Tag Archives: bad night

Thursday 28th September 2023 – AS BARRY HAY …

… once famously said – "there’s one thing that I gotta tell you, and that it’s good to be back home".

And no-one was more relieved than me when I collapsed into my chair here with my mug of hot chocolate at 18:15 this evening.

It had been a very long day. I’d had a bad night and was actually up and about by 06:40.

After breakfast I had a shower to prepare myself for my departure at 11:00, packed everything away and made myself ready.

While I was waiting, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was in a railway station. There were two guys there with two ancient locomotives, a diesel shunter and a small diesel main line unit who had volunteered to come and help me at the stations When they arrived they parked up their locomotives, stepped out and walked down to meet me. They were immediately intercepted by some kind of Security who were unhappy for some reason and made them climb into their machines and drive away. At that point the SNCF service came along and offered to help me. I let them help me, and they asked some kind of questions , one of which was something like “what was I going to do for food at midday?”. I replied “I’d had a couple of people who had come to help me and they had probably brought something for me but you chased them away before they could even manage to talk to me so I don’t know now”. That rather upset them but I thought that it was correct to be true and honest with them.

After that I can’t remember who I was with now but the person was either male or female, I don’t know, had been engaged to make a cake for someone. The woman involved had come to see her to order a simple cake. They were there discussing styles and ideals etc. In the end the two of us and the woman and her friend, an elderly woman, rather plump, went for a walk and discussed it. We passed a lorry with a lorry-load of turf that was going to re-turf someone’s garden. I remember that I’d seen them when I was there last week ripping up the old turf so it must be the day for them. Our walk continued. The woman then said that she was going to have to try to find someone to make a quick cake for her because she had someone coming tomorrow. I said “what about an oil-based cake?”. She didn’t understand so I explained that it’s simply flour and sugar, oil and flavouring all mixed together. You pour it into a mould and then cook it. What I do with mine is to take it out, cut it in half, coat both halves with jam, stick it together and ice it. It’s really quite simple. Her friend, the old woman, looked at me and said “tell me, Eric, are you married?”. I replied “no I’m not actually” and her eyes lit up. I thought “I’m going to have a couple of problems here”. We ended up at a railway station and I’m not quite sure why or what we were going to do now that we’ve arrived.

And I’m impressed that I could remember a cookery recipe during a dream.

Finally I was with Nerina again. We’d been to see some friends in England. We were on our way back to the ferry. The girl whom we’d visited took us on a nice scenic route through the countryside then along the sea front all the way towards Dover and the ferry terminal. We were having a nice, interesting chat. At one moment Nerina tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to something huge in the bay. She asked “is that the American carrier?” because I’d heard a story that an American aircraft carrier was in the English Channel. I looked and sure enough, it was. I went to find my camera but I didn’t have it. I’d left it at my friend’s. I went to find my little Nokia phone but I couldn’t find that either. I realised that I hadn’t had that since I’d set the alarm the night before. I told her and she gave a great big sigh and said that we’d have to go home but you’ll miss your ferry. She was going on about inefficient people etc. I said “it’s not the first time that it’s happened to me. She dismissed it with some kind of shrug of the shoulders. Later on we were leaving Dover in the Jetfoil. It was moored in some kind of underground dock so when we boarded we couldn’t see very much. We boarded and they must have opened the gates at some time because suddenly the ship began to rock quite violently. It was reversed out to the Channel and shot off at a ridiculous speed across to arrive from: Dover in an hour’s time. It was really quite uncomfortable, the Jetfoil.

Just as I was about to depart I was pounced upon by a group of students who wanted to examine me, and then a series of blood pressure tests and so on, followed by a wait for the documents that I need. It was 12:45 when we finally left, with my neighbour having had to hang on for all that time.

There was no time to go for lunch but I’d grabbed a few bits off the lunch trolley so It wasn’t so bad. My neighbour helped me to my seat and then the train set off.

At Granville there were no taxis free so I took the bus into town and staggered down to the port for the bus to my place. But one of my neighbours came past in her car and gave me a lift, which was really nice.

She helped me up the stairs by carrying my backpack, and then I made myself a hot chocolate and came in here where I crashed out.

Later on I had a bizarre tea. For some strange reason I’d fancied ratatouille so I put a large potato in the oven, found a vegan burger and I actually did have a tin of ratatouille in the kitchen.

So now that everything is done, and the notes for the last few days are now on line, I’m going to bed to sleep for a week and not awaken.

But I bet that you’re dying to know about what has happened at the hospital.

They’ve found no major trace of the cancer in my nervous system, but there’s a slight swelling in several glands that might be a result of an infection. They are proposing a second series of transfusions which apparently may be dona at home, and then a return to the hospital in a month to see what’s happening.

At least, even if they can’t find the solution, they are quite prepared to keep on trying, and that’s always good news. We’ll have to see now how things unfold. But look out Paris! Here I’ll be coming again.

Saturday 23rd September 2023 – AS I SAID …

… yesterday, I was going to have a quiet, relaxing day today without doing very much at all. And much to my surprise, I actually managed it too.

It was just as well because I had another miserable night last night. It took me an age to go off to sleep and then I awoke in the small hours and couldn’t go back to sleep for what seemed like an age.

However I must have gone off to sleep at some point because I awoke again later and was actually out of bed before the alarm went off. So what with all of that, I wasn’t feeling all that much like doing anything anyway.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then came in here for a little relax for a while. And although I didn’t actually crash out, I can’t say that I had a productive morning.

For a change today I had real sliced bread for my cheese on toast. I’d made a small loaf yesterday and if I’d have had any sheep’s eyes I would have put them in it so that it will see me through the weekend.

One thing that I have done is to transcribe the dictaphone notes. Not just from last night but from the rest of the time that I spent in Leuven too. You can read the arrears in due course when I upload them to the relevant entries, but meantime there were 4 of us last night, me on my crutches, someone in a wheelchair and 2 others. We piled into this Morris Traveller to go to the seaside. The person in the wheelchair might have been my neighbour who had her bad fall a few months ago. We arrived at the seaside and left the car, making our way as best as we could down to the promenade. There was something about staying one night here and a coupe of nights somewhere else but at this point I lost track of it all again

And then at a disciplinary meeting following an Olympic Games ice hockey match during which a female player had been sent off. She’d then been summoned before this committee for having abused the linesman and officials after the sending-off had been given. When it was announced that she was going to receive a further 10-match penalty she because exceedingly aggressive towards the committee that was disciplining her, with threats of physical violence etc. The committee then adjourned to consider taking further action.

Then I was with the 3 other people from earlier, one of whom might have been my cleaner. We’d gone for a walk around Granville. We ended up sitting on a bench overlooking the beach by the sailing school chatting about all kinds of things. I remember thinking about how bad all of this is for me when I can’t go anywhere except extremely slowly and with someone to look after me in case I fall.

There was football on the internet later in the afternoon, Caernarfon v Pontypridd. It was a dour mid-table struggle with several moments of real skill but also even more moments of less-than-skilful action.

There were several chances for each team but having in previous seasons criticised the defence of Caernarfon as being somewhat fragile, the current pairing of Dion Donohue and Phil Mooney in the centre of the defence looks as if they’ve finally found a good pairing and Wales under-21 keeper Lewis Webb didn’t have much to do.

The game was on the point of petering out as a 0-0 draw when with 5 minutes to go a deep cross into the box following a corner kick found the head of Phil Mooney to give them a victory that quite frankly I wasn’t expecting.

The strange thing was that many other referees would have disallowed the goal for a push in the box, and had the referee been better positioned on a couple of other occasions he might have blown for a couple of penalties at the other end. But he can only give what he can see.

For tea tonight I tried the silicon liners in the air fryer to make my chips. The potatoes didn’t stick and the fryer was much, much cleaner, which is a major improvement, but the food took longer to cook properly. And another thing is that I need even less oil that I’m currently using too.

So all in all, It’s a big step in the right direction.

While I was at it, I tried my various cake tins, and the smallest one fits in the air fryer. So when I come back from Paris, if I ever do, I might have a go at baking a cake in it to see what happens.

And now that I have my pudding steamer, I might even have a go at a chocolate pudding too.

But that’s for another time. Right now I’m off to bed when I’ve dictated the radio notes. Another Day of Rest tomorrow and then I’m off to Paris at some God-forsaken time on Monday morning. And I’m not looking forward to that.

Saturday 16th September 2023 – I UPLOADED …

… all of the soundfiles from the dictaphone onto the computer this afternoon. You wouldn’t believe how many there are either that accumulated while I was away. I must have had a few really lively, mobile nights.

It’s going to take an age to transcribe them and there are also quite a few from when I was in hospital from last Autumn that I have yet to transcribe. I suppose that that will make a nice task for me when I’m away in hospital.

Strangely enough, there was only one soundfile from last night. And even more surprisingly, you don’t really want to know about it either, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

But there’s only the one because I had another bad night. Despite all of my efforts during the day I wasn’t in the least bit tired. It was long after 01:00 when I went to bed and I wasn’t in the least bit tired.

It took an absolute age to go to sleep and I was actually awake again at 06:30. I’d changed the alarm to 08:00 following my late night but I was already up and about by then.

The drive to the shops was a horror. My left leg is now giving out and I had some trouble even making it to Caliburn with one crutch and my shopping trolley. And then I had a great deal of difficulty climbing into the cab.

Trying to work the brake was difficult too so it was quite a slow drive to the supermarket. Unless they can work miracles at the hospital and at this physiotherapy place, I can see that it won’t be long before I have to abandon the idea of driving.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t go to Noz. I didn’t feel as if I could manoeuvre around on the car park and then walk around the shop with just one crutch. Instead, I went straight to Leclerc.

Being early, I was lucky enough to find a reasonable parking place. Even so, it was a desperate stagger around the supermarket leaning on a shopping trolley.

There wasn’t anything special on offer today but one or two things in the clearance bin were interesting, like vegan margarine and a pack of hamburger buns.

Another slow drive back home and I couldn’t manage my shopping trolley. I had to leave a few things in Caliburn to pick up another time. And someone going past from the other entrance to the building helped me by carrying my shopping trolley upstairs for me, which was very nice.

Having put everything away I made my coffee and cheese on toast, and then came in here where I crashed out for almost two hours. I suppose that it was the tiredness of the last few days and the effects of going to the shops this morning.

At Leclerc I’d bought 2kg of carrots because they were on offer. I cleaned them, diced them and blanched them. Later on I put them in the freezer – at least, as much as I could because the freezer is full to capacity. One of the two bags of carrots has gone into the ice-box in the fridge until I can make some space.

Tea tonight was strange. I found that I’d forgotten to buy a lettuce so in the end I made a potato salad. That would have been nice had I remembered to buy the salad dressing. Instead I had to make a vinaigrette dressing with olive oil, wine vinegar and herbs.

Now that everything is done, I’m off to bed. I’ve no intention of leaving my bed early tomorrow. I have a lot of sleep that I need to catch up and so I hope that I’ll have a comfortable, relaxing night back in my own bed.

After what has gone on over the last couple of days, I reckon that I’ve earned it.

Friday 1st September 2023 – FOURTEEN MINUTES …

… of added time was played at the end of the second half of the game between Caernarfon and Connah’s Quay this evening.

When a spectator ran onto the pitch after 53 minutes I thought “here we go again. A repeat of what happened at the game of Y Fflint v Caernarfon towards the end of last season”.

However, it was slightly different this evening. The fan was wildly gesticulating at the Medics’ bench and they suddenly got the message because they sprinted over to the supporter with their medical bags.

After much confusion and a lengthy waiting period, we saw the two medics helping from the ground someone who was clearly in a great amount of distress. And then the game could restart.

When I awoke this morning I was in great distress too because I’d had another turbulent night, as seems to be the pattern these days. I managed to beat the second alarm, but not by much, and then gradually dragged myself into the Land of the Living.

The 09:10 bus was late this morning and so I had to hang around in the wind for a while. But I made it to Carrefour with enough time to do some shopping for the weekend. A few bits and pieces including a couple more small peppers.

The freezer is now full of those but that’s just as well because I can’t ever find them when I want them. Giant peppers I can find by the dozen but they are too big for my air fryer. and there is too much of them anyway for a small appetite like mine.

Back here I had my coffee and cheese on toast and then attacked this back-up task that I’ve been planning.

And by now it’s all ready in principle. I just want one more hard drive for the images which I want to keep separate from everything else. There’s a spare drive bay (in fact there are two) in the array on the shelf so there’s no problem there.

While I was waiting for things to happen I transcribed the dictaphone notes. And I had a surprise visitor. I’d been round to Stoke on Trent to talk to someone whom I used to know. Just at that moment Zero came back home. She went into the house and came out on a scooter, a 3-wheeled thing where you put both feet on and push yourself off and go whizzing down the hill. Her mother ran after her and I ran after her too. Then her mother was on a bike and I ran. She shouted at me “come on Eric, keep up”. I thought “there’s no way that I could keep up with people going at this speed the way I am”. She reached the bottom of the hill, turned round and came back up, came up alongside me, stopped and jumped off She said “get on, we’re going to ..” I thought she said “Meir” so I replied “that’s miles away”. “No” she replied” My house nearby”. She shot off and I chased after her on the scooter thing.

Mind you, I didn’t catch her. Even in the ethereal world she manages to keep well out of the way of my evil clutches as, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so does TOTGA.

That wasn’t the only excitement of the night either. I’d been away somewhere and then come back with a load of clothes etc all of which I’d washed and hung up. We were a big family living in this house, sleeping anywhere. We didn’t so much have bedrooms allocated. I slept on the sofa in the living room and my chest of drawers of clothes was behind it. Someone whom I knew came and began to disrupt my entire routine. I had to go to have a shower. The first thing that I needed was some clothes so I went to fetch some but the only top that I could find was a thermal vest top. I thought “never mind – I’ll take that”. My mother asked me if I was taking that. I replied “yes”. Once I’d climbed over this rubbish and back to my settee I had to climb back because I needed my deodorant etc to take with me into the bathroom. The visitor was ever so confused about what was happening and so I think was everyone else including me.

Later on I was looking for clothes for one of my 3D figures. I’d just uploaded a whole pile of brand-new stuff and the folders weren’t sorted out correctly as I would like so things were in a bit of a mess. I wasn’t quite sure where I should be looking to find the item of clothing that I wanted my figure to wear. This meant that I was going to have to start to do a big organisation of all of that but I certainly didn’t feel like it at this time of the morning when I’d been asleep.

I’d also invented some kind of leg brace to improve the posture on young girls, like a V_shape with holders at the open end of the V in which you’d put your legs so your legs were always a constant distance apart and could only go forwards and backwards so much. This was intended to keep their composure and poise while walking. They could buy one for use at home if they didn’t have access to one during the day

Finally, and depressingly, I was with my family last night, a whole bunch of them. Everyone was there and many more besides. My youngest sister was marrying and I’d been invited to the wedding. I didn’t want to go but I couldn’t find a good excuse to turn it down. There was some pre-wedding meeting. I’d finished doing a taxi job so I went. From the freezer I brought some things that I’d cooked to take with me as some kind of offering, only to find that they’d leaked in the car. I arrived and everyone tried to hoist onto me the job of giving my sister away. I flatly refused, saying that it’s my father’s job. He was unwilling because he wasn’t very confident. I just didn’t want to become involved at all in any respect other than to be there and then only reluctantly. I was telling my father that he’d been working up his life for giving away his daughter and there he was, “bang!” she’s gone and I’ve given her away. Everyone looked at me, outraged, when I said that. But I added “well, that’s what the gist of it is, isn’t it?”. It wasn’t very popular at all but then again neither am I.

So much for all of that. After the sunshine comes the rain, as we all very well know.

Tea tonight was chips from the air fryer with vegan salad and some of those nuggets. Eaten quickly because of the football.

Caernarfon were second in the table, unbeaten so far this season, and Connah’s Quay were uncharacteristically quite low down having been swept aside by TNS the other week and then beaten by Y Bala. So we were expecting a really tough match

The Cofis, having been known for their flaky defence for the past few seasons, had been playing much better this season and had been the main reason why their team was second in the table, so no-one expected them to fold up so dramatically.

Although they had their moments in the attack, they didn’t amount to anything and conceded four of the sloppiest goals that I have seen ever since Aberystwyth shipped a miserable bagful against TNS 9 months ago.

A 0-4 home defeat was a disaster and they are going to have to do much better than they did tonight.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow but I won’t need much Rosemary gave me a quick ring this evening just before kick-off so she’s going to ring me tomorrow. I’ll have to lay in some supplies though as it will be a long phone call.

Saturday 26th August 2023 – ONE THING THAT I …

… do like about going to Noz is that fairly often I find some different food that I can eat that will vary my diet quit considerably.

There were some bags of 10 frozen quinoa wafer-burger type things but I’m not really talking about those, but I’m referring more to the bags of 1 kg of frozen sweet potato chips.

My ambition, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is to continue to make room in my rather over-full freezer but there’s none at all now because a bag of the wafer-burgers and a bag of the sweet potato chips has now filled it to the brim.

And I did manage to fit in another frozen pepper too. They had the small ones at LeClerc today so I grabbed a couple. One is in the fridge ready for Monday and the other one has joined the three that are in the freezer.

So all in all it was a good day today around the shops.

Much better than the night, I have to say, because even though I was in bed fairly early for a change, it took me an absolute age to go off to sleep. And when I did, I awoke a couple of times during the night.

When the alarm went off I was dead to the World and it was a struggle to leave the bed. But after the medication I had a good wash and then headed off to the shops.

My parking space outside Noz was free so I was able to park close to the door which is always useful. And as well as the frozen stuff that I mentioned, they had some sachets of orange zest for adding to cakes and the like so I grabbed a few packets of that too.

LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special today – just the usual stuff. All in all, it wasn’t a very expensive shop today.

Back here I put everything away and then made my cheese on toast and coffee. back in here I sat down and began to think about doing some work but regrettably that was that, and for more than three hours too. Completely dead to the World yet again and I didn’t feel a thing.

While I was away I was off on my travels. I was arguing with a neighbour about some information that she had given me. I thought that it was incorrect and I was upset but she told me that I didn’t need to accept it and that I should have done my own research.

Later on, after I’d managed to come round into the Land of the Living again I transcribed the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. Alison and I were in a queue for something. She was being attended to and I was talking to a couple of guys standing behind me, discussing these absurd rules about the airport. It turns out that one of them knew a small girl who was stopped because they wanted to confiscate her aspirins. She insisted that she was allergic to everything else. This was the only brand she could have. After much argument the girl on her own won her case and managed to take her aspirins with her through Security. We thought that that was tremendous so we then began to make a list of things that we’d assemble if we’d had that girl with us and what she could have brought through Customs for us. One of the guys said “we’d have needed to park our car quite close to the airport building in order to carry the stuff off in the end”. Alison turned round, saw and heard us, and asked what we were doing. I tried to explain the story of the girl to her but for some reason I kept on having it all wrong. I couldn’t explain it properly.

And then I was with a former friend of mine last night in an old Ford Transit van driving somewhere around the Potteries. We’d ended up somewhere around the Goldenhill area. We’d been doing a few things and ended up at a petrol station chatting to the owner, a woman. For some reason she gave my friend £1:00. It became time to leave so I said “I’ll say goodbye and go home”. He asked “aren’t you dropping me off?” in a real kind-of panicky way. I replied “don’t be silly. Of course I am but if I were to have a young girl with me I might change my mind”. I had something linked up about the spark plugs. I had 2 spark plugs in holders and plugged the holders into one of the HT leads. I asked him to check that they were working because I would simply swap the HT leads over when I was somewhere convenient to do it rather than take the plugs out and replace them at the side of the road. He could see the spark and said that it was sparking fine. I had a look and sure enough, it was. I’d done something to the mirrors so I couldn’t see out to the back of the van. When we got into the van at the parking place of this garage I asked him to look behind me to check the road for when I pull out. He didn’t understand and had a panic attack about something. He was shouting at me for something or other but I couldn’t work out what. Then I suddenly realised that we were already on the road. What I thought was where we had to cross over in order to leave was actually the other side of the dual carriageway. We would have been driving on this dual carriageway facing the wrong way. I understood his panic attack at that moment but I told him that I wished that he hadn’t shouted like that because it really distracted me. I wasn’t sure myself what was actually happening at that moment.

Having finished those I had a little play around with the radio programme that i’d been preparing in a kind-of desultory fashion over the last few days and then settled down to watch the football – Y Drenewydd v Aberystwyth.

Both teams were bottom of the league not having won a single point so far this season. That’s a strange position for Drenewydd but as I’ve said before, it’s one to which Aberystwyth fans will have to be accustomed.

One bright spark in the Aberystwyth side though is that veteran keeper David Jones, surprisingly released by Drenewydd at the end of last season, has washed up on their shores. It makes a world of difference to find a reliable and competent keeper between their posts.

The game flowed from end to end in a quite exciting game but with relatively few chances. There were probably no more than four or five clear chances throughout the whole of the game but the lack of many clear-cut chances didn’t spoil the game in any respect.

It finished 0-0 which was about right. Y Drenewydd was the better team but were unable to capitalise on their superiority.

One player who caught my eye was Aberystwyth’s young left-winger Luca Hogan. I’ve not seen him before. His match started off quietly but as other players tired towards the closing stages he really came into his own and began to tear them apart down the flanks.

Unfortunately he’s far from the finished article but at his age he can only improve his final ball into the penalty area.

In fact, from what I’ve seen so far this season, crosses, free kicks and corners into the penalty area are pretty depressing and if I had anything to do with it, I’d spend a lot of time working on making some dramatic improvement.

At this level of football it’s one way of putting defences and goalkeepers under a lot of pressure.

Tea tonight was chips in the air fryer, a mixture of potato and sweet potato. They were actually quite nice, especially with the salad and one of the kale burgers that I bought from Noz a few weeks ago.

So now I’m off to bed ready for a lie-in tomorrow. After all of my exertions I’m ready for it too. Having been to Stoke on Trent last night and not meeting up with Zero, I wonder with whom I’ll meet up tonight.

But if not, a good long sleep will do me some good. I hope that I’ll manage it this time.

Sunday 20th August 2023 – THESE DAYS THE DAY …

… is dawning round about 06:30 in the morning. Ask me how I know.

Sometimes I don’t understand what’s going on (not that that’s anything new, of course) but last night I sat and watched the clock go round and round and wasn’t at all tired enough to go to bed.

It was just after 06:30 when I finally hauled myself off, but that was more by force of habit than anything else because it took me an absolute age to drift off into the Land of Nod.

What made things even worse was that I was awake again by 11:30 and after having tried valiantly to go back to sleep, by about 12:30 I gave it up as a bad job and raised myself from the dead.

After having had something to eat, the night’s efforts caught up with me and that was that for a while unfortunately.

It took me quite a while to come to my senses, which is a surprise given how few senses I have these days, and then I made a slow (and I DO mean “slow”) start on the radio programme.

It’s taking a total age to finish it because I’m not in any kind of state do do any work right now after everything else that has (or hasn’t) happened.

There was time to listen to whatever there was on the dictaphone. In fact it was a real surprise that there was something on there from the very short period when I must have drifted away into Neverland during the morning while I was in bed. We were talking about football in the Welsh class discussing bits of vocabulary etc that are important to know. I explained how much the lessons have helped me understand a lot more about what’s happening. A couple of people listened to the soundtrack of the game, the commentary. They seemed to think that it was easy to follow. I explained that that was because they already know some Welsh and had learnt some Welsh. When I first started listening to it years ago I hardly understood anything at all. I think that we’ve made enormous strides with what we’ve done today

Meanwhile, in other news, my pizzas are getting better and better.

Last weekend I’d used the last of the pizza dough in the freezer so I had to make some more today. a couple of lumps went into the freezer and I assembled the pizza for tonight’s tea on the third one which I had already rolled out

The vegan cheese from LeClerc and the cherry tomatoes on top make all of the difference. This new cheese melts quite nicely and the cherry tomatoes give it a certain je ne sais quoi and I wish that I knew what it was because I would make use of it more often.

So if I can summon up the energy and enthusiasm I’ll carry on with the radio programme and then crawl into bed. And I can’t say that I’ll regret it either because I’m exhausted, as you might expect.

The last week of my Welsh course starts tomorrow and then the following week I have to think about going to that hospital in Paris.

It’s never-ending, isn’t it?

Saturday 19th August 2023 – WE’RE JUST TWO …

… matches into the season and we already have a contender for “Goal of the Season”.

A long ball out of defence upfield by Colwyn Bay, Barry’s keeper Mike Lewis races out of his penalty area to head the ball to safety and THE REST IS HISTORY.

And while we’re on the subject, I probably had the Sleep of the Season this afternoon, crashed out on the chair in the office for several hours.

It all went wrong, as we might expect, last night when I took an age to go off to sleep, and then awoke at about 03:00 for several hours before dropping off back to sleep again.

When the alarm went of, I was flat out asleep and had a real struggle to pull myself to my feet. I don’t think that I’d recovered my senses (such as they are) when it was time to head out to the shops.

At Noz I didn’t buy any food as such but they did have a few things for which I’d been searching off and on for ages and ages. I’m slowly trying to move away from plastic and today they had some resealable glass containers suitable for storing my leftovers in the fridge.

LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special although the apricots did look nice so I bought myself half a kilo as a little treat. Looking though my notes, I noticed that last year they were giving grapes away for next to nothing but this year they seem to be more expensive than usual.

The drive back home through the tourists in the town was horrendous this afternoon, and then once back here I put away the frozen and chilled stuff and then came in here with my coffee and cheese on toast. And that was all that I remember for several hours.

Surprisingly, I had a conversation in Italian this afternoon. Someone keeps on ringing my doorbell, I don’t know why, and this afternoon I caught them.

It’s an Italian family staying in one of the let apartments in the building. There are a couple of apartments that are let on a weekly basis through one of these internet hosting services and we have all sorts coming to rent them.

Anyway, they seem to be trying all of the doorbells to make someone answering them and they’ve rung mine a few times. So having caught them at it, I “had words” with them.

While I was out and about this morning I decided that I wanted a burger on a bap for tea tonight with my chips and salad. I bought a couple of the burgers that I like but I couldn’t find any loose buns.

Consequently, I decided that I’d make one. After all, that’s why I have the air fryer. So anyway I made the dough enough for two and put half of it in the freezer for the next time I feel the urge.

That gave me an opportunity to deal with the dictaphone notes. We were in the heyday of Welsh radio, the period between the 2 World Wars. We had a family called the Hughes family. The radio programme described their adventures from their sons coming home at the end of World War I all the way up to the outbreak of World War II, all the way through the Depression etc. It was very interesting because of the social changes and the Great Depression, and the fact that many of the jobs went abroad in the 1930s and there was some kind of scheme to repatriate the jobs. Mr Hughes was really hopeful that he’d be one of the lucky beneficiaries of this but I didn’t reach the end before it finished.

Later we were on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR on our first trip. One of the things we had to do was to make a video. We were divided into groups and each had to make a video. I devised a plan whereby I’d ambush one of the trips that was going out in a lorry and change clothes with everyone who was on board. We managed to stop the lorry. Of course they were all women on it and we were mostly men so we swapped, put on their clothes, tied them up and left them at the side of the road. We’d arranged for them to be rescued and driven back to the ship. When there was a meeting, they were all there in their undies. We all came out of our cabins dressed in what they’d been wearing on the outside on their way out earlier in the evening.

Then we were with my usual Welsh tutor. She was teaching us how to turn our … errr … wind-breaking into weapons by the kind of food that we ate, things like dried peas etc were really good. There were certain foods that you had to avoid. She gave us a list and even helped us prepare a recipe and cook it ready to eat. This was interesting because the meeting took place in Canterbury. To reach there I had to walk through the town, walk through a church building, something like a monastery, climb these steps that were inside then go out of one of the doors onto a garden that was probably on the second floor then climb through the fence. Then I’d end up on a plateau-type of place with a lovely field etc. That’s where we were all meeting for our lesson

Finally, I was back living in Gainsborough Road. There were several other people living with me. Some girl had wanted to take over my house. of course I refused. I had no intention of leaving it. She turned quite violent so we had to barricade ourselves in. She turned up at about 04:00 banging on the windows. One of the people living there opened the window and began to talk to her. She said something like “How would you feel about swapping your house for a tent somewhere?” and they began to have a discussion. I felt that this was ridiculous. if this had been left to me I’d have been after her with a length of scaffolding pipe. I decided that I’d telephone the police but for some reason the telephone dial phone wasn’t working properly so it took much longer than it ought to have done. I had no intention whatever of giving up my house, certainly under any kind of threat like that. Barricading myself in my own property was totally ridiculous.

And then I settled down to the football. After their mauling at the hands of Caernarfon last week, Colwyn Bay made several changes for their second match of the season, against Y Barry.

They had been promoted from the Southern part of the second tier last season so it was going to be an interesting game. I was quite looking forward to it.

The first half of the game followed pretty much the pattern of the first half last week, with Colwyn Bay going on an all-out attack from the kick-off but gradually fading out and going behind to a goal after half an hour.

However, they didn’t fold up like they did last week. Steve Evans changed their shape around a little and they dug in, and Thomas Creamer wrote himself into Colwyn Bay immortality after an hour or so.

Barry were the better team, it has to be said, but the Bay rode their luck and clung on, and after all, that’s what counts. It’ll be a long hard season for the Bay but they should be encouraged by the result this evening.

Tea tonight was my burger on a bap. The bread was rather heavy, as most of my bread is, so it seems, but it was all nice and tasty and I enjoyed every mouthful of it.

So I’ll record the radio notes tonight and then go to bed. I’m hoping for a good lie-in but if those Italians keep on ringing my bell there will be yet more words said. I can’t be doing with all of this.

Friday 18th August 2023 – WHAT SURPRISES ME …

… is that I managed to keep on going for as long as I did today after all of my exertions.

As I predicted (well, it really wasn’t much of a prediction) I lay awake for hours after going to bed last night and just couldn’t settle down. As I’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … there’s no point going to bed early if I’m not able to go to sleep.

But sleep I must have done at some point during the night because when the alarm went off I was flat out miles away, deep in the Arms of Morpheus.

Leaving the bed before the second alarm was something of a struggle but I managed it all the same, and then had something of slow drag around into consciousness.

Despite everything else I managed to fall into the shower and have a good scrub up, and then I hit the town.

The bus was already at the bus stop so I staggered aboard, and then staggered out at the bus stop by the port.

First stop was at the doctor’s to pick up my prescription. I’m running out of medication so I need to stock up.

next stop was at the Carrefour around the corner where I bought a few supplies to keep me going, like peppers, mushrooms, potatoes and the like.

The reason why I buy my peppers here is that they sell two for €0:99 – teacup sized ones that are ideal for making stuffed peppers. The ones that you buy elsewhere are often quite enormous and overwhelm whatever it is that I’m cooking.

Final port of call was at the chemist for my Aranesp and to have the prescription dispensed.

By the time that I’d bought everything that I needed, my backpack was quite heavy and it was a struggle to come back up the hill. It took me an absolute age and I was exhausted. I had to make dozens of pauses

Back here I cleaned out one of the peppers and put it in the freezer and then armed with my coffee and cheese and toast I came in here, rather later then intended, for my Welsh lesson.

During the pause at lunchtime, I wrote up the dictaphone notes. I was waiting at Goodall’s Corner in Shavington for a bus to go to Nantwich for a hospital appointment. It seemed as if I’d been there for hours but no bus came. I’d seen buses coming in the other direction from Nantwich but none going that way. Eventually someone told me that there wzs a change on the route. He offered to take me to his house in Stock Lane because the buses were going past there at the moment. He took me down there. I went into his house. There were a few people in there, all denying that I was ill. In the end I had to show them my scars where the needles had been in my arms, the site of my old catheter etc before they eventually agreed that I was undergoing some medical treatment. Then we heard the bus so I went outside. The bus pulled up and I boarded. There was a driver and a couple of other passengers. The whole lower deck of this bus was covered in dolls etc. The driver, while he was driving, was playing a game of some kind like cards or something with another one of the passengers. I thought that this was the most weird bus trip that i’d ever had.

What was interesting about this dream was that I was waiting for the bus on the “wrong” side of the road, as I would do if I were in Europe. And all the traffic was driving on the right too.

And then, half an hour later we had a suddenly this dream came alive. The person who was being me began to take off after the girl in this particular scene. That caused a lot of embarrassment. First of all, what was happening was that we’d been paired off. There was a doll that was me, a doll that was a girl, there were several of these pairs and we’d been paired off each at someone’s house but at first nothing had ever happened until we suddenly began to come to life” and I have absolutely no recollection of this or no idea at all what it concerns.

Then we had a dream that was quite similar to that again with 2 dolls, a male and a female. It wasn’t until they’d been together for a while that people noticed that these dolls were starting to turn themselves into a couple

Next I was at a supermarket. There were these toy things, dolls or whatever, tied up at a kind of hitching rail outside the store. All of a sudden a few people came along and began to push themselves into the queue in the wrong place. I thought to myself that there’s going to be some kind of severe confrontation with this lot any minute now.

I was then with Mike Harris, the chairman from TNS. We were talking about the European Cup Final between his team and a team that I was representing from Wales. He said that he wanted to approach UEFA to see whether they’d agree to host the game in Budapest. I said that in principle I’d agree but I’d like to play the game in Leichtenstein. Apart from the fact that there’s a lovely stadium there, it’s the crossroads of Europe etc. He asked me how we’d go about it. I told him that I knew Mike Lee, the Press Officer who went on to lead the UK’s bid for the Olympics in London. I imagined that he’d have a replacement and we’d start of by contacting him.

What’s strange about this is that I BO – or did – know Mike Lee, and he was Press Officer for UEFA and he did leave to work as leader of the team what worked on bringing the Olympic Games to London. And the football stadium at Vaduz in Leichtenstein is quite nice, AS REGULAR READERS OF THIS RUBBISH WILL RECALL.

But no Zero last night, and no California either. I must be slipping.

The Welsh lesson went quite well for a change, even though I had to fight off several waves of sleep. But once it was over and I was armed with my hot chocolate I wasn’t so lucky and ended off drifting away for half an hour or so.

That actually makes a change. usually, going into tow and back exhausts me completely and I’m flat out on my chair a long time before this.

There was time to spend an hour or two writing radio programme notes and then I went for tea – chips with salad and some of those quorn nuggets that are really nice.

But now I’m ready for bed, I reckon, not that I’m particularly tired after having crashed out just now. But it’ll catch up with me sooner or later. Shopping tomorrow, and with some room in the freezer, I hope that there’s some good stuff in Noz now that I have room for it

And having been to the shops I’ll probably be flat out in the afternoon. As long as I don’t miss the football tomorrow evening.

Wednesday 9th August 2023 – THERE REALLY ISN’T …

… any point going to bed and trying to go to sleep early if I wake up at 03:00 and then can’t go back to sleep again. It really does defeat the point.

However, I did manage to go back to sleep again, but not for long and when the alarm went off I was already up and about (after a fashion).

Once I’d had my medication I attacked the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few. I was down in the jungle last night with a pair of socks or something that wouldn’t behave themselves. It was like if I took them off they would keep on attacking me each tme that I turned over in bed or something like that.

Later on I did a lovely turn on the football pitch last night. A foul or offside or something was given in our favour so I went back to take the kick but the full-back decided that he’d take it and kicked it upfield. It was a really weak kick and 3 or 4 different players scrambled for it including me. I reached the ball and managed to flick it behind me. I turned and caught everyone totally unawares – including me – and had a shot at goal which hit the post, came back in but unfortunately broke back up the field. We were all caught out by a breakaway back down the field into our penalty area.

I was going away to a music festival at another point. I’d made enquiries and found out the pitch where my friend from the Wirral and his wife were staying which was one of the ones in the middle in a depression or hollow somewhere. I’d arranged to have a pitch very close nearby. We went down there and were one of the first to arrive. We had to sort through all our things to erect the tent. Then I decided that I wanted a shower. The only way to have a shower was to actually have a shower on your bed. My bed was in the middle of 2 or 3 others so I had to prepare for the shower, rig up a hosepipe or something then sit on my bed and wash myself with the hosepipe. The idea that this was going to ruin my bed and bedding never entered my head all at the moment. There was more stuff than this too, including something about the security arrangements. There was a company called Fitz Security that was doing it but I can’t think now what brought that into the conversation during the night.

Back at this folk festival again. It’s now mid-afternoon, everyone is arriving and starting to set up. There’s a food stall being set up somewhere and people are starting to queue for it. Again there’s much more going on than this but I can’t remember it. Some of it relates to the kind of food that was in some cases rather unpleasant.

Actually, if I were in the UK at the moment I would be on my way to a music festival even as we speak. It’s “Cropredy” this weekend, the Fairport Convention festival in Oxfordshire.

Did I dictate the dream that I was working for a taxi company? … “no you didn’t” – ed … A woman turned up and awoke me out of bed. I had to hunt around for my dressing gown. I was most uncomfortable but I let her in. She began to talk about another taxi company, how she’d seen their adverts everywhere and how she was looking forward to maybe working for them etc. I realised that she’d come for an interview at the wrong place. I let her carry on for a while. Suddenly she disappeared, I can’t remember how, during the dream and the interview finished. Then the boss came home and I told him about this incident. I also told him that the immersion heater wasn’t working again and I’d tried to fix it but I wasn’t able to. He was annoyed with having no hot water. he had a look around. The office was quite shabby. he asked “when are you going to paint it as you promised?”. I asked him what colour. he replied “lemon”. I said “yes OK. I’m glad about that. I don’t like white”. We made arrangements that I’d start to paint the place.

There was also something about a Zeppelin type of thing. It had a leak and there was condensation inside the gasbag that was leaking out in drips of water. We landed the Zeppelin, stripped down the valve and installed a new one, fitted it. That seemed to make the matter worse. In the end we went to a Government office where we could maybe find the parts. We were sitting around there for hours. In the end one of the women with us managed to buttonhole one of the clerks to ask him about it. He replied that these parts are special. They’re on the secret list and can only be sold to people who are bona fide citizens of the UK. The guy had a strange foreign accent so I went over to the woman and we had a laugh about the idea that the parts can only be used by bona-fide British people but can be sold by just about anyone in the whole wide world. It didn’t make any sense. We carried on chatting and ere there for quite a while talking about nothing in particular

We had a long rambling dream about being up in the Arctic ready to fly back. We had to wait for a couple of weeks while the weather ship went to pick up some weather information. It went all the way across to Greenland, round the Davis Strait and back. I grabbed hold of one of the officials and asked about the possibility of going out on the weather ship the next season next year. They said that it was simply not possible but I harassed and harangued them and generally tried to insist but it was no use at all. I was there for ages trying to convince them. Then we flew back. We arrived at the airport. I was with Nerina. As we left the plane she said that she’d forgotten something and she’d see me after Immigration. We had to run all the way round this spiral staircase thing going through different rooms, round and round to our left all the time down these stairs. We reached the bottom and had to board a bus. After the long descent down the stairs we boarded this bus. There was just one other man and me. He asked what I thought about the flight. I replied “I can’t remember anything at all about it. I remember boarding the plane and having a cup of coffee. The next thing that I remember was coming in to land at Fredericton and I had a cup of cold coffee”. He didn’t realise that we’d landed at Fredericton and was surprised when I told him the name of the town. He said “you’re wrong about the coffee. You had to go to the machine yourself and put a token in etc”. In the meantime the bus was going down the road at quite a rate of knots into the city. Suddenly it came to a spot where there was a car parked on either side of the road, a lot of cars on one side and just one on the right-hand side. They hadn’t left enough room for the bus to go through so it came to a grinding halt.

There’s no doubt about it – you’re certainly getting your money’s worth with this.

There was the Welsh homework to do and then we had the lesson. It passed reasonably well today, but we have a long way to go of course.

The strange thing was that while I was awake in the middle of the night I was working through my Welsh from yesterday. It’s preying on my mind, I suppose, and I hope that some of it might stick. I can’t remember any of the vocabulary though.

The cleaner came around too and we had a little chat in the middle of everything.

When the lesson was over I attacked another radio programme. I’ve chosen all the music, paired it off and even written the notes for about half of it. I really don’t know what’s happened to me.

Tea was leftovers with a half-helping of curry from the freezer and a naan bread. I won’t be bothered by any vampires for the next couple of days either – that new batch of garlic butter than I made is pretty good.

So now I’m going to try to go to bed early again, and hope that I can have a better sleep than last night. I haven’t paid all this money for this course not to take any benefit from it.

There’s plenty of other stuff going on too so I have my work cut out right now. At least it keeps me out of mischief.

Saturday 5th August 2023 – IT’S REALLY WILD …

… outside. Some of the strongest winds that I have known since I have been here are howling around outside as I write these notes.

It’s been like this all day although maybe it’s a little worse now than it was. It certainly didn’t keep me awake during the night.

Plenty of other things did though, and I wish that I knew what they were, for it was another night when it seemed to take an age for me to go off to sleep, no matter how tired I was.

When the alarm went off I had to struggle out of bed. And later on it was even more of a struggle to make my way to Caliburn. I’m not very steady on my crutches at the best of times, but with my shopping trolley in a howling gale and torrential rainstorm made it even worse.

They were late opening up at Noz so I had to sit in the van for a while. And I’m glad that I went there because I was rather lucky.

While I’d been waiting, I’d been lamenting on the state of Caliburn’s wheels that are dirty, pitted and rusting. I’d painted the spare wheels a while ago and there in Noz today was some rustproofing wheel paint so I bought a couple of tins.

All I need now is for the wind to drop and the rain to stop.

There was also some jars of curry – vegan lentil Korma – so I grabbed a couple of jars of that too for use one of these days.

LeClerc didn’t come up with much but I seemed to have been in there for ages. I was quite late coming back. Especially as I was held up by a van crawling along at 20kph with a tannoy blaring out of it.

There’s a circus somewhere in town and this van was announcing it. Driven by one of the clowns, most likely.

There was quite a battle to make it back to the apartment with all of this wind.

Having sorted out the shopping I had my coffee and cheese on toast, then came back in here where, true to form just recently, I crashed out. Good and proper too.

There was quite a lot of stuff on the dictaphone from the night too, as I found out later on. I was back in hospital. They stuck an intravenous drip in my arm and connected a drip-feed to it. When they finished they disconnected the drip and strapped the catheter under a bandage of plasters and everything and sent me home to come back in a week or so. I then had to go to a check-up a day or two later. I can’t remember now where this check-up was but it was something significant. They checked me and from what they could see everything was back to normal. There were a couple more measurements and readings they wanted to take. They were underneath the bandages and strapping so they needed to take it all off. I was aware of how much all of this hurt, putting these needles in and taking them out again so I made something of a face about it. She told me that if all went well they would take it out today. I thought “what about if I have to come back here in a few days?”. She didn’t really have an answer to that. I felt just totally fed up at this point that they were thinking about all these things and no-one was actually thinking about me and the effect that the needles were having on me.

I had to join in last night with some people engaged in a tug of war with a gigantic ginger cat. Apparently it was a security cat that belonged to some kind of building and had been massively over-fed. It was having severe health problems and needed to be taken to the vet. They had so much difficulty catching it that eventually they managed to get a lead around it but they needed some help to try to pull it into a cage because it was so big.

Later on I was coming from Chester. As I approached Nantwich I was having a debate with myself about whether it would be quicker to go through the town centre or around the by-pass. Eventually I chose to go round the by-pass. It was the wrong decision because it was chucking-out time at Reaseheath College. The whole area was swarming with people, pedestrians, cyclists etc. We were held up for ages. I was bringing a coupe back to the area, 2 people sitting in the back seat. They were flirting around. I was having to keep a close watch in my mirror in all this traffic but I couldn’t see the road because of these two people. I was trying at the time to work out how best to tell them to sit still and not move about so that I could see what was going on behind me.

It was also the end of term. A bunch of kids from school were off to University. One girl in particular whom I liked, I’d been helping her with all of her paperwork, to prepare it. She was packing and I was going to take her to the University to install her there. I had my car in the car park. We were going through the final preparation getting the paperwork ready when one of her friends who was going to the same University said that we’d take her as well. She asked which car it was. I told her that it was a pale blue Ford Cortina RBY623R. I told her where it was parked. We collected the other girl’s things and went to draw out some money and to photocopy a few documents. She asked if we could stop somewhere as we were passing through France to pick up some alcohol. She was a small girl who looked younger than she was. I told her to print out an extra copy of her birth certificate and put it in her purse with her so that she wouldn’t have any problems in places like that. We then went to the printer, which was like a cash point. We had to insert a document. There was a keyboard where you had to type whatever information you wanted to insert. She inserted some documents, typed a few things and then printed them out. There was a couple of other people waiting to use the machine. They complained about how long she was taking which I thought was strange as it was the only one for the entire school. There must have been queues like this before.

As I went back to sleep I was on a bus with my passengers. I was collecting up my paperwork, tools and a box full of washers, drill bits etc, getting ready. I had prepared a map of the area. We set off in the coach on the way home, stopping by various places on the way.

Later on I finished off the radio notes ready for dictating and then went back to my Canada 2017 trip. I’ve now crossed the Churchill River and on my way north-east.

Churchill River was interesting. Trying to research it is not very easy because it wasn’t called Churchill River until 1965. When it was originally observed by Europeans, they named it “Grand River” but in 1821 it was renamed “Hamilton River” in honour of the then-Governor of Newfoundland.

So you can see what I mean.

And it’s likely to become even more complicated in due course as there is a movement afoot to petition the Government to change the name to represent its Innu heritage.

In case you’re wondering, which I’m sure you are, there are three, and maybe four, ethnic groups here in Labrador. Along the coast, north of Hamilton Inlet but formerly much further south too, are the Inuit.

In the southern part of Labrador and the interior of the north are the Innu, recognised by themselves as forming one ethnic grouo but some people, including our hero Viano Tanner, suggest that the southern people, known by the French in the past as Montagnais and the people in the interior further north , known in the past as Naskapi, are distinct and discrete groups.

And since 1982 the Métis have been recognised as a distinct and discrete ethnic group.

Something else that I’ve been doing is hunting down Court injunctions.

In 2012 Valard, the company that is building the dam at the Muskrat Falls and Nalcor, the energy corporation of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government were granted an injunction which prohibited “NunatuKavut (the local Innu) members and others from going within 50 meters of the Site which included any areas of land that Nalcor is authorized to use, or shall be authorized to use in the future”.

A Court of Appeal hearing in 2014 found that this injunction “prohibited the people of NunatuKavut from carrying out traditional activities and accessing their traditional lands” in defiance of a Treaty of Native Rights and overturned the injunction.

But the lesson we can learn from that is that not even a Treaty with native people is allowed to stand in the way of one of the Newfoundland Government’s sacred cows, if the Government thinks that it can get away with it.

Tea tonight was chips, salad and one of those kale and lentil burgers that I bought the other day. The burger wasn’t at all what I expected but it was actually quite nice and I wished that I’d bought some more of them.

Having written my notes now I’m going to dictate my notes for the radio if the wind dies down and I can hear myself think. And then I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I have fruit buns to make and radio programmes to prepare, so by the looks of things I’ll be busy. Mind you, I’ll probably fall asleep instead. That seems to be how things work these days.

Friday 4th August 2023 – AFTER ALL OF YESTERDAY’S …

… exertions, today followed pretty much the same pattern.

Although there wasn’t the same number of sound files on the dictaphone, it wasn’t far off. And I reckon that had I gone to bed last night at 23:00 as normal instead of … errr … 01:30 this morning, who knows how many there might have been?

When the alarm went off this morning I was actually in a record shop somewhere discussing a Wishbone Ash album with someone. Consequently it took me a few seconds to find my feet.

When the second alarm went off at 07:05 I was actually on my feet – but only just. And the shower that I had after my medication did little to revive me.

Just as last week, I was on the bus early, on the grounds that the sooner I go, the quicker I come back – rather like Tommy Handley’s Ali Oup and “I go – I come back”.

At Carrefour I did a little shopping and then for some reason had to wait quite a while for the bus. I’ve no idea why he took so long to come back this morning.

Back here I had a little accident. Having cleaned out a pepper ready for freezing, I dropped one of the freezer drawers on the floor. I ended up having to clean it, repair it and repack it And then I could sit down and have my cheese on toast and coffee.

There had been plenty of post in my letterbox. The most important letter was that the Physical Re-education Centre that contacted me by phone a couple of weeks ago has offered me 20 – yes, TWENTY sessions, starting in mid-October.

It seems that they are taking this nerve problem seriously. What with that and the hospital visit at the end of the month, who knows?

Also in the post was the acknowledgement of my application for a disabled person’s permit. They told me that I had sent in everything that they needed and I can expect a reply “within four months”. We shall see.

For a change, I managed to avoid falling asleep this afternoon, not that I actually felt like doing all that much. But eventually I had a listen to the dictaphone – piles and piles of it. I had a dream last night. I can’t remember very much about it but I remember that it was full of a lot of people watching it who were coming out of profanities. I had to post some kind of notice requesting everyone to mind their language as there were young children in the vicinity listening to all of it.

There was also the story of a whaler out of Dundee that ran onto rocks and sank as it was coming into the harbour. The crew took to the boats and came ashore but they must have been on an island because there was still no way to reach Dundee. They had to wait to be rescued. There were all kinds of accusations flying around. I was captain of the whaler so I had one of my crew discreetly count the number of people who were with us. He said “between 18 and 26”. That was not what I wanted to know. I was hoping that he’d give me an exact number so I’d know first of all how many we’d had starting out, how many had made it ashore and how many had subsequently been able to go ashore somewhere else. There was an old mariner on this island who was extremely critical of what we’d done. He was very domineering and told us to sit down even though we could see a ship coming in the distance. He told us to sit and watch television while we awaited rescue. I said that I wasn’t interested in watching anything on television. he made some kind of dismissive remark about that. My story was that the chart was deficient but he seemed to think that it was my fault completely, the sinking of the ship. I was looking forward to the subsequent examination where I could put forward my points of view.

Here we were on this island awaiting rescue and we came across a pile of railway carriages for the London Underground. That invited a lot of comment as to what they might be doing there in this rural outpost somewhere along the shore near Dundee. One thing though was that I was sure that looking at the men who had been saved I didn’t really recognise anyone who’d started out on the trip. They could have been different people for all I know

And then someone wanted to work out some kind of survey where any kind of activity took place on the island compared to life on there as normal. I told him to clear off and said that as far as I was concerned no-one was having anything to do with him and this particular survey. What with all of that, it must have been a quite interesting night on that island near Dundee.

And on another island in the middle of the Atlantic there were about 20 children. What they were doing was to play some kind of game with them to see how many could identify the places that were involved with many of the early explorers’ voyages around the world, like the Canary Islands and the Azores, Lanzarote, islands like that situated off the coast of Europe and North West Africa.

I was in a music shop last night. I’d bought a Wishbone Ash album years ago but I’d never got round to actually playing it. When I did, the tracks didn’t correspond with what was on the running order list. I did some research and found that it’s the wrong album that’s been pressed on the CD. The label was for the CD box but the album on the disc was a different one. I went back to the record shop to tell them about it and see what they could do, not that with all this immense lapse of time I expected them to do anything. I was in the middle of talking to them when the alarm went off.

There was some other stuff too but you don’t really want to know about that right now.

As I mentioned yesterday I spent some time on the radio programme that I started yesterday. Another pile of notes have been written and I can finish it off tomorrow. Then I can dictate the notes tomorrow night and if I’m lucky I can prepare two radio programmes on Sunday.

It’ll be a busy day on Sunday because I have some fruit buns to bake. I’ve almost run out of those.

Finally I spent some time tracking down some more stuff about Muskrat Falls. I managed to find not only the agreement that was signed between the Newfoundland and Labrador Government and the Innu community in 2011, I managed to find out how, why and when it all went pear-shaped.

Peter Penashue, the leader of the Innu community at Sheshatshiu, the Innu settlement whose tribal hunting grounds were most affected made an impassioned speech setting out the community’s grievances and the reasons for the blockade of the site.

Basically, there was some kind of profit-sharing agreement proposed in which the Innu community would be paid a percentage of the resale of the electricity generated.

However with massive cost and timescale overruns and structural failures, and much of the electricity being siphoned off by the residents of the Provincial capital in Newfoundland, something that has added millions and millions of dollars to the costs, even the most optimistic estimates reckon that there will be no profit generated for at least 30 years.

That’s assuming that nothing else goes wrong (and what are the odds on that?) of course. And by that time all of the people who were expected to profit from the development will have received nothing.

In the meantime, their hunting grounds and traditional way of life will have been destroyed.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on our first trip to Labrador before there was any sign of development, we saw moose a-plenty, and even bear. Since the development began, we’ve seen just one moose and that’s your lot. In 2017 we didn’t see anything at all.

Tea tonight was salad and chips with some of the falafel that I bought the other day. It was quite nice too, but then again that falafel is a proprietary brand rather than a generic one.

Back here I actually fell asleep for 15 minutes which was disappointing – I was hoping that I could keep going all day having gone “over the hump” this afternoon. But now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Shopping tomorrow, but I don’t want all that much. But supplies of coffee are beginning to run low so I’ll be on the lookout for a coffee sale. They haven’t had one for a while so they must be due for one. It’ll probably be the week after I’ve bought some at full price.

Thursday 3rd August 2023 – YOU CAN TELL …

… what kind of night I had last night simply by looking at the dictaphone and counting the number of times I dictated something. We actually reached double figures, and it’s not every day that that happens.

Furthermore, I was actually up and about before the alarm went off too.

Only by a matter of a handful of seconds, it’s quite true, but nevertheless, it still counts. When I opened my eyes and saw that it was 06:59 on the fitbit I thought that I may as well make the effort.

One thing’s for sure is that I won’t be up early tomorrow. We had football tonight – Hwlffordd v B36 Torshavn in European competition.

1-0 down from the first leg, they rode their luck all through the first half and with half an hour to go actually managed to score a goal that made the score equal over the two legs.

The game went into extra time but Torshavn scored what can only be described as a “controversial penalty” to knock the Welsh side out. Manager Tony Pennock was quite right to be incensed but I notice that he kept very quiet about the penalty that I and the commentators would have awarded against his team earlier in the game to which the referee waved “play on”.

The post-match interviews were quite entertaining. Pennock came out with a few comments that reminded me of Ron Atkinson and his famous quote of “I never comment on referees – and I won’t break the habit of a lifetime for that prat!”

Centre-forward Ben Fawcett, who scored Hwlffordd’s goal, reminded me of Jim Finks, one-time coach of the New Orleans Saints gridiron team who once famously said “We’re not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating”

So with extra time being played, the game didn’t finish until long after 23:00 so it’s going to be a long night tonight.

It’ll be just like today when it took me an absolute age to actually start work – after a very late morning coffee.

And the first thing that I did was to sort out the music for the next radio programme. That took much longer than it ought to have done.

One thing that took the time was that I had to track down a certain track that I needed. In this programme, whenever it will be broadcast, we’ll be celebrating the birthday of a rather obscure musician.

Her partner plays a major rôle in our radio programmes and she actually wrote the words for one or two of his more rare songs and played keyboards on a couple. We can’t actually celebrate her birthday without playing some of her music.

While I was at it, I wrote the text for some of the music that I’ll be playing and I’ll write some more tomorrow. With a bit of luck, God’s help and a Bobby, I might have two radio programmes to prepare on Sunday.

And then there was the dictaphone. And I couldn’t believe the amount of stuff that was on it from the night. I was at the football last night. The town where I was living was a small French town roughly the size of Granville but in the interior down south. They were playing a game of football. I went along to watch the match. There was a lot happening that I’ve forgotten but something that sticks in my mind was that I was chatting to a group of people some of whom were young girls, schoolgirls or whatever. At one point the ball came over our way. I got off my chair and went to pick it up to throw it back in but then I found that I had real difficulty getting back to my feet. When I did, some girl had sat in my chair. I made some remark about it. She said that she’d sat in there first. I thought “never mind”. There was a couple of empty chairs around here and there so I took one of those, sat next to them and continued to watch the game. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

When the alarm went off I awoke with a real start. I was in such a deep sleep. I didn’t know where I was for a minute. When I looked round I thought that the cleaner was here. She was trying to tell me that she has to cut down her hours because one of her family needed help. I was trying to get my head round all this information. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 04:00 and I’d obviously dreamt the alarm somehow. That’s really surprising. It sounded so real too. It goes without saying that there was no cleaner here etc, just me waking up spontaneously for no good reason so I turned over and went back to sleep. I really couldn’t believe it.

Then a surprise for a friend of mine. We’d heard from a restaurant in St Malo that a well-known brand of gravy actually contained animal products. I went to make further enquiries and discovered that it was indeed true. I swapped a meal of greasy sausages and things like that for another kind of meal but I can’t remember what the other meal was now. I’m having a real problem remembering my dreams at the moment. I don’t know why that is.

There was another dream where I was having to see a heart specialist. He’d given me an appointment at 08:10. I went to see him and was there early. There were a couple of other doctors’ surgeries in the same place. One woman came in to sit down. Someone else came in, probably a doctor because he went into one of the side rooms. He then came out and began to talk to this woman about Patagonia and going to have an operation done there. That immediately appealed to me. I began to think about life in Patagonia, how I would go there, how I was going to travel, what I was going to do. I was all building myself up in this dream for a trip to Patagonia on the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

We were wandering around a place in rural Spain. I wanted to go to use the bathroom. I set out to find it. I went past a guy who had a box. He had 4 small logs in it. Sitting across the logs was a French bread pizza. He was trying to light the logs presumably to cook his pizza so I told him what a wonderful thing it was. He didn’t understand so I tried to say it in Spanish. He still didn’t understand me. Everyone with me asked me what I was doing so I explained. I found the bathroom and walked in. To my surprise it was just a communal room with about 6 WCs in it, no partitions or anything. You just sat there or stood there in full view of everyone else and did what you had to do. There was no blushing or anything like that from anyone except from me of course.

That was actually the first time that I’ve had a dream in Spanish.

There was a sequel to this dream as well. A young Spanish boy whose father went to discipline him. He suddenly had a huge pain in his groin that doubled him up. He was rolling around the floor in agony. While this was going on his son was there. This pain didn’t ease off until the guy decided that he’d change his mind about punishing his son. Once he’d made that decision the pain stopped

There was also something about a football match in Spain. While the father was doubled up in pain the opposition team grabbed hold of the football and tried to take a quick free kick and roared off down the field before the referee stopped them and brought them back. It was those two new players from Hwlffordd, Crossdale and the other one … “Owen” – ed … who were doing this.

There was something about cricket too, trying to explain it to a new player about how he could learn the game by watching so when his team was in he’d be out there and he could watch what was happening, then get himself out and come back in, then prepare to go back out again when his team was in, all kinds of stuff like that, this particular dream that I can’t remember the fine details now

And finally there was another dream that I’ve had before. I was with Nerina who was on a bike and I was on foot. We were chatting as she was cycling. We were in Stoke on Trent and came to a steep hill. Something had happened that she had done something that had not been the kind of thing that I would do. People had believed that we had separated. Nerina had strung them on a little. When we came to the steep hill there was a short cut for people on foot so I took it and she continued along the road. She fell in with one of these people who then began to ask her questions about what she was up to. When the short cut re-joined the road we joined up again. By now I was running up the hill and she was cycling. There was a couple of people standing on the pavement ahead of us, one of whom I recognised. A car that was coming up the hill suddenly mounted the pavement and hit these 2 people knocking them flying and drove off again. By now we’d all arrived at this particular point and we tried to ask one of these guys what exactly had happened

It’s no surprise that there was no time to do anything else other than this. There was tea of course, a leftover chili sin carné that was as delicious as ever, and then I dashed in here for the football.

Now the game is over and my notes are finished, I’m off to bed. I’m nipping into town on the bus tomorrow for a little shop and then I’ll probably be flat out asleep in the afternoon recovering from the effort.

That assumes that I wake up in time to go to the shops. Another night like last night and I won’t wake up for a week.

Monday 31st July 2023 – I’M GOING TO STOP …

… discussing my miserable nights because you’re probably just as fed up reading about them as I am having them.

So when the alarm went off I was fast asleep in the bed and it was something of a struggle to crawl out of bed before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I went and had a shower to try to awaken me but that didn’t work very well. After the nurse had been to give me my weekly injection I came back in here.

It took an age for me to come round into the Land of the Living and it was a very late mid-morning coffee. And then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

There were tons of stuff on the dictaphone from the night there too. Someone’s name turned up on my social network, a boy whom I knew from a foreign country when I was at school. We got in touch and agreed to meet. I could recognise him from his photo. He was with some kind of little dog. When they came close to me they suddenly disappeared. I had a walk around this park and couldn’t see them. I walked across the park to the other end and that was when I caught a glimpse of them. I waved and they waved back. Eventually after many attempts we managed to meet up. It turned out this he had stopped to buy a sandwich on his way to meet me and his dog had seen someone with a sandwich and gone haring after it so he’d gone haring after the dog. he wanted to know why I hadn’t written to ask him where he was. I thought “it’s only been like 15 minutes” but something inside told me that it was in fact a couple of years that i’d been wandering around that park. That was a lapse of time that I couldn’t explain

There was something about Zero too last night. My friend from Congleton had had some good luck. She’d had her house up for sale for a considerable amount of time and it had suddenly sold for a much better price than she had anticipated too. She already had another property lined up that she could buy so she didn’t need the money and her doctor was asking her what she planned to do. She could come up with thousands of things. One was to buy a house at Prestatyn where they could go at weekends but would in fact be Zero’s house when she’s a little older. The other doctor thought that a good idea. He also mentioned about her becoming a private patient and having to pay for her medical treatment saying that private patients had so much better treatment than NHS ones etc. He also asked her when she was going to marry again. She made some kind of vague nebulous reply about that.

I can’t remember who I was with in the next one. It wasn’t TOTGA because her name came up in the conversation but it was a girl with whom I used to work who had a good job that involved projects. The thing was that you came up with your own project and this firm would back you and provide you with the resources to do it. She was telling me all about it and how good the other situation was. In fact it might have been someone I used to know quite well, saying how much of a change it was from her previous employment. She said that any kind of project was considered, whether fitting tyres on a car, rock groups practising etc. It’s the sort of thing that had I been able I would have been interested in doing. I had an appointment somewhere else but she was talking away so much about this that I didn’t really want to leave. I wanted to stay to listen to the rest of it even though I was running late. We said that the only way to do a job like this is to go at it 100% give it everything you have and take what opportunities are offered. While this might not suit some people’s mentality it certainly suits others and those are the kind of people who would benefit from some situation like this

Later on we had an old small FIAT saloon, the type that you could load things in through the back window. I was putting some electrical equipment in but knocked the amplifier on the back seat forward into the footwell. As I was locking up the car I told Nerina what I’d done and told her not to let me drive away in the morning like that. She asked why I didn’t do it now. I said that it’s too complicated being in the dark and I can’t see what I’m doing. I might start pulling wires out. She still thought that it would be a good idea to do it now. To be quite honest I was absolutely exhausted. I just really wanted to stop doing it and go to bed but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to explain it as a good reason to Nerina. I was busy finding all kinds of other reasons not to do the job right now.

And finally I was doing some research so I joined an institute. I was in their offices looking through some paperwork. I came across someone’s file. It was a huge front and back piece with hooks on it where you could hang it from a rail with the spine upwards. I took one of these out to have a look at it. It was really just full of notes etc and various items of correspondence, one of which was someone asking around if anyone had an Opel Omega or Corsa that they could take a ride in to see what they were like ready to purchase. Someone scrawled underneath “God, are they asking for a taxi here?”. I had a look through it and went to put it back but I caught my right ankle on a stone on the wall and that caused me to drop to my knees. I don’t know why that happened but I couldn’t stand back up again. And I can’t stand up if I end on my knees either. That’s what’s really stopping me from going very far – the fear of falling over.

So we had Zero, TOTGA, Nerina and a few other regulars out there with us last night. It was nice to see so many of our friends. Still no Castor though, which is a shame. In a couple of weeks time it will be four years since our Brief Encounter in Peel Sound and the Coronation Gulf.

So when I’ve not been asleep I’ve been dealing with the next radio programme. The music is sorted out, paired off and much of the text has been written.

From now on I’m going to try to do things in a slightly different way. Usually I leave the very last track until last but in the programme that I’m preparing, the very last track has already been chosen, and for a very good reason too.

Inserting a track and its relevant text into the middle of a programme is quite complicated and takes much more time but I’ve been giving that a great deal of thought in order to find a work-around.

Tea was a stuffed pepper as usual and it was of course quite nice too. Made with fresh carrots too. There was not enough room in the freezer to buy a bulk lot of carrots to freeze so I just bought a couple to see me through until next weekend.

I’ll need to make some space in the freezer for more veg so I reckon that on Thursday I’ll be having mixed veg in cheese sauce. Now that I can buy vegan cheese in good quantities I can have much more of that, and quite right too.

But that’s for Thursday. There are a few more days in between. I’ll wander off to bed and prepare myself for battle tomorrow. Here’s Hoping that it’s a better day.

Saturday 29th July 2023 – JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT …

… that it was safe to go back into the water, along came Len Fairclough.

And just when I thought that I was slowly pulling myself out of this quite depressing run of bad nights, there I go again

There’s not really much point in going to bed early if I can’t go off to sleep. And even when I do manage to go to sleep, if I’m waking up every five minutes it’s pretty pointless.

There are always sleeping pills of course, and this has been discussed before, but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, my little voyages during the night are much more interesting and exciting than anything that ever happens to me during the day.

Life would be much less interesting if I never remembered where I went after dark.

When the alarm went off I was fast asleep and it really was quite an effort for me to haul myself out of bed.

It was even more of an effort to haul myself out of the apartment to go to the shops.

There wasn’t any point going to Noz because they had nothing there that I needed. It’s not all that often that I come away with nothing

LeClerc wasn’t all that much better either. There was nothing there of any interest today. They had one last box of falafel left so I threw that in my trolley to put in the freezer with the others. I don’t really need them but they are only on sale quite rarely so I stock up when I can.

Thinking on though, there are only three meals that I have that aren’t planned in advance. So now I have the falafel, sausages, sausage rolls, some Chinese whatsits, burgers, breaded quorn fillets, curries and once there’s some more room in the freezer there will be some vegan pie.

There’s enough in there to keep me going for a good while. I don’t have to worry too much about food.

Back here I had my cheese on toast and I hadn’t even finished my coffee before I crashed out. I was gone away with the fairies for hours and I felt absolutely dreadful afterwards.

Once I was awake again it took an age to gather up my wits, and then I had a listen to the dictaphone. I had a kind of manservant last night. I was going somewhere so I asked him to prepare some kind of meal that I could take with me. When I went to pick things up I couldn’t exactly tell what it was. It looked as if it was a curry. He said “no, it’s a green bean thing”. I had a look. I could see that it was enormous, what he’d cooked. It was in a vacuum-packed plastic bag thing. There looked enough in there for a couple of meals. It looked really interesting to take with me.

And then I was out on the Labrador coast last night trapping furs and animals. I was doing OK but felt that the agent guy whatever his name was was taking advantage of the power that he had over the people. A TV crew came to interview him and what he was doing there. It turns out that he was leaving after just a couple of years in his post and going somewhere. This was another dream with lots more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

Next I had to go to Manchester for work. As I was passing the railway company offices I thought that I’d call in there to book a ticket on the train. I went in there and they began to look through the timetable and wrote out an itinerary which was to leave Crewe, go to Chester, Chester-Liverpool, Liverpool-Manchester. The return was an express back at about 20:00. I thought “how is this possible? Why aren’t you booking a ticket for me on the local stopping train direct?”. The replied “you can’t buy that ticket from here at the railway offices, only the long-distance tickets you can have”. We had a really lengthy discussion about what were my plans, what I usually did etc. In the end they insisted and gave me this piece of paper with my itinerary on it. I realised that I had to return back to my office to pick up my possessions and return for the train. I only had 15 minutes to do that before the train leaves. I looked at the ticket and it wasn’t actually a ticket but a simple itinerary and told me that I had to call at the ticket office to pick up and pay for the ticket. I thought “I’m never going to be back here on that train in 15 minutes”. Back at my office I then had to enter a lift to go upstairs. There was a queue for the lift and it seemed to take ages. When I left the lift I was nearly knocked over by my boss. That led to some kind of discussion. All the time, time was ticking away. I could see that this was just going to be totally out of the question and absolutely impossible.

Back in that dream again about the railway tickets. We all climbed into the lift to leave the building. The first thing that I noticed was a CA Bedford ice cream van registered in Turkey. As the lift was going down I asked one of the guys if I could take a photo of it. He replied that it was his girlfriend’s so we had a big discussion about caravans. I told him about the two that I had down in the Auvergne and how I’d scrapped them. When I went to take a photo with my telephone it wouldn’t work. The one that I took with the big camera came out blurred and indistinct so I had to run to the car, give my things to someone to pack away and run back to the building to try to take another photo of it again. There was a dog there that I wanted to photograph too. All the while, time was just disappearing and I would never catch this train.

At one moment I was walking down a footpath with someone but as soon as I awoke all of it disappeared and I can’t remember anything more about that other than walking down the footpath with someone.

I was back in that dream about the railway again. We were all cramming into the lift ready to go back down again. I can’t remember now what happened once we were in the lift but again it was something else that went on for quite some time. All the time, time was just ebbing away and it was going to be impossible to pick up this ticket and be on this train at 09:00 or whatever.

What was left of the day was spent out on the Trans Labrador Highway back in 2017 making my way towards Goose Bay

Tea tonight was chips (now that I have some potatoes) and a breaded quorn fillet with salad and quite enjoyable it was too, as usual. Meals are quite nice around here these days.

Having now written my notes I’m going to dictate the radio stuff and then go to bed. If I’m lucky I might even have a decent sleep, but that’s really not all that likely. Tomorrow I have some pizza dough to make as I’ve now run out, but I have the digestive biscuits to keep me going.

So why knows? Maybe I might even find something else to do too, if I can stay awake long enough to do it.

Monday 24th July 2024 – SO MUCH FOR …

… my plans for today.

Usually there are about 2 or 3 entries on the dictaphone most nights. If I’ve had a particularly restless night there might be as many as 5.

But if you want to know about the kind of night that I had last night, there were actually as many as 10 entries. TEN!

And between 02:18 and 03:50 there were seven of them recorded. That was some night.

On a few occasions too I actually stepped back into dreams where I’d left off. That’s no real surprise I suppose, with a night as mobile as that.

It took me quite an age to go off to sleep too, and then later on I was actually up and about before the alarm went off.

And so, as you can gather, I haven’t been in any kind of condition today to do anything. The only surprise was that I managed to keep awake until 15:30. But once I’d gone, I’d really gone.

However, back to this morning. After the medication I went and had a shower ready for the nurse. She came round later to inject me and then I came back in here and didn’t do very muct at all. It was a real struggle to keep awake and in the end I gave up trying.

later on I had a listen to the dictaphone and that took most of the rest of the day. I went into our kitchen. There was a strange cat in there. All the other cats and kittens were confronting this silver tabby which was doing its best to hide under a piece of cardboard. When I came in it tried to sneak out underneath the cardboard and through a pack of kittens that were trying to fight it. It made its way to the front door but couldn’t work out how to find its way out of the cat flap again so it was cowering in a corner. I couldn’t take a good shot at it because other kittens were around it. In the end I managed to corner it on its own. It hid behind a stuffed giraffe as a gun fighter would do if you tried to draw a gun on him. It looked so interesting and so intelligent this cat so I called my brother to come and see. By the time he arrived the cat had come out from behind the giraffe. I had the door open and was trying to usher it out with my feet. My brother thought that I won’t have many marks for kindness and politeness by doing that. I replied that it’s soon going to go out anyway. After a couple of attempts I managed to put my foot underneath its stomach and heave it out through the open door then close the front door behind it so it couldn’t re-enter. The thought then occurred to me that I hope that the kittens that went outside can work their way through the cat flap to find their way back in otherwise we’ll have problems with that too

TOTGA appeared last night, so hello to TOTGA. She had an audition for a modelling agency so someone was coming round to see her. I spent some time choreographing some dances and had been putting her through them. On the final morning that we were working through them there was so much that still needed to be done that while she was rehearsing I was buzzing around. Someone who was there watching suggested that I was distracting her and getting in her way. My response was first of all that we needed this information and secondly, when she’s taking her exam there will be people getting in her way then. She needs to work out her routine based on the movements of other people anyway. After this discussion I went into the storeroom to try to find something from one of her earlier sessions. She came in, still dancing, saying that she needed to find the heat treatment for a twinge in her muscle. We discussed where that might be, which box it was in. She had to find it but she needed to be quick because the person would b ehere in a minute.

Back on the subject of ballet again. This time I had a couple of groups of young toddlers and small children who were being put through their routines. They were extremely interesting, especially one who could barely walk and had one of her front teeth missing. She did a really nice dance. I told her how now it was but I was thinking that it’s such a shame that she couldn’t have waiting another half-hour for that performance because the examiner would have been here and he would have loved to have seen that dance.

I went straight back to sleep and immediately saw the housekeeper or cleaner of the hall where we dance looking totally aghast. I asked her what was the matter. She replied that she had seen the first ever seal killed by another seal. It was that that had upset her.

After that I stepped back into the previous dream again with my ballet class of toddlers. There was a police inspector who was there. For some unknown reason he was in a bad mood. I asked him whether it was because of the lack of preparation on his behalf that was causing the problem or whether there was something else we needed to know

I bet that you didn’t know that I was an ace at the ballet! But actually I had two younger sisters who needed taking to dance class on a Saturday afternoon and when my elder sister started a Saturday job I drew the short straw and I spent many an hour watching what was going on.

That’s why I used to go to watch Port Vale play football in the late 1960s. Our local team played on a Saturday afternoon so I couldn’t go, but the Vale always played on a Friday night. It was actually a good night out, walking back from Burslem to the railway station at Longport late at night, grabbing a bag of chips on the way.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed, there was more trouble later about a kid who wanted someone here to cut off some material for him, a length of dark green and a length of red so that he could wrap them around himself to pretend that he was a school mascot. That way he’d stop being annoyed by these other people at the gate of the school

I was going into Crewe town centre for an interview for a job in a shop. I was having to change my employment because of my illness and needed something less stressful with less travel. I was chatting to a girl when the bus came in. She boarded it. I suddenly realised just as it was about to pull away that it was my bus too so I leapt aboard and just about managed to scramble onto the platform before it took off. I saw the girl so I waved to her. We came into Crewe town centre and I alighted. I thought that I’d go to my brother’s shop for a form for a CV and fill it in to hand in at this other place. It was just after midday so I wondered if he’d be at lunch. I went there and began to climb the steps into his front door

Then I had the first part of that dream again about having to prepare for this meeting or exam whatever it was, finding all my things etc before going out for the bus

I was also giving a lecture on brewing last night. I’d ordered some beer but it hadn’t come so I contacted the brewery. They launched one by catapult. It flew through the air, 8 miles high, this barrel of beer through the sky all the way and dropped to earth in my living room where there was a crowd of people. They denied having received this beer at first but I think that they were teasing me. In the end they gave me a glassful. It had a huge head on it of course. I tasted it and said that it was the most beautiful beer that I’ve ever tasted. I let 1 or 2 other people have a drink. Some girl asked me about the secrets of brewing. I explained that the real secret is in the water. The underlying soils are all on different rocks. The rainfall that percolates through the rocks picks up different minerals depending on the area where it is and what the rocks are. The water that they take to make the beer depends on the area from where it comes, different minerals in the water react in different ways with the yeast and barley and grain etc. That’s why beers are different, because of the minerals in the water. Some ares have really good water for brewing but others don’t. There’s different beers made with different kinds of water. I was impressed that I could give a lecture on brewing and breweries while I was asleep.

Finally, Caliburn and I were on our way back from Virlet to Brussels going the way that we used to go through the mountains. When we left one town heading north it seemed that all the traffic was being diverted over a rough tarmac path through a field. The old road was overgrown with weeds. There were no signs or anything so I carried on down the old road. After about 50 yard all the weeds etc had gone and it was the normal road again. I was travelling down there at a good rate of knots in a rainstorm. It suddenly occurred to me that this isn’t the town that I know where I was entering. There was a steep hill down into the town centre to a T junction where I had to turn left. As I was three quarters of the way down the hill a lorry began to reverse out of a parking space into the road in front of me. I blew the horn and the horn stuck. Eventually the lorry got the message and drove back in so that I could go past. There was a milk float on the corner that was reversing up the hill on my side of the road. He received a horn blast too because I couldn’t go past him because of the road junction. Eventually I had to get out and push the milk float out of the way. He got the message too and drove off the right way this time so that I could reach the bottom of this hill to turn left. There were hordes of people milling around here, so much traffic, the rainstorm. I didn’t recognise anything of this. I didn’t know where I was at all.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper which was really nice but for some reason or other I seem to have lost my appetite again

Anyway, that’s enough for this horrible day. I’m glad that it’s over. I’m going to bed and I’ll start again tomorrow – if I wake up. I really do feel as if I could sleep for a week with no problem whatsoever.