My brother’s birthday is the 3rd of September, and that’s the date that World War II broke out. And it looks very much as if my birthday is the day that World War III broke out.
What fills me full of dismay is just how stupid the human race can be, seeing the damage that several World Wars have caused to the whole of the World, that it departs on another orgy of massacre and destruction.
It makes me wonder why I’m bothering having my hospital treatment. Who would want to live in a World as stupid as this one?
Last night I was feeling in such a depressing mood that when I finished writing up my notes I started to listen to QUADROPHENIA by The Who.
It’s one of the best albums ever recorded and brings back many happy memories of a drive down to South London one weekend in mid-May 1974 to see The Who in concert at Charlton Athletic’s football ground.
We had my old MkI Cortina, PMB270D, a battery-powered tape player and just one cassette tape – “Quadrophenia” – and when we returned to Chester where I was living at the time the guy whose tape it was gave it to me to keep.
And I still have it too, even though I’ve long-since replaced it with a CD.
It’s an album that brings back many happy memories of that Summer and every time I hear it, it brings back a bad attack of nostalgia.
Once I dozed off I went off on a series of probably the most extraordinary journeys that I have had for quite some considerable time.
The start was a long, rambling dream that I had but I can only remember when we were on board ship. I was making breakfast for these two girls – it was muesli and two teacakes. For some unknown reason the teacakes just wouldn’t toast. They were taking all day. In between I was doing a couple of other things. For some reason, one of those things took far longer than it ought to be done. I suddenly remembered the teacakes just as someone else said something about them so I dashed back to the galley and they were there under the grill but they were on fire. Everyone was really surprised and concerned by this but bread catching fire under a grill when you are toasting it is no big deal. J simply pulled them out with a pair of scissors and put some new ones under. But for some unknown reason this seemed to develop into some kind of major situation and there was no need for it at all
But there was someone else. I can’t remember now where I was but I was with someone else. There were lots of pets around. For some unknown reason they had a lion as a pet. It was in a room with me and someone else . It was being rather playful, trying to nip me. Then I could see that it was starting to lose its playfulness and the nips started to become more serious. I kept on pushing the animal away but it kept on coming back. In the end I had to insist to someone that they came along and removed it because I could see that this was going to end in tears if we weren’t careful.
And then we had something involving trams. There was some question that I was coming home from work, something like that, and I’d met these 3 girls. 2 of them I knew and the other one I didn’t. I found the 3rd one quite attractive so I wanted to get to know her better. As it happened they reached the tram stop at more-or-less the same time that I was walking back from work so we started to chat as a group of 4, these 3 girls and me. I suppose that it must have become pretty obvious to the other 2 exactly what I was up to. The thing that surprised me most though was that I was coming back from work and I’d been working on cars. I was in oily clothes and had oily hands. I was hardly the kind of boy that would be respectable but it didn’t bother these 3 girls at all. On one occasion I reached the tram stop just as they were alighting but the girl whom I liked and one of the others alighted so I waved “hello” but they disappeared off. I wondered what on earth was happening here. The 2nd girl came over and said “don’t worry about those 2. They’ve just nipped back to (I think her name was Jane, this 3rd girl) they’ve just nipped back to Jane’s house so that she can fetch her cloak and they’ll be back. Something came up about the address. It was “Toxteth Road” and I was trying to think why I knew about Toxteth Road and why it seemed to be so significant about this particular moment.
I’m trying to think where I reached with this because it might be that I stepped back into the same dream or else I’ve remembered something different. There was one occasion when I was on my way back home. I was coming in a different way past this tram stop so I went to sit somewhere below it where I could see them alight. I couldn’t find a good spec to sit where I could survey the tram stop. I ended up in the square sitting on a plastic chair where I could see the tram stop about 22 metres away. At that moment someone else whom I vaguely knew turned up. We started chatting and I basically explained that I was waiting here for someone and we carried on talking for a while. Suddenly I realised that the girls hadn’t turned up. I happened to mention it to him and he said “to be honest, they know other people and there’s someone who hangs around that girl who is 55 and they go round there some times. You’ll probably find it extremely difficult to move him out of this girl’s orbit”. I burst out laughing and said “I can’t even get a girl in a bloody dream, can I?”. His ears pricked up and asked “what’s all this about dreams?”. I explained that this was a dream, that I was very interested in dreams and I’d been keeping records of my dreams since that University course 25 years ago when I volunteered to be a guinea pig for the experiment. He was most interested and we had quite a chat about that. But imagine being in a dream and knowing that it’s a dream and talking to someone about it being a dream when one is actually in a dream oneself and being able to recall so much factual information out of one’s subconscious when one is in a subconscious state.
Unbelievably, I stepped back into this dream yet again later on, and how many times have I ever done this before – the same circumstances and characters three times?. Not very many at all, if any. This time we were all in a house, this girl included. She was sorting through some things and on her rubber dinghy she had some paddles. She needed some stuff to clean them. She’d seen across the road in the distance a marine supplier’s so I suggested that we went. We collected our things together but as it was rather cold I went to find my leather jacket. I couldn’t find it, and the cats weren’t sleeping on it so “never mind, I’ll go without”. The 2 of us set off outside and I took hold of her hand and she took hold of mine. We skipped off down the street and across the main road to the other side. She was saying something about if her friends saw her like this with me, what would they think?. I burst out laughing and said “oh just tell them that I’m a dirty old man but I have plenty of money”. She said “dirty? You do wash, do you?” and I replied “ohh yes, on special occasions” and we skipped across the road and skipped up the steps and we saw the sign that said “marine market” and skipped off that way.
And do you know what? That was the happiest that I have ever been for an extremely considerable period of time, probably about for ever in fact, and it was a shame that it actually happened in a dream and not in real life. I should be so lucky. There’s definitely something missing in my life, something that I will never ever recapture – except maybe once a couple of years ago, but the World is not ready to hear that story quite yet.
Finally, I was with Laurence and Roxanne. We were in some country like the Soviet Union, somewhere like that, and we had to go north to a town called Brest (not, presumably the Brest-Litovsk that’s on the border with Poland). We ended up at a railway station quite late at night. There was a large queue so Laurence told Roxanne to stand in the queue until it reached the front. When it did, she went to take over and came back with a pile of tickets. She siad that there was a return ticket for Roxanne but we only have two single tickets. We ended up in a hotel somewhere, a cheap hotel that wasn’t too bad. The next morning we had to pack but there was tons of stuff to pack so it was good that we had some expanding rucksacks but even so there was still quite a struggle. I couldn’t find Laurence. I heard some noise outside the room so I went and found her scrubbing the floor of the corridor. I asked why and she said “you have to make the place tidy when you go”. I replied “yes, tidy is one thing but it looks as if you are working here”. We were arranging all our things. I remembered that when we had set out on this journey there had been quite a few of us and I was ready to go but everyone else wasn’t. It took until really late at night for them to prepare themselves to leave and half of them weren’t ready even then and had to go next morning to buy some stuff while we were away. All in all it was a thing of total chaos, this particular trip. If we had all been properly organised when we set out, none of this would have happened.
When Rosemary had telephoned me yesterday, she said that she would phone me today to wish me a happy birthday. “Not too early” I said and so, sure enough, at 09:15 she phoned me up.
Anyone who rings me up at that time of morning when I’m having a lie-in will hear nothing but a series of grunts and so I’m afraid that the conversation didn’t last very long.
However there was no possibility of my going back to sleep after that no matter how hard I tried. And I did try too – all the way up to 10:50 when I finally abandoned the idea and crawled out of bed.
After the medication the rest of the morning (and a little of the afternoon too) was spent transcribing the dictaphone notes. I’m not sure that there has ever been a night when I’ve travelled so far and with so much emotion.
No breakfast this morning so I had a brunch this afternoon, porridge and toast with plenty of coffee. And then much of the rest of the afternoon was spent acknowledging messages and speaking to Ingrid on the phone who rang me back to send me some birthday greetings
Yesterday I made the point that the gale-force wind that we have been having for the last while seemed to have died down. And how I wish that I’d kept my moth closed as the wind was back today, and with a vengeance as well.
You can tell that just by looking at the sea out here in the Baie de Granville. We didn’t even see waves like that at the height of Storm Useless. It was no surprise that there was no-one down there this afternoon, despite the sun.
When Storm Useless was blowing, all of the fishing boats remained in harbour, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today the winds were stronger and the waves were rougher than they were back then but nevertheless here we are.
We’ve seen a trawler out there for the last few days and although I couldn’t identify it, this one is certainly a different one than whoever was out there before.
And to take this photo, I had to find a suitable wall on which to prop the NIKON D500 because the wind was wobbling it around in my hands.
Today, I’m rather earlier than I was yesterday and so you can see the difference in the height of the water even over such a short space of time. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe.
There wasn’t anyone else out there this afternoon and that’s no surprise because the wind was wicked out here. At one point I was having to walk crab-like along the path in order to advance, and when the wind suddenly dropped for a moment I almost ended up over the cliff.
Sometimes the bay over there is in the wind shadow where the waves are quite calm, but not today. Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour is being battered by the wind and waves this afternoon.
Round the corner actually in the bay the situation was even worse as you have already seen, with the waves slamming into the sea wall. I wasn’t going to hang around spending too long watching and so I headed home in the wind.
Back here, no coffee. I’ve already had too much of that today. But my coffee cake really was delicious. I can’t believe that I’ve actually made a cake that has come out as well as this – a vegan cake with no eggs in it either.
Tea tonight was a slice of pie with potatoes, vegetables and gravy. And that was really delicious. I cut it into 8 slices and the other 7 are in the freezer – for once there was actually some room in there. The filling wasn’t up to much because it was a rather ad-hoc mixture but I’ll do better than this when I prepare one properly instead of dragging something unknown out of the freezer.
So that’s that. I’m going to bed very soon ready to restart tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow. We are living in very worrying times, for all kinds of reasons. But another journey tonight like that one last night and I’ll feel so much better. I wish I knew who she was.