Tag Archives: nurse

Wednesday 21st February 2024 – I DON’T KNOW …

… why but I seem to have lost all of my motivation today.

It’s been rather flaky for several months, even years, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today, there it was – gone. And never called me “mother” either.

It’s not as if I didn’t have a good night either. I was in bed early, wasn’t interrupted too much, all of that kind of thing. Anyone would have thought that I’d have been ready for anything.

But at some point during the night, and I wish that I knew where it was, all of my “get up and go” must have got up and gone, leaving me behind. And so that was that.

It was an early night too. It didn’t take too long to finish everything off after I’d done my notes. And then I hauled myself off to bed, pushing STRAWBERRY MOOSE out of the way. He’s worse than a cat, monopolising everything around here.

And for once, I had a good night’s sleep and I hardly remember being awoken at all during the night. I had my musculation band around my thighs, but it’s no good if it isn’t doing the exercises. I have been hoping for dramatic results from it but if things carry on like this, it’ll be unlikely.

And who was it a couple of months ago complaining about his awful sleep?

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to fetch the blood pressure tester to see where we are. Last night was 17.7/10.2 and this morning it was 16.3/9.6, and still no-one has told me what to do to try to reduce it to this mythical figure of 14.0/9.0

Following this, I dragged myself off into the kitchen for the medication, all 10 items of it (11 or even 12 if I need them). There are 5 (and maybe 6 or even 7) to be taken at night before going to bed, and that’s not including the painkillers that I’ve been prescribed but don’t take, so when I walk around, I rattle.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m not a fan of painkillers. They’ll kill the pain for sure, and make it easier for you to move around, but how much damage are you doing to yourself by continuing to put weight on whatever is damaged and that you can’t feel it?

At least, with a pain, you know that you have to take it easy, walk rather gingerly, or find a work-around.

Back in here I listened to the dictaphone to find out what’s upon it. And there wasn’t much. Iceland was playing Scotland in a World Cup elimination match, the finals of the heats or whatever. The score had been 4-2 for Scotland in the first heat at Hampden and in the second heat the Icelanders were leading 2-0 so would qualify for the final stages on “away goals”. Then an incident occurred in the penalty area and a penalty was awarded to Scotland which they scored. Everyone looking at it later from slow motion replays couldn’t see any contact that might have led to a foul. It was up to the adjudicators to say that he’d awarded it because of contact – even though it was only slight, it was still contact. An Icelandic football player went over and punched him three times in the face. There was an inquiry and a really lengthy suspension for the Icelandic player. Even the newspapers said “you can’t do that as a football player”.

And this is all very reminiscent of the 1977 incident involving Joe Jordan and Welsh defender David Jones where Jordan clearly handled the ball in the Welsh penalty area during a World Cup qualifying match.

The referee however gave Scotland a penalty from which Scotland scored and which effectively ended Wales’s chance of qualifying for Argentina 1978 to which Scotland went.

Scotland also went to the 1990 World Cup in Rome and a few days before the start, as I was driving down the A500 towards the M6 overbridge, a double-decker bus went past overhead on its way southwards, painted dramatically overall as a blue-and-white saltire for Scotland.

Scotland’s performance at that World Cup was quite dismal and they were eliminated early. And as I was driving down the A500 towards the M6 overbridge a few days after their final match, a double-decker bus went past overhead on its way northwards, painted dramatically overall as a blue-and-white saltire for Scotland

Things had obviously not gone well.

Things didn’t go well for me today either, as I mentioned. The nurse came on time to give me my injection and to take a blood sample, and then I was left on my own for a while. I should have done plenty of work but somehow I just couldn’t make a start and I don’t know why.

We all have days like those, that’s for sure, but I seem to be having more of them than most

It was only when the cleaner arrived to clean the apartment and I had to stay in my room here that I actually pushed on and now the notes for the radio programme that I started yesterday are complete.

The aim once that was finished was to start on choosing the music for the next programme but I actually fell asleep, and not once either but twice and once in an … errr … very embarrassing place.

It reminds me of one particular time in Montreal.

Originally, I used to stay outside the city at Dorval, catch the 202 bus to the DuCollege Metro Station and then the underground into the city. It wasn’t until i became ill that I took up lodgings in the city centre.

Anyway, the problem with being in a hotel outside the city is that if I was feeling tired, I couldn’t go back to my room for a lie-down and a coffee.

However I did have certain places where I could go for a rest, but was always on the lookout for others.

One day while I was exploring the Complexe Desjardins shopping centre in the rue St Catherine, I came across the public conveniences. Now they looked clean, comfortable and tidy, and with my jacket rolled up tightly to make a good pillow, I was really comfortable riding the porcelain horse and leaning against the cubicle wall asleep.

What I hadn’t taken into account was that to deter the homeless and the layabouts like me from loitering, they arranged for an automatic flush of the toilets every 5 minutes, which was about 30 seconds after I’d gone to sleep.

That was quite embarrassing.

So being rather late for tea I was quite starving too. But it was another delicious leftover curry with vegetables, rice and a naan bread cooked to perfection and as I said last week, I’ll eat that again.

Something else that I’ve repeated about my tea … "and on many occasions too" – ed … is that the idea of using couscous as part of the filler for the stuffing has made a real difference – and a positive one at that.

So what will tomorrow bring? Gotthold Lessing tells us that "better counsel comes overnight" and I do feel better after a good, relaxing night’s sleep. But I don’t seem to be having too many of those right now. The last time that I had eight hours sleep, it took me three days to have them

In the meantime, I shall have to be just like Ernest Hemingway who said "I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake".

And doesn’t that sound just like me?

Monday 7th February 2024 – THERE WAS NOTHING …

… at all on the dictaphone from last night. And it’s been a while since that happened.

And it wasn’t because I’d had a really good night’s sleep either. In fact quite the reverse. I don’t think that I slept for more than 5 minutes.

It wasn’t one of those nights where I lay tossing and turning for most of it but in fact there was all kinds of things going on in my brain – such as it is – and there were all kinds of images and things flashing up behind my closed eyelids.

It really was quite an extraordinary situation and I’ve never known anything like it. There was no point in grabbing the dictaphone to record anything because it was all happening so quickly.

But anyway, it was rather a waste of the nice clean bedding if I wasn’t going to enjoy and make the most of it.

So when the alarm went off I fell out of bed again, totally dead to the world, and went to take my blood pressure. 18.3/9.5, compared to 18.8/10.8 at bedtime last night.

Having done that I went off to take my medication, all of it, and then came back in here.

With no dictaphone notes to transcribe I tried my best to stay awake. It’s Yoan’s turn to come round to inject me with the Last Resort and to take my blood sample and last time that he came, he found me stark out.

He had the usual battle to find a vein and then wandered off, leaving me to it.

And so today I’ve been alternating between working and fighting off waves of sleep, probably more of the latter, but not too successfully either.

Anyway, I’ve finished off the notes for the radio programme that I started on Monday, and then I’ve been tracking down music for the next one.

That one is going to be much more complicated and I didn’t have half of the music that I needed. Knowing that I didn’t have it was one thing and tracking it all down was something else completely.

And when I’d done it I had to work out a way to download it and then to convert it all to the correct format. It took me an age, especially as I was half-asleep for much of the time.

Eventually though I had all of the music that I needed and it’s all paired off ready for me to write the notes for it over the next few days

The cleaner came round today and decided to clean one of the shelves in the kitchen because she found a few stains. It appears that a can of fruit has burst somehow and the syrup has been leaking out making a mess everywhere.

But cleaning the shelves is one thing, putting all the stuff back is another, and then me looking for stuff and trying to find it later is something completely different again.

One thing that I learnt at a very early age was never to put anything away in someone else’s garage or kitchen.

When I’m at my niece’s in Canada I’ll happily wash up and dry the dishes but I won’t put the stuff away. You do that and you put it in what you think is the correct place but it isn’t and they can never find it again.

Yes, in the past I’ve spent hours looking for stuff that people have helpfully put away for me. Mind you, I’ve spent hours looking for stuff that I’ve also put away, so there’s no real difference.

The blood test results are in. Having stopped the anti-potassium stuff the potassium is now back above the upper limit.

As far as the rest of the measurements go, while the blood count is holding up for now with this “last resort” injection, the platelets count is now falling well below the acceptable limit and my carcinogenic protein, which should be less than 104.0 is now at 240.5 . The “active” part, that should be less than 11.8 is now at 27.2.

So I told me cleaner to stand by tomorrow for a new prescription changing more things round, or even giving me yet more medicine.

Tea tonight was a delicious, really delicious left-over curry with soya yoghurt and a naan bread. It really doesn’t get much better than that, honestly

As well as that I’ve had the guitars out – the bass as well as the acoustic. I’ve been listening to Al Stewart again and having a play around with a couple of his numbers.

We all know about ZERO SHE FLIES, to whom it relates, this “girl, she’s almost a woman” and the man “from the mountains watching her, biding his time”.

That’s a lovely track to play on the acoustic guitar and the bass line is really good too, if only I could get it right. The lyrics are really nice to sing but I can’t sing them and play bass at the same time – as yet.

Another track that I’ve been playing is MODERN TIMES.

Many of Al Stewart’s songs talk about the pain of growing up, of your teenage years, and we can all relate to them to a certain degree. “Modern Times” is a fantastic song for people like me desperate to cling on to whatever bit of youth they have left, and how our teenage friends have grown up quite differently to how we would have liked them to be

It’s probably the greatest song of its type, not to mention the lead guitar solo at the end of it.

It’s a song that I could play, either on the acoustic or on the bass, all night.

But not tonight because I’ve already crashed out once this evening after tea while I’ve been typing these notes. I’m going to bed and hope for better luck tonight with my nocturnal voyages.

But I have to laugh at some of the lyrics in “Modern Times”, where
"the red light girls were coming after me
For a forty dollar show"

Not long after I moved to Brussels one of my friends with his coach contacted me. There was a problem with it and he needed help.

In the middle of winter so I was dressed in my overalls and all kinds of woolly clothes of all shapes and descriptions to keep warm while I went down to help him change his starter motor.

Being underneath a coach for half an hour I was covered in oil from head to foot as we did it, and was in a right state when I set out to walk home.

And as I went underneath the arches at the Gare du Nord, a “lady of the night” emerged from the shadows and said to me, plastered in old engine oil and in dirty, filthy old clothes, "hello, sexy lover boy"

Despite knowing Brussels like the back of my hand, I hadn’t realised until then that the “ladies of the night” of the city all suffered from a visual impairment.

Wednesday 31st January 2024 – AS I SAID …

… yesterday … "and on many other occasions too" – ed … it’s the yoghurt – especially the soya yoghurt – that makes all the difference between a good curry and a really good curry.

So thanks to my long-suffering cleaner who raided the shops yesterday I had an absolutely wonderful leftover curry for tea tonight

The naan bread was cooked to perfection too so I had a wonderful meal and I just wish that there had been more of it

But in case you are thinking of going to emulate it (you should have done that beforehand but not while the train is standing in the station) you don’t actually cook the yoghurt. Just add it in right near the end of the cooking and stir it well in.

And then with a bit of luck you’ll have a curry that’s as good as mine.

Wouldn’t it be nice though if I could have a sleep as good as that though?

What might help would be if I actually went to bed at the proper time instead of being waylaid and distracted by other events. Going to bed after midnight and letting it all hang out when I have to be up at 07:00 is not doing me much good at all.

Especially as I have my nocturnal rambles with which to deal.

It didn’t tale long to start a-rambling last night. A mere 20 minutes from going to bed in fact. I’d just come back after being away for ages so I was looking for a job. Someone said that there was a job going in their department, in the accounts department of a big company. They gave me the details of how to go. When I arrived I found that they were also recruiting for a musician or someone with musical abilities. I happened to notice the person for that so I spoke to him about it. Then I went and this person brought out the application forms for me but said that the woman who was interviewing was actually free at the moment and would I like to go in? I went in and went upstairs and there she was, busy showing a couple of people around, one girl whom I knew and a couple of youngish girls. They were apparently taking an exam and so was going to invigilate while she was working. She had to have these young girls settled. She mentioned something about there being an extra place so I mentioned my friend the musician. It was an interesting situation but somehow I didn’t manage to speak to her. She was far too busy doing this kind of thing.

Later on I found myself at the hospital being treated for one of my regular visits. I had to go to another hospital so they had to help me down all the stairs into the basement where the vehicles pulled up where I could climb into another vehicle that would take me off to the second hospital. I was struggling down the stairs. She was asking questions about my blood pressure, my medicaments etc, all this kind of thing. I answered honestly that occasionally I had a great deal of problems to go downstairs etc so she asked me would it not be better to go to either Caen or Rennes for my treatment instead of coming to Paris. I replied that certainly going to Caen or Rennes would be a lot less stressful for me. Looking at my blood pressure figures I could do with a lot less stress in my life.

And that’s certainly true too. The figures for last night and this morning were 18.1/10.7 and 17.7/10.7. It’s not me having a heart attack though, it’s the hospital

But seriously, when I go back for my report on 14th February I can see that being offered to me, a change of hospital. And I’ll probably accept it too. It must be costing the Social Security a fortune to send me to Paris and sooner or later they’ll become fed up of paying.

Later still, there I was in hospital going through my e-mails and I’d been swamped with stuff from the hospital. Apparently I wasn’t the only one because someone else in the ward was complaining about it too. In the end one of the people caring for the ward turned round to the person in charge and asked “is it OK if she who is responsible for deleting all these messages?”. “Yes,” he replied. “That’s OK” with the obvious inference that the Moderator of whatever group this messages came from at this moment was a woman. That was probably something extremely surprising given the nature of the forum. Anyway he announced that other people could delete these messages if they really liked so everyone else got on with the job

So no nice young ladies of any description last night to sooth my fevered brow. If that’s not a real disappointment I don’t know what is

So when the alarm went off this morning I fell out of bed and took my blood pressure, and then went off to the bathroom to wash my shorts.

Since I had to call my cleaner to my bedside the other night I’ve taken to wearing something in bed just in case it happens again. I don’t want to give her a heart attack now, do I?

Then it was off to the kitchen for my morning cocktail of medication and that ghastly anti-potassium stuff.

The nurse came round a little later. It was Isabelle today and at least I was awake when she called – not like last week with Yoan where I was dead to the World.

She was telling me that this year there are 42 official floats for Carnaval, and probably twice that number of unofficial ones.

Granville is, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, home to one of Europe’s largest carnivals. It’s certainly the biggest in France and it’s taking place next weekend.

It’s all quite satirical and takes the mickey out of all kinds of officialdom. My nurse’s float is complaining about all of the concreting that’s taking place in the green spaces of the town and they’ll all be dressed as elves apparently.

So she took a blood sample – painlessly and with no effort – injected me with another Injection of Last Resort and then cleared off.

Once she’d gone I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes.

Having finished that I stopped for coffee and bread pudding, and then started work.

And by the time that I’d finished I’d chosen all of the music for my Hawkfest, paired it off and written the notes. I’ve also a good idea what the missing track will be and I’ve written well over half of the speech for that.

It’s quite handy knowing how long everything will be. I’ve worked out that the way that I dictate, 300 characters of text is equal to 17 seconds of speech so that gives me a rough idea of how things are going.

Mind you, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have had some spectacular failures in the past, mainly because I’m rubbish at maths

Now that the Centre de Re-education is finished, my cleaner came round today and began to shovel out the … errr … rubbish. This place was in a real mess.

It’s not that I’ve deliberately let it end up like it was but I don’t have any option because I can’t physically do things myself. I really am a wreck these days, you wouldn’t believe. All the people who saw me over the summer and early autumn will be horrified to see me now.

Tea tonight was, as I said, a leftover curry and it really was one of these absolutely delicious ones. It needed to be lengthened because there wasn’t enough but a couple of tiny potatoes did the trick there

So having crashed out once tonight typing out my notes (yes, only once for all day too! I must be improving!) I’ll clear off to bed, I reckon.

Tomorrow I’ll start chasing up stuff for the first Isle of Wight festival. That took place in 1968 and was nothing at all as big as what happened in subsequent years.

There were plenty of obscure bands that played there and they have taken some tracking down. Tracking down their music will be harder still.

But I’m not going to do it now. I’m going to bed. And with my day planned for me with this Isle of Wight business, who will come along and interrupt me?

The hospital has already rung me twice. Could I change Medicament X for Medicament Y if we send you a prescription.

That was before they had the blood test results too, so once they see them and absorb the contents I can expect further phone calls and e-mails, and my long-suffering cleaner will be wearing a path on the pavement down to the Chemist’s.

How long is it going to last? That’s the question. The prescription says “6 months” but I bet that it’ll be renewed after that too.

But I don’t understand it. They rush me to hospital and give me a blood transfusion, and then spend the next 6 months taking it all back out again. It doesn’t seem logical to me.

But at least there’s a nurse who comes to the apartment to do it. When I lived in the UK there was no such thing as that and you had to stagger down to the local hospital yourself.

On one occasion I couldn’t make it there so they told me "don’t worry. If you can’t make it to the hospital today we’ll send our vampire round tonight and he’ll take a sample"

Wednesday 24th January 2024 – SO THAT’S MY …

… cure at the Centre de Re-education over.

And it went out not with a bang but a whimper or, for those of you of my age who are old enough to remember the film HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH, “not with a bang but with a Wimpy”.

And whatever did happen to the Wimpy Bars of our adolescence? We used to Zoom along to Wimpy quite regularly, and sometimes even used to Woom along to Zimpy.

But anyway, my cure at the Centre de Re-education ended as it did because quite simply, I didn’t go.

It beats me how people are totally unable to follow simple instructions. I told them right at the very beginning of all of this that I can’t go in the mornings. and so I hadn’t noticed that today’s final sessions were arranged for this morning.

So where was I this morning at 10:00 when I should have been climbing into a taxi? The answer is that I was curled up on my chair here, totally dead to the world.

If there’s a deeper sleep that the one that I had on my chair this morning, I’d love to have it. There were two unanswered phone calls on my telephone, which must have been the taxi driver trying to contact me I suppose.

But could you imagine anyone, never mind me, sleeping through the strident tones of the late, great Micky Jones, Deke Leonard and the legendary John Cipollina as they bash out 7171-551 which, starting at 01:11, is the ring tone on my phone.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, which I’m sure you are, the song title is actually the old ‘phone number of Monkee Mike Nesmith, someone whose other claim to fame is that his mother invented Tippex (and I’m sure that you think that I’m making that up).

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

There can’t be too many people who, knowing that they can only sleep comfortably in one position during the night because of problems with the right leg, arrange to have a Holter machine fitted in a position that actually prevents them from sleeping in it.

Consequently it was another long, dreary painful night watching my fitbit go on, and on, and on, and on.

At some point though I must have gone to sleep because there was something on the dictaphone. This was another long, rambling dream; but I was with a girl who was rather young. We were together and hanging around with a lot of people on the music scene etc. I was keeping a very close eye on her to make sure that she wasn’t led astray, except by me of course, but that’s another story, one that you’d all have to pay good money to hear. This went on and on and on. One night we all had to go home. I had that much stuff that it was all bagged and crated. When we finally turned up at this girl’s house her mother must have begun to unpack it while I was asleep. Right at the bottom on the floor she found 7 or 8 tablets. Of course they were medicine tablets from the medication that I take but she was quite horrified. She stormed into my room with this chariot thing and shouted my name. She shouted it so loudly that I immediately sat up (for real, not in a dream) and began to look round for her thinking that she was actually real and she had actually come into my room

So I’ve no idea who it was who shouted me, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it’s not by any means the first time that that has happened.

And so I was wide awake waiting for the alarm to go off at 06:15.

As soon as it sounded I leapt out of bed and tore off the Holter machine and put it in a bag for the driver who came at 06:30 on the dot. It was someone whom I’ve met before.

Once he’d cleared off I had my medication, including the dreaded anti-potassium stuff and awoke to find the nurse shaking me. He’d knocked on the door, had no answer, come in and shouted and still no reply and in his own words, "I was worried".

What finally awoke me was the front door bell, at 10:38 precisely. And it’s a good job that hadn’t gone to the Centre de Re-education because I’d forgotten that I’d sent off an order to Leclerc. I would have been in a right pickle if I’d gone off while that was on its way.

So after she left I spent a happy hour and a half cleaning, dicing and blanching 2kg of carrots ready for freezing, followed by a broccoli.

Sitting in the fridge, even as we speak, is a bottle of carrot and broccoli water and a set of broccoli stalks, all ready for Saturday morning and another broccoli stalk soup.

My cleaner came by and was surprised to find me at home and not out at the Centre de Re-education so she came back and began to clean it. And not having been done for several weeks, it really needed it too.

However, seeing as my condition is worsening by the minute we agreed that she would come on twice a week starting at the beginning of February, one hour to do as she is doing now, and another hour to start a programme of proper deep cleaning, like the windows and so on..

That will certainly do me some good.. It might even start to look as if someone is living here again.

Tea tonight was a beautiful left-over curry with naan bread, and tomorrow I will be having vegan pie with broccoli – for the simple reason that the freezer is now full to the brim once more and needs emptying of some of the big stuff that takes up space.

With carrots peas, mashed potato and gravy of course. It will, I hope, be simply delicious. Then there will be just two slices left, one for my birthday and a second for some other special occasion, although I’m not sure what that might be.

But right now I’m off to bed, to sleep I hope and if I’m lucky, to dream.

"Never Underestimate the Power of Dreams and the Influence of the Human Spirit" said Wilma Rudolph, who overcame polio to win a bagful of medals at the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games.

To be honest, I’m not sure what influence my dreams have over my spirit but they keep me rolling along when these days I can’t even walk. I just hope that they keep on coming because as I have said before… "and on many occasions too" – ed … I have far more excitement in them than I am having locked in my little prison right now.

Wednesday 17th January 2024 – THEY HAVE RECEIVED …

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

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

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

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

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

So what the hell does the hospital do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

But can you believe it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 8th January 2024 – NOW THAT I …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did I tell you that she was an actress?

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes I wonder if she continued afterwards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch this space.

Wednesday 3rd January 2024 – THE NEXT POSTING …

… or the one after that, or the one after that, may well be from a hospital bed somewhere down the coast of the Baie des Granvillais – either Granville or Avranches, I dunno.

There was a blood test this morning and this evening the doctor rang me up. “There’s a desperate anomaly with your blood and you need to go to the Hospital urgences immediately”.

However as I said the other day, I’m far too busy to die right now, or
"to make my grand departure
from a world getting way too small"

as SEMISONIC would have it.

There’s a man coming here at 11:00 to talk about stairlifts and then in the afternoon I have no fewer than 4 sessions of people at the Centre de Re-education. So I can’t possibly go to the Urgences until Friday morning, I reckon.

But too right! The world is really getting way to small. I know 6 people in Greenland well enough to call them by their first name and on one Saturday night here in Granville we had 5 of them present.

And then there was the occasion when I booked a room IN A TWO-ROOM GUEST HOUSE in a tiny village down the “Forgotten Coast” of Québec and found that the other room was occupied by the notaire or lawyer from a town adjacent to where I was living in the Auvergne.

There are dozens of stories that I can tell you about things like this – amazing coincidences of meetings, including one legendary one between Nerina and me in Brussels – that prove that the world is shrinking rapidly.

Did I ever tell you the story of my mother, living in Margate, who went to Frome in Somerset to visit the people to whom she had been evacuated in 1940? There was a “mystery trip” advertised by the railway departing from Frome so on a whim they booked tickets. Anyone care to guess where they ended up?

Meanwhile, back at the ran …errr … apartment, when the alarm went off I was somewhere – I don’t know where. I’d been to a meeting with some girl. It was a kind-of political meeting but there were all kinds of people there, including some religious folk. The subject of the Conservative Party came up. Someone announced “yes we reduced the price of Covid fees and injections to £1:50 so I wrote underneath it in a space where people could see it “what? You mean that you pay for Covid tests and vaccinations in the UK?”. We proceeded onwards with this meeting. I ended up chatting to this girl afterwards because someone had said during the meeting that you could receive £1500 for a Covid test under certain circumstances if you ere disabled. I asked “how do you apply?”. She replied “don’t you remember? We did but we were 2 days late with the application”. Then I recalled that I’d made a lot of enquiries with the Government departments and even sent a large pile of correspondence to one particular Government office but I was leaving the UK to go back to France so I wondered how this was going to work because the person who would intercept all this post eventually after it had been redirected a couple of times would be my father . I’m sure that he wouldn’t know what to do with it. We ended up talking to a girl about living accommodation. She was showing me around her house. I explained that my apartment in France was just 2 streets from the sea and was probably as big as 2 rooms in her house that were joined together with â passage down the side but I was talking just about the 2 rooms and paying just £4:00 per week for it which I thought was a good deal but was fairly normal for that area in France where I was living. She was extremely impressed by the price that I paid.

But I managed to pull myself together and take my blood pressure. Then I went off for my medication, all 15 tablets of it, and managed to forget one of them

Back here I made a start on my concerts, completely forgetting that the infirmier – the nurse was coming to take a blood sample and to give me my injection

It was Isabelle today and she found a vein with the second go. Good for her.

After she had gone I carried on sorting out these concerts and chatting to Liz who put in her appearance on line.

At lunchtime I completely forgot to take my blood pressure and to compound the agony the taxi company forgot me again and I to remind them

It was electrotherapy to start with, followed by this relaxing muscle therapy, finishing up with Severine, my masseuse

Back here there was plenty of work to do like transcribing the dictaphone to find out just where I’d been during the night. I was actually with a girl from school last night. She was with a guitar. She decided that we’d break up. I was totally devastated and couldn’t believe for a moment but it was certainly the case. She’d written a song about the break-up, which wasn’t particularly helpful about the break-up. All in all I felt totally and utterly crushed by the news. I tried to convince her to stay with me but she said that she’d completely and utterly made up her mind that she wanted to do certain things but wanted to do them alone but in another 6 months if things didn’t work out how she liked, maybe she’d be back. I said that of course in 6 months time I can’t guarantee where my heart would be but she still didn’t pick up the real message that I was trying to say. This dream went on between us for a very long time as I was trying to argue with her to stay, she was trying to convince me that leaving was the best thing and it was a scene that drifted all over London including Kilburn. We were at Kilburn where we decided that it was a 20mph speed limit because of all the accidents on the road. There was a lot of unhappiness and disappointment, people protesting in the streets. I was there but I don’t know about her. There was this organisation and their members erected a kind of barricade on the railway line and the road. There were hundreds of people from the locality out there on the street. No matter what I did though, I still couldn’t persuade this girl to stay with me and I was totally distraught.

This brings back a few adolescent (and not-so-adolescent) memories, I can tell you. Young girls at school wielding guitars? Who can they possibly mean?

Tea tonight was a taco roll with some of the leftover stuffing, and rice with vegetables. All very nice and there’s enough stuffing for a leftover curry, if I’m still here tomorrow evening.

“Still here tomorrow evening” sounds rather ominous, doesn’t it? But seriously, I don’t have the time to die right now. I’m far too busy for that. Here’s hoping that it’s only a minor ailment. If it’s something serious, well, there’s not much more of me that they can cut off now.

Wednesday 27th December 2023 – I’VE HAD YET …

… another day during which nothing seems to have gone right at all.

And we started as we meant to go on because When I eventually went to bed last night I couldn’t go to sleep and spent a very uncomfortable night watching the clock go round.

When I finally did go off to sleep, for some unaccountable reason that only my phone will know, it began to sound the alarm at every time that I have ever set an alarm call since I bought this phone in 2017.

So at 05:23, off it went ad infinitum until I realised what was going on, and switched everything off.

And then I must have gone to bed and left the fridge door open because there was ice everywhere all over the fridge and a large pool of water on the floor. So the morning’s task was to defrost the fridge and give it a good clean.

There was some medication in there that had to be kept cold but luckily I have an emergency system for that – a couple of thermal pouches and some small ice packs that live in the freezer.

The nurse came by this morning to give me my injection and to have a moan about having to take a blood sample. It’s true that it isn’t at all easy because I have small veins that move about, but I don’t like the idea any more than he does.

It’s actually rare that someone can take a blood sample from me first go. There was that famous time at Castle Anthrax several years ago when a more senior nurse managed it quickly and painlessly.
"What’s your secret?" I asked her out of curiosity
"In 1982 and 1984 I was Belgian ladies’ darts champion" she replied.

But the results are back already. The shots of last resort stuff seem to have done the trick and my blood count has risen to 9.4. Still a long way short of where it ought to be of course, a healthy person having between 13.5 and 15.0, but a lot higher than 7.3 which is below the critical limit.

But it’s done it at a hell of a price. Your blood viscosity should be between 40 and 50 units. Mine is 29.5

That means that my blood is as thin as water. If I cut myself, it comes streaming out and won’t clot.

And that’s embarrassing because the side effect of one of these medicines that I take is that it “irritates”. So if I remember, I have to smear it with cold cream. If I forget, I scratch it and it bleeds. And if it’s on my right leg where I have no feeling, it bleeds like a tap because I don’t notice and keep on scratching.

If things go on like this I’m going to start to have to wear clothes in bed because my sheets in the morning will look like a charnel house.

But as for the medication, I’m now up to 15 tablets per day and that’s a record. And some of them are monsters. Judging by the size and shape of a couple of them, I’m not even sure that I’m supposed to be taking them by the mouth.

By the looks of things, there are about three or four that I’m supposed to be taking for the illness that I have and the rest are to counter the side-effects of that three or four.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. Not much because it was a short night. I was driving something like an old 1924 Syracuse heading through the wilds of rural France when I came across something strange happening with a big Daimler driven by someone so I followed it for a while, keeping my distance. When it began to loiter around a set of crossroads I crossed over and went into a bar there, which was completely and utterly deserted, pretending to go to the bathroom. I had a quick look out of the window. Just then another car pulled up, a bottle-green Rolls Royce. I knew someone who owned a car like that and he wasn’t a very pleasant person so I flushed the bathroom and came out. I was sure that the Daimler had parked where I’d parked mine and I almost got into it. He had a couple of young girls and he was putting their coats on them etc. I apologised for getting into his car and got into mine. I thought to myself “maybe I ought to be thinking about an evening meal but in actual fact I’m not hungry. I’ll just drive until I find a suitable place where I can stop and lay my head down for the night.

When the alarm went off at 05:23 by mistake I was busy trying to add someone’s name to a database on the computer. I’d received some forms from someone and filled them in on-line and sent off but for some reason the image of the form had burnt onto the screen. Even with the computer switched off you could still see the burnt-on image. I was in a really bad mood about this. There were several blacklists around the internet so I tried to add this guy onto one but no matter how I tried, it kept on throwing me out. I was becoming really frustrated at this.

The taxi came in plenty of time and I headed off to the Centre de Re-education. Ophelie the ergotherapist and I had a good chat about things. She thinks that I ought to have more help at the apartment and while I’m not disagreeing with her, I can’t see how.

She thinks that I ought to be delegating more tasks but I told her that I didn’t know how I could, on any kind of regular basis.

"You need to make a list" she said. "For example, how often do you wash your clothes?"
"Whenever the basket is full"
"And when do you take down your clothes from the clothes airer?"
"When they are dry"
"Yes, I see the issue"

On many occasions I’ve been told that I “ought to be saving your strength for the battle that lies ahead” but as I said yesterday, I’m not the type of person who could sit back and wait for the inevitable to catch up with him. I’d much rather go out and meet it head-on.

Back here I had a few more spoonsful of Christmas cake and a mug of hot chocolate, and then took it easy until tea time – a stir- fry of rice, veg and some of those Chinese things, all sautéed in vegan butter and soy sauce. I’ll have to work out how to make these Chinese things when my supply runs out

Now that the meds are sorted, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow the new medication will begin and I’m not looking forward to it. A sudden jump from 10 tablets to 15 is nothing but bad news and tells me everything that I didn’t want to know about this illness.

Where will I be tomorrow after all of that?

Sunday 24th December 2023 – AFTER ALL OF …

… the effort that I went to so that I would be up and about at 08:20 – and on a Sunday too – the nurse didn’t turn up until 09:20.

And it wasn’t Yoan either. It was his weekend off so he sent his sidekick Isabelle to deal with today’s issues, including sorting me out.

That was actually quite nice because I like Isabelle. One of her children was on a University exchange programme in Dublin last year so they met up in Belfast and went for a wander around for a week. I suggested a few places for them to visit.

My memories in Belfast aren’t quite so pleasant as that. I used to do deliveries there in the mid-70s in a van with British number-plates and on one occasion I was “detained” by a military patrol while my bona fides were checked.

Mind you, it was coming back from one such delivery that I had my encounter with that student from Lancaster University that I recounted a couple of months or so ago – the girl who didn’t like Tuppence, my old black cat.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, it wasn’t really all that much of an effort to raise myself from the Dead in time for Isabelle. In fact, I was actually up and wandering about at 07:45 this morning.

And that’s not something that happens every Sunday, is it?

Once Isabelle had gone (and come back to see if I actually had some injections in stock, and then departed again) I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. The first was another dream of which I’ve forgotten most. They were talking about putting me under and they were asking which side of my body I wanted to come round on. I misunderstood the question and replied something to do with strawberries because I had a fancy at that moment to eat something like that. The discussion went on about the hospital. They asked me how I liked being there. I replied that it was far better than I imagined. The treatment that I’m having here couldn’t be better anywhere else. Again there was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately it all evaporated while I was trying to dictate it.

Those are sentiments that I would certainly echo about the Hôpital Pitié-Salpetrière – if only the food were better and they’d turn up the heating.

And then I’d been with my friends from the Wirral on a motorbike voyage somewhere for a while. We ended up back at their house. I was having to travel on back to my house but for some reason I needed to unwind because the final leg had been extremely difficult – even though we had been on motor bikes we’d had to lower our baggage down some kind of cliff somewhere in order to reach the bottom which was extremely complicated. While we’d been in Wrexham there had been some kind of riot or disturbance and they’d actually blown away a whole cliff so that there was a view from the town right the way down the Dee valley into the mountains there. We made our way down these mountains and this cliff. The husband caught something in a pool – he’d wandered off to a pool and was there with his hands in it. We ended up back at their house. They went and sat in their living room and I just slumped into the kitchen for a while. Then I noticed that what he had done was that he’d caught some kind of small fish and put it in a bowl. I knocked on the door of their sitting room and they opened it. I told them that one of my cats has a pet goldfish. I recounted the story of how it caught it and brought it home, then it had actually fished another one out of a pond and brought it home too. Then I began to prepare to leave. Foolishly I took off my boots and then I couldn’t put them back on again as my feat swelled up. I noticed that I was wearing odd socks – one was a dark brown and the other was a slightly lighter shade of brown.

Back into another dream that I’ve had in the past. We’re discussing railway locomotives. It turned out that not only did one railway company put a locomotive at an experimenter so that he could make his experiments, it put a whole fleet out to one guy and allowed him to experiment all up and down their main line with a fleet of locomotives. These were interesting because although they were coal-fired they actually started up on oil. To make them start you lit an oily rag and stuck it under the chassis at the air intake. This was at the height of World War I. There was a huge casualty sorting station – I said that it was at Valenciennes but it can’t have been because that was behind enemy lines – where they would take all the wounded prisoners and soldiers from the front line back to a field hospital. Anyone who was injured there and taken away was really lucky because the locomotives and the field ambulance trains really worked extremely well and all kinds of experiments went on. I should have been working there and helping these people shift coal around but I was far more interested reading books about this and talking to some of the workers. We even made whole charts of how much more efficient it would be taking all factors into account, including the factors of children killing donkeys – if a donkey was old and overworked it was put into a field to recover but all of the children would climb all over it and there were several instances of donkeys killed by over-enthusiastic children. There was one particular incident where I was reading a book when I should have been moving coal. Some woman dropped a few things as she was carrying the coal and told me to stand guard over it until she could come back to pick it up so that no-one else would take it.

Yes, lighting oily rags and holding them up to the air intake while someone else turns the motor. I remember very well doing that for my father in the winter of 1963. Gardner 5LW and 5LX engines were notoriously difficult to start in the cold and there was always an endless collection of old Fodens parked up outside our house at night in those days.

The winter that year was so cold that at times we had a paraffin heater underneath the fuel tank to stop the diesel from freezing, and I’ve seen fires lit under fuel tanks too.

But as for experimental trains running wild on main lines, the Great Western Railway company lent an experimental train to a Doctor Dionysus Lardner and the train would turn up unannounced at all kinds of strange places.

When Brunel was asked what he would do if he encountered Lardner and his train coming towards him on the same line, Brunel replied "I would increase my speed and rely on my superior velocity to drive him off the rails".

When Sir Daniel Gooch wrote his memoirs just before he died, he commented on the incident and said "whatever would be said of such a mode of proceeding today?"

So having dealt with all of that, I’ve had a very quiet day today. I’ve made my hash browns, for better or for worse, and despite following the instructions carefully, they don’t seem to be any better than any others that I’ve previously made.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, of course. They’ll be on the breakfast menu tomorrow along with beans on toast, vegan sausage and mushroom paté on toast and we’ll see how it goes. But I really don’t know why I can never make hash browns properly

So, tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about them, if I haven’t died of food poisoning in the meantime.

Friday 1st December 2023 – THE BAD NEWS …

… is that my carcinogenic protein has now been found in my nervous system

The good news is that the doctor whom I saw in Paris at lunchtime is keen to have a go at tackling it. And who am I to object to that? What do I have to lose? My marbles – I lost them a long time ago. In fact, I doubt if I ever found them.

But it’s nice to have some good news. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any, and that’s not a cue to talk about those three days that are missing from my blog at the end of August 2019 aboard THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR either.

But while we’re on the subject of good news … "well, one of us is" – ed … I had a really good session on the acoustic guitar working my way through part of my playlist. I reckoned that if I was going to spend 4 hours sitting in a car going to Paris, that would be as good a time as any to catch up on my beauty sleep so I may as well make the most of my own personal time.

The trouble is that most of my playlist is nostalgia-based and I have a lot of stories to tell about the songs on it. For example, in REAL LIFE my heroine comes from the Outaouais with black curly hair and, quite probably, regular readers of this rubbish will recall the name by which she might be known.

Then there’s MARY JANE’S LAST DANCE. "I’m tired of screwing up, tired of going down, tired of myself, tired of this town". I remember singing this to myself driving down from Crewe to Dover Docks through the night with all of my life that remained packed into the back of an old Cortina Estate

And I could go on … "not with a pickaxe through your neck, you couldn’t" – ed

So abandoning yet another good rant for a while, I hauled myself off to bed.

As usual, being a very light sleeper and having to make sure that I’m out of bed promptly, I had an enormous amount of trouble going to sleep.

But in between the spells of wakefulness I must have gone off to sleep because the alarm awoke me.

First things first – I had a good wash and put on some clean clothes. If I’m going to be poked and prodded about I might as well make an effort.

Second thing was to check the papers in my backpack to make sure that I had them all. My sandwiches were in there too – I’d made them up the night before. It’s always a good plan to have a few bits of bread in the freezer.

Finally, there were the dictaphone notes. Something had gone wrong and we’d had a calamity. As a result everyone in our house had to go out on some kind of visit to someone important at some ridiculous hour of night in the middle of winter. There was a big storm raging. This meeting went on apparently much longer that it was supposed to and it was gone midnight when we all finally struggled back. I was in front having to feel my way along the wall and along the clothes line etc in order to arrive at the building. I eventually ended up in the outhouse to the house. I eventually managed to put the key into the door and open it. I threw on the light switch but there was very little power in the batteries so there was barely a glimmer of light illuminating anything. I could see that this was just going from bad to worse to worse.

Later I was at the University of Duluth in Minnesota last night watching a strange kind of game, something of a cross between basketball and ice hockey. Each team consists of both males and females. The aim was as in basketball or ice hockey to work the ball down towards the goal area where you could lob the ball over the crossbar. If it hit the ground you’d have a free shot at scoring a point, similar to basketball. The net was a kind-of thick arrangement where it was quite easy for the ball to be lost inside. Then it would vibrate and shake around, then dart out in all kinds of strange directions and everyone would run after it. I was watching from behind one of the goals because I knew someone from Duluth who was taking part. Duluth was leading up until the final minute when the opposition managed to get the ball over the bar and bounce on the ground behind which meant that they could have a free shot. However their free shot was held up in the net and the whistle blew before it was ejected. I went to have a chat to my friend afterwards but he couldn’t stay around because he’d only turned up to play the game. He was busy with his harvest back on his own farm.

Strangely enough, I’ve never been to Duluth. I did actually have a passage booked on a freighter going from Ijmuijen to Chicago and Duluth once but at the outbreak of Covid all ad-hoc passengers were excluded from freight sailings and as far as I’m aware they haven’t restarted.

Finally I went into work on Monday but half the cars wouldn’t start and there was a big meeting taking place. The boss asked me to go to the Centre des Urgences to explain and arrange for some assistance. All of a sudden I had a mental blank and couldn’t remember where it was. For about 10 minutes I was wandering aimlessly about the building even ending up down in the basement again in the stores with Henri. Eventually someone explained to me where it was and I found it but it seemed to be for people who were having to travel at last-minute rather than anything else Nevertheless I went over and began to explain the problem but a girl sitting behind one of the desks shouted at me “can’t you see that I’m busy? Can’t you see that I have plenty of other things to do?”. I stormed right over to her and gave her a complete and utter mouthful of exactly what I thought of her interruption and then went over to find someone else with whom I could speak at another desk.

The car came for me bang on time and as I was struggling downstairs the visiting nurse was running up on his way to attend to my neighbour.
"Do you want a Covid injection?" he asked. "I have one left over"
Do bears have picnics in the woods?

So there I was, a taxi driver at the bottom of the stairs, the nurse and I halfway up, me with no clothes on my upper body receiving an injection. It must have made a wonderful sight, but I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity.

The drive to Paris was uneventful apart from the traffic around the Péripherique of course. And finding the correct building in the hospital complex (because it really is a maze) was quite straightforward.

Finding the entrance however was another thing, and once we found it, finding the reception was even more complicated.

And then I had the doctor, and we had quite an interesting discussion.
"Do you know why the hospital at Montlucon took out your spleen?" he asked.
"To be honest" I replied "I don’t think that even they knew why they did it"

And then I recounted my tale of woe about the events that took place between November 2015 and March 2016 with which regular readers of this rubbish will recall being regaled at the time.

But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and he told me that the last lumbar puncture revealed traces of the carcinogenic protein in the liquid that flows around my nervous system

So that, dear reader, is that.

But I’ve had to fight all my life and even if I were ready to stop, I wouldn’t know how to.

Over 30 years ago I met the old blues singer TS McPhee in a snooker club in Crewe and we had a good chat. He wrote A SONG ABOUT DYING "I’m like a ship on the ocean that’s rolling from side to side".

He goes on to say "I’ve done everything that I ever set out to do". Well, he might, but I’m a long way short of that and so I’m going to keep on keeping on, as BOB DYLAN WOULD SAY

He’s keen to get in there and fight too, which is good news. It’s always nice to have allies and I don’t have many of them.

His plan is to call me in after the New Year and have me stay for a few days. He plans another one of these really agonising lumbar punctures to check the results, and then he’s going to spend some time examining my heart.

What he reckons is that following the disastrous sessions of chemotherapy that I had and which were rapidly abandoned, there might be some kind of tablet that might stimulate the nerve cells to fight back in the same way that Aranesp stimulates the red blood cells.

However it’s not for the faint-hearted – and he means that in the literal sense. He needs to know if my heart will withstand the strain. If not, he’ll have to think of a Plan B.

He told me about the side effect too, one of which is “bad attacks of cramp” however I don’t really know whether I have any vacant spaces in which to fit any more attacks of cramp.

At one time I started recording the attacks of cramp that I was having but for quite a while now, the only recording of attacks of cramp that takes place is when I go for a day without any, and I bet that you’ve not noticed too many instances of that.

After he threw me out I thought that I’d find a quiet place to eat my butties undisturbed and then phone the driver to say that I was ready but I’d hardly taken the first bite out of my bread before I was caught in flagrante delicto

Apart from the traffic leaving Paris and on the péripherique de Caen we had a straightforward drive home and I drifted away with the fairies now and again.

We were back here at 17:50 and the first thing that I did was to have an energy drink and then make a massive mug of hot chocolate. I’d had nothing whatever to drink all day.

After a rest I had another helping of sausage beans and chips. Something quick and easy.

But after my exertions today I’m off to bed. I’m not going shopping tomorrow. I really can’t haul myself off outside after today.

Instead I’ll send off my supermarket order and add onto it the things that I’d usually buy at the Carrefour.

Discretion is the better part of valour after the events of today.

Monday 27th November 2023 – IT WAS A GOOD …

… job that I rang up the taxi company to tell them that the authorisation for my journey to Paris had been received from the Social Services.

It seems that the letter that I gave to the driver the other day hasn’t found its way into Head Office so they hadn’t reserved a car for me. But that’s now arranged and at about 08:30 on Friday I shall be on my way to the Haematology department at the Hôpital Salpetrière in Paris.

This is presumably when they’ll decide whether or not to take over the case of my cancer from Leuven. If they do, then all well and good.

If on the other hand they don’t, then we’ll be at an impasse. The last time that I was in Leuven was in September and the travelling was total and utter agony. Had I not had the support of Alison, Jackie and Hans while I was there I would have been finished.

My health has deteriorated since then and I won’t be able to undertake the journey.

It goes without saying that no matter how good the treatment might be in Leuven, it’s all totally pointless if the strain of travelling is going to make me worse. I’m quickly reaching the point where the best and most comfortable way of proceeding is to do nothing and let nature run its course

Obviously, staggering down the stairs into a taxi and being driven to Paris is the lesser of several evils, but then we have the climb back up the stairs when I return home that will negate the effects of whatever treatment I might have had.

At least, last night was rather less mobile than some have been just recently so I could have a good relax, even though I was quite late going to bed.

And there were some strange goings-on during the night too. I was awake early this morning and after a while I looked at the time on my phone – it was 06:00 so it must have been about 05:30 that I’d awoken. At some point I must have gone back to sleep because my brother awoke and asked me what time it was. I told him that it was 05:00 and to shut up and go to sleep. He obviously didn’t believe me because he got out of bed, switched on the light disturbing everyone else in the room and went to look. Once he’d satisfied himself that I was correct he went back to bed and began to listen to his radio. After a few minutes of this I told him to put an earpiece in. Then I must have gone to sleep in the dream because I began to dream about some child who was ill but at that moment the alarm went off and awoke me.

It’s actually been a while since I’ve dreamed that I’ve fallen asleep and dreamed that I was dreaming in a dream – if that makes sense

From the bedroom I tottered into the dining area and had my medication, and then came back in here to check my mails.

After a while when I’d come round into the Land of the Living I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was at a beach seaside resort with a small port last night with a couple of girls. We were standing on the cliffs watching the storm. There were some kayakers in the port, in individual or in North American canoes in which could fit several people. They were being tossed around like corks in there. It looked really interesting so in the end went to arrange for one of them. We climbed into two and were having fun in the storm. By now the boats had grown into more like canal barges and were having an enormous amount of fun either trying to ram each other or trying to pass each other. In the end it developed into a race on foot between me and someone else with a couple of shopping trolleys dashing through the centre of a town going through roadworks etc. I was in the lead but the other guy kept trying to overtake me. I was all like something out of a Formula 1 car race.

Later on I was in Crewe waiting to turn left into Nantwich Road at the traffic lights. As I pulled up to the lights an Austin Healey Sprite with Swedish number plates and huge tyres pulled up in front of me. The guy in it, an older type of guy with a young girl sitting next to him was doing wheelies in this Sprite and generally showing off. As usual I thought tl myself ‘this is a recipe for disaster”. With the lights being on red he left his car and went for a walk around. I was itching for the lights to change before he came back so that I could give him a full blast on the horn. Just then a load of Austin Cambridge MkII cars pulled up. There must have been 4 or 5 of them. They all looked in really good condition except that the paint was missing on part of the bodywork. I left my car and began to paint the bodywork with the old BMC maroon-type paint and a brush. I ended up painting the wheels with it too.

After I’d had my coffee and bread-and-butter pudding I sat down to make the next batch of hummus for the next few weeks.

And my new FOOD PROCESSOR really is the business. It made pretty short work of grinding and mixing everything up, much better than the little machine that I’ve been using up until recently.

There are now 5 small containers of hummus, four in the freezer and one in the fridge for current use.

For the benefit of new readers, of which there are a few just recently, a decent hummus is quite easy to make if you have a decent food processor or way of whizzing things up. The recipe is

  • 50% chick peas, drained
  • 25% tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 10% olive oil
  • 10% chick pea juice
  • A large handful of fresh garlic
  • some sea salt
  • plenty of black pepper

Whizz all of that together into a nice purée and then add your extras. Whizz that in just enough to break the extras into pieces but not so much that it dissolves into the purée.

Half of my batch has chilis added to it. The other half has olives and there should have been sun-dried tomatoes in there too but I didn’t like the look of them.

Having been to Transylvania and walked the parapets of Castle Bran (and I have, too) I can confirm that garlic is a very important ingredient in my cooking, for all kinds of reasons.

After lunch I had to telephone the hospital at Caen about this IRM that they want me to have on my heart and then to telephone the ambulance company about my trip to Paris.

The cleaner came by too to drop off my mail and we had a chat too. It seems that my neighbour who is ill isn’t going too well right now and people are becoming worried about her. The nurse also put in an appearance and we had a chat about my next Covid injection.

And in between falling asleep I made a start on another radio programme. I’ve chosen the music, paired it off and written over half of the notes. I can finish off the rest of them tomorrow and dictate them tomorrow night.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with pasta and veg and there’s plenty of stuffing left for my taco roll tomorrow and a leftover curry for Wednesday along with one of the naan breads the dough of which I made on Sunday.

Plenty of garlic in there too, and soaked in the garlic butter that I made the other week, that should be really good. I won’t ever be worried about vampires coming to see me in the dead of night, although it might actually explain why Zero, Castor and TOTGA have been keeping their distance.

So now I’m going to have a hot drink and go to bed. Welsh lesson in the morning so I need to be on my best form.

At least I can have a good sleep in the afternoon afterwards.

Thursday 2nd November 2023 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about the weather last night. It did become rather windy. Not that there was very much about which we needed to worry – the gusts of wind didn’t go any faster than a mere 207 kilometres per hour as measured at the weather station by the lighthouse at the end of the road.

As well as police patrols on the cliffs to keep people away, several roads were closed, including the one that goes along the promenade near the sailing school where the waves were washing over the wall into the car park opposite.

At 06:00 the emergency services and the council workmen were called out to begin removing the trees that had blown down everywhere and to re-erect the signposts that had been uprooted.

It didn’t help my sleep very much either. It seemed that almost every time that I was off on a nocturnal ramble around and about, a large gust of wind awoke me and that was that.

Nevertheless when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was flat out asleep and it was something of a struggle to raise myself from the dead.

Later on I tried to telephone the garage about Caliburn’s Controle Technique but there was no-one answering. I imagine that they were among the many people who didn’t make it into work today. I know that my cleaner never made it into town. She gave up after going 150 metres.

Armed with a mug of coffee and a home-made fruit bun I had a listen to the rather depressing voyages on the dictaphone and to reflect on what might have been. There was something about meeting people via the internet last night. I can’t remember all that much about it except that there was a warning that if you encountered anyone taller than 5’8″ you had to communicate the fact to the organisers rather than proceeding as you might normally do. It wasn’t quite as simple as that – it was a complicated affair about meeting people and not simply a dating site or something like that.

We set out later from somewhere in the North to go somewhere down South in one of the hospital taxi vehicles. It looked as if the paperwork for my stay in hospital to sort myself out had been accepted and I could now travel that kind of distance instead of being stuck to a hospital that was much closer to home but maybe isn’t as specialised.

And then we were discussing ways in which our department could improve its output. Among the many suggestions was one that we should work closer with the local authorities. I set out a four-point plan of what I felt that the local authorities needed to do with out work, which was continually being interrupted by the guy in charge. There was a fifth point that I mentioned that each side should show the other some respect. For some reason he blew up at that. he began to list all the things that he said had happened including the fact that one of my colleagues had spent several weeks preparing something to be worked on by the local authority. I asked him “if that’s the case why are we having this meeting today to discuss ways of doing it if our colleague has already done it?” to which he blew up even more. He made it clear that he had no interest whatever in listening to anything that we had to say. In the end I told him that if he’s going to call a meeting simply to listen to our complaints and then shoot us down in this kind of fashion there’s no point at all having the meeting and I was going to do some work that was more productive rather than waste time around here. Somewhere in this discussion there was a situation on a roundabout where there was a system of wooden stakes that had been installed on it. Everyone wondered what they were. Someone actually identified them as stakes used to hold bodies still when the bodies are being cremated. That had everyone puzzled as to why they would want to put something gruesome like this in the middle of the roundabout in the town.

We were back discussing the hospitalisation of a young girl, what we’d need to do to make her stay as practical as possible but a gust of wind awoke me just as it began.

And there I was back at the hospital again, back as a young teenager in the Admissions section ready to be given a bed etc. While I was checking in another gust of wind sprung up outside awoke me and made me lose my train of thought.

Back at the hospital yet again trying to enrol this young girl onto a course of hospital treatment but just as we were filling in the forms yet another gust of wind awoke me while I was in the middle of counting something and it disappeared.

At another moment some woman wanted a sink or wash hand basin installing in her house so I had a word with someone whom I knew and took all the material down there ready for him to start but he never turned up. This woman did nothing but moan all the time about why he’d never turned up, what she was missing etc. In the end I sat down and began to do the installation but apparently that wasn’t good enough either. We had everything that we needed in the end in the same place, the electricity, the water, etc. We could screw the sink to a batten somewhere. I was doing my best to have the job done quickly but she was making so much of a nuisance of herself etc that it was just making it impossible. Even doing things like asking her to read me the M number off the top of the bolt – she just handed me the bolt and told me to look at it myself which wasted more time regardless of how impolite it was etc – all kinds of situation like that. In the end I just did the job any old how. I could have done a much better job that I did but it was just taking so long with her continual interrupting me etc so I was glad to leave the house afterwards.

And finally we were back trying to get this young teenage girl into hospital ready for treatment but the noise of the wind was such that it was making it impossible for anyone to hear what anyone else was saying to whoever. It was all becoming extremely complicated. We ended up having to experiment with a diesel multiple-unit, a modern type, having it flying just a couple of feet above the railway line to see whether it would fit underneath the infrastructure etc ready for it to come into service as quickly as possible. Again there was all kinds of confusion with the noise of the wind and no-one could hear anyone else. We were having real difficulty completing these reports.

All of that and, for the first time, not a single person whom I recognised. That was disappointing. It’s been ages since Castor put in an appearance so I imagine that she’s now gone for good along with the Vanilla Queen whom I met in the Arctic in 2018. But it would be nice to see Zero or TOTGA again.

Usually though, it seems to be my immediate family who keep on appearing.

With going out to visit my neighbour this afternoon I had a strip-down wash (I’m not up to climbing into the bath for a shower after my fall the other day) and then changed all the bedding at long last.

Back in the bathroom I went one better than Dave Crosby. I’m not sure why because there’s no danger of me having the ‘flu for Christmas because Isabelle the district nurse came by to give me my ‘flu injection.

However, there could be several other reasons why I’ll probably not end up feeling up to par. But I won’t be looking in my rear view mirror and seeing a police car because I can’t drive these days.

Before I went to my neighbour’s, I put the bedding and a few other things into the washing machine and then at my neighbour’s, I showed her the letter that I’d written.

She suggested a few amendments so I’ll retype it later and then post it tomorrow if I succeed in making it to the shops. She also mentioned that we’ve been invited to another neighbour’s tomorrow lunchtime.

Back here I took the washing out of the machine and then shook my head wondering how I’ve managed to survive as long as I have.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the struggle that I had a couple of weeks ago to take a basket full of damp clothes to the clothes airer. When I came to Granville I bought a little trolley-type of thing, basically a plank with 4 castors, because I thought that I’d left the big one back on the farm.

As it happens, I hadn’t. It was in the back of Caliburn so I left the new one in a cupboard here. So today, I fetched it out, put the basket of clothes onto it, and then pushed it along with my crutches. If only I’d done that last time.

After that I came back in here and finished off all of the notes for the second radio programme and then went for tea – fried rice with some of those Chinese whatsits.

When they run out and I can’t buy any more, I’ll have a go at making them. Some of the stuffing that I make for my stuffed peppers maybe made a little differently and I can buy some of that thin brick pastry on-line. It should be interesting to see how they turn out

And that’s it for tonight. The wind has dropped so I might well have a decent sleep tonight in my nice clean bedding. And then depending on how I feel, I’ll head on the bus to St Nicolas and the shops to see what’s happening there.

It’ll do me good to go out and about

Saturday 21st October 2023 – I HAVE SET …

… a new record today.

When I checked the dictaphone today I found no fewer than THIRTEEN sound files. It must have been an extremely mobile night last night.

What’s surprising though is that I haven’t crashed out at all, despite all of that. This could well be the cue for a decent night’s uninterrupted sleep, but you know how well my prophesies unfold in this respect.

leaving the bed was the usual struggle, and then I had a good wash and scrub up. After the medication I had a few things to do and then the nurse came round for my blood test.

He didn’t have much luck today. It took him three goes to find some blood and once again I’m feeling like a dartboard after all that.

It took a while to recover from that and then I attacked the dictaphone notes. There was something going on last night about members of my family but I can’t remember anything at all about it except that I was having to identify who was who on the basis of their ankles and lower calves. That was really quite difficult.

Later on I was doing something about the railway stations in Paris, the advantages and disadvantages of going to the Gare St Lazare instead of Montparnasse. No matter which way I looked at it, it didn’t seem to make any difference because both involved a lot of walking between various taxi pickups and so on in any case. It was just becoming more and more complicated all the time

Later still there had been some kind of attack on several cities by kamikaze pilots flying aircraft and crashing them deliberately into different things as the Japanese did in World War II. It caused an enormous tidal wave which began to engulf the low-lying areas. There was a lot of film report about it much of which looked as if it had come from the San Francisco earthquake but where we were, we were blocked by a rising lake that was threatening to cut off our escape. In the end we had to retreat higher and higher. I was in my van so I was told that I had to retreat the furthest away and park at the side of the road. Even then the water began to lap around the bottom of Caliburn and slowly rise higher. The people who had watched me move thought that it was quite funny that I was suffering like this but but gradually it began to affect them too. Strangely enough the city that had been most affected by all of these attacks was Bombay because a great many others had managed to have been shot down or otherwise dealt with before they crashed.

We were on board ship at some point and the water level was rising higher and higher. In the end we were forced to abandon the ship and we ended up in a sort of lifeboat. The water was rising quite rapidly and eventually we were cut off, floating in this boat. I was singing a few sea shanties until people told me to keep quiet. Gradually we were higher in the sea as the water rose. This began to be extremely serious and it didn’t look as if we were going to touch down properly and have a relaxing arrival. We’d all be completely at the mercy of the van that was following us and the people in it.

This one concerned a ginger cat called Rusty who lived in a supermarket somewhere. This was something else that was affected by the rising water levels etc. I could see that although people had built some kind of wall of produce to keep it out it had managed to jump through and knock over a lot of these items and had ended up in difficulties. I really can’t remember the rest of this.

We were then on board a bus and the water level was rising. Several of the passengers were panicking. One of them had sent a text to his mother to ask her what he should do. She replied that she had seen some straps hanging from the ceiling, the type that standing commuters take hold when the bus is swaying around. She told him to take hold of one of those. At least he’d be steady and upright while the waters continue to rise.

I was back in these floods watching an English football referee called Stanley Baxter swim around refereeing a football match becoming slowly more and more engulfed in the water until he eventually sank in it.

There was an island off the Arctic coast of Canada where there was a Canadian politician who used to attack people and tear at their clothes and generally thrash about at them. The fact was that he had to be airlifted in and out of this island like a baby.

There were parts of the UK mainland where you could have your injections for free. There are people there who had been injected who were living until they were 103

Later on I flew out of Brussels and ended up in the Falkland Islands although it was nothing like the Falkland Islands that I ever knew. I was walking around there looking for somewhere to eat. The more I walked, the further I seemed to go out into the country. It wasn’t until I’d been walking for a mile or so that I realised that I didn’t have my crutches. I was walking normally. After a little while I noticed that there was a major road in the distance. I thought that if I were to take this road back it might lead me back in town again. There was a detached house with a garage. It seemed to be the public footpath and everyone was passing through it to reach that road. I followed a few people and there was a family in there playing. As I went out of the back door of the garage there was a young girl there with a big fluffy white cat. I bent down to stroke it. It immediately began to rub itself against me purring really loudly. The people looked at me and seemed to be extremely pleased about the cat being so friendly. The woman asked me if I was allowed to have a cat where I am. I replied that cats are certainly allowed wherever I am. The little girl then asked “were you on the flight from Brussels out to here on Monday?”. I replied “yes”. Se replied “so were we. I thought that I recognised you. We were sitting at the back talking to the stewardess and a woman with a baby”.

Later on I was back in that dream again. I rang up the house and spoke to the girl. She said that she was very sorry about her sister because apparently I made her cry. I said that I couldn’t understand how I could possibly have made her cry. If I did, it certainly wasn’t my intention. After we’d talked for a while I asked “by the way, would you like to come out to a milk bar or something with me one day?”. She replied “I don’t know if my parents would like it”. I replied “they don’t really need to know, do they?”. She had a little laugh about that.

There was a British woman working down on the border between Switzerland and Germany during the war. 2 tourists came along to have a look around the area for some skiing. They gradually worked their way into the confidence of this woman. She gave one of them some information that was important. After several adventures these 2 men flew away. Just at that moment the German police turned up to arrest them. They took hold of this woman and tried to drag her away but she wanted them to wait for a moment. Then the plane with these 2 men flew over, waggled its wings at her and then flew off presumably back to the UK. Later on the was imprisoned. her cellmate was talking to her about the event. She said “did you think that these British people managed to get away? Do you think that the British Government got what it wanted?”. The cellmate looked at her and said “the British Government might have done but I don’t think that you and your friend did”.

And finally I was back in a family last night. although it wasn’t mine – it was a happy family. There was talk about relocating to Iceland and becoming Icelandic nationals. This meant applying for all kinds of documents etc. We set about collecting the documents for them. The most important document was the police statement, that we hadn’t been involved in any nefarious activities. I seem to remember that at the time that gave me a lot of hope and optimism and cheered me up, although there were several questions in my mind about other issues that might cause a problem with the Icelandic authorities. Nevertheless it was still another one of these very happy dreams

I really don’t know what to say about all of that.

Later on I attacked in a rather desultory fashion the radio notes that I’d dictated before going to bed. That programme is now completed and there’s just one more of the backlog to do. That’s tomorrow’s project.

Tea was one of those strange veggie burgers with salad and chips. It was actually quite nice too. I don’t know what I’m going to do when the supplies from Noz runs out.

Later on I chopped up a few more sound-tracks and once I’ve dictated the radio notes for the final programme I’ll be going to bed.

After last night I deserve it too.

But before I go, there was something that I forgot to mention about yesterday.

When I was round at Rosemary’s three years ago there was a feral cat roaming around outside.

When I was around there last year it was “keep the door shut – I don’t want that cat to go inside the house”

Last night it was “I’ll have to get out of my chair to fetch that. Just let me take Myrtille off my lap”.

No-one I ever knew won a fight with a cat.

Thursday 12th October 2023 – I’VE JUST FOUND …

… myself flat out on the chair asleep. I’ve no idea why but what it probably means that I’m going to have another restless night tonight.

Actually, last night was one of the better nights that I’ve had just recently and I didn’t move around much during the night. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough of it. It was extremely late when I went to bed

You’ve no idea how much of a struggle it was to leave the bed when the alarm went off, but I did manage to beat the second alarm to my feet.

And I was right about what I thought yesterday about the fall that I had making things worse. I can’t walk with just one crutch now, and I can no longer rise up from my knees.

After the medication I came back in here and didn’t do very much for quite a while as I slowly came round into the Land of the Living.

However I was disturbed on several occasions. Firstly the nurse came round. The hospital want me to have a blood test before I go so I had asked him if he would do it. He came round to collect the prescription to check what he needed to bring with him when he comes.

Next was the doctor’s secretary. I’d written to him a few days ago and apparently he wants to come round to see me to discuss the points that I raised. We tentatively arranged Tuesday morning, but that will of course depend on his other commitments.

After that was the cleaner. The forms for this Autonomy service had arrived in my letter box so she brought it up to me. There’s tons of stuff that they need, including bank details and a medical certificate. So I’m glad that my doctor will come round to see me.

There’s something going round in the back of my mind that someone else disturbed me too but I can’t think of who it was.

Despite the much calmer night, there was still some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. I’d been away for a few days and was coming back home to Virlet in my yellow Cortina estate. When I pulled round at the front of the house there was my mother and some small girls cutting up some firewood, burning brambles etc. My mother looked at me and burst out into a tirade of nonsense about “what on earth am I doing coming home?”. She’s the one who’s supposed to be working tonight. How’s she going to make her money if I keep on taking hours away from her? I didn’t understand anything. I’d been away from home for a few days, I’d just come home and I was going to go to bed, sleep for a week and leave everyone else to do the work as I usually do on a Saturday night. I’d no intention of taking any work away. Instead we had this absolutely hysterical outburst

There was also something about a demonstration taking place going from somewhere in the Midlands to the Isle of Anglesey, coming by Virlet. Out of all the people taking part they had arrested one motorcyclist for something or other. I had a look at his motorbike. It was a big 4-cylinder thing. I tried to climb onto it to sit in the seat but found that I couldn’t. That was when I reluctantly came to the opinion that motorcycling is not going to be for me now.

Next thing to do was to to deal with the correspondence that’s been building up. Some of it is extremely important too and can’t be left loitering around for too long. It was extremely complicated too and involved a lot of research. But now that’s all done and I can take it to the Post Office tomorrow.

That’s one thing to which I’m looking forward about going on the bus to St Nicolas. They have said that the Carrefour is bigger than the one here, it’s much closer to the bus stops, which are both raised to a reasonable height, but the crucial point is that the supermarket, the Post office and a Chemist are all right next door to each other so I don’t have to stagger very far.

There isn’t much time though so I suppose that I’ll be having a coffee in the Agora Centre while I wait for the following bus.

The rest of the day was spent working on another one of the radio programmes for which I dictated the notes at the weekend. That’s all assembled now, and there’s just one of that batch left to do. That’s the task for tomorrow afternoon.

Tea was exciting tonight. To create some room in the freezer I finished off the last slice of the lasagna that I made a while ago. I had with it steamed vegetables and vegan cheese sauce. all of that gave it a certain je ne sais quoi.

So now that I’m awake again I’m off to bed and if I have as good a sleep as I had last night I’ll be more than happy. I just hope that it’s much longer than last night.

Monday 2nd October 2023 – YOU PROBABLY WON’T …

… believe this, and I don’t blame you if you don’t, but at 04:20 this morning I was actually up and about.

And as it happens, I could have been up and about before that too because I spent a good 30 minutes trying to go back to sleep before I finally gave it up as a bad job.

By the time the first alarm went off I had finished one of the radio programmes on which I’d been working and had almost finished the second.

However, it’s not all roses. My condition is deteriorating by the minute and this morning I couldn’t even manage to climb into the bath to take a shower. It took me all of my force and guile to make it into the bath and then I had a difficult task of trying to stay upright while I showered.

The nurse came round and although he didn’t give me my Aranesp (I’ve had a mail from the hospital telling me to pause the injections) we had something of a chat about a few other things.

After he’d left I had a few things to do – the first of which was to reply to a letter that I’d received from the Mobility and Inclusion Department of the département.

They have now confirmed that I am entitled to a disabled person’s card and also a disabled parking permit. They want a photo of me for the card but the easiest way to do this is to create a personal account on the French Government’s “personal space” website.

On there, you can upload a photo of yourself and then it can be cross-referenced to any other Government site. You need a special code in order to set it up and they had sent it to me. It’s a rather complicated procedure but it works because eventually I had an acknowledgement.

Halfway through doing that, I crashed out and that’s no surprise. My 04:20 start was killing.

Once I’d recovered I had a coffee and a fruit bun, and then chose the music for the next radio programme.

Rosemary rang up for a chat so I made use of the opportunity to configure the new webcam that I’d bought the other day on-line. Not that she wants to see me of course, but I was more interested in the built-in microphone. That works an absolute treat, apparently, so I can now do on-line calls from the big computer in here.

As well as that, I’ve been chatting to several of my friends on-line. There’s something going on at the radio so I’ve been deep in conversation with them making a few plans and doing some work ready for an appointment next Monday.

Something else that I’ve been doing is thinking about motability scooters. However I want a motability scooter with Attitude so I’ve been thinking about some of these three-wheeled scooter things with the two close-coupled wheels at the front.

Several of my friends are still involved with motor bikes so I’ve been seeking advice.

There was the dictaphone to deal with too. I was in something like a Paul Temple adventure as Temple himself, investigating a kidnapping or murder that was taking place in Granville at the back of the market down there towards the car park. I went down there to look and was able to hop on and off the bus but everything else came to satisfy me. At one moment a guy whom I knew came over for a chat but he said that he wasn’t Temple. There were several other people who looked as if they were either doing something or waiting for them to be clear of what they were doing but we weren’t able to identify them at that moment

Later on I took the bus and went to the St Nicolas quartier of the town. When I alighted I saw Christophe there. We had a big chat about my health condition. Unfortunately I can’t remember very much of what this chat was like. Later on a girl and I were in an office working. She had to go through a rung binder and write down certain details about the information that was on cards in there. I was busy doing something else that was much more exciting. The phone rang which meant that she had to do something different. She turned to me and told me that I had to carry on her job. I understood that I was senior to her- it’s not really for her to tell me what to do . She asked if that was OK so I replied “no. I’d much rather do the job that I’d been doing”. She said “I’ve done half of it for you”. My argument was “it was your job. Doing your job means that I’m not doing mine”.

Strangely enough, I’ve been thinking about going to the quartier St Nicolas. The bus that I take into town drops me off at the bus stop by the port but for the return journey, there’s no raised kerb so I really struggle to climb back into the bus and it’s not going to be any easier as time goes on.

However, at the St Nicolas bus stop, there’s a little shopping precinct with a small Carrefour, a Post Office and a Pharmacy. I’m wondering if the kerb is going to be any better there.

There is a downside to this, in that I’ll only have 15 minutes to do my shopping before the bus comes back so I’m going to be struggling for time. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Meanwhile, back in my dreams, I was round at the house of a former friend of mine showing him a new stuffed animal that I’d had – some kind of green furry rabbit. He had all of his dogs there. There was a cat there that was my particular favourite but I didn’t get on with any of the dogs. This cat was quite friendly with me. At some point there wa sa party about to take place so they’d cleaned up the house. I was absolutely tired by this and had to go to lie down. I went upstairs to the room where I usually crashed out but they’d folded the sofa up now so it was the sofa and not a bed. I just lay down on it any old how with a blanket over me and it was all the dogs that came to join me on the bed, not my favourite cat.

For about half an hour or so I transcribed a few notes from the arrears of last autumn. It should have been much more but I rather regrettably crashed out again.

Tea tonight was another stuffed pepper, and that was really tasty too. But that’s all that I’m going to be doing. I’m exhausted now so I’m going to crawl into bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form.