Tag Archives: mary_w

Wednesday 17th January 2024 – THEY HAVE RECEIVED …

… the results of this morning’s blood test. The nurse who came to inject me and take a blood sample thins morning sent the blood to the laboratory who then sent the results to me and the hospital

And the hospital sent me an e-mail. "Your potassium is still too high" they said. You know, as if they are telling me something that I didn’t know. "Here’s another prescription for some more medication"

So how many is that now? I lost count a long while ago. These days I just shovel down the stuff as if I couldn’t care less. And I don’t, anyway. So what’s one medication any more or any less to the quantity that I’m taking?

Sometimes I think that they have run out of ideas and are just prescribing any old medication in the hope that they find something that might work.

And before anyone says anything, that’s not meant as a criticism at all. Anyone who reads ABOUT THE LATEST STAGE of mutation of this illness will notice words like "extremely rare neurologic complication", "Given that BNS is so rare" and "There are a few options when it comes to treatment so the type one will choose is completely individualized".

So what the hell does the hospital do?

There’s certainly no complaint from me about the kind of care that I’m having. Everyone is going above and beyond what is reasonable to make sure that I’m being well-looked after. My poor cleaner is running her socks off with trips to the pharmacy.

And I do have to say that I was told almost 8 years ago when I first went to Leuven that the end wouldn’t be pleasant. And in fact one of the reasons for going to be treated in Belgium is that I could choose when the end would be and I wouldn’t have to put myself – or anyone else – through all of this nonsense.

But perhaps it’s as well that I’m living in a (nominally) Catholic non-laïc country because the end would have been a long while ago. I can’t keep going on like this.

In fact, the end would have certainly been this morning after the events of last night.

You won’t believe this – or, perhaps you would because some of you have been followers of these pages since they first saw the light (in one form or another) during the heady days of T102 in 1997 and are quite used to this kind of thing because it happens all the time, but one of last night’s visitors was none other than Castor – and I wasn’t there.

Well, maybe there in body but not in mind, and certainly not in Spirit. Castor and I were playing with Hawkwind last night and I died in the middle of one of the songs, DAMNATION ALLEY. Of course Castor was distraught. She was surprised that the band had played that song knowing how ill I was. She asked one of the roadies if there was anything that she could keep as a souvenir. They said that they might be able to let her have a tyre from the vehicle, presumably the “eight-wheeled anti-radiation tube” but they weren’t sure if that would be possible. Another song that they played as a kind of tribute for me afterwards but I can’t remember which one that was. They then began to play another song and again she was annoyed about this because it was very personal to me. After a while she began to realise that it was also upsetting someone else who everyone wanted to upset so they were playing it deliberately. That thought seemed to cheer her up a little.

But can you believe it?

Something else that has gone horribly wrong today is confirmation of what I’ve been saying for 18 months, in that every time I have a bad fall, it makes things worse elsewhere and coming back from Re-education today, I couldn’t get back up the stairs even with the taxi driver helping me.

The power in my left leg has now gone and that, dear reader, is that

My cleaner came round this afternoon with a lorry-load of medication today and I told her quite frankly that if someone were to give me the option of going for a really decent and complete 8-hour sleep and never waking up again, I’d take it without a second thought.

She was quite naturally horrified, but that’s where we are right now.

At least last night’s sleep wasn’t all that bad. But it was another desperate scramble to find the phone when the alarm went off. Since the tragic events of Saturday evening the phone charger by the bed has been lost in the chaos and I’m having to charge it elsewhere

After taking the blood pressure (high as usual and I’m expecting another medication for that at some point) I went for the pile of medication and then came back in here.

There was a radio programme to send off so I had a listen, and found a glaring error so I had to re-edit it.

Years of bitter experience have taught me never to over-write anything but to prepare a re-take so I have all of the speech files at various stages of re-editing saved as (the date that I recorded it)_R(evision)1, R2, R3 etc so it’s easy to go back to the earliest revision, find a bit that I’ve cut out in subsequent revisions and then add it back into the programme to make up for the error that I cut out and the programme for broadcasting on Friday then becomes “emission_240119_R1”

And then I had a listen to the dictaphone. Some of the stuff I’ve already mentioned but there was other stuff on there too. I was playing in a rock band in the back of a trailer being pulled by a car. Because it was so narrow and the field of view was so deep the sides of the trailer folded back and were pinned back so that the crowd could still see whoever was at the edges of what in fact was the stage. We played a couple of Hawkwind numbers, including SLEEP OF A THOUSAND TEARS, a song that Castor and I had messed about with on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. The dream went on from there for quite a long time but I was of course more interested in the song and kept on going back to the song and being on stage again. But I was certainly back home with my family at one or two points during the dream

I went to see my aunt in London and I’d bought her a bed. There was another young guy there when I arrived. We erected this bed together. She tried it out and thought that it was wonderful. After we’d chatted for a while we both left and headed for the Underground. I asked him where he was going. He replied that he had to go right the way round the city on the Underground to see his aunt, which is why it cost him a fortune whereas my journey back to one of the mainline stations was a lot quicker and a lot cheaper.

And that was all the work that I have done today. For most of the rest of the time I’ve been asleep. I really have. It’s been one of those days when I’ve felt like doing nothing at all. Liz had a chat on the internet with me but regrettably I fell asleep not once but twice in the middle of it.

The taxi driver who came to fetch me didn’t feel like getting out of his car and I can’t blame him in this weather so I had to struggle downstairs on my own.

Once I arrived I had Ophélie the ergotherapist trying to teach me a good way to get in and out of bed.

"Come this way" she said, leading me to the bed in one of the ante-rooms
"Well I never!" I thought. "Well, not for a while anyway"

There was half an hour on the walking carpet and then Séverine trying to help me as much as she can, which wasn’t easy.

A little earlier I mentioned the struggle to return home, and then I had my hot chocolate and a chat with the cleaner, to which I referred just now.

Having crashed out yet again, I’ve been for tea, a left-over curry, my first food of the day, and then I’m off for a hot drink and bed.

But where do I go from here? I dunno, and quite frankly I’m past caring. There has to be an easier way than this to go about things

And believe it or not, onto the playlist as I typed out the line above came Hawkwind and MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE
I couldn’t have said it better myself

Tuesday 24th October 2023 – THEY STILL HAVEN’T …

… fitted this needle into me. I think that they really have abandoned all hope of giving me this infusion.

Instead, this morning they gave me another lumbar puncture and that has been that.

Last night I had one of the best night’s sleeps that I’ve had for a considerable length of time. I was in bed at 20:00 because it was that cold and, underneath the blankets I listened to the old-time radio

It was about midnight when I awoke to find the radio still going so I switched it off and went back to sleep. And that was that until about 07:50 when a nurse awoke me to take my temperature and blood pressure

When breakfast came I was still in bed and I really can’t remember the last time that I had breakfast in bed. It made a lovely change from the usual.

While I was washing a nurse came in and stuck a couple of freezing patches on my back. That of course can only mean on thing – a lumbar puncture. They are totally horrible things and so I wasn’t looking forward to that.

First task while I was waiting for things to happen was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in the UK at some point. It was round about the time of the death of my aunt. We were making a lot of preparation for various things. We met the family of her late husband Michael. We spoke to them about various things. They were involved in some kind of career where to have a psychiatrist or an analyst was compulsory. We had a really good chat about that. They happened to mention that they had a son who lived near Warrington. Of course, that’s my neck of the woods so before I come back to Europe I decided that I’d go to see this guy. I set out but stopped to listen to the 09:00 news. I noticed that the clock in the car was wrong. After the news I set out to drive but couldn’t think for a moment of how to go to Warrington. I had to scratch my head to think of which back roads and country lanes would be the best and I ended up going round the back of Haslington. I couldn’t help thinking that I wasn’t dressed for the occasion. I was in some kind of grey fleecy trousers, sports trousers or something. We eventually met. He was a guy in his 40s, a very big, strong type of person with a wife and a few kids. We began to talk. He was really mocking his relative about the idea of having a psychoanalyst. He thought that it was a stupid arrangement, perpetuated by North American trend-setters and totally unnecessary these days.

And then I was out with a former friend of mine, somewhere and were coming down the motorway. Something happened to the car. I think that it wanted some fuel. It was a strange kind of car so we called in and had to find the fuel filler. It was in the engine behind the right-hand headlight. We had to pull the headlight forward to reach the fuel filler. It was an extremely complicated affair. My friend fuelled up while I went for a wander around. I ended up at the hire car depots. In a waste bin there was a pile of stuff that obviously people had bought and thrown away, one of which was a 25-litre fuel carrier. I went over to my friend to ask if it was of any use to him. He replied “yes” so I went to fetch it but there was a hole in it so I put it back. In the meantime some guy from the service area came over to me to ask if I was a mechanic. I replied “yes” so he went over to my friend. They ended up having an argument because apparently only licensed mechanics are allowed to work on cars on this site. Of course my friend was having none of this and told the guy exactly what he thought. In the end the guy slunk off with a flea in his ear.

There was also something about a house that Nerina and I went to see. It was a bungalow that had some kind of front garden, a drive all the way down the side of the house and then a back garden. There was a sign up at the parking space at the side of the house that said “scrap cars here”. I noticed that there were a couple of old car axles lying around so I thought that this would be a great place to buy because if he’d been scrapping cars here there would be some kind of inherited rights. I could quite happily mess around in the drive, put up a car port and a fence between me and the neighbour, and Nerina would have a nice tidy garden at the back anyway. We went to look at it. IN the back in the garden he had a whole pile of axles. There was a load of asbestos brake dust. Somehow he’d rigged up two kinds of hubs as pulleys and he explained how he removed brake shoes with them. This was beginning to interest me more and more. I was hoping that Nerina would be interested in the bungalow itself and impressed enough to want to buy it.

I ended up going back into that dream about Michael’s family. It was a Sunday morning, we were all there and having a lie-in in bed. Round about 10:00 a film came up on the screen, one of these films line “American Grafitti” or similar. I watched it but must have fallen asleep again because I awoke with a start a short while later. In the meantime Nerina came into my room panicking. “Have you seen the time?”. I thought that with the film starting at 10:00 it was probably about 10:10 or 10:15 but in fact it was 12:35 and we’d slept all the way through the morning. There was so much work to do and we were supposed to be visiting somewhere else but Nerina and I didn’t have time and we’d have to leave but there was all this panic going on about getting things ready, going here and going there and having left the bed so late so late this morning

And when the nurse awoke me this morning Nerina and I were doing something with kittens but it all went completely out of my head as soon as I sat up.

Actually, there’s quite a story about kittens. When Tuppence was getting old we decided that we’d have another cat to keep her company, but it was definitely “no kittens”.

Anyway, the cat of someone whom I knew had just given birth and out of politeness I went to see the offspring. This tiny all-grey kitten crawled up my leg and curled up on my lap while I was drinking a cup of tea, and of course, that was that. You don’t choose a cat – the cat chooses you.

So having explained things to Nerina, I finally persuaded her to go to look at it to see what she thought of it. When she came back she told me “there was this tiny all-ginger kitten that climbed up my leg and sat on my lap …”

And that was how Sooty and Sweep came to live with us.

But I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that the world is far too small for my liking. The doctor who came to perform my lumbar puncture told me that she came from Belgium. She was born in Mons but came to live in Brussels as a child.

She told me the school that she attended, and it was the one just down the road from where I used to live in Jette She actually knew the complex of buildings where I lived.

So while I was lying down recovering from the lumbar puncture my neighbour who is still in Paris came to see me and it was quite awkward talking while I was lying down.

After lunch and a coffee (that I had to ask for three times before I received it) I was visited by the chief doctor and a whole pile of interns. She asked me loads of questions about all kinds of things.

The doctor from Belgium was with them and she understood Flemish so she was able to read all of the reports that I’d had from Leuven. Luckily the hospital has computerised all of its records for its patients, and you are able to access all of yours by inserting a special code. So I gave her my phone and told her to get on with it.

That was all of the official visits that I had today. There was the usual stream of nurses and the like coming and going but when I wasn’t asleep I managed to choose the music for the next couple of radio programmes, and I’ll be using the rest of the time here selecting more and more.

There were also several phone calls to deal with. The first was from the Mayor of Virlet. There’s some tidying up that needs to be done at my property and was I in any fit state to do it?

Of course I’m not and that was what he thought. So would I be willing to pay someone for half a day’s work to do it on my behalf?

Actually it’s far cheaper for me to do that than spend money travelling down there when I can’t even drive right now, so of course it was the obvious answer. I told him that next time there’s anything to do down there, not to hesitate to engage someone to do it again.

And then there was the Centre de Re-Education in Granville. That’s where handicapped people go in order to learn how to cope with everyday life taking into account their disabilities. Would I like 20 consecutive half-day afternoons starting on Tuesday next week?

Do bears go to the toilet in the woods?

Tea was the usual kind of industrial institutionalised factory food but I have to eat it because there’s nothing else. Luckily my neighbour brought me some bananas which was very nice of her.

So I’m going to go to bed now. It’s quite early but there’s nothing else to do and I can be quite comfortable under the blankets listening to the old-time radio.

And I wonder what they have in store for me tomorrow.

Saturday 30th September 2023 – I HAVE MADE …

… an executive decision, and for the benefit of new readers, an executive decision is a decision that if it turns out to be the wrong one, the person making it is executed.

Anyway, I went to LeClerc this morning to do my shopping. The drive there was horrendous because I can’t now work the brake sufficiently in Caliburn, and the left foot is struggling now to work the clutch.

Not only that, I didn’t have the power to climb back into the cab after my shopping.

When I returned here, I found that my usual parking place had been taken. The only other parking place up against a kerb that was free was right across on the far side of the car park. Consequently my shopping trolley and most of my purchases are still in the back.

Luckily, having had an idea that I might find things difficult, I’d taken a backpack with me so at least I could manage to bring the frozen and chilled food upstairs.

Coming back up the stairs, I did something else that I have never done. The lifts here are on the half-landing so I staggered (and I DO mean “staggered”) up as far as the first half-landing and took the lift up to the next one, and then walked down to my front door.

So in other words, what this means is that I am no longer going to drive. That is, not until I can find a car that works with hand controls only.

Meanwhile, back in the apartment, when the alarm went off I was reading a letter from a company to someone else about a lock-up garage that they were renting and for some reason they hadn’t paid their instalments. There was a family waiting to take it over so what were they planning to do with it. I don’t know why I’d had this copy but it immediately made me interested so I was busy sending it off to our company secretary to see what they could do about it.

So I crawled to my feet and wandered off into the bathroom. And then round about 08:40 I struggled down the stairs with my shopping trolley as far as Caliburn, and then the excitement began.

At LeClerc they had nothing exciting, but I found some vegan camembert-type cheese on sale on special offer so I treated myself to it for a change.

When I finally made it back here, I put away whatever it was that I’d managed to bring upstairs, and then made myself some cheese on toast and a pot of very hot, strong coffee.

Not that it did me much good, because I crashed out on my chair – and no surprise either because I was totally exhausted.

Later on I had a listen to the rest of the dictaphone notes. A group of us was going camping. One of my friends – it might have been a girl – had been to work so I said that I’d pick her up at about 01:30. I set my alarm for about 01:15 and went to bed. When the alarm went off I arose but I had so much to do that 15 minutes was going to be far too optimistic to accomplish it. Meantime I’d been collecting stuff to take with us. One of the things was like a stake that you drove into the ground and you added more stakes to it until it was quite tall and then a basketball hoop. It was extremely high off the ground like this but what my interest was that if I had some kind of long cloth I could make some kind of really nice wind protector for my tent or for when I’m sitting down on the beach, by sewing loops in it and putting each individual stake through each pair of loops to hold it. It was all packed in a big canvas bag like a tent bag so at the moment it was going to be quite easy to manoeuvre. Then I had my dishes to wash, things like that, and that was going to take me ages

And then I went to see my Aunt in London, and I had a woman and daughter with me, who might have been Laurence and Roxanne. We had to go so Roxanne carried STRAWBERRY MOOSE. We walked down from this big building where she lived to where I’d parked the car which was in some kind of extremely steep, muddy car park. I was right at the top so we didn’t have far to walk at all. We piled in and said our goodbyes. I had a packet of digestive biscuits. I made some remark about having made them specially. My aunt said “don’t be silly, Eric. You’ve bought them from a shop to eat on your journey home”. We rolled the car, which was my red Cortina estate, down to the bottom of the hill ready to set off. I remembered something that I had to take back so I left the two of them and the car there and ran all the way back up again. Really, what I wanted to do was to say goodnight to my aunt privately and to ask her about any situation going on that I ought to know. She anticipated this and came down. We met at the entrance to her building after I’d run back up the car park. It was quite an emotional reunion considering, and then we began to chat.

There was also something about some rocky fields and stone walls but I can’t remember anything more than that about it

There was football on the Internet this afternoon – Connah’s Quay Nomads v Penybont, played in a monsoon in a swamp in the Welsh Premier League – second v third.

And despite the conditions, it was an entertaining game with plenty of skill, really enjoyable to watch. And for 60 minutes or so Connah’s Quay roared into a 3-0 lead.

But then, a strange thing happened. Henry Jones, one of the best players in the league when he chooses to be, had been on the bench for Penybont and at the hour mark, Rhys Griffiths sent him on to play.

And a couple of minutes later we had two of the most bizarre substitutions that I had ever seen. I’ve no idea what must have been going through Neil Gibson’s mind but two of his best players, Harry Franklin and one of my favourites, Jack Kenny, who had been running the Penybont defence ragged, were then replaced.

As a result, 15 minutes later the score was now 3-2 and Penybont were going all out for an equaliser. A breakaway at the end of 90 minutes led to a fourth goal for Connah’s Quay but it could have been so, so different.

However, some of the substitutions that one or two of these managers make sometimes totally baffles me.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with salad and chips. And it was really delicious too yet again. I seem to be making good progress with my meals these days and I’m eating well, which is always good news.

So now having had a nice relaxing evening, I’m off to bed, to have sweet dreams and think about how my car-less life is going to pan out in the future.

Tuesday 25th July 2023 – TODAY WAS SOMETHING …

… of a better day today, which is just as well because it couldn’t have been any worse than yesterday.

Not that I was expecting it to be because even though I was in bed at something like a reasonable time, once more it took me an age to go off to sleep.

Not as much on the dictaphone as last night either, and when the alarm went off I was flat out asleep. So at least that’s something.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages it took me another age to actually wind myself up to start work. I seem to have a very great difficulty getting going these days.

First thing to do was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It was wartime. A group of soldiers had been sent to a barracks. They had been given their equipment, including hooks for hanging up their clothes. The sergeant was going through this, interrogating the privates who were already there about certain of the things. He pointed to one of these clothes hooks and asked about it. They came out with some kind of nebulous opinion about what they thought it might be. He dropped it and it was spring-loaded so it sprang right across the road and embedded itself in the front bumper of an old car that was going past in the street.

Later on I came across an obscure reference to some kind of line-of-sight between somewhere in Sinai across to the coast in the Spanish Sahara and then back from French West Africa to the east coast of Africa. It looked quite interesting so I went to the library and borrowed probably a dozen books. I sat there for the whole day reading them. It turned out to be the report of 4 people who’d gone on a cycle trip between these places, what they’d seen and what they’d done. But they didn’t mention the cycles very often. I was busy plotting their route trying to work out the things that they’d seen and cross-reference it with other books. Then the librarian came up to me and asked me for several books back because the library was closing. I was on the point of asking him if I could keep the others somewhere so they aren’t filed away so they’ll be here tomorrow morning for me.

There was also a woman and girl. We were in Ramsgate and had to go somewhere down in the south of Kent so we set out to drive. The woman driving was confused about the way out of Ramsgate so I gave directions. We ended up talking to another couple of women so somehow we began to walk out of the town. We walked for quite a long way. I was saying about where my mother used to live and talking about the evacuation in 1940 etc, saying that I’d show everyone where my mother used to live. I suddenly realised that we didn’t have the car. I asked the woman “where have you left the car?”. She replied “back in Ramsgate”. We carried on walking and came to the main road, Thanet Way. We decided that we’d better go back to fetch the car. There was some talk about some tea in the oven etc. I volunteered to run back with the keys and fetch the car but the girl wanted to go on the bus. I hadn’t a clue what the buses were like, where they ran to and their times etc. It was beginning to go dark now. The first thing was that a tram appeared. They were thinking about boarding the tram but I remembered that there were no tram lines anywhere near where we were with the car so I didn’t think that going on the tram was a good idea. We had a big argument or discussion about going back to pick up the car. This is the kind of thing that would drag on for hours, we won’t resolve anything and we’ll still end up without a car. It could all be resolved in half an hour If I were to run back to fetch it.

Actually, there’s a lot of truth in this story, believe it or not. I’ve been asked several times why I seem to be so concerned with the plight of refugees, and the answer to this is that my mother and her sister were refugees.

They had a very peripatetic childhood and when World War II broke out they were living in Birchington on Sea, not too far from Ramsgate, at the end of the runway at Manston Airfield, an RAF station on the Isle of Thanet.

At the fall of France in June 1940 the Luftwaffe began to drop bombs on all of the airfields in South-East England and Manston was particularly devastated. After one major attack early in the Battle of Britain, all of the children in the area were rounded up, taken to the railway station with just one suitcase, then stuck on a train and sent to live with complete strangers.

For girls who were not yet teenagers it was completely and utterly traumatic and I think in all honesty that it scarred my mother for life. She told us many stories about her life in Somerset and so I have a great deal of sympathy for these people who are fleeing a war zone.

Every time I see some of the hatred and vitriol that’s poured out about refugees, I just reflect that thank God those people weren’t around when my mother and her sister were desperately looking for shelter in 1940

When the alarm went off I was in bed with a girlfriend of mine. The question of motor bikes came up. I was going to buy a new motor bike but for some unknown reason my girlfriend hadn’t ordered a new helmet. That, for some reason, sent me into a fierce temper. I couldn’t understand why I was in such a bad mood about the fact that no helmet had been ordered. Even though I was tired I forced myself out of bed to go to order one myself. I threw a few things across the bedroom. I couldn’t understand why I was in such a bad mood. Had it happened 30 or 40 years ago I could have understood but I’m a different person these days than I used to be.

So having got that out of the way I turned my attention to the radio programme. I listened to the one that will be broadcast this weekend and then sent it off. Once it had gone off, I made a start on preparing another one. The music has been chosen, paired off and I’ve dictated quite a few notes for it.

For much of the rest of the day when I’ve not been asleep on my chair, I’ve been working on my Canada 2017 trip, but not actually doing much in the way of notes but doing some research.

There’s an island off the coast of Cartwright that is known by the locals as “Prisoner’s Island”. The local story was that there was a murder in a fishing gang and as there was no Law Enforcement in Labrador, the alleged perpetrator was cast away on the island and taken back to England at the end of the fishing season.

It occurred to me that if he had been taken back to England, it’s likely that he would have been put ashore at the Port of London and if so, had there been a criminal case, it would have been heard at the Central Criminal Court, otherwise known as “The Old Bailey”.

Consequently I’ve been browsing my way through the records of the Central Criminal Court – and guess what?

On 14th January 1818 “His Majesty’s Special Commission was then put in and read, authorizing the Court to proceed to the Trial of Samuel Harvey Brown who was indicted for feloniously killing and slaying Thomas Pearse , on the 13th of July, at Dumpling Island, in North America, without England “

It just goes to show that many of these very old rumours have a great deal of foundation in fact.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice which was delicious as usual, but I had to eat it quickly because there was football on the internet. Having been eliminated from the Champions League last week, TNS were competing in the Europa League against Swift Hesperange of Luxembourg.

TNS went behind quite quickly and were under the cosh for much of the game, with the Luxembourgers missing a penalty and having several excellent chances. However they rode their luck and played much better than they did against the Swedes of Hacken and pulled a goal back late in the game.

And so it’s all to play for next week.

But that’s next week. Right now, later than usual, I’m off to bed. I won’t have much time for sleep unfortunately but I’ll try to make the best of what I’ve got. The cleaner will be around in the afternoon so I’ll need to do some tidying up before she arrives.

Friday 19th May 2023 – AT LONG LAST …

… the internet is back up and running, as you might have noticed.

What has apparently happened, as the technician who came round just after lunch told me, was that there was a short-circuit in one of the apartments that had fused the main installation in the building.

They had repaired the installation but the short circuit persisted so they had to disconnect the circuit and gradually reinstate it apartment by apartment until they could find out which one it was.

Of course, it was in one of the apartments that is a “second home” for someone from Paris who wasn’t here so it couldn’t be fixed until they’d contacted the apartment owner and found a keyholder so they could go in, and of course it was in the circuit before mine which meant that I was disconnected while all of this was going on.

Whether that’s the case or not, I don’t know. But it will explain why the connection flickered on a couple of times quite briefly during all of this.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and it’s a real ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good. It gave me an opportunity to catch up on a mountain of outstanding work, which isn’t all done but it’s still progress, and also, because the technicians were coming to check my installation, it meant that I had to tidy up the bedroom. I even had the vacuum cleaner going for a while.

And while I was tidying up, I found the missing spare battery for the NIKON D3000 that I lost a long time (as in several years) ago. It had fallen underneath one of my bookcase units.

So how did I celebrate everything? Well, while I was in town this afternoon I treated myself to an ice cream. I felt that I deserved it.

Especially after last night. I was so engrossed in a couple of tasks that it was long after midnight when I finally crawled into bed. And when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was stark out. It was an effort to haul myself up out of bed before the second alarm went off five minutes later.

Mind you, after the distance that I travelled durning the night, I was surprised that I made it back in time for the alarm. At one point I was living with a group of Mexicans from 100 or so years ago, the time of the Revolution. We were living on the margins. We weren’t actually revolutionaries or criminals. I can’t remember most of this but there was one part where we were in a cave and there was some kind of event taking place concerning someone who had made a promise that he’d pay to have his wine crop blessed and fruitful but hadn’t done so. And so they held him to submitting his youngest daughter, who was 10, to be sacrificed. He had to fill in all this form to state about her etc and that he was willing for her to go and that he recognised that he was in default for not having thanked whoever it was properly for promoting the fruitfulness of his crops

Did I mention the story … “no you didn’t” – ed … about the 2 girls who had tried to buy some wine from an off-licence to get a teacher at school into trouble? The server recognised them and wouldn’t sell it to them. He had his revenge quite accidentally. It was the school outing and he’d forgotten to tell the parents of one of these girls. She hadn’t gone to school that day – she was paying truant. She thought that everyone else would be at school and cover for her but of course not being there on a day when there were so few students her absence was noticed and someone complained to her parents. When this all came out, the shopkeeper had forgotten to tell the parents about the trip as well, he said “don’t forget that I remember you from the day when you were in my shop so be careful not to make a fuss. You can see why karma has caught up with you”.

And then I had to go to meet someone in the centre of London so Aunt Mary had given me a book, an ancient book about Civil Engineering that she wanted to sell and have some money. All of the booksellers were around Angel Bridge Railway Station. I arrived at the Metro and the guy in the ticket office saw me coming. He had a ticket all ready. I asked for a return too but he replied “no. This is a weekend ticket and you can use it any time like but you’ll have to hurry. The train is in”. I took the ticket, paid for it and dashed downstairs but missed the train, found that I was on the wrong platform, walk back up halfway and enquire of the guard or look at the sign to find myself on the correct platform ready to go. But there was something else in this dream about someone being pregnant. They were discussing the pregnancy and talking about gifts that they should buy. One of the girls was very upset that someone else had been chosen to buy the nappies etc because she said that she didn’t have all that much money. That would have been an ideal present for her bearing in mind her shortage of money.

And we’ve had quite a few dreams when I’ve been wandering around the Underground in London, haven’t we?

Finally I had to go to do some research on Emerson Lake and Palmer. I found someone who had some information on them who lived in London so I went down. She was a bus conductor on the buses. Rummaging around in her office I came across a book that was an assembly of photocopied press cuttings going back all the way to 1967, news articles and everything. It was an absolute goldmine and I was enthralled reading it. It mentioned a whole load of clubs and places in London that you could see from the window of this woman’s house. I was there making notes. When she came up onto the top deck of the bus to show someone some damage that needed to be repaired I told her about the book and told her that on no account was she to let it out of her sight. It’s something that she really ought to keep for posterity. When I finished I was going back downstairs to her house. They were talking about a car going for an MoT. I thought “I’m not doing anything this afternoon so I can take it”. I put the book in my rucksack hoping that no-one noticed and went round to see about this car. It turned out to be a pedal car for children. I thought “this is strange” but I’d already offered now so I’ll have to go. I asked her where I’d go. She replied “turn out of here, go up the hill to the roundabout and it’s the 5th street on the right down there”. I was trying to make a mental note of this but it sounded like more than 5 minutes away but I was already committed now so I’d have to go and do it. This book of press cuttings is a little gold mine. I’ve never seen anything quite like this, especially in a dream.

After the medication I came here and slowly unwound myself and then attacked another project. A while ago I’d found the soundtrack of an obscure German rock band that had performed at one of the Hawkfests some time ago.

Back in those days technology wasn’t what it is today and this was full of holes from a worn recording tape. Using the techniques that I’d been practising just recently about “cutting in” pieces of music from elsewhere in the track, I set about repairing the holes. It wasn’t easy, but I managed in the end to make something quite presentable and you’d never find the joins. Even I was impressed.

There was a break for coffee and a fruit bun and I do have to say that the fruit buns that I made in the week are excellent. And as for the biscuits, that I have yet to mention, they have really worked and are even better than the chocolate ones that I made a while back

By now it wasn’t far off lunchtime so seeing as I was expecting visitors I started to prepare for a shower but bang on the dot Rosemary rang me for one of our marathon chats.

Just as she finished, Christian from the radio came round for the radio programme that will be broadcast this weekend. We had a drink and chat, and he told me about a local musician who is looking for a bassist. That piqued my interest, as you can imagine. It’s quite lonely here sitting in my bedroom playing with myself.

As soon as he left, the technician came round and checked that everything was working properly, and once he’d gone I could finally have my shower.

It was a painful walk into town to find some mushrooms for my salad tonight, and whet there were were pretty grim. Mind you they had some of those small peppers so I bought a couple for future use.

Next stop was the estate agent to drop off this paperwork, and then the long painful walk back up the hill to home, punctuated by a call at the new ice cream parlour that’s just opened

Back here I cleaned the peppers and put them in the freezer, and finally the physiotherapist turned up. His “marathon session” turned out to be 20 minutes but he had me working quite hard. I was glad when he left and I could have my hot chocolate and delicious ginger oatmeal biscuits.

And then , regrettably, I crashed out for about an hour.

Liz awoke me and we had a chat on the internet (now that I have an internet on which to chat) for a while and then I ended up with a late tea. Chips and mini sausage rolls cooked in the air fryer with a salad.

The mini sausage rolls are starting to run out now so I’m going to have to search for a vegan savoury stuffing so that I can make my own. Puff pastry is quite time-consuming and difficult to make so I might have to by a roll of ready-made stuff and use that.

So shopping to morrow, so I’d better have an early night. I’ll pop into Noz and see what there is there on offer. I could do with a change of diet. I’m still wading my way through the asparagus tips that they had but there are bound to be other exciting things.

Mustn’t forget the vegan yoghurt either. I’ve run out of that and it makes a lovely addition to my leftover curries. Things are definitely looking up around here.

Sunday 2nd October 2022 – AS I TYPE …

… these notes I’m sitting in a train that’s rocketing eastwards along the south bank of the St Lawrence River.

For reasons that only they will know and, if the rest of us were to know them, we still wouldn’t understand them, CoachAtlantic has taken off the service that runs between Moncton and Rivière du Loup.

Back in the old days, I would catch the “Orleans Express” bus from Montreal to Gaspé, alight at Rivière du Loup and await 90 minutes for a bus to come in from Moncton and turn round. But that’s no longer possible.

What I’m having to do now is to catch a train that goes to Halifax, alight at Moncton and wait three hours for a bus to take me back north-west. It’s like travelling 270° of a circle and what started off as a journey of about 9 or 10 hours has now become a journey of 26 hours.

Any British person who is complaining about the effects of Dr Beeching on the British railway network would have apoplexy if ever he were to examine the Canadian railway network. There is only one passenger train east of Québec in the whole country and I’m on it. There is absolutely nothing else. And although I paid for four nights in my hotel I only ended up staying for three because this train only runs a couple of days per week.

And that’s the Canadian National Railway. The whole of the Canadian Pacific network east of Québec, freight as well as passengers, has been ruthlessly hacked off, every inch of it. There’s a railway station right at the back of Rachel and Darren’s mill but that hasn’t seen a train since 1982.

And that’s why you’ll see a lot of “misinformation” about “The First Transcontinental Train” going from Montreal to Vancouver. In its embarrassment, Canadian Pacific is trying its best to shove under the carpet the fact that it had at one time a huge network in the Maritime Provinces.

And if anyone is wondering why I’m not flying, I’m refusing flat-out to pay … gulp … $1335 for me and my baggage.

If you don’t have a car in Canada, you are really in some extreme kind of difficulty and for that reason I’m seriously thinking of selling Strider and going back to hiring a vehicle at the airport. I can’t do this kind of journey again under any circumstances.

But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, I was wide-awake, and in total agony by the way, at 06:30 and I went off to have my medication.

And having dealt with that I could get on with what I had to do. And while I was doing it, I was sitting with my right foot in a bucket of ice-cold water. I have to do something to try to improve my foot.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night. I was going away with a girl but first of all I had to go back to the office to pick up my car, the beige MkIV that we had. When I arrived there, parked outside was the chocolate brown one with Nerina sitting in it. I had to basically chivvy her up out of the car so that I could get in and take it away with me as I had a ferry arranged for later that night. She said that I couldn’t go yet as there was a problem with a couple of the cars. The beige one had just quite suddenly cut out. She did say what was up with the second. The way that she described it, it was simply a wire off the beige one that I could fix in a matter of seconds. Then she said that one of the drivers had all the wages. I asked “which driver?” so she gave me a name but I didn’t recognise that driver. I asked about the rest and she said that it was in our lock-up. I thought that I’d better go and collect that. She said “you’ll need to go quickly before they go and fetch it”. I set off but I had to go back and ask where the lock-up was. She told me then I had to go back to ask which lock-up it was. I could see this lasting for hours, not finding the money, not fixing the car, not going away.

Later on, Mrs Ukraine was asking me why I was so interested in the fate of refugees in France. I explained briefly to her the story of my mother as a child being evacuated with 10 minutes notice to go to live with strangers. I told her all that story. Then I was on patrol with the Ukrainian Army but in France. They had found the coast and were making more of it. A helicopter then flew in. The first thing that it did was to winch out my brother. I imagined that I’d be next but it looked as if someone else was preparing to go, a woman. In the meantime my brother and two people were standing on a cloud playing football. As other people started to be winched in one of the guys came up to me to say that he needed a cannon. They had to make certain what it was that he actually wanted. It turned out to be a self-propelled armoured vehicle with something bigger than an 0.762mm machine gun. I said that I’d try to see what I could find for them and started thinking in my head about people I knew who might actually have that kind of equipment and I’d go along and negotiate it out of them.

As for the story about my mother, regular readers of this rubbish in a previous version will recall having seen a photo of where my mother lived as a child. It’s a small terraced house at the side of the road in Birchington in Kent, about 200 yards away from the end of the runway of Manston Airfield which was a major RAF base. At the fall of France and the first stick of Luftwaffe bombs dropping on the airfield, all of the children in the vicinity, my mother and her younger sister included, were rounded up with 10 minutes notice, put on a train and evacuated. My mother and my aunt ended up living in Somerset with people whom they didn’t know and had never met, with just one small suitcase each. Listening to my mother’s stories, what happened to them must have been an appalling nightmare for little kids like them and as a result I have a great deal of empathy for anyone else fleeing from their homes under a stick of bombs, no matter who they are and where they are.

Another thing that I did was to have a shower and to clean myself up ready to leave, and then to tidy up my room. And in many senses I’m sorry to leave this place. It’s much smaller than the place where I stay in Leuven but it’s much more modern and better-equipped. Had I been more mobile this place would have been pretty high up on my list of places to stay but the stairs killed me off.

My foot had gone down somewhat and it was easier to walk about. Putting on my elastic stocking made it go down a little more and although it was still difficult to put on my shoe, I was able to move around a little better than I did yesterday and that was a relief.

On my way to the station I stopped for a quick snack before getting on the Metro. It’s as well to have some food before leaving because I’m not sure what the arrangements for food will be on the train. There is a restaurant car on board but whether there will be anything that I can eat, or whether I can actually afford it anyway if there is, are interesting questions.

At the station I had to check in my suitcase witn STRAWBERRY MOOSE on board and then wait for boarding. I declared myself as in need of assistance so someone accompanied me down the escalator – It’s a long, steep drop to the bottom if I fall.

interior viarail train Montreal central station Canada Eric Hall photo October 2022We’ve SEEN VIARAIL TRAINS BEFORE when we were in Halifax and they seemed to be are absolutely ancient and in poor state of repair.

These days, nothing much seems to have changed. And that’s not all. The interiors are like something out of the 1960s, all leather and chrome, but it looks to be supremely comfortable.

Having had assistance to board, I was one of the first to find a seat. The train ended up to be crowded although I was one of the lucky few who didn’t have a neighbour. Mind you, someone is sitting right behind me with a couple of toddlers by which time it was too late to change seats. It’s going to be a long, noisy night.

Montreal by night Canada Eric Hall photo October 2022After what seemed like for ever, our train pulled out slowly from the railway station and we eventually found ourselves out in the open air.

It was going dark quite quickly and as the train looped round to the south to cross over the St Lawrence there was a really nice view of the city with all of the buildings illuminated.

We aren’t exactly in a hurry. It’s not what you call high-speed travel. In Europe this kind of pace would be embarrassing. It’s going to be a very long journey, I reckon, but at least I was right about the seats. They are comfortable and I have two to myself so I can spread out.

Something else that I can tell you about Viarail and the Canadian National railway network, such as it is, is that passenger trains have a very low priority. By the time we’d gone an hour out of Montreal, already we’d ground to a halt twice to give precedence to freight trains.

Having now had a coffee, I’m going to settle down while it’s quiet. I’ll probably be awoken a dozen times during the night so I need to take advantage of whatever quiet I can find.

Friday 24th June 2022 – CALIBURN, STRAWBERRY MOOSE AND I …

col de la sibérie jullié rhone France Eric Hall photo June 2022… travel miles on our trips out.

As you can see, at one point we were driving over the Col de la Sibérie, the Siberian Pass”.

Not much chance of a snowstorm or a white-out here in this weather but it’s the thought that counts.

Yes, we don’t ‘arf get about a bit.

We got about quite a bit during the night too. I started off somewhere in Scotland on top of one of these Peel Tower things looking at a couple of lorries parked on the side of the road caught in a swirling fog. That’s all that I really remember about this now

Then we were playing a game with these toy soldiers, busy setting ourselves up in position. All of a sudden the Russian army attacked . We were still trying to find the cannon that were in this collection and other artillery and position them on the board but never mind – the Russians were still attacking and we were beginning to panic. All of a sudden I had a marvellous idea. I pressed “rewind” and sent the game back to the very beginning with the idea that we’d hurry and set up the guns now, make sure that we found the correct ones etc before we hit “play” and started the game again. There was something involving Ingrid in this as well, to do with her animals but I can’t remember what it was about now.

I had some students from school and I had them come to complete a survey asking them questions about first aid, emergency services and a pile of all kinds of different stuff that I can’t remember now. They had to sit there with their piece of paper and write out the answers to some questions that I was asking, which I did. When I was about 2/3 the way through my brother came in and asked for someone, that she had to go. I thought that I’d quickly ask the third question because it was probably the most important but he was there urging us on and trying to make this girl leave. It all became quite tense. I wished that I’d started this survey a little earlier or done it a little quicker but he was there and just wouldn’t leave without the idea of this girl packing up in mid-survey and walking off to wherever it was that she had to go.

Having had their way all stopped from doing something a group of us went off to look for them and record their antics and behaviour but that was all that I remember of this unfortunately.

In the previous dream I remember that I was driving a coach, trying to get this coach ready to go on tour with a full load of people. We had to do all kinds of organising, sorting out the food and cleaning up, entering the used food in the bin etc. At one point someone in a car came along and parked nearby and went into the house. Whoever I was with said something like “that person is going to ignore us” so I made a very pointed point of shouting “hello” to him and embarrassed him into coming over and talking to us, making sure that he did. I said to the person with “oh yes he’ll remember us next time he comes”. We were preparing to leave when someone came over to say that two brothers had been released from prison which I thought was good. On the coach were these 2 young girls serving and we were preparing to leave.

Finally I was in London at the block of flats where my Aunt Mary was living. I saw what I thought was her and Michael – I saw them a couple of times so I decided that I would in fact go along and say hello. When I caught them in the corridor I started to have a little chat. When I was ready to leave I borrowed the ladders off the roof rack of another vehicle to take with me to do something. I got in my van and the fuel was very low so I thought that i’d coast to the petrol station down at the bottom of the hill. Somehow the van ran away without me and went off down this hill. It smashed into a few more vehicles. In the end I ended up with another van and exactly the same thing happened again. While I was trying to push it to start it it ran away and fired up without me and ran off down this hill. I could see it from where I was standing all the way down this hill and pile through a row of bollards at the bottom by a traffic light onto the pavement making quite a mess of everything. There were all these people crowding around it trying to find out what had happened. Of course I was a long way away at the top of this hill and I couldn’t do anything at all to stop it.

After all of that it’s no surprise that I was totally wasted this morning.

A tea in bed again did a little to revive me and a shower also helped but I wasn’t really in any mood to say goodbye.

hanging cloud river sioule vichier pouzol France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was all of my stuff, such as it was, to put into the back of Caliburn.

And those regular readers of this rubbish will recall, if they have been regular readers of this rubbish for years, is that the Gorges of the Sioule are phenomenally famous for the hanging clouds that loiter around down there early in the morning and even from miles away you can follow the trace of the river by looking at where the hanging cloud is.

Anyway, say goodbye I did to Rosemary and Mr and Mrs Ukrainian. Miss Ukrainian was still asleep so I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye to her and to my surprise I found that I was quite disappointed by that.

The drive through the Auvergnat and the Burgundian countryside was interesting. Once I arrived in Vichy the Lady Who Lives In The SatNav brought me a different way that didn’t include the expressway. We spent our time driving over the hills of Burgundy and through a variety of mountain passes.

On the way over I stopped a couple of times for shopping and for lunch and I would even have had a little siesta but somehow a fly was trapped inside Caliburn and made such a racket when it wasn’t trying to land on me, and irritated me when it did so I gave it up as a bad job.

One of the passes over which I drove was the Col de Siberié, the “Siberian Pass” as you have seen in a previous photo.

monument col de la sibérie jullié rhone France Eric Hall photo June 2022This is actually rather a sad place. It was the site of an old Hotel, the Hotel de la Sibérie, long-since demolished, where three refugees from the German forced labour progamme had fled here to take shelter.

Of course, it goes without saying that the Vichy Milice turned up in force and attempted to take away the escapees.

Despite spending a while trying to find out, I’ve yet to come across a verified account of what actually happened at the Hotel de la Sibérie but the three men involved, Jean Fournier, Marcel Honnet and Florent Andlauer, were taken away horizontally in wooden boxes.

It’s said that torture was involved, the three victims ended up being shot, and the milice set the building alight.

The monument that you see here was erected on 26th May 1946

There is said to be a document giving details of the events but it’s in the archives départementales but I didn’t have time to go there. I’ve asked them for a copy but I imagine that it will be a long wait.

It was about 15:30 when I arrived at Jean-Marc’s. It was his family whom I stayed on a school exchange when I was 16 and we found each other via the internet subsequently.

We’ve seen each other a few times and so we had a good chat about our latest news and about old times too although as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, my “old times” are in a book that is well and truly closed and filed away in a locked cupboard.

Occasionally some of my memories crop up in my dreams and that’s the best place for them, if they are going to have to surface at all.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … vinyard I invited him and his wife out for a meal in exchange for a bed for the night. The meal at the Ambroisie was certainly different and the staff was excellent. I’ve been to this restaurant before and I’ll go back again.

Back at Jean-Marc’s later, I bought an oven. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my table-top oven is not very reliable and nothing in it cooks as it did. One of Jacqueline’s daughters bought an oven, a fitted oven, but it’s far too big for her small studio so she was selling it at a more-than-reasonable price. The kind of price where if it won’t work than I won’t lose very much.

By pure coincidence I have a friend who lives near Munich about half a mile from one of the largest IKEAs in Europe so if I make it as far as his place I’ll go and buy a kitchen unit into which I can fit it.

But that’s not for now. Right now I’m off to bed. I’m going round to see Jean-Marc’s mum tomorrow morning. She’s a lovely lady and I like her very much

Wednesday 27th April 2021 – RULE NUMBER 14 …

… of “when you live by the seaside near a fish-processing plant” is “never go out without wearing a hat”.

So guess who forgot to do that today when he took the rubbish out?

And before you ask the obvious question, the answer is “yes, and from a great height too”. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts RAF’s Bomber Command to shame

They say that this kind of thing is supposed to bring one good luck, and I certainly could do with some after the last few days.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Today wasn’t any better, so while you admire a few photos of Thora, one of the little Channel Island freighters and her cargo, I’ll tell you haw it did (or didn’t) transpire.

Despite saying that I was going to have an early night last night, it didn’t end up like that at all as for one reason or another, I was rather side-tracked. It was well after midnight by the time that I finally fell into bed.

There was no hope whatsoever of me leaving the bed at 07:30 when the alarm went off. In fact I slept through all three alarms and it was 08:40 when I finally arose from the dead.

Actually, when I finally did leave the bed I felt much better than I had done for quite a while. But it wasn’t to last.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In fact the morning was rather like yesterday when I crashed out once I’d taken my medicine – because I did the same again today.

And no surprise either that I was right out of it for about an hour and when I came round again, it took yet another while to get going again.

All of this is boding ill for probably the most significant weekend that I will have had in 30 years.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed. Once I’d pulled myself together I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Last night I started off at my Aunt Mary’s. She was living in Central London right at the top of a huge skyscraper that was 194 metres tall and had 194x194m² of glass in the outside of it, the facade. We were right on top. I’d been to fetch a coffee and was walking back to my desk which was on the top floor. I was having to do it very slowly, very carefully because I was on the verge of having a panic attack about being so high and that’s not like me at all, is it? up there. I was glad that it was foggy and I couldn’t see the ground. She was telling me that she would only go up there id it was misty when she couldn’t see the ground either.

And then I was in Scotland last night watching a football match. The match had ended and there was a crowd of us milling around. I had to use the bathroom. It was New Year’s Eve so I was going to buy a meat pie and chips for a carry-out. The place at the football ground was exceptionally good as I seemed to remember so that was where I was going. I was talking to a few people. We were all discussing different kinds of food, where we could buy it etc. I had my heart set on this pie and chips. It was late at night when this match finished. I said that I wasn’t in any rush because my next train down to the south was at 04:25. I’d have to loiter around Glasgow station until then anyway no matter what time I arrived there. The discussion went on about the trains and the speeds at which they travelled non-stop down to London from Glasgow. Sometimes there would be the police waiting at Euston to catch them for speeding on the road. It was full of all kinds of nostalgia like that. But me looking forward to having a meat pie – can you imagine? A Scottish “bridie”!

Having dealt with all of that I’ve spent most of the rest of the day on the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’ve sailed back up the Rae Strait and are currently in the Barrow Strait waiting for a coastguard to come and rescue one of our passengers who was disabled after an accident on board.

It wasn’t as straightforward as it might have been either. Not the editing, but the merging. I had three cameras on the go at once – the NIKON D500, the NIKON 1 J5 and the one on the telephone.

Well, not all at once, but I was swapping between them all during the course of the journey and with editing and renumbering the photos, the aim was to run all of the photos in consecutive numbers in date and time order regardless of the camera on which I took them.

And then I discovered 5 that I’d forgotten on the NIKON 1 J5, so I had to go back and renumber a huge pile of photos and move the explanatory text around to correspond with the new numbering.

With going out to the doctor’s this afternoon I also had a shower. And cut my hair too. Next time that I have a close encounter with a seagull I won’t have quite so many problems

There were the usual pauses throughout the day for breakfast, coffee, lunch and (very regrettably) another crash-out this afternoon as well. Another good one too and I’m pretty much fed up of all of this. I’ve been in this state for pretty much the last few years, apart from a few months here and there.

Anyway, eventually I set out for the doctor’s to see what he could tell me about my MRI scan.

fishing boats l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual, on my way out I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I could look down into the port and see what was happening.

The tide is on its way in right now and the fishing boats are coming home to roost. There’s a whole gaggle of them congregating at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant, jostling for position around L’Omerta who looks as if she’s still there since yesterday.

Unfortunately, at this distance with the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens I’m not able to identify any of the other fishing boats down there.

There’s something parked on the lower level underneath the fish processing plant too. I can just about make out something down there but I can’t see what it is.

la grande ancre trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is a pile of other fishing boats on their way into the harbour too.

By the looks of things the gates into the inner harbour aren’t open so they are having to wait around. And in the background, we have La Grande Ancre moored over by the ferry terminal.

And while we’re on the subject of the ferry terminal … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve heard on the grapevine that the two Channel Island ferries are in Jersey having a trial run docking at the newt ferry terminal there.

That seems to indicate that it’s definitely “on” then, and they’ll be on their way.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I wandered off down the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards town.

The cherry-picker is still there today, but its operating arm is folded up so I was keen to see what was happening about that.

In actual fact, there was one of the operators collecting together a huge bundle of wood, presumably to lift back up onto the roof, although they seemed to have finished the roof on the one that was so badly damaged in the fire.

A wooden framework and then a large tarpaulin of some description thrown over the top to keep out the weather.

roofing burnt out houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This is what they have been doing.

They’ve done two of the properties and are now working on the third. That wooden framework on the house on the extreme right looks quite substantial, which it will need to be to withstand some of the storms that we have around here.

The windows are blocked off too, to keep out the weather and also (and much more likely) to keep out the seagulls.

But they won’t be leaving it like that for long, I reckon. It won’t take much of a wind to tear that covering and that won’t be any good.

scrap on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We saw just now the little freighter Thora all loaded up and on the point of leaving the harbour.

It looks as if she’s brought in a good load with her too. I imagine that she’s dropped off all of this stuff onto the quayside ready for someone to take away.

But you can tell that I’m getting old. 20 years ago I would have been down on the quayside late at night removing the number plates off that van ready to reuse on something else. Foreign plates are like gold-dust in my armoury.

One of these days I’ll write a book about my early life and include a few details about my mis-spent youth but I need to swot up carefully on any Statutes of Limitations and check up a few Extradition Treaties first.

Not for nothing did I go hiding in the mountains of Central France

removing scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of junk lying around on the quayside that had been there for several weeks.

There was someone here today moving that lot away too. But it sounded quite metallic to me so maybe it isn’t the remains of the bouchot stakes that they pulled up on teh Ile de Chausey. I was in half a mind to go for a closer look but I noticed the time and had to run for my appointment.

At the doctors, he didn’t say too much about my knee. What he has done is to give me a letter to take to a Sports Therapist whom he knows who might well be able to help. He doesn’t think that surgery is going to be much good.

He reckons that it might be due to age but I told him that he was talking nonsense. My other knee is exactly the same age as this one and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While he was at it, he gave me a prescription for my Aranesp and another for a blood test tomorrow.

There’s a new assistant in the chemist’s who didn’t understand the procedure about my Aranesp. It’s rather complicated because it doesn’t follow the usual French medical procedure so another assistant and I had to explain it to him.

And while I was there I bought some magnesium tablets. The doctor had noticed that I had a deficiency and thinks that one or two symptoms from which I might be suffering may have something to do with that.

There weren’t any neighbours prowling the streets this afternoon so I had an uneventful walk home

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022as usual, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The weather wasn’t as warm as it has been just recently but there were still a few people down there making the most of it, including someone who looks as if he has just come out of the water.

Back here I had a coffee and then backed up this month (so far)’s work onto the little memory stick that I take with me to Leuven. I’ll add the rest of the files in due course before I leave on Friday morning (if I ever get going) and update the portable computer as usual on the train.

Tea tonight was a kind of mixture of the leftover stuffing with kidney beans and tomato sauce with pasta and veg. It wasn’t anything special but I have to finish off the odds and ends of food hanging around before I leave. There’s a sweet potato that needs eating so I’m going to try to make some chips with it in the air fryer and see how they come out.

So now I’m off to bed shortly. I have to find some strength and energy from somewhere ready for the weekend otherwise it will be something of a disappointment. In more ways than one

Saturday 22nd May 2021 – AND NOW I KNOW …

… why I’m here in the hospital right now.

They gave me a blood test he other day and the count was 7.6. That’s well below the critical limit of 8.0 and represents quite a dramatic drop from the last test that I had 4 weeks ago.

This will explain a lot about my behaviour over the last couple of weeks and also explains why I’m here. The drop has been so dramatic that they are quite concerned.

As an aside – that’s why I write so much about my health and how am feeling – so that I can look back and compare my results with how I’m feeling and it gives me some kind of guide to how I’m doing.

This morning I was allowed something of a lie-in, and I found out why, and that was because I needed an ecograph and a stomach x-ray and for that I needed an empty stomach. And so no breakfast for me. Tomorrow we’ll have a 06:30 start, despite it being a Sunday.

And another thing too, in that the girl who gave me the ecograph can run her apparatus all over my thorax any time she likes too. Not for nothing have I chosen to be in a University Teaching Hospital with loads of students examining my credentials.

Meanwhile, where had I been during the night? I had started off in London, trying to get back to Aunt Mary’s. I didn’t know which way to go. I was going to get on any train and work my way around because the metro stations were just so packed with people and even I was having to wait on the stairs until the platform was cleared. Finalltya train pulled in but I couldn’t get on that one. The next one pulled and it was a Northern Line train. It didn’t go into the City at all. It went around the top of the town and I was trying to work out where I could change. I noticed that it crossed the line that I wanted, cross the Northern Line so I had to alight at one station and walk to another one. I didn’t think that they would be far away even if they didn’t connect so I thought that I’d ask someone. There was this girl standing next to me and I asked her. She looked at me and said “why did you ask me? Why didn’t you ask someone else?”. She said that she didn’t know. I think she thought that I was trying to chat her up, which I probably was, but anyway … I asked someone else, a couple of others on the train but they didn’t know. The girl said that she knew a woman and the woman explained roughly how to get there. It was only a 5-minute walk so it didn’t make any problem of mine. The girl asked where I was going so I told her. I said that my aunt lived near there. She said “ohhh la la, plenty of money there!”. I had a laugh and a smile. She said “I hope that you’ll be OK there” and “watch out when you are out on your bike” everything like that, teasing, because people who live near my aunt have piles of money – it was well-known as an area that was well-off so she was having a good tease at me about it. I wondered what was going through her mind. It was a shame that I had to get off when I did and walk through a couple of streets to find this other metro station to take me to the one near my aunt’s

Later on there was something about playing tennis with an old woman. She said that she was 70 but she looked much older than that. She was hitch-hiking to a tennis court so I picked her up. She said she was off to Ellesmere Port so I left her at my friend’s at Neston but she didn’t have the red card that you needed so I don’t know how she was going to manage with that. She had some kind of illness too. I went on with this guy who I’d also picked up hitch-hiking. We parked and we walked somewhere around North London again and ended up at the supermarket. We didn’t go in, we just looked at all of the kids playing all around. I walked over to the river where there used to be a bridge that had fallen down. There were crowds of people hanging around and there were people jumping off the bridge onto the sand about 60 feet below. They were braver then me. They would jump It was a hilly outcrop, one or two of them would get on the hilly outcrop and then spring forward again. others would go straight down in a variety of gymnastic positions until they hit the ground. But there wasn’t much room as there were lots of rocks that had fallen there. They had to land on the sand between the rocks and from 60 feet up, doing that wasn’t easy. This guy came over to me and said goodbye. he explained that the thing with boring people is that they don’t really make life interesting etc but “you were very interesting” he said “even though I wasn’t very keen on what you were saying or doing, you made it sound quite interesting so that made it an enjoyable time”. I thanked him and he disappeared.

Some time later they came along with a pouch of blood and I was given a blood transfusion. We’ll see what good that does me.

But there are many more tests planned for me during the next couple of days so I dunno about that. By the time that they finish their tests and give me a report, I’ll probably need another blood transfusion.

This afternoon in between the interruptions I brought the blog up to date and then later I settled down to watch the football. Barry Town were entertaining Caernarfon Town in the first of the playoff matches for the vacant Welsh place in the European Cup next season.

Barry is a team that is technically so much better but the players of Caernarfon have an extraordinary team spirit and actually play like a team.

And that was how things went in the game. Barry pressed forward relentlessly in the earlier part of the game but Caernarfon looked quite dangerous on the break. And they took advantage when Mike Lewis in the Barry goal got his foot to stop a dangerous shot on goal but could could only divert it into the path of Mike Hayes who buried it in the back of the net.

Their lead didn’t last long though. From a corner a Barry Town header hit a Caernarfon defender and the ricochet completely flat-footed Tyler French in he Caernarfon goal.

In the second half Barry Town pushed forward but were caught by a beautiful ball by Jack Kenny into space over the top of the Barry defence was pounced upon by Mike Hayes who was quickest to the ball and he put a beautiful lob over the head of Mike Lewis into the net for the second goal.

Barry Town threw everything at Caernarfon but the Caernarfon defence stood firm and deep in stoppage time with everyone up in the Caernarfon penalty area looking for the equaliser, Caernarfon caught them again and Jake Bickerstaff ran almost the full length of the field to score a third.

Later on I had a video chat with Alison but now I’m off to bed. It might be early but tomorrow is Sunday and a Day of Rest when I usually have a lie-in. But with a 06:30 start, I need to totter off now.

Wednesday 12th May 2021 – DESPITE HAVING HAD …

… something of an early night last night (although not as early as I was hoping) I didn’t have a very good day today.

Sure enough, I was up and about just after the first alarm even though I didn’t feel much like it, and after breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Planning on taking over a couple of ships (who was?) by piracy down in the Tennessee area and that was something that hadn’t been done since the 30s. I got on board and a few others got on board and by the time we’d gone very far we were about 40 people. But then before it set sail one of the people had had a bad attack of cramp and that gave the game away as far as the munitions went. The captain immediately shouted for all hands on deck and a spirited defence, even though I could see on the radar that the other trips had been a success and the other boats had been captured. We were hard at it trying to capture this one now that we had been caught at a disadvantage.

As you can imagine, I don’t have a clue what was going on in the middle of all that.

Next task was to deal with the outstanding correspondence. There has been piles and piles of it building up since I last had a good clear-out. If you are expecting a reply from me and haven’t received it, don’t worry because I’m a long, long way from catching up. In fact I’m surprised that I did as much as I did.

One of the strangest items of correspondence was to write to the Greenwich Maritime Museum. I recently attended a virtual funeral on the internet and the assistant director of the Museum gave a speech to the assembled multitude.

Unfortunately, for reasons known only to himself, he addressed himself to the half-dozen people in the church, totally ignoring the microphone that was there. Consequently no-one watching on the internet heard a single word of what he said in his eulogy and so I was nominated to contact him and ask him for a copy in writing.

Another thing that needed doing was to contact the holder of my web server. I’ve run out of room again so I need some extra space freeing up.

And that reminds me. My web hosting isn’t cheap so if you have benefited from or appreciate the content of these pages, please make your next Amazon purchase by using the links on the side. It costs you nothing extra but I receive a small commission on sales and it goes a long way.

The re have been considerable arrears of stuff on the dictaphone that have been building up and so I’ve had a bash at all of those. All of the arrears on there have been brought up to date and you can go back now for several weeks and found out where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing during the night.

Well, not everything. I went through a spell of having some really disturbed dreams and you won’t want to know about them if it’s anywhere near your mealtime. There must be a load of things preying on my mind and I wish I knew what they were.

And I would have done a lot more had I not had another dismal crash-out for about an hour. Right out too and I’m rather fed up of all this nonsense as well. It never seems to end.

But anyway I was able to take myself off for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you might expect, I went to have a look down on the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And it’s not the usual viewpoint, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall. I didn’t go round the headland to day. Instead I went for my afternoon walk around the medieval city walls and so I could gaze down onto the beach from the viewpoint on the Rue du Nord.

The tide is quite far out at the moment so there is plenty of beach for people to be on, but there weren’t all that many folk down there. It was cooler and more overcast of late and the temperature had fallen. It’s no wonder that people had forsaken the outdoor life today.

bouchot beds donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were quite a few people out on the beach much further down the coast at Donville les Bains this afternoon.

With the tide being well out, the beds of bouchots were clearly exposed this afternoon. This is just a small proportion of the amount of bouchot beds that there are altogether along the coast just there. The guys who manage the beds were out there with their machinery doing some harvesting and it must be keeping them very busy when the tide is out.

There’s also a horse harnessed to a small trailer over there too. There’s a hippodrome (that’s a horse-racing course, not a place where hippopotamuses come in to land) over there too and they do these trotting races there. A few of the horses and their carts train on the beach when conditions are suitable.

drainage spouts medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the viewpoint I passed through the old gateway in the wall and passed along the path underneath the walls. No chance of going for a run (although I was tempted) because there were too many people about and I don’t want to embarrass myself.

The local council has been out and about for the last few days trimming all of the grass and they have even done the top of the cliffs beyond the parapet. And one thing that I hadn’t noticed before was the system of overflows pierced into the walls presumably for draining the water that builds up on the path.

Although that doesn’t seem to work so well judging by the number of times that the path was flooded out during the winter and I had to take the long way round.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were no obstructions along the path today though, except for the groups of people strolling around, so I was able to make my way down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

It’s a Wednesday afternoon so the schools are out. And as the promenade down at the Plat Gousset is quite well protected from the wind, it was no surprise that there were so many people out there having a wander around to take the air.

None of the cafes seem to be open as yet so there isn’t all that much to do. It’s rumoured that they may well be open in a week or so’s time and I imagine that there will be a stampede in that direction when they finally do.

And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget my appointment at the bank next Tuesday afternoon.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that the builders’ compound across the road from where I live was dismantled last week so I wanted to go to round to the Rue St Michel to see where they had reached with the work.

On my way that way I went down the Rue St Jean where I met Minette, the old black cat. She had a stroke from me on my way past and her owner had a cheery greeting .

In the street itself, I was pretty disappointed to see the mess that they have made of the surface. I would have liked to have seen them put some cobbles down to match the rest of the streets in the medieval city but instead they have left us with this shambolic finish.

The fact that it’s not even would seem to indicate that they might be back to finish it off. Let’s hope so because this surface is pretty dismal.

street repairs venelle st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that what we have seen is pretty bad, then this must surely take the biscuit.

There has been a trench dug in the alley – the Venelle St Michel – at the head of the alleyway, and that now seems to have been filled in and the workmen have gone. But you can see that while this alleyway was previously nicely cobbled, they’ve just filled in the trench with almost anything to hand and just left the cobbles piled up at the side of the street.

There are probably 100 reasons why they have not finished it off correctly but one that goes through my mind is that they can no longer find the workmen qualified to do the work.

Having seen the state of the city walls and the fact that they are having to run training courses to teach people how to do pointing, it must be quite a major problem finding the right kind of qualified people around here. All the old skills are dying out.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the corner I find myself back on the city walls again where there’s a good view over the port and further down along the cliffs towards the chantier navale.

And we have had another change of occupant down there this afternoon too. And quite a major change too because the final boat of the batch that has been in there just recently, the little fishing boat, has now gone back into the water. The work that was being undertaken on it seems to have finished.

But as far as the port goes, there’s nothing of any interest going on in there this afternoon. Everything in there is exactly as it was yesterday. Still no sign of any of the Jersey freighters coming into town right now. I suppose that they are keeping a rather low profile too.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michek we have another trawler out there working away.

There were a few in the passage between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc as well but I couldn’t photograph them easily from this end of the town. But the ones down in the Baie de Mont St Michel were easier to see. And I forgot to check the radar when I returned home to find out which boat this one was.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a go at the photographs of my trip around Wyoming in August 2019. A few more of those have now been dealt with and I’m now admiring the signatures of the early pioneers carved into the rocks of Register Cliff, some of whom subsequently became famous (or notorious) due to events that might have happened further along the Emigrant Trail that were recorded in old Pioneer diaries.

As it happens I have copies of several Pioneer diaries (albeit facsimiles), the most famous being the diary of 12 year old Virginia Reed, one of the few survivors of the tragic Donner Party that were snowed in in the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1846-47 and ended up eating each other.

After the hour on the guitars I had tea – burger on a bap with baked potatoes and veg, followed by more of my chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And it really is good too. I’m pleased with this and I shall certainly make some more for another time

But not tonight. I’m off to bed. Although it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow the shops are open so I’m off to do my usual shopping. I have no sugar and very little cocoa power and I can’t make any chocolate sauce without those.

Thursday 15th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

hermes 1 going back into the water with the portable boat lift aztec lady nyx 3 anakena notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement this morning over at the chantier navale.

If you look closely at this photo that I took this morning of the place, you’ll notice that Hermes I has now disappeared from its blocks in between Anakena and the pleasure craft Nys III and left them all on their own with Aztec Lady at the back and with the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou over there on the far right.

And if you look even closer still, you’ll see the portable boat lift poised over the drop into the water over on the left-hand side, with Hermes I suspended in its cradle.

So it’s goodbye to Hermes I after all of this time.

anakena nyx 3 aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement over there either.

When I was out there for my afternoon walk and went past the chantier navale, I noticed that there had been yet another change of occupant. The lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou has also gone back into the water, presumably on the same tide that took Hermes I away earlier.

Things are really moving over there right now. And here’s hoping that they will have a few replacements over there to keep the yard busy.

Talking of things being busy, I’ve been quite busy today too. And I started quite early too, having leapt out of bed just after the first alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication I attacked the photos from North America from August 2019. And by the time that I knocked off for my shower I’d dealt with another big pile of them. I’ve now left the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn and I’m actually at a coal mine at Decker in Montana on my way to the site of the Battle of the Rosebud.

After the shower I headed off into town for my weekly shopping excursion, having a glance at what was going on at the chantier navale on my way.

roadworks rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the Rue General Patton I had to step pretty smartly to avoid being squidged by a mini-digger.

It looks like it’s the local water board that are doing all of the work here, judging by the fittings and pipes that they had all lying around, so there’s probably been a water leak that has required fixing.

First port of call this morning was the railway station to pick up my rail tickets for my trip to Leuven next week.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I like to collect my tickets a few days before I travel because the printing machine at the station isn’t all that reliable. The ticket office doesn’t open until long after my train departs and if there’s a fault with the machine and it doesn’t print off my ticket when I arrive for my train, I’m snookered.

emptying tarmacadam for road surface rue du rocher Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way from the station to LIDL there was more excitement going on.

There’s a little narrow street close to the railway station and it looks as if they are replacing the tarmac on the street. They can’t get the lorry down there so they are tipping the tarmac into a small dumper that it taking the tarmac down to the end.

In LIDL there wasn’t much that I wanted so it was just the usual same old bits and pieces with a few extra things that I need sometimes, like yeast, oats, flour and suchlike, just to make up the weight. There’s no point in going all that way and back again and coming back with almost nothing.

Back here I sorted out the shopping, put the frozen food away and came in here to do some work but ended up going to sleep – a proper, deep, exhausting sleep for quite a while too.

As a result my lunch was quite late and then afterwards I made the desserts for the rest of the week. I had some of this powder stuff that when heated an mixed with milk, sets into a kind of mousse. With a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut and a tin of apricots I made four desserts for the next few days.

And then I had a totally new experience. I attended a virtual funeral.

This was one to which I had been invited but due to the virus the number of attendees was quite restricted. There is a service offered by some of the larger crematoria where there’s a webcam and people can subscribe to the service. I’d been sent the log-in details and so I used them to watch the funeral

It was actually a quite moving experience

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the service it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. Of course the first port of call was to see what was going on on the beach so I took myself across the car park to the wall at the end so I could look down there.

Despite the reasonable weather and the fact that the schools are still out for now, there were very few people down there on the beach. I had to look long and hard before I actually saw anyone. There were no bright yellow ones today to give the game away.

There was also the bird of prey flying around, and at one point it stopped to hover around. And just as I focused the camera it swopped down out of my shot.

trawler in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a great deal of maritime activity out there this afternoon.

From my vantage point I could see out to sea and I noticed a couple more fishing boats out there in the English Channel, performing the same routine as the two yesterday had been, only slightly farther round to the west today.

The sun was really bright over there in that direction, and that made the photography difficult. But it was interesting to see the reflection of the clouds on the sea. That was certainly something different today.

There weren’t very many people wandering around this afternoon so it was pretty comfortable out there this afternoon, avoiding the crowds. Just one or two cars on the car park this afternoon.

trawlers in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of days we’ve seen fishing boats working in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There were a few more out there today as well. It seems that the offshore fishing grounds must be divided up into areas that they work by rota, and it must be the turn of the bay to be worked at the moment. I wonder how long they’ll be working that area before they move on.

From there I moved on too. Along the footpath on top of the cliffs towards the port.

We’ve already seen what has been going on at the chantier navale so I didn’t spent too much time there. With the tide being well out right now there was no activity of any kind going on in the outer harbour

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on in the inner harbour either, but the people who were on the cherry picker yesterday working on the aerial in the Square. This seems to be a long, complicated job.

But one thing that I haven’t noticed before, and I don’t know why, is the red and white aerial on the skyline to the right of centre. And when I think of the number of times that I’ve photographed this end of town and the number of times that I’ve walked that way (and anyone who mentions “talcum power” is disqualified) including this morning, I’m surprised.

So instead I walked on back home to my apartment where I had my hot coffee and then came in here to do some work but instead, I fell asleep yet again. That’s something that’s really getting me down. It seems that the slightest effort is making me crash out and I’m fed up of this – fed up completely.

As a result I missed some of my guitar practice and that annoyed me even more. I’m not doing very well at all just recently.

For tea I made a curry with mushrooms, potatoes, a sweet potato and a tin of chick peas. It was delicious. And one of the puddings that I made, with coconut soya stuff and chocolate sauce was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. later than usual but it can’t be helped. For the next two days I am not planning to go anywhere or do anything so I’m hoping to start on another one of the projects that I shelved a while ago.

There are quite a few of those.

Thursday 18th March 2021 – HERE’S CALIBURN …

caliburn rue des noyers st lo Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… sitting waiting patiently for me in a little car park in the Rue des Noyers at St-Lô this morning.

And he didn’t have to wait very long because I was in and back out again even before the time of my appointment, and it isn’t every day that that kind of thing happens when you are dealing with French administration.

What does seem to be happening every day though (so just watch it not happen tomorrow) is that I’m leaving my stinking pit pretty quickly these days – just after the first alarm. This morning I was actually sitting at the computer working, having already had my medication, when the third alarm went off.

First thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. We started off with Doc Holliday, a third person and Yours Truly riding a freight train escaping from a crime that we’d committed. We were happily going on this train doing OK. There was a low branch across the railway lines. The locomotive somehow managed to avoid it but Doc Holliday who was standing up was hit by this branch and knocked off the train. We all had immediately to leap off the train. 2 guys on a horse had seen this incident and gave chase. They followed the train, found in the end that we weren’t on so they came back and found the 3 of us. They held us at gunpoint while we explained some of our story – not everything. The sheriff of the county agreed and told us that we could go. he told us the story of a couple of other outlaws who had been here. Someone showed us the house where they had lived which was now an old metal barn. All very interesting. Something happened that we were unmasked so we had to flee. As it was me and the other guy, not Doc Holliday, we had to scramble our way through this industrial estate climbing over fences, this kind of thing. One place where we had to climb over the fence had some bird netting on it and of course the more you climbed up it the more you pulled it off. It meant that the 2 of us had to climb this bird netting simultaneously moving our hands and legs at the same time so that the net would stay in place and we could scramble up it otherwise we would just pull it out of where it’s tied.

A little later TOTGA came to see me. She was telling me about a problem that she’d had. The people for whom she’d worked had gone bankrupt and they had found loads of drawings and missing assets and so on that had presumably been misappropriated by one of the previous directors. Now they were making enquiries about her and her wealth – an in-depth enquiry and what should she do about it? I made a couple of suggestions. At that moment Nerina shouted me – she was also around doing something in a different room, something like that or whether she came later. So I went to her and happened to mention this story about TOTGA. Nerina said “why don’t you talk to her and see what we can do?”. Just at that moment TOTGA shouted up something from downstairs so I replied, saying “come up here a minute”. She came up and I said “just sit there on the bed a minute”. She said “I’ll need a chaperone”. I replied “ohh no you won’t” to which Nerina and TOTGA burst out laughing. We explained the problem again to Nerina and she came up with a few suggestions that didn’t seem quite right to me but I don’t know what else to expect. Then I awoke with an attack of cramp.

Later still I was at Virlet busy tidying it up and decorating it. It wasn’t Virlet but one of these 2-up, 2-down terraced houses in Crewe. I was getting ready to do one of the living rooms. A friend of mine turned up with a kind-of interior designer. They had all kinds of ideas for everything on the inside so I left them to it as he was going to pay for this. There was a girl here as well and we were talking to her. She was wondering what to do, whether she was getting in the way so we told her to make the coffee. Luckily there was some running water at the place so she started on that. I went to empty the sink but the sink had been blocked and a whole pile of dirt and filth came into the sink before it all evacuated again. I said “thank God for that” then I had another attack of cramp.

This cramp thing is really getting on my wick now and I must remember to speak to my doctor at Castle Anthrax next week.

First job after the dictaphone notes was to attack the Greenland photos. Another pile of them are done and we are just about to get up steam ready to sail off down Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. And considering that we are on a diesel-powered ship, if we can get up steam and sail off, it will be something quite astonishing.

Later on I had a shower and then Caliburn and I hit the streets. And we were half-way to Liz and Terry’s before I remembered that I was actually going to St-Lô so we had something of a sight-seeing trip.

15 minutes early I was when I arrived in St-Lô and having found a parking space at the foot of the city walls underneath the Prefecture, I then found a set of steps up through a sally port – steps that I hadn’t noticed before.

Consequently I was there 10 minutes early. And with no-one in front of me, I was seen straight away and was standing on the steps outside the building, all done and dusted, when the town clock struck 11:00

And I would have been out even earlier had I not signed the form in the place reserved for the chef de service instead of the interessé so she had to start all over again.

One thing about which I wasn’t very happy was that she took my current carte de sejour. So what I did was to make her photocopy it and put on it the Prefecture’s official stamp. One thing that I have learnt with living in Europe is that people like to see lots of paperwork all covered in official stamps and the more you have, the better it is for the various officials whom you encounter on your travels. And I’ll be travelling a lot just now.

rue des noyers city walls st lo  Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack down the steps to Caliburn and at the sally port I took a photo along the walls.

One thing that you notice about St-Lô is that much of the construction is “modern austerity” because after D-Day in 1944 the Germans dug themselves in here and the city was repeatedly bombed, with the deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of French civilians. Not for nothing was it known as “The Capital of the Ruins”.

Because of the devastation, rebuilding had to be quick without any regard for aesthetics and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the cathedral here is half-built of breeze blocks, such was the state of things.

Caliburn and I drove to the railway station where we awoke a booking clerk who found my name in the database and was able to issue me with my rail tickets for next week as there is no automatic retrieval machine here. It’s important that I have my tickets in my hand before the day of my travel because the train leaves before the booking office in the station opens and if the ticket retrieval machine is out of order then I’ve had it.

Next stop was to the new LIDL on the edge of town and while the range of goods on offer was larger, there wasn’t all that much more in there that would have suited me and my diet.

LeClerc was pretty much the same. Bigger and more choice, but not for me. I did strike lucky in the sense that they had a special offer going on their litre-bottles of traditional lemonade – glass bottles with mechanical tops that I need for my brewing. Two bottles of that stuff worked out at €3:20, which is cheaper than buying two empty bottles from the housewares section.

While I was there I rang up Liz to see if Terry’s hard drive had arrived. No such luck, so I headed on home for a rather late lunch.

Having been rushing around like this all morning, it’s no surprise that I ended up crashing out for a while on the chair in the office. I can’t last the pace.

seagull on window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I picked myself up for my afternoon walk and went outside, where I said “hello” to the seagull that seems to have taken residence on the first floor window of the next block.

The weather this morning had not been too unpleasant but it seems to have deteriorated while I was indoors because the wind has increased, the temperature has dropped and while there’s not as much fog around as there has been just recently, there is still more than you would expect given the strength of the wind.

So gritting my teeth and hanging on to my hat I set off along the path around the headland. There were only a couple of other people out there, and that wasn’t a surprise given the way things are right now.

Looking out across the bay towards the Brittany coast there wasn’t all that much going on over there.

seafarers memorial le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd neither was there all that much more going on across towards St Pair and Jullouville.

Well, maybe there was, but if so, I couldn’t see it. We can see the seafarers’ memorial and then Le Loup, the light that sits on the rock at the entrance to the harbour. But the coast across there is nothing more than a misty haze.

From there I walked on down the path at the head of the cliffs. After all of the activity at the chantier navale just recently, it’s quietened down with just the same boats that were there yesterday. Plenty of people working on them, including my neighbour Pierre labouring away on Spirit of Conrad.

But I’ve given up predicting when they might be going back into the water. I’m not having much luck with that right now.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, they seem to be racing away with the roof on the College Malraux right now.

Apart from having almost finished the part of the roof that they stripped off a couple of weeks ago, they have now stripped off a neighbouring bay and they are busy replacing the laths on that part. I wonder what has caused the acceleration.

Back here in the apartment I had my coffee and then made a start on the arrears of Central Europe. And that seemed to be somewhat productive because I managed to research and write some text for about seven or eight photos in the time that I was working. With a bit of luck, I might finish this before the end of the decade.

Guitar practice was enjoyable – on the bass I was messing around with a solo for “Jumping Jack Flash” again and also Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane”.

Tea was a burger on a bap with veg followed by apple pie again. And then a couple of things came up while I was trying to write up my notes. Firstly, Rachel rang me from Canada with some bad family news. Secondly, I won’t be making orange ginger beer again. I now know what a shrapnel attack looks like and I need another bottle with a mechanical stopper. At least I know that the stoppers on those bottles are stronger than the bottles themselves.

Tomorrow is going to be a day of cleaning up and washing down the walls of the living room and I’ll be doing the next lot of brewing in the bathroom.

Sunday 13th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change just recently, I was up and about at something resembling more a respectable time of day on a Sunday – like 10:30 for example, which is a world of a difference away from 12:00 and 12:30, isn’t it?

So having taken my medicine, I went to have a listen to the dictaphone. And phew! Was I busy during the night?

I can’t remember much about the next bit that happened (I can’t even remember any first bit) at night but there was a young girl in it something like my youngest sister. I don’t know what she was doing but later I was out and they were controlling the stuff that was going out of this shop. I had a TV computer screen and took a felt-tip pen and wrote on the screen surround today’s date to make it look as if I’d actually brought this in with me rather than just buying it so that I could take it out of the store without actually paying for it but my big felt-tip pen was all discoloured and the ink didn’t show up very well on the brown surround so I had to take a felt-tip pen off them.

Later, it was my mother’s birthday and I wanted to wish her a happy birthday (don’t ask me why). I was living in Chester at the time so I had to go to Crewe. I had this idea of going with the aid of a stick where I leant all my weight on this stick and pivoted forward like that. I could work up a good rhythm with that and actually go at 7 miles per hour doing that all the way back to Crewe. But then I thought that I would have to turn round and do it all the way back again. There were all kinds of stories about how they were going to use paper boarding but this kind of thing was extremely dangerous after all they had said. There were countless people who had set out with things like this and thought that they could do really well.

Next, we had another one of my “wandering around London” dreams last night. I’d been to see my aunt with a pile of things – I think that I’d been on holiday and I’d called back there just to drop off some stuff. Then I wandered off around and met up with a friend – we were planning on having a night in. But she turned out to me a mixture of herself and my cousin in Canada and we were actually in Canada. I had to go back to her house so I got off this bus with all these people with whom I’d been chatting, and noticed that her street was under more development. They were building another restaurant so I went to talk to her about it and she explained that it was always being modernised and so on. I said that these other people had talked about this restaurant and how good it was going to be and she agreed. Then we got into her car to drive these presents round to Mary’s. But when we arrived it was after the time that their building had been locked up. I said that we ring on the bell and wait 5 minutes and she’ll let us in, then we can get ourselves organised. But she seemed to be reluctant to get out of the car to go to see her and said something about her mother who was in her 90s, the same age as my aunt. In the end I decided that I would go out as well and she would go out and maybe we would just put the presents in the letter box and come back or perhaps maybe just find the time to say a quick hello but we didn’t get to the point of making a quick decision

I was with this same friend yet again subsequently and we had been all around south-west London. She was talking about her relationships and how her husband was moving out at the end of January. I asked her if she knew for sure. Had he given her a date? She said not but reckoned that that was what it was going to be. I asked about her plans and she said that she was going to move to a place called “Sea Breezes” so if he came to look for her he wouldn’t find her. I asked her about this place and she was a bit vague about it. She said that things were going to change – the air, you would feel the sea in it and the ozone. I thought that it would have to be pretty close to the sea but she said “no, it’s in south-west London”. So we set off to go and have a look at it but we ended up being sidetracked miles off our course and we had to come back to retrace our steps. she had been on a bike and in the end she picked up another one and I picked up hers and we both cycled back and came to a place where the hill was really steep. We had to cycle down this hill at an enormous speed. I said “I hope that your brakes work on this bike that I’m riding”. She said “yes so do I”. That unnerved me a little. I had to use my foot to slow down but we reached the bottom and ended up in part of the big urban environment there. I’d lost my friend for a minute and ended up talking to a couple of women. One of them was speaking in a French accent so I started to reply in French. We had a bit of a chat. She noticed the dry ski slope and said “oh, skiers. It’s like Mont Blanc here”. I had a look and I could see someone who resembled my friend going down the slope. I thought “she’s been quick to get there” so I set off. Instead I found her standing in the middle of the road on a traffic island chatting to Jackie. There was a group of about 6 of them. I went over but kept on bumping into this guy and kept on excusing myself. He kept replying “it’s no problem” but I could see that he was starting to become irritated about this but it was a natural reaction that I couldn’t stop. Then I noticed that STRAWBERRY MOOSE wasn’t there so I asked my friend what she had done with him. She pointed “he’s over there” so Jackie went to pick him up. They were all talking to this guy who looked like someone from the OU warning him about the clothes that he was wearing – he shouldn’t go to a certain place wearing those clothes. But his clothes weren’t OU at all – they had some other logo on them that I didn’t recognise so this chat continued

It’s hardly any surprise after all of that that I didn’t have time to do very much today. Transcribing that took a lot of time

But I did find the time to make my fruit bread. Much as I enjoyed my chocolate cake, it was very fatty and probably responsible for the weight that I’m gaining. Not an ounce of fat in the fruit bread, except maybe in the oil from the ground Brazil nuts.

So that was stuck on one side again while I joined up the music tracks for my next radio programme. That’s all done too. And our journey around the World moves on into yet more uncharted territory.

helicopter english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was ready to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland. First thing though was to exchange pleasantries with a neighbour outside who was taking the air.

It was a good job that I was wrapped up in my rain gear as it was raining outside. And as I stepped out of the car park I noticed that our local air-sea rescue helicopter went flying by, right out there in the English Channel. Someone with his chopper out this afternoon

At first I wasn’t sure what it was because it was so far out at sea. It was only when I returned when I could enlarge the photo to see what it was.

Anyway, I set off down the track to the lawn and across and through the car park to the headland to see what was going on.

fishing boats chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that conundrum was “nothing at all”. Not even a boat anywhere out at sea. So I walked down to cross over the road and I ran off down the path on top of the cliffs seeing as there was no-one about.

There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. There were no fishing boats at the fish processing plant but there was one moving around in the harbour looking as if it was going out to the fishing grounds.

There were several others moored in the harbour but they didn’t look as if they are going anywhere right now. I suppose that they are all having the day off.

jean claude rabec furniture removals chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was certainly something quite strange going on in the background.

The company that owns that lorry is one of the country’s leading furniture removers and you can see that from the lorry they are unloading some very large wooden crates. These are the kind of crates that you would expect to see in a long-distance furniture removal such as a removal by sea.

But why unload them at the ferry port? They can only be for Chausiais but surely it’s easier to drop them in with the crane at the loading bay in inner harbour.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at the viewpoint on top of the cliffs, I had a look over at the chantier navale to see if there was anything new happening.

We’re still stuck at just the yacht right now. Nothing else has come in over the last couple of days since Ceres II went back into the water. Instead we can just admire the weather.

We’re having something of a rainstorm as you can see. The Pointe de Carolles over there in the background is shrouded in thick cloud and the rain is quite heavy out in the centre of the bay and it looks as if it’s settled in for the night.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the weather conditions aren’t quite as dismal.

We’re having another one of these “sunshine streaming through the heavy cloud” moments across near the Brittany coast, with the rain coming down to the North (on the right) and the South (on the left). In the centre of the image the corner of the cliffs by Cancale and the sea off the coast are really nicely illuminated by the rays of the sun.

But I wasn’t going to hang around to admire it for too long. I was becoming rather wet what with all of this rain. I turned on my heel and headed for home and my coffee, which I forgot to drink.

Instead I kneaded the bread a second time and shaped it, then dropped it into a greased tin to rise again. And having taken a lump of frozen dough out of the freezer earlier, I added some more flour to what was a wet mix, and then kneaded, rolled and shaped it, and stuck it in a pizza tray.

vegan pizza fruit bread rice pudding Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz was on line so we had a chat and I did some more work, but later on I put on the oven and when it was warm, stuck the bread in the oven, and then added a rice pudding to the oven as well.

While it was cooking, I prepared the pizza. I had no peppers and, unfortunately, I forgot the olives. But when the bread and rice were cooked, the pizza went into the oven.

The pizza was soon cooked and it was absolutely delicious – one of the best that I’ve made. The bread was left to cool and then stuck in a tin and the rice pudding ended up back into the oven to finish off as it wasn’t quite cooked.

I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t try it. That will be for tomorrow.

casino plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went for my perambulations around the medieval city walls – not that I was feeling much like it and which I won’t be able to do when the 20:00 curfew comes into force on Tuesday.

As seems to be the case these days I kept to the dry land up on top of the walls and the view from up there is different from what I usually see, as is the case with the view over the Plat Gousset.

Down on the path I ran all the way round and after having a pause, ran off around and through the Square Maurice Marland towards home.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallback on the walls again, I had to remind myself that there’s a little point where you can see the Christmas lights of the Rue Lecampion and I haven’t photographed those yet.

You can see right down the street into the Place Generale de Gaulle and the blue lights on the Mairie that we saw a couple of days ago from up on top. And in the distance in the top right-hand corner you’ll see the lights at the top of the Rue Couraye.

So back here I wrote up my notes ready to go to bed. I’ve already started writing the notes for the radio programme so I’m hoping that I can finish them and have time to go to the shops before lunch. But that remains to be seen. It’s more important to have a decent sleep and a good start in the morning.

But we’ll see about that tomorrow too.

Sunday 6th October 2019 – IT’S BEEN …

… another day that has been somewhat … errr … less-lively than the others.

Sunday is a Day of Rest as we all know, and resting until about 08:30 flat-out with hardly an interruption during the night is as restful as it gets.

I did manage to leave the bed though round about 09:15 for a trip down the corridor and on returning I found that the place in my nice warm bed had been taken by Cujo the Killer Cat, so I had company for a while.

The Taylor Breakfast Brunch was of the usual high standard, although it was rather later than usual because Strider and I had to run to the shops for some milk as we had run out.

I was summoned to the telephone too, and that took about 20 minutes to deal with.

After breakfast we chilled for a while and then I ran Darren back to the tyre depot where he was going to spend the afternoon working on the one-ton truck. He needs to have that running because we are going to take off the dump body from the old one-ton Ford that we brought down here the other week to fit on the new one so that we can haul grain sacks around with it.

Back here, I emptied out Strider and tidied him up some more. I gave a pile of stuff to Zoe and there’s some more for Darren too.

The pace though had rather overwhelmed me and back in my little room I had a doze for an hour or two – despite my lie-in this morning. But I livened myself up with a shower and a change of clothes. I look almost human now!

Rachel made a lovely tea, a kind of hamburger mash with baked potatoes followed by apple crumble. And I loitered around to chat to her and Zoe for ages.

But now I’m off to bed. Worn out too and I don’t understand it because I’ve had a quiet relaxing day. I always seem to be more tired when I’ve not done anything.

Thursday 12th June 2019 – TODAY WAS ANOTHER …

… day where I didn’t do anything at all as much as I was hoping to.

Mind you, there was so much going on during the night that it took me quite an age to write out all of that, never mind catching up with the dictaphone notes.

Last night it was the turn of Aunt Mary to put in an appearance. I was with my brother and we were going on a trip to a posh hotel in East London. We had to meet Aunt Mary on the way but somehow we missed her and she ended up in the hotel on her own. She booked a room – of course we all had ours and we went to my brother’s room to get a few things organised for the evening. There were loads more people dur to come along and one task was to go down to the station to greet them. I wandered off at one point, met quite a few people whom I knew although I wasn’t sure if they were with our party or not. Anyway, I directed them to the hotel and went back and ended up at Aunt Mary’s. She talked to me about all of her plans etc but they didn’t correspond with anything that we had arranged. I went downstairs to find my brother and tell him about her plans, but ended up in the restaurant. A peculiar restaurant, a kind-of little self-service but some food, appetisers etc were already laid out. I was just picking away at a meal trying to work out what I was going to do about these people and Aunt Mary. I ended up having to find the bathroom and on the way back I picked up more food because I hadn’t had much for a starter and the desserts were there already so I had some more food, including a sausage (and don’t ask me why I was going to eat a sausage). But when I returned a whole crowd of people was sitting at my table and the food that I had left behind had been displaced. They were playing carpet bowls and a few other kinds of things. On the way back to the table I had bumped into another group of people who I was pretty certain were coming on this trip with us, but they didn’t. I was rather late talking to them. So I had to pick up my things and move to another table and there weren’t all that many empty at this time. I found one in a corner and just as I was about to sit down another group of people came up and tried to sit at it. They expressed surprise that I was still eating. I said that I would sit down at this end of the table and you and your friends can sit up at the other end. I was really tempted by this sausage and I had no idea why. At a certain point my brother had said something like how great the view is from London because round by Holborn somewhere is a huge, giant big wheel. He’d been out on a bus, seen this wheel and gone for a ride on it. He tried to drag us all there the next day. If you paid £10:00 you had £1:50 back yet for £12:00 you could do things that Aunt Mary wanted to do, like the opera, you had 6d, or was it 1/6d back?
Later on, I was off to Canada. I turned up at the airport but I’d sent my luggage on. I can’t remember who I was with now. I had to wait around for someone. There were people going past where I was standing, dropping coats and I kept on shouting at them to pick them up and they did, but someone then dropped their jumper but had gone before I could tell them. In the end I was swept by the crowd through one of the departure gates and ended up on a plane. But it wasn’t the one that I wanted to be on so I had to climb down through the various levels to get into the one underneath, climb down through there and then the next one etc, rather like a Russian doll. All kinds of things were going on – on one private level about 30 British Airways flight crew were having a party. I ended up in the cockpit of a plane, and someone asked “aren’t you the guy who is going to North America?”. I said yes, but they replied that they had already taken off and were headed for Dublin. I said “well that’s me f***ed then, isn’t it?”. The cabin crew were doing their best to calm me down. I had a valid passport for Dublin and I could get here and there, all of this kind of thing. On eof the flight crew tried to think where I could stay and I was thinking about getting an onward flight but wondered about my luggage – what was happening to that?
And that’s not all either. later still, I was out with the taxis again. I’d retired from the taxi business and couldn’t remember what I was doing, but it was something to do with an Office where I used to work. The boss had called me in and say “you just pay £5000 and we’ll call it quits and forget all about it”. I could afford to pay the £5,000 so I went to the bank to draw it out. But I wasn’t very happy and asked if I could speak to the bank manager when he was free. She replied “he’s free right now” so I got to see him on the spot. I talked to him about the problems, but he wasn’t particularly interested in what I had to say and kept going off on tangents all the time saying something like “you can tell people’s trade in some town (Luton, or Bedford, somewhere) by the colour that they had painted their houses etc. I told him about Newfoundland where you painted your house according to your ethnic origins. We talked about that, but for some reason we never got down to talking about exactly what my problem was.

There was much more to the night as well, so it was a good job that I’d had a relatively early night.

There was an early start too – out of bed and up and about before the third alarm went off at 06:20. With an early start like that I was looking forward to a really good crack at the outstanding work.

But it wasn’t to be.

First thing to do was to have a good shower and a scrub up to get myself ready for the shops. Its Thursday and LIDL today.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered so much because there wasn’t anything there that I needed, except that the nice sports bread is back on sale. I treated myself to a lump of that for lunch.

On the way home I took a detour around through an alleyway that I’d noticed once or twice. I ended up on a Council estate so I had a quick look round, but there was nothing of interest around there either.

However, the walk did take it out of me (which I’m not surprised, seeing as it’s the first time for a month that I’ve walked there) and I had to sit on a bench for 10 minutes to catch my breath.

Lunch was taken, for the first time for ages, on the wall overlooking the harbour. Munching my bread, eating my fruit and reading my book. No lizards though. They have clearly forgotten all about me which is hardly a surprise seeing how few times I’ve been out there at lunchtime.

Today I’ve managed to do all the notes of my nocturnal voyages, as well as another six rather large dictaphone files. I’ll need to do at least 6 per day if I want to be up-to-date before I leave.

I was hoping to carry on with the photos for my Monday trip out but I ended up on the sofa flat out for well over an hour. I missed my afternoon walk as a consequence.

Mind you, I’d walked enough while I was on the sofa, for I was well away with the fairies. I had to go to the hospital for an appointment so despite it being a long way and I was short of time, I set off with my crutch; not waiting for a lift. It was a long straight road but with many roundabouts and I had to go straight on all the time – something like Stewart Street near the old Moathouse Drive. Someone had sent someone else – it may have been my brother – after me but I was determined to keep ahead. I came eventually to the basement of the hospital and dived in, hoping that I could remember the way as I had only been down there once. I dashed on as best as I could and then one or two doors started opening and I could tell that the reverse sides of some of them were blue – these were the access doors into the basement from within the building. I guessed at which one it might be and sure enough it was the correct one and brought me up on to the car access point right outside the front door where there was a red-headed woman rather like Jill. At some point however I realised that I had forgotten the time of the appointment and that I hadn’t brought with me any of the records. So what use the appointment would be I really didn’t have any idea.

Tea was pasta and tomato sauce with another burger that was hanging around in the fridge, followed by more of the coconut dessert with pineapple.

And then the walk around the Pointe du Roc to digest the meal.

Now it’s time for a early night, and I need it too. I want to have another good day working tomorrow, although I will have to nip out in the afternoon to collect my medical results.

I wonder what they will show me.