Tag Archives: Carrefour

Saturday 25th November 2023 – I WAS HAPPY …

… 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.

strawberry moose, buccaneer, near moyock, north carolina, usa, eric hall, photo, 30th september 2017But while we’re on the subject of pirate ships … "well, one of us is" – ed … we’ve encountered pirate ships before.

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.

Friday 17th November 2023 – AND I WAS DOING …

… so well too!

While I was out at the shops I really noticed some kind of improvement in my mobility. Not a lot, it has to be said, but definitely something.

And then, back here, I couldn’t climb up the stairs to my apartment. I really couldn’t. To make my way up 13 steps it took 20 minutes and a pile of gymnastics and I’m really not cut out to do this any more.

There had been plenty of gymnastics during the night. I didn’t go to bed until late because once I’d finished off everything I had a bad fit of nostalgia and fetched the acoustic guitar.

The last time that I had played CAREY seriously was on a windswept airstrip in the High Arctic when Castor and I were chilling out before her ‘plane came in to take her away – away for good after one of the most bizarre periods of my life and I was never the same again.

And, believe me – there have been more than just a few of those.

Of course after that there can only be ONE SONG THAT CAN FOLLOW THAT and it’s really strange that it wasn’t until a couple of years later when I was standing on an airport somewhere else that I realised that sometimes, goodbyes have to be said like that.

The painter Samuel Gurney Cresswell who had the unfortunate experience of accompanying Robert McClure during his expedition in the Investigator said afterwards when being interrogated by the Admiralty that "A voyage to the High Arctic ought to make anyone a wiser and better man".

That doesn’t seem to have worked for me, but then again we were only beset in the ice for 48 hours, not 18 months.

So having had a bad attack of nostalgia I went to bed with my legs strapped together in my elastic hoping that maybe Castor would come to pay me a visit during the night, but no such luck there. I’ve definitely lost the knack of summoning up people

When the alarm went off this morning I was in South Wales with a group of people who may well have been some kind of Welsh learners’ group. The discussion centred around sport – mainly rugby but also football – and one woman was talking about a “rugby trail” around South Wales, a tourist attraction to visit all of the famous sites in Welsh rugby that passed by her home in Merthyr Tydfil. Some of us were talking about football and the subject of a famous footballer who had had a difficult time in his youth with a couple of clubs came up. We had at one point to go out into a field, mark out a path and lay down some supplies but when we arrived we found that the field hadn’t been mown for years and was really just like wild hay. When we reached the spot where we had to leave these items it was impossible to see anything but the guy with me asked “should we just leave the things here now and come back for them again?”.

Nevertheless I struggled to my feet and went off in search of medication.

Having done that I came back here and transcribed the rest of the notes, of which there were more than just a few. For some reason I’d been on a voyage around an apartment during the night. The apartment was equipped with every kind of device known to man, to help someone handicapped raise themselves to their feet and move around. There was of course nothing that I saw that was of any use to me in my predicament but it was interesting to see what my subconscious in a dream thinks would happen to people in circumstances like this.

Some boy whom I’d known at school had phoned me and asked me to stop doing Hamas’s job. I asked him what on earth he was talking about. It turned out that we were all a big group of people from school working together for some organisation and someone had been phoning him with all kinds of strange phone calls while he was in the bath. He thought that it was me but I tried to reassure him that I hadn’t done anything at all like that. In the end the conversation gradually drifted round into something more light-hearted and friendly. He went through the whole list of phone calls on his phone for that afternoon and asked me if I knew any of the locations and if I’d ever been to any of them during the day. Of course I had to deny everything. But there was something in this dream that when I saw him leaving work that afternoon he had with him a double-necked 6-string guitar and amplifier so I wondered what on earth was going on with that but it had nothing whatever to do with these phone calls, I was sure of that and I knew nothing whatever about any of them.

There was another dream similar to the first one where someone complained that I’d been ringing them at all strange hours of the day and night. When we looked at the phone records I was nowhere near wherever these phone calls had originated. I’d never lived there and certainly hadn’t visited that area during that time so I’d no idea what he was talking about and why the guy thought that it might have been me.

At another moment it was as if a length of coiled spring had been inserted into the pavement every so often and you came along and stuck your crutch-end into the hole in one of these statue things and it tipped you off down the road to the next one. I thought that this was the strangest thing I’d ever heard but once again I had to go to great lengths to deny having made any of these phone calls that were so disturbing this guy so much.

Shavington, outside the Post Office on the corner, was another place where another one of these statues had appeared. Once again people were thinking that it was me but I had no idea why they thought so. I certainly hadn’t done anything about erecting any statues and I was sure that if they’d checked the phone number and the e-mail it would be totally different from any that I could access. I really didn’t have any idea as to who was doing all this, why they would want to do it and why they would want to use me as a victim.

I was back last night in that dream about Roosevelt, the baseball player. I’m not sure if I dictated it but there was a group of RAF pilots in South Wales during World War II right at the start. They’d heard that a Luftwaffe fighter had fetched up in Ireland and had been put on display by the Irish authorities. They took off on a scheduled flight with about 10 other people to fly to the airfield. The part across water went well but the part across land was complicated and ended up running out of time. It was a struggle to get down to the airfield at the correct moment. For some unknown reason I was flying behind on my own. They touched down and went into this hangar. There were some statues of American heroes who had come from Ireland. One was a guy called Roosevelt. Everyone immediately thought that it was the President but I explained that there had also been an American pilot in World War I called Roosevelt who came from Ireland and was a famous baseball player. I bet that the statue was of him. That led to all kinds of discussion and argument sand no-one would believe me. But there had been so much time spent messing around and trying to organise things that when it came to the flight back not only had they not actually seen the aeroplane but they were still nothing like ready to depart. You could see that everyone from the passengers down to the crew down to the airport staff were extremely annoyed about these RAf pilots who want to go to look at this aeroplane but just couldn’t organise themselves to do so. What didn’t help was that one of them knew a girl who happened to be there at the airport and spent far more time talking to her than he did to the rest of his colleagues.

Actually, the pilot referred to was an American of Dutch descent, Quentin Roosevelt, who was shot down and killed on the Marne in 1918 and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on our shuttle between Brussels and Virlet that we used to undertake regularly, we always drove past the memorial at Navarin Farm near Chalons sur Marne.

He had an airport on Long Island named after him and we went there to see the site of it over the New Year of 1999-2000 and where I was lucky enough to be allowed to sit behind the controls of the replica of Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St Louis”

Later on I was whisked off in this programme of investigating people’s immigration status, I suppose. There was a pink aeroplane that came along on which I was put. When we landed somewhere we were all ushered into a certain area where we had to produce our nationalities etc. I was extremely confused as to what was happening and couldn’t understand a thing. Of course quite naturally I’m of British birth and origin and have been all my life

After a good wash and setting to washing machine off on its travels I went out and caught the bus.

And on arriving at St Nicolas a most extraordinary thing happened.

Someone came over to me. "I see you at the Centre de Re-education" he said, and began to chat with me about our illnesses.

When I told him that I have a terminal illness he reached into his pocket, pulled out a phial of Holy Water, dipped his finger in it and made the Sign of the Cross on my cheek.

Marianne had gallons of Holy Water that she had collected from just about every Holy place in the World and she even blagged herself an Audience with the Pope when we were down in Rome for Holy Week 20-odd years ago, but it didn’t do her any good and I don’t suspect that this will do me any good either.

But sometimes, I’m quite amazed at the generosity, thoughtfulness and kindness of ordinary people whom I encounter on my travels around.

That Holy Week though was quite interesting. Apparently if we visited 7 particular religious sites scattered around the Seven Hills, we would be assured of permanent Absolution. Of course, that means nothing to me whatsoever but she was really keen to go so we went.

It was in the middle of winter too and the sites were really scattered about – one of them several miles outside the city on the Via Appia Antica but I insisted that if we were going to do it, we were going to do it properly so just like the Pilgrims of years ago, we walked all the way, past the catacombs and the tombs and everything else.

Mind you, there were many more cafés along the road than there were in former times.

So now, just to let you know, I am assured of permanent Absolution – not that it will do me any good.

At the Carrefour they had some bread that was going out of date, on sale for a pittance. As it happened, I’d seen a couple of days ago a recipe for bread-and-butter pudding made in the air fryer and seeing as I now have some dried figs to go with my raisins, sultanas and desiccated coconut, I reckoned that I’ll give it a try.

Loaded up with stuff and having had my coffee I made my way back to the bus stop and home, and my nightmare climb back up to safety.

First thing that I did was to hang up the washing, and you’ve no idea how difficult that is these days. Then I put away the stuff that I’d bought and made myself some soup to go with the crusty bread that I’d also bought.

Back here afterwards I was absolutely fit for nothing and spent much of the afternoon asleep. It’s really taking it out of me, all of this work and I know that I’m going to regret it before much longer.

In between everything I was having a chat with Alison. I asked her how the renovations were going on at Alison Wonderland so she sent me a few photos to show the latest developments.

Apparently the new kitchen will be there in a couple of weeks and she’ll be moving in in January

Whatever lese was left of the day I finished the radio programme that I started earlier and then paired off the music for the next radio programme and writing the notes. I’ve done over half of them and I’ll finish the rest tomorrow so that I can record them during the night on Saturday when it’s quiet outside.

Tea was salad, chips and some of those veggie nuggets, and that is that for today.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll make myself a drink and then go to bed. I’ll try to avoid playing the guitar just before bedtime though. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Friday 10th November 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable afternoon when I’ve spend a good proportion of it fast asleep on my chair in here.

You’ve no idea just how much it takes out of me, staggering two or three hundred metres on crutches and then climbing up 25 stairs back to here, all of which with a very low blood count and a leaking valve in my heart. I was dead to the world for a good couple of hours.

For a change, I’d actually been to bed early. And that’s not something that happens every day. And although I didn’t go far during my travels, it was still quite a restless night.

When the alarm went off I staggered to my feet and went off in search of my medication. And then back here I made a start on my shopping list from LeClerc for next Wednesday and to see what I need from the shops this morning.

In the freezing cold I crawled downstairs and over to the bus and although the driver was on there sitting comfortably she didn’t let me on until departure time. I know that she’s well within her rights to do that, as she’s on an official break, but it was still freezing.

At St Nicolas I alighted and the first port of call was the Post Office. I’m having “issues” at the moment with my bank in Canada and the only way to wind them up is by mail. Phoning them is a waste of time as I proved the other day.

In the Carrefour next door I bought some of the worst mushrooms that I’ve seen for quite a while – I have to say that the fruit and veg at the Carrefour at St Nicolas is nothing like as good as the one at the Port – and a few other bits and pieces.

While I was packing my backpack I dropped something on the floor and as I remembered what happened the last time I bent down to pick something up when I had a backpack I had to ask someone to pick it up for me.

My coffee was quite nice while I waited for the bus, and then I wandered off outside to the bus stop.

While I’d been in the supermarket the weather had been reasonable but the moment I set foot outside the weather changed dramatically and I got the lot.

As soon as I climbed onto the bus the sun came out but as we pulled up at the bus stop outside we had another downpour.
"The rain falls down upon the just
and also on the unjust fellow
But mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella"

The climb up the stairs was agony as you might expect, and then I made some soup to eat with the crusty bread that I’d just bought.

Back in here, when I wasn’t asleep, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. One of my favourite rock groups was playing in London so I went down on the train to see them. When I arrived in London I couldn’t remember the name of the venue or the place to go to pick up the tickets. I knew that a friend was in London so I thought that I’d phone him so that maybe we could meet somewhere. I began to walk towards the centre but I didn’t recognise anywhere. It was nothing at all like anything I ever knew about the way into the centre of the city from where the train would bring me in. We ended up talking on the phone. He asked me to say where I was but I couldn’t. He asked if I was at such-and-such a place. I didn’t know. Then I found myself standing alongside one of the sections of the old London Wall. I told him that I was here and to come to meet me . This whole affair was really one of total chaos again. Everything that could possibly go wrong seemed to be going wrong at that moment

And later on it was time to return from London. We were round at a girl’s house and she had lent us a Ford Transit diesel. It was quite a mess. The exhaust pipe on it stretched out about 6 feet at the back with a kink in it. My friend had changed the oil, the oil filter etc in it. When we started it there were clouds of blue smoke, it was burning that much oil. I remember a plane going overhead and we couldn’t see the plane because of the smoke. We put everything in the van and set off. My friend was driving like a maniac. It’s not very often that I’m concerned but I told him to slow down as he drove it flat out right past the turning where we were supposed to go. I told him to slow down and he replied “this is how you drive your office car, isn’t it?”. I really didn’t know what to say about that.

While I was at it I finished off the notes that I’d started yesterday for the next radio programme and I’ll dictate them before I go to bed. if I complete the programme tomorrow I can actually have a day off on Sunday – the first time for ages – but I do have some fruit buns to make.

The estate agent turned up this afternoon too. He came “to value the apartment”, apparently. I did ask if the owner was planning on selling it because I have a cunning plan, but apparently not. “It’s being valued for his personal reasons and he has no intention of selling it”.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there are at least two prices for every property on sale in France. The first price is the price that it is advertised and which is aimed at British people and Parisians. The second price is the realistic price that the owner will sell it to a local person and it’s usually much less than the first price, especially if you can stump up the cash.

Following that, I carried on updating the notes from last Autumn. I’ve done all of those that relate to the hospital and I’m now sitting in the Place Gamelin in Montréal making the most of the last of the Canadian sunshine and the really beautiful autumn colours on the trees.

Montréal, and Canada in particular, is really beautiful in the autumn and I really miss my annual visits to pay homage to the land of my Grandmother. I’m hoping that one of these days my cousin Sandra will come over from Ottawa and bring some autumn with her.

It’s all well and good that I’m pressing on, especially as I’ll have much more time on my hands following the death yesterday of one of the largest social networks.

We always suspected that this “it’s free and it always will be” was a load of nonsense and so it has proved. Now, you have to automatically agree to have your personal information sold off to anyone and everyone, or else pay to opt out.

So if anyone wants to chat to me from now on, you’ll have to use the Social network that works with reference to the telephone system.

If you want my phone number you’ll have to write and ask me for it – unless you have a G-mail account in which case I won’t be able to reply.

That’s another issue, isn’t it? Google is blocking its mail-servers to all “minor domains” like mine, unless you include in your webserver a few lines of code that Google sends you.

And if anyone thinks that I’m going to include any form of Google coding on my webserver without them telling me exactly what it does, then they are mistaken.

It’s fair to say that with all of this turbulence going on right now with these major players in the tech world, it looks as if we are beginning to see the start of a technology crisis. They are obviously sensing a danger of losing their grip on things and maybe the revenue coming in isn’t what they would like it to be.

It makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing a renaissance of something like Myspace or whether we’ll be going back to the good old days of 30 years ago when people like us were cutting our teeth on Local Area Networks, Bulletin Boards and the anarchy and chaos that was Usenet.

Tea tonight was chips, vegan salad and some of those strange veggie balls based on kidney beans. And it was actually quite nice.

So now it’s nearly bedtime I’ll go and make myself a hot drink, dictate my radio notes and then go to bed.

We’ll see what tomorrow might bring.

Friday 3rd November 2023 – SO MUCH FOR THAT …

… idea about having a good night’s sleep.

It might have been only 23:00 when I went to bed but at 03:30 I was still wide awake with no sign whatever of ever going to sleep.

However I must have done at some point but I was awake again before the alarm went off even if I wasn’t actually up and about.

Once the alarm went off I made it to my feet and went off for my medication. And then back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. I’d been away somewhere for several weeks, it might have been the hospital, and I’d parked Caliburn in a shed on a piece of waste land at the back of a pile of terraced houses. I went there to pick him up. There were cars all over the place, being worked on or being dismantled etc. Going into the shed Caliburn, who was now an LT Volkswagen, had had one of his air vents bodily ripped out so there was a hole in the front panel. I opened the doo and there were engines, cowlings, covers and shrouds everywhere. I fought my way in. A guy came running over. He asked if I could give him a jump start. I started the van and rolled forward and it was to his father’s wheelchair. We had to put the leads from the van to the wheelchair in order to make it start

There had been something earlier. I’d gone on a long-distance journey with someone. Everyone else had gone at the end of whatever this meeting was. The only way out for me was to climb over the fence. That was extremely complicated and I ended up having to do practically a forward roll over the fence to go out again. I’d brought someone with me. We were talking about the accounts and he said “I’ll let you off some of the accounts in view of the fact that you drove”. I thought that the reason why we took so long was because we had to go back once or twice for things that he’d forgotten. That really bumped up the mileage. He’s not doing me any favours at all by knocking a couple of things off. I should be sending him a bill for all the extra mileage.

This “Peace Train” thing (whatever that might have been) was about Joan Baez and her guitar being hung from some kind of monorail track and being driven around as if she was a train on the monorail while she was playing the guitar and singing that particular song.

A kitten was wedged underneath the foot of the table and stuck up against the glass surface which was why it was looking so peculiar. I actually dreamt that bit in French and began to dictate it in French.

Finally I was coming back from work somewhere and I’d stopped in a town to have a coffee. I had a wheelbarrow with a few bricks and things like that in it which I no longer needed so I just abandoned it in the street and went in. The coffee bar was packed and there wasn’t room anywhere but the proprietor encouraged the patrons to move up a little. It made a space for me next to a girl. I sat there with my coffee and we had quite a chat before she disappeared. Then I had to leave. I was in a wheelchair by this time, doing down the steps in it when I noticed her outside. She asked if she could give me some help but I told her that I’d be able to manage. We were sorting through a few things of hers, LPs and CDs etc because there was a market on in the town where there was a stall for 2nd-hand CDs etc. I noticed in her glove compartment things like books about camping, scouting and so on. I thought that she was one of these strange “jolly hockey sticks” types of girls who never seem to grow up.

Later on I staggered out onto the bus and went to St Nicolas for my shopping. There wasn’t much that I needed but it was nice to be out and about and to have my coffee while I waited for the bus home.

Once more it was a struggle up the stairs and I really can’t go on like this much longer. But back in here I made myself some soup – and then I crashed out for half an hour.

In a couple of weeks’ time it’s the birthday of one of my neighbours and she was having some of her family around so I went up to say hello and to give her a box of chocolates that I’d bought her.

But as usual, I didn’t stay long. I’m not really the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and after an hour or so I came back down here to crash out yet again.

What I’ve been doing this afternoon is to hack some sound-files about, tidy up some of the music directories (yes, directories – I’m still working in DOS 5.0 in my head) and reviewing some pages in my blog. There are quite a few that need updating with things missed off that I never had the time to do at the time, and I want to catch up with that.

As well as that, I’ve been chatting on the internet. Liz is helping me choose a couple of new domestic appliances, Rosemary and I talked about the storm and then Hans in Munich has found some real Bavarian gingerbread spice mix and would I like some?

Actually, today I finished the last of the honey and oat biscuits that I made and some gingerbread biscuits would be nice but the spices won’t be here by then. I fancy making some chocolate ones this weekend. The last batch of chocolate ones that I made were really good. Add some orange and some coconut flavouring and they’ll be really nice.

Tea tonight was chips cooked in the air fryer and salad with one of those strange burgers that I bought a while ago, and it was actually quite nice.

But that’s got me thinking. I’ll have to send my spies out to look at the pavements at one of the bus stops at Yquelon. There’s a bus stop that’s not too far away from Noz and I’m wondering if I ought to have a go at going there on the bus some time to see if I could survive the journey.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve hit the jackpot on several occasion at Noz with the end-of-range stuff that they have, and I wonder if I ought to think about going again.

Friday 13th October 2023 – THAT WAS A …

… really good decision that I made for this morning.

As I have mentioned before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I can no longer climb into the bus at the Port because there’s no pavement at the bus stop so I’m having to climb in from street level.

Consequently, if I want to go out (and I ought to go out at least once per week) I have to think again.

Right out on the edge of town off the beaten track is the quartier of St Nicolas.

It was formerly a village in its own right but was absorbed into Granville during the regrouping of communes some time ago, and so it has all of its own services which, to most people’s surprise, have remained intact.

There’s one of these typical small 1960s-type of shopping centres which is only 100 metres from a bus stop on the bus route that starts and finishes outside my front door. When I was out there on Monday, I checked the bus stops and to my delight, the pavements at both are raised to exactly the correct height.

There’s a chemists and a Post Office right next door to each other and then there’s the Carrefour supermarket. Much bigger than the one in town with a greater variety of produce.

There is a downside to it, in that the time between the bus dropping me off, completing its run, turning round and coming back is only 12 minutes, and that’s not enough.

However, that’s not a problem because there’s a bakery in the supermarket that bakes fresh bread and sells coffee. So I had a lovely rest with a nice hot coffee while I waited for the next bus.

There’s a lot going on there with a lot of people about and they all seem quite friendly too, so it was a really good idea to go there and I’ll be doing it more often.

Yesterday evening I’d psyched myself up for it by going to bed early but it made no difference because it took ages to go off to sleep. At least the night wasn’t as restless as some have been just recently.

When the alarm went off I was in the middle of a dream about someone who had quite a few cats. For some reason he’d locked them up into one particular room, gone away and left them. The cats succeeded in breaking down one of the things that he’d erected to block off the fireplace. By means of the chimney they were then able to move around the entire house. There was much more to it than that but that was all that I can remember when the alarm went off.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a dream about cats, hasn’t it?

After the medication I had to finish off the letters from yesterday and print off some paperwork to go with them, and then I hit the streets.

The bus was already here outside so I staggered on board and we set off for our journey. At St Nicolas I went to the Post Office to post the letters and then off to the supermarket for the shopping, followed by a nice hot coffee while I waited for the bus.

Climbing back on board was much easier, for which I was extremely grateful, and the climb back up the stairs seemed to be a little less difficult. In fact, I think that i’m moving about a little bit easier that I was before I set out. Mind you, that’s not saying too much because things have been difficult just recently.

For a very late breakfast I eschewed the cheese on toast and had some soup with the crusty bread that I had bought. It really was delicious, and I’ll have some more of that.

Back in here, I crashed out – quite definitively too, and for at least an hour. That’s no surprise at all.

Once I’d recovered I sat down and bashed out another radio programme. That’s the last one of the four that I dictated last Saturday night. Tomorrow I’ll carry on with the next one in the pipeline. I’m going to try to do two next week as I’m in hospital the week after.

There was stuff on the dictaphone from last night too. I’ve been packing up a room where I’d been staying for a few days ready to go off on an expedition. I’m going to have to go through all of the stuff because I’m going to be limited on what I can take. When I looked through the stuff I was surprised at all of the things that were there, all kinds of stuff that I’d been dragging around with me that I must have emptied out of a vehicle – glass bottles, jars, tons of papers etc. I had to be really severe about disposing of it all. Some of it is quite valuable in an intrinsic or sentimental way but the fact is that I simply can’t carry it so I’ll have to dispose of it and just take what I need for the journey and maybe one or two other things that would come in handy for the journey that I could use again. If it won’t be handy for the journey I’d have to throw it away whether I like it or not and that is filling me full of depression. Not that that’s any surprise because I have a hard time throwing things away.

There was something going on about a house party with a lot of people there, a few who were disabled. While I can’t remember very much about this dream I remember that some kind of cards were distributed among the people – you took your chance and took a card. The receipt of a disability card entitled you to certain things. The first person who pulled out a disability card was someone who was extremely able-bodied and active. That caused quite a gasp around the place as they tried to work out what it would mean for this extremely active person to have a disability card.

So now I’m dreaming about disabilities and handicapped people. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs for me to be in. Realisation sinks in slowly, but it sinks in deep.

Tea tonight was chips and salad with some falafel. Nothing special but nevertheless quite nice. Tomorrow I have one of those breadcrumbed quorn fillets, and I’ll probably go for a baked potato with that.

So now I’m off to bed, flushed with success about having made a good decision for my shopping. It’s not all that often that things that I plan seem to come off so I shall bask in the glory of that until I probably fall out of the bus next weekend.

By the way, you did all listen to my radio programme on Friday night, didn’t you? If not, you can hear it on Saturday evening.

Friday 6th October 2023 – IT’S NOW OFFICIAL.

In the post this morning came my two disability permits. One for me and one for any car in which I might be travelling. It’s a sign of the times of course and something that will inevitably happen to all of you at some time or another. All I can say is that I’ve had a good run for my money

All I need now is a car which I can drive, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. For that, I’ll have to see what these people at APA have to tell me, but even now they STILL haven’t sent me the forms that they promised a week ago. This is going to be a lengthy process.

My sleep last night was a lengthy process too. For two nights on the run now I’ve slept right through until the alarm went off. And then I had a struggle to get to my feet before the second alarm went off.

There was time to listen to the messages on the dictaphone before I did anything else. There was some kind of uprising taking place. All the citizens were required to rally to the defence of their city. Someone was suspected of being behind all of this so hat they called for was to examine the metadata of a couple of files on his computer to see whether they had been altered in any way that might give grounds for some kind of suspicion. When they asked for this information he did everything he could to defy them, delay them etc until in the end they were all swamped by all the mails that were coming from the citizens so it was going to be so it was going to be something much more complicated than it might have been had they done it a day earlier.

And then I was working for a company last night and had to go round to collect a debt from someone that was owed. I went round to their house, and it took some finding. When I arrived I knocked on the door but it swung open so I walked in and shouted. Eventually an old woman came into the kitchen and asked why I was there. I explained that she had a bill to pay. She apologised and said that she’d pay it so I went back to my office. There was some kind of building project taking place that needed to be done quietly so we decided that we’d do it in the dark. At night we dressed in clothes, it was a wet and windy November night. When everything was quiet and everyone had gone we set out. It was then that I realised that I didn’t have my gloves. I was told that I had to have them. They were on the floor by the washing machine in the laundry room So I’d have to run back to fetch them while everyone waited for me. That was quite a long way but I thought that it would really be uncomfortable working in this without gloves so I’d best set off.

We were back in Davenport Avenue later. It wasn’t exactly like it but a mirror image. Nerina and I were tidying up a few things because we were having visitors. It turned out that my friend Malou and her friend were coming to visit and we were going to hang around together and then go off out. Nerina was busy planning in her mind who she’d allocate with who and decided that I’d take Malou in my car. I didn’t want to explain to Nerina that there was no tax or MoT on my car but in fact it was probably a wise idea to go in Malou’s car but she was quite insistent so when it reached the time to go outside one of our party (I can’t remember who) was at the front of the house and saw Malou pull into the drive with her friend. We walked down from the bottom of the drive up to the street to meet them. I remember thinking “my house is so untidy, such a tip, that i’m not sure that this is a good idea to go inviting people to my house” … "nothing new there" – ed

Finally I was with Alison and another girl walking around Brussels. We ended up around a section that was really modern. There were all these huge aeroplanes flying overhead and it really looked like something out of another world. It was dark and misty and these aeroplanes were so impressive flying through the low clouds at night like this with all their lights on. Then we decided to carry on walking but there was a really good view there so I stopped to take a couple of photos. Then I wandered off to take some photos of my bedroom window which was only a couple of hundred yards away. I dashed off and took the photos. I could hear some people talking outside as if their conversations weren’t being overheard. That was really interesting. In the end I set off back out again. I hadn’t gone far when I realised that I’d forgotten my camera. I carried on anyway. There was a woman on crutches with a couple of kids, and lots of other people. I couldn’t see Alison. I thought to myself that maybe we should have made better arrangements to meet than this. Suddenly she was at my elbow and told me that she’d put on the shelf all the information concerning our trip. I told her that I’d been keeping a log for the whole month and that was all together too. We sat down to work out where we want to go

Then I headed out for the bus as I had things to do in the town. I’d taken with me the letter that I’d written yesterday to the doctor, with the intention of giving it to the receptionist. But as you might expect, the way things are these days, there was a strike on and the receptionist wasn’t it.

Round at the Carrefour I did the shopping and made it back in time for the bus. It was a struggle to climb aboard, as I imagined that it would be.

However, there was some good news. I’d interrogated the driver and he told me that the bus stop at St Nicholas does indeed have an elevated platform so boarding the bus for coming home shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

The big difficulty though is that there is only 12 minutes between the bus dropping me off and it coming back again, and that is going to cause a few problems of its own.

Mind you, after how I felt after my trip out today, I don’t think that I’ll be going anywhere again. I can’t keep this up. it’s really hard to believe that it wasn’t all that many weeks ago that I walked back from town after a shopping trip.

Back here, having staggered up the stairs under my heavy load, I made my coffee and my cheese on toast, and then came back back in here where, in a marvellous fit of bravado, I finished off the arrears of the dictaphone notes from when I was in hospital last autumn.

My cleaner came round to see me afterwards. I’d sent her a message about my failure to leave the letter at the doctor’s. I’d asked her if she would take it for me on one of her forays down to town next week. I realy and honestly don’t think that I could do it, and it’s quite an important letter.

Something else that I did this afternoon was to bake a loaf of bread. With not going out tomorrow I won’t be having one of my lovely crusty baguettes so I need to do something about that if I want my cheese on toast.

In fact, going back to baking isn’t a bad idea really. At some point in the proceedings I have to make more fruit buns and more pizza dough so it seems like a good moment to have another go at making a vegan pie. I picked up some potatoes today so I have enough to keep me going for a while.

Finally, I chose all of the music for another radio programme and paired it off. If I can write the notes for that tomorrow I’ll have four sets of notes to dictate and that will give me something to do over the next week

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun with salad and a baked potato. Nothing special at all but quite nice for a change.

So now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a really busy day as you can see, and I’ve crashed out once this afternoon already, but only for a few minutes. Now I want to crash out for a good while and sleep until the morning.

Then I’ll see what can be done about all the things that need resolving. There are plenty of those.

Friday 29th September 2023 – DESPITE ALL OF …

… my exertions yesterday, I was actually up and about before the alarm went off, and no-one was more surprised than me.

So having had my medication I had a very slow start to the day before wandering outside at 09:00 for the bus. And there’s no doubt whatsoever that it’s becoming more and more difficult.

Climbing aboard was one thing – getting off was another. But I managed not to fall over and had a very slow stagger to the supermarket.

They had a few things of interest in there that I bought and another customer helped me at the checkout and packed my backpack for me. Yes – things have really deteriorated to that extent.

Climbing back onto the bus was quite an effort. They haven’t extended the pavement out to the road where the bus stops so I have to climb in from street level and that’s not so easy at all.

The climb back up the stairs was agony and I was glad to make it back to my apartment. I put everything away and then made myself some coffee and cheese on toast for breakfast.

First thing to do was to check the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was something to do with a local cricket club. They hadn’t had their ground mowed so while they had a pause in games they’d spoken to a couple of people. As I was walking out of town one day I bumped into one of the people heading that way with all his equipment. He said that he was going to be mowing the grass. It was a hot, heavy day and he said that he wasn’t looking forward to having to do it but they’d paid him £400 so he was going to give it his best shot. I walked further on and ended up by the Sugar Loaf Corner in Shavington. I saw the lad talking to a few people who knew the guy who had gone to mow the cricket field. he was sitting in a great big sit-on mower with very extending blades. He was saying that he’d just earned¨£1500 for doing nothing but he supposed that he’d better go and see what was happening so headed off on his mower up the hill towards the cricket ground.

Later on I was with Cecile. We were having a really nice domestic arrangement going. I’d been working on the radio and had invited a couple of people for interview. I’d turned up at the rendezvous but they hadn’t so in the end I came home. Tea wasn’t ready yet but there was a box of cornflakes lying around for quite some considerable time. She asked me if I’d try them. I did and told her that they were very nice. There was nothing wrong with them so she said “put them in with the other cornflakes”. I went to put the waxed bag inside the box of cornflakes but I noticed that she’d already poured milk in there. I said “that’s probably not a good idea to put the milk in the cornflakes. Then we were discussing food and recipes, shepherd’s pies etc when the question of the radio came up. It turned out that I hadn’t sent off a radio programme to one of my contacts for at least 3 weeks. She wondered how they were getting on. I explained that they really don’t form part of our circle any more. She said that we’d end up regretting it because they paid us some money. We could do with the money because there was some good stuff in the Charity Shop. She ran through a few of the things. There was a perfume that she mentioned . I said “that’s funny because it’s an expensive cream”. She replied “yes, we need to come back so we can buy it and I’ll see what else is there for you too. I reminded her that there’s no point going there unless you have things to sell them. She said “well, never mind. We’ll have to work out something on the way down. She asked me to look at her skin and how wonderful it was since she’d baan taking products and creams like this ointment and it did actually look quite nice.

Did I dictate the dream about the guy who came with a whole pile of second-hand cars? … "no you didn’t" – ed. By “old”, I DO mean “old” like Morris Minors etc. He parked them in the street in our village and put price tags in the window. The problem was that this was right outside my barn. I shouted out of my window at him but he took no notice. Someone let loose the sluice dam. It flooded the area where his cars were parked and completely flooded his cars. After the flood had subsided I went downstairs. I had a look at his vehicles. They were all wrecks, just having been tarted up quickly. I told him that he needed to move them because they were blocking my garage. He said that I could manoeuvre around his cars. I said that I had a lorry that tows a cement mixer and I’m not manoeuvring around for anyone. This is my way out of my garage. Reluctantly he moved all of his cars to the side of the road

There was then something about the school bus. I had to run to catch it. Someone was already sitting in my seat so I had to sit somewhere else. The bus driver asked me where I was yesterday. I replied that I was sure that I was still in school. She asked “are you really sure?”. I replied “yes. I remember distinctly having to do my homework last night”. As I walked down the bus I remembered that I wasn’t at school at all. I was doing something else. So In the morning I didn’t go into school until the afternoon. I sat down but there was a dispute about seats on the bus. In the end the children from one particular school all had to alight, line up and were allowed back on in order of seniority. I thought that this was probably the strangest thing that I’d ever witnessed about a school bus but I didn’t say anything – I just let them get on with it.

Finally I was round at a former friend’s last night. Zero was there and she brought me some kind of card where you put stickers on. I asked her why and she said that I had to put stickers on it. It turned out that as of whenever you were only allowed one card per family or per person. They used a lot of this particular product so they always had plenty of stickers. They wanted to do one in my name. It made no difference to me so I agreed, especially as it was Zero who asked. It turned out that they were about to go on holiday. There were going to somewhere in Canada but they said that all the flights had been changed and muddled up. They began to talk about small towns whose names I didn’t recognise. In the end it turned out that they would have to fly to Boston (which I called Bangor in the dream) and then take an aeroplane to fly north. I jokingly asked Zero if there was any room in her suitcase for me. She laughed and said “no”. We all piled into my former friend’s ancient Land Rover ready to go to the airport. Jerry turned up. My friend said “I have another vehicle to show you”, hopped out and the two wandered off. It turned out that he had not only another Land Rover but also some really old lorry of some description and had taken him to see that.

It was nice to see Zero again after such a long time, but regardless of that there was quite a lot going on last night and I’m surprised that I had time to go to sleep.

As well as that I’ve been making a few phone calls. According to the hospital I qualify for help from the APA – The Allocation Personnalisée d’Autonomie.

That’s an official branch of the French Social Services Department and it’s crated to provide help and support for pensioners to enable them to remain autonomous at home rather than be carted off into an Old People’s Home. Such are the depths to which I’ve sunk this last 12 months or so.

As you might expect, I’ve no intention of being carried off to live amongst a bunch of old fogeys any time soon. I love my little apartment – it’s the first place in which I’ve lived in which I’ve ever felt at home – and I’m not going to move out of this building for any reason whatsoever.

Tea tonight was chips – sweet potato chips as well as ordinary ones – vegan salad and some of those nugget things that I bought ages ago. It was all really nice and I really like my meals these days. I seem to be doing quite well with my cooking.

So having done that, I’m off to bed. I’m shopping tomorrow at the big supermarket although I’m not looking forward to it – staggering around the supermarket and driving there and back.

And then there’s the stagger up the stairs with my shopping trolley. I don’t like the idea of that at all.

Friday 22nd September 2023 – I MADE IT …

… down into town and back today doing a round of various places that I had to visit. And strangely enough, I felt much better for it too.

It rather reminds me of the time in my late teens when I was staggering back home after a visit to the Lion and Swan in Crewe and stopping at Crewe Bus Station for “obvious reasons”.

“Phew!” I said. “Just made it!” And the guy standing next to me said “blimey! Can you make me one just like it?”.

Unfortunately, Crewe Bust station and the public conveniences that it housed have been demolished, and that’s a shame. It was thanks to a careful study of the helpful diagrams on the wall that I passed my Biology “O” Levels.

They were at one time planning on giving guided tours of the public conveniences on the Bus Station. The cost would have been 2/6d per visit, or 2/7d if you wanted to see all of it.

Last night was one of those extremely turbulent nights where I travelled miles and consequently didn’t have much in the way of sleep. And so what with my trip into town today and my long walk around, I’m surprised, really surprised, that I kept going.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed and went for my medication and to read my mails and messages. Once I’d done all that I headed off for a shower to make myself look pretty.

When I awoke there was an enormous torrential rainstorm going on so I was really thinking about abandoning my trip out, but by the time that I hit the streets it had stopped.

The bus dropped me off at the Port and my first call was at the Credit Agricole to have them sign a form. The Belgian Government is starting to pay Old-Age pensions directly into bank accounts and I need a rubber stamp and signature on the bank details form.

And for such a simple task as that, I was there for about 15 minutes while they tried to work out how to apply a rubber stamp, a signature and a date to a form.

Next stop was the Post Office to post off a few letters that I’d written just recently, and then to the chemist’s to pick up the Aranesp that I’d ordered yesterday. And there I encountered my cleaner picking up some medication for another one of her clients.

At the Carrefour I did some basic shopping and then headed back for the bus home. It’s quite a climb into the bus because there’s no pavement where it pulls up but for some reason it was easier to climb in today.

Back here I put everything away and then made my coffee and cheese on toast. The Amazon fairy had been too and left me a package, the stuff that I’d ordered on line earlier in the week.

Apart from the silicon bowls that fit in the air fryer and the Christmas pudding steamer, highlight was my new waist bag. I’ve had various ones over the years and they are very handy when you go travelling, but the one that I’ve used for the last 12 years or so is falling to bits and one of the zips doesn’t work properly.

They had them on line that were bigger than that one, with more pockets and a holder for a bottle of water so I treated myself. And it really does seem to be the bee’s knees. It took a while to pack it because I wanted to make sure that it has everything that I need.

One of the most important items in my waist bag is a couple of sheets of … errr … tissue paper. I was caught out once in Romania 30 or so years ago and I won’t be caught like that again.

A little earlier I mentioned that it had been a turbulent night, and I wasn’t exaggerating. There was another long rambling dream that I seem to have lost. It concerns some things involving a lot of girls. They aren’t really what they seem to be, these things. There was one situation where we were on a train, a works train going back to the station after doing some work. On a train that was coming in behind us they loaded up some furniture. One woman said that she wanted it but I was hopeful of having it, a nice metal two-door cabinet. When we finally pulled in at the station we’d had to wait for a few minutes at a platform. Had I known, I would have nipped off there. When we pulled in, the train had caught up with us and they were wheeling the cabinet away. I woman in front of me was racing after it and of course I couldn’t go as quickly as I ought to do so I didn’t make it to have the cabinet. There was much more going on than this, including people, the kind of things that we’d bought. Someone came out with the name of an author – it might have been Richard Graves. I said that I knew his grand-daughter. She was a girl whom I knew and was hopeful of being friendly with her. They were asking if anyone wanted any torture equipment, but it was more like practical joke things, whoopie cushions etc rather than torture equipment. When I found out what it was I was rather disappointed. There was much more than this but it’s all melted away from this dream that went on for hours and was really exciting.

Did I dictate the dream about chasing after this furniture that was being brought into the station behind us on a works train, someone beating me and going ahead to the kiosk for it first? … “yes you did” – ed.. We’d then been out in town shopping. Everyone had his own chair that the restaurant or café kept. It had their name on it. Luckily the girl I’d brought with me was extremely new and only had an old T-shirt like that with a name on. It was called Carol or Caroline, just looking at this girl’s number, She told Caroline to go home and let the world know about your new hobby of collecting these T-shirts.

Did I mention that there was a story about some chairs of some description? … “yes you did” – ed. We had to sit on them in this café, some special luxury leather chairs. Someone would come over from one of the islands to the mainland, our friends, and treat us there instead of a workman (… at this point the dictaphone went quiet, except for my snoring …)

Something occurred that reminded me of something similar to the Lords of the Rings – 5 Lords of Darkness, a giant, an elf, a dwarf and a few others. They had cornered whoever was the hero and his friends on an island. The evil people decided that they wanted to capture them so they chose 3 of their number to assault the island. They were met by a rain of arrows from one of the party who was on the island. In the end 2 of these 3 people looked like pin cushions but the arrows weren’t particularly hurting them. In the end they charged the island. The biggest one of the 3, he was struck by a pike that one of the defenders was holding which ripped off his head from its socket. A second one was killed with a sword and the third was taken prisoner, the one who was mostly affected by arrows. The other 2 and their supporters were then disillusioned and disheartened and weren’t really sure what they could do now to resolve the situation.

Something else to do with this dream concerned the recital of a poem. I can’t remember how the poem went. It was something like “it’s not the eyes that provide the allure of …” (whatever it was). Once again it was something that evaporated immediately

At another moment I’d committed a robbery and stolen millions of Pounds. I had it hidden under the floor in the basement in the house where I was living in London, a 3-storey terraced house with the living room on the first floor, the bedroom on the second and a kind-of cellar/laundry room etc on the ground floor. The Police obviously suspected me. They were around searching my house. I was convinced that eventually they’d find it but I’d give them a run for their money in looking for it. I’d been outside somewhere and was on my way home. Word must have gone round Gangland – I’d noticed several people whom I’d not seen before loitering around. As I went to try to put the key in the door a couple of these people approached me quite quickly but discreetly. I turned to them and said “oh no you don’t!”. That slowed their tracks and I closed the door behind me. What I then did was with these people now loitering outside my door I told the police in my basement that there was some kind of street issue going on outside. A couple of policemen went out, took these people by surprise, harangued them and made them go away. I thought that it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. When they came back in we had a really good laugh about it. I told them that that’s really the first time that I’ve ever felt uncomfortable living in this particular house

Meanwhile 4 medieval soldiers had been trapped inside a gatehouse to a walled city for several days. With nothing else to do in a desperate situation they quite simply roared out of their building and charged the attackers and actually managed to drive them away which took everyone by surprise.

Finally, there was a group of us living in a house. We had to leave it quite quickly so I began to pack my basic essentials and there was still some stuff left over. I had a pile of small cardboard boxes. I told one of the guys living with us that he was far better placed than me that he could have the boxes and someone would have to take my stuff with him while I went to fetch Caliburn and come back to pick it up. At first he was being extremely difficult about it and I couldn’t understand why. In the end he asked “could I see these boxes?”. I showed him and his eyes lit up. He said “that’s no problem at all”. I explained to him that certain stuff was for throwing away, certain stuff was stuff that he could keep and the rest was mine. He should take everything away and I’d be round for my stuff again when I’ve managed to pick up Caliburn

Having done that, I transcribed another day’s worth of arrears and then finished off the notes for the radio programme.

In between everything I baked a small loaf of bread. I’m not going shopping tomorrow so I need something for my cheese on toast and for sandwiches on Monday. And then I made tea. Some kind of burger – I don’t know what it was – and a salad and baked potato seeing as I had the oven on to bake my bread.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day without very much excitement. It’ll do me good to have a quiet weekend ready to Fight the Good Fight on Monday morning. I’ll be ready for Paris, but will Paris be ready for me?

Tuesday 12th September 2023 – I HAVE HAD …

… the kind of day today that you can only ever have in Belgium.

In the middle of my Welsh lesson, during which I was speaking Welsh, I had a ‘phone call which I had to answer, and ended up having a conversation in French.

Back to the Welsh lesson, speaking Welsh again, and someone came to the door, so I ended up having a conversation in Flemish.

And then back to speaking Welsh.

It reminded me of the time years ago when I was living here and there were 14 of us sitting round a table talking in French, and French was the mother-tongue of none of us.

Something else that was good and interesting was that I had another excellent night’s sleep again and I wish that I could have a few more of those. I’ve really no idea why that might be because sofas are not actually renowned for their comfort and my bed was the best that I could afford.

Anyway I was up once more before the alarm went off and had a very slow awakening before I was ready to Fight The Good Fight.

Alison was going to work late this morning so she dropped me off at the supermarket in the village where I stocked up on the basics that I need to keep me going until Friday morning.

The walk back here with a heavy rucksack was not easy because it’s much further than you might think and the road is quite uneven. So I was glad to be back and have my cheese and tomato on toast, especially now that I have some tomato to go on it.

There was something on the dictaphone from the night. I was in Canada talking to my niece. Actually, I wasn’t in Canada but somewhere else and she was there. We were chatting and she was talking about the tyres. She had a little Subaru vehicle that she used as a private runabout. She had a certain type of tyre on it which she found to be great in winter when she was in and out. My car over there had Arctic Grip tyres on it but her husband’s vehicle had racing tyres which surprisingly gave him the best grip of all in the snow and ice. They’d already had snow and ice there. There was plenty of snow but it had all levelled out. They also had a guy with a cattle truck, one that my father had found for him. He used to work for people in the area including my niece in transporting the cattle around from one day to the next to different places in the area.

It’s not easy having my Welsh lesson using the mobile phone but the computer isn’t powerful enough to run videos. We have a couple of new students in our class this year so hopefully we’ll keep on going.

The good news is that there’s no exam at the end of the year so I might go to take the exam that I should have taken last summer. Having spent all that time away and then in hospital, I didn’t feel that I’d done enough prepare me for it.

The discussion in Flemish was with the guy who mows Alison’s lawn, but the phone call in French was with the hospital where I went 10 days ago, and that was much more exciting.

"Mr Hall, we’ve arranged a bed for you. We’d like you to set aside a week to come to stay with us, starting 25th September"

So six weeks from seeing the Specialist to seeing the Hospital Consultant, and then three and a half weeks from seeing the Consultant to being called into the hospital. It’s not quite the four days that I had to wait when I first came to Leuven in 2016, but it’s still treatment that you would never have on the NHS.

After the lesson was over I had a slice of toast and a coffee and then crashed out. I’d been fighting off sleep since I came back from my walk but in the end I succumbed.

While I’d been asleep we’d had a rainstorm so the Angel Of The Lord Came Down And Gave Another Rinse to the clothes that I’d had drying outside. They aren’t ever going to dry at this rate.

For the rest of the afternoon I’ve been doing more radio stuff and then I went for tea – burger on a bun with pasta and veg in a tomato and cheese sauce.

When Alison came back we had a chat and then she went off to bed. Now that I’ve written my notes I’m going to bed too and if I sleep as well as I have done this last couple of days I’ll be more than happy.

Friday 1st September 2023 – FOURTEEN MINUTES …

… of added time was played at the end of the second half of the game between Caernarfon and Connah’s Quay this evening.

When a spectator ran onto the pitch after 53 minutes I thought “here we go again. A repeat of what happened at the game of Y Fflint v Caernarfon towards the end of last season”.

However, it was slightly different this evening. The fan was wildly gesticulating at the Medics’ bench and they suddenly got the message because they sprinted over to the supporter with their medical bags.

After much confusion and a lengthy waiting period, we saw the two medics helping from the ground someone who was clearly in a great amount of distress. And then the game could restart.

When I awoke this morning I was in great distress too because I’d had another turbulent night, as seems to be the pattern these days. I managed to beat the second alarm, but not by much, and then gradually dragged myself into the Land of the Living.

The 09:10 bus was late this morning and so I had to hang around in the wind for a while. But I made it to Carrefour with enough time to do some shopping for the weekend. A few bits and pieces including a couple more small peppers.

The freezer is now full of those but that’s just as well because I can’t ever find them when I want them. Giant peppers I can find by the dozen but they are too big for my air fryer. and there is too much of them anyway for a small appetite like mine.

Back here I had my coffee and cheese on toast and then attacked this back-up task that I’ve been planning.

And by now it’s all ready in principle. I just want one more hard drive for the images which I want to keep separate from everything else. There’s a spare drive bay (in fact there are two) in the array on the shelf so there’s no problem there.

While I was waiting for things to happen I transcribed the dictaphone notes. And I had a surprise visitor. I’d been round to Stoke on Trent to talk to someone whom I used to know. Just at that moment Zero came back home. She went into the house and came out on a scooter, a 3-wheeled thing where you put both feet on and push yourself off and go whizzing down the hill. Her mother ran after her and I ran after her too. Then her mother was on a bike and I ran. She shouted at me “come on Eric, keep up”. I thought “there’s no way that I could keep up with people going at this speed the way I am”. She reached the bottom of the hill, turned round and came back up, came up alongside me, stopped and jumped off She said “get on, we’re going to ..” I thought she said “Meir” so I replied “that’s miles away”. “No” she replied” My house nearby”. She shot off and I chased after her on the scooter thing.

Mind you, I didn’t catch her. Even in the ethereal world she manages to keep well out of the way of my evil clutches as, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so does TOTGA.

That wasn’t the only excitement of the night either. I’d been away somewhere and then come back with a load of clothes etc all of which I’d washed and hung up. We were a big family living in this house, sleeping anywhere. We didn’t so much have bedrooms allocated. I slept on the sofa in the living room and my chest of drawers of clothes was behind it. Someone whom I knew came and began to disrupt my entire routine. I had to go to have a shower. The first thing that I needed was some clothes so I went to fetch some but the only top that I could find was a thermal vest top. I thought “never mind – I’ll take that”. My mother asked me if I was taking that. I replied “yes”. Once I’d climbed over this rubbish and back to my settee I had to climb back because I needed my deodorant etc to take with me into the bathroom. The visitor was ever so confused about what was happening and so I think was everyone else including me.

Later on I was looking for clothes for one of my 3D figures. I’d just uploaded a whole pile of brand-new stuff and the folders weren’t sorted out correctly as I would like so things were in a bit of a mess. I wasn’t quite sure where I should be looking to find the item of clothing that I wanted my figure to wear. This meant that I was going to have to start to do a big organisation of all of that but I certainly didn’t feel like it at this time of the morning when I’d been asleep.

I’d also invented some kind of leg brace to improve the posture on young girls, like a V_shape with holders at the open end of the V in which you’d put your legs so your legs were always a constant distance apart and could only go forwards and backwards so much. This was intended to keep their composure and poise while walking. They could buy one for use at home if they didn’t have access to one during the day

Finally, and depressingly, I was with my family last night, a whole bunch of them. Everyone was there and many more besides. My youngest sister was marrying and I’d been invited to the wedding. I didn’t want to go but I couldn’t find a good excuse to turn it down. There was some pre-wedding meeting. I’d finished doing a taxi job so I went. From the freezer I brought some things that I’d cooked to take with me as some kind of offering, only to find that they’d leaked in the car. I arrived and everyone tried to hoist onto me the job of giving my sister away. I flatly refused, saying that it’s my father’s job. He was unwilling because he wasn’t very confident. I just didn’t want to become involved at all in any respect other than to be there and then only reluctantly. I was telling my father that he’d been working up his life for giving away his daughter and there he was, “bang!” she’s gone and I’ve given her away. Everyone looked at me, outraged, when I said that. But I added “well, that’s what the gist of it is, isn’t it?”. It wasn’t very popular at all but then again neither am I.

So much for all of that. After the sunshine comes the rain, as we all very well know.

Tea tonight was chips from the air fryer with vegan salad and some of those nuggets. Eaten quickly because of the football.

Caernarfon were second in the table, unbeaten so far this season, and Connah’s Quay were uncharacteristically quite low down having been swept aside by TNS the other week and then beaten by Y Bala. So we were expecting a really tough match

The Cofis, having been known for their flaky defence for the past few seasons, had been playing much better this season and had been the main reason why their team was second in the table, so no-one expected them to fold up so dramatically.

Although they had their moments in the attack, they didn’t amount to anything and conceded four of the sloppiest goals that I have seen ever since Aberystwyth shipped a miserable bagful against TNS 9 months ago.

A 0-4 home defeat was a disaster and they are going to have to do much better than they did tonight.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow but I won’t need much Rosemary gave me a quick ring this evening just before kick-off so she’s going to ring me tomorrow. I’ll have to lay in some supplies though as it will be a long phone call.

Friday 18th August 2023 – WHAT SURPRISES ME …

… is that I managed to keep on going for as long as I did today after all of my exertions.

As I predicted (well, it really wasn’t much of a prediction) I lay awake for hours after going to bed last night and just couldn’t settle down. As I’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … there’s no point going to bed early if I’m not able to go to sleep.

But sleep I must have done at some point during the night because when the alarm went off I was flat out miles away, deep in the Arms of Morpheus.

Leaving the bed before the second alarm was something of a struggle but I managed it all the same, and then had something of slow drag around into consciousness.

Despite everything else I managed to fall into the shower and have a good scrub up, and then I hit the town.

The bus was already at the bus stop so I staggered aboard, and then staggered out at the bus stop by the port.

First stop was at the doctor’s to pick up my prescription. I’m running out of medication so I need to stock up.

next stop was at the Carrefour around the corner where I bought a few supplies to keep me going, like peppers, mushrooms, potatoes and the like.

The reason why I buy my peppers here is that they sell two for €0:99 – teacup sized ones that are ideal for making stuffed peppers. The ones that you buy elsewhere are often quite enormous and overwhelm whatever it is that I’m cooking.

Final port of call was at the chemist for my Aranesp and to have the prescription dispensed.

By the time that I’d bought everything that I needed, my backpack was quite heavy and it was a struggle to come back up the hill. It took me an absolute age and I was exhausted. I had to make dozens of pauses

Back here I cleaned out one of the peppers and put it in the freezer and then armed with my coffee and cheese and toast I came in here, rather later then intended, for my Welsh lesson.

During the pause at lunchtime, I wrote up the dictaphone notes. I was waiting at Goodall’s Corner in Shavington for a bus to go to Nantwich for a hospital appointment. It seemed as if I’d been there for hours but no bus came. I’d seen buses coming in the other direction from Nantwich but none going that way. Eventually someone told me that there wzs a change on the route. He offered to take me to his house in Stock Lane because the buses were going past there at the moment. He took me down there. I went into his house. There were a few people in there, all denying that I was ill. In the end I had to show them my scars where the needles had been in my arms, the site of my old catheter etc before they eventually agreed that I was undergoing some medical treatment. Then we heard the bus so I went outside. The bus pulled up and I boarded. There was a driver and a couple of other passengers. The whole lower deck of this bus was covered in dolls etc. The driver, while he was driving, was playing a game of some kind like cards or something with another one of the passengers. I thought that this was the most weird bus trip that i’d ever had.

What was interesting about this dream was that I was waiting for the bus on the “wrong” side of the road, as I would do if I were in Europe. And all the traffic was driving on the right too.

And then, half an hour later we had a suddenly this dream came alive. The person who was being me began to take off after the girl in this particular scene. That caused a lot of embarrassment. First of all, what was happening was that we’d been paired off. There was a doll that was me, a doll that was a girl, there were several of these pairs and we’d been paired off each at someone’s house but at first nothing had ever happened until we suddenly began to come to life” and I have absolutely no recollection of this or no idea at all what it concerns.

Then we had a dream that was quite similar to that again with 2 dolls, a male and a female. It wasn’t until they’d been together for a while that people noticed that these dolls were starting to turn themselves into a couple

Next I was at a supermarket. There were these toy things, dolls or whatever, tied up at a kind of hitching rail outside the store. All of a sudden a few people came along and began to push themselves into the queue in the wrong place. I thought to myself that there’s going to be some kind of severe confrontation with this lot any minute now.

I was then with Mike Harris, the chairman from TNS. We were talking about the European Cup Final between his team and a team that I was representing from Wales. He said that he wanted to approach UEFA to see whether they’d agree to host the game in Budapest. I said that in principle I’d agree but I’d like to play the game in Leichtenstein. Apart from the fact that there’s a lovely stadium there, it’s the crossroads of Europe etc. He asked me how we’d go about it. I told him that I knew Mike Lee, the Press Officer who went on to lead the UK’s bid for the Olympics in London. I imagined that he’d have a replacement and we’d start of by contacting him.

What’s strange about this is that I BO – or did – know Mike Lee, and he was Press Officer for UEFA and he did leave to work as leader of the team what worked on bringing the Olympic Games to London. And the football stadium at Vaduz in Leichtenstein is quite nice, AS REGULAR READERS OF THIS RUBBISH WILL RECALL.

But no Zero last night, and no California either. I must be slipping.

The Welsh lesson went quite well for a change, even though I had to fight off several waves of sleep. But once it was over and I was armed with my hot chocolate I wasn’t so lucky and ended off drifting away for half an hour or so.

That actually makes a change. usually, going into tow and back exhausts me completely and I’m flat out on my chair a long time before this.

There was time to spend an hour or two writing radio programme notes and then I went for tea – chips with salad and some of those quorn nuggets that are really nice.

But now I’m ready for bed, I reckon, not that I’m particularly tired after having crashed out just now. But it’ll catch up with me sooner or later. Shopping tomorrow, and with some room in the freezer, I hope that there’s some good stuff in Noz now that I have room for it

And having been to the shops I’ll probably be flat out in the afternoon. As long as I don’t miss the football tomorrow evening.

Friday 4th August 2023 – AFTER ALL OF YESTERDAY’S …

… exertions, today followed pretty much the same pattern.

Although there wasn’t the same number of sound files on the dictaphone, it wasn’t far off. And I reckon that had I gone to bed last night at 23:00 as normal instead of … errr … 01:30 this morning, who knows how many there might have been?

When the alarm went off this morning I was actually in a record shop somewhere discussing a Wishbone Ash album with someone. Consequently it took me a few seconds to find my feet.

When the second alarm went off at 07:05 I was actually on my feet – but only just. And the shower that I had after my medication did little to revive me.

Just as last week, I was on the bus early, on the grounds that the sooner I go, the quicker I come back – rather like Tommy Handley’s Ali Oup and “I go – I come back”.

At Carrefour I did a little shopping and then for some reason had to wait quite a while for the bus. I’ve no idea why he took so long to come back this morning.

Back here I had a little accident. Having cleaned out a pepper ready for freezing, I dropped one of the freezer drawers on the floor. I ended up having to clean it, repair it and repack it And then I could sit down and have my cheese on toast and coffee.

There had been plenty of post in my letterbox. The most important letter was that the Physical Re-education Centre that contacted me by phone a couple of weeks ago has offered me 20 – yes, TWENTY sessions, starting in mid-October.

It seems that they are taking this nerve problem seriously. What with that and the hospital visit at the end of the month, who knows?

Also in the post was the acknowledgement of my application for a disabled person’s permit. They told me that I had sent in everything that they needed and I can expect a reply “within four months”. We shall see.

For a change, I managed to avoid falling asleep this afternoon, not that I actually felt like doing all that much. But eventually I had a listen to the dictaphone – piles and piles of it. I had a dream last night. I can’t remember very much about it but I remember that it was full of a lot of people watching it who were coming out of profanities. I had to post some kind of notice requesting everyone to mind their language as there were young children in the vicinity listening to all of it.

There was also the story of a whaler out of Dundee that ran onto rocks and sank as it was coming into the harbour. The crew took to the boats and came ashore but they must have been on an island because there was still no way to reach Dundee. They had to wait to be rescued. There were all kinds of accusations flying around. I was captain of the whaler so I had one of my crew discreetly count the number of people who were with us. He said “between 18 and 26”. That was not what I wanted to know. I was hoping that he’d give me an exact number so I’d know first of all how many we’d had starting out, how many had made it ashore and how many had subsequently been able to go ashore somewhere else. There was an old mariner on this island who was extremely critical of what we’d done. He was very domineering and told us to sit down even though we could see a ship coming in the distance. He told us to sit and watch television while we awaited rescue. I said that I wasn’t interested in watching anything on television. he made some kind of dismissive remark about that. My story was that the chart was deficient but he seemed to think that it was my fault completely, the sinking of the ship. I was looking forward to the subsequent examination where I could put forward my points of view.

Here we were on this island awaiting rescue and we came across a pile of railway carriages for the London Underground. That invited a lot of comment as to what they might be doing there in this rural outpost somewhere along the shore near Dundee. One thing though was that I was sure that looking at the men who had been saved I didn’t really recognise anyone who’d started out on the trip. They could have been different people for all I know

And then someone wanted to work out some kind of survey where any kind of activity took place on the island compared to life on there as normal. I told him to clear off and said that as far as I was concerned no-one was having anything to do with him and this particular survey. What with all of that, it must have been a quite interesting night on that island near Dundee.

And on another island in the middle of the Atlantic there were about 20 children. What they were doing was to play some kind of game with them to see how many could identify the places that were involved with many of the early explorers’ voyages around the world, like the Canary Islands and the Azores, Lanzarote, islands like that situated off the coast of Europe and North West Africa.

I was in a music shop last night. I’d bought a Wishbone Ash album years ago but I’d never got round to actually playing it. When I did, the tracks didn’t correspond with what was on the running order list. I did some research and found that it’s the wrong album that’s been pressed on the CD. The label was for the CD box but the album on the disc was a different one. I went back to the record shop to tell them about it and see what they could do, not that with all this immense lapse of time I expected them to do anything. I was in the middle of talking to them when the alarm went off.

There was some other stuff too but you don’t really want to know about that right now.

As I mentioned yesterday I spent some time on the radio programme that I started yesterday. Another pile of notes have been written and I can finish it off tomorrow. Then I can dictate the notes tomorrow night and if I’m lucky I can prepare two radio programmes on Sunday.

It’ll be a busy day on Sunday because I have some fruit buns to bake. I’ve almost run out of those.

Finally I spent some time tracking down some more stuff about Muskrat Falls. I managed to find not only the agreement that was signed between the Newfoundland and Labrador Government and the Innu community in 2011, I managed to find out how, why and when it all went pear-shaped.

Peter Penashue, the leader of the Innu community at Sheshatshiu, the Innu settlement whose tribal hunting grounds were most affected made an impassioned speech setting out the community’s grievances and the reasons for the blockade of the site.

Basically, there was some kind of profit-sharing agreement proposed in which the Innu community would be paid a percentage of the resale of the electricity generated.

However with massive cost and timescale overruns and structural failures, and much of the electricity being siphoned off by the residents of the Provincial capital in Newfoundland, something that has added millions and millions of dollars to the costs, even the most optimistic estimates reckon that there will be no profit generated for at least 30 years.

That’s assuming that nothing else goes wrong (and what are the odds on that?) of course. And by that time all of the people who were expected to profit from the development will have received nothing.

In the meantime, their hunting grounds and traditional way of life will have been destroyed.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on our first trip to Labrador before there was any sign of development, we saw moose a-plenty, and even bear. Since the development began, we’ve seen just one moose and that’s your lot. In 2017 we didn’t see anything at all.

Tea tonight was salad and chips with some of the falafel that I bought the other day. It was quite nice too, but then again that falafel is a proprietary brand rather than a generic one.

Back here I actually fell asleep for 15 minutes which was disappointing – I was hoping that I could keep going all day having gone “over the hump” this afternoon. But now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Shopping tomorrow, but I don’t want all that much. But supplies of coffee are beginning to run low so I’ll be on the lookout for a coffee sale. They haven’t had one for a while so they must be due for one. It’ll probably be the week after I’ve bought some at full price.

Friday 28th July 2023 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about what was going to happen this afternoon.

Flat out on my chair, not once but twice, and for quite a while too.

But really that was no surprise the way that things are right now.

As it happens, I’d had a good night’s sleep for a change too. In bed early and I can’t remember very much of anything at all until the alarm went off.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went and had a shower to clean myself up and make myself look pretty ready for my bus to the town

It was early when I went out too. I decided that the sooner I start the sooner I finish and so I was on the bus at 09:10. I just went to the little Carrefour and then came straight back. I didn’t really want to hand around and I didn’t want to buy very much anyway.

Back here I made myself some coffee and cheese on toast and then came back in here where I crashed out – for the first time.

And in between then and crashing out later on, I was out in Canada back in 2017.

Out on the Trans-Labrador Highway I went to visit my favourite spot on Otter Brook, a tributary of the Eagle River, and then dealt with the knotty problem of the Labrador Border Dispute

The border between Labrador and Québec wasn’t officially delineated until 1927 and while Québec is quite happy to incorporate into its territory a couple of areas of land that it never claimed, it refuses to acknowledge the territory that was awarded to Labrador that Labrador didn’t claim.

Of course, the reason why Labrador never claimed that territory was because it didn’t need to – the border in that area having been decided by a Letter Patent of 1876 – but we mustn’t let facts get in the way of a good Qhébecois rant, of course.

As well as that, I’ve been exploring a couple or peri-Arctic meadows.

When William Munn proposed in 1914 that the Norse voyagers’ settlement was in Newfoundland he was ridiculed by many people. In the Norse sagas they talk about meadows and grassland and taking cattle with them to feed on the grass.

“As if that is ever going to be likely in the region of Newfoundland and Labrador” was the cry.

However the critics failed to take into account a few things – such as

  • There’s plenty of contemporary evidence of cattle in Labrador – the census of 1911 actually counts them
  • When Munn suggested that “maybe the climate in those days was different” he was roundly criticised. “There is no evidence whatever that the climate was different 900 years ago” said various people. That aged well, didn’t it?
  • Any comparison between any two places is merely relative. An agriculturalist from the Temperate Zone might not think much of the peri-Arctic meadows out here in Labrador, but the Norse voyagers came from Greenland and I’ve seen meadows in Greenland, and these meadows here in Labrador are relatively luxurious by comparison

So as well as falling asleep yet again, I had a bash at the dictaphone notes from the night. I was trying to do some tidying up at home (as if that is ever likely to happen). I’d set out to clean the kitchen floor. I’d brushed it and had it ready for the mop. The woman who helped my mother seemed to criticise it so I asked her if it wasn’t good enough. She said it wasn’t so I asked her to point out to me a few things where it was wrong. She pointed to some glue or something on the floor. It turned out that the kids had put sticky labels on the soles of their shoes for some reason. These sticky labels had in time worn off their shoes and stuck to the lino. I had to go through and scrape it all off before I could wash the floor. While I was washing it with the mop I went and rubbed the damp mop over my bedding too thinking that this would clean it and make it really nice. Everyone looked at me strangely but I carried on doing it. On one occasion I didn’t even squeeze the mop after I’d dipped it in the bucket of water before giving the bedclothes a good scrub with the mop. My mother said that my bed would be terribly wet tonight. I told her that it would soon dry. She replied “yes but it will have a strange odour for a while”.

There was another long, rambling dream about being with my niece and her husband, them dealing in cars at night, going up and down into the cellar for things – that was quite complicated and difficult. We were finishing off the erection of a wind turbine at the side of the barn. I was given the job to do that. They had a huge pneumatic drill that had been drilling holes everywhere. It was my job to tighten up the bolts with a big electric impact driver thing. I drove in a couple that I wasn’t very happy with but the final bolt was just spinning round. I eventually managed to fit the proper head on it and drove it straight into the wood. I told my niece’s husband that I wasn’t very happy at all with this mounting. When I stepped back to have a look I could see that it was a really complicated system and there were strains and stresses everywhere there shouldn’t be. The wind turbine itself was actually in the shadow of the house mounted on the wall. I didn’t think that it would be a particularly successful installation. In any case I was thinking that it would come down in the first strong wind. There was lots more to it in this dream. It went on for hours but I can’t remember very much of it now.

At one point we were in Middlewich driving a bus. I’d dropped off a couple of people to go to fetch some chips from somewhere. I went back and parked at the side of a house, just sitting there in a car. 2 people turned up, one waving a pair of drumsticks asking where the others were. I told them that they were in the chip shop. he made some kind of sarcastic comment. There were tons to this dream but I can only remember a fraction of it.

For tea tonight I was planning on having my chips but the potatoes weren’t so good and I hadn’t bought any this morning. So with my salad and quorn nuggets I had a handful of pasta and tomato sauce with some vegan cheese. And that was quite nice as well for a change.

So tonight I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow morning so I suppose that that’s going to be another afternoon crashed out on the chair in the bedroom. I hope that there are some interesting things in the shops to make up for the discomfort.

Firday 21st July 2023 – I MADE IT …

… back from town this morning.

Actually, going down into town was the easy bit because I went on the bus.

Mind you, I nearly didn’t because just as I was stepping out of the front door I realised that I’d forgotten half of the paperwork that I needed so I had to come back.

These days I can’t move very quickly at all so I was afraid that I’d miss the bus. But luckily I managed to stagger aboard just before she pulled away.

Something else that might have made me miss it was another miserable night. What with the football and everything it was long after midnight when I went to bed and it took me an absolute age to go off to sleep.

Once again, I was up and on my feet before the alarm went off, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I went and had a shower to make myself smell nice.

Before leaving for the bus I put the washing machine on the go so that at least I’d have some clean clothes for when I came back. I’m running out of clothes at the moment.

At the Carrefour I forgot the cherry tomatoes but I remembered everything else, and then wandered off to the Post Office to post a couple of letters, one of which was the demand for a disabled parking badge, and to pick up a registered letter.

At the chemist’s the staff were fighting over serving me and I ended up with the girl who lost the bout. She gave me the Aranesp, which cost an arm and a leg as usual, and then I set off for home.

The walk back was agony. It really was. It took me an age and I was exhausted by the time I returned. I had my cheese on toast but regrettably fell asleep almost immediately.

It’s no fun waking up to a cold mug of coffee. I’ve no idea how long I was asleep but it wasn’t five minutes – I’ll tell you that for nothing. It felt like an eternity and at one point I really was contemplating the idea of going to bed.

Anyway, instead I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I was during the night. I was with a friend of mine. We’d gone to some kind of sports hall place to do a job. As we left Crewe to join the motorway there was a policewoman at the top of the motorway exit watching the drivers join the motorway. She shouted “drive safely, watch your speed limits and don’t speed”, something like that. Of course my friend immediately shouted back some kind of comment as he would about “what do you mean? I’m not going fast. What are you saying? What are you implying?”. Of course I could see exactly where this is going so I said “come on mate, let’s get to work” but he still wanted to pick a fight with this policewoman. In the end I managed to organise him and I apologised to the policewoman. The last thing I wanted was for her to chase us down the motorway. So we did what we were doing and it worked quite well. There was a roulette table and a few one-armed bandit things there. He looked at his watch and said “we can spend an hour here and have a play on that”. I’d put all the money safe so I didn’t want to go bringing it out again. I should have put my possessions into some kind of safe but I didn’t fancy the idea of it because there was no lock. Everyone could go in and take the stuff so I kept them on me. I really wanted to go home but he was dead set on staying here wasting his money so I suppose we’ll have to. But I hope that he really is only going to be here for a short while and not spin it out for the rest of the night. I could see that happening quite easily.

Later on there was another group of us who had been out for a walk. I’d ended up with a man and a woman who might have been some friends of mine, I dunno. We met an American couple. The woman-friend of mine had gone off to do something so we were just wandering around when the American couple appeared. They asked if we knew where a certain café was. My friend thought that it was the one around the corner from where we were standing although I thought that it was the one where we had been earlier in the day. We went round the corner to this one and could see that it was a really expensive place. There was nothing special about it. The guy said “let’s walk up to some place or other at the end of the track”. I asked “what about your wife?”. There didn’t seem to be much of a reply. Off we set. It was slowly going dark. We reached the end which was by the water. There was a girl there. For some reason I was asked to take a photo of her so that she could be put on a poster. I had the little Nikon and went to take a photo but for some reason the camera wouldn’t take the photo. It might possibly have been too dark. I took the big Nikon which doesn’t need the light so much and I positioned this girl in the street light at a table in the café so that the light would fall on her to give the best possible view, went to take the camera but found that the battery was flat. This American couple had a bit of a moan to me about all my things etc.

Later on I spent some time back in Canada. I’ve left Cartwright and I’m heading down the Métis Trail back towards the Trans Labrador Highway.

The area around Cartwright and Sandwich Bay in particular is populated by the Métis.

When the early European traders came out here in the 18th and early 19th Century, those employees who opted to stay usually took a native wife, sometimes an Innu but mainly an Inuit. Their descendants are known as Métis

Almost everyone out on the coast is descended from probably about 20 distinct families and it’s interesting to read the Censuses of 100 or so years ago. Each cove or sheltered bay would have its own “family” who would work the salmon fishing, the cod fishing and then go off into the interior trapping during the winter.

Even more strangely, suddenly you’ll find that in a certain location there might be a different family than in the previous Census. Almost inevitably, one family might just have daughters. When she married, she would stay at home and bring her husband to her, and he would inherit his father-in-law’s cove and trap lines

Every now and again you’ll come across a French name – Michelin being one of the most common. For a while there was a trading firm from Montreal – Revillon Frères – out here on the Labrador coast trying to establish a foothold against the Hudson’s Bay Company.

There were also a few merchants from the Channel Islands who tried to establish themselves here but a big bank crash in Jersey in 1873 wiped them out.

The Métis did not have any rights at all until the 1980s. Being the children of native women they were never recognised as Europeans by Law according to the European settlers, and because they were the children of European men, they never acquired the rights of native indigenous people. It wasn’t until Section 35 of the Constitution Act was amended in 1982 that the Métis became recognized as one of Canada’s three Aboriginal peoples and began to receive their rights.

Tea tonight was falafel, chips and salad. Quite delicious but it’s given me stomach ache and I don’t know why.

But now I’m off to bed for a good night’s sleep ready to fight the good fight around the shops tomorrow. But before I go, I’ll leave you with the HIGHLIGHTS OF LAST NIGHT’S FOOTBALL. I hope that you enjoy them as much as everyone else seems to have done.

Friday 30th June 2023 – THAT WAS THREE HOURS …

… of my life that I’ll never ever get back.

It beats me (well, it doesn’t actually – it’s called “egoism”) why people come to these meetings and spend hours talking about nothing of any use whatsoever. There was even a lengthy discussion that went on and on and on about a Motion AFTER it had been defeated.

In my opinion, such as it is, all these meeting and others of a similar type should be held standing up, outside in a rainstorm. That would succeed in concentrating the minds.

My mind was sufficiently concentrated last night to have been up and about once more long before the alarm went off. But I really did wonder why because my head was spinning around for a good few hours. It really was quite uncomfortable.

After the medication I came in here to carry on working but knocked off at 10:00 to stagger outside and catch the bus into town. There was no way that I was going to walk into town.

Having stocked up on a few of the basics I came back on the bus and made myself some coffee and cheese on toast for brunch, and then I started work.

Today I’ve finished my exploration around Cartwright (at long last) and even as we speak I’m heading out in an open boat to go for a walk on what I consider to be the Furdustrandir, the “Wunderstrands” of the Norse sagas and to walk in the footsteps of Vaino Tanner, the Finnish anthropologist

His claim to fame is that during his expedition to the Labrador coast between 1937 and 1939 he made the observation, that has since gone down in history as far as I’m concerned, that

  1. Inuit girls are very keen to marry settlers of European descent
  2. they are the hardest-working of all of the Inuit people (and then goes on to list all of the household tasks that they are expected to do in the home)
  3. they have an extremely sensual nature

I was intrigued to find out how he discovered all of this, particularly the third point, so as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I went to the High Arctic myself in 2018 and 2019 to conduct my own field research into the matter.

There was a pause, for much longer than I was hoping, for this perishing waste of time of a meeting that could have been accomplished in less than an hour had everyone been of a mind to do so, but some people really like to have their money’s worth.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was down on the farm at one point and decided that I was going to stay here this time. That meant moving a lot of stuff from outside the barn door and moving some stuff around inside the barn so that I could put Caliburn in, then I could sleep in Caliburn and cook outside. It was dark and raining bit I did what I could. Then I went to get into Caliburn. Then I remembered that just before I parked him up I’d changed something over but hadn’t tried to see whether he’d start or not. I got in and turned the key. He took an age to start and when he did he wouldn’t fire up or run normally. he was coughing and spluttering. By this time I actually had him into a field where I planned to turn round. I thought to myself that I’m going to have a devil of a job now trying to move him to the path seeing as he’s not running correctly and I had my things all over the place.

There was also some kind of public meeting taking place with crowds of people. I had to wire up the PA system to broadcast to the hall. We had a row of 4 speakers down each side and 4 speakers either side of a corridor down the middle. It meant running wires to them. A friend of mine was cutting the wires and I was installing them. We reached one point where we’d had to move a few things around and the two wires were about 2 metres short. I had to go back to my friend who was busy talking to some young child and sorting something out for it, and ask him for some cables 2 metres long. He cut them. I thought to myself “should I give him back the old wire or should I just keep it and take it home with me at the end when everyone has gone?”.

I was back in that hall again later, this time in rural Canada. There was a big crowd of people in there whom we’d been investigating. A WPC had disguised herself as a citizen in order to infiltrate the group to find out what the private organisation was all about. One day she didn’t turn up so we went for a closer listen to the people and found out that they were concerned about how interested we were and didn’t seem to have had a hand in removing her.

Finally, there had been some kind of issue in an Army camp where I was. The junior staff was rather insubordinate. One of them had stood up to the Colonel and said something quite offensive to him on the lines of “well, you aren’t in charge of me; I am” which outraged the Colonel. He was fuming about it. he was planning on having everything all toughened up in the camp to re-instill some more discipline. There was much more to it than this but I awoke again with a massive attack of cramp in my left leg. That playing up now is all I need.

Tea tonight was chips and salad with some of the frozen sausage rolls, cooked with the chips in the air fryer. Just one more serving of those and then I’ll have to start on something else. But if I go to Noz tomorrow, which is debatable, they might have some more frozen vegan stuff on offer.

But actually there are plenty of carrot burgers, breaded quorn fillets, sausages and falafel so it’s not as if I’m actually going to be short of anything.

And thinking on, I need to make more space in there because I haven’t had a vegan pie for an absolute age. That thick onion gravy was delicious yesterday and some more of that, with steamed veg, new potatoes and a slice of vegan pie really would be delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed and hoping to have a really good sleep. Not that I will, I expect, but I have to keep on trying.

Actually, that’s something at which I’m quite good. A lot of people have said in the past that I’m very trying, which was quite nice of them.