Tag Archives: football

Wednesday 10th JUly 2024 – WHAT A PERFORMANCE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 9th July 2024 – ANOTHER LATE NIGHT …

… but for once, I’m not bothered at all because it was for a good cause and in the end it was worth every minute of it.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I will support any team in the Welsh Pyramid, regardless of where they are from, if they are playing against TNS in any competition you might care to name.

But when it comes to European club competition however and TNS is flying the Welsh flag against an other team in Europe, then we are all ardent TNS supporters to a man (or woman), or we ought to be.

So tonight it was a mad scramble to make it to the computer in time to watch TNS take on FC Decic, champions of Montenegro, in a Champions League match, the first of a two-legged affair to see who wins the right to play Ferencvaros of Hungary in a couple of weeks time.

It’s all that I seem to be doing right now – sleeping and writing out my notes. There doesn’t seem to be much time for anything else at all.

It was another late night too last night by the time that I’d finished doing everything, and it was something of a desperate stagger these final few inches that takes me from my chair to my bed. You can’t imagine how much effort it takes me.

But anyway once STRAWBERRY MOOSE had tucked me up in bed there wasn’t all that much time for him to read me a story because I seem to have managed to fall asleep quite quickly.

Surprisingly, I was awake again at 06:00 – I’m sure that there’s something happening that’s awakening me then – and by 06:30 I was up and about having a wash, a good (or not-so-good) half-hour before the alarm went off.

Back in here a little later I had a listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. The situation at work was getting out of hand. I owed a lot of money for no reason other than the fact that for some reason there had been an estimate made of my income and it was totally wrong so I’d tried to have the estimate revised. Instead, it was revised upwards and that was totally incorrect but I had no way of supporting my claim and no way of defending myself against them. Things were just getting more intense and the demands were becoming more and more intense. I was totally overwhelmed by everything and tried to make people stop and listen to what I had to say but no-one seemed to be interested and it seemed to be going from bad to worse. People were doing all kinds of crazy things such as coming out with food recipes for kids of foods that were horrible and disgusting, calling them the types of foods that I would be eating because of all of this. What was so concerning about this was not so much the fact that this was happening but the fact that I couldn’t find the way to get out of it and bring it back into some kind of normality and some kind of realistic situation. But instead it was simply going worse and worse. Absolutely everything was adding to it. Each year it was becoming worse and with each place that I was living and there was nothing that I could do to stop it or slow it down or divert people’s attention to somewhere else.

I can’t remember whether I’ve had a panic attack in a dream for a while. I was having them quite frequently at one time, and that was certainly one last night. But it’s really crazy. It’s bad enough being stressed out during the normal run of events during the day but the idea of sleep is to calm down and recharge your batteries, not to be wound up even more than you are during daylight hours

This is another one of these science fiction things about appliances and things that stopped working etc and then suddenly there was a huge devastation in the area. All kinds of things had been blamed for it. The Saint was brought in and he managed to catalogue a few events. Eventually of course there’s the big house on the hill where the scientists are working away. In the end what he found was that they had developed some kind of matter gun that when it’s switched on it sucks the power and electricity from the immediate area and paralyses everything, then a couple of seconds later that electricity is released in an enormous discharge that electrocutes everything, flattens buildings and trees etc within quite a radius. Of course its potential for war was immense because it would disable an army before destroying it. The Saint of course catches up with it and managed to destroy the machine or snake or monster or whatever it is that you want to call it that’s doing all of this sucking electricity and blowing it back out again.

As it happens, at teatime I’m watching an episode of The Saint where there is a group of mad scientists dealing with mutated creatures and giant insects. But nevertheless, I’m completely impressed that I can think of a powerful weapon like that in my sleep. It’s a shame that I can’t invent stuff like this when I’m awake. But I don’t have the self-discipline to be a scientist, as I have proved so often in the past

And finally I was selling some stuff on Ebay – it should have been three car tyres. Instead, it turned out to be the contents of my warehouse and garage after I’d swept up, including things like dead animal bodies, things like that in it all. I’ve no idea what happened – whether someone who turned up took away the wrong lot instead of the lot that he bought but they were inspecting it on a train when they came across this dead body. Of course, a huge panic, everything like that. In the end the person came back to complain as you might expect. I refunded him all of his money except for the value of three tyres which was £30:00. All I could think of was that I’d swept out my garage and warehouse ready to leave and put everything in one pile. The stuff to be taken away was in another pile next to it and whoever turned up took away the wrong one.

It was really most embarrassing. I bet that the people on the train had a shock too. And God knows what people are going to find when they sweep out my barn at Virlet and the warehouse at Montaigut. There will be more than a few ghosts unearthed and spirits uplifted, I should think

When the nurse came round he had a moan about the state of my fridge. I told him where the injection was kept but apparently when he opened the fridge door, something inside reached out and closed it again. I had to go to look for it.

But I wish that he’d stop complaining. It’s all that he ever seems to do. I know that there’s a lot wrong with what’s going on in here but all of the criticism is not helping matters

So I’ve had the first of the two Injections of the Last Resort, and I’ve organised him about his parking in Brussels for next weekend.

After he left I had breakfast, including toast with my nice fresh bread baked yesterday evening, and then checked over the radio programme for this weekend before sending it off for feeding into the stream for broadcast.

As an aside, next weekend it’s my Hawkfest, my Spacerock Festival to mark the anniversary of the first of the Hawkfests – an event not to be missed. You can hear it at THIS LINK every Friday and Saturday evening at 21:00 CET (20:00 UK, 15:00 Toronto time)

It was the Welsh Summer School next and once again I found myself drifting away again in the middle of it when I was supposed to be listening. I really must pull myself together.

But luckily I just about managed to cling on until the end of the lesson today. But when I finally let go, I let go and was gone away with the fairies for a couple of hours. I even managed to miss out on my afternoon hot chocolate

And as I sad earlier, it was a mad scramble to make myself tea and be back in time for kick-off.

In fact, I was two minutes late and much to my surprise, TNS were already 1-0 up

And for a team that seems to be able to wipe the floor with any domestic opposition but blow up spectacularly once they step out onto a bigger stage, not only did they manage to hold on to the lead they increased it and the final score, which they’ll take to Montenegro for the second leg, was 3-0.

Mind you, they rode their luck and judging by what I saw of the Monetenegrins, it won’t be so easy over there next week. Leaving aside the well-knows propensity for TNS to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, this match is not over by any means.

So on that note I’m going to go to bed and think of ways in which I can improve my self-discipline. I really must learn to discipline myself, especially since Miss Whiplash put up her prices.

Sunday 7th July 2024 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today, but in a change of tack and a change of lifestyle, not only have I been working but I’ve actually been hard at it.

And when was the last time that I was able to say that about a Sunday, my traditional Day of Rest?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, in the olden days Sunday was always a day where I’d lie in, sometimes until long after midday, and not lift a finger to do do any work at all.

But all of that went out of the window with having the nurse come round so there’s even an alarm call, although as a concession it’s set for 08:00 instead of 07:00 as for the other six days of the week.

Anyway, all of this work started last night because after I’d finished my notes I waded through a pile of radio notes. I dictated the notes for the final tracks for two of the programmes that were in the pipeline and then dictated the notes for the next two full programmes (minus the final track of course.

On that note I staggered off to bed but it didn’t do me all that much good because at 06:00 I was wide awake, and by .06:30 I was up and about. and on a Sunday too!

Having had a good wash, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night and, more importantly, who had come with me, hoping that one of my favourite young ladies might have put in an appearance at last.

But it was not to be. Nerina was there though, but I don’t mind that. After all, I did invite her to share my life all those years ago. so she’s every right to be present. She was studying some kind of vocational course like Accountancy or something, studying it from her work during her employment. One night I’d gone round on my way home to see how she was doing. She was telling me about the class – she was in the kitchen making herself some food and I was in the living room so we were shouting between the rooms at each other. She was saying that there were not many in the class. I asked “how many? About ten?” she replied “no, twenty-seven”. I said “that’s a lot for this kind of class”. We carried on chatting for quite a while. I thought “she’s clearly in no hurry for me to go home” so I found a comfortable spot on the floor and curled up like a cat or dog would and made myself at home. We just carried on talking. I was ending up here making myself really nice and the discussion kept on going. I thought “at any moment she’s going to come in here with her food and that’ll be it – she’ll kick me out, I’ll go home OK but I intend to make the most of this while I can because it’s a really nice, comfortable situation, “comfortable” in its many senses instead of just the one particular customary one . There was definitely something that I felt was rather strange here with all of this.

And I’ve no idea what provoked this train of thought during the night. It’s pretty pointless arguing the “ifs” and “buts” of our relationship. The fact is that I was only ever safe outside the reach of the long arm of the Cheshire Constabulary and one or two other similar bodies and Nerina was still tied up with her mother, so one way or another a separation was called for sooner or later and, as Macbeth said, "If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly"

As for the next instalment, I’ve even less idea about this. I can’t even make head nor tail of it. But I was dictating while I was half-asleep and the microphone was in the living room and I was in the dining room. Exactly how that arrangement was going to be practical while I were at Cologne but I’d be beaten to death for it and today it’s the right thing to do. I didn’t care much for the new wave communications finding and the new talk about the Soviet bomber. I welcomed that least of all. It looks like a whole new system of wives and girlfriends are going to have to train in order that it doesn’t end in a total disaster between the three of us.

It makes no sense at all.

And finally, over the years I’d learned not to fight my brother back when he’s in one of his moods so eventually my toys became his and my belongings became his. My things gradually began to shape to fit his little ashtray type thing where he’d have human sacrifices of toys. Of course sometimes it didn’t work and he’d be in a complete rage and everyone’s life would be difficult so he’d carry on and carry on. In the end I began to carry a weapon to protect myself. That was when the idea of BABA O’RILEY came to me, to have someone who is so miserable and so unhappy that not even his home is a safe refuge any more so I set about trying to write this music

Not that we had many belongings over which to fight but we had some right royal squabbles like most siblings. The competition kept on going for much longer than it ought too but sometimes it’s harder to learn to stop than it is to learn to start I can understand where the weapon might have come in but I’m totally bewildered about the reference to Baba O’Riley, except that I was talking recently about Dave Arbus, the violinist of “East of Eden” who played the violin on the track

It must be Holy Week or some such event in the calendar right now because the nurse wanted to wash my feet today. So who was I to refuse to let him, even if he did make something of a dog’s breakfast of it all. I know that I’m not particularly organised and tidy, but there’s no need to add to my discomfort.

After breakfast I watched a football match – yesterday’s Stranraer v Portadown in another Seasick Derby. It was another lethargic pre-season friendly won by Stranraer 1-0 but once again no-one actually broke into any sweat. However I bet that the woodwork at either end will have had a headache this morning

There were several highlights videos doing the rounds too so I had something of a footfest. I’m glad that things are slowly starting up again.

Before lunch though I completed two radio programmes by editing the notes for the “additional tracks” for each and merging them in at the correct place. On one I was 15 seconds too long and the other was a mere handful of seconds and that’s the kind of stuff that I can edit out quite easily.

This afternoon I edited the notes for one of the two complete programmes that I dictated last night. That’s now all done and assembled, the final track has been chosen and the notes written ready for dictation one of these days. And sometime during the week I’ll do the other programme.

If I’d pushed myself I could have done it today but firstly i fell asleep on several occasions and secondly I had pizza dough to make as I’d run out. I made a big batch of that, and two lumps are freezing nicely and the third was tonight’s delicious pizza.

So tomorrow my Welsh Summer School starts so I need to be properly refreshed for that. Time for bed, I reckon.

But no recipe for the vegan pizza, Hans. It’s onion, mushroom, olives and cheese with tiny tomatoes cut in half and stuck all over the top.

But I ought to explain. Hans says that he’ll be going through my blog, pulling my recipes and writing the “Epic Hall Vegan Cookbook”. God help you all!
People have the totally wrong idea about vegans. One butcher in a supermarket told me that he was going to frighten me to death by making a sausage.
"That won’t scare me!" I shouted. "Do your wurst!"

Friday 5th July 2024 – YOU HAVE TO …

… laugh.

It’s the start of the holiday season here tomorrow and for the next eight weeks we’ll be under siege by thousands of tourists coming to admire the crabs and the seabirds, blockading the town, wandering in the High Street obstructing the traffic etc.

And don’t let me start on the squadrons of motor homes that will be roaming the streets.

Of course, as a seaside town, we have to entertain them and they are erecting a sound stage on the steps of the Public Rooms at the back of our building outside the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs – the Hostel for Young People coming to work in the town.

My cleaner will tell you what this means. She’s a lovely woman and has a beautiful, rhythmic way of speaking with a lilt in her voice as she goes on about all the noise and “when I want to watch tv …” and “when I want to open my windows to air …” and “when I want to have a siesta …”

And on (and on, and on) she went until she finished off with a resounding j’espère que les goélands y vont chier dessus .. "I hope that the seagulls go and s**t all over them".

By that time I was bent double with laughter. That was probably the most fitting, most suitable comment that I could possibly imagine, and I’ll certainly save that for another occasion.

There’s nothing wrong with a good laugh, and a bit of vulgarity never hurt anyone.

Meanwhile, in other news, it was yet another late night crawling into bed and how fed up I am of that, as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed

Nevertheless I was soon asleep which was at least something, I suppose. But not for long.

At about 06:15 I awoke yet again and just couldn’t go back to sleep. As a result, when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was in the bathroom having a wash.

While I was waiting for the nurse to show up I transcribed the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. They were running a study down by the lives of the men in the trenches, between those who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and those born poor. It turns out that the people who were born poor had much less expectation of everything but were not prepared to suffer as much because presumably they were used to things being worked out for them and were not so used to having to work out their own solutions to many problems.

What astonishes me is the depth of thought that I can plumb when I’m away on my travels. I wish that I could think as clearly and as profoundly as this during the day when I’m awake. I would have many fewer problems than I do, that’s for sure.111

One interesting thing that came out of another experiment that we were all doing was that the guy who was conducting it turned round and told me that between 1983 and 1987 “you didn’t do anything at all very much”. I thought “well that’s certainly not true. Why on earth would I ever make anyone think that? There’s obviously something wrong with this experiment if it’s come up with these kinds of figures and information”. But halfway through the debate one of the people said mais, le monsieur, il est fort anglais, oui? – “the guy is very English, isn’t he?”. I asked “does that make a difference?”. They replied “yes because a lot of information on the British national Government’s database was never copied over to Europol so the European Governments won’t know about what happened to you in the UK at that particular time. That was a revelation to me that Europol didn’t have access to the records to British people. That would explain everything because during that period I was extremely busy and didn’t really have the time for any trips over to the Continent and back again whereas in the periods both before and afterwards I was a frequent visitor.

Most people when they are asleep usually dream of green meadows and fluffy clouds and the like. I bet that I’m the only the only person who can have sweet (or not-so-sweet) dreams about the European Police Agency.
"But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest, was
The low spark of high-heeled boys"

What a moment for that to come round on my playlist!

The nurse didn’t have much to say for himself. Except that he’s noticed that I’m putting on the weight again. That’s true, as I said a few days ago. But I really don’t know what to do about it. I have this surgery planned for the 16th – so then they will take me in charge to do the necessary but also give me a good going-over yet again.

With that date arranged there’s no point in rushing anything because whatever solution they reach will only be a temporary one anyway until the dialysis can begin. And then we’ll have to see where we’ll be.

Now regular readers of this rubbish will will recall that I always invite messages and requests. In fact, I receive many requests, most of them physically impossible it has to be said, but one of them was for the recipe for my vegan lasagne.

That’s difficult, because there’s not really a recipe, just an ad hoc collection of stuff hanging around in the kitchen all thrown together, but here goes, Hans –

  • Cook a cup full of red lentils in plenty of water until thoroughly soft, and then when cooked rinse thoroughly.
  • Fry a couple of large onions in olive oi
  • Chop up some garlic and add in when the onions are soft.
  • Add herbs and spices – I used sage, basil, tarragon, oregano
  • Add a big pile of chopped mushrooms
  • Chop up a block of tofu and add in.
  • After it’s all been frying nicely, add in the lentils that you cooked in step one.
  • Add in a jar of tomato sauce (I found a jar of tomato and mushroom sauce that had been loitering around in the kitchen for longer than it ought)
  • Stir it all in and leave it to simmer for a while.
  • When it’s ready, nicely cooked, take your pie dish and line it with lasagne sheets
  • put a covering of your filling on top
  • add more lasagne sheets
  • add more filling
  • add more sheets ….
  • And build up until your dish is full
  • Make a simple bechamel sauce with grated vegan cheese. Pour over the top of the lasagne.
  • Add a couple of slices of vegan cheese to the top
  • When your bread has about half an hour left to cook, slide yous lasagne into the oven alongside the bread.

There was football on the internet this morning – a game from a while ago between East Stirling and Cowdenbeath, two former Scottish League clubs now fallen on hard times and down in the non-league pyramid.

Played at the Falkirk stadium, the home of East Stirling since the tragic loss of their beloved Firs Park ground, it was the visitors who took away the laurels with a 3-2 victory.

But the Blue Brazil have keeper Craig Hepburn to thank for single-handedly defying a rampant East Stirling attack who should by rights have scored a hatful of goals

Apart from the football it was a rather slow start to the day but once I got going I chose another pile of music for a forthcoming radio programme, paired it off and segued the pairs, and while the cleaner was here, wrote half of the notes.

Yes, don’t ask me what happened. I must have been in a good mood to have done all that.

Unfortunately I couldn’t keep it going. I crashed out for an hour after my afternoon hot chocolate. And I actually managed to go off for a wander while I was asleep. There were five of us who used to hang around together, two boys, two girls and me. The boys and girls gradually paired off, leaving me on my own. That was a big disappointment to me because I was very keen on one of the girls and I genuinely thought that I would be able to pair up with her but no such luck. Her boyfriend had lent her a car and I’d even offered to buy her one but to no avail. Anyway we met in Flag Lane and my car was parked in Delamere Street. She had several items like a couple of saucepans and she also had a huge pile of grapes. She gave me a large bunch of grapes as she knew that I liked them and as I was making my way back to my car she blew her horn and called me back. I hoped that it was for some kind of friendly purpose but instead she gave me two saucepans in which to carry away the grapes. I was so disappointed.

What’s even more disappointing is that I know exactly who she is but I can’t think of her name and can’t think of how I know her either. I’m having some really serious brain-fade these days and I wish that I didn’t.

Tea tonight was as usual a lovely vegan salad with chips and the last of these vegan nugget things. I need to order some more of them, I suppose

I’ve run out of the salad dressing unfortunately so I mixed up some vegan mayonnaise with dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. That made a very acceptable substitute.

So now I’m going to crawl into bed ready to renew the attack tomorrow morning. I’ll finish off these radio notes, dictate a few more during the night, edit them on Sunday and then be ready for my Welsh Summer School that begins on Monday for a week. It’s all “get up and go” here.

This time next week I’ll be flat on my back with my arms and legs in the air. They’ll ask me "what happened to your ‘get up and go’?"
And the answer is "It got up and went a long time ago"

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

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

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

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

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

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

It all went wrong a long time before this though;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 23rd June 2024 – I’M ABSOLUTELY WHACKED!

Yes, again!

And even worse and more tired than the other day when I was so tired that I really hoped that the World would end.

Once again, it was being in the kitchen that did it and once again it involved food. I’m pleased to say that it was a worthwhile exercise as the table is now groaning with victuals and I won’t ever starve again.

In fact it’s been an extremely busy 24 hours. Before going to bed I dictated a pile of radio stuff. Not all of it because there’s more there than any one man can handle in one sitting, but it’s part of the backlog out of the way.

And as for the new ZOOM H8, I wish that I knew where the tone controls are. When I’m dictating it sounds as if I have my head in a bucket.

What I did took me up until midnight and it was about 00:30 when I crawled under the covers. It didn’t take me long to drop off, that’s for sure.

There was another phantom alarm this morning at about 06:15 and I was halfway out of bed thinking that it was the real alarm before I worked out what it was. Someone had sent me a text message and it was the “alert” on my phone that had awoken me this morning.

What a way to start the day on a Sunday! I climbed back into bed for a couple of hours extra sleep.

When the alarm finally went off I fell out of bed, washed and dressed and proceeded to await the nurse. He didn’t have much to say for himself today but he seems to be more friendly all round so I’ve no idea what’s happening.

Hr sorted me out with my puttees and so on and then cleared off. I sat around for a few minutes to catch my breath and then went to make breakfast – porridge and nice, strong coffee.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. And it’s rather ominous. I was back in Bomber Command but for some reason or other I ended up in hospital. You could tell by the long faces of the nurses that it was pretty serious. One day they announced that they were having to move the hospital. Most of the patients would be evacuated but some patients would have to stay behind as being too ill to move like that. I found to my horror that I was actually one of those being left behind. We were just going to be left in the battle zone and everyone else would clear off out of the way. This was what made me realise now that this was going down the final stretch of my illness and this would be it

And then later on I slipped right back into that dream. It kept on recurring two or three times before the alarm went off

It’s the idea of it being a recurring dream that’s unsettling. I mentioned yesterday that some people seem to think that I’m more ill than I think that I am (if that’s even possible) and this dream seems to underline it. With a visit to the surgeon during the week, it’s not really the correct time to have dreams like this at all.

The rest of the morning was spent relaxing, “saving my strength for the struggle that lies ahead” as Professor Janssens at Castle Anthrax mentioned. I’m sure that she didn’t mean “the kitchen” but that’s where I’ve spent most of the afternoon.

Having been slaving away over a red-hot stove all afternoon, I now have in the kitchen …

  • a loaf of bread, nice, big, soft and fluffy just like bread should be
  • a vegan flapjack, ready in case I have to go back to the hospital
  • 24 raisin and orange biscuits that should have been cranberry and orange but I had no cranberries
  • the pièce de resistance – the usual Sunday pizza

With not having much room to work, with only a small oven and being on crutches, it involved quite a juggling act in order to make it all and then fire it up in the oven. It was so exhausting that at one stage when I sat down I crashed out and it was only Liz texting me that saved a disaster in the oven, awakening me just in time.

But while I was asleep I was away with the fairies again There was something about the turret of an Avro Lancaster but instead of four guns it only had one fitted. This sounded as if it might have been an interesting dream but I’m glad that I awoke anyway.

In between all of this there were other fish to fry.

Firstly, during one pause I listened to and edited the notes that would finish off one of the radio programmes. It ended up over-running by 19 seconds but there was 18.993 seconds of music that could be over-dubbed as it happened

Later, we had football. I mentioned the other day that I was glad that I wasn’t hospitalised during the football season. That would have been a disaster.

Mind you, as the Duke of Wellington said after the Battle of Waterloo, it was "the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life". Pre-season friendlies are now slowly springing into life and this afternoon we had Stranraer v Larne, the old “Seasick Derby”.

It was a quiet game without much excitement but Larne scored a belting goal after 61 minutes, only to concede an even better one 5 minutes later.

1-1 in a game where neither side broke out into a sweat was about right. Larne are playing in the Champions League next month and they are going to have to play much, much better than this if they want to go anywhere and do anything.

When I recovered my form and strength I went back and carried on in the kitchen and then once it was clean, tidy and all washed up, I could sit down to my delicious pizza.

and now that I’ve eaten my pizza I can sit down and finish my notes before going to bed. And won’t I be pleased to finally call it a day today? I mean – I’m surprised to be retired and supposed to be dying. Yet I don’t think that I’ve ever worked so hard in my life as I have these last few days.

The kind of people I used to know (with one or two exceptions) were summed up by the guy who; told me that he really liked work
"Is that so?" I asked him with a trace of bitterness
"Ohh absolutely" he replied keenly. "I can sit and watch it for hours"

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.

11th May 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… footfest this afternoon. It’s the semi-finals of the play-offs to decide which Welsh team will take the fourth place allotted to Wales in European Club competition in the forthcoming season.

TNS will go into the Champions League, hoping to qualify for the group stages at long last

Connah’s Quay and Y Bala will go into the Europa League by virtue of finishing second and third, and another place in the Europa League due to Wales will be awarded to the winner of the playoffs

And so we started off with Y Drenewydd v Penybont followed by Caernarfon v Cardiff Metro.

As you might expect, I was quite looking forward to it all. And for the first time since I can’t remember, I was actually in bed before 23:00. And that’s not something that happens all that often these days. I could have been in bed much earlier than I was too but with all of the aches and pains that I was carrying, it was really difficult to actually get into bed.

With having this early night, I was looking forward to a long, undisturbed sleep but it wasn’t to be. It was a really disturbed, turbulent night.

There was another phantom alarm call and I forget how many of these we’ve had just recently. I’ve no idea what’s going on with them – where they are coming from and what they are doing – but it’s certainly confusing.

When the real alarm went off I found that it was easier to move out of bed. Many of the aches and pains had gone and the pain in my hip had reduced a little and I could lift my leg more.

So now that I was out of bed I went to the bathroom and then into the dining area for my medication.

Having done that I set out the room for the nurse and came in here to see what’s happening in the big wide world. But as any student of history will tell you, the news today is just the same things happening to different people in different places at different times.

After the nurse had gone, having given me a shopping list of items needed, I came in here for a relax. And then I listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had another niece last night. It was a non-existent niece, someone small and petite. She sat and we chatted for ages about her course and the future. When she was ready to go I asked her where she was staying. She hadn’t booked anywhere so I told her that my settee was really comfortable and she was welcome to stay on it. She wondered how any other person was going to stay there because there were two nieces wandering around and how I was going to distinguish which was which too. That was easy because one had a tie with a small emblem on it. The other one had a tie with a big emblem on it so I could distinguish them by that. I could see that this was going to be complicated but it didn’t seem to bother me on the ground that it’s all going to work out normally anyway. Then we had someone coming, brandishing a gun and being obnoxious. I don’t know what he wanted or anything like that but he totally disrupted everything that we were trying to do.

That’s nothing new. Whenever I was trying to do something back in the old days, there would always be someone coming along being obnoxious and trying to disrupt whatever it was that I was doing. And if there was a young girl involved anywhere, you could bet your life that they’d be down in droves to put le baton dans la roue as they say around here.

Then at one point a girl was pouring some new information into my travelling laptop. I was very concerned so I awoke to try to stop her but just at the point where it became liquid memory she began to pour the liquid memory I had to shout at her to make her stop and I really did shout as well. I washed hem and got ready and ended up back in bed until the alarm

Yes, I really did shout in the middle of my sleep. It’s a good job that these walls are 1m20 of solid granite or whatever would the neighbours have said?

Then we finished off with this complicated story about addition and subtraction over the numbers. I had quite a batch to do which I did mainly right and managed to ensure my team’s presence in the Scottish League 2 next season

And that reminds me – we have the first leg of the playoffs between Stranraer of Scottish League 2 and East Kilbride of the Scottish Lowland League at some point this weekend.

And then I had a message. There’s an “issue” simmering in the UK that’s been simmering away for almost 30 years. I think that I’ve mentioned this before. It’s now erupted and like Pandora’s Box, once the lid is off then that’s it.

There’s a considerable amount of work that needs to be done that should really have been done 40 years ago but it wasn’t, and the events of the last 28 years haven’t helped. So if you see me loitering on Boots Corner any time, you’ll know why I’m there.

After this I crashed out – from 10:00 until 11:50. Dead to the World as well. But not that I’m complaining this time because I saw Zero. While I was asleep this morning I was with a former friend. I’d finally managed to persuade him to come to see me with the intentions of thrashing out some programme about repairing all these cars that I have. I’d walked down this track through this forest and encountered Zero playing in a school playground so we’d chatted but that was all. I pushed on and came across my former friend and we began to chat. I was going to tell him that I had £90:000 for the programme but we never reached that far in the discussion. We had several bikes ad had to move them by moving two, dropping them down, running back for two more and advancing lie this. At one point I had to run back miles because the exhaust had dropped off a motor bike we were moving. While I was up on top of this grassy bank my former friend came back to see what I was doing so I showed him. He was furious. “this is jus attention to detail” he raged and urged me to hurry up. By now this grassy bank had changed into a roof with a chimney and some dormer windows and I couldn’t work out how to descend. I thought that manoeuvring by holding on to the chimney and pivoting round by hanging on to the edge of the dormer window would be my best bet but the window opened and I was left dangling in thin air with no prospect whatever of improving my position.

It was really nice to see Zero of course but this “no prospect of improving my position” sounds like how my finances will be in a few months after the news that I received earlier.

By now, breakfast had become lunch so I fuelled up with food and then settled down to watch the football.

Y Drenewydd finished 4th in the league and Penybont 7th so the game was held at Drenewydd. But home advantage counted for nothing as they were swept aside by what can only be described as a Penybont masterclass.

The game finished 5-0 for Penybont and believe me – Y Drenewydd were lucky to get nil. They were awful. It wasn’t just that Penybont were so good but that Y Drenewydd offered nothing at all

The other game between 5th and 6th and played at Caernarfon in front of a massive crowd was much more exciting.

Caernarfon roared down the left flank with a combination of Louis LLoyd and Morgan Owen more times than you can mention but the final ball was always either too short of too long.

On the other hand the Met soaked up the pressure and tried to hit on the breakaway and had three excellent chances to score but couldn’t find the target.

The game was drifting to a 0-0 draw and penalties when Marc Williams drilled a powerful shot through a crowd of players into the net

And as Cardiff Metro were throwing everything forward to try to equalise in the closing stages a breakaway involving Sion Bradley and Adam Davies saw Davies score a second for the Cofis

So the final next weekend will be between Caernarfon and Penybont and played at Caernarfon.

And then, dear reader, I crashed out again. And for an hour or so too.

Tea tonight was one of my breaded quorn fillets with baked potato and salad. I know that it’s monotonous, but it’s also delicious.

So that’s all that I’m doing tonight. I’m going to try to be in bed early and see if Zero will come back into my dreams.

And I’ll tell her "I dreamed about you this morning"
"Did you?" she’ll reply.
"No" I’ll answer. "You wouldn’t let me".

Sunday 28th April 2024 – IT WAS THE …

… Welsh Cup Final earlier this evening and so I’m running horribly late.

Not that I’m complaining because it was one of the best matches that I’ve seen for several years, I reckon, and I’m glad that I watched it.

Other glad tidings are that I was in bed at a reasonable time so that I was able to profit by my extra hour in bed, with the alarm not being set until 08:00. And once again it was another peaceful, tranquil night where I can’t remember awakening at all.

A few more nights like this will do me the world of good, I reckon.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed as usual and crawled across to switch it off. Then I staggered into the bathroom to have a wash and so on.

While I was taking my tablets the doorbell buzzed to say that the nurse was in the building and when she’d finished with my neighbour she’d be here, so I had to quickly arrange the room how she likes it.

When she came in she told me that she’d been back to the office to check for this prescription but it still wasn’t there. I told her that I’d rung the number and it was definitely the Health Centre in Granville that had rung so she promised to talk to the secretary on Monday to find out more.

Then she dealt with my foot, put on my puttees and left to deal with her next lot of clients elsewhere.

Once she’d gone I had come instant coffee and cornflakes for breakfast, and then came in here to watch yesterday’s game where Forfar Athletic beat a very poor Stranraer side 2-0 in a game that has stuck Stranraer at the foot of Scottish League 2 and in danger of being relegated out of the league.

Searching through the directories on the big computer I came across some radio notes that I’d dictated but hadn’t yet edited so this afternoon’s task was to do that.

Despite a variety of interruptions, including falling asleep a couple of times, that’s all edited and the programme is assembled as far as I can. The final track has been chosen but I need to write, dictate and then edit down some notes for it so that I can finish it off As I said yesterday, there’s now quite a backlog of stuff that needs dictating.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I was dreaming about an election for Prime Minister. Everyone thought that the situation was pretty much cut and dried so I decided that I’d throw my hat into the ring. That upset everyone. They couldn’t even remember the password for the coffee machine for me so that I could have some coffee. When we went to a meeting they had to pick me up. They weren’t sure what to do with me, where to put me. We encountered Boris Johnson on the way. He was driving a double-decker bus. He was going to stand for election too. They were quoting the odds on who was going to have the job. It was evidently their preferred candidate and someone else to pretend to challenge them. The whole idea that there would be a third realistic candidate such as me completely upset their whole apparatus. They had to begin too frame questions to ask me to make it appear that they were giving me a fair crack of the whip. This involved an incredible amount of work for them that they didn’t really want to do and didn’t really see why they had to do it but millions of people were expecting it and of course that’s how it should be done anyway so I upset the whole apple cart with this standing for President or whatever but I was determined to see it through, simply to expose their lazy and corrupt practices

Any election process that can elect people like Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Donald Trump to high office needs to be confronted and challenged. Anyone who remembers MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and laughed at the scene about STRANGE WOMEN LYING IN PONDS DISTRIBUTING SWORDS will have to admit today that it’s a far better system than the one that elects Johnson, Truss or Trump.

And then we had the football. The Welsh Cup Final between Connah’s Quay Nomads and TNS, with TNS aiming to complete the treble and be the first club to go through an entire season of competitive matches without being beaten.

Last week the two teams met in the league with TNS winning 2-0 and Connah’s Quay lucky to get nil, and we were expecting something similar today.

It’s been shown though that TNS’s defence is not as solid as it might be and teams that have been brave enough to take the game to them rather than sitting back defending the rampant attackers have had some kind of success, and that’s precisely what Connah’s Quay did.

They were 2-1 up at half-time and then during the second half weathered the inevitable storm with some desperate last-ditch tackles to deservedly lay their hands on the cup.

You can see the highlights HERE but they only show about a quarter of what I would have included. But at least you’ll get to see one of the best goals scored this season.

Tea tonight was a lovely vegan pizza. Another one of the interruptions was to make the pizza dough as I’d run out so I whipped up a batch this afternoon. Two lumps are in the freezer for another time and the third lump was rolled out and put on its tray to proof.

After the football I assembled it, baked it and ate it. And it was delicious too.

So, much later than I hoped, I’m going to bed to have some pleasant dreams, I hope, before I do battle with the nurse again. And then there’s plenty of work to do like radio stuff and all of that. And I need to catch up on the Welsh that I’ve missed these last two weeks

While I’ve been in hospital there’s been quite a lot of stuff that I’ve let slide away out of sight that I need to catch up. We know the old saying that “work expands to fill the time available” but I wish that the reverse were true and that the time would expand to fit all of the work that needs to be done.

It reminds me of one of the people with whom I used to work years ago. "He does the work of two men, him" his colleagues would say
"Is that so?" I asked
"That’s right" they would reply. "Laurel and Hardy"

Sunday 21st April 2024 – AND SO TOMORROW …

… or today, if you are reading this posting on Monday, I go for my appointment with Destiny

This is when we’ll find out of this three months of medication cocktail has done any good.

Mind you, I can tell you that without having to go all the way to Paris at great expense to find out. There has certainly been a change in the situation, but it isn’t for the better.

Not that it’s any surprise really. With a illness that’s so rare that there are no records and no approved treatment everyone is just groping blindly in the dark and the last time that I tried that I had a thick ear off Percy Penguin

What is going to be interesting though is to find out what their Plan B is. They’ve had three months to think of one so I’m sure that there will be something simmering away in the background. At least, there better had be and I’ll be disappointed if there isn’t.

There was a change last night as well from the previous night, in that I actually managed some sleep.

For a change I actually managed to be in bed early but even so I couldn’t go to sleep. There was far too much on my mind, and on other places too.

However, to my surprise, there was something on the dictaphone and that was unexpected. There was something going on about toothpaste last night. Each person was given their own little cardboard box with their own little tube in it that was for them and them only. I’ve no idea why that would be the case or what it was all about.

No explanations were forthcoming either as it doesn’t seem to relate to anything at all. Just one of those mysterious things, I suspect.

After a stroll down the corridor I came back to bed and that was that until the alarm went off. I finally managed a deep, satisfying sleep and the only thing wrong with that is that there wasn’t enough of it.

No blood pressure – as I said yesterday, there’s not really much point. Instead I went into the living room for my medication with, instead of my usual half-litre of flavoured water, just enough water to swallow my tablets.

And that’s all that I’ve had to eat or drink today. Honestly. I’m working on the principle that the less stuff that goes in, the less stuff will want to come out, and that’s an advantage on a 4-hour car drive tomorrow morning when I’m not feeling too well.

The nurse came round and saw to my foot and my puttees. He thinks that the wound on my foot is ready to face the fresh air but if I’m off to Paris in shoes and socks on Monday I’d rather leave the plaster on so that there’s no friction rubbing it away.

After he left I came back in here and vegetated for quite a while. These 08:00 starts on a Sunday are killing me when I’m used to a long lie-in and a start that’s considerably later than that.

But eventually I managed to summon up enough energy to make a start on sorting out the European Paper Mountain and looking for what I need to take with me

And having found what I can (because there’s still plenty of stuff missing) I packed my backpack. I’ll take what I’ve found and we’ll have to invent the rest as we go along.

There was football on the internet this afternoon – the last weekend of matches of the regular season.

We were treated to Aberystwyth v Pontypridd United. Pontypridd are already relegated due to certain off-the-field issues, but Aberystwyth had to do better than Colwyn Bay would do against Barry Town in order to stay up and sent the Bay back down.

To everyone’s surprise, and probably theirs too, Colwyn Bay beat Barry 1-0 with a goal scored near the end of the game, but by then it was too late. Aberystwyth had already put three past Pontypridd and never looked in any difficulty.

We had the same scenario last season with a dramatic great escape on the final day and as I said then, if Aber had played for the rest of the season with the panache that they showed today they wouldn’t have been in this trouble to start with

It’s tough on Colwyn Bay on their first season in the Premier League but they were miles off the pace even on Day One when Caernarfon put 4 past them and the Bay were lucky to get nil, but the gulf between the Premier League and the second tier is immense.

Rosemary rang me for a chat at the end of the afternoon so while I was preparing a back-up memory stick to take with me, we put the world to rights. Just a short conversation today, only 57 minutes.

So now my puttees are washed and hanging up to dry, my bag is packed and my back-up is prepared, that’s my lot. I’m off to bed.

The alarm is set for 06:00 and the car should be here at 07:00 and then we’ll see.

And I hope that the taxi is on time. He was late on one of the other times that we had to go early like this
"You should have been here at 07:00" I told him
"Why?" he asked. "What happened?"

Saturday 13th April 2024 – I’VE NOT BEEN …

… feeling too much better today.

Hardly at all, in fact. It’s probably a very good example of the old “same stuff, different day” with just a few of the times being changed around to suit different circumstances.

What’s surprising about this – or maybe it isn’t, I dunno – is that I raced around last night doing things as quickly as possible and actually ended up in bed at 22:40 and anyone would have thought that that extra 20 minutes asleep would have made a difference, but apparently not.

Nevertheless there I was in bed and ready for sleep quite quickly. There was still the occasional stabbing pain in my right foot going right the way up my right leg – in fact, there still is even now, but I suppose that I shall just have to learn to live with it.

There were a few times during the night when I awoke but it wasn’t until the alarm went off (correctly at 07:00) that I managed to drag my reluctant self out of bed and take the blood pressure. 16.8/9.4, compared with a figure of 14.2/9.8 last night.

So what had upset me and raised my blood pressure during the night then? We’ll have to find out.

Having checked the blood pressure I dragged myself off to take the usual morning pile of medication and then set out the dining room as the nurse likes it to be.

While she was here I told her that she has to give a decent amount of notice about stuff that she needs. This is only a small pharmacy here and some of the stuff is quite specialised so it needs to be ordered if we run out. There’s usually a rupture de stock for the more complicated items.

After she left I came back in here and that’s the last thing that I remember until about 11:00. Crashed out completely, like a light, I was.

In the kitchen I slowly began to assemble the stuff for my coffee ad cheese on toast but a crowd of Auvergnats interrupted me. They had come to the market for some local stuff to take back and had at the same time come to say “goodbye”. Their week is over – already! Doesn’t time fly? and tomorrow they’ll be heading home.

It really was nice to see them all and I hope that they come back again at some point. I can’t have enough visitors..

After they left there was football on the internet. Hwlffordd, pushing for the Europa League playoffs, against Colwyn Bay, fighting to avoid relegation.

But when your luck is down, it’s really down. And you can’t be 2-0 down after just 9 minutes and hope to fight until the end.

But seriously, Colwyn Bay have been down and out for a few months now. I thought that being managed by veteran Welsh International defender Steve Evans and having made a few marquee signings, they would have had enough to stay up. But their marquee signings disappeared a long time ago and the rest of the team has been playing like they disappeared a long time ago too.

The final score WAS 3-1 TO HWLFFORDD which means that only a mathematical miracle can save Colwyn Bay now. They must win their final match and hope that both Pontypridd and Aberystwyth are defeated.

After that I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I had two dreams quite quickly, one after the other, about a group of people who were quite well-placed something like Rosemary and her friends, but were going down a place where one could gamble, the kind of place where I was. You needed invitations to go in there and of course you needed a machine to work. There, you could gamble as much as you liked. There were certain limits on normal play but they could be negotiated away with the consent of all the parties playing. It was very much like a typical place about which you’d hear in the Auvergne. But in the third part the person who suggested that it was the Auvergne was correct and the machine had guested itself into there which meant that everyone could spend more time travelling to it and spend much more time sorting themselves out while they were there to have a play on it and to try to defeat the … fell asleep here …

Wherever this might be, I’ve no idea. The only place that comes to my mind is the Casino in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic where I was a few years ago, but Rosemary and her friends have certainly never been there. However it’s a shame that I fell asleep in the middle of it as I would have liked to have found out so much more about it.

Then, the girls had all gone off to play one of these casino games involving pirates and pirate ships and they’d left me behind. What they hadn’t realised was that one of the alarms was still set and that awoke me for a short while. They were talking about this pirate game and an old German guy overheard them. He went immediately to have his hair cut. While he was having it cut he talked to the people in the hairdresser’s about the game, where you had to go to etc. so that he could make up a party too. I was in bed and, as I said, the alarm went off all of a sudden but it was a different alarm to the usual. Nevertheless it awoke me and made me quite disappointed that I’d not had a good lie-in, but had to make myself ready for the day

And that sounds like an interesting moment too, and I don’t have a clue what was going on here.

Il y a le musicien Eric Bell qui jouait pendant un certain moment avec Thin Lizzy et qui a accompagné Rosemary et ses amis avec son expedition. Il a en réalité chanté son chanson controversée dans la Halle des Bouddhistes sans être interpellé. Pour lui c’est son travail “bien fait, bien fini” et qu’il va avancer sur les autres choses

So I’m dreaming in French again. And about Eric Bell. I remember going to see him in London one night just after he’d left Thin Lizzy and was playing in his own band. But his PA had broken down and there were no vocals to accompany his music and it was something of a washout.

That night I remember sleeping on Hampstead Heath in the back of BILL BADGER, my old Austin A60 van. But I’ve no idea why I was actually in London in the first place.

He’s not however the kind of person to accompany Rosemary on any expedition but since when did reality have anything to do with what goes on at night?

After this I fell asleep again and awoke just in time for tea – another one of my delicious breaded quorn fillets with baked potato and salad.

So now I’m off to bed, with an extra hour to sleep (I hope) before the alarm goes off seeing as it’s a Sunday. But I really can’t do with all of this disruption to my routine. Staying in bed until 11:00 on a Sunday was much more like my line.

It beats me though why it(‘s of any interest My psychiatrist once asked me "what do you dream of in bed?"
I replied "I dreamed that I was in bed with Kate Bush"
"What happened?" he asked.
"Nothing" I replied. "She was dreaming that she was in bed with Roger Moore so I had to get out."

Saturday 6th April 2024 – TODAY WAS ONE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 30th March 2024 – MY BROCCOLI STALK …

… soup was absolutely delicious at lunchtime.

  1. chop up an onion and fry it in a heavy duty saucepan
  2. dice your broccoli stalk and a potato into very small pieces and add them to the fried onion, and fry them
  3. add your herbs – I used coriander, chervil, marjoram and chives – a stock cube and some garlic, and fry them with everything else
  4. when you’re satisfied that all is going well, add enough of the water that you saved yesterday from blanching the carrots and broccoli florets – make sure that the stuff above is covered and remains so throughout the entire process
  5. simmer away on a low heat for about 20 minutes
  6. add a tub of soya yoghurt and whizz it all up with your whizzer
  7. serve with fresh black pepper and fresh-baked bread

That’s what I call a really decent meal for a lunchtime.

When I blanch my broccoli for freezing I only blanch the florets. But one of these 99 cents special offers of broccoli is usually more stalk than florets so you have to be inventive, and broccoli stalk soup is the way forward

However I wish that I knew the way forward out of my current sleep issues because they reared their ugly head today, and in spades too.

Last night was a late night again. Once more I couldn’t seem to have my tasks completed in anything like a reasonable time. They do seem to drag me down these days and like anything else around here, it’s never-ending.

Finally, hours later than intended, I managed to find my way into bed.

Once in though, I slept right the way through until the alarm went off without the slightest interruption, which is quite strange these days. Usually, the slightest noise awakens me, so I wonder if it’s something to do with one of the pills that I take just before going to bed.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed again and went to check the blood pressure. 15.5/8.9 compared to last evening’s 15.9/10.1. So not a great deal of difference.

After the medication I tidied up in the kitchen and arranged everything for the nurse to come. She was her usual cheerful self today and it didn’t take her long to sort me out. I told her about the issues with the pharmacy and she thinks that I ought to see my GP about the blood tests.

My opinion is that they are called for by the hospital so it’s up to the hospital to decide whether I need them or not, and as for my injections, I’m in the hospital in 3 weeks time and if I don’t have them for 3 weeks, there’s plenty of time for the hospital to catch up

Back in here, there was nothing on the dictaphone yet again from the night, and even though that usually signifies a decent sleep it’s still disappointing because, as I have said before… "and on many occasions too" – ed … going on my travels is the only fun that I have these days.

Back in the old days before my health finally gave out, I’d always be travelling. And not just in vehicles either, but on foot. I’ve roamed miles over places like the Long Mynd in Shropshire, moors in Scotland, Arctic tundra in Greenland and Northern Canada and so on.

Who will ever forget my famous journey when I nipped out for a couple of hours in 2014 and ended up roaming for miles through the Pyrenees in Southern France, Spain and Andorra for several weeks?

But returning to last night, even though there was nothing on the dictaphone I do have a recollection of something else to do with Ford Cortinas scattered all over Crewe and that’s a regular, recurring dream.

Apart from making broccoli stalk soup, most of the day has been dealing with radio stuff, sorting out music for the next few programmes. Time to restart work after being away on a course for a week. and I’m still thinking and talking in Welsh when I talk to myself.

There was a lot of progress made with the radio stuff but I would have done more had I not crashed out.

And I crashed out good and proper for a couple of hours too, the deepest that I have ever been too and it was really uncomfortable too, really, really uncomfortable. I was so far out that I wouldn’t have come back for a week.

Nevertheless I came round and wandered off for my hot chocolate. And there was something on the dictaphone from when I’d crashed out, and that doesn’t happen too often either. I was on my way to see my sister and my brother. They had given me directions but the closer I came to where they were supposed to be, the less sense the directions made. I ended up on an island, a long narrow sandspit that was completely built up with a big apartment building. As I approached the front door there was a man there so I hurried and he held the door for me to enter. Inside I went into the lift and came out on the first floor. I asked on the radio which apartment they were in but their answer was garbled so I asked which floor and they said “top”. I went back into the lift and came out at the top and was now in the open air countryside, still heavily built up. I asked if they were on the water side or the inside but the reply was “down here” so I went down the road. There was still no trace of them so I asked which house they were in. They replied that there was nothing near them but a pub. There was nothing whatever like that where I was but searching around I came across a village name something like Rhydymwyn (but wasn’t) so I asked if that name meant anything to them. There was no reply to that – I’d gone out of range obviously and lost radio contact, so I must have been miles away, so I gave it up zs a bad job.

The likelihood of me ever wanting to meet my brother and sister would be so remote that they wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of giving me false directions to keep me away.

But the island, the long thin sandspit, reminds me very much of Long Beach Island in New Jersey. That was where I went to celebrate the Millennium. I flew from Brussels Airport, where I was interviewed by Flemish TV – in Flemish – to New York and hired a car, then just drifted around until I found somewhere nice.

And LONG BEACH ISLAND REALLY IS NICE TOO. I had a wonderful time out there.

TOTGA had just been abandoned by her husband and was left alone with a small baby. I invited her to join me on the trip
"Where would be staying?" she asked
"We’ll work that out when we arrive. Just drive and find somewhere nice"
"Actually, it’s not really convenient"

A few years later we were talking and she said "I’d have come with you if you’d had a place booked to stay, you know."

It was then that I realised what a lucky escape she’d had. In 2015 I slept out on the trail every night in Northern Labrador and Northern Québec, timber wolves howling in the distance and something or other scratching at Strider’s truck cap, wanting to come in and share the sleeping bag with me.

TOTGA would have had a heart attack a long time before that if she’d had to share a lifetime with me. Nerina was the adventurous type and would have been fine, but I’m sure that I tried her spirit a few times

But just in case you are wondering, these people who figure quite often in my dreams, like TOTGA, Castor and Zero and so on, they are actually real people whom I’ve encountered, or even had a close encounter, at some time or other and who have obviously left a very great impression on me.

There was football on the internet later – TNS v Cardiff Metropolitan in the other Welsh Cup semi-final.

To everyone’s surprise, the Met raced into a 2-0 lead but of course it couldn’t last. TNS changed out of first gear and off they roared.

TNS’s overwhelming dominance of the Welsh domestic game wouldn’t bother me all that much if they could take it further. But they are knocked out of European competition at the first hurdle and they really ought to be doing much better than

It would really be nice if they could make it to a European group stage for once and have a real stab at something worthwhile.

And it would be nice if other clubs could do well too, emulating Hwlffordd who actually made it through to a second round last season.

Tea tonight was baked potato with vegan salad and one of these breaded quorn fillets that I like. But aren’t plates heavy when they fall on your foot? I’m glad that there was just a quorn fillet on it at that moment and nothing else.

But now I’m off to bed. We lose an hour tonight of course with the change of calendar, and I have the nurse coming which is a pain. I need to be up early and have everything ready so I hope that the alarm works.

Not like back in the old days when I was always late for school
"And why are you always late?" asked the exasperated schoolmaster
"Please sir" I explained "there’s eight in our family but the alarm was only set for seven so I had to miss out."

Sunday 24th March 2024 – WE’RE RUNNING LATE …

… yet again this evening. Once more, the late Mr Hall seems to be doing the business (or not, as the case may be).

The problem with a football match kick-off at an inconvenient time combining with a series of complicated manoeuvres … "PERSONOEUVRES" – ed … in the kitchen and things has conspired against me yet again.

For example, it’s currently 21:20 and I’ve still not eaten tonight’s pizza. It’s still cooking away in the oven.

Most of the cleaning-up in there has been done though so I’m not as tardy as all that but nevertheless things are still not going as they might or as I would like them yet again.

There is one bright spot – a very bright spot – on the horizon and I’ll tell you all about that in due course if you read on down the page.

And as for last night, I was late going to bed then too. Despite setting the alarm for 08:00 it was still well after midnight when I finally let it all hang out and went to bed. Not even 8 hours sleep, and on a Sunday morning too!

At least it was a really deep sleep and I remember very little about anything that went on. However, once more I awoke just before the alarm went off. So twice in succession now I’ve awoken just before 08:00 without any artificial aids. There’s obviously something going on somewhere.

But when the alarm went off I fell out of bed and sat down to recover and to compose myself. Not like Beethoven, who spent 57 years composing and then the next 197 years decomposing.

Once I was ready I checked the blood pressure to see how it was doing. 15.7/10.4, compared to 160/10.1 from the previous evening. It’ll be interesting to see what the reading will be on a real, accurate machine though because this one seems to produce results that bear no resemblance whatever to what figures they obtain at the hospital.

Anyway, so now that I’ve eaten my delicious pizza we can continue.

Once the nurse had been and gone, without complaining too much today, I made myself a coffee and had some cornflakes. There have to be some benefits if I’m going to be up and about so early.

And I gave Rosemary a terrible shock too. She’s apparently tried to contact me which I was baking and watching football yesterday so I sent her a message “any time this morning”. She was shocked because usually it’s “anyone who tries to disturb me before midday on a Sunday will be exterminated”.

While I was waiting for her to call back I took the stuff out of the freezer that I had put in yesterday, took it off the metal trays that I use so that everything freezes individually, and then stacked it all in the freezer, the burgers between layers of baking paper so that they don’t stick together.

Rosemary and I had another one of our marathon chats that go on for ever, putting the World to rights as usual, not that we can do very much about it. We’re both glad, though, that we don’t have to go through the chaos that is the UK and that we live over here.

And it looks as if this bunch of Auvergnats that has been threatening to come up to Normandy at some point really is happening. Not only have they booked a house up the road at Breville for their stay, every one of them has paid her share of the rental.

There’s some talk that they might even come and take me out for a day while they are here, which will be nice. It’ll be good to stretch my legs outside for once.

After we’d finished speaking I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. This was part of my flying patrol thing where one aeroplane has to stay out for a very long time so it has to take all of its equipment with it but it was seen by one lot of people flying over on its way out to pick up its stuff and they were looking out for it flying back again but without any success. The aeroplane in question has collected a lot of the smaller stuff that it needed and was going to stay out for a long time

Or so I said into the dictaphone. But my plan would have worked, with a few first-generation four-engined bombers like Stirlings and Halifaxes stripped of absolutely everything except the bare essentials and with a galley and bed in them, and based in Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland they could have had enough range to patrol the North Atlantic to provide defence against submarines operating in areas where more conventional aerial forces couldn’t reach.

It would have made an exciting novel anyway.

Later on I was out in the countryside following the trail of a film. Someone had written in asking what was the significance of the name of a pub “The Flying Anvil” and a few other things about a particular road during which a vehicle was filmed advancing in a film so I went down on my motorbike to have a look. I could filld The Flying Anvil easily enough but I was looking around for everything else that they’d asked about when I came to a “stop” sign in the road. There were all these people on motorbikes congregated around it blocking the road. I asked if I could advance. They said “yes” but sat with this meeting and I had to pass right through the crowd effectively but they didn’t move at all. I just had to sit there. One girl pulled up on a motorbike later and someone asked her if she’d dropped it. She replied “yes” – it had slipped from underneath her. They were just having this big discussion amongst them selves all across the road not caring whatever about anyone else who might have wanted to go through there and continue on their way.

Finally I was on my way around the town and went past a petrol station. The girls were filling up the petrol tanks of the two mopeds that we had but they had the windscreen washer bucket things underneath the frames of the mopeds. I asked them what was going on. I said that it looked awful, that. The girls said that the petrol station is sick and tired of us making a big mess when we come here. I asked what was the problem. They replied that the fuel tanks are leaking so much. Every time we fill up half of the stuff leaks all over the petrol station. I was furious because no-one ever told me anything about this. I asked why it was leaking. They replied “basically it’s George. He went to a camping exhibition with the two mopeds the other day and drove all the way with the choke fully open. That’s how he drives them. Every time he takes one of them somewhere he has the choke fully open so the petrol all leaks out everywhere. Now it does it all the time”. I was furious that no-one had ever mentioned it to me because obviously I can’t repair something or fix something if no-one ever tells me anything and no-one ever lets me know whether there’ a problem with anything.

And that’s the story of what I was doing 30-odd years ago. It seemed that common sense was in very short supply back in those days and by the looks of things, nothing much has changed. Everyone talks about “Artificial Intelligence” as being the thing of the moment. But in my opinion what we need is less Artificial Intelligence and more Natural Intelligence.

And if we had enough of the latter, we wouldn’t need any of the former.

So abandoning another good rant for the moment, I went and began to prepare the Hot Cross buns. Easter just isn’t Easter without Hot Cross Buns toasted and with piles of butter sinking in.

Having checked the other day, I found that I did have almost everything that I needed and what I didn’t have I couldn’t get anyway, so it was a simple matter of collecting everything together.

Liz had given me some advice about making the liquid wetter than the recipe suggests so instead of 150 ml of milk I used 160, and 30 mg of butter instead of 25.

Learning from my past mistakes, I took my time and prepared everything carefully. And then slowly and gently, but for a considerable time, kneaded the dough together just as if I was massaging Zero’s clavicles.

While it was proofing I went off to watch the first half of the football, Airdrie United v TNS in the final of this Scottish FA Challenge competition.

Connah’s Quay Nomads had lost to Ross County in the 2019 Final by 2-1 after going a goal up, so when TNS scored early in the game to go in front, I was reminded of Terry Venables and his quote "if history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again".

And I wasn’t disappointed because Airdrie scored after 25 minutes to sent the players in at half-time equal at 1-1

What I did was to go into the kitchen to give the dough a second kneading, add in the dried fruit and some fleur d’orange flavouring.

The second half of the game was a foregone conclusion. TNS failed to penetrate the Airdrie defence for the remainder of the game and after about an hour, conceded a very soft penalty. And that was that.

But once again, I really don’t understand TNS’s tactics. 2-1 down and with the game slipping away, and they are passing the ball around on the edge of the opponents’ penalty area retaining possession but making no attempt to put the ball into the penalty area.

You don’t win games if you don’t score goals, and you don’t score goals if you don’t make any attempts. The more shots you have, the more likely you are to score.

This “it’s all about retaining possession” which seems to be the modern way of thinking is all pretty pointless really. It doesn’t produce any results. If you look closely, this “playing the ball out of defence” from a goal kick or a keeper’s clearance has led to more mistakes and more goals conceded by the team’s defence than it’s led to goals being scored by the team’s attackers.

Once the game was over I went into the kitchen, split the dough into 6 equal parts, kneaded each part again and put it on the baking tray. And then, using the little icing bag that I’d bought ages ago, made the crosses on my buns, not very artistically it has to be said.

While they were proofing I kneaded the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer earlier and which had been defrosting. Then I rolled it out and put it on the tray, leaving it all to fester.

Back in the kitchen later when the pizza base had risen, I switched on the oven and shoved in the buns, and then assembled my pizza.

And when my buns had cooked, I couldn’t believe it. They had risen like a lift and looked exactly like shop-bought buns ought to look. This was the first time that I have ever had such stupendous, satisfactory results when I’ve been bread-making and I’m almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

If I can make buns like this some other time I’ll be more than happy

The pizza was delicious too although it could have done with another 5 minutes in the oven.

So my Welsh Easter course starts tomorrow. That should keep me out of mischief for four days or so. I’ll have to prepare for it of course, so that will be the task after the nurse has gone. It’s not like the time that they told me at the hospital that I was going to have a blood test the following morning so I sat up all night studying.

At least, with the course being run by the college in Caerfyrddin there’s not likely to be anyone on the course who knows me, like last time. The World is far too small for my liking. A teacher at my old school on my current course and a student from Nantwich on a previous holiday course.

It’s becoming rather like 2000 again when Marianne and I went to Rome for Holy Week and she was invited to see the Pope. I was determined not to miss out so when he appeared on the balcony to bless the crowds I shinned up the ivy to meet him and say hello.
All of the newspapers all over the World had it in their headlines next day "MYSTERY MAN ON HOLY BALCONY IN VATICAN"
And in small print underneath "Who was the man up there with Eric Hall?"

Saturday 16th March 2024 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

… doing what I have to do in the evening I didn’t hang about and was in bed quite shortly thereafter. I don’t seem to be able to last the pace like I used to, especially if I didn’t have any sleep the previous evening.

But of course I have to admit that my bed is extremely comfortable. Seeing as I spend about a third of my life in it it went through some pretty rigorous tests, as in me lying down on every combination of bed and mattress that was on display in the IKEA in Caen.

The sofa too is extremely comfortable. That underwent the same series of tests and has been put to good use on several occasions when I have company, but that’s another story.

So last night I climbed into bed and that was that until the alarm went off at 07:00.

At that point I fell out of bed and went off in search of medication – the usual morning round of things designed to keep me going until we have the night-time’s helpings. 10 different types, and each one presumably treating the side-effects of the one that was prescribed immediately before.

In fact, as I take all of this medicine I’m singing to myself THERE’S A HOLE IN MY BUCKET because that’s exactly how I feel.

Having dealt with the medication I made the bread rolls for today and tomorrow and left them there to fester while I went and took down the puttees and rolled them up ready for the nurse. They are still wet but that can’t be helped.

When she came round she burst the blisters on my feet, put all the cream on everywhere and wrapped the puttees around my feet and legs. She’s told me that there’s no need to wash them tonight as they don’t seem to be soiling any, which is good news.

After she had left I checked the bread rolls. And for once in my life they had actually risen as I hoped that they might. I’m not sure what I did correctly today – I can’t recall doing anything any more different than I usually do and which up to now has proved to be singularly ineffective.

But anyway I had a lovely cheese on toast for breakfast which was really nice.

Back in here I checked the dictaphone and to my surprise there was actually some stuff on there. “Surprise” because for the first two dreams I remember nothing at all, which quite possibly explains why they seem to be a pile of gibberish. Anyway, There was something about being in a rock group in North Wales called Achmarchnad – “Supermarket”. We all spoke to each other in Welsh and I introduced the songs in Welsh too. We climbed up onto the stage and there was applause but when I began to announce what we were about to play plenty of people dashed off as though they were heading for the bathroom. I made some kind of comment about everyone going to the bathroom. They also turned off all of the microphones so I had to wait for someone to restart everything again before I could actually carry on. But I was dreaming in Welsh as I had to wait for these people to go as we all sit around here, phrases like that to the other members of the group.

Yes, there I was, dreaming in Welsh and presenting the music of a rock band. I’d give all that I own, and more besides, to be able to do that in real life. But as I have mentioned before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … dreaming in a foreign language is nothing new. Besides Welsh (which isn’t a foreign language of course) we’ve had dreams in French, Flemish and Spanish in the past.

It’s actually quite ironic really. Here I am, learning a language that I probably won’t ever speak, in practical terms, and yet during the night I’m speaking it quite fluently and can’t even remember a word of what I’ve said and could certainly never repeat what I said when I’m awake.

There was a story once about this – about some guy who had had a knock on the head and came back to consciousness speaking a language fluently that he had never learned or even heard before. I wonder if it’s some kind of similar phenomenon.

It’s a shame though that I’m no longer going to Leuven though. I enjoyed revitalising the Flemish that I learned when I lived in Brussels and was glad that I was able to put it to some use after all these years. I just speak it now sometimes with Ingrid.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed – when we had fully loaded our ambulance we were ready to leave and go back to current times but the ambulance hit a stone causing injury to Orly and someone in the back and we haul up and treat our injuries etc before we could head back and try to cross the border. Rooms were booked for us in a hotel a a place on the Welsh side of the river just before you cross the river into the English part …fell asleep here

The above two dreams I have absolutely no recollection whatever of them. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … although I’m asleep when I’m dictating my notes, when I’m transcribing them I usually have some kind of very vague recollection of them.

But not those two. They mean absolutely nothing to me

Finally, I was doing something about the radio last night, recording all my programmes. I needed a tenth track. After much messing about I actually chose the track but when it came to using it to join up the rest of the music I couldn’t find it. I was searching everywhere but it just wasn’t there. The last time that I remember, it was still attached to a set of stereo headphones with the wires dangling everywhere but I couldn’t find it at all. When I awoke I was actually searching the bed for it.

But can you imagine it – searching for a digitalised audio file in the bed last night. Sometimes I really do shake my head.

This afternoon I’ve been a busy boy. Firstly, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat. Just a short one today – only one hour and three minutes. We’re losing our touch, that’s for sure. Whatever happened to the ones that used to go on for several weeks?

Then I’ve been working on my photos from Canada 2022, writing the notes for another big pile of stuff. I hadn’t yet fallen ill so I was still getting about and doing things, like ordering the sunroof for the only Ford Flex ever imported into Europe, and having fun with STRAWBERRY MOOSE.

The dramatic collapse in health is yet to come, and it will be interesting to see how the events of that period unfolded and led to a two-months stay in hospital and totally wrecked my health.

The stuff for a couple more days was completed and I could have done so much more except for a major crashing-out – another one of these total black-outs that last for several hours where it’s as if I just switch off without any warning.

Finally there was the football – Pontypridd United v Barry Town. Both teams are languishing near the foot of the table – Pontypridd due more to administrative errors than standard of play – but they will basically safe from relegation as heaps more woe and misery pile on Colwyn Bay and Aberystwyth below them in the table.

The league position of the teams was reflected in the play – scrappy and at times rather agricultural – but playing football in a tropical monsoon as they had this afternoon down in Pontypridd can’t have been easy.

The game seemed to go in spells. Firstly, Pontypridd would have a good five minutes and then Barry, and then Pontypridd again and so on. The result, a 1-1 draw, was probably about right.

If you want to see the rather one-sided highlights of the match, they ARE HERE

You don’t need me to tell you what I had for tea tonight.

That’s right – breaded quorn fillet with baked potato and salad. Those fillets really are nice and I’m glad that, at the moment at least, they are available in LeClerc’s on-line shop

“At the moment” because even over the short time that I’ve been using the service, I’ve noticed a few things that I would buy that have been withdrawn from the range and that is more than just a pity. It’s a tragedy

So now I’m off to bed, ready for my … gulp … 08:00 start so that i’m ready for when the nurse comes. Can you imagine that too – me having an alarm call at 08:00 on a Sunday? But I need to show willing

It reminds me of the time when a girl who I knew once said to me "will you awaken me at 08:00?"
To which I replied "What should I do? Knock on your door or give you a nudge?"
There were times when I wasn’t very popular.

But as yet an alarm call might be unnecessary. Where the nurse burst my blisters, every now and again (more “again” than “now”, as it happens) there’s a stabbing pain that goes right through me and if it doesn’t subside I can’t see me sleeping tonight.

However, I’m away to finish off what I need to do before going to bed. The last task for today will be to cover myself in boot polish and eat several packets of yeast. That way I’ll rise and shine in the morning