Saturday 13th April 2024 – I’VE NOT BEEN …

… feeling too much better today.

Hardly at all, in fact. It’s probably a very good example of the old “same stuff, different day” with just a few of the times being changed around to suit different circumstances.

What’s surprising about this – or maybe it isn’t, I dunno – is that I raced around last night doing things as quickly as possible and actually ended up in bed at 22:40 and anyone would have thought that that extra 20 minutes asleep would have made a difference, but apparently not.

Nevertheless there I was in bed and ready for sleep quite quickly. There was still the occasional stabbing pain in my right foot going right the way up my right leg – in fact, there still is even now, but I suppose that I shall just have to learn to live with it.

There were a few times during the night when I awoke but it wasn’t until the alarm went off (correctly at 07:00) that I managed to drag my reluctant self out of bed and take the blood pressure. 16.8/9.4, compared with a figure of 14.2/9.8 last night.

So what had upset me and raised my blood pressure during the night then? We’ll have to find out.

Having checked the blood pressure I dragged myself off to take the usual morning pile of medication and then set out the dining room as the nurse likes it to be.

While she was here I told her that she has to give a decent amount of notice about stuff that she needs. This is only a small pharmacy here and some of the stuff is quite specialised so it needs to be ordered if we run out. There’s usually a rupture de stock for the more complicated items.

After she left I came back in here and that’s the last thing that I remember until about 11:00. Crashed out completely, like a light, I was.

In the kitchen I slowly began to assemble the stuff for my coffee ad cheese on toast but a crowd of Auvergnats interrupted me. They had come to the market for some local stuff to take back and had at the same time come to say “goodbye”. Their week is over – already! Doesn’t time fly? and tomorrow they’ll be heading home.

It really was nice to see them all and I hope that they come back again at some point. I can’t have enough visitors..

After they left there was football on the internet. Hwlffordd, pushing for the Europa League playoffs, against Colwyn Bay, fighting to avoid relegation.

But when your luck is down, it’s really down. And you can’t be 2-0 down after just 9 minutes and hope to fight until the end.

But seriously, Colwyn Bay have been down and out for a few months now. I thought that being managed by veteran Welsh International defender Steve Evans and having made a few marquee signings, they would have had enough to stay up. But their marquee signings disappeared a long time ago and the rest of the team has been playing like they disappeared a long time ago too.

The final score WAS 3-1 TO HWLFFORDD which means that only a mathematical miracle can save Colwyn Bay now. They must win their final match and hope that both Pontypridd and Aberystwyth are defeated.

After that I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I had two dreams quite quickly, one after the other, about a group of people who were quite well-placed something like Rosemary and her friends, but were going down a place where one could gamble, the kind of place where I was. You needed invitations to go in there and of course you needed a machine to work. There, you could gamble as much as you liked. There were certain limits on normal play but they could be negotiated away with the consent of all the parties playing. It was very much like a typical place about which you’d hear in the Auvergne. But in the third part the person who suggested that it was the Auvergne was correct and the machine had guested itself into there which meant that everyone could spend more time travelling to it and spend much more time sorting themselves out while they were there to have a play on it and to try to defeat the … fell asleep here …

Wherever this might be, I’ve no idea. The only place that comes to my mind is the Casino in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic where I was a few years ago, but Rosemary and her friends have certainly never been there. However it’s a shame that I fell asleep in the middle of it as I would have liked to have found out so much more about it.

Then, the girls had all gone off to play one of these casino games involving pirates and pirate ships and they’d left me behind. What they hadn’t realised was that one of the alarms was still set and that awoke me for a short while. They were talking about this pirate game and an old German guy overheard them. He went immediately to have his hair cut. While he was having it cut he talked to the people in the hairdresser’s about the game, where you had to go to etc. so that he could make up a party too. I was in bed and, as I said, the alarm went off all of a sudden but it was a different alarm to the usual. Nevertheless it awoke me and made me quite disappointed that I’d not had a good lie-in, but had to make myself ready for the day

And that sounds like an interesting moment too, and I don’t have a clue what was going on here.

Il y a le musicien Eric Bell qui jouait pendant un certain moment avec Thin Lizzy et qui a accompagné Rosemary et ses amis avec son expedition. Il a en réalité chanté son chanson controversée dans la Halle des Bouddhistes sans être interpellé. Pour lui c’est son travail “bien fait, bien fini” et qu’il va avancer sur les autres choses

So I’m dreaming in French again. And about Eric Bell. I remember going to see him in London one night just after he’d left Thin Lizzy and was playing in his own band. But his PA had broken down and there were no vocals to accompany his music and it was something of a washout.

That night I remember sleeping on Hampstead Heath in the back of BILL BADGER, my old Austin A60 van. But I’ve no idea why I was actually in London in the first place.

He’s not however the kind of person to accompany Rosemary on any expedition but since when did reality have anything to do with what goes on at night?

After this I fell asleep again and awoke just in time for tea – another one of my delicious breaded quorn fillets with baked potato and salad.

So now I’m off to bed, with an extra hour to sleep (I hope) before the alarm goes off seeing as it’s a Sunday. But I really can’t do with all of this disruption to my routine. Staying in bed until 11:00 on a Sunday was much more like my line.

It beats me though why it(‘s of any interest My psychiatrist once asked me "what do you dream of in bed?"
I replied "I dreamed that I was in bed with Kate Bush"
"What happened?" he asked.
"Nothing" I replied. "She was dreaming that she was in bed with Roger Moore so I had to get out."

Friday 12th April 2024 – TODAY I HAVE HAD …

… probably the worst day that I have ever had in my whole life.

Most of the day has been spent in a state of semi-consciousness curled up on my chair, hunched over the computer in a fit of total and absolute fatigue.

It goes without saying that I have never felt so tired in my whole life.

Last night I was quicker than normal running through the jobs that needed to be done and I was actually in bed for 23:20.

And when U awoke, at 06:20, for some reason I was convinced that it was Sunday – really convinced – and looked forward to the extra hour in bed. So when alarm calls started going off at 07:00 my initial response was to reset all of the alarms to 08:00, and I was well on my way to doing that when it clicked.

So somewhat later than usual I raised myself from the Dead and went to check the blood pressure machine. 15.9/10.0, compared to last night’s 14.1/10.4. The heartbeats were interesting too – 80 this morning compared to 72 last night. The heart has beaten as low as 61 before though, and that’s interesting.

After I’d had the medication I started to make the bread before the nurse arrived so that it would be proofing while she was here.

She was impressed with it and that’s no surprise because it was another good batch. She managed not to put her finger in it anyway But regrettably I had the first of many crashings out and it was 12:15 when I could get to it again. That really was a crashing out.

Having prepared my bread for baking I crashed out again and as a result breakfast ended up being well after lunchtime.

And then I crashed out again

While the cleaner was here later on I managed to do half of the Welsh homework for this week. I’ll have to dinf some more time and enthusiasm to do the rest one of these days.

And than I started the dictaaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few. I was changing a cylinder head on a Cortina mkIV or mkIII or mk V. One of the things that was useful was lining up a few bolt holes in the back of the exhaust. I was lying there trying to line up these three bolt holes and it seemed to be taking for ever. I hadn’t realised at fist that one of the bolt shad been body-fillered over so I had to chisel that free. Then we were encountering all kinds of other difficulties like that. It was becoming really dark and it had never taken me so long to do it. In the end we stopped for a cup of tea but I was determined to go back outside, crawl underneath and carry on. One of the guys there said that he didn’t think that it was necessary to do what I was doing. I reminded him that I’d met him the very first time few years ago and we’d had an interesting discussion about changing heads on Cortinas in those days and I’d remembered almost everything that he’d said, word for word so I was perfectly sure that I had to line up these boltways perfectly before I could finish off the job of changing this head. It was just becoming really so complicated and awkward. There was no need for this. It was just that everything on these vehicles was so old and rotten. Nothing was lining up at all in the way that it ought to because of rust and rot etc

Anyone care to guess how many cylinder heads I’ve changed on a Pinto-engined Ford? And I’ve never had any cause to play about with the rear end of an exhaust. However it’s true to say that rust and rot were responsible for a great many difficulties that were encountered when working on old Fords. You’ve no idea how much more comfortable it is working on modern cars, assuming that you actually can work on them

And then we had a dream completely in French Il y a l’histoire d’un jeune adolescent qui est mort. Il a été grand fan des groupes de rock et que sa copine ecoutait tooutes des émissions de rock pour des nouvraux groupes à coté de son temps pour reaconter l’histoire et jouer comme l’hiver et expliquer comment va aux festivals et théatres de sa parte pour continuer le rock mais son père n’est pas du tout content qu’elle continue le schedule

And then the next dream is the story of a young boy who is confined to his room etc. His father has died and his mother had collected up all of his music and things like that and is giving into a charity shop. The boy thinks that it’s terrible that all this history is being lost like that. He wants to have it and wants to continue the tradition of his father but his mother is dead-set against it and it’s causing an enormous amount of conflict within their house, who’s going to do what and how.

That’s my big nightmare too. All of the stuff that I’ve collected and created, all of which is of real importance and it will all br discarded and forgotten after all the time that I’ve spent assembling it all together. I really need to appoint as my literary editor someone who knows what I’m trying to do and realises the value of it all.

But that’s going to be next to impossible. No-one will care half as much about my work as me myself

This is a story about someone called Fileul ere was a passenger, Amy with her Uncle Peter who ended up at the airport. Peter arranged to be dropped off at the main building, said “excuse me” and disappeared. Amy was waiting for quite a long time, holding up the traffic like that, making people outraged. In the end she decided to move her vehicle somewhere else and went to look for a piece of paper on which she could write a note. Instead she found, crumpled up on the floor, for “Peter Fileul, flying to Amsterdam” that very afternoon. She parked up the vehicle and went inside the airport where she actually found a friendly policeman and the two of them caught Fileul just as he was about to pass through the departure gates,

And there was a rock musician called Peter Fileul too. He played keyboards in The Climax Blues Band, East of Eden and The Parlour Band. I’ve featured quite a few pieces of music by his groups in the past

Finally I was running a class of creative writing, consisting mainly of girls wanting to write chicklit. It was a very full class and the students could be identified by the colour coding of their machinery in order to work out which speciality they would be following during the course. But it was all a very high-intensity course with a lot of screaming adolescents who would go berserk at the drop of a hat.

Could you imagine me running a class like that? I’d be deafened within a week with all of these over-enthusiastic adolescents all trying to be the next millionaire But it’s an interesting idea.

Fighting off yet more waves of sleep I struggled on until teatime when I had a baked potato, salad and vegan burger. I wasn’t feeling like much.

But now I’m going to bed. It was a horrible day so here’s hoping for a better one tomorrow, a Saturday, starting at 07:00.

It’s necessary to tell myself these things just so that I know. But at least all those people who keep saying that I don’t even know what date of the week it is can be proved right.

It’s like the guy with a heart issues who was told not to make love to his wife when the day of the week ends in …DAY.
To put temptation behind him, he sleeps in a separate room from his wife
After about a week he’s awoken by his wife shaking him
"What day is it?" he asks, disorientated
"Tuesdray" replied his wife
"Nonsense" retorted the husband. "You’ve come in here to kill me, haven’t you?"
"Not at all" replied the wife
"Good" said the husband. "In that case I’m coming into your room to die"

Thursday 11th April 2024 – I’VE NO IDEA …

… what happened to this morning.

There I was, sitting down at my desk typing out a few notes and the next thing that I knew was that I was flat out asleep the ‘phone was ringing and it was midday already.

A whole morning had passed and I’d been totally out of it. It was just as if someone had flicked a switch at some point earlier in the morning and I’d just switched off completely with no warning.

You’ve no idea whatever just how strange it feels to be in a circumstance like that. All that I can say is that it’s a good job that I can no longer drive.

This morning I knew that things were going to be difficult. I’d been awake since about 06:00 and was actually up early before the alarm went off. It was actually quite a struggle to leave the bed, no matter how it sounds, because I didn’t feel in the least like it.

It had been a late night too. This idea about trying my best to finish everything early isn’t really working and despite the best intentions, and the road to Hell is paved with those, I’m not doing aby good with the plan.

It was probably about 23:30 when I slipped under the covers and so awakening at 06:00 is simply not enough sleep. Heaven alone knows how I managed 30-odd years ago when if I thought I was having half that time in bed I was doing well.

So first thing was to check the blood pressure this morning. It was showing 16.9/11.2, which compares quite miserably with last night’s figure of 14.9/9.3. Something had gone on during the night to upset me, by the looks of things, but we’ll have to wait to find out what.

Instead of worrying about that I went to take my medication, the typical European Medicine Mountain of stuff, and then to rearrange the living room ready for her and also to have a good wash

While she was here she gave me a list of stuff that she needed and then wandered off, and I began to sort myself out. However it was at some point round about here that I disappeared off the face of the earth.

awakening was the thing, because I was totally out of it and it took me a good couple of hours (seriously) to come back onto this planet. It was certainly well after 14:00 when I restarted work.

First thing was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night – and from the morning too because there were some of them. But during the night I was back in Outer Space again assembling a rock programme. What I was actually doing was cutting an audio track from an obscure German rock group called Dreadnought, copying out the segments. There were dozens of them, all extremely long so it was a complicated business to do it. I was chatting to one or two people while I was doing it. They were apparently quite impressed and spent some time watching. I found that one of the women there, she knew exactly how to do it. She had a Welsh programme there and she was going through telling me how she did it, in Welsh, which I understood, saying “it wasn’t done in this way – it wasn’t done in this way and it wasn’t done in this way and it wasn’t done in this way but it was done in a way like this”, said in Welsh all the time and I could follow the conversation, I could follow exactly what she’d done. She made it sound really, really interesting. I thought to myself “maybe I ought to investigate things from that point of view and see how they fit with what I’m doing”

Funnily enough, just recently I have been editing a concert sound track by a German space-rock group called Dreadnought, another one of my contacts from one of the various Hawkfests, and it’s really quite interesting. But I wish that I knew in real life which method this woman was using. I’m completely self-taught in respect of my use of a sound-editing programme and can conjure up some surprisingly good results. But there are tons of facilities that I have never used, and some expert advice would really not go amiss

Later on I was back in a dream in Welsh. Our Welsh class had to translate an ancient song. There were two ways to do it, one was a translation after the fashion of Morgannwg … "presumably the poet Lewys Morgannwg" – ed … and the other after the fashion on Cadwaladwr … "presumably Cadwaladr ap Rhys Trefnant" – ed …. The problem was that both translations are rather inflammatory and as a result its use has fallen out of favour but nevertheless that was our task. One girl was already receiving some grief because her translation had come to the notice of the authorities and we were wondering all the way through the rest of this dream how long it will be before our version of the translation comes to the attention of the authorities, and what action they’ll take against us

And that’s the problem with much of Welsh literature of that period. It’s a tale of lament about the oppression of the native people by the wicked English and like many other things, it’s not very appetising to the English palette today.

While many countries have tried hard to come to terms with their past, in England there has never been any kind of attempt at reconciliation. There are a great many scars that have never ever healed.

While I was asleep during the morning there was also a complicated discussion going on about the use of personal pronouns, something else that seems to be quite a touchy subject these days.

As we said the other day, there are a lot of people with nothing better to do so they trawl the internet and places like that trying to find ways in which they might be offended. If you’re born with a certain gender and you don’t like it, then that’s your problem, not everyone else’s

Whoever it was on the phone who awoke me, I have no idea I was in no fit state to answer.

Instead I lowly (as in the next couple of hours) came back round into the Land of the Living and then made a start on the notes for the next radio programme.

Not that I went far because firstly the cleaner descended upon me with some supplies for the nurse, and then the Auvergnats came round to fill me in on their exciting day. Tomorrow they are off down the road to Mont St Michel so I’m being allowed a day of freedom myself. I’ll see them on Saturday for the last time.

But it was nice to chat about all of our old stamping grounds down in the Combrailles and to discuss all of our former partners in crime, most of whom have moved on to pastures new.

And that’s a shame because I really loved my life in the Auvergne. It was just how I imagined rural France to be and I’m glad that I managed to grab hold of one of the last vestiges of it before it disappeared completely

There was definitely something to be said for life down there, but it’s no life for anyone who is not 100% fit.

After they left there wasn’t much time left until teatime – some pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce with a couple of the falafel balls that I made the other day. Totally delicious.

So when I’ve finished everything again, my throbbing leg and I are going to bed and if the pain subsides I might even sleep. But it would be nice to have a regular sleep.

And by that I mean one with lots of dreams. Lee Jackson sang "YOU WOULD GIVE A SMALL FORTUNE

and he’s not at all wrong, not on my account anyway

It does remind me of the time that Nerina and I chatted about our dreams
Nerina said "I dreamed last night that I’d gone shopping in Asda"
"Really?" I asked. "I dreamed that I was making love to three beautiful, naked women in the park under a glorious warm sun"
"Was I there?" she asked
"Actually no" I replied. "You’d gone shopping in Asda"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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"

Monday 8th April 2024 – MY APARTMENT HAS …

… passed muster by a group of Auvergnats who descended upon the place this afternoon on their way along the coast.

Rosemary, Ingrid and their friend Clotilde have come to spend the week here on the coast to blow away the cobwebs in the corner of their minds. They found a nice house to rent and are intending to make the most of it, despite what the weather can throw at them.

This also means that my 200-watt Genz-Benz bass amp combo has finally made it home after all these years too. These are expensive pieces of kit and I found one languishing in a pawn shop in Ottawa for peanuts in 2019 when I was visiting my cousin Sandra.

It’s been a long tortuous journey for it to come to Europe. Some empty space in a shipping container meant that it could make it as far as Rosemary’s house in 2022 but it didn’t arrive there until after it left there

And aren’t I glad to see it?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a decent bass amp and speaker close to hand. Probably since I blew the cone out of my 18″ reflex cabinet in the late 1970s, and since then I’ve been making do with whatever I could find.

Just recently – well, for the last 12 years – I’ve been using a Carlsbro 45 watt combo which probably would have continued to do the job for all the playing bass that I do in public these days but this was a deal that was far too good to turn down.

It’s not as if I actually needed it in Canada either because I had a Fender combo amp in the back of Strider through which I could plug the Jaguar bass guitar.

And those are other things that I need to arrange sometime to bring over here now that Strider has gone the Way of the West.

The Jaguar certainly, when I see the prices of those, for that was something else that I picked up for une bouchée de pain as they say around here and also in Montreal, where I found it in another pawn shop. I always seemed to have good luck in Canadian pawn shops.

However much luck it was, it was certainly more than I had last night in trying to go to bed.

By the time that I’d finished doing everything that I had to, it was much later than I intended and I thought “here we go again”. I’d had a miserable day, there was this stabbing pain in the sole of my foot and I was hours late going to bed. I really could do without all of this.

But eventually I fell into bed and that was all that I remember for all of a couple of hours, before I awoke quite dramatically again at some ridiculous hour of the night.

There was the impression that I stayed awake after that but when the alarm went off I was checking a postal delivery, looking at the form where it said “van driver – her signature” and then “client signature ” and one or two other things on it, otherwise making sure that the form complied with all of the relevant legislation before actually putting my signature on it. But I don’t know what parcel I’d received because I thought that I’d received everything. This must have been something completely different and unexpected that had come in the post like this.

It certainly wasn’t the amp – that didn’t arrive until much later.

First thing that I did when the alarm went off was to fall out of bed to look for the blood pressure machine, and then take the measurement. 14.4/11.5 it was this morning, compared to 15.4/7.7, the latter figure of which looks suspiciously incorrect.

After the medication I had to arrange the dining area so that it’s as the nurse likes it, and then make sure that everything is present. It’s his last day today for a week so let’s hope that he’s calmed down by the time that he comes back.

And let’s hope that my right foot has too, because there’s a weeping oedema on the foot that has reared its ugly head overnight.

Anyway, he cleaned it off and applied a plaster before he wound on my puttees. And he doesn’t like this pair. He thinks that the elastic has gone and I should throw them out but I should think so! They are only about four weeks old!

After he’d gone I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was watching a football match last night. There were two teams, one playing in all red and the other in all blue. They were amalgamations of a couple of smaller 5-a-side teams and playing in some kind of tournament but there was this one game that I was watching but that was really by accident because it was on in the background at a house that I was visiting a girl for some reason connected to the Air Force but my eye fell upon the game that was being broadcast on the TV. I became less and les concerned about the Air Force and more and more concerned about the game and what was happening on the screen.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that this has happened either. I’m easily distracted by interesting things that are much more interesting than what I’m actually supposed to be doing.

Next task was to do a final round of tidying up in the apartment before having a really good wash and brush up to make myself look pretty.

While I was waiting for them to appear, I had a little snooze (no surprise there) and carried on with the radio notes. I actually managed to finish off the programme that I started so many moons ago.

My visitors turned up with my amp and I made a pot of tea. Clotilde had bought one of her vegan cakes so we all had a little party as we recalled old times and life down there on the margins of civilisation.

It’s strange but, primitive though the life was up there in the mountains, it was a very pleasant place to be with lots of exciting things happening. It’s a place that I miss more and more with each day that passes but there’s no point having regrets. I can’t turn the clock back to more healthy times.

So after my visitors had met my cleaner, who brought around the next load of medication, they all left me to my own devices.

Once more I crashed out yet again and I was off on my travels. I had the start of a dream about an elderly but thin guy rather like Putin in an all-white football kit, but I had no idea what was going on there

And then later on I was planning on digging some trenches with a backhoe but there was some debate as to whether the ground was solid enough. I thought that it worked out at at least 55lb per sq inch but some others disagreed and thought that it was less solid.

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … what goes on in my head while I’m asleep is much more exciting than whatever happens in real life.

Tea tonight was a delicious stuffed pepper with plenty of stuffing left over to see me through the next few days too, and now I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson, but I must also write out a shopping list for my cleaner if she goes to visit the LeClerc.

It reminds me of the time that I went shopping with Hannah, my niece’s middle daughter, when we were loading up with supplies to go to a tractor pull in New Hampshire (what an exciting life I used to lead).
"How much water do you think we ought to buy?" asked Hannah
"How much beer do we have?" I asked
"Three crates full" she replied
"So why do we need water then?" I asked. I have never felt more like a redneck in my life

Sunday 7th April 2024 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… horrible, gruesome, miserable day today again.

And if you thought that the one the other day was bad, this beats is easily. In fact it beats any day that I have ever had and I wish that I were dead.

It was at about 05:30 when I awoke this morning which, considering that once more I didn’t go to bed until long after midnight, is simply not enough.

Whatever it was that awoke me I really have no idea but I do know why I couldn’t go back to sleep, and that is this nerve ending in the sole of my right foot that is absolutely killing me.

It was doing its best to unsettle me last night, not without success. I’m getting to the stage where I’m simply afraid to move or to do anything in case it flares up again. And then after a while it flares up again all of its own accord anyway.

What would be nice would be in I knew what was causing it so that I didn’t do it again, but that’s far too easy a solution.

So when the alarm went off first thing that I did was to check the blood pressure. Maybe because of the stabbing pain in the sole of my foot it was 17.1/10.1 whereas last night, despite the stabbing pain then, it was 16.2/10.1

The nurse was early again today and I hadn’t finished my toilet so it was a very dishevelled me who went to meet him. And he’s given me instructions to wash the puttees for next time, but not to worry as I have the spare set which are already clean.

After he left I made myself some coffee and corn flakes, and went to carry on reading THE DAWN OF ASTRONOMY for a while.

Considering that the book is over 100 years old, it’s absolutely fascinating. It’s interesting to read his speculation about a lot of the ancient Egyptian temples, and then read subsequent modern research into the sites that proves his theories

The amount of old, interesting out-of-copyright books that I’ve found on these archiving sites is phenomenal and I’ve enjoyed every one.

Back in here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night last night. There was a group of girls being used as entertainers. I had a woman who wasn’t all that much older than me supervising them and making sure that they were well-behaved. While they were eating the supervisor was hanging around the girls so I wondered what was going on. I went over to find out. I found out that she had a series of plates, cups and saucers etc that were made in bright green plastic. She was trying to have her whole network to buy these products and use them so that she could identify them whenever she went away or was on some foreign soil etc but one or two of her members I suppose were quite keen on the idea but the rest weren’t so she was having a really difficult job trying to explain this to them.

When we were up in the High Arctic we were all given bright blue jackets. Firstly, they stood out really well against the snow and ice so that we could be seen quite easily in case we lost the way
Secondly many of our landings were dependent upon winds, currents, tides, polar bears and ice flow. All that could change in an instant and if we had to be called back to a zodiac or to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR we could be distinguished quite easily from a local.

Not for nothing was our party always known as “The Smurfs”.

My jacket from 2018 is hanging up in my cupboard here, but the one from 2019 was last seen hanging from a coat hook in a hotel in Calgary with my notebook and a few other bits and pieces in its pockets.

The whole of my progress around the Northern Hemisphere is marked by the objects that I’ve left behind, scattered to the four winds like that

By now I’d crashed out, for the first (but not the last) time today and was gone on this occasion until 12:00.

But even though I was feeling so bad, worse than you will ever know, I pressed on as well as I could with my radio notes to try to make some kind of progress.

After lunch I crashed out again but managed to awaken in time to make a start on the biscuits. And nice as they are, they would have been even nicer had I remembered the desiccated coconut to go with the coconut oil that I put in there.

It’s just a basic 10/8/4 mix of flour, butter/oil and sugar with nutmeg, cinnamon, ground ginger and cocoa powder.

While the mixture was firming up in the fridge I was crashing out again and then while it was baking I was dealing with tonight’s pizza. Not that I wanted to because I wasn’t hungry but I forced myself. And you can tell that I’m ill when I’m off my food

To everyone’s surprise, especially my own, I’ve brushed up in here and washed the floor. I’m likely to have a visit tomorrow afternoon. A party of Auvergnats has now arrived in the immediate vicinity and I’m likely to be called forward for inspection.

So I’ll need to pretty myself up too – an impossible task these days, I know. But if I have a better night’s sleep that will be a start.

But talking about polar bears just now reminds me of the time that they decided to have some cycles available for the more intrepid tourist on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR
Two polar bears were admiring the advert and one of them said to the other one "high time someone started a ‘meals on wheels’ service around the Arctic"

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"

Friday 5th April 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a rather better day today, which is a surprise.

In fact I’ve gone the whole day without crashing out once.

Mind you, it’s been a near thing once or twice with wave after wave of sleep washing up on my own rocky shores but I’ve managed to fight them off so far.

Mind you, there’s still 90 minutes before my official bedtime so still plenty of time to follow the family tradition and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. No-one else can manage that quite like us.

It was a lot longer than 90 minutes to bedtime last night what with everything that needed doing. It never used to be as complicated as this, I’m sure.. It was certainly closer to midnight than it was to 23:00 when I finally hit the sack last night, and glad I was to do so too. I was thoroughly wasted.

It was another really deep sleep and when I awoke with the alarm going off at 07:00 I was actually away somewhere doing something, but it completely evaporated the moment the alarm went off. As long as it wasn’t involving Zero, Castor or TOTGA, it’s OK.

So first things first. I fell out of bed and went off to check the blood pressure. 16.4/10.4. That’s quite a lot higher than last night’s figure of 15.5/10.6 so I wonder what has pumped it up. But the instructions for the machine say “take your blood pressure when you are sitting calmly and quietly and there are no distractions”.

Seriously, whenever is that ever likely to happen around here?

Having done that I went off to take the medication – all the piles of it – and then lay out the room how the nurse likes it to keep him happy while he’s here. He mentioned a shortage of large plasters so I added them to my cleaner’s notes for her shopping expedition

And while I was at it I sent her an order for some mushrooms and a cucumber.

In between everything else I made some bread for the weekend, and it turned out really well for a change I’m getting the hang of breadmaking after all this time

Once I’d managed to usher the nurse off the premises I had a listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night There was another false alarm call at 04:24 this morning. There was a group of four kids who were having a wrestling tournament. They were each wrestling against someone or other and being substituted during the match, one for another for another for another etc. This was just at the moment when they were having to make a substitution and one of the players was having to leave and another one was coming onto the field to join in with the wrestling as the alarm went off

And if you think that the idea of kids fighting for sport in wrestling rings and even cages is appalling and never likely to happen, you just have a look on Youtube. There are some utterly crazy people out here in the real world

But I’m interested to know why it should suddenly appear in my subconscious. I can’t recall anything that might lead to that and even if it did, years of trying unsuccessfully to make Castor, Zero or TOTGA appear in my dreams are proof that nothing would follow from it.

It took a good while to fire up the enthusiasm today but I eventually managed it, later than I intended and not by 5 minutes either. And no sooner had I started than I had a parcel delivery.

That meant assembling my new coat hanger that hooks over the top of the door and then I had to configure my new fitbit, seeing as the old one has managed to die a death.

This new one has loads of added accessories, such as a bluetooth connection to the phone and all that. Somewhere on it that I have yet to find will be the button to press so that it makes the coffee.

One thing that I do like about it is that it has an optional analogue watch face. That’s something that I’ve really missed.

But the coat hanger means that all of the coats and so on that were loitering around here have at long last found a home and I hope that they’ll all be very happy together

So I was finally able to make a start on my radio notes and in the time available I managed to do a little over half of them

And then after my hot chocolate I pressed on with more of the outstanding Welsh homework and made quite good progress with that.

Tea was some of that home-made falafel with salad and chips, thanks to my cleaner who came this afternoon and brought my mushrooms and cucumber with her. And they really were spicy too. I shall have to make some more like that if I can.

But that’s it for tonight. I’m off to bed, where I’ll wish that I was like Warren Zevon.

He was an American singer who, having been diagnosed with a fatal illness, decided that instead of sitting at home feeling miserable, took to the road with his I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD farewell tour and pressed on. That’s exactly the attitude that I ought to have, but it’s extremely difficult when I can’t seem to master this fatigue at all.

At times it seems that all of the fates are conspiring against me and that’s an uncomfortable feeling

Warren Zevon and I have something else in common too. We both have (or had) a weakness for red-headed girls. Warren Zevon’s red-headed girl wore "a red silk dress
You know I’m asking her to dance with me – she might say yes"

but I don’t know if mine ever did. It’s been years since I’ve seen her in real life and she doesn’t even come to see me at nights now

And there was another one with loads of red hair too but she fell off the radar a good few years ago which is a shame.

But that’s it anyway. I’m off to bed, hoping for a good sleep and an even better day tomorrow.

But while we’re on the subject of Warren Zevon … "well, one of us is" – ed
"Knock knock"
"Who’s there?"
"Rarrrh who?"
"Werewolves of London"

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.


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"

Monday 1st April 2024 – THAT WAS A …

… waste of a day.

And I’m not talking about my little April Fools joke either – I hope that no-one was taken in by it and I’m sorry if you were.

But the waste of time to which I’m referring is this morning where I sat down here on my chair at about 10:50 after my breakfast and the next thing that I remember was that it was 13:04 and I had a head full of lead. I was totally, utterly and absolutely out of it.

What makes it worse was that I actually managed to have a reasonable night last night, in bed at some kind of respectable time. It didn’t seem to take me as long as it usually does to make tea and all of that, and it was over quite quickly

That left plenty of time last evening to do what needed doing without having to rush around and for once I could go to bed early.

And sleep! I slept like a log, although I don’t have a fireplace here unfortunately – not even a woodstove. I had to use the bed, and it was really comfortable too.

It was a really strange night, for reasons which I’ll explain later, and I was actually half-awake when the alarm went off. I didn’t want to leave my bed but needs must when the devil drives and I fell out of bed.

Checking my blood pressure this morning it was 15.4/8.8, which is a reduction from 16.0/10.6 from the previous evening. That means that I must have had a calm, respectful night, although you won’t think so later.

Next thing to do was to have a wash and then go to take the medication as usual, piles of it again. and then to lay out the living room so that it’s just how Isabelle the nurse likes it.

She almost caught me incommunicado, and in somewhere else too but luckily I was just able to wash my hands in time. She couldn’t find anything wrong today with what I had done, although most of her effort was directed towards her card reader that somehow refused to function this morning.

And then she left, with her cohort coming for the next seven days while she takes a well-earned rest.

After she left, I came in here to listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. There was a group of girls and one of them was interested in me. For some reason she had me confused with someone else and ended up having a little fun with him. It wasn’t until afterwards that she realised that she’d been with the wrong person. Afterwards she actually told me what had happened which I thought was funny. I mentioned it to someone like the teacher or tutor or someone of a group of friends of mine. He told me “don’t worry Eric. I’ll make sure that your friends know about this at an opportune moment” which is exactly what I didn’t want to happen of course.

And there’s more truth to this story than might at first appear too, but this isn’t the place to discuss it.

And then at 04:00 I was told that I might well be recalled into a reunion at 04:30 that morning. What had happened was that a Swiss guy was coming along to talk to the hospital authorities about the best way to store their birth control pills, in a way probably different than most stores at the moment. For this he needed some room in the storeroom so as from 04:30 each morning each storeroom was to have some room set aside for this kind of thing. Of course once he’d finished his demonstration and the product was in there and the fact that there won’t be much of the area left was neither here nor there as long as they had enough for whatever they might expect was coming. They’d speak to me at 04:30 to see whether I’d received my invitation and if not they’d tell me where to go to the reunion and what time it starts etc. It’s absolutely vital that I go there. Having been told about going I must go there without any error at all.

That sounds rather familiar to anyone who might have seen my little April Fools joke. But honestly, I’d written the “joke” entry before I went to bed and didn’t dream this dream until afterwards.

It’s really quite strange that I should dream this more-or-less straight afterwards. If only I could summon up people like TOTGA, Zero and Castor as easily, I really would be one happy little Easter bunny.

There was also something about having to make sure that there were four certain types of ointment prepared for the nurse for tomorrow morning. I wasn’t sure that I’d done it so I thought that I’d better check and I was halfway out of the bed before I realised that I’d have plenty of time to do it in the morning so I got back under the bedclothes. But I’m not sure whether I actually did go to leave the bed in real life or whether the going to leave the bed was actually a dream and I was still under the covers. But anyway after that I lay in a comatose state of being asleep but being conscious of what was going on around me, all the way until the alarm went off.

That was one of the strangest dreams that I’ve ever had too. I’m really not sure if I actually did leave the bed or not, or if it was just a dream, which meant that I was dreaming within a dream, and that doesn’t happen too often. It’s actually quite a rare phenomenon.

There’s a phenomenon called “false awakening” which is a similar (although not the same) process and which has been studied by several psychiatrists. Nevertheless, it’s still interesting.

For breakfast I had the last of my hot cross buns and home-made bread. And it was all really delicious too, a real success that actually looked, tasted, smelled and felt as good as it ought to have done.

And then don’t let anyone say that coffee keeps you awake because I came in here and despite having drunk two full mugs of strong coffee, I crashed out completely and absolutely.

When I awoke, several hours later, I felt absolutely dreadful and it took several hours for me to come round into the real world. As I said, a total waste of a day today

Later on, I managed to find the time to cut up a few sound tracks after I’d converted them to an acceptable format, and then I carried on with a radio programme, finishing off choosing the music, pairing it off and joining the pairs together.

And that’s all that I’ve done, thanks to that mega-crash this morning just after breakfast. I’m never going to make any progress if I can’t organise myself better and stay awake.

It reminds me of the time I was setting of on a coach tour and a passenger sitting behind me said "if I start to snore, driver, you will wake me up, won’t you?"

And I replied "of course I will madam, as long as you promise to do the same to me."

You could joke about things like that 40 years ago, but just you try it now. No-one has any sense of humour these days. As Erma Brombeck said, "when humor goes, there goes civilization" and I for one totally agree with her.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, right up to the usual high standard especially as it was a fresh rather than a frozen one. But on that subject it took 15 minutes to fight my way into my freezer, it’s so full. It really is ridiculous, the amount of stuff in there.

It seems that every time I manage to make some space, something else comes along and fills it and it’s all completely never-ending.

But when I’ve finished off this stuffing on Wednesday I’ll eat those Chinese whatsits on Thursday now that I have some soy sauce. That’ll make a little space to fill up with something else.

Moving the vegetables along has proved to be a problem, with the amount that I freeze, I suppose. So it’s just as well that I’m not Boris Johnson.

On his last day in power he took his Cabinet Ministers along to the Ritz for a farewell dinner. When the waiter came along, Johnson said "I’ll have a steak, medium rare"
"And they vegetables, sir?" asked the waiter
"They’ll have the steak too"

Saturday 30th March 2024 – MY BROCCOLI STALK …

… soup was absolutely delicious at lunchtime.

  1. chop up an onion and fry it in a heavy duty saucepan
  2. dice your broccoli stalk and a potato into very small pieces and add them to the fried onion, and fry them
  3. add your herbs – I used coriander, chervil, marjoram and chives – a stock cube and some garlic, and fry them with everything else
  4. when you’re satisfied that all is going well, add enough of the water that you saved yesterday from blanching the carrots and broccoli florets – make sure that the stuff above is covered and remains so throughout the entire process
  5. simmer away on a low heat for about 20 minutes
  6. add a tub of soya yoghurt and whizz it all up with your whizzer
  7. serve with fresh black pepper and fresh-baked bread

That’s what I call a really decent meal for a lunchtime.

When I blanch my broccoli for freezing I only blanch the florets. But one of these 99 cents special offers of broccoli is usually more stalk than florets so you have to be inventive, and broccoli stalk soup is the way forward

However I wish that I knew the way forward out of my current sleep issues because they reared their ugly head today, and in spades too.

Last night was a late night again. Once more I couldn’t seem to have my tasks completed in anything like a reasonable time. They do seem to drag me down these days and like anything else around here, it’s never-ending.

Finally, hours later than intended, I managed to find my way into bed.

Once in though, I slept right the way through until the alarm went off without the slightest interruption, which is quite strange these days. Usually, the slightest noise awakens me, so I wonder if it’s something to do with one of the pills that I take just before going to bed.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed again and went to check the blood pressure. 15.5/8.9 compared to last evening’s 15.9/10.1. So not a great deal of difference.

After the medication I tidied up in the kitchen and arranged everything for the nurse to come. She was her usual cheerful self today and it didn’t take her long to sort me out. I told her about the issues with the pharmacy and she thinks that I ought to see my GP about the blood tests.

My opinion is that they are called for by the hospital so it’s up to the hospital to decide whether I need them or not, and as for my injections, I’m in the hospital in 3 weeks time and if I don’t have them for 3 weeks, there’s plenty of time for the hospital to catch up

Back in here, there was nothing on the dictaphone yet again from the night, and even though that usually signifies a decent sleep it’s still disappointing because, as I have said before… "and on many occasions too" – ed … going on my travels is the only fun that I have these days.

Back in the old days before my health finally gave out, I’d always be travelling. And not just in vehicles either, but on foot. I’ve roamed miles over places like the Long Mynd in Shropshire, moors in Scotland, Arctic tundra in Greenland and Northern Canada and so on.

Who will ever forget my famous journey when I nipped out for a couple of hours in 2014 and ended up roaming for miles through the Pyrenees in Southern France, Spain and Andorra for several weeks?

But returning to last night, even though there was nothing on the dictaphone I do have a recollection of something else to do with Ford Cortinas scattered all over Crewe and that’s a regular, recurring dream.

Apart from making broccoli stalk soup, most of the day has been dealing with radio stuff, sorting out music for the next few programmes. Time to restart work after being away on a course for a week. and I’m still thinking and talking in Welsh when I talk to myself.

There was a lot of progress made with the radio stuff but I would have done more had I not crashed out.

And I crashed out good and proper for a couple of hours too, the deepest that I have ever been too and it was really uncomfortable too, really, really uncomfortable. I was so far out that I wouldn’t have come back for a week.

Nevertheless I came round and wandered off for my hot chocolate. And there was something on the dictaphone from when I’d crashed out, and that doesn’t happen too often either. I was on my way to see my sister and my brother. They had given me directions but the closer I came to where they were supposed to be, the less sense the directions made. I ended up on an island, a long narrow sandspit that was completely built up with a big apartment building. As I approached the front door there was a man there so I hurried and he held the door for me to enter. Inside I went into the lift and came out on the first floor. I asked on the radio which apartment they were in but their answer was garbled so I asked which floor and they said “top”. I went back into the lift and came out at the top and was now in the open air countryside, still heavily built up. I asked if they were on the water side or the inside but the reply was “down here” so I went down the road. There was still no trace of them so I asked which house they were in. They replied that there was nothing near them but a pub. There was nothing whatever like that where I was but searching around I came across a village name something like Rhydymwyn (but wasn’t) so I asked if that name meant anything to them. There was no reply to that – I’d gone out of range obviously and lost radio contact, so I must have been miles away, so I gave it up zs a bad job.

The likelihood of me ever wanting to meet my brother and sister would be so remote that they wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of giving me false directions to keep me away.

But the island, the long thin sandspit, reminds me very much of Long Beach Island in New Jersey. That was where I went to celebrate the Millennium. I flew from Brussels Airport, where I was interviewed by Flemish TV – in Flemish – to New York and hired a car, then just drifted around until I found somewhere nice.

And LONG BEACH ISLAND REALLY IS NICE TOO. I had a wonderful time out there.

TOTGA had just been abandoned by her husband and was left alone with a small baby. I invited her to join me on the trip
"Where would be staying?" she asked
"We’ll work that out when we arrive. Just drive and find somewhere nice"
"Actually, it’s not really convenient"

A few years later we were talking and she said "I’d have come with you if you’d had a place booked to stay, you know."

It was then that I realised what a lucky escape she’d had. In 2015 I slept out on the trail every night in Northern Labrador and Northern Québec, timber wolves howling in the distance and something or other scratching at Strider’s truck cap, wanting to come in and share the sleeping bag with me.

TOTGA would have had a heart attack a long time before that if she’d had to share a lifetime with me. Nerina was the adventurous type and would have been fine, but I’m sure that I tried her spirit a few times

But just in case you are wondering, these people who figure quite often in my dreams, like TOTGA, Castor and Zero and so on, they are actually real people whom I’ve encountered, or even had a close encounter, at some time or other and who have obviously left a very great impression on me.

There was football on the internet later – TNS v Cardiff Metropolitan in the other Welsh Cup semi-final.

To everyone’s surprise, the Met raced into a 2-0 lead but of course it couldn’t last. TNS changed out of first gear and off they roared.

TNS’s overwhelming dominance of the Welsh domestic game wouldn’t bother me all that much if they could take it further. But they are knocked out of European competition at the first hurdle and they really ought to be doing much better than

It would really be nice if they could make it to a European group stage for once and have a real stab at something worthwhile.

And it would be nice if other clubs could do well too, emulating Hwlffordd who actually made it through to a second round last season.

Tea tonight was baked potato with vegan salad and one of these breaded quorn fillets that I like. But aren’t plates heavy when they fall on your foot? I’m glad that there was just a quorn fillet on it at that moment and nothing else.

But now I’m off to bed. We lose an hour tonight of course with the change of calendar, and I have the nurse coming which is a pain. I need to be up early and have everything ready so I hope that the alarm works.

Not like back in the old days when I was always late for school
"And why are you always late?" asked the exasperated schoolmaster
"Please sir" I explained "there’s eight in our family but the alarm was only set for seven so I had to miss out."

Friday 29th March 2024 – THIS MORNING AT …

… 04:30 I was up and about making bread, would you believe?

And I’m still up and about now. In fact, this is probably one of the very few times that I’ve actually sat down today.

Not that I’m complaining about the early start though. I made the nicest bread that I have ever made. It actually looked and felt (not to mention smelt) like proper bread, and I do have to say that it was a triumph.

If I could make bread like that all the time I would be more than happy. Especially as, being short of money, I would knead the dough.

Earlier this morning, at 04:11 to be precise because I looked at my watch, I awoke. And I couldn’t go back to sleep no matter how much I tried so in the end I abandoned the idea and went into the kitchen.

It didn’t take too long to knead the dough but what I’d done differently was to use a little more water than usual, and warmer water at that. and then rather fighting it, I folded it over and over, just as gently as if I was massaging Zero’s clavicles.

And not just once either but a couple of times to make sure that it was properly kneaded. And off we went. And up it went too. It rose faster than my blood pressure when I realised later in the day that I had forgotten to take it this morning. Last night’s was 18.1/10.4 by the way.

While it was rising I put it carefully aside. I don’t want any nurses poking and prodding it. But I tidied up the kitchen area a little because it’ll be busy in a couple of hours.

When the nurse arrived she put on my puttees, had a chat and then left, pleased that we’d ordered her supplies for her. And then, as LeClerc’s home delivery was now open, I sent off my order. “Delivery between 10:00 and 12:00”.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. There was some kind of art school taking place last night with human models being used in the sculpting and painting classes etc for people to practise drawing or working on human figures. When they began to introduce a second model to work as a pair with the first one there were quite a few people who objected and there were obvious reasons too. It caused a great deal of unrest and unease amongst everyone because many people believed that art was pure and could not be corrupted and other people who believed that corruption was everywhere in the world and this was just another part of it. There were two extremes of people who were busy arguing over what the models were supposed to be doing. Everyone else was really quite bewildered that someone could make such an issue about something that was so ordinary, familiar and so straightforward.

And that’s a common occurrence these days. I’m convinced that there are some people who have nothing better to do except trawl the internet or their immediate neighbourhood to find ways in which they might be offended

And when they do find something that offends them they spend all their time and effort actually aggressively trying to upset everyone else by forcing their viewpoints on the World and expecting the 98% majority to suppress their own interests in favour of those of the 2%

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have every sympathy with minority groups but sometimes consider that some of them go way beyond the bounds of what is reasonable behaviour.

When you see people complaining about what they see as pseudo-eroticism, like girls wearing bikinis and the like, and saying how indecent it is, that tells me far more about what’s going on in their mind than it does about what’s going on in the mind of the pseudo-offender.

And then I went back to sleep and this argument was still continuing. No-one was making any progress at all about either performing the piece of art or about having their points of view agreed. I quite simply didn’t understand the whole issue because there’s no objection to the art being displayed in museums etc and that’s where you’d think that people would be most upset but I dunno. I just didn’t understand it.

Later on I was still in this dream but I was actually dreaming it in Welsh. At one point while I was watching something on the TV there was a big crowd. I took something out of my pockets, some paper and rubbish, and simply threw it on the floor which was greeted by a barrage of heckling from the various people standing nearby. I didn’t just do it once but did it twice as well, I seemed to think, and it may have even been three times but I was having this dream in Welsh at that point.

So there I was, back in the same dream three times all told. And had I stayed in bed there might have been even more. But it was interesting that I was dreaming in Welsh because I’ve been thinking – and talking to myself – mainly in Welsh today which has surprised me. I must really have enjoyed that course.

As for talking to myself, of course I do. I’m reminded of Gandalf in LORD OF THE RINGS when he said "For I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to".

When the LeClerc delivery arrived I put away the frozen food and then had breakfast. And my hot cross buns are superb. They were a definite success too – well worth waiting for.

After putting away most of the food I set about blanching dicing and blanching the carrots, followed by the broccoli, ready for freezing.

And the cleaner caught me in flagrante delicto. She came in to tell me that I can’t have my injections any more.

The situation is that according to the prescription they can only be given if the blood tests show a result of less that a certain figure for something. But seeing as the prescription for the blood tests has run out and the tests aren’t being done, they can’t check the figure.

That sounds quite logical to me, but it meant that I had to sent an e-mail to the hospital to ask for clarification

So tonnes of carrots and broccoli to freeze, and there’s a broccoli stalk to make a soup tomorrow for midday – dipping my fresh bread into it too. It should be delicious.

There was football this afternoon – Colwyn Bay v Aberystwyth Town. Both teams propping up the table and they played like it too. Having seem the beautiful, flowing football of TNS last weekend, ths game was a disappointment.

Mind you, played on a swamp in a monsoon, that was hardly a surprise. Colwyn Bay have a beautiful ground as far as the grandstands and terracing go, but the pitch is awful.

Aberystwyth took the lead early on with a scrappy goal that was really the only exciting moment of the first half. Things improved for Colwyn Bay after the break and they looked more lively but it was the introduction of a couple of substitutes by each team on 75 minutes that livened up the game.

From then on, each team was throwing the kitchen sink at each other with gaps opening up everywhere in the defence as each side went on the attack, only to be caught out by a quick breakaway

Just as the game was going into stoppage time Colwyn Bay scored a dramatic equaliser, but blow me if Aberystwyth didn’t roar up the other end and score immediately.

So Aberystwyth won and move up above Pontypridd United, but things look dark for Colwyn Bay. And they’ll be even darker as they’ll be without manager Steve Evans next game. I don’t know what he said to the ref after the final whistle but it was worth a yellow card.

And then he must have said it again because he received another yellow card. So that’s him out of the dugout and in the stands for the next game.

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I’m fed up of these petulant football players having crises all over the place during a game, and when the managers begin to do it, that really is the end.

The cleaner came not long after kick-off to do her stuff, and she left so quietly that I didn’t hear her go. But I now have a clean kitchen again which is nice.

The rest of the afternoon was either spend working on my Canada 2022 stuff or else, regrettably, asleep in my chair. Not that I’m complaining about that either. I’m surprised that I’ve kept on going as long as I have.

Tea was a burger on a bap, one of those burgers that I made from the stuff that my friend in Munich sent me. With chips and salad too, and it wasn’t disagreeable. It was rather gritty but that’s the ingredients I reckon and you can’t like everything absolutely

But it worked, and that was what counts.

Fighting with the freezer to put away the carrots and broccoli I dropped the carrots all over the floor. But picking them up (I’m glad that the floor is clean) I found the clip for the other puttees that I’d lost. Having found yesterday the other one that I lost a long time ago, I now have all four for each set which is just as well.

But I’ve also been busy booking Welsh courses. I’ve booked a week at the start of July with Coleg Cambria (and I hope that my own tutor isn’t tutoring it because doing a course with her two levels down would be embarrassing for both of us) and a two-week Summer School with Coleg Morgannwg at the end of August. So more “gyda” instead of “efo” for when I go back on my main course in September

It beats me though why Coleg Cambria’s courses are so early in the Summer break. I would have thought that they would have run their Summer courses just before the restart to set people off running when they start their next course.

But that’s enough from me for tonight. I’m off to bed. But doing all of these courses reminds me of the famous poem about Crawshay Bailey and his "engine
which was always wanting mending"

"he went to Cardiff College
for to get a bit of knowledge"

With this course at Coleg Morgannwg I’ll have been to most Colleges in the whole of South Wales "for to get a bit of knowledge" and it’s still not working, just like Crawshay Bailey’s engine.

It just reminds me of the small boy at school who had to repeat Year 6 three times. When asked how he felt about it he replied "I’m not bothered"
"Why’s that?" asked his parents
"At least I’m cleverer than my teacher"
"Why’s that?"
"Well" he replied "she was in Year 6 when I started at this school, she’s been in it all the time that I’ve been here and she’ll still be it again next year after I’ve left!"