Tag Archives: welsh

Tuesday 21st May 2024 – NOT ANOTHER HORRIBLE …

… miserable day when I’ve spent most of the afternoon fast asleep on my comfortable chair?

It’s gone from being 10 minutes every few days now to a couple of hours on a couple of occasions every day and you’ve no idea just how fed up I’m becoming of it.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I awoke as quickly as I went to sleep, but awakening is a long, drowsy process when I’m not able to do anything at all except vegetate and wait for my body to catch up with the spinning of the World

There’s nothing in the World that I’d like more than to be able to say “goodbye” to all of this. One way or the other – it doesn’t bother me at all, but this is simply no good at all.

It’s not as if I had a particularly late night last night. It was the wrong side of 23:00 to be sure, but not by enough to worry me. And I actually had a decent sleep for several hours too.

At a certain point I definitely heard the alarm go off but it didn’t feel like 07:00 so I checked my watch. Battery flat! So I had to leave the bed to check the time on the ‘phone. It was only 06:00 as it happened, so once more we must have had a phantom alarm call.

As for me, I crawled back under the covers and waited for the 07:00 alarm call.

When it rang I went through the usual procedure of leaving the bed to switch it off, and then the bathroom for a wash followed by the dining area for my medication and to set it out as the nurse likes it.

While I waited for her I transcribed the dictaphone notes. Here’s a dream about people escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp and we’ve had this before. People being disguised as couples or families doing their best to make their own escape kits of clothing and materials that they’ll need. The night before the escape they all have a dress rehearsal by all appearing in the hallway of one of the blocks where there’s a German guard but he doesn’t suspect anything with the unlikely arrival of a couple of women and children etc. They have this demonstration. There’s a dog there for some reason, probably a prison warden dog. Someone makes a joke to another potential escapee about “oh it’s OK to stroke the poor doggie. That’s quite all right”. Generally speaking the display passes off quite well and the people prepare themselves to break out the following night. Certainly a couple of nights later the camp is empty so the escape must have been successful to some certain degree

Then I dreamed that dream about Bala FC escaping from that prisoner-of-war camp again although one of the prison camp guards played for Chester. I’ve forgotten this dream now. He was a prison camp and later on was told quite dramatically that I am sure to be his position, sack all over the street (…fell asleep here …)

So what’s going on about all of these prisoner-of-war dreams that I’m having right now? It must be significant, I suppose, but I can’t think of what the significance might be.

The nurse went through the procedures with my feet and legs, and I think that she realises that she’s fighting a losing battle. I know that that’s how I’m thinking. There’s no improvement and it’s just delaying the inevitable, and for no good purpose too.

After she left I revised for my Welsh class. The lesson passed quite well today which makes a nice change. We were talking about music, and of course that’s a subject about which I can talk for ever.

One of the things that I mentioned – in Welsh – was a rock group called Sumé. They come from Greenland and sang – would you believe – in Inuit. It’s thanks to their songs that many words made their way into the Inuit language and their singing started a revolution.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I began to learn Inuit but the problem with that language is that with the communities being so isolated and inter-community mixing so rare, each community has its own sub-language. What you learn in one settlement is different from the Inuit spoken in another settlement. So really you have to master about 20 different dialects

After the course was over I had my lunchtime fruit and then spent to afternoon fighting off – often unsuccessfully – wave after wave of sleep. While I was asleep at one point in the afternoon I’d been in some kind of dispute with someone and had climbed into my car ready to drive away to Manchester to fetch some things. I had someone with me. I realised that I was in no condition to drive and was on the verge of asking the person with me to take over when I realised what was happening was that I was slowly awakening.

Me being in dispute with someone? Surely not!

Despite the “wave after wave of sleep” I did manage to do some work. I wrote a few more notes for a future radio programme. With a bit of luck, God’s help and a Bobby I should be able to finish it tomorrow, if I don’t fall asleep.

The cleaner came round too to go through the medication. She brought me some new slippers that she’d picked up in LeClerc but it’s no good – despite them being two sizes too large I can’t actually put them on myself.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with some more leftover stuffing. I can eat that with rice and veg every day of the week. There’s plenty of stuffing left to go into a left-over curry on Wednesday and I’ll have steamed veg and falafel in a cheese sauce on Thursday, I reckon, if I’m still here

They were actually discussing the funeral arrangements with someone not so long ago
"Would you like him buried in one of the new glass coffins?" asked the undertaker
"That’s a novel idea" said the client. "Do you think that it’ll ever become popular?"
"Remains to be seen" replied the undertaker

Tuesday 14th May 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… yet another candidate for “worst day ever of my life”.

It really has too. In fact I’ve spent almost all the afternoon fast asleep on my chair in the office and I’m totally fed up of all of this. I haven’t done a stroke of work.

Last night I actually made a really good effort and tried my best to be in bed early. Not that I succeeded but I did find a much better way of getting into bed that didn’t hurt my painful hip anything at all like it has been doing.

Once I was in bed I settled down for a nice, comfortable sleep but there wasn’t much hope of that. Although I fell asleep quite quickly we had another phantom alarm call in the middle of the night

When the real alarm went off I staggered off into the bathroom and then into the dining area for my medication. But the bathroom was hilarious from the point of view of dressing myself. I’m beginning to lose all of the basic skills. However, the pain in my hip has lessened a little.

The nurse came round later. He helped me put my leg up on the stool and when he did it, it didn’t hurt at all. I wish that I knew what his secret is.

After he left I began to revise for my Welsh lesson. And having collected a slice of flapjack and made myself a pot of strong coffee I joined in later.

The lesson actually passed quite well today but there again we weren’t actually stretched. We had to talk about our home and then about music. Of course, I can do both those things for hours.

As i’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … in all the places in which I’ve ever lived, this is the only place for which I’ve ever felt homesick when I’ve been away. It’s the first place that I’ve ever called “home”.

By the end of the lesson though, I was flagging quite badly and once it was over I crashed out completely Totally and absolutely, and for ninety minutes too. I felt totally awful too when I awoke

Once I’d come back round into the Land of the Living (and that took longer than it ought) I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been just recently. So I was there with some young girl, a member of our family, and were taking it in turns to be treated by the opposition, one team at a time, about something or other. I was putting my feet up on a stool in front of me but suddenly there was no stool there and the table cloth with cups of coffee etc set out began to fall to the floor. I had to grab hold of it and hold it. I had no idea what I was going to do next because I couldn’t move and there I was, holding this table cloth with all of the crockery and cutlery all set out for tea etc. There was absolutely nothing whatever holding the table cloth except my two arms.

Later on at Cardiff we put the ball up there but elected to push on because that was our strength but Cardiff also relied on our strength to defend. They managed to hold out and push us backwards out of a decent range Our players were young and inexperienced and weren’t able to take the ball in a way that they might have been if they’d had more experience. In the end that left the field open for Cardiff to come on and score the winning try.

That was just like in the previous match where they’d waited until I’d replaced Findi (whoever Findi is or was) and they took advantage of that change of line-up to swarm all over our front line and push it back down out of range again and into their own half

For the final couple of minutes and we had possession but weren’t able to advance. We didn’t have our kicker on the field so we couldn’t kick, so it was a case of having to persevere with the attack by running as much as we can. In the end we ran for miles, it seemed, just to make a small amount of ground to find a crack in the defence and swarm through for that goal in the final two minutes. We scored a touch-down but it was so lucky and we did so well to win it

A phantom alarm at 04:10 this morning. At the time I was busy instructing my girls’ rugby team about how to advance that final yard to have a pushover try if it were to become necessary in the match against Cardiff.

So what am I doing involved in a rugby team? And a girls’ rugby team at that? Rugby is a game that holds no interest at all for me. It’s just a silly game played by men with odd-shaped balls

It’s true however that one of the daughters of my niece in Canada played for a girls’ rugby team at school, and at school they tried to make us play rugby instead of football but we were having none of it. Our tactic was that our scrum would win the ball, pass it to me and, because I could kick with either feet, I’d kick for a drop goal from just about anywhere on the field within range.

"You don’t play rugby like that!" bellowed our new games master

Well, we did. And in the end, he gave up, went back to the staff room for a coffee, we began to play football and that was the last we ever heard about playing rugby. And quite right too.

Finally it was the final day of this end-of-season sale in this camping and sports shop. The whole world was in there looking for stuff. I found one or two things that I liked. As the evening drew to a close I was hovering by the till waiting. When they announced the closing of the store we all stampeded to the tills. I reached a till. The girl said something to me that I didn’t understand but it carried on until the person in front of me was served. Then she just switched off her till and walked away at that point. I found the people with whom I’d come and told them – I said “you won’t believe it but they’ve done it again, switched off the till right in front of me when I’m ready, willing and able to buy stuff. There’s absolutely no accounting for British people these days. Turn down a pile of work just so that they can be away from work five minutes earlier and not have to deal with any particular work.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that that has happened to me either, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

When I was asleep in the afternoon I had another one of these series of hallucinations with all kinds of stuff briefly flitting through my mind. One of the things that I do remember from when I was asleep in the afternoon was taking a girl out in one of my old vans. We went for a walk in a field and then back at the van to go somewhere else she put her hand through the flap to open her door but her hand became stuck in the aperture.

What with all of this I was rather late going for my nice hot chocolate drink. Something simple but it really does cheer me up. And I would probably have been even later had the cleaner not awoken me bringing in yet more medical supplies

But than back in my chair I crashed out again, and that’s how I stayed until, would you believe, 19:10. I’d missed a whole afternoon with being asleep. But while I was asleep this time it was the school dance. I was asked to take everyone home by train at 16:00 so was warned to have nothing to eat or drink beforehand. But the dance rolled on and on, a long time past 16:00. I was starving hungry and thirsty so I went to look for the headmaster to complain. I couldn’t find him but instead came across my Geography teacher. I told her of my difficulties but she dismissed me rather unpleasantly. I wandered back into the building and found a group of people, including a good friend of mine, taking my PA mixer board from my room. I told them to put it back but they carried on taking it out with a laugh and a joke, but I grabbed it from them, put it back into my room and closed the door, using a few very choice words to describe my anger. My friend called me “a miserable old fart” but I didn’t care. I was incandescent with rage by this time.

And “incandescent with rage” was quite right too. Incandescent with rage that I’d missed out a whole afternoon flat-out like this for no good reason.

That was really disappointing too because I’ve spent all these years and all this effort and made all these sacrifices to bring my anger issues under control and to try to make myself a nicer person, and here I am being undermined by something as stupid as falling asleep

My whole life is falling apart right now with having to fight these health issues and I’m at the stage where I can’t fight any more. I just don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going.

It’s making me feel like Gwyneth Glyn and
"I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M GOING
I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’VE BEEN
I’VE NO IDEA WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW
AND GOD KNOWS WHERE I’M SUPPOSED TO BE"

My rice and veg to accompany my taco roll were cooked by the steam coming out of my ears tonight, not by electricity. I really need to get a grip of myself but I can’t believe that I have to do it all again. I don’t even know why I’m bothering to struggle. It’s not as if my health will ever improve and I’ll get better.

Many years in Belgium a solicitor who had been trying to contact me made the remark "Mr Hall! We all thought that you were dead!"
"Not at all" I replied. "I just smell like it"

Tuesday 7th May 2024 – I’VE HAD A LOVELY …

… evening with a visitor who has come all this way to see me.

The youngest daughter of my niece from Canada stuck her head in to say “hello” this evening as she passed by on her peripatetic perambulations.

One thing that I’ve always tried to instil into youngsters is the importance of doing something different, as every student’s CV is identical these days, with the same courses, the same pastimes, the same interests and so on.

Foreign travel is one of the ways to go and some universities offer foreign exchange student programmes. After Liz (“that” Liz, not “this” Liz) died I made sure that her daughter was accepted onto a foreign exchange programme in 2010 and I actually took her to her University in Ontario from London.

St Francis-Xavier University in Antigonish has one too and my niece’s middle daughter ended up in Madrid but the youngest one was accepted onto an exchange in Edinburgh and she’s been there since Christmas.

She’s off to visit Mont St Michel and the Christian Dior museum tomorrow so she thought that she’d catch an earlier ‘plane and come to see me

Even though it’s only – quite literally – a flying visit, there was a lot of preparation to do and as a result I was in bed quite late last night

It was another peaceful night where I completely lost track of time, and no-one was more surprised than me when the alarm went off. Anyway I hauled myself out of bed and headed for the bathroom, and then into the dining area for the medication.

Having done that I arranged the dining area for the nurse but for some reason she was late coming today and I had to hang around for a while. None of this “not quite dressed” lark of Sunday when he came early.

After she’d finally arrived, changed my dressing, fitted my puttees and cleared off I could come in here and revise for my Welsh lesson. And then armed with my coffee and flapjack I joined in the lesson.

The lesson was like the curate’s egg – good and bad in parts. I was quite happy with some of the stuff that I did but disappointed with other parts. I put it all down to my failing memory but I forgot to mention that.

At the end of the lesson the first thing that I did was to make the dough for a loaf. I wasn’t sure whether my great little niece (or is she my little great niece?) would want to take advantage of my comfortable sofa and if so, we’d need something for breakfast

Then I came in here while the dough was proofing so that I could transcribe the dictaphone notes. I’d been arrested for something that I’d said but managed to talk my way out of it. Then I was arrested a second time that happened to be during a period when I was having a dance with another girl. She thought that me being arrested was funny. I had a key in my hand but lost it. It fell down and became mixed up in the bed. The soldiers who arrested me wanted the key and access to one of the store cupboards and were surprised that I was playing difficult, although I wasn’t – it was simply because they didn’t believe that I’d dropped things. Anyway they wanted to carry me off to the castle where presumably I’d be tortured, although they didn’t say what or why it was that I was going. I was simply arrested and bullied out of any kind of sympathetic position.

Then I was with a former work colleague. Again, it was a similar kind of situation. There was some kind of rack of calculations in the formula on it that these people wanted but I had. I wasn’t going to hand it over so someone came down to interrogate me and maybe arrest me but they didn’t cart me off. They had a full search of everywhere and then they left. Id been standing in a very peculiar position, sort-of propped up with a support behind me. My ex-colleague made some kind of remark such as “had I ever been an italic cursor?” or something so we laughed. I explained that there were all kinds of photos of me and maybe we ought to have a look. I noticed when we were talking that he actually had that paper in his hand. I wondered why he’d never admitted having it and never shown it to whoever it was who was interrogating me.

That’s not how things usually work, is it? Normally people will take every conceivable step to drop me into the soup at every possible moment.

Later on I stepped back into that dream, and in it the girl had taken away the bottle … "which bottle?" – ed … to wash it. She then brought it back, saw me being man-handled, threw away the bottle and hid the formula

And that’s most unlike people I know too.

By now the dough had risen and so after a second working-over I put it into the oven to bake while I made my hot chocolate.

The bread baked deliciously. It rose up like a lift and it is quite soft and fluffy. We’ll call this one a success.

While I was waiting for my visitor I finished off the radio notes for the programme that I started the other day and then began to select the music for the next one.

And then having fought her way through the underground system in Paris she turned up.

It’s hard to believe that when I held her in my arms back in that winter of 2003 when I was in Canada she was such a tiny little new-born thing. She’ll be 21 soon and it’s hard to believe that the time has gone by so fast.

She’s not stopping though. She didn’t know how ill I was and didn’t want to put any strain on any facilities that I might be having, which was very nice and thoughtful

We had lots to talk about – after all I haven’t seen her since I drifted by her house after my return from the High Arctic in 2019 – and it was nice to catch up with the latest news from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

She’s quite confident that she’ll pass her current year and will go back to St F-X for her final year and receive “the Ring”. Alumni of St Francis Xavier receive a special ring to wear and it’s apparently the equivalent of a Canadian Freemasonry handshake.

Of course, over the last 20-odd years there have been loads of jokes about people going “My preccccccc – ious” whenever the subject of the St F-X ring has been mentioned and that’s not really any surprise.

It was quite late when she left but nevertheless I made my taco roll with rice and veg for tea and it was just as nice for being late.

So now I’m going off to bed and make some investigations about that huge bloodstain that appeared on my pillow overnight. It looks as if someone has butchered a pig on there, there’s so much blood.

But it’s nice to see a member of my family here where I live. One of my nieces from Crewe came over in 1994 and then two of my three little great-nieces from Canada have been to see me. And would you believe – that’s the only contact that I’ve had with any member of my family since I left to live on the mainland of Europe

They were much more loyal than that when we all lived together. One of my sisters once told me "some boy at my school told me that you weren’t fit to live with pigs"
"Ohhh really?" I asked. "What did you say?"
"Oh I stood up for you" she replied. "I said that you were"

Tuesday 30th April 2024 – I’VE MANAGED NOT …

… to break anything today, after yesterday’s fracas in the kitchen.

But what an exciting life I’m leading at the moment where breaking a plate in the kitchen is headline news? I really ought to get a life, and how i wish that I could. I certainly seem to be missing out on an awful lot.

Mind you, there’s not a lot that I can do. If I go down the stairs to go outside, there’s no guarantee that I can get back up again without a great deal of help. And in any case, with these puttees that I have to wear on my legs, I can’t fit my shoes on

In other words, my life is a total mess right now and it’s not going to improve any in the near future. The hospital sets a great deal of store in this chemotherapy treatment I’m having by tablet every day but even so, there’s been a deterioration over the last three months that I’ve been taking it

So if it’s classed as a success, how would I be feeling if I hadn’t taken in?

And did I tell you how much it cost? Because I’ve seen the receipt. A box of 30 tablets of this stuff costs no less than €7,000. No wonder that the chemists won’t let me build up a stock of it. They have to pay out for the medication that they order and then submit a claim for reimbursement to the Securité Sociale. And if they are as quick dealing with reimbursement as they are in replying to correspondence, no wonder the chemists are worried.

Another worry that I seem to have is that I’m not able to go to bed at anything like an early time. It was another late night last night by the time that I’d finished everything that needs to be done and that’s getting on my nerves too.

But I had another good night’s sleep where I don’t remember very much at all.

When the alarm went off I’d just said goodbye to a girl who was living in the same house as me who’d gone off to some kind of special school or re-education centre because of her handicap. That’s really all that I remember of this. I know that when the alarm went off I was thinking about a woman with a red hand who had something to do with this but I’m not sure where she fitted in to the dream at all. It was a very fragmented one.

There is a friend of mine who used to go to a re-education centre for her handicap until British Government cuts 20 years ago closed them all down. However it wasn’t her, that’s for certain, and I don’t know of anyone else who might have fitted the bill.

But I’ve no idea what I meant about the woman with the red hand. That’s a mystery to me too

Anyway, I staggered into the bathroom and then into the dining area to take my medicine and to set out the place ready for the nurse. The one from last week is now on her week off and it’s the boss for the next seven days.

When he came he told me all about his trip to New York and how disappointed he was with it.

However, it’s like most big cities. everyone is so stressed out that it’s unbelievable. I much prefer rural USA where I’ve met some really nice, friendly people on my travels around.

Most cities are nice to visit but not to live in, but I can’t even remember New York being nice to visit on the occasions that I’ve been there.

After he left I came in here and prepared for my Welsh lesson.

Despite the fact that I’d prepared the wrong pages, the group being farther ahead than I’d anticipated, the lesson passed off very well which was a nice surprise. In fact we had a test in which I came third, which was a huge surprise to me, especially as I’d missed the weeks that the exam covered.

It’s a good job though that I hadn’t gone fourth. I would have had to multiply and that would have been no good at all.

After the lesson finished I just let myself go and crashed out on my chair. I was gone for almost 90 minutes too, flat-out in the Land of Nod. I really can’t keep going these days

Once I’d come back into the Land of the Living I chose the music for another radio programme. My task for the rest of the week will be to write the notes for it. But at some point I’ll have to start dictating and editing the backlog of stuff. In the old days I’d do it early on Sunday morning before going to bed but I’m not doing that these days if I have to be up at 08:30 for the nurse. My days of lying in until midday are regrettably over.

The cleaner came round this afternoon too. She’d been to LeClerc this morning and so she’d picked up some more vegan cheese for me. So cheese on toast is assured at weekends for the next few weeks

There was some more stuff on the dictaphone too. I can’t remember very much about this dream either but it concerned a girl who for some reason had ended up going back home after moving away and found herself spending the night there unexpectedly, sleeping back in the room that she occupied when she lived there. There was some talk that one of the girls would come to stay with me so I was busy trying to find things to do to amuse her. I came across a board game called Mrs (…so-and-so…)’s Kitchen where people had to take pieces out of the box in turn to try to make meals and shopping lists etc. I thought that that might be a really interesting game for a young person who came to stay with me for the moment.

The game was certainly interesting You had to pick up the pieces, which wee like the pieces of a jigsaw, with chopsticks, although I’m not quite sure why.

In the past years ago I used to be able to eat with chopsticks.

Where we used to go skiing on a dry slope on the Wirral there was a Chinese restaurant down the road where this sweet young Chinese girl worked. One night I asked her to show me how to eat with chopsticks so over the next few weeks she taught me.

And then I put my cunning plan into action. We were all going for our annual dinner so I asked her whether she would like to come with me, as a “than you” for teaching me how to eat with chopsticks, which had been my plan all along.

She told me “no”.

While we’re on the subject of meals … "well, one of us is" – ed … tonight’s tea was a taco roll with rice and vegetables, using up some of the left-over stuffing.

That stuffing that I make is really nice, especially with couscous. And there’s plenty left so there will be a lovely left-over curry tomorrow night for tea. There’s some naan dough left too so a garlic naan bread will be nice to go with it too

So that’s all that I’m doing tonight. It’s a Bank Holiday here tomorrow and ordinarily I’d be having a lie-in, but not with this perishing nurse coming round every morning at 08:30.

What I need to do is to finalise my shopping list ready for order on Thursday morning as I’m now running short of frozen veg

It’s not like the time I was sharing a flat in Manchester with a bunch of students and they sent me to the shop for supplies for the weekend.

When I returned, I had two cases of beer and a sliced loaf. The students there were enraged. "You fool!" they cried. "Wasting our money! What on earth are we going to do with all that bread?"

Tuesday 9th April 2024 – I’M NOT HAVING …

… a very good day today.

It seems that all of the fates have conspired against me. In particular, the stabbing pain in the sole of my right foot. I thought that it had disappeared after it was conspicuous by its absence during the night and during this morning.

But now it’s back, and in spades too. It’s like an electric shock all the way up my right leg that starts in the sole of the foot, and it occurs every 15 minutes or so. The pain at times is unbearable.

As well as that, there’s a continual tingling coming from the sole of the foot now as if there’s a low-voltage electric shock going on. I hate to think what might happen if it increases in intensity.

It had all died down towards the end of last night and for once in my life I was actually in bed at a realistic hour last night too so that I was able to take full advantage.

Not that I did though because not long after going to bed I pulled a muscle in one of my legs and it took an age to untangle myself

Somehow in all of the confusion the plaster over this weeping oedema on my right foot became detached and that was causing me all kinds of agony too. That really was painful.

And so I limped through to about 07:00 when the alarm went off this morning. And when the alarm went off I was editing two tracks of a girl who had been singing two songs belonging to Yes. I was doing them, preparing them for broadcast but I can’t remember their names now but I certainly did while I was doing it.

That’s just typical, isn’t it? Those names are on the tip of my tongue and I’ve been trying all day to recall them, but with no success.

First job of course was to take the blood pressure – 16.3/9.5, which doesn’t compare very well with last night’s 15.4/9.8. I wonder what went on to wind me up during the night. I suppose that we’ll find out very soon.

Next job however was to to and take my medication. Shovel all of that lot down and see how I get on.

Then to organise the room how the nurse likes it, ready for her visit. It’s Isabelle starting from today for the next seven days. She was impressed that the room was nicely laid out and that we had all the supplies we needed, but she was not so impressed with this weeping oedema.

It’s blistered over and so she “popped” the blister, and you can imagine just how that felt, and that was before she put some disinfectant on it

Once she’d gone I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was going to bed last night and I still had to think about who I was going to be dreaming about when I stretched and pulled a muscle in my left calf. It took ages for me to calm it down and put it back to how it ought to be, and by that time I was wide-awake and had completely forgotten all of how this dream had started off. It was to do with me going to bed anyway and making plans to dream but that’s everything that I can remember.

And that certainly was painful too. And what with every other pain in my body right now it was really something that I didn’t need.

Later on I was doing my Welsh homework and came to a frightful tangle and mess about it because the “copy and paste” seemed to be pasting the answers in in all kinds of strange positions. One of the things that I had to say was that the station of Y Pobl and another station were the two least-used stations of the railway network but I just couldn’t get the words out of my head. I was surprised that I remembered the word for “least” – leiaf but I just couldn’t seem to get the rest to come out in the correct order and was being really confused by it all.

And then I was making my breakfast at work. I had my little toaster there toasting my bread and my little gas stove that I was using to heat a kettle of water for my coffee. When I turned my back to fetch my margarine from the fridge someone else took my kettle off and put his saucepan on top to boil his water. Of course I was absolutely furious but this guy thought that it was quite a normal thing to do, to just use anyone else’s gas to make himself a coffee rather than buy a little stove of his own. He was extremely indignant when I told him off. And I was still being all confused with my Welsh homework too even then.

But it’s interesting about this recurring dream. Slipping back into the same dream after I’ve already dictated some notes is not something that happens very often. And it’s really a shame that I can’t choose the dreams into which I want to slip back.

And that reminds me – TOTGA, Castor and Zero haven’t been around for a while. I could do with them making a dramatic reappearance.

After the dictaphone notes I began to prepare for the Welsh lesson and was so enthralled by what I was doing that I lost track of time.

And it’s a shame that my enthusiasm didn’t carry over into the lesson. The lesson ended up being rather like the curate’s egg – “good and bad in parts”.

After the lesson I had the lunchtime fruit, collected the shopping that my cleaner had found for me in LeClerc, and then … errr … crashed out. And that’s no surprise as I had been fighting off wave after wave of sleep during my lesson.

The hospital awoke me with a phone call, but I don’t know what they wanted to say as I missed the call, and then the Auvergnats arrived. They’d been spying out the lie of the land and had been for lunch, followed by a walk and a coffee before coming here.

We put the world to rights for ages, and then they wandered off and I … errr … crashed out again.

Tea was a delicious taco roll again, with enough stuffing left over to make a start on a decent vegan curry tomorrow, but now I’m going to go to bed early if I can, and if these pains will let me.

They are hurting so much, and I have no idea why but I really am fed up of all of this. Maybe lying horizontally will stop the stabbing pain, but then I have all of the others including the likelihood of a pulled muscle, with which to contend

It’s like the man who went to the hospital for a consultation
"What’s the matter with you then?" asked the doctor
"I have this severe pain in my right leg" replied the man
After having given him a thorough examination the doctor replied "I’m going to amputate your left foot, your left arm and remove your left kidney"
"Will that stop my right leg hurting then?" asked the patient
"Not at all" replied the doctor "but you’ll be in that much pain from the other things that you just won’t notice it any more"

Saturday 6th April 2024 – TODAY WAS ONE …

… of the worst days that I have had for quite a while.

In fact, it’s a day that harks back to the bad old days of winter 2015-16 when I was struggling to come to terms with this illness, or over the summer of 2015 when I’d moved to live in Leuven

It’s a combination of two factors really.
Firstly those stabbing pains that I have nin the sole of the foot returned yesterday and gradually worsened as the day wore on and accelerated through the night.
Secondly I was wide-awake at about 04:30 and there was no hope whatever of going back to sleep.

It totally beats me as to what would have awaken me, and awoken me to such an extent that I couldn’t go back to sleep, even at that time. It must be something quite considerable and important, so I’m surprised that I don’t know what it is.

What I was going to say was that I didn’t have a clue, but I doubt whether there would be many people who would disagree with that diagnosis.

And as it happens, I do have a clue about what time I went to bed last night, and it was late yet again, which is even more surprising considering how early I awoke.

But doing all this paperwork and making all these notes really does take its time and I’m surprised that I’m ever ready to go to bed.

So having settled down to go to sleep I was soon awake again, drifting into alternate fits of wakefulness and sleepiness, but always being awake nevertheless.

And that didn’t stop my imagination working because even though I was in this semi-wakefulness I was still off on my travels.

When the alarm went off at 07:00 I’d already been up and about for 15 minutes and was on the point of finishing dressing and going for a wash.

Not before checking the blood pressure though. 16.1/9.9, which compares with last night’s figure of 16.4/10.1 – pretty much the same by the looks of things.

After shovelling down the piles of medication I arranged the room for the nurse and then tidied up the knives and forks etc from the previous evening. If I’m having house guests, which looks pretty much like it in the near future, I need to learn some new habits.

Rather like the man in church praying to God – "Oh God give me patience! And hurry!"

When the nurse came round he plastered me up again but said that this will be the last of them as the foot has healed so well.

As it happens, I think that the foot has certainly healed but not as well as he thinks. Still, he’s the nurse, I’m not.

After he left I made a start on the dictaphone notes from the night and from the morning when I was half-awake. And apart from what seems to be the usual fact these days of getting up, getting dressed and ready to leave the bed but only in my subconscious mind (as far as I know), also later on there was a phantom doorbell to say that the nurse had arrived. That was at 03:00 and so it was extremely unlikely, but nevertheless I found myself getting out of bed for that as well. I’ve no idea what’s going on with me at the moment. This is crazy.

What this next dream was about was a woman who was visiting the doctor’s for some reason. He gave her an examination . Then someone like Ingrid came along. Because she was more ill he gave her the more profound examination and had to make sure that she was supported by enough orderlies but she could withstand the pressure that he was going to apply. It was all to do with rolling balls Up and down the body to find weak points. Obviously he’d roll them quite hard and then feel the resistance, to see where the body was in need of reinforcement

And before anyone says anything about it, I shall say myself that that particular dream sounds like a right load of balls. It’s an interesting concept though and I bet that there’s plenty of mileage in an idea like that if I were to take it to some of the more obscure clubs in Soho

In fact I could probably make a small fortune from clubs like that for the rights to the unexpurgated version of this blog

And then while I was lying there half-asleep Nerina and I were at a port somewhere on our way to cross the Channel to go to a party at a friend’s house. We didn’t have any preparations at all – we didn’t have a GPS to find out where it was, we didn’t have any accommodation booked for Nerina or anything like that. We were going to simply improvise and make it all up on the spot. So we boarded the ferry and I went to look out of the window but they were all misty and steamy so I asked the purser if he had any car windscreen wipers. He chuntered but had a really good search, chuntering all the time. Eventually he came up with a pair and handed them to me, which I thought was nice. I could sit down then and look out of the window to admire the shipping like I usually do.

And this brings back many happy memories of me being invited to a party and setting out to go there, and suddenly realising that I had no idea of the address or where the person lived. I drove around in circles for quite a while before in the end I gave up and went home.

As Kenneth Williams once so famously said, "I’m often taken aback by my own brilliance". It’s the kind of thing that only I can do.

Meanwhile back at the ran … errr … bed, this thing about Normandy involved the Normandy group on Social Network. In the end we’d sacked all of our advisers and dealt with everything on a question and answer basis amongst ourselves. That even included the vets. Everything there on the group seemed to be going much better since we no longer had advisers and people were resolving their own problems like this

In my case though I’ve simply sacked my Social Network. It’s becoming less and less of a Social Network and more and more a vehicle for adverts and publicity. If I wanted to see “sponsored links” and “suggested for you” articles I’d look for them. I don’t want them thrust into my face at the expense of stuff that I want to see.

So I went for my coffee and cheese on toast for breakfast and despite two really strong mugs full of coffee I crashed out quite completely and absolutely, and for a good couple of hours too.

And Nerina came to visit me again, but it wasn’t a very pleasant meeting so I’m not going to transcribe the notes. With all of these problems I’ve been told to do all that I can to avoid unpleasantness.

In fact, this illness has made a whole new person of me.

What I can say about it though was that the dream was building up to a ‘phone call, and sure enough, I had one too, and a real one. It was the delivery man with the rest of my Amazon order.

This afternoon, I really felt like death. It was the worst that I have felt for quite some considerable time.

Margaret Thatcher once famously said something like "anyone can do a good day’s work when they want to. To be successful, you have to do a good day’s work when you don’t want to" and I’ve ploughed nevertheless through some radio notes and a pile of Welsh homework when all that I wanted to do was to go back to sleep.

There was football on the Internet later, Aberystwyth v Penybont. Penybont are far too good a team to be involved in a relegation scrap where they are right now, but Aberystwyth are down near the bottom for a good reason.

And that was how it went on. Aberystwyth started well and had a couple of chances but faded quite quickly and Penybont took control.

A 3-0 win was probably about right but Aberystwyth will rue the errors that they made. However it’s not easy playing football in a monsoon like they had this afternoon during the game.

Tea was baked potato and salad with one of the delicious breaded quorn fillets that I like, and that’s it for the day. I’m off to bed, with an alarm for tomorrow as the nurse will be round.

And tomorrow afternoon I have biscuits to make as I have now run out of supplies.

But before I go, talking about obscure clubs in Soho and unexpurgated versions of writings reminds me of a former girlfriend who worked at the local library on Saturdays and who has featured on these pages on more than just a few occasions.
She was asked to order a pile of books so she was going through the list, and one title caught her eye
"What’s this book here?" she asked
"It’s called ‘Ferry across the River Kwai’" explained her supervisor
"But is that title right?" she asked. "I’m sure that it should be called something else"
"It’s all right" said the supervisor. "Don’t worry. It’s simply the unabridged version of the story"

Thursdqy 4th April 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… just like the other day where I spent half of the morning crashed out over the computer, exactly the same.

And to cap it all I was away with the fairies for quite a while this evening too.

And I’ll tell you all something for nothing and that is that I’m totally fed up of being like this. Just can’t get anything done at all, and there’s piles of work here that needs doing to. I seem to spend my life just recently fighting off wave after wave of sleep, and that’s not normal. Not at all.

Couple that up with the sight problem and all in all, I’m in something of a mess and I need to change my ideas quite dramatically.

The best way to start is to probably try to go to bed earlier but I’m not sure how to do that. There are so many things that need to be done that can’t just fit in around anything else at another time.

Last night though I was in bed late yet again and I can see that I’m never going to catch up with stuff that I leave for another time so for now we’ll just leave things as they are and carry on.

Last night I was … errr … detained as I said and so it was midnight when I finally hit the sack. And it probably took a while to drift off into the Land of Nod too as I wasn’t feeling too much like it.

It was another strange sleep last night, and you’ll read all about it below, and then the alarm went off. That was the cue to go to take the blood pressure. 15.2/9.0. Compared to last night’s 16.0/9.6 it doesn’t represent much of a reduction. But I’ve had no communication from the hospital as yet about the results of my blood test. That can only be good news.

After the medication I had a good wash and then arranged the room how the nurse likes it. One had to humour the staff.

He was rather early today which was nice, and he soon had me sorted out especially as per instructions, not only do I have to take off the puttees I also have to take off the plasters underneath, and that’s quite a gruesome job. Not my cup of tea at all

When he came, he cleaned off everything, applied the cream and then wound me up again nice and tightly, and then he left, leaving me in possession of the field.

There were the dictaphone notes that needed transcribing next, piles of them too. And I’m back dreaming in Welsh again. The question of a wheelchair, cadair olwen came up. Should I be pushed around on a wheelchair while I’m out? I don’t know exactly how this ended. I’ll have to go back to sleep to find out. But there was a dream about a girl called Lucy, Lucy not being the girl but a type of girl. It’s to do with some dream that we’ve had before where there have been a lot of girls in it and there was a type of girl called Lucy but I can’t think of what she was doing but she was certainly in the news last night.

Of course, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have had a run-in with a girl called Lucy in the past, and a strange kind of run-in too. Mind you, she was a strange kind of girl too but that was what made it all the more interesting.

But that’s yet another story for another time when I’m sure that the Statute of Limitations will apply too. And there are quite a few stories like this building up that will have to be written after I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.

Secondly there was one of these false awakenings. There was a girl who had won some kind of competition as something and the prize was that she could choose some clothes from a shop in Glasgow. After they’d announced that she’d won they sent her a brochure – this was in the days before the Internet – and she began to choose the clothes from it. They had models there to try them on and had people to help her try them on. In the end she selected a few and it was all dealt with. A little later on I awoke but it was one of these false awakenings. I was convinced that I was awake, dressing, leaving the bed etc. I was off to help this girl dress and restart the dream apparently but I was going to help her dress etc but I realised that I was actually asleep so I turned over back in bed and went to sleep

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so for the benefit of new readers, of which there are more than just a few just recently, I’m asleep when I dictate these notes. The use of the terms “awake” and “asleep” are merely relative. “Awake” means that even though I’m asleep, I’m able to manipulate my dictaphone. “Asleep” means that there’s silence in the room, occasionally punctuated by my snoring (and I’m sorry for doubting you, Percy Penguin).

But this “false awakening” is something completely different. I’m actually sitting up, stepping out of bed, dressing, going somewhere – at least – I think I am. I’ve no idea at all if I’m physically moving about or whether it’s all part of another dream.

But if you think that neither that dream nor the first make any sense at all, don’t worry because I don’t understand them either – and I dictated them! I’m not responsible for the rubbish that pours out of my mouth when I’m deep in the arms of Morpheus.

When the real alarm went off I was in the middle of a long, complicated discussion with a telephone company about the problem with the line and phantom calls awakening me etc. It seemed that my emergency signal had been deleted somehow – I had one of those emergency beacons that if I fell or something went wrong here in the house I could press a button. It was actually installed in the garage for some reason. I was being passed from pillar to post as usual by different departments of Yorkshire Telephone, don’t ask me why “Yorkshire”, when the alarm went off, the real one.

After this I went for my flapjack and coffee, 2 large mugs of strong coffee, after which I fell asleep. Don’t let anyone tell you that coffee keeps you awake because it’s simply not true as I am a witness. I was gone until about 12:30, miles away with the fairies.

Waking up so dramatically, not having realised that I’ve been asleep, is quite an interesting situation too. I feel like Tommy Cooper and "I knew a man who dreamed that he was awake, and when he woke up, he was!"

It was the telephone, someone asking if they could ring me later. So at 14:00 I had a marathon chat with the guy who runs the radio.

He’s seen nothing on my Social Media account (which is not surprising because I’ve put it to sleep) for months and wanted to know how I was. We had quite a lengthy chat about this and that, but not unfortunately about “the other” which was a shame. Nevertheless, he’s let me know a lot of what’s going on.

He’s one of these people whom it’s good to know because of course he has his connections throughout the Town Council and if I have a problem he can put me in touch quite rapidly with the Social Services.

And I’ve a feeling that maybe not quite now but in the near future I’m going to need all the help in that direction that I can find. I can’t go on like this. It’s simply not realistic. I’ve fallen asleep twice so far typing these notes. Thank God I no longer drive.

As far as work goes, I’ve written some notes for a future radio programme, not many I have to admit, and then I did a whole pile of Welsh homework. I seem to have a bee in my bonnet about that right now so I may as well strike while the iron is hot

But these Summer course should be good. I might even learn something, and wouldn’t that be nice?

Tea was the Chinese meal that I’d promised myself. I’m not a big fan of Chinese food but it made some space in the freezer and I did have some nice, fresh soy sauce to make a stir-fry with it

So that’s all that I’m doing tonight. I’m off to bed now before I fall asleep yet again.

It’s not at all like the shepherd who decided that he would count his sheep, a traditional way of falling asleep in the old days.
So there he was, "One, two, hello dear, four, five …"
"Did you say ‘hello dear’ to sheep number three?" asked a passing stranger
"That’s right" said the shepherd
"Why did you say that to the sheep?"
Up popped the sheep "Well" it replied "He’s my f-a-a-a-a-a–ther"

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.

Tuesday 2nd April 2024 – TODAY WAS A …

… better day than yesterday, which is an improvement. There were several waves of sleep that had to be fought off round about midday and I managed to do that successfully and apart from that, I’ve managed not to fall asleep at all.

And that’s a surprise because it was another late night last night. It takes an age to finish everything off these days ready for a round of whatever it is that goes on here during the night.

As it happens, I can’t remember much about the night because I was of course asleep. But I do recall a visit from Nerina at some point, about the two if us going to the countryside near Chester.

And while we’re on the subject of Chester … "well, one of us is" – ed … we did end up there at some point of the day but I can’t remember when now. This is always the problem when you are teetering on the edge of dozing off two or three times on the same day – you lose track of “when” and “where”.

No problem about the alarm though. It went off as usual at 07:00 and I promptly fell out of bed while reaching for the equipment. But soon I found it and could take my pressure, 15.9/9.4. That’s lower than before I went to bed, whixh was 17.3/10.8.

Judging from that, you would be excused for thinking that it was a quiet night, but far from it as you will see if you read on.

The medication was next on the list. That just seems to be more and more, as time goes on. I’m sure that someone is slipping extra piles into everything when I’m not looking.

A good wash was on the agenda today too. I was sure that I could smell myself coming, and my clothes walked into the laundry basket on their own. I’m not doing too well about my personal hygiene as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … and need to make much more of an effort

With that in mind, I washed the shorts that I wear in bed. They need to be kept clean.

Having arranged things for the nurse he came by and changed the bandage on my foot. They seem to think that it’s healing but if it is, it’s doing an excellent job of disguising itself.

The ones on my legs are showing an improvement which is a good news. I managed to walk four steps without my crutches, and if that’s nor success I don’t know what is these days.

Today I’ve been radioing. I’ve checked off the programme that needs to be sent off today for broadcasting at the weekend, and I’ve sorted out the music for another one.

Apart from that, I’ve sent off my Amazon order, played on the guitar and even … shock! Horror! … done some Welsh homework. I don’t know what’s come over me today.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. Quite a lot of it in fact. Once more I was dreaming in Welsh again about a door in a hospital being closed but it needs to be opened. Eventually someone opens it and inside are several bodies. It seemed that all kinds of indignities had been heaped upon these corpses at one time, both when they were alive and when they were dead as well, and opening the door had revealed it all to the public like this

They found A MORTUARY LIKE THIS IN THE USA a short while ago. The owners had been taking the money for the burial and so on but never burying the cadavers, just leaving them to rot. It created quite a scandal in the USA.

But not as big a scandal as what was going on IN THAT HOSPITAL MORTUARY IN THE UK a short while earlier

This … "presumably dreaming in Welsh" – ed … all came about because the girlfriend came over from Caerfyrddin and couldn’t remember the word for “right” … "”gwyir” or “dde”" – ed … and it was all to do with Caerfyrddin having a corner kick and someone putting the ball into the penalty area and the teams taking up the correct position but everyone was out of position and the captains had to shout at them to tell them where they should be. One of the players from Caerfyrddin was in the wrong position and didn’t say the correct word for “right”.

In which case it’s dde. Gwyir is “right” in the sense of “correct”.

But it’s interesting that I’m dreaming – and talking to myself – in Welsh. That basically means that I’ve moved one step higher up the literacy ladder. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed that I’m understanding more and more of the football commentary so I suppose everything is all coming together.

That’s how I began to teach myself Flemish – when I moved to Brussels, if there was a football match in TV I’d watch it on a Flemish channel. It’s easy to guess what’s happening in a football match when you see it, and you can tie the commentary up with the action on the screen.

While I was chatting to a friend of mine, a schoolteacher in the UK, I told her of my tactic for watching football and now she makes her daughter, age 11, watch the football in a foreign language only and the kid has to take her mother a list of 10 words that she heard in each game

It’s one of those things that you aren’t sure will work for someone else but it costs nothing to try.

Learning Welsh was something that I always wanted to do but in the UK I never had time and over here I never had the opportunity. But, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, at the start of lockdown Coleg Cambria put its Welsh language courses on-line instead of in face-to-face classes.

And instead of the usual 100 or so people signing up for a beginners class, they had 1036. There’s someone in my class from the UAE and I’ve met several people from the USA on other courses, all trying to connect with their roots.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed there was a group of girls who had to go along and do something gruesome to one of the guys. One of the girls was tall and slender, called Hilary This was the girl Our Hero falls for so the two of them establish a relationship but he in the meantime is carrying on with more kinds of wicked things against a few more of his hermits who are trying to usurp his powers etc. Of course this girl is quite a willing accomplice in his actions as well. She’s willing to do all kinds of things to establish her position by the side of the King.

And you really don’t want to know what gruesome thing they had to do, especially if you’re eating your tea right now.

Finally, a partner of mine and I were going through one of our usual rocky patches again. She had a friend whom I suspected was a partner. One day I came home and found them in my shed going through my selection of spare parts and she was giving him this and giving him that. I thought “what the hell was going on? He’s not having any of my spare parts. He can clear off” so we had a huge row. In the end this boy turned round and walked off, but not before hurling a few insults etc for good measure. He said “do you know what? Some of the stories she has told me, I haven’t half told some good ones around the town”. I replied “do you really think that I’m all that bothered with that kind of thing?”. It was a steering wheel and steering column and rack that she was handing out. That infuriated me beyond belief.

There are plenty of spare parts to hand out, that’s for sure. We had a huge pile of new stuff for the cars, much of which was never used. It’s all in my barn at Virlet and in the warehouse at Montaigut, and much of it is stuff that’s no longer available. It’s probably worth a small fortune sold off on the internet by someone who knows what they are doing.

Tea tonight was a taco roll, delicious as usual with rice and veg. Tomorrow there will be a leftover curry but I’ll have to make some more dough for the naan breads as I’ve now run out. I hope that the new batch will be as good as the last one. Plenty of garlic in it anyway, to keep the werewolves and vampires away

But now I have some printing to do – the prescription for the blood tests has arrived, as has the bon de transport for the trip to Paris and the hospital. I had a good chat with them, which included a discussion about tying in all of my hospital visits into a time when I am actually there. I can’t do with these last-minute things – it’s far too reminiscent of the bad old days and “… you are summoned to appear at 10:30 in the forenoon to answer to the aforementioned…”

It’s like the time when I was still at school and told my father that I was going to leave
"Why’s that?" he asked
"I’m going to be a policeman" I replied
"You’ll never be a policeman" he scoffed. "You don’t have the intelligence"
"Well they obviously think a lot about me" I retorted. "That’s four times this week already that they’ve asked me to go down to the station to help them with their enquiries"

Thursday 29th March 2024 – SO THAT’S THE …

… end of yet another Welsh course. And that’s a shame because I quite enjoyed this one and felt that I was actually learning something instead of just going through the motions.

It seems to me that it’s a pretty good idea to go on these short holiday courses that relate to courses that I’ve studied in the past because it’s first of all a way of catching up with everything and then it’s also a way of reinforcing the basics

As well as that, it keeps my wheels oiled over the long breaks.

So I now have to look for courses for over the next few holidays too. Some of those will keep me running too.

But at least after this course I can say unfedarddegarhugain which is how a Welshman of two hundred years ago would have said “31st”. You don’t ‘arf learn a lot on these courses.

What I’m currently learning though is how totally disorganised I am about going to bed. Once again, despite a desperate rush to be early, it was still 23:40 by the time that I crawled into bed and that’s still not good enough.

Especially if the night is somewhat disturbed as it was, with me hearing phantom alarms going off at strange times. But more of this anon

When the real alarm went off I was deep in the arms of Morpheus again and I wasn’t sure at first whether or not it was a phantom alarm but realising that it was for real, I fell out of bed and groped for the tensiometer.

15.9/9.9 this morning on the blood pressure, which contrasts with 15.4/10.2 from last night. so what wound me up in bed then?

After taking all of my medication I arranged everything ready for the nurse to call so that she doesn’t waste too much time. She rang my doorbell when she came to visit my neighbour so when she turned up here I was already sitting in the chair waiting.

She didn’t stay long for sorting out my legs but she did point out a few supplies that we will be needing in early course so I added them to the list that my cleaner will be taking to the chemist’s. And the cleaner taught me a new phrase that I shall remember and reuse with vigour and vim.

After the nurse had left I had a little listen to the dictaphone notes to fins out what was going on during the night. We were back with that crowd again at the Wistaston Memorial Hall. One of the people there was the girl with whom I was friendly and whose father was landlord of the Whore’s Bed at Walgherton. Someone mentioned something about knowing her pretty well and I came out with a remark “not as well as me, I hope” which made everyone laugh. The guy didn’t say anything else which cheered me up a little but I can’t remember anything else about this particular dream at all. It was as soon as I said that that I awoke and the rest of the dream evaporated

It’s a shame that that dream evaporated because that was a really good weekend, that. I know that I have mentioned it before, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall but for the benefit of new readers, of which there are more than just a few just recently, a rock group from Crewe with whom I was quite friendly was invited to play at one of the Festivals in the summer of 1973

They had no money so they arranged a concert at Wistaston Memorial Hall in order to raise the petrol money. Piles of us went and my friend and I made the acquaintance of two young girls, mine being the one mentioned above.

At the end of the concert the group still didn’t have enough money so they took with them anyone whom they could cram into their ageing, creaking Austin J4 van along with all their gear and who would make a contribution to the expenses. My friend and I went down on his motor bike.

We all had all kinds of adventures both on the road and at the festival that weekend, and I had a few adventures afterwards with the aforementioned young lady, but a long-distance romance wasn’t possible back then.

But it was thanks to her that the rock group “Strife” makes regular appearances in these pages and in my radio shows, because her brother knew their drummer. Consequently I met him a few times too and we are still in contact today.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed a group of us was discussing these murder mysteries. We came to the conclusion that Agatha Christie had disappeared to go into a nursing home to recover from a breakdown or something like that. We worked out by using one of our girls whom we arranged to disappear that we could follow the plot through fairly well but there was no reason to doubt in the end the official story because of course all that we were doing was some kind of speculation based on the facts rather than the facts themselves. It ended up with one of our girls going missing for several days and we working out where she was, and also with me going missing right at the end of it. But mine was because the alarm went off. The alarm was set for 01:30 and somehow it rang. Of course that was in the dream – it wasn’t the real alarm but nevertheless the false alarm thing actually awoke me while I was asleep having this dream. That’s a mystery to me too about this false alarm

It totally beats me why something so obscure as Agathe Christie’s disappearance in 1926 should rear its ugly head in one of my dreams. It was something that made headline news back at the time but it’s largely forgotten now and I’m totally surprised that it would be something that would spring to my mind during a nocturnal ramble.

But that’s what I mean though about the phantom alarm. I was convinced that it was a real one and I actually awoke and reached for the ‘phone to switch it off.

So what’s an alarm doing going off like that in the middle of a dream – an alarm that has nothing to do with either the dream or anything in real life?

Having finished the notes I prepared for the Welsh class. It didn’t take long because I’d already done most of it, having much more interest in this for some reason.

It actually passed off quite will too and I was really pleased. I quite liked the tutor and his little quirky habits, and I’ll sign up for other courses with Coleg Caerfyrddin whenever I get the chance. I’m determined to crack this one way or another.

My grandmother, if she were alive today, would really be impressed that I could speak Welsh. It’s a shame that she never taught my father, but Welsh-speaking was seen in a totally different light in the 1920s and 30s than it is today.

The cleaner stuck her head in with some of my medication too, and the stuff for the nurse. The rest of the stuff will come in early course.

The rest of the day has been spent dealing firstly with my LeClerc order, that needs to be sent off first thing in the morning if I want my buttered hot cross buns.

And I really do too. I opened the airtight tin in which they are stored and was absolutely overwhelmed by the smell. They really do smell like proper hot cross buns and look like hot cross buns too. All I need now is for them to taste like hot cross buns, and for that I need the butter.

The second task has been to deal with a problem that has arisen in the UK.

Despite having left the UK well over 30 years ago I still have “certain interests” there. I’ve felt for some time that I’ve been sitting on a kind-of time bomb, waiting for it to go off and sure enough, about three weeks ago it exploded.

Since then, I’ve had to gather my wits, gird up my loins, bite the bullet and any other metaphors that you care to name and think that at least, I’ve had all of this time to benefit by 30-odd years of peace, but now is the time to pay the price.

What annoys me is that if anything had been said beforehand, I wouldn’t have reaped the benefit that I had, but the issues would have been resolved much sooner. So, if anything, I’m annoyed at all the silence previously, not at the bomb actually going off

So now I need to get on and deal with it. Or, rather, have it dealt with, because I’m not going to the UK ever again.

The last time that I was in the UK for pleasure was in 2011. In 2013 I was there for half a day to pick up a lorry-load of slates to deliver to Central France and then in 2019 when Rosemary and I went to Aberdeen to pick up our ship to take up to the High Arctic of Canada. That’s quite enough.

Tea tonight was something from the European Burger Mountain, with pasta and veg. Simple and delicious thanks to the onion and garlic with the burger and to the spicy tomato sauce in which the pasta was soaked.

So early for once, I’m going to go to bed and dream of hot cross buns. But it will probably be something extremely obscure involving my family. Not a trace of anyone whom I would like to see, such as Zero, Castor and TOTGA

But talking of Agatha Christie though in a dream last night reminds me that Nerina once told me that she wished that she could have been Agatha Christie
"why is that, dear?" I asked
"Well, she married an archaeologist, Sir Max Mallowan"
"What’s that got to do with anything?"
"Well" she said "if I had married an archaeologist, the older I became, the more interested he’d be in me"

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!"

Tuesday 26th March 2024 – THE SMELLS IN …

… my kitchen are delicious right now.

Sitting in there cooling down at the moment is another honey flapjack, and as well as that, there are two dozen mixed nut and fig biscuits cooling too. And there would have been more biscuits too, and probably some other stuff besides, if I had a big oven

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … there’s a proper built-in oven sitting downstairs in Caliburn along with the unit to build it in, but it’s beyond my capabilities to bring it upstairs . How I would love to have this up here working properly with plenty of room to do stuff.

But I shall just have to dream about it right now and make the best of what I have.

And I did too, with a full little oven crammed to the gills with food happily baking., I’ve been a busy boy this afternoon. And just as well because I’d run out of flapjack and of biscuits and I needed some more.

It was a busy night last night too with everything that I needed to do and once more it was midnight or thereabouts when I finally made it into bed. I really need to be much better-organised than I am in the evening if I’m going to be in bed at a reasonable time.

It took much longer than I would have liked to go to sleep too so I didn’t have much in the way of decent sleep and I was really in no mood for anything when the alarm went off this morning.

Nevertheless I made it out of bed and the first thing that I did was to check the blood pressure. 15.9/10.0, compared to last night’s 17.4/12.0. That was quite high for last night so I wonder what had wound me up before I went to bed

Next stop the kitchen to sort out the medication, and then to arrange everything for Isabelle the nurse. And it’s a good job that I did because she was early for once and she doesn’t ring the doorbell downstairs to give me advance warning of her arrival as does her compadre.

She seems to think that there’s an improvement with my legs, but I can’t see it. I’m sure that she’s exaggerating, or maybe she’s just fed up of coming here every day like this.

After she had left I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night and, more importantly, who had come with me. Nerina and I had been apart for several years. I’d been working in the Social Services with children. After she’d been wherever it was that she’d been she came back. She was in a Ford Granada saloon, sitting in the front on the passenger side. When the car came and the driver stopped the vehicle she just sat there. I carried on with what I was doing outside. After a while she came out of the car and came over to see me. She said “after all these years that we’ve not seen each other, I’m here now and you ignore me”. I replied “I’m waiting for you to adjust yourself and get used to the idea of being back etc”. I also said that I was rather scared. She replied “you tell me your story now about all these disadvantaged children”. I wondered how I was going to tell it – which children I was going to mention because there were so many and different kinds of confusion that I didn’t really need because I wasn’t in any state to cope with this kind of issue at the moment

And if Nerina were to turn up here now after all this time, whether in a Ford Granada saloon or not, I’d certainly have a shock and probably wouldn’t be in any state to cope with that kind of issue.

But I do have to say that it wouldn’t be unwelcome in the sense that it would be if it were someone of the family in which I grew up. After all, I actually chose her so I must have liked her and you can’t unlike someone just like that. We were just driving down a very bumpy road and bits of our relationship simply fell off

Add to the fact that I was in a very dark place at the time and had so many problems of my own to deal with that there was no room in my head in which to fit any other problems.

As long as she doesn’t want me to tell her about Zero, Castor and TOTGA.

But I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that there’s more chance of her turning up at the door than anyone else of my family, I can say without any fear of contradiction.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed I was in the office at work. Someone rang up and asked to speak to “Paul”. I asked “Paul who?” because there were three or four but he didn’t know. He couldn’t read the writing so we stayed on the phone and deciphered the scrawl for a couple of minutes and found out who we thought was the correct Paul and I transferred the call. I had some post to distribute around the office so I went to take it before I went home. A couple of the girls were in so I asked them why the girls didn’t wear their school uniforms to work any more. They replied that the boss didn’t like it. I replied “never mind” and handed out the post to the correct people then came back into my room ready to pack up my stuff and leave. Someone, a guy, came into the office and asked “you aren’t leaving yet, are you?”. I replied “after I pack up, I am. Why?”. “I want to talk to you about a phone call I’ve just had”. “That’s nothing to do with me” I replied. “Someone asked to speak to ‘Paul someone’ and we worked out who it was and it was you so I passed the call through. That’s all that I did about this phone call. The rest of it is nothing to do with me whatsoever”. He began to search through the post on my desk as if he was looking for something so with nothing better to do I let him carry on and hoped that he’d be satisfied and clear off, and I could go home.

That’s usually the way to deal with people like that – let them get on with it and ignore them. It’s his time that he’s wasting, not mine. I’d just grab my coat and go home, and leave him in possession of whatever he would want to possess.

There was plenty of time to review my Welsh stuff for the course today but it didn’t go as planned as even though I felt keen and enthusiastic, which is a very rare situation these days, I still didn’t make much progress and in fact made something of a dog’s breakfast of my course.

It’s just that I simply can’t think, and when I can I can’t think quickly enough. And then nothing whatever is sticking in my teflon, non-stick brain

And that totally beats me into a state of despair. I’ve no idea how to fic it, no idea how to cure it and no idea how to cope with it either. In fact, all I know is that I’m a bit of a mess right now.

Still, as Bob Dylan said, "The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on"

And whose hair used to be a lovely, gorgeous shade of red when I knew her? But we won’t meet again some day on the avenue, unfortunately.

When the Welsh lesson was over I came to make my stuff.

For the flapjack it’s basically a mixture of oats, flour, butter, sugar and seeing as I don’t have any syrup, some honey. And there’s all kinds of seeds, dried fruit and chopped nuts in it too

It’s quite simple to make and very nutritious. It makes a change from the fruit buns that I usually make for breakfast.

And then the biscuits. That’s just a basic 10/8/4 mix of flour, butter and sugar, and added in were a pile of chopped almonds and brazil nuts and chopped figs, with some vanilla and orange essence of course.

Had there been room in the oven I could have added many more things in too such as oats, honey, coconut, other fruits. Your imagination can run totally wild with biscuits. A couple of dessert spoons of cocoa powder make nice chocolate biscuits too but that’s for maybe next time.

Tea tonight was a taco roll, delicious as usual with some of the stuffing left over from last night. There’s plenty left for a leftover curry too. I need to lengthen it I reckon, so there will be a small can of lentils or chick peas added in. I’m rather low on potatoes right now and I need my chips at the weekend.

So right now I’m going to hit the hay and home for a better day at my Welsh class tomorrow. I’m working on the principle that if you throw enough whatsit at a wherever, some of it may stick eventually. But it’s taking a long time.

And time is something that I don’t have much of. I feel like the actor that I saw in a film as a child – "Oh Lord give me patience! And hurry!"

But it’s not patience that I need. It’s success and achievement, rather like the kamikaze pilot from Crewe who flew 17 missions during World War II.

There was actually a Japanese kamikaze pilot in World War II who went to his instructor to complain. "I don’t know what it is" he said "but I keep on missing the ships. What am I doing wrong?"
"That’s not a problem" replied the instructor. "I’ll show you how to do it. But I’m only going to show you the once, and then you’re on your own."

Monday 25th March 2024 – THE FIRST DAY …

… of my Welsh course went pretty uneventfully today.

There was no-one in the class from any of my old stamping grounds, which was what I suspected and for which I am extremely grateful.

However there is someone on my course with whom I’ve been on a short holiday course before. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … this World is becoming far too small for my liking.

It’s like The Vanilla Queen, for example. Here’s someone who is from an island in the Canadian High Arctic. We bump into each other in Montreal, find ourselves on the same ‘plane to Edmonton, are staying in the same hotel in Edmonton and meet up next down a dirt track in, of all places, Yellowknife in the North West Territories.

Or like when I go away for a week to a remote Canadian village in the north of Quebec along the “Forgotten Coast”, stay in one bedroom in a two-bedroom house and find that the other bedroom is occupied by the solicitor from the next town down from Pionsat.

Sometimes I wonder what is going on in the ether when there seems to be someone somewhere shuffling the pack and moving the cards around.

Last night I was moving around very late after all of the delays and so on that seemed to be happening yesterday. In the end I was glad to be in bed even if there wasn’t going to be too much time to enjoy it.

It was a strange night too. There seemed to be such a lot going on for such a short time and I ended up having a disturbed sleep pattern

When the alarm went off I wasn’t at all ready and I would have given all that I had, and much more besides, to have stayed in bed for another couple of hours.

Nevertheless I hauled myself out and once the room stopped spinning around I took the blood pressure. 16.8/10.0, in contrast to 16.2/9.8 from the previous evening. Something must have wound me up during the night or else it was the disturbed sleep playing tricks.

In the kitchen I sorted out all of the medication and then tidied up the worktop. My hot cross buns are magnificent and I’m really looking forward to eating them, toasted and soaked in butter, but for now they are crammed into an airtight tin where they will remain until the Easter period.

Having done that I prepared the stuff for the nurse and it was just as well because he was early today and I didn’t even have time for a wash.

He did his stuff and that’s the last of him that I’ll see for a week. It’s his sidekick now for the next 7 days and I hope that she’s in a better humour than when she was here last.

Back in there I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. We were in the USA. My family was actually working as prison guards. If I wanted to see them I had to go to the prison and be grilled and generally quizzed over everything before I’d be allowed inside. This went on for ages that I’d come and go and see how they were etc. Then of course I became ill which meant that I couldn’t live on my own. It was coming towards the final situation when they told me that I’d have to move back. I decided to go back to the family for the last while so I was saying goodbye to a friend outside the prison. She watched me prepare and I made a gesture to the guards. One of them came over to find out why and I told her that I needed to be accompanied to go back into the prison because of my state of health. She accompanied me over the road bridge that they had there, through the first of the checkpoints and into the prison itself where everyone waiting. This went on several times and with each step I was becoming weaker and weaker.

So now you know the reason for the raised blood pressure. Firstly, the family put in an appearance and secondly, I was slowly shuffling off this mortal coil.

And that reminds me – I must do something about my end-of-life directive. One of the reason why I was being treated in Belgium for my illness was because I could choose the moment when I have had enough, without having to cling on to the bitter, painful and undignified end.

That’s not possible in France unfortunately but still I need to make everyone aware of my intentions. There must be some way of making sure that I make it to Switzerland or Belgium when the time comes and I need to begin to investigate the options and possibilities

One thing is absolutely certain though, and as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … having sat by the side of someone whom I liked for several months and watched her slowly die, that’s something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else, from the point of view of the sitter or the sittee.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed so having made good my escape I set off cross-country. I’d gone maybe 3 or 4 miles before I was grabbed by the ankle and pulled in towards a person hiding in a hedge. It turned out to be someone to do with the regional hostel. This person had me in a compromising position moving me onto one side, and running their hands all over me. Then being certain of who I was she radioed back to base and told her that there was a witness. The other girl was comfortable about who was in the way so I was marched over to where the other girl was. They held me upright and questioned me in front of this girl. They asked her if she recognised me at all. Of course she did and they told her that they could avenge her together

And I wish that I’d recorded the rest of that because it sounded so interesting. It’s a shame that I’ve missed off the front somehow but what goes on during the night is way beyond my comprehension.

Then we had a dream where a young boy was chasing a mother’s young daughter around. The mother decided to intervene because it was going to be rather too much. However it seemed that her daughter was apparently enjoying the attention that she was receiving from this young boy before the mother intervened.

And that’s usually the case too. Girls complaining about boys chasing them around, and then complaining when their mothers stop the boys from doing it. At least, that’s how it used to be when I was that age. It’s probably all totally different now and I’d be completely politically incorrect

In my day though, we used to play “hide and seek”. But in my case, I’d go off and hide in a cupboard and the others would never come to look for me.

Later on I had the works’ Ford Escort estate and was driving around in it when the exhaust fell off. I was in such a bad situation at work that I didn’t want to tell anyone about it so I pretended that nothing had happened and put it inside the car thinking that I’d do something at the weekend. Then there was an issue with the radio. That was irritating and annoying too. These 2 issues together would combine to make a big problem at work for me with this car. I didn’t say anything to anyone and resolved to put an exhaust on it myself and do it as soon as possible when I could get away from the office. All of a sudden there was a job at 16:30 – one of the officials wanted bringing back so at least I could dispose of the exhaust. I went to Barlow Brothers. They had a scrapyard that was at a traffic island that was about 2.5 miles down a certain lane. As I turned in I saw one of the brothers so I stopped for a chat with him. He said that I could dump it more-or-less where I was. I dropped it off and he made a few remarks. I asked if he had a good one second-hand. He said no, he was selling them all for racing cars. He let me have one anyway which we fitted. It sounded very rich and looked strange on the vehicle …fell asleep here

We did have a Ford Escort estate at work and it was just used in and around Brussels and had never ever been anywhere in its whole life.

One day when my car was being serviced and there were documents to take to Luxembourg I took the Escort. It ran pretty badly for about 150 kilometres when suddenly there was a “bang”, a huge cloud of black smoke for a moment, and then it ran like a dream afterwards. Nothing like a good run to burn out all the carbon coking up the cylinders.

There was also a scrapyard in Crewe called Barlow Brothers. As well as the usual run-of-the-mill stuff they had piles of interesting stuff like several Ford V8 Pilots, a Daimler ambulance and so on. I tried for years to prise a Mark II Zephyr estate, rare as hen’s teeth, out of them with no success.

It was run by two brothers, identical twins, which was very confusing if you were trying to carry on a conversation that you’d had the last time that you were there.

There was a whole lot more of stuff too but you don’t really want to know about it, especially if you’re eating your meal. I told you that it was a disturbed night

Having done that I prepared for the lesson and having made my coffee and grabbed a slice of flapjack we began. There are eight of us students in the class which is rather strange because I don’t think that any of us actually comes from Caerfyrddin. We seem to be scattered all around North-West Europe.

Several people, including Yours Truly, are from the north of Wales and that makes things confusing for everyone. I know that I’ve put my foot in it a couple of times and said “Gyda” and “Rwan” instead of “Efo” and “Nawr”.

The tutor though is really quiet and I have a hard time hearing him. He also has these silent pauses that seem to last for ever and make you think that his screen has frozen.

However, I’m not complaining. At least I’m on a course that will hopefully keep my wheels oiled.

After the course (during which I almost crashed out once or twice) I went for my hot chocolate. And then riding the porcelain horse afterwards I actually DID crash out, and even imagined someone bringing round a pile of meals on a large tray. That was strange.

While we’re on the subject of meals … "well, one of us is" – ed … my stuffed pepper was delicious tonight. I seem to have grasped the hang of cooking it in the air fryer.

So having washed my puttees and written up my notes I’ll do the rest of the chores and then go to bed.

Day Two of my lesson tomorrow and I hope that it’s as interesting as today’s. At least with only 8 students, we have plenty of participation time and that’s a big plus

And there are several reasons why it’s so good to go to live in Switzerland. The flag is a big plus, for a start.

I’ll get my coat.

Tuesday 19th March 2024 – I’M RATHER LATE …

… writing my notes tonight as I’m in the middle of an exciting, busy week this week.

We’re having a footfest right now – on Thursday there’s a World Cup qualifying match between Cymru and Finland, then on Friday there’s Cymru under-21s in a Youth Cup qualifying match against Lithuania.

On Saturday there’s league football where Y Bala entertain a stuttering Connah’s Quay Nomads, who last weekend lost their third game in a row for the first time in 9 years, and then Sunday in the Scottish FA’s Challenge Cup, it’s the final between Airdrie and TNS, where the latter attempt to bring the Cup out of Scotland for the first time ever apart from when Berwick Rangers won it.

Tonight though it was the turn of the Welsh Premier League’s representative 11 to take on England’s National League team at Stebonheath, the home ground of Llanelli FC.

The match was a very tight affair with few chances for either side but a beautiful free kick right on the stroke of half-time from Caernarfon’s Sion Bradley was enough to win it.

How ever it could all have been so different but for a brilliant save from Y Bala’s goalkeeper Kelland Absalom deep into stoppage time.

It’s not quite the heady 4-0 win at Caernarfon 2 years ago but it makes up for the 1-0 loss at Altrincham last season

It’s an exciting annual competition this, but wouldn’t it be nice if they could broaden the challenge a little and include semi-pro teams from Scotland and the two Irelands, and make it a real league.

That’s not all the football by the way, but the match in this strange European amateur challenge competition between second-division Llantwit Fadre and Enfield Town isn’t being broadcast anywhere as far as I can see.

That was an interesting match in the previous round when Llantwit Fadre, the minniows in the competition, knocked out the Danish club that had founded the competition.

Anyway, I digress … "again" – ed

Last night, despite finishing my notes with time to spare, there’s that much to do at the end of the evening that it was still later than I would have liked before I ended up in bed and it’s the kind of thing that is getting on my nerves.

But once in bed I actually had a good sleep and to my surprise, I was wide-awake quite early. So much so that I was actually up before the alarm went off. And it’s been a long time since that happened.

After taking the blood pressure – 14.2/8.5, so it must have been a calm, refreshing night because before going to bed it was 16.2/9.4 – I went off to take the medication and then did some tidying up of the medical stuff in the living room and rearranged it all.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered. The nurse apparently forgot me, or some such thing, because he never turned up to wind on my puttees. That was really annoying because I had to wait around when I had plenty of other things to do.

Mind you I’m seeing him in the morning when he comes to inject me and take my blood sample, so we’ll discuss the matter then.

There were the dictaphone notes to transcribe. Not many of them again, which is disappointing. I’d travelled to Limoges on a job. Then I was relaunching my delivery service. There was a big building there that was occupied by a company called Locanest which gave me the impression that it was actually one of these cubicle rental-types of places. I thought that that might be a good place to go in order to hand out some leaflets. I tracked down the building, parked up outside and went in. A followed the signs and walked through a door into a room where there were about 20 or 30 people buzzing around. This looked like Locanest’s head office but no-one took the slightest bit of notice of me, even the people who were coming past. After I’d been standing there a few minutes I said “it’s OK, don’t rush, don’t bother. I can stand here all day if I have to”. Some girl piped up something about “well, we all have our work to do, we all have our jobs to do. We have to do them here” to which I replied “yes. So as I said, I’m quite happy to stand around all day. We can all stand around all day and that will be fine”. Eventually someone came to see me and to talk to me.

Yes, I can be sarcastic in a crisis. The keys to this kind of problem are

  1. 1 – Unlimited time
  2. 2 – Unlimited money – well, in a realistic sense

It brings back many happy memories of AN EX-NEIGHBOUR OF MINE who in a similar situation once said "I’ll stay here as long as they will" and then if you have the time, you can grind them down with your persistence and patience.

A schoolfriend of mine once told me that his parents went to see someone in his office but he had persistently refused to see them in the past. So having been stonewalled by the receptionist yet again, they sat down at a table, took from a bag that they had taken a thermos flask of tea, a pile of sandwiches and a couple of good books, and prepared for a siege.

It didn’t take them long to be seen after that.

Of course, if you have the money too so that there’s no pressing need to be elsewhere, then it’s an even more comfortable situation to be in.

Unfortunately, these days, the competitive spirit in these kinds of situations is evaporating rapidly and the response now is to “call Security” and have you bodily ejected from the premises. As I said the other day, the world is changing, and it’s not changing for the better. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

So with no nurse, I prepared for my Welsh lesson. And despite putting a lot of effort into it, I still wasn’t happy with my performance today. I need to improve, as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … so here’s hoping that this Easter course will inject some life into me.

It was our last day today before Easter and lessons don’t restart until 9th April. So it’s a long time to go from after my Easter course finishes until we restart. I shall have to think of a cunning plan. Mind you, with all this football that I’ll be watching, there might be some more stuff that will stick if I’m lucky.

Towards the end of the lesson I caught myself just as I was about to have one of these moments where my lights go out. That could have been embarrassing had I slipped over the edge into the void so I was lucky. But it’s actually disturbing how easily it happens. What with that and my double vision, it’s a good job that I no longer drive.

While we’re on the subject of double vision … "well, one of us is" – ed … I rang the hospital 4 times ti cancel my appointment but with no luck at all to be put through to the Opthalmology department. Then I was in my lesson, and after the lesson it was too late.

That’s a shame, isn’t it?

This afternoon I’ve not done much. Just a pile of personal stuff. That took me up to teatime and my taco roll with rice and veg. Plenty of stuffing left for a base for a vegan curry tomorrow with my naan bread.

But were OK for cheese and so on at the moment because my faithful cleaner was at LeClerc and she stocked up. Apparently it’s selling out quite quickly so next time she goes, she’ll have to buy all that she sees

So with everything finished, I’m off to bed. I suppose that tomorrow I’d better start work again after a few lazy days once the nurse has been to inject me, if he remembers.

But I’m sorry that I missed that eyesight test. I suppose that I could always reply by saying "I couldn’t see the entrance to the building" – that would confuse them.

The last time that I went to have my eyes tested, the optician told me "I’m terribly sorry, but the results of your tests aren’t very good"
"That’s bad news" I said. "Can I see them?"
"Probably not" said the optician

Tuesday 12th March 2024 – I’VE ALMOST FALLEN …

… asleep not once, but twice, just sitting here on my chair and only a dramatic grasp at the edge of the chair on both occasions has stopped me from dropping off, in both senses of the word.

In one of them I’d actually gone as far as having a dream, fitting the clutch cable to a transverse engine car but some of the strands of cable snapping. It was amazing, because on both occasions I’d had no warning of going off to sleep.

It’s not as if they have put me back on that horrible potassium stuff either, so it must be one of the other pile of medicaments. But it really tells you about what a state I’m in when we have this issue about side-effects and there are so many of the medicaments that I can’t work out which one it is.

For two pins I’d dump the lot and let nature take its course
"Have you thought of an ending?”
“Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant."

as Frodo and Sam discussed in LORD OF THE RINGS. I know that mine will be anyway – I have been told so – but at least “while there’s life there’s hope”, as Cicero once told us. Dum spiro, spero.

That’s a far different position than a couple of weeks ago when I was all ready to throw in the towel but honestly, I don’t know where I am these days.

Last night though, I know that I was in bed. After relaxing for a short while I went and did everything that needed doing and crawled off to bed, much later than I wanted but that’s how things are going these days.

When the alarm went off I was watching a fork-lift truck load some stuff on a pallet onto something. There had been something going on about sugar, sugar in its nitro-cellulose form is extremely harmful. A company had sold some and another one had bought them, and there was an argument about who was responsible for ensuring that it complied with the regulations. That was what was going on at the time.

With that kind of dream, I’m surprised that the alarm going off didn’t frighten me to death. “Start the day with a ‘bang'” I say.

First thing that I did this morning was to check the blood pressure. 17.1/9.8 this morning, compared with 18.4/10.5 last night.

It’s always a good sign if it decreases at night, from some points of view. On the other hand, it’s quite often a good sign if it increases, but the kind of events that would cause that are few and far between. Usually, if it increases during the night, it’s always for the wrong reasons.

Next thing was to sort out the medication for the morning, followed by a trip to the bathroom to deal with my feet. There’s no doubt that this vaseline cream is making a real difference to my dry legs and feet. I hope that the improvement continues

And while we’re on that subject … "well, one of us is" – ed … the nurse rang up to see if I was at home. She’d heard that I’d gone to hospital last week.

To put her at her ease I told her that I was back, and we also had a chat about the new prescription. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow because all the stuff that she needs isn’t here yet.

Back in here I transcribed the rest of the dictaphone notes from the night. There was an important series of exams that my girlfriend was taking. She needed to have a year in tutelage under the relevant tutor in a relevant subject. Actually she’s not been as faithful as she ought to have been with this course that she’d been following but when I went to see the person who was supervising it I was told with shock that she wasn’t going to be eligible because the person who had been guiding her had left the University after six months. Someone else had taken over but my girlfriend hadn’t taken the necessary steps to introduce herself so she was basically voided. This was really awful news but the examiner suggested a way around He said “knowing you, I’m surprised that you haven’t contacted the departed tutor directly to explain the situation and have her give your girlfriend the certificate directly even though she’s no longer at the University. She’s married and gone to live in Scotland but you should be able to find her and contact her. If she’s satisfied that your girlfriend has followed the course and done the necessary work etc, there’s no reason at all why she can’t issue the certificate of presence or whatever its called to prove that she’s followed that course for a twelve-month period but you’ll have to be quick because all the paperwork needs to be in very shortly. It looks as if we had work to do, my girlfriend and me.

And a girlfriend? I wish that I knew who she was. She won’t have been anyone we’ve met so far on our travels, that’s for sure. As I’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I wish that I could put names to these girls who have been appearing every now and again, and for several reasons too.

As for the “knowing you, I’ surprised that you haven’t …” – it seems that even in my dreams people are beginning to know me quite well and that’s rather disturbing. I prefer to passer inaperçu – pass by un-noticed and it worries me when people begin to recognise me.

Especially when they recognise something like “… I’m surprised that you haven’t …” – and it’s in a dream too. That’s what I call “worrying”.

Then there was something about an orange Cortina that had to be taxed. It would mean queueing at the local Tax Office for hours. We’d done all of the paperwork etc already. We’d bought some new parts for the vehicle. We’d been to Minibits for them. We noticed on the way round that on the corner of Flag Lane where it turns round were shops that had wire grilles put all over the windows. We noticed that they’d been working there for a day or two and we wondered what they were doing. They were actually moving the wire grilles down one position – it looked as if they’d installed the wire grilles on the wrong windows and were just moving them further along the street, these grilles. The first window was being missed out. It was rather puzzling. I went into work where someone asked me if I’d seen the Ryanair van. I said “I’ve just seen it in Flag Lane”. He asked “are you sure? It should have been here a while ago”. I replied “yes” so he said “I’ll contact Head Office to say that the van’s not been here but it’s been seen in Crewe at 15:15”. It worried me why he was being so precise about this. We went into Minibits to pick up some bits. I made a comment that he could open his windows now that the wicked European Union has moved its grilles away from his windows. The girl who was serving me growled a little and opened them but it didn’t make much difference in there. It was still dark. Then we had to go along to queue up to tax this orange Cortina. Just as we were standing in the queue with the papers ready to pounce on an open window the dream ended.

Now, Minibits in Crewe was a place to remember in the 1980s. It was run by an old guy called Ken and was a dirty old shop on a street corner in Crewe, full of all kinds of stock for minis, stuff that he had bought probably 30 years earlier and was all covered in dust.

As Fords became more popular in the early 1970s he began to accumulate Ford bits and pieces. They too sat and gathered dust for years.

We had a trade card for a car spares warehouse in Manchester but rarely used it because he was still selling stuff at 1970s prices. That didn’t matter as long as you blew off the dust.

And as mechanically a Ford Cortina MkIII, MkIV and MkV were all the same car, stuff from 1971 would still fit cars from the 1980s.

Body panels too. He had a contact in a metal fabricator’s in Oswestry and they produced pattern-part body panels for all kinds of cars. Just cut out the rot and weld one of the correct panels in place. I still have tons of those that either I never managed to use, bought for stock or bought for projects like the 2000E saloon in the warehouse in Montaigut.

What would they be worth now?

So many plans and projects that I had on the go or on the back burner, and look where we are now.

Never mind though. As Gandalf said, "no need to brood on what tomorrow may bring. For one thing, tomorrow will be certain to bring worse than today, for many days to come. And there is nothing more that I can do to help it. The board is set, and the pieces are moving"

Then I was back in that dream again … "which dream?" – ed … still trying to load that Land Rover but it wasn’t as easy as I had thought it was before because there was a big sack on the floor and with all the stuff in my hands I couldn’t bend down to pick it up and my arms wouldn’t reach low enough to the ground to pull it. I was stuck in this really awkward position with a huge pile of boxes in my hands and the thing that I needed on the floor. I couldn’t make any progress with regards to putting the stuff in the back of the Land Rover. I was stuck in that position just like that.

So have I missed yet another dream? Judging by the timestamps, with only 20 minutes between this one and the last one, it can’t have been much of one, if there was one that has been missed.

Having finished the notes, then armed with a mug of instant coffee, which is not like me at all, I prepared for my Welsh lesson.

To my surprise the Welsh lesson passed quite well and I was rather pleased with what I’d done, which makes a change.

It just goes to show you what you can do with a couple of hours of preparation. I shall have to do it more often, that’s for sure

And that reminds me. While we’re on the subject of Welsh lessons … "well, one of us is" – ed … tomorrow morning I need to look for a course to cover the Easter period. I have to keep the pressure on. I’m using the philosophy of “if you throw enough whatsit at a wherever, some of it might stick”.

First job this afternoon was to sort out the webhosting renewal – “bank card declined”.

That’s no surprise seeing as it’s a new card. I had to do a huge pile of virtual paperwork and then still it wouldn’t work. So that involved an exchange of mails. It’s a good job that renewal is 30 days away otherwise I would have run out of time at this rate.

But that reminds me. While we’re on the subject of webhosting … "well, one of us is" – ed … the webhosting for these sites of mine isn’t cheap at all.

You’ll see some “Amazon” links aside and occasionally, some links crop up in the text. I’m an Amazon affiliate so if you make your next Amazon purchase by using one of these links, it costs you no extra but I earn a small commission. That helps towards the cost of web-hosting.

After that I had an exciting job – helping someone with a video that he’s making of several Welsh football grounds. I have some strange tasks sometimes.

The rest of the afternoon was spent writing out radio programme notes.

Tea was a taco roll with stuffing (and inserted peanuts) veg and rice, just as delicious as always. And there’s enough left over for a good start at a leftover curry tomorrow, which is always nice, especially if soya yoghurt and naan bread are involved.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. I’m tired and I want to go to bed. I really have a struggle to keep going these days

But while we’re on the subject of football grounds … "well, one of us is" – ed … I’m reminded of the woman who went to her solicitor’s to ask him to obtain a divorce from her husband
"On what grounds?" asked the solicitor
"Manchester United’s, mainly" she replied "but he has taken her to several away matches"