Tag Archives: rosemary

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.

Wednesday 27th September 2023 – THEY’VE HAD ENOUGH…

… of me at this hospital. They’ve told me that I can leave

In fact I could have left this evening but there would have been an issue about trains going home, so instead I’m going home tomorrow .

The train that I’ve booked departs at 13:54 for Granville so my neighbour, who is in Paris at the moment, is coming to collect me at 11:00, we’ll find a taxi to take us to the station and then I’ve invited her for lunch before the train departs.

Last night I departed quite rapidly and actually had a good night’s sleep. Someone came to take a blood sample at 05:45 and someone else came in a little later but I didn’t pay much attention.

It was at about 08:00 when I arose from the dead and I had a slow start to the day, but it didn’t last long. My doctor came to see me, with a gaggle of students, to give me a thorough going over. And thorough it was too. They were here for quite a while.

After lunch I had a social worker come around. She had a lengthy chat with me about this and that and made copious notes. It remains to be seen why she did that and what the outcome of it all would be.

The next visitor was one of the students from this morning. She asked me a pile of questions again about my mobility, my capabilities and the like. And then she had a little game for me.

WHat I had to do was to pull a few phials from something like a honeycomb, and then put them back – a test designed presumably to test my co-ordination. With the right hand it took 25 seconds and with the left, 24. Apparently those times are quite good.

She then had me walking up and down the corridor for 6 minutes, timing me and measuring the distance that I walked. I can’t remember how far I walked but it was a depressingly small amount.

Finally, the doctor and her student came back later and sliced open my lip to extract a few living nerve cells that they are going to examine to see whether there’s any infection, or whether there’s an sign of my cancer having entered into the nervous system.

But the fact that they are going to these kinds of lengths goes to show that they haven’t found any signs of anything yet and so they are probing deeper and deeper into everything.

It’s quite likely that they won’t have finished analysing everything by the time that I leave, so they’ll probably reply to me by letter.

While all of this was going on, I was transcribing the dictaphone notes. I was having a really interesting dream about a CA camper that I had. I was living in the Auvergne but the Bedford was still in the UK and I was loaning it out to my friends who wanted to go camping or something like that. Nerina was in charge of looking after the keys, paperwork etc.. Liz and Terry had borrowed it and they were saying that they’d gone all the way to Southampton and it didn’t miss a beat all the way there. I don’t know why they went to Southampton but I ought to know. One of my friends from the Wirral asked if he could borrow it. I told him to contact Nerina and she’d organise it for him. Then I began to think about the insurance and MoT – do I know if these are still in effect? Do I need to do anything or change anything or Sign anything or are they renewed? I began to have this really complicated question going round in my head about the paperwork that was involved in looking after the camper.

At some point in the early 1980s I had a Bedford CA camper, a really old one with a three-speed gearbox. I bought it cheaply because I had a lot of plans for it but they never worked out and in any case the camper didn’t survive its MoT test.

And then I’d had another huge row with my brother. A short while later I was walking past his house and he came out and began to chase me – he and his wife. They were trying to catch me but they couldn’t. I managed to slip away. I ended up at some kind of meeting where they were present. It was extremely unpleasant. In the end he paid someone £100 to kill me. He gave them the money and asked them to meet him somewhere in a few days time to discuss the proceedings. Then he did the same with another couple. He paid them £400 to kill me. I thought that that was stupid, for giving them money in advance he would never see them again despite the arrangements that he had made to meet them on Winsford railway station on the Saturday. I somehow ended up in the same car with them and someone else. We were going towards Manchester. We stopped for a drink and his wife made some food and offered me some but I refused it. I was thinking that we’d stop at z chip shop on the way and I could find something there. The chip shop in this town had been voted the best chip shop in the Northwest so there was an enormous queue outside the door. At the one just down the road there was no-one there so I thought that I’d stop and buy some there. We ended up looking in a junk shop. My brother and his wife went off to look at something but the other guy and I just carried on walking. He said that if we were to run now and return to the van we could leave them stranded here. However my opinion was that we should stay with them – “Keep You Friends Close But Keep Your Enemies Closer” so that I could keep a really good eye on them and see what they were doing because I don’t think that they would have the courage to kill me – I’m sure that they would need someone else to do it. As long as I could keep an eye on them and keep them away from someone else I would be OK.

After that, Nerina and I were in a restaurant. It was like 05:00. We walked in and sat down. The waitress came over with her notes and a couple of small cakes which she left on the table for us. She asked what we wanted. I thought that we’d come here for a main meal because we’d had nothing to eat the previous evening. She went off and came back with 2 menus, 2 small bags of sweets with some 20p pieces in them. She said “we offer you a glass of port with your meal” which didn’t make any sense at all. I was looking through the menu but I couldn’t see anything vegetarian, never mind vegan. Then I noticed, written in biro on a corner “vegetarian meals available – add £1:00 to the price”. That piqued my interest so I hoped to catch the eye of the waitress when she came to ask her some more about the vegetarian options.

And finally there was something about a van for sale. Someone rang up but they had no way of going to see it. As I was going up that way I d=said that I’d take them. There was me and the girl with me in my old Reliant van that I’d had when I was at school. We picked them up, this couple, and picked up another person too. For some reason there was a load of children’s and dolls’ clothes hung up on the sides of the van. We set off but of course the van only had a 750cc engine in it. It was not very powerful so we weren’t going very fast. Hills were a struggle. Then I was stuck in a town centre. All the time this couple in the back were giving a running commentary, making remarks about the van thinking that they were funny but after a while it was really getting on my nerves. At a certain point I pulled into a lay-by, stopped and told everyone to get out. This led to quite some arguments and disputes. In the end they gathered their things and prepared to leave. They were still making remarks but by this time I didn’t care. The guy on his own who was with us had a few things to say too but I told him that I had an incurable disease that was going to kill me so anything that I wanted too do, I had to do it quickly. I couldn’t mess around waiting. He wasn’t convinced and tried to argue with me about it. In the end I was glad that I got rid of all of these people. There was just me and the girl in the van, going to where we wanted to go in the first place.

There was also a time when I had a Reliant van, anothet one that was a old as the hills. I’d had a motor bike when I was 16 but I had a serious accident when I broke both knees. My father refursed to allow me to have another nike and so I had the Reliant.

It was quite exciting. These vehicles had to weigh less than 5cwt in order to be classed as a motor cycle, so as it had a really old 750cc side-valve, the bodywork weighed next to nothing. However we found a 700cc all-alloy overhead valve engine and dropped it in. It weighed next to nothing and so it went like stink, but it sheared off half-shafts like nobody’s business. IN he end, when I left home and moved to Chester, the Reliant went the Way Of The West and I had an Ariel 250cc motorbike.

While I was chatting on the phone to Rosemary, the evening meal came round, with white fish again. That chat with the dietician really did some good.

So right now I’m off to bed. I’m going to have a good sleep (I hope) and prepare myself for my journey home. And then I have a couple of plans to put into action. I have had a couple of ideas for the future, always assuming that I have one.

Thursday 7th September 2023 – BY THE TIME …

… that you read this I probably won’t be here.

Well, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not all here and I haven’t been all here for quite a while but tomorrow I shall be somewhere else.

What I have been doing today is preparing for my journey. And it’s taking some preparation too.

There is however some good news. You might think that the idea that my neighbour isn’t going to work tomorrow morning so can’t drop me off at the station on her way meant that I’d have to make other plans.

Before I phoned to book a taxi (yes, I really am that ill) I checked the bus times. The bus from outside here doesn’t for some reason that only the dispatcher will know, go into town or near the railway station. I have to change buses.

There are three places where it’s possible to do so and in the past, I’d miss a bus to the station by a couple of minutes. However I checked today and found that they seem to have adjusted the timetable, meaning that I have a 20-minute wait at the port for a connecting bus.

There’s only 15 minutes to leave the bus at the station and board the train before it departs, so I shall have to hurry as best as I can. But it seems to be the most logical way to go to the station.

If ever I had anything to say about it, I’d have a major re-route of the bus network. It defies all understanding that here in the walled city, where the population density is heaviest, the bus doesn’t go to the town centre, the railway station and the hospital, and stops a good few hundred metres away from the largest supermarket.

So be that as it may, I’ve been quite busy today.

last night was rather depressing because I went on several little voyages that completely evaporated out of my mind when I tried to dictate them. My brain is really turning to spaghetti right now.

When the alarm went off I was dead to the world and had something of a scramble to rise to my feet.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I had a chat with Alison and with Liz on the internet and we had a few things to say to each other. Rosemary also sent me an e-mail to say that the internet was down at her place. The Auvergne is definitely “The Land That Time Forgot”.

First thing that I needed to do is to book my train from Brussels to Leuven. I’m not going to have much time in Brussels to buy a ticket when I arrive and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not as mobile as I used to be.

Once I’d done that, I had to track down all of my paperwork and print it off, and then organise my medical folder. I don’t need the stuff that I took with me to Paris last week.

But it really is a sign of the times that even one unnecessary piece of paper in the backpack makes such a difference in my mobility.

There was the backpack to pack too. And we had a slight catastrophe because I can’t find my box of medical stuff that I take with me. I’ve no idea where that might be. I’ve put it somewhere but I can’t think where.

That’ll teach me a lesson. I’m the world’s worst at organising myself so I have to have a place for everything and everything has to be in its place. And if it isn’t, than I am totally lost.

So now that my bag is packed as much as possible, complete with food to sustain me on my journey, I backed up the computer onto the USB key that I take with me when I travel.

And not having backed up the portable computer since my last trip to Leuven, which was in May, there will be tons of stuff to amend and append when I’m on the train tomorrow morning. A mere 2,338 files, to be precise.

There was even time to finish off sorting out the music for another programme. But I’ve not written any notes for it as yet as I’m going to have several days when I won’t have anything to do so I can catch up with it then.

A little earlier I talked about my nocturnal voyages. We were doing a remake of EL DORADO last night. I was accompanying John Wayne on his travels on his horse. Our version was much better than John Huston’s … "actually Howard Hawks’s" – ed. We did so much more in the film and went into it in much greater depth. It was another one of these that went on for absolutely hours but I ran out of steam while I was in the apartment of the girl who was trying to give him false information. It was nothing like the cabin in which the girl was living – it was an office block in a huge complex and an apartment above the Bank that was there, all modern glass and chrome etc. The person who gave John Wayne his information at the sheriff’s office, which was a huge place with lots of small offices was actually one of his ex-wives. She struck me as being quite a nice woman. But I ran out of steam while we were confronting the woman about the disappearance of the gang that we were trying to hunt down.

There was another long rambling dream, however as I mentioned earlier, I’ve forgotten almost all of it. The interesting thing about it was that we encountered the wife of a friend of mine. Her birthday was 5th September. I had another friend who was also a nurse. Her birthday was also 5th September. I thought that that was the most amazing coincidence.

Later on, there was another dream that I’d forgotten, one in which we encountered the body of a friend of ours in the Stores in a castle. She’d obviously been very unhappy and she’d committed suicide but I can’t remember any more of this.

However a little later I had something of a recollection of a few things relating to that last dream. There was something to do with hire cars. Whole fleets of cars had been hired out by big reputable companies but some were so old – quite a few “G” registration cars there as in the mid-80s. They had been hired out for this event. I was interested to know whether they’d hire them out again but the person concerned with whom I was talking didn’t know. All my colleagues at work were making remarks about the vehicle that I’d hired and about me driving it which I thought was awful but never mind! There was also something involving a bowlful of the dirtiest water you could ever imagine but I don’t now where that fitted in.

Tea tonight was fried rice and vegetables with some of those Chinese whatsits that I bought a while ago. It was a really nice tea too and i’ll have some more of those when I can

Actually I ought to have a think about making them myself. They are basically tofu and vegetables wrapped in some of that brick pastry stuff. I suppose that I could make them like sausage rolls and slice them into smaller lengths.

And that reminds me – I need to think about making my sausage rolls at some point.

Before I finished, I diced the remaining carrots, blanched them and put them in the freezer. There weren’t many of them but it would be a shame to throw them out.

So I’m off to bed, ready for tomorrow. I shall be in a rush so I need to get a move on. And it will be a long, tiring day which won’t end for quite a while. At least I can sleep on the train, if I’m not too busy with those 2,338 files.

Saturday 2nd September 2023 – YOU PROBABLY WON’T …

… believe this (or maybe you will, I dunno) but this afternoon and evening I have wiped off the various hard disks that are running at the moment from this computer a total of over 600GB of duplicate files.

That’s not all either because even as I’m typing this I’m coming across more files that I can delete so i’ve no idea how much free space I’ll create by the time that I finish.

That is, of course, if I ever do, because I’ve been at this project and off since August 2021 when I began to upload the contents of ever hard drive that I’ve ever owned that is still working.

And seeing as I bought my first PC over 30 years ago and always kept the hard drives when I dismantled them, you can imagine how many I have.

It’s now quite late so I’m hoping for a good sleep and a nice long lie-in in the morning, something that I didn’t have today.

Struggling to my feet when the alarm went off was quite an adventure and I still wasn’t feeling much like it when Caliburn and I hit the streets.

Noz was a big disappointment today because there was nothing of any interest in there.

However I struck it lucky in LeClerc There are some really nice but expensive vegan burger and vegan sausages that are well out of my price range but they had some on special offer in the Clearance range so I stocked up.

Something else that I bought was a set of cheap pyjamas. If I’m going into hospital sometime soon I’ll need a pair. I don’t like these hospital ones.

On the way home I went via the Biocoop. I need to make some more hummus and I don’t have a lot of tahini. They don’t sell that in LeClerc

Back at home I sorted out the freezer and packed away the stuff that I’d bought. The freezer now really is quite full but at least it’s full of stuff that I can eat. I’m not going to be short of interesting meals for a while now.

Armed with my coffee and my cheese on toast, I came back into here to sit down where I promptly crashed out, not that that’s any surprise given how things have been just recently.

When I eventually awoke, that was when I began to crack on with the duplicate files. There are a couple of handy utility programs that help here but the files still need to be sorted and filed away by hand first and that’s what takes the time.

Tea tonight was chips (potato and sweet potato) with a vegan salad and burger in a bun, made with my own home-made dough in the air fryer.

Following that I had my chat with Rosemary – quite a lengthy one as I suspected. She’s going to see a specialist at the end of the month and wanted to have a chat about it.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. One of the dreams involved a brawl between players at a women’s football match with a few despicable scenes that concluded with one player slamming another one’s head against a wall and a table on several occasions really hard. The noise of the head hitting the wood etc in my dream was awful, it really was.

There was another dream of which I can only remember bits. I was going to a rock concert somewhere. When I’d arrived or was on my way there I’d met these Hells Angels, I suppose. One of them took me under his wing a little. I can’t remember much about it but I had to change my clothes, ending up getting completely dirty working on a motor bike. At the end of the concert I had to leave of course. That guy said that he’d run me home. I thought that with all the beer he’s drinking and breaking wind it’ll certainly be uncomfortable on the back of his motor bike like that. Then I began to change my clothes. Then I realised that I had the model of a church or something that I’d built to exhibit somewhere. The whole idea was quite controversial so why don’t I ask this guy, seeing as I’m on his right side at the moment, whether he’d like to be a bodyguard for this model while it was being exhibited. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember any more than this, which is a shame.

Did I dictate this huge long dream about writing a thesis? … "no you didn’t" – ed. I kept on being interrupted by all kinds of people. There was a deadline by which it had to be done. Not only that, I was staying in a hotel in the Pigalle. All of my possessions were there. The day was drawing on. When I finally finished I had to send it off. Then I realised that I had no conclusion so I had to think of a good one. The conclusion ended up not being very good because the final photo of my thesis was a group of people fighting. I had somehow to tie my conclusion to that. Then I still had to go to the Pigalle to pick up my affairs. I’d told them a while ago that I’d be another hour when they asked. I thought that at this rate it’s going to be another one of these things where they’ll take my possessions in charge and that will be that. There was then a queue of people all waiting to use the computer to send off their theses. Everything seemed to be going wrong. There was much more to it than this too but I can’t really remember the earlier parts of it

So having finished, I’m going to bed. And not before time either. Tomorrow I have some hummus to make and some tidying up to do ready for next week. Work is beginning to pile up yet again and I need to crack on and do it.

Friday 1st September 2023 – FOURTEEN MINUTES …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 30th August 2023 – AS SEEMS TO BE …

… usual these days when I have to go somewhere important, I was actually awake and up and about (in principle, at least) when the alarm went off at 07:00

That was despite having gone on several travels during the night. There was something about trying to download the course book for my next lot of Welsh lessons and then trying to find and download a mannequin and various poses for when we’ll be taking off a Welsh lesson but I can’t remember too much at all about this and I fell back to sleep afterwards.

And then I was with Rosemary. We’d been staying for a weekend with a couple whom we’d met somewhere who had 2 children, a young girl and a young boy. They were in the middle of rebuilding a house so I went up on the scaffolding to have a good look around. He didn’t really understand what he was supposed to be doing so I gave him a few tips from my experience and we actually did some work together. I told him of a few things that he needed to buy, one or two tips about sanding down the wood and filling gaps etc. He was very impressed. Sooner or later it became time to go so we had to climb down and say goodbye. For some reason this was a really heart-breaking moment. I remember saying to this woman and guy that I wanted to stay. Rosemary said that it’s not quite possible and we’d have to go which was certainly true but for some reason I was truly heartbroken about having to leave. That was what was most disturbing – not so much the dream about having to leave but how I was actually feeling about leaving

Finally I had to take the young girl to the station because she was going to Boarding School. When she’d been before, she’d been taken as far as the barrier and sent through on her own to look for her own school party. She was saying that that was really difficult so she asked me if I’d come through the barrier with her down onto the platform and help her find her group of people. I didn’t see any reason why not so I said that I would. She was talking about being sent away to school, basically to give her mother some free time which I knew but I had somehow to explain to the girl that it was so that she would learn a whole variety of different things that she’d never learn at home, how it would be a big experience for her and how much of a better person she’d be because of it, although I wasn’t convinced myself. On the way to the station we walked down the street past the University Library. She made some comment about how a pile of books had been arranged in a Y shape but we were talking about the library saying how untidy it was. I said that I was surprised that the librarians would let a University Library fall into this state. I was really enjoying my conversation with this little girl. again, it was another thing that I was going to be really sad when it was all over and she’d gone.

First thing was to dive into the shower and clean myself up ready to be poked and probed by a doctor, and then, having grabbed by backpack and crutches, Caliburn and I headed off to the railway station.

Luckily there was a parking space available outside the station so we managed to tuck ourselves in without having to walk miles.

The train was already in the station and, to my surprise, the coffee machine which has been out of order since Covid struck is now working so I could fuel up with a coffee in peace and comfort. I can’t carry a mug while I’m walking as I don’t have my hands free, so I had to drink it leaning up against the wall.

For a change, I was lucky with the train. The earlier train that had set out before this one had encountered a fallen tree across the line but the issue had been resolved by the time that we set out and we arrived in Paris on time.

Being limited to what I could bring with me, I didn’t have the computer but I did have a book.

Ages ago I’d bought a copy of Dashiell Hammett’s famous novel THE MALTESE FALCON but I’d never had the opportunity to read it so I brought it along.

Much as I like THE FILM which is one of my favourites and I can watch time after time, the book goes into the story in much more detail and answers several questions that were left unanswered in the film. Some of the action is quite different too and makes much more sense.

We pulled into the station on time for a change but I had to wait a while for my lift to arrive and then they drove me to the hospital, flashing blue lights through red traffic lights, the whole works.

At the hospital I had to wait around for some time but eventually I was dragged into a room where they gave me the works. It was another one of these electrical shock things that really hurts and I really hate, and it was much more thorough than the ones that I’d had before. It took much longer too.

The doctor spent some time examining the results and then we had a chat. He tells me that there are two reasons why I might be suffering. One is that my underlying illness might be eating its way into my nervous system, or else I might have a serious infection.

However, everything that everyone has seen in all of the examinations that I’ve had, the lumbar puncture included, don’t show any of the classic symptoms that they would expect to see in either of the two situations.

The net result of this is that at the moment they are puzzled. However "we can’t leave things alone and leave you like this".

What they are proposing is that I "would probably benefit from a stay here for a few days while we undergo some more exhaustive tests".

They’ve taken all of the details about the hospital in Leuven too in order to contact them about my case and compare notes.

And so we’ll have to see how the future unfolds, but at least I haven’t been abandoned to face my destiny on my own, and that’s a good thing to know.

There’s a café outside the building where I was being examined so I went and had a coffee before I was picked up again and taken back to the station. Here, to my dismay I found that my train would be departing from Vaugirard, so I had a long walk down the platform, during which I came within an ace of falling over.

There was a very long wait for the train back home and we didn’t pull into the station until 23:10. It was 23:30 when I finally sat down in my little apartment, thoroughly exhausted and wasted. It had been a very long day and, to my complete surprise, I hadn’t crashed out at all.

However I was far too tired to do anything else so I cleared off straight to bed. It’s actually 5 years to the day that I first encountered The Vanilla Queen and 4 years to the night that I’d had the first of a short series of the strangest, most bizarre nights that I’ve ever had

All of these were events that totally changed my perception of various aspects of humanity.

The artist Samuel Gurney Cresswell who had accompanied James Clark Ross on his Arctic voyage of 1848-49 and said of Captain Robert McClure, who had almost come to grief in the ice, that a voyage to the High Arctic “ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”. All that I can say is that it didn’t work for me.

But ask me if I want to change any of it.

That’s something on which I can dwell while I’m deep in the arms of Morpheus.

Friday 25th August 2023 – I MADE AN …

… executive decision today. And in case you don’t know what an executive decision is, it’s a decision that you make that, if it goes wrong, the person making it is executed.

So having a form to be picked up from the chemist’s in town and knowing that my neighbour would be heading that way, and not feeling in the right kind of mood to rush about this morning, I abandoned the idea of going into town this morning and asked my neighbour to go to the chemist’s on my behalf.

It was probably something to do with the fact that I didn’t end up going to bed until really late last night and although I had a slightly better, more quiet night than I’ve had recently, there wasn’t enough of it to make a difference.

When the alarm went off I was flat out in the arms of Morpheus. I was actually in a zoo or a circus, somewhere where there were animals, but the alarm went off just as I was starting under way.

Struggling to my feet I had my medication, checked my mails and messages, spoke to my neighbour and then tried to find someone to pick me up at the station on Wednesday.

You’ve no idea how difficult it is, and I’ve no real confidence that the people who in the end agreed to meet me are really as reliable as I would like them to be.

Today was the final Welsh lesson of the Summer and it went OK, although I wish that it would have been better. There’s a couple of weeks now before the next year’s course begins and I’ll probably have forgotten everything by then.

At lunchtime I had a really beautiful shower and then changed the bedding. I’m going to have a really nice sleep tonight, a nice clean me in a nice clean bed. And I can’t say that I’ll be sorry. Mind you, as usual, I’m sure that it won’t be as really nice as I would like it to be.

With a short while to spare before the lesson restarted, I listened to the dictaphone to see what was on it. I’ve talked about the animals at the zoo or circus. We were going off from school on our Christmas meal somewhere. I was struggling to walk somewhat of course but I did the best that I could. My friends weren’t particularly interested for some reason. We had to board a couple of buses. The one in which I was sitting was an old lightweight thing with no windows, an open-top type of bus. It set out through these icy roads. Something happened up ahead which meant that we had to stop. Our bus had no traction and began to slide. The bus in front then decided that it would reverse to go around the obstacle. At that moment with the force my head was flung outside the edge of the bus and the bus that was reversing hit me with the most almighty bang straight in the right eye. I had never ever felt so much pain in my head than at that particular moment. I really did feel the pain from somewhere. People came running. There was a girl whom I knew and couldn’t believe at first – telling me not to be stupid about all of this kind of thing. Suddenly she screamed and ran off. A couple more people came and began to give me some First Aid to my head. But there was a real pain that I felt at that moment in my head and right eye

That’s probably why I wasn’t feeling like very much this morning. I really did feel the injury that I suffered during the night. I’ve no idea what had happened while I was asleep that might have caused it.

After the lesson I made my hot chocolate and then came back in here where I crashed out for a couple of hours. And it was another really deep sleep that took me out of just about everything.

Tea tonight was a salad, but with no mushrooms (because I didn’t go to the shops today) I had cheese and olives with it. The chips and vegan nuggets were cooked to perfection in the air fryer – the best that I’ve ever made.

Later on, Rosemary phoned me and we had a really lengthy chat as we usually do. Then both Liz and Alison were chatting to me on the internet. It seems that I’m quite popular these days but I’ve no idea why.

Tomorrow I’m shopping and then I’m having a rest. I’ve been working to hard just now and I could do with putting my feet up.

Not that it’s likely to happen but you never know your luck. One of these days nothing will happen that will disturb me. But then I’ll probably be bored to tears.

Friday 11th August 2023 – I DIDN’T QUITE …

… manage to go for the rest of the week without crashing out. Having done so well over the last few days, I fell at the final fence this afternoon.

But then that’s hardly a surprise because the last few nights have been what one would call “mobile” and last night was no exception. And I was even up before the alarm went off this morning too.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and then nipped out to the shops.

Caliburn and I went to LIDL for a change this morning and seeing as I didn’t want very much at all, it was quite an expensive shop. And I mean that too.

The fact is that there is always some stuff that I need from there to keep in stock, and as I don’t go there all that often these days, I made the most of my trip and stocked right up.

Amongst the things that I bought from LIDL were some carrots so back here, I cleaned, diced and blanched them ready for freezing. And then armed with my coffee and cheese-on-toast, I went for my Welsh lesson.

It was rather a mixed lesson. Some of it was quite good, and other parts of it were … errr … less so. But now it’s over for the weekend and we’ll live to fight again on Monday.

During the lunch break I transcribed the notes from the dictaphone. There was a claim to be made for some medical expenses. Everyone had to fill in some forms and send them off. I had my papers all over the place as usual. They asked me about mine. I replied “you’ll have to give me 5 minutes while I go upstairs and find them in the bedroom”. I went upstairs to loo, for my receipts. Nerina came in and began to harangue me about this so I shouted at her to leave me alone and let me get on with it otherwise I’ll never ever be able to find it. In the end she wandered off. I carried on looking. One of my sisters then came and asked me the same question. I became even more angry and shouted even more at her. But I just couldn’t find any of these papers. I’d no idea where they’d gone. The last I saw of them, they were on my bedroom windowsill but now they could be anywhere. I didn’t have a clue what had become of them.

And then someone had their babycam monitor focused on their child’s playpen area. every now and again it would take an automatic photograph of the child. On one occasion there was no child to be seen in the photograph. What they saw instead was the family cat, a big long-haired black one, climbing up against the play area opening the door. It had obviously opened the door and the child had gone out through it and was somewhere else around the house

Later on I was at work. Everyone else went off for their evening meal. I was left holding the baby for a while while they were away. After about a couple of hours no-one had come back. I walked out down to Hospital Street in Nantwich to see if I could find them. They were all in a restaurant and had only just begun to eat their meal. I asked how long they were going to be. They didn’t know so I suggested another couple of hours. They said “no” but I could see that that was what it was going to be. I asked “what am I going to do? I’m starving and I have to have my meal yet”. They replied “you can hang on a little longer can’t you?”. So I left. On the corner of Hospital Street and the other one and I’ll tell you the name in a minute … “Pratchett’s Row” – ed … there was a chip shop so I went in and ordered a bag of chips and a cheese toastie. That was an interesting thing because you ordered and paid. They gave you strips of what looked like brown parcel tape with the price of £1:00 on each strip. You then queued and when yours was ready they handed it to you and you handed over the strips of tape to show that you’d paid. I had my chips and cheese toastie and set off back to the office eating on the way back.

Meantime, everyone was talking about football grounds from the 1970s. Vale Park came up and also the subject of the railway station at Longport. I was telling people how I’d go to the game and then walk back to the railway station afterwards on a Friday night with a bag of chips.

Incidentally, during the day yesterday I was having exactly this discussion with someone on the internet, re-living old past glories.

After that I was back in the Auvergne last night in my house. Brigitte had a pile of stuff, food in bottles and cans that she didn’t need. She brought them down to me so I was busy stacking them away in my house ready for future use. There wasn’t anything there that was really appetising but it was free so I took it.

My friend from Congleton was starting a hairdressing business and was looking for premises. She came across a room to let on a farm. We went to look at it. It was a tiny room. You had to climb up there on a weird arrangement, a cross between stairs and a ladder. There was a really tiny window in the wall. Nevertheless she rented it. I thought that it was a strange decision. First of all the customers had to find it and then they had to climb up here. There was barely enough room for the 3 of us to stand upright in it once we left the bed that was in there. It was in High Street in Crewe but the view out of the window was looking at the area with a completely different perspective. I’d never seen that part of Crewe looking like that before. It was reminding me of the climb up Edleston Road but it was all wrong, all in reverse. I really couldn’t understand why it was as it was, for example Edleston Road climbed up towards the middle instead of going downhill towards the middle as it does. We went outside for a walk around. We could see some trees that were pretty much dead. They’d been trimmed off so that they were only growing on our side of the field and cut off where they grew over the neighbour’s field. It was all looking really weird. We went back in and climbed back up into our room. We’d seen when we were outside that this tiny window was actually a large window with most of it being blanked off. I was wondering about how I could take off the blanking so that the window would look a lot brighter and make the room look brighter.

That’s not everything aither, but then again you don’t really want to know the rest, especially if you’re eating a meal.

Rosemary had rung me up at some point during my lesson so I phoned her back as soon as it was over. We had another one of our long marathon chats. She has to go for some surgery on her knee very soon. It seems that old age is catching up on all of us.

That, regrettably, was that. I’d been feeling rather flaky for a little while and not long after we hung up, I drifted off into never-land for some time. It took me a while to recover afterwards, and then I began to look for music for the next radio programme, although I didn’t get very far.

Tea tonight was the last of the vegan sausage rolls with salad and chips, delicious as usual. But I’ll have to think about baking my own sausage rolls in future.

This calls for a cunning plan, and I need to find a recipe for vegan sausage stuffing. As for the pastry, I’ll have to buy it ready-name. making flaky pastry from scratch is an extremely complicated process.

Shopping tomorrow, not that I need all that much. But I’ll go out all the same. It won’t be for long but at least I’ll have some fresh air.

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight, I’m off to bed and I’ll hope for a good night. If I don’t have a good sleep, I hope that I’ll go for a good wander around instead.

Saturday 22nd July 2023 – AS YOU MIGHT …

… expect, I’ve spent much of the afternoon asleep. Going to the shops this morning was, once again, far too much for me.

It might have helped if I’d had a decent night’s sleep but apart from going to bed later than I would have liked, I had to get up in the middle of the night for a reason that anyone of my age would tell you.

A few years ago that was quite a normal thing, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I thought that I’d put it all behind me a long time ago.

When the alarm went off I was deep in the Arms of Morpheus and I had a struggle to leave my stinking pit before the second alarm.

But once I’d organised myself (which takes much longer these days than it ought) Caliburn and I headed out to the shops.

There was a parking space at the front of Noz so I could go there without a struggle. Mind you, I needn’t have bothered because there wasn’t anything interesting. I bought a couple more of those breadcrumbed quorn fillets and a couple more packets of digestives. I think that I have all of those now.

LeClerc didn’t come up with anything out of the ordinary. There was some falafel on offer, 350 grammes for €3:09 so I bought a box of those for the freezer seeing as the stocks are running down.

Back here I had my cheese on toast for brunch and then ended up yet again with another mug of very cold coffee after several hours flat out on the chair in the office.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. There were some people outside a courtroom who had some kind of tube with a candle in it. The idea was that as they took a brick out of the wall of this building and pushed this tube with a candle through the home they could somehow hear the proceedings of what was going on on the inside. They managed to remove the brick by putting 2 screws in it, twisting it round and pulling and then inserted the tube. It went into the room and was disguised by a window shutter on the inside that was folded back. There was me and someone else in there being tried for something or other. In all probability we were going to be found guilty. The penalty for this was death, which we knew very well Many people thought that we might just be transported but we were convinced that we were going to die. The one guy with me had some plans of his own and I also had some plans. I was going to have a way to sneak out of this prison one night before we would be moved away. I ended up at my friend’s in the Bourgogne on New Years Eve. He, his wife and I had a little party. He brought me a few items of food that he’d made himself and we were settling down to have a really nice evening. After everyone went to bed I took the opportunity to take his car and drive off and disappear, hopefully making good my escape.

Later on I had to go into work. As my brother was around I brought him with me. There was a group of us who were going. We reached the Place Madou. I explained to him that it was extremely complicated to manoeuvre around here and it’ll be even worse on the way back because of the one-way system against us. We crossed over the road and I had to look for the side street. Some of the people with me went off down the side street without any problem. For some reason I had a mental blank and couldn’t think where the side street was. I tried 3 or 4 back entries to shops etc. Suddenly I remembered where it was. I shouted at my brother to come but he was too busy looking himself. He wouldn’t come for a minute. In the end I started to go and he began to follow me. We bumped into our friends again who were waiting for us around the corner wondering what on earth had been the matter and what had been going on with us.

I was also on the radio last night. We’d been doing a series of programmes. One of them was about different pet foods. It turned out that the pet food we recommended was being run down. You couldn’t find it any more in the shops. I went to a grocer’s to try to find it. There was also something to do with someone asking why were we advertising events so far away when we don’t tell anyone anything about things in the area. I answered that that’s because people in the area don’t tell us about their events. Someone asked about a special offer for soup that was available at the local supermarket. I was in the supermarket at the time so we had a look around and found the offer but it had expired 2 years ago. There was a woman working in the supermarket who worked for the radio who I asked to do something. I gave her the information to collate but she was just sitting there at her desk not doing anything. She told me that she was waiting for bits and pieces but I couldn’t understand that because she didn’t actually need anything. I’d given her everything that she needed and I was beginning to become extremely frustrated by all of this

Rosemary rang me up too and we had another one of our mega-chats. It’s been a while since we have had a good chat. It’s quite funny really. We can talk for hours on the telephone but we don’t actually say all that much.

There wasn’t much time to spend on my trip to Canada. I managed to write some stuff but once more I was side-tracked. In 1848 Bishop Feild (and that’s not a spelling mistake) of St John’s in Newfoundland decided to go to visit the coasts of Labrador.

There’s no record that I can find of a priest having visited there before and it was really only about 20 years or so after the first settlers had made their home there. He kept a diary of his visit, which is really probably the earliest erudite account of “liveyer” or settler life out on the Labrador coast, and I managed to track down a copy of it.

Consequently I’ve been immersed in its pages. It’s full of all kinds of interesting anecdotes, including reports of the first marriage ceremonies carried out on the Labrador coast.

“Nine couples were married, and one couple rejected, because the man, as it appeared, had lived with another woman, whom he had deserted, or turned off… He is an Englishman from Devonshire—no credit, I fear, to his country or Church.”.

Tea was one of the breaded quorn fillets with chips and salad, delicious as ever and properly cooked too.

So seeing as I’m exhausted I’m going to dictate the radio notes now that it’s quiet, and I’ll sleep until I awaken. There’s nothing to do tomorrow so if necessary I can even catch up with my beauty sleep. And having looked in the mirror just recently, I certainly need it.

Wednesday 5th July 2023 – I MANAGED TO …

… beat the alarm clock again this morning, even though I didn’t feel anything at all quite like it. When it went off this morning at 07:00 I was sitting on the edge of the bed dressing

It goes o show that nothing in this life is permanent. I remember not so long ago going through a phase of not being able to get up out of bed at any price and I remember thinking at the time that it’s just going to go worse.

But the way that things have turned out, then I suppose that there are some grounds for optimism. I just wish that I knew what they were.

However, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … being up and out of bed is one thing. Actually being at my desk and working is something else completely.

Isabel the nurse was the first to dislodge me from my reverie this morning. She’s supposed to be giving me a blood test tomorrow but apparently this one is extremely complicated and has to be done at the laboratory.

The laboratory opens at 07:30 and I need to be there before 09:00. And she hopes that I won’t be in a rush because these are “special” tests that take about 10 days before the results are ready.

Next person to ring was the nerve specialist’s secretary. I was wondering why I’d been copied into a blank e-mail but it turned out that the e-mail should have contained the copy of the prescription that he sent to me. He wasn’t available and his secretary needed it for her records so could I send it to her?

It all sounds quite bizarre to me, but who am I to interfere?

Having sorted out the playlist for the next few days, I wrote out a few more notes for a radio programme. It’s quite strange really but my heart doesn’t seem to be in it right now.

But to be honest, my heart isn’t really into anything much right now. All my get-up-and-go seems to have got up and gone at the moment – quite a change from that dramatic burst of energy that I had a couple of weeks ago where I was ready to take on the World.

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d revised half of my first Welsh course book. Today I looked through the other half. And I’ll keep on doing that through the summer, I reckon. The only difficulty is that with my teflon brain, nothing is sticking. I’m going to have to do something dramatic about that too.

The rest of the day has been spent walking around on the Furdustrandir, the beach where the Norse voyagers landed on their epic voyage down the North American coast – or, at least, where I think that the Norse landed.

Everyone has their own preferred location as to which beach it might be, and find 100 reasons why it won’t be anywhere else, and then someone else finds 100 reasons why it’s not where anyone else says that it might be.

The early writes on the subject, like Carl Rafn, Gustav Storm and Arthur Middleton Reeves put the beach as far south as Massachusetts and quote the number of daegr – or “days” quoted in the Sagas, and the average speed of a longboat.

However, no-one is going to sail a ship in unfamiliar waters full of shoals and rocks during the hours of darkness, and they weren’t in a longboat anyway but in a cargo vessel.

William Munn wrote a book in 1914 to suggest that Newfoundland was the likeliest spot for the Norse to have settled and when confronted about the problem of “vines growing in the neighbourhood”, Munn’s suggestion that “maybe the climate was different in those days” – the first ever reference to Global Warming – was loudly ridiculed by his contemporaries.

In any case Vaino Tanner, the Finnish anthropologist, whose ancient Norse language is bound to be more reliable that many other Westerners, tells us that “vinland was originally a nomen appellativum derived from the early Nordic word vin (pronounced vinn), plural vinjar, which signifies grassland or pasture suitable for cattle.”

And as for the critics who say “grassland or pasture suitable for cattle in Labrador?”, they’ve obviously never been to Greenland and seen what passes for pasture there.

So I suppose that that will be my next project, if ever I finish this one. To write up my notes of my visits to the Norse sites in Greenland.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone again from the night. I had a couple of wax mannequins or dummies in my house that I used either for decoration or putting clothes on etc. What people didn’t realise was that they were in fact some old friends of mine, including Rosemary, who I’d somehow managed to kill and coated in wax as a way of disguising their bodies while I had a think about what I was going to do with them. They’d been around in my apartment now for a couple of years and I was beginning to wonder how long I could get away with it if none of these people had, say, featured on their social network in that time. Someone would be bound to ask me a few questions about them, where they are. One idea that went through my head was to use their mobile phones to establish some kind of connection so that their online presence would be noted but that would inevitably draw people in to where I was and that wasn’t what I wanted at all. I was in this enormous quandary about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it

My brother had his motorbike and we were planning on doing something with ours. We said that we’d meet at a certain pub after a music concert. He got onto the pub who said that we could leave our motorbikes there during the concert. We wandered slowly home to fetch the bikes. He had his and I told him to wait a few minutes. He said that his wouldn’t start so he’d have to push it. if we set off now we’d be there at the same time. Off we set. I went into the barn. It was filthy, untidy, dusty and dirty etc, a real mess. I even found 20p in the dust and an album cover from a Who album. Trying to get my motorbike down was really difficult. I had to pull myself up with my arms and elbows onto another half-floor above. I needed a great deal of strength to do that. I had to open a cupboard, the door opened upwards, take the bike out and somehow lower it down to the floor below. I wasn’t looking forward to doing this at all. I reckoned that it would be extremely difficult. Then I thought that I hadn’t run the motorbike for years so what if it doesn’t fire if the petrol has gone stale or something like that?

I had some cars that needed washing. They were all kinds but mainly ancients – stuff that you find that’s 100 years old that’s dragged out of a barn. I had them in this kind of workshop and coupled up the hose but it wasn’t long enough. It made life really awkward. Someone found an extension piece for the hose. I put that in but there wasn’t enough water pressure so it was taking just as long anyway. There were all kinds of stuff – vans from the 1920s rotten as hell. There was one vehicle that we couldn’t really identify at first. It was dark green and big like a furniture removal lorry with Yale locks on it. It looked as if it was from the 1930s. I thought that I could make out what was a Bedford plaque from much more modern times so we were sitting there trying to decide what kind of vehicle it actually was until we could get close up to it to have a look

Tea tonight was a vegan chili using the leftovers and a small tin of kidney beans. This time I used chili powder rather than tipping the tabasco sauce in and it worked well enough.

So now I’m going to bed. Exhausted yet again and I have to go out early tomorrow morning. And I don’t really feel like it, but then again I don’t really feel like very much at all right now. In fact, early though it may be, I’m ready for bed.

My cleaner did a good job of tidying up the place so at least I don’t have to worry about that. And that’s just as well. I have plenty of other things to worry about right now.

Saturday 1st July 2023 – FOUR YEARS AGO …

… today I was on the deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in Aberdeen, Scotland (for the benefit of those who don’t know where Aberdeen is) waiting to cast off forr’ard and left hand down a bit on our way to Kugluktuk on the border between the Far North of Canada and Alaska.

When I set out I didn’t really have much of an idea when I’d be back home (if ever at all) and it wasn’t until late October that I finally returned to perch upon my little rock, having made a brief stop in Morocco on the way back.

That was some voyage. Rosemary came with me as far as Greenland of course, and HIS NIBS did the full circuit with me.

A great many of my lifetime ambitions were realised. I finally managed to visit the site – Hvalsey – in Greenland where the last known record of the Norse colony was recorded, and next stop, I went to visit Leif Ericson’s house at Brattahlid,

Higher up on the Canadian side of the Davis Strait I walked upon the site of one of Franklin’s camps – at Beechey Island – and visited the graves of some of his sailors and inspected the remains of the cabin and the boat that later explorers left for him and his party (in vain) in case they even made it back to civilisation, and I passed through the mythical North-West Passage.

Not only that, but when I had to leave the ship for a couple of weeks in Greenland when that party of schoolkids joined (I don’t have a North American police check of course) I flew out to the Rockies to continue my journey along the Emigrants’ Trail to California and walked up South Pass – the North American watershed where east drains into the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and the west drains into the Pacific – to see the tracks of the covered wagons that made the journey between 1846 and 1861.

There was also standing on the stage where my grandmother performed with a variety of famous American music-hall artists in Winnipeg, the house where she lived, the church where she married and the grave where her first husband is buried.

And not to forget the rather “strange” encounter that I had over a period of three days right at the end of the voyage … “strange encounter?” – ed … “I told you not to mention that!”.

How I wish that I could go and do it all again but I’m struggling these days to even walk to the door of the apartment.

It was even a struggle to get out of bed this morning. I was dead to the world when the alarm went off.

That might possibly be something to do with the fact that I didn’t go straight to bed last night as I said that I would. I ended up having a nostalgic session on the guitar for quite a while – blow all the cobwebs away. So with not going to bed until late, I was not in the mood to do very much.

Nevertheless I did manage to struggle out to the shops this morning. And considering that I didn’t think that I’d need very much, I spent a small fortune.

Noz was quite expensive today, something not unconnected with the fact that they had some digestive biscuits in today. They were quite expensive, but ask me if I care.

LeClerc was expensive too but a lot of that was due to the fact that I’ve almost run out of coffee and I’ve not seen any on special offer for ages. It had to be stocked up at any price, so watch it be on sale next week.

On the way home I had to call at the pharmacy by the Agora – the only one on my route that it’s convenient to visit with a vehicle.

That’s because I had an e-mail from the nerve specialist yesterday that is a prescription. By the looks of things it’s for a blood test so I’ll have to talk to the nurse when he comes to give me my Aranesp on Monday.

There’s a whole pile of stuff that needs to be checked, including Hepatitis B and C, and also the creatinine in my urine. So I needed a sample pot and they are obtained from the chemist.

But looking at this list, it’s really quite ominous, the things that they want to check, and I’m wondering if it’s anything to do with a hospital admission. As the policeman said, when he was told about the hole that had been blown in the wall at the nudist camp, “I shall have to look into this”

After I came back home and had my coffee and cheese on toast, I went back into the bedroom – and passed out completely. All of the exercise today has totally worn me out. While I was asleep I was in Whitchurch living in a room somewhere. There was a fête on somewhere out in South Cheshire and I’d arranged to go there. It was becoming late and no-one had been to pick me up. I decided that what I’d do would be to set out and walk there. It might be 12 miles but the chances are that I’d meet the people for whom I’m looking on my way. Even if I didn’t the walk would do me good. I had to sit and think about how long it was since I’d actually been on a walk for that long. I was busy preparing myself. I had a half-eaten apple that I needed to finish. I was thinking that I’d better set off soon because otherwise if I had to walk it’ll be all over by the time I’d arrive. The thing about this dream was that it was just so real that when I awoke I actually began to think about leaving for this walk.

It’s no surprise that I didn’t feel very much like doing anything particular after that. It’s actually quite beyond a joke how tired I seem to be these days.

But having drank my very cold coffee I had a listen to the rest of the dictaphone because there was plenty on there from the night. We had a whole tribe of Zulu warriors, native African warriors of all ages in the jungle who’d gone to intercept a party of European girls. The girls had managed to put them to flight and chase them away. I’ve obviously been watching too many SAINT TRINIANS films. But each one of these Zulus was created as I’d create a figure in 3D as if it was some unseen hand guiding everything around, although of course the hand wouldn’t have been unseen because I could see it manipulating these 3D figures.

It actually reminds me of the old, hoary joke
“I was playing cards with some Africans last night”
“No. I won a fiver.”

I was on holiday with a young girl and we were sharing a room. Something had happened and she was absolutely outraged. I don’t think she was all that happy. Then we had to go to the bathroom to get ready for bed. First she went and then I went. I then went back in the bedroom getting ready to go to bed. There was a little kitten sitting there, obviously waiting for the two of us to go to bed because it would join us. It looked ever so cute. The girl seemed to be pleased to see it. We got into bed and the kitten joined us. Next morning we were in like a restaurant looking out of the window. We weren’t sure which town we could see. Someone asked me if it was Kherson. I said that Kherson was somewhere “over there. It might be Almaty or something”. While we were talking away 3 people took our seats. We said “hey we were sitting there”. The woman there said “you were talking Welsh. I didn’t realise what language you were talking”. In the end because the place was so full we all squidged up and sat around this table, all of us. One of their children came to join us too so we were all really crammed into this little café restaurant type of place like sardines.

Finally it was the birthday of a couple of kids. They were 11. They’d had a bike each for their birthday. Their father was really angry and annoyed because he said that the bikes were wrong. Someone tried to explain everything to him but he wouldn’t listen so they wandered away. he turned round to me to say this is what they said etc, laughing. I replied “you’ll probably find it even more funny when you find out later that they are totally correct” at which point he went berserk. In the end we bought two new bikes and measured them. There was absolutely no doubt about the measurements. We began to assemble them right in front of him. They went together completely naturally just as they ought to do with no adjustment or manoeuvre. It was quite obvious that the measurements for the 2 bikes that he’d been given had been perfectly correct.

That’s not all that happened last night but you really don’t want to know the rest, especially if you are eating your evening meal or something.

Later on I was invited out to visit some neighbours. There was a nice couple who were living here when I first moved in but my reputation had clearly preceded me because they left a short while after I arrived. But they were visiting so we were all invited for a chat.

Usually I’m not a very sociable person, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I forced myself and stayed for a couple of hours and that surprised even me.

Consequently my evening meal was late. Chips and salad and one of these soya burgers in breadcrumbs. That’s the last of that batch and I’ll have to start now on the ones that I bought a few weeks ago

So later than usual, I’m off to bed. It’s Sunday so I can have a lie-in and won’t that be nice? I must say that I can do with one, especially if I can go on some exciting voyages.

It’s quite a shame really that all of the excitement that ever happens to me these days takes place when I’m asleep. At least they haven’t descended into the chaos felt by the poet Charles Sorley at the Battle of Loos
“When You See Millions Of The Mouthless Dead
Across Your Dreams In Pale Battalions Go …”

Sunday 25th June 2023 – HAVING AWOKEN THIS …

… morning at 11:00, anyone would think that I’d had a decent night’s sleep last night.

However, having not gone to bed until 04:00 and probably later, and not having gone to sleep straight away either once I did go to bed, then leaving my stinking pit at 11:00 is something of a miracle.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. There was something going on out at Crewe Hall to do with World War II and the Air Force, whether or not it was a flying station I don’t know. I can’t remember it now but certainly it figured in the concept of World War II aeroplanes.

Then I was off to Labrador in a very confusing dream. It concerned people, a couple who separated because the guy wanted to live with someone else. That upset his children and then someone who found new novel ways of keeping his door closed so that no-one could open it and go into his room etc but I can’t remember it very clearly at all.

By the sound of things I wasn’t having a good night from that point of view.

Later on I’d been to see a house for sale in Middlewich. We had a little chat about it. I liked it very much but I couldn’t afford it even though I possibly could. We kept on having a look every time we went past. On one occasion I was there and met a guy and his young son. We went for a walk in the countryside past the old industrial area. There was a really good view of this house from there and we thought that it would make a really nice photo except that it would look really bleak in the winter from here. The sun was burning down and we were wearing shorts, no tee shirt. We came to a bird’s nest. We’d heard some birds listening to a radio which we couldn’t understand. It seemed that some bird had taken someone’s radio and flown off with it. We reached the nest with all these birds in it who seemed to be quite friendly. There was something at the bottom but I couldn’t see what it was. One of the birds interested me. It was dark green with flecks of bright red in its feathers. I was trying to identify it because I didn’t have a clue what it was.

At another point I’d been round at my niece’s and her husband. They were talking away about all kinds of things. I noticed on the wall a list of towns. One had a really bizarre name that rang a bell with me. I said to her husband “I know all about that town. Isn’t there some kind of huge hospital to which people travel from miles around and they are always on the lookout for people living in the area who would take in boarders who would come to the hospital? I was offered a job there once as a driver for the hospital transport. He wanted to know why I didn’t take it as a way of coming into the country. I explained that it’s only once you’ve had your resettlement interview when you’ve actually arrived that you’re referred to places like this for work. I said that I couldn’t have a resettlement interview because I was too old

Despite it being a Sunday I’ve actually been quite busy today – once I actually dragged myself into the Land of the Living. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, getting out of bed is one thing. Being awake is something else entirely.

So today I’ve had a cookery session.

And by the time that I’d finished I had a huge pile of fruit bread and a big batch of chocolate and ginger biscuits. The biscuits are excellent – I baked some of the offcuts in the air fryer and had a sample and the fruit bread looks really good too but I’ll tell you more about that in due course.

But once again, just at the very moment when I sat down for a little rest, Rosemary rang me for a chat. So another one of our marathon sessions that meant that I ended up with everything backwards. I’d timed the cooking routine and procedure down to the last second but hadn’t anticipated a phone call.

Tonight’s pizza was another excellent one. I’ve really got the hang of that now, which is no surprise after all of the time that I’ve spent developing my technique

So tomorrow I have the nurse coming round to inject me now that I have my new supply of Aranesp. So I’d better have a shower first thing in the morning to make sure that I smell nice. And then I hope that I can finish off sorting out all of the files and directories on the computer now that I’ve upgraded it so that I can crack on with some work.

High time that I got myself into gear.

Monday 19th June 2023 – I’M ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED …

… that when Rosemary came to stay here for a few days a few years ago she installed a camera somewhere in the apartment.

Just when I was sitting down after having my tea tonight she called me on the telephone. And we ended up having another one of our marathon chats putting the World to rights.

Not that whatever we say will make any difference.

Last night in bed didn’t make much of a difference either. Although I was in bed at some kind of realistic time it took me an age to go off to sleep.

Once I did though I was well away with the fairies because when the alarm went off I was a long way away. But would you believe – as soon as I sat upright it completely wiped away everything that had been going on.

After the medication I went and had a shower and a general clean-up because the nurse was coming. The usual one was away today so he sent his deputy.

She’s quite a nice woman and I like her very much. Not only was the injection quite painless, she had no difficulty whatsoever taking my blood sample. And that’s a real surprise judging how things usually go.

For much of the day, whenever I felt in the mood because it wasn’t all that often, I’ve been wandering around Cartwright in Labrador. I’m out of the cemetery and I went to inspect the site of George Cartwright’s house and Samuel Fequet’s trading post.

But I also spent a lot of time talking about “Pinetree” – the early warning radar station that the Americans built in 1951 to detect and intercept nuclear missiles coming over the North Pole towards the USA.

Many people wondered how thick the plain brown envelopes were that were passed underneath the table that convinced Canadian politicians to be prepared to sacrifice the lives of their own Inuit and Métis citizens to protect the lives of citizens of someone else’s country.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I was with 2 really old women who had lodged a complaint with a department about one of their acquaintances who had been defrauding the Government of thousands of pounds of money in respect of some kind of fraudulent claims. I went to meet them and they took me round all the joints that had been affected and how much this woman had claimed from here and how much from there. It was quite clear that these women were totally out of their tree quite happily pointing out places “this is where I came to grief when I claimed for something else” and the other one saying “yes I came to grief over there”. It’s obvious that they were just as crooked as the woman about whom they were complaining and had presumably been caught so were getting their own back. I was listening and making notes while they were rambling and we were walking around the town looking at these places. At one point we came to a big wide road and had to wait for ages to find a gap to cross. There were all kinds of vehicles going past including 6 Morris Minor Travellers driving to close to each other that I wondered how on earth they managed it. Eventually when there were some cyclists coming past I grabbed hold of them and we dashed across the road at that point. I told them that I had to go so I asked if they had their cameras ready we could take a photo of the place they wanted to photograph, I’d finish my notes and then go but I couldn’t hang around any longer. It was a really strange occurrence with these women.

Then I was at my German friend’s the other day. We’d been doing some work. I’d ended up with a pile of scrap paper, a huge mound of coins, loose change, all that sort of thing. It was late at night and everyone was quiet. He handed out some DVD Player things and we all sat and watched different DVDs. There was a football match on somewhere and I was hoping to be able to tune my DVD player into it so I could watch it but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. In the end we decided that I’d go home but try to pack away my stuff in the dark was quite impossible. I was getting the coins everywhere, the scrap paper everywhere etc. In the end I had to say to my friend “don’t worry if you find anything of mine lying around here. You can bring it to me tomorrow”. He said something about the coins so I said “that’s not important” and still tried to pack away everything in the dark and failing miserably.

At some point I’d been to Tubize in Belgium and saw some really nice houses there that were fairly cheap. I thought “why didn’t I buy one of these?”. We had to walk to the nearest town to do our shopping so I set off and followed a few other people who were doing this. We had to walk up a bank up some steps and across a railway line. That was extremely difficult for me with my knees. On the other side on the path a couple of girls were going that way so I began to talk to them. I asked if Tubize was in the Flemish zone because I wanted to learn Flemish. That would have been ideal had I moved there. In the distance was a big tower that looked at first like Blackpool Tower in the distance. It turned out to be a fire-watching post for the forest. I noticed that the distance from Tubize to this town was incredibly long, much longer than I was expecting. I thought that if I’d done all my shopping here how on earth would I carry it back? I should really have gone and covered this distance in Caliburn and I would have done had I known

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper cooked in the air fryer. And as it was an unfrozen one that I’d bought on Friday I only set the timer for 12 minutes. The stuffing wasn’t quite cooked and the pepper was slightly singed so I should really have cooked it for longer on a lower heat.

But like anything else, using the air fryer is all trial and error and I’ll have it right one of these days.

But for pudding it was more ice cream and cinnamon roll. That was a good deal, I reckon, buying that.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson but I’ll be going late because at 10:15 I have an appointment with the nerve specialist. I know what he’s going to tell me and it won’t be good news, but it won’t make much of a difference. Things are as they are and I have to make the best of it.

But in other news, while we’re on the subject of the Welsh lessons … “well, one of us is” – ed … the Summer School information was published on the internet this evening. I’ve wasted no time and signed up for a week in July.

A whole week’s Zoom lessons for £25:00 is good value in anyone’s currency and I should have to do it more often. It’s the only way that I can concentrate this days. I don’t seem to have the motivation when I’m on my own.

Wednesday 7th June 2023 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

When I was going through the freezer yesterday I took some stuff out while I looked for something in there. This morning I found that I hadn’t put the pizza dough back and it had defrosted.

There are some things that you shouldn’t refreeze one they have defrosted so I checked with Liz, and apparently dough is one of them. So I had to bake the empty shell part-way through and then try to make some room in the freezer so that it would fit.

Whether it works or not I really don’t know, but we’ll find out on Sunday, I reckon.

And while we’re on the subject of working … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was working today. And in fact, just for a change, I had a good day too.

It started off quite well because once more I was up and about before the alarm went off.

And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I made a start.

Much of the day has been spent on the Canada 2017 project. Today I’ve been in Heart’s Content in Newfoundland, the site of coming ashore of the first Transatlantic communications cable in 1858

Although that one only worked for a few weeks, several others were laid that came ashore there subsequently, the first in 1866 laid by the steamer Great Eastern, one of Brunel’s leviathans that although a resounding success from a sailing point of view, was an economic disaster as a passenger vessel.

Somewhere else I visited was the town of Dildo, a very popular holiday resort for single ladies from a certain Greek island but contrary to rumours, not twinned with Fücking in Austria nor Orgy in the Auvergne nor Condom in South West France.

It might have a close relationship with Grandes Piles in Québec though

A third place that I visited in Newfoundland today was a site called Come-by-Chance, the place of the first recorded meeting between the European settlers and the Beothuk natives. Something that the natives didn’t live to regret because by 1829 the whole tribe had been exterminated.

The cleaner came round this afternoon and gave me the news about my neighbour. Apparently there are some little signs of improvement and that’s good news She actually went for a little walk with my cleaner for a brief moment yesterday, the first time that she’s been out of doors since her fall.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I might not be doing so well but there are people far worse off than me.

And I had to redo a radio programme today. The one that I was due to send off this week was suffering from this muffled bass issue that seems to have sprung up. Luckily I found the master files and so it didn’t take me as long as I might had I had to do it all from scratch again.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. I was checking the times of the buses because I had to go to hospital. There was a bus from here that arrived there in time but coming back was going to be something of a lottery. I was chatting to some people whom I knew about that. They asked me why I didn’t think about taking the bus at the hospital and carry on the route instead of coming back so that I’d go all the way round. I explained the the bus’s terminus was in Baschurch, absolutely miles away. If I had to go out all the way there where I could catch a bus back I’d be out there for ever. It won’t be a case of a simple one-day bus trip.

I was walking around a town somewhere. I bumped into a couple whom I know and a few other people. We all went for a coffee and chatted about these car boots that you fit to steering wheels to prevent people stealing them. There had been a new one on the market just recently and someone had written a report about how easy they were to take off. I suddenly realised that a while ago I’d had to take one off a car so that we could move it. It was quite easy too. They were on sale in this newspaper for £10:00 each. We had a lengthy discussion about these car boots. In the end I asked this couple what they were doing around town. They said that they’d come to buy a camera because I had theirs. “Oh dear” I said. “I can’t remember having it. I should have looked”. Just then a caravan came down the street, a big huge thing being towed by a car. It had outriggers on it to stop it overturning. It went round the corner and a little girl with us said “oh look it has a flagpole”. I said that if it were to go on a campsite it would have to pay extra for the pole. The girl was so surprised but the couple said “yes, you have to pay extra for that”.

As well as speaking to Liz and the cleaner today, I’ve also been speaking to my niece and I’ve had another marathon chat with Rosemary. Her Ukrainian refugee family had been with her a year at the end of May and so were obliged to move on. Somewhere more relevant has been found for them and they left on Tuesday

My niece was telling me that her husband has had to have surgery and will be away from work for quite a while. He’ll find that extremely difficult because I’ve known him for 30 years and I’ve never ever seen him idle

Tea was another leftover curry with half a helping from the freezer, accompanied by one of a batch of naan bread that I made this afternoon. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be troubled by vampires thanks to how I made it. It’s pretty wild.

Tomorrow I’m going to carry on with my Canada 2017 stuff. I have a visit planned to the site of the deadliest aircraft disaster in Canada.

But right now, later than intended, I’m off to bed. I’ve done enough for today and I’m exhausted. And I’ll have to work on my fitness because there’s shopping to do at the weekend and I have to be on some kind of form for that.

Thursday 1st June 2023 – MY LASAGNE …

… for tea tonight was actually quite good.

There’s room for improvement of course but bearing in mind that this is the first one that I’ve made since I was living in Reyers more than 25 years ago, it was by no means disappointing.

There wasn’t enough filling, but that’s a minor problem. There’s enough food left nevertheless to make two more meals so it’s just as well that it worked.

What I did was to put some lentils in the slow cooker and slowly bring them to the boil. Then they were rinsed and put back in with clean water and some basil, oregano and tarragon. Mind you, I almost forgot to rinse them and had to leave my comfortable bed to do that.

Later on this afternoon I added some bulghour and later still, because there was still plenty of water, I added some porridge oats to soak it up and stiffen the mix.

At teatime I fried an onion and garlic with more of the herbs, added my mix from the slow cooker and some tomato concentrate, then layered alternate layers of pasta sheet and my cooked mix, topped it off with a thick cheese sauce and baked it in the oven, and away we went.

During the night I went away too. So much so that for a change just recently I wasn’t up before the alarm. It awoke me with a start when it went off but I didn’t hang around at all in bed.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone notes. And I really Had been away. Back at Hogwarts at one point too during the night with HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE seeing the kids at their dance. Ron had split up from Lavender Brown. There was another girl there who was sulking for some reason or other. Ron went to ask her to dance but she replied “they aren’t playing our tune”. All her friends told him to leave her alone. Just then the music started to play it so a couple of people went to dance her and missed. She moved away. I don’t know what happened to Ron and this girl then but Hermione was there dancing with someone whom I didn’t know when the dance floor collapsed. They carried on dancing and it looked as if they would dance into the ladies’ lavatory. Someone just coming out of the door said to hermione “do you want some paper as well?”. It all was very strange.

Back in Harry Potter again later and there was something about spying on someone’s house. It was very difficult to do. There was a fallen tree with its branches and we had to hide ourselves in the fallen tree’s branches to do it. We piled into a car and set out to drive. There was a lot of traffic and I was weaving in and out of it and almost had a collision with someone. They went in front of me and put their brakes on to slow down so I did too. We had a slow drive with all the traffic on the road. We came to Barbridge where there was a fallen tree in the middle of the road. I said to the others “lock your doors and hang on because this is a trap” thinking that someone had cut down the tree for it to fall across the road to stop us and ambush us when we left the vehicle to see what was happening.

Later still I’d seen an AC Cobra for sale in the local newspaper so Laurence and I went round to see it with Roxanne. It was somewhere off nantwich Road in Crewe so we eventually managed to find the house. We walked straight into the house without knocking. We found the car in a downstairs room covered by a blanket. First of all my taxi detector wouldn’t work. Then I realised that an AC Cobra wouldn’t have been a taxi anyway. Found the guy and his wife sitting in a room next door, not in the least perturbed by the fact that we were in their house. We went back into the room and began to look around at this vehicle. He told me that he wanted £30,000 for it, which I thought was cheap. But that turned out to be the deposit to take it for a test drive – it was really £250,000. There was no way that I could afford that. I pretended that I was interested and got down to look underneath it. It was quite badly rotten around the edges. I thought to myself “he’s asking for a lot of money for something in this kind of condition. Even if I were to buy it, I didn’t have the mobility to crawl around underneath it with welding tackle etc these days. There’s no way that I could consider this vehicle” but I wasn’t going to tell him that until I’d had a good look around to find out what else was wrong.

I was back in this dream again later on and we were leaving. Down at the bus station was a bus going to Mold. We were saying our goodbyes but the driver prepared to close the doors. This woman and I ran to the door and scrambled aboard. We had a look for the guy who was with us but he wasn’t on board. By now the bus had set off. I thought “never mind. We’re on here and Roxanne is on here”. I asked for two and a half to Mold. he smiled and said “I’m not going to Mold”. “Well, take us to wherever you’re going”. He gave me two and a half tickets which came to 11/-. The first thing that I did was seeing as I had some money ready I said that I’d give him the shilling but it was a £10 note. Then I had a 10/- note for him. He looked at me and asked “is that correct?”. I suddenly realised that I’d done, took the £10 note back and gave him 1/-. I went to sit down and to worry about contacting the other guy later. There were 2 boys on the bus who made some kind fo remark about me handing over a £10 note and how did I spot it from that distance? I replied “when you reach a certain age you don’t look at the money, you can smell the difference between the notes.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent on Day Two of my 2017 trip to North America and the page is practically finished. However, we did hit an obstruction.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one thing always leads to another, and once you start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are.

The subject of Marguerite de Bourgeoys cropped up on that web page.

She was a big friend of Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal and she was on one of the very first emigrant voyages to Nouvelle France where she occupied herself with spiritual works and the welfare of the filles du roi, the young girls from orphanages who were sent out to become brides for the soldiers who remained there to settle after having been discharged from the army.

They both came from Troyes which was on my shuttle route between Virlet and Brussels so on the very last time that I drove the route, instead of doing it overnight as I usually did, I took a whole week and visited every place of interest that I could find along the way.

One of the places that I visited was the family home of the Chomedeys and I found all of my photos. But seeing as Troyes is such a beautiful old town I took dozens of photos of many old house and I couldn’t remember which one was his.

No trace of the notes that I made, which was a surprise – especially as they were written up from the following day all the way back to Virlet.

In the end, I had to dive back into the bowels of the back-up disk and find the dictaphone recordings from the journey and re-transcribe the notes for the relevant day and mate them to the photos.

That’s another project that I’ll have to do one of these days. The road between the Belgian border at Rocroi and down to Nevers is one of the most beautiful and historic in all of France. I had a plan that when I was stuck for something to do (whenever that might be) I’d pick a long road like that, explore it thoroughly and write a book about it.

The TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY was done in 2010, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and I’m doing Version 2.0 even as we speak.

After that, I wrote a pile of stuff about Lanouiller and de Bécancour’s CHEMIN DU ROY between Montreal and the city of Québec and all the way down the “Forgotten Coast” as far as it’s possible to go.

The road between Rocroi and Nevers was to be the third of the trilogy but ill-health and feeling sorry for myself somehow conspired to get in the way of all of my plans.

Someone else for whom I was feeling sorry for was the physiotherapist. He came by at 17:00 to tell me that he’s busy and will be back at 19:30. That was a major inconvenience, disrupting my evening like that and I made sure that he knew.

Rosemary phoned me at lunchtime and we had another one of our marathon chats that go on for ever. She’s being swept up by the turn of events and it’s not easy for “a stranger in a strange land” to deal with some of the things that go on. It’s not something that bothers me too much because I couldn’t care less, but Rosemary is much more sensible and focused than I ever am.

After she hung up, I went for a shower to clean myself up ready for His Nibs to come round and put me through my paces

As I mentioned earlier, tea was delicious. And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I have to nip into town which will do me good. And then I have to carry on with Canada 2017 and sort out the mess that will be Trans-Labrador Highway Version 2.0

So once I finish that I’ll have to do Rocroi-Nevers next, then carry on with the Arctic stuff, go back and carry on with the Emigrant Trails stuff, organise the Grand Banks trips and probably 1000 other things too.

Never mind anything else – I’m far too busy to die right now.