Tag Archives: stuffed peppers

Monday 18th September 2023 – WALKING UPSTAIRS …

… to visit my neighbour this afternoon was rather a depressing climb. I’m noticing now that I’m losing the power in my left leg and that was all too evident.

As it was, I tried a few exercises in bed before I arose from the dead this morning and I couldn’t raise my left leg as much as I used to be able to do.

This morning I awoke several times during the ni ght and I was even planning a dramatic early rising but I dozed off again and had to rely upon the alarm clock to do the business.

After the medication and checking the messages I went for a shower. At least that kind of effort hadn’t deteriorated all that much but I don’t think that it will be long before that will become a major effort. I can remember just how bad things were when I came home from hospital.

This was the first decent shower that I had had since before I went away and you’ve no idea how much I enjoyed it.

The nurse came to inject me and then after he’d gone I sent an order off for some things that I need to buy. Jackie had found a steaming pot to make Christmas puddings and she had sent me a link, I need a couple of new USB cables and there was also a special offer on accessories for air fryers, such as a non-stick liner.

There was time too to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night too. I was back in Shavington. For some reason I had the occupants of 217 Crewe Road locked in their garage. I was just going by every couple of days to push some food in. I think that they were either crazy or something, I don’t really know. I was being really cruel to them and no-one was taking any notice or anything. Things were going along quite ordinarily. I was chatting to a couple of girls, one of whom (who I think might have been my Greek friend) had a crush on me. I heard the other girl call for a taxi and ask it to take her to 217 Crewe Road. By this time the first girl had her arms around me so I couldn’t get up and go to try to stop her etc. Off she went so I expected any moment that my little scheme would all come crashing to the ground.

We also had another long rambling dream again. It started off with me having to open a Post Office bank account because of things I needed to do. I turned up at the Post Office at about 11:00 and had to wait for someone to come to see me to fill in the forms. It came to about 11:45 and I thought that we’d be thrown out here and I’d miss the opportunity – they’ll close for lunch. Eventually someone came to see me. We filled in all the forms and did the necessary details so I could go back to carry out the transaction that I wanted to do. A little later I was with a guy and his wife, his 2 daughters and a very young girl. We were hanging around together and decided that we’d go out for a meal. We all eventually piled into his car and he said that we’d go to the Westminster branch of a particular restaurant chain. We drove off and went down this extremely narrow street with cars parked on one side. There was one occasion when a Morris 1000 tried to reverse into a parking space and hit another car that was already parked. We drove down to the end of the street where they’d realigned the junction. The guy driving didn’t realise and took the old way and came to a dead end. He had to reverse and take the new way down to the junction. A little later we were on foot walking through this old industrial estate, chatting. At one point I ended up miles away from everyone else which brought a light-hearted comment from some of the other people so I rejoined them. I didn’t understand that because I was quite keen on the younger of these 2 girls. I couldn’t see why I wasn’t with her. They suddenly realised that the other girl was missing from the group. She was with the extremely young one. We waited for them to catch up. One thing going through my mind was that I’d seen a car for sale, a Mk II Cortina, a green Cortina GT. I was hoping that my money would come through so I could buy it. I didn’t understand why my money wasn’t already there. I thought that I’d have to wait for ever for this money to come through. By the time that it does this car will probably be sold and I’d have to start thinking again. There was all this issue about what car would I then buy? Would it be good value etc? This was recurring through all this dream, this particular thought.

While I was at it, I transcribed another day’s worth or arrears and they will be on line in due course.

Before I went away, I had forgotten to do something with the fruit on the table so that was something of a mess so at lunchtime I had to tidy that up, throw away a pile of it (I hate throwing food away) and wash the rest thoroughly

And then I wandered off to see my neighbour. We were there chatting for quite a while and that’s not at all like me. And she gave me an anti-slip mat for my bath. That was really nice of her and it makes me feel much better about taking a shower. It was something quite high up on my list of things to buy at the weekend

While I was busy I’d had a washing machine going with all of the clothes from the last couple of weeks so I took them out once the cycle had finished and hung them up to dry.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper – one of the ones out of the freezer. And with cooking the frozen pepper on a lower heat for much longer, it was cooked to perfection. There’s plenty of stuffing left so if I can lengthen it with a sheep’s head that still contains the eyes, it will see me through the week.

So much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I’ll be busy. I have to register myself at the hospital and book my train ticket and a taxi to the station. I mustn’t forget to do that otherwise I’ll end up looking rather silly.

In fact, I can end up looking rather silly without making any mistakes or omissions, but there’s no need to go around asking for it.

Monday 4th September 2023 – I HAVE HAD …

… visitors today. And that’s not like me at all, is it?

And not only that, but I’ve actually been to the local bar this afternoon too. And that’s even less like me.

They say here in France that jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third” – and so what else I’ve done that is unusual these days is that I was out of bed this morning before the alarm went off.

Not by much, it has to be said, but by enough to make a note of it.

After the medication etc I went and had a shower – I need to look my best because the nurse would be coming to inject me. I needn’t have been in a rush because he was late again today

Once he’d left I carried on with a few bits and pieces until my visitors arrived.

It’s been a good couple of years since I’ve last seen Liz and Terry. They immediately entered into my good books by bringing 20 tins of baked beans with them. That should put the wind up everyone in the vicinity.

Much as I’m a big fan of European food, no-one else can make proper baked beans like the British. Even the “British Recipe” baked beans on sale in Canada taste nothing like the baked beans from a British supermarket.

There was so much that we had to say to each other, much of which was said in my apartment and more of it was said in La Rafale, the bar down the road. With the temperature at 28°C at lunchtime it was really nice to be out and about for once.

Liz bought a baguette so we went back to my place and rustled up a huge salad of all kinds of different things that I had lying around or in tins and it all went down very well.

Once everyone left I made myself a drink and came in here where I crashed out for well over an hour. Totally dead to the world, but then I’m not used to going walkabout like that these days.

Having eventually recovered consciousness, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. My father and I were going up to Scotland on a motor bike. The only problem was that we had our sister’s mouse to take care of. We were trying to work out how we were going to do it. In the end I was rooting through all of my storage cupboards and came across a large, flat, wide sandwich box kind of thing. We thought that that would do and lined it with newspaper and put the mouse in. It was a struggle to close the lid with the lid being so large but eventually we closed it. Then we were thinking about how we were actually going to transport it. It wasn’t until we were almost ready to go that I had the thought that we were going to be on the road for 8 hours and had made no provision for drinking water or food etc for the mouse. I wasn’t convinced that it would survive the journey without it.

At another moment I awoke and I had headphones on listening to some music – Alice Cooper’s I’M 18 was playing. In the background I could hear some other music. I thought that the alarm must be going off so I’ll go to turn it off. I went to the bathroom and noticed that the time was 08:00. My father was late for work, my brothers and sisters would be late for school so I had to dash round awakening everyone. In real life I looked at my watch to see whether I ought to get up but it was actually 02:54 so that must have been some dream.

It rather reminded me of Tommy Cooper and “I knew a man who dreamt that he was awake, and when he woke up, he was!”

Someone had run a bath in an apartment on the ground floor of a big building. No-one was sure except me about what was happening. I don’t know what happened next but towards the end a young girl stripped off and stepped into the bath ad began to wash herself. The Police arrested a guy who lived in this apartment who had cancer. Apparently the bomb was a trick to fill the apartment with gas and he was going to light it to blow up the building and himself with it. He didn’t care because he had terminal cancer and only a short while to live. It would look extremely like an accident and of course he wouldn’t care about dying with such a short time left to live. He would be a hero to whatever cause it was that he was following.

Finally I was out last night with someone whom I used to know. We were driving around the outskirts of Stoke on Trent going to see a friend of his. We were in a Hillman Hunter. When we came to a road junction he seemed to have a lot of difficulty pulling out. It turned out that part of the fascia panel or something had fallen down and was blocking the accelerator pedal so we couldn’t advance in the car. In the end we had to stop, which nearly caused a big accident, while he investigated. He pulled off the panel and we could set off. A big tractor pulling a huge trailer had seen us stop and he decided that he’d pull out of the side street just as we set off so there wasn’t really enough time. He had to try to accelerate his tractor, the trailer swung round, went into a ditch, overturned and spewed all the contents out all over the side of the road, and then pulled the tractor into the ditch after it. We ended up back at his friend’s house. His friend was married to an actress. At first we had to wait my companion was searching around for some stuff fof his. Then the guy came in, an old guy, extremely simple, not the sort that you’d think would be associated with an actress. he showed me a set of brake shoes and aske me if I knew what they were off. They were like nothing I’d ever seen. He explained that they were used in some kind of mountain pathway as a shock absorber for tourists who slipped off the path and hit the barrier. It’s an extremely complicated system. At some point I’d left my red Cortina estate parked in a lay-by for a couple of days. When I returned the interior light was on. I thought that it would never start now after 2 days with that light on. I sat in and turned the key and it did actually struggle into life. I was extremely surprised by that.

Tea tonight with a delicious stuffed pepper with plain rice and the rest of the salad from lunchtime. Having marinaded in the dressing for several hours the salad was even more delicious than earlier in the day.

So now I’m off to bed. I really ought to restart work tomorrow. I’ve wasted far too much time just recently doing very little of anything important. High time that I got to grips with everything before I fade away.

Monday 28th August 2023 – I’VE BEEN UP …

… to my ears in paperwork today.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been letting the paperwork pile up while I’ve been busy doing other things so today I set down and sorted it all out.

One great pile ended up in the recycling, another pile went into the file, a third pile related to my Welsh course over the last year or two so I’ve organised that, and a fourth, more important part of it, went into my medical folder to take with me on Wednesday.

And surprisingly, later on I actually found the most important piece of paper that I had actually forgotten, and I would have been quite embarrassed had I set out without it on Wednesday.

Tomorrow, I shall be carrying on with my organisation because I have my rail tickets for Leuven in a week or so that need booking, some paperwork that needs to be sent to the hospital for Wednesday and also some stuff that needs ordering from the internet.

One thing is for sure, and that it’s all keeping me out of mischief.

Whatever might have been going on during the night was also keeping me out of mischief, because by the looks of things I didn’t go far during the night.

In actual fact I was awake at 06:30 and was thinking about getting up, but I must have fallen asleep again because the alarm awoke me again at 07:00

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went and had a shower to prepare myself for the arrival of the nurse to give me my weekly injection. He was however late and that upset my plans somewhat.

As well as sorting out the European Paper Mountain I’ve been going through and carrying on my little project involving tidying up the hard drive in the computer. I’ve cleared out over 10GB of space on my C Drive and over 80GB from the second drive in the computer.

And that reminds me – going back to the other night and the dream about your computer program spying on you, how many of you have your personal data stored on your C drive in the folders “suggested” and “installed for you” by the operating system, therefore in a file path that it known by almost everyone in the World who has ever used a computer?

Something else that I’ve been doing is talking to one of the daughters of my niece. She’s the one with whom I have the most in common.

She’s marrying in late November in Michigan and I’ve been invited to the wedding. Ordinarily I would move mountains to be there but going alone on crutches, being unable to carry anything with me is going to make it totally impossible.

If the wedding were to take place at the family home, that wouldn’t be so bad because I have clothes and everything there in a big plastic box so going there with nothing wouldn’t be a problem. But Michigan on my own is out of the question.

There was a little stuff on the dictaphone from the night. Not much, so I must have had a calm night for once. I was back working for Shearings last night at the depot in Holmes Chapel. I’d just taken over a coach and the tourists were already on it for the next holiday. I went to check one or two things and found that the ashtrays on the coach were full of rubbish which disappointed me. I thought that the previous driver would have cleaned it. I fetched my little bucket and paintbrush and began to empty the ashtrays. Suddenly the coach set off. I turned round and asked who was driving the coach. Someone said the name of a girl whom I knew from school (and with whom I’m still in touch). She had come to the depot with me to have a look round. I went down and asked her what was happening. She replied “the guy in charge told us to go”. I said something like “I had the shock of my life when I was emptying the ashtrays and the coach set off like that”. I asked her if she had a PSV. She replied that she’d worked for a Charity or something where they put some people through their PSVs. She’d ended up spending a week with Shearings to learn. She asked where we were going. I replied “down the motorway, coming off at Cannock and going down the A5. We came to the motorway and ended up in a big building, the 2 of us, like an old wooden market with closed doors etc. We couldn’t find our way out, wandering around here. We asked one stallholder but he replied with a load of gibberish that we didn’t understand and he wandered off. We sat there looking at each other thinking “how are we going to return to the coach and continue with this trip?”.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper as usual. I’ve no idea what happened but this was the best one that I’ve made. A fresh one, cooked (of course) in the air fryer to perfection. I’ve really got the hang of this now for certain things

So tomorrow I’m going to be really busy ready for my trip on Wednesday so I need to be on form. It’s already later than usual so I won’t have too much time to rest on my laurels but as long as I have some good companions during the night I’ll be fine I hope.

While we’re on the subject of food preparation … "well, one of us is" – ed … my fruit buns were also the best that I’ve made so far too. I’ll have to make some more like that.

Monday 21st August 2023 – IT MIGHT NOT …

… seem like it, but I’ve been very busy today. It’s taken even me by surprise.

It was another late night last night and once more, when the alarm went off it was a real struggle to leave the bed. And I really wish that I could have stayed in there longer, especially after what happened on Sunday.

It took a while, as usual, for me to bring myself round into the Land of the Living but I did speed things up by going for an early shower. I don’t want to frighten away the nurse.

She was a few minutes late coming round today, but once she gave me her injection and left, I could crack on with revising my Welsh for the lesson today.

The lesson today seemed to pass OK, although I didn’t really get to say very much. I was in a side room with two young girls who know each other from College and so they were chatting away 13 to the dozen about pubs and night clubs, so I left them to it.

But we learnt a lot today and to my surprise, some of it actually stuck. I’m not sure what happened there.

During one of the breaks I had a listen to the dictaphone notes from the night. We’d been for a walk, a group of us, in some countryside area with plenty of mountains. I’d taken a camera with me but because of the weight issues I’d only taken the one. This time I’d taken the NIKON D3000 and telephoto lens. It wasn’t long before I realised that I’d made a mistake trying to take a photo of the sunlight coming out of the valley halfway up the mountains. I wanted to take a photo of the windows inside a storage cupboard in a castle where the lens was just overwhelming the image. I felt really sad that I hadn’t brought my standard lens and the NIKON 1 J5, hadn’t brought absolutely anything with me to make my photos work. It was just going to be too bad. In the end I tried to take a couple of photos with just the camera on the telephone which I don’t like doing anyway. It really was a shock when I realised that I didn’t have the camera bag with me, all the spare lenses etc.

There was also a play being put on about a murder. I was interested in doing something with it so I’d spoken to the producers and was hoping to have an appointment but it never happened. I turned up one day but no-one ever spoke to me or invited me so I decided that well maybe it’s quite simply not going to happen. There had also been some physiotherapy arranged for me by a doctor at the hospital but one of my friends went to this doctor on his own and there was no mention of anything being arranged for me, which disappointed me too.

Later on I went to Ramsgate to find out more about this play. That turned out to be something of a wild goose chase too as nothing seemed to happen about it when I arrived either.

When the lesson was over I had my hot chocolate and then spent the rest of the afternoon finishing off the radio programme. That’s all up and running now and there’s just one more in the pipeline. I shall be making a start on the next one this week too.

Tea tonight was one of the stuffed peppers that I bought on Friday. And seeing that I’d forgotten to put the herbs into it to season it, it tasted quite nice.

But what was good news is that the glass containers that I bought on Saturday to store the leftovers in the fridge instead of some kind of ad-hoc plastic arrangement are exactly the right size. I’m quite pleased about that because I’m trying slowly to move away from plastic if I can and when the opportunity arises.

Anyway, I’m off to bed now. Later than intended but I’ll do the best that I can. See where I end up during the night and then wake up fighting fit ready for tomorrow. God help them.

Monday 14th August 2023 – MY WELSH LESSON …

… wasn’t as good as it might have been today.

It’s possible that it has something to do with the fact that I was absolutely exhausted and had a struggle to keep my eyes open for some of the time.

And I’ve no idea why that might be either because I was in bed at some kind of reasonable time for a change, and the night wasn’t quite so turbulent as some have been just recently.

When the alarm went off this morning I was flat out in bed and it was a struggle for me to haul myself out of bed. And the morning was a struggle to such an extent that I didn’t go for a shower before the nurse came round to give me my injection.

There was however some time enough to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night. We’d been to the library like the one at Crewe. We’d been in a friend’s taxi so I didn’t take my crutches with me. When it was time to leave, the steps down to the main road were quite long and steep so I was taking my time. I could see the taxi. It wasn’t parked on the street but in the car park backing up onto the steps at the bottom of the steps where we would come down. Of course everyone else was quite quick in getting to the taxi except me. They all piled in and it drove away. When I finally came down to where the taxi had been I couldn’t see it at all. I couldn’t believe that they’d driven off and abandoned me like this with no crutches or anything

Later on I was in the USA at San Francisco thinking about going home from work. I could see the Golden Gate Bridge from my office. There was plenty of traffic on it. It looked really nice in the dark with the lights of the vehicle so I tried to take a photo but it didn’t work out. Later on at some other point I had to go to the top floor of our building. That was impressively high, probably 30,000 feet. The view of San Francisco below and the clouds etc was really impressive. We had once again a view of the bridge and all of the traffic in the dark. I tried again to take a couple of photos. The first one didn’t come out very well so I reset the exposure and adjustment times, took another and that didn’t seem to work out either. I was extremely disappointed at this.

And then there I was in this high building and we went down in the lift. We didn’t know from which floor we had to exit. I guessed “n°10”. I was one of these express lifts that stopped quite rapidly so I couldn’t believe that we were at Floor 10 already. Someone convinced us that we were so we piled out. We found that we had to walk down a couple of flights of stairs to go out of the building. There was a river right outside the building and the end of the runway of a light airfield with a light aircraft going in to land. There was like a Plaza or something there with a few sandstone buttes, only tiny, so I walked over to there. I could see that there was a good view of the building etc so I went to take out my camera. I’d been walking through the desert at one point and the whole of the inside of the camera bag was filled with sand. The camera was covered with sand so I had to clean it off before I could take a photograph that I wanted of the building and surrounding area.

I was back in San Francisco yet again working on a car. A boy went past. There was a dog running around the street. He told me to keep my dog under control. I told him to clear off. The dog wasn’t mine. I carried on. Then some official turned up on a bike, a young guy. He said “I’m going to give you a citation for your dog being off its leash”. I asked “have you seen my dog off its leash?”. He replied “yes”. I said “you must have some extremely good eyes. My dog’s back at home in Europe”. He replied “that doesn’t matter. I’m going to give you a citation”. When he gave it to me I took a piece of paper out of Caliburn. He was looking at all the notes in my notebook so I told him to clear off. My notes were nothing to do with him. I wrote out my address, handed it to him and said “I’m not paying your citation. You summon me. This should be fun”. He took my piece of paper, tore it up and threw it away. I said “fair enough” and carried on doing what I was doing. He disappeared and then I set off back for home.

What’s surprising in all of this is that I’ve never been to San Francisco in my life

The Welsh lesson, as I said, didn’t go too well. Being as tired as I seem to be these days, I just can’t concentrate on anything at all. At least we were one person more than last week as someone new has joined the party so we’re spread out more.

During the lunch break and for a while afterwards I chose the music for the radio programme that I started. I even managed to pair off some of the tracks but I ended up being overwhelmed. I didn’t actually crash out, which is a miracle in itself, but I may as well have done for all the good that I did.

Tea was, as usual, a stuffed pepper with pasta and vegetables, and while I was taking a few things out of the freezer I actually tidied up the vegetable drawer. There’s a little more room in there now.

But right now I’m going to bed. I’ve really had enough for one day and I won’t be doing much else today. There’s some homework that I need to do tomorrow for my course so I need to be on form. But I think that it needs more than I have to offer right now.

Monday 7th August 2023 – HOW LONG IS IT …

… since I’ve tipped half a meal into the waste bin?

Usually I know exactly how much I can eat and make an appropriate amount, so having stuff left over on a plate is a very rare event indeed.

Whatever is happening right now to me is a total mystery because my appetite has gone again and I don’t feel like eating anything. I didn’t even have my lunchtime fruit.

Maybe it’s something to do with the rather mobile night that I had, because I travelled miles while I was asleep. I was in an apartment somewhere looking out over the street. There was a demonstration going on outside with strikers etc marching under banners. There were counter-demonstrators and people heckling the marchers and the marchers heckling them back like a good old-fashioned 1970s Trade Union argument. I was with some people who weren’t really taking it seriously but they weren’t as old as me so they didn’t remember very much. We were discussing the rights and wrongs of marching, demonstrating, etc.

There was then a programme on last night about fitting your wife or girlfriend with a towbar. They proposed that it would be the first job that you undertake when you set up your own workshop. This film showed you how to make it. The first thing that you did was to find a brick. It was absolutely gruesome and put me off, this kind of medical talk for the rest of my life I should think.

My friend from Holywell came to see me and we went out together. We ended up doing some shopping. I bought her a couple of items of clothes and a few little bits and pieces. We went on somewhere and had a small party with a group of people. I wasn’t really a party animal so I didn’t stay long. My friend said a few remarks that I didn’t pick up on at the time. I wish that I’d realised what she was saying because I had some really good comebacks that would have fitted in there and would have pushed the situation between the two of us forward a little. But she came round to my house later on. It was a tip as usual. She was rummaging around for something and came across some cat-flavoured teabags, apparently full of herbs that remind you of cats. She said “I’ll make some drinks. I know what drink you’ll like”. She started again, thank you for this, thank you for that, thank you for something else. I still couldn’t bring myself to say what needed to be said to advance my situation with her any further forward. That’s twice now that I’d had the opportunity and missed it.

I was also out with two of my friends last night. I thought that they were Zero and my friend from Congleton but they weren’t. I think that one was someone whom I used to know and I don’t know who the other one was. I’d ended up at a party with the two of them. We ended up going back to one of their houses. I was trying to make up my mind which one to invite out in the evening. I decided to leave and come back later so I said “who’s going to come to see me and say goodbye?” thinking to let them make up their mind. They both came to the door to see me off. That didn’t solve that problem. We chatted a bit and talked about Christmas. One of them wanted a set of sheets and the other wanted a bed gown. I thought that I’d go to buy two of each. On my way home I walled into Woolworth’s. There mas a massive queue that I stood in to wait and began to look around. I was totally spoilt for choice and the prices were really expensive so I didn’t know what to do. I had to do it quickly though because I was meeting up with them both again at 18:15 and we were going to go out for the evening. It was all so confusing. I didn’t know what to do and which way to turn at all. I felt hopeless.

Back in that dream again, in a shop I saw a bedside cabinet and table that looked really nice. It would be ideal for one of them to have in their bedroom. The table was right up on top of a rack on a row of shelves. I couldn’t reach it and needed some help from someone to bring it down so I could have a closer look at it.

Back in this dream again yet again. We were in a meeting and someone had gone to the bathroom. They were making an awful lot of noise about it. I wondered if it was one of these two women. Looking around I found that it was a man who I didn’t particularly like. He was there with his son. When he came out the girl said that she needed to visit the bathroom. The older one of the two said “Eric and I will come along. He said that he’d make some noise outside to annoy his girlfriend” which I thought was a strange thing to say. While she was in the bathroom the other two of us, the older woman and I were outside the bathroom flirting around and making a lot of noise about it so she could hear. I didn’t have a clue what was happening and what was going on about it. It was a most confusing situation.

Even with all of that going on, I was up and about before the alarm went off and after the medication I went and had a shower. The nurse came round and gave me my injection and then I transcribed the dictaphone notes, which took quite a while.

It was the first day of my intensive Welsh course. We were just 8 students. We probably won’t be many more than that if at all. We dashed through four hours of the passive tense with an hour off for lunch, and this is how it’s going to be for the next three weeks.

Still, it’ll keep me out of mischief.

Once the lesson was over I had my hot chocolate and then crashed out for an hour or so. I really had a struggle to keep on going throughout the afternoon, that’s for sure.

When I came round, I organised myself and then made a start on the next radio programme. I’ve collected all of the music, paired them off and even written the notes for some of the tracks. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.

But that’s my lot for the day. With half my stuffed pepper and pasta ending up in the bin I’m absolutely exhausted. I’ll just have a quick drink of something and then go to bed, ready to fight another day.

There’s some homework to do from today but if I feel up to it, I’ll do it tomorrow morning. Nothing else will be done tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 24th July 2024 – SO MUCH FOR …

… my plans for today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 17th July 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable day today. I’ve spent most of the afternoon flat out fast asleep on the chair in the office.

What’s even worse about this today is that I haven’t actually done anything or been anywhere. I have difficulty understanding why it would be when I’ve been out for a walk, but crashing out definitively like this when nothing at all is going on is even more of a mystery.

The night was rather turbulent though and I spent a lot of time tossing and turning around. When the alarm went off though I was flat out in the Land of Nod, away on a really interesting voyage but as soon as the alarm went off it evaporated completely and I can remember nothing at all about it.

Staggering out of bed I had my medication and then checked my mails and messages until the nurse arrived.

She gave me my injection and after she left I came in here to see what had been going on during the night. I was on some kind of school expedition to the South Pole. I had to tell everyone about it. When I began to talk the first thing that I noticed was that the chair on which I’d been putting my legs had disappeared so I had nowhere for them to be. I had to have a look and someone had moved them across my cabin to somewhere else

Some children had then gone into a maze and had somehow come between a mother bear and her babies. The Mother bear was naturally upset and was advancing towards the children who were retreating but of course coming closer to the bear cubs. In the end someone lifted up the children and put them on top of the maze so that the bear could go past to its baby. When the bear reached its cub it took the cub in its mouth and jumped up on top of the maze to where the children were. Everyone was fearing the worst but the bear was actually quite polite and pleased and made it known that it was really just thanking people for their consideration in getting out of the way.

When I awoke I found that I’d been doing something with an empty house that we’d taken over on behalf of the University. We’d been brushing out the stuff and cleaning it getting ready for an exhibition of the planets. My colleague went and had STRAWBERRY MOOSE involved, his handling was such as to stop him becoming dirty in case he soiled the seats or something. We had to put everyone into hand pumps to have this job finished because the quarry and doesn’t, or things like that. You never knew what was going to happen next.

And if you can make any sense at all out of that final note then please let me know because I can’t understand it at all.

Much of the day has been spent dealing with paperwork.

With having lost my physiotherapist I need to recruit another one so I have to find the prescription. I gave it to the previous guy but wondered if I’d kept a copy.

Despite having a good search around on the computer I couldn’t find one so I started to go through the paperwork in the Medical folder.

There were tons of stuff in there that I really ought to send off in order to claim my expenses, so I started to sort it all out into date order. Once I’d done that (and that took longer than it ought to have done too) I began to scan it in to the computer.

That’s a project that is going to take a while too. There were the usual breaks for my morning coffee and fruit bun (which is delicious by the way) and lunchtime fruit, and then of course I crashed out definitively for several hours

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper – the last one from out of the freezer. And it cooked really well too, 20 minutes at 160°C in the air fryer.

There’s plenty of stuffing left so it may well be another chili sin carné on Wednesday.

With the bedroom looking like a total tip wit al of these papers floating around, I’m going to bed and leaving everything in a mess.

Tomorrow, if I wake up, I’ll be finishing off my scanning and then maybe submitting my claim for reimbursement. I’ve run out of Aranesp too so I mustn’t forgt on Thursday to phone up the chemist and order some more. That’ll mean that I’ll have to go into town on friday and that will probably do me good.

But I’ll worry about that tomorrow. I have enough to worry about right now.

Monday 10th July 2023 – THE FIRST DAY …

… of our Summer School passed so quickly that I didn’t even notice. I can’t even say whether it was a success or a failure because we didn’t even have time to think.

There were 10 of us in our class. One of them I know from a previous weekend school but the others are complete strangers. No-one from my own class. I haven’t even met the tutor before.

We spent a lot of time talking about Llewellyn Morris Humphreys, one of the associates of Al Capone and who was believed to be responsible for the St Valentine’s Day massacre.

The lesson finished at 15:30 today, basically because we ran out of things to do. Our tutor was clearly not expecting us to accomplish so much.

And that was just as well because I was exhausted. As expected, I had had a miserable night and ended up taking another painkiller – which is not at all like me but I didn’t really have much choice and I wanted to go to sleep.

When the alarm went off though, I was flat out in bed and had a struggle to leave the bed. And after the nurse came round to inject me I prepared for the Welsh lesson today. But with having a teflon brain, nothing whatever is sticking.

When the lesson was over I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night, because I had been out and about. I was on board a ship going across the Channel. There was a Charity Shop on board but I had to wait until the ship had set sail before I could go to inspect it. It wasn’t particularly much good but I bought a couple of books and 3 or 4 CDs. It came to £31:00. I had a rummage through my pockets but suddenly realised that I had the money in my coat pocket that was on my chair so I went and fetched it. The woman explained that it was expensive. I said “never mind” because there was some stuff in there that I really wanted – a Groundhogs LP and “Dreams” by Klaus Schultze and a few other things. I was quite happy. My real reason for being on board the ship was that I wanted to speak to one of the officers about something that I was trying to do. I was told that he might be on this particular sailing so I’d come on board to see him. It was my plan that as soon as we were in mid-Channel to go along and buttonhole him. Once I’d bought my stuff from the Charity Shop that was where I was heading next but I didn’t know if he would be on board or not. It would be just a case of knocking on the door and finding out.

Later on I had a job to do so I was collecting up all my tools. I’d already been to do the job once but couldn’t find anything of the tools that I needed so I’d collected everything together. before I went to do it again I just made sure that I had what I needed. I could only find the big charger for the heavy duty battery-powered drill. I couldn’t find the drill or any of the batteries or any of the accessories. I was turning everything upside down trying to find them because they ought to be there. They were there half an hour ago. I couldn’t find them at all. I checked but as far as I could see no-one else had borrowed them for anything so I was completely bewildered as to how I’d become separated from them again. Not finding my tools was something that was making this job last 100 times longer than it ought to be.

With plenty of unexpected free time on my hands I ended up repairing the hard drive that failed so spectacularly a couple of weeks ago. After several hours of wandering around in the disk operating software I managed to make it fire up.

And I managed to find the fault too. It’s actually on a part of the drive that was being used to house the operating system so by running the drive as a slave rather than a master, I can make it run after a fashion. There’s a vacant slot in the array drive so I’ve fitted it in there where I can access the data.

It does have a tendency to go to sleep if it’s not being used so I have to start it again but that’s not very important. I can cope with that as long as I can make it work somehow.

While I was at it, I managed to reactivate another old hard drive. This one is a 1TB one that was last used in March 2021 so I’m now trying to think where this one came from. It’s certainly one of mine because I recognise the disk structure and the data but I can’t remember it at all.

With an hour or so to spare I made a start on the next radio programme and I’ll be working on that for half an hour or so every day until it’s complete.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, a frozen one out of the freezer. I cooked it for 20 minutes at 160°C in the air fryer and it cooked it to perfection.

So now I’m going to bed. And with my leg still suffering from the stabbing pains I don’t know whether I’ll be able to sleep yet again. It’s really rather annoying because these days, the way things are, if it’s not one thing it’s another and I’m rapidly becoming fed up of this.

Monday 3rd July 2023 – I HAD A VISITOR …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 19th June 2023 – I’M ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED …

… that when Rosemary came to stay here for a few days a few years ago she installed a camera somewhere in the apartment.

Just when I was sitting down after having my tea tonight she called me on the telephone. And we ended up having another one of our marathon chats putting the World to rights.

Not that whatever we say will make any difference.

Last night in bed didn’t make much of a difference either. Although I was in bed at some kind of realistic time it took me an age to go off to sleep.

Once I did though I was well away with the fairies because when the alarm went off I was a long way away. But would you believe – as soon as I sat upright it completely wiped away everything that had been going on.

After the medication I went and had a shower and a general clean-up because the nurse was coming. The usual one was away today so he sent his deputy.

She’s quite a nice woman and I like her very much. Not only was the injection quite painless, she had no difficulty whatsoever taking my blood sample. And that’s a real surprise judging how things usually go.

For much of the day, whenever I felt in the mood because it wasn’t all that often, I’ve been wandering around Cartwright in Labrador. I’m out of the cemetery and I went to inspect the site of George Cartwright’s house and Samuel Fequet’s trading post.

But I also spent a lot of time talking about “Pinetree” – the early warning radar station that the Americans built in 1951 to detect and intercept nuclear missiles coming over the North Pole towards the USA.

Many people wondered how thick the plain brown envelopes were that were passed underneath the table that convinced Canadian politicians to be prepared to sacrifice the lives of their own Inuit and Métis citizens to protect the lives of citizens of someone else’s country.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I was with 2 really old women who had lodged a complaint with a department about one of their acquaintances who had been defrauding the Government of thousands of pounds of money in respect of some kind of fraudulent claims. I went to meet them and they took me round all the joints that had been affected and how much this woman had claimed from here and how much from there. It was quite clear that these women were totally out of their tree quite happily pointing out places “this is where I came to grief when I claimed for something else” and the other one saying “yes I came to grief over there”. It’s obvious that they were just as crooked as the woman about whom they were complaining and had presumably been caught so were getting their own back. I was listening and making notes while they were rambling and we were walking around the town looking at these places. At one point we came to a big wide road and had to wait for ages to find a gap to cross. There were all kinds of vehicles going past including 6 Morris Minor Travellers driving to close to each other that I wondered how on earth they managed it. Eventually when there were some cyclists coming past I grabbed hold of them and we dashed across the road at that point. I told them that I had to go so I asked if they had their cameras ready we could take a photo of the place they wanted to photograph, I’d finish my notes and then go but I couldn’t hang around any longer. It was a really strange occurrence with these women.

Then I was at my German friend’s the other day. We’d been doing some work. I’d ended up with a pile of scrap paper, a huge mound of coins, loose change, all that sort of thing. It was late at night and everyone was quiet. He handed out some DVD Player things and we all sat and watched different DVDs. There was a football match on somewhere and I was hoping to be able to tune my DVD player into it so I could watch it but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. In the end we decided that I’d go home but try to pack away my stuff in the dark was quite impossible. I was getting the coins everywhere, the scrap paper everywhere etc. In the end I had to say to my friend “don’t worry if you find anything of mine lying around here. You can bring it to me tomorrow”. He said something about the coins so I said “that’s not important” and still tried to pack away everything in the dark and failing miserably.

At some point I’d been to Tubize in Belgium and saw some really nice houses there that were fairly cheap. I thought “why didn’t I buy one of these?”. We had to walk to the nearest town to do our shopping so I set off and followed a few other people who were doing this. We had to walk up a bank up some steps and across a railway line. That was extremely difficult for me with my knees. On the other side on the path a couple of girls were going that way so I began to talk to them. I asked if Tubize was in the Flemish zone because I wanted to learn Flemish. That would have been ideal had I moved there. In the distance was a big tower that looked at first like Blackpool Tower in the distance. It turned out to be a fire-watching post for the forest. I noticed that the distance from Tubize to this town was incredibly long, much longer than I was expecting. I thought that if I’d done all my shopping here how on earth would I carry it back? I should really have gone and covered this distance in Caliburn and I would have done had I known

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper cooked in the air fryer. And as it was an unfrozen one that I’d bought on Friday I only set the timer for 12 minutes. The stuffing wasn’t quite cooked and the pepper was slightly singed so I should really have cooked it for longer on a lower heat.

But like anything else, using the air fryer is all trial and error and I’ll have it right one of these days.

But for pudding it was more ice cream and cinnamon roll. That was a good deal, I reckon, buying that.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson but I’ll be going late because at 10:15 I have an appointment with the nerve specialist. I know what he’s going to tell me and it won’t be good news, but it won’t make much of a difference. Things are as they are and I have to make the best of it.

But in other news, while we’re on the subject of the Welsh lessons … “well, one of us is” – ed … the Summer School information was published on the internet this evening. I’ve wasted no time and signed up for a week in July.

A whole week’s Zoom lessons for £25:00 is good value in anyone’s currency and I should have to do it more often. It’s the only way that I can concentrate this days. I don’t seem to have the motivation when I’m on my own.

Monday 12th June 2023 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S …

… rather depressing day, today hasn’t been any better.

It was another day during which I spent a lot of time curled up on my chair asleep

It beats me what is going on right now. I went through a phase of this a while back and I thought that I’d managed to pull through it. But it seems to have come back with a vengeance.

Despite what I said, I didn’t go to bed all that early. When I’d finished everything that I had to do I went and checked over what I’d written about my trip to Canada in 2017 and added a few extra notes. I was still in bed in plenty of time though

What didn’t probably help was that it was a very mobile night. There was quite a lot going on. I started off by having a dream about some isolated community in Newfoundland and Labrador. The whole thing was a really exciting and interesting dream but it all just evaporated. All I could remember was me telling someone that it was their fault because they’d become involved in it. The rest of it completely disappeared and that was extremely disappointing.

Next off I was walking around and suddenly overcome with an attack of whatever it was that I have when I’m about to drop onto the floor when my knees all fold up. The funny thing was that I was asleep in bed having a dream and it happened in the dream but it really did feel realistic that I was going to crash to the floor any minute. In this dream I was teaching in a school of very small children. Something came up about an opportunity to go on a travel somewhere to North America. Someone came down to talk to the children about it. His manner of speaking was for much older children and adults so my children didn’t really understand it so I had to practically interpret. Afterwards when he was still in the classroom with the children and I’d gone out, I was looking through the paperwork and found more things that the children needed to know about this so I had to keep going back to talk to them even though he was in there just being sociable. Things like “if the parents had difficulty understanding the forms they could come to see me and we’d fill them in together”, those kinds of problems that I was finding

At one point here I was in Hogwarts again trying to write an ending to the story. Hermione was there in the ladies’ bathroom talking to a mirror that was all fogged and confused. The two boys walked in so she had a little chat to them about how she was feeling and how they’d been over all this before, everything like that. It was a shame that their last spell at Hogwarts would end up like this

There was also someone’s taxi that was not charging the battery. he had a problem with the electrics or something. I had a go at fixing it but then there were no dashboard warning lights. It must have been a fuse. I took the fuse out to clean it and put it back in but still nothing. I fetched my circuit tester and saw that there was definitely a circuit going in and going out again at the fuse box. I then had to hunt for my fuses in the barn. That was extremely difficult. I looked everywhere. We were talking. I said “I know that I have some for every time I used to go to the scrapyard I’d look under the bonnet of a car and take a handful of fuses”. As we were talking I suddenly had a flash of inspiration and looked on one of the shelves in the barn. There was the fuse container that I had so I took a fuse from there and took it over to his car.

When the alarm went off we were discussing cross-Channel ferries, one in particular called Berengaria, named after the Queen of Richard I. There was actually an ocean liner called Berengaria. She was the old German Imperator that was seized as war reparations after World War I and sailed for Cunard under the command of Arthur Rostron, he formerly of the Carpathia and who saved the passengers from the Titanic.

After the medication I went to have a shower and pretty myself up ready for the nurse to come. He gave me my injection and I reminded him that next time he comes, he needs to give me the blood test so that the hospital can see how I’m doing and whether there are any complications

After he left, I’ve been working on my notes from Canada 2017. Despite spending a lot of time asleep I’ve pushed on quite well with the notes. I’ve been all around Red Bay, visited the wreck of MV Bernier and I’m now pushing on through the interior towards the coast at Mary’s Harbour.

Despite my Welsh lesson tomorrow and the visit from the physiotherapist, I’ll push on with my notes. I should make it to Port Hope Simpson tomorrow, where I spent the night on my way around.

That’s an interesting settlement. Created in the 1930s as a logging camp to hose the workers working on the timber concessions there, it was one of the places chosen by the controversial Prime Minister of the Province, Joey Smallwood, to house the people from the coastal settlements that he had cleared out under his even more controversial resettlement programme

So of course, it goes without saying that once everyone had settled there, the operator of the logging concessions closed down the business and the people were left with no work.

And how many times have I heard that story? People whisked away from their traditional hunting and trapping grounds, dumped in a strange new settlement and abandoned with no prospects whatsoever?

It wasn’t quite so bad for the people of European and Métis descent but for the Innu and Inuit it was devastating and has led to an enormous social and domestic problem in these communities.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with pasta. The pepper came out of the freezer and cooked for 16 minutes at 160°C in the air fryer cooked it to perfection

So I’m going to bed now. I’m hoping for a better sleep tonight if I can. I should be fighting fit tomorrow for my lesson – fighting for breath and fit to drop.

Monday 5th June 2023 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

… somewhat better than the previous one.

But that’s not difficult. Almost anything could have been better than that.

Feeling as tired as I was, I went to bed early and was asleep quite quickly. Just the occasional tossing and turning here and there.

Mind you, I did awaken early and when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was already up. Not quite “about” but I was sitting on the edge of the bed dressing.

After the medication I went and had a shower. It was something of a struggle to climb into the bath but only because of the pain in the lower calf, not because of any underlying health issue that might have affected my climbing into the bath in the past

The nurse came round at 08:20 and gave me my injection. He went afterwards to my neighbour who had the bad fall. Apparently things are not looking so good for her and that will be quite a shame.

And the nerve specialist finally phoned me back early this morning too. He can fit me on on 20th June at 10:15.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent travelling through Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island and on the ferry across the Gulf of St Lawrence. We’re now pulling into port at Argentia ready for Strider, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and me to drive up to Saint John to see my friend who lives there.

Argentia is quite an interesting place. The slow Transatlantic convoys – those with prefix SC – in World War II set out from Sydney, from where I’d just sailed, and the destroyer patrols that guarded the convoys in the early stages of their journey sheltered here in Argentia.

The village itself was demolished to make room for the naval installations. Even the bodies in the graveyard were dug up.

On 10th August 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt met in the harbour on board a ship in the harbour to discuss issues concerning the conduct of the War to date and how the USA could help to further the UK’s War aims.

When I was HERE IN 2010 it was in the middle of a torrential rainstorm so I didn’t have much of a look round. And when I was there in 2017 I was in too much of a rush.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night too. I was keeping a diary. One of the entries on which I was working was about my trip to the hospital where I’d ended up being in some kind of class that was doing something like an eye examination test where everyone was being asked questions about eyes etc but in a more vernacular rather than a scientific sense. I wasn’t asked any questions but I still had to take part in it. I was writing it up in the diary. There were lots more than happened on that particular day but I can’t remember much of it now

There was another dream about a circus, Silcock’s Circus but I can’t remember how it went. But then I was with my friends from the Wirral and another one of my friends but the woman with him was neither of the women with whom he has been married. We’d all met up once for my birthday but it was time to go. We walked back to the bus stop in Weston. The couple from the Wirral were walking ahead so I was walking with the other two who were bringing up the rear. I said my fondest goodbyes to them and that I’d see them again but I wasn’t sure when, then walked off to say goodbye to the others. The Wirral couple cut me off and headed that way. The other two went to speak to them. I thought “never mind. I’ll wander off anyway and leave those four to it”. Eventually the 6 of us (so who was the sixth?) were together at the bus stop. I pointed out the new views of Crewe with all of the redevelopment and cutting down of trees you could see so much more of the town from here than you could 30 years ago. We talked about all of the changes that had taken place in the area. Mrs Wirral asked me if I could fly by aeroplane. I told her that I had done but the problem with aeroplanes was the transfers. If I go by bus it’s basically door to door with no wandering around unnecessarily whereas with the aeroplane I’d have to walk miles and that was what was the problem with that. It wasn’t the question that I couldn’t afford it. That was something else.

I was an explorer back in the early Middle Ages. I discovered Paris on behalf of the French. That led to huge dances and celebrations all over the country. I was at one of them. For some reason King George ended up displeased and I was arrested. Crowds of people still came out to the exit to watch me take my exercise. I was thinking that one day they would decide to cut off my head at the end of all this. They were presumably letting things drag because nothing at all seemed to be changing.

At some point during the morning I dozed off for half an hour. I’ve clearly not recovered from Saturday night and my lack of sleep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, made with one of the peppers out of the freezer. And I cooked it in the air fryer on a low heat of 160°C for a total of 17 minutes, and that cooked it to perfection. It really was done to a turn.

And on the subject of things being cooked to perfection, my fruit buns were certainly delicious. It was an excellent batch that I made yesterday.

So tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson so I need to prepare for it. And the physiotherapist is coming round tomorrow afternoon too. I’m not sure what he’ll have to say about my leg and the little incident on Saturday morning, but with having had the nerve specialist contacting me again, it looks as if things are slowly moving forward.

it just makes me wish that I was.

Monday 29th May 2023 – I’M GOING TO HAVE …

… to stop watching all of these HARRY POTTER films.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, while I’m eating my tea I’ll be watching a film on the DVD, gradually working my way around my collection of DVDs. Right now, the film that’s on the machine is HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE.

And so during the night I had to go to a wizards’ conference to learn something or other on a course. Wondering how I was going to go there, someone turned up and said that they’d take me. They had an umbrella that was like a helicopter blade. I hung onto them, they hung onto the helicopter blade and off we went. We flew past the house of someone whom I knew. I always suspected that they were rather strange and there were 5 people hovering over their house on broomsticks. I waved. Suddenly we came down to earth. The guy said “I’m going out of my area now so you have to get off and walk”. I asked “how go I come back?”. He replied “you come back to this spot and I’ll pick you up”. “So how do I come back here?”. he replied “you could always call a taxi”. I said goodbye to this guy and set off to walk. When I arrived at this place they were burying a cat that had been hit by a car. I thought that the collar might have special magic powers so I was wondering if I could have it. But they were obviously intent upon burying the cat wearing the collar so it was probably inappropriate to ask. They carried on with their plan to deal with the cat while I prepared myself for this weekend course.

It’s actually a film that I remember very well, having been to see it with Marianne when it was doing the rounds of the cinemas. And I remember thinking, when Dumbledore took out his wand to clean and rebuild Professor Slughorn’s house, that I would give all that I own and more besides to have a wand that would do that

A couple of weeks ago, it was the 10th anniversary of her voyage to meet her maker. It’s bizarre how quickly time flies. It seems like only yesterday but a lot has happened since then.

So retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and in particular, about today.

It all started off with me once more raising myself from the dead before the alarm went off. And once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I made a start on the radio stuff that I’d dictated on Saturday night.

There wasn’t any rush today so it took a while, but in the end I finished up with two more programmes completed. There are only notes for two more, and then I can begin work on the next batch. But I’ll have to take it easy because I’m now 9 months in advance of broadcasting. I know that I want to be well ahead, because you never know when the bell might toll for me, but this is becoming rather excessive.

Being that far ahead isn’t really a good idea. I remember back in the old “Radio Anglais” days when I wrote and recorded a programme about Chris Squire, only for him to shuffle off this mortal coil the morning the programme was due to be broadcast. I don’t think that there’s been a radio programme rewritten as quickly as that one was.

Anyway, eventually I managed to finish the programme, despite the interruption from the nurse who came to give me my injection this morning.

One thing that I was going to do was to take out the rubbish to the bins but we have another hurricane blowing around outside. That’s the problem with living in what is one of the windiest places in Europe.

Mind you, it used to have its compensations. In this kind of weather I’d be out on the headland with the camera taking photos of the sea roaring over the sea wall into the harbour but these days I can’t even open the door of the building.

Instead, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I’ve already mentioned one of them but there were still several others. I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard the physiotherapist shout to me. I don’t know what happened there but there have been a few times here and there over the years that I’ve had this phenomenon of people calling my name when I’ve been asleep and it’s awoken me with a start. I’ve never worked out why.

But strange things happen when you are asleep. I knew someone who dreamt that he was awake, and when he awoke, he was!

Later on I had to take my overtime sheet to the supervisor to have it signed so that I could submit it for payment. She began to ask me all kinds of strange questions about my hours etc that really weren’t anything to do with overtime. Then she asked me about lunches. How did I cope with lunch?. I replied “every so often I’d go to buy some meal tickets and hand over a meal ticket when I picked up my lunch”. She said something like “your brother will buy a spaghetti with his lunch money. Why don’t you do that?”. I couldn’t understand what was the issue or why she was making such a fuss out of something like this. All I wanted was my overtime sheet signed and none of this had anything to do with that.

At another moment I made a start writing a humorous book about an estate agent as well during the night but I didn’t get very far with that unfortunately. And when I awoke I couldn’t remember any of what it was that I’d written in my sleep.

With what time has been left, I’ve been sorting through the notes for 2017. It’s going to be a very long and laborious effort because Strider, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I travelled about 12,000 miles during those 5 weeks.

Right now I’m in Pictou in Nova Scotia on my way to see my niece’s daughter who was at University in Antigonish at St F-X.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with pasta and veg. And we had something of a calamity in that the pepper was too tall to fit in the air fryer. That’s something that I need to watch for the future. Frozen peppers wotk well enough in the air fryer but the microwave makes them sodden and the oven would take years for them to bake from frozen.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t the disaster that it might have been, and there’s still plenty of stuffing left over for a taco roll for tea tomorrow.

There’s no Welsh lesson tomorrow as Coleg Cambria is having a week off. I might do some revision for a change and then continue with my 2017 notes. I’ll be pushing on up the Cape Breton coast towards Sydney and the ferry to Newfoundland.

And then I’ll be pushing off.