… that it was today that I went on the bus to the shops and not yesterday.
Yesterday was a cold, wet windy miserably day but today was one of the nicest days that we’ve had for ages and it was a real pleasure to be out.
It was the kind of day where, had things been different, I’d have made a flask of piping hot coffee and gone for a nice long walk northwards along the coast with the camera, but how things have changed in that respect.
Things changed a little in bed last night too because I seem to have had something of a rather more relaxed night. That’s a good thing from the point of view of sleep but a bad thing from the point of view of adventure. The only adventures I have these days are these rather vicarious ones at second hand as my ethereal spirit goes walkabout during the night.
At the hospital they keep on asking me if I want sleeping pills, and I keep on turning them down. My little nocturnal voyages are about all the fun that I have, given the way that things have turned out.
When the alarm went off I fell out of bed and struggled to my feet, and then having dressed, I toddled off into the dining area to take my medication.
Back here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night – and it didn’t take me long. I was with a bunch of pirates last night. We’d gone ashore in the High Arctic somewhere amidst all the snow and the ice. Some of the descriptions that the crew was giving off about the are in which they found themselves were extremely poetic, including things like “if it wasn’t for the cold you’d never realise the danger” etc. A couple of the crew wandered away during the night to explore and we didn’t know if we’d be lucky enough to see them next morning etc. As it became light next morning we were rounded up into some kinds of fishing parties. We’d tried to do some fishing the evening before and had caught some cod but this morning we were going to go out on a full-scale fishing operation to revictual the ship. That involved a couple of the rowing boats with a net spread between them and the two rowing boats rowing round in a circle towards each other to tighten the catch inside the net. We were busy organising this when I suddenly awoke
It’s a shame that it ended at that point because I would have loved to have seen how our fishing expedition unfolded. When Richard Hakluyt transcribed John Cabot’s notes in order to include them for publication in his “Principall Navigations” in 1589 he came across Cabot’s delightful description of the Labrador coast and "The cod were in largeness and quantitie … that they stayed our ships".
When my book about the Labrador coast finally hits the shelves, you’ll notice the difference. Constant over-fishing by industrial trawlers decimated the cod fishery so much that in 1992 the Canadian Government imposed a moratorium on cod-fishing. And so all the big industrial trawlers moved off elsewhere and the small subsistence fisherman along the coast was deprived of his livelihood and fell into desolation and despair.
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall us working our way down the Nova Scotia coast on our voyages of 2003 and 2010 when we picked our way through the decay and dereliction of piles of abandoned fishing equipment.
In 2017 when we were on our way back from visiting Rhys in South Carolina STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I came across a pirate ship. His Nibs quickly recruited an ad-hoc crew and set sail for the Spanish Main in order to wreak havoc amongst the treasure ships heading back from New Spain to the Old World.
And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, his antics on the High Seas on his way home from looking after Kathryn at University in Ontario in 2011 led to questions being asked in the Canadian Parliament.
Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed there was a story about me being at some kind of formal party with about half a dozen other people, having an enormous amount of difficulty trying to keep still, having to keep moving my legs quite regularly. This led to some kind of commotion about food but I can’t now remember very much about this issue of food except that it was something that had caused it.
There was time for a quick wash and brush-up and then I headed for the bus. He was late arriving and with not being able to move around it was quite cold.
However there was a really beautiful blue sky. Jersey stood out really clearly on the horizon this morning and it looked as if I could reach out and touch the Brittany coast across the bay, it was so clear.
There was no ice or frost on the car windscreens which is no surprise as we are only 50 feet from the sea here and in the face of the prevailing westerly winds, but once we were out of the wind, all of the cars parked at the side of the road were iced up.
At St Nicolas no-one made the sign of the Cross today, but after I’d done my shopping I had a pleasant chat about historic buildings with the guy drinking coffee next to me as I waited for my bus home.
The only marzipan that they had was this tricolour stuff but I don’t suppose that it matters under icing. I have to use what I can.
They did have soya yogurt to make my naan bread but it’s only sold in packets of 8 so I’ll be making a lot of naan bread dough tomorrow.
Coming back up the stairs was another nightmare. There’s no doubt that I’m actually moving easier – that was quite evident today and I’m pleased about that – but I can’t lift my leg high enough to climb the steps and we had another gymnastics morning.
But I’ll have to have a word with Severine when I see her again and find out what she can do for me.
Having put the food away I made my cheese on toast and then came in here, where I promptly fell asleep.
A ‘phone call awoke me. The paperwork has come in from the engineer and the co-property committee has decided that they want a couple more quotes. Could I organise it?
When I lived in Expo, that was a co-property and there were enormous issues about an apartment owner who would launch himself into all kinds of unauthorised adventures and then bombard the committee with all kind sof paperwork, and I remember very well many of the issues that arose.
Consequently, I told them that if they give me an authorisation I’ll do it quite happily but I’m not doing it without any authorisation.
This afternoon I soaked all my fruit – and found that although I had all kinds of things in my baking box I didn’t have any glacé cherries, or bigarreaux confits as they call them around here. They had some advertised in LeClerc’s home delivery catalogue so I hope that they’ll still be in stock when I send off my order.
So we now have currants, sultanas, raisins, figs, cranberries, some of that dried gelified fruit, desiccated coconut, ground almonds, banana chips, dried orange chips and the odd partridge in a pear tree divided into two lots – a small one for the pudding and a big one for the cake – soaking in a mixture of vanilla, fleur d’orange, rum essence, brandy essence, all kinds of spices and probably a few other things too.
It’ll be in there for a week or 10 days, being stirred and fed with more liquid over that period ready for a baking session next weekend.
But the essences of rum and brandy are interesting. It’s not available in France – after all, if you have the real stuff, why use artificial? But there’s a chain of shops called “Bulk Barn” in all of the big cities in Canada – something like an old UK “Weigh and Save” on steroids.
Rural Canada is just like the 1950s which is why I really like it, and home baking and that kind of thing are major occupations. And when I was in the one in Fredericton last year I made a wonderful discovery and several bottles of essence found their way into my suitcase for future use.
And by God is it strong!
Back here afterwards I crashed out again, for ages this time, and since then I’ve been de-duplicating one of the backup drives.
Tea tonight was baked potato with salad and a veggie burger in breadcrumbs and that was as delicious as usual.
So now I’m off for a hot drink or two and then I’ll dictate the radio notes ready for tomorrow when I’ll prepare the programme. There’s naan dough to make as well as I’ve now run out.
Something else that I’ve run out of is chocolate biscuits. However when tidying up the shelves the other say I found a couple of packets of industrial ones about which I’d forgotten. I’ll finish these off and bake another batch of biscuits next weekend.
That should keep me out of mischief for a while.