Tag Archives: shower

Wednesday 10th January 2024 – IT’S AMAZING …

… how much of a big difference a couple of little actions can make. And that’s something that I’m going to remember for the future, that’s for sure.

This morning, they brought me two bread rolls for breakfast. And a couple of hours later they brought me a mid-morning coffee. You really have no idea and can’t possibly imagine how much those little gestures have meant to me and how much they have improved my morale from yesterday’s miserable efforts.

Mind you, I did have a shower and clothes-washing session in between. Years of living on the road has taught me to take advantage of every shower that comes my way because sometimes they are hard to find. And when you do find a shower, take your clothes in with you and give them as good a wash as you possibly can.

That’s an old tip that I learnt from the Bible –
"while shepherds washed their socks one night
all seated round the tub
the Angel of the Lord came down
and gave them all a scrub."

Something else that cheered me up were the messages that I received yesterday

Sean wrote to me to say what a horrible night Monday must have been and to keep my chin up for things can only improve. And he was right this morning, as I have already said. That bread roll and coffee, and your message, cheered me up immeasurably.

Grahame’s message cheered me up too. In fact it made me laugh. I’d been talking about hallucinating and Hawkwind, and he wanted to tell me about the time that he did both together many years ago. I thought that that was an avenue down which it was unwise to go any further.

But it did remind me of the time that Nerina took me to see Hawkwind at Keele University one night. Nerina is quite a bit younger than me so when the band came onstage she rushed to the front like all the young’uns do.

After a while she came to look for me and found me standing at the back
"Why don’t you come to the front?" she asked. "The view is so much better there"
"That’s as may be" I replied " but hey! The smell is so much better at the back, man."

Rhys wrote to me a short while ago but his message is buried under … gulp … 450-odd others that have come in while I’ve been busy sorting out transport and all that kind of thing.

He thinks that I’ll outlive everyone else who has had this illness and set new records. Well, I didn’t feel like that yesterday but a good night’s sleep and my bread roll and coffee fired me with a new enthusiasm, and who knows? It won’t be for the want of trying, and it won’t be for the lack of support either, medical or moral. Not that “moral” is a word that is usually used when I’m about.

But to be serious … "for once" – ed … Rhys was one of my close friends from University and I was lucky enough to be honoured to be best man at his wedding in South Carolina in 2005

The marriage didn’t last as long as it ought and poor Gretchen is no longer with us which is a shame for Rhys and her family.

But I remember the wedding – and more importantly, the weekend afterwards while they were away – vividly. I met a young Mexican girl at the wedding and we spent a lovely weekend together down at Charleston and then back at Columbia for a Widespread Panic concert on the Sunday night.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a certain weakness for Southern Rock – groups where the lead guitar solos can sometimes go on for several weeks, groups like the Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws, Doc Holliday and Blackberry Smoke (who I photographed when I was official photographer for the Fredericton Jazz and Blues Festival in Canada).

But the leading group of all, surprisingly unknown in Europe, is Widespread Panic. I’d first encountered them when I was with Onion River Radio in Montpelier in Vermont years ago and I’d always wanted to catch them at a concert because like most Southern Rock groups, it’s simply not possible to reproduce on an album what they actually do onstage.

Anyway, there they were, topping the bill at the Three Rivers Festival that Sunday night in Columbia so Itzé and I blagged a couple of tickets (Press Passes always come in useful at times like this) and that was that.

Even now I still keep in touch with them and they’ve been kind enough to send me a few concerts to broadcast on my radio programmes

When I was on my marathon trek in 2017 saying goodbye to everyone whom I knew in North America, I managed to meet up with Rhys again and we had a weekend together. But the journey took so much out of me that afterwards I ended up at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina where I holed up for several days to recover my strength ready to go back to base.

Not the first time that I’d been to Myrtle Beach either. I’d been there in 2005 for a weekend too.

And that was strange. I thought (and still do) that Myrtle Beach is a bit of a dump – Rhyl with the sun, in fact.

But when I worked at that strange American company in Brussels where I met Alison, there was this woman going on about this brilliant place my the seaside where her husband had taken her for her honeymoon a couple of years back.

She espoused at great length about it and finally mentioned its name. Myrtle Beach. "Ohhh, Myrtle Beach" I said. "I was there last year. I thought that it was a bit of a dump. I’ll bring my photos in and show you"

Funnily enough, we never heard another word about Myrtle Beach. But the people there were strange. It was like being on another planet.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … hospital, I mentioned a “good night” a little earlier.

That was obtained by the simple expedient of putting the perfusion pump in the bathroom and closing the door. And for once, I had enough silence that I could have a good night’s sleep.

Well, not quite. There I was, asleep, listening to Hawkwind’s MOTORWAY CITY in my dreams when one of my sisters brought me a really strange kind of bun like a cupcake with chocolate over the top and one or two other decorations but it smelt of onions. I wondered what it was going to be. Just then I actually awoke because of something on the music to which I was listening. I awoke, to find that it was “Motorway City” actually playing so in the end I switched off everything and went back to sleep. But it was quite strange having this onion-flavoured bun given to me by one of my sisters.

By about 06:00 my reverie came to an end as someone came by to take a blood sample, and that was that.

It was an endless stream of medical staff doing all kinds of things in here today, but an ominous sign is the doctor saying that she’ll send a physiotherapist to see me. If I’m going home soon that would be totally unnecessary so it looks as if I’m in here for longue durée as they say around here.

Some of the morning’s activities have already been mentioned, particularly the messages that I’ve received. It’s nice to hear from my audience so if you’re a new subscriber, of which there are more than a few just recently, or a long-time lurker, send me a message to say “hello”. There’s a link to a form at the bottom right corner.

Just be mindful that if you have a gmail address, I can’t reply to you. I’ll either say something on here, or if it’s private, you’ll receive a reply from STRAWBERRY MOOSE.

The rest of the morning was spent trying to decipher where I’d been during the night. And I’d put some miles in too. A friend of mine lives in Canada just inside the border. Right by where she lives was a railway bridge, called “Cedar Bridge”. It was a prominent feature of the landscape so all the slaves and everyone escaping the USA would flood across the border and head for Cedar Bridge. That would be the symbol that they’d reached safety. It was an iron bridge over the railway built for pedestrians only. One night at some point but I can’t remember the date it was just swept away. Cedar Bridge was destroyed. It was a terrible loss as a symbol of freedom from persecution for a great many people.

And then I’d received an absolute mountain of paperwork from a hospital in Canada about my illness, a mountain of it. I had to go through it and scan it all which took for ever. Then I had to post some of it to somewhere and some of it to somewhere else so it became incredibly complicated. I was halfway through doing it when I received another e-mail with some more stuff and some stuff that cancelled some of the first stuff. I had to restart what I was doing but I’d forgotten where I was. I’d lost my place. Then I had to send some information to my brother. The only way that I could do that was to send it to my niece and ask her to contact him. That started to become even more complicated still. I was there with all these papers and all these e-mails with all of these forwarding and “copy to you” kind of stuff. It was incredible. I was just so confused with it all and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if anyone else was too. When it came to writing up my notes at night it just turned into a load of gibberish. I just couldn’t seem to make it make sense

That sounds about right. I’m submerged in paperwork from my hospital visits and can’t sort them out properly before I’m overwhelmed with yet more from another hospital stay which contradicts everything that I previously received.

Later on, I won a prize in a competition. It was a baby pig. How on earth was I going to cope with a baby pig? A group of us who had had to go our separate ways arranged to meet at the Cheshire Cat in Nantwich. I eventually found my way there with this pig screaming and squealing and wriggling in my hands so in the end I just let it go. I didn’t know what else to do. Then I saw a bus go past, a bus from my school. It had “Competitors” written on it. There were loads of schoolkids on it, many of the ones whom I was hoping to see in the Cheshire Cat. I thought “this is going to be a wash-out, isn’t it?”. I reached the door of the Cheshire Cat. There was a Bouncer o duty. I asked him how many people were in. He replied “about 2”. I said “I’d better go to buy a 3rd drink, hadn’t I?”. When I walked in I found one of my friends sitting at a table with 2 other guys. I asked my friend what he wanted to drink. He wanted a beer but these other 2 guys wanted rum and coke. I thought “2 beers and 2 rum and cokes is going to cost me a fortune too”. Instead of going to the bar the main way I decided that I’d take a short cut through the crack in the wall which I did and ended up in the middle of 2 girls having a dancing class. They were girls whom I knew so I thought “at least I’m going to have some pleasant company” because I’m going to end up chatting to these 2 girls, I hoped. But this was all turning into a complete, confused mess too. I thought to myself that with all this going on today and I’m not having any luck whatsoever. I was having all this work to do and I just don’t understand any of it.

“… turning into a complete, confused mess”. And that’s something with which I can relate at the present moment, right enough.

Back in that dream again later, I had to leave so off I went. It was a Friday and I couldn’t go back on the Saturday so I was back Sunday lunchtime thinking that I still had 2 drinks left in the tap that I’d bought on Friday. There were just 2 people in there so I left myself in the glorious arms of the folk singer Miss Colwill who has figured in these dreams in the past but I don’t know where she fitted into this dream tonight.

And who is Miss Colwill? The names “Ruth Colwill” and “Rebecca Colwill” came immediately to my mind but there’s no trace of either

But stepping back into a dream again. Why can’t I do that whenever I’m about to lay my grubby paws on Castor, TOTGA or Zero?

Everything came to a dead stop round about lunchtime when they brought me a glass of sodium sulphide. And for several hours afterwards I was away with the fairies.

In mid-afternoon a discreet mug of coffee smuggled into my room revived me somewhat And I carried on with my studies of Victorian methods of tree pruning. I’m not sure why because I won’t be pruning any trees ever again. But in these ancient, 150 year-old books that you can download for free fromARCHIVE;ORG there are tons of useful, long-forgotten facts.

Tea was rubbish as usual but somewhere along the line the needle in my hand had been dislodged so all the perfusion was running up my arm. In the end the nurse had to take it out and stick it in somewhere else.

In fact he asked me to tell him where I would like him to stick it and, do you know, I was sorely tempted …

More sodium sulphide has found its way into here so in a minute I’ll stick the perfusion machine in the bathroom, switch off the Hawkwind playlist that’s been playing for the last couple of days, and hope for another pleasant 5 or 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep like last night.

But whether or not I’ll get it is another thing. There’s too much going on here for that. So I’ll just hope for pleasant dreams

Look out Castor, TOTGA and Zero! Hee I come!

Sunday 7th January 2024 – WHAT A WAY …

… to spend a Sunday – all doped up and nowhere to go.

Yes this morning they gave me some more sodium – sodium sulphide this time – but in liquid form. “Here – drink this!” and so I did, and it’s disgusting.

No hallucinations, so no Zero, Castor or TOTGA to keep me company, but it didn’t ‘arf knock me for six and I was flat out for a good part of the day.

It was rather unfair, because I was awake quite early – ridiculously early for a Sunday in fact. And there’s tons of stuff on the dictaphone too as you’ll find out in a minute.

One of the nurses came by. "If you need any help in the shower, don’t hesitate to ask". To which I took no notice.

But when the second nurse came past and repeated the same phrase, it was "Okay, okay, I get the message. I need a shower."

Mind you, it was nice under the shower. I really did enjoy it.

After breakfast I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I’d been living a kind of extremely nomadic life … "no surprise there" – ed …. It wasn’t that I was broke either. I had plenty of money. I was living in the attic of a folk club where I had to climb up a whole series of strange steps to haul myself up through into the top so all my post was being directed to my eldest sister. She forgot to deal with some of it for a while. It turned out that I’d had the option on a house for which I’d signed and for which the bank was arranging a mortgage but she didn’t give me some of the letters which meant that the option had expired so I wasn’t going to have that house after all. That was extremely distressing to me. At the same time I was driving around in BILL BADGER my old A60 van. It had no tax on it and I’d already been stopped twice by the police. It had no insurance on it either and they had noted that. I’d also driven through a speed camera at one time faster than I ought. I was living a temporary, nomadic life and none of this had been taken into account anywhere so one day I would be called to account, I’d have all these things on my driving licence. I’d have 9 points and with another 3 points I’d lose my licence. I could see that it wouldn’t be long before that happened, having these 9 points all together and then having to go carefully for all this time and in the meantime having the van MoT’d. I could see that all of my life at the moment was falling to bits. Nothing was going right and I had all kinds of problems. I was just extremely distressed by all of it.

And that’s not an unusual state of affairs in my dreams – and in real life too, is it? Nothing going right and the wheels dropping off everything all the time

I forgot to mention that at one point I had to climb into my attic at this folk club. There were plenty of people there. Sitting at the foot of the stairs was an old guy with 2 children. I thought that one of them was a girl so I said “excuse me, miss” but it turned out to be a young boy. That was extremely embarrassing too.

There was a young boy rather similar to Jimmy Clitheroe, very tight with his money and always trying to find some more. There was some kind of party that he had to attend, which involved spending £5:00 to go. He was keen to go but there was an argument downstairs at the door when someone who appeared to be drunk said that he was a representative of the Co-op or something. Jimmy Clitheroe pushed him out and closed the door, but the pane of glass broke. Everyone else was broke too. One old man who was there was complaining about how hard up he was. He’d gone through his accounts to show that he was broke, rang up the glazing company and gave them the measurements for the window. When asked about the payment foolishly gave his own bank card number. This boy Jimmy Clitheroe was quite pleased about this because he’s got away without paying anything but his mother had learnt what was going on. When it came to giving him his pocket money for the next week she handed it out and said “here’s you pocket money minus £1:00 for the old guy who had to ring up etc an here’s another £1:00 for the house for the inconvenience”. That meant all his pocket money and he didn’t have any money to go to visit his friends at this dance so he couldn’t go … fell asleep here … what I meant to say that everyone thought that he would be unhappy about it but instead he remembered the song about “one wheel on my wagon”. He went off singing that. That seemed to make him a lot happier about the situation.

For the benefit of new readers, of which there are more than just a few right now, I don’t actually fall asleep. I am asleep when I dictate these notes – something that years of practice has enabled me to do. What happens is that slowly I drift off into total silence while I’m dictating and after a few seconds you’ll hear a slow, deep rhythmic breathing,

There was also a dream involving a herd of polar bears being given sledges on a kind of miniature railway to go downhill to the sea. Instead, on their way down they encountered a herd of wildebeest and the wildebeest encountered a couple of humans and you don’t really want to know what happened especially if you are eating your tea right now.

I was round at an estate agents later on trying to find a house. There was one described as “2 bedrooms with study” so I wanted to find out more about it. I noticed that it had a large garden, part of which was lawn etc and the other part was gravelled over as if someone had been parking several cars there. That immediately piqued my interest. There was also a discussion about commercial properties. There was a shopping mall that had been built a long time ago but no-one was quite sure when. Several of the units were empty so people were looking at them with a view to trying to find some kind of clue as to their origin. They seemed to think that it might go back as far as 1890 but that was doubtful. There was one big unit that was empty. It seemed to be the kind of unit that a certain ladies’ clothes shop was seeking so they contacted the shop. They came to see it but it wasn’t really suitable for them. In any case the description of “large sales floor with plenty of storage” didn’t seem to fit. I couldn’t find the storage anywhere. It certainly wasn’t in the basement underneath so I was wondering where it was and how it was controlled or made.

And then I was being interviewed by the police about something or other. They asked about my movements over the last few days. I explained that they were extremely difficult but nevertheless I pointed out two calls to the hospital between the first and the third of the month to which I’d been invited. That was what I’d been doing for a couple of days just recently. It was the First of March until the Third of March and this was about the Fifth of March. He saw that there were several difficulties recording them and asked me if I could transfer them over to my big computer. I told him that it would be put on the big computer in due course which seemed to satisfy him for the moment but to me he was more interested in my notes and records on the computer than he was on this murder in my opinion. He didn’t seem to ask me many questions about the murder at all.

Of course, in real life I was a great deal of use to the Cheshire Constabulary. Almost every day I was being asked to help them with their enquiries.

As I said just now, I’m asleep when I dictate these dreams. But usually when I’m typing them out later I have some kind of vague recollection of them in the back of my mind. Rarely though, I have no recollection whatever, and that one was one of those.

We then had an issue of dark olive green cabs for lorries that had been discovered somewhere in Greenland. These cabs were new and had never been fitted. I was trying to identify them. They looked very much like ERF cabs to me, or maybe Foden cabs but someone seemed to think that they were MAN cabs, and if I posted them as MAN cabs someone would immediately recognise them and claim them as theirs as not having been delivered. I was looking through the internet trying to find identical cabs that had been labelled but I wasn’t having much luck because for some reason the computer kept throwing me out of the page that I was trying to search so I couldn’t actually see properly what the results were of my search on line.

Finally there was an advert in one of these magazines about a girl looking for a companion. Out of boredom I replied. Much to my surprise I found that, mush as she was a bit of a flighty piece, she seemed to be quite nice and what’s more, she seemed to like me very much. We developed quite a good rapport quite quickly. It was while I was running the taxis so I could only see her on Saturday nights but somehow that seemed to fit in with her timetable too so she was there making plans etc on what we’d do on different Saturday nights. She planned a night where we’d go to have a drink or something and end up sitting on top of a kind of cliff somewhere like at Frodsham and watch the stars, which sounded very nice to me as we’d just been for a drink but for some reason we’d had to come home early. Back at home early she was making a drink. There was still a group of taxi drivers there waiting for work to come in, and there was a pile of little children being dressed in winter coats ready to leave. But while this girl was making a cup of tea I was standing right behind her as cose as I could be, holding her by the waist. We were laughing and joking. My elder sister came in and made some remark about us being home early but last week we’d ended up in some farmyard or other for several hours completely up to no good. I didn’t realise that I was being spied upon so closely. That was what I said, but it was all extremely humorous. My elder sister began to chat to this girl as if she was already one of the family. It ended up being quite a warm ambience of the type that we have in dreams every now and again, something that was quite pleasant and I didn’t want it to stop.

Terry came on line for a chat later, to remind me that it’s the anniversary of our visit to the Stade Louis Dior where we stood on the terraces and watched US Granville, who play in the equivalent of the Conference North with a team of taxi drivers, school teachers and shop assistants stuff the Girondins of Bordeaux in the French Cup.

And how Bordeaux were unhappy and completely lost their cool as well. It was embarrassing to watch a Premier League club behave like that.

We travelled many a mile together, Terry and me, and we worked on many roofs.

tt would always be the same story. Terry would ring me up a about 08:00 "are you free today?"
"You have to say the magic words, Terry" I’d reply
"Liz is baking."

And for someone who said how much he hated cats, I’ll never forget how gentle he was with those two feral kittens he found asleep in a tyre in his barn at Le Fournial.

Liz came on line later too and we had a chat for a while which was nice. I also had a chat with someone who appears quite often in these pages, but usually during a nocturnal ramble. That was lovely too but I wish that she’d appear in real life too. As for who she was, I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few names and have a good guess.

The doctor came by but didn’t have much to say for himself. He asked about the perfusion so I told him about the hallucinations, so I suspect that that’s reason for these drinks today.

Apart from that, I’ve had some reading to do. And talking about global warming, I’ve found a paper presented to the Woolhope Naturalists’ Club of Hereford as early as 1867 by a certain T. Curley, CE FGS, discusses the subject and that really is the earliest that I’ve ever seen where systematic global warming has been the subject of discussion.

Not only does he discuss it, he presents some interesting calculations too, some of which I know to be confirmed by other scientists and geographers.

But I’ve also been asleep for much of the time thanks to this witches’ brew of sodium sulphide. During one of my (many) dozes during the day I went off into a dream with a group of young people but I awoke quite dramatically and the whole thing evaporated from out of my mind. Absolutely all of it.

And now that I’ve had my depressing evening meal (I’m glad that I brought these extra food supplies) I’m going to have yet another one of these sodium drinks. So I imagine that it won’t be long before I start to fall asleep and disappear into the Arms of Morpheus. I suppose that I’d better find the bed quickly before I crash out on the ………. zzzzzzzz.

Wednesday 25th October 2023 – I’VE HAD SOME …

… good news today, and some bad news.

The good news is that the Social Services have agreed to pay for my transport. That’s a great weight off my mind for sure.

The bad news is that it seems from the blood test results recently that not only is my red blood count dropping rapidly now that I’m no longer taking the Aranesp, but that the count of my platelets is dropping rapidly too.

12 months ago it was at about 275 units. Today it’s 115. The critical limit is 100 units.

The doctor from Belgium came to see me and to give me the bad news. In her opinion the carcinogenic protein is now attacking the platelets. It’s obviously not satisfied with attacking my red blood cells, heart, kidneys and nervous system

She’s no haematologist but at least, being from Brussels she can read Flemish so she’s much more of an idea as to what is going on at Leuven without me having to do my best to interpret, so tomorrow she’s going to see the haematologist to “have a chat” about me.

Whatever that means, we’ll soon find out.

This morning I was awoken by a nurse who came to take a blood sample – at 05:20. That was the last thing that I wanted. But to my surprise she did it first go. And that’s just as well because my arms are covered in Sticking plaster.

After that I couldn’t go back to sleep so in the end I gave it up. Mind you, I still had breakfast in bed. The food here is somewhat … errr … indifferent but two bread rolls, a pile of jam and a big bowl of hot black coffee is a good way to start the day.

First thing that I did was to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was involved in some kind of project with the radio and the programmes. The Social Services etc wondered why they were played when they did. Someone explained that that was when they had a good audience. The plan was that after my death they intended to continue to broadcast the programmes just to keep things going over and to prolong the radio station;

Later on Nerina and I had an appointment with a local bank manager at 12:00. We set off on foot and on our way round we picked up a few bits and pieces of shopping and carried on to the bank’s office. When we arrived we rang the bell but no-one answered the door so we rang again. Eventually someone came and wanted to know what we were doing; We explained that we had an appointment so we were ushered in and kept to one side. A few minutes later someone came back and said “yes, you can go upstairs. Go into that room there, slide the ladder up and you can climb up to the next floor. We went in there and there was one of the strangest arrangements that I’ve ever seen. There was indeed a ladder there and four steps hanging down from the ceiling. The ladder was extensible and you would push it up to join up with these steps. It was narrow, rickety and looked completely unsafe to me. I held it steady while Nerina tried to climb but she couldn’t get up. I knew full well that I wasn’t going to get up. After several tries Nerina decided that she couldn’t go up there. I agreed with her because this was the biggest Health and Safety violation that I’ve ever seen. We went back to where this secretary person was. She was busy typing. We explained that we couldn’t go up the ladder. She sighed and went off to try to find someone else again. We had a good look round and found several interesting papers about different things that had been prepared in duplicate or in multiple copies. There were piles of these documents lying around. One was about a certain man whom I knew from North America who had died. He was said to have been the biggest promoter of Rugby League in the UK and of summer sport. It bewildered me why this stuff was here. Eventually a man came back with a couple of items that he must have taken from our shopping bag. He asked us if we recognised these items. We explained that we’d bought them on the way to the bank. He asked which shops we’d gone to to buy them. We explained and that obviously satisfied him because then he invited us into the office and up some proper stairs onto a landing where there was a corridor that led outside but without a roof and then up another set of stairs in another building until we finally reached his office.

Finally I was in my yellow Cortina last night driving through Shavington. I suddenly realised that I had the wrong numberplate on the front of the car. I’d bought the correct numberplate to fit on but I hadn’t done it at that moment so I pulled up at the side of the road, lifted up the car so the automatic jack clicked in and then went to fetch the numberplate out of the back. But then I noticed that screwed to the rear was a numberplate from New Zealand0… "South Africa actually" – ed … and I suddenly realised that I’d had this car registered in New Zealand so the front numberplate that I was going to fit on wouldn’t be any good. I’d have to have another one made. I went round to the front and a postman pulled up on one of these little Mobylettes, had a good look tat what I was doing and then rode off into his drive. I then picked up the front of the car and dropped it off the jack onto the ground and it just rolled off on its own, backwards across the road, did a spectacular spin round and shot off down the pavement. People just stood there looking at it and no-one made an effort to stop it. It ran into the back of someone’s car. I had to go round and apologise, and explain everything. They all found it hard to believe but that was certainly the case of what happened. I had to apologise for the accident.

With no tests or examinations scheduled today I planned on having a shower – and I don’t ‘arf need it.

However each time I prepared myself to go, someone came to delay or interrupt me. It wasn’t until 15:45 that I staggered into the shower.

Luckily, here it’s a walk-in wet room so I was quite at my ease and I really enjoyed myself. It made such a change to actually be in a shower.

While I was at it, I made a few phone calls. Firstly to tell the taxi company that my transport has been approved and secondly to book the vehicles to take me to the sessions at the Centre de Re-Education.

And then I had to telephone the ergotherapist to cancel our appointment next Thursday afternoon. He thinks that there’ an ergotherapist at the Centre de Re-Education and maybe they could help me. If not, I should recontact him for another appointment.

In between everything I’ve been attacking the radio programmes. I’ve chosen the music for another three of them. I’m trying to make the best use possible of my time while I’m here to give me a running start.

It also seems that I’ve been in great demand today. Rosemary rang me up and we had another one of our mega-discussions. And then I’ve had discussions on the internet with half a dozen people, or maybe even more. I lost count at a certain moment.

So now that I’ve had my tea and written my notes I’m off to bed. I’d like to have a running start with that too if they are going to wake me up at 05:20 for another blood test.

But what will be the outcome of this meeting tomorrow? One or two people have told me that I should be looking at it with trepidation but actually I’m not. I’m under no illusions whatsoever about the inevitable outcome of this illness and I’m fully prepared for it.

However it shows signs of optimism. They have found something, and they are intending to do something about it. You can’t wish for any more than that.

Wednesday 18th October 2023 – THESE NIGHTS ARE …

… not getting any better. It was another dismal night of being awake for hour after hour after hour.

And then being flat out asleep, dead to the world, when the alarm went off.

And so with having slept for probably about half an hour it was a very weary me that staggered to my feet when the alarm went off.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I had some correspondence that needed my attention. I’ve sold yet another photo from my adventures around Labrador and you’ve no idea just how many hoops you have to jump through for $200.

Not that I’m complaining of course. I’ve sold a fair few of my p =hotos but this is the most that I’ve ever received for one.

There was then the information that I needed to collect, which I mentioned yesterday. That took a good while and then I could send it all off by internet. A phone call won’t be sufficient because they will need to see the information that I have.

While I was at it, I decided to contact my former employers. They have a Social Services and Welfare department so I may as well try to involve them in whatever problems I have going on. The more the merrier, I reckon.

At that point, I drifted off into the Arms of Morpheus for a good half-hour. And then I sent off a couple of radio programmes to be broadcast this weekend and next weekend.

Climbing into the bath, even using a wooden box as a step, was almost impossible. I had a real struggle to fight my way in, and finding my way out again wasn’t all that much easier. This is starting to become rather grim.

While the cleaner was here I attacked the notes for the radio programmes and not only did I whizz through one from start to finish, I did some of the next one too. If I’m lucky and don’t have too many distractions I’ll be able to finish that one tomorrow.

After the cleaner left I had my hot chocolate and then attacked the washing. That’s everything now done for the moment.

But have you any idea how difficult it is for me to move a basket full of moist washing into the bay where I keep the clothes airer? It’s this kind of simple thing that is causing me all kinds of anguish right now.

There was (surprisingly) some stuff on the dictaphone. I was doing something with a rock group last night. Things weren’t working out too well so at some point I went round to the place where we kept all our things and began to take everything away that was mine. I noticed that some of them had actually got together with one or two other people and were in the process of trying to create something but I didn’t want them to use my things. I was in an extremely bad temper, even down to things like my telephone answering machine so I took it away. They had changed the message on it so many times that it was now absolutely useless anyway. I ended up with seven or eight bags that I dragged off as best as I could, came back to my bedroom at home and dumped the lot on the floor while I sat and thought about my next move.

It was then our students’ union annual conference taking place at some hotel in Manchester. Things were so up-in-the-air and so confused that I set out from home with absolutely nothing except the clothes that I was wearing. I boarded the tram that whisked me off. When I arrived in Manchester I eventually found the venue. It was a very small hotel with several floors but no matter where I went I couldn’t find anyone in charge of the organising. No-one would give me any papers or any timetable, I didn’t know anything about having food etc. There was a meeting taking place on the Sunday to which I’d been invited but there was nothing at all like that. The guy running that particular meeting grabbed hold of me and asked me why I hadn’t done a few things. I explained that I needed paperwork so he wandered off. I spent all that Friday evening wandering around this hotel trying to find someone to give me some information to tell me what on earth was actually going on and what I was expected to do.

Not of course that it makes no difference because I don’t ever know what I’m doing. That was always the advantage of living in a small village – if you didn’t have a clue what you were doing, everyone else knew.

Tea tonight was a chili sin carné using the leftover stuffing lengthened with a large handful of peanuts. What with all of the bulghour that was already in there, there’s enough protein in that lot to sink a ship.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I wonder how much good the mails and letters that I’ve written today will bring. Probably not a lot, but if you ask, you might receive, or you might not so there’s a 50/50 chance. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive at all.

But we’ll find out soon enough. But if no-one actually does anything, I can see myself walking to Paris on Monday morning.

Wednesday 11th October 2023 – I ALMOST FELL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 8th October 2023 – SO MUCH FOR MY …

… lie-in this morning. I was actually up and about by 09:30 this morning.

What’s even more surprising about that was that I didn’t go to bed until after 02:00 this morning. 7.5 hours isn’t all that much sleep on a weekday, but on a Sunday morning it’s quite depressing.

However, I should have been in bed a long time before 02:00. Once I’d finished what I was doing I began to dictate the notes for the 4 radio programmes that I have in the pipeline. And I won’t be doing that again.

Four programmes one after the other is too much to dictate in one session. Firstly, my throat was cracking up by the end of it and secondly, I was too tired to concentrate and I was making all kinds of mistakes.

So once I was up and about, I had my medication and then checked my mails and messages. And once everything was ready and I wound myself up, I began to edit the notes for one of the programmes.

After I’d finished making the programme I went and had lunch. And then I had a go at having a shower.

Earlier on in the morning I’d had a try at climbing into the bath and it seemed that I managed to do it, after quite a struggle. And so I bit the bullet and … errr … took the plunge.

Climbing in was one thing. Climbing out was something else completely but I finally managed it, and it wasn’t as difficult as it had been on Wednesday.

It’s still not much good though and I need to do something about it.

Strangely enough, after my shower I crashed out on the chair for a while and once I’d come back round into the Land of the Living, I went and did some baking. Now I have a pile of pizza dough and a large batch of fruit buns that will last me for the next few weeks.

While it was all busy proofing I had a listen to the dictaphone notes from the night to see where I’d been. I was walking through Nantwich with my doctor, going down Hospital Street. He was explaining to me what he wanted me to do over the next few weeks and next period of time. I asked him about different kinds of things for walking. He said that I needn’t do so much but that was not the point because I wasn’t supposed to be walking anyway. Obviously I still had to live and do my things. I asked about maybe having a bicycle. He said that it was clearly impractical and one or two other things like that. He suggested that we wait until the end of this current series of prescriptions before we decide on what we are going to do and where we are going to go, any more than we are at the moment. It would give us time to reflect and to find out what the alternatives are. I was quite disappointed but he was the guy in charge so we carried on walking down Hospital Street talking about nothing in particular.

And then I was in hospital last night. I was in one of the rooms where they sort out the stuff that arrives from other sections of the hospital. The first thing that came was a huge box on wheels full of all kinds of different bits and pieces that they were sorting out to send off to whoever needed it. The other one was wheeled in – something on four wheels with a handle at one end, wheeled in by a private soldier. It had on it “this is the box that Jimmy Fallon told us to prefer but we forgot”. There was a nurse there who had some kind of machine that was supposed to help people prepare for a bath. I’d tried to use it last time but for some reason the nurse muscled me out of it. I was determined to take my place in the queue and have a shower however the nurse in charge said “I have something special for you – something that I meant to give you last time”. She produced another weird kind of machine. She then asked me what I was doing in this queue. I told her, and she said basically that I have to forget about that for now because this other job has cropped up. I can see that I’m never going to be able to have this shower, am I?

Later on I was in a second-hand record and video shop with a few people last night. We were discussing certain films, books and the new copyright regulations. I mentioned HARRY POTTER AND THE DEADY HALLOWS which for some reason, was only available from one particular source, the official source of the copyright holder. You couldn’t buy it on Amazon or anywhere like that. When they tightened up the copyright laws, they decided that they didn’t have the right, even though they were the copyright holders, to sell this film so they stopped selling it with the result that there was no legitimate of buying the film anywhere. People were coming up with all kinds of ideas about how to make sure that you had a copy, like borrowing one and taping it etc. While this discussion was going on I walked out and went across the road. My niece had been talking to someone on the ‘phone about insurance, saying how much she’d had to pay just for her vehicle and my vehicle for a weekend to go somewhere to do something special. It was cheaper to have an annual premium anywhere else. I thought that I’d be over here in this other shop for when she decides to come out, but I hope that there will be some kind of organisation about a meal as I have no money on me at the moment.

Finally, I was with a French – or European – girl, it might have been Cecile or Laurence. We were supposed to be going out somewhere but she was in the kitchen cooking. I went in to ask her what she was making and to remind her that we needed to hurry. She said that she was making a meal of some description with beef, or, at least, she said that she would if she had some English sugar. I bent down, opened a cupboard, took out a packet and dumped it on the table. “Is this what you need?”. She laughed and I gave her the sugar. I gave her a tin in which I keep the sugar and said “when you’ve opened the bag can you pour the rest in here?” which she thought was strange because the tin wasn’t all that clean. When she’d finished everything I had to pour it into a plastic bag but ended up missing my aim with half the contents down the outside of the bag and all over my hand which was scalding to death so I put it quickly into some cold water. I had on my watch too so I ended up with my watch in the water.

My pizza tonight was excellent once more and it would have been one of the best ever had I not dropped a spoonful of oregano onto one corner of it.

But now that that’s all done and my notes are written, I’ll go back to preparing my on-line order for later on in the week. But I’ll be struggling to make it up to €50:00 because a lot of stuff that I usually buy isn’t available on delivery. The vegan range is particularly devastated and the vegan cheese isn’t there. That’s a tragedy.

But I’ll have to do the best I can and hope that one of these days I’ll be able to sort something out. I must admit that I did miss my little trip out to the shops.

Wednesday 4th October 2023 – I COULDNT GET …

… out of the bath this afternoon.

Getting in the bath was difficult enough but getting out of it was even worse. It was quite a struggle and I’m sure that it took longer to climb out than it did to actually take a shower.

There’s no doubt about it. As I might have said the other day, my condition is deteriorating before my eyes and I’m at the limit right now of where I’m going to need some serious help.

On Friday I’m going to attempt to go into town on the bus but I’m not optimistic. The difficult part is climbing back on board the bus because there’s no kerb there and it’s a long way up. But there is a ramp on the other side of the road and if necessary I’ll have to get on the bus as it heads out of town and do a full circuit.

But I have begun to prepare an emergency pack with the vital necessities in it. It’s as well to be on the safe side.

Even more strange news is that once again I was up before the alarm – at 05:30 this morning and I could have been up half an hour before that too.

But I’ve had a very productive day because apart from beginning to assemble my emergency pack, I’ve been attacking the radio programme. I’ve finished off collecting and pairing off the music for three programmes, written the notes for one of them and am well on the way for doing the second.

What else I’ve been doing is going through the local supermarket’s on-line shopping programme because I have a feeling that I’ll be using it very shortly.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I transcribed that. I was with a group of people in a kind-of classroom situation and we were discussion one of PG Wodehouse’s novels. It turned out that the hero, his valet and someone else, having left someone’s home, had each procured some kind of minibus thing or taxi to take them to the railway station where they’d caught the train home. A while later, maybe a few days, we were still discussing PG Wodehouse and a similar kind of situation came up. The teacher asked if anyone knew how these people would have returned home. I volunteered the same kind of way of doing it with the minibuses and the train. For some reason I expressed myself really badly and the teacher didn’t really listen very much to my answer. That led me to believe that it must have been incorrect but she did ask everyone to guess so I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t all that happy or keen when someone like me did.

Then there was something about being at a famous actor’s house, all sitting around as she reminisced about a few stories of her younger days. A while later – it may have been a couple of days – I was there on my own. I was treated to another gala performance of all of this, which was really impressive considering how old she was and what her illnesses were.

As well as that, I’ve transcribed a few more entries from last autumn. There aren’t that many to transcribe now – just 10 or so and I’m hoping that I’ll have those finished by the end of the weekend. Then I can set about updating the entries for that period.

My cleaner came round and was horrified to see the set of steps in the bathroom. She thinks that I’m courting disaster by trying to climb into the bath. But I’m not sure what other alternatives there are. In any case, it’s not climbing into the bath that worries me – it’s climbing out.

We talked about the possibility that she would be able to do my shopping for me at LeClerc but she pointed out a few quite understandable, major pitfalls and I’ll have to pass on that for the moment.

It’s no surprise that at some point in the proceedings I crashed out for an hour or so. This early start really did take its toll of me.

Tea tonight was a chili sin carne based on the rest of the leftovers from Monday. So now I’ll have to plan some exciting meals. Once I make some room in the freezer I’m going to bake a vegan pie again. I haven’t had one for ages and I really fancy some potatoes veg and gravy.

But that’s all for another time. Right now I’m off to bed and tomorrow I’ll carry on with the radio stuff. I’m going to go all out for the next few weeks and try to build up a store of stuff. I have a feeling that it won’t be long before I’ll be needing it.

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.

Thursday 28th September 2023 – AS BARRY HAY …

… once famously said – "there’s one thing that I gotta tell you, and that it’s good to be back home".

And no-one was more relieved than me when I collapsed into my chair here with my mug of hot chocolate at 18:15 this evening.

It had been a very long day. I’d had a bad night and was actually up and about by 06:40.

After breakfast I had a shower to prepare myself for my departure at 11:00, packed everything away and made myself ready.

While I was waiting, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was in a railway station. There were two guys there with two ancient locomotives, a diesel shunter and a small diesel main line unit who had volunteered to come and help me at the stations When they arrived they parked up their locomotives, stepped out and walked down to meet me. They were immediately intercepted by some kind of Security who were unhappy for some reason and made them climb into their machines and drive away. At that point the SNCF service came along and offered to help me. I let them help me, and they asked some kind of questions , one of which was something like “what was I going to do for food at midday?”. I replied “I’d had a couple of people who had come to help me and they had probably brought something for me but you chased them away before they could even manage to talk to me so I don’t know now”. That rather upset them but I thought that it was correct to be true and honest with them.

After that I can’t remember who I was with now but the person was either male or female, I don’t know, had been engaged to make a cake for someone. The woman involved had come to see her to order a simple cake. They were there discussing styles and ideals etc. In the end the two of us and the woman and her friend, an elderly woman, rather plump, went for a walk and discussed it. We passed a lorry with a lorry-load of turf that was going to re-turf someone’s garden. I remember that I’d seen them when I was there last week ripping up the old turf so it must be the day for them. Our walk continued. The woman then said that she was going to have to try to find someone to make a quick cake for her because she had someone coming tomorrow. I said “what about an oil-based cake?”. She didn’t understand so I explained that it’s simply flour and sugar, oil and flavouring all mixed together. You pour it into a mould and then cook it. What I do with mine is to take it out, cut it in half, coat both halves with jam, stick it together and ice it. It’s really quite simple. Her friend, the old woman, looked at me and said “tell me, Eric, are you married?”. I replied “no I’m not actually” and her eyes lit up. I thought “I’m going to have a couple of problems here”. We ended up at a railway station and I’m not quite sure why or what we were going to do now that we’ve arrived.

And I’m impressed that I could remember a cookery recipe during a dream.

Finally I was with Nerina again. We’d been to see some friends in England. We were on our way back to the ferry. The girl whom we’d visited took us on a nice scenic route through the countryside then along the sea front all the way towards Dover and the ferry terminal. We were having a nice, interesting chat. At one moment Nerina tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to something huge in the bay. She asked “is that the American carrier?” because I’d heard a story that an American aircraft carrier was in the English Channel. I looked and sure enough, it was. I went to find my camera but I didn’t have it. I’d left it at my friend’s. I went to find my little Nokia phone but I couldn’t find that either. I realised that I hadn’t had that since I’d set the alarm the night before. I told her and she gave a great big sigh and said that we’d have to go home but you’ll miss your ferry. She was going on about inefficient people etc. I said “it’s not the first time that it’s happened to me. She dismissed it with some kind of shrug of the shoulders. Later on we were leaving Dover in the Jetfoil. It was moored in some kind of underground dock so when we boarded we couldn’t see very much. We boarded and they must have opened the gates at some time because suddenly the ship began to rock quite violently. It was reversed out to the Channel and shot off at a ridiculous speed across to arrive from: Dover in an hour’s time. It was really quite uncomfortable, the Jetfoil.

Just as I was about to depart I was pounced upon by a group of students who wanted to examine me, and then a series of blood pressure tests and so on, followed by a wait for the documents that I need. It was 12:45 when we finally left, with my neighbour having had to hang on for all that time.

There was no time to go for lunch but I’d grabbed a few bits off the lunch trolley so It wasn’t so bad. My neighbour helped me to my seat and then the train set off.

At Granville there were no taxis free so I took the bus into town and staggered down to the port for the bus to my place. But one of my neighbours came past in her car and gave me a lift, which was really nice.

She helped me up the stairs by carrying my backpack, and then I made myself a hot chocolate and came in here where I crashed out.

Later on I had a bizarre tea. For some strange reason I’d fancied ratatouille so I put a large potato in the oven, found a vegan burger and I actually did have a tin of ratatouille in the kitchen.

So now that everything is done, and the notes for the last few days are now on line, I’m going to bed to sleep for a week and not awaken.

But I bet that you’re dying to know about what has happened at the hospital.

They’ve found no major trace of the cancer in my nervous system, but there’s a slight swelling in several glands that might be a result of an infection. They are proposing a second series of transfusions which apparently may be dona at home, and then a return to the hospital in a month to see what’s happening.

At least, even if they can’t find the solution, they are quite prepared to keep on trying, and that’s always good news. We’ll have to see now how things unfold. But look out Paris! Here I’ll be coming again.

Friday 22nd September 2023 – I MADE IT …

… down into town and back today doing a round of various places that I had to visit. And strangely enough, I felt much better for it too.

It rather reminds me of the time in my late teens when I was staggering back home after a visit to the Lion and Swan in Crewe and stopping at Crewe Bus Station for “obvious reasons”.

“Phew!” I said. “Just made it!” And the guy standing next to me said “blimey! Can you make me one just like it?”.

Unfortunately, Crewe Bust station and the public conveniences that it housed have been demolished, and that’s a shame. It was thanks to a careful study of the helpful diagrams on the wall that I passed my Biology “O” Levels.

They were at one time planning on giving guided tours of the public conveniences on the Bus Station. The cost would have been 2/6d per visit, or 2/7d if you wanted to see all of it.

Last night was one of those extremely turbulent nights where I travelled miles and consequently didn’t have much in the way of sleep. And so what with my trip into town today and my long walk around, I’m surprised, really surprised, that I kept going.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed and went for my medication and to read my mails and messages. Once I’d done all that I headed off for a shower to make myself look pretty.

When I awoke there was an enormous torrential rainstorm going on so I was really thinking about abandoning my trip out, but by the time that I hit the streets it had stopped.

The bus dropped me off at the Port and my first call was at the Credit Agricole to have them sign a form. The Belgian Government is starting to pay Old-Age pensions directly into bank accounts and I need a rubber stamp and signature on the bank details form.

And for such a simple task as that, I was there for about 15 minutes while they tried to work out how to apply a rubber stamp, a signature and a date to a form.

Next stop was the Post Office to post off a few letters that I’d written just recently, and then to the chemist’s to pick up the Aranesp that I’d ordered yesterday. And there I encountered my cleaner picking up some medication for another one of her clients.

At the Carrefour I did some basic shopping and then headed back for the bus home. It’s quite a climb into the bus because there’s no pavement where it pulls up but for some reason it was easier to climb in today.

Back here I put everything away and then made my coffee and cheese on toast. The Amazon fairy had been too and left me a package, the stuff that I’d ordered on line earlier in the week.

Apart from the silicon bowls that fit in the air fryer and the Christmas pudding steamer, highlight was my new waist bag. I’ve had various ones over the years and they are very handy when you go travelling, but the one that I’ve used for the last 12 years or so is falling to bits and one of the zips doesn’t work properly.

They had them on line that were bigger than that one, with more pockets and a holder for a bottle of water so I treated myself. And it really does seem to be the bee’s knees. It took a while to pack it because I wanted to make sure that it has everything that I need.

One of the most important items in my waist bag is a couple of sheets of … errr … tissue paper. I was caught out once in Romania 30 or so years ago and I won’t be caught like that again.

A little earlier I mentioned that it had been a turbulent night, and I wasn’t exaggerating. There was another long rambling dream that I seem to have lost. It concerns some things involving a lot of girls. They aren’t really what they seem to be, these things. There was one situation where we were on a train, a works train going back to the station after doing some work. On a train that was coming in behind us they loaded up some furniture. One woman said that she wanted it but I was hopeful of having it, a nice metal two-door cabinet. When we finally pulled in at the station we’d had to wait for a few minutes at a platform. Had I known, I would have nipped off there. When we pulled in, the train had caught up with us and they were wheeling the cabinet away. I woman in front of me was racing after it and of course I couldn’t go as quickly as I ought to do so I didn’t make it to have the cabinet. There was much more going on than this, including people, the kind of things that we’d bought. Someone came out with the name of an author – it might have been Richard Graves. I said that I knew his grand-daughter. She was a girl whom I knew and was hopeful of being friendly with her. They were asking if anyone wanted any torture equipment, but it was more like practical joke things, whoopie cushions etc rather than torture equipment. When I found out what it was I was rather disappointed. There was much more than this but it’s all melted away from this dream that went on for hours and was really exciting.

Did I dictate the dream about chasing after this furniture that was being brought into the station behind us on a works train, someone beating me and going ahead to the kiosk for it first? … “yes you did” – ed.. We’d then been out in town shopping. Everyone had his own chair that the restaurant or café kept. It had their name on it. Luckily the girl I’d brought with me was extremely new and only had an old T-shirt like that with a name on. It was called Carol or Caroline, just looking at this girl’s number, She told Caroline to go home and let the world know about your new hobby of collecting these T-shirts.

Did I mention that there was a story about some chairs of some description? … “yes you did” – ed. We had to sit on them in this café, some special luxury leather chairs. Someone would come over from one of the islands to the mainland, our friends, and treat us there instead of a workman (… at this point the dictaphone went quiet, except for my snoring …)

Something occurred that reminded me of something similar to the Lords of the Rings – 5 Lords of Darkness, a giant, an elf, a dwarf and a few others. They had cornered whoever was the hero and his friends on an island. The evil people decided that they wanted to capture them so they chose 3 of their number to assault the island. They were met by a rain of arrows from one of the party who was on the island. In the end 2 of these 3 people looked like pin cushions but the arrows weren’t particularly hurting them. In the end they charged the island. The biggest one of the 3, he was struck by a pike that one of the defenders was holding which ripped off his head from its socket. A second one was killed with a sword and the third was taken prisoner, the one who was mostly affected by arrows. The other 2 and their supporters were then disillusioned and disheartened and weren’t really sure what they could do now to resolve the situation.

Something else to do with this dream concerned the recital of a poem. I can’t remember how the poem went. It was something like “it’s not the eyes that provide the allure of …” (whatever it was). Once again it was something that evaporated immediately

At another moment I’d committed a robbery and stolen millions of Pounds. I had it hidden under the floor in the basement in the house where I was living in London, a 3-storey terraced house with the living room on the first floor, the bedroom on the second and a kind-of cellar/laundry room etc on the ground floor. The Police obviously suspected me. They were around searching my house. I was convinced that eventually they’d find it but I’d give them a run for their money in looking for it. I’d been outside somewhere and was on my way home. Word must have gone round Gangland – I’d noticed several people whom I’d not seen before loitering around. As I went to try to put the key in the door a couple of these people approached me quite quickly but discreetly. I turned to them and said “oh no you don’t!”. That slowed their tracks and I closed the door behind me. What I then did was with these people now loitering outside my door I told the police in my basement that there was some kind of street issue going on outside. A couple of policemen went out, took these people by surprise, harangued them and made them go away. I thought that it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. When they came back in we had a really good laugh about it. I told them that that’s really the first time that I’ve ever felt uncomfortable living in this particular house

Meanwhile 4 medieval soldiers had been trapped inside a gatehouse to a walled city for several days. With nothing else to do in a desperate situation they quite simply roared out of their building and charged the attackers and actually managed to drive them away which took everyone by surprise.

Finally, there was a group of us living in a house. We had to leave it quite quickly so I began to pack my basic essentials and there was still some stuff left over. I had a pile of small cardboard boxes. I told one of the guys living with us that he was far better placed than me that he could have the boxes and someone would have to take my stuff with him while I went to fetch Caliburn and come back to pick it up. At first he was being extremely difficult about it and I couldn’t understand why. In the end he asked “could I see these boxes?”. I showed him and his eyes lit up. He said “that’s no problem at all”. I explained to him that certain stuff was for throwing away, certain stuff was stuff that he could keep and the rest was mine. He should take everything away and I’d be round for my stuff again when I’ve managed to pick up Caliburn

Having done that, I transcribed another day’s worth of arrears and then finished off the notes for the radio programme.

In between everything I baked a small loaf of bread. I’m not going shopping tomorrow so I need something for my cheese on toast and for sandwiches on Monday. And then I made tea. Some kind of burger – I don’t know what it was – and a salad and baked potato seeing as I had the oven on to bake my bread.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day without very much excitement. It’ll do me good to have a quiet weekend ready to Fight the Good Fight on Monday morning. I’ll be ready for Paris, but will Paris be ready for me?

Monday 18th September 2023 – WALKING UPSTAIRS …

… to visit my neighbour this afternoon was rather a depressing climb. I’m noticing now that I’m losing the power in my left leg and that was all too evident.

As it was, I tried a few exercises in bed before I arose from the dead this morning and I couldn’t raise my left leg as much as I used to be able to do.

This morning I awoke several times during the ni ght and I was even planning a dramatic early rising but I dozed off again and had to rely upon the alarm clock to do the business.

After the medication and checking the messages I went for a shower. At least that kind of effort hadn’t deteriorated all that much but I don’t think that it will be long before that will become a major effort. I can remember just how bad things were when I came home from hospital.

This was the first decent shower that I had had since before I went away and you’ve no idea how much I enjoyed it.

The nurse came to inject me and then after he’d gone I sent an order off for some things that I need to buy. Jackie had found a steaming pot to make Christmas puddings and she had sent me a link, I need a couple of new USB cables and there was also a special offer on accessories for air fryers, such as a non-stick liner.

There was time too to transcribe the dictaphone notes from the night too. I was back in Shavington. For some reason I had the occupants of 217 Crewe Road locked in their garage. I was just going by every couple of days to push some food in. I think that they were either crazy or something, I don’t really know. I was being really cruel to them and no-one was taking any notice or anything. Things were going along quite ordinarily. I was chatting to a couple of girls, one of whom (who I think might have been my Greek friend) had a crush on me. I heard the other girl call for a taxi and ask it to take her to 217 Crewe Road. By this time the first girl had her arms around me so I couldn’t get up and go to try to stop her etc. Off she went so I expected any moment that my little scheme would all come crashing to the ground.

We also had another long rambling dream again. It started off with me having to open a Post Office bank account because of things I needed to do. I turned up at the Post Office at about 11:00 and had to wait for someone to come to see me to fill in the forms. It came to about 11:45 and I thought that we’d be thrown out here and I’d miss the opportunity – they’ll close for lunch. Eventually someone came to see me. We filled in all the forms and did the necessary details so I could go back to carry out the transaction that I wanted to do. A little later I was with a guy and his wife, his 2 daughters and a very young girl. We were hanging around together and decided that we’d go out for a meal. We all eventually piled into his car and he said that we’d go to the Westminster branch of a particular restaurant chain. We drove off and went down this extremely narrow street with cars parked on one side. There was one occasion when a Morris 1000 tried to reverse into a parking space and hit another car that was already parked. We drove down to the end of the street where they’d realigned the junction. The guy driving didn’t realise and took the old way and came to a dead end. He had to reverse and take the new way down to the junction. A little later we were on foot walking through this old industrial estate, chatting. At one point I ended up miles away from everyone else which brought a light-hearted comment from some of the other people so I rejoined them. I didn’t understand that because I was quite keen on the younger of these 2 girls. I couldn’t see why I wasn’t with her. They suddenly realised that the other girl was missing from the group. She was with the extremely young one. We waited for them to catch up. One thing going through my mind was that I’d seen a car for sale, a Mk II Cortina, a green Cortina GT. I was hoping that my money would come through so I could buy it. I didn’t understand why my money wasn’t already there. I thought that I’d have to wait for ever for this money to come through. By the time that it does this car will probably be sold and I’d have to start thinking again. There was all this issue about what car would I then buy? Would it be good value etc? This was recurring through all this dream, this particular thought.

While I was at it, I transcribed another day’s worth or arrears and they will be on line in due course.

Before I went away, I had forgotten to do something with the fruit on the table so that was something of a mess so at lunchtime I had to tidy that up, throw away a pile of it (I hate throwing food away) and wash the rest thoroughly

And then I wandered off to see my neighbour. We were there chatting for quite a while and that’s not at all like me. And she gave me an anti-slip mat for my bath. That was really nice of her and it makes me feel much better about taking a shower. It was something quite high up on my list of things to buy at the weekend

While I was busy I’d had a washing machine going with all of the clothes from the last couple of weeks so I took them out once the cycle had finished and hung them up to dry.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper – one of the ones out of the freezer. And with cooking the frozen pepper on a lower heat for much longer, it was cooked to perfection. There’s plenty of stuffing left so if I can lengthen it with a sheep’s head that still contains the eyes, it will see me through the week.

So much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I’ll be busy. I have to register myself at the hospital and book my train ticket and a taxi to the station. I mustn’t forget to do that otherwise I’ll end up looking rather silly.

In fact, I can end up looking rather silly without making any mistakes or omissions, but there’s no need to go around asking for it.

Friday 8th September 2023 – THAT WAS A …

… horrible journey and I don’t ever want to do it again.

As usual, when I’m going away, I had a bad night’s sleep and spend much of the hours of darkness tossing and turning.

Nevertheless I was up and about (in principle) before the alarm went off

First thing that I did was to grab a shower and then I did a few last-minute things before going out for the bus.

The bus was there but the driver wasn’t so I had to wait a few minutes before he turned up. And then we set off with a bunch of kids who were staying at the youth hostel in the town and who had been for a morning run.

The bus threw me out at the port and I had a 200-metre walk to the bus stop around the corner where the next bus would pick me up. And it was this 200 metres so early in the journey that convinced me that my travelling days are over.

There was a 20-minute wait for the bus during which time firstly my cleaner went past and rearranged my backpack on my shoulders, and then one of the girls from the radio came past and said hello.

The bus didn’t drop me off at the station but across the road so it was a long walk. And with my carriage being right down at the far end it was something of a scramble to be seated before the train pulled out

Updating all of those files took an age, not helped by the fact that I had a little … errr …relax at some point, and we were late pulling into Montparnasse too.

What with one thing and another I’d decided long-since that I was going to throw caution to the wind and have a taxi across Paris, but the walk to the taxi rank was about as far as the walk to the underground, which is regrettable

The ride with a friendly taxi driver wasn’t as expensive as I thought, but my leg had collapsed again getting into his car so I wasn’t enjoying it one bit

To make matters worse I staggered into the Disabled Persons’ room and asked for assistance to board my train to Brussels but they told me to clear off because I hadn’t booked 24 hours in advance.

So four of the assistants there sat and watch me make my slow weary way all the way down the platform to my carriage right at the far end of the train.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from the night. We were back at school – some kind of sports day with competitions etc. We were with our own House and had to stay with our own House all day. There were all kinds of things going on in the way of competition etc. The final one was a football match so we all had to go to our various common rooms afterwards to prepare. It was then that I realised that in all my things I didn’t have any shoes with me do it looked as if I would be playing in my socks. I didn’t really fancy playing too much because of that so when they began to talk about goalkeepers someone asked a girl “have you ever tried to be rather rough with a goalkeeper when you have the ball in the penalty area. I replied “you can always try it with me and see what happens” but no-one seemed to pick up on it so I didn’t bother all that much. I went up to the common room to prepare. One of the girls was closing the door so I had to insist and make some kind of rude comment before she’d open it again. There was a girl there from about 2 years younger than us whom I knew. Her boyfriend was in our year. The two of them were together and there was another girl in a green check dress – our colours were blue so I don’t know where she was from and what she was doing in there.

Back into this dream again, I eventually made it into the room when they let me in and sorted out into houses except these two girls and I don’t know what was happening with one of them. The other one was with her boyfriend, and we were joking about the football with my ingrowing toenail on my right foot and wasn’t going to be very happy for it especially as I didn’t have my shoes etc with me.

Back once more into the same dream and we were all back in our groups again, going back up Welsh Row towards the Grammar School dressed in our school uniform. Something happened and one of the boys pointed to another one in our class and called him names because he was more interested in eating a bar of chocolate than playing football. There were a few other things like that too.

This was another dream that took place in connection with a school. This time I was in a bath and the water was coming out with such a force that I was sure that it would break the porcelain fittings etc so I was prepared to be dumped into the middle of the bathroom. Somehow the contraption kept on running which surprised me greatly.

still on the theme of children, there was something going on about therapy for children who had been troubled. It was like a drawing and colouring class. What they had for adults was like a painting-by-numbers where you could go along and paint yourself a picture and hope to get rid of stress and tension by doing that.

This final part looks as if it might be something to do with the previous one. There was something about a clinic, people who have financial health problems. Part of the therapy there for children is drawing. For adults they had a few of these huge “painting by numbers” outfits with pictures even taller than the people themselves. The adults could spend as many hours as they wished simply painting the image.

At Brussels I didn’t have long to wait but climbing into the train was next-to impossible on these double-deckers with their steep stairs. Next time I go to Leuven I’ll have to wait around for one of the local stopping trains. These are all on the same level, and a level that is level with the platform so there’s no trying to climb in.

Leuven was roasting hot when I arrived and the walk along the platform to the lift finished me off.

And for some reason my phone wasn’t receiving messages so Alison and Jackie didn’t know that I’d arrived.

Eventually we met up and roared off to meet Hans at the Airport.

Alison knew a lovely Indian restaurant in Sterrebeek so we went there and had a delicious meal. Then we cam back here and sat outside in the heat until God Knows what time chatting.

My sofa is comfortable so I’m going to get in it and sleep for a week. I don’t ever want to do that journey again. Not on any terms.

Wednesday 6th September 2023 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S DISASTER …

… I’ve had a much better day today.

Mind you, having said that, it couldn’t have been any worse at all.

In fact, with a little application I could have been up before the alarm went off because I was awake at 06:56 but I wasn’t quick enough to haul myself out of bed.

When the alarm went off I stirred my stumps and hauled myself out of bed. As expected, it took me an absolute age to bring myself round into the Land of the Living, but at least I managed to have my morning coffee and fruit bun.

Later on, I staggered into the bathroom for a shower in the hope that it might awaken me and whether it did or not, at least I felt better – and cleaner too.

And while we’re on the subject of “cleaner”, I had a lap around the kitchen and dining area to make sure that the cleaner wouldn’t die of fright when she came.

The rest of the day has been spent on the radio programme. I completed the one that has been hanging around for a couple of weeks waiting to be finished, and then I managed to finish off the notes for the next one.

There was even a few moments for me to make some kind of desultory start on choosing the music for a further one.

The cleaner came round this afternoon and attacked the apartment. It’s looking much nicer and cleaner now which makes a change. Although how long it might last like this is anyone’s guess.

I don’t suppose that it will take too long to mess it up. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … my kind of life reminds me of Ezra Pound’s comment about Ford Madox Ford – "Put Ford naked in an empty room and within an hour behold total chaos"

After she left I put the washing machine on. There was some bedding in there from the other week so I put it all on quite a hot heat today to give it a really good and deep washing. Normally I just put everything on a 40°C “mixed fibre” wash but every now and again it needs a little extra.

Having set that off on its way I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I’d gone quite a distance too. I’d been quite friendly with a girl and decided that I’d ask her out to the cinema or something. We agreed that we’d go out for the Friday night. In the meantime I was very friendly with a girl who worked in the Building Society (as indeed I used to be in real life years ago). I was laughing and joking to her about taking her out. She said “why not?” so we arranged to go out together on the Saturday to the theatre because there was something on. Later on (I’m not sure whether this would be the Saturday) I was with this girl walking through Crewe. She wanted to know about going home. I said that I had my car parked somewhere nearby. She then added “unless you want to go for a walk-around in the woods or something like that. It would be a great place to find some firewood. Do you need any firewood?”. Seeing as she was keen and it was her idea I said “yes, OK” and we walked into the wood, actually down on the west side of the town. We were in the town centre. We had an interesting discussion about Spain and the castles, how in certain circumstances some rebellious knights could be charged with treason for attacking the King but the charge for treason would be raised by the Constable of Spain. That seemed to be a strange situation in which to be, where it was someone else who would be deciding on treasonable activity and not the King. We had a really lengthy discussion about that.

There was another lengthy dream. I’ve forgotten most of it. It was about me owning an electric bus and doing some work in it. We were dividing up a kind-of list of things, ecological things, between us. I asked if I could do the beekeeping. That was agreed but it was disappointing news to someone else who wanted to do it. Later on we were told that we could have an assistant part-time so the lad who was refused the time before when I was given the job came over to me to ask if he could help. Considering that he was interested and seemed to know more about beekeeping that I did, of course I said “yes” because it would be quite useful to have someone who knows his stuff and is keen working with me.

And then we’d been out with my father somewhere around the Audlem way. He had a Rover 2000 estate and we’d gone in that. He was driving extremely quickly. The people whom we went to see were in some way distantly related to me. Another friend of mine was there with us too. He had to go inside to see these people. When he came out ha was going on about how poor they were etc. I don’t think that he realised that they were part of my family. I asked him if there was a weedy man there with a very short, very fat woman to which he replied “yes”. These were of course my uncle and aunt but I didn’t like to say anything to him. We drove back extremely quickly. My father was telling us of a Portuguese guy who lived in the village who had really been something of an odd-job man but had now bought one of the local small businesses and was running that. When we came into Nantwich my father said that it’s probably quicker to go home via Wells Green so we ended up driving through the centre of Nantwich past the bus station.

There was a Court hearing taking place about something or other. I was involved in some kind of abstract way as a potential witness or similar. We were taken in a vehicle to somewhere and left in the vehicle while they went into Court. This went on until about 13:00 when someone came back to tell us that we could go but we needed to come back the next day. So we had to sit in this vehicle again, and no-one came at all. In the end I was outraged and so were the other people sitting in the vehicle. We saw on of the Clerks of the Court walking down the street. I grabbed hold of her and asked her what was going on. We found out that it was 16:00, I’d missed a football match, I’d missed everything. I was really angry and tore strips off this girl. In the end several people came over. They explained that this Hearing was still going on and hadn’t finished. I still couldn’t get over this discourtesy of leaving us sitting here in a car or van in the middle of the town centre while all this was happening. We’d been there for what seemed like 8 hours, no refreshments or anything so I was in an absolutely foul mood. I was tearing shreds off everyone and they were scattering and disappearing. In the end there was someone on the ‘phone and I asked him about what was happening. He said that he was still on the ‘phone to the Court trying to make them hurry up with the case otherwise everyone would be going and the case would collapse. I told him a lot of home truths about my thoughts and opinions on the way that this was going on, how everyone had been treated and I was on my way up the stairs to this ‘phone in the gallery to wrench the ‘phone from his hands to speak myself to whoever it was to whom he was speaking.

That dream was something quite interesting. When I said that I was involved “in some kind of abstract way as a potential witness or similar”, it wouldn’t be anything unusual.

In fact in the Old Days in the Crewe and Nantwich Magistrates Court they had a special term to describe people like me. We were called “The Defendant”.

Some people would even say that I gave the local farces of law and order in South Cheshire a great deal of assistance. They always seemed to be asking me to help them with their enquiries.

Finally, I had another dream that I can’t remember how it began. We had to go somewhere. Someone was having to organise the trip. My mother was somehow involved but she was prevaricating about it and decided that she wouldn’t go. After some discussion I asked her to state unequivocally that she didn’t want to go, which she did so I said to another person “then we can go any time at your convenience then”.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the stuffing lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans, with rice and veg. With a little extra chili added to it, it really was delicious. But, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, my meals might be boring but they are delicious.

There are just a few things to do and then I’m off to bed. Surprisingly, I managed to go the whole day without crashing out and that’s something well-worth noting after yesterday. I hope that I can keep it up for the next few days.

Maybe an early night might help – I dunno. But it can’t do any harm.

Monday 4th September 2023 – I HAVE HAD …

… visitors today. And that’s not like me at all, is it?

And not only that, but I’ve actually been to the local bar this afternoon too. And that’s even less like me.

They say here in France that jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third” – and so what else I’ve done that is unusual these days is that I was out of bed this morning before the alarm went off.

Not by much, it has to be said, but by enough to make a note of it.

After the medication etc I went and had a shower – I need to look my best because the nurse would be coming to inject me. I needn’t have been in a rush because he was late again today

Once he’d left I carried on with a few bits and pieces until my visitors arrived.

It’s been a good couple of years since I’ve last seen Liz and Terry. They immediately entered into my good books by bringing 20 tins of baked beans with them. That should put the wind up everyone in the vicinity.

Much as I’m a big fan of European food, no-one else can make proper baked beans like the British. Even the “British Recipe” baked beans on sale in Canada taste nothing like the baked beans from a British supermarket.

There was so much that we had to say to each other, much of which was said in my apartment and more of it was said in La Rafale, the bar down the road. With the temperature at 28°C at lunchtime it was really nice to be out and about for once.

Liz bought a baguette so we went back to my place and rustled up a huge salad of all kinds of different things that I had lying around or in tins and it all went down very well.

Once everyone left I made myself a drink and came in here where I crashed out for well over an hour. Totally dead to the world, but then I’m not used to going walkabout like that these days.

Having eventually recovered consciousness, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. My father and I were going up to Scotland on a motor bike. The only problem was that we had our sister’s mouse to take care of. We were trying to work out how we were going to do it. In the end I was rooting through all of my storage cupboards and came across a large, flat, wide sandwich box kind of thing. We thought that that would do and lined it with newspaper and put the mouse in. It was a struggle to close the lid with the lid being so large but eventually we closed it. Then we were thinking about how we were actually going to transport it. It wasn’t until we were almost ready to go that I had the thought that we were going to be on the road for 8 hours and had made no provision for drinking water or food etc for the mouse. I wasn’t convinced that it would survive the journey without it.

At another moment I awoke and I had headphones on listening to some music – Alice Cooper’s I’M 18 was playing. In the background I could hear some other music. I thought that the alarm must be going off so I’ll go to turn it off. I went to the bathroom and noticed that the time was 08:00. My father was late for work, my brothers and sisters would be late for school so I had to dash round awakening everyone. In real life I looked at my watch to see whether I ought to get up but it was actually 02:54 so that must have been some dream.

It rather reminded me of Tommy Cooper and “I knew a man who dreamt that he was awake, and when he woke up, he was!”

Someone had run a bath in an apartment on the ground floor of a big building. No-one was sure except me about what was happening. I don’t know what happened next but towards the end a young girl stripped off and stepped into the bath ad began to wash herself. The Police arrested a guy who lived in this apartment who had cancer. Apparently the bomb was a trick to fill the apartment with gas and he was going to light it to blow up the building and himself with it. He didn’t care because he had terminal cancer and only a short while to live. It would look extremely like an accident and of course he wouldn’t care about dying with such a short time left to live. He would be a hero to whatever cause it was that he was following.

Finally I was out last night with someone whom I used to know. We were driving around the outskirts of Stoke on Trent going to see a friend of his. We were in a Hillman Hunter. When we came to a road junction he seemed to have a lot of difficulty pulling out. It turned out that part of the fascia panel or something had fallen down and was blocking the accelerator pedal so we couldn’t advance in the car. In the end we had to stop, which nearly caused a big accident, while he investigated. He pulled off the panel and we could set off. A big tractor pulling a huge trailer had seen us stop and he decided that he’d pull out of the side street just as we set off so there wasn’t really enough time. He had to try to accelerate his tractor, the trailer swung round, went into a ditch, overturned and spewed all the contents out all over the side of the road, and then pulled the tractor into the ditch after it. We ended up back at his friend’s house. His friend was married to an actress. At first we had to wait my companion was searching around for some stuff fof his. Then the guy came in, an old guy, extremely simple, not the sort that you’d think would be associated with an actress. he showed me a set of brake shoes and aske me if I knew what they were off. They were like nothing I’d ever seen. He explained that they were used in some kind of mountain pathway as a shock absorber for tourists who slipped off the path and hit the barrier. It’s an extremely complicated system. At some point I’d left my red Cortina estate parked in a lay-by for a couple of days. When I returned the interior light was on. I thought that it would never start now after 2 days with that light on. I sat in and turned the key and it did actually struggle into life. I was extremely surprised by that.

Tea tonight with a delicious stuffed pepper with plain rice and the rest of the salad from lunchtime. Having marinaded in the dressing for several hours the salad was even more delicious than earlier in the day.

So now I’m off to bed. I really ought to restart work tomorrow. I’ve wasted far too much time just recently doing very little of anything important. High time that I got to grips with everything before I fade away.

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.