big gig in the sky and that involved some editing of the programme. And surprisingly, it takes longer to edit something that I’ve already done than it does to actually make the programme.

Particularly when I miscalulate yet again (I shall have to take up this idea of more compulsory maths) and end up with 10 seconds short so I have to turn round and do it again.

The cleaner came round this afternoon too for an hour and made the place look much more like home, for which I am grateful. Mind you, it’s the last Wednesday of the month so I have to think about paying her.

Once she’d gone I decided to go and make a start on bringing the shopping in from Caliburn. I decided that that would be the exercise for the next week – a dozen or so trips up and down the stairs carrying a small amount of stuff every time.

However it didn’t work out like that. I bumped into a couple of neighbours and they took it upon themselves to run a shuttle service up to my door, and everything was done before I even had time to lock Caliburn back up again.

It’s like I said, not only is the building and the area so nice, the neighbours are so wonderful too. I can’t understand why anyone would want to leave here.

With a mug of hot chocolate I transcribed the dictaphone notes and yesterday’s details are now on line for your perusal.

Tea tonight was a left-over curry and it was one of the best yet. I definitely have the hang of this now and my own mixture of spices seems to be working.

So now I have a few things to finish off and then i’m off to bed. I have a few important things to do tomorrow too and I have to set the ball rolling about gathering in what I need to pay for this apartment. I’ve already made a few enquiries about getting a workman in to help me with the shower but there’s plenty more to do too.

Monday 23rd January 2023 – THAT RADIO PROGRAMME …

… that i’d been trying to do since Thursday was finished off today quite quickly.

and so was the one that I was going to do today. In fact they were both up and running and ready to go by about 11:30 and I was quite pleased about that.

Mind you, it was all thanks to yet another early start. I might have been in bed by 22:00 but I was awake again at 01:30. I couldn’t go back to sleep either and so by about 04:45 I was up and about having my medication. And then I sat down to start work.

Despite the short amount of time that I actually spent asleep, I managed to go off on quite a few travels. I was in Shavington, in Crewe Road with a great big rucksack on my back. A lorry went past me but he had to stop just afterwards because there was something large like a tractor parked in the road and he needed to go past the tractor. But there was something coming the other way. I could see that this was quite a big lorry so he was probably going to need to go on the pavement to go past the obstruction. The other vehicle was halfway across the road waiting to go past the tractor. I walked back down the path about 50 metres so that it could come past. It turned out to be a Land Rover towing a trailer loaded up with these wooden stakes that are used for making fences. As it went past me I thought that I could go to Crewe this way down a side street so I set off down there. The idea was to go and wait for Zero because I’d waited for her yesterday.

And then I was at work. Someone rang me up to ask if I could go to fetch some roast chicken for his lunch and a few other bits and pieces from the supermarket. It was quite late at night so I went out of the building but couldn’t see anything because it was pitch-black. I couldn’t find the footpath. Groping around, I heard a bicycle coming so I stopped. The bicycle went past me. I found that as my eyes adjusted to the light that I was in fact on the gravel path that leads up to the other office on top of the hill. I walked up the path thinking to myself that maybe I ought to ask for the footpath to be illuminated during the night because I was sure that it wasn’t just me who was asked every now and again to go out again in the dark. It must be helpful for people if they are going between the two offices when it’s dark and they could see where they are going. Eventually I walked through the town and came to where the supermarket was. As I approached I was wondering whether it would be open at this time of night because I wasn’t sure whether it was a 24-hour supermarket. As I turned the corner I could see down into the car park and saw that some of the lights were on, but I wasn’t convinced that there were enough lights on that meant that it was open

Later on I was at work again. My lunch hour finished and I walked through the office. I was originally heading back to my desk but it had been weeks and weeks since I’d actually been given any work to do. I just carried on walking and went out of the front door of the building and then up the hill to the corner of the road. On the left was a big square set down a few steps from road level with some lovely buildings in there. On the right were some more old buildings with a hotel and a market where there was a covered walkway that went over the road to connect two halves together. It was all very Gothic, Victorian etc. I was wondering whether to go for a big explore but I thought that I’d better turn round and retrace my steps and head back to the office just in case on the offchance there might be something for me to do.

There was much more than that too but if you are eating your meal right now you won’t thank me for telling you about it.

Once the radio programmes were finished and the dictaphone notes had been transcribed, the rest of the afternoon has been spent in an exchange of messages with the President of the Residents’ Committee for this building. There are one or two things thzt I need to discuss with her that are quite important but she wasn’t able to help me all that much. I shall have to figure out a few things for myself.

Another thing that I needed to do was to ring up for a lift to take me to this EMG thing on Friday late afternoon. If I have a free taxi voucher because of my health issues I may as well use it0

Tea tonight was a departure from the usual stuffed pepper. The pepper that I had in the fridge ended up in the bin and if it had stayed in the fridge for another 5 minutes it would have walked on its own into the bin without any help at all from me. It was just a shame that i’d already made the stuffing.

When I’ve finished these notes I’m off to have a shower. I have to be up early and out on my way for this important meeting tomorrow morning. And if I have a car I’m going to buy a big load of shopping. I might as well stock up with stuff while I can.

And hopefully Caliburn will be fixed next week so I can get back into the swing of things as I used to. But that will depend on the physiotherapist and what he has to say. I’ll find out about that tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday 19th January 2023 – I WAS PLANNING …

… on making a radio programme today but I haven’t. I’m very far from it as it happens not even having written all of the notes, never mind dictated and edited them. There have been planty of other things going on today, all of which have needed my attention.

The first was this thing for the radio that I did yesterday. I should have realised that it was only part of the story and that there was much more to do than that.

Secondly I had a couple of phone calls to make, one of which involves my day out on Tuesday. No-one has told me where I’m supposed to go, what I’m supposed to do, what I need to bring with me, despite a reminder that I sent on Monday.

Consequently I telephoned them this morning and they promised to send me the information today at some point. And so it’s now about 22:00 and the information still hasn’t been received. I can see me turning up on Tuesday morning (I found out by other means where I need to go) without any of the required information, a huge problem developing as a result, and me turning round and saying “hard luck”.

Rosemary rang me as well and we had one of our very lengthy chats about nothing much in particular. She’s currently under a couple of feet of snow down in the Auvergne, as is much of the country today. I saw a photo of the vinyard of my friend in the Saone valley and that’s pretty much in a white-out.

This afternoon I finally managed to contact the garage about the problems that i’m having with Caliburn. There’s no auto-electrician in Granville, as I reckoned, but he’s of my opinion that it’s either a bad earth or a bad starter. As a result he can have a go at fixing it and he’s arranged for me to call in on 31st January. He’ll have a play around to see if he can fix it before I make plans about taking it to Coutances and the auto-electrician.

So what am I going to do on Tuesday? It’s probably the most important meeting that I’ve had for many a year and I need to be there. And so I rang up about hiring a car for a morning. It works out to be about half the price of a taxi and I can even recover the cost by doing a shopping trip around LeClerc instead of having my monthly delivery.

The physiotherapist came round later and had a close look at how I walk. he’s identified another muscle that needs work so he’s given me some exercises for that too. I can see that I’ll be spending most of the rest of my life doing exercises at this rate.

And so that left me with the dictaphone notes to write. Those for yesterday were the first to do and then I updated yesterday’s entry. And then I had a look at today’s stuff. I was working on the radio last night speaking to a woman whom I knew who had a boy who was 6 or 7. They had come from a distant planet to live on the planet where we were. The son spoke the local language and also spoke the language of the planet where they lived before. They had lots of different experiences even down to the kind of pets that they would keep and how they looked after them so I was really keen to interview him. We had quite a long chat for 15 minutes learning all about pets, the way of life, how familes were composed, how they managed on their distant planet somewhere millions of light years away.

Next, I’d gone round to Aunt Mary’s flat to tidy it up. On the way I’d bumped into Nerina and we’d had quite a long chat. For some unknown reason we ended up back together again. I was in the middle of buying a house and was actually filling in a load of documents while she was there. I had to fill in a form with my father’s details. I thought “my father is dead. How do I find out this?”. She said “I didn’t know that he’d died”. Then it came to details of my wife’s parents. I put “not applicable”. She looked rather bizarrely at that. We carried on chatting all the same. We ended up at Aunt Mary’s flat. We thought from what we’d heard that my elder sister and her brother had been to see the place and had it almost ready but when we went in there was nothing whatever that had been done. There were papers all over the place. We made a start on collecting it all together but we couldn’t find any boxess so in the end I thought to myself “there’s no point being here. We may as well go. I’ll leave a note for my elder sister” but trying to find a blank piece of paper with nothing written on the reverse was next to impossible. I already had 2 attempts at pulling a piece of paper out of a notebook only to find that there was something on the back. In the end I thought “we’re wasting our time here. Nothing is going to be done, we aren’t going to find anything, there are no boxes to put anything, there’s no point taking anything away like this. In the end we just left.

Later on I was buying some property and had a pile of forms to sign. I was reading my way through them checking everything, seeing everything that was written down and thinking to myself “this fellow must have had a lot of money when he died to have been able to leave everything like this to all kinds of different people.

Did I dictate this just now or did I dream doing it? Apparently not. Anyway I was with Nerina again and we were chatting. She was saying that she’d given up judo etc. We’d been to some kind of health or other, then we’d gone away. I needed a paper from where we were. It was at this house. The servants were in there so I had to break in ever so quietly to fetch it. I went back there and quietly broke my way in. I was rifling through this paper when 2 people suddenly appeared. They asked if this house had 2 floors. I replied “not if you swam here by the river. It only has 2 floors if you come here by the road”. They disappeared off and I hurried to try to find this paper. They ended up back, and we ended up with quite a few more people. There was some kind of dinner party taking place. It was in the morning as well so we had a cooked breakfast. People were talking to Nerina, asking if it was true that she’d given up judo etc. One of the girls, the one who had come in with this guy while I was finding this paper, she had the tiniest breakfast imaginable, about a quarter of a slice of toast with 2 or 3 baked beans on it. We made a joke about if it was going to be enough. She said that she didn’t eat a lot. We said that she needed to eat to keep up her strength. What will she do if she’s hungry? Luckily she took the teasing in good nature rather than being offended.

Finally, I was still in Slovakia or wherever I was. I’d been in a secondhand transport bookshop. There were tons of stuff in there but there was only one or two things that I wanted, little pamphlets. I picked them up. Someone else wanted something, an American boy who was talking to us about the Warburton Railway and one or two other bits and pieces. When we reached the checkout the guy told us that there was a sale on today. he went throught the stuff we’d bought and it came to 75 cents. he said “that kind of thing deserves a tip” so I gave him €1:00 and told him to keep the change. I gave a book to this American boy and told him “here, have this on me”. We walked off into the town

The vegan pie that I had for tea tonight was delicious, with vegetables and thick gravy. That was, I reckon, the last of the vegan pie so I’ll have to make some plans about making some moreat some point. But I really want to have a good run through the freezer and empty out what it in there first before I decide about making some more stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be taking out a couple of vegan sausages as I fancy some sausage, beans and chips. Those vegan sausages that I bought in Jersey last summer were delicious and I would love to find some more somewhere.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed though. I have my electrical poking and prodding tomorrow and then I’m going shopping in town for mushrooms and to visit the bank. A little expedition on the bus and on my crutches should certainly be different.

Wednesday 18th January 2023 – I HAVE BEEN …

… really busy today.

So much so that I’ve not had time yet to transcribe the (pile of) dictaphone notes from last night.

Being … errr … somewhat later than the alarm didn’t really help matters too much. But as soon as I was finally sitting at the computer, the telephone rang. Someone was obviously checking up on me.

It was the guy from the radio on the telephone. On the 5th February there’s something going on at the local theatre and the radio needed some music doing. And I’m at the stage where if I don’t do something as soon as I have the instructions, I’ll either forget it or run out of time or something.

And so there is no time like the present to get on with the task.

At midday I took myself off outside as the rain had stopped for a short while. Caliburn struggled into life so we went for a good drive for about 25 kilometres. It’s still not enough to put a decent charge in the battery so when I returned home I started trying to track down an auto electrician who can put his equipment onto Caliburn’s starting and charging circuit.

It doesn’t seem to me to be the charging circuit or the battery that’s at fault because the battery doesn’t seem to be getting any worse. It’s either the starter that’s on its last legs or else there’s a bad earth somewhere. In the old days I’d be underneath Caliburn checking everything over but I’m really not up to that right now. For a start, if I were to lie down, I wouldn’t be able to stand up again.

Anyway, there doesn’t seem to be an auto-electrician anywhere in the vicinity. I shall have to ring up the guy in the garage and see if he knows of anyone or whether he has the equipment to do it.

The cleaner came round this afternoon and did some work on the place. She’s not impressed with the microwave and, to tell the truth, neither am I. Once I get myself organised, the microwave here will be going to the great kitchen in the sky and I’ll be having something decent.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I moved here in 2017 I bought everything new at the cheapest possible price on the grounds that I would have everything all at once, and then little by little I’d replace it with decent stuff as it wore out.

And then I had a ‘phone call from the UK. I mentioned the other day that I was having to sort out my finances and somewhere along the line I need to sort out the Royal Bank of Scotland. Their bank charges are somewhat exorbitant but there’s a way around this and it’s not the kind of thing that you can do on your own.

Tea tonight was a leftover curry. There were plenty of leftovers and so it was quite a decent curry. I’m getting the hang of these curries now and they really are delicious. Tomorrow night’s tea though will be a vegan pie, I recon. I found a slice in the freezer while I was looking for something else and by the looks of things it’s been in there for a while.

At some point in the future I managed to deal with the dictaphone notes. This was something to do with a football match where I was. The winger of one side and the full-back of the other side put in a really crunching tackle on each other and the ball ricochets out and goes into the back of the net of the attacking side. The commentator seemed to think that that was violent conduct, should be disallowed and a free kick given to the defence. Nevertheless the referee gave a goal. I could understand why he did it although I thought that there were many clubs who wouldn’t have been so lucky as to have the benefit of a decision like this go in their favour.

Watson and Holmes were in bed when a carriage pulled up outside, a big black open carriage the kind in which you would imagine Dracula riding. Someone alighted and awoke them both. He invited them to come with him for a consultation at some silly hour of the morning. They piled into this carriage. It turned out that they were going to somewhere near Chesterfield. They set out but Holmes was not impressed. They were dodging the traffic – these old 1950s Ford Anglias etc. Suddenly the guy with them started to panic pointing out “the red spot! The fourth red spot!”. It was only after they were able to focus, Holmes and Watson, that they could see floating in the air above them 4 tiny red spots like pieces of confetti as they headed out of north London. These were keeping just ahead of them, probably about 30 feet above the ground.

Then about half an hour or so later we had this Holmes and Watson story almost word-for-word again coming along.

Crewe Alex were playing in the Cheshire Senior Cup final against a team from Audlem called something to do with Geoff Barnes, the Geoff Barnes Thrash or something. Barnes was a former Crewe Alex player who could probably have been Eric Barnes who played centre-half for the Alex for years and then retired and owned a gents’ outfitters in the town. But in the dream he had this formidable amateur side that went on to win just about every competition that they ever entered for a year or two. I can’t remember any more about this dream than this

Finally I was at the BBC last night preparing a meal for the radio. We were making some kind of chili con carne with everything in it. There was a rat and we cut it into squares and started to add it but at the very last minute I decided that maybe this wasn’t a very good idea. I started to fish out all of the bits. It was a shame that I’d added it because it was looking so nice up to that point and fitted nicely into the saucepan but once I added these chunks of rat it overflowed so I had to grab a bigger saucepan. That was what made me ralise that there was too much and the rat ought to go.

So bedtime now. Tomorrow I have a radio programme to prepare and a few phone calls to make. Things are hotting up around here right now, and in more ways than one.

Monday 16th January 2023 – AND IN OTHER …

… exciting news today, when the alarm went off at 06:00 this morning I was busy adding the final touches to the radio programme that I was planning to prepare today.

Despite having gone to bed at the early time of 22:00 last night, at 02:28 I was still wide-awake and unable to go to sleep.

A short while later, still wide awake, I arose from the dead, made myself a coffee and by 03:00 I was sitting at the computer working on the radio programme. There’s no point pretending that I’m trying to sleep.

So by the time the alarms went off I was up and running and raring to go, so the first place I went to was the bathroom where I had a shower. I was hoping that maybe the nurse would come round and inject me and I need to be something like clean.

With no sign of the nurse though, by about 10:30 I was pretty well gone with the wind and I went to bed, where I slept for a couple of hours. I went off ona little wander here and there while I was asleep. I was somewhere in the country. There was a neighbour who was bad-tempered like the one who lives in Virlet. I was wandering around outside and saw that he had a lot of animals there. I walked that way to see what they were. He had a really vicious sheepdog thing that snarled and growled at me, pulled on his lead so I turned round and walked away from there

Rosemary had sent me a message while I was asleep so we had a good chat for a while once I awoke, and then I went for some more coffee and some food. It’s been a long day already.

During the afternoon I was extremely busy. There were some issues with my property in Canada that needed attention so I had an exchange of e-mails with the Provincial Government in New Brunswick. It’s nice to see someone who is quick and efficient.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to shuffle some money around from one place to another. I have a feeling that I’m going to need to lay my hands on some money at some point in the future and as I’ve not touched my holiday fund since I went to the High Arctic in 2019 I need to bring it closer to home.

That’s not as easy as it might sound either and I had to rely on Rosemary to give me a little hand with one or two things. I’ve also had to send out a pile of e-mails to shake some people up and tell them to extricate their digits too.

One of my plans was to go outside to see how Caliburn is doing. But we’re in the middle of a hurricane right now. Just after 06:00 this morning a gust of wind of 162 kph was recorded. I made it outside with some rubbish to put into the bin but that was all that I was going to do because the wind was still roaring and quite literally it was blowing me over. I’m not as strong on my feet as I might be and I was nearly bowled over a couple of times so I came back in. I’ll have to have another go at some other time.

Tea tonight was a delicious stuffed pepper, with plenty of stuffing left over for my taco roll tomorrow. But with a Welsh lesson, the Social Services coming round to see me and then the physiotherapist, will I actually have time to eat it?

Sunday 15th January 2023 – WITH IT BEING …

… Sunday today, I’ve had one of my usual Sunday days where I’ve had a good lie-in and done next to nothing all day.

What else I’ve done, rather unfortunately, is to fall asleep at some point in the afternoon. As if 9 hours sleep during the night isn’t enough, especially seeing as I didn’t go to bed until 02:00 and get up at 11:00. I’ve no idea what’s going on with me these days.

There was plenty of time during the night to go on a few voyages too, such as I remember. We were working in an office somewhere. There was cake everywhere – everyone was either baking or bringing cake in and there could have been 8 or 10 different cakes in that office. I’d baked one and someone had given me one for my birthday etc. Someone came in to tidy up the office, a young guy. Before we could say anything he’d cut a slice off each of these cakes, dumped it onto my plate and took my plate away. I bawled him out for doing this, saying that in future when he comes, to leave the cake alone. He’s certainly not to cut or take my cake, the cake that I’d made or been given. If he wants anything for himself he should really ask before he just goes and helps himself like that. A huge pile of cake on a plate like that was just outrageous.

And then the problems between me and my partner reached a head. We’d already separated once then on the bus coming back from Chester to Winsford she suddenly alighted at a bus stop and the bus drove away and left her. When the bus reached Nantwich I alighted and decided that I’d walk back to Winsford, I’m not quite sure why. This involved a walk through a field then down an incredibly steep bank. There was a place to go down and a way in which you did it. I didn’t know this particular way. When I arrived at the top of the bank there was a guy there on a bike. he wondered what on earth I was going to do. I launched myself over the top and went down in a large S-shaped sweep down to the bottom and set off to walk back to Winsford. I’m not sure why or what I was hoping to do etc.

I missed out a lot of this next dream. I can’t remember but later on we were discussing films, about making a horror film. I said that the tension is all in the soundtrack and film score. A lot of the tension if you took away the soundtrack and film score just wasn’t there at all. This was particularly true in comedy films. I explained a couple of examples like one or two of the “Carry On” films, about how the music and so on led people to the comedy moments. If you took those away the comedy moments themselves were very small and unimportant

Another dream about which I have forgotten a lot was that I’d gone to a chip shop to buy some chips. There was a huge queue of people loitering around outside so I passed over my order and waited. I ended up chatting to some people etc. I suddenly realised that I’d been there an hour and there was no sign of my chips. I went in and asked but trying to have some people understand what it was that I was trying to ask was extremely difficult for some reason. I couldn’t seem to make them understand that i’d ordered and paid for my meal a long time ago and not received anything.

My day, such as it was, started off with a good chat with Liz who showed me a video and took me on a guided tour of her new accommodation. It reminded me of the house in which my niece’s eldest daughter lives in Woodstock but is in much better condition and laid out much more sensibly.

After brunch of cornflakes, toast and coffee I made a start on doing some more notes for the radio programme that I’ll be doing tomorrow if I wake up in time. That is rather touch-and-go the way that I feel these days

And not that I did an awful lot because it was in the middle of all of this that I fell asleep.

Just as I was on the point of going out for my afternoon walk as I promised, Ingrid ‘phoned me and we had a long chat about all kinds of things. We both have our health issues right now so we compared notes.

When we finished I noticed that the sky had clouded over and it was on the point of raining. Not much point going out now so I made a batch of fruit buns. And they look wonderful too, probably some of the best that I have ever made. And if they taste as good as they look, they will be delicious. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Last week I mentioned that there was something not quite right with the pizza that I made. The pizza that I made tonight with the same batch of dough was delicious so it must have been just a one-off last week. But I really want to have a decent oven to do my cooking because this tabletop oven that I have isn’t doing what it should.

So now I’m going off to bed. It’s early but I have a 06:00 start in the morning and if the nurse has picked up my message from Friday he’ll be coming round to give me my fortnightly injection. They are starting up again now that I have a proper prescription and some supplies.

Let’s see if I feel any better after this. After all, I couldn’t feel much worse.

Saturday 14th January 2023 – THAT WAS A …

… rather quiet day today.

Despite everything that I said yesterday about going out for a walk today, it’s been pouring down with rain all day and so I’ve not set foot out of the building at all.

However, I have set foot outside the apartment, and a couple of times too. Round about 17:00 we had a series of power cuts in the building and I had to go downstairs to see what was happening. Mind you, someone beat me to it each time so I may just as well have stayed in here.

When I awoke this morning, I was in agony. My knees were hurting in a couple of places, presumably as a result of my efforts yesterday. However, once I was actually up and about and moving around, not only did the pain ease up but I could move around a little easier too. I think that it did me some good to go for a walk yesterday and I wish that the weather would brighten up a little so that I could go for another one.

Apart from that I’ve had a very quiet day today. All I’ve done is to pair up the music and write a few notes for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. I might even do some more tomorrow but I have other fish to fry, like making some fruit buns. I was going to make a loaf but I’ll do that later in the week, I reckon, if I have time. I can’t believe how busy my week is going to be next week.

There was football on the Internet this afternoon too, Llanelli third in the Second Division at home to Connah’s Quay Nomads, second in the First Division in a Welsh Cup match. There was only ever going to be one winner in this game but hats off to Llanelli who made the Nomads work hard and kept them down to just 2 goals.

And how different might things have been had Llanelli scored the penalty that they were given in the second half when they were just 1-0 down?

But it goes to show how wide the gulf is between the First and Second Division, as Airbus UK Broughton and Pontypridd United are finding this season after having been promoted at the end of last season.

Tea tonight was some of those small burgers with baked potato and a salad. I’m really getting the hang of these salads now and not only do they taste nice, they look nice too with lettuce, tomato, mushroom, sweet corn and vegan mayonnaise.

Later on, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I pulled up at this huge, expensive hotel. I was in something big like a Rolls-Royce. There was all kinds of confusion where you park the cars. I had to shout at someone who was continually getting in my way while I was trying to park. Then I had to walk into the reception and fillin a card. It asked for my father’s details and my mother’s details too but the writing was so small that there wasn’t any space to write the answers so I just wrote anything down. Nothing of it was accurate which was just as well because my writing was so small that you couldn’t read it anyway. I was thinking to myself that it would have been far simpler to have handed over at least a passport of my father because my mother was dead. At some point it occurred to me that instead of giving my mother’s details I was giving them Aunt Mary’s details. I don’t know what was happening about that.

And later on I’d gone on a walking tour again with some people camping in the forest and going for a walk along this path. The first morning that we awoke the guy in charge said that we were going to rehearse one of the longer routes that we’d be taking. We started off by the tents. He told me that I didn’t need to come if I didn’t want to but I was there so I said that I would. He was very pernickety about his equipment and about his ownership of all kinds of maps and everything with him and photos, how we would align himself when he was walking through the forest – walk towards this cabin then off towards this rock etc which I thought was probably overdoing everything. We eventually started and I ended up with 2 girls whom I didn’t know. We were in this sports ground, an old type of pre-Taylor-Report football ground type of thing. We ended up in a queue. They said that they wanted a bun or something and did I want one? I replied “no” because there was nothing there that I could eat. But when they came away from this queue they had cups of tea etc with them. I thought that if I knew that they were going to have a drink I’d have had a coffee. Then we had to go to find a place to sit down but there was all this grass seed blowing around everywhere. You couldn’t really sit down because it would all be in your drink etc.

It looks as if I have the subject of holidays running around in my subconscious mind right now. But I can forget all about them until at least I’m mobile again. I can’t go anywhere right now as I am.

However, that’s for later. Right now I’m going to bed as I reckon that i’ve had enough of today. Tomorrow is another day and next week is another week. With an appointment basically every day next week, I need to extricate my digit.

Friday 13th January 2023 – IT JUST GOES …

… to show that I can do it when I really try and what’s going wrong with me right now is inside my head rather than anywhere else.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already up and about dressing and when the second alarm went off at 07:45 I’d already had my medication and was sitting down working at the computer.

And if that’s not extraordinary behaviour, it should be borne in mind that I didn’t go to bed until 01:00, I was wide-awake again at 06:45 and I didn’t crash out at all at any point today.

There was however something or urgency to be done, and that might explain things. Having done a lot of work on the radio programme for Jeff Beck by the time that I wrote up my notes last night, I stayed up and finished everything that I had on hand – dictating the notes, editing them, pairing off the music and then joining everything together.

No wonder that it took me until 01:00 this morning!

And this morning, I wrote out a few more notes to conclude the programme, dictated and edited them, and then joined them in with the final tracks. I’d finished everything and listened to it to make sure that it was OK and it was all ready to go by 10:00 this morning.

And it was broadcast this evening.

Having been done in a hurry, it would have benefited from some further editing, but the joints for the tracks were perfection.

That was the cue to sit down with a mug of strong coffee and a fruit bun and relax for an hour or two. It’s not like me to work like this, especially these days.

At some point in the morning I had a ‘phone call. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have a little project simmering away on the back burner. The gist of this phone call was that in about 10 days or so I may have some news to impart to you in this respect.

Not before, though. There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.

At some point I was intending to go off down into town to try out my new crutches. When I felt like going out I looked out of the window and saw that instead of the bright sunny weather that we had had earlier, we were now in the middle of a tropical downpour.

That was the cue to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was on a holiday somewhere, one of these walking holiday things where you stay in a hotel for a week and go to different places for walks around interesting sites. We’d just been on one and were on our way back. Someone mentioned something about a walk that they had done that was extremely interesting. I told them about my trip to the High Arctic. As the lift thinned out someone said to me “hey Reverend, where’s your dog collar today?”. I made some kind of joke about that. The question of cars came up. I said that I had 2 cars, rather a car and a van. I left the lift and to my surprise I could walk up a step with my left foot, something that I haven’t done for ages. I thought that this walking is certainly doing me better. I was expecting a letter for a radio programme that I was doing. I thought “the post has come this morning so it should be in our pigeon hole”. I went to the post room and picked up my key to go to look inside my pigeon hole. There were envelopes everywhere, all over all the tables, the reception counter, piles of post that hadn’t been sorted as yet. I thought to myself “I won’t find my envelope here”. Then I put the key in the key hole in my pigeon hole so that I could open it to make sure that it hasn’t arrived and found that the key wouldn’t fit. For some unknown reason I was trying with the wrong key.

And then I was at another holiday hotel with a lot of people my age or maybe younger. I decided that I wasn’t really going to do any of the optional trips. I’d just sit there and relax. Somehow I was swept along, chatting to a woman here and another one there etc. We all were going on a car-sharing ride. I ended up with a woman who I was convinced that I’d been with yesterday. We were chatting ever so friendly. We reached this car park and the first thing that we saw was piles and piles of dwarves who were all going somewhere. The woman with me made some remark about how nice it was to see them all there obviously in a group with friends etc. We pushed on and reached where these cars were parked. I was dithering about finding a seat. I couldn’t make up my mind which seat in which car to take. I was sure that I must have been frustrating this woman. In the end we found a car with 2 empty seats. We got in and began to chat with the people with it. I looked across and in the car parked next to us, there was the woman with whom I’d been the previous evening. I wondered who on earth this woman was with whom I’d palled up and what she had to do with anything.

It looks as if I have the wanderlust again and I’m ready to go off on another journey. But that’s out of the question right now, and for a variety of reasons too. Health is one of them, and money is another. I shall have to give up my wanderings for a good while while I get myself on an even keel.

At least the crutches seem to work as they are supposed to. I finally made it out to the bus and ended up in town. And from getting off the bus to getting back to the bus stop with my shopping took me less than half the time that it did when I tried it previously. At least I have the fresh stuff that I wanted to buy

It was much easier, even if it was very tiring, and I’ll have another go at travelling into town on the bus next weekend, I reckon. I might even try to go for a little walk tomorrow if I can.

But regardless of anything, I was glad to be back and have a mug of hot chocolate. Coming back up the stairs with the shopping was hard work and provided all kinds of entertainment to one of the neighbours.

Tea tonight was chips and veggie balls with a salad. The lettuce was starting to look rather sad to I was glad to attack it once again. There’s enough good stuff left in the lettuce for tomorrow too. A salad every now and again is really quite nice

So that’s that for now. I’m going to bed, having just had a nice long what with a friend of mine on line. I don’t know what i’ll be doing tomorrow but it won’t be shopping. At some point I have to bake some bread and some fruit buns so we’ll see how I get on with that.

But that’s for another time. I’ve done enough for today.

Thursday 12th January 2023 – I’VE GIVEN UP …

… making a note of the time when I finally heave myself out of my stinking pit because it’s becoming rather embarrassing that all of my energy in this resepct has evaporated. Instead, I’ll try to concentrate on more positive aspects of everything – if I can actually find any.

It wouldn’t have been during the night though. I did my usual awakening at some silly time and then being unable to go back to sleep for hours. I once read someone’s thesis on Medieval sleeping patterns where there was mention of “first sleeps” and “second sleeps” with people getting up and performing tasks in between. I might not be old enough to remember any medieval sleeping patterns – it just feels like it right now.

Plenty of time to go off on a voyage here and there too. Someone was moving house last night and my family from Wardle was going to look after some stuff for a couple of days. Maybe they had some use for it or something. It was a case of bringing some of the stuff out of this house and putting it onto a trailer that would be towed by a van of theirs. First of all they had to go off somewhere so this girl and I stayed behind. We had to start to take the stuff outside but she was taking ages to do the slightest thing. We were going nowhere because she didn’t seem to have any enthusiasm or energy for the task. Eventually they turned up back so we made a better start. The first thing was these 3 enormous plants. She picked up 2 and went outside. I picked up the third but the stem broke quite low down. I thought “I’ve ruined this”. Then it was the case that she was bringing all kinds of stuff out that these people weren’t going to look after. I couldn’t see the point or purpose in doing that. She started to move bit by bit. The place was dirty and dusty, hadn’t been dusted for years by the looks of things. There were spiders everywhere. I thought that this is really not going to be how I would expect a furniture removal of this sort to be taking place. I felt that we were going to be here while she got organised.

Later during the night we were living in one of these families with children from different parentage. My mother was looking after a couple of children for which she was receiving some money per week. One of these children was actually my elder sister. We didn’t get on and we’d had several fights. One of them was really serious so my mother told me that she would send me away. I thought that if this is an issue between the 2 children and my mother has to choose one of them, why is she choosing the one for which she receives money and want to send away her own child. I made quite a big fuss or argument about all of this. I told her flatly that I wasn’t leaving. If they wanted me out of the house they would have to drag me out. Shortly after that my mother announced that she was having to go away. Because my elder sister and I didn’t get on, I would have to stay temporarily with people while she was away and come back later. Again I refused to go because I saw this for what it was, a plan to simply get me out of the house and once I’d gone they would be no way that she would bring me back in it again so once again I refused flatly to go.

And then I was about to be arrested for something or other. I knew that it was inevitable so I decided that I’d go and surrender myself. I was with 2 girls who might have been Alison and Jackie. I was going through all my paperwork with them making sure that they had everything that I needed. I had all my notes there and pointed out that there were other notes as well, the most recent of which were in a carrier bag in Caliburn on A4 paper folded in half. I went down the various phone numbers with them to make sure that they had them all. Suddenly the question of Zero cropped up. I wondered whether I should give them Zero’s phone number. In the end I decided that while one number more or less won’t make any difference so I gave them her number. I told them that if ever they were to ring it up and her father answered, not to speak to her father but to phone back another time because they would only every have one shot at talking to her. I wrote the number down but the pencil was very blunt. The number was very indistinct so I had to repeat it a couple of times. It didn’t really look like how it ended up being written but it was the best that I could do at that moment because I had a feeling that I ought to go straight away and not wait around any longer otherwise things would just become worse.

At some point I was visiting Clause and Francoise. They had some Ukrainian refugees staying with them, including a girl who I thought was quite cute. We were there, a group of us, hanging around until the evening. I had to go. They asked if I would be back tomorrow but seeing as it was 8 hours home then 8 hours back that might have sounded unlikely but I said to myself “yes, why not?”. I arranged to be there for 09:30 which was totally ridiculous. I set off and drove home like the wind, basically turn round and drive straight back again. The idea that I’d spend the night in a cheap hotel in Montlucon never ever occurred to me until I was well on my way back. As I pulled round the corner towards their house it was 09:35. I thought that I’d done really well to arrive like this. As I came to a stop I looked at my watch and saw that it was 08:30. My watch was clearly playing up. I wondered what on earth the time really was and whether they were still going to be there or if they were fed up and gone without me because I was so late.

Finally, I was in Shrewsbury. I had to come home by catching a coach. I boarded this coach and set off. It drove through the back streets at a hell of a pace and out into the countryside. Then it was me on foot escorting 2 people. I was basically having to crawl on my hands and knees with them. I could see that I was becoming slower and slower. It was quite obvious to me that I can’t keep on doing this. I’m going to have to stop. I’ll be lucky if I make it home. I put on a spurt and we climbed up this steep climb. At the top was this most beautiful view of the sea and inland. Everything from this craggy rock. We talked about the view and everything. They asked why the French didn’t advertise this more. I explained “yes, it’s French. It’s ice to visit and French people have the right to see it but they don’t want it to be overwhelmed. There were a few people round as well running around here and there. These 2 people headed off down the hill but I stood there to look around for a moment. There were people who were just letting themselves go, running full-tilt down this slope. I waited for a moment and when it was clear I ran full tilt down the slope too all the way down to the bottom. Then I looked for the 2 people whom I was conducting but couldn’t see them at all. I wondered where they had gone because they were nowhere in my view at all.

But it was interesting that once more Zero was lurking around in the background but something came up to stop her actually making an appearance. It’s been quite a few times now that that has happened and it’s probably a fact of some significance that she has failed to cross the threshold.

It appears to me that what goes on during the night has far more significance than it might appear at face value although I don’t think much of Freud’s ideas. This exercise that we did 20-odd years ago into dreams seemed to indicate that a dream was an episode of maybe half a dozen long-running threads that ran through someone’s subconscious life but what this actually meant, we never found out. The leader of this project graduated with his Master’s Degree as a result of our efforts but we never saw his thesis.

Today was supposed to be a radio day and indeed it was, although we haven’t set any records today – far from it. I hadn’t as much as sat down and warmed up the computer when I had a message “could I do a tribute for Jeff Beck?”.

Of course I can, but I wanted to do something of a difference. Everyone else will be playing his more famous stuff but I know of at least one unofficial recording that took place in a club when he was in an amateur group long before the Yardbirds, another that he did for a more famous rock star long before he was ever famous and also some session work that he did for a group from Bolton that Jimmy Page sent him via his sister.

Consequently most of the day has been spent following all kinds of casual leads from here or there and I’ve ended up with about 15 tracks, including the tracks for which I’d been looking and also a recording of the only track on which he sang when he was with the Yardbirds.

There’s some rare stuff in there, especially the track on which Jimmy Page plays bass and when I’ve finished writing up the notes (I’ve done the notes for 11 of the 15 songs) it will be something special. I shall see if I can finish it tomorrow morning.

In the middle of all of this, I stopped for a shower, seeing as the physiotherapist is going to be coming round later. Getting into the bath was easier today than it has been of late, and also I can get myself back upright from a kneeling position if there’s something on which I can hang on to pull myself up.

Ask me how I know.

While I was in there I set the washing machine going. There was much more than one machine-load to do so I shall have to do a second load in early course. At least the bedding has been washed and once it’s dried it will be ready. I need to change my bedding much more often than I do.

The physiotherapist regulated my crutches for me and then had me walking around the apartment practising for 10 minutes or so. And once I got the hang of how to walk with them it was much better than trying to hobble around. I’ll try to go for a walk tomorrow if the weather is nice – down to the supermarket on the bus and find some mushrooms and peppers. I’m not sure what else I might need – maybe some frozen peas or something. I’ve plenty of carrots, and if I mix up the beans and sprouts, I can keep that lot going for another week or two.

Talking of sprouts, I had some with my slice of vegan pie tonight with potatoes and gravy. It really was delicious and I shall have to make some more of that.

So I’ll go back and dictate the notes for the radio programme as far as I have done them so far. And then see whereabouts I can reach. I have my final track already planned, as well as my final speech, so it’s the bit in the middle that is the issue.

That will take some thought, but not at 23:00 in the evening.

Wednesday 11th January 2023 – I’M NOT GOING …

… to tell you what time I left my bed this morning.

One thing that I will tell you is that it wasn’t 07:30, that’s for sure. And another thing that I’ll say is that at least it was still morning.

And it was a better night’s sleep too, without an awful lot of disturbances. One or two nevertheless. I was on the Millfields estate in Nantwich walking around and there was one of the tiny Ford Transit vans parked there. When I went past again the back was open and it was fitted out as a guy probably my age was sleeping in it. We started to have a chat. Someone else came along and joined us. We were talking mainly about politics . The conversation drifted around to John Henry and the Liverpool poets and the “Conservative Government Unemployment Figures” joke which I told incorrectly. They agreed with me that society was in a right mess these days as far as everyone like us was concerned.

And later on I was in Canada in my father’s garage, which was actually the garage of my niece’s husband as well. I was there with this ancient Bedford QL … “actually he means an RL” – ed … They were doing something or other and asked if I had my tools with me. They were in the back of BILL BADGER, my old A60 van. They wandered off and when I went outside to look they had all my tools out everywhere looking for something. I went over, and it turned out that a socket had gone missing. They couldn’t find it. I said that it was a complete tool kit when I assembled it. We started looking over everywhere. I was climbing over this Bedford trying to find it. Someone mentioned something about it. I replied “yes, this was £80, or $120 when I bought it in 1978. It’s still running”. Someone said “I thought you were in that yellow car” meaning the Cortina estate. I replied “yes, that was a bit more expensive, $350 but I thought that I’d give the Bedford a run out in Canada this time”

Once I’d had my medication I had a few things to do in here, such as scanning all of the prescriptions that i’ve received just recently from the doctor and then spent an hour or so tidying up the worst of the apartment so that the cleaner wouldn’t die of fright when she arrived.

While she was here I worked on the radio, trying to choose the music for the next few radio programmes. Not that I organised too many because you’ve no idea just how quickly an hour passes when you are busy.

She was heading into town this afternoon after she’d been here so I gave her one of my prescriptions – the one for the pair of crutches that the doctor wants me to have – and she fetched them back for me. They need adjusting before I can use them so I’ll organise the physiotherapist when he comes tomorrow.

But there is an improvement in the way that I’m moving about which isn’t actually difficult because it surely couldn’t have been much worse. I think that come Friday, if it’s not raining, I’ll try for the shop in the town centre again for my mushrooms and peppers. I’ll have to work out how to use the crutches and pull my shopping trolley along at the same time.

Tea tonight was a curry made of all of the leftovers in the fridge, lengthened by a potato. And it was actually quite nice. Tomorrow I might have a slice of pie with potatoes and veg. I have plenty of potatoes following the delivery of my food order last weekend and they will go off if I don’t use them.

And that reminds me – I have the lettuce to use as well. I mustn’t forget that. But it’s a Batavia and they do keep longer than an Iceberg. And how I wish that I had bought a bigger fridge. We’ll have to see what we can do about that in the future.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’m going to be doing another radio programme in order to keep up with this two per week for the next while until I end up about 6 months ahead. That way, there will be plenty of room for manoeuvre if something happens that I’m not able to prepare any, such as happened when I was in hospital.

There won’t be an 06:00 start though. And there won’t be an 07:30 start either, if recent events are anything to go by.

Monday 9th January 2023 – IF I WERE …

… to tell you that my radio programme was finished, up and running by 07:30 this morning, you’ll probably be quite astonished, and wondering what on earth was going on.

The fact is though that it was bad news that brought all of this about, not good news.

As is usual on a Sunday evening I was in bed by 22:00 ready for a nice long sleep until the alarm at 06:00. I fell asleep quite quickly too but by the time that 01:00 came around I was wide awake again.

After that, I just couldn’t make myself comfortable, tossing and turning around trying to make myself comfortable but without success.

Round about 03:30 I had to wander off for a stroll along the parapet, and I made an executive decision (and for the benefit of new readers, an executive decision is a decision that if it is incorrect, the person making it is executed) that now that I’m up, I’m staying up. And I attacked the radio programme.

When I’d finished I had some cornflakes and coffee and then made a start on doing some work for a change. And I kept it up for a couple of hours too, much to my surprise.

Round about 10:30 I couldn’t keep going and gave up, going back to bed.

Having dozed off for a short while, an endless stream of phone calls kept me awake. It culminated with a ‘phone call from my doctor saying that he would be coming to see me “within the hour”.

That was enough to rouse me from wherever I was, and I went and had a quick shower and clean-up ready for my visit. I don’t mind being reasonably unkempt when I’m here on my own but with visitors, it’s different.

When he came we had a good chat and he’s sending me off to have one of these electrical tests where they check the flow of electricity down my nerves. He asked me if I’d had one before and while it’s true to say that I have, I told him that I hadn’t.

The reason for my “economy with the truth” is that when it was done before, it was done in Leuven and the report was printed in Flemish which my doctor didn’t understand. From this laboratory here in granville, the report will be in French which is far better.

Secondly, if I have it done here, any follow-up will be done here or hereabouts too and as I can’t make it to Leuven, then local treatment has to be an advantage, especially as I’m entitled to free transport.

Thirdly, a second opinion is always worth having, to make sure that everyone is working from the same page. My doctor seems to have the right kind of idea about my treatment anyway as he seems to be recommending the same as they did at Leuven.

After he left, then armed with a taxi voucher I rang up an ambulance service and booked a car to take me to my consultation on the 20th. If it’s free I may as well take advantage of it.

So next week I have the Social Services coming to see me on Tuesday and then the appointment on the Friday – things are moving quite rapidly around here. I wish that one or two other things would hurry up though.

There was quite a bit of stuff on the dictaphone too so I sat down this afternoon and transcribed it all. Yesterday’s notes are now updated and then I turned my attention to today’s. Some friends pf mine had played in a rock opera about Christmas. There was a professional performance of it taking place somewhere so I decided that I’d go along to see it. I bumped into someone whom I knew there. he was there with his wife and a couple of daughters. We all ended up sitting together but as the programme continued these 2 girls started to shout comments from the crowd up to the stage. This started to become quite embarrassing. He told the 2 girls to go and sit somewhere else if they were going to do that, so they did. It didn’t stop them so in the end he went and rounded up everyone and they sat in another row behind where I was sitting. This still carried on and it was probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life being there listening to all of this going on. I want to go and chat to the bassist afterwards but I thought that I couldn’t do that as he would associate me with these other people. Why the rest of the crowd didn’t say anything or turf these people out I really don’t know

Later on I was in a big house last night full of people, children and a couple of adults. The place was so untidy with all of these children in there. I’d been stroking a cat, then another one came up to me. I couldn’t see it properly but I picked it up and stroked it. The way that it was behaving, I was absolutely convinced that it was my old black cat. I was stroking it for 10 or 15 minutes, then I walked into a room where there was a light on. It wasn’t my black cat at all but a big ginger cat. I’d no idea how come I’d makde a mistake about this. I put the cat down. One of the women who was in charge of the house just kept on bringing more things into the room with these children. The place was becoming really out of control. I had a feeling somewhere that this place was on the Isle of Thanet somewhere near Margate or Ramsgate, somewhere like that but I don’t know.

Rosemary and I had a quick chat this evening too, and then I went for tea. A stuffed pepper with rice and, for a change these days, vegetables. It was quite nice too and I’ll get to enjoy it even more as there is quite a lot left over. There will be a taco roll tomorrow of course and then I’ll have to make a left-over curry with the remains on Wednesday.

Now though, I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow followed by the physiotherapist to I need to be on form. I really could do with a good sleep but that’s not always possible, especially these days. And tomorrow I can’t go back to sleep so I’ll have to keep on going as best as I can.

That should be quite interesting.

Sunday 8th January 2023 – JUST BECAUSE I …

… didn’t leave my bed until about 11:00 this morning doesn’t mean that I had a really good sleep. Even if I was in bed by 22:30.

It didn’t take me long to go to sleep; that’s for sure, but by 01:00 I was wide awake again. I was sill wide-awake at 05:00 too. Four hours of tossing and turning and wishing that I was somewhere else, without any success whatsoever.

However at some point I did manage to go back to sleep again because 10:30 came round rather quickly after that.

Once I’d finally hauled myself out of bed I had a chat on-line with a couple of people and then paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. It’s high time that I got back into the habit of working again.

Brunch was cornflakes and toast with the last of the mushroom paté from Christmas, and then for a couple of hours I had a little relax where I did nothing at all. It is Sunday, after all, so I’m entitled to have a Day of Rest, even if I have had more than my fair share of those just recently.

Later on, in the absence of anything better to do, I began to write out the notes for the radio programme and I’ve done about half of them right now. What I should have done was to transcribe the dictaphone notes, but I forgot until much later. During the night I was rooting around in the cupboard and came across a giant cat tree built on the base of a rocking chair. My mother was dismissive of it but I took it out all the same, assembled it and put it in the corner of the room. The young male kitten was straight in there fighting his way through everything ready to climb up and into it. The older female found another way in. There they were, both in this cat tree like kings and queens. By now it was Nerina with me. She made some kind of remark but I thought that the cats were clearly enjoying this. They have as much right to live here as we do. If they can have some pleasure out of this thing that’s been in a cupboard then so much the better.

And then I was on the taxis last night. There was usually a job to take where we had to go to Liverpool to pick up some documents to bring back. But this particular night there had been a fire and the job had been cancelled. Then it turned out that one of my distant relatives had died and the funeral was taking place at about 04:00 at Wardle. I wasn’t going to do anything – I ended up sitting through most of the night chatting to Nerina who was in bed. We were discussing everything but it was time for me to go. I’d taken a previous job to Liverpool and had to drop a guy off at one of the railway stations there. She asked me if I knew where the railway station was, if I’d found it. I replied yes because I knew where most of the railway stations were. I laughed and said that it’s a good job that I didn’t have these documents to pick up, wasn’t it? otherwise I’d have been in Liverpool and back again and then gone straight out to Wardle to the funeral. It seemed a really strange and weird time to have a funeral at 04:00 in the pitch-dark. It was raining outside – it really wasn’t the right kind of weather. I’d asked Nerina on a couple of occasions to see whether it wasn’t really 16:00 but she was quite adamant that it was 04:00 so I went to the bathroom and prepared to leave.

I was also off on a road trip in mid-west USA but it was nothing like the mid-west that I knew. I had the camera with me. I came across a small town where there was a lot of building work and road-widening. I thought “hang on – I’ve been here before. I’m sure I have”. As I drove into the centre I wondered whether or not this was the place where I fuelled up once many years ago. I parked the car, got out and went for a walk round to see if there was any interesting things to photograph. I came across buildings with strange statues on the roofs and abandoned buildings from the 18th and 19th Centuries. Then I realised that I didn’t have my camera with me so I couldn’t take a photo anyway. I wondered whether I should go back to the car, fetch the camera, look for this petrol station to see if it really was here and then start again taking a few photos. Maybe go back outside to where the roadworks were and take a photo of that.

Then later we were kitting out an aeroplane to fly out on a commercial run between the UK and mainland Europe. I was busy trying to peel off some kind of old radio from somewhere and install it into this aeroplane. The pilot was watching me intently as I delicately tried to cut everything and unpeel the track bars etc, asking me quite a few questions, none of which were particularly important. In the end I took it off. He seemed to be so pleased. I gave it to him and told him to refit it.

At one point I was wandering around a square in London. It was all to do with the economy and finance, the history of the coffee houses of London in the 18th Century etc. We talked about how Italian banks would buy security and buy each other to stop themselves being the subject of hostile takeovers etc, how business was flowing out of this square now to businesses that were set up on its periphery and outside in the main streets.
Tea tonight was a pizza and I didn’t really enjoy it which was a surprise. It tasted rather differently than some that I’ve made in the past and I’m wondering if it’s maybe the dough that hasn’t kept so well in the freezer.

So with a 06:00 start in the morning, I’m going to go to bed. Hopefully I’ll fall asleep just as quickly as I did last night but that I’ll sleep through until the alarm goes off. With having done some of the notes for tomorrow I’m hoping that it will be rather a quick programme but there is always something that comes up to disturb me.

Friday 6th January 2023 – I’VE HAD MY FIRST …

… home delivery from the supermarket today.

They said that my delivery slot would be between 18:00 and 20:00 and so it turned up at … errr … 17:15 before I’d made room to put everything away.

There were several things that didn’t work out.

Firstly, there’s a minimun limit of €50:00 and so despite the cupboards being quite bare in here, I had to scratch around to make up a worthwhile order. At least I now have plenty of rice, pasta, tomato sauce and stuff like that.

Secondly, prices are somewhat elevated. I’m paying a fair bit more than I would in the shop and so, added on to the €9:95 delivery charge, my shopping bills are going to be expensive for a while.

Thirdly, some of the stuff isn’t what I ordered. For example, the soya has come with added vanilla rather than the variety that has added calcium. And I don’t like vanilla in my soya.

However, everywhere is now stocked up which is good news. And I had a lovely tea tonight. Burger on a bap with chips and a salad and for the next couple of weeks I reckon that my meals will go back to being quite exciting again.

What I’m going to do though when stocks run down is another issue. There’s only so much bulk goods that I can store. I suppose that the next load, in a couple of weeks’ time, could have a supply of coffee as I’m starting to run low on that. But then I shall haveto have a good think.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll be better by then and can go and do the shopping on my own.

But one thing that I can say, and that is that this idea of ordering food to be delivered is actually an idea that is practical and it works well enough to stop me starving to death.

It should be said though is that perhaps in the past I’ve had the finger pointed at me by some people because of the amount of tinned stuff that I’ve had on hand here. I made the point that it’s all here for an emergency and it’s just as well that I had it here when I came back from hospital. That was what I called an “emergency”.

Perhaps last night should have been an emergency too because nothing seemed to go according to plan. I don’t know why but I just wasn’t tired at all. I was still up working at 05:00 this morning.

At some point rather later than that I did go to bed. I switched off the alarm because there was no point trying to heave myself out at 07:30 but even so, I was awake at 09:20. I couldn’t go back to sleep either and so I gave it up at about 10:00 and made a start.

To my surprise, there was even some stuff on the dictaphone so I must have had some kind of decent sleep at some point. I had a cat at at one moment during the night but can’t remember anything about it.

Later, it was carnival and fête time. There was a carnival and fête at Crewe and also at Nantwich. I was at the one at Nantwich round by the White Horse. Everyone was having a tremendous time. I’d arranged to meet my sister and her family back at her house with the idea that she could go to the hairdresser’s and then come on to one of the fêtes afterwards. After a while and I hadn’t heard from her I contacted her. She was ‘oh crikey! Oh I’m really sorry. I haven’t done it yet” etc, going way over the top making wild excuses. In the end I told her that what I wanted to talk to her about was the fact that with the Nantwich Carnival being so good we should all go round to Nantwich after. She thought that that was the best idea. But it was another one of these occasions where everyone was taking so long to be ready that I was convinced that by the time we were ready to go back everything would be all over.

It tok me a while to warm up, as you might expect, and then I finished off the radio programme that I’d been trying to do yesterday. That’s done now which is just as well, and starting Monday I’ll be doing two each week in order to catch up with where I want to be. I like to have about 6 months of programmes in advance because no-one knows what the future has in store for me. Seven weeks in hospital sending off radio programmes that I was unable to replace with others has made quite a hole in my little stock.

Having done that, I went through my order for the supermarket and sent it off. The plan was then to make space on the shelves so that I’d have somewhere to put it when it came but that fell by the wayside somewhere.

There are also developments with my little project that is simmering away in the background. I’ve been copied into an e-mail between two other people that shows that there is considerable progress going on behind the scenes. Maybe before too long I’ll have something to report in this respect.

At some point in the early evening I crashed out for half an hour. That’s no surprise given the rough night that I had What was a surprise was that it was for only half an hour.

Tea was delicious, as I mentioned earlier. The salad made quite a change and it won’t do any harm to have a couple more here and there. I don’t want to eat all of the frozen veg too quickly.

Tomorrow I’m going to have to make some plans. There are 1.5kg of carrots to peel, dice, blanch and freeze for a start although I’m not sure exactly where I’m going to put them as the freezer is once more packed to the gunwhales. I really should have bought a bigger freezer but I suppose that I would have filled that just as quickly too.

And at least there’s plenty of food here again and I can relax a little about that for now. Looking back over my last few meals I’ve been eating really well despite the limited supplies here. Things should start to become interesting now that my shopping order has come.