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Friday 4th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a lie-in today and didn’t leave my bed until about 07:30.

And it wasn’t necessarily through oversleeping either. When the alarms went off I was regaled by the sound of a torrential rainstorm and all kinds of wicked things going on outside and they certainly weren’t the kind of conditions conducive to constructive thought.

When I finally arose, I had my medication and then set a pile of lentils on the go in the slow cooker.

Back in the bedroom, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was back at school last night. I had a girlfriend but one of my friends from school started dating her. After the first time he told me that he was going to be taking her out again. I told him that I wasn’t going to let that happen if I could. I would be taking her out. He started to turn all violent saying that he had all of the weapons arranged, all the oil and everything like that and he’d be dealing with it. But I stuck my ground and we ended up having this fierce argument.

Later on there was something to do with a dog. We’d come into possession of a dog for some reason. My brother, father and I were coming down Underwood Lane in Crewe and were talking about going to get some dog biscuits. We turned left into West Street but it wasn’t out of Underwood Lane but out of Minshull New Road. There was a pet shop right on the corner there so we stopped. But I couldn’t believe West Street. It was like the Blitz had hit it. Everything had been demolished and there was just the odd house here and there on the south side sticking up and a little Sprite 400 caravan with people living in it parked there with a washing line and a load of washing outside. We went into this shop and the woman asked what we wanted. My brother said that we were looking for dog treats. My father took out some money and it must have been a couple of hundred quid he brought out. I said “dad, what are you trying to do? Buy the shop or something?”. This woman put a pile of dog biscuits into a bag, this kind of thing and then a few packets of sweets, saying “this will do you right for Christmas” and charged I dunno about £20 or something for it. He took it and went outside but then started to give my brother a lecture about buying stuff. “What she’s probably done is given all kinds of stuff that aren’t suitable for the dog, stuff that’s past its sell-by date, all this kind of thing. We should have taken much more care about what we bought”. he started to go through it and found loads of stuff that wasn’t suitable. he decided that he would go back into the shop and renegotiate the deal. I was outside, looking at the road, how it went further on and zigzagged up this spectacular cliff like a wild west mesa or whatever. There were birds flying over there and a couple of dogs flying around. I thought that this was a really idyllic setting here but my brother and my father were in such a deep discussion about these dog biscuits that they failed to notice it.

By now, the weather had cleared up so I rinsed the lentils, put them back in with fresh clean water and flavouring, and then fried some onions, garlic, tofu and beans with more flavouring. When it was all cooked properly, I added it all to the slow cooker and left it in there to fester on “low”.

hailstones place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGrabbing my rain jacket and the rest of my equipment I headed off outside for the shops.

And you can see here what was going on this morning. I thought at first that it was snow but in actual fact it was a mega-hailstorm that had descended upon us from a great height. Most of it had melted now but there were still a few vestiges left.

So leaving it at that, I set off into town. And before I’d gone a quarter of a mile the heavens opened again and I was absolutely, totally and thoroughly drenched. This was not what I was expecting at all. There had been blue skies 15 minutes earlier.

porsche 924 ford capri 280 gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall How long is it since we’ve had an old car on these pages? It must be a while, I reckon, so here are two for the price of one.

The red one is a Porsche 924, a model made from about 1976 to 1988. About 150,000 were made which was no surprise because for a Porsche, they were relatively affordable. However, it was its affordability and popularity that were its downfall because many people who bought one were mocked for being “nouveau riche” arrivists. Although the vehicle handled well, its actual performance was lamentable for a top-end sports car until they began to be fitted with turbos. And the turbos brought with them their own problems.

The blue one is much more like my car of course. A Ford Capri from the early 1980s, this one. It’s described as a “280” by which I imagine that it has the 2.8 litre V6 “Cologne” engine in it (Strider has a 4.0 litre Cologne engine in it). Of course, if I were to own such a car, which I wouldn’t turn down, it would be a black one and the V engine would be binned and replaced with a 2-litre Pinto engine

having done a lap around LIDL, then loaded up like a packhorse I headed for home. As well as the immense shopping list that I took with me, they also had a few Christmas dainties that I could eat and so as they won’t be there for ever, I grabbed a few.

new shop front bar la civette rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve seen them demolishing the facade of a bar, La Civette, in the Rue Paul Poirier, and then building a wooden wall around it while they worked inside.

It looks as if they’ve had the unveiling of the new facade since I last passed this way. It’s a big improvement on what was there before and, thankfully, it doesn’t resemble too much the other new facades going up around the town that all look the same.

And you can tell how the weather is doing right now. Teeming down with rain and it’s really dark. all of the lights oare on in the street, despite it being 11:00.

fresh fish stall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course it’s Friday, not Thursday, so there are different things going on in the street that I wouldn’t normally see when I’m out and about usually.

We’ve talked … “at great length” – ed … about the fishing industry in the town and all of the lorries and vans that go to the fish processing plant to cart away the catch. But some of the produce is sold locally and every Friday morning there’s a stall on the harbour where one of the local fishermen sells his catch.

Straight from the sea.

It’s a far cry of course from the fish market in Oostende that we have seen before but nevertheless it’s an interesting venture. Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and a slice of my chocolate cake, and then had to speak to Rosemary. She’d rung me up to say that she was having computer issues. So I had to talk her through a remote session in order to fix it.

My Diploma in Computing does come in handy some times even though it was 20 years ago since I obtained it.

After lunch I had a look at the pie filling that was simmering away in the slow cooker. Far too liquidy and so to bind it and make it nice and glutinous, a couple of handfuls of porridge oats went in and were stirred around. That should stiffen it up somewhat.

Once that was organised I went and carried on with some of the arrears from Central Europe.

heavy skies english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. And it was just as well that it had stopped raining.

But just look at the sky over there down the Brittany coast. When you consider just how nice it has been at times, this is rather depressing, isn’t it? This is what they call around here un ciel de plomb – a leaden sky. And you can see that it lives up to its description.

All that I can say is that I’m glad that I’m not out there at sea in all of that. The Brittany coast must be taking quite a pasting at the moment.

rainstorm ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver towards the Ile de Chausey it’s somewhat brighter, but there is still a terrific rainstorm cascading down on the population over there.

And the wind is blowing it my way so I don’t want to hang around here. I’m the only person out here walking and I can understand why if all of this weather suddenly arrives. So I clear off around the headland to see what’s on the other side.

And nothing of any significance over there either, except for more of the same. Nothing of note, apart from the usual, in the chantier navale. But by now the rain has arrived and it’s starting to fall quite heavily so I don’t want to hang around.

lorries port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there’s something bizarre going on down in the loading bay in the port.

Those two lorries shouldn’t be there unless they are delivering, and if they are delivering, we are going to be having an interesting nautical arrival down there pretty soon. I wonder what it might be. Still, we’ll find out in de course I suppose.

Musing on that for a moment, I turned and headed on home and a nice hot mug of coffee. And I can’t say that I didn’t deserve it. By now the rain was teeming down once more and I was soaked to the skin again.

Back here, I switched off the slow cooker and emptied the contents out to cool. A nice glutinous sticky filling. Just what I wanted.

So I made my pastry and put it in my mould. And when the filling had cooled down properly, I filled the pie base and made a pie lid out of some of the remaining pastry. With the pastry that was left, I made a quick apple turnover.

Now it was time for my session on the guitars. And I spent much of the time trying (and eventually succeeding) in working out the chords to Richard Thompson’s “Keep Your Distance”.

I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic for certain events that occurred over three nights on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour that one day I might talk about when I’m in the mood. There are a couple of lines in that song that really are quite relevant.

Half way through the proceedings with the guitar I’d switched on the oven and started off the pie and the apple turnover. Now, having finished the guitar, I came in and did a huge mound of washing up.

vegan tofu pie apple turnover Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were some potatoes left so I had put those in the oven too so I sorted out some veg – sprouts, carrots and runner beans, and put them in a small pan and cooked them in some gravy with some herbs.

Eventually the pie was done – at least on top. I wished that I had cooked it lower down in the oven and not on a metal tray as I had done. It’s a mistake that I always make, cooking too high in the oven and having a heat deflector underneath doesn’t help anything either.

But it actually tasted delicious and there are another 7 slices for the freezer for a later date. The apple turnover was impressive too. That worked really well.

It was time for me to go out on my evening walk and runs so I hit the streets, straight into the biting wind that made running almost impossible.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNevertheless I pushed on as well as I could but I eschewed the route down on the footpath under the walls due to the bad weather. And as it was by now raining quite heavily I carried on the route that I took yesterday.

From up on the Place de l’Isthmus I could hear the waves crashing down onto the promenade at the Plat Gousset so I wandered down the steps of the Escalier du Moulin a Vent to have a look at what was happening.

It was certainly wild out there. And it’s hard to believe that we are still a fair way away from high tide. What this is going to be like in an hour’s time will be anyone’s guess, but it certainly would be something to see.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut not for me, unfortunately. By now the rain was coming down in sheets and I was being soaked to the skin.

Braving the weather, I stuck it out just long enough to take a second photograph and then ran all the way across the Square Maurice Marland in the general direction of home.

Just for a change, I took the shortest route possible. I’d had my walk out to the shops and back, my afternoon stroll and now my evening runs so I was quite confident that I’d done enough today.

rue st jean place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallComing back the short way, I ended up in the Rue St Jean. And I reckoned that I haven’t taken a photo down here at this end for quite some considerable time. I’d better put that right.

And you can see the weather in this photograph. teeming down with rain and everywhere soaking wet. Including me.

And the Place Cambernon just down there with the Christmas lights peering around the corner.

having done that, I ran on home to write up my notes. 147% on the fitbit is good enough for me today.

Shopping at LeClerc and Noz tomorrow. And there will probably be other things that I need but which I’ve forgotten that I’ll remember when I return home. That always happens to me.

Monday 13th July 2020 – WE HAVE A NEW …

etoile port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… kid in town today.

Sailing into port earlier today was the sailing ship Etoile. She’s a sail training ship from the National Marine, built in 1932 at Fecamp and normally moored up in the harbour at Brest.

This week however she’s flying the flag at different ports all around the coast and she’ll be here for a couple of days, so it seems.

Interestingly, she fled France in June 1940 and became part of the small Free French Navy based in Portsmouth during the war.

joli france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut enough of events 80 years ago. Let me tell you about my horrible day today while you admire the two Joly France boats performing a nautical danse macabre around the harbour this evening.

And it’s my own fault yet again. last night someone wanted to chat to me so we endedup chatting for an hour or so and that delayed the finish of the notes from yesterday.

However, Bane of Britain forgot to close the chat window so after a while someone else called in to say “hello”. That chat went on for a while and when I glanced at the time it was … errr … 04:20

joli france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallDon’t misunderstand – I really enjoy talking to my friends but the issue with having friends all around the world is that sometimes the idea of different time zones seems to escape everyone’s notice.

So a very weary and haggard me slunk off to bed this morning. I’d switched off the alarms because expecting me to be up at 06:00 was somewhat optimistic.

09:30 was when I awoke, and 09:45 was when I leapt (or, rather, crawled) out of bed. After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone. I’d not been anywhere during the night but there were entries from the previous day so I transcribed them.

joli france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut it’s a waste of time looking for them because I’ve just realised that I’ve forgotten to amend the journal entry for yesterday.

Most of the day has been spent dealing with the next radio project. High time that I fired up the old brain cells.

Having sent off this week’s effort earlier today, so far, I’ve

  • chosen 10 tracks
  • combined them in pairs
  • added the introduction
  • chosen a speech for my guest
  • written the notes
  • dictated same
  • oploaded same onto computer
  • edited about 25% of them

And had I been sufficiently determined I could have done much more than I did. However there were several interruptions.

The first one was for lunch. And the bread that I baked yesterday is absolute perfection, even though I say it myself. And the sunflower seeds give it that certain little je ne sais quoi I was really impressed.

kids in sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThen of course there was the afternoon walk.

It was rather grey and overcast with a little wind, but that didn’t deter the crowds one little bit. The place was packed and there were even kids swimming in the sea, which surprised me quite a lot.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m not too keen on going into the water at the best of times, but today would have been one of those days when even Jenny Agutter and Kate Bush couldn’t drag me in.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the beach at the Plat Gousset there’s much less wind so I was expecting to see the crowds down there this afternoon.

And it seems that I wasn’t disappointed either. But I didn’t think much of the social distancing on the beach up near the sea wall. Some of those family groups are a lot closer than 2 metres, I reckon.

And once more, the water is pretty packed. In the tidal swimming pool with its suitably-clad lifeguard, and also in the sea. There’s a lifeguard there too – just underneath the centre of the photo.

They seem to be taking it quite seriously.

hang gliders cemetery donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just on the beach or in the sea were the crowds gathering.

Up on the clifftop the birdmen of Alcatraz were gathering,ready to swoop all over us like a flock of Nazgul. At one time I counted as many as five in the air at one time which is some going.

And as I have said before … “on very many occasions” – ed … I’m impressed by the fact that they take off from a patch of ground right by the cemetery. If they make a mistake when either taking off or landing, they don’t have to be carried very far.

That’s rather thoughtful of them, don’t you think?

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t far from there to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch either, so I went to have a look at the roofing job.

The scaffolding is still there. At least, some of it is – the same amount that has been there for a few weeks now. But what is interesting about this photos is that the seagulls have now discovered the roof and have christened it accordingly.

That’s one in the eye for the roofers, isn’t it? I hope that the roofers don’t actually need to go up there again

baby seagull flying rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallTalking of seagulls, I went round to the Square Maurice Marland to check on my baby seagull.

He wasn’t there again today but his mummy was. So I hope that nothing has happened to him. There were plenty of other baby seagulls on other roofs, all of them tentatively taking their first flutters into the air.

It’s fascinating to watch them as they have been growing. Keen birdwatcher that I am, it’s not usually birds like this that hold a fascination for me but somehow the seagulls have managed to attract my attention.

Back here I had yet another interruption as, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out yet again despite having stayed in bed as late as I did.

It’s rather depressing me, this is.

Tea was a potato and veg with a slice of home-made tofu and lentil pie from a while back taken out of the freezer. That was followed by apple crumble from yesterday and I do have to say that that was just as good as the bread. I was well-impressed with that.

Off on my run this evening and I had several interruptions. Gribouille the big ginger cat was waiting at the door for me and he let me pick him up.

I’m highly honoured, aren’t I?

So off I set and I managed to push the boundaries up a little tonight. Still a long way to go though before I reach where I was before I went away.

ford ranger with tent on the back rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut even had I been fit and running properly, this would have stopped me in my tracks any day of the week.

It’s a modern Ford Ranger of course but what was exciting about that was that in the back someone had pitched a tent.

My thinking was that good idea that it might be, it’s not one that I shall be copying in North America for Strider. Knowing my luck, I would wake up to find that a bear was trying to get into bed with me and I’m sure that that’s not a very good idea at all.

Anyway, I pushed on with my runs, down to the clifftop, the walk across the wall, the run along the clifftop and then down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

As I rounded the corner I ran into Maryline so I stopped and we had a good chat for 10 or 15 minutes or so which was very nice and pleasant.

people on the beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt didn’t really matter all that much that it made me late for the sunset because of all of the clouds that were there.

When I finally made it to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord I couldn’t see a thing as far as the sun went. Not too many people on the beach either. No picnickers, just a few people wandering around.

So recovering my breath I ran on back to the apartment to write up my notes.

My last Welsh course for a while tomorrow so despite it being a Bank Holiday here, I’ll have an alarm set and I’ll be up to do my preparation.

Then hopefully I’ll finish off the radio project and then deal wit my TWO courses.

Yes, despite what I said earlier, I’m enrolled in two new courses. The songwriting course of course, but there is also a 6-week course on “Building an Interactive Website”. I’ve been working in *.html for 23 years and I know pretty well the basics but I’m stuck in a time warp from 15 years ago – never progressed after teaching myself *.css.

So it’s high time that I learnt, and this looks like the ideal opportunity.

Monday 14th October 2019 – SOMETIMES IT’S VERY HARD …

… to say goodbye to people with whom one has been associated for so long, but today is the day that I hit the road, Jack (or Jacques, seeing that I’ll be heading towards Quebec).

4th September I arrived in New Brunswick and apart from 10 days or so clearing out my storage unit in Montreal and visiting family and friends in Ottawa I’ve been here ever since.

If I’m not careful I’ll be putting down roots next, and that will never do. I was born under a wandering star, as the old song went, and I’m destined to wander for the rest of my life until, making reference to a certain posting 6 or so weeks ago when I was still aboard The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, Charon ferries me across the River Styx.

With it being Thanksgiving (which reminds me, Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian family and friends and new readers, et Bonne Action de Grace a toute le monde francophone Canadien) we had another lie-in this morning. Nothing like as dramatic as yesterday’s. Not quite so early in bed, a small disturbance during the night, and raising myself from the Dead round about 08:45. But still, I’ll take that over almost any other night that I’ve had for quite some considerable time.

Eventually there was some noise coming from the rest of the house so I went in to join the (af)fray. We had a reasonably heavy brunch, nothing like the legendary Sunday one but a good one nevertheless, and then hung around chatting for ages. Everyone seemed to be in a very sociable mood today.

With me heading for the hills, I managed to make the printer fire up so I could print off all of my travel documents ready for the trip. Another task accomplished.

This afternoon people had tasks to do so I busied myself packing and having another play around on the bass guitar before I put it away in Strider where it will live for the next foreseeable future.

A curry was on the agenda for supper so for a change Hannah and I attacked it. For some reason that I don’t understand, it didn’t taste anything like as good as any previous one that I have made. I hope that I’m not losing my touch!

But as for my carrot soup, well, what more can I say? All of the leftover carrots (because there were tons of them) steamed slowly to warm them up, with bay leaves for added flavour, and then simmered gently for a while in coconut milk with ginger. Finally the bay leaves were removed and the whole lot given a ride around in the whizzer.

Totally delicious.

Finished packing, and leaving a few things behind such as my spare clothes and my deck shoes, because I seem to have acquired a Tupperware microwave fryer and a pile of CDs somewhere on my travels and it won’t all fit in, and then Rachel took me down to Irvings in Florenceville and the Maritime Atlantic bus.

21:15 it was scheduled to arrive, and at 21:15 arrive it did. And remind me never to travel on a Bank Holiday or thereabouts because it was packed and it was a struggle to find a seat. What I did find though was a backpack under the seat, apparently left behind by someone who had alighted earlier, so I took it down to the driver.

We eventually arrived at Riviere du Loup where we all change buses. It was cold, miserable, wet and rainy but nevertheless I had a chat to the driver. He comes up all the way from Moncton, sleeps in the hotel next door, and then drives all the way back the following day. Reminded me of my days with Shearings when I used to do an overnight run every Friday night from Manchester to Glasgow and Edinburgh and return the following day.

And while I was chatting, someone came around “has anyone seen a black backpack?” so I passed him on to the driver.

So now I’m sitting on a seat in a draughty windswept crowded waiting room here waiting for my bus to Montreal to arrive. I’m reaching the end of this phase of my journey and who knows where I’m going to end up next?

As Winston Churchill once said after the British flight from the Germans at Dunkirk, “this is not the beginning of the end. It is merely the end of the beginning”.

Sunday 13th October 2019 – I SAID YESTERDAY …

… that I was hoping to have a really good sleep last night. And to be honest, I said it without too much conviction.

So consequently, having closed my eyes at some time rather like 22:45 or thereabouts last night, no-one was more surprised than me to notice that when I reopened them, it was … errr … 09:45.

Out like a light, totally painless, didn’t feel a thing.

Even more surprisingly, all of my old good humour, positive thought and optimism had reappeared too. That led me to the conclusion that the deep depression in which I have found myself over the last … I dunno … seven or eight weeks and which affected my sea voyage around the High Arctic so much was caused by nothing more than good old plain and simple fatigue and exhaustion.

That’s certainly borne out by the facts, where in the latter stages of that journey I was existing on about three hours of sleep each night and being kept running by nothing more than adrenalin.

So this morning, with it being a Sunday, everyone else was having a lie-in too and no-one surfaced much before 11:00. The breakfast brunch ended up being much later than it usually is but it was delicious all the same.

After lunch I took Zoe down to her house in Woodstock. And by the time we got … “ohhh not again!” – ed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I used to hire a Dodge Caravan I had a mattress that I used for sleeping. Almost new, it didn’t have much use and so when I emptied my storage locker I brought it back and gave it to Zoe for when she has visitors round at her house.

We went back up to Bob and Ellen’s afterwards to drop her off for a Thanksgiving Dinner. On the way we called at the tyre depot and a mammoth search around the premises turned up my missing notebook for which I shall be eternally grateful.

Ellen made me a coffee and we had a little chat, and then I wished them all goodbye. They wished me a pleasant voyage back to Europe, which was nice of them.

When I returned, everyone was out tidying up the yard. I was put on fire duty, in charge of the rubbish burning. We ended up with fire everywhere except where it was supposed to be, but armed with a big metal snow shovel I was able to deal with the matter before the house burned down.

I ended up smelling like a fire myself, so a shower and change of clothes was called for.

Some more stuff disappeared out of Strider too – into the garage downstairs.

Thanksgiving dinner here tonight. Rachel was cooking lamb for everyone so I made stuffed peppers for our little visitor and me. They were quite delicious. As a special treat I had saved two of the vegan muffins and the two of us ate them to celebrate our own Thanksgiving.

Plenty of carrots left over so the plan for tomorrow is to make a carrot soup using coconut milk, ginger and bay leaves. Meanwhile, I put the lamb bones in some water with some sage, thyme, rosemary and olive oil and I’m boiling them down to make some lamb stock. Not for me, I hasten to add, but for the basis of the weekly work soup for the carnivores.

But it did remind me of the story about when the BBC closed down the children’s programmes on radio and went to sell off all of the assets
“How much did we get for Larry the Lamb?” asked the BBC’s accountant.
“Three and six a pound” was the reply.

Rachel and I are chatting right now as I’m typing, and I’ll be off to bed in a short while. Desperate for another long sleep tonight (without the alarms because it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow) but who knows?

And I need it too. Tomorrow is going to be a very long and painful night and I won’t be having much sleep at all.

Saturday 12th October 2019 – IT’S THE FIRST …

… day of the Bank Holiday today and I have celebrated it by doing absolutely nothing at all.

And that is just as well because I had a horrible night last night. Lying in bed watching the clock go round and round as I tried – not very successfully – to go to sleep.

Yet sleep I must have done at one point as I awoke at 05:45 without the benefit of an alarm. Raining again, and there’s the metal roof of a trailer right underneath my bedroom window.

The alarms went off as usual but quite frankly I couldn’t have cared less about them. I went back down the bed. But Rosemary rand me up at about 08:00 and I spent a pleasant hour or so talking to her. That fired me up to take my medication and to go and make myself a coffee.

Liz was on line too so we had a chat on the internet too – a chat that went on in a kind of desultory fashion all throughout the day. And that included the news that Strawberry Moose will be going on another journey not long after he returns home.

Having had my coffee I was in no real mood for breakfast so I did without. And my fast, such as it was, went on until about 15:00 when I made myself some toast.

In between the coffee and toast I had been sorting out all of my stuff, throwing some stuff away, sticking some more in Strider and taking some stuff out of Strider to take home with me. I found a lot of stuff that was missing but to my great dismay, I can’t find my notebook now.

I’ve already lost one in my jacket in Calgary and to lose a second will be a disaster. So if you gave me your e-mail address on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, then send it to me again using the comments link on the blog.

I shan’t publish the information, but at least I’ll have it for when I return home and can sort out the photos that I’ve promised you.

Once I’d tidied up and had my toast I spent a few hours playing on the bass. Working out a few more bass lines, in particular to a few tracks by Counting Crows off their Recovering The Satellites album. That, by the way, is another album that is guaranteed to reduce me into a state of depression.

A couple of the lyrics are quite meaningful (well, they all are, but in different ways). One in particular reminds me of an incredibly lengthy chat that I had with someone five or six weeks ago, quite late one night
Gonna get back to basics
Guess I’ll start it up again
I’m fallin’ from the ceiling
You’re falling from the sky now and then
Maybe you were shot down in pieces
Maybe I slipped in between
But we were gonna be the wildest
The Wildest
The Wildest
People they ever hoped to see
Just you and me

But as Peter Townsend would tell us, it’s all about Time and Chance, isn’t it?

Very similar to when I used to be repairing my old farmhouse, I reckon. When I had the time I didn’t have the money. And when I had the money I didn’t have the time.

Zoe came into my room later, wondering why I wasn’t coming out to be sociable. I suppose that I ought to be more sociable than I am, so I told her that if she made me a coffee I would come out and drink it. So she did, and I did.

Rachel and I cooked tea tonight, stir-fry vegetables and rice in soy sauce with vegan spring rolls. Delicious it was too. There was some apple crumble left over from last weekend, but there isn’t now.

We all chatted for a while and then like The Knights Of The Round Table we all went our separate ways.

Now I’m back in my room, wondering what tonight is going to bring me. Sleep, I hope, if I’m lucky. I could do with a pile of that. But something extra would be nice too. And right now, I’m listening to Jackson Heights and their album King’s Progress, and in particular the track “Insomnia” where Lee Jackson sings
The whole world’s still sleeping
Kept warm by their dreams
Wrapped up in their loved ones
How peaceful it seems
Lay your head on the pillow
How weary it seems
You would give a small fortune
To get back in your dreams

Those are sentiments with which I concur whole-heartedly.

Thursday 10th October 2019 – I DON’T UNDERSTAND …

… why, but I am just totally stressed out right now to an extent that I didn’t know was possible.

There has been an “incident” (which I’m not going to relate) that not only is nothing to do with me, but doesn’t even relate to me at all and doesn’t even affect me in the slightest, but for some reason it has got deep under my skin.

One thing that the doctors told me is that in order to prolong my life as much as possible I have to avoid all kinds of stresses and strains and any kind of emotional impact.

With having such a low blood count as I do, my heart is having to beat twice as fast and i have to breathe twice as fast to provide enough oxygen to my vital organs. It’s only because I have a coeur de champion that I have kept going for so long, but if I keep on going like today my days are definitely numbered.

I need to get a grip.

And that doesn’t apply just to this particular incident either. Despite an early night, and despite sleeping right through the alarms this morning, it was still 07:20 before I surfaced.

All of the rubbish needed taking down to the street for the dustmen so I took it down before breakfast.

Another leisurely morning and then I went up to the tire depot. Things weren’t quite so busy today and rather like my namesake the mathematician, I did three fifths of five eights of … errr … absolutely nothing. I ended up sleeping for most of the day and that is worrying me intently.

Well, I didn;t actually do absolutely nothing. I taught Zoe to use the new tyre comparison program that I uploaded, and even found a few new features on it too.

Another thing that I did, which ought to have made my blood boil but didn’t, much to my surprise, was to give someone a piece of my mind down the telephone.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I ordered a chip for Strider to deal with his excessive fuel consumption. It was sent back to the supplier because “insufficient address”. A week or so ago I telephoned the supplier, amended the address slightly and so they posted it again.

Only to have it returned a second time.

I telephoned the maildrop place in Mars Hill, just across the border in the USA to ask why they keep on returning it.
“But you don’t have an account with us”
“What do you mean ‘an account’? We’ve been having stuff sent to you for as long as I can remember (which is at least 18 years) and we’ve never needed an account”.
“Well, you do now since we’ve taken it over”
“So if that’s the case, why didn’t you ring up and tell all of your customers that the procedures have changed? And why did you refuse my parcel when my phone number is on the address label and you could have invited me to come over and open an account?”

No answer.

But the suppliers are very understanding and they are sending it now by post direct to Canada (which is what I should have done in the fist place), and it’ll arrive after I’ve returned home of course.

Trying to save pennies here and there is ending up costing me a fortune. It’s false economy.

And people complain about a recession and how things are tight. That guy in Mars Hill has just lost $7:00 because he’s too lazy to pick up the phone and make a phone call.

Later on I gave Darren a hand with the one-tonne Dually which he drove home while I took the post to the Post Office, and then I drove him back to the garage to pick up the three-tonner.

And if you are wondering whether that means that we finally have all of the cars and trucks (except the two twenty-tonners and the artic tractor of course) back at home (first time since I don’t know when) then Rachel’s Golf has had to go to have an exchange driveshaft exchanged once more. Nothing seems to last like it did, but even so, 18 months for a driveshaft is rather extreme).

Rachel cooked a lovely meal for tea and then I helped with the washing and drying. Now I’m sitting in my bedroom not doing all that much right now.

Except to listen to the music. It has a very calming influence on me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and Tinsley Ellis’ “Mystery To Me” is about as good as gets. I’ve been teaching myself to play the lead guitar break (the one from 03:10) on the bass as a way of organising myself.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. The only thing wrong with today though was my attitude and I need to do something about that.

Tuesday 8th October 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… Mr Computer Repair Man again today.

having revelled in my triumphs a few days ago about getting my old Acer Laptop up and running after it crashed out on me in the USA and being able to salvage all of the data, down at the office today Rachel bunged another old laptop at me to see if I could raise that one from the dead too.

I spent a couple of hours working on it and, as much to my own surprise as anyone else’s, it’s now up and running again with not only all of the data still intact but all of the programs too.

It’s an old 2009 Lenovo with a 1.3ghz processor running Windows 7, but now that it’s working again it’s quite sprightly for its age as long as you don’t try to do anything too ambitious with it, but for taking down to the storeroom to do an inventory (which is why it was here in the first place) it’s just the job.

And talking of the storeroom, I’ve checked again and we do have indeed a large supply of 165/80 x 13 and 185/70 x 13 tyres for Ford Cortinas, as well as several other obsolete sizes too for other makes, so I’ve been posting the info on various North American classic car groups to try to drum up the sales.

All in all, I’ve had quite a busy morning.

A relaxing morning too. Although I heard all of the alarms go off, it was about 07:00 when I finally managed to raise myself from the dead. And with no school run this morning I was able to have a leisurely start to the day.

Not to transcribe the dictaphone notes though. There’s a couple on there from during the night and I’ll have to copy those over as soon as I can.

For once, Cujo the Killer Cat co-operated with me so I was able to leave the house pretty much when I wanted to without having to hunt her down.

This afternoon was more running around. Taking the cheques to be posted (it’s that time of the year) mainly.

But I had another task assigned to me which I managed to accomplish. In the garage is a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up with a major electrical problem. With my little home-made testing apparatus I can tell that there’s a live feed reaching the relays at contacts where no live feed should be. This points to a short circuit in the fuse box somewhere and these are impossible to repair.

The easy answer is to replace the fuse box but, to my amazement (or maybe not, because I’ve long-since ceased to be amazed at the antics of modern motor manufacturers) the part is “no longer available” from the manufacturers.

Consequently, with the repaired laptop (and I’m glad now that I repaired it), I’ve been scouring the scrapyards of North America and I’ve eventually tracked down a rear-ended Dodge of the correct year and model in a scrapyard in Colorado.

A photo of the part on that truck looks identical to the one here, and so that’s now winging its way northwards in our direction. And who knows? We might even be able to make this Dodge start properly without having to hot-wire it all the time.

Fighting off waves of fatigue yet again (and I’ve no idea why) I went to pick up Amber from cheerleading practice after school, only to find that our little visitor had stayed behind too. Never mind the crowded cab when we have half-a-million strong therein by the time we get to Woodstock, it was pretty cramped in there with three, but we managed all the same.

Everyone was out this evening so I made myself some potato thins with onions, carrots garlic and assorted herbs with some vegan sausages, and it was delicious. Especially when followed down by one of the vegan muffins from the weekend.

Later this evening after tea I retreated to my room. I’m not feeling myself at the moment … “and quite right too” – ed … so some peace and quiet will do me good. I’m beginning to feel the strain and I really need a couple of days in bed to haul myself up again, but I doubt whether that will happen any time soon.

Looking at my schedule over the past three and a half months, it would have been pretty hectic for a younger person in good health. For an older person who is slowly dying, it’s been taxing to the limit and beyond.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday 7th October 2019 – JUST LIKE OLD TIMES!

Just pulling into the yard this evening with Amber after picking her up after cheerleading practice when Rachel stuck her head out of the door
“Could you go down to the tyre depot and pick up Darren?”

So I dropped off my passenger and headed off to my next job, musing that I ought to fit a meter under Strider’s dashboard and a taxi sign on the roof. When I sold my taxi business in 1989 I thought that I had put this kind of thing well-and-truly to bed.

But no. It was just like old times.

However, if anyone thinks that I’m complaining or that I’m unhappy about it, then that’s far from the truth. I was actually enjoying myself being out and about, especially with some decent music churning away on Strider’s hi-fi.

Actually, one of my old Mancunian acquaintances had made an appearance on my playlist. And as I listened to the words, I realised that they are really quite appropriate to the situation in which I have found myself these days as I struggle with my illness and events associated with it all.

The killer lives inside me: yes, I can feel him move
Sometimes he’s lightly sleeping in the quiet of his room
But then his eyes will rise and stare through mine;
He’ll speak my words and slice my mind inside
Yes the killer lives

Angels live inside me: I can feel them smile…
Their presence strokes and soothes the tempest in my mind
And their love can heal the wounds that I have wrought
They watch me as I go to fall – well, I know I shall be caught
While the angels live

And I too, live inside me and very often don’t know who I am
I know I’m not a hero, but I hope that I’m not damned:
I’m just a man, and killers, angels, all are me:
Dictators, saviours, refugees in war and peace
As long as Man lives…

Because, make no mistake, I am starting to struggle now. I had a really miserable afternoon yesterday and even though I was in bed early and had (for once) a really decent night’s sleep, I wasn’t feeling much better.

Luckily the girls had a lift into school so that I could take things easy this morning. I was in no hurry to surface. I had some food for breakfast, and a coffee, and then a play around on the laptop doing some stuff.

Zoe had told me when she left that she hadn’t been able to find Cujo the Killer Cat, so before I left I tried to hunt her down so that I could put her in one of the rooms where there’s no alarm sensor.

45 minutes I spent trying to find that blasted cat and when I went to the front door to accept a huge parcel delivery, there she was sitting on the bonnet of Strider. Outside all the time!

For most of the day I’ve been running around western New Brunswick fetching parts. It’s been really busy at work today. What added to the confusion was that just as everyone had something important to do, we had a delivery of 72 winter tyres and they all needed sorting and stacking.

Not only that, I’ve been doing my salemanship efforts today. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m something of an expert in Ford Cortina Mk III, Mk IV and Mk V, having made my fortune with them when I ran my taxi company. There are one or two in North America and someone posted on a forum that he couldn’t find any tyres anywhere to fit them

This place where I’m working right now is like an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures dating back years so I had a good look around. And sure enough, there are a handful just the correct size stuck down the back of the depot. And so I put an advert on the appropriate forum.

Back here, still in the driving rainstorm, i went to the Post Office on the way home to post the letters and then came back for tea. Plenty of pasta left over from the weekend, and rice pudding left over from last week. A meal fit for a king.

And then out taxiing until late. Just like old times.

But that’s enough for tonight, I reckon. I’m going to bed and I’m hoping to sleep. I need to pull myself round if I can but then again it’s been almost four months since my last blood transfusion, which I’m supposed to have every four weeks.

But do I care? Of course not. I’ve had a good time. And who wants to lie in bed at home to sit and stare at the bedroom ceiling anyway?

Sunday 6th October 2019 – IT’S BEEN …

… another day that has been somewhat … errr … less-lively than the others.

Sunday is a Day of Rest as we all know, and resting until about 08:30 flat-out with hardly an interruption during the night is as restful as it gets.

I did manage to leave the bed though round about 09:15 for a trip down the corridor and on returning I found that the place in my nice warm bed had been taken by Cujo the Killer Cat, so I had company for a while.

The Taylor Breakfast Brunch was of the usual high standard, although it was rather later than usual because Strider and I had to run to the shops for some milk as we had run out.

I was summoned to the telephone too, and that took about 20 minutes to deal with.

After breakfast we chilled for a while and then I ran Darren back to the tyre depot where he was going to spend the afternoon working on the one-ton truck. He needs to have that running because we are going to take off the dump body from the old one-ton Ford that we brought down here the other week to fit on the new one so that we can haul grain sacks around with it.

Back here, I emptied out Strider and tidied him up some more. I gave a pile of stuff to Zoe and there’s some more for Darren too.

The pace though had rather overwhelmed me and back in my little room I had a doze for an hour or two – despite my lie-in this morning. But I livened myself up with a shower and a change of clothes. I look almost human now!

Rachel made a lovely tea, a kind of hamburger mash with baked potatoes followed by apple crumble. And I loitered around to chat to her and Zoe for ages.

But now I’m off to bed. Worn out too and I don’t understand it because I’ve had a quiet relaxing day. I always seem to be more tired when I’ve not done anything.

Thursday 3rd October 2019 – I HAVE HAD …

… one of the best Indian meals that I have had for quite a while in North America. Outside Montreal, of course, because nothing can improve upon the Indian cafe that I discovered at Cote Vertu in Montreal.

It seems that a family of Indians – “those” Indians, not “those Indians” = have recently taken over a motel in Woodstock (a phenomenon that I first observed about 15 years or so ago) and converted the restaurant into an Indian restaurant.

I had a vegetable biryani and it was excellent, as indeed was everyone else’s meal. The service unfortunately did not match the food, but I’m sure that it will improve.

And I felt like a good meal tonight too because I’ve had a harrowing day. It all went wrong during the night where I reckoned that I had hardly slept at all. Three dictated files on the dictaphone told a different story but nevertheless that was how I felt.

There was no school run either so I hitched a lift up to the office with Rachel so that I could pick up Strider. But then we had an urgent phone call. The boy who was taking Amber to school failed to turn up so I had to dash home. Amber isn’t a fan of Strider but she had no choice in the matter this morning.

Quite a few stresses and strains at the tyre depot today. It seems that everyone is having weekend blues a few days early. But at least the cashing up was no problem tonight – we were $0:90 over so we decided to Spend Spend Spend!

At lunchtime though I’d come home for a shower and a change of clothes, and also to salvage the Note-Tab clipboard libraries from the old computer – a task that I had forgotten. But that’s now accomplished. And I do have to say that the old computer now that it’s “fixed” seems to be working better than it ever did.

We all went down for an Indian meal tonight, all seven of us. And on the way back Rachel, Zoe and I went to visit one of Rachel’s friends who is on the point of leaving for the winter.

But now I’m set up in my room on my way to bed. Let’s hope that tomorrow will bring us some happiness. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Wednesday 2nd October 2019 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that my writings ground out round about the 16th July for a short while after my elderly Acer laptop expired before I could upload to it the entries that I had made on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour.

However, the more astute, cunning reader will have noticed that there is now an entry for 17th July 2019.

And if you aren’t careful, or aren’t quick, you might even find some subsequent ones.

Last night I had a very late, disturbed night because I was working. And working quite hard too. Not only have I finally succeeded in firing up the old Acer, I’ve even managed to salvage all of the data that was on it.

Those two years that I spent studying for my Diploma in Computing back in 1998/99 have proved their worth and I’m surprised that I could remember as much as I did. But then again, having one’s back to the wall is a very good way of concentrating the mind.

So the result of all of this is that we might be completely back in business sometime soon.

So with having had a very disturbed night, with one or two nocturnal voyages thrown in for good measure, I wasn’t in very much of a mood this morning.

There was also the school run too, but only for Amber because our little visitor is feeling under the weather. I think that the strain of life in New Brunswick is proving too much for her.

After dropping off Amber, I headed on down to Woodstock for my gearchange arm, and by the time we got … “you said that yesterday” – ed

They hadn’t unpacked the deliveries when I arrived so I had to loiter around for a while. There’s a huge Amish community in the region so I spent some time watching their horse grazing on the grass verge while they went to the shops. I went to the shops too – for a few bits and pieces here and there

Eventually I returned to the garage and compared the old arm with the new one. The old arm had rusted and worn away to just a fraction of the thickness to I reckon that it was about time that it was replaced.

Mind you, it’s not made the gearchange any more precise, so there must be plenty of wear elsewhere. But I’m not going to strip down the column change mechanism. I’ll go with what I have.

Having said that though, regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few years ago the overdrive unit was taken out and repaired. I’m disappointed that the people who did it didn’t replace the mechanism – it must have been pretty bad even then.

Back at the tyre depot I’ve been labouring in the workshop, answering the phone, dealing with customers, all this kind of thing, and then I went to pick up Amber from school. She’s been staying late because they have a cheerleading competition coming up and they are rehearsing.

Later this evening I went out with Zoe. She’s recently bought a little house in Woodstock so I bought her a housewarming present – a water cooler for her kitchen. And then we spent an hour or so doing some tidying up in her house to make some room.

On the way back we had a moment or two of excitement as I screeched to a halt to let a family of raccoons stranded in the middle of the road escape to the verge out of my way.

So now I’m off to bed. I had a rough night last night and I need to catch up with my beauty sleep. And looking at myself in the mirror, I need quite a lot of that.

Tuesday 1st October 2019 – A PECULIAR THING …

… happened during the night.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally (but far more frequently these days) I have sometimes awoken during the middle of the night and then gone back to sleep and re-entered a dream at exactly the same point where I left off.

But last night we had something completely different. I awoke in the middle of the night and went back to sleep again, stepping back into a dream not at the end where I left off, but right back at the beginning where I had started.

And furthermore, as far as I could tell, it went on more-or-less (as near as I can tell) exactly as it had the first time round.

That has never happened before, and it was certainly an interesting experience.

For a change, I was relieved of duty on the school run today so I was in no rush to start the day off. Instead, I had a lounge around and when Rachel sent me a text message to say that my gearchange cable was in, I went off down to Woodstock in her car.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong so it was pretty crowded in the Golf, but I found room for the cable and some shopping from the Atlantic Superstore, including more of the vegan sorbet that we like and some fruit bread for me for lunch today and tomorrow – on special offer today.

Having stopped off at home to put the sorbet in the freezer, I continued on to the tire depot and had a look at Strider.

After much effort and difficulty, we managed to fit the cable. But now we have found another problem. The operating arm has a piece broken off it (which is probably what caused the fault in the first place) and the new cable isn’t holding on as well as it might. No point in spoiling the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar, so I’ve ordered a new operating arm and that will (hopefully) be there at Ford’s tomorrow.

But while we were underneath it, we did manage to find an aperture through which we can pass a cable or two. That means that I may at last be able to run a live cable or two through into the cab of Strider.

Apart from that, I’ve been going for parts, carrying sacks of grain about and answering the telephone as well as entertaining the customers. It’s all go here.

Later on, I went to pick up Amber from school (so I wasn’t totally relieved of duty) and had to fight the torrential rainstorm back home.

Tea was pasta tonight, and then I had a play with the failed laptop. Much to my surprise I managed to make it fire up and I can access part of the Windows directory now. Not the part that I want, but it does show me that the thing is not as totally dead as I was imagining.

That means that back home, I may be able to salvage some of the missing data, and that will be good news.

So now it’s bedtime. No idea what I’m doing tomorrow – I shall make it up as I go along. But an early night never goes amiss.

But remember the old Ford 1-tonne that mysteriously moved the other week? The old 20-tonne Ford that was next to it has also mysteriously moved today. But not as far.

After 20 years of standing it fired up first time with some accelerant and a new battery but the accelerator cable is stuck. It’s a long time since I’ve used a hand throttle.

Saturday 28th September 2019 – IT’S REALLY EASY …

… to see what’s going on when you have a lead-light, the correct facilities and the correct tools.

We managed to move Strider this morning by climbing underneath with a light and a spanner and manually putting him in neutral. Then I started him up and Darren (who is braver than I ever imagined) climbed back underneath while my foot was on the brake of course, and with the spanner knocked him back into second gear.

Like that, I could drive him into the workshop and straight over the inspection pit where we had a closer look from a much more comfortable position with a proper inspection light.

And sure enough, everything seems to work exactly fine as it should, except that we could see that the plastic clip that (in theory) holds the cable onto the pivot is no longer there.

In principle, we could quite simply wedge the cable in place with some kind of Heath-Robinson invention, but there’s nothing as permanent as a temporary solution, I’ll forget about it, and it will let go when I’m somewhere in the depths of darkest Labrador 300 miles from any kind of help, in the middle of a snowstorm.

May as well do the job properly first as last, and I’m not so desperate for transport right now, so there will be a new gearchange cable and clip coming on Monday.

Last night despite an evening rather later than I had hoped, I had a decent night’s sleep. But still tons of stuff has mysteriously found its way onto the dictaphone during the night. So I wonder what that’s all about.

I didn’t have much time to lounge about though because I had to hitch a lift up to the tyre depot with Rachel who starts work at 08:00.

Just settling down with my morning coffee and my bagel for breakfast when Rosemary rang me up. She’s in the UK right now watching the chaos as the UK sinks beneath the waves. It seems to be quite exciting there right now, but I’m not in a hurry to find out.

We were quite busy today and it wasn’t until about 11:45, 15 minutes to closing time, that we could deal with Strider.

For a change I came home with Darren in the big Chevy lorry, bringing my bass with me. High time I had another run up and down the scales.

The girls all left to go shopping so I made myself some sandwiches and then knuckled down to work.

What I’ve been doing today is to start to add into the blog the missing entries from when I was on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. I had hoped to wait until I was back home when I could deal with the photos as well, but my fans are clamouring to know what I got up to while I was away and I can no longer resist the pressure.

At the moment I’ve just come back from visiting the Dynjandi waterfall in Iceland and by the skin of my teeth I’ve managed so far to avoid too many faux-pas like treading on the bombe surprise, whistling on board ship or knocking someone base over apex out of a zodiac.

But it’s early days yet and there is plenty of time for me to get into mischief. If you start here and work your way forward, you’ll see how far I’ve come to date.

Another thing that I’ve done is to book my flight in the general direction of homeward. And, sad as it is to say it, my regular hotel in Brussels is booked up so I’m having to go to another disreputable cat-house somewhere.

God help me!

Tea tonight should have been a flatbread pizza but could I ‘eck as like find them. That is, until I was halfway through cooking something else when I put my hand straight on them. They will have to do for another time now.

So now it’s late. Darren is asleep, Hannah is back but the others are still gallivanting about somewhere. And why not? Tomorrow is Sunday, a Day of Rest with the wonderful Taylor Breakfast Brunch that brings visitors from miles around.

High time we had a few luxuries around here.

Friday 27th September 2019 – I’M BACK …

… at Rachel’s house tonight.

But, unfortunately, Strider isn’t. He’s parked up at the tyre depot with “an issue” and I need to look at it properly this morning.

At the motel this morning I started him up and put him in gear … and nothing happened. The cable had become detached from the gear selector. With some help from a nearby guy I managed to put the cable back on and I drove him gingerly back to the depot.

But as usual, I was the last one out and when I went to put him in gear it came off again. But this time, he was in second gear and I was on my own so I couldn’t move the gear lever AND couple up the cable.

Apart from that I was lying on my back on a rough gravel surface rather than a comfortable paved surface, and the exhaust was this time thoroughly stinking hot so I have a nice big burn on my lower arm.

With it being stuck in second I could in theory have driven him, but there’s an inhibitor that prevents you from starting the car when it’s in gear. So I was looking for the wires to disconnect on the inhibitor when Rachel turned up to see where I was.

So that’s a job for tomorrow, on a ramp.

Last night’s sleep was exceptional. I was in bed at 21:00 and stark out until 06:00. Tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I wonder where I was and what I had been doing. And, even more importantly, to whom I was doing it?

Leaving the bed early, I did quite a lot of work before leaving the motel. And then we had the difficulty.

Taking it easy, I fuelled up Strider immediately and headed for home. And, once more, I was the only one keeping to the speed limit. Everyone else was going past me as if I was standing still.

Now I’m back at Rachel’s. I’ve had tea and I’m in bed. I’ll look at Strider tomorrow. But once more I’m impressed. Just a tiny fraction under half a tank (but that’s meaningless of course) and 396kms on the clock.

So hats off to him for that performance.

Thursday 26th September 2019 – HERE I AM …

… sitting on a bed in another one of these places where you don’t rent the room for the night, you buy the motel.

Last night I was dead to the world and slept right the way through the night until the alarm went off without disturbing myself once. There was the tail-end of a dream going round and round my head so I managed to dictate that – such as it was – before it disappeared completely. Nothing exciting though, unfortunately.

Having done a few things, I went upstairs to the kitchen and tried to make a coffee. Eventually, I managed to figure out the machine so that was good.

Sandra came to join me later and we had breakfast and a good chat. Then I had a shower and packed Strider ready to leave. We swapped the cars over and I headed off into the torrential rainstorm.

I was right about the turn of the cards – my wish hadn’t come true. But then I never really expected that it would. But the combination of Ottawa and the events of the past six weeks together with a music track appearing on my playlist and a “memory” about my farm all collided together at a vulnerable moment and I ended up in a deep, deep depression that has followed me around all day and won’t go away.

The weather didn’t help of course, and neither did the roadworks. It took an age to negotiate myself out of Ottawa and I must have passed the same guy on the same street corner three times until I had come to terms with the roadworks.

On the highway the rain was dreadful and the first of a long, long set of roadworks put the evil eye on just about everything. I was soaked going to the bathroom, soaked fuelling up Strider and then in Montreal amidst the major road reconstructions there I ended up being unable to join the lane that I wanted due to standing traffic. I was pushed sideways to the west and instead of going up Highway 40 and over the ferry at Sorel, I ended up on Highway 15 and over the new Champlain Bridge.

So here I was and here I stayed.

I stopped off for a coffee at Tim Horton’s at St Hyacinthe, home of many a tractor pull, and then continued through the storm.

At Quebec I misread a sign (Riviere du Loup for Trois Rivieres) and ended up going over the Laporte bridge by mistake. I had to turn round and fight the rush-hour traffic to pick up my route again.

So here I am in Montmagny and here I’m staying for the night. The Motel Centre-Ville. I’ll have a good night, a shower in the morning and then continue on my way.

So if anyone wants to contact me, don’t be shy. I have another three weeks here at least.

And who knows? This wish might even come true. You never know.