Category Archives: cleaner

Friday 24th May 2024 – “THERE’S NONE AS THICK …

… as them as wants to be” as my old grandfather used to say in his old Maelor-border accent

And so for the past few days finding it more and more difficult to rise up from my chair in here? I’ve been thinking about buying one of these chairs where there’s some kind of pump-action that raises and lowers the sear.

The last couple of days or so I’ve been discussing it with my cleaner but when she’s been in here this afternoon she asked me “what’s this handle for underneath the seat of your chair?”

You really couldn’t make it up, could you?

It’s a shame that there’s not one on the bed though. It’s all very well “going to bed” but that’s no earthly good if it takes 20 minutes to actually climb on. Honestly, I ache in so many different places it’s simply not true. There’s my groin, and my back, and regular readers will recall the stabbing pain in the sole of my right foot that goes all the way through my body. Well, that’s back too, as if I don’t have enough.

So last night was absolutely wretched. If there hadn’t been stuff on the dictaphone I’d have sworn that I hadn’t slept a wink all night

When the alarm went off I was a little quicker out of the blocks and not needing to dress saved me some time, so after I’d had my medication I began to make the weekend’s bread

After the nurse had been I carried on with my bread and I do have to say that it was perfection itself, which is nice. However it took a lot longer than it ought and so breakfast was quite late today.

Once breakfast was over I set to and made a mountain of hummus. One lot is chili flavoured and the other is olive and dried tomato, and most of it is in the freezer

Having done that I came back in here were I didn’t actually crash out but I was in some kind of vapid daze, not able to function at all but fully conscious of my surroundings.

The cleaner came round and awoke me from my reverie, and we had this chat about my chair. And then I transcribed the dictaphone notes. Someone was following the trail of her father at work. He had died and she had been following in his footsteps to find out more about his life. She went to his factory and found that he was given certain things. They gave her two of them. Then they all went for a meal at the restaurant where he used to go. They proposed soup, which was what he always had but mine was white creamy stuff like cottage cheese yet they insisted that it was soup, the soup that this guy always had though it looked nothing like soup to me. I was just on the point of tasting it when I awoke

It beats me as to why I would be there, but things sound right about the soup. No-one seems to care about my diet here.

A roll of insulation had fallen off a lorry on the M50 and had completely blocked the motorway for several miles so the whole motorway was closed while they thought of what they would do to roll this back up. There was a group of kids camping near there. The police wanted them moved on but when I saw the girl’s rucksack was absolutely full to the point of bulging yet weighed as light as a stone as if there were just bags of air inside it made me wonder what on earth was going on with these kids. What did their choice have to do with anything and why were they being pushed around like this

And young girls being pushed around by the police. Would you believe it?

While we were discussing the closing of the road by this insulation and how they were going to move me the engine on a cabin cruiser than was being towed and had stopped because of the police suddenly burst into flames. There was smoke and fumes everywhere while this happened.

There was also a good old-fashioned knock at the door at 06:00 but there was no chance of my opening it at all. Probably phantom knockers now, I reckon.

Then I paired off the music for the next radio programme but was interrupted by a ‘phone call. It was the hospital giving me appointments for Tuesday 11th. It looks as if I’ll be staying over when I go on the 10th. But apparently they’ve found an issue with my heart

They want a blood test too so I had to print off a pile of stuff including the prescription

Tea tonight was vegan nuggets with chips and vegan salad, and now I’m off to bed, if I can manage to climb onto it. But at least it’s not as bad as when I was married and I swapped our bed for a trampoline. Nerina hit the roof!

Thursday 23rd May 2024 – I’VE NO IDEA …

.. what I’ve done to myself, but I have aches in places I didn’t even realise that I had places.

At some time during the night I pulled a muscle in my groin in bed.

Usually I don’t mind pulling a muscle in my groin in bed, but only if there’s someone else in there pulling it with me. This time though it happened during the night when I was asleep and I didn’t realise until I had to leap out of bed to switch off the alarm

And then I did! Ohh yes.

And I’ve also done something to my lower back too so sitting down, even in my lovely office chair, is agonising too

When I went to bed last night, earlier than usual for a change, I was in perfect health. Well, as perfect as I can be, I suppose. And for a few hours I had a nice relaxing sleep.

However things went south from there. I was tossing and turning around, obviously far too much at one point.

When the alarm went off Billy Cotton cried his famous cry three times before I could reach the ‘phone to switch him off. Usually I can manage to do it before the first chorus ends but that’s when I don’t have pulled muscles in my body with which I have to contend.

In the bathroom it took me half an hour – yes, half an hour to dress myself. It really was so difficult to pick up my right leg with this agonising pain.

Eventually I managed it though and limped off into the living room to sort out the medication. It’s a day of everything today, even the Vitamin D supplement that I have to take these days with being stuck indoors.

When the nurse came I told her of my predicament and she insisted, absolutely insisted that I take a painkiller. I’m totally opposed to that idea but I could see the logic in her argument today.

However I had a few things to do that needed my attention beforehand

Once I’d organised everything I took a painkiller, with the predictable results. Having crowed yesterday about not crashing out at all, I was away with the fairies. And away for almost 4 hours too. It was 15:06 when I awoke and … errr … somewhat later when I started work.

The cleaner had been in while I’d been asleep and apparently we’d had a chat. I wonder what it was that I’d said. It can’t have been anything offensive because she came back later with other stuff. It seems that one of my neighbours has left me a couple of punnets of soft fruit which is really nice.

First thing that I did was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We were having a big discussion about teenagers wasting time. It turned into some kind of battle like a game of football or something. Whichever team I was on, we swept the field and won quite convincingly. This led to me moving into a new apartment. I had some help to do it. Afterwards we were settling down when the ‘phone rang. It was Rosemary so she and I had a good chat. She found out where I was living now, which was just down the road from ETS Elliott School and some of her stuff was there in a box so she wondered if we could go to pick it up at some point at lunchtime. I didn’t see any objection to that except that I wasn’t sure how I was going to carry it away. It would probably need to go into the car which meant coming back from work on the bus or tram, getting into the car, going to the school, getting the things, going back home and then going back to work on the bus or tram again. Certainly in theory it was possible anyway

Time is, after all, only wasted if you actually regret it. And when you are teenage you don’t worry about that

There’s a General Election taking place in the UK. I’ve been an MP for 5 years creaming the money off illicit contracts and tings like that from the NHS over Covid. Of course with the elections coming up there was likely to be a new Party, there’s likely to be a public enquiry which could eventually lead to prosecutions. I would have to admit at some stage or other that I was likely to be prosecuted for some misdeeds with regard to the Covid disaster and the aftermath of it. It was all extremely depressing for me as time passed on the approach to the date

Yes, I’ve caught the General Election fever right enough with all of this. It’ll be like this now for the next few weeks until it’s all over.

I was going somewhere on a train. The train was quite crowded. There was one guy behind me talking to one guy in front of me. Although they were talking quite quietly it was impossible for me to sleep. I had all kinds of dreams and things going through my head relating to the economy and knights in shining armour etc but of course with not being asleep they are only flitting through. In the end there was an incident on board the train. Someone made some kind of remark to me so I replied and mentioned about these two guys talking to each other and said that maybe now they can keep quiet and let everyone else go to sleep. I suddenly realised that not only was I sitting on a set of seats for two in this crowded train I was sitting on the one against the aisle and my feet were across the other one propped up on the back of the seat in front. I had stuff all over where I was sitting on the window ledge and on the tray of someone sitting across the aisle too. I suddenly realised that I’m the last person who ought to be lecturing passengers about their behaviour on this train. As it became more crowded and people were standing I suddenly realised that maybe I’m going to have to change my behaviour and let someone sit alongside me which would of course make the journey much more uncomfortable for me but make it much more comfortable for everyone else. It really did seem strange the way I was reacting when I was being twice as bad as everyone else when it came down to selfishness

And this isn’t like me, is it? I’m not usually the inconsiderate sort. Not these days anyway.

Next step was the radio programme. I’ve chosen all of the music and begun to pair it off. That should keep me out of mischief for the next few days, writing the radio notes for the music that I’ve chosen. There’s some good stuff in this programme.

Tea tonight was, as I said the other day, steamed veg with falafel in a vegan cheese sauce. That’s another one of my favourite meals and it was as delicious as always. That’s another meal I can eat every night of the week.

But seeing as I’m in agony I’m off to bed. Fully dressed because I’m not going through this morning’s pantomime again.

Tonight I feel like the woman who went to the doctor’s about her aches and pains.
"What did he say about the pain in your back?" asked her husband
"He told me to rub in this embrocation three times a day" she replied
"Did he say anything about the pain in your *rs*?"
"Yes" she replied. "He told me that I ought to apply for a divorce"

Wednesday 22nd May 2024 – I HAVE GONE …

… would you believe, for a whole day without falling asleep even once. And when was the last time that that happened?

It has to be said that I did waver for about 10 minutes round about 17:45 but Rosemary sending me a few text messages soon snapped me out of it.

The interesting thing will be to see how I manage tomorrow. Is this just a flash in the pan? Or is it a renaissance? My money is of course on the former because as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, nothing is so bad that it cannot deteriorate any further, but you never know.

That was the last thing that I was imagining when I finally crawled into bed last night, later than I would have liked it to be but earlier than some just recently.

It was another turbulent night too. I don’t think that I had all that much sleep. But I was definitely asleep when the alarm went off. No phantom alarms during the night – at least, not that I recall.

There was the usual morning routine with the nurse helping me put on my new slippers, and then I had a leisurely few hours while I slowly came round into the Land of the Living.

After my coffee and fruit bun I had things to do. I’m going for a check-up in Paris on 10th June and I needed a bon de transport – a transport voucher – as my journey is more than 150 km

You’ve no idea how many times and how many different numbers I had to dial in order to find the Secretariat of the doctor. In the end I managed to contact them and they’ll send me one.

Next step was the taxi company to book the car to take me. As the journey is over 150 kms I need “prior authorisation” from the Social Security. No problem there because it seems that the doctor has asked for – and been given – “prior authorisation” for 15 trips. And so I invited the receptionist out to hit the high spots with me one night.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes. There were six of us living in a house all together. We had a few things to do, one of which was to play in some kind of cup final. The following day the film that had been taken of the match was shown to us. We could see the penalty shootout at the end where we’d scored penalties. They wanted us to do this again and then go to see a famous footballer to talk to him about the match. This meant leaving the bed and dressing. Someone had brought everything into the room for us to make our own sandwiches to eat on the trip. I was going to make a sort of burger, I suppose, with a burger and crudities on top but while I was cutting the cabbage or cauliflower or something like that, the cabbage or cauliflower fell onto the floor. No-one knew where it was. I couldn’t see it. In the end after several minutes someone pointed it out to me. By this time my quilt had fallen off the bed and had landed on top of it. I thought to myself that I would never ever have this sandwich like this. In the end I abandoned the attempt for the moment and chose other crudités to go on the pile. Then we slowly began to set off. I had the preferential place on the transport but I couldn’t think why because my goal to me was no more different than anyone else’s goal during this match

Later on I had a similar type of dream. A girl I knew in Brussels was there with me. We ended up driving to some kind of city and we were discussing a few things that had taken place over the last couple of days. I jokingly said to her “if you aren’t very careful I’ll be offering you a job”. Her eyes lit up at that and she wanted to know more about what I meant. Of course I meant it in fun but for some reason or other I felt like sharing my life with someone and she was there. We had a chat. It turned out that she wasn’t really all that interested. She asked what was involved so I talked about my future plans for next holiday, which was to go on a driving tour of places in Italy. She didn’t fancy that. She wanted to go to Borth in mid-Wales. I asked why and she replied that it’s handy for the airport if she wants to go somewhere else. I made a joke about “was it you, that person on the bicycle”? There had been some talk about a person on a bicycle. She was rather offended by that. She reminded me of a holiday that she’d done on a motor cycle previously. I explained that a motor cycle is far easier than going on a bike in any case. The discussion continued as we climbed into my car, the red Cortina. There was a guy loitering around. He had a really strange beard. I asked him if he wanted a lift. He replied “yes” but didn’t climb into the car as if he was waiting for someone else. I pulled forward out of the parking spot but he just shook his head then and walked away so I drove off and continued my discussion with the girl.

She was a strange girl too. Assistant to the Editor of the Brussels edition of “Time” magazine, she did have a short fuse if you touched one of her sacred cows. And she came to stay with me – for 12 months too – in 2003 while her apartment was rented out when she was short of money. And I never saw her again after she left

And so that dream continued. We walked mile after mile after mile all the way through South Cheshire, through Crewe. I was there with my youngest sister, leading her on trying to encourage her but with her little legs, it must have been a nightmare this trip. We just kept on going. Nothing distracted us all the way up Edleston Road past all of these cheap shops selling sweets and things, through a kind of market hall at the top and out onto Nantwich Road. We carried on walking towards Nantwich for whatever reason – I had no idea at all. Poor little sister. She must have been in hell trying to walk this journey with us with her small legs.

Why I said “so that dream continued” I have no idea. There’s probably something missing somewhere that I didn’t record and that’s a shame, especially if it includes Zero, Castor or TOTGA. They didn’t make it last night but it’s nice to see a couple of other people whom I know.

While the cleaner was here I finished off the radio notes for the programme on which I’ve been working, and I made a start on choosing the music for the next one. We have to push on.

Tea tonight was another delicious leftover curry with naan bread. That’s the last of the naan bread dough so I’ll have to make some more on Sunday along with the pizza dough and the biscuits. I’m running short of those.

But that’s for Sunday. Now I’m off to bed.

But the gist of Rosemary’s discussion was the UK General Election which will take place on 4th July and which will figure in these pages in fuller detail over the next few weeks when a whole variety of MPs will be preparing to head for the hills with their ill-gotten gains from the Covid scandal.

But that’s nothing to laugh at. A Chinese guy was taunting me about the state of the UK. I told him "at least the UK can change its Government every five years. When was the last time you had an election?"
"Just before blekfast" he retorted.

Tuesday 21st May 2024 – NOT ANOTHER HORRIBLE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me being in dispute with someone? Surely not!

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

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

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

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

Sunday 19th May 2024 – WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT

this evening I’ve been out and about – and how I wish that I hadn’t. It did not go well.

Actually it all began to go wrong the previous evening. Despite the promise of an extra hour in bed until 08:00, it was actually long after midnight before I finally hit the hay, what with one thing and another. And once you start, you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are.

It was another turbulent night when I don’t think that I may have had much sleep, and I was certainly in no mood to deal with the alarm that rang.

Anyway I staggered off into the bathroom having switched off the alarm, done what I’d needed to do and washed the floor (which was much more complicated than it ought to have been) I was interrupted mid-deshabillé by the early arrival of the nurse. So he had to wait for me to finish.

Once I was ready he did the necessary and departed, leaving me to prepare breakfast.

There was a ‘phone call shortly afterwards. It’s a neighbour’s birthday, the neighbour who was so helpful in putting me on the trail of the apartment downstairs. It’s a “special” birthday and she was having a big party in one of the public rooms here.

She wanted me to be there, which was nice, and se she’d asked another couple of neighbours to help me. They rang me up to confirm the arrangements.

At some point in between one or two of the constant waves of sleep that were overwhelming me I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was a teacher at school last night talking to a couple of guys. As a result I was late to go to my class one morning. On another morning a similar situation occurred but on a third moment I was just late. I ran into a young teacher who was trying to make an impression who was also late coming into school. I told him to simply say that he had been to see these two other guys who had kept him longer than they should but he couldn’t understand it. He kept on being confused about how he should say and what he should say. When I mentioned a sum of money which was why I was late – I had to go to pay a bill somewhere he asked “yes, do I have to pay these guys a sum of money?” and he started to really confuse himself. In the end I wished that I hadn’t said anything and that he’s just gone in and treated his absence as though without any problem whatever. This was going to end up far too complicated for him to understand which is a total surprise. It was all pretty straightforward to me what he needed to do. The other two guys involved – they were quite happy to play ball with any suggestion whatsoever

That makes a change, doesn’t it? People playing ball and willing to fall in with my ideas.

And then I vaguely heard the alarm go off at 08:00 and then vaguely heard the doorbell – when he came I was still flat-out asleep in the bedroom. He had to come and hunt me down and do all the things that … fell asleep here …

Of course, that was the phantom alarm sounding and it wasn’t the nurse to come in to awaken me either. There are some strange things going on in this building.

When the alarm went off I was busy teaching someone some French. We were at a strange kind of house party last night with lots of excitement going on. Down in the garage outside was a builder mixing cement who had developed a way of doing it automatically. He showed me round and showed me how it worked. It looked quite an interesting way of doing things – you could certainly mix a lot of cement quite quickly in this way. He was the one asking me the French for all kinds of different phrases as we were going along

There are so many things like this in my dreams that if I could remember them correctly and patent them, I’d make a fortune

While I was asleep at lunchtime there was something about two girls being here. It might even have been Percy Penguin and someone else. I’d made a big plate of salad and given them a side plate each so that they could help themselves to some, but one of the girls complained that the side plates just weren’t big enough and they wanted dinner plates.

At the rate that I’m breaking crockery here, they should think themselves lucky that they were offered side plates. It was probably all that I had.

So continuing on with my struggle after a rather late lunch I chose all of the remaining music for the next radio programme and paired it off. For some reason that took a lot longer than it ought to have done.

And so did putting on my shoes. I had to take off my puttees of course but the subsequent battle with my shoes took almost 45 minutes and was the most depressing moment of my life – so far

When my two neighbours called and helped me downstairs, you’ve no idea how depressed I was. It was clear that my health has deteriorated badly since the last time that I went out because it was such a struggle. I was beginning to think that it was the wrong decision to come out because I’ll never get back up the stairs again.

As I hadn’t been out for ages they took me on a guided tour of the town to see the sights, which was very nice of them. It’s ages since I’ve had a good look around.

At the party I fell in with a very nice group of guys and gals and eventually a chair with arms was produced so that I could sit down outside, enjoy the sun, talk music and eat a big plate of crudités

Eventually we had to go inside for a main meal, and this is where the fun began – I couldn’t get out of the chair, no matter how many people tried to help me.

Four guys had to carry the chair – and me, like some Roman emperor, I suppose – inside the hall and drop me at a table. Surprisingly there was nothing arranged for me to eat. someone eventually produced a plate of green beans followed by a plate of cherries.

We were there until about midnight and then we had the same trouble. It was impossible for me to leave the chair.

In the end they carried my and the chair to the car and bundled me inside, and that was not without mishap. I fell over a couple of times trying to go from the chair to the car.

At the other end, outside here, they helped me from the car, put me in the chair as I still couldn’t stand up, and they carried the chair and me up the stairs and tipped me out on the bed.

What an ignominious, humiliating way to spend an evening. I should really never have gone out but it’s as well to find out my shortcomings while there were plenty of people to help. Heaven alone knows what it will be like when I have to go to Paris.

But at least my experience wasn’t as humiliating as for someone else there. A rather large lady, who took up a lot of space, appeared at the party and wanted to sit down
"Three chairs for this lady, please?" asked our host
"Hip! Hip! Hooray!" roared the crowd.

Friday 17th May 2025 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… to defrost the freezer.

The build-up of ice in there was so much that the doors wouldn’t close correctly, which was making the freezer freeze up even more.

So, armed with the electric kettle and a saucepan with a heavy, thick base I went to work. It’s not perfectly defrosted, because the time that it would take, the frozen food wood melt, but at least the drawers fit better and the doors close, which was the aim of the whole exercise.

Mind you, it’s just about the only productive work that I’ve done all day. The other day, I mentioned that the partner of my friend in Munich had gone into palliative care. Unfortunately she didn’t pull through and just after midnight she left us to join the angels.
"Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee"

as John Donne wrote 400 years ago. I remember the delight that she felt when she came out of hospital a few years ago after just having her catheter port removed. For her it signified the end of the cancer treatment that she was having, that she was now fit and rehabilitated.

The removal of the catheter port was a symbol of victory back then. But how rapidly and wickedly fate can turn upon you. Rest in Peace, Ulli. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known you.

As for myself, I’m not doing much better. My body is swelling up with all of these water retention issues that I’m having. And when I say “all” my body, I do mean “every bit of it”. I shall be looking like Bibendum, the Michelin Man, before too long

But last night anyway I managed to make it to bed and although it was a late night again, it was a decent sleep for a change and I can’t remember being interrupted at all, not even by a phantom alarm call. It was the Sleep of the Dead.

When the real alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then made my way to the bathroom for a clean-up, not that it did much good, I reckon.

Once I’d had my medication I set out the dining area for the nurse. My right leg is much better now, with the pain having diminished even more. But as I mentioned earlier, I have other issues with which to deal now that are causing me greater problems

While I was waiting I made a start on the bread dough for the weekend, mixing it, giving it a knead and then leaving it to proof for a while.

The nurs didn’t have much to say for himself today and was in and out quite rapidly After he’d gone I gave the bread its second working-over and divided into three lumps, one for each day.

Just for a change it went up like a lift, the best that I have ever made I reckon, and it baked really nicely too. My breakfast cheese-on-toast, which was almost lunchtime cheese-on-toast by the time that I’d finished, was delicious.

Back in here I crashed straight out despite the strong black coffee, and it was 13:00 when I finally rejoined the Land of the … well, perhaps not.

First thing was to check the dictaphone to see if there was anything on it from the night. And to my complete surprise, there was. This was before the Fall of France and we had a bomber aeroplane in Normandy. We’d given it a name. First of all we’d called it “Billy Jones” after the boy who was a dancer … "That was Billy Elliott. Billy Jones was guitarist with the Outlaws who committed suicide" – ed … but then we gave it some other name later but I can’t remember what it was. However the ‘plane was shot down on a flight over to the Channel Islands before the Channel Islands were invaded and unfortunately we lost it and the crew

Just a little reminder for the British people who criticised the French for not resisting the Occupier in World War II, the Channel Islands were occupied in June 1940 and no effort at all was made to free them until after the end of the War, never mind at D-Day or when the battle for Normandy had passed them by.

Of the eight ‘planes two were shot down taking off and the other six were shot down along the route but this dream continued lots of things – there was a young lad who was a store person who was enamoured of this girl who volunteered to sing a requiem but was not very good at at, dozens of things like that all through this dream that seemed to go on for ages

And if you are thinking that the one dream leads straight on to the other there was a three-hour gap between the two, according to the timestamps.

Having had my lunchtime fruit I checked over my order from LeClerc and then sent it off. It’s an expensive one this weekend but there’s stuff like coffee, olive oil and champagne on it.

Champagne, yes. It’s a neighbour’s 80th birthday on Sunday and I’m invited, not that I’ll be drinking any of it of course. Last time I had any alcohol was in Bulgaria in 1994, and that was due to force majeure.

Back in here again I was reading something on the internet when the next thing that I remember were the dulcet tones of my cleaner awakening me. I’d had another one of these crashings-out where the light simply goes off and I can’t remember a thing.

She came round this afternoon to do her stuff again and it was a good job that she was here because the delivery came early.

The frozen food went into the freezer (which was when I noticed the door issues) and the rest I put away after she had left. Well, most of it anyway. There’s still some to do

But after I’d had my hot chocolate I blanched the florets of the broccoli that I’d bought ready for freezing and saved the stalk and the water for a broccoli stalk soup tomorrow

Back in here and the light went off again just as dramatically as earlier, and how I am sick of all of this. It was 18:38 when I awoke, but at least that gave me some more time to work on the next radio programme.

Tea this evening was a vegan salad with chips and some of those vegan nuggets done in the air fryer, and it was delicious as usual. My salads are works of art, and I really do seem to have the knack about these air-fryer chips now

So tonight there’s one more extra star in the sky looking down on us from above. It just goes to show that there’s no escape for any of us. The Grim Reaper will get us all sooner or later. I just hope that those who have gone on ahead have paved the way for the rest of us.

And as I said the other night, this is not the time for levity

Wednesday 15th May 2024 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S LITTLE …

… outburst, I’m still here. Alive and while I’m not quite kicking there’s been further improvement in my right hip. The pain’s not so bad and I’m raising my leg a little more. Getting dressed and undressed is not quite as complicated a struggle as it was.

But going back to my … errr … somewhat intemperate outburst last night, new readers of this rubbish, of which there are more than just a few these days, will be wondering why I don’t come along later and edit them out.

The fact is, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that my mental health is as important as my physical health and it needs monitoring just the same. These remarks are an important gauge of how my mental health is doing and I need to make a note of it so that I can look back later and compare notes, to see how I’m doing over the long-term.

But despite how bad things were looking last night, "When your back’s against the wall it’s time to turn round and fight" as John Major once famously said. "Better counsel comes overnight" Said Gotthold Lessing and so I eventually wandered off to bed, nothing like as early as I was hoping.

It was however yet again another turbulent night with a phantom alarm call which I managed to almost ignore, and stayed in bed until the real alarm went off at 07:00.

At the time that it went off I was in Thailand living with a Thai family. Apparently I’d been extremely ill and was living there for some kind of rest and recuperation although I’ve no idea about any more than that. And what kind of rest and recuperation I’d get with a Thai family in Thailand is anyone’s guess

And despite having had a drink with my medication before retiring, I had a thirst that you could photograph this morning. My pint of flavoured water with the morning’s medication didn’t last long, I’ll tell you

The nurse came round as usual just as I was watching yesterday’s game in one of the English play-offs and we sorted out the dressing on my right foot followed by my puttees.

He’s not impressed at all with the condition of my lower legs and frankly, neither am I. I don’t think that this problem is going to be resolved quickly if at all.

After he left I finished off watching my football match . When I had time, good health and good rail connections, like when I lived in Leuven, I’d go ground-hopping around various football matches all over that area of Europe, but these days I have to go virtual ground-hopping on the internet.

It’s not an ideal situation but as Frank Harris said in his controversial biography MY LIFE AND LOVES, "all human beings took what pleasure they could get whenever they could get it"

Once the match had finished and I’d had my coffee and (last) slice of flapjack I actually started work. And with a leisurely stroll through what I had to do, and a sleep of an hour between 11:00 and 12:00 I’d actually finished it by mid-afternoon.

This morning’s sleep was rather different than it has been for the last few weeks in that I actually felt myself falling asleep and so simply let myself go with it. I drifted off quietly and gently into never-land rather than the brutal and abrupt way that it has been just recently.

While the cleaner was here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. There was a phantom alarm at 03:45 again this morning. At that time I was doing something with a girls’ football team from Florida, maybe training them or something like that but as soon as I awoke everything that I was dreaming evaporated. I can hardly remember a thing about it now.

There was something else about me being involved in a girls’ football or rugby team again. I was negotiating with High Schools or maybe other colleges to fetch girls to the college to train them for either football or rugby. This seemed to go on for hours. I had a really good team at the end – I built a tank whereby the weight of clothes would dry yourself afterwards was quite complicated but much more rapid than the normal way so it might even become a household word by the time that our team stopped doing it when I was badly injured

But what is all this about me being involved in girls football and rugby teams? There is no conceivable way that I would ever be involved in a rugby team. A girls’ football team is slightly more likely, but only slightly. And why should it suddenly have become a recurring theme?

After my cleaner had left and I’d had my hot chocolate I had the usual call from the hospital asking how I was so I gave them both barrels. I don’t expect to hear anything back from them but we shall see.

What I did was to come in here and start the next radio programme. Well, “start” is a big word because much of the time was spent looking for music that I need that I don’t actually have

However I did end up having a Southern Rock-fest that ended with Neil Young playing ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big fan of Southern Rock, with lead guitar solos that can last sometimes several weeks. There was the Three Rivers Festival in Columbia, South Carolina where I managed to blag a way in with my little female Mexican friend to see Widespread Panic in 2005 which was exceptional, and for several reasons too.

Tea tonight was a delicious leftover curry that I really enjoyed, especially the naan bread that went with it. It’s a really good way to clear out the left-over food in the fridge

But right now I’m off to bed and hope for an even better day tomorrow. "dawn is ever the hope of men" said Aragorn in LORD OF THE RINGS and as long as I can get out of bed I’ll be OK.

Not like the guy who turned p two hours late for work
"What’s the meaning of this?" asked his boss
"It’s that new travelling alarm clock that the wife bought" he replied
"What about it"
"I left it on the bedside table last night" replied the man "but it must have set off on its travels during the night. It’s nowhere to be found this morning"

Tuesday 14th May 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s making me feel like Gwyneth Glyn and

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

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

Monday 13th May 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a somewhat better day than yesterday, which is good news as far as I am concerned

And so it should be because yesterday was a pretty miserable one.

At least today I’ve managed to be able to leave my comfortable chair (up to present anyway) which is more than can be said on one occasion yesterday

At the end of the evening last night I did actually manage it again and was able to haul myself off to do whatever I need to do around the apartment before going to bed.

But going to bed was another adventure and I really felt at one moment as if I’d be sleeping for the night on my chair. And no joke – I actually know a lady in Canada who does just that. But her own chair of course, not mine.

After something of a considerable effort I managed to find my way into bed where I had another really turbulent night. God knows what it would be like if I had to share my bed with another person.

The night was completed by a couple of false alarm calls and I’m really bewildered as to what it might be that I’m hearing that’s awakening me like this under pretext that it’s my alarm.

Eventually though the 07:00 alarm went off and I had to fight the good fight to make my way out of bed to switch the alarm calls off, cutting off BILLY COTTON in his prime.

And I awoke to vision problems. The illness is spreading through my nervous system and so it’s bound to reach the eyes sooner or later, and one of the side effects of one of the pills that I’m taking is “disturbed vision”. I suppose that if it had to look at me for all this time, no wonder that it’s disturbed.

After the bathroom I went to the dining area for all of my medication and then to lay out the room for Isabelle the nurse. This is her last visit for a week so she’s off tomorrow – for 5 days in Lisbon. It’s all right for some, isn’t it?

She instructed me to wash my puttees for the boss, with whom she alternates, so I’ll do that this evening. Lucky that I have a spare set.

When she left I came back in here to see what was going on. First of all, if you want to see (some of) the highlights of the game between Y Drenewydd and Penybont to see just how bad Y Drenewydd were then LOOK HERE. but be prepared to hide behind the sofa as things become scary.

The highlights of CAERNARFON v CARDIFF METRO show a much more even but rather distorted view of that game. The truth is that Caernarfon were rampaging forward throughout the game, to the delight of the Cofi Army, the most passionate fans in Europe, but the Met just hit them on the break three or four times.

After my toast (the last of the bread that I made last week) and coffee I set myself an exciting project. I have a radio programme on the 14th February 2025 (if I’m still here) and 14th February 1970 is the date that LIVE AT LEEDS one of the greatest live albums ever, was recorded at Leeds University.

The live album itself is only 37 minutes long but I was absolutely certain that the concert itself would have been much longer than that.

The setlist is available on SETLIST.FM and it can’t have been less than two hours so I set myself a task to prove that I am worthy, and that was to track down a recording of the entire concert. There must be one somewhere.

And sure enough, after some diligent searching, I can now tell you that the concert lasts 2:07:04 and that’s some going. I can see me doing a lot of editing.

After my lunchtime fruit and a discussion with my cleaner, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And I was right because there certainly was a couple of false alarms. However I started off in the Soviet Union during the war there was a huge loss of male population so as some kind of Commissar I tried to organise means to increase the population. I found a book written by some obscure author on this point that promoted the idea so I praised him and praised his thoughts etc. It then turned out that Stalin had another opinion, another idea, and I had quickly to undo the praise that I’d done and given the author. One of my nieces had become pregnant in this project so we had to find her and give her an abortion but she was full of praise for this guy and totally refused to co-operate. That made life difficult for all of us

Mind you, I could think of several ways in which I could help increase the population of another country without having to rely on any author – except perhaps whoever was the author of the Karma Sutra

First false alarm at 04:10 – I was dreaming at the time that I was still working for the Soviet Union. Another book had been examined about someone’s sporting achievements but as usual he’d fallen foul of the regime so we’d had to edit it all out from any future book. The guy himself was called to a meeting. He eventually arrived, having had a conflict with a group of females on the doorstep and as he switched to the news we saw a huge supertanker of ICI had run aground on one of the inland lakes and they were now waiting for a change in the tide so that they could try to float it off

And don’t worry if nothing makes sense. I can’t understand it either.

Another call at 06:06 – a false alarm

What I was dreaming of at 06:06 was of some old man living on the street who was always there with his sign and a list of the things that he needed. He was arrested in Leeds, for vagrancy presumably and was carted off. We didn’t see him for several months. Then after several months had passed we saw him again on the streets of Liverpool with two signs saying “the seeds of business £25”. He was saying that he’d expanded his area of research from what he had learned at police college

The rest of the day has been working on more radio stuff. All of the music has been chosen for the next radio programme, it’s been paired off and I’ve started to write the notes. It’ll be quite a sad one because it will be broadcast on the anniversary of the death of one of my friends and will include one of his more … errr … esoteric tracks.

My cleaner came back with supplies and a neighbour came to visit. I really am in great demand these days and I’ve no idea why.

Tea was a stuffed pepper, delicious as usual with plenty of stuffing left over for the next couple of days. I should take advantage of it, after all, many people have told me that I need a good stuffing.

But on the subject of all things Russian during the night, Zero once told me that at school she’d taken part in a Russian ballet.
"Why Russian?" I asked her.
"I don’t know" she replied. "I suppose that it’s because I had to go Russian onto the stage at the start, go Russian around while the music played, and then go Russian off at the end."

Monday 6th May 2024 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

… I might be having another visitor.

Most of the morning has been spent working out routes across half of north-west Europe to see if there’s anything that fits in with someone else’s peripatetic voyages around Europe and who knows? Maybe it’ll all work out.

What I can’t understand is why I suddenly seem to have become the flavour of the month. I’ve already had more visits this year than I’ve had in all the rest of the time that I’ve been here, and there are several more already organised to come

And then here I am with someone else who might want to try to visit.

Not that I’m complaining, of course. I m not usually the sociable type so I don’t visit many people myself, and even fewer since I’ve been disabled, so I’m quite happy usually with my own company – after all, with dissociative identity disorder you are never alone – but nevertheless it’s nice to see real people now and again. Real friends are just as important as your imaginary ones.

So last night, with a great effort, I was only 5 minutes late going to bed. And as usual these days I fell asleep quite quickly, a long time before my little scenario about which I talked last night finished.

And it was another deep intense sleep again. I remember nothing at all of anything that might have been going on. When the alarm went off there was something going on about girls in a school; but it evaporated from my mind as soon as I stood up, which was a shame.

Having switched off the alarm I staggered into the bathroom and then into the dining area for my medication. I then arranged the room how the nurse likes it and prepared for his visit but somehow I had a couple of very severe pains at the top of my hips at the front of my body. It hurt like hell when I walked or lifted my legs.

Despite all of that, and in spite of all of the pain, the nurse changed the dressing on my foot and put on my puttees. He thinks that I won’t need to bother soon because the wound has healed really well. He thinks that soon I can go back to wearing these elasticated socks.

After he cleared off I checked my messages and discovered one asking for travel advice so I’ve been working on that all morning. Crossing Paris by public transport in order to catch a train to come here is quite simple and straightforward, but not for someone who has never seen a train and doesn’t know how a Metro works. You have to explain everything in great detail and make sure that you don’t take things for granted and miss out a step “because everyone knows that”.

After my lunchtime fruit I had a listen to the dictaphonz to find out where I’d been during the night. There was an Avro Lancaster that flew to some remote valley in Austria and landed on a deserted airstrip. It had come from the UK and was full of wounded and full of all kinds of other stuff that the Resistance might need. The wounded were lying around in chairs and in the bomb bay. After every hour they had to change position with someone who was less comfortable than they were and so it went on. They landed on this deserted airfield and unloaded the goods that the Resistance wanted, they unloaded the goods that they’d brought with them, they unloaded the wounded and then collected up a lot of stuff that had been put there for them to take away. They taxied to the end of the runway, turned round and took off from it again. There was some rugby equipment that they’d been told that they could take and all kinds of electronic stuff and electrical stuff. They were leaving things like instructions behind on how to do certain things etc. It was really interesting to see what their plans were but I’ve no idea why they took a lane full of wounded with them to leave behind in Occupied Austria.

There were many occasions where British aircraft, usually Lysanders, would put down in Axis-occupied territory to unload supplies for the Resistance and pick up or drop off passengers, and it’s certainly true that on a couple of occasions larger aircraft did make use of abandoned airfields in Occupied Europe to make a quick landing and take-off on behalf of MI6. However, this idea of dropping off wounded personnel is certainly a novel one.

And then I was in a library checking for a former schoolfriend’s thesis that he’d prepared on leaving school. It had been filed away and referenced but there was no trace of it anywhere in the library no matter how hard we looked. I’d had to make some kind of summary report at one time so I mentioned this and I happened to mention that it would be nice if I had some extra staff. But then it turned into something of an argument with the head of this project saying about my demand for extra staff. I replied that I hadn’t really demanded extra staff – I’d just made a note on the report. That led to a bit of an argument which was a shame because I liked the guy usually. No matter how hard we looked and no matter where we searched there was no trace of this project anywhere. We’d even gone through all the pages of these books that were on display to make sure that it hadn’t been misfiled but there was absolutely no trace of it at all.

That reminds me of my fruitless search in the library of the University of Laval in Québec for one of the theses of the archaeologist Thomas Edward Lee.

The author James Enterline quotes from Lee’s theses which concerned the excavation of what might have been a Norse building in Ungava Bay in the north of Labrador in Canada. He gives the complete references of Lee’s works.

Armed with the details I set off accordingly to the University to track them down in order to refer to them and check Enterline’s information.

Both the theses are registered at the University Library – I know because I saw them on the index – but the librarian and I could only find the second one and not the first one, no matter how hard we looked.

However a very interesting fact was that Lee was a very controversial and confrontational person, not at all your typical academic. His forthright, sometimes intimidating style of writing clearly ruffled a few feathers and his application for a grant for a third year of excavations was refused.

As far as I’m aware, no-one has continued his work and the excavations have lain incomplete for 60 years.

Another disappointment was that having spent a couple of years writing my Magnum Opus on Eustache Lanouillier’s CHEMIN DU ROY between Montréal and Québec in the 17th Century, the actual plans for it are also at the University of Laval and I didn’t find that out until later.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent pairing off the music that I chose yesterday and then writing the notes for about half of it. I’ve not really been in any rush to complete it.

The cleaner came round with some soya milk that she found in the local supermarket which was nice. And then LeClerc rang up. They’d seen my complaint about my missing soya milk. Would I like a refund?

And so I explained that I’d rather have the milk, that I’m handicapped and can’t buy it any other way except through them. So sure enough, a delivery driver turned up with 6 cartons of milk later in the day

Tea tonight was a delicious stuffed pepper and there’s stuffing left over for a taco roll tomorrow night and probably for a leftover curry too. My diet might be monotonous but my meals really are delicious

So that’s all I’m doing for tonight. I’ll be in bed soon ready to rise again nice and fresh for my Welsh lesson, I don’t think

As someone once asked me "what happened to all of your ‘get up and go’?"
The answer to that is simple. I told them "It’s all got up and gone a long time ago."

Friday 3rd May 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… bad day today.

Actually, it was a bad afternoon, to be honest. In the morning I was extremely busy, as you’ll find out in a moment or two.

But it’s no surprise that the afternoon wasn’t very good. It was yet another night where I ended up in bed much later than I would have liked, and the night was somewhat turbulent too. There was a huge pile of stuff on the dictaphone.

When the alarm went off though I was fast asleep so I fell out of bed and switched it off before staggering off to the bathroom

After I’d had the medication I made a start and began to prepare the dough for the weekend’s bread

While the bread was busy proofing the nurse came round to see me, to change the dressing on the foot and to put on my puttees. He was actually born in Flanders and so we spent some time talking about Belgium and in particular the linguistic war between the Flemish and the French

After he left I gave the bread its second kneading and then baked it. And for once I have some perfect bread rolls, exactly as they ought to be and I’m well-impressed. They are without doubt the best bread rolls I have ever made.

While the bread was baking I was busy making some broccoli stalk soup with the aid of a couple of small potatoes, a large onion, some garlic, herbs and, when it was almost finished cooking, a tub of soya yoghurt.

The soup with some nice fresh bread was absolutely delicious. There’s nothing quite like it, except of course my carrot and ginger soup. I’ve not made one of those for ages though, and maybe perhaps I ought to have another go at that in due course

That was when my problems began because I fell asleep at the table while drinking my coffee. Yes, don’t let anyone tell you that coffee keeps you awake. There have been many times when I’ve fallen asleep with a mug of coffee in my hand, half drunk.

And that, regrettably, is how it’s been for most of the afternoon, fighting off wave after wave of sleep, sometimes not successfully. And I’m really fed up of it. I can’t do anything at all when this kind of thing happens and there’s so much to do

My cleaner came down for a whizz through the apartment and while she was doing her stuff I transcribed the dictaphone notes -all of them. There was something going on with our Welsh group. We’d formed a band of some description and were being led by someone. We ended up somewhere in the countryside and had to go somewhere so everyone set off. They were going at a much more rapid pace than I could keep up but that didn’t seem to matter. I was just falling behind all the time carrying these two huge cymbals. They went down a hill at one point and then climbed up the side of a bank. I thought that I’m never ever going to climb that bank at all but in the end I worked out that if I began to climb the bank at a much earlier point I could traverse my way across and make it to the top and even save a little time that way. I managed to get very close to them but they went off down this farm track at a really rapid rate of knots. I was staggering on behind, tangled in barbed wire and other kinds of wire etc. The we eventually arrived at a stadium-type of place. I had no idea what was happening or what we were supposed to be doing, how we were going to be doing it, but they’d come here in such a determined fashion that they obviously knew about it but I didn’t. I was having a feeling that I was being somehow squeezed out

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have in fact fallen way behind the rest of my group and that’s how it’s been for a while – since I went to Canada in 2022 in fact. One month there and then two months in hospital knocked a big hole in my learning and not being able to concentrate afterwards hasn’t helped in the slightest. I wish I knew what I was doing but at the moment I’m just stumbling along

Later on we were doing some kind of disco. We were all there and the music was playing. One or two people were dancing on the stage but not many people were there at all really. They asked me why I wasn’t dancing but I didn’t really have a reply. In the end I climbed up on the stage and began to dance about which seemed to satisfy them. There were still not very many people there. Just as another girl began to climb onto the stage the record ended and they switched to a waltz. I grabbed hold of the girl and waltzed with her. At first it was complicated as I tried to remember the steps and I tripped on her feet but eventually it all came back. I began to waltz with her and it was really quite a good dance. But then the record ended and I thought “what’s going to happen now? How are things going to pan out? Who’s going to do what, when and where?” It seemed that the evening wss just being left hanging in the air like that

That reminds me of a night on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. Someone struck up a waltz so I picked one of the females (it wasn’t Castor) and waltzed off with her down the deck. I don’t know who was more surprised – she who didn’t think that I would be the type of person to waltz or me that I could actually remember how to do it without stepping on her toes.

Then it was necessary to change my clothes. I’m not sure why even though I was dressed in a convicts uniform type of thig I was still quite comfortable but gradually people were changing out of their uniforms into civilian clothes, plain clothes so I thought that I would too but there was really no possibility of escape. All I wanted to do was to sit down and have a great big relaxation somehow but it wasn’t going to happen with all of this going on. I was still going to be quite wound up going in towards breakfast

Then the alarm went off and I was about to haul myself out of bed when it suddenly cut out. We had the “ladies and …” bit it stopped before it said “… gentlemen”. Then I realised that everyone was helping the children in the nursery which was probably why they didn’t want any men about the premises so I went outside. I couldn’t see anything happening. It didn’t look to me as if the children were leaving the school but it was all about the statistics so I’ve no idea what had gone off and awoken us if it wasn’t this alarm

As you can imagine, it wasn’t my alarm at all. For a start, mine doesn’t go “Ladies and gentlemen …” but it’s the good old Billy Cotton WAKEY WAAAA…. KEY that wakes up not just me but the rest of the building and half the street.

Then a voice was crying “a third! A third!”. I’ve no idea what was going on but there were a couple of empty banana-flavoured Alpro cartons lying around. For some reason I wasn’t allowed to drink anything so I started to look for a pair of scissors to cut into them so that the patients who were in the ward that I was controlling could drink them themselves.

At 05:20 I had to work out which woman had lost her bloomers in one of the dances because the bloomers fell to the floor and you could see them in the middle of the dance floor but no-one seemed to own up and accept responsibility for it so I thought that I’d go to have a look to see if I could work out whose they were. They’d obviously want them back and of course if they could actually find them.

It beats me why I noted the time here, but it’s certainly interesting that someone should lose her bloomers and then ignore the fact. It brings insouciance to a whole new level.

The whole thing dissolved into a St Trinians-type of farce with the buses pulling up in Gresty Road and all the kids streaming out and going off down Claughton Avenue towards the school. There were several new teachers there, one of whom was clearly disorientated so he’d have to sort himself out but another one seemed to be at least vaguely interested, a big, heavy guy so in a group we all swarmed down with the children. At the corner of the street where there was a turn-off for the hall there was some person who was a kind-of teacher, a male organiser who was taking everyone’s name and finding out which alternative subjects they wanted to do, being friendly and cheerful, chatting to everyone. The big, heavy new guy turned up and the light-hearted teacher-type of person said “I can see that you have a great big frame. You’re obviously right for the rugby team”. The fellow admitted that he played rugby so he was immediately signed up. On the way down the avenue these new teachers were extremely perplexed because they couldn’t work out why we were going down there and couldn’t work out why the school would be down there. Of course they clearly had no idea what kind of school it was and why it should be situated in such a very poor area and that so they were going to be in for a dreadful shock when they finally arrived there and met the other teachers and the children.

My opinion is that if they were to have a girls’ school in Claughton Avenue in Crewe it would make St Trinians look like a kindergarten. And it wouldn’t need teachers either but wardens. It’s not exactly the calmest and most peaceful street in Crewe.

Later on, after another wave of sleep, I went for tea. Some of those delicious vegan nuggets with salad and chips thanks to my cleaner who brought me some potatoes today. It really did go down well and I was good and ready for it too. At least I have my appetite back.

So now I’m going to make a really big effort to go to bed early. I might have visitors tomorrow so I need to be on form.

But talking to the nurse about the linguistic wars reminds me of an incident that took place on the linguistic border between Waterloo and St Genesius-Rode.
As you drive into Waterloo there’s a sign that says the town name. Underneath it they fixed a plaque "You are now in Wallonie. Here we speak French"
On the other side of the sign it said “Sint Genesius-Rode” and following the posting of the Wallonie plaque the citizens of Sint Genesius Rode put up a plaque that said "You are now in Flanders. Here we work"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She told me “no”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 29th April 2024 – I’VE BROKEN ONE …

… of my nice dinner plates this evening.

That’s a shame because I quite liked this set of crockery. But what’s surprising is that I’ve owned it almost 7 years and it’s the first piece of any sort of crockery and glassware that I’ve broken since I’ve been living here.

And the estate agents reminded me that yesterday it’s actually been seven years since I moved in. You’ve no idea how time flies. When we were kids our six weeks summer holiday used to last for ever, but nowadays a year passes in the blink of an eye and it’s very uncomfortable.

Eight years ago today I was living in Leuven in Belgium, going to the hospital every two weeks, going to watch OH Leuven in the Belgian second division and travelling on Belgium’s wonderful railway network to all sorts of bizarre football grounds for various matches

Going to SK Lierse was always my favourite of course. They had cheerleaders to entertain the crowd and they were much nicer-looking cheerleaders than those whom we encountered that night in that truckstop on Interstate 80 in Bangor, Maine, when we were on our way to a tractor pull in New Hampshire.

Of course, that’s all water under the bridge now. I won’t ever revisit the USA, won’t be going to see SK Lierse and won’t be going to Leuven either. In fact I’ll be lucky if I ever make it outside the front door of my apartment unless it’s in the company of a taxi driver taking me to a medical appointment.

And while we’re on the subject of medical appointments and taxis … "well, one of us is" – ed … I rang up the taxi company today to talk to them about my trips to Paris.

They need to be authorised by the Securité Sociale in advance and the hospital had obtained prior authorisation for three trips. Those three trips had expired and so they need to obtain some more authorisation.

When I was there last week I explained this to the doctor but I wasn’t convinced that she understood. Consequently my plan was to have the taxi company speak to the hospital to explain what was required and negotiate with them directly. After all, it’s all good business for them

However I needn’t have worried. The hospital has applied for, and received, prior authorisation for no fewer than FIFTEEN further trips to Paris. I’m not sure exactly what they are expecting, but it sounds extremely worrying. Are they REALLY expecting me to go that many times?

But anyway, that was today.

Yesterday I ended up going to bed quite late because of the football. Even so, it still took an age to actually go to sleep but once I did I slept the Sleep of the Dead and didn’t move an inch. In fact, it was another night when there was nothing at all on the dictaphone.

That’s a shame because as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … what usually goes on during the night is much more exciting these days than what happens during the daytime. After the exciting life that I’ve lived, being confined to spending the rest of my days sitting on a chair is a pretty miserable existence.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed as usual, switched it off and wandered off to the bathroom, followed by wandering off into the dining area for my medication, the usual mounds of it.

Having set out the room as the nurse likes it, she dealt with my foot and puttees as this story about the prescription on the wall of the doctor’s office rumbled on.

We agreed that I’d ring up to make further enquiries and let her know what I’ve found out. And then she cleared off and left me to it.

It took half a dozen calls to the doctor’s before the secretary answered the call. I’d been trying for hours. Anyway she was convinced that the prescription had been written. Anyway, the doctor would be back at 16:00 so further enquiries could be made them.

With that news I rang back the nurse and that proved to be a complicated affair trying to connect to her. But we managed in the end and I could explain the situation to her. She’d follow it up.

Then the cleaner came round with the rest of the medical supplies so I explained the situation to her. She had to go there with a client this afternoon so she’d look herself for the prescription.

She called me back later to say that she’d been, she’d looked, but there was nothing there.

At about 16:30 the nurse phoned me back. She’d seen the doctor and he’d written nothing. So what’s this story all about them? It’s a total mystery to me. The plot sickens.

In the meantime this afternoon I’ve gone one better than Dave Crosby, presumably because I had the ‘flu for Christmas and wasn’t feeling up to par. But I’m not giving in an inch to fear because I promised myself this year. I feel like I owe it to someone

And they can come and collect it out of the waste bin in the bathroom any time they like.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent either working on the Unit of the Welsh course that I missed while I was in hospital or else I was asleep.

While I was working I was fighting off wave after wave of sleep, so much so that I couldn’t concentrate so in the end I gave up and had an hour fast asleep on the chair here inn the office. Then I could crack on and finish it.

Tea tonight was a delicious stuffed pepper but taking the pyrex cooking bowl out of the air fryer it slipped from my grasp, fell on the dinner plate and broke it. That’s a really sad state of affairs because I now have an odd number of items

However in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter all that much as I’m never likely to have visitors here for meals. In fact, I’m not really likely to have visitors at all these days.

There’s plenty of stuffing left though so I’ll have a taco roll tomorrow and then on Wednesday have one of my leftover curries with what’s left. On Thursday I’ll send off my LeClerc order and stock up with supplies for the next few weeks

Right now though I’m off to bed, and hope that I’ll go off on a few voyages to break the monotony and not break the crockery.

It reminds me of that famous advert that I once saw – "Unbreakable tea service for sale – matching teapot, cream jug, sugar bowl, six cups and five saucers."

Friday 26th April 2024 – IT’S FLAMING DIFFICULT …

… trying to explain something to someone who doesn’t want to listen but only wants to speak.

The doctor’s surgery rang me up at the end of the afternoon to tell me that the blood test this morning had failed and needs to be done again, so he’s prepared a prescription and it’s stuck on his noticeboard to be picked up.

Ordinarily what would now happen is that I would ask my faithful cleaner to pick it up tomorrow. I’d then show it to the nurse on Sunday and she’d have to go away to fetch the equipment and come back on Monday to take it

However I had an idea.

The nurse’s office is in the same building so I rang her up to see if she was going into her office before coming here. If so she could pick up the prescription, fetch what she needed from her office and the blood test would be done on Saturday morning, two days earlier.

Simple enough?

You have absolutely no idea how complicated and involved the whole procedure came once the nurse answered the ‘phone. A simple “yes I am going into the office first” or “no, I’m not going into the office first” was all that was required.

Instead it turned out to be more like “War and Peace” and I’m still not convinced that my message was understood. We’ll find out in the morning, I suppose.

Last night I was in bed early for a change, which was very nice, but once more it took an age to go off to sleep which was a shame.

Once I was asleep though I didn’t move an inch. Not even to reach for the dictaphone because there’s nothing recorded on there from during the night. No-one came to join me on any nocturnal ramble, which is a pity.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed, switched it off and then staggered off to perform the usual morning routine.

More medication than before, of course. I swear that you can hear me rattle as I walk with all of the pills that I’m taking.

Once I’d washed down everything I laid out the dining area as she likes it and then made the dough for the batch of bread for the weekend. Very important, that.

For once, the nurse missed her aim with the blood test and had to have a second go. She’s usually quite good at finding the vein compared to her colleague who struggles. She then dressed my wound and put on my puttees.

Next stop was to prepare a shopping list for my cleaner. Mushrooms, cucumber and one or two supplies from the chemist’s. The nurse told me that we were running low of certain things

When the bread was ready and baked I made myself some cheese on toast in the air fryer and had it for a late breakfast / early lunch along with a nice, hot, strong coffee. That ought to cheer me up.

This afternoon I’ve been going through my shopping list because at some point next week I need a delivery and I’ve forgotten half of the stuff that I need. I bet that there will be a few items missing too when I finally send off the order because I’m really confusing myself these days.

Fighting off (sometimes unsuccessfully) several waves of sleep, I finally wrote the blog entries for last week when I was in hospital and didn’t have the travelling laptop with me. Thanks to what’s available at ARCHIVE.ORG and various other similar sites. I have a huge library of films and books on the computer and what with all of the music, I’m never short of things to pass the time, apart from all of the work that I need to do.

While I was doing all of that, the cleaner came round and whizzed through the apartment. Now it looks as if someone respectable lives here, and we can’t go having that.

Tea was a vegan salad with chips and some of these vegan nugget things. Really nice it was too There’s nothing like a good salad

So if I’m lucky I might have an early night tonight ready for the battle with the nurse tomorrow. She’s not going to be too happy, but I can’t help that.

But nurses are never very happy anyway. I remember once seeing a nurse walking down the corridor of a hospital with … errr … part of her upper body uncovered
"What’s going on here?" I asked
"It’s the trouble with these Junior Doctors" she said. "They never put anything away when they’ve finished with it"

Thursday 25th April 2024 – I HAVE ACHES …

… and pains in places that I didn’t even know that I had places. I’m not as young as I used to be and this travelling is really taking its toll of me. I wish it didn’t.

After I’d finished my notes last night I didn’t have what it takes to go to bed. It took an age to find the energy and morale to raise myself from my chair and stagger off on this marathon trek of several inches that seems as if it’s several hundred miles.

As I’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … it wouldn’t be so bad if I could find the energy to do something productive while I’m waiting but I can’t seem to do that either.

But eventually I fell into bed and that was that. It took an age to go off to sleep, being wound up as I was, but once I’d gone off I don’t recall moving again until just a few minutes before the alarm went off

It goes without saying that I took full advantage of every minute under the covers that I could because right now it’s freezing around here. You’d never believe that it’s the end of April with temperatures like we’re having. I know many people who have relit their heating and if this cold spell carries on much longer I shan’t be far behind.

So off I staggered into the dining area to sort out the medication and then to prepare everything for Isabelle the nurse so that she has everything that she needs and it’s set out how she likes.

So she came and organised me and told me that tomorrow I have a blood test to undergo. I’m not looking forward to that one bit. My arms look and feel as if I’ve been wrestling with a hedgehog as it is.

After she left, I came in here, sat down on my chair and that’s how I stayed for several hours. I couldn’t even be bothered to go to make breakfast – that’s the kind of state in which I was this morning.

The cleaner came round later and snapped me out of my reverie, bringing me all of the medication from my new prescription.

And there are piles of it too. It’s starting to become ridiculous, all of this and I really don’t know where it’s going to end. There are two more now added to the pile of nonsense after these latest visits and next time I go, there will doubtless be a couple of others to counter the side-effects that those two have caused.

Once she’d gone I managed to transcribe the dictaphone notes from yesterday at the hospital and add them into the notes, all of them and it really was “all” of them because it must have been a very mobile night that night with a lot going on.

In the middle of all of that I was out like a light for an hour or so. I really can’t keep on going these days and it’s driving me to distraction.

Rosemary rang up for a chat this afternoon, just a short one today. Only 1 hour and 10 minutes today – we’re losing our touch. She was telling me about her forthcoming trip to Italy which should make a nice trip out for her. She has all of the luck. It was Vietnam last year.

After we finished our chat I transcribed last night’s dictaphone notes. The Government was talking about some big, bold plans for railway modernisation to bring the railways right into the 21st Century. All of the particular regions were asked to submit their plans. We were working on a series of cross-country lines from east to west. Everywhere where we went where we saw the proposals from other areas, it was all about going north-south from London into the different regions. It seemed that the whole of the cross-country system would be squeezed out. Of course there was very little that we could do because we didn’t have the weight or influence. It was very frustrating to everyone concerned. All of the people were so concerned and frustrated that we couldn’t seem to make any headway at all with our plans. Naturally we were doing everything we could but we were being squeezed at every turn by everyone else. It was impossible to put forward any coherent plans because nothing that we were doing would conform to whatever it was that the Government really wanted. There was a grave danger that the whole of our east-west railway would be squeezed out. I had girls from the office coming to see me in tears about the prospects of failure that all of our lobbying and arguments were bringing but we we were doing everything we could. There was nothing more that we could do but we didn’t seem to be making any kind of progress. Everyone was just so frustrated.

Anyone who knows anything about the British railway network will know just how true that is too. Going cross-country in the UK by rail is really difficult and time-consuming. Government policies haven’t helped either. A cross-country railway line closed in the 1960s was approved for reopening as far back as 1992 and we’re still waiting. Brunel would have had it up and running in 6 months.

They run all kinds of feasibility studies and passenger surveys, file the results and then go back to re-run the exercise 5 years later by which time costs have doubled.

And after Zero a few nights ago and Castor the other night, TOTGA came round too during the night. I’d been in France with Nerina and we’d just come back. Early on Sunday morning she came round. She had an apple. I made a remark something like “that’ll be the last apple that I’ll see for several weeks” so she left it for me which I thought was really nice of her. Then I had a ‘phone call from where she was working. Could I go to see her? She was working in some kind of merchant banking office. I arrived and it was one of these self-service receptionist places where you had to root around to try to find your contact’s ‘phone n°. I couldn’t find hers at all. In the end she happened to turn up at the counter by pure chance. I asked her for her telephone n° in her office but she made some kind of cryptic remark so I asked her whether she wasn’t allowed to leave her ‘phone n° or not. She said no, she wasn’t. I said “that’s strange. Anyone can have mine any time of the day even at 04:00 and get me out of bed as long as they say the magic words”. She asked “what are those?”. I replied “do you want to earn some money, Eric?”. She asked “was that really the last apple that you’re likely to see for several weeks?” I explained that we weren’t exactly that broke but we’d just come back from the Continent and we didn’t have any in the house. Nevertheless some kind of additional income would come in handy and I was intrigued to hear what kind of proposition she was going to make to me from her work that would be of interest to me in a financial sense

So that was a very special treat for me last night to follow my vegan pesto.

Tonight, I finished off the vegan pesto with more pasta, veg and a vegan burger. I need to order some more of those as the European Burger Mountain in the fridge has shrunk dramatically just recently. But not right now as despite it being really early, I really am going to try to go to bed and sleep the Sleep of a Thousand Dreams and see who comes with me.

After all, I’ve had all three of my favourite females over the past week or so coming to see me. And wouldn’t it be nice if they came more often, or, at least, more regularly? Life is much more interesting when they are around. It’s the only interesting company that I seem to have these days.

My life at the moment is, after all, hardly interesting. It reminds me of a story I heard when one person asked another one sitting next to him at a dinner "do you ever think that life is really boring?"
To which the other one replied "Quite often. Especially when one is sitting next to you"