Tag Archives: vegan curry

Wednesday 10th April 2024 – TODAY HASN’T BEEN …

… any easier today than it was yesterday. I fact it was probably a darn sight worse.*

And that’s a shame because I was actually in bed earlier than I usually am and earlier than I would like to be For a change it didn’t take long to finish off what I need to do, and I was wracking my brains thinking of things that I might have forgotten to do.

But one thing about it was that I was doped up to the eyebrows with painkillers.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I usually eschew painkillers but I really was in so much agony that I just couldn’t carry on any longer.

It’s not my style, I agree. I think that painkillers do more harm than good, but in bed, I’m not likely to find myself in any mischief, especially as TOTGA, Castor and Zero have stopped coming to visit me during the night.

So doped up to the eyebrows … "you’ve said that once" – ed … I went to bed. And that probably explains why I went to sleep, didn’t awaken until 06:15 and left nothing on the dictaphone except a rambling account of how grateful I was.

It really was for once a good night’s sleep because I felt absolutely nothing at all. When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed, dressed myself and checked my blood pressure – 16.3/10.5, which compares with last night’s figure of 17.4/10.2. I’m not surprised that the pressure has gone down after last night’s chemically-induced sleep.

Next thing was to take the medication, the usual piles of it too. My friendly neighbourhood cleaner will be along at some point to verify the medication that I have.

Having arranged the room, the nurse came along to give me my rabies shot, or whatever it is. And then to bandage me up with the putties so that I look like something out of Ancient Egypt

On Sunday I shall have to make another one as nice as that. It will be really nice if that one is so good.

Don’t let anyone tell you that strong black coffee keeps you awake by the way because back in here I really was gone with the fairies. I had the guitar out for a short while to have a play but didn’t go far with it.

It was 13:35 when I finally awoke and then I had lunch and a good wash with change of clothes to make myself look pretty.

To my surprise I’d been away with the fairies during the morning. I was involved in some kind of crazy science fiction dream involving some mad scientists and a chemical. But there were two of me and one of them was dishonest and ready to fall in with the plans of the scientist and the other one of me was more honest and was intent on thwarting his plans

And that4s a story with a little history behind it that deserves to be told one of these days but will have to wait until the expiry of certain periods of Statute of Limitations in the UK.

There was also something else about the Welsh Premier League and attendances. I was actually out on my way to a ground to watch a game and was driving through Whitchurch although it was no Whitchurch that I ever knew and a discussion on attendances began. Someone had seen a paper with a figure given of 4,000 and whoever it was couldn’t believe it but I replied that until their current problems Aberystwyth could easily have that kind of figure as their support.

Not that that’s ever likely to happen either. The record crowd in the Welsh Premier League is 3250 at Porthmadog who came to see them play Bangor City, but where are those clubs now?

Mind you, at a second-tier match at Old Road in Llansawel there were 1201 spectators who packed into the ground to watch them beat Rhydaman, lift the Championship and prepare for their first season in the top flight for almost 30 years.

Wouldn’t it be nice though if 4,000 could pack into Park Avenue to watch Aberystwyth? However, with a League with no money, no real publicity, no real budget and operating under a mainstream media blackout thanks to the rugby clubs who pull all the media strings in Wales, It’s no surprise.

While my cleaner was here I carried on with yet more radio notes and then after she left my favourite Auvergnats turned up again for more cake and chat. This is becoming a habit. I don’t like sharing my cake, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Tea tonight was another delicious leftover curry with naan bread, rive and vegetables. I’m really spoiling myself these days

So having done all of that, I’m off to bed. The pains have come back to some extent but I’ll try without painkillers tonight and hope that I’ll be OK

But talking about mummies and my puttees reminds me of the tomb that archaeologists discovered next to the Dead Sea in the Middle East.
"I wonder what it was for" asked one of the archaeologists
"That’s easy" replied another. "Being next to the Dead Sea, it’s probably a deceased Pharaoh’s weekend retreat"
"What do you mean by that?#34; asked the first
"It’s easy" said the second one. "This is where they’d all come to unwind after a busy week in the pyramid"

Wednesday 3rd April 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… “correspondence” day today. Anyone who has been expecting a reply from me over the last couple of days should either have had one (electronic) or will have one within the next few days.

If you are expecting one and don’t receive it at some point, write and let me know because it will mean that I have overlooked it in the confusion.

And as my hero the Irish politician Boyle Roche once said at the bottom of all the correspondence that he initiated, "If you do not receive this, of course it must have been miscarried; therefore I beg you to write and let me know".

That’s how I felt last night actually – like a load of miscarried correspondence. I fell asleep twice (or was it three times?) typing out the notes from yesterday and the fact that I managed to complete them, that shows determination if nothing else.

Even though there was the usual stuff to do, I was actually in bed by 23:00 and that shows what I can do when I really try. And I wasn’t sorry to hit the sack, I can tell you.

It was a really peaceful night but I did have another one of those “false awakenings” that we talked about the other day, where I’m convinced that I’m awake but I’m actually not, and it’s a really strange feeling when the alarm goes off and I’m convinced that I’m already awake.

In the past I’ve been awake when the alarm goes off but that’s a completely different sensation of course.

First thing to do was to check the blood pressure this morning, and I don’t know why because they don’t seem all that interested at hospital. It’s 14.9/92, quite a drop on last night’s 17.7/10.2. Whatever must have been winding me up completely must have disappeared

There was the medication to deal with of course, and that takes a lot longer than it ought. And then I had to arrange the room ready for the nurse.

The blood sample thing was an absolute farce again, and there are now more holes in me than in a hedgehog’s trousers. I’d printed off the form and had it ready for him, and I’d called him last night to say that it was here so that he could bring his stuff, but that didn’t mean that he could find a vein.

It’s obviously because I’m all assembled wrongly. Anyway, according to him, it’s my fault that he can’t find a vein.

Once he’d gone (and left his blood testing kit behind) I could relax and have a listen to find out where I’d been during the night. Only one sound file on the dictaphone, one that I can’t remember at all. There was something going on with regard to stolen cars in Crewe. There was a big investigation. I was out with a girlfriend of mine and we went past one of the side streets on the industrial estate at the back of where we lived as kids. A police car was pulling up behind a tatty old blue Ford Capri so we stayed to watch. 2 policemen left the car followed by a civilian. The policemen began to interrogate this civilian about this Capri and then suddenly they began to push him around. I said in a loud voice “you can’t push him around” but my partner was quite agitated, wanting me to keep quiet. They knocked him onto the floor so I said something then but they still took no notice. My girlfriend was even more agitated. Then they had a second person there and they began to give that person a rough time. I ended up thinking to myself “I wish that I had a video camera. I’d have made a fortune taping this and selling it”.

There’s more than just an element of truth in this one too. My girlfriend from school (who appears on these pages every now and again – she’s the one who still looked exactly the same 40 years later) was rather a naïve girl and had little experience of life. I soon changed all that.

We were coming back from the pub towards her home one night when we encountered a police car and two constables parked on private property. They were watching the crowds but I was much more interested in where they were parked, so I made a caustic comment.

That led to an encounter that can only be described as “confrontational” and it certainly opened up her eyes to what happens in the real World. She was never quite the same again after that.

We once had a debate or discussion about people living on the streets, something that never existed in the early 1970s in South Cheshire when we had real Socialists, and she didn’t believe that they existed at all. So I piled her into my car and we drove to London – 180 miles in the days before motorways – through the night to find some homeless people to prove their existence – and then drove back again as dawn was breaking.

What her parents had to say about the matter of their daughter being out all night is unrecorded.

It’s like the time when I was angling for that job in New York but Laurence told me that a medium had told her once that she’d never leave Europe.

Never?

So a couple of days later, having dropped Roxanne off at a colonie de vacances where she could pet horses and goats for a week, Laurence and I were at Heathrow Airport and the rest is history.

When we came back, Laurence said to Roxanne "You’ll never guess where mummy has been"
"You’ve been to America" said Roxanne, because she was in on the joke. She was always good to take part in a joke was Roxanne, the bigger the better.

So, the correspondence.

Having already printed off the prescription for the nurse, I printed off the bon de transport and wrote out my application for authorisation for a journey to Paris

And while I was at it, I sent off a huge pile of other stuff including letters to the UK, letters to Canada and all that kind of thing in an attempt to bring everything up-to-date.

Some hopes though because there is bound to be stuff that I’ve forgotten to do, or stuff that’s going to overwhelm me in due course.

The cleaner came round today so I kept out of her way for a while but had to go in there to pay her for last month and then to talk about these injections.

They wouldn’t let me have them because of the lack of blood test reports but now that they have started up, we need to organise something so that I can have them.

The nurse said that he would become involved in this and telephone the chemists, so that’s going to be guaranteed chaos for the near future until someone sensible sorts them all out.

But it’s really sad that I’ve arrived in this state.

There was time left for another batch of Welsh homework from a previous unit, interrupted by making a batch of dough for naan breads. Most of that is now freezing, except for one ball that became my naan bread for this evening along with my delicious leftover curry

And that’s the end of the notes as well. Tomorrow there are no interruptions planned and nothing outstanding to do so I might write a batch of radio notes.

But no doubt, someone or something will come along to disrupt me. It’s like “Bomber” Harris who always said, to members of the Air Ministry whom he encountered on the streets "good morning. And what are you doing to disrupt the war effort today then?".

Now HE was someone who emphasised the definition of “unpopular”, just like me in my day. I was about as unpopular as a bank manager in the middle of a recession.

The other day I mentioned that we’d all play hide-and-seek as kids – I’d hide and the other kids wouldn’t come and look for me.

In school I was in fact known as “batteries
"why was that?" – ed
That was because I was never included in anything.

Wednesday 27th March 2024 – A LITTLE EARLIER …

… this evening I was lying slumped over the edge of my desk, forehead leaning on the top, totally out of it altogether. Miles away from what was going on in the real world.

Since all of these problems began I’ve been having some weird sleeping fits to be sure, but this one totally beat anything that I have had to date. “Out like a light” was hardly the word.

Whatever is going on with me and my body right now totally defies all comprehension. There’s no logical reason for it at all, except to say that it must be one of the pills that I take.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at first I thought that it was that horrible anti-potassium stuff. It certainly seems to be that which was making me have those hallucinations, but this crashing-out is carrying on nevertheless, so it must be one of the others

The hospital knows about it because I’ve mentioned it, but as yet they have taken no action. and I know what their response will be, because we’ve been here before. They’ll just give me another tablet to counter the problem, and then I’ll need yet another tablet to counter the side-effects of that one.

And so we’ll continue on … "and on, and on, and on etc" – ed

It wouldn’t have done me much good last night either because once more I was hours late going to bed. There’s far too much to be doing here these days. Most of it just seems to be administration too and I’m beginning to think that “never mind a cleaner – I need a secretary”.

Still, I don’t think that I could pay a secretary to take my blood tests for me.

In bed, for what there was of it, was relatively relaxed and I wasn’t disturbed at all as far as I remember. But I would have loved an extra few hours in bed.

When the alarm went off I was in the middle of a really interesting journey but I immediately forgot all of it which was a shame, instead, I fell out of bed (literally) and went off to take the blood pressure. 15.9/9.0, which might sound high but nothing like as high as 19.4/11.2 which it was last night. What on earth was going on to make it so high?

The nurse came round later and I was lucky that I’d finished my wash and brush up by the time that she arrived. I’ve managed to persuade her to give a ring on the doorbell as she arrives so I’ll have a few minutes to prepare everything while she’s attending to my neighbour rather than just bursting in when I am incommunicado – and in somewhere else as well.

She almost forgot my injection this morning too. Apparently this “injection of the last resort” goes on for another three months and I’ve no idea what happens then. Anyway she remembered just in time (it’s no use asking me to remember anything these days) and so I’m like a dartboard again.

Checking my mails and messages I found a mail from an old friend of mine, someone with whom I’ve had no contact for almost 50 years.

He was a friend at school and we hung around together for a few years but then, like the Knights of the Round Table,WE WENT OUR SEPARATE WAYS. We do have a mutual contact and it seems that news about my condition is slowly circulating around.

It’s really nice to speak to people from the past like that. There’s a lot of catching up to do as our time draws slowly on to its conclusion. I say that because he’s not doing too well either.

Then I had to prepare for my Welsh lesson which didn’t take long.

And the lesson passed much better today than it has done over the previous two days and despite the fact that I can’t remember anything, I feel so much better about it. And that’s progress too.

The cleaner came round today too in order to make the place look pretty, and we went through the medication and made another list. She’ll go to the chemist’s tomorrow to order what I need, including some new injections, and pick it all up on Friday.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. I’d started up in business again. I had a radio operator and driver for the daytime. And I did things a little on the way, like I made a little snack, something like baked beans on toast or mushrooms on toast or something, not very appetising or anything but at least I made sure that they had something to eat at lunchtime. I was sitting down doing a summary of everything and I asked how things were going. The subject of this food came up. They admitted that the food wasn’t particularly substantial but it was nice that I’d thought of them. They were really pleased about that but one girl had something of a moan about it. I’m not saying that she was wrong but I’m saying that there were limits as to what I could do during the daytime when I was supposed to be sleeping and that way they were lucky that they were receiving something.

And that would be a horror show if I started up in business again. I’ve had my fill of working hard for a living and the only kind of working in which I’m interested in doing is work where I’m sitting here at my desk within easy reach of the bathroom and the coffee machine.

That way, there’s only one person whose interests I have to look out for, and it’s not anyone else’s, that’s for sure. I’ve done enough of that, especially when its usually been the interests of the wrong people and not the interests of those who really matter.

But talking about food not being substantial, the thought of a good plate of beans on toast made my mouth water and had I had a loaf of bread here instead of baking it to order, I would have been really tempted.

While I was rummaging around looking for something or other I came across my collection of EAST OF EDEN albums.

Now that’s a blast from the past. They were a group from Bristol who buzzed around the festivals and concert circuits for years.

Apart from their hit single, JIJ A JIG that is nothing whatsoever like the rest of their music – they are a typical late-60’s rock band – their claim to fame is that violinist Dave Arbus was the musician who played violin on the Who’s BABA O’RILEY, one of the greatest singles of all time.

Once everything had calmed down I made a start on the next radio programme but regrettably I didn’t get very far, for reasons that I explained earlier. I can see this being a continual story.

Tea tonight was a delicious leftover curry, lengthened with some lentils, quinoa and peanuts, and accompanied by rice, veg and naan bread. And there’s no better meal than one of my leftover curries.

However I’ve now run out of dough for my naan breads so I’ll have to make some more for next week. We can’t be doing without that. Luckily I still have some soya yoghurt left.

But that reminds me – my biscuit-making operation (and delicious they are too) has meant that I’m running perilously low on vegan butter. I need to place an order for the food from LeClerc. I can’t be doing without my butter for my hot cross buns either.

It’s a surprise that I’m not putting on any weight with all of this food that I seem to be shifting. It’s rather like the little girl who noticed that her mummy’s stomach seemed to be growing bigger and bigger, so she asked her mummy about it.
"Well dear" said mummy "Daddy’s given me a baby"
"but hat’s that got to do with your tummy?"
"Because the baby’s in there dear" said mummy
So the little girl goes off to her daddy
"You know that baby you gave mummy?" she asked
"Yes dear?" asked her father
"Well" replied the little girl "SHE’S EATEN IT!"

Wednesday 20th March 2024 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… night where I ended up not going to bed until after 02:30 or so. And this is becoming ridiculous.

As usual, it’s just that I can’t seem to find the effort to carry out the simplest of tasks, like going to bed. Everything really is churned up at the moment.

Some of the side-effects of some of these pills and tablets that I take are frightening. Eyesight issues is of course one of them, and a state of confusion and disorientation is another. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt that they are correct.

The burning question of the day is not O’Rafferty’s Motor Car but that if they are right about those effects, what about the others? And if so, why haven’t I noticed them? And if I haven’t noticed them, has anyone else?

It reminds me of the story that Dr Keith Simpson, the Home Office Pathologist used to tell after he’d retired
"I’m not going to sit around and become old, decrepit, doddery and senile" he said. "If ever I get like that I’ve told the wife to have an “accident” cleaning the shotgun"
"Blimey!" piped up a voice from the crowd. "She’s leaving it rather late, isn’t she?"

Another one of the side effects of one of the tablets is “impotence”. And by that I don’t mean that you have your own article in Who’s Who, or even like some famous animals who have their own article in Who’s Zoo.

But that side-effect probably explains why TOTGA, Castor and Zero haven’t been around for a while. It tells me everything that I need to know.

Every cloud though has a silver lining. And while I was trying to find the motivation to go to bed I came across a couple of albums from a Hungarian rock group called Karpàtia, about which I’d completely forgotten. There isn’t half a pile of all kinds of obscure stuff around here.

Anyway I eventually found my way into bed, fully-clothed because there was no point undressing for such a short period of time in bed.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed and you’ve no idea how much effort that was – or maybe you can imagine it. It was all of about 10 minutes before I could manage to open my eyes and find the blood pressure machine. 14.6/8.6 so the night can’t have been all that bad.

And to my surprise, I noticed that I had taken it before hitting the hay earlier. 15.1/8.5, and that’s not all that unreasonable either, compared to how things have been in the past.

Sticking my head under the cold tap didn’t help much but I went off and took my tablets, hoping that one of them had a side-effect of insomnia.

While I was waiting for the nurse I had another go at re-arranging the medical stuff, which he promptly re-re-arranged into a state of disorder just a few seconds after arrival.

He didn’t realise that he had to do these puttees every day, and then there wasn’t enough room in my apartment, and I didn’t have any disposable gloves, and my veins aren’t good enough for home-sampling, etc. etc. etc und so weiter.

In the end he abandoned the attempt at the blood test and he’ll do it tomorrow when he has more time. That’s what I call “famous last words”, isn’t it?

After all of that I was in no state whatever to start any work this morning and it wasn’t until this afternoon that things set off under way. I reviewed and dispatched the radio programme for this weekend and then started on another one. I’ve chosen the music, remixed it for broadcast, paired it off and joined up the pairs, and even written some of the notes. That was quite an effort, the way that I’m feeling.

The cleaner came round as well, so I have a nice, clean apartment. And we had a good moan at each other too, putting the world to rights. Not that it’ll do much good, but there you are.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night, which was a surprise. There was some kind of convention with a lot of guys from work etc. attending. I had my list of keep fit exercises that I do in bed and I’d brought it with me. For some reason or other I ended up in a real tangle doing one set of exercises and had to call in the stewards or something to help me untangle myself. I can’t remember all that much about it.

That’s actually a real issue. With not having sufficient force to raise my legs when I’m lying down in bed, they do have a tendency to become tangled up in each other on occasions and I have to use my hands to pull on a leg to free it off from the other. What I’m going to do when I no longer have the force in my arms, I haven’t decided yet.

Tea was lovely. A beautiful leftover curry with rice, vegetables and a naan bread. A leftover curry may not sound exciting but the way that I cook it, it really is.

And that reminds me – while we’re on the subject of curries … "well, one of us is" – ed … I shall have to make certain arrangements about acquiring some more spices from the Asian supermarket in Leuven now that I can no longer go. I’m not running out yet, but I don’t want to take any chances and I need to make sure that I have a good stock on hand.

So that’s my notes written up, and I’ve only crashed out twice, I’m off to do what I need to do before going to bed. As Gandalf said in LORD OF THE RINGS, "Go where you must go, and hope".

And as Shakespeare wrote in “Henry VI” – "Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.". But I can’t remember now whether he said that in Henry VI part I, part II or part III.

One thing that I always wondered about when Shakespeare wrote those three parts of the play, did he run adverts in between the parts or was it just the News?

Wednesday 13th March 2024 – THE DEED IS …

… done and I’m now registered for an Easter Welsh course with … errr … Caefyrddyn

Enrolling on a Welsh course rather like Macbeth and the murder of Duncan actually and "If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly". Caerfyrddyn was the only centre that had any spaces left on its Easter revision course when I went to sign up.

It’s a symbol of how popular learning Welsh became at Covid. When the courses were face-to-face (or wyneb-wyneb for regular readers of this rubbish who recall a dream a week or so ago) they had about 100 applicants each year. When Covid hit and the courses went over to video-conferencing, they had 1031 applicants.

That’s not the kind of thing for which infrastructure exists and they had to be quite inventive to fit everyone in

With my class, I’m quite lucky because already being involved and registered, my place is assured. However, for this revision course, I’m dropping down two levels and so I have had to re-register

So with studying a course down in the south, I’ll be saying things like gyda-gylid instead of efo-gylid and caeth e instead of cafodd o. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago why it was that the Welsh language evolved differently in the south and in in the north.

If I had had any sense, not that that is likely of course, I should have enrolled last night while I was talking about it and maybe I would have found something more convenient. But instead I had a little relax to unwind before going to bed.

Once in bed though I felt nothing at all. Nothing whatever and it was as if I’d slept all the way through the night undisturbed.

When the alarm went off though I was already awake and it didn’t take much to have me out of bed.

First stop as usual was the blood pressure. 16.0/10.0 this morning, compared to 17.4/10.6 last night. It really MUST have been a calm, comfortable night.

Second stop was to go to take my medication for the moment, half a tonne of it as usual. And then some tidying up ready for the nurse to come round. I’d like her to think that people actually lived here.

We had a good chat about the things that the hospital wants the local nursing staff to do. Some of the things don’t come within their remit, so it’s tough luck on me but the rest is going to start tomorrow at 08:45 and how I’m not looking forward to that, especially on a Sunday

She took the blood sample and gave me my weekly injection of the Last Resort and then wandered off while I organised some breakfast.

The coffee is really nice around here, and my flapjack is definitely a success. I’ll make some more of that another time if I can remember the ingredients that I used. They biscuits that I made on Sunday are overcooked, but not so much as they are in-edible. I’ll make more of those too at some point.

Next step was to listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. And I must have been stark out last night as I remember nothing at all of these. Did I dictate the dream about the person that I’d killed in that motel room? … "no, you didn’t" – ed … He was beaten quite badly and I was about to finish him off when someone began to come into his room. I quickly had to clean him up, tidy him up and remove as many visible marks a possible to make it look as if he was treating himself for his wounds before they came in, which was difficult. Somehow I managed it and he passed by quite normally without having any suspicions. Then I had to restart these videos, all three of them, to find out exactly where the secret place was where you had to puncture the skin in order to kill someone – someone had worked out that you could leave very minimal marks by just putting something long and pointed in through these three places. He’d prepared a video of it, that I’d been watching but of course with this other guy coming into the motel room to see what was happening I actually lost the place in the video and couldn’t find it again on all three tapes for all three points on the body

That’s the stuff that dreams are made of, isn’t it? If videos like that really did exist and I really did have access to them, there would be far fewer people on this planet than there are today. I can think of quite a few who would shuffle off this mortal coil with my assistance, if I had any say in the matter.

But I di have some gruesome dreams; don’t I? And many have been far more gruesome than this. It reminds me of Dr Cameron in Tannochbrae in the good old days of Dr Finlay’s Casebook – or Dr Kenley’s Feesbook
"And what’s the matter, Janet?" asked Dr Cameron
"Och Dr Cameron, it’s gruesome" she replied
"Well, look again Janet" he said. "It’s gruesome more"

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed I was going on a flight somewhere so I had to walk through the airport and look for my train to London. I eventually arrived at the station part and the next train to London was 22:02. It was only 21:00 so I thought that it was going to be cutting it a little too fine. I’d better go to find something to eat. I found what looked like a bakery or hot food stand and asked if they had a pâté végétale. She replied “no, no” and pointed to half a dozen things that she had on the shelves, the usual mainstream type of normal kind of food. She did have some large fruit bread. I thought that I could buy one of those but that would be quite a waste because I wouldn’t be able to eat all of that.

Not that anything like that would normally bother me, especially if I’m going on a flight somewhere. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I always take food with me on a plane. I’ve learnt from bitter experience that you can’t rely on airlines to always respect special diets on their planes, and it’s a long way and a long time across the Atlantic with nothing to eat.

Yes, my spicy or fruit bread has saved me from a fate worse than death on many occasions, as have my Subway sandwiches from the airport at Montreal. Consequently a large fruit bread would have been a gift from Heaven on a flight from an airport

Back in here and surfing around on the internet looking for something, I made a fantastic discovery. Carol Reed’s famous and spectacular film THE THIRD MAN starring Orson Cart and Joseph Cotton is now out of copyright and is available to download

What a film that is, too. It’s not so much the acting and the dialogue but the way that it’s directed that makes it a classic – with all these cuts of ordinary, old people filtered into the scenes that really give it the kind of panic-stricken atmosphere that must have existed in the immediate post-war Vienna.

My acquaintance with Vienna is somewhat more recent than that. And the last time I was there, actually in the city, was 1998 when I took a 15-tonne lorry there from Brussels.

It’s a film that in my opinion is on a par with THE MALTESE FALCON as one of the greatest films of all time.

The cleaner came round with my missing pieces today, and it’s a shame but she’ll have to be going back because the nurse needs some stuff to treat me, so she’ll write out a prescription tomorrow morning. We’ll go through the medication tomorrow too and see where I’m short, as one or two things are running out.

But poor cleaner. She’s not had much of a rest on her week off, has she?

The rest of the day has been spent finishing off the notes for the radio programme that I began the other day. They are done and ready for dictation sometime, but I’m not sure when. It won’t be at 01:00 on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, I’ll tell you that, not it I’m having to be up and about by 08:45.

After a session on the guitar I went for tea – another one of my delicious leftover curries with naan bread.

But while I was in the freezer I noticed that I seem to be running low on frozen vegetables again. It looks as if my last pre-Easter order from the supermarket will be going off on Monday.

That means that I’d better check my hot cross bun recipe and make sure that I have everything that I need. And then work out how to make the dough rise properly.

Hot cross buns are made with milk, not water, and that makes the issue far more complicated. I tell you – it’s not easy baking and being a master-chef when your oven only works when it wants to and you don’t have a clue what you’re doing anyway.

But you can’t have an Easter without hot-cross buns so I’d better learn quite quickly. It’ll give me something to eat while I’m taking part in my Welsh lesson, I suppose

At least I don’t have to worry about the Easter bunny coming to visit me. It’s not like the time years ago, when I had that part-time job just before Easter looking after these small bunny-like creatures just after they were born and making sure that they grew into responsible adults.

That was what I would call a hare-raising experience.

Wednesday 6th March 2024 – GUESS WHERE …

… I’ll be this time tomorrow night.

That’s right. I had the blood sample taken this morning, it’s been analysed, the reports are in and so I have a taxi coming to pick me up at 11:00. “And bring your things”. So there!

It’s no surprise that I’m not a happy bunny. Not at all. I can’t keep on doing this. I have things to do, places to go, people to see and all that lark. There’s no room in my timetable for trips to Paris, whether by taxi, train, bus, bicycle or gaslight

So tonight I’ll have to go to bed early, in contrast to last night where it was quite a late night. But at least, once in bed I didn’t move around much

When the alarm went off next morning I crawled out of bed and checked the blood pressure. 14.5/8.5 this morning so clearly I had a quiet night. Before retiring last night it was 15.0/8.1 so there’s not a great deal of difference

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Well, at this stage of this World Cup match tickets were £97:00 per ticket. There were huge complaints from people first of all about why it was only rich people who were attending the matches, not the average supporter, and secondly, why protesting hasn’t been allowed against the football matches. In the meantime some agreement has been made that everyone who bought a ticket for the opening match will have to give their next ticket away to another customer but whether that’s a good idea or not remains to be seen. The coaches brought the two teams down. There was plenty of late team news – one team had managed with just two injuries and would play a couple of replacements and the other team had wholesale replacements because of various problems, even signing someone on the last minute but who should be able to take part in the match. They looked as if they would have difficulties to coalesce for a while. It was up to the other side to take the play to them and try their best to go ahead while they would be outgunned but not coalescing together to get them to play like a team

I should have added that the only thing that I really had to worry about was to make sure that no-one pinched my van because we’d transformed it into a mobile home and office for me during the period of the World Cup. I’d to totally lost if someone stole that.

It looks as if I have an obsession right now with being a football coach. Not of course in the same vein as in the good old days of Malcolm Allison who, upon being told that he had been appointed team coach of Kuwait, he’d be having his teeth out and seats fitted next morning.

But my football coaching experience runs, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, to the Pionsat FC’s 3rd XI who played in the lowest league of Puy-de-Dome football all those years ago and were always at or near the bottom. It’s nothing to write home about.

My favourite position in those days was either left back in the dressing toom or right back behind the touchline

Being an all-inclusive football club we had a couple of gay footballers there. They would always be happy to change ends at half-time

While we’re on the subject of the Auvergne … "well, one of us is" – ed …Rosemary rang me up for a chat. Just a short one today – 1 hour and 22 minutes during which, as usual, we put the World to rights.

If only politicians would listen to Rosemary and me the World wouldn’t be in a mess like this. We would solve all of the problems immediately without all of this nonsense

And then the cleaner sailed in. "The hospital’s been trying to contact you" she said, so I had to phone them back.

It was quite complicated too. I had to check that there was a taxi available, find out what time, book the vehicle, ring the hospital back and they would then send me a bon de transport which I’d print off and give to the driver when he or she came to pick me up.

It’s a good job that the doctor at the hospital demanded 10 authorisations otherwise I’d be struggling with this kind of thing. It’s quite a complicated system but as I’m classed as a maladie grave it’s covered in principle by the Social Security.

Quite frankly, having a few taxi-ambulances that are conventionné by the Social Security is a little goldmine

This afternoon the cleaner came round to clean so I stayed in my room, chose my music for another radio show, paired it off, joined the tracks together and wrote out half of the notes.

One thing that I’ve learned following the debacle last weekend is that once it’s completed, I’ll read through it to make sure that it makes sense and that I don’t have to re-write it or anything.

Tea tonight was a leftover curry with rice, veg and a naan bread and I do have to say that everything – the naan bread included – was cooked to perfection and it was the best leftover curry meal that I have ever made

And it’s just as well because I shudder to think of what I’ll be eating for the next few days.

Tomorrow morning first thing I’ll be baking some bread. If I’m going to hospital for a few days I’ll need some supplies to sustain me so cheese and hummus salad sandwiches are on the agenda. I might look into making flapjacks too or something like that as a pleasant dessert.

If anyone else has any suggestions, then provided that they are physically possible they’ll be welcome

The food in these places really is bad, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. And, as you’ve probably noticed, I love my food. It’s the only luxury that I have left these days. And in the hospital it’s not even possible to go to a café or order a pizza.

Add to that the fact that my neighbour, who usually smuggles supplies in to me, won’t be in Paris while I’m there – I checked of course.

So all in all it’s going to be a depressing stay there, something that will become even worse I suppose when I discover what they intend to do with me.

And if it’s something nasty, these days I can’t run fast to escape at all – not like the time after one of my car accidents when I was going hell for leather down the corridor until the doctor saved the day by shouting to the nurse who was pursuing me "I said remove his SPECTACLES".

Wednesday 28th February 2024 – TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY …

… Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play. But it was also when I retired from full-time employment.

For the first time, that is.

At 50 years of age we were pulled out of the front line at work. They considered that we no longer had the speed, the fitness and the reflexes to cope with the conditions.

That, of course, is nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with my reflexes even today and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I was still running every night up until two years ago

But anyway, there we were.

For the following 15 years life would be driving around Brussels in one of the fleet of Berlingos delivering parcels between the various buildings or, in my case seeing as I had a PSV licence, driving the shuttle bus.

But badger that for a game of cowboys. If you ask me which is more stressful – driving 4.5 tonnes of armoured Open Omega down a German autobahn at 260 kph at 04:00 or driving a shuttle bus around Brussels during the rush hour – I know which one I’d say.

With redeployment looming, my boss having retired and with “early retirement” being bandied about with all these hordes of Bulgarians and Romanians queueing up to join at half the salary we were receiving, I made sure that my pancreas flared up again.

A spell of sick leave, and then that was that

What followed was a lovely year of rest and then, after going to South Carolina for Rhys’s wedding, I picked up the threads.

A spell on a CDI working for General Electric’s training school to cover for maternity leave followed by 11 months at that bizarre American company where I met Alison, and then I set out for the Auvergne to seek my fortune, and the rest is history.

It wasn’t an early retirement last night though. In fact, what with one thing and another – and once you make a start you’ll be surprised how many other things there are – it was later than usual, and that’s saying something considering how late things have been just recently.

And when the alarm went off, I was totally wasted. I never felt less like leaving the bed but I had to make an effort.

First thing was to check the blood pressure – 13.8/8.7. That’s low. Below the target figure in fact. And much better than last night’s 17.2/10.5. I wonder what happened during the night to bring down my blood pressure.

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to see what had gone on during the night. With the fall in blood pressure I didn’t expect that one of my favourite young ladies had been to visit me, but you never know. I was back in school at the start of last night with a group of people. We noticed that there was a girl standing not too far away from us looking at what was going on. I knew the girl – she lived in Shavington. I was just on the point of shouting to her to be friendly when I awoke.

Awoke – yet again, just as I’m about to speak to a girl. There’s something strange going on these days about this.

Then there was a football tournament taking place with all of the big clubs taking part. Almost everyone was having a go at refereeing matches. When it was my turn I drew Tottenham Hotspurs against someone else, I can’t remember. I took the ball and walked down to the pitch. On the touchline was an old friend of mine so I said “hello” to him and talked about another adventure. I tossed a coin and called to Spurs to ask what colour they wanted. They guessed correctly “yellow” so I set the board out because the pitch was something like a chessboard. They complained that the board had been set out incorrectly. It should have been set out the other way round. I didn’t think that it made very much difference so I told them to shut up and get on with it. In the end they went to complain to the FA. Someone from the FA came down. He agreed that the pitch had been incorrectly laid out and as kick-off hadn’t taken place we could reset the board the correct way round and start the match. This was a decision that completely disappointed me. I thought that the FA would have at least tried to uphold my authority as referee instead of behaving like this.

And did I dictate the story about the little girl who was born? … "no you didn’t" – ed … It was Alison Something. She had a very sad life and died as barely a teenager. The Doors wrote a song about her which became famous.

If they did, I can’t think of the song. Plenty of “Alison” songs, but none by the Doors as far as I can tell.

So anyway I stepped back into this football match. As I went in Tottenham Hotspurs were playing and they won the toss for kick-off so set the board out for them to start to play but they thought that I’d set it out incorrectly – that the point should be on the row that started on the second row. I measured it al and it would be the same distance so there’s no problem so … fell asleep here

When the alarm went off, I wondered why the dictaphone wasn’t in its usual place on the corner of the chest of drawers. It was down the bed still ticking over showing 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’ll teach me to fall asleep again with it in my hand.

One thing that I can tell you is that it’s not very interesting listening to myself sleeping. And I remember a couple of times when Percy Penguin elbowed me in the ribs and said “stop snoring!”.

“I never snore” I would reply. “You must be dreaming it”. And now having heard myself sleeping, I’m sorry for doubting you.

The nurse came round, gave me my injection and took a blood sample.

The results are back now. My haemoglobin is slowly rising, which is good news, but so is my carcinogenic protein, which is bad news. It should be between 59 and 106 units, and it’s gone up from 270.3 to 276.4 in a week. The active enzymes, which should be between 6.7 and 11.8 are actually 31.2

In other words, things are slowly deteriorating, which is what I expect so there’s no big issue there. However, it is the first time that I’ve seen the word “terminal” written on the results of my blood test.

With the cleaner coming round I tidied up somewhat as best as I could in order to give her the impression that I cared, and then wrote out some cheques to pay a few bills here and there. She’ll post the letters for me while she’s on her travels

And then regrettably I crashed out for a while, which is no surprise after my late night.

But it wasn’t the usual kind of “crashed-out” – it was more like a cataleptic fit of some description where I’m perfectly aware of my surroundings, such as the radio playing on the computer, but I’m totally unable to move or to react to anything

It’s not the first time that I’ve had one of these either, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

This afternoon I finished my radio notes ready for dictation and then after the cleaner had left I made the dough for my next lot of naan bread and left it to fester.

Back in here I had more things to do but crashed out yet again, properly and really deeply too. I remember absolutely nothing at all of anything. I was so deeply in that I almost missed my tea.

But my leftover curry and fresh naan bread were delicious yet again, especially after I remembered to put the garlic in the naan dough. It was all cooked to absolute perfection too.

But now I think that I’ll go and have an early night. Right now, Tom Petty is telling me "I await the day
Good fortune comes our way
And we’ll ride down the King’s Highway"

But I’m going to have a pretty long wait. Having driven down the King’s Highway, along the Carolina coast, once or twice, I can’t see me ever having the possibility of doing it again.

He also says a little later " don’t want to end up
In a room all alone"

But it looks as if that’s exactly how I’m going to end up, the way these blood test results are going.

But never mind. He goes on to sing "Sometimes I get discouraged
Sometimes I feel so down
Sometimes I get so worried
And I don’t know what about
But it works out in the long run
It always goes away
I’ve come now to accept it
As a reoccurring phase"

That’s certainly true too. if something else crops up now, it’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks until I can find the time to worry about it.

Wednesday 21st February 2024 – I DON’T KNOW …

… why but I seem to have lost all of my motivation today.

It’s been rather flaky for several months, even years, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today, there it was – gone. And never called me “mother” either.

It’s not as if I didn’t have a good night either. I was in bed early, wasn’t interrupted too much, all of that kind of thing. Anyone would have thought that I’d have been ready for anything.

But at some point during the night, and I wish that I knew where it was, all of my “get up and go” must have got up and gone, leaving me behind. And so that was that.

It was an early night too. It didn’t take too long to finish everything off after I’d done my notes. And then I hauled myself off to bed, pushing STRAWBERRY MOOSE out of the way. He’s worse than a cat, monopolising everything around here.

And for once, I had a good night’s sleep and I hardly remember being awoken at all during the night. I had my musculation band around my thighs, but it’s no good if it isn’t doing the exercises. I have been hoping for dramatic results from it but if things carry on like this, it’ll be unlikely.

And who was it a couple of months ago complaining about his awful sleep?

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to fetch the blood pressure tester to see where we are. Last night was 17.7/10.2 and this morning it was 16.3/9.6, and still no-one has told me what to do to try to reduce it to this mythical figure of 14.0/9.0

Following this, I dragged myself off into the kitchen for the medication, all 10 items of it (11 or even 12 if I need them). There are 5 (and maybe 6 or even 7) to be taken at night before going to bed, and that’s not including the painkillers that I’ve been prescribed but don’t take, so when I walk around, I rattle.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m not a fan of painkillers. They’ll kill the pain for sure, and make it easier for you to move around, but how much damage are you doing to yourself by continuing to put weight on whatever is damaged and that you can’t feel it?

At least, with a pain, you know that you have to take it easy, walk rather gingerly, or find a work-around.

Back in here I listened to the dictaphone to find out what’s upon it. And there wasn’t much. Iceland was playing Scotland in a World Cup elimination match, the finals of the heats or whatever. The score had been 4-2 for Scotland in the first heat at Hampden and in the second heat the Icelanders were leading 2-0 so would qualify for the final stages on “away goals”. Then an incident occurred in the penalty area and a penalty was awarded to Scotland which they scored. Everyone looking at it later from slow motion replays couldn’t see any contact that might have led to a foul. It was up to the adjudicators to say that he’d awarded it because of contact – even though it was only slight, it was still contact. An Icelandic football player went over and punched him three times in the face. There was an inquiry and a really lengthy suspension for the Icelandic player. Even the newspapers said “you can’t do that as a football player”.

And this is all very reminiscent of the 1977 incident involving Joe Jordan and Welsh defender David Jones where Jordan clearly handled the ball in the Welsh penalty area during a World Cup qualifying match.

The referee however gave Scotland a penalty from which Scotland scored and which effectively ended Wales’s chance of qualifying for Argentina 1978 to which Scotland went.

Scotland also went to the 1990 World Cup in Rome and a few days before the start, as I was driving down the A500 towards the M6 overbridge, a double-decker bus went past overhead on its way southwards, painted dramatically overall as a blue-and-white saltire for Scotland.

Scotland’s performance at that World Cup was quite dismal and they were eliminated early. And as I was driving down the A500 towards the M6 overbridge a few days after their final match, a double-decker bus went past overhead on its way northwards, painted dramatically overall as a blue-and-white saltire for Scotland

Things had obviously not gone well.

Things didn’t go well for me today either, as I mentioned. The nurse came on time to give me my injection and to take a blood sample, and then I was left on my own for a while. I should have done plenty of work but somehow I just couldn’t make a start and I don’t know why.

We all have days like those, that’s for sure, but I seem to be having more of them than most

It was only when the cleaner arrived to clean the apartment and I had to stay in my room here that I actually pushed on and now the notes for the radio programme that I started yesterday are complete.

The aim once that was finished was to start on choosing the music for the next programme but I actually fell asleep, and not once either but twice and once in an … errr … very embarrassing place.

It reminds me of one particular time in Montreal.

Originally, I used to stay outside the city at Dorval, catch the 202 bus to the DuCollege Metro Station and then the underground into the city. It wasn’t until i became ill that I took up lodgings in the city centre.

Anyway, the problem with being in a hotel outside the city is that if I was feeling tired, I couldn’t go back to my room for a lie-down and a coffee.

However I did have certain places where I could go for a rest, but was always on the lookout for others.

One day while I was exploring the Complexe Desjardins shopping centre in the rue St Catherine, I came across the public conveniences. Now they looked clean, comfortable and tidy, and with my jacket rolled up tightly to make a good pillow, I was really comfortable riding the porcelain horse and leaning against the cubicle wall asleep.

What I hadn’t taken into account was that to deter the homeless and the layabouts like me from loitering, they arranged for an automatic flush of the toilets every 5 minutes, which was about 30 seconds after I’d gone to sleep.

That was quite embarrassing.

So being rather late for tea I was quite starving too. But it was another delicious leftover curry with vegetables, rice and a naan bread cooked to perfection and as I said last week, I’ll eat that again.

Something else that I’ve repeated about my tea … "and on many occasions too" – ed … is that the idea of using couscous as part of the filler for the stuffing has made a real difference – and a positive one at that.

So what will tomorrow bring? Gotthold Lessing tells us that "better counsel comes overnight" and I do feel better after a good, relaxing night’s sleep. But I don’t seem to be having too many of those right now. The last time that I had eight hours sleep, it took me three days to have them

In the meantime, I shall have to be just like Ernest Hemingway who said "I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake".

And doesn’t that sound just like me?

Wednesday 14th February 2024 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

… I’ll be back in Paris at the end of April, despite what I said yesterday.

There’s a heart test already arranged for 24th April, so the doctor said “we’ll make it a stay for a few days and run a pile of tests on you”. Ahh well, can’t be helped, I suppose

All that way there and back and I was only with him for about 15 minutes, and even then he spent much of the time being interrupted on the phone by other people.

At least, it’s good practice, I suppose. Especially for me having to organise myself ready to travel.

Having had a good wash yesterday I still had plenty of things to do before I could go to bed so it was rather late when I finally crawled under my covers.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then to take my blood pressure. A mere 16.6/9.5 this morning – quite a change from the 18:8/10.9 of the night before.

Once I was up I dressed and then went to make my sandwiches for lunch – nice thick slices of home-made bread that had been stored in the freezer and left to defrost overnight, and filled with cheese, hummus, lettuce and tomato with garlic mayonnaise.

The taxi driver was someone who had run me round to the Centre de Re-education once so I knew her. We had a very interesting chat during which I learnt that she is on good terms with one of the guys off the radio. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" … – ed, the World is becoming far too small for my liking.

She’s not been taxi-driving long so she didn’t know the way very well, but I helped as well as I could and we arrived at the reception desk bang on time. And then I was called for the interview.

When I’d been there last time his office was right at the far end of the corridor and round the corner so I went to sit there. Today, his office was right next to the reception desk so he had to come to find me.
"Walk this way" he said, beckoning me in his direction
"If I could walk that way" I thought to myself "I wouldn’t be in this flaming hospital having this blasted treatment in the first place"

He went through all of my results with me, and everything seems to be an improvement (that’s not how it looks to me, but never mind) so he’s pleased with the progress of his cocktail of medication.

He thinks that an in-depth examination will be called for after a few weeks, and so he reckons transforming this day visit into a hospitalisation for several days.

One of the things that he suggested was another lumbar puncture – and I went cold at the thought.

As for all of my detailed and comprehensive notes about my blood pressure, he scarcely gave them a glance. So much for those then, I suppose.

Finding a nice quiet corner I ate my butties, went for a visit down the corridor and then found my taxi driver, and we set off for home.

Shame as it is to say it, I slept almost all of the way back and I’ve no idea why. But both the outward and the return journey were the most trouble-free that I have ever had. The traffic was slow-moving on the Prif but we weren’t ever held up, either on the outward or the return journey.

My cleaner was waiting for me when we arrived. She’d volunteered to help me up the stairs but strangely, I didn’t need it today. I could climb up all 25 steps without any help. So maybe there really IS progress after all. I must admit that last night, for the first time since my bad fall, I’d felt well enough to restart my musculation process with my elastic strap around my legs.

Back in the apartment I made myself a nice mug of boiling hot chocolate and then came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were tons of them. No wonder I was tired. I’d travelled miles during the night.

We were managing a rock group last night. The drummer in this group was only very young but was a prodigy, extremely good at his job so one of the other teams in the league decided that they wanted to sign him. I said that he’d only go if they made a ridiculous offer and we had another drummer to replace him. My team in the transfer window arranged a few more transfers in, a defender, an attacker and one player whom I didn’t know. I didn’t recognise his name so I wondered where he came from and what he did, thinking that he might be a replacement drummer to replace the one whom we were about to lose but it wasn’t. In fact he was another outfield player. So I explained to the club that it doesn’t matter how much money they offer, they can offer as much as you like but if he’s still under contract with us and we don’t have a replacement then he can’t leave for another club.

And that really does make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Mr Teale, our geography teacher at school was telling our class about the Midwest USA. He was talking briefly about the Oregon and California Trail that they took. So when he finished I told him about the time that I’d visited there and seen it. I had my photos that I showed everyone. I mentioned the big baskets at the top of the hill where the descent into California starts, where back in the past they went through and found all old bits of wood lying along the trail. They picked them up and stuck them in this basket. It’s extremely likely that much of the wood in there comes from these crashed Pioneer wagons that failed to make the descent correctly and came to grief somewhere along there on towards the end of the trail on this downhill slope

Regular readers of this rubbish in another format will recall that we have spent a considerable time on the Oregon and California Trail. in 2002 I went to see the famous trail ruts and Register Cliff IN GUERNSEY, WYOMINGand then went back there IN 2019, and one day I’ll finish editing the … gulp! … 6,000 photos from my famous trip

Then I put some knock-out drops into the air when our Geography teacher and one of the other teachers were talking about the summit of the Oregon and California Trail. I’d been there of course and knew all about it but it seemed appropriate for the class to have a break and go to sleep so that the rest of the room could occupy ourselves for a bit

As for the summit of the trail, it’s not easy to know what is meant by it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been TO SOUTH PASS which is the watershed, where rivers to the east drain either into the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, and to the west where rivers drain into the Pacific, so I suppose that that might be described as the summit.

However you’ll never lose a wagon down the descent there. Edwin Bryant, in his book WHAT I SAW IN CALIFORNIA described the slope either side as being so gentle that you’d hardly know that it was there, and that was my opinion too.

I also started later on talking about my Will, where I was going to leave money and to who. Actually finding it is a bit of a struggle but it was above the treeline on the route that these Oregon Trails took. But I found it sure enough and opened it to read. It’s different from the one that I have at home. My property will just be left to my heritee whoever that will be, with no mention of sorting it out amongst the people who ought to benefit so I hope that other people will understand, if they find this document, exactly what I want to do. I’ll have other ideas but I probably won’t get them down

That’s something that I really need to do – to write my will. It will be pretty straightforward and simple, and won’t take long. But that won’t be the end of the story because there will be a lot of work to be done in its respect and also in the respect of carrying out my wishes.

Apart from a few bits and pieces, it’s all going to be dropped into the lap of one person, and that person will certainly earn their share of the inheritance at the end of it. Mind you, they’ll deserve it

So who will that person be? The answer is that even though there’s a lot of ground between us, there’s really only one person honest and reliable enough in my entourage upon whom I could in theory rely.

And if that person doesn’t carry out my wishes? Well, there’s not much I can do about it, except to come back and haunt them, rather like the two gay ghosts who really gave each other the willies one night.

But that reminds me of Liz (not “this Liz” but “that Liz” who died in 2009) going in for a serious operation, and writing down a list of names
"Is this the list of people you want us to tell how it went, mum?" asked Kathryn?
"No, dear" replied Liz. "This is the list of people whom I’m going to come back and haunt if it all goes wrong".

Liz would have known about all of this, though. Having served on many University committees she’s had plenty of experience of holding hands sitting around a table and trying to contact the living.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed – as I said … "when?" – ed … but didn’t record, the people making this programme … "which programme?" – ed … presented her … "who?" – ed … with a teddy bear afterwards as a kind of memento of a trip that she’d made. Of course no-one from that voyage is with us these days except of course the teddy bear. That’s the only survivor of that first 1840s voyage across from East to West

That looks like an awful mess, doesn’t it? It looks as if it’s related to the Oregon and California Trail, but what’s the rest of it all about?

And then I was back at my little house in Winsford as well last night, wondering how things would have been if I’d actually stayed in Winsford and not taken the opportunity to move to Gainsborough Road in Crewe.

That’s a really good question. I quite liked my little house in Winsford but for some reason I felt really uncomfortable there.

Nevertheless, even though it was a Barratt House, I won’t ever hear a bad word against them as they helped me onto the property ladder. I went in three years from living in a van to owning (with a mortgage of course) a brand-new semi-detached house and I wouldn’t ever have done it without them.

While I was writing out my dictaphone notes I fell asleep again. It’s one of those days, I reckon, so in the end I went and made my leftover curry. It was delicious and the naan bread was cooked to absolute perfection. I’d eat all of this again and again if I could.

But now I’m off to bed. And I go, as Joachim du Bellay said, "heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage" “happy is he who like Ulysses has had a good journey”.

What I’ll be hoping is for more pleasant dreams like I used to have when TOTGA, Castor and Zero used to come to see me. It’s all very well giving me medication that has a side-effect of blanking them all out but as Tennessee Williams said, "If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels"

Monday 7th February 2024 – THERE WAS NOTHING …

… at all on the dictaphone from last night. And it’s been a while since that happened.

And it wasn’t because I’d had a really good night’s sleep either. In fact quite the reverse. I don’t think that I slept for more than 5 minutes.

It wasn’t one of those nights where I lay tossing and turning for most of it but in fact there was all kinds of things going on in my brain – such as it is – and there were all kinds of images and things flashing up behind my closed eyelids.

It really was quite an extraordinary situation and I’ve never known anything like it. There was no point in grabbing the dictaphone to record anything because it was all happening so quickly.

But anyway, it was rather a waste of the nice clean bedding if I wasn’t going to enjoy and make the most of it.

So when the alarm went off I fell out of bed again, totally dead to the world, and went to take my blood pressure. 18.3/9.5, compared to 18.8/10.8 at bedtime last night.

Having done that I went off to take my medication, all of it, and then came back in here.

With no dictaphone notes to transcribe I tried my best to stay awake. It’s Yoan’s turn to come round to inject me with the Last Resort and to take my blood sample and last time that he came, he found me stark out.

He had the usual battle to find a vein and then wandered off, leaving me to it.

And so today I’ve been alternating between working and fighting off waves of sleep, probably more of the latter, but not too successfully either.

Anyway, I’ve finished off the notes for the radio programme that I started on Monday, and then I’ve been tracking down music for the next one.

That one is going to be much more complicated and I didn’t have half of the music that I needed. Knowing that I didn’t have it was one thing and tracking it all down was something else completely.

And when I’d done it I had to work out a way to download it and then to convert it all to the correct format. It took me an age, especially as I was half-asleep for much of the time.

Eventually though I had all of the music that I needed and it’s all paired off ready for me to write the notes for it over the next few days

The cleaner came round today and decided to clean one of the shelves in the kitchen because she found a few stains. It appears that a can of fruit has burst somehow and the syrup has been leaking out making a mess everywhere.

But cleaning the shelves is one thing, putting all the stuff back is another, and then me looking for stuff and trying to find it later is something completely different again.

One thing that I learnt at a very early age was never to put anything away in someone else’s garage or kitchen.

When I’m at my niece’s in Canada I’ll happily wash up and dry the dishes but I won’t put the stuff away. You do that and you put it in what you think is the correct place but it isn’t and they can never find it again.

Yes, in the past I’ve spent hours looking for stuff that people have helpfully put away for me. Mind you, I’ve spent hours looking for stuff that I’ve also put away, so there’s no real difference.

The blood test results are in. Having stopped the anti-potassium stuff the potassium is now back above the upper limit.

As far as the rest of the measurements go, while the blood count is holding up for now with this “last resort” injection, the platelets count is now falling well below the acceptable limit and my carcinogenic protein, which should be less than 104.0 is now at 240.5 . The “active” part, that should be less than 11.8 is now at 27.2.

So I told me cleaner to stand by tomorrow for a new prescription changing more things round, or even giving me yet more medicine.

Tea tonight was a delicious, really delicious left-over curry with soya yoghurt and a naan bread. It really doesn’t get much better than that, honestly

As well as that I’ve had the guitars out – the bass as well as the acoustic. I’ve been listening to Al Stewart again and having a play around with a couple of his numbers.

We all know about ZERO SHE FLIES, to whom it relates, this “girl, she’s almost a woman” and the man “from the mountains watching her, biding his time”.

That’s a lovely track to play on the acoustic guitar and the bass line is really good too, if only I could get it right. The lyrics are really nice to sing but I can’t sing them and play bass at the same time – as yet.

Another track that I’ve been playing is MODERN TIMES.

Many of Al Stewart’s songs talk about the pain of growing up, of your teenage years, and we can all relate to them to a certain degree. “Modern Times” is a fantastic song for people like me desperate to cling on to whatever bit of youth they have left, and how our teenage friends have grown up quite differently to how we would have liked them to be

It’s probably the greatest song of its type, not to mention the lead guitar solo at the end of it.

It’s a song that I could play, either on the acoustic or on the bass, all night.

But not tonight because I’ve already crashed out once this evening after tea while I’ve been typing these notes. I’m going to bed and hope for better luck tonight with my nocturnal voyages.

But I have to laugh at some of the lyrics in “Modern Times”, where
"the red light girls were coming after me
For a forty dollar show"

Not long after I moved to Brussels one of my friends with his coach contacted me. There was a problem with it and he needed help.

In the middle of winter so I was dressed in my overalls and all kinds of woolly clothes of all shapes and descriptions to keep warm while I went down to help him change his starter motor.

Being underneath a coach for half an hour I was covered in oil from head to foot as we did it, and was in a right state when I set out to walk home.

And as I went underneath the arches at the Gare du Nord, a “lady of the night” emerged from the shadows and said to me, plastered in old engine oil and in dirty, filthy old clothes, "hello, sexy lover boy"

Despite knowing Brussels like the back of my hand, I hadn’t realised until then that the “ladies of the night” of the city all suffered from a visual impairment.

Wednesday 31st January 2024 – AS I SAID …

… yesterday … "and on many other occasions too" – ed … it’s the yoghurt – especially the soya yoghurt – that makes all the difference between a good curry and a really good curry.

So thanks to my long-suffering cleaner who raided the shops yesterday I had an absolutely wonderful leftover curry for tea tonight

The naan bread was cooked to perfection too so I had a wonderful meal and I just wish that there had been more of it

But in case you are thinking of going to emulate it (you should have done that beforehand but not while the train is standing in the station) you don’t actually cook the yoghurt. Just add it in right near the end of the cooking and stir it well in.

And then with a bit of luck you’ll have a curry that’s as good as mine.

Wouldn’t it be nice though if I could have a sleep as good as that though?

What might help would be if I actually went to bed at the proper time instead of being waylaid and distracted by other events. Going to bed after midnight and letting it all hang out when I have to be up at 07:00 is not doing me much good at all.

Especially as I have my nocturnal rambles with which to deal.

It didn’t tale long to start a-rambling last night. A mere 20 minutes from going to bed in fact. I’d just come back after being away for ages so I was looking for a job. Someone said that there was a job going in their department, in the accounts department of a big company. They gave me the details of how to go. When I arrived I found that they were also recruiting for a musician or someone with musical abilities. I happened to notice the person for that so I spoke to him about it. Then I went and this person brought out the application forms for me but said that the woman who was interviewing was actually free at the moment and would I like to go in? I went in and went upstairs and there she was, busy showing a couple of people around, one girl whom I knew and a couple of youngish girls. They were apparently taking an exam and so was going to invigilate while she was working. She had to have these young girls settled. She mentioned something about there being an extra place so I mentioned my friend the musician. It was an interesting situation but somehow I didn’t manage to speak to her. She was far too busy doing this kind of thing.

Later on I found myself at the hospital being treated for one of my regular visits. I had to go to another hospital so they had to help me down all the stairs into the basement where the vehicles pulled up where I could climb into another vehicle that would take me off to the second hospital. I was struggling down the stairs. She was asking questions about my blood pressure, my medicaments etc, all this kind of thing. I answered honestly that occasionally I had a great deal of problems to go downstairs etc so she asked me would it not be better to go to either Caen or Rennes for my treatment instead of coming to Paris. I replied that certainly going to Caen or Rennes would be a lot less stressful for me. Looking at my blood pressure figures I could do with a lot less stress in my life.

And that’s certainly true too. The figures for last night and this morning were 18.1/10.7 and 17.7/10.7. It’s not me having a heart attack though, it’s the hospital

But seriously, when I go back for my report on 14th February I can see that being offered to me, a change of hospital. And I’ll probably accept it too. It must be costing the Social Security a fortune to send me to Paris and sooner or later they’ll become fed up of paying.

Later still, there I was in hospital going through my e-mails and I’d been swamped with stuff from the hospital. Apparently I wasn’t the only one because someone else in the ward was complaining about it too. In the end one of the people caring for the ward turned round to the person in charge and asked “is it OK if she who is responsible for deleting all these messages?”. “Yes,” he replied. “That’s OK” with the obvious inference that the Moderator of whatever group this messages came from at this moment was a woman. That was probably something extremely surprising given the nature of the forum. Anyway he announced that other people could delete these messages if they really liked so everyone else got on with the job

So no nice young ladies of any description last night to sooth my fevered brow. If that’s not a real disappointment I don’t know what is

So when the alarm went off this morning I fell out of bed and took my blood pressure, and then went off to the bathroom to wash my shorts.

Since I had to call my cleaner to my bedside the other night I’ve taken to wearing something in bed just in case it happens again. I don’t want to give her a heart attack now, do I?

Then it was off to the kitchen for my morning cocktail of medication and that ghastly anti-potassium stuff.

The nurse came round a little later. It was Isabelle today and at least I was awake when she called – not like last week with Yoan where I was dead to the World.

She was telling me that this year there are 42 official floats for Carnaval, and probably twice that number of unofficial ones.

Granville is, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, home to one of Europe’s largest carnivals. It’s certainly the biggest in France and it’s taking place next weekend.

It’s all quite satirical and takes the mickey out of all kinds of officialdom. My nurse’s float is complaining about all of the concreting that’s taking place in the green spaces of the town and they’ll all be dressed as elves apparently.

So she took a blood sample – painlessly and with no effort – injected me with another Injection of Last Resort and then cleared off.

Once she’d gone I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes.

Having finished that I stopped for coffee and bread pudding, and then started work.

And by the time that I’d finished I’d chosen all of the music for my Hawkfest, paired it off and written the notes. I’ve also a good idea what the missing track will be and I’ve written well over half of the speech for that.

It’s quite handy knowing how long everything will be. I’ve worked out that the way that I dictate, 300 characters of text is equal to 17 seconds of speech so that gives me a rough idea of how things are going.

Mind you, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have had some spectacular failures in the past, mainly because I’m rubbish at maths

Now that the Centre de Re-education is finished, my cleaner came round today and began to shovel out the … errr … rubbish. This place was in a real mess.

It’s not that I’ve deliberately let it end up like it was but I don’t have any option because I can’t physically do things myself. I really am a wreck these days, you wouldn’t believe. All the people who saw me over the summer and early autumn will be horrified to see me now.

Tea tonight was, as I said, a leftover curry and it really was one of these absolutely delicious ones. It needed to be lengthened because there wasn’t enough but a couple of tiny potatoes did the trick there

So having crashed out once tonight typing out my notes (yes, only once for all day too! I must be improving!) I’ll clear off to bed, I reckon.

Tomorrow I’ll start chasing up stuff for the first Isle of Wight festival. That took place in 1968 and was nothing at all as big as what happened in subsequent years.

There were plenty of obscure bands that played there and they have taken some tracking down. Tracking down their music will be harder still.

But I’m not going to do it now. I’m going to bed. And with my day planned for me with this Isle of Wight business, who will come along and interrupt me?

The hospital has already rung me twice. Could I change Medicament X for Medicament Y if we send you a prescription.

That was before they had the blood test results too, so once they see them and absorb the contents I can expect further phone calls and e-mails, and my long-suffering cleaner will be wearing a path on the pavement down to the Chemist’s.

How long is it going to last? That’s the question. The prescription says “6 months” but I bet that it’ll be renewed after that too.

But I don’t understand it. They rush me to hospital and give me a blood transfusion, and then spend the next 6 months taking it all back out again. It doesn’t seem logical to me.

But at least there’s a nurse who comes to the apartment to do it. When I lived in the UK there was no such thing as that and you had to stagger down to the local hospital yourself.

On one occasion I couldn’t make it there so they told me "don’t worry. If you can’t make it to the hospital today we’ll send our vampire round tonight and he’ll take a sample"

Wednesday 24th January 2024 – SO THAT’S MY …

… cure at the Centre de Re-education over.

And it went out not with a bang but a whimper or, for those of you of my age who are old enough to remember the film HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH, “not with a bang but with a Wimpy”.

And whatever did happen to the Wimpy Bars of our adolescence? We used to Zoom along to Wimpy quite regularly, and sometimes even used to Woom along to Zimpy.

But anyway, my cure at the Centre de Re-education ended as it did because quite simply, I didn’t go.

It beats me how people are totally unable to follow simple instructions. I told them right at the very beginning of all of this that I can’t go in the mornings. and so I hadn’t noticed that today’s final sessions were arranged for this morning.

So where was I this morning at 10:00 when I should have been climbing into a taxi? The answer is that I was curled up on my chair here, totally dead to the world.

If there’s a deeper sleep that the one that I had on my chair this morning, I’d love to have it. There were two unanswered phone calls on my telephone, which must have been the taxi driver trying to contact me I suppose.

But could you imagine anyone, never mind me, sleeping through the strident tones of the late, great Micky Jones, Deke Leonard and the legendary John Cipollina as they bash out 7171-551 which, starting at 01:11, is the ring tone on my phone.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, which I’m sure you are, the song title is actually the old ‘phone number of Monkee Mike Nesmith, someone whose other claim to fame is that his mother invented Tippex (and I’m sure that you think that I’m making that up).

Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

There can’t be too many people who, knowing that they can only sleep comfortably in one position during the night because of problems with the right leg, arrange to have a Holter machine fitted in a position that actually prevents them from sleeping in it.

Consequently it was another long, dreary painful night watching my fitbit go on, and on, and on, and on.

At some point though I must have gone to sleep because there was something on the dictaphone. This was another long, rambling dream; but I was with a girl who was rather young. We were together and hanging around with a lot of people on the music scene etc. I was keeping a very close eye on her to make sure that she wasn’t led astray, except by me of course, but that’s another story, one that you’d all have to pay good money to hear. This went on and on and on. One night we all had to go home. I had that much stuff that it was all bagged and crated. When we finally turned up at this girl’s house her mother must have begun to unpack it while I was asleep. Right at the bottom on the floor she found 7 or 8 tablets. Of course they were medicine tablets from the medication that I take but she was quite horrified. She stormed into my room with this chariot thing and shouted my name. She shouted it so loudly that I immediately sat up (for real, not in a dream) and began to look round for her thinking that she was actually real and she had actually come into my room

So I’ve no idea who it was who shouted me, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it’s not by any means the first time that that has happened.

And so I was wide awake waiting for the alarm to go off at 06:15.

As soon as it sounded I leapt out of bed and tore off the Holter machine and put it in a bag for the driver who came at 06:30 on the dot. It was someone whom I’ve met before.

Once he’d cleared off I had my medication, including the dreaded anti-potassium stuff and awoke to find the nurse shaking me. He’d knocked on the door, had no answer, come in and shouted and still no reply and in his own words, "I was worried".

What finally awoke me was the front door bell, at 10:38 precisely. And it’s a good job that hadn’t gone to the Centre de Re-education because I’d forgotten that I’d sent off an order to Leclerc. I would have been in a right pickle if I’d gone off while that was on its way.

So after she left I spent a happy hour and a half cleaning, dicing and blanching 2kg of carrots ready for freezing, followed by a broccoli.

Sitting in the fridge, even as we speak, is a bottle of carrot and broccoli water and a set of broccoli stalks, all ready for Saturday morning and another broccoli stalk soup.

My cleaner came by and was surprised to find me at home and not out at the Centre de Re-education so she came back and began to clean it. And not having been done for several weeks, it really needed it too.

However, seeing as my condition is worsening by the minute we agreed that she would come on twice a week starting at the beginning of February, one hour to do as she is doing now, and another hour to start a programme of proper deep cleaning, like the windows and so on..

That will certainly do me some good.. It might even start to look as if someone is living here again.

Tea tonight was a beautiful left-over curry with naan bread, and tomorrow I will be having vegan pie with broccoli – for the simple reason that the freezer is now full to the brim once more and needs emptying of some of the big stuff that takes up space.

With carrots peas, mashed potato and gravy of course. It will, I hope, be simply delicious. Then there will be just two slices left, one for my birthday and a second for some other special occasion, although I’m not sure what that might be.

But right now I’m off to bed, to sleep I hope and if I’m lucky, to dream.

"Never Underestimate the Power of Dreams and the Influence of the Human Spirit" said Wilma Rudolph, who overcame polio to win a bagful of medals at the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games.

To be honest, I’m not sure what influence my dreams have over my spirit but they keep me rolling along when these days I can’t even walk. I just hope that they keep on coming because as I have said before… "and on many occasions too" – ed … I have far more excitement in them than I am having locked in my little prison right now.

Wednesday 13th December 2023 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what Severine did today that was different than usual but the climb back up the stairs this afternoon after my session at the Centre de Re-education was one of the easiest that I’ve had for a few weeks.

And that was a surprise too after what went on yesterday because last night when I went to bed I had the feeling that I’d probably need to be carried up the stairs.

A good sleep during the night probably helped. I’d had a really good session on the guitar before I went to bed, earlier than usual, and judging by the timestamp on the first of the sound files on the dictaphone, I was in a deep sleep quite quickly.

But I enjoyed the hour or so on the guitar. I was trying to work out THE BOYS OF SUMMER.

It’s a track that first came into my head years ago when I was walking up and down a deserted beach on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, where I went for the Millennium. I found an almost-deserted motel, stayed there for a week and had one of the best times of my life.

TOTGA had just been divorced and was left alone with a young son. On a whim, I asked her if they’d like to come with me.

"Where would we stay?" she asked.
"Oh, I dunno" I replied. "We’ll just drift around until we find somewhere nice".
"I’m not really sure that I could really spare the time" she answered.

A few years later we had a chat and she said "you know, if you had had some accommodation booked, I’d have come with you that time" and that was when I realised just what a lucky escape she’d had.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t do pre-booking of accommodation and things like that. Drifting around is my way of life. Anyone whose Idea of a holiday is pre-booking somewhere and staying on a beach or something would have had a nervous breakdown after a week with me.

Regular readers of this rubbish will probably recall 2015 when I spent every single night (except for one) “sleeping out” in Labrador and Upper Québec with howling timber wolves keeping me awake, animals scratching at Strider’s truck cap trying to get into the sleeping bag with me, battling with snowdrifts in September and all of that.

No, as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … TOTGA did well to slip through my evil clutches.

The irony is that she doesn’t remember those conversations now and even denies that they took place. But they are firmly imprinted in my mind

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … guitar, THE BOYS OF SUMMER took on a new significance many years later.
"I never will forget those nights, I wonder if it was a dream"
and
"A little voice inside my head said don’t look back, you can never look back."
"Those days are gone forever, I should just let ’em go"

Mind you, at that time, there were a great many little voices inside my head saying all kinds of things. And did I listen?

There’s no fool like an old fool, and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

When the alarm went off this morning I was already up and about. I’d been up for well over an hour, in fact, and I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes too. Mind you, there weren’t so many of those during the night. I must have had something of a decent sleep for once. There was a European Cup football match taking place between a club from the UK and a team from somewhere way out east, possibly one of the former Soviet republics. The match was played in the UK so of course there were very few away fans there at all. The away end was empty. Half-way through the second half 4 or 5 away fans went to stand in the away end with a drum and a flag etc to a huge cheer from everyone else in the crowd. It was a really warm cheer of encouragement too to see the people who had come from so far away.

And then I was going off on a taxi job last night. I was at home and everyone was hanging around as usual. There were bits of money all over the place. I thought “this is no way to run a particular business”. With the job to do at 13:45, at 13:30 I went out to the car. Someone from out of the house followed me out. He tapped me on the shoulder and caught me unawares. I swung round but I had a big plastic bag of books in my hand too at the time and swinging round caught me off-balance and I almost ended up flat on my back doing this. A voice from inside the house said something like “don’t forget – you can leave this job until some other time later on” but I thought that the quicker I do the job the quicker it’s done and the quicker it’s finished.

This morning I had a lot of work to do, including some hardware maintenance on the big desktop computer and that took much longer than it ought to.

My cleaner came round as well after her visit into town and brought me the medication that I’d been prescribed. Some of it wasn’t available and so it’ll be here tomorrow, I hope.

In the bathroom I had a really good scrub up and set off a load of washing in the washing machine so that it would be ready for when I came back from the Centre de Re-education.

The car came for me and dropped me off there. First I had a group relaxation session which didn’t do all that much. Would I like to use the weights or the exercise balls? So I replied “the weights” and she gave me a ball. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Severine poked and prodded me about for half an hour and then I had to go to wait for my ride home. While I was waiting, I fell asleep with my 2 crutches on my lap, and after a couple of minutes I dropped one, which awoke everyone else.

Back here, I had my hot chocolate and biscuits (and I’ll have to make more biscuits on Sunday), hung up the washing and then finished off the radio notes

Tea tonight was a leftover curry with naan bread, cooked properly this time, and if I don’t fall asleep again I’ll dictate the radio notes before going to bed. I’m back at the Centre de Re-education tomorrow afternoon but if I’m lucky I’ll find time to prepare a programme.

And that reminds me – I’ve forgotten so send off the programme for this weekend. I really must do that first thing tomorrow or I’ll really be in the doghouse. Not that I’m not in it already, of course.

Wednesday 6th December 2023 – THEY AREN’T LETTING …

… the grass grow under my feet.

It was only on Friday that I was at the hospital in Paris when they told me that they need to be sure that my heart can withstand the shock of this new medicine that they think might work.

This afternoon I had a mail from the hospital – “you are summoned to attend the cardiac unit for an echograph at 09:15 in the forenoon on Tuesday 19th December”.

So that means leaving here at about 04:30 and arriving at Paris bang in the middle of the morning rush hour. And how much am I not looking forward to that?

But it least it goes to show that I’m in good hands and people are taking an interest in my case. I wouldn’t have this service in many other places.

So I’ve had to dash off a letter to my doctor to ask for a bon de transport and hope that the Social Services agree to pay for it. While I was at it I wrote and asked for another prescription as I’m running short of medication.

That’s all now in the handbag of my cleaner who will drop it off at the medical centre on her way to her clients in town in the morning.

It seems that early mornings are going to become a regular feature, and not just when I go to Paris either. Once again, when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was half-way through editing the radio notes that I’d dictated before I went to bed. I’d been up since 05:10 this morning.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I started off with one of these North American road-movie type films with a couple of teenage girls sitting on some kind of embankment overlooking a motorway watching a big American articulated lorry come down a slip road onto the motorway. In front of them was some kind of large panel van. It came onto the motorway first and drifted right away across the lanes into what was effectively then the outside lane nearest the central reservation before heading off again. One thing that was interesting about this was that everyone was driving on the left.

Later on we had something about a wild dog. It was much more than a wild dog, terrorising a neighbourhood somewhere in the USA attacking just about everyone who went close to it and making a right mess of them, killing most of them. On one occasion it cornered a young woman. It had an object in its paw like a pillow and was continually hitting this woman who was trying to escape. It was gradually weakening her until she began to sag onto the floor and the wild beast was ready to leap on top of her and presumably tear out her throat.

And then I was in North America looking for some fermented human juice with which to make my evil Christmas pudding. In the end I established myself in some kind of corridor where I’d attack people who were walking along it and absorb them into the floor as they panicked etc. I’d have some kind of apparatus like a giant hypodermic with which I’d suck the life-blood out of the humans whom I was attacking. That was what I’d be adding to my Christmas cake.

As you can see, I’m back in the nightmares again. But then, I’ve had much worse than these in the past but I choose not to type them out. One or two that I’ve had at times have been so disturbing that I couldn’t even bring myself to dictate them

Caliburn and I had been out on an expedition somewhere in South-West UK. We’d met a guy and been talking to him for a while and then we’d set off along the road. Then he phoned me back to say that he had something else to say. We tried to find a place to perform a U-turn. In the end we’d drifted off the main road somehow and ended up on what basically was a farm track across the fields. It suddenly turned into the steepest road that I’d ever encountered. When we reached the top I could see railway lines that were all covered in weeds and overgrown. It seemed that I’d climbed up the end of a demolished railway viaduct that crossed over the river. While I was stopped, taking a photo of the rails, 2 guys went past on motor bikes. We said a couple of words . They told me that I was somewhere near Wells. Then I set off to go back to the guy’s house but ended up driving over a green field. I thought “I don’t remember this way at all”. As I looked closely the track that I was following did a U-turn and came back down the side of the hill about 100 yards from where I was. I thought to myself that I was completely and utterly lost at the moment. I’ve no idea where I am right now, I’ve no map or anything. I’m stuck in the middle of all these green fields without a clue of where I am.

Apart from the fact that the scenery was green, the landscape of all of this was very similar to the recurring dream that I had on several occasions about the mountain pass in the snow.

Then I had a girl with me. It might have been Cécile. We’d been out for a drive somewhere in Caliburn and stopped in a lay-by at the side of the road. Once again, Caliburn this time was a right-hand drive vehicle. From a flask she poured me a mug of coffee which I sat and began to drink but I began to tidy up a few things (so it must have been a dream, me tidying up). There were loads of elastic straps just lying all over the place so I was tying then to attachments and coiling them up. She was eating a cheeseburger (and as if Cécile would ever have eaten a cheeseburger. When we first began to chat to each other at the Anglo-French Group in the Combrailles it was to exchange vegan recipes). While I was busy sorting this out we were having a little chat. Then we decided that we’d go. I can’t remember exactly what happened after that because I awoke quite suddenly but I know that there was a couple of younger girls walking past who were involved in this dream somewhere.

Finally I’d been away camping for a few days and was absolutely filthy. I don’t know why. I hadn’t washed for several days. I made it back home and Zero was there with her parents (so welcome back, Zero!). The first thing that I did was to go to the bathroom for a really good wash. Zero came in and brought a small portable TV with her. She was watching some kind of programme. While I was washing I was talking to her but she replied in grunts and monosyllables as if she wasn’t really taking much notice. We talked about the journey back and how in Cheadle I’d been stuck behind a row of PMT buses. Her father said “there won’t be any of them soon, and they won’t be red. All of PMT’s operations outside the core area of Stoke on Trent are being withdrawn. They are having to bring in taxis etc to cover the trips. I explained that that was probably why I’d seen a couple of strange buses wandering around there looking as if they were doing things but certainly weren’t part of the PMT fleet. The we began to talk about chip shops. I told him that there were 2 chip shops that had been the first in the UK to stop selling fish and chips at a fixed price. One was down Longton way which was where we were at that particular moment. The other was up in Burslem. After I’d finished washing I tuned in Zero’s TV for her which was slightly off its station and went back into the living room where I told everyone quite happily that I was so pleased to be clean – the first time for several days.

And then I made a start on the radio notes. The dictation was slightly better than just recently but I had tied myself up in knots in a few places and it took some entangling. With the final track and the notes, I ended up 10 seconds over but that was edited down quite easily. I always include in my speeches quite a lot of stuff that isn’t really vitally important and I can cut it out as I go along, if necessary.

Once I’d finished that I finished off the notes for the photos that I’d taken when I arrived in Montréal and those three days are now completely on line. If you START HERE and go forward for the next couple of days.

The car came early for me today, and I wasn’t ready, due to things that, no matter how rich and famous you might be, you can’t get anyone else to do on your behalf.

At the Centre de Re-education the first session was at the tapis roulant – the rolling carpet. Apart from walking as it rolled away underneath me and being given advice about how I’m carrying myself, there were two other tasks, both of them rather like computer games.

One was to catch a thrown paper ball in a waste basket. But you move the basket by adjusting the balance of your weight by using your feet. The farther to the extremes the paper ball is thrown, the harder you have to press with the appropriate foot. Extreme right was pretty impossible for me.

The second one was like a 1970s Space Invaders game but once again you control the paddle with your feet. Again, the extremes were difficult

In Ergotherapy the therapist ran me through a few tests (one or two of which I failed miserably) and then showed me a way of getting in and out of bed more comfortably. She’s going to come here one morning next week to inspect my apartment and suggest ways that I could improve my life.

Here’s hoping that she gives me advice about getting in and out of the shower.

Severine ran me through my paces afterwards. She noticed that I didn’t have the same improved force that I had yesterday and that was borne out by how I climbed back up the stairs to here afterwards.

She seems to think that the tapis roulant took too much out of me, and that might explain why it always seems to be more difficult to climb back up after I’ve been shopping.

Back here I had my hot chocolate and biscuits, sorted out the letter to the doctor and then regrettably fell asleep for a while, which was no surprise.

Tea was a delicious leftover curry but I lost concentration at one point and the naan bread ended up being overdone. Still, you can’t win a coconut every time.

Then I checked the mails and messages again. A big thank-you to Sean and Liz for sending me some useful tips abour marzipanning and icing. Every tip that I can receive will come in useful

Tomorrow morning I might have a relax ready for the Centre de Re-education tomorrow afternoon. I’m expecting a parcel delivery and that will need checking.

The cheap kitchen scales that I have eats batteries like they are going out of fashion and it’s very inconvenient. I’ve found one on line that has a built in 5-volt battery. 5 volts equals USB connection of course and that should hopefully work much better.

Adding 120 grammes of sugar to something, having a battery go flat at 90 grammes, hunting around for a new CR2032 battery and then forgetting how much sugar I’ve already put in is no way to run a chemical operation.

Alison has a beautiful set of Olde-Worlde analogue scales but they aren’t really practical.

The new scales will come in handy at the weekend when I have the pizza dough and more fruit buns to make, along with marzipanning and icing the cake.

What with the scales and my new FOOD PROCESSOR I’m definitely going up in the world. But if I can’t go out anywhere and can’t do anything outside, I may as well find a new hobby.

The right equipment will help of course, and then I can always eat the fruits of my labours.

Wednesday 29th November 2023 – TONIGHT’S LEFTOVER CURRY …

… was the best that I’ve ever made. And I’m not sure why because there were just the usual ingredients in it and nothing else.

Mind you, having said that, the garlic naan was one of the best too. So all that I can think of is that the soya yoghurt with which I made it is different from the usual type, and that might account for it.

The naan bread was rather flat though, but as I mentioned the other day, I made the dough the wrong size and that will probably account for that. If it’s less dough, it’ll be less thick in the frying pan

Anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, I almost went to bed without dictating the radio notes last night. It was very much a last-minute thing and I ended up going to bed considerably later than planned

And there’s something going on that I can’t explain and which I noticed the last time I dictated the radio notes that even with the text right before my very eyes, I ended up once more making a total pig’s ear of it. I seem to be losing the ability to read out loud right now

When the alarm went off I was out of bed fairly quickly and staggered off into the dining area for my medication.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. I was working on a 3D project last night, having to track down various poses that I needed to create for part of it. Someone had sent me a link so I was busy looking through these poses to find out which ones would be the best to incorporate that I could amend easily to give the effect that I wanted. All of this became some kind of confusion between what was going on with this project and what was going on in real life during the dream. The outlines became rather blurred about it. At one point there was a report that someone had reported one of my posts on the subject to a moderator but I couldn’t think of what it was that I’d posted that could possibly be contentious no matter how much I racked my brains. In the end I still hadn’t finished this project at all. I was a long way from the end.

And later on a new factory had opened. I’d obtained a job there in technology so I went along to start. The very first task was that the company had a fleet of old lorries and the idea was to fill in the seams with resin and put plastic beading in to prevent them from rusting. This was something that I’d never done before so I wasn’t very quick. The guy supervising was having something of a moan. I was doing the best that I could but I thought to myself “well it can only get better than this”. We carried on doing jobs like this. I ended up talking to another new recruit doing a similar kind of job to me. We talked about our home life and the usual things you’d discuss at work. All of a sudden I noticed that everyone was disappearing from the floor so I followed them. It was break-time and there was a canteen but the food in there was astonishing. It was like a wedding buffet. Of course there was coffee etc but there were cakes, pastries, sandwiches, cheese, etc. I thought to myself that I’d never seen anything at all like this in a factory or office setting. I was thinking of all the people whom I knew who would really like to be there and how much weight would I put on after having worked here for a couple of weeks with all of this.

While I was checking my mails I had a listen to the radio programme that will be broadcast this coming weekend, and then sent it off for inserting in the stream.

And then I attacked the one for which I dictated the notes last night and, as I expected, editing it took longer than it ought. By the time that I’d added in the final track and the notes for that I had overrun by 10 seconds or so but that didn’t take long to edit out

Although you won’t be able to hear it for 8 months, it’ll be one of nostalgia.

At one point not long after I’d left school I had a girlfriend whose father ran a pub in the wilds of South Cheshire. Her brother was a big pal of a guy who played drums in a local rock band that had a couple of LPs but never actually went anywhere.

A couple of years ago, quite by accident, I bumped into the drummer and he sent me copies of the albums. I’ve been gradually inserting the odd track here and there in my programmes as I go along and there will be one coming up in this programme

When I finished I had a good scrub up at the sink and then printed out the paperwork that I needed to give to the driver about my trip to Paris.

And, of course, no matter how many papers I actually produce, I’m always going to be short of one. But anyone who has ever lived in France will know all about that.

There were two sessions today at the Centre de Re-education. A physiotherapy session with Severine of course, but also a group relaxation session which struck me as being rather pointless but it costs me nothing so who am I to complain?

Severine had me working hard though and I was totally exhausted by the time that I returned and in fact once I’d had my hot chocolate I crashed out.

But despite being exhausted, I made it up the stairs with fewer issues than Friday so it can’t be a question of fatigue.

It can’t be a question of what’s in my backpack when I’ve been shopping either because taking it off last Friday made no difference. So I dunno.

During whatever time was left today I finished off the photos from Canada 2022 and I’m now busy writing up the notes. Right now I’m walking down from the Basilique through the old town to the port to watch the shipping sailing up the St Lawrence River.

Tea has already been mentioned, so right now I’m going to have a hot drink and then I’ll be off to bed.

Tomorrow the cleaner is coming (she swapped her day from today) and I have another couple of sessions at the Centre de Re-education. There are plenty of other things to do too and I’ll have to chase down this missing paperwork for Paris

A decent night’s sleep will do me the world of good, especially if I can have some pleasant company during the night. Not that it ever seems to work out like that.

One of these days Castor will come back to visit me so I’m going to have a bash on the guitar and let RICHARD THOMPSON HELP ME CHASE AWAY A FEW OF MY DEMONS

"It’s a dangerous game I played
I threw my soul and life away "

It was a mistake to rake up this nostalgia thing today.