Tag Archives: joanie_malcolm

Tuesday 23rd January 2024 – SO THAT’S ANOTHER …

… French hospital that I can add to my ever-growing list. And remind me to cross it off my list of ones to revisit. Florence Nightingale was there and dropped her lamp on my toe.

But seriously, old and creaking though the hospital might have been, I couldn’t fault the service that I had yet again

“But I don’t want another one of these 06:30 starts again” said he, setting his alarm for 06;15 tomorrow. “I’m not as young as I was”.

Indeed I’m not. It took me over half an hour to wash and dress this morning which meant that I didn’t have time to make my sandwiches for the journey. Consequently I’ve been without food and drink all day until I returned home.

That’s actually not a bad idea either. It’s something along the principle of a long journey where “what doesn’t go in won’t want to come out” at an inconvenient moment.

The taxi was late arriving so I had to ring up to chase them up. And when it arrived, what kind of state was I in to stagger to the car in my condition? This is really beyond a joke now.

But eventually we set off, with the driver telling me that she had no idea where the Hospital St Antoine was so she programmed it into her GPS.

She was … errr … past her prime, shall we say, and moaned and complained all the way to Paris about just about everything.

When we reached Paris we zigzagged up and down the streets as she kept on misreading her GPS, we almost speared another vehicle on a couple of occasions as she swerved dramatically across carriageways and nearly took out a couple of bollards as she did another handbrake turn at a missed junction.

A proper olde-worlde taxi driver she was, and I’ll tell you something for nothing, that I’d travel with her again. She made the journey quite interesting.

Finding the hospital was one thing. Finding the building that I had to visit was another. And then finding a parking space was something else quite difficult. In the end we negotiated with two ambulances and persuaded one of them to leave.

It was a desperate, agonising crawl on my crutches to the lift, to the reception and then to the waiting room. And my driver was helpfulness itself. Nothing was too much trouble for her and once she was away from the steering wheel she was actually quite a pleasant person.

We were 30 minutes late, not a problem because I telephoned them en route to say that we were “held up in traffic”. I suspected that something like this that happened.

There were quite a few people waiting but I jumped the queue and they saw to me straight away. Now I have a machine and its terminals stuck to me until tomorrow morning.

Yes, they want me to bring it back by 10:00 but they are of course joking. I’m not going back tomorrow. If it’s that important they should have given me a bed for the night.

Anyway I have the Holter Machine now, and I left the Technical Department here, the Haematology Department at Hospital Pitié Salpetrière and the taxi company fight it out between them if the hospital wants it back tomorrow.

Whatever the outcome was, the net result is that I have to be up and about to hand it to someone at my door at 06:30. And I suspect that it will be what my old boss when I was chauffeuring in Brussels would call a “Spanish 06:30”, meaning “any time they like”.

Having done all that, we set off for home. On the way back I had a message from the Hospital Pitié-Salpetrière – "Please stop taking medicament X and we’ll send you a prescription for medicament Y instead".

And I bet that After the blood test results on Wednesday There will be further changes.

We arrived back early, which was nice, and my helpful cleaner met us at the door to help me up the stairs. I’d be totally lost without her.

Once I’d settled down I made some hot chocolate and a nice baguette sandwich of lettuce, cheese and tomato which was excellent for a starving man.

And then back here I downloaded and printed the prescription for my long-suffering cleaner to take to the pharmacy tomorrow. She came down to collect it and we had a chat.

Then there was the dictaphone notes. Tons of them. I travelled miles during the night. I can’t remember much about this dream but it was one of those that rambled on. I was back at home with my family. One of my niece’s children was there. Everyone else was there. The girl was in a wheelchair because she’d had a problem and was going to the doctor’s very soon. They were going to give her a respray of her artificial suntan before she went. There were 2 other people disabled in that house and me too. I said to my mother “don’t you think that there’s something wrong somewhere with us that you have so many disabled people here all at once,”. She replied “yes you don’t usually have that many disabled people in a household do you?”.

Disabled people apart, there was a lot that was wrong about our family and household and disability wasn’t one of them.

There was then a dream about my youngest sister. A woman had decided to teach her to dance some kind dance. She held her backwards so that my sister couldn’t see what was behind her. They began this dance. There was a huge snake that lived in this room. When my youngest sister had her eyes closed and was dancing near that direction. Someone shouted “it’s OK baby. The snake (they used the snake’s name) has her jaws closed quite tight”. Obviously the inference being that this woman was going to lead my sister up towards the snake and the snake would devour her. My sister was immediately on the defensive and became much more nervous and tight in this woman’s arms than she had been before that person shouted out that comment.

And then my sister was there again later on. There was a digger there that slowly picked her up. She was dangling over different parts of the audience of the State Fair. Then she happened to fall or something fell from her hand. Instead of reaching for it this machine’s hand took her higher until she was in some kind of despairing reach of what she’d dropped. It slowly lowered her and she kept that position. The arm of the machine moved around. My sister actually soared up and went off in a very nice aeroplane. Someone standing by me tried his best but was carried away and the plane once it got going went more and more out to Haverfordwest. Before she left she gave me this little ball of dough and told me how to ply it and pull it apart … becomes very indistinct and tails off

Not much of that latter dream makes sense but it was really difficult to decipher, especially as I began to taper off into nothingness. I wonder how it would have ended had I not done so.

Then I was back in a dream from a while ago, I think about some people investigating a murder. They were following up several clues, one of which was something that had fallen from a TGV. Anyway, a TGV was going full speed ahead when there was an enormous bang from underneath. They slowed right down and stopped. This stopped the whole TGV network. They looked underneath the line but couldn’t see anything so they walked slowly back along the track to see if they could see anything. They came to the TGV that was following them but was stopped. he said that just 20 metres back he had run over a dead cat. He was certain that it wasn’t there before when he was on the outbound trip. They began to look for this cat but couldn’t find it.

This dream moved on to someone having been killed. They’d picked up some evidence about a vehicle being seen somewhere. They made a few enquiries at an isolated farm in the vicinity. The farmer said that he knew absolutely nothing but it was the pace that his denial went that made them extremely suspicious They looked further around and came across another farmer who had a vehicle but something about this didn’t seem to fit anything. Eventually they found a third farmer who had had a Bedford CA van but had taken it to be scrapped. He was in the area at the time but had left the van unattended for a while and then gone back to it. He was sure that it had been moved. They were then convinced that they’d found the vehicle that was used so they went and bought the van and drove it back, deciding that rather than have it forensically tested they would try shock tactics and drive to the first farm in it. As soon as the farmer saw the van coming he ordered his men to open fire. A couple of them did but when he saw that it was quite pointless he put his gun to his head and shot three bullets through it, finishing himself off.

There was plenty more where that came from, but you don’t really want to read it especially if you are having supper or something.

My supper tonight was a taco roll with rice and veg – really delicious yet again. I don’t know why I complained about the taste yesterday. And with no sauce left I made my own with olive oil, wine vinegar and lemon juice with some garlic paste. Totally delicious.

And now, having already crashed out twice and an early start in the morning, I’m off to bed. Today has really exhausted me. But there’s my blood pressure, my medication and my on-line food order before I can go to sleep, not to mention my early start tomorrow.

It’s never-ending, isn’t it?

Monday 23rd October 2023- I MADE IT …

… in Paris, and I have to say that if I in a cowslip’s bell were to lie I’d probably be more comfortable because there’s no heat in the room.

There was no heat in my apartment this morning either – I’ve not switched it on as yet – but with solid granite walls 1m20 thick, it’s not as important as it would be in some of this jerry-built modern stuff.

And as usual, even though I’d set the alarm for 05:20, I was up and about by 05:00. I always have a bad night when I have to be up early and last night was no exception. I hardly slept at all.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone however. I was in the witness box in Court for some reason, and the subject of Percy Penguin came up. I found it very hard to convince everyone that it was just something to relax and to sit there in the quiet, the reason why I wanted to see Percy Penguin. I had to do everything that I possibly could to try to avoid being rearrested or imprisoned etc while at the same time being frank and open to the Judge. I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it.

Later on we’d been to Nantwich shopping and decided that for once in our lives we’d take a taxi home. Someone in a Ford Cortina estate came to pick us up so we piled in. When we reached where Smiths was in Nantwich by the church the driver stopped to fuel up. Two shots rang out. We don’t know where the first one went but the second one went through the roof of the taxi and hit my mother in the head. The ricochet hit my youngest sister. Immediately, a crowd gathered. I was absolutely appalled so I left the car and shouted at the people “for God’s sake have some dignity and let my mother die in peace”. When the ambulance arrived I took my sister out of the car and tried to clean the blood off her etc. She was crying and really upset. I felt absolutely helpless because I hadn’t any idea at all what to do or what I was going to do.

When I awoke I had another one of those thirsts that you could photograph. I ended up drinking two large mugs of my patent blackcurrant, honey and lemon drink. You can tell that we are approaching winter if I’m back on that.

Next task was to make some sandwiches and to finish the packing. I had planned to have a shower but I didn’t fancy trying to climb in and out of the bath while I’m trying to keep to a tight schedule.

Instead, I had a good strip-down wash and was ready when the car came for me.

On the face of it, it was a good idea to have a car to take me to Paris, because I really couldn’t do it on the train. Not at all. Whether it will be a good idea if I have to end up paying for it is another thing entirely

But the downside was that the car was a SEAT and it had done my back in before we even reached Caen.

The journey went quite well with just one or two hold-ups, and we stopped for 15 minutes for a coffee and pit stop

At the hospital I was shown to my room without even having to check in. And then we had the usual pantomime about trying to fit a catheter in my arm. 2 nurses had a total of 5 goes and it’s still not done.

Next task was to be shoved through one of these Stargate time tunnel things. I had to walk much of the way there and back, which upset me, and then they had to have three goes at passing me though the machine as apparently I was moving my head too much.

Back here again and another nurse had 3 goes at my arm before she could finally take a blood sample.

A couple of doctors have been to see me and discuss my treatment plan, and they have confirmed that my health is deteriorating. They don’t think that I could withstand another series of perfusions and in fact they suspect that that’s why the hospital in Leuven has stopped doing them and has been relying on Aranesp injections

The food is rubbish as usual so my neighbour, who is in Paris this week and popped her head in to see me, says that she will bring me some bananas

So now that everything is finished and the computer is backed up with the latest copies of the files, I’m going to bed. I’m tired after my exertions today and I’ve already crashed out twice, but it’s more to do with the fact that it’s the only way that I can think of right now to keep warm.

Wednesday 11th October 2023 – I ALMOST FELL …

… out of the bath this afternoon. as I was climbing out, my right knee gave way again and luckily I was able to grab hold of the shelving unit before I hit the ground.

Not that it’s any surprise. I was wondering how long it would be before I actually fell over in here. I’ve been expecting it for quite a while.

But I’ll tell you one thing for nothing – and that is that I was right about what I’ve been thinking. I’ve had the idea for quite a while that each time the leg folds up it seems to make things worse subsequently. And that certainly seems to be the case today.

Not that things could be much worse actually. It was yet another miserable night although while I had the pain in my foot again, I didn’t have all of the burning in the lower leg. But whatever it was, it still kept me awake for much of the night.

When the alarm went off I was nevertheless fast asleep and had something of a battle to leave the bed.

After I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages it took me a good while to come round into the Land of the Living and then I sorted out the rest of the food that needed to be put away.

And there was quite a bit of it too. It’s not exactly that I’ve gone berserk but I need a minimum order of €50:00 before they deliver so I’ve had to think about things that I’ll need sooner or later when it comes to making up a large enough order.

Next stop was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night. And there was an enormous pile of it too. I was with someone who might have been Captain Povey from the Navy Lark last night. he was telling everyone about how his wife had gone on a course and afterwards he was intending to apply for a course so he could go to join her, which was met with a great deal of guffaw from a lot of people. The scene then moved to Crewe, a railway station. But to reach the railway station you had to go down what was called the Horse Landing last night. They’d extended the station out from the main part of the building to that particular point. All the vehicles. All the vehicles were driving down the Horse Landing to drop off. As we watched, there were two old Mark II Consuls or Zephyrs. One was being driven by a woman. Both the vehicles picked up fares at the same time at the bus stop and both were to go down to the railway station. One got away quite quickly but the other was in all kinds of problems. It took a good deal of time to actually depart. It then put its indicator out to turn left down the Horse Landing. It was a standard series II big Ford like that with a roof bar with the taxi sign. I was interested to know that the indicators weren’t on the bar but where they normally would be, on the bodywork. I thought that that would make life confusing as they would be less visible than if they would be up on the top where everyone could see them.

Later on I was at another railway station that was all built in wood. It was in beautiful repair and the colours were all reds and yellows and lilacs, it all went really well together. To access it you had to walk round by a car park somewhere where there were bus stands, crush barriers etc. Even though it was no real practical plan, the fact that it was a beautiful building, I loved actually going there to it and walking around down the path that led to the front door.

It had been hot, miserable and sweaty while I was having the other dream just now but when I started to think that I’d roll the bedclothes back it was cold but it became a really nice environment for me to sit back, relax and sleep which might sound strange because there was nothing happening. Just me and the cool breeze here trying to sleep.

And then I was back in that dream at that pretty wooden station again. A vehicle began to reverse across the car park and made the people crossing there dodge for the pavement. One woman wasn’t quick enough and the bus almost hit her. She fell to the ground and her fibre mug of coffee went everywhere. In the end the crowd called out for the driver to stop. Luckily he did so before he ran over the woman. That would have been painful if she’d actually ended up underneath it.

We were back in an earlier dream where I’d been visiting some kind of hotel. Several members of my family were there but weren’t actually involved in it. I’d gone to my little sister’s room to have a look round and for one or two things while she wasn’t there. I was quite distracted so I left everything as it was, including some of my things there while I went to do what else needed doing. But time caught up with me and I could hear all kinds of people moving around in the building. I thought that I’d better run back to her room to collect all my things and hurry back to my room. One of the things that I had in that room was STRAWBERRY MOOSE and he wasn’t very easy to smuggle down the corridor so I was looking for a towel in which to wrap him so that I could pretend that he was a bundle of clothes. As usual, every time I organised something it created 2 other problems. Going forward to gather my things and leave the room as quickly as possible, there were just more and more things coming along to delay me. I felt that at any moment now I’d be caught and have to explain what I’m doing.

We were back in that hotel where I’d been just now. We were preparing to leave so we effectively left, but we’d left behind all our things. In the end we went back. The room in which my sister had stayed was an absolute mess. There was all amount of stuff everywhere. My brother had been sharing the room too so there were things of his there. At that moment the receptionist knocked at the door to ask about breakfast. She saw the state of the room and made some kind of commentary so I thought that we’d better start to pack it up. I was holding up clothes etc asking “whose is this?” and throwing them to the person concerned. By now my sister had transformed into Zero and she was now being an extremely busy bee, dashing around getting all her things together. Every time she had a bag prepared she’d rush off downstairs with it and then rush back upstairs again for the next one. This was going on quite quickly and the room was being emptied quite quickly. I had a smile, and her parents saw me smiling. They asked me why so I explained that I’d met a girl a few years ago who would have been Zero’s age now. I could see exactly the same characteristics, exactly the same behaviour and it’s really funny to think that even though they come from opposite sides of the World they seem to have become clones of each other. That was what was making me smile.

So hello again to Zero. It was nice to see her again. And strangely enough, when I was on a ferry across the Strait of Belle Isle between Newfoundland and Labrador, I did bump into a girl who would have been the spiting image of an “a few years-older Zero”. And there was also the girl in the café in Brussels.

For the rest of the day I finished the radio programme that I’d started yesterday. That took an effort to align because it ended up over-running by quite a distance and I had to do some hefty editing

In between, I went to have a shower and to meet my fate as I climbed out At least, though, I’m nice and clean. But what I’m going to do is to look for some plastic boxes that I can use as steps to climb in and out of the bath until I can make a better arrangement. I’m disappointed that I’ve had no reply as yet to my letter to the doctor.

While the cleaner was here I wrote the notes for part of another radio programme. But we also had a good chat, part of which was that I’ll tell her and the other housebound inhabitant of the building when I’m next about to order from the supermarket.

If I can persuade them to add in their orders to mine, I can make up the €50:00 without having to go mad myself, help out everyone else and the delivery charge is the same no matter how much I order so it makes no real difference to me.

For tea tonight I had a left-over curry, and I made some naan bread dough seeing as I now have some soya yogurt. And it really did taste nice too

So much later than usual, I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I have a few letters to write and a few radio programmes to prepare. The if the doctor isn’t going to reply, I’ll need to sort out a train and a couple of taxis to go to the hospital. I don’t want to leave myself stranded.

Monday 9th October 2023 – I’VE BEEN OUT …

… and about this morning.

There’s something happening at the radio studio and for my sins I’m involved in it so I’ve been out at St Nicolas.

And some good news is that while I was there I was able to inspect the bus stops near the other Carrefour supermarket and the pavements are indeed raised up. So this trip to the supermarket at St Nicholas on Friday may well be on.

My cleaner tells me that she reckons that it’s bigger than the one down by the port and so I might be able to choose from a wider range of produce and that will be good news.

But meanwhile, back in the bed, I had another depressing night tossing and turning at round about 06:45 I was thinking about raising myself from the dead but I fell asleep and had to be awoken by the alarm.

The shower didn’t look as inviting as it did yesterday so I had a strip-down wash in the bathroom and then when I received a message to say that my lift was on its way I struggled down the stairs.

At the radio station the climb up the stairs to the first floor was agony and I was glad to sit down. A mug of hot coffee was thrust into my sweaty mitt (followed by another one) and then we spent the morning working.

As for what we were doing, you’ll find out on Friday, maybe.

From the radio station I was given a lift back home where I staggered up the stairs into my office and didn’t move for a considerable period of time, which was hardly no surprise.

There was quite a bit of stuff on the dictaphone from the night, which probably accounted for the turbulent night. I had to go to see my solicitor. My siblings were invited too. A few of us set out from here on the train to go to the next railway station but when we pulled in, the next train that we needed to catch was already there. On crutches, I can’t rush so by the time I’d alighted the next train had gone. There was no-one else at all standing around. Eventually I found my way on the next train to the next station and went to the solicitor’s office but there was only me in the waiting room. I waited for a while, then my brother and his wife appeared followed by my other sister. We waited for a few minutes and in the end my brother’s wife opened the door to see if whoever was missing was in there. He came out quite angrily. Apparently he’d been looking at some papers thinking that we hadn’t turned up. He said “I might have expected a knock on the door!”. We apologised and explained the situation to him, that we’d all been held up by confusion with the trains.

There was something else but I can’t remember very much about it, something about being in my doctor’s office. There were some fruit cakes like mine so i wrapped one in a napkin and went to put it in my pocket. There was much more to it but I can’t remember any more apart from that.

I was in Virlet later on last night. There was a girl with me. We were putting things into the back room but the things were being damaged after it had been left in there. We wondered what was happening to it. She had to go somewhere so off she went. A short while later I heard the most incredible noise outside. They’d come by with a big kind of earthmover thing to go into the field at the back. There were probably half a dozen men with it. One of them came dashing around to ask “where’s the toilet?”. I replied “I don’t know. There’s probably one in that field somewhere”. he asked “could I use yours?”. I replied “no. We don’t have one installed yet”. All these guys were rushing around etc and eventually disappeared. I went back to do what I was doing. Then I happened to look quite by chance into the back room and saw 2 squirrels. That would explain why the things in there were being damaged. In the end I was having a good look around and hunt around for things like the Ryobi drill that had somehow gone into an outhouse. I suddenly looked up and there was a guy there with an enormous pair of shears in the doorway to my house looking as if he wanted to talk to me about something.

I was then back doing my Philip Marlowe impressions. I had a huge 1940s-type American convertible that was parked in a lock-up garage. When I went to fetch it out there was a car parked there with 2 guys sitting in it talking about business. I went in and started up my car and much to my surprise it started immediately. I had to manoeuvre around the garage to try to exit but the door had blown closed. I was having to stop, leave the car and open the doors. One of the guys opened one for me so I tried to squeeze trough but I couldn’t because there were a couple of bicycles in the way against the other door. I had to stop and try to leave the car again to move the bicycles. The 2 guys began to move the bicycles for me. In the meantime the interior of the garage was becoming full of exhaust fumes and was beginning to become rather uncomfortable.

At some point during the night I was out with the Liz who died in 2009. We were walking around somewhere and I happened to make the observation “look – I’m walking around without my crutches”. It wasn’t a very steady walk but it was a vast improvement on how I’d been the previous day. Everyone was quite impressed with it but they told me not to push it too much. Let it slowly develop if it is improving. We were sitting down having a coffee when a girl whom we knew came by. Liz had gone to the bathroom by this time so there were just me and the girl and it took me a minute to recognise her. She said “I’m glad that I’ve caught you because the football is kicking off in half an hour”. I had a look in my programme of events and she was actually correct. I’d have to get a move on if I wanted to go to watch this game from the beginning.

Tea tonight was a delicious stuffed pepper with pasta and vegetables. The stuffing was excellent but I don’t think that I’ll be having my usual taco roll with the remainder because I forgot last time I was at LeClerc to buy any wraps.

What I’ll have to do tomorrow is to order some, so after my Welsh lesson tomorrow I’ll place an on-line order. If it arrives later in the day, all well and good, but if not I’ll have to make other plans.

That’s what you call “First World Problems”.

Saturday 16th September 2023 – I UPLOADED …

… all of the soundfiles from the dictaphone onto the computer this afternoon. You wouldn’t believe how many there are either that accumulated while I was away. I must have had a few really lively, mobile nights.

It’s going to take an age to transcribe them and there are also quite a few from when I was in hospital from last Autumn that I have yet to transcribe. I suppose that that will make a nice task for me when I’m away in hospital.

Strangely enough, there was only one soundfile from last night. And even more surprisingly, you don’t really want to know about it either, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

But there’s only the one because I had another bad night. Despite all of my efforts during the day I wasn’t in the least bit tired. It was long after 01:00 when I went to bed and I wasn’t in the least bit tired.

It took an absolute age to go to sleep and I was actually awake again at 06:30. I’d changed the alarm to 08:00 following my late night but I was already up and about by then.

The drive to the shops was a horror. My left leg is now giving out and I had some trouble even making it to Caliburn with one crutch and my shopping trolley. And then I had a great deal of difficulty climbing into the cab.

Trying to work the brake was difficult too so it was quite a slow drive to the supermarket. Unless they can work miracles at the hospital and at this physiotherapy place, I can see that it won’t be long before I have to abandon the idea of driving.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t go to Noz. I didn’t feel as if I could manoeuvre around on the car park and then walk around the shop with just one crutch. Instead, I went straight to Leclerc.

Being early, I was lucky enough to find a reasonable parking place. Even so, it was a desperate stagger around the supermarket leaning on a shopping trolley.

There wasn’t anything special on offer today but one or two things in the clearance bin were interesting, like vegan margarine and a pack of hamburger buns.

Another slow drive back home and I couldn’t manage my shopping trolley. I had to leave a few things in Caliburn to pick up another time. And someone going past from the other entrance to the building helped me by carrying my shopping trolley upstairs for me, which was very nice.

Having put everything away I made my coffee and cheese on toast, and then came in here where I crashed out for almost two hours. I suppose that it was the tiredness of the last few days and the effects of going to the shops this morning.

At Leclerc I’d bought 2kg of carrots because they were on offer. I cleaned them, diced them and blanched them. Later on I put them in the freezer – at least, as much as I could because the freezer is full to capacity. One of the two bags of carrots has gone into the ice-box in the fridge until I can make some space.

Tea tonight was strange. I found that I’d forgotten to buy a lettuce so in the end I made a potato salad. That would have been nice had I remembered to buy the salad dressing. Instead I had to make a vinaigrette dressing with olive oil, wine vinegar and herbs.

Now that everything is done, I’m off to bed. I’ve no intention of leaving my bed early tomorrow. I have a lot of sleep that I need to catch up and so I hope that I’ll have a comfortable, relaxing night back in my own bed.

After what has gone on over the last couple of days, I reckon that I’ve earned it.

Tuesday 5th September 2023 – I HAVE HAD …

… one of the worst days ever today. And, believe me, I’ve had a few bad days in recent times.

Yesterday’s efforts took far too much out of me, regrettably, and so I’ve spent most of the day asleep on my chair. And despite all of the sleep that I’ve had, I’m still feeling absolutely wasted and I won’t be staying up for long.

Surprisingly, I was able to leave the bed quite quickly this morning and for a while I actually felt like doing something useful.

After the medication I had a listen to the radio programmes that I’ll be sending off. Two of them, in fact, because I’m not going to be here next week. I shall be in Leuven (if I make it) so I want to make sure that there’s a radio programme there in case I forget to send it later.

And that reminds me – I’d better make sure that I have on the portable computer plenty of programmes that are already prepared. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I went to hospital this time last year they took one look at me and kept me in for over two months.

The idea was that having listened to two hours of music I’d be sending them off straight away to be added into the playlist for the relevant weeks, but by that time I was well on my way out.

The way things were, I’ve not had my fruit bread and coffee, and I was hours late having my lunchtime fruit. It was more like mid-afternoon hot chocolate time.

Once I’d finally felt something-like, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. My mother was looking after a couple more children as well as us. One day I came home quite late and one of my sisters tried to wrestle my mobile phone from me. I wasn’t having that so I put up a fight. She said “you have to give me your mobile phone” so i told her to clear off. She pointed and there was a puppy sitting on her knee of one of the children. She said “we’ve been given a puppy today and we’ve been told not to do anything or make any noise etc that might frighten it”. I replied “I don’t want a puppy. I haven’t asked for one and I’ve no intention of having a puppy. I’ll carry on living as I am, doing what I want to do. I don’t care about anyone else”. This developed into an extremely acrimonious argument.

As well as that, instead of a film of the type that we’ve been having recently, last night we had a radio programme. It concerned a young weedy little man who lived with his mother. He’d suddenly acquired a girlfriend called Susan. Something had happened that had sent him off the rails. He and Susan had effectively gone on the run. They hadn’t gone far because at the moment no-one suspected any crimes. They were silly crimes, like they had a coffee machine that they’d take to events, set up a little stand, sell the coffee then disappear. No-one had worked out what crime was being committed yet. Nevertheless they could feel the Police closing in. He sent Susan off after they had abandoned the coffee machine by setting it up for a demonstration in an Italian restaurant. He’d made a mistake there – when the proprietor had given him £100 he’d given him back £10:00 change in notes. Of course, his fingerprints would be on it. He disappeared anyway. I was listening to this programme by being in a queue of traffic on the way to a racecourse. When we reached the racecourse I was following these people who were listening to the radio on a portable radio. When we came to the entrance booth they paid to get it. I didn’t have any money so I lost the radio programme. In the end I went into a café where they had a radio and I tuned it in to listen to the end. One of my friends came in. He’d been the victim of some kind of confidence trick about a game of golf. He was a bank manager so he was naturally extremely careful about what he said or did. He’d been away from work waiting for the storm to blow over. he came into this café and people recognised him. I did too. They were commiserating with him and it was disrupting my listening to the programme. Eventually I caught up with the programme again. He’d gone back home and had disappeared again. The Police had turned up to his house because there had been an incident involving his mother and who she thought was a burglar who had tied balloons to her shower. It was a strange shower – it had a kind-of toilet where she could sit while she was washing, and had been burning papers. The mother happened to mention the name of this girl, Susan, which of course the people of this who had been traced by this confidence trickster would know because of the two of them working together. That was drawing the noose even tighter. Then the guy was in his hide-out. He had a letter that had come in a long time ago but he hadn’t actually opened it. He opened it this time. It turned out to tell him something about his spin drier. He said with amazement “so that’s what happened to my spin drier. It wasn’t the Police at all. all this need never have started had I seen this letter right at the very beginning”.

Having organised that, I actually managed to do some work on one of the radio programmes in the pipeline. I had a pile of notes so I edited them down and if I feel up to it later I’ll assemble the programme. I did manage to send off the two to which I’d listened earlier.

Tea was taco rolls with some of the leftover stuffing, and that’s about everything for today, I reckon.

However I really do feel awful right now so an early night is definitely on the cards. Not that it’ll do me much good of course but we can always hope. I’m going to have to feel better by Friday as I have a long voyage to Leuven, and I’ll be walking for a lot of the way with a rucksack. I’m not looking forward to that.

Friday 1st September 2023 – FOURTEEN MINUTES …

… of added time was played at the end of the second half of the game between Caernarfon and Connah’s Quay this evening.

When a spectator ran onto the pitch after 53 minutes I thought “here we go again. A repeat of what happened at the game of Y Fflint v Caernarfon towards the end of last season”.

However, it was slightly different this evening. The fan was wildly gesticulating at the Medics’ bench and they suddenly got the message because they sprinted over to the supporter with their medical bags.

After much confusion and a lengthy waiting period, we saw the two medics helping from the ground someone who was clearly in a great amount of distress. And then the game could restart.

When I awoke this morning I was in great distress too because I’d had another turbulent night, as seems to be the pattern these days. I managed to beat the second alarm, but not by much, and then gradually dragged myself into the Land of the Living.

The 09:10 bus was late this morning and so I had to hang around in the wind for a while. But I made it to Carrefour with enough time to do some shopping for the weekend. A few bits and pieces including a couple more small peppers.

The freezer is now full of those but that’s just as well because I can’t ever find them when I want them. Giant peppers I can find by the dozen but they are too big for my air fryer. and there is too much of them anyway for a small appetite like mine.

Back here I had my coffee and cheese on toast and then attacked this back-up task that I’ve been planning.

And by now it’s all ready in principle. I just want one more hard drive for the images which I want to keep separate from everything else. There’s a spare drive bay (in fact there are two) in the array on the shelf so there’s no problem there.

While I was waiting for things to happen I transcribed the dictaphone notes. And I had a surprise visitor. I’d been round to Stoke on Trent to talk to someone whom I used to know. Just at that moment Zero came back home. She went into the house and came out on a scooter, a 3-wheeled thing where you put both feet on and push yourself off and go whizzing down the hill. Her mother ran after her and I ran after her too. Then her mother was on a bike and I ran. She shouted at me “come on Eric, keep up”. I thought “there’s no way that I could keep up with people going at this speed the way I am”. She reached the bottom of the hill, turned round and came back up, came up alongside me, stopped and jumped off She said “get on, we’re going to ..” I thought she said “Meir” so I replied “that’s miles away”. “No” she replied” My house nearby”. She shot off and I chased after her on the scooter thing.

Mind you, I didn’t catch her. Even in the ethereal world she manages to keep well out of the way of my evil clutches as, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so does TOTGA.

That wasn’t the only excitement of the night either. I’d been away somewhere and then come back with a load of clothes etc all of which I’d washed and hung up. We were a big family living in this house, sleeping anywhere. We didn’t so much have bedrooms allocated. I slept on the sofa in the living room and my chest of drawers of clothes was behind it. Someone whom I knew came and began to disrupt my entire routine. I had to go to have a shower. The first thing that I needed was some clothes so I went to fetch some but the only top that I could find was a thermal vest top. I thought “never mind – I’ll take that”. My mother asked me if I was taking that. I replied “yes”. Once I’d climbed over this rubbish and back to my settee I had to climb back because I needed my deodorant etc to take with me into the bathroom. The visitor was ever so confused about what was happening and so I think was everyone else including me.

Later on I was looking for clothes for one of my 3D figures. I’d just uploaded a whole pile of brand-new stuff and the folders weren’t sorted out correctly as I would like so things were in a bit of a mess. I wasn’t quite sure where I should be looking to find the item of clothing that I wanted my figure to wear. This meant that I was going to have to start to do a big organisation of all of that but I certainly didn’t feel like it at this time of the morning when I’d been asleep.

I’d also invented some kind of leg brace to improve the posture on young girls, like a V_shape with holders at the open end of the V in which you’d put your legs so your legs were always a constant distance apart and could only go forwards and backwards so much. This was intended to keep their composure and poise while walking. They could buy one for use at home if they didn’t have access to one during the day

Finally, and depressingly, I was with my family last night, a whole bunch of them. Everyone was there and many more besides. My youngest sister was marrying and I’d been invited to the wedding. I didn’t want to go but I couldn’t find a good excuse to turn it down. There was some pre-wedding meeting. I’d finished doing a taxi job so I went. From the freezer I brought some things that I’d cooked to take with me as some kind of offering, only to find that they’d leaked in the car. I arrived and everyone tried to hoist onto me the job of giving my sister away. I flatly refused, saying that it’s my father’s job. He was unwilling because he wasn’t very confident. I just didn’t want to become involved at all in any respect other than to be there and then only reluctantly. I was telling my father that he’d been working up his life for giving away his daughter and there he was, “bang!” she’s gone and I’ve given her away. Everyone looked at me, outraged, when I said that. But I added “well, that’s what the gist of it is, isn’t it?”. It wasn’t very popular at all but then again neither am I.

So much for all of that. After the sunshine comes the rain, as we all very well know.

Tea tonight was chips from the air fryer with vegan salad and some of those nuggets. Eaten quickly because of the football.

Caernarfon were second in the table, unbeaten so far this season, and Connah’s Quay were uncharacteristically quite low down having been swept aside by TNS the other week and then beaten by Y Bala. So we were expecting a really tough match

The Cofis, having been known for their flaky defence for the past few seasons, had been playing much better this season and had been the main reason why their team was second in the table, so no-one expected them to fold up so dramatically.

Although they had their moments in the attack, they didn’t amount to anything and conceded four of the sloppiest goals that I have seen ever since Aberystwyth shipped a miserable bagful against TNS 9 months ago.

A 0-4 home defeat was a disaster and they are going to have to do much better than they did tonight.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow but I won’t need much Rosemary gave me a quick ring this evening just before kick-off so she’s going to ring me tomorrow. I’ll have to lay in some supplies though as it will be a long phone call.

Sunday 27th August 2023 – TODAY I HAVE …

… emulated my namesake the mathematician and done three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

As usual, on a Saturday night, I was late going to bed. It doesn’t make much of a difference really on a Saturday if I’m having a lie-in on a Sunday. But this morning I kept on waking up and by 10:00 I’d given up comple tely the whole idea of going back to sleep.

However, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, being up and about is one thing. Being wide awake, fighting fit and raring to go is something else completely and I didn’t even have the energy to go and take my medication for quite a while.

After my midday cereal and cheese on toast I made a start on the next batch of fruit bread. It’s basically a load of bread buns but with all kinds of things in it like ground-up brazil nuts, mashed banana, desiccated coconut, sultanas, almonds, sunflower seeds and anything else that’s lying around.

It takes quite a lot of kneading but when it all goes together it makes a really nice dough.

While I was waiting for the dough to proof, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was back in the good old days of OUSA again. A few of us were hanging around together. For some reason I came across an absolutely enormous pile of money, notes, that could have been worth a fortune, and some letters which on the face of it had been written by one of our group. I didn’t know what to do with these things – I didn’t want to return them to the person to whom I thought they belonged because he’d want to know how I’d managed to find them. So there I was with this huge pile of money in my hand and someone noticed it – the girlfriend of the guy concerned. She asked me from where all this stuff had come. I replied that I didn’t know. I’d just come across it while I was doing some clearing up. I was as confused as everyone else about from where all this had come. She immediately took possession of it and came across the letters that had been written. She immediately associated them with her boyfriend, as I did and anyone else would have done too. She accosted him. At first this led to some very unpleasant minutes but then when she was reading some bits out of these letters to him there was a mention about going to the Eisteddfod. That rang a bell with me because when the Eisteddfod was on that year we were all at the students’ Annual General Meeting so I said “it can’t possibly have been him because he wasn’t at the Eisteddfod but at the Annual meeting”. Then I remembered that I actually had photographs of him speaking from the stage with the backdrop etc making it perfectly clear that we were there. I could remember talking about the Eisteddfod at the meeting so I went to find my information. At first I thought that it was this guy playing fast and loose with someone else but when I remembered talking about the Eisteddfod it couldn’t possibly have been him so I’d no idea what this was about at all.

And then I was in Edleston Road in Crewe, by the Imperial. My youngest sister and her husband were there. He was riding around on what looked like an old moped or something. One thing that we noticed was that in the street were a load of people going past on some of the weirdest pushbikes you’d ever seen, all kinds of strange, ridiculous equipment. One or two of them were totally unable to ride and kept on falling off, making fools of themselves. We wondered what was going on. It turned out that somewhere in town was a display of unusual cycles. At that point I happened to look at the moped thing that my brother in law was riding. It had a strange number-plate on it that I didn’t recognise. I asked him about it. He said that it was his father’s old bike, an old Rover from 1964 and there’s only 20-odd miles on the clock. he was trying to sell it but had no idea of what it was worth but it must be worth thousands. I asked him if I could look at it, which surprised him but eventually he let me have a look. It was something similar to an old Triumph Tiger Cub or something. I thought that I’d like to go for a ride on this but then firstly I couldn’t afford the kind of price that ha was thinking of asking for it and secondly a bike like this doesn’t belong on the road but in a museum. It shouldn’t be run about any old how, spoiling its value by running up the miles on it.

Later on there was another group of us this time having a chat. One of us was talking about programs on the computer, saying that there were some programs that link the computer up to the internet without you even knowing about it and anything could be happening. You could be downloading files from there or your own personal files could be uploaded to the internet and anyone could then really have a look at them. This sounded interesting so I was hoping that he’d say some more about it but as usual in this crowd he had quite a few girls and was more interested in seeing the girls that I was. But at that point I fell asleep.

Well, what I mean is that I’m always asleep when I dictate my notes but what does happen sometimes is that my dictating just tails off into nothingness and occasionally I begin to snore or, like last night, I dropped the dictaphone and it fell on my head.

Finally I was out in the countryside last night somewhere in North Shropshire. I had to take a little girl to school but there was really thick fog so you couldn’t actually see anything. We piled into the van anyway and set off, doing our best in this freezing fog. Gradually as we came to the tops of hills we could see that the tops were clear. When we reached the top of the hills we could see that there was a couple of other people with children walking that way. It was so dangerous to try to go past them that we ended up at walking pace behind them. It wasn’t until they’d stopped to look at something in the hedgerow that we could actually go past and drive on. We then came in to Whitchurch. The first thing that we noticed was a huge supermarket at a place called Crewe Square by a roundabout where the by-pass was, around Whitchurch. But this was nowhere that I recognised at all. We continued and found ourselves going down the hill past the old Grammar School into the town. I was really bewildered as to how I’d actually managed to come this way because it was a really strange way to come. I really couldn’t understand the route that I’d taken.

That wasn’t everything either, but you really don’t want to know about the rest, especially if you are eating your meal or something.

And at some point during the night I was definitely joined by Nerina, my friend from Congleton and also by Zero for a brief moment. It seems that I’m quite popular just at present.

While the fruit buns were baking I assembled my pizza. I’d taken some frozen dough out of the freezer earlier on and it had been defrosting during the afternoon. I’d rolled it out a while back and had left it to proof so I assembled it while I was waiting for the fruit buns.

Once again, it was an excellent pizza. This cheese that I can buy now seems to be doing the job and the cherry tomatoes that I cut in half and stick right on top of everything add the finishing touch

Tomorrow I’m going to have to start to gather up my paperwork ready for Wednesday and to order some stuff off the internet, like my new course book for the forthcoming year. High time that I organised myself.

After all, I’m not going to be here on Wednesday and I hope that, if I have the results that I would like to have, I won’t be here for a while either while they hack me to bits.

But I can’t see that happening very much. It’s not as if it will make much of a difference. As soon as they sort one thing out, something else goes wrong. I’m getting to the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet these days in case something else drops off.

Monday 3rd July 2023 – I HAD A VISITOR …

… during the night, someone who hasn’t been to visit me for some considerable time.

TOTGA put in an appearance last night for the first time in in absolute age. I can’t remember very much about this but I was going out and someone was coming round. I had to wait for them. There was someone else in the house who might have been one of my sisters making up a pile of accounts. Everything was all in a mess. She’d lost a cheque. A car pulled up. It was my brother. He had a big carpet on the back seat of his car. He came in and said yes, he’d brought some pet stuff that TOTGA had ordered but they’d bunged him for her back wages and he’s had to pay 4/6½d. He was most indignant about this. I wish I knew where TOTGA appeared in this dream but she was certainly there. I certainly saw her and was talking to her but I can’t recall the exact details.

And then later on we were waiting to close down the ovens in this fish-frying place. We had to set the controls to various positions before we could do that but we couldn’t remember what it was. TOTGA didn’t appear so in the end we had to try to decide ourselves what it was from memory. We came up with some kind of contribution to the idea. It meant switching off some of the switches but we had to use a coat hanger but we found that we could do that so we had to wait for TOTGA to arrive. In the meantime one of our party had been detained by the police for some reason. They’d gone and searched through his or her affairs but found nothing but there was this big woman in the luggage. They let her out and she went for a walk around the marshland there that wa sin between the sea and the land.

How nice is that to see a familiar, friendly face again? At least, I’m convinced that I did and it’s such a disappointment that I can’t remember any actual facts about our meeting.

All of that made me feel better than I did yesterday, although to be honest, it couldn’t have been any worse. And particularly because there was a huge pile of stuff on the dictaphone. I must have had a very restless night.

Apart from what I’ve already written about my meeting (or otherwise) with TOTGA, I can’t remember now whether we were going somewhere or going home or setting out on holiday but all my family was there. We had 2 Ford Zephyr Mk IIIs. My father, mother and some of their friends were going in one and we children were going in the other. My youngest sister was driving. We loaded up the car and there was no room for anyone once they were loaded but somehow most people managed to squeeze in. I wanted to wait to make sure that my father and his party had left safely but they took so long trying to get themselves ready that in the end I thought “this isn’t fair on my youngest sister” so I had to leave them. When I returned to the car with my sister in it she was sitting in the back seat behind the driver but was going to drive from that position. I had to sit on her knee while she was doing it. She said “there’ not going to be very much room in here. There’s a little leg adjustment but not very much”. I clambered in anyway. It was so far for my feet to the ground that I wasn’t sitting down anyway. She started the car. I thought that it was a miracle that she could reach the pedals and the gears from here and that she could drive with someone sitting on her lap blocking her view. All the time I didn’t think anything at all about the driver’s seat of the vehicle being empty with no-one in it and the rest of us crammed in like sardines. It was really uncomfortable.

When we were kids, by the way, we did have a Mark III Zephyr 6. We were a big family too so we needed a shoehorn to fit us all in.

But returning to last night I had an appointment at a solicitor’s office at 13:00 but it was cutting things fine because I had a plane at 14:30. I was there at about 12:50. There was a couple of other people waiting. I just waited and waited and waited but no-one ever came out. By now there were quite a few people there waiting. It was 13:50 and I had to go to the bathroom. I explained to one of the other guys “if the solicitor comes out looking for me I’ll be in the bathroom. He’ll have to wait a moment”. It took him a minute to understand what I was saying then I shot off thinking to myself “if I come out it’ll be getting on for 14:00 and I’m just going to have to go. Tough luck on the solicitor and his plans because I have other things to do”.

Later on I was driving down the autoroute and came to some roadworks. Part of the road was blocked off and there was a huge queue to merge into one lane. I thought that I’d stop here and make a sandwich. I took a loaf of bread. It was all dusty and dirty but I spread it with some kind of paste. A workman was walking past. I asked him what was going on but he totally ignored me. I hurled some vulgar abuse at him, got back into my car, cut down the inside of this queue through part of the roadworks to find a gap and join in. There was another car that was extremely upset by this. I told him to cut in behind me but he said no. I told him to grow up and stop being 5 years old. We drove through Monaco. Then I noticed that the MoT Certificate out of the window was missing. He said “didn’t you see it fly out of the window?”. I replied “no I didn’t”. He asked “aren’t you upset that you lost your MoT Certificate”? I replied “quite frankly I couldn’t care less”. That made me thing that the guy had thrown it out of the window in a fit of petulence. I couldn’t be bothered to deal with someone quite like him at the moment so I didn’t really pay much attention. I just carried on driving up the hill out of the city.

Finally I was driving through the Auvergne on the back road from Evaux les Bains. In front of me was another vehicle. We came to the steep zigzag drop all the way down to the moulin there. Somehow I managed to go in front of them when I took a very steep short-cut. I reached the bottom of the hill first and drove through into the town. Then I had to go back up the hill. By now I was pushing a chair but it wouldn’t go in a straight line up the hill. The other 2 people walked past me dragging their chairs and made it look so easy. I couldn’t understand why I was pushing mine and it was so difficult. There had been 2 other people in this line of us coming down the hill. I thought that if I carry on at this speed they’ll eventually catch up with me and then can help me back up the hill again. They didn’t come so I’d no idea what had actually happened to them. I was making a real load of difficulty for myself trying to go back up the hill with this wiring harness abd this chair.

Yes, last night, apart from seeing TOTGA, I spent an awful lot of time out on the road.

And even despite all of that I was still up and about before the alarm went off too, and after everything that happened yesterday, the difficulty that I had last night of going to sleep and all of the travels that I’d been on during the night, that was even more astonishing.

It has to be said though that I wasn’t in much of a mood to do much work today which was a shame. The nurse came and injected me, and we made arrangements to have my blood test on Thursday morning. I can’t eat or drink anything before he comes so I hope that he’ll come early.

One thing that I’ve been doing this morning is to hunt down a huge pile of documents that I need. There’s a School of Music in a neighbouring commune and it’s taken over some premises here in Granville.

There’s a proposal to have some kind of musicians’ workshop where interested people can congregate to discuss things, have some kind of technical education and even form some kind of unofficial orchestra with choirs and classical music.

And it didn’t escape my notice that in the small print there was a section for “electric guitar, bass guitar, piano and drums”. That is something into which I ought to be looking.

But the amount of paperwork that I needed to fill in was astonishing. For example, I had to read 13 pages of “behaviour in the school” and sign a form to say that I had done so. Lots of stuff like that.

All of that inspired me to have a good session on the guitar too in order to flex my muscles and make sure that I’ll be in some kind of shape if I am lucky enough to be invited for an interview. I won’t know until the end of August.

The rest of the time I’ve been in Canada walking around on the Furdustrandir about to inspect the cemetery of the abandoned settlement of North River. It’s another settlement that was devastated by the influenza epidemic of 1918 and a credible source suggests that half of the village died in November and December 1918.

And we had a disaster tonight cooking the tea. We had a stuffed pepper as usual but when I put my pyrex dish in the sink it cracked. That was pretty dismal because that was exactly the right size of bowl for the air fryer.

The stuffed pepper was nice though, cooked exactly right after 20 minutes at 160°C.

Tomorrow I’m going to do some Welsh revision, restart my radio work and go to count graves in the cemetery at North River.

But that’s after I’ve had a good night’s sleep, I hope. But if TOTGA comes to see me again, or if Zero or Castor put in an appearance, I shan’t complain at all.

Saturday 3rd June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… really bad fall today.

And this one is the worst that I’ve had. Even worse than the one on the boat coming back from Jersey last summer.

And not only that, it’s much more worrying too. usually what happens is that all of a sudden there’s no sensation at all in my right leg and when I put my foot down I simply fall over gently as if there’s no leg there.

However today, it was the left leg, my good (or maybe I should say less bad) leg, there was a stabbing pain all the way up my left leg and I had a really heavy fall.

It happened on the car park at Noz and I wasn’t able to stand up afterwards. I had to crawl on my hands and knees to Caliburn and lean on him to help me up.

Right now, I can’t move without being on crutches and each time I try to stand up or put my leg in an unusual position the pain comes back.

It’s not a “broken leg” type of pain but definitely a muscle or nerve issue. I’ll have to wait until the physio next comes to see me and have a chat with him. In the meantime I’ll be taking it easy

Not that I took it easy during the night. I stayed up until I finished the notes for the day in Canada 2017 on which I’d been working so that I could go to bed with a clean slate.

But once more, we seem to be back in the “tossing and turning during the night” stages. I thought that we’d got over all of that, but apparently not.

When the alarm went off this morning I was fast asleep again and it was a struggle to beat the second alarm.

There were a few things that I needed to do before setting out and then Caliburn and I went out to the shops.

And today I didn’t buy a thing at Noz. It really was a waste of time going and had I known how it would turn out I wouldn’t have gone at all.

At LeClerc I bought everything that I needed (although I bet that I’ve forgotten something) and then went to the appliances department in a separate building to buy a gas cylinder for my sodastream

Back here I had a fight with the freezer to fit in the beans that I’d bought and then settled down with my coffee and cheese on toast.

Regrettably, I crashed out for a while too. That’s becoming a habit, it seems, whenever I go out and about.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. I was a passenger on a coach trip with a young girl, someone like my youngest sister. We were in like a ballroom place sitting down talking. There were all kinds of things happening. We’d left the room for some reason but when we returned the band was just striking up a waltz. I grabbed hold of whoever I was with and we waltzed into the room. We were the only couple on the dance floor. my friend from Germany was there so she took her husband and they began to dance. We began to have a ballroom dance-type of thing. My partner wasn’t particularly good but I was able to guide her around somewhat. It began to be a nice pleasant evening.

Later on there was a family, something like the Lyons (as in “Life of Lyons”) family who lived at 222 some street or other. One of their children had to go to the radio centre to introduce a radio show. I went to pick him up. First of all I was surprised. I was expecting mansions, all this kind of thing but they were just modern terraced houses in a big square. I drove around and found the house. What was interesting here was that there was no front door. The living room overflowed into a common area. The doors behind went into the kitchens and bedrooms. I could hear the children talking in there. I recognised the voices so I went and knocked on the door leading to the back and they began to come out.

At that moment though I had a horrible attack of cramp in my left calf and that awoke me so I’ll never know how that would have ended..

Finally I had to go to a Tax Office last night to take all my papers. The first thing that I had to do was to take a plastic bag in which to put everything. There was a big pile of them. I took one that implied that I was Moroccan. I don’t know why I did that. I put all my papers in and had to join this queue. There were probably 20 clerks sitting at a long desk. You just went to stand at the desk and one of them would talk to you. I handed all the papers of my employment to her. I was marked down as “leaving definitively”. I had to hand in another certificate to the guy sitting next to this girl. He looked at it and said “we already have these. You didn’t need to bring this”. I replied “I bring everything anyway”. he began to go through all my paperwork with the girl. he asked me “do you have any more income with the Commonwealth?”. I replied “no”.

The rest of the day has been spent feeling sorry for myself and writing up the notes for the next day’s walk (in the days when I could walk) around Québec.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I wrote something about THE CHEMIN DU ROY from Montreal to Québec. I started from Repentigny because I wasn’t sure of the route out of Montreal but over time I traced the route and so I was on foot from the centre of the town out as far as the Jacques Cartier Bridge and a little bit futher east.

And one thing that I’ve often wondered. In North America most of the landmarks are named for the first European who actually saw them. I always wondered what Jacques Cartier must have said when he sailed up the St Lawrence to what in those days was the Iroquois settlement of Hochelaga in 1535 and saw that massive bridge.

There was a burger that had been in the fridge for a while and when I inspected it this evening I decided that the best thing to do with it would be to file it under CS. Consequently I had a further fight with the freezer and put one of the two remaining lasagne slices in there to keep

The other one, I ate tonight with a vegan salad and it was all extremely delicious. I’m really impressed with that lasagne, that’s for sure.

Not so impressed with my health though. It seems that I only have to think about going back to the Land of my Great Grandfather and I have a bad fall, just like last year.

However that time, I ignored it and went all the same, and look how that turned out. I think that my body is trying to tell me something.

What I’ll do for now is to carry on around the Port of Montreal ship-spotting and when things quieten down, dictate some radio notes that I’ve prepared.

No alarm tomorrow. I’ll have a good lie-in. But I have to be a-baking though. I’ve run out of fruit buns. No idea where I’m going to put the ones that need to be stored though. We’re back to where we were ages ago with not even the hint of a place to put stuff

Well, it’ll all work out somehow. It usually does. I just wish that I would.

Sunday 19th March 2023 – WELL THAT WAS A …

… total waste of time.

It was a beautiful afternoon today, so much so that I had turned off the heating for a while and had the window open, so I reckoned that I’d go out to this Home Exhibition that was taking place this weekend.

It was a long walk – the longest that I’ve done since I’ve been back from Canada – and quite uncomfortable on my crutches, but I made it there all the way without too many problems.

But as I said, I needn’t have bothered. Of all the stalls that were there in this big marquee, there was only one that made any reference to bathrooms. And when I finally managed to speak to the guy in charge, he told me that he had no means of assisting with the installation.

And that’s no good for me.

So anyway, I just came back home. I didn’t even stop for an ice cream.

It was a tough climb back up to here and I had to make more pauses than I otherwise would have done, but I made it back and then collapsed on a chair.

It’s no surprise that I was tired though because apart from the walk into town and back, I’d also had another miserable night, following on the usual pattern just recently.

And despite it being a Sunday I was wide awake at 08:45 and out of bed by 09:30, and it’s not something that happens every Sunday. There have been Sundays when I’ve been lucky to see midday.

After the medication, the first thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone. There were tons of stuff on it from the night. We were having a big argument. I can’t remember very much about it except that it was with some people who were not very well-educated. I had to write out an essay. It was to do with some kind of subject but my life story seemed to fit in there so I was in order of writing my life story. For some reason it had taken me so much time to make a start that I didn’t have much time left so I was doing it as a kind of “cut and paste” but with real paper, a pen and a pair of scissors trying to write it out so I could then cut everything around and fit it into the exam paper in the right kind of order. It was really quite a complicated thing. Then I had to write out the word “seizure” but I couldn’t remember how it was spelt. I asked someone who you spell it. Then I realised that instead I could just say the word “sizes” so I said that there’s no need to bother – I’ll use that instead. Off course “sizes” wasn’t the right word. That was one thing that while I was dictating this I couldn’t think of what words I was supposed to be using in this dream.

And then I was round at someone’s house. They were proudly showing me their anemometer that they had attached to the eaves of the roof of their house. I remembered the one that I used to have at Virlet. I was quite admiring it. They had some kind of set-up in the back, a framework with solar panels etc. I took advantage by fastening a pole to this gantry and putting a wind turbine on it. We went into the house. It was bedtime. I went to bed. All of a sudden this whole framework collapsed. My brother was actually standing next to it outside but he didn’t notice for some reason. I got up to go to see what had happened but immediately fell over because my right knee gave way. Eventually I managed to drag myself off out. They were busy trying to prop it up by driving wooden stakes into the ground with a hammer. I didn’t think that that would do the stakes much good but it was all they had. I had a sledgehammer but it was in the back of Caliburn. Every time this guy had it in the correct kind of place to hold up, my brother would try to adjust it just that little bit more and it would all collapse again. We were fed up of this and shouted at him to leave it alone. There were all kinds of things like bricks there that were separated by little bits of foam to stop the bricks knocking against each other. They had percentages written on them. I worked out that it was some kind of calculator that calculated the percentages for numbers of days in the year. I thought that the only way that this is going to work now is that if they put it back in the right order. But apart from the writing on it there was no way to determine which was the correct order and which wasn’t.

Later on we were on a bus trip in a white Van Hool Alizee taking us all around. I was a passenger. A lot of my family was on it. My mother was there and she was keeping everyone waiting because she always seemed to be the last to turn up. I said to my youngest sister “that will teach you to be born so late in life. If you’d been born before, you wouldn’t have had to wait for so long”. We were all waiting in this park by these iron gates for the bus to appear. While we were waiting there someone who was the guardian of the gates was asleep on the gate. Someone wanted to go out for a minute but they couldn’t awaken him so they just opened the gate anyway and dashed out after their 2 children who’d got out somehow. We all wondered what was going on because no-one had given us any explanation when we saw the woman suddenly dash out of the gates of this park.

Finally, a lot of turmeric had been used in flavouring some green beans that were cooking on the stove in a big pot. So much so that they had gone a greeny-yellow. We were trying to find people who had eaten from here to see whether in fact they’d turned yellow, there was so much turmeric in this cooking pot.

The morning was very quiet. I didn’t really do all that much at all. After all, it is a Sunday and I’m entitled to have a day off once a week.

Lunch was early today and then I nipped out to the Exhibition to make the most of the glorious weather.

Back here, once I’d recovered, I made a pile of dough for the fruit buns. Lots of dried fruit and the like to give it some ooomph. And I made enough dough for a dozen, with the idea that I won’t have to make any for a while. I’ll be just a couple of days short of Easter then when I run out and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I now have some hot cross buns in the freezer for Easter.

But while we’re on the subject of the freezer … “well, one of us is” – ed … I don’t know where I’m going to put the fruit buns that I won’t be eating this week. The freezer is jam-pack full with the couple of bags of carrots in there and I had a real struggle to open the drawers today.

There’s a bit more space in there now though because after lunch I took out the last ball of frozen dough for the pizza and it had been defrosting all afternoon. While my fruit buns were busy proofing, I kneaded the defrosted dough and rolled it out onto the pizza tray.

Rosemary rang up for a lengthy chat about an issue that is ongoing involving one of her friends in the UK. And while we were chatting I baked my fruit buns and assembled my pizza. And when the buns were baked (to perfection) I put the pizza in to cook.

With the oven being stinking hot the pizza was cooked to perfection too and it was delicious. I’ll make some more like that!

With a spare half-hour I dictated the notes for the radio programme so (in theory) it shouldn’t take too long to do the radio programme. “In Theory” because we all know about “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men” that often “gang aft agley” when you are trying to do something.

We’ll have to see how it all pans out.

Monday 27th February 2023 – IT DIDN’T TAKE …

… long for me to finish off the two radio programmes this morning. They were all done and finished and up and running before 09:00.

And had I been more determined than I was, I might even have had them finished well before that too but I wasn’t in very much of a hurry today. I could afford to take it easy.

It had been another bizarre night too. In bed nice and early as is my wont on a Sunday evening but once more it took an age to go off to sleep.

When I finally did, it was another quite mobile night, as I discovered later in the morning when I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was with someone, although I don’t know who it was. It wasn’t anyone significant though. A bow and arrow set belong to one of my siblings had come into our possession. We’d been out one night playing around with it. We were rubbish because it wasn’t as easy as it might sound. We’d spent a whole night trying to improve our performance but to no avail. In the end we gave it up. Next morning the messenger from work was away so they asked me if I’d run the deliveries between the various offices in Crewe. I worked out where I needed to go and set off on foot. For the final one which was quite a distance away from the others I ran all the way. I femt so much better having done that. Having dropped off what I had to drop off I was back at the house of my sister and her husband which was very close to Crewe town centre in Tollitt Street. I went round the back and gave back the bow and arrow. We were discussing this and my brother came in. He asked in a menacing tone if I’d brought everything back. I told him that I had and I told them all that they aren’t going to find this easy. If they are going out looking for good results quite quickly they are going to be very disappointed.

Later on I was round at the house of one of the people for whom I used to drive coaches. We were chatting in general about the employees. I was saying that it was a good job that all the employees whome he had were nice and friendly. He quoted the name of someone and said “he’s not. He’ll have his face pumped in by some passenger or other before much longer” which made me wonder why he kept on employing him. It turned out to be my father. I was reading a pile of old local newspapers. Some of the stories were extremely interesting to say the least. We were chatting about a couple of them. I was then thinking that maybe it’s time for me to go home as I have to be at work at 06:00 but time was drifting on and I was still lounging around there not doing anything thinking that at this rate I could see myself staying sleeping on his sofa and going away from here straight into work so I really ought to make a move to go home but I just couldn’t summon up the energy to be gone

And then I arrived in Brussels. I was changing trains to go on somewhere else. I had to wait the night so I tried to find a hotel. The first 3 or 4 that I tried had no room. I couldn’t go very far because of course I wasn’t very mobile with my suitcase. One hotel receptionist rang round 3 or 4 different hotels for me. She couldn’t find a room. She made it quite clear that that was all that she would do for me. I replied “right, I’d better go and find a railway arch”. Then I couldn’t find my suitcase. I started to search around the foyer of this hotel among all these people who were there but I couldn’t find it at all. I awoke in the middle of having a panic attack and that was quite uncomfortable. It was actually quite realistic

What else I’ve been doing is something that I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while. I don’t use my 3D program anything like as much as I used to and I’ve probably forgotten a lot of things that I knew how to do. But while I was looking for something else I came across a new image-editing program that’s freeware.

It’s used by the 3D programmers for editing objects because of its good transparency add-ons. I use Paint Shop Pro and have done for almost 30 years but it has its shortcomings when green-screening so I’ve been itching to try something that might work better. Consequently I downloaded this program and I’ve been playing around with it today to try to make it work.

It’s actually quite complicated and the layout and instructions aren’t logical. I found a tutorial but it’s for an older version and the interface is different and doesn’t relate to the version that I downloaded. So I’ll have to continue and see if I can figure it out as I go along

As well as that, I’ve made arrangements for my little trip out on Wednesday – booking my travelling arrangements. Coming back on Friday isn’t easy because there’s not very much time at a connection and if we arrive late I’ll miss it. So i’m not booking the second part of my return until I actually arrive.

And then there’s the music for the next couple of radio programmes. I’m starting to run low on opening tracks and ending tracks now, being at Programme 202, so it takes a while to sort them out. And then I have to make a running time of about 48’30” with 10 tracks and that’s not as easy as it sounds either.

It’s quite an art form to do it properly and it certainly keeps my brain ticking over. That’s quite important with advancing age. I’m within touching distance of my three score years and ten and my brain will seize up if I stop using it.

Tea tonight was one of the best stuffed peppers that I’ve ever made. The stuffing was delicious and the pepper was cooked to perfection. There’s not much stuffing left because after all I won’t be here on Wednesday night for my leftover curry. Wednesday night’s tea will be potatoes and lentils with peas and carrots out of a tupperware-type bowl.

So now I’ll hunt down some more music and then I’ll be off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form. As well as the usual preparation there are piles of words that I’ve picked up from the football matches over the last couple of weeks that I need to learn There’s no point watching the football if I’m not going to learn anything.

That’s how I started to learn Flemish when I moved to Belgium in 1992, and I’m not alone in this idea. A woman I know has a daughter who is just 11 and a big football fan. These days she’s only allowed to watch football on the TV if she watches it in a foreign language and she has to take a list of new words to show her mother at the end of every game.

It’s catching.

Tuesday 15th November 2022 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about them planning to heave me out in the near future.

The doctor came to see me this morning and gave me an examination and I went through my usual spiel about the hospital going round and round in circles and I was pretty sure that she understood.

However she came back a short while later with her professor who had a chat with me. She explained that there were at least two viruses in my body and there are still traces of pneumonia in my body.

However she did yell me that despite everything, they were still planning on letting me go. Apparently they were worried that I’d catch Covid if I remained in the hospital;

And so I asked whether she was worried about me catching Covid during the 1400km round trip to the hospital and back to the various appointments that (I hoped) was sure to follow.

Now that took her completely by surprise and totally deflated her. Apparently she was totally unaware that I lived in France. Making the most of her bewilderment I mentioned that when patients were temporarily discharged from the hospital a room was made available at St Pieter’s Hospital. However they have demolished that, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There’s always Pellemberg, where I’ve stayed before, out in the wilds of the back of beyond, so I made sure that she was aware that I knew all about it.

However I have a feeling that I’m going to be out on my ear in a few days time regardless of anything else, a golden opportunity will be missed, and I’ll spend the rest of what’s left of my life travelling to and from Granville to Leuven and going round and round in circles when I get here

And isn’t that a depressing thought?

There was something quite important that happened on Monday that I forgot to mention last night

During the night of Sunday and Monday I must have had a dream at some point early on about a doctor wanting a urine sample for me the next time that I went from the bathroom. Consequently when I awoke at some point to go to the bathroom I rang for help

When the nurse came I babbled something incoherently about giving a sample, even though my body was desperately trying to process when it might have been that the doctor had come to see me.

Anyway, the story ended with the nurse helping me totally unnecessarily to the bathroom and no sample being taken.

It was really, really confusing.

Last night was much more quiet. No-one came to see me and apart from the odd trip or two to the bathroom nothing happened at all. Mind you there was some stuff on the dictaphone.

I was travelling on a train and it had an accident. I ended up falling across my youngest sister. When we picked ourselves up there were3 of us in the compartment, me, my brother and my youngest sister. I had some dresses that needed to be tried on by someone but seeing as she was there I had her try them on. They fitted her beautifully, these exotic party dresses that looked as if they might have been made for an adult but fitted a child. There were 1 or 2 gasps of astonishment from another woman who was there too. I gave her one, I gave her the second and I gave her the third. It all went really well. I asked my sister if she wanted some coffee. She’d never tried coffee before so I made her something weak. she drank it and thought that it was nice. The second dress, I gave her a second coffee and I’d made it the same. She thought that was nice too. But the third dress I made the coffee just how Nerina liked it. Of course she wasn’t there so I offered it to my sister. She tasted it and pulled a face. She asked about it so I said that it’s coffee that I’d made for Nerina. I could see that she was putting it on one side as if she was going to deliberately forget to drink it at some point or other.

I was moving house and I had a few people who were going to help me. They’d come round to see me to talk about the job, some young people and have a look through. The vehicle we were going to use was an elderly Ford Transit heavyweight van, a kind of van built on the long wheelbase rather than the panel van integral design method. An ancient, elderly thing but it would do the job. As we were talking a friend of mine rang up. He started to talk to me about the move. He asked me what my plans were. I felt terrible trying to discuss it with him without actually having discussed it with these people. That’s why they were here. The plan was that Day 1 we’d pack up the apartment into this van, Day 2 we’d drive to Shrewsbury, Day 3 we’d have a day off to recover and Day 4 we’d unload the van at the new house. My friend was astonished about this. He thought that it would cost the earth. I couldn’t talk about that because I wanted to talk to these people about it first. It was a very awkward, stilted telephone conversation. One or two things did actually come out which resulted in one of the people with me sending me an e-mail. I thought that this conversation with my friend was going to go completely out of hand if I wasn’t careful. How I wish that he hadn’t called up at that moment so as to give me some time to agree terms with these people who had just come round.

There was more to it than this but you don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating a meal.

When the alarm went off at 06:30 I was already awake. There’s that much racket here in the early morning that after about 05:30 it’s almost impossible to sleep if you’re as light a sleeper as I am.

We had all of the usual routine but a physiotherapist came to see me and ran me through a few exercises. My legs are much weaker than you’d expect and it’s going to be ludicrous if they let me out into the wild blue yonder.

As well as the doctor and her professor I had a Welsh lesson too. Surprisingly that passed OK and in fact I was quite pleased about how it went.

And that makes a big change, doesn’t it?

The rest of the day has been spent dealing with nurses, falling asleep, all kinds of stuff like that. And eating my rather boring meals. They are good, well-prepared and filling but they are all the same and after nearly 3 weeks I would die for something different.

Anyway it’s early now and I’m told that a nurse will come by later on at some point but even so I’m going to settle down under the bedclothes and listen to the old-time radio.

Tomorrow there are no appointments so it should be a quiet day. There’s something happening on Thursday and then several appointments a week later. So if they throw me out after my Thursday appointment I’ll have to kick my heels around Leuven for a week.

This is all turning into something of a farce, except that it really is no laughing matter.

Tuesday 1st November 2022 – AND IT REALLY IS

… a bad news day today.

A doctor has been to visit me to say that I’m seriously ill

This is the problem with this lack of immunity. People have been catching this and feeling much better three days later. I’ve been seriously ill for 13 days and in intensive care for 6 days and any improvement is “slight”

Basically they are astonished that I travelled so far and in such strange conditions with this illness that is engulfing me, and frankly, so am I.

For a change, last night was much better They gave me a different sleeping pill that I took at 20:00 and the next thig that I remember was that i was 00:30. That was definitely one of Bill Oddie’s “powders that would paralyse a bear” and I’ll take a few more of those.

Later on I was back to sleep for a few hours and there’s even something on the dictaphone too. I was with Maria and Nicole last night. We were on our way somewhere and met a group of young boys. Eventually we arrived at her place of work. It was a job involving slicing carrots. They were working quite hard but every hour or so someone would bring them an ice-cream. I thought that this was a really good place to work by the looks of things because we were new in Canada and any job would be good so we decided that we’d ask. In the meantime Nicole was lying down on a bench and the supervisor went over to her to find out why. She said that she hadn’t been given any carrots for a few minutes. The supervisor didn’t say anything. We went over to see the guy. I told him of my qualifications. He said that with an HGV you need to be certified in Canada. In the meantime as a part-time thing I’d be driving the coach for them taking people home after their shift. I’d done it a few times but he obviously didn’t know. He came back once in the coach, and old Plaxton Elite. They were all hanging around out of the back of the building where I wanted to put the bus so we began to talk about some rally that was taking place – “did I know so-and-so from Evans Radio who was coming in a steam roller?”. That rang a bell with me because I knew someone else who was going to come in a steam roller so we chatted about that for a while

Later on I was with TOTGA. She was dating someone else whom I knew. The three of us were walking somewhere. She was smoking a lot that annoyed me a little. We wandered off on this walk and came to this fertiliser, salt and other chemical distribution place with piles and piles of sacks. I’d visited this place in the past. She went first and the lights came on so she ran back. I told her “come on, there’s no problem” and we walked through here down towards the canal where she stopped to have a cigarette. I’d walked this path dozens of times all the way down to the next bridge and back. On occasion I’d continued over the hills to the end and round over there for ages on some of the hills I’d roamed upon in the past during a dream

There was far more to it than this but you don’t really want to know about it.

When the alarm went off at 06:30 I was already working and I kept that going for a few hours. Not for long though and by 14:00 I was back in bed.

A couple of doctors have seen me (it’s Bank Holiday here)and they have finally taken out the perfusions and the ports that they put in. And with all of the intravenous stuff I’ve been having, I’ve gained 5kg in 5 days and that’s really depressing

There’s a downside to having finished my perfusions. They were placed on a portable stand which was good for clinging on to. Now it’s gone along with the perfusions so it’s a desperate stagger across the room and I’m sure that it will end in tears.

But anyway it might only be 19:30 but seeing that I’m in bed already, I’m going to try to sleep.

Tomorrow is another day

Wednesday 17th August 2022 – SO RATHER LATER …

… than usual, here I am writing up my notes.

Yes, this evening I’ve been gallivanting – spending time with the neighbours and as anyone will tell you, that’s not like me at all, is it? I don’t do “social”.

Anyway, another late night again yesterday, but not at all as late as the previous night. I didn’t finish my notes until late (and that’s not a surprise seeing how many there were) and then there was something interesting (and I can’t remember now what it was) that came round on the playlist.

So that was that.

It was another morning when I didn’t feel much like leaving the bed and in fact I loitered around for a good few minutes before deciding to pluck up the courage to haul myself out of my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I had been during the night. I started in a hotel near the town centre of a strange town somewhere in Southern Belgium. I’d stopped there the night because I had to go to a meeting in another town that evening and this was the best that I could do. I looked at the travel arrangements. I could see where the buses pulled up and parked but I had a quick look on the internet and saw that there was a train so I decided to set out and find the Railway Station. I went outside just as the bus pulled away from the bus stop so I couldn’t see what that was. Round a couple of corners I could see a road in the distance high up that was dropping down to the road on which was my hotel. I remembered the layout of the roads now. There was a car park with a few ancient Harrington coaches complete with tailfins. Then I saw a sign that said “to the railway station”. I followed the sign and ended up in a shopping precinct. I couldn’t find my way out of there. Neither could another girl who was there as well. We both ended up looking for an exit. I tried a door and it turned out to be a bingo club. They asked me what I wanted. I replied that I was looking for a way to check my internet statistics. They gave me a file with their login details. The said “careful not to put your Ni n° in”. Another woman said “yes well he’ll tell you all about doing that”.

And later I’d gone into my apartment building and ended up talking to the new girl next door about a few things. She was showing me her apartment and everything. As I was leaving she asked “when can I come to visit yours?”. I replied “you can come now if you like” not thinking that she would because there’s a football match on the internet. She came anyway and she had a look round. She said how much she liked it even though it was cheap and basic with no real main facilities. I was thinking to myself that it’s a good job that I’d tidied it and put stuff away. Just then 2 customers appeared. We were somehow then in the dining room She asked if I was getting something to eat. I replied “no, I eat later” because I was going to eat at home. She took some stuff and started eating. I was trying to have a conversation with her but her conversations were more of these where you’d tell her something and she’d go off on a long speech about something else. When she would draw breath you’d start to tell her about something yourself but you could see after about 5 seconds that she had totally lost interest and wasn’t anywhere interested your conversation. I thought that it was quite pointless trying to engage her in conversation. Just then another man appeared. He came to sit at our table to eat. He said to one of the boys his given name and I recognised him straight away but he’s going to be working late tonight. I thought “does he have a football match on the internet too?”.

After that I was living in this block of flats. A new neighbour invited me in so I went in. It was a woman and I showed her around and a few tricks about the apartment etc. She asked when would I invite her to visit mine so we went next-door to mine which although furnished quite cheaply was neat and tidy. i was thinking that it’s a good job that i’d tidied up before I went out. We were chatting and ended up in the sea off Morecambe. My mother came along and put her glass down by this girl. My mother asked why and my grandmother replied “she obviously has a crush on you so it’s to keep the crushes away”

And that’s a regular theme isn’t it? No sooner do I start to think that I’m making progress in my life and along comes some member of the family to throw a spanner in the works. How many dreams have I had like that?

After that my youngest sister and I were going somewhere so we were at the bus stop at Shavington. It was extremely early, about 07:00. Someone said something to a couple of people who were waiting with me so I replied. He said “God! I didn’t see you there!” and there I was in a bright white shirt in the dark. We had a chat and I went back to the others. His bus appeared – he was going to Crewe so he climbed aboard. Then the bus came down the hill from Dodd’s Bank. I could see all the swarms of school children heading our way so that must have been the school bus. he did a U-turn at the Sugar Loaf but it wasn’t a very good one, not like the drivers we used to have years ago (who really could turn these old Crosville Bristol LWL single deckers on a sixpence). It was someone whom I knew and at first I thought that it was my father. I told my sister that he’s not very good at that. All the kids swarmed on. Then a Ford Zodiac MkIV appeared. I thought that this is the bus replacement so I flagged him down. I only had adult tickets so my sister got onto the back seat. I said to the driver who was my father that I only had adult tickets. He replied “just give me one for you. Your sister is OK”. We squidged onto the back seat with all of these other people. It was really quite uncomfortable in there and I couldn’t understand it. I was telling her that I used to have one of these years ago (in fact mine was a Zephyr 6, and fancy remembering that in the middle of a dream) and they were really comfortable cars. What surprised me was that a couple of Cortinas pulled up to take the kids away to school. They put about 20 kids in each packed on the back seat and in the boot with their heads poking up where the parcel shelf used to be and packed on the front seat and no-one said a word about that but they would soon complain if I tried to put more than 4 passenger into a taxi in the old days.

Again I can only remember a part of this. I was again with I think my youngest sister . We were waiting in the desert when a hearse pulled up and offered us a lift. We climbed in and there was a body in the back. We reached a cemetery and had to dig a grave. We dug this grave and it wasn’t very deep at all. Then they took out this coffin and put it in. The coffin was probably no more than an inch below the surface. I said “this is far to shallow for a grave isn’t it?”. He replied ” no, it’s fine. Don’t you worry about that. Just lower the coffin in”. We lowered the coffin in and he went off to do something. I thought to my sister “he’d have plenty of opportunity here to dig off the top off this coffin and drop another body or two inside it, won’t he?”.

Finally there had been two teams building the same railway line through the mountains somewhere. It had been very acrimonious. One had done it in concrete and the other in something else and they’d laid this stuff down sometimes on top of each other etc until they reached the end of the line where they had supposed to be. There was a cabin at the end of the line and we went there to inspect it and saw the confusion between the 2 lines. We slept there the night and next morning set back to walk to the halfway point where everything was already ready. We’d only gone maybe a mile, not even that, and all these concrete and other stuff works just petered out. It had all been done for show and the rest of the rail bed was just bare earth. Someone had marked out the track with stakes where the track should go. We reached certain parts where it wouldn’t even fit. They hadn’t even dug out the cuttings etc. There was one bit where on the edge of a mountain they hadn’t cut into the mountain for the track. There was no way that you could lay track on this. This became quite acrimonious as well. When we returned to the half-way cabin it was quite warm inside because there had been an old 1930s car in there that we’d made to run and managed to use to heat the water to heat the cabin. I had to but some petrol for a girl who was there but when I was searching through my pockets I couldn’t find my dictaphone. I wondered if I’d left it at the cabin so I’d have to go all the way back to the cabin at the end of the line, fetch my dictaphone and come all the way back to this one.

It’s hardly surprising that after having travelled that far during the night I wanted to stay in bed. And it will be no surprise to anyone that in the middle of transcribing all of that I actually fell asleep for an hour or so. I went to have a shower whan I awoke in order to awaken me properly and while I was at it I weighed myself. I’ve losrt another few hundred grammes and I’m only 1100 grammes away from my first target weight (but still over 6000 from where I want to be).

The rest of the day has been spent tidying up. I’ve actually cleared a whole shelf in the cupboard by the door and now I have to try to think what to do with it. What do I have that I can hide away in there out of the way?

Plenty of stuff that I should have put outside for the bin dippers but it’s raining again quite heavily right now, not that it will last all that long..

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Mind you, it’ll certainly do some good for the vegetation.

Here’s a photo that I took from almost the same place as yesterday. The hour or so of rain that we had didn’t do anything about the dust that’s around on the path but do you notice the change in the greenery today.

It’s the mauvaises herbes – the weeds that seem to have benefited from the rain yesterday. You can see that they seem to have managed to absorb some of the water and they have turned green.

What that shows in that it’s the indigenous plants that survive the best and recover the quickest after unnatural conditions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t raining when I went outside for my afternoon walk today though.

It was actually quite nice again if a little windy so I reckoned that there might be a few people out and about on the beach down below the cliffs.

There were actually more people that I was expecting and some of them had even gone onto the water which, because of the wind was quite adventurous.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea this afternoon. It wasn’t as clear as yesterday but much clearer than the other day so had there been anything out there I would have seen it.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Instead I made my way all along the path to the end and across the car park without seeing anything out at sea.

There was however something to see down here – to wit a couple of fishermen practising their art from the rocks down below. And, optimists that they are, they even had a bucket or something in which to deposit their catch.

Mind you, one of the guys looks as if he’s ready to pack up and go home. The other one looks like he’s here for the Duration and seems to be rather comfortable sitting on his rock. All he needs is a pointed hat and a long white beard and he’ll be well away.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And they have an audience this afternoon too.

There was someone sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban but he must have heard me creeping up because as soon as I poised the camera ready to shoot, he stood up.

Mind you, there really were only the fishermen out there to watch and if one of them was going home, I suppose that our spectator was too. It was actually quite strange that here we are in the middle of the summer season and there wasn’t one boat out there at all.

cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway I wandered off down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

And there is no change in occupancy of the place this afternoon but there’s a great deal of work going on with Cap Lihou.

In her exposed position out there by the portable boat lift we can see all around her and they seem to be having a right old time over there with a sandblaster or something, for much of her bright blue paintwork has now disappeared.

She’s obviously going to be receiving the full treatment. She looked quite nice before so if they do as good a job on her as they did with the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II she’ll look fabulous when she’s finished.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There wasn’t anyone over at the Fish Processing Plant so I turned my attention elsewhere while I was here.

Over at the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France ferries and we can tell by the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

It’s a surprise to see her here just now. Just recently we’ve seen then runnign back from the Ile de Chsueey or doing a lap of honour around the bay with a bunch of tourists. It must be a quiet afternoon today.

Not for me. I want to return to my tidying up so I’m in a hurry to go home

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I go home though I just thought that I’d mention that Chausiaise is over in the loading bay underneath the crane.

It looks as if she’s going for another run out but I wonder what she’ll be taking, seeing as all of the material is still on the quayside, and, more importantly, where she’s going.

Back here I made a coffee, finished off what I was doing and then made ready for my trip upstairs. One of the residents seems to have taken a shine to me and she’s invited me upstairs on a couple of occasions.

She’s not yet invited me to see her etchings though, and that’s a good thing.

When I set out I only intended to be there for a short while but it was three hours that I was absent. It’s hardly surprising that everything is running late and I’ve had no tea tonight. So I’ve had to rush my notes.

Anyway now that they are done I’m off to bed. I’ll carry on with the tidying up tomorrow and see where that brings me. I now know how Heracles felt in the Augean stables and I’m not likely to have any rivers flowing through here.