Friday 5th January 2024 – HERE I ALL AM…

… not sitting in a rainbow but sitting in a room at the Hôpital Pitié-Salpetrière in Paris, where I’ve been summoned due to an emergency – they’ve found something in my blood sample from Wednesday that has them in a panic.

So there I was, at 06:00 when the alarm went off, struggling to my feet.

First thing was a good wash, scrub and change of clothes. I might as well look the part, I suppose.

Next thing was to check that I had everything packed. Those bread rolls that I made yesterday evening were good and made nice sandwiches – the food at the hospital is rubbish of course so I need some reserve supplies

Next thing was to unplug all of the appliances and it was in the middle of doing this that the driver arrived – an elderly guy who I’ve not seen before.

He helped me into the car and we set off for Paris. He didn’t go as fast as the younger drivers but we had good luck at Ceen with no hold-ups so we made very good time.

There was even time to make a pitstop halfway between Caen and Rouen, and a mug of coffee is always welcome. I treated the driver seeing as he’s doing al the work.

Our good luck ended at the Porte d’Italie exit of the Boulevard Péripherique where there was a gridlock the like of which I have never seen. IN the end we went back on the “prif” and took the next exit. But as a result we were late arriving and I had a very concerned phone call from the hospital wondering where we were.

Anyway, I’m now installed in my little room here on the second floor, still with no internet which is a shame, and the food is rubbish, as I expected so I’m grateful for my emergency supplies.

But at lest I’ve managed to make the heating work, which is something, I suppose, and under supervision I managed to walk 6 steps without my crutches, which is something of which I can be proud.

But what a celebration hey? Me, who would think nothing of walking though the night from Chester to Hankelow, all almost 30 miles of it.

They had four tries before they could take a blood sample, and three to fit a catheter in my arm and once the catheter was in, they began the perfusion.

There was a combination of three perfusions which gave me the most extraordinary hallucinations, during which Zero, Percy Penguin and my old LDV van made their appearance.

The LDV van I remember well. After 2 Transits I had the LDV van for a couple of years and was the first of the vans that I had that would keep up with modern traffic with its 5-speed gearbox.

It blew up the engine not long after I had it so we bought a Maestro diesel for £50, swapped the engine out and received about £350 for the bits of Maestro when we sold them on the internet.

It then lost the clutch going round the Boulevard Péripherique one night and I had to drive it 300 miles with no clutch, even starting from a standstill on a couple of occasions.

What had happened was that, with it being a hydraulic clutch, the clutch slave cylinder had fallen off and was just hanging on by the hydraulic pipe. The bolts on the door hinges where the same size and same thread so I pinched a couple of those as a temporary but permanent repair.

Then a brake pad separated and we lost the asbestos pad part of it. I had to drive it home through the Brussels traffic with no brakes and in the days before internet marketing it took quite an effort to have a pair sent from the UK.

The handbrake cable then snapped on it, so we had no handbrake but what killed it off was the little trail of rust inside the back of the van.

There was this little streak of rusty water running down the inside wall of the van so I climbed inside to look.

At first I couldn’t see where it was coming from but when I twisted myself round, with my hand on the roof, the whole roof lifted off on one side. The joint between the roof and the side wall had rotted away and I had a big roof rack on the roof and I’d been carrying all kinds of heavy equipment on it.

So that was the end of the LDV. You couldn’t drive that on the road in that condition.

Next van was the ex-Telecom Ford Escort diesel. And how that brought back all kinds of memories of my travels with BILL BADGER. It was exactly the same kind of van and I found myself doing exactly the same things.

That was a vehicle that I’d bought because of the 1.8 litre diesel in it, which I wanted for one of the Cortinas. But it surprisingly passed an MoT even though there was a pile of things wrong with it.

But I had a year’s use out of it and it did a few miles too, and then along came Caliburn.

And there’s just time to transcribe the dreams from the night before I go to collapse in my nice comfortable bed. There was a load of folk music going on last night probably related to what I’ve been listening to just now. The music seemed to have affected everyone. At one particular moment I went into work and there was someone stuck in a folk music loop singing folk music songs. I happened to mention i( to his superior who became extremely upset and began some kind of enquiry. Many years later the same thing happened again. There was all this folk music. Some people were listening to it of course, concentrating and so on. I was enjoying it very much bu at work the big boss came and began to ask me all kinds of questions like “did I feel mentally unstable?”, “did I feel that I was being a difficult person?” etc. I couldn’t understand what was happening. He said something about starting work. I replied that as far as I was aware that has never happened at all. He asked “what about this incident?” and brought up the one about folk-dancing early in the morning. Of course I was totally bewildered because I didn’t remember things like this. I wanted to know why this folk-music thing had suddenly become so important to so many people for what seemed to be reasons that seem to be completely detached from what the music actually represented etc. I was just totally bewildered by it all.

Later on there were 4 of us who used to hang around together. One was a boy from school whom I came to know quite well. We’d agreed to meet in Sandbach for the fair at a certain time but it was a very informal, insincere kind of agreement. Anyway I went along and, sure enough, there were some people there so I walked back to Crewe, found some plants and walked back. And there I met my friend and some other guy of our group so we began to chat. They were surprised that I’d been here twice but I said that I wanted to make sure that the festival was going so I was here early. The place was crowded with people. I needed to go to the bathroom but they told me that the bathrooms were filthy here and I wouldn’t appreciate anything at all of those. Nevertheless I wandered over that way to go for a look but the alarm went off.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … hospital I’m told that despite already having had a couple of examinations with one of these electrode machines, there’s another one planned for during the night in another building, one that goes into things and greater depths.

Once they’ve done that, they’ll have a better idea, but I suspect that they know already, and I have an idea too. In May 2021 they discovered the cancer in my kidneys and I underwent an operation to remove the tainted bits – and it also removed bits of another part of my body, to my eternal regret. My betting is that it’s come back to whatever kits of my kidneys are left.

What’s your bet?

What’s your bet?

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