When was the last time that I was up and about and eating breakfast long before the alarm went off? And on a Sunday too! And what has surprised me more than anything else is that after all of the travels that I was on last night, that I managed to make it back here in time.
But start as you mean to go on. And before you start, I perhaps ought to warm you that the sum total of my travels last night comes to something about 2200 words.
You have been warned.
I started off last night by falling asleep watching a film on the laptop last night and it wasn’t long after that at all before I was on the road. It started off at first as if I hadn’t done a great deal because I’d been away with a group of people. There was a timetable for us and on the first day we had to inspect half a dozen countries and on the second day another half-dozen, on the third, yet another half-dozen and so on. This didn’t leave me much time to be going off on a nocturnal ramble but then I found myself in Chester. I don’t know exactly where I was living but it was on top of a bunk-bed somewhere and this was quite a long way off the ground and difficult to climb on to. There had been a young girl that I had quite fancied in the past when I was younger, and so had a few of my friends, but she had started to go out with a boy who was older than us and quite a bit older than her. There was some kind of correspondence that had taken place between the two of them, and one of these letters had fallen into my hands. I was busy parcelling up this letter into a brown envelope and trying to write a letter to one of these friends of mine to tell him about this letter. Obviously the contents of this letter were interesting and I reckoned that it was worth a couple of quid for me to give him this letter to read and I could buy myself a pint of beer. The difficulty that I was having was to make my letter sound sufficiently encouraging and interesting to make him part with the money and it was taking me hours to think of the ideal form of wording.
The next port of call started off to be quite amusing. I was out and about with a dwarf and we were trying to book ourselves into a hotel. While we were there at the reception desk, a message came downstairs to the effect that a woman in one of the rooms required a companion. Of course, the ears of the dwarf and I pricked immediately up, imagining full well what might have been meant by that and so as soon as we had finished registering ourselves into our room, we shot off to the room that had been mentioned. In the room we found a girl who was totally surprised by our intrusion because that wasn’t the kind of companion that she meant. She wanted a companion to talk to and confide in. All three of us were taken by surprise at what had just unfolded. The dwarf then left the room to go back down to reception and arrange a room for himself I started to chat to this girl and it seemed that she was intending to stay not for just one night but until the middle of next week and so I jokingly suggested that I could check myself into her room for a couple of nights and see how it goes. I slid quietly into her bed (it was a big double-bed)while she was adjusting her hair and her night attire and she didn’t seem to mind at all.
I’m clearly going to have to keep up these injections and anti-allergy patches and so on if this is the kind of thing that happens to me during the night. I’ve never had this kind of luck when I’ve been on my travels in real life.
Anyway, after all of this, I made a guest appearance as Sherlock Holmes (not for the first time just recently either) in the case of a girl who had been murdered. There were five people who had been arrested in connection with this and the newspapers were making ever such a fuss about all of this, how there was some really rough street in Leicester (why Leicester?) where all of the criminals seem to live and how this case was connected with this. But it turned out that only one of these five people was connected with this street
I next found myself out and about with Terry and Liz, but it wasn’t Liz but my friend Helena from when she was quite young (and making her debut in these voyages too). We’d all been for a drive out and had stopped somewhere in the salubrious surroundings of somewhere that looked like a gent’s restroom and changing rooms for a sports ground, but somewhere that had clearly seen better days and was creosoted rather like an outdoor toilet of the 1950s. We were all hot and sweaty, having been for a really good walk and we were all thirsty. Terry produced a tangerine for himself and Liz (or Helena) said that she was going to have something else and no-one asked me what I wanted. This depressed me a little, but then Helena produced an orange, a really nice juicy one, peeled it and gave it to me, which I thought was really nice. She asked me to save her a segment, which of course I was only too happy to do. While we were here, we were listening to the radio. Speaking was Mike Harris, the chairman of the TNS football club. The club used to play at a ground in the village of Llansantffraid but had moved up the road to the old army football stadium at Park Hall near Oswestry. He’d offered to sell the ground to the local community on some kind of share basis, £10 per share. This was of course about 10 years ago and property prices had risen dramatically since then and now the local council was trying to buy the ground at the price that Mike Harris had asked for it 10 years ago, presumably to sell on for redevelopment and make a profit based on today’s values. It goes without saying that Mike Harris was not at all willing to sell it under those terms and conditions, and this discussion was the basis of the radio programme that was being broadcast. What was interesting about all of this is that from where we were, we could see the old football ground across the valley behind a shopping precinct in the distance (which incidentally bears no resemblance whatever to the actual site or situation of the ground). I immediately dashed to the car to fetch my camera because what was going through my mind was that if this broadcast was live, everyone would be down at the football ground right now and the ground would therefore be open. After all, the old ground at Llansantffraid is one of the places that I’ve yet to visit while I’ve been on my travels around the various Welsh football grounds (this is in fact actually the case). The others saw my camera and wondered what I was going to do, and so I explained. But I had to go to the bathroom first, and this was when I awoke – right at that moment, because I actually did have to go to the bathroom. And once more, I found all of my bedclothes all over the floor. Rushing to the car for the camera must have been the reason for that.
After the bathroom break, which was actually the Easter break for me, I found myself back at work. The first thing that happened was that one of my colleagues said “hello” to me, which took me completely by surprise. And all of the new vehicles had arrived – new white vans of various shapes and sizes (and “H”-registered too, which was something of a complete surprise). We were to swap our vehicles for the new ones but I couldn’t find the one that had been allocated to me, and I couldn’t find a place to park my own either as the car park was full. So I went back to my desk and started to chat to Anne-Marie, a chat that went on for ages while I was trying to do some work. And someone had put a pile of files on my desk with all kinds of post in there dating back to 12 months and even more, all kinds of legal stuff and so on, a problem that I solved in the good old-fashioned and well-tried way of simply “losing” the post somewhere inside the file and filing the file away on the filing racks, where they would be lost for quite some time. Once Anne-Marie had wandered off, I went to take my coffee things back but I couldn’t leave the office by the front as it was all closed in with windows rather like the front end of the upper deck of a double-decker bus. Walking back up the other end I came upon Anne-Marie and her two friends Caroline and Theresa, lounging about on one of the side-on seats that you find over the rear wheel of the lower deck of a double-deck Lodekka type bus. I said “hiya, girls”to them but they all turned their backs to me which I thought was rather impolite. What had I done now? So downstairs with my coffee things, I found myself out on the edge of a cricket ground where a match was due to be played sometime soon, somewhere out towards Stafford. There was a huge discussion taking place about this match and about the players. I hadn’t been selected (I don’t think that I expected to be) but it seemed that a couple of footballers from FC Pionsat St Hilaire, Gregory amongst them, were going to be playing and the person who was organising it, none other than Mark Dawson, was urging the rest of the team to welcome them. Mark had been waving around a yard brush which had a plastic handle, but people had been stubbing out their cigarettes on it and burning the handle, so I took it from Mark and put it back up against the wall. “It wasn’t me” said Mark. “I don’t smoke”. I replied that I knew that he didn’t, but nevertheless it was marked and so I put it out of everyone’s way. There was someone else there with a Velocette Venom which had become the subject of some discussion. The owner said that it had cost £129 new but now it’s worth about £66,000. The bike was being pushed around and so I put it up on a piece of hard-standing right by this little building where we were congregating. Someone said that we had been told not to park motorbikes up there but I replied that it was OK because it had its centre-stand up on a paving slab. From here I was heading off onwards down south past Stafford and I noticed that Mark didn’t have transport and so expecting him to be heading now for the cricket pavilion, I asked him if he wanted a lift. I was in my big old Senator so I opened the door for him and he told me to drop him off near the town hall in Stoke on Trent, about 10 miles away through the traffic in the opposite direction and that will cost me a couple of hours in time. But a promise is a promise so I bit my lip and set off.
And I still haven’t finished yet either. Because all of this ramble about me being at work seemed to have started off with me being on a wide-bodied jet aeroplane (and I do mean “wide” – it was rather like a cinema auditorium). I seemed to be the first on board so I chose my seat in the central part but against the aisle, and put my black fleece there. There were four air hostesses in a bunch over on the other side in the aisle and they waved me over, so leaving my jacket behind, I went over to see what they wanted. “Ohh, come over here and sit by us” they said. “Why? What’s up?” I asked. “Am I the only passenger on the aeroplane?” “Ohh no” they replied. “But you’re first on so you can sit here if you like”. And so I went and fetched my jacket, and then came back to sit by these air hostesses. I’d boarded this plane by chance, really, just looking to get away for a few days and this was the first plane in. It was flying out to the Channel Islands somewhere on this Friday late afternoon and was coming back on Sunday evening, which suited me fine for a short break.
No wonder it was a surprise to find me up and about so early this morning after all of that.
So with all of this effort I had another day of sitting and vegetating. I mean – it took me all morning just to type up my notes from through the night.
But this afternoon, I finished all of the notes from September 2015 and I’ll soon be ready to start on the ones for August. And then, I have 2014 to do. Then, I can take the 2013 notes and merge all of them together in the appropriate places. It’s not going to be something that will be over in a day or so.
But with it being Sunday, Liz has been cooking. For lunch, we had home-made mushroom soup (made with real home-made mushrooms of course), followed by vegan carrot-cake for our afternoon snack, and then for tea we had home-made nut roast followed by home-made vegan chocolate chip ice-cream. As I have said before … "and you’ll say again" – ed … whenever (if ever) I’m fit enough to leave here, I’ll immediately try to find something else wrong with me.
And so on that note, I’ll leave you all. I’m not even going for a walk because I need the early night as I’m off to Montlucon and the hospital early in the morning and I’ll be doing more than enough walking while I’m there.
And if you’ve managed to read down this far then congratulations because it’s a mere 2474 words, a new record posting for a blog entry, and by a country mile as well.