… today that I vowed that I would never do. But needs must when the devil drives and it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.
In fact what I’ve done, while we’re on the subject of driving … “well, one of us is” – ed … is that I drove to the railway station this morning in Caliburn.
It totally beats me why they can lay on a bus service that serves our building, and then send the bus off to places that don’t include the town centre or the railway station or anywhere else that anyone would realistically want to visit
Having spent far too much time hanging around in the past, I set the alarm for 07:00 today and that gave me enough time to prepare myself and to have a whizz around the apartment to clean it a little and take out the rubbish.
There were a few parking spaces free just outside the station which was my good luck. I didn’t have too far to walk
As a result I was on the station in plenty of time for the train, which pulled into the station through the fog. The weather was clammy, foggy and not very encouraging this morning.
Our train was, as usual, one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis models, consisting of 2×6-car units. It was quite busy today and by the time that we arrived in Paris it was totally crowded.
Nevertheless I was lucky in that I had no-one sitting next to me so I could spread out and work in comfort.
It didn’t take me long to update the computer and then I read a book all the way to Paris. For a change, it was a novel, “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G K Chesterton.
By the time that we reached Paris the fog had gone and we had a bright blue sky.
My seat was a good one this morning and as we pulled into the city and passed over the petite ceinture, the railway that used to perform a complete circle of the city in the olden days, I had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.
In fact you might say that I really had an Eiffel of it.
Over on the right on the skyline is the Sacré Coeur church in Montmartre. Where we stayed a couple of months ago was just round there about 10 minutes away but we didn’t have the time to visit it back then. I haven’t been there since I went with Nerina at some ridiculous time of the morning before the rush-hour traffic hit it some time years ago.
We were about 15 minutes late arriving in Paris but that didn’t matter too much because there was a long wait for my train to Brussels today.
As usual I walked down the street in the open air to the Metro station instead of going through the labyrinth. It was blistering hot and I melted through the streets to the Metro. The Metro was packed but I managed to find the last remaining seat to Gare du Nord.
At the Gare du Nord I went to check to see if the Ukrainian Refugee post was still operating.
There’s a very active Group of activists in Normandy who are very interested in the lot of the refugees and I have some connection with a couple of them. While I’m on my travels I like to see what’s going on in this respect so I can pass on the information to people who can make use of it.
And then there was the wait for the train. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not taking the earlier “Ouigo” train and going via Lille. I’m not up to the walk across town at the moment so I’m paying extre and going on the later “Thalys” direct to Brussels.
The Gare du Nord was packed as well and there was no hope of finding a seat anywhere. I headed off to my usual comfortable secret bolt-hole where I was shouted at by a trolley driver but I took no notice.
And then I had to fight my way on board the train to Brussels.
It was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam trainsets and it was packed. There wasn’t a single seat free.
There was all kinds of confusion about the seats too, to which I contributed somewhat, with the ticket inspector having flicked over my electronic ticket while checking it so I ended up sitting in my seat for the return journey instead.
And in the confusion I lost my computer mouse. I had a feeling that it wasn’t my lucky day today.
As our train pulled in to Brussels, so did a push-me-pull-you for Leuven.
An ancient graffiti-ridden vinyl-upholstered relic of the 1970s as you can see in the photo where they have done a pretty poor job of cleaning it up but it was here and now do I fell aboard and that whipped us off to Leuven.
It was pushed by one of the Class 18 electric locomotives that these days are the mainstay of main-line passenger trains on locomotive-hauled lines. We’ve been on plenty of these in the past.
Having done a little shopping in the supermarket at the back of the station I came on here to encounter a load of confusion about the keys to my room.
And they have put me up two flights of stairs as well and I really don’t need that at all. Not in my state of health right now
Later on I made it down to Delhaize for the rest of the supplies for my stay here.
And on the way down, this Volkswagen caught my eye, mainly because it’s carrying a number plate from Pennsylvania.
Why I’m interested in this is to find out how the car managed to come over here. There is a vehicle ferry from Europe to North America and back again but it’s for unaccompanied vehicles only and the prices are on another planet.
If I could find a ferry that is at amore reasonable price I’d sell Strider, my Canadian pickup, and take Caliburn over every year to North America.
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while back in the Weldadigheidsstraat there was a rather large crane that was doing some kind of work at a house down there.
And so going past today I had a look down the street to see if it was still there, only to be confronted by a pile of paving blocks and building materials.
There’s some kind of process of gentrification taking place in Leuven right now and this street looks as if it’s about to fall victim to the designs of the planners.
What’s regrettable about this is that once the council does this it adds on about €20,000 to the house prices in the area and this makes the properties even less affordable to low-income earners.
Prices in town are already far too high for many people and this kind of thing won’t help any.
In Delhaize I stocked up with stuff and it wasn’t all that expensive. But then again with me being much more restrictive on what I eat these days, I’m not buying as much. And i was lucky enough to find a hard-wired mouse so I’m back in business, and after tea I can write up my notes.
One thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that my pages are full of photographs of people taking photographs.
Here’s someone else whom I caught doing it at the corner of the Naamsevest and the Naamsestraat. I had a good look round but I couldn’t see what had attracted his attention but never mind. I cleared off home.
Tea was a vegan burger with pasta and veg – the vegan burgers that I bring from home because LIDL actually does a good line in cheap vegan burgers
The reason why I do that is because if I have one with me and I’m too tired to go to the shops after I arrive, I can buy a bag of chips from across the road and I still have something like a meal to keep me going until I feel better.
What a state of affairs to be in.
Meanwhile – the dictaphone. We were at school, a whole mob of us, and there was a radio play in which we were performing. It started off with someone falling over a pile of students’ outstretched legs so it was a long stretched-out “AAARRRGGGHHH” sound to open it. This was how this radio play opened. It was one of a series of radio plays that the school was actually doing. There was much more to it than this. I was around with a few of the kids so I was a kid myself. We all had something to do with this, a group of us, and I was involved in this and there was definitely something happening in which we were involved but I can’t remember now what it was. It was just how this radio programme started up.
Later on my car was away at the garage having work done at it. There was something involving British Salt and the garage there but I can’t remember what it was. I needed a car to go to Chester and the wholesale warehouse. My last port of call was at my sister’s to see whether she had something. They were living in a mobile home place. I went there and knocked on the flyscreen but no-one came. A neighbour came round and started talking to me about it, pointing out this old car and saying that this was her old car but she had to have one because some of her kids went to Nantwich High School and some went to the local one. This is what you have to do when your children are spread out like that. I knocked a couple of times but she didn’t come to the door so I wondered what was happening. This was not like her. If she had been there she would have come. There was much more to it than this but that’s all that I remember.
And finally I was running tours around Perth and Scotland. I had a variety of part-time people helping me. One young boy, a friend of TOTGA, had just quit because he misunderstood the situation. He expected something else other than guiding tourists around. We were waiting at Tourist Information for a party that was turning up at 16:00. I’d told a friend to turn up at 14:00 so that I could show him a few things and point out to him so that he’d know about them. Time dragged on and he wasn’t there. It was 14:30,14:45 so I phoned him and he was still at home. He said “well I was out last night”. I said “I need you here to do this”. He said that he’d come down and tried to engage me in conversation over the telephone. I said “we’ll talk about this when you arrive because we’re in something of a rush at the moment. Come here as quick as you can”. The person with me asked me about this boy quitting. What did I think? I said that it was rather silly. I could see that once again I was going to be plagued with unreliable employees. I could see that I was going to be here full-time doing all this on my own as usual. I thought that I’m not going to be able to go home until Sunday after everything finishes. It’s a long way to go in an evening to go home. I said that I’ll be going home on Sunday evening. Someone asked “doing what?” so I replied “going home” “doing what?” going home!”. I suddenly realised that they were asking me “doing what” when I was back home. I replied “going back to work of course”. The friend had been telling me that it had been raining which was why he hadn’t come in but actually where we were it was bright sunshine so I had no idea why he decided why he didn’t want to come in and do this and even less of an idea why he didn’t want to tell me that he didn’t want to come in and do this.
Unreliable employees was the bane of my life wasn’t it?
Having already crashed out once earlier, I’m off to bed now. I have no fewer than four appointments at the hospital tomorrow so I can’t afford to hang about. I need a good night’s sleep.