… morning at 05:30, even after all of my exertions last night. And I was feeling so awake that by 05:40 I was seriously thinking about leaving the stinking pit.
But I’m glad I didn’t.
Some time later I must have fallen asleep again. And I’m glad that I did because during that little period I had a visitor. Zero came to visit me.
In fact her presence so startled me that I awoke bolt upright. And this time I actually did leave the bed before the alarm went off. Not my much, it has to be said, but any period of time is worth noting.
First port of call was to take my medication. And that was especially important seeing as how I’d abstained yesterday.
Second port of call was to check the temperature. When I lived in the Auvergne the temperature was just one of the several dozen records that I took twice a day so I could make graphs that would hopefully show a correlation between the different types of weather and the different types of energy that was being produced and consumed but I don’t do anything at all like that here.
What was important today was the fact that even though we’re so close to the sea, everything was iced up outside.
And sure enough, at 07:00 this morning the temperature was minus 3.5°C. That’s the lowest temperature that I’ve seen here, but it’s still a far cry from how things were in the Auvergne. Rosemary rang up for a chat later on (as you will find out in due course) and she told me that the temperature in the Combrailles had dropped to minus 7°C and as things had warmed up in the morning they’d had a fall of snow.
But as for my temperature (well, the temperature outside actually) it was enough to put me off going out.
After yesterday’s exertions I was really exhausted but I wondered whether I should force myself to go out but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, if I fall over I can’t pick myself up again and staggering about on the ice in sub-zero temperatures is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, I came in here and finished off my order for LeClerc. I was going to send it off on Monday but instead I added in everything that I would otherwise buy at the Carrefour and it was on its way even before I’d had my morning coffee.
There were no tomatoes on delivery today but my cleaner usually goes to the market in town on Saturday morning so I sent her a message and she duly obliged.
Next stop was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And, more importantly, who had come with me. I’d been collecting up tools, the kind that you’d find on market stalls in the northern UK. I’d been making a collection of all kinds of stuff. Then I’d been going through it and deciding what I wanted to keep and what I didn’t, and maybe I would advertise the rest for sale or something like that, maybe even visit a market stall to try to sell them or even try to have a market stall myself so much of last night was spent going through this collection of tools and making decisions. There were things like hammers and drifts, taps and dies, files etc that I would have loved to have had at another moment.
And in a certain region of India a man was having an extreme amount of difficulty trying to buy many items that would be considered to be normal, average everyday use in the rest of the World. At a certain moment he won £721 in a lottery for deprived areas so used his winnings to place an internet order to buy stuff on line that he could have sent to him. He went on one of these reality TV programmes to talk about his winnings and his order. Some visiting dignitary from his Province’s Government climbed onto the stage without invitation and immediately began to denounce everything that he’d ordered that had not yet been delivered, claiming that it was all Chinese warmongering equipment, even things like barbecue grills, and had no place in an ordinary decent home in his Province. he was picking up these things and throwing them about on the stage, coming out with all kinds of rhetoric. I tried to calm him down but he wasn’t going to have anything about this so in the end I reluctantly decided that the only way to deal with this matter is to have a huge confrontation with him on the TV and embarrass him by his lack of knowledge and obvious prejudice.
Later on there was a couple of domineering parents who had 4 teenage children. One day they decided that they would assassinate some kind of Russian emigré noblewoman. He knew where this noble emigré woman went to relax so the arranged to be present with rifles. As the woman was leaning against a wall smoking, the father gave a signal and everyone levelled their rifles across the room at this woman relaxing in the doorway. At the very last moment she saw them and swayed to one side as they fired. Instead of being killed outright one hit her in the cheek, another hit her in the shoulder and the other 4 missed. In a fit of anger she stormed over to this table where these 6 people were sitting and tore an absolute strip off the father and demanded that he give her a glass of gin. He was astonished that she was still moving and insisting on a glass of gin, which he poured for her. First he took a mouthful himself before giving it to her. One of this children piped up “just look at that! Now you can see what it is that we as kids have had to suffer for all our lives. He can’t even give someone a drink without having to take a drink of it himself. You’ve just met him for 10 minutes and he’s treated you like this but this is how he’s treated us all out lives”.
This was when I awoke at 05:30 and as I said just now, when I went back to sleep Zero put in an appearance. I was at school and it was the middle of summer. There were loads of kids milling around. I’d been working on a few of the radio programmes. One of the guys who ran the radio asked me if I’d put together a pile of programmes that had been broadcast previously which were my favourites. I had an enormous amount of difficulty trying to find the ones. I was looking for some certain live concerts but every time I opened a folder it was the wrong one. Eventually I put 4 or 5 together onto a memory stick and walked out of my classroom ready to go downstairs. I was wearing a shirt with no sleeves that was completely open, a tie that was actually around my neck and not around the collar of the shirt and a pair of shorts which I never ever wear. You could see the skin imperfections on my legs and you could also a great big scar running down the inside of my right arm. As I walked down the steps there were all these girls sitting down there. One or two made a remark about my sartorial elegance. I explained that if they thought that I would wear full school uniform on the hottest day of the year they are totally mistaken. One of the girls talking to me had a very white pasty face and hair as if she’d been covered in flour. There was another one, a much younger girl, who was flirting around with me as she was talking so naturally I was flirting around with her too as I was replying. Then I set off and ended up in Market Street in Crewe in the period before they demolished it all. Zero came in at some point as I was going through the directories looking for these particular files. Whether she was helping me or whether she was actually involved in one of the programmes I can’t remember now but she was certainly there as I was searching through these directories looking for the specific files.
But what is going on here? I’m flirting around with another girl while Zero is in the immediate vicinity? I really must be losing my touch these days!
By this time the shopping – including my bigarreaux confits – had arrived and I was in time to watch the delivery guy go head over heels on the stairs up to my apartment. No bones broken so he was lucky. Slabs of solid granite are really hard when you fall on them.
Before I’d sent off the order I checked the promotions to see what was on special offer, and they had broccoli heads at 99 cents so I’d ordered one.
It was more stalk than florets so after I’d trimmed it and blanched the florets ready for freezing, I decided to have a broccoli stalk soup for lunch.
- Cut up an onion and fry it in oil in the base of a heavy saucepan
- Add in your herbs. I used
- add in a sliced lump of garlic
- dice your broccoli stalk finely and add it in
- dice a potato ditto
- fry it all up nicely for a few minutes
- add back enough of the water in which you blanched the broccoli florets
- Simmer it until everything in there is extremely soft, and then add in some cream. I used soya yoghurt as I have plenty that needs eating quickly
- whizz it up with your magic wand
- eat it with some of the crusty bread that you remembered to add onto your order with LeClerc
Fighting off (sometimes unsuccessfully) a few waves of sleep I carried on writing the notes for Canada 2022. I’m still wandering around the vieux port – I had no idea that I’d taken so many photos there.
Rosemary rang me up too (as I said just now) to find out how things went yesterday so I told her the bad news. She tells me that in the Spring next year she’ll come to visit if her operation passes ok.
If she does, I hope that she remembers to bring with her my big bass combo amp that’s sitting in her shed. That’s the one that I found in a pawn shop around the corner from Sandra’s in Ottawa in 2019.
And while we’re on the subject, sometime in the future I’ll be expecting another parcel delivery from Canada. In the back of Strider were a Fender bass and combo amp that travelled around North America with me. Now that Strider is, apparently, no more, it’ll be in the way at my niece’s house and I need to bring it here.
Apparently my talk about Christmas cake earlier in the week inspired Rosemary and she checked in her cupboard where she found that she had all of the important ingredients for a Christmas Cake.
She’s had all of her fruit soaking since then but now she can’t find her baking tin. And at least I can smile because although I moved to the Auvergne in 2006 and still haven’t unpacked yet, Rosemary moved to France more than 30 years ago and she is far from being unpacked even yet.
Anyway we agreed that cooking and baking is a fine hobby to have if your mobility is restricted. You don’t need to move around much and you can really enjoy the fruits of your labours – in the literal sense of the word.
Tea tonight was a burger on a bap, which I can enjoy now that I’ve found that I can order on-line the special burgers that I like. With a baked potato and salad it was delicious.
So tomorrow I have a lot to do. Before I go to bed I’ll be dictating the radio notes that I prepared the other day (if I get pull my head round in the right direction) so that I can prepare a programme tomorrow.
Then there’s the Christmas Cake and Pudding that need baking too.
Finally too, I have biscuits to bake. I had a couple of store-bought packets lying around but while the first packet was fine, the odour that came from the second one that I opened today convinced me that I didn’t need to taste them.
There’s some freh ginger lying around, some almonds and a few other bits and pieces so that looks as if it will make a really nice biscuit mix. It’s a good job that the vegan butter was on special offer today and I took full advantage by buying an extra packet.
So before I go to bed I’ll have a play about on the guitar and work my way through some more of my playlist. I might have a good run through RECOVERING THE SATELLITES
"We only stay in orbit
For a moment of time
And then you’re everybody’s satellite
I wish that you were mine"
Now who does that remind me of?