Tag Archives: mandy_m

Tuesday 28th November 2023 – MY BREAD AND BUTTER …

… pudding went the Way of the West this morning.

It was looking rather suspicious yesterday and this morning when I opened the cake tin my suspicions were confirmed.

Either it wasn’t cooked through thoroughly enough or else my cake tin isn’t air-tight or, more likely, it’s a combination of them both.

It has to be said that I’m actually baking with a cheap table-top oven and I’ve long-known that it’s pretty much hit and miss. To cook anything in it I have to increase the temperature 20° and increase the cooking time by 50%

What’s sad about all of this is that in the back of Caliburn not only do I have a proper built-in oven that I picked up in Macon from Jean-Marc last summer after he and Jacqueline remodelled their kitchen, I also have the units to fit it that I picked up from IKEA in Munich. It’s handy having friends who live next door to the largest IKEA in Europe.

But be that as it may, in the van they are and in the van they’ll stay because there is no way on this earth that I can bring them up here in the state in which I find myself.

As for airtight containers, I have quite a few more and better ones of those too but they are up on the top shelf in the kitchen and I can’t reach them. What kind of state am I in that I have a set of steps here but I can’t climb up them?.

Anyway, that’s enough of my moaning. Life isn’t all about being dealt a good hand of cards, it’s all about how you play the cards that you’ve been dealt and instead of worrying about problems, I ought to be thinking about solutions.

All of that will give me something about which I can think while I’m in bed tonight, so I’m hoping that it will be a longer night than last night because what with one thing and another (and once you make a start you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are) I ended up going to bed late last night.

And having spent all that time talking about garlic keeping away vampires and my three favourite young ladies, I had a visitor last night. TOTGA came to see me.

When the alarm went off at 07:00 I staggered to my feet and wobbled off into the dining area for my medication. And back here afterwards I listened to the dictaphone notes. I’d been a guest in someone’s house and had been interested on one or two items in someone’s collection. Every time I went to have a closer look at them I was suspected of stealing them. The whole situation in this country house-type of place became very complicated. There was one of the guests, a girl with one leg. She was wearing a pair of trousers. She asked me if I’d change the trousers and put a pair of shorts on her. Of course that would be something that I would find extremely difficult to do so I tried to hedge. In the end she explained to me that I was the only person here so it had to be me who would do it. The girl and I had to think of a way in which it would be possible to do it. Every idea with which I came up seemed to have a pitfall in it that wouldn’t make it work. And that seems to be par for the course these days.

And then later on TOTGA turned up, as I mentioned earlier. I’d gone with someone to some kind of club meeting because a guy had some Land Rover wheels and some kind of jacket for sale. My friend was very interested in them so I agreed to go with him to have a look and to help him. We arrived there and he found the person whom he was wanting to see so he wandered off for a chat. While I was wandering around on my own I came across TOTGA and we began to talk. What had actually happened was that there was some kind of snake slithering along the ground. All of a sudden its tongue darted out and caught a most enormous beetle, swallowed it, and slithered off on its way. I pointed it out to TOTGA and asked her if it was a snake or a slow worm. She didn’t know and neither did it. I’d taken some photos of it but the colours looked rather weak and insipid so we ended up talking about colours, palettes etc for photography and images. She told me that she used a palette that was called something like “City of Oklahoma”. I began to do some research and found out a few things about it but couldn’t find out how to load it up. In the meantime my friend came over to me, handed me his glasses in the glasses case and told me to put them in my pocket. I put them in my pocket but just the something hit me really hard on the foot. I thought that the glasses had fallen through a hole and dropped on my foot that way but they were still in my coat. It can’t have been them. I couldn’t see anything at all around there that might have dropped onto my foot. My friend gave me one or two other things, said “come on, give me a hand” and began to collect up the wheels and this jacket. Obviously he’d had a successful negotiation and was now prepared to carry away his prizes.

And wouldn’t I have liked to have carried away my prize too? But as I have explained before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … TOTGA always had far more sense than to allow herself to be swept up in my evil clutches.

Fighting off (sometimes unsuccessfully) waves of sleep I prepared for my Welsh lesson and to my surprise it passed off quite well, which took me by surprise. We spent much of the morning discussing shipwrecks and ocean travel, and I spent time talking about trailing along in the wake of John Ross.

Something else that we had to do today was to produce something from our day-to-day life and talk about it.

Of course, it goes without saying that I produced STRAWBERRY MOOSE and we discussed the events surrounding his confrontation with the Minister of Education, an unexpected death and the issue that arose with a group of students in Scotland, all of which led to his expulsion from the University.

Mind you, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, had he had different friends and companions, the eventual outcome would have been much different.

This afternoon, despite falling asleep on several occasions (and I don’t know why because it’s not as if I’ve done much) I finished off the radio notes ready for dictating later tonight, and then carried on with the photos from Canada 2022.

That latter task is taking far longer than it ought but I’m hoping that tomorrow after I finish the radio programme I can finish those off too. And then I have the notes to write, which will probably take me another 3 months.

And if you think that that’s a long time, I still haven’t finished the post-production of the … gulp … 6,000 photos that I took in the High Arctic in 2019.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg, and there’s still some stuffing left to make a left-over curry tomorrow

So tomorrow I have a radio programme to prepare, photos to finish off, forms to print out and a physiotherapy session down at the Centre de Re-education. And then I have to think about what I’m going to do about Friday and my trip to Paris.

One thing’s for sure, and that is that you won’t get much sense out of me on Saturday. But then again, why should Saturday be any different from any other day anyway?

Thursday 9th November 2023 – MAIS OÙ SONT …

… les neiges d’antan? wrote Francois Villon 550 years ago in his poem La Ballade Des Dames Du Temps Jadis.

And I wrote something similar last night in my tale of woe about “Ladies From Former Times” when I wrote about Castor, Zero and TOTGA and the absence thereof during my nocturnal ramblings. Where indeed are the snows of yesteryear?

So of course it goes without saying that last night Zero and TOTGA came to see me – at different times, I have to say. I don’t think that I could cope with them both together.

It was all extremely confusing because I had another bad night – one of many that I seem to be having these days. I think that it must be my guilty conscience catching up with me, or something like that.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. As I said, at some point TOTGA came by. We were talking about an expression that I’d used in a conversation – one of these superlative hyperbole expressions. At first she didn’t understand it so I explained that it came from the “Round The Horne” programme which was very good at doing that kind of thing. I went to give her an example and was about to talk about Geronimo and his Indian braves when I suddenly had the most appalling attack of cramp in my left lower leg and I awoke in absolute agony.

Can you imagine it? There I was, not only with the bird on my plate but just about to get my fork stuck in it and I had a bad attack of cramp. The first time that she’s shown up for quite a while too. Is there anything more disappointing than that?

Actually, all through the night I was having these bad attacks of cramp and it was probably all of this that was disturbing my sleep.

In fact, I was glad when the alarm went off and I could stagger to my feet.

It took rather longer than usual to come round into the Land of the Living, but once I was finally on the same planet as you lot, I transcribed the dictaphone notes.

TOTGA I mentioned just now. And later on I was in some kind of big city. One of these places with some impressive stone buildings like Bank headquarters etc. I was walking along a path that was on top of a cliff with all of these big buildings on my right. I came to a point where I couldn’t go any further. The wall of the building went right down to the edge of the cliff. I noticed that there was a gate in it. I can’t think why I hadn’t noticed this gate before. I walked through the gate and slowly went up the hill. There in the distance was a Fortis Bank cash machine. Luckily I had my new Fortis card with me. I picked up the card and tried to put it in the machine but it wouldn’t fit. I’d noticed that I’d actually left it stuck to the backing. I had to peel off the backing but it still wouldn’t fit. I noticed that there was still something else attached to it. It took me several goes to have the card completely separate from whatever it was that it was stuck to. I put it in the machine. At first I had a really difficult job to remember the code number. Eventually I recalled it and could access the account. I then had to think about drawing out some money – obviously, with not going anywhere near a bank these days, the more money I have on hand the better but there has to be a limit. I didn’t want to go too close to the limit in case the machine swallowed my card and then I really would be stuck. I had to think really hard about how much money I was going to ask for.

Actually this is a real preoccupation with me right now. I can’t actually go to the bank any more because I can’t climb back onto the bus at the bus stop. I have a little “fighting fund” of cash squirrelled away but it’s not going to last for ever.

It’s actually quite bizarre. When I was at University, as well as being Chair of Northern Europe I was also involved in Disability issues when I was on the Executive Committee and so I’m well-aware of the day-to-day problems that disability can present.

So I’ve never understood why, if the local council only has a certain budget to spend on improving the bus routes and facilities around the town, why one of the last bus stops to be raised up to a working height is the one just outside the Medical Centre where all of the ill and infirm people go.

That should have been one of the first to be raised up. But instead, the buses stop in the roadway far from the pavement and they don’t “kneel down” enough for wheelchairs and handicapped people to board very easily.

Anyway I digress.

A little earlier I also mentioned that Zero put in an appearance. But you really don’t want to know about the voyage that we had together, especially if you are eating your meal right now. It’s been a while since there has been anything really gruesome figuring in my nocturnal voyages, but when there is, there really is.

With a bit of luck she might put in an appearance tonight and we’ll have a happy ending.

Some nights, what goes on in my sleep is far more stressful than anything that happens during the day. It’s similar to the reason why I’m having serious thoughts about stopping my treatment at Leuven. It doesn’t matter how good the treatment might be and how efficient the care is in the journey to and from Vlaanderen is finishing me off.

Once I’d sorted that out I attacked the notes for the radio programme that I dictated last night. And I stuck at it and finished the programme. I’m actually now at 31st May 2024 with my totally-completed radio shows. I want to be as far ahead as I can possibly be because sooner or later the inevitable will catch up with me.

Afterwards I spent some time tidying the apartment. I’m having a visit tomorrow so the place needs to be clean and tidy. I know that cleanliness is next to Godliness but with me it’s next to impossible.

Neitzsche famously said “out of chaos comes order” but he said that a long time before I was ever thought of. Ezra Pound once said of Ford Madox Ford “Put Ford naked in an empty room and within an hour behold total chaos!”. That’s something that I understand very well

The bedroom is actually clean now and I’ve even vacuumed the floor. And you’ve no idea just how difficult a simple task like vacuuming is right now.

And then I had a good wash and brush up and the car came for me to take me to the Centre de Re-education. The ergotherapist had me opening and closing doors, laying tables, picking up pins and counters off the table, that sort of thing. She also says that next week she’ll come round here to give me practical advice about getting the most out of my apartment.

Severine the physiotherapist put me through my paces too and then, totally, exhausted, I headed back home in the car.

My cleaner was just coming into the building so she helped me up the stairs and into here, where I made myself my mug of hot chocolate.

The rest of the day, such as it was, has been spent pairing off the music for the next couple of radio programmes and beginning to write the notes for one of them.

Tea tonight was delicious. Steamed vegetables and a vegan sausage in a vegan cheese sauce. That was a meal that I enjoyed very much.

So now I’m going to bed, but not before I’ve sent someone a message. If I had to pick a favourite relative (and despite everything that I have said, I do actually have one) it’s the one who is getting married in Michigan tomorrow and I’m really disappointed that I can’t be there with her.

She actually works for one of the biggest transport firms in North America and was away on a mission for work when she was caught in the lockdown over across the border in 2020. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to fight the good fight at the shops if the wind has dropped because it was quite savage again today. And then I’ll finalise my tidying up ready to find out what is actually going on about this visit tomorrow.

The plot sickens.

Sunday 29th October 2023 – NOT ONCE, NOT TWICE …

… but three times I’ve gone to walk out of the kitchen without my crutches.

Not that I got very far of course, but the fact that I actually found myself doing it must mean that I’m feeling that there’s a sign of improvement, whether there’s a real improvement or not.

Last night in bed was a real improvement. Or, at least, it would have been but no fewer than three people pinged me at some point during the morning while I was asleep.

And it must have been early too because I was actually up and about this morning at 08:50. That’s taking into account the changing of the hour too They must have been busy out at Stonehenge last night moving all those stones around.

After the medication I checked the mails and messages, replied to a few of them and then checked the dictaphone to find out if I’d been anywhere during the night. A friend of mine had been having problems at home and had been sent home for a few weeks. I’d driven him. After I’d left him I was wandering around somewhere. I bumped into a woman and we began to chat. She mentioned that her son too was having problems. They considered that he was spending far too much time at his music than at his studies and that the past couple of weeks his group had played 7 gigs. Basically she said that the members of the group were pretty broke and needed the money. I replied “we could all do with that. I’d play 7 gigs in a fortnight if I were to have the chance”. She said something like “do you think you would?”. I replied “I’m no better than many and probably as bad as most”.

And then it was a Thursday. There was just one more day of work before the office closed for the summer. The boss had already been in to me to give me a couple of questions that needed asking. One was “was our employee on long-term sick leave likely to come tomorrow?” and “would a certain rock group be playing? Would anyone else be playing?. There were several others. I had that much on my plate that at the moment I hadn’t actually asked the question. 10 minutes before it was time to go home he came along and interrupted me again, asking me the same questions. I replied that at the moment I hadn’t found out. He asked me what I thought. I replied that what I thought was pretty much irrelevant. He said “the important thing to know is whether this girl is going to come in and whether this rock group is going to be playing”. I replied “you asked me that a little earlier but I haven’t actually done it yet. There’s still 10 minutes before we go home and if you continue asking me these kinds of questions and keep interrupting what I’m doing while I’m working we’ll never find the answer because I’ll be going home without the task being done.

Nerina came home from work later and said that she’d had a puncture in her car. It entered into my head but for some reason, like many other things, it was pushed to the back. Next morning when we were both going to work, for some reason we went in one of the Cortinas. We had an argument on the way. I was trying to read a letter and she was hovering over me with a jug of water. I snapped at her and she asked why. I said “it’s important, this letter, and you’re spilling water on it”. As usual it led to a dispute. We arrived at work and were sitting in the foyer going through all of the correspondence we’d had that morning. I suddenly realised that I should have been at my desk a long time before this. As we packed up our stuff ready to go to our respective offices she said “at least you have something that I would like to have and you’re lucky to have it” etc. I asked what it was and she replied “you have 4 good tyres on your car”. I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t changed the tyre over on her car. I asked “why didn’t you remind me?”. She made some remark like she was always having to remind me to do things. I explained that I had so much going on that it was very difficult. “You need to sit on top of me to make me do these things at the moment rather than just tell me and let it drift away”. But things never worked out how they were supposed to work out.

Actually, that’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. I had a bad car accident late one night while I was taxi-driving and the bracket that holds the seat belt to the central pillar of the car was driven into the back of my skull. Even now, I still have the depressed fracture and it plays havoc with my memory. It must have been wild back in 1987.

“I can’t remember who I was with now” I dictated, which somehow seemed quite apposite considering that we’ve just been talking about my fractured skull. But whoever it was, it might have been Laurence or it might have been Cécile but could equally have been anyone else. We were living in a typical chaotic, untidy apartment. Something had happened about our old family home. I had the keys to it. A tenant who was in there moved out so we went down to see it. First of all there was an issue that the Post Office was no longer delivering. An old man in the neighbourhood was trying to arrange for all post to be delivered to him so that he could set himself up as a postman. We went into the house and met the landlord. There were quite a few things in the house that I didn’t recognise eg. there was a parlophone door-entry type phone on the wall by the chimney. I said “that’s new, isn’t it?”. One of the women said “it’s nothing to do with the landlord. That was something private that the occupier put in. We had a lengthy discussion about the house with the landlord and a few of the neighbours who were inside. At the same time we’d actually bought a house or apartment and we were going to have to move. It was something like the 28th of May we’d have to hand in our notice within a couple of days before the end of the month or we’d be stuck in our rented apartment for another month. But up to that date my partner (whoever it was) and I had never spent even one moment discussing our plans about moving. I had a feeling that this was something else that was all going to end in total chaos.

Later on I ended up having a video chat with someone. We’d already had a lengthy text chat but then it evolved into a video chat. And this new camera that I bought a few weeks ago really is good. I’m very happy with that.

And a chat that I had yesterday with someone whose interactions with me usually take place in the hours of darkness when I’m asleep also picked up during the day too.

There was no more pizza dough left so I made another batch of that this afternoon. Two lots ended up in the freezer and a third ended up on a pizza tray. What with having to order my flour on-line now, I can’t obtain the flour that I like and have to make do with what I can get.

Nevertheless, the dough, even if it was rather more sticky than usual, did work out very well and made a really nice pizza.

For the last few weeks I’ve been reading a book THE OLD STRAIGHT TRACK by Alfred Watkins. He was the man who laid down the theory of ley lines in the 1920s which since then has been brought into disrepute by the antics of various Esoteric Movements.

Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating account of all kinds of ancient and medieval mounds, ruins and trackways along the border between England and Wales, even if you don’t accept the ley lines theory.

As well as that though, it’s now brought me into an even more interesting one, EARTHWORKS OF ENGLAND and while I’ve not yet read it, I’m quite looking forward to settling down with a nice mug of hot chocolate in a quiet corner with some home-made biscuits and the book.

So tomorrow I have to arrange for Caliburn to go for his Controle Technique and then start to organise myself ready for this series of Re-education courses starting on Tuesday for 20 days.

That sounds exciting, and it can’t make things any worse than they are now.

Saturday 28th October 2023 – FOR THE FIRST …

… time since I don’t know when, there wasn’t anything on the dictaphone from the night and that’s not something that happens every day. I must have had one of the deepest sleeps that I’ve ever had.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until after 04:00. I was quite wound up and stressed out after my travels yesterday.

What I used to do in the old days when I drove taxis was that when I would finally return home I’d go out for a good run to tire myself out

That wasn’t anything that I could do after I married because I never had the time to unwind but when I moved to Brussels and was chauffering, I would go out running again. And I must admit that I was sleeping better after I started running yet again after I moved here.

Of course, all of that is well in the past now.

As I expected, the phone never stopped pinging during the early morning but I tried my best to ignore it. Nevertheless I abandoned all hope and staggered to my feet at 11:40.

Today, I’ve been quite busy. For a start, I’ve had to back up the main computer with all of the amended files that accumulated on the portable computer while I was away at Ice Station Zebra. And there were several hundred of those. It took ages.

There were several discussions on the phone and the internet too. Rosemary rang me and we had another one of our marathon chats. Liz and one or two other people sent me messages but the most surprising, and one of the most welcome, was a chat that I had with someone with whom I usually only have interaction during the night when I’m asleep.

We had football too – TNS v Y Bala. And as you might expect, it was more a case of “when” rather than “what”. The fact that Y Bala held out for 35 minutes before conceding was something surprising.

TNS scored a second too but Y Bala held out until the final whistle. And that was a much better effort than the last time that we saw TNS play Y Bala, when the latter team folded up so dramatically in the final few minutes last summer.

Sure enough, TNS are on their usual relentless stride to the championship with no real opposition from anyone.

Many people think that it must be pretty boring with TNS winning everything every year since the money came into the club, and whether or not that might be the case, the fact is that the race to catch up has improved the quality of the matches and the quality of the players dramatically.

In recent years we’ve had 4 full Welsh internationals, several under-21 internationals, a Zimbabwe international and internationals from Malta, New Zealand and one of the Caribbean nations plus many more besides. There was nothing whatever like that 10 years ago.

Tea tonight, later than usual, was chips (potato and sweet potato) with salad and one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like so much.

So bedtime now, and maybe if I’m lucky I’ll go on a wander about again during the night. I missed my night-time voyage.

Tomorrow I have pizza dough to make and then maybe I’ll have to start work again. I’ll have to do that some time.

Thursday 10th August 2023 – I HAD ANOTHER …

… really mobile night last night. And a busy day too. Things seem to be warming up.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:00 I was with a couple of people who were planning on going on a cycling tour. They were showing me their bikes and how the framework for the pannier fitted on. I could see that there was some recessed bolt holes in the frame and the pannier mounts slid down them and you just pushed a bolt through the frame and the bolt hole in the pannier outfit.

So not having beaten the first alarm I was still able to beat the second. And then after the medication and checking the mails and messages I listened to the rest of the night’s travels on the dictaphone. Nerina and I were going somewhere on a night out to Nantwich or Audlem, somewhere like that. We had to hurry to catch the bus. There was then some talk that we might stay over a couple of days so I had to find some clothes. I couldn’t find any so in the end I had to find an old suitcase of mine with some clothes in it. That was inside the cats’ house. I had to persuade the cats to leave their little house which took a long time. Then I had to take out my suitcase and look through it. I couldn’t find any trousers. I wasn’t sure if I could still fit in my jeans so I had to try on a pair. Then I couldn’t stand up. I needed help for that. In the end I tried them on when I was standing on the floor. I then looked at the time. It was something like 22:10 and the bus was going to leave any minute now. We were clearly going to miss the bus and then next one would make us ridiculously late so I began to think about going in the car and arriving quicker like that

And then I had another long dream that all immediately evaporated the moment I reached for the dictaphone. I can’t remember a thing at all about it. Not a thing. I’m soaked in sweat though so it must have been something interesting.

Later on I’d been somewhere to do something in connection with the group in which I played and we were on our way back. Coming from Congleton towards Crewe there was plenty of traffic. I had my foot down and was going quite quickly, passing the traffic wherever I could. There was a part where you came to a roundabout where the road split into two lanes. I went into the outside lane there and drove all the way down the outside of a line of vehicles, reached the roundabout, spun round the roundabout and came off at my exit, probably cutting in on someone else. The engine of the car cut out. I couldn’t restart it. I had to get out and push the car across the roundabout into a side road. There were vehicles in the way. I rolled into a vehicle. By now this roundabout had transformed itself. It wasn’t the roundabout in Hungerford Road where it was earlier on but now a roundabout back in Sandbach. It was where the guy who played drums lived. There was all sorts of things going on around this area, people using bad language etc. I thought “I wonder how my drummer’s family who were quite respectable people, were coping with what’s going on in the other houses and families around here”.

I was also at a huge factory place last night. 2 huge square glass buildings situated on the far side of a really wide river. The car parking was on one side of the river and you had to walk down a path and across a – not even a bridge but like a concrete path that went across the river and into the factory complex. We’d been there with a couple of people and walked back to the car park. I decided that I wanted to go back to look at some more of it. I said “I’ll be back shortly”, turned round and walked all the way back down the long path, across the concrete path across the river and back to the complex. It took me about 20 minutes to walk there and will take me another 20 minutes to walk back later plus however much time I’d want to spend walking around the factory complex. I’d left them sitting on a car park waiting for me. I’m not going to be very popular by the time I return. I thought to myself that I’d be lucky if they were still there waiting.

Finally my car needed some work doing on it so my father said that he’d help me if I took the car round to him. He lived in Norway north of Narvik so I said that I’d go round after work. While I was at work I was trying a cut-and-paste of a section of an image over an object in an image that I wanted to hide. For some reason I couldn’t make the piece that I’d cut out transfer over via a memory stick or an external hard drive or anything. There was a crowd of people round watching me including TOTGA. I carried on trying but it wouldn’t work. I said that I’d do it after work so a couple of people said that they’d stay behind to watch. Then I remembered that I had to go to see my father. At 16:00 I apologised to everyone who was disappointed that I was going, and set out. Narvik is a long way from Brussels and it was late in the evening. I was in Norway and seen the signs for Narvik. Somehow I’d missed my turning and ended up at a riverside on a gravel road looking at all these boats. I had to rurn round to retrace my steps to find where I’d gone wrong. Then I encountered a load of Volkswagens that had all been in accidents and were heading off somewhere. They had headlights taped into the wing with sellotape so that at least they’d have some light when it went dark. I remembered that my father’s wife had wanted me to sort out some money for her and do a couple of other things. By now it was really late at night. I was thinking that I have all this to do, fix my car, sort out my father’s wife, fix this image that needs doing and be back at work in Brussels in the morning. I’m just never going to fit all this in.

An hour or two were then spent working my way through my notes for my Welsh lesson. But as usual, with having a teflon brain, nothing is sticking.

The lesson itself passed quite quickly again but it was rather patchy. Some of the stuff I could do quite happily but some other stuff was rather … errr … challenging and I don’t know what I’m going to do about that. Nothing, I reckon. You can’t teach an old dog like me new tricks.

When the lesson was over I waded through the radio programme and finished off all of the notes for the second radio programme I’ve done this week. And who knows? I might even start a third tomorrow.

Another exciting task was to write an article for a Welsh newspaper. The new JD Cymru League season starts tomorrow so I’ve written a few hundred words about the teams competing and what I think of their chances

Whether or not it’s published is another thing entirely but it’s one of those things that has to be done by someone at some time.

Tea tonight was one of the vegan burgers out of the European Burger Mountain in the fridge with some pasta and veg in tomato sauce.

Tomorrow morning I have to nip into town early in the morning to do my shopping before the Welsh lesson. It’ll have me running around so I’ll need to have an early night and have some rest.

But if I go off on a few travels during the night in the same way that I have been just recently, I’ll need a rest to recover when I wake up.

Monday 31st July 2023 – I’M GOING TO STOP …

… discussing my miserable nights because you’re probably just as fed up reading about them as I am having them.

So when the alarm went off I was fast asleep in the bed and it was something of a struggle to crawl out of bed before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I went and had a shower to try to awaken me but that didn’t work very well. After the nurse had been to give me my weekly injection I came back in here.

It took an age for me to come round into the Land of the Living and it was a very late mid-morning coffee. And then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

There were tons of stuff on the dictaphone from the night there too. Someone’s name turned up on my social network, a boy whom I knew from a foreign country when I was at school. We got in touch and agreed to meet. I could recognise him from his photo. He was with some kind of little dog. When they came close to me they suddenly disappeared. I had a walk around this park and couldn’t see them. I walked across the park to the other end and that was when I caught a glimpse of them. I waved and they waved back. Eventually after many attempts we managed to meet up. It turned out this he had stopped to buy a sandwich on his way to meet me and his dog had seen someone with a sandwich and gone haring after it so he’d gone haring after the dog. he wanted to know why I hadn’t written to ask him where he was. I thought “it’s only been like 15 minutes” but something inside told me that it was in fact a couple of years that i’d been wandering around that park. That was a lapse of time that I couldn’t explain

There was something about Zero too last night. My friend from Congleton had had some good luck. She’d had her house up for sale for a considerable amount of time and it had suddenly sold for a much better price than she had anticipated too. She already had another property lined up that she could buy so she didn’t need the money and her doctor was asking her what she planned to do. She could come up with thousands of things. One was to buy a house at Prestatyn where they could go at weekends but would in fact be Zero’s house when she’s a little older. The other doctor thought that a good idea. He also mentioned about her becoming a private patient and having to pay for her medical treatment saying that private patients had so much better treatment than NHS ones etc. He also asked her when she was going to marry again. She made some kind of vague nebulous reply about that.

I can’t remember who I was with in the next one. It wasn’t TOTGA because her name came up in the conversation but it was a girl with whom I used to work who had a good job that involved projects. The thing was that you came up with your own project and this firm would back you and provide you with the resources to do it. She was telling me all about it and how good the other situation was. In fact it might have been someone I used to know quite well, saying how much of a change it was from her previous employment. She said that any kind of project was considered, whether fitting tyres on a car, rock groups practising etc. It’s the sort of thing that had I been able I would have been interested in doing. I had an appointment somewhere else but she was talking away so much about this that I didn’t really want to leave. I wanted to stay to listen to the rest of it even though I was running late. We said that the only way to do a job like this is to go at it 100% give it everything you have and take what opportunities are offered. While this might not suit some people’s mentality it certainly suits others and those are the kind of people who would benefit from some situation like this

Later on we had an old small FIAT saloon, the type that you could load things in through the back window. I was putting some electrical equipment in but knocked the amplifier on the back seat forward into the footwell. As I was locking up the car I told Nerina what I’d done and told her not to let me drive away in the morning like that. She asked why I didn’t do it now. I said that it’s too complicated being in the dark and I can’t see what I’m doing. I might start pulling wires out. She still thought that it would be a good idea to do it now. To be quite honest I was absolutely exhausted. I just really wanted to stop doing it and go to bed but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to explain it as a good reason to Nerina. I was busy finding all kinds of other reasons not to do the job right now.

And finally I was doing some research so I joined an institute. I was in their offices looking through some paperwork. I came across someone’s file. It was a huge front and back piece with hooks on it where you could hang it from a rail with the spine upwards. I took one of these out to have a look at it. It was really just full of notes etc and various items of correspondence, one of which was someone asking around if anyone had an Opel Omega or Corsa that they could take a ride in to see what they were like ready to purchase. Someone scrawled underneath “God, are they asking for a taxi here?”. I had a look through it and went to put it back but I caught my right ankle on a stone on the wall and that caused me to drop to my knees. I don’t know why that happened but I couldn’t stand back up again. And I can’t stand up if I end on my knees either. That’s what’s really stopping me from going very far – the fear of falling over.

So we had Zero, TOTGA, Nerina and a few other regulars out there with us last night. It was nice to see so many of our friends. Still no Castor though, which is a shame. In a couple of weeks time it will be four years since our Brief Encounter in Peel Sound and the Coronation Gulf.

So when I’ve not been asleep I’ve been dealing with the next radio programme. The music is sorted out, paired off and much of the text has been written.

From now on I’m going to try to do things in a slightly different way. Usually I leave the very last track until last but in the programme that I’m preparing, the very last track has already been chosen, and for a very good reason too.

Inserting a track and its relevant text into the middle of a programme is quite complicated and takes much more time but I’ve been giving that a great deal of thought in order to find a work-around.

Tea was a stuffed pepper as usual and it was of course quite nice too. Made with fresh carrots too. There was not enough room in the freezer to buy a bulk lot of carrots to freeze so I just bought a couple to see me through until next weekend.

I’ll need to make some space in the freezer for more veg so I reckon that on Thursday I’ll be having mixed veg in cheese sauce. Now that I can buy vegan cheese in good quantities I can have much more of that, and quite right too.

But that’s for Thursday. There are a few more days in between. I’ll wander off to bed and prepare myself for battle tomorrow. Here’s Hoping that it’s a better day.

Monday 24th July 2024 – SO MUCH FOR …

… my plans for today.

Usually there are about 2 or 3 entries on the dictaphone most nights. If I’ve had a particularly restless night there might be as many as 5.

But if you want to know about the kind of night that I had last night, there were actually as many as 10 entries. TEN!

And between 02:18 and 03:50 there were seven of them recorded. That was some night.

On a few occasions too I actually stepped back into dreams where I’d left off. That’s no real surprise I suppose, with a night as mobile as that.

It took me quite an age to go off to sleep too, and then later on I was actually up and about before the alarm went off.

And so, as you can gather, I haven’t been in any kind of condition today to do anything. The only surprise was that I managed to keep awake until 15:30. But once I’d gone, I’d really gone.

However, back to this morning. After the medication I went and had a shower ready for the nurse. She came round later to inject me and then I came back in here and didn’t do very muct at all. It was a real struggle to keep awake and in the end I gave up trying.

later on I had a listen to the dictaphone and that took most of the rest of the day. I went into our kitchen. There was a strange cat in there. All the other cats and kittens were confronting this silver tabby which was doing its best to hide under a piece of cardboard. When I came in it tried to sneak out underneath the cardboard and through a pack of kittens that were trying to fight it. It made its way to the front door but couldn’t work out how to find its way out of the cat flap again so it was cowering in a corner. I couldn’t take a good shot at it because other kittens were around it. In the end I managed to corner it on its own. It hid behind a stuffed giraffe as a gun fighter would do if you tried to draw a gun on him. It looked so interesting and so intelligent this cat so I called my brother to come and see. By the time he arrived the cat had come out from behind the giraffe. I had the door open and was trying to usher it out with my feet. My brother thought that I won’t have many marks for kindness and politeness by doing that. I replied that it’s soon going to go out anyway. After a couple of attempts I managed to put my foot underneath its stomach and heave it out through the open door then close the front door behind it so it couldn’t re-enter. The thought then occurred to me that I hope that the kittens that went outside can work their way through the cat flap to find their way back in otherwise we’ll have problems with that too

TOTGA appeared last night, so hello to TOTGA. She had an audition for a modelling agency so someone was coming round to see her. I spent some time choreographing some dances and had been putting her through them. On the final morning that we were working through them there was so much that still needed to be done that while she was rehearsing I was buzzing around. Someone who was there watching suggested that I was distracting her and getting in her way. My response was first of all that we needed this information and secondly, when she’s taking her exam there will be people getting in her way then. She needs to work out her routine based on the movements of other people anyway. After this discussion I went into the storeroom to try to find something from one of her earlier sessions. She came in, still dancing, saying that she needed to find the heat treatment for a twinge in her muscle. We discussed where that might be, which box it was in. She had to find it but she needed to be quick because the person would b ehere in a minute.

Back on the subject of ballet again. This time I had a couple of groups of young toddlers and small children who were being put through their routines. They were extremely interesting, especially one who could barely walk and had one of her front teeth missing. She did a really nice dance. I told her how now it was but I was thinking that it’s such a shame that she couldn’t have waiting another half-hour for that performance because the examiner would have been here and he would have loved to have seen that dance.

I went straight back to sleep and immediately saw the housekeeper or cleaner of the hall where we dance looking totally aghast. I asked her what was the matter. She replied that she had seen the first ever seal killed by another seal. It was that that had upset her.

After that I stepped back into the previous dream again with my ballet class of toddlers. There was a police inspector who was there. For some unknown reason he was in a bad mood. I asked him whether it was because of the lack of preparation on his behalf that was causing the problem or whether there was something else we needed to know

I bet that you didn’t know that I was an ace at the ballet! But actually I had two younger sisters who needed taking to dance class on a Saturday afternoon and when my elder sister started a Saturday job I drew the short straw and I spent many an hour watching what was going on.

That’s why I used to go to watch Port Vale play football in the late 1960s. Our local team played on a Saturday afternoon so I couldn’t go, but the Vale always played on a Friday night. It was actually a good night out, walking back from Burslem to the railway station at Longport late at night, grabbing a bag of chips on the way.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed, there was more trouble later about a kid who wanted someone here to cut off some material for him, a length of dark green and a length of red so that he could wrap them around himself to pretend that he was a school mascot. That way he’d stop being annoyed by these other people at the gate of the school

I was going into Crewe town centre for an interview for a job in a shop. I was having to change my employment because of my illness and needed something less stressful with less travel. I was chatting to a girl when the bus came in. She boarded it. I suddenly realised just as it was about to pull away that it was my bus too so I leapt aboard and just about managed to scramble onto the platform before it took off. I saw the girl so I waved to her. We came into Crewe town centre and I alighted. I thought that I’d go to my brother’s shop for a form for a CV and fill it in to hand in at this other place. It was just after midday so I wondered if he’d be at lunch. I went there and began to climb the steps into his front door

Then I had the first part of that dream again about having to prepare for this meeting or exam whatever it was, finding all my things etc before going out for the bus

I was also giving a lecture on brewing last night. I’d ordered some beer but it hadn’t come so I contacted the brewery. They launched one by catapult. It flew through the air, 8 miles high, this barrel of beer through the sky all the way and dropped to earth in my living room where there was a crowd of people. They denied having received this beer at first but I think that they were teasing me. In the end they gave me a glassful. It had a huge head on it of course. I tasted it and said that it was the most beautiful beer that I’ve ever tasted. I let 1 or 2 other people have a drink. Some girl asked me about the secrets of brewing. I explained that the real secret is in the water. The underlying soils are all on different rocks. The rainfall that percolates through the rocks picks up different minerals depending on the area where it is and what the rocks are. The water that they take to make the beer depends on the area from where it comes, different minerals in the water react in different ways with the yeast and barley and grain etc. That’s why beers are different, because of the minerals in the water. Some ares have really good water for brewing but others don’t. There’s different beers made with different kinds of water. I was impressed that I could give a lecture on brewing and breweries while I was asleep.

Finally, Caliburn and I were on our way back from Virlet to Brussels going the way that we used to go through the mountains. When we left one town heading north it seemed that all the traffic was being diverted over a rough tarmac path through a field. The old road was overgrown with weeds. There were no signs or anything so I carried on down the old road. After about 50 yard all the weeds etc had gone and it was the normal road again. I was travelling down there at a good rate of knots in a rainstorm. It suddenly occurred to me that this isn’t the town that I know where I was entering. There was a steep hill down into the town centre to a T junction where I had to turn left. As I was three quarters of the way down the hill a lorry began to reverse out of a parking space into the road in front of me. I blew the horn and the horn stuck. Eventually the lorry got the message and drove back in so that I could go past. There was a milk float on the corner that was reversing up the hill on my side of the road. He received a horn blast too because I couldn’t go past him because of the road junction. Eventually I had to get out and push the milk float out of the way. He got the message too and drove off the right way this time so that I could reach the bottom of this hill to turn left. There were hordes of people milling around here, so much traffic, the rainstorm. I didn’t recognise anything of this. I didn’t know where I was at all.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper which was really nice but for some reason or other I seem to have lost my appetite again

Anyway, that’s enough for this horrible day. I’m glad that it’s over. I’m going to bed and I’ll start again tomorrow – if I wake up. I really do feel as if I could sleep for a week with no problem whatsoever.

Monday 3rd July 2023 – I HAD A VISITOR …

… during the night, someone who hasn’t been to visit me for some considerable time.

TOTGA put in an appearance last night for the first time in in absolute age. I can’t remember very much about this but I was going out and someone was coming round. I had to wait for them. There was someone else in the house who might have been one of my sisters making up a pile of accounts. Everything was all in a mess. She’d lost a cheque. A car pulled up. It was my brother. He had a big carpet on the back seat of his car. He came in and said yes, he’d brought some pet stuff that TOTGA had ordered but they’d bunged him for her back wages and he’s had to pay 4/6½d. He was most indignant about this. I wish I knew where TOTGA appeared in this dream but she was certainly there. I certainly saw her and was talking to her but I can’t recall the exact details.

And then later on we were waiting to close down the ovens in this fish-frying place. We had to set the controls to various positions before we could do that but we couldn’t remember what it was. TOTGA didn’t appear so in the end we had to try to decide ourselves what it was from memory. We came up with some kind of contribution to the idea. It meant switching off some of the switches but we had to use a coat hanger but we found that we could do that so we had to wait for TOTGA to arrive. In the meantime one of our party had been detained by the police for some reason. They’d gone and searched through his or her affairs but found nothing but there was this big woman in the luggage. They let her out and she went for a walk around the marshland there that wa sin between the sea and the land.

How nice is that to see a familiar, friendly face again? At least, I’m convinced that I did and it’s such a disappointment that I can’t remember any actual facts about our meeting.

All of that made me feel better than I did yesterday, although to be honest, it couldn’t have been any worse. And particularly because there was a huge pile of stuff on the dictaphone. I must have had a very restless night.

Apart from what I’ve already written about my meeting (or otherwise) with TOTGA, I can’t remember now whether we were going somewhere or going home or setting out on holiday but all my family was there. We had 2 Ford Zephyr Mk IIIs. My father, mother and some of their friends were going in one and we children were going in the other. My youngest sister was driving. We loaded up the car and there was no room for anyone once they were loaded but somehow most people managed to squeeze in. I wanted to wait to make sure that my father and his party had left safely but they took so long trying to get themselves ready that in the end I thought “this isn’t fair on my youngest sister” so I had to leave them. When I returned to the car with my sister in it she was sitting in the back seat behind the driver but was going to drive from that position. I had to sit on her knee while she was doing it. She said “there’ not going to be very much room in here. There’s a little leg adjustment but not very much”. I clambered in anyway. It was so far for my feet to the ground that I wasn’t sitting down anyway. She started the car. I thought that it was a miracle that she could reach the pedals and the gears from here and that she could drive with someone sitting on her lap blocking her view. All the time I didn’t think anything at all about the driver’s seat of the vehicle being empty with no-one in it and the rest of us crammed in like sardines. It was really uncomfortable.

When we were kids, by the way, we did have a Mark III Zephyr 6. We were a big family too so we needed a shoehorn to fit us all in.

But returning to last night I had an appointment at a solicitor’s office at 13:00 but it was cutting things fine because I had a plane at 14:30. I was there at about 12:50. There was a couple of other people waiting. I just waited and waited and waited but no-one ever came out. By now there were quite a few people there waiting. It was 13:50 and I had to go to the bathroom. I explained to one of the other guys “if the solicitor comes out looking for me I’ll be in the bathroom. He’ll have to wait a moment”. It took him a minute to understand what I was saying then I shot off thinking to myself “if I come out it’ll be getting on for 14:00 and I’m just going to have to go. Tough luck on the solicitor and his plans because I have other things to do”.

Later on I was driving down the autoroute and came to some roadworks. Part of the road was blocked off and there was a huge queue to merge into one lane. I thought that I’d stop here and make a sandwich. I took a loaf of bread. It was all dusty and dirty but I spread it with some kind of paste. A workman was walking past. I asked him what was going on but he totally ignored me. I hurled some vulgar abuse at him, got back into my car, cut down the inside of this queue through part of the roadworks to find a gap and join in. There was another car that was extremely upset by this. I told him to cut in behind me but he said no. I told him to grow up and stop being 5 years old. We drove through Monaco. Then I noticed that the MoT Certificate out of the window was missing. He said “didn’t you see it fly out of the window?”. I replied “no I didn’t”. He asked “aren’t you upset that you lost your MoT Certificate”? I replied “quite frankly I couldn’t care less”. That made me thing that the guy had thrown it out of the window in a fit of petulence. I couldn’t be bothered to deal with someone quite like him at the moment so I didn’t really pay much attention. I just carried on driving up the hill out of the city.

Finally I was driving through the Auvergne on the back road from Evaux les Bains. In front of me was another vehicle. We came to the steep zigzag drop all the way down to the moulin there. Somehow I managed to go in front of them when I took a very steep short-cut. I reached the bottom of the hill first and drove through into the town. Then I had to go back up the hill. By now I was pushing a chair but it wouldn’t go in a straight line up the hill. The other 2 people walked past me dragging their chairs and made it look so easy. I couldn’t understand why I was pushing mine and it was so difficult. There had been 2 other people in this line of us coming down the hill. I thought that if I carry on at this speed they’ll eventually catch up with me and then can help me back up the hill again. They didn’t come so I’d no idea what had actually happened to them. I was making a real load of difficulty for myself trying to go back up the hill with this wiring harness abd this chair.

Yes, last night, apart from seeing TOTGA, I spent an awful lot of time out on the road.

And even despite all of that I was still up and about before the alarm went off too, and after everything that happened yesterday, the difficulty that I had last night of going to sleep and all of the travels that I’d been on during the night, that was even more astonishing.

It has to be said though that I wasn’t in much of a mood to do much work today which was a shame. The nurse came and injected me, and we made arrangements to have my blood test on Thursday morning. I can’t eat or drink anything before he comes so I hope that he’ll come early.

One thing that I’ve been doing this morning is to hunt down a huge pile of documents that I need. There’s a School of Music in a neighbouring commune and it’s taken over some premises here in Granville.

There’s a proposal to have some kind of musicians’ workshop where interested people can congregate to discuss things, have some kind of technical education and even form some kind of unofficial orchestra with choirs and classical music.

And it didn’t escape my notice that in the small print there was a section for “electric guitar, bass guitar, piano and drums”. That is something into which I ought to be looking.

But the amount of paperwork that I needed to fill in was astonishing. For example, I had to read 13 pages of “behaviour in the school” and sign a form to say that I had done so. Lots of stuff like that.

All of that inspired me to have a good session on the guitar too in order to flex my muscles and make sure that I’ll be in some kind of shape if I am lucky enough to be invited for an interview. I won’t know until the end of August.

The rest of the time I’ve been in Canada walking around on the Furdustrandir about to inspect the cemetery of the abandoned settlement of North River. It’s another settlement that was devastated by the influenza epidemic of 1918 and a credible source suggests that half of the village died in November and December 1918.

And we had a disaster tonight cooking the tea. We had a stuffed pepper as usual but when I put my pyrex dish in the sink it cracked. That was pretty dismal because that was exactly the right size of bowl for the air fryer.

The stuffed pepper was nice though, cooked exactly right after 20 minutes at 160°C.

Tomorrow I’m going to do some Welsh revision, restart my radio work and go to count graves in the cemetery at North River.

But that’s after I’ve had a good night’s sleep, I hope. But if TOTGA comes to see me again, or if Zero or Castor put in an appearance, I shan’t complain at all.

Saturday 18th March 2023 – AFTER THE EFFORTS …

… of the last few days, everything finally caught up with me today.

Again, it wasn’t helped by having another miserable, depressing night when I had a real struggle to go to sleep and when I finally did, I had a real wander around in the ether all the way through the night.

Mind you, not that I’m complaining about that because first of all TOTGA and then Zero came to see me during the night and that’s something about which I can feel quite content. They (and Castor too, who has been disappointingly absent for some considerable time) can come to visit me any time they like.

Once again, I was out of bed and up and about before the alarm went off. I had my medication followed by a shower and then I headed for the shops.

First port of call was a bathroom shop called “Aubade”. They sell all kinds of bathroom equipment and fittings, like showers for example, and seem to be quite an upmarket kind of establishment. Although they don’t do installations themselves, they have a couple of teams of approved contractors and the assistant gave me their ‘phone numbers.

She also gave me a catalogue of their products, and that was rather a shame for the poor rain forest that had to be sacrificed. One more page in it and I would have had to have borrowed a fork-lift truck to bring it to Caliburn.

Noz had nothing at all of any interest and LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special. They had some grated vegan cheese on special offer so I bought a couple of packs. I have to encourage their vegan range of products.

When I returned I brought up a few of the things that I’d bought and the rest can wait for later. I had to think about some food though, and there was a stray leek hanging around in the vegetable rack that needed to be used.

First of all I fried a small onion in a saucepan with some olive oil until it was browned.

Then I added the chopped leek and a pile of garlic

Half a teaspoon of cumin, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of tarragon and a pile of fresh ground black pepper went in next.

Two small potatoes were washed and cubed and then added into the saucepan. It was all stirred around in the pan.

Then I covered the food with enough water and added a stock cube and a helping of soya cream, and let it simmer for 15 minutes while I put away the food that I’d bought.

Then I whizzed up what was in the saucepan, added a little more water until it had a nice consistency and then sat down to eat the most delicious soup that I’ve ever made, along with some nice crusty bread that I’d bought.

While I was at LeClerc I’d bought a bargain pack of 2kg of carrots. Next task was to wash, dice and blanch them. When they were ready I put them in the sink in sieves to drain so that I could put them in the freezer later.

Back in here I sat down in my chair and promptly fell asleep. So much so that in the end I struggled into bed where I stayed until I awoke – at 18:00. That was some crashing out.

And while I was away I went off on a little voyage too. I was doing a coach trip. We ended up in Germany. I dropped the passengers at the coach park and they all disappeared with their suitcases. I sorted out the coach etc. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have anywhere to stay. I thought that I’d better go along to look for a hotel. I’d seen a hotel on the way in that looked nice. It was a 5-minute walk away so I set out to walk. As I walked up the back of this car park there was the back of a big hotel-type place there but it looked dirty and scruffy, not very niceat all so I ignored it. As I waslked up to the main road I looked behind me. I could see that the hotel was called the Hotel Adler. It was a huge place. I seemed to remember that it was something that all the passengers had talked about so I wondered if it was actually the tour hotel and where I was supposed to be staying. I had better turn round and retrace my steps to the hotel to have a look.

Once I’d finally recovered I decided that I’d finally make a start on some work but as luck would have it, Rosemary called me for one of our chats. I’m convinced that she set up a camera in here when she came to visit because she always seems to call me at exactly the right moment.

After we’d finished I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about me having a cat. Also, there was a radio presenter who was presenting some stuff. He was quite well-known for certain reasons. But ass I was dictating it I awoke instead and at that moment it all disappeared.

This was another one of these dreams where I had to visit South London, where I seem to visit quite often. We were all at the Underground station picking up the tickets etc. When we had the tickets everyone left. Of course, I couldn’t run – I could only hobble. I shouted at someone to hold the lift for me but he didn’t hear. he went in and went on down. When I reached the lift I couldn’t remember to which floor I was supposed to be going. I always end up on the wrong level at this station and on the wrong train so always end up with an enormous walk at the end because the Underground in South London is pretty poor. I was there scratching my head trying to think which would be the best platform for me in order for me to go where I needed

And then I had TOTGA round last night. She was here at the same time that the physiotherapist was here. As well as giving me plans for the physiotherapy he was giving me plans for counselling. He was trying to have me agree to do 3 things differently and gave me a list. I had to choose 3. But I was trying to talk to TOTGA as well because she was having to leave at 15:30 because her plane back home was at 18:30. I was trying to have this 3-way conversation talking to these 2 different people about 2 different things and nothing seemed to be resolved. I could see that in the end TOTGA was going to go and the 2 of us had never resolved anything that needed to be resolved between us and I doubted that I’d ever have the chance to see her again, which is probably true. He was babbling on all the time about me making pizzas.

Next I was with a couple of people, man and wife. I’ve no idea who they were. We were in Stoke on Trent. They were a couple much older than me. I was round at their house preparing some food but they had no mushrooms. We were down at the Fenton area somewhere so they suggested going to the market in Stoke. The husband and I set off on foot. It was quite a trudge. We went through one set of market stalls, out into the street and reached the main road. He stuck his head in a shop and said that they had none. We wandered round a few market stalls outside that were closed up. They had things like meat out in the open air etc that can’t have been hygenic. By now the wife was with us. We came to a cheese stall where they had some cheese samples. They kept on trying to offer me cheese samples but I told them that I couldn’t take it. In the end we went back to the shop where we were first because we had seen someone coming down the street carrying giant-sized mushrooms. We could see through the window that we had some that were individually priced. We thought that we’d go in. By now the woman had selected some fish from one of the outside stalls. We were about to go in to pay. To go in you had to climb up this rickety wooded ladder and somehow slide in between the rungs into the shop. I thought “I’ll take the stuff and go in to pay because I’m staying with them”. Because of my disability I couldn’t bend my leg enough to enter through the ladder. After trying for a couple of minutes and holding up everyone I gave it up in the end and one of them went in with the stuff. Eventually I managed to enter. There were some people in bed like a geriatric ward or hospital, all this stuff on sale. The woman there was making some drinks, a kind of cocktail. She passed one to me and said “this is for my husband”. Then she passed another one to me and said “this is for the baby. Whatever you do, don’t get them confused”. I had to take them out to the door and pass them to the husband and try to remember whose was what and to make sure that he kept them the way that this woman wanted them keeping so there would be no confusion as to who had the alcoholic drink and who had the soft one.

There was another one about a bunch of people including me getting a round of drinks and something to do with a large box or packet full of butter but I can’t remember anything at all of this.

Finally I was round at Zero’s parents. I hadn’t seen her father for ages and we weren’t on particularly good terms but I had to go round there for something. I was having a chat to Zero etc when he came round. He was surprised to see me but anyway we had a vague little chat. I don’t think that he was very happy but suddenly it started to rain and we all had to go indoors. There was another little girl there and she was out on a bike. Zero ran down to the end of the garden to look to see if she could see her. She shouted that she was on her way back. They started to ask me about my house. He said that I had 2 properties. I replied that in fact I had 3. His wife asked if I’d signed for my house. I replied “not exactly but it’s all paid for etc”. She asked if I’d used the money in that Santander account. I replied “no. I managed to keep away from there and 1 or 2 other accounts. I had no idea how many other accounts I had in total”.

With all of that it’s hardly any surprise that I was totally wasted this afternoon.

Tea was a delicious breaded quorn fillet with baked potato and salad. What with my leek and potato soup at lunchtime I’ve had some really excellent meals today. I’m really doing well with this cooking at the moment.

Tomorrow I have to make some fruit bread again and also go into town for this Home Renovations Fair thing for a few tips about my new bathroom. So it’s going to be a busy day tomorrow.

It’ll be pouring down with rain probably and that would be enough to dampen my enthusiasm but if I do make it into town I might stop and have my first ice cream of the year. I’m not even sure if I had one last year.

Tuesday 14th March 2023 – IT’S ALL VERY WELL …

… going to bed early, but it counts for nothing if you can’t go to sleep. It was another one of these miserable, depressing nights when I’m tossing and turning to no good purpose.

To make matters even worse, when I finally did go off to sleep at one point, something awoke me quite dramatically and I sat bolt-upright wide awake.

And then even though I must have gone back to sleep at some point I awoke again just after 07:00 and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already up and about.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I prepared for my Welsh class – interrupted by the local nurse calling round to take a blood sample. For some reason, that was extremely painful. So was my injection yesterday, thinking on. I must be quite sensitive these days, in more ways than one.

The Welsh class passed off quite quickly. Some of it was surprisingly good, which took me by surprise, but some other of it was not so good. Rather patchy, all told

At 14:00 the guy came round so see me about having a shower installed in my new property, whenever it might be that I finally complete the purchase. He was actually a guitarist himself with a Rickenbacker 12-string so we spent more time talking about guitars and music than showers.

However he finally bashed out some kind of quote but I doubt that I’ll be proceeding with it. It’s way out of my pocket, even the “economy” version. It works, I suppose, if you qualify for a French Government grant but I pay my Income Tax in Belgium and the UK and so that is that.

And that reminds me – I should be due for my quarterly Belgian Old-Age Pension payments some time soon. That should be exciting. Whatever can I do with the €97 that I’ll receive?

Once he’d gone, I had a shower and then had a good listen to the stuff on the dictaphone. To my surprise I’d been on quite a few travels during the night. I’d gone somewhere to pick up a pile of clothes. It was something to do with the Avengers and TV programmes from the 60s. I was in Caliburn. I reached where I was supposed to be. These coats were thrown to me and I threw them up onto the roof rack. I had to look around for a way to fasten them on. It was near Christmas by this time although it was sunny. Someone was coming round from this place handing out boxes of chocolates etc to all the employees. Everywhere I turned, there was another piece of chocolate. Someone kept on sticking a box of chocolates in my hand. Every time I went to reach for something or other to tie these clothes onto the roof rack I ended up grabbing a piece of chocolate instead. It was really strange.

Then I was back in this apartment. I had Tuppence, my old black cat, here. I made myself a coffee but it wasn’t strong enough so I put another teaspoon of coffee into it even though it was already now in the pot having percolated. Tuppence was crying to go out so I went and opened the door for her even though it meant that she would just be running around inside the building. The next moment we were in Gainsborough Road. I had all my cats here but something – I don’t know what – awoke me dramatically as I mentioned earlier.

Later on we were at some kind of building in the countryside like a Social Club. Behind it was a car park that you had to access via an arch. Behind it was a building that was another type of Social Club. In the building where I was were all these rich people with Rolls-Royces, horse boxes and things. I was there talking to a lorry driver for some reason. A Rolls-Royce came in towing a horse box. It had been accident-damaged and hit all down the side, this Rolls-Royce dark red. We made a few remarks about it. Someone mentioned something about someone’s Rolls-Royce having broken down and they’d been quoted over £8000 for a new engine. I was thinking about the one that I knew IN A SCRAPYARD IN THE USA (and I was impressed that I could remember that in a dream) and what could be good would be if I could lay my hands on that engine and rebuild it. As I was leaving 2 more people turned up and asked about the Social Club. I told them where to go. They asked where they could park so I told them about the car park. They asked about the one in the rear. I said that the people in there were rather possessive. They had to be careful. Then I had an engine. I’d stripped it down, rebuilt it and had it running on a test bed. I’d put it back in a car and started it up with no water in it just to make sure that it would run. I was slowly filling it with water, talking to someone. All the time there was a stream of water coming out. I could see in the end that one of the hoses for the windscreen washers underneath the bonnet had decayed or broken. The stream of water was coming from there. Trying to remove it to replace it was a nightmare.

I was next living at Davenport Avenue with Nerina. Something happened so I decided that I’d go out for a change for the evening down to the swimming baths. I took a book with me and set off. When I arrived the first person whom I saw was TOTGA (so welcome back, TOTGA) and her daughter. I wasn’t sure if they saw me but they certainly didn’t come over to talk. I thought that I’d go and get ready. Then I started to worry about my catheter. I know that I can’t go swimming in salt water with it. What about chlorine? I thought that I’d relax and read my book for a while then summon up the courage to go to ask someone. There was a little room on a bench next to a little girl and her mother so I squeezed on and started to read. A couple of people whom I knew from work came over for a chat. I ended up with a drink and a packet of crisps. By the time all that finished it was really late. I thought that I’d better go home. I went to pay but they only charged me for the crisps so I paid for them and ran all the way back home. I arrived back. Nerina was sitting on the floor in apair of pyjamas, brand-new by the looks of things. She was surrounded by all kinds of rubbish as if she’d been unwrapping presents etc. She was rather grumpy because I’d been out but it turned out that some members of her family had come round. They had spent the evening talking about a holiday they’d had down in the South-West.

Finally I was back in this dream again with TOTGA and her daughter, staying at some kind of fitness place. It was the break so we all crowded into the break room. There were so many of us that we had to jostle for a place and a place to put our bags down. When we did, someone would move it somewhere else. We helped ourselves to hot water. When I’d done that TOTGA’s daughter made some room for me on a chair next to her. It was beginning to become really chaotic. Everyone complained about the crush and the arrangements in this room. No-one was happy but that was just how it was.

Sitting down here waiting for things to happen I crashed out again. That’s quite disappointing because I ought to be doing so much better than this. Gone are the days where I could work 30 or 40 hours non-stop after just 4 hours of sleep. i’m not as young as I was.

The physiotherapist came round later and he had me walking up and down the stairs outside. He was impressed with the weights that I’d bought at the weekend.

While I was at my lesson earlier I’d worked out that my foot fits nicely into the handle of one of the weights so I’d been practising lifting it up and down with my foot while sitting down. The left leg is quite good but the right leg is struggling to even move with a weight of 2kgs attached to it. What kind of state am I in?

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with rice and veg. There’s plenty of stuffing left as well so I’ll have a good curry tomorrow night with what is left in the fridge

While I’m on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … the cleaner will be coming round tomorrow so I’ll have to have a whizz round to make the place look respectable. A well as that, I’ll have to check all of the paperwork to make sure that I have everything that I need to take with me on Thursday morning to the hospital at Avranches.

08:30 at Avranches on Thursday? Whose silly idea is that?

Monday 13th February 2023 – THAT AIR FRYER …

… bread that I made yesterday wasn’t actually too bad. I took one of the little rolls that I made and sliced it. And it looked like bread too – much softer than I have made before. and it toasted quite nicely too. Nice and crispy and hot with a pile of vegan butter it was absolutely delicious.

It’s strange that it looked so different on the outside though.

What I’ll have to do is to make some more and see whether I can reproduce the same results with that lot. But at least it goes to show that the air fryer has what it takes to make my bread in the future.

Maybe I should have bought a bigger air fryer to go with the bigger freezer that I also should have bought.

last night though I didn’t have too much time to dream about making bread because although I was in bed quite early, it took an age to go to sleep.

And when I did, I had the pain in my leg and feet again and I awoke much earlier than planned too.

But even though I didn’t have too much sleep, there was still plenty of time to go off on a few travels here and there. I started off by reading a newspaper. There was a photo of something that had happened behind where I parked Caliburn. There was some kind of electrical equipment there in this photo. I went over to have a look. It was still there. What I thought at first were the 2 batteries had spilled out so I picked them up and took them back to Caliburn for a closer look. One may well have been some kind of battery pack but the other one wasn’t. it functioned between 11.7 and 17 volts. While I was about to have a good look at it someone pulled up and started to search through Caliburn. I asked him what was the matter. He replied that he was borrowing some sockets. He went to put one of his daughters in the cab of Caliburn so we had a huge row about that. he asked me a few questions about things that happened in Shavington. I asked him what he had taken of mine. He replied “a couple of sockets” but not to worry because he’d bring them back to me on Friday.

And then I was moving into my new place. There were 3 large metal cabinets that needed taking there. I emptied them and asked the guys from the radio. They carried the 3 of them down and put them on the back of Caliburn. I drove off to the new place. From there I had to go off somewhere so I left them to fetch the 3 cabinets out and take them up to my apartment. When I returned I couldn’t see Caliburn nor these cabinets. I could see that 1 of the cabinets had made it outside the apartment and they were all extremely unhappy about me having left them to deal with all of this which I thought was quite a straightforward easy thing to do but they were really unhappy about it and it left a really bad impression. I still had the other 2 filing cabinets in the back of Caliburn somewhere that I was going to have to bring up on my own.

After that I took a week off work. I’d been walking around the Nantwich Road area of Crewe all morning thinking that this is really nice. Why don’t I just retire and spend the rest of my life just doing nice things like this instead of rushing into a place like work where I don’t have to go anyway because I’m over the retirement age. On the way back I cut through a few side streets and came across an area that had been badly burnt after having caught fire somewhere round by Mill Street. The only camera I had with me was on my phone so I went to take a couple of photos of it. The photos just wouldn’t keep on working out properly. I ended up either photographing something else completely different or else it wasn’t clear enough to catch any of the fire damage.

And I must be dreaming if I’m thinking that wandering around Crewe for a morning is really nice and that I ought to do it more often. Nantwich Road is on the south side of the town and it was to the north to where the Luftwaffe paid a visit, dropped a stick of bombs and caused £14,000,000 worth of improvements.

And dreaming that I ought to be retiring? How many times is that just recently?

Finally I was with TOTGA last night. We were driving around Stoke on Trent trying to go somewhere. There were demolition works and road works everywhere. We turned into a street that was a dead end that we found, all fenced off. I had to reverse all the way back out and onto the main road again which was a rather dangerous thing to do. I was in the Opel Senator. As I was reversing out onto the main road I suddenly realised that this car hasn’t been on the road for over 20 years. There was no tax, no MoT, no insurance or anything on it. This was bound to lead to all kinds of complications if we were to run across a policeman or something like that. I couldn’t understand why I’d chosen this car to come out in to pick her up.

So welcome back TOTGA. It’s been a long time since she’s put in an appearance. It’s nice to see her back. Her front’s quite nice too.

It didn’t take long to finish off the two radio programmes this morning, having done most of the work over the end of last week. I had a listen to them too and I’m quite pleased with how they have worked out. There’s some good music in them.

As well as that I also had a listen to the one that i’ll be sending off for broadcast this coming weekend. On eof the joints between the music in that one isn’t up to much but I couldn’t work out how to make it sound any better.

The rest of the day has been spent working on something else for the radio. Just before Christmas 2021 Laurent and I interviewed the woman who makes the dresses for the Carnival Queens but I didn’t do anything with the interview because Carnaval was cancelled last year.

However, Carnaval is going ahead next week at long last so I edited the radio programme and added in some music. A few years ago I recorded the music from some of the marching bands so I filtered it into the interview to give it some kind of introduction.

Tea tonight was another delicious stuffed pepper. And with plenty of stuffing left I’ll be having a taco roll tomorrow night and a leftover curry (seeing as there are plenty of leftovers here and there) on Wednesday.

My meals might be very much the same from one week to the next but the thing is that they are delicious so why would I want to change. But I’m thinking about having some falafel with my chips on Friday night. All I need to do is to remember to go to the supermarket for a big shop on Friday afternoon because Carnaval starts this weekend and it’ll be pretty pointless trying to go to the shops once things get under way

So right now I’m off to bed, hoping for a better night because I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to revise for it. As I said a few weeks ago, I’m falling behind and it’s showing. But I can’t seem to find the time and when I do, I can’t find the motivation.

And I don’t know what I am going to do about that.

Tuesday 10th January 2023 – JUST FOR A …

… change, especially just recently, I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night last night. And neither did I start work at some ridiculous hour like yesterday.

But I don’t want anyone to go thinking that I changed the habits of a lifetime and had a decent sleep. There was that mush stuff on the dictaphone that I must have travelled miles during the night. There was a dream that someone was pushing a pram or pushchair about on a street. Someone else noticed that there were several dents and scratches on the side of a car that corresponded where this person had been pushing this pushchair. There was another couple in thie street too with an almost-identical pushchair. It wasn’t very clear at all who it was in fact who had done the damage. Which of these 2 couples pushed their pushchair into the side of these parked cars.

And then I was working in a mine or quarry. We were having to send out different priorities of ore. I had the calculations wrong and instead of ending up with 4 different categories I only ended up with 3 and one of them was short. Someone else pointed out the mistake and I had to go back to review it. It was a very complicated transaction. In the end I agreed that I’d missed something out and I had to rework it and repack the order. Before I did I had to have someone else tally it for me to make sure that it was correct this time. I asked someone in a neighbouring workroom if they could tally this order for me and chack that I had everything that I needed.

At some point I was staying an a rented apartment for a weekend. While I was there I had to visit some other people. I had an appointment for maybe 09:00. I’d been awake a couple of times earlier than that but I thought “another 5 minutes would be fine”. All of a sudden it was 08:19. I had to leap out of bed, quickly take my computer and shove it in my travel bag etc and prepare to leave quite hurriedly without having done anything. I thought that it was lucky that I was staying here the night that I can tidy up and clean up tomorrow morning before I leave otherwise I’d be having some real problems about trying to leave here and making this appointment.

I stepped back into this dream later on where I’d been running late. I got as far as one railway station in Stoke on Trent and had to drive to the next one. There was that much snow about that I couldn’t see the road markings. I was sure that I was in the wrong place. At one stage I felt that I was going down a one-way street the wrong way. Dragging my suitcase through the snow (I was no longer in a car by this time) I reached the main road and only had 15 minutes to reach the other railway station. I thought that this is going to be a long way and I’m really going to have to get a move on if I’m going to catch this train. There were all kinds of little things, people bumping me as they came out of shops etc slowing me down. I thought that I’d never arrive. I’d be sitting on that station and everyone else woud turn up to meet me and say “why didn’t you just stay in bed and make the most of it?” like they did. I could see that this was all going to end up as a great big failure.

There was also something to do with one of the Yugoslav republics like Croatia joining the EU. There were reports about how much corruption there was in a place like this. Someone was recounting the story of his dreams as if that was any particular evidence. The dream included this coach and car. They were racing each other down this set of steps – you’d go down 20 steps and then there would be a flat part, then another 20 steps. I’m not sure what that had to do with anything.

For a brief moment too I was with TOTGA and one of her friends on a bus going to Stoke on Trent. They were talking about Crewe and Stoke on Trent and I was sitting on a seat. I don’t think that they noticed that I was there. I was eating a very large bag of crisps at the time while they were talking away. I was really quite anonymous as if I wasn’t there and they hadn’t seen me but I was on board that bus and listening just the same

The alarm going off at 07:30 awoke me but it was more like 08:30 when I finally left the bed. I didn’t want to push my luck with the Welsh lesson looming. Anyway, after the medication I spent an hour or so preparing for my lesson before it began.

Once the technical issues with the old laptop had resolved themselves I joined the lesson. There weren’t all that many of us today but it passed off well enough. Preparing for the lesson certainly helps. Depsite another technical issue rearing its ugly head in mid-lesson, I managed to stick it out right to the very end without falling asleep.

Almost as soon as it finished I had a ‘phone call. The physiotherapist was actually in the building seeing someone so could he come round when he finished instead of at 17:00?

It’s no problem for me so he was here at about 14:00. He’s noticed a slight improvement in the right leg now which is encouraging. But we are still a very long way from being anywhere close to where I would like to be. I still can’t manage more than half a dozen steps without having to stop to catch my breath and adjust my balance.

Nevertheless, if I feel a little better later in the week I might have another go at going to the supermarket in the town. We shall seel

Rosemary rang me today as well and we had another one of our marathon chats. She’s off on a voyage in a couple of weeks’ time . It’s a shame that I’m not feeling up to travelling because a little voyage around Indo-China would probably have done me a worls of good. But I need to concentrate on getting myself into some kind of order before I attempt anything else.

Tea was a taco roll with some of the stuffing left over from yesterday. There’s a little more left too so I’ll make a curry with that for tomorrow, the rest of the mushrooms and a potato. For the rest of the week there’s a burger and a slice of pie, maybe suasage and beans plus whatever else I can find in the freezer. Somewhere in there is a box of vegan sausage rolls and it won’t do any harm to go on an expedition into the depths of darkest freezer to see what else I can find.

Making room in there isn’t a bad idea actually as come the weekend I’ll be baking bread and fruit buns and some of all that will need freezing.

God knows where I’m going to put it all.

Friday 16th December 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I’m very probably going to regret doing, but I can’t go on like this much longer. Going downstairs took me an absolute age yet again, nothing on my body is freeing off and nothing is becoming any easier. And to give you an idea of how hard I tried, I’ve done 15% of my daily activity today.

And it’s been a very long time since I’ve done anything like that.

So what I have done today is that I have bitten the bullet – and if it comes off it will be for the largest sum of money that I have ever spent at one go in my life. And that’s not like me go go around spending any money, is it?

You’ll have to wait for a while to find out what it is because nothing is ever completed, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, until the ink is dry on the paper. But if we ever do reach that stage, then believe me, you lot will be the first to know.

We were a long way away from there though this morning.

It was another early night and for a change I managed to fall asleep quite quickly. But round about 01:45 I awoke and that was that for at least an hour and a half. And I know that because I checked.

Consequently when the alarm went off I was dead to the world once more and it was only the need to visit the bathroom that saw me beat the second alarm.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone and a welcome return for TOTGA who put in an appearance during the night. As I said yesterday, it’s been a long time since she paid me a visit during the night so it was very pleasant to see her again. I was on my way home down the Boulevard Lecampion and I saw her going past on the far side of the street. I stopped outside my apartment which was actually in Boulevard Lecampion, went into my building and started to unload my car, leaving the door open so that she could go past and see, which she did. She came over to talk about something or other. Alison was there and saw her, not saying anything at the time but after the conversation had finished and I’d gone upstairs she asked if that was TOTGA. I replied “yes”. She said “she’s only my age but yes! She was obviously appoving of whatever it was she approved. Something then was happening and I had to go out somewhere in the evening. Of course as soon as it was the case that I had to run this errand I dashed off outside because I was hoping that I could get to go to somwhere like Halifax and have a really nice evening meal and then come back. The times of trains made it extremely difficult for that. I reached the bus station just as a bus for Stockport pulled in. I thought that I could at least go to Stockport and have an Indian meal but that pulled through and drove round onto the other side of the bus station and I wouldn’t have time to walk over there before it would drive off again. I was sitting there then wondering what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to go to the office but that closed at 20:00. If I set off even then I wouldn’t be there for 20:00 so it seemed rather pointless in the end actually going out because there wasn’t really anywhere I could actually go that was of any real interest to me at that particular moment.

And later, I was keeping shop somewhere in an old industrial town. I’d had a Press Release that some camping gear and exploive equipment had been found on an industrial estate at the back of an arms manufacturer and one or two other places like that. I was busy writing out a note to display in my shop when some guy walked in. I asked him if he could hang on for a minute while I wrote out my sign and he made some comment. Then he asked for the “big gasket” for a tractor. We eventually found out what tractor it was but he was being extremely vague about the gasket. I had to run through all of the gaskets with him and talk to him about them and what he might find where, everything, to try to satisfy myself exactly what gasket he’d want. To make things worse I hadn’t taken over this shop long. There was a pile of gaskets of all sorts and I hadn’t had time to go through them and find out to what they related. There was probably one in this pile somewhere but heaven alone knows which one it was.

Once I was up and about it took me, as you might expect, a good while to come round to my senses which, seeing how few I have these days, is rather remarkable. But I eventually struggled to some form of life and even managed to make some bread dough because I’m right out of bread.

And then I had a phone call. A few weeks ago I’d heaved a stone into a rather large pool and the ripples were still rolloing outwards. Nevertheless I was surprised to receive the call and it ended up being something of a considerable amount of horse-trading that took quite a while.

So now we’ll see what happens.

The weather had warmed up dramatically today and we were in the balmy semi-tropical realms of 5°C. Caliburn once more struggled to life and wo I went on another one of these 20km runabouts in the hope of pumping some life into the battery. I don’t know whether or not he would have started again had I stopped at the shops – I didn’t want to tempt fate.

But I have managed to work out a way of getting onto the pavement by the bus stop so at a push I might be able to board the bus. Now if only I could walk we might be back in business in this respect too.

Back here I had another ‘phone call to make. If you’ve experienced any difficulty getting into this site just recently, there has been a major server change that involves a new mainframe host and there’s always a lag between changing the DNS settings and them actually taking effect. So that will explain that.

And that phone call took much longer than it ought to have done too, but for reasons which you really don’t want to know. I certainly didn’t.

After tea, we had football on the internet. In the Welsh Premier League most of the matches were postponed because of the freezing weather in Wales, including the featured match, but there was one match taking place, conveniently just down the road from “Sgorio” headquarters in Cardiff.

We had Cardiff Metro v Haverfordwest in minus 2°C and everyone, including the referee, was feeling the cold. The Met went one goal up early one through a penalty but honestly neither side looked as if they could hit the nether regions of a ruminant animal with a stringed musical instrument.

In fact the commentator made the point that in the Met’s last 6 home goames, they have scored 4 goals, namely – own goal – penalty – penalty – penalty- and only three of their players have actually had their names on the scoresheet all season.

And how cruel is your luck? Former Hull boss Tony Pennock finally managed to find his team’s on/off switch with 5 minutes to go and they sprang into life, only to be undone again by a breakaway down the whole length of the field with just 30 seconds remaining on the clock.

A 2-0 defeat was something of an exaggeration.

But I’m off to bed now anyway. I have to think of several cunning plans to raise a few quid here and there. I shall probably end up selling my body on Boots Corner. Not like the lady who tried it once and came home with £19:10.
“Who gave you the 10p?” asked her husband.
“Why, all of them” she replied.

Tuesday 1st November 2022 – AND IT REALLY IS

… a bad news day today.

A doctor has been to visit me to say that I’m seriously ill

This is the problem with this lack of immunity. People have been catching this and feeling much better three days later. I’ve been seriously ill for 13 days and in intensive care for 6 days and any improvement is “slight”

Basically they are astonished that I travelled so far and in such strange conditions with this illness that is engulfing me, and frankly, so am I.

For a change, last night was much better They gave me a different sleeping pill that I took at 20:00 and the next thig that I remember was that i was 00:30. That was definitely one of Bill Oddie’s “powders that would paralyse a bear” and I’ll take a few more of those.

Later on I was back to sleep for a few hours and there’s even something on the dictaphone too. I was with Maria and Nicole last night. We were on our way somewhere and met a group of young boys. Eventually we arrived at her place of work. It was a job involving slicing carrots. They were working quite hard but every hour or so someone would bring them an ice-cream. I thought that this was a really good place to work by the looks of things because we were new in Canada and any job would be good so we decided that we’d ask. In the meantime Nicole was lying down on a bench and the supervisor went over to her to find out why. She said that she hadn’t been given any carrots for a few minutes. The supervisor didn’t say anything. We went over to see the guy. I told him of my qualifications. He said that with an HGV you need to be certified in Canada. In the meantime as a part-time thing I’d be driving the coach for them taking people home after their shift. I’d done it a few times but he obviously didn’t know. He came back once in the coach, and old Plaxton Elite. They were all hanging around out of the back of the building where I wanted to put the bus so we began to talk about some rally that was taking place – “did I know so-and-so from Evans Radio who was coming in a steam roller?”. That rang a bell with me because I knew someone else who was going to come in a steam roller so we chatted about that for a while

Later on I was with TOTGA. She was dating someone else whom I knew. The three of us were walking somewhere. She was smoking a lot that annoyed me a little. We wandered off on this walk and came to this fertiliser, salt and other chemical distribution place with piles and piles of sacks. I’d visited this place in the past. She went first and the lights came on so she ran back. I told her “come on, there’s no problem” and we walked through here down towards the canal where she stopped to have a cigarette. I’d walked this path dozens of times all the way down to the next bridge and back. On occasion I’d continued over the hills to the end and round over there for ages on some of the hills I’d roamed upon in the past during a dream

There was far more to it than this but you don’t really want to know about it.

When the alarm went off at 06:30 I was already working and I kept that going for a few hours. Not for long though and by 14:00 I was back in bed.

A couple of doctors have seen me (it’s Bank Holiday here)and they have finally taken out the perfusions and the ports that they put in. And with all of the intravenous stuff I’ve been having, I’ve gained 5kg in 5 days and that’s really depressing

There’s a downside to having finished my perfusions. They were placed on a portable stand which was good for clinging on to. Now it’s gone along with the perfusions so it’s a desperate stagger across the room and I’m sure that it will end in tears.

But anyway it might only be 19:30 but seeing that I’m in bed already, I’m going to try to sleep.

Tomorrow is another day

Sunday 9th October 2022 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

… non-events of yesterday I have had quite a bad day today.

In actual fact, what I mean to say is that I had a very bad night. And quite honestly, I hardly had any sleep at all.

Had I not actually seen anything on the dictaphone I would actually have said that I didn’t sleep at all. But there is a small file on there (that I have yet to transcribe) quite late on.

And despite it being Sunday I’d set an alarm for 09:00 as we were going out. However I forgot that the alarm programme isn’t set for a Sunday so it didn’t actually ring. Nevertheless I was actually up and about when it should have gone off.

After we had done all of the household chores like feeding the cats (there are three of them here) we set out for Woodstock. We were going to a café for a breakfast.

We were actually in the Volkswagen estate (about which you might hear so much more in due course) but we really should have gone in a fleet of buses because by the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong.

My meal was home fries with onion and mushroom followed by toast whilst Darren and Rachel had a fried breakfast. It was totally delicious.

On the way back home we had to make a little detour. There’s a taxi job that I have to undertake on Wednesday from Woodstock to Fredericton and return so I needed to find out where the pick-up will be, and then we came home.

Later on, while we were preparing the Thanksgiving meal, I had quite a wobble. So much so that I went to lie down. And while I didn’t actually go to sleep, I was well away with the fairies for a couple of hours. Anyway, once back on my feet we finished the meal.

Zoe came round with her partner for the meal. I’ve not me him before and he seems quite a nice guy. I’m glad about that. Zoe deserves someone nice to share her life.

And the meal was excellent. I had vegan sausages with all of the usual trappings and there wasn’t anything at all that disappointed.

The washing up and tidying up probably took longer than the preparation of the meal but at least we left the place looking tidy. And now I’m in my room writing up my notes. And that’s not easy because Cujo the Killer Cat is crawling all over me and the computer seeking attention. It seems to be my lucky night.

It’s the best offer that I have had for a considerable period of time and I intend to make to most of it.

Tomorrow it’s a Bank Holiday here but there will be an alarm all the same because I need to organise myself so much better. I have plenty of work to do, such as to transcribe all of these dictaphone notes. There are quite a few of those and I’m hoping that there will be even more in the morning.

But in the meantime, here are the ones from last night. I was driving around Crewe. I might even have had a very young TOTGA with me, so “hello” to her. I’d seen in the distance a huge overhead water tower that might have related to the railways so I wanted to go and have a look at it. However I was side-tracked by a house that was for sale, a 3-bedroomed Victorian terrace with an outbuilding at the back that could be converted into apartments on sale at £55,000. We went to have a look at it but lost our way. Then we took a wrong turning and ended up outside a cemetery where there were loads of funerals taking place. We had to turn round. Something came up about sports matches in which the 2 or us had played in 2 or 3 consecutive games where people had committed a foul by using their hands to score a goal. I was saying that maybe we ought to do the same tactic. She said that we hadn’t really been in a position to score a goal as yet.