Tag Archives: n°6

Friday 8th December 2023 – AFTER THIS MORNING’S …

… efforts I’m totally exhausted. I really don’t know how long I can keep this up .

At least last night when I went to bed I fell asleep quite quickly, judging by the timestamp on the first of the sound-files on the dictaphone.

It was another restless night though and once more I was up and about long before the alarm went off.

After the medication I came back in here and had things to do.

Firstly, there was a bill to pay. That involved writing out a cheque, finding a pre-paid envelope, etc – and that involved some tidying up of my stationery drawers.

Secondly, there was everything that I needed to print off for my demand for intervention from these Autonomy people. Having had the Social Services help me complete it the other week at the Centre de Re-education I now had everything that I needed.

Even down to the A4 manila envelopes. Fed up of trying to squeeze a whole rain-forest of papers into a standard-size envelope, I went berserk on the internet earlier in the week and ordered a packet of 50 envelopes into which I could fit every tree on the planet.

Thirdly, there was another letter that needed writing. This one was rather complicated because rather a lot depends on it, it has to be worded precisely and accurately, and in French too.

After a quick wash I headed out for the bus where I was swamped by a load of young teenagers heading from the High School across the square to the Ecole d’Hotellerie out at the Pointe de la Crête between Granville and St Pair sur Mer.

At St Nicolas I alighted from the bus and first port of call was the Post Office to send off all of my letters.

And there was some good news there too. They see no reason why I can’ open an account there, pay in some money from my Credit Agricole card, have a bank card and then draw cash out of their cash point outside whenever I need it.

Having been stranded for a day or two in Flagstaff in Arizona 20-odd years ago when my bank card was paused for “unusual expenditure” even though I’d told the bank where I was going and what I was doing, I’ve always had a couple of accounts and bank cards on the go “just in case”.

But with not being able to go any more to my bank in the town centre because of the lack of access to the bus back home, I need some way of laying my hands on some cash every now and again, even if it’s only to pay my cleaner for whatever she buys for me at the shops.

At Carrefour I had some luck. I was sure that I’d seen some gas cylinders tucked away somewhere on one of the shelves so I’d taken the empty one with me. Sure enough, they did have them on exchange, although they did cost les yeux de la tête as they say around here.

Imagine that – the highlight of my day is finding a gas cylinder in a shop.

As well as the usual stuff I bought another packet of icing sugar too. I’d had a quick look in my baking box and wasn’t sure if I had enough in stock.

But the cylinder was heavy and walking back for the bus after my coffee I was thoroughly exhausted even before I reached the bus stop.

The climb back up the stairs was another difficult problem that I found it had to solve but once in here and with everything put away I made my coffee and cheese on toast and came back in here.

Fighting off waves of sleep (quite unsuccessfully at times) I transcribed the notes from the dictaphone from last night. And “hello” to Nerina who put in an appearance last night. We I had been living together and for the first time for a considerable period I went through and carried out an inventory of the food that was on hand. I discovered to my surprise that we had almost next-to-nothing. When she came home from work I told her about the situation and that we’d have to be very careful about what we would do and what we would eat over the next few weeks but she went down to the kitchen and pulled out a box that was full of vegetables that I hadn’t seen before. I don’t know how I’d come to miss it. I was busy there examining the contents thinking about exciting things to make with it when she pushed two straws into a navet"turnip" – ed. I thought “why has she done this? What is this going to be used for now?”.

I was in Scotland last night as well. I came across a family who had a couple of girls aged probably just in double figures, I suppose. They’d moved into a big new house and invited me to see it. It really was lovely, a quite modern 1960s-type split-level house, all square with flat roofs. The younger girl told me that they’d been living with the Scots in Glasgow prior to this. She was telling me all about her house and that didn’t seem to be quite bad afterwards. The subject of preparing the older girl for boarding school came up. She had to go to pack her things. I asked her if she needed help because I wasn’t actually doing anything at this time. She said “yes” so I answered “first of all, is there anything that you DON’T want me to touch?”. She replied “yes, my sister’s notebook”. That sounded like a strange request to me, why that would be the most important thing not to touch. I went down a corridor and through a maze of rooms, including the younger girl’s bedroom into the older one’s. It was huge. There was a lot of stuff lying around. She picked up an object and asked me what I thought it was. I replied that it was a bed cover. She began to fold it up so I found some similar ones lying around and folded them up too. She had some kind of plant like bamboo or something. It had obviously seen much better days. She said that it was 3 years old but she kept it because it was very nice and made an interesting shape. We carried on tidying up her room and putting aside the things that she was taking to boarding school.

These two girls actually had a history. The family reminded me very much of a woman and two girls whom I met at that Folk Festival in Scotland where I used to be the camp site Night Security Guard for a couple of years. That was where Louise, with whom I’m still in contact, had her first encounter with STRAWBERRY MOOSE

I was in that freight yard again, on the lowest level when the girls came past on the highest levels on a railway locomotive pulling a couple of lime-green coaches piped with yellow. And then we had exactly the same conversation that we’d had in the previous version of it. And if you’re wondering why that seems to make no sense whatsoever, don’t worry. You aren’t alone because I don’t understand it either

There was something about several files relating to a Paul Temple mystery that I had on my laptop or whatever that I’d transferred onto my watch. One of them was something to do with him him being in a cloak like a superhero so I had ideas about renaming all of them. However that was when I awoke with a severe attack of cramp so I can’t remember now where it went after that

And then I was with a girl from school last night. I can’t remember who she was but she lived out Audlem way, Buerton somewhere on the way to Newcastle under Lyme. I was wearing old clothes because I’d been doing some work. I’d ended up in that village where I met her, and we were chatting. We’d encountered a couple of yokels who had an old recoil-starter type of electric generator that you could carry around in one hand and would power a radio. They’d rigged up some kind of 1930s-type of valve radio and were trying to start this generator to power it. After they’d been playing with it for about 10 minutes I went to look as they wandered off. I could smell straight away that the petrol was probably 20 years old. I drained out the petrol, cleaned the carburettor, put fresh petrol in and fired it up. It ran, and we had the radio playing so I took it over to them. We carried on chatting. We were pointing out a Tudor house in this village that had been left to ruin, how the roof had sagged etc. Then the girl came back. We went into her house to continue to chat, just the 2 of us. All of her family was there except her mother and father. I was just sitting there, quietly listening to them talking, feeling very uncomfortable being in working clothes. When her mother came back they began to talk about knitting. The girl had been spending a lot of tie knitting just recently and just had one line to finish off on a cardigan that she’d made. One of the others in the house said that they’d finish it off in exchange for her doing something else which seemed to be a good idea for her. But time was dragging on and I was wondering how I was going to be able to leave but of course I was quite interested in this girl too. After a couple of minutes she looked at me and said “should we go?”. I thought “yes, we’ll go if she wants” but then I was going to have to think about what would happen. Obviously I would want to spend the evening with her, doing something exciting, going for a meal, going to the pub, going for a walk, but not in the clothes that I was wearing. I was stuck in a quandary yet again – how was I going to organise going home, changing my clothes and generally tidying myself up etc while I had the girl with me. But a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush, she was there, she wanted to go so why would I argue with that?

Not that that would ever have stopped me in the past. No-one has had more experience than me for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

There was also a dream at one point about I’d been walking and had come to a set of stairs, up which I just walked normally without having to cling on. I was so surprised that I went to find another set of stairs and walked up there normally too without hanging on to the handrail. I thought “if only I’d realised yesterday that I could do that”. That was of course quite obviously a dream and I wish that that had happened when I encountered the stairs on the way back to the apartment here after my shopping trip.

After I’d transcribed all of that I attacked the radio programme and finished off the notes for that ready for typing tomorrow night.

With the time left I carried on with the Canada 2022 photos. We’ve climbed out of the St Lawrence valley, over the Appalachians via the Matapedia Pass and we’ve now just rattled into Campbelltown Railway Station on the banks of the Baie des Chaleurs.

Jackie and I had a chat on the internet too. She’s actually quite worried about me, as are many people, so it seems. But there’s really no need to worry. I know what my fate is and I’m quite resigned to it and comfortable with the idea. I’m not worrying about it and there’ no reason for anyone else to either

Right at the beginning I was told that this illness has a lifespan of between 5 and 11 years and how long I keep going depends on how long my heart can keep on going, which is why there’s now all this concern about my cardiac issues. It’s now over 8 years so I’m “well in” and one day it will catch up with me.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with chips and salad – really delicious too.

For the rest of the evening I won’t be doing too much. Everything seems to be wearing me out so I’ll sit with my feet up.

Tomorrow I’ll be marzipanning my cake. Liz reckons that I should leave the marzipan to set for a while so that it doesn’t bleed through the icing and I seem to remember that I had that problem last time I made a Christmas cake.

Something else that I’ll be doing is to track down some recipes for vegan stuffing. I can’t have Christmas dinner without sprouts, roast potatoes and stuffing now, can I? I shall have to throw something together.

With not being able to buy my Seitan slices these days (I used to buy them at the Asian wholesalers in Leuven) I’m not sure what I’m going to have for a main course. I’ll probably have to throw something together there too.

Wednesday 8th November 2023 – I HAVE JUST …

… heaved a rather large stone into a swimming pool. And I shall now sit back and wait for the ripples to reach the shore

What has prompted this is that I am in receipt of “certain information” that suggests that things are not as they are supposed to be or intended to represent. And it might put someone in a rather uncomfortable position if what I have heard is true.

But how long is it since one of my many “moles on various committees” has come up with some goods? At one time 15 or 20 years ago it was almost an everyday occurrence but it’s been a good while since everything on that front quietened down.

It would have been nice for last night to have quietened down somewhat but instead it was yet another quite mobile night with plenty of things going on.

But nevertheless I staggered to my feet as the alarm went off but it wouldn’t be correct to say that I was actually awake. It took quite a while for me to make a start on anything.

Once I’d come back round into the Land of the Living, I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was out on a World War I battlefield that was still undergoing some kind of hostilities. I wanted to meet a certain person in order to make a film about their life. When I knocked on the door of the room where they were suspected to be, no-one actually came to the door at first. It took quite some knocking in the end to arouse someone to come along and talk to me. I then went back to my studio and began to assemble some kind of model out of twigs, bark etc so that it looked like a hut that was in the middle of trenches. I then had to sew it. It was very difficult to sew the bark around some of the twigs. I must have pricked myself with a needle about a dozen times and I hadn’t even finished the first series of stitches. I could see that instead of being something fairly simple and straightforward this was going to turn into a complete and utter mess. I just didn’t have the control in my fingers to sew this hut together correctly.

And then I was writing the story of a suspicious death that many people thought at first was murder. A woman had murdered some guy when she was young. When she was finally confronted with this she became completely hysterical and accused the person accusing her of being implicated in the incident which was quite clearly not the case because his voice was different, his style of behaviour was different etc. The woman became quite hysterical. Just at that moment I had a really bad attack of cramp in my left leg, a bad one of the type that I’ve not had for a while that awoke me and everything disappeared.

Going back later to the dream of the woman who was suspected of having killed that person when she was younger there was a variety of reasons why that might have happened. It was suspected that the person doing the interviewing had suddenly as if by accident hit on the correct explanation and that was what had caused the woman such a great deal of concern.

There were still plenty of questions going through my mind about that murder last night such as why did Miss B change role with Miss G, and quite a few others. At one stage I was heading across a main road towards a bus stop when I noticed that the bus stop was indicating that the bus was going to Bollington which was nowhere near where I wanted to go so I had to think if it might pass a railway station that would bring me home but I couldn’t think of it. I walked across this really wide grass verge at a road junction and found myself walking down a canal towpath. I had to go up a very steep slope over a bridge and found myself hundreds of feet above ground level looking down thinking that somehow I had to be down there so that I could carry on. This was when I had the dream flash back about this woman or girl and the murder

We’d had a few people staying last night and when I awoke the place was an absolute mess. I’d never seen such an untidy place in my life. There was all kinds of stuff, half-eaten food everywhere. In an effort to clear up I ended up throwing away a huge lump of cheese that I hadn’t seen under some waste paper on the worktop. That made me quite angry. I was always taught that you never took to your plate any more than you intended to use. I had a really good moan at everyone who stayed last night. When I went back into the kitchen Nerina was in there busy tidying away everything. I asked her why because I was in the middle of doing it. She said that it was because I sounded so annoyed. I replied “that’s never changed anything between us in the past. There’s no need to do it just because we have guests and show off”. This led to a continual discussion with all this going on. Then she began to pull the wallpaper off the bedroom wall. Some of the plaster was loose and it was dropping off onto the floor. I had to stop her doing it because it was make dust absolutely everywhere, in the bed, all over the place. She said “we could always plaster this aftenoon”. I said “plastering’s not something that you do in 5 minutes. It’s a whole project that needs a lot of thinking out” but she carried on pulling stuff off the shelves etc. In the end I was quite angry, so angry that I awoke.

Can you imagine that? I don’t mind (well, I do, actually) being stressed out by things that actually happen in real life but finding myself stressed out for real by the goings-on during the night Is rather difficult to accept and it certainly can’t be good for my mental health. Whatever happened to those nice dreams that I used to have when Castor, TOTGA and Zero would to visit me, or when I was having that series of really pleasant dreams about a girl whom I met (in a dream as it happens and never in real life, unfortunately) at school?

Eventually I went back to sleep and I had to go to pick up some taxi drivers at the end of their shift last night. When I found them they were all sitting around outside under some blankets in the frost, a group of about 7 of them. There was someone else who wanted a fare but I told him that he’d have to wait while I took these people home. 4 women got into my car and said “Pratchett’s Row”. Off I set. I was having brain-fade because I couldn’t think where it was for a moment One of the girls began to mess around with the meter which I’d already switched on so I told her to pack it in. For some reason I ended up in the demolition area at the bottom of West Street. To get there we’d had to drive through the snow, watching all these cyclists falling over on the ice etc. It suddenly occurred to me “is it Pratchett’s Row in Nantwich?”. The sarcastic girl replied “unless you know another Pratchett’s Row anywhere else then yes it’s the one in Nantwich”. I couldn’t understand why I was having all this brain-fade. As the car was going down the street I noticed its reflection in a plate-glass window that I only had one headlight working. I thought that this is going to be a recipe for disaster – I can feel it in all my bones at the moment.

So during the course of the day, apart from crashing out (which I have done a couple of times today), while the cleaner was here I finished off the writing of the notes for the next radio programme, which I’ll be dictating before I go to bed, and then I’ve paired off all of the music for the next programme and some of the music for the programme after that.

Yesterday, the car that came to pick me up to take me home was 90 minutes late. Today to pick me up, it was 45 minutes early. It seems that I just can’t win.

But at the Centre de Re-education I had a massage again from Severine and a 30-minute chat with an ergotherapist who discussed my living arrangements and how I look after myself … "very poorly" – ed … when I’m at home.

It’s correct to say that she also does home visits and as I have a prescription for such a visit we had a chat about that. But tomorrow she’s going to be giving me a few tests and depending on the results, she’ll be giving me exercises and handy tips to make the most of whatever autonomy I have left.

Back here I carried on working in between sleeping off my efforts and then I went for tea. A leftover curry lengthened with a potato from the European Potato Mountain and a naan bread from my supply of dough from the freezer.

So now I’ll finish off my notes, dictate my radio stuff and then sit back to wait for the whatsit to hit the wherever.

We are living in interesting times.

Friday 30th June 2023 – THAT WAS THREE HOURS …

… of my life that I’ll never ever get back.

It beats me (well, it doesn’t actually – it’s called “egoism”) why people come to these meetings and spend hours talking about nothing of any use whatsoever. There was even a lengthy discussion that went on and on and on about a Motion AFTER it had been defeated.

In my opinion, such as it is, all these meeting and others of a similar type should be held standing up, outside in a rainstorm. That would succeed in concentrating the minds.

My mind was sufficiently concentrated last night to have been up and about once more long before the alarm went off. But I really did wonder why because my head was spinning around for a good few hours. It really was quite uncomfortable.

After the medication I came in here to carry on working but knocked off at 10:00 to stagger outside and catch the bus into town. There was no way that I was going to walk into town.

Having stocked up on a few of the basics I came back on the bus and made myself some coffee and cheese on toast for brunch, and then I started work.

Today I’ve finished my exploration around Cartwright (at long last) and even as we speak I’m heading out in an open boat to go for a walk on what I consider to be the Furdustrandir, the “Wunderstrands” of the Norse sagas and to walk in the footsteps of Vaino Tanner, the Finnish anthropologist

His claim to fame is that during his expedition to the Labrador coast between 1937 and 1939 he made the observation, that has since gone down in history as far as I’m concerned, that

  1. Inuit girls are very keen to marry settlers of European descent
  2. they are the hardest-working of all of the Inuit people (and then goes on to list all of the household tasks that they are expected to do in the home)
  3. they have an extremely sensual nature

I was intrigued to find out how he discovered all of this, particularly the third point, so as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I went to the High Arctic myself in 2018 and 2019 to conduct my own field research into the matter.

There was a pause, for much longer than I was hoping, for this perishing waste of time of a meeting that could have been accomplished in less than an hour had everyone been of a mind to do so, but some people really like to have their money’s worth.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was down on the farm at one point and decided that I was going to stay here this time. That meant moving a lot of stuff from outside the barn door and moving some stuff around inside the barn so that I could put Caliburn in, then I could sleep in Caliburn and cook outside. It was dark and raining bit I did what I could. Then I went to get into Caliburn. Then I remembered that just before I parked him up I’d changed something over but hadn’t tried to see whether he’d start or not. I got in and turned the key. He took an age to start and when he did he wouldn’t fire up or run normally. he was coughing and spluttering. By this time I actually had him into a field where I planned to turn round. I thought to myself that I’m going to have a devil of a job now trying to move him to the path seeing as he’s not running correctly and I had my things all over the place.

There was also some kind of public meeting taking place with crowds of people. I had to wire up the PA system to broadcast to the hall. We had a row of 4 speakers down each side and 4 speakers either side of a corridor down the middle. It meant running wires to them. A friend of mine was cutting the wires and I was installing them. We reached one point where we’d had to move a few things around and the two wires were about 2 metres short. I had to go back to my friend who was busy talking to some young child and sorting something out for it, and ask him for some cables 2 metres long. He cut them. I thought to myself “should I give him back the old wire or should I just keep it and take it home with me at the end when everyone has gone?”.

I was back in that hall again later, this time in rural Canada. There was a big crowd of people in there whom we’d been investigating. A WPC had disguised herself as a citizen in order to infiltrate the group to find out what the private organisation was all about. One day she didn’t turn up so we went for a closer listen to the people and found out that they were concerned about how interested we were and didn’t seem to have had a hand in removing her.

Finally, there had been some kind of issue in an Army camp where I was. The junior staff was rather insubordinate. One of them had stood up to the Colonel and said something quite offensive to him on the lines of “well, you aren’t in charge of me; I am” which outraged the Colonel. He was fuming about it. he was planning on having everything all toughened up in the camp to re-instill some more discipline. There was much more to it than this but I awoke again with a massive attack of cramp in my left leg. That playing up now is all I need.

Tea tonight was chips and salad with some of the frozen sausage rolls, cooked with the chips in the air fryer. Just one more serving of those and then I’ll have to start on something else. But if I go to Noz tomorrow, which is debatable, they might have some more frozen vegan stuff on offer.

But actually there are plenty of carrot burgers, breaded quorn fillets, sausages and falafel so it’s not as if I’m actually going to be short of anything.

And thinking on, I need to make more space in there because I haven’t had a vegan pie for an absolute age. That thick onion gravy was delicious yesterday and some more of that, with steamed veg, new potatoes and a slice of vegan pie really would be delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed and hoping to have a really good sleep. Not that I will, I expect, but I have to keep on trying.

Actually, that’s something at which I’m quite good. A lot of people have said in the past that I’m very trying, which was quite nice of them.

Saturday 20th May 2023 – YOU CAN TELL …

… that it’s THAT time of the year again.

All the way back from the shops this morning, stuck behind two perishing motorhomes crawling along at 10 miles per hour admiring the scenery and occasionally coming to a dead stop. “Ohh look Petunia! A seagull!” all the way to the motor home camp site which, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is just 200 yards down the road from here on the way to the lighthouse.

So it won’t be long before Caliburn and I will be playing skittles with the hordes of tourists swarming across the road without even looking before they step off the edge of the pavement.

Anyway, that’s for later on in the season.

Right now I’m more interested in what happened today, and especially this morning when just as I was on the point of throwing the bedclothes off and raising myself from the dead, the alarm went off. So we’ll call than a honourable draw this morning.

There was some paperwork that needed doing first thing after my medication so I did that and then it was time for me to nip out to the shops. And I noticed the tenant in my new apartment cleaning the windows. Word has spread around quite quickly.

Noz came up with a few things, including a new non-stick pie tin to replace the old cheap metal ones that I had. It’s the same pattern design as the frying pan I bought the other week.

Matching frying pan and pie tin? Whatever next? I’ll be going for colour-co-ordinated curtains at this rate. They were having a “cat accessory” sale as well. After what I’ve been dreaming just recently, do you think that someone is trying to tell me something?

At Leclerc I hardly spend anything. There wasn’t much that I needed apart from the fruit and some soya desserts that were in the clearance bin. And then I had to go across the road to post a letter to the property management company of this building.

Back here I had coffee and breakfast – more cheese on toast (it’s lovely being able to buy vegan cheese) – and then checked the dictaphone. I was in Caliburn at one point. We were driving somewhere through the countryside and came to what looked like a steep hill. I got out to push Caliburn up the hill but it wasn’t actually an uphill but a downhill. Caliburn roared away all on his own and I had to run after him. I ran for a couple of miles and came eventually to a bad bend. There was a Bova-bodied coach that Caliburn had hit. Several people in it were badly injured. There was shattered wood and a couple of other cars badly damaged all around there. My first thought was that I was really really sorry about all of this. I said it about 3 or 4 times. One guy on the coach who seemed to be uninjured said “I’ve bandaged some of the people over here as best as I can but there’s all that side down there. I felt really dreadful

And then I was with, of all people, that strange Burmese girl whom I met in Brussels. We were in Egypt and I had to go to Cairo to pick up a hire car but I was the wrong side of the Nile. I met some friends of mine – it might have been my friends from the Wirral in fact – and we were chatting. Then I thought “God! I’m going to have to go”. I had a choice between saying goodbye to the Burmese girl or to a cat and strangely I chose the cat. I picked up the cat and stroked it. everyone else in the area came round and started to stroke it. In the meantime the Burmese girl was hiding in a little recess somewhere. She wouldn’t come out and her mother was scolding her for this and that. In the end she asked me when I was coming back. I said a date and she said “I’ll make sure that she’s here to see you”. I thought that that was strange but anyway that was what we arranged. I had to set off to walk to Cairo. They rang me up from the hire company and said that they’d dropped off the car somewhere. I thought “I now have to go to walk and pick up this car and come all the way back and load it. Why couldn’t they have dropped it off at the hotel where I could simply have loaded the car and gone?”. I set off and met the husband from the Wirral. The vehicle that they had for me was one of these big American semi-trailer rigs, just the cab unit. I thought “this is enormous”. Alvin got out and said that it’s a 5-speed and started to give me a whole run-down but I couldn’t hear a word that he said. He wandered off and the Burmese girl and I climbed in – what she was doing there with me – she said something like “wouldn’t it have been a better idea to have arranged this vehicle differently?”. I was beginning to think that driving something big like this through the streets of Cairo she was probably right. I wish that I’d done it differently now but it’s too late. She was nervous and asked “shouldn’t we have this vehicle towed?”. I said that if anyone is going to do any towing it’s going to be this. This is the correct vehicle to do that. We set off anyway and I suddenly realised that I didn’t know whether this was a petrol or diesel engine. What’s going to happen now when I come to fuel up?

I stepped back into this dream later on and she was wandering around a supermarket looking for some hamburger buns so she could make hamburgers for tea.

And then she was there again a third time. The two of us were actually at a rifle range at a fairground, in a booth, a sort-of shooting gallery. The guy in control of the place was behaving rather strangely so we were keeping some kind of eye on him at the same time that we were shooting to find out what was going on.

Finally, we were talking about history later and Pliny the Younger whose eye-witness accounts of things like the eruption at Pompeii in which his father was killed was the basis of a lot of modern history.

It’s strange though, thinking about that Burmese girl turning up in the middle of the night. What brought her into the proceedings?

In fact, it was pretty strange all round. About 20 or so years ago (I was still working and had the armoured Opel Omega) she sent me an e-mail. “I’m a Burmese illegal and I need help. I think you can help me”.

What help I would be to a young desperate girl is anyone’s guess, and how did she find my e-mail address?.

That’s the kind of thing that piques my interest and has brought me more than my fair share of trouble in the past, as events in the High Arctic will demonstrate, but anyway, I must know more about this.

We met and I took her for a drive and then a walk, taking all of the usual precautions. She regaled me about how she’d fled Myanmar through the jungle swamps and into Thailand and stowed away on an aeroplane – you know, the usual story.

But while she was telling me this I was looking her over. Perfectly manicured hands and skin, designer denim jacket and jeans – someone who’s fled through the jungle and stowed away on an aeroplane? If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck and that’s all there is to it.

So I was wondering where all of this was going to go, so seeing as we were close to Valentine’s Day I sent her a bunch or red roses a couple of days later to try to draw her out but I don’t think that she was born yesterday because she cottoned on to my game, I reckon. After she’d tried to up the ante with a story about how she “really did have a passport” and I still didn’t take the bait, it petered out.

There have been a few bizarre encounters in my life, and that was certainly one of them. And I wasn’t on a ship remixing a Colosseum live concert either. I must have been losing my touch.

For the rest of the day I haven’t done very much. Just a leisurely ramble around here and there, and I had the guitars out for a while a well.

For tea there were no chips because the potatoes aren’t big enough. So I cubed them and fried them and they were just as good with a salad and some of those small breaded quornburgers. There’s still a few left before I start on the big ones, but the freezer is now emptying quite quickly and I’ll have to start another marathon baking session soon.

Hence the new pie dish.

So before I go to bed I’ll dictate some radio notes. That will give me something to do tomorrow and at least make sure that i’ve actually achieved something this weekend. High time I did some work.

Thursday 27th April 2023 – WE ARE HAVING …

… a disaster.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Alison and I have a favourite restaurant in Leuven where we usually end up in the middle of our walk around the town. She passed by there earlier this evening for a portion of the beautiful sweet potatoes, only to find that it’s closed down definitively.

We started to go there because another vegan restaurant that we used, “The Loving Hut”, closed down a few years ago. We’ll now have to look for somewhere else, always assuming that there IS somewhere else to go.

We shall have to make further enquiries.

Further enquiries too about my sleeping issues because it was yet another depressing night when I took an absolute age to go off to sleep.

And once more, I awoke in the middle of the night and spend a miserable couple of hours trying to go back to sleep. However at one point I must have dozed off because I sat bolt upright wide-awake (well, sort-of) at 06:59, a minute before the alarm went off, so I fell out of bed just for the sake of saying that I beat the alarm once again.

When I was checking my mails and messages I found out what had awoken me. It was the nurse sending me a message to say that he’d miscalculated and it’s tomorrow when he needs to come to take my blood sample.

Once I’d organised myself this morning and awoken properly I bashed out another radio programme from the stuff that I had lying around. I’m getting nicely ahead of myself now, but it will all go pear-shaped of course because someone whose virtues I’ll be extolling will drop dead just before the programme will be broadcast.

And that reminds me. Some of the more legendary figures of the rock world are reaching the kind of age when fate will overtake them. I suppose that when I have time I really ought to prepare a couple of programmes that relate to people like Bob Dylan and keep them on the back-burner “just in case”.

It was while I was on my way to la Haye-Pesnel in Caliburn yesterday that I thought of a really good idea for a programme in this respect. What provoked the was when Spirit came onto Caliburn’s playlist and played “All Along The Watchtower”.

This afternoon I had a ‘phone call. Would I like a lift to town?

It was raining outside quite heavily and although I did have things to do, I didn’t fancy walking down there in this so I grabbed a lift. A couple of my neighbours were going off to the shops.

They threw me out in the town centre and I went to the letting agency. That’s a good place to start, I reckon, with my quest to gain vacant possession of my new apartment. However, there was only a receptionist there. The agent was out on a mission.

She took my details and said that the agent will call me back. And, as you might imagine, I’m still waiting. I’m also still waiting for the return phone call from my visit to the property management company yesterday. I have a rather uneasy feeling that I’m going to end up with a bunch of je m’en foutists.

That’s a beautiful French expression. Je m’en fous is rather a vulgar French way of saying “I couldn’t care less” (I’m sure that you can think of an English equivalent, but this is a family website) and so a je m’en foutist is an employee who is only interested in collecting his salary and doing as little as possible to actually earn it.

It was 15:05 when I went in, and by 15:10 I was back out again. The rain had quietened down considerably so I decided to walk back. It didn’t take me long and I didn’t have to stop for breath too often. But one thing that I noticed was that trying to squeeze into the back of the neighbour’s car, my right leg wasn’t comfortable whatsoever – not one little bit.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in the middle of having a dream but I awoke (that was the time in the middle of the night). The dream evaporated completely and everything went except for a vision that I had about coffee in Malta or Cyprus that cost £3:00 per ounce. That’s all that I can remember about it.

Again this next one is another one of which I can only remember bits. I was at a talent contest last night. There was a couple of girls singing in Inuit. One was an older girl and the other was a younger girl. What happened now I forget, but later on someone else at this concert contacted me. They had a house to let in Greenland. They were quite fed up of the type of tenant they were having. They tended to be the younger, trendy type of person and they wanted someone more traditional. It turned out that they were writing the adverts in the newspaper in Inuktitut, the more modern style of Inuit language for people looking for lets. I suggested that she write the adverts in Sisu, the more traditional type of language, and that way it would be the more traditional type of person who would understand the advert and would make more of an effort to reply to rent it. She thought that that was a good idea. She turned over in bed and squashed me. She said “I’m hitting you, am I? It’s most uncomfortable lying here in bed with all these people” but this was the way of life up there and we just had to accept it. I walked out to Caliburn. He was up on a jack for some reason. I noticed that one of his rear tyres had a bald patch. That was strange. It had only done 8000 kms, these tyres. Most of the tyres were in really good condition but just this one bald patch. It started to worry me for it meant that there was something wrong somewhere with Caliburn’s suspension or brakes. I needed to try to sort it out but there was this expensive tyre that had just gone to waste.

After that I made some hot chocolate and had a few of my delicious chocolate biscuits – and then I rather regrettably fell asleep for a while.

As for tea tonight, I couldn’t think of what to have. In the end I settled for steamed vegetables with falafel in a vegan cheese sauce.

That was really delicious yet again, but I have to say that this other type of vegan cheese is nothing like as tasty as the vegan Cheshire Cheese. Even though the Cheshire Cheese is much more expensive, I think that I’ll be sticking with that in future.

Tomorrow the nurse is coming to take my blood sample, and then I don’t have anything planned for several days, except the football over the weekend of course. I’ll have to start to plan for my trip to Leuven though because that’s important. It seems that all kinds of things are unravelling right now.

And who knows? I might even have someone return one of my phone calls about the visits that I’ve made. If that happens, there won’t be any notes tomorrow night. I’ll have passed out from the shock.

Wednesday 26th April 2023 – THE DEED IS DONE

After this morning’s efforts I’m now the proud owner of another property. All signed, sealed, delivered and paid-for

But when I’m able to move into it is another story completely. There’s a strict procedure to follow and, surprisingly, it’s not the duty of a solicitor to perform it. It needs to be undertaken by a huissier, which is, I suppose, a cross between a bailiff and a Clerk of the Court. So I need to make further enquiries.

But the timetable that I had laid out in my head is looking … errr … optimistic.

The solicitor tells me that the letting of the property is undertaken by a management agent – the same management agent who manages the communal affairs of this building – so that’s obviously the best place to start. In fact, on the way home I stopped off at their offices to talk to the managing agent but she was busy. They said that she would call me back this afternoon but it’s now 21:30 and I’m still waiting.

There was plenty of waiting around during the night too because it was yet another bad night. At some point I did go off to sleep but I did awaken at about 04:00 for several hours but dozed off again. I awoke about 5 minutes before the alarm went off so I fell out of bed with the idea that at least I could say that I beat the alarm again, but I didn’t feel much like it.

After the medication I went for a shower and then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the notaire‘s office at la Haye Pesnel.

09:30 was the time of our meeting and to my surprise, I only had to wait 10 minutes today beyond that time. That makes a change. Nice guy though he is, he usually works to his own convenience and not that of his clients.

he explained the reason to me why completion took so long. This building is officially an Ancient Monument, built in 1668 and registered on the French list of Historic Places.

There are all kinds of things that need to be investigated in this case. It’s not easy tracing the official history of a building and finding the deeds of a property that old when there’s been a Revolution and a couple of World Wars that have destroyed all kinds of archives. For example, the Public Records Office in St-Lô, the capital of this département, were destroyed by the Americans in a bombing raid in June 1944 and I bet that the Revolutionnaires had a bit of a bonfire too.

That’s the least of the problems that the notaire faced. Because it’s a listed building the Government has first dibs and so it can’t be sold to a private person until the Government has been offered it and sent a formal refusal.

And so once the sale can actually go ahead, the change of ownership (even if, in my case, I only own 250/10000 of the property) has to be notified to the Register of Historic Buildings and a list of permitted and forbidden alterations and activities has to be prepared.

The notaire certainly earned his money.

Liz thinks that it’s appropriate that I’ve bought a slice of French history. I told her that it’s appropriate because I’m something of an ancient monument myself.

In case you don’t know, where I live is part of a huge old military barracks complex built by the French in the 17th Century to protect the coast of Normandy from raids by the British forces based in the Channel Islands in the turmoil that followed the 30 Years War.

It was occupied by the French Army until 1988 when it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The huge dormitory building is now the local High School, the canteen is now the Young Workers’ Hostel, the Officers’ Quarters is now the public rooms and Council offices and the other two buildings that were the barracks offices have been converted into small apartments.

When I moved here, it was as a tenant, with the aim that I can have a look around the town and see if I could find somewhere nice to live with the money left over from the sale of my apartment in Brussels, but I love it here up on the rock with the sea on three sides in this magnificent building and my really nice neighbours.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed …this is the first place in the whole of my life where I’ve actually felt “at home” so I didn’t want to move away. I’ve had to wait patiently for something to come up for sale that I could afford.

Of course I’m not in my new place yet, and it will be quite a while before I am as well, but I’m one step further on down the road.

Ordinarily I would have qualms about putting a tenant out on the streets but a rented apartment has to be offered to a sitting tenant first, and so she’s had a couple of bites at the cherry and turned them down. And in any case, I can always put her in touch with the landlord of my current apartment if she needs somewhere else to go.

Anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

When I left the notaire I went to the management agent but she was unavailable, so I went across the road to LeClerc for a bit of shopping.

Back here I had a coffee and some cheese on toast from the air fryer, and then I went to see the President of the Residents’ Committee to thank her for everything that she did. It was a tip-off from her that put on on the scent of the new apartment and I shall be forever grateful.

The cleaner had been and gone while I was away chatting so I made some hot chocolate and armed with some of my delicious chocolate biscuits, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was living in a caravan somewhere in a field. When I returned home my brother was there. He’d found his way in and was going through my record collection. I went to throw him out but he put up a bit of resistance. In the end I had to phone the police. At that point he left but he took several of my albums with him. I had to follow him to find out where he was going and what he was going to be doing. The police weren’t a great deal of help which I thought was unfortunate. In the end I walked back from Crewe (we were in Crewe at the time by now) to my caravan. All along the path were loads of dead foxes. It was very difficult to say whether they had been dead before or dead since or whether someone had moved them. I really didn’t know what I was going to expect when I returned to my caravan. When I opened the door I couldn’t see whether anything had changed or not. It was one of these dreams that awoke me bolt-upright and I couldn’t go back to sleep for ages afterwards.

And then I was part of an investigating team inspecting a battlefield in Normandy during the war. We were looking at a damaged American tank. We examined some of the bullets that had hit it. They turned out to be American. Part of the job of our unit was to investigate American or Allied weapons that had fallen into the hands of the Axis so we were interested in these bullets. We managed to find one that was almost intact. Somewhere near the battlefield was another unit that was involved in discipline etc that had a female civilian judge in charge of it. I went with my officer down there. We presented ourselves to this woman and explained what we had found. She wanted to know our interest. We said what we were doing. Our job was to trace this equipment to find out whether it had been equipment that had the Germans had captured, whether it was equipment that had been sent to the Soviet Union on Lend-Lease or whether it was something much more sinister than that, an American soldier firing on his own side. A guy with this woman judge immediately went on the offensive to some kind of absurd and ridiculous degree that embarrassed everyone there in this room. It made the situation completely uncomfortable. We had to explain that finding the answer to these kinds of questions was very important for a variety of reasons but he was still carried away on this emotional tide.

And while I was on my travels later on, someone had contacted me to go to meet them somewhere. I got back into Caliburn and set off. I noticed that Caliburn was running low on diesel. I thought that I knew where the diesel station was but by the time that I’d arrive it would be after 19:00 and it would be closed. It was in a very rural area so what would I do? As I drove down this road I came to 2 petrol stations, one on either side of the road, that I’d forgotten about. Problem solved. I pulled in there and fuelled up. I went in there to have a coffee too. You chose a mixer cup and they mixed your coffee and poured it into a goblet to give to you. I said that I’d go to the van for my thermal mug. When I reached Caliburn it was surrounded by people eating sandwiches etc so I had to fight my way in. I took my thermal mug but it was full of rubbish so I had to start to remove it. Some wouldn’t come out. It was a really difficult job to extract this rubbish. When I returned to the coffee counter the woman saw me. She asked “rubbish?” and found a waste bin to throw it into. I gave her my mug but I must have been distracted because I stood there and she was serving other people. There was an issue with someone’s card. She had to ring up about it. I asked “is that my card?” and she replied “no, you’re good to go”. Just then the guy she was ringing up managed to get through. He said something about Cheadle Hulme. I said “are we that close to Manchester”? She replied “that’s not that close to Manchester, is it?”.

I’ve forgotten most of this final dream. There was a couple of teenagers, a boy and girl, who were doing ice-dancing. Their routine wasn’t particularly adventurous but you could see that they were quite relaxed. They knew their stuff and quite enjoyed it. The next couple came on, a much older man with a girl probably about 6 or 7. You could see that she was terrified as they went through their routine. It was as if this guy was dancing with a plank of wood. They tried a few adventurous things and it must have been a horrible thing to do because you could see that this girl was scared to death. She was as rigid as a board as he was trying to hold her and twirl her around in the air. We thought “this isn’t any good whatsoever. They are never going anywhere like that”

And then I crashed out. The events of the day have been far too much for me, I reckon.

Tea tonight was a delicious left-over curry with naan bread. That’s the last of that batch and I do have to say that it was a total success. I shall definitely have to make much more of that, and quite right too

So that’s enough for today. I’m off to bed. I have the nurse coming to take a blood sample tomorrow morning so I shall have to be fighting-fit and hope that he won’t be looking in vain to find a vein in my arm. I’m fed up of being a dartboard.

Friday 7th April 2023 – A CALAMITY!

Yes, we have had a calamity here today.

Last night after tea I took out some of the hot cross buns from the freezer and left them to thaw out.

This morning when I looked at them, they were all dry and crumbly and there were traces of a green mould. And so they, and all of the others in the freezer have gone into the bin. What a waste and I was so looking forward to eating them too.

That’s really beyond disappointing because the freezer has been jam-packed with stuff, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, to such an extent that I’ve been turning away some really good offers. Had they not been in there, I could have done so much more.

Still, no use crying over spilt milk.

And no need to ask what I was going to do now. The internet is our friend in these circumstances and within about 5 minutes I’d found a recipe for vegan hot cross buns. And, apart from some dried mixed peel, I had all of the ingredients, even some orange concentrate

They even had a dinky little cross on top. I don’t have an icing piping bag but a plastic bag with the corner cut off made an acceptable substitute

They weren’t a particular success because I couldn’t make the dough rise, and while it was proofing it cracked (probably too dry). But toasted with some nice hot butter they tasted just like hot cross buns should, and it’s the taste that matters after all.

But when one has a calamity, the pendulum usually swings the other way at some point, but never as quickly for me as it did this afternoon. And in less than three weeks time I shall be back on the property-owning ladder because I’m signing for my new place on the 26th of April at 09:30 in the forenoon.

So with three months required to give the tenant notice to leave and then some time to install a shower and a decent kitchen, I might even be in there before the end of the summer. And I can’t say that I’ll be sorry.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I rented this apartment when I first came here 6 years ago so that I would have a base to look round and find somewhere in the neighbourhood that I liked. But I love this building, its situation and my neighbours so much that I had no desire to leave, so I stayed on as a tenant until something came available to buy at a price that I could afford

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that I was bemoaning the fact that I wouldn’t be able to have a lie-in this morning because even though it’s a Bank Holiday, I had the physiotherapist coming round.

But I needn’t have wasted my time complaining because when the alarm went off this morning at 07:30, I was already up and about.

In fact, I’d been awake since not long after 06:00 and I could have left the bed at any moment after that because trying to go back to sleep was a waste of time. But eventually I lifted myself up and out and set about today’s tasks.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages, I went to have a shower and get myself all nicely cleaned up

The physiotherapist had me running through my paces with the stuff that i’d bought last weekend. He thinks that I have bought stuff that is too powerful for me and that’s rather depressing news. Not because he thinks that I’ve wasted my money because he thinks that I can no longer mutt the custard, as Doctor Spooner would have said.

As kenneth Williams once famously said when the starring roles that he used to receive begn to run out “what you’re offering doesn’t stretch me. I’m used to enormous parts”. And that’s the same with me. I should be pushing myself onwards and upwards, not slowly sinking downwards. Neil Young once said “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” and that’s my philosophy too.

Back here after he had gone, that was when I noticed the catastrophe that was the hot cross buns. And so the rest of the morning was spent making half a dozen of those to keep me going over Easter.

In between while the dough was doing its stuff I was changing the bedding so that I’ll have a nice, clean comfortable bed to sleep in tonight, the first time for a while, and also having a very long chat that went on throughout the day on and off with Liz.

This afternoon I finished off the French Revolution stuff and I’m now well advanced on my space exploration theme, although bearing in mind the different time zones it’s likely that I’ll have to settle for the 20th July as being the date recognised as that of the first landing on the moon which won’t come round on a Friday for several years.

There have also been chats with Alison on the internet and Rosemary on the phone and also with a neighbour who invited me round for a coffee on Monday. I have been in demand today.

In between all of this I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. This first bit was another dream where I’d forgotten most of it. There was some kind of celebration to take place for D-Day that involved travelling on an aeroplane. We were going to fly over all these places that figured prominently in the early days of the battle on the anniversary of these events. I boarded the aeroplane but unbeknown to me one of my rabbits had boarded too. I didn’t find out until we were in the air. I had to scavenge round for something to keep them in. When we landed and were at people’s houses I had to find someone who had a cage that I could borrow so that I could put a rabbit in that so it would be much safer to carry. But there was much, much more to it than this but I just can’t remember it.

And then I was in an office. Someone wanted to make his room less affected by direct sunlight. he asked my advice whether he should paint one of his windows over in black. I suggested that he did it white in a nice stripy arrangement. He wondered what I meant by that. I explained that you take a wide brush and just go across from left to right and right to left but only one way. Do all the brushstrokes the same way. He went off so I had a quick look in later on. It looked quite nice what he’d done. Then I had to go to see the boss. I couldn’t think of a good excuse to go to see him. I went in and thought for a minute. I said “I’m thinking of applying for a holiday”. He asked why so I told him that I had a Cortina that I wanted to take out the engine and gearbox to put a different engine and gearbox in. That would involve a little work. It was aon old MkIII Cortina estate that needed much more work than that but that was what I said to him. We had a little chat about it and I left without agreeing anything conclusive. Then I found myself trying to work out someone’s income tax. Some guy’s wife was a teacher somewhere in the Three Bridges Council area. And when I was dictating these notes I realised that i’d been working it out wrongly in my sleep. I was taking away his wife’s income from his instead of adding it on. I can’t understand why I did that.

Tea tonight was a salad and some of those veggie balls from out of the freezer. I was intending to have chips with it but my bag of potatoes is mostly full of potatoes that are too small so I chopped them into small squares to make little baby roast potatoes.

To prepare them, I mixed them with some oil and herbs in a pyrex bowl and then tipped them into that little metal colander that I’d bought the other week. The holes in the colander let the hot air percolate through much better and cooked them to perfection.

It was a really nice tea and I’ll do the same with the potatoes tomorrow with my breaded quorn fillets

So in a moment I’ll be off to bed. It’s early but I’m going shopping tomorrow. In principle I feel as if I ought to be going without my crutches but that’s being rather optimistic. I’ll take one with me, I reckon, to see how I do.

One thing that I want to buy is a soya yoghurt. I found a recipe for making naam bread while I was wandering around and I wonder what that would be like done in the air fryer to eat with my leftover curry.

Another thing that I can but is some more frozen food now that there’s some space in the freezer. What a calamity that was about those hot cross buns, but every cloud has a silver lining, I suppose.

Monday 20th March 2023 – IT DIDN’T TAKE …

… me long to finish off the radio programme this morning.

Had I been more motivated I could have finished it even quicker but I had a leisurely stroll through what I needed to do and it was all done and up and running by 09:30. I don’t suppose that I can complain too much about that.

On the other hand, there was plenty to complain about last night, if I were the complaining type … “perish the thought” – ed. Going to bed quite early was one thing, but going off to sleep was something else completely.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I crawled out of bed wishing that I could stay in bed for another 12 hours because I felt absolutely awful and I couldn’t see how I would keep going for the rest of the day.

But kept going I did, and I bet that you are surprised. I know that I was.

First thing was to go for my medication and then to check my mails and messages. And then to attack the radio programme. Luckily I’d done most of it, including dictating the notes for it. It was just a case of editing the notes, assembling the sound files, selecting a final track, dictating the notes for the final track, editing them and finishing off the assembly.

The programme ended up being 5 seconds over so I had them to find some text that I had included that I could go back and edit out

While I assembled my thoughts I had a listen to what I’d done and then had a listen to the programme that I’ll be sending off to be broadcasted this weekend.

That took me up to a rather late breakfast and the fruit buns that I made yesterday are the best that I have ever made.

The next step was to listen to the dictaphone notes from the night, for I had been off on my travels. There was some kind of strange dream about a couple. I can’t remember anything about it except the boss of this woman’s husband telling her to go home and wait for her husband to arrive and she’d send him on home and the husband would know about what happened to the cousin. That’s all that I remember about this.

But really I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m forgetting all my dreams at the moment. There was another one where I was working in an office (this is something of a recurring dream, isn’t it?). I had a file out before me belonging to someone. I was going through it and noticed that all the details in this person’s file had changed. Even the file number was no longer correct. Looking through the file it seemed that he had actually been to prison for killing someone. I made sure that the front of the file was prominently marked “murderer” or whatever then referred it to whoever I should have referred it to, to make sure that they were aware. At some point I was talking to Rosemary. We were discussing a few things about this and that, I can’t remember what. I was on my way to see her. I was speaking to her on the ‘phone while I was driving. She was saying that when I slowed down or stopped she could hear all the animals in the background. As I went round the side of a mountain she suddenly said “I can hear you so much clearer now”. I replied “that’s because I’m in Shavington”. We continued our chat and she said “one thing’s for sure that if ever I’m made redundant I think that the two of us would get on very well”.

A little later on I stepped back into that dream again about the guy but this time I was looking at another file about a guy who had been under some kind of enquiry since 1927 when he’d been the heritee in a Will but there had never been any trace of him. People now started to enquire about his antecedents but he’d chased off everyone who had come to visit him on his farm and shop. He’d died and his estate had been wound up because of all these issues that he’d had. His daughter was a dancer and she was in all kinds of issues. I was on the verge of retiring and only had this one file left that I needed to sort out. I was sitting at a desk by my Irish friend. There was all kinds of stuff coming up on my computer on a big overhead screen above my desk and I’d be much happier if she didn’t see it, although how she could avoid doing so I really don’t know. It was then time for me to leave. At lunchtime I’d been getting in my car, going for a little drive and sitting somewhere quietly in a lane. Then I was on my way home. To go into this lane I had to stop at a T junction. There was nothing coming so I just pulled out into the lane and drove. Then I was overtaken by a whole stream of motorcyclists who came to the next junction and were turning left. One of thes emotorcyclists had stopped to act as a marshal to show all his friends which way to go

At lunchtime I had some fruit and then I had to ring up the solicitor. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been sending money in dribs and drabs to this solicitor for the purchase of this apartment. All of the money has now been sent and I had a pile of receipts sent to me in the post.

As I checked them over, I found that there was a payment that I had made that hadn’t been receipted so I phoned them up. The accountant there acknowledged that they had received it, but the missing payment had arrived the day after they had sent out the receipts and I should receive a receipt at some time in early course.

That was something that cheered me up. I wasn’t at all happy about this money aimlessly ambling around in cyberspace.

Also in the post was a summons to the hospital in Leuven on 4th May. I’ve heard on the ‘phone that I’ll also have an appointment in another department there on the 11th but the confirmation for that hasn’t arrived. When it finally turns up, I’m going to have to ring up to try to swap things around so that all my appointments are on the same day.

If it’s not possible, then I might have a little think about a few days at the seaside in Oostende in between, but that’s not going to be much fun on crutches. Let’s hope that this little improvement that I’m noticing keeps on going.

Something else that I did was to choose some more music for another radio programme in the future. I need to keep on going with these for as long as I can.

There was still plenty of time left so I’ve been tidying up the databases for the music that I use for broadcasting. I’m trying to make things much easier for myself as I go along and I keep on having these little ideas about how things can be improved.

There’s also a little plan in the pipeline to change things around somewhat but more of that anon

Tea was another delicious stuffed pepper with plenty of stuffing left over for a taco roll tomorrow and to go into a curry on Wednesday. We’ll slowly have everything sorted out.

Now I’m off to bed. Hoping for a good night but doubting very much whether I’ll have one. I’m not doing too well with that right now. But I’ll have to try nevertheless. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Wednesday 8th March 2023 – MY LITTLE WALK …

… into town this morning was quite a success, all things considered.

In fact, despite walking much farther than I have ever walked in one go, I managed to do it without any complications or difficulties and I was quite impressed.

Much more impressed than I was with my night of trying to go off to sleep. That was something of a disaster because it took me hours to drop off and I was wide awake again at 04:45. That’s the kind of thing that fills me with dismay.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I must have had a deep sleep at some point. I was with Zero’s father (but not Zero unfortunately) last night walking around this industrial estate somewhere. We’d actually been in our office and had seen something on a TV programme from the USA about chaos in an Australian chat room on the internet. The Americans were going on about how there were all these wonderful innovations coming from Australia that had yet to hit the USA such as video conferencing etc. Of course, as we were walking around we were talking about how we’ve been saying that we’ve been having all of this for 20 years in the UK. There were vehicles parked everywhere on this industrial estate on the grass verges and all over the place. We’d heard a story of someone who had been taken seriously ill there. There were some paramedics tending to him. We were wandering vaguely that way to see what we could do. There were some women lorry drivers parked on a car park doing something on the internet and having a blazing row about someone doing something or other. We just kept on walking and talking.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then had a few things to do here and there before setting out for town, like doing some photocopying and writing an important letter.

It was cold, windy and threatening rain but all the same it was quite a nice walk. Despite the crutches it took me less time than the time before to make it to the chemists where I picked up the product that I need for my hospital visit next week.

They agreed to dispense the prescription that I’d received at Leuven, but only insofar as they could because the trade names are different for the products and while some are easy to translate, others are not and they don’t want to make a mistake.

Some of the stuff wasn’t in stock so they had to order it. And that means another trip into town tomorrow. That should be exciting.

After that, I staggered on to the bank. When the final Act of Purchase is signed for this apartment that I’m buying, I’ll need to have an insurance policy in force to cover my liability. The bank deals with my insurance policies and the more that I have, the greater a discount I receive so I may as well get them to do it.

All in all I was there for an hour and a half. Actually signing the forms for the insurance took about 10 minutes but the rest of the time was spent having the hard sell worked upon me for more stuff that I don’t need. I couldn’t help but bring to my mind the lyrics of PRETTY BOY FLOYD and
“As through this life you travel
You’ll meet some funny men.
Some rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen.”

It was too late to do anything much by the time that the interview finished so I posted the letter and then headed for home. There’s a new spices shop opened in town and I wanted to go for a look around but not during lunch break. As Maréchal Foch once said when he was appointed to command a French Army during World War I “I only require two things. A free hand to deal with the Army as I think fit, and two hours for lunch” and nothing in France has changed.

It was 13:00 by the time that I returned here – a three-hour round trip. The first thing that I did was to have lunch. I ‘d been given a coffee down at the Bank but that’s not enough for a growing boy like me. And I do have to say that my fruit buns are delicious.

The second thing that I did was to make the place a little more presentable so that the cleaner wouldn’t have a heart attack. And I’d locked the door to the apartment on coming back through force of habit so she had to phone me up to get me to open the door.

While she was here I wrote out the notes for the radio programme that I’d been preparing and they are mostly complete. I just want to rewrite the final one so that it makes a nice lead-in to the end of the programme.

Another thing that I did today was to make the final payment for the apartment that I’ll be purchasing. That involved sorting out a few things in Belgium. I had hoped to do that over the counter when I was in Belgium last week but what with not being kicked out of the hospital until it was far too late, that was that.

But it’s all paid for now and I’m just waiting for the solicitor to extricate his digit and bring the papers up to date. But I do have to say that I’m glad that I hung on to the balance of the sale price of my old apartment in Belgium and didn’t fritter it away.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with a salad. And for a change, seeing as I had some vegan sliced cheese, I made my burger into a cheeseburger and that was delicious with a baked potato done in the air fryer.

So tomorrow I’m heading back into town to pick up the rest of the medication. I have noticed that the muscles on my legs are thickening out again so all of this moving about is doing me good. I shall have to do more of it, if only I could summon up the energy.

So let’s see what the hospital at Avranches can come up with next week. I don’t think that I’ll actually pick up my bed and walk, but almost anything will be an improvement to how things are right now.

Wednesday 15th February 2023 – WHAT A WONDERFUL …

… left-over curry that was for tea tonight. There was some stuffing left over from the stuffed peppers, a few mushrooms and sweetcorn from the weekend salad, a few fresh mushrooms and a small potato all fried together with an onion and garlic and some soya cream. A handful of rice and frozen veg made it into something special.

The next couple of curries should be OK but I’m running low on some of the spices that I use. I can see that I’m going to have to go shopping if ever I make it back to Leuven, whenever that might be. I can’t find a decent source of spices around here unfortunately.

Anyway, it’ll give me something to think about when I go to bed tonight. I spent far too much time thinking rather than sleeping last night and I expected to regret it, especially when I fell out of bed before the alarm went off, simply because I couldn’t go back to sleep having awoken earlier.

And there was plenty of time during the night to spend thinking too because it was what I would call a “difficult” night. I was in bed much earlier than usual, having finished all that I intended to do quite a bit earlier than I expected, so I decided to make the most of it.

It took a while to go off to sleep though, not that it bothered me too much, and once I was properly asleep I went off on a little travel. There was a group of us who knew each other from our school days. We’d come together, 6 of us, and we reckoned that we’d form a group and go off to perform some kind of series of concerts somewhere. 5 of us assembled but the 5th one was missing so we had to go into Crewe to find him. We suspected that he would be at a railway workers’ social club because he worked on the railway. We went there and I left everyone in the car park while I went in. I asked after him but he wasn’t there. Another one of my friends from school was. He came over. He was extremely upset because he’d read something that I’d written where there was a quote attributed to my father. He was furious that I was putting his words into the mouths of others. I told him in no uncertain terms that if I’d attributed a quote to someone, it’s because that person had said it. It’s extremely possible that in similar circumstances on similar subjects 2 people whom I know are likely to have the same kind of comment in reply.

It was a most unpleasant encounter, so much so that it awoke me. And it was from then on that it all went downhill. I’ve really no idea why such a dream, about nothing very much in particular, should be so disturbing.

But lying awake made me think about other things too and there ended up being all kinds of things churning around in my mind, more of which anon.

However, I must have gone back to sleep on a couple of occasions because I was off on my travels again. And who should come to join me on my perambulations but Zero? What a lovely surprise that was. I was round at her parent’s last night. I’m not quite sure what I was doing. She was there and she had 2 friends her own age round. They were outside in the dark playing housewives, all sitting around a plastic table pretending to drink tea. I was watching them through the window. 1 of the girls took hold of Zero and asked her if she could have a blueberry ice cream with some kind of syrup on it. For some unknown reason Zero was reluctant to make it. The girl was rather unhappy about that idea. She thought that Zero should go and make this ice cream for her.

Then later on I’m not sure whether I stepped back into this dream or whether I had some kind of flashback, but we were back on the subject of Zero’s unhappy family again. I was at home and her brother asked if I would go round to see their father. I told him that I couldn’t because I had plenty of things to do myself. I was busy. In the end I nipped out really early at about 06:00 in the gold Cortina estate. When I arrived there was no-one about so I just sat outside and waited. Then they all got up and started to have a party. I waited until the father came out so I could see him but his son walked past. He said “I thought you said that you couldn’t come”. I explained that I’d managed to find a little time. We wandered off. I thought that he would go to fetch his father but instead his father came out and wandered off doing something else. I could see him in the mirror.

And finally there was something else about something going on in a shopping arcade where there was a post office and post box and films. I wanted to go along to photograph this post office but it was pitch-black. There were all these people walking around there running around. I took the camera but it had to be on a time exposure. I had to hold the camera at a strange angle and press the button then wait for about 20 seconds without moving. Of course trying to push the button with this camera at this awkward angle removed the perspective that I wanted because the camera moved. I had then to quickly try to re-find the perspective that I wanted and wait for the film to take. of course it was a very long exposure being so dark and everyone was moving around. I couldn’t get them out of the way of the lens. I tried 3 or 4 times and had this really difficult struggle to actually make the button work and hold the camera straight, stop the camera moving, keep the people out of the way. None of the photos that I was taking were coming out properly.

So with all of that going on, I must have had some kind of sleep at some point. Especially if I managed to conjure up Zero after all this time. What with TOTGA the other night, all I need now is for Castor to put in an appearance.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I had a few things to do. Like chosing the music for the next round of radio programmes. That involved going through the playlists and tidying them up because over the last few weeks I’ve decided to do things in a different direction.

That means doing some kind of major adjustment to the … errr … 6 playlists that I maintain. With over 1200 albums and 300 artists I’ve split the playlist into 6 with different artists in each one so that I don’t play the same groups too often.

But going back to what I was saying earlier about things going round in my head, one of the things that I was pondering was this question of paying for the apartment. I had a feeling that all of this was about to go pear-shaped so I spent several hours thinking of a cunning plan.

Sure enough, the company charged with dealing with the transfer rang me again today and came up with yet more demands for information. And in the end after much debate and discussion and having thought of a Plan B, I ended up telling them to clear off.

In the past, I’ve said that my bank in the UK is a regular favourite for the title of “worst bank in the world”. But right now, I’m firmly in their hands with their wicked exchange rate, their stupid daily limit and all of that, and it’ll take me forever to transfer the money over at an absurd cost. But the quicker I start, the quicker I’ll finish and the first daily amount has gone off today.

But as we have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … there’s no such thing as a recession. What there is instead is a whole load of money floating around waiting to be spent and no-one can be bothered to put the work in to go out and collect it.

And that reminds me – still no replies about that work I want doing. It’s unbelievable.

The cleaner came here for an hour as usual and made the place look a lot nicer. It’s a good plan having her here. And she took out all of the rubbish which was nice of her. That was a good decision.

So having sorted out allthe music, paired off the music for one lot (and I’ll pair off the other lot tomorrow morning) and had my nice tea, And having written my notes, I’m going to bed.

So who’ll come to see me tonight? It must be Castor’s turn of course, but “I could be bound in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space – were it not that I have bad dreams”. I reckon that it’s going to be more like some member or other of my family.

Thursday 9th February 2023 – CALIBURN IS BACK AGAIN …

… and with a Controle Technique certificate too, which has cheered me up. And seeing as he now seems to start properly whenever I want him to start, it looks as if I’m back on the road again.

Mind you, climbing into the cab is a real issue If I’m at street level when I need to climb in, it’s extremely difficult. I need to find a kerb against which I can park so that I can climb in easier and at LeClerc the kerbs are quite high and it’s a struggle to climb up that high.

One thing that I do have to remember is to exit with my left leg first. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I tried to exit Caliburn the other day “right leg first”, the leg collapsed underneath me and decanted me onto the floor.

But there’s a strange phenomenon going on with my legs right now. For the last couple of weeks I noticed that when I awaken in the morning parts of my legs and feet are quite numb. I wonder if it’s because I’ve been lying on a trapped nerve.

And so it was this morning. And apart from that it was another night of going to bed early, falling asleep early and then waking up and tossing and turning for a while. I was actually awake before the alarm went off at 07:30 and had I exerted myself I could have left the bed. But that was too much to hope for.

But when I did leave the bed,, I had my medication and then checked my mails and messages before wandering off for a shower. And climbing into the bath for my shower was the easiest that it’s been since I came back. This physiotherapy seems to be working.

Although the Controle Technique was arranged for 11:45 I went out quite a bit earlier than that. With not going far these days I was worried about how Caliburn would get on with the pollution test so I took him for a good run – several laps around the dual-carriageway by-pass to get him nice and hot

Anyway, he sailed through with no issues.

Armed with a valid certificate I went to fuel up and then for a good shop at LeClerc. There wasn’t a great deal that I needed but nevertheless I still ran up quite a bill. I’d bought plenty of frozen veg and some more carrots so after I’d brought up most things from Caliburn and had some food and coffee I peeled, blanched and froze 1.5 kilos of carrots. That will keep me going for a while now.

After all of that I fell asleep and was awoken by the physiotherapist who came round earlier than usual. He had me walking around the apartment with just one crutch and wants me to practice that for the next few days until our session on Tuesday next week. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s been a day of interaction too. Apart from having lengthy chats with customers at the garage, I met a neighbour as I arrived home and she kept me chatting at the door for a while. And then another neighbour had a good talk with me as well. If that wasn’t enough, the people with whom I’ve been trying to arrange this money transfer rang up to tell me that they now have everything that they need. And that’s good news.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night and that needed transcribing. I was with 2 girls last night. They had some kind of cupboard and were hanging up something in front of it like a system of chains etc to make it look attractive. It was obviously a project that was doomed because they couldn’t make anything hang horizontally. The wire that they were using wasn’t strong enough. Instead of pulling on the metal tubes that were supporting it, the tubes were pulling the wire and going all out of shape. Nothing was in the vertical. They were having to do all kinds of tricks to try to make these wires go vertically but the more tricks they did on it the worse it became. I had a feeling that this was going to be a project that was doomed to fail from the start. Sooner or later they would realise it but I gave them a hand just the same.

There was also something of which I had a vague recollection was taking place in a Prisoner of War camp where there was some kind of committee that was set up to investigate infractions against the prisoners who broke the camp rules or to investigate possible escape attempts etc. This committee wasn’t very successful. There was a feeling going round that the Germans had infiltrated a couple of people into the camp to serve on the committee and sabotage the work of the prisoners while they were there but I can’t remember very much at all about this.

And then there was me, a young girl and a rather large woman trying to lift an enormous suitcase into the back of an estate car. The young girl was at the front trying to do the lifting and we were at the back trying to push. It was very difficult to make it fit so I suggested that seeing as it was the other lady’s possessions she shoudl go to the front because she would be much better able to lift it. She could decide how in, what articles could be squashed and what couldn’t. For some reason the girl was reluctant to relinquish her position at the front of this line even though she was having an extreme amount of difficulty actually doing anything there.

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce. Nothing particularly exciting but I am allowed to have a boring meal here and there every now and again.

Having fallen asleep already this evening I finished off typing out my notes for the day and now I’m off to bed. I have to go into town tomorrow on the bus and pick up some medication and my fresh mushrooms and peppers. I didn’t want to buy them today because the later I leave it, the longer they will keep.

But despite what the physiotherapist says, I’m not going down there with just one crutch. I’ll keep on using both when I’m out and about until I’m confident about it all. It’s not going to be something that will happen overnight.

Wednesday 8th February 2023 – CALIBURN IS BACK

But not for long. When I went to pick him up this morning I discovered that they had forgotten to take him for his Controle Technique – the French equivalent of the MoT safety examination. The earliest the testing station can fit him in is tomorrow at 11:45 but I wasn’t going to struggle back home on the bus and come back out tomorrow to pick him up again, so I brought him home and I’ll drive him back tomorrow.

Hopefully I’ll have a better night’s sleep than I did last night. I was in bed at some kind of realistic time and was asleep quite quickly but I didn’t stay asleep for long. I was drifting in and out of semi-consciousness until the alarm went off and it would be wrong to say that I was sleeping.

There must have been times that I was asleep though because there were several little voyages during the night when I went off on my travels. There was me, a couple of girls and a young family with a small daughter. I’d cooked tea for everyone and made a big, sickly ice cream for afterwards. I doled out the ice cream between all of us. As I was handing it out I suddenly found out to my horror that I’d forgotten to make ice-cream for the little girl. I had to dash back into the kitchen and took my ice cream from the fridge and speedily divided it into half. I put her half into a smaller dish so it looked as if it was overflowing the bowl the same as everyone else’s and took it to her. Her eyes lit up and she was absolutely delighted by this. That made me feel much better but then I was going around afraid that I might have forgotten someone else’s ice cream. What would I do if that were the case?

And then I was back at work in another one of these recurring dreams where I was on the point of retiring. I had tons of work stored in my cupboard. Someone made some kind of strange remark about “we don’t know what you do all day”. I thought that they’d be surprised if they found out that I did nothing. I was going through some files and found some information about people whom we knew and one or two people who’d actually worked for us, and prison sentences that they’d received, for one person, defrauding an insurance company and another person for something else. We wondered why they had all gone quiet after leaving. There was some old guy in there who’d been sent to prison. Everyone blamed a friend of mine at work because he’d told a fellow to confess everything rather than keeping silent and making them have to prove it. Again it was a case that I could leave this job tomorrow and leave all this work undone and not have to worry about anything. If they were to talk about me behind my back I wouldn’t care.

Later on I was taking my passengers to the station in the yellow Cortina estate. We were driving through Shavington. There was a vehicle parked on the opposite side on the road. Suddenly 2 vehicles pulled out from behind it and I hit them head-on in the car. When I came to I was wandering around the area of Shavington trying to regain consciousness. I went into a big Department Store to buy some clean clothes. The staff was busy trying on a new uniform. They had T-shirts on etc while they were experimenting with these new clothes and weren’t interested in serving customers. Eventually I managed to track down a server who came to see me. I told her that I needed some clothes and needed to report this accident but she started to take me off in her direction where these clothes were

And finally I was in my new house last night, a house very similar to Gainsborough Road. There was a survey being arranged for it to decide whether or not I could buy it. I was already in there so I hoped that the survey was satisfactory. The house was a lot nicer than I remembered anyway. I was busy organising some things that I’d brought with me. I had my mother and father with me. My mother went into a cupboard and asked me to pass her some cheese and pork etc. She asked what I wanted to eat. I replied that I hadn’t yet decided so she told me to hurry up. Then my father came in. He’d been working outside and his hands were dirty. he had some hand cleaner with him that he’d brought. he went to put it down on the windowsill by the sink while he washed his hands.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then did a little tidying up ready for the cleaner. I phoned up the garage to check that Caliburn was ready and then caught the bus out to the garage to pick him up.

he actually started, despite about three feet of frost all over him, so something works, and I headed back to LIDL where I spent a King’s ransom on stuff that I needed for the next few weeks – and forgot the blackcurrant syrup.

Back here I made some coffee and while it was brewing I made a couple of trips down to Caliburn to bring up what I’d bought. And then I … errr … had a relax. I’m clearly not as fit or as well as I think I should be.

The cleaner awoke me when she came, and while she was doing her stuff about the place I paired off the music for the next couple of radio programmes and began to write the notes. And after she left, I fetched the final stuff up here from out of Caliburn, thinking all the time to myself about how much easier it will be when I move to the ground floor.

And that’s taken one step closer to the end today, because I gathered up all of the stuff that I needed to complete these forms about transferring my money for the purchase of the apartment. Hopefully they can now go ahead and create the transfer paperwork so that I can credit the money whenever I receive the final date of completion.

And then the fun will begin.

Tea tonight was another one of my leftover curries. And it was just as delicious as all of the others, although I’m still not sure why the rice and veg is going more soggy that it used to in the past even though I’m not cooking it any differently than I always have.

Tomorrow I have to take Caliburn back and if he passes, I’ll have a little trip to fuel up and go to LeClerc to do some shopping there. Make sure that I have a good supply of stuff on board.

And then probably have a little … errr … relax again when I come home because all of this effort is wearing me out much more than it ought to do. I’m clearly not as well as I should be and I shudder to think how I’m going to manage if they want me to go back to Leuven.

Monday 6th February 2023 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… totally bizarre Monday today.

And when I tell you that both the radio programmes that I wanted to prepare were all done and dusted by 08:00 or thereabouts, you’ll understand what I mean.

Last night I managed to go to bed at some kind of realistic time, like 22:00, and it didn’t take long to go to sleep either.

However, by 01:30 I was wide awake again and couldn’t go back to sleep. At about 03:00 I gave it up as a bad job and decided that I’d attack the radio programmes, with the idea that that would probably drive me back to sleep again.

However, I kept on going in something of a desultory fashion and finished it all off.

There were a few other things that needed doing this morning too but by 10:30 I was back in bed on my way to sleep again, and that was where I stayed until about 13:40.

Once I’d had some coffee and one of my delicious fruit buns, I sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes. At some point during the night I was in some kind of prison somewhere. It wasn’t really a prison but was just like one. It was quite late at night and I had to do something about food, tins and fresh fruit etc. I built myself a pyramid of food, picked it up in my 2 arms and walked off down this corridor. When I reached near where there was an empty cell I decided that I wanted to go to the bathroom. I tried to put this load down quietly but it fell and made a noise right by where some young child was sleeping. It didn’t awaken the child so I thought that I was lucky. I nipped in, did what I had to do and came back out again. There was a big shopping bag and I started to put all of the food etc into it with the idea that I could pick it up and carry it off. It would be easier. In actual fact there was much more food than I realised and it wouldn’t go in the shopping bag. Bits and pieces kept on falling out every time I tried to pick it up

Later on I’d received a letter written in English from the Commune at Virlet about vehicles that I’d left there.

Finally, there’s a whole fleet of buses and lorries and cars going to this stately home type of place for some reason or other. It had been raining heavily and the field where everyone was parking was being churned up terribly. When we finally stopped, the person in charge of our bus asked “right, are we all alighting?” to which I replied “not in this weather”. I received a dirty look. I climbed out of the bus, bumped into a couple of my friends who wanted to know where we would go. I suggested that we walk over towards the old stately home place, wade through it, I thought, with all of this water, and see what’s happening there. It was all very suspicious and very peculiar.

A copy of the signed Commitment to Purchase form arrived at some point today too, together with some information that I need from the bank. And so at some point tomorrow I can finish off these forms that need completing for the transfer of the money to buy the apartment downstairs.

It really does look as if it might be going ahead and that will be really good news if it does. I just wish now that I can find a plumber or someone to come and install the shower. I didn’t have a single response to my advert, which just goes to show, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … you can’t even give money away to honest tradesmen these days.

While I was at it, I took the opportunity to telephone the garage about Caliburn. He’s certain that it’s the starter and that should be replaced on Tuesday. So it looks as if I have a nice run out on the bus on Wednesday morning to go and rescue him – and do some shopping.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. And for reasons that I can’t understand, everything about it was overcooked. I mean – I used the same temperatures and same times but somehow it all went soft and mushy. Ahh well! You can’t win a coconut every time I suppose.

Despite my sleep over lunchtime, I’m still quite tired. And there’s a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I reckon that i’ll go for an early night in the hope that I can have a decent sleep and have a good session at preparation.

At some point in the near future we have to register for an exam but I think that I’m going to opt out. I know that I’m off the pace and struggling somewhat and while I’m going to carry on with the following year’s course, I think that an exam is beyond me right now. I’ll try to catch a couple of summer schools to refresh everything and then have a try at another time.

Sunday 5th February 2023 – I’VE ACTUALLY BEEN …

… out for a walk this afternoon.

Well, after a fashion and as much as I can anyway.

It was such a beautiful afternoon with the sun streaming down as it did so I couldn’t resist it. I grabbed the crutches and set off down the stairs. I did a lap around the car park and then walked down to the viewpoint that overlooked the fish processing plant and then came back.

It was quite windy and cold, but the sun made it look quite beautiful and I was glad that I made it outside.

On the way downstairs, I managed to go left-leg first down some of the stairs. That’s important because it means that I have to bend the right knee, and that’s something that I find to be quite difficult.

Much more difficult than going to sleep last night, as it happened. For once I was in bed at something like a realistic time. I fell asleep quite quickly too and slept all the way through until about 10:50. And I felt so much better for it. Especially as I stayed in bed for another 20 minutes doing my exercises.

There wasn’t a great deal of stuff on the dictaphone either so it must have been quite a quiet, relaxing night. There was a whole group of us, a couple of families, all staying in one house so it meant that we were all crammed up sharing a bed etc among several kids. I was sharing a bed with my brother. On one occasion he left the bed and went off because there was some noise or something going on. I took my teddy bear and another toy and put them down the bed with me and tried to go to sleep. I was distracted by all this noise too. I thought that I heard the voice of one of the young boys who was about 7. eventually my brother came back to bed. He was annoyed about the teddy etc being in his way. We started to chat.

Later on we’d been somewhere, a group of us again. I was coming home with a woman and her daughter – it might have been Laurence and Roxanne, I dunno. While we’d been away she’d told some people that there was a James Bond film that they could watch at their house. When we arrived back it was really late at night. We walked in and there was 1 girl still watching it with her mother. We still had a few things to do so for the moment we left them there. Then she said that she wanted to go to check up on another woman to whom she’d mentioned it about her daughter to see if they were still watching it at their house. We ended up driving up Dodd’s Bank. As we were at the foot of the bank I said to her “on the way back drop me here with my little suitcase and I’ll walk through the alley to home”. She asked me to repeat it so I did. In the end I had to repeat it about 3 or 4 times. My aim was to take the short cut through the alley with the small suitcase, leave the bigger suitcase in the car and return for that another time. That would save her a lot of time without having to drive round the housing estate to drop me off. But it was so difficult to try to make her understand what I was intending. She was short-tempered anyway with us being so late and with everyone still being around. And we had work tomorrow as well, of course.

There was rather more to it than all of this but you don’t really want to read it especially if you are eating your meal right now.

This morning I didn’t really do all that much but things began to liven up after I’d had lunch.

There was football on the internet this afternoon, a match in the quarter-final of the Welsh Cup between Penybont and Treffynnon.

Treffynnon spent a few years in the Welsh Premier League back in the 1990s when they were known as Holywell Town but in recent years they have been bouncing up and down between Division 2 and Division 3. At the moment they are doing well in Division 2 but they weren’t expected to do much playing away against a team riding high in the First Division.

It was pretty obvious to most people how this game was going to end but Treffynon put up quite a fight and even took the lead after 15 minutes with A GOAL OUT OF NOTHING but they couldn’t hang on to the lead.

Penybont equalised after 55 minutes and then scored a second from a penalty deep into injury time as a Treffynnon player who had just that minute come on the field as a substitute brought down an attacker in the penalty area with his first attempt to kick the ball.

It just wasn’t that substitute’s day either. 30 seconds later in a scramble to win the ball he ended up kicking an opponent and was sent off.

After I’d been for a walk I had a play about with the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer earlier. And the pizza that I made with it was delicious too. One of my better ones.

And at some point the owner of the apartment that I’m trying to buy rang me up to ask me if I’d heard anything from the solicitor. It looks as if I’m not the only one who is being disturbed by the lack of action from him.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing the two radio programmes and then chasing up to see what news about Caliburn. I’m itching to get back on the road and do some shopping. Supplies of certain items are starting to run low again and I need to go out and about and do some stocking up.

Friday 3rd February 2023 – IT REALLY WAS A …

… lovely afternoon today. Sunny and once I was out of the wind, quite warm too. It really was a pleasure to be out and about.

With it being Friday today, I needed to go to the supermarket in the town for my fresh fruit and so on. But I’m not sure whether it was worth the effort from that point of view because although I managed to buy a lettuce and some mushrooms they had no bananas, no cucumber and there were a few other things that I wanted that were missing in the shops.

The reason for that though was clear to see. There was a big notice everywhere saying that the shop will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for stocktaking, so I suppose that they didn’t want too much fresh fruit and veg hanging around that they might not have been able to sell.

Hoad I known, I would have gone to one of the other supermarkets in the town centre. There are three altogether. I had plenty of time. But regardless of anything else, I was glad to be out and about in the nice weather.

Before I went to bed last night I was out and about too. I went for a walk up and down the stairs here, without my crutches too. And going down the steps I led with the left leg, to give me an opportunity to bend the right knee. Unfortunately, I couldn’t lead with the right going back up the steps. I’m a long way from there, so far that I doubt that i’ll ever be back.

It was a bad night too, tossing and turning around for quite a while trying in vain to go to sleep. Another night where I didn’t do much except watch the clock go round and round. I did eventually go off to sleep, but for nothing like as much sleep as I would have liked.

There was however enough time for me to go off on a few travels here and there. I started off going to work. I had a great big Audi saloon. I had to take the director or one of the big directors to somewhere in Germany not too far from Berlin. They explained the name of the hotel and the town, and I said that I knew it although I didn’t. When they asked why, I said that because my aunt used to go there because my family is connected with royalty (which they didn’t believe but anyway …). So the next morning I awoke. I was in Shavington. There was a lot of traffic on the road because it was rush hour. I got into the car and started it. I thought that I’d do a lap or two around the block to warm it up but I noticed that it was low on petrol or diesel so I thought that I’d go to the garage on Newcastle Road and fuel it with diesel then come back and we’d be ready to go. I was driving up Chestnut Avenue which was a 4-lane road at the time, in the right-hand lane ready to turn right at the top.

I can’t remember very much about this next bit though but I was creating a 3D figure. The telephone rang so I answered it and said that I’d call them back because I was busy with this thing and hung up. Then I realised who it was and tried to call them back so that I could continue talking to them while I was continuing to work on this 3D figure.

And then I’d bought an apartment in a big house. Rosemary had come along to help me clean it up, the house and the balcony, and do some cleaning up outside in the public areas. We ended up making the place look pretty nice although it could do with a coat of paint inside because I didn’t like the red walls. The communal parts outside were confusing. It was a tiny village with several houses dotted around and what you would think at first was private to this particular house was actually a pathway that led to one of these other buildings. It was extremely confusing to try to work out which was the communal area, which was private to our house and which was private to some other house. While we were standing on the balcony having a look out because it was quite high up we could see loads of old vehicles moving around in the distance. It suddenly occurred to us that there was a vintage vehicle rally in the vicinity that weekend. I told Roemary that I knew where I’d be going to be this weekend.

Later on there was something about one of these American mobsters. He’d been convicted of an offence but there was some kind of public enquiry into his conviction. The FBI was involved in this but the cross-examination of this guy by the FBI was particularly bizarre because it almost amounted to the FBI agent going down on his knees and pleading with this mobster to tell the truth, which I thought was quite a strange way of going about cross-examining someone.

Once again I was up quite quickly when the alarm went off, despite the lack of sleep. And when I’d finished the medication and checked my messages I made a start on continuing the notes for the next round of radio programmes. I didn’t get very far though because Rosemary rang me up and we had another one of our marathon chats.

And she brought me some good news. The sunroof that I’d bought in Canada for that Ford Flex in the Puy de Dôme finally turned up today after several months of dispute and discussion. So that’s now been passed on to whom it may concern.

And the Genz Benz 200-watt bass combo that I’d found on sale for peanuts in a pawn shop in Ottawa turned up with it too. That’s going to have to stay at Rosemary’s for a while until I can go down and rescue it, but at least it’s on this side of the Atlantic and I’ll be back on the road.

It’s nice to have some good news for a change. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Later on I went out for the bus into town. It was the new bus too, the first time that I’ve travelled on that one. and i’m definitely becoming used to these crutches because I was off the bus, in and out of the supermarket and back at the bus station all in 15 minutes and I had 15 minutes to wait for the bus back home. So I had plenty of time to soak up the sun.

Back here, with still no reply to my reminder to the solicitor handling the sale of this apartment, I filled in all of the forms that I need to organise the transfer of the money and sent them off. But there were a couple of things that need more explanation and I’ll have to sort that out over the weekend. And once I’ve done that, then the ball is firmly in the court of the solicitor.

Tea was a burger on a bap with a pile of salad and some chips that had been fried in the air fryer. It really was delicious – one of the best meals that I’ve cooked. That air fryer really is the business and I ought to experiment more with it to try to have my money’s worth out of it. I’m told that it will bake bread and that might be worth an experiment.

Tomorrow i’ll finish off the notes for the radio programmes and then I really can have a complete day off on Sunday. And won’t that be nice?

High time I had a good rest and relax. Anyone would think that I haven’t done that for ages.