Tag Archives: Ingrid

Thursday 2nd May 2024 – THAT BLASTED LECLERC …

… delivery driver forgot to drop off the box with all of the soya milk in it

He managed to drop off everything else that I’d ordered but somehow overlooked the milk in his van. I telephoned him as soon as I realised but he didn’t answer his ‘phone.

It’s not possible for me to live without my soya milk. I get through quite a lot of it,, especially at weekends so I need a large stock on hand. At the moment I have very little in store on the tiled floor in the bathroom, so I’ve no idea what I’m going to do if he doesn’t drop it off.

Yes, before I went to bed last night I went through the shopping list to make sure that I had everything on there that I needed and then wandered off to bed rather later than intended.

It was another good night as far as I was concerned, and I can’t remember anything at all about it which is good news from the point of view of sleep, but not from the point of view of nocturnal rambling Many people have told me that I need to get out more, but in my sleep at night is the only way that I can do that these days.

When the alarm went off I was having a medical examination for some reason or other. The doctor who was doing it usually examined female patients so it was a rather interesting examination. Right at the end they said that if I were to leave something on the corner of his desk could he pass it to one of the women whom he’ll be examining in due course? He agreed to do so so I put it on the end of his desk. Just them, the alarm rang and awoke me

What was quite amazing about that is that the ‘phone, with the alarm, was situated at the end of my desk where it was being given an overnight cage by the computer, and where I imagined that I’d left whatever it was, that was exactly where my ‘phone was.

Having switched off the alarm I wandered off into the bathroom for a wash etc end then into the dining area for my morning medication. It’s a Thursday so I get to take everything today including the weekly Vitamin D capsule. I’m sure that people can hear me rattling when I approach them with all of this stuff inside me.

The nurse came round and sorted out my foot and my puttees. He tells me that things aren’t going too well with my neighbour whom he also sees and he’s becoming quite worried. However it’s no good trying to involve me. What can I do?

After he left I came back in here, where I promptly crashed out. So much so that I was actually quite late going for my coffee and flapjack

Back in here I finalised my order for LeClerc and sent it off, only to realise that I’d not ordered any potatoes or apples. And that’s a catastrophe too. I’ve really not done very well at all with this order

Having sent the order off I spent the next few hours tracking down tracks for the radio programme that I mentioned earlier. I now have a nice collection of music for what I want to do and so I can start organising it and pairing it off ready to write out the notes

Writing the notes will be difficult because some of the music is quite obscure and I’ve no idea about who the musicians in the groups might be. I shall just have to do my best

The order for LeClerc finally turned up – late – so I went to check it but there’s no receipt. That must be in the box with the milk, which also wasn’t there. As I said earlier, that’s a catastrophe. As far as I’m aware, everything else was there, including the strawberries that were on special offer.

It’s quite funny about the strawberries. On the way to Paris last week there was a lot of discussion about food, both on the car radio and with the taxi driver. Suddenly I had an overwhelming desire for strawberries. I’ve no idea why

And then on LeClerc’s promotion this week, they had strawberries! So I added a punnet.

In the middle of all of this Ingrid rang so I said that I’d call her back. Once I’d settled everything we had a nice chat that went on for about 50 minutes. If she’s not careful she’ll be changing her name to Rosemary at this rate.

So after we’d finished discussing our various health issues I went back into the kitchen where I washed, scrubbed, diced and peeled 2 kilos of carrots which I then blanched, followed by a couple of broccoli. Yes, that was on special offer too, so it’s broccoli stalk soup for lunch tomorrow

While all of that was draining I put everything away and then came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night. I was in goal for England last night, would you believe. We were playing Italy in some kind of tournament. I’d been selected, I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t having a very good night. My throw-outs weren’t long enough so they were easily intercepted. Indeed the Italian goalkeeper intercepted one of them – he’d come forward for it and pumped it back in past me for a goal. At one stage we were 2-1 down but I caught him out because he kept on coming forward when I had the ball ready to throw out and I finally got to grips with my throws and managed to throw it. It went over his head into the goal. I scored a third goal too a little later on so England were winning 3-2 at one particular point. I wasn’t happy in goal – I was a little uncomfortable but never mind

When I was at school I actually kept goal for my house team but I never was selected for the school team. I thought that it was probably because I was probably rubbish – I had my lack of height against me.

Some time later though I learnt that the guy who was the school’s first-choice goalkeeper for my year went on to play professionally for Wycombe Wanderers and his substitute played for Northwich Victoria in the Conference, I was up against some pretty tough opposition.

Mind you, I might have been rubbish as well, but I kept goal for the office team when I worked for an Insurance Company in Chester after leaving school and also for several local teams on a one-off basis when they needed a goalkeeper urgently.

It wasn’t until later when I found my true niche, and that was when a local cricket team was short of a wicket keeper. I ended up quite happily keeping wicket for several years and enjoying every minute of it, and I wish that I could still do it.

Tea tonight was nothing important. Pasta and veg in a spicy tomato sauce with a vegan burger. One or two of the burgers in the European Burger Mountain are coming up close to their sell-by date and they need to be polished off before they walk out of the fridge themselves to complain.

So that’s it for tonight. I wonder what tomorrow might bring. My milk, I hope. I can’t go another fortnight without my soya milk. If it doesn’t come I’ll be in a few difficulties but it’s no use crying over spilt milk, is it?

It reminds me of the little boy watching the milkman put a milk crate full of empty bottles into his van
"Oh look mum!" he shouted. "A cow’s nest!"

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."

Thursday 11th April 2024 – I’VE NO IDEA …

… what happened to this morning.

There I was, sitting down at my desk typing out a few notes and the next thing that I knew was that I was flat out asleep the ‘phone was ringing and it was midday already.

A whole morning had passed and I’d been totally out of it. It was just as if someone had flicked a switch at some point earlier in the morning and I’d just switched off completely with no warning.

You’ve no idea whatever just how strange it feels to be in a circumstance like that. All that I can say is that it’s a good job that I can no longer drive.

This morning I knew that things were going to be difficult. I’d been awake since about 06:00 and was actually up early before the alarm went off. It was actually quite a struggle to leave the bed, no matter how it sounds, because I didn’t feel in the least like it.

It had been a late night too. This idea about trying my best to finish everything early isn’t really working and despite the best intentions, and the road to Hell is paved with those, I’m not doing aby good with the plan.

It was probably about 23:30 when I slipped under the covers and so awakening at 06:00 is simply not enough sleep. Heaven alone knows how I managed 30-odd years ago when if I thought I was having half that time in bed I was doing well.

So first thing was to check the blood pressure this morning. It was showing 16.9/11.2, which compares quite miserably with last night’s figure of 14.9/9.3. Something had gone on during the night to upset me, by the looks of things, but we’ll have to wait to find out what.

Instead of worrying about that I went to take my medication, the typical European Medicine Mountain of stuff, and then to rearrange the living room ready for her and also to have a good wash

While she was here she gave me a list of stuff that she needed and then wandered off, and I began to sort myself out. However it was at some point round about here that I disappeared off the face of the earth.

awakening was the thing, because I was totally out of it and it took me a good couple of hours (seriously) to come back onto this planet. It was certainly well after 14:00 when I restarted work.

First thing was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night – and from the morning too because there were some of them. But during the night I was back in Outer Space again assembling a rock programme. What I was actually doing was cutting an audio track from an obscure German rock group called Dreadnought, copying out the segments. There were dozens of them, all extremely long so it was a complicated business to do it. I was chatting to one or two people while I was doing it. They were apparently quite impressed and spent some time watching. I found that one of the women there, she knew exactly how to do it. She had a Welsh programme there and she was going through telling me how she did it, in Welsh, which I understood, saying “it wasn’t done in this way – it wasn’t done in this way and it wasn’t done in this way and it wasn’t done in this way but it was done in a way like this”, said in Welsh all the time and I could follow the conversation, I could follow exactly what she’d done. She made it sound really, really interesting. I thought to myself “maybe I ought to investigate things from that point of view and see how they fit with what I’m doing”

Funnily enough, just recently I have been editing a concert sound track by a German space-rock group called Dreadnought, another one of my contacts from one of the various Hawkfests, and it’s really quite interesting. But I wish that I knew in real life which method this woman was using. I’m completely self-taught in respect of my use of a sound-editing programme and can conjure up some surprisingly good results. But there are tons of facilities that I have never used, and some expert advice would really not go amiss

Later on I was back in a dream in Welsh. Our Welsh class had to translate an ancient song. There were two ways to do it, one was a translation after the fashion of Morgannwg … "presumably the poet Lewys Morgannwg" – ed … and the other after the fashion on Cadwaladwr … "presumably Cadwaladr ap Rhys Trefnant" – ed …. The problem was that both translations are rather inflammatory and as a result its use has fallen out of favour but nevertheless that was our task. One girl was already receiving some grief because her translation had come to the notice of the authorities and we were wondering all the way through the rest of this dream how long it will be before our version of the translation comes to the attention of the authorities, and what action they’ll take against us

And that’s the problem with much of Welsh literature of that period. It’s a tale of lament about the oppression of the native people by the wicked English and like many other things, it’s not very appetising to the English palette today.

While many countries have tried hard to come to terms with their past, in England there has never been any kind of attempt at reconciliation. There are a great many scars that have never ever healed.

While I was asleep during the morning there was also a complicated discussion going on about the use of personal pronouns, something else that seems to be quite a touchy subject these days.

As we said the other day, there are a lot of people with nothing better to do so they trawl the internet and places like that trying to find ways in which they might be offended. If you’re born with a certain gender and you don’t like it, then that’s your problem, not everyone else’s

Whoever it was on the phone who awoke me, I have no idea I was in no fit state to answer.

Instead I lowly (as in the next couple of hours) came back round into the Land of the Living and then made a start on the notes for the next radio programme.

Not that I went far because firstly the cleaner descended upon me with some supplies for the nurse, and then the Auvergnats came round to fill me in on their exciting day. Tomorrow they are off down the road to Mont St Michel so I’m being allowed a day of freedom myself. I’ll see them on Saturday for the last time.

But it was nice to chat about all of our old stamping grounds down in the Combrailles and to discuss all of our former partners in crime, most of whom have moved on to pastures new.

And that’s a shame because I really loved my life in the Auvergne. It was just how I imagined rural France to be and I’m glad that I managed to grab hold of one of the last vestiges of it before it disappeared completely

There was definitely something to be said for life down there, but it’s no life for anyone who is not 100% fit.

After they left there wasn’t much time left until teatime – some pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce with a couple of the falafel balls that I made the other day. Totally delicious.

So when I’ve finished everything again, my throbbing leg and I are going to bed and if the pain subsides I might even sleep. But it would be nice to have a regular sleep.

And by that I mean one with lots of dreams. Lee Jackson sang "YOU WOULD GIVE A SMALL FORTUNE
TO BE BACK IN YOUR DREAMS"

and he’s not at all wrong, not on my account anyway

It does remind me of the time that Nerina and I chatted about our dreams
Nerina said "I dreamed last night that I’d gone shopping in Asda"
"Really?" I asked. "I dreamed that I was making love to three beautiful, naked women in the park under a glorious warm sun"
"Was I there?" she asked
"Actually no" I replied. "You’d gone shopping in Asda"

Wednesday 10th April 2024 – TODAY HASN’T BEEN …

… any easier today than it was yesterday. I fact it was probably a darn sight worse.*

And that’s a shame because I was actually in bed earlier than I usually am and earlier than I would like to be For a change it didn’t take long to finish off what I need to do, and I was wracking my brains thinking of things that I might have forgotten to do.

But one thing about it was that I was doped up to the eyebrows with painkillers.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I usually eschew painkillers but I really was in so much agony that I just couldn’t carry on any longer.

It’s not my style, I agree. I think that painkillers do more harm than good, but in bed, I’m not likely to find myself in any mischief, especially as TOTGA, Castor and Zero have stopped coming to visit me during the night.

So doped up to the eyebrows … "you’ve said that once" – ed … I went to bed. And that probably explains why I went to sleep, didn’t awaken until 06:15 and left nothing on the dictaphone except a rambling account of how grateful I was.

It really was for once a good night’s sleep because I felt absolutely nothing at all. When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed, dressed myself and checked my blood pressure – 16.3/10.5, which compares with last night’s figure of 17.4/10.2. I’m not surprised that the pressure has gone down after last night’s chemically-induced sleep.

Next thing was to take the medication, the usual piles of it too. My friendly neighbourhood cleaner will be along at some point to verify the medication that I have.

Having arranged the room, the nurse came along to give me my rabies shot, or whatever it is. And then to bandage me up with the putties so that I look like something out of Ancient Egypt

On Sunday I shall have to make another one as nice as that. It will be really nice if that one is so good.

Don’t let anyone tell you that strong black coffee keeps you awake by the way because back in here I really was gone with the fairies. I had the guitar out for a short while to have a play but didn’t go far with it.

It was 13:35 when I finally awoke and then I had lunch and a good wash with change of clothes to make myself look pretty.

To my surprise I’d been away with the fairies during the morning. I was involved in some kind of crazy science fiction dream involving some mad scientists and a chemical. But there were two of me and one of them was dishonest and ready to fall in with the plans of the scientist and the other one of me was more honest and was intent on thwarting his plans

And that4s a story with a little history behind it that deserves to be told one of these days but will have to wait until the expiry of certain periods of Statute of Limitations in the UK.

There was also something else about the Welsh Premier League and attendances. I was actually out on my way to a ground to watch a game and was driving through Whitchurch although it was no Whitchurch that I ever knew and a discussion on attendances began. Someone had seen a paper with a figure given of 4,000 and whoever it was couldn’t believe it but I replied that until their current problems Aberystwyth could easily have that kind of figure as their support.

Not that that’s ever likely to happen either. The record crowd in the Welsh Premier League is 3250 at Porthmadog who came to see them play Bangor City, but where are those clubs now?

Mind you, at a second-tier match at Old Road in Llansawel there were 1201 spectators who packed into the ground to watch them beat Rhydaman, lift the Championship and prepare for their first season in the top flight for almost 30 years.

Wouldn’t it be nice though if 4,000 could pack into Park Avenue to watch Aberystwyth? However, with a League with no money, no real publicity, no real budget and operating under a mainstream media blackout thanks to the rugby clubs who pull all the media strings in Wales, It’s no surprise.

While my cleaner was here I carried on with yet more radio notes and then after she left my favourite Auvergnats turned up again for more cake and chat. This is becoming a habit. I don’t like sharing my cake, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Tea tonight was another delicious leftover curry with naan bread, rive and vegetables. I’m really spoiling myself these days

So having done all of that, I’m off to bed. The pains have come back to some extent but I’ll try without painkillers tonight and hope that I’ll be OK

But talking about mummies and my puttees reminds me of the tomb that archaeologists discovered next to the Dead Sea in the Middle East.
"I wonder what it was for" asked one of the archaeologists
"That’s easy" replied another. "Being next to the Dead Sea, it’s probably a deceased Pharaoh’s weekend retreat"
"What do you mean by that?#34; asked the first
"It’s easy" said the second one. "This is where they’d all come to unwind after a busy week in the pyramid"

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

… a very good day today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 8th April 2024 – MY APARTMENT HAS …

… passed muster by a group of Auvergnats who descended upon the place this afternoon on their way along the coast.

Rosemary, Ingrid and their friend Clotilde have come to spend the week here on the coast to blow away the cobwebs in the corner of their minds. They found a nice house to rent and are intending to make the most of it, despite what the weather can throw at them.

This also means that my 200-watt Genz-Benz bass amp combo has finally made it home after all these years too. These are expensive pieces of kit and I found one languishing in a pawn shop in Ottawa for peanuts in 2019 when I was visiting my cousin Sandra.

It’s been a long tortuous journey for it to come to Europe. Some empty space in a shipping container meant that it could make it as far as Rosemary’s house in 2022 but it didn’t arrive there until after it left there

And aren’t I glad to see it?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a decent bass amp and speaker close to hand. Probably since I blew the cone out of my 18″ reflex cabinet in the late 1970s, and since then I’ve been making do with whatever I could find.

Just recently – well, for the last 12 years – I’ve been using a Carlsbro 45 watt combo which probably would have continued to do the job for all the playing bass that I do in public these days but this was a deal that was far too good to turn down.

It’s not as if I actually needed it in Canada either because I had a Fender combo amp in the back of Strider through which I could plug the Jaguar bass guitar.

And those are other things that I need to arrange sometime to bring over here now that Strider has gone the Way of the West.

The Jaguar certainly, when I see the prices of those, for that was something else that I picked up for une bouchée de pain as they say around here and also in Montreal, where I found it in another pawn shop. I always seemed to have good luck in Canadian pawn shops.

However much luck it was, it was certainly more than I had last night in trying to go to bed.

By the time that I’d finished doing everything that I had to, it was much later than I intended and I thought “here we go again”. I’d had a miserable day, there was this stabbing pain in the sole of my foot and I was hours late going to bed. I really could do without all of this.

But eventually I fell into bed and that was all that I remember for all of a couple of hours, before I awoke quite dramatically again at some ridiculous hour of the night.

There was the impression that I stayed awake after that but when the alarm went off I was checking a postal delivery, looking at the form where it said “van driver – her signature” and then “client signature ” and one or two other things on it, otherwise making sure that the form complied with all of the relevant legislation before actually putting my signature on it. But I don’t know what parcel I’d received because I thought that I’d received everything. This must have been something completely different and unexpected that had come in the post like this.

It certainly wasn’t the amp – that didn’t arrive until much later.

First thing that I did when the alarm went off was to fall out of bed to look for the blood pressure machine, and then take the measurement. 14.4/11.5 it was this morning, compared to 15.4/7.7, the latter figure of which looks suspiciously incorrect.

After the medication I had to arrange the dining area so that it’s as the nurse likes it, and then make sure that everything is present. It’s his last day today for a week so let’s hope that he’s calmed down by the time that he comes back.

And let’s hope that my right foot has too, because there’s a weeping oedema on the foot that has reared its ugly head overnight.

Anyway, he cleaned it off and applied a plaster before he wound on my puttees. And he doesn’t like this pair. He thinks that the elastic has gone and I should throw them out but I should think so! They are only about four weeks old!

After he’d gone I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was watching a football match last night. There were two teams, one playing in all red and the other in all blue. They were amalgamations of a couple of smaller 5-a-side teams and playing in some kind of tournament but there was this one game that I was watching but that was really by accident because it was on in the background at a house that I was visiting a girl for some reason connected to the Air Force but my eye fell upon the game that was being broadcast on the TV. I became less and les concerned about the Air Force and more and more concerned about the game and what was happening on the screen.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that this has happened either. I’m easily distracted by interesting things that are much more interesting than what I’m actually supposed to be doing.

Next task was to do a final round of tidying up in the apartment before having a really good wash and brush up to make myself look pretty.

While I was waiting for them to appear, I had a little snooze (no surprise there) and carried on with the radio notes. I actually managed to finish off the programme that I started so many moons ago.

My visitors turned up with my amp and I made a pot of tea. Clotilde had bought one of her vegan cakes so we all had a little party as we recalled old times and life down there on the margins of civilisation.

It’s strange but, primitive though the life was up there in the mountains, it was a very pleasant place to be with lots of exciting things happening. It’s a place that I miss more and more with each day that passes but there’s no point having regrets. I can’t turn the clock back to more healthy times.

So after my visitors had met my cleaner, who brought around the next load of medication, they all left me to my own devices.

Once more I crashed out yet again and I was off on my travels. I had the start of a dream about an elderly but thin guy rather like Putin in an all-white football kit, but I had no idea what was going on there

And then later on I was planning on digging some trenches with a backhoe but there was some debate as to whether the ground was solid enough. I thought that it worked out at at least 55lb per sq inch but some others disagreed and thought that it was less solid.

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … what goes on in my head while I’m asleep is much more exciting than whatever happens in real life.

Tea tonight was a delicious stuffed pepper with plenty of stuffing left over to see me through the next few days too, and now I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson, but I must also write out a shopping list for my cleaner if she goes to visit the LeClerc.

It reminds me of the time that I went shopping with Hannah, my niece’s middle daughter, when we were loading up with supplies to go to a tractor pull in New Hampshire (what an exciting life I used to lead).
"How much water do you think we ought to buy?" asked Hannah
"How much beer do we have?" I asked
"Three crates full" she replied
"So why do we need water then?" I asked. I have never felt more like a redneck in my life

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 23rd March 2023 – A FEW MONTHS AGO …

… I bought a cheap hamburger press, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. It was rather like an old flat iron made of plastic, with all kinds of sizes that fit inside each other like a Russian doll

It was rather cheap, both in price and quality, so I didn’t think that it would be all that much good. However I have to say that despite all that, I really am impressed with it. Almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin, and that will stir a few memories from times long-gone.

Actually my friend in Munich sent me ages ago a packet of dried stuff that he’d found in a vegan shop down there and posted it to me. So today I added water and mixed it, left it alone to do its thing and then out came the hamburger press

It actually made a nice, professional job of the rehydrated stuff and I now have four big, really solid burgers and as I said just now, I’m almost as impressed with them as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

“Whatever happened to that?” I asked myself. The last time that I saw it, it was being used as a brazier to burn a pile of weeds down the garden when I used to have my raised beds and vegetable plots. It’s probably now thoroughly and completely overwhelmed with weeds and been pulled into the soil.

It’s 10 years ago since I last planted any veg down on the farm. I had quite a lot of stuff there that year too. The following year I cracked on with the bedroom all the way through the spring and summer ad finished it – and actually moved in.

But we all know what happened in the autumn that year, don’t we?

It was almost 10 years that I lived full-time down on the farm and despite the primitive conditions I really enjoyed it. I keep on thinking – and hoping – that I’ll go back to live down there once more but I doubt that I’ll ever see it again.

For a start, I can no longer drive, and that’s always going to be a serious consideration. And then regular readers of this rubbish will recall the photos of when I was last there and it was overwhelmed by brambles. I no longer have the energy to fight my way to the front door.

Last time it took three of us – Rosemary, Ingrid and Yours Truly – a whole afternoon to reach the front door, and the time before that it was with Terry and he had brought his industrial-scale equipment to clear the path.

Still, as Dan Quayle once famously said, "It’s a question of whether we’re going to go forward into the future, or past to the back"

So I shall go past into the back and say that for a change I was in something of a hurry to go to bed last night. I didn’t hang about at all.

It was another good sleep as well and I was fighting fit (well, sort-of) when the alarm aronsed me from my slumbers.

First thing was, as usual, to check the blood pressure. 15.1/9.0 this morning, up from 14.5/9.3 last night. So something must have annoyed me last night. And if you want to know what it was, you’ll have to read on.

After the medication I came back in here, but not for long. The nurse, having been late yesterday, was early today. Today’s moan was that the plastic bag I’d put out for him wasn’t big enough and that I need to wash my puttees. I wonder what tomorrow’s will be

The bread for my cheese on toast was delicious. I had a really nice breakfast later this morning. And then I had a pleasant relax and watched a film.

Another film that has come out of copyright is HELLZAPOPPIN’ so I spent a very pleasant 85 minutes watching it, and it was nice to relax for a change.

It’s not a film to everyone’s taste because it’s partly a musical and "YOU’RE NOT GOING INTO THE SONG WHILE I’M HERE" but where its interest lies is that if ever you want to know where all of the humourists of the 1960s and early 70s like Monty Python and Marty Feldman obtained their ideas, it’s all here, everything and much more besides, and it was done in 1941.

As far as comedy and humour goes, it was light years ahead of its time and will still run the course today.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. We’d all gone out as a family together. We all had lifts with various different people so we were all spread out amongst the cars etc. A guy in a mobile home, the type that’s a shell that fits onto the back of your vehicle, took a fancy to one of my sisters. He persuaded her to travel with him. They disappeared but the rest of us kept going in a kind of convoy. We ended up stopping for the night somewhere at the side of a river. Just then this guy appeared with his camper. He wound down his window and said that he was terribly sorry but something had happened to our sister – some other people had come along, taken her, kidnapped her and carried her off. My mother said “I bet that she’s in the back of your camper”, just strode over there and wrenched open the door. My sister was in there on the bed lying down. She began to tell her tale of woe about everything that had happened to her, with my mother and brother becoming more and more angry as the story unfolded about this kidnap.

So there you are – that’s the reason that my blood pressure was up. I had the family round last night. I don’t ask them to come to visit me during the night but they always seem to, far too often for my liking. Why can’t I have Zero, TOTGA and Castor round as often as them?

But kidnapping my family members one by one sounds like a good idea. But you can all think of an idea for the ransom note – "pay us £5,000 or we’ll send them back".

That reminds me of the time when I fuelled up in Stoke on Trent only to find that I’d left my wallet behind at home. I had to leave my friend at the petrol station as hostage while I went to his house to fetch some money

When I told his wife what was the problem she told me not to bother going back, and to leave him there for good

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed we had a taxi job to do, to drive someone up to Newcastle upon Tyne for a meeting and then take them on to Edinburgh later. There was only one daytime driver and me about. The receptionist left a note for the daytime driver “be in the office 04:40 ready for a long trip”. I thought that long trips and office workers all on account etc don’t pay very much in tips if anything so I’d go to do that and let the driver carry on doing normal jobs. The only car we had was an old two-door Japanese thing from the late 1960s or early 1970s. It made something of a racket but I’d been out a few times in it and it seemed to do the job. A good long run like that would probably do it good. Of course Edinburgh – I had my niece in Edinburgh so I could go to see her. I tried to contact her but there was no luck. I thought “should I just turn up at the University there and speak to her?”. I thought that that’s probably not a good idea. But I was impressed that we had this job, going all that way but I was really disappointed that we didn’t have a better car available other than this old Japanese thing.

And that was an age-old problem too. We’d occasionally have some really high-quality work to do but never seemed to have a decent car available to do it, and when we did have a really decent car we’d never have the work. At times I despaired.

This afternoon I went a food-making.

Firstly, as I said, my friend in Munich had sent me some burger mix so I added the water, stirred it all in and then left it to fester for 20 minutes as according to the instructions

There was a box of do-it-yourself falafel powder on the shelves as I discovered when I did some tidying up a few weeks ago. So I added some water to that and left that to fester as per the instructions.

While that was doing its stuff the first lot was ready so with the hamburger press I made four really good and solid burger-types of things. They are busy freezing even as we speak.

As for the falafel, I divided that up into little balls and they are busy freezing too, along with a couple of balls that I made from the left-over stuff from the first mix.

But I’m pleased with this hamburger press as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … It’s really simple and cheap but it made some really solid burgers and it gives me much more confidence about making more burgers from ad-hoc ingredients.

Finally there was the home-made mayonnaise. And once again, that seemed to work in spades. I made it rather more liquidy than before so we’ll see how that works out. It ended up making quite a lot more than I can use in its shelf-life, so I’ve sealed to top on the jars quite tightly.

Yes, having learned my lesson, I’ve put the mayonnaise in a better container or two.

Then we had the football – Y Bala V Connah’s Quay Nomads in one if the Welsh Cup semi-finals, played at Llandudno’s picturesque ground. And it was actually being broadcast on foreign carriers too after the disappointments of the last few games.

The first 75 minutes of the match were nothing to write home about, but it’s really hard to play creative football in a tornado.

However both sides made a couple of substitutions with 15 minutes to go and that kickstarted the game dramatically. Those last 15 minutes wee much more like the football we’d expect to see and Aron Williams scored a late winner to push the Nomads into the finals.

But spare a thought for Josh Ukek of Y Bala, who will probably go down in the record books as being on the field for the shortest period of time ever.

He came on as a substitute for Bala late in the game but almost immediately Kieran Smith, a central defender, was sent off for two bookings. Now a central defender down, Colin Caton, the Bala manager, now wanted to send on a central defender off the bench to shore up the defence.

And Ukek, who had only just come onto the field, was the man who was withdrawn to make way.

Tea was as usual a salad, baked potato and breaded quorn fillet. I know that it all seems to be the same, but I happen to like it so I don’t care.

And now rather late this evening, I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm in the morning for the nurse is coming (so I’ve washed my puttees already) so I’ll feel like death for the rest of the day. Today, I actually fell asleep for five minutes during the football.

But before I go, that story about tightly closing the lid on the mayonnaise jar did remind me of the guy who rang up his doctor
"You know those pills that you gave me to give me strength?"
"Yes" said the doctor. "How are they going?"
"I don’t know" replied the man. "I can’t get the top off the bottle".

Sunday 25th February 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… lovely chat with Ingrid this afternoon. Another one of our multilingual ones and which ended up as a Rosemaryesque conversation of 1 hour and 15 minutes. It’s nice to be popular.

It’s also nice to have had a really good night’s sleep too.

After the dictating the usual load of rubbish that passes for radio programme notes these days, I was in bed for 01:30. And then waking up ay 09:25 without having felt a thing, and then not leaving the bed until 11:30 What is there that is any better than that at my advanced age?

First thing that I did was to look at my foot. I had to take off my elasticated stocking on the right foot last night as it was irritating the foot.

A closer examination this morning reveals that the fabric of the sock has rubbed it raw for some reason and it’s inflamed. The skin is flaking around the wound too so a day or so in the fresh air followed by a disinfected cloth covering will do it good.

It’s a good job that I have some surgical tissues and alcohol disinfectant. They should help it heal and in the meantime I’ll show it to the doctor at the Centre de Re-education when I go there in 10 days.

Next step was to check my blood pressure. This morning it was 17.4/10.1 which compares with last night’s 17.7/10.5. So what excited me during the night? it certainly wasn’t TOTGA, Castor or Zero.

After the medication I came back in here to find out what had happened during the night. And it was rather disappointing, if not depressing. I’d been in a van with someone and we’d been driving somewhere. We had to stop because the person with me wanted a cup of coffee. We had a rope with us and I wanted to tie it up to something so that it would stay in the van. The only thing that I could find was the handgrip over the door. I tied the rope there with a kind of knot and went out to have my coffee. For some reason the rope wouldn’t stay tied. tt managed to untie itself and at that moment I actually awoke. That rope wasn’t right for some reason.

That’s not exactly what I call an exciting dream. The way things are in my life right now he only excitement that I have is what goes on during the night.

And not just with TOTGA, Zero or Castor either. While of course I’m delighted if one of them comes along with me on a travel, that’s really the icing on the cake. Having adventures, voyages and bizarre encounters is what my dreams should be all about regardless of who (with the exception of my family of course) comes with me.

Boring, sad and uneventful encounters have no place to play in my life, especially during the hours of darkness.

Instead I went for lunch – cheese on toast and porridge with strong black coffee to fire up the imagination.. And there are no complaints about my bread. It’s not perfection – in fact, it’s a long way from it, but it’s better than a couple of weeks ago.

Back in here, rather later than usual, I made a start on the radio programme whose notes needed editing. And while I was … errr … elsewhere during a little break, Ingrid phoned me.

after I’d washed my hands I phoned her back and we had our lengthy chat. Her elderly cat, who was 20 years old, has died, so she told me. And that’s sad news. Mind you, 20 years s a good age for a cat, especially around the Auvergne with so many predators

She’s talking about coming up to see me, which will be lovely. In fact there are a couple of people in the Auvergne who have been talking about coming up here. Not just to see me of course, but to have a little holiday break, and Ingrid is talking about hitching a ride with them.

If they do all come up here, it’ll make a nice break for them and a welcome distraction for me. Up here locked in my little room while my leg is healed and the lift is being repaired is doing me no good.

They say that the lift might be fixed by Friday in which case I can go to the shops on the bus.

The lifts here only go to the half-landings which is a shame. They don’t actually go to the floors where the front door is or the apartments are.

That’s something that sounds very strange but this is a 17th Century building built before lifts of course, and as it’s a registered historic building we can’t knock it about how we like

Before Ingrid phoned I was planning on making some biscuits as I’d run out but it was too late now. Instead I went and rolled out the pizza dough that had been defrosting since I took it from the freezer after lunch.

Yes, Ingrid on the phone or not, nothing will stop the relentless march of the Sunday pizza.

So now that my notes are written, I’ll have a think about finishing off the assembly of the radio programme and then choose the final track and write the notes for it. I’m not sure if I’m up to dictating them but we’ll see. Ralph Marston said "Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work" but if I were to do that, I would never ever restart.

With this new medication, I’ve noticed several side-effects kicking in. I’m having difficulty with my eyes (hence the typos), I’m all confused (you should see the mess that I’ve made of this radio programme) and I’m just so tired – all the time too.

There was an interesting paragraph in the Woolhope Naturalists (not “Naturists”) Club’s 1867 Annual Report which said that "the history of a people, for the most part, is but the detail of the trials and calamities that have occurred to them", and that is something with which I can personally relate.

Sunday 21st January 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… another one of those days where I have emulated my namesake and done three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

And that’s hardly a surprise. In between my leg and this blasted stuff to cure this excess of potassium, I’ve not been in any fit state for anything at all.

While we’re on the subject of this anti-potassium stuff … "well, one of us is" – ed … after taking the stuff last night I stayed up to see how long it would be before it overwhelmed me if I tried to fight it.

It’s as well to know these things, I suppose.

So I stayed up, and up, and up, and fought, and fought, and fought, but by 03:30 I was well and truly done and I crawled off to bed as best as I could.

It was round about 10:50 that I finally awoke, and that’s no sleep at all for a Sunday.

And I had a head like lead too. I don’t know what’s in that stuff and I really don’t think that I want to. But it really is the pits, as John McEnroe would say.

So having made it out of bed and dressed, I staggered off into the kitchen for the next batch of medication, and then back in here it took a good while for me to come back into the Land of the Living.

Once I’d gathered my wits, which, seeing as I have so few these days, takes much longer than it ought, I sat down to listen to the dictaphone to find out if I’d been anywhere during the night. I was living in Wistaston last night with a group of people last night and had to go into Crewe. I set off on foot and I went down to the end of our road which was a dead end, and found that the obstruction had been cleared away and we could walk through. I carried on walking and ended up in Crewe on Brookhouse Drive. I thought “this is going to be convenient if they leave this footpath open like this without the obstructions that they’d had before. I went to do my shopping and then came back and announced to everyone “do you know what they’ve done? They’ve moved the obstructions from down the road now so that we could walk through”. Someone made some kind of remark and my mother showed me an article in the newspaper about how they’d now created a road between Wistaston and Shavington. “I suppose that that’s it” she said. Reading the article I thought that it looked like it. That’s bad news because they would be building apartments or something like that alongside and there’s a little more greenery gone so I was disappointed. I mentioned it to a couple of people but they weren’t sympathetic at all. One of them was certain that apartments would be built and thought that it was a good thing. In the meantime there was some more school to attend that morning. It was Saturday morning and I had my music lessons. My mother wrote out a shopping list. I asked “do you want directions to this new street?”. “No” she replied. You’ve been there once, you’ll know it now”. She put 2 extra streets on this list and handed it to me. It was just like the usual shopping list with these 2 extra streets on it. I set out and halfway down I came to some kind of yard like a school yard. There were people playing so I went in. Somehow I ended up on my knees so I walked on them instead. When I was inside I met a guitar teacher. He had a girl whom I knew with him. She was about 10. I said “hello” to her because I knew her. I had a look around the yard and then I left. I said to her “not going to music school today, are we?”. She asked “why not?”. I explained that it would be 10:00 soon and it’s a long way to go. She said “it’s only 5 minutes and it’ll take me less time because I’m not on my knees” which I thought was rather insulting but never mind. I smiled and laughed with her. I set off on my knees on my travels down this new footpath thing. There were many people on it. I thought that it was looking like the M6 on a Friday afternoon these days.

Yes, I know. My family yet again.

Mind you, I had better luck next time. I was with my Dutch friend. She’d come to visit me in the Auvergne. We were talking about all of our friends because she was now living in a commune. She mentioned someone who had transformed a cellar there into a small apartment. It sounded really interesting so she asked me if I’d like to go. We went along and had to climb down these steps. It was really nice, what he’d done. It was very small but everything was well laid out to make the most of the space. I was quite impressed. He didn’t have very much in there so I said to him “it’s rather Mies van der Rohe, isn’t it?”. he didn’t understand the significance so I said “you know – less is more”. He said “yes, certainly”. He had a friend down there who was caulking the joint between the skirting board and the wall, doing a good job of it. It really looked quite nice. My Dutch friend and I ended up back in the main house again. I said that I’d come to see her in a couple of days. A couple of days later I set out from my house. I was nearly hit by a car reversing out of a driveway. He pulled away but I overtook him and carried on. He was behind me for a while but then disappeared. I turned up at my friend’s with an old denim jacket that I wore occasionally. I’d mentioned earlier to her about embroidering it. She’d agreed to do it so I had it with me. My friend and I ended up in bed together but it wasn’t a sexual thing, just lying there talking. She said “I can’t pay you, except maybe for an afternoon or something like that”. I said “you don’t owe me anything. There’s no need to pay me anything at all. Let’s just stay here and be comfortable

With a little voyage like that, what would you do when you had read all of the notes. I gave her a ring and said "I dreamed about you last night."
"Did you?" she asked.
"No" I replied. "You wouldn’t let me"

And Mies van der Rohe – there’s a name to conjure with. He was a director of the Bauhaus, the modernist school of architecture in Germany and after the excesses of the Victorian period of architecture, pioneered the idea of minimalism in design and construction with his famous slogan of "less is more"

The ghastly buildings of the immediate post-war period prior to the arrival of the even more horrific Brutalist movement of the 60s and 70s can be laid fairly and squarely at the feet of Mies van der Rohe and his fellow crew of Bauhaus barbarians

Having finished the dictaphone notes I went off for my porridge, cheese on toast and strong, hot, black coffee. I’m back eating again after the last few days that I mentioned when my appetite went for a while.

However, having said that, I’m not sure how long I’ll continue eating because I’m in total agony every time that I try to stand up and try to move, with this perishing leg. I really have done it a major mischief but a scanner and a handful of X-rays can’t lie, I suppose.

And it’s no good if I can’t stand up because I can’t make any food to eat.

And then there’s the question of this anti-potassium stuff. This is killing me. Every time I sit down I either fall asleep or if I close my eyes I begin to hallucinate again. If I could walk I’d be forging prescriptions for this stuff and hawking it around the back streets of Granville.

It goes without saying that I’ve crashed out more than once this afternoon, and quite definitively too.

Whenever it’s been possible, I’ve been chatting to people here and there. Ingrid rang me for a chat, then Liz and a couple of my neighbours have been texting me too. I seem to be in demand these days, which is nice.

In fact I was speaking to Ingrid for so long that I forgot about my pizza in the oven. It’s not like me to forget my food, is it?

As I said yesterday, it’s the wrong flour so the pizza wasn’t the dazzling success that it might be, but it was still nice, edible and filling.

So that’s it for the day. I’m off to take my blood pressure, take that nasty horrible stuff with the rest of the medication and then go to bed. I’ve had enough for today and I’m not sorry.

Tomorrow I restart work after my Christmas break, hospitalisation, recuperation etc. But I don’t feel much like it. Not with this flaming leg and this blasted anti-potassium stuff. If I could stop those I’d probably feel a little better but if I don’t, then when I come back from Paris on Tuesday I’ll start writing out my … errr …. instructions. It’s about time.

What I hope for is that someone will give a good and loving home to STRAWBERRY MOOSE.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve travelled halfway round the World and well into the Polar regions with, quite often, only him as company. My faithful companion and I have travelled miles together and so he deserves a nice comfortable retirement somewhere where someone will look after him properly.

Monday 8th January 2024 – NOW THAT I …

… have figured out how to tether my phone to my computer using “bluetooth”, I can access a phone hotspot with the computer and post the days’ entries directly.

In fact, you might have noticed that the completed entries for the last 3 days are now already on line.

Once again, I make no apology for anything that is contained therein that might distress or upset people.

Firstly, I have no control whatever over what goes on in my head during the night. And how I wish that I did! I’d have Zero, Castor and TOTGA in there all the time, with a succession of other people who have been so nice to me in the past. Even Nerina. After all, she had a lot to put up with in the old days.

Secondly, as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … as this illness unfolds and heads towards its inevitable climax, the state of my mental health is just as important as the state of my physical health and needs to be controlled in a similar manner. And so any intemperate or unpleasant outburst needs to be recorded in the same way that a blood pressure recording is.

Thirdly, these are stressful times and you have no idea. Having a blood test on Wednesday, a desperate ‘phone call on Thursday and a 350-km dash in a taxi early on Friday morning is enough to tell you that something has gone horribly wrong.

And so here I am. Like the famous Maréchal MacMahon, "j’y suis, j’y reste" – “here I am and here I stay”.

So here I stayed, all through yet another miserable night of doors banging, people talking, trolleys rattling and the like. And by 06:00 I’d given up all thoughts of sleep.

Mind you, with the amount of stuff on the dictaphone, and no hallucinations either, I must have done a lot of sleeping at some point somewhere.

First port of call is the bathroom for a wash and brush up and to put on my day clothes. Then an endless stream of visitors to see me – nurses, nursing orderlies and the like, taking my temperature, taking my blood pressure, giving me my medication etc. You can imagine.

There’s been a change of crew too and it took “some negotiation” to have a second roll of bread when breakfast eventually came.

They aren’t very willing to hand out the coffee either and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that is a catastrophe of tsunami-like proportions.

Once the breakfast was out of the way I sat down to try to decipher the huge mass of notes from the night. The girl who was here a couple of nights ago was there again last night, at school. We were all at school and it was the fancy dress ball so everyone was dressed in fancy dress. I had on a pair of tights and a girl’s skirt which actually belonged to a girl with whom she was friends but I’d carefully concealed it about me somehow even though I was wearing it. She was wearing white tights and a pink top. I didn’t really notice if she was wearing anything else. We both came out of the school door together, she on one side and me on the other and headed for the lift. There was a German World War II jeep heavily camouflaged with bales of hay etc. I always had a great deal of affection for this vehicle and the people who drove it and I even happened to like one of the girls on it, whom I was hoping to bump into at some point. We were all waiting there for the lift. The lift came and the jeep drove on, then it looked as if the lift was about to leave. I said “oh no, it’s not going to leave, is it?” but it stayed so the girl and I boarded. At that point, all through this dream Alquin had been playing YOU CAN ALWAYS CHANGE. that was one of the tracks that we were going to play on stage during the concert. I had a feeling that the girl was going to talk about the track, or someone was, and I wanted to keep our selection secret but it was going on and on and on as this dream continued. When I awoke it was actually playing on the computer.

Then we were making arrangements about times to go to do the family banking for the family business that we had. I noticed that I was down to go between 14:30 and 14:45 which was going to be rather difficult because I started work after lunch at 14:00. Trying to evade myself out of the office every day for any length of time without anyone noticing is going to be extremely difficult as I’d already been back that late on a couple of occasions. In the meantime there was something going on in Brighton where there was a killer on the loose. His modus operandi was exactly the same as a series of murders several years ago so naturally the police were following up the trail of the murders committed then. One of them was by a bookcase in a side street so they arranged to set up some kind of dummy person there that this guy could shoot. But a journalist went along with the police and he decided that he’d arrive first and case the area which of course was a really bad thing to do because the guy would notice him but he turned up on his train but there were problems with his train. This meant that the journalist couldn’t get out there at the time that he had planned to be there, maybe 10 minutes before. It was cutting it extremely fine with the journalist doing his dummy run there and the correct kind of time that the murderer committed the crime on the previous occasion at the spot. There were all stories about how the journalist was going to totally wreck the police trap and spoil the show.

When the alarm went off I was in the middle of a dream musing on the state of the world and thinking of a particular woman who had left the oven on too low and too long and had dried out the food that she was trying to cook. There were 11 articles in there altogether to replace articles that had been cooked in the microwave and the previous table-top oven. I had a quick look and the time was only 04:00 so i was obviously a false alarm for some reason – maybe I dreamt it I dunno. Anyway I checked that I wasn’t supposed to be leaving the bed at this time and went back to sleep.

I was home from work and was with Laurence. A woman from work came round. The living room was in a really appalling state with stuff everywhere. I was quite embarrassed and apologised to the woman. I began to pick up clothes but most of them were Roxanne’s. I explained “it’s really difficult trying to live with a preteen daughter. Roxanne is 11 and is at .that age”. I walked out into the hall and threw these clothes upstairs but they missed, fell down and draped all over the stairs again. The woman said that she had a daughter who was 10 but was extremely well-behaved in that matter. I said that Roxanne was very well behaved and was a lovely girl but was in the “attitude” kind of stage. It was very difficult to try to make her see things from maybe our point of view. But it wasn’t just Roxanne’s stuff that was everywhere. It was ours as well. But as I said, it was all extremely embarrassing having people round from work with our place as untidy as it was.

Roxanne was in fact 9 years old when her mother and I separated so I’ve no idea what she was like as a preteen. But she was a normal, happy, healthy, well-adjusted kid when I knew her and there’s no reason to suppose that she was any different than any other kid of that age.

Did I tell you that she was an actress?

It all started one Sunday morning. Where we lived was right on the border between Jette and Laeken (I liked Jette very much) to the north of Brussels and on the house next door to our apartment building was a big sign dating from the 19th Century with the name of the town on it.

One Sunday morning up rolled a TV crew. They set up a sofa in the street underneath the sign and had actors and actresses sit on the sofa and shout “TV Brussel” – the name of the Flemish television company.

Of course, quite a crowd gathered and we looked down from our balcony.

One of the actors was a little girl, black as the ace of spades, and when they looked up they saw Roxanne, blonde as blonde could be with her long hair down past her waist, they called her down and they had the two kids sitting on the sofa, one in contrast to the other, shouting “TV Brussel” together, and she was shown on the cinema and television for months.

They obviously liked what they saw because they took our name and address and a short while afterwards she was asked to appear in a TV film as a schoolkid playing in a school playground. She passed the audition and the screen test and off she went.

Sometimes I wonder if she continued afterwards.

There had then been some sort of firework display in the vicinity. A friend of mine had been to see it and had come back horrified with stories of what had been going on. A little later on we’d been somewhere and come out, and bumped into a woman. She was talking about her 2 daughters who had been to the firework display. One of the daughters had come out with ” mummy why didn’t you disappear as quickly as (her sister)?”. The woman with me again told her story about what she’d seen. As we all turned to go afterwards there was a big sign pinned to the wall over an advertising hoarding “hey Eric, your websites in April had more visits than this discussion” which I thought was quite funny. A little further on we came across an internet box, one of the street internet boxes where all of the connections to the individual homes were wired. This one had been smashed open. All of the glass was smashed and it was difficult to see whether the cables were still intact. There was a policeman there examining it so we had a chat about that, the internet and things in general

Finally there was a dream where the Welsh rugby team were playing the New Zealand All-Blacks rugby team. I was explaining the rules and regulations to someone but I was actually dreaming and speaking in Welsh at the time during the dream. We were interrupted by breakfast coming early but I noticed that on the tray there was no coffee. I asked the boy who was delivering them if he could go along and fetch me a very large coffee from somewhere. Of course, that part about the coffee and the breakfast coming early was certainly a dream. It never ever happened.

Last it may well be, but not “finally”. There was more stuff than this but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

It took an age to transcribe these notes as the doctor, the one who had given me the lumbar and thoracic punctures, came to see me.

Apparently the creatine and potassium in my kidneys are preventing them from functioning correctly and what could happen risks being fatal. So they intend to give me all kinds of teratments to try to reduce the levels.

They also have to stop giving me certain medication too, and for that I have to be under constant medical supervision as most of the suppressed medication is my cardiac medication.

All of this is much more serious than it sounds, apparently. They think that I might be at Death’s Door but I mustn’t worry. They’ll do their best to pull me through.

There was the continual procession of nurses and orderlies, and I managed to blag a coffee here and there, but after they coupled me up to a perfusion – apparently I need rehydrating – I didn’t see anyone for hours and it wasn’t until 18:30 that I had a cup this afternoon, much to my dismay.

Ingrid rang me for a chat this afternoon, one of our usual multilingual chats, and I’ve also chatted to Liz, a couple of neighbours and Isabelle the infimière ambulante

Tomorrow I need to chat to the Centre de Re-education and the taxi company to cancel everything that they have arranged for this week as I won’t be here.

Rosemary sent me a brief message to say “it’s snowing here”. I replied “so what? It’s snowing here too”. And it is. Quite heavily too but it’s not sticking – yet. Not that I care because here in The Land Of Yellow And Orange I have the heater going full-tilt and for once in my life I’m warm.

But that’s not all that counts. The food here is pretty dreadful, I’ve had to have another needle in my right hand now for a perfusion as the one in the left arm had to be changed.

This perfusion will last for 24 hours, so I’m told. It’s already had me flat out on my back for several hours. But just now I’ve had to have one of these sodium sulphide drinks so I’ll be out of my head for the next few hours.

Either I’ll be dead to the world in a few minutes and we’ll have a blank page, or else you’ll be in for the most exciting dreams of your life.

Watch this space.

Monday 1st January 2024 – HAPPY NEW YEAR …

… to everyone who reads this blog entry, either today,, tomorrow or in the future.

May I take this opportunity of wishing you for 2024 everything that you wished for everyone else in 2023.

And I know that it will only be good wishes, because it’s only nice people who follow this blog.

These days I’m a lot nicer than I used to be. I’ve learnt a lot over the years and life has taught me a lot too, and I wish that 40 years ago I was the person who I am now.

But that can’t be helped, can it?

But seriously, I do wish you all a very happy New Year with lots of love.

It’s been one of the most difficult year of my life, I reckon, worse than 2015 when I was taken ill in the first place.

And I’m grateful for all the support that I received from my friends and from the people who follow this blog and send me little cheery notes every now and again to cheer me up when I’m feeling down.

Without the support of all of you things would be so much more difficult and I’m grateful for all of you.

For the benefit of new readers, of which there are more than a few just recently, I have a carcinogenic protein in my bloodstream.

Obviously, if you have more of one thing in a fixed volume, you have less of another, and the protein attacks my red blood cells to make room for its growth

The problem that that causes is that if you have fewer red blood cells, which carry the oxygen around the body, the heart must beat so much faster to supply enough oxygen to the body. And that’s something that can only keep going for so long

The blood count should be 15 units of red blood cells. If it drops below 8.0 the heart can’t deal with the problem because the pressure isn’t there in the system and I have to have a blood transfusion

By the way, when I was taken to hospital in November 2015 (thank you for ever, Rosemary) my blood count was 3.8 and by any kind of logic I should have been dead.

The protein moves around the body and so far I’ve had my spleen, part of my kidneys (and bits of something else, regrettably) and a couple of other things removed already.

Now, they have detected signs of the cancer in my heart, which is bad news in anyone’s book seeing how hard it has to work, and it’s invaded my nervous system so I’ve lost the use of my right leg, my left leg is going and little by little it’ll spread through the body.

The spleen is the big issue though. That controls your immune system so with no spleen I have no immunity to anything. I have a series of injections every few years but it doesn’t cover everything and in Canada last year I picked up a type of viral pneumonia that is unknown in Europe and which nearly killed me, according to my doctor.

And they can’t use penicillin to treat anything because I’m allergic to it, having been hospitalised with bronchitis and pneumonia when I was an infant.

They can only give so much treatment. It’s like a car battery – you keep on charging it up and slowly but surely it takes longer to charge and holds its charge for a lesser and lesser time. That’s how my bloodstream is right now.

There’s a lifespan on this illness too. No-one with it has lived longer than 11 years and I was diagnosed in 2015, so I’m well into the critical period.

And the end isn’t very pleasant either, so they say, but we don’t need to worry about that. Anyone treating me medically knows what to do and when to do it.

Anyway, I digress.

The alarm went off at 10:00 and I fell out of bed at that moment. “Late” you might think, but I didn’t go to bed until 04:00 this morning sorting out some of the concerts that I’ve been sent (thanks again, Shrewsbury Folk Festival).

So here’s A Show Of Hands wishing you all A HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope that you enjoy that track as much as I did. It really is that good, I promise you. One of the best things that I’ve heard recently.

And that’s what I’ve been doing – checking over the stuff that I’ve been sent, with grateful thanks.

But there was also the dictaphone. A short night but there was plenty of stuff thereupon. I was with a woman last night. We were in a lorry and she was driving. We had to go to pick up some of my siblings so we set off. At one stage we found ourselves driving through Flagstaff in Arizona and we were talking about the town and my visit there years ago. She was saying that you need to be very careful, stick to the speed limits and don’t have good tyres on your car or they’ll disappear during the night etc. I agreed completely. Anyway we passed through the town and turned left at the end. There were only three of my siblings. I asked “where’s the oldest fourth missing sibling?”. “Ohh, she hasn’t come yet and I don’t think that she wants to” said someone. I thought “here we go again! I have to sort out my family but they don’t want sorting out, they just want to argue. Here I am again stuck in the middle of all of this and it’s nothing at all to do with me”.

At some point during the night some woman put down a basket of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, down right in front of me. Just when I went to pick two of them they moved the packet and left me groping uncomfortably in mid-air trying to find it again. I was very disappointed that it had gone because I’d enjoy eating the rest of the contents

I also dreamt that someone had a great big pile of washing and put it right by the side of my bed. When I went to bed I had to manoeuvre myself around the washing very carefully but then I awoke. Getting out of bed I kicked a sock off this pile of clothes that were still there so I actually apologised to someone when I awoke while I was awake. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that this was actually a dream and not something that had happened in real life

When the alarm went off at 10:00 I left the bed but I kicked this pile of washing again and apologised to whoever it was, before I realised that it was a dream.

Ingrid rang me for a little chat too. Our conversations are quite interesting. They start off in one language, usually French, and when we can’t think of a word and we’ll speak in either English or Dutch (Ingrid) and Flemish (me), sometimes someone speaking in one language and the other person replying in another.

By the way, Dutch and Flemish are very similar languages and if you know one you’ll understand the other. It’s a bit like the difference between Scots English and BBC English.

Interestingly I had the 5-string fretless bass out again today. I was listening to a Phil Beer concert and ended up joining in. It’s difficult playing it sitting down and I can’t stand up to play it, but I did my best.

Tea tonight was a Christmas dinner, complete with Christmas pudding.. But how do I store the rest of the puddling that’s left so that I can eat it next year? Does anyone have any ideas’

So having done everything, I reckon that I’ll go to bed. Alarm at 07:00 tomorrow and back into the routine, whatever it is. It’s “all go” around here isn’t it?

And thanks again for all of your support over the last few years. It really does make a difference. And here’s Semisonic, a band that I met when I was with Onion River Radio (the good old days of internet radio) in Montpelier, Vermont. 2024 will be YOUR YEAR

Sunday 5th November 2023 – MY CHOCOLATE AND COCONUT …

… biscuits with a hint of orange flavouring are absolutely excellent and I’ll make some more like that another time too.

And I’m glad that something went right today because not much else did.

For a start, I had another miserable night and it wasn’t until 11:30 this morning when I finally left the bed. I did mention last night that I needed a really good sleep.

Actually, I was in bed rather later than intended last night. After I’d dictated my radio notes I was on the point of going to bed when Alison came on line for a chat. And while I was chatting to Alison, my niece in Canada appeared too.

It’s really quite strange, this telepathy thing. I’d just been typing in my notes about making biscuits when up popped my niece – “here’s a lovely biscuit recipe that I found”.

And if I’d have had any peanut butter and maple syrup I’d have made them today instead.

It’s not the first time by a long way that there has been such telepathy. Nerina and I certainly had it and I’ve experienced it with other people too.

So after I awoke this morning, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And there was a huge pile of stuff on there, including a recurring dream that appeared a few times during the night. There was a party going on at someone’s house and a game of cards had been organised – a game of bridge. I’ve no interest in a game of bridge so while they crafted a scorecard to keep a late arrival happy I pretended to be dummy and that suited me fine. They wrote up the scores bearing in mind the fact that I hadn’t played, to which I had no objection. While they were playing I was wandering around. People were chatting about their medication. I noticed that one of the people here had a huge pile of medication but it was just a big lump of stuff so I sat down and began to sort it out into different types. I ended up in the end with a range going right across the table of all different types of medication. I tried my best to have it arranged in “morning, noon and night” too. I can’t remember now any more about this but it was another one of these dreams that went on for ages.

And then there was a big group of us. We’d been out somewhere and were on our way home. I was in BILL BADGER my old A60 van. We pulled up at a motel to stop there for the night. We ended up sleeping in a variety of rooms, 2 each to a room. I had someone whom I didn’t really know who seemed to be a reasonable guy, an older guy, rural type. The discussion came round to talking about ghosts and spirits. Just then I went into the bathroom but the sudden noise in the bathroom which was connected to the next room made the occupants in that room jump wo we had quite an exchange of conversation about spirits and ghosts etc. When I came back into my bedroom there had been some kind of issue about keys. I didn’t actually have my keys with me. I was convinced that I’d left them in the ignition but when I’d looked earlier they weren’t there. I remembered that I’d changed my trousers so the keys were in the pockets of the dirty ones. Now I wanted one of my mint sweets that were in the van. I found my keys, and with more teasing about ghosts being out there waiting etc I set out. When I reached the van what there was was a huge baker’s oven, the type with probably about 6 shelves. For some reason I opened one of the shelves. It was packed full of all kinds of strange food, a type that I hadn’t seen before, wrapped in portions. I was scratching my head wondering “what’s all this food about? What is it? Who is it for?”. I’d seen nothing like this in the past.

But that did remind me of an interesting court case where a woman was put on trial for having obtaining money by false pretences. She had been holding “seances” to attract visiting souls and charging fees for attendance, whereas the “visiting souls” were actually her friends pretending.
One of the witnesses gave his occupation as “Customs and Excise Officer”
“Testing spirits?” asked prosecuting counsel
“Yes” replied the witness “but not the type of spirits that we are discussing at the moment”.

There was something going on in a house about preparing for an operation. What first caught my eye was a row of cats all spread out across the top of the back of a settee watching a TV programme. The discussion came round to this operation. I volunteered to be one of the first to be treated, on the grounds that the quicker you start, the quicker you finish. That’s not like me at all. Usually I wait until the last minute before volunteering for something like that, especially something rather groovy and here I fell asleep)

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I am actually asleep when I’m dictating my notes, but in cases like this, when I refer to “falling asleep” what I mean is that everything suddenly goes quiet and then I can hear myself snoring.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed another group of us had gone out for a meal, a sort-of pizza evening. All 8 of us were sitting round a table. They began to bring out the slices of pizza. Depending on what pizza you ordered, you ended up with 1, 2 or 3 slices before anyone else was served. Some people were well on their way with their meal but others hadn’t even begun. The conversation came round to houses. I was talking about my house but I hadn’t realised that everyone else was from the UK. They began to ask me questions about my house. I explained as best as I could but it was just making the situation more confused. In the end someone turned round and said “I thought that you lived in France”. I replied “I do” which puzzled everyone even more. In the meantime my meal still hadn’t arrived. There was some kind of greasy-type things, crackers that were being passed around. I grabbed a box of those, sat down and began to eat them because by this time I was starving and I wasn’t sure when I’d receive my pizza. The conversation carried on and I began to talk about my little apartment in Granville.

One thing that I had forgotten about the previous dream was that we were staying the previous night in someone’s house before this meal. It was a Sunday morning and I’d left the bed to go to the bathroom. Just then my bedroom door opened. It was the woman of the place where I was staying, wondering if I was OK. I asked her what the problem was. She replied “it’s 16:00 and you’ve been asleep for 14 hours”. I explained about Sundays, how they are Days of Rest etc but I don’t think that she took it seriously. She was extremely concerned that I hadn’t shown any sign of life until just now. I think that she was rather offended that I’d chosen to spend all my time in bed asleep instead of coming down to mix with everyone else in the house at some reasonable point.

I was back in the dream about the pizzas later on. everyone else had gone to visit one of these 19th Century workingmen’s villages of the type built by philanthropists to house the employees in their factories. This was a village out in the countryside. After the factory had closed down years ago the village had fallen into ruin. Gradually people had been slowly restoring it. A group of us went. I remember having my breakfast with a family with 2 children, talking to them. Then I went off for a wander around the village on my own. It really was quite interesting because the original buildings were marked with the fact and buildings subsequently built mere marked as being later editions. It was clear that although a lot of it was in very poor condition some of it had been rebuilt quite nicely. There was an enormous amount of potential in this place. I began to wonder whether there might be some kind of small cottage for me to buy. By now I was actually running, pushing some kind of trolley in an effort to keep fit. I overtook the people with whom I’d had breakfast but I carried on running around the village like this looking at the shops – there was a good array of shops, even a fish and chip shop – and looking at the stone buildings. I was absolutely enthralled by the whole place and the possibilities that existed here.

At one point while I was wandering around that village I came across a car accident. 2 cars had collided. One of them looked quite bad but I’m sure that it wasn’t as badly damages as it looked so I began to measure things up to see whether it was safe to be on the road. The father of the 2 children began to ask me “why don’t you do this? Why don’t you do that?” but the wife kept interrupting him saying “leave him alone to deal with it. It looked as if he knows more of what he’s doing than you do” which offended her husband quite a lot.

Of the vehicle that had come off worst in the accident I’d had part of the floor up, measuring the chassis for deflection. The guy asked in an exasperated tone why I was actually doing that. His wife told him again to keep quiet and let me continue with my work as I clearly seemed to know what I was doing

That took me right up to and beyond lunchtime so my porridge and cheese on toast was rather late today.

This afternoon I made a start on one of the radio programmes and then wandered off to make my biscuits. However, just after I’d sorted out the ingredients Ingrid telephoned me.

It was Ingrid’s birthday yesterday so I’d telephoned her but she was busy so she called me back today. And we had a Rosemaryesque chat that went on for 68 minutes, mainly about our illnesses.

The chats that Ingrid and I have are actually really quite interesting. We usually start off in French until someone can’t remember a word and then we switch to another language and we end up usually rotating through English, French, Dutch (Ingrid) and Flemish (me), quite often one person speaking in one language and the other replying in a different one.

Dutch and Flemish are very similar languages by the way, and if you know one you’ll understand the other, in the same way that a Londoner will understand Scots English and vice versa

Actually Ingrid was one of my two choices to come with me to this wedding in Michigan next weekend – the other being Rosemary after our success in the Arctic in 2019. But of the only two people who might be free, they are both too unfit to travel.

And that’s a shame because even though I’m not supposed to say it, it’s my favourite relative who is marrying and I would move heaven and earth to be there with her. But I can’t go on my own – my week in Belgium in September proved that.

So back at the biscuits. And a standard mix of 10/8/4 of flour and oats/butter and coconut oil/sugar with a generous helping of ground almonds, desiccated coconut, orange essence and vanilla essence and there we were.

While all of this was going on I’d had a dollop of pizza dough defrosting and when it was ready I made myself a pizza. Delicious as usual but I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I run out of my vegan cheese.

In between everything I finished off one of the radio programmes and so the first task tomorrow will be to finish off the second one, and then start the next after that.

The nurse should be coming tomorrow too in order to discuss my Covid injection with me. So I’d better hurry up and go to bed. I’ll have to have a good wash before he comes too. But at the moment, the shower is out of bounds.

And I’ve only just realised something – and that is that I must have just come in here out of the kitchen without using my crutches. Fancy that!

Sunday 21st May 2023 – HAVING A LOOK …

… at the timestamps of some of the files on which I was working last night – 03:25, 03:33 etc, it was a very late night. Or more like an early morning. I was still rewriting some radio programme stuff and re-dictating it at some silly hour of the morning.

Consequently, being wide-awake at 10:30 and up and about at 10:45 is really quite astonishing. I can’t even usually do that on a Sunday when I’ve had a GOOD night’s sleep.

Ahh well. Life is full of surprises.

Not that I actually did very much. I have to confess that for at least part of it, I was flat-out on the chair in here instead of working.

Another thing that I did this afternoon as I didn’t feel much like working was to telephone Ingrid and have a good chat. It’s been ages since we last spoke to each other and so we were on the ‘phone for a Rosemaryesque marathon.

She’s not doing so well with her own health problems so we spent quite a long time commiserating with each other.

But the conversation was quite interesting. The subject of “small-town mentality” came up in our discussion.

Due to her father’s work she spent a lot of time as a child in the far-flung corners of the Dutch Empire as a child and encountered all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds.

My own background was exactly the opposite. Small-village, small-town mentality, totally unprepared for what the big wide world had to offer and it was an enormous culture shock when I was 16 and first set foot in the big wild world.

However, how are you going to keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree? I was itching to break away from that kind of mentality and the Big City didn’t work out. I didn’t enjoy my spell living in Manchester in 1974-75, although on reflection I should have stuck it out.

No mistake though about deciding to emigrate. I left all of the negativity behind me and I was glad about that. Life in Crewe was really dragging me down.

It was somehow difficult for Ingrid to understand things like that because she’s never experienced it, but meeting different people from different cultures and background was exciting as a child to her as it was to me when I moved to Brussels.

Thinking about it, there’s still the story about that Burmese girl going round in my head. And on further research, I found that she’d appeared in my nocturnal rambles on a previous occasion, and once again it had been a whole series of recurring dreams on one particular night.

While we’re on the subject of dreams … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. There was something going on at one point but as usual I’ve forgotten most of it. But there was something that made me sit up when I accosted someone and said “this is something that YOU voted for so you can own up and accept the ownership of this sh*tshow. It wasn’t about Brexit either but to do with something personal involving me but, as I said, I can’t remember what it was.

We were talking about Cortinas again last night, all of the Cortinas and bits and pieces in my garages, thinking that it might be the time to start to liquidate everything. People were saying that they didn’t really want anything that’s been lying around rusting in a garage for years. Someone else replied “it’s been lying around abroad and brought back to the UK so that’ll make a big difference”. We went into one of the garages that was heaving with stuff. My mother found a few bags of children’s clothing. She said “here, you can take these to the tip”. She gave me 2 bags, and then gave me a third. I said “I can’t go to the tip if you’re going to give me all of this”. I thought “I suppose I could go in the van”. She said “yes and I’ve seen some more too” and there was another pile by the front door still on hangers so she picked up all of these clothes still on hangers and handed them to me too to take to the tip.

And while we’re on that subject too … “well, on eof us is” – ed … whoever gets the short straw and has to clear out the stuff left down on the farm will have their hands full. But judging by the prices that things are fetching these days, it’ll be worth their while.

In between everything else I’ve been editing the stuff that I dictated before going to bed. I haven’t got very far because I ended up going out socialising. Someone here in the building was having a little soiree so I went for a couple of hours.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m not usually the socialising type but I actually like the people here and we have a nice and friendly little community. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this is the first place where I have ever lived that has felt like home.

Consequently it was a rather late tea and having left the pizza base to fester for quite a while it had risen perfectly and it was another candidate for the title of “best pizza ever”.

Anyway, I’m off to bed in a moment ready for tomorrow. I have a radio programme to finish and the nurse will be round in the morning to give me my fortnightly injection.

And that reminds me – it’s the last injection that I have here so I’ll need to see the doctor some time to order some more. And with having to see the nerve specialist on Thursday I’m going to be having a busy week.

It’ll keep me out of mischief, I suppose.

Sunday 15th January 2023 – WITH IT BEING …

… Sunday today, I’ve had one of my usual Sunday days where I’ve had a good lie-in and done next to nothing all day.

What else I’ve done, rather unfortunately, is to fall asleep at some point in the afternoon. As if 9 hours sleep during the night isn’t enough, especially seeing as I didn’t go to bed until 02:00 and get up at 11:00. I’ve no idea what’s going on with me these days.

There was plenty of time during the night to go on a few voyages too, such as I remember. We were working in an office somewhere. There was cake everywhere – everyone was either baking or bringing cake in and there could have been 8 or 10 different cakes in that office. I’d baked one and someone had given me one for my birthday etc. Someone came in to tidy up the office, a young guy. Before we could say anything he’d cut a slice off each of these cakes, dumped it onto my plate and took my plate away. I bawled him out for doing this, saying that in future when he comes, to leave the cake alone. He’s certainly not to cut or take my cake, the cake that I’d made or been given. If he wants anything for himself he should really ask before he just goes and helps himself like that. A huge pile of cake on a plate like that was just outrageous.

And then the problems between me and my partner reached a head. We’d already separated once then on the bus coming back from Chester to Winsford she suddenly alighted at a bus stop and the bus drove away and left her. When the bus reached Nantwich I alighted and decided that I’d walk back to Winsford, I’m not quite sure why. This involved a walk through a field then down an incredibly steep bank. There was a place to go down and a way in which you did it. I didn’t know this particular way. When I arrived at the top of the bank there was a guy there on a bike. he wondered what on earth I was going to do. I launched myself over the top and went down in a large S-shaped sweep down to the bottom and set off to walk back to Winsford. I’m not sure why or what I was hoping to do etc.

I missed out a lot of this next dream. I can’t remember but later on we were discussing films, about making a horror film. I said that the tension is all in the soundtrack and film score. A lot of the tension if you took away the soundtrack and film score just wasn’t there at all. This was particularly true in comedy films. I explained a couple of examples like one or two of the “Carry On” films, about how the music and so on led people to the comedy moments. If you took those away the comedy moments themselves were very small and unimportant

Another dream about which I have forgotten a lot was that I’d gone to a chip shop to buy some chips. There was a huge queue of people loitering around outside so I passed over my order and waited. I ended up chatting to some people etc. I suddenly realised that I’d been there an hour and there was no sign of my chips. I went in and asked but trying to have some people understand what it was that I was trying to ask was extremely difficult for some reason. I couldn’t seem to make them understand that i’d ordered and paid for my meal a long time ago and not received anything.

My day, such as it was, started off with a good chat with Liz who showed me a video and took me on a guided tour of her new accommodation. It reminded me of the house in which my niece’s eldest daughter lives in Woodstock but is in much better condition and laid out much more sensibly.

After brunch of cornflakes, toast and coffee I made a start on doing some more notes for the radio programme that I’ll be doing tomorrow if I wake up in time. That is rather touch-and-go the way that I feel these days

And not that I did an awful lot because it was in the middle of all of this that I fell asleep.

Just as I was on the point of going out for my afternoon walk as I promised, Ingrid ‘phoned me and we had a long chat about all kinds of things. We both have our health issues right now so we compared notes.

When we finished I noticed that the sky had clouded over and it was on the point of raining. Not much point going out now so I made a batch of fruit buns. And they look wonderful too, probably some of the best that I have ever made. And if they taste as good as they look, they will be delicious. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Last week I mentioned that there was something not quite right with the pizza that I made. The pizza that I made tonight with the same batch of dough was delicious so it must have been just a one-off last week. But I really want to have a decent oven to do my cooking because this tabletop oven that I have isn’t doing what it should.

So now I’m going off to bed. It’s early but I have a 06:00 start in the morning and if the nurse has picked up my message from Friday he’ll be coming round to give me my fortnightly injection. They are starting up again now that I have a proper prescription and some supplies.

Let’s see if I feel any better after this. After all, I couldn’t feel much worse.