Tag Archives: falafel

Thursday 23rd May 2024 – I’VE NO IDEA …

.. what I’ve done to myself, but I have aches in places I didn’t even realise that I had places.

At some time during the night I pulled a muscle in my groin in bed.

Usually I don’t mind pulling a muscle in my groin in bed, but only if there’s someone else in there pulling it with me. This time though it happened during the night when I was asleep and I didn’t realise until I had to leap out of bed to switch off the alarm

And then I did! Ohh yes.

And I’ve also done something to my lower back too so sitting down, even in my lovely office chair, is agonising too

When I went to bed last night, earlier than usual for a change, I was in perfect health. Well, as perfect as I can be, I suppose. And for a few hours I had a nice relaxing sleep.

However things went south from there. I was tossing and turning around, obviously far too much at one point.

When the alarm went off Billy Cotton cried his famous cry three times before I could reach the ‘phone to switch him off. Usually I can manage to do it before the first chorus ends but that’s when I don’t have pulled muscles in my body with which I have to contend.

In the bathroom it took me half an hour – yes, half an hour to dress myself. It really was so difficult to pick up my right leg with this agonising pain.

Eventually I managed it though and limped off into the living room to sort out the medication. It’s a day of everything today, even the Vitamin D supplement that I have to take these days with being stuck indoors.

When the nurse came I told her of my predicament and she insisted, absolutely insisted that I take a painkiller. I’m totally opposed to that idea but I could see the logic in her argument today.

However I had a few things to do that needed my attention beforehand

Once I’d organised everything I took a painkiller, with the predictable results. Having crowed yesterday about not crashing out at all, I was away with the fairies. And away for almost 4 hours too. It was 15:06 when I awoke and … errr … somewhat later when I started work.

The cleaner had been in while I’d been asleep and apparently we’d had a chat. I wonder what it was that I’d said. It can’t have been anything offensive because she came back later with other stuff. It seems that one of my neighbours has left me a couple of punnets of soft fruit which is really nice.

First thing that I did was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We were having a big discussion about teenagers wasting time. It turned into some kind of battle like a game of football or something. Whichever team I was on, we swept the field and won quite convincingly. This led to me moving into a new apartment. I had some help to do it. Afterwards we were settling down when the ‘phone rang. It was Rosemary so she and I had a good chat. She found out where I was living now, which was just down the road from ETS Elliott School and some of her stuff was there in a box so she wondered if we could go to pick it up at some point at lunchtime. I didn’t see any objection to that except that I wasn’t sure how I was going to carry it away. It would probably need to go into the car which meant coming back from work on the bus or tram, getting into the car, going to the school, getting the things, going back home and then going back to work on the bus or tram again. Certainly in theory it was possible anyway

Time is, after all, only wasted if you actually regret it. And when you are teenage you don’t worry about that

There’s a General Election taking place in the UK. I’ve been an MP for 5 years creaming the money off illicit contracts and tings like that from the NHS over Covid. Of course with the elections coming up there was likely to be a new Party, there’s likely to be a public enquiry which could eventually lead to prosecutions. I would have to admit at some stage or other that I was likely to be prosecuted for some misdeeds with regard to the Covid disaster and the aftermath of it. It was all extremely depressing for me as time passed on the approach to the date

Yes, I’ve caught the General Election fever right enough with all of this. It’ll be like this now for the next few weeks until it’s all over.

I was going somewhere on a train. The train was quite crowded. There was one guy behind me talking to one guy in front of me. Although they were talking quite quietly it was impossible for me to sleep. I had all kinds of dreams and things going through my head relating to the economy and knights in shining armour etc but of course with not being asleep they are only flitting through. In the end there was an incident on board the train. Someone made some kind of remark to me so I replied and mentioned about these two guys talking to each other and said that maybe now they can keep quiet and let everyone else go to sleep. I suddenly realised that not only was I sitting on a set of seats for two in this crowded train I was sitting on the one against the aisle and my feet were across the other one propped up on the back of the seat in front. I had stuff all over where I was sitting on the window ledge and on the tray of someone sitting across the aisle too. I suddenly realised that I’m the last person who ought to be lecturing passengers about their behaviour on this train. As it became more crowded and people were standing I suddenly realised that maybe I’m going to have to change my behaviour and let someone sit alongside me which would of course make the journey much more uncomfortable for me but make it much more comfortable for everyone else. It really did seem strange the way I was reacting when I was being twice as bad as everyone else when it came down to selfishness

And this isn’t like me, is it? I’m not usually the inconsiderate sort. Not these days anyway.

Next step was the radio programme. I’ve chosen all of the music and begun to pair it off. That should keep me out of mischief for the next few days, writing the radio notes for the music that I’ve chosen. There’s some good stuff in this programme.

Tea tonight was, as I said the other day, steamed veg with falafel in a vegan cheese sauce. That’s another one of my favourite meals and it was as delicious as always. That’s another meal I can eat every night of the week.

But seeing as I’m in agony I’m off to bed. Fully dressed because I’m not going through this morning’s pantomime again.

Tonight I feel like the woman who went to the doctor’s about her aches and pains.
"What did he say about the pain in your back?" asked her husband
"He told me to rub in this embrocation three times a day" she replied
"Did he say anything about the pain in your *rs*?"
"Yes" she replied. "He told me that I ought to apply for a divorce"

Thursday 11th April 2024 – I’VE NO IDEA …

… what happened to this morning.

There I was, sitting down at my desk typing out a few notes and the next thing that I knew was that I was flat out asleep the ‘phone was ringing and it was midday already.

A whole morning had passed and I’d been totally out of it. It was just as if someone had flicked a switch at some point earlier in the morning and I’d just switched off completely with no warning.

You’ve no idea whatever just how strange it feels to be in a circumstance like that. All that I can say is that it’s a good job that I can no longer drive.

This morning I knew that things were going to be difficult. I’d been awake since about 06:00 and was actually up early before the alarm went off. It was actually quite a struggle to leave the bed, no matter how it sounds, because I didn’t feel in the least like it.

It had been a late night too. This idea about trying my best to finish everything early isn’t really working and despite the best intentions, and the road to Hell is paved with those, I’m not doing aby good with the plan.

It was probably about 23:30 when I slipped under the covers and so awakening at 06:00 is simply not enough sleep. Heaven alone knows how I managed 30-odd years ago when if I thought I was having half that time in bed I was doing well.

So first thing was to check the blood pressure this morning. It was showing 16.9/11.2, which compares quite miserably with last night’s figure of 14.9/9.3. Something had gone on during the night to upset me, by the looks of things, but we’ll have to wait to find out what.

Instead of worrying about that I went to take my medication, the typical European Medicine Mountain of stuff, and then to rearrange the living room ready for her and also to have a good wash

While she was here she gave me a list of stuff that she needed and then wandered off, and I began to sort myself out. However it was at some point round about here that I disappeared off the face of the earth.

awakening was the thing, because I was totally out of it and it took me a good couple of hours (seriously) to come back onto this planet. It was certainly well after 14:00 when I restarted work.

First thing was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night – and from the morning too because there were some of them. But during the night I was back in Outer Space again assembling a rock programme. What I was actually doing was cutting an audio track from an obscure German rock group called Dreadnought, copying out the segments. There were dozens of them, all extremely long so it was a complicated business to do it. I was chatting to one or two people while I was doing it. They were apparently quite impressed and spent some time watching. I found that one of the women there, she knew exactly how to do it. She had a Welsh programme there and she was going through telling me how she did it, in Welsh, which I understood, saying “it wasn’t done in this way – it wasn’t done in this way and it wasn’t done in this way and it wasn’t done in this way but it was done in a way like this”, said in Welsh all the time and I could follow the conversation, I could follow exactly what she’d done. She made it sound really, really interesting. I thought to myself “maybe I ought to investigate things from that point of view and see how they fit with what I’m doing”

Funnily enough, just recently I have been editing a concert sound track by a German space-rock group called Dreadnought, another one of my contacts from one of the various Hawkfests, and it’s really quite interesting. But I wish that I knew in real life which method this woman was using. I’m completely self-taught in respect of my use of a sound-editing programme and can conjure up some surprisingly good results. But there are tons of facilities that I have never used, and some expert advice would really not go amiss

Later on I was back in a dream in Welsh. Our Welsh class had to translate an ancient song. There were two ways to do it, one was a translation after the fashion of Morgannwg … "presumably the poet Lewys Morgannwg" – ed … and the other after the fashion on Cadwaladwr … "presumably Cadwaladr ap Rhys Trefnant" – ed …. The problem was that both translations are rather inflammatory and as a result its use has fallen out of favour but nevertheless that was our task. One girl was already receiving some grief because her translation had come to the notice of the authorities and we were wondering all the way through the rest of this dream how long it will be before our version of the translation comes to the attention of the authorities, and what action they’ll take against us

And that’s the problem with much of Welsh literature of that period. It’s a tale of lament about the oppression of the native people by the wicked English and like many other things, it’s not very appetising to the English palette today.

While many countries have tried hard to come to terms with their past, in England there has never been any kind of attempt at reconciliation. There are a great many scars that have never ever healed.

While I was asleep during the morning there was also a complicated discussion going on about the use of personal pronouns, something else that seems to be quite a touchy subject these days.

As we said the other day, there are a lot of people with nothing better to do so they trawl the internet and places like that trying to find ways in which they might be offended. If you’re born with a certain gender and you don’t like it, then that’s your problem, not everyone else’s

Whoever it was on the phone who awoke me, I have no idea I was in no fit state to answer.

Instead I lowly (as in the next couple of hours) came back round into the Land of the Living and then made a start on the notes for the next radio programme.

Not that I went far because firstly the cleaner descended upon me with some supplies for the nurse, and then the Auvergnats came round to fill me in on their exciting day. Tomorrow they are off down the road to Mont St Michel so I’m being allowed a day of freedom myself. I’ll see them on Saturday for the last time.

But it was nice to chat about all of our old stamping grounds down in the Combrailles and to discuss all of our former partners in crime, most of whom have moved on to pastures new.

And that’s a shame because I really loved my life in the Auvergne. It was just how I imagined rural France to be and I’m glad that I managed to grab hold of one of the last vestiges of it before it disappeared completely

There was definitely something to be said for life down there, but it’s no life for anyone who is not 100% fit.

After they left there wasn’t much time left until teatime – some pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce with a couple of the falafel balls that I made the other day. Totally delicious.

So when I’ve finished everything again, my throbbing leg and I are going to bed and if the pain subsides I might even sleep. But it would be nice to have a regular sleep.

And by that I mean one with lots of dreams. Lee Jackson sang "YOU WOULD GIVE A SMALL FORTUNE
TO BE BACK IN YOUR DREAMS"

and he’s not at all wrong, not on my account anyway

It does remind me of the time that Nerina and I chatted about our dreams
Nerina said "I dreamed last night that I’d gone shopping in Asda"
"Really?" I asked. "I dreamed that I was making love to three beautiful, naked women in the park under a glorious warm sun"
"Was I there?" she asked
"Actually no" I replied. "You’d gone shopping in Asda"

Thursday 25th January 2024 – I’VE BEEN OVERWHELMED …

… by a fit of positivity today, and I’ve absolutely idea where it came from.

It’s probably something to do with the choice of music. When I make up a playlist of Hawkwind or Help Yourself, Marillion or Alquin it brings back far too many distant memories that I’ve long since consigned to the dustbin of history – or, at least, I thought that I had

And as Gimli said to Legolas in LORD OF THE RINGS, "Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror"

Instead, I’ve been making up a playlist of Tangerine Dream. By an amazing coincidence, Edgar Froese, John Kay of Steppenwolf and my friend Lorna’s mum were in the same refugee column that fled from Tilsit in East Prussia in the winter of 1944/45 before the advancing Red Army.

Lorna’s mum, who was 12 at the time, told some horrific tales of the flight that people would have found hard to believe before the news of the events in Ukraine broke

But I digress … "again" – ed

Tangerine Dream bring back memories of happier times – the hot summer of 1976 where we lived at an abandoned sand quarry near Congleton and the next couple of years when I was struggling to get myself and my life together again after several years in the Wilderness and ended up going from living in an old van to owning a brand new semi-detached house in the suburbs of Winsford in just 3 years.

Albums like TANGRAM, WHITE EAGLE, FORCE MAJEURE and EXIT with the two magnificent tracks PILOTS OF PURPLE TWILIGHT and CHORONZON that can only ever be played one after the other.

Then there is CYCLONE, the best of all the Tangerine Dream albums with two tracks that have never ever been off my playlist, BENT COLD SIDEWALK, and RISING RUNNER MISSED BY ENDLESS SENDER.

But maybe it isn’t. I found an old elastic knee reinforcement that I used a few years ago and I tried that last night. I’ve been wearing it ever since on my right leg and since then the pain seems to be manageable. Perhaps it’s that which is making me feel better

However, it’s still something of a misery in bed and I was moving around all night trying to find a comfortable position. Not that you would have thought so with the amount of stuff on the dictaphone. Even when I was asleep it must have been quite restless, and there were some strange, very strange comments on the dictaphone, such as “you can tell that I’ve been on this anti-potassium stuff. There’s a radio playing somewhere, there’s a speaking voice that I can hear presenting a radio programme from somewhere. There’s absolutely no radio anywhere near where I am and this time of night no-one would be playing a radio so loud that it would penetrate solid grès de Chaussee solid granite walls 1.20m thick. I’ve no idea what’s happening except that it’s really confusing me”.

And then I awoke (so I said in my sleep) in the middle of a dream. I was in a French class and was late back from a break. Everyone else was there so I had to fight my way through the crowds to a seat at the back. The teacher had given everyone an exercise that they had to write a letter as if they were in the final throes of preparing a music festival when someone had written offering his services as a singer. I had to hunt for the question first – it was on page 80 of our notes so eventually I managed to find it. When I went to begin to write I found that my notebook was completely full. I reached under my desk, went into my backpack, pulled out a scrap pad. The people around me were amazed that I had so much stuff and was so well organised that I even had a spare notepad. I just gave a smile and began to write down the question on the spare notepad so that I’d be ready to answer it and writing it down gives me a little chance to think a little

Talking of surprises, I think that the whole wide world would be surprised at the amount of stuff that that I have. I’m probably sitting on a fortune of stuff that I’ve never had time to deal with. And as for being well-organised, I think that even I would be surprised at that.

They’d … "who?" – ed … been playing in a rock band with Declan McManus of Leek’s sister and somewhere in the middle of the Sunday hall they’d been overcome by something or other. They thought that it was just grief but maybe there was some slight predicament that was needed but it grew worse as the day went on. His leg was positively killing him at night so they arranged for an ambulance to come and collect him and have a look at whatever it was but I don’t know the name of the film now but I remember thinking that it was an excellent film and deserved to be shown on mainstream television.

And apart from the fact that Declan McManus doesn’t play for Leek but for TNS in Wales, you don’t really expect a dream to make sense, do you?

After that we were suddenly in Crewe again. I was sitting rather than going for a walk and suddenly had an appalling fear or suspicion that someone was watching me and I couldn’t shake it out of my mind …fell asleep here

At a later moment a bunch of crooks had stolen a pile of antiques from a place in South-West London, rather similar to something like one of the Ealing comedies. I was involved merely as a spectator. The retreated to their headquarters with all of their loot. They tried to take taxis in order to disperse but all of the taxis were booked. In the meantime I was ringing a friend of mine in Chester to tell him that I’d left my job there as an underwriting clerk. If he was still looking for a job there was one vacant and he ought to apply. I was greeted to a pile of silence so I said “right, see you there” and hung up. I went back into the room where they were arguing. Eventually one of them grabbed his share of the loot from the table, said “right, I’m going by bus”. Someone else replied “the buses from here don’t go to Finchley Central”. He replied “I don’t care. I can take a bus to the Angel, take a bus to somewhere else and catch a bus there. It’s better than sitting around”. That propelled one or two others to start moving, particularly the fellow who had organised it to suddenly get to grips with what was going on and get a settlement to the airport so that they could fly out of the UK quickly

Did I dictate that I was with Marillion last night? … "No you didn’t" – ed … Things had been slack for them on the music scene and they’d become taxi drivers. Someone had gone up to Fish to tell him that they’d seen a dead body somewhere. He was at the taxi rank picking up a fare so as soon as he dropped off the fare he went with this other person to go to look to see if they could find this body. The rest of his group turned up too to help. Then the alarm went off so I don’t know what happened next

It was a struggle to make it to my feet which is no surprise these days and to give you an idea of what’s going on right now, getting dressed, going into the kitchen, taking my medicine and then coming back in here took me 50 minutes. What kind of state is that to be in?

First thing was to check the mails and messages and then to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And then afterwards, seeing as I was in a malicious mood I rang up the garage to find out why they hadn’t been for Caliburn.

After the usual excuses they’ll be here for him on the 8th of February to take him for his annual controle technique.

And that’s a shame because just when I was getting myself under control and feeling as if I might manage a trip around the block, I have this really bad fall that knocks the stuffing out of me and sets me back.

While I was now in something of an aggressive mood, I rang up the supermarket to complain about why one of the products that i’d ordered and they’d delivered yesterday was damaged. I sent them a photo by e-mail and they agreed.

The result is that I’ve had the purchase price credited back to my account and I can keep the product. They were really quite nice and helpful too which made a lovely change.

Next task was to go one better than David Crosby, presumably because I hadn’t had the flu for Christmas and was not feeling under par. It’s been a while and it was growing quite long – at least, for how I like it these days – but now it’s all short and bristly thanks to the sheep-shearer in the bathroom cupboard.

Strangely enough, sitting on the chair in the bathroom after I’d finished, I crashed out for 5 minutes. While I was away with the fairies there was something going on in my subconscious about two cats having a playfight and someone picking up one of them.

Of course, that made me wish that the tenant in my apartment downstairs would hurry up and find somewhere else to live so that I can move downstairs and have a moggy adopt me. Only 16 more months until the lease ends but I can do with her clearing off a long time before that. The way that I feel right now, I’ll be finished off a long time before the lease is.

Once I’d returned to the Land of the Living I loaded the washing machine and gave the clothes a whizz around while I went to eat some fruit. Only apples and clementines – I don’t like the pears that they have and they had run out of the Eco bananas at the delivery site.

There was even some time to play the guitar – the first time for several weeks. But how sad is it that I can no longer stand up to do it and sing? I’m really surprised that I kept my good humour.

Once I’d hung up the washing to dry I went to sit down. I reckon that I’d done enough today. I really don’t know what had come over me with all of this effort, as Monica Lewinsky one famously said.

After my hot chocolate and Christmas cake (there’s not much of that left now) I carried on with the radio programme and wrote a few notes for some of the tracks that will be figuring in the programme. Just a few to dictate now and it will be finished and I can go back to my usual routine and record it on Saturday night.

In the meantime I’ve been giving my “Hawkfest” and “Isle of Wight 1968” programmes some thought, about who will feature and so on.

The Hawkfest isn’t too difficult. Back in the good old days of the anarchy of what was loosely called “Usenet” down in the bowels of the internet quite a comprehensive list of the first Hawkfest performers was “published” and I tracked a few down, even someone who lived in Congleton who had been up on the stage performing, but the first Isle of Wight is not so easy. There was a big pile of extremely obscure groups who played there, including one that at one time had had on bass guitar Lewis Collins, later actor in The Professionals.

Even finding their names wasn’t easy, and tracking down any of their work will be much harder than that.

As for tea, I changed my mind about what to have.

During the course of the day my mind had gone from gravy to cheese sauce and I don’t know why, but nevertheless I steamed some vegetables in my microwave vegetable steamer and cooked some falafel in a nice thick cheese sauce which I poured (well, it was too thick to pour, but you get the meaning) over the top. And it was just as delicious as I expected.

So right now I’m going to go to bed. And hope that I awaken in the same positive mind tomorrow.

First task (and straight away too) is to bake my bread for the weekend. That’s important and it needs to be done early ready for my mid-morning cheese on toast.

My bread rolls were a success so I might do that again, but this time hope that the bread rises more than it did last time. I really don’t understand why my bread doesn’t rise like it ought to.

It reminds me of the time that I went to the doctors to ask for certain “help, advice and assistance” about my meeting with a certain young lady of my acquaintance in April a couple of years ago and who has figured in these pages on occasions too numerous to count, especially during the night.

He took one look at my “problem” and said "I’ll give you the number of a spiritualist whom I know"
"Why’s that?" I asked.
"I’m a doctor" he replied. "It’s my job to heal the sick. It’s his job to raise the dead."

Thursday 14th December 2023 – IT WAS THE …

… staff Christmas lunch at the Centre de Re-education at midday today. And so as a result there really wasn’t all that much point in any of the clients going there this afternoon.

Anyone who has ever been to a French office party or Christmas lunch will understand only too well exactly what I mean.

It looked as if it was all going to go the Way of the West when Severine told me how difficult it was to make my feet respond to her massage.

She would probably have had more luck had she remembered to take of my shoes first, especially after all of the effort through which I’d gone to change my socks and put on clean ones earlier that afternoon.

Mind you, at least she went through the motions. Ophélie the Ergotherapist was definitely on another planet in some other universe somewhere and our session, which took ages to start, finished quite rapidly.

But I knew that today was going to be one of those days. During the night Zero had come to visit me. It was really nice to see her, but in the middle of a long interesting discussion that I was having with her, I suddenly awoke bolt upright and she immediately vanished into the ether.

Start as you mean to go on, I suppose.

Having finished my notes early last night I had an hour or so on the guitar and ended up going late to bed. One thing that I love about living in a building where the walls are 1m20 thick of solid granite is that I can make as much noise as I like and no-one can hear me.

Apart from all of the usual songs that I run through, I had a play around with THIS ONE.

It sounds really well on a decent acoustic guitar and the last time that I played the song to an audience was on the observation deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR at about 04:00 one night when Castor and I were huddled up watching the midnight sun over Coronation Gulf on the last night of our little adventure

Playing Trevor Bolder’s bass line is really enjoyable and I used to do that a lot, but for some reason that I could never understand, I could never sing the chorus when playing the chorus’s bass line no matter how much I rehearsed and practised, and I found it deeply frustrating.

Being determined never to admit defeat and to master it one day, I still keep on trying, even if it has been 20 years.

"Keep your electric eye on me babe
Put your ray-gun to my head
Press your space-face close to mine, love
Freak out in a moonage daydream"

At least, we had the midnight sun, I suppose.

Being late going to bed, I didn’t go very far. But it’s quality that counts, not quantity of course, and just like Kris Kristofferson, "I’d give all my tomorrows for a single yesterday".

I dreamt last night that I was at the Centre Normandy again. They were teaching up all kinds of things like different series of recipes which for example was the one where we learnt about Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings. There was another one where we learnt about stuffing etc. It began quite normally but as the menus progressed it became more and more chaotic until in the end I was chasing a tin of Christmas pudding mix around my bed trying to find it (and I was too!).

And later, I was dictating the next dream without the dictaphone again, something that I do far too often. But I’m glad that my subconscious realised it and made a wild grab because this was when Zero appeared and I didn’t want to miss her. I’d been out around the North Shropshire area in my red Cortina estate and coming back through Whitchurch I wanted a pint of milk. I couldn’t find one so in the end I ended up at Northern Dairies where I bought a bottle. At some point or other I’d picked up Zero but I can’t remember how – at one minute I was on my own and next minute she was in the car. Then I had something else to do that meant that I had to double back through Whitchurch and drive around the town for a while. Instead of Zero I then had someone else with me but I can’t remember who it was. In the end I was just driving around. It was the afternoon. The previous evening I’d been to a football match, a ladies match between 2 teams. I came across a sports ground somewhere on the edge of Birmingham. There was a fair-sized crowd for what looked like an amateur game so I decided to stop to look as kick-off hadn’t happened yet. I was wandering around and ended up in one of the rooms of the building. It was full of schoolgirls and a couple of teachers. One of the teachers was wearing a bright blue flannel suit and waistcoat with his name on it and a lime green shirt and was talking in a high-pitched voice to these girls about their English exams. There was probably 20 or 30 schoolgirls packed in here. I was just sitting quietly in a corner trying to work out where I was. I noticed that the postcode of this place began with PR1. I thought “it can’t be Preston so where was I?” In the end I came to the conclusion that I was in Perry Barr on the edge of Birmingham. I ended up talking to 2 of the girls, asking what time kick-off was. They told me that we had 20 minutes to wait. Then in walked Zero. I said “hello” to her and called her by name which surprised everyone in this room – they didn’t know that I knew one of their schoolgirls. She came over to chat. I asked about her birthday, what presents she had, and asked her about her holidays. We were having a really lengthy involved chat when I awoke quite dramatically.

After that, there was no point in going back to sleep, even though I tried. I knew that this would be one dream into which I would never be able to step back. Can you imagine the disappointment? There I was with Zero on my plate, just about get my fork stuck in, and “paff”.

"Gone! And never called me ‘mother’!"

For about half an hour I carried out my exercises with the elastic strap around my ankles and then Arose from the Dead. It was 05:40.

Being up and about is one thing. Actually being in any state to do anything is something else completely and it took me an age to wind myself up ready to go.

Eventually though I managed to make a start on things and by lunchtime I’d edited the radio notes that I’d dictated before going to bed and assembled another complete programme.

Had I put my shoulder to the wheel I could have finished it off a lot earlier than that but what with a late night and a really early start, I went off again with the fairies for quite some time in the middle of it all.

Having had a good wash and scrub up I made myself ready for the Centre de Re-education and while I was waiting for my lift I hunted down some music.

Unfortunately I ended up stuck in yet another nostalgia groove (and in case you haven’t already noticed, I’m still in it, regrettably) and came across a recording of a live Hawkwind concert from a festival in Canterbury 20-odd years ago. And that was that, I’m afraid

That actually gave me yet another idea for my radio programme.

Back in the 1970s with my various vans I used to run a sound engineer around to work at various gigs and then a friend’s son was sound engineer with the Pink Fairies who supported dozens of headline groups. Consequently I seem to have inherited quite a collection of live concert recordings

Occasionally I feature a live concert recording in my radio shows when it’s convenient so I’m wondering if maybe I should go through my collection of recordings, try to identify the dates for those that aren’t labelled (there’s A HANDY WEBSITE ON THE INTERNET where people post setlists of concerts that they’ve seen and that should help identify some of them) and then broadcast “anniversary concerts” when the appropriate date coincides with one of my programmes.

After the Centre de Re-education I came back here, made my hot chocolate and sat down to sort out the music for the next radio programme. That’s all paired off now and I’ve even written some of the notes. Once more, I could have done much more but I … errr … relaxed for a while.

Tea was steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce but the veg wasn’t really steamed enough. It seems that my microwave is being rather hit-and-miss these days too.

So having finished off everything? I’m going to sort out some paperwork for the hospital, make my shopping list for the supermarket at St Nicolas tomorrow and then have a play on the guitar.

And hope that Zero comes back to see me again during the night, either on her own or with Castor and TOTGA

Yes, I’m still on this nostalgia thing again, so what better track to leave you all with than THIS ONE? Definitely the poet Robert Calvert’s finest hour.

He describes the perigee of despair in terms that no-one else could possibly imitate. Imagine being stuck in a interplanetary spacecraft on an inter-galactic voyage that will take centuries, just you and a clone of your lover, and when you make love to it "she calls another’s name"

There will never be another song quite like this.

Calvert is buried just a few hundred yards from where my mother lived as a child and one of the things that I intended to do was to go to visit his grave. But that’s just one more thing that won’t ever be done.

This “unfinished list” seems to be growing longer and longer, and there’s nothing that I can do about it.

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.

Thursday 17th August 2023 – I’VE HAD A REALLY …

… horrible afternoon today.

There were a couple of moment during my Welsh lesson when, for some reason or other, I felt myself drifting away into never-land. Then later on, after I’d had my hot chocolate when the lesson finished, I crashed out completely.

And I DO mean “completely” too. For about 2.5 hours I was totally out like a light in probably the deepest sleep I’ve had for quite some considerable time. Not a thing was moving during that time.

It’s not as if I didn’t need it though. What with one thing and another I didn’t go to bed until after midnight last night. Just as I was on the point of going to bed a Paul Temple mystery came round on the playlist so I stayed up to listen to it.

Despite all of that, I had woken up and was out and about (after a fashion) before the alarm went off, which goes to prove that there’s no pattern to what’s going on inside what’s left of my brain right now.

As usual, it took a good while to wind myself up, and then I had a couple of phone calls to make. Firstly there was to the chemists to order the next month’s supply of Aranesp, and then to the doctor to order another supply of medicine as I’m running out of certain supplies.

There was the dictaphone to listen to, to find out where i’d been during the night. I was with someone like that guy whom I knew when I had my taxis, me and a girl. For some reason we’d gone to California in Caliburn but he was driving. We went all the way to California. The girl and I were talking about settling down there, going to school etc, creating a new life for ourselves. We had to go back to collect our equipment. They drove us back and they said “we’ve been in your bank accounts and paid back all the money that you spent on this trip”. I told them that they didn’t need to because it was for us anyway, but they insisted. I began to collect my things together. I disposed of one scrap car out of my garage but there was a gold Cortina MkIII in there where I had half the axle out but a rear wheel had seized on a bearing so that bearing was still in the axle. He brought a pile of screws and nuts for me. They were mine anyway but he said that he wanted me to have them back. I went into the garage to find a box for them but he followed me in. He was looking at my tools and equipment saying how wonderful they were. he looked at the Cortina. I told him about the wheel. He replied “we can have that off”. I explained that I’d tried just about everything for months but I’ll end up having to cut it off. In the end we were preparing to go. But this thing about him turning up looking around my garage began to fill me with unease. I’d no idea why that would have been

And later I was back in this dream again talking to a friend of mine about my illness. We were talking about Zero. He was saying that if I’d been in good health she would have probably been living with me by now. I was chatting to Zero (so welcome back to her, who has been absent from my voyages for quite a while) and I asked her how she fancied living in California. I explained to her about portable oxygen cylinders, how I could buy one and walk around etc. She was worried that the heat in California would be too much for me. I explained that if we were to live by the sea it would be quite comfortable. We had a long, lengthy chat about moving, living down there by the sea etc. This was another one of these rare dreams where everything seemed to be going so right. It really felt much more than just an ordinary boring dream, a lot more intense feeling that there was in most, which was quite a surprise.

And what’s going on with California? I’ve been going there quite a lot just recently which is bewildering because I’ve never been farther west THAN ARIZONA OR UTAH. So I’ve no idea what’s happening about that.

After spending some time doing my Welsh homework I went for my lesson. The morning didn’t go too badly but gradually as the afternoon went on I found myself fading away, and that kind of thing is doing me no good at all.

During my brief moments of lucidity today I’ve been writing notes for my forthcoming radio programme and then I went for tea.

Tonight’s tea was another really good one – mixed veg and falafel in a vegan cheese sauce. And I’ve got the hang of all of this now.

It makes a world of difference being able to lay my hands on what to date is proving to be a consistent supply of vegan cheese. In the past I’ve only been able to grab it when I can but it looks as if the supply from LeClerc is going to keep on running for the foreseeable future, although nothing in this World is certain.

Having done all of that I’m off to bed, ready for a trip down into town before my lesson. Mind you, I probably won’t sleep, having had a really good session this afternoon.

But it was nice to see Zero again last night and it would be even nicer to see her again tonight. But what on earth is going on about California?

STANDING ON A HILL IN MY MOUNTAIN OF DREAMS,
TELLING MYSELF IT’S NOT AS HARD, HARD, HARD AS IT SEEMS

Well, yes.

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.

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.

Monday 8th May 2023 – AND THE ANSWER …

… to yesterday’s question was indeed “not very much”.

It’s actually a Bank Holiday here today when the country celebrates VE Day and strictly speaking I ought to be having a lie-in as I try to do on as many Bank Holidays as I can, but with the threatened arrival of the nurse to give me my fortnightly injection, that’s out of the question.

What usually happens is that when I try to lie in on a day that he is due to come to visit, he usually has a blood test to carry out in the building so he’s here before breakfast. Consequently, we had an alarm set today for 07:00 as usual.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered because when the alarm did go off, I was sitting on the edge of the bed dressing. we’ve had another one of those nights – and mornings.

It was about 08:50 when he came round to give me my injection. And here’s a thing that’s totally unexpected – the database paperwork that he has to keep to record the injections that he gives me is now full.
“What happens now?” I asked.
“I don’t know” he replied. “It’s never reached this stage before”

So clearly I’m continuing to defy all expectations. No-one with this illness has lived longer than 11 years and I was diagnosed in 2015, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall (and I expect that I had it a good while before then) but while it’s true to say that I know all about ill-health, I’m still fighting on. Not exactly fighting fit, just fighting for breath and fit to drop.

With it being a Bank Holiday I’ve had a very relaxing day doing too much of nothing at all. I did finish the radio programme today, as I said that I would, and listened to the one that is to be broadcast this coming weekend but that’s about it.

There’s just one more now that is half-done and I’ll do that this coming weekend. And then I’ll have to start off again. I’m months ahead, which is good news, but there’s always this feeling that some of it will have to be done again as some of these artists can’t go on for ever. I remember back a few years ago in the old “Radio Anglais” days when I spent quite some time waxing lyrical about Chris Squire, only for him to begin to manger les pissenlits par les racines the morning the programme was due to be broadcast.

There was also the stuff on the dictaphone that needed transcribing too. We’re back on the Sherlock Holmes murders again. A couple of people had been struck down in a park by someone dressed entirely in black. There was some woman who dressed herself in black ready to go out just as 2 people were starting to walk on a common in Balham. These 2 people were talking about their past, the girl saying “wasn’t it to this common that you brought such-and-such a girl with whom you used to go out, but she was rather strange?”. The name that they used was the name of this girl. There were police loitering in attendance. They arrested someone dressed all in black in the vicinity of this couple and dragged him away. It turned out that he was actually a mime artist dressed in black ready to perform his act to collect money. As the camera panned to see him dragged away it panned through a figure in black sitting in a café on the common overlooking the events that were taking place

Later on I was going on a coach trip with work for some kind of sports event. One of my colleagues asked me if I went on the previous one two weeks ago to Carlisle. I said no because I had something else to do that evening. While we were waiting for the coach back on this draughty bus station it just didn’t appear. We sat there waiting. There were several tomatoes rolling around, coming and going. One of them came back so I asked it if it had come to pick us up. Someone said “I’ve already asked him and it’s not him” so we sat there and waited. Suddenly I realised that I didn’t have my watch or my key to the office. I’d left them at home. I was wondering what I was going to do. I thought that I’d better take a gamble and go to fetch them. I ran, which was the first time in ages, all the way home to our house in Vine Tree Avenue. All the lights were on. I could hear people moving around. The front door was unlatched so I walked in and ran lightly up the stairs. The taps were all dripping in the bathroom but no-one was in there. My brother was asleep in bed with the light on so I walked quietly in, picked up the key card and my watch that was on the bed, came out and came downstairs again. I could hear my parents in the front room talking about me but I didn’t have the time to stay and listen. I managed to open the door again without making too much noise and set off to run back to the bus station.

It’s a total mystery to me why it is that my family keeps on intruding into my nocturnal voyages. During my waking hours I don’t even waste a minute thinking about them so what’s going on in my subconscious? I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again – after all I invited her into my life for better or for worse, but one of the reasons of leaving the UK was to escape the negativity of everything that was weighing me down and I thought that I’d left them all behind.

But it was interesting to read the bit about “running”, given how I’ve not been out running for a couple of years and I couldn’t do so these days anyway. When we started this programme at University we had all kinds of people recording their dreams, one of whom was a girl who was born without legs. She would tell us that although she’s never walked a single step in the whole of her life (for obvious reasons) she still dreamt about herself going for a walk. So clearly, dreaming isn’t completely tied up with your own personal experiences.

Finally I’d had some issues at work about sick leave, that kind of thing. In the end what I used to do was that at night I’d take a van from work without authority and do furniture removals etc. On one occasion I came back with my Luton Transit. We dropped it off at Zero’s father and began to strip it for spares so we could sell the bits and move on. It wasn’t until we had it pretty much dismantled that it suddenly occurred to me that in the back of it was an old Volkswagen estate, another estate car, a motorbike and lots of other bits and pieces. I’d been using it as a shed I went round to see his wife and said “you’ll never guess what I’ve just remembered” but she told me. She asked me what the plan was. One thing going through my mind was to hire a vehicle, put the Luton Transit on the back and drive al lthe way to France, unload it, drive back and carry on. I said that it would probably take us about a week. If you like, you, your husband and Zero could come along as well. She looked dubious at that point and asked “could it be done in a weekend?”. I replied “we could get there and back in a weekend but unloading it is something else”. She said “the difficulty is with Zero. She could go to her grandfather’s who could take a day off work to look after her but I don’t think that we could do anything else. Are you sure that it couldn’t be done in a weeked?”. I had to describe the journey to her etc. She said “the next question of course is whether we have any money”. I repled “you won’t need any money. Everything will be on me of course”. We had this huge discussion.

Interestingly, I do have a Luton Transit, as regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous versions will recall. I bought it for scrap because I wanted the box off the back to use as a garden shed and it’s still down on the farm 20-odd years later. And there is a Volkswagen estate in the back of it too, albeit in pieces. A diesel estate that was crashed in Spain and which I recovered to use for spares for mine.

And even more interestingly, while I was waiting to take it down to the farm, I did use it around Brussels doing furniture removals at night and weekends. No tax, no MoT, no nothing in fact. But back then in those days no-one really cared. I remember reading the story of Sir Daniel Gooch, Chairman of the Great Western Railway, reminiscing about the experiences of the way that the GWR operated in its early days, and commenting “what would be said of such a mode of proceeding today?”.

And, interestingly, once more as Tom Petty would have it, “HOW COULD I GET SO CLOSE TO” ZERO “AND STILL BE SO FAR AWAY?”. I’m not sure how many times this is just recently that she’s just been tantalisingly dangled out of reach during one of my nocturnal rambles. It seems that I can summon up members of my family at the drop of a hat but Zero, TOTGA and Castor are totally eluding me. And the Vanilla Queen dropped off the radar a long time ago.

Looking back on things, each time that I’ve been up in the High Arctic, and each time I’ve been trying to edit that Colosseum live concert late at night on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR I’ve had a strange encounter with a mysterious young lady of the opposite sex. First there was The Vanilla Queen, and the next time there was Castor. Jamais deux sans trois as they say around here, but the way my health is going, there won’t be another trip out there. 700 miles from the North Pole we were in 2018 and it looks like that will be that. No Rensselaer Harbour, no Thank God Harbour (where my namesake is buried after they poisoned him 150 years ago) and no Fort Conger.

All of this reminiscing probably means that I have too much time on my hands. But nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

So having crashed out here and there, I went for tea. Steamed veg with falafel balls and a vegan cheese sauce. It’s amazing just how different things have become since mainstream French supermarkets are now selling vegan cheese. It’s expensive of course, but it saves me having to bring back a rucksack full every time that I return from Leuven.

Tomorrow is a Welsh lesson of course, so I’m off to bed early. I don’t want to go crashing out in the middle of my lesson. And then I’ll have to pack my stuff ready for Leuven. Three hospital appointments I have on Thursday so I’m going to be busy.

Thursday 27th April 2023 – WE ARE HAVING …

… a disaster.

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

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

We shall have to make further enquiries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 21st April 2023 – SO THAT IS …

… that!

Hospital week is over and I can press on with more exciting things, like planning my hospital trip to Leuven next month.

But not this afternoon because while I didn’t actually crash out when I returned home, I wasn’t in much of a state to do anything.

It’s the bad night that I blame for all of that. In bed fairly early, what with one thing and another (and once you start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are), and then I couldn’t sleep for ages.

It was at 06:20 when I awoke and it wasn’t all that long before I was up and about. But then it’s not surprise that I couldn’t sleep all that well with the needle in my right hand and the pretty awful pain in my left arm. I was totally fed up.

Last night I couldn’t even undress and this morning I couldn’t wash properly either so all in all I was in a right mess by the time that Caliburn and I hit the road.

The Day Hospital at Avranches was really busy. There were four of us in a room set up for two and it was the same in the other rooms there with people coming and going quite rapidly. Only one bottle for me today so I didn’t have to hang around all that long.

The sad part about it was that thy couldn’t take any blood from the needle that they’d left in me overnight so they had to stick another one in my and now I know how a dartboard must feel.

But I’m totally fed up so I spoke to the head nurse and told her that if I really do have to come back, I want a catheter port putting in. She saw the damage that they have done to my arms over the last few days and agreed.

But I have to have a blood test next Friday and discuss the results with the nerve specialist here in Granville and he’ll tell me what the score will be. I suspect that I’ll be back in Avranches before too long.

From the hospital I headed off into town. I wanted to look around the shops and I ended up going to Noz, Aldi, Lidl and LeClerc. And I’m glad that I did because both Noz and Aldi were having baking days and there were lots of little stuff that were worth picking up for my baking activities.

Aldi also had some of that lemonade in those flip-top bottles that I like for when I make ginger beer. It’s bizarre really. The empty bottles cost €1:95 each and yet if you buy them filled with lemonade the complete outfit, both bottle and pop, comes to €1:60.

That’s something that I’m still trying to work out.

Back here I could only bring up half of the stuff but not to worry. I’d bought 2kg of carrots so I washed, diced and blanched them and when they were cooled down and dried off, I bagged them and put them in the freezer.

It should have been hot chocolate time but instead I had a coffee and went to bring up the rest of the shopping. Then I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes. Someone was planning on coming round to see me so I began to tidy up the apartment. I’d nearly finished doing what I wanted to do when I heard a doorbell ring. It wasn’t mine though but somewhere else in the building. They weren’t ringing mine so I made sure that it wasn’t them by waiting for another minute in case the bell on my door rang. When it didn’t I went back into the living room and began to read a book of short stories co-written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning while I waited for my visitor to put in an appearance. And I’m impressed that I could recall her name when I’m alseep

Then there’s an old type of claw-foot bath in this apartment somewhere. Someone goes for his shower by standing in the bath but there are no shower curtains so the water goes everywhere and soaks the OSB wooden floor and begins to make a mess of it. But the floor totally fails to match the rest of the apartment because it’s something very contemporary, modern and clean rather than old-fashioned like the rest of the apartment. The question came up of what happens during the rain. Someone said that they had actually seem people outside in the rain weeding the path. That sounded like something ordinary people wouldn’t do so I wondered if this place was actually some kind of prison or reform school for boys rather than a place where you go to seek help etc.

After that there was a new department store opening in New York something like Bloomingdale’s. Some woman owned it. She’d been bothered by a couple of visitors who were hinting at all kinds of things. It came out that she had a rather disreputable past and they threatened to expose her if she didn’t pay them a lot of money. As well as involving the Police because they could only do certain things legitimately, we could do other things not quite so legitimately. I recruited a couple of friends to come along. We laid a trap. Someone else involved in this was a big friend of this woman refused to step down and wanted to be involved. We had to have a meeting to divide up the roles again. We set the trap to catch the blackmailers and caught them red-handed. It was really like something out of an Eliot Ness story, this dream and was extremely interesting.

Did I dictate this dream … “no you didn’t” – ed … about the guy who was involved in some kind of sport with girls of about 4 and 5 years old?. I can’t remember very much about the dream but he had all kinds of trophies on his wall.

Later on I awoke and found myself making a radio programme pairing off a couple of tracks and splicing them together as I normally would.

Finally I was in Stoke on Trent last night on a council estate something like Abbey Hulton. I was ferreting around in someone’s back garden looking for something when they happened to come out and saw me. He asked me what I was doing so I came out with some lame excuse that he accepted. He invited me in for some food so I went in for a chat. We talked about working hours. He had some neighbours in and we talked about it. I was saying that I went to the University 30 hours per week in the afternoon but worked at B&Q to earn some money and did 40 hours per week there. That was 70 hours per week and they considered that to be a lot. They invited me to stay the night so I did. I waited until everyone else had gone to sleep then I got up to go out of the house to the back garden to carry on with what I’d been doing when they discovered me. I was making far too much noise moving a waste paper bin around. They guy of the house hadn’t actually gone to bed. He was making himself a meal late at night. I was worried in case he’d come out and catch me again at what I was doing.

That’s not all that was going on during the night but you don’t really want to know about the rest, especially if you’re eating your tea. But it’s no surprised that I’m exhausted after all of that. But Stoke on Trent and no Zero? Whatever next?

For what was left of this afternoon I didn’t do very much at all. I was trying to track down a Canadian folk singer from the 1960s called Daisy Debolt who was a big friend of Giorgio Gomelski and Strawberry Studios in Stockport. I did find that unfortunately she died of cancer in 2011 but I did manage to track down a couple of albums that she recorded with her boyfriend at the time, Allan Fraser, who was a big pal of Joni Mitchell and Buffy St Marie.

She was actually quite an amazing person. She spent one summer living in a grass hut in Canada growing all her own food and was quite an inspiration to many people.

Tea tonight was falafel and chips done to perfection in the air fryer with a lovely salad and I enjoyed every morsel of it. Tomorrow I’ll be having a burger on a bap with chips, I reckon.

But that’s tomorrow. I’ll have to nip down the road as well at some point for some mushrooms – the ones in Lidl looked awful and I forgot to buy some from LeClerc. Right now though I’m exhausted and I’m going to bed. I shan’t be doing much this weekend as I need to recover after all of the excitement.

It’s quite true to say that this week has taken a lot out of me and I’m far from being well. I’m not expecting too much to come from this hospital treatment that I’ve had and maybe the effort that I’m putting in is outweighing the effect of the treatment that I’m having. I’m not enjoying these needles one little bit.

But I’m relieved that they are taking it seriously and making an effort, which is more than you can say about some people. Let’s see what the next few weeks will bring me.

Thursday 13th April 2023 – THE VISITING NURSE …

… came round this morning to take my blood sample, and I was surprised. After all, he’d tried one of my biscuits when he was here on Monday, and he’s still alive. They must be quite good so I’ll have to make some more of them.

Mind you, he wasn’t so good at taking the blood sample from me. I ended up looking and feeling like a dart board. And to add insult to injury, he said that he hadn’t managed to fill all of the three tubes that were required but he hoped that there would be enough for the analysis.

When he turned up, at 08:40 this morning, I was really pleased because I was starving. And so would you have been too had you been up since 04:45 this morning. I’d awoken a long time before that too but just couldn’t go back to sleep.

And so with an early start like that I took full advantage of the peace and quiet by dictating some of the backlog of notes that i’d been accumulating.

While I was on my travels around the internet checking up on a few things that I’d written I happened to notice that the first Hawkfest – Space-rock festivals promoted by Hawkwind to try to recapture the spirit of the early rock festivals of the late 60s and 70s – started on a 19th July some time 20-odd years ago.

By pure coincidence that’s a Friday next year.

One thing that I’ve wanted to do is to dedicate a whole programme to just one group and while that’s not really feasible, I have quite a collection of music from obscure space-rock bands who came to whatever prominence they had thanks to an appearance at a Hawkfest, so I think that I’ll have my own Hawkfest on 19th July next year, if I’m still here

A couple of hours of spacerock would be really nice, but I’ll have to find out who has the recording rights to Nik Turner’s performances with his old group “Children Of The Sun” after he died last year.

Once the nurse had gone, I had a bowl of cornflakes and then set out for town in the rain to pick up my Aranesp. It didn’t take me long to go there and come back, although I was quite exhausted when I arrived back home.

One thing that I didn’t have to do though was to go to the post office. NIkon got back to me this morning to tell me that the old NIKON D5000 can’t be repaired. It’s not been made for years and parts are no longer available.

Considering that I bought it in June 2010 I’m not really surprised, but it would have been nice to have kept it going for longer.

So what do I do now? Mirrorless seems to be all the rage but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we don’t seem to have much luck with the NIKON 1 J5. It’s not strong enough to withstand shocks and being smaller than a conventional camera, the moving parts are smaller, lighter and much more delicate.

Having said that, I do persevere with the Nikon 1 because it fits quite nicely in a pocket and being lightweight, I can carry it around quite easily when I’m doing something else. The quality is surprisingly good but only within its limits and I’m expecting it to do much more than it’s capable of doing.

Armed with my cheese on toast and a coffee I came back in here to carry on working but I just couldn’t keep going and by 13:00 I was back in bed asleep. And that’s no surprise either.

Not that I was there for long, though. The laboratory rang me to say that they needed more blood. Caliburn came to the rescue and we went off there.

Surprisingly, the nurse there found my blood straight away with no drama and it didn’t take long to sort out.

The laboratory is just over the road from But, the electrical houseware supplier, so I went over there. I need a built-in microwave oven to go in the units that I bought in Germany last summer that I’ll be installing in the new apartment.

Another thing that I want is a big fridge-freezer seeing as there’s a nice space there in the kitchen, and so I reckoned that I’d go there for a good look around.

Back here I had my hot chocolate and finished off the last of my home-made biscuits while I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was dictating out the music (do I mean the text?) last night and had it all arranged. The speech had been edited and I was intending to snip it into sections ready to assemble but for some unknown reason I forgot how to do it. I was sitting there for ages looking at the database that I keep, wondering about what I was supposed to be doing to assemble it all to make a proper radio programme. The way it was laid out on the database it just didn’t look right to me at all.

Later on, our mother was keeping us prisoner in our house. We couldn’t go out. We worked out where she’d hidden the key. While we were doing that someone else had worked out a way by which he could open the door but it was long and complicated. he waited until our mother had got up, left her bed and gone out and he began to creep downstairs. Of course we knew that mother would have left her key in her bedroom so we said “you want the third door”. He made a gesture, one, two, three, and started to go downstairs again. We said “no, Clive, the third door” but he carried on downstairs. He didn’t understand that we wanted him to go to the third door on this floor which was my mother’s room where he could find the key just sitting there.

At another point I had plenty of things to do but it was lunchtime and I was being friendly to my colleagues. We were standing around talking and I could see my lunch hour fading away rapidly. But then she invited us up to the 1st floor to have a look at the furniture that she was making in this warehouse. We said that we’d go. Before we reached the stairs she took us to a wall. She pressed a button and a panel rose up. There was an old fireplace that had been bricked up. She asked us to smell by it. We couldn’t smell anything at first but as she closed it there was a smell of varnish. I told her about it. We went upstairs. She had tons of furniture up there including a gorgeous collection of kitchens. We had a good look around here. I thought that there was some lovely stuff. The quality was undeniable but it wasn’t exactly my taste. I ended up spending a lot of time looking at everything to see if there was anything there that really caught my eye.

Tea tonight was beautiful – yet again. That vegan Cheshire cheese that I found in LeClerc a few weeks ago melts really well and with the new dairy thickener that I found there the other day, my cheese sauce was the best that I’ve ever made.

Consequently, steamed vegetables and falafel balls in a vegan cheese sauce it was. I’ll certainly have more of that some other time too. I’m really pleased that the supply of vegan food in mainstream French shops seems to be growing all the time. And not before time either.

So tomorrow I have the physiotherapist coming round in the morning to put me through my paces. I need to be at my best because I have some working-out to do ready to go off to the hospital next week for treatment.

So an early night it is. Here’s hoping that it’s not an early morning.

Saturday 8th April 2023 – THAT WAS DISAPPOINTING

There I was this evening settled down in front of the internet to watch Y Fflint play Caernarfon Town. Y Fflint deep in trouble at the wrong end of the table and Caernarfon only a few points ahead desperate not to be dragged into a relegation scrap themselves.

It took just 90 seconds for Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro, the Côte d’Ivoire international centre-forward to put Y Fflint 1-0 ahead. And after 9 minutes they went 2-0 up and we were going to be in for a cracking match that would promise everything as Caernarfon would have to throw the kitchen sink at them to get anything from this game.

But then what can only be described as an “incident” off the field which led to stewards, paramedics and the police being summoned led to the players being led from the pitch. After a delay of 45 minutes, the maximum allowed by rules, and the game still not being restarted, the match was abandoned.

There will doubtless be some repercussions about all of that. It was extremely disappointing.

Just like my night, really.

My clean and tidy bed was quite comfy and I nestled down in there quite early. I even managed to go to sleep quite quickly too but it didn’t last. In fact, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already up and about. I’d long-since abandoned the idea of going back to sleep.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I set the washing machine off on a cycle (a very clever machine, mine) only to discover later that I’d forgotten a pillow case (but that’s another story) and then hit the streets, carefully dodging the crane that was outside the door repairing someone’ window surround on the top floor.

Noz came up with nothing except for a small hard-backed spiral-bound notebook that has now been pressed into service as a recipe book, and LeClerc was pretty much the same, although I found that I’d forgotten my vegan biscuits.

But never mind. That’s what the internet is for and I’m sure that i’ll be able to find a few good recipes there.

As I said yesterday, I went off with just one crutch which worked sort-of, but I still don’t have enough force in my left leg (never mind the right) to haul myself up a tall kerb. Back to two crutches it is then.

Back here, Liz told me that my web hosting sites were down so I had to chase that up. It appears that there had been an upgrade to the server during the night and instead of switching the main server back on, they’d switched off the back-up server instead, or something like that.

Having put away the frozen stuff and the cool stuff, I made some coffee and cheese on toast and had a very late breakfast / early lunch.

This afternoon I sorted out my paperwork and filed away a pile of stuff so the place is looking a little tidier. I’m going to try to do some stuff every day to reduce somewhat the amount of stuff I have to take with me when I finally move.

And then I turned my attention to the dictaphone. Despite the miserable night there was plenty of movement. At one point I was walking down the street on some kind of 1930s council house estate. There were all kinds of people at the window. I don’t know why they were there or what they were doing but you could see them there, and their shadows etc because it was late at night. It was something really weird.

And then I was with people who had gone out for a walk. They were staying in Yorkshire and were walking down some of these old stone-walled country lanes. They’d all gone their separate ways but met up again. I was watching them. Suddenly my whole perspective of view changed. It began to be a telephoto view as if I was miles and miles away. It was just zooming out all the time. I tried to bring myself back to the point of view where I could see them or to advance in little stages so that I could catch up with them again in stages but no matter where I was, my viewpoint ended up being miles away from where they were. I couldn’t bring myself back to be with them. I wasn’t with them physically. It was some distance from me standing there basically in the background as a spirit I suppose watching them

Later on I was with a rock group last night, either Semisonic or From Good Homes. A girl singer had not long joined them. She needed something doing to the roof of her house so someone from the group had arranged for her to have some slates. She went to pick them up but there was an argument about them. Considering that these slates were costing her nothing she should have kept quiet and just taken them. Instead she got into an argument that started the Gods sending thunderbolts at each other and the people taking part in this play.

Finally I was with the brother of a girl friend of mine from school who was with his wife. He was farming near Nantwich but had to go somewhere up in the mountains to bring back a trailer. I said that I’d go with him. We’d been camping out somewhere at this festival at first. I’d been there with another girl, whoever she might have been. I’d put our tent up. I was assembling something. I turned round to my wife and said “can you give me a screw” that brought everyone nearby to fits of laughter. When the festival finished we met up with this guy and went to pick up this trailer. I can’t remember what vehicle we were in but he was in a Land Rover. He said that one the way he’d drop off a box of stuff at someone. We set off through the mountains and eventually arrived where we had to be with this trailer. Then he realised that he hadn’t stopped to drop off this thing. He arranged that when he’d return home he’d post it. We coupled up this trailer to the Land Rover and set off back to Nantwich. It was a huge thing and was towing a trailer itself. How he was doing it with a Land Rover was anyone’s guess. Eventually we were back in Nantwich and went round to see his childhood home (which it wasn’t). It was being renovated and work was being done on it. He began to talk. He had the Land Rover, one of these Japanese pickups, a Volvo saloon and was thinking about selling maybe the Land Rover. He also had a Transit van by this time, not a Land Rover. He’d had the Transit from new, a brown swb one. He said that his wife didn’t understand why he still had it and he was thinking of selling it. I saod that the vehicle I would have sold could have been the Volvo saloon. Everything else was the right kind of vehicle to keep when you are working on a farm. He wasn’t convinced. He was talking about either moving back into the college or moving house into the area to do something differently. We talked about farming but at this point I fell back into sleep and all you can hear is me yawning.

Having dictated the text for the next couple of radio programmes I settled down for the football but as I mentioned just now, that was rather a disappointing waste of time.

Tea tonight was more of those baby roast potatoes with a salad. I’d taken some stuff out of the freezer that I thought was small breaded quorn fillets but was in actual fact some small falafel discs. But they were nice anyway and the air fryer does do a nice job on stuff like this.

So now I’m going to bed. It’s a Day of Rest tomorrow but if it’s anything like last Sunday there won’t be much rest for me. But I’ll track down some biscuit recipes and see if I can’t have a little baking session.

It will be interesting to say the least.

Friday 23rd December 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable, depressing, dismal day today.

This is probably the worst that I’ve had for years. Not only did I fail dismally to beat the second alarm, I have spent most of the day curled up on my seat not moving, and even asleep for considerable periods.

The fact is that moving is so much effort. That’s part of the problem. Instead of things easing up the more I walk, things seem to be deteriorating. Being in an awkward position with my right leg, I now have aches in my right foot that weren’t there before.

And when I try to ease the knee joint, I just have a pain in my back. So I’ve no idea what’s happening here.

And just walking around is becoming pretty much impossible. I may well have treated myself to a shopping trolley but I wonder if I’m going to have the opportunity to use it.

Having said yesterday how much of a better night I’d had and how much I was looking forward to another one, it goes without saying that last night was quite miserable and is probably the reason why I was so exhausted.

Although I was asleep early, I wasn’t asleep for long and spent several hours later tossing and turning around trying to make myself comfortable – without any appreciable degree of success. It ws for that reason that I wasn’t rushed to leave the bed this morning, although any excuse will probably do.

As for work and the like, all I’ve done today is to have a shower, cut my hair (the first time since late September) and ice my sponge cake. The icing didn’t work particularly well, but then again it never really does. I don’t have the hang of doing the icing. However with having let the cake cool down overnight, at least the icing didn’t go all over the place and slide off.

The chemist came as well and brought me a couple more injections. With there being an increased doze, the price has gone through the roof.

Tea tonight was pasta with falafel and it was quite delicious as usual. The freezer is slowly thinning out and if I’m not careful I might even be able to fit these frozen carrots in there instead of leaving them in the ridge’s freezer compartment. I’m really going to have to buy a different, bigger freezer.

Next plan was to type out the dictaphone notes. I was somewhere in Europe planning on travelling. It was the mdweek sometime and there were a few people loitering around who were travelling too. We ended up standing by a bus stop somewhere in the street. Far below us, lower down in the street, a door opened and a train came through. I said to these people that if they want to catch a train they were standing in the wrong place. This is a bus station. We all picked up our things and moved a bit further down the hill where this other group of people were waiting. There was a huge crowd there. This train pulled in and I swarmed on board. I couldn’t see any of these other people so I wondered if they were all having some kind of fun at my expense or whether they were still going by bus regardless or something. I felt that I was the only one of this group of people who had been together at the beginning who had actually boarded. Someone else said something and I realised that a girl and her daughter had boarded the train too. The train set off and I was having to stand going to Montreal, that I had to stand until 23:00 tomorrow. For some reason we ended up around a Council estate in Crewe, the Brookhouse Drive estate, on foot. We were heading towards another bus stop. I was taking this girl and her daughter. I knew all the short cuts so I was taking them through these short cuts on this council estate. She said “we’ll get well ahead of all the others by the time we reach the bus stop”. We were having to go somewhere like Wybunbury or Audlem or Market Drayton. I couldn’t remember the times of the buses but I thought that even if there wasn’t a direct bus we could take a bus from here that would take us to Nantwich and then work our way on from that way to see how we could progress. But I was certain that we’d make progress and quite rapidly too going like this.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream again. We’d been on this train and I alighted at some point with this woman and her daughter. We were walking towards the bus stop to catch the bus to go the rest of the way. I remember hoping that my leg would hold out because I was starting to have these pains and cramps in my right leg again, the type that I have been having. I thought that this isn’t really the time to go down with a cramp like this when we are in between bus stops in a rush to catch the bus to take us further on.

And then I can’t remember very much about this but there was a woman who had run down some animal or something. She was extremely distraught. Some of my friends from Canada were in it but I don’t know why or what they were doing

Finally we had football. Y Fflint v Caernarfon. Y Fflint are on a woeful run despite having looked really good at the start of the season. They took the lead early in the game but gradually Caernarfon pulled themselves back into the game and equalised after 55 minutes.

But what a different story it might have been had the two stonewall penalties that I would have awarded to Y Fflint had been awarded by the referee. In fact I was convinced that there were times when I was convinced that the referee was officiating at a different game to the one that I was watching.

With 20 minutes to go, a couple of substitutions on either side ignited the game and we were treated to a really exciting spell of football as the game swung from one end to the other. A deciding goal was well on the cards but it was all a case of who would score it as either team looked quite likely.

Y Fflint’s centre forward from the Cote d’Ivoire had missed a couple of good chances and when another of his attempts was well-blocked by Josh Tibbetts in the Caernarfon’s goal just as we came up to injury time, I thought “here we go again” but Akpa-Akpro stuck out a foot and just about managed to divert it back to the far post where Larnell Cole sidefooted it into the net.

So justice was done because Y Fflint were in my opinion the better side and deserved something from the game, especially after some of the decisions that went again them.

Tomorrow I have to summon up some energy and tidy up as I’m expecting visitors. I’ve no idea how I’m going to do this after the past couple of days but I’ll have to do my best. Let’s hope that my best is good enough.

Friday 19th August 2022 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I’ve had a good day today.

Here in the apartment I can’t move because of carboard boxes too. And printers. There are two of them that are destined for that great office in the sky once it goes dark.

What I’ve actually done is to strip out the cupboard and wardrobe in the bedroom. Apart from finding all kinds of stuff that I didn’t know that I had or forgotten that I’d bought, I found a big pile of cardboard boxes that I had no idea why I was keeping them.

They are all now piled up by the door waiting for dark as well, always assuming that I can leave the apartment because of the cardboard boxes in the way of the door.

In fact I had a good couple of hours in the cupboard stripping it out without even stopping to catch my breath. And now, there’s tons of storage space that I’ve liberated. I shan’t know myself at this rate.

As well as that, over the last couple of days I’ve been walking a little easier too and it was better again today, although I’ve no idea why that should be. But whatever it is, all of the foregoing has made me feel much better.

And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to say all that.

It will be interesting if this new, improved me can keep on going and keep the momentum. We all know some very well-worn phrases about swallows and summers but there’s absolutely no reason why I can’t make the most of it while it’s there to be made the most of.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of the two Joly France ferries coming back from the island in line-astern, I’ll tell you how my day went today.

And as usual these days, it started off with a late night. I’m having a few of those just now.

A turbulent night as well. I didn’t sleep very well at all. Tossing and turning around for much of it, wide awake, something of a failure as far as I can see.

Consequently it was something of quite a struggle to rouse myself from the depths of wherever I was when the alarm went off. I’m having more than just a few of those as well just recently too.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022after the medication I came here to have a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

To my surprise, I hadn’t gone very far. I had a group of people around, a couple of girls whom I knew and one or two others. I was sorting out something to eat. There was a bag full of cooked sausages so I put some plates out and started to put these sausages on the plates for these people. Gradually everyone came in and began to sit down. One of the girls piped up and said ‘now Eric what about our ski holiday?”. I simply had a flash of horror because it was now 20:30 and we had a plane to board at 22:00 to take us to our ski holiday. It had completely and utterly slipped my mind. Of course it seemed to have slipped everyone else’s mind too who was going except this girl who had left it until the last minute to remind me. I sat there totally lost for words which is not like me trying to think of what to say while everyone else sat there and waited for some kind of reply from me but I really didn’t know what to say about that.

It must have been a bad night if I’d only gone off for a wander once despite spending most of the night tossing any turning around like that.

But it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good, so the saying goes. Having typed that out fairly quickly, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I dealt with (a mountain of) recordings from one of the days when I was out and about in Central Europe. And I bet that that took you by surprise as much as it took me.

Had I not had an interruption in mid-transcribe, I could have done far more too. However Rosemary rang me up and we had another one of our marathon chats that go on for hours and hours.

It’s almost back-to-school time and some arrangement ought to be made for Miss Ukraine to be educated. Whether or not she’ll benefit academically is one thing, but she’ll certainly benefit from having some social contact with local kids of her age.

And now that she’s a teenager I’m sure that the question of “boys” will be somewhere on the agenda at some point in the near future and she isn’t going to meet too many where she is.

Her parents don’t have a clue about what to do and neither does Rosemary so we spent some time surfing the internet looking for clues, as well as having one of our usual chats.

It was after the phone call and having finished the notes that I was transcribing that I attacked the cupboard in here.

It’s not very well-laid out so it’s always going to be problematic but I’ve been stuffing things in there for a little over 5 years without much thought. And I’ve no idea why I have so many empty boxes.

But now they are ready to go along with a lot of other old stuff (yes, I’m ACTUALLY throwing stuff away) and there’s now quite a lot of room to bring yet more rubbish into the apartment. This is progress.

With a break for my fruit and to chat with my niece’s eldest daughter on the internet (it’s her birthday today) all of this took me up to the time for me to go for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, my first stop would be at the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With nothing to hold me up on my way across the car park I strode out (for the first time for months). I wasn’t expecting to see too many people down there on the beach because the weather has changed dramatically.

The temperature must have dropped about 20°C since those heady days of 10 days ago and although we had some blue sky, we also had plenty of cloud and wind.

There wasn’t anyone at all in the water and that’s no surprise at all to anyone in this weather

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022During the morning we had had some rain, and with the rain that we had had overnight, it’s done wonders for the local plant life.

Although the path is still quite dusty, the vegetation is starting to regain its colour. We saw yesterday how the weeds had picked up after those two quick showers but if you look closely today at a photo that I took from roughly the same place as the others, you’ll see that the grass is now starting to find its colour.

It’s pretty good how quickly nature can revitalise itself after such a period of stress. Give it a few hundred thousand years after humans have been eradicated from the planet and we’ll see Mother Nature in all her glory.

Well, we won’t, because we won’t be here. But you know what I mean. But it’s not just in the nineteen-seventies that humans have “Mother Nature on the run”.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Just now we saw the older of the two Joly France boats coming across the bay from the Ile de Chausey.

Shortly afterwards we had another boat come around the headland heading out into the bay. At first I thought that it might be Lysandre or her look-alike Petite Laura so I took a photo with the aim of enhancing and enlarging it when I returned home to see who it was.

However, it’s neither of the two. It looks like some kind of unusual design of cabin cruiser that has taken to the water.

So leaving that alone I fought my way through the crowds to the end of the headland. It was busy up here today yet again as holidaymakers look around for something to do.

lobster pot buoys pointe de roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When I was out here yesterday I forgot to check to see if the buoy for what I preusme to be a lobster pot was still out here just offshore.

So either it’s the same one that I hadn’t noticed yesterday or else it’s an entirely new one that has appeared offshore today. And it seems to have found a friend too.

Not that I would know anything about it but I would imagine that the fact that the flags on the buoys are different colours, they belong to different owners. But I really have no idea. I know that I would want my flags to be different from any other.

There wasn’t anyone on the bench by the cabanon vauban so I cleared off down the path towards the port.

le roc a la mauve III belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was no change in occupant yet again at the chantier naval so I had a look over at the ferry terminal to see what was going on.

Moored over there at the head of the queue is Belle France. We didn’t see her out and about this afternoon but that is not of course to say that she hasn’t gone anywhere.

My attention was also caught by the fishing boat down there with the impressive-looking HIAB on board. She’s le Roc à la Mauve III who we saw in the chantier naval for a while a couple of months ago.

With a crane like that on board they must be expecting to haul in a whole load of shellfish.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, as I was watching Belle France, the first of the Joly France ferries that we saw earlier pulled into port.

She is of course the older one of the two. That you can tell from her windows in “landscape” format and the larger upper deck superstructure. She has quite a crowd of people on board this afternoon. It must have been quite busy over there today.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned something about the water over on the island. There was something about that in the local paper yesterday.

Scooped them again, didn’t I? I wonder if they are actually reading my notes.

plant with flowers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I walked down the path on top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour I had a look at the lawn by the Boulevard Vaufleury.

A little while ago I mentioned the grass and how quickly it seems to be regenerating. But nothing like as quickly as this here.

This plant has not only recovered its green colour but pushed out some flowers since I was last here. That’s quite dramatic. Mind you, whatever would my friends make of me taking photographs of flowers?

IT HAS BEEN SAID in the past that the only time I would ever take a photo of a flower would be if there were an old car parked upon it.

While I was musing over this, the other Joly France ferry pulled around the headland and you saw a photo of that just now.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before going home to carry on, I went to have a look in the inner harbour.

Victor Hugo has gone out again but back in port is Chausiaise after her run out to St Helier. She docked at 21:04 last night.

Back here I had a coffee and sat down for a while. And regrettably I … errr … disappeared with the fairies. Only for about 15 minutes or so but even so it was something of a disappointment after what else had been happening.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. Delicious as usual. At least I’m slowly making some room in the freezer but there is still plenty more to go at in there that needs finishing off.

And while we’re on the subject of cold storage … “well one of us is” – ed … it IS nice to be able to open the fridge door without the fear of being buried under a pile of bottles.

So how long will that last?

Anyway I’ll try one more time for an early night. Shopping tomorrow although I don’t need all that much. And we’ll see how long this mad fit of enthusiasm lasts. If it keeps up, I shan’t know myself but not even I am that optimistic.