Tag Archives: bad night

Wednesday 10th JUly 2024 – WHAT A PERFORMANCE!

Swimming around the apartment in a sea of blood last night, up first thing in the morning washing the floors. I’ll tell yuo something for nothing, and that is that I won’t be going on much longer like this. It’s simply not sustainable.

There I was last night, getting ready for bed, and it was late enough already, when in the bathroom I happened to catch my leg against some protruding object.

And that, dear reader, was that. The effects of the Kardegic and the Injection of the Last Resort mean that my blood is thinner than water, and it just erupted.

From the bathroom I had to go to the corner of the living room where all of the medical stuff is, clean the would with some sterile solution and gauze and then apply a plaster. And the time that it took to go from the one to the other, we were knee-deep in gore.

Well, maybe that’s something of an exaggeration, but nevertheless it was a horrible sight. I can’t even stand looking at blood at the best of times, never mind when it’s pumping out out my leg.

There was no point trying to clean up the apartment at that time of night. I’d just be moving wet blood around from one place to another, so I left it and went to bed, very very gingerly. I didn’t want the plaster coming off while I was in bed, with the mess that was likely to follow.

And so as you can imagine, I didn’t have much in the way of sleep last night. I was far too much on tenterhooks.

However I did at one point fall asleep, only to awaken at about 05:00 with an urgent need to go and walk the parapet.

But what was surprising about that was that when I awoke, I was singing Traffic’s JOHN BARLEYCORN MUST DIE to myself for some reason or other.

It’s true that I’ve been playing a lot of “Traffic” just recently but even so THIS TRACK is much more appropriate right now.

Back in bed, I must have fallen asleep again because it was the alarm that awoke me when it rang at 07:00.

Falling out of bed, I switched off the alarm and headed for the bathroom, and once that was all organised and completed I fetched the mop and bucket.

And I’ll tell you another thing for nothing, and that is that it’s not easy trying to mop a floor when you can’t even stand up or walk about.

Nevertheless I did what I could as best as I could and then came in here to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And apart from going for a walk on the parapet, I must have gone nowhere because the dictaphone drew a blank.

However, even though I didn’t dictate anything I have a very vague recollection of something about Llansawel playing their first game after promotion into the Cymru Premier League and being heavily, and embarrassingly, defeated.

The nurse came round to sort out my legs later and was most unimpressed with me using “his” plasters, even though they are supplied on prescription to me. He had the usual moan about it but cheered up when he saw the two boxes that my cleaner had brought back from town the other day.

He wanted to know how my shoulder was doing, so he ripped off the plaster that the cleaner had fitted to my shoulder to stop the bleeding the other night. "That’s healed quite well" he said

Five minutes after he left, the fountain from the shoulder started up again and we were back to where we were earlier this morning. So he’s another plaster short, my apartment is even cleaner and I’m totally fed up.

With all of this performance today I was late for my Welsh class and then I was totally and completely unprepared.

In fact, I’ve been totally and completely unprepared for the rest of the day. The cleaner thinks that I’m looking quite well, so I’ll have a pint of whatever she’s been drinking because I don’t feel it.

In fact, I haven’t even bothered to make any tea tonight. I’m just not in the mood at all.

There was football on the internet later, Gresford Athletic of the Second Division playing Llanrwst from the Third in a pre-season friendly. The match went pretty much as everyone expected, with Gresford running out 5-0 winners, but there were some excellent chances missed at either end.

But one thing is evident, and that it that the gulf between the Premier League and the Second level is enormous, and mybe LLansawel will be on the wrong end of a couple of embarrassing scorelines before the curtain comes down on next season

But right now I’m going to go to bed if I can without bleeding eveywhere. It’s quite important, because there is what is called the “bleeding time”. That’s the time that it takes for blood to clot once it starts to flow.
It’s important to know it when you’re operating on someone, for obvious reasons
Mine of course being so thin, it’s totally different from everyone else’s so while they were discussing my case and comparing notes the surgeon asked the nurse in attendance "what’s the bleeding time?"
"Quarter to ten, doctor" replied the nurse.

Wednesday 3rd July 2024 – "A GENERAL ANAESTHETIC …"

"… for just a few cuts in a couple of veins? Certainly not! You’ll have a local anaesthetic for a half-hour operation like this!" (… and like it!) and there was no arguing with the Beast of the Hôpital de la Baie

Here was a woman who means business – at least, I think that’s what she was meaning. If you think that my accent is bad you want to hear hers. She comes from a Spanish/Portuguese environment I reckon and I could hardly understand a word that she said at times.

A few other times I understood clearly enough. "They have you down for an overnight stay too. Why is that?"
"PLease miss" I felt like saying, "I live on my own". I replied "There’s no-one looking after me."
"Well, don’t you have a friend where you can go? Isn’t there a neighbour who will take you in?"

Well, as it happens, there is a neighbour who will take me in but I’ll be lucky to come out alive. Do you remember the case of Kirk Anderson, the Manacled Mormon who claimed that Joyce McKinney had chained him to her bed and then had her wicked way with him? We’ll be back reliving those events again.

At least, not all of them. And it won’t be a doctor that I’ll need to see. His job is to heal the sick. I’d need the assistance of a medium or a spiritualist to help me raise the dead.

But seriously just for a moment, I was lucky to leave the Beast of the Hôpital de la Baie’s lair alive and I’m having a horrible feeling about this business on the 16th. I’ve mentioned before … "and on several occasions too" – ed … the rather brusque business-like attitude and manner that seems to exist in the hospitals around here.

Never was it more in evidence than today.

Nothing else very much business-like about today unfortunately.

Last night was another late night which was a shame followed once again by being wide awake at 03:15, lying there with streaming nose and eyes and feeling absolutely lousy.

It was at about 06:00 when I gave up the fight and arose from my stinking pit. And when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was already washed, dried and sitting at my desk working.

The nurse was late today. Apparently my neighbour had had a bad fall and when the nurse arrived there she was sprawled al over the floor. He had to pick her up, dust her off and start her all over again.

He’s trying to encourage her to go into a Home for the elderly and infirm and it’s not a bad idea, except for the fact that robbing a person of their autonomy is often sentencing them to death. I know people mean well when they go to, say, take the tops off your yoghurt for you or cut up your meal for you, but it really is humiliating.

On that note, he did what he could to put my neighbour back on her feet and then came down here to see what damage he could do to me.

And as it happens, I didn’t need much from anyone else. I could create enough damage on my own. He sorted out my legs with my puttees and then pointed out the shortage of supplies. Not that it did much good because he was gone before I could take it all in.

After breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone but there was nothing there from the night which was a surprise because there was a lot of stuff that I can’t remember now about the confusing aspects of going to hospital – is it better to take one form of recovery or take another form, what was wrong with each one? How would I return home? How things would be complicated and how things would be managed. That drifted on through some kind of wartime scenario but it was all to do with my ill-health. Unfortunately I can’t really remember all that much of it now which is a shame but I definitely recall being torn desperately in two directions with no clear path to guide me – and there’s a lot of truth in a feeling like that right at the moment. I’m currently being pulled in every direction save that in which I think that I ought to be going.

Today I’ve been working on a new project. One of the greatest live albums ever celebrates its birthday soon and although the album is actually quite short, the whole concert lasted for just over two hours, the event was recorded (well, obviously) in its entirety and I have found, tucked away in a few various recesses here and there, a copy of the recording!

It contains the songs that are well-known from the published work of course, but also plenty of others and loads of interesting and illuminating dialogue between the musicians that has never seen the light of day.

We shall be having a great deal of fun with this broadcast when it hits the air.

There’s also been a cookery master-class going on too. I’ve been teaching everyone in my little travel group to make naan bread, seeing as almost everyone seemed to be planning on making a curry.

My cleaner came and went early today as I had to be ready by 16:00 for the taxi to take me to see the Beast of the Hôpital de la Baie.

We were late arriving, due to problems on the road with all the traffic, however that meant that I didn’t have to wait long.

With the kind of glance that would curdle milk at 100 paces she enticed me into her lair and then the interrogation began. I felt like at any moment the bright light and thumbscrews would be out but eventually she threw me out, satisfied that another helpless victim has been ensnared.

The taxi brought me back here where my loyal cleaner helped me up the stairs, God bless her! Ho nice it was to see a friendly face.

And her help was welcomed too because I’d have never managed the 25 Steps on my own.

On that subject, I might not have to face them for much longer. Although there’s 11 months left on the lease of the tenant in my apartment downstairs, I’ve issued instructions to the letting agents to start proceedings to make sure that the lease isn’t automatically renewed, as most leases are.

Here in France, tenants have a great many rights and things have to be done “by the book” So it’s worth paying someone to do it correctly. But I bet that there’s yet another banana skin somewhere lurking around.

Up here i made tea – a leftover curry with naan bread and it really was delicious. I could eat that all over again. But not right now as I’m off to bed. Next Wednesday will come round soon enough

Talking about anaesthetics however reminds me of the time that Idi Amin went to the dentist’s. The dentist worked out what he needed, laid out all the tools and drills and went to his fridge from which he pulled a hypodermic needle
"What are you doing?" asked a panic-stricken Amin
"There’s no need to worry" said the dentist. "I’m going to give you a local anaesthetic."
So Amin left his chair, picked up the dentist and began to beat him to a pulp.
When he’d finished, he turned to the dentist’s assistant and said "NOT local! American! OK?"

Tuesday 2nd July 2024 – I CAN’T BELIEVE …

… (well, I can actually, because regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it’s always going like this with me) that as well as everything else through which I’m currently suffering and all of the aches and pains that go with it, I’ve now gone down with a severe bout of the ‘flu.

No wonder that I’ve not been feeling too well (relatively speaking) this last couple of days with all of this brewing away inside me, but it erupted last night. I’m now shivering, freezing, I’ve lost my voice, my nose and eyes are streaming and I have aches in places that I didn’t even know that I had places.

That’s a shame because last night even though it was quite late when I went to bed I was feeling something like normal and a lot more optimistic than I had been feeling for a while. So that didn’t last long, did it?

Round about 03:00 I awoke with my streaming nose and eyes. Even a liberal dose of Vick’s Vapour Rub didn’t seem to help all that much so I just lay there vegetating as best as I could, trying to doze off to sleep.

At about 06:00 I abandoned the struggle and took to my feet. I went into the bathroom for a wash and a change of clothes and by the time that the alarm went off at 07:00 I was at the computer working.

Much to my surprise, and yours too, I bet, there was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone. It must have been a very mobile night, that’s all I can say. We were discussing our school days, talking about the game of “tick and it” and how it differed between the way that it was played in France and the UK. It all came down in the end to whether one had had actually earned the confidence of your playmates or not. The discussion carried on for quite a while. There was one guy there who didn’t really have too much to say. One of the people asked him if he was married. He replied “oh I was taken once” and made tat beautiful Gallic gesture of throwing something over his shoulder like “well it’s all in the past – it’s all behind me”. I thought “yes, I can identify with all of that”. The conversation carried on but it was obvious that I could see that I was going to be the one who was “out” in this case. I didn’t seem to fit into the clique that everyone else had been creating.

And that doesn’t surprise me very much. I never learned how to socialise and wouldn’t know how to do it today. I’m much happier in my own company than in a room full of random strangers. Even in childhood, if there was an odd number of us and we had to be paired, I’d always be the one on his own. And it didn’t bother me in the slightest once I became used to the idea. But as for marriages not working, it’s rather too late in the day now to say that I should have worked harder in the right direction. But then again, had I stayed in The Land That Time Forgot, I’d probably still be driving a bus or a taxi, and I would have seen the inside of Shrewsbury Gaol and not as a tourist either. The storm clouds were definitely gathering and they chased me all the way down to Dover.

The computer came up with an error when I was downloading a file. It was a book that I was downloading from ARCHIVE.ORG. The message said that basically a certain extension was required to read it so I had to download that. I downloaded it and it seemed to take for ever. It was an enormous file so I wondered whether or not it was correct – whether I’d been the victim of some kind of phishing attack. I downloaded the program and tried to install it on my computer but while setting it up I came across another kind of discussion where this extension was being discussed so I stopped what I was doing, sat down and began to read the notes on this particular extension. This was where I awoke.

Yes, waking up in the middle of a phishing attack, and actually reading the notes too – that’s a new one for a computer program. Normally, most people just click on the “I Agree” box, mainly because they don’t understand the agreement and don’t have the motivation to read on down to the end. As for instructions, computer programs don’t actually work like that. You think of a function that it would be a good idea to have, you think “surely the program designer has already thought of this” and then you go by trial and error through the menu until you find the function or something that resembles it?

Later on we’d just been repairing and revictualling a Royal Navy battleship. Even though I wasn’t in the Navy I was quite used to giving commands to the crew now that the ship was prepared. I was ordering my assistants around making sure this was right, making sure that was right, going on about how things are going to be changing in the Navy soon. You wouldn’t be able to give orders like this – it would all have to be polite requests. We went on like this for some time, then in the end I said “we might as well have the men lined up” to my assistants so we dashed to the front of the ship and chalked the assembly points on the deck and shouted the ship’s company to assemble and come to attention

Civilians giving orders to matelots would be an interesting concept and I can’t see how that would work, except along the Dock Road in Liverpool during the hours of darkness in the good old days of the “Dockers’ Umbrella”, but that’s another story entirely. However many warships did set out to battle with their civilian repair and maintenance crews on board and a great many lost their lives.

And although I didn’t dictate this, I have a vague feeling of being out at Slochd Summit in charge of a breakdown crew in a heavy snowstorm clearing a track for the trains through the snowdrifts

In the middle of this the nurse turned up. I’d rung him to tell him that I didn’t think that he should come. After all, I don’t want to pass over to his other patients whatever it is that I’ve caught but he didn’t seem too bothered so why should I worry?

He sorted out my legs, gave me today’s Injection of the Last Resort and then cleared off. He had recommended a medication to deal with the ‘flu so I sent a message to my faithful cleaner and then had a slow, leisurely breakfast.

Today has been a very slow day, slower than usual and although I didn’t actually crash out at all, which is surprising, I may as well have done for all the good that I was doing at times. But at least I have achieved my target for today, which was to edit the last lot of notes that I’d dictated and prepare the relevant programme.

The final song has been selected, the text has been written, and all that I need is a nice quite moment to dictate everything. But when that is likely to be, I really have no idea.

The cleaner turned up in mid -afternoon. The pharmacist had warned her off the product that the nurse recommended and anted to know my exact symptoms so I duly obliged. Half an hour later she was back with something that the pharmacist thinks is more suitable.

And who am I to argue?

Tea was a delicious taco roll with rice and veg, and plenty of stuffing left over for a leftover curry tomorrow. That should be delicious.

And in a mad fit of enthusiasm, before going to bed I washed my puttees and rolled up the ones that I’d washed last week so that we can use them from tomorrow;

But going back to life along the Dock Road in the days of the “Dockers Umbrella” I knew a girl who married a sailor. And everyone told her that if he suggested "the other way" she was to flatly refuse.
So for the first few months of wedded bliss things were going fine but this thing about “the other way” was playing on her mind and on her curiosity. And it eventually got the better of her.
"Why don’t we … errrr … try it the other way?" she suggested meekly.
"What?" exclaimed the sailor in astonishment "and fill the house up with screaming kids?"

Monday 1st July 2024 – I’M LATE AGAIN!

At this rate people will be calling me “the late Epic Hall” long before I’ve properly earned the sobriquet by beginning to push up the daisies and manger les pissenlits par les racines as one does around here

Not that that will be all that long in occurring at this rate because we’ve had another awful day when much of it has been spent asleep on my chair.

That’s actually part of the reason why I’m so late tonight. I drifted off into yet another lapse of bewildered unconsciousness round about 19:00 and didn’t snap out of it until almost 20:00 so that made me half an hour late starting tea

And then dropping a full bowl of washing-up water on the floor and having to mop it up accounts for most of the rest.

As you can see, it’s not been a very good day.

It all went wrong a long time before this though;

For a change, I was actually in bed early-ish and wasn’t I looking forward to a really decent sleep, preferably in the company of my three favourite ladies?

And so at about 03:00 I awoke with a thirst that you could photograph and nothing that I did would make the sensation go away.

At about 05:00 I abandoned the fight and went to the kitchen for a long, cool drink of strawberry-flavoured water. No need to tell you what happened half an hour later.

Surprisingly, I did manage to go back to sleep after all of that, until the strident tones of BILLY COTTON shattered my sommeil.

It was a desperate struggle to make it to my feet before the second alarm went off but I staggered off into the bathroom and smartened myself up as best as I could. I even had a shave, although I’m not sure why.

With some time to spare before the nurse came round I made a start on the dictaphone notes. And there were quite a few of them too and I hadn’t finished by the time that he turned up.

It’s the boss again, and he was in a chatty mood too. His son had won that race over the weekend, so I’d been told, so I congratulated him. Anyway, he sorted out my legs and put on my puttees.

After he left I had a nice, leisurely breakfast, taking my time and drinking a raft of coffee. But as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I am living proof that coffee does NOT keep you awake.

Once breakfast was out of the way I had to ring up the taxi company. So far (and I stress the “so far” because it’s liable to change at any moment) I need five and maybe six trips to various hospital and medical appointments

It took a while to make sure that everything was arranged properly and I asked, jokingly, if I ought to buy them another car. The girl replied that they could manage at the moment, but maybe they should think about issuing loyalty cards.

Just wait until one or two of these Paris trips that are simmering on the back burner come to fruition.

It’s not just the nurse’s son for whom congratulations are in order. A little 13 year-old girl whom I know is dancing for the UK at the Dance World Cup in Portugal. She came 11th out of 59 in the individual competition and is part of the UK team that is leading the medals table

So well done Robyn! STRAWBERRY MOOSE sends his congratulations too.

So now I could finish off the dictaphone notes. I went to se the school doctor because I was clearly feeling unwell. The doctor told me to go and lie down for a while, somewhere calm. My group had taken possession of the Spanish galleon thing there I suppose so I’d go and lie down somewhere below the deck level there and it would be a novel way of having my rest but boats from outside were waiting for me afterwards and I couldn’t work out what was going on. It seemed that people were asking me if I were OK but all that I could mutter were yes, things were fine but it didn’t really go out. There were these two girls underneath a kind of bubble In between the ship and their ship with the rest of their crew on it, obviously having created an advance listening post. Suddenly one of them sprung up and came to me to ask me “is there anything the matter?” Is there anything they could do. I had to admit that if that girl standing there and me standing there like that carried on standing there much longer, there would be plenty that she could do, without the shadow of a doubt. I think that she senses that things were not as they seemed and she departed quite rapidly. Meanwhile they were trying to start an aeroplane, presumably to go after this boat. With nothing better to do I went along to help, to see what use I’d be, although I doubted if I’d be of very much use at all. But this aeroplane engine would simply not fire up. We couldn’t understand why that would be the case because everything you need for a possible flight was there. There wasn’t a reason why it suddenly wouldn’t start at all

And I’ll recognise those girls in the bubble again if ever I come across them. They aren’t anyone whom I know but their springing up was so dramatic that they are imprinted on my mind like a photograph

There were all kinds of people hovering around me last night trying to get their hands on my Estate, such as it is, and help themselves to stuff. It became so bad that in the end I employed a minder or bouncer or someone to keep an eye on me and keep an eye on everything to make sure that nothing went missing and everything was accounted for at the appropriate time. Of course it wasn’t very popular at all, this idea, but nevertheless I had to do something to protect my own interests in these cases

And having seen the amount of looting and pillaging of the dead and dying by the nearest and dearest, it’s probably not a bad idea. Marianne told me that when her father died, one of her brothers hadn’t gone to the interment. Instead, he’d gone round to the family shop and removed everything worth removing. Not that it did him much good. I became picked up in this when I met Marianne and early on in our relationship I took her to his house for a confrontation. He wasn’t in but it was a mean terraced house in the roughest part of Seraing, the industrial suburb of Liège, in the immediate shadow of the huge Cockerill steelworks.

When Marianne died in 2013 and I had to take her to her interment, I put all of her valuables such as they were into an envelope and posted them “registered post” back to me. Of course I wasn’t in, so the Post Office hung onto them for a few days while I was dashing about hither and thither. That way, they were safe until I went to collect the package.

There was a pre-season friendly football match taking place somewhere. One of the teams had already replaced its goalkeeper with a trialist and the match was proceeding quite normally. I was asleep and it was the alarm that awoke me but I had the feeling that there was some crisis about to develop in this dream at this particular time.

It’s a shame that I awoke here because this had all the air of being something exciting but, as usual, Billy Cotton came along to interrupt it.

There was some football on the internet too. Gala Fairydean from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders and who play in the Lowland League – effectively the Scottish 5th Division – were playing a game against a “team” of scratch, unattached players from Glasgow putting themselves in the shop window trying to attract some kind of contract with some kind of club.

To my surprise, to Gala Fairydean’s and doubtless to their own surprise, the scratch side ran out 3-1 winners, and I’d sign their n°10 and n°16 in a heartbeat.

The rest of the day, when I’ve not been asleep, has been spend on radio stuff. I’ve edited another lot of notes that I dictated on Saturday night and assembled most of a programme. I’ve chosen the final track and written the notes for dictation when I have a quiet moment that isn’t too late, whenever that might be.

That was my target for today so I was pleased that I’d done it, but I could have done so much more had I not been so tired.

Tea tonight was stuffed pepper which was delicious, and there’s plenty of stuffing left. That will doubtless please those people who tell me that I want stuffing

But that’s something on which to muse while I’m in bed, which is where I’ll be in a very short space of time

It’s a long time since the days when I could sit up for 24 hours and more. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the time I had to drive in Caliburn to the suburbs of Birmingham to pick up a trailer, then up to North Lancashire to pick up a digger and then drive the whole lot down to Central France.

34 hours I was on the road and the only break that I had was the 90 minutes on the ferry. I can’t do that now.

Not so long ago I sat up and watched the earth spin round on its axis for 24 hours, and then I called it a day.

Monday 17th June 2024 – I’M BACK …

… from Paris, and in one piece too which makes a major change.

And I’ve learned a lot too, which also makes a change, but very little of it about what is going on, for the simple reason that I’m not convinced that the hospital knows all that much about things.

Not that that’s any surprise. It’s pretty difficult when you are dealing with a rare illness for which there is no known cure and everything has to be done by trial and error, crossing of fingers, and hoping that something somewhere will work a miracle.

Instead though, I’ve been shown a whole new way through Paris – a way that’s almost totally devoid of traffic – and Ill remember this for if, by any luck, a miracle happens and I can come here again under my own steam. However, I am not optimistic.

Just as last night I wasn’t optimistic about having a good night’s sleep. I never seem to manage one in normal circumstances and there’s even less chance when I have a journey the next day. It’s always the case and I’ve never worked out why.

Going to bed long after midnight doesn’t help matters much, but I’m at the stage where I’m past caring. As I said yesterday, whenever that was, I’ve long-since lost all track of time here.

Whatever the contretemps was last night when I was thinking of going to bed, it was still continuing so I thought that it was probably a better idea to keep well clear rather than sticking my oar into a controversial situation … "perish the thought" – ed … and I left them to it.

For a change I was asleep quite quickly but as usual kept on awakening which put me off my stroke.

There was the 06:15 blitz through the ward and even though I had my alarm set for 07:00 I was awakened unceremoniously at 06:25. Diabetes check below the limit but I was refused my supplementary orange juice. "Your breakfast will be here in a moment".

When I protested I was told to sod off. What a way to start the day!

However, she was right. Breakfast WAS served soon. Too soon in fact because the bread hadn’t arrived and I had to have biscottes.

The taxi driver came early and I wasn’t finished in the bathroom so he had to wait. But when I emerged I was shoved into a wheelchair and pushed off, clutching my crutches and the packed lunch that the nurse handed me.

There was “some issue” about my packed lunch. When it turned up it was ham and cheese sandwiches, absolutely ideal for a vegan I don’t think. And so for the first time ever in my life I have had bread sandwiches – two slices of bread with … a slice of bread in between.

The driver has run me around before. He’s a nice enough guy and a good driver but doesn’t have much to say for himself. Nether did I today so it was a fairly quiet drive and I slept for some of the way.

Astonishingly, we weren’t held up at all anywhere and sailed all the way through. A four-hour trip took just over three hours today.

Even more surprisingly, I was seen straight away by the specialist.

The lumbar puncture and the electric shock examinations from the other week when I was here as an in-patient don’t show any significant deterioration. But they don’t show any significant improvement either, which he found disappointing.

Consequently he’s going to change my chemotherapy tablet, the one that costs a King’s ransom for some other tablet.

There’s also the suspicion – only a suspicion, mind you – that there’s something else causing this creeping paralysis. He reckons that the amount of drugs pumped into me ought to have had a reaction. Consequently he wants to carry out a Biopsy of my nervous system. This will involve the stay of a few days in September.

Well, why not? What do I have to lose? Only my appetite with the food that’s on offer there.

But seriously, if I’m going to be poked and prodded around and used as a guinea-pig, I may as well make it worth my while and go the whole hog.

There was a blood sample that needed to be taken so I staggered off there where they had several goes at finding a vein and, on staggering out, staggered right into my driver who was passing down the corridor.

"Do you want time to eat your lunch?" he asked.
"No thanks" I replied, having seen what was in my food parcel "Let’s go straight back"

So having taken a different way home, at least as far as the suburbs of Paris, we were back here at 16:15 where the nursing staff, sincerely and unprompted, expressed their dismay at my lunch. "The hospital needs to make more of an effort". Someone fetched me an apple, for which I was grateful.

It’s been confirmed that I am going home tomorrow. "You could have gone home tonight but we didn’t want you to go home to a cold apartment and have the effort of cooking for yourself after the exertion of your trip to Paris" said Emilie the cute consultant who came to see me.

And you ought to be proud of me. I actually did refrain from offering her my front-door key and telling her warm up the place and put the supper on the stove.

But she did come to see me to find out how things went and she photographed the relevant info from Paris. She wished me luck on the next stage of my adventure with my health issues and by the time our conversation finished, I wasn’t really sure who was chatting up whom.

Yes, I’d quite happily massage her clavicles any time of the day or night, whether she asks or not.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night. I’d been out entertaining our parents in the RAF station.. When they came back there were three bats entangled in the barbed wire. We tried to laugh it off but in reality what had happened was that a couple of Lancaster trainers had one into the barbed wire too. Two of our students were killed. We tried to laugh it off as some kind of nothing much or not very important but from where we were we gradually prepared ourselves for flying operations and gradually tried to keep in shape etc ready to leave and set off. But we had the funeral and then we had to check the barbed wire in the camp and the guards. The guard was shaken up but I dunno I suppose that was what happened.

That’s rather a garbled account of something that I can’t really understand. The barbed wire from last night seems to be there but I’ve no idea about the rest of it Funerals on Air Force bases were commonplace following crashes and the like when trainees were overwhelmed by the equipment and machines that they ere operating and people who witnesses these accidents went to extraordinary lengths and took extraordinary measures to put the images of what they had seen behind them..

While I was on a field exercise I came across a guy living in a hut in the mountains. He was living in deplorable circumstances but I’ve no idea why. I had him arrested and taken back to base. It turned out that he was in fact someone who had been conscripted years ago but had fled. His whole life had been living in this cabin and he had learned so much in his two years of isolation. He taught it all to us, even down to eating possum Without him, our Air Force careers would have been so much tougher because he taught us to survive, and to survive on next-to-nothing. When we were prisoners that was just how it was – survive on what you had and don’t think about anything else

That reminds me of when I lived down on the farm and at a meeting once I was chatting to two British guys who were discussing “this strange British guy who lives like a hermit up in the mountains and no-one ever sees” and it took me a full fifteen minutes to work out that they were talking about me. I’d fit the description in this dream quite happily except that I’d draw the line at eating possum of course. The “deplorable conditions” would fit nicely though.

So anyway, home tomorrow it is. At least, if I can climb the steps up to my apartment. I’m not optimistic because I’ve been practising and it doesn’t seem to have made any difference.

And that bit about “dealing with a rare illness for which there is no known cure” brought a wry smile to my face. It reminded me of the Summer School for one of my University modules back 20-odd years ago where a group of us on a Science awareness course managed to club our heads together in the laboratory and discovered a cure for which there was no known disease.

Sunday 16th June 2024 – I’VE NOT DONE …

… all that much more today than I did yesterday.

Quite possibly because I was catching up on my sleep from last night. It was another late night, probably the latest of all just recently. As I have said before… "and on many occasions too" – ed … time has gone out of the window in this place.

Hours, days, weeks – I haven’t a clue where I am really and as we know judging by recent events, neither has the hospital. One of these days our two eccentric circles will correspond, only for them to fall apart again.

Tomorrow anyway, we seem to agree on one thing, and that is that I’m going to Paris. However it now seems, judging by a text message that I’ve had that my appointment has been advanced to 11:05 from 12:30.

Clearly, Paris should be joining in this group of eccentric circular timespans because there is no way in this World that I’m going to be there for then. My taxi isn’t picking me up until 08:30 and it’s about a 4-hour drive. I keep on telling them in Paris that with all the best will in the World I can’t respond to last-minute additions or changes, with all of the logistical difficulties that are involved, especially when I only receive the notification on a Sunday when the taxi office is closed.

So it’s going to be 12:30 whether they like it or not, and if it’s too late so they have to cancel, then that’s too bad. With this latest round of hospital treatment here, I obviously have other fish to fry at the moment and we’ll worry about my cancer treatment at another moment.

Anyway, I was having a good read of all of these notes and things last night, completely lost track of time and ended up crawling shamefully into bed long after everyone else and hoping that no-one noticed.

It was pretty much useless though; I don’t know what time it was but it sounds as if they are dismantling a factory outside my bedroom door. I don’t think that I’ve ever heard so much racket inside a hospital as what’s going on at the moment and going to sleep was pretty impossible for quite a while.

But go to sleep I did eventually, hoping for a night like last night but no such luck. We had the 06:15 whirlwind and blitz though our rooms, and the 08:00 diabetes test. 0.79 mine was today, just on the limit for orange juice. The nurse didn’t think it worth it but I wasn’t going to miss out on extra orange juice. Ohh no!

Breakfast was late today which was a shame because I was starving. And the coffee was cold so they must have been held up somewhere which is not a surprise because firstly there’s a new guy on the ward who seems to need a lot of people buzzing around him judging by his tone of voice and secondly, there was much more movement than usual of people in beds coming and going, pushed by the orderlies but having to be positioned and so on by the auxiliaries

After breakfast I had a good scrub and then watched a film – INSPECTOR HORNLEIGH ON HOLIDAY, the second film of the trilogy. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed …. I’ve downloaded a good few of these films onto my laptop for when I’m on my travels and bored in a hotel. I’ll never tire of Gordon Harker

And watch for the young girl at the piano right at the start of the film. She appears in tiny cameo roles in quite a few films of this nature during this period, and I still haven’t worked out why.

The doctor from yesterday came round to see how I was, so I had to pause the film. She seems now to agree that it is in fact Tuesday that I do go home, which is good news, but there’s still plenty of time to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this respect.

More good news is that she weighed me. There are two target weights that I try to reach. The first is my “inactive” weight when I’m not running or keeping fit, and the second is my “active” weight when I am. And the weighing machine tells me that, fully clothed, I’m now below my inactive weight heading for my active weight target.

She of course thinks that it’s this water retention issue sorting itself out but I put it down to the starvation rations in this place.

The Creatine level is stable – at … err … 440. She told me that that was good news but I told her that it would be better news if it were stable at 270 where it was before all of this performance began or even stable at below 100 where it’s supposed to be. What’s this “300 is a critical level” thing all about?

Her reply was that I seem to be coping really well with the limitations and it would have been a different matter entirely had my body not responded to the shock treatment that they gave me when I came in.

After she left I carried on watching my film. Lunch was late too, but for a change I received everything that I was supposed to. Things are definitely looking up in that respect

This afternoon I watched another film, BEHIND GREEN LIGHTS, a cheesy detective thriller from 1946 with William Gargan and Carole Landis who are both actors far too good for this sort of script. Nevertheless, for passing an idle 90 minutes, there have been worse ideas than watching this.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too which was a surprise. Amongst the people taken by surprise by our sudden movement was a certain Frenchman who was standing in the middle of where we pitched our tents shaking his head found by the military police wondering where we’d all gone. Apparently he used to come here every evening for reasons like … and was able to skip past the guards on the perimeter until he made it to the centre of the camp and whoever was billeted here

And then, it seems, I had a very similar dream later on. Similar, but in more detail and our mysterious man’s nationality had changed. Apparently the departure of 131 Squadron for the UK was so rapid that amongst the items left behind on the abandoned airfield in North Africa and recovered by a Recovery Unit was a young, immaculately dressed Italian man. Apparently he had been in the habit every might of climbing the barbed wire perimeter defences totally unobserved so that he could visit his “friend”, for whatever purpose one can only imagine. The departure had been so sudden that the airman hadn’t had the time to communicate the fact, and there was the Italian man, having climbed the barbed wire defences once more, face to face with an Irate Recovery Squad Officer.

For the record, 131 Squadron was a bomber squadron in World War I and a fighter squadron in World War II, yet I was convinced that I was discussing a bomber squadron which makes sense, with all this stuff that I’ve been reading. The squadron never served in North Africa anyway. In World War II it served in England, Wales and India, flying Spitfires and, later, Thunderbolts.

The rest of the day has been spent either working on more radio stuff or else reading more notes. Anything to keep out of mischief.

Tomorrow then, I’m off to Paris. What happens next, we’ll find out when we arrive. Apparently I’ll be given a picnic for midday by the hospital but that will remain to be seen. If the journey goes OK they’ll throw me out of here on Tuesday and I’ll resume the battle with just the Visiting Nurses keeping an eye on me, not that they did that too well just now.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I contracted this cancer back in 2015, the advice that every medical professional in Castle Anthrax gave me was to “save your strength for the struggle that lies ahead” and left me in no doubt that it would be a struggle. So despite all of the setbacks that we have had, the battle will go on.

First, though, I’ll go to see what the fight down the corridor is all about. But not before I mention that the story about Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris and the Australian airman yesterday reminded me of something else. I think that it was Percy Penguin, bless her, who told me about the time that the Queen Mother visited the Home where she worked.
There was one old lady who clearly no longer had both paddles in the water who objected to the fuss being made, and expressed herself in “forthright” terms.
"Don’t you know who I am?" said the Queen Mother indignantly
"No dear" said the old woman "but ask the matron. She’ll tell you"

Sunday 26th May 2024 – I CAN’T GO …

… on like this much longer. I really can’t.

You cannot imagine the amount of pain I’m in from the muscle in my right leg and you cannot imagine the amount of effort even the most simple of everyday tasks is taking me.

Crawling into bed at night is a nightmare and one I’m in I’m stuck in that position and can’t move at all. And then there’s this stabbing pain every so often that starts in the sole of my right foot.

One thing that’s certain is that I’ve had enough of all of this.

Last night I was actually in bed quite early – well before 23:00. And how happy I was about that too. If only I knew what was coming.

It was 04:15 when I awoke in agony and couldn’t find a comfortable position, couldn’t move, couldn’t turn over, couldn’t do anything

Nevertheless I decided to stick it out until the 08:00 alarm but I gave up round about 06:00 and crawled out of bed. So much for the early night and possible lie-in.

After a good wash and clean-up I found another early-bird so Liz and I had a good chat on the internet for quite a while. Liz is also planning on joining the Air Fryer Assembly and was picking my brains, such as I have these days.

Once the nurse had been and gone (and been persuaded to do my blood test on Monday) and I’d had breakfast Liz and I carried on out chat for a while and then I came in here.

At first I didn’t do much except transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night. People who were believed to be British spies or spies for, the UK were being denounced by another spy organisation from the Midlands as unfaithful. The authorities were taking every step within their powers to find these members who were … fell asleep here

That’s no surprise given what I was reading last night. There was something about The Disappeared – the missing victims of the IRA terror squads – and then about a police sting that went wrong in the USA when a County Police Undercover Unit “busted” the Undercover Unit of a neighbouring County

Later on I was rolling through all the history of Billy the Kid during the night. All about the different women with whom he was consorting, about the different stories about his end, the different stories about his grave and so on. I was churning it over in my mind ready to dictate when I would remember something else so I’d start again – and again, and again. And this went on for several hours while I was asleep in the very early morning and I never actually managed to dictate anything about it.

Then I couldn’t do much because I crashed out again, and for a couple of hours too. That’s no surprise given the early start that I’d had.

Lunch was late today as you might expect after all of that. It had taken me a good while to come round into the Land of the Living today – longer than usual in fact, and that’s long enough.

Once lunch had finished I spend the whole afternoon , yes the whole afternoon baking

Right now I have a pile of pizza dough, a whole pile of naan bread dough and I also baked myself a flapjack.

A flapjack with a difference too because while I was hacking some figs about with the food processor I had a few squares of chocolate in there too.

It’ll be intriguing to see what that tastes like, all mixed up with the honey

There would have been biscuits too but I ran out of time, of patience, of energy, of enthusiasm etc.

The pizza dough was delicious and the pizza excellent but I had other preoccupations so that I couldn’t really enjoy it

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’m going to crawl into bed, pains and all, ready for tomorrow and my blood test. And this must be the very first time that I hope that they’ll have found a serious anomaly so that they can do something about it

But it all reminds me of my namesake the Arctic Explorer Charles F Hall in the second half of the 19th Century who lived up to the family tradition by being murdered by his expedition crew.

He was once treated for frostbite “in an embarrassing place” and when he asked why, told his interviewers "the USA’s Admiralty Board told me to stick it out as long as I could, but I must have misunderstood"

Saturday 25th May 2024 – IT SEEMS AS IF …

…this crashing out during the day has become the new norm.

It seems that rather than feeling bad about the days when I do crash out, I’m now celebrating the days when I don’t. And what kind of state is that to be in?

And, more to the point, wouldn’t it be nice to have something to celebrate today instead of having yet another miserable day where I’ve spent either asleep or semi-comatose?

For a change I was in bed early last night despite all the aches and pains. I found it much easier to get into bed even if it was more painful and once under the covers I was soon asleep. For a while it was quite comfortable.

And then a strange thing happened.

It began by me awakening (so I thought) and looking at my watch, to find that it was 06:15 so I curled back up under the quilt.

The next time I awoke it was 06:10. And then 06:30. And then 06:15.

It really was thoroughly confusing.

To make it worse, I couldn’t remember what time the alarm was supposed to ring. So frightened in case it as 06:15 and I’d missed it I raised myself from the dead.

When it did finally go off, I was in mid-wash

The nurse came as usual. She said that she’d rung but I can’t have heard her so she came in here to find me.

We talked about my blood test, she dealt with my feet and legs, and then she cleared off.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone which was a surprise. There was some kind of stately home and the young girl who lived there had an Austin Metropolitan. She nearly ran me down on the way home one night so I thought that I’d call into the hall to see. There was a discussion going on about a woman who liked nude bathing. Someone was desperately trying to divert the discussion saying that she was a member of the British National Outdoor Swimming Federation or whatever it was called and went to these swimming events with her two children every year as part of her membership of this association (which we all knew was nonsense). I couldn’t find the girl so I set out to walk across the road when I was almost run down again by the car. I found it with its rear end sticking out into the street. They were about to work on it so I had a few words with them about it. A local policeman turned up and began to defend them which I thought was completely wrong. He was giving me all kinds of reasons and excuses why and I wasn’t having any of it. It was all turning into a very awkward situation

Beautiful cars, Austin Metropolitans. When I was young there were two dumped on waste land in Wistaston for years. The last time I actually saw one though was IN MAINE IN 2015. They were exported to North America in droves, where they were called Nash Metropolitans

After doing this I was keeping a close eye on the clock thinking “in 10 minutes I can go for my breakfast at 10:00” but all of a sudden it was 11:55 and I’ve no idea regrettably to where that 2 hours disappeared. Ahh well …

This afternoon was pretty much the same – trying to write radio notes in the middle of disappearing half-hours and so on. It doesn’t work, I promise you.

At least tea was nice – baked potato with salad and breaded quorn fillets as usual. Monotonous but tasty.

But something else that is monotonous is bedtime. However I’m thoroughly wasted and a good early night might help. I certainly hope so. And the problem with going to bed early is that it makes the wife put on weight.
Single women come home, see what’s in the fridge and go to bed.
Married women come home, see what’s in the bed and go to the fridge.

Monday 20th May 2024 – YOU’VE PROBABLY ALL …

… read yesterday’s embarrassing blog entry now that it’s on line.

Ohhh!! The shame of it all. I eventually managed to make my way to bed, fully-clothed, at about 02:30 which, seeing as the alarm was set for 07:00 was going to be something of an effort.

Especially as today is another Bank Holiday and usually you wouldn’t see my head poking out from under the covers until about 11:00 I suppose

But all of that was back in the olden days. How times have changed. And not for the better either

When the alarm went off I arose from the dead and went for a wash in the bathroom to clean up

The dining area needed arranging for the nurse too but I arranged it somewhat differently to make it easier for me to stand up. The heights for my arms to push up so that I can stand up have to be calculated pretty precisely .

The nurse noticed a deterioration today. I told him how fed up I was with it all. I need to start laying the foundations for my eventual depart

After he left I came back in here and with an old, pretty full A4 binder and my pillow, managed to raise up the height of the chair so I can sit down with no worries about getting up again. What kind of state am I really in?

At least I was able to write out the blog entry from last night and post it on line.

This afternoon I had a lot of personal stuff to do. And do you remember that issue that reared its ugly head in the UK? The bullet is bitten, the die is cast
"The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it"
and I shall be making one of the greatest expenditures in my life.

In fact, only the purchase of Expo, my second apartment in Brussels and my apartment downstairs here have cost me more, and the sad thing is that I won’t ever see the benefit of it.

Ahh well, such is life I suppose

That left me some time to transcribe last night’s diictaphone notes. And to my surprise, there was something. They were doing some kind of survey into criminal investigations. I’d been leading some kind of group that had a great deal of interest in this. We were comparing various things together to see about them. One year we had a graph that had an abnormal part in it so we looked further into it. That was what they called “The Irish Sex Scandal” when the Irish Government spent so long investigating a case before brining it to court that it was deemed to be – not “Perverting The Court of Justice” but whatever I mean … "defeating the ends of natural justice" – ed … to bring it to Court. The prosecution collapsed accordingly. We began to wonder whether there had been any other UK cases that had collapsed like this because of a want of prosecution. We began to look further into a lot of old cases to make sure that at least the defence had been correctly run and the correct information had been supplied to them for them to decide what to do with it

During the day I’d been crashing out here and there, which is no surprise given the sleep that I hadn’t had. When I was asleep in the morning I was doing something in the countryside. There was a campsite there. I was having a good wash but a couple of people were having a shower. It suddenly occurred to me “why don’t I have a shower instead?”. I gathered up my things and must have gone into twenty cubicles without finding a single cubicle that had everything one would need for a proper shower. There was always something missing. On one occasion I was menaced by a dog but as it approached me I menaced it back and it ran away. Twenty cabins I must have tried and not one of them had all one would need for a shower.

That sounds typical, doesn’t it?

There was still some time to write a few notes for a forthcoming radio programme before going to make my stuffed pepper and I’ll finish it tomorrow. But after my Welsh lesson. I’m going to bed now ready to be fighting fit for tomorrow

And by that, dear reader, I mean “fighting for breath and fit to drop”.

Monday 13th May 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another call at 06:06 – a false alarm

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 12th May 2024 – I’LL BE GLAD …

… when today ends and I can crawl off into the warmth and comfort of my nice little bed.

It’s been a horrible day so far. Just now I couldn’t even find the strength to rise up from my comfy chair to go to take my pizza from the oven. Just how bad is that?

And to think that I was so looking forward to it too. Being for once early in bed I was looking forward to a nice long uninterrupted sleep last night.

But that didn’t happen either. We had two false or phantom alarms during the night and as I said the other day, I’ve no idea what’s happening there.

The second time, after having almost persuaded myself that it was time to leave the bed, was at 06:20. And then I couldn’t go back to sleep. I lay there vegetating until 08:00.

When I did finally stir my stumps as the alarm rang out, I headed for the bathroom where I had a really good wash and a change of clothes. The previous set of clothing walked into the wash basket on its own

The nurse came round later than usual. She sorted out my dressing and puttees but she couldn’t hang around and was soon gone. I had some corn flakes and coffee and then came back in here.

It’s not as if I did much either. I was flat out on my chair for a couple of hours completely involuntarily, and the hallucinations that I had were just like that time in hospital a few months ago.

Once I came back into the Land of the Living I watched Stranraer grub out a 2-2 draw against East Kilbride in the promotion – relegation play-off. It’s a good job that the second leg is in Stranraer because I think that they’ll need rather more than home advantage.

After lunch I transcribed the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few. I was at a football match but a match where every player had to lie on a bed and perform some kind of ritual movement and then would be joining the team but the team was not so good in the goals and there were certain rhythms and routines that the players had to follow based on different lines in a series of books. every now and again someone would reposition these things so you’d change direction and go off again. I was busy trying to kill someone off the game. This was an extremely complicated manoeuvre too because I had to follow certain rules and they were complicated too in doing different things. In the meantime of course the person was trying to kill me. Then we were going to have a small game and I was going to take part in the main game so I was being briefed ready to take my position at the next interchange of players. It was all about playing up and down these steps as they changed function . It looked extremely complicated and on many times I had to confirm it with my notes that I’d taken a while ago which were still with the person with whom I was originally paired. Eventually they told me to stop that and just follow these instructions which completely confused me because I can’t remember all kinds of things like that that they wanted me to do. Then there were all kinds of different rules, regulations and other things. Then there was this guy trying to kill me from this subsidiary game. It was just so complicated.

And isn’t “I can’t remember all kinds of things” the story of my life? I can remember the lyrics of all kinds of obscure rock songs of the 196s but ask me why I’ve just come into the kitchen.

Then I was back in that game again. One of the guys who had started off the game was very seriously hurt, I suppose, and lost all the power in his spear or javelin or something so we were going to have to find someone else who would take over the position and maybe play from there. There was lots more to it too but I’ve forgotten all of that now.

Didn’t I say so? And it’s not my spear or javelin in which I’ve lost power these days

Then yet again I was back in this dream fighting a war. I went to sit down but missed my aim and fell onto the floor but I wasn’t on the floor so I thought that maybe I’d managed to sit up and extricate myself without a great deal of difficulty. Then I suddenly realised that I was actually lying on the bed. That’s not complicated at all to stand up from so I might be able to be lucky and get back into the game quite quickly.

Another phantom alarm tonight at 03:05

The voting formula has changed. It’s where people who were franchised members of a particular party all still voted and their vote was taken into account somehow but now they’ve decided that this can rise up to a million as more and more people stay at home with OCVID rampant. In 2017 the chief of the college came in with a car equipped with its winter tyres. There were already three cars there having their summer tyres fitted but as usual he fought his way to the front of the queue and tried to break in there to be dealt with earlier. The woman at that position was not having any of it despite how much of a period of voting she’s going to learn to lose because of the confrontation

And if you are wondering why my dreams don’t make sense, they are dreams. They don’t have to. In fact you’ll be lucky if anything that I write does.

Did I mention another false alarm at about 06:20 this morning?… "yes you did" – ed

In between all of this I’d taken some pizza dough from the freezer and it had been defrosting. I rolled it out ready to assemble but I was interrupted. One of my neighbours came to see me for a chat which was nice of her

And so, running late yet again, I assembled my pizza and baked it. It was delicious as usual.

So now, at long last, I’m ready for bed, if I can get out of my chair.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, despite how it might seem. The good news is that the new Crewe Bus Station has opened – something that I should have reported a couple of days ago except that my “moles on various committees” have not been getting about as aften as they should and they’ll receive a kick in the nether regions in due course.

The even better news is that the new bus station has public toilets. That means that in due course all the residents of The Land That Time Forgot will have the same opportunity that I did of passing Biology ‘O’ level thanks to the helpful drawings that will doubtless appear on the walls before long.

They had guided tours of the public conveniences on the open day. It cost 2/6d for a visit – or 2/7d if you wanted to see all of it.

But going back to this story about not remembering anything. Two things happen to you when you reach my age. One is that you forget absolutely everything.
"And what’s the second thing?" – ed
I don’t know. I can’t remember.

Saturday 20th April 2024 – THERE’S NOTHING ON …

… the dictaphone from last night to transcribe today.

That’s not actually a surprise, really. Last night, or, rather, this morning, I was still up and about at 02:30. And at 05:00 I was up and about again, after having had probably about 2 hours sleep, if that. And if “sleep” is the correct word to use in these cases.

It really was a bad night.

It’s not strictly true to say that there was nothing to transcribe but I promise you, you really don’t want to know anything about what I could be typing, especially if you are eating your meal right now.

So once I’d finished typing out the notes from last night it was 23:35 and I could feel that it was going to be a late night because once again, I couldn’t find the energy to heave myself up and out of my comfortable chair and into bed.

It’s surprising actually, because it’s probably a distance of not even two feet, but that’s two feet more than I seem to have right now So for a couple of hours I just loitered around not doing very much at all, just stirring a few papers around.

That’s another mystery, if you ask me. I wouldn’t mind being stuck in my chair at the desk if I were actually doing something even remotely useful but I can’t even seem to find the energy for that either. All the things that I need to do and I just can’t seem to do anything.

However I did manage to drag myself off to bed eventually, but not for long. And then I just lay there waiting for the dawn and for the alarm to ring.

And that reminded me – how about switching on the alarm? It’s a good job that I suddenly remembered – and that I was awake.

When they alarm went off I fell out of bed and went off for my medication. I’ve given up with the idea of the blood pressure because what I learnt at the hospital is that
1) my machine is just too inaccurate
2) my blood pressure is up and down anyway
3) no-one has ever told me anything about what use the measurements are and what to do about them

Having arranged the living room I waited for the nurse to come. He didn’t seem to be too interested in the new prescription so I decided not to change anything.

Can you imagine it – sending my faithful cleaner to order a new lot of medication as per Avranches at considerable expense, and then only for Paris to declare it all redundant on Monday.

After he left I came back in here and slowly vegetated. Not much chance of doing anything at all in the state in which I was after just 2 hours of sleep.

However, I had a surprise visitor who disturbed me. A local taxi driver who had heard (from the nurse, apparently) that I go to Paris frequently, and would I be interested in a better, cheaper service?

Well, apart from anything else, the advantage of a company with 50 cars and several ambulances is that if they can’t fit me in, it would be even more unlikely that one man on his own with one car would.

In any case, the current taxi company negotiates directly with the Securité Sociale and is paid direct rather than me paying and claiming reimbursement. So why would I change that?

However, I kept the card that he gave me. It may come in handy for something.

Eventually I warmed up enough to update the big desktop machine with the changed files on the travelling portable only to find that half of the dictaphone files from earlier in the week were missing so I had to transcribe them again

Once I’d finished that I set the washing machine off to do a load of clothes, and didn’t they need it? While they were on the go I had a brief half-hour in the arms of Morpheus. I was surprised that it was only half an hour too.

Tonight I managed a salad, baked potato and a quorn whatsit and now I’m off to bed to catch up with my beauty sleep

I need it too after last night. It’s like the time in 2014 when I was in Rennes les Bains on the trail of the Cathars and stumbled across that Health Spa with its bargain offers.

The mudbath there worked wonders and made me look 10 years younger.

It was such a shame that the mud wore off the next day though.

Tuesday 16th April = I’M IN THE …

… cardiac unit of the regional hospital at Avranches while they try to work out why my blood results have gone so berserk just now.

To say that things are not unfolding as well as I would like is proving to be something of an understatement.

It goes without saying that last night I didn’t have much sleep. These hospital beds such as the one on which I was trying to sleep aren’t actually made for comfort and then of course the surroundings weren’t actually comfortable.

To my great surprise though there was something on the dictaphone so at some point I must have dropped off into the Land of Nod. At one point I was dreaming that I was thirsty so I opened my mouth and grabbed hold of a hose but it was the green house of the car and I think that that was where air came out. I felt so stupid not knowing that the green hose was not water at all but it was something else and I didn’t know it.

When the alarm went off (yes, an alarm. Bane of Britain strikes again!) I was a dispatcher for the US Air Force arranging their planes to go off on bombing missions against the Germans in their big Superfortresses … "actually B-17 Flying Fortresses" – ed … etc. It involved finding crews, preparing the crews for departure, putting them in their aeroplane, making sure that when they took off they knew where their meeting point was, over which beacon etc, generally keeping up with the thousands of changes that would take place during the course of the preparation of the mission

Of course they would actually be Flying Fortresses. It would be extremely rare to say the least to find a Superfortress flying on combat in the European theatre of operations. An expensive aeroplane such as that would have been a luxury when its advantages (super-long range and extremely high altitude) wouldn’t be reached anywhere where it would be required to deliver a bomb-load in Europe. Dollar for dollar, a Flying Fortress could drop many more bombs on Germany.

Of course, dispatching would be nothing new as far as I would be concerned. By air though would be a totally new medium but the principle would be pretty-much the same as by road.

However, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and things developed as I expected. I’ve been here before, once in Verdun and once in Winnipeg and the results were the same.

Luckily, with having expected it, the necessary precautions had been taken and it wasn’t as embarrassing as it might otherwise have been.

Naturally, I refused any food for breakfast while things tried to settle (a forlorn hope) but at least they moved me to a more convenient location, a little side room off the emergency treatment area, where things could evolve in comparative peace.

Nevertheless a few people came to see me, including the duty doctor. She told me at first that they were planning to keep me under observation for 24 hours and then send me home, but when she saw what was going on, she went away for another think.

In the meantime my blood tests came back. Something in my blood that should be less than 100 and I’ve been living with figures in the 260-270 range for the last few years has suddenly shot up to 316 in the period since my last blood test.

Apparently those kinds of figures won’t usually support life and they are quite concerned. Consequently an ambulance pulled up and I was bundled on a stretcher and stuck in the back.

So here I am at Avranches, 30 kilometres down the road where there’s a regional hospital.

Strangely enough, this was where it all started in March last year when the neurologist sent me here for tests and they couldn’t find the problem – hence my visits to Paris.

The hospital is an old monastery by the looks of things at the front, but there’s a whole huge new extension built on the back and it’s really quite nice and modern. The rooms are small but it’s not as if I need much

So here I am, being cared for and cossetted by a group of nurses. Actually, for the most part they are quite brusque and business-like which differs from most of the nurses in Paris who are much more patient-orientated, but I suppose that they have much more work to do and can’t find the time to be as sociable

While I was asleep at some point during the afternoon there was a dream about a lorry driver who was saying something about how easy it was to set himself up in business. He had a tanker lorry but I remember him having an old “D”-registered ex-RAF tanker before that one. He had several trailers that ere quite substantial trailers and I was saying that he didn’t pick these up for peanuts, and by the looks of things were specially-made. It was quite obvious to me that yes, you can set yourself up in business but you need to have the kind of capital to ba able to do that kind of thing. That’s not just available to everyone at all

And that reminds me of someone I know who lives in the countryside a few miles south of Nantwich, who made a fortune simply by being willing to go crawling and climbing where other people dared not go

The food here is the usual hospital rubbish, I have to say, so it’s a good job that I’m not feeling in the mood to eat anything right no, which is just as well.

And so I’m going to try to sleep – a forlorn hope, I reckon. I’m feeling a little better, but not that much.

I’ve set the bed fairly high so it’s easier for me to get out and in without any help (something that will be quite important as the night develops) but they aren’t happy about it and keep on trying to lower it. I’m winning the fight at the moment but things will almost inevitably change as the night goes on.

It’s “visions of Bernard Bresslaw” in CARRY ON DOCTOR hobbling around with his leg in plaster
"What’s the matter with you?" asked Frankie Howerd
"Appendicitis" said Bresslaw
"So why the plaster on the leg?"
"I fell off the operating table"

Tuesday 9th April 2024 – I’M NOT HAVING …

… a very good day today.

It seems that all of the fates have conspired against me. In particular, the stabbing pain in the sole of my right foot. I thought that it had disappeared after it was conspicuous by its absence during the night and during this morning.

But now it’s back, and in spades too. It’s like an electric shock all the way up my right leg that starts in the sole of the foot, and it occurs every 15 minutes or so. The pain at times is unbearable.

As well as that, there’s a continual tingling coming from the sole of the foot now as if there’s a low-voltage electric shock going on. I hate to think what might happen if it increases in intensity.

It had all died down towards the end of last night and for once in my life I was actually in bed at a realistic hour last night too so that I was able to take full advantage.

Not that I did though because not long after going to bed I pulled a muscle in one of my legs and it took an age to untangle myself

Somehow in all of the confusion the plaster over this weeping oedema on my right foot became detached and that was causing me all kinds of agony too. That really was painful.

And so I limped through to about 07:00 when the alarm went off this morning. And when the alarm went off I was editing two tracks of a girl who had been singing two songs belonging to Yes. I was doing them, preparing them for broadcast but I can’t remember their names now but I certainly did while I was doing it.

That’s just typical, isn’t it? Those names are on the tip of my tongue and I’ve been trying all day to recall them, but with no success.

First job of course was to take the blood pressure – 16.3/9.5, which doesn’t compare very well with last night’s 15.4/9.8. I wonder what went on to wind me up during the night. I suppose that we’ll find out very soon.

Next job however was to to and take my medication. Shovel all of that lot down and see how I get on.

Then to organise the room how the nurse likes it, ready for her visit. It’s Isabelle starting from today for the next seven days. She was impressed that the room was nicely laid out and that we had all the supplies we needed, but she was not so impressed with this weeping oedema.

It’s blistered over and so she “popped” the blister, and you can imagine just how that felt, and that was before she put some disinfectant on it

Once she’d gone I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was going to bed last night and I still had to think about who I was going to be dreaming about when I stretched and pulled a muscle in my left calf. It took ages for me to calm it down and put it back to how it ought to be, and by that time I was wide-awake and had completely forgotten all of how this dream had started off. It was to do with me going to bed anyway and making plans to dream but that’s everything that I can remember.

And that certainly was painful too. And what with every other pain in my body right now it was really something that I didn’t need.

Later on I was doing my Welsh homework and came to a frightful tangle and mess about it because the “copy and paste” seemed to be pasting the answers in in all kinds of strange positions. One of the things that I had to say was that the station of Y Pobl and another station were the two least-used stations of the railway network but I just couldn’t get the words out of my head. I was surprised that I remembered the word for “least” – leiaf but I just couldn’t seem to get the rest to come out in the correct order and was being really confused by it all.

And then I was making my breakfast at work. I had my little toaster there toasting my bread and my little gas stove that I was using to heat a kettle of water for my coffee. When I turned my back to fetch my margarine from the fridge someone else took my kettle off and put his saucepan on top to boil his water. Of course I was absolutely furious but this guy thought that it was quite a normal thing to do, to just use anyone else’s gas to make himself a coffee rather than buy a little stove of his own. He was extremely indignant when I told him off. And I was still being all confused with my Welsh homework too even then.

But it’s interesting about this recurring dream. Slipping back into the same dream after I’ve already dictated some notes is not something that happens very often. And it’s really a shame that I can’t choose the dreams into which I want to slip back.

And that reminds me – TOTGA, Castor and Zero haven’t been around for a while. I could do with them making a dramatic reappearance.

After the dictaphone notes I began to prepare for the Welsh lesson and was so enthralled by what I was doing that I lost track of time.

And it’s a shame that my enthusiasm didn’t carry over into the lesson. The lesson ended up being rather like the curate’s egg – “good and bad in parts”.

After the lesson I had the lunchtime fruit, collected the shopping that my cleaner had found for me in LeClerc, and then … errr … crashed out. And that’s no surprise as I had been fighting off wave after wave of sleep during my lesson.

The hospital awoke me with a phone call, but I don’t know what they wanted to say as I missed the call, and then the Auvergnats arrived. They’d been spying out the lie of the land and had been for lunch, followed by a walk and a coffee before coming here.

We put the world to rights for ages, and then they wandered off and I … errr … crashed out again.

Tea was a delicious taco roll again, with enough stuffing left over to make a start on a decent vegan curry tomorrow, but now I’m going to go to bed early if I can, and if these pains will let me.

They are hurting so much, and I have no idea why but I really am fed up of all of this. Maybe lying horizontally will stop the stabbing pain, but then I have all of the others including the likelihood of a pulled muscle, with which to contend

It’s like the man who went to the hospital for a consultation
"What’s the matter with you then?" asked the doctor
"I have this severe pain in my right leg" replied the man
After having given him a thorough examination the doctor replied "I’m going to amputate your left foot, your left arm and remove your left kidney"
"Will that stop my right leg hurting then?" asked the patient
"Not at all" replied the doctor "but you’ll be in that much pain from the other things that you just won’t notice it any more"

Saturday 6th April 2024 – TODAY WAS ONE …

… of the worst days that I have had for quite a while.

In fact, it’s a day that harks back to the bad old days of winter 2015-16 when I was struggling to come to terms with this illness, or over the summer of 2015 when I’d moved to live in Leuven

It’s a combination of two factors really.
Firstly those stabbing pains that I have nin the sole of the foot returned yesterday and gradually worsened as the day wore on and accelerated through the night.
Secondly I was wide-awake at about 04:30 and there was no hope whatever of going back to sleep.

It totally beats me as to what would have awaken me, and awoken me to such an extent that I couldn’t go back to sleep, even at that time. It must be something quite considerable and important, so I’m surprised that I don’t know what it is.

What I was going to say was that I didn’t have a clue, but I doubt whether there would be many people who would disagree with that diagnosis.

And as it happens, I do have a clue about what time I went to bed last night, and it was late yet again, which is even more surprising considering how early I awoke.

But doing all this paperwork and making all these notes really does take its time and I’m surprised that I’m ever ready to go to bed.

So having settled down to go to sleep I was soon awake again, drifting into alternate fits of wakefulness and sleepiness, but always being awake nevertheless.

And that didn’t stop my imagination working because even though I was in this semi-wakefulness I was still off on my travels.

When the alarm went off at 07:00 I’d already been up and about for 15 minutes and was on the point of finishing dressing and going for a wash.

Not before checking the blood pressure though. 16.1/9.9, which compares with last night’s figure of 16.4/10.1 – pretty much the same by the looks of things.

After shovelling down the piles of medication I arranged the room for the nurse and then tidied up the knives and forks etc from the previous evening. If I’m having house guests, which looks pretty much like it in the near future, I need to learn some new habits.

Rather like the man in church praying to God – "Oh God give me patience! And hurry!"

When the nurse came round he plastered me up again but said that this will be the last of them as the foot has healed so well.

As it happens, I think that the foot has certainly healed but not as well as he thinks. Still, he’s the nurse, I’m not.

After he left I made a start on the dictaphone notes from the night and from the morning when I was half-awake. And apart from what seems to be the usual fact these days of getting up, getting dressed and ready to leave the bed but only in my subconscious mind (as far as I know), also later on there was a phantom doorbell to say that the nurse had arrived. That was at 03:00 and so it was extremely unlikely, but nevertheless I found myself getting out of bed for that as well. I’ve no idea what’s going on with me at the moment. This is crazy.

What this next dream was about was a woman who was visiting the doctor’s for some reason. He gave her an examination . Then someone like Ingrid came along. Because she was more ill he gave her the more profound examination and had to make sure that she was supported by enough orderlies but she could withstand the pressure that he was going to apply. It was all to do with rolling balls Up and down the body to find weak points. Obviously he’d roll them quite hard and then feel the resistance, to see where the body was in need of reinforcement

And before anyone says anything about it, I shall say myself that that particular dream sounds like a right load of balls. It’s an interesting concept though and I bet that there’s plenty of mileage in an idea like that if I were to take it to some of the more obscure clubs in Soho

In fact I could probably make a small fortune from clubs like that for the rights to the unexpurgated version of this blog

And then while I was lying there half-asleep Nerina and I were at a port somewhere on our way to cross the Channel to go to a party at a friend’s house. We didn’t have any preparations at all – we didn’t have a GPS to find out where it was, we didn’t have any accommodation booked for Nerina or anything like that. We were going to simply improvise and make it all up on the spot. So we boarded the ferry and I went to look out of the window but they were all misty and steamy so I asked the purser if he had any car windscreen wipers. He chuntered but had a really good search, chuntering all the time. Eventually he came up with a pair and handed them to me, which I thought was nice. I could sit down then and look out of the window to admire the shipping like I usually do.

And this brings back many happy memories of me being invited to a party and setting out to go there, and suddenly realising that I had no idea of the address or where the person lived. I drove around in circles for quite a while before in the end I gave up and went home.

As Kenneth Williams once so famously said, "I’m often taken aback by my own brilliance". It’s the kind of thing that only I can do.

Meanwhile back at the ran … errr … bed, this thing about Normandy involved the Normandy group on Social Network. In the end we’d sacked all of our advisers and dealt with everything on a question and answer basis amongst ourselves. That even included the vets. Everything there on the group seemed to be going much better since we no longer had advisers and people were resolving their own problems like this

In my case though I’ve simply sacked my Social Network. It’s becoming less and less of a Social Network and more and more a vehicle for adverts and publicity. If I wanted to see “sponsored links” and “suggested for you” articles I’d look for them. I don’t want them thrust into my face at the expense of stuff that I want to see.

So I went for my coffee and cheese on toast for breakfast and despite two really strong mugs full of coffee I crashed out quite completely and absolutely, and for a good couple of hours too.

And Nerina came to visit me again, but it wasn’t a very pleasant meeting so I’m not going to transcribe the notes. With all of these problems I’ve been told to do all that I can to avoid unpleasantness.

In fact, this illness has made a whole new person of me.

What I can say about it though was that the dream was building up to a ‘phone call, and sure enough, I had one too, and a real one. It was the delivery man with the rest of my Amazon order.

This afternoon, I really felt like death. It was the worst that I have felt for quite some considerable time.

Margaret Thatcher once famously said something like "anyone can do a good day’s work when they want to. To be successful, you have to do a good day’s work when you don’t want to" and I’ve ploughed nevertheless through some radio notes and a pile of Welsh homework when all that I wanted to do was to go back to sleep.

There was football on the Internet later, Aberystwyth v Penybont. Penybont are far too good a team to be involved in a relegation scrap where they are right now, but Aberystwyth are down near the bottom for a good reason.

And that was how it went on. Aberystwyth started well and had a couple of chances but faded quite quickly and Penybont took control.

A 3-0 win was probably about right but Aberystwyth will rue the errors that they made. However it’s not easy playing football in a monsoon like they had this afternoon during the game.

Tea was baked potato and salad with one of the delicious breaded quorn fillets that I like, and that’s it for the day. I’m off to bed, with an alarm for tomorrow as the nurse will be round.

And tomorrow afternoon I have biscuits to make as I have now run out of supplies.

But before I go, talking about obscure clubs in Soho and unexpurgated versions of writings reminds me of a former girlfriend who worked at the local library on Saturdays and who has featured on these pages on more than just a few occasions.
She was asked to order a pile of books so she was going through the list, and one title caught her eye
"What’s this book here?" she asked
"It’s called ‘Ferry across the River Kwai’" explained her supervisor
"But is that title right?" she asked. "I’m sure that it should be called something else"
"It’s all right" said the supervisor. "Don’t worry. It’s simply the unabridged version of the story"