Tag Archives: eric hall

Thursday 30th May 2024 – SO HERE WE GO.

Yes, by the time that some of you (but not others, of course) will be reading this I’ll have been tucked up all nice and cosy in bed by a bevy of beautiful nurses at the hospital at Avranches.

Some hopes.

Knowing my luck it will be a retired female Bulgarian weightlifter or hammer-thrower and she won’t have tucked me up at all; never mind smoothed my fevered brow. I shall have to do that by myself.

Before I leave here in the morning I’ll have done all that I can and the rest is in the hands of the Gods.

If it’s anything like last night, it’ll be extremely difficult, that’s for sure. The lethargy about which I spoke … "at great length" – ed … carried on and I couldn’t summon up the energy to leave my comfy chair until almost 01:00, well after my usual bedtime.

It’s difficult to explain what’s happening to me right now. I can’t seem to find the effort to do the simplest of things and it’s so dispiriting.

At least, getting into bed was so much easier and apart from the difficulties that I’m having with my legs right now, even turning over and over in bed was much easier too. Things seem to be pretty much back to normal … "for now" – ed … in that respect, and aren’t I grateful?

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then crawled off into the bathroom.

After that it was the medication. 13 different capsules or potions if we count the anti-potassium stuff. I must be reaching a world-record of some kind at some point. I hear that the French Government is putting up taxes quite soon. It’s all my fault.

For a change, the nurse didn’t have too much to say for himself. But he couldn’t make his card reader connect to the internet to read my health card so after much binding in the marsh he said that he’ll do it next time. I hope that there will be a “next time” anyway.

After he left I had a “rest” for a while and then transcribed the dictaphone notes. Last night there was a group of young girls taking part in a singing competition. While the singing was absolutely excellent they made life extremely difficult for the judges by crowding the backstage and confusing themselves with the other groups so people lost track of who was who because there were so many of them. In the end the judges had to ask several groups to perform again which led to a lot of chaos from some of the groups of parents whose children were feeling excluded by this. All in all, what should have been a simple singing competition turned into absolute chaos coupled with the fact that some jewellery went missing at some point. Of course The Saint was in the audience so everyone suspected him. Some of the parents wanted him involved in helping to find it. It all went on throughout the night in the usual turmoil and complete mess. Nothing was ever decided.

These “Saint” DVDs are a long way from being finished too. I’m about halfway through the black-and-white episodes and then I have all of the colour ones to go at. And all these wonderful British cars of the 1950s and 60s too. Not a single mainstream British car anywhere these days. Hard to believe that at one time the UK led the World

There was another thing about being on the roads of Maine in a snowstorm on I-98 going north. There was a huge pile-up and they were announcing things on the radio “2 women injured” then the total went to “5 women injured” and gradually increased. I heard someone in the background say “what the heck is going on there? Aren’t there any males in that traffic queue?”. I thought to myself “that’s a really nice thing to say, isn’t it, seeing as I’m stranded in this queue but near the front nowhere near where these collisions are taking place?”.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been on Interstate 95 in Maine on numerous occasions, but rarely in the snow. But we’re back to this theme of “token womanism” again where “x people were hurt, of which Y were women and children” Imagine the outcry if they had said “X people were hurt, of which Z were men”.

We once did a study of “minorities” listing all of the people from different classes of minority and subtracting them from the total population. We eventually reached the conclusion that a white middle-class middle-aged man was very much a minority when it came to today’s scale of things. Of course, our report was … errr … mislaid.

After my coffee and flapjack I fell asleep again but this afternoon I’ve been packing and making myself ready for the road tomorrow and the hospital at Avranches as well as doing some stuff for the radio. I’m not sure what they want of me but I know what I want of them and I’m hoping that they can do something to alleviate my suffering.

On that note, I’ve baked a loaf of bread and I shall take half of it with me. My invitees can share out the rest amongst themselves. But with my half a loaf and half a flapjack I’m hoping that at least there will be some food for me to eat somewhere.

That’s the big problem – who do I know who can bring me some food parcels?

But I’ll worry about that in due course. I’ve had a nice tea tonight of baked potato (seeing as I had the oven going) sausage and beans.

It’s been ages since I’ve had baked beans so, listening to my stomach right now, I won’t need a taxi to get me to Avranches in the morning.

Wednesday 29th May 2024 – IN THE MIDDLE …

… of a period where my work output has slowed down to the kind of speed that makes a crawl look rapid, today I had a day where I emulated my namesake the mathematician and did three fifth of five eights of … errr … nothing.

In fact, I probably didn’t even do three fifths of five eights of it. It’s not been a very good day for me in that respect.

And that’s a shame because for once I actually managed something like an early night. Even going to bed and sliding under the covers was easier and I could toss and turn all night to my heart’s content. For the first time in several weeks i actually felt content in bed.

For a change I slept through to the alarm and found that I could even sit upright in bed without pain. When I arose from my stinking pit I actually felt in a much better frame of mind too and it looked like being a good day

It didn’t take long for things to go south, that’s for sure. For a start that large file transfer that I’d tried to do yesterday had failed and I had to do it again later in the day.

First though I had to go through the usual morning routine and I’ll tell you for nothing that this anti-potassium stuff really does taste awful.

Next step was to have a good wash and change of clothes. My old clothes walked into the laundry basket on their own

The nurse came around later on and as well as the usual morning routine for him, he had to give me my injection and take a blood sample. Consequently I’m feeling like a dartboard again because he doesn’t have “the touch”.

And I wish that he’d stop moaning. I’m not responsible for the (lack of) light in the dining area or the diameter of my veins and there’s nothing that I can do about it.

After he left I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I dreamed once again that the alarm had gone off so I arose and left the bed. I had to tell my mother where the alarm was so that she could show my brother for the following morning. Just then the alarm went off again. I thought “well, not to worry. I can awaken him and show him where the alarm is now that the other ‘phone is ringing”. But there was no ‘phone ringing at all. There was no alarm. There was no awakening. It was 11:00 and the last 8 hours that we’d had … fell asleep here …

so we’re back on the phantom alarms again. And back with the family again too. I thought that I’d said “goodbye” to them a while back.

I was with The Saint last night in Midwest USA. Some guy had been killed and everyone was investigating his murder. The last time he was seen was with a couple of women. Slowly, these two women were denounced by the neighbours as being Amish and made some kind of living by entrapping single men into marrying one of them and presenting a baby, then hitting the men for alimony that would last for 18 years but in the meantime moving on to the next guy. So The Saint had to find these women and investigate it. Eventually he was picked up by these two women and taken back to their house. He was plied with drink and other kinds of things. It wasn’t too long before some kind of mock or sham marriage was arranged between him and the younger of these two women. It was quite clear what they had in mind which was to entrap him in a bedroom scene. This slowly developed throughout the night until in the end I awoke and missed all of the excitement.

Most un-Amish-like behaviour. I’ve encountered plenty of Amish people. There’s a large pocket of them up around where my place is in New Brunswick and “over across” in Maine. You’re in a hurry going south towards Interstate 95 and suddenly come screeching up behind a horse and buggy. It’s quite disconcerting. All oil lamps and stuff like that – the kind of technology that would even impress the people in Crewe.

The next dream also involved The Saint. The Austrian police had intercepted a drugs run of a large amount of high-quality drugs and needed to find out more. The operation was so secure that no-one knew who their contact was so they decided to infiltrate James Bond … "James Bond?" – ed … as the drugs runner and have him pick up all the information that he could while he was on his way round ready for the final arrest at the appropriate moment. Of course he agreed to this but under some very strict terms to make it look even more convincing such as the fact that he had been arrested and had been released with no charge because the police couldn’t find the drugs on him, therefore he must have had them hidden somewhere extremely secret that no-one else knew and to pick up the story from there, and this was where it all began.

Vienna was always the place for that. The “Crossroads of Europe” where east meets west, the amount of smuggling that went on there across the various borders, and not just in THE THIRD MAN either, was legendary, and probably still is. I was there with a 22-tonne lorry at Christmas 1997 and was told not to leave it parked unattended in the commercial vehicle car park or it would be in Bratislava in half an hour, with me a long way behind.

By the way, can you guess what I’m watching as I eat my evening meal?

My cleaner didn’t clean this afternoon. Instead we had a very lengthy chat about the arrangements for my visitors as I won’t be here to greet them. She knows my apartment and so do they so there shouldn’t be any issues. They can all work it out between them and it’ll probably be easier than if I tried to resolve anything.

As you might expect, I crashed out for a few hours again today. Yesterday of course I didn’t crash out at all which is a rare achievement these days. A shame that I can’t keep it going.

Tea was a left-over curry and this batch of naan bread dough is perfection itself. The naan that I made this evening was delicious, nice and light and fluffy as it’s supposed to be

So right now I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I’m backing up the computer, packing and baking bread.

But something that I wrote just now reminds me of the two guys who locked themselves out of their apartment. One of their windows was open so they borrowed a ladder and began to climb up.
"Doing this makes me feel like a fireman" said one
"Me too" replied his friend "but where would we find one at this time of night?"

Tuesday 28th May 2024 – “YOU ARE REQUESTED …

… to come for an appointment at the hospital at Avranches on Friday morning at 09:00. Ohhh – and bring your overnight things”.

Things are moving faster than I even expected and it’s rather important because this weekend I have friends coming over from Germany to visit me. I bet that they didn’t expect to come to visit me in a hospital bed.

But yet more visits? More visits this year than I’ve had in all the other years combined since I’ve been living here. Anyone would think that I’m dying or something.

Last night I actually felt like dying. I’d done all that I could to have an early night and then the fates conspired against me, one thing led to another, and once you begin you’ve no idea how many other things there are. As a result I was late into bed once more.

However I actually found it a little easier to crawl into bed last night and turning over through the pain barrier into the only position in which it’s possible at the moment to be comfortable was nothing like as painful as it has been

My legs were well inside the bed too which meant that I didn’t fall out once which was an improvement on the previous night. Nevertheless I was awake a long time before the alarm went off and wandering around the bathroom when it finally did ring.

No blood test today for some reason. He’s going to do it tomorrow, which probably means that I won’t have my injection of the Last Resort until Thursday, if it’s not too late by then

But I do wish that he’d stop moaning. Things may well not be pleasant for him around here right now, but imagine how they are for me. Don’t you think that I’d change things if I could?

After he left I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There wasn’t actually anything on it but that’s not to say that I didn’t go anywhere.

In fact I had the greatest memory of another one of those really long dreams that I’m sifting through my head before I dictate them, just like the other night. This was a lengthy newspaper article that I was writing about how unjust it is to blame goalkeepers for their errors on the field. A keeper who lets a shot roll in under his body has no more lost the game for his club than the centre-forward who misses a sitter. Yet you see plenty of “goalkeeper error” videos but very rarely a “centre forward error” one.

What started this. I suppose, was a game that I saw the other day between Annan Athletic Under 17s and Threave Rovers Under 17s when the Annan keeper was yellow-carded for “deliberate handball” giving away a freekick that led to a goal by Threave Rovers. The game was being played on a sports centre pitch where there were five different sets of markings and he simply carried the ball out to the wrong set of lines. So what I was doing in my sleep was going through lists of games where a keeper had made a mistake and conceded a bad goal and a striker had missed a sitter in front of goal, and comparing who was blamed for the defeat.

Of course, each time that I thought that I’d had my list ready to dictate I remembered something else and had to start my list again. But I was awake before I could do that.

Coffee and delicious flapjack were next, then back in here I didn’t do all that much for a while.

A ring on the doorbell, a real one this times, jogged me into action. It was the doctor. He took one look at me and almost collapsed with shock.

He gave me a good going-over and reckoned that I ought to have a spell in hospital – “and not just a couple of days either”. He’d “have a word with the nephrology professor” at Avranches about me

So after he left I began to bring my medical file up-to-date, weeding out all of the time-expired stuff and adding in the new stuff. You’ve no idea how much has changed over the past few weeks.

My prescription – I’d given than to the nurse this morning. I had to print off another one along with yet more paperwork.

In the middle of all of this the hospital at Avranches rang up with the convoquation. So here we go.

Firstly, I had to book the taxi to take me. Secondly, I had to tell Paris where I was going just in case I can’t make their appointment on the 10th of June.

The doctor’s office rang me back later too “there’s another medicament …” so I had to contact my poor cleaner. And having one hospital take me off the Burinex for something else, Avranches has now put me back on the Burinex. And that’s just as well because I never had these problems when I was taking that.

In the middle of all of this I’d been doing some radio stuff. I’d started by choosing some music for another programme but with the news that I had, I verified three more programmes and sent them off. I told you that it’s a good idea to have a few prepared in advance.

At long last I could go for tea – a taco roll with rice and veg. Totally delicious as usual. I really do like my boring meals. They are totally different from what I’ll be eating in a few days time. I hope that some of you will be sending me food parcels.

But that’s for another time. I’m living from day to day here – in fact, from minute to minute. Getting into bed is the next challenge

The hospital should be fun – in the sense of interaction with others. I don’t see enough people, stranded as I am in my apartment. I know that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having told me that I need to get out more.

But it’s going to be a struggle for them at Avranches. Last time I was there I heard more than one nurse say, as I was climbing into the taxi to take me home "if he comes back, I’m leaving!"

Monday 27th May 2024 – IT’S BEEN LIKE …

… Euston Station in here with all of the various comings and goings. And not just physically either. The telephone has been burning a hole in my hand too judging by the number of calls that it’s had to handle.

From dawn until dusk things have never been quiet, always with something happening and I really am at the stage of wondering “why?”

Last night though was rather quiet. After I’d finished my notes, late as it might have been, I didn’t hang around but fell onto the bed quite quickly. Actually making myself comfortable under the quilt was something else completely but never mind. “Agonising” or “painful” are quite appropriate words to use here.

And things went fairly well during the night until about 05:30 when my right leg fell out of bed.

“Why didn’t you put it back in bed?” I hear you say. But I did, even if it did take me half an hour to do it. And if you think that I am joking I promise you that I’m not. You’ve no idea what kind of state I’m in.

And once it was back in bed it didn’t last long and at 06:30 it fell out again. This time, no matter how I tried I couldn’t get it back into bed. At 06:50 I gave up the struggle and when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was … errr … riding the porcelain horse

The nurse came round later and took my blood sample. It was the most clean, painless blood sample that I have ever had taken too and it’s a shame that she’s now finished until next week.

After she left I came back in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes.. I was in Berlin last night. The old West German government was trying to persuade some woman, the wife of some West German minister to murder some political rival by poisoning him. They had some information on her and would use it if she failed to carry out their demand. Instead, she killed him in a different fashion which puzzled everyone. No-one could understand who had done it and why. There was a big investigation and she ended up in Court to answer questions. She told the Court everything about her involvement with the attempted poisoning but nothing whatever about the shooting to make it appear that she had a perfect alibi for whenever the killing had taken place with regard to this other person.

It’s years since I was in West Berlin. It was the case where this kind of thing happened only too frequently. The people, were living under the shadow of the East so time was short, and fun, deceit and intrigue was the name of the game. I encountered just as much “surveillance” there as I did in Minsk and Moscow in the days of the Iron Curtain There were all kinds of murky goings-on in West Berlin.

Having almost fell out of bed, I finally managed it at about 05:30 when my right leg hit the floor dramatically and awoke me. I was thinking at the time of a song, a new wave song that was going round in my head and which I’ve subsequently forgotten. A Jeep, like a Japanese four-wheel drive pickup thing in Canada being involved in a bit of road rage and doing a U-turn through a parking lot to go back onto the road and chase after the people who had upset him which was when I fell out of bed

And as if there’s ever any road rage in Canada. The only time I ever encountered people blowing their horns was near me when I was driving. Canada – even parts of rural Québec – is one of the most laid-back places on earth.

While I was sitting on the edge of the bed I fell asleep. Leicester City lost one of their young midfield players who went to play for Plymouth Argyle. The fee was £60,000 and Leicester were upset because they thought that it was more. The guy who replaced him in Leicester’s team had a really bad injury and was carried off the field. There wasn’t really anyone on their bench to replace him so they were even more incensed.

Having typed out my dictaphone notes I went for my morning coffee and new flapjack, which is quite delicious but a little dry. I shall have to increase the amount of honey that I use, I reckon. But I am very impressed with it – almost as much as I was with my stainless steel dustbin.

The phone rang immediately afterwards. It was the hospital wondering how I was.

When I’d finished telling them of my grief they told me to contact my GP and tell him everything, which I promised to do. However back in here I must have fallen asleep because the next thing that I knew, it was 14:06.

Once I’d come round into the Land of the Living I wrote out my letter as promised and sent a message to my faithful cleaner to see if she would deliver it.

Then I received an e-mail from the hospital – “here’s a new prescription changing a few things …” so I printed it out and send another note to my cleaner.

The doctor’s surgery was next to call. The hospital had contacted them. The blood test must be done again – I don’t think that they can believe some of the figures (and neither could I when I saw it) so she’ll see the nurse, but there’s a new medication that I have to take – she’ll send the prescription direct to the pharmacie

So I sent another message to my cleaner.

The blood test results turned up next.

The red blood cells have now dropped to 8.4 – just 0.4 above the critical limit. No wonder I’m feeling wretched right now. We’re back on the injections as of Wednesday then.

If that’s not enough, remember when the Creatinite had risen to 310 and caused them to summon me urgently to the hospital for emergency treatment? It’s now at 336, a figure which apparently won’t support life.

My cleaner turned up and I gave her everything. And bless her! She seemed to think that it was so important that she sailed off like a galleon down into town without even stopping for breath.

And guess what? Remember the anti-potassium stuff that was giving me all of these hallucinations? Here it is again

The cleaner and I spent a good while going through all of my medication. Even the nurse thinks that it’s too much and I can’t say that I disagree. But there’s piles of it – two new ones as of now and I wonder how many more after this next blood test tomorrow.

Finally, a cruise company rang me to see if I wanted to go on a little voyage around the World, one of my plans from a few years ago put on hold during the lockdown.

And I still managed to find time to finish off all of the radio notes too, would you believe?

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper – the last one unless I can get in another stock before next Monday. Delicious as usual and plenty of stuffing remaining.

So now I’m off to bed if I can manage to make it into bed without falling out again.

What delights will tomorrow bring? I shudder to think. As if the news of today isn’t enough to be going on with.

But I can’t help thinking that has inspired this cruise company to contact me? I suppose it’s the local community all getting together to tell me to go away and clear off..

Sunday 26th May 2024 – I CAN’T GO …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 25th May 2024 – IT SEEMS AS IF …

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

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

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

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

And then a strange thing happened.

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

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

It really was thoroughly confusing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 24th May 2024 – “THERE’S NONE AS THICK …

… as them as wants to be” as my old grandfather used to say in his old Maelor-border accent

And so for the past few days finding it more and more difficult to rise up from my chair in here? I’ve been thinking about buying one of these chairs where there’s some kind of pump-action that raises and lowers the sear.

The last couple of days or so I’ve been discussing it with my cleaner but when she’s been in here this afternoon she asked me “what’s this handle for underneath the seat of your chair?”

You really couldn’t make it up, could you?

It’s a shame that there’s not one on the bed though. It’s all very well “going to bed” but that’s no earthly good if it takes 20 minutes to actually climb on. Honestly, I ache in so many different places it’s simply not true. There’s my groin, and my back, and regular readers will recall the stabbing pain in the sole of my right foot that goes all the way through my body. Well, that’s back too, as if I don’t have enough.

So last night was absolutely wretched. If there hadn’t been stuff on the dictaphone I’d have sworn that I hadn’t slept a wink all night

When the alarm went off I was a little quicker out of the blocks and not needing to dress saved me some time, so after I’d had my medication I began to make the weekend’s bread

After the nurse had been I carried on with my bread and I do have to say that it was perfection itself, which is nice. However it took a lot longer than it ought and so breakfast was quite late today.

Once breakfast was over I set to and made a mountain of hummus. One lot is chili flavoured and the other is olive and dried tomato, and most of it is in the freezer

Having done that I came back in here were I didn’t actually crash out but I was in some kind of vapid daze, not able to function at all but fully conscious of my surroundings.

The cleaner came round and awoke me from my reverie, and we had this chat about my chair. And then I transcribed the dictaphone notes. Someone was following the trail of her father at work. He had died and she had been following in his footsteps to find out more about his life. She went to his factory and found that he was given certain things. They gave her two of them. Then they all went for a meal at the restaurant where he used to go. They proposed soup, which was what he always had but mine was white creamy stuff like cottage cheese yet they insisted that it was soup, the soup that this guy always had though it looked nothing like soup to me. I was just on the point of tasting it when I awoke

It beats me as to why I would be there, but things sound right about the soup. No-one seems to care about my diet here.

A roll of insulation had fallen off a lorry on the M50 and had completely blocked the motorway for several miles so the whole motorway was closed while they thought of what they would do to roll this back up. There was a group of kids camping near there. The police wanted them moved on but when I saw the girl’s rucksack was absolutely full to the point of bulging yet weighed as light as a stone as if there were just bags of air inside it made me wonder what on earth was going on with these kids. What did their choice have to do with anything and why were they being pushed around like this

And young girls being pushed around by the police. Would you believe it?

While we were discussing the closing of the road by this insulation and how they were going to move me the engine on a cabin cruiser than was being towed and had stopped because of the police suddenly burst into flames. There was smoke and fumes everywhere while this happened.

There was also a good old-fashioned knock at the door at 06:00 but there was no chance of my opening it at all. Probably phantom knockers now, I reckon.

Then I paired off the music for the next radio programme but was interrupted by a ‘phone call. It was the hospital giving me appointments for Tuesday 11th. It looks as if I’ll be staying over when I go on the 10th. But apparently they’ve found an issue with my heart

They want a blood test too so I had to print off a pile of stuff including the prescription

Tea tonight was vegan nuggets with chips and vegan salad, and now I’m off to bed, if I can manage to climb onto it. But at least it’s not as bad as when I was married and I swapped our bed for a trampoline. Nerina hit the roof!

Thursday 23rd May 2024 – I’VE NO IDEA …

.. what I’ve done to myself, but I have aches in places I didn’t even realise that I had places.

At some time during the night I pulled a muscle in my groin in bed.

Usually I don’t mind pulling a muscle in my groin in bed, but only if there’s someone else in there pulling it with me. This time though it happened during the night when I was asleep and I didn’t realise until I had to leap out of bed to switch off the alarm

And then I did! Ohh yes.

And I’ve also done something to my lower back too so sitting down, even in my lovely office chair, is agonising too

When I went to bed last night, earlier than usual for a change, I was in perfect health. Well, as perfect as I can be, I suppose. And for a few hours I had a nice relaxing sleep.

However things went south from there. I was tossing and turning around, obviously far too much at one point.

When the alarm went off Billy Cotton cried his famous cry three times before I could reach the ‘phone to switch him off. Usually I can manage to do it before the first chorus ends but that’s when I don’t have pulled muscles in my body with which I have to contend.

In the bathroom it took me half an hour – yes, half an hour to dress myself. It really was so difficult to pick up my right leg with this agonising pain.

Eventually I managed it though and limped off into the living room to sort out the medication. It’s a day of everything today, even the Vitamin D supplement that I have to take these days with being stuck indoors.

When the nurse came I told her of my predicament and she insisted, absolutely insisted that I take a painkiller. I’m totally opposed to that idea but I could see the logic in her argument today.

However I had a few things to do that needed my attention beforehand

Once I’d organised everything I took a painkiller, with the predictable results. Having crowed yesterday about not crashing out at all, I was away with the fairies. And away for almost 4 hours too. It was 15:06 when I awoke and … errr … somewhat later when I started work.

The cleaner had been in while I’d been asleep and apparently we’d had a chat. I wonder what it was that I’d said. It can’t have been anything offensive because she came back later with other stuff. It seems that one of my neighbours has left me a couple of punnets of soft fruit which is really nice.

First thing that I did was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We were having a big discussion about teenagers wasting time. It turned into some kind of battle like a game of football or something. Whichever team I was on, we swept the field and won quite convincingly. This led to me moving into a new apartment. I had some help to do it. Afterwards we were settling down when the ‘phone rang. It was Rosemary so she and I had a good chat. She found out where I was living now, which was just down the road from ETS Elliott School and some of her stuff was there in a box so she wondered if we could go to pick it up at some point at lunchtime. I didn’t see any objection to that except that I wasn’t sure how I was going to carry it away. It would probably need to go into the car which meant coming back from work on the bus or tram, getting into the car, going to the school, getting the things, going back home and then going back to work on the bus or tram again. Certainly in theory it was possible anyway

Time is, after all, only wasted if you actually regret it. And when you are teenage you don’t worry about that

There’s a General Election taking place in the UK. I’ve been an MP for 5 years creaming the money off illicit contracts and tings like that from the NHS over Covid. Of course with the elections coming up there was likely to be a new Party, there’s likely to be a public enquiry which could eventually lead to prosecutions. I would have to admit at some stage or other that I was likely to be prosecuted for some misdeeds with regard to the Covid disaster and the aftermath of it. It was all extremely depressing for me as time passed on the approach to the date

Yes, I’ve caught the General Election fever right enough with all of this. It’ll be like this now for the next few weeks until it’s all over.

I was going somewhere on a train. The train was quite crowded. There was one guy behind me talking to one guy in front of me. Although they were talking quite quietly it was impossible for me to sleep. I had all kinds of dreams and things going through my head relating to the economy and knights in shining armour etc but of course with not being asleep they are only flitting through. In the end there was an incident on board the train. Someone made some kind of remark to me so I replied and mentioned about these two guys talking to each other and said that maybe now they can keep quiet and let everyone else go to sleep. I suddenly realised that not only was I sitting on a set of seats for two in this crowded train I was sitting on the one against the aisle and my feet were across the other one propped up on the back of the seat in front. I had stuff all over where I was sitting on the window ledge and on the tray of someone sitting across the aisle too. I suddenly realised that I’m the last person who ought to be lecturing passengers about their behaviour on this train. As it became more crowded and people were standing I suddenly realised that maybe I’m going to have to change my behaviour and let someone sit alongside me which would of course make the journey much more uncomfortable for me but make it much more comfortable for everyone else. It really did seem strange the way I was reacting when I was being twice as bad as everyone else when it came down to selfishness

And this isn’t like me, is it? I’m not usually the inconsiderate sort. Not these days anyway.

Next step was the radio programme. I’ve chosen all of the music and begun to pair it off. That should keep me out of mischief for the next few days, writing the radio notes for the music that I’ve chosen. There’s some good stuff in this programme.

Tea tonight was, as I said the other day, steamed veg with falafel in a vegan cheese sauce. That’s another one of my favourite meals and it was as delicious as always. That’s another meal I can eat every night of the week.

But seeing as I’m in agony I’m off to bed. Fully dressed because I’m not going through this morning’s pantomime again.

Tonight I feel like the woman who went to the doctor’s about her aches and pains.
"What did he say about the pain in your back?" asked her husband
"He told me to rub in this embrocation three times a day" she replied
"Did he say anything about the pain in your *rs*?"
"Yes" she replied. "He told me that I ought to apply for a divorce"

Wednesday 22nd May 2024 – I HAVE GONE …

… would you believe, for a whole day without falling asleep even once. And when was the last time that that happened?

It has to be said that I did waver for about 10 minutes round about 17:45 but Rosemary sending me a few text messages soon snapped me out of it.

The interesting thing will be to see how I manage tomorrow. Is this just a flash in the pan? Or is it a renaissance? My money is of course on the former because as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, nothing is so bad that it cannot deteriorate any further, but you never know.

That was the last thing that I was imagining when I finally crawled into bed last night, later than I would have liked it to be but earlier than some just recently.

It was another turbulent night too. I don’t think that I had all that much sleep. But I was definitely asleep when the alarm went off. No phantom alarms during the night – at least, not that I recall.

There was the usual morning routine with the nurse helping me put on my new slippers, and then I had a leisurely few hours while I slowly came round into the Land of the Living.

After my coffee and fruit bun I had things to do. I’m going for a check-up in Paris on 10th June and I needed a bon de transport – a transport voucher – as my journey is more than 150 km

You’ve no idea how many times and how many different numbers I had to dial in order to find the Secretariat of the doctor. In the end I managed to contact them and they’ll send me one.

Next step was the taxi company to book the car to take me. As the journey is over 150 kms I need “prior authorisation” from the Social Security. No problem there because it seems that the doctor has asked for – and been given – “prior authorisation” for 15 trips. And so I invited the receptionist out to hit the high spots with me one night.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes. There were six of us living in a house all together. We had a few things to do, one of which was to play in some kind of cup final. The following day the film that had been taken of the match was shown to us. We could see the penalty shootout at the end where we’d scored penalties. They wanted us to do this again and then go to see a famous footballer to talk to him about the match. This meant leaving the bed and dressing. Someone had brought everything into the room for us to make our own sandwiches to eat on the trip. I was going to make a sort of burger, I suppose, with a burger and crudities on top but while I was cutting the cabbage or cauliflower or something like that, the cabbage or cauliflower fell onto the floor. No-one knew where it was. I couldn’t see it. In the end after several minutes someone pointed it out to me. By this time my quilt had fallen off the bed and had landed on top of it. I thought to myself that I would never ever have this sandwich like this. In the end I abandoned the attempt for the moment and chose other crudités to go on the pile. Then we slowly began to set off. I had the preferential place on the transport but I couldn’t think why because my goal to me was no more different than anyone else’s goal during this match

Later on I had a similar type of dream. A girl I knew in Brussels was there with me. We ended up driving to some kind of city and we were discussing a few things that had taken place over the last couple of days. I jokingly said to her “if you aren’t very careful I’ll be offering you a job”. Her eyes lit up at that and she wanted to know more about what I meant. Of course I meant it in fun but for some reason or other I felt like sharing my life with someone and she was there. We had a chat. It turned out that she wasn’t really all that interested. She asked what was involved so I talked about my future plans for next holiday, which was to go on a driving tour of places in Italy. She didn’t fancy that. She wanted to go to Borth in mid-Wales. I asked why and she replied that it’s handy for the airport if she wants to go somewhere else. I made a joke about “was it you, that person on the bicycle”? There had been some talk about a person on a bicycle. She was rather offended by that. She reminded me of a holiday that she’d done on a motor cycle previously. I explained that a motor cycle is far easier than going on a bike in any case. The discussion continued as we climbed into my car, the red Cortina. There was a guy loitering around. He had a really strange beard. I asked him if he wanted a lift. He replied “yes” but didn’t climb into the car as if he was waiting for someone else. I pulled forward out of the parking spot but he just shook his head then and walked away so I drove off and continued my discussion with the girl.

She was a strange girl too. Assistant to the Editor of the Brussels edition of “Time” magazine, she did have a short fuse if you touched one of her sacred cows. And she came to stay with me – for 12 months too – in 2003 while her apartment was rented out when she was short of money. And I never saw her again after she left

And so that dream continued. We walked mile after mile after mile all the way through South Cheshire, through Crewe. I was there with my youngest sister, leading her on trying to encourage her but with her little legs, it must have been a nightmare this trip. We just kept on going. Nothing distracted us all the way up Edleston Road past all of these cheap shops selling sweets and things, through a kind of market hall at the top and out onto Nantwich Road. We carried on walking towards Nantwich for whatever reason – I had no idea at all. Poor little sister. She must have been in hell trying to walk this journey with us with her small legs.

Why I said “so that dream continued” I have no idea. There’s probably something missing somewhere that I didn’t record and that’s a shame, especially if it includes Zero, Castor or TOTGA. They didn’t make it last night but it’s nice to see a couple of other people whom I know.

While the cleaner was here I finished off the radio notes for the programme on which I’ve been working, and I made a start on choosing the music for the next one. We have to push on.

Tea tonight was another delicious leftover curry with naan bread. That’s the last of the naan bread dough so I’ll have to make some more on Sunday along with the pizza dough and the biscuits. I’m running short of those.

But that’s for Sunday. Now I’m off to bed.

But the gist of Rosemary’s discussion was the UK General Election which will take place on 4th July and which will figure in these pages in fuller detail over the next few weeks when a whole variety of MPs will be preparing to head for the hills with their ill-gotten gains from the Covid scandal.

But that’s nothing to laugh at. A Chinese guy was taunting me about the state of the UK. I told him "at least the UK can change its Government every five years. When was the last time you had an election?"
"Just before blekfast" he retorted.

Tuesday 21st May 2024 – NOT ANOTHER HORRIBLE …

… miserable day when I’ve spent most of the afternoon fast asleep on my comfortable chair?

It’s gone from being 10 minutes every few days now to a couple of hours on a couple of occasions every day and you’ve no idea just how fed up I’m becoming of it.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I awoke as quickly as I went to sleep, but awakening is a long, drowsy process when I’m not able to do anything at all except vegetate and wait for my body to catch up with the spinning of the World

There’s nothing in the World that I’d like more than to be able to say “goodbye” to all of this. One way or the other – it doesn’t bother me at all, but this is simply no good at all.

It’s not as if I had a particularly late night last night. It was the wrong side of 23:00 to be sure, but not by enough to worry me. And I actually had a decent sleep for several hours too.

At a certain point I definitely heard the alarm go off but it didn’t feel like 07:00 so I checked my watch. Battery flat! So I had to leave the bed to check the time on the ‘phone. It was only 06:00 as it happened, so once more we must have had a phantom alarm call.

As for me, I crawled back under the covers and waited for the 07:00 alarm call.

When it rang I went through the usual procedure of leaving the bed to switch it off, and then the bathroom for a wash followed by the dining area for my medication and to set it out as the nurse likes it.

While I waited for her I transcribed the dictaphone notes. Here’s a dream about people escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp and we’ve had this before. People being disguised as couples or families doing their best to make their own escape kits of clothing and materials that they’ll need. The night before the escape they all have a dress rehearsal by all appearing in the hallway of one of the blocks where there’s a German guard but he doesn’t suspect anything with the unlikely arrival of a couple of women and children etc. They have this demonstration. There’s a dog there for some reason, probably a prison warden dog. Someone makes a joke to another potential escapee about “oh it’s OK to stroke the poor doggie. That’s quite all right”. Generally speaking the display passes off quite well and the people prepare themselves to break out the following night. Certainly a couple of nights later the camp is empty so the escape must have been successful to some certain degree

Then I dreamed that dream about Bala FC escaping from that prisoner-of-war camp again although one of the prison camp guards played for Chester. I’ve forgotten this dream now. He was a prison camp and later on was told quite dramatically that I am sure to be his position, sack all over the street (…fell asleep here …)

So what’s going on about all of these prisoner-of-war dreams that I’m having right now? It must be significant, I suppose, but I can’t think of what the significance might be.

The nurse went through the procedures with my feet and legs, and I think that she realises that she’s fighting a losing battle. I know that that’s how I’m thinking. There’s no improvement and it’s just delaying the inevitable, and for no good purpose too.

After she left I revised for my Welsh class. The lesson passed quite well today which makes a nice change. We were talking about music, and of course that’s a subject about which I can talk for ever.

One of the things that I mentioned – in Welsh – was a rock group called Sumé. They come from Greenland and sang – would you believe – in Inuit. It’s thanks to their songs that many words made their way into the Inuit language and their singing started a revolution.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I began to learn Inuit but the problem with that language is that with the communities being so isolated and inter-community mixing so rare, each community has its own sub-language. What you learn in one settlement is different from the Inuit spoken in another settlement. So really you have to master about 20 different dialects

After the course was over I had my lunchtime fruit and then spent to afternoon fighting off – often unsuccessfully – wave after wave of sleep. While I was asleep at one point in the afternoon I’d been in some kind of dispute with someone and had climbed into my car ready to drive away to Manchester to fetch some things. I had someone with me. I realised that I was in no condition to drive and was on the verge of asking the person with me to take over when I realised what was happening was that I was slowly awakening.

Me being in dispute with someone? Surely not!

Despite the “wave after wave of sleep” I did manage to do some work. I wrote a few more notes for a future radio programme. With a bit of luck, God’s help and a Bobby I should be able to finish it tomorrow, if I don’t fall asleep.

The cleaner came round too to go through the medication. She brought me some new slippers that she’d picked up in LeClerc but it’s no good – despite them being two sizes too large I can’t actually put them on myself.

Tea tonight was a delicious taco roll with some more leftover stuffing. I can eat that with rice and veg every day of the week. There’s plenty of stuffing left to go into a left-over curry on Wednesday and I’ll have steamed veg and falafel in a cheese sauce on Thursday, I reckon, if I’m still here

They were actually discussing the funeral arrangements with someone not so long ago
"Would you like him buried in one of the new glass coffins?" asked the undertaker
"That’s a novel idea" said the client. "Do you think that it’ll ever become popular?"
"Remains to be seen" replied the undertaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ahh well, such is life I suppose

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

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

That sounds typical, doesn’t it?

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

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

Sunday 19th May 2024 – WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT

this evening I’ve been out and about – and how I wish that I hadn’t. It did not go well.

Actually it all began to go wrong the previous evening. Despite the promise of an extra hour in bed until 08:00, it was actually long after midnight before I finally hit the hay, what with one thing and another. And once you start, you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are.

It was another turbulent night when I don’t think that I may have had much sleep, and I was certainly in no mood to deal with the alarm that rang.

Anyway I staggered off into the bathroom having switched off the alarm, done what I’d needed to do and washed the floor (which was much more complicated than it ought to have been) I was interrupted mid-deshabillé by the early arrival of the nurse. So he had to wait for me to finish.

Once I was ready he did the necessary and departed, leaving me to prepare breakfast.

There was a ‘phone call shortly afterwards. It’s a neighbour’s birthday, the neighbour who was so helpful in putting me on the trail of the apartment downstairs. It’s a “special” birthday and she was having a big party in one of the public rooms here.

She wanted me to be there, which was nice, and se she’d asked another couple of neighbours to help me. They rang me up to confirm the arrangements.

At some point in between one or two of the constant waves of sleep that were overwhelming me I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was a teacher at school last night talking to a couple of guys. As a result I was late to go to my class one morning. On another morning a similar situation occurred but on a third moment I was just late. I ran into a young teacher who was trying to make an impression who was also late coming into school. I told him to simply say that he had been to see these two other guys who had kept him longer than they should but he couldn’t understand it. He kept on being confused about how he should say and what he should say. When I mentioned a sum of money which was why I was late – I had to go to pay a bill somewhere he asked “yes, do I have to pay these guys a sum of money?” and he started to really confuse himself. In the end I wished that I hadn’t said anything and that he’s just gone in and treated his absence as though without any problem whatever. This was going to end up far too complicated for him to understand which is a total surprise. It was all pretty straightforward to me what he needed to do. The other two guys involved – they were quite happy to play ball with any suggestion whatsoever

That makes a change, doesn’t it? People playing ball and willing to fall in with my ideas.

And then I vaguely heard the alarm go off at 08:00 and then vaguely heard the doorbell – when he came I was still flat-out asleep in the bedroom. He had to come and hunt me down and do all the things that … fell asleep here …

Of course, that was the phantom alarm sounding and it wasn’t the nurse to come in to awaken me either. There are some strange things going on in this building.

When the alarm went off I was busy teaching someone some French. We were at a strange kind of house party last night with lots of excitement going on. Down in the garage outside was a builder mixing cement who had developed a way of doing it automatically. He showed me round and showed me how it worked. It looked quite an interesting way of doing things – you could certainly mix a lot of cement quite quickly in this way. He was the one asking me the French for all kinds of different phrases as we were going along

There are so many things like this in my dreams that if I could remember them correctly and patent them, I’d make a fortune

While I was asleep at lunchtime there was something about two girls being here. It might even have been Percy Penguin and someone else. I’d made a big plate of salad and given them a side plate each so that they could help themselves to some, but one of the girls complained that the side plates just weren’t big enough and they wanted dinner plates.

At the rate that I’m breaking crockery here, they should think themselves lucky that they were offered side plates. It was probably all that I had.

So continuing on with my struggle after a rather late lunch I chose all of the remaining music for the next radio programme and paired it off. For some reason that took a lot longer than it ought to have done.

And so did putting on my shoes. I had to take off my puttees of course but the subsequent battle with my shoes took almost 45 minutes and was the most depressing moment of my life – so far

When my two neighbours called and helped me downstairs, you’ve no idea how depressed I was. It was clear that my health has deteriorated badly since the last time that I went out because it was such a struggle. I was beginning to think that it was the wrong decision to come out because I’ll never get back up the stairs again.

As I hadn’t been out for ages they took me on a guided tour of the town to see the sights, which was very nice of them. It’s ages since I’ve had a good look around.

At the party I fell in with a very nice group of guys and gals and eventually a chair with arms was produced so that I could sit down outside, enjoy the sun, talk music and eat a big plate of crudités

Eventually we had to go inside for a main meal, and this is where the fun began – I couldn’t get out of the chair, no matter how many people tried to help me.

Four guys had to carry the chair – and me, like some Roman emperor, I suppose – inside the hall and drop me at a table. Surprisingly there was nothing arranged for me to eat. someone eventually produced a plate of green beans followed by a plate of cherries.

We were there until about midnight and then we had the same trouble. It was impossible for me to leave the chair.

In the end they carried my and the chair to the car and bundled me inside, and that was not without mishap. I fell over a couple of times trying to go from the chair to the car.

At the other end, outside here, they helped me from the car, put me in the chair as I still couldn’t stand up, and they carried the chair and me up the stairs and tipped me out on the bed.

What an ignominious, humiliating way to spend an evening. I should really never have gone out but it’s as well to find out my shortcomings while there were plenty of people to help. Heaven alone knows what it will be like when I have to go to Paris.

But at least my experience wasn’t as humiliating as for someone else there. A rather large lady, who took up a lot of space, appeared at the party and wanted to sit down
"Three chairs for this lady, please?" asked our host
"Hip! Hip! Hooray!" roared the crowd.

Saturday 18th May 2024 – THEY’VE DONE IT!

After all of this bad news and negativity that’s been going around and about just recently, it’s nice to have some good news to report for a change

But anyway it’s a pleasure to report that in the close season this year it will be the turn of the Cofi Army to hit the road out Europe way as Caernarfon Town swept aside Penybont for that discretional place in European club competition in front of a massive crowd that must in modern times at least be a club record

Last night I’d gone to bed, later than I would have liked of course, full of eager anticipation for this game.

Wales has traditionally three spots in European competition, one spot in the Champions League and two spots in the Europa League.

These spots are traditionally won by TNS, COnnah’s Quay Nomads and Bala Town but every so often there’s a fourth discretionary place awarded and then there’s a play-off between clubs between 4th and 7th

This is the “real” cup final because it gives the lesser clubs something to play for and an opportunity to sample the delights of European football

But for me, for some reason last night was quite turbulent. I went to bed in the “old” way which caused me no pain at all which was nice, but I kept tossing and turning, and couldn’t really settle down to sleep.

Nevertheless I must have gone to sleep at some point because I was dead to the world when the alarm went off. I fell out of bed, switched off the alarm and headed for the bathroom

One good wash and change of clothes later I was in the dining area taking my medication and then setting out the room as the nurse likes it.

He didn’t have much to say when he came and was soon gone. But then I had a problem – I couldn’t rise out of the chair on which I was sitting. I knew that it was going to be a bad day today.

Once I managed to rise to my feet, after a great battle, I began to make my broccoli stalk soup. I put a great deal of effort, not to mention a pot of soya yoghurt, into it and it was really delicious today with freshly ground black pepper and fresh home-made bread.

Nevertheless, I still fell asleep drinking a mug of strong coffee. It must be one of the pills that I’m taking that’s doing this.

Eventually I pulled myself around and went into the bedroom to check my messages and mails. And it seems that I have to go to the hospital in Paris on June 12 for a check-up and hopefully receive he results of my stay there the other week. They’ll have loads of news for me, and I bet that it’ll all be bad

Judging by the amount of stuff on the dictaphone the night must have been disturbed. In my version of “The Horror of War” or whatever it was called, when the Americans tried to make good their getaway in World War I from the prison camp they would actually succeed. Some would go to ground amongst the native population and some would head west looking for a front line to dodge behind. I don’t think that they would be still there sitting there in bed and waiting for something to happen to them if they had already broken out and made arrangements for where to go. It would be most unlikely that they would be just sitting there. They would be up there somewhere doing something and trying to be involved in the action and get away from their captivity.

And then I’d been doing something in Brussels. That involved staying in someone’s house while all this was done. It was some kind of work in the street but on the last day I decided that this would be it and I’d go home on the last train so I had to do what I was doing then come back to where I was living, change and then go back in the rain to give the final orders and then go straight to the station to catch the train home. As I was washing and putting on my clean clothes there were all kinds of disturbances. The girl who lived there came in to me to ask me if I’d show the owner of the house how to make an apple pie. I thought that this was the last thing that I needed at this time of night. I wanted to be off but the quicker that I did it, the quicker I’d be finished so I went over to see what he’d done. He’d done the pastry in a strange way. He’s cut it into eighths but in the circular way round do there wasn’t a bottom or top, just like eight slices of pie crust. Of course they had all to be joined together and the filling had to go in, the top had to go on. I thought to myself that the people were making this thing much more complicated than it ought to be but that was just how things used to go. No-one seemed to know just how to do anything ordinary and straightforward. It all had to be so complicated.

And that’s another story of my life, isn’t it? If there’s a simple way of doing something and a complicated way of doing it, you can bet your life which one anyone would choose when I’m involved. Even I’m not immune from this myself

I was in this big German prisoner-of-war camp in Russia weeding the garden and the band suddenly began to play the national anthem. It took me a few minutes to cotton on to what was happening nut suddenly I realised that it was the German national anthem and that meant that they were planning an escape. I wasn’t sure who was escaping but I learnt later on that 20 guys from hut two had escaped. For some reason I was held responsible for it. Whilst no real punitive action was taken against me I was treated like a prisoner, being shackled, by being … indistinct … I felt in the end it probably wouldn’t have ended up better for me had I tried to escape with the others rather than stay behind. I certainly couldn’t have been worse-treated once they left. And then one of the members playing the second time, I was supposed to either sing some songs or write some songs, the songs that shouldn’t have music and they turned out to be tracks off the album that were played to basically accompany the escape. Most of them were not good at all

Back in this dream again, the composer was well-known but he was not in the camp, he was dead so I took it that this was the signal for an escape. I was puzzled why I hadn’t been told about it seeing that I was one of the leaders of the camp from the prisoners’ point of view. Anyway everyone was immediately confined to bed. I saw my moment and escaped. Schopenhauser or whoever wrote it originally had chosen a different moment to escape but I chose that one. In the end I ended up down in the south of Germany where this girl tried to persuade me to help her paint her toenails red but I was unable to do so … fell asleep here …

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t actually “fall asleep” because I’m already asleep when I’m dictating. What happens is that the disctaphone goes silent and eventually you hear deep rhythmic breahinf and occasional snoring.

But what’s going on with this obsession with prison camps tonight then?

Our nurse went to the local council tip during the night to throw away all of her incriminating paperwork. On the way her little brown Clio was involved in an accident with a couple of guys. It wasn’t particularly badly damaged or anything like that but it made her reflect for a couple of minutes and led to something of an argument before she agreed to invite the guys to her house one day when she wouldn’t be there. So she went there and threw away all of her paperwork. Then she was talking about this and that as if she’d already spoken to the female guards about it. They’d had some kind of friendly interaction but it didn’t sound right by the way that this dream was going. I think that she was trying to avoid all kinds of interaction while she disposed of this incriminating … fell asleep here …

“Si” is the French way of contradicting someone so this dentist woman or whatever she was started to use it to correct members of her team and then their team had been exposed to the Germans and they should make ready for a rather rapid flight before the Germans came along to arrest them.

Some of the stuff about which I dream really is bizarre for sure and quite often there’s no logical explanation for it. I often wonder what goes on in the depths of my subconscious.

Rosemary had left a message for me to call her so I gave her a “quick” ring – “quick’ being 56 minutes this afternoon while we put the World to rights as usual

And then it was the football.

For a town with a population of less than 10,000, a crowd of over 2,000 is immense but they were there singing away and cheering on their team

And their team rewarded them by roaring into a three-goal lead in the first 35 minutes with some beautiful play down the wings that tore the Penybont defence to shreds

Penybont pulled one back right at the death and quite right too as they played the more classy football. We had the usual chaos in the Caernarfon defence that we have had for several seasons too but they rode their luck

At the end of the game the fans flooded onto the pitch and the party began. For a club that was on the verge of extinction and in the third tier of football 15 years ago, the devotion of the fans, the most passionate in Europe, saved the club and they now have their reward

If you want to see the highlights of the game THEY ARE HERE

But as I said earlier, it’s this discretionary fourth place that has permitted all kinds of Welsh Clubs to sample European football, even Cefn Druids from the second tier one year.

After this I fell asleep for a while until tea time, and then baked potatoes, salad and one of my favourite quorn fillets.

But I broke another plate when I dropped a jar of pickled onions onto it. Luckily not one of my dinner service plates, but it’s still very bad news. I don’t know what’s the matter with me right now.

Right now though I’m off to bed. Tomorrow is another day and, I hope, a better one

And just be glad that Penybont didn’t play Their new signing. That guy who is half man, half horse
"and who is he" – ed
Why, their new centaur-forward of course.

Friday 17th May 2025 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… to defrost the freezer.

The build-up of ice in there was so much that the doors wouldn’t close correctly, which was making the freezer freeze up even more.

So, armed with the electric kettle and a saucepan with a heavy, thick base I went to work. It’s not perfectly defrosted, because the time that it would take, the frozen food wood melt, but at least the drawers fit better and the doors close, which was the aim of the whole exercise.

Mind you, it’s just about the only productive work that I’ve done all day. The other day, I mentioned that the partner of my friend in Munich had gone into palliative care. Unfortunately she didn’t pull through and just after midnight she left us to join the angels.
"Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee"

as John Donne wrote 400 years ago. I remember the delight that she felt when she came out of hospital a few years ago after just having her catheter port removed. For her it signified the end of the cancer treatment that she was having, that she was now fit and rehabilitated.

The removal of the catheter port was a symbol of victory back then. But how rapidly and wickedly fate can turn upon you. Rest in Peace, Ulli. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known you.

As for myself, I’m not doing much better. My body is swelling up with all of these water retention issues that I’m having. And when I say “all” my body, I do mean “every bit of it”. I shall be looking like Bibendum, the Michelin Man, before too long

But last night anyway I managed to make it to bed and although it was a late night again, it was a decent sleep for a change and I can’t remember being interrupted at all, not even by a phantom alarm call. It was the Sleep of the Dead.

When the real alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then made my way to the bathroom for a clean-up, not that it did much good, I reckon.

Once I’d had my medication I set out the dining area for the nurse. My right leg is much better now, with the pain having diminished even more. But as I mentioned earlier, I have other issues with which to deal now that are causing me greater problems

While I was waiting I made a start on the bread dough for the weekend, mixing it, giving it a knead and then leaving it to proof for a while.

The nurs didn’t have much to say for himself today and was in and out quite rapidly After he’d gone I gave the bread its second working-over and divided into three lumps, one for each day.

Just for a change it went up like a lift, the best that I have ever made I reckon, and it baked really nicely too. My breakfast cheese-on-toast, which was almost lunchtime cheese-on-toast by the time that I’d finished, was delicious.

Back in here I crashed straight out despite the strong black coffee, and it was 13:00 when I finally rejoined the Land of the … well, perhaps not.

First thing was to check the dictaphone to see if there was anything on it from the night. And to my complete surprise, there was. This was before the Fall of France and we had a bomber aeroplane in Normandy. We’d given it a name. First of all we’d called it “Billy Jones” after the boy who was a dancer … "That was Billy Elliott. Billy Jones was guitarist with the Outlaws who committed suicide" – ed … but then we gave it some other name later but I can’t remember what it was. However the ‘plane was shot down on a flight over to the Channel Islands before the Channel Islands were invaded and unfortunately we lost it and the crew

Just a little reminder for the British people who criticised the French for not resisting the Occupier in World War II, the Channel Islands were occupied in June 1940 and no effort at all was made to free them until after the end of the War, never mind at D-Day or when the battle for Normandy had passed them by.

Of the eight ‘planes two were shot down taking off and the other six were shot down along the route but this dream continued lots of things – there was a young lad who was a store person who was enamoured of this girl who volunteered to sing a requiem but was not very good at at, dozens of things like that all through this dream that seemed to go on for ages

And if you are thinking that the one dream leads straight on to the other there was a three-hour gap between the two, according to the timestamps.

Having had my lunchtime fruit I checked over my order from LeClerc and then sent it off. It’s an expensive one this weekend but there’s stuff like coffee, olive oil and champagne on it.

Champagne, yes. It’s a neighbour’s 80th birthday on Sunday and I’m invited, not that I’ll be drinking any of it of course. Last time I had any alcohol was in Bulgaria in 1994, and that was due to force majeure.

Back in here again I was reading something on the internet when the next thing that I remember were the dulcet tones of my cleaner awakening me. I’d had another one of these crashings-out where the light simply goes off and I can’t remember a thing.

She came round this afternoon to do her stuff again and it was a good job that she was here because the delivery came early.

The frozen food went into the freezer (which was when I noticed the door issues) and the rest I put away after she had left. Well, most of it anyway. There’s still some to do

But after I’d had my hot chocolate I blanched the florets of the broccoli that I’d bought ready for freezing and saved the stalk and the water for a broccoli stalk soup tomorrow

Back in here and the light went off again just as dramatically as earlier, and how I am sick of all of this. It was 18:38 when I awoke, but at least that gave me some more time to work on the next radio programme.

Tea this evening was a vegan salad with chips and some of those vegan nuggets done in the air fryer, and it was delicious as usual. My salads are works of art, and I really do seem to have the knack about these air-fryer chips now

So tonight there’s one more extra star in the sky looking down on us from above. It just goes to show that there’s no escape for any of us. The Grim Reaper will get us all sooner or later. I just hope that those who have gone on ahead have paved the way for the rest of us.

And as I said the other night, this is not the time for levity

Thursday 16th May 2024 – WELL, WASN’T THAT …

… a really strange night last night?

There have been some strange nights taking place here and there but the one that I had last night certainly seems to have beaten about everything.

As is usually the case these days I was quite late going to bed which annoyed me intensely, but my new method of going to bed which I mentioned briefly the other day, namely getting into bed face-down instead of as I used to do, on my back, certainly seems to be working

And as is also usual these days I was asleep quite quickly. And then it all headed south from there.

We had another phantom alarm during the night too, just to add to the confusion, but after that I’m not at all sure what happened.

It was a very distant alarm that awoke me at 07:00, if I wasn’t already awake. It seems that I’d left my phone in the pocket of my trousers which I’d left in the bathroom, and the alarm was ringing from there. I had to drag myself out of bed and stagger off in that direction before I could switch it off.

In the dining area I had my morning medication and then set out the room for the nurse so that it is how he likes it. Lifting my foot up onto the stool was easier yet and it’s feeling much better now.

However, I think that he’s becoming rather fed up of coming here every morning, and I can’t say that I blame him. But then again, he only does seven days on and seven days off. I have to do this thing every day.

My cleaner is neither help nor encouragement. She’s convinced that once the puttees were prescribed, they would be on my legs for life. Mind you, that’s not necessarily going to be a long time, is it?

After the nurse left I had a listen to the dictaphone. And this was where the fun began. One of the kings of Scotland died and left his son and heir as the new ruler-to-be. Unfortunately he had a very undesirable companion. The nobles made it clear that he would be an unacceptable monarch because of this. Consequently a plan was hatched to kill him. In the end they succeeded in murdering him and his lover and the two of them were burnt under pseudonyms in the middle of oe of the big squares in Edinburgh as a public warning

The phantom alarm this morning was at 03:35 and it was definitely a phantom alarm in my imagination because I happened to be awake at the time and was fully conscious of all the events that surrounded its ringing

But then again I’m not convinced that I was awake because I was actually continuing this dream about Scottish rulers. The daughter now was proving to be difficult so a plan had been instigated to remove her and replace her with someone else. The next couple of hours “asleep” were spent trying to prevent people visiting the daughter from encountering the new King as they would expose the plot, and the same about people visiting the King – keeping them well away from the daughter for the same reason, and that proved to be the more complicated of the two. This “dream” went on like this for hours and was still going on when the alarm went off. I had the genuine feeling that I was awake, but I wouldn’t have been behaving or thinking like this if I had been.

It really was a strange situation to be in, thinking that I was actually awake when in fact really I must have been asleep. I can see all kinds of problems and eventualities in a situation like this.

But never mind that – can you imagine just how relaxing it is to be half-asleep on a comfy chair with your head slowly drifting away into a NEIL YOUNG ACOUSTIC SOLO CONCERT?

There really is nothing quite like it

There was really nothing prepared for breakfast either so I had a bowl of porridge with my morning coffee which was delicious

The rest of the day has been spent tracking down some music. Finding stuff which Billy Jones, the poor guitarist/singer of “The Outlaws” who shot himself after being sacked from the group, wrote and sang wasn’t too difficult.

But then we had John “Pugwash” Weathers. It’s not every day that a drummer writes and sings stuff, but he did in fact write and sing a song on the Gentle Giant “Giant For A Day” album. And so have a guess which is the only Gentle Giant album I don’t own?

You couldn’t make it up.

So over the past few weeks I’ve been collecting and saving all kinds of different music that I’ll need for radio programmes in the near future. However it all needs reformatting into a useable format for the radio and remixing so I can have some kind of equalised volume, so that was this afternoon’s task.

Tea tonight was rather late so I didn’t do too much, just pasta and veg with cheese, olive oil and fresh-ground black pepper. It’s surprising, but it always seems to be the simple meals that taste the best

So I’m off to bed, late again, to dream of who knows what – or maybe I’m not dreaming at all.

It’s just like Tommy Cooper – "I knew a man who dreamed that he was awake" he said. "And when he awoke, he was!"