Tag Archives: taco roll

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

Tuesday 23rd May 2023 – REMEMBER YESTERDAY …

… when I said that I was feeling that my injections weren’t doing what they used to do?

You probably won’t believe this, but I promise you that it happened. But this afternoon I had a phone call from the hospital in Leuven.
“Over the last two weeks we’ve been examining your medical results from your last visit to the hospital. We’ve noticed several anomalies in the tests and so we want you to have your Aranesp injections every week instead of every fortnight starting from next Monday, and for your doctor at home to have blood tests taken every four weeks to control the results”

Things are obviously heating up around here now. So whatever will happen next?

Actually, I know what didn’t happen. And that was that it was today, not Thursday, that I should have had my appointment with the nerve specialist but I mixed up the dates. So I’ll have to contact him tomorrow too and rearrange the appointment.

It’s been one of those days where not all that much has gone right. For a start, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. I’d had a late night but even so, it’s not very often that I sleep right through until the alarm. But at least, I awoke in bed rather than on top of it.

And then I couldn’t get going. It took an age to finally come round into the Land of the Living and start to prepare for my Welsh lesson.

And then we had a tragedy. The college at Mold doesn’t have much money so we’ve been making do with whatever on-line video conferencing has been available. And the one that we used until recently revoked all of the free licences so we had to go elsewhere.

The only free video-conferencing that they could find is one that’s very resource-hungry and it won’t run on any of the portable computers around here (there are, for various reasons, five of those that work at the moment, including the one that I bought in desperation in North Dakota in 2019).

However, luckily, ages ago I’d bought a cheap webcam so I had to configure all of that and run it off the big desktop machine, something that I didn’t want to do.

And then to configure a microphone to run directly off the computer because everything here usually runs through various mixer desks

In the end I missed half of the lesson with all of this messing around but at least it worked. And once the lesson was up and running it passed off quite well too.

This afternoon, sorting out a few things that I needed to do, I came across a football match that I’d missed from 2 years ago, Caernarfon Town v Barry Town in a Europa Cup playoff match. So despite everything else going on, I took a couple of hours off to watch it.

And in news that will surprise almost everyone (because it certainly surprised me) I carried on with what I started last week and did some more rearranging of the bedroom. It’s starting to look a bit more like home now, which is always nice.

After a good session on the guitars, I had a listen to the dictaphone. Despite being stark out during the night there was some stuff on there from a little voyage. There was some kind of case going on about a large company where there was some manipulation about to take place with the shareholding in respect of a battle over who had control. Whilst I didn’t fully understand the implications of what was happening, it all sounded extremely suspicious to me. When I was looking through some paperwork I found that the company had been brought to the attention of the authorities on another occasion in respect of something or other underhand and was undergoing investigation. I thought that I should make a report of this conversation and pass it through to whoever it was who was investigating it but as I couldn’t grasp the implications of it and couldn’t really understand much of what was taking place, it was very difficult to write a note. I thought that the more I keep it waiting while I make up my mind what to write, the more distant this is going to be and the more I’m going to forget. It’s not going to help anyone by me waiting for too long. I need to pull myself together and write something down immediately

After the ‘phone call from the hospital and missing my nerve specialist, the physiotherapist came round. He gave me a really good workout – the longest session that we have had so far and I was exhausted at the end of it.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg, but the cooking session isn’t over by any means. There’s not very much in the way of leftovers for a curry tomorrow night so as I have plenty of tofu and some lentils, I’ve set the slow cooker on the go.

The lentils are being cleaned right now and as soon as I’ve finished this, I’ll take them out of the slow cooker and rinse them, and then put them back in with the spinach-flavoured tofu that I have and a load of spices, and leave it all to marinade in the slow cooker until tomorrow evening

That should make a really good curry, and I do have to admit that I’m in the right kind of mood for one of those.

In fact, anything to distract me because I’m not very happy about the idea of doubling the dose of Aranesp. It’s the medicine of last resort and there’s a warning that it is “recommended for patients with chronic kidney failure or cancer to use the lowest possible dose”.

Over the last year or so I’ve gone from 20mg a week to 60mg a week to keep me going and I’m not sure where you can go after all of this.

Tuesday 16th May 2023 – IF YOU CAN …

… read this, then normal service has been resumed and we have our internet back. Round about 08:00 this morning when I was trying to do something interesting, the internet went “phut”.

Having contacted the Internet provider, they informed me that there was a “technical issue” and it will be out until at least Wednesday morning. As a gesture, they have offered us 200mb of mobile internet per day via our smartphones, but have you ever tried to type out on a smartphone keyboard the rubbish that I churn out?

Anyway, I had another more reasonable night last night and that makes quite a change. It’s a shame that I was rather busy and ended up not going to bed until later than I intended. It would have been quite nice to have had a longer more reasonable night.

And that’s not all either. I awoke bolt-upright at about 06:25 and couldn’t go back to sleep. Consequently, when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was already up and about.

with the internet crashing out, I wasn’t able to do anything of the things that I needed to do and so in the end I transcribed the notes on the dictaphone from the night. I was with 2 friends at some point. We were driving somewhere down a narrow lane. As we continued a cement mixer came towards us. For some reason he had a change of opinion and decided to perform a U-turn and return the way that he had come. He stopped and reversed off to the side of the road ready to pull back round the other way but the bank of the road gave way underneath him and the lorry fell over on its side. We dashed over there. When we arrived he was busy extricating himself from the wreck. We asked him if he was OK. he replied “yes, there’s no problem”. We then wanted to know if there was anything that we could do but he couldn’t think of anything that needed doing. He could quite happily arrange all of that himself. To be on the safe side I took his phone number and gave him mine. I said that I’d phone him in half an hour and se what he was up to. where this happened was near a railway line. Just as we were talking a 4-4-2 tank engine fitted with condensing apparatus went past on the railway line obviously pulling an old London Underground train. We climbed back into our van and set off. These 2 people with me, 1 was a guy and 1 was a girl. They were a couple. I know who they are but I just can’t think who.

There was a group of us going into the house. We’d been out shopping, buying stuff. As we went in, one of the people noticed that my shoelaces were undone so he bent down to tie them for me. Of course I had a lot of trouble with my legs. Where he put his hand was right on one of my sore spots. I told him to stop, that he was hurting but he couldn’t understand and carried on trying to tie my laces. I was going berserk. I told him that I had cancer. He replied that I must be imagining the pain. For some reason it became a very complicated thing. In the end we went in. He was sulking somewhat. He asked “what about that think we were going to do if we had the part?”. I replied “I don’t have it but I know that it’s in here. It can’t be anywhere else”. He sat down and looked at his watch and made a note of the date and time, sitting there with his arms folded waiting for it to be produced.

With not much to do until my Welsh lesson, I did some revision, However, the trouble is that with having a teflon brain, nothing sticks to it and I needn’t have bothered really. My memory issues are quite annoying. And it’s strange – I can remember the words of some kind of extremely obscure rock song from the mid-60s but ask me why I wanted to go into the kitchen 5 minutes ago.

Trying to have a Welsh lesson on a smartphone isn’t easy either but it went so much better than I expected, and far better than when I tried it in Canada back in October.

Once the lesson was over, I had a really big baking session.

There is now another pile of fruit buns, most of which are in the freezer waiting for another day, and there’s a mountain of lovely biscuits. And I DO mean “lovely”, because I sampled them.

It’s the basic 4/8/10 recipe (sugar, vegan butter and flour) with vanilla essence, fleur d’orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and yeast.

Added to that was some diced fresh ginger and then some honey, and several tablespoons of oatmeal to restore the consistency after the addition of the honey.

You won’t find me telling you about times and temperatures because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, my oven is pretty much hit-and-miss and nothing is consistent. Here in this apartment, it’s all done by trial and error.

While I was waiting for everything to happen I sorted through my collection of herbs and spices. And just like the bathroom stuff at the weekend, I found that I’d actually bought the spices that I needed when I was there on a previous occasion and had forgotten about them.

Ahh well! See my bit about “memory” above.

The rest of the day has been spent dealing with the dictaphone notes from when I was in hospital. The coughing, spluttering and rasping throat were difficult to decipher so I hadn’t really touched them until I would feel more like it, so I had a bash today, with nothing better to do.

There are still plenty more to go at of course – this isn’t something that will be done in 5 minutes, or even in the next week or so. It’s taken me 6 months to reach this point.

When the physiotherapist came round, I was actually … errr … relaxing, so he awoke me. But he needn’t have bothered because my neighbour in this building, whon he also sees, has had a bad fall and he’ll be spending all of his time with her.

How many sessions is this that he’s missed with me just recently?

Tea was a lovely taco roll with rice, using some of the stuffing left over from yesterday. There’s still a bit left so I’ll have a leftover curry tomorrow, with one of my naan breads from out of the freezer.

Looking back (and forward) to my meals just recently and my cooking and baking, things are definitely taking a turn for the better around here. Living down on the farm was enjoyable when I was fit and healthy, but cooking was somewhat limited and for obvious reasons too. Things are so much better here and when I eventually have a real and proper kitchen things will be even better.

But that’s something about which to worry on another occasion. Right now, I have things to do before going to bed. And with a bit of luck, the internet might be back up tomorrow and I catch up with whatever needs doing.

Tuesday 2nd May 2023 – TODAY WAS A …

… day that I really want to forget.

Not that there was all that much to forget because it was what I would call a very short day today.

Last night however was a lot longer. Bright sunlight streaming in through the windows, birds chirping around outside and kids on their way to school and I hadn’t gone to bed yet. 07:10 and I was still up and about.

That’ll teach me to have an unscheduled lie-in on a Monday morning.

It was some time later than that that I finally went off to bed, with the alarm set for 13:00 just in case I happened to fall asleep deeper than I was expecting.

However that was a waste of time because although I did end up going to sleep at some point it was only for a couple of hours. I was back awake again at 10:00 and at 12:00 I’d given up any thought whatever of going off to sleep. And that was that.

After what might have been a breakfast or was probably more like a lunch, I had a listen to the dictaphone. There was something going on while I was asleep certainly but when I awoke it completely evaporated and I couldn’t remember anything at all about it. I certainly knew that I’d been away somewhere.

Next step was to listen to the radio programme that I was to send off for broadcasting this coming weekend.

It was one that I’d prepared last September before going off on my voyage to eternity, one of the batch when something must have happened to the tone controls because there was just far too much bass on it and it sounded really muffled.

Having spent a while trying to edit it, I gave up and redid it. It sounds much better now.

There was an interruption when the physiotherapist called. He had a look at my right leg, checked on my exercises and then that was that. he wasn’t here long. But I wasn’t happy when he went into my bedroom to grab a pillow. I don’t like people wandering around in my apartment like that.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg, all very nice and tasty. There’s not a lot left over for a curry tomorrow night so I might have to lengthen it out with a potato or something.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’m having to have a bake-in. I’ve run out of my delicious chocolate biscuits, run out of naan bread, and I also used the last of the pizza bases on Sunday too.

Nice as my chocolate biscuits were, I’ll have to think of a new type of biscuit to make. I should have bought some fresh ginger at the weekend but there’s always some sort of stuff lying around that I can use as flavouring in a regular 4/8/10 mixture.

But the naan bread will be interesting. I shall have fun with another batch of those.

Tuesday 25th April 2023 – MY CHOCOLATE BISCUITS …

… are absolutely delicious. I’m well impressed with how they have turned out.

It’s a simple biscuit recipe of sugar, butter and flour in a ratio of 4:8:10. And then I ground up some almonds in a whizzer, added some vanilla and some of that concentrated orange essence and off we went.

And when it was all mixed together I added in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder and mixed it in. And then I rolled it out and cut it into small squares.

When they were baked, there was one that was distorted so I tasted it and I really do think that I’ve hit the jackpot with that. I’m tempted, when I have time, to make some chocolate-flavoured buttercream and make some bourbon-like sandwich biscuits. They should be extraordinary.

But that’s for maybe tomorrow. I’m more interested at the moment about what happened today.

As usual it started off pretty badly. Once again I took ages to go off to sleep. And I was wide awake again at 03:30. However I did manage to go back to sleep at one point because the alarm awoke me at 07:00.

It was a struggle to leave the bed but I managed to beat the second alarm, and after the medication, mails and messages I prepared for my Welsh lesson.

Once again there weren’t all that many of us there but nevertheless it passed off quite well and I was surprised about how much of the comprehension exercise I managed to complete. I actually had all of the questions correct but there was one where I’d guessed the answer from what I heard.

After my lunchtime fruit I had a baking session.

There wasn’t just the biscuits but also a pile of fruit buns. I’d run out of fruit bread this morning so I need to stock up. And they came out quite nicely too. I’ll definitely make some more of those. Some have gone into the bread tin and the rest have gone into the freezer where they can be pulled out as and when required.

While I was waiting for everything to bake or cook or to rise up I tidied out the food shelves in the kitchen to make sure that I knew what I had. Some stuff found its way into the bin. It was stuff that I’d bought from NOZ and I was surprised that the sell-by date was in 2020. It wouldn’t have been so bad had they been in tins but they were in fact in glass bottles.

A pile of stuff found its way into the bins outside too. The bag with the glass and plastic was overflowing so a little walk around outside would do me good.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. Not very much though. I’d joined the Army last night. I was obviously not cut out for the basic training. We’d all started, checked in and found out where we were sleeping. Next morning we had all the stupid army routine then we all had to assemble to go off on a bus somewhere. The sergeant in charge was reminding us to do this and do that but of course we hadn’t done it because we didn’t know and no-one had said. He said “turn your room keys in now because you should have all your possessions with you”. Most of the platoon had left their coats in their room so he was haranguing everyone. We all had to go back. I said “I’m sorry sarge” but at least I had a smile from him which I suppose was something or other.

With the time that was left I was editing down the final batch of notes that I have recorded for one of the radio programmes. It’s not finished yet of course because I wasn’t as focused as I might have been. Things are going to start to become complicated from now on because I’m now reaching the stage where I’ll be changing the format and content of my programmes.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll, and there’s enough stuffing left over to go into a nice curry tomorrow, with naan bread and yoghurt.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’m off to sign for my new apartment tomorrow morning. It’ll be a while before I move in because I have to give the tenant three months notice to leave and then I want to have the bathroom and the kitchen done.

So whatever, I’m going to have my work cut out once it all goes through.

Tuesday 18th April 2023 – TODAY AT THE …

… hospital was even quicker than yesterday.

For a start, I didn’t have to sign in. Then I knew where I was going, and they didn’t have to weigh me or give me an electrogram.

And with the catheter already being in my arm, I didn’t need to have one fitted, so it was simply a case of giving me the medication.

Consequently I was in there at 08:45 and on my way home by 11:30. I even managed to catch the second half of my Welsh class.

Not that I felt much like it because I had another horrible night. And for some reason or other I awoke bolt-upright in the middle of a dream at 06:59 exactly so I fell out of bed immediately, just so that I can say that I actually did beat the alarm once again.

But not by very much.

It’s not possible to have a shower with my arm swathed in bandages so I had a good stand-up wash and then Caliburn and I headed for the hills.

The people at Avranches are really quite nice and pleasant. They have a good sense of humour too which always helps.

Back here afterwards I had a strong coffee and some of my fruit bread toasted with plenty of butter and then joined my Welsh class. Surprisingly it all passed off quite well and I was surprised.

After the lesson I sat down and listened to the dictaphone. And just look at where I went to during the night. It’s really no wonder that I was feeling so exhausted this morning. I started off in my apartment making breakfast. I put the beans on and a few other bits and pieces. Then I went into the bathroom to fetch some sliced bread from the freezer. I must have had the bread out previously and forgotten to put it back because it was just sitting on the shelf looking moth-eaten as if rats had been eating it. Of course there are no rats or mice anywhere in my apartment. I took 3 slices that looked really sad and put them down on top of the worktop. A huge pile of ants were suddenly disturbed from somewhere and started to scurry round all over the bread. That lot went immediately into the bin. Before that I forgot to say that when I went to go into the bathroom I couldn’t see a thing. I had to play around with the fuses in the wall to switch the fuse back on that control the lights at that end of the apartment. After the mess of the bread I went back into the kitchen. The beans were burning, the toast was smoking as if some bread from before was stuck in there and was on fire. It was all becoming a right mess with everything being burnt and I had nothing to eat.

And then I repeated the same dream pretty much again – about the bread and the kitchen etc being on fire and being eaten by ants and so on that I had earlier. I step back into dreams fairly often but to actually repeat one is rather strange.

Later on some Italian couple involved in some secret society had upset some group of Londoners. We’re going back into the days of Sherlock Holmes. He was investigating this. The Italian man had had an encounter with these four men just after he left home that turned very ugly. They then went to the woman’s house, rang the door and made her answer by taunting her on the doorstep. Sherlock Holmes had crept around the back and rang the bell at the back. The woman had to leave the people at the front and go to the back where she promptly fainted into the arms of Holmes. He quite simply set about the four of her attackers with a hatchet. Three of them he attacked but the fourth one took him by surprise with a pitchfork. He was lucky that he wasn’t badly hurt with the pitchfork but stood his ground and demolished these four guys with his small axe

Break into a stranger’s house and have a huge fight with him and then leave as a kind of pre-emptive strike against something and that really is exactly what I dictated. It’s as if I’ve missed something off the front). But in one particular house I noticed that he had all the ice trays in the freezer of water filling up but they were stacked one on top of another so as they froze they were gradually rising up being pushed out by the frozen water underneath them. I thought “what a good space-saving idea this is”.

The next one is payday. I just received my money and I was dancing about quite happily to some music on the computer. There was mush more to it than this but I can’t remember the rest of it at all.

Then we had 2 iguanas fighting in a hospital. They ended up right by a patient but suddenly a blast of cold air through the air vents on the floor sent them up in the air a little bit and stopped them from fighting. Everyone who was watching them was really amazed at this.

I’d also been away in Canada with a few friends. One of them was Alison. We’d had a much better time than usual because we’d learnt to have better value out of our time than we had done in the past. Then it was time to go back to school. I arrived rather later than I intended but there was still very few people there. I bumped into that girl Liz – not Liz Fox but the other one, her friend who was also called Liz but whose name I can’t now remember after all these years but I can see her vividly. I wanted to have a talk to her but she said “hello” and walked past. I could hear a couple of people gossiping about her from when she was at Primary School. There was some kind of discussion going on about someone. My friend from the Scottish Borders was there involved in this. The guy who was doing most of the talking saw me listening and trying to work out who was the subject. He passed me a Government report of a tribunal. The name wasn’t published but I could see from a lot of the evidence that I had a good idea who it was but I couldn’t put a name to it. I carried on reading it. I could see after a while that he was starting to become impatient. I ended up back in my classroom. A couple of girls came in. They began to talk. We mentioned vaguely the trip that I’d been on. I explained that it was really good but I didn’t go into any detail about it. We began to discuss something else. While we were there someone pulled up in a car. He made a really bad job of parking, left the car and staggered off. We could see that he was totally drunk. I asked who he was. They told me his name. We watched him. Someone said that he had left his 2 kids at home cooking. I’d never seen anyone so drunk as this and still standing on their 2 feet. There was lots more to this too but I can’t remember it now either.

Every now and again a dream comes up that reminds me of my school days and all of the wasted opportunities that I let slip through my fingers while I was there. The first part of that dream was another one that brought back quite a few “if only …” moments and how things really ought to have been so different.

Finally Nerina and I were having one of our big disputes last night. It led to me planning on leaving. I started to prepare my stuff. That meant going home which was a long way so I needed to make sure that I had everything. I couldn’t find the CD that I’d bought so I began to search for it everywhere. After a while Nerina came home. I asked her if she knew where it was. She told me to listen and I could hear a CD playing in the distance. I didn’t recognise it at first but eventually I worked out that it was Steve Winwood singing. That was the one that I wanted. She’d been recording it. She said that it had finished recording so she took it out and gave it back to me. I carried on packing. She was sitting on the sofa. I began to pass her things. There were these 4 oven gloves. I threw them to her and 1 hit her, 2 landed right in front of her and the other landed exactly where I wanted it to be, on the back of the settee behind her. It led to some kind of good-natured discussion after that. I reminded her of the time that she was baking a cake and it all went wrong. She threw it at the wall and I teased her about it and she began to smile. I said that it’s a shame that things changed in our relationship. Again there was much more to it than this that I can’t remember. At one point I was walking down Coleridge Way. There was an argument between 2 lorries, one a cement mixer. It went past the other lorry bu actually driving up on the kerb and scattering the pedestrians. Then it came back and did it again. When I reached where it was there were several pedestrians including a couple of kids lying on the pavement covered in blood as if they’d been struck by this cement mixer. It really was a strange dream.

It’s also another wasted opportunity too but I can really understand that regardless of anything else, she wouldn’t have thought it a wise idea to throw everything up and come off into the great wide-open world with someone like me, married or not.

The rest of the day has been spent finishing off some notes for a radio programme that’s half-completed, and then I made a very brief start on pairing off some music for the next radio programme. I’ll do some more of that tomorrow if I have another short day at the hospital. I know that it won’t be a short day on Thursday because I’ve already been told that the neurologist there is going to put me through my paces on Thursday afternoon.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg. And I’m not sure what happened but my rice and veg were cooked to perfection tonight. I wish that it would turn out like that every time.

There’s plenty of my delicious stuffing left so it’ll be an excellent leftover curry tomorrow. There’s plenty of soya yoghurt to add to it instead of the soya cream and I have some naan bread dough in the freezer that I’ll have to take out of the freezer before I go to the hospital.

It sounds as if it might be a really good curry tomorrow and I hope that it is, especially as I seem to have got the hang of this naan bread.

And having found a good menu on the internet for vegan hash browns, I’ll be moving my meals into further uncharted territory in early course.

Tuesday 11th April 2023 – AND ONCE AGAIN …

… yet another morning when I was up and about before the alarm went off. Things are certainly full of surprise these days.

After I’d had my medication the first thing that I needed to do was to think about what I was going to have for breakfast seeing as I had run out of fruit buns

Consequently I made a small loaf of bread and in a mad fit of enthusiasm I added a handful or two of raisins. Cooked for 30 minutes in the air fryer, it made a lovely loaf of raisin bread and I’m going to make more of this. I might even go berserk and add some sugar to the next one.

But anyway it was a lovely surprise for breakfast, toasted with vegan butter and wolfed down with a mug of hot coffee. I just wish though that my bread would rise better than it’s doing.

Next thing while all of that was going on was to redo this radio programme that hadn’t come out correctly when I’d prepared it. And I’m not sure why but using exactly the same music and the same speech, it ended up 19 seconds short. However a little bit of minupulation and a lot of time managed to fill it out.

After lunch there was plenty to do. Firstly I had to transcribe the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. There was some kind of horse race taking place last night. It was won by a little girl who was given a horse’s name. There were several others in the field but she was the only human in there, although there were two children who were a little older who had also taken part in the race that was over something like 4 furlongs. The other 2 tired quite quickly and she romped home to win. There was another similar race but that took place beforehand and I can’t remember what happened about that.

And then I had an animal, either a cat or a dog, I can’t remember now. It was extremely well-behaved. Someone sent me some kind of miniature cake saw or something. When I had this tray of cakes I unfortunately dropped them on the floor. Of course I couldn’t really eat them after that but the animal whatever it was came in, saw it and started tucking into all the food on the floor. I thought that that was right seeing as it was the animal who had won all of this anyway. It deserves it.

I was also around Granville last night in the red Cortina estate. Who should I bump into but one of the regular readers of this rubbish who was quite happily wandering around. We had a chat for a while and then I headed home. I don’t understand why I didn’t invite him back to the apartment for a coffee or something. I drove home but on the way back in the rue Paul Poirier I ended up on foot again walking home. I was being chased by a young Indian squaw who was waving a tomahawk at me. In the end she said “I’m sorry but you can’t sleep with me”. I asked “why not” and she replied “I would have a baby out of wedlock and what then? I’d have to help my mother with the washing up” I asked what was wrong with that and she replied “I don’t eat breakfast in the morning”.

And I’m still trying to work that last one out.

Secondly, now that I’m feeling a little more athletic these days and more optimistic that when I’ve been to the hospital I’ll be in a better state of health to go out and about for my afternoon walks, I need to think about photography again.

The NIKON D500 alas is no more and while the NIKON D3000 still works, it was only ever meant to be a stop-gap camera. Consequently I resurrected the NIKON D5000.

There’s an issue with that in that the power doesn’t seem to be going from the battery into the circuit board so I’ve set steps in motion to have an estimate to have it serviced or overhauled, if it’s going to be cost-effective.

The idea of having a new camera is appealing but I’ve heard a rumour that Nikon is going to make “a major announcement” shortly and everyone is hanging on to hear the news.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent choosing music for my radio programmes for the future. I’ve not written the text as yet because that will all depend on when the programmes will be broadcast, because I’m working on a cunning plan right now for how my programmes will run in the future. High time that I had a little change around.

However I shall still be dictating some stuff and storing it up for use at another time.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg and, as usual, it was very nice. And tomorrow I’ll be having another bake-in as I try to figure out the best way to make naan bread for my vegan curry tomorrow night.

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’m going to bed as I’m having to go to the doctor tomorrow for some more medication and to sort out a few other things in town. I suppose that I’d better have a shower before I set off – I will have to look my best for the little walk out.

Tuesday 28th March 2023 – AFTER ALL THAT …

… I didn’t have my door painted today.

Just as I was going out to the doctor’s, the painter rang me again. “Apartment 13 isn’t it, yours?”

“Yes it is but you’re not coming round now are you? I told you yesterday that I’m out this morning” and he confirmed that he would be back at 14:00 as we agreed yesterday.

At 13:30, just as my Welsh lesson was coming to an end, the bell rang. “It’s the painter”.

When he eventually found me, after having wandered around the building for 10 minutes, he said “there’s been a mistake. It’s not your door I’m supposed to be painting at all. It’s another one somewhere else”.

“That’s what I thought” I replied. “My landlord never told me anything at all about having my door painted” and that was that. he wandered off again elsewhere.

So retournons à nos moutons as they say around here – just for a change last night I actually had a really good sleep without too much tossing and turning around at all. The only disappointment from my point of view is that having gone to bed much later than I was intending, I didn’t have enough of it and that was rather depressing.

It was another real struggle to leave the bed this morning but I didn’t hang about too long. I managed to beat the second alarm, but not by much.

And after the medication and checking the mails and messages I went and had a shower so that I could look my best. And climbing into the bath to take a shower is no longer any kind of effort – at least, at the moment. Who knows what the future might bring?

Having dealt with the painter as I said earlier, I went to see the nerve specialist. And regrettably, I fell asleep in the waiting room. I must have been tired.

So the news is that there is a trace of cancer in the nerve cells and also a trace of infection. But what’s causing most of the problem seems to be some kind of inflammation. And that’s what the hospital is going to be treating when I go there for a week. He told me not to be too optimistic but I should certainly expect some improvement.

And if there really is some improvement on top of what I’ve already noticed, I shall be quite happy for once.

On the way home I went via LIDL but there wasn’t all that much that was interesting. I still spent €15:00 though, without an awful lot to show for it.

Back here I made myself a vegan cheese butty with tomato (I’d not had any breakfast of course) and then attended the second part of my Welsh lesson, that passed off OK.

This afternoon, there was football on the internet – Cymru under-17s against Montenegro under-17s, many of whom looked rather older than I was expecting.

Cymru needed a point to qualify for the European finals in the summer and were cruising along nicely, but two goals in a minute in first-half stoppage time seemed to have sunk them. The first goal, fair enough, but in a mad fit of rush of blood to the head, the whole team swarmed upfield from the kick-off to try to score an equaliser, and were hit with a sucker punch – a long ball out of defence over the top of the advancing Cymru defenders with an attacker running on from deep.

Pretty much text-book stuff.

Cymru pulled one back 10 minutes into the second half and then in the dying seconds the centre-back showed them how to do it, running in from defence and backheeling one home from three yards out to equalise and for Cymru to qualify.

But Cymru are going to have to find some strikers from somewhere. The midfield tore the Montenegrins to shreds and the guy on the right wing, Freddy Issaka, had them in all kinds of spins but the front two couldn’t hit the nether regions of a ruminant animal with a stringed musical instrument with all of the chances that they were given.

Shooting wide from just three feet out, right in the centre of the goal, was just one of the several simple chances that Cymru missed.

During half time I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I’d taken over the job as a football secretary of a local football club. The very first day I’d received some forms to fill in but I thought that I’d deal with them after the weekend. When I was talking to one of the guys from the club on the Saturday night he told me that one in particular I should have dealt with immediately and sent back because it concerns their match on Sunday. If it’s not dealt with immediately then the match won’t go ahead. There’ll be all kinds of consequences. I was totally unaware of that so I thought that I’d go to the bank to see if the form was still there. I arrived at the bank. The woman there was most unhelpful and I didn’t feel like pushing the matter. I thought that I’d leave it. I’d been invited to a party on the Saturday night. Lots of people were going. I walked along to the venue. Instead it was by the side of a river. Even though it was late at night it was all lit up. Photography would have been excellent had I had a decent camera and a decent place to stand to take the photos. I tried with what equipment I had but nothing actually worked that I wanted. There were far too many people in the way. On the way I’d stopped off at a chip shop to buy sausage and chips. I put my £2 down on the counter. Eventually I was served – about half a dozen cold chips and a small sausage which I thought was ridiculous for the £2 so I took a photo of it. While I was at this waterfront site I heard a couple of people saying that even though a couple of the girls were going to somewhere in the Spring, they were going to build a castellated wall around. This woman was describing in detail what this castellated wall was. Her friend was listening intently and so was I. at the same time for some reason I was mixing cement in the back of Caliburn on a plastic sheet. I couldn’t think why I was mixing the cement. There wasn’t much of it and trying to mix it in the back of Caliburn where I can’t stand up was extremely complicated.

The physiotherapist came round and ran me through my paces. He asked me if I would be interested in upping my programme to include a few more exercises. He was telling me that most people only like to take their therapy up to a certain point and leave it as it is but what about me?

My reply was that there’s a whole world out there still waiting for me and I want to get out and see it and take part in it. So he’s going to work out another programme for me

In between everything else I’ve been selecting more music for the radio programmes. What I’ll have to do now is to start to write out the notes. I’ve a few now that need text and then I can dictate one or two of them over the weekend to start to make some more programmes. I’ve plenty in the pipeline already prepared but you never know when I’m going to be “indisposed”.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg. And my stuffing is now down to a fine art and tastes really exquisite. I can’t wait to get my hands on a real kitchen though, although I’ve no idea when that might be.

Tomorrow the cleaner is coming so I’ll have some tidying up to do. It’s the last time this month that she’ll be here so I’ll have to do the accounts at some point. That might be a good thing to do if I need a break from writing radio notes.

However I am hoping for plenty of dictaphone notes. I need to bring some more excitement into my life and nothing much is happening during the daylight hours. Wandering off into the next dimension when I’m fast asleep is about the best that I can manage right now.

Tuesday 21st March 2023 – THERE’S NO PEACE …

… for the wicked, is there?

Following a couple of telephone calls that I’ve either received or made today, my agenda for the next few weeks looks like this –
28/03 – the neurologist
17/04 – hospital Avranches
18/04 – hospital Avranches
19/04 – hospital Avranches
20/04 – hospital Avranches
21/04 – hospital Avranches
04/05 – hospital Leuven
11/05 – hospital Leuven

If I can arrange one of those appointments at Leuven it might end up to be a little better but it’s still a hectic schedule.

The appointment next week is with the neurologist where he will tell me the results of the tests that I did last week and what they propose to do in the future in order to deal with the issues that they have discovered.

The fact that there is already a whole week of further appointments (in at 09:00 and back home every evening) seems to indicate that they are optimistic about doing something about it. But what that’s going to be all about, I really don’t know..

In a sense I’m glad that I’m not having to stay over at the hospital. Hospital beds are not known for their comfort and I’m having enough trouble trying to sleep here as it is in my own comfortable bed. But 25 miles in and 25 miles back every day for a week is not exactly what I had in mind. I shall have to fuel up Caliburn of course.

And I’ll need a bank loan for that.

It goes without saying that I had another bad night last night. I think that this is becoming the default these days and I’ve no idea why I’m having so much difficulty trying to go to sleep.

And flaming car alarms going off at blasted 06:50 with enough noise to awaken the perishing dead doesn’t help matter either. Luckily though I managed to drop off back to sleep at some point, only to be rudely awoken by the alarm at 07:30.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to prepare for my Welsh lesson. And the lesson itself was a miserable effort because it was a revision exercise and I’d forgotten almost everything that we needed to know for it. I was really glad when it was all over.

No physiotherapy today. He’d sent me a message saying that he he wa sill and of course he doesn’t want to spread his germs around. So armed with a pile of fruit I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had to write out my notes during the night but I couldn’t find a pencil. When I did find one I couldn’t remember what day I was on and where I had to start. I was keeping my diary of course but I was weeks ahead of where I was supposed to have been. That was OK for one thing but when it came to writing it out I needed of course to write it out on the correct day

Later on there was a group of emotionally-disturbed kids. They had to go somewhere so they asked me if I’d take them and hand them over to this teacher. A couple of them weren’t particularly any great problem but the third one was a young girl, a teenager who seemed to think that the reason why she was having to go somewhere else was that someone wanted to get rid of her out of their class, something of a paranoia situation. I assured her that it was nothing to do with me. I was just doing what I’d been told. If another teacher came along to tell me not to do it I’d quite happily not do it. If she didn’t want to go to that other class it’s up to her to go to talk to the teachers concerned, tell them that she doesn’t want to go, tell them why and for them to come back and tell me. It took quite some convincing to do. In the middle of this argument or discussion someone rather senior in the hierarchy came past. I stopped him, took hold of this girl, basically gave her a push and said “right – go and tell him all about it”. I sat and watched those two having a debate. As far as I was concerned I was doing what I’d been told. That was what i’d been told. If anyone wanted to tell me any different I was fine with that as long as it was someone official telling me.

Finally, there were all big upheavals in the football world last night. Rhyl’s charge for promotion remained on course but the rails came off Bangor City’s promotion bid with a couple of defeats. The whole club was in turmoil now as they were falling well short of expectations. There would have been much more to this had that stupid car alarm not gone off at 06:50.

That latter dream though is quite interesting. Rhyl and Bangor City were until quite recently two of the biggest names in Welsh football but due to reasons that I would mention if it were not for the laws of slander and libel, (of course, vulgar abuse can’t be slanderous or libellous but that’s not really the point) they were obliged to reform way down in the pyramid.

They have both had an inexorable rise back up so far in the pyramid but while Rhyl are remorselessly ploughing on, Bangor have lost their last 2 games and it looks very much at this stage as if they won’t be going up with Rhyl to Level 2. And all those people who put their mortgage on Bangor’s promotion will be very disappointed.

The rest of the day has been spent either on the phone or sorting out this new database that I’m trying to create for my radio programmes. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I want to try doing something new once I can organise myself better.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg – delicious as usual and there is quite a bit of stuffing left over that will go nicely in a leftover curry tomorrow evening.

There was football on the internet tonight – Wales C v England C. Played in a driving rainstorm on a waterlogged pitch it was never going to be a classic and England scored the only goal of the game from a howler in the Wales defence. But I was bewildered by one or two of the substitutions that the Wales manager made. I’m sure that he must have been watching a different game to the one that I saw.

So I’m off to bed now. I’m going to have a nice comfortable night with no plans tomorrow except that the cleaner is coming round so I’ll probably end up quietly in my room writing the notes for a future radio programme while she does her stuff in the living room.

That probably means that I’ll have to spend half an hour tidying up before she comes. And then I’ll have to think about what’s going to happen about my legs. This all sounds extremely interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 28th February 2023 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… there wasn’t anything on the dictaphone from last night.

It wasn’t a particularly comfortable, restful night either from what I remembered. I was tossing and turning around trying to go to sleep for quite a while.

Nevertheless it was a struggle for me to leave the bed this morning, not because I was tired (although I was) but I had quite a dizzy spell and I had to sit down for five minutes to recover.

Once I’d organised myself I spent the morning revising the Welsh ready for my lesson. And to my surprise the lesson passed really well and I was quite pleased with how it went. I wish that they all would be like that.

After the lesson I had a shower and then had some fruit. I’d had one of my air-fried buns for breakfast, toasted with butter and I do have to say that they really are delicious. This batch was slightly lighter than the previous and the air fryer has baked them to perfection.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m impressed with my air fryer and it has to be one of my better purchases. I’m tempted – if I can find a cake tin that will fit comfortably in it – to have a go at baking a cake. That should be an interesting experiment, make no mistake.

The rest of the day has been spent selecting the music for the next batch of radio programmes and they are all paired off now. All I need to do it to write the notes, although I’m not quite sure when I’m going to find the time to do that within the next few days.

The physiotherapist came round in the middle of all that. He was impressed when I told him that I’d clambered in and out of the bath earlier today as if there was nothing wrong with me at all, and that for the last two days I’ve been walking around the apartment without my crutches.

In fact, there has been such an improvement with my mobility that I was thinking about going away tomorrow with just one crutch, not the two, but the physiotherapist advised me against it.

However, picking myself up from the sofa, I had another dizzy spell and it was quite uncomfortable. I’m not sure what’s happening here but it’s something that concerns me.

Tea was a taco roll of course; but while I was eating it I was cooking a saucepan of potatoes, lentils and tinned veg. It’s thickened with oats and it’s now in a container ready for me to carry away with me tomorrow to eat in the evening.

So now I’m off to bed nice and early. I have an 06:00 start in the morning and it’s going to be a really long day. I need to be on form.

Tuesday 21st February 2023 – MY VEGAN PANCAKES …

… worked really well today and I was impressed with how they turned out.

They weren’t as tasty as I would have liked. They could have done with more sugar and vanilla seasoning than I put in them and perhaps something more than brown sugar and soya cream to liven them up but there was nothing whatever wrong with the principle and the consistency.

The actual making of them and how they turn out was as close to perfect as I could make them and so I am not in the least downhearted. Quite the reverse in fact and I’ll remember this for another time.

But after the events of last night I’m considerably downhearted because it was yet another miserable night and I took a whole age to go off to sleep. I didn’t go all that far on my travels either so I can’t understand why I was so tired this morning.

Mind you, I was awake long before the alarm went off and at 07:30 when the alarm went off I was actually up and about, not having been able to go back to sleep.

After the medication it took me a while to gather my wits together and then I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was on board a British warship last night. We’d engaged the enemy and been badly shot up. It was clear to everyone that we were sinking. Although the Germans had stopped firing at us – we thought that the Germans had enough problems of their own – we suddenly realised that the ship had been at rest for 10 minutes or so. The captain was furious. If he had known that he would have ordered an evacuation and we could all have taken to the boats. We wouldn’t have been in this pretty helpless situation. Eventually another ship turned up to rescue us and the boat. It managed to takt hold of the boat by passing a cable through a couple of the portholes and through the portholes of its own ship so that it would hold the hulk of our ship upright and could then sail away. When we were back on dry land there was some important material that needed moving. I was detailed with someone else. It was all in this huge holdall that the 2 of us had to carry. Of course I couldn’t carry it down the steps because my legs weren’t strong enough. I had to insist to the guy with me that we dropped it on the floor step by step so that I could go down. When I was on the lower step pull the bag down one stair behind us. He didn’t quite understand and I was in agony going down these stairs. As we got onto the pavement an ancient Japanese pickup pulled up, as rotten as a pear in purple. Someone said that someone called Dickinson was driving it. We couldn’t work out what he wanted and why he’d stopped right alongside our house where we were with this huge holdall. That was where we’d need to put our car so we could put this holdall in it and drive away. We wondered what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Later on I made a start on my pancakes. It took a while to make them because I was careful to sieve the flour to eliminate the lumps and to mix up the sodium bicarbonate. With 150 grammes of flour and 200 ml of soya milk together with all of the other bits and pieces it made 4 reasonably-sized pancakes so that filled a little hole in my stomach.

The rest of the day has been spent choosing the music for future radio programmes. Not that I’ll be preparing them this week but I’ve decided that I want to work on having a stock of music ready for whenever it’s going to be necessary.

No physiotherapist today because of Carnaval so I’ve had the afternoon off. and I’ve been doing something that I haven’t done for years, and that is to play around with a bit of greenscreening – superimposing images onto backgrounds. I’m not very good at it because my hands aren’t steady enough but occasionally one works out and they look quite impressive when they do.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice, and with plenty of stuffing left over there will be a delicious leftover curry tomorrow for tea with all of the stuff that’s hanging around in the fridge.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now though I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I have a bit of tidying up to do because the cleaner will be here and I have to try to make the place look some kind of basically respectable.

And I’ve been invited out for coffee tomorrow afternoon too and that will be quite nice. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall telling me that I need to get out more.

Tuesday 14th February 2023 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… my Welsh lesson passed off quite well today.

Maybe it was the fact that I’d spent more time revising it, I dunno, but I actually knew most of what was being discussed and even managed to write a little 8-line story featuring as many irregular plurals as I could remember.

So I’m not sure what happened there.

Not that it was anything about having a good night’s sleep, because I didn’t have one of those. Taking ages to go to sleep, tossing and turning in bed, aches and pains in the legs and feet. We had all of those last night and more besides.

And plenty of voyages too during the periods when I did manage to go to sleep. To start off, there was a group of us. One of them was someone who played for Dire Straits. They asked about songs that he’d be happy to play. He replied that he didn’t want to play any Dire Straits songs because he considered them to be something in the past and that was all over. he wanted to move onwards. We were playing football. Someone took a throw-in. They threw the ball to him. He was whistling or humming a Dire Straits song at that time. he trapped the ball that was thrown to him and just lobbed it halfway down the field over the head of the goalkeeper into the net without even breaking his stride or rhythm

And then I was out in the early morning dropping off all of the documents at the various places that they needed to be. I was actually in Crewe in a sports car. When I reached the final destination which was in Earle Street near Boots I noticed that it was positioned awkwardly on the lip of the rear boot lid. I wondered if I’d dropped any off. I decided that I’d do a U-turn to retrace my steps to the previous drop-off to see if it had fallen off on the way. By now I had someone else with me. He was nagging me about my seat belt as I came to one of these pedestrian crossings in the town. As we turned into Market Street the traffic was really heavy which I thought was bizarre for this time of the morning. There at the side of the road were some documents all parcelled up. They looked very much like how documents from our office would have been parcelled up to be taken to somewhere else. I wondered if these were in fact mine that had fallen out of the car. There was no place to stop and there were crowds everywhere so I couldn’t simply pull up and take a quick glance at them.

Later on, some American tennis player was playing at Wimbledon. He was winning. He’d won a couple of sets on match point. People were unhappy with how he was behaving. The rumour was going around that if he didn’t clean up his act they’d make sure that he’d lose the final set. There was a delay in the play. He was busy sorting out his equipment, his car etc. I went over to talk to him. We ended up playing table tennis using our hands as bats and an orange as a ball. It was really quite amusing. But then he decided to do an overarm serve with a pomegranate.

At one point during the night I was having a strange dream (not that the others that I have are not strange). I was with someone who might have been Rosemary and the Ukkrainian family. We were in a big city living on the outskirts. We had to take the young girl to school so we walked miles all the way into the town to near the town centre by the inner ring road. When we reached the port there was a sign to say that the school had moved. It meant walking halfway back again and out towards near where I lived. Of course everyone was disappointed. Mrs Ukrainian was wondering how we would do it because everyone was tired. I chivvied everyone up and we began to walk back. Mr Ukrainian was playing in a rock group with a bassist with someone with whom I worked in Brussels (now what is he doing wandering around in here?). The bassist was someone who sang but he died so they asked me if I’d play bass and sing. The reason for that was that I’d been singing a Barclay james Harvest song all the way into the town centre when we were walking. I said that I’d give it a try but I wasn’t very enthusiastic because I didn’t think that I could do it. As we were walking back we could see in the distance that everything was really foggy. There was a huge blanket of fog covering the coast where I lived. We stopped on this headland where I could point out a few things to everyone but of course with the fog being there we couldn’t see all that much.

When the alarm went off I was out of bed fairly quickly and then after the medication and checking the mails and messages I worked on the revision for my lesson.

There were a couple of phone calls too that disrupted my revision. Firstly, I have to go to the hospital on Thursday 16th March for these tests. At Avranches, by the way, not at Leuven. Nor at Granville.

They say that they will try to have everything done on the day, but I’ll still take the laptop and a bag of clothes with me because I’ve heard stories like this before, as I’m sure we all have.

And then these people dealing with this money transfer rang me up. They seem to be inventing all kinds of difficulties to delay this transfer and if they don’t extricate their digits I shall have to think of a Plan B.

After the lesson I dragged myself out for a walk. In connection with the radio programme that I prepared yesterday for Carnaval, I needed some photographs so I grabbed my crutches and the NIKON 1 J5 and set off to do my worst.

Back here I had a shower and then transcribed my dictaphone while I awaited for the physiotherapist to come round. He ran me through a few more exercises and then cleared off. He might not be here on Thursday because parking will become difficult while Carnaval is on. The public car park out here is filling up rapidly and by Thursday there will be no room at all.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing from yesterday. There’s still some left over and with what else is in the freezer will make a nice curry for tomorrow night, I hope.

There are no plans for tomorrow. Just the cleaner coming round to tidy up for me so I’ll have to spend some time making the place look tidy.

And do some of my exercises. Climbing into the shower this afternoon was not as easy as it was. I reckon that I haven’t quite recovered from Saturday’s adventures down in town on my crutches. The physiotherapist was pleased that I made it there and back, just as I was, but I’m still a long way away from being better.

Tuesday 7th February 2023 – MY WELSH LESSON …

… went quite well today and I was really pleased about that. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like that about my course.

What I put it down to is the fact that for once I had a decent night’s sleep last night. I can’t remember if I awoke at any time during the night and there wasn’t a great deal on the dictaphone. In fact I was wide awake at 07:00 and when the first alarm went off at 07:30 I was actually sitting on the side of the bed fully clothed with my feet on the floor.

And that just goes to prove that I can do it when I want to.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I came in here to revise for my lesson, and then I made some coffee and sorted out a fruit bun ready for my lesson.

Just as I connected to my lesson, the doorbell rang. It was the doctor who was in the building so had taken the opportunity to come to see me. He’s had the report from the nerve specialist and he confirmed that I’ll be going back to hospital some time soon, depending on when there will be a bed and some treatment available.

It’s likely that I’ll be there for about a week while they undergo a series of tests.

He’s also prepared me for some bad news. He’s told me that it’s a possibility that it’s not the virus that has affected my nerve transmissions but it’s my underlying illness that’s eating away deeper into my body. We had a situation where the illness has spread into my kidneys and I had an operation in May 2021. It spread into my heart a little later and so it’s now a possibility that it’s going elsewhere too. I mustn’t be surprised if it’s spreading into my nervous system.

And if that really is the case, it might explain a lot of other things that are going on with me too.

As I mentioned earlier, the lesson passed off quite well and the first thing that I did afterwards was to go for a shower. It was quite embarrassed being examined by the doctor when I was all dishevelled and unkempt.

But while we’re talking about the shower … “well, one of us is” – ed … it was much easier actually climbing into the bath today for my shower. There was nothing like the struggle that I had when I first came back from hospital.

This afternoon I’ve been choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes. And there will be some good stuff in these as well. Tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll pair off the music and start writing out the notes.

The physiotherapist is pleased with my progress too. He’s noticed an improvement, with a little more force in my legs. He’s given me yet more exercises to perform and these are pretty difficult. He wants me to continue them for sessions of 10 minutes but 2 minutes is more than enough before my muscles give out.

After he’d gone I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a group of us from work going somewhere. We had 2 coaches. I was travelling as a passenger on one of them. At a certain point a girl whom I knew from work came in. She was travelling on the other bus but came to sit in ours, sitting right on the back seat talking away. She was trying to explain something but was becoming redder and redder and more embarrassed and more shy as the discussion continued. I was trying my best to put her at ease. In the end I told her to come and sit by me so that we could talk a little easier because I was in a block of 4 seats, 2 facing forward and 2 facing back. She came to sit facing me and said “you have a lot more stuff on your coach than we have on ours”. I said that ours was a better coach. We carried on chatting. We were driving through Brussels although it was no Brussels that I knew, looking for a certain park where we would stop for lunch. Eventually we found it, negotiating our way through these back streets, through these children pouring out of school at lunchtime to go home. I was certain that our bus had clipped the wing mirror of a car at one point. We reached this park. It was a little cold, a little grey and the odd fleck of rain. I said to this girl “would you like to come for a coffee? I’ll buy you a drink”. She didn’t want a coffee but she said that she’d have something. We prepared to leave. She said that she had a seat on the coach that she could bring so that she didn’t have to sit on the grass. I said that she should fetch that and we’d go off and find somewhere where we can have a drink

And then once more there was a group of us in some house somewhere. We had a list of things that needed doing. For a variety of reasons a couple of things weren’t done. The old guy who thought that he was running the place was extremely angry and upset. He accused everyone of doing all kinds of things to deliberately obstruct this particular house move. First of all he complained that we should have done the stuff on Friday yet here we were, still here, so we had to explain to him that Terry’s van broke down on Friday and he had to have it fixed. Then he complained about me taking out my own stuff from the house on Saturday. I explained that we had just taken the stuff out so we could fill it in to some kind of room and photograph it to make it look lived-in so we could let it. Then we brought back the stuff. His other 2 children who were there, he was lecturing them to such a degree that in the end they decided that they could no longer live under the same roof with him and either he’d have to move out or they would. It was all developing into an extremely ugly situation.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the left-over stuffing. And how nice it was too. There’s some left over and so tomorrow I’ll be having another leftover curry with all of the stuff that’s left over in the fridge. They seem to work quite well

So tomorrow morning I’ll ring up to check on Caliburn and if he’s ready I’ll catch the bus out there to fetch him back. I’ll do some shopping on the way back too – probably at LIDL because I haven’t been there for ages and I’m sure that they’ll have plenty of stuff that I need.

And then I really must do all of this paperwork that I need to complete. Time is evaporating before my eyes and I’ll run out of time if I’m not careful.

Tuesday 31st January 2023 – AND I WAS DOING …

… so well too!

On my way out in Caliburn to the garage this afternoon I have to say that this was the first time since Canada that I’ve felt comfortable behind the steering wheel.

The physiotherapist and his exercises seem to have been doing me some good because not only could I climb inside Caliburn so much easier, I could use the brake and accelerator with my right leg without any unusual strain or effort.

As I pulled into the compound at the garage to drop Caliburn off I was congratulating myself on how well I’d done and how I was looking forward to having him back when he’s fixed, and going back on the road again.

And then my leg collapsed as I climbed out of the cab.

That’s the first time that such a thing has happened since I fell down the stairs at the railway station at Leuven the day that they threw me out of the hospital in early December. You’ve no idea how depressed that made me. I really had thought that I had passed beyond that stage by now.

But one thing that I do have to say. And that is that in the past whenever the leg has collapsed and decanted me onto the floor, it’s taken me longer and longer each time – most recently a matter of days – to gather up my strength again. But today, I wasn’t really inconvenienced at all. So I suppose that that is progress of a sort.

Last night’s sleep was progress of a sort as well in that I don’t remember very much about waking up. There was some stuff on the dictaphone, but not very much so I suppose that it must have been quite calm.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I was up and about quite quickly and that makes a change just recently too. And having had my medication and checked my mails and messages (and still no news from the solicitor) I prepared for my Welsh lesson this morning.

And something else was quite surprising, that the lesson passed quite quickly and quite successfully too. I’m not quite sure why that would be because for the last few months I’ve been quite disappointed. Nothing seems to stick in my head.

When the lesson had finished I girded up my loins and went downstairs to Caliburn. Once more he struggled into life but he started up and I had a good drive out to the garage.

On the way out I noticed that there were notices plastered to all of the bus stops. It suddenly occurred to me that today is a General Strike by French Trades Unions so how was I going to find my way back home? That’s something to worry about in due course, I suppose.

At the garage I dropped off Caliburn and had a chat to the guy in charge about what needed doing. And then I staggered off to the bus stop down the road to see what was going on.

And there I breathed a sigh of relief. “Due to the General Strike the bus service will only be running from 09:00 – 12:00 and 13:30 to 16:00 today”. It was now 14:17 and there was a bus due at 14:32.

The bus was on time too and so I was back here by 15:00. And after a little rest I had sometidying up to do because the physiotherapist was coming round.

When he finally turned up, later than programmed, he ran me through a few more exercises. He seems to think that talking about surgery is premature and that a couple of months of intensive exercises might show enough improvement to render it unnecessary. I hope that he’s right because regular readers of this rubbish will recall how I feel about hospitals and surgery, but I have a feeling that he is being rather optimistic. With all of the walking that I did until recently, if exercise would be the thing to resolve the issue I wouldn’t ever have had the issue in the first place.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate I came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was on the taxis last night, in the office waiting for work. One or two of the drivers were busy but I wasn’t particularly. I couldn’t recall having been out. It was coming close to my going-home time. There were a couple of other drivers in there from different firms who were chatting, talking about food etc. One of them all of a sudden had to run out to his car for something. Almost as soon as he left the room his hand-held radio started to squawk and the controller tried to talk to him about something. Of course he wasn’t there. I was just about to go home when the boss answered the telephone. He came over to me and said “fancy going to the airport?”. I thought “well, it’s late. What about one of the full-time drivers?”. He replied “he’s going as well”. He told me to take the Granada. The Granada was at the hospital for something or other. I told him that. he replied “what? The black one?”. That was the brand-new one that we’d just bought. I answered “no, the old blue one” because I would have gone in the old blue Granada rather than the brand-new car. He was busy trying to sort it out.

And then I can’t remember very much about this next bit. There were 2 teams of football, one playing in red and the other in white. The team in white had had a couple of players sent off but the team in red wasn’t particularly able to take advantage of the extra numbers. It was a match where there were plenty of loose balls and possession going to the opposite team.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with rice and veg. And there’s a little stuffing left that I can use in a curry. There aren’t a lot of leftovers left over in the fridge so I’ll probably have to lengthen the curry with a tin of something – chick peas or lentils perhaps. It’ll be delicious anyway.

But I’m going to have to go through the spices in the box under the shelves again because a few of the pots are running low of stuff. That will be a nice job for tomorrow afternoon after the cleaner has gone home. Tomorrow morning I’ll have to bake some fruit buns because I’ve run out and there was too much going on today to make them as I planned.

And i’ll have to remind the solicitor to send me the information that I need because I really want to push on with everything and have this purchase completed. I don’t want it to drag on as I want to settle myself down in my new home as quickly as possible.

Buying it isn’t the end of the story though. I have to persuade the tenant to leave.