Tag Archives: xcl465x

Saturday 22nd January 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… else today that I don’t normally do and haven’t done for years, and that it to take a couple of painkillers.

Usually pain doesn’t bother me all that much but the pain in my jaw today has been agony and if I were a football coach I’d seriously be contemplating taking out all my teeth and fitting seats instead.

Things weren’t so bad this morning if I remember correctly – and I can’t remember very much because it was something of a mad scramble to leave the bed. I’d switched off the alarm at 07:30 and thought “I’ll just give it 5 minutes” and the next thing I remember was that it was 07:59 and I hadn’t make it out of bed when the 08:00 alarm went off.

So after the medication it was a slow start to the day but eventually I managed to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were piles of them too. I was making myself something with chips last night and I wanted more chips so I went to find another potato. But the only potatoes that I could find were far too big for what I wanted. While I was doing that I was at the back of the shop. We were having problems with all sorts of people who were coming in and out of the shop and trying to come through to the back which of course was off limits. Then one of the younger girls shouted and said “an educated while man has just gone out of the back door” so I dashed out to see. The back door had been left wide open and there was a car on the back with a broken wheel which I think I must have heard pull up because I heard a strange noise a few minutes earlier. Then I was on my way home. It was North America. There were kids playing around. One kid jumped up to grab hold of a balcony or something on a first floor and worked him or herself along to where there was a wall where they could lower themselves down and walk away. Another kid did the same thing and became tangled up with the first kid and they couldn’t move. Someone shouted for help so someone came out of a nearby house. The 1st kid took it upon himself to leap off so he swung off with his hands. He fell on the pavement really awkwardly near where I was so I started to go over to see him

We’d been skiing, a party of us, but the weather wasn’t really good enough. There wasn’t really all that much snow. I’d started out by being in Montreal and was telling a few people about my trip somewhere. I mentioned that the snow was about a metre deep which took them by surprise. They thought that the snow was more like here, basically an iced-over covering. Then we were preparing to go skiing. There were several girls in our party but one in particular I was quite fond of. As it happened when she came to rent her ski equipment I was already in the queue so I fetched her equipment for her. We chatted a little but she didn’t seem to be very enthusiastic but she didn’t seem keen to wander away either. Skiing was extremely difficult because you were OK on the flats and on the edges but it was the transition from the flats to the edges that caught out a lot of people. It wasn’t really enjoyable. When it went dark we came back and I collected up the equipment. I didn’t want to be away too long because there was some kind of dance or disco that night and I had my eyes set on persuading this girl to come with me. I was busy trying to fire myself up to some kind of positive mood because when you feel positive things seem to go much easier. When I went to hand in this ski equipment there were loads of people in suits, businessmen, hogging all the way round the bar and you couldn’t get to the bar at all to hand over your things, never mind order a drink or anything with all of these businessmen types in the way and they didn’t want to move. Even when the Chancellor of the Exchequer turned up no-one would make room for him. All the time I felt that it I don’t organise myself very soon I’ll miss my opportunity such as it is with this girl, aren’t I? And we’ve been here before, haven’t we?

I’d had to go to the hospital in Granville so off I went. It wasn’t situated where it is but beyond LeClerc on the road to Villedieu. I’d been there doing a few things, talking to a few people whom I’d met on holiday with Adventure Canada. By the time I’d finished, I’d written a letter so I said goodbye to a few of these people but one of these people just totally ignored me which I thought was strange. I looked in at the reception desk but the people I’d been talking to had said about the hospital that was somewhere else in the town is closed after 11:00 so we’d been making jokes about “what happens at 11:30 if you cut your finger off?” etc. I went to the reception but there was no-one there so I took their sellotape and sealed up my letter. The receptionist came and I asked her about the hospital. Where do you go?. She told me of a hospital somewhere to the north 25 kilometres away which was a different on to the one that someone else thought was the nearest. So I left and went down to the car park. I had three vehicles on the car park, Caliburn, my red Cortina estate and another one that I’d bought. When I arrived, the other vehicle had gone, the red Cortina estate had been set on fire and had been put out and the back doors of Caliburn were open and everything that was in the back except for one or two little bits and pieces had been taken. I thought “I know what’s going to happen next. They are going to turn up having taken away one vehicle and take away the red Cortina estate” so I started it up ready to move it. I had a look at it and with the paintwork really blistered, even though i starts and runs the police are going to be quite interested in the state of the vehicle. I’m going to have to spend a weekend just preparing it and giving it a quick spray-over just so I can continue to use it without being unduly bothered by the police. And then what was I going to do with Caliburn because if they came back and I’d removed the red Cortina and that had gone, they’d take Caliburn away

So there I was on my way back, having stepped back more-or-less into the previous dream where I’d stepped out, driving past a house and a woman I know from here was tending her garden. I waved to her. A little further on she had some kind of cockerel that I didn’t recognise so I stopped to ask her the breed of the bird. She pointed to a heap of rubbish on the other side of the road. She said “there’s a letter for you over there in that heap of rubbish about an appointment. I went over to have a look and it was all the stuff out of the back of Caliburn, the false floor, the mattress and several other things. A little further on there was Caliburn. He’d been hit in the side so there was a huge dent down the side, a window was broken so they had obviously hit it with another car to move it. Everything had gone out of the back except a few bits and pieces. Strawberry Moose was there so I rescued him. There was no real point in doing anything with Caliburn because just hitting him with that car had damaged him irreparably. There was absolutely nothing to be done. It wasn’t even worth taking away the stuff that was still in the back of it.

And all of that news about Caliburn and my red Cortina estate was enough to put anyone off.

By the time that I finished all of that it was lunchtime so I went to make my sandwiches. And they ended in the bin too because by now with my aching jaw I couldn’t eat them. It was soup with pasta, and aren’t I glad that I bought that job lot of vegan soup from Noz when I did?

This afternoon I finished off the dictaphone entries and started to edit and re-upload some of the previous journal entries that were incomplete. I’ll finish the others in due course

Tea was an overcooked pasta with overcooked veg in a vegan cheese sauce. And it was still difficult to eat. I’m hoping that whatever it is that is causing this pain will go away pretty soon so that I can have some nice things to eat. If I carry on like this much longer it will be soup and ice cream and nothing else.

But not tomorrow. It will be toast and porridge, with pizza for tea, unless something dramatic happens.

Monday 5th October 2020 – IT’S AN ILL-WIND …

Kite Surfing Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall…. that doesn’t blow anyone any good, so they say.

And that certainly seems to be the case even with Storm Alex. You can see the waves and the whitecaps that have been caught by the wind, and there are a couple of kite-surfers making the most of the horrendous weather, and a very interested seagull intent on watching them at it.

It must have been the same ill wind that blew me out of bed this morning, because I was up and about this morning before the third alarm. “Up”, anyway. I’m not quite sure about the “about” though.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And while you admire the photos of the waves crashing down on the Plat Gousset in the aftermath of Storm Alex, I’ll tell you all about it.

Yes there was definitely something going on during the night but I picked up the dictaphone and promptly forgot it again. No idea what it was. But after a minute it all came back to me, as the skunk said when the wind changed. It was vaguely something to do with being at work. Someone whom I knew from school was there and someone else and we’d been spending a lot of time chatting. I wasn’t doing any work because I was retired officially. I was just keeping on going as long as they would let me so I was spending most of my time talking or reading books. One or two people had been to see me so we’d talked and then I’d been reading a book hidden in the corridors between the library shelves. It came to coffee time so I went to get my coffee.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI’d met someone there and we’d had a chat, talkng about football and the football pitch down below. I said that I’d seen the Belgian Prime Minister playing there. This brought a howl of incredulity for he was a big guy, the Belgian Prime Minister. I said that it was only for a couple of seconds and he was substituted. But there were a couple of other people there having some kind of fitness thing. There were 2 guys there streets ahead of everyone else with their fitness so I asked if they should be signed up to a club. He said “no, they aren’t interested in football although they coach some team for their children, something like that”. Then I was on my own and carried on doing a load of stuff, messing around in this canteen. I thought that I’d better get back to my desk anyway so I picked up my breakfast and gently ran through the offices. That schoolfriend was there and he looked at me with a bit of surprise so I waved at him and carried on running to get back to my desk in a hurry and I couldn’t remember what happened next.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhat later there was an old couple and they had a job working for someone. because they had very long arms, or the husband had, long arms and very thin hands he was often asked to do some tasks. On one particular occasion he had to put his hand through a wheel or something to reach the other side to play about with something on the vehicle. He was doing this and suddenly the vehicle rolled back. Of course he had his arms through the spokes and that broke his arm.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever at some point during the night I was trying to close the rear doors like Caliburn’s on a van. For some reason, when I pulled the handle down the pegs weren’t coming down far enough to fit into the bodywork to hold the door closed. I was with, I think, the same schoolfriend as before and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get these pegs to come out far enough. I thought that I could conceivably get in and close the door from inside and climb back out through the window because there was no glass in the aperture in the back (I was confusing myself by now with MY RED CORTINA ESTATE . Then I noticed that the doors were rotten and I thought that maybe I could get some more doors for it but for some reason I just couldn’t get this door to shut.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe same ill-wind that was blowing us all into next week blew me into a frenzy this morning. Just for a change, I had a bad attack of motivation and I was able, to my own surprise and probably to yours as well, to sit down and in one swell foop I completed a radio programme from start to absolute finish.

It’s all totally completed, one hour’s worth of it, and been listened to and checked.

We had the usual break for lunch and afterwards, I had a little task to perform because Saturday’s Kefir mix is now good and ready.

Kefir Mix Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI took three juice-oranges and whizzed them into oblivion, and then strained the juice out through a conical sieve into a large 2-litre jug. Then I gently and slowly poured out the kefir mix through a mesh coffee filter into the jug with the juice, taking care that the grains of Kefir remained covered with liquid. There should be a couple of inches of liquid left in the jar.

Finally, I strained the combined liquid back through the coffee filter (which I had placed in a large funnel) into a couple of bottles and capped them.

Having done that, I added 40 grams of sugar to the liquid that remained, three slices of lemon and two halves of a fig, and then a litre and a half of water. That’s now brewing in the jar and will be good and ready by the time that I return from Leuven.

That was about 90 minutes out of my day all told but nevertheless, by as early as 15:30 it was completed and ready to be heard. That was the moment for me to go out for the afternoon walk.

Fog in English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an old headline in an English Newspaper about 100 or so years ago – “Fog In The Channel – Continent Cut Off”.

At the moment, it’s not the Continent that has been cut off by the fog but the Ile de Chausey. You can’t see a thing out there today, despite the howling gale that’s blowing around today. There is in fact a fishing boat that’s out here someone – I’ve seen a photo of it leaving port this morning in the storm – but there’s no possibility of knowing where it is in this kind of weather.

As well as that, I’ve no idea where anyone else is either. Probably at home, I reckon, because there was no-one at all out there this afternoon and I don’t blame them for one moment.

Waves Breaking Over Le Loup Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWending my weary way around the headland I was met by an enormous blast of wind that almost bowled me over.

The wind was raging into the Baie de Mont St Michel and even though the tide was quite well out, the waves were being blown in with an impressive amount of force and the poor little Le Loup, the marker light that marks the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was taking the brunt of it.

The yacht school was not out there in the bay today either and that’s hardly any surprise at all. And that reminds me that I still have to go and talk to them about lessons. I should be seizing opportunities like this.

Les Epiettes Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo chance of running along the top of the wall in this wicked wind so I strolled gently along to the viewpoint overlooking the Chantier Navale.

We are now back up to four boats because we now have a nouvelle arrivante in there this afternoon. I couldn’t see a name on her but she looks as if the might be Les Epiettes, the boat that belongs to the French Département de Ponts et Chaussées – the Ministry of Roads and Bridges.

She’s certainly carrying the same official Government colours and so it’s an official boat, and Les Epiettes has been the one that has been around here in the area. We saw it over at the Ile de Chausey when we were there with Spirit of Conrad in July

Chausiais La Grande Ancre Coelacanthe Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe know that there’s a fishing boat that’s gone out to sea this morning, but it seems that it’s the only one that is.

There are plenty of other boats moored in the harbour that haven’t put to sea today. From left to right we have Chausiais, the freighter that takes supplies and equipment out to the Ile de Chausey, la Grande Ancre, a small freighter that seems to undertake a variety of tasks from transporting tractors out to the mussel farm on the Ile de Chausey to going out to catch a load of shellfish herself.

On the right is Coelacanthe, the sister ship to Le Tiberiade that we have just seen in the Chantier Navale. She’s one of the biggest trawlers in the port so if she’s not out at sea then things must be nad out there.

Traffic Lights Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the streets of the old Medieval City within the walls are very narrow.

Just recently there has been a great deal of work done on the streets in there and it looks as if there is more going on there today. We have another set of traffic lights at the Porte St Jean so presumably they are working on the road in the one-way system somewhere in there. What I’ll have to do, if the weather allows me to go out this evening, is to go and find out where they are. I don’t recall seeing any notices about there.

By this time I was totally fed up of the wet weather so I turned for home and came in. There was a pool of water at the foot of the stairs, presumably blown underneath the door by the wind.

While I listened the radio programme that I had prepared, I went through the photos that I’d taken and edited them. And there was a distraction as I had to hunt down an image file that was lost in the depths of my computer.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter my hour on the guitar, tea was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a pepper remaining, followed by the last of the strawberry tart with coconut soya dessert, following which I went out for my evening stroll.

The wind had dropped somewhat by now but still quite blustery, and there were a few squalls of rain swirling around. Nevertheless there was still the heavy fog and it was difficult to see anything out at sea. There was no-one about at all which is no surprise so I ended up having quite a comfortable run all the way along the footpath under the walls in the wind and rain.

Once I’d recovered my breath, I carried on walking and eventually ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t difficult to gather what was going on due to the noise. You could hear it from half-way around the walls.

The tide is now about an hour and a half from high but nevertheless the waves are really intense in the storm and are crashing down with a considerable amount of force on the promenade at the Plat Gousset. Just imagine what it’s going to be like at high tide if it keeps up like this.

The weather being a little calmer tonight than it was on Saturday, so I could hang around for a little longer tonight. The photos are a little better too because of that but I’d love to be able to improve my technique. Don’t forget that I’m working on the edge of the technology that I have.

Road Works Rue Cambernon Rue Notre Dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving watched the storm for a few minutes I turned round and ran off down the full length of the Square Maurice Marland.

Having recovered my breath I walked through the alleyway and down the Rue Notre Dame towards home. My eye was open for whatever it was that the traffic lights at the Porte St Jean were controlling, and here at the corner of the Rue Cambernon and the Rue Notre Dame I discovered the issue.

It was far too dark to look into the hole to see what was happening, but I could certainly hear the noise of running water. It sounds as if there’s a burst water main down there. The fact that parking is now forbidden on the way up to the church seems to indicate that they’ll be digging up there tomorroz.

Trawler Unloading At Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was used to the weather so I went for a wander around the walls.

The other night we saw a fishing boat unloading at the fish processing plant but tonight there seems to be three of them currently unloading. There’s another one in the darkness just there too, and a few more over on the other side of the harbour looking as if they are making ready to leave for the open sea.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my hat comes off to all of those heading out to sea in weather like this. I stood there and watched them too, and then turned on my heel and ran on back to the apartment.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m off to bed. I’m off on the train tomorrow to my appointment with Destiny so I need to be on form. I need to do some tidying up before I go and I must also remember to feed my sourdough before I set off.

It’s all go in here, isn’t it?

Sunday 20th May 2018 – WHAT A NICE SURPRISE!

Yes, I had a video call from Alison this evening. Only the second that I think that I’ve ever had. So as well as a very long chat, she also had a conducted tour of the apartment.

Mind you, it would have been more interesting had I tidied up the place first because it hasn’t been tidied since before I went to Belgium. I really must try to organise myself better.

But it’s not likely to happen today. It’s Sunday and so on Sunday we don’t do any work at all – just sit around and vegetate. There’s not even an alarm to awaken us, so being awake and up and about at 08:20 is rather disappointing.

But tha hadn’t stopped me from being off on my travels during the night. I was wandering around the ring road in Leuven looking for a bus to take me to my hospital appointment in Brussels (exactly!) but I was carrying a big orange fuel container (in fact, one that I have back on the farm) full of petrol – about 20 litres of it in fact – and it was flaming heavy. And so then I thought to myself “what don’t I take it to the place where I have left my red Cortina estate XCL 465 X (actually, the parking spot that I have for Caliburn), fuel her up with it, and then run for the bus? An hour and a half is plenty of time”. And so I decided to do that. But even in the middle of a nocturnal ramble I was able to assure myself that I was going to look pretty foolish when I arrived there because the Cortina was elsewhere – as in the Auvergne. So what would I be doing with 20 litres of petrol for it in Leuven?
A little later I was having coffee with an Arab at some kind of harbourside café. We were watching hordes of people swarm aboard a ferry boat of some description and he was telling me that he had to board it shortly. I told him that I thought that he should be on it already because it was looking very full to me and he might not find a place. He replied that admission to the ferry was by ticket only, he already had his and that it had been stamped as valid and accepted for the voyage. So whatever happened, he could just walk down onto the boat and take his place. It all sounded rather nebulous to me.

And in keeping with my new mode of eating, I didn’t have breakfast this morning. I’m only going to eat when I’m hungry, not when the clock strikes. So I had a brunch – at 12:21 to be precise.

This afternoon was the most important game in the Welsh Premier League’s calendar. The European play-off final. The less-successful teams in the league have been competing in a knock-out tournament with the winner taking the final place in European competition with its guaranteed minimum prize of £220,000 and which could rise to as much as £3,000,000 depending upon success in the Europa League.

Cefn Druids from Cefn Mawr in the outskirts of Wrexham lined up against Cardiff Metro – 5th v 6th in the League. And the match was rather less than exciting unfortunately. But that’s hardly surprising considering what was at stake. It was decided by just one goal from the Druids during a scramble in the goalmouth.

But it could have been a totally different story had the Mets attacker sidefooted the ball into the net right on half-time instead of blazing over an open goal from 5 yards out. Hang his head in shame – that must be one of the most expensive misses in history.

We’ve had the usual walks, the usual vegan pizza and the chat with Alison.

And now we’re going to have an early night. It’s Monday tomorrow so I suppose that I’d better show some willing and start to tidy up the place a little.

Friday 27th October 2017 – HERE’S ANOTHER …

… morning where I was up and about before the second alarm.

It wasn’t quite such an early night as I was expecting, but once I’d gone to sleep I’d really gone, And it was the deepest, most comfortable sleep that I have had for quite some considerable time.

I had been on my travels too, at the airport in my red Cortina estate. Taxiing of couse, picking up a crowd of people and their luggage. And it was a tight squeeze to fit everything and everyone in.

After breakfast I had a little rest and then cracked on with some things that needed doing on the Internet. I ended up at the Siege of Sidney Street and the Aliens’ Act of 1905, and when you research into all of that you’ll find out that there is nothing whatever that is new under the sun. The names might change but the news remains the same.

After a lunch, I went for a walk.

beach granville manche normandy franceIt’s half-term here in France so there are loads of people about.

The tide was going out so despite the cold wind that was blowing, people were down on the beach having fun, although it wasn’t like summer of course.

I walked around the walls to the steps down to the back of the casino. There were even one or two people swimming out there farther around towards Donville-les-Bains. Sooner them than me, that’s all that I can say.

First stop was the bank. Check on the state of the bank accounts (which are not too healthy after my exertions in North America) and to liberate some cash. First cash that I’d drawn out for quite some considerable time.

Next stop was the library to fid out what courses and exhibitions are taking place. But a pair of more unhelpful librarians I have yet to meet. They looked at me as if I had just landed from the moon.

gravel port de commerce granville manche normandy franceI went round onto the port afterwards. And it looks as if either Victress or Pluto is about to pay us a visit.

This last couple of days a huge pile of gravel has accumulated on the quayside and we know that they come in here every couple of weeks or so to pick up several thousand tonnes of gravel for the UK.

That’s about a good ship-load to go back to the UK. But it shows you what kind of bad state the UK economy finds itself when it even has to import its gravel from abroad.

port de commerce granville manche normandy franceThat’s not all either. Here, there’s a pile (and I do mean a pile) of insulation, a good couple of lorry-loads of steel pipes, several pallets of water, and tucked behind a container is a Ford with a Jersey registration.

All of this can only mean one thing. And that is that Grima is about to pay us a visit too.

She’s the old Shetland Islands ferry that brings the scrap over from the Channel Islands and goes back with a return load of whatever it is that they need over there.

Back here I crashed out for an hour or two. Well away I was too, and I wasn’t particularly polite to the door-to-door religious person who disturbed me.

reunion publique haute ville granville manche normandy franceAnd later I went round to the public hall here. There’s some work to be done in the old town – some of the water pipes are almost 100 years old and still contain lead, so there’s a project to uproot and replace them.

Not that it interests me, but it’s a way of meeting people. Brigitte, one of my neighbours, was there too and we had a chat and went for a coffee. And a coffee was essential too. It’s the first time that I’ve ever been to a public meeting in France where there has been no buvette.

They have a lot to learn in Normandy.

My stuffed pepper was delicious. Boulghour, tomato and onions seasoned with black pepper and olive oil was the stuffing. With frozen peas, fresh carrots and pasta in tomato sauce it really was beautiful. I’ll have to try some more of that.

Having been out twice today, I didn’t go out for my evening stroll. That’s quite enough.

And tomorrow I’m off to the dechetterie (I hope that it’s open) and some more frozen food.

Wednesday 13th September 2017 – IN THE HAPPY VALLEY CEMETERY …

police exhumation order happy valley cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017

  1. Our Hero, looking for the grave of Gilbert Blake, arguably the most famous Labradorian of the early 20th Century
  2. Man in digger, digging a hole
  3. two men in suits, watching aforementioned man in digger digging aforementioned …

Our Hero, quite casually and lightheartedly to man in digger –
“what are you doing? Putting them in or digging them up?”
Two men in suits – “We’re police officers. Would you mind leaving the scene immediately?” (You could easily imagine the “or else …”)
Later that evening on Goose Bay Radio “following a court order obtained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an exhumation was carried out in Happy Valley Cemetery this afternoon …”

Yes, it’s all been happening here today, hasn’t it?

Last night was another rather restless night.

I seem to be having them in cycles just now – a batch of good nights followed by a batch of not-so-good nights. And it’s annoying in a way, but can’t be helped.

But I did manage to go out on my travels last night, which is a good thing. It involved my red Cortina estate XCL 465X. The back axle had locked up and so I had taken it for repair. When they opened the halfshaft, a pile of water, not oil, flooded out.
“Ohh, we’ll have to wait for another 41 rinses then” said the mechanic. That filled me full of foreboding because that was going to work out to be extremely expensive and I wasn’t sure whether I could afford the cost of the repairs.

It was nevertheless a struggle to leave the bed and when I did finally make it to the living room, mine host was already there preparing breakfast.

I waited quite a while for my tablets to work and then I joined my housemates for breakfast. And this is the first place on my travels where I have ever been offered soya milk. Apparently mine host’s wife drinks it.

north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Once I’d gathered my wits about me, Strider and I set out for North West River to see what had happened to the guy whom I was supposed to meet.

At the Labrador Interpretation Centre, I met the lady who had been so nice to me two years ago. To my surprise, she remembered me.

And as for my contact, he’s “gone to his cabin until Friday”.

However, as a stroke of luck, she reckoned that she might know the person to whom my contact was intending to introduce me.

And the reason why it should have been yesterday was because today, he was going … exactly to where I wanted to go.

But she took my number and promised that she would have him telephone me as soon as he returned.

thomas blake 1918 spanish influenza victimcemetery north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017There are three cemeteries in North West River.

The influenza victims are said to be in the earliest one, but all that I could find was this headstone of Thomas Blake, aged 59, died in November 1918.

It’s hard to say what the day is, but if it’s the 12th, that might well tie in with what we know. The Sagoma with its infected crew arrived in Cartwright on 20th October and the infected Harmony arrived at Okak on 4th November.

cemetery north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017But in the cemeteries, all of the old original “trapper” families of Hamilton Inlet are represented.

Here in this photograph, we have, for example, a couple of Meshers from Rigolet, a Michelin and a MacDonald.

The origins of the “Michelin” name are unclear. But there was a French trading post here on the south side of the river where Sheshatshiu stands today, and it might be connected with that.

sarah michelin north west river cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017Plenty of Blakes and Baikies as you might expect, and also dozens of Goudies.

This is the grave of Sarah Michelin, née Goudie and her name certainly rings a bell, although I can’t think for the life of me why.

In fact, everyone who is anyone is here – except of course for Gilbert Blake, even though he will for ever be associated with North West River.

murdoch mclean north west river cemetery labrador canada september septembre 2017Now I know that I shouldn’t smile about events in e cemetery, but sometimes it’s just not possible to stop.

Murdoch McLean, a beloved husband and father is buried here. And it reminds me of the American visiting the cemetery in Arbroath.

“Here Lies Jock McTavish, a loyal husband and devoted father”
“Now isn’t that ust like the Scots? Burying three men in one grave?”

grave jody mae powell vicky lee powell north west river cemmetery labrador canada september septembre 2017But this next grave is enough to wipe the smile off anyone’s face.

Two young children aged almost three and almost four. Same surname, but different parents. probably related though died on the same day and buried in the same grave.

That’s the kind of tragedy that always seems to befall isolated communities like this. And the cemetery was full of the graves of small children.

paddon memorial north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017This is the “Paddon memorial” in North West River.

Labrador was a British colony – not part of Canada – until 1949 but was treated even worse than Africa, with no infrastructure and no medical service.

It was a charitable organisation – the International Grenfell Organisation – that provided medical services here. And then only from the early years of the 20th Century.

It was Dr Harry Paddon and his wife – and later their son William – who came here from the IGA to deal with the health issues of the “liveyers” and the Innu and Inuit communities.

They are still fondly remembered in the community, despite Harry having on one famous occasion blotted his record by describing some trappers as “backyard bunny hunters”

beach north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Having done the tour of the cemeteries I went down to the beach.

The beach here in North West River is quite famous, being one of the nicest accessible beaches in this part of Canada.

But I would be very wary about bringing your bikini or your cozzy here because it’s not exactly sun-bathing weather and the water is freezing.

cable car hudsons bay company north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017For lunch I went to sit on the dockside to look at the river.

But there’s also what was the Hudsons Bay Company offices over there, and also the North West River terminal of the chairlift.

The bridge here is of comparatively recent construction. Prior to that we had the chairlift, and prior to that it was either kayak, canoe or ice skates.

Having had a little … errr … relax, I decided to go for a stroll in the warm sun.

tipi north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017While I was walking along the boardwalk towards the tipi, I finally had my telephone call.

The person for whom I was looking was now back from up-country and I told him what I was hoping to do.

This led to quite a lengthy discussion and we worked out a cunning plan for tomorrow. I need to be back here for 09:00 and that means yet another night in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

trappers memorial north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017The highlight of North West River is the Trappers’ memorial. The whole raison d’etre of the town was as a centre for the trappers.

The Hudsons Bay company had a store here where trappers would trade their pelts for supplies.

And if you were in dispute with the Hudsons Bay Company, as many people were, the French company Revillon Frères had a rival post on the opposite bank of the river.

log cabin north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Now, isn’t this the right kind of place to live?

In my opinion it’s the most beautiful place in the whole of North West River in which to live.

Believe it or not, it’s not all that old. It was erected in 1995. And it’s not a kit home either, but constructed out of local materials by local craftsmen.

And they can construct something for me at any time they like.

greenhouse west river labrador canada september septembre 2017You’ll remember that yesterday we visited one of the very few farms here in Labrador. Today we’re having a crafty peek at someone’s greenhouse.

I’ve absolutely no idea what it is that he’s growing in there – there was no-one around to ask – but I certainly admire anyone who gives gardening a go around here.

Mind you, having said that, it was quite the thing around here when the Grenfell Association ran the show before Confederation in 1949.

One of the things that I wanted to do was to take a drive down to North West Point on the southern side of the river.

This was the site of an American radio post in the 1950s and is something of an environmental disaster because the US Military cared nothing about the territory of Labrador.

A Canadian Government Environmental Report of 28th November 2011 “highlights chemicals of concern with concentrations exceeding the applicable criteria”.

access road north west point labrador canada september septembre 2017I’d done some research to find out where the access road might be, but unfortunately, it seems to have been all ploughed up and impassible.

I wasn’t going to risk taking Strider down there and these days, I’m not up to doing a hike of any distance in these kind of conditions.

It looks as if I shall have to forget this one.

terrington basin north west river labrador canada september septembre 2017Instead, I continue down the gravel road, and I’m not disappointed by what I find.

I could show you 10 photos that I took from this spot but instead I’ll let you have a glimpse of just one – which I think might be of the docks and seaplane base down at Terrington Basin.

That’s where the ships come in, and where we saw the Fairlane the other day.

de havilland DHC6-300 C-GNFZ twin otter creek labrador canada september septembre 2017Talking of the seaplane base, which is at Otter Creek, we’re in luck yet again. Here on the slipway is Airborealis’ C-GNFZ.

She’s a De Havilland DHC6-300 – a type that is much better-known as the “Twin Otter” and is one of the more successful low-capacity commercial passenger planes, ideal for travel out here.

She was built in 1980 and as you can see, she’s still going strong.And, for a twin Otter, quite appropriately here at Otter Creek

otter creek camp labrador canada september septembre 2017But an earlier claim to fame for Otter Creek took place here.

Prior to the air base there was very little here at Goose Bay. The people who came here to build the air base had nowhere to live and so set up a squatters’ camp here on this spot.

They were soon moved on by the US authorities, but it’s here that it all started.

football ground goose bay labrador canada september septembre 2017And here’s a thing!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have more than a passing interest in football grounds. And here is probably one of the most unlikely football grounds that you will ever encounter.

And, more to the point, who does the team play against? I can’t imagine that there’s much in the way of opposition around here.

And from here, I had my encounter in the cemetery.

Back here, I had more baked beans, baked potatoes and vegan sausages and yet another early night.

And it’s not as if I’ve done very much either.

Monday 30th May 2016 – ONE THING THAT I’VE LEARNT TODAY …

… is that I won’t be having my next chemotherapy session for quite a while.

It seems that in the opinion of the hospital, I’m far to ill right now to go through all of the stresses that chemotherapy will provide and they think that I ought to recover first.

I have to say that I don’t like the sound of that one little bit. As far as I’m concerned, being ill doesn’t make the slightest difference. I don’t see an issue about chemotherapy making me any more ill – I’ll be suffering just the same and the quicker the treatment starts, the quicker it will be over and the quicker I’ll start to recover. Waiting until I’m feeling better and then making me ill again is just in my opinion absurd. I only want to be ill once.

And if I don’t improve, then I won’t ever have the chemotherapy and then I’ll be back where I started all of these months ago and that’s really defeating the purpose of my coming here.

As you can tell, I’ve had a visit from the doctor this afternoon. She didn’t stay long and didn’t even give me a check-over – she just came to give me the news.

I had a really bad night again last night. I took ages to go off to sleep, mainly due to the fact that I had a really bad pain right across the right side of my chest. It just wouldn’t go away and I just couldn’t find a comfortable position. It was so bad that I felt like calling for some emergency help (now that’s not like me, is it?) but I managed to hang on.

And then once I did drop off, I kept on waking up time after time after time. I really can’t sleep properly at all in this place. But drop off I must have done, because I was off on my travels again.

I was in a house that I owned, in Nantwich down by Crewe Road end but it wasn’t a terraced house such as is there but a modern semi-detached property. I’d had the morning off work and was due to go in for the afternoon but all kinds of delays were holding me up. eventually, I’d sorted out my pushbike, found my heavy blue-grey overcoat, decided what cap I was going to wear (because it was teeming down outside) and eventually I set off. But it was freezing cold too and I decided that I needed my gloves so had to turn back. And this made me wonder whether it was worth setting out again as the office would be closed by the time that I arrived. But as I reached back home I noticed my red Ford Cortina estate, XCL 465X, in the drive and it had been driven in instead of reversed in, as I always do without fail when I’m parking. That took me completely by surprise.
And a little later we were at a huge Open University Students Association (OUSA) meeting and there were hundreds of us in attendance. I found my way in, nearly last (not like me) and struggled into a corner where there were several people whom I knew, including a girl called Jane who was in my class at school (what she was doing at an OUSA meeting is anyone’s guess). We were having a chat about old times when the meeting abruptly started. The first speaker, a woman we knew, started to talk but went so quick that we couldn’t make notes and everyone bellowed at her in unison to slow down and start again – which she did, but after a couple of minutes started to roar off again and we found it impossible to keep track of what we were saying.

The doctor wasn’t the only visitor that I had either. I had a hospital visitor come to chat with me for a couple of minutes and that was quite a break from my routine. She didn’t have much to say, which was no surprise, but she tried her best to cheer me up and encourage my morale and you can never criticise someone for that.

But while I was talking to her, I somehow managed to put my back out of joint and that hurt for ages. I’m definitely breaking up, aren’t I?

The rest of the day has been quite quiet. I’ve sat in the day room and, for a change, done some work (I need to keep myself properly organised and properly focused), and that’s really my lot. As you know, there’s not really a lot else that I can be doing right now. I need to exert myself a little but it’s not easy. Even if I were to find the motivation, there ust aren’t the opportunities just now.

Still, maybe I’ll cheer up tomorrow.

Sunday 27th March 2016 – MY POSTILION HAS BEEN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING

Well, not quite, but round about 16:30 this afternoon, in the middle of a thunderstorm and hailstone fusillade, there was a dull thud, the building shook a little and all of the power went off.

heavy storm clouds north sea zouteland netherlandsI went for a walk a little later and this was what I saw in the distance. Huge massing storm clouds over there, hanging over the North Sea.

In fact, we had heavy storm clouds all over the place and in the distance to the south (remember that Zoutelande is on the north-west coast of the Schelde estuary were some very clear thunder flashes. It is therefore very tempting to suggest that the hotel had been struck by lightning.

ship sailing up schelde estuary zoutelande netherlandsThat wasn’t all that was going on either. I’d been for a walk earlier while the housemaid made up my room, and was lucky enough to see a ship sailing up towards Antwerp, just offshore.

And excuse the lack of focus on the image – the wind was terrific and blowing me around like nobody’s business. This was the best of the images that I took, and that doesn’t say much for the others.

But talking of the housemaid, we had a little chat this morning. And the only language that we had in common was Italian. Imagine that in the Netherlands!

But those storm clouds that we saw gathering off the coast yesterday early evening finally arrived during the night. They hit my little room with such a force that I was immediately woken up, and when I went back to sleep, then half an hour later I was awoken once more.

This accounts for the dreadful night’s sleep that I had last night, and also for the number and variety of my nocturnal rambles. And believe me, there were dozens, quite a few of which didn’t make it to the dictaphone because either I fell straight back to sleep or else by the time that I found the dictaphone, I’d forgotten where I’d been.

Anyway, from what I do remember, I was in XCL, my red Cortina, and back at school (or, rather, a school in France, not my old one). I was an adult by this time and I only went back to school very occasionally, because I was studying Geography and History in my own time, but I would call in to the lessons if ever I was going past the school because I wanted to take the school exams and I needed to make sure that I was in touch with the course. As a result, I didn’t really know any of the children there. One afternoon, I’d bought something – some new seat covers or something for XCL so they needed wrapping. I had my yellow rucksack with me, which had now transformed itself into a school satchel. I’d turned up at the school and I can’t remember now how I had arrived but as I arrived, I remembered that there was something that I wanted. I had to walk all the way back to the car in order to get what it was that I wanted. As I walked out of the class there were all of these kids hanging around the door like you find at a school. It was the afternoon so there was a triple-period, but it was only the final two lessons, a double-period, that were history lessons but I had plans to do something in the period immediately after lunch. As I walked out of the school towards my car, I was singing “Daydream Believer” or, at least, trying to because I couldn’t hit the notes. I was devastated because I was hoping to sing it really well and show these kids a thing or two, but I just couldn’t get the notes.
A little later, I was back playing cricket and our team had unfortunately been skittled out. I was the last batsman remaining and I had to survive the last over so that our team would win. But it was now pitch-black and you couldn’t see a thing, and the bowler was bowling from around the corner behind the wall. All that I could do was to put my bat in the way and hope that that would block the wicket. For the final over, we started to have some friendly banter and the bowler said that he was going to bowl underarm at me. He took up a position about a foot from my wicket ready to bowl. I had to explain to him that he couldn’t do that – it was a no-ball. He could bowl underarm at me as much as he likes and no-one will say a thing, least of all me, but you have to bowl from back at the other crease, 22 yards away, just as you would do for bowling any other kind of ball in a cricket match. But it took me ages to get this to sink into this flaming bowler’s head.
A little later, I was back at work driving my car about and I’d been summoned into the office – it was a Sunday morning – but there had been some war that had gone on and it had been won by we westerners. However, there had been a few bits and pieces of unpleasantness that had come out of it. I needed to go to use the bathroom but for some unknown reason I had forgotten all of the vocabulary so I said what I could remember. This didn’t, for some reason, go down very well so I thought “sod them! I’m doing the best that I can and no-one can do more than that and it’s their look-out if it doesn’t suit”. But it was a bright sunny day and so I went on my motor-bike from the north-west of the city and there had been a heavy rainstorm earlier that day and now everything was flooded out. Now I couldn’t come my usual way into work because of this and at one stage I was riding through a park and on a pavement and then down the wrong way in a one-way street with water up to the axles on the motorbike, following some kind of lorry that was tearing up the roadway in this park. I’d finally arrived at work, and found that my boss had been searching through my drawers for something. He found some of Roxanne’s clothing that I was keeping there and he was proudly displaying it all around. I asked him “is this all yours?” to which he replied with a ribald joke. I said to him that it was Roxanne’s and I would like to have it back so he eventually gave it back to me and I stuck it back in my drawer.
After the next bout of thunderstorms I was back at another place of former employment with someone who was formerly a very good friend of mine. We were visiting the richest farm in the UK, run by the richest UK farmer and his wife. There were some tunnels that had been discovered on this farm and having inspected them, we noticed that they had been lined and that there was electricity going right down there. I immediately thought of a tourist attraction and so I button-holed the woman when I saw her and asked her about them. She replied that the intention was indeed to make them into a tourist attraction and so I wanted to know more? Was it World War II? Was it the Vietnam War? She replied that from what she had been able to find out, they went back to the 5th Century, which immediately suggested the collapse of Roman Britain to me. I was immediately aroused by this and so I intended to be the first person to go down there. I asked her if she knew to where these tunnels led, but she didn’t. However, it was her intention to explore them one of these days, so I immediately pencilled myself in to go and explore these tunnels with her. We would travel miles and I would invite someone from the University – I’m not sure now if I mentioned the OU – to accompany us. To me, it was absolutely marvellous and exciting.
After a very brief return to the arms of Morpheus, I was awake again thanks to the storm. And I can recount that I had been to see the Queen. I’d taken this puppy, which was really the star of it all, although I’m not sure quite why and so we were going to do a stage show with it when the puppy would be presented to the Queen. We were hoping that this puppy would be house-trained and behave itself in view of all of the excitement and not let itself down. This led on to a debate about cleaning. Tourism was still in its infancy and no-one really seemed to know how to clean up a place properly (as if I’m any expert) except for a dustpan and brush. Everyone was hoping that everyone else would prove to be the expert on cleaning up the building.
But the final part of my night-time voyage was easily the most exciting and astonishing. You remember yesterday that I mentioned the navigator whose body is in the Commonwealth War Graves part of the local cemetery? Well, last night, whilst deep in the arms of Morpheus, I set out to find his pilot. The voyage, which started out to be simple enough, took me, and two Ministerial cars and assorted Government officials to a small urban cemetery in the East End of London (where, incidentally, the pilot was not buried and I knew this, yet my journey still took me there) despite the obstruction of a well-known London solicitor who had instructed the two members of his staff who were assisting me not to give me too much help in my enquiries because, as I was later to discover, he was interested in the case from a personal point of view. In fact, being early for a 13:00 appointment, I suddenly made a decision to divert to this small cemetery one more time as I had suddenly made a dramatic realisation. I ended up inspecting the paperwork of an old woman who had just been laid to rest there, and was just about to make an Executive decision (and executive decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person making it is executed) when the alarm went off. And how frustrated was I?

But none of it was wasted because this morning while waiting for the weather to brighten up, I did manage to track down some further information. Flying Officer Angus Peter MacLeod (for it is he), service number 63376, was flying as navigator in Mosquito Night-Fighter II serial HJ935 for pilot, Flight Lieutenant Basil John Brachi when they were lost over the North Sea on 29th January 1944.

And now that I have found out the serial number of the aeroplane, I can tell you even more. The plane took off at 01:15, one of seven from West Raynham in Norfolk on a “Serrate” mission, which was to pick up the radar emissions of the German night-fighters’ “Lichtenstein” equipment, and then follow the emissions to the source (ie the night-fighter) and shoot it down. However, the starboard engine of the Mosquito failed and so Brachi turned for home. A short while later, the port engine failed and so Brachi and MacLeod bailed out. No trace was ever found of Brachi or of the aeroplane, but the body of MacLeod was washed ashore near here on 5th May 1944. And here he lies.

I’ve not done too much today – not even been for my mid-morning (or mid-afternoon) coffee. I didn’t have the courage to go outside very much. Mind you, this weather didn’t encourage me too much.

but I did go out this evening and one of the little restaurants here directed me to the fritkot which is now open. And I had fritjes for tea, just for a change. And tomorrow, the ice-cream parlour in the town opens up. Of course, I shall have to go to give it an official visit.

apart from that, I’ve had a shower today and washed my clothes. And depressingly, I find that I’ve only bought two polo shirts with me, not three. So I’m going to have to stay in this one while the other one dries. Let’s hope that that will be tomorrow.

And I know know why next-door neighbour’s 06:30 alarm didn’t wake me up this morning. The hour has changed, hasn’t it. I didn’t realise until this evening when I thought that it was quite light for 20:00 when i went out for my fritjes. My telephone is automatic, and so is my laptop, so they got on with the job of changing the hour without me knowing anything about it. No wonder I was rather tired this morning.

But now I’m off for an early night because I can’t keep up the pace. Only a few more days now before my second hospital appointment so I hope that they will have some news for me.

Saturday 13th February 2016 – TWO DAYS ON THE RUN NOW …

… that I’ve managed to sleep right through the night without having to go for a stroll down the corridor. This is pretty-much unheard of and it must be a sign that I’m recovering a little.

But the downside of it all is that I remember almost nothing of any nocturnal ramble. The only thing that I recall for sure was that my red Cortina estate car XCL 465 X was involved in it somewhere.

I hated it when the alarm went off at 07:45. And I hated it even more when the nurse came round to give me my injection. The first one of this next session, and I’m fed up of it already. If that wasn’t bad enough, the injection that I had tonight hurt like blazes and that made me even more fed up. Still, only another 29 days to go!

And so apart from that, I’ve done almost nothing at all. Sitting down reading stuff on the internet, including what must go down as the most classic mistype of all time. In yet another case on The Old Bailey Online, one of the witnesses describes himself as “manager to J. A. Lawton and Co., carnage manufacturers, of 24, Orchard Street, London”. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

But Liz has been busy. She’s found more tips and hints about making vegan ice-cream and so she’s started one off to see how it goes. Coconut milk and a bar of mint-flavoured chocolate, together with maple syrup and a secret ingredient. We’ll definitely have to see how that goes!

But that’s my lot today. Nothing else has happened at all apart from the howling gale and torrential rainstorm that blew up around here. I’m going to go for yet another early night and watch yet another film. It’s this kind of life that is doing me good, I reckon.

Thursday 21st January 2016 – SO IT WAS NERINA …

… who drew the short straw tonight, coming with me to take a coach party down to the south coast, Worthing or somewhere similar. We stopped the night at a town not too far away, somewhere near Lewes. While we were there, I rang up the hotel on the coast to make all of the arrangements for our arrival, and to find out the directions to the hotel. When I came out of the telephone booth into the bar, there were several giant-sized people in the bar, all professional wrestlers who were handing out promotional gifts. I was given a cigarette lighter (of course, I don’t smoke) but it leaked and I was getting all of the fluid all over me and smelling like a tart’s boudoir. In the end, Nerina sent me to wash my hands so I went into the toilet but all of the sinks were full of baby clothes – someone had filled up all of the sinks and left the clothes in there to soak. This had annoyed everyone in the hotel. I went to someone else’s coach because I knew that he had a kind of tap and hand-washing arrangement on an extendible pipe right by the driver’s seat (it was a left-hand drive coach but the entrance was on the left). I used this to wash off my hands. While I was doing this, other coach drivers came up to ask what I was doing, so I explained. I had difficulty closing off this tap no matter what I did, so the other drivers had a try and they couldn’t do it either, so they started to fill their bottles of drink with it. Coming off the coach I heard some woman talking to one of the coach hostesses talking about exit doors on coaches. She was going on about a particular kind of coach and describing a particular kind of door, to which I interjected that that was a B10M (which, incidentally, is a model of chassis, not a body) but no-one was listening and the hostess was saying that it’s not an E62 like we have. So I said “B10M” again, to just the same amount of notice. And back in the hotel still filthy, still covered in cigarette lighter fluid, and I eventually found a map of how to reach this hotel. It wasn’t where I thought at all but to the west of the town on a headland and fairly easy to reach. There was a big coach park right opposite just by the headland and also a small restaurant close by which was useful because I knew what hotel food was like and I could see me eating out every night if the hotel food was rubbish.
And Maria, having made her rather dramatic entrance onto our stage yesterday, is back for a follow-up appearance. This time however, she was quite seriously ill and had been discharged from her employment at the EU. I was running a business from my home with about three or four people sitting at desks doing things (I can’t remember what now) and so to help out Maria and make sure that her Social Security obligations were met, I offered her a small job at my place. And so she came to work, not doing very much. On one day needed to go to a medical appointment so I offered to take her. “You can’t go like that” she said, indicating my present attire, and nipped off upstairs (I’ve had exactly the same conversation with a friend of mine a couple of months ago, by the way). She came back down again with a pair of denim jeans. “Put these on”. “What size are they?” I enquired, to which she replied that they were 32-inch. Now up until I stopped running in the late 1990s I could fit into 32″ jeans, but even on a nocturnal ramble I knew full well that they would be too small, but I tried them on and found that I actually needed a belt to hold them up, which amazed me. But anyway, off we went to the hospital and on the way, I found that the two of us were holding hands, something that Maria would never ever do in real life (and which parallels, incidentally, something that was going through my mind with another person just before I dropped off to sleep).
Later on, the two of us found ourselves out on the ski slopes. We were fighting our way out through hordes of children up the steps to the three ski-lifts that were there and then I came to a sudden stop. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on three or four occasions in the past my nocturnal rambles have taken me to a certain ski-run which involves a passage down a narrow valley, a difficult passage through and over some kind of watershed and then a glorious run down another valley which made all of the hard work quite worthwhile (and we even visited it in our red Cortina estate on one occasion during one night) – anyway, this was where I was heading. But I couldn’t remember how to get there now. Looking at the map board, I could see a black run indicated (ski runs are colour coded to give their degree of difficulty and black runs are the most difficult) which I reckoned would be the one that I wanted, but I couldn’t work out how to get there. Maria said that she knew the way but was surprisingly evasive when it came to actually telling me. I was looking for a map to take with me but there wasn’t one available and so I was feeling really disappointed about this as I had really been looking forward to revisiting this ski run.

On that note of disappointment the alarm went off and I came downstairs. And then had a long loooooooooong wait for the nurse to come. He’d forgotten that it was blood test day and was busy doing his rounds elsewhere while I was sitting here starving.

And talking of blood tests, here’s a shock. I have an id and password so I can go to the laboratory’s website any time after 16:30 and pick up my results. And this evening I found that my blood count has NOT gone down. Now there’s a surprise. I wondered why I had not been “summoned to appear at nine o’clock in the forenoon to answer to the aforesaid” at the hospital.

But this brings with it it’s own problem. I mean – this is good news, make no mistake – that if the blood count is down on Monday, I may well be called in on Tuesday, but I’m being admitted to hospital on Wednesday for my operation on Thursday. On Wednesday I’m definitely having a transfusion (I’ve been told that for definite) and it’s likely that on Thursday and Friday they will be carrying on (assuming that I’m still here on Friday). Too much strange blood all at once can provoke a strange reaction and I don’t want one of those while I’m under the knife. I would have been much happier to go in tomorrow regardless.

But apart from that, I’ve had a quiet day in the house doing not very much at all. I’ve not even set foot outside (although Terry took his van for the controle technique – it passed, by the way). There was a huge mega-sale of items on the 3D site that I use so I spent a little money today (and I would have spent a great deal more had I had it to hand) and I pressed on with my 3D Animation course.

The course set us an interesting challenge. We are doing computer-generated 3D animation now (the part of the course that is of most interest to me) and the aim was to produce a bedroom and fit it with items so that the occupant of the room could be clearly identified. I have therefore been scouring www.sharecg.com – the leading free resource community for the 3D program that I use -for items and happily building a bedroom for my K4 character. She now has a bed with teddy bear, a desk with homework scattered about, a chest of drawers with a boom box on it, a wardrobe with clothes hanging in it (it took me hours to do that), a skateboard with helmet and also a pile of clothes scattered about the floor. No prizes for guessing who is the occupant of THAT room.

Apart from that, I’ve had a shower (so that’s me sorted until September) and a change of clothes (ditto) and done badger all else. And ask me if I care.

But I suppose that really, I do care. I can’t go on like this. I’m not looking forward to the operation and I’m looking forward even less to the week or so that will follow. But I need to do something positive and put my life back on the rails. Much as I enjoy being here, I really want to go home and get on with everything.