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Saturday 17th February 2024 – I DON’T THINK …

… that i’ll be sleeping too much tonight, given the amount of sleeping that I have done today.

There have been at least two occasions when I’ve been stark out of it today. I really don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

It’s not as if I was in bed all that late last night. Later than some, it’s true but not so late as to work about it. And then I had a relatively peaceful night.

The alarm went off at 06:40 and I thought “that can’t be right”. I must have dreamed the alarm yet again. Not that I could go back to sleep even though I was in the middle of an interesting dream. Instead I just lay there half-awake, half asleep until 07:00.

And how I didn’t want to leave the bed at that moment but nevertheless I forced myself out of bed and took the blood pressure. Last night was 17.8/10.3 but this morning’s was 16.0/9.6. I suppose that that’s a slight improvement over how it has been. It’ll be interesting to see what it’ll be like in a few weeks.

Next stop was the medication. And I had to sort out some of the stuff that the cleaner had brought for me. There’s tons of it and I feel so sorry for the cleaner who has to haul it all back for me.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There were three of us, two guys and a girl called Deakin or Deacon. We’d somehow gone behind enemy lines and infiltrated into this person’s body. We’d eventually been caught but had managed to make our escape and pass down the bloodstream of thi person and eventually find our way out through the eyes. But then we had to go back in to look for this Deakin girl because we couldn’t find her anywhere. We eventually came across her and managed to bring her back to the area behind the eyes but had to wait for the correct moment to try to come through onto the other side but there was some kind of machine gun battle going on on the outside of this human being so we had to wait for the best moment there too

There was something about two girls who had been appointed to become Prime Minister and lead the country. This had happened after the present Prime Minister had resigned. These girls tried to do a couple of things but it didn’t work so in the end they resigned. It meant a whole overhaul of Government and Civil Service and almost everything had to be undergone before these girls would take power again. This brought a whole raft of changes everywhere that many people found difficult to understand

Later on, whoever was Prime Minister of the UK had been making a big mess of things for a while and had resigned. Someone else had taken over and things were not going too well at all. The Far Right organisations were slowly rebuilding. All of a sudden this guy abandoned power. There was a huge power vacuum as people tried to jostle to fill it. Government was being done by decree because there was no-one in the Palace of Westminster. The Far Right made a sudden surge so people started to move out of certain areas where the Far Right was likely to take control. This led to a mass exodus of population around the UK as people were going to different rural places. The future was looking really totally bleak. The only mainly civil, normal people had lost control and there were very few of them left standing for election at the end of all of this. It looked as if the UK was heading for total disaster

Choosing a couple of girls at random to run the country sounds like a much better way of doing it than the way they have gone about things in the UK and the USA over the last 8 years or so when you look at some of the people who have been chosen over that period by their peers. You have the feeling that what has happened in those countries over that period, and one day they are going to wake up and say “April Fools” and return to normality.

Back in PREVIOUS YEARS when Dennis says to King Arthur STRANGE WOMEN LYING IN PONDS, DISTRIBUTING SWORDS IS NO BASIS FOR A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, I wonder what he would have said after he had seen the election to power of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Thick Lizzy?

The Far Right has certainly risen to the top these days in the UK, the USA and Russia and these countries are all the same. I’m hoping that we don’t end up with a Far-Right Government here.

If you ask me, I blame the left wing myself. As soon as a Government is elected they begin to attack it. It never proposes any other solution though but simply sows the seeds of discontentment. And then along comes the Far Right with a “solution” and job done

The Far Left doesn’t realise just how much it’s been infiltrated and being manipulated by the Far Right, but it’s been the case for over 100 years and they still can’t see it.

When the “alarm went off” there was also something about a female footballer who was putting up some outstanding performances, so much so that one or two people were wondering whether “she” was actually a “he”. The President of one Football Association called for an investigation and threatened that next time he encountered her, he would strip her to verify his beliefs. She then published a notice warning people that in any attempt to remove her clothing by anyone else, she would not be responsible for the violence that followed. The other girls too made similar declarations and they began to prepare for a confrontation. This started a similar movement among some members of the crowd too.

Not that I’m a big fan of women’s football, I’ve seen a few women players who would be quite at home in the Premier League. I hadn’t seen a women’s game for years and then I STUMBLED BY ACCIDENT ON A GIRL’S GAME at that High School in Burlington when I was in Vermont and was totally taken aback by how standards had improved.

And they’ve improved considerably since.

There were several radio notes that needed completing and so for the rest of the morning I completed tham. So that’s another one all ready to be dictated tonight. There’s quite a pile of them building up now, dictated but not edited and completed, but that will give me something to do, I suppose, during my week in hospital at the end of April.

And it’s a good job that I completed them this morning because I crashed out completely and definitively round about lunchtime. I’d done a few tidying up bits and pieces, put a few things away, had a really good wash and change of clothes, and that, dear reader, was that. I came in here, sat down and wad gone completely.

The football had already started when I awoke but it was on a recorded stream so it was just a case of going back to the start of the recording.

Y Bala of the Premier League against Mynydd Y Fflint in the North-West Ardal League, or 3rd Division North-West (even though Mynydd y Fflint is actually Halkin, on Deeside in North-East Wales.

The result of a match like this is pretty much a foregone conclusion, although Mynydd y Fflint have four players with Premier League experience, centre-back Aaron Simpson and three players who I would pick for any side in the Premier League today – keeper John Danby, winger Rob Hughes and striker Mike Hayes.

Rob Hughes is the mercurial type with that little touch of magic that can turn a game in an instant and he showed some beautiful touches today. But his problem always has been his self-control and managers have a hard time keeping him on the pitch for 90 minutes.

And so it proved today. I don’t know what he said to the referee after 60 minutes but it was worth a red card.

Not that it really mattered though. They were already 2-0 down and ended up conceding another later in the game. However, they did have their moments. They hit the woodwork once or twice and had another shot cleared off the line.

When the game was over I prepared a quick buffet of home-made hummus, some crackers, olives and pickles as my neighbour was coming round to see me.

As well as finding out how we were doing, she had a few suggestions that might help me and she told me something that she had learned about my apartment downstairs.

Once she left I came back in here and would you believe it, I crashed out again

However, I awoke in time for tea – baked potatoes with salad and breaded quorn fillets. I do love those and I hope that I can keep on getting them.

So now I’m going to loiter around until later at night when hopefully everyone has gone to bed and I can dictate my radio notes. And then add them to the pile that need editing. Frederick the Great once said "we are made for action, and activity is the sovereign remedy for all physical ills"

However he said that 200 or so years before I was born. I prefer the counsel of Matt Dillon’s girlfriend in “Gunsmoke” – "Sunday is the one day of the week a man can get up at noon and sit around with his boots off without anybody hollering at him about it"

That’s much more in my line of country.

Wednesday 14th February 2024 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

… I’ll be back in Paris at the end of April, despite what I said yesterday.

There’s a heart test already arranged for 24th April, so the doctor said “we’ll make it a stay for a few days and run a pile of tests on you”. Ahh well, can’t be helped, I suppose

All that way there and back and I was only with him for about 15 minutes, and even then he spent much of the time being interrupted on the phone by other people.

At least, it’s good practice, I suppose. Especially for me having to organise myself ready to travel.

Having had a good wash yesterday I still had plenty of things to do before I could go to bed so it was rather late when I finally crawled under my covers.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then to take my blood pressure. A mere 16.6/9.5 this morning – quite a change from the 18:8/10.9 of the night before.

Once I was up I dressed and then went to make my sandwiches for lunch – nice thick slices of home-made bread that had been stored in the freezer and left to defrost overnight, and filled with cheese, hummus, lettuce and tomato with garlic mayonnaise.

The taxi driver was someone who had run me round to the Centre de Re-education once so I knew her. We had a very interesting chat during which I learnt that she is on good terms with one of the guys off the radio. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" … – ed, the World is becoming far too small for my liking.

She’s not been taxi-driving long so she didn’t know the way very well, but I helped as well as I could and we arrived at the reception desk bang on time. And then I was called for the interview.

When I’d been there last time his office was right at the far end of the corridor and round the corner so I went to sit there. Today, his office was right next to the reception desk so he had to come to find me.
"Walk this way" he said, beckoning me in his direction
"If I could walk that way" I thought to myself "I wouldn’t be in this flaming hospital having this blasted treatment in the first place"

He went through all of my results with me, and everything seems to be an improvement (that’s not how it looks to me, but never mind) so he’s pleased with the progress of his cocktail of medication.

He thinks that an in-depth examination will be called for after a few weeks, and so he reckons transforming this day visit into a hospitalisation for several days.

One of the things that he suggested was another lumbar puncture – and I went cold at the thought.

As for all of my detailed and comprehensive notes about my blood pressure, he scarcely gave them a glance. So much for those then, I suppose.

Finding a nice quiet corner I ate my butties, went for a visit down the corridor and then found my taxi driver, and we set off for home.

Shame as it is to say it, I slept almost all of the way back and I’ve no idea why. But both the outward and the return journey were the most trouble-free that I have ever had. The traffic was slow-moving on the Prif but we weren’t ever held up, either on the outward or the return journey.

My cleaner was waiting for me when we arrived. She’d volunteered to help me up the stairs but strangely, I didn’t need it today. I could climb up all 25 steps without any help. So maybe there really IS progress after all. I must admit that last night, for the first time since my bad fall, I’d felt well enough to restart my musculation process with my elastic strap around my legs.

Back in the apartment I made myself a nice mug of boiling hot chocolate and then came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were tons of them. No wonder I was tired. I’d travelled miles during the night.

We were managing a rock group last night. The drummer in this group was only very young but was a prodigy, extremely good at his job so one of the other teams in the league decided that they wanted to sign him. I said that he’d only go if they made a ridiculous offer and we had another drummer to replace him. My team in the transfer window arranged a few more transfers in, a defender, an attacker and one player whom I didn’t know. I didn’t recognise his name so I wondered where he came from and what he did, thinking that he might be a replacement drummer to replace the one whom we were about to lose but it wasn’t. In fact he was another outfield player. So I explained to the club that it doesn’t matter how much money they offer, they can offer as much as you like but if he’s still under contract with us and we don’t have a replacement then he can’t leave for another club.

And that really does make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Mr Teale, our geography teacher at school was telling our class about the Midwest USA. He was talking briefly about the Oregon and California Trail that they took. So when he finished I told him about the time that I’d visited there and seen it. I had my photos that I showed everyone. I mentioned the big baskets at the top of the hill where the descent into California starts, where back in the past they went through and found all old bits of wood lying along the trail. They picked them up and stuck them in this basket. It’s extremely likely that much of the wood in there comes from these crashed Pioneer wagons that failed to make the descent correctly and came to grief somewhere along there on towards the end of the trail on this downhill slope

Regular readers of this rubbish in another format will recall that we have spent a considerable time on the Oregon and California Trail. in 2002 I went to see the famous trail ruts and Register Cliff IN GUERNSEY, WYOMINGand then went back there IN 2019, and one day I’ll finish editing the … gulp! … 6,000 photos from my famous trip

Then I put some knock-out drops into the air when our Geography teacher and one of the other teachers were talking about the summit of the Oregon and California Trail. I’d been there of course and knew all about it but it seemed appropriate for the class to have a break and go to sleep so that the rest of the room could occupy ourselves for a bit

As for the summit of the trail, it’s not easy to know what is meant by it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been TO SOUTH PASS which is the watershed, where rivers to the east drain either into the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, and to the west where rivers drain into the Pacific, so I suppose that that might be described as the summit.

However you’ll never lose a wagon down the descent there. Edwin Bryant, in his book WHAT I SAW IN CALIFORNIA described the slope either side as being so gentle that you’d hardly know that it was there, and that was my opinion too.

I also started later on talking about my Will, where I was going to leave money and to who. Actually finding it is a bit of a struggle but it was above the treeline on the route that these Oregon Trails took. But I found it sure enough and opened it to read. It’s different from the one that I have at home. My property will just be left to my heritee whoever that will be, with no mention of sorting it out amongst the people who ought to benefit so I hope that other people will understand, if they find this document, exactly what I want to do. I’ll have other ideas but I probably won’t get them down

That’s something that I really need to do – to write my will. It will be pretty straightforward and simple, and won’t take long. But that won’t be the end of the story because there will be a lot of work to be done in its respect and also in the respect of carrying out my wishes.

Apart from a few bits and pieces, it’s all going to be dropped into the lap of one person, and that person will certainly earn their share of the inheritance at the end of it. Mind you, they’ll deserve it

So who will that person be? The answer is that even though there’s a lot of ground between us, there’s really only one person honest and reliable enough in my entourage upon whom I could in theory rely.

And if that person doesn’t carry out my wishes? Well, there’s not much I can do about it, except to come back and haunt them, rather like the two gay ghosts who really gave each other the willies one night.

But that reminds me of Liz (not “this Liz” but “that Liz” who died in 2009) going in for a serious operation, and writing down a list of names
"Is this the list of people you want us to tell how it went, mum?" asked Kathryn?
"No, dear" replied Liz. "This is the list of people whom I’m going to come back and haunt if it all goes wrong".

Liz would have known about all of this, though. Having served on many University committees she’s had plenty of experience of holding hands sitting around a table and trying to contact the living.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed – as I said … "when?" – ed … but didn’t record, the people making this programme … "which programme?" – ed … presented her … "who?" – ed … with a teddy bear afterwards as a kind of memento of a trip that she’d made. Of course no-one from that voyage is with us these days except of course the teddy bear. That’s the only survivor of that first 1840s voyage across from East to West

That looks like an awful mess, doesn’t it? It looks as if it’s related to the Oregon and California Trail, but what’s the rest of it all about?

And then I was back at my little house in Winsford as well last night, wondering how things would have been if I’d actually stayed in Winsford and not taken the opportunity to move to Gainsborough Road in Crewe.

That’s a really good question. I quite liked my little house in Winsford but for some reason I felt really uncomfortable there.

Nevertheless, even though it was a Barratt House, I won’t ever hear a bad word against them as they helped me onto the property ladder. I went in three years from living in a van to owning (with a mortgage of course) a brand-new semi-detached house and I wouldn’t ever have done it without them.

While I was writing out my dictaphone notes I fell asleep again. It’s one of those days, I reckon, so in the end I went and made my leftover curry. It was delicious and the naan bread was cooked to absolute perfection. I’d eat all of this again and again if I could.

But now I’m off to bed. And I go, as Joachim du Bellay said, "heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage" “happy is he who like Ulysses has had a good journey”.

What I’ll be hoping is for more pleasant dreams like I used to have when TOTGA, Castor and Zero used to come to see me. It’s all very well giving me medication that has a side-effect of blanking them all out but as Tennessee Williams said, "If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels"

Sunday 11th February 2024 – MY VEGAN SAUSAGE …

… rolls are not quite the success that I was expecting.

Either the sausage filling has expanded during cooking or the pastry that I used has shrunk, but they have come apart where I thought that I’d joined the pastry, so there’s a slit up the middle

But we live and learn, hey? Rome wasn’t built in a day. I shall just have to have more practice with this rolled-up puff pastry stuff.

While we’re on the subject of thinking … "well, one of us is" – ed … I had plenty of time to think while I was in bed last night.

It might have been 02:00 when I finally staggered off to bed but when I opened my eyes this morning and looked at my fitbit the time was 11:42. That’s much more like a respectable time to awaken on a Sunday

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I’ll get up at any time you like six days per week without a problem (well, in principle anyway) but on Sunday don’t call or message me on a Sunday unless …

  1. … the building is on fire
  2. … the fire brigade is in the building trying to fight the flames
  3. … and the firefighters have given up all hope

So 11:32 was when I opened my eyes. That is of course not to say that 11:32 was the time that I left the warmth and comfort of my bed.

When I did raise myself from the dead I took my blood pressure. 17.8/9.9, a little less than last night’s 18.9/11.2. The hospital asked me to collect all these readings but no-one has told me what to do with them.

After the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. The game of rugby was invented in the late 19th Century and what we know about everything of the game dates from 1915 when they abolished the machines that surveyed the touchlines as humans did it, on the grounds that when there was a human call that differed from that of the machine it sounded as if the integrity of the sport was all wrong. Of course not everyone had a machine * it was only a few clubs so it was why these differences in calling in just a few clubs was quite different between the males and the machines on several occasions

And I’ve no idea at all what that’s all about

Later on I was out somewhere. I’d had a lot of money given to me as a discount for something. It was exactly the same price as a large teddy bear so I had the large teddy bear instead. I carried it around with me for a short while. Then I had to go off to do something else so I put the teddy bear in the common room by the entry into my daughter’s school – my daughter might have been Roxanne. Later on my partner and I had to go to pick up Roxanne from school. When we did I told her that she had this new friend. When I explained that it was too large to bring home we’d have to bring it home another time. I explained to her where it was. She asked his name but my mind went a total blank. I’d given it a name when I’d bought it but I just couldn’t think of it at the time of this dream.

It goes without saying that STRAWBERRY MOOSE can see himself in part of this, but no-one who has seen Sid James and Peter Butterworth in CARRY ON UP THE KHYBER won’t eve rforget his name.

Finally, we’d been to Munich and ended up staying in a hotel – one of these hotels where the staff is extremely superior etc. I found the hotel to be quite reasonable and didn’t have an objection to coming back here again but one of my friends didn’t like it at all. I couldn’t understand why. When we were cleaning the rooms ready to leave we came across all kinds of things like envelopes, photography paper etc in a kind of welcome package that made the deal even better but one of my friends said that he wouldn’t stay in this hotel even if they gave him a printer that he could sell to have his money back. I was really puzzled as to why. I tried to ask him but he was quite evasive about his replies. I didn’t know how the situation could advance if he wasn’t going to answer correctly. I found the hotel to be good value and quite reasonable. I’d be really happy to return here.

This is an argument that I’ve had on quite a few occasions. When I look at the comments on some of these booking websites and see what people have written, it bewilders me. I’m usually on the budget plan when I’m travelling and I don’t expect there to be much in the way of facilities for the money that I want to pay.

It seems to me that some people expect to pay bus fare but travel in a Rolls-Royce the way that some of these comments go.

There was that dreadful motel in Flagstaff in Arizona where I stayed 20-odd years ago but it was the cheapest motel that I could find so I wasn’t complaining.

That was the time that I was attending a Biodiesel course in Colorado and then going down to pick up up a couple of wind turbines in Flagstaff.

Knowing how things worked, I paid a credit to my credit card supplier and also told them where I was going and where I was going.

However after picking up the wind turbines and paying for them, I went to fuel up the Mustang only to find that my credit card was now blocked for “unusual spending patterns”, despîte having told them.

And so I had to rely on the small amount of cash that I had on me until next morning when I could telephone the bank and have the situation resolved.

In those circumstances, you don’t complain about the quality of your accommodation.

However, it’s these kinds of things that teach you a few lessons. I now have three credit cards from three different banks in three different countries.

That kind of thing can lead to some kind of excitement. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall MY STAY AT THAT MOTEL IN FARMINGTON, MAINE where I was asked to prove my identity so I produced …

  • Identity – British passport
  • Proof of address – French Driving Licence
  • Vehicle registration – New Brunswick plates
  • Mobile ‘phone – Québec number
  • Payment – Belgian credit card

That’s the kind of thing that will keep them occupied for a while.

After lunch I dealt with the radio programme for my Hawkfest. That was a really complicated thing to assemble and took me well into late evening before it was up and running. And up and running it is too.

Much to my surprise, considering that I was working it inside-out and all at once instead of doing as I usually do and adding the final track later, it was just 13 seconds too long. That kind of editing is no problem at all and it was soon down to one hour in length.

There was a pause while I made the dough for the next few pizzas. And I don’t know why but the dough rose up like a lift, quite the opposite of my cannon balls from the other week. So why can’t I make my bread rise up like this?

While it was rising, I was making the stuffing for my sausage rolls. The vacuum-packed chestnuts worked perfectly with mushrooms and in principle it all went very well indeed

The final result was maybe less than I was expecting but you can’t win a coconut every time. They’ll still freeze nicely and finish off quite well in the air fryer with a portion of chips and some baked beans.

The stuffing tastes rather sweet to me but I suppose that it’s meant to be like that.

There was enough stuffing left to make a kind of burger or patty so I’ll fry that and have it with a baked potato at some point in the near future.

The pizza was absolutely perfect. The dough was lovely and soft and crumbly, and I remembered the cherry tomatoes this week.

So all in all, a busy day today and one that was quite successful. I accomplished a lot today.

Those chestnuts will be on the menu again now I know where they can be found, so my cooking will go up another notch. I have plenty of vegan recipes where chestnuts are an important part of the recipe.

A few more busy and productive days like this will be really good, but it won’t be next week. Monday and Tuesday I have this Welsh course, and then on Wednesday I’m off to Paris for my important meeting with my specialist.

THis is where we’ll decide what happens to me in the future. Will they still deal with me? Will they abandone me? Will they refer me to a hospital closer to home?

But what does it really matter? As Jacqueline de Bellefort once said, "one must follow one’s star, wherever it leads – even to death itself."

But I shan’t be dying alone and unloved. At least the French medical service seems to care about me to some degree – probably just until I’ve paid these bills that I owe them.

Saturday 11th November 2023 – THINGS TODAY WERE …

… somewhat different from yesterday.

in fact it was the morning when I was crashed out on my chair. And I was totally out of it too. I find it very hard to believe that yesterday took so much out of me.

Admittedly I was later in bed that I would have liked to be, but I was determined to dictate the notes that I’d been preparing for a future radio programme. They were all done and dusted and I crawled into bed.

When the alarm went off this morning I have to say that I have never felt less like moving – at least, not for a good while anyway. But I did make it to my feet before the second alarm went off and I staggered into the kitchen for my medication.

Back in here I settled down to do some work but ended up drifting in and out of sleep for much of the morning and I really didn’t feel like anything at all.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. I’d been invited to a wedding in Nantwich so I set off. As I pulled up outside the church there were all these people milling around with huge banners and floral decorations etc. It looked like a really sumptuous wedding. All the people with the banners went inside and I hung around outside. I had a good look round but didn’t recognise anyone. After a while I mentioned to someone “I hope that I’m attending the correct wedding”. They didn’t really say anything. Just at that moment a group of people appeared carrying a huge tray above their heads, full of beer. They swooped down onto the outside of the church and began to put the tray down so that everyone outside could have a drink. I thought that this is not like the kind of wedding that I would ordinarily attend, that’s for sure.

I didn’t mention that going to that wedding I actually walked some of the way, and walked some of the way without crutches. That astonished me, even in the dream.

There was a story about two people, a man and a woman, working in a kitchen. For some reason the man misunderstood a comment made by the woman. As a result the situation in that kitchen became extremely uncomfortable for a while. There was a lot more to it than this but it was another one of these dreams that disappeared the moment that I reached for the dictaphone.

However I don’t need to know how this ended. I know all about misunderstandings like this

Finally last night I was with a girl whom I knew for a while in Brussels, living in an apartment somewhere. She had go out out to sell some kind of Employee Management software database to a company. I tagged along with her. When she began her discussion the elderly woman in charge of the situation was extremely aggressive. My friend was talking about this product and the woman said “it’s not something that you have to use every day, is it?”. My friend was there patiently explaining “it’s a dispute-management system, yes, but it has lots of underlying parts to it. You only need the disputes part infrequently but everything else is important”. She replied “we’ll strip that out for a start”. The discussion continued and the woman found that it was based on Word-Perfect. “We can strip that out too”. I remembered smiling at 2 girls sitting at a nearby desk looking as horrified as I was. I whispered to them “I think that I’d have been long gone from here at this point”. My friend kept going patiently and the woman kept interrupting her. Every time Nicole tried to insist on speaking the woman went “interrupting me! How rude!” even though she was the one doing al the interrupting. I thought that I would never ever make a career in sales because I wouldn’t have put up with this kind of comment for a minute.

Following that I made a start on editing the radio notes that I’d dictated last night. It was a very slow process, for reasons that I mentioned a little earlier, but the programme is now finished and ready for broadcast on … errr … 7th June 2024.

With plenty of time on hand despite the fatigue I carried on editing the blog entries from last autumn. I managed to do a pile of them, and I’m now having a good drive around various Ford agents in Eastern Canada trying to find a sunroof to fit the only Ford Flex that was ever imported into Europe.

It’s quite true that I sometimes end up with doing some most unusual tasks.

There was some football on the internet later. It’s Welsh Cup weekend and the match that was featured for live commentary was Llanelli v Penybont.

Llanelli have a good history in Welsh club football but unfortunately it is nothing but history. There have been some very hard times down in South West Wales but the club is slowly rising back up the pyramid and is currently leading the Southern pool of the Second Division

Penybont on the other hand is a fully-established Premier League club that qualified for Europe this season.

The gap between the Premier League and the Second Division is immense under any circumstances, as clubs like Flint, Airbus and Afan Lido will testify over the past few years so no-one was under any illusions.

And that was how the game started, with Penybont rampaging forward. Consequently everyone was taken completely by surprised when Ethan Cann’s brilliant finish out of nothing from the edge of the penalty area put Llanelli ahead.

By half-time however Penybont had restored sanity and were 2-1 to the good.

A brilliant point-blank save by Scott Coughlin in the Llanelli goad right from the second-half kick-off kept them in the game and then up popped Ethan Cann again with one of the best goals that you’ll ever see from a Second-Division player.

Even more surprisingly, Llanelli went ahead later, only for Penybont to equalise in the dying seconds of normal time.

We ended up with a penalty shot-out in which Scott Coughlin was once again the hero as a couple of excellent saves saw the Second Division side through to the next round, totally against the run of play and totally against the odds.

Tea tonight was a baked potato cooked in the air fryer, with a vegan salad and one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like so much.

And it seems that I’ve cracked the system of baking potatoes with the air fryer. First, give them a couple of minutes in the microwave to cook the interior. That worked really well

So tomorrow I can have a day off. I’ve done all of my work.

All that remains to be done is to make my fruit buns for the next fortnight. For a change I have everything that I need so they should turn out really well, I hope.

But in the meantime I’ve been reading up on what I need to make my Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. The Christmas cake that I made 2 years ago turned out really well and I’m keen to make another one.

A Christmas pudding will be a new experience but Jackie told me what steamer to buy and sent me a recipe for a vegan pudding. One or two things I’m short of but I’ll order what I can and invent the rest.

When I was in Canada last year I was lucky because I found some brandy and some rum essence and that should give my Christmas baking a lift. I’ve no mixed spice but my friend in Munich thinks that he might be able to find some German gingerbread spice and that might actually work too.

One thing that I mustn’t forget to do though it to check my marzipan and make sure that that works too. I didn’t use it last year, with recovering from my hospital efforts so I hope that it’s still good.

if not, I shall have to think of a Plan B.

Friday 10th November 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable afternoon when I’ve spend a good proportion of it fast asleep on my chair in here.

You’ve no idea just how much it takes out of me, staggering two or three hundred metres on crutches and then climbing up 25 stairs back to here, all of which with a very low blood count and a leaking valve in my heart. I was dead to the world for a good couple of hours.

For a change, I’d actually been to bed early. And that’s not something that happens every day. And although I didn’t go far during my travels, it was still quite a restless night.

When the alarm went off I staggered to my feet and went off in search of my medication. And then back here I made a start on my shopping list from LeClerc for next Wednesday and to see what I need from the shops this morning.

In the freezing cold I crawled downstairs and over to the bus and although the driver was on there sitting comfortably she didn’t let me on until departure time. I know that she’s well within her rights to do that, as she’s on an official break, but it was still freezing.

At St Nicolas I alighted and the first port of call was the Post Office. I’m having “issues” at the moment with my bank in Canada and the only way to wind them up is by mail. Phoning them is a waste of time as I proved the other day.

In the Carrefour next door I bought some of the worst mushrooms that I’ve seen for quite a while – I have to say that the fruit and veg at the Carrefour at St Nicolas is nothing like as good as the one at the Port – and a few other bits and pieces.

While I was packing my backpack I dropped something on the floor and as I remembered what happened the last time I bent down to pick something up when I had a backpack I had to ask someone to pick it up for me.

My coffee was quite nice while I waited for the bus, and then I wandered off outside to the bus stop.

While I’d been in the supermarket the weather had been reasonable but the moment I set foot outside the weather changed dramatically and I got the lot.

As soon as I climbed onto the bus the sun came out but as we pulled up at the bus stop outside we had another downpour.
"The rain falls down upon the just
and also on the unjust fellow
But mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella"

The climb up the stairs was agony as you might expect, and then I made some soup to eat with the crusty bread that I’d just bought.

Back in here, when I wasn’t asleep, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. One of my favourite rock groups was playing in London so I went down on the train to see them. When I arrived in London I couldn’t remember the name of the venue or the place to go to pick up the tickets. I knew that a friend was in London so I thought that I’d phone him so that maybe we could meet somewhere. I began to walk towards the centre but I didn’t recognise anywhere. It was nothing at all like anything I ever knew about the way into the centre of the city from where the train would bring me in. We ended up talking on the phone. He asked me to say where I was but I couldn’t. He asked if I was at such-and-such a place. I didn’t know. Then I found myself standing alongside one of the sections of the old London Wall. I told him that I was here and to come to meet me . This whole affair was really one of total chaos again. Everything that could possibly go wrong seemed to be going wrong at that moment

And later on it was time to return from London. We were round at a girl’s house and she had lent us a Ford Transit diesel. It was quite a mess. The exhaust pipe on it stretched out about 6 feet at the back with a kink in it. My friend had changed the oil, the oil filter etc in it. When we started it there were clouds of blue smoke, it was burning that much oil. I remember a plane going overhead and we couldn’t see the plane because of the smoke. We put everything in the van and set off. My friend was driving like a maniac. It’s not very often that I’m concerned but I told him to slow down as he drove it flat out right past the turning where we were supposed to go. I told him to slow down and he replied “this is how you drive your office car, isn’t it?”. I really didn’t know what to say about that.

While I was at it I finished off the notes that I’d started yesterday for the next radio programme and I’ll dictate them before I go to bed. if I complete the programme tomorrow I can actually have a day off on Sunday – the first time for ages – but I do have some fruit buns to make.

The estate agent turned up this afternoon too. He came “to value the apartment”, apparently. I did ask if the owner was planning on selling it because I have a cunning plan, but apparently not. “It’s being valued for his personal reasons and he has no intention of selling it”.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there are at least two prices for every property on sale in France. The first price is the price that it is advertised and which is aimed at British people and Parisians. The second price is the realistic price that the owner will sell it to a local person and it’s usually much less than the first price, especially if you can stump up the cash.

Following that, I carried on updating the notes from last Autumn. I’ve done all of those that relate to the hospital and I’m now sitting in the Place Gamelin in Montréal making the most of the last of the Canadian sunshine and the really beautiful autumn colours on the trees.

Montréal, and Canada in particular, is really beautiful in the autumn and I really miss my annual visits to pay homage to the land of my Grandmother. I’m hoping that one of these days my cousin Sandra will come over from Ottawa and bring some autumn with her.

It’s all well and good that I’m pressing on, especially as I’ll have much more time on my hands following the death yesterday of one of the largest social networks.

We always suspected that this “it’s free and it always will be” was a load of nonsense and so it has proved. Now, you have to automatically agree to have your personal information sold off to anyone and everyone, or else pay to opt out.

So if anyone wants to chat to me from now on, you’ll have to use the Social network that works with reference to the telephone system.

If you want my phone number you’ll have to write and ask me for it – unless you have a G-mail account in which case I won’t be able to reply.

That’s another issue, isn’t it? Google is blocking its mail-servers to all “minor domains” like mine, unless you include in your webserver a few lines of code that Google sends you.

And if anyone thinks that I’m going to include any form of Google coding on my webserver without them telling me exactly what it does, then they are mistaken.

It’s fair to say that with all of this turbulence going on right now with these major players in the tech world, it looks as if we are beginning to see the start of a technology crisis. They are obviously sensing a danger of losing their grip on things and maybe the revenue coming in isn’t what they would like it to be.

It makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing a renaissance of something like Myspace or whether we’ll be going back to the good old days of 30 years ago when people like us were cutting our teeth on Local Area Networks, Bulletin Boards and the anarchy and chaos that was Usenet.

Tea tonight was chips, vegan salad and some of those strange veggie balls based on kidney beans. And it was actually quite nice.

So now it’s nearly bedtime I’ll go and make myself a hot drink, dictate my radio notes and then go to bed.

We’ll see what tomorrow might bring.

Monday 6th November 2023 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… one of those days when I’ve spent much of it asleep.

A least, the afternoon anyway. And I’m not sure why because it’s not as if I’ve been exerting myself or anything like that.

Last night I was actually in bed at something like a realistic time – later than I would have liked but not by all that much And once I’d managed to go off to sleep I actually had a few hours of decent, deep sleep without very much at all going on.

When the alarm went off, I was fast asleep but Clive John had come round to see me. All his recording contracts had ended and he’d been handed back the rights to his material. He was thinking about relaunching his career and wondered if I’d be interested in helping him rework a few of his songs. The conversation drifted on from there. We had an idea that maybe we could find a bassist who could sing and had a few songs and a drummer who could sing and had a few songs then put together some kind of group. He was then wondering about a rhythm guitarist who could sing harmony and that was when an idea came into my head about maybe that might be a place for me. I went to have a little think and was walking down a beach. The sea came in over my feet and it was freezing so I had to walk on top of a bank at the end of a hotel garden where there were one or two people sitting drinking but I couldn’t climb up the bank – I didn’t have the force in my legs to do that.

Once I’d had my medication I waited for the nurse to come round to talk to me about his plan for the Covid injections for his housebound patients, but he didn’t show up. After a while, I gave up the idea of waiting and carried on with my work.

There was more stuff on the dictaphone from last night. I was down with this illness and it was affecting all aspects of my life including my military training (yes, it MUST have been a dream). When I’d spoken to my colleagues they hadn’t really expressed anything about the urgency of that so I’d just sent in a sick note and let it drift. A few weeks later I had the impression that there was something serious developing so I undertook that I’d go back into the office at the next available opportunity. When the next day for military training came round, I’d completely forgotten. I was at home doing some things when I suddenly remembered about it so I set off. I eventually found my officer who was not in the least bit pleased that I’d been away so long with only a simple sick note. In the end I explained that I was completely immobile and had no way of doing anything more than that for a while. He asked me a few more questions. When I mentioned that I’d been feeling better since Monday he asked me what I’d been eating. I replied “nothing”. He answered “that’s three days. You really ought to have something” and began to organise a huge meal for me. The last thing that I wanted to eat was a huge meal. I just wanted to go home and put my feet up ready to start again at the next class of military training but he was so insistent that I didn’t think that I could possibly get away without submitting to this meal.

And later on a friend of mine was to be married. His girlfriend was thin, fairly tall, had very long fair hair and round glasses. We went to church and she was waiting there already when we arrived. We left the car and went into the church and the ceremony took place. Then there was the reception that took place on the top floor of this building. We had to climb several flights of stairs, the whole wedding party, and at the top there was a footway that went across the huge void that was several floors down and into a room on the far side through a door. The pathway was only maybe two feet wide and there was no handrail. As soon as I saw it my stomach hit the floor. I had to wait until everyone else had gone then slowly try to make my way across it. I just quite simply couldn’t do it. There was nothing on earth that would bring me across that gap. Someone who was watching said that I ought to join one of these mountaineering scieties where they would help me overcome my fear of things like this. I replied “actually I already am”. They asked “which society?” and I replied “the Everest Society”. There was then an Appeal that had come through that a farmer had several of his sheep stranded on the mountains in the Bannau Brycheiniog. I happened to mention it and they asked if I was going to be one of the people going out to the rescue. I replied “not this afternoon while I’m attending this wedding”.

And that’s not like me either, is it? The amount of roofing that I did when I was living in the Auvergne and the scaffolding that I’ve swarmed over, and clinging on to a ladder 30 feet up above ground while rebuilding fieldstone walls – I won’t be having high anxiety any time soon.

After that, I made a start on the radio programme that I had in the queue and although it ended up being a late lunch, at least the programme was finished.

This afternoon, I’ve been quite busy. In between falling asleep, I paired off the music for the next radio programme and began to write the notes. Not that I actually managed to go very far because I kept on drifting off into sleep.

Something else that I did was to update a few more entries from when I was in hospital last year. And it’s a good thing that I did because there was some important stuff in there that I had forgotten.

There was the usual pause for my mid-afternoon hot chocolate and biscuits. And those chocolate and coconut biscuits with a hint of orange that I made yesterday are delicious

Something else was to try to contact my bank in Canada as my bank card has expired and I can’t access the on-line banking.

And the answer is that I can’t access my account there until I have the new card in my possession, and I can’t have it sent anywhere outside Canada. They’ll quite happily send it to my address in Upper Knoxford and then I’ll have to go to fetch it.

If that’s ever likely to happen.

It’s not a problem that was unexpected however. I remember feeling so ill a few days before I left Canada last October that I went to the bank and liberated a large pile of transfer slips, signed them all and left them with my niece. At least my property taxes will be paid when they come due, but it’s not an ideal situation

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper and for some reason, it wasn’t cooked as well as it usually is. I’m not sure why because everything was set up as usual.

So even though it’s early, I’m off to bed right now. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow, if it’s not half-term again, so I need to be on form.

And then I’m off afterwards to the Centre de Re-education, so I suppose that I’ll be absolutely exhausted for the rest of the day once I return.

Saturday 4th November 2023 – I WON’T BE …

… sorry to go to bed later on tonight. I’ve had a horrible day.

Even though I was in bed at a reasonable time last night and managed to struggle to my feet when the alarm went off, I was still totally out of it and I’ve been asleep on my chair in here for several hours on a couple of occasions during the day

It’s probably the after-effects of my wandering off around the shops yesterday and going visiting later. You’ve no idea just how much all of this takes out of me.

But at some point or other I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We started off by planning a rail trip for some reason. In order to connect ourselves up to the system we had to press on a link on our computer and drag it into another link. That way it would connect. We were there in our room trying to connect these two links together but it wasn’t happening. Everyone was starting to panic. Suddenly the link connected and we had the screen. We saw an ancient 1960s-type of diesel multiple unit in the railway station in the centre of the town of Llanidloes (in fact nothing like Llanidloes and actually the railway station there has long gone and taken the line with it) in the snow, with people running for it and leaping aboard as it pulled away. We were sitting there thinking “if we’ve connected why weren’t we taken on board?”. We discussed that for a couple of minutes until in the end we realised that it was only a single track and the train that we’d seen had been heading towards the west but we really needed the train that was heading towards the east.

And then I was with a famous actor last night, interviewing him for the radio. At the end there was a pile of photos so I asked about them. He explained that they were his so I asked if I could look through them to choose a few. I asked if they were in any kind of order. The guy with me suggested that they were in reverse order. The actor himself began to have a look through the clothes that he was wearing which by now were heaped on the side of the bed in layers. He thought that they were in the order of “oldest first”. We ended up having a lengthy discussion about his pyjamas, how modern pyjamas are much lighter and much more aerated and generally much better for the skin in your sleep. But I couldn’t help noticing that going through his pyjamas from all those years ago up until today how the size had changed. It may not look like it on the film but this guy for the last 20 years had been putting on rather a lot of weight that he’d been doing very well to try to hide.

Finally, we’d been performing some experiments, my partner and I, on some certain products, setting up this chemical experiment and letting it run to see what happened. It was a Friday evening and I thought that we’d have plenty of time but judging by how it was unfolding it would be 03:00 or 04:00 by the time that it finished, if by then. I began to wish that maybe I should have done it on a Saturday night when I could have had a good lie-in on a Sunday morning instead of getting up at 07:00 on Saturday morning. We carried on doing it all the same. I was having some kind of brief desultory chat with my partner while I was overseeing this experiment. I suddenly decided that I’d like a cup of tea (yes, it MUST have been a dream). I asked her if she wanted a cup of tea but she said no – she’d be going to bed in a moment so I was sorely tempted at that point to abandon the experiment for the night and go to bed with her but as usual it was one of these situations where I was caught in indecision again.

At one time these dreams that were riddled with indecision used to be a fairly common occurrence but we haven’t had one like that for a while.

What else I’ve been doing is some tidying up in the dining area and the kitchen. It’s true to say that only the basics are being done round here, like keeping the place clean, but the lack of tidiness is starting to spiral out of control and I need to do something about it.

And that’s something else that is taking its toll. It’s totally exhausting doing things like this and it takes so long too. I can only work in bursts of a couple of minutes and then I have to go to sit down to recover for a couple of hours.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to chop up a few more sound-files. There’s stuff here that I recorded back as far as 2019 with which I’ve done nothing at all. It’s high time that I caught up with everything.

There’s only another … gulp … 31 hours to chop up and then I can get on with some more stuff. But there will probably be a lot more after that hidden away in the bowels of my computer.

For a start, there are probably a dozen or so soundtracks of Louis de Funes films and there will be dozens of soundbytes to be cut out of those. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, if they have listened to my radio shows, that Louis de Funes is a special guest on my programmes and we present them together.

Another task is to go back to when I was in hospital last year and add in the dreams. I’d finished transcribing them a good while ago but I’d never managed to find the motivation to add them into the relevant entries. Anyway I made a start and I’ve now done a dozen or so.

But reading through the notes of my hospital stay – all two months of it – it’s interesting to watch how my thoughts changed over that period. They swung all the way across the whole spectrum of emotions from relief to sadness to depression to anger to incandescent rage

One of the (many) reasons why I keep these notes is because they are an important gauge of how my mental health is doing as I battle this illness. At one time it was interesting to watch my health swing back and fro, but over this last 18 months or so it’s been all downhill.

While I was going through my notes, I came across a reference to ZERO SHE FLIES.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that this “girl, she is almost a woman” refers to someone whom I knew very well and who, every so often, comes along to visit me during the night. She unfortunately had a lot of baggage attached, none of which was her doing and she struggled on valiantly despite everything, but in the end the baggage overwhelmed me.

Quite often, I’ve wondered what became of her and what she would be like today. I remember in 2016 being in a café in Belgium drinking a coffee when in walked a girl who would have been the spitting image of how I imagined her to have looked just then. I was so surprised that I dropped my coffee.

And then, in 2017 I was on board ship going across the Strait of Belle Isle between Newfoundland and Labrador when I bumped into a girl who was exactly as Zero was when I remembered her. And that surprised me too

So this afternoon I did something that I haven’t done for a while, and that was to have a play about on the acoustic guitar. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that after having spent all that time with Castor up in the High Arctic teaching each other the ukulele and the guitar, I started to play again quite seriously.

When we were on Spirit of Conrad down the French coast I was giving concerts and I even went and treated myself to a new 5-string fretless bass to go with the big amp that I picked up in that pawn shop in Ottawa.

But the bass is now too heavy for me to hold and while I can still play the old EB3 and the acoustic guitar, I just can’t find the time or the motivation.

The difficulty is that even the most simple tasks are taking so much time and so much effort that I can’t manage anything else right now.

So instead of continuing to feel sorry for myself and brooding on the infinite, I went and made tea. Baked potatoes from the European Potato Mountain cooked in the air fryer, a vegan salad and a burger from the European Vegan Burger Mountain.

And now I’ve finished my notes I’m going to dictate the radio notes that I wrote out during the week and then go off to bed. Tomorrow I’m going to be baking biscuits, so I need to cheer up .

What went on in the past can’t be changed so it’s pointless brooding on it. Here’s looking forward to my chocolate and coconut biscuits.

Saturday 7th October 2023 – HAVING HAD MY …

… first of what will probably be many Saturdays without going to the supermarket, I’ve been quite busy again nevertheless.

It actually all got off to a good start too with me being up and about before the alarm went off. Not by much, I have to say, but all the same it was still an early start.

And yes, there will still be an alarm on a Saturday morning. I have to keep up a routine otherwise I’ll just melt away into oblivion.

After the medication it took me a while to come round into the Land of the Living and then I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. There was some kind of dream about an old couple who had a young baby living with them. They were all living in squalid circumstances. Some man came along to try to take the baby away to give it a cleaner existence but he had to be extremely careful in the way he approached and tackled it. If the grandparents thought that the baby was being taken away for ever then they wouldn’t be quite so co-operative in letting him come in and see the baby. This evolved into my being at my sister’s old house in Gresty Road. I had to leave there and go home. It was a 7-hour drive. The bathroom was really insalubrious and I hated that end of the house so I wasn’t going to go there to have a wash. I’d wait until I’d reached home if I could. All of the stuff that I needed to pack into Caliburn which otherwise would have to go out of the back through the bathroom and down the fire escape and out through the back yard to where the car was parked wasn’t going to happen. I’d have to take it out of the front. I’d need to fetch Caliburn round to the front but there was no waiting or no parking there. I’d be interrupting everyone and risking a parking ticket by doing that. While I was thinking about what I was going to do I found a huge, enormous box of Quality Street chocolates so I took a large handful and went and sat to eat them. I realised that I couldn’t wait because with an extremely long journey, the longer it too to sort myself out the longer it would take to reach home. I really wanted to be on the road as quickly as possible.

And later I was in a pop group playing drums last night. I only had a really cheap beyond-basic kit but I didn’t do too badly and I could keep the beat of the songs. We were sitting there rehearsing once and there was another drummer there. he began to play some kind of drum beat music and I joined in. Much to my surprise it was quite accurate. The guitarist joined in, playing a guitar piece that I recognised but I can’t name it. The guitarist said that he was playing this particular track because it was one that he’d like to work out. By now I was playing the guitar but I wasn’t at all confident in the idea that I’d be able to master this song to a sufficient standard to be able to perform on stage.

Nerina and I were then running our business last night, going through the cars cleaning them from top to bottom to within an inch of their lives etc, having them really sorted out. Another taxi driver from a different company came round to see what we were doing and for a chat. It slipped out in the conversation that I’d won a contract with a major motor vehicle repair place in Northwich. He asked whether that was the place that dealt with rebuilding cars after accidents or after they’d been out on lease. I replied “as a matter of fact it is but I’m far more interested in their military vehicles”. he said “you mean training vehicles?”. I replied “no. I mean vehicles that have been used by Generals being chauffeured around etc”. We were busy washing one of the cars at that point. When we scraped away the years of grime and washed it we found that one of the doors was distorted and there was paint of a different colour on it. We wondered how that was happening. In the meantime Nerina was having trouble with a jug of warm water. She shouted so I went in to see what she was doing and to juggle with this huge jug of hot water. The other driver said that he’d like to see me for a while sometime if I could spare him the time. he wanted to talk to me about his business. I didn’t really understand what he meant by that but I’ll talk to anyone so I said that I’d let him know when I was free, something like that.

After that four of us were going off to watch car racing somewhere. We stopped off at a motorway service station to have a coffee. Here we bumped into my friend from Munich on his way there so we had a really lengthy chat with him and talked about his plans. We then went back to our motor bikes. It really was a beautiful afternoon made for motorbiking. We thought that it would be lovely to be out on the road in this beautiful weather. We could have a nice leisurely ride up the drive of the place where this hotel had been built.

At another point I was sitting on a beach somewhere and a vendor came round selling mugs of hot coffee. I’m not sure why I wanted a hot coffee in the middle of summer but it was £1:30 so he poured me a mug of coffee. While I went through my pocket for the money he wandered off somewhere. Just then I heard a voice behind so I said “£1:30” but it was in fact a man asking me if I’d seen his wife. Of course I hadn’t so I said “no” so he wandered off. The coffee vendor came back. He stood there for quite some time waiting for me to sort out my money while I had it in my hand. parked right opposite me was a Standard 10 which had a Canterbury registration number so I must have been in Kent at that particular time.

Finally, there were several of us wandering around the London Underground, some of us who knew each other well and one girl who didn’t. When we arrived at a main underground station we found all the doors locked and we were effectively locked inside. I saw a door open and someone emerge so I went to grab the door before it closed so that we could leave but it turned out to be the door of the gents’. We all then decided to make for the main-line platforms and go home that way, my group going one way on one train and our lone friend another way on another. We all agreed to meet here at some other time. I asked “whereabouts here,” and someone else replied “here – on this spot”.

As you can see, it was quite a mobile night and I didn’t have much sleep at all. It’s no surprise therefore that I fell asleep again at some point later in the morning. And for an hour or so as well.

But I also spent a lot of time this morning making a start on updating the blog entries. I hadn’t added the dreams that took place when I was in Leuven just now so I edited all of those and brought them up to date.

This afternoon I wrote out the notes for the music that I selected yesterday for another radio programme. They are now complete and tonight before I go to bed I’ll dictate as many of them as I can.

It’s the kind of thing that has to be done late at night because there’s too much noise outside during the day with traffic going past and buses idling at the bus stop.

There was football on the internet later on early in the evening – Pontypridd v Hwlffordd in the Welsh Premier League.

It was a proper basement battle that in the first half was quite agricultural and Pontypridd were well on top. Hwlffordd improved quite considerably in the second half but the sending off of Tyreese Owen for two yellow cards put paid to any hopes of a revival, even if they did have a couple of excellent chances.

The final score was 2-0 for Pontypridd and that was probably about right. It’s difficult to explain what has happened down in south-west Wales. Hwlffordd did really well in the latter half of last season and performed quite well in Europe, but the fire has gone right out.

Tea tonight was salad and chips and one of those vegetable burgers of which I bought a supply a while back at Noz, along with a vegan salad. Of course, with Noz being off the agenda now I’m not sure what I’ll be doing when the stockpiled stuff from there runs out.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll dictate the radio notes and then go to bed. A nice lie-in tomorrow will do me god so I hope that it actually works.

Tuesday 13th June 2023 – IF I KEEP …

… on going like this, I’ll be meeting myself coming back. It was another depressing, dreary night.

But when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was flat out asleep and it was much more of a struggle than it has been of late to haul myself up out of bed.

Nevertheless I beat the second alarm, but not by much.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages, I had a listen to what was on the dictaphone. We were taken on a quick trip around Outer Space to have a look at what was considered by many people to be a form of Paradise. While we were looking we noticed that many of the people were living in caravans which seemed strange to us but the situation was that they paid much less rent and much less in charges in order to live like that and it turned out to be very beneficial

But at oone point I actually did undergo the sensation of falling because of my knees giving out, while I was asleep lying in bed. It was extremely uncomfortable and extremely real as well. And very disturbing too.

After that I spent some time revising for my Welsh lesson. That didn’t pass as well as I would have liked. Some of it was pretty good but some of it was just the reverse. And there were very few of us this week, which meant that I had to work harder than usual.

My coffee and fruit bun were nice though. I enjoyed them very much and I really ought to make some more like that. i’ll have to bake some at some point early next week, and some more biscuits too because I’m on the last packet of ginger biscuits that I’d bought from Noz the other week.

The physiotherapist had sent me a message to say that he’ll be coming on Thursday and Friday only. That’s quite annoying because I would much rather he came on the same days and the same time every week, and I’ve told him that before. But he takes no notice.

So instead I did some more work on my Canada 2017 notes. At the moment I’m on my way from Mary’s Harbour along the Alexis River. In a short while I’ll be coming into the old lumber camp of Port Hope Simpson where I’ll be getting my head down for the night.

It’s taken me ages to write out the notes for this particular day, which is no surprise because there were 127 photos that I took from the moment that I pulled up at Sainte-Barbe to board the old MV Apollo to cross the Strait of Belle Isle to Labrador, and some of those were divided in two.

When I’ve finished that day I can move on down the road to Cartwright, stopping at the cemetery in the settlement of Paradise River, a village that was practically wiped out in the flu epidemic of 1918-19.

A lot of people were quite upset about the lengths to which the Canadian Government went to enforce the Covid quarantine rules, but anyone who has read anything about the devastation that the flu epidemic caused up and down the Labrador coast will understand completely.

One village was totally isolated for several months and when rescuers finally reached it, they found just one person, a girl of 8, still alive living amongst the rotting bodies of her family and neighbours.

As an aside, my grandmother lost her first husband and father-in-law to the flu epidemic in Winnipeg in 1918 and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we WENT TO WINNIPEG a few years ago to try to find their grave.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the stuffing that was left over from yesterday. There’s still a pile of that left so I might make a chili with some kidney beans with what is left in the fridge.

So right now, as I’m totally exhausted yet again, I might go off to bed. But as usual, I probably won’t be able to sleep. I’ve no idea what’s going on right now with all of that.

Saturday 27th May 2023 – WE ARE NOW BACK …

… in the position where we were a few months ago. The freezer is now full to bursting once more.

It was a good day round at the shops to-day and once again, Noz came up trumps as it does every so often.

But anyway, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. I was somewhere down in Newcastle under Lyme at the PMT bus garage where I was to pick up a bus to work a local service around Newcastle. They’d given me the information and then given me a route map but the map was a kind-of abstract map. I couldn’t identify anything on this map compared to how it is in real life so I had to find someone to explain the route to me. I was wandering around this depot trying to find someone. I found one or two people but they were of no help whatsoever. I really needed an inspector or something but I just couldn’t find anyone at all. There were all these buses parked up. No-one had actually told me which one was mine. I thought to myself “I can see this being a disaster too if I don’t organise things quite quickly” and that’s something that is a recurring theme too.

It didn’t take too long to organise myself this morning, which is a surprise. and it’s just as well because Alison phoned. She needed to talk about things like kitchens and showers so we were there on the ‘phone for about an hour discussing various things.

As a result I was rather later than usual going out to the shops but who cares? I’d much rather talk to my friends than almost anything. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those whom I have are the best in the World.

So at Noz, the first thing that I discovered was a pile of McVitie’s ginger biscuits, and the vegan version too. I know that I like to bake my own biscuits these days but I’m not going to miss out on several rolls of these.

And in the deep freezer they had carrot burgers from some Italian company and a pile of those breaded quorn fillets that I like, only a Findus variety with the labelling in Danish and Swedish.

My diet can be somewhat monotonous if I’m not feeling adventurous so I’m not going to miss out on the chance to add some extra stuff into it so I grabbed several boxes of each of those to shake things up a little.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Noz is a chain of shops that buys bankrupt stock, surpluses, short lifespan products and the like and sells them off quite cheaply. I’ve had piles of stuff from there over the past 10 or 12 years since I first encountered one and there’s usually always something in there to add some excitement to my diet.

LeClerc came up with the goods too. Some of that sliced fondue vegan cheese in the clearance range so I liberated a pile of that too. I also bought some lasagne. It’s years since I made myself a lasagne and I had a sudden craving for one. I might have a go at that next week.

But there was something rather surprising in LeClerc today. They have a few assistants who roam around the store to help the elderly and infirm with their shopping, and one of them came over to me to ask if I needed help.

In the past I’ve been told, and on one or two occasions quite bluntly too, that I didn’t look as if I’m dying. But after my adventures last autumn everyone who saw me on my return told me how ill I was looking and how they were worried that I might not pull through – even my doctor. But I reckon that it’s becoming clearer by the minute now and if Regina is reading this, then “I told you so”.

It’s all very reminiscent of when I used to live in Brussels and one of my friends happened to see me
“Eric!” he exclaimed. “We thought that you were dead”
“Not at all. It just smells like it.”

Back here the first thing that I did was to clean and dice the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought and set them off a–blanching. I’m running low on carrots in the freezer so I need to stock up. And then I had breakfast – cheese on toast and some nice, strong coffee.

There was time to transcribe the rest of the dictaphone notes, because I’d been on my travels quite a lot during the night. I was in a group last night with a few other people. There was a keyboard player and a guitarist whom I remember. The guitarist was quite young. We took the stage and began to play. A girl came up and went over to the guy playing the guitar and singing and began to gyrate around him. It was clear that she was putting him completely off his stroke. When it came to the part where he was supposed to sing he turned to the keyboard player and said “you’ll have to sing this”. This led to an argument between the two of them. As soon as the concert finished and it was already undignified with a few spectators and someone was getting an awful amount of mileage out of this, teasing them both about their group, how disorganised and how bad it was.

And isn’t that a shame? I seem to have gone beyond the days when girls would come along and gyrate all around me – even when I’m off on another plane of existence. I’m losing count of the number of times that I’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in this respect during the night, without counting the number of times members of my family have come along to queer my pitch in the middle of something exciting.

Later on I’d been staying in a cabin with a couple of old guys, the type of thing that you’d find on the frontier 150 years ago. Cabin fever was definitely striking and we were arguing about just about anything. One of the guys decided that he would let rip with a full-blown argument point out to me all my faults and defects. I had an answer for everything that he said but it was just one of those things that if you became involved in this argument you’d be there for ever and nothing would ever be resolved.

And that’s something else, isn’t it? Cabin fever is quite a well-known phenomenon in the High Arctic and there were several cases amongst some of us after several months on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. My suggestion that we round up the more cantankerous members of our party and send them ashore on the first zodiac to see whether there were any polar bears about did not however meet with universal approval, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Immediately after that little episode I awoke with a terrible pain in my right knee as if I’d over-exerted it yesterday. However it eased off after a while and I went back to sleep.

Once the carrots were draining and drying off I headed into town in the beautiful sunshine. And do you know – it’s taken me about 6 months to realise that if there is a set of steps with the handrail on the right, I can go down much quicker and easier if I go down backwards?

The Aranesp was waiting for me so I picked it up and headed home. Having struggled with my shoulder bag falling off my shoulder and knocking me and my crutches out of balance, I’d found a backpack that I’d bought ages ago to use as a day pack when I go out walkies (not that I’ll be doing much of that these days) and that was much better.

On the way back I fell in with one of my neighbours, Pierre, the one who owned the Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast FOR A WEEK a few years ago. We had a good chat about this and that. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I seem to be the flavour of the Month since I now own a share of this building.

From there I came back in a regrettably, at that point I … errr … had a little relax, just as I thought that I might. It’s all becoming rather monotonous, but there’s nothing that I can buy in Noz to alleviate that.

While Alison and I had been chatting earlier I’d told her that I’d sort out a few photos of the kitchen that I’d had installed in Expo so I had a rummage around in various old directories (yes, they are still “directories” – I haven’t recovered after learning DOS 5.0) and sorted out a few to send to her.

The rest of the day has been spent resurrecting an old project. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when they opened the road over Eagle Plateau in 2010 so that you could drive all the way across from northern Québec to the Labrador coast, I was one of the first TO ATTEMPT IT

At that time I went as a tourist and I had no idea what to expect so after I returned I did a pile of research and went again in 2014 and then in 2015 by which time I’d bought Strider who was a much-more suitable vehicle for going off-roading. The aim on those occasions was write a sequel but from a historical and social point of view.

Unfortunately that project ground to a halt because a few months after returning in 2015 I was swept up in all of this.

And as well as that, I went again in 2017 when I went out in a couple of small boats to visit some of the abandoned settlements that were cleared out under Joey Smallwood’s “bigger is better” policy of the 1950s and for which even 70 years later the people of the Labrador coast are still paying the price.

However, I digress … “yet again” – ed.

The task therefore, if I choose to accept it, is to resurrect what I was doing in 2015 and to add in the stuff from 2017 and start again. So this afternoon I’ve been trying to find all the notes that I made back in those days.

Tea tonight was a couple of small breaded quorn fillets that I’d bought ages ago and were festering in the freezer. Wo while I pulled them out, I stuck the carrots in. I had the fillets along with a salad and some fried potato cubes done in the air fryer. That was really nice.

Tomorrow is a Sunday of course so I’ll be having a lie-in. But I have some radio notes that I’ve written and I’ll dictate them tonight once the street outside is quiet. That’ll give me something to do tomorrow and on Monday, and then I can crack on with this and that.

But before I go, yesterday I was talking about South Pass. There’s one song that I always associate with South Pass and THAT CAME ROUND on the playlist.
“We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally, feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone, oh, oh”

(and who do those last two lines bring to mind?)

The song is all about “The High Plains” of Wyoming, which WE VISITED IN 2002 when I was on my course at the Solar Energy Institute but the photo in the posted extract is a long, long way from the High Plains of Wyoming. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its earlier guises will recall having seen that image BEFORE.

“Next time
We’ll get it right”

Tuesday 14th March 2023 – IT’S ALL VERY WELL …

… going to bed early, but it counts for nothing if you can’t go to sleep. It was another one of these miserable, depressing nights when I’m tossing and turning to no good purpose.

To make matters even worse, when I finally did go off to sleep at one point, something awoke me quite dramatically and I sat bolt-upright wide awake.

And then even though I must have gone back to sleep at some point I awoke again just after 07:00 and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already up and about.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I prepared for my Welsh class – interrupted by the local nurse calling round to take a blood sample. For some reason, that was extremely painful. So was my injection yesterday, thinking on. I must be quite sensitive these days, in more ways than one.

The Welsh class passed off quite quickly. Some of it was surprisingly good, which took me by surprise, but some other of it was not so good. Rather patchy, all told

At 14:00 the guy came round so see me about having a shower installed in my new property, whenever it might be that I finally complete the purchase. He was actually a guitarist himself with a Rickenbacker 12-string so we spent more time talking about guitars and music than showers.

However he finally bashed out some kind of quote but I doubt that I’ll be proceeding with it. It’s way out of my pocket, even the “economy” version. It works, I suppose, if you qualify for a French Government grant but I pay my Income Tax in Belgium and the UK and so that is that.

And that reminds me – I should be due for my quarterly Belgian Old-Age Pension payments some time soon. That should be exciting. Whatever can I do with the €97 that I’ll receive?

Once he’d gone, I had a shower and then had a good listen to the stuff on the dictaphone. To my surprise I’d been on quite a few travels during the night. I’d gone somewhere to pick up a pile of clothes. It was something to do with the Avengers and TV programmes from the 60s. I was in Caliburn. I reached where I was supposed to be. These coats were thrown to me and I threw them up onto the roof rack. I had to look around for a way to fasten them on. It was near Christmas by this time although it was sunny. Someone was coming round from this place handing out boxes of chocolates etc to all the employees. Everywhere I turned, there was another piece of chocolate. Someone kept on sticking a box of chocolates in my hand. Every time I went to reach for something or other to tie these clothes onto the roof rack I ended up grabbing a piece of chocolate instead. It was really strange.

Then I was back in this apartment. I had Tuppence, my old black cat, here. I made myself a coffee but it wasn’t strong enough so I put another teaspoon of coffee into it even though it was already now in the pot having percolated. Tuppence was crying to go out so I went and opened the door for her even though it meant that she would just be running around inside the building. The next moment we were in Gainsborough Road. I had all my cats here but something – I don’t know what – awoke me dramatically as I mentioned earlier.

Later on we were at some kind of building in the countryside like a Social Club. Behind it was a car park that you had to access via an arch. Behind it was a building that was another type of Social Club. In the building where I was were all these rich people with Rolls-Royces, horse boxes and things. I was there talking to a lorry driver for some reason. A Rolls-Royce came in towing a horse box. It had been accident-damaged and hit all down the side, this Rolls-Royce dark red. We made a few remarks about it. Someone mentioned something about someone’s Rolls-Royce having broken down and they’d been quoted over £8000 for a new engine. I was thinking about the one that I knew IN A SCRAPYARD IN THE USA (and I was impressed that I could remember that in a dream) and what could be good would be if I could lay my hands on that engine and rebuild it. As I was leaving 2 more people turned up and asked about the Social Club. I told them where to go. They asked where they could park so I told them about the car park. They asked about the one in the rear. I said that the people in there were rather possessive. They had to be careful. Then I had an engine. I’d stripped it down, rebuilt it and had it running on a test bed. I’d put it back in a car and started it up with no water in it just to make sure that it would run. I was slowly filling it with water, talking to someone. All the time there was a stream of water coming out. I could see in the end that one of the hoses for the windscreen washers underneath the bonnet had decayed or broken. The stream of water was coming from there. Trying to remove it to replace it was a nightmare.

I was next living at Davenport Avenue with Nerina. Something happened so I decided that I’d go out for a change for the evening down to the swimming baths. I took a book with me and set off. When I arrived the first person whom I saw was TOTGA (so welcome back, TOTGA) and her daughter. I wasn’t sure if they saw me but they certainly didn’t come over to talk. I thought that I’d go and get ready. Then I started to worry about my catheter. I know that I can’t go swimming in salt water with it. What about chlorine? I thought that I’d relax and read my book for a while then summon up the courage to go to ask someone. There was a little room on a bench next to a little girl and her mother so I squeezed on and started to read. A couple of people whom I knew from work came over for a chat. I ended up with a drink and a packet of crisps. By the time all that finished it was really late. I thought that I’d better go home. I went to pay but they only charged me for the crisps so I paid for them and ran all the way back home. I arrived back. Nerina was sitting on the floor in apair of pyjamas, brand-new by the looks of things. She was surrounded by all kinds of rubbish as if she’d been unwrapping presents etc. She was rather grumpy because I’d been out but it turned out that some members of her family had come round. They had spent the evening talking about a holiday they’d had down in the South-West.

Finally I was back in this dream again with TOTGA and her daughter, staying at some kind of fitness place. It was the break so we all crowded into the break room. There were so many of us that we had to jostle for a place and a place to put our bags down. When we did, someone would move it somewhere else. We helped ourselves to hot water. When I’d done that TOTGA’s daughter made some room for me on a chair next to her. It was beginning to become really chaotic. Everyone complained about the crush and the arrangements in this room. No-one was happy but that was just how it was.

Sitting down here waiting for things to happen I crashed out again. That’s quite disappointing because I ought to be doing so much better than this. Gone are the days where I could work 30 or 40 hours non-stop after just 4 hours of sleep. i’m not as young as I was.

The physiotherapist came round later and he had me walking up and down the stairs outside. He was impressed with the weights that I’d bought at the weekend.

While I was at my lesson earlier I’d worked out that my foot fits nicely into the handle of one of the weights so I’d been practising lifting it up and down with my foot while sitting down. The left leg is quite good but the right leg is struggling to even move with a weight of 2kgs attached to it. What kind of state am I in?

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with rice and veg. There’s plenty of stuffing left as well so I’ll have a good curry tomorrow night with what is left in the fridge

While I’m on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … the cleaner will be coming round tomorrow so I’ll have to have a whizz round to make the place look respectable. A well as that, I’ll have to check all of the paperwork to make sure that I have everything that I need to take with me on Thursday morning to the hospital at Avranches.

08:30 at Avranches on Thursday? Whose silly idea is that?

Saturday 25th February 2023 – NOBODY WAS …

… more surprised than me to wake up this morning, bolt-upright, at 07:22. 8 minutes before the alarm went off.

For a change, I’d had a decent night’s sleep. I’d gone to bed at something like a reasonable time and apart from taking a while to go off to sleep, I can’t remember anything at all about the night.

And that’s a big disappointment because one of my favourite visitors came to see me last night. or, more exactly, I went to see her. I went round to Stoke on Trent to see Zero and her parents. They were all there still in bed in their bedrooms so I went up to see them. We had a chat and they all slowly got up out of bed. They talked about going off to a holiday camp sometime in August and asked me if I wanted to go with them. Of course I said “yes”. There was someone else there as well who talked about going somewhere exotic. I said “if you’re thinking of going to North America, go from Casablanca to Montreal because it’s beautiful” remembering the trip that I did a few years ago. A bird flew into the window and later one of the cats was hunting it. I went to grab it but missed. It flew straight past Zero who caught it. She went to put it out of the window. As she opened out her hand it flew back in again so we had to hunt it down again. She stuck her tongue out at me playfully so I scratched the top of her head with my hand like a crane basket. She carried on hunting for this bird.

Fancy missing out on an evening with Zero. You couldn’t make it up.

That flight that I mentioned was quite a good flight. It was when I came back from my encounter with Castor (who has been missing from these pages for far too long in recent times) on board THAT BOEING 787 DREAMLINER. I had no idea of when (if ever) I would be likely to return.

Having gone from Europe to the Far North of High Arctic Canada on board a ship I hadn’t booked a return flight of course, so when I finally decided that maybe I ought to go home, the prices of direct flights were completely out of my pocket so I had to negotiate for a reasonable price. That brought me to Brussels via Casablanca with Air Maroc and I didn’t regret my choice for a minute.

But I shan’t be going back to the High Arctic any time soon. I’ve spent all my mad money on buying this apartment and that will be that for a considerable while.

It wasn’t all that i spent either. I had a rather hectic morning.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went out to the shops. First of all, I called at Noz where I was in luck. They had some vegan nuggets, rather like chicken nuggets. 2 different varieties so i stocked up with a couple of boxes of each and they are in the freezer now.

They also had one of these silicone baking moulds that I like. I have a few of them for different things, but this one is cake-sized and I don’t have one of those. When I finally move and have a real oven, I shall put that to use. It will be better than trying to bake in a pyrex casserole dish.

At Leclerc, I struck lucky.

When I’d been there a couple of weeks ago I’d found a lump of vegan cheese and thought that that was lucky. Today though, they had slices of vegan cheese and also some grated vegan cheese. It looks very much as if Leclerc is slowly dragging itself into the 21st Century. I bought some of each because, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I have to encourage these places to stock more vegan food.

Back here as I was struggling up the stairs with some shopping I fell in with a couple of neighbours and we had a good chat about not very much at all. I have to be sociable, I suppose, and keep on good terms with my neighbours, even if I don’t feel much like it. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not what you would call a sociable person.

Having put away as much as I could, we’re now back to the situation of no room in the freezer and no room in the fridge either. I bought plenty of other stuff and I’m not going to miss out on buying the burgers that I like at €1:99 for two with a second packet of two at just €0:67

Just after lunch we had football on the internet. TNS v Penybont. TNS took an early lead and missed a couple of sitters. And that was something that they came to regret as Penybont equalised laste in the game from a penalty. And we had the unusual situation of a referee being substituted. That was quite a swelling that the had on his left ankle.

This afternoon I finished off the notes for the radio programmes and i’ll be dictating them tonight before I go to bed. With the Carnavalers having mostly all gone home, it’s much quieter outside now so there’s not as much danger of being disturbed and having to redictate everything. It’s pretty depressing when you have to do that.

Cooking the potatoes in the air fryer worked really well and I’ll have to remember that for the future. It’s not a practical proposition if I’m cooking veg but if I’m having a salad or something like that it’s ideal.

But anyway, that’s all that I’ll be doing today. Tomorrow is a day off but I need to bake some bread rolls. I’m hitting the road on Wednesday for a couple of days so I’ll need something for breakfast on Monday and Tuesday and then something to make some sandwiches for my journey

it looks as if I’ll have to have the air fryer out again.

Friday 9th December 2022 – “THERE’S ONE THING …

… that I got to tell you man, and that it’s Good To Be Back Home”.

So said Barry Hay on the beach at Scheveningen in the Netherlands back in 1993 when I was there on my old CX500 and I can’t disagree.

But I owe a great big thanks to two of my neighbours who drove to the railway station here at Granville at 19:00 to meet me off the train because, believe me, I was finished, totally finished when it pulled into the station

And I was right about my affairs at the hotel. I really was given the run-around and at 07:00 when I was on the point of leaving and wanted to pick them up, I was told that they weren’t there as far as they could see and I could stand there all day and wait for them if I liked and it would change nothing at all.

So that’s the NIKON D500, the 70-300mm LENS and all of my photos from Canada along with all of my portable electronic equipment gone the Way of the West.

Ahh well!

It’s not surprising that i was in a bad mood about this because I’d had a bad night, as I always do when I’m having to go somewhere early. Not that it stopped me going off on my travels and although I don’t remember much about my travels, I do recall that had I not awoken suddenly, I would have had a visit from one of my favourite young ladies.

So maybe that’s why I awoke suddenly. My whole outlook on life has changed just recently.

Having finished my rather acrimonious but otherwise pointless discission with the hotel staff (I seem to be arguing with everyone right now) I set off in the ice and freezing cold that made my already unsteady gait even more so.

But not for the railway station at Bruxelles-Midi. Instead, I clambered gingerly down the stairs into the metro station at the Boulevard Lemonnier. Crossing the road to get there was fraught, and no mistake.

Even more fraught was crossing the tram rails to the opposite platform and I was convinced that at one point rather than travel by tram I would be out on my ass but in an incredible feat of gymnastics I just about managed to keep my feet.

The platforms at the Gare du Nord were a mess and I must have staggered for miles trying to find my way up to ground level, having to be helped up a few steps by a few people. But when I did I had to go round and round in ever-decreasing circles in order to find my way out of the station.

Yes, “out of the station” because I’m not going by train.

Eventually I found my way outside in the freezing fog and having completely lost my bearings, I wandered around (such as I can) until I stumbled quite by accident on that for which I was looking.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back several years ago when there was a rail strike I ended up HAVING TO GO BY BUS. I remembered that it called at Caen and then went on via several stops to Bruxelles-Nord – without going via Paris.

It was going via Paris that was frightening me. Can you imagine the fight in the Metro and the long walk down to the station at Montparnasse? Not on your nellie!

But trains now go from Caen to Granville and there were, to my surprise, two that corresponded with the arrival of this bus. So sitting comfortably (not that it’s comfortable on these buses but you get the point) all the way to Caen without moving has to be a good deal.

It’s not surprise to anyone that I had to be lifted onto the bus, and then I was sat in a seat by the door. And to make sure that I didn’t move, I didn’t eat or drink anything all the way to Caen. What doesn’t go in can’t come out.

It was a long, boring drive all the way to Caen but every time I started to become fed up, I began to think of the fight through the metro in Paris and that restored me to my senses.

We were late arriving at Caen which means that I missed the 16:11 but there was plenty of time for the 17:16. And that wasjust as well because it’s a long walk from the bus stop to the station. Once I’d bought a ticket from the machine I bought myself a coffee (first drink of the day) and made a tomato butty while I waited for the train.

And what a stagger it was to the lift, through the subterranean tunnel and back up the lift on another platform. I was really gone by this time and I just fell into the nearest seat on the train. My journey had been well-documented on social media and you have no idea the size of the sigh of relief that I breathed when Marie and Anna asked if I would like to be picked up.

The station at Granville was iced up and I was even more unsteady that I had been in the morning and I took hours to leave the station. Marie and Anna were heartbroken to see me because, believe me, I am not the same person who left here in September. That trip to Canada was one trip too many and one trip too far.

When we arrived back here there was a little ad-hoc reception committee that met me but I was really in no mood to see anyone. Marie helped me into my room here at Ice Station Zebra and that was that.

When I’m finally tired enough to sleep, whenever that might be, I’ll go to bed. And there will be no alarm until Monday. Not that I care either. It’s been weeks, if not months, since I’ve slept with no alarm and I deserve some time off

And when I’m ready, I’ll rebuild my life with what’s left of my health and what’s left of my possessions and start again until the end. I just can’t fo it any more.

A big thank you to everyone who has been so kind to me on my travels around and who has helped me in my difficulties. So many of you that have helped restore my faith in humanity. I love you all, more than I can say.

Thursday 22nd September 2022 – HAVING SPENT …

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… all the afternoon writing up my notes from yesterday, I’m now going to spend all the evening writing up the notes from today.

And notes a-plenty there will be too because there was quite a bit of activity going on in and around the headland this afternoon while I was on my afternoon walk.

And of the 20 photos that survived the cut, there will be plenty to say about them too. No time like the present so I shall have to make a start.

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so while you sitting comfortably admiring plenty of photos of the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter F-ZBQA practising its craft along with its crew this afternoon, I shall begin.

And I’ll begin where I left off, which was coming home last night after midnight, letting it all hang out, the dirty stop-out that I am.

It’s hardly a surprise that once I settled in my chair I couldn’t summon up the energy to go to bed. In the end, it was after 02:00 that I finally called it a night staggered off into bed.

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One thing that I regretted was not checking the fitbit.

While we were on our way back to Granville I noticed that I was on 93% of my daily activity. But walking around while we waited for a table must have clocked up well over 100%

However when I checked after I returned home, it showed just 1%. Of course, it was after midnight wasn’t it, and so it had reset and I’d missed what was the final total.

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was no alarm last night. I’d switched it off in the hope of having a decent sleep to compensate me for my efforts.

However, it didn’t work out like that. I ended up awakening at 06:30 and at various times thereafter. Had I set my mind to it I could have been out of bed a long time before … errr … 10:30.

Some stuff on the dictaphone too but I didn’t have the time to deal with it right away. It wasn’t until almost bedtime that I managed to find a moment to deal with it..

air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022I was back home. I’d been out for a very long walk but for some unknown reason I was only half-dressed. I was in one of the upstairs rooms. I could hear everyone downstairs and the clanking of plates as if it was lunchtime. I thought that I’d betther finish dressing so I grabbed the rest of my clothes, went into the bedroom and dressed. I came out and the sofa had gone. I had who had moved the sofa. My mother stuck her head in the door and asked “what do you mean?”. “The sofa – where’s it gone?”. She pointed to it being stood up in a corner out of my view. She must have been past and cleaned the floor. I went to put down the sofa. She said “you can do that afterwards. It’s mealtime. Come down and have something to eat with the rest of us”.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Having dealt with the medication the next task was to sort out the photos from yesterday.

And when I’d finished those, I could make a start on the notes from all of the places that we visited while we were on our trip out.

Another purpose of this blog is to make me much better-acquainted with what is happening around here and in other places that I visit. And I’m certainly learning an awful lot. That’s because taking photographs is one thing, writing notes about what I photograph is something else completely.

fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire all of the photos of the water craft that were out there today (and weren’t there a lot?) I was busy researching the photos from yesterday.

It takes a lot of discipline to do it correctly, and I’ve had to learn how to discipline myself. After all, what with the Recession, I can no longer afford that woman in Soho.

And so I settled down with the computer, a couple of ancient guide books, my book on the Hundred Years War and started to work.

fishing kayak baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of the Hundred Years War … “well, one of us is” – ed … for most British people, it’s a story of Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers and a few other things too, mostly inspired by William Shakespeare.

For the French however, it was something else completely. When there was no major fighting, there were bands of discharged soldiers roaming around the country at will, terrorising the civilians and committing all kinds of bestial acts.

In addition, there were what they called chevauchées, raiding parties led by noblemen who would use terror as a means of enriching themselves and their followers by any means possible.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022All in all, it was a total nightmare for the civilian population in France. Imagine the events that have happened so far in Ukraine lasting for 116 years, from 1337 to 1453.

A few years ago, while I was rummaging around in a junk shop like you do … “like SOME of you do” – ed … I came across an old book written in French that described the Hundred Years War from the French point of view in almost 500 pages.

Obviously, it was far too good a purchase to miss and so I’ve been having a good read of it today as I’ve been working.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022That’s because the history of Avranches and Mont St Michel are pretty-much tied up with what was happening during the Hundred Years War.

For example, the dramatic and rapid modifications to the entrance to Mont St Michel, brought about by the rapid and dramatic development of field artillery that rendered obsolete each modification almost as soon as it was completed.

It took ages to do because there were the usual interruptions, like coffee, lunchtime fruit, and all that kind of thing too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not forgetting the afternoon walk around the headland either.

And i’m glad that I went out despite all the work because it was a beautiful day. And there were several people down there on the beach enjoying it, as I discovered when I went over to the wall at the end of the car park.

They weren’t actually sunbathing, although they may well have done because it was that nice today. I’d actually gone out without a sweater today and I’d even had the fan on in the office for a short while.

yellow autogyro baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We’ve seen plenty of stuff going on out at sea, and also quite a bit in the air too.

But the helicopter wasn’t all that was going on up there. As I set off to tramp around the headland I was overflown.

Having seen one of the powered hang gliders yesterday down at Mont St Michel, it’s the turn of the yellow autogyro to go down there, I suppose, and I caught her on her way back to the airfield.

There were two people on board this afternoon so it looks as if there has been an interested spectator today.

normandy trader baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While i’d been walking around, I’d seen something larger than the usual trawler heading our way from the direction of St Helier.

It didn’t take a moment to work out that it was in fact Normandy Trader coming in to port, presumably to pick up the freight that we saw being dropped at the quayside the other day.

We can tell that it’s she because of the raised platform at the back of the wheelhouse. Her sister Normandy Warrior has a larger wheelhouse but no raised platform behind it, carrying all her freight in the hold.

people watching air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There were crowds of people out there this afternoon in the nice weather.

Plenty milling around up and down the path, but by far the most of them standing around on the lawn or on the car park watching what was going on with F-ZBQA, the air sea rescue helicopter Eurocopter EC 145 that usually lives at Donville les Bains.

She’d been flying around quite a lot while I’d been out for my walk, and so I wasn’t convinced that this was a “real” rescue. I was of the opinion that it was more of a drill or a training rather than anything else.

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so all in all, this afternoon there was tons of stuff going on, more than enough to keep anyone entertained.

And so for that reason, I was puzzled by the apparent insouciance of the person sitting on the bench down at the cabanon vauban.

There he was, in a ringside seat with all of this going on. The best seat in the house and he seemed to be casually reading a book instead of watching all the activity unfolding right before his eyes.

There’s no accounting for taste, is there?

normandy trader baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I saw Normandy Trader just now I thought to myself that with all of the activity going on just outside the port, she’s going to have something of a surprise when she goes around the headland and finds herself in the middle of whatever is going on.

So around the corner she came, and the first thing that I noticed was that she didn’t have all that much freight on board.

She usually carries the shellfish from the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative but since Brexit that’s not been a very easy product to export

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … after Brexit you can catch as much fish as you like without any let or hindrance, but it counts for absolutely nothing if you don’t have a market in which to sell it.

normandy trader air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So here she comes, right into the thick of the action.

A little later on, I spoke to Nathan, her skipper. He told me that he was impressed by the welcome that he received today.

But anyway, while I watched what was going on, the Eurocopter was lowering down someone to where there was a buoy, and then just hauling him up again, with all of the proceedings being surveyed by the small boat directly underneath.

“Definitely a training exercise” I said to myself.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With all of that going on, it was easy to forget that there was other activity too today.

This is a scene that had it happened on any other day, it would have been headline news. It’s the moment when they are about to open the gates and let all of the fishing boats into the inner harbour.

Consequently they are all queueing up there at the gate and there are plenty of others at the Fish Processing Plant who have already unloaded who are now waiting their turn to go inside and ties up for the day.

This would have made quite a dramatic photograph on its own.

charles marie yachts air sea rescue helicopter F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With Normandy Trader having gone past on her way into port, next on the scene is Charles Marie.

She’s a charter yacht who takes out private parties or else organised day-trips when she isn’t doing anything else. She has about a dozen people on board and I’m sure that they are all having more than their money’s worth this afternoon.

As well as that, I bet that there isn’t much being taught in the yachts at the sailing school that have gone out this afternoon. They probably have other things on their minds too.

normandy trader entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So as Normandy Trader headed into port and F-ZBQA headed back to base for presumably a change of crew, I headed off back home.

And armed with a mug of hot coffee and a handful of brazil nuts, I carried on with my notes from yesterday.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with left-over stuffing. And with the stuffing having been marinating now since Monday night, it was even more delicious than usual.

But now I have other fish to fry after this evening’s marathon. Work is never finished, is it?

There’s a lot more to do tomorrow as I have some plans festering away in the background. I’m ready to have another day off and I’ve only been back at work for a day.

Saturday 17th September 2022 – I FORGOT …

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… that it was Saturday and shopping day today and almost forgot to go out.

When the alarm went off this morning I wasn’t in any rush at all and was lounging around for a whole 10 minutes or so before I had a sudden attack of realisation and leapt to my feet in something of a panic

So while you admire a whole collection of all kinds of aerial craft, because today it looked as if almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon, I shall regale you with my adventures.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And when I say “almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon”, there were even one or two things that couldn’t but were making a valiant attempt.

Like this Nazgul, for an instance. If it were me, I’d have “shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight. “
but Legolas was obviously having much better luck than Wordsworth and me.

This Nazgul came staggering around the headland clearly in some kind of difficulty and he ended up loitering around here for a good five minutes just half an inch above the ground waiting for a gust of wind to pick him up and send him on his way.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBC baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not all of the aerial craft was unidentified though.

Flying by this afternoon was Air France flight AF428 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to, of all places, Bogotà in Colombia, by coincidence where my journalist friend Jill from Philadelphia is on an assignment right now, and had I known, I would have been on it.

The plane that’s taking the flight is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration F-HRBC, and it was at 34,000 feet on course 261° at 460 knots.

We’ve flown on Dreamliners before, once FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE TO MONTREAL IN AUGUST 2014 and once FROM MONTREAL TO CASABLANCA IN OCTOBER 2019.

aeroplane 50SA baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and more banal kinds of flying machine.

So there I was, scrambling to my feet and dashing off to take my medication while I made plans.

After the medication I leapt (well, crawled, actually but sometimes you have to write for effect) into the shower for a good scrub and to make myself pretty, but I’ll need much more than the 4 minutes that the British Government recommends that you spend in the shower in order to do that.

And then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the LeClerc supermarket.

aeroplane 55OJ baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today’s shop was actually quite expensive, but they had a lot of stuff on special offer today.

The hair shampoo that I use, a special type with oils and not soap, was on offer in three-packs. It’ll probably take me the rest of my life to use it all but I couldn’t turn it down.

Fabric softener was at a give-away price too, and then they had some 100% végétale margarine of the best quality in the “end of range” row. It’s much better than the rubbish that I usually buy and the reduced prices was even cheaper than what I would pay for my usual stuff.

Nothing there that I could pass up.

These days I’ve become quite domesticated, haven’t I?

unknown aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home, I called at the Health Centre. The nurse had told me that my vaccination certificate for my fourth vaccination is now ready.

The certificate might be ready but the receptionist wasn’t. Her desk was all closed up. It looks as if the reception is only open 5 days per week. And so instead I came home.

Having put the frozen peas and the cold items away, I came in here and started work.

One thing that I want to do on Saturdays now that I have a little free time with only going to LeClerc and not to Noz is to pair up the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing on Monday. That means that I really can have Sundays off.

If I’m not careful, I’ll end up like Robinson Crusoe. he worked a 5-day week because all his outstanding work was finished by Friday.

unidentified aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The joins in the pairs were amongst the best that I’ve ever made, and I’m very pleased with these.

While I’d been rummaging around in the fridge the other day I found some vegan cheese that I had forgotten. And so for breakfast I had cheese-on-toast and coffee. And that old vegan cheese, stuff that I’d bought ages ago from Lidl, actually melts like real cheese.

That’s the kind of thing that’s useful to know so I made a note.

So having had a nice breakfast, I made a start on what was on the dictaphone from last night. Tons of stuff too. It must have been quite a mobile night.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Last night I was at the airport taxi-driving. I was sitting in the car in the rain watching the line of passengers grow longer and then shorter. Then it was my turn to leave, and I picked up some people going to the hotel in the south near Waterloo. 6 people entered the taxi so I had to insist that 1 of them left as I was only licensed for 5. In the end 2 of them left. They had a chunter but I was only licensed for 5 so there was nothing that I could do about it. We set off

After that I had my boat and I was up round the top of north-west Scotland somewhere. An emergency had occurred and I had to go back to London. It was fairly stormy but I went none-the-less. Although the journey shook me up a lot I made it back without any serious injury or illness.

Later on, Nerina came home from school one day very upset because someone had been taking the mickey out of her. She wanted me to go along and sort them out. Of course it’s not really something that you can sort out as I told her. I said that it was pretty pointless but she insisted so we drove back to Nantwich. I said “when we park up you’ll have to do this, this and this”. She replied “I’m not coming with you”. “Of course you are. This is about you”. In the end we didn’t actually have to go very far because as we pulled up he was there. I had a few words with him about it. He was effectively “what are you going to do about it,”. Of course there wasn’t really anything that you can do about something like that. In the end nothing ever became of it. It didn’t really prove a point but it was one of those things that you just have to do, one of the affairs through which you have to go.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and then this was early in the morning. Everyone was getting up. I was talking to someone at the front door of the residence where I was staying, brushing my teeth. He pointed to my upper lip telling me that there was some toothpaste on it. I replied “don’t worry. I’ll wash my face when I’ve finished”. He replied “yes but I’m telling you that I thought for some reason that it was an extremely silly thing to do”. There was an advert on the TV as well about a young black boy taking 2 children, 1 on the handlebars of his bike and the other in a trailer behind. he was struggling up a hill in the snow. It was something to do with some kind of energy product because it cut to the end where he was cycling up this hill and overtaking everyone like nobody’s business, nothing like the struggle he was having before”. One of my friends from Germany was there. She was there as I was rinsing my face off so we had a little chat. I had my suitcase and was thinking that I’d have time to go to the airport to check in and hand in my suitcase and then come back. Then I’d be ready for going in the evening. I was thinking about it and I wasn’t going for another couple of days yet so why would I be wanting to take my suitcase now? This was starting to become really confusing.

yellow autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the lunchtime fruit the next task was to deal with the carrots. I’m running a little low on them so seeing as they had 1.5kg bags this morning at the same price at which 1kg bags usually sell, I treated myself

They are all now scrubbed, diced, blanched and in the freezer. And I had to be quite imaginative about how I fitted them in because it really is now full to the brim and there’s no room for anything else in there.

Now that I’m much more organised here, I realise that I should have pushed the boat out and bought a bigger freezer. However I would have filled up the space just as quickly and I still would have ended up in this position with no room in there for anything else.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the carrots now done, there’s still no time to breathe a sigh of relief and collapse into a heap.

There’s the afternoon walk – or stagger – around the headland. But not before I’ve gone over to the wall at the end of the car park to check up on the activities down on the beach.

Plenty of people down there this afternoon. No surprise though because although it was quite windy, even if a Nazgul rider didn’t think so, it was a lovely late summer day and it really was a pleasure to be out in it.

There were even one or two people brave enough to be in the water this afternoon.

st helier jersey UK Eric Hall photo September 2022The views out to Jersey were magnificent this afternoon.

They were so good that you could see some of the buildings on the island with the naked eye, and now that I’ve been over there I can tell you what some of them are, and when I’ve finished reviewing the photos I’ll probably be able to tell you what the rest are.

Going from left to right, what I think that we have is first of all Elizabeth Castle and to the right is Fort Regent. Over to the right, the white buildings are the blocks of flats at Le Marais in St Clément.

Of course, that’s guesswork based on what I saw when I was over there, but of course I didn’t actually see everything.

commodore goodwill english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2022And how about a flying ship?

It’s not actually a fata morgana – it is a real ship roughly in the position where it’s supposed to be, but the effects of the haze caused by temperature inversion at the water level gives the impression that she’s flying,.

It’s a phenomenon that’s been observed by mariners for centuries and has been the subject of all kinds of books and the like.

And no prizes for guessing who she might be either. It’s actually Commodore Goodwill out there in the English Channel surrounded by yachts and she left St Helier at 10:36 for a slow sail over to St Malo.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way past the crowds and the wounded Nazguls I crossed the lawn and came to the crowded car park.

Out in the bay there were a couple of kayakers having a good paddle around offshore this afternoon. Having a lot of fun, I suppose.

When I was at school I used to go canoeing but that was a very long time ago and on a canal. I wouldn’t fancy my chances in an open sea in this kind of wind.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE has been kayaking in the open sea while we were in the Arctic, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.
“Would you like a couple of oars?” I asked him before he set out.
“Yes” he replied. “After I’ve come back and put away the kayaking gear”

cabanon vauban man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My route continued across the car park to the end of the headland, and then I picked my way very gingerly down the loose gravel path on my one good leg.

There was plenty going on out at sea and plenty up above in the air too, as you have already seen. Consequently seeing someone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban was no surprise at all.

What was surprising was that he was taking no interest whatever in the exciting events that were unfolding all around him. By the looks of things he was reading a good book, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with continuing my way down towards the port either.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So I scrambled off on my way towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening there.

Nothing much going on at the ferry terminal today. It seems that despite the fine weather, the summer season is grinding to a close. Moored over there are Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. No step in her stern so that means that she’s the older one of the two.

The only one out at the island today is the other one, the newer of the two. So there aren’t any tours around the bay this afternoon.

As for Victor Hugo, she’s still moored in the inner harbour. Her season is definitely finished and I imagine that it won’t be long before she and her sister are off to Cherbourg for a maintenance visit.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The portable boat lift here in the chantier naval is only rated at 100 tons and I don’t imagine that that’s anywhere near as what is required to lift Victor Hugo out of the water.

It would be nice if we had a bigger left to pull heavier boats out of the water but then there’s no real room here for anything large.

Everyone whom we saw yesterday is still here by the way. However I took a better photo of L’Omerta. When I was looking at the radar yesterday I noticed that there isn’t an image for her on the radar database. As I keep the installation here I reckon that it’s upto me to bring it up to date.

That’s a little project for me – to go through and photograph every boat that lives here. I probably have most of them anyway.

Back here I had a coffee and then settled down to watch the football – Y Drenewydd v Penybont in the Welsh Premier League.

This was a game that had everything. Penybont were the better side and they raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half. Watching Y Drenewydd mounting a comeback and trying to pull themselves back into the game made the second half probably one of the most exciting that we have seen.

They pulled a goal back and kept on piling forward, only to be hit by a sucker-punch breakaway that made the score 3-1. Nevertheless they kept on going and scored a second, but couldn’t find a way through for the third despite everything that they tried.

3-2 was about the right result and the game was a great advert for the League except for a couple of “little incidents” in stoppage time that saw a rash of bookings and a sending-off as Penybont tried to slow down the game and run out the clock.

Tea was one of my breaded quorn fillets with veg, and then I came back in here to write up my notes, rather later than usual.

All my work for this weekend is now done so I can have tomorrow off. I even have pizza dough in the freezer (I think).

So I’ll try a walk around the walls tomorrow and see how I feel. I’m still not feeling myself, which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit, but apart from that my right knee is finished, I reckon. I don’t think that I’ll recover from this.

And even if I were to recover, I’m not sure that i’d have the confidence in it that I had.

That’s sad, isn’t it?