Tag Archives: shower

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.

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.

Monday 28th August 2023 – I’VE BEEN UP …

… to my ears in paperwork today.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been letting the paperwork pile up while I’ve been busy doing other things so today I set down and sorted it all out.

One great pile ended up in the recycling, another pile went into the file, a third pile related to my Welsh course over the last year or two so I’ve organised that, and a fourth, more important part of it, went into my medical folder to take with me on Wednesday.

And surprisingly, later on I actually found the most important piece of paper that I had actually forgotten, and I would have been quite embarrassed had I set out without it on Wednesday.

Tomorrow, I shall be carrying on with my organisation because I have my rail tickets for Leuven in a week or so that need booking, some paperwork that needs to be sent to the hospital for Wednesday and also some stuff that needs ordering from the internet.

One thing is for sure, and that it’s all keeping me out of mischief.

Whatever might have been going on during the night was also keeping me out of mischief, because by the looks of things I didn’t go far during the night.

In actual fact I was awake at 06:30 and was thinking about getting up, but I must have fallen asleep again because the alarm awoke me again at 07:00

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went and had a shower to prepare myself for the arrival of the nurse to give me my weekly injection. He was however late and that upset my plans somewhat.

As well as sorting out the European Paper Mountain I’ve been going through and carrying on my little project involving tidying up the hard drive in the computer. I’ve cleared out over 10GB of space on my C Drive and over 80GB from the second drive in the computer.

And that reminds me – going back to the other night and the dream about your computer program spying on you, how many of you have your personal data stored on your C drive in the folders “suggested” and “installed for you” by the operating system, therefore in a file path that it known by almost everyone in the World who has ever used a computer?

Something else that I’ve been doing is talking to one of the daughters of my niece. She’s the one with whom I have the most in common.

She’s marrying in late November in Michigan and I’ve been invited to the wedding. Ordinarily I would move mountains to be there but going alone on crutches, being unable to carry anything with me is going to make it totally impossible.

If the wedding were to take place at the family home, that wouldn’t be so bad because I have clothes and everything there in a big plastic box so going there with nothing wouldn’t be a problem. But Michigan on my own is out of the question.

There was a little stuff on the dictaphone from the night. Not much, so I must have had a calm night for once. I was back working for Shearings last night at the depot in Holmes Chapel. I’d just taken over a coach and the tourists were already on it for the next holiday. I went to check one or two things and found that the ashtrays on the coach were full of rubbish which disappointed me. I thought that the previous driver would have cleaned it. I fetched my little bucket and paintbrush and began to empty the ashtrays. Suddenly the coach set off. I turned round and asked who was driving the coach. Someone said the name of a girl whom I knew from school (and with whom I’m still in touch). She had come to the depot with me to have a look round. I went down and asked her what was happening. She replied “the guy in charge told us to go”. I said something like “I had the shock of my life when I was emptying the ashtrays and the coach set off like that”. I asked her if she had a PSV. She replied that she’d worked for a Charity or something where they put some people through their PSVs. She’d ended up spending a week with Shearings to learn. She asked where we were going. I replied “down the motorway, coming off at Cannock and going down the A5. We came to the motorway and ended up in a big building, the 2 of us, like an old wooden market with closed doors etc. We couldn’t find our way out, wandering around here. We asked one stallholder but he replied with a load of gibberish that we didn’t understand and he wandered off. We sat there looking at each other thinking “how are we going to return to the coach and continue with this trip?”.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper as usual. I’ve no idea what happened but this was the best one that I’ve made. A fresh one, cooked (of course) in the air fryer to perfection. I’ve really got the hang of this now for certain things

So tomorrow I’m going to be really busy ready for my trip on Wednesday so I need to be on form. It’s already later than usual so I won’t have too much time to rest on my laurels but as long as I have some good companions during the night I’ll be fine I hope.

While we’re on the subject of food preparation … "well, one of us is" – ed … my fruit buns were also the best that I’ve made so far too. I’ll have to make some more like that.

Friday 25th August 2023 – I MADE AN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 23rd August 2023 – IT’S QUITE STRANGE …

… how my Welsh course is going. It seems that every time I have a good day, a bad day follows immediately on its heels. I can’t seem to manage to have two good days one after the other.

And so having had a reasonable day yesterday, today wasn’t so good at all. Couple that with the fact that the mike on my webcam is feeding back and I can’t make the remote mike work on the computer, it’s not been a very good day.

That’s a shame because I’d been to bed fairly early (comparatively speaking) and had a reasonable (comparatively speaking) sleep for a change. And at some point during the night, Zero put in an appearance, so “hello” again to Zero.

Then I had awoken at 06:30 ready to leave the bed early but I fell asleep again and had to be aroused by the alarm.

Once I’d had my mails and medication etc I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was going for a ride on something like an elephant. There was a couple of others and we were quite high up on this thing that was moving around. It ended up in some kind of hall or ante-chamber. At that moment a young girl whom I know came out of her room with what looked like her baby brother or something like that. She had a chat with me up on whatever it was that I was on and she down below. She said that she was taking whatever it was to the bathroom. I said “we’d better make sure that we don’t step on him then”. She asked what I meant by that. I replied that i had to go to the bathroom too.

My passport – I’d lost it a while ago and I’d been issued with a temporary Belgian 6-month passport. That was running out so I had to go to renew it. It meant going into this warehouse place, a dingy Government office and queueing. There were quite a few people in there. It was rather disorderly. It was coming to 21:00, 22:00 and we were still there, a few of us waiting. I was worried that a couple of people would push ahead of me in the queue and be seen out of turn, meaning that when the place closed I’d be out on my ear. One person was being attended to and the girl working the machine was having no end of problems. Eventually one or two of the people in the queue had to show her how the thing worked. I was sitting here thinking that this is totally crazy. It’s 22:00 and I suppose that she wants to go home – I know that we do – and what will happen if it turns out that my passport isn’t actually valid and I should have applied for a British one when I lost my original one?

Finally I was back in Virlet. My place was a total mess as usual but there were all locals around there cleaning all the vegetation away from around the house. When I arrived I couldn’t enter the house so I was sleeping outside. The bad-tempered neighbour was there with her brush-cutter cutting away all around me. They were all going in and out of my barn and garage etc. I was becoming annoyed about this but they were taking absolutely no notice at all. Then I decided that I had to think about leaving as I was leaving the following day and had someone to pick up at some town near Chartres at 17:00 and I needed to make arrangements as to where they’d be. I also had some bits and pieces that I had to take back to Caliburn. That was a real hike through the village to where I’d parked the other van and then march back. While I was asleep it had begun to rain. I was asleep out there in the rain but the neighbour who was brush-cutting abandoned her cutting, went and lay down in the grass and pulled a tarpaulin over herself which I thought was the strangest thing I’d seen for quite some time.

That wasn’t everything either but you really don’t want to know about that, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

Once I’d done all of the I spent a while revising my Welsh and then, armed with a coffee and fruit bun, attacked the lesson. We had a new tutor today who has a strange way of teaching, it has to be said, and that took us through to knocking-off time.

At lunch time I went for a shower and then sorted out the dirty clothes, seeing as I’m on the point of running out of clean ones. I also tidied up the place a little so that the cleaner doesn’t die of horror.

At the weekend I’d bought a pile of fruit because it was cheaper to buy in bulk than loose, but I was somewhat overwhelmed with the stuff, so I gave my cleaner a pile of fruit when she left.

And then I set the washing machine off on a cycle and then went to see a neighbour for a chat. Not that I’m all that much in favour of socialisaing, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort.

Back here I hung out the washing and then made tea. There was some stuffing left so I added a small tin of kidney beans and ate it with rice and veg, another really nice meal tonight, nice and spicy. But I do like those new containers that I’d bought.

So right now, nice and early, I’m off to bed. Two more days of my course to go and then I’m going to relax. Until Wednesday next week, that is, because I’ll be then off to Paris and I’m not looking forward to that at all.

They probably won’t be able to do much for me, but I won’t ever find out if I don’t go.

Monday 21st August 2023 – IT MIGHT NOT …

… seem like it, but I’ve been very busy today. It’s taken even me by surprise.

It was another late night last night and once more, when the alarm went off it was a real struggle to leave the bed. And I really wish that I could have stayed in there longer, especially after what happened on Sunday.

It took a while, as usual, for me to bring myself round into the Land of the Living but I did speed things up by going for an early shower. I don’t want to frighten away the nurse.

She was a few minutes late coming round today, but once she gave me her injection and left, I could crack on with revising my Welsh for the lesson today.

The lesson today seemed to pass OK, although I didn’t really get to say very much. I was in a side room with two young girls who know each other from College and so they were chatting away 13 to the dozen about pubs and night clubs, so I left them to it.

But we learnt a lot today and to my surprise, some of it actually stuck. I’m not sure what happened there.

During one of the breaks I had a listen to the dictaphone notes from the night. We’d been for a walk, a group of us, in some countryside area with plenty of mountains. I’d taken a camera with me but because of the weight issues I’d only taken the one. This time I’d taken the NIKON D3000 and telephoto lens. It wasn’t long before I realised that I’d made a mistake trying to take a photo of the sunlight coming out of the valley halfway up the mountains. I wanted to take a photo of the windows inside a storage cupboard in a castle where the lens was just overwhelming the image. I felt really sad that I hadn’t brought my standard lens and the NIKON 1 J5, hadn’t brought absolutely anything with me to make my photos work. It was just going to be too bad. In the end I tried to take a couple of photos with just the camera on the telephone which I don’t like doing anyway. It really was a shock when I realised that I didn’t have the camera bag with me, all the spare lenses etc.

There was also a play being put on about a murder. I was interested in doing something with it so I’d spoken to the producers and was hoping to have an appointment but it never happened. I turned up one day but no-one ever spoke to me or invited me so I decided that well maybe it’s quite simply not going to happen. There had also been some physiotherapy arranged for me by a doctor at the hospital but one of my friends went to this doctor on his own and there was no mention of anything being arranged for me, which disappointed me too.

Later on I went to Ramsgate to find out more about this play. That turned out to be something of a wild goose chase too as nothing seemed to happen about it when I arrived either.

When the lesson was over I had my hot chocolate and then spent the rest of the afternoon finishing off the radio programme. That’s all up and running now and there’s just one more in the pipeline. I shall be making a start on the next one this week too.

Tea tonight was one of the stuffed peppers that I bought on Friday. And seeing that I’d forgotten to put the herbs into it to season it, it tasted quite nice.

But what was good news is that the glass containers that I bought on Saturday to store the leftovers in the fridge instead of some kind of ad-hoc plastic arrangement are exactly the right size. I’m quite pleased about that because I’m trying slowly to move away from plastic if I can and when the opportunity arises.

Anyway, I’m off to bed now. Later than intended but I’ll do the best that I can. See where I end up during the night and then wake up fighting fit ready for tomorrow. God help them.

Friday 18th August 2023 – WHAT SURPRISES ME …

… is that I managed to keep on going for as long as I did today after all of my exertions.

As I predicted (well, it really wasn’t much of a prediction) I lay awake for hours after going to bed last night and just couldn’t settle down. As I’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … there’s no point going to bed early if I’m not able to go to sleep.

But sleep I must have done at some point during the night because when the alarm went off I was flat out miles away, deep in the Arms of Morpheus.

Leaving the bed before the second alarm was something of a struggle but I managed it all the same, and then had something of slow drag around into consciousness.

Despite everything else I managed to fall into the shower and have a good scrub up, and then I hit the town.

The bus was already at the bus stop so I staggered aboard, and then staggered out at the bus stop by the port.

First stop was at the doctor’s to pick up my prescription. I’m running out of medication so I need to stock up.

next stop was at the Carrefour around the corner where I bought a few supplies to keep me going, like peppers, mushrooms, potatoes and the like.

The reason why I buy my peppers here is that they sell two for €0:99 – teacup sized ones that are ideal for making stuffed peppers. The ones that you buy elsewhere are often quite enormous and overwhelm whatever it is that I’m cooking.

Final port of call was at the chemist for my Aranesp and to have the prescription dispensed.

By the time that I’d bought everything that I needed, my backpack was quite heavy and it was a struggle to come back up the hill. It took me an absolute age and I was exhausted. I had to make dozens of pauses

Back here I cleaned out one of the peppers and put it in the freezer and then armed with my coffee and cheese and toast I came in here, rather later then intended, for my Welsh lesson.

During the pause at lunchtime, I wrote up the dictaphone notes. I was waiting at Goodall’s Corner in Shavington for a bus to go to Nantwich for a hospital appointment. It seemed as if I’d been there for hours but no bus came. I’d seen buses coming in the other direction from Nantwich but none going that way. Eventually someone told me that there wzs a change on the route. He offered to take me to his house in Stock Lane because the buses were going past there at the moment. He took me down there. I went into his house. There were a few people in there, all denying that I was ill. In the end I had to show them my scars where the needles had been in my arms, the site of my old catheter etc before they eventually agreed that I was undergoing some medical treatment. Then we heard the bus so I went outside. The bus pulled up and I boarded. There was a driver and a couple of other passengers. The whole lower deck of this bus was covered in dolls etc. The driver, while he was driving, was playing a game of some kind like cards or something with another one of the passengers. I thought that this was the most weird bus trip that i’d ever had.

What was interesting about this dream was that I was waiting for the bus on the “wrong” side of the road, as I would do if I were in Europe. And all the traffic was driving on the right too.

And then, half an hour later we had a suddenly this dream came alive. The person who was being me began to take off after the girl in this particular scene. That caused a lot of embarrassment. First of all, what was happening was that we’d been paired off. There was a doll that was me, a doll that was a girl, there were several of these pairs and we’d been paired off each at someone’s house but at first nothing had ever happened until we suddenly began to come to life” and I have absolutely no recollection of this or no idea at all what it concerns.

Then we had a dream that was quite similar to that again with 2 dolls, a male and a female. It wasn’t until they’d been together for a while that people noticed that these dolls were starting to turn themselves into a couple

Next I was at a supermarket. There were these toy things, dolls or whatever, tied up at a kind of hitching rail outside the store. All of a sudden a few people came along and began to push themselves into the queue in the wrong place. I thought to myself that there’s going to be some kind of severe confrontation with this lot any minute now.

I was then with Mike Harris, the chairman from TNS. We were talking about the European Cup Final between his team and a team that I was representing from Wales. He said that he wanted to approach UEFA to see whether they’d agree to host the game in Budapest. I said that in principle I’d agree but I’d like to play the game in Leichtenstein. Apart from the fact that there’s a lovely stadium there, it’s the crossroads of Europe etc. He asked me how we’d go about it. I told him that I knew Mike Lee, the Press Officer who went on to lead the UK’s bid for the Olympics in London. I imagined that he’d have a replacement and we’d start of by contacting him.

What’s strange about this is that I BO – or did – know Mike Lee, and he was Press Officer for UEFA and he did leave to work as leader of the team what worked on bringing the Olympic Games to London. And the football stadium at Vaduz in Leichtenstein is quite nice, AS REGULAR READERS OF THIS RUBBISH WILL RECALL.

But no Zero last night, and no California either. I must be slipping.

The Welsh lesson went quite well for a change, even though I had to fight off several waves of sleep. But once it was over and I was armed with my hot chocolate I wasn’t so lucky and ended off drifting away for half an hour or so.

That actually makes a change. usually, going into tow and back exhausts me completely and I’m flat out on my chair a long time before this.

There was time to spend an hour or two writing radio programme notes and then I went for tea – chips with salad and some of those quorn nuggets that are really nice.

But now I’m ready for bed, I reckon, not that I’m particularly tired after having crashed out just now. But it’ll catch up with me sooner or later. Shopping tomorrow, and with some room in the freezer, I hope that there’s some good stuff in Noz now that I have room for it

And having been to the shops I’ll probably be flat out in the afternoon. As long as I don’t miss the football tomorrow evening.

Wednesday 16th August 2023 – TODAY’S WELSH LESSON …

… passed off quite a bit better today.

The unit on which we were working was a revision unit which involved discussing several of a selection of about 30 different topics, chosen by lot.

It’s quite true to say that I don’t know much and I can’t remember much but one thing about talking and chatting at large is that basically you just talk about what you know with whatever bits of grammar and vocabulary you can remember.

It doesn’t need to be complicated, and if you can keep it simple, then that’s all you need.

In schools in the UK, languages are taught in a ridiculous way. The emphasis is on grammar and being absolutely 100% correct, with the result that kids are quite timid and rather afraid to speak in case they make a mistake.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I was in Belgium I worked with people of all different nationalities and it didn’t take long for me to get the message that grammar counted for next-to nothing.

Iit didn’t matter what you knew and what mistakes you made. The aim was to make yourself understood to people and to understand their reply.

Knowing 100 words and using them is much more important than knowing 10,000 words and all kinds of obscure rules of grammar but not being able or being unwilling to use them.

But I digress.

Once more, the night that I had was marginally better than things have been quite recently. I didn’t travel far either. It was the annual meeting of our Students Association. I was with my friend who is no longer with us. Instead of flying to Birmingham we caught the train. When we arrived we actually arrived at the airport. It was a long walk through security, check-in etc out into the concourse where we found some people who my friend knew from the Association who were sitting around so she waved at them. I asked who they were and she told me but it didn’t ring any bells with me at all. We walked past a hotel at the airport concourse. The guy with us said “that’s where we should have stayed. It’s a much better place”. We ended up at reception at our hotel and given the keys. We all went into our room. I was busy chopping and dicing an onion ready to make sandwiches but had the onion all over the floor, all over the carpet. I was picking it up. I asked my friend if she had a plastic bag but she said no. I asked if she’d go to fetch one so she did. There were some other people in this room too who were clearly members of the Association, talking to someone on the phone saying “you’ll be here by tonight. Look for the Ealing branch” and a few other things like that. The way they were going on it sounded extremely doubtful about anything really. I was expecting something much more professional.

There was also something about me being in the USA. I was on my way to meet someone. We came to a very steep hill, so steep that you couldn’t actually see over the bonnet of the car as you went down. I had to be very careful as there were lots of cyclists etc about. There were traffic lights at the bottom so I stopped. As the lights changed and the car set off, I fell out of it and the ca, an automatic, went off on its own. It went round and round in a circle at this interchange, not hitting anything. I was trying to catch it to stop it. A passer-by came to help but we couldn’t manage to do anything. All of a sudden it changed direction slightly, came round, rolled up to my stomach and stopped. I was so relieved because this was the kind of thing that could have gone on for hours and could have been disastrous.

That wasn’t everything either but you really don’t want to know about the rest, especially if you are having your tea right now.

It was another slow start to the day before I transcribed the dictaphone notes, and then what time was left was spent revising my Welsh ready for the lesson. and wouldn’t it be nice if some of the stuff would stick in my brain?

At lunchtime I went and had a shower and then did some tidying up ready for when the cleaner would come round.

After the lesson the cleaner and I had a chat. We’ve worked out some kind of plan of action about the place and she also filled me in on a few things about the place that I didn’t know before. It’s always good to know about things like that.

Tea tonight was a curry from the freezer – one of those special ones I made about a year ago. And having matured for as long as that in the freezer it really was quite delicious.

But while we’re on the subject of the freezer, it’s slowly starting to empty itself now. I’ll wait to see what’s on offer in Noz at the weekend and if it’s a disappointing day I might just bake a vegan pie at the weekend to fill up the space.

That’ll be a good idea because there’s stuff in there like vegan minced soya stuff and using some of that in a pie would be a good idea.

While i’m at it, I’ll see about finding a recipe for some vegan sausage stuffing so that I can have a go at making sausage rolls. As I’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I’ll have to buy pastry for that because making flaky or puff pastry is a difficult and complicated procedure that’s beyond my capabilities.

That’ll give me something to think about while I try to sleep.

Friday 4th August 2023 – AFTER ALL OF YESTERDAY’S …

… exertions, today followed pretty much the same pattern.

Although there wasn’t the same number of sound files on the dictaphone, it wasn’t far off. And I reckon that had I gone to bed last night at 23:00 as normal instead of … errr … 01:30 this morning, who knows how many there might have been?

When the alarm went off this morning I was actually in a record shop somewhere discussing a Wishbone Ash album with someone. Consequently it took me a few seconds to find my feet.

When the second alarm went off at 07:05 I was actually on my feet – but only just. And the shower that I had after my medication did little to revive me.

Just as last week, I was on the bus early, on the grounds that the sooner I go, the quicker I come back – rather like Tommy Handley’s Ali Oup and “I go – I come back”.

At Carrefour I did a little shopping and then for some reason had to wait quite a while for the bus. I’ve no idea why he took so long to come back this morning.

Back here I had a little accident. Having cleaned out a pepper ready for freezing, I dropped one of the freezer drawers on the floor. I ended up having to clean it, repair it and repack it And then I could sit down and have my cheese on toast and coffee.

There had been plenty of post in my letterbox. The most important letter was that the Physical Re-education Centre that contacted me by phone a couple of weeks ago has offered me 20 – yes, TWENTY sessions, starting in mid-October.

It seems that they are taking this nerve problem seriously. What with that and the hospital visit at the end of the month, who knows?

Also in the post was the acknowledgement of my application for a disabled person’s permit. They told me that I had sent in everything that they needed and I can expect a reply “within four months”. We shall see.

For a change, I managed to avoid falling asleep this afternoon, not that I actually felt like doing all that much. But eventually I had a listen to the dictaphone – piles and piles of it. I had a dream last night. I can’t remember very much about it but I remember that it was full of a lot of people watching it who were coming out of profanities. I had to post some kind of notice requesting everyone to mind their language as there were young children in the vicinity listening to all of it.

There was also the story of a whaler out of Dundee that ran onto rocks and sank as it was coming into the harbour. The crew took to the boats and came ashore but they must have been on an island because there was still no way to reach Dundee. They had to wait to be rescued. There were all kinds of accusations flying around. I was captain of the whaler so I had one of my crew discreetly count the number of people who were with us. He said “between 18 and 26”. That was not what I wanted to know. I was hoping that he’d give me an exact number so I’d know first of all how many we’d had starting out, how many had made it ashore and how many had subsequently been able to go ashore somewhere else. There was an old mariner on this island who was extremely critical of what we’d done. He was very domineering and told us to sit down even though we could see a ship coming in the distance. He told us to sit and watch television while we awaited rescue. I said that I wasn’t interested in watching anything on television. he made some kind of dismissive remark about that. My story was that the chart was deficient but he seemed to think that it was my fault completely, the sinking of the ship. I was looking forward to the subsequent examination where I could put forward my points of view.

Here we were on this island awaiting rescue and we came across a pile of railway carriages for the London Underground. That invited a lot of comment as to what they might be doing there in this rural outpost somewhere along the shore near Dundee. One thing though was that I was sure that looking at the men who had been saved I didn’t really recognise anyone who’d started out on the trip. They could have been different people for all I know

And then someone wanted to work out some kind of survey where any kind of activity took place on the island compared to life on there as normal. I told him to clear off and said that as far as I was concerned no-one was having anything to do with him and this particular survey. What with all of that, it must have been a quite interesting night on that island near Dundee.

And on another island in the middle of the Atlantic there were about 20 children. What they were doing was to play some kind of game with them to see how many could identify the places that were involved with many of the early explorers’ voyages around the world, like the Canary Islands and the Azores, Lanzarote, islands like that situated off the coast of Europe and North West Africa.

I was in a music shop last night. I’d bought a Wishbone Ash album years ago but I’d never got round to actually playing it. When I did, the tracks didn’t correspond with what was on the running order list. I did some research and found that it’s the wrong album that’s been pressed on the CD. The label was for the CD box but the album on the disc was a different one. I went back to the record shop to tell them about it and see what they could do, not that with all this immense lapse of time I expected them to do anything. I was in the middle of talking to them when the alarm went off.

There was some other stuff too but you don’t really want to know about that right now.

As I mentioned yesterday I spent some time on the radio programme that I started yesterday. Another pile of notes have been written and I can finish it off tomorrow. Then I can dictate the notes tomorrow night and if I’m lucky I can prepare two radio programmes on Sunday.

It’ll be a busy day on Sunday because I have some fruit buns to bake. I’ve almost run out of those.

Finally I spent some time tracking down some more stuff about Muskrat Falls. I managed to find not only the agreement that was signed between the Newfoundland and Labrador Government and the Innu community in 2011, I managed to find out how, why and when it all went pear-shaped.

Peter Penashue, the leader of the Innu community at Sheshatshiu, the Innu settlement whose tribal hunting grounds were most affected made an impassioned speech setting out the community’s grievances and the reasons for the blockade of the site.

Basically, there was some kind of profit-sharing agreement proposed in which the Innu community would be paid a percentage of the resale of the electricity generated.

However with massive cost and timescale overruns and structural failures, and much of the electricity being siphoned off by the residents of the Provincial capital in Newfoundland, something that has added millions and millions of dollars to the costs, even the most optimistic estimates reckon that there will be no profit generated for at least 30 years.

That’s assuming that nothing else goes wrong (and what are the odds on that?) of course. And by that time all of the people who were expected to profit from the development will have received nothing.

In the meantime, their hunting grounds and traditional way of life will have been destroyed.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on our first trip to Labrador before there was any sign of development, we saw moose a-plenty, and even bear. Since the development began, we’ve seen just one moose and that’s your lot. In 2017 we didn’t see anything at all.

Tea tonight was salad and chips with some of the falafel that I bought the other day. It was quite nice too, but then again that falafel is a proprietary brand rather than a generic one.

Back here I actually fell asleep for 15 minutes which was disappointing – I was hoping that I could keep going all day having gone “over the hump” this afternoon. But now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Shopping tomorrow, but I don’t want all that much. But supplies of coffee are beginning to run low so I’ll be on the lookout for a coffee sale. They haven’t had one for a while so they must be due for one. It’ll probably be the week after I’ve bought some at full price.

Monday 31st July 2023 – I’M GOING TO STOP …

… discussing my miserable nights because you’re probably just as fed up reading about them as I am having them.

So when the alarm went off I was fast asleep in the bed and it was something of a struggle to crawl out of bed before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I went and had a shower to try to awaken me but that didn’t work very well. After the nurse had been to give me my weekly injection I came back in here.

It took an age for me to come round into the Land of the Living and it was a very late mid-morning coffee. And then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

There were tons of stuff on the dictaphone from the night there too. Someone’s name turned up on my social network, a boy whom I knew from a foreign country when I was at school. We got in touch and agreed to meet. I could recognise him from his photo. He was with some kind of little dog. When they came close to me they suddenly disappeared. I had a walk around this park and couldn’t see them. I walked across the park to the other end and that was when I caught a glimpse of them. I waved and they waved back. Eventually after many attempts we managed to meet up. It turned out this he had stopped to buy a sandwich on his way to meet me and his dog had seen someone with a sandwich and gone haring after it so he’d gone haring after the dog. he wanted to know why I hadn’t written to ask him where he was. I thought “it’s only been like 15 minutes” but something inside told me that it was in fact a couple of years that i’d been wandering around that park. That was a lapse of time that I couldn’t explain

There was something about Zero too last night. My friend from Congleton had had some good luck. She’d had her house up for sale for a considerable amount of time and it had suddenly sold for a much better price than she had anticipated too. She already had another property lined up that she could buy so she didn’t need the money and her doctor was asking her what she planned to do. She could come up with thousands of things. One was to buy a house at Prestatyn where they could go at weekends but would in fact be Zero’s house when she’s a little older. The other doctor thought that a good idea. He also mentioned about her becoming a private patient and having to pay for her medical treatment saying that private patients had so much better treatment than NHS ones etc. He also asked her when she was going to marry again. She made some kind of vague nebulous reply about that.

I can’t remember who I was with in the next one. It wasn’t TOTGA because her name came up in the conversation but it was a girl with whom I used to work who had a good job that involved projects. The thing was that you came up with your own project and this firm would back you and provide you with the resources to do it. She was telling me all about it and how good the other situation was. In fact it might have been someone I used to know quite well, saying how much of a change it was from her previous employment. She said that any kind of project was considered, whether fitting tyres on a car, rock groups practising etc. It’s the sort of thing that had I been able I would have been interested in doing. I had an appointment somewhere else but she was talking away so much about this that I didn’t really want to leave. I wanted to stay to listen to the rest of it even though I was running late. We said that the only way to do a job like this is to go at it 100% give it everything you have and take what opportunities are offered. While this might not suit some people’s mentality it certainly suits others and those are the kind of people who would benefit from some situation like this

Later on we had an old small FIAT saloon, the type that you could load things in through the back window. I was putting some electrical equipment in but knocked the amplifier on the back seat forward into the footwell. As I was locking up the car I told Nerina what I’d done and told her not to let me drive away in the morning like that. She asked why I didn’t do it now. I said that it’s too complicated being in the dark and I can’t see what I’m doing. I might start pulling wires out. She still thought that it would be a good idea to do it now. To be quite honest I was absolutely exhausted. I just really wanted to stop doing it and go to bed but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to explain it as a good reason to Nerina. I was busy finding all kinds of other reasons not to do the job right now.

And finally I was doing some research so I joined an institute. I was in their offices looking through some paperwork. I came across someone’s file. It was a huge front and back piece with hooks on it where you could hang it from a rail with the spine upwards. I took one of these out to have a look at it. It was really just full of notes etc and various items of correspondence, one of which was someone asking around if anyone had an Opel Omega or Corsa that they could take a ride in to see what they were like ready to purchase. Someone scrawled underneath “God, are they asking for a taxi here?”. I had a look through it and went to put it back but I caught my right ankle on a stone on the wall and that caused me to drop to my knees. I don’t know why that happened but I couldn’t stand back up again. And I can’t stand up if I end on my knees either. That’s what’s really stopping me from going very far – the fear of falling over.

So we had Zero, TOTGA, Nerina and a few other regulars out there with us last night. It was nice to see so many of our friends. Still no Castor though, which is a shame. In a couple of weeks time it will be four years since our Brief Encounter in Peel Sound and the Coronation Gulf.

So when I’ve not been asleep I’ve been dealing with the next radio programme. The music is sorted out, paired off and much of the text has been written.

From now on I’m going to try to do things in a slightly different way. Usually I leave the very last track until last but in the programme that I’m preparing, the very last track has already been chosen, and for a very good reason too.

Inserting a track and its relevant text into the middle of a programme is quite complicated and takes much more time but I’ve been giving that a great deal of thought in order to find a work-around.

Tea was a stuffed pepper as usual and it was of course quite nice too. Made with fresh carrots too. There was not enough room in the freezer to buy a bulk lot of carrots to freeze so I just bought a couple to see me through until next weekend.

I’ll need to make some space in the freezer for more veg so I reckon that on Thursday I’ll be having mixed veg in cheese sauce. Now that I can buy vegan cheese in good quantities I can have much more of that, and quite right too.

But that’s for Thursday. There are a few more days in between. I’ll wander off to bed and prepare myself for battle tomorrow. Here’s Hoping that it’s a better day.