… 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.