Tag Archives: taco roll

Tuesday 19th September 2023 – A DECISION HAS …

…been made about my state of health. And considering that I only sent in the documentation on 24th July and was told that there’s a 4-month waiting list, that was extremely rapid, to say the least.

But to cut a long story short … “thank heavens” – ed … it has been decided that I have a Class II disability, which means that I am classed as between 50% and 80% disabled, with issues that impact my daily and social life.

As a result, I’m classed as a priority case, and shall (when they have been printed) receive a card to that effect and a disabled person’s parking permit.

Not that the parking permit will do me much good because if my mobility deteriorates any more, I shan’t be driving any more – and I won’t even be going out at all.

So all of this will give me something to think about when I’m in bed tonight.

There wasn’t much time to spend thinking last night because I was extremely late going to bed. I just couldn’t summon up the energy to retire.

As well as that, I was actually awake before the alarm went off and when it finally did start to ring I was sitting on the edge of the bed with some of my clothes already on.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages, dealt with a few bits of correspondence and then revised for my Welsh lesson. That passed off quite well today, much to my surprise.

When the lesson finished I had some fruit and then buckled down to work. I’ve booked my train for Paris on Monday, booked some assistance at the Gare Montparnasse (which I can now do, seeing as I have a certificate of entitlement while I await my card) and then booked a taxi to take me to the station –

As it happens, I’m not looking forward to the trip to Paris. My train is at 05:55 so the taxi is coming for me at 05:15 which means that I need to be up and about at … errr … 04:30. That is just crazy but it can’t be helped. I have to be at the hospital at 11:00 and unless I want to stay the night, there is just no other solution.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, despite the short night that I’d had. 2 small boys went to the hospital in Athens – their parents had sent them there because maybe they were British and it was the English School there. Something had happened to one of the parents of one of these children and the children had to come back by bus which was a bit of an alarming trip for someone who had never done it before, especially in those kinds of circumstances.

There was something else about someone being involved in a kind-of internet game. There was a trap set in it that harvested everyone’s details off their computer, where they were etc, but I can’t remember very much about this at all

While I was at it, I transcribed a couple of days’ worth of notes from when I was at Alison’s. There’s still plenty to go at there but I’ll keep on plugging away at it ready for the next lot.

Tea tonight was a taco roll – quite delicious too with the stuffing. And I found something interesting today – which I should have known because I’ve used this technique before.

While the stuffing was still warm I put it in the glass storage container and put it straight into the fridge. And so the container sealed up with a perfect vacuum which was quite impressive.

With a few minutes that was left later on I went through and sorted out some more music, labelling stuff and disposing of duplicates. I’m slowly fighting my way through it all and one day I might actually be finished some day.

But now I’m off to bed. I’m going to be working on the radio stuff tomorrow and prepare a couple of programmes ready for the future. High time I got myself into gear and actually accomplished something. No-one else will do it if I won’t.

Tuesday 5th September 2023 – I HAVE HAD …

… one of the worst days ever today. And, believe me, I’ve had a few bad days in recent times.

Yesterday’s efforts took far too much out of me, regrettably, and so I’ve spent most of the day asleep on my chair. And despite all of the sleep that I’ve had, I’m still feeling absolutely wasted and I won’t be staying up for long.

Surprisingly, I was able to leave the bed quite quickly this morning and for a while I actually felt like doing something useful.

After the medication I had a listen to the radio programmes that I’ll be sending off. Two of them, in fact, because I’m not going to be here next week. I shall be in Leuven (if I make it) so I want to make sure that there’s a radio programme there in case I forget to send it later.

And that reminds me – I’d better make sure that I have on the portable computer plenty of programmes that are already prepared. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I went to hospital this time last year they took one look at me and kept me in for over two months.

The idea was that having listened to two hours of music I’d be sending them off straight away to be added into the playlist for the relevant weeks, but by that time I was well on my way out.

The way things were, I’ve not had my fruit bread and coffee, and I was hours late having my lunchtime fruit. It was more like mid-afternoon hot chocolate time.

Once I’d finally felt something-like, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. My mother was looking after a couple more children as well as us. One day I came home quite late and one of my sisters tried to wrestle my mobile phone from me. I wasn’t having that so I put up a fight. She said “you have to give me your mobile phone” so i told her to clear off. She pointed and there was a puppy sitting on her knee of one of the children. She said “we’ve been given a puppy today and we’ve been told not to do anything or make any noise etc that might frighten it”. I replied “I don’t want a puppy. I haven’t asked for one and I’ve no intention of having a puppy. I’ll carry on living as I am, doing what I want to do. I don’t care about anyone else”. This developed into an extremely acrimonious argument.

As well as that, instead of a film of the type that we’ve been having recently, last night we had a radio programme. It concerned a young weedy little man who lived with his mother. He’d suddenly acquired a girlfriend called Susan. Something had happened that had sent him off the rails. He and Susan had effectively gone on the run. They hadn’t gone far because at the moment no-one suspected any crimes. They were silly crimes, like they had a coffee machine that they’d take to events, set up a little stand, sell the coffee then disappear. No-one had worked out what crime was being committed yet. Nevertheless they could feel the Police closing in. He sent Susan off after they had abandoned the coffee machine by setting it up for a demonstration in an Italian restaurant. He’d made a mistake there – when the proprietor had given him £100 he’d given him back £10:00 change in notes. Of course, his fingerprints would be on it. He disappeared anyway. I was listening to this programme by being in a queue of traffic on the way to a racecourse. When we reached the racecourse I was following these people who were listening to the radio on a portable radio. When we came to the entrance booth they paid to get it. I didn’t have any money so I lost the radio programme. In the end I went into a café where they had a radio and I tuned it in to listen to the end. One of my friends came in. He’d been the victim of some kind of confidence trick about a game of golf. He was a bank manager so he was naturally extremely careful about what he said or did. He’d been away from work waiting for the storm to blow over. he came into this café and people recognised him. I did too. They were commiserating with him and it was disrupting my listening to the programme. Eventually I caught up with the programme again. He’d gone back home and had disappeared again. The Police had turned up to his house because there had been an incident involving his mother and who she thought was a burglar who had tied balloons to her shower. It was a strange shower – it had a kind-of toilet where she could sit while she was washing, and had been burning papers. The mother happened to mention the name of this girl, Susan, which of course the people of this who had been traced by this confidence trickster would know because of the two of them working together. That was drawing the noose even tighter. Then the guy was in his hide-out. He had a letter that had come in a long time ago but he hadn’t actually opened it. He opened it this time. It turned out to tell him something about his spin drier. He said with amazement “so that’s what happened to my spin drier. It wasn’t the Police at all. all this need never have started had I seen this letter right at the very beginning”.

Having organised that, I actually managed to do some work on one of the radio programmes in the pipeline. I had a pile of notes so I edited them down and if I feel up to it later I’ll assemble the programme. I did manage to send off the two to which I’d listened earlier.

Tea was taco rolls with some of the leftover stuffing, and that’s about everything for today, I reckon.

However I really do feel awful right now so an early night is definitely on the cards. Not that it’ll do me much good of course but we can always hope. I’m going to have to feel better by Friday as I have a long voyage to Leuven, and I’ll be walking for a lot of the way with a rucksack. I’m not looking forward to that.

Tuesday 29th August 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… one of those dreams that really ought to be turned into a film. One that went on for ever and ever during the night.

It’s a pity that I can’t remember word-for-word exactly what went on during these voyages because if I could and I could write it all down I’d be sitting on a fortune in royalties.

But at least it explains why I had another miserable night where I struggled to wake up this morning. Beat the first alarm I did, but I would have liked not to.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I had to let the nurse into the building. He’s coming to check up on my neighbour again.

Most of the day has been spent sorting out the paperwork and filling in forms for the hospital. You’ve really no idea of the stuff that they need, and then I had to track it all down.

There was also the issue of trying to find out exactly where I ought to be going. I don’t think that I’ve ever encountered a hospital as large as this one. The building where I needed to be took some tracking down.

As it happens, it’s right across the road from where there’s a Metro station on a direct line from Paris Montparnasse. That means that if whoever it is who comes to meet me fails to do so, I can make my way there on my own in a reasonable fashion.

While I was sorting everything out, the hospital actually rang me. They asked if I could come any earlier for my appointment. I replied that allowing for trains and connections, I should be able to be there earlier, but who knows how the transport will pan out?

Something else that I did today was to go one step further than Dave Crosby. Probably because I had the flu for Christmas I wasn’t feeling up to par and it increased my paranoia, like looking in my mirror and seeing a police car.

And then I attacked the dictaphone nots. I was watching Morton play last night. They were absolutely awful and turned over quite easily by the team against whom they were playing. Everyone was in a state of shock. On the climb back up to the steps of the Supporters dressing room the supporters were saying all kinds of things about how they didn’t believe the result of what was happening. One guy just sat on a step right by the door totally speechless. It was difficult to pass him to go in so I left him and went for a walk around the grandstands. When I came back he was still there so I said some platitude like “come on guy, let’s go inside. We’re not doing any good sitting here” and took him inside the Supporters room where he sat down and began this really huge inquisition about what was going wrong with the team.

I had the dream that I mentioned just now – another one of these enormous dreams about a film last night. We were in the USA, me, my friend from South Carolina and another girl. He went off somehere and I arranged to meet him at LIDL, somewhere like that. The the girl and I, we were in Shrewsbury or Chester at the time discussing the commercialisation of the port at Chester. That was my task. She was a student who was interested in developments on the waterfront for artistic purposes. I explained the river and canal network in Cheshire and how we intended to bring it all together so commercial freight would end up in Chester and distributed by the rivers and canals to the towns, and how their produce would come to Chester and be exported on sea-going ships. This chat went on for ages. In the end I sent her off after my friend and arranged to meet at LIDL where I’d do my shopping. I turned up at LIDL but the place was tiny. I couldn’t move around in it. I was so fed up that I decided that I’d take the bus into town to do my shopping there. Off I went, but I suddenly realised that I’d arranged to meet everyone at LIDL, I didn’t have my shopping bag or my money and I was on a bus into the centre of town. There was a discussion in which i was interested about developments in workshops and safety systems for electrics. I explained that in my father’s workshop he had a system of push bars against all the machinery. If he tripped and fell, he’d fall against a push bar, that would hinge with the force of his body and cut off the power. Everyone was interested in the design of this so I was talking about it when my friend came along and we met by accident. We ended up talking about this system. I asked him where the girl was. He said that she hadn’t turned up and he hadn’t met her. From there, there was a meeting taking place to do with abortion. The guy running it was clearly in favour of abortion and there was a group there trying their best to manipulate the results and figures to reveal statistics in a different fashion who were anti-abortionists. It turned out that this girl was actually there, one of the anti-abortionists who was involved in working on these figures. This led to a confrontation right at the end. The guy who was promoting this meeting and the idea of abortion was her father. They had a confrontation in the middle of the hall. That’s how my film finished. It was another one of these long ones that went on for hours and was so realistic again.

Later on I was back in that dream. I’d been taken to a restaurant as some kind of gesture to compensate me for what had happened to me at that meeting. The guy was making crèpes and showed me how he made them. I had the idea to roll them out even thinner, which I did. We cooked them quickly and they curled up into a kind-of ball. He coated a couple with ice cream and chocolate and a couple more with fruit. We chatted about his crèpes. I was sitting there talking to my friend, I don’t know who it was. My friend was asking me if I’d seen a survey in the handbook that needed to be filled in. I said that I’d seen it at a glance so he told me to have another look because it was full of things about environmental concerns and how a school had been built to trap everyone in a certain valley so that their children would go to this elementary school. It was turning into some kind of environmental and ecological disaster. There was another school where in order to make life more healthy for children they’d bulldozed absolutely everything around it. They’d made a time-lapse photo of all of the demolition that went on around the school. It really was the most extraordinary thing because it looked as if you could see the whole demolition process taking place from space at an extraordinary rapid rate of knots. It looked frightening how they’d simply bulldozed whole neighbourhoods of houses to make an environmental haven for these children. I wasn’t surprised that everyone was so upset about all of this

And then later on I was back in this dream again, something to do with serving orange juice but I can’t remember it now. But nevertheless, it was all extremely exciting, everything that flowed from this dream.

Tea tonight was my taco roll with some of the leftover stuffing. Quite nice again too, it was. Quite delicious and even better after having marinaded overnight in the herbs and spices. There’s a little left which I’ll be adding to a curry on Thursday.

Then we had the football, Penybont v Cardiff Metropolitan. For the first half hour it was played at 100mph but gradually Penybont asserted themselves.

They played some really nice and stylish football at times and had some wretched luck, with the woodwork and the Met’s keeper Alex Lang making a couple of dramatic interventions.

The Met had a couple of moments too but nether side managed to score the important goal to break the deadlock.

But I felt really sorry for the Met’s centre-forward Tom Vincent. Having been booked earlier, he was booked again and thus sent off for kicking Billy Borge in the head. But it was extremely harsh because Borge dived in for a ball at thigh-height that Vincent was attempting to play. Borge shouldn’t have had his head in there at all. If anyone’s play was dangerous, I’d have said that it was his.

So now I’m off to bed, ready to fight the good fight around the SNCF and Paris tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to this trip at all but I’ll have to do the best that I can. It might not solve anything but it won’t solve anything at all if I don’t go.

Tuesday 22nd August 2023 – TO MY COMPLETE …

… surprise, I’ve actually had a good day today. So much so that I even picked up a mistake that our tutor had made in a translation.

That’s not something that happens every day, but it certainly shows that I’m paying attention and something is sinking in somewhere.

It might possibly be due to the fact that last night was a little better than things have been just recently. I was in bed later than I would have liked to be, but I must have gone to sleep quite quickly.

Mind you, when the alarm went off I was flat out asleep and it was the toughest struggle that I’ve had just recently to raise myself from the dead before the second alarm went off.

There were a few things that I wanted to do this morning so I hurried to deal with them but it didn’t leave much time to revise anything. But it didn’t seem to matter all that much because just for once I seemed to remember the important bits.

Even more surprisingly, I actually understood some of the work that we were set to do and even came up with the correct answers, and that’s something that doesn’t happen every day either.

During the various pauses during the day I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. I had a thirst that you could photograph so I went to find a glass so that I could have something to drink. The glass slipped out of my hand and landed on the table and broke the stem off. With the cup part of it I thought that that would do for now so I went to find the mint syrup and water. I couldn’t see it at all at first but then I found it all on a tray in the bedroom. I must have been thirsty one night and taken it in because I needed to drink something during the day. Then I had the situation about how I’m going to fill the glass with syrup and then water when I can’t actually put it down because there’s no stem so one of my hands is going to be permanently occupied holding the glass.

Someone then came to see me with a problem in connection with someone whose garage door had jammed closed and wouldn’t open. There had been some building work in the immediate vicinity. It was suspected that this building work had undermined the wall of the garage and tilted it blocking the door. This guy wanted to know if I could do anything to help the old guy whose house it was. I began to ask him questions but it was the most frustrating discussion I’d ever had because he wouldn’t answer the questions that I was asking. He kept on coming out with a lot of superfluous information that didn’t relate to the question. I was totally bewildered in the end by the fact that he just seemed to be so unwilling to co-operate in this discussion so that we could sort out this particular problem. In the end I had to walk away because I was slowly starting to lose my temper. It was an extremely difficult interview with this guy about all of this that was happening. We were getting absolutely nowhere. After I’d walked away someone else came to me to ask me about drawing up some plans for an extension to their house for a laundry room. They sent their little daughter, a teenaged daughter to ask e about becoming involved. She seemed to have only the vaguest idea. I could see that this was another thing that was going to be so complicated because of the fact that the people concerned didn’t want to speak to me directly.

Some people whom I knew were planning on moving so were going to put their house up for sale. They called a surveyor in to inspect it. He found a lot of problems, water was leaking through the roof into the insulation which was all sodden. The more he looked, the more other faults he began to find with the house. I had a feeling that this move is going to be something of a disaster at this rate

Finally, we’re going back into the realms of the 18th Century. There was a guy being sought for debt, an itinerant type of person with a wife and family. They’d been in a tavern and he’d made sure that his wife and children had left. When a couple of soldiers who were in the tavern left, he waited for a moment and then slipped out in the crowd but the debt collector was waiting for him, seized hold of him and put him in his wagon where his wife and children already were. Before they set off for London and the prison he explained to the man that the crowd could become quite noisy when they see the prison carriage approaching so maybe they’d need some means to distract the children etc. The debtor was impressed with the behaviour of the guy who arrested him and commented on his politeness etc. The guy just shrugged his shoulders and they all set off. The woman was trying to explain to her children that none of it was their fault and circumstances conspired against them etc, thinking that it’s better that they know some story than to be actually told the truth.

After the lesson finished, I didn’t do all that much. I’d been flagging somewhat during the lesson and although I didn’t actually wander off into the arms of Morpheus, I wasn’t really up to doing anything special.

What I did for most of the time was to listen to the radio programme that will be broadcast this weekend and then send it off ready for feeding into the stream. And it’s a good programme too this weekend

Tea tonight was, as usual, a taco roll filled with some of the leftover stuffing and with some rive and veg too. And it was quite delicious.

Those containers that I bought at the weekend do the job really well, much better than the ad-hoc plastic arrangement that I was using previously. And it shows you what kind of exciting life I’m living these days when I wax lyrical about a storage container.

So that’s that then. I’ll think about arranging some music for the next radio programme and then go to bed ready to Fight the Good Fight tomorrow morning. We have a new tutor so I need to set a good example. I’m not likely to do that if I fall asleep in the middle of the lesson.

Tuesday 15th August 2023 – NOW THAT THE …

… blog is back on line again, I can carry on.

It runs on a programming language called *.php and that’s a system of coding that I’ve never learnt and so it uses a proprietary coding package that is available from a major supplier.

And it’s mated to an *.sql database, a system of coding that I learnt at University 20-odd years ago.

Anyway, the major supplier updated its *.php coding to version 6.3at the weekend and ever since then the supplier’s helpdesk has been inundated with complaints about all kinds of things that have gone wrong.

And so I (and, presumably many others) received a mail this morning saying that a crucial line of coding was missed out of the upgrade and they hope that it’s now been fixed.

I can’t say that I’m very impressed.

It made up for the night that I had because even though I didn’t travel very far, I had a great deal of difficulty sleeping. Maybe going to bed late might have had something to do with that.

So when the alarm went off I was with a friend of mine waiting for her daughter to come from school. She was probably about 6 or 7. When she turned up she was being rather mischievous so I said that I would buy a fridge, I’d put her in it and take bits out to eat when I was feeling hungry.

So being asleep, it was yet another struggle to leave the bed this morning.

What didn’t help my humour was that I had forgotten to close the fridge door. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so much ice.

First thing to do this morning was therefore to switch off the fridge and empty it out so that it would defrost during the course of the day. I’m glad that there was no longer any Aranesp in there.

What with all of this going on it took a while to organise myself. First thing to do was to listen to the dictaphone. We’d reached the North Pole somehow and were concerned by a few articles lying around. There was a sanitary object without a handle, whatever that is, and one or two things that I can’t say what they were. We were more interested in how they came to be there.

This was also another one of these really gruesome dreams about a motorcycle gang that raided a restaurant somewhere in the USA. They dealt with the patrons in the most evil kind of way

From there I was rolling pastry into ling tubes like you do when you’re making bread or pizza etc. I had to go shortly but carried on rolling this pizza for ages. In the end I put it in a plastic bag, picked up my things and began to head outside to my Ford Transit van ready to set off on my voyage wherever it was that I was going.

Next thing was that now that the blog was back on line I could update it with the missing entries. And then I had to do the homework for the Welsh lesson today.

The lesson was another one of these bits-and-pieces days where some of it was good and some of it was … errr … less so. I wish that I could remember half of the stuff that I’m supposed to have learnt. It just goes in one ear and right out of the other.

Homer Simpson once famously said “every time I learn something new, it pushes something old out” but I don’t even have that luxury.

When the lesson was over I cleaned the fridge and sorted it out. It’s quite surprising but there always seems to be much more room in there than there was before I started yet I don’t seem to have thrown anything away.

And then, armed with my hot chocolate, I came back in here and … errr … had a little relax – and for quite a while too.

Tea tonight was a taco roll and I don’t really like these new wraps that I bought the other day. I don’t think that I’ll be buying those again.

Having finished for the day, I’m off to bed now. I’ll be busy tomorrow because I need a shower and the cleaner will be here so there’s some tidying up that needs to be done.

There’s the Welsh lesson to organise too and then I have some things to organise about my forthcoming trips. I’ll be on my travels in early course so I have to make the arrangements, or else I’ll be up yet another gum tree.

Tuesday 8th August 2023 – TODAY WAS RATHER …

… better than it was yesterday.

At least I managed to keep on going without actually falling asleep at some point.

Mind you, it was pretty much touch and go at a couple of points during the day and I’m absolutely wasted right now, to such an extent that I’ll be off to bed in a moment, well before my usual bed-time.

In fact, last night I was in bed earlier than usual and despite another turbulent night, I was actually up and about before the alarm went off. Only a couple of minutes before, but it all counts.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I had a listen to the mountain of stuff that was on the dictaphone from the night. I was having the silliest of arguments in LIDL. I was there with my brother – we’d gone to buy a few things. I went up to the cashier’s desk to pay whatever I’d selected. I had to hunt for my money in my little bag thing. While I was doing this the machine began to spew out a load of £5 notes. I asked the girl what it was doing. She replied that it was preparing your change. I replied that I’d not paid anything yet. She replied “no but it prepares your change while you organise yourself”. I told her how strange this situation was. A security guard came over to see what the hubbub was about. I explained and he explained too to this girl but she didn’t understand why we found it so strange. I said that I could just take the money, say goodbye and leave my shopping here now, couldn’t I, and not pay you at all. She still didn’t get it. The subject came round about magic and magic beasts, demons, wizards etc. I said “would you like to see my demon?” and I indicated to my brother to to the the bag on my back and pull out STRAWBERRY MOOSE. Instead he came out with a giant stuffed rat. I asked “Isn’t Strawberry Moose there?”. He replied “no” so I wondered where he had gone because I was convinced that I’d brought him into the shop. It was the strangest argument that I’ve had for quite some time.

There was then a group of is in Crewe walking down Walthall Street. I was as usual chatting up a young girl who was with us. We walked past a group of people standing at the side of the road with a stock car. They were talking about North Carolina so I asked them if they came from there and if they raced there. They replied that they did. I went to ask them if they knew someone whom I knew there but I couldn’t think of his name. I asked them if they knew such and such a town where he raced. I couldn’t think of that name either. We had the most astonishing conversation. I was trying to talk to these people but I couldn’t remember anything. We talked about the towns, how they were scattered out and round, how one town was pretty much the same as the other. This chat went on for quite a while. In the end a couple of my friends had moved on down the road. I went on to catch them up. The young girl was having her watch adjusted by another member of our party. It might have been her mother or something. It was a kind of fitbit that gave a printout on a piece of paper like a till receipt. They were fitting a new paper in it. When she finished the woman patted her on the head and said “right, you can run along to Eric now”. That was a comment that took me completely by surprise.

Later on I was back with the group of people from earlier, including the young girl with the black curly hair. I finally managed to persuade her to come round to my apartment and maybe even spend the night with me. Much to my surprise her mother didn’t make all that many objections to the idea at all. She even had a quiet little word with her about one or two things. That was something else that took me completely by surprise.

So there I was, with my meal on the plate, all poised and at the ready, and I’ve no idea what happened that caused it all to melt away just before I had my fork stuck in it. Just my luck, isn’t it?

Finally I was down at the bottom of Middlewich Street by the funeral parlour at the Cumberland bridge and there I met my journalist friend from Philadelphia. She was expressing her dismay about the new manner of speaking where people today are so touchy and easily offended about things that people write that don’t even concern them, and I was agreeing. In fact, in real life, I’m sure that there are more than just one or two people with nothing better to do than to crawl all over the internet looking for ways in which they might possibly be offended.

The Welsh lesson passed quite quickly today and we made a few long strides forward.

Regrettably though, I seem to have miscalculated, or they have. My three months away, either in Canada or in hospital, were right at the start of this year’s studies, but we’re only doing half a year – the second half. I really wanted to go back and redo the beginning of the course.

When the lesson was over I had my hot chocolate and then finished off all of the radio notes for the programme I’ll be preparing at the weekend. I might even start the next one tomorrow – who knows?

For a change, I managed to eat all my tea – a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing. There’s not much left so I’ll have a leftover curry with a naan bread for tea tomorrow.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed. I’m thoroughly exhausted and an early night will do me good.

Here’s hoping for a nice little voyage or two in the company of some good friends. As Guildenstern said in “Hamlet”, “dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream”

Tuesday 1st August 2023 – I’VE HAD AN …

… early tea tonight.

There’s football on the radio (not, unfortunately, on the internet) tonight, the return leg of Swift Hesperange of Luxembourg v TNS and I don’t want to miss it.

But I’m surprised that I was awake enough to listen to it because, once again, I’ve been asleep for much of the day unfortunately. It was another one of those nights about which I promised not to speak.

When the alarm went off I was flat out yet again and struggle to get to my feet before the second alarm went off.

After the medication it took me a while to wake up, and another late coffee again today. And once I was back in the Land of the Living, whenever that might have been, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a whole night spent wandering around in the most bizarre kinds of places with all kinds of strange people. It went on for ever and ever and ever. I was in Canada at one point and all kinds of exciting places. The moment that I picked up the dictaphone everything completely evaporated. I remember nothing whatsoever except the fact of the huge variety of different things that I’d been doing but not exactly what I’d been doing.

And then we were at a football match. The opposition was taking a corner. A TNS defender yelled at everyone to leave the ball as it flew over. A Holywell player complained to all his team-mates about it. Everyone seemed to complain to everyone else about not intercepting this ball that flashed across the defence.

Later on at one point last night 3 or 4 of us were walking on the beach round by Parkgate, Neston, that area looking across to what was going on in Wales but we couldn’t see anything happening over there. Ironically, when I lived in Chester in the early 1970s I walked along the beach at Parkgate and Little Neston on several occasions

Someone posted a photo of a rare S-series Foden lorry with a showman’s body on the back of it, saying that he was going to part it out if anyone needed any spares. Someone took an injunction out in the Court against him doing that on the grounds that it was an extremely rare and historic vehicle and shouldn’t be broken up.

Finallt I’d been to school in Nantwich and met up with my mother and brother (I can’t keep them out of my dreams, can I?). We decided that we’d cycle home. We reached Shavington and went out on the old road towards the Hough. They’d been resurfacing it and there was a lot of loose gravel and stone etc. Cars were sliding everywhere. I made my way through to the other end to near Cobb’s Lane. When I turned round the other two weren’t behind me. I waited there but they didn’t show up. There was a huge car accident, cars and lorries etc sliding on the loose gravel, ending up on the wrong side of the road and shooting through the roundabout there. It was complete mayhem for a while. I was sitting there waiting thinking that if they have a problem they’ll phone me. The bus to Crewe turned up so I went to sit on the bus out of the rain – by now it was raining heavily. Still no-one showed up. Suddenly the bus started and set off. It went in a strange way that I’d travelled before in another dream at some point in the past, past a huge skyscraper-type building at the back of North Staffordshire that was some form of Bible college, past a historic church and a couple of castles. Everyone on this bus was asking the driver about these castles. He said that they’ll see 10 before the bus reaches the end of its run but they’s only counted 4 at this point. I was looking at my watch thinking that considering that I left at 17:00 for what would be a 15-minute run it will be 19:30 before I return home. I’m not going to want to take this trip more than once in my life. There’s still no phone call message from anyone to find out where they were for the last stretch of road that they hadn’t come to join me.

That road, incidentally, reminded me of the road alongside the Sioule from Menat towards St Gervais where Chateau Rocher is, and the road that runs at the back of Audley down towards Keele past where Heighley Castle used to be.

For the rest of the day, when I’ve been awake, I’ve been back in Canada with my trip around Labrador. Right now I’ve started to stumble across the Valard and Nalcor site operations.

All of that is extremely controversial. Having built the huge power station at Churchill Falls in the 50s and 60s and finding that they had no customers for the electricity, they sold the electricity to Québec Hydro for peanuts.

When Labrador developed in the 1980s the region had no other source of electricity to they had to buy their own electricity back from Québec at an extortionate price.

Since then, there has been a variety of projects to generate electricity, of which Muskrat Falls is the most controversial. Tribal areas have been devastated, hunting grounds destroyed, settlements flooded and electricity generated “somehow” ending up at St John’s, the Province’s capital in Newfoundland.

Add to all that the fact that cost and timescales have been dreadfully overrun, and even the conservative Canadian Broadcasting Corporation refers to “years of scandals related to Muskrat Falls”.

Financial and Project management in Newfoundland and Labrador is a history of calamity and disaster. It seems to me that no-one in the Government has the first clue about what they are trying to accomplish and end up lurching from one catastrophe to another.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg (and very nice it was too) and now that the football has had its disappointing end I’m going to bed.

Ready to fight another day, I don’t think. I may not be doing so well during the day but you’re certainly having your money’s worth during the night.

Tuesday 25th July 2023 – TODAY WAS SOMETHING …

… of a better day today, which is just as well because it couldn’t have been any worse than yesterday.

Not that I was expecting it to be because even though I was in bed at something like a reasonable time, once more it took me an age to go off to sleep.

Not as much on the dictaphone as last night either, and when the alarm went off I was flat out asleep. So at least that’s something.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages it took me another age to actually wind myself up to start work. I seem to have a very great difficulty getting going these days.

First thing to do was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It was wartime. A group of soldiers had been sent to a barracks. They had been given their equipment, including hooks for hanging up their clothes. The sergeant was going through this, interrogating the privates who were already there about certain of the things. He pointed to one of these clothes hooks and asked about it. They came out with some kind of nebulous opinion about what they thought it might be. He dropped it and it was spring-loaded so it sprang right across the road and embedded itself in the front bumper of an old car that was going past in the street.

Later on I came across an obscure reference to some kind of line-of-sight between somewhere in Sinai across to the coast in the Spanish Sahara and then back from French West Africa to the east coast of Africa. It looked quite interesting so I went to the library and borrowed probably a dozen books. I sat there for the whole day reading them. It turned out to be the report of 4 people who’d gone on a cycle trip between these places, what they’d seen and what they’d done. But they didn’t mention the cycles very often. I was busy plotting their route trying to work out the things that they’d seen and cross-reference it with other books. Then the librarian came up to me and asked me for several books back because the library was closing. I was on the point of asking him if I could keep the others somewhere so they aren’t filed away so they’ll be here tomorrow morning for me.

There was also a woman and girl. We were in Ramsgate and had to go somewhere down in the south of Kent so we set out to drive. The woman driving was confused about the way out of Ramsgate so I gave directions. We ended up talking to another couple of women so somehow we began to walk out of the town. We walked for quite a long way. I was saying about where my mother used to live and talking about the evacuation in 1940 etc, saying that I’d show everyone where my mother used to live. I suddenly realised that we didn’t have the car. I asked the woman “where have you left the car?”. She replied “back in Ramsgate”. We carried on walking and came to the main road, Thanet Way. We decided that we’d better go back to fetch the car. There was some talk about some tea in the oven etc. I volunteered to run back with the keys and fetch the car but the girl wanted to go on the bus. I hadn’t a clue what the buses were like, where they ran to and their times etc. It was beginning to go dark now. The first thing was that a tram appeared. They were thinking about boarding the tram but I remembered that there were no tram lines anywhere near where we were with the car so I didn’t think that going on the tram was a good idea. We had a big argument or discussion about going back to pick up the car. This is the kind of thing that would drag on for hours, we won’t resolve anything and we’ll still end up without a car. It could all be resolved in half an hour If I were to run back to fetch it.

Actually, there’s a lot of truth in this story, believe it or not. I’ve been asked several times why I seem to be so concerned with the plight of refugees, and the answer to this is that my mother and her sister were refugees.

They had a very peripatetic childhood and when World War II broke out they were living in Birchington on Sea, not too far from Ramsgate, at the end of the runway at Manston Airfield, an RAF station on the Isle of Thanet.

At the fall of France in June 1940 the Luftwaffe began to drop bombs on all of the airfields in South-East England and Manston was particularly devastated. After one major attack early in the Battle of Britain, all of the children in the area were rounded up, taken to the railway station with just one suitcase, then stuck on a train and sent to live with complete strangers.

For girls who were not yet teenagers it was completely and utterly traumatic and I think in all honesty that it scarred my mother for life. She told us many stories about her life in Somerset and so I have a great deal of sympathy for these people who are fleeing a war zone.

Every time I see some of the hatred and vitriol that’s poured out about refugees, I just reflect that thank God those people weren’t around when my mother and her sister were desperately looking for shelter in 1940

When the alarm went off I was in bed with a girlfriend of mine. The question of motor bikes came up. I was going to buy a new motor bike but for some unknown reason my girlfriend hadn’t ordered a new helmet. That, for some reason, sent me into a fierce temper. I couldn’t understand why I was in such a bad mood about the fact that no helmet had been ordered. Even though I was tired I forced myself out of bed to go to order one myself. I threw a few things across the bedroom. I couldn’t understand why I was in such a bad mood. Had it happened 30 or 40 years ago I could have understood but I’m a different person these days than I used to be.

So having got that out of the way I turned my attention to the radio programme. I listened to the one that will be broadcast this weekend and then sent it off. Once it had gone off, I made a start on preparing another one. The music has been chosen, paired off and I’ve dictated quite a few notes for it.

For much of the rest of the day when I’ve not been asleep on my chair, I’ve been working on my Canada 2017 trip, but not actually doing much in the way of notes but doing some research.

There’s an island off the coast of Cartwright that is known by the locals as “Prisoner’s Island”. The local story was that there was a murder in a fishing gang and as there was no Law Enforcement in Labrador, the alleged perpetrator was cast away on the island and taken back to England at the end of the fishing season.

It occurred to me that if he had been taken back to England, it’s likely that he would have been put ashore at the Port of London and if so, had there been a criminal case, it would have been heard at the Central Criminal Court, otherwise known as “The Old Bailey”.

Consequently I’ve been browsing my way through the records of the Central Criminal Court – and guess what?

On 14th January 1818 “His Majesty’s Special Commission was then put in and read, authorizing the Court to proceed to the Trial of Samuel Harvey Brown who was indicted for feloniously killing and slaying Thomas Pearse , on the 13th of July, at Dumpling Island, in North America, without England “

It just goes to show that many of these very old rumours have a great deal of foundation in fact.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice which was delicious as usual, but I had to eat it quickly because there was football on the internet. Having been eliminated from the Champions League last week, TNS were competing in the Europa League against Swift Hesperange of Luxembourg.

TNS went behind quite quickly and were under the cosh for much of the game, with the Luxembourgers missing a penalty and having several excellent chances. However they rode their luck and played much better than they did against the Swedes of Hacken and pulled a goal back late in the game.

And so it’s all to play for next week.

But that’s next week. Right now, later than usual, I’m off to bed. I won’t have much time for sleep unfortunately but I’ll try to make the best of what I’ve got. The cleaner will be around in the afternoon so I’ll need to do some tidying up before she arrives.

Wednesday 19th July 2023 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… day today that’s best forgotten. In fact, I’m actually so surprised that I’ve accomplished as much as I have.

But start as you mean to go on. I was actually up and about (well, sort-of) before the alarm went off. I’d had such a disturbing dream that it actually awoke me and I ended up sitting bolt-upright.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages it took me a while to come to my senses – after all, I have so few left these days that it takes a while to find them, I suppose.

Anyway, once I was there or thereabouts I pushed on with the medical receipts. It was quite a struggle because there were so many, but eventually they were all done and dusted. Just one more lot to send off but I’ll wait until Friday when I’ll have bought this next month’s batch of Aranesp.

The next thing that needed doing was to fill in this form about my disability. That was a whole rainforest of paperwork that I needed to complete, and as well as that, I had to print off some stuff from the computer, like copies of Identity cards and electricity bills and the like.

But going through these forms, I’m surprised at what I’m entitled to claim. There’s no doubt that the elderly and infirm are much better off here than in the UK.

However, it goes without saying that I’m not claiming for much because I don’t really need it. If I can have a parking pass and a public transport ticket that will suit me fine. My medical expenses are taken care of because I’m classed as long-term permanently seriously ill

Ending up with a pile of paperwork like this, that led to some tidying up in here. And that’s not like me at all, is it? I suppose that I ought to be more focused on things like this but it isn’t easy.

A little later I had a shower, and then while the cleaner was here I organised the music for the next radio programme, paired it all off and then actually wrote out all of the notes. And that took me an age because I fell asleep in the middle of doing it. And fell asleep definitively too.

At some point or other I managed to transcribe the dictaphone notes. There were a couple of people who were being besieged, rather like Murdoch and Lamb (I actually mean Murdoch and Guyler) of the Men From The Ministry. When they began to run away from their hiding place they found that their enemy’s ship was anchored no more than a couple of feet away. They tried to dodge into a building just as the ship opened fire. It practically obliterated the building in which they were trying to hide but they managed to go inside what was left of it. another point-blank broadside brought them back out of the building again and they were obliged to surrender.

There was also a film about 2 guys who were playing cricket. Their team wasn’t particularly good but they were doing really well. There was a break and these 2 guys disappeared and no-one knew where they had gone. The people who ran the club were devastated because they were the only 2 who were doing any good. Then it turned out that someone checked the contents of a dustbin lorry. There had been a film that had taken place there about some dwarf warning the population about the dangers of eating when there were seagulls about. One of the guys missing from this group was a dwarf as well. There were 2 people talking about the perils of being in a boat who resembled 2 of the persons from this group who were missing so speculation was that they’d all been caught out doing something that they shouldn’t be doing and were arrested. They were now having part of their punishment which was to talk out loud on the radio about these things that they shouldn’t do

I was in bed last night really hot and felt the urge to spread myself right out to make the greatest surface possible so that I could transpire better but for some unknown reason I was really worried about disturbing whoever it was who was asleep on the other half of the bed. Eventually after quite a while I realised that there wasn’t anyone asleep there and that I’d just imagined there being someone else there in bed with me at the time

Finally, I’d been staying in an Air B&B somewhere and was due to leave. The final account had been e-mailed to me to pay. Someone looked at it and told me “do you know that you have to pay 11,000 (whatever the local currency is) for your stay in that place? That works out at £2,000 per week”. It was only a single room in a small house. I was astonished by that, so much so that I actually awoke

And after last night’s escapades I managed to have some food tonight. Plenty of stuffing left so I had a taco roll, the one that I should have had last night. I know that my meals are all very samey but they are all very nice regardless.

Tomorrow, with all of my work done, I can finally have a day working on Canada 2017. But as usual, something will be bound to crop up to disturb me. I mustn’t forget to order the Aranesp either. When I go into town on Friday to pick it up I can post all of my letters.

There’s enough there to keep me out of mischief for a while.

Tuesday 11th July 2023 – TODAY’S LESSON …

… didn’t pass as quickly as yesterday’s.

In fact, we overran our allotted time and there was still some work left to do. It looks as if tomorrow I shall have to do some homework before the lesson begins.

And today was one day where I would have liked to have had a shorter day. I’d had a very bad night again and I wasn’t really in much of a fit state to do my course. To make matters worse, I had as the other half of my break-out pair the only person on the planet who knew less than me.

During the night I hadn’t had a great deal of sleep. What with the pain in my foot – that was something. And the amount of travels on which I’d been engaged was something else completely. I’d chosen 4 songs for some reason. At first I thought that they all came from the same album. It turned out that only 1 of them was from the album that I actually wanted. The other 3, although they fitted into the kind of mood of the piece that I was creating came from an album that had nothing at all to do with whatever it was that I was planning. I was rather bewildered about how this had come about

Having gone back to sleep I was using the cut-and-paste facility to chop the narrative and dialogue around so that it all fits together and runs together in some kind of sense and vague chronological order as much as I could

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were staying at someone’s house investigating some kind of crime. The guy had a sister. Dr Watson became quite friendly with her. The brother objected strongly and asked Watson to swear on oath that he wasn’t up to no good. Watson was quite happy to do. The girl then went missing from home. Shortly afterwards Watson returned. The guy accosted him, threatening and bullying etc. Watson pulled from his coat pocket the papers that he’d signed saying “I’ve just come back to the house to deposit my oath that I recently swore so that rather negates your argument doesn’t it?”.

Did I dictate the dream about driving through the forest and all these clearings? … “No you didn’t” – ed Some boys on a motorbike based on a Fordson E83W van. I stopped to talk to them but they moved off. I followed them and this took place 2 or 3 different times. Eventually I caught up with them at a clearing in the woods where they were wandering around. I went over to talk to them. I complained about them driving off every time I stopped to talk to them. I asked them about their motor bike. They really knew nothing about it, not even what it was. To them it was just some engine lying around so they’d put it in a frame. It was up for sale they said but they didn’t have a clue what it was worth. My thought was that it was either worth a lot of money because of its rarity value or it’s worth nothing because of its total impracticality. The only worth it has is for someone with some kind of nostalgia like me but I wasn’t going to give them an elevated price if I could afford it. I recommended that they speak to someone else and had some kind of figure from them, then come back to talk to me about it when they had more of an idea of what they wanted.

And I was impressed that I could remember the correct designation of the Ford van. When we were kids, my father had two of them – KLG93 and XVT772. We drove all over the country in those in the late 50s and early 60s before we upgraded to pure unashamed luxury and had a CA Bedford 967NVT

On the subject of my father, at some point he wanted to know if I wanted to go and do another job for a friend of his, taking his artic somewhere and coming back later. There would be a couple of hours break in the middle where I could go and play football if I wanted. It meant trying to find my hammer which was buried somewhere on the bed. I had to hunt for it and found it underneath the bedclothes in a suitcase in a pile of sand. I had to take the hammer from the pile of sand. There was a motor race taking place with small miniature lorries. The idea was that they were attached to fishing lines. People threw the lorries on the end of a hook down a hill. When the whistle sounded they had to reel in the lorries so they would come back up the hill on their 4 wheels. It was the first one past the finishing line that would win.

Just for a change I was up before the alarm went off. Only by about 30 seconds though. I awoke with a start at 06:59 and it was too good an opportunity to miss, with the possibility of beating the alarm for once.

Having transcribed the dictaphone notes I revised for my Welsh course today but it didn’t do much good because with having a teflon brain, nothing whatever would stick.

But then I grabbed a big pot of coffee and a fruit bun and went on the attack.

It wasn’t until about 16:20 that we finished so I went to grab my hot chocolate and the last of my chocolate biscuits. Tomorrow I can start on the honey and oatmeal ones that I made at the weekend.

Having organised that I did some work on my Canada 2017 trip and I’m out in the bay heading towards a fishing station. But I was side-tracked because I found another handy guide to navigation off the Labrador coast with a lot of useful information that isn’t in the other two that I have.

As well as that, I’ve written a couple of notes for the radio programmes and I’ve been rescuing data from the hard drive that I’ve repaired. I’ve been busy.

Tea tonight was another delicious taco roll but there’s not very much stuffing left. I’ll probably end up with a curry and naan bread tomorrow which should be nice

But that’s tomorrow. I’m off to bed right now and tomorrow morning I’ll have to have a shower because the cleaner will be round at some point and I don’t want to frighten her away. Here’s hoping that I can have a good sleep tonight them.

Tuesday 4th July 2023 – AFTER WHAT I SAID …

… last night, I didn’t have anyone of any particular interest coming to join me on my travels last night. It looks as if TOTGA’s visit was something of a flash in the pan and that was that.

Instead, I didn’t go very far on my travels last night, at least as far as I can actually recall. I was working in an office in Paris for a company. We’d been told that there was going to be a huge flood. We needed to finish work, go home and prepare for the worst. I was busy in my room on the 5th floor of this building doing what I could. I asked someone what they thought were the chances of the water actually coming this high where we were. They replied “you never can tell. It’s best to do whatever you can to save whatever you can”. I went down to the basement and found a sack. I started to assemble all of my computer equipment like the box for the computer, the hardware and all of the laptops etc and put them in this sack, then carry the sack down to my vehicle ready to leave. Even then I thought that the vehicle would be flooded, my house will be flooded, everywhere I’ll be going will be flooded so what’s the real point of doing all of this anyway? I carried on and watched everyone else take their precautions. It was all extremely sad.

There was a second thing too. By the time that I’d prepared the dictaphone and began to dictate, everything went out of my mind again. I’m not having a very good day right now.

I found a note that the dream about which I didn’t know anything was another one of these dreams about escaping from where I was because there was a huge inundation coming

And finally there was something about “Life With The Lyons” last night with the Lyon family in a restaurant. Bibi Daniels had her head stuck in a lampshade that was covering a light in the wall. All the noise that people made as they were trying to free her made it seem as if there was a fight taking place. She thought that her son was being attacked and was panicking. People had problems trying to convince her that there was nothing at all to worry about and that she was simply having a panic attack while all of this was happening.

When the alarm went off at 07:00 I was dead to the world and it was a real struggle to leave the bed this morning.

And as usual, it took me a good while to bring myself round into the Land of the Living later on.

But what jolted me into some kind of awakening were the telephone calls that I received.

Firstly, the nerve specialist telephoned me with a whole barrage of questions that this hospital in Paris wants to know. That took me an absolute age to sort out, and then I had to find my schedule of medication, scan it and e-mail it to him for his records.

He’s given me an appointment to go to see him on Friday afternoon at 17:30. He wants to give me another one of these electrical tests that he gave me a few months ago. I find that to be a rather shocking idea and I’m surprised that I didn’t revolt.

The purpose of this is to see whether there has been a deterioration since the last time he gave me the test. But I can tell him that for nothing without having to go through all of that agony again.

Next on the ‘phone was the estate agents for this apartment. I have to send them a certificate of insurance every year.

They had phoned me a couple of weeks ago so I had sent it off. But today they ‘phoned me again to say that they hadn’t received it. So I sent it again.

Half an hour later they rang yet again to ask where it was so I told them that it had been sent twice now. They still hadn’t received it so they gave me a different e-mail address so that I could send it off a third time.

And then they rang me back to tell me that they had found all of my correspondence in their spam box. “Courrier indésirable” is what they call Spam around here, and I reckon that that’s quite appropriate. Any communication from me is undesirable.

Something else that I’ve done is to spent some time working on the radio stuff, now that I have my new hard drive sorted out somehow how I would like it to be. I’ve tidied up the radio files, chosen the tracks for the next radio programme, combined them and then started to write the notes.

What I’ve decided to do is to spread out the radio work through the week and not be in such of a rush. It’ll probably end up better as it will give me more time to think about what I’m doing, although I can see that that could quite easily be a disadvantage.

There were the dictaphone notes, that you have already seen, and then I’ve worked my way through the first half of the first year’s Welsh course to brush up my studies. I have my Summer School starting next week so I want to make sure that I know what I’m doing, not that that’s ever bothered me in the past.

With the physiotherapist planned to come round I went for a shower too. But when I came out I found that he’d sent me a mail to say that he couldn’t come, which is becoming far too much of a habit.

And so instead, I crashed out for a while. And that was rather depressing.

There was some time to spare so I went out onto the coast of Canada again and found that I had to rewrite some of the stuff that I’d written yesterday because I’d found some more information that contradicted some earlier stuff. It seems that I’m rather bogged down here at the moment.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg and it really was nice. My meals might sound monotonous but they are certainly tasty.

Tomorrow the cleaner is going to be coming so I need to do a little tidying up to make the place look a little more respectable. I might even have an early night too but whether or not I’ll sleep is another question. I seem to be sleeping more in the daytime that I’m doing at night right now.

Tuesday 27th June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable day today.

Not that you would have thought so from the way that things began, because when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was actually up and about already.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I sat down to work through the Welsh lesson that we would be doing today. But once again, the Teflon brain made its appearance and nothing seemed to stick to it today.

It’s something that is becoming more and more of a daily occurrence, this. It makes me feel rather like Homer Simpson and “every time I learn something new, it pushes out something old”.

It reminds me of a discussion that I had with someone the other day on a Social Network group where I could remember the name of a family who lived in a certain house in village where I lived as a child, over 50 years ago.
“That’s pretty good going” said the woman to whom I was talking.
“That’s as maybe” I replied “but ask me why I walked into the kitchen 5 minutes ago”.

Anyway, the lesson itself was pretty dismal. I couldn’t remember anything and my head was full of spaghetti instead of any coherent thought. I was glad, if not relieved, when it was finished.

What didn’t help was the fact that I was desperately fighting off a wave of sleep. That’s the kind of thing that you can only do for so long and then at some point this afternoon I succumbed.

Out like a light too, and for quite a while. It was quite depressing today.

There’s a pretty good reason though why I was feeling so awful, as I found out when I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was at home on my own. Everyone else had gone out. I put my phone on charge and was sitting doing a few things here and there. The place was quite untidy. Eventually I took hold of the telephone to check that it was charged and opened the door into the corridor, but opened it really quickly so as to frighten anyone who might possibly have been loitering around outside. There was no-one there so I made my way down the corridor and began to go down the stairs. I heard the front door open so I quickly dashed down to the bottom to turn the lights on to make it look as if I was working down there. I came back up. It was my mother who was for some reason quite angry saying something like I hadn’t spoken to her since she left to go out earlier. I replied that that’s hardly surprising because she wasn’t here. She was out.

Later on I was out in Labrador again, wandering around an old fishing village inspecting what remained there or traditional activities. The harbour was there of course but everything else was closed or run down or depleted. The place was looking really sad and sorry for itself. I hardly recognised it from its heyday when it was in the photos in a lot of the newspapers etc at the time.

Did I dictate the one about going on a coach trip … “no you didn’t” – ed. There had been snow in the mountains. We were staying somewhere for a couple of nights. We were having lots of problems with the snow but it stopped. I thought that this would be the moment to try to leave this valley, up into the mountains and out the other side. We sent the passengers off in a coach. Apparently the conditions were so bad in the mountains that the coach became stuck in the snow. I had to walk all the way after it, rescue the passengers and bring them back down the valley by walking. It took several days to do this. I managed to chivvy them up into being a little enthusiastic about it but it was clearly not going to work and there would be loads of complaints. In the end we managed to struggle back to the hotel where we’d been. I just hoped that the landlord hadn’t re-let the beds so that people had a place to go back to rest while we thought of another plan. Someone said to me that they knew that I’d tried my best but that I certainly wasn’t any expert. I replied that I’m certainly the first to admit that I have an awful lot to learn about everything.

Then we were back in Labrador. There had been a table lamp set up on a table there that over the years had melted a hole in the top of the television. You could travel in and out of this hole and broadcast yourself to wherever you wanted to go so I went to Labrador and had a look around. I found that the Europeans were packing up and making ready to move off somewhere else. These items said something about having flights back to the local people but I thought that it was more like that the company had exploited the area for all that it was worth. Now there was nothing whatever left of the interest so they were disposing of the evidence basically by giving it to the Inuit and hoing that the Inuit would clean it up.

Later still I was with another driver from Shearings spending the night in a Bed-and-Breakfast in Welsh Row, Nantwich. While we were out in the evening we came to this Australian group of older people who were quite intoxicated and in a bad temper. They were looking for some fish and chips. I don’t know why my friend did it but he rounded them up and told them to follow us and come to have some chips at the pub. I thought it strange because it was the last thing that I wanted to do, to be associated with people like this. They followed up and walked past 2 or 3 fish and chip shops. They were protesting. In the end they came to our pub. We went up to our room for the night. You could hear these Australians whining and moaning at the bar. Next morning I awoke. It was 09:20 and we had to be on the road at 10:30. I thought we’d have to hurry. My friend had been up and out once. I heard someone talking about a Mausolina. I asked him what it was. He replied that it was something that was petit, petit, petit, petit as in “small”. I thought that i’d better dress quickly and see if there’s any food. I don’t want to talk about these Australians because I had a feeling that things hadn’t gone very well with them last night and I didn’t want to stir the pot.

And finally I was a pilot on board an HMS sailing ship that had put into Labrador. We’d left the ship and went for an explore in a settlement on the coast that was formerly some kind of European colony. I can’t remember very much at all of this from here on.

It seems that I’m spending a lot of time in Labrador during the night. It’s probably the effect of wading through all of these notes that I wrote or am trying to write about my trip there in 2017. And I need to push on with that.

Today though I’ve been wading through the working files on the computer and deleted or moved, would you believe, 60GB of data from the working drive – something that I should have done a long time ago. Despite how awful I was feeling, that was some pretty good work today.

The physiotherapist came round today and we went for a walk outside. I told him that things are going downhill as far as my mobility goes and he’s going to have a think about what he can do try and pump me up to keep going. But right now it’s quite a struggle to move around.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the stuffing that was left over. There’s still plenty for a chili sin carné tomorrow with some kidney beans added in.

While we’re on the subject of Welsh lessons … “well, one of us is ” – ed … regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was thinking about doing 2 Welsh courses next year. One course as the successor to the one that I’m doing now and another to retake the current course.

What has happened though is that I noticed a three-week crash course on a full-time basis offered by the Gwent College of Further Education. I’ve undertaken a few courses with them in the past and quite enjoyed them, so I’ve signed up for this one.

That will keep me out of mischief for the month of August, so with the one-week Summer Revision School in July and three weeks in August to do the course again, if I haven’t grasped it by then, then I never will.

All I need now is to wind up my brain, but that’s a pretty hopeless cause these days. I’m losing my braincells at a rather rapid rate of knots. All I have left are my marbles but I’ll be losing them before too long.

Tuesday 20th June 2023 – I’VE HAD A …

… horrible afternoon today. and I really mean that too, in case you think that I’m exaggerating. I’ve spent almost all of it fast asleep on my chair, well out of just about everything.

It’s not as f I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep last night. I was in bed at some kind of realistic time and I can’t remember being awake for all that long.

And when the alarm went off I was on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. It was the last day of our trip around the High Arctic so we came back on board handing in all of our possessions etc ready to go to our cabins to pack for the next morning before we leave. I was talking to a few people and a girl probably in her late 20s with curly hair began to talk to me. She asked me what my plans were. I said that we were going to fly to Houston from here. I was going to hire a car and drive around for a few days. She didn’t ask but began to plan my voyage with me “we’ll have to do this, we’ll have to do that but you’ll have to drive of course” etc. She was a nice enough girl, pleasant, but I couldn’t get over the fact that she was wanting to come along and hang around with me for a few days. I went back to my room thinking “I hope that I recognise her when we’re having our evening meal tonight”. Back in my cabin, it was an absolute tip. I remember leaving in a hurry but I didn’t remember it being in such a mess as this. I began to tidy up but there was so much stuff, all kinds of it and a huge pile of lace curtains that i’d somehow brought with me. I thought “there’s no way I can take this home” so I began to wrap it up and put it in a sack ready to take to the rubbish. It was at that point that the alarm went off.

After I’d had my medication I did some preparation for my Welsh class but at about 09:50 I headed out for the nerve specialist, having a little chat with a neighbour on my way out.

The news was, as I suspected, not so good. All of the obvious checks were made and came up with nothing. The only thing to think of is that the cancer is spreading into my nervous system.

There’s a hospital in Paris that specialises in nervous disorders and goes deeply into the matter. Would I like to go there? Well, do bears have picnics in the woods?

As well as that, there’s also what they call a Centre de Réeducation here in Granville. That’s a place where people who have had a severe accident or illness go in order to redevelop their life skills ready to go back to their normal life. He thinks that I might benefit from going there and would I like a referral?

One thing that he did tell me is that I mustn’t hold out too much hope. If the cancer is in the nervous system nothing is going to improve but it’s important that I keep my autonomy as long as possible and the treatment that I’ll be receiving will be towards that end.

On leaving, I went to Lidl to do some shopping and then I came back here. Grabbing something to eat and a coffee, I went to my Welsh lesson. But it wasn’t a success. My mind and my heart weren’t in it and I was really glad when it was over.

While I ate my lunchtime fruit afterwards I was chatting to Liz on the internet and then I completely, absolutely and definitively crashed out. and it was the deepest and most desperate that I’ve had.

When I finally awoke I had my hot chocolate and then transcribed the dictaphone notes. Some you have seen, but there were other. I was back at school last night. I couldn’t find any course work for any of my lessons. I’d left my satchel in our form room while I’d gone off somewhere. When I came back there was a class in there so I couldn’t go in. One thing led to another. The following morning I still didn’t have my class work so I decided that I’d go in to the class to enquire. No-one understand what I was talking about for a minute until it suddenly twigged that it was in fact my form classroom too but no-one had seen my satchel. The teacher couldn’t help and neither could any of the pupils in there. In the end I had to leave it and go to find my current class completely without papers. I walked in a few minutes late. The teacher scowled at me and asked where I’d been. I gave some kind of vague excuse and sat down. She had to give me a photocopied sheet for the current lesson that we were supposed to be doing. There was something strange, that the class that I’d interrupted to find my possessions, all the kids were in school uniform except for 2 who were in completely different school uniform of green pink and white that had nothing whatever to do with our school colours that were navy blue and white.

And then I was with a girl from school last night. We had a kind-of fast food stall in the town centre late at night. It was an upmarket thing. We had a stainless steel plate that we heated on electric elements and would fry peppers and stuff like that on it. It was a very complicated way to go about doing things but if you used the correct cooking oil it turned out to be really nice. It was the end of the night about 02:00. Everyone was going home and we were packing up. Lots of people would come over to chat and have something to eat. We ended up having an interesting chat with a couple of guys and girls. They gave my girl a beer to try, a special beer. She politely offered me one but I said no. She offered me some cake so I said no. We had a very interesting chat about nothing at all for a couple of minutes as we were cleaning everything up and putting it away.

Before I had tea I had to clean dice and blanch a kilo of carrots. I’d bought some at Lidl because I was running low. And it was a real fight to fit them in the freezer.

Then I made tea. A taco roll with rice and veg followed by the cinnamon roll and ice crea.

So having had an awful day, I’m going to bed. I’ve had enough of this and I’m going to start afresh tomorrow. There’s something going on right now in my body and I wish that I knew what it was.

Tuesday 6th June 2023 – THERE WAS A LITTLE …

… more improvement through the night and for a change I had a better sleep than I’ve had for a few days.

It was 06:00 when I awoke and when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was already up and about.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I revised for my Welsh lesson. And much to my surprise the lesson went quite well and I surprised myself with one or two things that I remembered that even impressed me.

But I think that I’ve reached a decision about my studies next year.

Having spent the first three months of the year in Canada or in hospital and so not being able to follow the course properly and as a result, deciding not to take the exam this year, I’m going to enrol in the next year’s course anyway but I’m going to find a way to retake this year.

There’s a Wednesday evening class that Coleg Cambria runs on-line from their College at Mold, but Coleg Cambria in Gwent also runs on-line courses and I’ve been to a few of their weekend and Summer schools. They might have something too

The difficulty is that the language in North Wales is different in many respects from that in South Wales.

A quick look at any map of Wales will see quite easily the line that’s drawn across the centre that represents the valleys of the Severn and the Mawddwy rivers. That’s the traditional route for invaders and occupiers.

Ever since the arrival of the Romans the country has effectively been split into two and the language has evolved differently in each part. With my grandmother coming from The Maelor I’m a northerner and say things like “rwan” instead of “nawr”, “efo” instead of “gyda” and “pres” instead of “arian”.

And that reminds me. If I do sign up to repeat the course in Gwent I’ll have to buy another course book. I won’t be able to use the one that I have.

For the rest of the day I’ve been working on my Canada 2017 voyage.

At St John’s I went to see my friend and we went for a meal together. And next morning I went off to Harbour Grace.

That’s one of the most interesting towns in the whole of Newfoundland. Apart from being a port and the centre of piracy in the early 17th Century, it’s the site of the terminus of the first railway line in Newfoundland and there’s an abandoned ship of several thousand tonnes that’s over 100 years old sitting on a sandbank offshore.

Much more interestingly though, there’s an airstrip above the town which was the site of the take-off of several of the earliest Transatlantic flights.

Amelia Earhart flew from there to become the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic, and Brock and Schlee took off from there on one of the legs of their flight that became the first to circumnavigate the earth. All in all, 20 Transatlantic flights took off from there of which 9 of them failed to make it to their destination.

The physiotherapist came round this afternoon too. he thinks that i’ve twisted my ankle and that’s the cause of the problem.

He gave my ankle a massage and said that seeing as he’s in the building tomorrow he’ll look in and see how I am doing.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night. There was a group of Americans working with us in what was my old school in one of the classrooms. For some reason they finished what it was that they were doing but the rest of us were still working. What I did was to pick up a handful of cards, go through them to try to find one or two that they could take with them and go to the library to write some research notes on topics on a couple of these cards

Then I was monitoring a lion for some reason although I was doing it on the quiet. There was a public watchman and there was me. One day the public watchman left to go to the shops for something. Someone else came by in his car. He parked up and from my little observation spot he went to the video camera and changed some of the settings, presumably so that it would record different things. When he did that he reset the times and went off again. I was wondering what he was doing, thinking that it’s a good job that I was here. The guy was then back in the area somehow. I didn’t see him but his sheepdog came bounding off the road and through the rocks on the side of the lake. From where I was sitting the other side of the lake I could see the lion lurking among the rocks. As the dog bounded past the rocks with the lion, the lion bounded out and began to give chase.

Dorothée, my little friend from Montréal, put in an appearance last night. She sent us a voice message. When we listened to it the first thing that went through our head was that it was someone breaking wind. I wanted to send her a message saying “next time don’t eat quite so many beans” but for some unknown reason the touchscreen on my phone wasn’t working. I couldn’t activate the reply function or the reply box to this particular message. I was there for ages trying to push the screen to make it accept.

It’s been quite a while since she last put in an appearance during the night. Probably the last time that I saw her in any shape or form was in the flesh when she and I went for a coffee together when I was in Montréal in September.

Someone else who put in an appearance last night was Zero, and it’s been a while since she’s come to see me during the night, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. She invited me to take her to the shops last night and of course I agreed.

But I sat up wide-awake at that point, obviously from shock. What a moment to wake up, just as I was about to ride off into the sunset with her.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing from yesterday. It was delicious too. And with the stuffing that remains I’ll add that to one of the half-portions of curry in the freezer.

So I’ll have to make some more naan bread tomorrow. That last lot was delicious and if I can make some more like that I’ll be extremely happy. I’m getting to be quite domesticated these days.

Tuesday 30th May 2023 – HAVING SAID THAT …

… I wouldn’t do any Harry Potter impersonations last night, I ended up in a swimming costume last night. It had taken ages to actually make it fit and to put it on properly. For some reason I began to have a panic attack while I was wearing it. I couldn’t understand why because there was nothing out of the ordinary or unusual at all about it.

That make a change, doesn’t it? Panic attacks when I’m asleep don’t happen all that often. I can only recall a dozen or so in total.

And while we’re on the subject of dreams … “well, one of us is” – ed … while I was going through the back-up disk a week or so ago, I came across all of the notes that I’d made when this project first started. Right back in 2000, as it happens. It’ll be interesting to see who was featuring in the voyages back in those days and what were the interesting topics that came to mind.

This morning was another morning when I was awake and up and about before the alarm went off. Well, maybe I ought to says “awake” in inverted commas because while the spirit was willing, the flesh was somewhat weaker.

Once I’d had the medication and checked the mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone because there was some other stuff on there too. I obtained a part-time job working in a library last night. I just turned up on the Monday evening when I was supposed to be there . There was a girl at the counter so I introduced myself. She asked me if I’d be comfortable stamping the books when they were either returned or handed out. I smiled and laughed “I could just about manage that, I reckon”, put my stuff down and went round behind the desk to sit there and start work.

And then later on I stepped back into that dream back in the library. I was extremely busy and having to organise some girl’s research etc. As well as that I was swamped with phone calls of people making other kinds of enquiries.

Most of the rest of the day has been spent sorting through the photos from my journey around North America in 2017. It’s going to take an age to sort them all out, and that’s before I even think about writing the notes.

Today I’ve sailed the Gulf of St Lawrence, been to see my friend in St Johns, driven all the way across Newfoundland and across Labrador, and I’m currently in a motel on the edge of the city of Québec which I still think is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY IN NORTH AMERICA – but that’s probably because it’s the most “European-medieval” city on the continent

And that reminds me. I wrote my magnum opus on the city of Québec in 2012 and I’ve been there several times since then. So I must have tons more notes and photos that need adding in.

The high winds that we had yesterday had dropped this morning so I sorted out the glass and plastic rubbish ready to take out. So evidently, once everything was sorted out and ready to go, the wind got up again. Just gale force today though, not hurricane force like yesterday so I decided to brave it.

It’s not easy because I’m not steady on my feet even with crutches and the bags of rubbish acted as sails that blew me around the front of the building. It was quite a struggle to go there, empty my stuff and then stagger back.

The physiotherapist came round this evening too. He’s beginning to be concerned that the progress that I made over the early part of the year has now ground to a halt and that there are no signs of further improvement

He’s not the only one. I was quite pleased about how things were going and I was optimistic that I could pick up my bed and walk before too long. But it doesn’t seem to be going to end like that at all.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing from yesterday, accompanied by rice and veg. And as usual, the stuffing improves when left overnight.

There’s still some stuffing left but not a great deal. But last week I made some curry and froze it in half-portions and I’ll add the leftover stuffing into one of those along with anything else that’s lingering in the fridge

And I must remember to put some lentils in the slow cooker when I go to bed tomorrow. I’m going to have a bash at making a lasagne on Thursday and I need some stuff to go with the pasta and cheese sauce.

Yes, a cheese sauce. Now that I can find a reasonable supply of vegan cheese I intend to make the most of it