Tag Archives: lie in

Sunday 3rd December 2023 – IF MY CHRISTMAS …

… cake tastes as nice as did the bits that bubbled over the top of the cake tin onto the base of the oven, I shall be extremely pleased. It was phenomenal!

And yes, Liz, “bubbled over”.

Trying to bake a cake with no self-raising flour or eggs and just using sodium bicarbonate and red wine vinegar to produce a chemical reaction is very much a hit-and-miss process.

The last time I tried, when I made my bread-and-butter pudding, it exploded in my face, presumably because it was insufficiently cooled and mixed before I added the vinegar, but today it went perfectly and I was so impressed

But I was also so tired too.

Not that a really late night had much to do with it, but the fact that all through the night I had the Return Of The Stabbing Pain.

It defies my understanding, all this that goes on with my body. I’ve mentioned in the past … "and on many occasions too" – ed … the fact that at times during the night there’s a stabbing pain in my right foot as if someone is pushing a hatpin into the sole of my foot, and last night it occurred probably almost every 5 minutes

It went on for ages too and when I finally brought myself into the Land of the Living today at about 11:40, it was still going on.

After I’d had the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A group of resistance fighters of undercover British soldiers had been parachuted into the Occupied Territories to attack the headquarters of a German General. One of the people who worked in that office was a member of the Allied resistance and had been feeding them information. What they did was to make sure that this person made good her escape. Then they walked in and hauled a hand grenade through the door into the other office where the German General would normally work. The hand grenade exploded and there was a cry of agony from in there so they dashed inside. The General’s secretary was there. She’d been very badly injured by the bomb. She staggered out of the room into the office and saw that the office was empty save for these British soldiers. Her first thought was “where’s Madame So-and-so?”. It quickly became clear to her what had happened but no-one in the party of Allied soldiers had the courage to finish her off. 5 minutes later the German General came back in his car with a load of companions who’d been out somewhere. They stepped right into the middle of this carnage, rounded up the soldiers easily and led them away to be shot. During the whole of this dream the British soldiers made absolutely no effort whatever to resist capture and no effort whatever to try to escape or evade.

Several young children, both boys and girls, who had been dancing had come together under the tutelage of a well-known ballerina and were planning to put on a concert. It was called “The Icepedia of Madame Clifford”. She was busily arranging them into groups and teams etc, choreographing dances etc. These children were due to start any day now having their formal tuition in whatever this Madame Clifford wanted to do but just as they began, I awoke.

Later on, a group of 4 or us, 3 girls and me, had been away for a while on a kind-of touring holiday or road trip. As usual there was one girl whom I particularly liked but she was far too busy being friendly with the other 2 girls than she was spending any time alone with me, which was rather disappointing. When we reached the end of our journey there was some kind of issue or confrontation. The girl whom I liked ended up having lost her clothes so she was there basically with all that she had on. I noticed that she was wandering off to the car of one of the other girls so I went over to ask her if she was going to borrow some clothes from her. She replied “no” so I wondered if there was anything that I could do for her or to help her, give her a lift somewhere as she had no clothes, no money etc but she assured me that she’d be OK. I couldn’t actually see how but she was quite adamant. In the end I could hear the 3 girls making up some other kind of plans to meet somewhere on the way home. I felt rather annoyed that I was being left out of everything but I didn’t say anything. I got into my car, and then realised that I was going to be rather short of money for going home. Someone passing by pointed out that one of my tyres had a slow puncture so I wondered how I’d manage to resolve that too. Then the girl pulled up in her car alongside me so I began to talk to her. I had it in my mind to say that I was jealous of the fact that she spent more time with the others than she had with me etc but for some reason I just could not push the words out of my head and out of my mouth to say them. It ended up really unsatisfactory from my point of view. Then the other 2 girls turned up and talked about meeting somewhere in Munich or wherever. I realised that my timetable was going to be really tight and I couldn’t even make it if I was invited. I wondered how these girls were going to do it too. It turned out that they were going to be flying so where was the one with no clothes and no money going to find the money for that? I set off anyway, disappointedly and came to a road junction where there was a car waiting. I waited behind it but it didn’t move. I suddenly realised thet there was no driver in it so I pulled around it, checked that the road junction was clear and began to drive away.

A disabled boy with whom I used to work appeared in a dream somewhere and we talked about my illness. I told him that I had a lot of appointments unofficially registered on 22nd October and I was going to go to the hospital to talk to a few people about how things were going on. We’d been parked in Shavington outside the small parade of shops talking, then he pulled out of the parade without looking and nearly hit another car that was coming our way. Luckily he managed to stop in time but the car carried on driving. We ended up following it for a while then both it and we turned into Chestnut Avenue and began to go down the hill. He’d completely lost the thread of what he’d been saying and told me that that was a problem when his concentration was disturbed. He lost track of just about everything.

And then I was with Alison, Hans and Jackie. We were in Germany somewhere going for a meal. We all piled into one of the cars and someone drove to this restaurant out in the countryside. We went in and the restaurant was actually up some stairs but I struggled up. We eventually managed to find a place to sit. We had quite a good time talking about all kinds of different things. When the bill came mine was €30:06. While I was sorting out my money everyone disappeared. I heard them downstairs. Someone was saying something to Jackie about “shall I run you to the station now?”. That took me by surprise because I understood that we would all be staying together for the weekend. I went downstairs and to my surprise I walked down the stairs without my crutches. We were all milling around in the cloakroom gathering our clothes together. Hans told a joke that made everyone laugh. he said “that was one of Eric’s”. We collected all our coats and set off outside. It was pouring down with rain. Hans made a remark about how lucky we were that we had hats with us. He would be soaked to death walking to the car.

A group of us from the radio had gone to watch Man play in Brussels. The auditorium was packed but I managed to find a little place at the side of one of the mixing tables to put the ZOOM H1 so that it would record the sounds of the group. I wandered off to do something but when I came back there was a family sitting around this table so I went up to tell them that they needed to be very quiet because there was a live microphone recording taking place. They apologised and said that they hadn’t known that it was my seat. They stood up and left. Taking advantage of the empty seat I sat down. I suddenly realised that I hadn’t brought any spare batteries for the Zoom. it it goes flat I’ll be having a real problem. I switched off the machine while the preliminaries were taking place but just them all of the musicians came onstage. I had to switch it on again hurriedly. I’d done it so quickly that I wasn’t sure whether it was on or off. I had the feeling that this was turning into another complete mess. After the first couple of numbers I was chatting to one of the guys from the radio. I told him that if we have issues about space there are only two numbers that are absolutely essential in the recording. I told him of one but I couldn’t remember the name of the second. At that point the dictaphone began to go flat so I gathered up my things and left. After I’d been walking home after 10 minutes I realised first of all that I still had the elastic strap around my ankles and secondly, I didn’t have my crutches. I walked past the street fair and the place where people left food out for the live slugs and fish. I came to a set of steps but I thought that I better hadn’t push my luck too much with these steps without my crutches. I walked the long way round and headed home. I remember thinking that I hope that everything would be fine from now on because if I lose my crutches that’s really the end of everything. I’ve no idea what I’d do then. That was the thought that was worrying me for the rest of the way home.

Something like that actually did happen to me once while I was recording an outside broadcast. The batteries in the ZOOM H8 went flat and the spare batteries were just as dead.

Of course, I haven’t done any outside broadcasts since last Summer before I went to Canada, and for obvious reasons too.

Another reason why I’m exhausted, and probably the most relevant one, is that I’ve been on my feet all afternoon. So much so that my back, my thighs and the muscles in my calves are aching in places where I didn’t even know that I had places.

Firstly, I prepared the mix for the next batch of biscuits. Fresh ginger, fleur d’orange and ground almonds together with the usual spices

And anyone who has been following these pages for any length of time won’t need to be told about what happened just as I was up to my elbows in flour and vegan margarine. For the benefit of new readers, the telephone rang.

There was no other option but to answer it. It was my neighbour, the President of the Residents’ Committee, wanting to know how I was and what happened on Friday so I cleaned myself up and had a good, lengthy chat with her.

She was the one who tipped me the wink about the apartment downstairs. At one of the residents’ meetings the owner of the apartment just happened to mention quite casually that he was thinking about selling up.

She told me and the owner and I had negotiated a price, agreed a deal and I’d paid the deposit to purchase all before he’d even had time to consult an estate agent.

All I have to do now is to wait for the lease to end and the tenant leaves the property, and then I won’t have all these stairs to climb and I can install a proper kitchen and shower. And, it goes without saying, find a cat to adopt me

Of course, the tenant can always leave before the lease expires. “Negotiations are proceeding”.

Next step was to make my Christmas pudding. That was quite straightforward and it was all placed in the steaming container that I’d greased and lined with baking paper. Three hours of steaming in a bain marie to cook it, and seeing as I didn’t have one, I had to invent something.

But that’s now steamed and it’s currently cooling down before I open it to see how it’s looking. And I hope that it works.

Then there was the Christmas cake. That really took some mixing too but I do have to admit that my soaked fruit looked and smelt delicious. Anyway, it all went together, thanks to everything that I’d bought from LeClerc and fitted quite nicely into my moule à charnière.

You’ve no idea how difficult it is to find proper cake tins here in France so when LeClerc had brought in a pile of stuff for a baking sale a couple of years ago I bought two – a large one and a small one that fits into an air fryer.

Yes, I have a cunning plan about that.

Earlier on I’d taken out of the freezer the last of the pizza dough, and while the cake was baking I was busy defrosting and then assembling my pizza.

When I was satisfied that the cake was baked properly I put the pizza in to bake and while it was baking I rolled out the biscuit dough and cut out the biscuits.

Once the pizza was cooked I put the biscuits in the oven and while they were baking I ate the pizza.

So now I have a Christmas Cake, a Christmas pudding, 40 ginger and orange biscuits and a partridge in a pear tree and I’m totally exhausted. I really am.

What I should have done today is to edit a radio programme but I’ve not had time as yet and right now I don’t have the energy to even move. I’ll have a hot drink and then go to bed.

But while I was making my hot drink the phone rang yet again. For several years in the early 1970s I had a girlfriend whom I knew from school. However we ended up going our separate ways, as you do when you’re that kind of age.

In 2006 Liz (not “this” Liz but “that” Liz”) and I were on our way from a meeting of the Disabled Students Group in Bristol (Liz was in charge of Student Support and I was on the Disability Committee) to a University Region 9 Meeting in Newcastle upon Tyne.

We stopped off at a pub in between Shrewsbury and Oswestry for a meal, and who should walk in?

Quite honestly, you could have put her in her school uniform and she would have been exactly as I remembered her – not a single day older.

Since then, we’ve kept in some kind of desultory touch.

So now that I’ve had my hot drink I’m going to go to bed. A good sleep will do me good, as long as I don’t have the person with the hatpin again.

Sunday 26th November 2023 – NOW THAT WAS …

… much more like how a Sunday morning ought to be. I can’t remember a single thing about it.

Well, that’s not actually correct, because from about 00:00 until about 02:30 I remember quite a lot of it. But once I crawled quietly into bed, that was that.

In fact, it wasn’t until about 12:15 that I actually saw the light of day and crawled out of my stinking pit towards my medication. And as a result I didn’t have all that much time to transcribe the dictaphone notes before my porridge, cheese on toast and strong coffee.

That’s exactly how to start the day, in my opinion.

While I eat my meals at the table I’m either watching a film or reading a book. Films are usually in the evening and books usually during the day. And right now I’m reading THE OLD STRAIGHT TRACK by Alfred Watkins, written in 1925.

He’s the author who developed the theory of ley lines and while some of what he wrote is discredited by many, a lot of it still holds good today and much of the criticism levelled at his work is erroneous.

But what caught my eye was a paragraph about vegetation, in which he comments that a change in climate may have accounted for a change in vegetation. For 100 years ago, that was a novel idea.

The first trace in print that I have been able to find that suggested the possibility of climate change was in Munn’s WINELAND VOYAGES : LOCATION OF HELLULAND, MARKLAND, AND VINLAND, written in 1914, and how Munn was roundly, and in some cases, viciously vilified by his contemporaries, some of whom, like Nansen ought to have known better.

And how many people have ended up subsequently with omelette sur le visage, as they say around here.

So back in here I carried on with the dictaphone notes. Mountains and mountains of them. I was still at school. It was coming up close to my A Levels. I’d been making all kinds of plans for things that I’d wanted to do. We had a young girl from India staying with us on an exchange visit. She was also at school. One day a coach pulled up at school and we all piled on. She was quite mystified. The coach set off but when it turned onto the motorway she began to panic. She said that school buses aren’t allowed on motorways in India. Anyway, everyone persuaded her and she finally began to understand that there was a play taking place somewhere nearby that was part of our A Level syllabus so we were going to see it, as we did at school on several occasions for different things. Gradually the discussion became rather more complicated than that. I suddenly began to understand that what was going on was that they were going to drop me off at the hospital or somewhere like that because my medical results and reports had come through. The hospital wanted to follow it up so everyone was taking advantage of this play idea by saying and doing nothing to me, just presenting me with a fait accompli when we arrived at the hospital. This was why the girl was quite worried – she’d actually heard the part about dropping me off at the hospital before she’d actually heard about going to the play.

And then I was back in this dream about that hospital – actually in the hospital. They were discussing physiotherapy arrangements. Someone said that there was an article available for me that I’d find quite useful. When they turned up I expected them to have brought the article with them but the person just came on his own and asked me to go with him to fetch it. That was pretty-much impossible because I didn’t have anything with me to help, like crutches etc. It turned out that there was nothing marked on their records for any patient at all who had mobility issues. I tried to convince him that maybe this was something that the hospital had to change because I couldn’t go anywhere to pick up whatever it was that he was offering to give me.

At another point I was down in south-west London staying with a couple. I noticed that the girl had a strange fancy for a certain type of car, a 3-wheeled vehicle but was one that I’d never seen before. She had one in which she drove around and occasionally another would turn up as she found it, and there was one parked down at the end of her street. One night as I was going to bed I heard some kind of commotion but I ignored it. Next morning when I awoke all the 3-wheelers had gone. There was a dark blue Ford Cortina MkIII down at the end of the street. The first thing that I heard someone say to her was “when did you have your new car?”. She replied “17:00 yesterday evening” and she chatted away about her new car. Then she began to talk about the one parked up down the end of the road. That apparently had a new chassis so she was planning to keep hold of it for a while and maybe use it at a later date. She was annoyed because she thought that she was going to go to church but apparently her boyfriend had other plans so we began to discuss these particular vehicles amongst ourselves.

While I was asleep I met up with those 4 gipsy girls who have appeared in my meanderings before. I’d first come across them somewhere else and when we were wandering around a fairground they seemed to be loitering around a few pill-sellers. My friend and I went along and tried to usher the girls away from temptation and try to organise them into going home. In the end the two elder girls began to hang around with my friend and me. The one that I particularly liked, I took her on a little exploration of the area and was pointing out one or two other things and items to her while we were walking around.

And that intrigued me. I scrolled back through several years of notes (I didn’t go back as far as the beginning of this project in 1999 by the way) to find an earlier reference to these 4 girls because it was evident that I must have known them from somewhere – but I couldn’t find a previous mention of them.

But interestingly, it wouldn’t have been the first time that I had discreetly steered a group of young people away from a situation that was on the verge of becoming unpleasant, and it wouldn’t have been the first time that one of the aforementioned had attached herself to me as a result either

Finally there was a football match taking place in the office between 2 teams. One of the players was very badly injured, a huge lump taken out of his back. When I looked, his shirt was a mass of blood. I suggested that I take him off to the Health Centre, have them have a look at it and decide what to do. I took the guy but I couldn’t remember where the Health Centre was. I went to the local switchboard on the floor where we were and asked to be put through to the Health Centre. Instead, she picked up an external directory and began to thumb through it trying to find the number. After about 2 minutes and I suddenly realised what she was doing I ripped it out of her hands and stuck what I thought was the Internal directory into her hands. It turned out to be another volume of the external one. In the end I ripped that out of her hands too and was busy having this major argument with her while this boy was bleeding to death at my feet. And I suddenly awoke.

You really don’t want to know any more about what went on during the night. Not while you’re eating your tea anyway.

A couple of people have been speaking to me on the internet during the day. Rosemary and I had had a chat (that I’d forgotten to mention) the other day that was interrupted so she called me back today and we carried on from where we left off.

Catherine spoke to me too. She was a lecturer at University who lives in Southern Germany but I know her through her mother with whom I served on various University committees. When her parents retired they went to live in Southern Germany too and as they live only couple of hours from Munich I usually pop in when I’m passing by.

Catherine was wondering how I was doing, and also wanted to tell me that her father was not doing too well, which is a shame. I hope that he recovers soon.

As well as that I made a big batch of naan bread dough, but I seem to have miscalculated. Instead of 8 balls of 100 grams, I made 10 balls of 80 grams.

Rosemary advised me to put my festering fruit in the fridge to stop it fermenting so I had to track down some containers with lids. I know where the containers are, of course, but reaching them, the way things are, is something else.

The rest of the day was spent on the radio programme. I don’t know what happened but dictating the notes last night was appalling. I made an absolute pig’s ear of it all and it ended up as quite a mess. Consequently it took me an age to untangle everything this afternoon.

However, it’s now all done, assembled and up and running ready for broadcast on … errr … 12th July 2024

Tonight’s pizza was excellent again and now that I’m fed, I’m going to be watered and then I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I should in theory start the next radio programme but that’s going on hold for a while. It’s going to be quite complicated and will require a lot of research because 19th July is quite a significant day in the history of rock music, as far as I’m concerned. Instead, I’ll prepare the one after.

But I’ll worry about that tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed.

Sunday 12th November 2023 – AND THERE I WAS …

… planning on a nice relaxing day today with very little, if anything, to do. But as usual, all kinds of events come along to confound me.

What didn’t help was that it wasn’t until 11:42 this morning that I first noticed what time it was. And that is far from being the same as saying what time it was that I actually arose from the dead.

And if things start badly, things can only be worse. You should see the amount of stuff on the dictaphone from during the night. I must have travelled miles and that probably explains why I was so exhausted yet again once I arose.

After I’d had my medication and checked my mails I sat down and began to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

All of them.

There had been a storm or fire or both or something in the big house in which we lived altogether and it had been badly damaged. There was a lot of repair work needed to be done to it. At the moment it was a question of trying to secure the premises against anything worse happening. We were basically divided into shifts and rotas about how to look after the property. I had to stand there on patrol at one point to keep away any onlookers or anyone who might be there for some kind of nefarious purposes. There was a lot of paperwork that had burnt and was blowing around. While I was standing there looking at it a few more bits fell from the ceiling to the ground. I was supposed at this point to go on patrol around the area to see who was about but I had a lot of difficulty walking and I’d be of no use if I had to confront anyone so I decided to let other people do that. When I walked round the corner there on the field even though it was raining were a few of my housemates playing cricket. One of them shouted “go and put the kettle on, Eric” but of course it was going to be extremely difficult because of the fire and the damage and because of my difficulties. In the end he left the cricket field and wandered off somewhere as if he was going to do it.

At some point there was a question of another young girl of woman being involved in this. When we finally met her we found that she was just as handicapped as I am so obviously she couldn’t stand her patrol looking after the building and patrolling the area for a couple of days. We felt that we should have known about her handicap beforehand otherwise we could have made certain allowances for her but now things are under way and already happening it’s rather too late now for that.

It was the custom of the hospital to send several patients dressed up as Father Christmas, his helpers and his reindeer to go and collect money for charitable purposes. This year though they decided that instead of making a sleigh they would do it with a motorbike and sidecar. They asked me if I would like to go but I couldn’t really get in and out of the sidecar very easily so that would seem to rule that out. Then they were having a lot of difficulty trying to think of someone else. I thought to myself that if I’d known that I was expected to do this sort of thing along with everyone else I’d have thought twice about coming here.

And that was another dream that I actually dictated in French.

Then there was someone in our group with a name something like Awotni but when we had a list of members we couldn’t see anyone who corresponded to that. I made some kind of light-hearted remark about Polish family names which was immediately greeted with distaste by some members of the group. Then I remembered thinking that maybe if this person had been treated for a long time he shouldn’t be in our group anyway or maybe the group isn’t the correct place for them to be because this group that I’m in is about everyone being able to do every different thing.

There was also a girl put into our group who didn’t seem to be capable of doing very much. We didn’t think much of that idea because we were all trying to be as equal as possible and doing as many tasks as we could. We didn’t really want anyone who didn’t have the courage to follow it all through. This person seemed to be treating it just as a way of relaxing than a matter of life and death like the rest of us thought that it was. We didn’t appreciate that kind of levity at these serious moments.

“I wish that you’d store your accessories and introduce them into the discussions as appropriate” we said to someone who seemed to be much more able to move about than the rest of us but who didn’t seem to work as hard. We considered that due to the health that everyone put in we ought to be doing so much more and there should be so much more solidarity amongst the patients.

Zero put in an appearance last night. Her father was talking about a Christmas dinner that he’d made and how she’d sat down from the start and eaten absolutely everything put in front of her, all the way through to the Christmas pudding. He was ever so impressed that she’d managed to take all of it. It was the way that he said it that made me think of some kind of double-entendre and to my complete surprise, in the middle of this dream I had an immense fit of jealousy.

It actually reminded me of the girl who went into a pub and asked for a double-entendre so the barman gave her one.

But it was a real surprise, as I could tell from how I dictated it. But at least after talking about Christmas food yesterday, it’s made me focus on what I need to do for Christmas. So Liz – I shall be relying on you to tell me when to start to make my cake to make sure that I don’t leave it too late.

And I’ll make sure that it’s squirrelled away so that Zero can’t find it. As Liz will tell you, I don’t “do” sharing when it comes to cake. However, if Zero (or TOTGA, or Castor) were here, I might be persuaded to make an exception.

My friends from the Wirral came to see me last night. We were talking about all the old times etc. In the end we had to go out to do something. And the wife had a pushchair with one of her kids in it. While I was eating my meal I’d seen a photo and I was trying for ages to place this photo. It suddenly occurred to me that it was the old petrol station in Hungerford Road (of course there never was a petrol station there). I eventually worked out where this photo was and decided that we had to go. There was a big problem about 2 of my cars that needed moving around, some kind of question about them having no tax, no MoT, all Cortima MkIIIs. I needed to move them from where they were stored. We had a huge debate about which one we should move first and which should be moved second. I wasn’t even sure to where I was going to move them. In the end my friend asked me about driving – how come the Senator was the only big vehicle that I had these days. I replied “actually I can’t drive any more anyway so there’s no point having a car. If I am able to drive in the near future it won’t be in professional transport so I won’t need a big car”. We then went back to discussing in which order we were going to move these 2 MkIII Cortinas.

And that’s a recurring dream, isn’t it? Having cars scattered all over the place with no tax or MoT which need to be moved around.

I was in Crewe again last night and had gone to a petrol station. I bumped into a guy … "Lee Jenkins" – ed … whom I knew who played centre-half for Haverfordwest. We began to talk about vehicles and how he’d bought a MkIII Cortina once and when he’d come to sell it he had over £1000 for it. I pointed to mine and said “do you mean like this?”. I was in my gold MkIII estate, the one in the barn in Virlet. His eyes lit up and he said “wow! It’s great!” and went to have a really good look around it. He asked if he could take it for a drive but I had to decline. He said “you’re probably afraid that I’d never bring it back!”. I replied “something like that”. I told him all about the vehicle, one owner from new, guaranteed genuine mileage etc, We had quite a lengthy chat about it.

And “wow” he may well say. Cortina MkIII 2000E models were pretty rare on the ground when they were new and current, but in my atelier in Montaigut is a 2000E saloon and the gold MkIII estate in my barn in Virlet is a 2000E estate of which there are known to be no more than half a dozen still in existence and which is worth a King’s ransom.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed I was at work in Belgium. I’d gone out for a coffee break, to stand outside. While I was out there a girl came up and began to attack me, trying to push me into the lake. After I’d fought her off I went into the security hut. The guy there made me a coffee. We had a little chat about how crazy some people are in this building. I had to go to fetch something from my car. On the way back I met a Post Office girl trying to talk to a cat. It turned out that cats received telegrams. You had to give the telegram to the correct cat, not just to any cat. They were trying to train the cats to accept the telegrams which I thought was the strangest thing that I’d ever seen. I walked back down to the front door of the building, pressed the button for the sliding doors to open but nothing happened. I could hear people on the inside but no matter how I pressed the button I couldn’t make the sliding doors open so that I could go in. I thought “this is good, isn’t it? I’m locked outside the building now”.

What with stopping for lunch, it took me until about 15:00 to transcribe all of that – and it might have been done quicker had I not … errr … gone off with the fairies for a while.

Then I went to make my fruit bread. I took my time making the dough and it actually turned out quite well.

After I’d finished my lunch I’d taken the last of the pizza dough out of the freezer (so I’ll have to make some more next weekend) and it had been defrosting.

Just as I was going to deal with it Rosemary rang me for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions. She’s rather worried because she has a major operation shortly (which I why she couldn’t have come with me to Michigan) and she wants someone to either reassure her or to talk her out of it.

She talked about her operation at great length and in great detail, despite me telling her on several occasions not to. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall exactly how I feel about operations and surgery.

But it’s not likely that I’m going to talk anyone out of surgery. No matter how ill even the thought of it makes me feel, I’m a firm believer in the principle of Macbeth and the murder of Duncan “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”.

It’s much more painful to spend all of this time worrying and postponing it rather than to have it done quickly.

When they operated on my kidneys they didn’t even tell me. They just took me, bed and all, down into the basement, stuck a mask over my face and said “here – smell this!”. And that was the last that I knew about it.

As a result everything was running really late. But the fruit bread is, for once, cooked to perfection and the pizza was pretty good too.

So I’ll wander off and have a good sleep. For a change, there’s nothing happening tomorrow so I can push on with a few things without any interruptions.

Well, such is the theory. We all know how it works in practice.

Sunday 27th August 2023 – TODAY I HAVE …

… emulated my namesake the mathematician and done three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

As usual, on a Saturday night, I was late going to bed. It doesn’t make much of a difference really on a Saturday if I’m having a lie-in on a Sunday. But this morning I kept on waking up and by 10:00 I’d given up comple tely the whole idea of going back to sleep.

However, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, being up and about is one thing. Being wide awake, fighting fit and raring to go is something else completely and I didn’t even have the energy to go and take my medication for quite a while.

After my midday cereal and cheese on toast I made a start on the next batch of fruit bread. It’s basically a load of bread buns but with all kinds of things in it like ground-up brazil nuts, mashed banana, desiccated coconut, sultanas, almonds, sunflower seeds and anything else that’s lying around.

It takes quite a lot of kneading but when it all goes together it makes a really nice dough.

While I was waiting for the dough to proof, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was back in the good old days of OUSA again. A few of us were hanging around together. For some reason I came across an absolutely enormous pile of money, notes, that could have been worth a fortune, and some letters which on the face of it had been written by one of our group. I didn’t know what to do with these things – I didn’t want to return them to the person to whom I thought they belonged because he’d want to know how I’d managed to find them. So there I was with this huge pile of money in my hand and someone noticed it – the girlfriend of the guy concerned. She asked me from where all this stuff had come. I replied that I didn’t know. I’d just come across it while I was doing some clearing up. I was as confused as everyone else about from where all this had come. She immediately took possession of it and came across the letters that had been written. She immediately associated them with her boyfriend, as I did and anyone else would have done too. She accosted him. At first this led to some very unpleasant minutes but then when she was reading some bits out of these letters to him there was a mention about going to the Eisteddfod. That rang a bell with me because when the Eisteddfod was on that year we were all at the students’ Annual General Meeting so I said “it can’t possibly have been him because he wasn’t at the Eisteddfod but at the Annual meeting”. Then I remembered that I actually had photographs of him speaking from the stage with the backdrop etc making it perfectly clear that we were there. I could remember talking about the Eisteddfod at the meeting so I went to find my information. At first I thought that it was this guy playing fast and loose with someone else but when I remembered talking about the Eisteddfod it couldn’t possibly have been him so I’d no idea what this was about at all.

And then I was in Edleston Road in Crewe, by the Imperial. My youngest sister and her husband were there. He was riding around on what looked like an old moped or something. One thing that we noticed was that in the street were a load of people going past on some of the weirdest pushbikes you’d ever seen, all kinds of strange, ridiculous equipment. One or two of them were totally unable to ride and kept on falling off, making fools of themselves. We wondered what was going on. It turned out that somewhere in town was a display of unusual cycles. At that point I happened to look at the moped thing that my brother in law was riding. It had a strange number-plate on it that I didn’t recognise. I asked him about it. He said that it was his father’s old bike, an old Rover from 1964 and there’s only 20-odd miles on the clock. he was trying to sell it but had no idea of what it was worth but it must be worth thousands. I asked him if I could look at it, which surprised him but eventually he let me have a look. It was something similar to an old Triumph Tiger Cub or something. I thought that I’d like to go for a ride on this but then firstly I couldn’t afford the kind of price that ha was thinking of asking for it and secondly a bike like this doesn’t belong on the road but in a museum. It shouldn’t be run about any old how, spoiling its value by running up the miles on it.

Later on there was another group of us this time having a chat. One of us was talking about programs on the computer, saying that there were some programs that link the computer up to the internet without you even knowing about it and anything could be happening. You could be downloading files from there or your own personal files could be uploaded to the internet and anyone could then really have a look at them. This sounded interesting so I was hoping that he’d say some more about it but as usual in this crowd he had quite a few girls and was more interested in seeing the girls that I was. But at that point I fell asleep.

Well, what I mean is that I’m always asleep when I dictate my notes but what does happen sometimes is that my dictating just tails off into nothingness and occasionally I begin to snore or, like last night, I dropped the dictaphone and it fell on my head.

Finally I was out in the countryside last night somewhere in North Shropshire. I had to take a little girl to school but there was really thick fog so you couldn’t actually see anything. We piled into the van anyway and set off, doing our best in this freezing fog. Gradually as we came to the tops of hills we could see that the tops were clear. When we reached the top of the hills we could see that there was a couple of other people with children walking that way. It was so dangerous to try to go past them that we ended up at walking pace behind them. It wasn’t until they’d stopped to look at something in the hedgerow that we could actually go past and drive on. We then came in to Whitchurch. The first thing that we noticed was a huge supermarket at a place called Crewe Square by a roundabout where the by-pass was, around Whitchurch. But this was nowhere that I recognised at all. We continued and found ourselves going down the hill past the old Grammar School into the town. I was really bewildered as to how I’d actually managed to come this way because it was a really strange way to come. I really couldn’t understand the route that I’d taken.

That wasn’t everything either, but you really don’t want to know about the rest, especially if you are eating your meal or something.

And at some point during the night I was definitely joined by Nerina, my friend from Congleton and also by Zero for a brief moment. It seems that I’m quite popular just at present.

While the fruit buns were baking I assembled my pizza. I’d taken some frozen dough out of the freezer earlier on and it had been defrosting during the afternoon. I’d rolled it out a while back and had left it to proof so I assembled it while I was waiting for the fruit buns.

Once again, it was an excellent pizza. This cheese that I can buy now seems to be doing the job and the cherry tomatoes that I cut in half and stick right on top of everything add the finishing touch

Tomorrow I’m going to have to start to gather up my paperwork ready for Wednesday and to order some stuff off the internet, like my new course book for the forthcoming year. High time that I organised myself.

After all, I’m not going to be here on Wednesday and I hope that, if I have the results that I would like to have, I won’t be here for a while either while they hack me to bits.

But I can’t see that happening very much. It’s not as if it will make much of a difference. As soon as they sort one thing out, something else goes wrong. I’m getting to the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet these days in case something else drops off.

Sunday 20th August 2023 – THESE DAYS THE DAY …

… is dawning round about 06:30 in the morning. Ask me how I know.

Sometimes I don’t understand what’s going on (not that that’s anything new, of course) but last night I sat and watched the clock go round and round and wasn’t at all tired enough to go to bed.

It was just after 06:30 when I finally hauled myself off, but that was more by force of habit than anything else because it took me an absolute age to drift off into the Land of Nod.

What made things even worse was that I was awake again by 11:30 and after having tried valiantly to go back to sleep, by about 12:30 I gave it up as a bad job and raised myself from the dead.

After having had something to eat, the night’s efforts caught up with me and that was that for a while unfortunately.

It took me quite a while to come to my senses, which is a surprise given how few senses I have these days, and then I made a slow (and I DO mean “slow”) start on the radio programme.

It’s taking a total age to finish it because I’m not in any kind of state do do any work right now after everything else that has (or hasn’t) happened.

There was time to listen to whatever there was on the dictaphone. In fact it was a real surprise that there was something on there from the very short period when I must have drifted away into Neverland during the morning while I was in bed. We were talking about football in the Welsh class discussing bits of vocabulary etc that are important to know. I explained how much the lessons have helped me understand a lot more about what’s happening. A couple of people listened to the soundtrack of the game, the commentary. They seemed to think that it was easy to follow. I explained that that was because they already know some Welsh and had learnt some Welsh. When I first started listening to it years ago I hardly understood anything at all. I think that we’ve made enormous strides with what we’ve done today

Meanwhile, in other news, my pizzas are getting better and better.

Last weekend I’d used the last of the pizza dough in the freezer so I had to make some more today. a couple of lumps went into the freezer and I assembled the pizza for tonight’s tea on the third one which I had already rolled out

The vegan cheese from LeClerc and the cherry tomatoes on top make all of the difference. This new cheese melts quite nicely and the cherry tomatoes give it a certain je ne sais quoi and I wish that I knew what it was because I would make use of it more often.

So if I can summon up the energy and enthusiasm I’ll carry on with the radio programme and then crawl into bed. And I can’t say that I’ll regret it either because I’m exhausted, as you might expect.

The last week of my Welsh course starts tomorrow and then the following week I have to think about going to that hospital in Paris.

It’s never-ending, isn’t it?

Sunday 16th July 2023 – IF I EVER LAY …

… my hands on whoever rang my doorbell at 07:09 this morning they won’t ever do it again. I can’t even imagine why anyone would want to do that.

There I was, in the middle of an interesting dream too. That’s what was so disappointing about it all.

Even worse, I hadn’t gone to bed until late. After I’d finished my notes I dictated the dictaphone notes for the next radio programme and then loitered around for a while trying to tire myself out. It’s not easy to be tired when you’ve spent most of the afternoon fast asleep.

Regardless of the rude awakening I managed to go back to sleep again and it was a much more realistic and reasonable 10:30 when I finally saw the light of day.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise we were going through talking about people and describing people -in Welsh. I was describing someone and somehow I made them to be 500 years old. Someone asked me if that was what I really meant. Then someone rang the doorbell of the apartment so I awoke at that point.

Later on I was with my friend from Holywell in North Wales. We were in a city somewhere. She had a list of places to visit to do various thinks like pay her taxes etc. I took her to a place where she could see every building. I pointed them out to her one by one but she must have been confused. When she saw that the Rates Office was a ruin she had a panic attack. In the end I took hold of her and brought her down to the rates Office. I helped her through the rubble and steps. There was a young guy there who made a few light-hearted comments about his building. My friend began to thaw. I told him that I thought that the building was magnificent but that my wife didn’t like it one bit. I didn’t realise that I’d said it until I said it. I expected her to throw a fit on hearing that but she didn’t. In the end we organised her rate payments for her then I set out to take her to the next building on the list. I thought that if I go with her to all of them it’ll be dome much quicker than her standing on a street corner panicking.

Actually, a similar thing happened to me when I went with Marianne to Rome. She didn’t speak Italian so it made no difference when I referred to her as mia moglia to whoever we met, but I was talking to an Indian guy and forgot myself so much as to mention “My Wife” to him.

And then there was the time that I took my Greek friend to the airport in Brussels. Standing by the gate seeing her off and she was telling me “make sure you eat decent meals” and stuff like that, and a woman standing behind her said to her “that’s right – we have to make sure that our husbands look after themselves when we aren’t there”

She was another lovely girl whom I liked very much and I even went to learn some Greek so that I could speak to her family, but she was another one who had far too much sense to be involved with me

Meanwhile, back at the ran …errr … bed I went back to a ship carrying my duffle bag and a pile of other stuff. I met a girl who was going in the same direction so we walked together for a while. We came to the traffic lights to cross the road into the port. She said that she was just going to run across regardless of traffic. I explained that that was rather a strange thing to do because for a start I was heavily laden down and I wouldn’t be able to cross. We waited for the lights. I told her that they change quickly so we couldn’t dawdle but we crossed with plenty of time to spare and walked down to the docks. We ended up on a cliff top quite high up looking at the sea. There was a large group of us there waiting for the ship. We could see all the way up and down the coast. The tide was well in and the promenade was under water but there was no sign of the ship. She began to organise the passengers. Someone asked “how come you’re doing that,” She said “I’m going to see the Captain about having this job”. They laughed and said that that would be most unlikely. She reminded them that someone had been taken on to do a job simply because he’d enjoyed doing it before he’d been appointed. I said “it seems to be the only qualification around here”. That made everyone laugh. But we were up there on this cliff in the dark. We couldn’t see our ship at all the entire way up and down the coast. We began to wonder what on earth had happened to it

Much of the rest of the day has been spent in a desultory kind of fashion making a radio programme and that’s all now finished, up and running and ready to go sometime at the start of next year.

There was some time off to make some fruit buns. And they actually came out really well which is a nice surprise. I’ve not tasted them yet but I’ll tell you all about them tomorrow.

On the subject of baking, tonight’s pizza was as good as usual. They seem to be doing OK now. The dough in the base didn’t rise quite as high as it has done in the past and that was surprising but it didn’t change the taste at all.

So in a few minutes I’m off to bed. An early night will do me good and tomorrow I can crack on with Canada. I have a whole two weeks to back something out before my next Welsh course and I have to make the most of it.

Sunday 28th May 2023 – A BIG HAPPY …

… birthday to Caliburn. He’s growing up – sixteen years old today.

And we’ve had plenty of adventures together, usually accompanied by the third member of our team, STRAWBERRY MOOSE. We’ve been to about half the countries in Europe together, battled our way through snowdrifts and mountain passes, towed mini-diggers all the way from North Lancashire down to the south-ish of France non-stop on a 34-hour journey, gone off to photograph a suspension bridge 2 hours down the road and not come back for almost 3 weeks and endless shuttles from Brussels to Virlet overnight in the early days of our relationship

At his last controle technique the examiner told me that he still has a few years left so it’s likely that he’ll outlast me, so here’s to many more years of happy Caliburn motoring.

The only regret was that I never succeeded in taking him over to North America for a run around. We had all of our ducks in a row at one time but then Strider came along and he was a much more appropriate vehicle with which to attack the sub-Arctic byways. Caliburn, good as he has been, would never have got down to that abandoned iron mine at the abandoned town of Gagnon.

It seems that I’m being overwhelmed with nostalgia over the last few days and I’ve no idea why. It’s probably because I have too much time on my hands right now. Perhaps I ought to do something about that – like “go back to bed and sleep it off”.

Last night was one occasion when staying in bed sounded like a good idea because it’s a Sunday and that’s always a lie-in around here. I’ll get up at any time you like for 6 days of the week, but never on Sunday. Everyone’s entitled to a day of rest.

So even if I awaken at something silly like 09:00, 10:30 is much more like a realistic time to show a leg.

It took me a while to gather my wits which, seeing how few wits I have these days, is quite surprising. But once I’d entered the Land of the Living the first thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We started off with something happening about oil filters on vehicles, yellow heavy-duty plastic spin-on ones rather than filter cartridges that you’d have to change but I can’t remember very much about this dream at all.

And then I was working as a lorry driver for someone. We were extremely busy. Someone had gone off sick and I’d had another spell of ill-health so I ended up taking a couple of days off. He had a lorry loaded with waste that needed tipping somewhere so he rang around and ended up speaking to a woman who was a lorry driver and asked her if she would do it. He explained the urgency of it, which I thought was strange because it would give this woman a lot of power over him if she knew how urgent the job was. I could hear the conversation because I was in bed in the next room. She sounded dubious and asked him “what had happened to so-and-so?”. He replied that there was something the matter with him. She asked what was the matter with me. He gave some sort of reply that basically he thought that I was malingering, which I thought was a horrible thing to do because I’d never ever missed a shift as long as I’d worked for him and had volunteered to do all the extra stuff.

After breakfast, or lunch, or whatever you might call it, I sat down and made a start on work.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to go on the attack with my Labrador stuff so I sat down and reviewed the directories that I’ve been keeping.

Up to 2015, everything is all shipshape and Bristol-fashion. But then I had all of my hospital issues and then went to live in Leuven and since then everything went haywire and it’s just a complete mess.

For a start, I can’t find any trace whatsoever of any of my notes from my 2017 trek around Labrador so I’ve decided that I shall have to go back to basics and start from the very beginning.

There are the dictaphone notes – well, some of them – and then the blog notes from the relevant periods and that seems like a very good place to start.

But then you won’t believe this but I had to have a really good hard think because I’d forgotten how I write my websites. Back in the old days I’d be churning them out on a regular basis but since my health issues over the last 8 years I’ve not written more than half a dozen.

That’s the problem with growing older thought. Two things happen to you when you reach my age. The first thing is that you forget absolutely everything.
What’s the second thing?” – ed.
“I can’t remember”

Anyway, even just collating the stuff from 2017 is going to take an age, never mind adding it in to the earlier voyages.

What’s worse is that I can’t find the mileage notes.

With travelling several years over the 2100 kms of the Trans Labrador Highway and taking a couple of thousand photos, it’s important to have them all in the correct order and in the correct positions. And although I noted the mileages because I anticipated this problem, I’ve travelled the highway in both directions so the eastbound mileages are not the same as the westbound mileages of course.

Back in the past (or past in the back if you are George Bush) I managed to identify a couple of identical views taken from each direction on different occasions so I used them as reference points and calculated all of the mileages of every photo from every trip to correspond with those marker references. But if I can’t find my notes I’ll have to go back and do it all again, I reckon. That’ll take a while and no mistake.

There was a break while I made s batch of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. It rose quite nicely too. Two lumps went into the freezer later on and I made a base with the third. And once more, we had a magnificent pizza. Using these small cherry tomatoes cut in half and putting them on top of the cheese is definitely the way to go.

So before I go to bed I’m going to make a start on editing the radio notes that I dictated last night. I had a go recording them directly onto the computer now that I’ve configured it, however the quality was really poor and it all ended up in the bin and I redictated it using the ZOOM H8.

Had I been of a mind, and had it not been 01:00 when I finished, I suppose that I could have filtered out the interference and enhanced the quality, but I’ll have to work on that for another time.

Tomorrow I’ll finish off the radio programmes and then carry on with the Canada 2017 stuff. Right now I’m on a bus heading through the mountains to pick up Strider. There’s a really long way to go yet.

We haven’t reached the funny part of the whole trip though and I’ll dine out on this for ever, I reckon. That year I went to see my friend in St John’s so that meant the long sea crossing across the Gulf of St Lawrence to Argentia instead of the short (as in 9 hours) crossing to Channel Port aux Basques.

“Roaming” was switched off on my telephone of course because it’s quite expensive in North America but as we were sailing along the southern coast of Newfoundland the phone suddenly went berserk with missed phone calls, messages and all of that kind of thing and at first I was bewildered.

However there’s a French colony – St Pierre et Miquelon – on an island in the Gulf of St Lawrence and obviously my French mobile network supplier provides the service to it. For a brief moment my telephone connected with the network and caught up with everything that I’d been missing.

That explains all of that, but it still doesn’t explain the situation in 2019 when we were in mid-Atlantic, 1000 miles from just about everywhere on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR, and I suddenly picked up an internet connection out of nowhere. I’ve never been able to explain that.

Sunnday 7th May 2023 – TONIGHT’S PIZZA …

… was by far and away the best that I’ve ever made. For once in my life I had the base at exactly the right thickness and the the cooking time absolutely spot-on. And that produced a masterpiece. I shall really have to remember these settings and try again next weekend.

Another thing that I’ll have to try to remember for next weekend is to have a sleep like the one that I had today. With staying up late to dictate the notes for the radio programme and one or two other things that turned up in between (as they usually do) It was 02:15 when I finally crawled into bed

And that was where I stayed until, would you believe, midday.

There was plenty of tossing and turning during all of this though, and I don’t suppose that I was really settled. Checking the times of recordings on the dictaphone, there wasn’t really a very long period of constant unconsciousness.

While we’re on the subject of the dictaphone … “well, one of us is” – ed … there were tons of stuff on there from the night. I’d really had a busy time. I started off being in the middle of a dream, something to do about a house or something like that, when I awoke and at that point it disappeared completely. I was recovering so instead of being in my normal room I was in a room upstairs at the front. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember.

Tubes, all kinds of feathers and dice and everything that happened to go with plastic tubing, so when am I going to play rugby? Anyway, I had to clean up my fridge and I hadn’t cleaned up for 50 years. I found some instructions on the internet and began to sit down to read them as I went, to see who would take the final place and private profits. And if you have any idea what that might be all about, I hope you tell me because I don’t have a clue. It’s just another load of gibberish that appeared on the dictaphone from during the night.

Some woman was very inquisitive last night. She wanted to know why we were going to the YWCA. Eventually, when we stopped laughing, we had to explain that we worked for the company that dealt with the HR of the employees of the YWCA in Paris. We were going there on official business like that. She wanted to know what we were doing at the moment and other questions that I forget. We basically told her to mind her own business.

I was with Zero’s father (but, regrettably, not Zero) last night. He’d just bought a new electric drill combo set and was trying it out at home with someone. I just happened to be there and they weren’t talking to me. They were busy trying to make this drill work. After about an hour they decided that there must be some kind of fault with it. He and I took it back to the shop and picked up another. We noticed that by now they were in a clearance sale and just disposing of the remaining stock. Back at his house he unpacked it and tried again. He was there for the rest of the day trying to drill a piece of wood correctly. All the time there were these problems. In the end he decided that the second drill was faulty too. I’d have to take him back to the shop to swap it yet again. That was really the only time that they acknowledged my existence, when it came down to me taking them to the shop. I was rather disappointed with this because they weren’t even engaging me in conversation. While this was going on they were just intent on getting this drill up and working. I may as well not be there except that I was the one with the car running them around.

I also went out on a blind date last night. It turned out to be with Caroline. We ended up back at her house in bed. This was really the last place where I wanted to be. I was thinking about how I would get out of this. While she was distracted with my arm around her back I pressed my watch rhythmically. It buzzed and I pretended that it was a phone call. I had to come out with an excuse that with being a chauffeur I had to go out to pick up my director and bring him home. I’m not sure whether she swallowed it but that was what I did. I felt rather guilty about it but I thought that the last thing that I want to do is to end up in bed with her, or with anyone for that matter.

Finally, some small boy had been killed. An investigation pointed towards the father so he’d been arrested. It was one of his golf clubs that had beaten the boy to death. Ultimately the father was detained in some kind of mental institution because he was a psychiatric case. He was there for years. There were all kinds of people who were doing all kinds of studies on him with regard to the effects of incarceration. I ended up going to see him with someone else. All he had of course was his cell and a red plastic set of golf clubs with a plastic golf ball. he was playing golf around his cell all day. We interviewed him but we had to be very careful what we said because we weren’t sure even after all this time that he knew that his son was dead and whether he grasped the seriousness of what had happened. In the end we came to leave. I remember saying to him “you’ve no idea how sorry I am for you”. We went outside and found his bright red plastic razor on the floor in the washroom. It seemed to sum up everything about his life, the razor just sitting there on the floor doing absolutely nothing while he was moving on in his cell just sitting there playing golf all day

Actually, not really “finally” because there was more stuff than that but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are in the middle of a meal.

With not raising myself from the dead until quite late, there wasn’t much time before brunch. More porridge, cheese on toast and strong coffee to fire me up for the day. Then I sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes and I was glad that the coffee was strong.

There were a few other things that needed doing so I didn’t have all that much time to deal with the radio programme. The notes are a bit of a mess because I can’t have been concentrating last night so they are taking more than the usual editing. But the nurse is coming to give me my fortnightly injection in the morning ready for my trip out to Leuven so I’ll finish things off afterwards.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of dough from the freezer (I’m glad that I made that earlier in the week and didn’t wait until today) and that had spent the afternoon defrosting.

Later on, I kneaded it and rolled it out, then after it had finished proofing I assembled the pizza. And as I said, it was really delicious.

There’s still some time left before bed so I’ll carry on with the radio editing. And tomorrow I have some forms to download and one or two of those need filling in. I mustn’t forget those because it’s important, especially now that the SNCF application has somehow failed to work.

So when I’ve had my injection, we’ll see how energetic I feel. Not very much, I bet.

Monday 1st May 2023 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a Bank Holiday of course and so I have celebrated it by imitating my namesake the mathematician and doing three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

And when I say “nothing”, what I actually mean is that I switched off the alarm last night before going to bed and so, despite waking up here and there on several occasions, I didn’t actually leave my stinking pit until 11:55 this morning.

That’s what I call a lie-in.

And I did actually transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was going to say that I left it until after lunch but lunch was of course taken quite quickly after raising myself from the dead.

And didn’t I travel miles during the night? I was in a hotel room somewhere. In the distance I could hear a woman shouting but it was very muffled as if it was a voice coming through a phone. I then heard my brother answer. A heated conversation went on for a couple of minutes. There was then a pause. Afterwards he came into the room. You could see that he was extremely emotional. I asked him “who was that shouting on the phone?”. He mentioned a couple of guys’ names. I said “no, the woman”. He mentioned a friend of his. I asked him what was going on. For some reason he wouldn’t tell me. In the end I went out for a walk. Putting the conversation together I had the impression that my brother was extremely short of money. I remembered myself about how I used to be short of money and how I always used to go out to find a part-time job or something. For some reason he didn’t feel like working very hard to pull himself out of a hole.

Later on we were in an office somewhere. It was actually quite dark even though it was the middle of the afternoon. You couldn’t really see very much. We went outside because we had to drive to our other office. I’d never seen a sky so black and clouds so heavy in all my life. It was a real, proper torrential rainstorm type of clouds. We drove to the other office. A couple of people in the car were talking. One said that they were going to buy a television. I thought that she was buying it for home but apparently it was for the office. I asked about it. She said that one of these price war places on the internet was selling TVs that were only tuned in to Channel 4. Their aim was to have one in the office with the Channel’s rolling news service playing, either talking or watching, so they could see where they are and find out what was happening in the world exactly when it happened. I thought that a surprise because these were young people who didn’t seem to have too much interest in current events.

And then I was driving in a car through part of Texas last night. The roads were absolutely awful, full of pits and everything. At a certain point, without realising it I crossed the border into Spain (or do I mean Mexico?) following another car. We drove down this dirt road that had taken us over the border which came to a dead stop by 3 enormous hangars hidden in the trees. Seeing a railway line I wondered if there would be some railway locomotives. I took my camera, left the car and walked to one of these hangars. I ended up following a corridor that took a lot of twists and turns. In the end I decided that it was pointless to keep on going this way. I turned round. At one point I must have taken a false turn because I started to find myself up against all kinds of historic artefacts, business machines, typewriters etc from the 1930s. I thought “I didn’t remember these, coming along here”. I came to where there was a set of steps with half the steps missing. I had to lower myself over the edge onto the stairs down below and drop down into a room where there were old bicycles from the 1930s. I thought “I seem to have found myself in a museum now”. It was a strange museum with heaps of stuff piled everywhere with no explanation. I quickly worked out the way to go and ended up at the front door. I didn’t recognise the view from there at all, and it was locked. A woman came over to see me, talking in Spanish which I didn’t understand. She pointed the other way from which I’d just come. I had the impression that the museum was closed to new visitors and the people in there were having to leave. Just then an announcement came over saying something like “it’s now 21:00 and everyone has to go”. I thought “21:00 – I have no hotel, I don’t know where the car is, I’m in a strange country, nowhere to stay”.

I stepped back into this dream later. I ended up walking around with a young guy in the Czech Republic somewhere looking at al the buildings in this town. He asked me questions about the building – whether things in the Czech Republic had improved over the last 30 years. I said “in the big cities and major centres of population things have certainly changed but not so much in the rural areas. The emphasis at the moment is on key industries and commerce. Social needs are being somewhat left behind”. We climbed over a pile of rubble that was being used to regenerate the town centre. He started to ask me whether it would be possible for us to maybe see each other again for another talk as he had to leave. I made a non-committal reply to that.

That’s one thing that I actually noticed with my frequent visits behind the Iron Curtain in the old days and then how things changed once the Wall came down. How quickly things changed. And how quickly they adopted the worst aspects of capitalism too. I loved the east in the old days and even took Nerina there on our honeymoon. There was an innocence and naivety there that was quite appealing and 10 or 12 years later it had all gone completely

And later I was walking through a town in Germany. I’d left my rucksack at the airport and gone to do something, then I had to return to pick up my rucksack because it was late. I couldn’t work out how to get to the airport . I was wandering aimlessly around the countryside and came to a town with a beautiful church or something perched on a hill. I stopped to take a photo with the NIKON D3000 but the photo came out all dark. I went to try to take it again but it was difficult being on crutches etc. I couldn’t really feel the camera controls. Then I bumped into my friend from Munich. He took me into a hotel where he was staying. The girls were there as well so we began to walk round these stone passageways. We came to a place where there was a cupboard in the way. We couldn’t go through. I climbed over the cupboard and so did he. We bumped into one of the girls. I ended up having to crawl underneath a bed to enter the room. I thought “this looks wrong to me”. It turned out to be a room in a hostel with about 30 beds and desks etc in it. I had a look around. The people looked reasonably respectable wo I thougth “I’m going to try to book a room here but I don’t want a room in a hostel”. My friend said “they are very expensive”. I said “if everyone else is staying here I’ll stay here but not in a hostel”. I had to walk around the corridors to try to find the reception. There were all kinds of exhibition cases with expensive guitars. I heard a familiar voice. It was another friend of mine, one from my Manchester days, giving a conducted tour of the castle. I thought “that’s strange. He’s only been here 5 minutes and he’s doing conducted tours already as if he’s been here 100 years”. I asked him where the reception was. He pointed in some general direction and said “it’s in an office in between 2 floors over there” so I headed that way to book in.

While I was out driving around I heard yet another friend on the radio. His wife had been doing some knitting and she had a ball of yarn left over. She was going to give it away to anyone who might find some kind of pleasure from doing something with it during lockdown. There was quite a chat about this ball of yarn. I couldn’t understand why because it was a case of “who wants it”. A short while later when I was back home he turned up. He’d brought some things for me that his wife had. I misunderstood because there was something said about eggs. I had some eggs in my fridge. I thought that he was after them for her because I thought that they were hers. I gave him the eggs. While I was going through the dishwasher I found some meat stands, metal things with prongs that you use to put your meat while carving it. I have them to him to him too because they’d be much more use. I don’t use things like that for cutting bread or cake anyway.

So a lot of my friends were out and about with me last night and it was nice to see them all. No Castor, TOTGA or Zero unfortunately, but everyone else was most welcome.

Something else that I did was to have a little look through one of my playlists that will be on the music player later in the week and making sure that it was up to date

Tea was a stuffed pepper. A frozen one out of the freezer. However I turned the heat down on the air fryer to make sure that it was cooked better but that way it didn’t dry out the humidity. There’s obviously a fine line between heating it through and boiling off the water and I’ve not found it yet. I need to practise more.

But right now I’m off to bed. No Welsh in the morning as it’s a holiday over there. So who knows? I might even do some homework. I have to crack on.

Sunday 9th April 2023 – MY AIR FRYER …

… is pretty good at baking biscuits too.

Searching around on the internet I came across a generic recipe for biscuits – basically sugar, margarine and flour in a ratio of 4/8/10

Consequently I made up some dough with 200 grammes of flour and then added some desiccated coconut, raisins, nutmeg, ground ginger, vanilla essence and orange essence and mixed it all up.

Once it had seet for half an hour in the fridge (it won’t rise of course because there’s no yeast) I rolled it out and with my biscuit cutter there was enough for 20 biscuits.

The shelf in my oven is only large enough to take 16 and that meant that there were four biscuits left over. So no time like the present to try out the air fryer.

And I do have to say that at 160°C for 12 minutes (turning them over halfway through) they were cooked to perfection and tasted delicious. After all, you have to try them out.

There was probably too much margarine in there if the truth is known, but it’s all down to trial and error considering that I’ve never made any before. But rest assured – I shall be making more of them again

And while we’re on the subject of baking … “well, one of us is” – ed … the pizza that I made tonight was far and away the best ever.

It’s taken me several years to realise it but over this last few days I’ve worked out where I’ve been going wrong. So what I did today that made a difference was that I put the sliced tomato on the pizza last of all, on top of the cheese.

So not only were all of the mushrooms and onions cooked properly, the base was nice and firm, not soggy, and the tomatoes were nice and crispy.

And that’s something else that I’ll do again as well.

Another thing that I’ll do again is to have a good night’s sleep. Because at least I wasn’t disturbed last night as much as I have been just recently, and no-one bothered me at all with the ‘phone or anything else.

There was still plenty of tossing and turning but that’s par for the course. nevertheless I stuck it out until 10:30 when I reckoned that it was time to show a leg.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I didn’t do very much at first. I had a really nice leisurely morning right up until lunchtime and my porridge, cheese on toast and coffee.

This afternoon has been spent on tracking down biscuit recipes and then making and baking the aforementioned. As I said earlier, it’s something of which I’ll be doing much more, and it will be so much better when I have a bigger oven.

While I was at it, I found a recipe for custard creams but I don’t have any custard. However, I have had a great deal of success making chocolate sauce in the past instead of custard so I wonder if a chocolate cream biscuit would follow the same principle.

There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

While I was waiting for everything to happen, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And I travelled miles during the night. At one point I had to go into work which was in Brussels. I was in a canoe, actually a kayak. This meant going from the north of the city through the poorer areas, underneath a couple of railway bridges and down some back streets to the centre of Brussels. I had to do it in a kayak even though of course there wasn’t any water. That was interesting. There were a couple of other people on their way there who were following me but they soon realised that I knew the way far better than they did through the side streets so they let me carry on. They all followed me.

And then there were several concrete lamp standards that wanted moving from somewhere into Crewe. Seeing as they weren’t very heavy I said that I’d take them. I didn’t have any transport and no-one had sorted out anything at all. I was left with these lamp standards. In the end I just picked one up and put it on my shoulder with the other end trailing along the ground and set off I was pushing one of them towards Crewe. I arrived near Rolls Royce and the stream across the river was flooded. I’d arranged for a vehicle to take me across. It was a case of crossing the bridge, a flat-bottomed affair that was partly submerged. Getting the first one or two over on this vehicle then carrying on wasn’t a problem but by the time I went back for the third one the river was a raging torrent. I tried to time the approach of this vehicle so that it would get on the downstroke of this bridge but it was going to be too complicated and I could see it ending in tears. There was a better, more modern bridge not too far away. In the end I abandoned the idea. I left STRAWBERRY MOOSE (who hasn’t appeared in these pages for quite some considerable time) there to guard the bridge and took my concrete post off with me to go over the other bridge. A girl there was watching the events. She went over and began to talk to Strawberry Moose. I carried on pushing the lamp-post. I ended up on an aeroplane. I was sitting on this aeroplane, about 20 of us on board this thing that could take a couple of hundred passengers. It was due to depart at quarter to. I looked at my watch. It was now 46. We were already running one minute late and there was nothing like as many passengers as you would expect there to be on this aeroplane so what’s happening now?

Later on I went back into that dream. There had been some kind of confrontation taking place at this fraud. A group of people had been arrested and charged with assault. As the trial started and more and more evidence came out, the judge became of the opinion that a more serious charge ought to be preferred against one of the defendants and that person give evidence. he decided that he himself would issue a summons to the person referred to for a charge of violent conduct. Have him arrested and tried on the spot while this court case was going on.

Later still I was at work. We were extremely busy. Everyone was getting in my way trying to do things. I was speaking to a girl whom I knew who was a colleague of Nerina’s. We arranged to meet for a cup of tea in the canteen. Something cropped up – someone came to talk to me and completely distracted me. I didn’t go. In the end I was speaking to another girl whom I knew. The subject of coffee came up so i went down at that moment and met her. We started to talk about all kinds of different things going on in the office etc. Later on that night I ended up at her house in bed, in a separate room etc. She brought me a cup of tea in the morning. I said “this is nice. It brings back many happy memories of lying in bed being brought mugs of tea”. She gave me a computer program that she’d used, called Walt Disney’s Imagination, for enhancing photos and videos that we’d talked about previously.

The funny thing was that after dictating that dream I put the dictaphone down and started to look around for the cup of tea. Of course it wasn’t there and you’ve no idea how disappointed I was

“Life’s too short to read” said Gail who had given me another book. And I really did dictate it too, just like that. Later on I had stepped back into that dream with those girls with whom Nerina worked and so on and of course I was impressed that I remembered that that the name of one of the girls was Gail.

There was much more to the night than that as well, but I’ll spare you the discomfort if you are currently eating anything.

As for tea, I mentioned that just now with my perfect pizza so now I’m off to bed.

Monday is usually an early start at 06:00 but not this week. It’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow and although the nurse will be coming to give me the injection he won’t be here at 06:30 (and that’s Famous Last Words, isn’t it?). The alarm usually rings at 07:40 on a Monday as well and so everything will be switched off until then.

And here’s hoping that I will be too.

Sunday 2nd April 2023 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about something coming along to disturb me.

However that’s nothing to shout out about. After all, it’s pretty much odds-on, isn’t it?

But who – just WHO would ring up someone on a Sunday morning at an ungodly hour like 11:05 – that early in the morning?

When I find out, there will be someone drinking soup through a straw, that’s for sure, because if you really ARE going to ring someone up at that time of the morning then at least have the decency to stay on line instead of hanging up after just two rings.

And don’t do it a second time 5 minutes later either because that’s really annoying.

What was worse was that when whoever it was phoned up the first time, I found myself in the middle of dictating a dream. There’s a beautiful ‘phone ring right in the middle of it and of course I forgot where I was and lost half of my voyage, which was disappointing.

Things were going so well too. I wasn’t really all that late going to bed last night and although it was another restless night, I was hoping that quantity would make up for the lack of quality. Ahh well…

So instead I arose from the bed, had my medication, checked my mails and messages and then transcribed the dictaphone notes. My older sister had a bank account with Lloyds Bank and I had an account there too. While we were having a discussion several months later she’d actually transferred all her accounts from one branch to the other so she was no longer at the same branch as me. But when she’d phoned to make an appointment for herself to go she’d made one for me as well. This would be extremely complicated because where she’d arranged it they didn’t have my papers. I drove into town anyway but the car park in town was a pay car park. There was a long queue of traffic snarled up in the centre so I thought that I’d nip out to do what I had to do. I was distracted as usual and it took me very much longer to do something. When I looked up I saw that all the cars had gone. Mine was stuck in the middle of the road blocking all the traffic. I had to run over there to move it, and that wasn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

Later on I was somewhere in a town watching some people. Someone was playing the piano then someone went up there with him and they played a double handed piece that I recognised. This went on for quite a few minutes. It wasn’t until they began to talk mentioning their names that I realised that it was the Grateful Dead. I began to talk to them. One of the girls who was hanging around said something like “would you like to talk to Maureen?”. I began to wonder whether in fact this was Mo Tucker, the drummer of Velvet Underground but in the dream I confused her with the drummer of the Grateful Dead. We began to chat and she offered to show me her drum kit. I said “yes! I’d love to see it!”. She and her friends took me down some steps into a theatre, all the way through the theatre we had to fight our way through the crowds. At the bottom end right by the stage on the other side was her drum kit. It was a 1978 and she did say the name of it. I asked her if I could play it but there was someone else playing it so I couldn’t have a go. That was ever so disappointing. I asked if I could take a photo of her and her drum kit. There was something quite strange happening as well. Someone was talking about their secretary having gone off with a guy. While we were going through the theatre we bumped into a couple of other people who were following us. One of them of the two introduced himself, one of the organisers, and said “I’ve just been making love to your boss’s secretary”. He said it 4 or 5 times as if he wanted a round of applause. I thought to myself “that’s a strange thing to wan tthe whole world to know and want to be a subject of conversation”.

There was something else later about a woman who was locked in the lavatory. They went down to talk to her but for some unknown reason she didn’t want to come out. There was something happening or going on that she wanted to be part of. I can’t remember very much of this dream but in the end they found someone to go down to help her free herself. She was very insistent that she didn’t want to go right at that moment – they all didn’t want to leave. I was wondering how they were going to persuade her to leave once they open the door if she doesn’t want to go. There’s lots more to it than this in this dream but I can’t remember it all now.

Something else about which I’ve forgotten a lot – I’ve gone for a massage session with a physiotherapist, a girl. She massaged my back and legs then gave me a folder with a whole list of treatments etc in it. We arranged another appointment. It was coming up to some kind of festival like Mother’s Day or similar. The way she was talking was as if she was expecting me to do something for her, invite her out or something. It wasn’t very clear and I didn’t want to force any issue. The conversation turned round to what she’d heard at the weekend. She said that she’d been to a party where she’d done some massage and was the only one who had made any money. We talked about the state of the economy. I set off for home. On the way back I stopped by a café to check my money etc. A group of kids were at the tables. As usual with little kids they were very inquisitive. They were asking what I was doing etc. I was intending to talk to them but for some unknown reason I set off again. One of them came running after me with a piece of litter that I’d dropped out of my purse while I was sorting through my money. She saw me and gestured to me. I wondered what she was doing so I didn’t do anything. She just threw it on the pavement. That brought her a telling-off from a passer-by. At that point I realised that I hadn’t brought the paperwork back with me. I thought to myself “this is going to be difficult now”. There was also something about going to a florist and obtaining a blank receipt but I can’t remember why I wanted to do that now.

Finally I was on a bus in Crewe. There was a couple of girls on there as well talking about houses that were being built, these replacement terraced houses. They were being built of course to replace existing terraced houses and keep some kind of affordability. One girl was thinking of buying one and the other girl was trying to tell her that they would just be full of riff-raff and not worth doing anything. They were then talking about stuccoing. They asked my opinion and I said “stuccoing is not something that can be done by anyone. They need to be a specialist”. They said that it would improve the looks. I said “yes but it’s not for a DiY person”. Nantwich Road was blocked off so the bus was having to dodge down a few of these side streets to head off towards Nantwich. I ended up on foot. I was walking northwards from N antwich in what would have been the direction of Church Minshull but God knows where it was going. I seemed to be walking quite well. Someone behind me was listening to Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”. I could hear it so I was singing along to it. Then we came to a door. This road was closed off after hours. We had to pass through the door. There were a set of steps up. I was struggling to climb them so a couple of people had to push me. They pushed me up the steps and I came onto a kind of plateau where there was a big lake and lots of kids playing around.

It’s hardly surprising that I had a disturbed night after all of that. And that isn’t everything either because there’s other stuff that was going on too but you don’t want to know about that if you are eating a meal.

For the rest of the day I haven’t done all that much. I decided that I’d have a day off and that was that.

The pizza was something of a calamity if the truth is known. Not that it wasn’t made well or that it wasn’t cooked properly, but I had issues with the base. I had to have a couple of goes to roll it out onto my pizza tray but it didn’t work for some reason. I ended up with rather a mis-shapen pizza. But at least it tasted nice.

So now after what should have been a really relaxing day I’m off to bed. I have quite a bit of stuff to do tomorrow and a 06:00 start to do it as well. That should keep me out of mischief, but it doesn’t seem to have worked much so far.

Sunday 26th March 2023 – I’M NOT GOING …

… to tell you the time that I left the bed today because you’ll be as embarrassed as I am. And losing an hour because of the change of time made things even worse.

By the way, did you all remember to adjust your clocks last night? If you live in the real world your clocks should have gone forward an hour but if you live in the UK under Tory rule your clocks should have gone back to 1770.

So really there wasn’t much left of the day in which I could do all that much. The toasted cheese sandwich in the air fryer was not a particular success but not a particular failure either. However, it might have helped had I turned it over half way through the procedure.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And having had plenty of time last night to go places, I hadn’t hung about. I’d recently bought a house in Crewe, in Bedford Street. I was waiting for completion so I could move in because living with the family was just getting on my nerves completely. I felt that everyone was trying to provoke me into a fight or an argument etc, and what is there that is news about any of this? I happened to overhear by accident a conversation that proved that it was in fact the case so I couldn’t wait to leave the family and move into mine. But for some reason signing the contract was just taking an age, just like the contract here to buy the apartment downstairs.

Later on there was some kind of dream about a couple of girls. One of them was very fond of the alcohol and possibly a few drugs as well. I was talking about the situation with a female friend of mine but I can’t remember who it was. I can’t remember the rest of the dream either now but it was a very long and complicated one that went on for quite a while

And congratulations to one of the girls in that dream for being ready in 20 minutes. Congratulations to another one who might have been Zero who was ready in a tenth of the time. And if it had really been Zero, I’m dismayed that that was all that happened concerning her last night – a very brief cameo appearance like that.

There was also something about 3 people, a boy who was rather arrogant and full of himself. He invited a girl out for an evening and she decided to go with him. He also invited another girl out too at the same time and they all met up. He picked up the girl first and then another boy but as the night went on it was the other boy who was spending most of the night with this other girl, flirting around with her. It looked as if they’d become something of a couple instead. When it was time for going home the other guy had disappeared. It was the first guy who had to take the girl home even though it was quite clear by now that she was no longer interested in him. And if that sounds confusing, then don’t worry because it sounded confusing to me too.

Later still I was in prison in the USA I think. First of all I’d been placed in a holding cell and then taken out and put into a reception area. Someone came to fetch me. He handcuffed the 2 of us together and set off with me to my real cell. He was in such a rush that he was dragging me along. I asked “are we in a race or something?”. He replied “you have to be in your cell by 18:30”. We walked down this corridor with doors opening in front of us and closing behind us as we approached the cell where I was going to be imprisoned.

Tonight’s pizza was the best that I’ve ever made. The dough was made to perfection and it just goes to show what happens when you use a decent batch of flour. It might be expensive but it’s worth it. The base ended up being all light and spongy around the edges but beautifully cooked and tasted even better.

So now, after my exciting day, I’m going to bed. It’s exhausting having a lie-in and then doing almost next-to-nothing all day. But tomorrow it’s a 06:00 start as I have a radio programme to do. I’ve not dictated the text yet, never mind edited it, so I’ll be busy for a bit. And then on Tuesday I have the nerve specialist to tell me the damage about my visit to the hospital.

That should be exciting, I don’t think.

Sunday 19th February 2023 – CONSIDERING THAT I …

… was supposed to be having a day off today, I haven’t ‘arf been busy. In fact, it’s been one of the most productive days that I’ve had for quite a while.

Yet you wouldn’t think so after having yet another turbulent night when I didn’t seem to have all that much sleep. The fact that I was actually up and about not long after 10:00 (and on a Sunday too) tells you all that you need to know about that.

After I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, the first thing that I did was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night, of which there weren’t all that many. We started off with the taxi business last night. We were discussing the people working for us and why they seemed to be sticking to the job instead of going off and doing something more exciting and exhilarating. I mentioned that even 2 more employees were hoping to wangle full-time jobs with us and we couldn’t really understand that because the business didn’t really support it. We had a huge discussion about it. Then we had to go somewhere. We were in a Cortina estate that broke down somewhere. We left it overnight and came back. While Nerina had to go to do something she dropped me off there. It started up straight away so we got into it and set out to drive it back. The roads were very wet and the car didn’t feel at all comfortable on the road. It not long fitted brand-new springs on it so I thought that it would handle much better than it did. That was something of a mystery. There was much more to it than this but I seem to have forgotten a lot of it.

Later on I was driving through rural France somewhere. The roads were extremely difficult. The Cortina estate was going quite well but you would come to these extremely steep hills where the car in front of you would suddenly slow down. You would basically run into the back of it and nudge it along. We’d had 1 or 2 encounters like that. Then I came to a place at the side of the road by an old railway station. It had a couple of motorbike frames outside so I went in. It was a pushbike place and there was a young girl there with a pushbike having her bike serviced by this guy. I apologised for wasting his time but told him that it was the motorbike bits that had caught my eye. He showed me 1 or 2 of the bits and then I went back to the road. I came into a big city somewhere in Alsace. I went to turn up a side street which was extremely steep and the same thing happened again with an Austin A70 saloon that suddenly came to a stop and I pushed it up the hill. I came into a town square where there was this old woman. By now I was on foot. I did the same to her while I was on foot. She had a few things to say so I pretended to ignore her. I was walking up a hill. There was a lorry parked in the road so I had to walk round it. There were crowds of people coming down which stopped me from walking up. I fell down onto my knees and couldn’t pick myself up. When I finally did pick myself up again there were these 2 little boys there. I wanted to go to the toilet but they wanted to follow me. They just wouldn’t leave me alone, pestering me all the time that I was trying to go to the toilet. In the end I abandoned it as a completely bad job and set off on my travels again.

Another thing that I did was to add some new Apps to my telephone.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that recently I changed my phone following the one that I use having a broken charging socket. I resurrected the previous one that I had “lost” and didn’t recover until a few months later. There were some Apps that I had on the old phone that I need to use at some point or other, such as within the next few days for example, so I had to add them on.

This afternoon after food I edited the two dictaphone notes that I’d dictated last night before I went to bed and then in a mad fit of enthusiasm I assembled them into the two radio programmes that I need to make. All that remains to do is to add the final track and the text to bring everything up to one hour each in length.

As well as that, I had another play at baking some bread in the air fryer. And to my surprise, this was the best that I have ever made. My two bread rolls rose up exactly as they should and I’ll be looking forward to eating those, duly toasted and with tons of butter, at some point during the week.

While I was at it, I picked Liz’s brains for a recipe for pancakes. It’s Pancake Tuesday next week and Eric wants to be busy baking. I need to be a little more adventurous with what I cook and try to do a few more things. Certain things, like Hot Cross Buns, are probably a little too complicated and crucial but pancakes are quite simple and straightforward and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have a go.

And I have plenty of vegan soya cream too. That should be delicious.

After I’d finished my lunch earlier I’d taken some pizza dough out of the freezer and had left it to defrost. Later on I gave it a good kneading and rolled it out onto my pizza tray. When it had finished rising I assembled my pizza and it really was delicious today, one of the best that I’ve made.

A problem that I encountered today was this question of transferring money. apparently the daily limit is only per working day, which means that the money that I transferred yesterday won’t go until Monday and I can’t send off the next lot until Tuesday. That’s going to disrupt my plans but it can’t be helped. They’ll have to give me at least a week’s notice to sign the final purchase so even if they notify me on Monday there will still be plenty of time to finish the transfer.

And no, I didn’t go out today for Carnaval. I saw a few photos of the crowds assembling and that was quite enough for me. Everywhere was absolutely heaving and I had no intention of being swept up with my crutches in a mass of crowd like that. They’ll simply have to do without me.

Sunday 29th January 2023 – WITH NOT HAVING …

… gone to bed (for one reason or another) until 03:30 this morning, it was no surprise that I didn’t get up until 11:30 today. And I wasn’t all that bothered either

As a result though, I didn’t have long to wait until I had my breakfast. Toast, porridge and a couple of mugs of nice, strong coffee.

This afternoon, all I did was to finish off all of the notes for the radio programmes that I’ll be doing tomorrow. Hopefully I can get a good run at doing those programmes tomorrow and that’ll be another job finished. Then I can get on with more important things, of which there are quite a few.

There were the dictaphone notes to transcribe too, but they were something of a disappointment. There was something about choosing some music for a radio programme of some description. I’d chosen several songs. A couple of them came up and I wasn’t sure whether they were the ones that I’d chosen or not. The person concerned seemed to be quite happy and basically told everyone that if they didn’t like it, that was rather a shame because that was what was happening. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember it now.

And later on I stepped back with this radio programme again. I had 10 or so songs and 10 or so speeches. I’d paired off the easier songs and speeches and that had just left me with the ones I didn’t know. I was trying to go through to find out how I could possibly put the right speech with the right voice but it was extremely difficult. There were one or two that had me completely and utterly stumped. I had no idea how I was going to manage to sort this out and do it correctly.

Tea tonight was a pizza of course, and another one of the best that I’ve made. I’m not sure why it was so better than a couple of weeks ago, with exactly the same ingredients.

So tomorrow I have the radio programmes, the wages and the financing to sort out. And if I can do all of that I’ll be doing well. I’ll be much better though with a decent sleep and so I may as well make a start on that right now.

Friday 27th January 2023 – I HAD ANOTHER …

… lie-in this morning.

But that was completely involuntary and by accident because the alarm failed to go off this morning.

When I checked the mobile phone I found that the battery had gone flat and it had switched off. Further enquiry revealed that what had happened was that the charging plug had somehow become detached from the telephone. With no possibility to repair something like this, that was that.

We aren’t lost though. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few years ago I lost my mobile phone and being totally unable to find it, I bought another one. A few months later, when I was tidying Caliburn looking for something else, I found the ‘phone down underneath the driver’s seat. so it went into a drawer and I forgot all about it.

Today’s events made ne remember where it was so I hunted it down but found, to my dismay, that the SIM card wasn’t the same size. But not to worry – I’ll sort it out later.

The morning was spent working on the notes for the radio programmes that I’ll be doing on Monday and chatting to Liz and Rosemary on the internet. But once the afternoon came round I dressed myself up and went out to catch the bus.

And today I’m very proud of myself in one respect, but not in another. When the bus dropped me off at the Place Godal I set off on my marathon hike to the Orange Telecom shop. That really is quite a walk, only about 400 metres short of the railway station and I was really impressed that I made it all the way there on my crutches.

But not so impressed when I spoke to the assistant at the shop. he took both telephones, took the SIM card out of the one that i’m going to use, peeled off the small adapter that was around it, put the SIM card from the broken ‘phone into the adapter and put that in the other ‘phone.

It was as simple as that and had I noticed that earlier when I was at home this morning, I could have saved myself the walk.

However the walk did me good and it’s made me think a little more about how I might go for broke and try one of these days to walk on my crutches to the railway station. But the last 400 metres is a killer hill, and I bet that the whole route will be a lot more difficult when I have things to carry.

Back down in the town I went to the Carrefour and bought a few bits and pieces, like mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and the like.

At the bus stop there was a 45-minute wait for the bus and it was cold out there and so I decided that I’d cross over the road and catch the bus in the other direction, round to the terminus at the other end of the line and then rode the bus back. At least it was warm and comfortable on the bus out of the wind.

Just about 45 minutes after I returned home I had to go back out again. The taxi came to pick me up to take me to this nerve specialist. and I’ll tell you now that pumping electricity through me as he did was one of the most painful things that has ever happened to me.

There’s nothing much wrong with my arms but there’s an issue with my left leg. As for my right leg, well, the least said about that the better. It’s quite clear according to him that there’s some serious damage.

He’s going to discuss things with my doctor but he did warn me that I need to pack my suitcase. I suppose that I’ll have to buy a couple of pairs of pyjamas too. Hospital nightwear is pretty depressing and I … errr … don’t actually have any of my own.

After I returned I transcribed the notes of my voyages from last night. I’d just finished work and I needed something for the weekend, which was in Chester, so I set out for Chester. It was such a nice evening so I decided that I would walk. I took a t-shirt, a cagoule, a fleece and another rainproof jacket just in case. The walk as far as the suburbs of Chester was quite uneventful and I quite enjoyed it but as I arrived closer to the city, it went really dark. We suddenly had a torrential downpour of rain. Luckily with the 2 rain jackets that I had and the fleece in between the 2 I kept warm and dry. I was able to walk quite comfortably up to the traffic lights on the edge of the city. Then the rain stopped and it went bright again. I stopped to take off the rain jacket. There were some people coming the other way who started to admire my rain jacket and particularly my yellow fleece, starting to talk to each other about it. They asked me a few questions but for some unknown reason I replied in French. I could see a look of puzzle on their faces as I did so but I didn’t really want to hang around and chat to them because I had a lot to do. I wanted to have it done as quickly as possible because of course it’s a long way to Chester and a long way back if you are walking.

As an aside, I walked back through the night from Chester to where I was living near Audlem a couple of times – all 30 or so miles of it – when the girl whom I was seeing went to College there and I didn’t have a car. It didn’t take me as long as you might think and even once or twice I walked straight to work and did 8 hours before going home to bed. I couldn’t do it now, even if I didn’t have the crutches.

I can’t remember who I was with later on, but it was a married couple. They were my age. It concerned a Ford Granada and there was some work that needed doing on it, the front wheel bearings and a few other bits and pieces. It had been around for a while and the work hadn’t started. I was with the woman who said that she had had a dream last night about her husband who had gone off to do this and that and somethign else. She’d happened to mention the Granada and he replied “oh yes, I’m going to get down to do it starting tomorrow”. He seemed so enthusiastic so she said that that’s possibly a good sign that means that he will. I said “strangely enough, I had a dream about someone working on a Granada too”. Then I told her the story of a friend whom I knew who had a Granada and who had been in the same position. He just wouldn’t start doing the repairs which was something to do with the wheel bearings and the front wings. After so many months he’d just put everything in a box and sold it, including the car, for someone else to do. She was surprised. Next time I went round her husband was there. He said “by the way, I’d done one of those front wheel bearings. It only took me 15 minutes as well”.

Tea tonight was some of these mini sausage rolls with baked potatoes, veg and gravy. They were actually quite delicious. I’ll have to work out a way of ordering some more of these “Green Cuisine” products. Noz has them in on the odd occasion but I’d love to have a more regular supply. It’s not possible to order stuff like this from the UK these days, what with Brexit and all that.

So hopefully tomorrow the alarm will go of and awaken me properly this time. Not that I have too much to do this weekend – do my cleaner’s accounts, do some more work on sorting out how I’m going to pay for this apartment that I’m supposed to be buying and that kind of thing. So I might even finish the notes for these radio programmes.

And having been to the shops this week, I have everything that I need, I reckon, but I really am going to try to go out for a walk more often, even if it isn’t far. Having made it as far as the Orange Mobile place today, I need to keep up the good work and see if I can exercise myself back into some sort of condition.

Only time will tell.