Tag Archives: neighbour

Friday 2nd June 2023 – MY LUNCH TODAY …

… was just as good as last Friday’s.

And for the same reason too. I’d been for a walk down into the supermarket in town and they had more of the fresh broccoli on special offer.

So once again I chose the head with the thickest stalk and made a broccoli stalk soup.

Not that it did me much good though because we had something of s struggle throughout the day

Once again, I wasn’t up before the alarm went off. Its raucous rattle awoke me at 07:00 while I was deep in the arms of Morpheus and it was a struggle to leave my stinking pit.

But leave it I did, and before the second alarm too.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I carried on with Canada 2017.

At the moment I’m on Day Three – happily wandering around my favourite building in Montreal, the abandoned Gare Viger GARE VIGER of the Canadian Pacific Railway which I think is the most beautiful building in the city.

It was a lovely day out and I certainly put the miles on Montreal’s public transport system and then a wander around the docks on my way to my hotel for an evening meal and bed.

But by the looks of things, during my time in Montréal I didn’t go to my favourite Indian café out at the Cote Vertu. I really must be slipping.

So with Day Three not yet finished – out of a total of 60 that I spent in North America that year, you can see that this is going to be a very loooooooooooong project.

But there is one thing, and that is that I’m beginning to understand why I wasn’t in a rush to finish things off once I became ill. And that’s because right now I’m having huge pangs of nostalgia and I can’t wait to be on a plane again for Montreal

However, although I know that being in Montreal on crutches is totally impractical, it doesn’t make much of a difference.

There was a break in the proceedings for my trip into town this morning. And walking down the hill I fell in with one of my neighbours and we had a good chinwag for quite some considerable time.

However, a little further on my right leg gave way again. Luckily I was leaning on a crutch at the time otherwise I would have ended up in an undignified heap, and I’ve ended up in more than a few of those in the old days with some of the cars that I owned.

At the Carrefour I bought the broccoli, some mushrooms, some more peppers for freezing (making sure that they weren’t too big for the air fryer) some peaches that were on special offer and another crusty bit of bread. I’ve I’m going to have broccoli stalk soup, I’m going to have it in unashamed luxury.

The walk back up the hill onto my rock from town finished me off as it usually does, but I blanched the broccoli and set it to drain while I made the soup.

Half an onion cut into small pieces and fried on a very hot heat with cumin and coriander, and then garlic, diced broccoli and a couple of diced small potatoes and left to simmer in the water in which I had blanched the broccoli.

After 20 minutes I went and whizzed it up, realising as I type these notes that I had forgotten to add a stock cube. Nevertheless, it was extremely nice with my crusty bread.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I’d been out somewhere in Caliburn. There was a bad tyre on him. I had some wheels in the back of the van so I bought a new tyre and had it fitted on the wheel. I drove to where I was going and then took out my tools to change the wheel. Everyone looked at my enormous power bar. You could see that they were impressed and about to say something about it but I changed the tyre anyway. Then I noticed that Caliburn’s Controle technique was about to expire. I phoned the garage but they said that there was nothing at all that they could do for 6 weeks. I thought “well, I’ll have to take that, won’t I? And trust to luck for a few weeks driving around without one. Then he said that he could fit it in on Saturday morning. However I wasn’t going to be here on Saturday morning. I’d still be in Leuven. I wasn’t sure at all what I could do. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity having made a fuss, otherwise I’d have to wait 6 weeks and it wouldn’t show me in any good light having made such a fuss and then turning down the appointment

Later on I was at a football match and we were in the dying seconds of the game. The ball went out for a throw-in. The team wanted to restart it really quickly. A few players including their goalkeeper ran to take it. Someone else from the other team took the throw-in and threw it really quickly while the goalkeeper was out of position so one of the other players tried to stop him advancing. He threw a punch. There was a huge melee after that. The referee had to pull everyone apart and had to find a megaphone to announce to the crowd what had happened, what he’d seen and what he would do.

Finally, a plane had gone down in the sea. While they reached the plane and were able to rescue it they couldn’t find any of the people who had been in it when it had hit the water. I don’t know where it went after that

So no Harry Potter, no family, no cats and no Castor, TOTGA or Zero.

What there was though was that I crashed out for some of the afternoon. It seems that walking down into town and back again is too much for me in my state of health.

But is it going to stop me? It reminds me of that sticker that I saw on the back of an old Renault a few years ago – “Nothing is going to stop me! Not even my brakes!”

Tea was the last of those small breaded quornburgers that had been in the freezer since the Dawn of Time. They went down well with another vegan salad and the remaining small potatoes cubed and fried in the air fryer.

Tomorrow I’ll be shopping and there’s quite a list of things that are running low again. I had to use my cherry tomatoes on the salad this evening and the cucumber had gone the Way of the West.

And then there’s some radio work to be done of course. I have to push on with that of course.

No football though. There’s a match here but I haven’t been at all this season to watch any game, never mind one in the French Fourth Division at the Stade Louis Dior. I’m having to content myself with internet highlights. I watched Partick Thistle v Ross County just now.

Nnot because I really wanted to but, as the old saying goes, “it’s the only game in town right now”.

Wednesday 31st May 2023 – I’M ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED.

And that’s no surprise considering the distance that I’ve travelled today.

This morning after the medication and checking the mails and messages I left my motel in Québec and headed to the library of the Department of Nordic Studies at Laval University to look for a thesis.

Then I went to the site of the battle of Sainte-Foy and then hit the road for Montreal where I spent a couple of days.

Leaving Montreal I went to Kingston in Ontario to see my cousin Sandra, and then crossed the border into the USA.

Strider, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I then drove all the way down to see my friend Rhys in South Carolina.

After spending a few days there, I headed on south so that Strider could tell his friends that he’s been to Georgia and then we went to Myrtle Beach for a few days to rest.

Myrtle Beach brings back some very strange memories because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’ve BEEN HERE BEFORE on our way back from Rhys’s wedding.

When Alison and I worked at that strange American company, we had a colleague who waxed lyrical about Myrtle Beach and said how wonderful it was, not knowing that I actually knew the place.

So I produced all of my photos from 2005 and she never said another word. In my opinion, the centre of the town is like Rhyl but with sun, as the photos went to show.

After a nice rest in a cheap seaside hotel, I came back all the way up the Outer Banks and I forget how many ferries I took as I kept to the outside. Forget Interstate 95 – the Outer Banks is the way to go north.

Especially with all of the ferries. people have been saying that I’ve been all at sea for years.

We finally hit the mainland at Bridgeport in Connecticut having had that gorgeous sunset going over Long Island Sound, and then STRIDER, STRAWBERRY MOOSE AND I IMITATED JACKSON BROWNE and went “Rollin’ down 295 outta Portland, Maine” (although in my case, I was rollin’ up it).

That song, by the way, was actually recorded on Jackson Browne’s tour bus as it really was rolling down Interstate 295 and you can hear the engine in the background.

However, back to today and we ended up back in New Brunswick, parked up Strider, celebrated Thanksgiving (I think that everyone was giving thanks that I was leaving), caught the bus back to Montreal and the plane back to Belgium and the hospital.

So you can see that I’ve been a very busy boy today and I’ve finished sorting the photos. I’ve even made a start on rewriting the notes.

But my visit to Laval University was interesting.

An author by the name of James Enterline wrote a book arguing that the Norse didn’t actually sail down the Labrador coast on their epic voyage of discovery in 1000AD but instead, went to the west of Cape Chidley and ended up in Ungava Bay.

He quoted at great length from the report of Thomas Lee who had excavated at Pomiok Island in the bay and had found what he (Lee) claimed to be a Norse longhouse.

Lee’s research was funded by the University of Laval on behalf of their Department of Nordic Studies. Unfortunately though, Laval is one of the few Canadian Universities that doesn’t have its theses on-line these days.

So off I went to find Lee’s report and eventually it turned up in a dusty corner where it had sat untouched since the mid-1960s

To my surprise, it contained a note to the effect that Lee had seen Enterline’s arguments and he went to great length in this appendix to dismiss them out-of-hand.

The sad thing about this is that Lee’s style of writing was polemic and contentious to the point of being confrontational, certainly not academic. And presumably as a result, his request for funds to continue his excavations the following year was denied.

And no further excavations has been carried out.

This is the big problem with a lot of incestuous academia. Everyone starts off with all of the best intentions and attacks their work with gusto. They do quite a lot of good research, obtain their Master’s and then go to work in a Bank and that’s your lot. It’s all forgotten.

Meanwhile, in other news, my cleaner came round again this afternoon to try to bring order out of chaos. She told me some bad news about my neighbour who had a very bad fall a couple of weeks ago. It looks as if she’s done herself a permanent mischief. There are people much worse off than me, that’s for sure.

Tea was a half-portion of curry from the freezer with the fridge leftovers, some rice and veg and a naan bread. And I’m eating really well these days, that’s for sure. That was lovely.

And there are some lentils simmering in the slow cooker too ready for my lasagne tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that so it had better be good.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I was round at some woman’s house and she had a lot of animals living in there, like a zoo. On one particular occasion a tiger took quite a fancy to me but in the wrong kind of sense. I had no intention of being a tiger’s main course meal so in the end I had to chase it away. She locked it outside the room where we were sitting talking. She went out with it and I barricaded the door. There was then a knocking on the door. It was her so I had to unlock it and let her in. another animal tried to come in too so I had to somehow chase it out, close the door again and wedge a sofa up against the door. She asked “if you’re doing all of that how are we going to manage if you have to go to the bathroom?”. I replied ” I couldn’t care less about going to the bathroom. I just want to keep away from these animals”.

Later on I was with someone whom I knew from my time in Stoke on Trent, and not any of the “usual suspect” eithers. We went into a pub in Hanley somewhere. We’d come out of work and there was some kind of discussion about how we never went for a drink any more, basically because there was some kind of atmosphere going on between a group of us and we’d decided that we’d go our separate ways. Talking to him, he said that he’s thinking restarting going to the pub early in the morning before coming into work. I thought that that’s not a particularly good idea. We ended up at the pub and that person whom I mentioned concerning the bad feeling was there playing darts. I couldn’t buy a pint for just the 2 of us, I had to buy one for the 3rd guy. I went to the bar to order while my friend and this lad stayed behind talking. The first thing that I noticed was that the Mild tap had been taken off the bar. I asked about that. The barman told me that they didn’t have any at that moment. I thought that I’d better order two brown ales or something and see what the 3rd guy wants.

Later on, L found myself driving towards Fredericton last night. While I was there I went into the Bulk Barn but I awoke before I remembered what it was that I was going to do there. Bulk Barn shops by the way are very exciting. Anyone who remembers “Weigh and Save” in the UK in the 70s and 80s will know the type of shop but in Canada it’s a huge chain and about 100 times better than Weigh and Save ever was. Of course Canada has a mush more rural population still carrying on the traditions of the 1950s (which I like) so a place like that does really well.

Finally I was doing another taxi job last night. I had to take someone to the hospital but via a medical centre type of place. I arrived and a couple of people helped the guy out. They said that I could leave him there and drive on. I tried to have someone sign the book for the account but no-one would. They all wandered off. In the end I just had to turn round and drive back into traffic.

Tomorrow, I’ll push on with my website stuff. I’ll see how far I get and whether I can actually complete this project without falling by the wayside. Then I have plenty more after that to crack on and finish. I’ve not even finished editing the photos from the High Arctic in 2019 yet and it’s almost 4 years since we set out on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in Aberdeen and alighted, after many misadventures, on the Canada-Alaska border.

High time that I extricated my digit instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Thursday 27th April 2023 – WE ARE HAVING …

… a disaster.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Alison and I have a favourite restaurant in Leuven where we usually end up in the middle of our walk around the town. She passed by there earlier this evening for a portion of the beautiful sweet potatoes, only to find that it’s closed down definitively.

We started to go there because another vegan restaurant that we used, “The Loving Hut”, closed down a few years ago. We’ll now have to look for somewhere else, always assuming that there IS somewhere else to go.

We shall have to make further enquiries.

Further enquiries too about my sleeping issues because it was yet another depressing night when I took an absolute age to go off to sleep.

And once more, I awoke in the middle of the night and spend a miserable couple of hours trying to go back to sleep. However at one point I must have dozed off because I sat bolt upright wide-awake (well, sort-of) at 06:59, a minute before the alarm went off, so I fell out of bed just for the sake of saying that I beat the alarm once again.

When I was checking my mails and messages I found out what had awoken me. It was the nurse sending me a message to say that he’d miscalculated and it’s tomorrow when he needs to come to take my blood sample.

Once I’d organised myself this morning and awoken properly I bashed out another radio programme from the stuff that I had lying around. I’m getting nicely ahead of myself now, but it will all go pear-shaped of course because someone whose virtues I’ll be extolling will drop dead just before the programme will be broadcast.

And that reminds me. Some of the more legendary figures of the rock world are reaching the kind of age when fate will overtake them. I suppose that when I have time I really ought to prepare a couple of programmes that relate to people like Bob Dylan and keep them on the back-burner “just in case”.

It was while I was on my way to la Haye-Pesnel in Caliburn yesterday that I thought of a really good idea for a programme in this respect. What provoked the was when Spirit came onto Caliburn’s playlist and played “All Along The Watchtower”.

This afternoon I had a ‘phone call. Would I like a lift to town?

It was raining outside quite heavily and although I did have things to do, I didn’t fancy walking down there in this so I grabbed a lift. A couple of my neighbours were going off to the shops.

They threw me out in the town centre and I went to the letting agency. That’s a good place to start, I reckon, with my quest to gain vacant possession of my new apartment. However, there was only a receptionist there. The agent was out on a mission.

She took my details and said that the agent will call me back. And, as you might imagine, I’m still waiting. I’m also still waiting for the return phone call from my visit to the property management company yesterday. I have a rather uneasy feeling that I’m going to end up with a bunch of je m’en foutists.

That’s a beautiful French expression. Je m’en fous is rather a vulgar French way of saying “I couldn’t care less” (I’m sure that you can think of an English equivalent, but this is a family website) and so a je m’en foutist is an employee who is only interested in collecting his salary and doing as little as possible to actually earn it.

It was 15:05 when I went in, and by 15:10 I was back out again. The rain had quietened down considerably so I decided to walk back. It didn’t take me long and I didn’t have to stop for breath too often. But one thing that I noticed was that trying to squeeze into the back of the neighbour’s car, my right leg wasn’t comfortable whatsoever – not one little bit.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in the middle of having a dream but I awoke (that was the time in the middle of the night). The dream evaporated completely and everything went except for a vision that I had about coffee in Malta or Cyprus that cost £3:00 per ounce. That’s all that I can remember about it.

Again this next one is another one of which I can only remember bits. I was at a talent contest last night. There was a couple of girls singing in Inuit. One was an older girl and the other was a younger girl. What happened now I forget, but later on someone else at this concert contacted me. They had a house to let in Greenland. They were quite fed up of the type of tenant they were having. They tended to be the younger, trendy type of person and they wanted someone more traditional. It turned out that they were writing the adverts in the newspaper in Inuktitut, the more modern style of Inuit language for people looking for lets. I suggested that she write the adverts in Sisu, the more traditional type of language, and that way it would be the more traditional type of person who would understand the advert and would make more of an effort to reply to rent it. She thought that that was a good idea. She turned over in bed and squashed me. She said “I’m hitting you, am I? It’s most uncomfortable lying here in bed with all these people” but this was the way of life up there and we just had to accept it. I walked out to Caliburn. He was up on a jack for some reason. I noticed that one of his rear tyres had a bald patch. That was strange. It had only done 8000 kms, these tyres. Most of the tyres were in really good condition but just this one bald patch. It started to worry me for it meant that there was something wrong somewhere with Caliburn’s suspension or brakes. I needed to try to sort it out but there was this expensive tyre that had just gone to waste.

After that I made some hot chocolate and had a few of my delicious chocolate biscuits – and then I rather regrettably fell asleep for a while.

As for tea tonight, I couldn’t think of what to have. In the end I settled for steamed vegetables with falafel in a vegan cheese sauce.

That was really delicious yet again, but I have to say that this other type of vegan cheese is nothing like as tasty as the vegan Cheshire Cheese. Even though the Cheshire Cheese is much more expensive, I think that I’ll be sticking with that in future.

Tomorrow the nurse is coming to take my blood sample, and then I don’t have anything planned for several days, except the football over the weekend of course. I’ll have to start to plan for my trip to Leuven though because that’s important. It seems that all kinds of things are unravelling right now.

And who knows? I might even have someone return one of my phone calls about the visits that I’ve made. If that happens, there won’t be any notes tomorrow night. I’ll have passed out from the shock.

Friday 7th April 2023 – A CALAMITY!

Yes, we have had a calamity here today.

Last night after tea I took out some of the hot cross buns from the freezer and left them to thaw out.

This morning when I looked at them, they were all dry and crumbly and there were traces of a green mould. And so they, and all of the others in the freezer have gone into the bin. What a waste and I was so looking forward to eating them too.

That’s really beyond disappointing because the freezer has been jam-packed with stuff, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, to such an extent that I’ve been turning away some really good offers. Had they not been in there, I could have done so much more.

Still, no use crying over spilt milk.

And no need to ask what I was going to do now. The internet is our friend in these circumstances and within about 5 minutes I’d found a recipe for vegan hot cross buns. And, apart from some dried mixed peel, I had all of the ingredients, even some orange concentrate

They even had a dinky little cross on top. I don’t have an icing piping bag but a plastic bag with the corner cut off made an acceptable substitute

They weren’t a particular success because I couldn’t make the dough rise, and while it was proofing it cracked (probably too dry). But toasted with some nice hot butter they tasted just like hot cross buns should, and it’s the taste that matters after all.

But when one has a calamity, the pendulum usually swings the other way at some point, but never as quickly for me as it did this afternoon. And in less than three weeks time I shall be back on the property-owning ladder because I’m signing for my new place on the 26th of April at 09:30 in the forenoon.

So with three months required to give the tenant notice to leave and then some time to install a shower and a decent kitchen, I might even be in there before the end of the summer. And I can’t say that I’ll be sorry.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I rented this apartment when I first came here 6 years ago so that I would have a base to look round and find somewhere in the neighbourhood that I liked. But I love this building, its situation and my neighbours so much that I had no desire to leave, so I stayed on as a tenant until something came available to buy at a price that I could afford

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that I was bemoaning the fact that I wouldn’t be able to have a lie-in this morning because even though it’s a Bank Holiday, I had the physiotherapist coming round.

But I needn’t have wasted my time complaining because when the alarm went off this morning at 07:30, I was already up and about.

In fact, I’d been awake since not long after 06:00 and I could have left the bed at any moment after that because trying to go back to sleep was a waste of time. But eventually I lifted myself up and out and set about today’s tasks.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages, I went to have a shower and get myself all nicely cleaned up

The physiotherapist had me running through my paces with the stuff that i’d bought last weekend. He thinks that I have bought stuff that is too powerful for me and that’s rather depressing news. Not because he thinks that I’ve wasted my money because he thinks that I can no longer mutt the custard, as Doctor Spooner would have said.

As kenneth Williams once famously said when the starring roles that he used to receive begn to run out “what you’re offering doesn’t stretch me. I’m used to enormous parts”. And that’s the same with me. I should be pushing myself onwards and upwards, not slowly sinking downwards. Neil Young once said “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” and that’s my philosophy too.

Back here after he had gone, that was when I noticed the catastrophe that was the hot cross buns. And so the rest of the morning was spent making half a dozen of those to keep me going over Easter.

In between while the dough was doing its stuff I was changing the bedding so that I’ll have a nice, clean comfortable bed to sleep in tonight, the first time for a while, and also having a very long chat that went on throughout the day on and off with Liz.

This afternoon I finished off the French Revolution stuff and I’m now well advanced on my space exploration theme, although bearing in mind the different time zones it’s likely that I’ll have to settle for the 20th July as being the date recognised as that of the first landing on the moon which won’t come round on a Friday for several years.

There have also been chats with Alison on the internet and Rosemary on the phone and also with a neighbour who invited me round for a coffee on Monday. I have been in demand today.

In between all of this I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. This first bit was another dream where I’d forgotten most of it. There was some kind of celebration to take place for D-Day that involved travelling on an aeroplane. We were going to fly over all these places that figured prominently in the early days of the battle on the anniversary of these events. I boarded the aeroplane but unbeknown to me one of my rabbits had boarded too. I didn’t find out until we were in the air. I had to scavenge round for something to keep them in. When we landed and were at people’s houses I had to find someone who had a cage that I could borrow so that I could put a rabbit in that so it would be much safer to carry. But there was much, much more to it than this but I just can’t remember it.

And then I was in an office. Someone wanted to make his room less affected by direct sunlight. he asked my advice whether he should paint one of his windows over in black. I suggested that he did it white in a nice stripy arrangement. He wondered what I meant by that. I explained that you take a wide brush and just go across from left to right and right to left but only one way. Do all the brushstrokes the same way. He went off so I had a quick look in later on. It looked quite nice what he’d done. Then I had to go to see the boss. I couldn’t think of a good excuse to go to see him. I went in and thought for a minute. I said “I’m thinking of applying for a holiday”. He asked why so I told him that I had a Cortina that I wanted to take out the engine and gearbox to put a different engine and gearbox in. That would involve a little work. It was aon old MkIII Cortina estate that needed much more work than that but that was what I said to him. We had a little chat about it and I left without agreeing anything conclusive. Then I found myself trying to work out someone’s income tax. Some guy’s wife was a teacher somewhere in the Three Bridges Council area. And when I was dictating these notes I realised that i’d been working it out wrongly in my sleep. I was taking away his wife’s income from his instead of adding it on. I can’t understand why I did that.

Tea tonight was a salad and some of those veggie balls from out of the freezer. I was intending to have chips with it but my bag of potatoes is mostly full of potatoes that are too small so I chopped them into small squares to make little baby roast potatoes.

To prepare them, I mixed them with some oil and herbs in a pyrex bowl and then tipped them into that little metal colander that I’d bought the other week. The holes in the colander let the hot air percolate through much better and cooked them to perfection.

It was a really nice tea and I’ll do the same with the potatoes tomorrow with my breaded quorn fillets

So in a moment I’ll be off to bed. It’s early but I’m going shopping tomorrow. In principle I feel as if I ought to be going without my crutches but that’s being rather optimistic. I’ll take one with me, I reckon, to see how I do.

One thing that I want to buy is a soya yoghurt. I found a recipe for making naam bread while I was wandering around and I wonder what that would be like done in the air fryer to eat with my leftover curry.

Another thing that I can but is some more frozen food now that there’s some space in the freezer. What a calamity that was about those hot cross buns, but every cloud has a silver lining, I suppose.

Wednesday 5th April 2023 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

… misery and depression that’s been about for the last couple of days, today was a much better day as far as I was concerned and I actually managed to do some work today.

Not that you would have thought so after last night because it was another miserable night where I couldn’t go off to sleep and when I did I awoke at 03:20 and then couldn’t go back to sleep again for what seemed like for ever

Mind you, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I actually was asleep and it was a battle to raise myself from the dead before the second alarm went off.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I actually made a start on doing some work and that’s not like me these days, is it?

But by the time that lunchtime came round I’d written all of the notes for one of the radio programmes that I was intending to do today. Not exactly going flat-out, I have to say, but slowly keeping on going regardless.

First task though was to make up a playlist of albums from which I’ll be selecting the next batch of music. I used to do this every week but I haven’t actually updated anything since before I went to Canada. I’ve been letting myself go somewhat.

Another thing was to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I’m running low on some medication. I can go to see him on Wednesday morning next week at 10:00. I also need a pot to give a urine sample for the laboratory to analyse and the nurse will be taking it away with the blood test that he will come to do on Thursday morning next week.

So he’ll be taking the p*** then.

Lunch came round rather quicker than I was expecting, but I called a halt to my progress in order to have a shower and to do some tidying up. What with the cleaner coming, I have to make both myself and the apartment look presentable.

While she was here doing her stuff, I was making a start on the text for the next radio programme and talking to a neighbour on the internet. She was supposed to be coming home tomorrow but she finds herself stranded in Paris due to industrial action.

Several people have asked me why it is that the French are so upset about having their retirement age raised from 62 to 64 when for the UK the retirement age was raised from 65 to 67. Why do the French have it easier than the Brits?

The answer is that when the French are upset they go out to do something positive about it. The Brits just roll over and take it and, if they feel particularly incensed, they get up a petition, just like we did at Primary School.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I used to work for a pan-National Organisation that was inundated with petitions. The net result of all of these petitions was that our annual bill for toilet paper was zero.

And apparently I’m also in someone’s bad books. As soon as the apartment downstairs went up for sale, I was given the wink and the deal was all done and dusted within a matter of a couple of weeks. And I kept silent about it until I’d signed the commitment to purchase.

Now the news is spreading around the building that I’ve bought it, and someone else is bitterly upset because no-one told him or her that there was an apartment for sale and they were just as desperate as me to buy an apartment here.

So we have a very unhappy bunny somewhere in the building. And I have to say that I’m not sorry.

After the cleaner left I made some delicious hot chocolate and then had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. At some point during the night I was defrosting the freezer. I can’t remember who I was with now but it was a very long rambling dream again. One of the things that we were doing was dealing with the frozen food. We were having a lot of trouble fitting it all into the drawers. The girl said that we ought to defrost the freezer. I was certain that it didn’t need it because it wasn’t iced. But when I looked again it was so iced that all of the frozen ice blocks in there were all being pushed out. We ended up taking out everything and starting to repack it. But instead of there being ice blocks they were now like flexible containers like these heat bags. trying to squeeze them into the confined space because the shelves were so small was as if this freezer bag was taking up more than half the place inside with the equivalent of a vacuum flask meaning that there was very little room if any left for the frozen food. I was sitting there scratching my head about how this could possibly be. It certainly wasn’t like that when we’d started and the freezer wasn’t like that before. I was as if it had undergone a metamorphosis

Did I dictate the dream about going off to Canada with a few of my friends? … “no you didn’t” – ed … We wandered around New England for a couple of weeks without having much time to do very much. When we came back two other of my friends had gone away. They’d also gone to the USA. We set about changing the house round. We stripped out the kitchen and had a new window somewhere and had the old window from there in one of the current window frames, put some furniture in one of the bedrooms. When they came back I showed them around. They were very impressed with what we’d done. I went to bed but I didn’t really go to sleep. Whoever was there with me got up and went. I ended up getting up and going for a walk around. On the way back was a really steep hill that you actually had to climb. There was another woman climbing this hill. She couldn’t quite see how to get over the top. I explained that it was a case of having to climb up the fence, over it and then down again on the other side. She wasn’t willing to do that so she went. I managed to climb up that last bit and over the fence and on to the other side.

And I wish that I could remember who these girls are who keep on featuring in my dreams and then disappearing before I can put names to them. That’s really disappointing.

Rosemary rang me up later on and we had another marathon chat. We were talking about cruises and in particular one that is setting sail in November for three years, 300 ports and 137 countries. Three years at sea would suit me fine – after all, I’ve been all at sea for most of my life – but I draw the line at finding $158,000.

Nevertheless it would be interesting to find out more about it.

Tea tonight was another delicious leftover curry, and now there’s a little room in the fridge.

There will be some room in the freezer tomorrow too because I’m going to take out a couple of the drawers, empty them and then clean and repair them. That’ll give me an opportunity to see what’s in them and work out a plan about reducing the contents of the freezer.

There’s far too much old stuff in there that I don’t know that I have. I need to sort it out and use it before something drastic happens to it.

But that’s for tomorrow. Right now, even though it’s early, I’m off to bed. I reckon that I’ve earned it. I certainly deserve it.

Saturday 11th March 2023 – THIS AFTERNOON I …

… had a go at manipulating the shopping trolley that I bought a few months ago on my return from hospital.

When I was at the shops this morning I bought quite a bit of stuff and although I managed to bring some stuff (the important, cool and frozen stuff) up with me, the rest was left behind for another time.

But feeling the need for a little exercise I went downstairs with the shopping trolley, loaded it up and brought it all back upstairs. It wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been, particularly the final couple of steps up to my front door, but probably a little easier than making two or three trips up and down stairs. It’s something that I’ll have to develop for the next time.

The next time that I go to bed, I’ll be spending much more time in there because it’s Sunday. I would have been happy to have spent much more time in bed this morning because when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was stark out.

Not exactly stark out because I was off on my travels. I was busy coming round to the conclusion that I had to sell off my taxi business and empty my storage lockers of car bits etc and make a start on making an inventory. There was so much stuff that it would take for ever. The idea was that I’d go up to the storage unit every day, bring home some stuff that I’d put on an on-line auction somewhere and move the stuff on like that. I was just getting into it when the alarm went off and awoke me.

After the medication and organising myself I bunged a load of washing into the machine and then headed out for the shops.

And at Noz I had a little bit of luck. The physiotherapist had told me that I need to invent some weights, like plastic bags with sand in, to use as an exercise barbell on my foot to practise raising my legs when I’m sitting down. And there at Noz was a shelf full of proper 2kg weights at €3:50 each. A bit of string and I’m a la maison et sec as they say around here.

There were a couple of extra things in LeClerc that I bought over and above the usual stuff. Sean had suggested (thank you, Sean) that a pyrex bowl would work nicely in my air fryer so I had a rummage around in the kitchenware department and managed to find one that would fit.

It’s a good job that I went over there too because I managed to pick up something else important. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or so ago I managed to find a real and proper cake tin for baking. While I was there today they had some half-size ones that would be ideal for making smaller cakes.

Cake tins are, for some reason that I haven’t understood, extremely rare in France. They don’t seem to use them as often as they might do anywhere else, so grabbing one while the grabbing was good was a good plan.

So what with the silicon mould that I bought the other week I’m slowly getting myself organised ready for when I once finally have a decent kitchen and oven to go with it.

Back here I put away the food that i’d brought up, hung up the washing and then made myself some toast and coffee and had a nice relaxing breakfast. And then, rather regrettably, I crashed out. And for an hour too. It really was quite awkward.

First thing this afternoon (after I’d eaten a plate of fruit) was to listen to the dictaphone because there was some stuff on it from the night. There was a group of us studying some subject or other, 8 in total, and we were going to take an exam. We all met up at our tutor’s apartment in the morning to make sure that we had anything. She gave us a quick test and although I was feeling pretty depressed about this particular exam I found to my surprise that in this quick oral test I seemed to do ok at it. We set out and came eventually to the building where we should be, up several flights of steps. 6 of the people disappeared. Whether they went in a lift or something I don’t know but I went with someone else up the stairs. The other guy with me ran out of steam halfway through and had to stop. He told me to go on to say that I was there. I entered the teacher’s apartment and said “hello! We’re the Jackson 5, or Jackson 8 in reality!”. Everyone else turned up at this point. We started to take our place at the table. I could see in the distance some kind of dog. I made a nice friendly gesture to it so it came over to sit by me. I began to talk to it and it began to do little tricks with its paws like if I asked it to do something it would hold up a paw.

And then there was a programme on the radio (which of course there wasn’t). After it finished (which of course it didn’t) I ended up dreaming about it in my dream. It concerned a drug-smuggling ring of quite ordinary people led by some woman who was no-one in particular, an old poor type of working class woman from the East End of London who was in fact a tie salesman and who kept a Public Convenience clean. There was a false panel in this Convenience where drugs were deposited. People would come along and remove drugs for their own use if they knew the secret. There were these 2 people hot on the trail of this. This radio programme went on for hours just like a Paul Temple series until right at the end when all the pieces fell into place and this secret panel with the drugs was found.

All exciting stuff again.

The rest of the day has been spent working on the radio stuff. I was making ready to dictate the stuff that I’d already written but then I had a different idea. I ought to be shuffling the pack and changing things around so that they don’t sound all the same.

Every now and again I do something special depending on whatever falls on a Friday and so far we’ve had a Brexit programme, an Armistice Day programme and a Jeff Beck tribute programme to name but three, and there’s another special day coming up on a Friday quite soon. That’s another cue to do something special so I had to sort out a pile of music.

That meant tracking down the soundtrack archives for a certain album that can’t be any more obscure than it is. One that not only did Jimi Hendrix play on but one that he produced as well, and there aren’t many of those.

It took some tracking down as well but I finally managed to find a decent copy. And then I had to cut it and edit it.

When I went down to Caliburn for the rest of the shopping, as I mentioned earlier, I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a good chat. It seems that I’m flavour of the month around here right now.

For tea tonight I put Sean’s idea to work and tried the pyrex bowl with some diced potatoes, a sprinkling of olive oil and some mint and rosemary in the air fryer. It worked to perfection and I’m really impressed with that idea so thanks again. They went down really well with a salad and one of those breadcrumbed quorn slices that I like very much.

So right now I’m still waiting for the music to finish off what it’s doing and then I’m going to bed. I’m going to have a lie-in tomorrow as usual but I want to break the back of this special radio programme so that I don’t have it all to do on Monday.

In fact on Monday I should be in Leuven at the hospital for these heart issues but there’s not much point in going and being passed around from pillar to post again. I wrote to them at the end of December, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, to complain about the situation and to ask them to get themselves together but they never replied to me. I’m not going all that way to undergo the same tests that I had a year ago and finish up with the same results.

Friday 17th February 2023 – CALIBURN AND I …

… went to LIDL this afternoon to do our shopping for the forthcoming week.

And I only had to show Caliburn the ignition key and he fired up. having a new started fitted was obviously a good move.

Having said that, I wish that I was as lively as Caliburn was this morning. I had another bad, restless night tossing and turning with a real struggle once more to haul myself out of the bed before the second alarm went off. I’d have been quite happy to stay in bed for the rest of the day.

Neverthless, despite the bad night, there was plenty of time somewhere or other to go off on a few perambulations. I started off at a girls’ boarding school, something that would have been a wonderful opportunity 50 years ago, and there was something going on in Shavington in respect of the girls who attended. A little later on I was doing something at the school and had to make a report on the girls. One particular girl hadn’t made a very good start. She wasn’t really serious, rather light-headed, wouldn’t concentrate, rather silly. In the end I had to talk to her about it. I read out the report that I’d made on her. I asked her if she was happy about me sending off this report with the consequences that would lead from it. It was possible that the school wouldn’t keep her on. She would have to go back to a State school or was she going to show me how hard she worked and knuckle down to earn a better report based on the trust that I was going to place in her to do it? Interestingly, when I was reading out these reports to the girls concerned it was done in public, not in private. That was strange.

Later on I was back at school again. There was something happening this time about the headmaster. It involved climbing up the stairs all the way to the top. There were 32 floors up which you had to climb by stairs and then probably another 100 or so stairs that led to a pinnacle. I’d climbed up there once but didn’t really want to ever have to do it again. Something happened that led to these girls starting to climb up the stairs. This led to a race. Some of the older boys were racing up the stairs trying to go past me. I was trying to do everything that I could to prevent them going past and at the same time catching up with these girls. We reached the top on the 32nd floor where there was a huge marble block which everyone thought was the headmaster’s tomb, I suppose. Someone said that they’d moved this from the gym, but no, the one in the gym was smaller etc. Then it came to climbing up these 100 stairs right to the very top of the pinnacle-thing. I didn’t feel at all like doing it for one reason or another, almost as if I was scared of heights but I was here and there was only that much to do. Surely I wasn’t going to let this thing fall to the ground for the sake of just 100 steps whether I was having this fear of heights or not.

But then I’m not sure what this next one was all about but it was something to do with animals. I used to give all the animals free meals for some reason or other that I don’t know now.

Everything then descended into complete and utter chaos. I had to go round to this family, a strange family. All kinds of stuff was going on there. Basically the kids were out of control and up to all kinds of mischief creating all kinds of problems for visitors including me. When their parents came home they were absolutely furious and gave a whole list of tasks that the kids to do in order to tidy up the mess that they had made while their parents were out. A lot of that included my stuff that they had somehow managed to mess up. The thing that disappointed me most though was that I’d said a few things that hadn’t happened, simply to underline the issues and they were ordered immediately to deal with those things. How they were going to do that I really didn’t know. They’d had my car in a real dirty state. It turned out that the parents had only ordered them to clean the driver’s window and the front windscreen. I made a silly remark that “that’s a shame because I was hoping to have my car valeted here today” which didn’t go down well. It was the wrong thing to say in the wrong circumstances.

Finally, we’d been to a hotel in Canada somewhere. My cousin from Ottawa was there, a third person and I, but I can’t remember who. My cousin had been asking all kinds of strange questions that I didn’t quite understand. Then we had to go home as my cousin had something urgent to do. We set off to walk and it was raining. The subject of diplomas came up. I told her that if ever I had my life to live over again I’d be a plumber or an electrician etc because of all the difficulties that people were having, having things done like that. You’ll always find work if you’re a plumber or an electrician. You’ll never really want for anything.

After I’d had the medication and checked my mails and messages the first thing that I did was to send off the third instalment of my payment for the apartment downstairs. This stupid system of having miserable daily limits is an awful lot of effort but that’s what comes with having to bank with a bank that has in my opinion on several occasions sunk into the deepest depths of incompetency.

But at least it’s a way of transferring the money and I have the receipts to prove it. I have to grin and bear it. There are other ways to transfer the money as I have found out,, but the delay in creating accounts, sending off documentation and all of that would mean that I would run an awful risk of being too late with the payments and I don’t want that to happen under any circumstances. I’m determined to complete this purchase as quickly as possible.

For the rest of the day i’ve been chatting on the internet to a neighbour and writing out the notes for the next series of radio programmes. Not that i’ve put a great deal of effort into that, drifting in and out from other things of not very much importance. There aren’t too many notes to finish now so I’ll do them tomorrow and then dictate them. Try to get ahead of where I’m supposed to be.

At LIDL this afternoon I had a very interesting chat about genetics with some woman on the car park. It’s quite rare to find someone interesting these days, especially on the car park at LIDL.

In the shop itself I bought what I need for the next week and then headed for home. I bumped into my cleaner on the car park here and she helped me carry my stuff upstairs. It saves me a couple of journeys anyway.

But in the town, it’s already heaving with people. The funfair is up and running and there are caravanettes just about everywhere. Almost all of the temporary camping pitches are taken already. I suppose that after several years of absence, people are determined to make up for lost time at Carnaval.

Rumour on the grapevine is that they are expecting 100,000 people here for the next few days and in a town of 13,000 people that’s an awful lot.

Tea tonight was veggie balls and chips with a delicious salad. My air fryer is working wonders with the chips and veggie balls and I’m glad that I bought it. But I really ought to try to do more with it. Baking the bread the other day seemed to do some good and I’ll have another go at that.

Tomorrow there’s football on the internet. A bottom-of-the-table clash between Pontypridd United and Aberystwyth Town. It’s a real 6-pointer with the winners clawing themselves out of the relegation places.

Airbus UK Broughton are already down, I suppose, hopelessly adrift at the foot of the table and on target for the lowest points total ever recorded in the Welsh Premier League but there’s all to play for in the other relegation place as three or four clubs fight to avoid the drop. I reckon that Y Fflint and Caernarfon have too much in the tank to be sucked in but the others will have to slug it out.

So in between that I’ll deal with the radio notes and a few other bits and pieces so that I really can have a day off on Sunday and not do very much. There isn’t even any baking that needs doing. Perhaps I might go out for a walk but I don’t want to be swept away by the hordes of Carnavalers while I’m trying to balance on my crutches.

That won’t be very pleasant.

Thursday 16th February 2023 – THE PHYSIOTHERAPIST …

… came round much earlier than planned, and much earlier than I expected. In fact, when he entered the apartment I was actually crashed out on the chair in here and it took me a good few minutes to gather my wits.

What might have been the cause of that was that I’d had another bad night – and to such an extent that when the alarm went off, for the first time for several weeks I had a great deal of difficulty in hauling myself out of bed. Although I did manage to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm went off, it was rather touch-and-go.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages, I had a good chat with Liz. It’s been a good few days since we’ve had a decent chat and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night, which might explain how I was feeling in the morning. I started off last night back in Crewe driving taxis. I had to work out some song lyrics for the people who had bought our house in Davenport Avenue and were running a taxi business from there. I did it and I must have gone round there 4 or 5 times until I finally found a woman who was in. She had a baby in a pushchair and was pushing it down the drive on the way out. I gave her the lyrics. As I was leaving she said that she didn’t fancy being in our shoes because she’d seen the insurance renewals for our 2 vehicles which worked out at about £2000 each. I asked her how much insurance she paid on her taxi but she didn’t seem very willing to tell me the answer. I began to suspect that maybe she didn’t have insurance and it was all window-dressing on their behalf.

And then I was at one of the cross-Channel ferry ports. I’d just arrived by train to take a boat across the Channel but I was so mesmerised by how beautiful the railway station and surroundings were that I had a walk around. And then I had to run like hell to reach the ferry terminal in time to catch my ‘plane – or do I mean “boat”? – or else I’d miss it and the next one wasn’t going to be for several hours yet

Later on I was back in this dream about ferries, Someone suddenly awoke and found someone standing by their bed staring at them. It took a few minutes to persuade them to go back to their own bed and go to sleep. But as a result this person overslept and was late for his ferry so he had to prepare everything and run for his ferry terminal in quite a rush in the hope that he’d still be on time to catch the ferry that he intended to catch.

Finally I was with Zero’s father again last night. We were wandering around a field and ended up climbing on top of a brick bunker that was there. Before that I was round at his house folding up some bedding to put in a drawer. Someone came in and asked if he was there. I said that they had better check with his good lady, meaning his wife of course. He went into the kitchen and sure enough he was there. They had a chat and the 3 of us went out into this field. He and I were standing on this bunker when he suddenly got off. First of all a 2-stroke Citroen Ami pulled up inside this field. It was on bogies rather than on wheels, like some Bo-Bo bogies. This field was actually part of an old railway marshalling sidings at the bottom of Ash Bank in Hanley, all abandoned and overgrown. That drove around for a while and then drove off. Another car came in, like an old Opel Ascona. It was somehow very high off the ground and making an awful noise like one of these boy racer things. When I came to get off the top of the bunker I found that the bunker had risen by several feet and I couldn’t jump off. I had to scramble around. In the end I found a wall that I could scramble down onto the ground. The climb back up to the field was steep. I couldn’t really climb up there without falling. Of course this made the other guy laugh to which I basically replied something like “it serves you all right for not waiting for me”.

But here we are again and no Zero to be found anywhere. How disappointing is that?

Much of the day has been spent in a desultory fashion doing the pairing of the music for the second of the radio programmes and then making a start on writing out the notes for them. I’ve not gone very far with that but then again I wasn’t really in so much of a rush.

There was a major interruption when one of my neighbours rang my bell because she had locked herself out of the building. We ended up having a lengthy chat in the corridor because I haven’t seen her for ages and I wanted to find out who it was who installed her shower because if I can’t find a casual tradesman to do install a shower in my new place I shall have to engage a company to do the work.

There were other things too that I have done but apart from transferring over the second instalment of the money that I need to transfer over (and this is going to be a lengthy and complicated business that will take a couple of weeks).

The physiotherapist put me though my paces and showed me a couple more exercises that I need to follow. I don’t know how I’m going to find the time to do them all at the rate that he wants me to do them.

It was a good job that I’d had a shower earlier than usual otherwise I would have been rather embarrassed (even more than I was by being asleep) by his early arrival. However, while we’re on the subject of showers … “well, one of us is” – ed … getting into the bath for my shower is certainly much easier these days than it was a couple of months ago when I returned from the hospital and couldn’t hardly walk anywhere at all. I really don’t know how I made it home from Leuven. That was horrible.

Tea, on the other hand, was quite nice. A simple vegan burger with pasta and veg cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. It doesn’t do any harm to have something uncomplicated every now and again, especially as I have a fridge full of vegan burgers. At one time LIDL had a run of cheap vegan burgers and I stocked up because like most LIDL special ranges, they go out of fashion and out of stock quite quickly.

Tomorrow I’m going to take Caliburn to LIDL and do some shopping. With Carnaval getting underway at the weekend, the town is going to be jam-packed with people and moving around will be impossible for a week or so, so I want to make sure that I have everything that I need so that I don’t need to go out anywhere.

Fighting my way on my crutches through the crowds is not going to be very pleasant

Friday 10th February 2023 – WHAT A WONDERFUL …

… tea that was tonight. Burger on a bap with salad and a pile of chips cooked to perfection in the air fryer. I’m really pleased with my air fryer, that’s for sure, and I ought to explore a few more of its capabilities if it’s going to cook stuff as well as it did my chips and, when I added it to the pot, my burger.

And the salad was delicious too. That’s an excellent plan and makes my meals much more exciting.

But I wasn’t very pleased though with last night. I went to bed at a reasonable time but didn’t go off to sleep for ages. I’ve no idea how long I spent tossing and turning because I was afraid to tempt fate by looking. But it seemed like an age.

There was plenty of time though nevertheless to go off on my travels. And I clocked up some distance too. A former friend of mine had bought a Hillman Hunter and wanted it delivering to his house so I said that I would go to do it. I went into Stoke on Trent to find this car and started to push it towards his house. It was comparatively easy to do that, much easier than I thought it would be, especially up the hill. I had to push it on the kerb, the pavement, not on the road which was fine in some places but in others the grass was extremely long. There was that much dirt on the pavement that at some times I had to dig out the pavement and the side of the road so I could keep on pushing the car up the hill. This went on for ages and ages. It was dark and going into the small hours of the following morning. There were one or two people around, someone in an old MkI Cortina with no headlights driving down the hill practising his rallying. Eventually I got to where he was living, in a motel. Pushing the car down the corridor became quite easy. There was a girl there whom at first I thought was Zero but it wasn’t – she was a couple of years older than her. I said “hello” to her anyway. Just as I reached his front door which was of course where I might have expected to find Zero, I suddenly awoke bolt-upright.

And then we were living next door to him. We had an electric car. The gap between our houses was fitted up with a charging cable. It was a split charging cable with different wires coming out of it so if you had a car there to charge up you had to connect up these 8 wires separately. We were out there and a young schoolgirl went past, I don’t know why. Back inside we could hear him and his wife arguing about something or other. I thought “here I am, wide awake in various places and this is another occasion where I’m close to getting to see Zero again but I haven’t actually seen her”. It’s strange that I thought that in my dream because there have been a few times (including a little earlier this evening) where I’ve been on the point of meeting her in a dream and I’ve awoken suddenly. My subconscious is clearly trying to tell me something, and I wish that I knew what it was.

Did I dictate the story about the car rally that we organised? … “No you didn’t” – ed. Once everyone from the office had taken off, we headed off back home to pick up a few things. We encountered a couple of cars on the way back just as we were pulling into our drive. They were looking for something or other in the vicinity. We had a chat with them and gave them a little clue about one of the clues which was going to be difficult if they didn’t stop and think clearly. The guy who always seemed to run the office seemed to be the bossy type even went to the police station to try to persuade them to let him speak to a prisoner in there who had been involved in a car accident earlier that day. He was of the opinion that the clue involving this ironing board was something to do with him and his accident.

Finally, we’d gone skiing to this mountain. When we reached the top, instead of skiing down there was like an escalator covered in snow that took you back down to the bottom of the hill again. Although I was not able physically to ski, I was still bewildered by everyone else going down the hill on this escalator and not actually skiing down. There was someone in a wheelchair whom I thought was brave to reach the top of the mountain anyway and come back down again but I still couldn’t understand why there would be this escalator when all you had to do was to ski down to the bottom. And it’s interesting to see that my mobility issues are now featuring in my nocturnal rambles.

Much of the day has been spent in some kind of desultory fashion writing the notes for my next couple of radio shows. I’ve not been in much of a rush to do it and there have been plenty of distractions along the way. Consequently there are still some to write out before I can dictate them.

But I’ve been having a little think about my radio programmes and how I can change them to make them better (or, at any rate, different) and I have a cunning plan about that on which I’m working in my spare time, whenever that might be.

This afternoon I went into town on the bus. I had some medication to collect from the pharmacy and then there was a little bit of shopping to pick up.

Not all of the medication was there so they had to order it for me and I have to go to pick it up tomorrow. That should be interesting with a bus strike so I’ve been thinking that I might actually try to walk down there on my crutches and hope that one of the few buses running tomorrow might bring me back.

It should be an interesting trip, especially if there are no buses back, and one thing is for sure, and that is that I won’t be trying it with just one crutch. I’ll persevere with two for now and see how I feel after a few more weeks.

What made me think about it was that I actually managed to stride out something like rapidly (or what passes for “rapidly” these days) and I covered a lot of ground at a reasonable turn of speed. I need to keep on pushing myself forward.

When I came back I bumped into yet another neighbour and we had yet another chat. I seem to be quite popular for the moment and I don’t know why.

After my delicious tea I came back in here and promptly fell asleep for half an hour. All of this walking is wearing me out and I imagine that if I do go into town tomorrow on foot, I’ll live to regret that as well.

And so I’d better go and try to have a decent sleep. I certainly need it. And who knows? I might even finally get to meet Zero.

Thursday 9th February 2023 – CALIBURN IS BACK AGAIN …

… and with a Controle Technique certificate too, which has cheered me up. And seeing as he now seems to start properly whenever I want him to start, it looks as if I’m back on the road again.

Mind you, climbing into the cab is a real issue If I’m at street level when I need to climb in, it’s extremely difficult. I need to find a kerb against which I can park so that I can climb in easier and at LeClerc the kerbs are quite high and it’s a struggle to climb up that high.

One thing that I do have to remember is to exit with my left leg first. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I tried to exit Caliburn the other day “right leg first”, the leg collapsed underneath me and decanted me onto the floor.

But there’s a strange phenomenon going on with my legs right now. For the last couple of weeks I noticed that when I awaken in the morning parts of my legs and feet are quite numb. I wonder if it’s because I’ve been lying on a trapped nerve.

And so it was this morning. And apart from that it was another night of going to bed early, falling asleep early and then waking up and tossing and turning for a while. I was actually awake before the alarm went off at 07:30 and had I exerted myself I could have left the bed. But that was too much to hope for.

But when I did leave the bed,, I had my medication and then checked my mails and messages before wandering off for a shower. And climbing into the bath for my shower was the easiest that it’s been since I came back. This physiotherapy seems to be working.

Although the Controle Technique was arranged for 11:45 I went out quite a bit earlier than that. With not going far these days I was worried about how Caliburn would get on with the pollution test so I took him for a good run – several laps around the dual-carriageway by-pass to get him nice and hot

Anyway, he sailed through with no issues.

Armed with a valid certificate I went to fuel up and then for a good shop at LeClerc. There wasn’t a great deal that I needed but nevertheless I still ran up quite a bill. I’d bought plenty of frozen veg and some more carrots so after I’d brought up most things from Caliburn and had some food and coffee I peeled, blanched and froze 1.5 kilos of carrots. That will keep me going for a while now.

After all of that I fell asleep and was awoken by the physiotherapist who came round earlier than usual. He had me walking around the apartment with just one crutch and wants me to practice that for the next few days until our session on Tuesday next week. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s been a day of interaction too. Apart from having lengthy chats with customers at the garage, I met a neighbour as I arrived home and she kept me chatting at the door for a while. And then another neighbour had a good talk with me as well. If that wasn’t enough, the people with whom I’ve been trying to arrange this money transfer rang up to tell me that they now have everything that they need. And that’s good news.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night and that needed transcribing. I was with 2 girls last night. They had some kind of cupboard and were hanging up something in front of it like a system of chains etc to make it look attractive. It was obviously a project that was doomed because they couldn’t make anything hang horizontally. The wire that they were using wasn’t strong enough. Instead of pulling on the metal tubes that were supporting it, the tubes were pulling the wire and going all out of shape. Nothing was in the vertical. They were having to do all kinds of tricks to try to make these wires go vertically but the more tricks they did on it the worse it became. I had a feeling that this was going to be a project that was doomed to fail from the start. Sooner or later they would realise it but I gave them a hand just the same.

There was also something of which I had a vague recollection was taking place in a Prisoner of War camp where there was some kind of committee that was set up to investigate infractions against the prisoners who broke the camp rules or to investigate possible escape attempts etc. This committee wasn’t very successful. There was a feeling going round that the Germans had infiltrated a couple of people into the camp to serve on the committee and sabotage the work of the prisoners while they were there but I can’t remember very much at all about this.

And then there was me, a young girl and a rather large woman trying to lift an enormous suitcase into the back of an estate car. The young girl was at the front trying to do the lifting and we were at the back trying to push. It was very difficult to make it fit so I suggested that seeing as it was the other lady’s possessions she shoudl go to the front because she would be much better able to lift it. She could decide how in, what articles could be squashed and what couldn’t. For some reason the girl was reluctant to relinquish her position at the front of this line even though she was having an extreme amount of difficulty actually doing anything there.

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce. Nothing particularly exciting but I am allowed to have a boring meal here and there every now and again.

Having fallen asleep already this evening I finished off typing out my notes for the day and now I’m off to bed. I have to go into town tomorrow on the bus and pick up some medication and my fresh mushrooms and peppers. I didn’t want to buy them today because the later I leave it, the longer they will keep.

But despite what the physiotherapist says, I’m not going down there with just one crutch. I’ll keep on using both when I’m out and about until I’m confident about it all. It’s not going to be something that will happen overnight.

Thursday 26th January 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… quiet day today where I haven’t done all that much at all.

But it’s not been without interest. The physiotherapist has had me walking up and down the stairs here this afternoon, but leading with my left foot down and right leg up rather than the other way around. At first it was quite difficult but it didn’t take long to ease off. That’s one of the new exercises that I have to do now with effect from today.

And to my surprise, these exercises seem to be working. I was able to get into the bath for my shower and out again without too many problems. It’s still not 100% of course – far from it – but a vast improvement on the almost-impossible struggle that I had the first time that I tried it 6 weeks ago.

But as I said, it’s going to be a long, hard road.

Getting out of bed this morning was a long, hard road. Not helped in the least by still being up and about at 00:30 this morning. And so I was a little late getting out of bed this morning.

Plenty of time to go off on my travels last night though. I was watching a film on the TV. It was a medieval film about a castle on the coast of England somewhere on the south-east where the knights in armour were occupying it. There was a danger of an invasion so the Lord was rallying his troops to do they best they could in case this invasion took place. One of the visiting knights had fallen in love with a girl whose father was a labourer in the castle. He spent a lot of time talking to her. All of a sudden this castle moved to the borders of Wales. From a nearby church tower someoe fired an arrow into the castle. That was a signal for a siege of this castle to begin. Just then my brother came in. He’d been out somewhere. He wasn’t impressed at all with this film and started to fool around while it was on. He was firing a bow and arrow around the house while I was trying to watch the film. I told him to clear off but he took no notice. Then my parents came in. This wouldn’t be the kind of film that would interest them at all so I could see the TV being changed over to another channel and that would be that once they established themselves in the living room

A little later I was in my father’s place of work. He was working in the office. I’d been doing a few things and I had something to do that required me sitting at a desk. I went to sit on the empty desk next to him but found that there was a young boy already there doing some homework. He’d dated his homework the 12th of whatever month. I thought “he’s started early because that’s not for another week”. I suddenly realised that it was today. I was running so far behind. I tried to squeeze in at this table too but my father told me not to disturb the boy. I did my best to fit in. My father started to talk to me but I had a lot of problems trying to understand what he said. He said that he had a transistor radio from someone. at first I couldn’t work out who but then I realised the shop that he had been to. I said “that’s because you’ve spent a load of money I suppose”. He thought that that was what it might be. Then he started to talk about a night club he used to visit years ago which I thought was in Winsford. He was telling me that someone had asked him for directions to go there, some taxi operator. I couldn’t remember exactly where it was. Then he told me that it wasn’t in Winsford anyway. By this time my father and this boy had worked their way down this table to the end so there was no room for me to sit there. I was then trying to work out where I was going to sit down to do my work because there didn’t seem to be any other empty space.

I had also been round to a former friend’s – someone who has a connection with Zero – for some reason or other. He was talking about the bread that he’d made. It was really light and fluffy. He said that he’d left the flour to soak before he’d actually used it so I was intrigued. He took me into the kitchen to show me some dough that he had soaking in some plastic bags. For some unknown reason I came away from there with a brush cutter. To drive past to his house we’d driven from the north end of Stoke on Trent past Port Vale’s football ground then past Stoke City’s football ground to his house. I mentioned some nickname to do with the club. He was surprised to hear me say this. He didn’t realise that I knew what it was. For some reason he lent me his brush cutter. I couldn’t think of what to do with it. There was some fuel in it. I carried it away. One of the reasons why I’d gone round there – I found that not one of my cars had an MoT or tax these days. I’d had 2 run out last year and suddenly remembered that the 3rd ran out in March but it was now May. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do about that. I had this brush cutter and was back at the station. There was some kind of competition about getting on the last train. I had to cross over the bridge from the platform where I was up the steps and across the top to the other side then back down the other side and then come back again after a train has passed through. I headed that way towards the bridge, checked the signals to show that they were on green which meant that the train wasn’t coming for a while and crossed over. Then I was thinking about crossing back to catch this other train but I thought that that would drop me off in Altrincham and it would be a very long walk at some silly time of night back home where it’s much easier to catch the 1st train and forget about the train that’s going to be bringing me back. I ended up walking into the town from there to get on a bus but thought that with this brush cutter with fuel in it are they going to let me go on the bus?

So here we go again. Plenty of opportunities for my family to come along again and stick their oars into whatever I’m trying to do, and then being so close to Zero but yet so far. How could I get so close to you and still feel so far away as TOM PETTY SANG.

And while we’re on the subject – “One day you belonged to me. Next day I just wouldn’t know”. What does that remind you of? Yes, one day I’ll write those missing notes for those three days right at the beginning of September 2019.

So having dealt with the issues of the dictaphone I sat down and selected the music for the next batch of radio programmes. I’m working on the radio stuff on Thursday as well as Monday until I’ve build up my library of six months’ work.

Then I paired off the music for the next two programmes and made a start on writing the notes for them. It worked so well on Monday doing it like this that I thought that I’d try it again, although I’m hoping that it won’t be another 04:00 start.

In the middle of all of this I went for a shower. I have to be all clean and tidy and smell nice for the physiotherapist. And as I said, climbing into the bath for a shower was nothing like a difficult as it was when I first tried it after coming out of hospital

And climbing up and down the stairs, I bumped into a neighbour – the one who helped me so much in my plans to involve myself in that apartment downstairs. Having a mole on the inside track on the Residents’ Committee of the building enabled me to take several short-cuts that I would otherwise have been unwilling to take.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m convinced that Rosemary installed a camera in this apartment when she came to visit. I’d hardly sat down at my desk after the physiotherapist had gone and she called me up. We had another one of our marathon chats as she prepares for her Asian adventure in a couple of weeks’ time.

And how I wish that my health had been better otherwise I might have been tempted to climb aboard the ‘plane with her.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun with chips and a simple lettuce and tomato salad with vegan mayonnaise. It was delicious and I even now can still taste the mustard that I spread on the bun. Chips today means no chips tomorrow so I was wondering what to have for tea. And then I remembered the vegan sausage rolls in the freezer. They will go nicely with some baked potatoes.

So right now I’m going to bed. I might have a decent sleep tonight if I’m lucky, and then I have plenty of work to do. But my day will finish off with a visit to the specialist for my EMG – the electric tests on the nerves on my legs. And then I’ll have some news. Last time when I was there, it didn’t sound all that optimistic and the tests that he carried out seemed to confirm it. But who knows – something good might come of it.

Friday 20th January 2023 – THAT’S PUT SOMETHING …

… of a hole in my bank account this afternoon.

And that’s just the start of things too. It’ll get much worse than this over the course of the next couple of months.

But that’s for some other time. There are many more things that are much more important going on right now.

Like yet again, I had a lot of trouble struggling out of bed again. Not as late as it has been sometimes just recently, but later than I would have liked.

And I couldn’t hang around too long because I had a taxi coming for me. Thanks to the doctor who issued me with a travel voucher, I had a free taxi this morning to and from this nerve specialist person with whom I had an appointment.

He didn’t give me the electric examination that was organised – he was much more interested in testing my reflexes with some kind of vibrating tuning fork. And sure enough, while I could feel the vibrations in the left leg, I felt nothing at all in the right leg. He seems to think that a hospital intervention might be needed, and so he’s called me back next Friday evening for a full examination and he’ll write an appropriate report.

And, as you might expect, I don’t like the sound of this at all. However, if it means that I might actually be able to regain some of my mobility it might well be worth the suffering.

While I was waiting for my lift back home, one of my neighbours drove past. he stopped for a chat and later on sent me a copy of an interview that a friend of his had carried out with the late lamented David Crosby. That will come in handy for something or other.

Back here I had a nice strong coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. As for my first little voyage, you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

Later on Cardiff City had been relegated to the Welsh 2nd Division. They were playing at home for the 1st match so I went along to see. They had a new entrance to their front of the ground like an archway through into a park. We walked past there and round the top at the end of these houses then back down behind the houses to the pitch. It was basically being played on a public park that was full of timber that had been felled so the game was extremely bizarre watching them playing the ball and trying not to hit these piles of timber. I ended up chatting there to a guy who was telling me about everything that was wrong with Cardiff City and why they were relegated. He could see that they were pleying quite well but lacked any kind of enthusiasm. He said that it was something that the captain needed to organise to bring some enthusiasm and energy into the team.

And then I was in Lesotho of all places with an African guy who was driving some kind of small lorry. We were driving through this mountain pass and came to a small village. There was a policeman there who stepped out in front and stopped the vehicle. It turned out that he only had a 5-figure number on his vehicle which meant that it hadn’t had an overhaul in 5 years so the policeman decided to examine it. I was intrigued by this situation never having seen this kind of thing before. I was asking the policeman all kinds of information about what he was doing and the reasons. Eventually he waved on this guy to drive and I followed on behind on foot. As we came close to a big city I lost him in the traffic. I ended up walking into the centre of town through these parks etc trying to check my internet. One thing that I wanted to do was to log in while I was here so that everyone would know where I was but for some unknown reason the logging-in system on the mobile phone wasn’t working. Apparenty I read somewhere that not every country had adopted this system, which was probably why. Lesotho was one of them. I had to just wander around to try to find a quiet place where I wouldn’t be overlooked and disturbed and have a think about how I was going to do this.

This afternoon I had to go into town. The Belgian Government pays my Belgian Old-Age pension by cheque. And although it might only be €34:00 per month, it’s still something that I can spend and one of the cheques was about to run out of time. Luckily, the bus stops right outside my door here so I don’t have to walk far at all to catch it once I can get downstairs.

The walk at the other end though is quite long and I was interested to see how I would manage on my crutches. It was slow and laborious but I made it in the end and I paid in my cheques. So spend! Spend! Spend!

On the way, I bumped into the homeless guy who wanders around the town and we had a good chat. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen him so we had a lot of things to say to each other.

But back at the bank, I had another reason to be there. I have a project on the go at the moment as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and this is the moment to put my hand in my pocket. And how long do you think that it takes to transfer money from my savings account to my current account and then to make a bank transfer?

Back here at home on the internet I could do it in a couple of minutes but there’s a delay of a few days if I do that. The transfer needs to be done “on the spot” and done correctly too so I wanted the bank to do it and it took over an hour. And then the bank clerk forgot to give me back my card.

Once I’d recovered my card I went to the Carrefour in the town and did a bit of shopping. Mushrooms for the pizza and the stuffing, some salad and a couple of other things. Much as I would like to buy more, I can’t actually carry it. And if I take my wheeled trolley I can’t use my crutches so I can’t walk very well.

With having been so long at the bank I had a long wait at the bus stop for the bus back home. It was crowded too but I found a seat so I had a comfortable ride.

Back here I made a hot chocolate and then regrettably I crashed out – and for quite a while too. The walk to the bank must have worn me out but at least I have one less thing to worry about.

Tea tonight was my sausage, beans and chips and it was delicious. I really do like my air fryer although I feel that I ought to be doing more with it than I actually do. I shall have to find a recipe book from somewhere to see what vegan meals I can conjure up. There has to be something going on somewhere

So tomorrow I don’t have anything organised that needs doing so I can catch up with the radio programme that I’ve been trying to do for several days. What I can do, I suppose, is to prowl around in cyberspace and see what I need to make things more comfortable for me.

But having spent more today in one swell foop than I have ever spent of my own money in one day than I have spent for some considerable time and with plenty more to go out as well, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to afford anything else.

Saturday 7th January 2023 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for quite a while, and that was that I went back to bed this morning.

Not that I’m really surprised because despite going to bed after midnight, I was wide awake at 04:30 and try as I might, I couldn’t go back to sleep.

In the end I gave it up as a bad job and made a start on the day.

Something else that I did that I haven’t done for quite some time was to have some breakfast. Not really a surprise given my really early start. A bowl of cornflakes and soya milk went down really nicely at that time of the morning.

A little later Liz was on the internet so we had a little chat for a short while too. It’s nice to keep in touch with good friends.

Round about 10:00 I could feel myself drifting away and spent a few minutes trying to fight off the wave of sleep but in the end I gave it up and hit the sack. It goes without saying that a short while later I had a phone call. It was one of the neighbours asking me if I needed anything from the shops. But having had a good shopping session on-line yesterday, there wasn’t anything that I needed.

It was round about 13:00 when I awoke again and after some toast and coffee I watched the football on the internet. Penybont swept aside a poor Caernarfon side 5-1. I’m not sure what has happened to Caernarfon but for a team that over the last couple of seasons has been so competitive, this season they have gone right off the boil.

That really is a surprise because although their defence hasn’t been up to all that much for a while, they have a very talented midfield that can usually carry the attack to the opposition but the fire seems to have gone out.

One of the things on the shopping list yesterday was 1.5kg of carrots. They have been washed, diced and blanched and are now sitting in the freezer quietly freezing. Well, actually in the freezer compartment of the fridge because the freezer itself is full to overflowing. Despite everything that has come out of it this last year or so, there is still no room.

At least there is plenty of stuff in there right now, including frozen vegetables because I had another salad for tea with my baked potato and vegan burgers. It was a good plan to treat myself to a salad this weekend as part of my order.

But with a little luck there will be some more room in there by the end of the weekend as a lump of pizza dough will go and some fruit buns will be taken out too. I’ll probably find something else to fill it though.

During the night, even though I didn’t have much sleep, still went on a voyage here and there. I was with my Greek friend. We were in Crewe making a curry. We had a little room in this factory complex where we lived. We had this curry going and it was simmering away, on “very low” so we planned on going to bed and letting it simmer away through the night. Just as I was getting into bed the alarm went off at the factory as if an intruder had come onto the premises. I looked out of the window but couldn’t see anything. Eventually I could hear one or two people walking towards the gate, like security staff. When my friend awoke I told her about this. We had a bit of a laugh about this security system. But this curry was all starting to go wrong. It was simmering away and looking really nice but it kept on rising up in the pan even on the lowest heat and threatening to overflow everywhere. She became quite angry. I was quite disappointed, particularly as some curry had gone on her clothes. She said that she would coat all my clothes in curry and see how I liked it but after a couple of minutes of this she started to smile and pat me on the shoulder as if either she wasn’t being serious or if the crisis had passed and we were friends again.

Even though I’d had a good sleep later in the morning and another one … errr … at some point in the evening, I didn’t go anywhere else.

But even if it is early, I’m going now, and that is to bed. Despite all the sleep that I’ve had I’m feeling pretty exhausted and miserable and a good sleep will do me good. A nice lie-in if I’m lucky, followed by a nice, strong coffee and I might feel better. I wish that I could find some energy from somewhere to sort myself out because nothing is being done right now. Everything is just too much of an effort.

Wednesday 4th January 2023 – MY SHEPHERD’S PIE …

… was absolutely delicious this evening. With the left-over pie filling from Christmas, the left-over mushrooms from the weekend and topped with potato mashed in milk and butter( vegan, of course), and not to mention made with real shepherds, it was really nice with vegetables and gravy.

This is going to be something that I’ll have to work on for the future – although I doubt that it will be every day that I have a mugful of lentil and tofu pie-filling lying around left over from a previous project.

It was much better than the sleep that I had last night, that’s for sure. I have a problem with an ingrowing toenail on my left foot and last night it began to play up – to such an extent that I had first to take off my elastic stocking and seeing that it didn’t resolve the problem, to take off the plaster that was protecting the toe.

That didn’t seem to help very much either, but at some point I managed to doze off into sleep. I ended up with the guys off The Navy Lark, Pertwee, Johnson and someone else. It was my birthday so I’d been round to see if they would come out with me but for some unknown reason the 2 girls didn’t realise that it was my birthday, they were busy or they didn’t want to come or something so in the end it was just the 4 of us. Just as we were leaving Pertwee’s apartment the telephone rang so we nipped back upstairs to see if it was anything for him. No it wasn’t, and nothing to do with any of us. They asked me where I’d like to go so I suggested that in the Chaussée de Wavre down the road there was a good Italian restaurant. Actually there were 2 but I meant a different one. They said “yes, let’s go there”. We walked down the Boulevard towards the Chaussée de Wavre and suddenly ended up in a restaurant, just the 4 of us, no-one else. The place was empty but it looked really nice, nice paintwork, curtains, tablecloths etc, very much the pastoral Italian place. I thought that if the food’s as nice as this place looks we should be OK here. We settled down at a table where there were 4 chairs by a fire.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already awake but I wasn’t in much of a mood to leave the bed. I missed the second alarm too but when the third one went off at 08:00 I was actually up and about. High time that I showed willing.

Once I’d managed to come round into the Land of the Living, whenever that was, I made a start on tidying up in here. I was hard at it too and managed not only to put everything away and file away the pile of papers that had accumulated over the last few months, I wrote a couple of letters that were necessary – a couple of bills had come in at some point and I’d overlooked them.

All of that was enough to make me crash out for half an hour and I didn’t feel any regret because it does look so much better in the bedroom and I won’t be afraid or embarrassed to let people see inside here. In the run up to going away I had rubbish just about everywhere and nothing had improved since I’d been back. Quite the contrary, in fact.

My freidnly neighbourhood cleaner came round at 14:30 and spent an hour here. And she accomplished far more in the apartment in an hour than I have accomplished in all the time that I’ve lived here. She found tons of stuff that I’d missed as well and that was good news. I did wonder where half the stuff in this apartment had gone.

So it’s looking quite nice in the place at the moment. And as she catches up with the arrears it’ll look even nicer. I can’t wait for this place to look as if someone lives here.

Just now I mentioned tea. It really was nice and as I said yesterday, I ought to spend more time looking after myself properly as far as food goes.

And while I was at at, I had another look at my shopping list. I’ve decided that Friday afternoon is when I’ll send off my order to the supermarket and see how I get on with that. I’ll probably order a delivery every couple of weeks and in the meantime ask my cleaner if she’ll pick up some mushrooms for me on the weeks when I don’t pass an order. That was I can keep on top of everything.

And who knows? At some point I might even have another go at going to the shops myself if my walking improves. You never know.

But that’s for later. Right now, much later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. Whether I sleep or not is another thing because I now have a pain in the other foot. It’s non-stop, isn’t it?

Thursday 29th December 2022 – I HAVEN’T SET …

… any records today for the preparation of a radio programme – except, maybe, for the slowest time on record. It was nothing more than a leisurely stroll through the undergrowth, stopping along the way to pick a few flowers and to smel the air as I wandered along on my way.

It was as you might expect a very leisurely start to the day as well. I didn’t manage to beat the two alarms at 07:30 and 07:45 but to my surprise, and to yours as well I bet, I managed to beat the alarm that went off at 08:00.

And having gone to bed fairly early (at least, for just recently) I had a reasonable night’s sleep once I finally managed to drop off into the Arms of Morpheus. There wasn’t all that much on the dictaphone. I had been in North America. We were talking about cars. My brother (again!) was saying that hire cars had never been particularly good but I explained that that was because they probably hadn’t had a good run out for several years. I told him about the one that I had rented that i’d picked up in New York and then driven non-stop all the way to Colorado and how much better it was once it was thoroughly warmed up. This conversation went on for quite some time. Suddenly my brother had a look at his watch. It was 08:50 and I had to be in work at 09:00 so I had to run all the way down the stairs and out into the car park then get into my car which was a Crown Victoria saloon. It struggled to start but I set off driving at about 50mph across the car park. There was a noise coming from the rear end as if there was a tyre that was flat. I thought to myself “here we go now. I’m definitely going to be late for work if that’s the case. I’ll probably even be late for work if I stop to have a look”.

Now what would I be doing with a Crown Victoria?

So the leisurely stroll through the day was interrupted by a shower at some point early in the afternoon. And clambering into and out of the bath to take a shower is becoming more and more difficult. I’m really going to have to take some dramatic, drastic action about this at some point in the near future otherwise I’ll be restricted to stand-up wahing. That’s no recipe for a long-term programme.

There were a couple of visitors today. Firstly, I have to say, with some kind of sigh of despair, that I’m having a cleaner starting here on Wednesday. The lady upstairs came round and we had a chat with the result that every Wednesday at 14:30 she’ll be round to clean up after me.

It’s a horrible thought having to depend on someone to to the basics of what I ought to be able to do for myself, but the fact is that if something falls on the floor around here, I can’t pick it up and have to go through all kinds of manoeuvres if it’s anything important.

And then the physiotherapist came round. Strangely enough he put his hand on a place on the right-hand side of my lower back and asked if ever it hurt there. In fact, if I walk for any kind of distance or if I sit awkwardly for a while, that was indeed exactly where it hurts.

He reckons that it’s a symptom of how I use (or don’t use) my right knee when I’m moving around or sitting on a chair. But anyway, at least it shows that he has a good idea of what he’s talking about.

While we’re on the subject of making things easier for myself I’ve signed up for a home delivery shopping service from LeClerc. I’ve had a look through the site and I’m busy making some kind of desultory list of what I need ready to have it delivered.

This idea of trying to hitch a ride to the shops with local neighbours hasn’t worked, I can’t go on the bus as well as I would like, and so I have to think of another plan. It might cost much more in the long run but I have to eat. I’m not going to send it off yet because I keep on thinking of other things that I need. And in any case the delivery charges are so expensive that I need to make sure that I have a decent order to make it worthwhile.

The vegan selection there isn’t all that interesting and so I’m going to have to hunt around for a good source of mail-order vegan food. Amazon’s isn’t all that much better so I’m going to have to cast my net wider and wider for that kind of stuff.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and veg, and then I came in here where I … errr … crashed out for a while.

Tomorrow I have an appointment for tea and I also have to sort out the money side of things. Things are going to become rather different here over the next few months and I need to make sure that things might happen as I would like them to.

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’m off to bed and hopefully I can have another decent sleep. At least I actually managed to accomplish something today. Here’s hoping that I can keep it up.